Episode #6 – Fitness 2020: Seeing a New You in a New Year

Reading Time: 19 minutes

Show Notes

Fitness resolutions in 2020 you say? We sit down to cover the topic with Brian Parana a lifestyle and health coach with over 18 years of expertise in the industry. We discuss everything from setting goals to having the mindset needed to succeed. Part of the episode is dedicated to a lightning round questioning segment in which Brian provides clarity on a host of fitness questions. Such as weights before cardio or cardio before weights? By the end of this episode, you will have insight into, not only how you can start off 2020, but also the rest of your life in the direction you choose!
For more information about Brian Parana, visit his Wellistic profile or his website.


Eddie: [00:00:23] With over 18 years of experience in the fitness industry.
Today’s guest has coached a fit world champion. He graduated cum laude from the University of Akron with a degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Aside from helping his clients reach their goals, he is a family man and married to his high school sweetheart and father of four. In his spare time, he enjoys staying physically active and has competed in CrossFit competitions in Ohio, placing in the top three, along with being an avid runner.
I’d like to welcome to the show, Brian Parana.

Brian: [00:01:16] Thank you, Eddie.
Thanks for having me. Really appreciate taking some time out and having a really great conversation on just health, lifestyle and exercise and nutrition I’m really looking forward to this.

Eddie: [00:01:27] Yeah, definitely. I, you know, I appreciate you taking the time out. I know you’ve been busy, especially as a, we’ve just gone into the new year. I know you’re, you’re busy with clients reaching out to you and corresponding with them and helping them to get on track with reaching their goals. So the topic that we’re discussing today, is fitness resolutions in 2020 and I guess just to start things off, if somebody’s really looking to improve their physical health, where do they start?

Brian: [00:01:57] Where do they start? Well, we’re getting into, obviously in January and the new year, let’s not start with a resolution, right? Chances are the person listening in may have done that and may have fallen victim to the, I’ve checked out of by February. You know, you’re 80% of the people that jumped into that. You know, those are just general statistics. People don’t stick to that stuff. So there’s, there’s a number of different things that I can bring to the table here on getting 2020 off to a great star in what better year? And, you know, numbers to that year. Then 2020 how do you see yourself, the vision that you hold for yourself? And that’s where we start.

We start with what is the vision that you see for your, your personal health, your fitness, your level of energy, excitement, relationships, and everything else that goes into your everyday life? 2020 let’s start off with asking yourself why is now the year the time this instant that I absolutely need to make a change? And to be honest, Eddie you have to be to that level of commitment to even think about jumping into the resolutions or the goal setting or anything. If you’re not absolutely dead set, committed, the making the change that you want, then guess what?

All right. Unfortunately, I see it all the time. I have conversations with a lot of people all the time. There is some weakness in the link of them actually stepping into commitment that is required and often times Eddie that is the very thing that is needed to get the transformation that they are looking for is that specific decision of like, I’ve had enough with what’s happening, what I’m experiencing in my life, and now is a time to take action and change.

Eddie: [00:03:50] What I’ve, you know, been able to take away is committing to taking the time to think about the goals themselves, being able to measure those goals and looking outside of the box at, really a lifestyle rather than just physical health. Is that all fair to say?

Brian: [00:04:07] That is all fair to say. If I were to put like a term on it, self care, that’s the most important. Underlying that means a lot.

Eddie: [00:04:16] And so I know you work with a lot of different folks that have obviously different goals. Each person’s individual when you see somebody looking at the new year and going back to that whole resolutions thing, and we’ll cross that out for now, but, when someone’s, we’ll say, setting a goal.

Would you say the majority of folks are, you know, looking to lose a little bit of weight and tighten up, or what do you predominantly see?

Brian: [00:04:39] Yeah. So at the end of the day, they want their body to change. And weight loss is the very top on that list. All right? Because they identified the number on the scale with being bad and not a good thing for them.

Unfortunately, in my situation, generally end up. Seeing and meeting people that are at the highest that they’ve been. And so, so certainly weight scale weight is a predominant factor of people wanting to lose weight. Okay fit into their clothes and have some energy to live the life they are doing.
When you’re

Eddie: [00:05:14] working with clients, I’m sure you go through the whole process of letting them know that weight is just a number. I’m sure you, I mean, and you can elaborate on this, how does somebody look in the mirror themselves? Is that more important than just a number on the scale?

Brian: [00:05:31] I 100% agree with you on that one. So the scale tells how gravity’s pull on the body. So it’s weighing our muscles, bones, organs water, and all the things that are going on in the body, but it doesn’t tell the underlying stories of body fat. Percentage, the body composition where the fats getting stored, and all those other factors are how they’re visibly seeing themselves in the mirror. Being represented in their physical body. Often say that your body is just a symptom of the things that are going on in your life. So if you’re too busy, you’re overwhelmed, you’re stressed, you’re bored, you play the guilt, blame or shame game then guess what? There’s again, some more factors than just weight loss that that need addressed.

Yes, we can work on nutrition and fitness as the very first access points of, okay, let’s get excited about eating healthier and getting energy from that, and then let’s understand nutrition better and how it’s going to fit into your lifestyle, but then let’s look at exercise and how we can create movement to create. Energy, and so many people are walking around with zero energy over caffeinated and trying to rely on their coffees, Starbucks, red bulls, whatever, sugar and you know, calming through the holiday season, the sweets, the treats and all that stuff to give them that energy boost. That they’re looking for.

Eddie: [00:07:02] So I’m not gonna lie, I ordered this ketogenic coffee. I’m not doing keto. I’m not really big on diets personally, but the coffee actually has some butter in it, some, a medium chain triglycerides, and it, it gives me like just a really good level, throughout the day. So I, I like that just one cup of coffee, kind of get things going. But I think that there’s a lot of folks out there that are. Drinking this stuff all day long, or,

Brian: [00:07:29] yeah.

Eddie: [00:07:30] Drinking energy drinks, that’s obviously a huge market as well. So what, you know, you had mentioned body fat percentage and when you’re working with somebody in, maybe they’re looking at the scale and they haven’t lost that much weight, but they’re looking different in the mirror.

So if they’re doing like a, any kind of weight resistance and they’re building, some muscle, is that something that you typically see a lot of? When someone’s losing body fat, they may be gaining some muscle in that. Is that discouraging for the clients?

Brian: [00:08:01] As long as, as I am doing a good job listening in to what they’re saying and coaching and educating them on the process and then also giving them, with like some foreshadowing and foresight of what may happen and obstacles or situations or whether good. Like, Hey, your body’s going to change are bad. Like here’s something that you may need to look at.

A great example of a calorie lady talking with even this morning, just like, Hey, your calories are pretty low. We’re just want to know. Let’s know that you had a great weight loss week. Weight loss isn’t necessarily linear. It’s not going to be like every week you’re losing three pounds on the dot. Like that’s how the body responds. But we in longterm strategy, like this woman’s pretty darn close to her goals and self. And so now we’re starting to work on body recomposition more so than weight loss. And so now I’m starting to encourage her to actually consider eating more calories for that maintenance level calories and start to educate around that process.

And you can hear at the beginning of our conversation, there’s some trepidation and some, a little bit of fear and eating. What. Eat more food, like I’m going to gain weight. And I’m like, no, that’s not how the body works. There is a maintenance level calories and please don’t go through the next five years living in a caloric deficit and just eating there because it won’t end well for you.

So there, I think that as long as the coach is on point listening to their clients and help managing the situation that it is, then the client should feel rest, assure that there. Doing what’s required and they’re experiencing what is necessary and they’re moving through what needs to happen for them.

Eddie: [00:09:52] That’s a really good explanation. There’s, the, the other idea also, that I’ve heard, if I lift weights, let’s say I’m a female, 35 years old. If I lift weights, I’m going to get big.

Brian: [00:10:08] A popular one these days, and it’s always been, it’s an age old. Right. And what I’ve seen from some of my pedigree of what I’ve done in my life, professional career, so I’ve been in this. Fitness industry for almost 18 years now. So I was a personal trainer for many years of standing in front of people and I was, you know, own two gyms. And I certainly coach a lot of people remotely now. And it’s the main part of my work with my clients. But, to so you see that when, especially a female lift weights, there’s three components that I always share with them.

There’s number one is that they’re not typically doing the training volume and intensity that’s required to build the type of muscle or definition or whatnot that they are thinking is going to happen from lifting 10 pound weights. That’s just not going to happen. There’s not, no, they’re not in the gym every single day. Working and lifting and general hour after hour rep after rep and challenging their body in a really high level cycle. Another one is calories. Generally when someone goes into diet mode, they go to calorie restriction and that’s exactly it restricting, so you’re not giving your body, the building blocks actually build muscle.

Now, certainly if you’re doing them properly, you can recomposition and you can start to decrease body fat while maintaining muscle levels. And if you add strength training, you haven’t been doing that. And that can be a certain way to help actually promote some muscle growth with the right mix of food and nutrition. So, and then the last one, especially for women, is. Testosterone and they don’t really have it. And so those three key factors really can eliminate women from considering bulking when trying to get into their weight loss. Weight loss journey.

Eddie: [00:12:01] There’s a lot more that goes into it. Then I’m going to pick up a dumbbell and my bicep is 20 inches.

Brian: [00:12:09] Right? Yeah. Like my, my shirt sleeves are going to get taught and people are going to start looking at me like weird because I’m too muscly or too vascular or something like that. Just in my experience, again, working with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people over the years. I’ve not seen that.

Eddie: [00:12:29] What do you see that’s a positive of working with weights? So what’s the other side of that? Let’s once again, give the example. Say, 35 year old woman, average weight average, and whatever average would be for them.

Brian: [00:12:41] Build

Eddie: [00:12:41] Yeah. I mean, yeah. So working near the weights, since I’m not doing, obviously the intensity, taking in the calories in my hormone doesn’t, I, I don’t have a lot of testosterone running through my system, so, so what would I see, by working with weights or body, but, you know, body weight exercises, whatever the case may be.

Brian: [00:13:01] Great question and what I would say is going to, really kind of push into knowing is that their body’s going gonna change visually and the things that they start seeing in the mirror should start to change their circumference measurements should go down their trouble areas. Should start to reduce and if they take pictures, which I will tell you that most of my clients don’t want to take pictures of themselves, especially at the very first beginning stage of like, wow, I need help, and I just don’t feel good about where I’m at. Then you know, that’s a, that’s a key time to train, capture where they’re at. So it’s again, the truth and reality of their situation, so that then we can start to make progress.

And so, the body should change. And, and what I would definitely, for women, I work with probably 70, 80% women more often than men. Is that we want to change the mindset around what body weight is, and so many women in general can sometimes relate to their 20 year old self. Well at 20 they’re still not done developing and they haven’t had kids and they haven’t had settled into other lifestyle. Choices that they have made. And so, Hmm.

Generally typical weight range. They’re a here, is that one 10 to one 30 and, Hmm. No, that’s an appropriate way for like a high school female. I don’t know if that’s appropriate for a 35 year old woman that is, her body is matured, she’s gone through life and that she should look and feel. Differently from that stage in life, and I’m not saying get down close to those weights. Proper alls, nutrition, fitness. She shouldn’t look and feel way better then she did way back when and what she identified with that singular body weight.

Brian: [00:15:49] What do you take into consideration when you’re putting together a workout program for somebody? Okay. Good question. So number one is, yeah, yeah, no worries. Eh, you know, this is all under the same umbrella of, right? So with , eh, building into a, a, a lifestyle plan, I have clients that range the full gamut from, Hey, we’re just going to start walking to, they have a personal trainer. They’re going to multiple times if they’re doing their orange theory or CrossFit or soul cycle, or Peloton or whatever. They have their home gym or they’re doing beach body on demand. And those are all really valid, really great programs too, include and incorporate into your everyday life.

So the rule number one is adherence. We got to make sure that what it is that you are doing is going to adhere to. You’re going to be able to adhere to it. So, I’m not going to tell someone who is used to say running as their main mode of exercise. Hey, we’re going to be spending two hours in the weight room. That’s not going to work. Right. So, so, or vice versa. Hey, I hate cardio. I do not like to run.

Eddie: [00:16:58] Let’s get on a treadmill for an hour. Yeah, exactly.

Brian: [00:17:00] That’s not number one. And the thing, so through understanding what they’ve done and experience in the past, what they’re currently doing, and then also considering what’s going to be best for their body. That’s the other piece of the fact that we need to have in here is make sure that you know, the coach is champion for them to give them the best outcome, the best solution to their current situation, and then help to bridge the gap of where they are now to where they want to go.

So in general, like you and I both know that having some form of strength training, whether it’s body weight or resistance training with Bands or dumbbells or barbells, or are you going to, you know, body pump or weight classes or CrossFit or whatever like that. We can navigate them through that process one step at a time. So maybe it’s, we’re walking for 30 minutes every day. Just legit scheduling time for yourself to exercise. And once we get into a good habit of that, then Hey, let’s consider somebody weight. Usually they if we’re doing it right, they will self-propel them themselves forward. So there’ll be like, there’ll be excited and there’ll be creating momentum along the way, and Hey, I’d like to try more, can I get onto the elliptical instead of walking?

Okay, cool. Can we get into a body weight workout like a 20 minute workout circuit? Great. With simple movements of, you know, like push ups, squats, sit ups, jumping jacks. Things like that. And as we build and we build on their confidence and certainty around getting into, some form of exercise, then we can just continue to encourage that and then push them into weight training.

And again. If she educate the client around what, why and how do it, then there can be way more likely to actually go experiment with that, have a great experience with it. And then also want to continue to do it. So, you know, in the case, so the runner going into two hours of weights, guess what’s gonna really happen is that they’re going to be crazy sore for way too many days and they’re never going to want to touch a weight for months to come. Right.

Eddie: [00:19:15] Sounds like you have a common sense approach when you’re putting together a workout prescription, and it sounded like also you’re really lighting a fire within somebody to really carry on the torch and build that fire in that confidence within themselves too. You know carry on. The progress that, you helped them to start to achieve.
I’d like to get your thoughts on a few questions. This is kind of a lightning round, if you will.

Brian: [00:19:40] Sure.

Eddie: [00:19:41] But basically I was thinking that you could kind of give us, which option is better if there is a, is a better, I know a lot of times in fitness there’s kind of a gray area. One can be more beneficial based on a lot of different circumstances, but just generally speaking here, this is a couple of questions for this, but. To start off for weight loss in general. weights before cardio or cardio before weights?

Brian: [00:20:09] Excellent. So weights before cardio. So warm up weights, cardio. Cool. Down. Stretching God, that’s a great classic approach to it. The real short end of the stick here is when you have the most energy, when you are in the beginning of your workout, what’s going to make the most impact on your body lifting?

You know, a, simple example, five pound dumbbells lifted 20 times to get to a total volume of a hundred pounds or Nope. By a 20 pounds lifted five times to get to the total volume of a hundred which one’s gonna have more impact on the body? Certainly we both would agree the five times of 20 is going to have more impact on the body internally to start to create change.

And so that’s why we want to spend the time, energy. Exercise them before. Then the cardio after is kind of ringing the rag out and that’s kind of the sensation that I use is. We want to just kind of like get rid of the carbohydrates that are stored in the muscle, start to burn body fat, and that allows the body to just start to build strength.

Break down muscle to then recover it, and then to burn up any extra carbs and start burning body fat a lot faster so we can get into this fat burning zone repeatedly through following that type of exercise protocol.

Eddie: [00:21:27] So when you led me right into the second question, so high intensity interval training or duration for burning body fat.

Brian: [00:21:37] How much time do you have? And the one thing I joke about, like no one ever asked me about the Krebs cycle. It’s something I had to learn in college, but to get my exercise nutrition degree and stuff. So, but. Either, adherence for the client and then what is their timeframe? I have super busy clients that will some travel week end week out and are barely at home and others we have stay at home moms that maybe in a more just moving, getting out with our kids and going to the park, walking is going to be much more viable option for them to spend family time and all that stuff. So at the end of the day.

Whether you’re burning 200 calories and 20 minutes of high intensity or over 45 to 60 minutes of walking, guess what, you’re still burning 200 calories and then also lastly, I consider risk of injury and in terms of their overall. Exercise programming. So if someone’s lifting weights heavy and they’re this and that and their intercourse deficit, yes, what high intensity interval training might might be a good option, but it also might. Kind of push them into a little bit more of risk of injury because they’re carb depleted, their calorie reduced, their muscles and their bodies are a little more tapped as a result of being in a calorie deficit.

So, you know, really talk with the client and help them understand, okay, which ones going to be their best option. So either I, I personally have ran a lot in the past. And, so many of our adult long runs and interval runs and, and interval trainings and all this stuff and right now it’s easy for me to walk. Yeah. And so like my Fitbit, I’ll have 20 plus thousand steps a day.

Guess what? I know I’m burning a lot of calories, so that gives me an extra couple of hundred calories to be able to eat and have a little bit more flexibility. And moderation in my every day, if I’m moving at that amount, and I don’t have to go do cardio per se, unless I was focusing on building my cardiovascular system to go perform for training for an event or something like that.

Eddie: [00:23:54] Awesome. So let’s say someone’s starting out, is there more of a benefit. Of using body weight training or would you recommend using machines? Which one would be more beneficial for someone that’s just starting a new program or they’re just trying to get in shape.

Brian: [00:24:13] Okay, great. So again, I would say both, as long as the client is, understands what they’re supposed to do on the machines or the body weight, both can be great, easy ways to get started.

Even if you’re an advanced lifter, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing either of those as well. And part of your programming to create variety in your, your training protocol and routines and to help the body respond in a better way. So I would, I would put both, I have a 12 week front of beginner coaching program and the month number one is really spent introducing them to what a body weight.

So they’ll do three workouts in a week. It’s basically six exercises. It’s a body weight style, a machine base, and a dumbbell. And my goal in that first month is to get them to go into the gym, feel comfortable, while w. What we’re doing, exposed them to a wide variety of exercise very quickly and give them a number of different reps and sets.

That can then get them to experience weight lifting and start to help them identify with what they actually like and how do they want to continue to progress.
So kind

Eddie: [00:25:24] of starting out wide and then just funneling down what they’re enjoying. That’s an awesome approach. So as we wind down, the last two questions are pretty standard here on Wellistic doses.

I always like to ask if you could share something that you’ve been learning about, whether it’s a book you’re reading or something you’ve watched recently, a YouTube video or a documentary, whatever. can you share that with us?

Brian: [00:25:50] Yeah, sure. I’ll share a couple of things. I’ll look that looked at the game changers, the vegan athlete lifestyle on Netflix. I checked that out. I was watching, some reverse dieting on YouTube. I then I had some motivational speeches. I love getting on there and you’ll get like Tony Robbins and Les Brown and all these guys doing Oh, going over and motivational speeches and things that can really kind of.

Boost the engine and get that, that body moving. And ultimately, like I’m always, always interested in the psychology and the mindset of human behavior because that ultimately, if I can understand that better and I can understand how to create change and my clients so that they can actually change and experience what it is that they want for them.

Eddie: [00:26:38] So yeah, the game changer. That was interesting. I actually watched a couple, that were, commenting on it alternative side, if you will, to some of the information that was presented or, so that was a pretty interesting.

Brian: [00:26:49] If any thing I took from it was, it was all kind of anecdotal, meaning top level, hey, I liked the blood serum. Like, Oh, here’s one with beef. And here’s one, or with animal products, and here’s one without, right? Is that, is that any different? Like is that okay? Like they didn’t necessarily explain it. They just showed a visual on, hey, this one looks cloudy, this one is clear.

Is that okay? They don’t necessarily explain stuff like that or actually how to create this and then in an active busy lifestyle that people are living right now. How do you transition into a vegan approach or even just more of a plant based approach period where you still can eat some meat products or animal product or should say, but still incorporate more plant based proteins or healthy vegetables and stuff? Because let’s be honest Eddie, most people don’t eat enough vegetables.

Eddie: [00:27:47] Most people, they don’t have a personal chef.

Brian: [00:27:50] Right.

Eddie: [00:27:51] You can eat vegan food and eat unhealthy as well. I mean, it’s just cause you’re eating vegan doesn’t mean

Brian: [00:27:58] Taco Bell. So you can find vegan options there.

Eddie: [00:28:04] The Impossible Taco?

Brian: [00:28:06] Maybe. And what, what are you getting? You’re getting sodium. You’re getting salt. Same thing. A sugar. I meant to say sodium sugar. A real high dose of carbohydrates, probably without a lot of fiber to back that up.

Eddie: [00:28:20] Definitely a lot of, it seems like a lot of the vegan options are, overly processed as well. And really phytonutrients seem to be a problem for folks. So my final question for you is, how do you deal with stress?

Brian: [00:28:36] Exercise, nature’s natural dopamine and serotonin. You know, that releases, right? So everybody that you’ve probably ever talked to or come across. Always feel better after they move. And exercise can again mean a variety of different things and just standing more of your day, like maybe you sit a lot for you personally.

Maybe just standing and doing a standup desk thing. I’m standing right now, I stand. Hours a day, kind of fidgeting, pacing, and moving, and when I’m talking to my clients and stuff, and that just creates more energy, I can think better and I can move and I’m free to be fluid in, in space. So movement, walking or just getting, you know, a strength training, or maybe I got a lot of energy today and I’m going to work out with a buddy and we’re going to give it a good go and do more of a really higher intensity CrossFit style circuit.

With some heavyweights or something. So yeah. So yeah, exercise, of course, most days of the week I do have some days off and it’s really just a lifestyle program. I’m going to be 37 here shortly. I have four kids. I’m self employed. And so all sorts of different things go into that type of lifestyle. So exercise also changes. All right. Day in, day out, depending on the schedule and what is happening in,

Eddie: [00:30:00] Did you say you have time off?

Brian: [00:30:03] It’s scheduling everything. I live and die by my schedule. Right? So even after we’re done with this, I have another two clients to call. I have another consult later today. And it goes on and on. We’ll have kids off here in a couple of hours and start to manage and wrangle them. So yeah, life is certainly busy.

Eddie: [00:30:25] Thank you again for taking the time out to be here with us this morning. It’s been an awesome podcast, really enjoyed speaking with you this morning. Definitely, found that there’s a lot of takeaways here. Just for myself, and I’m sure that a lot of the listeners will be able to, to take a lot away from this as well.
So is there anything you want to add on?

Brian: [00:30:45] Yeah, no, be, all of this is 2020 you know, what is the vision that the person listening to this wants for their life? And then, you know, what do you want. The end of the year would be like Christmas time getting into 2021 and what that the what state of your body? The energy, the being, the food you’re eating, the people you’re around, the work that you’re doing or relationships you’re in.

All those things matter and starting to focus on self care and understanding why that’s so important is, is the beginning like right now. But then when we get to the end, you can, you want to crystallize what that is and really see that vision for yourself and then you can just start to work backwards and start to fill in the blanks of like, okay, if I’m this much weight and I have this much energy and I have these other things in my life happening, what do I have to do now to start creating that change and start to realize those things and bring them into reality? For myself so that that’s, that’s probably how I’d end.

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