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.
It feels strange celebrating the 11 year anniversary of RevFit. Starting this year, we were continuing our trend of year-by-year growth. That’s an amazing thing to think about.
Then, we spent the last half of March and all of April watching the Coronavirus affect nearly every possible industry including our own.
While we did make the transition to online/virtual training, we saw how those available options affected our clients in different ways. Some were okay with having personalized workouts based on the equipment they had available at home. Others had no desire to purchase equipment and needed workouts they could do with minimal props and just bodyweight. Still others just wanted touch points, 1-2 calls via FaceTime or Zoom each week to catch up and get over some psychological hurdles.
We even experimented with a Virtual Happy Hour and a Virtual Coffee Hour on the weekends.
The most important thing was to find a way to stay connected, stay as positive as possible and stay engaged. I’ll be the first to admit, it wasn’t easy.
We officially celebrate 11 years on May 1. So, I write this post with an eye on the fact that we will be re-opening sometime in May.
We will be limiting capacity initially and slowly getting clients back into the fold back into some sense of pre-Corona normal.
I want to also celebrate this anniversary by giving gratitude across two fronts: to our clients and to my staff.
To our clients: You have made us who we are today. It was one thing to be able to provide a service to you during “normal” times. It was something else altogether to continue providing at least a complementary service when we were closed.
To those who were able to financially show support during that time: Thank you. We will reciprocate that in every way we know how.
Many of our clients took a financial hit during the virus. Personal training is a luxury for many and, of course, it made sense when that expense needed to be deducted from the lifestyle under the circumstances. We stand by you and support you and we do hope, that when it is financially feasible again, that you return when you’re able. You will always be welcome back with open arms (well, you know, social distancing aside…)
To my staff: Over the past year, I have had the great pleasure to work side-by-side with Luke Whittenberger, Emily Blidy and Mike Roder.
To Luke: Last year, Luke accepted an opportunity to continue his studies in a Masters/Phd program at Ohio State University to become a physical therapist. We miss him and I know he will go on to do great things in that field. Thank you, Luke, for the time you spent with us and helping improve the lives of the clients who were fortunate enough to work with you. As we have continued to stay in touch since you left, I do hope our professional paths cross again. You will always be RevFit family.
To Emily: When we first connected, we knew that the opportunity to work together was well into the future. Emily would be completing her masters in dietetics and I knew that she would only have limited time to be a part of the work we do here. I went a slightly different route with hiring Emily. Rather than hire someone with a background in Exercise Physiology (as I did with Luke and Mike), I hired someone with a greater degree of nutrition insight than I had. Fortunately, she had an athletic background and love for sports performance. Emily has been excellent for us. Unfortunately, the ramifications of the virus forced us into a position where she had to prematurely end her face-to-face tenure with us. It has been my hope to continue having Emily as a part of our crew for as long as she would like even though geographically, her career has called her out of the state. Emily, I wish you the very best as our “resident” dietitian. You will always be RevFit family.
To Mike: Mike joined us right after we expanded into our current location (fall of 2017). He started as an intern, referred to us from one of our clients (Thank you, Shon) and found his groove rather quickly. Mike has always needed very little direction. He catches on quick and I’ve always tried to give him credit for seeing things I don’t see and helping to teach me things I don’t know. I guess if I’ve learned anything from all the years of having this business, it’s to continue to hire people who have strengths I don’t have and perspectives I can also learn from. Mike finished his Masters last year in Cardiac Rehab. While he still has his eyes set on that field, it’s been a great joy to see him build up his clientele of youth athletes. Like Emily, Mike has a true love for athletic performance. You can see that come through in the time and effort he spends with his roster. Mike, you have taken it upon yourself, without cue, to help make every other trainer who has stepped foot in these doors feel like they have the tools they need to succeed here. I greatly appreciate that you take the care of this business into your hands as if it were yours. That is an invaluable trait. I know that your career, at this point, can go a lot of great directions. I know you will do exceptional work wherever you go. These doors remain open to you for as long as they serve you well. You will always be RevFit family.
To everyone who continues to read my articles, purchase my books, listen to my podcast and engage with us across social media platforms: Thank You.
Whether you are a current client, a former client, or a potential future client (online or face-to-face), we’re coming to the other side of strange, unprecedented times. Thank you for your support in every way you have given it.
You don’t get to celebrate 11 years in business by accident. You celebrate it by helping as many people as possible to the best of your ability; by learning what you’re good at and improving but also to recognize your weaknesses and shore them up as well.
Thank you to everyone, who has made this possible.
For this week’s bonus episode, I welcome the debut on this show of author and trainer K. Aleisha Fetters. She has a brand new book out called “Fitness Hacks For Over 50: 300 Easy Ways to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Life”. We talk about her inspiration for writing the book and how well it can work for so many people who are currently having to workout from home. Aleisha does an amazing job of incorporating fun into everyday movements and stepping outside of what would be considered traditional exercises to compile her list of 300. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
To learn more about Aleisha’s work and to purchase her book:
Josh Hillis returns for his fourth appearance on the show (See episodes 71, 121, and 186). This week, we are talking specifically about his brand new book “Lean & Strong”. We tackle a section of that book related to what Josh calls ‘The Wise Five’. This episode is coming out nearly a year to the day of our last episode together where Josh was already teasing some of the information presented in this book. It is a highly recommended read as Josh totally outdid himself with this project. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
In last week’s article, there was something I touched on with regard to diet strategies and things to work on when weight loss isn’t necessarily the conducive route to follow. I wanted to elaborate some more on this strategy in hopes that it helps some of you.
Because of the nature of my work, I read a lot of books about diets, food psychology, healthy habits, you name it. There is one topic that has come up so frequently that when I see it, I just acknowledge it and move on. The reason being, that I have suffered with this issue for most of my adult life.
And that topic is the speed at which I eat.
Most of you know that before I started this business, I spent 16 years in retail. 13 of those 16 years was in a managerial role. And if you’ve ever worked in retail you know that things like meal breaks don’t come the way they should. So, one nasty habit I picked up along the way was absolutely inhaling the food in front of me.
There’s a story I’ve told before and I’ll share it again if you haven’t heard it. There is a little BBQ place that I pass on the way home from work. When they first opened, I was there at least twice a week. I loved it. So, when I would leave work, en route home, if I knew my wife would not be home for dinner, I’d hit up the BBQ joint. Without fail, I would order my food, eat it at a speed that made you think I’d never seen food before and head home.
One night, one of the employees, unbeknownst to me, was watching me eat. When I finished in my typical frantic pace, I got up from my seat to throw the containers away and she said “You are the fastest eater I’ve ever seen!”
Needless to say, I was a little bit embarrassed. Of course, that didn’t stop me.
A few days later, I was back again and the same employee was there. I ordered my food and went right back to my default pace of consumption. When I was done, the employee said something to the effect (I don’t remember the exact number) of: “That took you 3:40 to eat!”
Yes, she timed me.
Yes, it was also embarrassing.
Yes, I finished my entire meal in less than four minutes. Not exactly something I carry a badge of honor over.
And I think the reason why I’ve never embraced eating slower, even though conceptually I understand why someone should do it, is because I’ve never needed to lose weight. Why embrace a concept that doesn’t really affect me?
Except it does.
On a social level, anytime I eat with others, I am normally the one staring at my empty plate while others are barely halfway through theirs. I also couldn’t tell you any specifics of what the food tastes like. It’s either tasty or it’s not (more on that later).
I literally put my fork down after every bite. I forced myself to sit, and chew, and taste and smell and just be present.
It was extremely difficult to do.
One thing that helps is to not eat in front of a screen. No TV, no phone, etc. Just sit with your plate and whoever else you’re dining with and set your fork down after every bite.
There’s a belief (it’s somewhat arbitrary) that you need to chew the food about twenty times. This was a novel concept for me too. It’s not easy to do.
If what you’re eating doesn’t require a fork, rather your hands and fingers, the same concept applies. Let’s say it’s a sandwich or even a cookie. Take a bite, set the food down, and just chew. See if you pick out flavors, pay attention to what you smell, and just try to enjoy for a moment.
I’ve noticed that I can’t put as much food on my fork now either. When I was eating with reckless abandon before, I couldn’t pile the fork high enough. Now, I am forced to pick up less. I simply cannot chew as much when I’m doing it deliberately, thoughtfully.
One thing that I have to do, lest I forget, is I have to remind myself right before the meal starts: SLOW.DOWN. It’s something of a mantra and it reminds me that regardless of how hungry I am (or think I am) I need to slow my pace down. The food isn’t going to walk away.
A rather shocking (although I shouldn’t be shocked) effect of this, is that by and large, you will eat less. Your body will have a chance to register fullness. This is HUGE.
The first meal I did this with was dinner on a Saturday night. We ordered BBQ from a different place and typically I would have been able to down those foods in a shamefully fast fashion.
But I didn’t. I took my time, I chewed my food several times and I set my fork down after every bite.
Oddly enough, the food didn’t taste as good. This was kind of surprising. I actually, normally, like the food from this place. But when I took my time, the food just tasted mushy and somewhat flavorless. That was disappointing but there is an upside.
Years ago, I read a book written by a doctor who I generally don’t pay a lot of attention to. However, he also embraced this eating slower philosophy and used it in a slightly different manner.
He had a weight loss patient who refused to give up on fast food. So, he asked the patient to make a small compromise: Order whatever you like from the fast food establishment but I want you to take twenty minutes to eat it.
Getting his patient to slow his pace down so dramatically not only gave the patient pause, but the patient realized that the food didn’t taste good at all when it’s not being devoured quickly.
Shortly after this experiment, the patient gave up fast food altogether.
So, if you’re looking to try something while we have time on our hands, I would suggest this tactic. Put the fork (or food) down after every bite. Spend time chewing. Don’t eat in front of screens. And re-assess. You will probably eat less which means you will probably lose weight.
Coach Lucy Hendricks of Enhancing Life joins me this week. In this episode, we discuss how each of our respective businesses have transitioned from face-to-face training over to the virtual landscape. Lucy and I saw a lot of similar responses across the board not only for ourselves but for our clients. As we in the fitness industry are in uncharted territories, it’s uplifting to see how others are making the best of a less than great situation. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
Last week, I wrote about some things that were working for myself and my clients as we all learn to acclimate and navigate our lives due to limitations with quarantines and the virus.
This week, I want to touch on the kind of goals worth setting during a time like this.
Something I’ve made a point to mention over each passing week is the fact that certain people can take our current set of circumstances and truly thrive when it comes to weight loss goals. For these people, they have just enough predictability in their schedule and routines and very little distractions or chaos to slip them up.
For others, chaos is the new norm. There is the fear and uncertainty of how long this will all last as well as the adjustment of family dynamics when many are spending time with their loved ones and children far more than they had before crisis hit.
My friend, fellow coach and podcast host, Heather Robertson of Half Size Me, recently made a comment on her show about the notion of thinking of your future self. In other words, maybe now is a time that you think your goals for your health need to go on the backburner. Heather offered an affectionate alternative. Think about your future self and where you want your health to be when things begin to resume some semblance of normal again.
Do I think things will go back to the way they were prior to March 2020?
No. Not for a while and not the way we’re used to.
However, that’s not a doom and gloom statement. I think we will be reevaluating the importance of our health and the way we engage with others in close proximity for quite some time.
I was speaking with one of my clients on our weekly coaching call last week. While she has been doing an excellent job of keeping up with her training while at home, her diet has been less than spectacular.
Many foods she normally has no problem moderating in her diet are now being consumed in copious amounts. Much of this has to do with not just heightened anxiety with what’s happening in the world but the fact that she is around this food all day long being at home (as opposed to being at her office where it wasn’t readily accessible).
I reminded her that what she’s going through she isn’t alone with. Many of my clients are in exactly the same position. One thing I asked her to consider was just trying to focus on maintaining her weight right now. That may be all of the effort and time she can place on herself without shutting down completely.
I do think that now is a great time to focus on other goals though. I noticed after we were ordered to temporarily close RevFit down, that my daily step count went from about 15,000 steps a day to barely 5,000. That’s a huge decrease. I now make it a point to close the gap and get myself closer to 10,000 so I can keep my body moving as much as possible even though it’s not on the training floor.
So, here are some goals (in no particular order) I’d like you to consider that you feel you can implement right now:
Add in a workout. No matter where you with your current training plan, look at where you can increase it. We’re not looking at things like from 1 workout per week to 5. We’re looking at 1 workout per week to 2, 2 workouts per week to 3. Ideally, you want to space your workouts so that you have ample time to recover. This won’t always be the case. If you absolutely have to train two days in a row, go for it. Otherwise, spread the days out so you have a day of recovery (or light cardio) in between days of resistance training.
Set a water goal. During normal life, many of my clients struggle to get in enough water. Now is a really great time to change that. Similar to my thoughts on training, you’re not necessarily going from 20 ounces a day to 120 ounces. If you’re starting with 20 ounces, try doubling it and going for 40 ounces. Stay there for a couple of days and add in another 20 ounces. Try not to get the majority of your water intake towards the end of the day (otherwise you’ll be dealing with the issue of interrupted sleep).
Reduce your news/social media exposure. With frequent updates on both state and federal levels, there is absolutely no shortage of news which means there is no shortage of stressful and anxiety provoking stimuli. For myself, I don’t watch any news at all. I skim headlines and I find one or two sources of information that don’t make my skin crawl. If you were to guess on the amount of time you spend taking in mindless social media scrolling or news watching, make a goal to reduce it in a quantifiable way. Maybe you limit yourself to 15 minutes (set a timer) each day to get what you need and get off. Limiting the things that make you anxious or stressed can do worlds of good for your mindset right now.
Purge, purge, purge. We could all take a page from a Marie Kondo style of living. There’s certainly an upside to it even if you don’t go to her extents. Purge your fridge, your pantry, your freezer, your closet, your attic, the guest room you keep saying you’ll get to, the subfolders in your email, your car, your garage, etc. If you want to sell something, sell it. If you want to throw it away, do so. Occupy your mind and your hands so you’re not thinking about the plethora of other things that might be leading to your stress levels. One thing most of us seem to have an abundance of right now is time. Use it. Wisely.
Set a recovery/rest goal. I mentioned the abundance of time. I actually have several clients who are extremely busy right now. The pandemic has not decreased their workload, rather they are busier now than ever. In that case, and for individuals like that, I would set 1-2 days (or half days) as rest/recovery/self-care days. No work, no exercise (unless stretching is relaxing), no stressful environments. Take that time to do your nails, take a bubble bath, read a book or take a nap. Do the things you don’t normally do because you’re already busier than you can handle. Take the time to decompress.
Slow your pace. This is one that affects me personally. I have always been a painfully fast eater. It stems back to the years I spent in retail when I wasn’t sure I would get a proper break and I would spend 5 minutes standing and wolfing food down as fast as possible. I haven’t worked in retail in 12 years and I still have an issue with this. Over this past weekend, despite always knowing better, I practiced putting my fork down in between bites. I actually spent time chewing and tasting and smelling and just experiencing food rather than inhaling and swallowing faster than my system could catch up with me. The added bonus for those who need it? This can be a fantastic way to cut back on calories consumed because your body can register fullness better. Make a goal of slowing your eating pace down each day. Don’t eat in front of screens (TV or phone) if you can help it.
Set a goal for gratitude. No matter how this pandemic has affected you, if you’re reading this blog right now, chances are you have things pretty good: a roof over your head, food to eat, internet to use, and a life worth being grateful for. Write down daily the things you’re thankful for. Refer back to them as often as possible. Many of us are aware, especially now, that others are in a more dire position than we are. Be grateful for what you have, how you have it and why it matters.
Below is a shot taken of our clients well before the virus hit. Ending this blog with a note on gratitude, I know I’m thankful we still get to train these folks virtually. We are all working with similar degrees of “less than ideal.” We’ll come out of this better for it.
(L to R: Brandon, Kelvin, Jean, Adam, Charlie, Eric and Anthony)
It has been since Episodes 7 and 33 that board certified endocrinologist Dr. Karl Nadolsky has been on the show. I still recommend the shows we did back then (nearly 4 years ago). For this week’s bonus episode, I bring him back inspired by an article he shared on the internet positing that the key to better weight loss is through a larger breakfast. Due to the hype behind tools like intermittent fasting and the wide array of opinions on how dieting affects your hormones, I knew Dr. Karl would be a great source to chat about these things. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
I’m covering more pandemic-inspired content with the debut on this show of Dr. Emilia Thompson. She is a nutrition consultant and university lecturer. In this episode, we talk about how the current global crisis of COVID-19 is affecting our clients and their behaviors with food. Dr. Emilia discusses what could be negotiable and non-negotiable at times like these and how mindfulness plays into our dietary choices. Download, subscribe, share with your friends and please take a moment to leave us an iTunes review.
It’s going to be difficult for me to write about much else except the way the Coronavirus has been affecting not only me, but my clients, for as long as it’s currently going on.
If you’ve been struggling, as many of my clients have, to gain some footing and some momentum while we have all been dealing with quarantines and business closures to varying degrees, I hear you. It’s been a struggle.
My own motivation has ebbed and flowed throughout all of this as well.
I want to give some thoughts into things that may help you because they’ve either been helpful for me or for my clients who need to feel as if they’re still in the driver’s seat as much as possible.
-Schedule your training. Pre-COVID, anyone who cared about their fitness likely had some degree of scheduling in place. Take for example, one of my newer clients, David. David would train with me every Tuesday and Thursday around 4pm. When the closures came into effect, he kept the same schedule. He knew that if he could keep that element of his life consistent, he could make the transition back when our studio reopened. While this may be easier for some than others, especially for parents of young children, see if there are any days and times that you can consistently show up for yourself. One day a week is better than none. Two days is better than that. Do the best you can (maybe the second best mantra I’ll provide you in this article).
–Fine tune your diet. I offer this with a caveat. You don’t necessarily need to use this time as a way to lose weight. If you feel that you reasonably can do so, great! If not, look at simple ways to make your eating habits healthier even if all you do is maintain weight at this time. Focus on simple recipes that take very little time to make. Try Googling “Quick Healthy Dinner Ideas” as a place to start. Right now, fancy can take a backseat to easy and practical. The great thing about this is that these are skills you learn now and you’ll have recipes you can file away for future reference. This should make it easier to transition into your lifestyle once the chaos has settled down.
–Really celebrate your non-scale victories. This is a big one, especially if you don’t feel confident focusing on fat loss right now. Look at other places where you can stage a win. I have clients who are teaching themselves new coping strategies or picking up old ones that are still purposeful. I have one client spending more time playing guitar, another is taking the time to bake with her children, many of my clients are going out for hikes so they can enjoy the nicer weather but still keep safe distances from others. Me? I’m spending more time reading and on continuing education. Not every good thing you’re doing has to be related to weight. However, there are so many things you can do that don’t require eating. If you’re struggling with frequent, unnecessary trips to the pantry and fridge, look for other things that make you feel good OR don’t exactly stimulate your appetite. Celebrate these things. They matter. And they will still matter when we all start to resume our previous “normal”.
–Make movement count. When I mentioned scheduling your training above, there’s another consideration to make. Break the thought process that you have to train for 60, 30 or even 20 minutes. Sure, in a perfect world, one of those time periods would be great. However, we’re not living in a perfect world right now. It is anything but. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have purposeful movement. Take something as simple as 1-3 exercises and do enough reps that you feel you did something good for yourself. That could be 3 sets of 15 bodyweight squats or it could be 1 set of push-ups to failure. Your benchmark for what feels good is all that matters. I wrote something about this when I referenced the “minimum effective dose”
–Just try. Now, more so than any other time that I’ve had this business (almost 11 years), motivation is not at an all-time high. Not for me and not for many of the amazing people we service. It’s okay to not be tremendously motivated right now. As a complement to the tip mentioned just above, the most important thing you can do is “something”. My own training has been less than spectacular over the last few weeks but I still manage to get some kind of work in every day. It’s nothing to brag over and I won’t be breaking any records any time soon. For me, for my mental state and for a sense of accomplishment, every day has to have something over nothing. For you, maybe now is not the time to make aggressive strides with your health but if you focus on the next pound down and replicating the effort it took to get there, you’ll make marginal steps of progress that seem attainable and practical. That’s a good place to be. However, you won’t get there if you don’t try.
Below is Sebastian, who for the last 2 years has been getting plenty of time around the barbell because it makes for good pictures. Normally, he just wants to roll the bar around and walk away. On this picture, he actually wrapped his hands around that barbell and attempted to move that 135 pounds off the platform. He grunted (when this picture was taken) and said “That’s heavy!” You’re right little man, it is. You’re not ready for it yet. But you tried and someday you’ll get there.