by Kevin Dicciani
“We do self-defense, mainly defending people from themselves.”
This is just one of the comments you’ll hear from Japheth Brubaker at Water and Rock Studio, 8109 Germantown Ave., a whole-body, personalized training studio that specializes in yoga, martial arts, functional fitness and self-defense. Brubaker and his wife, Suzanne, own and operate the studio, which will be open a year come June.
Born on a farm in Lancaster County, Brubaker later moved to Chestnut Hill and attended Germantown Friends School before attending the University of Pennsylvania and later Marymount University, where he earned a graduate degree in business.
As a kid, Brubaker, now 38, played organized sports, including martial arts, and always tried to stay active. It wasn’t until he finished grad school and moved to the D.C. Metro area and worked as a consultant that he realized his lifestyle had become sedentary and problematic to his overall health.
Brubaker gained weight, developed high blood pressure and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – a thyroid disease. With the coalescence of these issues, he was put on multiple medications to combat his ailments and his low physical and mental energy.
“The current state of the knowledge worker really became apparent to me,” Brubaker said. “I was just getting more and more unwell. Although I tried to stay relatively active, it just wasn’t enough.”
Brubaker sees his past health issues as a microcosm of our current culture and society.
“We are increasingly becoming more and more unhealthy as a society because most of our jobs are seated with very little activity,” he said.
Brubaker made it a point to alter the trajectory of his life. He got involved in martial arts, specifically Brazilian jiu jitsu, which eliminated his need to take medication. This decisive change redirected him to pursue a career in health and fitness.
“It was one of the most amazing systems of movements I’ve ever seen and one of the most complex of anything I’ve ever encountered,” Brubaker said of Brazilian jiu jitsu. “I just fell in love with it and never looked back.”
In 2008, Brubaker began managing a CrossFit gym, teaching mixed martial arts and instructing yoga and private training. He became a personal trainer and a manager at one of the largest fitness clubs in the country, using his experience as a guideline to help others.
“The more I did, the more I just loved it,” he said.
On his way to a healthier lifestyle, Brubaker discovered that the whole body approach to fitness – yoga, functional fitness and martial arts – was one of the most efficient and complete workouts on the planet.
“Most experts are moving us away from the treadmill workouts – all these machines,” he said. “There’s a lot of evidence showing full body movements and multi-joint movements are going to help improve everything the most efficiently – mobility, performance goals, reducing body fat – whether that’s for Olympic level athletes or amateur runners. It’s about improving your overall measurable health metrics.”
Brubaker believes that exercise alone just isn’t enough. At Water and Rock, he teaches and emphasizes that exercise in concert with nutrition and functional metabolism is the way to optimize your overall health.
“We don’t do diets here,” he said. “We do healthy eating for life. We follow a paleo zone model which means reducing processed carbs such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta so that we can get back to the way we were meant to eat.”
For Brubaker, one of the biggest assailants to health and well being in the world today is gluten – which, for some people, he said, can last up to six months in the body.
“No amount of exercise is going to undo the amount of gluten and processed carbs that are in our diets – for most people,” he said. “And it’s only getting worse. The processed carbs we are eating are getting more processed. The gluten is becoming more hybridized.
“These things have a greater toxic effect on our body now than they did a few years ago. This is especially true in the United States. Experts have recently found that gluten has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s quite scary.”
By accentuating healthier eating in tandem with full body exercise and functional metabolism, Brubaker has seen his health and fitness methods payoff with clients.
“I’ve repeatedly gotten people off of blood-pressure and cholesterol medications, gotten people through food allergies, cortisol imbalances, estrogen imbalances, leaky gut syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease,” he said. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish with people and the things they can overcome.”
Brubaker said his training at Water and Rock is “not just about looking better and being healthier and avoiding chronic illnesses down the road, it’s about getting people to feel fantastic – the most important thing overall.”
Water and Rock Studio’s group classes range from six to ten people, allowing for an abundance of individualized attention.
“It’s essentially semi-private training,” Brubaker said. “Every session we check-in and make sure that people are getting the results they want. If they’re not, we take action.”
In addition to group classes, Water and Rock offers private training sessions. And, every Saturday at 10 a.m., Brubaker holds a free class that is open to the public. He also offers a free class and a free session for first-timers, if only to articulate his ability and proficiency in training, to which he is vigorously devoted.
“People should come here because they’re going to get the best results of their life in the shortest amount of time – period,” Brubaker said. “Don’t believe it, I’ll prove it to you.”
For more information, visit waterandrockstudio.com or call 215-360-3085.