Revolutionary You! #361-Walk The Talk: A Shift In Priorities

How are you prioritizing all you have on your plate? I give you my take in this week’s episode as well as an update on the future of Revolutionary You.

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Walk The Talk: A Shift In Priorities

When I was on the cusp of recording the 300th episode of my podcast (Revolutionary You), I asked myself: Where do I want to take this show?

I decided to challenge myself by asking guests to commit to a 4-episode series with me where I could cover topics in greater detail and give the guest more time to shine.

I’m so glad I did this.

The result was better than I hoped it would be.

However, as a coach, I know that much of the advice I give to my busy clients is to routinely ask themselves: What are my priorities (and values) and am I living and acting in accordance with them?

I have poured a lot of myself, my time and my energy into this show for the last six years and it remains something I am so proud of.

I made a vow to be consistent with the content releasing at least one new episode every week for those six years. As a result of that consistency, I gained a following I was proud of and a following that remained with me even when I made the transition in format.

In addition, RevFit has only gotten busier and since that is my baby and it requires the most of my attention, I always have to make sure that my brick and mortar business has what it needs to thrive.

Recently, RevFit was nominated for a local business award for how we grew on the heels of the COVID pandemic. That was not just for our city but a neighboring city as well. It is a testament to our clients that we were able to thrive despite the challenges presented with the virus.

Also, I accepted a position with Dr. Spencer Nadolsky as a coach for his newly released Big Rocks Nutrition Coaching program. It’s been a great experience thus far and I’ve not only had the privilege of working alongside him and some fantastic coaches but serving another population of clients who want to improve their health.

Which means that as RevFit and Big Rocks continue to grow, my time has to be managed carefully.

To that, I am putting the podcast on an indefinite hiatus.

Revolutionary You has always been a labor of love and should I elect to resume it, I’ll have to think about what direction I’d like it to go at that point.

I’d like to thank every guest who made the last six years possible. Thank you for the conversations and, where it applied, the relationships formed from our sharing the time together.

I would be remiss in saying that my last book would have never come to fruition if it wasn’t for this show and I’m very proud of that project, too.

To all of you tuning in, six years is a long time to be committed to any project and, I have to be honest, it’s somewhat strange thinking about NOT releasing a new episode each week. This show has been such an integral part of the work I do that not taking it further at this time will take some getting used to.

However, there is only so much time in a day and in a week and I can only spread myself so thin. At a certain point, busyness and productivity are no longer badges of honor.

If we’re not careful, they can become the chains that bind us.

If you’ve enjoyed the podcast or shared episodes with others, thank you. Sincerely. It made the effort all worth it.

Should you elect to keep following the work I do, I am still committed to this blog and still aim to release new content each week on here.

Of course, if you’re local to RevFit, we’d love to serve you at the studio and if you’re inclined to need coaching on the nutrition side of things, I’d love to work with you through Dr. Spencer’s program.

Someday, I may fire Revolutionary You back up but, as someone once said with regard to making a decision: If it’s not a Hell Yes, then it’s a No.

And right now, I feel more excited knowing that there are a lot of great podcasts out there for you to tune into and I am fortunate you gave your time to this one over the last six years.

It’s my hope, in conclusion, that you’ll do as I did routinely with your own life: Revisit your priorities, be mindful of your values and align your actions and behaviors accordingly.

Revolutionary You! #360-Client Spotlight: Samantha Parks (4 of 4)

In the final episode of our recent client spotlight series, I get to welcome one of the strongest ladies in our gym: Samantha Parks. You may recognize the last name as her father, Ned, was a guest on the show last year and we have the honor of not only training both of them but mother/wife, respectively, Brenda as well. We touch on all of that and much more in this episode. Sammy talks about events in her life that led to her starting here, how she approached her strength training and weight loss success and where the journey is taking her next. 

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Beyond The Highlights

Last year, my mother-in-law was taking a picture of Marissa, Sebastian and myself.

We were trying our best to get Sebastian to pose with us and he just wasn’t having it. Marissa was attempting to hold him in her arms and prop him on her lap but nothing any of us could say would get him to stop squirming around (most parents of toddlers I’m sure can relate).

Marissa gave Sebastian the option to stand between us and behind us, arms wrapped around our necks.

That suited Sebastian fine, so that’s where he stood and when the picture was taken, it was great.

Marissa looked great (because when doesn’t she) and Sebastian looked happy as can be.

You would never have known that we’d spent the last five minutes fighting like hell to get him to just pose for the camera.

Highlights are like that.

We tend to forget those things when we’re perusing social media. We see smiling faces, we see fit physiques, we see posts of celebration and we forget, momentarily, that anything difficult happened that brought that post, or that body or that smile to fruition.

In the gym, when we see someone hit a personal best, we lose sight of the fact that the new record came after weeks or months of attempts, bailed lifts, gym related or non-gym related injuries, illness, and more.

With fat loss, every recorded milestone came because of days in a deficit, days in a surplus, days where we gave up and said “F*ck it”, days where we doubted ourselves, days when it all clicked and came together but all that you see in a before and after picture is a high end and a relative low end, with none of the other glimpses in between.

When you see a smiling couple, do you ask: What’s behind that smile?

There are pictures of Marissa and I, really nice pictures where I know (and she knows) where we were, not just on a social or geographic level, but where we were with our marriage or relationship. What fight preceded those smiling faces? What struggle were we trying to overcome? Was it simply a case of: fake it ’til you make it?

As you take your life in scope, and you view social media through the lens of highlights, there’s always a story that’s not being told. There are filters, there is digital manipulation, there is conflict, sadness, failure, depression, anxiety, happiness, joy and grief. They all exist. They all played a part in a more complex puzzle.

So, when you compare yourself against others (as many of us do), remember that the highlights are what draw attention and likes and shares and they are never indicative of the whole story.

Nowadays, when my wife and I smile, for instance, we know our story, we know the days of happiness, the days of sorrow, the days of loss, and the days of celebration. The whole story is there and the smiles capture one solitary moment.

Fortunately, our story has earned the right to more highlights.

Which story does your highlight tell?

Revolutionary You! #359-Client Spotlight: Ken Klika (3 of 4)

In the 3rd part of our 4-part client spotlights, I’m joined this week by one of the strongest fellas at RevFit: Ken Klika. His story has inspired me since he started here over 5 years ago and it’s been a honor to work with he and his wife, Jen. Tune in to hear what led Ken to us, how he defines strength for himself and what continues to inspire the work he does.

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My Marketing Methods And Your Fat Loss

When I started my business, I didn’t know anyone in the town I started in and had to build the clientele from the ground up.

It was difficult and it required me to do a lot of uncomfortable things at the time like putting flyers up all over the area in different businesses or put my business card under windshield wipers, etc. just to get my name out there.

Little by little, as business grew, I was able to forge relationships and get referrals that helped my clientele grow faster.

At the heart of it was me continually doing things that I was not comfortable with. It was new skills I had to learn, that I was resistant to learn, and stepping outside of whatever self-imposed box I had created for myself to be successful because I refused to fail at business ownership.

Throughout that time I chose to learn new ways to put my marketing out there. I’ve had no shortage of options either. There were blogs, there was YouTube, there was Twitter, there was Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

I would try and learn new platforms because I wanted the presence of the business out there and, while I could have hired someone to make these platforms work for me, I wanted it to be “my” touch on the marketing message.

Blogs worked well for me because it gave me a chance to let my rambling thoughts breathe a bit and I could talk about things that I saw my clients go through and ways I saw them succeed with their goals. However, if I wanted my blogs to be well received, I had to be consistent with writing. As a result, I made a vow to myself to write a new blog every week. That was 6 years ago. Now, there are over 300 articles on this site alone. (There’s a lesson there about consistency)…

Then I wanted to get better at Facebook marketing but I didn’t want to pay to boost ads. So, I started promoting the weight loss success and personal bests of my clients and I absolutely annihilated my personal Facebook page (and still do). As a result of that, I started getting more word of mouth referrals from friends of my clients who would inevitably ask about this business. That was also, coincidentally, about 6 years ago that I started doing those posts. (Another lesson in consistency)…

When Instagram came out, I truly didn’t understand it, nor did I want to. It was one more place to spread my attention and I didn’t think it mattered. However, once I came to understand the platforms and the algorithms, I had a change of heart. It also forced me to think about marketing in a different way: How do I craft an impactful 30 second reel? How do I write a caption that sparks action or inspires reflection? What (or how many) hashtags should I use? (A lesson in learning new skills and adapting to things that can change at a moment’s notice)…

Most recently, I came back to Twitter because it was another skill to learn. How do I make my rambling mind (that can easily write 500-1500 word blogs) pivot and have an impact to less than 150 characters? For the record, this is REALLY hard for me to do because it requires a complete reframe for how to get my point across.

What does any of this have to do with you and fat loss?

If you want to succeed at fat loss, you have to learn new skills, uncomfortable skills and you have to find ways to do them repeatedly. You have to change the narrative about the box you’re in or you will remain confined there. You can pay someone all the money in the world for the tools to succeed but ultimately, it’s YOUR work that makes the impact.

With social media marketing, I could pay someone to do all of that work for me: they could stay on top of algorithm changes, they could choose which ads to boost or not boost, they could craft all of these really nice eye-catching graphics to get your attention and drive more interest to my work.

Fat loss isn’t like that, no one gets to do the work for you while your body takes the benefit. Even if you elect to have surgery for weight loss, you still have work to do to adhere to a new way of eating and, potentially, new dietary constraints.

For me, I like learning new skills, I’m willing to fail (over and over again), I expect to have some efforts be well-received and some to fall on deaf ears (er, eyes), and I have rarely, if ever, been an early adopter. I’m the kind of person who needs a lot of exposure to something before I can understand the value and apply it for myself.

This is where we have a lot in common with fat loss. Reframe all of that last paragraph and apply it to you:

Learning new skills: from meal prepping to food tracking to food measuring to embarking on a new exercise regimen, if it’s unfamiliar to you, it’s a new skill and perhaps a valuable one. Take the time to learn what you need, discard what you don’t and apply what works.

Be willing (and ready) to fail: I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve screwed something up with my marketing. Whether it’s something small like a typo or something more significant like not being as sensitive as I could be to what a reader might perceive in my messaging. Keep trying, keep learning, and keep moving forward.

Don’t expect immediate results/gratification: Sometimes, even doing all the “right” things won’t net the results we expect to see and this is true for marketing and certainly true for fat loss. You’re always playing the long game.

Maybe it isn’t what you hear, but when you’re “ready” to hear it: Much like my exposure to different marketing tactics, some things just didn’t click immediately for me. When they did, I jumped “all in”. Your path with fat loss is similar. You probably don’t need to hear more about energy deficits, protein intake, better sleep habits, increasing your step count or cutting back on ultra-processed foods. You just need to have enough exposure to those truths before you embrace them, apply them and succeed as a result.

Pictured below, an updated look at our coaching staff. In spirit of this post, I’d love for you to follow these accounts so you can keep up with our mischief (Click on the name).

L to R

Coach Nick Morton

Coach David Cameron

Coach Jason Leenaarts

Coach Michael Roder

Revolutionary You! #358-Client Spotlight: Stephanie Duffy (2 of 4)

In our next client spotlight, I welcome Stephanie Duffy onto the show. We talk about the events that led to her starting at RevFit, the changes she made in her life to see weight loss success, how she sees her journey in strength training and what goals she has set for herself next. 

To learn more about your host:

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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?