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 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.

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