Fitness Inside a Busy Schedule – Interview with Nicole Tovey

nicole tovey

Welcome back to another episode of the John Parker fitness podcast. I'm extremely excited about today's guest because she is from Australia now living in Bermuda. She works full time and has participated in over 30 fitness competitions in her life. She's incredibly inspiring and now sharing her knowledge as an online coach. Welcome to the show, Nicole.

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Episode Transcript

John: Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker fitness podcast. I'm extremely excited about today's guest because she is from Australia now living in Bermuda. She works full time and has participated in over 30 fitness competitions in her life. She's incredibly inspiring and now sharing her knowledge as an online coach. Welcome to the show, Nicole. Thanks a lot Nicole for coming on with me today. I want to go ahead and just get started a little bit with an intro, so if you'll go ahead and just kind of share with us who you are, maybe what you do, whether that's a full time job somewhere fitness, just kind of a little bit about yourself to kind of introduce you.

Nicole: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it and good morning, afternoon, good evening, wherever your audience happens to be. My name's Nicole Tovey. I live in Bermuda, but I'm originally from Australia, born and raised. I grew up in Adelaide. If anybody is familiar with the Australian cities. I'm a partner of a global offshore local law firm here in Bermuda. So I've been living here for about 11 and a half years now and I practice in commercial litigation. So yeah, I've been doing that for about 20 years now. But I grew up as a dancer, born and raised in Adelaide, born in Sydney and Adelaide did ballet and modern dance tap dance since I got three years old. Did that for back 20 years until I started working and couldn't really make it to class anymore. So I've always been active. But at that time I sort of tend to the gym and I became a bit of a cardio bunny and dig all the Les Mills classes and you know, quite enjoyed the body pump, doing great when I was lifting 10 kilos, which was quite a change from how things have turned out now.

Nicole: But you know, long before the advent of social media and online training, I actually wanna just started working and I was probably about 24 years old. I took a course to become a personal trainer bat and then we finished it. That was probably about 18 years ago now. And you know, it was always passionate about how they fitness and helping people to achieve their goals. I think it was somewhat in the blood. My mom was, there wasn't a right weeks instructor when I was little growing up. And then she and my stepdad tend to the gym as well and sudden lifting weights. So I'd always sort of seen that growing up and always been fascinated by it. But, you know, I, I, I never completed those certifications because I guess I was scared, you know, I had just finished law school and spent six years in uni and just started working at just got a first mortgage.

Nicole: I had no idea how to make any living as a personal trainer. I thought I'm going to end up broken street. You know, I was worried, I was worried about what people would think of me to, you know, if I test in six years of education and you know aspiring Lord roll a career and to be kind of passed on trainer and that's, I never completed those final exams and settled into the corporate world. Around 2004, I moved up to Queensland and I had the opportunity to go traveling. I went backpacking around Europe for about four months in 2006 and realized at that point that I really wanted to live overseas and I wanted to travel the world a little bit more and seeing more places and Australia just being so far away from anywhere else on the planet pretty much. And so expensive to, to fly anywhere to go on holidays.

Nicole: You know, I just thought, well, the best thing is to go and live somewhere else. So my intention actually at the time was to go London. It's pretty common for Australians to go and work and in London. But I left right at the beginning of the [inaudible] financial crisis. And so work was a little hard to come by and somewhere I landed in Bermuda for, to at us because 11 years later I'm still here. And but yeah, going into sort of fast forward to, I moved to Bermuda in 2008 and I got heavily involved in salsa dancing, dancing, being my background. I just love it. So I started taking salsa lessons here. I was performing songs that are around the Island. I had opportunities to go and perform overseas. It was fantastic. And then my dad's partner incidentally just introduced me to a coach in the gym one day who convinced me that I had a good shape to try bodybuilding competition and me being me, I thought, what the heck?

Nicole: I'll give it a crack cause let me just give this a shot. I've never done anything like this before. And I was 35 years old then. So at that stage I picked up a heavy weight for the first time. Started my, was not turned into a probably an obsession passion. It's guy with buddy, buddy tell them fitness. So my first competition was in 2012 and I did it in the fitness category so that I could meld my dance background with the bodybuilding side of things because with a, with a fitness competition you have to do, one of the components is a routine to music. It's a 92nd routine with some compulsory moves. And so I thought it was a great, great mash from my dance background and the body building side of things. I competed in that category for three years, had the opportunity to represent Bermuda a few times, which was really exciting.

Nicole: Great opportunities. Got to travel down to regional competitions at the Caribbean. Gosh, I started gymnastics classes as well at that time. So I guess the first time ever gymnastics, very different from dancing. Kudos to all the gin and is out there. That stuff is hard and it is hard. It 35 years old too. So I was doing, I was doing two or three private classes a week at [inaudible] when I started doing things, competitions, I couldn't even hold a handstand. Yeah, that was, that was an interesting time. A very busy, very tiring but so rewarding. So I then at about 38 years old, 2015, I came to my senses and realized that the Spanish gate was just way too hard on my buddy and I switched to the bikini bikini competition or I didn't have to do not to do everything. So I've been competing in that division ever since and you know, had the opportunities still in that to travel the world. I've probably done about 30 competitions, genuinely placing top five in amateur divisions in amongst all of that and went and did my certifications again and you know, this year in April I got some business mentors invested in myself and started my online coaching business. So 18 years in the making from when I first had him, tons of to leave the corporate world and do this. I have finally started my business as well. Sorry, that's me.

John: Great introduction. And I like that. Cause you actually, you went through literally my whole thought process of what I was really hoping to get out about your story because everybody is in a different place. And I, I like how you went from starting with a certain aspect of your life when you grew up as a dancer, which is really cool because my wife, my wife was actually she grew up as a dancer as well throughout high school, whatnot. So that's kind of a fun thing. Your experience of finding what you really want in life, traveling, going around the world backpacking and ultimately finding that, you know, you wanted to change from weights to refer from cardio to more weights focused, right. And then adding gymnastics. And so it's a really interesting transition and I like hearing that. Now you mentioned that your parents had a pretty big influence when it came to fitness on you. Is that right?

Nicole: Yeah, that's right. So my mom was an aerobics instructor when I was really little, probably not. Gosh, I remember going and joining in her classes when I was probably about eight years old. And had the very sexy long legwarmers and the leotard and the little belts that we used to wear in the 80s, just joining in the classes with all of the ladies and in her aerobics classes. And so, you know, I used to sort of have to go go along with her after school or whenever, you know, just, and she was working. So then we had hours, so I would often tag along and join in on the classes, which was great. And then both of my parents that had got into the weightlifting side as well. So again, that was still when I was quite young. But you know, something that I certainly sore worth event bodies develop, you know, my mom especially, you know, he's starting to grow some muscle and you know, looking, getting out of that aerobics sort of genre of that era I suppose. And then into a little bit of bodybuilding herself. So I guess I've always been in a fit family. It's always been, the influence has always been there to be active and involved in some level of activity. And

John: That's awesome. And I don't think a lot of people have that same influence with their parents. I mean my parents have always encouraged me when I was younger to go on you know, be outside, be active, but I, I don't particularly remember fitness and whether it was weightlifting or certain sports being a huge thing that my parents kind of were into. Now that doesn't mean they didn't like those things, but I, I think it's important that people can try to find that sort of motivation for them and maybe find someone to look up to because I imagine that how you had a huge role with your parents.

Nicole: Yeah, I think it did for sure. And you know, my mom still gets up at the crack of Dawn and goes for a walk every morning and you know, it's just still there. I don't think it, I don't think it ever goes away once you get used to it and it becomes a habit as part of your life.

John: Yeah. I think when something becomes a part of your life like that, it's hard to shake it. It's, it's interesting because I think fin as well, and I'm a lot younger than my parents obviously, but fitness is one of those things where it's just kind of a little more natural for me. And sometimes when I get out of my routine, I find it easier to get back in once I've been gone and, and it'll just like you're saying with your mom that, you know, should go out and walk in the mornings and it's something that just becomes a part of you. And I think that's really powerful when it comes to trying to reach our goals.

Nicole: Yeah, definitely. Definitely it's something that I, I talk a lot about is that, you know, just creating these habits that eventually, as you say, become part of your life is just having the motivation to start with that then turns into a habit that then creates some discipline. Because that's what's really going to drive you in the end. Whether it's in any aspect of your life really. I mean, let's face it, if we're looking at a career goal or you know you're starting a business or whether it's a health and fitness goal, everybody sounds self motivated. We all start off with grand aspirations of what we're going to do and when the mood goes, it's difficult to keep that going. It's hard. It's tied with any of it to keep that sort of motivation going. Motivation eventually dies. So if you can create a habit and make these little daily tasks part of your life, you end up in a space that is discipline rather than motivation. So you'll still go and do it even when you don't feel like it and it is part of your life, then you just get it done.

John: So I want to go into that a little bit more, but first I wanted to ask you with this story that you've told of going from, you know, your earlier years to where you are now, what would be one of the biggest challenges for you along that journey and how did you overcome it?

Nicole: Probably one of the Buddhist challenges I think that sticks out in, it's not too, it's, it wasn't too long ago. It was, there was a period of time. I mentioned that, you know, I've been competing for quite a few years now. There was a period of about three years straight probably around 2015, 16 through two 17 ish that I competed year round. I didn't give my body a break. I was obsessed with getting my pro card. So for, I do if anybody's familiar with it. I FBB competitions. So I compete in bikini division of the, I'm actually I was doing quite well. I was almost at my pro card. And so that mentality was just one more competition, just one more competition that will be my time. And it just kept on going for three years straight. Now being in that sort of an extreme of a diet, which is necessary to get into that shape, to be on stage was very unhealthy to put it at the mildest my family, my hair started to fall out.

Nicole: I had thyroid issues. I didn't have my cycle for months on end. I had a terrible relationship with food. Didn't know what or how to be a normal human being when I came out of this phase in terms of what to eat, like what do people do? How do we socialize? I pulled myself out of a lot of certain situations because I had so much anxiety around food and around drinking social situations where, you know, God forbid if I had to stay up past 10 o'clock because I'd be hungry again and I'd eaten all my food for the day. I just didn't want, I didn't want to be there, you know, I needed to go to sleep so that I can ignore my stomach and you know, it's not a healthy place to be. And I was really not a very fun person to be around.

Nicole: So you know, that that was that was tough to actually realize that I needed to not let my dream go because I still have that aspiration. But to take a step back from it and realize that I needed to look after myself first and foremost. And either from that take a break from competing schedule my competitions and just really learn how to rebuild my relationship with food such that I didn't have these anxieties. And you know, I wasn't obsessed with the scale and knew how to function as a normal human being, get back into social life and, and all of that. So that's honestly at NSC, not to this extreme necessarily with people about people who getting the cycle of, you know, some sort of extreme dieting when they're on their way to their fitness goals, which I think is unfortunate when they're going to extremes and experiencing on some level some of the things that I went through and they don't know what to do afterwards. And so that is a challenge to, to really learn to recreate some habits and, you know, learn that it doesn't have to be that way, that you can actually have a sustainable lifestyle. You can function as a normal human being. You can actually be happy and still reach your goals. So that I think is an ongoing learning experience, I think, for me.

John: So I feel like there's, I feel there's a lot of similarities with that experience and others in the competing area. Now. I don't know if that may be more with women than men or if it's sort of equal, but how did you really rebuild that relationship with, with food? Because that's something that's really hard. That's a big mental aspect.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And you know what, I see, you know, air quote, the 10 regular human beings, we owe a lot of people experienced that. You don't have to just be a competitor to have gone through this. That was, that was my experience and how it sort of happened with me because of my competing and because of the extreme extent that I took it too. But you know, it happens a lot with people who go into a diet phase trying to lose 15, 20 pounds, but they're so restricted either in foods or with calories or taking certain foods out of their diet or their got extreme exercise regimes. And you know, when they come out of the other side of these things and I don't know what to do because there's been no education, they've not been given the tools to sort of implement a healthy, sustainable lifestyle going forward in which they can, you know, keep the benefits of all of their hard work.

Nicole: Because a lot of the things that we do, certainly in my experience getting onto stage, it's not sustainable. It's not realistic. You can't keep this stuff up forever because there's so much restriction and it's just not real live for the kids might have a play date. You don't have your food with you, you don't, you know, something comes up at work, you forgot your, to bring your package food to the food that you made to take the lunch today. You forgot it. Or what do you do? Do you not eat? You know, I don't know what to do if I don't follow this plan, the meal plan that I've been given, what do I do outside of that? And life happens, you know, learning to get there in a different way that doesn't involve that kind of restriction is really hard. And so getting back, getting back to your question because I've digressed a little bit.

Nicole: You know, trying to rebuild that relationship with boots and when I was competing I was on a restricted meal plan and I didn't sway from that for months on end. And even when I was off competing, I didn't really know what to do or how normal people ate afterwards either because I've been so restricted for so long. So for me it was about educating myself and I think that's really what it has to come down to taking responsibility for where I was recognizing that it was not a healthy place to be in and really starting to recognize the triggers for my anxiety around foods. For example, if I was going to be out in a social situation, not knowing what food was going to be there, not feeling like I had to take my food with me or eat beforehand to make sure that I could control that situation.

Nicole: I had to learn to let go of that little bit and educate myself enough to realize one meal is not going to make or break me. One meal is not going to make me fat. Just like one gym session is not going to get you in shape. One salad is not going to make you healthy, that you just have to educate yourself and buy. That from me ended up being learning how to flexible diet and learning how to bring in regular foods that weren't restricted to, you know, bodybuilding diet of chicken and fish and rice and sweet potato so that I could learn to incorporate other foods in my life without feeling that anxiety. And I think, you know, it's like I said, it's an ongoing journey I think. And it just came back down to education and taking responsibility for myself and where I was and learning what works for my body.

John: I liked the, you bring the education fact into there because a lot of people, I feel try to find these tips or tricks or tools or, or hacks that help them to get back into where they need to be, whether it's with food or any other aspect of their life. And I think education is really powerful and that's not to say that, you know, they go back to school, but I think like what you're getting at is, is really that they give themselves the knowledge to be able to figure out what's going to work best for them in their current lifestyle and their current situation.

Nicole: Yeah, exactly. I mean there's, I think it does come down to you just there's so much, there is so much information available to us these days and so many options for health and fitness and to reach your goals and whether that's, you know, fat loss or maintaining or just general health goals or gaining muscle, there's so much available to us, which is great, but there's also so much misinformation and there's so much extreme rich sort of, you know, for from my perspective can tend to cash in on and target our tendency these days for wanting immediate gratification, quick results. And so, you know, these extreme processes are put into place an extreme programs, extreme diets that aren't realistic. And I think, you know, in amongst all of that information, you really have to sift out and educate yourself with what's available there that is realistic and is the stainable and that suits your lifestyle. And also appreciate that this is a journey. There is no right or wrong answer for you necessarily. It's your health and fitness is here for life. It's a journey that needs and demands patience and consistency. And I think that has to come into it as well.

John: I think that's really true that there's a lot of, a lot of moving parts and I think that if people can just kind of capture each of those and not to take all of that on at once, but just kind of capture that, then that'll help each of us be able to succeed. Now you've been able to do that with your busy life being, you know, a full time a business woman in the law field. I mean that's, I've, I'm not in that industry, but I know that there's a lot of, you know, time constraints that go on with the different things you have to do with that job. So one of the things you talk about on your Instagram is that you help busy career women. And I, I believe that we'll tie over into men as well to be able to live better lives and achieve the fitness goals they want, whether that's just to be healthy or whatnot. So explain a little bit about your philosophies about really overcoming that busy lifestyle or working within that busy lifestyle.

Nicole: Yeah. And I think, I think the second thing that you said probably hits it more accurately, is working within that busy lifestyle. I don't think that we can necessarily, or I become it whether where, you know, professionals are, you know, parents running our own business, we all have the same amount of time in a day. And I think it's more about working efficiently. You know, balance is something that, it's a nice word sometimes. Sometimes I think it's not necessarily possible. I know I still struggle with it. It's something that I'm absolutely still working on. That it's, it's really about a little bit about cutting yourself some Slack, a little bit about going back to that patients that I was talking about. A little bit about not expecting unrealistic results and punishing yourself when you don't get to that goal in record speed because it's not realistic.

Nicole: We have to work with what we're given. And I think, you know, for me it's that's been a lot of my learning is that we just have to do what we can and except what we can do. And then on the flip side of that, when I go back to balance, you know, I think at some, at some points now live, whether it's we've got a very demanding period of time at work or we really, really, really want to just go for this fitness goal or we're starting in business. I think there are certain periods of time where you have to be all in or all out and sometimes balance is just not going to be there. And that's okay. You know, I'm probably going against the grain saying this, but I think it's more realistic than saying we all should aim for balance.

Nicole: Cause I just don't think we get sometimes. But you know, it's about managing those periods of time and accepting that there are during those periods of time that are going to fall by the wayside that maybe don't take priority. And it's about prioritizing those things during the period of time that matter most to you and working with the time that you have to reach those things. So that's sort of, I guess my philosophy on, you know, managing ourselves within the time of a busy career. You know what I mean? I get up at 5:00 AM I'm in a prep at the moment, so I'm sort of transitioning still. You know, it's one of my challenges at the moment, transitioning between being a competitor and a coach because I'm sort of one foot out the door of competing and two feet in. We've become, you know, building my business and becoming a coach.

Nicole: And it's difficult in terms of time. You know, my day starts at five, I get off, I go do my cardio, I come back, I have to cook my foods for the day because I'm in prep. It has to be very precise. I go to work all day, I come back, I usually train again at nighttime cause I'll do my weight training then and I work on my business now. I'm not sleeping much at the moment. So I'm not sure that you would call that balance, but you know, it's what has to be done to achieve the goals that I want to achieve. So would you consider yourself with, with all that going on, would you consider yourself to be happy with where you're at? Oh, absolutely. But I think you know that also, you know, that's a really good point. You have to, you have to assess your happiness level with all of that to what's making you happy.

Nicole: Is the goals that you're chasing gonna make you happy and is your procedure to get that making you happy? Because you know, your Jannie on a visit, Johnny, it's, it can either be miserable or it can be happy. My goal is to help people make it happy and to set realistic expectations and to guide them along the way and to, you know, I help a lot of my clients with time management, we figure out where they can chop and change a little bit of time to fit in what they want. I have some, some clients who I think fit in more than what I do in my life and it just boggles my mind. But they managed to get through it and we worked through that together. And then, but it may be that, you know, I have a client for example, who is really keen to be getting back into performance dancing sells their insists also friends of mine.

Nicole: And so she recognizes that perhaps her weight loss might take a little bit longer than she initially might've thought. We've talked through that. You've just got to, that's a priority right now. She wants to dance. So, okay, the, you know, the scale, although the weight loss goal that you have might just take a little bit longer, but that's okay because you have realistic expectations set. Now we can make that journey incredibly miserable and bring that weight loss goal right up. You know, and very swiftly. But you know, she's already been in the program. She came to me out of a program where it was all or nothing and extreme and she was miserable. Happiness absolutely comes into it.

John: Yeah. And I think that's one of the biggest measures of whether or not we're really doing the right thing because you can try to find this quote unquote balance between work and personal life or business and whatnot. But I think that when it comes down to it, you said you don't sleep a whole lot right now and you know, some people might just dread that and it might make them miserable, but you're able to find the happiness because of the other things you're doing. So I think that ultimately when people have these busy lives, it comes down to, well, you know, at the end of the day when you put your head on a pillow or in the morning when you wake up, like how are you feeling? How do you feel about yourself? And I think that's really the biggest answer.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. And it does take a little self reflection to get to that stage as well. And yeah, it's, it's learning to prioritize what is best for you, your family as well. Obviously, you know, that has to come into it. What sort of level of, of support do you have for the things that you're trying to achieve at home? And you know, when I talked before about balance and you know, you're either, sometimes you have to be all in or all out, does everybody around you also support that because that can be quite challenging or it can make that whole journey very easy for you as well. But everybody needs to be on board. I think because it impacts their daily lives as well. So if your parents will have a significant other, you know, having that support at home it's going to contribute to reach new goals, but also that level of happiness and working out what works for not only yourself but your whole family unit.

John: Yeah, there's, it's a huge impact on everyone and everyone's involved too, right? The people you live with, your friends that you even mentioned that your social life had changed when you were going through certain phases. And it's just interesting how everything ties together. And I know we've talked about a lot here and we're probably going to end up repeating a little bit here, but if you could, if you could pick one main message that you would just deliver to the world, what would that be? A behind you know, you as a person, what's your main message?

Nicole: Yeah. gosh, there's probably a few. You know, it's never too late to start and there's never going to be a perfect time to start. It's a bit of an oxymoron. I think that, you know, I, I'm really started seriously on my journey at 35 years old and I was still going at 43. I've just started a business. You know, there's, and it's never a perfect time. There's always stuff in life. There's always gonna be stuff that, you know, you can use it as an excuse or you can just take one step forward and, you know, do a little bit more than you did yesterday and measure and celebrate and recognize your daily successes because they all success. Success is not when you get to the end goal. Success is every single day that you do just a little bit better than you did yesterday. And you know, you can't mess it up. You can't miss it out unless you quit.

John: Those little successes that are really what that journey is, is success. Right? It's not a destination that we've talked about this in other episodes where it really is just the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. And that's a quote. You know, I I don't recall off the top of my head, but that's not from me, but that is powerful. Right? And it's, it's those little things that make a difference and quitting is the only way that you fail.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. And I think so many people are, you know, we're hard on yourselves these days. We have a lot of demands and we are generally as human beings focused on the goal. And I think if we can learn to appreciate that it really is a journey that doesn't have an end date. And if we can exercise patience around that and find ways to enjoy it, then you know that longterm success is easy and enjoyable

John: And that that's ultimately going to leave to lead to the happiness that, that we were going to be able to have throughout that whole journey. Yeah, I really liked the way that this kind of unfolded. I do want to have you share with everyone how they can get in touch with you cause I know you do online coaching and some of the things that you've talked about today might inspire someone to reach out cause they might feel like you're a good fit for them. But where can people reach you?

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. It's, you can find me on Instagram at Nicole TV. My name is spelled N. I. C. O. L. E. T. R. E. V. E. Y. I'm the school fit life or on Facebook. It's Nicole, Toby fit life or my email is Nicole tovey@gmail.com.

John: Perfect. I'll go ahead and put those in the, the show description so people can find that easily. Now, as far as the coaching is concerned, they just reach out to you and that's something you work out through there. Do you have a, a website perhaps they can see what kind of plans you have?

Nicole: Yeah, so my, my application form is an, a link on my bio is on both my IgM, my Facebook pages or you know, if people just DM up, email me, then I can send that link on over. My program is a hundred percent online, so I'll just give you the really brief run down of what it involves. I do customized everything as a a hundred percent customized. I teach, teach people how to integrate healthy eating into their lifestyle so that they can still have that glass of wine on a Friday night and still have the pizza and Oscar and me, the kids, you know, it, flexible dieting, if people are familiar with that term out there is what I teach. So focusing on whole nutritious foods bar with the wiggle room to have the fun stuff as well. So I do customized workout programs. Now they can be in a gym or they can be at home.

Nicole: A lot of my clients actually have home gyms or just need to do a, B, they're getting started with a fitness regime. And so they're looking for things that they can do at home. So I can do anything that suits a client's lifestyle. And, you know, I do check ins weekly so that we can make adjustments and and check on how things are going and looking at things like I've been talking about today and things like, you know, you stress the other factors that are going on in your life, you know, how's your sleep, how's things going with work? Because all of those have such a massive impact on our progress. So that's what agenda in a nutshell of what the program involves. I just, I don't have different packages at this point in time, but I do tailor them to people's needs. So usually the best thing is to jump on the phone and I have a chat with people and see what they're actually looking for and how I can help.

John: Okay, perfect. And that's good. I'm glad you went through that because that's not something that I was actually thinking of asking but I, I really like being able to share that cause it does show people exactly what you're able to offer them, that everything's customizable. So I just like to invite anybody who is interested or you know, has even enjoyed listening to this conversation to go ahead and check your information out on Instagram or through Facebook because I definitely feel like you have a very good background and a good experience that can help people be able to change their lives.

Nicole: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

John: Yeah, of course. And I really appreciate you coming on today. I know that you've got a busy schedule again, we've talked about that, but this has definitely been great and I hope that people will be able to listen to this and be able to obtain as much as I did out of this conversation. And I just want to thank you again for your time.

Nicole: Oh, thank you. And thanks to everybody out there listening when you're driving, working out, cooking. And it's been nice chatting.

John: Thanks again for listening to this episode of the John Barton fitness podcast. I hope you enjoyed Nicole's message and I thoroughly enjoyed having this conversation with her and hope that you were able to get as much out of it as I was. Her contact information will be below in the show notes. Also, if you do like this show, please subscribe and share this episode with your friends and don't forget to check out our affiliates because your purchases through those links do help me get a small commission, which helped this show, helping my website and helping me be able to produce the best content for you. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you on the next episode.

Vegan Lifestyle and Sustainable Habits – Interview with Patria Yancey-Siakumi

patria yancey

Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker fitness podcast. Today's guest is an online coach who also lives a vegan lifestyle and is looking forward to her next upcoming bikini competition. Welcome to the show Patria Yancey-Siakumi.

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Visit Patria on Instagram @patriapower

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Episode Transcript

John: Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker fitness podcast. Before I jump into introducing this guest, I just want to introduce you to Jawzrcise, which works over 57 muscles through a repeated biting motion. You simply place it in your mouth and start repping. Each bite is a rep. If you're looking to slim tone and tighten your face and neck, do a few burnout sessions where you rep until you simply can't anymore. If you want to see a full review of Jawzrcise, go check out my YouTube video, which is in the link in the show notes now onto our guest. Today's guest is an online coach who also lives a vegan lifestyle and is looking forward to her next upcoming bikini competition. Welcome to the show Patria Yancey-Siakumi. I appreciate you coming on to the show. Thank you very much for taking this time out to join me today. So I want to go ahead and get started and just kind of open up with a little intro, maybe give us a little story of who you are, what you do, and kinda your, your background as far as fitness and just kind of your life story is concerned.

Patria: Yeah, so I guess like I kind of have always been into fitness. Like I was a wannabe athlete in high school. I played a little basketball. I ran cross country. I was never really good at either of those, but I obviously tried. Then in college, totally gave up on sports and just did my own thing. And then as a young adult, kind of like let myself go a little bit, but I was always trying to live a healthy lifestyle but never really was successful at that. And I ate a lot of fast food even like struggled and battled with an eating disorder for a couple of years and have overcome that and, you know, work through those struggles daily. Yeah. So finally, I think it was just a couple years ago that I decided, cause people would kind of turn to me for like fitness help.

Patria: And I think it's only because the community that I'm a part of, they're like not very fitness minded. And so I always seem to be the leader of the pack in the fitness department. So I decided to just become a personal trainer. I studied to get my personal training certificate from NASA and then from there started in the online coaching world. Also around the same time I converted to veganism. I know some people think it's a lifestyle. I kind of view it as a religion almost because you know, you have to be like really committed to it too, like a follow through with that, that style of living. And so in my, my coaching practice, I normally just take on mostly online clients and help them live and create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle through plant based nutrition and fitness. And that's kind of like what I do in a nutshell.

Patria: I just help people pretty much eat more plants and incorporate more plant based foods into their diet so I can live out my vegan lifestyle and my fitness life. And my husband does it as well. We're both, we actually both decided to take on bodybuilding. So that's something that's new to us this last year. And I went from being completely overweight to you know, competing in physique competition. So it's really exciting and I'm, I'm training for my next competition next year as well in the bikini division. So I'm really excited about that. But that's pretty much me in a nutshell.

John: Well, perfect. I like that you have a lot of things that you've covered in there ranging from your high school experiences, whether it's basketball, cross country, and, and recognizing certain things that you enjoy. Now you mentioned that you have some competitions coming up or you have a competition coming up, but between you and your husband, are you both competing as well or just kind of, you more than him?

Patria: So my husband hasn't competed yet, but he put my hands on it. So we're both physique competitors. And yeah, he'll be competing in the VC physique division as well. I think classic physique for men, but we're planning on competing next year in 2020. So we're giving ourselves time to like build and he's also newly navigating vegan life as well as a bodybuilder. So that's kind of challenging as well because vegan bodybuilders are kind of like our own group of people. We're, we're kind of different from the rest of the world.

John: Yeah, it's definitely a different, a different type of, of, I guess, lifestyle than, than you'd typically see from like a regular just fitting macros versus other, other diets. It's a very, and it's interesting because there are several reasons why someone would want to choose to live a vegan lifestyle, whether it's for ethical reasons and we talked about this a little bit earlier, or if it's just simply whether it's digestive or, or a practice that, you know, someone may just prefer to live that. And, and I think we had talked a little bit about, like, for me example, I don't practice veganism. I, I, you know, it's not something that I personally have chosen. But you had mentioned earlier that someone can simple, we just increased the amount of plant based food products that they eat. So what would you say the benefit would be of, of doing that? Right? If someone's just gonna reduce but maybe not go completely into a vegan lifestyle?

Patria: Yeah, so actually it's really interesting because I feel like I kind of took that route because I feel like a lot, I mean, veganism from is like at its core is moral and ethical like towards the animals and the environment and some people do it for health. But mostly I would say that if you do it for health reasons, you're more plant based than vegan. And there's some controversy within like the vegan community over these issues. But the way I see it, a lot of, like a lot of people who do it for ethical reasons just like cut out meat and dairy like overnight. Whereas there's like other people who do it more for health and they just start incorporating more plants into their diet because I believe that you could even be considered more plant based and still have meat occasionally if you're not.

Patria: Because if you're not an ethical vegan then you know, having eating meat sparingly is, is still better for you than centering your whole meal around meat, which is what we tend to do in the like standard American diet is just like meat, meat, meat, meat, meat. And then we barely eat vegetables and barely eat fruits and barely eat whole grains. And so I think that just like having more of that focus of like eating like whole whole foods, like plant based foods that, that ultimately like increasing the amount of whole foods that you eat that are plant-based is just going to be better for you on so many different levels. Like it'll help like decrease your risk for like heart disease, cancer. I mean there's like other, the list goes on diabetes even. But, and also for me, I, I actually have seen it help me perform better as an athlete, which is quite interesting.

Patria: I feel like I used to marathon, I was a marathon runner before. I guess I left that part out. I used to run marathons and, or like train for marathons and I always had like so much inflammation in my body and I just thought, Oh, I'm just being really hard on my body. Like this is normal. And it's funny because today I I work part time as a nanny and I was chasing after the I'm teaching a five year old how to ride a bike and he started picking up, he started going really fast so I had to start running and I was running with him for like a mile. Like we were on a trail. We weren't really far and I was like, wow, like I feel like I don't run anymore. I absolutely do not run anymore. But that was so easy for me. Like it was so easy. And I really do attribute that to eating a more plant based diet because like you're decreasing that inflammation in your body and like recovery time is just better. So like my muscle, even when I lift, like my muscles don't hurt as much because I used to body, I used to weight lift like years ago before I became vegan and I was always in pain and I don't feel that anymore.

John: So that's, and I like how when you changed that over, you noticed that you felt the difference in performance and, and it's, it's interesting how small things can make a big difference in that. And I guess it's not even really a small thing now, especially when it comes to adapting to that kind of a lifestyle. So you mentioned that your husband is relatively new to it and is that, is there a reason why he decided to join you? Was it more because he wanted to support you or what, what's kind of the basis of that?

Patria: Well, his PO, if he listens to this, he'll probably tell me per se, but I kind of like, we're newlyweds, so we've only been married for coming up on four months now. And that was my deal breaker. I said, I'm not going to marry you until you come. And so a month before we got married, he, he's actually new to America too. So when he came to America a month before we got married, he committed to this lifestyle and he hasn't been perfect at it, which is understandable. And I like, I totally understand because I, hello, I just went through that like a couple of years ago and it's hard. It's hard for anyone to change your lifestyle, whatever you've been doing and however you've been eating and the habits you've created for like your whole life. It's really hard to break those overnight. And so for him he's just you know, I think we have kind of like those comfort foods, like I call them transition foods because like, they're more processed vegan foods.

Patria: Like you can get you, I mean, Oreos are vegan, like everything. I mean you can get junk food that's vegan, like I can make V I actually, we had pizza tonight for dinner, so I'm like, we had vegan pizza and so like I, I would make him some of those comfort foods so that he could still feel like, like he doesn't feel hungry or deprived because he, he feels like he's eating me because we're eating like mock meats or you know, like we're eating, you know, veggie burgers and things like that. Things that look like me, but they're not, they're, they're plant-based. So it's for him, he's, he's doing well in that transition because we're eating those transition foods now. Eventually the goal is to eat less of those and more like whole foods. But in the meantime, like it's, it's good. Like those are good transition foods to eat when you're considering any new lifestyle.

Patria: You also have to consider like sustainability and you, you can't just jump from eating junk food all the time. And eating me all the time to eating salad is all the time. Like that's just not, that's not sustainable. And that's why people actually like fail when they try a vegan diet or when they try to do this because they're going so extreme from one end to the other. And it's hard. You gotta you gotta take baby steps sometimes. So, and I mean some people don't need baby steps, but other people do. I know I needed baby.

John: And I think that applies with a lot of things too. And baby steps are usually a good way to go because you don't want to shock yourself into, you know, changing course too quickly or you know, saying that this isn't gonna work or maybe feeling like you're, you're not going to be able to do it or that you're incapable. Right. And I, I think that ties in really well with something that, that we talked about a little bit earlier is about what your, your philosophy is or your thought process is when it comes to being able to achieve things in life. Right? So, I don't know if you want to share your thoughts on being able to accomplish things and, and what really you think is the main thing that kind of prevents people from doing that.

Patria: Yeah. You know, it's really, it's really funny because as I look back on my life, like I think one of, one of the biggest struggles that I've always had is just like knowing that I should do something or that I like really want to do something and just not doing it. And I think we all, we all struggle with that, right? Like for me, being vegan, that I was a long process. I was vegetarian off and on for years before I ever became vegan, but for years I already knew I needed to become vegan. It's the same like I was overweight for so long and so unhealthy and I would eat fast food all the time. And I knew I wanted to change and change and I knew I needed to change. But like just getting in that right mindset I think is like, I think the biggest thing that holds us back is just it's our mentality.

Patria: And I think that that goes with, with everything. Like sometimes we focused so much on, on changing the, the behavior that we want to change that we never actually change it because the real root of our problem is actually in our mind and it's with our mindset. And I feel like once I started getting into my head, and even, even even with becoming vegan, like transition foods are so important because you have to consider your mentality and how you think towards food and you have to like be patient with yourself and, and work with your mentality. I know for the longest time the thought of ever giving up cheese because pizza is my favorite food. Like I couldn't wrap my head around that. Like that was the thing that was holding me back. Like I, I just can't think in absolutes, but slowly I started to like try vegan cheese and I was like, Oh, okay.

Patria: Like I can do this. Like, you know, so I think it's, it's just watching your mentality around things and like switching your mindset. And I, I mean, I think we all, like, we all have things that hold us back. Like we have the idea that, you know, I can't do this. Like you have limiting beliefs. Like, Oh, I, I can't change my, my lifestyle because I've always eaten way or I've always been overweight or like, Oh, I, I've never had the body of my dreams, so how can I ever achieve it? And I think so many of us like struggle so much with that mindset that it just makes our goals seem so unattainable and, and really hard to achieve. And I think for me, the way that I've been able to overcome and accomplish the things that I want to accomplish is not just by doing the things, but it's, it's working on my mindset and I listen to personal development every day, like the things that I'm struggling with because we all have our own personal struggles and things that are holding us back.

Patria: But I, I listen to YouTube videos, podcasts, like everything, read books. Just so that I can fix what's going on in that in my head so that I can move forward and do the things that that I want to do. Because ultimately we all have things holding us back like, and especially with health and fitness. I think that that's like a big one. Like a lot of us grew up in homes where we didn't eat well. We, we were raised not having good habits. Like for me, I was raised in a home where we ate meat and potatoes, a little bit of vegetables and normally they were canned vegetables. Like my lunches consist of all processed foods. Like I had Lunchables and like just junk, like, and I packed my lunch. Like I was a latch key kid. I was responsible for my own foods and I just, I ate junk a lot.

Patria: And so it's hard to like change those things over time and you just keep telling yourself, well, I've always eaten this way. I've always been this way. I'll never be disciplined enough to fix that. But you can like, you absolutely can. You just have to believe in yourself and, and fix your mind mindset around those things and then you'll be able to accomplish anything. Like you'll be able to conquer the world because hello, we're humans, like we were made to do hard things. Like people overcome struggles every day. They do hard things everyday. Like that's how we're made.

John: That's awesome. And I think just having that mindset is extremely powerful because there's a lot of things that can actually prevent us from reaching certain goals. For example, a debilitating, you know, accident that could completely change the way that someone's life is. It's just seems surprising to me that the mental aspect is honestly probably one of the hardest things to overcome. Yet once you do, there's so much power. And I'm going to kind of put you on the spot here because you mentioned that you do audio books, YouTube and podcasts. So just off the top of your head, if you can think of either a person or a certain book or a podcast or something that you feel has impacted you the most what would you kind of share with this audience to recommend to go check it out?

Patria: Okay. I have like a list of my alone long. One of my favorite ones is the compound effect by Darren Hardy. I really, really love this book because I started listening to it from like, one of my business mentors was like, yeah, you should start listening to this, but there are so many points in that book that can apply to so many aspects of your life. And he actually touches on some of them. And like, it's not just a business book, like it talks about health and fitness in there as well. And the things that he shares in there. I, I apply into my daily life. The like he basically says like not everyone should go and listen to him, think you can like listen to it on YouTube per friend or something. There's lots of, I mean, or you can get it from your library.

Patria: But that was like one of my favorite audio books because he talked so much about how the small things that you do on a regular basis, like they compound over time, whether for good or for bad. So if you do the same bad behaviors, like even though it's something so small, maybe it's eating 200 extra calories that you're not burning every day. If you just do that every day, 200 extra calories, like it's not gonna make a significant difference today or tomorrow or the next day, but maybe six months from now you're going to be 30 pounds heavier. Like it happened over time and you're like, what happened? And I think we've all been in situations like that with in so many different aspects of our lives, like we overeat or we're just not taking care of problems that we have in our life. And then the affects of those compound over time, just from our, our habit of not taking care of those things.

Patria: And then he talks about the opposite of, of if you just start doing small little things every day, that's going to compound over time too in that if you just cut out 200 calories every day from your regular diet that you've been eating, that six months from now you're going to be 30 pounds lighter. And like it's, it's really cool to just think that like small little things can, can make a big difference in a big impact in your life. So that one for sure for sure is like my absolute favorite. Like that was my favorite book to listen to because I feel like the principles can apply to so many different aspects of your life.

John: That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad you let me put you on the spot like that. I, I found that it is on audible so I added it to my list. And it's funny that you mentioned calories because I think I'm kind of the person that it's not, I'm, no, I'm gonna eat consistently 200 over. It's, it's either I'm within like, you know, a 20 calorie margin of my goal or I'm like 3000 calories over. Like I don't think I'm one of the people

Patria: That is me some days I I work in extremes like that as well. So I, I do feel you on that. I'm either, I'm either all or nothing about a lot of things in my life, but I have noticed that because I, I feel like I've been extreme in the past, but I noticed what is really sustainable and that like I said, that that is like the focus of what I do is like, okay, help people create a lifestyle that's sustainable. Like that makes sense for them. And like for me, that comes like the most successful workout plan or the most successful nutrition plan is not going to be something extreme, like a diet that's so extreme and so restrictive. Like you can't sustain that. And so that's why I like that focus of just do small little things every day because all that adds up and I that that a sustainable, like if you like, like it's not about here's a meal plan and follow this for the rest of your life, but it's like, here's some tools and, and do these and, and work on these things every single day. And over time you will build up and you will be able to do these things on your own and you, you won't need to rely on somebody else to, to tell you what to eat or, or how to exercise because you'll learn those things and you'll know because you're doing them constantly every day and you're growing as a person because you're just being consistent.

Patria: And I, I've notice that I have been so inconsistent throughout my life that when I, when I listened to that book, I was like, yeah, this is what's missing from my life. It's that, that steady flow of being consistent with the things that I know that I need to be doing. And, yeah, so I do have days where I'm 3000 calories over, but for the most part I stay that [inaudible] pace all the way all the way through.

John: Well, and I'm glad I'm not the only one. And it's nice because I know myself and I know that sometimes I might want to do that and that's it. There's nothing, I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially because if I watch, you know, people looking at the scale of one day to the next, it's going to freak them out because you know that bump happens, right? But if I look at my, my weight over like a three month period, it goes the direction that I'm wanting. And so things like that, you just, you have to be aware and like I said, like, well I guess, like you said, has to be sustainable, right? It's not going to be so restrictive that you're going to, you know, shoot yourself in the foot later. But I want to ask you to kinda take this a direction of, you talk a lot about being sustainable and having it be something that you can keep going longer term. When it comes to nutrition specifically, how do you help your clients or what are some tips to help them make things that are sustainable, right? Whether it's a meal plan or a certain way of thinking. I guess what are some tips and tricks to help make nutrition be more of a friendly thing for your clients and have that be sustainable?

Patria: Yeah, so actually like I take more of like a flexible, a flexible dieting approach. Like I just feel like, you know, if I'm telling someone like the amount of like veggies and things that they should be doing now mind do, everyone's at a different place, right? Like I don't really work with athletes like that are like macro counting and are like so strict with like what they're doing. Most of my clients are like just looking to live a healthier lifestyle and a lot of them are trying to transition to a more plant based lifestyle as well. And so how I approached that is just like help them find the like healthier replacement for the foods that they're already, that they're already eating. Even if they're, if they're a meat meter and they want to transition to a vegan lifestyle, then I'll like we talk about how much, like how many servings of a protein or, or, you know, different or whole grains or different fruits, vegetables, all this that they could be having.

Patria: And then they pick from a list what they're going to eat to satisfy those different portions and those different food groups. And so to me that true sustainability, because you're going to have access to different foods at different, during different seasons and during different times and at different points in your life. So it's really about just helping see where people are at already and then building off of what they already have. Like what does your meal look like? And once you see what foods they like and what, what foods they eat, you can, can help them like figure out their nutrition and, and how they should be eating from that baseline. And you know, you can see the habits of like what they're cooking or like, are they cooking with a lot of oil, are they cool? Like how much? And like once they start being aware of those portions and seeing like, Oh, okay, well I'm eating like five portions of rice just for dinner. Like I don't think I should be doing that. Like that's too much. So I mean, I like, I meet them where they're at and just like help build and start incorporating more, you know, healthier foods into their diet from, from that baseline. So it's, it's really different for every person.

John: That's awesome. I like that personal approach because you really can't just do a one size fits all. And I think that's something that comes up over and over again within several of these episodes. Now I'd like to see kind of where people can, can find you. Right. So you, you said you do a lot of your coaching online. So I guess where can people most, I guess appropriately reach out to you, whether that's on Instagram and your website? I'll go ahead and give us some of that so that we can know where to find you.

Patria: Yeah, so I, I, I really feel like the best place to find me is on Instagram. My IG handle is patriapower. And I, I really feel like that's the best place to find me. I'm also on Facebook. Patria Yancey-Siakumi. I'm really diligent about requiring to my to my messages in messenger and my DMS in IgG. I try to reply to all of them within 24 to 48 hours. So really like those are the best place. You can also email patriayanceyfitness@gmail.com. So that's another place to find me.

John: Well that's perfect. That's, that's good. So people can reach out to you. Now, do you do, do, in terms of your training and coaching, is it mostly a monthly package or like, you know, blocks of time? How do you kind of set up some programs, you don't have to go into all the details, but what's kind of your main strategy in, in doing that with your clients?

Patria: Yeah, so generally what, what I do is I actually run transformation challenges every month. So the first Monday of every month we're having a new challenge. That's when I take on all of my new clients within that month. And I have a group that I add them to and when they sign up, they sign up for a year with me. So they have access to me for the whole year. So they'll have access to all of my online groups. And then I have a special app that I use that they'll have access to. And they basically got me for the entire year for that, like bulk price. And then I also offer like other supplements and things that, that they can use as well. But yeah, that's pretty much how I set up my coaching.

John: I kind of want to wrap this up with one more thing and we may have touched a little bit on it before, but if you could leave one message to the community, what would that one message be?

Patria: I feel like we've talked about so much good stuff already. I guess like the main message that I want to share is that that you can do it. Like you can live a healthy lifestyle, you can create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Like you can create the life of your dreams, you can do anything that you want, that you put your mind to. And whatever obstacles are standing in your way, like you can overcome them. And I, I just love that about humans, that we just have this power within us to shine and progress and develop and grow over time. I just love that about us. Like we all started as little babies, not walking, not talking, and now we grow into adults and we have all that power within us to accomplish anything that we want to achieve. Like if you want to lose weight, if you want to have a healthier diet, if you just want to be more active and have more energy, like you can have those things, they're well within your reach if you just put your mind to it and make it happen for yourself and, and reach out to somebody if you need that extra help.

Patria: So that's my, my message.

John: That is really a valuable message because we can really accomplish anything we put our minds to. And I think that last part is really key too, because if we can be humble enough to ask for help when we need it, we're going to be able to accomplish much more. And that goes both asking for help and also giving help. I had a recent podcast with the team flex and, and Ryan was saying that that's basically one of the biggest things that he preaches is helping others. So I think that that's a really good message that you shared. And if we can all just do that and just fight for what we want and be able to reach out for help when we need it, we're going to be able to achieve so much more.

Patria: Yeah, I love that. I, I feel like asking for help is one of my weaknesses. So I understand when my potential clients that aren't asking for help, I'm like, Oh, just give them a nudge. Because I see them watching all my content and commenting and I know that they need my help. They're just afraid to ask and then I'll ask them and they're like, Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful you asked me. And I'm like, yeah, that's our flaw. As humans we need help and we, we don't want to ask for it. But yeah, I like, I really love that we need to be more willing to help other people and more willing to ask for help when we need it because yeah, we need each other as humans. I even, I learned that, well, you know when I started coaching I never, I mean I had a personal trainer before but I, you know, it was never really consistent.

Patria: Like I never worked with anyone consistently and it wasn't until I became a coach that I was like, Oh no, like every human kind of needs somebody to help them and it's always so hard to do it all by yourself. And that's actually why I became a coach cause I saw so many people just needed that help and they needed that support. And if I could just offer them some support, like great, like let me provide some tools for you to help you be successful because yeah, that I can go a long way, just one person there to guide you and help you on your journey. So

John: Yeah, absolutely. And that's a really great way to wrap this up and I appreciate your time. This has been really fun for me and I think that there's going to be a lot that the audience pulls from this and, and hopefully implements in their own life. And I just want to say thank you for taking that time out of your schedule and I think that this has been really great and I appreciate it.

Patria: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This has been a good experience for me as well, so I appreciate it.

John: Thank you everyone for listening. I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did interviewing Patria. Feel free to reach out to her through Instagram or through her email, which will be in the show notes below. Again, check out the most recent YouTube video, which is also in the show notes. If you have not subscribed, make sure you subscribe to this podcast and share this episode with your family and friends. Thank you for listening and we'll see on the next episode.

Becoming Your Best Self

I couple months ago I started a podcast focused on health and fitness. I launched by interviewing several individuals within the fitness community. These consisted of coaches and trainers, competitors, and other inspiring individuals.

The first episode was incredibly fun! Eliannah Linehan was a wonderful guest and shared some amazing insights. This post covers the whole show, but in case you want to listen rather than read you can check out the podcast here.

Now here’s the episode transcript.

John: Welcome everyone to the first episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. I’m super excited for this episode, which we’ll get to shortly. I just want to take a moment to explain a little bit about the show before jumping in with our guests since this is our first episode. My goal with this podcast is to share the stories and experiences of personal trainers, competitors, and other inspiring members of the fitness community. My hope is that no matter what your level of health and fitness may be, you will take away at least one thing that will impact your life for the better. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. Please remember to leave a review on iTunes or whichever podcast player you use. It helps me make sure I’m producing what best suits your needs. Today’s guest has experiences ranging from being an aerialist to a two time American Ninja warrior competitor. She’ll share insight on how to be empowered to be your best self in life and how fitness directly influences that goal. Let’s welcome to the show, Eliana Linehan. Hey Eliana, welcome to the show. How’s your week been?

Eliannah: I’ve had a pretty long week. I’m doing some weekend coverage for my engineering jobs, so I’ve been fitting in a lot, but beautiful weather and, you know, it’s, it’s shaping up to be a good weekend even with work. How about you?

John: Good. Yeah, really good. I remember that we had talked briefly about both being in the engineering field officially. Right. So that’s kind of a cool common thread. Do you have to work on the weekends a lot or do you

Eliannah: No, no, usually I get to selfishly enjoy my weekends in New Hampshire hiking and, and doing all kinds of stuff. So this is a special, a special occasion for me. But yeah, it’s a lot to balance engineering. You know, it’s, it can be pretty demanding. I’m sure you can relate to that. Having to put out fires every once in awhile.

John: Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely something that I can relate to. Why don’t you go ahead and give me a little bit of an intro to yourself. You’ve already touched on what you do, but just kind of who you are. Some of the things that you’ve, you’ve done. Then we’ll get into some more of the fitness-related stuff too.

Eliannah: My name is Eliana Linnean. I mostly go by Ellie, Eliana, just because everyone can find me easily on the Internet with that first name. So I tend to give people at my background, I’ve been kind of a fitness lover my whole life. I grew up as a gymnast and I think that’s going to be like part of my identity forever. It’s, I think a lot of people who do gymnastics, you know, years beyond it. It’s just something you always, you know, I grew up in gymnastics and it’s something everyone can relate to, I’m sure. Like other sports are like that too. So that was kind of my childhood. And then going into college, I went for engineering and I couldn’t do gymnastics anymore. So I did a little diving, graduated from college, started in the real world, kind of Cert, was searching for like hobbies and everything.

Eliannah: And that’s when I got into circus. And so circus firm can mean a lot of things for me. It’s I do aerials. So what you might see in Cirque de Solei. So aerial silks, aerial rope, Mariel straps. And then from there I also got into hand balancing which has some connections through gymnastics in yoga. But then it’s a discipline of circus so he understands something like I think a lot of people can can relate to it cause it’s like something they’ve always wanted to learn to do. So I have a lot of fun teaching. I’ve coached that quite a bit and I performed in some shows from there. So post-college doing circus, very active. I applied for the show, American Ninja Warrior and that was kind of off a whim. I saw a lot of people on this show. Like Casey Catanzaro was one of the stars of the show, former gymnast.

Eliannah: She’s about my size. I’m five foot one. And I was like, you know, I thought I could do that. Like I’m pretty fit. I have like kind of a similar skillset as to the people on this show and totally out of the blue I like got a call back that I was going to be doing it. I was really shocked. I had so much fun. I competed in season seven and again, in season eight and I meet a lot of friends through Ninja warrior. You meet all kinds of crazy athletes. My first season I did fairly well. I mean it to, I want to say the third obstacle in Pittsburgh. And then my second year I was right on the bubble for the top, the top 30 to make it to finals, but I just missed it by a hair in Philadelphia. And so, Yep. So I’ve trained, I’ve trained a lot of Ninjas style obstacles. There’s some Ninja jams. I’ve coached Ninja classes. I don’t compete on the show anymore, but I still do like local competitions. I’m actually running one of the, the mud runs tomorrow that goes on. Have you ever done like a spartan race?

John: Yeah, I like that. It’s done a lot. Well, so as far as like running, I did Ragnar a lot. There. Not so much obstacles, but I’ve done a lot of those. And then I did do a warrior dash several years ago. So those are fun. And I’ve wanted to do a spartan race. Maybe, you know, I’ll have to do that as a followup to the show.

Eliannah: Yeah. Oh my gosh. It’s just, you know, now it’s just something I, I make sure to do like every summer. Cause it’s, it just, it’s just so much fun. It’s kind of like that crossover for like everyone can be an engine and like I love it cause I don’t, I never competed to be on TV. I just really liked the idea of the obstacles. So that’s like, it’s a continued like thread in my life, but it’s, it’s a lot of fun. And, and when, if you can climb a rope too, you’re pretty fit, then it translates really well into, into the obstacles. So, yeah. So I’ll kind of go jump into present days. So now, you know, I still do circus, but I just, fitness is just this passion in my life is just something I just come, like I come back to it again and again.

Eliannah: It’s just the one thing I guess is just kind of who I am. Part of my identity. So this past year or past couple of years I, you know, I was getting really strong from doing these hobbies and I was like, you know what, I want to take you to the next level. I want to, you know, have a conditioning routine I do every day, or not every day but a few a few days a week, you know, four or five days a week. So I added that maybe two years ago. So I was not just athletic, I was training and then I started adding weights. So I was like in the, in the actual gym on top of that, you know, get, I got married about a year ago. So that was like a secondary motivation just to be in my best shape. And then over this last year I decided to go for my personal training certification.

Eliannah: Cause people are constantly asking me, you know, how do I get strong like you, how do I do the things you do? How are you able to do well, you know, how are you able to physically do this? Can you give me conditioning tips? And I want to help people and share the things that I, you know, really excite me. And I just wanted to do it in a really honest, like an anonymous way with integrity, not just give out, you know, random advice. So that’s why, that’s why I did it. And so I did that in the spring and now after I got my certification, I’m gonna catch you up. Just today I decided I wanted to kind of go through my own personal transformation so I could relate more to people who might ask me for help because I’ve been fairly lucky. I haven’t really needed to make drastic changes just to be healthy.

Eliannah: So I decided to do a bodybuilding competition, I guess maybe it was like three months ago now. And starting to work with the coach and really just dialing in my nutrition and my workout plan with the coach so I could kind of experience what it’s like to change my habits and, and see changes to my body so I could kind of help from a firsthand experience. And I think if you’re going to be a coach, I think, you know, I wouldn’t trust the coach that wouldn’t work with a coach themselves. Right, right. It’s like, well, you know, is it really, I think everyone should have a coach, not even if you are a coach, you should have a coach. So that’s kind of my most recent endeavor is, is that competition. And I’m doing that in about two weeks. So that’s the really long, the really long version of everything. That is wonderful. So you covered everything. We can end the show now. Right. I know, I was like, oh, I should give bullet points and then I just went.

John: Yeah, no, that’s actually perfect because there are a couple of questions that I actually thought of as you’re going through those. So I might have misunderstood this, but you said you don’t compete so much in American Ninja Warrior now, but I think you said something about Ninja jams is, did I get that?

Eliannah: Oh, I might have. I S I don’t think there were jams, but so,

John: Or maybe you said events, maybe I just missed them.

Eliannah: Yeah. So there is local, there’s this is a total like nerd, nerd scene, but there’s organizations that you can compete in. The one I compete in is the NFL, the National Ninja League. So they have competitions at gyms which are very, they’re getting really popular. There’s like three within 20 minutes of my house and I live in New Hampshire, you know, it’s not like a big city kind of area, so you can qualify for nationals in this league. And I’ve done that for the last three years. I think I was like top six or top 10 this year in Hartford. So it’s, it’s a way to compete. Like it’s free. You don’t have to necessarily have a Hollywood story to, to do it. Like you do on a NBC, you have to be cast it for that. It’s not just skills. So it’s, it’s a fun way to stay involved in, not necessarily, you know, be on television or anything, but you get to compete in, it’s a lot of fun.

John: Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. I had to ask because I didn’t know if it was like a, not an industry thing, but like yeah, just some jargon that was like I was unaware of. But no, that’s really cool. So it kind of sounds to me. I’ve seen events like that. For example, there’s a an expo here in Phoenix. I want to say it’s like the second week in August. It’s called the Europa fit expo straight. Similar to like the La fit expo or the Olympia or the Arnold in Ohio. But they have events there. And I think those are actually events where you can qualify to be able to go onto American Ninja warrior. I think they’ve got some crossfit events there too.

Eliannah: Yeah, it’s there. It’s like getting really popular. People are, I don’t know how realistic it is to be an Olympic sport, but it certainly is getting a lot of attention and a lot more people involved. So it’s, it’s fun. I think everyone, everyone should get out there and try it once. Cause I think everyone watches the show and they’re like, yeah, I could do that. So, you know, go, go and see. It’s, it’s a lot of fun.

John: Yeah. And that’s something too that when you say, you know, you think everybody should try it, right? Well, I for one have not and I would be interested. Right. So it’s that. So like for, for me, I’ve been doing bodybuilding essentially my whole life and I’ve done some running, but it’s just not something that I’ve been as passionate about. If I were to want to get started. Right. And working towards, you know, American Ninja Warrior type event, right. It may be like something in a local gym. What would kind of be the first thing you’d that someone like myself would need to go and, you know, try this first train this way. Sure.

Eliannah: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you when I, when I started, it was season seven and it was already, I mean, it was established, but it was not, it was right after it kind of got really popular. And there weren’t Ninja gyms there really, there weren’t many. So the best way to start is to rock climb. I, I used to be a really avid rock climber. Now I go, it’s not my main focus right now, but rock climbing is a really great way to build strength for American Ninja Warrior. Cause there’s most of it you’re hanging and swinging and it’s just body weight. You need to be able, like strength to bodyweight ratio is really the huge, huge component of it. So anything else? The next type thing? Yeah, exactly. So that’s why, you know, there’s like almost a formula for like people who do well not, there’s exceptions like you’ll see like an a NASCAR driver and like that doesn’t it?

Eliannah: But a lot of people, they’re rock climbers park core athletes, gymnast pole vaulters and yeah. So those are like the big, the big one. So I think, I think rock lane was the best way to get started. And then, you know, really just getting in a gym because there’s certain things you’re only gonna get good at by trying, like the warped wall is a good, like, there’s no other time in life where you’re sprinting up a wall really. So maybe, maybe park core, but yeah. So I think rock climbing is a great way to get started.

John: That’s so, that’s really cool. Cause I, I used to do that some, my brother was more into it than I and I was, but there was a gym back when I was a, I think like 16 or 17 I’d go and there was a, I think it was a mountain side that it actually had a rock wall in there that would auto belay you. And I would basically do that for my workout, just climate until I couldn’t, so that’s, that’s an interesting connection. Now I just realized that you said Ninja gyms earlier, not Ninja jams. Yeah. So that sounds fun, but I don’t know what you mean. Yeah. One I figured maybe that’s just what they call it, right? Yeah.

Eliannah: Yeah. Excellence. It’s wild. I can’t, I can’t believe that there’s as many, you know, there’s enough people wanting to do it, that there’s, there’s so many now. Cause we remember when we used to drive, my husband used to train with me a lot for the Ninja stuff and we would drive like an hour and a half on a Saturday night. And that was like the only place to go.

John: But now, yeah, there’s like three in my town. Yeah. I’ll have to look up some local ones. Cause I, this is the first time I’ve heard of it. I used to work with a guy, I think his goal was either to be on it or maybe his, his fiance’s goal or something. But we had talked about it at one point. But yeah, I, I hadn’t, I went rock climbing with him once. Right. But we just, yeah. Ninja gyms. That’s interesting. [inaudible] Jails. Yeah, absolutely. Bucket list. Yeah. You should, I, I need to start that right. You’ve got a pretty good one going all the things that you’ve,

Eliannah: Yeah. Yeah. I like, I joke a lot about my bucket lists I have, I think that’s, yeah, just checking them off one by one.

John: Yeah. That’s, well, that’s so actually while we’re on that, right, so you’re, you’re competing in this, this bodybuilding competition, right? And I’m imagining that, well I guess I should ask what level is that? Is that like a figure of Bikini, which like [inaudible]

Eliannah: So I, I did not know what I should do when I started, which is one of the reasons why I got in contact with a coach. I work with a woman from team, best fit body named jewels and she, you know, we talked a lot because I’m so developed in my upper body from doing so many intensive things like, like Ninja and Ariel’s enhanced stands. So I’ve really big shoulders and I have a love hate thing with it. So we, we decided on bikini just cause I’m still relatively small overall. And that’s something I learned a lot about just talking to her and, and going to watch shows. There’s different categories so you can have yet to pick the one that kind of suits your body types. So that’s what I’m doing. We’ll see how it goes.

John: Right? Yeah. And that’s, and that’s why I asked you, cause usually there’s, there’s a progression. That’s it. No, I made totally screw this up for what most people definition is, but basically bikini figure physique and then bodybuilding, each one essentially goes up in musculature. Yeah. And there’s different routines or types of, you know, apparel for each one. But that’s kind of the progression that I see it as. I think Bikini makes sense for most people who are starting, unless they’ve already been doing that specific sport for.

Eliannah: Oh yeah. Yeah. And, and because I, you know, preparing for this show is really helped me like balance out, you know, more getting more strength in my lower body, which is one of my goals kind of in the beginning of the year was just to get stronger legs cause it’s like, you know, I worked so hard on my upper body and I want to be, you know, strong. I want to be balanced and equally fit kind of overall. So it’s, it’s kind of been helpful to, to have a routine where I’m doing actually hitting every muscle group every week. So,

John: So you bring that up. Have you looked a lot into the kind of the ideology behind crossfit and what its whole fitness thought processes?

Eliannah: I’ve done crossfit. I did it for a month once. I can’t say that I’m really an expert. I know they focus on functional fitness. I don’t know if you have more to say about it. I’m not sure I can elaborate.

John: No, you’re fine. But the reason I bring it up, I don’t really use crossfit is my training technique or method. I’ve, I mostly do weight lifting conditioning, that kind of stuff. But I did talk to a guy about seven or eight months ago and we started going to the gym and we would occasionally do a crossfit workout that he would have the workout of the day. Yeah, it was interesting. He had me sign up for this website called beyond the whiteboard and see if you’ve heard of that before or

Eliannah: You know, one of my good friends does it. So I’ve heard some of these terms. I do, I’d drop in on her classes like when I visit Philadelphia every few months. But I’m still listening. I’m not going to jump in.

John: Yeah, no, you’re, you’re fine. So beyond the Whiteboard, right, I go on there, I create my account and I’m kind of curious, it talks about how you, it gives you basically a fitness score based off of the different accomplishments that you have. Right. And it takes each workout, whether it’s a certain amount that you’re lifting or a certain speed that you’re doing things and it’s all about our output. But ultimately it talks about, like you said, functional fitness being all around balanced in everything you do. So I get evenly compare myself to this other guy who was more speed based where I was more strength based and our fitness scores could essentially be closer because it takes everything into account and really tells you how balanced you are. So that’s what that made me think of when you brought up wanting to balance upper and lower body strength and being equally fit kind of all around.

Eliannah: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s, it’s, I mean, when I feel like when you, you kind of, I mean, not a peak, but I, I feel like I’ve gotten really strong in my upper body and it’s like, well, you know, I, I, where can I, where can I do more work to be kind of better overall? And it’s, I like finding those opportunities, you know, whether it’s movie adding more flexibility to my routine or, you know, just looking for ways to constantly improve. I think, I think fitness is dynamic and it’s one of the fun things is kind of shifting, shifting those goals and, and focusing on different things. Strategy. A lot of people use kind of going through phases of fitness where they’re building strength, you know, building stability leaning out building muscles. So,

John: Right. And it’s all, it’s all kind of about those cycles, right. And I like how you kind of do that hand balancing that you, you have within your kind of repertoire of experience. And that kind of is an analogy for all of fitness in general. Like, even myself who doesn’t have the sort of American NGO warrior aspect or hand balancing aerialists that’s honestly aerialists sounds really far out of my realm of possibility at this moment. They never, never say never, right. Even with me, right. Where I’m trying to either increase muscle mass, decreased fat, transform my body in certain ways. It’s all about balance and trying to work through each of those phases. So it’s, yeah, I really like that message.

Eliannah: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, it’s, I don’t know, it’s really cool. I think when you, you know, you’ve been building for a while, maybe, you know, for me it’s not like drastic, but building strength and then, you know, adding a lot more cardio, getting leaner. Like I find I’m able to do skills that I wasn’t able to do before because now I have kind of that same amount of muscle but a little less mass to move around. So, so it can kind of unlock like certain plateaus going through those phases.

John: So the word comes to mind, circumstantial plateaus, so to speak, because it’s almost like self-inflicted, right? Because people say, oh, I can’t, I can’t lose more weight or I can’t get stronger. Right. But you’re kind of putting that limit on yourself where if you just kind of take a step back and reprogram, then you can push through that. It’s just that your body has to go through that ebb and flow.

Eliannah: Yeah. Yeah. It’s like almost approaching it from a different angle. Like, well, I’ve been kind of grinding, like pushing this immovable wall for the last six months. Maybe I should try a different strategy and see how my body reacts to it. Cause yeah, I think that can be really frustrating. And I, I have this theory, it’s, you know, I say it a lot when I teach handstands. It should feel hard but not impossible. If it feels impossible, then you’re probably doing it wrong. And I say that, you know, cause like you should struggle, but you know, if the struggle’s too great, then like, you know, we need to use different tools or maybe like progress it down so you can actually do it. And that, I dunno, just generic advice, heart difficult but not impossible is, is the right level of challenge in my mind.

John: Yeah, no, and that makes sense too. Even from a safety injury standpoint, I’m not going to go try and lift, you know, 600, 700 pounds on a bench press if I’m only doing, you know, one or 200 the day before. It’s not not realistic. So I have to ask it and I was going to ask who kind of like inspired you with the whole American Ninja Warrior aspect of done, but you already had mentioned Casey Casey,

Eliannah: Ken Xero. Yeah. She, I think so many people, so many women applied to that show after they saw her run. I think it was a, I want to say it was 2014 that she finished city finals. It was so inspired. I think it’s just like, people suddenly had this limitation just kind of like erased like, well, you know, not only is she a woman, she’s five feet tall. She, you know, she’s, she’s not an intimidating human being, I guess. And to see her do it. So many women I know that started that season who are now like very famous on the show. They’re inspired by her cause it just broke this glass ceiling of what’s possible. And you know, all these people couldn’t have done it before they saw her do it. But just seeing someone do it made it seem possible for so many people. So I, there’s a lot of, there’s so many strong women on the show now. It’s, it’s, it’s incredible. And they can, they can be with the men, they’re like on the same, a lot of them are at the same, do the same or better than the guys. So yeah.

John: Yeah, that’s a lot. That’s really cool. Heights. It’s almost like it’s a very psychological aspect to it. Is there something about the world record, like the a hundred meter dash or something like that was above a certain time for a very long time. And then finally someone broke it and then the record just kept getting broken and broken because people could see that it could be done and then more people try it. Right. And they, they, like you said, so many people could have done it before, but they didn’t really see it. Right. So they couldn’t really believe that they could do it until they saw someone else overcome that.

Eliannah: Right. It’s almost like they gave themselves permission. They’re like, yeah, I can, I can believe in myself now. I know it’s possible. Which is awesome. Yeah, she’s an inspiration. She’s, yeah, she’s doing all kinds of different stuff now. She’s a wrestler now, so it’s very cool. There’s, there’s a lot of inspiring people out there, so I know a lot, a lot of young girls are, are very, they’re inspired by the show and I see them competing. I, I spent six months as winter coaching a kids Ninja class, just kind of just for fun. And it was, it was great. You know, I, I love seeing the little, little kids, little girls, little boys kind of go from the very first Ninja class to, you know, six months later they’re doing all the obstacles and telling me how they are, like, this is how you should do it. Giving me advice. And I was like, I’ll take it. I’m listening. Yeah. I love it. So

John: That, and that’s cool. That’s really, I didn’t, I didn’t know that. We hadn’t talked about that before with the yeah, it is.

Eliannah: Yeah. Yeah. I thought, you know, volunteering, it’s, I try to make it part of my life. You know, it’s, sometimes it comes in waves, you know, I’ve done a, I think it’s an important aspect to give back and do some service. And

John: So with those, with the kids’ classes, I, I’m, I’m picturing just everything scaled down. Is it kind of the same obstacles or, yeah,

Eliannah: It is. It’s like Vinny everything is a little bit smaller, but some of these kids will like, they are just built for it because they’re, they’re they’re fearless and then their body strength to weight ratio is just perfect for just hanging and swinging. Like I’ve seen some incredible things. Like I’ve seen that I think a four year old just kind of hanging from one arm on a, on like a ring as like your for like how is that physically possible? Or maybe they’re five. But you know, it’s like these kids are strong and fearless and I love seeing kids get into sports early. Cause like I said, I was a gymnast and I think you just, you’re so much more, you don’t have those little feet, you’re confident when you’re a kid and, and doing those things young when you’re older, like it won’t seem like a big deal. You won’t be intimidated by them. So I think, I think sport kids get into some sports young is, is really beneficial for their, their confidence overall.

John: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. And talking about fitness impacting their confidence. Right. What, what would say some of the, what would you say the major benefits I guess, that you’ve seen in, in your life that fitness has brought to you outside of your actual fitness progression? Yeah.

Eliannah: Oh yeah. I, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently because you know, I’ve always been active, but over the last three months I’ve had this really exact routine and I’ve, it’s, and I’ve been tracking kind of everything, so it’s really easy to correlate the effects. On my life from the effects of my fitness cause I know exactly what everything is. And you know, I just find that when you, when your physical self, when you’re taking care of your physical body you have more energy. Well this is, I’ll say I have more energy. I have this just more confidence. No, I don’t even know the reason. It’s just, just more confidence because I know I feel good about like the physical state that I’m in. I have more creative energy. Strangely. Even though I’m spending more time in the gym, I’m able to accomplish so much more cause I have so much more energy to pour out to everybody else and all like the work that I do.

Eliannah: For me, it’s like a multiplication factor of what I’m able to help. If I’ve put my, I’m sorry, put the energy in. It’s like almost like I get a multiple out. It’s not like taking away from, from sort of everything I’m able to do in a day. So I, I’ve just noticed that, you know, at work I just accomplishing more. I’m more focused. So that’s a lot. [inaudible] It’s a long list, but I just think, I think, you know, starting with your physical, the state of your physical self, you’re gonna see benefits in your mind and in your spirit. Kind of as like a pyramid, almost like building on top of itself. So,

John: Yeah. And I think there’s, I think there’s some science behind that. And I, again, I don’t know too much about it and, and, and I’ll ask you a little bit more about this later, but the, the actual science behind what your body experiences through physical output. I mean, it has to do with your, your endorphins and certain chemicals in your body. Right? And so when people, I think they even prescribed activity as kind of a, an aid for depression because it, it helps kind of alleviate, I, you know, I don’t want to butcher it, right. But I, there’s a tie there between

Eliannah: Seen this, I’ve seen this diagram before talking about all the chemicals in your brain, the positive effects from exercise. I’d love to find that diagram right now. But yeah, I think definitely the endorphin, just some exercise. You leave a run, leave, leave the gym in a better mood, which is a much better way to start, start the day, right? But then also there’s, you know, from being around other people, you get the sense of belonging and a sense of community, which has a lot of positive effects on mental health in general. I think that’s a huge part of, of fitness or people, cause I think for a lot of us it’s part of our, our identity and we have a strong community amongst the people that we do our fitness with. Whether that’s our yoga class, our lifting partners or you know, our soccer team, whatever it is.

John: I think you’re right. And I think that graph would be a really good thing to find and maybe I can kind of post that, but the one that I saw was, it Kinda just compared people’s, just the emotional sense of wellbeing before, you know, whether it was the gym or yoga versus after. Right. And it’s in, in all areas, they tend to be, you know, happier feel better. Which, you know, makes sense apart from maybe wanting to die because of what you just put yourself through. But yeah, relief though, after you just lie on the ground. Yeah. And you feel good. Right. When I turned 40 and I don’t go to the gym, I feel terrible and then I go at lunch or whatever and it’s fine. But when I go in the morning it Kinda sets up my whole day for better. So I gotta ask, which you said not too long ago that you got your certification for training, right?

Eliannah: Yeah, I went through Nazism. Okay. Yeah. So there I’ll ask what, what’s, are you certified through? An organization?

John: So I am actually certified. Yes. I’m, I think I’m going to let it lapse here in the next couple of months cause I really don’t train people. I only got my certification because I wanted to experience it and I wanted to kind of just challenge myself in another way. But it’s through a non-accredited organization that I don’t even remember it.

Eliannah: Yeah, I totally get it. And, you know, one of the reasons I got the certification was because realistically I think it’s a way to come at yourself to learning all the components. Cause you know, you know, this is my test date, so I’m gonna read this book, you know, cover to cover, make my note cards, take the quizzes and really learn it. I think I, you know, you could have the book on your shelf and say, yeah, I’ll definitely learn that someday. But I think, I think having a date on the calendar test the you know, maybe it’s a five k, you know, it gives you motivation to actually do the things you say you’re gonna do. So I can definitely relate to that. But yeah, I did. I did like the opt model that Nazism taught because they really, the one thing I really agree with is that everything should really start with that stability phase building. Neuromuscular efficiency. Cause I think the way people move is, has a huge effect on the results they get because they, you see people and they’re like, well I’m lifting but you know, nothing’s happening. And it’s like, well, if you lift but you’re not really, you know, making a mind body connection and moving correctly, you can do it all day and you’re not going to see the results that somebody who’s doing everything with proper form is going to see.

John: That’s a very, very good point. It makes me think of a couple of things. One is Jeff Nippert is a guy on Youtube who scientifically presents all of his information and he bases everything off of science and his, he recommends a subscription to this monthly online magazine called mass. And it’s all about science based information. They basically take articles and break it down. G M. A. S. S. Yep. I think it’s like monthly applied sports science or something. I should look it up because then I don’t sound like

Eliannah: Being from the northeast.

John: Oh, right. Yeah. So there’s, there’s a monthly applications in strength sport. Really cool. I subscribed to that and really I just, because I want to learn more. Right. And just like the training and you wanted to challenge yourself. So, yeah.

Eliannah: Yeah. I’ve honestly been looking for something like that. So I’m definitely gonna check it out. Cause Yeah, like I’ve been looking for like scientific articles, not these stupid well that there’s like a million like buzzfeed, not to say they don’t, some of them are, you know, informative I guess. But you know, I’ve been looking to read more scientific journals because I, you know, you want the real information, not that, you know, 10, 10 ways to,

John: You know, I always heard that six weeks, like

Eliannah: Six weeks or like, you know, work out like this celebrity and yeah. So that’s awesome. I’m definitely gonna check that out.

John: Yeah, I would check it out. And then just for everybody listening, I’ll put the link in the show notes. I’m not a affiliate or anything, but I will go ahead and put that there. It’s really cool. I want to say it’s like 25 or 30 bucks a month and like this last issue came out volume three issue seven and it’s about 77 pages, this last one. And they go through at least, you know, five to 10 articles. So that’s really cool. I think you, you might like that cause something you really have kind of touched on is that you want to be able to, from what I understand, really understand the content you’re giving people, right? So somebody asks you, how do you, you know, run faster? Like how did you accomplish being able to compete? Why did you, is that right? You want to be able to really tell somebody and not just tell them, you know, eat less and move more. Right,

Eliannah: Right. Yeah. And it’s like in some ways a lot, some of my earlier, so you know, I had coaches and I also am a little bit lucky. So, you know, finding out like what, what about what I was doing was actually moving the needle. And what lessons should I pass on to people? For me, like one of the biggest game changers is learning about nutrition. Cause if you’re athletic, like you’re, you know, you’re just going to enjoy moving and you’re going to, it’s not, that’s not the hard part I think. I think nutrition is really what takes it over the top for people who just, you know, if they like to move. I think learning a little bit more about nutrition can really, really take them to the next level.

John: Yeah, I agree with that. It in like comes back to that balance aspect of fitness, right. Where it’s, you may focus on one thing, but you may reach a sort of self-imposed plateau. If you try something else, you can push yourself in that direction, right. And then come back and see something different once you get back to what you were used to. Like, I would be really interested to see when you go and compete, you know, in this next show or maybe even one after that, if you choose to keep doing it, what your, what the impact would be on your hand balancing, right? Or your

Eliannah: Yes. I’ve already noticed. So I, I, I still train those things. Not as, not as many days a week just cause the number of workouts and doing, but I’ve already noticed an effect on that because I’m a little bit, a little bit lighter. And I’ve been doing just a really systematic like lifting routine where I’m hitting all my muscle groups. I’m doing a lot of good shoulder exercises and like I’ve already noticed a lot more stability in my shoulders and just, I think being slightly, slightly leaner has helped me unlock some things that I couldn’t do before. So I’ve already noticed that, which is cool because it wasn’t my intention for this to make me a better hand balancer but, or a better aerialist. But it’s, it’s kind of an unintended side effect of taking a different approach. So, so that’s been really cool for me. And then just like the consistent cardio, I think no one likes, well a lot of people don’t like cardio, but I think just adding consistent cardio can, can improve a lot of things for people. And I’ve seen some of that too. Just a little more endurance is always nice.

John: Right. And I agree with that. It’s interesting that you mentioned you have more strength in your, your shoulders and you being slightly leaner has had some effects on that too. I’d be interested though, how was your flexibility? Did you notice any change in that when you went over to lifting?

Eliannah: I think I do need to stretch like a little bit more just cause I’m when you, but I’ve been pretty smart about like stretching when I left, cause I already know kind of the effects of, of doing a lot of strengthening exercises and not stretching cause I’ve had really tight shoulders in the past from, from doing like a lot of climbing and pulling and not opening my shoulders. So, so yeah, definitely like doing a bunch of leg exercises and then having like tight, tight hamstrings. That’s, that’s a real thing. So I tried to stretch a little bit before and then stretch after when I left just because it’s important to me that I’m not, that I’m still very mobile so I can do the things I enjoy.

John: I couldn’t have said it better. That’s, it’s, it’s really, it’s really true when it comes down to it. Like for me, I know that I don’t have as much flexibility as I would like. Right. And so I do a lot of weightlifting. I used to do yoga many years ago and I should get more into the practice of doing that. Or at least like you said, stretching before and after. But I know that if I go and start implementing that flexibility training, then it’ll have positive effects on my weight lifting. It’s just a matter of putting the time into to do that. Right. So tying that back into kind of life in general with having to have certain fitness aspects that can compliment what you’re currently working on, how do you, how do you recommend someone that has so many things going on with life, whether it’s work or recently getting married? I know you were married about a year ago. Yeah. How do you keep your fitness progress on track while having all this whirlwind of life events is changes coming around?

Eliannah: Yeah. well I’ll say, I think all fitness goals should come from a place where you’re intrinsically motivated. I think it’s different for each person. For me, like I like to have something on the calendar and it, and it changes, you know, in phases of, of my life. It’s not always. And I, I love the freedom to kind of make these pivots to what, like what’s most exciting for me. So you know, right now I have a competition in two weeks. So that’s on the calendar. I’ll have a circus performance, you know, sometimes on the calendar and that’s, and that’s a motivating me to get out there and train. I think for some people there, you know, if you’re not motivated by sort of like a race or a competition or a performance, maybe it’s stressed, you want to commit to a daily or weekly practice and that’s something you check off the box like on your calendar.

Eliannah: But I think, I think you start with something that’s intrinsically motivating, you know, where it’s something you physically want to be able to do and there’s some time component to it. Whether it’s like you want an unbroken chain of I went to Yoga every day or you know, every week or like I have a five K in, in three weeks. And then from there I think balancing it with life, I think you need to have it. So either, you know, you wake up and do it. In the morning. I love working out. I love doing lifting or conditioning in the morning or like your class, you’re booked in a class right after work and that’s where you’re headed and you don’t let yourself, you know, go home and sit on the couch in between. I think it’s, I think that prioritizing it on your calendar so it’s, this is what you’re doing at this time versus getting to it when you get to it, I think, I think that’s how you make it happen, you know, make sure it’s motivating and make sure it’s blocked off in your calendar. And then, you know, when life gets in the way, like you travel for work, like you just forgive yourself, you know, you know, I was at and I think, you know, don’t let that derail you. Just jump right in where you left off and and, and yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s my approach.

John: That’s really, really cool. With the whole, don’t derail yourself. Right. Would you forgive yourself when you, when you miss it, because you can look it in the calendar, book a class. Right. But things happen. And I, I found that personally to happen that if I miss a day and I get down on myself about it, it impacts my ability to meet those goals the rest of the week. Yeah. So that’s really key and I think that positivity has a lot to do with where people can really take that, you know, in, in intrinsic motivation and convert that into, you know, this is something that I’m going to do. If I fail, it’s okay, I’ll forgive myself and not forget it. Right. Not Continue to do that.

Eliannah: Yeah. I love this phrase like, I do yoga, I try to do it, you know, weekly will be great, but like, you know, biweekly, just really for the, the mental aspect of the meditative aspect and something that I’ve heard in in classes is like, do what serves you. And if you make that decision, maybe like you didn’t sleep last night, like your, your child kept you up all night you have like crazy deadline. Like, maybe what serves you most is not going to the gym today and adding like physical stress to your emotional stress. And I think, you know, recognizing that you made the best decision you could for yourself and then just turning the page to a fresh day. It’s, it’s fine. You know?

John: I think that’s key that the whole, it’s fine, right? It’s people get down on themselves when they, they say, oh, I cheated, I had a lot of food, or you know, I didn’t make it today because of this. It in the end, if every little bit of activity that you do is going to help you live longer and missing one day at the gym isn’t going to be drastic. Right. I mean, unless you’re, you know, two, three, four weeks out from a competition and every little bit counts. I mean, even then it’s not as drastic, right. But I just think that it’s fine, right? If you miss it, it’s okay. You just have to keep going. So what would be, with all these different things that you’ve done from being an aerialist to hand balancing and American Ninja Warrior and now competing in a competition, what would be something that you would say kind of ties all those things together? And sort of like a contiguous, you know, grouping of activities?

Eliannah: Yeah, I think the theme for me, I think I’ve just, I’ve always liked being the strongest that I can be. So that’s the theme with all of these is just kind of pursuing that physical strength and physical challenge. I like to push boundaries. And I liked the idea of doing something that like no one’s been able to do before. So I like to be kind of on that inventive front and you know, I like to think that I’m kind of on that boundary of, you know, what’s, what’s possible and what’s not yet possible. Yeah. I guess the thing, this story that I kinda tell myself I’ve heard before, you know, if you look back your childhood and you remember the first time you felt powerful that’s supposed to be like one of your purposes in life. It’s very, very very deep.

Eliannah: And so mine, like mine is kind of silly and maybe almost too literal, but when I was in, I think I was in second grade, maybe I wasn’t sorry, maybe fourth grade, I set like the pull up record in my elementary school for like girls and boys and I didn’t, I didn’t realize I was that strong. And then at like the whole gym class is Kinda like, wow, like that was crazy. And I was like, Oh wow, look, I can do this. So I think, you know, that’s always been like empowering for me, just like one of my gifts. And I love to kind of push that and then also, you know, share, share that with other people who are excited about it and just kind of pushing, pushing boundaries and seeing, you know, how far we can take different things in different sports.

John: That’s a really interesting correlation. I honestly can’t say that I’ve had an experience that I can remember that’s you know, back from when I was younger with fitness. But being able to set that record and having people support you and then you kind of come to the realization that, wow, this is something that I’m good at. I could, I could see myself enjoying this. Right. And you feel that sense of accomplishment. I think that nowadays something that really helps people in general when it comes to fitness specifically is when they have somebody that’s kinda cheer and along right. And they, they accomplish something. And even though it may not be huge per se, it’s, you know, they have that feeling of, Oh, I actually can do this. Right. And that’s kind of a motivation to push further.

Eliannah: Yeah. And I love being that. I love being in that role. For other people. I think I see myself, you know, really as a coach more than a teacher, if that makes sense. Cause I think I fiercely believe in other people’s abilities to do things. Like, I think I can see it before they can. And like I re, I just remember coaching this one girl. I coached gymnastics in college and I was coaching this crawl to do a back flip on a trampoline and I could see that she could do it, but she didn’t, she was tired, she was scared. And I just told her, I was like, you know, I’m here. You can do it. Just do it. And she looked at me and she said, really? I’m like, yes, you definitely can. And then she just went and did it easily. And I was like, see, like all you really need sometimes is someone else to believe in your ability. And I think it’s a really, it’s a really unique position to be able to help somebody get over those hurdles. So

John: That’s, that’s actually a really good segue into what I wanted to talk to you about next. Cause that whole seeing yourself as a coach rather than simply a teacher. There’s, there’s a very big difference in my mind because the teacher, I can sit in the classroom and they can spout out all this information and then they’ll, you know, I’ll take an exam later on, but a coach that actually sitting there, right, whether it’s on the field or on the court where they’re with you, they’re coaching you, they’re showing you how to do it right. It’s a very different, almost more of like a mentor, like a personal relationship. So, yeah, I want to ask, Kinda to share with, so that I understand where you’re coming from and also to share with the audiences. What future plans do you have? More as like a fitness professional, right? I mean, do you have your engineering career? I also am an engineer, you know, coincidentally, but what kind of plans do you have for yourself within the fitness industry as you know, whether it’s a coach or otherwise?

Eliannah: Yeah, so, so I’ve done coaching in the past, but I’d really like to, to be able to share more with more people. So I started, I started kind of a side company recently a for coaching and named it acro cafe. The reason being the acro just because that theme of movement that is like that I love. And then cafe cause I am coffee is like one of my favorite things in life. So acro cafe. Yeah. So within that I wanna provide I want to start by providing physical fitness coaching cause I think that’s really the foundation of our, our overall wellness. I’d like to start with providing some simple challenges, strength training challenges and then expand that into a more holistic coaching program with nutrition as well. And really just have it be something that’s really meant to, to improve your, your life overall.

Eliannah: So not just fitness and nutrition, but also, you know, a place to share, pick best life practices. Like, here’s what I’m, here’s what I’m reading, you know, here’s, here’s this, like my favorite recipe kind of thing. So like a community really that’s just trying to be their, their best self, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally, you know, in their careers. So I plan to start with just a simple like strength group challenge and, and then I’ll probably share an eval on hand balancing. And then from there, you know, I, that’s kind of the grand vision is to have it be holistic, a holistic wellness community that’s really empowering people to be their best selves from the ground up, rooted in physical fitness. Cause I do think that’s kind of the first component of like a healthy body, mind and soul. So, yeah.

John: That’s awesome. That’s, I like the name too. So is that already a website that you have set up then? Yeah,

Eliannah: So it’s brand new, so when people go it, it will likely be just a landing page now with just some information, but that’s where it’s going to live. Acro cafe.com. And also I feel like it’s kind of representative of that feeling of like when you’re in a cafe, just the, the bustle of people sharing ideas and that’s, that’s, that’s the vision. My husband helped me come up with that name and it’s Kinda stuck, so

John: That’s awesome. I really like it. I’m actually looking at it right now as we’re speaking. So ironically enough, the the templates that they have on here have to do with engineering. So that’s, that fits very well.

Eliannah: Yeah, it’s fresh. I think I’ve played with, I know that you are you shared some really cool information with me when we when we chatted about earlier, I have to say I’ve listen to a lot of Gary v this week. I’m on your recommendation, so I know you’re in the online world. So I have, you know, I’m, I’m excited to get everything moving and, and really just share some positive information and really empower, empower people. So,

John: And that’s, that’s great. I want to, I want to ask a little bit more about where you’re headed with that, but I would just as a reminder to everybody that Gary v is phenomenal, even just not related to business, but life in general. It’s, it’s incredible. Right? And I listened to probably four or five hours a week of his podcasts and I’d highly recommend that. But as far as your message right there where you’re wanting to really give more of a holistic wellness community, a place to share best life practices, right. And so it’s more of a overall solution, right? Whether it could be, you know, stress reduction or how to integrate fitness with your life or you know, balancing all these things that you have to do as an adult as people are coming from, you know, these younger less need to be responsible age and more of a, Hey, I’ve got things to take care of now and I’ve got a child. Right. So as you set that up, that’s, I’d love to kind of watch that and be a part of that growing. Right. And just see how that happens because I really like what you’re sharing here and I feel like you definitely have a lot to offer through that and the name is just phenomenal. Right. Because even even just having it be, you know, cafe kind of makes it seem more of like a, a homely like community where people can actually relate.

Eliannah: Yeah. That’s, that’s idea. Yeah. I’d love to. Yeah. If we can keep in touch, cause I could not believe just that we were both engineers with you know, fitness as this, you know, side passion I suppose. So I think we have a lot in common and, and I’ve really kind of loved everything you’ve shared with me so far, so it’d be great to keep in contact.

John: Yeah. That, that would be awesome. And, and we’ll go, we’ll go a little longer too. I’m not tied down to the six o’clock. Yeah. So, cause I also wanna to talk a little bit to where, so you’ve got your coaching right, that you’re wanting to do. Obviously you are getting ready for your competition here and do you have a coach, you know, having said that, everyone should have a coach even if you’re a coach. So if people want to reach out to you right now or are you mainly available through whether it’s Instagram, you have an email through your website, how do you, how do you want people to know? Yeah.

Eliannah: It’s, you can definitely, you know, message me on Instagram. My handle’s Eliana. I think my email is also on there, so you can DM me or shoot me an email.

John: Perfect. And I’ll, I’ll put those in the notes too.

Eliannah: I got a, I have a long name and it used to be longer, believe it or not.

John: Yeah, yeah. You’re, you’re fine. But then you, you did say you go by Ellie, right? So people are, yeah, Ellie or sorry. Yep. Little bit easier, but I’ll, I’ll put those in the show notes too so people can see those. Now the ebook you mentioned, right, about hand balancing. That’s something that really caught my attention.

Eliannah: Yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s just something I need to put out into the world. I actually have started writing it in the past, but I think it’s, it’s just one, I think almost everyone I meet, they’re like, oh, could you teach? We do a handstand? And I’m like, yeah, I mean I can, I can t yeah, if you do you have a, do you have an hour? Like anytime I, I love to teach it. I think that’ll be one of the first things that I have on my website. So if you want to learn about hand balancing, that will be, that’ll be out

John: There. So I, I like, I will actually be someone who consumes that material because that’s not something I’ve ever really considered. But I always remember going into like the renaissance festival and seeing people do, you know, these different things. And it was always just cool. I thought it was a fun thing to do and I have always wanted to,

Eliannah: I think everyone, yeah. I mean everyone, it’s, it’s pretty accessible to be honest and I think it’s just a fun skill to, to learn. So, yeah, that’d be really cool.

John: Is there anything else that you Kinda wanna say as a last message to everyone you know, whether it’s something you haven’t touched on or just something that you want to really just kind of instill in, you know, the fitness community of what you would say to everyone who’s listening?

Eliannah: Yeah, I thought about this a little bit and you know, at first I was gonna I was going to say a message like, you know, how important physical fitness is and how it’s the foundation of, of, I think I said this earlier, your, your mental and emotional health your mind and your, and your soul. But I think people who are in the physical fitness community already, they really already know that. So I think what I would say to people who are passionate about fitness is just a really simple statement is yes you can. Because I think, you know, the sky’s the limit. And if there’s some crazy goal, you have to be on American Ninja Warrior to run a marathon, whatever it is. Like yes, you definitely can. There’s no reason that you’re not able to do anything you say your mind to. So that would be my simple statement. Yes, you can.

John: That’s perfect. I’d probably going to consider that as part of the, the title. I Dunno. I’ve still got a name this episode cause there’s so much good stuff here, but that’s great. So the sky’s the limit right? You can, I, I think that that’s something that I can definitely apply more in my life. So yeah, next time I need to overcome a little challenge or an obstacle, I’ll just think back to this is podcast. You’d say, yes I can. And I hope that’s what everyone does. Right. And my whole purpose of, of really doing this show is to try to get things like this out there so that people can really feel more of part of a community. Right? They, they get to know you as a person, right. And then you share your message. So I think that’s, that’s perfect. So that’s great. And I appreciate your time too. This has been really wonderful.

Eliannah: This is been really enjoyable for me. I think, you know, it was kind of random us even kind of crossing virtual paths. So I’ve really enjoyed it. I would just want to congratulate you on starting your podcast. I listened to podcasts like way too much constantly. So I was really excited to do this as the first, my first podcasts I listened to many, but my first time being part of one. So this has been really exciting and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. So very cool. Good luck in your future podcasts endeavors. I hope it, I hope it gets really big and reaches a lot of people cause I think you have a really positive message.

John: Thank you. Yeah, I really do appreciate that. And we’ll, we’ll make sure to touch base, maybe do a followup episode and you know, after your competition a couple months down the road or something, maybe you can come out here and in the hot desert of Arizona we could do a live yeah,

Eliannah: I have on my bucket list is to go back and see the Grand Canyon. So that’ll be great. That’d be very cool.

John: Perfect. Well Great. Thanks. thanks for coming on. Come back next time, so thanks. Awesome.

Eliannah: Thanks.

Spartan Carton Review

I recently reviewed the Spartan Carton, which provides monthly goodies related to health and fitness. Here is the video review, and the text review is below.

On today’s video, I’m going to be reviewing the spartan carton, which is a monthly subscription box with supplements and other health and fitness-related items. There are two levels. There’s a citizen box and a warrior box. The one I will be reviewing today is the citizen box, which is about $25 per month. If you are interested, this is a sponsored video and their link is in the description below or visit their website here. You can get 10% off of your purchase or you can use the code “JBARKFIT” on your order.

The first thing I pulled out of the box is the body fat calipers. I’ve never really used them very consistently before. I know that they’ve been used for a long time in the past, but I just don’t really use body fat calipers, but if you don’t have a set of these, this is something nice to be able to have just in case you’d like to use it.

Now, before I get into some of the larger items, they do have some probiotics in here. I’ve never had these ones that you dump into water and drink, but I have had probiotics before, so this is an interesting take on it. They did come with three sticks, so it’s not just a one-shot. You can kind of get a feel for what it’s like. The next couple of items are this hot cocoa mix, which is a mushroom hot cocoa organic blend. I’m not one for hot cocoa because I live in Arizona. It’s really hot, but in the wintertime this may come of use and it’s a nice twist on the sugar-loaded hot chocolate that you might have. Next are these two RX bars. I haven’t had these flavors before, but I have tried them. The RX bars in general, they’re pretty good.

They mostly have a whole food type ingredient list, not going to have a lot of fillers or additives, so they’re very natural and I like the taste of them, so this gives me a good opportunity to try. Other flavors that I haven’t had before. Next is the pre-workout samples they came with. There are three of the Mr. Hyde icon pre-workout. I used to love Mr. Hyde and it would be one that I would drink a lot for my pre-workout. The icon version I have not actually had yet, so that’ll be something interesting. A lot of stuff in here that I haven’t tried before that I will be able to now have the opportunity to.

The next thing I found is a full bottle of red yeast extract, which I guess in Chinese medicine was used to help improve circulation and digestion as well as other things. This isn’t something that I’ve necessarily used before or even looked into, but again another opportunity to try something that I haven’t next is probably the biggest item that came in here, not necessarily physically but cost-wise would be these Nordic Cherry supplements.

They’re a tart cherry extract and they’re very high in antioxidants and a good sleep aid. From what I’ve read. This helps increase levels of Melatonin and improve sleep quality. I’ve always been a fairly light sleeper. So apart from just taking Melatonin, this natural supplement, this tart cherry might seem like something that I would be taking over the next couple of weeks or month to be able to see how that impacts what I’m experiencing when I’m resting or how well a rest that I feel when I wake up the next morning. Lastly, they included a bag of black organic Quinoa. I’ve never had black Quinoa before. I’ve usually just used regular white Quinoa in the cooking that I’ve done from whatever I had. This has a little bit of a sweeter taste to it. It takes a little longer to cook and there’s a little bit texture difference as well. So again, another opportunity to try something that I haven’t before.

A couple of things they also included in here were some papers. They’re very small so I won’t actually show you. But I might put links to the actual photos and the description box below. But this one actually says what’s inside of it. So it lists all of the items that are in the citizen box. And also the ones that would be in the warrior box if you were to choose that one as well.

There’s a meal card that has some recipes on it. This one’s got avocado and egg pasta, black bean hummus with vegetables and a soup with shrimp. So if you’re looking for the recipe ideas, this is very valuable. I kind of tend to stick to what I do, but I may try one of these just because I’m curious.

Lastly, there’s a workout card. So this one looks like it’s got planks, wall squats, deadlifts, single-leg squats, body rows, and resistance squats. So this is basically a leg workout. They provide you something to be able to change up your routine.

So in summary, this type of a subscription box for me personally is really valuable in the fact that it will help me be able to see things and experience things that I may not have seen before at a cost of about $25 per month for this level of subscription. The value for this box came out to be around $60-65 now if you use all of it, that’s great. If not, you’ve got about half of it that you could technically not use and still be breaking even where the value comes in. When it comes to items like the Tart Cherry extract or the black organic Quinoa, those might be things that I try and decide that I want to start taking them or using them on a regular basis.

Now, I would recommend looking at this review, looking at their website and seeing if it’s something that you really are interested in. If you want to try some variety, if you want to have that little surprise of each month getting something and opening it up to see what you find, then this might be the right subscription for you. If you are looking to have more of a consistent regimen of what you’re taking or what you’re using, then this might not be the best option. I’ll leave that up to you, but as far as I’m concerned, for me personally, the value is in being able to see things that I haven’t yet seen or been able to use before.

Lastly, if you do want 10% off and go ahead and use the code “JBARKFIT” or use the link here. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’re not already, give it a thumbs up. If you’ve liked this review or the video above, comment down below with what you think about this subscription box and whether or not you want to get it yourself.

First Time Using Jawzrsize

Jawzrsize is a pretty interesting concept. This excerpt from their site explains a little about their goal:

Jawzrsize Works Over 57 Muscles through a repeated “biting” motion. Simply place it in your mouth and start repping (each bite is a rep).

– Jawzrsize

When I first opened the package it came with some nice little instructions which really don’t leave much to question in terms of how to use it.

how to use jawzrsize

I started using Jawzrsize for the first time today. The instructions say to perform 6-12 sets of 15-30 reps every other day. I decided I might as well try to hit the full 12 sets of 30 reps. It honestly wasn’t too hard to reach. It may be because I’m using the beginner block, but I suppose it could be different for anyone.

I’m not sure how long it takes to notice actual results, but I do have some before pictures taken. After a few weeks I’ll take some more and compare. I mostly decided to give Jawzrsize a shot out of curiosity. I don’t particularly have an end goal. However, the story of how it came to be is actually pretty inspiring.

One thing it reminded me of is my tendency to clench my teeth. I mostly catch myself doing it when I’m lifting weights and usually have to focus on stopping myself. Perhaps something like this, but smaller and more appropriate, could be used as a guard. I won’t try it with Jawzrsize because it’s too big and it isn’t the intended use. It’s food for thought though.

Being Healthy and Competing – Interview with Laurin Conlin

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Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. Today's guest is the founder and owner of Team Loco fit and she shares her knowledge of health and fitness in this episode and we'll dive into some principles of best practices for competing. Welcome to the show, Lauren Conlin.

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Episode Transcript

Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness Podcast. Today's guest is the founder and owner of team logo fit and she shares her knowledge of health and fitness in this episode and we've dive into some principles of best practices for competing. Welcome to the show, Lauren Conlin.I really appreciate your time that you took out of your busy schedule to come onto the show with me and hope that we can really deliver some value to the listeners. And there's a couple of topics I want to get into with you specifically, but for the time being had to get started, if you'll go ahead and just introduce yourself, who you are, introduce your team a little bit about what you do, what you stand for and we'll go from there.Yeah, thank you so much for having me on John. I really appreciate it. So I am the owner and head coach of team logo fit. So we're an online coaching and consulting company. Uh, it was me for many years and then now we've expanded to a team. So my boyfriend, Ryan is the training director, so he helps out with the training programs. It's a fancy way of saying that. And then I have three other coaches who work underneath, um, me as well. They have their own clients. Um, but they use the same philosophies that I do. They've all been coached by me and mentored by me every week. So it's been fun to grow the team that way. Um, I do have my bachelor's and master's in exercise science and my research, um, in my, in my master's program, sorry, um, focused on flexible dieting versus meal plans and how that affected weight loss and weight regain. And then I also am an IFE bikini pro. They competing since 2011 so I've done quite a few shows as both an amateur and professional. And Yeah, I travel a lot. I speak, I work at different events with companies that I work with in the industry and you know, travel to client shows and events as well.So when you, before you started building your team out, right, you had coaching that you were doing individually. What inspired you to become a coach yourself?Honestly, it's not really like a very glamorous story. Um, put at the time I was being coached. Um, and then I had a friend in my undergrad who was like, Hey, can you coach me? You know, like you have a coach? And I said, sure. Okay, yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I can help you and I think this would be a good thing. And I kept it really small, you know, for a few years. Just kind of, you know, helping out. You know, that girl, one of her friends, some people I knew at the gym you had like that kind of stuff. Um, but all, all the while still in school. And then just kind of like building little systems and seeing, okay, how this works. Oh, this doesn't, and then I'd say about a year and a half into that, um, that's actually when I turned pro and I started Grad School, I turned pro and then I had two other coaches really encouraged me like, hey, you should make this, you know, legitimate.You've been doing this kind of for a little while, not so legitimate. Um, not like it was sketchy or anything. That sounds terrible. Um, but just kind of, you know, hey, let's make this official. So I've got a website, got some social media going, cause I'm very not inclined to any of those things. So yeah, that was really why it started because, because somebody honestly asked me and I was, you know, in the career of, I started a dietetics major now as an exercise science major. I honestly was not sure what I wanted to do. I knew that I liked research, any of that. I liked, you know, nutrition and training and all these kinds of things. So I thought, oh, well this would be a great way. I can help people. Um, absolutely no way. Imagine this would be what I would be doing now as far as you know, having a team of people. But it kind of progressed that way and I took the jump and here we are.So you said that you focus a lot on, uh, w what was it when you said your, with nutrition now you said you didn't do so much in meal plans but you focus on intuitive eating and that sort?Oh, no, no. So my, my graduate research, um, like my project that I did in Grad school was looking at how different types of dieting affect weight loss and weight regained. We happened to choose looking at a meal plan versus tracking Macros, which has still not been done to replicate it in the literature. Um, traditionally as a coach, I would say that we use mostly a tracking macros, a approach. Um, we do not write meal plans currently at this time. Um, but I do blend some tracking with, of course, lifelong healthy habits with flexibility, which does not necessarily equate to flexible dieting, actual flexibility in your diet. Um, and also some intuitive aspects as well. And it will just depend on the client. If somebody is a competitive client or they are a um, you know, lifestyle client. But the goal is to instill healthy longterm habits and I don't think that there's anything healthy about tracking every single gram of your macro to the t for the rest of your life. Um, and likewise not understanding what you're eating. Um, and not having any concept of portion control or you know, flexibility with your diet is not healthy either. So kind of blending those approaches is really our goal.Okay. That makes sense. Cause you had mentioned that you had started within your studies that at being a dietician was part of that coursework. Know whether you, you know, stuck with that or went a different route. That's why I asked because a meal plans are typically things that people who aren't registered dieticians will sort of stay away from more of just on a legality issue or whatnot. But so that's why I was asking, cause you mentioned that, but then you also mentioned macro tracking and that kind of a meal strategy.Yeah. We actually at one of my coaches now is actually in her internship, um, to become a registered dietician. So that might be something, um, in the future, within the next year that we do offer. Um, maybe if, if that's something that people are interested in, but typically I, um, I find that, you know, there's, everybody starts at a different level. So I think that there's kind of a continuum with how food should be looked at. And I think that, um, you know, meal plans can actually be really helpful for people. And that's actually what I learned in my research was that they worked. So this bad taboo thing that we often hear in the bodybuilding world, I'm like, oh, you don't have a meal plan, you're never going to be able to eat, cause the rest of your life. And, um, I really found that this group of people that I was doing research with, a large percentage of them did benefit from the meal plan. Um, however, of course it was only a short study. It was, you know, a 10 week diet. So that's a little bit different than somebody maybe doing a contest prep diet. Um, but in any case, I do that. Meal plans are, um, a good strategy for some people when they're starting out. But I don't think that it's, again, a lifelong strategythat makes sense. And I think it's important to note that not everything is a one size fits all. That like you said, some people you saw benefited with the meal plan, others were more in line with macro tracking and having that be the main benefit. So just briefly on the IFB pro aspect, when you first reached that and you first went pro, how significant was that in your training and in your whole fitness progress? Or was it simply another stepping stone and explain a little bit about the feelings behind that.Yeah, so I had actually started competing as a figure competitor. Um, like crazy to think that. But uh, in 2011 I did my first show and then I continued with figure through early 2014. So about three years, I competed in figure and I just, even back then, which it's way different than it is now. Um, I just didn't have the size or the density. So at this point at 2014 Bucky and kind of made that turn where they were looking for more athletic look, still not what they're looking at today as far as how muscular it is, but it was a lot more athletic. So I ended up just kind of switching, basically switching, posing, switching suits and you know, seemingly keeping a somewhat similar physique. Um, you know, refined my presentation of course, but, um, you know, did several shows as a bikini competitor as an amateur and then eventually turned pro at nationals in 2014.So, um, when that happened, it was kind of like, Oh wow, this is, you know, maybe I'm decent at this, you know, maybe this isn't an accident. Um, and before that I had, you know, competitive really shown horses. I'd can penitently ran track and cross country in high school. Um, so bodybuilding was always kinda like a side thing, but I really enjoyed it. So it was, um, I really didn't, you know, once I started placing better, you know, that's Kinda when you say, okay, well I'm gonna, you know, go for this. And that's always the goal is to reach kind of the highest status, which would be IFE professional in my case. Um, so it was a big turning point as far as like, Oh wow, this is, you know, like I've been through now it had did about those my 10th show before it turned pro.So I had done a decent amount of shows at gained some good experience. Um, but then even as a pro, you know, that is a whole different game. Um, like it is completely different, um, now than when I turned pro five, almost five years ago. Um, but it's still been great lessons overall as far as like my own lessons. And then of course, lessons for teaching clients. That's really, like when I first started, I would say the big thing was, you know, I had a handful of clients, but it was really, um, you know, I was doing it for me. It's a competitive thing now. Um, anytime that I step on stage, it's, you know, it's for my clients. I'm learning for my clients. I'm learning from my coaches and the people that I mentor. So it's a lot different now. I think that it was then, um, but it's still the same, you know, feelings of excitement and things like that, but it's a lot. Has a deeper meaning? No.Do you get nervous at all when you're on stage anymore or is that even something you've ever had in the beginning? Cause I would imagine I've never competed. Right. But I would imagine that that would be pretty nerve wracking.It's nerve wracking in a different way. Maybe then you'd think so. I'm a pretty extroverted person, so I have no problem, you know, being up on the stage and it wasn't necessarily ever stage fright. Um, but there is an enormous amount of just adrenaline and excitement and nerves, even if they're not negative, you just have this huge rush of them. Um, that happened when you're about to get on stage. Um, but I would say that kind of the, anytime that I've gotten on stage or I didn't feel a hundred percent confident in the package that I was bringing, I have felt uncomfortable on stage. Um, so there's been a handful of times where that's happened and it is a very, very distinct nerve wracking feeling. Um, but all the other times it's more of just like a normal excitement. Um, and you know, the first show of the season, if you've kind of been, you know, a little rusty, that's always a little bit of, Oh, it's the first one. But in general, I would say that only when I'm not really feeling my best have I ever had true, I guess you could say, you know, nerves in a really negative way.That makes sense. So it's more of just an energy, excitement and adrenaline the night I can picture that. I, I can picture how that could be, especially since you've been working on it so hard and you've got all this progress that you've made and it's more about showing, you know, that confidence that you have. And I imagine that plays a huge role into it, but with you building towards that, right. And throughout all of the fitness progress that you had personally, what was the biggest thing that you struggled with or a big struggle that you had?Oh, there's so many, I guess struggle as captain over here. Um, I would say that the biggest thing that I think a lot of people who compete, um, fall into this is that at some point, you know, you start to look a certain way, feel a certain way, place a certain way and that becomes part of your identity. So, um, you know, for a long time I was a student. I went to school for six years, you know, out of high school and I was a competitive, you know, physique athlete and that was kind of what I did. And then as I graduated, um, I no longer had school, um, from the master's graduated. And at that point I had built the business up slowly to where I was like, okay, I'm going to ever try to take this full time. I need to try it now.And then I can always, you know, plan B afterwards. So as I was graduating, um, you know, I was still actually prepping, so I started prep. I was going to do a few shows that year. Um, but now I've transitioned out of school, but I'm excited about it, you know, I was like, okay, oh Yay. School's over. Finally, six years later, and then the following year, sorry, I suffered a, you know, an injury in 2016. Um, the kind of was nagging through the end of my contest prep and now come 2017 I have this injury that is, you know, not going away. It's kind of like chronic pain. My training is really inhibited and I'm no longer have the student identity. So yes, I have a business that's doing great, but I've kind of lost all these things that I was, you know, identified myself with. So not that it was, thankfully I had things to fall back on.A lot of people will end up identifying themselves as, you know, whatever they choose. And that is the only thing they have. So that happens a lot of times. If people who compete, all new thing they have going on, if they compete and that if something does happen, like God forbid you do get injured or you know, financially you can't hack it that year, then things really side downhill. So I had other things going on, thankfully like with the business and you know, great relationships around me, but it was still like a big adjustment. So I would say that for anybody who's listening, who is either competing themselves or is interested in competing, making sure that you have other things to fill that void and because you don't want to necessarily become, oh I am just a competitor. Oh I am just, you know, insert whatever identity that you're putting on yourself.So that actually plays very well into kind of where the main part of this show is that I want to go. Uh, with that being said, having seen some of the struggles you've been through with competing, what sort of impact can that have on your life? Both positive and negative? Cause you, you say that you, if you have something you can't fall back onto then perhaps that might be negative with you end up not continuing competing, but the actual competing itself, what kind of impacts have you seen? Both positive and negative?Yeah. So to start with the positives, there's a lot of really great things that you can learn from competing. Of course the discipline is, is pretty unmatched. Um, obviously, uh, you know, if you're a top level professional athlete, I would say that they have a ton of discipline as well. So I'm not trying to pretend like physique sports with this high and mighty thing, but there is a lot of this plan that goes into it and a lot of struggle just naturally as the byproduct of it because you're basically trying to get to, you know, sub healthy body fat levels while still performing in the gym and having a normal life and attempting to have normal relationships as well. Um, so it really is a kind of a knowledge 24, seven, you know, like work on your discipline level. So I think a lot of people really, really thrive on that and they really, they truly get a lot done and they truly see like what they're, what they're made of, you know, like, can I make it through this, can I hack it?And one of my favorite people ever, chocolate Willink, he, he always has discipline equals freedom. And like that's his one of his main messages. And it really is true. And you can talk to pretty much anybody who's had a successful prep and they say, wow, there's nothing like a prep when I'm, you know, there's a certain period of where you fall off dramatically as far as like energy and mood and focus. But there is a, there is a good sweet spot where you're making progress towards a goal that is looming very high. Um, you know, okay, getting on stage, very shredded in this bikini in front of people. So you have this goal that you're working towards and you're creating these discipline Neri habits everyday and you're achieving these goals. It's a very, very like upward climb, which is awesome. And people could attribute this to really any kind of athletics that they've ever done, any, um, with business that they've done.So there's a lot of like parallels with other things. I think that a lot of people can just thrive with bodybuilding because, you know, not everybody's gonna make a build $1 billion business, but you could get on stage and go through these trials. So I think that's where a lot of the positives come from. Really just kind of learning like, Hey, what am I capable of? Like what can I do? What kind of discipline can I create in my life? But like I said, there is this climb, which inevitably if you allow it, we'll have a subsequent crash. So I do find that a lot of people will crash and they'll crash very, very hard after shows. So they've had this goal loomed in their mind, they've poured their soul into it, and then afterwards they put their head up and they go, now what? And for some people that becomes a cascade of all these, you know, mental disruptions, hormonal disruptions, eating behavior disruptions, or they might become what people say is addicted to competing cause there's, they don't know how to now live their life without it. So they just, Oh, I'll do another show, I'll do another show, I'll do another show. And they're putting away those adaptations. But eventually it's just going to keep, it's going to crash down if you aren't. Um, if you're not in this for the long haul and if you can't detach yourself and say, hey, you know, I had a great season, but now it's time to hang this up. I can't look like this year round. I can't, you know, perform and act like this year round. So now we have to take some time away from the stage.Now this may be a little bit more selfish on my part because it's something that I've always wanted to learn about since I've started this podcast and I feel like this is a very great episode to get into that. But you mentioned this, um, this climb, right? And that eventually there could be a crash unless you are really protecting yourself against it in terms of maybe competing frequency, uh, the amount of stress you're putting through your body at any given time, whether you're taking, you know, a, a two or three week break or six week break versus like several months to let your body rest. Right? So now I want to get a little more into that strategy of competing and really the direction that you, um, try to help people go to make kind of more of a lifelong sport out of it. So can you put a number maybe in each year, like how many times somebody should compete, you know, not 30 times a year, right? But not necessarily just one, right? Is there kind of a number you can put to that?So it's so challenging to give a specific number because I know a few gradients. So if somebody is looking to compete just to have fun, that's a totally different story versus somebody who is looking to compete to be the most competitive person possible versus somebody who's pretty much there. We just need to compete and get them seen in order to have the results awarded, right? Like in most cases, the pro card. So for the person who's just looking to compete and have fun, Hey, you know, let's do a few shows and then, you know, what kind of reassess from there, but it's not as, um, you know, that person might not be looking to do years of competing. They might like to do a season or two ahead. This is great. Um, you know, we still need to take proper reverses, um, but it's a little bit different than if somebody is like, hey, I want to be a lifelong bodybuilder.Right? Or not necessarily lifelong, but a long career bodybuilder. Um, so a good rule of thumb, just as a really general rule, uh, is people need to take, you know, say you tired at four or five months, ideally should be taking at minimum five months off in an off season before you even start dieting again. Now, does that always happen? No. Have I pushed clients to go before that? Yes. Have I pushed myself to go before that? Yes. For some people, they are in a position to where they've built enough muscle mass, they've built enough shape, they've built the right eating behaviors hormonally, they're in the right place metabolically, they're in the right place. Hey, we can push it a little bit sooner. Um, if they are very competitive, if they need to take more time in order to bring more competitiveness, no, that person needs to take significantly more time off because they do take time off of dieting in a way to get back to normal.But now they also need to grow and make changes. So I know that is like not an answer at all, but there is really no direct way of saying, Hey, somebody should compete, you know, in this kind of a frequency. Now I will say that what I find to be better, it is for people to have longer, slower preps, really, really empty it out, do a handful of shows when they're ready and then, you know, really maximize the entire season. So then we can feel confident, hey, we did everything we could. Now we're going to take an extended off season. Um, so I'm not afraid of people doing several shows per season. Um, but they do need to be in a logical order. Like you're not going to do a show in March and then September and then November, like that is not a good strategy. Um, you know, unless you are reversing into the shows and doing things that, which some people do. Um, and then that's a whole different conversation as well. Um, but does that kind of answer it?Yeah, no, that's perfect. And I should have been a little more specific or that's fine. Generalized. Yeah.No, it's fine. There's just so many different levels to it. Um, and that's why I hate saying one thing, which I know is like the bane of existence. For people listening because they want to know, hey, what is the answer? But there really is no one right answer because somebody could do a show or to look great. Hey, we're going to do a show later in the year, so now we're reversing your calories up. We roughly maintained and then we died a little bit down. Bam, we're in a good spot. Other people, hey, we really, really push it. We do three shows and no, you need at least a year off before we even start dieting again. You know, so there's so many different, um, ways that you can handle it. Um, and it ultimately comes down to where the person at is both physically well I guess three ways physically, mentally and metabolically.That makes sense. And I, it makes a lot of sense in the fact that nobody is the same. Right? Everybody is different. And I like how you pointed out that whether you're just competing to have fun versus someone who's lifelong versus, you know, someone who wants to do a short run of several shows versus someone who wants to compete, you know, several times throughout the year, there's to be different approaches through all of that. So when it comes to training and having a coach to actually guide you through that, uh, I think one of the things we'd talked about previously was really how does someone know when the right time is to find a coach to work with? Because that's something I feel like a lot of people don't really know when that time is.Yes. Uh, and then you'll get the emails, hey, I want to do a show in 12 weeks. Nope. Well not with me. You're certainly not doing that. Um, and that with any, any of our coaches. Um, so for whatever reason, long time ago, like there were like a thing where people thought, oh, every week is 12, every prep is 12 weeks or something like that right there that, oh, I can just get ready in 12 weeks, 12 weeks, 12 weeks became this magical number. And there's really nothing magical behind 12 weeks to be super honest. And I'm also being really honest. Most people need a lot more than 12 weeks. Um, especially females, especially natural females. So the faster that you diet, the harsher, um, the adaptations are going to be and potentially the higher risk for muscle loss you're at, you're out the higher risk for muscle loss.And that is obviously what we're trying to avoid. Now somebody is taking performance enhancing drugs of any kind that will help with muscle building. Well, they can typically hold onto muscle a lot easier so they can do shorter diets. Um, and this is not a knock against any of that. It's just the reality. If you are taking pains you will be able to diet it for shorter and for long, shorter and harder and typically not see the muscle loss that you will as a natural athlete. Um, so that is going to be some tickets consideration as well. But not even just the life of the prep. We are looking at as team local fit for clients to work with us before they prep. Even if somebody is in the absolute perfect situation, they emails their questionnaire, they haven't died in in months. Their calories are up high, they're not doing a lot of cardio.They're in a great place. Mentally. I am still at minimum doing at least a month with them of off season before we decided to do a prep. Most people, it is subsequent. It is substantially longer than a month. And I would say that really if you're looking to do a show, just backtrack a whole year from now, take six months to work with the coach beforehand and the off season to really get things dialed in and then take at least six months to diet for that first show. Um, that I know that sounds insane to some people listening that you could say today when you're listening, hey, I want to do a show and it's September 3rd so I'm going to do shows September 3rd of 2020 and you really need to start that process now. So, um, especially if somebody's new and they don't have experience, but also somebody who is experienced and they've been through the ringer with dieting, we're typically gonna need a little bit of a longer period in that off-season beforehand with them.So That's interesting because I, and again, it's different for everybody, right? But I knew that it wasn't so short term as you know, 12 weeks or five months. But I think that that's interesting that you mentioned an entire year to be able to one kind of get things settled into the right spot. And then when the time comes so you're not, you know, crash dieting the whole time, then the coach can say, okay, now we're going to shift gears and start the direction. It's more going to focus on getting you show ready[inaudible] there. Cause there was a lot to it as far as okay, off season you're really looking to, you know, not only build up calories, you know, you want to make sure your hormones in the right place. You want to make sure that training is hard and you're actually recovering, which means that you're, you know, a new muscle growth. Um, and you want to also want to make sure that your mindset and your habits are in the right place because no healthy habits are really built during a contest prep. Um, you're pretty much just trying to survive and you're trying to hold onto the habits that you've built. So really healthy habits need to be built in that off season period. Um, and that consistency needs to be built in so that when you do make the switch for prep, it's not like, Oh wow, I've just been doing whatever I want for the past few months, now I'm going to get super ultra aggressive.No, our boss, our brains just simply did not work like that. Um, and I haven't really found any success people who do that. So working with somebody beforehand to get all those things in the right place is really, really key. So when you do make that switch to contests, you're in a much better place, you know, on all fronts and that way you can actually make progress. And really the ultimate goal is to start dieting for the show and be ready early. So I know people can't even imagine that either, but it's like, hey, if we can be ready early, we can now, you know, maintain this new weight that we're at. We can probably add a little bit of food, pull a little bit of cardio, you're going to look a lot better for the show. You're going to be a little bit more rested, have less inflammation. There's so many great things that you can do when diets are long, especially, you know, you could do a diet Reiki for refills, but if you're crunched, hey, I got nine weeks. No, it's just not gonna work.So would you say that with ar in some extreme cases, right? Like, and I don't know how to define what extreme would be that it would take longer than a year. Perhaps even someone who might be in a, uh, a worst case physically and might have a little bit more to go. Possibly having them go for, you know, six months on their own trying to improve things that are simple. Possibly using your plan that you have on your website where it's, here's, here's your macro setup, it's a onetime set up. Right. I found that really valuable because a lot of people, I feel like they don't know where to even start. And I think going to a coach is going to be really costly. So, I guess my question would be, um, you know, someone who's maybe got to lose 30, 40 pounds of fat to be able to get down to even a single digit area, would that still be a here or what would be your take on that?So it depends on what is that 30, 40 pounds on a male? Is it 30, 40 pounds on a female? Um, how much muscle mass do they have? What is their dieting history like? Um, if they have, let's just say worst case scenario, they've had a pretty substantial diet in history. Now they are 30 to 40 pounds over what we would want for even a contest prep week. And they don't have a ton of muscle. Yes, it's going to take them a little bit longer. Um, versus somebody who's, you know, done on the right things and maybe they gained a little bit more weight than they would've liked to, but they've taken time off of dieting and they've really, um, you know, have built up a solid foundation underneath. But in, in the first case, which I think is probably what you're alluding to, I would say that yes it might take even longer.And what we do with a lot of clients, um, who are, you know, let's say at a body weight or body fat that they don't necessarily want to be at is we'll do these cycles of like reversing and then dieting, reversing and then dieting and not necessarily a competition. They're just like a regular diet. We're trying to get some weight off and the whole goal is eventually to be able to maintain and a lower body fat with, you know, a little bit more calories. So that is a slow process. But we do have the calculation, the macro calculations for that reason. So for people who don't necessarily either want coaching or they can't afford it, we have several options for people as far as one time macro calculation. So basically somebody fills out all this information and based on their goal and say, hey, um, you know, this is what I would recommend for the macros.Do this for the next two months, three months, whatever, come back, give me your information again. We'll do a new calculation, you know, you just purchased a new one, I'll revamp it, et cetera, et cetera. Um, we also have training programs on there. We have subscription training programs also. Um, and then there's also the Skype consults. Like, Hey, if you just want to call and ask questions, but again, don't necessarily want to do, have a coach. I've done that for a lot of people, like Perry, you know, console with a macro calculation, hey, let's go do this for three months and then come back to me. So there's all different options for people, um, based on kind of where they're at. And that is why we like to offer those. Um, but yeah, feasibly, for somebody who is, let's say on the higher end of body fat, um, and they don't necessarily have the best base, then yes, it's gonna it might be even longer than a year. Now, one more caveat. You can totally get on stage looking however you want to look. There is absolutely no, um, requirements. But if you're, you know, if somebody is like, hey, you know, I know reasonably I probably have about 40 pounds to lose and not enough muscle and I want to look really, really great on stage. I'm willing to do what it takes. Okay. Yeah. It might take a year and a half, two years.Thank you for answering that. And I, I like to kind of see the different, the different angles of things, right? Because understanding, you know, maybe someone who's in a significant physical condition different than you know, another person is, is very important. And I think it helps people really see that there is no one size fits all. So even if you know, they'd go onto your website or talk to a friend who maybe even is a coach, right? Whatever they can do, get some input because it's not just, they're not going to find something on Google that just says, here's what everybody does. Granted, there are definitely things that work like I wanted to call out on your website. There's actually a free pdf that you guys have the do's and don'ts for fat loss. And I think that all the stuff in there is great. Right. A great, great starting point.Thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah, we wrote it, you know, as a starting point. Um, and I'm not sure when this will necessarily come out, but we do have a new, um, foundations of food education ebook coming out as well too. That will be, um, a lot more in depth than that one. But I'm pretty excited about that as well. And that really is, you know, we kind of started realizing like, Hey, there's a lot of people who don't even know where to start and that is really the hardest part for people. So, um, I appreciate that. You like that book?Yeah. I haven't gone through the whole thing yet. I just, I looked through the first, you know, chapter two, I went to the different items that were listed on there, but, uh, I think that I'll go ahead and put the link for your site in the show notes as well. But that way whenever someone listens to this, they can go check it out and see if that new pdf that you're mentioning is going to be there of to tie things more to an end. I would like to ask if you had one single message, and I ask all my guests this and my audiences are probably getting tired of hearing it, but if you had one single message that you could give to the community, um, whether it's just life related or fitness specifically, what would that one message be?You really have to consistently educate yourself, um, and not be afraid to learn or try new things. And I know that probably sounds really cliche, um, but I think that a lot of people either get stuck maybe in their own ways like, hey, this has worked before, so I'm always going to do this with people I'm like with clients or myself. Um, and some people just stop kind of learning in general. So I know that it's easy to fall into that trap, especially if you're not in an academic setting anymore. And you know, nobody's forcing you to read research or read a book or anything like that, but really making sure that you're diving head first into your own education as well. Um, whether it is, you know, listening to podcasts, watching youtube videos, reading research, reading research reviews, um, you know, ebooks, regular books, like there's so many different ways to educate yourself and you might listen or read or hear about things that maybe aren't the best and not as kind of, I know where a lot of people get confused because there's so much information out there with people differing and beliefs.But what I would say is make sure that you follow or listen to people who are, you know, fairly, you know, contextual and nuanced in their approach. And then you're generally going to be in a good spot if you're listening to people who are like, hey, you got to do this because of, you know, some crazy thing that they list off that's a little, you know, it's a red flag to me. Um, even now, even if I've been doing this for a long time, and I know you know, a lot of, you know, some of the research, but there's so much, right? You can't know everything. So if somebody who, you know, theoretically knows more than you, right, even people with mds, you know, and which everybody holds to a super high regard will sometimes, you know, use that title and in a way that is not very truthful, right?They might write a book and Oh, I'm an MD, I'll just stop it on there and they're writing less nonsense. So, you know, sometimes people will look at that and say, oh, I got to trust these people and not always. So I'm always wary. I always want people to learn and read things from everybody, you know, but stick to the people who have the very nuanced and contextual approach. Um, and ultimately, you know, the bad information, what kind of sift out. Um, and if it's not harmful, I would say try it. There's no hurt, there's no harm and trying things if they're not going to hurt you, obviously be careful with some things. Um, but yeah, so education is really the, the most important thing to me and my team of coaches as well. Um, and that's really our mission in general is to educate more people. Um, so yeah, that's a really big thing in that I would recommend to everybody.I really liked that because I went through a little bit on your website before this and looked through your mission statement and you actually talk about how you blend evidence based practices and then also in the trench experience. So I think that really echoes what you're saying with if we can just continually educate ourselves and make sure that we're trying the things that aren't blatantly harmful, uh, to try to see what works for us. You know, they're the things that are going to work differently for everybody. Everybody's body is different. The fundamental, I guess, principles of the human body are the same across the board, but things happen in different amounts and quantities, right? So people are different. But, uh, I think that's really great and I really appreciate your time. I think this has been wonderful and there's been a lot of value that people can take from this. And I really hope that people will, uh, go look at your podcast and see how you can educate people on their and, and go check out your website too, because I think that you've got a lot to offer. But other than, you know, your website and your podcast, what would you say that people could do to reach out to you, whether it's, you know, on your, you know, website or Instagram even.Yeah. So first of all, I really appreciate you having me on. Um, I hope that everybody got a lot out of this. Um, so thank you for asking great questions. Um, but yeah, our website has all the information about us. You can also email directly through there any questions that you might have. Um, do you have a few resources as far as content goes? So on the website you'll see some more test subscribe. So there is, um, a free newsletter. So you just put your email in and you're on the newsletter and we don't spam, but it's, you know, educational stuff on there that you know, is written by myself or one of the other coaches. So we have an educational article every week and we also have a free Matt every week. So that's a fun thing. Um, I just started, um, with the team, the team look if it round table.So it is a podcast with all the different coaches kind of weighing in on different topics. So you can search team look with at round table on iTunes, Spotify, Youtube. Um, my Instagram is at Lauren Conlan, l e U R I n c o n L. I n a. The team pages, attic team logo fit. Uh, I do have a youtube channel as well. She's Lauren Conlin. Spell my name right. L E U R I n. A. And the near two podcasts that I cohost a redefine healthy radio with Paul Ravello and the unglamorous life with Celeste Bone-in. So you can find all that information on our site or my social medias. And Yeah. Again, it's just about putting out quality information. That is our goal and if you want to reach out, shoot me a message on Instagram, but even better would just be to send an email because I operate a lot better at email than the kids these days who love dms, but I'm more of an email person, so yeah.Awesome. Well, yeah, I really appreciate that. I'll make sure to put some of those in the notes and thank you very much for your time today.Yeah, thank you so much John. Thank you everybody for listening.Thanks again listening and I hope you enjoyed the show. Make sure to subscribe if you're not already and I'd like to give a brief shout out to spartan carton. We recently sent me one of their monthly subscription boxes. If you want to try new things and aren't sure where to start, then this may be the box for you. A link to my youtube review of their citizen box is in the description below. You'll also get 10% off by using code j barked fifth. Thanks again for watching and we'll see you on the next episode.

Three Pillars of Success

Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. In this episode, I am trying something a little different here and I’m not having a guest on with me today. I will be discussing the three pillars of success. Now, this is a concept that I’ve put together over the past few months that I truly believe will help anyone reach any goal that they desire to achieve.

Thanks for tuning in and I hope you enjoy the show. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been sort of in a rut with my own personal fitness and in terms of business I feel like I’ve been changing things in order to try to find what I enjoy most. So this video is really going to attempt to kind of restart my own thinking and bring a new perspective to the community.

You know, when it comes to their own health and fitness. Now I haven’t usually been one to do CrossFit workouts. I’ve experienced a few with a friend of mine at the gym, but it’s not particularly something that I have gotten into. However, one thing that I do definitely like about the CrossFit philosophy is that they define health and fitness in a very clear way. That is easy for me to understand. Fitness can be defined as an increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. In other words, as we choose to participate in activities that are going to increase our performance, our speed, our ability to do certain things, then our fitness level is increasing and our health is judged by the amount that we do over time of increasing our fitness level.

When thinking about the so-called buzzword of health and fitness, if we break it down into smaller pieces, it starts to make a lot more sense rather than this stereotypical concept that people try to sell through programs, platforms, different things that become more of a capitalist industry rather than a community. My goal is to try to convert fitness back into the community that it should be and focus less on the income-based activities regardless of age, gender, weight, or any other circumstance or aspect of someone’s life. If we think about fitness as the ability to increase our capacity to do something than health would focus our goal on trying to accomplish that over time.

This, of course, is relative to each individual. Many people are in different stages of their life. One person might be trying to compete on an Olympic level or professional level, whether that’s through Olympic weight lifts or sport events in swimming, volleyball, baseball, football. There could be activities such as gymnastics where if people are trying to compete those higher levels for those individuals might not be the same. However, the concept is when you talk about someone who may be recovering from a physical impairment or maybe even a mental aspect of their life, that they’re trying to improve something about themselves in order to accomplish any goal. I believe that there are three pillars of success, three things that are vital to being able to accomplish any goal, whether it is in fitness or life in general. In a recent podcast, I had a guest on the show who quoted something from Earl Nightingale.

“Success is really nothing more than the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. This means that any person who knows what they’re doing and where they’re going is a success. Any person with a goal towards which they are working is a successful person.” – Earl Nightingale

So in short success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. So anything that you desire to put your mind to as long as you are working towards that goal, that is considered success. Not a destination but a journey. To this end, I wished to outline the three pillars which I believe truly help us progress towards that worthy ideal, whether it’s improving our health and fitness, bettering ourselves as individuals or whatever that worthy ideal may be. Now jumping into these three pillars, the first one is knowledge. Everything that we do should be based on sound principles that we learn, whether that’s through experience or through study or from someone else such as a mentor, maybe youtube videos or even this podcast video. Wherever you are listening or watching. That is a way that you can earn more knowledge specifically related to health and fitness. Some of the things that we need to learn before we can begin doing anything else is where we want to go or who we want to become.

I am currently in a state of around 250 pounds and if I realize that I want to gain 15 pounds or maybe I want to lose 20 pounds, that goal is where I need to learn first. What should I expect it to look like? These goals could include things such as physical appearance, body composition, performance such as strength or speed, wellbeing, overall feelings of self-worth or how we want to feel when we wake up in the morning. If we like how we feel, not simply how we look. It doesn’t all have to be about our weight or body fat or strength or speed. It can be simply we want to feel better as an individual. Other things to consider when trying to increase our knowledge would be a nutrition exercise, activities, a different diet strategies that we may want to try and see if that works for us.

Whether that’s Keto, Paleo, whole 30 macro counting or just simply intuitive eating. There are many things that we can use to implement that we’ll then be able to help us achieve our goals. Now, there is no one size fits all and this may be something that I repeat over and over again, but as individuals, there are basic principles that apply in general. However, when you type your numbers into a calculator to figure out how many calories you have to eat, that number is just a baseline. Everyone reacts differently to different things in different levels. The concepts are similar, but in practice, that’s where we need to figure out what works best for us. Now, there are different levels of knowledge that I can get into.

If you look up a picture of an iceberg, you’ll often see that there’s 10% of the iceberg above the water and 90% below. So when you just see the top, there’s much more than you can go into and much more that you can see with that same principle applies. If all you want to know is the types of foods that you should be eating to feel healthier, great. You don’t have to dig in and learn about the micronutrients and macronutrients and the body’s physiological response to consuming those foods or supplements at different times and everything else. You don’t have to go into that depth. If you choose to, then you can. So what I can recommend is that you start with simple foundations. I for one, and basically thinking that everything that I’ve learned in the past, I’m going to start with a clean slate and start researching and start studying and start implementing things in my own fitness as if I did not know anything. So I’m starting from scratch and then going from the very surface and then digging deeper.

As I start to go through that and redevelop the things that I know, I will be able to implement certain things that I may not have seen before. There’s a quote that I found by Daniel j Boston that I really want to share because I feel like this is significant with respects to this topic of knowledge. The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge. So sometimes I personally get so wrapped up in things that I think I know that I might not actually know the basic principles and be able to apply them accurately in my own life. Focus first on learning directly what applies to you. Then increase in-depth for each topic. For example, eating or exercising. Start at the surface level and then go deeper as you need to determine what goal you want to work towards.Whether that’s weight loss, weight gain, muscle building. If you want to be faster at swimming or if you want to be stronger in a certain sport or activity. If you want to feel healthier as a person, find out what that goal is and write it down. Learn those principles and then decide how you can personally apply them in your life.

This would then lead us to the second pillar of success, specifically related to health and fitness, which is planning. Planning is the process of thinking about the activities required to obtain a specific goal which involves creation, maintenance, and review of that plan. Everything that we learned can then be put into a plan which will then lead us to where we want to go. The goal that we want to achieve. Read the notes you took on what you’ve learned and write down the things that you need to apply to reach your goal.Now let’s talk about goals for a second. When we’re creating a plan, we have to figure out where we are going. In other terms, what is our goal? We have to figure out where we are and then we have to draw that path that takes us from where we are to where we want to be. A lot of times you may have heard of smart goals, which are goals that have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, or in other words, time-based. So let’s take for example the goal that I’m working on at this moment in my life. I’m 255 pounds and I’ve been floating around two 50 to two 60 for a while and I felt pretty good. My goal is to lose 10 more pounds, so that is a very specific goal and it’s measurable because I can actually measure the amount of weight that I lose or gain over time to then track this goal.

Now I want to accomplish this within the next 10 weeks, so that will be one pound each week, which is a fairly reasonable amount, so it’s achievable and it’s time-oriented. So I have identified where I want to go. It’s 245 pounds. I’ve identified where I’m at 255 pounds and how I’m going to get there are going to be through the rest of the plan. I have not actually created this plan, but I will tell you what I have thought of to be able to get there because of their basic principles that I’ve learned over the years. Exercise and nutrition, those two are the key principles. These stereotypical eat less and do more. It’s very simplified, but if I am able to implement let’s say four to five workouts per week and each one is about 40 to 50 minutes long, where I’m able to increase my heart rate, essentially do more, right, I can plan out those activities through the week.

Now when it comes to nutrition, I would put in my plan, I’m going to eat x number of calories and I, and I’ll probably just pick around 2100 because I know how much I’ve been eating and I know what my weight’s been doing, so I can guesstimate by uh, decreasing that a certain amount that I will be able to have a weight loss effect. So about 2100 calories is what I will eat each day. Now when it comes to breaking that down into proteins, carbs and fats are, in other words, food sources. I’ll aim for about 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. Those numbers may change, but again, before I write this plan out, I need to obtain that knowledge to be able to then write my plan. In either case. If you want to use a personal trainer, that is great. Otherwise, these three pillars can help you obtain those goals on your own or supplement what you do with a personal trainer. Now when it comes to creating this plan, I would strongly urge you to write it down or create some sort of big digital tracking sheet that you can be very specific with and hold yourself accountable. So make sure that you do day by day and include what you’re eating and what you’re doing for exercise that day. If you want to be very specific, like with your food, exactly what you’re eating, great. If you just want a certain number of calories, great. If you just want to follow a diet plan, make sure you’re in Ketosis or that you’re following the whole 30 food guidelines, whichever diet strategy you pick, be very specific with what your plan is and writing that down in terms of activities, document what days you’re working out, even what times if you want to make sure you write what you’ll be doing, and again, you can be as specific or general as you want.

For me, I would write down, you know, 20 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weightlifting, and then a five to 10 minute cool down with stretching or something like that. But make sure that you write it down because that is part of the second pillar of planning and it’s very important, which then leads us into the third pillar, which is execution. Execution is the act of carrying out or putting in place a plan, order or course of action. So when it comes to this third pillar, this is what everything else has led to. First, you obtained the knowledge that you need in order to be able to create a plan which you then execute. Now, this execution sometimes is the most difficult part. If you have to make time on a busy schedule where you have to figure out, well, how on earth am I going to fit in this, in this exercise? Or how am I going to meal prep or, or make these, this food that I have to eat to be able to reach my goals. Now for me, this has actually been quite a struggle with so many things going on in my schedule. It’s hard to find that time to be able to make sure that these things get carried out. So again, as part of this whole refresh process, I only need to go through and make sure that I’m dedicating certain amounts of time to the things I need to reach my goals. Now when a personal trainer comes into play, if you have an in-person personal trainer, they can help you execute on a form level or making sure you’re doing the right intensity coaching you through various exercises.

They can see weaknesses that you might need to be able to strengthen. There are a lot of benefits. There are also online programs. I did have a podcast recently with team flex where they do online training and online coaching and they have a very successful program. So that execution is then placed more on the individual to be able to find the time, do the activities, eat the right things, and then report back to their trainer. So like I said, whatever format may work for you, make sure that that execution is, is there, and then as part of that execution, this third pillar of success, you then need to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on, how you feel, what sort of things you are reacting to or like or don’t like. And then if you’re working with a trainer, report back to that trainer, but write that down so you can then repeat this process of these three pillars of success.

Go back to the knowledge phase and then figure out what else do I need to know to make myself better or to improve or to maybe help others. You then learn again whether through experience or studying or what other methods you learned from and then revisit your plan. At this point, you then change the plan, adjust the plan, adapt to whatever circumstances there are or create a whole new plan and then use that to go back through to the execution phase. So when all of a sudden done, these three pillars have no specific time allotment. You aren’t spending a week on knowledge and learning. You aren’t spending a week on planning. It’s a very fluid process. So these three pillars are very key to be able to achieve any goal and that is truly what I believe. Now, specifically with health and fitness, I am going to be creating content around these three pillars to be able to help you implement them in your own life. I want to try to help people reach their goals, whether that’s weight loss or building muscle or just feeling healthier. This is what I’m passionate about. So if you like what you hear in this video or if you’re listening to this on podcasts, whether that’s Spotify or iTunes or wherever, please subscribe to whichever platform this is on youtube, Instagram, podcasts, Twitter, anywhere that you see me online, please make sure you subscribe if this is something that you’re interested in because my whole goal is to be able to reach out and add value to people in the fitness community.

That’s the whole reason why I started my podcast. I started by interviewing people because I want to learn from others’ experience and share their value with the community. I’m tired of the fitness quote-unquote industry and I want it to become more of a community where we are focused on helping each other and not just simply trying to sell something to somebody else to earn money. Yes, I do have affiliates that I’m partnered with. However, I do not believe in promoting something that I don’t use myself and that I don’t believe in. So again, if you want to support the things that I do, feel free to use those affiliate links there in my Instagram bio on my website, youtube description, wherever I’m not going to be the one that forced feeds these to my audience, but simply wish you to choose whatever may benefit you the most if that’s something that you would like.

I really appreciate you watching this video or listening on this podcast, wherever it is that you’re hearing this or watching this and again, please subscribe. Give it a thumbs up like it. Write a review wherever you’re at every little bit helps to get this message out to more people so that we can start making the world a better place by creating positive content and sending positive messages to those that we interface with, whether that’s online or in-person or wherever that may be. Thanks again for listening to the John Barker Fitness podcast. If you liked what you heard, please go ahead and subscribe to this podcast.

Also check out the video on Youtube, which is in the show notes as well. Please share this episode with your family and friends and if you have any questions, please, please, please reach out to me on Instagram @jbarkfit or shoot me an email through my website, John Barker, fitness.com and I will be there to help through anything that you need with your own health and fitness journey. Thanks again and we’ll see you on the next one.

Achieving Results and Inspiring Others – Interview with Ryan Milton

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Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness Podcast. Today’s guest is the founder and CEO of Team Fflex who coaches clients worldwide and is certified with over 8 years of experience.

Today he gives insight into his own health and fitness transformation, and shares extraordinary levels of enthusiasm and motivation to help you reach sustainable goals. Welcome to the show, Ryan Milton.

Want to listen to the interview?

You can find Ryan on Instagram at @teamfflex or on FunctionalFlex.com

Lastly, don't forget to leave a review for this show on whichever podcast player you use, and make sure you subscribe for more health and fitness content.

If you like what you hear, support my website and this podcast by visiting our affiliate page.

Episode Transcript

John: Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. Today's guest is the founder and CEO of teen flex who coaches clients worldwide and is certified with over eight years of experience today. He gives insight into his own health and fitness transformation and shares extraordinary levels of enthusiasm and motivation to help you reach sustainable goals. Welcome to the show, Ryan. Milton, I appreciate you coming on the show and, and take

John: Time out of your busy schedule. I know you've got a lot going on, especially getting ready for a Olympia coming up here in the next couple of weeks, right? Yeah man. Olympia as it's coming up like it's two weeks now, right? So, yeah, getting ready, getting ready, the booths, you know, getting set up and everything so it's going to be good. Yeah, that's awesome. It's exciting to run a booth. I did one. I'm still gonna try and make it out there and see what you guys got going on. Cause I really like what you know, what you guys represent, but we'll get into that. So to start out though, I just want to have you introduce yourself, kind of who you are, what you do, and then we can jump into a little more pointed questions.

Ryan: Right on man. Yeah. So name is Ryan Milton you know, CEO, founder of team flex. I have some other businesses as well, but team flex is basically online training where we do everything, you know, from lifestyle type clients with normal kind of everyday goals, weight loss, muscle building, stuff like that too. Also, competitors' trained some Hollywood actors and musicians and you know, stuff like that too. So we kind of train a little bit of everybody and we do it online veal via our mobile coaching app. And so basically you can get, you know, the workouts you want, the nutrition you need, everything kind of that you could get in the gym with a trainer worldwide. And so that's kind of what team flex is. It's what I do day in, day out and manage team of coaches apparel, you know, booth representatives, all kinds of stuff. And we're basically just all over the place. It's a lot of fun.

John: Nice. And you said, you said global, so you do all over the world.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we got a clients in many different countries. I trained people in Canada, the UK, Australia, you know, kind of all over because when you're online like I am and you know, you're able to deliver coaching via an app, I'm really, you're limitless to where you can go right anywhere. Anyone has a smart phone and they can get on the app, interface themselves, then it's good to go. You can get coaching from team flex and that's kind of how it works. So been worldwide now for a few years, training people in different countries and it works really well because it's basically the same as if you were just down the street from me and you could do the same quality of training. In other words.

John: Yeah. That, that makes a lot of sense. Online is definitely made the ability to branch out, become more available to to people. And I actually went ahead and you do something on your site and you're gonna explain it a little better. But I went on and I think it was yesterday signed up for you. You have like a free trial thing or something. They want you to explain that a little bit cause I actually signed up for it in the app. Looks pretty cool. Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. So the free trial is something that I offer to anyone that wants to just check the app out basically or get seven days of free coaching. So it's a week long trial. And the reason I have it is, you know a couple of reasons, right? So like there's people out there that might want to train her but you can't per se four to go get one at the gym or something like that and you might need some direction. The seven day free trial is great for you because you can come in and try it out. I can set you up with some workouts and stuff that I would suggest for you and you can kind of, you know, utilize it in whatever way fits for you. So you could take that and run with it. Or you know, maybe you want to get a coaching program.

Ryan: It's a lot more cost effective than getting a trainer in the gym most of the time. And also, you know, just because of the fact that people don't know what it online training can really look like yet. Right. Like a lot of the online training that's out there is in the infantile state of it, if that's a good word for it. You know, people are still doing the PDF programs and they're doing, you know, stuff like that. And not that that's bad or anything like that, but the app is way more interactive than a lot of people when I try to explain it, they just don't understand exactly what I'm saying yet. You know, like I'm not sending you the PDF meal plan or a pdf workout program you're going to fill out with a pencil. It's all actually in an app and it's all actually built for you. So the reason that we do the seven day trial so that people are able to check that out, kind of see what that looks like, hopefully get some value from it. Either way, whether or not you end up purchasing, seeing a program or not, you still gonna get value out of it and I can hopefully give you something out of it, whether you're experienced or you're just a beginner that's going to help you, you know, take your goals to the next level.

John: I liked that a lot and that, I'm just going to throw this out there, that I'll, I'll put it in the show notes as well, a link to that to be able to have people sign up for that trial because I really like how it's laid out here and you know, this won't be the focus of what we're going to go into, but you know, the Co goes over plans tr it ties into my fitness pal and fitbit so we can pull information from other places that people might already use. So I won't focus too much on that cause I wanna get really more into the meat of what we're going to talk about. But

Ryan: Yeah. Perfect. We'll do that man. I appreciate it. And I'll get you set up with some workouts here too. Maybe we'll start on Monday, check it out, you know? Yeah, yeah.

John: So team flex, where, where'd you get the name from? What's, what's the story behind that?

Ryan: Yeah, team flex. Okay. So actually it's not the first name for this company, the first name for this company. When I first started at years and years ago like four or five years ago, it was called flex active training. And so that was like in the initial phase of me building it, kind of figuring out the online training game, going from being a trainer in the gym to figure out how I'd map that online and still give people results, you know? Basically that all stemmed from the fact that I want to help more people than I could in a gym at a day job. You know what I mean? So I want to get online and be able to deliver it. And so anyway, the first thing was flex active, then it became functional flex. And that was kind of the, when I came out of the, you know, the woodworks with it and really released it, it became functional flex.

Ryan: And so as time went on I decided to change that name to the team ff Lex team flex, which is basically functional flex, abbreviated right with the team in front of it. And so it's kind of the same name, but it's also not the whole purpose behind the name. Functional flex fitness was the idea that to me the word functional and it means to serve a purpose, right? So functional can mean anything depending on where you hear it or who's talking about it. A lot of people talk about functional training and stuff like that. To me, functional is to serve a purpose. Okay. And then flex is Kinda like, you know, the ability to have confidence and you know, show off your, whatever you've done, the achievements, the transformations, you know, the ability, the kind of the external environment or whatever you're trying to do.

Ryan: That can be physical, that can be mental. And then, you know, fitness obviously ropes it into whatever your goal is. So for me, the initial name, functional flex fitness was what came out. And that was basically that your training should have a purpose. It should suit to build the lifestyle that you want and you know, whatever goals you got, you're going to get them done. And that's kind of why I roped it in. It became team flex over time as we went on simply because, you know, functional flex fitness is a very mouthful name. And with that, you know, it's a lot to put out there and it's a lot of things. And then over time everything kind of developed into this team environment, right? Like all the clients and all the athletes that I work with were very active on social media and stuff like that.

Ryan: A lot of them have their own little groups that are part of for accountability and stuff. And so it really became this team environment where, okay, it's, it doesn't matter if people are competing or if they're just, you know, lifestyle type clients trying to lose weight or build muscle. Like all these people share one thing in common and that is to grow, that is to become better. And then I was like, okay, this is a team. Now. This isn't just, you know, everybody's out here doing one, one for themselves. They're all trying to help each other get there faster. And so then I kinda just abbreviated it to team flex and that's what's taken off since then. I'll probably keep that for awhile. Hopefully not change it again.

John: Well that's a really awesome name. I like it because it's catchy. And at first I thought, well maybe the second deaf in there is just to kind of add a little bit of flare to it. But there's actually a story behind it, which is really cool. And I, what I kind of pulled out from that is what it captures is essentially the community aspect of doing things that are with purpose and not simply because it's what the world expects people to do in fitness. And then having basically the, the confidence and the courage to show people with the, the end goal of helping them do something with their lives. In turn,

Ryan: That's exactly what it is, man. And like, you know, that's my philosophy for fitness. That's what I've always believed in practice for myself and that's what I want to carry on. And you know the name I put team in the name because I want people to know right away, you know, face value. Even if you are one of the types of judge a book by the cover and you don't know anything else, at least you can see there's that bit, right? You know, there's that bit and it makes sense to the community that team flex really is. That's awesome. So

John: I really want to go a little bit back then, right? Because this is, it's great how you've gotten here and you've got this group and this message that you're putting out. I want to take a step back and ask a little bit about how you got there. So you mentioned briefly to me before that you have kind of your own story, right? So could you go into maybe where you, where you were previously and kind of how you then got through certain to then become who

Ryan: You are today in terms of your own personal fitness? Yeah, for sure. So my journey, I started off actually obese, which everybody, when I tell them that they're like, what, you know, people can't see it now. How does a guy that has a team and all these people that are getting great results in whatever start out like that. But that's how I started, right? So I was a kid in high school that you know, played a lot of video games, ate a lot of junk food and did not exercise, didn't even know what it is. Right. Didn't even know anything about weight training, whatever. It didn't practice it. And so with that I ended up, you know, getting to be like 290 pounds as a like a 15, 16 year old kid and a, I was obese for sure. Like by all standards, got my body fat tested, I was near 40% body fat.

Ryan: And so, you know, I was up there for sure. It took that action into my life at that point. Once I figured all that out and like, you know, I was going through PE is really what did it, I was going through PE weight training. I took in high school and as I'm getting there, you know, you do your initial measurements basically. I don't know how they do it these days, but that's what you did back then. Like you'd start out, they test your body fat, they'd see, you know, kind of where you're at. And then the goal was to go through the program of, you know, P and s improve obviously. And so with that I was going through, you know, watching all these other kids go through and then I get myself tested and I was like far, far above and beyond.

Ryan: And that's when I was kind of the wake up call to me like, okay, something's a little different here man. Like you might not have noticed before, but here you are now. And I think that's what happens to a lot of people kind of branch off that for two seconds. Like a lot of people don't really realize where they're at with their fitness and you know, what level levels should be taking control of it until the pops up randomly. Right. And it can seem like an overnight thing, which is kinda crazy. And also why I think people think they can get results to fix it overnight too. But anyway, back to the story. You know, I figured out, okay, I got to take action on this. And when I started, I was starting from ground zero. Like I've started off worse than I've ever encountered in any clients I've ever trained or coached.

Ryan: Like I started in my parents' garage on a treadmill that was all dusty and covered and stuff and whatever. And I dusted it off and I was like, I gotta get in shape. I got to do something. I don't know what to do yet. Cause I didn't know anything about training or nutrition at this point. I just knew that I had to take action. And so with that I got on the treadmill and did my best to do what I call, you know, a walk now, but it was run back then and it took everything I had in me and I lasted, you know, three, four minutes on the treadmill and that was it. And so I was literally done. My knees were burning my, you know, my lungs. I was huffing and puffing. I was literally felt like I was dying at that point.

Ryan: And I then knew that that was not something that was acceptable, right? Like that was not the standard that I held for my health. That was not what was going to propel me through life being a teenager, being like that. And so I took action on it. Make a long story short, learn how to, you know, eat better, learning how to take control of, you know, figuring out how many times I need to be lifting weights a week, what should I be doing? All that kind of stuff organically. Just absorb like a sponge and took what I liked and kind of discarded the rest. And then within about six months, I lost 90 pounds, which is kind of crazy. It was like a super transformation because I really didn't do anything crazy. And this is why I was telling people, right? It's like a simple shift in any direction can dictate such a huge result that goes both ways.

Ryan: Like, if you're not where you want to be with your goals yet, and you might be a simple shift away from getting there. And the same goes for, you know, getting off course with your goals and things like that. A simple shift can take you the wrong way too. And so in reality, I lost, you know, 90 pounds in that short amount of time, six months. And then I was on a whole new lifestyle and it was a whole different kick. And I loved what I had learned through the process. So, you know, it takes discipline, it takes, you know, educating yourself. It takes trying to look at yourself every day and be better. And it takes, you know, that whole thing to actually achieve any goal realistically. Right. And so with that, I decided, okay, I want to become a trainer and I want to get out here and I want to help people.

Ryan: But at the time, you know, I was not really able to do so. So I had to start at a gym, a work in front desk, and started studying to become a trainer. And so I'd work all day at the front desk of a gym, take the time off to become a trainer, train myself, continue to expand, continue to grow, continue to grow that. And eventually, you know, I climbed to the top of several gyms I was working at where I was fitness director, training trainers basically on how to train and all that kind of stuff, working with tons of clients. And that's when I took it online. You know, to make a, make a five year story a lot shorter. Like I took it online from the time where I was working in gyms with clients day in, day out. You know, everybody's getting great results but I just want to give back more.

Ryan: I wanted to find an ability to give people results worldwide. And so I knew, okay I'm in a town where I can work at one gym, I can see you know, clients all day. I can train teams, which is great cause then you can train, you know, like 20, 30 people at once. I can train one-on-one, I can do all this either way. Like, at the end of the day, I'm not helping as many people as I want to help. And so how do I do that? You know, it came to me that the thing that made the most sense was to get online to figure out how I could deliver similar results, help people, you know, go about their journeys and get online with it. And that's Kinda what I ended up doing, you know, with the app and everything else. And so since that time, I've only been online ever since I have fully went online.

Ryan: I've stayed and that's kind of what the journey was that took me there. It's Kinda crazy to think that it all started with me on a treadmill for four minutes, but you know, everything here is now and that's kind of an important thing. Everybody needs to, I think, you know, realize with any of their goals is a simple shift. Like that can create a whole different environment, right? Like for me to decide one day that, okay, I'm out of shape, I'm over weight, I want to lose weight. Actually transformed into me becoming a trainer, becoming a coach, and helping literally thousands of people now over the years. And so the impact that anybody can have you, your goals, not for yourself, you're right, your goal. A lot of times we can get in our head like I could have thought, okay, I just want to lose the weight for myself so maybe I won't get on the treadmill today cause I'm tired or whatever. I don't want to do the hard work. But in reality that would have, you know, changed the course of what I could've done for everyone else too. And that's the important thing to remember. Your goals are for you, but they're also for the world. You too. That's

John: Really powerful and I'm glad, I'm really glad that you went to that level of answering that question because we hadn't talked to previously and I was going to try to make you bring this up, but you actually just brought it out as part of the story yourself. But it was basically saying that anytime that you're becoming less than your best self, you're basically taking away from what you're able to give back to the world. So those goals that you have, right, you know, maybe someone's overweight or maybe they are struggling with some sort of a, you know, eating disorders, something that they want to reach a goal to become the better person of themselves. It starts with that thought and it starts with the first action, the first step. And you might not know everything to do. But taking that first step is really going to help kind of launch us into what we can become.

John: And I think that's important for the audience to know that you didn't just start, you know, where you're at. People who are on the stage, they don't start like that. People on the football field or wherever, they don't just start like that. They start from the beginning. So I think that your story is absolutely relatable to anybody. Any phase of someone's life. Yeah, absolutely. Cause it's really, even if we're just talking about fitness, it's so relevant to that, but it's actually relevant to every goal, right? Like anything that you want to do in your life, you just got to get started. You're not going to know all the answers. You're not going to know where to go. You're not gonna know, you know the best way to do it. But if you don't start on the path that we can guarantee, one thing is that you'll never get there.

John: Right? So starting on the path and doing what you can to whatever you can do today, right? Like I tell this to anybody, even now, anyone listening to your podcast right now that here's us talking about this, if they got something to not take an action on that they want to do, they should literally do it right now as they listen to us. Right? Like if you're out of shape and you want to get in shape, start doing some pushups, why me and John are talking to you. That's what you should be doing right now. Yeah, that's, that's really funny that you mentioned that. Cause I literally, sometimes we'll just listen to podcasts or whatever it is. Like while I'm on the treadmill at the gym or while I'm on the stairs because if it's something that I just, I know that I have to do because it's what I want to become better at.

John: And you know, you find the ways that will help you get through it. Like with eating for example, it's like, you know, I have to eat certain types of foods or certain macro nutrients to be able to reach my goals. But you know, I don't want to just have boring things all the time. So I teach myself how to cook. I make it possible like basically empowering myself to make those decisions. So the next thing I wanted to kinda touch on is kind of more into where, you know, you talked about team flex have having everything with a purpose, right? And making it a community based team. How important is it that someone can define for themselves what their own purpose is for achieving their goals? Yeah. So it is the number one thing, honestly, like if you don't know what you're set out to do, you're going to bring less than your best to it. You know what I'm saying? So like in reality, if you don't have a very specific thing you're trying to do, then you're never gonna get it done at the level that it could have been done. Right. So, you know, a lot of people do this kind of thing where let's say someone who wants to lose weight, they want to build muscle or

Ryan: Whatever, like yeah, you can say, okay, my goal is to lose weight. So if you're 30 pounds overweight and you say, my goal was to lose weight and you lose one pound technically because you framed it in your head in a way that's not very specific. If you lose one pound, you've achieved that goal. And so that dramatically will change the result that you'll be able to do versus telling yourself, okay, being realistic, I got, and here's a specific number for whatever I'm trying to do. And the truth is about the numbers is they might not be the numbers, right? Like the path is going to change. The journey will guide you differently and you know, you might need to reassess or change your mind or whatever comes along the way. But if you don't have something specific, you're never even going to get on the road towards whatever goal.

Ryan: So I, you know, always tell people that you gotta be fully invested, you got to know exactly what you want and then you gotta put it in the front of your head all the time so that you never lose track of the vision. Cause in reality, right? Like we have a subconscious mind always working with our conscious mind and the subconscious is going to help us get where we want to be faster if we can keep it in the main focus. I think defining, defining that goal is really key. So when it comes to working with people, because you know, whether, whether it's a client or someone who's just in the gym, that's, you know, not working with a coach. Have you ever had an experience where someone says, this is the goal that I want to accomplish, but then you kind of have to coach them and say, well maybe let's not jump to that yet.

Ryan: Let's, let's reach this midway point and kind of see how you feel about it then. Cause maybe you don't want to lose 40 pounds. Maybe you don't, you know, kind of help guide them towards the goal that they might feel more okay with. Yeah. So I think it goes both ways. Honestly. I'm, what I encounter the most is people that don't actually set goals that are big enough for them to get excited and motivated enough to achieve. So I rarely find people that I'm like, okay, let's, let's do a halfway point or something like that. Usually you have to give them something that's over the top. You know what I mean? To get motivated to get excited to get in gear for it. Right. And to really like break some habits. Cause like honestly that's what we're talking about, right? With coaching. And even if you're not coaching someone like to get a new goal, you have to break your comfort zone, right?

Ryan: No matter what you're trying to do, you have to grow out. If you want to lose weight, if you want to build muscle, if you want to compete, if you want to make more money, if you want to entrepreneur your own business, get a raise at work, whatever you're trying to do, like you have to break whatever model you're in in order to get to the next level, right? Because you've basically decided wherever you're at, you're not settling for any more and you want more. And so the only way to get more is to challenge the comfort zone. And so with that comes a lot of honestly, people that don't want to do that, right? Like it's not natural necessarily for human beings to do that. Our goal in our primitive brain is still survival. And so we get in the fight or flight mode where, you know, we got to figure out what we're going to do.

Ryan: But the thing that compels us forward is a motivation to an ideal. And so, you know, we were just talking about making your goals specific. Well, honestly, I think that people should make their goals bigger than they think they should be. Because know there's that old saying like, shoot for the moon and need me. If you miss, you're still gonna land in the stars. It's Kinda the same thing with most goals. I mean, you gotta get, you gotta have something excites you. You know what I mean? Like if I tell somebody let's, let's just keep using the analogy, and you certainly are someone who's 30 pounds or something overweight, they want to lose 30 pounds. If I tell them they only have to lose five, I could do that, right? Cause we could do five a couple of times and you'd be at 30.

Ryan: But if I say you got to do 30, they probably going to take it more seriously. They're probably going to invest themselves to a level where they say, okay, you know what, like, the habits that I'm building are you know, they gotta change. I gotta do something different. The way I've been doing things has to change. It's kind of like the wake up call to doing something different. However, this is totally individual. Like what I'm saying now is pretty individual to every person, right? Cause some people will need to do a smaller goal, two bound onto the next bigger goal. First they have to kind of see where they're at, see what's in their potential, see what they're able to accomplish, like get a little bit of momentum. In other words, if they've never, you know, Kinda gone on the path to see, okay, now I know what I need to do and where I need to go, and then they'd be ready for the bigger goals.

Ryan: So it kinda depends on each individual. And realistically, the best answer to that question is you gotta make sure you're doing what works for you. So if you have a coach or you don't make sure that you know what's working for you, if you've got a coach that's not working for you, get a different coach. You know, if you're on your own and you're trying to figure it out, if you've got a plan that's not serving for you, you know, try different plan. Never be afraid to, you know, break out of the comfort zone. Because I really, that's what we're talking about. A lot of people get comfortable with the way they've done things and even if it's not yielding a result they want, they'll continue to do it to avoid the conflict of challenging again, the comfort zone. So you know, you got to always adapt.

Ryan: If it's working, I always say keep doing it. Even if it's at a slow pace. Keep going, keep working with it, keep going until you, you know, you run the well out in other words and then you got to reassess, try something different. And if it's not working, never be afraid to change it and experiment and see if there's something different that can turn you a different way. Right? Cause every time we do a new experience, we're getting a new idea, we're getting a new goal, we're getting more information. Like I call it becoming a sponge. Basically. You take all the information and you can, and then you figure out throughout your journey what you liked best. The parts, you know that I say something today, you're going to like parts of what I say and you will probably not agree with some of the things I say and that's fine cause it's you and your journey and you can pull from other people you listen to, you know, other episodes of your podcast here, John and stuff like that to kind of piece together what's going to work for you and build your own success formula.

Ryan: I just love how you're very consistent with that message and how everybody is unique because even on some of the posts, whether it's like your Facebook group or on Instagram you, you're very consistent with that. When it comes to competing, you talk about how your stage weight isn't relevant to that. It's all dependent on you as an individual. You always talk about how that you aren't the same as anyone else and the things should be customized to you, whether that's nutrition or training. So I guess that would make sense with goals too. It's, you're not, not all the goals are going to be the same for every person. But then at the same time, I guess I hadn't really thought of it that way of, you know, shoot for the moon. Right? Because sometimes people set goals that may seem kind of unrealistic. But I think in setting those, it helps, like you said, kind of launched them into making changes.

Ryan: Cause that's one of the biggest messages that I try to portray through these podcasts are the content that I put out is that, is that it's about lifestyle. It's about changing habits, right. Habits help over the longterm. And that said, another thing that you mentioned that you can echo if you want, is basically keeping people on, you know, more of natural approaches not using, you know, performance enhancing items that, you know, take away from the body's natural function that you really focus on the people and their growth and not trying to take any shortcuts. Yeah. 100%. I mean, so, you know, as a coach I coached bodybuilders and stuff. So automatically people would assume, okay, steroids, performance enhancing drugs, et cetera. Right? Well, like a lot of people use that stuff. A lot of people don't, whatever. I don't coach that way. I've never coached that way because I believe in the longevity, right?

Ryan: I believe in the longevity of the person, the athlete, whatever. I'm not even big on supplements in general. You know what I mean? Like there's a lot of supplements out there, but I always say that people need to figure out the foundation and the building blocks first before they're going to go to the supplement. You know, there's a lot of ideas that, you know, you can you can buy a fat burner or something like that and you're going to get the results you want overnight. Just taking that, not actually changing your nutrition and not going to the gym. Well, you know, you can take the fat burner, but you've got to have the other two things first to make sure that you're going to be, you know, actually getting yourself on a path that's, it's for lifelong, it's your overall health, right? Like, we all know that the practices can't be shortcut, that we got to focus on the nutrition and we got to focus on the train and we got to get those down and anything else is extra.

Ryan: But you know, like as far as performance enhancing drugs and stuff go, never, not, you know, not something anybody needs to do because honestly the side effects are always going to dramatically outweigh the benefits. And you know, there's no reason to do it. If you can figure out how to build a lifestyle, if you can figure out how to build longevity you know, for competitors this is huge because a lot of competitors, you know, they get into things where they think they should be doing x, Y and z taking x, Y and Z to compete at their best. And in reality, okay, your, your time competing in your life, you don't know what it is. It could be one show, it could be, you know, a couple of years. It could be 10, whatever. What about the other 70, 80. What about all the other things, right?

Ryan: Are you going to suffer the consequences of the stuff that you do now for the rest of your life? Or are you going to build a lifestyle that's going to last for the rest of your life? And you know, even branching off the topic of that kind of stuff, that's for anything you do in the fitness industry, a lot of people could crash diet. A lot of people could way overdue the gym, right? You could, you could do too much cardio, you could do too much x, Y and Z and yeah, you can do anything for a short amount of time, right? You can literally do anything for short amount of time. The human brain will power you through it, but eventually your body and everything will feel the repercussion of it. And that usually does not go away for a very long time, right?

Ryan: So you can have short term benefit and not longterm happiness or you can have all both a happy short term benefit and a longterm happy benefit. Right? And so that's kind of the thing that I build into people in the coaching. And a lot of that is the mindset. A lot of that is everything else too. I mean, it's always about sustainability. It's about learning. And this is the cool thing about the online training for me and kind of why I don't actually train in a gym anymore. I mentioned that earlier. Like I haven't seen a client in the gym in three years. You know, at least, and that's because I simply learned that when I'm not there to hold someone's hand through their stuff, they have to do it even better themselves. Right? And so like as I train people worldwide, I can send you, here's your Macros, here's your training.

Ryan: You are the person that wakes yourself up up everyday to go do it. You are the person that takes yourself through every rep, every set and makes sure that you're keeping on it. You are the person that eats your macros. You're the person, you know, whatever. And you can say whatever you want. Obviously you can do whatever you want. I'm not there. But in reality you are facing yourself in the grace degree where you get the most personal development out of it at the same time. And so I think that's the, that's such a big benefit of the online training and stuff like that is because it makes you get into a mode where, okay, you have to realize that this is actually about lifelong personal development. That's what fitness is, right? That's what everything is. And even though we might get away from that in what looks to be on social media and stuff like that, this is personal development. You are getting better, you should be helping other people get better and collectively we should all be leveling up and whatever our own personal goals are.

John: And I think that's great because when when you focus on helping others, it gives you a more fulfilling reason other than just improving your own self to actually do the improving on yourself. When you're, you're trying to be an example to others and you're trying to teach others and help others. It comes back to sort of that you less of an outward motivation that you're seeking, but rather more of like an intrinsic desire to change yourself to be able to change others too. So when we're looking at things like, you know, people on Instagram as this huge one that I throw out all the time, that people are just there and you see them and they're like, you don't know their history, you don't know what maybe procedures they've had done on them or whatever that, how would you, how would you suggest that people can define their own level of success? Even seeing those kinds of influences out there on social media? Yeah, totally. So this is funny, I just did a [inaudible] podcasts

Ryan: On this recently, but the a success to me, here's success to me, right? And it's Earl Nightingale who is the father of personal development, put this out like 50 60 years ago. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. And what that means is success is progress, right? Like a lot of people look at success like there's a deadline. Like, okay, once I, this amount of weight that I gotta lose, or once I get to this stage, or once I build this amount of muscle, or I get, you know, a PR on my dead lift. Like those are my markers of success. It's a deadline. It's a hard number. It's a hard answer. But in reality, success is not the deadline. Success is the journey. It's the moment from when you started and you progress through each step and you're going forward and you're trying to get there.

Ryan: Here's the crazy thing about social media, right? Social media doesn't always show us the journey. Oftentimes it doesn't show the journey at all, right? Like it'll show us what I call the highlight reel. So you're seeing what people want you to see. You're seeing their biggest moments. You're seeing the pinnacle of what they've done, the stuff that you know, they, they're not showing you where they started all the time. They're not showing you every struggle they had. Every breakdown between, you know, all that they're showing you like, okay, here's me. Here's this, I did this, I did that. They're showing you the highlight reel. The best. And what can happen to a lot of people is they look at that and they don't understand that. They forget that they're not showing that. And so then it makes them feel inadequate in whatever they're doing. And so they falsely look at the deadline of, okay, well that happened for them.

Ryan: They did this. I see it here on Instagram. So until I get that I haven't accomplished anything. I haven't reached success yet. As they go to the gym every day as they show up and you know they're doing their work and they're eating their meals and they're progressively moving forward, they're actually achieving success every day. And here's what I've, you know, noticed as a coach, is if you look at success as the markers of a deadline, you will never be satisfied with the result ever. You're never going to appreciate the process. You're never going to enjoy the journey. In other words, because the journey realistically never ends, right? So as it, let's take someone that has a weight loss goal, they speak a number, they could make that the deadline. Well, what do you do when you get to the deadline? Now you just sit there and you're like, Whoa, what a, why do I go to the gym now?

Ryan: What do I eat now? What do I do? Well, in reality, what happens is for anyone that's ever done any goal ever, and we all have since the time we were born, you always got the next one after, right? Like to use a basic analogy school, you go to school and then you go to high school, then you go to college, then you go to a job. Then you continue to level like there's stages to every goal, right? You don't go to kindergarten and say, well, when kindergarten is done, I'm done with everything else. But that's what people do with their goals in their fitness and they look at everyone else like, okay, it's the deadline and it's not the deadline. It's the journey and that's what everything is. Success is the progressive realization of any goal you set forth

John: Was actually kind of hoping that would go the direction of it being progress. Cause I remember in speaking of school, the elementary school or wherever it was, that there's a, a sign that was up on the wall that basically said success is not the destination. It's the journey. And this just perfectly captures that concept. And it really is true. It takes me back to the first episode that I had with Eliana where she had these certain skill she was a good with, right? But then branched off into then competing in American Ninja warrior. And then a couple of weeks ago she competed in, in her first

Ryan: Show. Right? So it's just continually trying to find that next level of pushing yourself, which ultimately makes you a, a better person internally. But then also like we've been talking about to be able to help others achieve their own goals. So, with all of that being said, if you could have maybe just one message and I feel like it's kind of merged into all these things, but out of everything that we've talked about today, what would be the one message that you would want to kind of just disseminate to the entire world? Whether it's fitness related directly or not, but what would be your singular message? Yeah, I mean it's basically everything I said, but in a shorter version, your journey is for you and your journey is for everyone around you. And what that means is that you are constantly, in example, whether you know it or not, like you're an example for yourself every day, right?

Ryan: Like you everyday that you do what you need to do to achieve your goals to become better. You know about it and everyday you don't, you know about it too. And a lot of people can get hung up and forget that they are not the only ones that matter, right? Cause if you're not becoming better for yourself, then you're being less than you could be for everyone around you and the world around you. To, right. And if we had a world where everybody understood that and everybody leveled up to their best and we stopped looking at this like it was a singular mission, then in reality, you know, we live in a whole different world overnight because basically everybody would realize, okay, I'm setting these goals for myself, but it's also for everyone else around me too. And when it's for everyone else around you, it compels you to do better.

Ryan: It compels you to go forward and you don't even know the impact that it has in like, you know, the kind of quote Unquote Butterfly Effect where you know, you think about me and my journey just kinda like cap it off again, started obese, couldn't run four miles on a treadmill. Now I've had literally thousands of transformations and you know, those people have inspired people and those people inspire people and it goes down and down and down and down the chain until we realized that like a simple shift, a simple action forward, a simple mo movement on something you should already be doing that you know, inside you, you should be doing, can change the entire world around you. And that is like totally the pinnacle of reality, right? If you really think about any goal you've ever set and I hope everybody listening right now does this.

Ryan: Think about any goal you've ever set where you achieved something and you are proud of it. I guarantee you there was people around you, they looked up to you and achieve something because you achieved something right? And it's a progressive realization that no matter what success isn't a marker of successes and then end game success is the journey. And the journey shouldn't be just you. It should be everyone around you and you becoming better as you go forward. That's really perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed having this conversation and the amount of excitement and energy that you put out through even just content. It's just, it's amazing and it is inspiring, right? It's one of the things that drove me to want to reach out to you. It's just incredible. Like the content on your Instagram, the message that you put out, it's just so down to earth and I really feel like

John: If there's anything anybody could do after listening to this is just try to make one step closer towards being better. Whatever direction that is that they feel like is, is just the one step closer to being someone better and being able to help somebody else. So I think this is great and this has been wonderful.

Ryan: Yeah, man, thank you. Thanks so much for having me on. And you know, hopefully everybody can get something out of that today because in reality we're only talking about you do more and that's it. Do More, get better and keep helping people do the same thing. And if we do that, yeah,

John: We're good. We're gold. Yeah. Yeah. It's almost like we need a team world going on here, like team mankind kind of a thing. But yeah, exactly man. Yeah. Well good. Yeah. I appreciate this. And best of luck in everything you do. And, and I'll be looking up on that app to see where my, the a trial thing comes out too. Cause I've been looking to get some coaching and I think this is probably a good place to start. So,

Ryan: Oh yeah man. I'm a gear you up and you're gonna love every bit of it. You know what to do, like a followup about how slow are you getting or something, you know? Yeah.

John: For Real. Well yeah. Thanks Ryan. The last thing actually before we go is I just wanna make sure that everybody can find you wherever you want them to find you. Whether that Instagram website I can put links in the show notes, but go ahead and just say, you know, where people can find you. The easiest that's, you know, for them to reach out. Yeah. Cool.

Ryan: So Instagram is my biggest social media, so I'm on there all the time. You can DM me, asked me questions or whatever. I answered questions for everybody. By the way, I'm not like exclusive to people that pay me or something like that. I, I help anybody that I can so you can always shoot me a DM at team flex. All my other social media is our at team flex to the best place to get the coaching or the free trial like John's going to be doing here is a team, flex.com. And the important thing to remember is all those team flexes have two F's. Other than that, that's it.

John: Awesome. All right, great. Thanks Ryan and we'll touch base later. So thank you.

John: Thanks everyone for listening to this incredible episode with Ryan Milton, founder and CEO of team flex. If you haven't already, make sure you hit that subscribe button and share this episode with your family and friends. Lastly, if you like what you hear, please support this podcast by getting a discount through one of our affiliate links in the show notes, or on John Barker fitness.com. Thanks again, and we'll see you on the next episode.

Passion for Pilates – Interview with Tara Campos

tara campos trx

I had a fabulous time interviewing Tara Campos on the John Barker Fitness Podcast. She has a wide set of certifications ranging from nutrition and personal training, to group fitness and an in-depth pilates certification.

Her passion is powerful and is delivered very well in her message on this podcast episode. Give it a listen below, and make sure you subscribe for more podcast episodes to be released.

Enjoy!

Want to listen to her interview?

Visit Tara on her website at www.trainwithtarac.com or on Instagram @trainwithtarac

Lastly, don't forget to leave a review for this show on whichever podcast player you use, and make sure you subscribe for more health and fitness content.

If you like what you hear, support my website and this podcast by visiting our affiliate page.

Episode Transcript

John: Welcome to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. Today's guest has certifications ranging from nutrition to personal training and group fitness instruction. She enjoys TRX and has a passion for Pilates. Welcome to the show Tara Campos. Yeah,

John: So I mean, thanks. Thanks for joining me on this. It's definitely something I'm excited to talk to you about with some of the things we talked about previously, but I would say let's go ahead and just get started by introducing yourself, maybe a little bit about who you are, what you do you know, where you're at with, with fitness and life in general.

Tara: Sure. so my name is Tara Campos. I'm excited to be here. I enjoy your show and listening to it for a while since you started it. I am an ASM certified personal trainer. My specialty, if you will, in addition to personal training is a TRX and [inaudible]. Those are the two areas that I tend to focus a lot of my energy and education on. I'm just a big supporter of fitness. I enjoy it. I've had success with it on a personal level and I enjoy sharing that with other people.

John: That's a great, where, where would you say your initial, like your first experience with really fitness came into play in your life?

Tara: Well, I've been a group fitness instructor for over a decade now and I always tell this funny story, at least it's a little bit funny to people when I meet them. I was at a gym, you know, hamster on a wheel doing the elliptical going nowhere. And this woman's young lady walked in and she said, Hey, do you want to take spin clowns? And I wasn't even sure what spin class was. And I said, yeah, sure. Okay. You know, I was open minded. I had no idea what the class involved and I'd never taken a group fitness class before. So it was a little nervous and I'm like, you know, is it just me? Is anyone else in there? And I just remember leaving that class, just having this great level of energy. The music was good, the time went by fast and I said, this is great.

Tara: And I just kind of overdosed on spin from that point and they just kept going back and back for more. It became one of those spinning junkies and that was my workout for a year. I mean that was pretty much all I did, you know, and like so much more fun than the elliptical. And then eventually my favorite spin instructor left her position and I was just devastated. I said, oh no, what am I going to do now with these five traits that we could I be taking her class and I come to find out that she became a Zoomba instructor. It kind of led me down this path. I discovered Zoomba I did that as a workout that I taught for eight years that introduced me to becoming Alpha certified. That introduced me to other workouts such as bar and eventually Palazzos, which has become my passion. And I think back to that example, that story of the girl coming into the elliptical room and getting me to try something out of my comfort zone because it was definitely group fitness that led me down this path to personal training.

John: I think that's really interesting how that kind of unfolded because it shows a lot about how people really can benefit a lot from branching out rather than just going and doing the routine, whether it's a weight workout or like in your case, the elliptical and branching out can really kind of broaden your perspective and make things more exciting. I wouldn't have necessarily tied, you know, the elliptical and going into a spin class leading into things like bar and Palazzos other than being sort of like a group fitness aspect. But that's a really interesting kind of journey that went through there. So I like that, that kind of unfolded like that.

Tara: Me Too. I mean, thank goodness, right? I'd still be on the elliptical, you know what I mean? But I think it led me down this path of being open minded to different fitness formats. I am definitely a creature of habit and when I find something I latch on with two hands, you know, so I spent a great amount of time doing spin. I still teach it. I spent a great amount of time doing Zumba, which I've retired from since bar was my thing for a good three years. I still teach it now, but now it's like twice a week. But it led me to try [inaudible] on a group on actually. And that's how I came to discover my favorite PyLadies instructor several years later, inspired me to pursue the path I did last year to become a fully certified [inaudible] instructor. So it's been quite the journey, you know, and personal training was kind of a detour on that path.

Tara: I was approached by a personal trainer at my gym a few years ago who's doing a demo, you know, he's like, oh, I got this great workout. And at first I kind of rebuffed it. I was just like, you know, I, I don't know if this is for me. And I started thinking about it and I said, you know, what do I got to lose anything I've ever tried? You know, I've always been open minded and I've always found something new and something I liked about something new and I'll tell you it was the best decision I ever made or definitely one of them. I really, really loved working out with a personal trainer. I still do 'em as a trainer now. A lot of people don't know that, but trainers be dreamers.

John: Yeah. Yeah. That's funny that you mentioned that because that's actually come up I think, I think once, maybe twice on these other episodes. But it's true. I think that everybody does need a trainer and and not necessarily for the fact that you know, someone might know more than they do, but it's just having that external influence that can help you see things from a different perspective. You know, if you, if you see things one day after another and you continue to see the same thing, you won't be able to really notice, you know, areas you might need improving. Right. So I think that's important to have the trainer. As a trainer,

Tara: I've had a great deal of progress and success. I have no intention of stopping training with my trainer. I told him, he's kind of stuck with me. You know, I myself had great success. I lost up to 30 pounds. I gained 10 of it back. But I'm very happy with the 10 I gained back cause it looks a lot different than the 10 that came off. But you know, more than just protecting my time and my investment in my body. It was also just, you know, it keeps me fresh. Be having somebody to talk shop with, having somebody to, you know, give you new ideas for exercises. But I think I also need motivation too. There's this idea because I spend know more than half of my week at a gym that I must just love exercise. But you know, I don't absorb other people's exercising.

Tara: I have to do it myself and I need motivation just like everybody else does. There's exercises I'm good at that I enjoy and I do those on my own. And there's exercises I'm not so crazy about that I tend to avoid unless I have a trainer telling me to do it. Yeah. It's, it's a certain level of accountability might, I don't personally have a trainer right now just because of, you know, certain things in, in life. But my wife and I put a little piece of paper on our wall that has checkboxes boxes and it was like a 21 day thing. And I think like two days ago was the last day. But basically up there we write whether or not we worked out and whether or not we, we tracked our calories and we write down with eight. Yeah. And it, it works great. Right.

Tara: And so I think having that support system, whether it's a trainer or a coach or a friend even is great. Oh, definitely. And I think, you know, it's not even, that in itself is not easy for people. You know, part of working at a gym is you offer free fitness evaluations to the new clients and you try to sell them on personal training and sometimes one person isn't willing to make that step. So one of the things that I do is I also offer couples training where you can work out with your significant, again, other or just your friend or family member. I've had a few people who share a session like that and I've also had a lot of success with small group training. We're all trained between three to six people and there'll be a theme, maybe it'll be circuit training, maybe it'll be all TRX.

Tara: And I've had that going for the last year and I think there's like a built in motivational network there that really helps people who are on the fence about training but know they need to do something, say more than Zoomba and more than the elliptical. Not that there's anything wrong with those workouts. Yeah, whatever. Whatever works for somebody. What works. But that's interesting. You do a couple of workouts I hadn't actually heard or I guess, you know, a significant other or whichever. I've never heard of that. And I think that's actually really cool. It's very cool. I mean, you've got that built in support at home and I had about four couples within the last year that I trained. And it was just really fun and interesting to watch the dynamic between the couples. You know, sometimes it'll be the female who's kind of pushing it, but then somewhere along the line, you know, cause we're humans, life gets in the way.

Tara: Maybe we're not feeling great, maybe we're not feeling motivated. And then all of a sudden the person that you've been motivating turns around and kind of says, oh no, we got to go to the gym today. We've got our session with Sarah, or whatever the case may be. So I find that that's a really great dynamic. And I, I think, you know, couples that workout together stay together. It's kind of cute right now. You know, it translates beyond just the gym. Now you're, you know, taking those conversations out when you go to dinner and you know, what are you getting? Oh well I worked out so much today. I don't know if I want to blow it on this dinner. You know, you start talking about nutrition and you know, being active beyond the gym, going on bike rides and walks and so it can be fantastic for some people. Yeah. And I think that's a great thing that, you know, people who are listening can kind of take to heart and maybe

John: Find that person that they can help them do that. If you know a coach isn't something that's within their realm of possibility. I wanted to kind of ask you a little bit about kind of what goals you have in your own personal fitness though, because we've had a couple of guests on, ranging from, whether it's a physique competitive competing or whether it's just be having a healthier life in general. So like what kind of goals do you have moving forward?

Tara: Well, what's interesting about the timing of all of this is, you know, I just made this decision fairly recently to devote more of my time and my working day to fitness before it was just, you know, something I did on the side and now it's definitely more than half of my work week. I, you know, really think me turning 40 to be blunt, had a lot to do with everything. I had this idea for a long time that when I reached that age, it was gonna feel like a milestone to me, even though I didn't feel any different the day I woke up and I felt, you know, that's a critical moment in my life where I'm going to determine am I going to live a healthy lifestyle and you know, live life to the fullest as long as I can, or am I going to do the opposite?

Tara: You know? So I made a conscious decision a while back that, you know, when I turned 40 it was going to be about maintaining an active lifestyle, healthy lifestyle. So I think it has a lot to do with that more short term though. I'm in the 600 hour [inaudible] certification program. I'm hoping to graduate from it next week actually. Fingers crossed. And I think, you know, part of that program has, it requires me when I test out to do all the advanced level movements of all of the pilot, he's exercises on both the mat and the reformer. And for that reason I also need to be physically in shape and able to do that successfully. So I know for the last few months I've been working out with my personal trainer on, you know, my hip mobility because that's an area where I tend to have some weakness in my body. So a short term, it's about finishing this out, these program. But longterm it's about being 40 and embracing that and living a long life, a healthy life. Like Joseph Pilati is one said, you're only as old or as young as your spine is flexible, you know, and I think there's a lot of truth to that. If you know you have a flexible spine and you can do a lot and you're active and you can move, you're going to be young, well into your years.

John: I really like that you tie that into really focusing on some of the weaker points and improving them. And that's something that I see and I'm not very flexible, right? It's just not something that I've been practicing. And you know, I've [inaudible] would definitely be something that I feel I would benefit from. So I guess Kinda two fold question is one, how, how do you best identify your, your weaknesses and start addressing them. And then two would be kind of, you know, how does someone get started with Pilati if they'd never even done it before?

Tara: So, you know, back to what I consider to be my physical limitations. I think that a lot of them became apparent to me from the start of my first encounter with my personal trainer. A good personal trainer will put you through a series of postural assessments and kind of give you a sense of what your, you know, functional movement looks like, what your squat looks like, what your push up, you know, looks like, where it could be improved upon. You know, I never really examined myself in those ways, but I know that I've been working out for a very long time, all through my twenties and thirties and doing things very wrong. A, I was, I belonged to one of those kickboxing franchises for a long time. And, you know, I was working up a sweat. My Apple Watch was, you know, showing that I was burning a lot of calories.

Tara: And I know when I came home I felt like I did a lot. I felt like I did something good. I felt like I worked hard. But I came to find out years later I was doing a lot wrong. I was causing damage to my body. My hamstrings were very weak because when I was squatting, I was putting more of the weight on the balls of my feet, maybe from all those bar classes and not to the back of my body, not to my heels, not to my hamstrings, not to my glutes. I was doing, you know, these hit movements in the kickboxing class, like, you know, plank ups, but I was only doing plink ups on one side of the body cause I wasn't aware of needing to be. Even when you go down on the right, you come up on the right, you go down on the left, you got to come up on the left too.

Tara: Not just the arm that feels strong. And I mean, these seem like silly things to me now and maybe to anyone who's in the fitness world, but these are like real everyday people issues that, you know, at least I can relate to my clients with. And when we have these conversations, I find that there's more people who do things wrong than there are no adults who do everything right. You know? And so I think definitely through personal training I became much more aware of my body of good posture and just an awareness of what was easier for me to strengthen quicker and what was not as easy. Cause what I found is I immediately became stronger in my upper body more so than I did in my lower body. But I'm somebody who's always had something of a strong core of my whole life cause I've always been doing all these workouts so I tend to devote more time and energy to working on my lower body. My hamstrings are very strong at this point and very happy with that. A lot of that has to do with my trainer. I still have a long way to go. But I know that for me hip mobility specifically right now is what I'm focused on. I know because when I'm doing the hinge movements, I know how difficult it is so I can, I can feel it now at this point and I can connect with, okay this is an area I need to pay more attention to.

John: So that's really cool. It, you kind of focus more on the areas where maybe you, you feel like you haven't been focused on or maybe have that external input of, hey, this is where it looks like you may be lacking or even where it stems from your, your squats, where you notice there's a certain way you're doing it. You say, well, you know, maybe because of this thing in the past, I've now got to work on putting that weight towards the back more or something like that. Right? You can identify things that are functionally a little bit different. But now you mentioned that you tried your first pull out these class on Groupon and I actually wrote that down. Yeah. Cause I haven't thought about that yet.

Tara: I knew I was going to be interested in it because I had taken a move on or two or three [inaudible] classes at you know, at a gym in the past and I had a DVD at home. But the group on class was that, that involved the Peloton reformer. Now, I don't know if all your listeners are familiar with what a [inaudible] reformer is.

John: I, so I'm not [inaudible], they probably aren't, I don't know. But you can go ahead and go ahead.

Tara: Yeah. So, so basically what it is is it resembles like a wooden frame, almost like a really narrow bed and it has a, a moving carriage that's attached to springs and you can determine your spring load, how much, how heavy it is, what the tension is, and it uses the springs to leverage, you know, the springs in your body weight to provide resistance while you're performing these movements to target certain muscle groups. And there's all sorts of movements you do on the reformer. You know, you're laying on your back or sometimes your, you know, your hands are on a foot bar with your feet against shoulder blocks. Sometimes you're doing splits, there's, there's all sorts of great things you're doing. So the reformer is the idea of taking the Palazzos mat workout, which is the foundational workout in [inaudible] and taking it to a moving surface, which, you know, comes with its own series of challenges.

Tara: So when I went to take the [inaudible] group on class, it was a reformer class. And I had not had any experience with that, but I was very curious about it. But I knew I enjoyed the [inaudible] mat class. So that's how I ended up in that. And you know, getting, kind of tying back to what we were talking about before in terms of like personal limitations, I think the one thing that I've learned over the years is because I've tried all these different workouts. You know, I've, I've done kickboxing, I've done bodies, I've done bar, I've, I've really kind of tried everything. You start to see patterns and how your body moves and you start to see patterns in terms of what comes easier for you and what is more challenging for you. And I remember even back then being challenged by some of the exercises that targeted the lower body a little bit more.

John: So I, I look and I'm looking on your Instagram account and I see this reformer that you're talking about. So I think that's definitely key with you know, the class because I didn't even know like I really know nothing about PyLadies until we know we started talking about it, but you know, floor workout versus using some of this equipment now. I think that's really cool. So I mean now what would be, and when would you, when someone would start with a Florida workout or would would want to be worried, right? Yeah,

Tara: That's my advice to everybody. Please go to a math class or two or three or 20 because the mat class is the foundation of the workout and I really have this new found appreciation of that having been in the 600 hour program, I mean I basically equate it to being in college. It's intense, you know, it's the foundation, it's the heartbeat of Paul Audis being able to do exercises on the mat. You, there's an allure of the reformer and some of the other equipment, but you know, being able to connect to employees, they call it your powerhouse. Being able to connect to your core on the mat translates into the other apparatus, which is what they call the other equipment. And that's kind of the idea of classical [inaudible] is that it's, you know, a systematic and integrative approach that your body will change when it's ready and there's different levels to the workout that you know, you earn your progression. So you started a beginner level and when you can demonstrate that you have affirmed command of the beginner level exercises, then you kind of graduate to either an intermediate level or a new piece of equipment. So I definitely think that the [inaudible] mat is where people need to start to make that connection to their core and have that strong core before they start some of the more challenging moves and, and challenging exercises on the equipment.

John: So when it comes to progression then, when you're talking about going from like the mat to the, this apparatus tying in to what you also do with TRX, is there one that you would say kind of leads better into the other? If someone were to look at doing both of them, that means your extra plots. Yeah. Like if someone was going to start with TRX and then transitioned to PyLadies, is there one that kind of would be kind of a stepping stone into the other one or is it kind of a separate beast?

Tara: I honestly think they're both very similar. You know, I've thought about this, so they're both my favorite workouts. I can't pick, do not make me pick you know, and it's like Monday, I like this one. Tuesday I like the other one. I, I love them both. You know. Both of them are so versatile and that's what I like about both of them. They're perfect for all fitness levels. The difficulty level is based upon your body position in both workouts. You know, you're adjusting either your angle of your legs or your foot position. Both can be low impact and both of them really emphasize your core and proper form. So I think it's just a matter of preference in, in my mind, TRX is almost like a newer age. [inaudible], You know, I think there's a lot of similarities between the two workouts and I really, really enjoy both of them. I enjoy teaching them and doing them.

John: Yeah. So, so would you almost say that like TRX is I don't know, for lack of a better way to put it, almost like someone took polities and created a new quote unquote apparatus to be able to perform the movements with.

Tara: I'm reluctant to say that because there might be some listeners who, you know, are really hardcore about Paul or TRX. They are two different workouts. I just know there's a lot of parallels. Both of them are excellent total body workouts, you know, emphasizing functional movement. Both have, you know, a lot of core based exercises. You can do both of them anywhere. When you think about pilates Mat, all you need is a mat and a floor and TRX. All you need is the TRX. Well, I mean you need that, but it's, it's very minimal equipment though. You can kind of hang it most anywhere where there's a sturdy structure. They even sell a door adapter. We can just hang it over a door and it's for anyone of all levels. I have all levels of fitness and all ages in both of those classes that I teach. So I do think there's a lot of parallels.

John: Okay. Yeah, so I guess, I guess it's not one, you know, being born from the other, they're just, there are two very good types of activities that kind of help with a similar principles then is what it sounds like.

Tara: They compliment each other and I tend to find most people who like one tend to like both.

John: We've gotten a lot into the, the TRX and the a Peloton and more of like the physical aspect of what you do. But you also got a nutrition certification as well.

Tara: I did it. Yeah. I'm really excited. I just became a NAZA. I'm certified nutrition coach about a month ago and it was something that was very important to me being a personal trainer, but also just for my own continuous education about nutrition. I would love to tell people that just going to a personal trainer will help you, you know, achieve the body of your dreams. But it would be a big lie if the nutrition piece is so important. And the thing is that it was not something that I became serious about until about two years ago. I like to have always told people that I ate good, I eat well. But I think everybody says that for the most part. Because there's a difference between eating good foods and eating good foods on a calorie deficit. And you know, and it gets obviously more complicated than that.

Tara: But I think for the longest time I was somebody who ate healthy foods but did not understand portion control. And it really made a significant difference in my own body in terms of not just how I look, but how I feel. So it was really important for me, I felt to be successful as a trainer, to be able to offer that knowledge and that as a service to any clients because they could be doing everything right with working out. But if you're not paying attention to what you're eating, what you're consuming, it's all for nothing. You're not seeing the results that you're, you know, expecting.

John: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. There's always this thing where they say nutrition is 80% working out as 20% or whatever the actual numbers may be. But it does play a very large role because you could work out very hard in the gym for an hour or two and in a matter of minutes completely eat what you just did.

Tara: And that's frustrating to me, John, because you know, I really invest my time in my clients. You know that my client's success is my success. You know what I mean? So it, it's, I, I share in their victories and, and when my client starts losing weight or whatever their goal might be, it may not be to lose weight. So when my clients want to gain weight, you know, whatever their goal might be, I want to share in that success and that accomplishment with them. And I know that the food goes hand in hand and that was why I pursued that. Now's them is a very well respected organization. I'm very proud to be an ASM certified personal trainer. I'm also a woman's fitness specialist. I also had their fitness nutrition specialist. But when they came out with the certified nutrition coach course, I knew that that was something I was very interested in.

Tara: I wanted that credibility. There's a lot of people out there on the Internet, especially on social media, you know, claiming to know everything about nutrition and what you should be eating. And you should be doing the Keto Diet. You should skip carbs and no sugar. And you know, everyone's got an opinion and you know, nauseam is very well respected and I really wanted to get that education and I'm not even sure I'm gonna stop with that. I might continue down the road educating myself through school, but for now it gave me what I needed to feel confident that I could guide my clients. And to be clear, the scope of practice for a nutrition coach, it involves you, you know, guiding, explaining how to food track, explaining the difference with, you know, macronutrients. It's about giving your clients ideas about how to handle tough situations, like when you go out to dinner, you know, what are some things you can do when you can't really control you know, what you're ordering on the menu, what are some healthier options, you know, that sort of thing. It's not being a registered dietician. I'm not writing meal plans for anybody or anything like that. That's not within the scope of practice. But the coach part I think really complements personal training and all the other things I do. And I know that my clients really appreciate that. You know, I'm always learning.

John: And I think that's interesting that there's that distinction between nutrition coaching and being a dietician because I've seen a lot of times where there's this, you know, sample meal plan that gets provided or whatnot, whether it's through a little, you know, free email thing or something that someone buys. And so I guess my, my thought process is that if someone doesn't really understand and doesn't really know, right. I, I would think it would be, you know, here's, you know, like, like proteins and carbs. And fats. Here's what they each do. You know, that's part of more coaching and here's some healthy options. Here's you know, an example of some things that you could have that would do that, but it's not, it kind of draws the line in saying, well here's the whole meal plan. This is what you're, you know, going to be eating.

Tara: Yeah, I mean you know that that really takes an a and you have to invest your time in education to really understand what that entails cause it's not a one size fits all thing. You know, everyone has different nutritional needs. You really need to be able to understand who your client is, what their health and history back on is. I did not go to school for that. That is not what I do, but what I am excited to do is share my knowledge of what's worked for me, which may not work for everybody, mind you, but coupled with what I learned from the NAZA nutrition course, it's been really helpful having these conversations with my clients because it's very confusing. Not a lot of people really understand. I know up until a few years ago, I didn't understand. It's very confused as a lot of information out there and it's hard to understand what's good information and what's not good information and I know you know little things that I've done that have made a big difference.

Tara: I still track my food. It's helped me tremendously. I have a food scale in my kitchen. People don't understand the difference between a small banana, a medium banana or a large banana, but there's about a 50 calorie difference between the three and it may not sound like much, but those calories add up over the course of a day over the course of a week. You know, it's really important for people to be able to understand the back of a food label beyond just grams of fat and calories because grams of fat are not inherently bad, but sugar could be and sodium could be and really it's not what one food has, but in combination with all the other foods that you consume throughout the day and throughout the course of the week.

John: Yeah, I think that understanding and that's, I like, they have a food scale. I've had one for as long as I can remember. It's interesting because I think that two of the biggest things that come to my mind when talking about measuring food are cereal and trail mix. Because if you measure out the actual serving size, it's significantly smaller than what the average person would

Tara: For. Well for me, you know, it's, it's my, my almonds and my nuts, you know, but definitely I, I and popcorn I'm a little bit of a popcorn fanatic. But that's one of the reasons that, you know, I share with my clients. Sometimes it is better to spend the extra dollar getting pre-packaged nuts or you know, packaged figs. I like my fig newtons and they sell them in like the single serve as opposed to just a whole box where it's a free for all. You know, there's a little bit more rappers to contend with and it might be a little bit more expensive, but the portion is measured out for you. There is no guesswork involved. Kind of like the halo ice cream, eat the whole pint. You know, you had 280 calories.

John: Yeah. And it's things like that that those labels, like one of the things that blew my mind was, I don't know how long I was eating Lenny and Larry's complete cookies before I realized half the cookie was the serving. And I thought, man, I, I'm dumb for not looking at that. Earlier,

Tara: I was doing the same thing with my nature's bakery figs. I mean, they sound so harmless, right? They're just figs. I thought it was, it had to be one serving, cause it came in one wrapper. Turns out for the last year, I've been eating two servings in one wrapper and logging it as one. Again, not the end of the world, not a big thing, but it added up over time. It was an extra a hundred calories a day that I was consuming that I was oblivious to.

John: Yeah. And that just, it blows my mind how things like that can just, like you said, it's not going to end the world, but it is gonna make a difference. Especially if someone's having a very calorie specific goal. But

Tara: That's exactly where the difference is though, John. And I think that's kind of what I've learned throughout my own experience and throughout, you know, my, my education in the [inaudible] courses, it doesn't sound like much. And that's the thing, it's easy for people to brush you off. It's so harmless. It's just an extra under calories. Who Cares? But you, you know, you continue to do that. People who are trying to get into tracking their food, but they disregard those little like, you know, scoops out of their hand of like the snack bag or you know, oh I just had a few nuts or I just have a couple of chips. I don't want the log that, you know, but it was a serving or two or three and it adds up over time. And the thing is you get people in there like, I'm everything, right? I'm exercising, why am I not losing weight? And sometimes it comes down to stuff like that.

John: Yeah, I think that's very true. Very, very powerful. I mean, I think it's interesting to have different pieces of information from the various guests on here and your perspective on fitness and balance and life, right, with TRX and Pele's. It's definitely something that's a unique view from what we've seen before. So I guess I kind of want to hear what some of your biggest struggles have been in specifically with [inaudible] because you know, I, I don't know if a lot of people that are listening have done it, but what are some struggles that you've maybe overcome? Through that?

Tara: I think, you know, I started this program and I like to think of myself as physically fit. But everyone, as I mentioned earlier, they have their physical limitations. And when I started my program, it's an apprenticeship is what it is. And you know, I was the shortest person in my apprentice class. I'm not a huge thing, but it made me require a I different needs. So for instance, when I use the reformer, I put it in something called first year as opposed to second year. Kind of like when you drive a stick shift, it's a little bit of a difference. There's an effect to that difference. Because the springs bring you in so tight. I had trouble with some of the exercises, so I found ways to kind of meet the needs of my body, I guess. You know, little tricks that I was able to do like add, click, edit, a clip to the a strap and that made it longer for me, which helped me take off the spring, that sort of thing.

Tara: But it's been a learning experience as is what it is, you know, it's, it's been a continuous learning experience. Okay. So I think that for me, since I started working with a personal trainer myself and getting into some of these workouts such as PyLadies and TRX, I think what's really helped me is finding what works for my body. And that might be my mantra for other people, for anyone who might be listening to this show is find what works for you. You know, not everybody is cookie cutter. Not Everybody is the same, build the same height, the same weight, the same strength level. You find what works for you? I think why I wasn't successful in my own physical fitness throughout my twenties and maybe through my thirties getting the results I wanted. It had a lot to do with being poorly educated, but it also had a lot to do with me taking all these great group fitness classes that are excellent methods of fitness, but doing things incorrectly or trying to keep up with the people next to me, maybe going through a movement too fast and not being able to do it correctly and properly.

Tara: So I think what's really helped me overcome any issues I've had is learning to do things at my own pace, learning to do what feels right for my body. And it may not be the same as somebody else. Maybe I go slower, some exercises, maybe I need a modification. Maybe I need a different piece of equipment or different piece of apparatus so that I can be successful. But if you're able to complete the movement, then it was right then it was the right movement for you to do. So. That's something that I think I'm kind of passionate about and that's why I really liked the TRX and the Palazzos workouts in particular is there's so many things you can do to make it adaptable to fit your needs or the needs of your client. More importantly, and that's really, that's really cool how you fit it specifically to your needs because I think that's really important for everybody to know is that it's not just one size fits all.

Tara: They're not going to just show up and do the same thing someone else is doing. And I think with group fitness classes, that may be one of the big hurdles for people that want to maybe start going is not feeling comfortable putting themselves in a situation where other people are there and maybe they think they're being watched or maybe they're trying to compete. But how would you say someone could overcome that from your perspective of making that first step going into group fitness? What's, what's a way to get over that hurdle? Well, again, in my situation, it was the girl who came into the elliptical room. Sometimes, you know, a friend or a family member could be the one who introduces you to something new. But not everyone's open-minded. It can be intimidating to go into a group class. I walk around my gym and I sometimes see people doing the same exact movements on the same exact, the equipment each day.

Tara: And you know, I want to, it's good that they're moving their body, you know, that's a positive. But you start to question if they're really seeing the benefit of all the time and effort that they're putting into it, it can be intimidating to go into a group class. So I think the best thing to do is start somewhere where you feel safe. You know, there's a lot of different workouts on most schedules that most gyms, if a gym is intimidating to you, the boutique studios are very popular. And a lot of these exercise studios now offer deals on Groupon where you're not making a huge commitment. Like you're not joining a gym for 12 months. You can get a group on and try three classes and be a an introductory student. But I do think it takes something on behalf of the person to have the nerve to try that experience and you know, step into the facility.

Tara: You know, likewise, there's another side to that coin. People get into the group fitness classes. I am guilty as charged, love it. And then that's all they do and they're continuously doing the same movements, maybe the same workout. For me it was spin. I must've did nothing but spin like three years and then it was doing. But you know, you can't get stuck into that groove where it's like, okay, I like this workout. I feel good when I do this workout. This is how I exercise. It's important if I had an exercise format that you enjoy because if you enjoy it, you're going to keep going. But it's also important to be open minded enough to know and recognize when your body is ready to try a new challenge, to try a new workout because you have to mix it up. Yeah. I think that that variation is key in,

John: In continual progression. And I think another point too, and these kind of goes back to what you said earlier, I think maybe it's good to have someone to go with to the group classes like you do the partner training or a couples training. I think that having someone, even if it's just a friend to go to these classes with, that's going to be huge. Cause then like, you know, you, you two might not have the same interests. So maybe one is going to want to go to spin one time, maybe go to a a TRX group class the next time because each of you is kind of contributing your own, you know, preferences.

Tara: But I got to see the, one of my frustrations as a group fitness instructor, again, I mentioned I've been doing this for a long time, but now that I'm also a personal trainer, I have higher standards now. So it's frustrating when I'm in a large class. When at the instructor I sometimes see people with poor posture or doing the exercise wrong because you can't stop the class to fix the person. You know what I mean? Like you got to keep the class moving. That's kind of how group fitness works. One of the reasons I really like my small group training TRX classes is because it's usually limited to six people cause we have six TRX straps at the place where I offer them and so I'm able to walk around and correct people's posture. If somebody has a posterior or an anterior hip tilt, which is common in TRX, it's one of the common faults.

Tara: I'm able to go around and correct them. If their shoulders are way up by their channel, I'm able to, you know, help them lengthen their neck, shoulders down the back. Similarly in PyLadies class, because I'm teaching on my feet and I'm not doing the workout in beginning in the front of the room, like with other group classes, I'm able to go around and adjust people's feet as they're pointing and flexing. I'm able to see if somebody's struggling with something where I can like kind of discreetly have them bend their knees so that, you know, it takes the pressure maybe off their lower back or whatever the case may be. So I think now as a personal trainer, I had these higher standards as a group fitness instructor. So I get frustrated when I'm teaching a format where I need to actually do the movements in the front of the class because I know how beneficial it can be when I have that opportunity to walk around and physically interact with people.

John: So that, that's, I really liked that I can kind of interested to go take one of these classes now because I, it's, I want to Jersey. Yeah, I should in new you one of these days, I'll make it over there. But so as far as, as far as you then in your training, whether it's, you know, online presence are on, you know, onsite training, where can people find you and what kind of things can you offer?

Tara: Well, I mean right now if you'd have to be in my area to take one of my classes, I work at a plotty studio. I teach two [inaudible] classes there, week met. I also work at two area gyms where I teach [inaudible] class bar class. And at the one gym where I'm a personal trainer, I also offer TRX, but I also have what I do privately. I actually have my own Palati studio in the house. I've been acquiring old equipment and refurbishing. It's kind of becoming my new habit. It's almost like thrifting except more expensive. So I'm really excited because right now I have a reformer in my house. I have a lateral barrel, I have a one to chair, I have a pile, RISD mat with a tower. So, you know, you people have to be in the area if they wanted to train with me and do one of those things. And I also do personal training in the park too.

John: Okay. So that's, I mean, that's good. I mean I, most, most people have their preference of how they want to train and so I'll do a few. What if you're okay with it? I'll, I'll put your Instagram in the show notes so people can, can find you there. The lean, if they're in your area, they can reach out to you or whatnot. But do you also have a website that you have

Tara: And my website. Yeah.

John: So yeah. Then train with [inaudible] dot com. I'll put that in the show notes too. So the people that can reach out to you, did you have a message or something? One, one thing I guess that you'd share with, with the community or you know, kind of something to add? You know, like a last impression of here's the one piece of advice that I would give to, you know, anybody's who listening.

Tara: At the end of the day, it's about finding what works for you. I mean, there's no one answer. Personal training is great. It's reshaped my body. It's given me great energy. Maybe personal training is not for everybody. It's possible. I'd like to say it is, but it's probably not bloody is great. I enjoy Paul Audis. It's, it's something I'm very passionate about. Anybody can do it, but it might not be for everybody either. I think at the end of the day it's about finding what works for you. Some exercise format that's going to make you move your body that's gonna make you wanna try other workouts ideally. So then that's gonna make you live a healthier lifestyle so that you can live good, move good and feel good.

John: Yeah. I, I think that really sums it up well that whatever is making the person the happiest and feel the best is really the route to go. And I don't, I think too many people try to maybe get into things that just because they feel like it's going to be good for them even though it might not be the right choice site. Yeah, I really like that.

Tara: I mean I think sometimes, you know, people do a workout, you know, cause their friend is doing it. Maybe their friend had great success from it and then maybe that person does that exercise or workout or died or whatever it is and it's not for them. And then they get discouraged and then they get frustrated and then they give up. You know, it, there's no one size fits all. You know, I, I don't dislike the Keto Diet, but it's not for me, you know? I don't dislike, you know, people like to run. I don't care to run. It's not my preferred exercise format. But if somebody loves to run, then go run. I mean, it's all about finding what works for you, what works for your body, what makes you feel good, what gives you those endorphins and you know, it doesn't have to be intense.

Tara: It doesn't have to be an intense strength training workout. It doesn't have to be what your friend is doing or your significant other or your family member. It's what works for you. It's what's going to be achievable, sustainable. What's something that you're actually going to do more than once and come back to and get better at. Yeah, that's, that's so true. And I think that that's going to be key for people to be able to really maintain a long sustainable, healthy habits and, and BW overall progressing in, in their health and fitness. No, I think really appreciate you taking a lot of fun. I'm a fan of your shot then think you're doing their insights and your other episodes a lot of value that people are going to be able to share what little knowledge I have with people. Is that something we didn't touch on that you might want to try at TRX or a Paul Audi's class or you know, look into their nutrition options. But you know, I'm, I'm excited to be here though. It's my first podcast. It was a lot of fun.

John: Thanks again for listening to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. If you're not a subscriber, which I know many of you aren't, make sure you subscribe and share this podcast with your family and friends. Lastly, if you enjoy what you hear on this podcast, please support by visiting one of my affiliate sites listed on the page linked in the show notes. This helps keep the show running and is greatly appreciated. We'll see you on the next episode.

Growing Stronger as a Father, Athlete, and Coach – Interview with Alex Ippoliti

Alex Ippoliti

Today's guest is an experienced trail sportsman, a fitness enthusiast, and more importantly a man devoted to living healthy so he can be there for his family and help others do the same.

Want to listen to his interview?

Visit Alex on his website at https://www.littleriverfitness.com or on Instagram @littleriverfitness

Lastly, don't forget to leave a review for this show on whichever podcast player you use, and make sure you subscribe for more health and fitness content.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of the John Barker Fitness podcast. Today's guest is an experienced trail sportsman, a fitness enthusiast, and more importantly a man devoted to living healthy so he can be there for his family and help others do the same. Give a warm welcome to Alex Ippolito. Yeah, definitely.Yeah, absolutely. So how's your week been so far? I know we talked a little bit earlier, has been really good. Nothing too, too exciting and yeah, you know, it's just kind of the normal stuff. It could sports, we have drill next weekend, so we're kind of getting ready for that. Nice. That's awesome. Um, I believe it's been going pretty well. Um, can nice to have a little bit of a break over the weekend, but then again, it's more of a break from the norm and getting into more of the stuff that you can't get to during the week. I know, right? It's kind of like that, that to do this piles up and you're like, Oh man, I've got to get up and just get at it. Yeah, right. Right there with you. Well, cool. So let, let's go ahead and get started with a little intro then. Um, we, we kinda talked a little bit about some, some stuff, but why don't you go ahead and just introduce yourself, kind of who you are, what you do, whether that's work, life, fitness, just kind of opened the floor to your, you know, intro message. So my name is Alex Ippolito. Alright. Hey, what time air national guard officer. I was a officer in the air force. Active duty.More importantly, I'm a father of six and I've been married to my wife, their mother for 14 years. Over time I've started competing and training more. You know, I trained initially just for the military to pass the air force PT test and then graduates that are training more for boards and competition, really focusing on mountain biking, a trail running and getting into obstacle course racing this fall. Sojust about a year ago I started earning my NAZA and certification as a personal trainer because I wanted to pass on because of the lessons that I've learned and just some of the experience that I've been a father. And as a athlete you had people just to help families in general fathers in particular to be active and to really build strength with their families. Perfect. That's really, I really like how you kind of wrapped it all up into a quick summary. I actually went and looked at your website too. You mentioned talking about wanting to pass on your experience and be able to help families. I went and looked at your, your website and I really like how straight straightforward and the value it, um, parental provides to the audience. And I just want to kind of name the tagline on the show. Cause at right when you open up your website it says build strength so you can be there for your family.And I, that was actually really powerful site. I think that's a really good message that you've got on your site. And also really, you know, when we talked earlier and what we're going to hear in the show here, that that's really a strong message that you can kind of provide to everyone. Absolutely. And I really wanna emphasize that it's something that I want. I want to see families really getting stronger as they get older. You know, because you start off and you're just having kids and you're young. So it's kind of, I mean, just as most individuals are young, so it's kind of, you know, you don't really thinktoo much about it, but as you get older and as your kids get older, you know, you, there's this inverse relationship between your kids getting more capable and you just getting older and just feeling the effects of that age. And I'm not particularly old by any means, which is just in my late thirties but we're definitely, you know, as you get, as I get further along and as my kids get to be older teenagers, I know that that's going to be a big difference than I want to be able to keep up with them and I want to be able to get out there with them. And I know it's not just me who feels this way. So that's such a huge part of my mission is helping families in general to grow together.Yeah. And I'm really glad that you're bringing that perspective to the show because the, the past few episodes have been focused a lot on whether it's competing for a body building competition or a certain aspects of fitness. While you do bring sure, you know, that mountain biking or trail running or certain functional fitnesses that you also bring that general wellness to it also because that's, that's pretty huge for me. I mean I've always grown up as a family person and like you said, I'm, I'm younger and I've got a 10 month old and as she grows older, right, she's going to be walking here pretty shortly and I know she's just going to run around like crazy and I don't want to find myself, you know, down the road where I'm not able to, you know, easily get down on the ground and play with her and that kind of stuff. Cause I love doing that now. Right. So that's, that's a huge thing.Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. You want to be able to, you know, when you're kids there are 13 1415 older, you know, you want to be able to get out there and show them that dad's still got it and not feel like, ah man, my back and my shoulders. I'm just gonna sit here and watch you dude. Stop now. You want to be actually leading the way even at that age.Yeah, absolutely. So I'll actually come back to that cause I want to ask you something about a, a post that you have on Instagram, but I'll, I'll come back to that. But firstly I want to get into something that's a little bit different than what our other guests have kind of talked about is you've got experience in our currently a active duty with the, I think you said the national guard.That's right. So I am active duty with the Maryland International National Guard. Kind of a different experience since most national guard members are part time. And I've been a part time, you know, one weekend a month, a couple of weeks, a year guardsman. But I had the opportunity to go back on active orders, to be active duty again. And so that really made the most sense for my family. I started out active duty, I commissioned through air force ROTC. Uh, that's when you're in college. And then also training to be an air force or a military officer. How did you get to university and sorry, I was on active duty for nine years. So that was really my first adult experience. And actually I grew up in the military. My Dad was air force and I had a lot of, I've had military in my family for several generations now.That's really great. And that's, that's something I would imagine. I, and I don't have too much of that in my, uh, family history. I know my grandparents, I think two of my grandfathers and maybe one or both of my grandmothers were in the military to some extent. I think it was more, well, I don't really speak to it cause I don't remember, but they, three of the four of them have already passed, but, so it was awhile back. So that's something that I would imagine kind of is, is a sense of pride in the family of, you know, this is what we've been able to contribute. Uh, not, and not in terms of like an arrogant pride, but more of just, you know, being proud of that sort of a contribution.Definitely, definitely. It gives you a connection to, you know, it gives you, I mean, every, all of us are connected to our country and in some way, but this gives us a different kind of connection to the country and to the decisions that we make and the, um, activities that we, you know, the policies and decisions that we make overseas. You know, really it's given me a sense of pride to be able to look at things in the news and then be able to go do something, even if it's a very, very, very small thing. They participate in that in a small way.And well, thank you for, you know, what you do contribute into everyone out there who is either, you know, active duty or veterans, cause they've definitely played a huge role. They really can't be put in words sometimes. So definitely want to express appreciation for that.It's been a real honor.So speaking about that experience, right, how do you, how would you go about explaining your experience with balancing that schedule or those requirements in your life with your family and fitness life? How do you balance all of that?Absolutely. I know that's a, that's a such a huge question that my wife and I even talked about all the time. You know, what are we doing right now? What are we, are we doing the right things? Are we spending enough time on these things? And it's really at the forefront of our minds. A lot of days, you know, when it comes to being in the military and fitness, I know any of your listeners that are other branches besides the air force, we don't have the most strenuous, uh, requirements, but we do still require all air force numbers to meet certain fitness standards. Uh, both air force, active duty and international guard. Uh, basically running a mile and a half. Yeah. And under specified time, depending on your age. For me, certain number of pushups, certain number of sit-ups. Um, again, depending on your gender and age, and then having a waist under 34 inches and the air force decided that these standards make the most sense for this service.So because of that, therefore it gives us time during the week to actually do physical training. And then they also make it, you know, they also play good gym facilities on just about every air force installation. So that's really made fitness kind of almost easy as it were because you're given time during the day to do it, you know, as part of your duty. And they say, go do PT and there's an hour or an hour and a half sometimes to go do that when you, when your commander. And that was really with some of my first experience, exposure to a structured physical training was military. And so that leads into the family commitments because I can say, well, this time that I'm doing physical training, at least part of it, I would be at work anyways. So it's not as great of a burden on my family. And now when I started training a little more competitively when I started going on longer rides or runs and spending more than an hour in the gym.Yeah. It takes a lot of communication between myself and my wife and my kids and that's really, I think been the key to it all is spending time talking to each other. My wife and I, especially as our kids get talking to them too and explaining, hey, here's what we're going to do today. Here's what we're going to do this week, here's what you can expect from me this week and here's what I need you to do as well. And then we have our schedules and our calendar set up so that we can see each other's events and this way, this way a nobody is surprised and disappointed if if like I need to take extra time in the gym on certain days when my wife expects it because we've talked about it ahead of time and she knows that I'll catch up on the other to do lists or other things that we have planned at some other point that we can we have cut back helps us to kind of build that trust with each other that we're not being selfish with our time but we're really using it for the best for the right purposes at the right time.No, that communication that you guys have is really key. That actually reminds me of what Megan mentioned on the last podcast episode that I posted does that communication is really important to be able to kind of balance every aspect of life with, you know, living with another companion and especially having kids involved. Now I want to try to make it a little bit more personal in, there may not be a connection here, but you've mentioned how you, you know, train a certain frequency and you, you know, what you would normally be at work anyway, so that doesn't really take away. Right. But has there been a time that you remember when maybe your, your kids have said, hey, like we, we want to spend more time with you or we want to do this with you and that maybe you've been able to kind of do something that allows you to then react and say, okay, here's, here's what we're going to do now because I kind of see that you guys are interested more so this is how I'm going to handle it.Yeah, definitely. No, I'm glad you brought that up cause I don't want to make it sound like, oh yeah, I trained the three hours a week of that I get for work and then I'm good to go. Cause you know, especially, uh, like you said, when I've done a little more intense training or as I have learned to make my training more intense, it's definitely taken more time. So we want to give you a great example of I'm training for a marathon recently and there's no other way to prepare for that besides getting up and running. And so every Sunday I would tell, uh, I told my wife, Megan, um, hey, I need to go out and go for a run. And those got progressively longer, you know, an hour and a half, two hours, three hours, three and a half hours until about a month out from my marathon.And she's asking me, Hey, I'm, am I going to see you again? What's going on? And I had to sit down and, and talk with her and really not justify what I was doing, but put it in context so that I could explain to her, hey, this is just for the next month. This is what my training cycle looks like, um, to build up to this event and then I can change my schedule. So because of that conversation, actually now my training, I still train six days a week. Um, and most, most of the time my training is usually about 90 minutes to two hours depending on what I'm doing. I make sure that Sundays are my day off on my rest day really so that I can have that dedicated time when I'm not going to the gym, I'm not going out to for a run or a ride. And Megan and the rest of my family know, hey, this is the day that we can plan family things because it's not going to be a training day. So there's other competition with that time.That's an excellent example. Now I would kind of say maybe for our listeners that if someone is going to start training for a marathon and maybe kind of bring that expectation up front and saying, well here's, here's the plan. Here's what's going to happen. Just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and now it sounds like, you know, the way that you and your wife had handled it w it went very well. Right? Cause maybe she wasn't expecting you to be running for the two, three hours. And, and I'm, I'm not much of a runner, but I know my brother has done a few marathons and I don't understand why people would do that to themselves. But, uh, but yeah, I mean it can be very time consuming cause you're not gonna train for a marathon by doing sprints. You have to put in the time.Yeah, exactly. And I think you're really goes far in anything you're training or even if it's bodybuilding or, uh, any other kind of sport or competition. And you know, for me, I, I'm playing my training cycle in between, um, usually 10 to 12 week blocks. And so that kind of helps me to say, okay, for the next 12 weeks, is it going to kind of be my routine? I'm going to be doing cardio on these days. I'm going to go to the gym on these days and this is going to be my rest day. And because I've done that, that gives me the ability to talk to Megan and say, look, every Sunday or whatever day is planned is the rest day is going to be free. Or Hey, I need this time on these days and here's why. And she can kind of see what the flow is going to be like. So it's not a surprise like you didn't, they're like, Whoa, you, where have you been all this time? Like, oh, it's off for my run. But she understands how to flip 10.Yeah, that makes sense. And I think you talked a little earlier when we talked earlier this week about how you, you really only do your endurance work maybe, you know, once or twice a week. Whereas like three days a week you'll do more of the strength training.Right. And the, and the current cycle that I'm in, I'm preparing for an obstacle first race that makes the most sense to me from my specific situation. Uh, just spend more time in the gym with a variety of trainings there and then spend a little less time on the endurance work. If I was running for a marathon, it again, of course I would need to just spend more time running. Yeah. That would just have to work its way in.So right now you're preparing for that race now you said that's the Spartan [inaudible]that's right, yeah. It's the Spartan based in Berlin, uh, in September.So you're, you're training for that right now. What would you say overall regardless of that being the next event, what would say your most passionate type of, whether it's a sport or what type of training would be, cause I know you're very into mountain biking and trail running. Is that kind of where your passion lies?You know, that's really where I, where I, I guess you could say I grew up as a athlete was first on a mountain biking and the later trail running when I'm just looking to just go out and just enjoy myself. Yeah. I really can't beat getting on a trail. Um, being outside, it doesn't matter what the conditions are or what the weather is. I mean, as long as it's healthy for the trail, but you know, if it's cold or anything like that or hot, it's fine as long as I'm outside. But it really grown to love the gym a lot more and um, you know, I didn't grow up that way at all. I really wasn't comfortable in the gym for a long time and really felt out of place there. I felt like I didn't understand how to actually work out or how to and I felt or how to use the equipment and it felt like I really stood out as the awkward skinny guy back there, like doing some really stupid light waves. But as I spent more time there, I really have grown to be a lot more comfortable and enjoy it more and just find, um, find that those are the, those are some times I look forward to my time in the gym almost as much as I do getting out on the trail sometimes.So you're really finding more of a where, where you had your roots in more of the trail sports, you're kind of finding more of a balance and enjoyment for the general health and the, and the gym as you continue to kind of add that to your arsenal of training.Yeah. Yeah. I guess I didn't really do a good job answering your question of be like where, what I enjoy the most. Um, and, and the reason is because, you know, when I set a goal for myself for a day that I need to do this type of training and then I can see it happen and see it come through as you get a lot of satisfaction out of that. Uh, and it used to be just more of a struggle to say, okay, well today's my gym days. I'm going to go in and do what I need to and get it done as fast as possible as I can get back to the things that I love. Um, but it just turned into this place where I really enjoy all of the training. You could say every, every aspect of it because I see the, the adaptations and the development that it produces in myself and frankly, I just, uh, enjoy the movements themselves. Nowthat's, that's a really good way to approach things because I feel like if we get too trapped into one thing, it kind of limits what we're able to grow in and it'll kind of limits our enjoyment of, of everything else. Right. So I don't, I'm not a huge fan of running, but I, I have such a desire to get back into it and I'm kind of getting out of myself here, but I'm going to touch back on, on this post I said I was going to come to, uh, earlier is on your Instagram. That's probably from about about a month ago. Um, I believe it's a picture of your, your daughter and you're talking to your post about, uh, running and how form is extremely important. And you're talking about having your knee high and your back leg extended. Now, I'm, I'm no runner by any means, but one of the things that limits me right now is, uh, I've actually, I've got really flat feet, so I've got I believe, some plantar fasciitis that I'm kind of working through. But back to this post. Right. So what would be kind of your recommendations for someone wanting to just get started? Uh, trying to make sure that they're doing the right form. Just kinda some beginner tips for people wanting to do that.Totally. Well actually, first I'd love to really key off of something that you just said because it's actually a really big theme for me and that's the idea that you brought up about not getting locked into one sport. And I really do want to talk about what you just asked in regards to getting started with running in particular because I know so many people, like for the airports, again, there so many people who are that that's a component of the test that they struggle with the most is running because they'll start running and they're not adjusted to it and then they'll end up hurting themselves and either do poorly or really suffered through the test because I really want to get to that. But first I want to, if you don't mind, I'd really love to be going. I don't at all. Sorry. So I'm really want to go back to what you just said because that was exactly my life just a couple of years ago.I thought of myself as a cyclist. That's all I was. All I wanted to do, I didn't care about anything else. Like you said, I went into the gym because I was like, well, cycling doesn't produce any resistance on your body, so you know, I'm going to develop bad bones and joints that I don't at least a little bit of resistance workout. But I really didn't enjoy it at all. Um, Michael talked about, and then I moved to a, I moved to the suburbs, which was exactly where I did not want to be living like the antithesis of my ideal light, but it made the most sense for my family. And I found myself where I really wasn't comfortable writing on the road. I had to go drive to trails and it was raining frequently, so the trails weren't really in any shape to rock the ride on and I didn't know what to do.I was completely lost. So I said, well, I guess I gotta start running now because otherwise I'm going to go crazy. I can only do so much. That's really the way I felt at the time. And that experience started running, started really enjoying it. A few months later started going to the gym more consistently, really started learning more about, we listened to weight training and that experience really taught me to appreciate all different kinds of sports and athletic and fitness activities and to really find a way, not just find a way, but to really enjoy them no matter what they were, because they were still wasted developing and using my body in a way that is intended to. So it really changed my mindset. It changed my perspective so that I didn't see myself as a single sport athlete anymore, but I could value a whole range of activities because I saw the benefit that they brought to people.So I'm actually, I'm really glad that you brought, brought that up and went back to that because it actually, it does bring the whole concept of a, uh, well-rounded skillset and well-rounded passion, you know, for different areas of sporting. But I actually, that reminds me of a post that Eliana, the, the first podcast guest I had that she posted on Instagram about being kind of like a multi-passionate athlete where she wants to try to break the stereotypes. Just, you know, stop being just a bodybuilder. Stop being just, and if people want to do that, that's fine. But I think too often people trap themselves and by doing exactly what you said, you can find a bigger sense of fulfillment and it makes things more fun when you can have that range. Yeah, I appreciate it. For one thing, it definitely does. Maybea better cyclist. I'm way I'm faster and stronger on the bike now that I'm writing a once a week, sometimes twice a week. Then I was at Penn and I've maintained it when I was writing a hundred miles a week. And that sounds crazy. And I know that there are dedicated, right? And if you're going to focus on one sport and really do it, then obviously those people will be better than me. So, so I understand where I'm going to fit into the pack. But in terms of my own performance, so maybe there's really just as about as much about my previous performance as anything else, right? But in terms of what I've seen and the goal is that I went to achieve, I'm still able to get that enjoyment, uh, from all these sports even at, um, changing it up and trying a bunch of different things. And it really does help me to appreciate each sport a little bit differently because I can compare it to something else and I can see how my body is using its full range of abilities instead of being, like you said, limited to one particular emotion and getting really good at that.Right. And I, and I agree with what you're saying and it's, it's interesting because I just, there's a lot of similarities between, um, you know, each guests that I'm talking with and it's kind of eyeopening and it brings me back to how we're kind of, I'm going to kind of lead this back to the question we were getting to, but I know that there are certain muscles that are used in running that you don't typically use in, in other, like if I'm just doing a leg press or some squats, it's not really involving certain muscle groups that running might, but by strengthening, um, I believe that'd be like your adductors and abductors that running use this a lot. It'll help improve my strength training. Right. So back to the other question about how I want to get started, right. Cause I'm going to consider myself a novice and running even though it's kind of a thing that I do sometimes. Uh, what would be some of your tips then for someone who wants to get started, whether that's with form or even shoes? Cause I know that's a big deal. Yeah, yeah,yeah, definitely. No, that's huge. And I really appreciate you giving me the chance to talk about it. Uh, cause it's, and what kind of a steep learning curve even for me when I moved from cycling to starting to run. And Yeah, let's start with the shoe. So the first thing, uh, when you're looking at the equipment, everybody says, okay, I got a pair of shoes. Trainers are uh, sneakers out there. I'm going to run into those. The first thing is almost everybody shoes, including mine when I started, are too small and know there should really be at least, um, at least I got thumbs with. So about an inch or so between your, the superior toe and the end of the shoe because your foot expands so much every time you hit the ground and you gotta have that space or you'll get all kinds of blisters and just feel miserable and really hate it.Um, the second thing is I think that what you're doing and just by doing bodybuilding and by lifting, I have really noticed a big increase in my ability to run. And I've seen other guys too who spent a lot of time in the gym, lift heavy and still end up running well because just like you said, the more that you can strengthen the entire system in the lower body, the better you're going to perform and the better you're going to prevent injury to which is where everybody goes wrong, right? We go out there, we start running and then we get hip pain and we get knee pain because they muscles that support our knees, our, you know, your hip flexors, even down into your calves and your ankle. Those are weak in some way. Um, because we're not strengthening them in the gym and so they're not able to support your, like through that impact.Every time you hit the ground he ended up hurting yourself. So it's been a time in the gym. It's really huge. And then the third thing really, really being mindful of your recovery after each run. Really making sure that you're rolling, making sure that you spend time, if you've got like the plantar fasciitis, which sucks. I've had that um, you know, spending time and ice bat and the icing your feet, uh, spending time, really stretching and making sure hydrated well and make a huge difference in your ability to keep running into sustain that and to kind of keep those injuries at bay. So those three things, having good fitting shoes and making sure your, your whole body strong and then uh, making sure you're really mindful of your recovery, those will really help. Now when it comes to actually developing your running form, definitely. And I wanna make sure that you're starting off kind of with the moderate distances, even if it feels like your cardio system is able to sustain you for a longer distance. You know, if you tried to push and you say, well I can run five miles, I haven't run in months and I'm just going to get up tomorrow on run, you'll almost definitely hurt yourself that way. So making sure you build up your distance gradually.Oh No, you're fine. I just, I was going to say that's actually how I think I might've caused my injury because I think I was, I think I was maybe feeling upset one night and I just decided, you know what, I'm just gonna go for a run. And it was only a mile. Right. But I hadn't run in probably a year and the shoes that I was wearing were worn out. They weren't the proper support. And I think I just kind of injured myself that way. So the advice you just gave is it's real easy to do, especially if you're strong otherwise, cause I, I used to do this and I focus more on cycling, you know? Yeah, I'm strong. I can do this, I can get out and run and then the next day I would just be dying because I hadn't taken care of myself and had him prepared for the event properly. That's the other thing is that, you know, just over years oldof habit, we don't walk the way that we should run. So we ended up like running so much with a really strong heel strike, which really can aggravate a lot of injuries including to some degree plantar fasciitis and other knee and some knee injuries too. And so spending time, it's never a bad idea to spend time working on technique. Even if it's something doing short sprints in a lag of five, 10, five sort of drill or a hundred meter sprints around the, around the track to really kind of help you get into more of a midfoot strike where you're planning the, the middle of your foot on the ground instead of the heel too. And it just takes time and, and work on actually growing that habit. But that's made a huge difference for me and proud of the runners that I know too cause that was kind of a lot. But yeah, I really choose string recovery and then for actual um, technique, building your mileage gradually and being really mindful and flow and spending time focusing on your actual footwork.Yeah. So I'll do that. Um, I want to, I wanted to ask a little bit about mountain biking. Actually, just one thing really. Uh, so here, cause I did it back in, uh, in high school and college and I went more, but I, I haven't been for probably a good five years, which, um, I need to start changing. But, uh, here it's just desert landscape. I mean, unless, unless I drive two hours north up to near Flagstaff, I mean it's, it's going to be desert cactus's usually hot and it's just not, I don't know. It's a different world cause I've been mountain biking once, uh, my, I think it was a further north and Arizona and it was some pretty nice forest trails. But what, what's it like there were, where you're at, what's the kind of atmosphere for your trailshere is, it's hot, it's humid. Uh, it's pretty sticky in the summers, but it's all through the surprisingly steep river valleys basically that intersect all of eastern, well not using, but all the, the landscape between Baltimore and Washington, which is where I'm at. Uh, so they've leveled a lot of it to put in the suburbs. Like mine, but, uh, the parts that are natural, I still have these incredibly steep valleys that you give you a ton of switchbacks, a lot of terrain, uh, some good rocks. Uh, and it can be pretty challenging. It can really be fun. You don't get, you know, when you ride out west, like in your area, uh, everything is trying to hurt you, which can be really, really fun because it's all got spikes of some kind. So fortunately we don't have to deal with that here. But yeah, it's pretty and it's pretty different also cause we get a lot of shade, which is pretty nice.Yeah, I googled, I googled the mountain biking over kind of in your area just to look at some pictures and it's, it just looks a lot more pleasant cause there's actually green, I mean I dunno, don't get me wrong, it's nice to, you know, be here in the desert. But it's, I think when I've lived here for, you know, the 25 plus years, it's, I dunno, it's Kinda nice to see that change. So it's kind, Kinda coolfor sure. It's nice again to change these up a little, but we'll go, I'll go out west every, you know, periodically, uh, just to Kinda change things up from my perspective too. So I totally understand that.Yeah, that's true. So when you do that, when you travel, do you actually travel with your bike?If I get a chance to, yeah, about usually about once a year. This year I don't have the opportunity unfortunately, but in the past I've tried to make it about once a year or so. Then I'll travel. Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho. I've been a couple places. I've got a few places I've gone to. Yeah. Just to kind of get a little change of scenery and a little different challenge.Yeah, absolutely. So I want to transition now, cause we've talked a lot about the sports aspect in the military and a little bit about balancing that with family. But I kind of want to go into Kinda for the last portion of this, the, the main message, uh, is really being able to help families be more active, help parents, uh, fathers in particular, um, being stronger and being active for their families. So I kind of want to switch over to that. And I think the first thing I wanted to ask is when as you're introducing the activities to your kids, whether it's mountain biking or track running, things like that, has there been a time when maybe they haven't quite wanted to the same interest and maybe you've got some differences between the kids and kind of how have you gone about navigating that?Absolutely. Yeah, that's a great question because I know when I was a, uh, and this is gonna sound super snitty cause I'm not that old of a father, but when I was a little bit younger, father and my, you know, like kids are just getting old enough that I could finally introduce them to uh, like say writing or to sports or something. I would get so frustrated when I go off a ride and my kids are like 10 and eight and one kid would just love it and the other one would just be so frustrated and dawdling behind and we would all just end up totally far apart from each other. Not even have a little bit of a connection after that. Right. I kind of grow into it. That has really taught me to just like, it's going to be a really consistent theme, right?Just like with the sports to really kind of help each kid find something that they can enjoy and appreciate, you know, by sometimes exposing them to different sports, different activities and then saying, okay, you, and then just having the maturity myself to say, okay, you're really not liking this and cause a time when pushing you might be healthy. But right now there's not that time. So let's back off. Let's help redirect you in a different direction and we'll get a chance in the future to come back and see if you like this again or, or to find some way for you to develop that keeps our relationship strong and still helps you grow into a healthy and functional human being. Uh, so like, you know, my two oldest kids and their two boys at 13 and 11 now and the oldest loves cycling and is super competitive.He loves to hang out with a, with the fastest people in any group that we're in. Uh, and he'll do his best. You, you know, he'll do his absolute best to hang with whoever he's with. Then he won't complain at all. And he's just really fun to go for a ride with my other 11 year old, doesn't have that passion at all and really doesn't feel it. But he loves to get out and like build trails. He'll do, he'll do that all day. Uh, he loves to get out and explore and really notice details and just kind of finding those ways that we can still get out and be active together has been really valuable and really good for me as a parent, but then also hopefully good for them too.Yeah, absolutely. And I like how you approached that because you know, as kids have their own personalities, we, we can't necessarily expect them to enjoy it. All the same thing. I mean, I only have one right. And she's only 10 months, but I can tell that she loves blueberries. Right. And she just, for some reason it's kind of cool that she just kind of developed this liking to blueberries right out of all the food we give her, you know? So as she grows older, I get the feeling that it's going to be very close to, you know, what you're saying is if there's going to be certain things that she likes or doesn't like, right. I'm into weightlifting and certain things and my wife does a lot of dance, right? So it's like, is she going to do both? Does she do some of each? And like, I like the way that you kind of expressed that, thatI don't just want to stop and be like, okay, well you don't like when let's just give up. Then now I'm going to kind of give them, help them to give a good try to what they're doing. And so it's really always a judgment call. It's kind of, you know, it's kind of like, hey, if I'm spending all my time just controlling you and there are starting to be tears and frustration, that's probably a sign that it's not healthy for us and we should go find a new new place to get that energy out.Yeah. And I like that. So that, that kind of focus is more on the kids aspect of it. Right. So when it comes to family, we, you know, you also have the, the marital relation, right? And then also kind of the individual of being able to provide for the family. Right. So can you talk a little bit about your, uh, feelings of, of how this kind of active family lifestyle has helped you feel more, you know, have a successful provider, both, whether it's physically or emotionally. Can you talk a little bit about your, your feelings on that?You know, for something, I think about this a lot for myself when I'm out on those three hour runs and I'm like, man, why? Why am I here and not at home with my family? And for me it really comes down to, I want to set a good example for my children. I want to set a good example for my family. And this is the example that I want to set. You know, I think as fathers we really have to think to ourselves about what, what example, what kind of father we want to be. And I'm a different father from my dad and I know that and recognize it and I'm okay with it because I, I've chosen what I want to do on purpose. And I said part of what makes, what's unique about me as a father and part of the things that I want to give to, or I wouldn't say unique, but the things that make me the fondant that I am or that I wanted to give my children an example of physical ability and strength. And that's important to me. And so being able to get out and do these things myself, uh, is part of my identity as a father that I want my children to grow up with because I want to be able to help them as they find things that they love to really kind of see, see a healthy balance between work and family and then activity.No, I imagine that has a lot of impact on the way that you feel about yourself when you do encounter certain aspects that you may be weak in. Like if you, you know, I don't know the best way to put it right, but if you have some sort of a shortcoming where you're like, oh, well I need to work on this, it probably allows you to kind of approach those better because you know that you have such a, I don't know, a strong value on providing that for your family to be able to, you know, be that a physical support and that kind of, that role model and example, although, you know, nobody's perfect, right. It kind of helps you navigate all that.Yeah. And especially emphasis on the last part. And Babe every great does, there's always ideals and there's what I want to be doing. And then there's a what, what actually the kids receive and what ends up happening in the real world. But yeah, I, you know, ideally, um, I like being able to say, yeah, I have this particular, there's a couple of aspects of that, right? One is being able to say, okay, here's an area of weakness for me and I can show my kids half how I kind of worked through that and I can explain to them, hey, this is the struggle that I'm going through so that they don't just see, you know, cause as a child you just see your parents as is well for a very, very short time. You see your parents as they, the mission of nicotine being. Um, usually that ends about age two, but it was still as it even as an older child, you still see your parents as somebody stronger and relatively more knowledgeable than you.Uh, and so it's nice to be able to show my kids, this is what is taking me to get to where I am to that as they experienced their own setbacks or problems, they can kind of understand the mental steps into the emotional steps of working through those. Um, and then actually seeing overcoming them. So it's not just, hey, I had a problem and then it stopped me, but I had a problem and I took these steps and I overcame them, uh, as an example for them to at least model after at least the first model that they get.Yeah. And I really liked the way that you put that about, you know, not you have ideals, right, but you're not always like that. I think of also how you were saying, you know, you're not always, your kids think of you as like this, you know, omnipotent or this like, you know, great. You know, example. But then that ends up at age two. So it's funny because there's, there's a picture in my bedroom at my parents' house, like, you know, I haven't lived there for a long time, but there's a, there's a picture there that has a, I think it's just a picture of me and my dad and I can't remember all of the, the words on it, but it basically goes from like, you know, h to h seven, eight and it goes through the ages and it says, you know, oh, I want to be, I want to be just like you.And then as you go through it says, you know, I, I know better than you, you know, around like the teenage years. And then, you know, it comes full circle back around with like, you know, I wish you were here. Right. You know, talking about the parents passing on. But, um, I mean, my dad's not gone yet, but, um, but it's funny because like, I just, every time I have a problem, like, hey, you know, this is going wrong with my car, what do you think? Or, you know, what, what's your opinion on this? It's like you come to realize that you know, there's, your parents do have this value. Right? So I think that's interesting that you bring that up cause kids are going to go through that cycle. And I think we just have to realize that. And I'm, you know, I guess I'm going to shout out to my parents on this one cause they've dealt with a lot of a lot of crap and um, you know, it's just, it's just a great example and I think that you do a wonderful job of capturing, you know, that whole circle in your message.So I guess talking about family, right, cause I want to kind of bring this towards kind of a close but about family and the whole aspect of what you are trying to share with the community. Um, out of everything that we've talked about, is there something else that you may want to touch on or kind of get across that we haven't already reached?So when is, when it comes to talking about family, I think it's really important. I do want to emphasize that I think it's important for kids to grow up being active and, and not just being active but seeing their parents active. So I know I've kind of alluded to this earlier in terms of my own goals and personal goals. You know, I just think that it's one thing to, to make sure that your kids are involved in activities and that's another thing to actually get out there and do them with your kids. Even if you can't be a coach, even if you can't act, you know, they eventually get to the point where they need a more experienced coach than you, or if you can't actually do the specific sport or activity that they're in them. Just I think that, you know, just just like you said, as we get older, we definitely take on certain aspects of our, of our upbringing, even if we don't think about it, even if we don't do it on purpose.And so being mindful of that as parents and say, what, what kinds of things am I showing to my kid that an adult does? And if we show our kids, Hey, activity is great for children, but then it's not, there's no place for it in the real world. And what kind of messages I really sending to them as they get to be adults and they get to have the responsibilities of families and they're not able to take care of themselves because they've never seen an example of that in their own lives. So I think it's really important that we get kids involved in sports and activities that we teach them how to train properly, but more than that, that we show them how to do that in the middle of a full life so that it's not just something you do when you're in school, but it's something that continues through your whole life because it'll make such a huge difference, a quality of life as we get older. Just like I was saying before and I was, as you get older, you don't want to be that, that grandparent or that dad who, you know, can't get off the couch, but you want to be the one that's out there actually running around with your kids or your grandkids even someday. So that's, in terms of the family,I liked that a lot and that really it's, it's more personal I think, especially thinking about my experience with my wife and her family because they, they go hunting, right? And so her dad, her dad will in mind too, they're all a little bit on the older spectrum. He goes hunting with them. Right. And if, if we weren't, you know, physically able to go do that or whatnot, it, it, you kind of miss out on those bonds that happen between, you know, parent and child or even siblings when you go out and do those things. Cause there's certain things like when you're out hunting and I imagine with you and your son, when you go trail building, right, there's certain experiences that just can't be replaced.No, not at all. And, uh, I used to hunt actually. Um, so I have had some of that, but I didn't introduce my children to it. But you're right, there's, is there a way of interacting with the environment around you that you just have to be able to get out and do it? You can't talk about it. And I have memories of my own dad, you know, some early camping, early hiking activities. I have a memory when I was really young, better just invaluable. It, I wouldn't have been able to, you know, otherwise.No, that's, that's really great. And I really appreciate you sharing all of this and it's, it's definitely opened up a lot more than I was initially thinking during our first call because there's a lot of stuff here I think that can reach a pretty good audience and, and I really appreciate that and I kind of want to let people know where, where they can find you. Right? So if you want to go ahead and just say like, you know, where they can find you, whether it's website or Instagram. Um, and I will put that in the show notes, but go ahead and kind of give your elevator pitch for what you can do and where people can find you.Definitely. So like I said, over the past year and developing as a coach with my nails and certification, applying that to myself, to my friends and familyand you'll see a lot of fab material available on [inaudible]but my personal Instagram like is in cluster. And then I also started a business offering coaching services, especially trying to reach out in a similar situation and want to build on strength and want to be active. And that's a little river fitness. You can find my website at www dot [inaudible] dot com and um, at this point what makes the most sense is offering online trainings. I'm happy to but I'm happy to talk with anybody, uh, going to get a sense for work you're fired and help them to answer questions and then see if training makes sense to them and it's the right fit for them.And that's excellent. So thank you for sharing that. And I also want to point out to you, cause we didn't talk about it here, but in our first call, the your name little river fitness comes from that water feature, right? The little river that's by your house. And I, I kind of want to point out to everybody that that really just reflects how personal you take a, you basically want to take that, that home lifestyle and the values that you have and kind of share that with the rest of the community. Cause I thought that was really powerful.Absolutely. You know, I think, I think the really everything that we do on life has to start with our core and our center. And for me that's here and my house with my family and it moves out from that. And so the little river, the little production river is just a hundred yards from my house or 200 yards from my house right here. My kids go down and look for turtles and frogs all the time over there. And so it just kind of to me reflected my emphasis on this, on my family, on, on our community where we live. And I'm helping other people to, um, develop their own, what's important to them and their own values.That's great. And I really admire, you know, the message that you shared in the values that you have and I look forward to staying in touch. I like to do that as part of, you know, getting to know people on these shows is I'm personally building, and again, I could probably say this as a selfish reason for doing the podcast, but I enjoy that, right. And having that network. So I would invite everybody to, to reach out to you. Right. And kind of build that network and share similar stories. Uh, I know I'm more than willing to answer questions, whether it's on Instagram or Twitter and I, I get the feeling that you're more than willing to help others as well. Right. As long as they're looking to reach those things. Absolutely. Yeah. I'm glad to talk to people, get to know them. I love seeing other people's stories and understanding where they're at because it's so many variations on a themeand it's amazing. I love seeing how we all are really working to do the best thing for ourselves and for our families. I really admire what you're doing and I really appreciate it this time on your show.Yeah, absolutely. I definitely appreciate it and we'll, we'll be sure to keep in touch and thanks a lot for coming on the show. Yeah, for sure. John, we'll talk to you soon.Thanks for listening. And if you haven't subscribed yet, please make sure you do leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and make sure to share this episode with your family and friends. Check in weekly for new episodes and we'll see you next time.