Increased self-esteem. Research has been showing that exercise can remarkably increase our self-esteem. I can tell you this from my experience. I had zero self-esteem in my 20s. But, when I accomplished my workout, it gave me satisfaction, and I felt I was enough. I could feel the value about myself. That helped me to build my self-esteem.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tomomi Tsuchio. Tomomi is part owner of 1Stop-Fitness, a NASM/AFAA certified personal trainer, and corrective exercise specialist in Arizona. She is also a public speaker and the author of Me and The Japanese Beauty Standards. She was born and raised in Japan, but she isn’t good at math and she doesn’t like sake, sushi, or raw fish.
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?
Iwas always an active kid and enjoyed playing sports. I used to take Jazzercise and cardio kickboxing when I was in Japan. When I moved to the U.S. at 23, I decided to become a group exercise instructor because I thought I would be good at it. I used to teach cardio kickboxing classes to Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton. Sometimes I taught the class to Marines as their PT. It was so much fun! I became a certified personal trainer because when I was a young girl, I felt very insecure about myself, and I learned that many other people had the same feelings. Exercise helped me to accept myself. So I wanted to be a part of someone else’s fitness journey.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I met my life and business partner at a fitness conference that I attend every year in Arizona. We have been together since 2012.
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?
It would be when I worked for a big corporation gym. It is funny to me that I thought I could sell personal training sessions and supplements. A big mistake! I did not hit my goal every month. I cried a lot due to the pressure. My manager called me to his office all the time, but he was nice. I did my best to keep trying, but it was not for me. I quit the job after a year. When I went to an interview at another gym, I said to the manager, “I am a personal trainer. I am not a salesperson.” Surprisingly, I was hired, and my new manager never pushed me to sell anything.
These are the lessons I learned from that experience. First, I learned that I must be confident with what I am presenting. I was uncomfortable charging the price of personal training sessions, and I believe it was showing. I must be confident for people to want to train with me. Second, I learned that I need to focus on my potential clients. I had a script to follow as a sales pitch to customers, and there were scripted answers for when customers said “no.” Instead of trying to follow a script, I have to engage with my potential clients, and I must listen to them. The last lesson is to always remember why I am doing this job. When I quit worrying about sales and started focusing on how I can help this client, I started getting more clients.
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 been in this field since 2006, and I have never stopped learning about this field. I am a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist through NASM. NASM is nationally accredited. I am always educating myself with old and new studies and research. I believe, because of that, people refer me to clients, and I can confidently say that I am trusted by a chiropractor to train his patients.
I believe I am contributing by educating people with the correct way to exercise on Instagram. There are so many fitness videos available, but there might be some videos where people can get hurt. Trends and looking fun are attractive, but they also can be dangerous. Also, I am contributing by publishing my book. My book is about body image, self-acceptance, and being healthy.
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?
When I read this question, I had a couple of people in my mind. This might be a little strange, but I would pick a person I have never met before. His name is Dr. Brent Brookbush. I follow him on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and his website. He educates people on kinesiology, clearly and specifically. I enjoy watching his videos and reading his studies.
When I became a certified personal trainer, I took many local classes to educate myself and to replace my insecurity about my accent with knowledge. I wanted to speak with self-assurance when I was talking to my clients. But after I found out about Dr. Brookbush, it was a big change for me. He gave me the power to forget about my accent. He has helped me tremendously to be where I am.
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 there is too much information out there, and people feel overwhelmed.
- People try to change their daily habits overnight. I recommend doing it gradually and making lifestyle changes, one step at a time.
- People have such busy schedules. Their priorities are not in the right place for wellness and health.
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.)
1. Chew 30 times per bite
When we chew more, it helps us to eat less because our brains know that we are eating. In Japan, they teach kids to do this. They believe that chewing 30 times aids health in many ways: preventing obesity now and in the future, developing taste buds by feeling the shape and texture of food, improving speech by using the muscles around the mouth, producing more blood flow to brain(helping the developing brains of children and, preventing forgetfulness in adults), aiding dental health, supporting healthy gut, and, finally, preventing cancer because the enzymes in our saliva suppress carcinogens in our food.
2. Don’t make yourself too hungry
I believe everyone understands why. When we are too hungry and go to a grocery store, what happens? We usually walk down an aisle that we do not have to go to and grab things, don’t we? Or we wait until we are super hungry, and we get out of control, don’t we? (To women, especially before a menstrual cycle!!)
That is why I recommend my clients eat a healthy snack and carry it around with them.
I recommend waking up hungry. I learned that one of the reasons Japanese people live a long time is that seniors do fasting for more than 12 hours without realizing it. They eat dinner at around 5 pm and don’t eat anything else until 8 am. When they do so, they are activating the Sirtuin gene which is a longevity gene. Also, it is nice to give the digestive system a break. I try not to eat too late at night, so I can wake up hungry.
- Try not to park close to the entrance
This is a great way to start getting used to being active. Our body is meant to move. Chronic pain can get worse if we don’t move at all, and if we don’t move, we gain weight as we get older because our metabolism gets slower. So, this is a great way to start. You don’t have to park far at first, but gradually you could change the distance!
4. Happy hour = outdoor time
Instead of going to a happy hour, we can go to a gym. If you do happy hour for social interaction, start asking friends and coworkers to do some activities. This is very important. When people who are around you often join your healthy lifestyle, it makes it easier for you to stay on it. But please remember that you are doing this for yourself, and you do not need to please anyone, but yourself. So, it is ok to say, “No thank you. I am going to hike!”
5. Go to the grocery store often….Don’t buy processed food! Get more vegetables and fruits!
When I came to the U.S., I noticed that many Americans don’t go to the grocery store often. In Japan, some people go to the grocery store every day. That might be a negative thing if they go when they are hungry, but it is proof that they don’t buy processed food. They buy whole foods and fresh foods. Processed food is not good for us because it can contain more sugar or processed sugar. Also, it contains artificial food coloring, preservatives, etc. I don’t recommend clients do a strict diet or a temporary diet. Instead, I strongly recommend them to start changing their lifestyle and eating habits gradually. That will guide you to healthy weight loss that you can manage after you achieve your goal weight.
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. Increased self-esteem. Research has been showing that exercise can remarkably increase our self-esteem. I can tell you this from my experience. I had zero self-esteem in my 20s. But, when I accomplished my workout, it gave me satisfaction, and I felt I was enough. I could feel the value about myself. That helped me to build my self-esteem.
2. Better mood and less stress. When we exercise, it reduces the body’s level of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. Also, it causes the brain to release mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins.
3. You can feel less pain. If you have chronic pain, exercise can help reduce it. Several studies show that exercise can help manage chronic pain like lower back pain, fibromyalgia, and shoulder disorders.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Shoulder external rotation. Because most upper body exercises cause internal rotation, and that can lead to injuries.
- Bridge with a lateral band. We need to strengthen gluteus maximus and medius because, in most people, these are not activated. That can be the cause of lower back pain.
- YTW. This is a great exercise for shoulders and scapula.
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 highly recommend stretching with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or other SMR equipment to avoid muscle imbalances, which can lead to injuries. Also, rest! Our muscle grows when we rest, and our joints will be happy to get some rest, too.
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?
This might be strange, but I don’t recommend any diets. I believe diets cause stress and a feeling of failure, and they are a temporary fix. I would like clients to find what works for them, so they can continue to follow new eating habits. I recommend to my clients to eat whole and fresh foods and avoid processed food.
I eat healthy most of the days a week, but I have a cheat–meal day once or twice a week.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
It would be the book, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. This was the first one to come to my mind. I read this book when I was in my 20s, and it really helped me to have a better understanding of the differences between us and to accept that reality. I wanted to have a better relationship because I was not having one then.
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. 🙂
Forget about getting perfect looks! Let’s value inner beauty and focus on being healthy. Being yourself is beautiful!!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My dad wrote to me, “Go at your pace, even if it is like turtles speed. Always do your best. If you do so, it will open the door to something. It is very essential for you to do your best. Believe in yourself and go on. That is the best thing.” He gave me this letter in 1995 when he was learning about computers — a subject that was new to him. This helps me to keep pushing, no matter what, because something positive happens even if it is small.
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 🙂
Hidetoshi Nakata. He was a soccer player who played in the World Cup and European League. Soccer fans know him because he was very talented. Now he is retired and back in Japan. He is promoting Japanese sake to the world. It is inspiring that he is trying to help the Japanese traditional culture.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!