Maintain a grateful attitude even in the midst of difficulty. One of the most important things I do when I’m helping clients is have them create a gratitude list right in the middle of the most difficult things that they’re dealing with. This way you come from a higher vibration. An extra bonus points: if you can come up with reasons to be grateful that are directly related to the problem, you’ll get even stronger!
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yancy Berry.
Yancy Berry is an award-winning life coach and addiction recovery specialist known for his work with prominent executives and public figures. After a successful career as a celebrity trainer at the most prestigious fitness club in the US (for which he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018), Yancy realized he could transform his clients’ lives outside of the gym using the tools and training he gained in his own experience overcoming severe poverty, addiction, and depression. Having faced some of life’s toughest challenges and succeeded against all odds, Yancy now uses his unique method, 1-on-1 coaching, seminars, and workshops to guide his clients past obstacles and roadblocks, helping them reach new heights of personal success, balance, and empowerment.
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?
I was training for a marathon and a neighbor said that I would be great at being a personal trainer. I had never thought about it before, but I really loved exercising and all of the benefits that came from it. I’d had a successful career in finance but I never loved the job. So it was intriguing to really follow my passion as opposed to following dollars, and it led to tremendous success and my career as a life coach as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most interesting thing that’s happened to me as a life coach happened quite recently. I just coached a successful actress and first time director through the completion of her independent film right in the middle of this pandemic! It was a high wire act to say the least. With all of the emotional highs and lows that have come with this COVID era, being able to walk somebody through this period of time as their highest self has probably been the most rewarding thing I’ve done. And the film got done miraculously, which is tremendous!
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?
I host a personal development book club and one time years ago I had us all go around the room and share what we loved about the other people in the circle, but secondly I had us go around and share one thing that we would improve about the other people in the circle. Let’s just say it didn’t go too well.
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 a unique combination of experiences. I’ve been clean and sober for 21 years, and have mentored men in that field for a couple of decades. I’m also an Equinox Personal Training
Lifetime Achievement Award winner which consists of 10 years of domination in that field. Lastly I have led a group of individuals in my personal development club as well been an individual Life Coach for approximately five years, and a number of individuals have risen to their highest success levels during that time. Being a part of their journey makes me extremely proud.
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?
Yes. The authors of my favorite books! These people don’t even know it but they’ve helped me all along the way, and even saved my life. Eckhart Tolle, Napoleon Hill, and Tony Robbins. These guys are giants for me. They helped me to become a greater version of myself and now I get to do the same for others!
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 first blockage is our success thermostat. It’s set at a certain temperature and to rise above or go below that is a tremendous shock to our system, so we will usually revert back to whatever we believe is supposed to be who we are. My job as a coach is to help you raise that thermostat level! The second blockage is thinking that whatever we do is going to be difficult forever. Remember: It’s not difficult forever, it’s just difficult for a time. The third blockage is environmental. You have to put yourself in a position where everything around you helps you win and doesn’t pull you down.
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. Maintain a grateful attitude even in the midst of difficulty. One of the most important things I do when I’m helping clients is have them create a gratitude list right in the middle of the most difficult things that they’re dealing with. This way you come from a higher vibration. An extra bonus points: if you can come up with reasons to be grateful that are directly related to the problem, you’ll get even stronger!
2. Do the inside work first, then the outside. As I became more and more successful as a personal trainer, new people would come up to me and ask how I got all my clients. I’d tell them what I’m telling you now: It all starts with what I’m doing outside of the gym not inside of it. I do a morning meditation, visualization, goal setting, read personal development books, and prayer. That’s what sets me up to have the highest energy so that when I’m finally in front of someone at the gym, I know I’d want to work with me! Why wouldn’t they?
3. Get help from an expert! It is so habitual to say “I can do this myself.” Of course you can. But if you can go further faster, why wouldn’t you? I was lucky because my young life was a disaster, I needed to get clean and sober or die. So asking for help was easy and I’ve never stopped. Now I create tremendous momentum because I’m always looking for people to partner with who are like-minded and highly successful. Like Ray Dalio (one of America’s most successful investors) has said 1+1 = 3!
4. Just do a little bit. A lot of times when people don’t move towards their goals, it’s because they see this massive, overwhelming amount of work that needs to get done. You don’t need to do it all. The smallest amount works for the moment. For example, even though I’m a fitness expert, I don’t always love exercising. When I really don’t want to do anything, I get up and take a walk. Just that little bit of movement creates momentum. And from there it’s a lot easier to do more. So don’t do it all, just do a little.
5. Cold showers for the win! These don’t feel great but they are so helpful. They’re like taking out the trash in your body because cold showers wake up the lymphatic system, which is the toxin-removing vehicle of your insides. And they really wake you up! A lot faster than a cup of coffee! Do it every day.
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?
I’m going to say something that most trainers won’t say: exercising isn’t for weight loss. It can coincide with weight loss because people usually tend to eat healthier when they’re exercising a lot. But the three benefits of exercise are first, strong bones and muscles; second, stress relief; and third, if someone is spiritually or emotionally minded in any way shape or form, it has been my experience that exercise will create a huge boost in those areas as well.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
Push-ups (even kneeling push ups), bodyweight squats, and forearm planks. Just 10 minutes of a continual circuit of these is huge!!!
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?
Epsom salt baths. My grandmother used to have this in her house and I always thought it was the weirdest thing. Little did I know that it is one of the most cost-effective ways to help your body recover. Hot water, a generous amount of Epsom salt, and boom! The magnesium goes straight to your bones and muscles, and creates so much relief. It’s fantastic!
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?
The thing I do best and recommend most is to have protein, carbs, and fats with every meal. It creates an awesome balance of all three energy sources instead of just a bunch of carbs, which is what most people do. Secondly, if someone is trying to get lean, intermittent fasting works every time when done consistently and with discipline.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I’ll say The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle has had the most impact on me. Mainly because he came along at a time in my life when I was overworking myself and dealing with so much stress. I was suffering from tremendous insomnia. This book really taught me to be in the moment and to be at peace. And the added effect was that it made me want to start the personal development book club I still run today, which has been the most amazing experience for me and so many others.
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. 🙂
Starting your day off with prayer, meditation, affirmation and exercise instead of emails and social media. This sets the tone for your day and life. And setting the tone is everything. Think of a great sports battle in which the underdog beats the favorite. It’s always because the underdog smacks the favorite right in the mouth at the very beginning of the contest. That’s what your day is like. Smack your challenges and difficulties right in the mouth by starting your day off right and it will make sure that you are well on the way to victory!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Challenge equals opportunity! It’s the first thing I think about every single time something difficult comes up. It’s my favorite quote and it’s from me. Our brains are magic and they will focus on whatever we train them to focus on. If you focus your mind to see opportunities every single time something difficult comes up, it will build a tremendous amount of emotional and spiritual muscle versus whining and complaining, which is what most people do. Make a game of it! When something difficult comes up think “How many different opportunities can I think of right now?”
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 🙂
President Barack Obama, without a doubt!
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
You’re welcome & thank you!!! It’s been a blast!