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October 3, 2023

Getting fit and feeling good for a lifetime with Robin Long

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On episode 610 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Robin Long and discuss her book, Well to the Core: A Realistic, Guilt-Free Approach to Getting Fit and Feeling Good for a Lifetime.


Let's Say Hello

Since Coach Allan is on vacation, there won't be a Hello Section today. We'll return next week.


[00:03:14.270] – Allan

Robin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:17.160] – Robin

Thank you. I'm excited to be here.

[00:03:19.570] – Allan

I am, too, because your book is called, Well to the Core: a Realistic Guilt Free Approach to Getting Fit and Feeling Good for a Lifetime. And what I knew about you was that you were basically heavy into Pilates. You teach Pilates, and that's your thing. And then I got into the book, and I'm like, this is not a Pilates book. I was just expecting to see a bunch of pictures of you in different poses all the way through the book. There are a lot of pictures. It's a beautiful book, but with your kids especially, I thought that was just awesome. I love when family stuff, and it's just you showing the joy of what you do and what you live. I really enjoyed that. But this was not so much of a workout book, although there were QR codes to help you find a little free workout that you could go do. 14 15 minutes, boom. And you've done your first Pilates workout, which is pretty awesome. But this was a true core health book. This is a way you get yourself well. And I really appreciated that you shared a lot of yourself and a lot of how you view these things, because this didn't just happen.

[00:04:25.570] – Allan

You didn't just wake up one day at 21 years old and say, boom, I'm a Pilates instructor and I know how to live. These are life lessons that you've personally gone through, and now you've coached thousands of women, and this is things that you've helped them through, and you've pulled all those lessons and put it into the book in a very easy to absorb format. So I really appreciate that.

[00:04:46.090] – Robin

Thank you. And you're right. I think a lot of people were expecting a Pilates book since I've been a Pilates instructor for more than a decade. But I know that you share similar passion and understanding through working with clients of just how the format and the method of exercise is one component of wellness. But there's really so much more than goes into how to actually live well and be well and so similar to you. I knew that that is really where you have to focus and start before you can see any real change.

[00:05:18.060] – Allan

Yeah. And fitness can be an anchor for many people because they start recognizing, well, if I sleep better, I train better, when I train better, I look better. If I eat better, I have more energy, and I train better, and I look better and I feel better, and when I feel better, then therefore everything else in my life just sort of starts falling in line. So for a lot of people, there is kind of that first domino or that thing that they fall in love with and they have passion for. And for a lot of women, pilates is that thing. It can be that thing. Can you tell us a little bit about what Pilates is, the practice itself, and why it's valuable for us?

[00:05:58.690] – Robin

Yes. And it really was that thing for me, actually. So I had been working out for years. I was an athlete growing up. I was a dancer growing up. I always loved physical fitness and activities. However, it was always tied to esthetics, really. As I got older and I got out of sports, it was like, I need to work out because I don't want to gain weight or I want to lose weight. And it was pretty much as narrow as that for me. It wasn't until I found pilates that I recognized a completely different and experienced a completely different relationship with movement and my body. And I like to think it kind of started reprogramming my relationship with exercise. For me, that was pilates. For many people, it might be something else. It might be running or weightlifting or cycling. It could be any number of things. But Pilates is really unique in that it's a mind body form of exercise. So we hear mind body form of exercise. Sometimes it's a buzz word. What does it really mean? It means that it is an exercise form that requires you to be incredibly present in your time on the mat, and you are frequently connecting your mind to your body.

[00:07:14.780] – Robin

So when you're on the mat, you're not zoning out. You're not thinking about your to do list for the next day. You're not just listening to a podcast or headphones. There's a time and a place for that. But Pilates is a place where when I'm guiding you through a workout, you are thinking, what does my lower back feel like right now? Am I engaged in my core? How much can I lengthen my left leg out to feel that extension? Can I lift a little higher in my chest? Can I switch this? Like you are very present with your mind and your body. And for me, and for many people, that can be an incredibly transformative experience, because you connect to your body maybe in a way that you never have before. A lot of people go through life actually being pretty disembodied or not having a very strong connection to their body, and we could talk a little bit about that. Or they have a negative relationship with their body or exercise, and it's a constant kind of overriding your body, or being annoyed with your body or frustrated with your body. And that was me.

[00:08:11.940] – Robin

I was pretty frustrated with my body all the time. I had really poor body image. I was constantly trying to change myself. I just was never happy with how I looked, or my inner critic was really loud, and it really ran the show. And so exercise before Pilates, for me, was like, I need to burn more calories. I've got to get my waist smaller. I've got to burn off what I ate last night. It was just this sort of negative thought loop, which puts a negative connotation with exercise. So when I found Pilates, it allowed me to rebuild a new connection of, like, wow, this feels like I'm recognizing how I feel in my body. I was dealing with really bad back pain and really bad shoulder and neck tension as well as really debilitating anxiety. At the time I found Pilates, I also found that the benefit of taking that time to connect with my body while also building strength, while also stretching and getting my mobility improved. Oh my gosh. My neck pain started going away, my back pain lessened, my energy was up. I didn't have that same feeling of being exhausted after a workout.

[00:09:20.220] – Robin

I actually felt more energized to go into my day. So it was a big shifting point for me. And I think a lot of people have a misconception about Pilates, that it's just stretching or it's a relaxing form of exercise. While it is mindful, it is a great workout and it is a great way to build functional strength. And so I think it's great for everyone to consider how it could fit into their fitness routine.

[00:09:44.750] – Allan

Yeah, well, I could just tell you, when one of my clients is doing the bird dog, they are present. They are 100% present with where they are right there, and they are not thinking this is just an easy stretching routine. This is building core strength where it matters most. A lot of these movements are very challenging. It's something you're going to have to work towards because it's not just something that's inherently natural to people to start with, but anybody can do it.

[00:10:11.010] – Robin

Yeah, absolutely. I used to work in a gym and it was a glass studio, and I used to love when people would walk by and then they would say, that looks relaxing. And I'd say, come join me for my next class. And they would experience a different kind of challenge because it is not strenuous in the sense that it doesn't put as much strain on your joints as some form of exercise. It's a great low impact form of exercise, especially for people who need to make that adjustment in their life due to stressful circumstances or joint concerns and things like that. But it calls your entire body into action and really focuses on the core, but as well as some smaller accessory muscles that you may not target as effectively in other repetitive forms of exercise. Even I think of I work with a lot of runners or cyclists who we tend to build certain muscle groups that support that activity. So Pilates is a great way to make sure you're balancing out the rest of your body so you can go do those other activities without injury or pain.

[00:11:13.830] – Allan

One of the things I like about it is pretty much all you need are comfortable clothes and maybe a mat. You can do a workout right in your living room or bedroom or hotel room or wherever you are. You can get that you don't have to invest in a ton of equipment, although there are pieces of equipment that you can utilize in your practice.

[00:11:33.050] – Robin

Yeah, I think that's a big misconception for some people. So I'm so glad you brought that up. A lot of people think you do have to be in a studio with the reformer or these contraptions that you see, but you don't. You can do mat Pilates, and that is the foundation of the practice. And like you said, I always say you can do it with a mat. You can do it in a hotel room. I used to do my Pilates in my bathroom for years because it was the only place that I could get a little separation from my four little kids and lock the door. And you can do it. So I think that's important for everyone to know.

[00:12:07.530] – Allan

Yeah. And it's a type of workout that's not a no pain, no gain thing. It's something you build up to, and you build the practice. You get stronger, you get more mobile, and you build balance. A lot of it's about balance as well. So it's a good exercise across multiple modalities. It's not going to be cardiovascularly challenging or anything like that, but this is more about balance and strength and all those things that you're building. And again, the fact that you can do it just about anywhere with just a mat or maybe even without a mat, if you're so inclined, if get soft carpet, you could probably do it there. But you don't have to have that big investment, which I think makes it a very good practice to do. And it's not that you even have to do the whole workouts. It's just you find certain things that are serving you, and you can kind of incorporate those movements. I actually can watching some of the workouts that you had, there's just a QR code in the book. You just hit it, and then there it is, the videos right there, which I thought was great.

[00:13:08.010] – Allan

I already used some of those movements with my clients. They're already doing some of those. And I'm like, okay, well, I never would have really just said that was Pilates, but that may actually be where that came from, I don't know. But it is a part of the workout, and you can build that in. So it can be a part of your warm up, it can be a part of your workout. It can be the workout across the board.

[00:13:29.090] – Robin

Yeah, definitely. And historically, actually, pilates hasn't been so accessible. It really has been reserved for if you have a lot of money to go into a studio and take private classes and trainings or a lot of people don't have Pilates studios even in their area, that's convenient for them. So for me, that's a big reason of taking Pilates online. And that's what I do for a living, is I'm the founder of Lindywell, which is a place to find online Pilates workouts. There are also some in the book, included in the book. But the reason for that is I wanted to make it more accessible. It's like this should not be reserved just for the people who have the big budgets and the access to the studios, but everybody should have access to these type of exercises to support them. So I'm really passionate about that.

[00:14:16.340] – Allan

Good. Now, earlier you talked about kind of some of your headspace stuff when you first started this out with Body Image and all the other things that go on. And the way you put this in the book, this was one of your ten components, was and you started with it, which I was like, good, I'm glad you did this. We're not throwing nutrition and fitness and all this stuff in and then later on saying, well, you should. This was the first thing and you called it reframe. And in the book you gave us five reframes. Could you kind of talk through what those are and why they're important?

[00:14:49.530] – Robin

And you nailed it. And I'm sure you can relate to this. What I get asked the most usually as a professional in the fitness industry, and I'm sure you do too, is just what am I supposed to do? Tell me what to eat. Tell me how to exercise. I want the plan. I want the practicality. And that is why it's the first chapter of the book, because you can't even get to movement. You can't even get to the food component. If you haven't, you can. However, I don't recommend, and you will be much less successful if you don't first stop and consider how you're approaching things, the lens in which you're viewing this. And I speak pretty directly to women in the book, but I want to also share that this would apply to many people regardless. But there's some messaging that we've received for years that we may not even notice how that's kind of creeped into what we believe about exercise or what we believe about food or what it means to be healthy. So we talk about changing the way we think. That's the first step. And so in reframing, the first reframe is that wellness doesn't always equal weight loss.

[00:15:53.090] – Robin

And I know even putting that in the front of the book, some people are not going to like that.

[00:15:59.970] – Allan

If I lost 20 pounds, my whole life would be so wonderful.

[00:16:03.880] – Robin

Yeah. And that's why I want to get healthy. Right. I know that's kind of not the best news for some people. However, it can be because what we're looking at is true wellness. Right? And I think we have gotten the two confused at times. I was just talking about before and after photos. Nothing inherently wrong with before and after photos. However, what do they show? They show one aspect of progress and success, which is the physical appearance. Right. And we know that health and true wellness is about so much more than that. The number on the scale or the physical, what you see in a before and after photo. So true wellness in order to pursue it to really be well. And it's called well to the core. So to truly become well in both body and mind, we do have to say, you know what, it's about more than that. And we have to expand our view and recognize that just because something helps you lose weight doesn't always mean it's healthy, right? And so those two things are not the same. So it's first just calling out that truth so that then you can widen your view as you move forward in your health and wellness journey. So that's the first.

[00:17:13.720] – Robin

The second is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. And this is something that I think just creeps in honestly through years of dieting and years of going on programs where you're either on program or off program, right? And then we start to develop this mentality of, okay, I'm on, I'm doing this diet, I'm doing this thing. And then as soon as you have a day where you skip a workout or you go out to dinner with your family and you don't eat what's on your meal plan, what do we all do? We think,

[00:17:48.790] – Allan

I'll blew it and I may as well just stick with what I'm doing and I'll start back on Monday,

[00:17:53.710] – Robin

start back on Monday.

[00:17:55.020] – Allan

It doesn't matter if it's Wednesday. I'll start back on Monday.

[00:17:57.100] – Robin

Start back on Monday. And then like a Monday and it's like, well, maybe next Monday because I have a birthday party this week, right? And we've all been there. So it's not about applying guilt to that or shame. It's actually just about recognizing that the more we stay in that all or nothing mentality, the more we set ourselves up to stay in that pattern of starting and stopping and never actually seeing true progress. So we have to first intentionally reframe. It's not about all or nothing. In fact, we know that this is for our lifetime, that we want to be well. And so focusing on those small changes, those small steps, and recognizing you're going to have ups and downs along the way is a necessary reframe in order to actually build the habit of consistency and stay consistent. The next reframe is success and failure are not defined by outward appearance. So this kind of goes a little bit back towards speaking of those before and after photos and speaking of just how we can get this hyper fixation on if I'm healthy, I will look like this. Or in order to be healthy and be well, I have to hit this goal weight.

[00:19:07.080] – Robin

Or I have to have this ideal physique that I see plastered all over social media or wherever it might be when I actually ran that through my lens, because I used to think this way all the time. That's totally how I thought too. But I started thinking, what is success really for me? Really for me at this stage? In my life and the mother that I want to be to my kids, and the wife I want to be to my husband, and the business owner I want to be. It's success. I say some things in the book. It's actually getting dressed without falling into a spiral of negative thoughts about the way I look. That's actually more success to me than do I look the way I have idealized myself I want to look. It's actually about the process. I want to get dressed, not fall into a negative shame spiral about myself and go live my life with my family and my kids. Success for me is putting on a swimsuit and jumping in the pool with my kids instead of hiding under a cover up because I'm so consumed with insecurity about what others might think about me.

[00:20:11.140] – Robin

Right? And again, that's regardless of the size and shape of my body, so it's not, I have to get the swimsuit body before I do that. That's an approach to life. I want to jump in that pool. I want to build that confidence regardless of what the scale says that day. And success is freeing up my headspace that used to be full of rules and inner critic that is just constantly beating myself up so that I can show up as the best version of myself for my kids. For myself, I can model positive body image and self care and self love. So again, it's just about doing some work. And I get into this in the book. But to really start to redefine what success actually looks like for you, not just inheriting what we've been told success looks like on the health and wellness journey.

[00:20:57.610] – Allan

That's a tough one, but when you get that done, it's a pretty cool place to be.

[00:21:01.960] – Robin

It's a tough one. I think sometimes, too, we're scared to take away the esthetic goals because we think then we might be less motivated. I've noticed that in myself or in my clients. But I found that it's actually when you get to your deeper why, that's when the motivation sticks. That's when you really start to see, and I know you've shared this in your journey of that for you, of what's your deeper why, what is this really about?

[00:21:34.190] – Robin

and then there's another reframe, which is it is possible to replace guilt with grace. And so this is another reframe in order to get through the whole rest of the book and get through how to actually make improvements in your health and well being. We have a saying at Lindy well, that's grace over guilt. We choose grace over guilt. And again, with that all or nothing mentality that so many of us get stuck in that, oh, shoot, I messed up, I'm going to throw in the towel. I'll start again on Monday, or I'll start again when school starts, when the kids are back in school or after the holidays, whatever it might be when we get stuck in that habit, that pattern, we're just piling guilt on ourselves. We may not like, I feel so guilty. I feel like a failure. I feel like I can't ever follow through. And some of this is subconscious, but it builds over time. What we want to do is get to a place where we can say, I can extend self compassion to myself on this journey if I skip a workout today, I'm human. This is a part of the journey.

[00:22:36.910] – Robin

This is life, right? I don't actually have to layer on and define myself as a failure or define myself as someone who can never stick to anything. I can actually say, you know what? I had a really busy day. I had meetings that went over. I didn't feel good, my kids were sick, whatever it might be. And I'm going to extend Grace to myself, and I'm just going to start fresh the next day, and I'm just going to keep starting fresh. And when you have a little mantra like that, that you can hold on to, it gives you that opportunity to keep moving forward instead of going in these starts and stops that really keep you stuck.

[00:23:11.070] – Allan

Yeah. So one of the things that you brought up is this is another one of your components is listening. And this is an interesting one because I've just really started getting into that headspace with how this all works because I focus so much on what are the inputs? What are the inputs, what are the inputs? And so the inputs are well, what food am I putting in my body? What movement am I doing today? What's my self talk like? Because all of those are just general inputs. How toxic is my environment? How toxic are my relationships? All of those I've always known, okay, those are inputs that you're either going to serve me or they're not. But you got into the book and you started talking about the other side of that conversation because conversations are supposed to have two sides, not just the inputs, but the outputs. And your body is giving you outputs all the time. It's telling you you're hungry. It's telling you you're thirsty. It's telling you you're sleepy. It's telling you you're fatigued. It's telling you skip this workout and sleep in. Your body is telling you these things. And we've been trained our whole lives to not.

[00:24:20.930] – Allan

Yeah, you got to go to the bathroom, but the bell isn't going to ring for another ten minutes. So wait, she's not going to give you a hall pass. We're taught wait, we're told not, listen to our body. Don't eat. Because if you eat, you're going to gain weight even though you're hungry or you're having this desire for something that you know is not going to serve you. And now here you are not listening to your body to try to understand what it's actually telling you. Can you talk a little bit about how we can listen to our body and particularly as we get older and then I think the other key one here, which is really important, because this is really where it's hard, is trusting ourselves that what we're hearing is a valid concern. It's something we do need to do because it is important to us. Can you kind of talk through that? Because I think this is a fascinating topic.

[00:25:16.550] – Robin

And it is. And I want to first call out that it's complicated, right? So I talk a lot in the book about how this is a practice that we need to practice and kind of rebuild the skill of because you're exactly right. I mean, we've been told in so many ways for years how to override our body's signals, right? And that comes in so many different ways. So, like you said, from not necessarily being able to go to the bathroom when you need to go to the bathroom, from being told there's all the sayings in the fitness world of no pain, no gain. If it doesn't hurt, it's not worth it. Like this kind of attitude. And I understand that. So I think that's important to acknowledge where you're at in your journey. You might be in one place and it's like, oh, this is the other side of the conversation. I need to grow in a little bit or I'm really good at this part of the conversation and I need to focus a little more here on pushing myself a little harder. Right? So I want to call out the nuance of that. But we do ingrain a lot of messages that are basically ignore your body signals, especially if we've grown up with any kind of guilt around food or dieting.

[00:26:30.750] – Robin

That's a big one right there, right? Like, oh, I shouldn't eat that. I should eat less. My tummy is growling, but I'm not supposed to eat until I've already had my snacks today, right? Like, I can't eat until dinner. And what this does is it's confusing. It's sending really confusing signals to our body and we end up confused as a result. Like, why should it be so hard? Our body is incredible and there is so much we could do. A whole podcast episode around the body's, communication and how it tells us things and even how when we are experiencing different things, how it expresses through the body, different life changes what happens in our body. You cannot deny that the two are connected. And so what I talk about in the book is building the habit, building the muscle to begin to listen to your body again and doing so in really practical ways. So different checkpoints throughout your day, even of I mean, right now, in this moment, we could even just if you're listening to this podcast, you can even just pause if you're not driving, close your eyes for a second or if you're driving, please

[00:27:33.890] – Robin

Keep your eyes open and just even just do a body, like a quick scan, like, what do I need right now? And it's so simple. But we get so busy and we're onto the next thing and we've got a meeting coming up and we've got this and DA DA DA, that we may not even notice that we're hungry or we're thirsty or our back hurts. God, I didn't even notice. Maybe I need to get up and walk around. My hip is starting to ache. But I've just been ignoring it because I got to get this work done. And so finding little ways to build the practice and I think the confidence piece and learning to trust ourselves again is a really important piece of it because I think we are afraid. I've seen this in myself and in other people. We're afraid to trust ourselves. We've lost that trust in ourselves because we're afraid. If I listen to my body, maybe I'll make the bad choice. I say that with air quotes, the bad choice, or I'll make the wrong choice, or I'll go overindulge in this area or I'll binge eat or I'll never work out because I don't want to.

[00:28:39.400] – Robin

And I get that. But that actually is a result of not being in tune with our body in the first place, those things that we're trying to avoid. So it's almost a little counterintuitive to say actually, the more we learn and develop the muscle and the confidence in listening to what our body truly needs, the more likely we actually then are to be able to make the choices that serve and support our body. But it can be a little scary to give up a little bit of that control of following rules or trying to override our body in an effort to quote, unquote, be good.

[00:29:13.410] – Allan

Yeah, the whole be good thing. Yeah, that gets me because you run into people and they'll say, well, I'm going to this place and it's like, I'm going to meet with my friends and I know I'm going to want to have a drink. I'm blowing it, right? I'm being bad. And I'm like, well, are you going to have a good connection with your friends? This is going to be a meaningful event for you, a chance for you to connect and have conversations and fun and to laugh and to have joy. And they're like, yeah. And I said, and have a damn beer. Your grown ass woman or your grown ass man, have a drink, enjoy yourself. Don't go crazy, but choose to do this. So it's in you to be the person you want to be, but you have to own your decisions and you have to know why you're making the decision. So it isn't something that's just automatic, because if it's automatic, it's a bad habit or it's a habit and you can make the decision. But the reality of it is you're either making a choice or you're making a choice to not make a choice.

[00:30:22.910] – Robin

Yeah, Right. And in that moment, too, the more we can connect, right? Think you're going out to drinks with your friends and you're forced with a decision. Right? We have them all day long. But this is one where you're like okay, what do I want to do in this situation? The more in tune you are with your body and how you're feeling and how you want to feel and have built up more of that connection, the easier it is to choose something like that. Because you might say this is in the book, but I went through a long series of just struggling with my health in a few different ways of burnout and hormonal imbalances, and I had all these things that really my energy. Let's just say I was, like, flatlined. So my goal, what I needed to do was listen to my body. I was not resting. I was not taking care of myself in the way I was being hyperproductive and doing really great in that area, but not in the rest, not in the recovery, not in recognizing my body. Was saying, hey, slow down. Like, slow down. And so, for example, when I would go there to have a drink with my friends, I was like, okay,

[00:31:32.720] – Robin

Alcohol for me at the time didn't work very well with me. Like I was very sensitive to it. I didn't sleep well. If I had it So I was making a choice in that moment, though. Okay. How do I feel today? Do I feel rested, well fed, energized. If so, I think this is actually a good time for me to have a drink with my friends. If I'm feeling depleted and I'm tired, I know I haven't been sleeping good, then alcohol is just actually going to have a worse effect on me. And I'm going to feel even worse after just one drink. So this is a time where I should have a soda water with lime. But I wouldn't have made those decisions as consciously if I wasn't as in tune with how I was feeling, what my body was needing in that given season, day or week.

[00:32:16.410] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's another important thing is as we go through life, things happen. Women go through their child rearing and raising days. Which four? Oh, my goodness. But you chose that because you listened to yourself.

[00:32:30.580] – Robin

Well, I had twins.

[00:32:36.050] – Allan

And you got four. Overachiever. But that was a thing you'd said in the book. You were asking for advice from other people, and you weren't just truly sitting back and saying for who I am and who I want to be and where I am, my seasons. What do I want? What do I need? And then you did. You stopped and said, okay. No, this is my decision. This is my I'm going to listen to me and what's in me. And Then You made the decision to move forward. That takes a lot of trust.

[00:33:11.290] – Robin

Yeah, we have so much information these days. We have information

[00:33:18.350] – Allan

you can go on Quora and ask them any question at all, and someone will answer it.

[00:33:23.250] – Robin

Right. And then the podcasts that we love, but Instagram and the articles and the news and we have so much information and it's great. And we have more access to experts than ever, which is so great. But sometimes as we do lose the ability to say, well, what works for me? Let's look at my life. Let's look at my daily routine. Like, I see this person over here who's saying, wake up at 05:00 a.m. Meditate for 30 minutes, 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight, fast until noon. Right? I'm just giving an example of maybe what you see someone doing and you're like, yeah, okay, so that's what I should be doing. And then you look at your life and you're like, well, no, okay. I'm up with a sleepless baby all throughout the night, and my hormones are out of balance. And so my decision should be totally different than what I'm getting from out there. So I think that is that making sure you turn in and you say, run this through your filter. What season are you in? What stage of life are you in? And this can look can be stage of life oriented in terms of where you're at in your career.

[00:34:37.100] – Robin

It could be related to your age. It could be related to your health. You may be in a season where, gosh, you've had a shift in your health or you have an injury or you have something going on that requires you to make a change and think differently about what healthy looks like for you in this season. For example, when I was in that season of Burnout, pushing myself hard with high intensity workouts was actually not healthy for me. Right. But for you or for someone else or my husband or someone else during that time, that was a great healthy choice for him. So bringing it back to what season are you in. Listening to your body and recognizing what is it about you, your unique situation of life that you need to consider what is best for you and not other people and what everyone else is just saying.

[00:35:28.500] – Allan

Yeah. Now, one of your other components was choose. And this is another one I like because you've probably heard me use the word choose several times, is that once we own up to being the human we are and being in control of who we are and we start doing some good things for ourselves, we're going to have to make choices. And kind of the big one is who do you want to be when you grow up? So you're going to make these choices. And some of the things that you're going to have to do to make that happen are to make new habits and to invest in change. Because so often people think, well, I'll just do what I've done before and that should work. And then it doesn't. Wait a minute. I used to be able to do this and then it helped. And I would lose the weight or I'd feel the way I wanted to feel. I'd be where I wanted to be, the clothes would fit, things would be right. And now I'm doing the things I used to do and they're not there. And so just recognizing and asking or choosing to ask for help I think are really important aspects.

[00:36:32.230] – Robin

Yeah, I agree. And I'm sure you see that all of the time with your clients and the people you work with. Is it's an intentional choice? And I talk about this in the book. I like that you said, who do you want to be when you grow up? That never stops, right? So I'm looking at still who I want to be when I grew up, and we have to be intentional with that. So I love to say, think of the type of person you want to be. Write it on paper. There's an activity in the book, every chapter has action steps at the end. Just kind of put stuff into practice and I guide you through this vision process in the book. But a short version of it, it's like, write a vision of who you want to be. What does this person do? They're active, they're energetic, they're vibrant, they travel. Very few people are going to write a vision that's like they're immobile and have a lot of

[00:37:30.240] – Allan

I live just like my mother does. No, that's not my path.

[00:37:35.820] – Robin

That's not right. If you actually stop and paint that picture of where you want to go and we don't really do that. We kind of just think. We think where I am now and maybe what my next step is next week. And but if we actually look at who do you want to be? And then we create that vision when we do that, then we actually get to make a choice to say, okay, now I'm going to start acting as that person would act, right? So what would that future version of myself do? And she would probably go for a walk instead of sitting here scrolling her phone for another 30 minutes. She would drink some more water instead of maybe the 6th, 7th cup of coffee. These different things. You start to get a vision for where you want to go. And it's a choice. And every day it's a choice. And here's the good thing with grace over guilt is like, you're going to make choices against that sometimes. But actually, if your vision is someone who lives in balance and someone who has a sustainable lifestyle, you're never too far off from where you're headed.

[00:38:47.200] – Robin

And I also think it's intentional, and I share this in the book, but you also have to choose the way in which you go about it. Because in the book I challenge quite a few of the traditional views of fitness and weight loss and health. And it's a choice for me every day to hold true to that approach. It's really easy to get distracted or to get pulled into conversations that are toxic and not healthy or to want to hop on the latest trend or craze with some friends because everybody's doing it. No, I'm choosing to take this to truly pursue wellness to my core, to truly take this approach. And that, again, is like a daily choice for who I want to be, for myself, for my kids, what I want to model for them. And you have to be willing to invest in it. And I know you talk about that as well, but we're so much better at investing in other people and other things than ourselves. And the reality is that if we don't invest in ourselves, whether that's in time with our finances, with effort and energy, we're never going to see the change that we're hoping to make.

[00:40:00.780] – Robin

And so I want everybody to know, and I talk about this in the book, is it's really about you're worth it? And that takes time. For some people that's like, yeah, that's great. But to really understand that if you are not well, if you are not able to show up, then you're not able to love and care for the people around you in the same way. Right? So we have to first, and I know that we hear this a lot, but we have to really recognize that if we are not well, everything else is going to suffer.

[00:40:32.990] – Allan

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

[00:40:42.930] – Robin

Yeah, I love that because I love that you include happiest in there and I would say kind of goes back to the way in which we're viewing things like we've talked about a lot today. So first thing we'd say would be ensuring that you are not falling victim to the all or nothing mentality. So that even just asking yourself frequently is going to open your eyes to where you're holding on to that, whether it's in your workouts or in your food or some other area of your life where you think you have to be perfect in order to make progress. So busting that lie and bringing yourself back to that regularly. Two, I would say rediscovering the joy in movement. So finding a way to move that you enjoy, that you feel so good afterwards, that you love having as a part of your life. There are so many forms of movement and I think sometimes we think I have to do this or I have to do that. Find what you love. If you love walking, walk more. If you love dancing, sign up for a dance class. If you love Pilates and that gets you on your mat every day, do that.

[00:41:45.490] – Robin

If you love weight training, then go do that. But understand that it's really about movement. Like, if we're really looking long term, the more you move, the healthier you'll be. So find something you love and enjoy. And then the third thing I would say is that choosing grace over guilt for yourself. So recognizing that when you have an off day or you skip a workout or you make a choice you didn't intend to make, you don't have to sit in the guilt and shame in that. You can extend grace and self compassion and kindness to yourself, because you're just human, just like everybody else, and you can start fresh the next day. So holding on to that grace over guilt mantra as you continue on your health and wellness journey.

[00:42:25.720] – Allan

Thank you for sharing those with us. So, Robin, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your book, Well to the Core, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:42:34.400] – Robin

Yeah, so you can go to lindywell.com. That's lindywell.com all one word. You can also find the book anywhere. You will purchase books. So Amazon or bookshop or Barnes and Noble. And I would just love for you to check it out. Like you said, there's recipes in the book. There's QR codes for free Pilates workouts, so you can give it a try. And there's also an offer to get a free month of the Lindy Well app when you purchase the book as well. So I think you'll have a link to that in the show notes as well.

[00:43:04.060] – Allan

Yeah, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/610, and I'll have the links there. Robin, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:43:14.070] – Robin

Thank you so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:43:16.430] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:43:17.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. This is kind of a neat discussion coming from the viewpoint of a Pilates instructor. She has a lot of reframing mindset, kinds of things that she must have learned as she's coached or been an instructor.

[00:43:32.220] – Allan

Yeah, well, a lot of it came from her own experiences. I can't say I know what it's like to be a young girl with body images, but I was a young guy, and I could tell you we have body images, too. We still do. Still a little young guy, I guess. Depends on how you look at it. But we do have to reframe. We have to sit back and realize that change is a mental thing. It is hardly ever physical. Yes, we have to do the work. We have to do the work. That's the thing. But to get there, you have to work through the mental blocks. You have to look at this and say, okay, what do I really want? And as silly as it sounds, and people say, Well, I want to lose weight and I'm like, well, okay, do you really want to lose weight? Then the answer is, well, yeah. And I'm like, so what's going to happen if you lose weight? Well, then I'll be able to fit in that dress. I says, So you want to fit in a smaller dress size? If you weighed 100 pounds more and fit in that dress size, would you be okay with that?

[00:44:43.770] – Allan

Of course. There's a little bit of smell of smoke as the brain starts turning. It's like, what do you mean? It's like, well you could weigh more and be that size if you had more muscle mass. I mean, maybe not 100 pounds more, but you could weigh more than you do now and be in that trust size. So is it really weight that you're worried about? Weight just happens to be the convenient thing you can measure.

[00:45:06.700] – Rachel

Well, that's just it. It's the easiest thing. Everybody's got a scale in their house. But I think that we place so much value on that scale. And just speaking of the mindset part, the number that's on that scale does not define who we are as a person. It doesn't define how kind we are to other people or how smart we are or how good we are at our jobs. There's just so many other facets that are way more important. But just to bring this round back to being health, at the end of the day, we want to be healthy and we want to be happy, and we want to be fit enough to be able to live an appropriate lifestyle or a happy fit lifestyle. And so that number on that scale has almost nothing to do with any of those things versus how we accomplish being healthy or happy or fit or all of the above.

[00:45:59.490] – Allan

I have a client, and he hired me because his blood pressure was high. I can't tell you how happy I was when that was the conversation we were having. Well, he knew he probably needed to lose some weight, so that was also on his mind. But he knew he'd probably end up losing weight to make this happen. And he kind of had a number in his head because we all do. We just know, okay, when I was this weight, that was when I felt my best and DA DA DA DA. So we all kind of have that number, but his number was blood pressure. And the interesting thing was he started eating right, he started moving right, and his blood pressure dropped down below into the normal range like that. I mean, literally, we're in a twelve week program and he's four weeks in. He's like, well, that goal is done. And he lost some weight. He's gained a little back. He's lost a little, he's gained it back. So he's kind of seesawing in this little zone, he knows he could probably be thinner, but he's like, that's not what I want.

[00:47:08.970] – Allan

Esthetics is not the goal. I've got my blood pressure where I want. I feel good. I've got lots of energy. I'm enjoying time with my family and doing the things I enjoy doing, which was really what all of this was about for him.

[00:47:22.060] – Rachel

That's huge.

[00:47:23.060] – Allan

Now he's got some injuries to work through and stuff, so he can do everything he wants to do. But it's just one of those things of saying no, wellness was the goal, right? And some people are going to want to measure weight if I just said, okay, I've got a wellness program. I help you lower your blood pressure if it's high, help you improve other blood markers if they're off, help you get off of some medications that you might need to be on today, but you might not need to be on for the rest of your life. That was another conversation I had with someone, was he had changed his life. This guy's changed his life. He's lost over 40 pounds and his blood pressure and everything was his numbers were, like, coming down and coming down fast. So he told his doctor he wanted to get off the medication. His doctor is like, no, you're going to be on this medication for the rest of your life. Okay? Personally want to choke that doctor out right now, but

[00:48:17.870] – Rachel

time to find another doctor.

[00:48:19.490] – Allan

Well, what he did what he did, and again, I don't condone this, but he just decided he was going to take himself off of his own medications. Now, again, I don't condone that. You should talk to your doctor. Find another doctor. If that doctor doesn't want to do the change, doesn't want to help you taper it down. But he just went off of it, and he came back to his next blood test, and his numbers were perfect. And his doctor says, just keep doing what you're doing. He's like, Doc, I stopped taking all the meds. He's like, oh, okay. Well, then stop taking don't take the meds anymore. Again, that's practice, that's medical practice for you right there. Again, time for an exam with a doctor. I am not a doctor, but I can just tell you that some doctors believe you're not going to be able to change your lifestyle, and you're going to need those medications for the rest of your life. That's what they've seen in almost all of their client, other patients. So they're not thinking in terms of you doing the change because it's hard. It's a mindset thing, like I said.

[00:49:15.390] – Allan

And most people don't do the mindset work at all. They just try a diet, they lose some weight, and then they gain it all back. And what the doctor doesn't want to do is get you off of the medications because you did lose the weight, and now you're going to put it all back on, and a year later, he's going to put you back on all those meds. Again, he doesn't want to do that. He just says, we'll just keep you on the meds because you're going to probably gain all that way back. I know that's why the guy's thinking that way. But again, if you change your lifestyle, you could change your life. And so weight is not the answer. It did happen that the guy lost 40 pounds as a part of changing his behaviors. The way he ate, the way he moved, the way he did things, the weight came off as a side effect.

[00:49:58.430] – Rachel

I love that.

[00:49:59.300] – Rachel

And you've said that before in other podcast episodes, Allan, that the weight can be the side effect of what changes you make in your lifestyle. And I think that really takes a lot of pressure off because especially when you're trying to focus on losing weight, you're focused on you're measuring every little calorie you eat and you're running or exercising at the gym far more than what you really need to, and it's just too much pressure. So when you kind of take that off your plate and focus on having fun at the gym or doing fun activities, then weight is a side effect. And that's awesome. That's way more easy and more fun.

[00:50:37.180] – Allan

It is. One of the things about her book is that she goes through it and she really does that deep dive into mindset throughout the book. And I think that's core you mentioned, the guilt, grace over guilt and that type of thing, we've talked about that before, too. It's a slip to success that I talk about it's like, okay, it happened, forgive yourself. And then can we not do that again? What will we do next time? Look forward. What can we do next time? And then just do it. Go. We have the power to learn and change. So a failure is not a failure unless you quit.

[00:51:19.010] – Rachel


[00:51:19.880] – Allan

And then that's your last statement, I'm out, and then that's your last statement. So, yeah, it was a failure if it made you quit, so don't let it. Learn from it.

[00:51:31.200] – Rachel

And then exactly, yeah, it's a learning experience. And the last thing I want to mention real quick, too, is that she talked at the end about listening to your body, which we talk about that all the time. We need to pay attention to what our body is telling us because it is sending signals. But she was saying how if she wasn't feeling super great, but she wanted to go out for a night with the girls and instead of drinking with them, she drank water because she wasn't feeling great. But if she was feeling good that night, then she could have a drink with the girls. And I think that she was trying to get to is that we are

[00:52:05.270] – Rachel

At different phases in our lives. Some days we're feeling at peak shape and we could extend ourselves some grace and have a few treats every now and then but if we're not feeling great, why add fuel to that fire and then have too many drinks or too much junk food or something and make ourselves feel worse? We need to really pay attention to where we are at each stage in our life. I thought that was really pretty awesome.

[00:52:28.800] – Allan

Yeah. Treat your body like you love it.

[00:52:31.860] – Rachel

Yeah, that's so true. Yeah, we need it.

[00:52:37.350] – Allan

Yes, we need it. It's the only home we got.

[00:52:39.960] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:52:41.570] – Allan

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

[00:52:44.470] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:52:45.420] – Allan

You, too. Bye.

[00:52:46.650] – Rachel

Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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