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A Holistic Approach to Health — and Weight Loss

With Anika Christ, RD, CPT

Season 4, Episode 1 | September 7, 2021

When it comes to building optimal health — including goals like losing weight — fitness and nutrition are often the two main factors that are associated with results. But there are many other lifestyle behaviors that influence your ability to reach and sustain your goals. Anika Christ, RD, CPT, joins us to take a comprehensive look, offering strategies for better health as a whole — and weight loss as a byproduct.

Anika Christ, RD, CPT, is the director of client optimization at Life Time. She’s known to many as “Coach Anika” and leads a number of digital programs at Life Time, including the D.TOX program.

In this episode, Christ offers advice around the wide range of factors that are important for improved health and weight loss, including the following:

  • Start with your why. What’s the emotional tie that serves as your reason for or motivation to lose weight? This could be a chronic condition you hope to avoid, an upcoming event, the desire to be able to play with your kids — or something else that’s unique to you. Often the underlying goal is to be healthy, but is viewed by many people as, “I think I need to lose weight.”
  • Let go of a number. The scale is not the best or most accurate measure of progress. It’s better to look at body composition and other factors, such as how you feel or how much energy you have. Our biggest measure of health is what’s going on inside our bodies.
  • Establish a foundation. There will always be trendy diets and workout programs and though they may be effective for some, it’s critical to first establish baseline healthy habits before considering specific protocols or approaches. Often, that’s enough to help individuals see success.
  • Stay hydrated. Water makes up about 70 percent of our body — it’s our most critical nutrient — so when we’re not getting enough, we feel the effects, including dehydration. A lot of symptoms of dehydration are like hunger and low energy, so getting enough water can help us avoid overeating or over-caffeinating. Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces throughout the entirety of the day.
  • Get sunlight. Natural sunlight is essential to helping regulate our circadian rhythm, which plays an important role in sleep and hormone balance. Go outside twice a day for at least 10 minutes.
  • Sleep well and manage your stress. These are factors many know are important, but they are hard to accomplish, so often don’t get prioritized. The reality, however, is that you can’t achieve optimal health without them. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night and make time for intentional stress-management techniques in your day.
  • Build muscle. Many think that weight loss is as simple as “calories in, calories out,” so they assume cardio makes the most sense as a primary form of exercise. While cardio has its place, a workout regimen needs to be well-rounded, and strength training is critical for building muscle, achieving a toned aesthetic, and helping your body burn fuel more efficiently.
  • Look beyond calories. Depending on where a calorie comes from, it will do different things in your body, so calorie counting cannot be looked at as the end-all-be-all. Look at the nutrients you’re consuming instead: Prioritize getting in adequate amounts of quality protein, healthy fats, some whole-food carbs, and lots of produce.
  • Consider individuality. Lab testing is one of the best tools for evaluating each individual’s underlying health. Consider regular blood work and the help of a coach to guide your plan based on your personal body’s needs and results.

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Transcript: A Holistic Approach to Health — and Weight Loss

Season 1, Episode 1  | September 7, 2021

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy-living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, Life Time’s national digital performer brand leader. We’re all in different places along our health and fitness journey, but no matter what we are working toward, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode, we’ll break down the various elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, mindset and community, and health issues. We’ll also share real inspiring stories of transformation.

David Freeman

And we’ll be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond, who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

[MUSIC]

Jamie Martin

I’m Jamie Martin.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman. And in this episode, we’re talking about the holistic approach to weight loss with Anika Christ. Anika is a registered dietician, weight-loss coach, and is the director of client optimization at Life Time. You may know her as Coach Anika, as she leads a number of virtual programs, including D.TOX, a popular 14-day elimination protocol that has helped thousands of Life Time members clean up their eating habits. So with that said, Jamie, I need to know, what were some of your key takeaways in this episode?

Jamie Martin

Well, David, these conversations with Anika– we always come away with so much info, I feel like I need a little bit to process. But when we’re talking about weight loss, so many times, our minds go straight to nutrition and calories in, and what am I eating? Or to fitness. Those are the two primary things we think about, often, when it comes to taking care of our health. If we have a weight-loss goal, we go there.

I love the approach that Anika offered in terms of thinking about these other factors that matter when it comes to our health. So sleep, community and building a strong community around yourself, stress management. Those kind of pieces are, for me, what create this full picture of the things we can do, the lifestyle factors that matter when it comes to our health, no matter what our goals are, whether it’s weight loss or otherwise. How about for you?

David Freeman

It was the why. We typically come back to the why so much. So when we think about the breaking down of all those essential elements that you just touched on, what stood out to me is being able to create the habits behind what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

Another part that stood out to me was debunking the myth as far as lifting weights, when it comes to females, or maybe even some males, as far as the fear of getting bulky. So knowing how building muscle helps to yield the result of weight loss. So those were the two elements that stood out to me.

Jamie Martin

Mm-hmm. Just tapping on — tagging onto that, I should say, in terms of the strength-training piece, as a woman who is approaching her 40s, one thing Anika said — that it’s like, she really helps people, when it comes to strength training, build those habits in their 20s and 30s because our bodies start to break down muscle when we get into our 40s. And so how do we set ourselves up for better metabolic health as the decades pass?

And so that was one of those things that I agree with you. Strength training is such a core component of our training regimen and how it contributes to health as a whole.

David Freeman

So let’s not make our listeners wait any longer. Let’s go right into this episode of how to approach weight loss in a holistic way.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Jamie Martin

Anika, welcome back to Life Time Talks. We’re so glad to have you again.

Anika Christ

Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.

David Freeman

Yeah. Just as a quick refresher for our listeners, you joined us a while back to talk about the role of coffee in our health and well-being. So one of our most popular episodes still today.

So I want to know, how have you been, and what’s changed since the last time we connected with you?

Anika Christ

Well, I’m still drinking coffee, as is everybody in America, I feel like. That’s still a constant conversation. But good. We are, at Life Time, rolling out a suite of new digital programs with weight loss. So just head down, staying busy, managing family, managing getting back into the normal world again.

Jamie Martin

Well, you mentioned the weight-loss programs that are coming out, and that’s what we’re talking about today. We’re diving deep into the topic of weight loss and taking a look at the various factors that contribute to it, because it’s not just fitness and nutrition. There’s a lot more to it than that. It’s much more comprehensive. And we know that what works for one person may not work for another.

So let’s start from the very beginning. Based on your experience, what is weight loss? Why is weight loss something that so many of us come to a trainer or just focus on when it comes to our health and wellness?

Yeah. So I’ve been at Life Time for almost 13 years. And that’s still, to date — it is the top request we get. So even as the world has changed quite a bit in this industry, it is still — depending on what client I’m talking to or any of our new members, it is a top choice. And I think, for a lot of people, there’s different stages of life where it becomes more prevalent, I think, for a lot of us.

I always think of the moms post-baby. They’re looking to change or get healthier or maybe even go back to where they saw or felt their body performed before having children. I also think, in the older demographics– I deal with a lot of 50-plus demos. So I always think that’s my parents’ age. That generation is the generation of yo-yo dieting, unfortunately. But they’ve had what I would call metabolic challenges for a long time just because of that type of eating that was popular during their 20s and 30s, unfortunately, too.

But I would say, for the most part, when we talk to people about weight loss, that’s the first thing out of their mouths. There’s always so much more attached to that. So usually, I’m going to dig. And in the industry, we always call– find the why that makes you cry, because there’s usually some sort of emotional thing. And our goal is not to make people cry ever, right? Even though it does happen. It can happen because there’s so much emotion tied to how we feel and function.

But we usually want to dig more to say, why is that your goal right now? What is the point? Is there something that happened? And there’s a lot of similarities amongst people. Sometimes there’s an event that happens that triggers people to want to get healthy, I would say, more on the fore part. But for them, that transcends into, well, I think I need to lose weight, or I want to lose weight. So we dig a lot. We dig a lot.

I’m sure you would agree with that.

David Freeman

I would 100% agree. When you think about being in the health-and-fitness industry now for 15-plus years, digging to the why, the why that makes you cry — I like how you actually framed that up. So when speaking to a lot of clients, and we say, hey, why do you want to lose this weight, and if not, I just want to feel better. I just want to do this or do that.

But when you start to dig a little bit deeper, you said this, that emotional connection to something. And when you look back at our past time, there’s a certain identity. You talked about you being a mother. So who you were before a mother and how that has now shifted, right? Jamie, you can probably attest as well.

Jamie Martin

Absolutely

David Freeman

So getting back to whoever that individual is, and obviously continuing to evolve. But when we start to prep and we look at what the motivation behind the why, whether it’s for a wedding or for a reunion or self-development and just feeling better — so can you talk to us a little bit more as far as some of the motivation behind the why and why that’s important when approaching weight loss?

Jamie Martin

Yeah, so there’s a few different things. So one, usually, is an event, right? And that could be, my father passed away — these are the extreme events — passed away from heart disease or something where weight could have been part of the core morbidity that happened, right? Or it could be a class reunion or a family trip or something where they want to just feel more comfortable in their own skin.

And with either of those, usually, we tie it back to say, now let’s talk about, what is your goal, then? And they’ll have a number. And at some point, they saw that number on a scale, or they were told that was their number. And I think that’s where the identity piece comes from, where they’re like, no, I need to get back to that number.

And for me, I learned a lot because, just being in the fitness industry and being around trainers my whole career. What I always loved that they did is, they would talk about that number to say, well, so let’s say you’re not 140, and you’re 150. But you’re a smaller pant size, and you have muscle and things that actually contribute to weight gain that are still healthy. And usually, people were like, oh, yeah. That sounds good. And it was like, OK. So it’s not really weight loss, per se. It’s composition, body fat versus lean tissue. It’s how you feel and function.

There could be other cases, though, too. And a lot of this is where it can get pretty emotional, where I’ve had a lot of clients that fell into the 100-plus-pounds weight-loss goal, right? And we’re categorized. And this is what we do really bad in the medical industry, is we categorize you as ideal weight, normal weight, overweight, obese. And when you hear those words attached to yourself, that can be pretty frightening.

And there’s a lot of different treatment that I’ve learned through my clients because I can’t say I’ve ever been in those categories. But through them and learning how they were treated by other people in their society, or trying to fly on a plane and having to buy two seats– there’s a lot of different things that caused embarrassment and just not feeling great.

And usually, that can lead someone down my lane, where, like, I don’t want to feel like this anymore. This was awful. I can’t play with my kids anymore. I can’t tie my shoes anymore. There’s things like that that often trigger the, I need to do this.

Or I would say, last, medication. That’s a big trigger for a lot of people. And then the point where they get where their chemistry and their doctor has ruled out — like, hey, at this point, you can’t maintain this with fitness and nutrition. You need to be medicated. And it can be a really good thing because that’s where I see the most motivation, is people wanting to get off medications that could be for anything going on, whether it’s diabetes or high blood pressure, those are the most common categories, or on the mental-health side, anxiety and depression medications.

A lot of people are like, I need to fix this. I want to do other things that can actually combat these symptoms. And that’s where we see probably the most excitement and success stories. It becomes less about the number. And it’s, I’m off five medicines now. I can tie my shoes. I have energy at the end of the day. Those are the best stories, versus, hey, I lost the 10 pounds, and now I’m at that number I thought was a good idea. There’s nothing compelling about that. And I think you’re less likely to stick to it if it makes it about the number, for sure.

Jamie Martin

Right, right. Before we get into some of those factors that you’re alluded to right now, I do want to touch on — there’s a lot of stuff happening in our society right now around body positivity, body neutrality, and accepting yourself as you are. So as we talk about weight loss, how do we reconcile those two, and how do they live together and coincide?

Anika Christ

Yeah. So when we talk about this, there’s been the two extremes where, I think, when you and I probably grew up, the ideal body for women that was often in marketing was someone that was actually very malnourished or underweight. And that I think of all the underwear models and all that, seeing that as a kid, and thinking, oh. Well, my body doesn’t look like that. And that was ruled up as healthy or ideal.

Now you’re seeing the other end of the pendulum swing, which I think there’s a lot of good things about, is you’re seeing different bodies that maybe, medically, would be categorized as overweight or even obese and something. So I think it’s become a triggering conversation in the fitness industry because there’s a lot of people– we all have our different perceptions in what we think. And I think the worst thing we can do is go on the extremes. Usually, it’s more somewhere in the middle.

And I think when you get out of marketing and turn your TV off and go talk to your neighbors and your friends and family, most people are like, well, no. I think it’s about health and knowing that there’s different bodies and different body types. And showcasing all of that and showing the inclusivity that can happen in the fitness industry is such a good thing.

And I think, for a lot of us, this industry did start more on aesthetics and how you looked. And I think of the body builders back in the day. And that was really who was all in the gyms. There wasn’t a lot of moms just lifting to become strong or different categories of people.

So I think it’s a good thing, where we’re seeing, hey, different people can be comfortable in our destinations, and health should really be what we’re all going after. That’s the whole point, is feeling better and getting healthy on the inside, but at the same point, not falling into the propaganda and marketing out there, because I think that’s where people see that and they’re like, oh my gosh. Can you believe we’re saying this is good?

And it’s like, well, no. It’s about showing that everyone is included. Different bodies can be healthy. But at the end of the day, it’s going on on the inside. That should be our biggest measure of health, is, what does your blood tell you? How is your body feeling? Are you sleeping? Are you doing the basic things that make you feel good?

And I just think of my clients that I’ve had that would fall on the category of medically being told they are obese. They would say they didn’t feel great at that, either, that they didn’t want their joints to hurt, that they knew it wasn’t healthy to carry around too much weight on their skeleton, but knowing that what’s the best for them is the journey, not someone else telling you what you should look like. That’s where I see it. Not having to fit a certain cultural aesthetic.

Jamie Martin

Again, you and I are similar age. And I know that I grew up looking at health and wellness magazines — health and fitness magazines, more so — and thinking, I want to look like that, or I should look like that, and always feeling like it was never enough. Or it was like, you’re failing in it. And so it was always this numbers game in my mind.

And to this day, I was just listening to another podcast where it was actually Glennon Doyle in her “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast talking about, as much work as she’s done, she’s still — about 50 percent of her thoughts in a day are tied to her body and food. And I just think that’s so interesting in terms of, culturally, how, in our generation as we kind of grow up with such a focus on that, and how if we start thinking about health and how we feel and how do we function in this world, it can change just how we view ourselves and how we view others in this space as well.

Anika Christ

You have to do the work on it, for sure. You can’t just fall default to it. You do have to understand that it is happening. And I deal a lot with that with parents, in general. Like, how do I talk about this with my kids? Because they grew up feeling those feelings. And they’re like, I don’t want this to happen.

And I felt lucky because I actually had a mom where she — I fell in love with fitness before I fell in love with nutrition. So fitness led me to nutrition. But with fitness, I grew up watching a mom that worked out for the mental health of it. And so to me, that was always what the end goal was.

So when I got in the fitness industry, people would bring me those magazines. And I would be like, do you want to know what they do to look like that? And most of the time, people were like, oh. Oh, so you can’t make me a meal plan with my current choices? And I was like, no. But I will tell you. And I’ll tell you, they don’t do this all the time. This is for the cover, for a segmented time. And I think being honest with that, too, with people can be super empowering.

But people always want to hear about my mom because I’m always like, well, yeah, that was her dedicated time because she had seven kids. And that’s how she was a good mom. But it was all for mental health. She ran for mental health. She did Denise Austin for mental health. And if I interrupted– I could always join her, because to me, that’s why I was comfortable and confident to work out, to go to the gym, because my mom was doing it. But at the end of day, if I interrupted, it was like, no. Mom’s time. Get out. You can’t interrupt this time.

But it was all for mental health. And I think if we talk about that more, that’s such a good thing. And that’s usually what I bring back to my clients that are parents, is like, don’t talk about your body in front of your kids. Don’t look at yourself and talk negative, because that’s a thing that people don’t even realize they’re doing. It’s just coming out, and it’s become habitual. So I usually have to help them stop that, but then also showing, mama is strong. Mama does this to feel better. It’s not about to make her look a certain way.

And I just feel lucky that I got that experience by not even knowing it. But I was like, wow, I grew up very different than a lot of people. And I’m lucky for that. But it’s also, I’ve learned that as a mom now, too. Like, yeah, I need that time because I will be more patient with my kids. I’m a better spouse. I’m a better employee. And if I don’t take that sweat session or do whatever, then I go by default. I’m just crankier. But it’s all mental for me. It’s always been mental.

Jamie Martin

We all have kids here. We all have young kids here. And you and I both have girls. You have one girl, David. And so thinking about how we talk about our bodies, I think, is such a huge reminder, because I do sometimes — I’ll do it to myself. But I’m very conscientious about not saying things in front of my girls and making sure that they see me and hear me saying positive things and empowering them. And look how strong we are. And look what we can do with our bodies. I know you’re really good with that, David, with your kids as well.

David Freeman

Yeah. The consistency within the identity and the mantra that we actually have is, I’m smart, I’m strong, and I can do anything. And they say it every morning. And the reason behind it and constantly reinforcing that, to your point, as far as just understanding who you are, is so important, especially when you’re facing adversity, because you’re not questioning your identity in that moment. And it might be challenging. And you now know how to navigate through that adversity for you to overcome that.

So when we look at the times that we were growing up, we looked at the magazines, and we somewhat would try to identify with what it is that we’re seeing. The difference now is, so many things are so readily available. And now we’re looking for validation through social media or whatever it may be. How many likes did it get? How many views did it get? Oh, let me delete that — versus it just being you, right? So that’s very powerful.

And being that we’re looking at this whole holistic approach to weight loss, we talk, usually, about the reactive. Like, how can we now get the weight off? And we’ll come back to that. But how can we also be proactive? I always talk about, you have your process goals, and then you have your outcome goals.

So when we think of the different habits that one can establish and be proactive and be that male or female leader to their family, kids, or whatever it may be, and be that example, what are some habits that you would probably want to elevate right now to be proactive, to prevent weight gain or putting yourself at health-risk factors or anything like that?

Anika Christ

Yeah. So again, I feel lucky here where, my entire career, I’ve been around what we’d call holistic or functional medical doctors. And one of the best ones — he always called humans, you’re walking plants, right? So you need these basic things. For us, if you have a garden, I have a garden. But they need basic things. They need good soil, water, and sunlight.

And if we just thought of ourselves like that, right? Because a lot of people– there’s two of those things that people don’t get today– we don’t get a lot of– that were super basic even just a generation ago. And that’s sunlight– being outdoors– and water. And it’s hard because even when I educate trainers, they’re always like, no one wants to hear about water, Anika. It’s not the thing. No one– and it’s like, but it’s an important thing, right?

And I get a lot of inquiries about, like, oh, should I do fasting? Oh, should I do the keto thing? Should I do ketotarian? All these specific diets. And hypothetically, yes, I went to school, and I am called a dietician. And that is what they taught, is, based off of certain metabolic whatever is going on, there are certain diets that people perform the best at.

And I’m always like, well, can we get some grounding rules first? Like, how much water are you getting? Are you getting outside? People get shocked when I talk about going outside. And I’m like, well, you have this thing called a circadian rhythm. And you have hormones that need to fall around that. And that goes with the sun. And we’re on computers all day now.

So I always call it real light versus blue light. And I love all the things that have come out where people are wearing blue-blocker glasses now. And I love that. And there’s things that people are trying to combat that. But just remembering your basics.

So I always say sunlight every day. Get outside. If you can play, even better, right? And I think that’s easier when you have little kids, because you have that reminder in front of you all the time. So usually, it’s the older children adults that I have to remind them, OK, now that you’re not a kid and just free-playing every day, do this every day.

Get enough water. Get your mindset correct. Stress management falls under that. That’s the hardest one. And it’s a little bit different. Some people come to me, and they’re saying, I am super stressed. And then others are like, no, I handle it well.

And people tell me that all the time. Ironically — and we’re going to get into this later, but when I get my metabolism assessed, there’s certain things in the metabolism that– they end up being part of you because that’s what triggers you probably the quickest. And my stress response is not ideal right now. And people are like, you never look stressed. I’m like, oh. Well — [LAUGHS]

Jamie Martin

Very high functioning.

Anika Christ

I’m a high-functioning stress addict, I guess. But that’s a big thing. Having the right people around you —

David Freeman

Woo.

Jamie Martin

And that’s a tough one because I’m not a psychologist. So I just like to put it out in front of people, is, you’re going to be as healthy as the five people around you.

David Freeman

100 percent.

Anika Christ

A lot of really smart people have talked about that before. But knowing, too, that if there is stuff that’s negativity around you, or, a lot of people feel guilt or that they need to have people around them because they’re blood relatives or whatever or just a long-lasting connection. And really thinking about that — and we do this with 60day all the time. We have this really good lesson where it’s like, you might have to break up with people for a while. You might have to, just to realize, is this the right person in my life or not?

And a lot of people love that education segment in the 60day because they’re like, I never even thought about that. And it’s like, you need to. And you can find people– and that’s what’s hard, is sometimes we get so comfortable, we’re scared to meet new people. But that’s why I love our destination so much, because I’m like, if you go to the club, you can find people that– everyone at our club is trying to be better. They are. At the end of the day, there’s all different walks of life. But at the end of it, they’re all just trying to be better, better humans.

So find your community there. It’s the best part of our destination, I think.

David Freeman

Let me dive into that a little bit.

Anika Christ

Yeah, do.

David Freeman

So I love that. I call it the power of five. And I take it from Coach K, coach at Duke. He gave a reference as far as opening up your hand. So everybody listening right now, open up your hand. Right now, if you were to hit somebody with an open hand, it probably would hurt, right? But when you have that connection of five come together that’s helping elevate and lift you up, now you have that fist. That has a little bit more power to it. So that always resonated with me.

The one thing I want our listeners to leave with is what you just said as far as– I want to know, how much water would you say? How much sunlight? Let’s make it objective so when they leave this episode, they know exactly what to do so it’s not like, hmm. I guess I’ll go get some more sunlight, right? So let’s talk about the objective part.

Anika Christ

So I always go with the bare minimums for my clients because that always works for — they are like, OK, just give me the bare. So water, it goes back and forth. There’s a lot of opinions on water. I always say, at minimum, that 8 cups is your bare minimum. Ideal is half your weight in ounces. But what I don’t want people to do is take that and think, OK, I’m going to chug water all morning, and that’s it. I would rather you drink it throughout the day.

And most people — because there’s so many things that come out of, when you’re dehydrated — symptoms that are very similar to hunger, similar to low energy. If you’re optimizing your water intake, you’re going to be less likely to drink too much coffee or caffeine. You’re going to be less likely to overeat. So I’m always like, just think of that as, your body is 70 percent water. So it’s your most critical nutrient. So do that.

David Freeman

So on that, though, so if I was to take a gallon right away, are you saying it’s not going to be absorbed correctly? Can you go a little bit deeper?

Anika Christ

Correct. Yeah, so that’s where there’s a lot of cool science coming out and more discussion on, well, is it really the amount of water or how much your body is actually absorbing? And there’s a lot of things that interfere with your absorption and what your cells are going to do with that information. So for me, I always say a little bit throughout the day is going to be better because your body is going to be so much more likely to utilize it. And I always have clients, they’re like, I’m in the bathroom all day, Anika. I cannot do this. And I’m like, OK, when are you drinking it?

And this is where I love the bodybuilders, when they have that gallon milk jug that they’d fill up with water. And now they have these giant water containers. And I love it, because I’m like, whatever works for you. Everybody has things that work different for them. That’s my goal, as a coach, is to figure out how to make it work, right? There’s the what, but then how.

But for most people, I’m always like, just think about it and have it in front of you so you’re casually– before you eat, drink water. Do it that way so that you’re at least getting little bits throughout the day. It’s like nutrition. It’s always been ruled out that it’s not just one big meal a day, but maybe a couple, maybe a few. It’s dependent on the person. But you wouldn’t expect to get every single nutrient, vitamin, or mineral in one meal. You just wouldn’t. Same thing with water. Throughout the day is better.

David Freeman

That makes sense. And then sunlight?

Anika Christ

Sunlight. So my rule is twice a day, minimum 10 minutes, even better if you have no shoes, and it’s called — do you guys talk about grounding?

Jamie Martin

I love grounding.

Anika Christ

Yes. People think I’m a hippie. And basically, I am. I was raised by hippies. So it’s OK to call me that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I love bare feet. I make my kids wear bare feet outside all summer. There is something about the Earth and giving you — we’re like a big battery. So connecting — and I always say, it’s air. It’s the sun. It’s the ground. So it’s all of it together. So it’s hard to do that in Minnesota in the winter, or those colder climates. So there are cool things you can do. But I still say, get the kids outside in the cold weather. Bundle up. Get out there.

David Freeman

Yeah, get that fresh air.

Anika Christ

And right now, I enjoy it a little bit more because I water my garden for 10 minutes every day. So I just go out barefoot, water, sip my coffee. It’s a great thing. But twice a day to get real light. Sun is a nutrient. And there’s a lot of interference with that, too. And a lot of people are scared of the sun. So I always tell people, don’t be scared. You can be scared to burn, and there’s ways to reverse that or prevent that from happening. But 10 minutes twice a day minimal.

Jamie Martin

Love it. Let’s talk about a couple other factors before we move on to the obvious ones of nutrition and fitness. Sleep. Because sleep is becoming — it’s a nutrient in its own right.

Anika Christ

100 percent. That’s exactly how I think about it, too. And it’s just like water. People don’t want to talk about it. They’re like, I know. At least people, I think– where we’ve done some good digging and evolution, is people know what’s good now, I feel like, most of the time. Maybe 10 years ago, people were like, really? Oh, no. I’m good with four. And I’m like, there’s a small percent of people that actually that might be the truth. But it’s hard to go to bed, is what I’m finding the most with my clients. And whether it’s, I have small kids, and that’s my adult time, so I need it, the social-media thing, I’m always like, what are you doing with that time? Are you reading, or are you watching TV and blue light? Because that’s not a great thing, right? So it’s figuring out, what’s the best way?

And I always tell people, let’s just figure out a bedtime. And usually, if you’ve had children at some point in your lifespan, you know that a lot of parents stick to bedtimes for kids, because they’re like, oh my gosh. They’re monsters. I’m like, well, let’s talk about you. I bet you’re a monster, too, when you don’t get sleep. I bet you’re cranky-pants, too.

So treating yourself like that, back to that plant analogy, like a child — you do need sleep. That’s where the stress of your workout actually, that’s where the magic happens. If you’re not sleeping to help your body respond to that, it doesn’t know what to do with that information. So seven to eight is the minimal — quality.

And what I would say is, check yourself. When you wake up, how do you feel? Do you really feel like you got good sleep? There’s a lot of cool things and gadgets where you can monitor sleep. So that’s good information if you don’t know and you don’t feel like you can give yourself a real analysis of it.

But if you feel like, no, I just wake up, and I always have — a lot of adults I work with — they’re like, well, I have to get up to go to the bathroom. And then that’s another conversation. There’s metabolic things happening that’s probably causing that. And a lot of people don’t want to hear that, because they’re like, well, no. That’s just how I always have been. And that’s like, that means maybe there’s been a metabolic disruption for a long time, though. So let’s talk about it further.

But seven to eight, quality sleep, because it’s not just the amount. You don’t just want to get eight, and it’s disrupted all night, either. You need the different phases of sleep. That’s where a lot of good things happen. But gosh, that’s almost as high as water, for me, is, just get sleep. Go to bed.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Jamie Martin

Before you do anything, get the sleep.

David Freeman

Let me ask this. Is there such a thing — two questions here — too much sleep? And then is there such a thing as catching up on sleep? Taking little — Yeah, so can you answer that for us?

Anika Christ

So most of the doctors that I worked with would say, once it’s lost, it’s lost.

David Freeman

Alright.

Anika Christ

I am a big fan of napping, where I do think some people need extra sleep. So I rarely work with athletes, because that’s just not my demo. But when I do, their training is intense, right? And multiple hours a day, where I’d say the average person that’s working out– let’s say they’re doing an hour a day, where it’s like, it’s not as catabolic as an athlete. Athletes, I might bump them up to nine to 10, honestly. And it’s just based off of how they’re feeling, how they’re recovering, right?

So trainers are really good at that. And they’re really good at calling that out. They can tell when people’s bodies aren’t recovering, how sore they are, if they’re able to do movements, what imbalances they have muscular. So they can call out sleep much better than I can, even.

But I will say, too much sleep, that might be triggering something else metabolically. If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, and you’re getting eight to nine hours, and you’re still exhausted, usually the first thing that comes to mind is lack of adrenal function. So there’s something might, underlying going on.

So I usually want to dig deeper. Like, let’s do a metabolic look-up and see what’s going on underneath that could be causing that, especially if it’s not chronic or is chronic maybe the last year, not my whole life. There could be something there, especially blood-sugar issues. There’s a few things that definitely would come to mind. But it’s rare. I’ll say it’s rare. Usually, people are like I need more sleep.

David Freeman

But you recommend naps. And so you were saying there are benefits within naps.

Anika Christ

Yeah, there can be a benefit in a nap. So even if that can help put you past that seven to eight hours, I’m all about it. So think of it that way, where I usually tell people, if they’re getting that five to six, and they don’t do any of it. I’m like, you lost that sleep for life. You really do. It’s impossible to catch that up. But if kids need 10 to 12, on average, I always say, adults, you need seven to eight.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

You’re just a big old kid, a grown-up kid.

Big old kids.

David Freeman

So we knocked it out. So we talked about the process, right? We talked about the process habit. So you talked on stress management, as far as the power of five or your social connections, sunlight, hydration. We just hit on sleep. Now let’s talk about the one that everybody loves to associate to how they lose the weight, movement, right?

And a lot of folks within the weight-loss journey are looking to cardio. And I always play around with this word so much, because when I’m lifting weights is a form of cardio, right? We’re going cardio right now, in a sense, right? But I want to know, from a strength training, the benefits behind strength training, lifting weights, and how that helps aid in the weight-loss journey. Can you let us know what your experience speaks to and what you’ve seen over the years when you started to incorporate weight lifting?

Anika Christ

Yeah. So that’s probably the most powerful thing of the fitness industry and the biggest — because I went into it thinking the reverse, where it was like — because that’s how I was taught, as a dietician. Weight loss was the calories in, calories out. So it made more sense to do cardio.

With strength training, what I’ve seen, subjectively, is, bodies change, right? So you’re building strength. Metabolically, muscle does burn more calories. And people don’t necessarily understand that. And again, my goal isn’t for them to track calories, usually, ever. But when we talk about, hey, if you’re trying to increase how your body utilizes fuel — so the signals you send all day when you’re eating — and burning more calories so your body just becomes a more efficient fuel burner, the best thing you can do is build muscle.

And the scariest part is, after the age of 40, your body breaks down muscle on its own. So I’m usually trying to build these habits in the 30s for a lot of my clients, is like, build this as a habit now, because then you’re going to be so much better off when you get into your 40s and 50s. You’re going to age better and become more metabolically efficient.

But this is what’s so cool, is when I walk into the club now, I see so many 20-somethings on the scary part of the gym. And I’m like, ah! We did it! Because females specifically avoid that part. And that’s in my generation and above. They’re always cardio. And now I see all these 20-year-olds. And I’m like, this is so great. This is turning for the better, because that’s a good thing.

But a lot of people are way more comfortable with cardio, right? It’s easier to figure out. It’s less scary. It’s what they were trained and what they know. And then those darn machines show calorie burn. And so people — they’re like, but —

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

— this tells me this. And I’m like, [GROANS] OK. So we’ve got work to do there. That’s my generation and above. The younger generation seems to be coming up on the other side, which I love. I love —

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Jamie Martin

— super fun to see.

Anika Christ

— my favorite. Yeah.

David Freeman

Is it also the fear that we’ve heard before — and we talked about it before — as far as, when we speak to a lot of females, of I don’t want to get too bulky. That’s why I don’t want to lift the weights. So I want to stay nice and lean. So can you debunk that and talk about the benefits of, that it’s not going to get to the bulky? And I know you’re going to speak a little bit about genetics and how that plays a role. So can you dive into that for us?

Anika Christ

Yeah, so they’re worried about muscle growth. And they usually show somebody to me. Like, I don’t want to look like that. And I’m always like, OK. And I have a lot of female clients that actually do want the growth and the bulk. And I always show them, I’m like, they’re usually doing other things. There’s a lot of hormonal side of that that actually can cause that.

But generally speaking, most females, they don’t have the amount of testosterone that a male does that that’s actually even going to happen. And most men that I work with that are on a growth size, they’re doing very specific supplements to help support that, and sometimes hormonal aspects. So I always tell them, that doesn’t happen. That’s never happened to me. That doesn’t happen to most of my clients. But let’s talk about that.

And usually, that’s where — that’s just where I learned from the trainers. I didn’t come in knowing this into the industry. But when they would talk about that number to say, well, muscle weighs more, and if you look like this– and before-and-afters get a lot of heat. But my favorite before-and-afters are when a woman will post the same weight, but there’s drastic difference.

And you’re like, see? But most people would say, well, no. I want to be healthy and feel good in my jeans and confident and have a cute little bicep — the things. And it’s like, that comes with weight training.

And what I always hated was, I love infomercials. So in my 17, 18, 19, I did Gunnar Peterson. I did all the stuff. That was my thing. And for women, even then, it was like, you want to look toned, so you get the 5-pound weights. And I always tell women, at some point, you graduate from that. And you’ve got to do the 20s and the 30s. And you should be, because you’re constantly needing to progress and change yourself.

But that’s another thing, is a lot of female clients that come to me, they’re like, oh, I want little weights to tone. And I’m like, no. No, we’re going heavy. And you will love it. You will feel so good. And that’s always the win for me, is when that client, for me, is like, I feel stronger. I’m so happy you pushed me. Because a lot of us, as trainers, we have to push people there —

David Freeman

100 percent.

Anika Christ

— because they will fight it. But it’s mind-blowing if you want to change yourself.

Jamie Martin

I’m one of the lucky ones, I think, in our generation, Anika, that I had a basketball coach who introduced us to strength training really early, and heavy– heavy strength training. And I just remember even– I was 18, however old I was– just remembering how good that felt to feel strong. And that’s a lesson I got early on. And to see more and more people embracing that, to understand —

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

— just how empowering that can be and just the results that you can get from that, and I’ve never felt better than when I’m lifting weights. When I’m not lifting weights and focusing more on cardio — which has its place, right?

Anika Christ

Yeah, for sure.

Jamie Martin

It has its place. But when I’m lifting, there is just something that — it’s mindset and physical and emotional and mental that’s all playing together.

Anika Christ

Yes. Cardio, I always tell my clients, that is where you think. That’s your mental game. That’s where you relieve stress. I would love you to do it outside as much as possible. That’s where you can listen to a podcast or just think. That’s the place for that, not — and that’s what’s hard, is, usually, the clientele I work with now has metabolic challenges. And when we see that, we really hone in on what you’re eating and what your exercise plan is, because cardio can make it worse. And that’s always a hard lesson, too.

So I’m always like, if I didn’t see anyone’s blood test and was to say, out of all the things, what’s the thing that, metabolically, is going to be the best for most people, it’s lifting. But I get the stuff.

David Freeman

Hey, you all — you all heard that, right? She said, listen to a podcast outside. And if you’re listening to us right now, give yourself a nice little fist bump, all right? Keep moving. Keep going.

Jamie Martin

Yes. Yes. OK. We’re going to get to a couple of other things. I want to talk about nutrition for a little bit because you mentioned calories in. And there’s always been this rule. You’ve got to focus on calories. Let’s talk about nutrition, and with less of a focus on calories.

Anika Christ

Yes. So I was schooled to use calories. And then I’ll never forget my first few clients at Palm Valley Life Time in Arizona. And it didn’t work. And I remember being like, why isn’t this working? This isn’t work — and it didn’t work for anybody. And I would say, over the 13 years, I think 1 out of 10 it works for. So subjectively, I learned it along the way. Coming in hot with, no, this is how you lose weight. Give me your food journal. Oh, you must be lying —all the things.

And I think, over time, there’s been really good research. There’s been really cool functional doctors that have raised this to light to say, when we talk calories, that’s one part of nutrition. And most of the time, depending on where that calorie comes from, it does different things in your body. So you can’t really look at that as the end all, be all.

Very rare do I even have people track it, because if anything, I’d rather them look at serving size. And it’s usually because they’re underserving themselves in certain nutrients. So then I might say, OK, let’s measure this for a little bit so you can get an idea of what 5 ounces of protein looks like, because it’s so ingrained to be something different. And it’s underserved at most restaurants when everyone dines out, et cetera.

So when I talk calories, I’m usually like, calories is the summation of everything, but it is not the end all, be all. And for most people, it doesn’t work to monitor it. And it’s a lot of work. Oh my goodness. And I always think back to those early days, because I had a calculator. And they would just rattle off. And I would just do this as they were telling me, because I was so — that’s literally how they train you in dietetic school.

David Freeman

Oh, wow.

Anika Christ

An apple is 60 calories, 4 grams of fiber. You just numerically have something assigned to every food. And I just remember thinking, there’s got to be a better way to this. This isn’t working, too. And I’m going to get fired because this isn’t working. So I will say, when I got introduced to a different way of nutrition, it was through my client. So everything I’ve learned has actually been through my clients, which I love.

But I had this client that felt extremely shamed because she was following the Atkins diet and everyone made her feel bad about it. And I remember she came to me. She was like, well, I’m coming to you to get a better nutrition plan because this is bad for me. But I feel bad because I’m losing weight and I feel great, but I’ve been told it’s bad. And I was like, well tell me a little bit more. And so I remember, it was like, I could coach you with that, or I could coach you differently. If you’re feeling good, and it’s sustainable, and you like it, why would we stop it?

And then so I just started doing my own stuff and researching and then realizing that everyone has their own metabolic individuality, which matters more. And that can depend on where they’re at in their lifestyle, what they do for their day job, what they do for exercise. There are so many other factors with it. So I try to stop calorie-counting whenever I see it, because it doesn’t work.

And the other thing that I felt was so — what it led people to do was purchase and eat more processed foods because those foods have the calorie amounts locked onto it. You buy an apple at the grocery store, there’s no calorie on it. So they were like, oh, this is easier. I can just — and I was just like, to send people to that type of eating because, numerically, they can add it up and it makes sense just always felt wrong.

And again, raised by hippies. We didn’t do that in this house. And I remember coming home with my degree and my dad saying, that’s not right. And I was like, no, Dad. I have a four-year degree with a year medical internship. This is right. He’s like, pff. And he was right. He was right the whole time. So my clients led me there. And again, now there’s all these diets again. And when I learned, we learned about the cabbage-soup diet and all these things from the ’80s. And now I feel like we’re in the 2020 era, and there’s all these diets again.

And so I always tell people, there’s a lot more similarities than differences. So find that in all of them. And the hard part is, they know someone that did this, and it worked for them. And what I always say is, the number-one thing I see, no matter what person — what diet or what diet they’re not following, is, people need more protein. They’re not getting enough.

And it starts wherever they’re eating. And that’s where I’m like, even if you’re at a restaurant, don’t assume they’re serving you a good protein. Protein is expensive, as far as all the foods go. So knowing what that looks like.

And then second, don’t ever omit a macronutrient. I hate that. Like, omitting carbs completely, omitting fat completely. That doesn’t work. They all fit. Now, how much of each one might depend on, again, that metabolic individuality. There are certain clients that I have where their body, at this point in time, does not process carbs well. And that could be because they have more body fat than their body can handle, they have blood-sugar issues. So there’s things that cause that.

And I always say, this is the moment right now. It’s going to shift, though. As your body becomes metabolically able to use carbs as a fuel, we’re going to feed it carbs. If it’s not right now, we’ve just got to monitor it and lower it for a little bit. And that’s the power of a coach. And that’s the power of looking under the hood.

But I usually say, prioritize protein more than anything. Don’t omit the carbohydrates. Know what micronutrients are — vitamins and minerals. They do all the things. They’re responsible for every metabolic reaction in your body. So getting that. A lot of people usually focus on plants, which is great. So we always say berries, for fruit, are probably the most powerful. And then plants — cruciferous veggies, those — so make that at every meal.

But also know, if you’re OK with eating meat, there’s a lot of vitamins and minerals in meat, too. So there’s all these other ironic food choices that people don’t realize that’s where that stuff lives. So just making sure that they have enough there. And then we talked about water, but just making sure you wrap it up with that. Proper hydration.

Jamie Martin

Absolutely. Get the goods in first.

We’re going to go to the lab-testing stuff because you mentioned that a couple times, and looking under the hood. So let’s talk a little bit about that as well as the role of genetics. So covering those two together, and if you know something about your genetics, what lab testing might help you with.

Anika Christ

Yeah, and a lot of people do come with that. So I always think that’s so important to know. Your family history, too. What has happened? So if you have a family that has a lot of heart attacks or has high cancer rates, it’s powerful to know that information, because then you know, hey, what they always say, what loads the gun and then what shoots it — I don’t love that. I don’t like guns. But what loads the gun is your genetics. But the environment is what puts it off. So even if you genetically have those risks, if you do the right lifestyle choices, you can often omit a lot of that from happening. That’s the power of health and fitness.

So we started lab testing almost 15 years ago at Life Time. I was in Palm Valley, and then I came up to the corporate office in 2010. And I was a virtual nutrition coach before things were virtual, which is so funny.

David Freeman

Virtual, wow. Woo. Look at that.

Anika Christ

It was maybe telephonic, but virtual over the phone. Over the phone. I’d call people on the phone.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

So we would do free assessments because there are common symptoms that people experience that can flag, hey, there might be a metabolic barrier. And I always tell people, that’s what disease is. Disease is defined by a list of symptoms, a certain list of symptoms that are common for a population that equates to a disease.

So when people are starting to feel off, there’s preventative things you can do with lab testing, which is my favorite part about Life Time. It’s what inspired me —  that’s where I learned the most. So I, over the course of a few years, read the lab-testing results for over 2,000 individuals. So these were healthy people, right? There were our members in our club doing preventative things like exercising and eating right, but not feeling great.

So what I always tell people is, especially with weight loss, if you think of weight as a symptom, if your body is gaining weight, especially in places that it never occurred before, if you feel like you’re doing everything and your body is still storing body fat, more often than not, that could be a symptom of your underlying health. So think of that.

But you have to be careful because it’s not always a symptom. So there are people that I will review their labs today, and their body isn’t gaining extra fat. But they might have blood-sugar issues. They might have gestational diabetes. They might have a few other things that that is occurring, but they’re tall and thin, and they look healthy.

And everyone knows that person, right? They know the marathon runner or someone that had a heart attack. So again, just knowing that it is a symptom, but it’s not always the symptom. And it’s rarely the only symptom. So just knowing that is powerful.

So when you have access to look at your blood, I always say, it can’t lie. There is no, eh, maybe I ate good yester — there’s none of that. It gives you a picture under the hood right now. I always say, you can gauge it as the last three to six months. What is resulting from all those habits is going on on the inside.

And so we usually look at it — so there’s different reference ranges on lab tests that you might get from your doctor. And I always say, those are the diagnoses ranges. So when you’re out of it, that’s when you can be diagnosed with something and often recommended a medication. So we thin it so it’s an optimal range to say, hey, when this stuff starts going outside of optimal, you’re going on trend towards that direction. So I often recommend people do it once a year.

But I would say the most common test results we see with our members that are off is stress, so cortisol, DHEA. Those are common ones. So we’re usually looking at, hey, what’s your stress response doing throughout the course of the day? Is it following the optimal circadian rhythm, which has a huge impact on how you feel, what your energy level, if you can sleep or not?

Cardiac is super important right now, especially after the COVID year. A lot more people are like, I need to look at my heart. And so we’ll look at a full look-up of HDL, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, what size and shape those particles are at, because that is imperative and dependent.

And so looking at that, is there inflammation going on inside of your body that is out of control and pushing you towards that, oh, a cardiovascular event could occur? And looking at that and thinking, well, what are the best strategies when it is outside of optimal for me?

And that’s where there’s a lot of education that happens for our clients. That’s where cardio — too much — might not be great for them right now. They might need to lift more. They might need to take sugar out of their diet. So the best thing I think we can do is just give people access to that and just to know. And knowledge is power there. But that’s probably where I learn the most, in learning what people were doing.

And I learned, I feel like, how to be a good parent through my clients, through that. Before I even had children, I was reading the results. And I’d be like, why aren’t you sleeping? And they’d be like, oh, I have two kids. I’m stressed. And I put them down, and I need, like, two hours to drink wine on the couch. And I’d be like, I get– now I get it. I get where they led that. But I remember thinking, Anika, go to bed. When baby goes to bed, you go to bed. Just learning what it can actually do has been eye-opening.

David Freeman

When you said inflammation, I want to talk about that a little bit, because I still have that athletic mindset. But being an athlete, a lot of times, we associate inflammation, oh, man. I just ended up twisting something, and now it’s inflamed. Could you talk about what you mean by inflammation as far as what’s going on inside the body?

Anika Christ

Yeah, so you’re talking more acute inflammation. Like, something happened. So more chronic inflammation, so that’s a metabolic condition that can happen inside your body. And so there’s a lot of things that cause it, right? And a lot of it’s environmental. And it can be a series of stuff.

So stress is a huge contributing factor there, unfortunately. When we talk about detox and the elimination diet, there’s certain foods or proteins in foods that are higher inflammatory than other foods. So a long-lasting diet — probably the standard American diet — high processed, high gluten, high just foods in general that — processed foods and sugar. Yeah, all the good stuff. So when we look at that, it’s more looking at, OK, what can we do to help fight that? And then your omega-3, omega-6 ratio. So if you have more omega-6 in your body, that’s pro-inflammatory. And those are your oils, your vegetable oils that are processed. And on the back part, most of us don’t eat high omega-3 foods like fish, salmon. So supplementing that is a key, integral part of our plans, too. So it’s not good. But it is a common thing we see.

Jamie Martin

Right. And then just adding onto that, from an inflammation, there’s also just the exposure we have out in the world with things that we breathe in, that we put on our skin. There’s just all these things that contribute to our toxic load, right?

Anika Christ

Yeah, yeah.

Jamie Martin

That can contribute to inflammation as well.

Anika Christ

And it’s hard. And that’s where it’s like, you can’t live in a glass bubble. But what can you do in your house to make simple changes that are impactful?

Jamie Martin

Absolutely.

Anika Christ

For sure. But most people, when they get their hormones, or their whole look-up, the most interesting thing for people — they’re like, what’s my testosterone doing? Or what are my sex hormones? And I’m always like, it’s good to know. It’s just a little piece. And usually, if that piece is off, it’s all this other stuff underneath that’s causing that piece.

So I always tell people, be careful, because I have a lot of clients that will say, I went to my doctor. They ran this marker and this marker. And they’ll be off. And so they’ll be like, I think I need to get on this hormone now or do this. And I’ll be like, but why is it off? And they don’t know. And no one looked.

So the best thing you can do, as a health and fitness professional, is ask why, like, 100 times. Why is that? Because there’s 10 reasons why it could be. And I don’t have those other lab markers that can actually tell me why, especially with blood sugar.

So blood sugar, we look at fasting glucose, or A1C. It can be high on some people, but they don’t actually have a food-intake issue. So I just had a guy two weeks ago. And it was like, high blood sugar, high-ish A1C. But his triglycerides and his C-peptide, which usually would tell me it’s food-related, were optimal. So then I said, well, what’s your sleep like? Oh, it’s terrible. I wake up three times a night. So I’m like, OK. So sleep. We need to go there.

Imagine if I put him on a controlled carbohydrate diet or took it out completely just based off that number. It’s wrong. It’s wrong for him, and it wouldn’t work. And then he would get mad. And then he would say, that doesn’t work. So it’s like, we just have to do better, on both sides of the fitness and medical field, to figure out why. Don’t mask the symptom. Hit the root cause.

Jamie Martin

That is exactly the word I was just going to use, or the phrase — root cause — because it goes back to, you mentioned, functional medicine and getting to the root of what’s really behind what’s happening in our bodies or the symptoms that we’re showing. It’s not just looking at symptoms. It’s digging deeper. And there’s alw — there’s usually something there.

Anika Christ

There always is something there. And it’s fascinating. I’m in it because it’s fascinating to me. And I just love people and figuring it out. But I always feel bad when people just get a piece of the answer, and it’s like, oh, just do this. And it’s like, no. No, it’s going to come back. It’s going to come back if you just do that. So there’s a lot to learn.

David Freeman

The discovery process is a beautiful thing. I like to look at it as far as psychologists of health and fitness. Like, keep asking why. So if anybody has ever sat down on a couch with a psychologist. Tell me more. Tell me why. So it’s the same thing here. So I definitely appreciate that why.

Jamie Martin

All right. We’ve dug into a lot here around sustainable weight loss, all the factors, and health in general. Anika, anything you want to add before we jump over to David’s two-minute drill that we —

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

David Freeman

Spicy.

Anika Christ

— I forgot about that.

David Freeman

Spicy. Oh, well, I’m going to make you remember.

Anika Christ

Probably the one thing I would want to say is, we’ve come so far in this game. And what I always tell clients or potential members is — the good ones, because I feel like a lot of the fitness professionals at Life Time — we’re the good ones because we’ve had this education. We’ve had this knowledge.

If you’re feeling not great about yourself, don’t ever assume that what we’re thinking is, like, oh, you probably just eat too much fast food, and you just sit on the couch. And I think that is this perception of fitness professionals. And that’s why a lot of people might not want to come to a club or hire someone, because they’re like, they’re just going to think of me that way.

When I see that with people, and they start explaining to me, like, hey, I really need help losing weight, usually I’m thinking, metabolically, what’s going on? Because it’s a health event. And what I’ve seen over time that’s probably been the most sustainable way is, when you focus on, I just want to be healthier on the inside, the weight follows. It always does. And if you focus there, you will be so much more likely to succeed and sustain. So think of it that way.

Jamie Martin

Healthy on the inside, the weight follows. I like that.

Anika Christ

It will follow.

Jamie Martin

I love it.

David Freeman

Is it time?

Jamie Martin

It’s time.

David Freeman

Alright.

Anika Christ

I’m scared now.

David Freeman

[MIMICS WHIP CRACKING] Bringing out the questions for the hot seat. Are we ready? Alright.

Anika Christ

I think so.

David Freeman

Pretty simple. You got this. Alright. Pretty simple. It’s 10 questions. Usually, we do two minutes. If we go a little over two minutes, a little over time, nothing is wrong with that, alright?

Anika Christ

Got it.

David Freeman

Trying to answer the question in less than 10 seconds, though, alright?

Anika Christ

Oh my gosh. OK.

David Freeman

Alright. So it’s like [SNAPS FINGERS] Are you ready for it?

Anika Christ

Yeah.

David Freeman

Alright. Here we go. Here we go. First question. Favorite color and why?

Anika Christ

Teal. I just like the way it looks on me.

Jamie Martin

Ooh, and she’s wearing it right now. Look at her.

Anika Christ

And I always wear teal.

David Freeman

There you go.

Anika Christ

Blue eyes.

David Freeman

Well, this is the next one. If you could be any Disney character, who would it be?

Anika Christ

Oh my goodness. My younger self would have said Ariel, the mermaid, because I grew up with that. Today, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really —

David Freeman

You don’t know today?

Anika Christ

— watch Disney. I just don’t —

David Freeman

You don’t watch Disney?

Anika Christ

I don’t — Maui? Maybe Maui.

David Freeman

Oh, there you go.

Anika Christ

Moana.

David Freeman

Ooh, I like that.

Anika Christ

Yeah. I like his topknot. Do you know what a topknot is?

David Freeman

Hold on. That’s the bun, right?

Anika Christ

Yeah.

David Freeman

But we could call it topknot.

Anika Christ

I like his hair.

David Freeman

I like that. Flowy hair.

Anika Christ

And he’s strong.

David Freeman

Favorite childhood movie.

Anika Christ

101 Dalmatians.

David Freeman

Oh, did you watch Cruella?

Anika Christ

No.

David Freeman

You need to, see —

Jamie Martin

I’ve heard it’s really good.

David Freeman

— watching Disney movies, we need to —

Anika Christ

I’m scared.

David Freeman

— get you up to speed, all right? If you can acquire any skill set that would elevate your craft, what would it be?

Anika Christ

Ooh. Skill set? Probably a designer– a digital designer.

David Freeman

Ooh. Digital designer. I like that.

Anika Christ

I can draw, but I can’t do anything digital. So —

David Freeman

Yet.

Anika Christ

Yet.

David Freeman

Here we go. Alright. Favorite part about being a mom.

Anika Christ

Oh, gosh. It slows me down. Humble.

David Freeman

Mm. I like that. OK. What are you most grateful for so far this year?

Anika Christ

My health.

David Freeman

Mm. I like it. Crocs or slides?

Anika Christ

Slides. I have four pairs.

David Freeman

Mm. OK. You hear that, Croc? Step up your game. Alright. Orange juice or pineapple juice?

Anika Christ

Ooh, a little bit of pi — I —

David Freeman

Ah, ah. Come on.

Anika Christ

I hate orange juice, but pineapple —

David Freeman

Do you like mimosas?

Anika Christ

Eh.

David Freeman

OK.

Anika Christ

Maybe a little splash of pineapple in a mimosa instead.

David Freeman

We fly that. We could do that. You got it. Alright.

Anika Christ

Just a little bit.

David Freeman

So we’re going to go with pineapple juice, then?

  1. That’s your winner?

Anika Christ

Yeah, yeah.

David Freeman

Alright. What do you want — this is your last question, by the way.

Anika Christ

Oh, OK.

David Freeman

What do you want to leave as a stamp of impact in the year of 2020 from Anika?

Anika Christ

That I cared.

David Freeman

Mm. Alright. There you have it, you all.

Jamie Martin

There we go.

Anika Christ

That was easy.

David Freeman

Easy enough.

Anika Christ

Let’s do another 10. I’m just kidding.

[LAUGHTER]

Jamie Martin

Here we go.

Anika Christ

We’ve got a minute left.

Jamie Martin

Alright. Anika, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people follow you or find you or whatever? Where are you at?

Anika Christ

Well, on experiencelife.com, I’ve written a lot of great articles and a couple podcasts now. That’s probably the best place. Otherwise, in our Life Time Training app, I have several programs where you can feel like you’re coached by me.

Jamie Martin

I love it. I love it. Anika, thank you.

Anika Christ

You’re welcome.

David Freeman

Thanks. Thanks, boss lady.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today, and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life. What works for you? Where do you run into challenges? Where do you need help?

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us, too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life, or reach out to us on Instagram, @lifetime.life@jamiemartinel, or @freezy30, and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at el.lifetime.life/podcasts.

David Freeman

And if you’re enjoying Life Time Talks, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to rate and review, and share on your social channels too.

Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks.

Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time, healthy way of life. It’s produced by Molly Schelper, with audio engineering by Peter Perkins, and video production by Kevin Dixon, Coy Larson, and the team at LT Motion. A big thank you to the team who pulls together each episode, and everyone who provided feedback.

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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