It all started with garbage.
In the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, suburb of Margate, 6-year-old Stephan Duvivier could not wait for garbage day to arrive in his neighborhood. It was a once-a-week treat.
He would hear the garbage trucks from a distance and dash to the window to watch the show. Well, it wasn’t a show, per se, but it was entertainment for him. And it fed the child’s curiosity.
Most garbage collection nowadays feature trucks with lifting mechanisms, but back in the days when Duvivier scampered to the window to watch, workers actually lifted the garbage cans to dump the refuse into the truck.
He would watch all of this action and the wheels would be turning in his head.
“I always wondered what happened when the garbage got into the truck,” he says. “Where did they take it? And I really loved seeing how effortlessly the men threw the garbage over their shoulders into the truck. It inspired my love for having a strong, able body and just being fit.”
He asked a lot of questions. Now, he has a lot of answers.
Eighteen years later, after spending some time in the Northeast in Boston and New York, Duvivier is back. The 24-year-old is living in Fort Lauderdale and has joined Rohan Shukla in forming a training service called Mind Your Movement, which bills itself as “a program and system geared towards rebuilding and empowering through movement.”
Breathing and movement
There is a labyrinth of concepts, philosophies, ideas and principles to wade through in the Mind Your Movement program, but boiling it down to its simplest form, proper breathing and movement are two of the most important elements.
“Breathing is something really important for all of our clients, ranging from the overweight person to the high-level athlete,” Duvivier says. “This is something that is super important for the functioning of the body. Breathing oxygen is literally one of the most important compounds for your body. Without oxygen, your digestive system wouldn’t be able to run. By changing the way you breathe and optimizing your breathing pattern, you can make every system in your body — from your nervous system to your lymphatic waste removal system to your digestive system, there are 12 of them — to run efficiently.
“The more fittingly you can take oxygen from the air you breathe into your actual issues and into every cell of your body, the more efficiently you will be able to burn fat; and the more efficiently your muscles will be able to turn over in your sprints. The more clarity you will have in your thinking and mental processing. The list goes on. The principles are consistent.”
Duvivier also preaches being smart with movement. He trains his clients to become aware of the body’s optimal alignment, and how all of its pieces connect to and influence one another.
“This newfound awareness not only makes training more effective, but also enhances the productivity and enjoyment of regular life,” he says. “Our program is designed to teach the use of exercise to enhance overall well-being — boosting energy, mood, mental acuity and physical health, simultaneously.”
Duvivier has worked with a woman who was 80-100 pounds overweight, and in six months she lost 60-70 pounds, thanks mostly to the proper breathing exercises and movement practices.
Another aspect of Duvivier’s holistic methodology is preventing and treating injuries. His business partner, Shukla, was one of his first success stories.
In 2018, Shukla was a track athlete at Haverford College, an NCAA Division III school in Pennsylvania, when he sustained a serious knee injury.
“He had horrible accident doing a triple jump and blew out knee,” Duvivier says. “He tore a bunch of stuff. It was really tough.
“He didn’t have a great experience with physical therapy. They fixed the superficial issues, but they never got the deep roots of the problem — like what exactly was causing him to get injured and what could prevent him from getting injured going forward.”
Shukla saw some of Duvivier’s work on Instagram and the two developed a relationship. Shukla is in such good health now, and the knee is in such prime condition, that he is training to be a professional basketball dunker.
Jeff Coby, a Columbia University graduate who plays professional basketball and once had an Exhibit 10 deal with the New York Knicks, is another client.
“Jeff had crazy lower back pain and shot knees,” Duvivier says. “He trained with me for a while and just ‘bulletproofed’ himself. We were trying to elevate his experience. We boosted his vertical jump by a few inches. We bulletproofed his back, and he doesn’t have back pain anymore.”
Coby is a believer in the Mind Your Movement principles.
“Throughout my career, back pain would come and go, but after a couple sessions with Stefan, my pain was resolved,” Coby says. “The results came surprisingly quick. After just one session I noticed improvements in my posture, my movement on the court was more fluid, and I was more powerful, dunking easier than I ever have before.”
A Jumbo athletic career
Duvivier was born in Montreal, but spent most of his youth growing up in Florida. He was a basketball player and track star for Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, and was also an honor roll student.
He ended up at Tufts University, on the border of Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts, near Boston. It’s a place that once featured foul-mouthed, drunk baseball announcer Jim Brockmire roaming on campus. Well, it was actually Hank Azaria — the actor that played the fictional Brockmire — who graduated from the school along. It is also the alma mater of Meredith Vieira, William Hurt, Tracy Chapman, Michelle Kwan, explorer and adventurer Josh Gates, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and a few Nobel Peace Prize winners. Rainn Wilson — the actor who played Dwight Schrute on “The Office” — and Jessica Biel attended the school, but did not graduate.
How did Duvivier end up at a Division III school so far from Florida?
“My mom [Dorothy Bastien] actually found the school,” he said. “I don’t know how she found it. She was like ‘Yo, Stef, I found this school in Boston and you’re going to love it. You will be able to play basketball and track there.’ I was like, ‘OK.’
“It was just this random school out East. I had never been to Boston. I hadn’t been to the Northeast at all. I was super confused, but I trusted my mom’s word. I looked it up myself and it seemed to be a decently ranked school, not only athletically but academically.
“I went to go check it out and met with the coaches. It seemed to be a perfect fit. I went with it and it ended up being a great opportunity.”
Over four years, it helped change his life.
He entered his freshman year majoring in biology and community health and had a dream job of becoming a surgeon.
Tuft’s sports teams are nicknamed the Jumbos and Duvivier had a jumbo accomplishment in 2018 when he made the trip to the South to compete in the NCAA Division III National Track and Field Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
Duvivier nailed a high jump at 7 feet, 2.5 inches to become a national champion in that event. He was told that it was the third-highest jump in Division III history. A few months later, he was named All-American for the outdoor season.
His basketball career didn’t pan out as well as his track career and his hoops days are over.
His jumping days, however, are far from over.
Armed with plenty of MYM knowledge, he is gearing up to make a run in the Summer Olympics for Canada. Thanks to a third-place performance of 7 feet, .25 inches in the 2019 Athletics Canadian Track and Field Championships, he was confident he could grab a spot on the Olympic team in 2020.
He said he has gone over his personal best recorded time of 7-2.5 in practice and is confidence he can still do that in competition.
COVID gives and takes away
The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone the Olympics until 2021, and Duvivier is itching for the opportunity to grab a coveted spot and make the trip to Tokyo in the summer. Or, if Tokyo backs out of hosting it, officials from his home state of Florida have thrown their hat in the ring to host. So there is a lot to look forward to in 2021 as opposed to the disappointment of 2020.
While he had to temper his Olympic dream enthusiasm in 2020, he used a lot of downtime to develop MYM. He is trying to train several athletes and non-athletes to reach their goals, and he is training himself to reach the goal of qualifying for the Olympics.
But 2020 featured a lot of stay-at-home time and he stayed at home and game-planned.
“It gave us the opportunity to really slow down,” Duvivier says. “It was a time you couldn’t go out to bars or restaurants and didn’t have that long commute on the subway to see clients. Some days it was three hours on the subway. The quarantine really gave me more time to think about what I really wanted and the lifestyle that I really wanted to live.”
Oh, and there were people shut-in all over the country and the world. That was good news for his new mission. He had an easier way of reaching out to potentialclients via computers or phones.
“It provided an opportunity to help those who were cooped up in their houses with no external stimuli,” Duvivier says. “So, you kind of get stuck in your thoughts, and if those thought patterns aren’t healthy, positive ones you are going to do a bit of suffering.
“Some people did more than a bit of suffering. They did a lot of suffering. I can definitely relate to that myself. If your wellness routine isn’t in a place that will allow you to mitigate that suffering and to change and shift your thought patterns that you now became aware of during that quiet period, you are just going to stay in the same place and you will probably find less healthy distractions to kind of mitigate that.”
He provided healthy distractions.
His client list has grown to 50 in the Mind Your Basics program and 10 who seek more specialized training. Duvivier said his clients come from all over the United States, as well as Poland and India. He takes pride in giving individual attention to each client rather than giving out broad instructions.
“Every individual has a certain mindset and certain thought patterns that fuel their everyday living,” he says. “The way they look, the people they associate themselves with, their career choices and paths they take. All these thought patterns really influence wellness and your general health. The target is mindsets first and foremost. That’s how I tend to work with my clients. It’s not a cookie-cutter program.
“We’re all about providing people with those healthy, wholesome stimulus to keep people in the right frame of optimizing and elevating themselves.”
Righting some wrongs
While his curiosity about movement and motion started in those early days of watching garbage men throwing trash into their trucks, Duvivier’s passion for what he thinks is proper training developed over years as an athlete. He received some good advice and some bad advice when it came to training and taking care of both mind and body.
“Before, I did whatever I was told,” he said. “Coaches didn’t really have a strong understanding of movement and how movement fits into the bigger picture of life. Sports, of course, have their own discipline, but the way that Mind Your Movement preaches is that movement in athletics can really fit into optimizing your life and the quality with which you live.”
His desire for becoming a surgeon waned in college as his thought processes didn’t mesh with the theories he was reading in textbooks.
Duvivier had his own way of thinking and started to act like a Frank Sinatra song and do things “My Way.”
“At school, I was on a pre-med track, so I saw all these habits and practices among my fellow colleagues that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way,” Duvivier said. “There were unhealthy practices. It didn’t fit the lifestyle that I knew I wanted to live — one focused on self-mastery and overall wellness. That was a huge contradiction to me.”
That’s not to say that all the information in his biology courses were wrong. But there were things he learned from the books that helped support his theories, and some that went against his ideas.
“When I studied biology, I was always interested in functions of the human body,” he said. “What makes it tick? What makes it less optimal? What makes it more optimal in terms of fuel you put in, in terms of the process and the quality of your movement? Biomechanics. All that stuff really, really interested me.
“I can’t say the education is exactly what led me to the creation of this. But it is definitely a big part of it. Of course, without knowledge and being well-read, you are kind of going to be at a disadvantage. The practicing part is something that I think a lot of professionals in the industry tend to miss out on. Being an athlete at the highest level really helped me home in on these principals in a way that people don’t usually do, whether it’s mental health or nutritional habits or overall movement quality. I think those are the big things that I actually put into practice rather than reading textbooks all day.”
Taking on all comers
Even though he has he has pro athletes and supermodels on his client list, Duvivier welcomes all comers and all challenges.
For $97 per month, a client gets four workouts per week delivered through a mobile app focusing on breathing, stability, mobility, foot-core connection and running mechanics.
There is also access to each coach’s personal Google numbers for questions that need answering.
Feedback on a client’s form via videos is also included, and Duvivier said, “It’s like we’re coaching you in person.”
Access to future programs and content is also a part of the package.
Duvivier is willing to work with anyone, but those who share his passion for athletics spark him the most.
“Technically, I have the ideal client,” he said. “I love working with people with athletic backgrounds and people who are similar as myself. But the Mind Your Movement principles are far reaching. You can really touch on any demographic because the principles are universal. Whoever you are, whatever walk of life you are at, it can really benefit you.”