Drinking is by far the worst thing for your health goals, and it’s not just about the calories. Not only does alcohol lower your judgement and make it easier to indulge, it pauses your body’s ability to metabolize body fat for 48–72 hours. Even if you maintain a caloric deficit, alcohol has zero nutritive value and is recognized by the body as a poison. This means that all other processes such as fat loss will be put on hold so the body can break down alcohol. It would be better to actually eat the calories in the form of food instead of drinking. If you are serious about fat loss, this needs to be the number one thing to go. Cutting out alcohol alone with zero changes to nutrition will support a healthier lifestyle with zero perceived “effort” with respect to eating any differently.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Hronec. Christine is an author, engineer, nutrition scientist, former bikini fitness competitor, and former marathon runner. Christine is the CEO and Founder of Gauge Life, LLC. an all natural dietary supplement company, and the founder and CEO of Gauge Girl Training, an online nutrition and fitness coaching service. Christine has helped over 30,000+ people implement a macros based approach to nutrition with her educational YouTube content that has reached ~18 Million views worldwide.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Christine! 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?
Through my teen’s and 20’s I was convinced that if I just did enough cardio, I would have the body of my dreams. I ran track and cross country and kept up with distance running as a hobby into my 20’s and even ran marathons. At that point, having run 60+ miles per week for months, I still did not have the abs I always dreamed of. It wasn’t until I learned to dial in my nutrition using macros and coupled that with weight training that I was able to experience a breakthrough with my physique. This ultimately lead to competing in fitness competitions which allowed me to cultivate a social media following back in 2011–2012. So many people started to ask me for advice and by the spring of 2013 Gauge Girl Training was born.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Being recognized when I travel as “Gauge Girl” is something that I don’t think I’ll ever fully adjust to. It’s crazy to think the millions of people who consume my educational content online as real people. Having an online presence is great to be able to reach people but it always takes me off guard when a stranger refers to me as Gauge Girl in public. It’s a sincere honor to have my work publicly recognized and acknowledged and appreciated.
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?
One day I will never forget was the day the internet broke our website. I knew very little about website platforms back then and by the 3rd or 4th year in business we outgrew paypal invoicing. Little did I know that my word press website at the time was only equipped to handle a maximum of 100–200 orders per month until the website literally shut down as did my phone during a promotion that literally broke the website. This experience changed my life. My team and I promptly migrated to a new platform which was the most painful week of business, however I learned the value of customer service. Here I had thousands of people breaking down the doors to order my programs but with my site crash, I had to organize my team to help me manage the influx of inquires across multiple touch points to get everyone responded to and addressed as promptly as possible. I learned that you need to be prepared to handle the business volume you dream of and that you need to have systems in place as your growth demands the next level in your business. It’s not enough to have good products, and it’s not enough to have a good website, it needs to be backed up with real people who care about serving the customers. I have an incredible team of hard working individuals who always respond on evenings, weekends, and even holidays. If it weren’t for these amazing humans working magic on the back end Gauge Girl Training would not be where we are today. Customer service is everything and there is no way I could do it all alone, I’ve tried and failed. Teamwork makes the dream work.
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?
Before I ever sold a single meal plan, or filmed a single youtube video, I earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Chemical and Biological Engineering. I worked as a Process Engineer and Product Development Chemist with Fortune 100 Company Dupont for 6 years before I branched out into Biotech and Nutraceuticals. I worked as a Food Scientist starting my own cGMP and FDA compliant dietary supplement company where I formulated thousands of products for private label brands sold in major retailers like GNC, Whole Foods, Costco, Bodybuilding.com and more. Most importantly, I have walked the walk having not only transformed my own physique, I’ve helped women and men of all ages and health conditions reach their goals. I didn’t wake up with abs one day, I struggled for 15 years of my life until I learned how to apply science to discipline. It’s not enough to be smart and have all the knowledge on nutrition as you need to apply it. LIkewise, working hard matters, but it’s not enough if you are doing the wrong things. I came into the health and wellness field as a seasoned scientist and business woman and finally found the best platform to where I could change lives with my love of nutrition science. My life has never been the same and there isn’t a single day where I don’t wake up loving what I do.
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?
There were several people who were instrumental in my success at various stages in various capacities. I have to thank my parents for supporting me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them.
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?
The three reasons that prevent us from practicing healthier living include poor time management, procrastination, and accountability. It’s easy to make the common excuse that we are too busy to workout, too busy to prioritize healthy eating, too overwhelmed to make better choices but the reality is that we have the time, we just need to use it wisely. This takes an intentional plan to layout when the key tasks are going to happen and scheduling them accordingly. The time is there, we just need to carve it out and make it a priority.
Next is procrastination, it’s much easier to tell yourself “I’ll do it later.” This makes you feel like you still value it and are “getting around to it”, but you are giving yourself the temporary relief of not having to put in the work. The reality is that you are avoiding the perception of pain you think you will experience by doing whatever it is you need to do. People tend to spend more energy dreading the perceived pain associated with the task than the task actual entails. The next time you want to procrastinate on a task related to your health goals, don’t even think about it, just do it. Close the window of your mind that allows the task at hand to be postponed. Instead just do it and don’t even think about it. Tell yourself it’s mandatory and don’t allow anything to stop it from getting done.
Last but not least is accountability. It’s one thing to make a commitment to yourself in your mind, it’s quite another to enlist the support of someone else to hold you accountable. Without accountability, most people will not be able to hit their goals. Having someone to check in on you to actually make sure you are following through on the tasks that need to occur consistently enough to reach your targeted outcomes.
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.)
- Don’t Drink Your Calories- Hidden calories from coffee beverages, sports drinks, sodas, smoothie bars, and alcoholic beverages is the quickest way to throw off your health goals. Drinking your calories doesn’t provide the same level of mental satisfaction as eating a plate a healthy foods prepared to nourish your body. This simple habit turned me into a black coffee and water drinker and keeps me away from 98% of convenience store beverages, these simple hacks have saved me thousands of calories over the years and is one of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep the weight down.
- Eating Out Too Much- It’s easy to get caught in a rut with a busy lifestyle where you are so bogged down at the end of the day that cooking dinner is the last thing you want to do. With things like DoorDash and UberEats making it easier and easier to experience convenience, there is something sacred about sitting down to a home cooked meal. The thought, care, intention, and preparation of something that you have planned for yourself and your family is something that is lost when you continuously opt for convenience. You have more control of the preparation method, the ingredient quality, and ultimately will end up with a dish that you enjoy more that is prepared to your liking and is more cost effective by just preparing it at home. Take the time to grocery shop and put together a meal plan of what you are going to eat as a weekly habit regardless of whether or not you are trying to lose weight.
- Alcohol- Drinking is by far the worst thing for your health goals, and it’s not just about the calories. Not only does alcohol lower your judgement and make it easier to indulge, it pauses your body’s ability to metabolize body fat for 48–72 hours. Even if you maintain a caloric deficit, alcohol has zero nutritive value and is recognized by the body as a poison. This means that all other processes such as fat loss will be put on hold so the body can break down alcohol. It would be better to actually eat the calories in the form of food instead of drinking. If you are serious about fat loss, this needs to be the number one thing to go. Cutting out alcohol alone with zero changes to nutrition will support a healthier lifestyle with zero perceived “effort” with respect to eating any differently. If you know you have been overdoing it with drinking or if you rely on a glass of wine or two a night to unwind, try switching it with tea instead or sparkling water as your habit and only consume alcohol sparingly or reserve it for special occasions only, not just because it’s a Tuesday and you are stressed.
- Commute- Living far from your place of employment takes years off of your life. A one hour commute one way translates into 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week, and a total of 520 hours a year. That’s a total of almost 22 days of your life per year spent commuting. Over the course of 30 years that’s 660 days or 1.8 years of your life spent driving. Moving closer to your place of business or finding a career that allows you to work from home will dramatically change your life and open up your days for other priorities like your health, family, and hobbies.
- Stress- Lowering stress levels has the greatest impact on your overall well being. More often than not, it comes in the form of feeling helpless or powerless to change your circumstances. Whether it’s your health, finances, career, or relationships it’s crucial to break patterns of powerlessness and to rationally identify the things you can impact. It’s easy to feel defeated when you feel like there is absolutely nothing you can do to impact your circumstances. This is where it is important to evaluate what you can do, especially when it comes to your health. You can choose to eliminate alcohol, you can choose healthier portions, you can choose to meal prep, you can choose to move more, you can carve out the time to make your health a priority, you can find ways to make small improvements that add up to huge wins when followed through in the long run. The key is to not get defeated and to remain positive about what you can control.
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?
1-Stress Management- Without proper outlets, stress can negatively impact one’s cortisol levels, adrenals, and mental well being. Fortunately, daily exercise is by far the most constructive way to manage stress and lower cortisol levels. Instead of taking our negative emotions out on food, alcohol, and costly expenditures, the best way to not only keep a healthy body but a healthy mind is to maintain regular daily exercise.
2-Joint Health- Regular exercise helps keep your joints from getting stiff, especially for those with arthritis. Regular movement increases join lubrication, increases flexibility, and increases the strength of your surrounding muscles.
3-Sexual Health- Exercise boosts blood flow which leads to improved sexual function in both men and women. Increased strength, stamina, and flexibility also leads to better sex compared to those who are sedentary.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
1-Kettlebells- This dynamic movement can be done at home or in the gym and is an excellent way to simultaneously increase muscle tone while elevating the heart rate.
2-Walking- This simple movement can be done anywhere at any time and is the simplest way to keep a lean body for life. Setting daily step goals is the easiest way to ensure you are getting sufficient activity.
3-Push-ups- This exercise is the fastest and one of the most effective ways to build functional strength. It can be performed anywhere and it can be worked on daily.
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?
I recommend protein supplementation post-workout (within 30 min) or a BCAA supplement intra and post-workout for those training longer than 90 minutes per session.
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 recommend a macros based approach to nutrition. I follow a high protein, moderate carb, and balanced fat approach to nutrition. I don’t recommend one type of diet to my clients, it depends on their goals and needs and prefer to advise customized nutrition approaches.
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 would encourage people to completely ditch the scale and only base progress off of measurements, internal mindset shifts, feeling more energized, and having a better relationship with food.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“If you have to choose between talent and discipline, choose discipline. Talent is overrated.” -Fred Rodger
I was never the most athletic person in middle school and high school. I never won a track or cross country meet and even when I ran marathons I was never the fastest. I was always the person that just kept going. My hard work and discipline paid off when I began to apply my efforts towards my health goals once I learned how to dial in my nutrition. I didn’t need to be the fastest runner, I didn’t need to squat the heaviest, and I didn’t need to be the strongest. I just needed to keep going. Meal planning wasn’t physically hard, it just needed to get done. Once I realized that my strength was my ability to consistently show up I was amazed at the doors that would open as a result. I was able to not only compete in fitness competitions on a national level, but I was able to win. Not only was I able to change my own physique, I was able to help tens of thousands do the same. Being athletically talented had zero to do with my success and I used to think it mattered but it didn’t. It’s about being disciplined, period.
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 🙂
I’d love to have a meal with Gary Vee. I’m a huge fan of his work and am inspired daily by his content and would love to pick his brain for business advice.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Gauge Life http://gaugelife.com
Gauge Girl Training http://gaugegirltraining.com