Find fitness experiences that are fun. I recently attended a group boxing class. I normally like to work out by myself and after the class, I had so much fun that I forgot I was actually working towards my fitness and wellness goals. Be open to reinventing your routines.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Klay S. Williams. Klay S. Williams is the voice for PLAN A. With a M.Div., from Princeton Theological Seminary and a BA in Religion from Kalamazoo College, a flair for image consulting and holistic well-being conversations, he launched his wellness + lifestyle firm, Plan A Enterprises, LLC in 2007. Author of two books, There Is Only Plan A — A Journey Toward Self-Discovery and Renewed Purpose and 365 Plan A Nightly Meditations, host of Bookstr Wellness and Plan A Konversations — the podcast, Klay is changing the conversation on holistic well-being.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Klay! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Irealized that not only did I have to be authentic in my voice through action, I wanted to challenge myself to be the very best version of myself that I could possible become. My partner introduced me to the fitness aspect of my work. I was already a life coach and author, but didn’t really take my fitness life as serious as I should. Interestingly enough, one of our earlier dates was an invitation to go to the gym. After a few weeks of consistent workout-life, I realized not only was my physical body changing, but fitness turned out to be my daily therapy, a space where I could work through the concerns of the day, process and be with my spirited thoughts.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Having the opportunity to do a Facebook Live with Deepak Chopra was pretty cool. I had met Deepak through a mutual friend at an event. I phoned his staff to request an in person conversation, to follow-up on our brief chat at the event. I went to his office, offered him a gift from a dear friend who makes natural candles and environmentally conscious diffusers and my books. After a brief chat, Deepak asked me if I wanted to go live on his Facebook channel. I was completely not expecting this opportunity. I said, “Yes!”, of course and was interviewed for about 15–20 minutes on my work and shared a great conversation with Deepak and his audience.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
OMG. I have so many, but the greatest mistake I made was being a jack-of-all-trades, which means, being a jack-of-none. LOL. I literally was doing everything possible in taking someone through an extensive wellness and well-being ritual that I was all over the place. While I was creating and adding value to my client’s life, I was burning the candle at both ends, while not being properly compensated. One day a client took me to brunch as a thank you. She said to me, “I hope you can receive this in the loving manner in which my thoughts will be presented. You charge way too little for the services you offer. Can we take a look at your pricing matrix?” It was incredibly honest and very much humorous in the moment. A completely direct conversation, that we both ended up laughing for 5 minutes straight after she shared her “concern” with me.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I wanted to be sure that I not only have the academic experience, but the experiential force behind my work. I attended Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving a M. Div, with a specific concentration in pastoral counseling. While, my work is not centered in a church, I thought I would use my degree in an accessible spiritual function — to meet people where they are — in order to take them where they felt called and purposed to become. On the fitness front, my dramatic transformation has come through a lot of trial and error. Sometimes, the best advice we can share is from our lived experience. 5 years later on the fitness front, specifically, I can say that I’ve consistently worked through understanding the necessities of living a healthy life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’d say the story that my partner was influential in my fitness journey, from above. Outside of that, my ‘Plan A Friendships.’ When I moved to New York City with just $500, several friends opened their homes, couches, refrigerators and investment dollars to support me. Having these special people in my life who believed in me is the reason that success continues to find me — not just my work alone. True story. I share in my book, There Is Only Plan A, my experience with my dear friend Monet. During my couch surfing time, I went to the grocery store with her. I noticed that she was purchasing two of everything. She received a call during our grocery run and canceled an event that she was scheduled to attend. I asked her why she was getting two of everything and also what made her cancel her plans? She was buying additional groceries for me. While pleading with her not to cancel her plans and that I was not her responsibility, she told me, “I am just as much a part of your calling as you.”
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep 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 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- We do not schedule our fitness routine in our calendars. We’ll send cal invited for happy hour, brunch and work meeting, but do not insist on scheduling our day’s events around our fitness routine. It’s a must.
- We do not plan. Unexpected life will always happen. It’s easiest to plan your meals for the week, with maybe 2 days during the week that serves as your food prep.
- Snacking. As a New Yorker in particular, there are often delays on subways, unexpected meetings and last minute running around. We build up an appetite and tend to eat whatever is in sight. I always have at least 2 non-perishable snacks in my backpack to make sure that I have a healthy alternative.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Schedule your fitness routine on your calendar.
- Partner only with a fitness buddy who will hold you accountable. Be conscious of going to the gym and engaging more-so in conversation and less in actually working out.
- Start Small.
- Do not judge yourself for an lapses. Note the experience and keep going. We all are on a journey, working towards something.
- Find fitness experiences that are fun. I recently attended a group boxing class. I normally like to work out by myself and after the class, I had so much fun that I forgot I was actually working towards my fitness and wellness goals. Be open to reinventing your routines.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Mental therapy (as explained above)
- Clarity of thought
- Confidence booster. When you look great in your own skin, on your own terms, there’s a greater sense of confidence that becomes your experience. Finding this space of confidence internally first and then having your external goals accomplished for your own sense of well-being in life changing.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Toning (some form of weight lifting)
- Full body circuit training
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
- Switch up your routines. I am a fan of HIIT workouts, but realize that for long term gain, I cannot work out my body with that level of intensity everyday, If I want to stay fit long term. So I switch up my fitness routines every 6 weeks.
- Plant based protein is essential for recovery. It helps with alleviating some of the stressors and muscle fatigue.
- Stretching and active recovery, after every workout in essential. I’m guilty of not stretching post my workouts. However, once I realized that huge shift in how I felt afterwards, soreness became less and less.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
- I follow a paleo diet, more or less. Very low carbs, high protein and veggies.
- I think everyone should consider their goals and also what responds best to their bodies. Consulting a nutritionist for your chemical makeup is essential for what’s best for your particular body.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Dr. Gary Zukav’s Seat Of The Soul. It literally helped me understand how to utilize my personal to serve the purpose and energy of what matters most to me.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think a purpose movement. If everyone gave themselves permission to find their purpose in life and courageously go after their Plan A, I strongly believe the world would be cured of negative isms. We all have the power to create something very special and purpose answers that call.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Let the light of another day be enough.” That thought spontaneously came to me during my extreme building process. It helps me every day as I continue to step out on faith and build out my dreams.
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 if we tag them 🙂
Oprah. She has been a profound friend in my head. I’ve watched almost everything that she has produced. She’s an inspiring force that I have grown up with.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@PlanAwithKlay on Twitter, Facebook + IG
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!