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At the smartbeats by smartwater launch this week we got to sit down with fitness and wellness expert, Joe Holder. He chatted with us about his new role as creative director of wellness at smartwater and gave us a heap of health and fitness tips! You might want to take notes.  

Tell us more about your collaboration with smartbeats by smartwater. 

So basically…smartwater as a leader in kind of, the hydration category, thought about—how do we create more of a master toolbox for wellness instead of just simply saying, “here’s some water, make sure you drink it”. We also thought about…how we could utilize music as a tool, not just as cathartic and therapeutic, but can we use it—whether it has to do with your focus, you calming down…increasing the likelihood of you interacting with the people around you, or just something to jumpstart your movement. I think we’ve forgotten that humans exist with the environment, not in spite of it. 

As a health and wellness expert, how do you navigate having all these different clients with different goals in mind? 

So, the common thing is that everybody is special but everybody isn’t as special as they think. So, when it comes to meeting health goals you still want to—and with the different people that are involved—you still want to get diagnostic data based upon the individual, but also realize that people typically fall into relatively similar categories. One of the biggest misconceptions that we’ve had is that you have to go to a $50/$100 workout class to get in shape. We forgot about the educational aspect too. The biggest thing is to make people learn more about themselves. It doesn’t matter if I know what to do, what matters is me being able to teach you what to do.  

obtained on the official Instagram of Joe Holder | photo by fauxly

You mentioned music and your environment shaping how you work out, do you have suggestions for where people should work out for optimal success? 

Basically, anything that you like will be of benefit. If you’re a big runner, if you use guided runs—the Nike running app has that. A lot of times when people run they can’t hear their feet, they can’t hear their breathing, and then you’re also then, canceling out other sensory inputs. There are two opportunities that people often miss when they’re doing their workouts, it’s their warm-up and it’s their cool-down. They usually just hop in instead of saying—and this why I like the MOVE soundscape – “hold up, I’m gonna have my warm-up basically be a ritual that grounds me in this experience that I’m about to go through and of course, do your proper warm-up exercises”. And then, when you’re about to get into a true workout, you can keep it on if you’d like…but you can go into your typical playlist, but then on the cool-down… you focus on your breathing, maybe some light stretching that activates a portion of your nervous system that gets you back into more of an equilibrium. A lot of people forget that working out is nothing more than another stress, but what it should be able to do is give a dose of stress that you have a positive response from. The way to do that is by making sure the different branches of your nervous system function appropriately. So typically, when you’re going in to work out, you’re alert, you’re awake, that’s you getting riled up—that’s your sympathetic nervous system. But unless you can then shift back to rest—we call it the “rest and digest”, which is basically your parasympathetic nervous system, allow the body to recover and regenerate post workout—then it’s nothing more than a chronic stressor. What I’ve been able to see with people is that when we use music as this grounding force, they feel much more calmer, soreness is typically reduced, and they’re able to then, respond to their stressors in their life in a better way because now they’re more mindful.

obtained on the official Instagram of Joe Holder | photo by fred goris

What are some healthy practices you employ in your own life? 

For me, I’m growing up. I’m 29 now. Which is crazy.  

Recently one of my friends just got sick, got diagnosed with cancer, so one of the things I implemented is basically just gratitude. 

 So, some wellness practices –besides the standard ones of working out and drinking enough water—are: I don’t check my phone first thing in the morning. I think its very important for us not to be reactive and to calm down. I try to breathe and ground myself in another day; say three things that I’m grateful for; drink a glass of water; stretch a little bit. 

 And then kinda keep moving and understand my intentions and what I’m going to accomplish for the day.  

I make sure to work out—every workout doesn’t need to be hard, but I make sure to get some type of movement in.  

But I also think greenspaces—spending time in gardens and green spaces are known to amplify health.  

Calling a loved one, checking in on your community—loneliness is literally a killer, there’s a lot research now, on that. So, foster your relationships, whatever they may be—friendships, romantic relationships, family—I think that’s an important part of overall wellness. 

 Self-care with a capital “S” is more important than what we’re seeing self-care with a lowercase “s”. Self-care isn’t face masks, self-care is taking care of yourself so you can go out in your community and make sure people are well too.  

Then before bed I try not to check the phone too much. I review my day, kind of decompress and download what’s going on.  A few breathing practices and I keep it chill.  

What advice do you have for maintaining summer gains throughout the winter? 

Think of consistency instead of short-term aberrations. The seasons change, and also dependent upon the climate that you’re in, your body may change too. When it comes to keeping them [gains], you have to realize a few things; your body views time differently than you view time. So, if you, say, stop working out for a little bit or temporarily put on some pounds, or miss a workout for a day or two, your body isn’t like “Ugh, I’m just gonna throw all this away” and then won’t remember. Your body actually does have muscle memory, they found, so its not just a myth. Its easier to get in shape if you’ve previously been in shape. But the biggest advice I give to people is basically, think consistent. So, if you maybe can’t work out a full hour, try 15 to 20 minutes a day just so you still get used to the habit. A good example are athletes, when athletes have an offseason, athletes don’t keep their peak condition the whole time. They know when they need to rest, and then strategies that they need to do to get back into it. But, they’ll still make sure they’re doing the little things right, so make sure that your baseline is good. Say your top is excellent, but your bassline is poor, you have alllll this room for basically, disaster. But if I have a bassline of average, or slightly above average, and even if my peak has been excellent, if I have that high-quality bassline that is now good because I know those little things to do, then it’ll be much easier for me to bounce back to excellent, that “summer gains” –and I never have to go through that, basically, yo-yo. Because sometimes that weighs down too heavy on a person, when they’re like “oh, I can’t let myself slip up”, but that’s not really how high-achievers operate, both within the sports world and the other world, it’s just about knowing the ebb and flow, making sure your “ebb” is never a complete trash moment.  

Check out more about Joe Holder here and here! 

Check out more about smartbeats by smartwater here!