Today is a special occasion for my blog. I am happy to share my first ever video/interview post. I had the distinct pleasure of catching up with my good friend John Lindsey. John and I first met about 8 years ago in graduate school while we pursued our Master’s of Science in Sports Medicine Degrees. Since then John has become the Director of Fitness at the Ford River and Field House community in coastal Georgia. John has dedicated himself to improving his own life as well as the lives of others through his work. He has refined the practice of moving and exercise into an iron clad routine that has him feeling healthy and happy. I have personally used his program and purchased training sessions with John for both of my parents two Christmases ago. Both my parents and I found the program extremely beneficial. Please take the time to follow John on social media (linked below) and give his website a look if you are interested in learning how to feel great in your own body. Give the video a watch to hear all that we had to say.
Below is the transcript of our conversation for those of you who may wish to translate. (MK is me, JL is John Lindsey)
MK: Hello everyone, this is Matt Kenreich, host of the Happy Together Blog, I am excited to be coming here today because I have a big treat for you all. This is actually my first ever video post, it might be the first time many of you are seeing my face. But rather than talk about a book, or a scientific study, this post is going to be 100% conversational with a good friend of mine, who I will introduce in just a second. After I get around to finishing this session, I am going to post the video as a post on the website and on my social media accounts. I am also going to post a transcript as soon as I have time to transcribe it. That way, those of you who are viewing from other countries, which it seems like is a handful – which I think is awesome – will be able to read the transcript in your native language, if you cant understand the spoken conversation in English.
That being said, let me introduce our guest. Our guest today is named John Lindsey. You can follow him on social media, which I will post a link for that as well: the Movement Journey. I would describe John in many ways. First and foremost he is a former grad school classmate of mine. he and I met at Armstrong State University in Savannah GA, which is now Georgia Southern Savannah. (Truck comes by and makes loud noises). Attending the Master of Sports Medicine program at Armstrong. Since then John has gone on to hold a number of positions in the personal training and fitness world. He is now the fitness director at the Ford Plantation. A community near Savannah, GA. What I think is most exciting, perhaps he would tell you, he has a thriving business in the niche of movement science. I would say he is fast becoming if not already an expert on the subject of movement. I am definitely going to have him talk to us about that today. I am also going to have him talk about the role of health, movement, exercise, and healthy living in their life. So, without further ado, John, welcome to the show.
JL: What’s going on guys, thanks for having me Matt. Excited to chat a little bit.
MK: perfect, we are glad you are here. Its good to see you again, its been a long time.
JL: Yea it has, its good to see your face!
MK: you too man, you too.
So John, you are now at the Ford Plantation in Savannah Georgia as the health and fitness director, is that right?
JL: We actually did a name change. It is the Ford Field and River club now, they determined “plantation” was getting a little risque in the times. It is still the same place.
MK: I respect that, keeping up with the times. Describe the role of health and fitness in your overall sense of wellbeing, your health, your happiness. What does it look like to you?
JL: To me, its essential. For me to have a perfect day there has to be some sort of movement practice, even if I am having a rest day from the structured workout or mobility practice. I still have to do something. At the very least it has to be a really long walk with my wife, or get out on the paddleboards, something. I cannot just sit around and have that day be awesome. It just isn’t going to happen. I know there is so much science to back this up, but the body and mind are so connected. I can sense when my body has moved well in a day that i feel happier, I am cognitively more sharp, which allows for better conversation, with better thoughts of myself. It just makes everything better. If you don’t have an active body you aren’t going to have an active mind. A perfect day for me, there has got to be some sort of movement involved.
MK: sometimes I’ll see your posts and remind myself to get off my ass and go do something. i love that you mention the conversations with yourself. I think the most important thing is the objective but the subjective, do you feel good? If that is how you interpret it? If you feel good, then that’s what it is.
What time of day do you exercise?
JL: Ideally in the morning, but some days I’ll have two sessions. This morning for example I did an upper body push session before work and then some front split mobility work on my lunch break. A lot of times I will have a 2 a day. I always do strength in the morning, and if I have a mobility session I will try and do that during work.
I have to do something, the rest of the day flows better. It gets me fired up and ready for the day.
MK: I was wondering if you did the morning because that’s the only time you have, or because it means something to you to get it done early in the morning so that you can feel better from that point forward.
JL: I can do it after work but I am naturally more lethargic. I have always gone to bed early and woken up early. I think that is the ideal way to sleep, to go to bed just after the sun sets and wake up just a little before it rises. Even if I stay up later to watch a sporting event or my wife forces me to go out, I’m going to get up early and keep that habit. Even if I do a half ass workout, I get it in, it still sets my day up so much better. it can be tough to break your habit.
MK: On the same subject, obviously exercise is part of it. Can you describe your morning and evening routines?
JL: My wife and I get up at 4am, then we both get up and I do functional range conditioning, they have this body routine called controlled articular rotations, it takes seven or eight minutes to move every major joint in the body, do three rotations. I do that every morning (view here). After I do that I brush my teeth and get coffee, then I get in the car and drive to work. I’m there right around 5 in the morning, then I get into the workouts. If I have time I will do a 10-15 minute sauna session then a 3 minute cold shower. Then my workday starts before 7am.
MK: So you are starting your day with movement from the moment you get out of bed.
JL: I’ve been doing that routine for 6 years. I can’t not do it. Its something I encourage everyone to do. It sets you up nicely for the rest of the day to have an active body.
MK: Even if you aren’t the sort of person who wants to wake up and go do a strenuous workout. Waking the body up and getting in touch with your physical self is going to be a really grounding and important experience.
Tell me about nutrition. I notice you didn’t mention breakfast in your morning routine. When do you eat, what do you eat, and how do you choose what to eat?
JL: During the week I don’t eat until I am done with work for the day. I intermittent fast. During the week I eat only 2 meals. I did that by accident, I knew there were benefits to intermittent fasting, especially the cognitive things: sharper, more alert, process thoughts quicker.
A few years ago my wife and I challenged each other. Because I get so busy I just forgot to eat. I also get a little lethargic after I eat. I feel sharper. I need to be on the whole time. If i take a snack break it throws me off. I am a big fan of intermittent fasting.
Nutrition, i flip flop between a few things but I try to eat as little sugar as possible. Nothing with any vegetable oil, no processed foods, and minimal to no gluten. My wife has celiac, since we have been together I have taken gluten out. I instantly get a little bloated when I have gluten. The bulk of my calories are centered around high quality meats. I eat rice, potatoes.
MK: so nothing against carbs, but all the carbs are natural complex carbohydrates, not processed. Do you eat fruit?
(confusion ensues as to whether a plantain is a vegetable or fruit)
JL: blueberries, black berries, grape fruits. I like high meat meals.
MK: Getting back to fitness. Your niche is movement. You are all about extending your range of motion, about moving into new positions etc. How did that type of exercise become your focus?
JL: I am just trying to make my body move better. The overall goal is a body that moves better. I had a revelation that I wasn’t moving well, I couldn’t touch my toes, I couldn’t squat. Chances are after a lower body session I would have back pain. I thought it was ridiculous that I was showing people how to move better and I couldn’t move myself. I went down a rabbit hole of fixing myself and it continues to be an addiction.
MK: I look at you, you seem like you feel amazing all the time. Is that true? Do you have any lingering pain or do you feel good all the time.
JL: One thing I have to be careful about is not taking it too far, or training through soreness. I strained my hamstring and had to take a few weeks off. The more you do this the more aware you become of certain things. I feel like I know my body so well, any minute thing I can pick out and fix.
MK: do you get sick often, or ever?
JL: I don’t even remember the last time I was sick. I had food poisoning from eating some 6 week expired bacon. That was the last time I got sick but that was clearly self inflicted.
MK: Do you drink alcohol anymore?
JL: Oh yea, at least one night a week on the weekends. My wife and I will have a few glasses of wine.
MK: I ask just because people wonder if they need to completely cut alcohol to be healthy.
JL: I avoid it during the week because my routine is so locked that any variable would throw it off.
MK: I noticed you don’t abstain from dessert either.
JL: My wife is a professional chef. Everything is gluten free, nothing is made with refined sugar. Some of it has sugar but its all natural sugar. We have dessert a couple times a week. I wont say its healthy but its as healthy as I can be.
MK: So you recognize that its a deviation but its worth it to enjoy life and not be too spartan in your discipline.
MK: What is the best part of your job.
JL: My in person job at Ford is the people I work with. They are very hard working, smart, and receptive. I introduce a lot of foreign concepts but they are very receptive and willing to take a chance. But they end up seeing value right away. They are a great group of people to work with.
MK: my favorite part of my training job was the people I work with.
JL: eventually I want to have my own business. The hardest part will be giving up all the people I see on a regular basis.
The best part about online is that people want to follow in my footsteps. Even though it isn’t in person, it is nice to work with folks who want to pursue the same thing I am.
MK: one last question, a bit off topic. What book are you reading?