Revolutionary You! #178-Jay Ashman: Reinvent Yourself

Jay Ashman of Ashman Strength and Kansas City Barbell joins me this week for his debut on the show. Jay is one of the most open and candid people I know in the fitness industry and one of the things that has drawn me to him, is his transparency about his past and how he changed his life through those experiences. We cover a lot in this episode and, as I have tried to routinely do, we delve into some controversial topics. To learn more about Jay’s work, please visit http://www.kcbarbell.com and http://www.ashmanstrength.com To learn more about your host, check out http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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The Last Song He Heard

I grew up in a rock ‘n’ roll household. My father played bass and guitar throughout his adolescence and into adulthood. My mother was a singer.

Through my father I learned to appreciate classic rock and 70’s folk music, through my mother I learned to love Top 40 pop/rock and some of the 80s hair metal that was so prevalent on MTV back then.

And when you grow up like that, it’s easy to understand how the classics like The Beatles, The Stones, Bowie, and Clapton could all be heard throughout my life.

If there was a common thread, I would say The Beatles probably won the lot. I recall when Paul McCartney was touring in the early 2000’s, I went on two separate occasions to see him. Once with my Mom (and Jackson’s mom who was my girlfriend at the time) and once with my Dad.

This tour fell shortly after the death of George Harrison (who coincidentally died on my birthday in 2001.)

During that show, Paul sang tributes to Lennon and Harrison. There was hardly a dry eye in the arena. My mother cried. My father cried. And I think the shared sentiment between them was that since they missed hearing the Beatles in their heyday live in concert, a show like this was a good as it would get.

In the late 90s, a band very much inspired by the Beatles became a huge sensation in the U.S. with their hit Wonderwall. That band (in case you don’t already know) was Oasis.

I turned my Dad onto Oasis and I had a feeling he would really like them. I wasn’t wrong. Dad loved the spin that the Gallagher brothers put on a very Lennon-inspired modern take of The Beatles. Some critics couldn’t look past the similarities. But I have been an Oasis fan ever since and Dad loved everything of theirs I ever played for him.

When Oasis split in 2009, I was disappointed but not completely surprised. The Gallagher brothers were known to have a volatile relationship and it finally hit it’s peak.

Liam (the lead singer) took the majority of Oasis with him and formed a group called Beady Eye. Noel, the primary songwriter of Oasis, struck out with another band he called Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. It didn’t take long before each group started to put out their own material.

Not surprisingly, Beady Eye sounded nearly identical to Oasis save for some less than spectacular lyrics and something of a one-dimensional approach to their music.

Their second single from the album was a song called “The Roller.” It was released in February of 2011.

On February 16th, 2011, my father was admitted into the hospital. He was in the last stages of his short battle with bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma.)

He would spend (almost to the day) one month in the hospital until the doctors released him to come home. We knew our time was running out.

When Dad got home and was settled into bed, I was talking with him and I asked him if he remembered Oasis. He said he did and I told him about the splintering of the group. I asked him if he had any interest in hearing Beady Eye’s new song. I climbed into the bed with him and fired it up.

If you’ve never heard the song before, it kicks in with a piano, a guitar and Liam’s voice. The first line begins:

“You didn’t know what to say, but I’ll come at you today…”

And my father started crying.

“Dad, are you okay?”

And my father’s words to me were:

“It’s like a dream. When the music and the words come together, it makes my pain go away.”

I’ve never seen music touch him as much as that song did then.

On Wednesday, March 23 2011, I came home from work and played him the song again. He was having trouble opening his eyes but he could hear perfectly fine.

His voice had faded to a whisper.

He nodded his head and smiled as he listened to the song from beginning to end.

My Dad passed away about 2 hours later.

Like my mother, there are certain bands and certain songs I have difficulty listening to after all these years since he passed. When I hear them, I only see my Dad. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as I believe I think of him multiple times a day anyway.

I can tell you, it’s really hard to listen to the Beatles without my Dad around.

But this song, “The Roller“, it still punches me right in my gut when I hear it.

It was the last song my father heard before he left this world.

I miss him. I loved him.

As our family spends the next several days remembering who my father was to us as this anniversary rolls around for yet another year, I have a favor to ask of those of you reading this today.

If you knew my Dad, play a song that reminds you of him. If you want to play “The Roller“, you can. But it probably won’t have the same effect on you as it did for he and I.

And if you didn’t get the chance to meet Dad when he was still here with us, I apologize. You would have loved him.

In that case, play a song that reminds you of the gift we have of life.

My Dad loved that gift and he shared it with everyone.

It would be my hope that you cherish that gift not just today but for the remainder of the time you are here in this world as well.

Revolutionary You! #177-BONUS-Stephanie Lee: Write For Impact

To credit any one person for the growth my writing has seen over the last year or so, it would undoubtedly be Stephanie Lee. Rather than hoard her expertise to myself (and those who have also hired her services) I had to bring her on the show so more people could connect with her as well. Stephanie is firing up the next round of her already successful class, “Write For Impact.” This is a time-sensitive link so make sure you act soon! Listeners can find out more through the special link http://www.stephanielee.me/hello-revfit-radio To learn more about Stephanie, visit her website at http://www.stephanielee.me and connect with her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/superlee7 To learn more about your host, visit http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Revolutionary You! #176-Leslie Ann Quillen: Food Empowerment and Metabolic Flexibility

I can’t believe it’s been since way back at Episode 59 that Fat Loss Foodies’ Leslie Ann Quillen was last with me! We had a great conversation back then and she returns this week to give updates on all the great things she has been doing with FLF since then. In this episode, we also chat about taking our power back over the food we eat and some strategies for metabolic flexibility in dieting. To learn more about Leslie’s work, check out http://www.fatlossfoodies.com and follow them on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/fatloss_foodies To learn more about your host, visit http://www.jasonleenaarts.com and http://www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review. 

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My Terrible, Awful, Worthless Body (and What In The Hell I Decided To Do About It.)

My body hates me.

I remember when I first got certified as a personal trainer (circa 2007), I tore my rotator cuff. Here I was, barely two months with my certification and I couldn’t even do my normal workouts.

Instead, I spent about six months alternating between physical therapy and some prescription painkillers until the recovery was finished.

Fast forward twelve years and due to the nature of my work here, I am constantly moving, demoing exercises, twisting, turning, squatting, lifting, OH AND I also have to fit in my own training.

So, I am pretty much always fighting some type of injury/soreness/vulnerability/you name it and it pisses me off.

There is a certain individual who says “The Hell With It” and just powers through the pain. (That normally doesn’t end well.)

There is the other individual who is probably more hyper-sensitive to these things and would rather stay home and mope about it. (That sounds pretty awful also.)

I can’t really afford to be either one of those people.

You see, I HAVE to be able to do my job. And I also HAVE to find a way to train my body effectively.

Which means, in the grand scheme of things, some priorities may have to show some slack.

It may mean that some exercises are temporarily or permanently out of the mix.

It may mean that I have to modify the range of motion to perform an exercise so that I can execute it in a pain-free manner.

When I quit expecting perfection from myself, I gave myself new benchmarks that could ebb and flow based on how I feel.

If my elbow starts bothering me, I change my grip on certain exercises or I remove them temporarily and focus on other less painful variations.

If my knee starts barking at me, I take a break on lower body work for a few days.

When my back (the area that has suffered the most trauma) is really flared up, I know what to remove until it’s settled down again.

I am NEVER without ways to make progress no matter what is bothering me.

Part of this mindset, this arguably more effective mindset, is the ability to not expect perfection from your body.

My client, June, was recently on a skiing trip. A freak accident occurred and she tore her ACL and MCL. Even when she was on crutches and laid up with the injury, she texted me and asked “Are there things I can do for my upper body? Because there’s NO WAY I’m going to stop working out!”

That was music to my ears. Despite what could have been a huge detriment to her training progress, June knew there was another way to keep progress going.

I went through a similar thing with Ken a couple of years ago when he was taking a leisurely run outside of his home and broke his foot. We found a way to work around it.

But what does this mean for you?

Your body will sometimes behave when you ask it to.

Other times, your body will do whatever it damn well pleases despite your not so subtle urges otherwise (ask a dieter how they feel about this!)

Maybe you’re one of the fortunate ones who never or rarely has to deal with an injury in the gym (I envy you, by the way.)

Maybe what you’re dealing with has less to do with what the gym does to you and more to do with your conversations in the mirror.

Do you agonizingly flap your “batwings?”

Are crunches and planks the solution to whittle away at your “muffin top?”

Can any amount of push-ups and bench presses get rid of your “moobs?”

The answer to those questions is typically NOT what people want to hear.

It generally involves some combination of caloric restriction and depending on how your body has changed with the ups-and-downs of weight plus giving birth to children, menopause, etc. you may actually be looking into cosmetic surgery as well.

I would LOVE to tell you that diet and exercise fix everything but that would be dishonest.

Diet and exercise fix a lot but they don’t fix it all.

If you’re anything like me and you feel that aggravating urge to berate your terrible, awful, worthless body (which in reality is none of those things) having a more open dialogue with yourself helps.

If your challenges with your health go beyond a given injury or vulnerability, ask yourself “What within your power can you change?”

If you have “batwings”, how can you continue to modify your eating plan and training plan to focus on overall fat loss (for the physique) and stronger, leaner arms? Are you willing to get cosmetic work for the things that diet and exercise cannot directly change?

Often, we misplace our frustrations with ourselves to the things we cannot change on our own but continue to live in misery with. Or we recognize something is within our control and just opt out and do nothing.

Ultimately, we determine our own misery and frustration with our bodies. If “comparison is the thief of joy”, why are we constantly comparing instead of working on the one thing in this world we actually can change?

Ourselves.

So, what I decided to do with my terrible, awful, worthless body was work on it bit by bit. Every day, one fraction of a step closer to something I can be satisfied with.

That journey ends when our lives do which means that every day is a chance to progress. The alternative leads to nowhere (or rather, nowhere appealing.)

Which road are you taking?

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #175-Dani Singer: It’s All A Mindset Game

Dani Singer is the owner of Fit2Go, an in-home personal training service. In this episode, we cover the importance of what happens outside of the training sessions to make sure clients get the best results possible. Dani breaks down why it’s crucial to focus on small, sustainable habits especially when the lives of our clients already have so much that can stand in the way of their progress. To learn more about the PAUL method that Dani references, check out www.fit2gopt.com/be-paul and check out www.fit2gopt.com to learn more about Dani himself and the great work he’s doing. For more on your host, visit www.jasonleenaarts.com and www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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Remove The Things That Mask The Pain

My client (let’s call her Jane) has been struggling to make it in to the studio for her sessions. To her credit, she works a lot of hours, owns a business and generally has a high amount of stress.

Her struggle beyond this is a general sense of lethargy, the “blues” and just wanting to curl up under the covers and vanish.

Rinse and repeat the next day and the next.

And I asked her a couple of very pointed questions that I prefaced with “This is coming from a place of love.”

“How old are you?”

“53.”

“Do you think 53 years is long enough to suffer?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Good…can you stop suffering?”

Somewhat out of context, you may wonder what I meant.

For many of my clients, they don’t know how to step out of the circle of suffering. That circle looks something like this:

-Wake up feeling poorly rested and rush to work.

-Skip breakfast or eat something of poor quality.

-Feel sluggish until the next meal time which either gets skipped due to work load or is replaced by a meal too large in calories or too poor in quality (often both.)

-Stumble through the rest of the work day, dehydrated (due to lack of water intake), stressed, tired and ready to go home.

-Get home, thoroughly exhausted, eat a dinner similar to lunch (too large in calories/too poor in quality), curl up on the couch, watch TV, snack some more, go to bed.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

And Jane’s concern is easy to understand: I’m too tired and too depressed to do anything different. I don’t have the energy to do anything productive or beneficial for myself.

Here’s the first victory: Jane is admitting the problem.

Now, can she remove the things that mask the pain?

When you’re in the circle of suffering, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is no light. There’s just the endless rehash of the same destructive patterns.

We eat poor quality because it’s a temporary relief to the stress and the pain of life. Blood sugar typically rises and then sufficiently plummets leading us back to more poor quality food or more caffeine (often both) and the circle continues.

For Jane, the suggestion was simple to make: remove those poor foods. They’re not gone forever, they’re gone for now because they’re winning the battle and she is not. It’s times like these for people like Jane who need to step away from the foods that cover up pain and don’t give her the space to focus on her problems.

I’m not standing in a glass house throwing stones either. For me, 10 years of not knowing how to cope with my own problems led to drugs. I didn’t associate self-medicating with food until my father was diagnosed with cancer and had only a few months left to live. Then, food became the coping mechanism. I had to find a way to mask the pain of knowing he’d be gone.

When we can step outside of the “circle” we can troubleshoot:

Why am I eating this? Because I’m stressed and I want comfort.

What happens when I eat this? I temporarily fill the void so that I don’t have to think about my stress.

How do I feel when I eat this? Momentarily fulfilled, then guilty, then sad. I berate myself for my decisions, throw the day out the window and repeat the behavior because I already feel like a failure so if I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail BIG.

And I told Jane “You may need to remove these foods for right now. They are not serving you. They are your master. It needs to be the other way around. When you do this, you will slowly regain control of your circumstances.”

I will give credit to the fact that several of my clients suffer from clinical depression. They are on medication for this. Sometimes, it is the right medication and sometimes it needs to be changed.

*For those clients, please see your doctor to get things on the right track.*

Beyond the symptoms of the clinically depressed, the same concepts apply. If you drink alcohol to cope with your emotions, you are consuming a downer which compounds your problems. If this sounds like you, alcohol may need to temporarily be off the grid until you are through the current struggle.

If you are taking anti-depressants AND consuming alcohol, it can become something of a double-whammy. The alcohol decreases the effectiveness of the antidepressant.

Talk to your spouse/your family/your significant other. Explain the depths of the problem. Not just a glossy “I need to lose weight” statement either.

I mean “Hey, I need to talk to you. I have a problem that is burying me right now and I can’t conquer it without you.”

If my wife, for instance, said those words to me I’d be all in. I’m not going to watch her suffer. Not when I have the capacity to help.

If you cannot break your own circle of suffering, you will have to enlist the help of others. This may include those you are intimate with as well as a qualified therapist who has experience working with individuals suffering from some level of disordered eating.

This does not make you a defective person. You are perfect. Your coping mechanisms are not.

At some point, the foods that you lost control over may have a kinder place in your life. The reintroduction of those foods is different for everyone.

For now, rather than mask the pain: face the pain. It is temporary.

There is a better (stronger, healthier) you on the other side.

But first, remove the things that mask the pain.

Below is Courtney, down 22lbs and currently solving the food problem of what can belong and what needs to be on the backburner…for now.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #174-Gillian Goerzen: “The Elephant In The Gym”

I have the great pleasure of welcoming Gillian Goerzen to the show this week. She is a fellow trainer and author of the book “The Elephant In The Gym” (now available to order on Amazon.) In this episode, we not only discuss the origin of the book but the importance of self-compassion and the power of your internal dialogue with respect to your health and your goals. To learn more about Gillian’s work, please visit www.superyou.ca or contact her directly at gillian@superyou.ca To learn more about your host, visit www.jasonleenaarts.com and www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.

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I Forgive You…But Most Importantly, I Forgive Myself

“I forgive you.”

I said those words to the man who sexually abused me some 13 years after the incident occurred. It gave me a sense of closure to an event I was successfully able to stuff back into my mind for the majority of those 13 years.

But not without consequence.

Blacking out trauma in my life of this nature only reinforced the negative outcomes that came from it. I no longer trusted people who I should have been able to count on.

As a result, I spent decades of my life lying to basically everyone I knew: family, friends, girlfriends, etc.

When I was faced with the conundrum of “do right” vs. “do wrong”, I would often resort to doing the wrong thing and hoping I wouldn’t get caught.

If I did wrong around my friends, I could normally get away with it.

I wasn’t as lucky with my parents.

All the same, being caught didn’t stop the behavior, it just forced me further into the rut.

And I carried this beyond the day I confronted my abuser.

In fact, the year that I found him and reminded him of what he did to me was the year of four of my five hospitalizations for suicide attempts/suicidal ideations and the beginning of my ten year journey with illegal street drug addiction.

Apparently, there is more to forgiveness than just saying the words.

After I closed that door on my abuser, it would take ten more years and hundreds/thousands of mistakes to forgive the other person in the conversation.

Me.

I had to forgive myself for the cross I chose to bear.

I had to forgive myself for the sins I chose to commit.

I had to forgive myself to break free from any further guilt.

I didn’t choose to be abused.

I chose to not be touched and my abuser wouldn’t let that lie.

My “salvation”, if you will, came from not wanting to suffer any longer by my own hand, my own decisions.

It took all those drugs, all those failed relationships, lost jobs, and a failed marriage to say: I can’t fucking live like this anymore.

Starting this business in 2009 was my first step towards a clean slate.

Meeting Marissa was the next step.

Admitting to Marissa what my past had been up to that point was another small step.

Holding my son, Jackson, (from my first marriage) when he was just a baby and promising him, I would be a better man.

I would be a better father.

And as I have seen daily with RevFit, I see that what my clients struggle with goes beyond weight loss.

It goes beyond broken relationships with food.

It falls closer to that parallel of forgiveness.

Like me, many of my clients have to choose to forgive someone: a negligent or abusive parent/friend/spouse, or they’re mending the wounds from a painful divorce or a broken relationship.

Like me, those same clients have the other person to forgive as well: themselves.

Like me, my clients carry crosses they shouldn’t have to be burdened with anymore and no amount of food can fix that problem (no matter how deep that hole goes.)

Because once you go through 12-steps programs (like I ventured through) and you sit and cry to therapists who either can fix the problem, not fix the problem or give you medications to give you a similar outcome, there’s still that one person you have to face.

That damn person you see every time you look in the mirror.

And I didn’t want to hate that person anymore.

Neither should you.

Forgive whoever it is you need to forgive in your life for whatever wrong they did to you.

That moment is gone.

And, when the time is right (hopefully sooner than later), forgive yourself. Chances are, you’ve been carrying this load longer than you needed to and you’ve done more damage to yourself in the interim because you didn’t take the time to care about you.

That time can start Now.

“We Make Great People Greater”

Revolutionary You! #173-Matt Gary-Winning The Moment

Legendary powerlifter, coach and owner of Supreme Sports Performance & Training, Matt Gary debuts on the show this week. Matt was at our facility last year to help myself, my trainers and a stable of other great coaches become certified as powerlifting coaches and he was exceptional. I had to bring him on the show to get his take on why the mentality we bring to what we do helps us achieve success. This doesn’t just affect powerlifters but anyone who needs to get a better grasp on mindset strategies. There are so many great things for you to learn in this episode, I can’t wait for you to hear for yourself. To learn more about Matt’s work, check out www.supremesportspt.com and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/mlgary72 To learn more about your host, check out www.jasonleenaarts.com and www.revfittherapy.com You can also like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revolutionaryou Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review. 

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