What’s up everybody, and welcome to the fit to fat to fit experience podcast. I’m your host drew Manning. Now. I’m flying solo today. Uh, and today have a special episode for you guys with dr Kate Hendricks. Thomas who is a PhD. Uh, she’s a health educator and assistant professor at Charleston Southern university. She teaches for the school’s health promotion program and she coauthored the just role that wellness journal once a captain in the U S Marine Corp. Today. Kate is a leading expert on resilience and stress management. Her work explicitly focuses on healthy transitions for military, for military veterans. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, her beautiful wild baby, and the great Dane who dotes on him. Um, her website is doctor is a Kate Hendricks, thomas.com. Um, the reason I brought her on is cause I think she brings a unique perspective to health and fitness.
Uh, being, uh, an ex or a former being a former us Marine and uh, her a unique, um, story there I think gives her um, uh, a great perspective on, um, a balanced lifestyle, especially post-war, um, as a, uh, military veteran. Um, she’s a great asset I think that a lot of us can learn from. So that’s the reason I brought her on. In today’s episode, we dive into a lot of the mental and emotional side of, of fitness and the things that she’s learned from being in combat and uh, how she’s dealt with her own PTSD and things that have helped her including yoga and her own fitness routine specifically. And, um, we talk about a lot of mental and emotional things that all of us can apply in our lives to live a healthier, balanced lifestyle. I think you’ll really enjoy this episode with her.
But first, before we dive into today’s episode, today’s sponsor of the show is dollar workout club.com. Now, for those of you who don’t know what dollar workout club.com is, it’s an online fitness platform that me, Lynn and Natalie Hodson all created where you get access to five at home workout videos that can be done at any fitness level. And all the workouts are about 10 to 20 minutes long, very high intensity. Uh, our philosophy is working out smarter, not longer. So you don’t need to spend hours in the gym. Um, you get, so you get five new at home workout videos every single week. If you get five new healthy recipe videos every single week, and you get five new motivational videos that tackle things that we all have to deal with on a physical, mental, and emotional level. And so basically you, you get access to these 15 new videos of content every single week and all you pay just $1.
That’s why it’s called dollar workout club. So it’s a dollar per week to access to high quality content, 15 videos. Um, I think you’ll really enjoy it. Uh, go check it out. A dollar workout club.com. And if you follow us on Facebook, go check out our Facebook page because each week we released a new free workout that you can see what it’s like before you can test it out before you actually subscribe to the program. So check out our workout videos. I think really enjoy them. Everyone will, um, they’re for all fitness levels and we’re very, very proud of this high quality content that we deliver to you firstname.lastname@example.org. All right you guys, let’s go hang out with dr Kate Hendricks. Thomas
Alright, Kate Hendricks. Thomas, thank you so much for joining me here on the Fitbit fit experience podcast. How are you doing today?
I’m so well thank you for having me.
Yeah, no, my pleasure. I know this has been a long time coming. Um, I, I talked to you what like three months ago, two months ago now and here we are finally getting the podcast. So thank you so much for joining us. Now where we’re in the country, are you?
So we, I am in Charleston, South Carolina.
And how long have you been out there for?
I moved here from Alabama two years ago to take a job at Charleston Southern university. We’re a little liberal arts college, um, in this beautiful city by the sea. And, uh, it’s been a great experience. We’ve, we’ve really enjoyed the move. That’s awesome. So you’re originally from the South? No, I’m originally from Minnesota, but there’s a, a big, but at the end of that I was, I was a military dependent growing up. So my dad was in the Marine Corps and we moved every two years. Um, I went to college. The longest I ever lived anywhere was Virginia for four years of undergrad. So I sort of claim Virginia, but I don’t have from,
you know, I kind of feel the same way. I mean, I didn’t grow up in a military family, but I grew up in San Diego toast 13. Then I moved to Virginia till I was 19, and then I went to Brazil and then Utah and then Chicago, and then Utah again, like I’ve been all over to, I’m like, I don’t know where I’m from, but just all around so I can relate to that.
Yeah, I mean home is where you choose to make it. So we’re, we’re still trying to still trying to settle in and become South Carolinians.
I like it. So tell, introduce yourself a little bit to my audience, tell us a little bit about your background, your story and then we’ll get into your book and discuss some of your philosophies.
Wonderful. Well, I am a current assistant professor of health promotion and I am a former personal trainer and yoga teacher, Pilates pro. Um, before that I was an officer of Marines. I served six years on active duty in the Marine Corps and I, it was a wandering path. I realized, as I say, as I list all of those jobs there, um, I was wandering and I was lost. So there was, there was no great literary purpose there. Um, but I am teaching now and I spend my time working with, um, military veterans on mental health promotion. The reason I do it is because I did a terrible job leaving the Marine Corps and finding a new identity and I absolutely feel passionate about helping stay healthy through that process.
Yeah. I actually want to talk to you about that cause I know there’s a lot of veterans that listen to my podcasts. Can you talk a little bit about that transition, how it is for a veteran going from, you know, veteran life to all of a sudden civilian life and why it’s so difficult for so many veterans?
Well, what’s interesting is we always think about, we always think about, well, the problems that service members face must be combat related. We’ve been at war for the last 15 years, but the data show us that there’s nothing more stressful than the first six months after we separate from active duty service strictly because it’s a total life upheaval. Your employment goes away, your tribe goes away, your, all of your, your trusted social support networks change. Um, you become a minority in civilian culture. I mean less than 1% of the American population. Um, you know, has, has served on active duty and it’s a really lonely time and it, and it can be very, very challenging to navigate in a healthy way, particularly because we tend to be an intense and um, sometimes sensation seeking, willing to take risks, type of culture. So we’re willing to, we’re willing to self medicate rather than ask somebody for help maybe a little bit too easily.
Yeah. And you talked about that in your books, your book brave, strong, true. Thank you for sending it to me by the way. Loved it. Um, and, and you kind of talk about that in your book. Here you are a veteran and you know, it’s difficult to admit that you’re a human right. You talk about that a little bit, you know, as being a veteran and being in war, sometimes you are supposed to be like kind of like this perfect machine. I, I have no fear. I have no worries. And I’m on the outside. You know, you’re supposed to be the strong, resilient person. But in reality you are human. And, um, can you talk to us about why it was so difficult for you personally and why you felt like you were both, you know, wandering and loss, like you say, cause not all who wander are lost. Right. I love that quote.
I do too. I tell ya, I, I really, I use the word veneer and I think this isn’t just military culture. I mean I think a lot of professionals get used to putting on a show of I know what I’m talking about at all times. I look good, smell good at all times. I’ve got it together. Um, and we get used to showing that public mask to the world. Um, some in some cultures, you know, I think fitness culture that’s reinforced, um, socially. So when you do start to struggle with transition, it can be really tough to admit that you’re struggling. And that was me to a T I M w I got out of the military, I felt, um, I felt lost professionally. I felt like I had lost my purpose driven work. I actually moved right into working in the fitness industry because I loved fitness. But if you actually looked at the way I practiced fitness at that time, everything was overly intense. You ran until you threw up, you lifted weights until you injured yourself, you, everything was just so out of balance. Um, so for me, when I started to realize I was on shaky ground, I didn’t have the skills to reach a handout and, and ask somebody to share their experience or let me talk to them about what was going on. I was just so invested in that veneer.
Yeah, that’s, that’s a great word to use. And I love that you, you talk about that. What exactly did you do in the fitness industry? You said you were a personal trainer, but you also have a background in exercise science, right? Was it the after the Marine Corps?
Uh, Nope. I got my, I got my degree before joining the Marine Corps and I had a sociology and a and an exercise science degree. Um, and I got group exercise, instructor certifications and personal trainer certifications. And I always kind of kept my toe in that water as a hobby when time allowed. Um, I was, I loved being an athlete. I loved being around the sneakers and spandex gym rat crowd. I just, I really enjoyed it. So when I left I S I worked for a large, um, Globo gym franchise as a fitness director. And I enjoyed, I had a team of trainers and you know, we were working on growing, um, our staff and our service offerings. It was really fun. It was enjoyable. Um, and then I decided I wanted to move into, you know, I was, I was working and I wanted to save up for graduate school, so I wanted to move a little bit into the higher end market.
So I started working more in, in boutique fitness. Um, and I looked around one day and I remember thinking this, if you could afford me, you didn’t really need me. And I, I realized that I, I was struggling with purpose, um, in the, in the higher end fitness realm. One of the things I loved about, um, being on active duty was I never wondered why I was there. I was there for my Marines, I was there for my people. Um, and I started to wonder, uh, although I loved it personally in, in probably self abusive fashion. I don’t know if I felt enough, you know, service service opportunity.
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. So, um, I kinda wanna talk, go back to what you talked about, about balance. Um, you, I can relate to you as a trainer of that mentality of pushing people to the brink, you know, and just pushing them to, and even yourself too, right? I mean, that type of discipline, um, can definitely has its benefits, but at the same time it kinda throws you out of balance. And I can, I can totally relate to that. So what, um, what helped you transition as a trainer for example, of, of, of that mentality to all of a sudden a balanced approach? Cause I know in your book you talked about, I think you’re in Minnesota, you were part of this global gym and you just took all these classes, you know, water aerobics and um, I don’t know, what else did you take? I’m trying to remember what else. Other classes.
I was doing a lot of step aerobics and you know, old school Jazzercise, I mean you name it. I was doing it cause I was snowbound I couldn’t, I couldn’t just go run the roads and that was always my go to. Um, so I had to get creative and it was, I wound up in such great balance shape. Um, it was a really powerful lesson for me to realize that stuff I had always poo-pooed because you don’t typically vomit when you get all feel a little bit lyrical trainers. So was that really worth my time? Well, lo and behold, when I ran a time to 5k, you know, a month later, it had absolutely been more than worth my time. Um, I’ve injured myself before. I’m trying to, so one of the ways I, I deal with stress or in the past I dealt with stress in extreme such, you know, in extreme way. So, um, going through the dissolution of a personal relationship, uh, um, I decided to work out three times a day and one afternoon I was hungry and moving fast and I slipped a disc in my back. I had terrible form and I did it to myself, but that landed me in a physical therapist clinic and then on a yoga mat and I learned to breathe and it changed everything.
That is so cool. And it’s interesting to see, you know, hindsight is always 20, 20. It’s interesting to see, like looking back at your life, you can connect the dots so much easier. Like this happened for a reason, but at the time you’re like, why did this have to happen to me? Why did I have to slip a disc? And you know, uh, but at the end of the day, that led you, that transitioned you into yoga and which helped you to learn how to breathe. Let’s talk about that specifically, that transition in your life. Um, and how that was a benefit. At the end of the day.
I would, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world because it was my first encounter with mindful movement. Um, and I talk about mindful movement men as being a self care practice because you’re not just exercising, you’re not just moving your body, you’re not just correcting muscular imbalances. You’re also deescalating your hyped up nervous system. So it’s a really beautiful thing and it’s different for everybody. You know, some people trail running with their dog that’s mindful movement. Some people it’s, it’s a yoga class. Oh, I know a lot of people who say swimming. Um, whereas I’m just trying not to drown while I swim. Uh, but so whatever it is, where you feel that click, that exhale, that connection, that connection on a deeper level, I think that’s where real balanced wellness and self care come into play. And I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed reading your book so much is you know, you can, you can make it in the, you can make it in any fitness arena. I mean, nobody would ever question your ability to knock a pull ups, but you also get the deeper level, you know, the, the emotional and the social and the stress management levels that make a balanced wellness practice. I had to learn that by, you know, really ruining my back.
that’s unfortunate. But the, I’m kinesthetic like that.
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting how we learn lessons in different ways. And um, it sounds like you that was a blessing in disguise at the end of the day because that led you down a different path. And now does that, does that, um, help you help others differently now that you’ve been through that? I, and, and if so, how?
Well, I’m really passionate now. I work in academia, so I’m an educator, but I, I do public health and health promotion. I’ve never, I’ve never left behind my love for fitness and wellness, but I’m able, as a behavioral health researcher, I am able to kind of infuse all of my research and practice with those experiences. So, um, when I’m designing curriculum to help military veterans who are right in the middle of that transition stress period, I’m able to bring in my story, my background, my Hey, by the way, these are mistakes, don’t, don’t emulate these. Um, and then I’m able to teach them the specific techniques that have helped me do things in more balanced fashion later. And I don’t want to claim perfection because it’s a constant course correction, rudder steer lifestyle. Well we call them practices, self care practices, um, because there’s something you have to stay on and keep on. But um, I love helping other people work on their own self awareness so that hopefully they cultivate it before they’re on their knees, you know, with an injury using language in the middle of a gym.
Yeah. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Cause one of your chapters in your book is, you know, dealing with, uh, mental fitness and dealing with stress. Cause I think that your book is great, uh, obviously for helping military veterans but can also be applied to your just average Joe. I think. So let’s talk about some of your tips that you can, uh, your techniques that you would recommend for people who have a stressful life. I mean, let’s be honest, your average American doesn’t have near the amount of stress that most, let’s say military veterans have to deal with. But stress is stress at the end of the day. And you know, for everybody, their stresses, their stress and it’s real for them. Like we’re not trying to compare, you know, stresses who has, who has a more stressful life. Right? But at the end of the day, what are some techniques that, you know, everybody can, can take away from this and apply in their lives?
Well, I like to talk about three umbrella concepts that help anybody build their resilience and to be resilient makes you a better parent, a better partner, a better friend, a better professional. I mean it’s useful no matter what phase of life you find yourself in. And I talk about it in terms of self care practices, which we’ve kind of discussed as being managing your stress, treating, treating your body well, what you feed it, how you move it, how you take care of it. Um, but a huge one and really the place you have to start is social support cultivation. So finding that healthy, trusted tribe to support you on that journey and challenge you on that journey. Um, we’re wired to connect with God and with each other and it’s incredibly important. Nothing will kill you faster than loneliness, honestly. Um, the, the data show us that you can, you can split it but don’t be lonely. Um, and then finally, spiritual practices. So whatever those look like for you, invest some time there. There are very real physiological benefits to asking yourself the big questions and spending some time, um, looking at that and finding a little bit of peace and a little bit of connectivity. And it’s really exciting because it’s simple stuff, but it completely changes the way you’re able to show up on a day to day basis. It changes the way you’re able to handle your toddler pooping in the tub. I mean it’s absolutely life changing.
Yeah, the struggle is real. Oh my gosh, that’s such a true story for a lot of people. That is so funny. I love those, those tips and advice cause I talk about that in my book too. I’m a big fan of finding your support system because you know it’s going to help you in all facets of life, not just fitness or weight loss. You know, having that support system to help you with the transition in your life or with struggles in your life. Is that cause I think the support system support system does two things. One, it gives you a balance of a kick in the butt when you need it. Like you need to push in the right direction of sometimes like tough love, but also encouragement and empathy and love and support to let you know that you’re worth it to make these changes to be a better person.
And I think that’s what a support system does for people. And then also the second thing you talked about was, um, kind of, you know, finding inner peace and, and, uh, your own, uh, spiritual practices to help you on an inner level because at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to make the decisions, right? Your support system can’t make the decisions for you. And, uh, you know, whether that’s, you know, daily prayer or daily meditation or breathing, uh, finding that inner peace and, and, and, um, like you said, there’s nothing that will kill you quicker than loneliness, but that doesn’t mean being alone, right? There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Right? I think getting to a place where you can be alone but not feel lonely is great. And that’s one thing I’ve struggled with personally. I’ll be honest, you know, talking about this to everybody is I’ve struggled my whole life with being alone.
I’ve always hated it. I’ve always disliked being by myself until just recently, probably the past year. And I’ve implemented a daily meditation routine and positive affirmations. And those are some things that have helped me to deal with that transition. Um, and you kind of talked about, um, some things that people can do as well, which I think is great. So thank you so much for, for reinforcing this and talking about this. Cause here’s the thing, and I think you’ll agree with me, you know, coming from the fitness industry is that, you know, you can get people meal plans and workouts and all the physical aspects of weight loss, but unless they understand their mental and emotional challenges, that’s where people struggle. That’s where people struggle with making it a lifestyle change. Anybody can do like a 60 day or, or a three month crash course diet, but then how do they maintain that lifestyle over time? Right? I mean, I’m sure you can agree with me on that, right?
Absolutely. I think it has to come, it has to come from a deeper why. And if you don’t have that, nothing you’re doing is sustainable. Um, it just isn’t.
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I agree with that 100%. Okay. Let’s go back to your book a little bit and the, the last two chapters, the way forward and resilient leadership, um, these, these two chapters kind of talk about some solutions, right? Cause in the book you talk about all the problems that veterans have to deal with and um, but in the last two chapters, you kind of sum it up and give some of your solutions for some of these problems. Can we speak to those a little bit? And I like specifically you talking about veterans helping veterans and all kind of relate to that, um, on a personal lover level after you, you kind of talked about those two chapters first, if that’s okay.
That’s exciting actually. Um, I love knowing people relate to things. So I believe so strongly. I’m a public health professional. And when you work with any community, if you can have, um, health education be peer led, it’s going to be so much more impactful. I mean, think about, think about just yourself in middle school. Your mother could tell you something or your cool friend could tell you something. I mean, and that’s it’s just how we are as people. Um, I believe so strongly that, you know, I joke about being, you know, old with all these injuries, but I still have something to offer the young men and women who are standing watch today and that’s my duty to, to share what I know. Um, and I feel that it’s really incumbent upon us institutionally to stop talking about re-integration after the fact. I mean, we always focus on post-incident.
We always focus on the treatment sector. Is there enough counseling and therapy for, for military personnel? That’s, that can’t be the whole question. That can’t be it. We have to be weaving these skill development practices into entry-level training. You need to be learning to meditate in bootcamp. I need to be checking to see if you’re doing it regularly and I can do that. I can, you know, whether it’s something as simple as checking your salivary cortisol levels, I can see if you have been regularly training your nervous system to deescalate on command so we can make these performance metrics, we can weave it into the culture. And when you do that, you get over all the stigma, you know? Oh that’s, that’s weak malingering, hippy woo stuff. When you make it testable, when you make it something we’re all training to when I can check to see if you’re less stressed out than I am. All of a sudden you start speaking the military language, you’ve got competitive individualists and I know you get this coming from the fitness world.
Yeah, I know. And I do. And that’s wow, that’s so, so powerful. Um, specifically what you talked about, you know, dealing with after the fact, you know, after, instead of using prevention methods to help people deal with these things that are going to be, that we know are going to be a problem. And man, that is so, that is so powerful in my opinion. And I really do hope that you can move a lot of these things forward because you know, from the outside perspective, like you said, people are going to look at this and be like, Oh, that’s, you know, that’s hippie talk. That’s kind of weird booboo stuff. But if you can make it measurable and show data that supports these claims, I think more and more people will buy into it. And I think we’re shifting towards that. I mean, I don’t, I’m not in the military, I don’t know the mentality there of implementing these kinds of things. But I’m assuming more and more people are open to it, especially if you can show real data. Right?
I think any of us, you need to show us the numbers. And quite frankly, that’s why I went, went to get my doctorate. Um, you have to be able to empirically validate the program you’re suggesting. And that’s what we’re working to do with a strong enough body of evidence that the department of defense says, okay, that’s worth doing.
So how does, so you talked about salivary cortisol levels. What other, um, things can you measure inside the body to show that these methods are beneficial to people?
Well, we call them, um, we call them biofeedback mechanisms and some are very simple, like a little, you know, saliva swab. Some of them are a little more complicated, like a functional MRI or, or brain scan and to, you can actually see when somebody regulates or when somebody regulates their nervous system regularly, you can see the front part of their grain brain where we have working memory capacity. You can see it grow. So that’s not really scalable. Um, you know, again, I think we’re talking about simpler measures, but you can do some, the data that we’re collecting now does these really, really, uh, cannot argue with them metrics. Uh, so it’s pretty exciting.
Wow. That is so cool. Um, are you going to publish any of this or is there, I mean who you look at working with too, um, to show this, this data?
Well, I have published some of it in military behavioral health, the California journal of health promotion. We’ve got some more research under review right now with um, you know, different peer reviewed journals. Um, but I work with a lot of really wonderful nerds who are passionate this and you know, a lot of us are veterans, you know, nerdy veterans who went back to school, uh, and, and have good reasons for caring about this. What is fun is to look at success exemplars in the nimble nonprofit world. I like to call it the nimble nonprofit world cause they’re there. They were doing this stuff and training people five years ago. Um, so it’s a lot of fun to look at organizations like, uh, team Rubicon and team red, white and blue, that are arranging the situation for re-integrating veterans to be able to kind of cultivate their social support and find higher purpose. Um, I have a lot of hope for the future. Quite frankly. I think we get smarter every day, but I also think that these tactics are useful for anybody. You know, now I’m a civilian teacher with a kid and a dog, but it’s useful for me still. Um, and, and that’s, that’s where the power lies.
Do you think this would have made a difference for you? Had you had this knowledge before? This might be an obvious question or you know, would this have helped you going through the Marine Corps and having this knowledge beforehand?
Yes, and that’s one of the things I had a hard time doing in the book, but I knew I had to do if I was going to be honest. I don’t know if you would have liked me that much. 10 years ago I was intense, emotionally reactive. Um, I was just, I was a little wound up would be a kind way of saying it. Uh, I would have been a completely different person. I would have made, uh, I think many, many smarter choices, but I don’t regret learning the hard way. I just, I wish I had been more balanced in my approach to resilient wellness.
So here’s my controversial
question for you for the day. Hopefully my Kate. But looking back at it, would, would that have affected you as a Marine, like on the battlefield having this knowledge? Would that have affected you? And is there a reason why this stuff isn’t in place for a reason? And I’m just, I’m trying to play devil’s advocate. What’s your opinion? Well, I think that’s important because what we need to emphasize as we talk about this programming is that it is Spartan samurai warrior culture. It is completely useful, appropriate. Uh, these are great training techniques that real warrior cultures have employed throughout, throughout history. Um, we really need to divorce these concepts from, you know, from the fringes, the Woodstock fringes or something. Um, it would’ve made me a better leader. I would have been more authentic. I would have been so much, I think less I would have been more self aware and less concerned about always looking like I knew what I was talking about. There were so many times if I had just listened more, talked less, asked a few questions, you know, been vulnerable with people, I would have been a better Marine officer.
So, interesting. I love the word vulnerability and I, you know, I’m a big fan of it. Whereas before, you know, I think in our culture and our society, even outside of the military for men specifically, but also for women, vulnerability is seen as a weakness. Whereas later on in life we realize, man, vulnerability really does make you stronger in the end. I was just curious to know if there’s room for vulnerability in the military and it sounds like there is from your, from your experience, right? To a certain degree maybe. Right. I mean, I don’t know about specifics
and I think it’s all about, it’s all about making it culturally palatable. So no, there will never be kumbaya cry Fest. You know, that. And that’s not, that’s not the direction we want to go. But something as simple as when we take recruits to the rifle range, we teach them to deescalate their nervous system by controlling their breathing. The reason we do that is they, they shoot better, you know? So if, if can tie these practices to performance enhancement, it makes them desirable at an institutional community and individual level. Uh, these are, these are cool things to do because they make us better. They make us better service members.
That is so cool man. I love hearing more about this. Um, this world of, of the military veterans and learning as much as I can because I haven’t had any experience, but we, I think as as non, you know, military veterans need to understand this, this world that exists out there and we unfortunately, if you don’t have any experience, if you don’t know someone personally, you’re kind of foreign to these things and you’re like, Oh well why is it an issue? Or why is it a problem? And this is what I kind of want to get into was it was empathy and um, and I feel like this is where, you know, your story, your philosophy is kind of relate to my brand a fit to fit in the whole empathy factor of it all. You know, for example, veterans helping veterans, you understand the real problems that other veterans go through.
And here you are now having seen the problems firsthand and after, after that life. Here you are trying to help out with those real world problems. And I think there’s a big, there’s something very big to say about you having the understanding of that empathy cause you know, these things would have helped you. And I mean I, here I am trying to relate this to, you know, fitness fitness for example, but it really, it’s kind of, it’s similar. It’s a similar concept. And my philosophy as a personal trainer before has totally shifted now having done fit to fat to fit, even though it was a small little experiment for six months, it gave me such a better understanding of verse of where my clients were coming from. In no way will I ever completely know what someone who is obese, who’s been obese for years and years will ever go through.
You know, my six months of doing fit at the fit of gaining that weight, uh, was my own personal story and it, but man, it was so humbling. It opened up my eyes to this world that I had no idea existed. I mean the emotional connection to food. I had no idea why it was so hard for people to let go of soda or junk food until I did fit that fit and had a better understanding of that emotional connection. And I came out of it a better man, a better human, and a better trainer at the end of the day. And, and I don’t think everybody needs to go through it, but I think a lot of personal trainers out there could benefit from this experience. And that’s why the whole TV show and this fit to fat to fit movement that I like to call it, I think is really bridging the gap that exists out there between these skinny fit people and people who are overweight. And there’s a lot of judgment that goes on both on both sides of the spectrum. And my goal is to bridge that gap with this fit to fat to fit movement. Not sure if that makes any sense, but
no, it does. And that’s why I think one of the reasons I loved your book was the real wistfully emotional way. You talked about your darn cat. It wasn’t Kevin crunch, it was cinnamon toast crunch. I mean, that came through and I love this quote and it says beautiful people aren’t born, they’re made. I don’t think empathy is, I don’t think it’s cultivated. I mean we have a certain amount of it naturally, but it’s kind of a trainable thing. Um, if you read the work of dr Bernay Brown, um, you said you like the word vulnerability, you’re probably a fan talks about how empathy is trainable and teachable and we have to, we have to grow it consciously. And that’s what you did by saying, I will spend a period of time walking in your shoes, even though I know that’s not really socially acceptable.
And I know it’s scary. Um, and I will miss my cinnamon toast crunch. And there’s something that people connect with that, I mean there’s, there’s, uh, a good humor there. I think that’s important and especially in the aesthetic driven fitness industry, I think, I think it’s powerful. I think it’s really, really powerful. I, I want to share with your audience that I showed episode one. Uh, drew spoke with my students, um, over Skype and they couldn’t ask him enough questions and then I showed them episode one intending to turn it off. But they were weeping and having this real reaction to the show. So we had to watch the whole thing. I had to redo my syllabus, but it was worth it. People connect with it and get it and,
okay. So shifting gears a little bit here, I’m want to talk to you a little bit about what your fitness routines are now and how you implement a healthy lifestyle now versus before when you were kind of hardcore.
Well, okay, so you’re not allowed to judge me for this,
judge. You, unless you eat cinnamon toast crunch, then I’ll be jealous.
No, no. I’m wearing a cast right now, a walking cast because I, I, I self-induced a partial Achilles rupture because I was running and it started to hurt and I said, just train through it. You don’t, you don’t need to fix this or slow down and just train through it. So I try to train through it for four months. So it’s one of those situations where you’re constantly course correcting and my crazy pants over intensity is never going to leave me completely. So I’m doing a lot of yoga right now. Um, but pretty soon I will be back to a nice mix of, uh, I do a lot of circuit weight training and yoga because that keeps my, that keeps my back out of pain. My back is my Canary and uh, every now and again I still do something stupid and hurt myself. I haven’t left that mind.
No. But you know, there was a great lesson here for all of us and that is just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can still do something right. I mean just breeding practices and yogas is pretty much what you’re limited to now. Right?
Absolutely. And it’s probably what I need to be doing all the time.
Yeah. Your body is probably telling you you need to take a break and stop pushing yourself so hard right now. That’s really interesting cause for me I still have that mentality of pushing myself really hard and, but my, my, my focus has shifted over the years since before fit, before fit to fat to fit until now of, you know, pushing myself to the limits of where I need to be. Like before I’m like, okay, I got to have a perfect body, I got to focus on the physique. Whereas now I don’t train nearly as hard to be honest with you because my focus is more about longevity and health. But I mean obviously I do like to work out and I know that it will lead to having a nice body. But my, I try to not have my focus on my physical form because that’s not the definition of who I am in my opinion. And so for me, I have shifted gears, um, over the years as far as like, okay, do I need to push this hard? And I’ll be honest, when I was doing CrossFit, have you ever done CrossFit?
I have. I went through a minor addiction phase.
You know, I think it’s a great program for former athletes or former military veterans in my opinion, because it kind of gives you that sense of competition and which is good for some people. For some people it’s bad, especially if they’re going to push themselves to the brink and rupturing their Achilles. Right.
I don’t, yeah, I don’t belong there. I, um, I don’t have the shutoff brain
or something. No, I totally get it. So, um, anyways, I kind of took a break from it and that’s now being here in Hawaiian, I don’t do CrossFit as much. Um, but anyways. Um, what about nutrition? What do you, you know, you being in, you know, teaching a health class at your school, what do you talk about as far as nutrition and what are your philosophies on nutrition?
Um, I would definitely say we approach it from a holistic standpoint. We do a lot of behavioral health tracking, trying to make little changes add in. Um, we try to, we try to stay really reasonable. Uh, when we, when we talk about this with our health education professionals, um, understanding that the classroom is diverse and everybody’s in a completely different place. Um, we talk specifically about trying to set up your day to day so that the healthy choices are the easy choices. So something as simple as I hard boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night so that if a morning is crazy, I can just grab a couple of them. Um, makes a healthy choice, an easy choice. And then that’s really how we try to approach it. So no calorie counting or anything of that nature. The focus is on how does the food make you feel, how does, um, how does it help you perform? Not what does it do to your dairy air.
That is fun to share. That is funny. No, that’s a great piece of advice. Like the boy thing that doesn’t, the eggs and having those things ready to go. I think that easier you can make healthy food. The more accessible you can make it, uh, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Cause I think the problem with our society is it’s set up to where the junk food, the fast food is set up to be more convenient. And we’re a society of convenience. I mean, let’s be honest, we love convenient things and if we can make the healthy food more convenient, then we’re, you know, we’re headed in the right direction. I mean, it does, it’s not guaranteeing that you’re going to eat that food, but if you can just make it more convenient and that’s why I’m a big fan of meal prepping your meals on Sunday night, for example, or, or spending five minutes every night before you go to bed, getting your meals ready for the next day, you’ll be so much better off because what you’re doing is making the healthy food more convenient than the unhealthy food.
I think it’s vital. I agree with you.
Yeah, that is so cool. Um, man, I would love to talk to you so much more about, uh, nutrition specifically and how that actually, uh, you know, um, affects us on a biological and spiritual level and emotional level too. And hormonally too. Um, but we’re kind of running short on time. I did want to, uh, get into the lightning round, and I know you’ve heard this before. Are you okay with doing it?
Now I don’t have Len here to do the questions, but I created them myself and they are, they’re going to be pretty funny, I hope.
Okay. So the first question for you, Kate, is what is your favorite unhealthy food you’re treating?
Oh, so many. So many chocolate pie. Ooh, chocolate pie. That sounds delicious. Now do you make your own chocolate pie or do you go out and buy? They use Graham Cracker crust and the cook and serve jello pudding and whipped cream. It’s not fancy, but it’s delicious. That sounds awesome. When’s the last time you made it? Oh goodness. It’s been a little while. I think my husband’s birthday. Okay. And when was that? Back in January. January 8th. I just remember that. Right.
Okay. What is your favorite TV show other than fit to? To fit? I know that’s your favorite TV show. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show that you watch?
Sorry, I’m very addicted right now.
Ooh. Okay. I’ve heard good things about that. I haven’t watched it yet though. Okay. What is one thing you can’t live without other than you know, your family and you know, those kinds of, you know, typical answers. What is one thing you can’t live without?
I am an animal person and even when it’s completely not easy to do, so I always have a pet, usually a large breed dog. Do you have a dog right now? Yeah, we have a great Dane grow that is pretty big. And you know, she thinks she’s a person so she’s not a convenient animal. Um, but you know, she’s much loved.
Okay. What is your, you’re doing, you’re doing really good here by the way.
What is your most embarrassing moment during yoga? Something that either happened to you or someone else in your, in one of your yoga classes?
I was, I know exactly which one this is. I was teaching a class, a new woman came to a class full of regulars and kept breaking wind, but acted like she didn’t hear it, didn’t acknowledge it. I mean, it happens, you can acknowledge it, but it was just awkward because she wasn’t acknowledging it and it was repeated and she kept doing it the time. I didn’t even know how to handle that. That is so funny. I imagine it would be something like that. Yeah. Yes. To each their own, I guess. Right. We can all laugh about it, but you have to, you know, you have to acknowledge it and she was doing it repeatedly and playing it off. That is so funny. What is it, what is the, the last, um, or what’s, what’s your favorite workout song to listen to while you’re working out? Uh, I go with lady Gaga and stuff, you know, just silly pop music stuff. Okay.
That’s no that we can’t go wrong with lady Gaga. I’ll admit I even listened to lady Gaga. Hopefully I don’t lose my man card for admitting that, but I know she’s talented. I give her that.
Have you ever been overweight in your life? Like, like 50 plus pounds overweight?
Uh, never. No. I’ve been, I’ve been higher than I’ve wanted to be. Yes.
Okay. Sure. Would you ever do a fit, fit, fit experience?
I think I would have to. I’d have to be re I’d have to get over some serious fears. I think I’d be afraid that I wouldn’t be able to lose the weight.
Okay. And that’s a real fear. I mean, I had the same, I had the same fear. So basically I’m asking you to try out for season two.
Okay. All right.
Somebody like you. No, I’m just kidding. No, it’s not, it’s not a serious question, but I mean, I really like to ask people, do they think they could do it? Especially if they’ve never really been, you know, 50 plus pounds overweight. So yeah, it would be scary. And for women, let’s be honest, it is, it is scarier. You know, on a physiological level it’s more difficult and it affects your hormones.
Well, and there’s so much social capital that comes with being, you know, fitting a given aesthetic as a woman. And it becomes scary to think about what, what you lose, uh, professionally, personally.
But w you know, here’s the other way to look at it too is like you seem the type that seems disciplined enough to accept the challenge, take it on and you know, overcome that challenge, right?
Yes. I just, I’m, I’m, I’m literally, it’s, it would literally be scary because, you know, it’s w I, we were talking about having, having little ones and really trying to prioritize your own health and fitness. Like the episode was Tasha. She had a hard time prioritizing herself and I would be afraid that I’d have a long struggle ahead of me and I can’t guarantee that I’d have the prioritization time. I’m scared. I’m, I’m audibly scared.
Okay. Now I’m not, I went, I went and forced you to do this, but if you did it, it would be awesome.
You’re a brave man. I will say that. And that’s why it’s so powerful. That’s why it’s so powerful.
Well, thank you. Thank you so much Kate. And, uh, where before we conclude here, where can people find you? Your book, your website, you on social media, all of that. I’m going to put all that in the show notes
your fault. So my website is www dot Kate Hendricks, thomas.com. You can learn more about the book at brave strong, true.com and I’m on Twitter at precision. Well
precision. Well, okay, so you’re not on Instagram or Snapchat or
no, no, I’m old.
That’s okay. I just recently got on Snapchat a few months ago. I’m still learning how to use it. It’s kind of weird, but Instagram I is, is, has been one of my favorite ones to use. But anyways, uh, Kate, thank you so much for coming on again. I really, really appreciate you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for what you do for so many people. Um, keep on inspiring others and um, we will, uh, talk to you again soon. Thank you for having me. It was such a pleasure. No, my pleasure, Kate.
all right, you guys, thank you so much for listening to another great episode here on the fit perfect fit experience podcast. Um, I really hope you enjoy this episode with dr K Hendrix Thomas and I hope you guys enjoy me. Bringing the veterans on cause I think they have done so much for our country and I definitely want to include them in the conversation, especially when it comes to not just physical health but mental and emotional health, which I think a lot of is can learn some valuable lessons from um, uh, military veterans. And so I’m very proud to bring these, these types of guests on. Um, I would love to hear back from you guys though on what other types of guests you guys want to have, uh, on the show and other people that we should interview in the fitness realm and um, or even in the non fitness realm for that matter.
You know, somebody that’s outside of this, uh, outside of this industry that brings a different perspective, uh, to the game I think is can be very valuable. So let me know, follow me on social media. You guys, all my handles are at fit to fat to fit with a number two in between there. My website is fit to fat to fit.com. Uh, you can sign up for my newsletter there to stay in the know on, you know, pop up upcoming podcast episodes and uh, the TV show for example, and speaking engagements and events that I’ll be at. Uh, so definitely follow me on social media. Send it for my newsletter. You guys, uh, Lynn who’s out here. Her website is the number two email@example.com and all of her social media handles social media handles are at to fit at home as well. If you want to reach out to her, um, we definitely would love to hear from you guys. Please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave us a review there. We really, really appreciate you guys being a part of the fit to add fit experience podcast and, uh, let’s, let’s do this together. Let’s, let’s embrace this healthier lifestyle change and, um, let’s, uh, let’s have fun at the same time. You guys, thank you so much for listening.