My Evolved Life w/ Vu Nguyen

Episode #12 - Alex Gravel | The Gym Isn't Your Only Option

February 13, 2020 Vu Nguyen Episode 12
My Evolved Life w/ Vu Nguyen
Episode #12 - Alex Gravel | The Gym Isn't Your Only Option
Chapters
00:04:00
What are the biggest barriers that clients face?
00:06:10
What do you think about the all or nothing approach?
00:08:03
What kind of intimidation do your clients feel about the gym?
00:09:05
What is the scariest thing you've ever witnessed at the gym?
00:11:46
What are the traits of your successful clients?
00:14:03
How do you approach the scale?
00:15:25
What is your take on metrics like BMI?
00:19:07
What are your thoughts on the traditional gym business model?
00:22:43
What are the first steps someone can take to begin exercising?
00:25:37
Is the health industry failing society as a whole?
00:28:17
What are your thoughts on dieting?
00:31:00
If someone only had 15 minutes, what should they do?
00:33:36
What is the biggest difference between the gym and your facility?
00:36:00
Is it important to have a strong bond with your clients?
My Evolved Life w/ Vu Nguyen
Episode #12 - Alex Gravel | The Gym Isn't Your Only Option
Feb 13, 2020 Episode 12
Vu Nguyen

On today's episode, I have a conversation with Alex Gravel, a private studio owner, about how box (traditional) gyms are failing people. We talked about how intimidating gyms can be, how gyms build their business around you not showing up, and how to succeed with your exercise goals.

4:00 - What are the biggest barriers that clients face?
6:10 - What do you think about the all or nothing approach?
8:03 - What kind of intimidation do your clients feel about the gym?
9:05 - What is the scariest thing you've ever witnessed at the gym?
11:46 - What are the traits of your successful clients?
14:03 - How do you approach the scale?
15:25 - What is your take on metrics like BMI?
19:07 - What are your thoughts on the traditional gym business model?
22:43 - What are the first steps someone can take to begin exercising?
25:37 - Is the health industry failing society as a whole?
28:17 - What are your thoughts on dieting?
31:00 - If someone only had 15 minutes, what should they do?
33:36 - What is the biggest difference between the gym and your facility?
36:00 - Is it important to have a strong bond with your clients?

---

Alex is the owner and head personal trainer at The LOFT Fitness. She opened the LOFT fitness in 2017 after years of personal training in gyms around Calgary. She has a BAH in Health Studies from Queen's University and is a certified Personal Trainer with Canadian Fitness Professionals. Fitness and Nutrition are two of Alex's passions in life and she plans to continue her journey as an entrepreneur growing and expanding the LOFT Brand.
 
Growing up in the small island paradise of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Alex has always had an active lifestyle – whether snorkeling the vibrant coral reefs or hiking through dense rainforest to beautiful waterfalls – health and fitness has always been in the forefront of her life. This active lifestyle was the catalyst for her endeavor in Health Sciences and her personal trainer certification. Having worked for a few years as a personal trainer, she realized she wanted to offer fitness a bit differently and decided to branch out and open her own gym. Small classes or one on one sessions inside a private studio allow for a more personalized experience – an experience which is less daunting for the newcomer and helps keep clients on track and heading towards their goals.

Her dedication to health and fitness extends beyond the gym and into her kitchen and continued active lifestyle in Calgary, where she frequents the Rockies, hiking and skiing in her spare time. Alex believes that tailoring fitness plans to fit each individual’s needs is fundamental to their success and her charismatic personality drives her clients to achieve their goals. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On today's episode, I have a conversation with Alex Gravel, a private studio owner, about how box (traditional) gyms are failing people. We talked about how intimidating gyms can be, how gyms build their business around you not showing up, and how to succeed with your exercise goals.

4:00 - What are the biggest barriers that clients face?
6:10 - What do you think about the all or nothing approach?
8:03 - What kind of intimidation do your clients feel about the gym?
9:05 - What is the scariest thing you've ever witnessed at the gym?
11:46 - What are the traits of your successful clients?
14:03 - How do you approach the scale?
15:25 - What is your take on metrics like BMI?
19:07 - What are your thoughts on the traditional gym business model?
22:43 - What are the first steps someone can take to begin exercising?
25:37 - Is the health industry failing society as a whole?
28:17 - What are your thoughts on dieting?
31:00 - If someone only had 15 minutes, what should they do?
33:36 - What is the biggest difference between the gym and your facility?
36:00 - Is it important to have a strong bond with your clients?

---

Alex is the owner and head personal trainer at The LOFT Fitness. She opened the LOFT fitness in 2017 after years of personal training in gyms around Calgary. She has a BAH in Health Studies from Queen's University and is a certified Personal Trainer with Canadian Fitness Professionals. Fitness and Nutrition are two of Alex's passions in life and she plans to continue her journey as an entrepreneur growing and expanding the LOFT Brand.
 
Growing up in the small island paradise of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Alex has always had an active lifestyle – whether snorkeling the vibrant coral reefs or hiking through dense rainforest to beautiful waterfalls – health and fitness has always been in the forefront of her life. This active lifestyle was the catalyst for her endeavor in Health Sciences and her personal trainer certification. Having worked for a few years as a personal trainer, she realized she wanted to offer fitness a bit differently and decided to branch out and open her own gym. Small classes or one on one sessions inside a private studio allow for a more personalized experience – an experience which is less daunting for the newcomer and helps keep clients on track and heading towards their goals.

Her dedication to health and fitness extends beyond the gym and into her kitchen and continued active lifestyle in Calgary, where she frequents the Rockies, hiking and skiing in her spare time. Alex believes that tailoring fitness plans to fit each individual’s needs is fundamental to their success and her charismatic personality drives her clients to achieve their goals. 

Speaker 1:

So they know they can sell memberships unlimited and only X amount of people are going to show up because they know that the majority of people don't like to be there. I'm like, I can paint you a picture. So you have a very stressful day at work. Your boss yells at you, you spill your coffee on yourself. Um, let's just say your resource pool is empty and now you have to go to the gym and workout. You already had a stressful day. You feel like crap. You don't feel like working out. And then you walk into this controversial good life, which is bright lights, big guys working out, lifting weights, grunting, all the machines are taking the cardio machines. So you can't resort to that safe space on your elliptical machine by yourself . So now you're on the gym floor. Um, there's people there that know what they're doing. You have no idea what you're doing. You're the average person. So you turn around and you walk out. You're listening to my evolve life, a podcast of simplifies health and fitness and helps you maximize your life. My name is [inaudible] and I'm the creator of the evolution trading system. We're so lucky to be living in the information age, meaning it's easier than ever to access information and find answers to any questions you may have, but isn't it confusing when you read information that's conflicting or worse yet just sounds wrong. I'll be sitting down with industry professionals to give you clarity and leave you with tangible actions you can take immediately to improve your physical, mental, and psychological health. Today's guest is Alex [inaudible] . Alex is a respected, certified personal trainer through the organization, Canadian fitness professionals. After a few years of personal training in a big box gym, she realized that she had to give her clients a better solution, so now she is the proud owner and head personal trainer for the loft where she gives her clients the best odds of success through personalized one-on-one trading and small group training. I couldn't be more excited to get her perspective on the current state of the fitness industry. So Alex, welcome to the show. Thank you very much. So I'm going to start off by asking you what I think is going to be a very easy question for you. Okay. We'll see. Why did you feel like you had to leave the big box gym and open up your own private studio in order to give your clients the best chances at success? So I'd be lying if I said it was only for my clients. Um, I left the box gym setting , um, for more than one reason. Um, one is in a gym setting, you're not really able to run your own business like you would want to. So you can't charge what you want. You can't give deals. This many reasons I could go on for a long time. Um, also for me to feel successful, I wanted to have ownership so I could in control of how I ran my studio. Um, for my clients, I noticed a lot of people , um, felt uncomfortable in the gym setting. Um, they got distracted easily. We were always waiting for equipment, so we were waiting like, you know, to use the leg press or whatever it was. Um, so that loses time. So your clients are already paying whatever it is per hour and you're losing time. So , um, yeah, I had an amazing mentor when I was working. I actually worked at spa lady for a while and I'm , the leader of my gym was amazing. So I learned as much as I could from her. And then when she left , um, there was really nothing left for me. So yeah. So the loft was born. You've already touched on a couple of the key points that I wanted to talk about. So you alluded to time, whether it's driving time, waiting time, waiting for equipment, there's a lot of reasons, there's a lot of barriers for a person not go to the gym, whether you're a male or female. In your experience, your time in the industry, what have you found to be the biggest barriers for your clients? Well, definitely, yeah, as you said time. Um, time is like our most precious resource. So people see I don't have time, I have to take my kids to ballet or whatever your priorities are. Right. Um, I don't believe that at all. I think if you want to do something, you will make the time. I'm personally, if I have to get up at four in the morning to work out, I will. And that was instilled in me from a child. Like my dad still does that. He gets up super early to work out. So , um , if you don't have your health, you really don't have anything. So find the time. Yeah. So when you're working with a client, new or old, how do you reinforce that quality in them? How do you remind them that time is not always an excuse, but a lot of the time it is an excuse or a mask for another reason. So that's actually the hardest part of my job is telling or showing people the importance of health and fitness especially. Um, so yeah, so basically like again, like I tell them that their body is their home, so you only get one of these and you should take care of it. Because if you don't have health and you don't have quality of life in your later years, you really have nothing. So if you want to be able to like, you know, be at your child's wedding or play with your grandkids or you know, continue to do the activities that you like, whether it's hiking or biking or you know, hand gliding, whatever that is , um, you have to take care of your body 100%, 100% on to tell them that they're kind of more , um , like, Oh yeah. Like it clicks, right? It's really perspective as well. Yeah. I mean, I have become kind of controversial to be honest in my, in the way that I speak about the industry. Don't get me wrong, I think exercise is fantastic. It is a necessity. Everybody needs, but the way that we approach it as a society, it's become really, really, it's all or nothing. [inaudible] . Right? Uh, we are, we are not necessarily forced the belief, but we are taught that it's either 40 or 50 minutes, four or five times a week or it's nothing. Don't even try. What do you think about that? Well, honestly, I can't tell you the last time I worked out for an hour, I work out for 30 minutes to 45 minutes , um, four to five days a week. And that is enough. Like if you work out hard for a certain amount of time, it's kind of like working smart, not hard. Right, right. Um, you will get the results that you want. And like you interviewed Tish recently to stuffy. Yeah. So she actually believes in that philosophy as well. Um, she's very fit. She's over 40. She looks amazing. Um, and she doesn't work out more than three or four days a week, so it works. Right? Yeah. Yeah. But that's the best , the overall message that we're putting out there. Yeah. You need to workout six days a week and you need to work out for an hour or an , you know, you need to be on this extreme diet. Like that's not realistic and it's not living either. It's not , but it's , it's, it's so emphasized by these glamorous, beautiful Instagram models or Facebook models and you have this false ideal of the way that you should look or the way that you should approach exercise. Right. It makes me so angry. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So going back to barriers, I have a philosophy and I want to ask you, you may disagree, but I really do believe so. I'm on the same train of thought as you are. Time for the most part is just an excuse, but more so than that, I really, really do believe that it is a mask for other deeper underlying , um, barriers, barriers and issues, if you will. Yeah. Confidence is one of those big things. Now I do want to talk about big bucks gyms a little bit and it's okay. We get a little bit controversial. Okay. How do you find with your clients, have they ever expressed to you their lack of confidence or their , the intimidation that they feel when they go to the big box gyms? Yes. So I have some clients that are, they work out with me and then they work out on their own with a workout that I provide them at a gym. So whether it's good life , anytime fitness, some box gym, and then I have clients that will not work out without me at all. And they'll never step into a big box gym because they feel very uncomfortable. Um, it's, you walk in there, there's fit people everywhere that seem to know what they're doing. There's a lot of people that don't know what they're doing. Don't get me wrong, of course. Um , it's bright lights. Like you have eyes on you, you feel uncomfortable, and then you end up walking around, do you do a lap? And maybe you walk out and you think, Oh, I went, you know, that's the first step. But really you're not really achieving anything that's actually wasting your time. What is, and I have many, many stories. I've spent a lot of time certifying personal trainers and I'm just training myself in a gym. But what is the scariest thing you've seen him at the gym? Whether it's somebody's , uh , just doing it by themselves or something that a personal trainer trainer was instructing them to do. That's a hard one. Cause I've seen a lot of scary stuff happen in the gym, whether it's someone fly off of the treadmill or um, someone doing, I think it was like a glute exercise, like a glute kick back , but on a back extension machine and then that whole thing falling down and hitting them in the back. Um, probably something they saw on Instagram and we're trying to recreate. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you see a lot of interesting things and as a trainer you're on the floor and you're training and you can't leave your client to like assist somebody else. So yeah, you kind of have to see that happening in the corner of your eye, which is also distracting. Yeah. And you know, I, I do believe that a lot of that is in the responsibility or the hands of the personal trainers, whether or not you are directly trading said person, but if you witness that happening, it is your responsibility to let them know that that might be a little bit unsafe. But this is where I really, really am concerned for the industry because all of a sudden I think personal trading has become glamorous. It has been become the, the sexy kind of , um, career. Yeah . Such that everybody, and there are personal trainers, right? Yeah. You have two days certifications, you have two hour online certifications. Everybody is now a personal trainer. How do you feel about that? Um , that's another reason why I left the box gym setting is because I don't want to work in an environment where you see other trainers on their phone while they're training their client, you know, whatever they're doing, checking Facebook or whatever. And they're , they got this job because they need a job and it's an easy job to get. Right. Right now it is. You can go online and as you said, get a personal training certification in two days and then you're on the floor and you're training people , um, which is very dangerous if you have no background in kinesiology or health , um, you shouldn't be there. Basic anatomy. Yeah. You shouldn't be doing that. Um, but yeah, it has become a glamorized profession and it's, it's more like selling sex than selling. You know, like as a trainer. That's one reason I'm not huge on social media is I don't really have an interest in , um, showing my body in that way cause that's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to help people and I'm here to show people how to work out properly and to actually make a difference in their lives. Right. Yeah. Because you mentioned Tisch , who was a great guest on our show. Um , the question that I asked her that I also feel like I want to ask you is with your clients, I'm sure you've been through lots of them, you've had successful ones and not so successful ones. What do you find are the traits of the successful ones? Um, discipline for sure. Um , definitely someone who puts the time into seeing results. Um, this is something that Tisha and I both share in our thoughts is , um, the best thing to motivate a client is getting results. So if a client is willing to stick it out for 90 days and start to see results in the mirror, they're gonna continue doing that. They're going to continue working out and they're going to continue working out with you. Um, it's the people that kind of fall off the wagon really early and they don't want to put the effort in. They're the ones that are going to walk out the door first. So between, between the moment that they first step into your door to the moment when they see real tangible, physical change, that could be a while, a while. Yeah. Right. So how do you keep them motivated? What do you as a trainer keep do to keep them motivated until that point? So I explained to them basically what's happening in those first phases. So I follow the kind of three phases of training. So there's adaptation, hypertrophy, and then intensity. So it's kind of , um, it's a periodization model. So I explained to them in the first 30 to 90 days, there's changes that are gonna be happening. Those changes might not be something that you're going to see in the mirror right away. Um , but you may see an improvement in your sleep. You might lose inches, but you might also gain weight. Um, that's because muscles and active tissue, it burns calories at rest. So if you give your body the time to build muscle, that's when you start seeing the weight come off. And that takes, that takes time. Like muscle is a human tissue. You have to build it, you have to work out , you have to feed it. It takes, it doesn't happen overnight. Right? Absolutely. Just because he mentioned weight, weight is one of those things where I personally try not to talk to you too much because again, it's very subjective. Like you said. Right. You might be gaining weight, but it might be good weight . Yeah. Right. But when you don't have that base knowledge, you don't know the difference between good and bad weight . We just , just a number. Yeah. How do you, when it comes to your clients, how do you approach the scale? Do you use it? Do you know? So I like to educate my clients , um, about the process. So first of all, the scale goes. So I get people coming in a lot of the times saying, I weigh this much and I want to weight this much. And I'm like, stop right there. Like what you weigh doesn't matter. Like I'm the heaviest. I've been in my entire life and I'm the smallest I've ever been in my entire life. And I show them pictures like people who weighed the same thing but look completely different just so they can understand body composition and what tissue actually weighs and looks like. Um , and that helps him a lot cause they can't believe like you see 130 pound woman and then , uh , one that goes to the gym, same weight. And it's like they look totally different. Um , but they weigh the same thing. So a lot of people don't understand that. No body composition. That is a tough one for me to digest because it's so hard for, for against somebody that doesn't have that base knowledge to contextualize what that actually means. Right. Uh , things like composition, BMI , um, standard, you know, you're looking at your food labels and you see the average adults eat 2000 calories a day. What does that really, really mean, right? Like how tall are you? How heavy are you, how active are you ? You get all effects . So when it comes to body composition and, and things like BMI, do you ever use those things for your clients or do you use them just as a temporary measure? I actually don't, I don't like BMI because like say you, for example, you're a muscular guy, you're probably overweight and your BMI measurements. Um, because of my height and my build, I'm underweight, like very underweight, which is, if you look at me, you're not gonna say that. No. Um, so yeah, I don't like to use BMI as a measurement. And then when it comes to nutrition and food, I'm not someone who likes to count calories. Um, I don't like the apps. I don't like those things. So I tell my clients, all right , educate them on nutrition. And I believe in eating whole foods. Um, if it grew on a tree or on the ground or it was alive at one point, like you're probably safe. Avoid processed foods, avoid fast foods. Like you need to cook at home, you need to eat real food and you'll be fine. Eat kind of whole foods until you're full and then stop eating. So that's a hard concept for people to write . Yeah. But what you're saying is, just to summarize is it's not that difficult. You don't have to make it super, super complicated. Right. Cause you're right, when I, what I look at my BMI, I'm five foot six, 160 pounds, that puts me as obese, obese class, probably three. [inaudible] exactly. So yeah, but how are they supposed to process that when, and I might be stepping out of balance here when they go to the doctors. The doctor uses the BMI. I know I've had , um, I actually had a client who lost, I think she was 90 pounds, was her full weight loss and um, she was working out, she was doing lots of cardio lifting weights, very healthy approach to food. She was eating whole foods with a cheat meal, you know, to keep her seen . And she looked amazing. She was building muscle and her doctor kept telling her, well , for your height, you're overweight, you're still in obese and obese category. And I'm looking at her and I'm like, is your doctor blind? Because you look very healthy, you have like a healthy amount of muscle to fat mass. Like that's crazy. So I honestly don't know why doctors are still using BMI as a measurement for people. No , it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't. And it's reasons like this that I wanted to launch this podcast you were asking earlier, not necessarily because we are subject matter experts at everything. We're not, this is why we bring on experts of your caliber to talk about these sort of things. But I really genuinely believe that the health industry as a whole, so not just fitness, not just nutritional, but as a whole, we are failing the average person because of the way that we communicate expectations. Absolutely. Very, very dangerous game. Like your , your life is not something that can be experimented with. Right, so to be consuming information that is not necessarily the best. It doesn't even have to be the best, but just good solid information. You need that. Yeah , you do. I do want to step back into the big box gym, not because I don't believe that it doesn't work because it does work for a certain demographic. There are many people that succeed and do very well in the long term , a big box gym, but they realistically represent less than 1% of the population. I want to ask you a question and I really want to get your raw, honest opinion on this. Okay. It is not, it's not actually that bad. It is fairly common knowledge. You can do a Google search, Google, and it'll tell you that many gyms operate on a business model that knows that you will not show up to the gym. Their business model is based on you not showing up because if ever 5% of their membership show up at the same time, they're over fire capacity. This is fairly common knowledge and a lot of gyms are starting to gravitate away from them , but at large they still exist. What do you think about that? Well, I think they're doing it because it works. So they know people are, I mean they obviously haven't data on this, so they know they can sell memberships unlimited and only X amount of people are going to show up because they know that the majority of people don't like to be there. I'm like, I can pin you a picture. So you have a very stressful day at work. Your boss yells at you, you spill your coffee on yourself. Um, let's just say your resource pool is empty and now you have to go to the gym and workout. You've already had a stressful day. You feel like crap, you don't feel like working out. And then you walk into this is controversial, good life , which is bright lights, big guys working out, lifting weights, grunting, all the machines are taking the cardio machines that you can't resort to that safe space on your elliptical machine by yourself . So now you're on the gym floor. Um, there's people there that know what they're doing. You have no idea what you're doing. You're the average person. So you turn around and you walk out. Absolutely. It's, it's an awful environment. Like it's uncomfortable. You don't know what to do. You don't have a trainer. So that is not a picture that is unfamiliar. I'm sure I've done it. I've walked in and out. I'm like, it's too, I'm not doing this. Like I'd rather not. And I go for a run outside. And I really like what you said there. Use the word safe place when you referred to the car to human machines. And that is another thing that is a huge barrier for people is that lack of knowledge, right? I do. I truly desire to make a change by step into this big facility and there are machines I don't know how to use. Um , there's a creepy guy over there, you know? Um , so I'm going to go and I'm going to do what I know how to do. I know how to get them to treadmill. I know how to walk. I can use these buttons I can need , but that's a boat all that you do. And people get criticized for that. It's a huge thing that women especially get criticized, like get off the elliptical and get off the StairMaster, lift weights. It's good for you. There is a reason they're on those machines. It's because they don't know how to use the other equipment. No one has ever taught them. Like, how do you expect to know how to use that if you haven't been taught? Um, there's even equipment. I walk into a gym and I see new equipment and I'm like, how the hell does this work? Like you've never seen it before. Right? Right. So going back to my philosophies, I think I have a lot of philosophies. You're very philosophical. For an engineer, I must say I was an engineer. I don't know does research, but I believe, and I've been saying this a lot recently, if you live in North America, you know how important health is, but more so than that, you know how important exercise or physical activity is to that health. But my question is then why then do people at large with that knowledge, why did they fail? We have gyms, studios on every single corner, millions of free YouTube videos, blogs, how tos , right? There's a ton of different exercise equipment. Why do they fail? Why can they not achieve their goals when they know it's necessary? I really do believe that it comes down to those barriers. Again, that time, that knowledge, that confidence, right? So if you have somebody who, you know what, they haven't taken that step out out the door yet. They know it's necessary to get off the couch, out the door, in their basement, wherever it is, but they just can't take that first step. What is Alex's advice to them ? Just do it a little bit more actionable than that. Um, isn't that Nike slogan? It is a good one. It is a great one. Um, yeah. So I was actually talking to my best friend yesterday about this and um, I asked her, cause I said I was doing this podcast and I'm like, what are some barriers for you? What helps you? Cause I knew this question was going to come up and um , this is not something that I even need, but a lot of people do. So she said that working out with a friend or getting a buddy system going to keep you accountable. If you can't have a personal trainer or you don't want the personal trainer, you don't think you need one, whatever , um, get a friend and work out with them. Because when the days, the days that you don't feel like working out your friends and be like, no, let's go and do it. Right. Um, so that was something for her. I'm that person for her, we work out together. So she said that's a huge, when you're waiting, when someone's waiting for you, you're more likely to go and work out. So well that's great. And , and accountability is, well it is exactly what the term means. It goes both ways. Right? Cause there , there will be days where she needs a little bit of accountability and she needs that little pick me up. Right, exactly. And also you don't have to go to the gym. You don't have to step foot in a fitness studio to be in shape. Um, I think that's another reason people fail is they go to the gym and they don't like the gym is not for them. Like my mom is a good example of that. She hates the gym. Um, you don't have to, you can do other things. You can run outside, you can go hiking, you can do something that you enjoy. And once you're physically active and you're stimulating your muscle, you're, you're getting the benefits of exercise. It's not all about pumping iron and you know, doing squats and glute kickbacks and whatever. It's about health. And that comes from one, it's not just about your physical health, it's your mental health. So if you can get exercise outside, why not? Right. Get the extra endorphins, the vitamin D. exactly. Sometimes we're just at a loss. When you're, when you see, again, I feel like I harp on social media so much when it is, you know, it is the state of the present. Everybody uses it. Um, it's hard not to write , but when you're seeing, you just said pumping iron or, or, or the, I dunno , glue , what do you say? Glued kickbacks. There's so many things. You can't keep up with the glue , whatever. Exactly. Like if you don't know any better, you just, you just believe that that is what you're expected to do, right? You have to work out at that intensity or you have to do those exercises. Now, going to those expectations. Controversial. Again , I don't care. Uh , we have big, big bodies, big story organizations like the world health organization who says things, who communicates that, Hey, the expectation for an adult is you need to get 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. I'm okay with that. I'm okay with putting out some sort of expectation, but I find that the language around it is very, very intimidating, if you will. First, when you see a number like 150 and you don't do the math, you don't break it down, you know , you don't break it down the 150 to see what that looks like over five or six sessions, whatever it may be. You look at one 50, it's a big number and then the second half of that statement is moderate or vigorous. What does that even mean? What does that even mean? Right? For what age group? Like moderate to vigorous for me is going to be different to someone who is 80 years old. Absolutely. Yeah. But that's why I feel, again, I feel like we are failing the average person. There's nothing wrong with the word average. The word average exists to represent the general public. Right? Most of us are average. Yeah . But the health industry as a whole, we're failing the average person. Do you agree with that or am I being a little bit too large ? No, I completely agree with that. Like, yeah. Um , Instagram, the internet, like there's a million diets out there that my clients approach me with. Like, Oh, should I be doing this? Should I be doing that? Should I be on a keto diets ? Like, no, no. You're a normal human being. He was living a normal life. You've got two kids, you have a husband, you have a job, you should be eating carbohydrates. Protein and fats and whole foods is most as possible as much as possible. Um, why do you want to go on a keto diet? Well, because so and so on. Instagram is on a keto diet and she looks amazing. I know you're more than qualified to talk about nutrition. So let's talk about it. Especially I feel like I'm just harping today, we're going to go back to the, one of the most, and I know this because I've looked it up the most, the most common question on Google is how do I eat to lose weight? And you're gonna get a multitude, a plethora of, of answers. You're going to get the Kito diet, you're going to get intermittent fasting, you're going to get Atkins, whatever. There's a million of them. So when your clients approach you with a diet or suggestions for diet, how do you broach that subject? Well, first of all, I think the word diet is used completely wrong because we've turned the word diet, which is basically meaning what you eat in a day. That's your diet to a term. That means basically restriction of some kind, whether it's restricting carbohydrates, sugar, protein in some cases. Um, yeah, so that's first of all, it's a flawed question. Um, second of all, I ask them why, like why do you want to do this? And most of the time it's to lose weight, right? Well , I want to lose five vanity pounds, or I want, I need to lose 50 pounds. Um , to lose weight. It's very simple. You need to have a restriction of calories. You need calorie restriction, a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. So it really doesn't matter if you eat Twinkies or you eat, you know, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and meat. Um , the question is how healthy do you want to be? Right? That's a great clarification. You want to have mental clarity. Do you want to sleep well? Do you want to be able to function at your job? Um, in that case, then you need to eat certain foods to achieve those goals. Um, if you just want to lose weight, then stop eating right. Don't eat as much cut down on your portion sizes, which of course isn't healthy. You need to watch what you're eating. One of our previous gusts, our name is Chelsea, Chelsea love , she's a registered dietician and I think she just summed it up so, so well. It's okay to have weight loss as part of your goals, but it has to be part of something much grander because it goes so much further than that. Right. Not just from the perspective of, yeah, weight is just a number. It could be muscle, it could be fat, whatever it is. But from the perspective of what's happening in here, you know, you have heart health. Yep . Oregon health. Are you digesting well, there's so much more than just the aesthetic. Right? Yeah . Which I find is very useful if you can give your clients an example of why. Um , like I always say, and I think a lot of trainers do, you need to drink your water, drink more water. You need to drink like X amount of water a day different for a lot of people depending on how much you exercise. And they're like, why am I feel fine? I don't need to drink more water. And it's like, well water is used to lubricate your eyes. Like do you have , and she's complaining of dry eyes, right? Or to lubricate your joints, like what were were made of, what is it, 70% water. Yup . So then they're like, Oh, like you never thought of it from that perspective. Right? Yeah. So if you were to have a client or somebody who is currently prospecting a trainer and they're not ready to commit yet, but they're asking you just for your opinion, they want to work out 15 minutes a day just at home in their basement, what would that program look like for them? 15 minutes a day. 15 minutes a day. Yeah. That's a great starting point actually. Um , so it would look like a warmup, probably five minutes, five minutes of weights, and then probably five minutes of cool down and stretching. Um, cause that's a very short period of time. Right? Um, yeah, I'm a big believer in warming your body up properly to prevent injury. Um, and then whatever they're going to be doing in between. So whether it's like we're working on their upper body or their lower body or full body and then a proper cool down and stretch. So what does warming up look like to you? So getting your blood flowing. So warming up your body. It could be anything from a dynamic warmup where you're just doing like anything from squats, lunges, jumping jacks, something non-impact dynamic. I like to do a dynamic warmup . Um, yeah. And what is, why is that important? Because usually we are sitting, so a lot of people spend their day sittings . When you go from a sitting position to , you don't want to just go straight into a workout because you're likely injure yourself. Cold muscle is easier to injure than warm. Um, so, so in the, in the re the resistance component, the work of components, what would your go-to, what is your, in your toolbox of exercises? Well, they would need your piece of equipment, wouldn't they? I wasn't going there. I wasn't going there. But that is appreciated. Yeah . What are your favorite exercises to throw into a workout program at home or anywhere? Anywhere. Burpees. Isn't that what everyone thinks trainers should do? Why couldn't they be at the table ? They can, no , that's not my favorite thing. That's a lie. Um, I like to use compound movements. So I really like teaching people to squat properly cause we spend a lot of time over , we should spend a lot of time in that position. Um, dead lifts, bench press, bent over rows, overhead press so that your whole body is being used and used in ways that you would do in your normal life. So functional training basically. Right . Um, uh , you kind of explained it already, but just so there's zero ambiguity here. Uh, what is a compound movement? So a compound movement is where you're using more than one muscle group at a time. So a dead lift for example, you're using, I think your full body, maybe not your chest as much, but everything else. So you're using your legs, you're using your back, you're using your shoulders to keep your shoulders in the right position. Um, yeah. So that's using multiple muscle groups together. Let's go back to the loft. The loft. What is the biggest difference in your clients' experience when you are training them at was a spa lady. He said, yeah, I did. I work as quality and now with the loft, so many differences. We have a lot of fun. Now I have to say. Um, so the biggest difference I think is especially for women, is they show up. They don't have to worry about what they're going to wear or putting makeup on or what their hair looks like. They're totally comfortable. Sometimes they bring their kids with them. Oh yeah. Um, and there's just, there's no pressure and it's just me and it's them and we have a great relationship. So it's a very comfortable setting and it's very efficient. So they get in, they spend their hour with me and they get their workout done and then they're out of there and there's no eyes on them. There's no judgment. It's very, yeah, like I said, very comfortable. I have a philosophy, another philosophy. I spent personally very, very little time , uh , trading clients in a gym when I, I don't trade anymore, but when I did, it was always in private studios in their home because it didn't take me too long to realize that it is such a, how do I want to say this for your clients to succeed? I believe that there requires such a personal connection, such a deep connection because it's not just about the physical. In order for you to be a successful personal trader and therefore have successful clients, you have to understand what happens to them or with them beyond the gym. Yeah. Beyond their workouts. I mean, it all comes full circle. If they come to your studio for a workout and that day they just don't show up or they're not present. What is the reason for that? Maybe big auto fight with their spouse. Maybe they didn't sleep well, maybe they had a little cheat meal or whatever it is. Right. But in a public setting, I feel that they're not comfortable enough expressing those things. Yeah. And I mean, this is just perception because you know, I do believe that in a big environment, nobody really cares what you're doing. Right. However, however, if you have that thought ingrained in your mind, it doesn't matter what the truth is, you believe it to be true. So that's the truth. Yeah. Do you agree with that, having that deep bond with your clients? Oh, absolutely. Um, I know most things about my clients. We have a very strong relationship and that develops over time. Um, but yeah, as you said, I don't think there's , you kind of have a successful trainer that isn't able to form relationships with people. Yeah. Um, yeah. So my, my clients are more like friends or like family. They're not so much just, it's not a client, it's not like a doctor patient relationship. It's much more intimate than that. And I think that's what creates a lasting bond between trainer and client. But that is also, it's not just because you have a private studio is something that is a value that you've ingrained in yourself. Yeah . It's something that you found that is necessary for your clients to succeed and clearly you are passionate about their success. Where did that come from? That comes from a long history of fitness in my family. So my dad , um, was basically training for the Olympics in rowing , um , before he met my mom and moved to the Caribbean where I grew up. Um, but I just remember I would be lying on his back in the morning while he was doing pushups or , um, you know, running alongside em or biking or whatever it was. So he really ingrained that, like the importance of fitness in our lives. And he was , um, he owns a business , uh , an airline business. So a couple actually, so he's very, very busy and high stress job. Um, and he used exercise as a release and he said he can think more clearly and like you always would express to us the importance of exercise, especially in, you know, high stress situations. And , um, it kind of just stuck with me, like throughout my , um, boarding school. I went to boarding school throughout my boarding school career. Um, from grade 10 to 12, I was always on a sports team. I always worked out on my own. And for me that was a very mental thing. Um, it allowed me to study. It allowed me to be mentally clear. Um, and then university had carried on through that and I did some, I did sports and I actually did some training at my university. You went to Queens? Queens? Yeah. Yeah. So for me, fitness has always been very important. I'm very anxious, I have a lot of anxiety and um , working out has made that almost go away. Right. So I can, if I don't work out for a couple of days, I feel that like anxiety , um, coming on. So for me it's, a lot of it is for mental wellness and mental health. But where did that passion to help others or just talking to them ? I was just talking about myself. Um , it is important because that is part of big picture. Yeah. So , um, I've always been someone to push my beliefs on other people because I've seen like, I'm eating this way and I feel amazing and I'm exercising and like it does amazing things. So I want to show other people , um, you know, how they can feel and you know what they can look like and build their confidence. And I've, I don't know . For me it's always been so simple. Um, but I studied this stuff and I know so much about health and fitness and I don't realize that the average person doesn't, right . So for me, it's really a gift to be able to share that knowledge and show people like what their lives can be like if they live this way. I think that's such an, it's an interesting paradigm because I, he stated earlier that you try not to be on social media so, so much. But from where I'm sitting, I find that people like you, it's people like you that should be on social media because you have not just a passion for it, but you do have the knowledge behind it as well. You've done your studies, not just through, you know, self-experience but you've gone to school for it. So you have such excellent information to put out there. And unfortunately social media is the place that that happens nowadays. Right. Whereas with, with , um, the loft, you have extreme influence for , uh, you know, over your, your clients. But that influence stops there. Yes, that's very true. Which, I mean, it's , it's fine, but I think there's such an opportunity for people like you and this mediums like this that allow people like you to, to put that information, that passion out there. Yeah. I get a lot of that from Tisch actually talked about Tish a lot and yeah , she's always telling me the same things. Like put yourself out there more. You need to be on Instagram. You need to, you know, share your knowledge with others and you know, you get paid to do that. Whether it's being sponsored by, you know, companies like one up nutrition or , or maybe leggings or whatever it is. Um, but for me, I just don't know where to start. Like there's so much out there, there's so many people doing it that it's like you have really have to separate yourself from others, especially if you don't want to be the person that's selling sex. Like unfortunately that's controversial. But it's true. I got though . Yeah, I agree. I just, I'm not interested in that. So for me, it's like I really have to find a way to separate myself from the mainstream in order to put something worthwhile out there. So I'm still kinda figuring that out. What it's gonna look like. Yeah . So coming soon, and I mean there's, there's no , there's never a right or wrong way to do social media, I don't believe anyways, but you don't have to, influence has kind of a negative connotation in my mouth anyways, when I think of influencers because I find that a lot of influencers, they will just back whoever pays them. Yes. Right . And when you believe in everything, you believe in nothing. Right. So, so it's , it is a very, very tough line to draw. Um, but if you're on there just for the purpose of, I don't want to be cliche, but provide value, like for instance, when I talk to you as I'm talking to you, sitting right across from you and you're telling me that you come from an anxious place and that you have anxiety, I never would've guessed right, but as I exercise today, but that's the important thing. That's the important message that people need to hear. Right. Where, where they look at Alex and they're like, she must live the perfect life. She's fit, she's got her own business. But there is a lot of anxiety behind that. Right. And is such a, it's an important story for people to share. I really believe so. Yeah. I definitely agree with that. Um, yeah, and I have a lot of clients that are in the same boat that, you know, suffer from anxiety or they have like depression or whatever it is and um , they won't miss a workout because they know the importance of what the workout is going to do for their mental health. Um, yeah. So I resonate a lot with people like that because coming from a background of anxiety, so yeah, absolutely. And there's a lot of reasons why people work out . It's not just mental health, but yeah, it's a big one. It is a big one. But like I said, I do encourage for you to get your message out there. It doesn't have to be social media. There's a lot of opportunities nowadays , uh , whether it's getting on a stage and doing keynote speeches or, or going to organizations and speaking to their employees. I mean, there are a lot of programs out there and, and it's, it is worthwhile to do so. And especially when you come from a , from a point S standpoint where you do want to help people. I mean , yes, of course money is, is important as well and you will get paid for those things. But the reach that you get, the influence that you have over these people, when, especially when you share that deep backstory that you have, it goes very, very far. Yeah. So let's go back to the loft. You've done, you've been in business for a long , the four years, four years, it sounds like it's doing fantastic. Uh, what are your aspirations? Is there a loft to coming? I would love that actually. Um, yeah, I've been talking about expansion probably for about a year now. Um, so we're just seeing what that looks like. I've been looking at spaces around Calgary trying to find a place that's, you know, appropriate rent and size and what that's gonna look like. But yeah, it's definitely in the works. Um, I'd like to keep the concept as a small , um, community. Yeah . But , um, yeah, definitely. Do you fear at all? Um, the number of studios and gyms that are other no . Right. Cause you know what you're doing. No, the loft is very different to anything in Calgary. Um, Oh, we have no signage for one. Yeah. Uh , it's referral only. Um, but it's, it's just, I think what I'm doing and what Tish is doing is very unique cause tissue works with me at the loft. Um, it's, it's very unique and different to what people are doing in Calgary. Um, in terms of what's out there, there's some amazing smaller studios out there like crush camp or you know, just million orange theories and that works for some people, but it's still, my clients wouldn't go there. So I think what I'm doing is there's definitely a niche for it. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'd never want to talk about my story too much, especially when I have guests on the show, but I come from that background where , where I was super anxious. Um, I was super down on my, you know, what my body, I had terrible body image and that I think most people do and it's crazy because it affected so much more than just , um, self-confidence. It affected relationships and I was lashing out. It's, it's, yeah. I have a, I have a funny really shit with the gym and that's why I'm able to speak so freely about it. Yeah . Not care. So where do you work out? Um, so my girlfriend, her gym has a little, her story, her condo has a little gym. Yeah , that's about it. It's just the evolution as well. And that's bought it. I do a lot of body weight stuff. I mean there are the odd days where I like to slug around some weight, but yeah. But for the most part you do what you enjoy. And in a more private setting. Yeah . In a very, very private setting. Um, I , I believe that if I were to go to a big box gym, I'm, I could be anxious just because, yeah, there are lots of guys that are bigger than me or what have you, but not that that should matter. Not that that should matter, but yeah. And that is part of the message, right . I think is important for somebody like me to say that. Right? Yeah. Even I go through that. Well, when you walk in there as a new person, you can point out the people that I've been going, like the regulars, right, that kind of have ownership over the equipment. Like you can see them, they have their front spot in front of the mirror and they're all the weights around them. Yeah. And that's intimidating. There's no sharing of equipment as much as you would like to take , if you know, can I, can I enjoy it ? You know ? No, no, no. You're standing there waiting for the person who's on their cell phone, probably on Instagram, sitting on the leg press and you're like, what's up? Right. Absolutely. I'd like to use that. But yeah, so that's great. So you're looking at loft number two. I hope that goes well for you. Um, final question. If a person is living an evolved life, what does that look like? Again , with the philosophical questions, it's the name of the show and evolved life. I don't think that's possible cause I think evolution is something that happens over time. So evolution and I think growth go hand in hand and I think we are constantly evolving and constantly growing. Um, so I don't think you ever reach like evolved that the place wherever that is. Um, we shouldn't anyways. Cause if you stop growing and evolving, you're likely dead. So evolution is the journey of growth. Roles never ends. Exactly. That's the foil said thank you for calling it more eloquently. Not a problem. At all. Alex, that was a pleasure. My pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on the show anytime. Thanks for joining us for this episode of my evolve life. Guys, if you found any value at all, and I'm sure you did, make sure to subscribe to the podcast. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, or you want to be a guest or recommend a guest, send us a message on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn at evolution. BN Oh , if you think your friends would enjoy this podcast, please make sure to share it with them. Until next time, live your evolve life.

What are the biggest barriers that clients face?
What do you think about the all or nothing approach?
What kind of intimidation do your clients feel about the gym?
What is the scariest thing you've ever witnessed at the gym?
What are the traits of your successful clients?
How do you approach the scale?
What is your take on metrics like BMI?
What are your thoughts on the traditional gym business model?
What are the first steps someone can take to begin exercising?
Is the health industry failing society as a whole?
What are your thoughts on dieting?
If someone only had 15 minutes, what should they do?
What is the biggest difference between the gym and your facility?
Is it important to have a strong bond with your clients?