Take Time For Hobbies And Activities You Enjoy. There are so many reasons we should have at least one hobby. Hobbies can increase confidence and self-esteem because a hobby is most likely something you’re good at. Hobbies can also help relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy. Having a hobby can help improve your social life and create a bond with other people that enjoy the same hobby.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ari Cohen
Ari is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Coach, certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine with a passion for fitness & nutrition to keep a healthy, strong body and mind.
Ari has dedicated the last 30+ years learning and implementing fitness and nutrition into his own life and realizing the powerful and life-lasting effects of healthy food and exercise on his body, mood and overall health. As an Online Coach, Ari’s purpose is to help men and women in their 30’s and 40’s+ from all over the United States lose weight, get in shape and live a life with health and energy.
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?
Absolutely! I was an overweight kid growing up and I was not athletic. I didn’t play any sports. I was insecure with my body and had low self esteem. My mother and I would go on popular “Diets” many times off and on through my childhood years, but nothing ever stuck. I would lose weight and feel good, but just couldn’t stick with it. What child wants to eat healthy food all the time? I just didn’t enjoy it or understand the benefits of healthy food. I always idolized bodybuilders and read muscle mags, wishing I would look like that one day. Finally at the age of 15, I joined a gym and I never stopped going. That was just the start. Truly understanding and grasping the concept of proper weight training and nutrition took many years to learn. I’m still learning.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I first started my career, I honestly thought that my services would be more geared towards men in their 30’s — 50’s. That’s what I planned in my head at least. Most men in these age groups have the “dadbod” now, but deep down they want to get healthy and back in shape like they used to be. I’m in this age group….ahem…47…so I know what it takes to be healthy and in shape at this age and felt the connection.
Turns out that I actually get more women clients, plus more women followers comment and ask me nutrition and fitness questions on my social media. Women seem to feel more comfortable coming to me for help than men do for some reason. Women have the same feelings as men when it comes down to wanting to feel better about their bodies and their health. I can help both. The more I started working with and helping women, I also found a more nurturing side of me.
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?
As an Online Coach, social media is the place to be for putting yourself out to the world and advertising your services. In the beginning, I thought if I just start recording my workouts and posting my videos on my social media page and post some shirtless pictures of myself, new clients would just start reaching out to me. After months of filming, posting my workouts and showing shirtless pictures of myself, I realized how wrong I was. Nobody came to me. Haha.
After that, I realized I had to post actual content that speaks to my ideal client. I realized that sharing tips on nutrition and exercise that will help people lose weight and get healthy was more educational for people having a hard time on the journey.
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’ve been into fitness for over 30 years and have learned and implemented so many things. Along the way has been a lot of trial and error, especially in the beginning when I really didn’t know what I was doing…just like most people getting started.
After all these years, I’ve learned that your fitness and weight loss journey doesn’t have to be complicated.
Lose the “diet” mindset. You don’t have to restrict carbohydrates or only eat bars and drink shakes with one meal a day. None of those are sustainable in the long term and data shows most people quit. If you can’t see yourself on a new weight loss plan for the next 5 years or forever for that matter, than don’t start it. It’s not sustainable.
In order to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. This means you need to consume less calories and/or burn more calories through exercise than your body burns a day.
You can lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle by consuming mostly whole foods from all food groups consisting of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. You can also still enjoy your favorite “unhealthier” foods in moderation. Get in at least 30min of exercise 5 days a week with strength training at least 3 days a week. Drink plenty of water, be consistent with your plan and have patience. It’s that simple. Now I’m not saying it’s going to easy for everyone, but it’s simple.
This is my contribution…teaching people how to live a realistic, sustainable, healthy lifestyle by creating proper eating and exercise habits.
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 wish I could say there was a particular person, but honestly, I am self-taught. Years and years of reading, learning and implementing. Google has been a big asset. I read from a lot of medical sites on fitness and nutrition. I’ve also learned a lot from multiple doctors and nutritionists on social media. There is a wealth of information out there, you just have to make sure your get it from legitimate sources.
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 truth is that most people are looking for a quick weight loss fix and turn to “fad diets”, which usually restricts something and are unsustainable for the long term. People never really learn how to build normal healthy eating habits.
Losing weight and getting healthy the proper way takes time. It’s a never ending journey that takes time to build healthy habits, change your old habits and lose weight. Because of this, most people lack consistency when consistency is the key to creating those habits. When people don’t feel they don’t lose weight fast enough, they quit.
Another blockage is having discipline. Discipline means doing the things you need to do, even though you don’t want to. You’re not always going to want to workout or eat a healthy meal, but you need to do it anyway if you want to continue getting results. Having discipline to do the things you don’t want to will also help create habits.
The third blockage is that most people are also waiting to be motivated. Motivation is a feeling or desire to do something, but motivation doesn’t last. Don’t wait for motivation. You need to take action first and just start. Once you take action and are consistent with those actions, you will start to notice results. Those results will motivate you to take more action, which in turn will get you more results.
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 so many to things you can do to improve your overall wellbeing, but as a fitness and nutrition coach, I have to go with some of the obvious.
1.) Eat More Healthy Foods And Less Processed Junk Foods
Eating healthy is more than just for weight loss. Healthy food is full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that gives you more energy, boosts your mood, helps build strong bones, protects your heart, prevents disease, as well as aids in improving memory.
2.) Exercise And Get Your Heart Rate Up At Least 30 Minutes A Day
Similar to eating healthy, exercise helps control weight, reduces you risk of heart disease, improves your mental health and mood, strengthens your bones and muscles, reduces your risk of some cancers, improves sleep, improves sexual health and increases your chance of living longer!
3.) Surround Yourself With More Positive People And Less Negative People
Surrounding yourself with more positive people is contagious, just like surrounding yourself with negative people. Choosing to surround yourself with positive people help inspire you, influence happiness and success. When you feel happier, healthier and successful, you feel unstoppable.
4.) Take Time For Hobbies And Activities You Enjoy
There are so many reasons we should have at least one hobby. Hobbies can increase confidence and self-esteem because a hobby is most likely something you’re good at. Hobbies can also help relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy. Having a hobby can help improve your social life and create a bond with other people that enjoy the same hobby.
5.) Reward Yourself For Completing An Important Task Or Goal
Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a goal or task not only makes you feel good, but also motivates you and drives you further. It’s a positive reinforcement that makes you want to continue to grow and feel successful.
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?
Wow! There are so many benefits to exercise. Way more than 3. First and foremost, exercise reduces your risk of heart diseases by strengthening your heart and improving blood circulation. This can not only help lower your risk of high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and heart attack, but also lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Secondly, exercise, in the form of weight training, strengthens your bones and muscles and increases muscle mass. Especially if you continue to weight train later in life, it can slow the loss of muscle and bone density as you age. Building muscle also increases metabolism and burns calories, even at rest.
Thirdly, exercise can help improve your mental health and mood. Your body produces certain chemicals when you exercise that can make you feel more relaxed, deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.
In a nutshell, exercise can give you a better quality, longer life!
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
If I had to choose 3 exercises, they would be exercises that work multiple muscles., plus you can do these at home or the gym with just body weight, dumbbells and resistance bands.
Squats or Lunges — If you can’t do squats, lunges are the next best thing. These work your entire lower body such as glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps, plus you can do them in multiple variations. You can do squats with feet close together, wide, heels elevated, and split squats. You can do also do walking lunges or stationary alternating lunges.
Push-Ups — These not only work the chest, but also shoulders and triceps. You can do incline push-ups, decline push-ups and push-ups on your knees if regular are too difficult. You can also do them with your hands close together, which activate your triceps a little more.
Pull-ups or Bent Over Rows — If you can’t do pull-ups, rows are great. These exercises not only work your back, but also shoulders, traps and biceps.
All of these exercises, with proper form, also work your core to stabilize your body.
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. 🙂
Great question! If I could start a movement, it would obviously be for everyone to live a healthier lifestyle. Just in the United States alone, 2/3 of the population are either overweight or obese. In many other countries food is scarce and people are unhealthy, by not getting enough nutrition and food in their diets. So much food is wasted and thrown away from grocery stores and restaurants because of an expiration date, when in reality many of those foods can last way longer. Statistics show that about 30–40% of the food we grow in the United States goes uneaten. If there was a way to get all of this food to malnourished countries, it would solve a lot right there.
Now in the United States, we have the opposite problem. If we could get everyone to make these changes to their current habits, the overweight and obesity rates would go way down, reduce 95% of chronic diseases and people would live a longer, healthier life.
Follow an 80/20 rule — 80% healthy food and 20% unhealthy food
Consume 4–6 small meals a day
Consume lean protein with every meal
Consume more vegetables
Make one of your daily meals 1 large salad with protein
Consume 2–3 fruits a day
Include whole grain carbs like Brown Rice, Quinoa, Raw Oats, Whole Wheat Bread, instead of processed carbs
Get at least 30min of excercise, 5 days a week
Drink more water and less Soda or other sugary drinks
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I would have to say “All Progress Takes Place Outside Your Comfort Zone”. Going outside your comfort zone is hard and scary, but it’s the only way to make change, progress and achieve something new. You can’t expect to have different results with the same actions.
This is something I still work on. It’s never ending if you want to make real change. I’ve gone out of my comfort zone through life many times. I’ve been self employed for many years now, which was very scary to take those steps in the beginning. Being self employed means you no longer rely on a regular paycheck from someone else. You have to work and make your own money. I had to take those steps and get out of my comfort zone to do it and it was the best thing I ever did. I make more money now, than I ever did working for someone else. I actually own 2 businesses. Currently, I’m not very comfortable speaking on camera or video. I try to do it every once in a while to get out of my comfort zone, but need to work on it more consistently.
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 🙂
Honestly, I would have to say that I think it would be awesome to have lunch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I also want a gym session with him. I would love to workout with him one day and just crush it. I’ve been a huge fan of his since he was a wrestler. I’ve watched him evolve over the years to being a movie star, a producer, a business man, a family man, a great dad. Now he has his own Tequila brand. He just really excelled in life over the years. Overall his energy and compassion for life and people is just amazing to see and hear when he speaks. He just seems like an all around great guy with a great sense of humor and would probably be one of the best friends someone can have.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
I would love all of the readers to give me a follow and share with their friends as well. My 3 main Social Media pages that I post regularly on are:
Facebook: NutriFit by Ari
LinkedIn: Ari Cohen
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you very much!