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“5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, with Jennifer Fidder and Dr. William Seeds

Exercise used right can also play a big part in stress reduction. A lot of my clients use their cardio sessions to reflect on their day or create a “barrier” or “buffer”, if you will, between work and home. It allows them to leave the stress of the day at work and come home more […]

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Exercise used right can also play a big part in stress reduction. A lot of my clients use their cardio sessions to reflect on their day or create a “barrier” or “buffer”, if you will, between work and home. It allows them to leave the stress of the day at work and come home more relaxed which in returns makes for a happier family life.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Fidder, the owner of Jennifer Alice Training & Coaching. Jennifer is an in-home and online personal fitness trainer based out of Miami Beach, FL. Her background in Social Psychology (B.A.) and Educational Science (M.A.) allow her to apply a holistic approach to health and fitness which helps her clients become happier, healthier, and more confident women. Jennifer is also the creator of the Better Mind — Better Body Coaching System and the author of “The Better Mind — Better Body Guide to Becoming Your True Self” (Our readers can download a free copy of the book here: http://www.YourTrueSelfGuide.com).


Thank you so much for doing this with us, Jennifer! 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?

I started working out after I finished high school. I went through a phase of self-reflection and trying to figure out what to do with my life. Fitness helped me cope with the stress and anxiety I was experiencing at the time and helped me become more confident and believe in myself and my abilities. That was also the time when I decided to get certified as a trainer and started working in the fitness field. I decided I wanted to share my experience with others and show them that fitness can be much more than just the pursuit of the “perfect body” (however you want to define that).

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 believe most trainers still think that nutrition and workouts are the most important part when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. And yes, those are two very important pillars! The problem though is, that the best nutrition advice and the most perfectly crafted workout programs won’t do anything if we can’t get our clients to actually follow them. That’s where mindset and habit coaching comes into play. As trainers and coaches, we need to be able to teach our clients how to overcome obstacles, show them how to work through limiting beliefs and guide them to create new, healthy habits that set them up for long-term success. Through my education, I can combine these areas and provide my clients with a more holistic approach to their health and fitness.

None of us can 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 am very fortunate to have a lot of people in my life who supported me throughout the years and still do. It is tough to mention just one. Back in the day when I decided to get certified as a trainer, personal training wasn’t really a thing in Germany; which was one of the reasons why I completed my Master’s Degree at university, to kind of have a backup plan. Little did I know that this would get me exactly to where I am right now. My parents, especially my dad and my stepmom, still supported me in pursuing my fitness career, even though it didn’t seem very promising at the time. Later on, when I moved to the US and decided to go all-in and become self-employed, my boyfriend did all he could to financially support us while I was building my business. And now we are in a position where I can return the favor and let him pursue his dreams while I take care of the expenses.

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?

I believe the biggest obstacle or blockage is information overload. There is so much info out there when it comes to fitness and health in general, that it makes it very hard to find the right path. Should I eat more or fewer carbs? Is cardio or strength training better for fat loss? Are shorter workouts or longer workouts better for me? All the — sometimes contradicting — information can lead to feeling completely overwhelmed and as a result, we feel paralyzed and end up doing nothing at all.

Another reason for not implementing what we know is that we are not being taught how to do it. Eating more vegetables and working out regularly is all good and well but how do I manage to integrate all of this into my life? A day only has 24 hours. There is work, there are kids, spouses, and other obligations. Without a clear strategy, we are lost.

And last but not least most of us deal with some type of limiting beliefs that are holding us back. Be it that we failed at past attempts to become healthier and now think it all doesn’t make sense or that we see our self as “just not sporty”, “lazy”, or doomed by our genetics. If we don’t believe we can change, chances that we even start trying are very slim to nonexistent.

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.)

There are certainly more than 5 but these are the ones that I find to really make a difference in my clients’ and my own life:

1. Time Management

As I mentioned above, we live in a world that requires us to do 500 things at once. It’s not surprising that we tend to get overwhelmed with everything life throws at us. An important skill to learn is time management. This can be as easy as taking five minutes at night to plan the next day. Other aspects of time management might include delegating certain things. Can the kids do more chores at home? Can somebody at work help out with certain tasks? Once we can manage our time better, we feel more organized and can significantly lower our stress levels.

2. Breathing

When we are stressed out we tend to breathe very shallowly. Simply closing our eyes and taking a few deep breaths can make a big difference. We become calmer, our mind gets clearer, and we are able to focus better.

Here is how to do it: Place your hands on your stomach and take a deep breath in through your nose. Push your stomach out against your hands when you inhale and pull it back in toward your spine when you exhale through your mouth. Repeat five to ten times.

This exercise can be done whenever you feel you need a little bit more “Zen” in your life. Stressed out before a big presentation at work? Take a few moments in the restroom and do your breathing exercise. Feel like yelling at the kids because they let the dog inside without cleaning his paws? Breathe! Anxious before you step on the scale to take your measurements? Again, take a moment to breathe and relax. It sounds too good to be true but it’s really that simple.

3. Hydrate

Most of us don’t drink enough water. But water is an essential building block for our wellbeing. Not only is it good for our body and skin, but it also helps us maintain healthy blood pressure and clears a “foggy brain”. A simple trick to increase daily water intake is to set an hourly reminder on your phone. Once it beeps you drink a glass of water (this is also a good time to stand up from the desk and stretch a bit — if you have a sedentary job). There are hundreds of apps out that that will allow you to set hourly reminders. Simply search for “hourly reminder alarm” and choose the app that looks best to you.

4. Ban the phone

Sleep is an important part when it comes to our wellbeing. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, ban your phone from the bedroom. Instead, create a soothing and calming bedtime routine that will allow your mind to relax and prepare you for good night sleep. Meditation, a hot bath, or some simple yoga poses are great examples here.

5. Meditation

This one is my all-time-favorite. With meditation, I am not necessarily referring to a 30-minute long session where you are sitting on your buttocks staring at the wall wondering what the heck this is good for. We can meditate anytime, anywhere. Meditation helps us get back to the present moment. Instead of living in the past or worrying about the future, we find peace in the here and now.

You can meditate while standing at the check-out line at the grocery store, being on hold on the phone, or during your lunch break. Bring the awareness back to your breath, to your own body and within minutes your stress level can be drastically reduced.

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?

For me personally, weight loss is really just a nice side effect of daily exercise. Exercise does so much more than that!

It helps strengthen your muscles and bones which becomes more and more important as we age. It reduces the risk of chronic diseases, sharpens the brain, and increases energy levels. So overall it simply helps you to stay or become healthier.

Exercise used right can also play a big part in stress reduction. A lot of my clients use their cardio sessions to reflect on their day or create a “barrier” or “buffer”, if you will, between work and home. It allows them to leave the stress of the day at work and come home more relaxed which in returns makes for a happier family life.

Another benefit that I already mentioned earlier is increased confidence. Regular exercise gives us a feeling of control. The better we get at certain exercises the more we start believing in our self and our abilities. This confidence starts spreading into other areas of our life as well.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

Of course, which exercises are best always depends on your goals, your fitness level, and possible limitations. In general, I prefer exercises that involve a lot of muscles, so-called “compound movements”, and that mimic daily activities. This is what we call “functional movements”.

If I had to reduce it to three critical exercises, these would be it:

Dumbbell or Barbell Squats: This exercise basically works your whole lower body. It involves your quadriceps, your glutes, your adductors, and even strengthens your core. And squatting is something we do on a daily basis. We pick up the laundry basket, lift a case of beer off the floor, or squat down to pick up the baby. Therefore, squats are one of the most critical exercises we can do to improve our overall strength and functionality.

Back rows: Back rows can be performed in many different ways; on a machine, with dumbbells or barbells, on cable machines, or even with bands. This is again an exercise that involves a lot of different muscles, primarily the ones in the back like the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and rhomboids. And just like the squat, it is an exercise that helps in “real life”.

Chest Press: The chest press is an exercise that helps us develop the necessary strength to push things. It involves chest muscles like the pectoralis major but also the triceps which is on the back of your upper arm as well as part of your deltoids, which are part of your shoulder muscles. Depending on the angle the muscles are targeted differently.

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?

It kind of depends on where you are at in your fitness journey. If you are just starting out, don’t overdo it! It’s important to find the right balance between effort and recovery. A rule of thumb and a good split for beginners is usually a full-body workout three times a week with at least one day of recovery in between sessions.

It is also important to kind of prepare your muscles for a workout. If you are just starting out or had a long training break due to injury or other reasons, start with lower weights and higher repetitions. Our ligaments and tendons need some time to adjust to the new demands we make. It’s also a good idea to perform a warm-up set (again, high reps, low weight) before you start training a new muscle group.

Another aspect we (myself included) oftentimes neglect is adequate stretching. A 10-minute stretching routine after your workout can go a long way when it comes to injury prevention and recovery.

A few “secrets” I tell my clients that help with soreness are Epsom salt baths, foam rolling, and/or recovery walks.

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?

Yes!! There are literally millions of different diets out there! And this is part of the problem I described earlier. It makes us feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to choosing what diet to follow. I personally follow a relatively balanced diet which is more on the low carb side. Simply because I found that this gives me the energy I need while helping me maintain a healthy body fat percentage.

As for my clients, we focus more on developing healthy habits when it comes to eating than a specific diet. I don’t like to exclude any food groups or tell my clients you can’t eat this or that. It’s about being able to find balance and being able to develop a healthy relationship with food that allows them to socialize and have a glass of wine once in a while without feeling like they ruined their whole progress. If they have any special dietary needs or illnesses, I will refer them to a nutritionist or registered dietician.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

James Clear’s Atomic Habits is a favorite of mine. Even before I read it I used a lot of the concepts introduced in this book without even knowing it. He breaks down how habits work and how you can use them to help you reach your goals. It is very well written and easy to understand but still gives a glimpse into the science and psychology of the matter.

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’d love to be able to create a movement based around my “Better Mind — Better Body” concept. I truly believe that our mind and body are interconnected in a way that makes it absolutely necessary for us to address both in order to live a happy and healthy life. Once we are able to create a balance between these two aspects or parts of ourselves, we can become our true self. Being our true self is something most of us are afraid of for fear of being rejected or misunderstood. But only when we are able to be our true self we are truly free, can live to our full potential, and can help others do the same.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Until this day we underestimate the power of our own thoughts and our thinking tremendously! Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t — you’re right!”. If we don’t believe that we can accomplish something, that our efforts will lead to success, we won’t put the work in that is necessary to achieve what we set out to do. On the other hand, when our thoughts are positive, they can enable us to create incredible results and change our whole world.

In my own life, I experienced this before I moved to the US. I had just finished university and was basically broke. I knew I wanted to leave the country and I knew I would make it. I didn’t know how though. I only had a couple of friends in the US that I knew from previous visits, I didn’t have a job there, an apartment, and not a lot of savings. I took the leap anyway and somehow was able to create the life I always wanted.

This pretty much shows that we can do whatever we put our mind to. The first step is always believing that you can do it and then you figure out the “how” as you go.

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 🙂

Oh wow, let me think about this one for a bit. There are so many! I think I’d have to go with Pink. She’s an incredibly strong woman and I absolutely admire her resilience. She faced so many obstacles in her life but believed enough in herself to keep pushing forward which eventually made her the person she is today.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

They can follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jenniferaliceonline) or on Instagram @JenniferAliceOnline

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you for having me!

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