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.
Count me in among the many who have been trying to acclimate to “The New Normal” with this pandemic.
Professionally, it’s been about trying to provide the best services we could to our clients despite the transition from face-to-face training into the virtual landscape. We’ve learned that, now more than ever, our clients are working from a different foundation of “What can I handle?”, “What do I need?”, and “How long will this last?”
Sometimes, we’re trying to answer all of those questions within the same breath.
Just like we, as health coaches, know that every weight loss client is working with a different skill set, background, and mental readiness to achieve their goals, these same clients are learning how to manage their own expectations against these goals when things aren’t quite how we ever imagined they’d be.
As each week passes, we encounter another element to the great unknown of “When do we get to have something normal back again?”
I know that the moment we get the green light from our state government, we will be working with somewhat reduced capacities at RevFit. There will also be the inability to hug someone to say “Welcome back. Thank you for sticking with us. We missed you!” The words will be there but the physical touch will not.
So, it’s led me to question my own place in this.
When has anything in my life ever been normal?
The answer: rarely ever.
From my upbringing, the trajectory of my life, the coping mechanisms, addictions, outlets for stress, hobbies and interests, I’m not sure any major area of my life has ever been “normal”.
Why should this time be any different?
As I have said to at least one client and even on my podcast, we’ve all been dealt a slice of turd pie…some of us just got frosting.
Almost every day now, on social media, I’m seeing another report of a fitness facility, independent trainer, or small chain gym shut down. Many of these locations and individuals have been in business for years. They’re not new to the industry, they’ve accumulated the accolades from years of success and there is no possible way they can stay afloat right now.
This makes the reality even more surreal. Many who were successful within this industry will transition into completely different fields, maybe they’ll move into “pandemic proof” arenas where they can count on a paycheck. Those who choose to remain in the industry despite shutting their doors will embrace, to whatever degree of success, what a virtual platform can offer.
We may never see the pre-COVID normal ever again…not as far as the fitness industry is concerned.
There was a belief prior to this pandemic that the country was due for another big dip, similar to the economic fallout in 2008. While some predicted this to be the case, COVID was not the reality they anticipated even though they knew that something was going to knock us all down a peg.
As some states are starting the gradual process of reopening which allows businesses to start following suit, we’ll see if the somewhat aggressive measures to distance ourselves from one another end up doing the good that was intended.
On my podcast, I’ll be continuing to talk to others in the industry who I admire and respect: those who were working in box gyms, those who work primarily in the virtual realm and those who had, prior to COVID, what appeared to be dream businesses.
Because no matter who they are, they’ve been affected. We all have. And speaking on behalf of every person operating in the fitness arena, we’re looking for answers.
I had to take a hard step back and remind myself of this whole idea of “normal”. If I’ve never been used to it, why would I want to go back to it? The things that have allowed me to thrive have been the few things in my life I had some sense of control over: my schedule, my time management, my sleep patterns, my diet, and my training.
Did the pandemic affect those things? 100%.
It also allowed me to shift my focus and ask: How do I make this whole situation work?
When the state government does allow us to open and be more active in public, there is no guarantee that this won’t come back later. Even if the curve is flattened, something else will happen. Maybe not this year or next, but just as those “in the know” were preparing for another economic downturn, we’ll be faced with another challenge that affects the way we operate: within the fitness industry and outside of it.
So, am I wanting life to return to normal? No, I want more ways to deal with the abnormal.
Maybe that’s the thought I want to leave you with: prepare for the blips, the deviations and the crises. They’ll come, whether we want them or not.
And to reframe it in the words of one of my clients: Doing the best you can, under the circumstances has got to be enough.
Below is a picture with my son, Sebastian, doing our best to not be normal.
For this milestone 250th episode of the show, I went for a client spotlight. I’ve worked with the McIvor family in some capacity for most of the time I’ve been in business. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Hugh McIvor, who we affectionately call “Mr. Grit”. Anyone who trains here at the studio that has crossed paths with him knows how and why he continues to inspire the rest of us. After listening to this episode, I have no doubt you’ll understand why. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.