Take the stairs when possible: My old job was spread out amongst 3 floors. I tried to eliminate the elevator during the business day.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jackie Wilson. Jackie Wilson is the CEO and Founder of NOVA Fitness Innovation. A lawyer by trade, Wilson is a graduate of both Duke University and the University of Notre Dame Law School and has been working as a Certified Personal Trainer for 15+ years.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! 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?
Ihave been a fitness enthusiast for my entire life. My parents preached the importance of fitness and wellness and watching them work out every day provided great examples to follow. That led me to start working with personal trainers when I was 12 and then I became a trainer at 18. So fitness has always played a very important role in my life.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?
I love playing basketball. I played almost every day. But as I got older, I started getting hurt more frequently than in my younger days. Well…I tore a ligament in my foot 4 months after leaving the legal profession and becoming a fitness professional full-time. My wife walked into the gym and saw me training a client while on crutches. She politely sent a text message that read: “basketball is over.”
The lesson was that a fitness professional needs to look the part. That means more than just being in shape. It means projecting health and wellness in the atmosphere. So I needed to eliminate activities that posed a risk to that. I still love basketball. I just love it as a spectator these days, haha.
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 have worked with and trained athletes from first-timers through professionals for almost 20 years. My approach is that fitness doesn’t need to be complicated or take 3 hours a day. I believe in efficient and easy to understand movements that challenge multiple groups. My workouts are structured to engage the entire body and combine elements of strength, toning, and cardio.
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 have been very fortunate to have had quite a few mentors helping me along the way. There are too many to name individually, but I am thankful for all of them and a lot of them are still helping today.
But the person that I am most grateful for is my wife, LisaMarie. She is my best friend, partner, and in-house counsel! She not only supported but encouraged me to pursue my passion full-time. And none of this would be possible without her continued support.
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?
Well knowing and doing are totally different things!
- Willpower: It is difficult doing things that we don’t actually want to do. You listed all of the things that we “should do.” But until the health and fitness goal becomes the real driver, it is difficult to avoid all of the tasty treats that we enjoy and forgo the extra sleep for a morning gym session.
- Time: Time is the biggest excuse…err…reason that people give for not putting their health and fitness first. Lack of time often leads to missed workouts and quick/unhealthy food options.
- Money: Being healthy is expensive! Healthy food generally costs more than unhealthy options. Personal training and gym memberships are expensive.
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.)
- Take the stairs when possible: My old job was spread out amongst 3 floors. I tried to eliminate the elevator during the business day.
- Stand when possible: We are so conditioned to sit down at our desks all day. When possible stand up! Take a conference call while standing.
- Pack a lunch: Planning your meals ahead of time will help you stick to your goal and avoid the dining out options throughout the day.
- Tell a friend: Telling a friend about your health and fitness goals is a great accountability trick. People are more likely to stick to goals that other people know about.
- Be kind to yourself: Health and wellness is a journey, not a destination. There will be setbacks along the way and that’s ok. One workout won’t make you fit and one bad meal won’t derail all of your hard work. If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and hop back on.
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?
- Daily exercise keeps you young! It will boost energy levels and help maintain muscle and bone strength.
- It helps reduce the risk of chronic disease.
- It increases happiness!
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
There is no reason to over complicate things and reinvent the wheel. My standard 3 exercises are the tried and true movements!
- Bicycle crunches
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterward. 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?
Blood flow is often the trick to help alleviate soreness. So doing light cardio or bodyweight movements while sore can really go a long way to making you feel better and ready for your next big workout!
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 am not a big diet person. They can be great for short term progress, but unless you have truly incorporated the changes into your daily habits, they won’t last long. I believe in making a system that is easy for you to follow. For me, I allow 3 cheat meals (not days!!) per week where I eat all of the tasty things that don’t exactly play into my health goals. Giving myself a “break” from the healthy routine is just enough to curb my craving and keep me on track!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My favorite poem is Invictus by Ernest Henley. The quote that sticks with me is: “I am the master of my fate, captain of my soul.” It’s a quote that I say to myself every day. It’s my daily reminder to stay focused on the things that are in my control to change and to take charge of my today as I prepare for my tomorrow.
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 🙂
That’s an easy question. Lebron James. I have always admired, Lebron the basketball player, but Lebron’s impact on his community and his entrepreneurial endeavors are what I respect and appreciate about him the most.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
They can follow me on Instagram! @jackiebwilson @fitnessinnovation
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!