Mind to muscle connection. During your workouts, don’t just aimlessly go through the motions. During each rep of each exercise, visualize and feel your target muscles working. This helps you get more out of your workouts and can significantly boost both the activation and growth that your muscles experience.
Asa part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Ethier.
Jeremy Ethier is the founder of Built With Science, and a fitness expert who has mastered the art of combining science with training and nutrition to help you build lean muscle and burn off fat in the most efficient way possible. Follow Jeremy Ethier on YouTube and Instagram (@jeremyethier) and visit Builtwithscience.com for workout tips and training courses.
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?
Like many others in the industry, I’ve been obsessed with everything “fitness” ever since I was a kid. My first step into a gym was with my father when I was around 14 years old. I was instantly hooked. As soon as I turned 18, I got my personal training certification to further educate myself and start training others. I then proceeded to get my Kinesiology degree at University, and started Built With Science shortly after graduating.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I started my YouTube channel during my last year of University and managed to grow it to about 50,000 subscribers before graduating. I remember as I was entering one of the last lectures of the year, someone in the hallway had recognized me from my YouTube videos and mentioned how big of a fan he was. This was the first time someone had ever recognized me in public from my videos, and I couldn’t believe it. It was such a crazy experience to me. Now I’m almost at 3 million subscribers and I get recognized quite often in public. It definitely still is a weird feeling (in a good way!), but nothing compares to that surreal feeling of the very first encounter.
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?
When I first launched my very first paid product (online training programs) to the public), I was doing everything by myself. The research, script writing, filming, editing, website building, customer service, social media, etc. I was extremely busy, but I could manage. After I launched the programs however, the work load easily doubled because of the sheer amount of emails I was getting. I got my girlfriend to start helping out with the emails, but everything was still pretty much done by myself. I remember shortly after that launch I thought it would be a great idea to send an email out to those who purchased my programs what I could do to help them out further and what they enjoyed about the program. The result was several hundreds of emails sent back within a matter of a couple days. It took me a few days to personally respond to every single email. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from reading and replying to those emails (e.g. what I could do to further improve the program), but I soon realized that there’s better ways to gather customer feedback and that I needed to start delegating.
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 if I were to pick one unique contribution, it would be my my passion for using science to guide everything that I promote and create. People value a science-based approach because it’s an approach that they know is proven, and one that they can trust.
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?
Definitely my father. When I first started to experience massive success with my company Built With Science, it was quite overwhelming. There were so many different things I needed to focus on that I didn’t know where to start. My father was key in diverting a lot of my attention to building a strong foundation for my business (accounting, financing, corporate structure, legal documents, etc.) and connecting me with experts that could help me out with this and be there for me as we continued to grow. His guidance that he provided me at that time (and still does to this day!) was essential.
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?
One would be focusing too much on perfection. Many of us know what we have to do, but we get overwhelmed on trying to do it all at once. Instead, take it one step at a time and focus on nailing that down before moving onto the next step. For example, focusing on simply getting adequate sleep first before you dive into other areas like nutrition and working out consistently, can help you avoid trying to do too much at once then quitting altogether out of frustration.
Two would be failing to set short term goals, and celebrating when you achieve them. Most of us focus too much on the long term result (e.g. “achieve the body of my dreams!”) but fail to acknowledge the short term goals we must hit to get there (e.g. “lose 2lbs this month”). So set short term goals (weekly, monthly), focus your efforts on hitting those goals, and celebrate when you do hit them!
Three would be letting self-limiting beliefs prevent you from taking action. We all have self limiting beliefs that have been instilled in us by others. Whether it’s a perceived lack of time, dedication, or some “genetic curse”, take a step back to realize that these limiting beliefs are not indicative of your true capabilities.
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 — Mind to muscle connection. During your workouts, don’t just aimlessly go through the motions. During each rep of each exercise, visualize and feel your target muscles working. This helps you get more out of your workouts and can significantly boost both the activation and growth that your muscles experience.
2 — Hydrate! Even very minor levels of dehydration can negatively impact your energy levels, mood, cravings, and performance during your workouts. Make it a point to hydrate as soon as you wake up, and throughout the day. You’d be surprised at the world of difference this can make.
3 — Mindful eating. Every time you sit down to have a meal, avoid having distractions (e.g. TV, phone) present as you’re eating. Instead, be mindful and present as you’re eating. This can go a long way in terms of increasing the fullness and satisfaction that you get from each meal — which can help prevent overeating if that’s a problem for you.
4 — Meditation. Regularly meditating and improving your self-awareness has a major impact on reducing your overall stress levels. In addition, by being more present and in the moment, you’ll be better able to distinguish feelings of “true hunger” from “boredom” for instance.
5 — Track your steps. Most of us focus on the effort we exert and the calories we burn during our workouts, but fail to realize the importance of simply moving more throughout the day. We actually burn a significant amount of calories outside of the gym just through the subconscious movements and bouts of walking that we do. Staying active outside of our workouts can help not only aid with our fat loss efforts (and keeping additional fat off) by burning additional calories, but also helps boost our productivity and energy levels throughout the day. I’d suggest making an effort to keep track of your daily step count, and aim for a goal of 8,000+ steps a day for example,
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?
Keeps your bones strong. Unfortunately, one of the things that happens as we age is a decrease in our bone density. This is what makes us frail and more prone to injury as we age. Daily exercise helps counteract this by slowing down the loss of bone density that comes with age.
2 — Improved sleep. Regular exercise, regardless of the mode and intensity of the activity you choose to do, has been shown to increase sleep efficiency and duration. Given the importance that adequate sleep has on several other factors, it would be in your best interest to get in some form of daily activity!
3 — Reduced anxiety and stress. Another benefit of daily exercise is a reduction in anxiety and depression, and overall stress levels. This can help with long-term mental health and can indirectly benefit your weight loss efforts as well, given the negative relationship we see with stress levels and weight loss.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
It will vary for everyone, but I would suggest that these 3 exercises consist of one upper body pushing movement, one upper body pulling movement, and one lower body movement. This helps ensure that you’re hitting most of the major muscle groups and functions.
For the upper body pushing movement, any form of push-up will do. This can be done on the ground, on your knees, or even against the wall. This will challenge your upper body muscles as well as your core.
For the upper body pulling movement, this will depend on what you have handy. Pull-ups or any form or row are great options. If you’re lacking equipment, simply using a weighted backpack and performing a bent over single arm row with it can work.
For the lower body movement, a squat would be your best bet. You can add weight by holding a dumbbell or weighted backpack at your chest as you perform the squat. This is an essential movement pattern that we need to continue practicing and strengthening especially as we age.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book instantly helped me realize just how much time I spent in my “head” instead of being present. I remember looking around my living room as I first got into this book, and really appreciating the beauty around me that I had never acknowledged previously. This is also what initially got me into meditation, and has significantly impacted my life since.
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 think it would be just spreading more positivity. There’s enough negativity in the world that we’re exposed to constantly, especially on social media. You’d be surprised the difference you can make in someone’s day just by simply sharing a little bit of positivity with them — a little compliment goes a long way.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” This is something that has stuck with me ever since I first read it. Often times I’d get caught up in the past and re-visit scenarios or decisions that I wish I could change or “do better”, rather than focusing instead on learning from that and applying that to the present moment and future.
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!
Elon Musk! He has been someone I’ve looked up to ever since I was a kid. He’s innovative, gutsy, yet humble and extremely dedicated to his vision. I would love to have a chat with him just to learn more about how he thinks and his vision of the future.
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