Georgie Fear returns after some time away and three extremely popular episodes we’ve done together (#51, 81 and 121) and K. Aleisha Fetters returns with her (see episode #249) as they have recently released an awesome book they co-authored: “Give Yourself More”. In this episode, we talk about why women have continued to be encouraged to be “less” as opposed to more and how that affects their diets, their self-image and the marketing messages they can be influenced by. The book itself is EXCELLENT and a highly recommended read. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
To purchase your copy of the book and to find out more about Georgie and Aleisha:
If you’re looking for an article to dispute the importance of the almighty calorie, this isn’t it. Whether you recognize it or not, acknowledge it or not, the calorie still matters for fat loss.
However, the calorie isn’t the best measure for everyone to use if they want to succeed at fat loss.
Over the last several years, I’ve acclimated to a piece of software that allows me to put several pieces of data in to cough up a pretty good indicator of where a client’s calorie goals should be. I can get us down to the grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat content (ranges, mind you) to damn near guarantee success. I’d be lying to you if I told you that every successful client of mine followed that data to a “T”. They don’t. Thankfully, they don’t have to.
It’s estimated data points and they’re simply there for a guide, not as the end all be all for success to occur.
Since the pandemic hit, I’ve still been taking on new clients but due to social distancing, I can’t do all of the up-close measurements that I’m accustomed to.
That means, that we have to find other ways to tackle the intake of food (or fluids that contain calories) to arrive at the same goal of fat loss.
While I do find calorie tracking immensely eye-opening when done correctly, it’s not always necessary and can have a sabotaging effect for certain people.
What other options are there?
Right now, I’m asking my new clients just to tell me what they eat.
I document what they consume in foods and drinks from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed. Some people give me graphic details of all they eat: down to the flavor of cream in their coffee to the condiments they put on their sandwiches and the dressing they use on salad (it ALL counts).
Others tend to be more vague when they describe what they eat. It’s not to be deceitful, it’s because they’re either unaware or they’ve forgotten. Hell, I can’t even tell you what I ate two days ago with great accuracy unless I was tracking it.
For those who have the details down, it’s about finding the places where you can make a reduction.
Assume for a moment, that you eat 3 meals a day of varying sizes. You also eat at least one snack and have at least one alcoholic drink. Where will you cut back? One person might elect to remove the snack and the beer and another person might say, I’m keeping my snack and beer but I’m removing breakfast. Cool! That’s where we start.
After 1-2 weeks of this simple change, you reassess by checking the scale, checking how your clothes fit or even if there’s been a change in the belt loop. It all matters as a reference point but everyone has a different tool they’re comfortable using. Use the one that makes you feel best and appears to be accurate.
To highlight my thoughts with a recent client consultation, Don M. and I were talking about how to get his diet in order. His wife, Amy, has been a client of mine for awhile and has been encouraging him to start with me when the time felt right.
Don and Amy are both dealing with different eating challenges. Both are with me for weight loss. When Don told me about his diet, it really didn’t appear to be concerning. So, I asked the question somewhat differently: Which meal tends to go awry for you?
Without hesitation, he said: Dinner. Absolutely.
I suggested he eat the same size dinner as his wife. This isn’t a “forever” change. It’s something that they can do together, hold each other accountable for and help each other succeed together with. I also wouldn’t suggest this to everyone. I just want Don to kickstart with some momentum and if dinner is his problem area, I want to focus there first.
We’re often at the mercy (subconsciously) of following the social cues of others. If I reach for seconds when I eat dinner with my wife, she’s more likely to eat more as well. Think about how you react to social cues when you go to a restaurant and order an unplanned appetizer because it was suggested to you or how you go for seconds (or thirds) at Thanksgiving because you see others do so.
What’s good about this is that awareness of these vulnerable areas can make people more proactive moving forward, without counting a single calorie.
At a certain point, Don may plateau with his weight loss and we’ll have to investigate further to see if anything else is slowing his progress down.
For now, tactics that can work for him can work for you too. You don’t have to keep a food journal every day (but you can if you’d like), you don’t have to count calories or macros (but you can if you’d like) and you don’t have to measure every morsel you eat (but…you can if you’d like).
Find the areas that look “slippery” to you and focus your efforts there first.
Stay tuned over the next several weeks to get an update on how Don and Amy are succeeding together.
(Below is a recent shot of some of our socially distanced rockstars representing the newest line of our Rev swag in tribute to our Emily B. with a favorite saying of hers, “Pump Is Life”. Below is Bill, Shon, Amy and Cherie)
Kelly Coffey returns for her third time to the show (see episodes 72 and 137). Taking inspiration from a recent video she released to her audience, we dive into her take on the “three eater types”. We discuss the pandemic, the eater types and a better understanding of how and why to draw boundaries around our eating behaviors. This is a can’t miss episode. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
I’ve always applauded my son Jackson for how he’s evolved with autism. Granted, it wasn’t done alone. It’s taken the help of a school focused on children with developmental disabilities and many hours and years of additional therapies to make even the smallest changes in his behaviors.
Ask any parent of a special needs child: it’s all worth it.
For those of us who wouldn’t consider ourselves on the autism spectrum, change still requires work. Change still requires discomfort. Change still requires that we be different. Different than we were before.
I’m not sure how well your health goals have fared over the last couple of months. Some of my clients actually did quite well as they methodically got closer to their physique goals. Some were happy to maintain their weight. Some gained more than they anticipated.
I’d say the last group comprised the majority of my clients, which by my definition, I call “normal”.
Now that the economy is gradually reopening for most around the domestic U.S., we’re starting to see clients transition back to some degree of the previous normal before the lockdowns began.
As most of us are making that transition back, it could be helpful to start asking more critical questions regarding how our health fared over the last two months.
I was speaking with one of my clients just this past week. His workouts have been more consistent and he feels like his diet has been mostly on point as well. The sticking point for him (as it is for many) is liquid calories. This particular client has a very stressful job with a lot of long hours. As a result, caffeine consumption is high during those shifts, courtesy of energy drinks, and when he’s not working, alcohol consumption increases.
He inquired about the effect of those energy drinks as a potential problem thwarting his weight loss efforts. I asked him how many calories were in those drinks.
“Zero”, he replied. “But what about the artificial sweeteners?”
I told him, my biggest concern was the alcohol intake. I’m not asking my client to go dry. Just, find the places where he can reasonably reduce quantity and frequency and see how the scale behaves in accordance.
I joked with him though: “What’s the adage? Nothing changes if we don’t change…”
He laughed in agreement.
Another client has been struggling with using food as a coping mechanism for stress during the quarantine. Like me, she has a neurotypical child and a child with autism.
She’s got her own pre-existing health conditions and I asked her to start making a note of how she felt when she ate certain foods. Do specific foods make you feel bloated, gassy or lethargic? Take note. Find the trends. Remove the offenders (for the time being).
More pointedly, she’s been having a lot of physical discomfort lately. I asked her to find an area of her life/diet that provided the least resistance to change but the most potential benefit. Her response: I need to stop eating ice cream every day.
I’d call this a very easy solution to a potentially big issue. In her case, maybe she limits ice cream to once a week or she uses it as something of a small reward to herself when she’s gained weight loss momentum. It’s important to note that this is not a long-term or one size fits all solution. I asked her to consider what would make her feel best under the circumstances and to realize that this tactic could work great or not work at all. Anything is worth trying if it’s with the right mentality moving forward.
I bring up these examples because change is at the heart of all we do. It goes beyond fat loss and beyond body improvement. It’s about making decisions that make us feel empowered, it’s about building skills that promote our values and it’s about making incremental and/or significant steps towards our idea of a better/healthier self.
None of which can be realized without change.
None of which can be committed to without being different.
Like the changes and adaptations my fellow special needs parents recognize we need to make for our children, we have to consider that even those of us without special needs have to change something within ourselves if we want to see things improve.
Diet books don’t prepare you for these things.
No supplement can fix it either.
You may need the help of a coach, a support system and a fresh perspective on how your environment is affecting your dietary decisions. Yes, it could be as simple of a solution as “just cool it on the potato chips” but there’s normally something more brewing under the surface.
If you gained weight over quarantine, you are certainly forgiven. That weight, can easily be reversed (should that be a goal of yours).
Many of us saw sides of our lives and personalities we never realized we had until we experienced the last couple of months as they transpired.
Maybe the question I can leave you with to ask yourself is: How different are you willing to be to influence the change you’re wanting to make?
Now might be a good time to find out.
“We Make Great People Greater”
(Jackson, 12, below in the red hanging out with his little brother, Sebastian, 2).
I’m honored to welcome co-owner of Mark Fisher Fitness and Business For Unicorns, Michael Keeler, to his debut on the show. Mark was previously a guest back on episode #85 and it has taken me too long to get Michael on as well. This week, we discuss the evolution of MFF and the origins of Business For Unicorns as well as how they have adapted their business to the trying times with New York’s pandemic response. At the heart of this conversation is a focus on care for yourself and how you care for those you service. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
When news of the Coronavirus first started having an effect on me, I was hearing about what was happening in other countries and I thought that maybe the U.S. wouldn’t be hit as hard.
I was wrong.
When I started hearing about how other states were affected by the virus, including lockdowns, business closures and depletion of grocery stock, I thought that maybe Ohio wouldn’t be as negatively impacted.
I was wrong.
Even when I heard that gyms were being asked to shut their doors, I considered the format of training, the amount of clientele in a fitness facility at one time, the inability to socially distance and I thought: “We’re not like other places. We can continue to operate within safe guidelines and remain open.”
I was wrong.
One thing I have always applauded the fitness industry for is a plethora of options. There are boot camps, CrossFit, Zumba, Yoga, family oriented fitness centers and more. Even within personal training, you have one-on-one, semi-private (our forte), and small group training.
There is a fitness option for every type of person and every type of motivation.
It always fascinated me how the more “competition” we saw as the rise of fitness options grew around me, the busier we got. I wasn’t upset that we had more competition, I was thrilled about it. Everyone (client and coach) was in a winning position. Every format had an opportunity to, as they say, have a slice of the pie.
Unfortunately, we all were forced to shut down.
Businesses which had never dreamed of making a name for themselves through online and virtual offerings now saw that the only way they could generate revenue was to fire up a Zoom meeting and keep business moving forward. For many, it worked. For many others, they’ll never be able to open their doors again.
When this article is released, we will be one week away from having the government green light to officially reopen our doors. That will mark about 10 weeks of a semi-operational business; a business that made a name for itself with almost solely a face-to-face presence that had to embrace the online world, with varied results, for those 10 weeks.
What will change for us?
Strangely (and happily), not much.
Long before I ever considered what living through a pandemic might feel like, our operations fell somewhat neatly into what the guidelines for safety would call for. Our facility has a little over 3000 square feet of operating space. While we do have an assortment of equipment, it’s rare that two people are side-by-side in a way that they can’t easily be six feet apart. Even at our busiest, we still have fewer than 10 people working on their individualized training plans.
There will be some housekeeping changes that will be in place for us: the state is encouraging all clients entering and leaving the facility to wash/sanitize their hands. There is also the encouragement to sanitize the equipment (benches, weights, attachments, etc.) immediately after use.
In addition, my staff and I are required to wear masks, wash/sanitize our hands, clean equipment behind our clients, and we may be required to perform temperature checks before shifts.
I have slated the scheduling of clients upon restarting to have no more than 3 people actively training at one time so we can keep the flow of workouts moving and prepare for the next incoming shift of 2-3 clients at the next training interval (approximately 30 minutes each).
We will also be temporarily removing our heavy bench press and squat work which would typically require having a spotter on hand for assistance.
In areas where equipment is spaced closer than six feet apart, our members will be encouraged to wait until space is available to appropriately distance themselves from others until the required equipment is safely ready for use. Fortunately, in our case, there is rarely an issue with this.
We will be installing touchless soap/sanitizer dispensers and touchless bathroom faucets to limit contact with items that might frequently require otherwise.
All in all, we’re ready.
We’re ready to get back to the business we love; training the people we love and root for day in and day out.
We’re ready to get our RevFit family back to the routines they’ve acclimated to, the programs they thrive on, and the community they haven’t seen in person since March.
And that begins again on May 26.
We look forward to having you be a part of it.
If we can’t control the world revolving around us, we can keep doing what it is we do best:
Fellow coach and podcast host (see The Lifestyle Chase), Chris Liddle makes his debut on the show this week. I wanted to hear Chris’s perspective and take on how the pandemic has been affecting him both personally and professionally. He brings the angle of being an independent trainer working for a larger facility in Canada and I wanted to see how coaches like himself were adapting to all of the changes. Chris is as down-to-earth as they come and I loved hearing how he was able to find the positive in so many potential negatives during this time. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
Returning to the show for a record 7th time, Meghan Callaway is back (see Episodes 62, 89, 118, 128, 150 and 198). In this episode we talk about her most recent program release “The Ultimate Push-Up Program”, how she continues to push the envelope with her own training and why embracing the stages of progressions and regressions is so important with exercise. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
To learn more about Meghan’s work and to purchase her excellent programs:
There was a certain amount of solace in starting this business in 2009. I’d overcome a lot and endured a lot to come out on the other end of things relatively unscathed.
Last year, when I went back to therapy after many years away there were things that were starting to slip through the cracks. Come to find out, you can busy yourself with a life but that doesn’t mean you’ve successfully solved your problems. I know (and train) some very busy people who have yet to conquer their demons.
I haven’t conquered all of mine.
It’s why I’ve always had a fondness for and connection to people who, like me, have some emotional bruises from the life they’ve lived. For my weight loss clients, who live their own share of struggles, food was the cope when they couldn’t handle the pain.
For me, it was drugs, it was messy relationships, it was a poor grip on finances, it was everything I could involve myself in that made me forget about me.
The longer I’m in this industry, the more I gravitate towards my fellow coaches who aren’t afraid to say: I’m depressed, I was suicidal, I can’t get out of bed because of my anxiety, I can’t stop self-imploding…
And these are really, really good coaches. Kind, compassionate, selfless human beings who would do anything for their clients only to break down to pieces when they go home at night.
It’s an immensely gratifying career, to be a coach. It’s also tough to take the pain of others, help them sort their way through it, and find a way to not “take your work home with you”.
There are things I’ve been learning about myself in therapy that are hard to justify after 44 years on this earth. Things that will take me years to solve and sort through and clean up.
Because, like a lot of my clients, I always know how to make a mess of things in spite of myself.
And if you’ve ever “failed” on a diet, despite already seeing progress towards your goal, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
What the pandemic has shown is that clients and coaches have been smacked in the face with a lot of emotional turmoil they were never prepared for. Uncertainty is a painful hand to be dealt.
It’s made me dig my heels in a little bit further to understand the how’s and why’s of my clients; the things that make them tick and derail their progress, just as I have tried to understand the same things about myself.
It helps, in my case, that I found a therapist who could not only be a sounding board to me but has always been relied on to ask me questions I don’t know how to ask myself. Like me, he has his own personal history and the gaps he worked to fill in for himself.
I continue to applaud the work of coaches in this field who aren’t afraid to show they’re struggling. Sure, food and exercise may not be problem areas for them. That doesn’t mean problem areas don’t exist.
And as we take the hands of our clients to show them new ways to thrive, new ways to feel healthier, new ways to feel empowered, it’s with that voice in the back of our minds (and often in our messages) that we don’t coach perfection, we coach progress.
I joke with my therapist constantly about the parallels I see with the struggles I have and how they mirror the struggles my clients have: “Is this what my clients must feel like when they do ‘X’?”
It’s learning how to break the loops of negative feedback and negative behaviors.
It’s learning how to forgive yourself when you fuck it up again (and you will).
It’s learning how to live with yourself as a perfectly imperfect being who’s just trying to get one stubborn foot in front of the other.
Pandemic or not, great clients struggle to succeed.
Great coaches do too.
If we can all recognize some of the fragmented areas in our lives to say: I accept you how you are, let me help you get further along…we’ll end up in a much better place.
Maybe we’ll feel a little bit less damaged when we get there.
Nikki Naab-Levy joins me for her third time on the show (see episodes #147 and #164). She is a PMA-CPT Pilates teacher, licensed massage therapist, and certified functional strength coach with over a decade of experience helping clients build strength and overcome injury. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Magazine Journalism from Ohio University. Her fitness wisdom has been featured in Girls Gone Strong, The Seattle Times, and Men’s Fitness. She is a Master Trainer for the Balanced Body Bodhi Suspension System and has presented for national conferences and educational organizations including Fusion Pilates Edu and the Pilates Method Alliance. When she’s not teaching a sneaky hard Pilates class, you can find her using her journalism experience to help fitness professionals and movement teachers navigate the internet and find creative and effective ways to market their services, classes and online programs. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.