Interview By Ellie Frey Zagel, Successful Generations
As I mentioned before, I was a rower all through high school and college. I loved the sport and being on the water—it was a great experience. A decade (and some change) later though, I found myself feeling the effects of the very intensive sport, especially as my physical activity decreased. The pain in my back and hips was excruciating at times.
The pain eventually brought me to Body By Choice Training where I met Nick Klein, Owner and Fitness Director. Thanks to Nick, strength training has become an important part of my health and wellness journey. He has so much great information to share, so I recently interviewed him for this blog post.
ELLIE: Nick, tell us about yourself and how you got into training.
NICK: As a kid, I was super competitive. If my team lost a game, it wouldn’t just ruin my day, but my entire week. I was so determined to achieve excellence that I would go to any length to succeed.
I kept this mindset throughout high school. By the time I graduated, I had earned opportunities to play college ball through several scholarships. Everything that I had worked for was within my grasp, but burn out began to set in. I walked away from sports. After about a year, I felt empty—my passion for competing was missing.
My father was a successful boxer, and I had always wanted to try it. I put on the gloves and immediately loved it. The discipline it required was right up my alley. I went on this new pursuit of excellence and began to feel complete again. I excelled very quickly in the sport, winning golden glove state titles and a national championship. Along the way, I met Charles Poliquin, one of the best strength coaches in the world. He’s coached over 800 Olympic athletes, and his methodology is backed by science.
Poliquin had created a personal training certification at the same time I was studying exercise physiology at my university. I knew I wanted to be in the health field, but a clinical occupation didn’t interest me. I wanted a job that didn’t feel like work, and I wanted it to align with my passion. I have always loved being in the gym, so I took Poliquin’s Level 1 and 2 personal training certifications, which ended up throwing my world into a completely new direction.
Following graduation, I landed an internship at a big box gym in my hometown. I started applying what I had learned. I wanted to get as much experience as I could.
My dream was to open my own fitness facility, where I could provide quality education and training. The choices I’ve made gave me the tools, training, and technology to make this dream a reality. Body by Choice Training was established in 2013 with the purpose of teaching others how to cultivate the gift of life.
At Body by Choice Training, we specialize in outcome-driven, effective methods of training, exercise, nutrition, and supplementation. My team and I travel with clients on their journey, offering a coach’s encouragement, a mentor’s guidance, a critic’s feedback, a supporter’s admiration and a friend’s commitment. We are in this together!
ELLIE: Who are your clients? Describe them for us.
NICK: My team and I tend to serve a lot of doctors and time-sensitive corporate professionals. Our niche is helping clients that have encountered some limitations. Most of our clients are between the ages of 45-70 years old. Many have joint disease, joint replacements, back fusions, etc. Most of our clients are looking for a place to go after physical therapy.
We do have some younger professionals in the gym and a handful of high school kids, as well.
We recognize that everyone is biochemically different. Successful health and wellness programs require tailored information using a tailored approach. What we do here at Body by Choice Training is individualized to match people’s biochemistry at the highest level.
ELLIE: What issues are you most seeing in your clients who hold leadership positions?
NICK: Time, mindset and proper goal setting.
I teach my clients to act as if they already are a healthy person. They then make decisions from this place. So, instead of trying a diet, you focus your attention on becoming a person who doesn’t need to diet. When you master this, the actions to maintain a healthy body weight become easy and automatic.
My first step is always to get the client to set goals based on their values, not mine. After a comprehensive evaluation, I have a pretty good idea of what the individual values most. It could be family, career, health, social life, etc. We can then set goals based on what’s most important to them.
Finally, the biggest obstacle is time. Time is simply an objection of value. What this means is that if you don’t value (or believe in) the outcome, you won’t put the time and effort into planning for your goals. So, those who complain about time simply place more value on what’s easy and convenient than they do on their goals.
ELLIE: Everyone tells me that strength training is a critical component of being at your best—is this really true, and if so, why?
NICK: Yes, I am a firm believer of this. Weight training is the best form of exercise because it favors our hormones better than any other form of exercise. Take jogging and aerobic exercise, for example, this type of exercise increases cortisol, which is our stress hormone. Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it breaks down our body. Google search an image of a marathon runner and then look up a sprinter. Notice the vast differences in body type? The marathon runner lacks muscle mass and doesn’t appear to be healthy, but the sprinter is very muscular. This is not an accident; it’s related to how they train.
Weight training builds us up and supports healthy joint and bone integrity. It keeps us anabolic, which is the process of building of muscle.
There was a study done at the University of Houston that looked at the top 10 factors of how long you will live. Most people would think cardiovascular health and cholesterol would be the top predictors. But as it turned out, muscle mass and strength was the number one predictor. And it makes perfect sense. Think about it when our bodies start to break down, strength and muscle mass are the first to be affected.
Finally, I like strength training because it creates sustainable results. Muscle mass drives metabolic rate. If you achieve a reduction in weight through aerobics, low-calorie dieting, intermittent fasting, etc., these results typically last a few weeks then most people gain all the weight back, right? This is because they lost muscle mass as part of the weight they lost. Their metabolism cannot sustain the new weight, which is why all of our clients have scheduled measurements every four weeks. This technology measures muscle mass, body fat, and hormonal profile.
ELLIE: How does strength training relate to leadership?
NICK: I think we can all agree that energy is the currency of life. My business and community leader clients say that our resistance training program increases their energy, productivity and builds their confidence, turning them from good leaders to great leaders.
Most of these individuals are dopamine dominant, meaning they are wired to be very driven, motivated and goal-oriented. They thrive off of calling all the shots, working long hours and succeeding. This mindset creates high-stress levels which then creates poor starting strength. For a successful business and community leader, the strength building process is a humbling experience. Being humble is often a trait overlooked in leadership. Remember, strength is the mother of all qualities, and this is not easily understood until it is felt.
Finally, life is hard; training helps us persevere. Every leader I have ever worked with agrees that resistance training teaches us how to deal with pain and struggle, which directly helps us lead through tough times.
“Energy is the currency of life.”
“Resistance training increases energy, productivity and builds confidence, turning my clients from good leaders to great leaders.”
“Life is hard; training helps us persevere.”
– Nick Klein
Listen to Nick’s episode at: https://successfulgenerations.com/episode024/
ELLIE: What else is needed to function optimally?
NICK: A diet aligned with the client’s goals and values. You simply cannot out train bad nutrition. I always ask clients their commitment level from 1 to 10 at the beginning of their fitness journey, with 10 being they will do anything I ask, and 1 being they just want to improve strength and maintain where they are at. It’s important that we are on the same page because it determines how I present information.
Another big factor that is often overlooked is having a belief system in yourself. For example, let’s look at two mothers with young kids. The first mother is constantly telling herself she cannot lose weight because she’s always tied up with kids activities. The second mother is constantly telling herself that she must lose weight to keep up with her kids’ activities. The top cortisol increaser for people is usually themselves. Self-perception dictates confidence and many times is the deciding factor in goal achievement.
ELLIE: What should I do if my body is in dysfunction?
NICK: First you have to ask yourself why your body in dysfunction. What kind of lifestyle have you been living? A lot of it boils down to stress. We have exponentially more stress today than our grandparents had.
Before developing an action plan, I suggest doing detailed bloodwork to see what your blood chemistry is saying. I recommend looking at inflammatory markers such as CRP, HbA1c, homocysteine; blood sugar levels; lipids; RBC magnesium; RBC zinc; and vitamin d status. I also suggest doing a food sensitivities panel. I like the IGg or cyrex panel. You can eliminate what pops up from your diet and retest in six months.
Secondly, I suggest that you start lifting weights. This will benefit your hormones the most and support the needed muscle mass.
Thirdly, control the only hormone you have 100 percent control over—insulin. Insulin is the hormone of disease, aging, and weight gain.
ELLIE: What are some of your favorite resources for a newbie, like myself?
NICK: Regarding nutrition, I suggest anything from John Berardi and Johnny Bowden. If you’re a female, I also like Esther Blums, as well. These are some of my favorites:
- Precision Nutrition
- Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up
- Living Low Carb
- Smart Fat
Tim Ferris also has some great stuff to dive into.
ELLIE: Thank you, so much, Nick, for sharing some of your wisdom with us! OK- now for our bonus questions. What words of wisdom would you tell your 20-year-old self?
NICK: The more you learn, the more you can help people and earn. I would also say that you will always be the average of the five people you hang out with the most.
ELLIE: You are very busy, what are you doing to teach your kids about health and wellness?
NICK: I’m setting an example for my kids. I don’t practice what I preach; rather I preach what I practice. It’s easy for me to articulate health because I live it every day. Kids are sponges. Monkey see monkey do. 🙂