Excessive soreness is often due to improper nutrition rather than too much movement. Anyone who plays sports or exercises at a high intensity on a regular basis needs adequate protein and healthy fat for muscle recovery. Protein demands vary per person, but consuming one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass is an excellent starting place. Poor or inadequate fueling is a major contributor to injury. Muscles need protein to repair themselves and without it, the risk of injury increases.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evie Fatz. Evie Fatz is a fitness and nutrition expert, seeker of truth and badass inspirer. A sociologist by trade, business professional turned fitness expert, Fatz has an unprecedented background. She brings together her knowledge as a strength and conditioning coach, athlete and human nature specialist to help people transform every aspect of their lives.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Evie! 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?
Although I participated in sports growing up, I had pretty much left behind my fitness when I reached my 20’s and started developing a career in the financial industry. At age 27, my first born daughter passed away. Needless to say, my life toppled around me and it was then that I took up fitness again. Through moving my body, I realized I was able to heal my spirit and transform my mind. After reshaping my own life through fitness, I realized the world needed to experience the life altering effects of fitness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Although being a coach is about helping others, the truth is I have learned more about myself from my clients, than I think they have learned from me! With each new relationship, I see myself in my clients and it helps me grow into a more dynamic person and coach. This growth in turn allows me to share those experiences with others and before long, each life I encounter has the power to affect everyone else around me. The rippling effect of sharing human experience is profound and changes the world we live in.
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?
Well, I am known to be a hard-ass. But when I first started out, I used this to mask my lack of experience. I started in fitness by teaching group CrossFit classes. It was scary! So out of fear of anyone questioning me, I would make the warm-ups ridiculously hard! I figured if I made things difficult, people would just be afraid of me and not question 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?
My understanding of human behavior definitely sets me apart. A lot of fitness professionals get into the business simply because they love fitness. I actually got into the business because I love people! That coupled with my unwavering pursuit of knowledge and truth, makes me an outlier in the fitness and wellness industry.
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 believe strongly in having mentors. My first official fitness coach was James Fitzgerald, owner of OPEX Fitness. Aside from the fitness and training education he provided, his biggest contribution in my life was to help me recognize that my desire to create something new in my life every few years was a gift, not an indication of being restless or flighty like I had always thought of myself.
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?
Cognitive dissonance is a real issue for everyone! Knowing intellectually what to do yet acting in opposition to it. There are many reasons but the top 3 would be:
- Human nature is to seek what is comfortable. As a species, we reject discomfort and therefore, even though we know our habits are harmful to our health, it is easier to stay the same than to change.
- We try to change too much too soon. Again, we like stability and reject change. Humans really aren’t capable of changing more than one thing at a time. When we take on too much too soon, we reject it altogether and slip back into what we know.
- Information overload! With today’s technology, we have access to too much information. We are bombarded with new studies, new opinions and a nonstop narrative about what we “should” do for our health. We then become paralyzed because we don’t know what to believe and what not to believe.
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.)
- Stop focusing on appearance! There are 8 different areas of optimal wellness: emotional, social, occupational, financial, environmental, spiritual, intellectual and physical. Each of these areas has a huge impact on the others. When we focus solely on physical, we are missing the big picture. Instead, focus on improving all areas. Small improvements in each area will have rippling effects in the other areas.
- Disconnect more often. The truth is, all of us spend entirely too much time on our devices. Real progress takes focus and it is impossible for us to focus if we are distracted by technology all day long.
- Be more selective about who you choose to spend time with. The people around us have a tremendous impact on our mindset and our behaviors. If you want to improve your wellbeing, you have to be around people who have a healthy lifestyle. The hard truth is, it’s often times those closest to us who hold us back because our growth scares them. As difficult as it may be, you have to distance yourself from those people and seek out people who have what you are trying to achieve.
- Focus on the quality of the foods you eat. Recent scientific research has proven a direct link between the health of your gut and the health of your brain. When your gut microbiome is disrupted due to poor quality foods, there is a direct emotional impact. An unhealthy gut can lead to anxiety, nervousness and depression. Rather than focusing on how much you eat or taking on some restrictive diet, eat a diet consisting of what nature provides in each season.
- Sleep and wake at the same time each day. Most people live by the alarm clock during the work week and sleep-in on the weekend. Unfortunately, this habit keeps you from developing a healthy, natural rhythm within your body. As humans, we are naturally wired for rhythm that provides us with healthy digestion, quality sleep and natural energy throughout the day. To improve overall wellness, practice going to bed and waking at the same time every day of the week.
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?
Movement is essential to life and our modern lifestyle doesn’t require us to move much at all if we choose not to. This is a major contributing factor to not only obesity, but to a plethora of other health issues. Moving and exercising each day will help improve digestion. You need healthy, active blood flow to properly digest food and as we discussed earlier, a healthy gut will improve your mental state. So exercise will aid in proper food digestion, as well as help reduce anxiety and depression.
Exercise also helps to improve your mobility. While everyone is always focused on the scale or their appearance, few people give much thought to their ability to move without pain or limitations as they age. Exercising helps keep joints moving freely and improves the quality of connective tissue.
Exercise plays a large role in improving your immune system. The immune system performs at it’s best when lymphatic fluids are regularly flushed. The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and nodes that help remove toxins and waste from the body. Exercise helps vessels to contract, thus pushing lymphatic fluids through the system. Removing these waste products from the body has a direct effect on your immune system, helping avoid ailments ranging from the common cold to life ending disease.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Walking! As simple and mundane as it may sound, the benefits of walking are tremendous. Walking allows you to get essential vitamin D from the sun, move lymphatic fluids, burn calories, disconnect from technology, connect to nature and overall improve your physical and mental state. It is low impact so anyone can do it without unnecessary wear and tear on the joints.
- Planking. Supporting your own body weight is the prerequisite to more advanced movements and weight training. Holding a plank position from a front, reverse and side position position will engage nearly every muscle in your body when combined.
- Step-ups. Stepping up on various height boxes pays huge benefits to your cardiovascular health, as well as mobility. Stepping improves ankle, knee and hip flexion, as well as works the muscles in your back and abs for a stronger core. When performed at a faster tempo, this simple exercise can deliver a powerful cardio workout as well.
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?
Contrary to what most people think, excessive soreness is often due to improper nutrition rather than too much movement. Anyone who plays sports or exercises at a high intensity on a regular basis needs adequate protein and healthy fat for muscle recovery. Protein demands vary per person, but consuming one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass is an excellent starting place. Poor or inadequate fueling is a major contributor to injury. Muscles need protein to repair themselves and without it, the risk of injury increases.
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?
My approach to nutrition is quality first! For the most part, people make nutrition way too complicated. Focusing on dogma or a restrictive diet typically leads to people “falling off the wagon” and developing a yo-yo dieting pattern. Additionally, everyone tolerates foods and macro-nutrients differently. Some people do better with higher fat in their diets, while others do better with lower fat. So prescribing one certain diet across the board is reckless.
Instead, people should start by improving the quality of food they eat. Nature provides everything we need and it gives us a beautiful variety with each season. I focus on eating what foods are in season and avoid any boxed foods. That’s it!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Oh this is a tough one because I am an avid reader and love to learn about just about anything! If I had to pick just one that relates to my ability to help others with their health and wellness it would have to be Start With Why by Simon Sinek. In my early years of coaching, I struggled with getting people to comply with what I was teaching them. This lead to great frustration and my almost throwing in the towel in this industry. I grew tired of caring more about people’s health than they did. When I read Start With Why, I realized I was going about it all wrong. People came to me looking to improve themselves, yet I wasn’t digging deeper and helping them discover WHY they wanted to change. The reason is always deeper than just changing their physical appearance. Think about it, if appearance was motivation enough, nobody would be overweight. Once I learned how to help people discover their true values and why they wanted to change, together we transformed their lives!
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. 🙂
EAT.MOVE.LIVE. The health of the world is rapidly declining, even though we have access to more information and wellness resources than ever before in human history.
Why? I am certain it is due to a misrepresentation of what fitness really means. The vast majority of the world defines fitness as visible definition in someone’s abs and a complete love affair with exercise. People associate fitness with supplements, fad diets and extreme exercise. This definition is false and it is ruining the health of mankind.
Fitness really means creating a body, mind and spirit that are “fit” to allow you to live your life’s purpose. I am on a mission to redefine fitness and remove the perceived barriers of entry.
Teach people what it means to simple EAT what nature provides. MOVE their bodies everyday and LIVE a life that makes them happy and fulfilled.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” — John Maxwell
This quote helped me transform my own life from one in which I was merely going through the motions and disconnected from my true purpose, to a life of optimal wellness, vulnerability and unbridled growth. I always used to think big events defined life, so I was waiting for some “ah-ha” moment to come and move my life into fulfillment. When I had a life affirming event through the death of my daughter, I was forced to implement a daily routine, simply to keep me sane. That routine is what turned my entire life around.
Helping others implement small changes through daily routine is what I now know is my life’s purpose.
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 🙂
No hesitation here …Richard Branson! He has been a virtual mentor of mine for over a decade. His ability to create something innovative within his own mind and actually turn that into a tangible reality has been my leading inspiration. He also once posted on his blog about carrying a notebook with him everywhere he goes, so he never misses an idea. I implemented this in my own life and it has led to me discovering more innovative and creative ideas than I can probably fulfill in my lifetime.
Not to mention, we share a mindset that life is so fleeting and you better not hesitate to make each day matter. I think he would enjoy knowing me, just as much as I would enjoy knowing him!
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!