Liz Grantham is the CEO and founder of TheOptimal.me - an online wellness solution targeted towards the GenX and senior community. TheOptimal.me provides users with a collection of proprietary Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs) to increase flexibility, reduce stress, and aid pain management. Liz sits down with Chris Snyder to discuss how COVID-19 and stay at home orders are taking a physical toll on workers and what can be done to prevent this.
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[00:00:44] Hello, everyone. Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder Showdown, President at Juhll Agency and founder of Financial Services Platform Banks.com. On this show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure. Told you the stories of the top entrepreneurs and executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get the unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. Quick message from our sponsor. Juhll is a full service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. To learn more, you can go to Juhll.com. Or you can email me directly. It's Chris@juhll.com. OK. Without further ado, today's guest is Liz Grantham. She is the CEO and founder of TheOptimal.me, an online wellness solution targeted towards the Gen X and senior community. TheOptimal.me provides users with a collection of proprietary integrated movement routines also abbreviated. I am asked to increase flexibility, reduce stress in aid with pain management. Liz is here today to talk and share with us how COVID-19 and stay at home. Orders are taking a physical toll on workers and what can be done to prevent this. Thanks so much for joining us. Liz, welcome to the show.
[00:02:14] Thank you, Chris, it's great to be with you.
[00:02:16] Excellent. Well, first question out of the gate. We ask every guest, tell us a little bit about where you grew up, your upbringing, how you got to where you are today.
[00:02:27] So I grew up I was born in Port Elizabeth, which is a small city in South Africa, and I grew up in South Africa. I went to boarding school. I grew up during apartheid. And, you know, we had a we had a wonderful kind of existence in a little bubble as South Africans at the time. And when I finished school, I went to I went to fashion school. I didn't I'm trained as a fashion designer. I hated doing that. I went into kind of bridal couture and I opta sort of six months of having to do brides and their mother's pre waiting. I was this is never going to be what that sounds.
[00:03:06] That sounds really hard, actually. The most stressful time, anybody's life.
[00:03:10] Is it probably episodically horrendous because it's just such a stressful time in people's lives. And, you know, everybody's a bit hysterical.
[00:03:22] I then had a friend who had worked, who had studied with whose boyfriend had an ad agency, and I got employed as a temporary P.A. in an in a below the line ad agency. And their biggest client was Shell Oil, who hadn't pulled out of South Africa at the time they had stayed.
[00:03:40] We had sanctions against us all around the world. Know, we didn't travel.
[00:03:44] People really didn't like South Africans much in the 80s and early 90s. And one of the most I got to work on, the most awesome project that really changed my life completely. It was a talent search. So think idols. But in South Africa in the 80s. And we would scour the townships of South Africa. And we have the most extraordinary talent. I mean, our country is just full of the most extraordinary talent. And I had never experienced any of it. So it was just the most eye opening, extraordinary experience for me to spend time in townships. I mean, there was you know, there were riots and burning and and all kinds of things going on. And I was just little. Twenty two. Twenty three year old.
[00:04:31] In a van with a bunch of musicians and roadies, and we would go into townships and in this community halls hold these auditions and sometimes tens of thousands of people would arrive to sing and perform for a chance to kind of make it through.
[00:04:47] And that sounds that sounds so real. Who who is? Well, first of all, before we get into that, I want to ask you a question about boarding school, because when I hear about boarding school, you just you just in your mind, you go to these things you see on TV, maybe, you know, kids getting cracked with rulers or everybody wearing the same uniform or the parents sending the kids off to school.
[00:05:12] Absolutely distraught and crying. Can you. This is fascinating. Can you clear this? Can you tell me a little bit about what boarding school is? Actually. Tell us your.
[00:05:23] Well, I had a very different experience of boarding school. I was delighted I'm the youngest of five children. I was always being told what and where and how to do things. So I fucked up. My my father died when I was very young.
[00:05:36] So I'm young. As I said, I'm the youngest of five, myself and my it's my one sister. We got packed off to boarding school because my mother had to start working and there was nobody to take care of us when we were at home in the afternoons and my oldest siblings were getting up to lots of mischief. And her boss just said boarding school. And I left boarding school. It gave me the opportunity to participate in sport and music and do things I would never have gotten to do if I I'd been at a day school and it wasn't all that bad. I mean, you know, we all got together in dining rooms and we queued and we walked to town and what we would call a crocodile, you know, we went to church two by two every Sunday. But I really didn't have a bad time at boarding school at all. In fact, you know, I made friends for life and. For me, it was a great experience. I know you know, you hear about those English boarding schools where things are really cool and children get picked off when they're four years old and it's cold and freezing. We had none of that. We really we were very privileged and lucky.
[00:06:37] As I say, you know, I grew up during apartheid. Our government provided for us like they didn't provide for the majority of our country. So I had a fantastic time at boarding school. I mean, I think that. The freedom of being able to swim at 5:00 in the morning and finish doing something else at seven o'clock at night with a bit of prep thrown in was great. So you missed out?
[00:06:59] Yeah, I did miss out. And you know what? Honestly, as I think about it, it's it's a it's it would be great if, you know, America and other countries who are somewhat well-to-do would put programs together like this for some of the communities that are underserved. Right. Because I think a lot of this stuff starts in the home. Right. And I think a lot of these kids want to get out. And they deserve a chance. And, you know, putting someone in boarding school is probably cheaper than sending them to prison when they're fifteen.
[00:07:34] So, yeah, not only that, I think if you've got farming communities and places like that, you know, it's difficult. It's the hours that get spent driving children to school and from school. You know, in a rural community, it just kind of. And that was was part of putting, too, was a lot of my friends were farmers, children. You know, they they lived in little towns that weren't too far away from where we are, maybe an hour or two or three hours drive. But they they would be at boarding school. Some of them would go home every weekend. Others would stay. And, you know, I got to Occitan, but, yeah, it's it's a it's a great solution if you have the right structure.
[00:08:15] Well, it's super interesting. Thanks for the thanks for going into that with me. And then. Now. Now on to I guess what you would consider South Africa's version of American Idol 20 years ago or 30 years ago or whatever it was. So who why were you guys doing this? What did the ad agency put this on or did you have a sponsor? What, like what was going on here?
[00:08:39] So Shell, the big oil company, we are looking for corporate social responsibility at the time because they were being hammered globally for not leaving South Africa when they were sanctions against against the country because of apartheid. And the owner or the founder of the agency that I worked for, he was he was an extraordinary man and he had a very good friend who was they were both activists, but very involved culturally. And they had seen you know, we had extraordinary music that happened pre kind of the real heavy apartheid when people got to see amazing jazz. Amazing. Well, you know, not just the traditional music, but an extraordinary jazz culture that was kind of mixed fusion with with African music. And they just knew that they was all of this talent out there. And they were a lot of musicians, you know, at the time.
[00:09:31] Culture, I think, is something that really is quite extraordinary when times are tough. Because people have to be creative to find a voice and to get their message out. And, you know, at the time we were not ever allowed to mention Nelson Mandela's name. So they could never be a song written about Mandela or he couldn't be mentioned otherwise. Our broadcasters would literally scratch through the vinyl records so that their songs could never get played on radio. I mean, it was quite bizarre. What went on terror. But but these extraordinary human beings, I tell you, the joy, the love, the talent, etc., that I found in those townships was something I'd never, ever experienced. And it was actually a great privilege for me to work with some of the finest musicians of our time. You know, of our time and of that time. And honestly, we had a fantastic time. We really we had more fun. I think, thankfully, it was the days where they were no mobile phones. Well, in the early part of it. And my mother had no expectation that I would be calling home or being able to check in with me on a regular basis, because I don't think that she would have coped very well. But we but honestly, it was it was a life changing time for me. And in that time, I just learned so much because we went from looking in the townships exactly like idols. We and then we would have these sort of big regional events. And then we had a television program that was broadcast every week on national board.
[00:11:03] I got to I've got to ask you this completely off topic. What is the most bizarre thing you ever saw or experienced at one of these auditions?
[00:11:16] Well, a lot of you know, we would as I say, they would be thousands of people and so. One of the strangest things, actually, it wasn't bizarre was, you know, people would come and Whitney Houston.
[00:11:30] Was the order of the day. I will always love you was probably. I don't ever need to hear it ever again. Michael. We have we have amazing dances. You know, we have, like, really cool dance culture here. Michael Jackson and Madonna. I mean, you must know to see little kind of African children doing Madonna moves or Michael Jackson. You know, it was just it was actually just beautiful. So said we would have people who couldn't sing at all. As they always are. You know, I'm a lot. And you're luck. And we were always very polite to everybody, you know, in that time because we were representing a culprit. We couldn't exactly say, oh, so everybody got a chance to perform. And they were very long days and very long nights. But we had an amazing time. And the only trouble we ever had was actually with police because they didn't like that they would be large crowds gathered and, you know, it was for them.
[00:12:25] So. So you started your career, really started your career or your first love, I guess, in a career in the agency world? Yeah. How long did you stay in the agency world? Was it a recent thing that you transitioned into optimal dot me? Or tell us a little bit about how you transition from the agency world into optimal dormi?
[00:12:51] So I've watched, you know, I mean, my agency is 22 years old now and it's still going and, you know, MasterCard, you work in financial services. I have a massive ofter entertainment. Financial services is the other thing that I know really well. And I just watched what was happening and how digital.
[00:13:14] And look, we're quite far behind in some ways. We way ahead in others, especially financial services. But how we how things were changing in our world, how budgets were starting to go from, you know, being very experiential. You know, my agency is through the line, but very much below the line kind of space. And even in Africa, where we used to do massive road shows and, you know, kind of really big projects, all of those things were getting squeezed a little bit. Even though we don't have much of a smartphone market, I mean, it's growing massively. But, you know, we were a little bit behind. And I've and I'm involved in a content business. Through my entertainment time, and I just was watching how the TLC, you know, the mobile network operators were able to do quite amazing business on a subscription model. If you had something that was, you know, that people were interested in. It's extra. So I kind of have been also client service agency owner have lived by the tyranny of the clock my entire adult working life. I just thought, you know, they must come a time when all of these things that I've learned and delivered for clients that I've left doing it. But I have this very broad skill set and I'm very good at scale. Let me start looking for something that I can do. That's going to help me have that shift. And it took me a while to to find or to have that kind of a ha moment where I thought this is what my my plan must be. And I'm not sure about you. I know you say if you were telling me you if every day and you're trying to walk. I just started spending so many hours at my desk with, you know, I was servicing MasterCard in the US, the Australian some of the Australian business. You know, we had Facebook in San Francisco plus in Singapore. I was walking across timezones, you know, weird I was. And then all day delivering because we would get something coming from the one side in the morning to be delivered out to the other times and by the afternoon. And I, I really was kind of physically, you know, popping ibuprofen every day to just sort of into an afternoon. And one of my my health people say to me, you know, if you're actually going to have adrenal fatigue, you're gonna get a flu or a mass or whatever you want to call it because you actually can't keep going like this. You have to exercise. And I said, oh, don't be ridiculous. Like, I hate exercise, you know, of anything I can do that's not gonna be it. I don't have time. I can't actually be going to a gym. I hate the gym. And he said to me, you have to think about this because I'm you on a you're going to have a big problem and I'm a single mom, so I can actually have a big problem. You know, I need to keep my my stuff together. And I did. I started doing quite a lot of research. And I don't know if you know anything about functional medicine or functional wellness or functional fitness or movement.
[00:16:16] You know, not a lot.
[00:16:18] I mean, you know, I think that someone way back in the day, because I used to play football in college and I've been active my entire life and I've skeet and I've served and I've do all this active stuff, which I really like. There was something called Know Core, Common Core, Common Cause, the educational stuff. But core workouts were the things that integrated a lot of ball work, a lot of balance work, a lot of pulling and pushing. And it kind of took took me away from the big heavy weights and got into more functional movements. This was twenty five years ago, though I might be Daini myself a little bit, but my trainer, who's also a good friend of mine, who also played collegiate sport, said, look, I mean, we grew up hunting and throwing spears and doing all this crazy stuff. And what you really need to do is try to replicate some of these movements more so than walking around with a bunch of dumbbells and pushing on all this, pushing on all this weight. And I got to tell you, I haven't really lifted a weight for over 20 years. I do a lot of what I would consider to be functional movements, but. I don't know what this means. So in agreement. Move it routines, please explain for us what this means, why it's important, how big it can talk. Talk about the market or there are other people doing this kind of get into it a little bit with us.
[00:17:53] So. So I found integrated movement routines through a functional medicine doctor. Not now. Functional medicine is also fascinating and I'm sure on you should find someone to talk to because part of my journey was discovering something that I'd kind of known about for quite some time now. It's not well known in America. We I just presumed that all of the people who live on the West Coast and East Coast and, you know, you're all clever and smart and forward thinking and whatever would know about all this stuff. And last year, I actually realized when I was trying to think about going to market that I had misjudged that completely. But the reality is, is that just like your friend and coach taught you about functional movements, our bodies are designed to move the same way that, you know, we should move the same way we did when we were cavemen. Hunter gatherers today and in state today, we don't we barely move at all. All. Over the last few decades, exercise became about beautifying yourself, you know, having perfect picks and a six pack and, you know. I'd lovely little glutes and whatever as opposed to. Really supporting our bodies and making sure that we move the way we're meant to move. And, you know, you can often say you can be. But are you fit for purpose? And most people, you know, can run ultramarathons. But ask them to touch their toes or to rotate. And they absolutely can't. They very few exercise modalities that actually work your body the way that it's meant to work and functional integrated movement routines already about a lot of what you were talking about, what you were taught. Our bodies need to move the way they were designed to move. We should push and pull and rotate and be able to sit, stand up. We need to have range of motion in our joints, you know, which is flexibility. We need to be stable and strong. We need balance. And a lot of the exercise that people do is all isolated. You know, you say you don't lift weights anymore. Fantastic. I mean, I'm sure every now and again life things because you need to keep your strength up. But. Who needs to have, like, these big Balaji muscles and these two, you're going to be pushing a car off yourself or something? I mean, when in last do you actually even need to do that?
[00:20:15] And you know that one time, you know, when you need it, you've got to have it. So let's just be clear. Three hours in the gym every day. You got in case you have to pick a car up off someone just in case.
[00:20:29] So let me let me try to get this straight real quick, because I think it's important for everyone to understand how toxic sitting all day, being stressed out, doing office work, desk work under, in some situations, untenable circumstances like different time zones, like you were talking about prior. I know my wife and I have run this this agency business for 15 years and have done a lot of obviously, you know, high pressure corporate work before that. And we own startups. So I've seen this. And as we get I mean, in the opening. Your solution is targeted towards Gen X, and I had to stop and think about that for a minute. Like we are starting to become our parents and our grandparents very quickly, probably faster than than we even know it. But I just want to be clear. I know in America there is an obesity problem. I know in America there's probably, you know, a depression problem. Emotional problems. There's drug problems. There's no pre game.
[00:21:41] We were talking about folks being hunger, insecure, food insecure, having hunger problems.
[00:21:48] Is this functional problem, exercise problem? Is this an identified problem that has facts and statistics around it that would suggest that this is a problem like a big problem?
[00:22:01] So prior to curb it, the World Health Organization actually identified physical inactivity as a global pandemic. Really? Wow. OK. So that's a problem. They reckon there. Well, there are approximately, you know, look, you have, you know, kind of lots of dates for lots of reasons, but physical like tippity actually accounts for, well, globally, around two million deaths a year. Two million people die from being physically inactive. And the reason is, is that it increases all sedentary lifestyle, increases all the risks of mortality. You double your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obviously obesity. You increase the risks of many cancers, including colon cancers, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety is massively the risk of that increase. When you're when you're inactive. And then for most of us, because let's just think, like, you know, we sit and work all day lower back pain control the pain. Our hips, God of alignment, our posture gets really bad. I mean, in the UK, they reckon that more than 20 million people suffer from chronic pain. Most of it, as a result of being an act of not being the UK is a tiny little island. I mean, if they've got 20 million people that are that are in chronic pain, you can imagine how many they are in the states.
[00:23:35] And the reality is, I mean, even I think the Mayo Clinic says that if you sit for more than four hours a day, you've got a problem.
[00:23:42] I mean, you think, well, I've got three X the problem of everybody else then because I sit for about twelve hours a day, probably not healthy, but whatever.
[00:23:51] But but the trick is, is that if you can break your day up with movement, you can start fixing the problem.
[00:23:59] And these wonderful signs, I mean, just this week, I saw a new study that says that they're are no longer going cheapies. The NHS in England is no longer going to tell GP to prescribe paracetamol and ibuprofen for chronic pain because it doesn't work. What they're going to be advised to do is to recommend movement and exercise. And acupuncture. So movement and exercise. And I think, you know, people think about exercise and they think about going to the gym and doing weights or circuit. Maybe they do polarities or yoga, which is great. Youssouf, which is fantastic. They walk or hike, bike, whatever they do. A lot of the time that the workouts and the movement we're doing are not working our whole body together. And I think that is the difference between, look, going for a run. Anything that you do that feels nice is going to help you produce dopamine and you're going to feel better. That's not necessarily going to set you up to age. Well. And my mission is my whole mission. I just want to be independent forever. I mean, I'm as I say, I'm a single mom. I don't want my daughter ever to be in a position to be going. You know, she's not kind of can't travel or. We've got to find someone to take care. You know, maybe if I'm ninety five or whatever. But, you know, we say, Jay Nixon, you looked at me and said, but I'm Genex. University College London has just done another research report that we are going to live much longer than boomers, but we're going to have worse health.
[00:25:43] Now, how is that possible in this time when we have so much access to information, so much access? I mean, technology lets us change our world. And we have no excuse or I mean, can you imagine living long and being an ill health?
[00:26:01] Yeah, no, I can't. And honestly, I feel when I don't move that I notice when I don't move as much as I know I should. I get real stiff, creaky, sore.
[00:26:16] I don't know if chronic pain is the right word, but if you've ever if you or anyone in the audience has ever played, you know, any kind of sports at a high level that's had a little bit of physical damage, you know, those things are going to come back to haunt you later on in life. So by not, you know, so functional, you'd mentioned functional medicine. Is it is functional medicine different than this? There's functional movement stuff that you're talking about.
[00:26:45] And is that is that also different than, like Eastern medicine or or Chinese medicine? You had mentioned acupuncture. How does that work?
[00:26:53] So functional medicine is kind of way my journey into this sort of functional world or functional thinking began. And I was introduced to a fantastic functional medicine doctor. And what I love about it is that it's just very logical. So, you know, our bodies, as we start aging, our bodies stop producing certain enzymes and amino acids or, you know, we we produce less of this or more of that. And we have very typical problems. You know, when you head towards 50, then when you get to 60 and you hit towards 70 and.
[00:27:29] Our kind of I think in the last few decades, our automatic response is to get a pill for everything that we think is wrong with us or to go, oh, well, let's just old age. So I have to accept that situation. What functional made the practitioners of functional medicine are doing? They're looking at our bodies and all of our physiology and all of the things that our body should produce or make that make it function properly.
[00:27:56] And they're going actually, as you age, you stop producing this amino acid or that enzyme or whatever. So we can treat, you know, with with remedies that are replacing the things you're no longer making, as opposed to a pharmaceutical, which might end up actually fixing that problem, but creating a whole lot of other ones that you didn't think about.
[00:28:19] Yeah, we throw a few, like in. You know, I hate to just throw all of the the the pharmaceutical and drug companies under one umbrella, but it feels to me and I'm sure you have data and facts that I don't I haven't. This isn't MySpace, really, but. I just feel like those businesses have grown so much. They have so much power. So much lobbying power. So much advertising power. They snag patents on natural products, then overcharge for it, making a lot of generalizations here. It's just the way I feel. It doesn't it's a quality it's a qualitative comment, not a quantitative comment. But you had mentioned, you know, some of these statistics and facts about, you know, U.K. and some of these other places. And, you know, America definitely has an obesity problem. And so you can't help but think that the the drug companies want to continue to keep this these these drugs in market and citizens on drugs because it's no different than a subscription service that business people try to sell. Right. You need to you've got to feed the machine. You've got to take care of your shareholders. And it might be at the expense of an entire society. Right.
[00:29:38] And look, I think I think the whole thing is it's you know, it's not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Pharmaceuticals have a place. You if you've got cancer or you've got like a serious illness or a heart problem or whatever, you really want proper drugs to help you deal with it.
[00:29:56] But you don't want drugs for every silly little ailment or drugs to fix things that actually you could take something that was natural or, you know, talk to a doctor that actually understands how the body works and isn't necessarily just trying to get rid of you anyway. That's my thing about functional is I think if more people just explored. All of this functional kind of experience and expertize that's coming to the fore. It plays, you know, between medicine and nutrition. Of course, you know, that's another space that that, you know, what we put into our bodies very definitely affects us and has a massive impact on our health and how we age. And then movement this whole you know, we need to move like we were designed to move. Our bodies haven't changed. We haven't kind of morphed into something other than what we do way back. You know, when time began. So our our built environments, though, have have changed, too. You know, that's why we were also so sedentary, because everything has been created for efficiency and convenience. So you no longer you know, you no longer walk to work potentially, or you don't grow your own fruit and vegetables in you in your garden. So you're not, you know, hoeing and picking or doing. We sit you know, you go from you wake up in the morning if you've got to drive to work. You either go on a bus, in a car or on a tube you're sitting. If people are driving, they're parking in a parking lot and literally going upstairs and they don't move. Because in the office block you've got the dry cleaner, the pharmacy, take out food, maybe a canteen. You know, some companies will maybe have a gym in the building that if if you're lucky to move from your desk during the day, that's what you do. And worse than that. Technology has also created that comes issue way. I mean, I don't know how many corporate clients you have, but I know mine around the world, they email, they don't even get up and walk three desks down to talk to each other.
[00:31:59] It's called slack. Exactly. I don't mean before slack. They were e-mailing. I mean, I used to have clients that used to get enraged that they colleague would actually e-mail everything and not just come and say, you know, let's solve this and this and that. So everything has been kind of created and built around us that we sit.
[00:32:23] Yeah. Very sedentary lifestyle, which is just stuff starts to build up after a while. I want to I want to ask a question about if if someone was to. You know, civil like myself, I don't know a lot about this space.
[00:32:39] You've done a ton of work on it, research. But I would be hesitant or it seems like it would be tough for me, like I would go into Google and I would say, OK, I'm serious about this. I want to hear what these folks have to say. How do I find someone that I might be able to trust?
[00:32:58] That's not some kind of quack or someone that's just kind of not doing what they're supposed to be doing. And they just kind of jumped in here because they feel like they can take advantage of people with chronic pain and illness. Is there some kind of border body or regulation that says, no, these guys are board certified, they're real schools for this stuff? There are real results. We're here to help people and we can help you vet these kind of doctors or therapists or whatever you call them.
[00:33:24] So very much so from a medical perspective. And they often test stick very highly thought of well-respected people in America. Out of your universities and in practice that are they I mean, if if you had to if somebody had to Google functional medicine, they're wonderful people these days. A fantastic doctor that actually has is all over social media. He's really found a way to kind of get his voice off the. His name is Mark Dr. Mark Common. And he talks to really interesting people. He's very big on nutrition and health. And they have specialists, you know, people that deal with all kinds of things. But in a functional way. So it just it was very interesting to me, as I say, as we were looking to go to market, having kind of both this platform and I talk about that. I want to take you how I had my big idea. Yeah. Let's talk about that. So I eventually was recommended to go to this trainer, who dat, who did courses in a gym, which was. It took a lot for me to actually pluck up the courage. No one to go to a gym because it's not a space I'm comfortable in. I find the whole poses sort of thing for me. Anyway, I was just feeling so bad that I thought, alright, I have to give him a try. And I went to a class at five o'clock on a Friday night and 50 minutes later my my life had actually changed. And I know it sounds absurd, but for 50 minutes he played the most fantastic music that and we stretched and stretched and moved and stretched and moved and stretched all in this kind of. And I suppose one can think of, OK, you know, Jane Fonda in her leg warmers, a robotic you know, they we were we were doing that thing in the 80s or whenever it was. But but in a much more mindful, really systematic way. And I had no headache at the end of it. I mean, I lived with a headache for years. All of this had opened up. And I watched they were all these people in his class. And it was packed. And some of them were old, like property old. I'm talking sort of late 70s. And I mean, they were. I was so embarrassed. And I mean, I'm not in bad shape, but I was like, OK. And I had and I started talking to them afterwards and I said, you know, I was watching you. It's extraordinary. And they had been going to this training classes. Some of them for twenty five years. Oh, wow. Yeah. And they they would say, you know, we live in a in a retirement village now or, you know, an old age community. And we we do. Fifteen years younger than people our age. The physical things we can do. How active we all. And I just thought, you know what? The proof's in the pudding anyway, he is the person whose program we you know, we've we've built this and you're got it.
[00:36:21] Got it. And so this guy's been doing this for longer then.
[00:36:25] So this space has been somewhat defined for a while. And he's expert on staff, I guess.
[00:36:32] Yeah. I mean, he used to be a Reebok ambassador and the good old days of Jane Fonda. I mean, they used to travel the world doing exhibitions in shopping centers all around the world. I mean, that was, you know, those days. But but his life's work has been in body work. And I mean, if you go and have a look at him, he is 60. He's never been injured. He is he does 30 minutes of movement every day. No massive big weights. And none of that stuff. He has a beautiful body and he is healthy and well. And I mean, he's just extraordinary. So. So, you know, his experience is is extraordinary. And he just has a philosophy about movement. And he has he's just instinctively known. You know, sometimes the people who who do you know, they follow a passion and they know how to do things differently. Anyway, I got committed to this cross. I would go, you know, three times a week. Nothing would make me miss it. Not a clown from America or Australia. Anyway, I went because I checked the ibuprofen and then I had to go to Boston noNbusiness Business to the Mobile World Congress. And, you know, long distance flight got to my hotel room and I was sitting in my hotel room in Boston and I thought, all I want to do is work off. Now I know what I mean. Jean. If only I had him on my phone. Oh, yeah. And I flew back home and I sat him down and I said, we have to do this because No. One, I'm feeling so great. People are constantly saying to me, you look so good. What are you doing? Have you been on diet? And I was like, no. But this was the change that I'd made in my life. And I thought, actually, this is something I need to share. You know, I have the experience and the exposure to kind of think big and to scale. That's, you know, what my career has has taught me and the experience I have. But to take this program, that is that is amazing. And we've got to work with fantastic people. We have a specialist pain physio who's based in Perth in Australia, who also supports the work that we do. And I mean, she she has other pain programs. But but this movement, this. Just moving your body the way it's supposed to move regularly in an integrated way actually can be life changing.
[00:38:57] Who? Who was the original? Because honestly, you got this idea because you you had a problem at work. Right? And then so someone must have said, hey, I think that you should go see this. You know, this functional movement person like who triggered that for you. So because you had to be referred to him to take the class, I'm assuming. Right.
[00:39:21] Well, I was on this. You know, I was looking for an exercise option because I've been told I need to exercise. And then my I have a functional made us and doctor here who knew about him. And when we were talking, she said to me, just go. You know, I got clients to go to him. They all think he's fantastic. They're young, they're old, they're whatever they are. And it really is you know, it's based on this whole notion of a function, you know, integrated functional movement and Dorton. And I'm a I'm a believer, you know.
[00:39:51] Well, you're a case study. You're the you know, you're the use case or the testimonial or the case study in a perfect one at that, because you actually went through all the stages. Right. And you've seen the impact. And now you're like, wait a second, we have to package this up and tell everybody about it. We could tell the world about this. So you go to him and you're like, basically, we got to put this stuff on my mobile phone because I was just in Barcelona and I need to have a trainer there with me. Is that really the genesis of how did how did you how did he take that? Was he like, oh, yeah, sure, whatever. I'll do some workouts and let you record me. How did that go?
[00:40:35] Well, he you know, for him it was an exciting thought because I think, you know, people often would sort of mention, you know, technology has made so much they so much online. Yeah. But but a lot of it is, you know, a lot of yoga, which is fantastic. And I like a lot of, you know, cross fit kind of proper, you know, heavy sweaty training, but nothing for nothing like this. And also nothing that was was kind of going to help people in in my age group and in my kind of life situation become fit for purpose because I don't want to be fat, because I want to run a marathon. I want to be fit because I like to travel and I want to climb the 200 steps from the beach to the town. When I'm in Europe, I want to be able to get rid of and Rwanda up those hills and down those hills without you know, I want to be in the world. I don't want to be stuck, not able to do things. I want to like you want to surf, you want to keep surfing. I'm sure sometimes you feel that you're a bit stiff, but if you haven't surf along and, you know, to get up on my boat, it's not as easy as it was five years ago. Yeah. And that's really kind of what drives this for me, because I know that people in our age group and even older want to live. They've worked so hard and now's the time we want to kind of reap the rewards of that. We don't want to be all sitting at home stuck, etc.. But how do we do it? Because often we'll join a new cross or we'll do something and we hurt ourselves.
[00:42:15] Because it is so TheOptimal.me.
[00:42:21] Is there a personalization piece to this? Is there a subscription piece to this? Tell me. So now that we know that we should all be exploring this option, there's definitely a problem. We think there is a solution here. For those of you out there who don't necessarily like gyms or they're not running marathons or they're not picking cars up off people in case should that happen accidentally. And now you've got to go explore this thing. So tell me tell me how it works. Is this 30 minutes a day? Is this an hour a day? Is this set on your TV? Is this on your phone?
[00:42:58] Yeah. So. So the first thing to say is that even if people are running marathons, this is something that they should add to what they're already doing. And we've and we've really thought about that very carefully, because, first of all, we're all very time put even in this time of covered. We a lot of us aren't having to travel to work anymore, etc. and fitting in something new to an already packed schedule isn't easy. And I think what we do know is that from our research, because we did we did quite a big research study in the States last year. People 50 to 70 attitudes about exercise help. They thought they were. Did they know about functional movement, et cetera? And the one thing everybody said was, you know, we worried about what's going to happen and how we're going to be physically. But, you know, we don't have time. We really ought. We were so busy. So what we what we did was, first of all, we've got. We we ran on on wave, which, you know, we we've got a. Website. Plus an Android app. You can find us in the app stores as well as online, if you like.
[00:44:04] So so the workouts can be mirrored onto your TV screen or, you know, you can plug in that way, we find people like different things. Some people have space at home. We moving on onto the TV works for them. Other people prefer using the laptop or, you know, to do things.
[00:44:21] And what we did was because our philosophy is that you need to keep moving throughout the day. It's no good thinking. I've done my big one hour in the morning and I can sit for twelve hours and that's good enough. Research says it's not it's better for you to move ten or fifteen minutes kind of every hour or every whatever, then to just do one big session and then do nothing else for the rest of the day. So we've created workouts that are kind of short five minute ones that you can do. You know, you get used to them and kind of sort of can do it. The copy machine, if you read a copy machine or while you're waiting for the kettle to boil or whatever. If you're a bit stiff. Oh, that is interesting.
[00:44:58] So that's an interesting concept. I was reading a book and they called doing stuff like that is called habit stacking. Right. So if you know you're going to go get coffee every morning and it takes you five minutes to make your coffee, maybe you do, you know, 100 squats. I don't know. But it sounds like.
[00:45:16] So when you say so, you're integrating this in your life. So I sit at a desk all day. There's people some people are going to the office. Some people aren't. Are there or series of workouts or a combination of workout here that they're like, look, man, if you sit at your desk all day. Here are some things you can do around your desk. You have stuff like that as part of the curriculum?
[00:45:36] Yeah, definitely. I mean, so we go five, fifteen and 30 minute options in terms of time, because I think it's you know, it's good to actually do enough that you could really have some some cardio activity, too, even if it's not all the time, every day. But but a lot about a lot of the workouts that you can do on our site. I mean, I sometimes just doing my work in my clothes, I actually pull out a mat and, you know, they're not so active. Some of them that you actually need to be an exercise because even you just sort of obviously, if you're in top jeans, it's tricky. But but honestly, I do them, you know, sometimes at five o'clock, I think I just want to quickly stretch back before I go into my next thing and I'll just lie down on the floor. And I use my laptop and I pick one on a weekend. I know that I actually want to get really sweaty or sometimes in the morning, then I'll take 30 minutes and I'll and I'll choose one that's kind of got a lot of cardio in it. But but they're made to be progressive and so that you can actually work at your own pace. Because I think what we do know is, is even if you're very fit, you might not be very flexible and you might have not great balance. And what these we've got to do is every every single one works your whole body together. And I suppose, like you don't know, nothing moves in isolation in our body. No muscle moves on its own without other ligaments and joints moving. And you need to be able to go from one position to another without falling over. And. As I was saying, the bad news is you start losing your balance in your 20s and your flexibility. So they say peak flexibility in Maine around twenty five and women between 25 and 30.
[00:47:19] Oh, my gosh. So far beyond peak right now.
[00:47:23] I think that's how you feel. Imagine. How do you and somebody else say, even if you're running or you're doing this, you need to just fine. Everyone can find fifteen minutes in the day. Fifteen minutes is not too much. And that was kind of how I how I thought about this. How do we make sure that someone who does nothing can find a way. And somebody who wants to do a lot also has that opportunity. So what do you think?
[00:47:48] What do you feel like the biggest point of friction or the barrier is to people just doing something? I mean, obviously we want them to do optimal dopp mean. We want them to understand that functional movement, an integrated move, routines are important. I agree with this 100 percent. But what is the barrier? Because a lot of people talk about it, but they just don't do it. Why don't people do this stuff?
[00:48:18] You know, Chris, I think that it's that is sort of the million dollar question, and they are very smart people that work on motivation and habit building and unpacking those triggers. And I think it's the one thing that as human beings, it's just human nature. Until you have a know, until there's a crisis, you don't actually deal with things you know you should do. We have New Year's resolutions every year. We gonna. It. We gonna wake up at Fort, you know, we gonna become part of the five AM Club. We're gonna do whatever. Whatever. No. And then sometimes we don't even start. Well, sometimes we took three days and give up. And I think. But then when there's a crisis and you have to deal with something, it was like me with exercise. I was told that I could actually have adrenal burnout and I would be tired for the rest of my life, barely able to function if I didn't. Actually, get a grip. And the only thing that was going to help me to release that was exercise. So I didn't really in that moment. Have a. What? I did have a choice. But but my motivation to sort it was greater than wanting to end up in that space.
[00:49:23] And unfortunately, that's unless we have a big problem to solve, we meddle. We just don't do it until sometimes it could be too late. Right.
[00:49:33] Well, that's the thing. I mean, I often think about our our physical. Wellness and our ability to age, well, like like doing exercise and good movement is like buying a retirement policy. You know, we don't think about not buying a retirement plan. We start contributing towards our retirement. When we start working, because we know when we will, we thought when we were 60, now we think when we have 75 or 80, we'll stop working. But, you know, we we fill up that bucket all the time. We don't do it with our health and we have to start. It's the one thing I said, you know, somebody told me that prevention is the hardest thing to sell.
[00:50:17] Yeah, it's interesting. Yeah, and.
[00:50:21] It's so true because why? You know, we've got so much going on, why do it? The truth of it is, is that. When you do it, and if you can kind of just go. I'm going to do this consecutively, we've built a twenty one day kind of course. Fifteen minutes a day. We put a five minute option, a two in case people get too busy, because I think once you feel that something's making you feel better. You have the motivation to keep going. You know, when you've been surfing and you come out of the water, you could do anything to mean it wouldn't matter.
[00:50:54] I would just laugh and just laugh. It wouldn't matter. You could you could punch me. It wouldn't even matter.
[00:50:59] So say the thing is, is that because movement, you know, kind of secretes all you'll feel good hormones and things. If you get in the habit of doing that, it can become quite easily a daily habit because you don't actually want to feel like that again. Nozette. So quickly, let me do this. Or, you know, you learn to breathe. She strips all of these things. They so many tools to help us deal with, with kind of the spaces of about craziness in meditation.
[00:51:25] You know, the Karmichael map, which I've which I've which I've started to use, I never really got into some of that stuff. My God has gone to sleep. Right. But now I'm starting to look into some of that stuff. But even meditation, although I think you made a good point about the marathon runner, this is not this is not as binary as saying, well, you should do this or you should do that. This is this is more inclusive and holistic in that you need to carve out and have a plan for certain points of your day.
[00:51:57] Like I listen to the Karmichael map, nine thirty, ten o'clock at night when I'm laying flat on my back with a Boase head canceling headphones. And I really have a chance to, like, get everything out of my mind. But for me, like doing a five minute or a 15 minute workout around noon in the middle of the days, I was I have a plan that needs to be done as well. It's not well, do calm down, calm or do this dude is like you've got to do it all, actually, and you should make time for it. Even if you say you don't you don't wind up with long term chronic physical and mental issues when you're 50. Right.
[00:52:42] And then fifty become 60. Become even. Let's not forget that we are going to live a whole lot longer. Which, you know, so. So when you're not when you're not thinking about these things and it is difficult. Look, I have done everything to try and meditate. And I'm sure you probably being in advertising, having picked that as a career.
[00:53:02] You know, you're always on its damn near impossible. I swear to God, it's damn near impossible for me.
[00:53:07] I spent I've spent fortunes, I've gone off to study and I've got my own mantra and I've done all of the stuff. I've got people that I've done it with and they go into the same space and I actually want to throttle them because I can't. No matter how. But what I've learned to do is to breathe. So I found. I have a breathing app that I use. Ten minutes in the morning before I get out of bed. And ten minutes before I go to sleep, because it actually kind of just pays a little gong. And I can breathe in and out and in and out because breathing is also kind of, you know, breath is fundamental.
[00:53:41] My watch tells me to breathe and I'm like this.
[00:53:45] Does it know that I should be breathing or is it just saying that because it does it a lot, because my breathing could be holding your breath all the time. And that's the other beautiful thing about movement, is that when you move, you know, you stop holding your breath and you know, your brain like I mean, our bodies are actually just the most remarkable things, you know, as you start kind of really. This has been just the most beautiful journey for me. Nevermind all of the learnings that I was doing from a technical perspective or, you know, all things that are that were very new and came at me hard and fast. The journey of learning about how our bodies work, how extraordinary they are. And every little bit of them. You know, our feet. Like, you don't think about it. We don't care about our feet. We should care about our feet.
[00:54:40] You walk on them. Well, according to you, we sit on our ass all day. But, hey, we want to go with you.
[00:54:47] If you don't exercise your feet to make sure that they are flexible in your ankles, are strong and whatever, you're in trouble. It's simple. You know, once I think once you kind of feel it and you go, OK, this makes sense.
[00:55:01] I mean, one of our customers, she is fabulous. A lady from Pennsylvania. And she did that 21 day course. And she actually sent us a note and said, this is being so amazing. My husband has a motorbike and we were going out on a ride on the weekend. And I actually swallowed my leg over the seat without any pain or any, you know, lack of fluidity. And I was like, am I would. This is before I couldn't do that. Yeah, I suppose that's such an example of how we need to be functional.
[00:55:34] So it's such a you know, to me, this is also obvious in the best ideas always are there. So obvious. Let's go for a walk here. I read this book, Blue Zones, a long time as a long time ago in the Blue Zone. You may have read that, but they did a study on all the centenarians, which is probably a big word for me, but everybody else understands it. So if you're over 100 years old. So if you're over 100 years old, they said, well, you've got to have a good family, be surrounded by a bunch of people that love you. But, you know, a lot of these guys and gals, they work in the garden every day. They walk a minimum of like five miles a day. And we're talking about people that are over 100 years old. And so it all seems very obvious. But we get caught up in our lives. You're caught up in our day to day. And it's like, how hard is it? I walk every morning around six, 30 or seven. It's like two miles. Not even that far. But I listen to a podcast and I get ready for my day. I probably will breathe, but. Right. But this all seems very obvious. And it sounds like maybe within. Twenty one days in, based on the you know, based on the pricing I see on your Web site. This isn't going to you know, this isn't going to cost you any more than 150 bucks for the entire year, for the entire year. You probably spend more than that at the bar on a weekend or going out to eat with your significant other or by yourself. But at the end of the day, it's 15 bucks a month for 15 bucks. He had 21 day program. You could actually potentially change your life, which I think is interesting. I want to ask you one more question about covered. I know a lot of people talk about this, but have you do you talk to some of the people that subscribe your platform? I know you probably have tens of thousands of members that leave you notes and all this stuff, but are they are they drawing any contrast in their lives pre and post covered?
[00:57:40] Have you seen a difference there in health issues or communication issues? Behaviors, attitudes?
[00:57:46] Very different, I think. I think the biggest issue. Well, if it was an interesting thing, because it's sort of almost paid out in phases. So at first, everybody got very focused on. We had this fairly short term problem. We had to stay at home. We weren't going to go to work. We were going to work from home. It was just going to be for a month or however long it was, we were going to make sure that we exercised. We were going to eat well. Everybody was very focused on how they were going to get through that short faced part of this whole thing before things opened up again. And, you know, our world would go back to how we thought that would be. People are very motivated. They were really keying into their main, you know, staying motivated to reading good things, to staying grounded, you know, looking after their mental health, connecting. Then the news started coming that this was no short term problem, that that we waited for a longer haul, and and that's when I think things when people started really finding motivation difficult, you know, they'd been going that had the sort of end goal in mind and. Realize that they have defined very long term solutions to this, because this is going to come and go probably for the next 18 months or how? I mean, we need to be I would say a year at least. Yeah. And and I think so. So keeping the motivation going for even even from a work perspective, I had a lot of people say to me, you know, at first it was really so nice, all the Zoome calls, and we would do this and that. Yeah, the excitement of that is all worn off. And I think that is the time that people are in now is how do we move through this? And I think as as business owners, as people who employ people or managers, it's really something that we have to be paying attention to because keeping our teams and the people that we're working with engaged and and kind of. And I don't even think motivated is the word but but hopeful about what the outcomes are. Because a lot of people are finding, you know, they can they can get food delivered. They can do all kinds of things in their space. But it's lonely. You know, the human interaction is is one thing. But a lot of the time, they're missing out on that in terms of being able to problem solve and come up with creative solutions. It's not the same. And as those things get difficult, they motivation to move. Exercise, kind of take good care of themselves also sort of starts lagging. And I think instilling some kind of practice within within teams that I'm talking about, I mean, some of our customers, obviously, they're not youngsters. You know, there may be nurses or or business owners or whatever. They are entrepreneurs. Some of them are retired and stay at home, have their own things going on is, I think, a challenge. And the only way to do that is to, you know, we we have to stick to the fundamentals particular back to all of the things we know and and find ways to really embed those things in our in our programs, in our work times. I mean, some of my clients have been told they don't have to work.
[01:01:12] Back in the offices for the next year and for some people, I did a couple podcasts on this for some people. That's good because they appreciate their introverts and they don't appreciate that interaction. And it's actually exhausting that that kind of physical interaction is exhausting for others.
[01:01:34] It's actually part of what gets them up every morning is being around people and doing what humans generally do, which were, you know, very you know, we just want to be around people. So, yeah, it's a bit of an emotional and physical roller coaster.
[01:01:51] So, you know, I'm hoping that, you know what you've created here. And I know it's been a we've we've done a few startups here on our own and we've also had a lot of startup clients. It is this is this is you have to be passionate about this. And I know you are. And this is a lot of hard work. So you probably need to do like two hours of workouts every day to get through your day. But. Last question.
[01:02:18] Piece of advice for entrepreneurs, executives, anyone out there listening, that's a business owner and entrepreneur executive. That's just going through this. You've been doing this stuff a long time. What piece of advice do you have for our listeners out there?
[01:02:38] The one thing that has always gotten me through, and I know I am really lucky, is that I have a never ending source of optimism that comes from some way within me. No matter how bad yesterday was, I can wake up in the morning. I might cry in my shower for 10 minutes thinking what I have to face, but I honestly always have a sense of. Knowing that if I keep moving forward, I can make things better. Things will fall into place. But I've got to keep doing what I have to do. You know, if I put if I take one step today and another step tomorrow at the end of the month, I will have taken 30 steps. That's right. You're up then 365. So I think in this very uncertain time, we have to keep doing what we do based every day and being very mindful about our experience, the knowledge we have. You know? Finding people who can who can help you solve problems may be that you faced. We've got to reach out to people none of is hard. But I do think every day you've got to take a step. Every day you've got to do something that is purposeful, that is kind of going to move you forward because the minute that you stop doing that. You know, you kind of get the sense of things closing in or a lack of possibility. And I think that for me is what always keeps me going, is this this unlimited potential that is out there in the world.
[01:04:19] And I think.
[01:04:21] Things fall into place when you keep taking a step every day. Yeah, yeah. It's all psychological.
[01:04:30] It's a bit psychological. Right. I mean, what you're really talking about is this stuff is happening. We're not going to change it. We can't change what governments ask us to do. We can't change microbes that we can't see that make people sick and some die. But what we can do is what you're suggesting is just keep moving forward. And really, that's a psychological thing. A lot of us have arms and legs and brains and we're fortunate. Right. So use them. And I think the other point that I got out of what you said is. You know, if you do that once a day, it's 30 and at the end of the year it's 365. That's incremental, right? I mean, you're not going to do all 365 things in a month and you're not going to do all 30 things in a day. And so it starts with the psychology of it, I guess. And then it moves into the actual action. And you just have to believe that something's going to pop. Something's going to work out. You sit in that chair long enough. Don't sit there too long. But you make you know, you do this long enough, something's going to happen. So excellent.
[01:05:38] Anything else is when I think you've been in your agency for that long and I'm sure you've been through times that are tough. I mean, you know, I've had times that have been excruciating. But you do what you do and you kind of you can't give up. Look, you can give up when you know that an idea is really bad and it kind of doesn't work, you know, OK. But but in terms of of our general ability to move things forward, I think that that look, that's been my way.
[01:06:09] And and I've always been placed. I have never been without work. Sometimes it's been thinner than others. But but I think that that is that is what we stand on. We stand on, you know what? What's gone before and the possibility of what's to come. And I do think as much as this is, it is a really strange time. They lots of amazing changes and things that are happening that I think we all look back on and be really pleased about. I think we like focusing on things that are different. We're seeing things differently. Women, prime ministers and presidents are doing a much better job than their male counterparts in managing the crisis. Yeah, I can agree more of them.
[01:06:53] So there's opportunity. There's always opportunity and pain. Well, we could probably go on for a lot longer, but I'm gonna I'm going to call it here. Liz. Liz, it's been great. Liz Grantham is the CEO and founder of TheOptimal.me, an online wellness solution targeted towards the Gen X and senior community. Dang it, same Gen X. It's just really hard for me. It's just really hard. We're older. We're older folks now, so. But I'd like for everyone to go over. There are TheOptimal.me. They have videos on their Web site that pricing on their Web site they have. Sure. You can probably even get a hold of Liz if you tried hard enough. She's been an excellent guest today. And thank you for sharing.
[01:07:40] Thank you, Chris, and you take care. OK, you too.