“..but I don't really care about building muscle or strength. I want to stop being obese. That’s my only goal.”

by Shaun Angel, CPT and Owner

I recently met a new acquaintance at a meeting--a local financial advisor who impressed me with a quality presentation about his services, and I want to share with you the story.   We had a great conversation in person, learning about each other’s businesses.  In fact, he asked me to follow up with him with more information on Livewell featuring Flex 151, as he particularly had interest in Flex 151’s time efficiency, citing that he did not have any time to exercise.  So, I waited what I felt to be a respectable amount of time and followed up, never wanting to miss a chance for a new business contact or a possible new client.  Even though he seemed very interested at the time AND had asked me to follow up with more information, I was humbled by his response.  But before I let you read his response, here is a little background on the original engagement.

Our verbal conversation was solely based on him complaining about people who want high returns and to retire early in the financial industry, while having no appetite for risk and who are continuously loading money onto their credit cards without contributing even 10% into their retirement account.  He felt like his hands were tied, and he was tired of being put on the defensive during the 6 month review he offers his clients.  “It is as if my hands are tied and I cannot get through to them that they don’t need to cancel the vacation, sell the car and be miserable now in anticipation for this huge long term event called ‘retirement’”, he said.  “All they have to do is be steady.  Steady in their retirement contributions, not emotional when the market goes too high or drops down, and conservative in their expenditures and debt.  Consistent clients who do a few things right and trust a good advisor can usually retire.”

Naturally, I was blown away as I connected the parallels between our two very different fields of business; his being based on the financial side of health, and my own on the improvement of personal health and fitness.  I thought to myself: “Wow…just be consistent with your exercise, don’t go hungry, but try to eat right most of the time (we aim for 80% good; 20% cheat here at Livewell) and focus on the process (which eventually becomes an actual routine) instead of just  the outcome (which in our case is usually weight and in his case it is retiring on time or even early)”.  He told me that clients who focus on immediate returns and solely on the nest egg (the outcome) are much harder to stay consistent with building wealth than those that can submit to following the process.  Plus, they are not as happy along the way….all their decisions are tied up with the future retirement, and they are not enjoying the present moment leading to this wonderful goal in America called retirement.  Better to be enjoying your life well now and comfortable knowing that a sound plan in motion and adhered to is better than any get rich quick scheme. 

He asked me a few questions about the Flex 151 program, and I told him that I felt the health pursuit was exactly the same.  Too much focus on losing 35 pounds yields no compliance whatsoever with most personalities because when 5 pounds come off, they are STILL 30 pounds away!  Thus, most get demoralized and lose heart because they are so focused on a number. 

At Livewell, we too focus on consistency and enjoy far better outcomes along the way as we get healthier, fitter, stronger, lose weight, and have more energy.  Our ‘compound interest’ really kicks in as we stay consistent and the risk vs. return trade off is excellent because we don’t need to spend a lot of time to enjoy greater results due to our sophisticated yet simple program.  Most people underestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and greatly overestimate what they can do in a month, so just like retirement planning, consistency is key.  He definitely was nodding his head in alignment, and even said “That makes complete sense”.  I then explained to him how we focus our time with exercise, why it is he can get a 90 minute workout with our smart system in only 15 minutes, and what it is that we help with for our clients.  When I followed up with this individual to set a meeting in person (again, he has asked me to do this and wanted to come see my place), this was his response:

“Thanks Shaun.  I worked with a nutritionist several years ago.  We worked on diet, and I think I'm where I want to be with that. I don't really care about building muscle or strength - I used to look at those Charles Atlas ads in the back of comic books and aspire to that, but I'm long over that kind of thing. I want to stop being obese - that's my only goal.”

I was pretty taken aback!  Then, my sales side kicked in and I realized that I was guilty of the #1 cardinal selling mistake:  assuming your potential clients understand what it is you offer after the initial meeting is over.  We had struck a chord together that last week.  We definitely had a meeting of the minds, but in the few days that went by, he forgot my message and went back to the message he has programmed in his head about exercise and resistance training, which is that it is no good for weight loss and muscle is only for bodybuilders.  Also, the programmed message played that said to him that the only way to get fit and lose weight is to spend a lot of time on weight loss, and time is exactly what this man did not have any left of in his day.  Either way, I failed…and miserably.  I take responsibility because I am part of the fitness industry that propagates this nonsense.  I have no doubt we could help this man feel better and hit his goals.

I want to share with you my response, because I feel like I owe it to my current and prospective clients to share why it is we offer resistance training at Flex 151.  There is so much confusion and myths surrounding resistance training in the industry…everything from it causes you to ‘bulk up’, to make you thick, not good for weight loss, not safe for older people, or just stigmas around it being all male dominated.  Part of my job is to slay these ‘sacred cows’ that we all buy into and believe in as truths and dispel them for what they are - myths.

Here was my response: 

“Thanks for the reply.  I am the furthest away from a bodybuilding, muscle head gym you will ever find.  With a name like “Flex 151” you likely thought of 'swole' dudes in spandex flexing their oily muscles.  Sorry about the confusion.  Getting large muscles doesn’t make one more healthy and certainly isn’t our goal for a healthy program.  Conversely, in our sedentary modern society, muscle is no longer just for bodybuilders.  We do have to maintain our muscle and strength (even if you don’t want strength) as we age if we want to hit our weight goals.  From 50-70 years old, people who don’t actively engage their bodies with some sort of resistance will lose 30% of their strength, and walking and jogging alone, although needed, will not suffice.  Maintaining and increasing our strength and skeletal muscle mass results in increased energy, keeping strong joints, bone mineral density, and ability to simply keep up in life/play golf/do hobbies.  But, specifically talking about your comment of “I want to stop being obese—that’s my only goal”, I would like to elaborate a little further:

Losing weight will occur if we don’t maintain our strength; however, it is muscle weight we are losing (not fat weight), which carries with it a corresponding drop of 50-100 calories per pound of metabolism per day when we factor in the hormonal consequences of the lost muscle.  Lose 5 lbs of muscle  = 250-500 calories a day of decreased metabolism, and the weight that we gain as we get older is not muscle anymore, it is fat, which makes every subsequent diet we go on in the future so much harder to move the needle because there becomes less and less muscle tissue to gobble up calories (fat doesn’t have metabolism except for the hormonal signals it sends back to your body to work against you).  The standard fitness industry won’t tell you this because they would rather sell you more powder, pills and impossible to maintain diets.  Or…they feel it is easier to go along with these pervasive myths instead of educating the right information.  

So a basic analogy using your financial industry goes something like this:  trying to lose weight without maintaining and growing your strength is like a client trying to get rich in your line of work without accepting any risk or adding investment dollars to a portfolio.  Your hands become tied just like mine do.  That’s why we certainly are not a program for everyone because not everyone desires to do the work.  We do have to DO the work.  We just accomplish that work better and safer at Flex 151 because we are set up more as a ‘life-hack’ lab, not a gym.  Everything we do is concentrated, safe and intentional, including the time we save you to do a 90 minute workout in only 15 minutes.  I don’t play into standard fitness industry nonsense of recommending becoming a cardio bunny to lose weight nor buy into the calories-in, calories-out, deprivation diet being the only way for success.  If that worked, we wouldn’t have the abysmal numbers feeding our health care industry.  Ask anyone who just picked up miles or dropped more food when they stalled if it always resulted in a corresponding drop in weight.  We all know that answer is NOT usually.  We think different, act different and execute much differently just like I heard you say you do in your industry.  Positive ‘eustress’ is necessary just like accepting some risk in the markets in necessary to achieve our goals.  But ‘distress’ is not necessary.  You can lose weight, and ‘not be obese’ with our program as long as you do a few things right and consistent, but that weight loss will be the side effect of a well executed, simple plan just as finishing rich over the long haul is normally the side effect of a solid financial plan.  You and I both accomplish this for our clients through our educational coaching.  We are our clients fitness, health and financial mavens, or pilots, talking them out of immediate gratification and to continued incremental success and to finish the race well.  The same exact logic applies for both of us to win in life with our clients, we just operate on different sides of the same health ‘coin’.  Neither you nor I are get rich quick schemes and both of us are trying to rise above the noise in complex industries that have tons of sexy products that promise a shortcut.  Doing the work smarter, simpler and more consistent as part of a lifestyle:  that’s how our clients win.  We desire to simplify the fitness and health myths and confusions out there with a  simple system that leads to long term rewards for the mind and body." 

He had a very favorable response to my email that said “great analogy-that makes sense”.  I have never heard from him since, but he did check me out on LinkedIn and congratulated me on my 5 year anniversary of Flex 151 recently!  It’s ok, hopefully one day we will talk again when he is ready.  I am in health pursuit for the long haul, so I too don’t expect to ‘get rich quick’.  I hope that gives you a different take on resistance training effects on the body for your weight loss goals.  Think of your questions and email them to me at info@flex151.com.  I will answer you back.  If you know someone who suffers from this logic, we just may be the thing that can help them to “not be obese” without killing their time, energy and resources.  We offer free Discovery Sessions to learn more and a free one hour consultation to baseline your strength and workout on our Intelligent Training System.  I dare you to try us for a no obligation consult and free workout and fight back against obesity, no energy and your frustrations.  Click here to learn how the fitness industry has failed you.

fLast thing:  While “not being Obese” is a worthy goal, it is a very negative sounding goal to me.  My excellent team and I would prefer to help you Livewell!  It’s your life.  Transformed.  Now, that is bad marketing because it doesn’t prey on fear and lack, but we are not a place of scarcity, but of abundance.  You deserve to live abundantly with full health as you grow young.