Dr. Stephen Newhart of Vigor Active: “Treat everyone you encounter with the utmost respect and be kind to others”

Treat everyone you encounter with the utmost respect and be kind to others. Anxiety and stress can be alleviated with a balanced exercise program so finding something active that works for you and sticking with it is key. Proper breathing exercises can fully saturate the body with oxygen and clear the mind so the emotions […]

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Treat everyone you encounter with the utmost respect and be kind to others. Anxiety and stress can be alleviated with a balanced exercise program so finding something active that works for you and sticking with it is key. Proper breathing exercises can fully saturate the body with oxygen and clear the mind so the emotions remain positive.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Stephen Newhart

As a fitness executive and healthy living expert, Dr. Stephen Newhart seeks to share fitness and wellness education and guidance to the world. Dr. Newhart is changing the face of fitness centers and as the owner and CEO of Vigor Active in downtown Fort Worth Texas Dr. Newhart shaped his fitness club to provide exercise opportunities, innovative technologies in weight loss and screenings, personal training, massage, and more toward physical and mental fitness. With a Ph.D in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Arlington, Dr. Newhart has completed numerous research studies in whole-body vibration which is on the leading edge of providing alternative modes of exercise for the masses. Whole-body vibration as a health modality is creating opportunities for the elderly, overweight and other chronic illnesses to return their mind and body to optimal condition. Sharing new technologies for ultimate health and well being is one of Dr. Newhart’s greatest endeavors as he has dedicated his adult career to improving the lives of those around him.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lived there until I was six years old. I moved to Arlington, Texas with my family and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is where I have spent my entire life since. I was raised by my two wonderful parents who were always there for me and helped me excel to the man I am today. My hobbies as a young person were usually physical in nature such as bmx biking, soccer, baseball and football. I am thankful for the drive I was given at a young age to be active because I feel it has carried over to my adult life. I played football through high school and learned how to properly exercise in the weight room. Upon high school graduation, I entered the business path, but felt there was something more important calling me, which is when I found Kinesiology. I began my studies in Kinesiology at UTA and spent the next six years acquiring a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science and a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology. While obtaining my degrees, I also worked and gained experience as a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. During my Masters program, I interned with the SMU football program working as a graduate strength and conditioning coach focused on optimizing sport performance for the team. Throughout my childhood I strived to learn more in every area in any capacity, but specifically in health and wellness.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

At a young age starting my college career, my father asked me what I wanted to do the rest of my life. My response was “to help people” and he reminds me of that conversation often. I do not believe there is a better method of “helping someone” than showing them how good they can feel, how clear minded or pain free they can be. I believe what really inspired me to start a life in the fitness and wellness industry was because I personally knew how good I felt living a healthy lifestyle.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My mother and father are completely to thank for this. It is most important to have someone there to tell you that you are capable of anything and to pursue your dreams, especially at a very young age and my parents did just that. I will forever be grateful for the insightful dinner conversations, the expectations that I work harder and their own dedication to show my sister and I the importance of hard work. My football coaches were also very inspiring men who encouraged the team to lift weights safely and focus on our strength and not focus on appearances. At a young age we learned that if you focused solely on putting in the work then any aesthetic goals would come organically. I feel this gave me the ability to carry those values to my hundreds of training clients I helped over the years.

Now in my middle ages, my wife is my rock and pushes me above and beyond what I thought was possible. In each chapter of my life certain people have helped guide me and encouraged me to be better.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I humbly will say that I have never made a mistake because everything that happens to us in life is merely perception. There are no mistakes. Have I performed actions that led to an outcome which was undesirable from what I intended to happen? Of course! However, there is a gift in every single event that ever occurs and finding that gift is what keeps us positive minded and allows us to move forward and continue trying. Every event can be perceived however we choose to perceive it and I feel that is one of the most important suggestions I can bring to the rest of the world.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I have read countless text books on anatomy, physiology, muscle development, athlete training and fitness which help me make educated decisions on how to develop exercise programs, and now that knowledge assists me in the training of my own staff while providing fitness advice to members of my health club. However, the book that changed my own health trajectory was “The Science of Skinny” by Dee McCaffrey. This book opened my eyes to how harmful food can be to the body that we don’t even realize. There are so many chemicals and toxins hidden in our foods that keep our body in a constant state of inflammation and pain. Fueling your body with proper nutrition can give endless amounts of energy and can heal both your mind and body. There were also really great recipes, real life applications and research studies that allowed me to implement those techniques into my life.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“There is no fate but what we make for ourselves”. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator. Terminator was my favorite movie growing up due to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s passion for fitness. Choosing a favorite quote from a movie is somewhat a mockery, however, that quote stuck with me because we must remain tough and remember that the world will not change around us and give us everything we desire. We must power through anything uncomfortable to create the world we wish to have. It is not always easy, but, in the long run, is highly rewarding.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I pursued my doctorate in Kinesiology to study a device which I now believe to be the next revolution in health care and fitness. Exercise is the best medicine for the body, as proven in thousands of studies. The human being has become highly deconditioned to exercise so we must find a device that matches the current state of the body and then slowly progress it forward. This unique project has led me to study whole-body vibration platforms and build a business where we can deliver this device to health care workers for their patients, businesses, employees and sedentary individuals in their homes, including a virtual training component. Whole-body vibration has successfully improved strength, flexibility, as well as reduced pain in a variety of research studies. Through Science Based Body Team, we will be able to provide more avenues to help with the overweight, obese and elderly population that may not be able to get in the gym.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Creating an Exercise Routine — The rhythmic nature, increased body temperature, utilization of hormones, and usage of energy storage make exercise the most effective means of improving all avenues of health. Exercise can start at just 20 minutes a day and is effective even when just merely raising the heart rate. Mental health is suffering in many individuals because they are focusing on events, individuals and situations out of their control instead of focusing on their own body which is the most important tool they have to work with for the rest of their life. Exercise regulates our hormone levels, regulates blood pressure, and relieves stress and anxiety that can plague our minds. Exercise can start with a quick 20 minute walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind but each day needs to progress to walk faster or further to see change mentally and physically.

Focus on In-person Community (Not social media) — Social media is scientifically proven to cause depression as shown by many studies. We were not meant to see into the lives of everyone on the planet, especially when they are complete strangers. It enables people to see what they do not have and makes them falsely think that’s what they want. The product is creating an unhealthy and detrimental environment — especially psychologically. Participating in a live community and nurturing relationships near to us enables us to share one another’s energy cultivating a positive atmosphere of mental wellbeing instead of constantly comparing, idolizing, or creating false realties. Social media allows others to steal our mental focus, food and alcohol kidnap our minds to addiction while sedentary behaviors disable our mind and body connection.

Neuro feedback (New technologies) — Strides have been made in technologies used to positively re-educate the brain and re-integrate the mind and body sequences. Neuro feedback is a great way to re-focus the mind away from negative thoughts, addictions and habits, which does not require much time or effort from the user. I highly recommend seeking guidance in mental therapies like neuro feedback when other avenues just may not be working. Subconscious desires and thoughts may need neuro feedback to re-direct to create positive mental wellness and focus on positive influences and future planning.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I personally have not engaged in yoga, but I do know that when exercise is performed slowly, in an environment where the person performing it can focus solely on their own mind and body, exercise is meditative. Exercise brings the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems of the body into alignment due to its rhythmic nature, and due to relaxive events following strenuous events of body movements. Whole-body vibration uses vibration frequencies which can be perceived as meditative and can be used accordingly.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Physical fitness is accomplished when goals are set, progressive programs are developed that do not overtrain, and the program is adhered to with consistency. Controlled resistance training is still one of the best exercise methods for 99% of current and new exercisers. Obtain advice from a certified personal trainer to help jump start your journey with quality education.

In short:

  • Set obtainable goals (hang photos in the mirror for daily motivation)
  • Do not over train initially (Don’t overdo it- start slow!)
  • Educate yourself on slow controlled resistance training (The best way to continue to burn calories over time!)

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, 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 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Nutrition is one of the most important factors when it comes to having a healthy mind and body. Mentally, bleached sugar and toxic foods will disrupt the natural flow of dopamine through the brain creating mania and depression. Excessive sugar intake will also create a surplus of explosive energy throughout the body, and without a physically aggressive outlet will cause extreme mental dissatisfaction and physical abnormalities. I highly recommend everyone to read “The Science of Skinny” to educate themselves on our current food industry and what substances to avoid and why.

The main road blocks we face from succeeding in healthy eating are the hidden products like high fructose corn syrup, bleached sugar and flour, canola oil, sucralose, dextrose, maltodextrin and many others that are designed to be highly addictive. Identify these substances in your food supply and eliminate them. Many will experience a slight withdrawal phase of a week or so, but once removed from your diet you will feel like a brand new person and a weight will be lifted. You don’t even know you’re addicted but freedom from the addiction and new awakening will give you access to so much more of your brain which will snowball into so many other positive experiences of pain reduction, weight loss, clarity, reduced stress, and more.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Treat everyone you encounter with the utmost respect and be kind to others. Anxiety and stress can be alleviated with a balanced exercise program so finding something active that works for you and sticking with it is key. Proper breathing exercises can fully saturate the body with oxygen and clear the mind so the emotions remain positive.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Smiling and being kind to others sets a great tone for your life. Success in life always involves attracting others and encouraging them to want to be around you, work with you, work for you, collaborate with you, etc. Some people refer to this has having good “juju” or “karma”. I believe a life full of positivity is the life worth living — sharing the simplest of expressions like a smile, wink or nod are the best way to create lasting positive to even complete strangers! You never know whose day you will improve with just that one smile.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Spiritual wellness comes in many shapes and sizes for all and my biggest recommendation is to seek spirituality and pursue it every day — even if it is only for 10 minutes to refocus your mind. Journaling is another great habit to assist us with focusing on positivity and removing negative circumstances or experiences. Meditating on the meaning of life can create new pathways for your success in life.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Every being is made of cells that provide energy and the earth continues to provide energy that our bodies need to fuel our spiritual wellness. Our bodies soak in the sun and create energy, vitamins and nutrients from its rays; therefore we should never spend too much time inside. Of course, living in Texas, protecting one’s skin is just as important to soaking up the sun’s rays for Vitamin D. — and NOT all sunscreen is made equally. Your skin soaks in all the chemicals so look for a natural product — do your research.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Our world would be the best possible place if everyone used exercise as a way to satisfy their primal instincts. We would not fight, argue or struggle with our human brothers and sisters if we found a substitute for anxiety, frustration or rage. We wouldn’t be in pain, be overtaken with inflammation or suffer from weight gain and we could physically pursue all of our dreams. We wouldn’t be addicted to drugs, dependent on the medical institutions, and it would be a pathway for better health regimes.

Exercise is transforming which necessitates it to be medically prescribed instead of people being dependent on a quick pill for blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, to name a few chronic illnesses. I will continue to spend my life finding modes of exercise that doctors can use to treat their patients. Fitness centers are great for those that that are able, however, sick people who need exercise the most are not found in gyms, they are found in the doctor’s office. Studies have shown that exercise is the best medicine, we have just not come across a means of exercising that is suitable for a medical office…..but we soon will.

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, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Every person on the planet is created equally in my eyes; therefore I would like to meet everyone as they are amazing to me. Each individual has a unique gift to provide another who will listen; we just sometimes don’t take the time to hear the message. Some of the most influential people in my life were not “popular”, or celebrities, they are average people who accomplished the most wonderful tasks that we sometimes don’t view as heroic. A young mother performing CPR on her infant who stopped breathing at 2am because there was a breathing defect at birth, and saving the child’s life, is more heroic than anything I will ever accomplish in my life, and that mom will never ask for notoriety. She is a hero. Meeting people and hearing their story is one of my favorite things to do, so I hope to hear from everyone.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I would love for any readers to follow my podcasts and ventures through:

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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