These Food Environment Problems

I noticed some really weird patterns about myself several months ago.

Normally, each weekend, I’ll visit my Mom and we’ll spend time catching up after our busy weeks at work. She usually has different types of snack foods around on her kitchen counter: chips, crackers, nuts, etc.

The way that I make entrance into her house has something to do with what I’m exposed to as well. I’ll come through the garage (as opposed to her front door), and that leads me through a utility room and directly into her kitchen.

Out on the counters, easily accessible, is all of those foods that are within reach and, despite not necessarily being hungry, or bored, or stressed out, I start picking at them.

Next thing you know, I’ve put back hundreds of calories in snacks within just a few minutes of time.

It’s not just her house, sometimes it’s my own.

Where I’m most vulnerable is after dinner when I’m washing my dishes. I’ll put them in the sink or the dishwasher and then wander around looking for something else to nibble on, typically one of Sebastian’s snacks or treats that’s within sight.

What I know is that this isn’t remotely uncommon, especially with my clients looking to lose fat: they’re constantly picking and grazing and snacking even if hunger isn’t the problem they’re struggling with.

So, how do you change it?

Well, that’s a bit harder to sort through but it starts with changing the environment and reducing temptation to the best of your ability.

I’ll put myself under the microscope to make my point.

Let’s assume that fat loss is a goal of mine and I’ve recognized the patterns mentioned above.

I might say something to my mother about how important it is for me to lose weight and that, while her snack foods might not be problematic for her, they’ve presented a problem to me.

I could ask her to put the snacks into other places in her home: in cabinets or otherwise out of plain sight. While this doesn’t remove the snacks completely and there’s nothing stopping me from opening a door to the cabinet, it’s one potential barrier that gives me pause and can remind me that I’m not hungry.

In addition, I could ask her to give me a verbal cue when I come into her home so that my kneejerk reaction to entering her home isn’t to find something to eat. Perhaps, upon entering, she says: “Hey Jason, come into the living room, I wanted you to see something in here.” This changes my pattern of stopping in the kitchen to start looking for food.

Mind you, no tip or strategy is foolproof. I’m not asking my mother to stop buying snacks altogether, I’m just trying to minimize temptation.

Now, what about my own home?

Unlike my mother’s house, many (not all) of the snack type foods are in the pantry or on top of our fridge. What my wife and I try and do is to buy snack foods for Sebastian that we know he’ll enjoy but will be less tempting for either of us. This can be trial and error as well. There are certain things I might buy for Sebastian that Marissa has had to tell me are too tempting for her, so I’ll make a mental note to try something different. The same thing applies for me.

However, since Marissa and I are frequently eating dinner together, I can ask her to give me a verbal reminder as I’m heading to the kitchen to wash my dishes that I was trying not to eat anything afterwards.

Never mind the fact that my body hasn’t even had a chance to digest dinner and register feelings of fullness before I’m off to graze on something.

Ultimately, what I need is verbiage that doesn’t sound like it’s nagging. So, I would need to determine what that verbiage might be so that my wife can use it when the time is appropriate.

Keep in mind that we’re practicing better eating habits not perfect eating habits. Improvements can be made and there can still be occasional slip-ups. Again, this is normal. Treating the behavior as if it’s a character flaw is not only incorrect but also not remotely helpful.

Of course, the easiest way to reduce temptation is to not buy the tempting foods to begin with. However, that’s much easier said than done, especially when our children are frequently the ones who may be asking for the tempting foods. So that we don’t get caught in a trap of demonizing foods to our children, there has to be some give and take.

In closing:

-Make tempting foods less accessible by putting them out of plain sight.

-Consider putting these foods in areas they aren’t normally at to reduce a pattern of checking the same places (pantry, freezer, etc).

-Where possible, eliminate the purchase of tempting foods or find substitutes that are less seductive by comparison

-Have a “safe word” or “safe verbiage” that a friend or a loved one can use that prevents you from mindless grazing while also not making you feel like rebelling.

-Forgive yourself for the occasions when you still feel the need to snack despite putting plans in place to reduce the frequency of the behavior.

Side note: Certain dietary philosophies give you the flexibility to eat whatever you like without judgment and allow your intuitive senses to put a limit on the amount of those foods. I think this is perfectly fine assuming you benefit from this approach. That being said, not everyone is in position to trust their intuitions when they eat hyper-palatable foods and may need to utilize other tools until and if an intuitive approach works better.

Revolutionary You! #357-Client Spotlight: Amy McNair (1 of 4)

It was time to take a small detour in our regular programming and get some of our RevFit family on to the show for another series of client spotlights. This week, I welcome Amy McNair who some may recognize as her husband, Don, was on the show last year. Amy’s story is extremely inspiring and very unique from the motivations that got her here and what’s changed along the way that has led to her current weight loss success of 55 pounds. 

To learn more about your host:

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Shall We Dance?

The first time Marissa and I recall dancing together was on a boat in New Orleans. We were on a family vacation and the music and the mood seemed right.

It strikes me a bit funny that this moment took place nearly 3 years after we started dating and my wife has been dancing since she was younger than Sebastian is now.

The next times of note were at weddings, first when we were invited to a destination wedding of her friends in Mexico and shortly thereafter at our own wedding in 2014.

Something I’ve made mention of over the last couple of years is that after Sebastian was born, my wife and I began hitting our own impasse in the relationship and so, dancing was not often on the radar.

When we took a step back and recommitted to what our marriage meant to us, dancing came back into our lives.

And of all places, it transpired in our dining room.

Now, dancing means something different to us.

Dancing is connecting.

It’s become something of a calming force.

It’s something we do “just because” and it’s something we do when times are stressful.

Sometimes, my wife has to remind me that we haven’t danced in a while.

Sometimes, I take her hand and she follows the lead.

The music might be jazz or it might be a ballad that means something to us.

We normally don’t speak when we dance.

We just dance.

No matter what was happening in our worlds prior to dancing, no matter what stress was bothering us, it slips away for those moments when the song plays and, by time it ends, the focus is back on us and back at that present moment.

I can watch a complete shift happen in Marissa’s demeanor after we dance. So much so that, if we were to dance daily it would probably lose its emotional power.

Of course, sometimes we get an intrusion from our four year old. It’s a picturesque scene until real life occurs and Sebastian comes running into the room to show us something he thinks is completely amazing on YouTube.

Hey, I’m all for romance but we’re still parents…

And, if we can get Sebastian redirected, we’ll come back to our dance, or simply pick another song and continue.

Whoever you are, whoever you’re with, you’ll need something to bring you back to center: maybe it’s a hike, or a walk around the block, or a quiet evening on a deck with a fire.

Life won’t slow down for you. Life won’t always be kind just because you’re kind. Life will frequently be unfair.

Find your place, your force, that brings you back to center.

It’s a sentiment that is probably more “woo” than I generally like to be.

But I know what this one particular activity does for Marissa and myself.

The picture below was taken nearly 10 years ago, admittedly one of my favorite pictures of us dancing, and one of my favorite pictures of us in general.

While the dancing we do at home is more reserved and less animated, it also serves a different purpose.

Now, when we dance, it’s to remind one another why we’re here for each other, why we matter to one another, and it’s a comfort that there’s no better place to be.

To my partner, my love, shall we dance?

Revolutionary You! #356-Dr. Bo Babenko: Revolutionizing The Physical Therapy Profession (4 of 4)

In the final episode of our 4-part series together, Dr. Bo Babenko wraps up the series with me this week. In this one, we discuss the technology and methods he uses to assess clients and make them the best versions of themselves (your host included) and where he feels the physical therapy profession can make advances despite a health care system that is problematic to say the least. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work:

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host:

You can also like our Facebook page at:

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”:

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13 Reflections On 13 Years Of RevFit

I posted most of this on Facebook last week on my personal wall. I’ve had some time to think about it and add some more to my original post.

I got certified as a trainer at the tail end of 2007 when I was 32 years old after being in retail and retail management since I was 16 years of age.

My degree is in business management not exercise science so I’ve always felt like I was behind the ball when it came to knowledge of the human body, nutrition, psychology of change, etc.

However, I had a some things I felt were working in my favor when I had the opportunity to open RevFit in the spring of 2009. I’ve tried my best to compile 13 of my random thoughts into things that helped us reach the ”Lucky 13” year anniversary.

-16 years of retail experience taught me a great deal about customer service, something I believe is not covered well in Exercise Science programs. We try our best to keep that in mind at RevFit. I don’t wag my finger at my coaches and say: “You should do this, you should do that.” Instead, I just try and mirror what I hope are mostly good practices of taking care of people who are investing their hard earned money into themselves and our establishment.

-13 of those 16 years were spent in management where I was responsible for hiring, training and (when needed) terminating staff. You learn a great deal about the importance of your team when you go through this process over and over again. I hear a lot about the problems other industries go through with staffing and I have been genuinely fortunate to have coaches who are punctual, considerate and respectful of myself and others.

-10 years of my personal life was spent with a very costly and very damaging addiction to drugs. Much of this could have been avoided if I had better coping mechanisms for my stress and emotional challenges at the time. As a result of getting clean of my own accord, I had a better grasp of “lifestyle change” than most “wet behind the ears” trainers who come into the industry (that’s not a knock, just an observation). Where I didn’t have the experience of being the coach who experienced change due to weight loss efforts I understood what self-destructive tendencies look like and I try to keep in mind that everyone’s battle is uniquely they’re own. We’re here to help them fight it.

-I do not “love” exercise but exercise is a non-negotiable in my life. That includes strength training, a high step count, and low intensity cardio. If you are a trainer who loves to exercise and you are trying to cheerlead your way into your client’s hearts that they should love exercise as much as you, you’re going to struggle.

-I have more “competition” now than I ever have but, to be honest, I have no competition. That is not my ego speaking. All of the other fitness options in this area are different from RevFit. I cannot replicate what they do, they cannot replicate what I do. Even if one of my coaches left my business, stole training plans out of our binder, and tried to run a carbon copy of this business around the corner, they would not succeed. That has less to do with me and more to do with the community here. It is virtually impossible to replicate a community. You have to build something that resonates with you, who you are and your core beliefs. The community that forms around us complements all of that. I could not have built a better community if I had tried and, much of it was out of my control. I just had to open my doors, open my arms, and do the best job that I could to give people a welcome space to thrive. I believe that I owe this sentiment to Alwyn Cosgrove.

-If you want to get into this industry and be successful (financially or otherwise) be prepared to work. Seriously. I am away from home/family 60-70 hours a week every week, nearly 40+ hours of which are directly on the training floor. It is not an easy schedule and it is physically very demanding PLUS I have to prioritize my own training. Having a great staff with me helps tremendously but they can’t shoulder all of the load. I am busier now than I have ever been and while I know that busy-ness isn’t everything it does make me feel like I’m doing enough of the right things for the right people. Some might read this and say: Well, it sounds like you need to work smarter, not harder. I believe it’s important to work smarter and harder. It’s challenging and I have to constantly tweak the way I operate to do the work I need to. I make mistakes, I am not perfect but I am improving. I never wanted, nor would I have appreciated, an easy life. I have a purposeful life. That is invaluable.

-I have very little social life. This is a conscious choice. It’s not that I don’t want to see friends and enjoy time away from work, it’s that I am in bed early so that I can wake up early. It does not lend itself to a party lifestyle (and to be frank, I got most of that out of my system in my 20s). Now, it’s about building a business that pays my staff well, that supports the lives and goals of my clients and allows my wife and my sons to have the things they need in life.

-Turnover in the personal training industry is extremely high because I think those who want to get into the industry don’t understand how long they have to struggle and grind before they start to see the light and the profits. I have been watching the evolution of my coach, Mike Roder, and it almost makes me emotional. He is working 30+ hrs a week at a hospital in cardiac rehab and 3 nights a week he comes here and gets his ass kicked with his youth athletes. These kids love him and they should, Mike exudes passion in his work and if I have someone looking for sport-specific training, that’s where I send them. But Mike will be the first to say, the schedule is not for the weak. He’s young now…he won’t be young forever 😉

-I have been very blessed by the fact that year after year since 2009, this business has grown. I know what kind of an achievement that is and I don’t take it for granted. I have made, what I believe were some very sound and wise decisions for this business and I have made catastrophically poor decisions. Thankfully, I’ve learned from both but poor decisions can certainly turn your head on a dime and make you change your behavior.

-Like our clients, it’s easy to get lost in comparison traps: How does my body look compared to other coaches? How does my business perform against comparable studios? None of this stuff really matters. All that matters is that I focus on the experience my clients get and that I do the very best I can at prioritizing my health. The rest will sort itself out.

-If you’re going to make it work in this industry consider that you will need to hire these people and in roughly this order: a business banking specialist who you can call/email at a moment’s notice about your accounts and lending opportunities, an excellent accountant with expertise in small businesses, a therapist to help you cope with demands on your time and your mental health, a coach who can design your training so that you can understand what it feels like to be in the client’s shoes.

-Traditional marketing methods likely suck. You’re going to have to embrace the old fashioned way of meeting people and making a good impression on them, delivering a great service that people want to return to and understanding enough about social media that you know which platform to be on and how to target your ideal demographic.

-I said this on a podcast recently and I’ll reiterate it here. Obviously, the lifeblood of RevFit is our clients. We do not exist without them. Outside of our clients, having a great staff is paramount to success. I have had to rely on my family heavily (especially in my early years) to help me start and maintain this business. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and it was completely worth it. All of this aside, the person who has paid the greatest price for the work I do and the time I commit here is my wife (and by extension, my sons.) When the day is done, it’s to come home to them and have something left to be grateful for. I work for all of you (my clients) but ultimately it’s for Marissa, Jackson and Sebastian. My wife has been my rock and I could not do what I do without her commitment to how we navigate our marriage and responsibilities.

Thank YOU to everyone who has made this a possibility. And thank you for helping us acknowledge 13 years of business.

(Your Coaches, L to R: David, Jason, Mike, Nick)

Revolutionary You! #355-Dr. Bo Babenko: The 5 Pillars Of Health (3 of 4)

Dr. Bo Babenko is back with me for Part 3 in our 4-part series together. This week, we tackle his 5 Pillars Of Health namely: Movement, Recovery, Nutrition, Connection & Mindset. While an episode could be made for each of them, Bo and I try to cover each pillar as succinctly as can to give you something to consider and execute on after tuning in. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work:

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host:

You can also like our Facebook page at:

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”:

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts

Are You Moving The “Big Rocks” For Progress?

Late last year, I reconnected with Dr. Spencer Nadolsky. He and I had been connected through social media for several years and when I first started my podcast, he was one of the first guests to join me.

Spencer was about to launch an exercise program called LiftRx where he partnered with a physical therapist and exercise specialist (Alex Bryce and Alex Sterner, respectively) to build an affordable exercise platform for his followers to participate in. It allowed those who have access to gym equipment or minimal equipment to follow along with new monthly workouts to incorporate a training plan into their lives.

As a component of LiftRx, Spencer also had his eyes set on a nutrition program and selected myself along with four rather talented ladies (Shout out to Michelle, Rachel, Alja and Sarah!) to help him launch it.

If you know anything about Spencer’s work, you’ll know that in all of his years of practicing family medicine as well as being an obesity and lipid specialist, he cuts through the myriad of b.s. that’s entrenched in diet information.

Spencer manages the delicate balance of having a considerate bedside manner as well as a sense of humor to approach how he coaches nutrition to his patients and social media followers. Over the years that I’ve been connected with him, I’ve been inspired by his work and shared vast amounts of it with my own clients.

When the opportunity came to join forces with him, it was a no-brainer.

Last week, after a couple of months in a beta format, Spencer officially launched Big Rocks Nutrition Coaching.

I wanted to take just a few moments to take some inspiration from it to craft this week’s article.

Specifically, what exactly do we mean by Big Rocks?

Well, a lot of that depends on your goals and what you bring to the table in terms of diet history, medical challenges, philosophies around food and more.

While not exhaustive, “big rocks” to progress can be:

-Making sure you get enough protein to achieve your goals and complement your training

-Helping you understand how and why a maintenance break can be helpful for psychological and physical reasons

-Understanding how medication can work for and against you with fat loss (Spencer oversees any prescriptive advice)

-Helping you break free from overly restrictive and inflexible diet approaches

-Encouraging your movement to support fat loss efforts (whether that’s raising your step count or making sure you’re fueling your workouts.

-Offering you judgement free coaching, so that no diet approach or food choice has a negative reflection on you

-Fostering tracking methods in the short term to get realistic views of calorie intake and how to modify to to see progress

-Knowing when to dive into the nuance of calories and macros and when to pull back

-Reminding you to drink more water!

-Supporting your efforts for better sleep hygiene so that your diet doesn’t pay the price

-Ultimately, helping you have a better relationship with food than you did when you began

I’m also proud to announce that the initial launch was more successful than we imagined and, as of this writing, potential new clients are on a waitlist for the next opening.

Speaking for myself, it’s been a great experience. Aside from the clients I’m working with face-to-face at RevFit, I get to work with clients from across the globe within the Big Rocks platform.

And, it helps me to work with such a talented group of coaches that I can learn from as well.

If you’re interested, consider getting on the waitlist. Whether you work directly with me or one of my colleagues, we’ll help you figure out what the Big Rocks are so that the change you deserve to see is finally within sight.

Revolutionary You! #354-Dr. Bo Babenko: Long Term Fitness (2 of 4)

In Part 2 of our 4-part series together, Dr. Bo Babenko is back with me as we chat about long term fitness. Building on our conversation from part 1, Bo explains how we need to have a long-term view on how we move our bodies and the best way recover from injuries when and if they happen as well as understanding the importance of cross-training to maximize the performance of our bodies. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work:

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host:

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”:

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You, Your Values And A $10 Chocolate Bar

I recently read the book “Meaningful Work” by Shawn and Lawren Askinosie. I would call it highly suggested reading for any small business owner OR anyone who feels they haven’t found their professional calling. At the heart of the story is the Askinosie chocolate bar (of different origins and flavors) which retails for around $10 and higher.

Throughout the book, Shawn explains how he became a chocolate maker, the life he chose to leave behind, and the lives he now chooses to change by profit sharing with the farmers who grow the cocoa beans, by providing meals back to the malnourished communities the beans grow in, and how he has justified charging $10 and more for his chocolate bars.

The story is fascinating.

I completely bought in and when I finished the book, I went online and ordered two of their award winning chocolate bars, which qualifies as the most money I have ever spent on a bar of chocolate in my life.

Shawn asks the reader (I’m paraphrasing) to consider: Rather than ask why would someone pay $10 for a bar of chocolate, start asking yourself what goes into the bar you pay $1 for.

I realize that in writing something like this, it comes from a position of privilege. Sometimes, $1 is what you can afford.

Allow me to pivot.

For most of my life, I have collected things: baseball cards and comics when I was much younger and then switching to all manner of music: cassettes, CDs, and (now) vinyl as well as bourbon and books. What we spend our money on has a direct correlation to how we value it in our lives.

We know, as consumers, that just because something is more expensive does not make it better in the same sense that something more economically friendly isn’t necessarily an inferior option (take for example the difference between generic and name brand over-the-counter medications which are often made in the same factories).

There can be a placebo effect to the belief that if you paid a lot of money for something, you’ll enjoy it more. I’ve seen this play out in the bourbon my wife and I buy and appreciate: if it was expensive, it usually tastes better; in the records I purchase, by noting the superior sound quality of a pressing, and even with the food we buy in restaurants, surely that expensive cut of filet is better than anything I could have made at home at a fraction of the price.

Those are just a few examples of value as it relates to the prices we pay for things, which of course you can extend towards the price of your home, your car, or personal services (not unlike personal training…more on this later).

Recently, a solicitor came to see me to quote me on credit card processing here at RevFit. He wanted to know what we pay in processing fees to see if he could save me money.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I have a longstanding relationship with a local bank that handles my processing. I plan to stick with their services.”

“You know, we typically can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fees compared to what a bank can offer if you look at the numbers annually” He countered.

“No sir, I’m not sure you understand. It’s not just processing I do with this bank. This is years of personal banking, business banking and having several family members with this bank. Not to mention, I have a professional relationship with the branch manager and they’ve been instrumental in helping me with any issues I’ve had over the years. This is about more than money saved, it’s the value I place on that relationship.”

Needless to say, the solicitor hit a wall he couldn’t overcome.

In considering services, we will often shop for the most affordable rather than the best available option. I mentioned personal training because it’s my career and I know that being able to afford a personal trainer is a luxury service.

Since I got certified in 2007, I’ve watched as evolutions in technology have continued to change the face of how people choose to exercise. There are free apps that give you daily workouts as well as any cursory Google search which can give you a free workout plan for every day of the rest of your life.

However, what exactly do you get with a free workout? Do you get any individual tailoring? Is there a real, live person you can communicate with to correct your form? What happens if you get injured? Are there modifications to work around those injuries?

This isn’t to say that every person needs a personal trainer. They don’t. Some people need more accountability than others and some people don’t need one more thing to add onto an already full plate. They want someone else to handle the programming, the modifications and to manage personal preferences and goals.

We place value on the things that matter most.

You probably get my point.

Let’s go back to the chocolate.

Over the last couple of years, my wife Marissa’s lactose intolerance, which she has had for all of her life, has become so severe compared to what it was once before, that she can no longer consume any dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter) without getting sick within minutes of doing so.

Most of the popular brands of chocolate are made with milk and, since chocolate is something we both like to enjoy from time to time, we had to start looking at dairy free options. Fortunately, many organic chocolate bars have dairy free options but you’ll pay a premium for those (often $3-5 per bar). Of note, is that many of them are made in factories where dairy is also used but, thus far, this has not been an issue for Marissa.

I made a choice based on how I value Marissa feeling sick or feeling well. Of course, when I read “Meaningful Work” I wanted to know: What does a $10 chocolate bar taste like?

And, if I’m willing to pay $5 for a dairy free chocolate bar, would I pay $10 if I knew that I’m buying more than chocolate?

The answer is yes. Maybe not always, but from time to time to have something special.

Which bears the question: Is it worth it? Well, from a manner of taste, yes. It was delicious. Marissa thought so too (before she knew the story or the cost).

So, whether you like chocolate or not, whether you would spend $10 on a chocolate bar or not, the real question is: What do you value and how do your actions align with your values?

When you’ve had some time to consider the question, make a list of what you came up with.

I’d love to hear your answers.

Revolutionary You! #353-Dr. Bo Babenko: Is It Time For Your Annual Orthopedic Screening? (1 of 4)

I’m honored to welcome Dr. Bo Babenko to the show for our next 4-part series. In this episode, Bo explains the need for an annual orthopedic screening so we can better understand how our bodies move, where there may be areas of opportunity and develop a plan for being proactive to reduce the risk of future injury. Fortunately, due to the convenience of technology, Dr. Bo can do this type of screening through the use of a user-friendly app. 

To learn more about Dr. Bo’s work:

You can also search YouTube for “Doctor Bo” to subscribe to his channel. 

To learn more about your host:

You can also like our Facebook page at: 

To purchase my book, “A Revolution A Day”: 

Apple Podcasts OR Stitcher OR Spotify OR Amazon Podcasts