Having time to be excellent at work and spend time quality time with family is hard, throw in fitness and it can seem impossible. In his book, Everyday Athlete, Art Trapotsis shows us how to find that balance.
Let's Say Hello
[00:03:26.310] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are you doing?
[00:03:28.190] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:03:30.150] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I'm doing pretty good. Of course, I'm getting ready to get on an airplane to travel back to the United States for four weeks or so. It's about four weeks to spend time with family, and then I'm going to take an actual vacation. This one actually by myself in Mexico, so I'll be gone for about five weeks. Traveling around and seeing family and doing this and that. But I did drop the tough mudder. It wasn't in the cards for me this time, and I've accepted that. But that just means I could spend more time with my mother.
[00:04:05.890] – Rachel
[00:04:07.210] – Allan
[00:04:08.950] – Rachel
Great. Trade off. Perfect.
[00:04:11.290] – Allan
How about you?
[00:04:12.620] – Rachel
Good. Same thing. I'm actually getting ready to get on a hydroplane myself. That's how we're going to get to Isle Royal in about a week or so, and we'll have eight days on the island, so I will be unplugged for about eight weeks. I'm looking forward to that.
[00:04:28.060] – Allan
Yeah, that's going to be exciting. You just mentioned before we got on the call the weather is changing a bit, and so plans are changing, and it's kind of evolving thing as you get going and imagine even being on the ground, you kind of have to have that concept of we need to be able to pivot when it's time to pivot and roll when it's time to roll.
[00:04:48.250] – Rachel
You have to be flexible. Some of the days that we're going to be out there might have longer hikes than others. We have a limited food supply. We're packing in what food we have, packing out all the trash. So, yeah, you got to be flexible and be ready for weather changes, landscape changes, animal changes. We don't know what to do.
[00:05:09.720] – Allan
Just remember, you only have to be able to outrun Mike. You don't have to be able to outrun the bank.
[00:05:15.430] – Rachel
[00:05:18.070] – Allan
Although he probably still runs a little bit faster than you.
[00:05:20.450] – Rachel
He is he's very speedy,
[00:05:22.400] – Allan
but he's got more meat on his bones. Go get it
[00:05:25.930] – Rachel
right? Yeah. Just looking forward to it.
[00:05:28.910] – Allan
Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Art?
[00:05:31.190] – Rachel
[00:06:11.210] – Allan
Art, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:06:13.640] – Art
Thank you so much for having me, Allan.
[00:06:15.590] – Allan
So your book is called The Everyday Athlete: How to Balance Work, Family and Fitness for Life. And there's a lot to unravel in that title for a book, and we're going to do some of that today. But this is a big thing. It's really hard for me to explain because I know I'm a coach and so by the time someone is coming to me, they've already somewhat hot committed, if you will, to say, I'm going to do something for my fitness, I'm going to do something. And they're listening to 40 plus Fitness. So we're somewhat there. But the whole balancing thing, a lot of us missed that.
[00:07:01.190] – Art
Yeah, I initially thought that there were three sort of separate buckets with work, family and friends and then fitness. But one theme that kept emerging when I was doing research for this book and interviewing people was that without fitness, it's really hard to succeed in the other two areas and to feel balanced. So fitness is sort of interconnected with everything else that we do in life. And we can't just think of it as a silo that we put on hiatus when we're focusing on work or family.
[00:07:33.150] – Allan
Yeah, I actually did that when I was younger. I think we all, a lot of us, fall into this trap. We get into our late twenty s and thirty s and we're like, okay, I'm putting in the hours and I'm getting promoted at work. And so it's almost like the more I pour of myself into my job, the better my career goes. And now you're competing with everyone else at work and you're winning those competitions because you're putting in the time. And so I ended up at 37 years old, sitting on the beach in Mexico, by all accounts fully successful. I'm a vice president of a Fortune 500 company and my life is wonderful. Except I know I had fallen out of a volleyball game the day before I went to play sand volleyball and it was four on four, it wasn't even twos. And I played one game and I subbed out. And I'm thinking to myself, I never would have subbed out in my entire life. I would have been the last guy to sub out. I would have done it just to let people play. But I would not have subbed out because I needed to.
[00:08:39.310] – Allan
But I did. So the next morning I'm sitting on the beach and I'm like, why am I so pathetic? I've got all this great stuff at work, but I didn't have it at home. I didn't have it in my health and fitness. And so it really was that disconnective balance that I was so one sided. And I fought that for eight years. I'm like, how do I rebalance? And it took me eight years to figure it out. And for me, what it was was this idea that everything that I had been successful at in my life, I committed to. And the only way I was going to find balance was if I equally committed to all three things.
[00:09:18.470] – Art
Did you feel unbalanced during those eight years?
[00:09:21.210] – Allan
I did. But I kept trying. You know. It was like this Yoyo thing where it was like gravity almost and I kind of equate it to I don't know. I've seen movies where two planets are coming together and you got the gravity going one direction and the gravity going the other direction. And I would start getting pulled one direction. And then all of a sudden work would be there. I'd turn to face work and I'm back the gravity well, yes. And another year later, yeah, I got another promotion. I worked so much harder, and then I write back being spit back out, like, wow, that didn't work. I'm still not fulfilled. And so, yeah, it was a really hard thing to do because it meant breaking a lot of who I was down and saying, okay, why am I the way I am? And then it meant breaking up relationships, it meant cutting back at work, and it meant finding the time to do those things and really just figuring it all out.
[00:10:21.800] – Art
Yeah. So I was a competitive cyclist earlier in my life, and when I got a real job, went into the real world, got married, started to have a family, and became less competitive. But I noticed that there were quite a few folks in my circle of friends that were still remaining competitive with cycling, and I was wondering how they were doing it. So I started to interview some local masters athletes to put on my blog. And as I spoke to more and more people, I became really fascinated because I was like, oh, there's quite a few folks who sort of figured out how to manage all three aspects of their life. And I started to weave together some common themes and create this book, The Everyday Athlete. And one of the big things that came out of it was time management. I mean, just learning to be flexible and taking advantage of available time when you get it to sneak and exercise whenever you can, even if it's just a 30 minutes run or weight lifting session. It doesn't have to be some massive two to four hour endurance ride, which is sort of the norm if you're a cyclist or any endurance world.
[00:11:39.230] – Art
So that was one of the themes that came out of the time management piece.
[00:11:42.830] – Allan
and that was definitely part of it. And to me, again, it was about the committing to the fact that I had to have that balance or I wasn't going to be complete. And then from there, everything just sort of started falling in line because once you truly commit to something, you have to do it. You don't have a choice anymore. And I knew I was at that point, I knew I knew I was. You said something earlier, though, that I think is really important, and it was that if you don't have fitness, it's maybe even impossible to really be fulfilled or balanced in those other areas. And for me, the biggest part of that is what exercise does for us, and not just physically for our bodies. Because I think people know, okay, well, if I exercise and burn more calories, that makes weight loss or weight control a lot easier. But really the special sauce with exercise is what exercise does for the brain. Could you talk a little bit about why that's so important? Because, again, if it's going to make everything else better, I'd like to know why.
[00:12:45.000] – Art
Well, there's a lot of data to support that. The fact that fitness in your life creates a ripple effect. So you go out for a 30 minute walk at lunch during your work day. You come back and you feel a bit more productive, and there are chemicals associated your brain that sort of stimulates more engagement at work with whatever it is you're doing. In the book, I referenced a book called Spark which talks about they perform some studies with students who had a break or perform physical fitness during the day. And those students were better students over the course of the year because they were just more engaged and they've learned better. So I sort of extrapolated on that and took that into the workplace.
[00:13:34.430] – Allan
Yes, you actually have programs at your workplace that people can exercise and take time off. And you're really flexible with all that because you know as an employer actually pays you for them to be that way.
[00:13:49.590] – Art
Yes, we installed we moved to a new facility about three years ago, and one of the layout pieces was, okay, we need to put a gym in here to make it as easy as possible for people to get some exercise. So we've got showers, we've got a gym. We created a wellness program with monthly activities that are totally voluntary. Nothing is forced upon anybody, but they're pretty fun. Just in a couple of months ago, we had our annual walking challenge where if you have a Fitbit or an iPhone or something, recorded your steps and it became sort of a little bit competitive. But it also was kind of fun because now you see people going out at lunch and getting in their steps and walking with their colleagues and recording it on the weekends, and all those folks just seem a bit more engaged when they get back to the office.
[00:14:40.520] – Allan
Yes, sometimes a little bit of competition can really spark some interest and get people doing a little bit more. That's awesome. Now you hit a concept in the book that one, I know it's going to resonate with Rachel kind of big because this is something she does. But you titled the book Everyday Athlete. And so we're not just talking about the person who's competitive or thinking about going masters, Olympian or something. This is just the person that wants to be able to hike on the weekends like something beautiful. They want to be able to ride their bike, play tennis again, or just do things, be a great grandmother, just that awesome person that keeps up with grandchildren at the zoo. Can you talk about the value of calling yourself an athlete?
[00:15:29.220] – Art
Yeah, I think that there are so many hurdles in the way of folks finding a way to get the fitness in their life. And I think and I propose this in the book, that if you think of yourself as an athlete, you're training for a 5K or 10K or a marathon or something. And if you just started to think of yourself as an athlete, then you start to adjust your behaviors a little bit. Oh, I think I'll go to sleep a little bit earlier tonight. Maybe I won't have that extra piece of cake. But also it becomes just more ingrained in your daily life. You think about your whole day with your meetings and your eating schedule and sleep schedule, like, oh, there's also a component there that involves me getting some exercise, and I need to do that because I'm an athlete. And I think getting over that hump of thinking yourself an athlete can really just make fitness more ingrained in how you are as a person.
[00:16:25.860] – Allan
Yes. The way I really ramped myself up was that my daughter was a CrossFit coach, level one CrossFit coach. And so I was looking back at her, she's 20 years old, and I'm thinking, that was me at 20 years old, I was an athlete. And then I'm thinking to myself, well, why wouldn't I be thinking of myself as an athlete today? Why would I be a spectator in my daughter's life going forward? And I wasn't comfortable to retire the cleats, if you will not done. I wanted more. So I said, okay, I'm going to train to do a tough mudder, and I'm going to do it with my daughter. And by committing to doing it with my daughter, it went well beyond that. I didn't want to just do it. I wanted to not hold her back. I wanted her to be able to run her race, and I want to be able to keep up with her. And I wanted us to finish that thing together, and I didn't want to be wrecked doing it. It was, okay, well, I have something now that I'm training for. And when I started the training, it's like, well, okay, I do have to feed the machine.
[00:17:30.290] – Allan
My body is a tool to do what I want to do. And if I do the right maintenance with it and I do the right training, it will respond, and it will reward me with a beautiful experience with my daughter. And it did that whole concept of I went back to being an athlete, and there are times I'll tell you, I still struggle with that because I can't do it all the time. I can't be that athlete all the time. Even LeBron James, he has an off season. And so in the book you talked a little bit about off seasons. We're not going to play basketball every day all year. We're going to have off seasons. Can you talk about why having off seasons is important?
[00:18:10.310] – Art
Yeah, I mean, there's a concept called periodisation where over the course of a year you slowly build up and develop what we call sort of base fitness. And as you approach your event, if you have an event in your calendar, you might convert some of that base fitness into more intense workouts. So you're kind of building the pyramid and the top of the pyramid is your event day. And when you reach the top, there's always a necessity to take a break. And if you have, let's say, two events during the course of the year, you want to filter in some rest time. It could be a week or two weeks. But eventually as you get around to, let's say, the winter season, if you're a cyclist, you might want to consider taking off a full month and just sort of not stopping exercise, but scaling back the volume, the intensity. And then that also resets your brain. Okay, I don't have to be on every single day of the week or every week to get workouts in. I can back up a little bit and it recharges you for the next season. So you don't have to go hard all year long at some point.
[00:19:20.620] – Allan
And I think that's really important. There's a balance to that. Like I said, that's what this book is really about. If you know, it's like, okay, well, Christmas time and Thanksgiving time is when I'm going to be spending time with family. And I don't want to be spending even though I could, I don't want to spend 4 hours every day training and not be able to drive over the house until 02:00 because that's when my training runs going to be done. Everybody's going to be there at noon and here I come straightening up at 02:00. And that's not really cool. So I'm taking that off season and saying it's okay. It's okay to relax, it's okay to enjoy these other things. And then that recovery that refresh it's across not just your body but your brain and everything. You can go into your next season, your on season, and start really pushing for higher and higher goals.
[00:20:10.730] – Art
Yeah, it's okay to give yourself a break and be gentle with yourself. You don't have to drive yourself into the ground all year. So you mentioned the holiday season and for me, like, that's the time where I sort of push aside some of those longer training sessions and focus more on the family piece and spending time with family during the holiday period.
[00:20:33.480] – Allan
Yeah, and family of the three, to me that's the hard one. Now I don't know why work, for some reason or another, was like I said, that little black hole that just sucked me away from everything else in life. But once I got back to the family part and I see it a lot with my clients. Particularly those that are the caretakers. And particularly when we're in this sandwich kind of generation of where someone's were still taking care of our children while we're taking care of our parents and that pull on us to be there for our family all the time just seems to be something that can kind of really derail the fitness and even sometimes our careers. How do we get around the family? Not like break up with the family, but how do we make that work when the family has such a huge draw on us?
[00:21:28.130] – Art
I think it starts with communication and basically expressing to your significant other and to your family members, like what you value and what's your priority to you. So if getting in the run on the weekend is really important to you, then you don't sit down and say, hey, honey, I want to go out and do a huge ride this weekend. I'll see you later. It's more like, hey, what does the family want to accomplish this weekend? We have some commitments here, some chores here. Can we carve out a little bit of time for me to go off for a run? And I think having that communication is so important because if it's not there, then the other department will always feel some sort of resentment or you're leaving them hanging with the rest of the family activities to organize and create. So the communication is like the first piece and there's a lot of little things we can do to improve communication, like having a family calendar and sort of sitting down and saying what I just said, where you look at the weekend, what do you want to accomplish and what do you want to do for fun and do you want to have the family dinner?
[00:22:39.590] – Art
So that is a really important piece in our household.
[00:22:43.170] – Allan
Yes. I think the way you put it in the book was really great was that you had little kids. This is not like you're talking about just send the teams off to spend time with their friends and you go do your run. This was okay. We've got little kids. One of them has got to go to this practice. One of them has got this game. And so it's like, okay, based on the times available, I'm going to have to get up and from six to nine I'm going to go do my ride or my run and get that done. So then I'm done and then I can take this one to the game. And then while we're at the game, you can take and do your run and then we meet back. And now we're together as a family having our dinner. And we made everything happen that needed to happen and we had the balance between us and the conversations between us and the trust that, yeah, she's going to follow through, I'm going to follow through because it's not just, I'm going to get my running. It's like, you know, I think I'm going to go play some golf with the guys.
[00:23:39.640] – Allan
I got a call. No, we commit. We do the right thing. And that communication and trust means that they're willing to give because you're willing to give. And in the end, if you're not taking care of yourself, then you're not really going to be 100% for your family. As we mentioned earlier, how key fitness is to all the other dynamics.
[00:24:00.120] – Art
And sometimes it isn't even about the other person. Let's say also going out for a run or getting in some fitness. It could be done wanting to disconnect by doing some gardening or meeting up with some friends for coffee. It's whatever it is that your significant other things of is like, disconnecting and re-energizing them. So I think it's just having a respect for whatever your partner feels like they need to do to stay balanced.
[00:24:28.290] – Allan
Yeah, my wife would be the I'm going to go spend some time with my friends kind of person. She's not going for a run, but I totally get you there. But yeah, we're different people, and we have different needs, and with the respect we have for each other, that we just we make it work. But I don't have the little kids. It's just the two of us, and our only little kid is Lula's, our bed and breakfast.
[00:24:51.590] – Art
Well, I'm just checking in that your partner has some time carved out for themselves, like, oh, do you need some time to disconnect and do what you would like to do?
[00:25:03.670] – Allan
Yeah. All right. It does. Understanding that and as I said before, I didn't have that balance, and I didn't have that skill because I think the communication between a significant other is a huge skill that a lot of us go into marriage without really ever having. We go into relationships without really having and or practicing. And once you kind of practice that skill, it's very powerful.
[00:25:29.530] – Art
Developing the emotional IQ.
[00:25:32.510] – Allan
That's it. Yeah, that's the word right there. Now, one thing I always recommend, and a lot of other people recommend, is do something you enjoy. So if your fitness doesn't have to be, okay, I got to get you in the gym, I've got to do three sets of eight on that leg press, and then we're going to move over to this machine, and we're going to do three sets, eight. For a lot of people, that's intimidating, scary, and they're not going to enjoy it. And if they're not going to enjoy it unless I'm there asking them to do the next set, they're not going to do it. So a lot of people encourage, just do something, enjoy. So it's like, take a group class, take a Zumba, go out and join a running club or a walking club or a biking club. Why is this group training? Why is that so valuable? What's the draw? And why are so many people interested? And why is it so much more fun, I guess would be the question is what are all these values that group classes do that we wouldn't do ourselves?
[00:26:30.170] – Art
Well, part of it has to do with the motivation piece. Sometimes it's just really challenging for you to get your own butt off the couch and then to go out and do that ride. But if you know that there's five or six people waiting on the coffee shop for you to also go for that ride, then it just gets you a little bit more of an edge to get out there and do that. And in our area where I live in our neighborhood, we have weekly group rides. There's something going on every day of the week and it's super motivating because, you know, on Monday, if it's a recovery day, there's a recovery ride. The folks around here are called the Muffin Ride because it meets up at a coffee shop after the Muffins. And I think that that's got a lot of folks in our area off the couch and motivated. And many of them have events on the calendar now where they're doing centuries 100 miles rides. And these are folks who were not engaged that level of athletic fitness just a few years ago. So the group ride or whatever group activities you want to do, it goes a long way from foundation.
[00:27:38.040] – Allan
Now, a lot of people will look at that and they'll say, oh, well, I'm going to go try to ride with people that are doing 100 miles races and more. And it's like, well, I physically can't do that right now, so if we're going to go do a training ride, see you, they're going to leave me in the dust. But you also mentioned a concept that you call the no drop mentality. And so occasionally some of the groups that you train with will use this or have this. Can you talk about what that is and how that could help someone who's maybe just a little intimidated to get started?
[00:28:12.450] – Art
Yes, the no drop ride. So when you get dropped on a ride, it means that you've fallen off the back of the group and basically have been left for dead and no one's waiting you and you're riding by yourself. So there's number rise throughout the week or the month where we announced a no drop ride. Words basically at the top of the hill, we'll wait for everyone to gather and you never felt like you're left behind. There's always someone looking out for you and it's at a pace that usually everybody can hold and it really lowers the barrier to entry because it's like, okay, let me show up as a no drop ride. I know I'm going to make it all the way home on this 25 to 30 miles loop, and I'm not going to be left to figure out how to get home. So with that, we've actually drawn in quite a few newbie cyclists and they've loved it. And over the years they've gotten better and they've gone on to some of the harder group rides that become very competitive. But I love the no drop rides. My favorite one to do, especially on Sundays.
[00:29:14.970] – Allan
Yeah, the concept, to me, it's two sided and the two sides, this one is as a group, I think it's just really great that you're having this inclusivity of saying we want to introduce more people to the sport, to this thing. And the way we do it is by making them feel more comfortable and more included. And I can tell you, in a gym environment, a lot of people feel intimidated. They walk in there and they see the big guys over by the free weights. They're kind of like, I'll just hang out over here by the treadmill, don't mind me. But the reality is a gym environment, most gym environments are no drop mentalities. The guys you see over there are those heavy weights. They're happy to see you there. They won't walk over and tell you and welcome you, but they're glad to see you there because by you paying a gym membership, you're helping pay for that equipment they're using too. And so most gyms are going to have a no drop mentality. They're not going to let you fail just and laugh at you. They're not going to do that. They want you to be successful.
[00:30:13.640] – Allan
They want you to be long term gym members just like them. And eventually you might be over in those free weight areas and they'll be glad to help you in any way they can. But then there's the other side of this equation, and that's the mindset that you bring to the game. I know if I got into a ride, I'm not keeping up with you. There's no way. And I don't mean that as a slight. What I mean is I can't lose my battle, my sport, by competing with you. I'm competing with myself at this point in my life. And so my comparison is to Allan yesterday. I want to be as good or better than the Allan I was yesterday. And it's not just in sports, it's just not fitness. It's family, it's work, it's everything else. What am I doing today to be better tomorrow? And so I think if you look at a no drop mentality, not only is important if a group has it and makes you feel comfortable, it's kind of building in yourself that I don't actually care if I get dropped. I'm not comparing myself to the best riders in this group.
[00:31:24.200] – Allan
And if I do get left behind, then I'll figure it out. But I'm going to come back and I'm going to get better and so at some point, I might be that good, but I'm not going to compare myself to them. I'm going to compare myself to who I was yesterday.
[00:31:38.690] – Art
There are so many folks that I've ridden with and went running with, and I was involved with triathlon over the years that started off very intimidated. Didn't want to put the spandex on the Lycra, but.
[00:31:57.390] – Allan
It just shows how great you look. Maybe you don't feel like you do. Yeah.
[00:32:03.160] – Art
No, but I think it takes someone to say, here, let's go for a short ride on the bike path. That's just get you comfortable on the bike or the run or even a swim. And then, hey, let's show up on the 20 miles no drop ride this weekend, and we'll go together. And over time and I've been doing this now for over 25 years, many of these folks are much stronger than I am now. And they just developed it's like their inner competitive cyclists came out, and now they're phenomenal athletes. So it's been a pretty fun process to do that.
[00:32:42.410] – Allan
Well, as we said earlier, I think everybody has an athlete in them. Our human body was built to be athletic, to hunt, to fish, to forage, to move, to play. We were built for this. And so it's there. It's just a function of bringing it out. And it starts with the mindset, it starts with the doing. And if you can find these groups and find the way to do the training where you feel comfortable, but then you push that comfort zone, then you get better. And I think that's one of the keys. And what I really liked about your book was it just kind of pulled that altogether to say, if you want this balance, it's within your grasp. And it's not just a concept of having it all, which I think is what a lot of people think balance is, but it's the understanding, the compensation with all of them to fit them together in a way that fits your lifestyle.
[00:33:38.130] – Art
Yeah. And also that it's a journey. You're not going to have balance every single day of the week. It's something that we're always moving towards. And even the folks that you think have life completely dialed in, they don't. They're always trying to figure it out.
[00:33:56.350] – Allan
But they're instagram famous.
[00:33:59.310] – Art
Exactly. So we're all in the same boat. I've interviewed over 100 folks through this book of all walks of life. And every single person I interviewed, no matter how successful they appear on the outside, or how successful they appear as far as athletic prowess, everyone struggles. Everyone. So I think if we can keep the fitness piece in our life, as we grow our families and build our careers, it will make us at least feel like we have life in check. And that's what my proposal is in the book.
[00:34:38.380] – Allan
Yeah. And I would say, being over 40, if you can reintroduce fitness into your life, it's going to enhance those other things just as well.
[00:34:48.730] – Art
I totally agree. There's quite a few folks who were competitive in high school, or maybe not even competitive. They just did some sort of sport in high school. Maybe they played in college. And then there was nothingness in their late 20s or even into their 30s. And then they feel like, okay, I need to get back into doing something. And when they do that, it's like a switch turns on and the rest of their life starts to fall in place.
[00:35:19.210] – Allan
And it's not even that you are an athlete when you were younger. Because I remember I was 29 when I ran an ultra 50 miles ultra. And I was standing in the morning meeting, and they have these briefing the day before briefing. And so we're sitting in the briefing room and I'm standing next to this really old guy. I mean, at the time I'm looking, I'm like, okay, he's ancient. He was 68 years old. So we started talking and I started looking around. I'm like, everybody here is way older than me. And like, what's going on? What bizarre world am I in? And he said, he says most people don't actually even ever start running until they're in their 40s. Most ultra athletes were not really necessarily even athletes when they were younger. They got into their forty s and running was a way for them to destress and get in shape. And then they just kept adding miles. And here we are lining up tomorrow for a 50 mile run. And I just thought that was so compelling. And then you see the results of the run. It was a twelve hour cut off.
[00:36:24.710] – Allan
There were 28 of us that started the run. I think 18 of us finished. And the guy who came in first was 29, and I was 29, and I came in next to last. And then when I finished, they're on the radio and there's one guy left and like, is he going to make cut off? They're like, it's going to be close. And then they said his name. And I'm like, that's that 68 year old guy. I was standing next to a briefing yesterday. So I'm standing at the finish line watching this guy finish this race. And so this is a guy who didn't start running until he was in his forty s. And here he is competing with himself, but competing in the 50 mile run. And he finished it just under time. And so at that point, I knew anything is possible. You can come back at any age and you can do this at any time. So it's not that you had to be an athlete. The athletes there, it's always been there. And it's just a function of pulling it out and using it now, using your fitness, because it's going to enhance everything.
[00:37:27.550] – Art
Well, one thing that I'm glad you just told that story. Because one thing that resonated with me in one of my first triathlons, I was maybe around 25 years old and there's a couple of older categories that started in a way behind us, about ten minutes behind us. And in any triathlon usually put your age on the cap. So with a marker you can see the age of the person. So here I am in the final leg of 5K, 25 years old and I'm going to a pretty good clip, maybe like a six minute mile pace or something. And up comes behind me is this gentleman and he's fast and he's blown by me. And I look at his cap, it says the number 47. I'm now 47. I see his number 47. I was like oh wow. He actually started like eight or ten minutes behind me. And the thing that resonated with me was when we got to the finish line, his wife was there and two of his kids were there. And I just thought this is amazing. And that's what really motivated me over all this time, my career and family, that you can keep doing this, you can keep doing it, still be competitive and have the whole thing.
[00:38:46.520] – Art
So that resonate me. And I just love that you kick my butt there.
[00:38:52.390] – Allan
Good, good. And hopefully he's still running, but hopefully he's still doing that.
[00:38:56.700] – Allan
Art, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:39:04.890] – Art
That's a great question. So number one, I think consistency, try to do something multiple times a week. I'm going to say at least five times a week. That's one thing. Number two, I'm gonna say this now because I have a lot more years of experience on my belt. Sleep. Sleep is so important because then you're ready to go the next day 100%. The third thing is having the ability to disconnect. And when I say disconnect, just disconnect from work, disconnect from your phone and just letting your mind sort of recharge. And you can do that in a form of meditation, reading a book. But I think that's really important to just overall wellness.
[00:39:53.410] – Allan
Thank you. I love those. Thank you. Art, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about your book Everyday Athlete, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:40:03.370] – Art
[00:40:15.490] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/553 and I'll have a link there for that book and for your website. So thank you Art. Thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:40:26.600] – Art
Thank you so much, Allan. It's a lot of fun.
[00:40:36.350] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:40:37.990] – Rachel
Hey Allan. Art I think might be my new best friend. There's so many great things in your interview but the first thing I wanted to mention was a quote and I don't know if I got it exactly right in my notes, but I believe the quote was, without fitness, it's hard to succeed in the other areas of life. And I just wanted to take a minute to recognize how important it is to be healthy and to be fit in your day to day life. It's so important.
[00:41:07.130] – Allan
Yeah. I missed this myself. I got well into my career and I was in a sedentary job, so I had all the fitness I needed to be an accountant, but I didn't have the fitness to be the other things that I wanted to be in my life. And so as my health was declining, I recognize that my performance was going to decline during the longer days. And sitting at the desk all those days and all that, I was not at peak. I mean, I was doing enough, and it was enough to be where I was. But I think about what all the other things I could have accomplished in my life if I had the energy and the stamina and the capacity to do those other things, and I didn't, but I didn't even recognize it. It's kind of one of those things that you're sitting in this water and you don't really recognize the temperature of the water. I'm not going to say what that comes from, because people get mad every time I say it. No, I don't do that. But the whole point being is we lose sight of our own surroundings because we're so in it.
[00:42:19.230] – Allan
And so if you find yourself not thinking outside of your environment, you might think what's going through is normal. This is just what we all normally hurt. We all normally can't do things we all normally break, and that's not true. There's a big variation of the aging curve, and we get to make some decisions, and we get to make those decisions each day. But yeah, we won't perform as well if we don't take the time to train and get our body as strong as we can get it.
[00:42:51.100] – Speaker 3
Well, that's a really good point right there, Allan, is that when we're young, we have used on our side, and it seems like, being that I'm 51, I can look back and say that the younger people, including my younger self, we had energy to spare, we had some level of fitness to spare, and then as we age, that level of energy is not the same. I would always say if I could bottle the energy my kids had, I would make millions. But the fact is that as we age, things happen. And you guys discuss too, the balance, having balance between work and family life and fitness. If you think of those three things, those three major concepts, family, work and your health and fitness, it is hard to be an expert at everything all at the same time. But there comes a day where you really do have to focus on that health and fitness level, because if you're not healthy, it makes everything so much harder. Work becomes harder. Running around with your kids or grandkids is immensely harder, and then you're missing out on some really wonderful activities.
[00:44:02.580] – Allan
Yeah, it's really important.
[00:44:05.310] – Rachel
But the other thing, the reason why I really do love Art, and you mentioned it as you were talking, is that, yes, I do love calling my clients athletes. I love to think of myself as an athlete, even though I am not Olympic level. I'm not contention for anything super like an elite or professional athlete. But when you do think of yourself as an athlete, your perspective on everything changes. When I go out for a run in the morning, if I don't get enough sleep, I don't have quite as much fun in my run, or I can't go quite as far as I want. And if I'm training for a race, sleep becomes even more important. And the same thing is with my food. If I eat poorly over the weekend, I can't have my long run. It's just I don't do it quite as well, and it's not as enjoyable. So once you start thinking of yourself as an athlete, things do change.
[00:44:55.850] – Allan
Yeah. I spent so much of my early life kind of doing the flip flop of use the word early on when we were talking, before we came on as academic, thinking of yourself as an academic, or thinking yourself of this, and you tend to get this tunnel focus. At least I did. And so it was like, yeah, when I left high school when I was in high school, I was an athlete. That's all I thought of. I didn't think of high school as even an academic pursuit. It was something I had to do to be on the football field, the track, the tennis court. I did those things, but I was an athlete. That's why I was in high school. And then I got into junior college, and it was like, okay, well, now I have to be an academic, and I have to just be an academic. And so I was so focused on the academics that when I then had to make a pivot in my life, it was like, I've been working so hard in one area, I didn't want to do that anymore, and I pivoted all the way back to athletics.
[00:45:58.980] – Allan
In fact, the reason I went infantry in the military was they showed all these videos of all the things I was capable of doing. And when I passed the Azab, the score, my recruiter said, do anything. You can literally do anything in the army you want to do. And so I just told him, I said, Drop everything that says engineer, mechanic, anybody that fixes or does anything with their brain. Just turn that one off. They came up with field medic, arterial surveyor, which was math, and then infantry, and they showed the infantry guys, and they're all just running around all the time. And I'm like, that's what I want to do. For two years, quite literally, it was signing up and just saying, what can I do for two years to earn some money for college? And I did two years of infantry. And I'm not going to say it didn't use my brain power, but it didn't use it to the power of thinking of academics. It was, I'm learning everything I can about this field of study, which is how to kill people, but physically I was focused on being the brood, being the most physical person I could be.
[00:47:14.850] – Allan
And then I left out and went back to college. And in college, it was probably the only time I felt like I had balance because I was except for family, because I was got married and so I was basically at college lifting and then work, and there's rinse and repeat every day and there was no other time. So quite literally, yeah, I was taking a full load, working full time and getting in the gym 2 hours every day. That was my entire life. And so I've never until about now been in a position where I've said, okay, I can manage to balance. And so I understand the challenge of all of this. I'm fortunate now that the kids aren't home. So there's not that. There's my wife, my dogs. They are my home and my family right now. And then I'm going to go visit family. I'm beginning the research of where the gyms and all the towns that I'm going to be at. I know there's a YMCA in my mother's town, and it's like $5 a day to work out there. Maybe cheaper if I pay by the weeks off the sea. At least it was the last time I was able to work out.
[00:48:28.100] – Allan
The last couple of times I've been there, it was closed because of covid, but that's kind of where I'm looking at, what can I do to keep my fitness on track? And I'm realizing cardio might be a better option for me during this next month. I'll just have to look at it. But I'm more in a position now to have balance than I ever have been in my entire life. That's where I'm at. And not everybody can do that. But the closer you are to balance, the better all of this fits together so that you don't feel like you're losing anything, you don't feel like you're giving anything. It is a compromise and there are going to be points in time. As Art said, when you're training for something or there's a family thing or there's something going on at work, that you need to focus on a project, but you need to think about the after the project or after the thing, because you got to get back to more of that balance. And if you don't do that audit, that self audit, it's very easy to lose sight and find yourself again, very one sided.
[00:49:34.010] – Allan
I know I have a tendency toward that, so I'm going to spend a lot of time with family. For me, also, being an introvert, that energy is energy spent, but I still need to be able to focus on clients and focus on my health. And I know what's going to happen as soon as I come back to this island, my being a lone, fitness, going on long walks thing is going to happen.
[00:49:59.350] – Rachel
[00:49:59.850] – Allan
So I'm going to need that. So just looking at how I'm going to maintain balance, particularly during these changes, is really important. I think that's kind of a message I took away from that, for sure.
[00:50:10.170] – Rachel
And I think part of having that balance or finding that balance is also being flexible. I know that when my kids were younger, I would get them up for school, go do a quick run, make sure they got on the bus, and then I could finish the rest of my day. And just like you said, now that my kids are college age, I don't need to worry about whether or not they get on the bus. I can schedule my runs at any time. When you travel, you're going to find some time to do walks in the morning and enjoy the cities that you get to visit. And it's a lot of change, but you could still make that a priority wherever you are in life and whatever responsibilities you have, and it is really important to focus on that, because I like to tell my clients this, too. You can't pour from an empty cup. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people. And so if that means a quick ten minute walk or a ten minute run in the morning, you're going to feel energized, and you're going to feel a little less stressed and a little more happy, and you'll be able to be more patient as a parent or with a loved one.
[00:51:16.220] – Rachel
So it's just really important that you are flexible and try and squeeze in whatever fitness you can whenever you can.
[00:51:23.050] – Allan
[00:51:24.250] – Rachel
[00:51:24.840] – Allan
All right, well, since Rachel and I will both be traveling this next week, and she won't be able to carry the recording gear in her equipment because she just doesn't care that much weight, and she also wouldn't be able to connect to Zoom, there's probably that as well. But we're not going to be recording hello sections for the next two episodes. We're actually going to record our after show sections right now, so there's no reason for us to say three hellos when it's the same day, it's ten minutes apart. So I just realized we will skip the hello sections in the next two episodes, but we are going to record our afterthoughts for each of those two episodes in just a few minutes. So, Rachel, I'll talk to you in a few minutes, but everyone else, I will talk to you next week.
[00:52:12.450] – Rachel
[00:52:13.460] – Allan
You too. Bye.
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