The quest that defined performing at our best
As we ramp up our Live True Challenge and start working with you to create sustainable body transformation and meaningful change, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to share Abby and I’s story behind discovering our passion for the science of nutrition. Also, I’d like to get into our methodology as fitness and eating mentors. This article will be a great way to understand who we are, how we help others achieve their goals, and where we source our knowledge.
Personally, I was born into a world where every day was defined to me as an opportunity to improve. In the highly competitive sport of wrestling, parents spend thousands of dollars each year to enroll their child into the most elite wrestling programs and off-season camps around the country in pursuit of developing the next prodigy in the sport. I was very fortunate in that I had very supportive parents that taught me to “strive for excellence” instead of driving me into rebellion through the relentless push of the perfection. Wrestling earned me a scholarship to a great university and, although my wrestling years are numbered, I continue to pursue competition in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jistu and improve my health and fitness through sound training and eating habits.
Abby had a slightly different upbringing. Like me, her parents were exceptionally supportive with everything she chose to pursue. Although Abby dabbled with a few youth sport programs, she spent much more of her time pursuing the arts, such as music and drama. She went on to go to college and became a personal trainer. Very appropriately, it was at the gym where we met and began working out together.
Since our first meeting, we have always shared our parent instilled quest to “strive for excellence; not perfection” and apply it to health and fitness. Together, we studied under the tutelage of Pavel Tsatsouline’s Russian Kettlebell Challenge (now StrongFirst) back in 2008 in our pursuit of teaching a more functional form of strength training. Hand-in-hand with our strength training, we developed a love for the mobility-enhancing and tension relieving effects of yoga. Abby decided to get certified and began teaching in 2008.
As we developed our physical skills (strength, flexibility, sport, ect) we also experimented with various nutrition programs because we knew at least 70% of what determines body composition is food. We switched from diet to diet with the endless rotating goals of “detoxification” “fat loss” “muscle building” and “eco-friendly.”
Here is a short and incomplete list of some of the diets/lifestyles that we experimented with over the years:
Vegetable Juice Fasting and Detoxification
Vegan and Vegetarian
Traditional (Small meals throughout the day)
…and many more
Long story short: Having a degree in Biology helped me understand which of the concepts from these eating styles are “keepers” and which are questionable at best. Some of these eating styles were successful in the short run. In fact, some of what we learned from these experiments has helped us forge our own unique eating and coaching style today. But, naturally, all of them are incomplete in some way.
Why? Because there is so much more to nutrition than one or two variables. In my opinion you, as a unique person, are not your diet. Nor do you need to let some other person’s set principles designed for the masses run your life. The reality is that nutrition is incredibly vast and each unique individual needs a unique plan to suit their body, mind, and lifestyle. And we discovered this the hard way. No eating style or diet will work in the long run if it is focused on one thing (eliminating carbs, wheat, dairy, meat, or following hypothetical ancient eating patterns, etc) as the culprit for sub optimal health and a sub optimal physique.
We truly discovered this fact when Abby decided to begin competing in physique competitions. During her competition season I developed elaborate calorie loads, macronutrient splits, and carbohydrate cycles designed to build lean, shapely muscle tissue and drop her body fat percentage to shredded proportions. While these painfully detailed meal plans were ultimately successful in her goal of winning and becoming a national level NPC bikini competitor, she found this level of detail and precision to be unsustainable as she transitioned to a normal, healthy, balanced life.
Although we were both getting great body composition results, our quality of life was suffering. Needless to say, something had to change.
During all this time, we both got certified as nutrition consultants with the purpose of helping others pursue their unique health and fitness related goals. We decided to obtain two specific and very different certifications to broaden our knowledge of the practice of nutrition coaching. One certification (CFNS) was very good at teaching us how to develop the simple, yet specific meal plans Abby and many of our “level 3” clients have used to build muscle, lean out, and improve their health biomarkers across the board. The other certification (Precision Nutrition) has developed our ability to work with clients that don’t already have near perfect nutrition habits and need a more refined and sensitive approach. Between these two great certifications and our mountain of practical, applied knowledge we have developed a program we are very proud of.
Some of The key factors we address in our results-driven challenge:
1) What you eat (food quality, nutrient content, and digestibility)
2) How much you eat (calories)
3) When you eat (timing)
4) How you eat (lifestyle factors, relationship with food)
Additionally, we coach emphasizing these five distinguishing qualities:
Healthy: Rebuilding a positive relationship with food is essential. For all of our clients, this is a gradual, progressive, and very rewarding process. The goal of any high quality nutrition plan is to encourage the consumption of high quality, natural foods in a balance that fully nourishes the body and mind.
Effective: Our program is goal oriented and results driven. While reviewing data and numbers is only one aspect of great coaching, they are essential to ensure progress is being made. After every meeting we know exactly how the body has responded to the changes we made, which allows us make modifications when needed. Calculated clarity at it’s finest!
Balanced: We help you reach your goals, but never at the expense of your health or happiness. One key thing that distinguishes our coaching is that we focus on replacement instead of restriction and excellence instead of perfection. This approach translates to a much better overall experience and greater success rate for our clients. Our program is whole-food centric, but never rigid in its approach or judgmental toward our client’s needs, desires, and goals.
Individualized: No generic programs. As with all aspects of the Rebar experience, everything is custom tailored to best suite your unique body and overall goals.
Connected: We are not the type of mentors that create you a program and then say “good luck!” while we cross our fingers and hope for the best. We focus on connecting with our clients and guiding them as both their mentor and friend through their transformation journey.
These are the exact principles that have forged our own ability to find a beautiful combination of performance and balance in our own lives.
The benefit of having more than one way to do things is enormous. This is where our experience and breadth of knowledge has paid off in so many ways. And our clients are the true beneficiaries. While our system is, of course, totally awesome, we also will continue to strive for excellence in understanding the intricate science of human nutrition and developing our nutrition coaching skills for a lifetime! We look forward to being a part of YOUR nutrition journey and hope you’ll join us in our quest for excellence in health and fitness.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know us and we look forward to making meaningful progress together!
In Strength and Balance,