Feelings are great but they shouldn’t be in control of your actions- The way I feel about my family definitely drives my actions of how I provide for them because I love them but when your feelings are in control of you and your actions then some of those temporary feelings can cause you to act in a way that you don’t actually agree with. In a temporary bout of anger do you call people names? When you are sad do you lash out? When you feel left out do you close down and hide? All of these things are temporary feelings that create long term remnants. I can only imaging the people I have permanently hurt because of a temporary feeling.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gerald Mayes, MS, Plus One Community LLC.
Gerald’s entrance into the the field of health and wellness was unconventional to say the least. He was not super athletic in high school, didn’t have this burning passion to be a crossfitter, power lifter, or a greek god.
In fact it wasn’t until his own journey of overcoming weight loss that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wanted to help people. After finding himself close to 100 lbs heavier a year after an honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps; Depressed and unemployed, he had to make a change. Along with the help of 2 other people (Terrence Howard and Brian Beaver) he was able to get in shape and get a hold of his life.
Over the next 5 years he would earn an AOS in Personal Training, A BS in Public Health, and a MS in Sport and Health Science. He would love to say there was no turning back and he lived with six pack abs forever but that was hardly the case. Armed with all this health knowledge, over the next 7 years his weight and health fluctuated with some years better than others.
Despite the many accomplishments in the health and wellness industry he never “looked” the part and always felt judged by his peers. It wasn’t until he began working with people who battled obesity and struggled changing behaviors did he realize that he wasn’t the only one who felt not good enough.
So because he is an educated health and wellness professional, been a college professor, and held some of the highest positions in health and wellness he decided to share this knowledge and experience with people who need it most……. people who struggle in this area, people who want to change but don’t know how, people who need help, PEOPLE JUST LIKE HIM! So he created the Plus One Community designed to use the shared experiences of its members to motivate and encourage each other to work towards being the healthiest version of themselves today through daily exercise programming, weekly meal planning, and tons of resources from their staff of chefs, dietitians, and coaches.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/15884af4095664a362527ff2d096d5cf
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Beaumont, TX but ultimately found myself in Las Vegas, NV by the time I was 4 years old since my father moved there for better opportunities. By the time I reached the 5th grade my parents went through a nasty divorce and the result of that was my mother, sister and I leaving Las Vegas for Lake Charles, LA. We stayed there for a few years before my mother found a new love interest and move us to Canoga Park, CA. where I stayed 2 years. During my 8th grade year my mother and I got into a huge fight that ultimately led to me moving back to Las Vegas to live with my father. My father is an interesting person as he was very hands off and allowed me to use my high school years to search myself. I don’t know if that was a good or bad way to parent a testosterone filled teenager, but it was how he parented. By the time I had graduated I knew I needed to do something, so I decided on the military and 4 days after high school graduation I found myself on the yellow footprints at MCRD San Diego to be a marine and to start my transition into adulthood.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
Once I got out of the military I went through a dark bout of depression. I thought that when I got out of the military the rest of my life would be waiting for me with open arms and a handbook on what to do next, but that was not the case. In fact, I had no plan, and no one was really there to help direct me, so I shut in with snacks and alcohol. After 1 year of being out of the military I was roughly 100lbs more than my discharge weight.
The depression was intense, but I knew I couldn’t just eat and drink myself to death I had to change! I remember vividly the prayer I sent to the heavens about needing to lose weight and get my life back in order. In the process of trying to get my life back in order I obtained a job as a maintenance worker and a few weeks in my car broke down. Not the sign from my prayer I was looking for but it was actually exactly what I needed.
Now that my car was broken down I had to find a way back and forth to work. I had to bum a ride from 5ft 11, 240lb, 4% body fat mountain of a giant man named Terrence Howard (Not That Terrence Howard though!), and also one of the nicest people I have ever met. The only catch he told me was that I had to go to the gym every morning to make it to work. Yes!!! Prayers answered I should have realized right!? WRONG! My first thought was, “There is no way in hell I am getting up at 330am to go to the gym in order to make it to work by 6am”. So I actually slept outside the gym for 2 weeks.
Then one day he convinced me to go in and my life changed. I trained with him for months and my body changed. I knew right then that I wanted to provide this same feeling to other people. The feeling of receiving your life back after you’ve felt it snatched away from you. So I enrolled in a technical school to receive an associates degree in Personal Training. While going through that course I me a man named Dr. Charles Ware and he took me under his wing and provided me with an opportunity to teach at the very school I had enrolled in. He pushed me to continue my education and I did. I earned my Bachelor’s in Public Health and Masters in Health Science. Armed and ready I was ready to share this knowledge with the world.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, Dr. Charles Ware was my first big believer in what I wanted to achieve. He taught me that the best thing I have to offer is ME. At the beginning of me taking the position as an instructor at the Professional Fitness Institute I would watch Dr. Ware give these lectures and interact with students. It was profound and I wanted to be just like him. When given the opportunity to lead lectures I would often imitate him even down to the mannerisms. One day at the end of class he pulled me aside and ripped me a new one. He basically said “Stop trying to be me because you could never be.” The best thing I can give these students is my unique perspective. Trust your intuition and be yourself the students will thank you for it. What is duly noted is that he provided me the opportunity to cultivate my voice without shame or pressure. If it wasn’t for him I would not be where I am now.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
The funniest/most interesting story within my career came while providing health coaching to a corporate organization. The duties we had were to be performed during business hours. Living in Las Vegas nothing is business hours. One day in a safety briefing the grave yard engaged in a conversation with me and started complain about the health coaches and why his shift wasn’t being addressed not knowing I was the one to bring these concerns to. Once I told him I was in fact the health coach he spit his drink up and apologized to me for being so rude. We had a nice laugh and I assured him that it was ok and I would make sure his staff is addressed. I learned that day to check my ego and look past the sounds of anger and irritation because they are usually the doors to solve a problem. He may have been upset and irritated but what he ultimately wanted was for he and his staff to be awarded the same benefits as everyone else. Don’t take things personal had I been offended then I would have lost an opportunity to provide a solution to him. Today we are still friends and he is one of my biggest supporters in my current business long after my time with that organization.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The 1 book that has had a significant impact on me is “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers. I can remember Anything You Want so clearly that I often recite it in my mind. It was crucial when starting my business. There is a chapter within the book simply called “It’s Either Hell Yes or NO” Often times we say yes to things that don’t light a fire under us or doesn’t give us goosebumps when thinking about it and we spend our lives doing things that we aren’t enthused to do and occupies our time so that we can’t do the things that really calls to us. After reading that chapter several times I made the decision to pursue the things that made me excited and that was Plus One Community.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
One of my favorite life lessons quotes is by the great philosopher Dr. Seuss, “Be Who You Are And Say What You Feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. Often times we dim our lights out of fear that others won’t like our brightness and that is no way to live your 1 and only life. Shine Bright and be unapologetic in doing so. Those who love and care about you will encourage you to do more and those who need it will be attracted to it. But for those who don’t like it, well your light isn’t for them anyway so it doesn’t matter. Don’t let others dictate your greatness.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The most exciting project I am working on is the Plus One Community. It is daily exercise programming platform and with our team of trainers, dieticians, and chefs we have created not only exercise but weekly meal planning and coaching. However, the most exciting aspect is the community we have cultivated. It truly is our prized creation. We all know how to be healthy to a degree but often times it is extremely difficult to do it alone. I wanted to create a community of likeminded people going through similar activities to be able to band together and provide motivation, support, and accountability to each other. It truly is remarkable to watch.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
3 Good Habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness
- Protect your positive — this can mean a few things as your positive can be attract on so many levels. The essence of this statement is being positive is beneficial to your overall view on the world. Having a positive outlook and being positive in general can better your physical well-being, reduce depression and anxiety, and even increase your life span so keep the positivity leachers out.
- Self Care Is A Must — Take care of yourself; I repeat, Take care of yourself!!! Most self care articles state that your should engage in physical activity and get some sun and while all of that is important I simply mean do not put off for yourself what you would do for others. My wife has a tendency to do this. She will make sure the kids have clothes, dinner, haircuts, new instruments etc. Yet she will hesitate to purchase a new conditioner that costs twice what she pays for the old one. It creates a level of guilt and anxiety that she’s somehow taking away from everyone else. Words of advice Julia, It doesn’t and you deserve 20 bottles of that and more!
- Either Hell Yes or No — Saying yes is not a requirement to being asked to do something. Learn to say no, Hell No, or even F*** No. These are good practices to free yourself up for things you actually really really want to do. And don’t feel guilty! In fact you are doing them a favor. You know you really don’t want to but they don’t know that so why put forth a half baked portion of yourself for them. Give them the opportunity to find someone who feels like that activity is a HELL YES for them.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
Yes, I do have a meditation practice and it is literally the easiest thing in the world. First thing is I wear my apple watch to sleep and allow it to gently wake me with vibrations at the peak time aligning with my sleep rhythm. Once awake I take 5–8 minutes to meditate. I start with 1 minute of breathing using the breathe app on my watch and 4–7 minutes of Transcendental Meditation which is Mantra based. I focus on the first positive word that comes to my brain usually Love, Positivity, or Greatness and I just recite it silently in my mind until I am compelled to get out of bed. Sometimes its 15–20 minutes and sometimes its 2 minutes either way I do not force it allow it to happen. Starting the day off on a calm mello foot allows me to be a bit more bulletproof as I walk through life. Sometimes, I may participate in a yoga class or do some longer form meditation but the first 5–8 minutes of each is crucial.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
3 Good Habits That Can Lead To Optimum Health
- Do something active everyday — No not exercise, although it is good for you. It doesn’t have to be all about sets and reps just get out and do something. Go for a walk, do a set of squats between commercials, or go for a hike with your furry friends. All of those actions are deposits into the health and wellness bank accounts. They help you to formulate a habit of activity and expand upon.
- Drink more water — Ok, so we all know that google and other health pros say you should drink 8 cups of water per day or half your body weight in ounces. Both are great tips but most of us can just benefit from drinking a little more water than normal. If you normally drink 8 ounces per day then set a goal of 9 ounces for tomorrow. You do not have knock it out the park you just have to get on base. Create a habit of being slightly better than before sets you up for consistent improvement.
- Take Your Butt To Bed — Sleep is how your body recharges and repairs itself. You simply can’t make any physiological progress if you do not rest. So in the words of Samuel L. Jackson Go The (well you know the rest)
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
The best advice I can give in regards to nutrition is don’t over complicate it and you do not have to change everything at once. We all know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but you do not have to change everything at once because it is hard sustaining a total change. Be patient! Change something easy. I call it “Addressing the low hanging fruit” Maybe you have a tendency to eat terribly during your lunchbreak. Start there and focus on just improving that lunch while keeping everything else the same. Once you have changed the lunch and it becomes effortless to achieve then move on to another area to be improved but only when lunch is solidified.
While trying to change everything it has a tendency to create enormous amounts of guilt when you backslide. I remember one of my very first personal training clients who weighed over 450lbs she had lost close to 100lbs after 8 months of working with me. Then one day she stopped showing up or returning my phone calls. 7 months later she returned 125lbs heavier. When I asked her why she said she had some chocolate cake and felt guilty for cheating on her diet and that would consider her a failure. She also felt that her cheating on her diet created a feeling of “oh well I already messed up” and she continued down this unhealthy self-gorging wormhole only to resurface 125lbs heavier. It was just too overwhelming for her and she would have benefited from a more flexible approach.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
3 Good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness
- Check your emotions — Often times the things we care about the most elicit the greatest emotional response. Personally, my wife, children, and the Dallas Cowboys create this irritational overwhelming emotional response. A conversation with my family where they express that I work to much elicits a heighten sense of emotion rooted in my own insecurities. I usually respond to these concerns with a deflection or defense of those actions keeping me from actually addressing the needs of my family and building this emotional sense of them not appreciating my hard work and effort I put forth for them. I am the same way with my beloved Dallas Cowboys; every bad play or forced fumble I am screaming Super Bowl or Bust!
- Feelings are great but they shouldn’t be in control of your actions- The way I feel about my family definitely drives my actions of how I provide for them because I love them but when your feelings are in control of you and your actions then some of those temporary feelings can cause you to act in a way that you don’t actually agree with. In a temporary bout of anger do you call people names? When you are sad do you lash out? When you feel left out do you close down and hide? All of these things are temporary feelings that create long term remnants. I can only imaging the people I have permanently hurt because of a temporary feeling.
- Take ownership of your problems — There is power in ownership! You can’t actually improve any aspect of yourself unless you first identify that it is YOUR problem. You can’t kick your alcohol addiction if you don’t believe you have a problem with alcohol. And the worse thing you can do is place the blame for your addiction on existential circumstances like how you were raised or luck. Without taking ownership of your problems then you chance your betterment on something other than you.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
Absolutely, I love smiling and I love people who smile. There is countless research and articles about how smiling can make you look more attractive, competent, and even reduce your stress levels. However, I want to address the power of being around smiling people. Smiling people can uplift your own spirits and give you a sense of comfort when you are feeling down or out of sorts. Surround yourself with people who smile and watch your days seem better!
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
3 Good Habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness
- Identify your morals and never waver from them — We are all built with a moral compass and we all have a specific set of morals and values depending on the scenario. My morals and values as a father slightly differ than man morals and values as a business owner. Either way you have to be very aware of those and stick to them no matter what. I have a very specific way as to how I interact with my children. I believe as a parent my kids benefit from being honest, transparent, and not coddled. The reason for this is because I believe that is the best way to instill confidence in their decision making. They can’t learn how to make decisions as adults if they have never been put in position to make decisions as children. So when so issues happened in our family and our elders suggested we keep it secret from the children I directly opposed to that because according my morals and values they deserved and I respected them to know what was going on. Be true to yourself and do not let others download their morals onto you.
- Your purpose is in you — I can remember being 8 years old in Palm Springs, CA with my parents and after dinner at a nice restaurant insisting that I personally give the tip to the waiter. I wanted to shake his hand look him in the eyes and say thank you for being so nice to me. My mom agreed and the look on his face when I handed him 3 dollars (this back in 95 when 3 bucks was a lot) is something I never forgot. I knew then I wanted to be of service and help provide those same experiences to people. The journey in life helped me to identify the vehicle I would use to do that but the goal was to always be of service. That was in me from an early age. Your purpose is in you and its an idea, a belief, a desire it is not an occupation. The occupation is simply the vehicle to share your purpose with the world.
- Take time for personal reflection — Often times in this journey called life we find ourselves at a junction where we look up and have no idea how we got here. This can be avoided to periodically circle back and take a look at where you are going and decide if this is the path you want to continue on or is it something you need to rethink and possibly change paths. But it starts with some personal reflection we change throughout the course of our lives. Things that were once important don’t register anymore and it is important to identify those changes early on.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
So, when I was dealing with my bout of depression and PTSD from my military service, I read an article about how nature can help change my negative perspective and it did. I found that being out in the brightness of day in the elements gave me a perspective that felt far reaching. In comparison to sitting in my home at the time that often felt like a prison cell and gave me a sense of being trapped. Being out in nature made me feel free and that the possibilities were many. So even to this day I love competing in Triathlons for that very reason. It’s freeing!
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I could inspire a movement outside of the health and wellness movement we have created outside of Plus One it would be a positivity club where individuals share positivity on all platforms to drown out the negativity we are constantly being bombarded with.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Yes, Colin Powel! After reading his book “It Worked For Me” I was enamored by the strength he exudes as a human being and leader. I have a great desire to to be a leader for my own company the way Colin Powel has been for our country. Leading with firmness and compassion, such a great combination!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I can be personally followed on Instagram and twitter @mr_bpoz (That is short for Be Positive). The work that I do for Plus One Community can be found at www.plusonecommunity.com as well as facebook (www.facebook.com/p1community) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/plus_one_community)
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.