Rock The Body You’ve Got

I don’t mince any words about always being a smaller framed guy. By most people’s estimation, I would still at 43 years of age qualify as underweight.

But I feel good and, for the most part, I move well and I’m pretty happy with that.

When I was in my 20’s, knee deep in drugs, I weighed about 10 pounds less than I do now. And even though I was thinner (which might be hard for some to believe), I wore much larger clothing.

Part of that was a sign of the times.

You see, in my 20’s, part of what spearheaded my drug addiction was the local rave scene. If anyone remembers what clothing was like back in the late 90’s, it was…baggy.

I had my pairs of JNCO jeans that had pant openings nearly as wide as my waist. I wore shirts that said “Small” but they damn near looked like curtains on me. There was no way you were going to get me to wear fitted clothing back then.

It was my hope and desire that by wearing less fitted, baggier clothing that I would appear larger in frame than what I actually was.

I’d like you to think about that for a moment.

Over the years of working with both male and female clients, I’ve seen and continue to see a certain trend.

Often, when people don’t feel good about their appearance, they wear baggier clothing so that the “details” of their physique are not as apparent.

The problem, that I think a lot of people miss, is that wearing less fitted clothing CAN make you look larger than you are.

And I understand part of the reasoning, a less confident person doesn’t feel like wearing clothes that accentuate their frame.

I know that among many of the things I had to work on back then, it was a degree of self-confidence. And as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully slightly wiser), I also found that when I bought clothes that made me feel good, not hidden, I felt exponentially better about myself.

In this day and age, we’re presented with several different movements. One of which  proclaims “Health At Every Size” and one that promotes overall body acceptance. I believe both have merit even if I don’t agree with every nuance of those movements.

But from what I see at RevFit, a more confident person is a more capable person, a more willing person, and a more driven person. Sure, these things can be taken to extremes like anything in health and wellness.

I watch what happens as my clients transition from less confident beginners to seasoned veterans and there are both psychological and physical changes that take place.

They’re stronger, more focused, sometimes more ambitious and they have a renewed sense of self-awareness that I believe comes from a foundation of saying: This is my body. It’s both flawed and beautiful. And every day, I work harder to improve it.

When this foundation is established, I see a welcome change in wardrobe. Clothing now “fits” and bodies become embraced by this psychological shift.

This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and raid the Lululemon store. Those clothes are expensive and not for every budget. But it does mean you should look for things that make you feel comfortable, allow for good movement, and should probably include colors that naturally flatter you so that when you look in the mirror you can say: “I’m ready.”

You don’t have to be thin to be happy. Thinness does not equate to happiness.

But I believe that if you want self-improvement, start with a vision of yourself: flawed but beautiful (Fellas: if you don’t want to use the term beautiful, try handsome.) And as I’ve heard the saying go: Dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got. Maybe there’s something to that.

The woman you see below is our very own Pam. She’s down 40lbs which is a greater loss than the goal she came to us with. True to the inspiration of this post, Pam’s confidence in herself changed as she has evolved with us. Her wardrobe changed not just in size but in style. She carries herself differently. She moves differently. She is not the woman she was when she started. And we love what she has become.

That’s a mindset thing.

Rock the body you’ve got until you get the body you want.

“We Make Great People Greater”

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Revolutionary You! #207-Stacy Dockins: “Embodied Posture”

I almost shock myself in saying this but throughout the tenure of the show, I’ve never had an episode dedicated to the topic of yoga. I am honored this week to break that trend with my guest, Stacy Dockins. Not only does she own yoga studios in Texas but she has recently released a fantastic book called “Embodied Posture” that celebrates yoga more from the anatomical and biomechanical perspective. This book is recommended for any yoga practitioner or yoga enthusiast who is looking to gain a better understanding of how the body moves through yoga poses and understanding what they should be feeling. You can learn more about Stacy at http://www.stacydockins.com where you can also purchase her book. You can also follow her on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/txyogastacy 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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What Will You Do With The Time You Have Left?

A strange thing happened when my Dad passed away.

For the first time in my life, I looked at the age he was when we lost him (59) and the age I was at the time (35) and started to count down the years.

It was unfair and probably unreasonable for me to do so.

The likelihood that I will pass from the same cancer that took my Dad from us is not likely.

But all the same, I started to look at my life from the viewpoint of: What if my days are numbered more so than I realize? What if I only make it to 59? What am I going to do with my life for the next 24 years?

And now, the gap has closed and I still think about it. I’ll be 44 this year, Dad would be celebrating his 68th birthday in just a few days (August 18.)

What am I going to do with my life for the next 15 years?

Some people take the viewpoint that they are going to experience all of the joys, the thrills, the excitement that life can offer.

I feel like I got enough of those thrills in my 20’s (otherwise known as my ‘lost decade’.)

And, for me, it’s how I am going to inspire enough people to change their lives with the time I have left? Whether it’s 5 years, 15 years or 42.5 years…

I watch people just spin their wheels, agonizingly accomplishing nothing with their health, with their lives, with their ambitions. It’s like they’re tied ball-and-chain to a past they can’t let go of and they keep forgetting that the key to unchain themselves is within arm’s reach.

Literally within sight.

Literally within grasp.

And they don’t take it. They just stay with the familiar.

No matter how painful or depressing it is.

I have struggled for more than eight years since my father passed to write this.

Every time I feel like I’m ready, I tell myself “No, not yet. It’s not time. You’re not ready.”

But then come back to that same series of questions ultimately ending with “If not now, when?”

And it’s the question I pose to you.

To me, I don’t care what you need to change. I care THAT you change. You don’t have to be a client of mine. You just have to make the decision.

I think that if you have been fortunate enough to have lived longer on this earth than my father did, you were given a gift. A gift that every day you get another breath. Are you wasting it?

I think that if you are nowhere near the age he was when he passed, you have the same gift. Every day, you get another breath. Are you wasting it?

I have struggled to write this for eight years because I didn’t know how it all would be interpreted. I have struggled with a lot of other things too: self doubt, moral failings, poor decisions, the seemingly endless cycle of not knowing how to fill the shoes he left behind.

After my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, we were given nine months left with him. Nine months where I saw some of the most beautiful and poignant sides of him and nine months where I saw a man who was the pinnacle of strength and poise in my life be reduced to a shell of himself by a miserable fucking disease. And if you haven’t heard the sentiment…fuck cancer.

I don’t take a lot of moments to stand on a soapbox and beg more from you.

I’m doing it now.

Because if you won’t ask better of yourself, who will?

And if you’re waiting for the perfect time to do better, stop waiting. Do…something.

The picture you see below is among my most treasured. If you are reading this and you recognize this picture, it’s because it was at my father’s calling hours.

Dad was admitted into the hospital shortly after Valentine’s Day 2011. He would remain in the hospital for almost one month to the day. My mother and I would go to see him every day. Every chance we got, we would bring Jackson with us. Jackson had just turned three and it was around this time that he received his official diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum.

Jackson didn’t mind being in the hospital room with my Dad. But he didn’t want to be near the hospital bed. It broke my heart because I knew how much it would mean to my Dad to be close to his grandson. My father loved being an Opa. Seeing him fulfill that role were some of the best times of my life. Not surprisingly, he was as great of a grandfather as he was a father.

The doctors released my father to come home and have his remaining days with us. On Sunday, March 20 Jackson was at the house with us. Dad was resting in the bed. Jackson went into the bedroom and climbed into the bed next to my father. That’s when I took this picture. It’s one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking things I own.

Dad passed away on Wednesday, March 23.

When I ask you what you will do with the time you have left, I don’t mean to browbeat.

I just want you to look at the gift you’re given, the life you’re given, and I want you do better.

I don’t want you to waste any more time.

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Revolutionary You! #206-Marci Nevin: The Best Version Of Yourself For Yourself

It has taken way too long for me to get the great Marci Nevin on the show. I resolved that issue this week! Marci and I get to chat about mindset traps and ways we tend to sabotage our own best efforts. We also talk about ways to get out of some of the self-talk pitfalls to see better success towards our goals. You can learn more about Marci’s work by following her on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/marcinevin  and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marcinevinfitness  You can find out more about your host at 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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Stop Focusing on the Weight You Gained. Focus on This Instead.

“I can’t believe I gained almost all of the weight I lost back!”

When Jackie first started working with me, it was following the advice of her fiance Abe who had already been seeing great weight loss results with us.

Jackie had reached a point with her body weight that she could no longer accept and was ready to get things moving in the right direction again.

As I do with all of my clients, we dive into what life looks like currently from a diet perspective.

There’s never any judgment.

Things are what they are and we discuss what it takes to change them.

Like a lot of my clients, there were several fits and starts with Jackie’s weight loss journey. Things would be moving at a good clip and then fall by the wayside.

Another start would take place, more progress would come and then the brakes would be on again.

I consider this more the norm in weight loss behavior than the exception.

And then of course, life likes to get in the way of our best laid plans.

Between raising a teenage daughter and planning her wedding to Abe, things just got off track with Jackie’s weight loss.

Which is why recently she came in proclaiming the statement I started with:

“I can’t believe I gained almost all of the weight I lost back!”

For the record, Jackie lost 16 lbs with me. She regained 12.

And I could tell, she was not remotely happy about it.

One thing I’d like to highlight about Jackie (and Abe) is that like me, they are recovering addicts.

And if there’s one thing I have intimate understanding about is how addicts can view progress. Typically, it’s all or nothing. You’re either winning or you’re losing. There is no in between.

So, I told Jackie: Don’t worry about the weight gain. You need to focus on your momentum. 

Time and again, you will hear me talk about the importance of caloric intake. And yes, it absolutely matters. But sometimes, you can just do enough and get the needle moving the right direction again.

And this principle works whether you have Jackie’s 12 lbs to lose or you have substantially more.

The number doesn’t matter.

The momentum does.

For Jackie, I told her to get control back of the things she knew she could do: stop eating out as frequently, drink more water, and make a reduction in fat/carb combinations.

Two days later, she was down two pounds.

Two days after that, she was down another two pounds.

Yes, I know it was mostly water weight. But it doesn’t matter.

Because for someone like Jackie, who legitimately worked hard to lose those 16 lbs, to regain 3/4 of it back can be devastating ESPECIALLY when you’re just over two months away from your wedding day.

So, I told Jackie to look ahead and get focused. She has only so many weeks to get her body where she wants it for her wedding day. Rather than white-knuckle her way to the finish line it would be prudent to do the work now and rest easy as the stress of the big day gets closer.

I told her she could reasonably be at a new low before October (the month of her wedding) comes. I also told her to be slightly forgiving if the weight doesn’t plummet. She still has to ride the trends.

And with four days of focus on her diet, her food choices and her water intake, she is now only 8 pounds from her low, NOT 12.

Now that she has received the “gift” of the water weight loss, she can focus on the smaller details: appropriate protein, fibrous carbs, and some healthy fats. She also has to minimize eating out at restaurants so she can stay the course.

For many clients, they are so wrapped up in the numbers and weight gain/regain or whatever degree of weight loss that they miss the forest for the trees.

And it’s this circumstance that makes people give up on their goals. It would have been easy for Jackie to throw in the towel. But she needed a pep talk and it was the kick in the ass that she needed to move the needle again.

So, whether your weight loss journey is just starting and it looks daunting or you’ve stalled because of some inherent plateau, it’s not a catastrophe.

Everything can be positively influenced to get you in a good place with your weight again.

Because it’s not as much about the weight you have to lose as it is the distractions you’re allowing to stand in your way. MOVE THEM.

The only thing you need now is momentum.

(Below is our beloved Jackie and Abe. Their special day is October 19.)

“We Make Great People Greater”

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Revolutionary You! #205-Melody Schoenfeld: 2019 NSCA Personal Trainer Of The Year

You would have to go way back to Episode #88 to hear the first time Melody Schoenfeld was with me on the show. On that episode we spoke about her book “Pleasure Not Meating You” which is available for purchase on Amazon. She has recently been awarded the 2019 NSCA Personal Trainer Of The Year Award and those of us who know her are far from surprised. In this episode, Melody and I talk about the things that make her unique from a training perspective. She discusses her interests in strongman training and powerlifting as well as how she approaches her training style for her clients. We also talk about her passion for music and how she prioritizes her passions for more effective time management. To learn more about Melody, check out http://www.facebook.com/melody.schoenfeld and http://www.instagram.com/5ftoffury1 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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And Now He’s Two: Life With The Biscuit

Shockingly and somewhat blindingly, Sebastian will be turning two this weekend (August 3.) Every time I say that to a client, they give me the same look:

“Two? How did it all go so fast?”

And it really has been a blur.

But at two years of age, Sebastian is full of laughter, smiles, tantrums, and trouble.

The last two bear the most mention.

My running joke with Marissa is: If he’s throwing some unholy tantrum, that’s YOUR child. But if he’s not listening and he’s getting into trouble, that’s MY child.

Most recently, Sebastian was having an absolute meltdown hanging on the arm of the freezer begging for a popsicle before dinner. Marissa looked at him, then she looked at me. I looked at him, then I looked at her: “That’s YOUR child.”

By the same token, she and I were sitting on the couch watching him play in the living room. He was getting into something he shouldn’t have been and Marissa kept saying to him: “Sebastian, no. Sebastian, no, no!” Of course, he wasn’t listening (MY child.) Marissa leaned over to me and whispered: “Our child is baaaad.” To which I replied: “Yes, he sure is.”

His first swear word? Yeah, that was my fault. He repeated something I said a few months ago so I get the parenting fail for that one.

It’s never a dull moment with the Leenaarts family. Certainly not with a two year old Biscuit running around the house like a heathen.

And as far as interests go, Sebastian has been fascinated with all sorts of things, namely: vacuum cleaners, toilet bowls, electrical outlets, trash cans, hand sanitizer, food processors, blenders, leaf blowers, you know…typical two-year old boy stuff, right?

He loves his TV shows, his books, his toys, he loves our boxer Dempsey, he absolutely adores his mother, his Nana (he says Nina), his Booma (Marissa’s grandmother) and his Mula (he says Muhna.)

Like his mother, he loves being outdoors and she has taken every opportunity to get him to parks and every place where he can run his heart out (or run to exhaustion so he’ll take a nap!)

But the greatest part, in my opinion, is how much he loves his big brother.

As most of my readers know, Jackson is from my first marriage and he spends most of his time with his mother who has undoubtedly given the same undying love and affection to him as Marissa has Sebastian.

But when Jackson is with us, Sebastian only ever wants to be by his side. Jackson likes to retreat to my office where he can get on the computer and watch the shows he likes. Sebastian, ever the loving and attentive little brother, wants desperately for Jackson to play with him. He’ll stand at the bottom of the staircase and plead “Jackson, come down here!”

And of course, the bittersweet side of this is that due to Jackson’s challenges with autism and Sebastian’s lack of understanding at his age, we haven’t been able to help him understand that Jackson may not always want to play the way Sebastian wants to play.

Nevertheless, when the boys are together, it’s one of my proudest parenting moments to witness. Both boys (at least now) are happy, loving, and, when prompted, can have fun together.

And there are some significant differences parenting a neuro-typical child versus a child with special needs. Where Jackson was (and is) at more of a disadvantage to say what’s on his mind, Sebastian is definitely more vocal, more opinionated and perhaps a bit more energetic than Jax was at the same age.

Which, in many ways, makes it feel like I’m having to learn how to parent from scratch. The boys are vastly different and there are so many things that I didn’t experience with Jackson at the same age.

Sebastian, like his brother, can a light up a room with his smile. He has an infectious laugh and he loves being around other kids. I think he just loves interacting with others (most of the time.)

To my baby boy, Mama and “Dada” love you. We wish you the happiest of birthdays. Thank you for two years of love, laughter, some terrible nights of sleep and for giving your mother and I plenty of reason to not let you out of our sight.

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Revolutionary You! #204-Corey Robb: If I Knew Then What I Know Now

This week, I welcome Corey Robb of Macros Inc. to the show. In this episode we discuss Corey’s path into the fitness industry and his own personal challenges with being overweight, staying motivated with his own fitness goals and how he has prioritized his life based on the ebb and flow of both family and work. There is so much that I think listeners will relate to with Corey’s own story and it showcases why he is such a successful coach to his clients.

To learn more about Corey’s work, visit www.facebook.com/groups/macrosincgroup and www.macrosinc.net

You can also find Corey on Instagram at www.instagram.com/macromeyers_aka_coreymacrosinc

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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“Murder Your Darlings”: A Writing Tactic For Better Weight Loss Results

My writing coach, Stephanie Lee, was the first person to lay the line on me: “kill your darlings.” She was referencing my inability (at the time) to remove passages and lines from a piece of my work that I had become somewhat married to.

Coming from someone who has written poems, songs, articles and a book since I was in grade school, it was always easy for me to be somewhat possessive of my work. Years ago, when I was pitching some of my songs to an industry executive, he told me “The best songs are re-written.”

I didn’t believe him. At the time, whatever amount of ego I had could not fathom the idea of changing something once I committed it to paper. That’s not to say a song wouldn’t go through edits during the actual writing but once every chorus, verse and bridge was down, little else changed after that.

Some attribute the term “kill your darlings” to William Faulkner. Like a lot of mis-used and oft quoted lines, sometimes the original source can be hard to find. Through some of my own digging, I uncovered this from Arthur Quiller-Couch (circa 1914):

“If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

And it’s a phrase that I think many writers learn to live with.

Even famed author, Stephen King, weighed in on the discussion with his quote: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it break your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Coincidentally, murdering your darlings can be a fantastic tool for weight loss and I have to encourage you to do the same.

Over the years, it’s been easy to lose count of the things my clients have clung so tightly to. Perceptions, beliefs and myths (in many ways) that I believe have distracted them from progress.

Things you may have heard like:

“Fruit makes you fat.”

“Carbs are addictive.”

“I’ll never be as lean/strong/capable as I was in high school.”

“Eating past 7pm makes the body store more fat.”

“Training fasted is the best way to burn fat.”

“Keto/paleo/vegan is the optimal way to eat.”

“Inflammation is keeping me from weight loss.”

“I can’t lose weight since I hit menopause.”

There is little else more discouraging, more damning and more destructive than the person who continues to cling to misconceptions about their health and refuses to murder their darlings keeping a better outcome from happening.

Nearly every person who has walked through my doors has held tightly onto some notion that proved to be incorrect.

Please don’t misunderstand that statement.

Not everyone who is wrong with these beliefs comes to terms with them.

I’m very vocal about the fact that sensationalist journalism and social media play into these things. I believe people like Dr. Oz are no better. We (as people) are being force-fed ideas about health that are not universal, that are not one-size-fits-all and we’re being told it’s the best way.

I would ask you to divorce some of these notions and try something different.

Try an approach that’s simpler, less dogmatic, more flexible with your lifestyle and probably not what your neighbor is doing (who likely got their information from Dr. Oz.)

You will likely find, as many of my clients have, that what journalism might sell you on can have a shred of truth to it but it’s probably not the whole truth you’re looking for.

If weight loss has been eluding you, there is something you’re holding onto. There is a darling that needs to be removed, an obstacle that has been in your way for all this time.

We help our clients find those things.

“We Make Great People Greater”

(Below is a picture of me with my son, Jackson. I can write and re-write many parts of my life but this “darling”, he’s staying.) 😉

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Revolutionary You! #203-Lyle McDonald: Strategies For Effective Fat Loss

This week, I welcome back for the fourth time, Lyle McDonald. To this day he holds the claim for the most downloaded episode of the show (#76) and two episodes with his lifter, Sumi Singh (#99 & #149.) In this episode, we compile his decades of work with nutrition and nutrition research to discuss the most important strategies for an individual’s fat loss success. It’s a long one and it is jammed with a ton of great insight. To learn more about Lyle’s work and to purchase his books, visit http://www.bodyrecomposition.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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