Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 168 - Alex Ellis

Well, I think as a small business owner, it’s me, myself and I in this room, you know, like I do so much of this on my own. 
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 168 - Alex Ellis

[00:00:00] Well, I think as a small business owner, it’s me, myself and I in this room, you know, like I do so much of this on my own. For the longest time, it was only me. I’ve been making YouTube videos since 2012 and just like trying to figure out how can I have time to work out and read books and sleep, but also have a job and not have to go to an office? Those are my requirements. I was joking, my friends, like I’m a terrible employee, so like I never wanted a traditional job.

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Jesse: [00:01:22] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host Jesse Funk. My guest today has her degree in exercise physiology. She’s the founder of AE Wellness, where she would describe herself as a coach, a writer, a yogi, and many other things involved in movement. We’ll get into what exactly that means in this episode. She’s the host of The Body Nerd Show. So if you like podcasts, which clearly you do because you’re listening to this, you’re going to want to check out her show as well. Welcome to the show, Alex Ellis.

Alex: [00:01:51] Hi. Thanks for having me.

Jesse: [00:01:53] Yeah. Thanks for joining me. This may be for you, the listener. This may be a slightly shorter episode because Alex and I have been jammin for probably too long pre-recording. So we may run up a little bit here sooner. But, you know, this is what happens when two people that I guess talk for a living and then also have small businesses get together, they get off topic easily. So.

Alex: [00:02:20] The story of life, though, right? You just like get into something and then you’re like, oops, there was my time. We’re still moving on, but this is all the time I got today.

Jesse: [00:02:27] So that’s all I got. This has been a great episode. Everybody check out Alex on Instagram and very, very short episode. No. So, so, so let’s start off. I’ll ask you for some advice. A little icebreaker. I’m terrible at social media, so I know your podcast is a little bit better than this one. We don’t do terribly. And obviously, if you’re listening to this, thanks for being here, but I know you’ve gotten your podcast off to a little bit faster start than I did. So. So what are the secrets? What are people looking for? Do I need to like be giving product away? What am I doing wrong with the show?

Alex: [00:03:10] You just sell your soul. No, I’m just kidding. What did I do? Well, I think, honestly, I just — With social media, too, like, I’m super involved in social media. I’m a millennial. I’m addicted to all forms of social media. So they’re literally I have like time slots on my phone. We’re like, “You’ve already been here for 45 minutes. You need to leave.” I’m like, “okay, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.” 

[00:03:35] But in being present on the platforms and being able to like hang out with my audience and ask them questions and they’re asking me questions, I’m able to find out what it is that they’re looking for, what questions they have, what things are coming up. And then that’s exactly what I like make for the podcast and things like I didn’t even realize were like top of mind for my audience. When I started posting on TikTok in the last year, so many people would come through and be like, okay, but what about for Hypermobility?

[00:04:09] And I’m hyper-mobile myself. I can hyper extend my knees, I can hyper send my elbows. I first thing out of bed, can touch my palms all the way to the floor, no problem. And yet it wasn’t until I started building strength that my body started feeling better.

[00:04:24] I knew that it was something that people had. I didn’t realize it was that common, and so I started talking more to that. So if you are hyper mobile, here’s what you do. And so it’s almost like we’ve created like a little community of other people who are also hyper mobile, which hypermobility — I did a whole episode on that as well — you’re like, I’m not hyper mobile, I’m super tight. Like everything is super tight. It always feels really tight.

[00:04:49] And then I do something called a mobility assessment. And so I watch people move in a video and there’s telltale signs, right? Like the elbow. If you’re watching the video, my elbow goes beyond straight, my knees do the same thing. And I’m like, okay, listen, so we’re going to work on strength and building strength. And I think again, just like talking to the people and figuring out what people want and then just serving it back to them on a platter has been the best, also most fulfilling way to feel like I’m actually helping people with the ramblings that I do on The Body Nerd Show.

Jesse: [00:05:21] Yeah, I think I think maybe the tough part about is this show. So if you’re a listener, maybe you should hop on the YouTube version because you can leave comments. I get comments on YouTube stuff and I can. It’s good to interact with people that way, but I think Instagram and TikTok, which is run by my assistant. Like I don’t know that we get as many direct interactions in those arenas.

[00:05:47] So then with the YouTube stuff, I always feel like like I’ll answer in the comments and then I’m like, I don’t need to make a video now. I guess I answered it already and then. 

Alex: [00:05:58] No. Make a video.

Jesse: [00:05:59] But maybe I should. Yeah. Maybe we should make video.

Alex: [00:06:01] Yeah.

Jesse: [00:06:02] So that’s. It’s interesting to think about it. So. So I guess for you, the listener, if you have a question, email me or send me a message or follow us on Instagram or TikTok or YouTube or whatever. Get in touch because I’m always looking for new —

Alex: [00:06:17] Carrier pigeon.

Jesse: [00:06:18] Yeah. Carrier — if you want to send a carrier pigeon, you can do that. Just write my name on it. Or maybe an owl if we want to go with Harry Potter because something magical to just find me randomly. But yeah, so that’s that’s good advice. So I guess maybe the question for you is like, because you’ve been doing this for a little while. I mean, was it the kind of pressure nature of social media that you were just like, this is the place to be? Or Did you make a conscious decision of like, this is how I’m going to kind of market my business?

Alex: [00:06:52] Yeah, well, I think as a small business owner, it’s me, myself and I in this room, right? You know, like I do so much of this on my own. And for the longest time it was only me. I’ve been making YouTube videos since 2012 and just like trying to figure out how can I have time to work out and read books and sleep, but also have a job and not have to go to an office.

[00:07:20] Those are my requirements. I always joke with my friends like I’m a terrible employee, so I never wanted a traditional job. And so just trying to I mean, like social media again was the thing and it was happening and it was a way for me to like, stay connected with people because I wasn’t necessarily teaching to rooms full of 80 people in a gym or something like that.

[00:07:48] The style — So when I taught yoga in a gym, like I don’t teach traditional flow yoga because people who would come to class would be like, “My neck hurts”, “my shoulder hurts”, “this hurts.” Like, “What should I be doing” And because my degree is in exercise biology, and I had worked as an athletic trainer in college as well, I was already seeing like movement faults, you know, like, “oh, well, your shoulders are up in your ears. No wonder you have neck pain. Your trapezius is super tight.”

[00:08:16] And so the style was like different. It was weird. Like, I’m a nerd. Always have been. And then I was also trying to bring anatomy into the classroom as well, which also was super weird. And so for me, going online gave me the opportunity and the platform to be able to connect with other people who similarly were like, but I want to know the why. Like, don’t just tell me what to do, but like, why does it hurt? Why does it feel tight? Why is this happening?

[00:08:44] So that you can then make a better-informed decision moving forward. So I feel like it was almost out of necessity because the environments that I was in were just not conducive, like the just your run of the mill, just like gym person who doesn’t really struggle with injuries, doesn’t they’re able to just like go about it and not be worried about it. Like, that’s not my person, right?

[00:09:08] My person is someone who is working out and has maybe they want to do a little bit more, but they’re being kind of held back by injuries or they’re like, “Well, this feels safe. I don’t want to push it because I don’t want to have to deal with an injury.” Or maybe they’ve given it up entirely because of pain. Like, those are the people I want to talk to in the internet and social media and the algorithms as like love and hate. The relationship I have with them are allows me to connect to those people directly.

[00:09:36] So I feel like it’s also sort of like the right place at the right time because when I was in college, Facebook was still you had to have a college email address. It wasn’t until like my junior year that like people from high school started getting on Facebook and I was like, “Oh, oh, whoa.” So just yeah, it was just something you did. And figuring out how to leverage it for business to create a brand.

[00:10:02] Also where when I get on the phone with people like they’ve watched my videos, they’ve listened to my podcast, like they feel like they know me and also are able to decide before, like, do they actually like me? Are we even going to work together so that we’re not trying to force something that’s never going to happen, you know?

Jesse: [00:10:22] Right. This is what I should have been taking notes because I was, like, intently listening. I had a thought and there would be a bad podcast host today. Oh, so you’re talking about people that think that they like they need to give things up or like stop doing something because of pain. I definitely had those thoughts this year, as you, the listener, probably know, especially if you watch the running show I do. I’ve talked about just I’ve dealt with Achilles tendonosis this year, which is really reduced my mileage.

[00:10:58] And it’s a very painful and irritating condition, which I’m hopefully at the end of year in the next 4 to 8 weeks. But, you know, I’ve had those thoughts where I go like, “well, am I just done running?” Like, is this — is doing this more beneficial than it is? Like harmful.

[00:11:22] And I know people that I feel like that’s almost a condition of I’ll say the elderly. I don’t necessarily mean the elderly, but just like older people, people older than us who are like, “oh, you know, I, I tweaked my back playing football in high school and so I never played again or whatever because I got that bad back” and it’s like. I always I don’t have the credentials to argue it, but I always felt like. That didn’t seem right like that, that people would just. I think you can get, I guess, a life changing injury. There are people that happen to.

Alex: [00:11:59] Yeah, absolutely.

Jesse: [00:11:59] But. It seems like so many people just stop being active because something happens and then they like never try to address it. They just go like, “Oh, I just got a bum knee now.” Like, that’s just, just what I, what it is like, nothing to be done. And so that’s always stood out to me is like almost farcical.

Alex: [00:12:22] Yeah. Well, also, I feel like we know more about how to maintain and fix our car than we do our bodies. And we are fed this story that, “well, it’s fine, you’ll just get a joint replacement”, “you’ll just get spinal surgery”, “you’ll just get a new hip”, you know, when it wears down and it’s inevitable and like, “no big deal.” I’m just like, it’s not the same. It’s not the same. Surgery has a ton of obviously complications.

[00:12:50] There are compensation movement patterns that come up. You have scar tissue. Like it’s not just like “Oh! Your surgery, I waved a magic wand and you’re totally fixed.”

Jesse: [00:12:59] Yeah.

Alex: [00:12:59] And then I think we also because we don’t understand how the body works, how we navigate through the medical system, it’s like something hurts. So I ignore it for months and months and months and months. And then it hurts so bad that I’m like, “Well, I probably should go to an orthopedic surgeon” and they’re surgeons. They cut. That’s what they do. That’s the only thing that they are trained to do. So that’s what they’re going to recommend when there are so many interventions that are focused on soft tissue that aren’t surgery that you could be using along the way.

[00:13:32] The other thing, too, about the human body is it’s so resilient and so dynamic, right? Almost every cell in your body is turning over and completely new with the exception of your brain cells. Unfortunately, we’re not growing very many more of those. But that also means if I make a conscious effort today to improve my posture and I keep on working on I keep on working on it, and I’m bringing awareness to it in a couple of years, that new posture is now the new normal and all of the discomfort and pain that I had, the tension on my shoulders from being slouched or in my back for my hips being that way it can change.

[00:14:15] It doesn’t happen as fast as we get older. There’s also like a lot of things where I could skip that today. I’m now 34. There’s no skipping. You know, that body maintenance, just like I maintain my car, just like I brush my teeth every day because I don’t want my teeth to fall out of my head. There are some things you can do for your body to maintain it that don’t have to take a ton of time.

[00:14:40] And by spending some time doing maintenance and then maybe right when something comes up, you’re like, Well, let me work a little bit more on that and put some more focused effort on that. That’s fine. Again, we’re talking like 20 minutes a day. It’s not a whole lot 20 minutes a day while you’re watching like House of Dragon. Like, it’s totally fine. You know, it doesn’t have to be like this big, complicated thing. And I think so many people are scared of sensations that come up in their body because we just don’t know.

[00:15:09] And so part of my mission to with The Body Nerd Show is like let me teach you. Like your elbow hurts. Well, here’s why. Here’s the anatomy of it. So at least even if you do nothing when you step into the office of a health care provider, you can have a better conversation about what’s going on, what you’ve tried, versus just like fix me. And then taking everything that they say, just like at face value.

Jesse: [00:15:36] That whole like, like you said, is 20 minutes. But I feel like that. The whole conversation around fitness, maintenance, the like, one of the main objections, I don’t have time. I mean, we were talking before we got recording about how I’m like, I’m trying to hire help basically. Like I’m so packed on time. I was running, cramming everything to get here to to be able to talk to you and trying to find more time in the day.

[00:16:09] And I feel like culturally that’s almost like just how we live at a time. Always out of time, no more, no more time when there’s no time. Which isn’t always true. I mean, it’s. Prioritization system. Right. So like. I prioritized and before I got going, before I got working today I have prioritized getting going out and like doing my five miles like I spent that time doing that because that’s important to me.

[00:16:40] I feel like that’s an important conversation to have, but also tough. And I’m sure you’ve had that with people. I want to ask you about that here your experience here in second. But just I guess my thought on that is that I feel like sometimes that’s a difficult conversation for people to have because then it puts the impetus back on them.

[00:16:59] It’s no longer an external problem of like, I’m just so busy all the things that are affecting me and I’m at a time. It’s now it’s like, “No, you really do have a choice. And if you put priority on it, like you can drop something.” Like if say you say you’re accurate, you literally have no more time in the day, like, and you’ve got to drop something. Well, what can you drop? Why? And then what’s the least important thing to you that can be dropped? And then just having that tough conversation of like. Is my long term mobility more important to me than whatever it is you’re watching House of the Dragon, you obviously said you can do to do both at the same time, but —

Alex: [00:17:50] To multitask, it’s possible.

Jesse: [00:17:51] You can multitask a little bit. Yeah. So having that conversation, I think is tough for people because you’re facing a lot of. I want to say, like inner turmoil, but roadblocks, you kind of put in your own way.

Alex: [00:18:10] Yeah. I mean, I actually was thinking about this this week to having time is a privilege. I just like acknowledge that first of all, I know you have a new baby, too. Like, I’m sure, like, that’s a whole thing. You know, I don’t have kids, so I don’t know —

Jesse: [00:18:25] I’m fortunate my wife is doing most of the heavy lifting, as is often the case. But, for now, anyway. So credits to her just to be fair.

Alex: [00:18:37] So there’s different seasons or maybe a time where you’re like, Look, I truly don’t have time. I was taking care of my dad with his health over the last year. And you know what? A lot of stuff went out the window because I was like, I just I don’t have time. And I understand also that this is temporary.

[00:18:53] But for me and I imagine for you as well, movement is non-negotiable for me, it is my mental health. Like, I literally don’t feel well physically, emotionally, if I don’t move my body in some capacity. What that movement looks like can vary. You know, some days all I have time for is like a walk around the block, and that’s okay because I got my movement in.

[00:19:22] So I think even just like reframing it in that way can be pretty helpful. But also, yeah, it is a prioritization. There are things that get left behind when you make movement a priority, but it doesn’t have to be hours and hours and hours a day. Like I said, it could be a walk around the block. It could be spending some time sitting on the floor and getting up and down off the floor while you’re playing with your kids.

[00:19:46] To me, that counts is movement. That counts is mobility work. Check your box. Give yourself the gold star for the day. So I think we can really easily fall into all or nothing thinking if I can’t do the 15 mile run and the three hour bike ride and all that, like, what’s the point? Why even bother when I’m not a professional athlete, I’m not trying to be a professional athlete.

[00:20:09] It’s okay. If all I get is a walk around the block today, that’s fine. And again, like, stuff is going to get left behind. So over the last week I wasn’t able to work out, but I had all this time to do stuff around the house that I’ve been putting off, and I was just like, “Oh, this is it.” It’s not that you don’t have time per se. And again, there may be some people who like literally don’t have time and you don’t have time right now.

[00:20:33] What am I actually making time for? I glued a foot shelf back together. I’ve been looking at it for weeks and I was like, Wow, I don’t have time to do that because it didn’t matter. Because there were other things that mattered more so. And this is such an interesting conversation, too, because if and I decided as well, like in my focus with my business, trying to convince people to get moving is a lot harder than talking to people who already have been moving and are impacted by an injury or something like that.

[00:21:07] They have the motivation to get back to it because they know what it feels like. They know that thrill. They know that like endorphin high that you get where you feel like “I can do anything.” I feel like Thor when I’m done working out, even if, like, all I did was pick up a sandbag. But I’m like, “Bring it on world!” Like, I can do anything. Like they know that. So they have that motivation to keep moving forward.

Jesse: [00:21:31] I think — so you said something about like, I’m not a pro and I’m not trying to be a pro and like thinking about that all or nothing mentality. I think I mean, I’ve spoken to a number of pros over the last four years of the show. I think any of the pros would tell you there is value in some movement versus no movement. I mean, I’ll tell you that about this year. Like, it’s been such a slog trying to rehab the Achilles thing.

[00:21:58] And as we were talking about before the show was recording, I’m doing like a little less than half the mileage I’d like to but there’s still value in me spending that time doing something versus spending six months just rehabbing and doing nothing besides eating snacks, like. Like there’s value. No matter what your competitive level is in trying to maintain some kind of mobility or fitness or aerobic fitness or whatever it is, even if you’re not at your peak. Whether that’s realistic for you to get there or not, I think there’s still something some value in that. That reminds me of I’ve said this before on the podcast and I picked it up from Reddit.

[00:22:50] I don’t know who the originating person is. I’m sorry, but it’s this phrase that I’ve really latched on to when I picked it up. There’s a whole thread about it and people liked it is that if there’s if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly because it’s a different way to frame it, right? Because most of the time we’re like, like you said, you’re like Thor going to go like you’re gung ho. You’re like, really got to go after it. And just the whole kind of mentality marketing is surrounding that idea.

[00:23:20] But then it’s like mobility and you know, body health and all those things are worth doing. So instead of going all or nothing that worth doing poorly. As you mentioned, maybe it’s just a walk around the block. Something is better than nothing. Just getting some kind of check mark and getting that mentality shift, I think sometimes is difficult too, because we do want to go all or nothing. I mean, you see it every year, New Years, right? Maybe we should hold this episode till new years and talk people of clip.

Alex: [00:23:56] No, start now then it’s like you can avoid the pressure of New Years nonsense. I also I want to share there’s a book called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, and he’s a researcher at Stanford, and they’re looking at the psychology of habit formation. And the people who created the social media apps that we’re all addicted to, like came out of his lab.

[00:24:17] And I think he sort of had like a crisis of like, “Oh, my gosh, like, what have I done to the world? And is putting good stuff out in the world too.” But Tiny Habits is all about exactly like what you’re saying. And not only like do it poorly, but I think the way I like to think of it is like setting the bar really low. So for me in my brain to mark off my movement task as completed, all I need to do is to get down to my garage, which is my workout space where all my equipment is.

[00:24:46] What I do in that garage is less important to me than the fact that I showed up. Which also means every time I show up, it’s a win. I get to celebrate. I get to give myself a pat on the back. And I know, like for, again, overachievers and perfectionists, you’re like, that sounds so stupid. But the psychology of that is now I’m getting the win, I’m getting the endorphins, I’m getting the celebration, and that’s wiring that habit to be ingrained into my brain so that it doesn’t cost me anything energetically to think about it or to convince myself.

[00:25:18] So if you like, make the block in your schedule. For me, it’s usually Tuesday and Thursday mornings at about 930 to 1030. There’s nothing on my calendar and I physically block it out so that I have time for movement. I always have a choice to do something else, but that block is always there for me to be able to again work on mobility if I have some pressing matter I need to work on, to go on a walk, to go to my workout, to get on my bike, whatever it is.

[00:25:47] But I have that block of time and then just show up. And if you can do that consistently, then complicating it and adding more training days or getting more complicated in your training or whatever. That’s the easy part. The hardest part is committing to the time block and then sticking to it without falling off the wagon. Even if you have to take a break for the holidays or injury or work or whatever, that you can get right back to where you left off because that habit is so well ingrained.

Jesse: [00:26:21] I think I wrote this down earlier. Now we’re talking about making habits. It’s — I’m trying to remember what the actual research is. So apologies for the language for you, the listener. But I think about it like each person has only so many f*cks to give each and every day. Right? And so, like, habits don’t require you to give one out. It’s not it’s not a thing. But, like, when you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and change direction, you just spent one. You only got so many — Now, now I’m thinking about, gosh, it’s going to kill me. I’m not going to think about it. There’s another guest who talks about this in terms of spoons and they have a story about this — Anyway —

Alex: [00:27:10] So chronic pain, right?

Jesse: [00:27:12] Yeah. Go back through the catalog and find which guest that was for you, the listener, I can’t remember now, but it’s just like. I think that that we say I don’t have time, but I think what we often mean is I don’t have the motivation, I don’t have the f*cks to give, I don’t have the energy to do this new thing. So that’s where like the habit forming becomes so important because it like for me, it was a non-negotiable, as you mentioned, like the movement is a non negotiable. Why? It’s a habit. 

[00:27:46] I have the benefit of I’ve been doing it since I was, I’ll say 12, but even younger than that and just continued right on doing it into adulthood. So I’ve got this 75% of my life habit built, whereas somebody who maybe has not been active or maybe like post college or post high school or whatever, hasn’t been active, then you’ve got to basically start over.

[00:28:13] It’s kind of like like if you’re an adult trying to learn a language, it seems like it’s it seems like it’s harder than for a child to learn language, right? Because like, like our kids pick it up so fast. It’s like a little bit like there’s brain structure there and those kind of things, but like. That’s kind of a myth. Like an adult can actually learn a language faster than a child. It depends on the child’s age. But like a young child, because we have a fully functioning brain.

[00:28:42] But you’ve got to be able to break it down and you have to have the humility to be starting over like a child. And I think that’s difficult because you’re like I’m just like I’m a fully formed person. Like, I don’t want to be I don’t want to learn something new. And that’s the same thing with starting over with fitness or trying to get into a new routine. You have to be humble enough to be like. I suck at this, and that’s okay.

Alex: [00:29:14] Yeah. And we show up with a lot of baggage to, right? Like, this is my bad back. This is my bad knee. I can’t do that movement. I can’t do this movement. And I’ve talked about this on The Body Nerd show as well. So the the research, like if they go and they pick like 75 people and they MRI, everybody’s lower backs, there are people who have structural issues like bulging discs and things like that who don’t have pain.

[00:29:40] And there are people who have pain, who don’t have structural issues. And this is the same across lots of joints in the body. The back is like an easy one to look at. All of that is to say you can have a structural issue and not have pain, which is also why you can have surgery to repair that structural issue and still have pain. So just because your MRI says something about the joint, “Oh, there’s a degeneration” or arthritis or tendinitis or whatever, that doesn’t mean that you are destined to have pain forever. So I think that that’s also another important piece to understand.

[00:30:18] Again, it’s not to say that it’s going to be easy. Maybe the work that you do now, like I’m working with a client who was is an athlete still even after having multiple surgeries, super invasive stuff, he has that athlete mentality. But what we’re working on is can you breathe and can you then engage your core in neutral? Can you involve your pelvic floor so your whole torso is involved? And we’re going to do all of that before we even talk about why your hip flexors are chronically tight, because that’s that foundational piece of it, you know.

[00:30:54] So again, what movement actually looks like doesn’t have to be a full Ironman every Saturday to like count. It may be something super small, but you’re building up those foundational blocks just like a kid learning a language so that you can put it all together and have a fully formed conversation. Except in this case, it’s, “Oh, I can go back to the thing I used to do without my back hurting, and I also have tools to address it should something come up.”

Jesse: [00:31:25] I think another maybe symptom or issue with the situation and you and I fall into this trap, but in a different realm, I think is we’re so like DIY focused like that. We’re just like, I’ll figure it out. Like you and I do that stuff with small business, sometimes it’s a necessity. Like you’ve got more time than you got money. So you do sell, you know, like that’s just how it is sometimes. But I make the argument for like even I still have a coach who assigns me things and like we communicate 20 years in, like I’m perfectly capable of coaching myself, but it’s a time thing and then having that outside feedback is helpful which —

Alex: [00:32:11] And the brain energy too.

Jesse: [00:32:13] Right. The brain energy of the tournament. How many f*cks do you have to give a day like that was a big something I didn’t have to deal with. So like. I always try to make the advocacy for people like you and coaches and trainers and because you go like. People say, “Oh, I want to get started” and go, “Well, I can’t afford…” such and such. And you go, okay. I mean, maybe that’s a literally you can’t afford it right now, but like, can you figure out how to save up for it?

[00:32:45] And then also think about it may not necessarily be — like me I’ve been working with this coach for years. I don’t see any end in sight. That’s my priority. But for many people, I think it’s like maybe they come to you and your client for six months or something. Like, It’s not how we’re going to work with Alex every month for the rest of my life. But you can get —

Alex: [00:33:08] No, I don’t want to work like that.

Jesse: [00:33:08] Right. Like it would be great recurring revenue for you, but I don’t think you would be doing your job well if that was the case.

Alex: [00:33:14] Yes, exactly.

Jesse: [00:33:15] So it’s like. There’s this almost block of money where you’re like. All right. I’m spending this money now, so I don’t have to spend it later. That’s another way. I’ve heard people talk about it like you’re going to spend it one way or another. Either you work on feeling good now or it’s going to become something chronic and cause something else that you’re going to have to deal with later.

[00:33:40] Like, you have the choice and it is a choice. But like, that’s why I’m trying to make the advocacy for people like you is that. Get the help. Get the knowledge to be able to do stuff that you don’t necessarily know how to do.

[00:33:54] It makes life so much easier when somebody can look at you and go, “Oh yeah, this is a little wonky.” You’re like, “You watching the videos?” And I’m like, “No, you’re actually hyper mobile.” And these are the things that pertain to you, because if you’re not an expert in that, then you’re trying to learn in this case, like physicality, how to move, all those kind of things. You’re probably going to miss whatever it is you should be doing.

Alex: [00:34:20] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I tell people all the time like, look, I don’t want you to need me. I want to teach you everything you need to know so that you can help yourself. Because to me, when a client’s like I mean, I just I don’t I feel like I have it all. I’m like, awesome. Like, my work here is done. Absolutely. And that to me, too, is like the greatest. The greatest gift is just to, like, send you off on your way into the sunset. I had another point, too, that I was going to add, and then the train totally left the station of what it was, so it’ll come back to me.

Jesse: [00:34:53] That’s okay. I mean, that happens to me. That’s why I try to make notes because I just get all over the place.

Alex: [00:35:02] We both — it’s the Mercury and the Jupiters, and they’re all in retrograde and we can’t remember anything.

Jesse: [00:35:09] Astrology is affecting our brains today. Maybe it’s — oh there you go.

Alex: [00:35:13] I remember it came back. It came back. I also like I know there are some people who like gatekeeping information on the internet and you need to pay for this and pay for that. I don’t keep anything. Everything I have said and I will say to a client is available in my podcast on social media. Like I’m not keeping anything behind a paywall. The benefit of working with a coach is you can get there faster and get customized information.

Jesse: [00:35:47] Well, it’s typically more cogent as well, like you put all of the information out, but then it’s the same thing. DIY versus done for you like you can DIY, but that means you need to spend time both digesting the information and then trying to figure out how to apply it to you and then using those applications and figuring out what the feedback means and then taking that and figuring out what the new adjustments are and where are those? Just the whole thing versus just going like. Just hire the coach. Move forward with your life.

[00:36:26] Obviously, everybody has to make their own financial decisions, but it’s tough. I don’t know. Like I said, I think about it. It’s like it’s going to be a “one time expenditure”, whether it’s six months or not. Like that’s a six month block out of your 80,90 year life. And in the grand scheme, it’s not that much for the price of knowledge and being pain free in the case of many of your clients.

Alex: [00:36:59] Yeah, well, also, I think to have like physical therapy, how you finish physical therapy and they’re like, “Great. Well, so here’s these 40 exercises” and like, “you should probably keep doing your homework.” And oftentimes they don’t even say that. But then you’re like stuck with all these exercises that take like an hour a day and it’s like, okay, but what about this is actually helping, right?

[00:37:20] So the way I see it is if I can teach you the underlying why and I can teach you the fundamentals of good movement, of how to squat, how to hip hinge, how to do an overhead reach, how to maintain good positioning throughout all of those movements. Then, you know, in your body how to keep yourself in better positions for whatever activity it is that you’re doing, whether it’s like moving a couch or taking an orange theory class or whatever it is.

[00:37:49] Because I think we also have this false idea, at least in the group fitness space, that, “Oh, it’s better if I go take a class because the instructors watching me” and as a group exercise instructor, I can tell you there’s no way they’re watching you. They’re definitely not watching you. There’s too many bodies in the room to be able to watch you. And also, you don’t know if they have that even capacity to be able to spot when something isn’t going well.

[00:38:16] So it’s that personal responsibility to learn how to, again, keep your body safe through moving well so that you don’t have to worry about it. And then you can troubleshoot, right? Like. Woodworking. I just got a new couch I want to build, like, a little console shelf to go behind the couch is not shoved up against the wall. Now, I could just, like, go to Home Depot and, like, buy some wood and, like, figure it out. Or I could go on Etsy and buy the plans from some random person for $7. Or I could go to like IKEA and just buy one that’s completely done.

[00:38:50] All of them end up with the same result, but it’s like, how did you get there? And if you are the type of person who’s like, “Well, I want to know how to do it so I can keep doing it moving forward and I don’t have to rely on somebody else again.” That’s where working with a coach so you can learn how to do it and then keep moving forward helps.

[00:39:07] And unlike the training, like I don’t write training programs for people, we do a mobility plan. Like I said, I teach them how to help themselves so that they can high five, off the go and they know what to do to keep their body feeling optimal for everything that they do moving forward.

Jesse: [00:39:27] I — before we wrap up — I thought or I guess I want to confirm your thoughts about the group teaching thing. It’s been a number of years now. I used to teach martial arts a lifetime ago, and it is unlike, say, a spin class or aerobics class, very technique focused.

[00:39:48] So like the technique is the thing. But like I was like as a teenager at the time, mid to late teens. You are watching but like if I’m teaching a class of 20, 30 kids. We’re same thing with kids, adults. It doesn’t matter. You can only your eyes can only focus on so many people at a time. So if we’re doing punches, like I can only focus on somebody all the time. And you do get personal attention in that atmosphere where technique is important.

[00:40:22] But like it’s not the same thing as like using karate again. Like when I went to do my black belt, they changed how they did things to where they had what was referred to as black belt finishing class, where instead of going to a class like that where you’ve got 30 instructor or 30 kids, one instructor, it was you have one instructor for every two students.

[00:40:50] So it became way more laser focused to really dial everything in and really finished, finish things up. And that’s kind of how I see the difference between like, “hey, let’s go to a group class” and like they’ll see whatever versus like, let’s get a coach, I mean it should seem obvious, right? That like, of course, they can’t see me all the time in this swath of people.

[00:41:16] But I think the hard part is that like we live inside of our own brains. So like, I’m focused on me, like, why is it Alex focused on me? Like, I know that I’m doing things right now. Why doesn’t she know that I’m doing things right now? Because there’s just too many people. So that one on one attention is is invaluable.

Alex: [00:41:37] Yeah. And also there’s value to like I can tell you to always drop your ribs so that your spine is in a better position. I can tell you a million times, but if you learn it by relying on me to cue it, you haven’t really learned it.

Jesse: [00:41:52] Right.

Alex: [00:41:52] So outside of that one hour that we’re working together, let’s say you’re grabbing something off the top shelf. If I’m not there to tell you to drop your rib, you’re not dropping your ribs. So, again, having somebody to learn it for themselves, to be able to sense where their body is in space. And honestly, that’s like one of my favorite parts of virtual training is that you can’t rely on me because I’m not there all day, every day that you have to learn it for yourself.

[00:42:20] But that is the skill so that no matter what you’re doing, if you’re moving fast, if it’s the middle of the night to pick up your kid, you know, to some degree, like, “Oh, I can put myself in a better position because I know what it feels like and I can sense if I’m like not quite there yet.” So like there’s also like different layers to how we learn and having somebody tell you it all the time. It’s just, it’s not what I think the fitness world wants us to think that it is.

Jesse: [00:42:50] Alex, as we’re going to wrap up on time here so I don’t run out for my next meeting. So sorry for you, the listener, as we run up a little bit shorter than we do. Typically, I have questions I’m asking everybody for the season. I ask a singular question each season to all my guests. This season’s question I’ll ask you is how do you celebrate your wins?

Alex: [00:43:15] Whew. Well, so that’s a really hard question because I have a hard time thinking that it’s good enough, but I think.

Jesse: [00:43:23] Well, I’m asking the question.

Alex: [00:43:23] I know this is a good question. I actually I use a planner called the Passion Planner. I have it right here on my desk. I’ve used it for like ten years now. And I write down like the wins that happen every single week from the small things to the big things. And that gives me like the bigger picture because I think sometimes we get like so tied in to like the narrow focus of like day by day.

[00:43:52] And so it’s really fun to flip back through and be like, “Oh yeah, I forgot that that awesome thing happened.” And then I get like a little like excitement from that again. And another way I like to celebrate stuff is I have a small bottle of champagne that has been in the back of my fridge awaiting the day that I pay off on my credit card debt, which will happen next month. So I don’t know how the champagne is going to taste. It may be a little gross because it’s been in there for a few years, but it’s going to taste so dang sweet because I worked very hard to get there. So a little bit of both.

Jesse: [00:44:26] Well, it’s solid and I’m glad you worked out an answer. It’s kind of a stumbling block for most people. Everybody has an answer. But just like that’s why we’re asking it, because I don’t think I definitely don’t. But I don’t think many of us spend enough time trying to be present with like, you know, like I did do the thing and I at least need to take a moment and go like. Like, “Let’s enjoy this instead of just being straight onto the next thing”, which I think is especially for people like me, like just the tendency, like, “Oh, checked it off, move it on. Don’t think about it anymore.” 

[00:45:03] So I really like that question this year. Alex, if people want to get in touch with you, see what you’re up to find on TikTok or any of that kind of stuff. Where can they do that? How can they do that?

Alex: [00:45:13] Yeah, best place would be on my website, And then I’m on TikTok @aewellness and the podcast, The Body Nerd Show and then Instagram. I’m hollaformala, which has nothing to do with anything, so just go to my website. You can find it there.

Jesse: [00:45:33] Awesome. Alex, thanks for hanging out with me.

Alex: [00:45:35] Yeah, thanks so much for having me. This has been a super, super awesome conversation.

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