This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Brett Klika. In his own words:
“Brett Klika is a personal trainer, international speaker, educator, author, and motivator on topics in sports performance, fitness, and behavior change. In his 14 year career, Brett has had the opportunity to coach at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego in addition to working with thousands of youth, collegiate, and high-profile professional athletes. He is the Director of Athletic Programs at the internationally renowned Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego. These programs see over 500 youth, collegiate and professional athletes every year, in addition to thousands of personal training clients.
Brett presents internationally in the fitness industry and has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal for his work with youth, adults, and athletes. He is a contributing author for the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s personal training and sports performance academic textbooks in addition to creating over 15 educational DVD’s on topics in fitness and wellness. His first book, The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World was released in 2011. Brett has been a sports performance consultant for Under Armour and is a contributing expert to the Gatorade online forum, The Gatorade Inside Edge. He also consults remotely with clients and trainers around the world through his website, www.brettklika.com. The International Dance and Exercise Association (IDEA) named Brett a top 3 finalist for the 2011 international Personal Trainer of the Year award.
Brett obtained a B.S. in Exercise Science from Oregon State University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Aside from working with athletes, Brett has an active client list of over 100 executives, moms, dads, and every day people that he coaches weekly on how to achieve a balance of health, wellness, and performance in their lives. He is known for his creative, energetic, and often humorous approach to presenting complex information in a way that is easily understood and applied. Brett is committed to helping others achieve full engagement through education and facilitating action.”
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
[Start of Audio 06:39]
Jonathan: Hey, everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus, Smarter Science of Slim Podcast. Truly a treat today, we are joined with the – just this is breaking news, folks. You heard it here first. – the 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year. He is the Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, and he is just a world renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, educator. He’s all over the internet.
He’s got over twenty thousand hours of coaching and training. One of the reasons, I think you are really going to like – what do you say? – is he’s really focused, and I just can’t wait to dig into this with him on what he calls the high-performance households, so looking at this holistically not only from an individual but from a familial perspective. 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, Brett Klika, welcome to the show, sir.
Brett: Thanks a lot, Jonathan. That was quite the introduction.
Jonathan: Well, Brett I wanted to have you on the show because so often, and I hope I don’t offend anyone here, but sometimes… my mother used to always say this to me, that she sometimes thought that the pursuit of health and fitness is selfish. Like you’re spending time preparing food versus doing something else. You are spending time exercising versus spending time with your kids, but what you really show is how this is a family thing, this is a really selfless thing, can you tell us about that high-performance household concept?
Brett: Well, just the sort of answer to that, and I think that’s a resistance I think that same concept no matter where I am at the world, I speak for different organizations and fitness industry and no matter where I go in the world, the common resistance is that “Well, I don’t have time to exercise. I have a family to raise.” Or they think it’s some vanity pursuit to go exercise, like exercise is some sort of luxurious novelty that is reserved only for the vain. Many, many years ago, you didn’t have to think about getting exercise. Your family, in order to live, it was a physical interaction; and everyone in the family had a physical demand of them just to stay alive and those chores or those daily tasks are divided up.
It was just this integrated model of physical fitness. Thank God that technology has come through and we don’t have to… I wouldn’t be a fan, I don’t think, of walking a quarter mile to get my water in the morning. That’s the way it was used to be. Now, we have to realize that’s not part of your life, but in order to function, in order to be healthy, we all, whether it’s kids or adults, we all need to be active. The activities of daily living now do not require us to be that active. We get to work by a car. We get up in the morning. People farm our food for us. They create everything. We walk to our refrigerator. We turn on the microwave. We don’t have to gather wood. We are not burning stove. We’re essentially just sort of there, and stuff happens for us.
Physical activity has become a necessity that we have to add to our day because it’s not just part of our natural day. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom or dad or a child. Now, I sort of came up with a high performance household concept is that obviously, when I was going to school in the nineties and going to college in the later part of the nineties, it was all about well in this adult fitness. It was starting to look like an epidemic. We were really starting to see the early seeds of the health and wellness epidemic that were seen with our adults now and the strain on the health care system.
Do you really talk about kids and their concerns all that much, it wasn’t as big of a concern as it is today. It is pretty much is focusing on adults so for years it was adults, adults, adults. What they need to do, what they need to do to get fit, and then there is then a sort of an emergence of this youth obesity issue and there’s concerns about inactivity and lack of health but it’s then addressed almost separately and that’s something I was air to when I started to address both issues. Now, I really realize as I’m talking to parents concerned about their kids, the parents are telling, “Oh, yeah, well my kid eats terribly. My kid doesn’t exercise. My kid doesn’t do this. My kid doesn’t do this.” I’m looking at the parents and I’m seeing that the parents are extremely overweight. The parents’ activity patterns are probably not what they should be.
Then, I am thinking “Well, if your kid eats poorly, where is an eight year old getting bad food and how’s an eight-year-old getting fast food? How’s an eight year old getting soda? They don’t have a job. They don’t have a car. They’re not…” and so it’s being facilitated. So I started out “If we are going to address this issue and make an impact on the health of our nation, it’s got to be the household. It’s got to start at home. It can’t be farmed out. It’s the schools’ fault, it’s the government’s fault, it’s fast food companies’ fault, it’s anybody’s fault. It has to start in our household, because thank God we live in a country with a lot of choices. That’s part of what makes us want that freedom, but we need to start making better choices as a family versus to hoping that someone else makes our choices for us; and that’s really where that concept came from.
Jonathan: Brett, what can we do though because it seems like sometimes the family is such a time-sensitive and stressed environment often times, that this just short… it’s like a firefighting dynamic so you are always trying to put out fires and a lot of when it comes to physical fitness, when it comes to smarter eating, these are preventative things, these are what Stephen Covey would call quadrant two activities. They’re not urgent, but they are extremely important so how do we bring urgency and drive this actually happening?
Brett: Well, it depends on the ‘why.’ At the end of the day, any action is driven by the ‘why.’ Me as a family member, me as a parent, as an influencer in my house, if I realize that my family is not healthy, if I realize I’m not healthy, my kids aren’t healthy, there’s some pretty powerful why’s in the statistics. The future by the year 2030, we are looking at 50-60 percent of our adults being obese, not overweight! Obese! Fifty percent of adults being obese and with obesity carries extremely heightened risk factors for disease. Well, if you’re an adult and you are looking at your children, do you want to be there for your grandchildren? Do you want your kids or grandkids to take a day off of school to come to your funeral?
Now, that was some pretty serious questions but that’s something that we need to think about and it’s also what type of life do you really feel… as we are leading our kids down this path. You as a parent and an influencer feeling that you are leading down the right path when there’s no form of nutrition, and there’s no form of health being the centerpiece of the house. In the time strapped current society, it is getting out to “exercise.” If I said, “Hey everyone needs to exercise for an hour and half a day”. That’s crazy. Or commuting or cooking or taking kids for a snack; but we do need to consider as a family addressing physical fitness, it might not be a workout, it might be a walk that you take as a family after dinner.
It could be just looking for those opportunities to engage physically; going for a bike ride, playing out, and tossing the Frisbee. Part of that is really thinking about what are you priorities in your house? As a parent, and as a sort of influence in the home, if you decide that health and wellness is a priority, which that is a major priority. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. If you have money, if you have wealth, if you have material, if you have all of that, if you don’t have your health, literally, you have nothing. You do not have your lives, but deciding as a family what you stand for in regards to that in everything we do in life is a hierarchy. In the adult world, everything is a hierarchy of putting things in priority. It’s a hierarchy of priorities, but we won’t do what we prioritize.
If we decide that we are going to prioritize health that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we only eat organic food, and we only shop at the one farm 50 miles away in a valley that has this food. It doesn’t mean all that. It means that we are going to make as many decisions we can on a daily basis to facilitate health to the family. It’s a matter of what’s your language towards health and wellness? What are you going to purvey? If I’m raising a child, and my child looks to me and my attitude towards exercise or even going for a walk, or anything physical is, “Oh, well I’m overweight, so I have to exercise. This is my punishment for living the life I have wanted to live. My punishment is exercise or physical activity.”
Then, I also see these on the nutrition side with the skinny children and the overweight parents giving child a candy and eating fast food and sees mom and dad have to change the diet, and mom and dad say, “Oh, yeah. Well, I have to eat this. You can eat that yummy food because you are skinny. I have to eat this because I am fat.”
I’ve heard that in my life. I have seen it. A child is now starting to see, oh, my goodness with that language and that attitude, a child is also going to see, “Oh, well, exercise is punishment for being bad. Essentially, exercise is punishment, and eating healthy is also punishment. Mom and dad have to get all these fruits and vegetables. I get to eat fast food and chips and all that, because I am skinny. I hope I don’t have to be punished by having to eat that healthy food.” And that’s the attitude.
Something is simple in our time-strapped day, and our money straps aside, and all of these limitations we have something as simple as really looking at the language and the attitudes that you employ towards exercise and movement, in addition to nutrition can significantly impact the entire household. What would you say manifest our attitude and our behavior, but even almost more importantly our children and those people in our family that we have a lot of influence over.
Jonathan: That focus on language, Brett, is so powerful, and not one that I hadn’t thought of before. When we present to our children, and even just people around us this concept and this vocabulary and this attitude that health is a punishment, that health is negative, that is poison. It is literally poison, and when we think about it, it’s wrong. Health is not something to be avoided. In fact, health is miraculous, and it seems that if health seems like a burden, maybe we are going about trying to be healthy incorrectly.
Brett: I think that’s a great point right there. It’s what the medias are forced into our idea of health has become these ripped fatless eight-pack models that walk around, and they are on the cover magazines. I have heard this a lot, “Well, I just can’t afford to be out there. I can’t afford to go to the gym, so I can’t be healthy.” Well, we didn’t have gyms for ten thousand years, and man looked pretty good. I was in Europe last summer. I have seen the statues. I don’t know that the modern physique would have inspired so many of Michelangelo’s work back in the day. People in the day, they would actually get out and just interact with the world. That’s all you need to do is be physical throughout the course of the day, and I’m not saying that you need to go to a gym every day. Something as simple as going for a walk, parking further away from the grocery store, finding opportunities to not be sitting and zoning out on the television or sitting and being idle.
Most adults will spend all day at work being idle, and then come home to be idle to rest from being idle, and kids see that. Kids see that pattern. If they see mom and dad relax by coming home and having alcohol or pills or whatever it is, how do you think the kids are going to learn to react and going to relax when they are older? They see mom and dad come home and go for a walk or go outside, “Hey, let’s go throw the Frisbee. Let’s go to the park. Let’s go check out a sunset. We’ll walk down the street.” That’s what they are going to form, and right now all too often, we have kind of laugh at our society, but it’s getting past that point of laughing when that’s what kids think. Relaxation is a bottle of wine. The only way to relax is medicine, and that’s the alternative we are offering. That’s what we are modeling them in the household, and that’s problematic. We are seeing that become more and more problematic.
Jonathan: The phrase “We’re past the point of laughing about this” is one that’s profound and I don’t want to get too down, but you earlier made a point about the ‘why’ being our lives are all a function of priority and ‘why’ is what drives that priority. Recently, I was doing a bit of research, and I read Dr. David Ludwig who’s the Director of the New Balance Foundation of Obesity Prevention at the Boston Children’s Hospital, who reported so the direct quote “Obesity is such that this generation of children could be the first, basically in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents.”
Now, Brett I can’t imagine a more compelling ‘why’ in the world. It seems that if there’s one thing a parent wants for their child and nothing else is simply to live a healthier and happier life than they did. And for the first time in history that if we keep doing what we’re doing, is not going to happen.
Brett: Well, I am familiar with that quote and that line of research, and just think about what he’s saying is expect this generation many parents will outlive their children. That’s beyond disturbing. When we go form priorities in the household, it’s important that that is the centerpiece of the ‘why’ because that will motivate behavior. Losing ten pounds to look good in a swimsuit or a lot of those probably won’t be drivers enough, those won’t be big enough ‘whys’ to impact an entire family’s behavior. They may, but for the most part it’s not, and I think that’s a great point, and it’s an eye opener and we need to really open our eyes and listen and let that drive our behavior.
Jonathan: Brett, one other way to look at this, which again I don’t want turn this into like a tearjerker podcast, because I had some young members of my family who struggled with their weight. One of things that broke my heart more than anything is, this is going to sound a little bit silly, but certainly no parent would like facilitate or even allow, for lack of better terms, their child to smoke because we know how bad smoking is for the child physically, but smoking really doesn’t have an emotional toll on you. It’s not like it scars you emotionally, the smoke, but it does certainly scar you physically and it’s bad and we shouldn’t do it.
However, ask any overweight child what’s it likes to be overweight? Ask a three hundred pound fourteen year old girl what her daily experience is like at school? Ask a chubby six-year-old boy what he is going through? Not only are they being damaged physically, but you only have one childhood. Do you want to be the fat kid? I’m not using that in a derogatory sense, I’m using that as like – that’s these children lose their childhood. It’s heartbreaking.
Brett: Well, what’s even more heartbreaking when you look at the data on self-efficacy and some of the other… when essentially a child… because I was an overweight child, and it wasn’t because… I mean, that was more of a function of… there’s just some genetic factors, and then I hit my growth and I couldn’t have been in a more… the diet poor household is really what I grew up in as far as health from the way we ate. It was in my genes to be a little chubbier when I was a kid, and then I hit my growth and then it went from there. One of the tolls is that feeling of not being in control. When a youngster comes from an environment where they don’t understand, well, there’s something you can do about this.
At the end, you can exercise. There’s ways you can eat. Luckily I grew up in that environment, but they found is that self-efficacy is when a child essentially at a young age is almost take their hands off the steering wheel and from a family where their mom and dad are overweight, they’ve seen this cycle to their whole family. They figure “This is where I am at. I have no control over this. I don’t like way it feels. I don’t like really anything about my situation.” That’s unfortunate. The social ramifications, I mean, it’s a truth, and it’s unfortunate that in our society there is judgment based on that. But, it is a reality. What concerns me even more is what it does even individually to the thought process of overweight children. They don’t like be that way. It’s uncomfortable, and it makes them feel like a lack of control, and anytime we feel loss for control in our life, there’s a negative correlation with our happiness.
At the end of the tunnel here, though, and the good news is that it’s like I talked about the attitudes at home and things as simple as having children eat meals with the parents most days of the week so that they can eat at least one meal a day with the parents, most meals of the week particularly with dinner. Their likelihood of eating pure food, eating more vegetables, eating not as many processed foods, not eating fast food, the probability of having better habits is significantly increased; and there’s research on that and the exact percentage of each I have to refer to exact data.
The likelihood of depression, drug use or early drug use, early alcohol use, suicide to early pregnancy, all of these other things that negatively can impact our life, the odds of those are significantly decreased just by interacting as a family for one meal a day on an average of at least one meal a day seven to, I think it was at least seven to eleven meals a week, given to significantly impact that. This is simple stuff. It’s not a matter of buying a family pass to a gym. It’s a matter of changing the attitudes and behaviors in the house and prioritizing and saying, “What is this family going to stand for? We’re going to stand for health.” Anything else you stand for, you stand for integrity? You stand for honesty? If you stand for community… whatever you stand for in the house, your behavior is going to back it up and health is something that is worth standing for in your house.
Jonathan: Certainly. Certainly, something that is worth standing for, Brett. I am curious what are your thoughts on, certainly especially with the Michelle Obama, for example, with the Let’s Move campaign. There’s definitely been a push, and even by Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s and many of these edible product manufacturers to promote more movement among children. However, they do so on the back of a sugary cereal box, or they present their chocolate milk as fuel so that you can go play. What are your thoughts on this approach?
Brett: Well, quite frankly, it’s a nightmare. I respect the… well, I don’t know that I can say I truly respect the notion because they know that the data on the amount of sugar consumed, and the affect of our diet on our health is there. It’s bold. It’s not movement impact, but what our kids eat, how that can physiologically manipulate how they gain their health is that the data is there and no one with any form of education, these companies know what they are doing. But, again, we are in a capitalist society. It’s a matter of supply and demand. When you look at sugar cereals, we can blame sugar cereals all day, but as a family, if we can educate our self as a family and look at that and say “Okay, they are going to make sugar cereals.” which are unhealthy, they can paint whatever picture they want to on there. You need to be more active. You need to do this. You need to do that, but, I still, as a family, can make my decision whether or not I am going to give that to my child every day; because if my child tried sugar cereal, it is not going to kill them. When I was a child, I got to choose a sugar cereal when we went camping just because I want to tell the kid I had seen it. I wanted to choose it.
The lesser time mom made breakfast. Breakfast was available at home because my parents made that decision we’re not going to have them in our house. because you can’t look at something that is full of sugar and ingredients list, that’s 30 ingredients long with one food item, and that’s wheat usually, one food item, how could we think that that is something that’s going to benefit our children? The companies know it. It’s a PR campaign, and we just need to understand that’s what it is; and we need make better decisions. Because if we make decisions that sugar cereals is not what our kids are going to eat in our home, well then these companies that make the sugar cereals will manipulate and they will change how they do business because they want to stay in business.
Jonathan: A great example of that, Brett, you hit the nail on the head there, where it is just supply and demand, is gluten free. Now, I am not here to make any statements about pro or con gluten, but there has been a sharp rise in the demand for gluten -free products and there’s been a sharp increase in the supply of gluten-free products, right?
Brett: Absolutely. Well, think of the economics of it. While I was watching TV just last night, and I saw Yoplait did their commercial; and they no longer use high fructose corn syrup and because everyone said, “We don’t want high-fructose corn syrup and here nor there, whether that’s the way to go or it’s not the way to go, well the demand spoke and so some of the folks in Yoplait made that unfortunate phone call to the corn syrup suppliers, “Today, you know how we buy one hundred thousand gallons of that from you a year? Yeah, well today we’re buying zero.”
That’s significant. That’s a big decision, but they made it because they needed to stay in business. We are in charge as the consumer, so people say “Well, marketing drives consumer behavior.” Well, an educated consumer drives all market behavior. If we take more accountability for our households, that’s where we are going to actually make an impact here, instead of sitting back and saying, “Oh, it’s a sugar cereal’s fault.” Well, then how does sugar cereal get in your house?
Jonathan: Certainly. At the end of the day, if we need to ask ourselves, “Is it up to edible product manufacturers, or is it up to me? It’s pretty clear which of those is more empowering. Bottom line, people can make whatever they want about which is actually true, but I think it’s pretty clear on which is more empowering because if we have to wait on the world to change, well we might be waiting a long a time.
Brett: Exactly. Be the change. Be the change you want to see.
Jonathan: I love it, Brett. Well, this is phenomenal stuff, Brett. What is next for you because you’re out there, you are the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, you’re helping families transform their lives and their health, what do you have planned next?
Brett: Well, the next step obviously describe a lot of a speaking engagements pretty much all over the world planned, but my big thing is starting my family, starting in about seven weeks, I have my first child on the way so that’s going to be a big impact for me. Then, moving forward from that, I’ll be starting a new website based on the high performance household, based on all the factors that the websites are going to be full of research. It’s going to be full of different opportunities for learning, from anywhere from the parent to the physical educator.
I currently am working with physical education programs using some of the government pep grant money to change PE curriculum so that’s more relevant and valued for the needs of today’s view. I actually just got back on Friday from Wisconsin, and it’s starting to get some government attention because of the drastic shift and sort of how we’ve manipulated curriculum to be more eye opening, more of value to parents so it’s less PE is less likely to go on the chopping block; and so that’s going to be something on the next year I am going to be putting a lot of time and a lot of my passion into, but the website is going to launch most likely in late November.
As I’m putting together the database, there will be videos and research. If you are involved with children, if you are an adult, it really is not just going to be for this is what children need to do, it’s anywhere from mom and dad, how we can improve everyone in the family and how that dynamic interacts to create that high performance household. I am really excited. This next year is going to be a big year, and I’m excited.
Jonathan: Well, certainly much to be excited about, Brett. Hopefully, maybe you could have like a podcast about the little Klika and how now you are being forced to practice what you preach here.
Brett: Exactly. Believe me that’s in the plan whether not my wife approves me about that.
Jonathan: That there will be a new web of reality show, Keeping It Real With the Klikas or something like that.
Brett: There you go. I like that. I like that.
Jonathan: Brett, thank you so much. Before the new website comes out, folks you can learn much more about Brett at his current website which is BrettKlika.com. Let me spell that for you really quick, it’s B as in boy, R-E-T-T-K-L-I-K-A, BrettKlika.com. Brett, is your new website going to be at the same URL or at a different one?
Brett: Well, it will be a different URL, but as with anything like my books, the underground workout manual is accessible. I should have a free trial for that up in my website right now if you will just enter their contact info, get it sent to them. Information for that will be on my website so keep people updated as to when it is going to launch, and then it will be at a different URL because it’s going to be a very unique… there’s nothing else out there like it right now, so it’s going to be a unique resource for pretty much anyone with a family that’s working to make those reprioritizations for health.
Jonathan: The message of setting priorities and certainly a noble and empowering message. Brett, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Brett: Thank you.
Jonathan: Listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much I did. Again, that’s Brett Klika, B-R-E-T-T-K-L-I-K-A.com. Please remember this week and every week after, eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Talk to you soon.
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