Eat dinner as early as possible or as far away from bedtime as possible, this is not specifically for weight loss its more to ensure you are not digesting while you sleep. If you are digesting it is a lower quality resting state therefore sleep quality is lower. This is also another reason to avoid caffeine closer to bed time.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Zac Atkinson. Zac is a Business Growth Specialist at Functional Success. He coaches business owners on proven sales strategies by identifying opportunities for training and empowering business owners to grow their business. Zac has worked with multiple F45 franchises providing them with the foundations and accountability that is often the hardest part of entrepreneurship. Also a personal trainer with an stellar track record for transforming live, the Australian is well known within the fitness community worldwide.
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?
Around 10 years ago I landed in a bit of a depression as a result of several different lifestyle factors, such as health/relationships and career goals. Rather than continuing to spiral I decided to make a change for the better, starting with going to gym. I had no idea what I was doing however I was lucky enough to have some friends guide me along the path. This was one of the biggest turning points of my life and was such a big turn around in mental and physical health.
In 2015 I had a motorcycle accident that landed me right back in a depression, as I wasn’t able to move. Remembering how powerful training was, I started training once I got the all clear from doctors. Once again it saved me, really confirming the power of health and fitness. I decided I wanted to help other people achieve the same level of clarity as myself, so enrolled myself into a Personal Training course. During this I did work experience at an F45 in Sydney Australia. It was an absolute revelation for me. It was the best combo of personal training and community I had ever come across. It really made becoming a better person so much easier.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I was lucky enough to be able to open the first F45 In Downtown Vancouver BC, this was special as I had the ability to hire incredible staff, grow a powerful community of my own and change lives. This made me realize I could help people on a larger scale to do the same thing worldwide.
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?
At one studio, I had a pair of clients that were best friends. For around 2 months I had thought I knew their names when in fact I had the names around the wrong way. I’m not entirely sure if they ever picked up on it as they were always together, but I learned the power of getting to know the individual over the collective and re-asking a name is better than not knowing.
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?
My authority comes from two areas, knowledge and experience, but also caring about the client. My ability to identify peoples needs while working out has been extremely successful for me. I am still in contact with almost all of my clients even since my work experience days many years ago.
My unique contribution is the promotion of a balanced life. My encouragement to be the best version of yourself over visual goals is not only healthier in the long run but promotes better body image and fitness benchmarks over low self esteem and inadequacy.
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?
Again I bring this back to F45 and the Head Coach at the time Bronwyn Haig, she not only gave me a chance to do work experience in her studio but trained and encouraged me to make a difference in the fitness industry. She showed me that caring goes beyond the workout itself and also lies in support and community.
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?
In my experience working with clients, most people say its due to “not having enough time”. I always tell people to reframe that statement with “it’s not a priority”, and see how that feels.
Another block I have seen is fear, fear you’ll get hurt, fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, fear of judgment and fear of not achieving results.
Lastly, when embarking on a new health journey, some people find it hard to incorporate their new lifestyle with social gatherings, such as eating keto, vegan or not drinking. This creates a fear of alienation and affects people’s abilities to keep up with their goals.
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. No coffee past 10 am. Coffee can absolutely be healthy and useful however it loses it potency if you do not give your body enough time to process it. That 3pm slump is actually more closely related to an insulin crash.
2. 16/8 intermittent fasting which is fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8 hour window can be a simple but effective way to lower your daily caloric intake as well as give your body a chance to burn through the energy sources it has in storage, which leads to fat loss.
3. Eat dinner as early as possible or as far away from bedtime as possible, this is not specifically for weight loss its more to ensure you are not digesting while you sleep. If you are digesting it is a lower quality resting state therefore sleep quality is lower. This is also another reason to avoid caffeine closer to bed time.
4. We all know that we need vegetables but we should be trying to get as many different colors as possible with each serving. Every different color has different beneficial health qualities. Again there is a chart that can elaborate on this in further depth. But this mixed with a good macronutrient diet can be a game changed
5. Invest in your health — Holistic Nutritionists, RMT massage, sports physiotherapy/chiropractors, ice baths, yoga. Nothing is more important than your health, the healthier you are the better decisions you can make for those around you.
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?
• Working out improves your bodies ability to pump blood and oxygen and work efficiently increasing your bodies ability to heal, and move easily
• It also improves bone and joint density/integrity leading to less bone and joint related illnesses.
• Endorphins, the term “Gym Junkie” refers to the addiction to endorphins ie feeling good. The best part of being addicted to the endorphins from working out is there are no bad side effects.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
I want to lead with a disclaimer for this statement. If you’re looking to achieve full range of movement and good depth with these movements and are unable to safely do these movements without proper form, then it’s important to get help from a trainer or physical therapist to get you there.
• Dead lifts
• Push ups
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?
The 3 main areas for recovery are sleep quality, hydration and adequate nutrition. These are just the very basic factors that you need to be on top of while training.
In term of prevention I would suggest getting a postural analysis to identify any muscle or bone imbalances that impede movement or could lead to injury.
Stretching and foam rolling, when muscle is building and fatiguing it has a tendency to tighten up. The best practice is to lightly stretch and role out areas that will be effected in your exercise such as legs, glutes, back or hip flexors.
After a workout while your muscles are warm you can more aggressively stretch using PNF techniques which push deeper into a stretch.
I would also recommend Yin style yoga as its a good balanced stretch with long poses.
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 follow a few combinations of diets as I am a firm believer in sustainable diets rather than extreme ones. I do a mix of 16/8 intermittent fasting and a 70/30% split of nutritious macronutrient balanced diet with 30% what ever bad food I feel like.
Depending on the clients goals I have a few different approaches based on time frames. I have had clients take part in the F45 8 week challenge which is a 3 stage diet starting with a 2 week detox phase followed by a high protein phase for 6 weeks and then finishing off on a Keto phase. This combination is excellent for weight loss in a short period.
For clients outside of F45 I recommend a macronutrient based diet of high quality produce based on height/weight and goals. This can work for either fat loss or muscle gain.
If someone is looking for a lifestyle change and to feel better I recommend my personal diet philosophy as it its long term sustainable.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I am not much of a reader however I have found Thomas DeLauer has some extremely informative and educational information related to several different types of diets.
In his videos he gives a non bias, elaborate explanation about the science behind each diets based on recent studies.
Personally diet has always been a tricky one for me, but his videos helped me chose 16:8 intermittent fasting.
This is a non extreme diet that fit my lifestyle perfectly and have since seen a body fat decrease, with an increase in muscle and consistent daily energy. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone but I found he was helpful to me and highly recommend him.
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. 🙂
My goal is to share the power of health and fitness in helping improve quality of life and conscious living. I would love an online platform in which I can help people on a large scale get their training, physical health, nutrition and mental/spiritual health in alignment with themselves. Other than combating stress, depression and anxiety it will also help with how people treat the planet.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
How you do anything is how you do everything.
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 🙂
Rob Deutsch founder of F45 training.
Rob’s creation of F45 is for me one of the most incredible ways of bringing the right kind of fitness to the masses.
With his eye for technology and innovation, he came up with what seems to be such a simple business model. But what it creates is truly incredible.
With workouts that almost everyone can do and be challenged by, and incredible 8 week challenge results. With so many health epidemics in the world, this is a truly powerful community based movement.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!