Category Archives for "fitness"

January 3, 2023

How to get going and keep going on your health and fitness goals

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On this first episode of 2023, we discuss what you need to do to meet your fitness goals.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:21.050] – Coach Allan

Hello, Ras. How are you today?

[00:02:23.040] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you?

[00:02:24.910] – Coach Allan

I'm doing all right.

[00:02:26.320] – Coach Rachel


[00:02:28.510] – Coach Allan

We record this a few weeks ahead. So we're still getting started on the Christmas season stuff. It's the parades and the Santa stuff and all of that. But this is going to go live. This is the first episode of 2023.

[00:02:45.910] – Coach Rachel

Happy New Year.

[00:02:46.860] – Coach Allan

Happy New Year. Exactly. And with New Year, a lot of people go in with their resolutions. Yes, I've had a lot of conversations with people because people are right now, they're doing again, we're doing this in December, so bear with me. But I try to help reporters. They want to interview someone or they want some material from a personal trainer. And the question always comes up this time of year, how do we stick with our New Year's resolution? So I've been having that conversation a few times at various levels, and that's really what I wanted this episode today to really be about was, okay, you've decided you want to do something, but I'm going to start out and just tell you that's not good enough. It's just not. And there's a lot of reasons, and you can listen to this episode and see a lot of reasons why what you're doing might not be working for you long term or short term or whatever, but I want to put that out there.

[00:03:50.730] – Coach Allan

Tammy had to go back to the States because her mother had a health issue.

[00:03:54.460] – Coach Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:03:55.770] – Coach Allan

She went back to the States, and her mother's out of the hospital now.

[00:03:59.600] – Coach Rachel


[00:04:00.320] – Coach Allan

And so she's going to have to go through treatment and things like that, and it's a permanent treatment. So, again, as we get into this episode, and particularly in the discussion after, this is where it all comes from. You start looking forward, and you start seeing your future if you don't do something. So, yeah, so a lot going on.

[00:04:19.190] – Coach Allan

I'm here by myself at Lula's, but right now, fortunately, we're very, very slow. I think we have one guest oh, nice. For about the next three or four days, which is good, because I've got a lot to catch up on with everything else. But yeah, I'm basically running Lulas by myself, and through Christmas, I'll be doing that. Now, Christmas will be busy, and I'll have, I think, 14 or 15 breakfasts and all kinds of stuff. So I'm going to be moving. I'll be moving a lot over the course of the holidays to get this stuff done.

[00:04:49.740] – Coach Rachel


[00:04:51.530] – Coach Allan

It's good we're busy. It's a good month. But how are things up there?

[00:04:56.480] – Coach Rachel

Good. A lot colder than what you got down there, Allan.

[00:04:59.950] – Coach Allan

It's cold enough.

[00:05:01.030] – Coach Allan

It was down in the 70s today. And wearing a sweatshirt to kind of show you how wimpy I am.

[00:05:09.090] – Coach Rachel

We got 25 up here, so as long as it's on the plus side, I'm okay when it gets to be negative that it gets really cold.

[00:05:16.730] – Coach Allan

But Mike can't ice fish unless it gets

[00:05:19.320] – Coach Allan

That is true. So that is the bonus. We do have ice. It's forming now, and he's looking forward to fish camp coming up in the next month or two, I think. But, yeah, he's recovering well, and we're doing a lot of resting, which is nice because it's the holiday season up here as well. So we're just kind of taking it easy, enjoying this cooler weather as best we can.

[00:05:41.950] – Coach Allan

All right, well, are you ready to talk about fitness goals?

[00:05:45.540] – Coach Rachel


Episode: How to get going and keep going on your fitness goals

I did a little survey on our Facebook group the other day about what was holding people back, what was keeping them from meeting their health and fitness goals, or what their basic struggle was. And I got one resounding answer. The biggest struggle that most of us face when trying to get and stay fit is motivation. But here's the thing. Motivation just doesn't happen. It's not something that's going to show up for you when you need it. Instead, we need to rely on commitment. So commitment will carry us. And I've had this conversation many, many times, but I'm going to repeat it right here so you can kind of get an idea of what's going on. So a commitment starts with a very basic thing. It starts with a why. Why do you want to be healthy and fit? What's driving you to do this? And then the second part of commitment is, what does that actually look like? Do you know what fitness is like or going to be like for you? Do you have some end vision of what this will be? So let me tell you a basic story of how all of this came together for me, because I wanted to be healthy and fit.

I missed being athletic. I missed doing the things that I was doing. And I was very miserable with the fact that I couldn't do those things. So I had some drivers behind me. I had I had some reasons to do it, but they really weren't the right kind of reasons. And then I come along to a moment in my life where my daughter, Rebecca, I call her Becca had gotten into CrossFit and these obstacle course races and all this kind of stuff, and she was basically a mini me at this point. She was living the life that I used to live, and I missed it desperately. And so one day she said to me, hey, Daddy, I'm going to be doing this CrossFit thing. I want you to come watch me do it. And to be honest with you, man, that was a kick in the teeth for my daughter to say, hey, come watch me do this. The realization was I did not want to be a spectator in my daughter's life. I wanted to be a participant. I wanted to be actively engaged in doing things with my daughter. And if the things she loved were things I couldn't do, then I couldn't be that person.

I would have to be the spectator. And that just really wasn't good enough for me. So for me, I can actually point to the moment, I can point to that conversation, and I can point to waking up the next morning in a hotel room a little hungover, like very hungover, and just realizing that this was the missing element. Commitment was the missing element. I had never really committed. Now, if you're struggling to get to your why, there is an exercise to help you dig deeper, to really get to something tangible and emotional and real. And it's called the five whys. Okay, so if I ask you why you want to get fit, and you tell me, well, I don't want to breathe so heavy when I'm going up the stairs. And I did the little five year or eight year old toddler thing, a kid thing, and I said Why? You say, well, when I walk up the stairs and I start breathing really heavy, it's embarrassing. Why? Well, because I am not fit. And I'm like, okay, well, why is breathing heavy the problem? Well, the why would be well, everybody's kind of looking at me while I'm trying to catch my breath.

I'm bent over and I realize that as I'm sitting there just really trying to catch my breath, it's kind of making a scene at work and I think people are looking down at me. Why?

Well, I should be able to walk.

Up a flight of stairs, perform my job, do my thing, and not be superwinded. And so when you take that y down, this becomes I want to be able to perform better at work. So your fitness why? Could be very much different from why you think it's your why. You may think your why is that you just want to be more fit, but the reality is it's affecting your confidence, it's affecting maybe your work performance, it's affecting how people are looking at you. And so you can kind of see that there's this deeper emotional thing that's going on as you start to put this together. So for me, not wanting to be a spectator in my daughter's life, wanting to be a participant, okay, that was not at the surface level. At the surface level, I was like, well, I used to be athletic, I'd like to be athletic again. Great. Why? Well, because when I was athletic, I had enjoyed myself, I had a lot of energy. Why do you want that? Well, because that made me feel younger, it made me feel stronger, it made me feel like I belong and I could stick with people.

Well, why is that important to you? Well, because my daughter is doing this stuff and I want to be able to do it with her and not be a spectator. So you kind of see how I can take those five whys? And I can just drill, I can just start drilling down until I get to the core essence of what this is. I was an athlete. I'm not anymore. I want to be able to keep up with my daughter and do things she's doing athletic things. I need to be able to do athletic things. So you see the difference in just saying I should be an athlete. I was an athlete to now taking it down to this deeper, deeper level where it's now rooted in who I am as a person and how I want to live my life. I'll make the joke that I want to be able to wipe my own ass when I'm 105. OK, and why? Because I don't want someone to have to do it for me. I don't want to be embarrassed about how I'm living my life, and I don't want to be in a situation where I'm dependent on other people, particularly my family to take care of me.

I see myself as the caretaker, and I want to be that person then as much as I want it now. So you can kind of see how as you keep digging, you're going to get down to this point, and then as you start looking at your vision, there's a direct link to what this is all about. So some things may have happened in your life that have got you really thinking about this this year. So one is maybe your doctor told you there are signs of osteopnia, you're losing bone mass, and you need to do something, and you don't want to be that frail old person. Okay? Or maybe you're struggling with just everyday tasks. So there's a jar of pickles sitting there on the counter you can't open. And now you have to wait till someone stronger than you comes home to open that jar of pickles for you. That's not a place you want to be. Or you find yourself as I said, you go up a flight of stairs and you can't catch your breath. Or you find yourself struggling with your balance. And this is keeping you from doing things you love, like playing tennis, or like with my grandfather playing golf, he had to quit golf because he didn't have his balance.

And sometimes it's just something fun.

You know, there's people here on the.

Island talking about getting together and doing pickleball, and I'm like, well, that'd be fun. And so they're going to get the stuff together. At some point, I'm going to want to go out there and play, and I'm not going to want to be silly embarrassed. So I'll probably start doing some training toward my vision of being a better pickleball player. Again, never played it, haven't played it. I played tennis some when I was younger, assuming it's fairly close to the same game. So some of those skills will probably rub off a little bit.

But I'm actually going to do some.

Things to make sure that I'm misfit as I need to be to be able to enjoy some pickleball. So you can kind of see how now is your tying your vision, tying how you want to live your life, the things you want to do for fitness, they all tie into this thing, this whole thing of why do you want to do this and what does it look like and what does it mean to you? And all those different things that come together as a commitment and a commitment of living healthy and fit life. Now, as you get into the actions of things that you're going to need to do to get more fit, you got to line up the things that will tell you you're doing it. And that's where the smart art goals again, smart art, where there's an extra A in smart goals. And I talked about this in detail on episode 564. So I'm not going to go into much detail here. I encourage you to go check that out. If you're looking for ways to do your building blocks to get you from point A to point Z, you can't just do that.

You got to work through each one. And so smart goals are specific. They're measurable, they're attainable, they're actionable, they're relevant, meaning they tie to your vision and they're timely. So literally you sit down and say, what's my vision? How do I have a specific goal that's between here and there. It's measurable, it's attainable, it's time bound and above all it's an action. It's not something that I can say I'm able to do, I did, I will do, I have done that kind of thing.

It's going to be actionable.

So go back to episode 564 maybe after you listen to this as you're looking to put your smart goals together. Okay, now let's break down the process. You're going to have these different struggles as you get into dealing with motivation. So the commitment is really important, but you're going to have to look at this whole thing of who you are. So there's this whole self awareness layer under motivation. So people will say I don't have motivation and I say you are not committed. Once you're committed, the motivation is a ton easier, but you're just not quite there yet. So let's start with self awareness and what you need to look at. Now some of the people in the Facebook group, which you can go to, 40 plusfitnesspodcast. comGROUP if you want to join the group, some of them said they had difficulty starting and other people said they had difficulty to keep going. So I want to talk about those two things because they're slightly different spends on the same thing. Okay? When you're having trouble getting started, you're having trouble with initiation. You're unable to initiate. Okay? And so what's happening here is you're standing still or sitting still and you have no inertia.

There's nothing to push you forward. So what you're looking for is some motivation, some thing to push you to get you moving, okay? To start. That's important. Okay? The other part of it is the continuing to go. And this is a big play on consistency. If you're not consistent, you probably won't see the benefits of the work that you're doing. The once and done doesn't happen in fitness. It's almost never can. You just do one thing one time and you've reached some fitness goal. It just doesn't work that way. So once you start doing something, you need to be consistent with it to see the results down the line. Now how do we get started and how do we keep going? We've got this whole mindset now where we're committed to do this very important. Do that first, but then there's the next part and this is where it all kind of starts to come together. So to get started and keep going, you have to be accountable. You have to have accountability. This is a key tool that a lot of people skip. They're like, I want to do it. I'll just do it.

And maybe you try it, and then you fall, or maybe you just don't even try, and you never even get into it. So have you ever needed to do something but based on where you were, it just wasn't you weren't able to do it? Okay. And I want to take you through a story to kind of give you an idea of what was going on for me with this. Okay? So I was in Orlando, and I was on a panel while we were discussing audit stuff, fraud stuff, okay? So I had all these people I'm sitting on stage, I'm sitting in the panel. And the night before, I had been out with friends that I know because we all kind of went to these things together. So I'd run into the same people. So I was out with some people on you, and I'd gotten pretty much chewed up by some mosquitoes all over my back. And so my back was itching like crazy. But here I am sitting on stage, so I really can't do anything about it. I'm itching like crazy. I'm on the panel. And even parts of it, I knew I couldn't even reach.

If I tried to reach back there and start scratching my back, I wasn't going to be able to do it. So I waited. I kind of gritted my teeth, and I got through it. Now, as soon as the thing was over and I was able to finish answering questions and get off the stage and move away, I went over and I found a vacant spot in the convention center area. And there was a doorway. And I was able to start scratching my back, rubbing my back against the door frame, similar to how a bear would rub it back against a tree. I've never seen a real bear do that, but they do it in cartoons, and they do it on TV all the time. But I was scratching my back against a tree, against that door frame, and someone walks around the corner, and it's kind of embarrassing. But the base point of what I'm trying to get to is when people are watching you, you act differently. You stop doing things that you know you will be embarrassed for people to know you did. And you put off doing things. You hold back, you grit your teeth and get things done that you didn't necessarily feel you could do or you didn't want to do.

But you wouldn't do this in front of someone. That's accountability. That's how this works. It's in your head. Someone's watching, someone cares. I'm going to do this. Now. When someone's watching us, obviously we're doing something a little different, right? So this is accountability. And in your health and fitness journey, this is important and this is how you can think about it from a perspective of getting things done. So I'm going to ask you to remember a time, and this is the way back machine. So this is well before cell phones, okay? And you remember you were going to go for a trip. So you're driving, and your mother would say, you probably remember this, call me when you get there. Now, what did that do? It did a few things. One is it made you accountable to drive safely because you now knew that your mother was aware of when you were due to arrive at a certain place. And she cares, so she's paying attention. So you're probably going to drive a little safer, and you're going to go directly where you're supposed to go. Because if you're supposed to get there at 05:00 and you don't call your mother at 05:00, you know she's going to be worried about you.

So you get there. Now, we didn't have cell phones, so there was no real way, unless you stopped somewhere for a payphone to say, hey, I'm running a little late. But for the most part, you were driving until you got there. And you get there and you call your mom, hey, mom got here. Everything's cool. Good. You are accountable to your mother. You had respect for your mother. You knew she was looking. You knew what she was looking for, and you delivered. Now another one. And what I call there is I call that authority accountability. So you have a coach leader type of accountability where you're responsible. You feel responsible to somebody. They're looking out over you. They care about you. They're a leader. They're basically a leader or a coach, and they're there to look after you. Okay? Now, the other kind of accountability that's out there is a little different, but just as important and just as valuable, and we call that social accountability. So here's the story. Let's say, okay, you tell your friends, your friends all agree, hey, we're going to go watch the movie at 630. Now, back before cell phones, they want to watch the 07:00 show.

We're all going to meet at the movie theater in the game room at 630. Guess where you were pretty much before or after? Right around 630, you're at the game room. Why? Because you were socially responsible to these individuals. You wanted their social approval. You knew they were looking for you. They knew you knew that you were supposed to be there. They were going to be there. Okay, so this is now social accountability. So we have the two types of accountability. We have the leader coach accountability, which is sort of from a perspective of respect and authority. And then we have the social accountability, which is really about, I care what they think about me, and I want to be responsible to them, and I want to be liked and loved and respected as well. So those two tools are really, really valuable and you want to look at accountability from those two lenses. Okay. So you kind of get the idea that if you have both the leader, the leader coach accountability available to you and you have the social accountability to you, there's two different ways that you can approach this problem. So let's talk a little bit about the getting started.

Now what's a good level of authority or good level of accounting accountability? I kind of gave you the answer there, but what's the type of accountability that's best for getting started? That is the leader coach type because the leader coach type is going to be there to kind of push you. Like I said, you have inertia holding you back. So you're sitting still and you need something to push you. Now most of our social relationships, they're not in the pushing mode. They're not necessarily going to make you do things you don't want to do because again, they're looking at you socially as well. So they're not the best people to kind of push you to start. But a leader coach form of accountability is much better at that initial push, that initial go. And there's a lot of reasons behind that. You have the right coach, the right leader and the other side of it is typically you're also paying these people and if you're making the payment and you're committing to it and you're there, you're going to show up and the coach is going to get you going, the leader is going to get you moving.

And so as we start going, that breaks that inertia and now you're moving. So if getting started is your problem, I would consider looking for a coach or leader that's going to push you just to get you started. Okay. Now the other type of accountability, social accountability is really good on the keep going part. So the more people you surround yourself that are like what you want to be or are like minded enough and moving in the same direction you are because they want the same things for themselves, you're creating a social accountability network that's moving you in the right direction. Our Facebook group, again you go to 40 Plusfitnesspodcastgroup is a great way to put people in your life that are like minded and moving in the same direction you are. So there's lots of opportunity there for you to build that social network. Okay? Now there are two other ways to look at accountability that I want to talk about. So there is the extrinsic motivation that is going to come to us from other people. So remember we talked about the coach, right? The coach, the coach is going to ask you to do things and you're going to want to do it because you know the coach is looking and you know the coach cares.

So now you're doing things that's coming from an extrinsic perspective. So initially the getting started part that's really valuable, right? It gets you started. It initiates movement. It gets you moving. That's really good. Particularly if that's where you struggle most. Now if your struggle is on the going forward, then extrinsic motivation can work. But it gets a little tedious because again the coach is asking, you're saying yes, you're moving. Coach is asking you're saying yes, you're moving. So you kind of see where it just builds this kind of little loop and it's great. But if you're looking for the consistency to keep happening, you got to start moving towards a different style of motivation. It can't stay extrinsic. You have to move it toward the intrinsic or internal. So as you're looking at accountability, remember there's coach leader accountability which is some individual that you respect and respond to. And there's social accountability which are the people around you that you know care and you want to be a part of that social group. You're doing those two things. That's the accountability piece. Now the motivation piece is extrinsic. So all of that accountability is an extrinsic motivator.

They're pushing you to go and keep going. But where you're really going to get value out of this whole process. And this is a big, big thing. It's a hard thing but when it starts to happen you're going to feel it. You're going to feel the momentum of this stuff shift everything you're trying to do with your health and fitness goals. There's just going to be this fundamental shift in the way you approach things and that's when you can internalize the motivation. That's when it becomes intrinsic. Now as you do that now you're driven. And so what's happening is at first you didn't really want to work out. You said, I don't like to work out. I don't like to sweat. I don't like to use my muscles and lift weights. I don't like to do these things. Your coach is kind of moving. You your leader. Coach accountability is kind of pushing you to start. You start lifting, you start doing some things. You're like, I still don't like this, but I'm doing it. And then you have the social group that's like, hey, have you lost a little bit of weight? Hey, you're going to the gym?

That's awesome. Can I go to the gym with you? Can I be around when you're doing this stuff? Can I be a part of your life? You're bringing in and building this accountability network that's both coach leader and social and you've got that in your life now. You're still dealing and using extrinsic motivation to try to drive all of this behavior once you start to bring it inside. So you're doing and now you're getting and once you start getting, you're like, hey, I can lift more than I was able to lift last week or last month. I'm getting stronger. I'm succeeding in this thing that I wanted to do and I'm succeeding. Better than I even thought maybe I could. Okay? Once those things start falling in place you're like, well, I actually want to get stronger, I actually want to lift weights. How weird is that? That is intrinsic motivation when it's sort of this thing where you're like, well no, it's like your friend calls you and say, hey, let's go meet up and do this thing. And like, okay, let me get my workout in and then I'll meet you there. When your brain starts doing that and there's intrinsic motivation for you to still get it done, boom.

That's magic, right? So just to kind of wrap this all up and I want to put one more piece of information out there before we close up. But you've got to start with the commitment. Why do you want this and where are you going? Second, what are you going to do to get moving forward and to keep moving forward? And that starts with accountability. Accountability is the extrinsic motivation that you need to make this start happening. And then we got to push it and push it until we get to success, some form of success. Something that's going to say, okay, I get it, my body is responding, this actually feels good. And now I have this intrinsic motivation to do it and keep doing it. Okay, so now we're moving. Now the only other piece I want to throw in here before we close this out is that there's a thing called pace. And I get into pace really deep on episode 504 and so I'd encourage you to go there if you want to learn more about pace. But the reality of it is based on where we are and that's going to be in the self awareness piece, that's going to be in the commitment piece.

They're going to be limits and they're going to be capability. There's going to be things in your life that are going to tell you you're moving too fast, you're moving too slow. And I want you to listen to the voices that are driving you, but I don't want them to drive you to a point of injury and worse. Because again, if you stop because you're injured, you've got to start all over. OK? And that can be really, really hard, especially if you haven't really built the intrinsic motivation. And now that you have to take this break to recover, you might struggle with the fact that you do have to recover. So understand that pace is about what you can do with what you have. If you can sprint, it's time to sprint, it's time to get enough Ferrari and haul it, then do it. But if you've got a lot going on in your life or you're trying to work around an injury or an illness, then you're in a much slower vehicle and you have to accept that as what you can do with what you have. Okay? So pace is a hard one and I don't want that to ever derail you but just recognize that it's out there.

You can't go too fast but you also don't need to go too slow. So you got to find the right pace for you and that's where a coach can again really come in handy is they can get you started and they can get you started in the right way. Where you're working at the right pace you're avoiding injury and as a result you're getting that value out of the work which helps you move from an extrinsic model, an external model of motivation to an intrinsic model of motivation. Now I know I threw a lot at you and this is not easy stuff. It isn't. But you start with the commitment it gets a lot easier and then you hire the coaches. You do what you got to do to put the right people around you to get that accountability layer in there. And then you start understanding that motivation doesn't come first. It comes last. Once you get moving the motivation builds. Motivation starts externally and it comes internally. It moves in. So as you do better the motivation is going to come in and you're going to have it in you. It's just going to be a part of who you are.

So again commitment, accountability, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation and you're off to the races. So I hope this was valuable to you. If you're struggling with this whole process of the commitment and the accountability and getting motivation to move inward to make all this stuff kind of happen I'd.

Really like to talk to you about it.

This is what I do all day every day. I help people build that thing to build their process, to build their lifestyle sustainable because it starts with commitment. It starts with that foundation and it moves inside and we help make sure you're moving at the right pace that you're getting what you need at the right time. And as a result you build something that works for you that will always work for you. And you'll know that model you'll have that tool chest. If you'll go to 40 Plusfitness.com Discovery we can get you on a call and we can talk about these elements and know. Now I know I'm not for everybody and I know I'm not the best coach for everybody so I'm not going to tell you yeah I'm going to be your coach because you called this, we got on this call. But what I will promise you is if we get on the call you will leave that call with a plan. Okay? That's the one thing I can promise you. I may not be the right coach for you but I want to make sure that that time spent is valuable because you'll discover what's important for you to be successful to take that next step.

So if you'll go to 40plusfitness.com/discovery we can go ahead and book a call and you can get this done and make 2023 your year.

Post Show/Recap

[00:34:02.330] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:34:03.870] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. You know, I did see that post that you put on your 40+ fitness Facebook page and I was pretty surprised, but not surprised by the responses you were getting that people were lacking motivation. And coincidentally, I'm seeing the same frustration with a lot of our friends. Being that we are up to our knees and snow right now. Not many of us want to be outside for a lovely walk in the park. It's kind of brutal. So, yeah, motivation is just waning over the holidays. It's really hard to rely on that when you've got fitness in mind or health in mind.

[00:34:40.140] – Coach Allan

Yeah. Well, like I said in the discussion of this, you've got to find something with deep meaning.

[00:34:49.370] – Coach Allan

If you don't feel it, literally, you don't feel it. And it's probably not going to happen the way you want it to or it won't stick. So I've never seen anyone who is just passionate about weight loss. Like, no, like, yeah, I need to lose 15 lbs or 10 lbs or whatever.

[00:35:07.170] – Coach Allan

It's like, oh, man, that's such a brave goal. It's such a tremendous thing for you to be thinking about or caring about. And I don't mean that to belittle it, but just realize how little emotional attachment you have to losing 15 or 10 lbs.

[00:35:25.510] – Coach Allan

There's none.

[00:35:28.070] – Coach Rachel


[00:35:28.070] – Coach Allan

There's none.

[00:35:29.010] – Coach Allan

And so you're not going to have a drive behind you. You've got to find the things that are going to push you and then pull you. And so, you know, your why is going to pull you.

[00:35:42.590] – Coach Allan

Your accountability is going to push you.

[00:35:45.710] – Coach Rachel

Which is why I like how you started with the five whys and how to be, like you said, a toddler, and keep asking the question, Why? To dig deeper. And I do the same with my athletes, too. Why do you want to run a marathon? Why do you want to do these things and have these goals? You really need to dig deep into that because there's more underneath the surface.

[00:36:09.030] – Coach Allan

Yeah! Because mile 18 is going to suck on the first marathon and you have to ave a reason to pick up that foot again.

[00:36:15.340] – Coach Rachel

Right? It's important to have a why, and that's a great driving for us. And I think that's a good place to start is to really drill deep into your whys and then after that commitment. That's another one of my favorite words. You need to commit to those whys and then having the accountability. I think that accountability is probably one of the biggest factors for why I do what I do while I run so much is because I have the accountability of my run club and my run friends, and we each push each other to our goals and make sure we're doing things to stay able and ready for the next race.

[00:36:56.370] – Coach Allan

Yeah. So that's a social accountability. So you surround yourself with the people. But for most of us, it's going to probably be easier to start with the leader/coach type of accountability. Because what's going to happen there is that individual is going to get you focused and get you moving. And then if you start surrounding yourself with people like you that are runners, then it's easy enough at that point for you to say, okay, we're going to put together a streak during the holidays and then we all want to do this. We got to do at least as many miles or mile or whatever you're going to put the distance to qualify it. Everybody is seeing everybody else do their thing that's driving them to lace up those shoes.

[00:37:44.780] – Coach Rachel


[00:37:45.830] – Coach Allan

Even if internally they're having that conflict of I really don't want to go out there. It's freaking 25 degrees, Rachel. What are you doing?

[00:37:58.570] – Coach Rachel

But having a coach, that's the other part that I think is so important is sometimes I know for me, I get stuck with too many options. I got too much going on. I don't know where to get started. I don't know how to get started. And just like you said, a lot of people have difficulty starting. So I like to have somebody tell me what to do. Tell me today I need to do X, Y and Z, tomorrow be A, B and C. To have that coach get you started, kind of kick you out the door. You don't have to think about it. You just do what the coach tells you to do and you're off and running. And there's a lot of benefits to having a coach.

[00:38:36.010] – Coach Allan

Yeah. When I was looking at doing some strength training for the Spartan, I hired a coach, a strength coach, and the basic purpose was, one, I was working a lot of hours and I just really didn't want to think about my workout. And I had the coach there as that he was going to be there. He hated when he actually when he blurted out 05:00 in the morning because he had another athlete that wanted to work out at 6:30 when he was training me. And he's like, she can only train at 6:30 and she was the same days as you. Do you mind moving years earlier? And I'm like, okay, what time? And he said, 05:00. I said you're on. And then he realized what he had just done was he was going to have to meet me at the gym at 05:00 every morning. And I was in there. In fact, I get there before and I literally have the weights already loaded. So when he walked in the door, I was ready to do my first set. There was some intrinsic motivation there for myself, but I had that accountability. And so for me, it was easy enough.

[00:39:42.620] – Coach Allan

I knew it was going to be there. I get there, I didn't have to think about the workout, I didn't have to think about any of it. After a couple of weeks working with him, I already knew kind of where he was going to go anyway, so I knew the weight that he was probably going to put. So I already had that loaded before he arrived.

[00:40:00.980] – Coach Rachel


[00:40:01.500] – Coach Allan

And I would do squats and I do leg press. And at the time it was kind of insane how much I was leg pressing, relative. And so it would take us 15 minutes to load the sled and 15 minutes to unload the sled. So like I said, I would start loading the sleds, I set up my squat and I'd start loading plates to the sled for the leg press. And then he would get there and after I finished the squat, then we would put the rest of the plates on. Or while I was doing squats, sometimes we'd be putting the plates on so that I could go right into doing leg press and then we would start taking the weights off. After the leg press, I would already be doing another exercise.

[00:40:41.120] – Coach Allan

So he kept me efficient, it kept me moving. If I was doing that by myself, it would be like, easy enough to sit there and say, well, I'm going to go a little light today so I don't have to load as many plates or I'm just going to skip the leg press because I don't want to spend the 15 minutes to load and then 15 minutes to unload this all by myself.

[00:41:00.290] – Coach Allan

So that was kind of one of the things. And so if you want to succeed at this stuff, you've really got to do all of it. Is there's not one perfect thing saying, oh, well, I have a coach, therefore I'm going to get there. If you don't have the why, it's probably not going to happen.

[00:41:16.280] – Coach Allan

And you have to start building the social accountability as a function of this whole thing because without that you're probably not going to hire the coach and keep that coach on for the rest of your life. So building the social network that's going to keep you going is also very important.

[00:41:35.550] – Coach Allan

And then the final bit is to take that motivation that you're getting from these external sources, the extrinsic motivation, and find a way to get it in you. And so it becomes more intrinsic motivation.

[00:41:50.430] – Coach Allan

Because you don't have to hype yourself up to run a marathon no anymore. It's like for you, it's like, yeah, I got these connections, I've got this accountability and you hired a run coach for one of the races.

[00:42:04.860] – Coach Allan

But the base point would be is you didn't need that to do the work. You were going to do the work and you were going to run the marathon. Those were given without any of that accountability because you've turned your motivation internally and you now are just, you're a runner, that's who you are. And you run because you're a runner.

[00:42:25.630] – Coach Rachel

It's my lifestyle at this point. And when you find what you love to do in the gym or outside of the gym, on the trails, wherever it is that you do your habit, you get to doing it so often that it just becomes what you do. It's how you plan things. It's how you manage your weekly schedule, and it just becomes part of your life.

[00:42:45.980] – Coach Rachel

And then in turn, it's the intrinsic motivation to keep at it. And, yeah, that's where I've been running for almost 25 years now, so it's pretty much not even a thought at this point anymore. It's just do. I brush my teeth and I run. It's what I do.

[00:43:03.850] – Coach Allan

A lot of times, I'll get this. Like, I'm not like you, Rachel. I'm not like you. I don't have that in me. I hate running. I hate sweating. I hate and I'll tell you, you really haven't gotten to the why, and you really haven't made a commitment, and you've got to go back to that.

[00:43:21.120] – Coach Allan


[00:43:21.710] – Coach Allan

You got to go back to that, because here's the core, and I can tell you a dozen stories of me watching people who are older than me get sick, really sick, and really bad gruesome stuff, and they're gross stories. They're horrible stories. And what I saw in that was a potential future. It was a potential future where I'm not taking care of myself.

[00:43:49.690] – Coach Rachel


[00:43:50.540] – Coach Allan

And so I want independence well into old, old age. I literally want people to say, I don't think this guy's going to die. He's just got too much energy.

[00:44:01.950] – Coach Rachel

You're perpetual.

[00:44:03.450] – Coach Allan

Yeah, I don't understand. He's going to live forever. But I want people to know that I'm capable and able, and I'm going to take care of myself. I'm going to take care of the people around me. I'm not going to do the silly stuff that is going to basically make my last years terrible. So I have family members that I dealt with, tobacco issues, with cancers. Horrible, horrible way to go out and then don't think it's going to happen. It's just when. You live long enough and don't die of something else. You have basically planted the seeds if you smoked or if you still smoke.

[00:44:43.190] – Coach Allan

And even if it wasn't that, my mother and my mother-in-law both now have COPD, and it's like, okay, and they both had quit smoking at some point in their lives, but the damage was done. And now in their 70s, they're experiencing issues, and it's terrible, but it's kind of one of those things of saying, well, we knew all the way back in the 70s that this stuff was not in your best interest, and you didn't quit then. You waited until we were into the 1990s or 2000s, that's another 25, 30 years that you knew what you were doing was not in your best interest. You just kept doing it.

[00:45:24.390] – Coach Allan

And so that's where the why comes in. That's where that looking ahead and saying, why do I want to do this today? I want to do this today so I can wipe my own butt when I'm 105. I've got stories about that, too.

[00:45:37.260] – Coach Allan

And so as you just look at anyone who's older than you and they're struggling with things, they can't open pickle jar. They can't get up from the seat without pushing with their arms and leaning forward. And now they got to get rails in their bathroom so they can get in and out of the bathtub. And they're falling more often and maybe even hospitalized more often. You start seeing that. You're like, okay, well, is that your path?

[00:46:05.350] – Coach Rachel


[00:46:06.180] – Coach Allan

And you make a choice. You make a choice every single day. How you're going to live that day, that's all you get.

[00:46:11.510] – Coach Rachel

That's right.

[00:46:12.870] – Coach Allan

If you're making the right decisions, then you have a better opportunity to have a better future. And so for me, my intrinsic motivation does not come from, I've got a race coming up or this, that. Those help for short-term stuff. Like, if I want to get really strong or want to basically build up my stamina, then, yeah, schedule a race. I'm wired for that. If I've got something in front of me that's scary, I'll work to make sure that I'm in the best condition I can possibly be.

[00:46:40.020] – Coach Allan

But my day-to-day, how I look at my nutrition and my sleep and my stress management, then I'm looking at it from the, how long am I going to live, and how do I want to live that? What does that look like? And, you know, so I left corporate America. You know, I had a great job with making a lot of money, and I got laid off, and I very easily could have made a few phone calls and probably within a few months had another job just like that.

[00:47:07.370] – Coach Allan

But I was looking at my stress levels and saying, this isn't getting me where I want to be in 30 or 40, 50 years.

[00:47:17.820] – Coach Rachel


[00:47:18.750] – Coach Allan

And I know a lot of people don't think that far ahead, but you need to

[00:47:23.600] – Coach Allan

Yes. Just think five years ahead or ten years ahead. Where are you going to be? How old will you be, and what will your health be like? And as I've mentioned to you in the past, this cancer journey that my husband Mike's been on was kind of one of those out of the blue scenarios. We don't know anyone with kidney cancer. We don't know how he got it or how it started. But I can tell you for sure that he weathered the chemotherapy and the surgery as well as he did because he is as healthy as he is. And you can say that 50, I hope you're saying 50 is still pretty young.

[00:48:03.210] – Coach Allan

If you're listening to this podcast you're either pretty darn close to 50, or you're over it. And yeah, 50 does not need to be old. And it's so funny because my family acted old in their 50s. You know, it's just kind of a weird thing in the it's like 50s and 60s we're old people. And I'm like, okay, I'm I'm here. I'm kind of like, no. I mean, yeah, I dress up like Santa and climbing and out of a golf cart trunk, and they're throwing babies and dogs at me to take pictures. I want to still be able to do fun stuff like that. There was a girl, she's got problems with her knees. She's around our age, couldn't even walk. It was a two mile parade, and it wasn't going fast at almost any point in time. It took us 3 hours to go 2 miles, so it wasn't moving fast at all. She couldn't walk it, her knees. And she couldn't even ride her bike to do it because her knees were bothering her so bad. And so it's just kind of one of those things where, granted, sometimes this is outside your control.

[00:49:06.220] – Coach Allan

But if things are in your control, what you put in your mouth, what you decide if you're going to be a smoker or not a smoker. You decide the drugs you're going to take, you decide how you're going to move. You can decide how you're going to sleep. You decide how you're going to deal with stress. Those are decisions.

[00:49:23.340] – Coach Allan

And you can say, I don't have decisions. I don't have a choice. You do. You just don't want the choice.

[00:49:32.610] – Coach Rachel

Make the hard choice. Yeah, sometimes it is a hard one, and sometimes it's not fun waking up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym like you did at 05:00 a.m. Or when we go running at 07:00 a.m. Or something, but at 25 degree weather. But you feel good once you've done it and you're healthier for it, and that will help you get to that next five year goal or ten year goal, and you'll be better off in the long term. So if you can stick with it being uncomfortable, it's worth it.

[00:50:03.090] – Coach Allan

Well, and that's what this whole episode was about. If you listen to it and you're still listening, you care about your fitness, you want to meet your health and fitness goals. And I did the best I could in about I think it was about a 30 minutes spew. When I got done with, I was kind of like I feel like I just threw up a whole bunch of information

[00:50:24.710] – Coach Allan

But it was all good information and very useful. Start with the whys, be a self-aware, get some accountability, and go back and relisten if you need help or contact you or me if you want more help.

[00:50:38.380] – Coach Allan


[00:50:39.470] – Coach Rachel


[00:50:40.000] – Coach Allan

All right, Ras, I will talk to you next week.

[00:50:42.690] – Coach Rachel

Great, Allan. Take care.

[00:50:44.060] – Coach Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:50:45.650] – Coach Rachel


Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


December 6, 2022

How to improve your running form | chris mcdougall and eric orton

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

With improved running form, you can run faster and safer. In their book, Born to Run 2, Chris McDougall and Eric Orton tell you how. We sat down for an interview, and Chris and Eric dropped a ton of value bombs. Whether you are new to running, or a seasoned runner, this episode has something for you.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:42.410] – Allan

Hello, Ras.

[00:01:43.910] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:46.240] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I'm doing alright.

[00:01:48.574] – Rachel


[00:01:49.240] – Allan

We finally got some rain. We finally got some rain. So, yeah, it's rained a good bit over the course of the last several days, which is important because we were out and we were buying water to put in our tanks because we had to turn off the city because the city was just pumping mud into our tanks. So we haven't turned on the city water. We bought one big tank. We've got basically 400 gallon tanks in the back, and so that's our water, 1600 gallons. And that if we're full up, that lasts a few days. We haven't been full this time of the year, so that's another blessing sort of, that we don't have to worry about running completely out of water and scrambling to get something done. We got pretty low, but we didn't run out. And then we filled one tank. And I told my wife, we just paid $80 to fill up this tank with water, 400 gallons. And I said, it's going to rain tonight. And it did.

[00:02:43.260] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Wow.

[00:02:47.360] – Allan

We have some water catchment. We don't have enough that could keep us going without the city water. So I'm hopeful that we're thinking about potentially investing a little bit to change the way that we do water catchment, because the roof is plenty big enough so we could catch a lot of water if we wanted to. We just don't want to send that to the back of the house because it will flood back there. We send most of that to the front of the house, which is downhill and towards the water, towards the ocean. So right now we've got a lot of that water going to the front. We could probably have a way to switch and put some of that to the back so we can make sure those tanks stay full.

[00:03:22.020] – Rachel

Nice. Good. Sounds like a good plan.

[00:03:24.270] – Allan

Yeah. We'll have to see what that entails, the slanting and then having a way to turn it off is what's really important because once we get full, we don't need more water back there. We would need it to shift to the front. So it'd be a watch it and see and then switch it. I guess we'll figure that out.

[00:03:43.390] – Rachel

That sounds good.

[00:03:44.620] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:46.140] – Rachel


[00:03:46.540] – Rachel

Well, you got rain and we got snow. Yeah, we got a record setting snows up here and we got about 2ft or so around our house. And today was one of my first snowy runs of the season. So it's good so far. Stayed up right.

[00:04:03.860] – Allan

So you set yourself up right by going to Pensacola and then the draftic fly home into that.

[00:04:10.710] – Rachel

Yeah, that did work out very well. I'm glad we made it home and we didn't get stuck in a snowstorm somewhere out east or something.

[00:04:18.270] – Allan

or stuck in Pensacola. That'd be true.

[00:04:20.010] – Rachel

I would rather be stuck in Pensacola. Maybe some year I can be a snowbird. We'll see.

[00:04:27.480] – Allan

Yeah. Well, Bocas is still a nice place. All right. Are you ready to talk about running?

[00:04:35.920] – Rachel



Text – https://amzn.to/3fgE2cS

[00:05:24.790] – Allan

Chris, Eric, Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:05:27.990] – Eric

Hey, Allan.

Note: I told Chris and Eric that I think of a particular (but made up person) when I'm preparing for the podcast. I've named this imaginary person Ellen. They took it from there. So, in each case where they address Ellen, they're talking to you.

[00:05:29.070] – Chris

Hey, Ellen. I just want to greet our friend Ellen because I understand there's someone out there that we have got a lot of wisdom that drop on Ellen's head.

[00:05:38.530] – Allan

Okay. Yeah, great. I guess I'll share this with the audience because I don't usually do that much, but when I'm trying to come up with a topic or I'm looking for books that I want to talk about, I have this imaginary person, Ellen, and I think about what Ellen needs to hear as I'm reading a book. And so it kind of keeps me in the mind of saying, this book isn't necessarily written for me, although I'll tell you guys later, it absolutely was. But it's a book that I think is going to help a lot of people.

[00:06:10.770] – Allan

So the name of the book is called Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide. And the reality of it is, I'm a corrective exercise specialist. I've been working on myself from perspective of being more functional for at least the last 15 years. And, you know, going through that training and then reading your book, I'm like, you just holistically are naturally just stumbled upon my profession from an overall training perspective, and you're applying it to running, which I think for a lot of people, they get the aches and pains when they get out there and run.

[00:06:45.360] – Allan

They're just told you, should just naturally be able to run. We all are born and we just run. And that's not entirely true, or we teach ourselves some bad things as we get into this and we don't ask the right questions. And that was one of the things you guys said in the book, you're asking the wrong questions. And so I want to ask the right questions today. But this is an excellent book. If you struggle to run before, if you love running and you want to keep running, or you're afraid you're going to have to hang up your running shoes at some point, this is a great book for you to run safely, run well and run forever.

[00:07:20.250] – Chris

Allan it's funny because that one word struggle right there is what it's all about. Yesterday, Eric and I were zooming with our friend Billy Barnett, the savage wild man who was on the cover of the original Born to Run, and his wife Alex. And as we're talking to Alex and Billy, they kept taking turns popping up to chase their little eight month old son, Cosmo, who was like the Road Runner, just darting around in the background. And as we're talking to them about fitness and training, I'm realizing, you know what? We should just watch Cosmo, because this kid is running around. No one told him, hey, you better get the right shoes, go to the running shoe store, get your data to analyze, Cosmo. You better warm up, you better stretch. He was just running around, and when it was uncomfortable, he sat and plopped his ass on the ground, and we felt like he popped back up again. That is accessible to everybody at every age. Remove the struggle and embrace the freedom and the joy. It's so easy.

[00:08:23.860] – Allan

Yeah, I had a girl I was dating in college and she had a little nephew, and it was the same thing. He would literally squat down, pick up the ball and throw it, and then he would just run as fast as he could to the ball with perfect form. His squat was perfect. His run was perfect, and he'd pick up the ball. I would sit there and see if you want to play squat ball. And it was like, what are you doing? You can't squat like that. You should be running like that. Ryan and I would play squat ball, and it was one of the funniest games because you really didn't care. You were just running around. And I know we'll talk a little bit about some of the running that you've seen, and particularly the ones with the kids playing with a ball. It just seems to be a common theme if you really pay attention to good form.

[00:09:05.020] – Chris

I think the one thing we have to acknowledge is that, yes, every little Ryan out there, three years old, is playing squat ball. But then Ryan at age six, is going to be brought to a school and plumped down in a seat at 08:00 in the morning and said, don't move till 4. So here you have this healthy, vibrant mammal who has been immobilized for 6 hours a day and then goes home and has homework. And so we take these functional creatures and then immobilize them until they're like 25. And then you go out of college and you're getting a little bit heavy, and you're like, oh, we get back in shape. And this activity you haven't done very much for 20 some years. Now suddenly you've got to jump back into it. And that's a hell of a lot of muscle memory if you can suddenly run around, do squat ball, if you haven't done it in 20 years. I think this is where my eyes were open, because I was the Ellen. I was a guy in my late 30s, early forty s, and tried to run, got injured. Big dude.

[00:10:05.440] – Chris

I was probably 240 lbs at that point. I would see doctors, and doctors would look at me and say, guys your size, you're better off moving slow. Don't run. The impact is bad for the body, especially your body. And so I believe this. And you see it in magazines all the time. If you don't have the right shoes, you'll get hurt. If you don't train right, you'll get hurt. That drumbeat of you'll get hurt is so attached to running. And then I meet Eric Gordon and he's kind of showing like, dude, none of that is true. None of it has to hurt. And that's where my eyes were finally opened up.

[00:10:40.600] – Eric

And I'll add, based on the title of this podcast, that that doesn't have anything to do with age either. We don't need to go down that battle of fighting our age and giving our age an excuse not to do it.

[00:10:53.460] – Sponsor

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[00:12:28.240] – Allan

When you had a concept in the book, you called it Easy Light Smooth and On Fast Days Fast. And as far as I was training for my first marathon, and of course I was buying all the running magazines back then. There wasn't the internet at that point. And so I'm buying all these magazines that I can get, subscribing to a lot of them. And I get them in and they're like, okay, here's the ten best shoes for the season. And then I'm like, okay, crap. I go reading all these things, I get more confused about the shoe that I should have because they're saying, well, if you pronate, if you supinate, if you do this, if you do that, if you're heavy, if you're a heel striker. And I'm like, Holy crap. So I end up going to a running store and the dude brings me out there and he says, okay, I want you to run down to that sign and then run back.

[00:13:12.580] – Allan

And he watches me, he says, okay. He says, you pronate a little bit, so you need some stability with cushion. And then he goes and he measures my foot and he sells me at the time of $70 shoe, which was the most I'd ever spent on a piece of clothing in my life, it didn't make me run any faster. Maybe it did actually protect my feet and my ankles and my knees a little bit. But in the end game, it didn't change me, it didn't change my running, but this easy light smooth and on Fast Days fast. It sounds simple, but how do we actually do that?

[00:13:46.150] – Chris

There's a lot to unpack there, Eric. There's data analysis, there's a shoe. There's the easy like smooth on fast you start off, dude.

[00:13:53.850] – Eric

Yeah, I'll piggyback off your story. When we met, one of Chris' hurdles was he was not able to run slow easily. And what that meant was that every time he went out for a run, it was uncomfortable for him to run easily, which would be maybe considered a nice, easy run that we do most of the time. Therefore, since it was uncomfortable for him, it was more comfortable for him to speed up a little bit, which caused him to fall into all the mistakes he was making with his run form that caused the breakdown in his body. So we had to work on both ends of the extreme. We had to teach him how to run easily well with form and good technique. But then on the other end, we had to also use some very fast running to build his structural system to eliminate the breakdown. So we worked on both ends of this extreme to help him create essentially more efficiency with his running, which is kind of a holy grail.

[00:15:03.900] – Chris

You know, the thing about Allan, too, is that when people address running problems, they're constantly giving you things to do that are not actually running. So if you had aches or pains or injuries, people to tell you, well, buy the other shoes or do yoga or ride a bike or go to the gym or strengthen your quads, no one ever actually looks at the behavior that is causing the problem. And to this day, it, to me, boggles my mind that the running media press always says the same thing. You run the way you run. No two people run the same. You run with your own natural former. Like, what an everloving craft is this? If you dive off a diving board, you belly flop. People go, hey, you know what? You dive the way you dive. If you go out with a basketball court with Steph Curry, he's not just chucking a ball in here, hey, Steph, you just shoot the way you shoot. No way, man. Your form is dialed in. The behavior dictates the outcome. And so, again, if Steph Curry's shot is off, no one goes, hey, you know what, Steph? Maybe you should go to your basketball how fitting store and get yourself fitted for a nice sleeve, because you're supinating on your follow through.

[00:16:13.750] – Chris

No, you work on the form. And this, to me, again, was a major revelation that Eric brought to me, and it corresponded to what I had seen in the Copper Canyon. Our superhero origin story between me and Eric is that I'd gone down to the Copper Canyon. I had spent time with the Taromata. I watched them run, but I didn't know what I was seeing. Eric knew about the Taromata, but he hadn't seen them. So when he and I first met and, like, you know, I've seen these guys, he was like, 75, and he's rocking up a mountain in a pair of sandals, and everybody's kind of running the same way. And so I was able to take my observations to Eric, and he was able to analyze and feed them back to me, saying the reason why they're running 75 is because they're all running the same way.

[00:16:58.240] – Allan

So let's talk a little bit about the free seven, because I think that'll help people kind of understand what this whole thing is all about.

[00:17:07.390] – Eric

I'll list it off, and then you go, Chris. So the free seven, we've got food, we've got form, we've got fitness, we've got focus, we've got footwear, we have fun, and we have family. That's the core of born to run, too.

[00:17:22.450] – Chris

Here's what comes down to Allan. The message of born to run is more than just a phrase. The idea is humans are born to run the way birds are born to fly, and fish are born to swim. Running was the first great superpower the human beings had as a species. Running. Our ability to run long distances is what allowed us to survive because we got nothing else. We got no claws, we got no fangs, we got no fire, we got nothing. We are naked lunches out there in the savannah. But we can run long distances better than any other creature in history. However, for you to take advantage of that ability, you have to have multiple sources of energy and fuel. You can't just have one gas tank. And so if we are truly born to run, that should be something that integrates all of our lives and should be fueled by all parts of our lives. So what we have found is if your footwear is dialed in, that's a source of free energy. When you have a nice, thick cushiony sole on your shoe, you have sacrifice energy, because when you land on that cushion, you sink, sink, sink, sink, sink.

[00:18:26.380] – Chris

And then you muscle your way back out again. If you land on your foot on the ground, you spring back off, you pop back off again. Imagine a box or jumping rope. Okay? It's a free source of energy. Another one we look at is food. Most people's relationship to running unfortunately follows their fork. Why did I start running? Well, I was putting on a few pounds. I want to get in shape. I want to be able to eat whatever I wanted. And so your fork becomes your coach. And so what we instruct people is, you know, what easily dial in your eating first, and then your running will be fueled by the food as opposed to your food being dictated by the run. So that's what the free seven is. It's looking at all these aspects of our lives that can easily be modified so they help our running as opposed to detract from it.

[00:19:14.820] – Allan

Yes, and I like that last one. That was fun, because I think a lot of people look at running and they think, particularly if they're coming after the fork, like you just said, then they're thinking, oh, crap, now I got to go do my half hour run so I can eat what I want tomorrow. And they're not looking at it as an opportunity as an opportunity to have friends with them as they're running, to be out in nature, to experience some pretty interesting things and kind of have some challenges in front of themselves because so many people kind of look at it as a drudgery. Oh, I got to go do my run. Or I got to go do my job. If they're running a little slower, but they just don't look at that aspect of what this can be in their lives.

[00:19:55.110] – Chris

Well, unfortunate thing about exercise is that we've all adopted this attitude that if it doesn't hurt, I'm not doing it right. If it's not painful, then I'm just kind of taking it easy. And unfortunately, that is a self destructive cycle because anything that is uncomfortable, at some point, you'll stop doing it. Your body's hardwired that way. So however, we also believe that, hey, if I'm having fun, well, I'm just slacking off. I'm not getting any out of it. But physiologically, fun is a self perpetuating activity. Anything you enjoy, your body will reward you with that flood of endorphins. It'll make you feel good. Your peripheral vision is widened when you're actually having plenty of oxygen flow, when you have those endocannabinoids in your body. And so actually what you really want to do is dial into that fun zone because that is actually going to maximize your workout.

[00:20:47.890] – Eric

And since Ellen's listening, most people who are just starting or wanting to start running do it for maybe weight loss or exercise. Hey, it's good for us, but very rarely will you hear someone say, I want to do it for fun. But that should be the first priority when just starting out is that keep it fun. And that's going to just let everything fall into place when you're first starting.

[00:21:10.690] – Chris

I mean, if we can translate running into the terms of play, of like dance, no one goes, hey, you know what? I'm going to go to the club and dance to get in shape. No, I'm going to go to the club to dance because it's a freaking party. And at the end of the night, you're soaked in sweat. You can barely walk. If you can look at running the same way, I'm not for run because it's fun. And then here's the story that I love because our friend Barefoot Ted, one of the miracles of nature that appeared in the original Born to Run. So Barefoot Ted ran the leisure trail 101 year in a pair of his tone homemade sandals and he rocked it. He came in under 24 hours, which is astonishingly fast, and I paced him over the past last 13 miles. And as we head to the finish line. I'm like, Dude, your training must have been monstrous. Like, how did you get in such shape? He goes, no, no, no. I'm just doing 25 miles a week. I'm like what? Dude, you're doing five a day with two days off, and you were smoking the Ledville Trail 100.

[00:22:13.270] – Chris

And he goes, oh. So I'm not interested in the limits of what's painful. I'm exploring the limits of what's pleasurable that makes these analysis. I'm rolling my eyes and the stick of the finger in my throat, but then I look back on, I'm like, the dude is kind of a half a genius, because exploring the limits of what's pleasurable, and you get that outcome.

[00:22:34.480] – Allan

And my co host on this, we have a segment afterwards, so she's going to love this episode for sure. But she's the runner. She loves this. She loves running. She makes sure everywhere she goes, if they don't have a run club, she starts one. She's always out and doing things, training, making herself better, even hiring coaches to help her run better. At least, training plans, maybe not. She's going to want this book. I'm absolutely certain of it. But there are people who could just identify as runners and then other people who dread it. And I think this book is an opportunity to really bring some people that may have dreaded a little bit, because when you add the functional aspects of what you guys are doing in this book to the running, it makes it less hard, it makes it less painful, it makes it fun. When you start realizing that you can increase your speed without killing yourself and doing things that are uncomfortable, you can literally get out there and say, okay, now that I'm running this way, I'm running faster, and now that I'm running faster, I'm having more fun. For some people, it is about podium.

[00:23:41.100] – Allan

Other people, it's just, okay, I'm in the back of the pack, but I want to run my fastest race. Now, in the book, you had three goals for how we can make our running more functional, and those were your footwear, your cadence, and a friend. Can you talk about each of those? Because I think those are magic. That's the magic there.

[00:24:02.590] – Eric

Hit footwear, Chris. I'll hit cadence.

[00:24:05.160] – Chris

Sure. Let me just say one thing, Allan so I don't want listeners to think that we're leading them down a path of further complications. Like, oh, there's all these things I need to change. One thing that has always bothered me about running is that it has been popularized as a way of maximizing profit. You mentioned going to that running shoe store and being told all these different criteria. Confusion is the engine of capitalism. The more you can confuse people, the more crap you can sell them. Because if you feel there's all this rhetoric and all this terminology, I don't know, and I have to trust the person who's selling me something. And that to me is really what that great beil Grand Wall of Footwear is all about. When you walk into a running shoe store, you're like, I don't know what to get. I got to trust this guy. And he's telling me I need $150 pair of shoes and I better rotate them so I gotta buy two and then I better change them after 300 miles because who wants to get hurt? I don't want to get hurt. So that confusion complication is what leaves people having to pay a bunch of money for a bunch of crap.

[00:25:12.370] – Chris

And what we feel is that you can modify things very easily and simply, and most of all, you can do it in a way where you can feel the difference right off the bat. And so our first starting point rather having people feel anxious about, well, what should my foot strike be? What should my footwear be? What should my cadence be? Maybe I should buy a watch. None of that. So we have this little exercise we'd like to start everybody off on first thing. So if you have your Ellen out there, 53 years old, she hasn't run in a long time. She's afraid of getting hurt. So here's Ellen, here's what we're going to do. You're going to pull up Rock Lobster on your phone. The song Rock Lobster by the B 52s. You're going to take your shoes off, you're going to stand about a foot or a step away from a wall, and then you're just going to run barefoot in place to the song Roth Lobster. And that song is about three minutes and 40 seconds long. At the end of three minutes and 40 seconds, I guarantee Ellen now understands in her bones what good running should feel like.

[00:26:12.370] – Chris

It's not complicated, she didn't have to buy crap. But here's what happens. Rock Lobster is 90 beats per minute, 108 beats per minute. That gives you the quick, easy cadence you want. If you're near the wall, you can't kick back and over your stride. Otherwise you'll hit the wall. And if you're running barefoot, you're not going to land on your heel, you're naturally going to land on your forefoot. And so that's what we tell people is you can get so much out of the simplest of actions which will educate you on how running can feel good.

[00:26:40.600] – Allan

Yeah, I think that's where I had a huge AHA moment is I realized, OK, when I run barefoot, like on the beach or something like that, I run around barefoot. I run different than I do when I have shoes on. And I'm like, why am I changing the way I run? Because I have shoes on. There's something fundamentally there's something fundamentally wrong with that. Once I was like, okay, crap. Even I've been doing it wrong for 53 years, assuming I started wearing shoes around three years old. But it's just kind of interesting how something so simple as just getting out of the shoes, or at least not having all the cushioning, not having all the stability and all the things. And again, like you said, you invested 300, $400 before you leave the Run store because you had to buy the socks, too. Let's talk about cadence, because you talked about that song, and I did actually listen to it. The version I found was like, over six minutes long. So I guess you can find different versions if you don't want if you want to do this a little longer or do it a little short, or you just put it on a loop and keep playing it.

[00:27:54.300] – Allan

It's actually a pretty catchy tune. But you gave me some key, you said, because I was going to ask the question, it's 180, because I was thinking it's well over 130. I wasn't absolutely certain. But let's talk about that cadence and gait and how that can improve our running.

[00:28:09.110] – Eric


[00:28:09.510] – Eric

So with Cadence, there's kind of two things that really affect performance and longevity in running, and that's cadence and leg stiffness. And they go hand in hand, and it's essentially how quickly and how often you strike the ground. And we want to reduce our ground contact or time or the amount of time we're spending on each leg. So all the skills in the book are designed to improve, leg stiffness and leg stiffness is a good thing. It's building a better rubber band with our tendons. It's building a better spring in our muscles to spring us forward. And that is really then goes back to affecting our cadence, or again, how quickly we can go from one leg to the next. And that's why cadence is such a big thing, which also then really helps dial in where we're striking the ground and how we're striking the ground with the foot and how we're using the foot. So there's so much wrapped up in cadence. It's not just a number, but it is essentially how well we use our body to run.

[00:29:21.300] – Allan

Yeah, and you did a really good job in the book of talking through that whole process of that. And what I liked was it was like every little phase of this, as you're going through it, you're adding energy to the system without actually using your energy to do it. Like you said, you're not sinking into foam. You're creating the spring, your legs and your tendons and legumes. If you're running the right way, they're creating more energy. And so effectively, you're running faster and longer using less energy.

[00:29:52.310] – Eric

Well, that goes back to what you first brought up with, that easy, light, smooth, fast. And what that is, is just efficiency. And that's what we're building and making running feel easier, better and more fun and safer.

[00:30:07.910] – Chris

I'm a little bit annoyed right now, Allan, because that phrase you use, adding energy to the system, I really wish I thought of that is actually perfect it's exactly what happens.

[00:30:19.350] – Allan

Yes. So the last bit of the three goals for this was find a friend. Can we talk a little bit about that?

[00:30:29.440] – Chris

Here's the thing about it. So much of what we do is based on squeezing something into an inconvenient part of our day or feeling competitive. And so much of running, and this is one of the two things that need to bother me most about running that really, I feel, have destroyed. Recreational running in the world is footwear and competition. If you open up a running magazine, they're always devoted to two things races and shoes. And there's the quarterly shoe review. The thing about racing is, racing is what you do in a distress state. Racing is what you do when you are at your absolute limits and you're in a state of discomfort. But everything about running is about racing. If you're out in Strava right now, every day you're racing some guy in Italy, you're racing somewhere around the world. And the difficulty with that is that it puts you in a state where running is now in the burn zone. But much of running, traditionally evolutionarily, were two things. Number one, you would never put yourself in distress state unless you had to, because in the wilderness, you don't know what's around the corner.

[00:31:35.790] – Chris

You don't want to be vo2, maxing out and then go around the corner and go, Crap, there's a sabertooth tire. I'm out of gears now. So you'd never put yourself in a distressed state unless you had to. Number two, you would never, ever go out alone. So for millions of years, we as humans evolved to run with two functions stay within our comfort zone and be with the companions. If you ran off in the wilderness by yourself 10,000 years ago, you did not come back. Arthur Litigator, when he began the jogging boom back in Australia, what he said was, with the Auckland Sunday runners, he said, always stay within your conversational limit. And that's a perfect ecosystem for running. If you can breathe and talk comfortably, then you're outside of your distressed zone. So he came up with the perfect mechanism that doesn't require any technology at all. If I can run side by side with Eric and he and I are chatting and talking, then I am below my anaerobic threshold and I'm in a comfortable state. But beyond that, too, since we're such social creatures, there is a psychological reward from that.

[00:32:43.420] – Chris

We are rewarded by a sense of companionship. I believe no one has ever finished a group run and thought, well, that was a bad idea. So I think psychologically and physiologically, we get a tremendous boost out of making our runs more social.

[00:32:57.490] – Allan

Yeah, I had Hillary Topper on the show. She did the book From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, and she does triathlon, swimming, running, all of it. And she calls herself a back of the packer. It's kind of the thing. And so we were talking about marathons and things like that and it's true. The ones that are trying to win the race, they're running at their max energy output. They're running as hard as they can run and in a lot of pain. The back of the packers, they want to finish, but they are also having more fun. And so I think if you look at running as a competitive thing, well, that's great if that drives you and you enjoy it, but you're probably not running well if you're doing that, like you said, maxing out, which might not be the best thing for you physiologically. Whereas the folks that are in the back of the pack when they finish, they just ran the best race of their lives. It doesn't matter what their time was, they finished and they enjoyed it. They had a lot of great conversations. That's what happens in the back of the pack.

[00:33:55.270] – Allan

And so I think I think you're on to something right there is just if you're having a conversation with someone and you're enjoying that time, it even becomes less painful, less of a chore. It actually becomes a thing. You enjoy it because you're there with somebody. So it's a social thing. And I'm a big fan of taking instead of trying to pull things out of your life that you know aren't serving you is to try to put things in your life that will and they take away that. They suck up the time that you would have spent doing something else. So if you find yourself having two glasses of wine when you get off work, find a friend and start running. You'll spend half an hour, 45 minutes running with that friend. You'll have a great time, you'll relieve your stress, you'll forget all those problems and you didn't have those two glasses of wine.

[00:34:40.990] – Eric

I think too, I'm going to pick on Chris here for a minute. When we first met and started talking about the 50 miles race in the Copper Canyon that ended up being born to run story, he wanted to do that race, but there was something bigger at play here, is that he had a longer term vision for his running and himself. His ultimate long-term goal was to be able to run anywhere, anytime, for as long as he wanted. And 15 plus years later he's accomplished that and some. And I think if people have that long term vision for themselves, everything else falls into place. They can go do races and they can go have fun, but there's this longer term vision that's driving, driving what they're doing for themselves. And Chris towed the line and knew he was going to come in last and he inspired millions of people in doing that.

[00:35:37.800] – Allan

Well, it wasn't a fair race. We'll just say that. So let's pivot into food because you talk about something that I really actually did not expect to find in a running book, but you call it The Maffetone Method. And we talk about that way of eating because it's going to resonate with a lot of people that followed me for a while because it's very similar to the way I actually already eat. Can you talk about what that is to start with?

[00:36:08.460] – Chris

One thing is that one of our goals throughout this book was to make everything measurable by feel. We didn't want people to have to invest in any kind of systems or complicated things, even as far as, like, heart rates. I would say almost every coach out there recommends heart rate monitors for a very good reason. The only problem is I know for a fact that I personally won't wear it. And I can't see to watch too well and it's a pain in the ass, and it looks like a sports bra. I don't like the chest strap, so I know that I personally won't wear a heart rate monitor for very long. So we want to remove all of the things that maybe make technological sense, but don't make practical sense. And eating is one of the first steps, because I think where most people get themselves into trouble with running is using it as an antidote for their eating habits. And so we wanted to accomplish two things. Number one was we wanted to put the food first, get that out of the equation, because if you're no longer running to catch up with what you ate the day before, and something, you can relax and enjoy your run.

[00:37:17.320] – Chris

But secondly, we wanted to make it something that people could process by feel. I know people down there were like calorie counters or measuring how many lipidozoids of fat are in there, like bacon. We wanted it to be something a physiological feeling. Okay, I know I eat well because of how I feel today. So Phil Maffetone came up with a method, which I think is fantastic, because being the old hippie that he is, he doesn't want to have an argument with Joe Rogan about the keto diet. He doesn't want to engage in a battle of words. That's not his deal. What he wants people to do is figure, hey, test this out, and go by the field. If you feel better, then you're on the right path. So the Maffetone method begins with the two week test. And the two week test is very simple. You know, it's a factory reset. You get rid of all the high glycemic foods, all the starches and the sugars, spend two weeks without eating those. See how you feel at the end of those two weeks. Have a little half a bowl of rice, see how you feel.

[00:38:21.870] – Chris

And what happens is, once we clean the system out of all, like, the junk that's circulating around with our metabolism, then we can make a cause and effect between what we just ate and how we now feel.

[00:38:33.960] – Allan

Yeah, like I said, the two weeks was great because I think for a lot of people, they do end up finding out that, okay, when I get rid of all that crap, I end up being relatively low carb just as a natural way, because I'm eating a lot more fiber because it's vegetables. That's about it. Vegetables and meat. And then the other side of it is whole food. It's none of that stuff in the middle of the grocery store. It's all the stuff you see around the outside. And so we talked on the show all the time about nutrition, and it's amazing to me that everything kind of coalesces around just eat real food.

[00:39:08.800] – Chris

And the thing that there's one thing to note in your mind, it's another thing to note in your belly. And what we want to give people an opportunity to do is make it a positive reinforcement. So much of an eating is about punishment, about guilt. You shouldn't eat this. And if I eat it, oh, well, I cheated to cheat day. I'm cheating. I shouldn't. I shouldn't. Screw that. Let's flip it around. You want to feel good, right? If you eat this, you'll feel good. And so without even making the argument, just try it. And then that becomes its own self rewarding situation cycle. I know now something I realized with me about my capacity after the two week test. I remember so distinctly. I finished a two week test, and I timed it because I had to make a trip to California, and I wanted to make sure that I was done the test so that while I was in Los Angeles, I wasn't going to be hobbled by this two week thing of no cars. And the day I finished the test was the day on my flight. And then I stopped by my favorite convenience store in Pennsylvania, wawa.

[00:40:12.690] – Chris

I introduced Eric to wawa.

[00:40:14.670] – Eric


[00:40:15.460] – Chris

You will verify that it makes a goddamn good hoagie.

[00:40:18.210] – Eric

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:40:19.610] – Chris

So I bought myself a Wawa hoagie, the roast beef and cheese, extra peppers, and I go on the plane. I ate the first half of the hoagie. Delicious. Feel great. Ate the second half. I feel like I'm comatose. And I realized, oh, that's my limit. Like, I can eat half a roll. If I eat a whole roll, I just basically go into glycemic shock. And that's what the maffetone did to me. It dialed in where I know what my limit is, and I can eat the whole roll if I want to, but I know what the consequences are.

[00:40:49.160] – Allan

Yes. And I think anyone can say, I can eat anything for two weeks. I could try anything for two weeks. So I like the idea that this is a limited time test. You can fit it in because it's not something you have to think about. How's my September look? How does my January look? How does my fit? You don't have to be thinking about there's a birthday and then we got this trip, two weeks. You can fit it in there, you can do it. And then you just gauge how you feel, which I think is great and probably a reason why you're doing as well as you are with your running, because you have less inflammation, you're eating food that serves you, and you're not trying to do that carb up every night before you run because you don't have to. And that would be really hard if you're running every day, you're carving up every day. And nobody likes that.

[00:41:35.070] – Chris

Yeah, I mean, ultimately what we're trying to do is have our bodies rely on our stored resource of fat, of which we have plenty. And the problem is, if we're on a constant carb cycle, that's all we're doing is we are racing from one sugar high to the next and storing away a ton, as opposed to dipping into this natural power that's right there.

[00:41:57.700] – Allan

And you'd have to carry 3 or 4 lbs of goo with you if you want to do a 50 miles. Right, so let's do an outline because you have a 90 day run free program. Can you just kind of outline how that program works and what someone can expect if they're going to decide they're going to come in and jump into that? 

[00:42:19.000] – Eric

So first off, it's really meant as we kind of use that word reboot, and this is really meant for all types of runners, veteran runners, who have kind of hit a plateau or have maybe been injured, someone looking just to get started, someone to reboot that foundation. It's meant for everybody. I've worked with every type of athlete, from winners to beginners and everywhere in between. And what I've found is that really all runners need the same thing. So this is really kind of a reboot for the body, for the running body to take your running in whatever direction you want to take it after the 90 days. It's going to build a structural system. It's going to allow you that awareness of different types of efforts that Chris talked about before. So you're always kind of working at your own level of ability, but also understanding what is proper intensity and effort for you just like Chris mentioned about being aware of how foods make you feel, we're giving you eight gears or eight intensity zones so you can understand how you feel, and different types of runs so aimed at everybody for that reboot to really take your run into whatever level you want to take it.

[00:43:39.730] – Allan

All right, well, Chris, I'm going to ask you this question and then, Eric, I'll ask the question to you as well. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:43:53.810] – Chris

So I would say number one, Allan is sharing community fellowship. I think that we deprive ourselves so much of fellowship and companionship in our lives that if we look around and think about a 24 hours day, how much of that time was actually spent sharing joy and happiness with somebody else? Astonishingly little. That to me, number one, to better health is that sharing community joyfulness. Number two is motion. Just constant movement, motion. One of the people I met not too long ago was an 85 year old woman. She has set age group records for running. And I asked about her training. She goes, I just go out and shake my ass for an hour a day. That's it. Shake your ass. So take community, add motion and movement to it. So if you're meeting with someone, you're not sitting in a bar, you're going for a walk, you're going for a hike, going for a swim. And I think the final thing is when you're enjoying something, enjoy it. Remove guilt. So be with your friends, move your body. And if you're in the moment and you're enjoying it, suck it down. If I'm having an ice cream cone, enjoy the crap out of the ice cream cone. Don't associate guilt with it.

[00:45:12.210] – Allan

I like those. Thank you. Eric, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:45:24.790] – Eric

Okay, so here's coming from the coach, I think first and foremost is to what we mentioned earlier is to have a long term vision of what fitness and performance means to you. Not what everybody else thinks, but that long term vision. And again, Chris, for Chris, it was being able to run anytime, anywhere, for as long as he wanted. He accomplished that and he's living it today. It's something that will be throughout your day if you have that long term vision. Secondly, don't see running as exercise. First and foremost, see it as something that you want to do as a lifelong performance practice that will affect your entire day, create the fun in it, and everything else will fall into place in a way that we will kind of be rewarded beyond what we think we can get from running. And then third, I think don't believe the BS about aging is that there's always a way to improve. I have an athlete who's in her 50s and is still improving. And no matter who you are, when you start, how old you are, I believe there's always, always a way for you to improve and seek that out.

[00:46:40.460] – Allan

Okay, thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you two guys, learn more about the book, Born to Run 2. Where would you like for me to send them? 

[00:46:50.910] – Eric

So all my platforms are my handle is borntoruncoach, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter. And then we've got Born To Run World on YouTube, Instagram. And Chris?

[00:47:05.580] – Chris

Yes. I think Born to Run World is a great launching spot. Eric, and I are now doing a bunch of interviews with people who appeared in both the Born to Runs and we're putting these videos up on YouTube. But I think the way to access most things is to go right through Born to Run world and you'll find all kinds of treasure chests, treasure chest stuff.

[00:47:25.120] – Allan

Awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/567, and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Eric, Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:47:36.060] – Eric

Thanks, Allan.

[00:47:37.090] – Chris

Wishing great future running to Ellen out there. And thank you so much, Allan, for chatting with us.

[00:47:42.570] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:47:50.440] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:47:52.050] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Now, you know I can talk about running all day long, so you'll have to just keep me under control here. But, yeah, I think that gait and cadence and having good running form is one of the most overlooked things. It's not something that runners generally focus on. There's so many other elements to focus on, but we absolutely should spend more time on form.

[00:48:14.140] – Allan

Yeah, it was interesting because as I got the book and I started reading through it, I was thinking, this makes more sense than shoes. Because the whole thing, if you have, like, a problem with your ankles and you don't have good doors to flexion, it makes it very hard to do a squat. Right. Your whole chain, kinetic chain doesn't work right when you're trying to do squats. And that's why a lot of people will stop short on squats. That's why they talk about where your knees are and how they're aligned and why people are leaning forward. If you find when you do a squat that you tend to lean forward and you can think about this, if you're sitting in your chair and try to just stand up, how far forward do you have to lean to make that happen? And that lean forward means that your calves and maybe your hips are really tight at that point. And so one of the main ones is the calves. And I find this a lot of people that I train in person, some online that will have them do this because I'll just have questions about it.

[00:49:16.360] – Allan

But if you have a foot forward lean, it might be that your calves are too tight. And if your calves are too tight, then you're not dorsiflex in your foot, which is basically bringing your toes up towards your shin. And so we say, go stretch and do this. So you know that if you don't have good form, you can hurt yourself on the squat or not do it. Well, in all the reading I've ever done about running, it's always about pace, it's always about keep your heart rate at a certain level and don't go over, over, embrace the suck. If you're going to run for time, if you're going to try to do an embrace, if you're going to try to do a PR or something like that, you're probably going to be pushing yourself into an area of some pain and struggle. And the people that can do that, the people that can stay there the longest, are the ones that win these races. Or when your race, if you're trying to run a faster time, you'll find yourself sprinting at the end and that kind of thing. So few people have actually sat down and talked about how to run better.

[00:50:23.060] – Allan

And the other reason is, like I said, if you do the squat wrong and you're leaning too far forward, you're putting stress on your lower back and the potential that could be a point of failure. And I've seen people run wrong and I know the reason they're doing it is they're compensating for something else. So if nothing else, just watching yourself get someone to film you running from the side, from the back to the front and look for those kind of points where you feel like, okay, this is not the best form I could be running in, and try to see if you can figure out how you can improve that.

[00:50:57.690] – Rachel

That would be a great place to start. If you're not currently injured or dealing with some sort of a problem aches or pains, then going to a running store and getting a gait analysis would be a great place to start. And if there's a runner out there who's currently in PT for one injury or another, you can have your PT do that for you. Or if you have an in at a PT center, you could have a PT do a gait analysis for you as well. It would be very helpful to do and you see people in the gym, the ladies wear too many high heels or wear the high heels for too long, or we spend a lot of time at our desks and our abs aren't working, our glutes aren't firing. I mean, there's a ton of muscle problems that we see in the running community. And just paying a little attention to how your body feels out there, plus keeping a look at the gait, the cadence and how you land on your foot and all of those things, I mean, those are cues and if you can tidy that up, you'd be better off for it.

[00:51:59.910] – Allan

And one of the areas where I think you have the best opportunity to kind of see this in action, it's one of the things that I do when I'm working with a client online is I'll have them give me a video of them doing a movement. But I ask them to do it on their third set, not their first. So when there's a little bit of fatigue is when form is most likely going to break down. So if you had someone like, let's say you're going to do a 5K and you're coming in towards the end of the 5K and you have someone standing there and they're filming you running toward them and then they're filming you as you go past them and then they're filming you as you run away. You've got some data there to talk about how you're running for them is when you're fatigued because the form is going to break down. That's when you're going to see it most.

[00:52:44.670] – Rachel

Yeah, that would be great if you've got a spouse or a friend that you could bring to a race or a training run with you. That would be great to have some extra video at different points along the run because it's true you're feeling fresh when you get started and as the miles to come by, you do get tired and fatigued. And that's when we slouch. Our shoulders go forward, our back kind of caves in a little, it gets ugly. So it would be good to have some extra video.

[00:53:15.970] – Allan

Yeah. Again, this is if running is something you want to do and keep doing, staying mobile and doing those things, then you're going to want to make sure you're doing the right things to take care of yourself. So I'm not saying I'm not poopooing the good shoes. I'm just saying don't use them as a crutch to maintain bad form. They said I was an over pronator. I would have been better suited to be focused on why I'm pronating my feet as I run and working on my footballs. Because that's what was really going on, was I was overreaching with my stride. And that was my problem for why I was over pronating because I was reaching I was reaching out with my feet versus just running. And that's one of the things when I talked about that exercise of running in place with a wall to your back, you can't do that. You can't stride out when you're doing that. You can't kick back when you're doing that. And so it was one of those things that really kind of hit home to me. It's like, okay, I have to land on my forefoot when I'm running this way I can't roll my feet. I can't land on my heel and roll my feet under the kickback. I have to basically keep my structure. And if it did, it made it a much more efficient run.

[00:54:38.890] – Rachel

Right. That is a good exercise. Just like they had described, standing up against a little couple of inches away from the wall, listening to Rock Lobster, not one of my favorite songs, but okay, it's got a good cadence, but that is a good exercise to try as another way to dial in your gait and form a little bit more. But I do want to mention on the shoes, too, it is so important we get so distracted by the latest and greatest shoes that are out there. But it is important to get fitted at your shoe store to test out the shoes and training and to see. How they feel and like you, Allan, not too long ago, a few years ago, I had an injury with my ankles and I was put in a stability shoe for a short term, just until I can get my ankle rehabbed. But once I was rehabbed, I'm back in my neutral shoes. I'm in a shoe that fits my feet. And so don't get hung up on shoes. They might change depending on your gait and injuries or aches or terrain, of course, and anything else. You don't have to stay in a stability shoe if you don't need it now.

[00:55:50.890] – Allan

And that's why I say I don't have to use stability shoes. I did when I ran marathons because that's what the running store told me I needed. I need a wide toe box. And there was really only one brand of sneaker that would fit me that gave stability, and that happened to be a New Balance shoe. And then that shoe went away.

[00:56:14.960] – Rachel

That was actually my stability shoe, was a New Balance as well. And those are powerful shoes. They are built to last.

[00:56:23.470] – Allan

Was good shoe, but then, like I said, they discontinued the model and I went with the whole thing, okay, if you put 500 miles on a shoe, it's time to change it. And I pretty much would live up to that. But then they didn't have that shoe anymore and I'm like, am I going to have so now I'm buying the magazines and the shoe episode, which I think was always came out in February, and start looking at all these shoes and say, okay, which one is going to work? And then you're looking around shoe stores to see if you can find that particular shoe. Remember, this was pre-Internet. So you couldn't go on the internet and look at reviews and talk about toe boxes and stuff. You just had to buy a magazine and shop around to see if you could find that particular shoe.

[00:57:09.340] – Rachel

Yeah, fun times. Now they're all around us and they're very distracting. There's so many different things that these shoes can do for you, but they're not always what they are meant to be, I guess.

[00:57:20.970] – Allan

And they can't run for you. You still got to know. You still got to pick them up and put them down so

[00:57:26.340] – Rachel

they'll need the muscles to do that. Yes.

[00:57:29.290] – Allan

Alright, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:57:32.250] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:57:33.660] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:57:35.680] – Rachel



The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

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Another episode you may enjoy


Why most people fail at their health and fitness goals

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Most people will set a goal and then they do their best to make it happen, only to fail miserably. Goals only work when you do them right. On episode 564 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss goal setting done right.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:07.010] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How you doing?

[00:02:08.880] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today? Oh, no.

[00:02:13.980] – Allan

Well, anyone that's on my email has kind of got a really deep dive update from me. And there's that drama from those emails is not over. It's continuing and it probably will continue for a while, but I'm working past that and looking forward. But we've just had so much weird stuff happen. We're having a drought in Bocas del Toro, which is happens, it's like the second time it's happened while we were there. So it happened about almost three and a half years ago. It's happening again. If we don't get rain, we don't have water. It's just that simple. We're on an island and it'll collect up water, but then when that water runs out, it's out. We've gone too long without rain. And the city was real cool about continuing to run the pumps after the water ran out, so they filled our tanks up with mud and we had to hire some guys to come out and clean the mud out. And then we bought some water. So we have some water that we bought and the city's trying to run around with trucks and fill people's tanks, but of course, everybody needs some water.

[00:03:15.160] – Allan

So it's literally just this thing and then the timing of it. We're headed to the States as we're recording this for my daughter's wedding, so we're not even there and someone's running it for us. And so it's kind of like, just put her in a spot, but we're going to do what we can to help her manage remotely. But it's just kind of one of those things you're like, okay, just keep kicking me, just keep kicking me. I'll get up. I'm going to keep getting up.

[00:03:38.660] – Rachel

Goodness gracious. What chaos.

[00:03:40.950] – Allan

Yeah. How are things up there?

[00:03:43.210] – Rachel

Less crazy than what you've got going on, but yeah, we're good. We're just closing out the year. Fall is going to turn to winter, and our race calendar is open, so just getting ready for the holidays is all we got. And Mike's surgery, of course. Yeah, everything's just fine.

[00:04:00.780] – Allan

Excellent. Excellent. All right, so you're ready to talk about goal setting?

[00:04:05.350] – Rachel



I'm calling this episode why Most People Fail at Their Health and Fitness Goals. Even if you know how to write a goal using the smart formula, which I'll talk about in a moment, it's very hard to write goals that are going to get you where you want to go unless you're very, very good at setting a goal that is going to work for you. So one of the main reasons that people really struggle with their health and fitness goals is they're just not setting the right goals. They're not thinking through the self awareness piece, and they're not really getting to know what actions are going to give them the best results. So there's always going to be that struggle, am I doing the right thing? But for many of us, we do know the right thing. We know exactly what we're supposed to do or what we need to do to meet our health and fitness goals. It could be, I know that carbs are not going to work for me if I want to lose weight, so I need to eat less carbs. We know that. Or I overeat because I have these little binge parties of snacks that I hit when I get home from work and I'm stressed.

I know I need to do less of that, or I know I haven't really been training as hard as I could or as much as I should, and therefore that's what I need to be doing. And so most of the time and I talk to clients all the time, they're like, I know what to do. I know what to do. I'm just not doing it consistently. Okay. So this won't necessarily solve that problem, because when you set a goal, what you do has to be consistent. That's how the goal becomes a habit in the doing of a goal that makes your habits, that makes your lifestyle. So just realize this won't fix the first problem of motivations and other things. But once you're ready to start setting some goals, you do need to set the right kind of goals. And that's where the Smart methodology or Smart acronym came from. So smart stands for specific, measurable attainable, relevant and time bound. But I propose that the reason people still suck at setting goals is they're missing one letter. So you can call these smart goals two A's or you can put an A at the end and call it a smart A goal.

Okay? Whichever way you want to do that acronym SMAART or Smart A, I'll leave that up to you. But there is an A that we need to consider when we're setting goals, and that's where most people go wrong. Okay? So if you're not familiar with the smart goals, I've covered this before, it's been quite a while. So I'm going to do a recap on that of what smart goals really are.

So a smart goal, the S stands for specifics. So with a goal, with a smart goal, you have to be very specific about what the goal is going to do, what you're trying to do. It needs to be a very specific thing. It can't be, I'm going to improve my health. Okay, that's so nebulous. What, are you going to have better blood markers? Are you going to lose weight? You're basically going to be able to breathe better, have a better Vo2 max? Are you going to avoid toxins and eat healthier food? So you know, you're building yourself with really good quality nutrients? Health is a nebulous thing. You can't just say, I'm going to improve my health, or you can't say, I'm going to improve my fitness.

What, are you going to get stronger? Are you going to get faster? Are you going to be able to run further? Again, fitness in itself can't be a goal because it's just not specific enough. You need something like, I'm going to improve my Vo2 max or I'm going to improve my power output or I'm going to improve my squat. And so you see at that point, you've basically found something that is more specific. So people will set those specific goals, I will lose weight.

And then it has to be measurable. Weight seems to be kind of an easy one, right? We're going to lose weight. I can measure strength by looking at my three rep max or one rep max on a lift. I can measure my increase in speed and endurance by finishing the 5k faster than I did before getting a personal record. So measurable is something where, you know, okay, this is how I'll know I succeeded at this goal. So I measure that goal. I'm like, okay, here's my measurement criteria and I'm specific with that of what I'm trying to measure. Okay? Attainable means it just needs to be within your reach, within reason.

If I said I'm going to get into the NFL. I'm 56 years old. Probably not going to happen. I don't know of any 56 year olds that came back to the game after just playing through high school and were suddenly these crazy athletes that were able to get back into the NFL or the NBA or any professional sport for that matter. And so that just isn't reasonable or attainable for me to think I can do those things.

So attainable is usually something that's just outside of what you have now, but you know, with reasonable effort over a period of time, you can get there. Okay? So no, you're not going to name an actor, actress or whatever that you think has really done a good job with the way they look and the way they are. You're not going to get there. But if you're looking to look better next month, next week, next quarter, you can do that and you can set some measurable things that you'll do to get there. But it has to be within the realm of reality. OK? Attainable.

Now relevant is a really important one that a lot of people skip over.

But I think this one is actually maybe of all the ones in the smart part, this one might be the most important. And the reason I say that is relevance is relevant to you. It's relevant to what you care about. And if you've followed me for any amount of time at all, you know that I'm a big proponent of you having a very big why and a vision. So goals should really just be mile markers to your vision. If it's outside of that, then you're going somewhere else and that's not good. So I'll give you a perfect example of this. I was doing CrossFit and I was enjoying it. And they got into a segment where they started really stressing strength. The coach programmer was really pushing on strength. And I love that. I mean, I love strength. It was only when they did the strength and then they were trying to do the dynamic stuff with the metcons that I started having some issues with CrossFit. But we would start doing deadlifts. And deadlifts are kind of like my Christmas, okay? So I walk in, I see that the water of the day, the workout of the day is deadlifts.

Man, I'm like, cool, this is going to be a good day. And so as I started going, I was like, I want to just increase my deadlift strength. I want to see how strong, actual strong I can get in the deadlift. I started doing that and one day I was doing that workout, doing the deadlifts, and I got really heavy and I surprised myself with how well I did on that lift that day. Now that was the first part of the workout. Later in the workout my back went out and I was in a ton of pain. And then it hit me. I let my ego get in front of me and I was focused on the deadlift and I was focused on that as a goal. But that had nothing to do with what I actually wanted out of my vision. Definitely didn't want to be sitting in the gym a mile from my house with my back killing me and I had to figure out a way to get home, walk home a mile with my back out. Not a cool day, not a cool day at all. But I only say that because that deadlift goal that I set for myself of just getting strong, strong on deadlift, it lacked so much of this.

I mean, it was specific. I wanted to get strong on the deadlift. It was measurable because how much did you lift? It was attainable because I was doing it. It wasn't relevant. It wasn't relevant to who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. It didn't jive with my vision. It was something else. So make sure that your goals are relevant to your vision and then they are the mile markers. When you hit that goal, you know you're moving in the right direction.

Okay, so the T and smart goals is called time bound. And basically time bound just means you set a time parameter for this vision. Could be 20 years from now, it could be 50 years from now. Time bound means it's next month or next quarter. It's literally like just that close. So you can say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times this month and that's your goal. Okay. You could say, okay, by a certain date I'm going to reach a certain weight or a certain gene size or something. I'm going to fit in my skinny jeans by say, December 31. Okay, that's your goal.

And if you're doing the Crush the Holidays challenge, a doable goal, but at the same time it's time bound because you're saying by this date I will do this thing and so that time bound kind of puts a little emphasis on this. It's not like I will fit in these skinny jeans by whenever. There's no immediacy to it. There's no, okay, I got to get this done. It's just not there. So it does need to be time bound so that your measurement makes sense so that you're seeing the results in real time and again, if it's attainable within that time bound, perfect. Okay, you're good. So that's it for smart goals. It sounds really, really good. It sounds like it should work, right? You set the goal, you go and you charge and you start doing all this stuff and it doesn't happen. And you're like, what happened? Why did I fail at my health and fitness goal? And I can tell you the reason why most people fail at their health and fitness goals is they're setting their goals on the wrong things. They're setting their goals on the things they cannot control. So you can control what you do.

You can't control what you do, guys. Okay, so hear me out. I could cut out all bread, all carbs, and my goal is to lose 20 lbs during the month of November, cutting all that other stuff out. I'm going to do all this stuff, and I'm going to lose 20 lbs in November. Fine. My goal is to lose 20 lbs. But I can't make my body lose 20 lbs without action. So the goals are written about the outcome, not the actual actions that have to happen. So if I set my goal to lose 20 lbs and maybe it's great, I start doing a few things. I lose a pound the first week. I'm like, okay, that's good, but that's not anywhere close to 20. I mean, I just did 1 lb in a week. How am I going to do this? And maybe the second week, I lose five. I'm like, oh, great. Now I'm at 6 lbs, but I'm almost halfway through the month, so this can get tough. And then maybe I lose another 6 lbs. I'm like, okay, this is great. I'm 13 lbs down. I got seven to go for this last week. I'm going to push through, and I don't make it.

I failed at my goal. Now, I could be very happy that I lost a 17 lbs or 15 lbs or whatever, or maybe that last week I just crashed and I didn't lose any weight or heaven forbid, I put weight on. But the point being is you just can't make certain things happen because there's biological things that you don't have control over.

So the last letter in the smart goals or the smart A goals is action. What are the actions that you intend to do? And then it puts all the pieces in place. So a specific goal, if you want to lose weight and you realize it's the carbohydrates are your worst enemy, then a specific goal would be I'm going to limit my carbohydrates to 25 grams net so I can have plenty of fiber, and that doesn't bother me. So net grams of carbs, 25 grams, that's specific. It's measurable because I can look at the foods I'm eating. I can give an estimation. And so therefore, I know each day this is the number of grams of net carbohydrates I probably ate. It's attainable predominantly because I know I've done it before. It might be hard, but it's attainable.

People are doing it every day. So it's not like I'm doing something crazy. That's not in the realm of possibility. I can't do it if I put my mind to it. Relevant. Okay. I know that the carbs have caused me issues in the past, and so from a relevance perspective, I know they're going to help me lose weight. So if my intention is to lose weight, because my vision is for me to weigh less, to have more energy, all these other things, then I know this is a stepping stone in that direction. This is a mile marker. So this is really relevant to where I want to go. If I'm losing weight doing this, then it is definitely sending me in the direction I want to be, which is to weigh less and be healthier. Okay. It's time bound. I'm like, okay, every day for a month, I'm going to be like this and see what happens. Okay. Because I can control my actions. I can't control the outcome. Okay. But it's time bound. I'm going to try this way of eating for 30 days and see what happens. And again, all these circles around the fact that my goals are actions, actions I can control.

They're not outcomes that I don't control. So I'm rewriting this acronym to be SMAART or SMART A. Okay. And I want you to remember that when you set your goals, they need to be smart goals, but they need to be actions first. Things you can control. Okay. So as a general recap, I think it's pretty clear there are things that are outside your control. There are things that you just can't do. They're not going to happen. But for the things you know you can do and you want to do and you want to make sure you stay on task, set smart goals, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound actions that you know you can do and you'll be successful.

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

[00:17:45.710] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:17:47.320] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is really timely and I'm sure you planned it this way, but this is the time of year to start talking about goals. And I love that you've added action as a new component to determining what your goals are.

[00:18:00.730] – Allan

Yeah as we go into the end of the year, a lot of people are looking at their weight and their health and they're saying, okay, this is the year. 2023 is going to be my year.

[00:18:08.970] – Rachel


[00:18:09.340] – Allan

And then in their head, they immediately go to the things that we always think about. And a lot of times that's just weight loss. And so they'll say, okay, over this next year, I'm going to lose 25 lbs.

[00:18:22.090] – Rachel


[00:18:22.540] – Allan

And the problem with that is that's not really 100% within their control. And we all know that we ate a certain way when we're younger. We did a diet and it worked. And then now we do that same diet and it's not working. I don't understand. The diet worked before and it's not working now. And the reality of it is you can't control your weight. It's not something you can just set and it happened. You've got to do certain actions. And so most people will set what I call objective goals, like what they want, the outcome of the work that they do. They want that outcome. But that's not how this works. Like, if you are in a business, you say, okay, what do we want to do? Well, we want to double our revenue. Okay. You're not buying your own stuff, so who's going to do that? Okay, so it's like, okay, we're going to have to advertise more. We may rise our prices. You see how there's actions that you can take that will help maybe make your revenue go up? Well, this is no different. You can't control your weight, but what you can't control is your actions.

[00:19:21.880] – Allan

So you can say, okay, I'm going to stop drinking as much alcohol. That's an action within your control.

[00:19:28.450] – Rachel

Yeah, perfect.

[00:19:29.260] – Allan

So you set the goal. I'm going to have only two glasses of wine on Friday and Saturday nights. That's four total glasses of wine for the week. And that's your new goal. That's what you're charging for. And I'm going to do this for the whole month of November. You could sit there and say like that, you could say, I'm going to make sure I get my 10,000 steps or I complete my circles on my Apple Watch every single day. It's specific. You're hitting that mark. It's measurable. Because again, you got the number, you got the circle full. It's actionable. I mean, it's attainable because you've probably done that many steps or done that before. And it's relevant because, you know, increasing your activity level is one of the things that you'll be told that you should do if you want to lose weight. So you're doing all the right things, and it's time-bound because you said for this month or by this time. And so you say you're going to do those things. You might say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times next month. Okay. And you just sit there and start ticking them off.

[00:20:33.260] – Allan

Two, three, four, all the way to 15. And you're successful at your goal because it was in your control. So making them action. I said the word action, but really, maybe a better word would be actionable. It's something you can do. It's not the outcome that you want.

[00:20:49.890] – Rachel

Sure, that sounds great.

[00:20:51.690] – Allan

And that's really where all this comes down. And why I want to add that A to it is because people will write the goal, I'm going to lose 25 lbs, and then the weight's not coming off the scale. And it's so demotivating because you just don't feel like you have control. It's like, I know what to do, but it's not working. But the thing is, if you set goals to be consistent in the doing, your chances of it happening just went up astronomically.

[00:21:17.140] – Rachel

Yes, you mentioned my other favorite word, consistency. And you got to keep at it, doing something every day to improve your chances of reaching your goal.

[00:21:26.770] – Allan

And that's the core of it. And if you tune in next week, I'm going to talk about some things that I think will blend right into this conversation where you're like, oh, wow, now I get it. Now I understand why this weight is not in my control, but my actions are, and that's why this is so important. So stay tuned for next week. It's a very interesting conversation, and I know you're going to get a lot out of it. If you like this episode, you definitely want to listen next week. So anything else you want to cover before we go?

[00:21:55.030] – Rachel

No, this is great. Looking forward to next week already.

[00:21:57.700] – Allan

All right, we'll talk to you soon. 

[00:21:59.730] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:22:00.400] – Allan

You too.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Melissa Ball
– Eliza Lamb– Judy Murphy– Tim Alexander
– Eric More– Leigh Tanner

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


November 1, 2022

A fun new look at yoga with Emily Sharratt

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Emily Sharratt is an editor, writer, and qualified yoga instructor. She has been teaching for over seven years, as well as having a regular practice for almost 20. Her teaching method encompasses a wide range of yoga styles, from Vinyasa Flow to Yin. And she considers the final relaxation the most important part of class.

On episode 562 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss her new book, Yoga Animals


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:12.940] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you doing?

[00:02:15.090] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:17.130] – Allan

I'm doing good. Crazy busy, but good.

[00:02:21.340] – Rachel

That's good.

[00:02:22.990] – Allan

Yes, we've got our daughter's wedding coming up. In fact, I think this episode I will actually probably be on an airplane to Mississippi where my daughter is getting married. And yes, it's going to be kind of insane the first part of the end of this month and the beginning of the next one because I'm just putting so much into trying to get the Crush the Holidays Challenge thing done. I'm really excited about the structure of it this year. It's a little different than it was last year. All new videos, everything is all new. So I'm like completely almost recreating it from the ground up and it's going to be a lot better than it was last year. So I'm hopeful we get enough people in there. We get a lot of people in there because it's a really good challenge. If you have struggles during the holidays of eating too much, I call it eating season. If you have trouble with eating season. This is a way for you to not lose ground during the holidays by keeping you focused for most of it and then working on Mindset every day, finding something within ourselves that's going to help us get stronger mentally so we can get stronger physically and healthier and all those other things.

[00:03:35.380] – Allan

So you can go to 40plusfitness.com/crush and sign up for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. And then of course the retreat. That's going to probably be almost be planning that probably every day all the way until it goes live in May. But just trying to put some structure to it, understand it so that when it comes time to put it out there and market it that people know what it is and it's not going to be like your. Look, there's a ton of different types of retreats so it's almost everything under the sun. But it's not a boot camp where I'm going to beat you to death with exercise and stuff for five days. There are exercise sessions that are optional, but I encourage people to come. And then we're going to do some movement, we're going to do some things. A lot of that outside, but the other part of it is that we're going to have Mindset discussions and I'm trying to make it as accessible as possible. So I'm going to try to do a broadcast of the first session. So the first session, well, not really the first 1st session, but the sit down session is a Mindset.

[00:04:40.830] – Allan

So we start working through Mindset. And so about an hour and a half, we'll have a live session and I'll have it available online for free. Or you can upgrade to the recordings if you don't happen to be able to listen live each day when it's going to happen, which I think will probably be something like nine to 10:30 or something like that. But a lot of people can't just be online every day or watching zoom every day during those hours. So if you can't, there will be recordings and that will be really cost effective for you to get those. And each day there'll be a thing you're working on with Mindset. I'm going to do a workbook so the whole course thing will have a workbook for you to work through. The people that are here, we're then going to go into it. So there's implementation that happens after the lesson here. If you're at home, you're doing that on your own, but if you're here, we're walking through it.

[00:05:35.950] – Allan

so that's that. And then they'll probably there will be, be a VIP level for the people that are here. The VIPs will get to stay in Lula's, but we only have six rooms. So that's going to be limited to six people in the VIP unless someone is nice enough and two people that know each other or are okay. So we'll just go in and we'll both go VIP together and maybe work out something on that since they're sharing a room, but it's going to be limited to 6 VIPs and they'll get more so they'll have more access to me with some deep dives. They're going to get some awesome additional workout stuff that we'll do each afternoon. They're good to see parts of the island and things we'll do outside that the others won't get to do. And I'm going to throw in a couple of other little cool things to help them with their wellness over the course of that week. But that's starting to line up. I'm going to structure it and get it all organized, but still pretty new. So if you're interested in the retreat, I need to see an interest list.

[00:06:40.750] – Allan

Or at some point I'll just say, okay, I'm doing this for myself and that's not going to be fun to have six empty rooms here in Lula's and nobody here for me to go say, okay, it's time for the morning walk run. It's just not going to be that cool. So I need to see if there's some interest, and if I see that, then I'll go ahead and really get this thing pushing forward. But you can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and that will take you to the retreat interest form. You just put your name and your email and that lets me know that, yeah, there's people that are raising their hands saying, I'm definitely interested in the Bocas portion of this, or even if it's just, okay, I may not be able to do the Bocas thing because of travel and passports and all that. You will need a passport, but those things, maybe that's outside the realm of what you want to do or can do. There will be a broadcast of it and recordings if you need those as well. So a lot of moving parts with the wedding. It's also getting into busy, starting to get into busy season here in Bocas with our national holidays.

[00:07:43.320] – Allan

So it's just bang, bang, bang, bang.

[00:07:45.810] – Rachel

Of course. It sounds very busy, but exciting too.

[00:07:49.020] – Allan

Yeah, a lot of new stuff and getting out of some old stuff, which is still very sad, but everything has its chapter to turn the page and move on. So how are things up there?

[00:08:00.690] – Rachel

Great. Mike and I just spent the weekend in Detroit. He and I ran a 1 mile and a 5K race on Saturday and then I ran the half marathon on Sunday and a bunch of our running friends from our run club here did the full marathon on Sunday and it was just a beautiful weekend in Detroit. So we had a great weekend. I'm exhausted from all the running around, but seeing the city was wonderful. It was nice to get away.

[00:08:27.700] – Allan

Good, I'm glad to do that. All right, so are you ready to talk yoga?

[00:08:33.040] – Rachel



[00:08:57.710] – Allan

Emily, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:00.370] – Emily

Thank you.

[00:09:02.890] – Allan

I saw the title Yoga Animals and I was like, this is perfect. This takes everything about yoga that would keep someone away from yoga and literally just kind of makes it happen. I've gone to yoga and I can tell you I'm one of the least mobile human beings on earth because I fancied myself as a bodybuilder when I was younger. So my lifting style and the things I did were not functional. They were to build bigger muscles. So I lost a lot of mobility by not being mobile when I had the opportunity to be mobile. Twenty-five years of a sedentary job did its damage as well. And what I like about the idea of these poses being named after animals is when you really think of it that way, instead of some Esoteric name or Indian name or something, it just opens it up. And I'm like, I could see parents or grandparents in their living room doing these poses and their kids just kind of like saying, wow, this is cool, I can do this peacock pose, or I can, there's a ton of different ones out there, but they just all sound fun. And particularly when you say it's an animal, I'm going to do the cat pose or I'm going to do the downward dog or the upward dog.

[00:10:27.060] – Allan

You know, all those poses just sound fun when they're put that way. And so, like, when I did do yoga, it's like I was in a room with a group of people, they were all much more accomplished than I was. The instructor would actually get up and walk over and, like, push down my hips to try to get my legs in the right position. And so it's just kind of one of those things where I knew I needed it, I needed the mobility, but it was just even for me, as someone who was generally fit, it was intimidating.

[00:10:58.600] – Emily

Yeah, I mean, we have tried to move away from that, pushing people down, things like that. It's a little bit old school, but yeah, to say the animal first thing, I think the storytelling element to yoga is a big part of its appeal. I mean, maybe in some cases it's also a bit off, but in a debate, people might prefer the kind of exercise a bit more straightforward. But for me, the storytelling was definitely what kind of enticed me in. And it's why a lot of the movement might overlap with Pilates. But for me, pilates will never quite have the same appeal because it feels a bit more like I'm sitting down or getting on my mat to do the exercises. To do my physical exercises and doesn't have that element of story which I love so much in yoga. Personally speaking. Anyway. But I think it's true of children as well. Children really engage with yoga in a very immediate way. My own children do as well. It's kind of nice to see.

[00:11:56.160] – Allan

Now, one of the things I liked about the book was that you had illustrations in there just to kind of give us an idea of what the pose or the movement looked like, which was really cool. And there were over 30 poses, 32 poses from the wild. Again, it's just something that just draws me into that to enjoy that. But you had those illustrations and I had written down the name of your illustrator, but those are really good and made it a very beautiful book.

[00:12:23.670] – Emily

Yeah, absolutely. Well, actually, there are two illustrations to the book, so there's one who did this stunning, very kind of very realistic, but also very artistic animal drawing to match along with their name, as we say, that's Jade Mosinski. And then the other Jade, the other illustrator, also Jade. Her name is in here somewhere. I hope it's in here somewhere. Jade Wheaton. And she did the kind of step by step illustrations which were really what we were very careful to get right, because obviously they're quite minimalistic in their style. But when you're thinking of people practicing from home without a teacher there supervising and making sure everything done safely, it felt extra important to make sure. So there's quite a lot of me standing back and saying, could you just slightly tweak this? And then sometimes saying, we can't find any photo references online. Could you please do it for them? Whoops. It is in the midst of yeah, in the midst of a lockdown, sort of being at home and getting people to photograph me. Taking this as step by step, it's not so much the finished poses, which you can always find photo references for, but it's the step by step to get into them all.

[00:13:38.100] – Emily

The kind of little bits to match along with my illustrations. That was my instructions. So, yeah, I hope they are useful for people. We certainly took care to get them right.

[00:13:50.200] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's what's really good about this is you have full descriptions, so even if you didn't have the illustrations, it would work. The illustrations just kind of enhance for those of us that are not visually impaired. It really does enhance our ability to see what that looks like, which allows us to emulate it a little bit better.

[00:14:09.820] – Emily

Yeah, true.

[00:14:11.660] – Allan

So why is yoga a great movement practice?

[00:14:16.910] – Emily

Well, I'm a firm believer that there is a yoga practice for everyone. And I have spoken to a lot of kind of friends and family and people who are a bit skeptical of that notion. They say no, but like you said, almost, I'm really inflexible. You'd be surprised how many people you get saying I couldn't possibly come to your yoga class, so I'm really inflexible and I think that's exactly why you should come to my yoga class. Yes, but then equally you get people who say, oh, they struggle to kind of sit still with you, maybe to get to the meditation side of things. I really believe that you can customize your own yoga practice to suit yourself. And for me, that's kind of fundamentally what yoga is. It's the practice of checking in with your body, with yourself daily and seeing where you are on that given day, in that given moment, and providing yourself with what you need. So for me, my yoga practice is very different from day to day, but maybe some days I just want to sit and do some breath work, a bit of meditation, some very gentle structures kind of achieved for in my body.

[00:15:23.790] – Emily

Some days I might want something more dynamic or something more playful or silly, especially if I've got one on both of my kids kind of crawling over the map. Then it takes on a different tone and I just really believe that. It's a bit like when people say they don't like reading and I say, oh, you found the right book. I kind of feel the same way about yoga that they need to define the practice that suits them and it can look completely different from anybody else's and that's the beauty of it. And I think what makes it really special and maybe different from most other exercise forms I can think of.

[00:15:54.820] – Allan

Yeah. And what I like about it is not only are we building mobility with that we need, but you can also use yoga to build strength. I've been in a yoga class that was all about stamina, kinda weird, but it was yeah, we moved a lot, we held some poses, but we moved quite a bit. So it was an intense little workout, body weight workout. And that's the other thing that's really cool about it is yeah, you'll need a mat probably, and you might want a yoga block, but that's your investment about it. So it's something anybody can afford to do.

[00:16:35.510] – Emily

Yeah, I agree. And that's helpful to have. But as a push, you could practice your yoga with a towel. It's just something to stop you from slipping, especially if you are doing kind of a bit more of a cardiovascular session. It might get a bit sweaty and depending on what's cushion if you're kind of holding for longer. But really it is a very kind of low requirement and something that you can practice on your own. So you don't need gym membership, you don't need personal trainer, you don't need any, generally speaking, would recommend that people do attend some classes, whether it's in person or online, just so they get a bit of a sense of how to practice safety. They have some kind of guidance when they're starting. But yeah, it is incredibly flexible in that way, practicing any corner that you can find a little bit of floor space for yourself.

[00:17:35.740] – Allan

I think one of the reasons that yoga has taken off, I remember 20 years ago, people talk about yoga and it's like, oh, that's that woo woo stuff. It's left the woo woo, and it's now mainstream for sure. And I live on an island, and I could tell you I can't throw a rock and not hit a yoga instructor. But one of the other things that I find very valuable about yoga is that it was really centered on understanding and feeling your body. There's a meditation aspect to it. And you mentioned breath work. I'd like to talk about breath work and what that looks like and why that's important.

[00:18:20.660] – Emily

So, again, in terms of you go back to yoga's roots, breath work is really fundamental. It's one of them. I won't go into all the details of that. I'm not the expert to do so. But there are various kind of limbs of yoga of which physical yoga is only one. So the yoga that we're talking about here really is the practice of having yoga is only one limb of a full yoga practice, and breath work is one. So it's come back there in the fundamentals, but if you just take it in maybe a more kind of media accessible level for those of us who don't have the background in the spiritual scriptures of yoga, it's something that, again, that I think everybody needs. And there's a breath work practice for everyone and for every scenario. And it's something that you don't need to do as part of full yoga practice, especially once you've got into the habit. So I think people often are like, I don't need to be taught to breathe. I've been doing it for blah blah numbers of years. But you'd be surprised how many of us don't breathe. That for what we think of as that yoga breath, that diplomatic breath, right.

[00:19:27.070] – Emily

Kind of down into the lower abdomen, of course. And then when you say that, when you're teaching new students, I say, I do appreciate that your air is not actually going into your belly, but that kind of effects of inflating your belly as you apply the diaphragm and the time it gets fished out, those deep, full breaths. We do them when we are born. We're kind of born being able to do them, but we unlearn them. And I think we can get into especially we have very stressful lifestyles. You get some shallow upper chest breathing and we need to be taught again just for our general health. But it's amazing what it can do for kind of mood regulation. And like I say, it's something that when you've got into the practice of it, first of all, your general breathing is better, but you also have something you can take with you into other aspects of your Life. So. It's something I've used in childbirth. I've used some parenting. Very regular, calming breath. I try to model as well. If I've got a stress of work situation going on, it's that kind of a hard reset, turning yourself off and on again, that you go, okay, let's go back to the basics.

[00:20:47.800] – Emily

And you notice that you feel calmer. You feel more in control. Your heart rate gets slowed. It's a really incredible practice. And there are loads and loads of different yoga breaths which can be used in different ways. Once you've been doing yoga for a while, some of them will start be sort of dropped in quite casually into a yoga instructor sort of parlance. But as I say, it's not even necessarily you don't need to know the names, but how they make you feel is really quite striking. And they're useful tools for all of your life.

[00:21:25.310] – Allan

Yes. And as you mentioned, with kids and stress and things like that, this is actually an off switch to your nervous system going into this fight or flight. So most of us in what's going on today and everything that's going on in our lives spend a lot of our time in this fight or flight mode. And so taking this time to really check in with your body to breathe in deeply, which, again, we have to relearn because we stopped doing it. Stress breathing is chest breathing. And when you sit down and start breathing into the abdomen and you really get those deep breaths, it just slows everything down inside your body. And as a result, you're stressed less. And so it's a huge tool for you to manage your stress. And the cool thing is you can do it anywhere. My boss would call me on the elevator on the elevator up to my boss's office. Because it was almost always bad news. That's corporate life. But it was almost always bad news. So I would just do box breathing in the elevator, just going up to my bosses so that I didn't go in there in a complete fight or flight mode.

[00:22:37.230] – Allan

So I could go in there as calm as I could get. But it was a tool. And so this is a tool that you'll learn as a part of a yoga practice. And you've got that built into the way that you set up these programs, which is quite dynamic. Now, as you look at these poses, the animal yoga animals, you use a mix of vinyasa, flow and yen. Can you talk about what those are? Because I think we get thrown these foreign words.

[00:23:04.050] – Emily


[00:23:04.630] – Allan

And so it just kind of seems like okay. I don't even know what that means. Can you just talk about what those two things are and the value of each?

[00:23:13.170] – Emily

Yes. So, vinyasa I Think It Literally Needs To Be kind Of Put In A Certain way. But Actually The Way I Use It is that It's a flow rather than yin, which is more static and I'll go into more details about yin a minute. But in a yoga session you're quite often hear the instructor say if you'd like to take a Vinyasa and that's the little they mean. That's a sequence in the middle of a sun salutation where you basically flow through top of a plank, down onto your front, up into a cobra or an upper facing dog and then down facing dog. So that's just kind of wrestling through very quickly and people say you like taking a vinyasa now if you want to rest, you can come straight down with facing dog. Really essentially what we're using vinyasa for is a flow of poses strong together and one of the benefits one of the uses for it is that getting the kind of cardiovascular side of things into your yoga practice. Getting the breath going a bit faster. Getting the heart rate going a bit faster. Growing through more quickly. Getting everything moving around the body more quickly.

[00:24:26.220] – Emily

It has a bit of a dance like feel to it as well. So there's just pleasing to the brain in that way and then yin is not part of the traditional yoga system but it's something that is becoming increasingly popular now. I think part of yin is actually what you were just talking about there with the breath work is about a kind of hard reset of an early system. So what you're doing is you're holding a pose for longer. So you might take a gentler variation of the pose to begin with because our tendency from our modern lifestyle is to kind of muscle into the most extreme version of the pose and then hold but that's exactly the opposite skin. That's not what you're supposed to do, you're supposed to be accommodating yourself, maybe using props. We probably use more props in yin than other forms of yoga. So you can have a bolster or a blanket or cushion for like that. You get yourself supported in a pose and they're really only kind of a handful of pose that we really need to routinely in where it's more appropriate. And then you suddenly you hold and you come to your breath and come to look at yin.

[00:25:36.900] – Emily

It might look like nothing very much is happening at all because somebody is surrounded by all these cushions and they're not gonna talk. But actually it can be really challenging because first of all, once you're holding it for longer you start to notice areas of discomfort in the body but also in the mind. That's where your mind starts to get a bit chatty and so it's a really useful practice for flexibility just on a physical level because it's where you can really access those deep muscles and practice the art of properly letting go. It's very good, I would say, on a psychological and emotional level. Again, to kind of give yourself this break and to send this message to your nervous system. There is no urgency. There's no rush. We're resting here. We are not in any danger. We're just going to go deep inside and soften and see where it takes us. And of course, I would always say, and I'm sure any yoga state, if it gets too much, if you're really in a certain way, you're in pain. We don't want pain. But if you're in extreme discomfort, of course you can always come out.

[00:26:43.840] – Emily

This is not being enforced, but it's really interesting to see what comes up, both physically and emotionally. All sorts of things can come up. You might see people have a little cry in a yoga session, yoga session when they emerge from the pose, because it's just released all sorts of things that we hold in these pockets of tension in our body. So that's the kind of difference. And my personal yoga practice and the yoga that I teach tends to include a mixture of both. I might sometimes teach a session that's much more yin based, for whatever reason, or much more kind of restorative yoga, or I might teach them more than one. But equally, sometimes in classes, I incorporate elements of both. Certainly in this book, I incorporate elements of both because I think the mix is really nice and really kind of beneficial for us. And it's what I find the most effective myself.

[00:27:31.990] – Allan

Now, as I went through the book and I was just looking at some of the different poses, I was like, okay, well, that one looks like I could do it. That would take some practice. And I think that's why we call it a yoga practice, because there's some of these I'm like, there's no way. I think that's what's cool about the way you set up the book is now you also give us a structure for how we can put these together, focusing on the ones that we can do and then trying the ones that maybe are right on the edge of our capacity so that we improve. So this is something that can be progressive over time. As you get into your practice and you get better, you can add some of these other more difficult elements. And I think that's great. Can you walk us through the structure? Because you set up a structure, starts with breath work and ends with your final relaxation. So you start in a very nice, wonderful place, and you end in a nice, wonderful place, and there's a lot that happens in between. Can you walk through that?

[00:28:37.540] – Emily

Absolutely. Talking about the structure of the book with the publishes, I said, this is how I plan this is how I literally plan every class that I do. You start with breath work and you end with relaxation. And actually, I would always start with a convincing meditation as well as time allows. So that was part of my training. But for me, this structure is how you kind of say you kind of hit up the key points because it doesn't have a yoga. But for me, you have the option by following through this structure in the book to see what I can do. The most fully rounded yoga session. And you say you don't have to do everything. I think if you do everything, it would take quite a long time. So great if you've got the time to dedicate. But the way I would kind of plan if I forgot half an hour to an hour to myself and I want to do a yoga session, I would always try and start with just some quiet time, just to kind of check in with myself and my body. Some breath work needs to overlap. So again, I find the breath work really helpful way to just get into my body and kind of out of my mind and set the tone for the rest of the session.

[00:29:53.800] – Emily

And then I would do that on the floor. So I would have always come through from my breath work. I've been through cat cow, which is a really nice way of warming up the back. And again, like you've done before with that piece of sedentary lifestyles and sitting at computers on bones. That's probably the first place that we're like. Yes, you need to kind of warm up through the spine and it takes you from facing dog and up to standing. I would always start off my leg sessions quite early on with some sun salutations because they're like a way of warming up the whole body. You might get the breath, you might do some slow, some that's fine as well, but you're warming up all the muscles that prepares you for any other stretching or strengthening you're going to be doing. Maybe get the heart rate up a bit, maybe get the breath a bit faster. And then from some sun salutations, I would move to a standing sequence because it's kind of a natural progression, I suppose. You're still standing and still on your feet, so you move to a standing sequence which might also, depending on the day, it might also go fast or more slowly.

[00:31:00.750] – Emily

It includes some poses that..But the warrior sequence I've got in here to kind of link from Stanley poses and then again, while you're on your feet, you might do a Stanley balance pose. Balance is a kind of famous part of yoga and people get a bit hung up on it, but it is again, this is a way of checking you with where you are at a given day. It's a good way of improving strength and getting the two sides of the brain working together, which is kind of really important for us at all ends of our lives. Then for me, then, when I come down to the floor, so I might start off with a seated twist. We've got half a little bit of fishes in the book. And then got Deer Pose, which is a nice yin, really gentle pile twist option. And then I would move to my forward fold section of the plan. And so there are a couple of really classic portfolios that aren't included because they don't really fit within the animal theme. But you could have like a Paschimottanasana, which is a seated forward fold the legs together is quite famous for a wide legging one.

[00:32:00.630] – Emily

Here we've got butterfly and cow space. So they're good hip openers. They're kind of getting a stretch opening into the back of the body. A folding inwards. For me, forward folds are my personal challenge, I've got really kind of strings safe. So it was a good moment kind of checking in and seeing how I'm feeling about that today. And then you see some hip openers on the ground. So we've got Swan and a lizard, actually and one legged pigeon, frog actually we've got a good few hip openers so it's a good place to come and see them from when you don't forward folds. And then I would move onto my back bends. So they obviously are kind of reverse of the forward folds. You're opening up the front of the body. It's very important that you kind of carefully engage the core, the lower belly to protect the back. So people can be fooling themselves into the back ben because they look really spectacular and might feel really good at the moment, but you have to see the caution. So we've got Seal, we've got locusts actually is a good kind of gentle opener. Camel is a stronger one.

[00:33:13.180] – Emily

And then I move into some inversions and arm balances. So we've got Dolphin, feathered peacock, pro and crane famous ones. Balances blindfold. We've got a good few of these arm balances and inversions. And then I would always do after these, I would always do fish as a nice counterpost. Much chest safe now. And then we start to move to more restorative ones that's kind of cooling it all down. So we've got Rabbit and crocodile and then again, not animals but corpse pose savasana. We would always wind up a class and like I say, it doesn't really matter to me how long or short the session is. I would always make sure I have that kind of cooling down and that calming time, even if you end up for a minute, I think it's really important. So in the book I kind of talk you through a guided relaxation where you're relaxing to pass the body in turn. There are various different kind of formats you can take. But the kind of key thing is lying in illness, pulling your body down, kind of coming back to that breath. That's kind of how I would structure a class.

[00:34:30.790] – Emily

And that's how you can work with the book as well that you can kind of work through and you can shoot maybe one forward fold rather than all of them. One back bend, one hip hop and one inversion and or arm balance. Or as I say, if you love those, you can try them all. The kind of option there to do a nice router session, several. And you can go back up and do something different each time.

[00:34:54.450] – Allan

Yeah. I think it's pretty easy to see that this is going to run you through a full body thing. You're going to be connected to your body as you do these things. And we're really talking about building strength, building stamina, mobility, pretty much all of it at this point. And then again, just bringing yourself down at the end for that final relaxation. Now, I know from the book that your favorite pose is the one legged king pigeon.

[00:35:26.890] – Emily


[00:35:27.700] – Allan

Okay. Which I would aspire to, but that's a long ways off. I'll just say I can't do it. I'm just saying I can't do it right now.

[00:35:38.490] – Emily

It's a work in progress. Yeah.

[00:35:40.840] – Allan

Now let's talk about we talked about mobility, strength and all, but for a lot of us that are sedentary, I mean, office jobs, we're sitting at our desk now. We've got our smartphones. And so we're down there and it's becoming somewhat what a big problem where people's shoulders are starting to round down, their necks are craning forward, and we're just losing posture that we would have had before if we were doing the things our ancestors did of moving around, foraging, hunting, all the things we would do. We don't do those anymore. Now we're keyboard warriors and we're phone warriors. And so that's what we're doing and it's messing with our posture. If we wanted to put together a few of these poses that we could do on a fairly regular basis to kind of offset some of that posture problem, what are some exercises that we could do and what do they look like?

[00:36:36.340] – Emily

So I'll just say, as a general rule, that whenever you're doing yoga, if you have an instructor there, you'll hear repeatedly drop the shoulders down back, drop the shoulders away from the ears. Because as you say, it's just so common place that the shoulders creeping up and back is rounding. But if you wanted to just practice, if you want to take a couple of minutes and just practice a few of these, I would definitely start on all fours as possible with cat cow. The instructions are all there in the book, but it's really coming from that position of all fours. And you move the spine through its range. It's kind of range of spinal flexion and you get really nice delivery rounding into the shoulders in tap. But then you also get the counter movement in cow and just. You know. As I said before, as soon as you do it, I think 90% of us are going to think. Oh. Yeah. You really noticing where the discomfort is back bend is really good for countering that rounding. But as I mentioned before, it's important to make sure you're engaging the core that you're connecting with

[00:37:36.450] – Emily

Your kind of core muscles, your muscles, you're protecting the back. You're not just really it feels like an itch or to scratch and you might fling yourself into it because it feels initially very good, but you don't want to cause any injuries, especially if it's not a fitted or movement. So when working with any of the backbends, and like I said, Lotus is actually a really nice, gentle one, you can do lotus in a more extreme way, but when you're just used to follow the instructions to do it in the book, it can be really gentle. It's a way of working all the muscles in the back in a gentle way, but it's really good for strengthening. So I think strengthening your back as well as opening countering, the rounding is important, but you want to make sure the back is strong. We want to kind of keep the muscles strong, especially as we get older. So you have to say cat cow and Lotus, seal or maybe in the book you go from Sphinx to seal. Sphinx is a gentle version as well. So it's where you come onto your front and you have your elbows under your shoulders and forearms parallel and then sprawling through the collarbones.

[00:38:46.150] – Emily

Drop the shoulders away from the ears and that can be a really nice gentle one just to kind of hang out in. And then finally I'd say maybe crocodile, which is an alternative way to take your final relaxation, but it's prone rather than on your back, so that can be quite a nice one as well. Opening into the back body in a really gentle way. But even if you're just sitting at your desk and you do a few shoulder rotations each way, shoulder, shoulders, up and down. And I know it's really hard, but keep working on kind of lengthening, lifting up from the crown, sending the tailbone down, just to try to make it that you don't have to think about it, but to begin with, you will have to think about it a lot. I think it's really important because it can, of course, later in life, if we're not kind of really thinking about that posture all the time.

[00:39:34.570] – Allan

Yeah, I think it's pretty easy to see that all these names, they sound fun. Crocodile, dog, cow or cat. These are all fun. And so if you're doing this, and you start doing this as a practice and you've got kids or grandkids around, they're going to come play with you too. And I think that just makes us a really special thing that you can share with them. Because one, it's getting you healthier, it's teaching them and they're seeing a great example of someone who's trying to improve themselves and you're just building a better relationship with the people around you that are enjoying this with you. And again, the book does a really good job of explaining how all these movements and poses work so you can just start working your way through it getting better and better because again, it is a practice. There's probably I'm sure there are lots of people that are in yoga that can do all the poses in there and not have a problem with them. I'll tell you, right, I'm not one of those people. But it does give me something to aspire to as I know that, okay, I have a mobility issue and this is a pose that's going to help me deal with that.

[00:40:45.370] – Allan

Or I have a posture issue and these are some poses that have been put together that I can go through and do in a reasonable amount of time. I mean, the posture poses you talked about, literally, you do a warm up and you sit down. I would encourage breath work and then you get into some of these and really do a lot for your posture and probably less than 15 minutes, including your warm up. So really easy and accessible. And the book makes it clear what you're trying to do and where you're trying to go. So I really appreciate that.

[00:41:19.460] – Allan

I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:41:29.740] – Emily

I would say it's finding a form of movement that gives you pleasure. So whether that's the over, whether it's completely different. For me, I was somebody who never enjoyed PE or gym class or whatever at school and I wish that yoga or something had been an option. I wish there had been more options, basically because it was very much about kind of committed to sport, which is not my personal thing. And it really put me off exercise for a long time. So finding something that gives me pleasure, it's not a chore, I might still have to kind of remind myself to do it, but it's something that I always feel kind of better for and I know through perhaps I always feel better for doing. I would say personally, for me, it's important that it fits within your life. So, I mean, by all means, like I say, it gives you pleasure to kind of go really out of your way and go to a friend who's really into figure skating and she goes very far across London in order to do her figure skating because there aren't that many race, but that's fine. But for me, I do a lot of walking because it fits in.

[00:42:35.250] – Emily

I build it into my life and it means it never gets neglected because it's literally how I get from A to B 9, 10. I walk most of my day. I go to work, I drop my kids to nursery. I walk to the train station. I walk everywhere. I also personally, for my kind of well being, a connection to nature. So that's also a big part of this book and how I kind of access what I wanted to talk about in this book was how I think we can feel in our modern lives very cut off from the natural world. But I do account for a lot of popularity of yoga with being that it is about reconnecting to nature in nature's most immediate representative, which is yourself. So you are not set of nature, you are part of nature. And it's reminding yourself of that and reasserting that. And so maybe it's not a yoga practice for everybody, but maybe it's just stepping outside, taking some deep breaths, going to the park. For me, that's a really important part of it. And do yoga outside. So much better. So, yeah, I'd say those are my three personal strategies.

[00:43:49.780] – Allan

Thank you. Emily, if someone wanted to learn more about you, the things you're doing and your book Yoga Animals, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:43:58.170] – Emily

The best place for that is my Instagram account, which is at EmilyTreeYoga. You can also find out more about the book from the publishers. But yeah, so the Instagram account is a good place to go. And there is a YouTube session online that I did go with the book. So I will apply that link.

[00:44:21.240] – Allan

Okay. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/562. And I'll be sure to have links to the book, to Emily's Instagram and to that YouTube video. Emily, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:36.280] – Emily

Thank you. Lovely talking to you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:44.140] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:45.750] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a neat book. I really would love to get my hands on a copy to see the different animal named poses and what they look like. I personally enjoy yoga, and I have my athletes do yoga on occasion. I wish I did it more often. I need to make it a more regular practice, but I love it. That book sounds wonderful.

[00:45:06.550] – Allan

Yeah, well, I'll name a few more about the cat cow and things like that. Some of these, you'll know, like, you'll know, downward facing dog and upward facing dog. And then there's things like the bee breath and the lion, the camel, the dolphin.

[00:45:23.790] – Rachel


[00:45:24.610] – Allan

The peacock, the rooster, the fish, the rabbit, the frog.

[00:45:29.070] – Rachel

Don't know any of those.

[00:45:30.450] – Allan

Butterfly, I would say. I didn't know half of these either. They resembled other stretches and things that you see out there. I think a lot of us what was weird to me is she didn't do one that I use a lot. And it's the bird dog. Yeah, I use that for core training. Whenever I'm training someone, I like to have that as one of the exercises in the core training because it does so much. I was surprised she didn't have that one in there. But anyway, yeah. And then besides having the exercises in there explaining why you're doing what you're doing. And then how to do it. And having some images of you in that position or moving through that flow. It's just pretty clear and there's a structure to it. Which is what I actually found very exciting about this. Was because you go to a class and then they're just going to say. Okay. Next we're going to do this. And if you don't have a background in yoga, because she's done yoga for over 20 years.

[00:46:30.100] – Rachel


[00:46:30.730] – Allan

And then she's been teaching for seven. So for her, it's second nature to put a workout together and put a yoga workout together, similar to I can sit down and put together a workout, you can tell me what's going on with you and any injuries, and then I can help you put together a workout. That's the skill set that you develop. But she gives you the structure that she uses for you to basically use to start. And so you can say, okay, I need some breath work. I'm going to do something. Sun salutation seems to be something that's non-negotiable in her workouts that's going to be in there. So you kind of go through that process and then it's standing and the different movements and flows and then into the relaxation at the end. But it gives you that structure saying, okay, I can pick and choose. So it's not like a buffet where you just load your plate with everything. You pick a protein, you pick a vegetable, a couple of vegetables, and then pick a starch and then maybe pick a dessert, which we'll just call the relaxation at the end. But you kind of get the idea that makes it very easy for you to go through.

[00:47:35.830] – Allan

And it's a gorgeous book, by the way. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a hard copy while I was traveling through the United States and were able to have it here. So it's something I'm definitely going to incorporate in my mobility work. So in addition to some of the other things that I do, some of these poses are going to be really good for areas where I'm not as mobile as I need to be. And so I'll probably go through that book and I may not follow her structure, but I will definitely incorporate some of those exercises and movements into the mobility work that I am doing already.

[00:48:14.010] – Rachel

That sounds wonderful.

[00:48:15.280] – Rachel

Yeah. I prescribe different yoga videos for my athletes because as runners, we just get so tightened up, especially those of us that don't stretch regular basis as we should. But doing a yoga video, it's very relaxing. And like you discussed, it really does help you to practice your breathing and get deeper breaths in because like you mentioned too, we tend to breathe in a really shallow, inefficient way, especially the more stressed and anxious we get. And taking those deep breaths like you had mentioned is just so relaxing. It just resets the whole system, and that is super helpful for relaxing your muscles after a workout or a run. Like what I do with my athletes.

[00:49:00.510] – Allan

Perfect. All right.

[00:49:02.550] – Rachel

Anything else you want to talk about?

[00:49:03.940] – Rachel

No. Great book. I'd love to get my hands on one.

[00:49:07.110] – Allan

All right. So again, if you're interested in learning more about the retreat and being on the interest list, go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat. And we're doing the Crush the Holidays. It's going to start November 20, so sign up, shuts off November 19. So don't miss your chance to get out there and do that. There's all kinds of prizes and things that happen along the way to include referral, prizes and those types of things. So get in early, get active in the group, get active in what we're doing, and Crush the Holidays.

[00:49:37.680] – Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:49:38.800] – Allan

I'll see you next time.

[00:49:40.180] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:49:40.870] – Allan

You too.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 25, 2022

The seven circles model of health and wellbeing with Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins grew up actively engaged with their indigenous cultures. Chelsey from North Dakota, and thus from Arizona. Seeing the deep need for health advocacy, they are actively speaking and teaching across North America. Chelsea is a writer and health advocacy it. She is the cofounder of well for Culture. Thosh is a photographer, board member for the Native Wellness Institute and a cofounder of well for Culture.

On episode 561 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast we talk about their book, the Seven Indigenous Teachings for Living Well.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:15.190] – Allan

Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:02:17.200] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:18.970] – Allan

I'm doing pretty good. I had a very productive weekend.

[00:02:23.260] – Rachel


[00:02:24.410] – Allan

And just came out with a lot of different things that I want to do going forward because I'm closing the gym, which is a sad part. But then I decide, okay, I'm going to make good out of that one way or another. I'm working on some things there that I'm not really ready to talk about until after the gym is closed and I get that chapter closed. But as you're listening to this, you missed this. But this week, the special week, we're recording this in the group, the Facebook group we have, which you can get at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/group. Our challenge this week is called the Braveheart Challenge, and it's about facing a fear, something that you're afraid of, and it's stretching yourself outside your comfort zone and going outside your comfort zone, I've said this before, I don't always live it, but I say it is. That's where things happen. That's where you get better. That's where you improve. That's how you change, is getting outside of your comfort zone. So that's what this week is about. And several people over time have said, well, look, you live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

[00:03:29.440] – Allan

You got a bed and breakfast there got equipment and stuff there. You should do a retreat. And I agree with them. Yeah, I should, but I always have talked myself out of it for one reason or another. But I'm announcing that we're going to do a 40+ Fitness Retreat. On the last week of May here in Bocas del Toro. And so both of our daughters will have been married by that time we'll come back, and we're going to have a one week retreat here in Boca del Toro. The thing is, I can't do it with a lot of people because it just functionally wouldn't work right now. It's not like we have this auditorium or place that we could really host it at this moment. So I got to limit the number of people. So it's probably going to only be about 30 people, and then we'll have to cut that off at some point. Sure, there are a lot of other things I'm going to talk about, and the best way for you to keep up with what I'm doing is to go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat and yes, I'm going to ask you for your email so I can email you the stuff that's going on.

[00:04:36.030] – Allan

So as I start to develop this, because this was just to sit down this weekend and scratch out on a piece of paper, what does this look like? If I do a retreat, what do we do on Monday, what do we do on Tuesday, what do we do on Wednesday? Kind of thing. So I mapped it out for the whole week. Now you're going to travel down here, it's two days down and two days back, so you're going to take off a little more than a week. That's why I wanted to put that out there. A lot of times people say we're doing a retreat next month, and you're like, I don't have time to book airfare and get there next month or two months, and you might even have a passport. So get your passports in order, get on this list, 40plusfitness.com/retreat. I'm going to go first come, first serve, and I'll reach out and I'll say, Are you interested? And if they say they are, okay, here's what it is, and you've got to be on this list because I'm not going to open it up to the public if I know there's people that are interested now.

[00:05:26.950] – Allan

So get on the list, then I'll know you're interested. I'll send you the information as it develops, and then when we're ready to take signups, you'll be the first to know and be one of the 30 people. That will be what I hope is the first annual 40+ Fitness Retreat.

[00:05:42.270] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:05:43.480] – Allan

Yeah, that's what I've been working on. And I'm also going to redo the Crush the Holidays Challenge.

[00:05:49.480] – Rachel

Oh, cool.

[00:05:50.790] – Allan

Not ready for that yet. I just started on that, so I was kind of brainstorming this retreat, and then I'm brainstorming, and I'm starting to work on getting things together for the Crush the Holidays Challenge. So I've been putting all that together. So that's been a very creative, busy weekend, but I'm doing it.

[00:06:06.760] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds really exciting. How fun.

[00:06:09.880] – Rachel

Yeah, it would be a beautiful place to have a retreat. That sounds awesome, Allan.

[00:06:14.590] – Allan

Yeah, it'll be right after our busy season. A busy season here runs all the way through Easter, which this year is in April, and then we can finish out our Easter rush, go do the wedding with our daughter Summer, and then come back and have a retreat here with some of our best friends at 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:33.700] – Rachel

That sounds awesome.

[00:06:35.220] – Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:06:36.930] – Rachel

Good, good. Just getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving's around the corner, my favorite eating day of the year. And so we're starting to make our plans for the holiday, and I haven't given an update in a while, probably to the listeners, but as you know, my husband has been battling kidney cancer, and we just found out that his surgery date will be December 8. So he'll have his surgery that he'll lose his kidney that day, and then he'll have some recovery time right before Christmas, so that kind of works out for our family. It'll be nice, a nice, relaxing December for us. So I just want to let you know that that's coming up, and we're pretty happy about it.

[00:07:17.830] – Allan

Yeah. And then he'll be able to go into January and February with the ice fishing and the hunting, and he'll feel a lot better then.

[00:07:24.360] – Rachel

Yeah. Where he's actually making plans. Ice fishing will be great.

[00:07:29.560] – Allan

Yeah. Good for him. I'm glad he's getting this done, and it's working out well for him.

[00:07:35.940] – Rachel

Yeah. Finally. Good news.

[00:07:38.160] – Allan

All right, well, you're ready to talk about the seven circles?

[00:07:41.230] – Rachel



[00:07:43.090] – Allan

Chelsey, Thosh. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:46.760] – Chelsey

Great to be here. Thanks for having us.

[00:07:48.720] – Thosh

Thank you for having us.

[00:07:49.690] – Allan

So your book is called The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well. And there's so many good things I can say about this book, and we're going to get into some of those. But I think one of the things that really kind of struck me was there's a saying out there about, like, one of the biggest curses is to be the smartest person in the room. And you guys put yourselves in situations where you are not the smartest person in the room. And you did it many times, talking to some really intelligent and people who have just been around and understand the Indigenous life, and they remember the lessons from their grandparents and their great-grandparents, and they shared that with you. And you took all of those great learnings and melded them into something that is beautiful.

[00:08:37.990] – Chelsey

Well, thank you. I'm so glad that that's what you got out of it. And indeed, one of the first things that we always like to acknowledge is that our knowledge is not our own. We grew up in our communities. We grew up amongst our elders, amongst spiritual leaders and political and cultural leaders, and who have just been so generous with their knowledge. And so we just feel really grateful to be able to share it in a new way.

[00:09:05.020] – Allan

And I think the other thing that's interesting is both of you are from different parts of North America, so you bring your own kind of dynamics to it. But you didn't just stop there. You reached out across all the spectrum of what's out there and acknowledged that there's not, like, one teaching, there's not, like, one thing that permeated everything. But you found these threads of commonality, and you kind of use them to stitch up what this whole Seven circles thing is all about. It encompasses bits of all of them, but not any one of them really dominates the way that you approach this, because you saw wisdom across the spectrum.

[00:09:46.690] – Chelsey

Absolutely. So there are seven different areas of our health and of our lifestyles that we feel our ancestors really exemplified in their lifestyles and that Indigenous teachings continue to find unique ways of explaining. And so while much of the wellness conversation is focused specifically on food and fitness, which are two very, very important pieces of it, and those each are a circle, there are also these other pieces that we've identified. And the main point is, though, that all of these are so interconnected, you can't remove one from the other. And when we created the seven circles of wellness, we were seeing that almost every other wellness model or book was organized by lists or by pillars, without necessarily visually connecting these. And so we just found it really important to actually show this model where they were all visually connected.

[00:10:48.400] – Allan

Yes. The word I like to use is matrix. It was really a tight model because I think people know that, as if you have a bad food day, you're probably not going to sleep very well and suffer some other health consequences. So it really does show how all of these work together, Symbiotically, to build a model of health.

[00:11:08.360] – Chelsey


[00:11:09.300] – Thosh

Yeah. And you mentioned that we're from different parts of the country, and my people come from what is now known as Arizona. I was born and raised on the Salt River cuca community. It's a reservation right outside of what is now known as Scottsdale Phoenix area. And a lot of what we put into seven Circles, as Chelsey said, is what we learned from in our community is what we are raised in, and some of it is knowledge and information that we are putting back into practice that we've only heard mentioned and that hasn't been practiced. And that's really happening all across Native communities, native American communities in the United States and also First Nations communities in Canada. We have aspects of our precolonial indigenous life ways that we have revitalized and preserved and are applying it today and to help us to be in thriving health and to reclaim our health. And that's what the seven circles are. Sleep, food, movement, ceremony, sacred space, connection to land, and connection to community and people. So in all seven of those areas, there affect our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. And so we see that those are the seven aspects that have allowed our people in precolonial times to live in thriving hell, to survive the harsh climates that they did, and to really thrive and to pass down the knowledge and information to our generations today.

[00:12:33.180] – Thosh

So we believe it's a model that's certainly suitable for all people from all walks of life to utilize. It's sort of like a template. And people can use whatever cultural context that we raise in to zoom in out these areas, to find out how they can bring balance, restore balance and harmony with their overall health and see themselves connected to the land and connected to the community around them.

[00:12:55.170] – Allan

I do want to dive into a few of these circles while we're on here. We can't obviously get into all of them. That would be a very long episode. But there are a few that I want to touch on because obviously I can't get off of a podcast without talking about movement because I'm a personal trainer and I'm also a nutrition coach, so I can't leave a call without talking about nutrition and food. So there are some others I want to talk about. But there was one thing you brought up. This is a quote that was in the book. And I want to read this because I think this is really important for someone to understand what this model does for you. Okay? “Engaging with the Seven Circles of wellness is not a crash diet or new year's resolution. This is a sustainable, long-term everlasting cycle of seeking health and wellness that you have already been participating in, whether you know it or not.”

[00:13:45.110] – Chelsey

Yes, absolutely. There are so many people out there who are practitioners of health, who are exemplifying wellness and demonstrating leadership in these different areas. But it's just that sometimes we're not seeing that. We're not giving ourselves credit for the way that we're keeping our home and the way that we are taking care of our family members and the way that we are getting good rest at night, really on a good routine with our circadian rhythm. All of these different areas of our I mean, there's dozens of things that people do for their health that they're not even realizing are really important. And so if they can continue to do those and in addition, find a modality of movement or a way of connecting to a good way of eating that works for them, then we're looking at a really nice, balanced lifestyle. And sure, we're going to fall in and out of balance in all of these different areas on pretty much a daily basis. I have a bad cold right now. I have gotten pretty bad sleep the last couple of nights, but I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up over it.

[00:14:56.820] – Chelsey

All it is, is just acknowledging, okay, I see that I have a cold, my health is out of whack, and I know that it's a cycle and that there are steps I can take to get back to that place. And when I have those seven circles in front of me, it becomes very easy for me to identify which of those areas am I neglecting and can I once again address so that I can feel some semblance of balance again? So it's just a constant cycle. It's in and out. It's ebbing and flowing. And we're all participating in that.

[00:15:30.360] – Thosh

Yeah. And we like to share that. Viewing these changes like a change of relationship to food or finding a modality of movement that works for them, we encourage everyone to see this, to view this as these are life ways. It's a way of life that you're finding it. You're constantly evolving. You're constantly learning. And that there's no finish line. Right to healing and health and wellness. That it's never a finish line to where finally you get your A1C down to a manageable range. And then you think.

[00:16:00.600] – Thosh

Oh, I can eat whatever I want now. Or I've gotten my PR deadlift to a certain number and. Oh, that's it. I can just stop training that from there. I've accomplished that goal. And we always try to encourage everyone that we are constantly evolving. And we look at all these aspects. These are a way of life in whatever way we choose as far as our sleep habits to modes of stress relief such as meditation or food waste or whatever modality movement. It should be something that we could adhere to, it can adhere to for longevity. How long can we do this? It should support that, I believe.

[00:16:36.310] – Allan

The way I look at it, and this is some of my background, I was an auditor, so of course this is the way I'm going to look at it is this sort of like a self audit, like you're looking at your life from these seven prisms, these seven directions. Because that's the model's kind of built in a circle around you. And you literally go out, look and say, how is my movement practice? Am I doing the best I can for myself there? How's my food? How's my sacred space? And so you kind of can look at yourself from that holistic way of saying, okay, I'm doing well, here I could do better there. This is not, at this point in my life, all that important relative to some of these others. And so in the book and this is not a test, because I know when you write a book, you wrote this maybe a year or two ago, but you gave an example, and I think it was a really good example, and I'm sure you could come up with something similar. Like, you talked about a man who was 40 years old and where he was in his life at that point.

[00:17:33.330] – Allan

And then you flashed forward to when he was an elder, which I would guess was probably in his 60s or 70s, and everything had shifted in his seven circles, but he was still living the right life because he was still true to where he needed to be. Can you kind of talk about how that works for someone? Because there are folks that listen to this show that are in there somewhere in their 30s, but there's in their 40s, some are in their 70s and 80s. So for someone who's looking at how to apply this to themselves, can you kind of give us some examples?

[00:18:08.060] – Chelsey

So a life of wellness is not something that we only find in our youth. And that's why I absolutely love the concept of your podcast in the first place. I just have to say that because isn't it unfortunate that the idea of 40 plus fitness is novel or unusual to so many people, but in reality, we can continue fitness and healthy eating and connection to land and all of these different circles until the day we die and our ancestors exemplify that, and we can reclaim those practices today. So, yeah, in the example that you're talking about in the book, we share a scenario of a man, you know, that when he's 40, he's really thriving in you know, I don't remember the exact example,

[00:18:57.780] – Allan

That's what I said, but it's not a test. It's not a test.

[00:19:01.160] – Chelsey

He's really thriving, I think, in movement because he's getting his exercise and he's thriving in sleep because he's getting his good 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night. He's neglecting his connection to land a little bit because he's having trouble finding time to get outside. He's neglecting his sacred space a little bit because he's got young kids and it's been really difficult to keep his yard trimmed and to keep his house tidy and stuff like that. But he's aware of that and it's in his mind and he's working toward it. Those are just some examples. And then by the time he's an elder, his food circle has really grown and is really healthy because when he was 40, he started to learn how to plant and how to grow food. And so by the time he was of elder age, he was not only in the habit of that, but he was an expert and a person who others would come to for guidance in how do I re-establish a relationship to food. And so that just shows that we have different seasons of life. We're going to show and exemplify wellness and health in different ways in those different seasons.

[00:20:08.530] – Chelsey

And it's okay that that changes as long as in general we are aware of these seven circles and we're doing our best in those different areas and allowing them to grow and change.

[00:20:20.680] – Allan

Now, the way I think that happens, and you can correct me if I'm wrong is that's a part of the fact that this is a cycle and the cycle is learn, engage, optimize. Can you talk a little bit about how that cycle works and how that allows us to continue to be good at what we're good at and then be aware of where we need to grow?

[00:20:42.560] – Thosh

Yeah. And that's what we've outlined is that as you mentioned, learn, engage, optimize. And learning is that phase of life where learning to implement these new life ways we are exploring, we are talking to people, knowledge keepers. We're maybe reading the scientific evidence associated with each of these circles right here that teach us a little bit more about that and then engages. We are being proactive with implementing this. We're implementing all these practices. We're seeing what works. It's the trial phase. We're seeing what works. Maybe if someone is incorporating different methods of fasting and they are trying different what does it help you to fast for an extended twelve hour window or do you have a small four hour fast? Are you cutting off eating at a certain time? They're discovering, they're discovering various modalities of movement. Maybe they're discovering different things on the land like learning to forge some food, plant, hunt, fish exploring these things right here and finding community, finding a community to be a part of to do these activities with that support this way of life. And then to optimize as they've already discovered that you've done the work and you've discovered what's working.

[00:21:50.160] – Thosh

You're able to experience the benefits of these changes in the lifeways. You're able to experience, you're able to even report changes just anecdotally on how you feel or maybe even it's reflected in all of their biometrics. Maybe their insulin sensitivity improved, maybe their cortisol went down. Maybe their LDL HDL levels have improved because they've incorporated more exercise and changing the way they're eating and maybe experiencing less stress because they found some modality of stress reduction meditation of some sort. So that's that optimize section right there and now they're able to teach that and share and be able to incorporate others into that journey so they can learn as well.

[00:22:31.630] – Chelsey

Yes, and the key too as well is that at the end of the optimize there is no end. So I'm sure you know this very well is the more you know, the more you know, you don't know. So the beautiful thing about that optimize section is now because you've been learning and engaging and practicing all these different areas for so long, you're like, okay, now I want to know even more about this, this, and this. And I want to really hone in and really become an expert in these areas. And after the optimize section, the learning continues.

[00:23:06.460] – Allan

Yeah, and we're changing too. That's the other thing that's going on as we get a little older, the things I did when I was 40 or 30 or 20 aren't in my best interest right now. So it's a relearning of what is it like to be in the mid 50s and how I should train, how I should eat, how I should live my life. And all those different Seven Circles is just you have to be looking at them and understand that you get older, you have to change your ways to fit your new living environment.

[00:23:36.070] – Chelsey

Yeah, absolutely.

[00:23:37.500] – Thosh

We love that. That's your interpretation of that, too. And that's what we would hope for, because we know people probably see us on 40 she's in 30s. People probably see, oh, this is maybe something only for young people. Well, and I'm glad that you were able to view the utility in all cycles of your life, all stages of your life. And that's what we hope for. And that's why Seven Circles isn't a circle, it's circular. Just like everything in our world moves in cycles and circulars, even down some very molecular level that we are made up of. Everything is in cycles, everything is circular. And so we're constantly evolving, and we just each new phase of life, we're finding out how can we adapt this modality to serve our needs here and there.

[00:24:15.750] – Chelsey

Yeah, and I know for ourselves, like, something that's really important is like, we recognize we're in an early season of our marriage, for example. We've been together for ten years and married for three, I think. And we're in an early season of parenting. We have a one year old and a four year old. We know that there are going to be so many changes and shifts in our lifestyle, but rather than viewing it, which unfortunately, so many Americans view when I'm 80, not even just 80, people think that when they're 30, they can't be fit anymore or they can't exercise anymore, or they can't be healthy anymore in the same way. What we see is not that we can't do these things, but that we're going to be doing things differently, and that it's not better or worse, it's just different. And that's great.

[00:25:12.040] – Allan

Now you have one of the seven is movement, and you had a statement in there that movement is not fitness. And I think the reason that that resonated with me is because fitness has kind of become this look. Do you look fit? Do you have that thing? You see the CrossFit? Who's the fittest man and who's the fittest woman on earth. And I'm like, no, they're just the best exercisers. And to me, fitness is like fit for task. And so as you say something so if I want to grow my own food, well, I'm going to have to get down and touch the earth and I'm going to have to get back up as I get older, I don't want anyone to be put on by me. So when I'm 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. And so there's this kind of these things that you go through and say. So when you say movement is not fitness, can we kind of dig into that a little bit?

[00:26:12.600] – Thosh

Yeah, absolutely. Movement, we like to use that term because when you do say fitness for people that haven't yet adapted any sort of like movement routine into their life, that can be intimidating for some people. And we find that too, because our work is in within our Native American communities where we are experiencing lots of collective grief and historic trauma. Sometimes that prevents people from moving and then from there we see the prevalence of certain health disparities, which lack of movement is not the symptom that goes deeper than that. But what we see is that maybe some have not discovered movement in a way that appeals to them. Maybe the fitness gym culture is intimidating for many people and I can understand why. I can certainly see why. So we say movement because what we do, what we believe is it encompasses everything from swift walking to dancing, free movement, weight training, functional training, yoga, CrossFit, any sorts of conventional sports, combat sports, working with the horses, canoe culture. There's movement that comes in many different, many different modalities and we always share with people. It's important to discover what's the movement that you're going to be continued to be excited for and that you're going to continue to experience benefit.

[00:27:31.260] – Thosh

You're going to improve muscle metabolism, you're going to improve cardiovascular health, neurogenerative health, and you're going to allow that release of anxiety and stress through all the fuel good neurotransmitters that become present once you start to exercise and put yourself in a little bit of discomfort. We encourage everyone to discover what modalities, one that excites them.

[00:27:53.660] – Allan

Now, as you got through the model and you get into the point where we're looking at optimizing, and I think for a lot of people, they want to know, OK, why is this important? And you went through in each section a section that said, how this section heals? How this.. So in movement heals? There were dozens, so we don't have time to list all of them, but give us just a couple of examples of how movement heals.

[00:28:19.010] – Chelsey

Well, one thing that's a big one for me is mental health. So movement helps, it's a guaranteed boost of endorphins, it's a guaranteed ease of anxiety. For me, I know that when I step into the gym to lift some weights or when I get onto my yoga mat to do some stretches and Pilates, I will experience that boost in mental health that I might need for that day. And it's a way of feeling accomplished. It's a way of feeling like you then I see it almost as a clearing of space in my mind because I've moved my body and I've got my blood flowing and I've got my energy up. Okay, now I can go and be a better mom. I can be a better practitioner of my work. I can get these emails done, I can do these annoying logistical things. I can clean my house. Movement is a big one for mental health.

[00:29:18.040] – Thosh

Yes. And we share that the seven circles, they're all interconnected, meaning that they also overlap so many times. If you are looking at food waste, like the circle of food we have that if you zoom into that, that can be broken down as farming the land. And that's something that where I come from, people in Arizona, that's what we did in pre colonial times is we farmed the irrigated, various melons, various varieties of beans and squash and corn and they forged. So that we meant taking many steps, thousands of steps per day on the land, foraging, hunting, all that kind of stuff. And so if we overlap that circle of food and movement, we will see right there that also comes into play as the circle of community because we are on the land doing things with those that we love. So, like in our family, for instance, we have one and a half acres that we grow food on and it requires us to get out there with our tools, our shovels and picks and everything and go to work. And I like that aspect of it because I'm able to do that and I have motivation and empower to do that because I also exercise for these sorts of life ways.

[00:30:27.930] – Thosh

Like my own personal fitness regimen is to support me, to be doing things on the land that are going to support my lifestyle, such as acquiring a food, doing stuff with family, being able to maneuver on the land. And so there's how we see how movement heals us because we are allowing to be out on the land to do those things, to produce food there to do with people. And it's nutrient dense food and it's cultural significance sustainably sourced. And so the way I see it is that movement should complement all these other aspects of your life. It should make those easier. And that's why I believe that each movement modality or each movement practice will vary from person to person.

[00:31:07.610] – Chelsey

Yeah. And then of course, there's so many of the scientific benefits and the medical benefits as well of movement which are just myriad and touching back to what Thosh mentioned there about community. Like I know even as a family, as a little family of four. Movement is at the center of our recreation. It's at the center of the fun and the joy and the laughter that we have with our two little girls. And we hope that it will continue to be in many ways, it's at the center of our marriage as well. Because while there are lots of sure, sometimes we like to go on date night and go out to a restaurant, but at least as often we like to do, you know, maybe we'll go on a hike together or we'll do some weight training together in the gym. And it's a great way of bonding and having goals and a shared interest in something that goes beyond the superficial. So movement is just such a powerful tool for connecting family and marriage and community and connecting to the land and getting better sleep at night. And it really is medicine. Movement is medicine.

[00:32:18.630] – Allan

Now, I can't leave the movement conversation without talking about the seven basic movement patterns that you had in the book because I do think these are kind of important because everybody is going to have their favorite. My co host, Rachel, she's a runner. She'll keep running and she runs and runs. She also lifts weights and does other things. I'm more of the weight lifter, but I also kind of have my endurance bits, just not like her. So I think people will gravitate to the things they like the best, which are often the things they end up also being the best at. But can you talk about the seven basic movement patterns?

[00:32:53.660] – Thosh

Yeah, and that's something that we just kind of learned from functional training and just from other trainers we've worked with and just our own learning of learning about and what's the best way for us to move the body and that's one thing we learned about is incorporating squat movements, hip hinge movements, lunging, pushing, pulling, rotating in a gate, such as you mentioned running. My thing is I love to sprint. I don't have that much time these days to run distance. I did growing up because I come from a community of runners historically, where people were runners, and we still do today. I just don't have a whole lot of time with our children as young as they are in our work, as busy as they are. So I like to get my cardiovascular endurance in through training on the heavy bag or getting in some sprint intervals. But we always share with people is that if you're looking for just overall longevity and you're looking for just functionality that we can look to structuring your regimen around, maybe I'm doing a circuit where I'm incorporating a lunge movement, a hip hinge movement, and then maybe I'm doing a rotate movement.

[00:33:54.790] – Thosh

And then the next one I'm doing pushing, pulling, and then maybe incorporating a squat movement and maybe I'm ending it with a jog around on the block or whatever, but we always also encourage that. Look at your session. Are you doing are you straight training today? Are you training for power? Are you training for muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance? And I believe that those are good, sort of good little templates to kind of abide by and to help someone who may feel overwhelmed, especially on social media or seeing all these different types of workouts and people who are not as aware of the body at a physiological level may feel overwhelmed at what to do. But I think that the seven basic movements and very specific system of power agility, strength, mobility, flexibility, speed, endurance I think that it's quite simply putting those together and that's a really simple template to kind of keep us on track.

[00:34:49.840] – Allan

And it does sound kind of intimidating if you're not from this space. So I totally get that as well. But that's where your learn, engage and optimize cycle really kind of comes to play. It's like, okay, I'm going to learn more about strength training because I know I'm not as strong as I need to be or I know that my mobility is not as good as it needs to be. So I need to learn more about how to be more mobile. Maybe it's a Pilates class or a yoga class or just some stretching that you're doing off of a video you see on YouTube. But you're learning, you're trying, you're engaging and then you're optimizing. So it may seem big, but they say, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time, take that bite and try it and then move on to the next one.

[00:35:35.890] – Chelsey

Exactly. What I love is self empowerment. I love the concept of we can teach ourselves to be our own experts. And as beneficial as it has been for me, and as much as I love the fact that I can go on YouTube and copy step by step thousands of different workouts that are out there and available to us and that is how I've built my own movement practice in many ways is by using the Internet and by using books and by going to classes. At the end of the day, there's also going to be a time where I am waking up in a hotel room because I'm at a conference and I've got 20 minutes and I need to move, otherwise I'm not going to get any movement in for that day. And if I have spent a lot of years and a lot of time learning these seven basic movements and having some idea in my head of this arsenal of very basic workouts that I can do without necessarily needing equipment and without necessarily needing a video or a trainer in front of me. Then that makes me that much more likely to engage in a movement practice on a daily basis.

[00:36:42.790] – Chelsey

Or if I'm in the airport and I've got 20 minutes and I'm sitting there at my gate? What can I do without having to break into a full sweat and have my equipment with me? But can I do at least something? And so those are those spaces where I think so many of us could benefit from is incorporating movement throughout our day in a seamless way. And I think that that's where the seven basic movements really helps people.

[00:37:08.440] – Allan

OK, the next one I want to work on is food. Obviously, as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, I have to talk about food. And I'm going to come back to sacred places because I do want to talk about that. Now, you had something in the book. It's one of those things that sometimes you're reading and you're reading something and in your head it's like they're saying something deeper and it's not what's in the words, it's what the words represent. You know what I mean? And so you were saying that you started talking about the term colonization and I was like so I started thinking about them, like, yeah, fast food colonized our main streets and avenues and then processed food, colonized our grocery stores and almost take them completely over. We're at this point where in all this happened not to benefit the people, it was for profit and growth. It's sort of like your stories, your history. We're being colonized now and we're not even where it's happening.

[00:38:06.190] – Chelsey

Yes, that's what we always say for sure is that Indigenous people aren't the only people who are being impacted by colonization, by colonization of the land and of our food systems and of water sources and the infiltration of a sedentary lifestyle. Like, everybody is impacted by this. Today, one in three Americans are diabetic and more than that are on their way to being diabetic in the next ten years. I mean, these numbers are scary and they are staggering. And we are obviously all being impacted by this system. And it's really up to us as individuals and as families to take it into our own hands to try to find some way to improve our relationship to food once again and to take that as seriously as we take going for our annual doctor checkups and any other piece that we do for our health.

[00:39:07.920] – Allan

Now, in the book, you did share seven actions that we can use to strengthen our relationship with food. Could you get into those?

[00:39:16.010] – Thosh

Yeah. Again, we always use a lot of historic reference and when we look at how did our people, as Indigenous people, how do we acquire food? They're really all people across the world. How did they acquire food before the industrialized era, before globalization, before the commodification of resources? How did we acquire food? And that was one is that our people had forged people forged food. People hunted and fished. People had grown food people had planted. Even before industrial agriculture, cultures around the world were farming. They were farming. And that's what we look at with a lot of our native cultures right here in what is now known as the United States is that that's how we acquire food. And in a spiritual sense, our people had always eaten with gratitude. We always had spiritual practice associated with our food waste. So there were ceremonies of giving thanks when the food was harvested, whether it was the plant, whether if it was an animal, even if it was seeds that we planted or we forged from the land. There was always words that were recited to give thanks for that food source because we've always seen ourselves not separate from what they call nature, but a part of the land.

[00:40:24.780] – Thosh

We are a part of this interconnected inextricably connected network of living organisms. As human beings, we are part of that. And we have these foodways that we engage in right there. So there's those four foodways right there. There's the hunt, fish, porch, grow, give thanks. And then today we've added the grocery store. Like shopping smart, being able to navigate the grocery store and find out what foods are right for you that are within the grocery store, what foods are there that you want to support? Maybe some people are conscious consumers and they want to reduce their eco footprint. Maybe they want to support ethically sourced foods so that's where they can make those choices, in the grocery store. And then cooking, getting familiar with cooking if they haven't already cooked before. And we encourage everyone to learn to cook. We love to cook. We're always cooking several times a day in our home. From our cultures, it was always looked at as cooking was like a ceremony that you're supposed to be having a good heart and a good mind as you're preparing this food right here and you're serving that food with love and it's going to nourish people.

[00:41:24.910] – Thosh

And then the other is for breastfeeding, right? And I'll let her talk about that too. Is honoring, acknowledging breastfeeding is the first food of the baby. And that's something that's a big part of our cultural upbringing as native people.

[00:41:36.720] – Chelsey

Yes. And with breastfeeding, we always say we support and encourage any way that a parent is able to feed their baby. So whether they prefer formula feeding or pumping or breastfeeding, it's really up to them. But in general, what we've observed is that those who do want to breastfeed don't always feel safe or comfortable or are given the time and the space to do so in relation to their career in their workplace. And so breastfeeding as a part of those seven actions means just like not only to be a breastfeeding mother, but to support breastfeeding mothers in being able to feed their baby that way if that's what they choose, because there are so many nutritional and emotional benefits to it.

[00:42:17.140] – Thosh

In the way we see it, it's the baby's first food. And that's what gets a child set on a path to eating nutrient dense, whole food. And we always honor the beginning in our cultures, we honor the beginning of that.

[00:42:29.440] – Chelsey

Yeah. So those are the seven actions that folks can take to restore what we say is the relationship to food. And what we know is that not everybody is going to do all seven of those. It's okay if you're not a hunter. It's okay if you're not growing a field of corn, beans, and squash in your backyard. Some people simply don't even have the space for that or the technology or the knowledge that they have to do that. And that's fine. What we hope is that there's at least one in those seven that everybody can connect with. And we know that, for example, we can all center gratitude in our relationship to food. We can all view food as a lifegiving entity that nourishes us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and viewing it beyond what it has become, which is sort of this commodification and just this object that lives on a grocery store that has no life outside of that. Really, once we reestablish that relationship to food, we can begin to center it in a way that promotes the improvement of our health.

[00:43:35.860] – Allan

Yeah, well, they process the life out of it. So closer you are to where it's coming from, the better. And so hunting and foraging and growing your own is definitely going to serve you a lot better than being beheld in what the grocery stores and the food industry wants to serve today.

[00:43:54.260] – Chelsey


[00:43:56.960] – Allan

So let's go back to sacred Place, because we've talked about home basically making it a good place for you. And a lot of times we talk about our home gyms. That's always fun. You guys have a home gym as well. You turn your garage into a home gym, but it goes deep. And also we talk about toxins because if we're bringing certain cleaners into our home, obviously that's not serving us. But the term sacred space and the way you use it is a lot deeper than just physical.

[00:44:26.060] – Chelsey

Yeah. So we encourage everybody to view their home as a sacred space or any place where they spend a lot of time really in your office. And what that means is it's not religious. It means having reverence for that space. It means recognizing the ways that your surroundings impact the way that you feel and the way that you're able to perform your duties as a human being. When our space feels right and when our space feels important and put together and that it makes sense, then the whole world around us is making more sense and we're able to again move forward and carry on and do the rest of our duties. The first thing that Thosh does when he steps into that garage gym, as he sweeps it out, he wipes down the surfaces. He makes sure that things are in order before he takes the tears it up and then does his really intense training session in there, and then and so on and so forth. And so, you know, sacred space is making your home a place that facilitates well-being

[00:45:34.060] – Thosh

yeah, anywhere where we learn, where we eat, where we live, where we laugh, where we love, where we do any of these things together, not just solo, but together with people that we love. These are sacred spaces because they contribute to our overall health and wellness, our feeling of connectedness, our feeling of being empowered. And for us, that's what sacred is as native people, when we're using English language, the word sacred, that's what it means to us. Anything that really is important that contributes to essentially our health and wellness. And one of the first things I do in the morning, too, especially in the summertime, the warmer times season, when the sun comes up earlier, is that when I get up, like around five or 530, the first thing I do is open the windows to the living room and intentionally let that morning glow in, the morning light in. And I'll sit there and let that come into my eyes and to kind of help me get started for the day and visualize the day. And sometimes, if I'm not too much in a rush, which I'm working on, I'll do my meditation if my coffee steeps, but sometimes I'll have my coffee and I'm just visualizing the day.

[00:46:35.010] – Thosh

I'm thinking about how I want this day to go, and I'm visualizing everything being executed in that laying down at night again. But I let that sunlight come in. And that's what we do in our home now. We let the sunlight come in. And that's what a lot of our spiritual leaders in our communities have always told us, is to make sure that we let the sunlight come in and let the healing come in. Do positive things in your home, have laughter, play beautiful music of good high frequencies, also sing in the house, have family time, prayer time, ceremony time in the home. And it invites a really positive energy into the home and contributes to our health and wellness.

[00:47:09.640] – Chelsey

What I encourage the listeners to do is think about a person in your life whose home, when you visit that home, or maybe it's from your childhood, maybe it's one of your grandparents, when you walk through that door, you're just at peace. You're just, wow, like there's something rich here. There's something that feels very comforting and just very inviting about the presence and the way that that person keeps their home. Is there a smell? Is it because of the way it's arranged or the colors that are used, or because there's so much natural light, or there's this great smell of food cooking or something like that? Think about that home and try to emulate that. And one thing that you'll notice is it's not necessarily going to be the biggest home. It's not necessarily going to be based on a specific location. It could be anywhere. It could be any size of home. It's really just about the love that goes into it. So we encourage folks to just put love into their home.

[00:48:09.190] – Allan

I think, as you were saying, that one of the things that struck me was I thought about my grandmother and grandfather's house and how safe I felt there. And I'm like if you had measured my cortisol level when I was at grandma's house, right there, you're already got a health benefit just by having that feeling when you're in your place.

[00:48:30.260] – Chelsey

There you go. And you know what? And I do think that some of this, just like anything else, I think that sacred space is one of those pieces of health that inevitably is actually going to improve as we get older. Like, I haven't quite figured out that formula yet for just how inviting and how great my grandma thelma's house felt. Like, I'm still trying to figure that out, and I'm definitely getting better at it as I get older and learning to incorporate these different elements. But, yeah, I think that it is a piece of our health and of our wellness that makes so much more of a difference than what we even realized.

[00:49:05.100] – Allan

Yeah, and I like how you took it beyond just the physical now that we're into the space that we're in with Facebook and Twitter and all of that, and you talked about our digital spaces, and I will say that that was one of the core takeaways from your book that I have incorporated. I have not logged onto Twitter since I read your book.

[00:49:25.460] – Chelsey

Wow, that's awesome.

[00:49:28.390] – Allan

Can we talk just a little bit about digital spaces before we

[00:49:32.810] – Thosh

yeah, totally. That's something that we are learning with and it's something that's very I think it's going to be a complex relationship with everybody based on some people like yourself and us. Part of our work requires us to be on social media to an extent, to share these ideas, to share about the book, you know, to create a more awareness about indigenous life ways for our own communities, and to share these other messages for people outside of our communities. And so we've always seen social media as a tool, but with any tool, you have to have boundaries. And we believe that now we're in that age where social media is required, that we have to facilitate a healthy relationship with social media because it has the means to negatively impact our sense of wellbeing, with what we're seeing on there, with our activity, that we are engaging with certain people. And we have to filter, we have to limit what we are seeing on social media because it could make us angry. It could trigger things, especially in the heated social political climate that we've seen to not be able to get out of in this country, in recent years.

[00:50:36.790] – Thosh

Social media is one that we have to regulate our input. What are we seeing? What are we hearing right here? How does it make us feel? We need to assess that and determine what do I need to unfollow and do I need to create a schedule for myself? Maybe I'm only on social media one to 2 hours a day. Maybe I only post two, three times a week. Maybe I go on social media fast for one week, for 30 days and I don't check into that. And I'm being present. I'm being present with my own self, my own thoughts, my emotions. I'm being present with those that are within my space, that I work with, that I go to school with, that I live with, that I love with being present right there because we are seeing that. And there's scientific evidence too. There's a plethora of studies that come out that have shown that we get a dopamine release even when we receive a notification and that that can create that addiction there social media addiction, we know is a real thing right there. And so the science is there. The emptiness, the feeling of loneliness and emptiness that became exacerbated during COVID-19.

[00:51:33.270] – Thosh

And people were left to really only connect during the virtual world to the virtual world. Now that we're out of that lockdown, people are stuck in that behavior pattern and more addicted than ever. So we see that social media is something that we certainly have to be conscious of our interaction with it. We have to create these boundaries with it. And it's going to be different from everybody for sure.

[00:51:52.500] – Chelsey

Yeah. And that goes for technology in general too. You know, even something as simple as cleaning off your desktop if it gets messy or organizing your emails in your inbox, that can give us that same sense of peace and being able to move forward and clearing that space in your mind so that you can complete other tasks. We need to clean those spaces just like as we need to clean up our table or make our bed in the morning. And those are actions, those are wellness practices just as much as getting in the gym or cooking a healthier meal.

[00:52:23.200] – Allan

I'm going to ask you each one at a time, these questions because I've asked all my guests this since nearly the beginning. So I'll start with you Thosh. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:52:40.390] – Thosh

Three strategies to get well and stay there? I think the first thing I always go into is the mind and I always share with people what is the vision you have for yourself in the future, even tomorrow, ten years, 30, 50 years down the line? Who do you want to be in that time? How do you want to think? How do you want to feel? And how do you want to act during that time? So I always share with people to have that vision of yourself, what is being well mean for you? What does that feel like and what actions do you have to take in order to become that? And I always share with people, we have to visualize it, know where we are going, and every day, every day we have to do something that's helping us to get closer to that. And we have to have things that keep us accountable because we all get off track. We all get off track. We have to have some method or mode to keep us accountable. Some sort of system that keeps us on track with our mission. We have a mission that we've created in life that has to do with health, has to do with family, it has to do with school, career, whatever it is.

[00:53:50.080] – Thosh

We have to stay on that mission there and to visualize how that's going to be and to make every day to step into that. So that's the first thing I encourage everyone. The first strategies, have a vision for yourself. Have a vision for yourself. And the second strategy is to find what modalities, what lifeways are going to assist you in that. And then that's where the learn, engage, optimize comes in there. Learning things, engage with it and then learn to optimize it so it gets you closer to that vision that you have of yourself right there. And then the third I would say is make sure that these are life ways and practices that you could adhere to. They're sustainable for the long run. They're not something that I'm just going to do this until I get at this weight or I'm just going to do this until my, you know, A1Cs at this. It's a continuation. We're always evolving, we're always healing and evolving from something. And so I believe that that's what it is. Have a vision for yourself, find out how you're going to do that and then make sure it's something that we can adhere to I would say.

[00:54:49.020] – Allan

Okay, thank you. Chelsey. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:54:59.660] – Chelsey

I would say the first thing would be to look within and to create a wellness practice and a lifestyle that is true to yourself as an individual. And don't worry about competing and don't worry about being the best or what your neighbor is doing or what's trendy really honestly try different things in food, in movement, in these different areas of health that feel authentic to you, that you can incorporate as sustainable practices. And don't be afraid to be an individual when it comes to those things. So that's number one is really be authentic to yourself. The second one that I would say is surround yourself with a support system and also be a support system because community is so integral and family is so integral to our health practices. We can't put that on the back burner. We truly have to find folks and to align ourselves with friends and relationships and to also be a role model for people like our children or like our nieces and nephews and others who look up to us. Sometimes we get so frustrated, I think, with things that are out of our control. Sure, you can't change society, but you can impact the way that your family is operating.

[00:56:28.200] – Chelsey

You can really make a difference on a daily basis with those things. So that's number two is community. Let's see here. The third wellness tip that I would offer is to expand your mind outside of anything that you've already seen in mainstream wellness and really taking a deeper look at all of these different areas of our health that might be impacting us and being open minded all the time and the lifelong learner to different ways that we can optimize and improve our lives. Taking in teachings from elders, from youth, from parenting, from hardship, from all of these different areas of life that help us grow and create resilience. Rather than looking at those things in life that we try to avoid because we can't avoid them, we're human. Let's embrace those areas of hardship and those areas of struggle and growth as things that teach us. So that would be my third is in just really expanding the way that we think about health and wellness far beyond the typical and just opening our minds a little bit more.

[00:57:45.520] – Allan

Thank you. Now, the book is beautiful. And there were images in the book, you're photographer Thosh, right? But you didn't take all the pictures because you're in some of them. But there's some beautiful pictures and some wonderful stories. Like, I just had an image in my head as I was reading and you're talking about hunting with your daughter strapped to your back bow and arrow and just a whole family there. And the fact that I know when my daughter was about that age, she'd be screaming her head off and I'd have no chance in heck getting her just beautiful stories about how you guys are trying to live this and use this and teach this. And so I encourage people that are kind of looking for just kind of the excitement and encouragement and motivation to make changes in their whole life, not just their health and fitness. To check out your book. If somebody wanted to learn more about you and your book, The Seven Circles, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:58:39.260] – Chelsey

Thank you so much. Yeah, we would love for them to visit our website wellforculture.com, which includes a lot more about what we do and it has links to every other place where you can engage with our content. I would say we're very active on Instagram. My handle is chelsey.moves and Those is thosh.collins. And then we also have our shared page, which is at wellforculture. So those areas where you can definitely, easily and quickly connect with us. And if you visit Harper Collins website, which is our publishing company, you can find our book, the Seven Circles indigenous Teachings for Living Well. It will also be available via audiobook. We narrated our own audiobook and it is available through pretty much any retailer you can think of. And we encourage people to make their own choice there and to support whichever book seller they feel best about supporting.

[00:59:31.870] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/561, and I'll be sure to have links there. So, Thosh and Chelsea, thanks so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:59:43.690] – Chelsey

Thank you for having us. It's been so fun to be here.

[00:59:46.230] – Thosh

Yes. Thank you, Allan. We enjoy this conversation. Thank you for your interest in our work. We really appreciate that.

Post Show/Recap

[01:00:00.710] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[01:00:01.960] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really neat interview. And, you know, you and I do talk a lot about the importance of sleep and food and movement, but we don't often talk about the sacred space, the connection to land, a connection to community. There is a lot to our lives that need a little bit of balance. So this is pretty important to have a sense of community and to be social and take care of, to have some pride as to where you live and whatnot.

[01:00:27.040] – Allan

Yeah, my whole journey, when I started, I was doing a self audit. I guess this way you could say I was sitting on the beach in Mexico and just doing my crap, but it was a self audit nonetheless, and it was, okay. I'm only doing well in one space, and it's not even really an important space. My career was great, but my health, my fitness, my connection to people, my connection to the world, all this stuff, it was just broken. And so a lot of people talk about, you know, you need to be broken before you can be fixed. I was completely broken, and it took me a long, long time to do this and get an understanding of what I could do to make myself better. And so it's a process, and it's a process that you have to be real with yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. And The Seven Circles is a really good model as you go through the book and say, okay, how am I doing on social connections? And how does that fit in with who I am today? So one of the things that I'm excited about is community.

[01:01:36.300] – Allan

And so we've got the Facebook group, and I've got clients and I've got friends and all that. Well, then, now we've got weddings that we're going to. And so I'm entering a phase with the daughters getting married and everything, where now I'm going to work on connecting and that social thing. And so it's just that back and forth of saying, okay, what's the most important things for me? And then making sure you're not leaving some of these things behind that are important. It's easy for us to sit at our desks and it gets cold and it's dreary outside and so we're going to stay in the house and bundle up and not get out, you know, and so that's that's a problem too.

[01:02:23.520] – Rachel

oh it is.

[01:02:24.570] – Allan

So it's just looking at those as just a consistent reminder to prioritize and understand we have to be doing something almost all the time, doing something in all seven of those areas, but at the same time looking at where we are in our lives and say, okay, this one is more important than that one.

[01:02:45.790] – Rachel

Yeah, well, we go through these phases in our lives, right? I mean, when the kids are young, your kids are your priority. My kids are older and almost out of the house at this point. So now you can focus on some other things, maybe. Well, taking care of Mike as he's struggling with his cancer and taking care of my family. I have a run club that I participate with, so I'm busy with my friends and making sure that we have those social connections. But just like they said, there's one of I can't remember which one who said it, but they said it's not about having a diet or a New Year's resolution. It's a lifestyle change. And the part that really hit me, though, is that it's constantly evolving and we're constantly learning. And just like you said, we need to take the time to have that self check, that self audit. And where are we today? Are we doing good with our food but not with our family? Are we getting good sleep but not enough movement? It's a balance. It's a balance between a lot of different things.

[01:03:47.060] – Allan

Well, the reality of it is this, okay, so if you imagine you're driving down the road and they tell you, have your hands at ten and two, okay, you can take your hands off the steering wheel, the car is still moving forward.

[01:04:02.140] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:04:04.540] – Allan

You can be doing this good or you can be doing everything bad. It's up to you, but you're doing it. That was one of the core things out of that quote that I said, was, yeah, you're doing it, but even if you're not doing it, you're still making a choice to not do it. So you could take your hands off that steering wheel, the outcome probably won't be very good. A non favorable outcome, absolutely. But you kind of get the idea is that you're still moving, you don't have a choice. Your life is still going on and that aging curve is still happening. And your time on this planet with the people you love is still limited. So the time is still happening, the movement is still happening. Everything's still moving. And if you're not engaged in making the most of that, that was a choice. It's still a choice. And so since you know that now, just take a few minutes. This book is pretty good about like I said during the self audit, there are tools out there, but this is a really good one and it's Matrix, so you really can kind of dig down.

[01:05:14.370] – Allan

Why is my sleep suffering? I'm under a lot of stress. I'm not moving enough. I'm not getting enough sunshine to set my circadian rhythm properly. I'm on computers in the middle of the night again, messing up my circadian rhythm because I can't be in my own head and just lay there and enjoy that space. You're doing something. Whether you choose to think you're doing it, you're still making that choice. So this is a good opportunity for you to look for that, find the balance. And find the balance that's right for you now, right? Yeah. It could be different a year from now. A six month period of time when both of our daughters are getting married. A lot of travel, probably not as much sleep. Might eat some things that I wouldn't normally eat because that's what my daughter chose to have as the meal at the wedding. It is what it is. Rehearsal dinners and all that other stuff. And daddy daughter dances and all that.

[01:06:19.990] – Rachel


[01:06:21.260] – Allan

So it's a different time for me right now. Closing a gym and my daughter is getting married and then about to launch something that scares the crap out of me. It's a thing. So just realizing where your focus needs to be and staying focused on the things that matter most.

[01:06:39.120] – Rachel

Yeah, that's great. Sounds like a great book.

[01:06:42.280] – Allan

It is a good book. And it's written from a perspective. Again, this isn't something. The stuff is what they came up with. I mean, obviously they built this model, they built the seven circle model. And so that is something, but it's driven off of what they call wisdom from their elders. This is not new stuff, guys. This is how we've always lived. We've just gotten away from that connection to how we are supposed to live. It's real food, movement, sleep, connection, connection, all seven of them. If you really think about it, those should be they are major components in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. When I talk about wellness, you noticed I didn't just say health and fitness. There's the other stuff, the happiness, the joy, all that, all that has to be there. At some level, you're going to have moments in your life that are not as joyful as others. And that's just a check. It's like, okay, am I prioritizing and doing the right things for what matters most for me? If you are, then good. If you aren't, then you've got some work to do.

[01:07:56.920] – Rachel

That's right.

[01:07:57.450] – Allan

And guess what? We always have some more.

[01:07:59.070] – Rachel

Always. We are always evolving and learning, too. Give yourself a little grace as these things get out of balance and come right back in balance.

[01:08:10.380] – Allan

Yeah. So, as a general reminder, we've started this month with asking you for a review. So if you can get on your app what you're listening to right now, and leave the podcast a review, it's going to help us grow. And what we want to do is make this fun. So we're going to draw one of the reviewers, and in November, I'm going to send you some stuff. Okay? I'm going to send you some cool stuff. So go to your podcast app. I've got a tool that lets me see those reviews and I appreciate I read every one of them, even the bad ones. They teach me something like a self audit, but you're honoring me, so I love them. Even if it's bad review, it's good. It works out either way. But leave us a review and honest review, and I'm going to pick one winner each month and send you something cool. I'll read your review on air, and then I'll send you something cool. And then again, another reminder. I am looking to put together the first 40 Plus Fitness Retreat. Again, I hope it's the first and there's more, and it's going to be here in Bocas del Toro the last week of May.

[01:09:11.610] – Allan

I think it starts the 29th. You can go to 40plusfitness.com/retreat, and that's the only people I'm really going to talk to. I'll tell people it's happening. But if you want to be in the know and you want to make sure you're one of the 30 that gets to come here and do this with me, you need to be on that list. Again, I'm not going to send you anything to that list directly, but I'll make sure, you know, as I decide and start planning and getting things together, you'll see it come together and I may even ask your opinion on some things. So if you want to help me make this the best thing ever, then I'm all ears. Or I guess eyes, because I'll be reading the emails, but that will be a list. And I'll email you what's going on and you can respond back. I might ask, like I might ask some questions, some surveys, just to make sure that I make this the best event ever. At least the best event I've ever done.

[01:10:04.240] – Rachel


[01:10:05.110] – Allan

Yeah. So, yeah, 40plusfitness.com/retreat.

[01:10:09.490] – Rachel

Sounds great, Allan.

[01:10:10.990] – Allan

Okay, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[01:10:13.570] – Rachel

You better. Take care.

[01:10:14.980] – Allan

You too. Bye.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


October 4, 2022

How to go from couch potato to endurance athlete with Hilary Topper

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

No matter where you are, you're never too old to get off the couch and get some amazing things done. Hilary Topper shows us how in her book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete. Join us as we discuss her book and she shares some wonderful tips and advice.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:14.390] – Coach Allan

 Hello Ras. How are you doing?

[00:02:15.960] – Coach Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:17.960] – Coach Allan

I'm doing all right. A little shaken, not stirred.

[00:02:22.210] – Coach Rachel


[00:02:24.370] – Coach Allan

I'm on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, and so I landed on Monday and got an Uber, which is a little bit of an ordeal because they don't want them at the airport, so you have to leave the airport and go somewhere else. So the Uber picked…

[00:02:37.190] – Coach Rachel


[00:02:37.400] – Coach Allan

That's fine. It's not that far, but Uber picks me up. We're driving back to the hotel, and this dude just runs out in front of the car. Our Uber almost hits him. If it would not be like a neighborhood kind of area with the resorts and all the houses, he would definitely hit this guy because he just ran out in front of us. And then he's yelling frantically, there's an earthquake in Spanish, but he's young. There's an earthquake. I'm like, okay. And so the car literally was bouncing up and down, sideways to sideways.

[00:03:06.670] – Coach Rachel

Oh, my goodness.

[00:03:08.890] – Coach Allan

I did that for about five minutes, and then they're standing out in the road, standing around. So then finally, people start moving out of the road. My driver's like, okay, let's go. He drives me to the hotel, and of course, everybody at the resort, they're all out and on the street.

[00:03:23.330] – Coach Allan

And I walk in, and they're like, you can't go inside right now. It will be a little while. They said 5 minutes, but it ended up being, like, 45 minutes. So we're standing out there, and this woman is just distraught. A lot of people seem more emotionally affected by this. Everybody's got their emotion things and their buttons, so something scares them, and suddenly, again, a lot of things flare up in them, and it's personal.

[00:03:47.910] – Coach Allan

But this was not that her husband was stuck in the building because he was not capable of walking down the stairs.

[00:03:58.850] – Coach Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:03:59.500] – Coach Allan

And she was. So she walked down the stairs and told the staff that he was up there. They sent two guys up. So she had already at this point, when I got there, she had already been standing out there for over five minutes. Another 15-20 minutes goes past without him coming down.

[00:04:21.290] – Coach Allan

So she's just beside herself. I kind of took from her mannerisms and the conversation that she saw me as someone who was physically capable, and she wanted me to go in there and bring her husband down.

[00:04:35.390] – Coach Allan

So I walk up to the guy. I walk up, and the guy's like, we're not letting anyone in the building. And I'm like, okay. And then I said, is there anything going on there? Because a guy and I said, yeah, we got two guys going up there. Okay. So I go back to her, and I say, okay, look, the two guys are okay. They're just not down yet. But it was just kind of that moment when you sit there and you say, one, I would never want to do that to my spouse, and two, I would not want to be the spouse that couldn't help my significant other get where they needed to be.

[00:05:09.290] – Coach Allan

Okay, so when we start talking about fitness and we start talking about all this stuff, the reality of it is you've got to be fit to be the person that you want to be, and you got to start working on that now.

[00:05:23.090] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:24.830] – Coach Allan

These folks were probably not even in their 70s.

[00:05:29.570] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:34.770] – Coach Allan

I saw him yesterday at the pool. He's fine, but he could walk along the edge of the pool supporting himself by the side of the pool. So even in pool water that was up to almost his chest, he still needed to support himself with the side of the pool, and she had to help him get out of the pool.

[00:05:53.490] – Coach Rachel


[00:05:54.750] – Coach Allan

So one rail, and then her to get out of the pool. And I'm just like, dude, I know you're old. I know this is a struggle, but you got to get stronger. You got to get stronger. You can't put your wife through that again. I didn't say that out loud. That was one of those internal thoughts that you kind of have as you're sitting there.

[00:06:10.740] – Coach Allan

Just don't do that. I don't want to do that. So if you're thinking about reasons why you need to do this, that. You might have to take care of someone else or you definitely don't want them to have to take care of you.

[00:06:27.190] – Coach Allan

On that same kind of note, I'm on the summit that's about optimal health and longevity, it's going to be coming out in about a week from now and this episode goes live. If you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/optimum, that's going to take you to a sign-up page to view that. It's like 21 health and fitness experts talking about ways to improve your health, to improve your longevity. And I'm on it, so it's got to be awesome.

[00:07:01.330] – Coach Rachel

Sounds great.

[00:07:02.440] – Coach Allan

So 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/optimum. And it's going to kick off in about six days from now. I think this goes out the 4th, so it's going to come out on the 10th. I don't know what day my episode is. As soon as I know that I'll let you know. But it's free and it's some great content. If you're looking at improving your health and longevity, go check it out.

[00:07:27.510] – Coach Rachel

That sounds great. Congratulations Allan. Sounds like a fun summit to be involved with.

[00:07:31.920] – Coach Allan

Yeah, the interview was great. The host, Yoli, she's cool and it was a really good conversation and I shared some tidbits. I actually even shared that story. So you'll have probably a little bit more information than they even had. But it is that kind of that concept of let's not get old-old, let's get young-old. Okay?

[00:07:55.770] – Coach Rachel


[00:07:56.720] – Coach Allan

So how are things up there?

[00:07:58.540] – Coach Rachel

Well, we've done a lot in the last week, Allan, since I spoke with you last, my life turned upside down and since righted itself again. But we had COVID again enter our home actually for the first time. My son and husband were away on the weekend traveling and they brought home COVID. I caught it and it was really kind of interesting.

[00:08:22.680] – Coach Rachel

My son felt like a cold, fluid kind of feeling. He didn't have it too bad and the doctors didn't think he needed any additional treatments or anything. I got it even more mild. I only had a sore throat, so I'm grateful to have such mild symptoms for this weird disease.

[00:08:41.230] – Coach Rachel

But my husband got hit hard. It hit him hard. And it's because as I've mentioned to the listeners in the past, he's right in the middle of taking chemotherapy and immunotherapy for kidney cancer. So his body was already pretty frail because of the chemo to begin with. And so when he got COVID, it just knocked him right off his feet. So his oncologist gave him the Paxlevid that a lot of people are taking and it worked really fast. It's a five-day regimen and within a couple of days he felt back to his normal chemo self.

[00:09:17.950] – Coach Allan

Yeah, he went from a .5 to a 1.

[00:09:21.150] – Coach Rachel

Yeah, exactly. Chemo is no joke either. He's had good days and bad days, but fighting cancer and COVID at the same time, it was a huge nightmare. He was just in a really bad space, and it was really scary for the both of us. But since we've made it through, all three of us are feeling healthy again, pretty much back to normal. And we had a visit with our oncologist. He's doing fine. He's back on his chemo regimen as usual, so that's what we're doing. So it was crazy, but now back to normal, and it's good to be through it all. Thank goodness it's over.

[00:09:59.490] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And let Mike know I've got him in my thoughts.

[00:10:02.990] – Coach Rachel

Thank you. I appreciate it.

[00:10:04.900] – Coach Allan

All right, well, are you ready to talk to Hilary?

[00:10:08.120] – Coach Rachel



[00:11:11.830] – Coach Allan

Hillary. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:14.600] – Hilary

Thank you so much, Alan, for having me.

[00:11:17.260] – Coach Allan

Now, today we're going to talk about your book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete. And I think many of us can kind of relate to that couch potato life and how difficult it is to basically get out of that get out of that couch and make some things happen. So I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today about this book because it talks about your story of how you did this.

[00:11:42.680] – Coach Allan

This is not something you did when you were 20 or 30. You were over 40 years old. So you're speaking our love language, doing this, when you're not the young buck out there doing these things. And you didn't just play around. You're a triathlete. So this is some pretty cool stuff.

[00:12:03.370] – Hilary

Yeah. So I started running at 48, which, I mean, for me, my motivation was I was working all the time. I had my own business, small business. I was putting in those 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I was going to cocktail party after cocktail party, and I needed to change my life. I wasn't happy, even though the business was doing really well. I wasn't happy.

[00:12:32.790] – Hilary

So I needed to make a change. And I joined New York Sports Club and I hired a personal trainer. And my first entree into this sport was to step onto a treadmill. And I looked at this thing and I was like, wow, I don't know what to do, could somebody help me? So I asked a couple of people and they turned it on for me and I started walking and that was my first step into it. And then from there I started to run a little bit and gradually it took several months but I ran a mile. And then I took it outside and I just took it little by little. It's like one step in front of the other, basically.

[00:13:19.990] – Coach Allan

Yeah. There's a runner's mantra that's just put one foot in front of the other until the race is over. Now, there was one thing in your book that I have to ask because people put Easter eggs in their books all the time and I love finding these things. You're going to have to tell me this story about you crashing Woody Allen's New Year's Eve party.

[00:13:43.510] – Hilary

So I was 17 years old and my friends and I, there were two of us and so there were three altogether. We saw an article in the New York Post and the New York Post, it said that Woody Allen was having this New Year's Eve party, was the year 1979, and he was having it at the Harkness House in New York City.

[00:14:09.150] – Hilary

We did some research and we found out that Donald Bruce White was the caterer. And I called up the Harkness House and I said, can I tour around the facility? I want to make a surprise party for my parents 25th anniversary. And they said sure. So they took the three of us and we toured around and we got back on the train back to Long Island and we started drawing out a schematic of the whole entire place. Like where the kitchen was, where the party would take place, where the shower room was.

[00:14:45.710] – Hilary

And that December 31, the three of us, we dressed up as caterers with our clothes under tinfoil trays and we walked into the Harkness House and said we were with the cater. They let us in and as soon as the coast was clear, we jetted down to the basement and we hid there for 8 hours.

[00:15:07.860] – Hilary

Now if this happened today, it wouldn't have happened, right? But back then it was a little bit less secure and we stayed there for 8 hours. And then as soon as we heard the party start, we changed our clothes, went upstairs to the party and we met and mingled with all the famous people of the day like Mick Jagger, Robin Williams, Mia Farrow, Diane Keaton, I mean, you name it, everybody was there. And it was so exciting for us.

[00:15:41.040] – Hilary

And what happened was at midnight, we're having champagne and caviar with all these celebrities. I don't know why they didn't say, like, who are you? Nobody ever asked us who we were. But at the end of it, we went downstairs. I kissed Woody Allen's cheek and said, thank you, Mr. Allen, for inviting us. He looked at me like, who is this woman and who are these kids and what are they doing here?

[00:16:10.340] – Hilary

And we left our clothes downstairs in the shower room. We left. We were screaming down 5th Avenue. I mean, it was just insane. And we got to my friend's apartment on McDougall Street and we went up there. He was in college. The two of us were in high school at the time.

[00:16:31.360] – Hilary

We went up there and I called the New York Post right away, and they said, well, how do we know that this is true? And I said, well, clothes are down in the shower room. So they checked it out, and the next thing we know, we had a cover story on the New York Post saying, “Teens Crash Woody's Bash.”

[00:16:50.980] – Hilary

And we were also in Newsday and a local paper. And there was a famous we still love this one station. It was an alternative station called WLIR Radio. So we were on there too, and that was our story. And that's basically how I became a publicist. Because I figured if I could do it for me, I could do it for other people.

[00:17:13.240] – Coach Allan

That's pretty cool.

[00:17:15.070] – Coach Allan

Now, you had a concept in the book that I think was really critical for a lot of people because they see something in front of them. Like maybe they want to do a 5K or maybe they want to do a bike thing, bike race. There's a concept you had in the book called The Back of the Packer, and I think this is really important. Can you explain what that is and kind of the mindset that it gives you when you kind of accept that reality?

[00:17:41.250] – Hilary

Yeah. I mean, there are so many of us who are Back of the Packers. I mean, these are people who will never, may never podium unless they're the only ones in their age group. They have the possibility of being swept off the course. There's always that possibility. If you can't make it within a certain amount of time, you get swept.

[00:18:04.850] – Hilary

And the thing about being a Back of the packer is that I think also in my book, one of the people I quoted said Back to the Packers, have more fun. And in a way, we do, because we take this as a competition against ourselves and not so much other people. I mean, yes, in the beginning, you get intimidated. You feel like… One of the things that I write about in the book, I talk about Becky, a friend of mine, and she was a marathon runner. I was intimidated by her because she was a marathon runner. I thought she'd be better than me, she'd be faster than me, she had more endurance than me. And when we ended up running together, we were the same pace. I think that we need to kind of get that out of our heads that it's a bad thing to be a Back of the Packer because it's not a bad thing.

[00:19:11.330] – Hilary

We have fun doing what we do and we love it just as much as the elite or Middle of the Packers. And again, we just really compete against ourselves.

[00:19:24.650] – Coach Allan

Yeah. There is a lot more talking going on in the back of the pack than there is in the front, I can tell you.

[00:19:32.130] – Hilary


[00:19:33.160] – Coach Allan

Now, you practiced a method. I've had Jeff Galloway on the show before, and I actually use his method a lot with my clients and coaching. Can you talk about his Run Walk Run Method that you use?

[00:19:47.010] – Hilary

Yeah, Jeff, actually he was my coach for the 2016 marathon. I was first introduced to it a couple of years before, but I really didn't get it right until he started coaching me. And when he coached me, he taught me that the shorter I run, the faster I will run. So if I'm running 5 seconds or if I'm running 10 seconds and I'm walking 30 seconds, I'm going to run those 5 seconds of those 10 seconds much faster than I would normally do if I'm not doing the run-walk.

[00:20:28.220] – Hilary

So maybe I'll do it at a minute mile and then I'll walk at a steady, easy pace. And since then, I did the marathon using his method. I did 15-second run, 30-second walk the entire way. And that's exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay around 14 minutes miles.

[00:20:57.190] – Hilary

And after that, I guess it was back in 2017, I started working for Jeff as one of his program directors and I started teaching the method because I wanted to give back to people here on Long Island. And we also started as a beginner group. We started at 5 seconds, and then we went to ten, and then we went to 15.

[00:21:22.730] – Hilary

And even today with a lot of my, I have runners who are elite runners, I have beginner runners, I have Middle of the Packer of runners, and we're all doing the same exact thing. We're all going at it easy, 15-second run, 30-second walk for our long runs, and we run together. And the thing about it is, as you said before, with the Back of the Packers, you get to really talk to people and you get to really know who they are and all about them. And these people that are part of my WeRendurance group are some of the closest friends that I have. I mean, I just absolutely love these people. And they've been my groupies on my book tours. They've been coming to every one of them. It's really very nice.

[00:22:16.120] – Coach Allan

Cool. Another key aspect of Jeff Galloway's run, walk, run is that for that 15 seconds, even though you're running faster, you're not redlining. You're pushing yourself right up to a point. You're not letting yourself get winded. So that 30 seconds off is just a really good break to let everything kind of slow down the heart rate go down a little bit, and then you're in a good position to go again for those 15, again, just right up to the line, and then you're off. And that's why choosing 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds each, just finding your interval is really important because you'll just know, okay, if I run about this fast, I'm not going to redline, and then I can ease back.

[00:22:55.730] – Hilary

Once you do the magic mile and you determine what and the magic mile is basically running around the track four times and then determining what your speed is, and you could either take walk breaks or not take walk breaks, you could just run it out. You take that time and you put it into a formula, and you could actually determine what your race pace is, what your long training runs are, and that type of thing. And that's really helpful. I've got these people who some of them are, like, running seven minute miles using this method. It's incredible. So it's not just for slow people. It's for anybody who wants to put that recovery break into their runs.

[00:23:50.230] – Coach Allan

Yeah. Now, another core aspect of this is that you didn't play around. You've had coaches, you've had teams. You've kind of always had this support network. Can you talk about what that means to you and how you went about that?

[00:24:04.460] – Hilary

Yeah. When I first hired a coach, I didn't want to hire a coach. My friend Becky said, we have to hire coaches. We don't know what we're doing. We have to hire coaches. And so I called up a friend of mine who I knew was an iron man, and I was so impressed with her, and I asked her if she would coach me, and she said, I'm really not qualified for that, but you could call my coach. And I did. And I hired this guy, Coach Ritchie, for the first year, and he really taught me everything about triathlons.

[00:24:42.310] – Hilary

And then the following year after that, I ended up switching coaches, and I went with somebody who was a little bit more supportive, coach Danielle. Coach Danielle, I have been with her since 2015. I still hire her every month to coach me, even though I'm a qualified I'm also a USA Triathlon Coach. I still have my own coach. That's important to me to have a coach. And I've been working with her, and I definitely have seen significant improvements. She was a pro triathlete, and she's just a wonderful person. So she just really makes me feel good about what I'm doing.

[00:25:31.970] – Hilary

And that's what I think a good coach is that balance between feeling really good about what you're doing and structuring your workouts.

[00:25:42.260] – Coach Allan

It's kind of hard to call your coach up or to visit your coach. And when they start asking about how this particular workout went and you don't really have an answer because you didn't do that workout, you don't want to say that. So it holds you accountable and kind of keeps you moving forward.

[00:26:00.730] – Coach Allan

Now, there was another concept, and you didn't really write about it so much as you demonstrated it in most of the stories about a race or something you were going to do. Like, you talk, there's chances of you being swept because you were going to time out. There are times when things are just not working out well for you because of the conditions, but you always seem to have this internal drive to stick it out.

[00:26:30.130] – Hilary

Yeah, it's interesting. I've been doing a lot of book tours, and people have been asking me about that. The other day I was asked, you had a horrible year this year. How did you keep going? What's your drive? How do you get yourself to do this? And I guess for me, when I was a child, I always felt like I was being put down, even by my parents, by my teachers. I never felt like anybody was encouraging me.

[00:27:04.080] – Hilary

So I had to reach within myself to get that encouragement. And for me, when somebody says to me, you can't, or if I feel like I can't do something, I make it my business that I can do it. It's almost like a crazy motivator. But that motivates me to keep going, even though the obstacles are against me.

[00:27:29.320] – Hilary

I was swimming a 5.5 mile swim. It was supposed to be 5.5 miles from Fire Island to Bay Shore. It's a pretty long swim in open water, and the water, the currents were, like, ridiculously choppy and big wakes. I couldn't even see. And I asked my son to be my kayaker, but I didn't really understand the race, and I didn't realize that I really should have had an experienced kayaker with me. He had only gone on, like, a little pond that didn't have any kind of current, so he didn't really know how to deal with it.

[00:28:13.700] – Hilary

We ended up getting drifted. We drifted way, way off. We were about a mile, a mile and a half off course, and the volunteers had to come get us and direct us back to where we were supposed to swim. And the swim time cut off was 4 hours. And the crazy thing was that my garmin stopped working for like, an hour, an hour and a half. So I'm thinking that I have all this time to get in reality, I was so close to the end. I was the last one. The boats were following me in, but I did it. And even though my arm, it stopped working. I couldn't even get my arm over my shoulder at one point. I was exhausted. I mean, I crossed that finished line, I can't even do this, but I did it, and it felt so good.

[00:29:19.630] – Hilary

I think that's the driving thing is when you finish these races, you feel so good. You feel so high, you feel like you've got this, you've got the whole world on your shoulder. It's just wonderful.

[00:29:35.460] – Coach Allan

Yeah, it sounds like what you're doing is you're kind of tapping into this inner rebel that you have. You're finding your inner strength, and for you, that's as a rebel, and you just say, well, no, if I think I can't do this, well, I'm going to prove myself wrong. If someone else tells me I can't do this, I'm going to prove them wrong.

[00:29:55.490] – Coach Allan

Hillary, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:30:04.220] – Hilary

Well, I would say for me, it's be consistent. Just be consistent. Just get out there, do what you need to do, right? You have a schedule, stick to it. And that's one thing a lot of people don't do. And for me, I find that it's become almost an addiction for me. So at 04:00 in the morning, I'm up, I'm ready to go, and I'll either swim, bike, or run right? So one would be consistent.

[00:30:39.420] – Hilary

Two would be to eat right and to drink water and to really try to get those macronutrients in. You don't feel like don't stray from that. Like, once you start eating junk food, you really feel it when you're training. Not good.

[00:30:58.860] – Hilary

And then the third thing I've been trying to do and this may sound a little strange, but I've been trying to meditate, really just relax my mind. Even though I feel like when I'm working out and when I'm training for triathlon, it's my time, it's me time. I still feel like I need to just take that stuff out of my head and just relax and meditate. And I take ten minutes or whatever a day just to calm everything down and feel good.

[00:31:35.070] – Hilary

And that helps. It really does.

[00:31:38.450] – Coach Allan

Thank you for sharing that. Hilary, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about your book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:47.600] – Hilary

Sure. If you would like to get a copy of the book, you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any of the Barnes and Noble retail stores out there. You can just ask for it.

[00:32:01.010] – Hilary

To get in touch with me. I have two blogs and also a podcast. My blog is hilarytopper.com. It's Hilary with one L, and my other blog is atriathletdiary.com. And that was how the book actually formed, was from that blog. And you can get in touch with me from either one of those blogs. Even if you just type in my name on Google, Hilary Topper. I come right up and you can get in touch with me. And my email, I think, is up there, too. So it's Hilary@hjmt.com.

[00:32:38.730] – Coach Allan

Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:41.410] – Hilary

Well, thank you so much, Allan. I so appreciate you having me on the show.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:54.030] – Coach Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:32:55.660] – Coach Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a fun interview. And right up my alley to couch potato to endurance athlete. I absolutely love it. Hilary sounds like a neat lady.

[00:33:05.510] – Coach Allan

Yeah. And one of the kind of cool things about her story is that if you think you can't, then you can't. And if you think you can, then you can. And it's the Ford quote. And the whole point being is your brain, your mindset, is going to take you where you go. And so when she decided she was going to start doing things, she just started doing things, and then she realized, okay, I'm not great at this, but I enjoy the process and I enjoy doing. And so she kept pushing herself a little bit and pushing herself a little bit. And I couldn't fathom swimming over 5 miles.

[00:33:44.740] – Coach Rachel

I know. That is crazy.

[00:33:47.430] – Coach Allan

And she didn't just swim the 5 miles because she got off course. She literally swam probably seven or 8 miles when she was only planning on swimming that. Now a story she didn't tell was, I guess apparently you wear a wetsuit and you're swimming that long, there's a whole lot of chafing going on. And we know that as runners going, well, it's a wetsuit. I couldn't even imagine. She changed everything. And she was not a spring chicken when she did it.

[00:34:19.520] – Coach Rachel

Well, no, and that's what I absolutely love. There's actually a lot of endurance athletes don't really get started until our 40s and 50s. And she mentioned that she started running at the age of 48. So just sit for a second. 48. You're right, that's not a spring chicken. And not that 48 is old. I'm 51 and I certainly don't feel old, but it is absolutely later in life. And you don't have to be a collegiate athlete or you don't have to have run track in high school or something to enjoy different activities, different sports in these later years.

[00:34:56.300] – Coach Rachel

And the fact that she's done so well, especially in the triathlon as well as the swimming, is incredible. I mean, there's a lot of older athletes out there. There's something to be said for getting started a little later in life.

[00:35:10.850] – Coach Allan

I wouldn't call this an instructional manual. She puts in some little tidbits in there that would definitely help you as you're going through this process. She gives some really good tips, but the book is really a motivational tome. I mean, it's really built around, okay, here's what I did, here's what my struggles were, here's how I overcame them, and here's what I accomplished. And here's what I learned.

[00:35:37.970] – Coach Allan

If you're sitting on the couch and you're thinking, I really need to do something, this is probably a great book to get you thinking, wait, this woman just did that. And she's not that far removed from a similar couch,

[00:35:55.010] – Coach Rachel

For sure.

[00:35:55.740] – Coach Allan

And she had all this stuff happening, too. She had a career, she had a family. She had all the things that you think might be holding you back. She's making the time, and she's getting it done.

[00:36:08.820] – Coach Rachel

I think that's wonderful. I think a lot of people look at, like, the Olympic athletes. They're all young people. They're in their teens and 20s

[00:36:17.720] – Coach Allan

There are a lot now that are hanging around. Tom Brady is still playing football at 43.

[00:36:24.330] – Coach Rachel

I know. Yeah.

[00:36:25.880] – Coach Allan

Things are changing, and they are building a capacity, and they're keeping that capacity longer. And so those should be your inspirations to say, an 80 year old man is climbing Everest. I got no excuse.

[00:36:40.750] – Coach Rachel

For sure. But the second misconception, too, is that we're all Boston qualifying or Triathlon Kona attending athletes. And you guys spent some time discussing being in the back of the pack, and you can find so much strength as well as enjoyment in these sports without having to stand on a podium. It's not that we're out there to win. We're out there to accomplish something. And even if it's competing against ourselves, getting a PR, or just doing something we've never done before, there's so much excitement to that. And no, you do not have to be super fast, super strong, super anything. You just need to get out there and do it.

[00:37:26.140] – Coach Allan

Yeah. In a lot of those races, like the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon, they have lotteries. They allow a certain number of runners that don't qualify, wouldn't qualify, Back of the Packers, if you will. So if you have aspirations to say, well, I'd love to go to Boston and run the Boston Marathon, you can put your name in. Just put your name in. You never know.

[00:37:47.580] – Coach Allan

And as they get slots and they grant you a slot, then book your airline and go. Or just book your airline in the hopes that happens, and then just enjoy Boston during that time of the year.

[00:38:01.730] – Coach Allan

I think that's the core of it is just she has the right mindset to know where she is in the world and know that, okay, she's getting the joy out of just knowing that she's pushing herself to do something, and when she completes it, no one can take that away from her.

[00:38:20.030] – Coach Rachel

Absolutely. This is a great motivational book. It sounds like a good read.

[00:38:24.090] – Coach Allan

It is good. All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week then.

[00:38:28.140] – Coach Rachel

Sounds great. Take care.


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Another episode you may enjoy


September 27, 2022

How to get strong and lean with bodyweight training – Mark Lauren

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Arguably the #1 expert on getting super strong and fit using only bodyweight exercises, Mark Lauren puts it all together for training sessions that take 9 minutes. We talk about his new book, Strong and Lean: 9-minute daily workouts to build your best body—no equipment, anywhere, anytime.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:43.690] – Allan

Ras. Hello!

[00:02:46.410] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, how are you today?

[00:02:48.230] – Allan

I'm doing okay. Obviously we record this a couple of weeks ahead, so I'm actually in the United States while we're recording this, and I will be on my way when you're listening to this, I will either be back in Bocas or I'll be on my way back to Bocas. So I've been enjoying the oysters. I'm in a part of the country where that's the thing and so I've been eating the heck out of those and I've had a good bit of Brussels sprouts as well.

[00:03:15.410] – Rachel

Oh, good. Put it when you can.

[00:03:18.870] – Allan

Yeah, I'm doing what I can, but it's all good. I'm feeling pretty good. Rested. Time with families, some rest time. It's been good.

[00:03:28.500] – Rachel

Wonderful. That sounds great.

[00:03:30.520] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:03:32.410] – Rachel

Good. Now that we're back from our big trip, I've got time to catch up on things, and I just realized that it was two years ago, Allan, that I earned my personal training certificate through NASM, and you invited me to be a part of your podcast. So kind of celebrating a two year anniversary, and I'm really excited.

[00:03:50.130] – Allan

Good. Yeah, I saw the picture on Facebook, and so you obviously got that, and you've since gone on to get your runners coaching certification. And I'm sure there's a lot more ahead because, as you said in your post, we have to get our education, and as a result, it means spending the time, spending the money, investing in yourself to make this happen.

[00:04:14.270] – Rachel

It does. NASM has a couple of classes I'm interested in taking, but so does RRCA. They've got a level two class, and there's another running course that I'd like to take, which teaches us about endurance and ultras and those types of things. So pretty excited to get my name on the list to get on these classes.

[00:04:33.410] – Allan

Good. Enjoy that.

[00:04:34.780] – Rachel

Yeah, thanks.

[00:04:35.900] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Mark?

[00:04:37.880] – Rachel


[00:04:38.740] – Allan



[00:04:39.970] – Allan

Mark. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:42.630] – Mark

Hey, thanks for having me.

[00:04:44.070] – Allan

So your book is called Strong and Lean: Nine Minute Daily Workouts to Build Your Best Body. No Equipment, Anywhere, Anytime. And I have to say, in going through the workouts and what I know of some of the exercises because I've used them before, and some of them that as I was going through, of course, I got to get on the floor and try a couple of them out. This is a workout that you could start as a beginner, and it's a workout that will serve you even if you were the most advanced athlete. You're going to get a great workout, and it's just nine minutes, so it's really kind of fabulous.

[00:05:21.460] – Mark

Yeah. Thank you for that. Yes. Basically, I'm the author of the book You Are Your Own Gym the Bible of Body Weight Exercises, which published back in 2010 and sold a whole bunch of copies around the world, over a million. But the program in that book, I was just out of the special operations community when I wrote that book, and my understanding sort of a typical person's needs. I was totally not in touch, let's put it that way. And I was training guys to jump out of airplanes and scuba dive, et cetera. That program was I would say it was complex, and it was unnecessarily difficult. So over the next ten years, really, and I think this is always sort of like the learning progression. You figure out what's essential and what's not. Really, this program is a process of me sort of getting rid of all the unnecessary things and sort of distilling everything down to the bare minimum and the absolute essentials that get you the most for the least and making it as simple as possible and then of course, building in progression so you can continue to advance.

[00:06:25.990] – Allan


[00:06:27.130] – Allan

Now, one of the concepts that you got into early in the book which I was kind of fascinated by because it wasn't the way I've ever thought about it but once you got down that train of thought I was like Mark's absolutely right, is locomotion. Can you talk a little bit about locomotion and why that is fitness.

[00:06:47.830] – Mark

Right? So there's a couple of ways to describe it and the first way is when we work out what we're trying to achieve is the best possible overall gains. We're trying to get the best gains in overall performance. Right? And one of the problems with exercise a lot of times and I realized this long ago, especially as a special ops guy, etc. is that exercise, whatever it is that you do, you only get good at that thing. Like maybe you're lifting weights and you're getting stronger in the gym but in a lot of other ways you're getting less athletic. That tends to be a problem with a lot of different things. So I was really trying to figure out what is it that we actually need so that we can specifically focus on it and get the most benefit out of our training, out of our energy. And what I finally realized is the common denominator for all activities is locomotion. And then I think a really good example of the importance of locomotion can be seen in how infants and children learn to move. Right? It's all about locomotion. They begin in a backline position and then they begin to base.

[00:07:55.890] – Mark

The first thing they really learn is to stabilize their head which is spinal stabilization. Once they can stabilize their head they start doing arm and leg movements, right? So basically hip and joint movements start to develop and that's the simplest form of locomotion. That's basically single joint locomotion. So when I move my arm from one point to another point that's a form of locomotion. It's simple though, right? And then we start to combine those different hip and shoulder movements until eventually what do we have? We have a weight shift to one side or the other and that's the first example of rolling. Basically, now you have locomotion that involves your tire body moving and then let's say eventually you get to a frontline position and just some random combinations. You eventually learn to build up to a crawling position and now you have again a slightly more complex locomotion where you then learn to crawl, you then learn to build up. You learn to basically weight shift and take your first step so that you end up in a single kneeling position and then you eventually build up to a standing position. So the things that the athletic ability that we develop first in life is basically spinal stabilization, single joint movements, and then we learn the developmental movements, which is how to transition between lying, kneeling and standing positions.

[00:09:18.040] – Mark

And that's really where the foundation of athletic ability is developed. You need spinal stabilization and you have basically control of weight shifting. So then when you learn to walk or run or sprint, you have rhythmic side to side weight shifting through coordinated hip and shoulder movement and a little bit of rotation around the spine. And that's something that you use everywhere. Think about it. Like when you throw a punch or if you throw a ball, you have a lateral weight shift with coordinated hip and shoulder movement and rotation around the spine. And the examples of that are endless. So really, like if I'm trying to get you the best possible results in overall improvements of performance with the least amount of energy, it makes sense for me to design my exercise programs so that you improve the skills needed for locomotion.

[00:10:09.010] – Allan

Okay. Now a lot of us, when we think about exercise, it's typically going to be we're going to be doing weights of some sort in the weight room, in the gym maybe, or at home, or we're going to be running. Those are the kind of the two primary paradigms. When you say exercise, that's where most people's heads go. Why is that not the best way for us to approach this?

[00:10:31.450] – Mark

I think you can run and I think you can lift weights. I actually do both of those things. I think that you just have to have an understanding that you should do those things in a way so that you get the best possible overall results and you don't become too specialized. Right? So for example, there's a lot of guys at the gym with really big muscular bodies and they're really strong in the gym. But to be totally honest, if you were to take them on a long hike or for a short swim, they wouldn't make it, right? I think when it comes to truly fitness, which I define as preparedness, being fit just needs to be prepared. You're ready. And I would say fitness is about general preparedness. So when you do those things, you want to do them in a way so that you don't become worse at the thing that you need most, which is locomotion. So if you were to lift weights, combining it maybe with a little bit of running and walking especially would not be a bad idea. So really, I think you can do those things. They're not bad, and if you enjoy them, I tell people absolutely continue doing them.

[00:11:37.480] – Mark

But I think what we really need is we need an understanding of the fundamental athletic skills that you have to maintain in order to have a long, healthy, strong life. I think longevity depends largely on the strength of our foundation, which is made up of those fundamentals that I've mentioned. So you have to systematically train. You have to basically train your posture. And what does good posture means? It means basically being able to maintain a neutral spine, basically a long spine that's in the middle. You want to maintain all your joint functions, especially for your hips, spine, and shoulders. Right. You want to learn to move your arms and legs around a neutral spine and to be able to control weight shifting. And as long as you systematically develop those fundamentals, then really that lays really solve the foundation for you to do anything else, such as running, such as weight lifting. And that's what my nine minute programs do, so they're a great compliment in addition to being a standalone program.

[00:12:41.430] – Allan

Okay, now what do you think about machines then?

[00:12:44.530] – Mark

The problem with machines is really I talk, for example, about posture and weight shifting, right? Like weight shifting really is balance, but it's balance in motion, which is what we need. The problem with machines is, sure, you're training different joint functions, but a lot of times you're only training joint functions on the sagittal plane, which is basically forward, back, up and down movements. You don't have lateral movement, you don't have rotation, you don't have circumduction, which is making circles, and you have absolutely no need for balance or the ability to maintain a neutral spine while you're performing these functions. If you become really strong on these machines, but you're unable to maintain a neutral spine or good posture while you're exerting force, you're going to be more prone to injury, and your performance just will not be optimal, especially if you have poor posture in conjunction with the inability to control weight shift and basically poor balance and coordination. So there's a lot more to strength than just being able to exert force. There's fundamental athletic skills that we have to learn, and machines won't do that for you.

[00:13:51.740] – Allan

Yeah, and as you said earlier, if you practice something, you get good at it. So we get good at lifting on that particular machine that doesn't necessarily relate to real world strength.

[00:14:01.700] – Mark

I mean, that's exactly it. Adaptation tends to be pretty specific. That's why we have to be very clear about what it is that we're trying to develop.

[00:14:08.350] – Allan

Okay, now you've talked a little bit about posture, but let's dive in a little bit deeper. You sort of defined it, but let's redefine posture. And why is that so important to functional movement?

[00:14:20.490] – Mark

Okay, so first of all, posture mainly refers typically, it refers mainly to the alignment of your spine, right? And the spine is really that's your nervous system. I mean, it's not your actual nervous system. It's a part of your skeletal system that on which your nervous system depends. Right, so we have to protect our nervous system. Posture is the alignment of the spine and the place where so here's a good question. We talked about posture. We said that it's the alignment of the spine. And we often talk about good posture. And a lot of times we know that good posture tends to be when you're straight, right? Or your spine is relatively straight, it's neutral, meaning that it's in the middle. So why is the middle the right place for you to be? Right? That's the question. And the reason is that when you're not an flexion, you're not an extension, you're in the middle. That's where your safest. Because think about it, when you're at an extreme range of motion, like take any of your joints, if you're at an extreme end range of a joint's function, that's where you're most likely to get injured, right?

[00:15:33.510] – Mark

If you're in the middle, that's where you're safest because that's where you have the most room for error in the middle. It's a little bit like if you are standing way up on a little platform up in the air, where do you want to be standing on that little tiny platform? You want to be in the middle, right? So all these joints, you want them stacked on top of each other and neutrally aligned, meaning in the middle. So one, it's the safest. Two also is that the transfer of energy is going to be best when everything is neutrally aligned in the middle. When you have a long, straight, neutral spine, which you see typically for most sports, athletes do really well. They're doing that because it's safe and the transfer of energy is easiest like that. So it's about efficiency and safety, really.

[00:16:25.220] – Allan

Okay. Now, in the book you went into a little bit about motivation. Can you talk about your opinion about motivation? Because I think a lot of people get into working out and they just really struggle to keep after it when anything gets in their way and kind of bust their bubble. Can you talk about motivation?

[00:16:43.820] – Mark

Yes, motivation is so I don't get into cheerleading. And I think really the best way to motivate people is the way our behavior develops. It's about cost versus benefit. And when there's a behavior that is low cost, meaning low energy or low energy and low time, and the benefit of the reward is high in comparison to the cost, then that behavior tends to get repeated, right? And the reverse of that is also true. So if you have a high cost, certain behavior requires a lot of energy and a lot of time, and then there's a small reward, then the chance of that behavior continuing goes way, way down. And that's just simply understanding how we function as humans. And it makes a lot of sense. So I think one of the biggest problems in fitness is actually doing too much. And doing too much causes you to do too little, if that makes sense. Because in the beginning, in order for you to adapt and get results, you actually need very, very little because it's a new form of stimulus. So usually what we do is we go to the gym, we drive 20, 30 minutes.

[00:18:05.060] – Mark

Then you're using a bunch of machines doing strength training for, let's say, 30, 40 minutes. Then maybe you're doing some cardio and then you're driving home, let's call it an hour and a half, even if it's just an hour. So the cost there in time is pretty significant, especially if you're doing it three to five times a week. The cost of energy is super high. Right. And it's much more than you need. So there's a really high cost and time and energy. Then you're probably super sore for the next five days. We've all experienced that we did too much. Probably ten minutes would have been totally fine. So now the behavior was high cost, you're getting punished for it. And the results are not really they don't justify the cost. So the behavior tends to stop. That's a big part of the design of these nine minute exercise programs, actually, in the beginning of these nine minute so Strong and Lean comes with four six week cycles. And the nine minute workouts in the beginning, they start easy, actually. And you'll be surprised that in the beginning, you actually need very little to make good progress.

[00:19:13.310] – Mark

And doing more doesn't accelerate your progress. It just makes it less likely that you're going to stay consistent. So, again, the way this exercise program is designed is with an understanding of how we adapt and how we function.

[00:19:27.190] – Allan

Yeah. So let's dive in a little bit more into the program because a lot of aspects of it, one being nine minutes, I think that's something that just about anybody can free up nine minutes. Well, a little bit longer with a warm up and a cool down. But in general, we're talking less than a total of probably 15 minutes to be ready to get this done. And we're doing it like three times a week. Two or three times a week. Right. Can you just talk about the program and how it's put together and how people would progress through it?

[00:19:56.370] – Mark

Sure. So, like I said, the book has four six week cycles. In the first cycle, you're training just three times a week, monday, Wednesday, Friday. And the workouts require nothing but floor space. You're doing each 9 minute workout consists of three exercises that are repeated for three rounds. So basically, each exercise is allocated 1 minute. So you're doing three exercises for 1 minute each, which is three minutes, and then you're doing three rounds of that, which is nine minutes. But doing an exercise for a minute straight, like, let's take an example that everybody's familiar with. Like, to do a straight minute of pushups is actually very difficult. Right? So you could actually probably take some easy variation of the push up and then just do 40 seconds of it, rest 20 seconds, then do the next exercise for 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and so on. Right? And that's how the program structured, where there's a work interval and a rest interval and then it goes on to the next exercise. And as the weeks progress, the work duration increases and the rest intervals decrease. And those changes in intervals make a big difference. The first exercise is always a floor exercise designed to improve your posture, which will work your upper back, your core or your hips.

[00:21:21.320] – Mark

The second exercise is a mobility exercise. And then the third exercise is a standing exercise that improves your ability, basically standing movements that's going to be more your legs, your spinal erectors to work, weight shifting. As the cycles progress, you go from three times a week to four times a week and eventually five times a week. So the overall training volume increases. And additionally, starting in cycle three, we have nine minute circuits specifically designed for strength training. So they're a little less mobility based and more focused on strength. And those have a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise and a leg exercise where you have the option to also hold a weight and those get really tough. All these programs have progressions built into them and systematically cover all the fundamental athletic skills that you need to perform optimally and to develop a good strong body.

[00:22:21.500] – Allan

And what I like is after the first workout, the first workout, of course you have to introduce a whole bunch of exercises, but after that you really only roll in one kind of new thing at a time. So they're learning something new, they're doing something a little different. So there's some variety in there. But it's not overwhelming that there's 300 exercises that you're going to do all given to you and you're just trying to figure them out as you're doing them, you'll learn them, you'll get better at this stuff and then they start progressing. And I like how a lot of these are set up to progress. And then I guess the premise would be you go through the four six week cycles and then you can just go back and repeat week three, week four, and you can just make that a cycle that's going to give you some periodization and it's just going to allow you to continue to progress.

[00:23:09.730] – Mark

Right, exactly. So, yeah, just trying to make everything as simple and easy as possible, honestly, to get people the best possible results with the least amount of time and effort. So after the first workout, I never introduced more than one new exercise. But each new workout you'll get one tip on how to perform one of the exercises better. So there's gradual learning and introduction of new exercises. And at the end, if you complete all four six week cycles, then at the end of that book, we say that you can continue to repeat cycles three and four indefinitely. I have a subscription platform, mark lauren on Demand, which is a suite of apps for iOS, Android, Roku, et cetera. And there I actually have five cycles, and the training can continue there as well.

[00:23:53.780] – Allan

Okay, cool.

[00:23:55.750] – Allan

Like I said, it's really good. And the thing about it is the book has good demonstration pictures to show you the movements, and you're performing them as the guy. A lot of pictures. A lot of pictures there. And the descriptions of the movements are really good. One of the things that I kind of pride myself with is some of my clients are blind. And coaching a blind client that can't look at a picture, look at a video and describing the exercise, that's not an easy talent. But it's something you also seem to have with the way that you describe each of the movements in the book. So kudos for that.

[00:24:32.680] – Mark

Thank you. I really appreciate that.

[00:24:34.370] – Allan

Mark, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:24:42.490] – Mark

To stay well? So me being a fitness guy, I try to really clearly define everything. And I already said that I think fitness, it's about preparedness, it's about general preparedness. And I think general preparedness is really about the fundamentals. If you think about fitness as a whole, you could break it down into usually you hear three parts. You hear about food, nutrition, movement, and recovery, right? Those are the fundamentals of life. Like, if you don't have those, you will not survive. So I really think fitness is about doing those things really well. I think fitness is about doing the basic, most common things really well and continuing to learn how to do them better. And I think a big part of wellness and fitness is valuing and caring about the right things. And I think a lot of times, especially by marketing and our culture, were sort of seduced by shiny, complex things. But the real value, the things that really make us healthy and happy and fit and prepared are the basic, common, day to day things. And so my expertise is in the movement part of fitness. And again, there I think it's about the basics.

[00:25:54.850] – Mark

It's about basically those fundamental athletic skills that you learned earliest in life. I think it's my job to refine them, to clearly define what those things are so that we can improve them, refine them, and maintain them. Because think about it, what is it that you lose later in life? You start to lose your posture. Joint functions go away, and then our ability to control weight shifting goes away, and we start to fall, and we become insecure about getting up and down off the ground, like you're no longer able to get down and get up off the ground so easily. Right? So my fitness program, largely on the movement part of fitness and well being, is really about maintaining those basic fundamental skills that are always being used so you can move well into old age. And then if you want a strong, beautiful body that you have the joint alignment needed to basically be able to take the stress to build muscle and to burn all those calories. So, simply put out, I think it's about valuing fundamentals.

[00:26:55.810] – Allan

Thank you. So, Mark, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the programs and the book Strong and Lean, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:27:04.690] – Mark

marklauren.com has obviously all my information. I have instagram marklaurentraining. My book is available at any major bookseller and also Amazon.com. Yeah, I think it's the main places. marklauren.com, I have Facebook, Instagram, and I actually just started TikTok page a few days ago.

[00:27:27.050] – Mark

You got to do what you got to do.

[00:27:28.800] – Allan

You got to do what you got to do. Mark, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:27:31.990] – Mark

Hey, I really appreciate you having me on here.

Post Show/Recap

[00:27:43.170] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:27:44.670] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is yet another book I need to add to my bookshelf. I love nine minutes.

[00:27:51.710] – Allan

Yes, he is one of the fittest people I've seen in a long, long time. And he demonstrates all of the exercises in the book. And part of what I know is when you have a photographer taking pictures and you're doing it, you end up doing multiple, multiple reps. So you're doing the reps and you perhaps trying to hold yourself in some of the positions for the pictures so that you get a good image of the bottom position or the top position. So I know some of the work he did to just even do this book was just fantastic. So very fit guy. And body weight.

[00:28:31.020] – Rachel

That's great. And I love body weight. I know that it gets a bad rap and a lot of fitness circles, but body weight movements are so important. And I can tell you that they've helped me a ton with staying healthy and strong for running. So I can't say enough good things about it.

[00:28:47.080] – Allan

Yeah, I like moving heavy weights. But he's right when he starts talking about locomotion being one of the core components, strength and control, locomotion. And so the exercises he has in the book are not necessarily they're not power movements and they obviously don't require any equipment. But I can just tell you, you can get really strong. And the exercises he has in there are varied. So the first time he's adding a whole bunch of exercises and then it's like each training after that, he's just adding one new exercise. So you're not having to learn a whole bunch of exercises. What happens is through the course of doing the training, you're incorporating different movements. And so this is a cycle thing, basically a periodized process. And at the end, you'll have a very balanced program for full body strength and control. And you'll be locomotive. I mean, you'll be able to do a lot of things you can't do.

[00:29:53.360] – Rachel

Now, what I love about it is that one, it's simple. It's simple and it doesn't take that much time, but it delivers a big bang for the buck. And I think that's what we need in our lives, especially all of us that are really busy with other jobs and child responsibilities and school and work and all the things. I mean, nine minutes, or like you said, 15 with a warm up and a cool down. 15 minutes, that's not that hard to squeeze that into a day and get a big bang for the buck.

[00:30:22.150] – Allan

Yeah, if you can't squeeze 15 minutes, then you're not committed to this. This is just not going to happen. 15 minutes is nothing. Three times a week, that's 45 total minutes. You spend more time than that on the toilet.

[00:30:42.430] – Rachel

Social media and binge watching our favorite TV shows and whatever. Yeah, we could definitely.

[00:30:51.070] – Allan

This is a good way if you do feel that you're just so time strapped. And like, I can't work out because I'm 06:00 until 11:00 every single day. And I'm like, no, probably not every single day, but you can get in 15 minutes.

[00:31:05.590] – Rachel

And the other thing, too, it doesn't sound like he requires a lot of weights or bands or any equipment. So this is also something that can go with you. You're traveling right now. I was traveling a little while ago when we're not home or can't get to the gym or like up here in Michigan. I'll be snowed in pretty soon this winter and can't go anywhere. It would be great just to have some simple, quick body weight movements and it's enough to keep it going.

[00:31:31.300] – Allan

Yeah. And the investment in this book is a lot cheaper than buying yourself weight equipment and a stationary bike and all the other stuff that you would have. And because of the nature of what he's doing, it's not so hyper specialized like he was talking about, where you're just building strength in a range. So I have strong legs from doing squats and I have strong chest from doing presses. That's great. But some of the exercises he has are going at angles that you would never be able to accomplish on a bench. You're pulling and pushing in very different ways. So it's a lot more balanced than I think a lot of people can do if they're just going and doing the exercise. Particularly if you like the machines and you're spending all of your time on the machines.

[00:32:17.830] – Rachel

Well, it's interesting you mentioned that, too, because right after I listen to this podcast, I had to run up and buy some softener salts for a water softener in our house. The bags are 40 lbs. It's an awkward carry. So I'm doing the farmer's carry, trying to get them from my garage down to the basement. But you need that stability. You need that foundation of a strong posture, a strong back strong abs in order for my arms to dangle 40 pound bags of softener salt and not fall over, fall down the stairs. So it was just really timely that having that foundation of strength is a great place to start.

[00:32:55.790] – Allan

Yeah. Like I said, he's super fit. So don't think you're beyond what he's doing in this book, because I can tell you, you're not. Professional athletes would struggle with some of these movements at first until they learned them and got good at them and built the strength to hold themselves and have the right posture and do the things they needed to do. And so none of this is going to be easy. If you're doing it right, it's all going to challenge you and it's going to make you stronger and better.

[00:33:24.740] – Rachel

I love that. That sounds really exciting. This is in my Amazon box already.

[00:33:30.010] – Allan

Good. All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:33:34.000] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:33:35.550] – Allan

You, too.

[00:33:36.420] – Rachel

Thank you.


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