Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC is a clinician, Naturopathic Practitioner, clinical researcher, author, and adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport. His work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and he speaks at conferences around the globe.
Pillars of Well-Being: Diet, Exercise, Mindset & Sleep.
Eating healthy, sleeping well, having the right attitude, and exercising seem like obvious health habits. But what isn’t so obvious are ways people can sometimes ignore their intuition and signals from their bodies, in order to follow a protocol to the letter. Weight training may be a big win, especially for women, to build confidence and strength. And it’s also important to know why you’re making a change. Nutrition therapy consultant and author Steph Gaudreau shares insights on how to strengthen four key pillars of your holistic health picture, while listening to your own body’s feedback.
Dr. R’s Fast Facts Summary
Book: The Core 4, Embrace your body own your power.
Pillars: Nutrition, Move with intention, Recharge, Mindset
Overview of the Book
Nutrient density, intuitive eating
Eating what your body needs vs a specific forced diet
Take time chewing
Enjoy your meals with intention
Not eating in a rushed, stressed, state
Moving with intention
Try introducing strength training to your routine
Learn to do less when your body is telling you it needs rest
Sleep is vital, how can you incorporate more rest or sleep into your routine
Connecting to the why of what you’re doing
Eliminate the stress of eating and working out perfectly by listening more closely to what your body is telling you
Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Dr. Ruscio Radio. This is Dr. Ruscio. Today, I’m here with Steph Gaudreau, and we’re talking about her new book—which integrates mindset, sleep, diet, exercise—from someone who’s definitely doing it. If you’ve seen a picture of Steph, she’s super fit. And I always appreciate, of course, when people are practicing what they preach. I’m really excited to have this conversation today. So Steph, welcome to the show and thanks for being here.
Steph Gaudreau: Thanks for having me. It’s good to talk with you again.
DrMR: Definitely. I’ve been on your podcast before and I think we have a similar mindset in terms of not getting stuck in the weeds, making sure that you’re hitting all the fundamental pillars, I guess you could say. And if you hit those fundamental pillars, how much you can get out of hitting those the right way. I know that’s one of the main essences of your book, which I definitely want to expand upon.
For anyone that hasn’t heard your name before, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
SG: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a decent chance that some of your listeners may know me by my former website and brand, which was Stupid Easy Paleo. And I ran that website for about seven years until I rebranded last year. So I’ve been in and around this community for quite some time, but in 2018 rebranded and started just using my name. Because people would see me in the grocery store and say, “Are you Stupid Easy Paleo?” I’d say, “No, I’m Steph Gaudreau, but thank you for recognizing me!”
I actually started my professional career as a high school science teacher. I taught chemistry and biology for 12 years, mostly in the state of California. And about 10 years into that span of time, I decided it was time for me to make a career change.
I thought, “What am I going to do?” In 2011, I had started running a blog called Stupid Easy Paleo. I found the paleo way of eating in late 2009. And I remember, on January 10, 2010, I decided to start this way of eating. This was a huge departure from where I had come from, which was sort of fat-obsessed. I couldn’t eat any fat. Low-calorie, always on a diet, always counting calories.
My story in a lot of ways is not unique. I was really obsessed with trying to lose weight, trying to be the lowest weight I could be on a scale. Using exercise as a way to make up for what I was eating, if I ate something that was “bad.” That occupied a big chunk of my life.
So back to 2010 when I started eating very differently… for the first time, I was really embracing this idea that I could eat fat and it was okay. I wasn’t micromanaging my calories and I wasn’t weighing myself and all these things. Gradually, I experienced such a transformation in myself. That sort of popped into my mind, like, “Could I do this as my job?”
I have a degree in Biology-Human Physiology and am obviously just a huge nerd. Really love science, really love learning about the body and the way the body works. So I decided that I would go all in and walk away from my 12-year career and start my own business, taking Stupid Easy Paleo from a blog into a full-fledged thing. It was my thing. And that was six years ago. So here we are. Over that time, I made a podcast, I wrote some books, and became a nutrition therapy consultant last year.
I’ve really shifted my own approach and how I work with people, into a really bio-individual approach. That goes for everything, food and exercise and just how we approach life because we’re not just these single-dimensional beings. We, yes, have a physical body, but we also have to manage our emotions, our mental health, our spiritual health.
There’s so much that goes into being a well person, being able to do the things that you want to do in life and live into this bigger reason of why you’re here. I think the saddest part for me is seeing women who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond and they still don’t think they’re good enough. They still think they need to be on a diet. It breaks my heart. And I know that I could have been one of those women if I didn’t somehow get out of that way of thinking, get out of that idea that food had to be restrictive and exercise only had to be punishment, and look at life quite differently. That’s, in a roundabout way, how I got to being here today.
4 Core Pillars of Health: an Overview
DrMR: That gives, I think, a nice hint at the holistic nature of what you describe as the pillars in your book. Can you give us an overview of those pillars? Then we can drill down into some of the details.
SG: Yeah. And I think it’s important to set the stage of where they came from. Again, it was kind of my own experience and some of the things that I changed. I started really nourishing my body with nutrient-dense food (with the food that my body was asking for), and not looking at things purely from a weight-loss perspective. I started introducing more strength training to my routine and really learned how to lift barbells. I got the mental benefit that comes along with that stuff as well. I started sleeping more, which frankly was huge because I was chronically undersleeping.
DrMR: One sidestep. I’m curious about the mental benefits. Do you feel stronger? More empowered? Was it more of, like, a high that you got? Tell us more about that.
SG: Well, I’ll say I have been in sports my entire life, from the age of about seven or eight. So this is a long time I’ve been involved in athletics. I’ve always had some kind of physical pursuit that I was doing. I don’t compete right now because I’m really trying to put my focus into work and I don’t have enough energy to compete at the same time.
But when I found strength training, also in 2010, I was coming off of eight years of endurance sports, primarily mountain biking. I ended at the endurance distance level, which was anywhere from riding for six to 24 hours at a time.
SG: Triathlons as well. So that was, again, adding distance because it wasn’t just biking. Now, we were running and swimming as well. For a lot of people, just movement, in general, has a really great effect on reducing anxiety, helping them to work through emotions. But I found for me that switching to strength training and at least de-emphasizing the chronic cardio that I was doing helped me feel more capable in my body.
There were certain things I couldn’t do. I was really good at sitting on a bike for a long time, many hours at a time. But the first time I tried to do a box jump, I couldn’t jump on, like, a 14-inch box. That just really struck me, like, “Do I want to be really specialized in one area? Do I want to try to get strong and capable in a lot of different areas?”
I think the biggest benefits were two things. A, I wasn’t focused on being a specific weight for my sport. Cycling doesn’t have weight classes like Olympic lifting or powerlifting or some other sports do, martial arts, etc. But there is a premium placed on power-to-weight ratio, which means the lighter you are and the faster you can get up the hill, if you work on your power output. The translation is, be as light as you can. Look at Tour de France riders. They’re kind of the extreme example of that. So I, for the first time in a really long time, was doing a sport that didn’t really require me to be as light as I possibly could be. So I didn’t have to focus on what my body looked like. I could focus on what I was capable of doing.
The other thing is—I don’t know if the listeners out there have any experience with this—when you start to learn a skill, especially like lifting weights, that is historically something that’s more of a male-dominated area, women have been taught, especially from young ages, like, “You can’t be strong. Women don’t do pull-ups.” We look at that kind of stuff as abnormal. A lot of women have internalized the narrative, as did I, that I wasn’t strong enough to do certain things. When I first learned how to do a pull-up, I just thought, “Oh my gosh, what else can I do?”
When I can lift something that was heavy and I didn’t think I could do before: “Wow, what else can I do? I can move my body around in space and I can do these things, and I have that physical capacity that I didn’t have before.” There’s something very primal about lifting as well. And all those things taken together were incredibly powerful for me.
DrMR: Great. Thank you for saying that. I figured there was some juice there, so I wanted to make sure we got some of that out.
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SG: And then, eat nourishing foods. Move with intention, for which strength training is something I encourage a lot of people to try. I don’t think it’s the only way to move your body, but I think it’s really important to at least give it a shot. We know it has so many benefits in so many different ways.
Recharge your energy. Sleep is a piece of that. And also, how we deal with our energy and our workflow throughout the day (because we’re hopefully asleep for about eight hours, but we’re awake for twice that long). How do we manage ourselves throughout the day so that we’re not completely exhausted, and we are able to feel like we’re productive?
The last part is to empower your mind. When I think about my own journey through all these things—the mindset is so important—for me, I was in such a negative place with my mindset. I had so many self-limiting beliefs. (And I still have self-limiting beliefs. I don’t want people to think like, “I’m cured. I don’t ever have to worry about that again.”) Now I have the tools to deal with it when it comes up. But for me, nourishing my body, feeling more capable, resting properly, gave me the access to start really working on some of the mindset stuff that had been part of my way of seeing the world for my whole life.
DrMR: It’s because you were just always doing something and always occupying your mind, so there was never that empty space, so to speak, so that you could step back, reflect, introspect?
SG: I think part of it was that. I also just think I felt kind of lousy in my body and I didn’t feel like I had any energy. I was always foggy-headed. I had a lot of digestive pain. I had endometriosis, which I didn’t know until I was 33, and had always suspected that there was something wrong with me in terms of that department. I was always told that I was fine, nothing was wrong with me. I think part of it was not listening to my body and tuning that out because so many people told me I was normal and I was fine and what I was experiencing couldn’t be real.
The other part of that was just feeling really rubbish. When it’s all you can do to get through the day, and you feel like you’re in survival mode, it’s hard to have the energy and the space to go, “You know what? I think I’m going to pay attention to how I talk to myself today.” You’re just worried about getting through the day…
SG: And being in that space of not feeling great, when you don’t feel good for a long time… Yes, I probably have some level of autoimmunity because of my endo, but I didn’t have a disease where you would know somebody’s health status and say, “You have cancer.” And I don’t mean to minimize either situation. I just mean to say, if someone looked at me, they’d go, “You’re fine. You look like a normal person. There couldn’t be anything wrong with you.”
By all accounts, I could still function. I wasn’t completely bedridden. I wasn’t sick to the level of really being ill. At the same time, didn’t feel good. But when that’s your normal for so long, how do you know how you can possibly feel? That becomes the normal. So it was really building energy. It was feeling better that allowed me to access and have space for and energy for dealing with some of that other stuff.
Common Mistakes of the Diet-Aware
DrMR: Let’s start off with the nutritional piece. I’m sure there’s one aspect of this, which is not obsessing over diet, so I’d really be curious to hear your thoughts there.
But also if there are any big misses that you’re seeing people make. People who are beginners are probably making misses, which I think our audience is probably more accustomed to understanding. Sure, if you haven’t tried going gluten-free or dairy-free, getting off the processed foods and off of the hyper-palatable foods. Most people have probably heard that.
I’d be more curious about any dietary interests that you have on what is a common mistake that people who are already mindful of their diet are making? If there’s anything that you’re seeing there in terms of, “Oh, gosh, these people are eating healthy, but a lot of people are doing X wrong and that’s an area that’s rife with need for improvement”?
SG: Yes. I would say the first one is beating ourselves up for not eating perfectly. Like in the book, we’re talking about a nourishing perspective, what that means, how we define that nutrient density, and looking at micronutrition and traditional foods and things of that nature. But very often I see it’s not really the “what” that people are eating that’s tripping them up if they are relatively aware. It’s the mindset that they bring to it. It’s stressing out when we go out to eat, and we’re like, “I don’t know what oil this was cooked in.”
If we go out to eat once every week or two, it’s probably not making that much of an impact. But the stress of that: “Am I eating perfectly? What was this cooked in? I ate off my plan. What’s this going to do to me?” Even if we’re on a healing protocol, “Is this going to set me back?” I think that stress is a killer.
And from what I’ve seen and the people that I’ve worked within my community, it’s the unwillingness to be flexible. That could be because of fear of reverting back and feeling worse, but it could just be the fear of, “What’s going to happen to me if I let myself have this one bite? I’m going to go into an uncontrollable spiral and end up eating this entire cake, and then I’m going to want to eat another cake after it, and then I’m going to end up gaining 20 pounds.” What’s underneath all of that, of course, is fear. And we have to ask what the fear is. But I see that that’s a huge stumbling block, the unwillingness to be pretty flexible, especially once you’ve started tuning into your body.
That’s the second piece of it. Yes, there are, again, healing protocols. I talk about AIP, there’s GAPS, there’s keto, there are all sorts of things that people can do for therapeutic reasons. But even staying on a healing protocol, I feel like, long-term—just because it’s what you’re supposed to do, or these are the foods you’re not supposed to eat, or these are the foods you are supposed to eat—without thinking about how it’s impacting you (how you are feeling, looking at your health in various different aspects, your mood, your energy, your sex drive, the quality of your skin, your hair, your digestion) and all these things we know are important besides just the scale weight… I see too much inflexibility.
People are just like, “I just don’t eat these foods.” They’re like, “I know that this food is probably not going to affect me, but I just don’t eat it anyway.” I always say, “We don’t get a prize for having the most optionally restrictive diet.”
I’m sure there are people that are on restrictive protocols who just would give their right leg to be able to eat certain foods again. Just staying on an exact, strict plan or a broad plan that doesn’t take into consideration your likes, your dislikes, your culture, anything that’s potentially an irritant for you, an allergen, just doing something blanket, without after some period of time customizing it to what you really need, I think is also a huge mistake.
A perfect example I always give is my husband. He started eating paleo way before I did before we even met. He has had eczema pretty much his whole life. When he went paleo, his eczema started to get way worse. And his eczema mainly presents around his eyes and his hands and stuff like that. It turned out he is histamine-intolerant. But he was eating all the foods you’re supposed to eat when you’re paleo, and a lot of them are high-histamine foods or histamine-liberating foods. We had to work on his gut health and a few other targeted things, and he’s a lot better now, but just saying, “Hey, this is the best way to eat so we’re just going to do this forever,” even if the evidence is telling us otherwise, I feel is another hangup.
The book does have a framework. You can’t write a book where there’s a nutrition pillar and not talk about nutrition in some way and give recommendations. Unless we’re talking about an intuitive eating book, which I’m a huge fan of if you can get to that point after you’ve done some experimentation and tried some things out. I think eventually transitioning to something like intuitive eating is really helpful for people. If you need, especially, just a way to get started in feeling better in your body, doing something that’s a bit more of a defined plan is a great starting point. So I really focus on nutrient density.
The other two things that I talk about in the book are the “why” of what you’re eating and the “how”. This is a huge part that people are missing. They’re eating in a really sympathetic-dominant state. So many people are. We’re just in this state of being sympathetic dominant, but the more we can tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, calm down a little bit to our food… this is stuff is so basic and so simple, but very powerful.
Thinking about the “how” of how we eat, I feel like, is another place where folks are missing some information. Again, the really simple things, like just chewing really well before we just gobble our meal down in two minutes, and the amazing effects that can have on things like satiety and reducing bloating and feeling crummy in your gut. It’s so powerful.
DrMR: All great points. The nutrient density, of course, very, very important. How to eat and the intuitive eating or—like you were saying—just not feeling this need to rigidly follow a plan, because that shuts off your intuition. That’s exactly what did not happen to me, thankfully, when I was going through healing my own gut. I didn’t know about the autoimmune paleo diet, but I ended up kind of eating an autoimmune paleo diet (low-histamine), just through observing and listening to my body.
I’m actually thankful that back when I was going through my gut-healing—which now is close to about 15 years ago—there wasn’t all this easy-to-access knowledge that could have coerced me into, “Well, I’ve got to follow this diet and I can’t deviate in any other way.” Since there wasn’t a ton of information out there, there was some information on your general paleo template, but these nuances weren’t really well-defined. And that was probably a gift in the sense that it didn’t just pigeonhole me into thinking, “Well, this is the one diet I should eat, and because collagen and all these high-histamine foods are so healthy for me and because they ‘can heal my gut,’ I’m going to keep choking them down even though I’m negatively reacting to them.”
I think that’s a great point, which is: have dietary guidelines that we look at but don’t be overly rigid at the expense of listening to our own bodies. That’s very well said.
SG: Yeah, I think having some kind of true north that you come back to… I eat the way I eat now, which is mostly a modified paleo approach. I eat things like quinoa now. I eat rice. I sometimes make my own sourdough bread. Shocking, right? I try to not mentally beat myself up. If I want to eat chocolate right now, I will. I can. I just don’t happen to want it most of the time, and I think that’s another intuitive eating benefit. It makes food not taboo, right?
SG: Sometimes we follow a certain diet where we can’t eat that thing, allergies aside. We don’t want to have allergic reactions to something, but if it’s just a preference, “I can’t eat this thing” makes it so much more desirable. And I know for me now, the foods that generally make my body feel really good are the foods I want to eat. Sometimes, yeah, I eat junk. And whatever, we move on. I don’t drink. I haven’t drunk for over three years. It makes me feel really lousy in so many ways, and I’ve just decided it’s not really worth it for me. I could at any time drink, but I just choose not to.
I also know for me, any kind of peppers just mess me up, man. I don’t eat peppers. It’s not this huge battle for me. I just think about, “What are the foods that make me feel good? What is my body asking for?” Some days, I want a big plate of rice, and other days I eat lower carb. I don’t overthink it.
I think that, now, eating has become so complicated. And if we can deprioritize and mostly avoid the hyper-palatable, hyper-processed foods, I think generally that makes people feel better. The rest of the rules have gotten so complex and complicated. People now are like, “Is it time for me to eat now? How many grams of this should I be eating? How many grams of that?” I just think, “What a waste of time.”
For most people and most cases, yes, awareness is important. And I think recalibrating our idea of what a portion looks like is important, especially in our world today where stuff is so exaggerated. I think a lot of people go through that active process of learning, having more awareness, really paying attention to their body, and perhaps doing an elimination (that’s a short elimination with reintroduction). I feel those are all very important tools, but I think if people are still living in that frame of mind, 10, 20, 40 years later, we haven’t actually really helped them.
DrMR: Agreed. I think we’ve danced on the nutritional floor a good amount here, and people have a general sense of some of what the book will help them to navigate and learn regarding nutrition.
Move with Intention
I’m curious about the “move with intention.” Your book’s got a lot of great photos of you showing people: “Here’s how you do this particular movement,” which I thought was great. There are actually photos of you. I think it’s a testament to your fitness because you can actually do the things that you’re telling people to do. What are some things regarding movement or moving with intention that you think is important for people to be aware of?
SG: Yeah, thanks. And when we did those photos last year, I decided I was not going to use a tiny little dumbbell and decided to use like a 20- or 25-pound dumbbell. By the end of the day, boy, did I regret that because it was so heavy. I wanted to present the idea to women, especially, that we can lift heavy things. And I think heavy is all relative, absolutely. Where we start is not where we’re going to be a year or two later. I’m not talking down to that. But I think you know if I were to go out there with this miniature dumbbell, people would be like, “What? That doesn’t make any sense.”
I did do all the exercises. I think, again, there’s a mindset piece here. There is the idea of, “Okay, let’s strengthen our body.” The thing is, I know that not everybody who picks up strength training will have it stick. There are various reasons for that. Maybe access, time. I think if we can adapt it to our lives, we’re going to have a much better shot. Can we do this at home? I always do workouts on my porch. I have, like, four kettlebells at home. That’s all the equipment I have. So can I just lower the bar to entry? In the book, there are two different strength training plans, one for doing at home if you have dumbbells. One for the traditional gym setting. I think if we can just try it (just try it!), there are so many benefits.
Like I said, physical benefits, mental benefits. Women—and men, too—really need to think about this stuff in terms of resistance training. Hopefully building and maintaining our bone density. Just looking at our muscle mass and how that affects our metabolism over time. How does that affect our longevity? If we fall, can we get up? This is literally the stuff I’m thinking about now. Into the future, I’m like, “Am I building a base of strength that’s going to take me far and at least give me some buffer, some insurance, that I’m not going to be in my 60s perhaps and struggling to move my body around in the world?”
I think it’s important to break down some of the barriers to entry for people, especially women, with thinking about strength training. “It’s too hard for me. It’s too dangerous. It’s going to make me look like a man.” All these things that are common objections and getting them to really just give it a shot. I think once people try it and they feel supported and safe and they’re able to progress to their own strength, that’s what builds confidence. We’re not anti-cardio. But I’d like to see people rethink their cardio if they have a really stressful life and just be intentional in thinking, “Okay, if I have a super-duper stressful life, do I need to go out and do like two hours of cardio? Or could I do a six-minute HIIT workout?”
DrMR: I think that’s well said. And I think it’s also easier for a lot of people just to hop on a recumbent bike or walk on a treadmill. It takes a little bit more thought to learn how to do these resistance movements, but you get so much bang for your buck there. Obviously, hip strength, spinal strength, bone density, coordination, stability. And you’re giving a pretty great breakdown on how to do these basic movements. It’s not like you’re throwing people right out there without a guideline. There are these simple images.
And even if someone doesn’t have any dumbbells at home, it’s not that hard to go on Amazon and just buy dumbbells. I think sometimes we think we have to go to some store and buy dumbbells and lug them around. It would be harder to build a complete home gym, yeah. But to buy a few dumbbell sets, someone could do that on Amazon right now in like 15 minutes.
SG: They have great adjustable sets where it’s two handles and you add more weight to the same handle or take it off. There are so many options. Even garage sales are great places to pick up used weights. You could have two sets of dumbbells, one that’s kind of light to medium for you, and one that’s a little bit more challenging. We can handle so much more weight with the lower body.
The most dangerous thing in the gym, by the way, is your ego. Thinking about, “Am I just pushing too hard for the sake of pushing too hard?” A lot of the movements in the book—and there is just some bodyweight stuff in there too—can be scaled down infinitely. That’s the wonderful thing about functional fitness is that you can scale it down. You can make it fit your level. You can adapt it to whatever.
I know people are like, “I have a bum wrist. I can’t do a push-up.” Okay, can we hold onto a handle of a dumbbell and get into a modified push-up position? There are so many ways to make it adaptable. Then also thinking about, are we just moving? Are we walking? Are we just getting up and moving around throughout the day, so we feel less stiff and achy and terrible? Are we doing some basic body maintenance?
I think the other piece, again, that goes with moving with intention is saying, “Wow, I barely got any sleep last night. It’s probably better for me to rest today instead of pushing through a workout where I feel like I’m going to get hurt or injure myself.” Or, somebody who used to be able to do, like, the super high-intensity stuff now realizes that maybe their HPA axis has some stuff going on, or they just had a baby.
Can we have intention and match what we’re doing to the context of our life? Again, who wants to live in the gym? I don’t know, I don’t want to. I want to be able to go out and enjoy my time as well. So picking things that are really suited to us right now and our health status and looking for stuff that’s going to give us, I always say, “What’s the minimum effective dose that I can do for strength training and get the most benefit?”
I’m not looking to do more. I want to do less but still get good results.
DrMR: Yeah, so the same concept that we’re applying to diet, not being neurotic about diet. Same thing with exercise. And that involves just learning to listen to your body and not being—as you said earlier—fearful around exercise and potentially some negative repercussions of not always going hard, hard, hard in the gym. But rather learning to listen to your body and sometimes doing less when your body is giving you signals that maybe you should be scaling back a bit.
SG: Yes, absolutely. When people are like, “I just need to move, I’m going to go crazy,” I’m like, “If your stress levels are really high, right now is doing something that’s really super stressful on your body going to be the answer?” Sometimes we get the cortisol from that and it’s like, “Okay, I feel better temporarily,” and then sometimes we end up feeling worse later on. Listening to how your body feels—even just the next day or two days later—if it’s taking you a whole week to recover from what, for you, would be a relatively average workout, that’s a huge red flag that something is going on.
Gosh, I wish we had more time. Let’s do one more point that you want to leave people with, and then please tell people again the name of your book, and where they can connect with you online and buy your book.
Mindset, Motivation, & Rest
SG: I’ll just mention thinking about the mindset piece. There are so many things that could go into that, but the thing I encourage people to do is think about what’s important to you right now. A lot of people come to me and say, “I don’t have enough motivation,” or “How do I feel confident?” Lack of motivation can sometimes be traced to not having a clear sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and really getting connected to the visceral why. Why are you doing this thing? Why is this thing really important to you? I’m not saying that’s going to be a magic cure for those times you may not feel like going to do a workout, but if you can stay connected to why this thing really matters to you, it will have a huge payoff.
On the other part of the motivation piece and the confidence piece, I think it’s sometimes that we wait for these things to just strike us like lightning. Like, “I’m waiting around to feel confident, I’m waiting around to feel motivated,” when sometimes it’s actually the result of taking the action. If you’re like, “I don’t feel motivated to work out,” maybe you just put on your shoes and go walk down the block. I’m sure you’ll be like, “I’m going to keep going. Okay, I feel good.” Sometimes it’s breaking that friction by just doing the thing, instead of waiting around to feel the feeling, that I think is really powerful for mindset.
DrMR: That’s a great point. I just want to piggyback on that really quick. Now that I’m working with a coach who’s giving me a plan, and I’m accountable in terms of, I have these workouts set for the week that I have to hit. It’s more potentially mentally defeating when you don’t hit one of those. Compared to, if I’m just writing my own programming, I can justify, “Well, whatever. I’m going to write this day out of my program this week because I’m not feeling that energetic and I’m looking to justify that to myself.” When you’re writing your own program, you can just drive the vehicle wherever you want. But when having to be accountable to a premade program, if there’s a day when I’m not feeling fully engaged—just like you said—I’ve noticed just going, by the time I get to the gym and I get warmed up, I’m feeling quite a bit better.
Well, you also need to balance with listening to your body. But I have found that sometimes I’ll just do a workout at a lighter weight just to get out of the house, to get some blood flowing. And I know, “Okay, my body is pushing back today, so I’m not going to go ham. I’m not going to go full-on, but I’m going to go through some movements. I’m going to give myself this time. I’m going to get out of the workflow here and change things up.” Sometimes, just like you said, it’s incredibly rewarding, in terms of how I feel after confronting the fact that I don’t want to do anything and had the discipline to do something. Even though it wasn’t perfect, doing something felt a whole lot better than doing nothing.
SG: I had a perfect example happen Saturday. I was doing something for work in the morning. I missed a regular jiu-jitsu start time and decided, “I’m not going to go.” Here’s the distinction I make. If the feeling of not wanting to do it is more in my body, I try to listen to that. That’s a powerful signal to me. If I’m like, “The weight feels heavy,” or “My joints are aching,” or all those things, I try to listen to those things. If it’s more my brain is just being a petulant teenager and rebelling, I can work with that. And so I ended up just taking my kettlebell and going out onto the front porch and doing a workout for 10 minutes.
Was it an hour? Jiu-jitsu is a two-hour class. Was it two hours? No. Was it 10 minutes? Yes. Better and good and done to me is better than perfect and the best and not done. So that’s the delineation.
DrMR: Great distinction. That’s great.
Tell us the name of the book again, where they can get it, and then where you want to point people on the internet.
DrMR: Awesome. Well, Steph, I really appreciate you taking the time. And guys, check out the book. It’s really a cool book. I’ve looked through it, and like I said, amongst other things, I really love the images. It’s you, it’s breaking down the movements. I think for people who are trying to get that aspect rolling, that in and of itself will be helpful in addition to, obviously, all of the other pearls that we went through today. Steph, I really love what you’re doing. Keep it up and thanks again for speaking with us.
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