SPS-306: Fitness Advice for Authors – with David Viergutz

By its nature, being an author is a sedentary job. Former fitness trainer David Viergutz has advice for writers who want to ensure they can continue writing for years to come by investing in their health and fitness.

Show Notes

  • From the army to police work to author
  • Taking time to discover what genre suits us
  • Basic guidelines for fitness for writers
  • Where and when to begin a fitness routine
  • Why ‘failing quickly’ works when finding a new fitness routine
  • Why enjoying the exercise you choose really matters
  • Finding social connection via exercise

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

FREE HANDOUT: David has prepared a handout for those writers who would like advice about how to start and maintain a fitness routine.

MERCH: Are you a ligneous beetle or a yawning hippopotamus? Get your SPF hoodies and t-shirts in the brand new SPF Store.


SPS-306: Fitness Advice for Authors - with David Viergutz
Speaker 1: On this addition of the Self-Publishing Show.

David Viergutz: I would tell anybody if they have a personal trainer that says, "I've got the one ticket that's going to fix you," or you found a programme that you got hit with a Facebook ad for and it's look at this, lose 30 pounds in three weeks or whatever. I would seriously examine that and question, what are they trying to sell you?

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers. No more barriers. No one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing?

Join indie bestseller, Mark Dawson, and first time author James Blatch, as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Yes. Hello and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. My name is James Blatch.

Mark Dawson: My name is Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: You may notice if you're listening that things sound a little bit different and if you're watching, you'll see straightaway that we are not in our usual confinements. We're out and about.

Mark Dawson: We are. We're at 20Books Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada for the fourth or even fifth of the 20th Conferences, and this is the biggest one we've been to. I think we, 1300 registrations I think it was?

James Blatch: Yes. More people I think enrolled, but that's the people who actually turned up, because COVID still having, casting its shadow.

Mark Dawson: Yes. So we are blocking the space. People are looking to push things around and…

James Blatch: Yeah. So this is-

Mark Dawson: … this is life at a conference.

James Blatch: It is. Yeah. This is the last day of the conference. It's the author signing day and authors have booths around here. Our companies have booths around here and readers come in or most of it. I suppose this shot actually could be anywhere. It could be in a warehouse in London, but we are actually in Vegas. So for next week, we're going to take the camera outside and we're going to find some wonderful Vegas locations, fabulous Vegas locations to show you while we're here. But we've had a really good week.

You've been on a few panels. I've been on a panel and you and I both did a keynote together, talked about how we turned the books that weren't selling that came into Fuse, how we use your techniques to use paid ads, mainly to get them working. That seemed to go down really well. I've had a good time in quite a few sessions.

Mark Dawson: James signed his first ever autograph on a copy of his book. He was approached by, I don't know the gentleman's name now, but he was a pilot for American?

James Blatch: United.

Mark Dawson: United. Enjoyed James' book and asked him to sign it for him. So we have a nice picture of James-

James Blatch: Yeah. That was a big moment.

Mark Dawson: … squealing with joy, would be fair to say as he signed his name with his first book. It was a nice moment. I remember that quite well from when I did it too. So yeah. It's nice.

James Blatch: I was very happy about that. And we've had a little bit of R&R today. We've been out on our bikes this morning. We had an absolutely fabulous bike ride, didn't we in?

Mark Dawson: We did. We went to Red Rock Canyon. We hired some bikes, some electric bikes, because we were all amazing.

James Blatch: Oh, I wasn’t going to tell people.

Mark Dawson: And quite powerful electric bikes. I think we did about 35 miles, didn't we?

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Something along those lines. Quite a lot of it uphill. And then, the downhill bits were fun. I clocked about 37 miles hour was my top speed.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Which is quite fast actually in a bike.

James Blatch: Yeah, it is. It is fast on a bike, especially if you come off.

We have a good interview for you today. These events can be quite wearing. It's quite difficult to keep your strength going this time of the week after you've been out every night and-

Mark Dawson: Tell me about it.

James Blatch: … been on your feet every day. Some people have been out later than others during the week. You can flag, but generally as authors, this is something we do need to be aware of the whole year, not just at these conferences. We have sedentary jobs hunched over, typings, pretty much everything that any kind of person involved in physiology would tell you not to do.

So we thought we'd dedicate an episode to all for fitness, really important subject, help your mental health as well. And our interviewee, would you believe is actually just behind us there, David Viergutz, who's at his school selling his books. You can see David is a guy who takes fitness seriously. We have a great chat with him.

David is the person to talk to us about how best we can make a difference to our lives and start creating habits that are going to make us healthier, more productive and better authors. Here's David.

David Viergutz, welcome for the Self Publishing Show. Great to have you along with us. And first of all, if you watching on YouTube, you see straight away David has professional microphone set up, cameras and everything, which is always a blessing when we're interviewing somebody. I can hear you nice and rich and should be a high quality episode in every sense.

David Viergutz: I hope so. Yes, sir.

James Blatch: Now, we are going to talk about a really important subject about fitness and staying well as authors. We should say it now said there is a career that can lend itself to sitting hunched in similar positions with tight little muscles going on and it is a really important aspect, not just for our physical health, but for our mental health. We're going to get onto that. But let's start, if you don't mind, David, with a bit about you and your background.

Where did you come from into writing?

David Viergutz: I took a long time off. I took about, I would say about 20 years off of fiction writing. I started when I was very young. And back then, I was writing on loose leaf paper, passing around in between classes, and then running to the library to type it up on a floppy disc. So that talks about how old I am.

James Blatch: That dates you. Yeah.

David Viergutz: And then, with the start of about 2009, I joined the army. Did four years in the military. I got hurt. When I got hurt, I got real curious about the human body and started learning more about how to keep myself fit. Instead of protecting my back, I wanted to make sure… That's where my injury is, is lower back. I wanted to learn more about how to get better, about how to keep myself strong.

Fast forward a few years and I became a cop, have been a cop for the last six years. Still going with the personal training, except now I was working with other law enforcement officers and law enforcement specifically. It's really tough to stay fit with crazy schedule and long hours in a patrol vehicle. And sometimes working nights when the only thing that's open is fast food. So it's really tough. But I fell in love with fitness for this entire time.

With the start of this fitness business, I learned that I loved business. But I couldn't figure out where my place was, but my wife this entire time had encouraged me to keep searching for something, keep searching for what you really wanted to do, because I knew it wasn't fitness. I didn't like the service industry. I wanted to be something into a product. And I really liked the digital age, but I could not make music, so it wasn't going to be music. I couldn't take photos, so it wasn't going to be photos.

She discovered an old manuscript that we had talked about and some ideas. And I said, "I'll write one book. I'm going to write one book. I want to start it and finish it." It wasn't one book. It became seven. And then, I fell in love with the writing industry. I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with the community. I fell in love with the business structure, with digital products.

I sold my fitness business. I sold all my assets and invested them directly into everything from the backend to programmes, to book covers, to everything I would need to be successful with the indie world. And I haven't looked back. I'm still going strong and I love it.

James Blatch: And you were doing one-to-one fitness instruction where you, personal training work before?

David Viergutz: I was. Yes, sir.

James Blatch: Do you mind me asking about the injury? How did that occur?

David Viergutz: Sure. It was just a training accident. I wasn't deployed or anything like that. I was state side. I was an intelligence soldier so I was doing intel work. We were doing some exercises out in the field and it was just an unfortunate accident. And so, just a spinal compression and some other stuff.

James Blatch: How are you now with that? Is that something you'll never make a full recovery from? Is it always going to be with your?

David Viergutz: No. That was a tough question I'd asked my doctor. I said, "Am I going to live like this forever?" And he said, "Yes. And it's only going to get worse, it's not going to get better." I prefer the truth about it, which was now I can deal with it emotionally and physically. I know that I'm not going to get better, however, I can manage it better.

And so, no. It's with me forever. It's a part of who I am now. And I'm okay with that. I'm not wheelchair bound. I'm blessed that I can walk. I can run. I can do my job. I'm still strong. And it's just a blessing. So tough at times. It's still tough.

James Blatch: I'm sure. So you moved into writing, and obviously, you had that writing bug as a kid, as a junior.

What genres you ended up writing in, David?

David Viergutz: I thought I wanted to write epic fantasy. And I think a lot of people have that idea that they're going to write this tone of a book. And then, go on tour and have all these fans that want to ask you about this huge world that you built and your characters and the stuff going on. I wrote the first and second book in those, in that series and it was darker.

So I classified myself as grim dark at the time. Now, it's a little bit easy to market as dark fantasy. I still market the series. And then, I wrote two books and then I'm finishing up the third. I'm kind of taking my time with it, because it's not where my heart is right now in epic fantasy. Last year, I did a write-to-market case study and wrote a three book zombie series. It's a little more on the darker side as well. So more into the horror side of things, but it's easier to market that as science fiction.

I'm not doing anything more with that series other than it's doing very, very well in the background with a lot of, just passively. I'm hardly advertising at all and it's still making me a decent income. But I am fully now invested into horror. And that comes from a good friend of mine who said, "You're a horror writer, you just didn't know it."

My fantasy writing was dark. My zombie series was dark. And I wrote my first horror book and just loved it. And that's where my heart is now. I don't know if it's expected of someone who's in law enforcement or something to write horror, but it almost seems like a confession when I tell people what I write. I write horror and they kind of turn the other way for a second.

James Blatch: Well, some of the most famous genre writers in the world, Stephen King and James Herbert and many others writing horror. Was it Barker? What's his name? Clive Barker.

David Viergutz: Clive Barker. Yeah.

James Blatch: I used to read all that stuff.

Was that what you were writing when you were scribbling your manuscript stuff and passing that about or was that different?

David Viergutz: No. I loved Stephen King. I loved even some of the darker Koontz books. But I wasn't writing that. I was writing, at that time, Harry Potter was big. So a lot of us were doing Harry Potter spinoffs and stuff like that. So still in kind of in the epic fantasy, urban fantasy realm. The horror thing was more of a self-realisation of now that I've explored the genres, I've kind of looked into… I saw this world, like a creation. I could create and fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. I could write anything I wanted and it was mine.

James Blatch: Yeah. You're god.

David Viergutz: Yeah. And figuring out that it was horror that was where I wanted to be. It kind of clicked. It felt right. The writing style, the slow burn that works very, very well for me.

James Blatch: Great. And I think you've been a member of our SPF Community for some time, so I hope that's been helpful to you, because you seem to be doing quite well with your writing.

David Viergutz: Absolutely. Yeah. So it was a probably pivotal. So plug here, that if not for y'all, I probably wouldn't have done this because it simplified things for me so much that I could understand it from a business perspective. Instead of drinking through a fire hose, it was very easy to break down.

As I need things, I re-access the programme and I'm really looking forward to the new stuff coming up. Because I know there's something coming in January with some social media.

I really enjoy the business process behind it. So I'm always looking for new outlets. So when that arrives, I really want to be involved in it. One of the things that I purchased and made sure that I purchased was the SPF programme, both of them; Ads for Authors and 101, because like I said, without them, this wouldn't have happened.

Where I was financially prior to the programme, I was actually donating blood to pay for my first cover.

James Blatch: I guess quite good for a horror writer, do they?

David Viergutz: Yeah. So it makes an interesting story. Makes an interesting story. So I have a lot of attachment to that cover. But I've got a family to feed and needed some extra money and I had time, but I didn't have a whole lot of money. And I could write while I was donating. So I donated. Actually, I say blood, but let me correct. It's plasma.

James Blatch: Yeah.

David Viergutz: I've been donating plasma.

James Blatch: In the UK, you can't sell that stuff. It's always seemed slightly odd to us when we hear that people get paid for that. But okay. So let's talk a little bit about fitness.

I get the feeling this is more than just some dos and don'ts from you. This is an ethos. You've been forced through your injury to confront what fitness is and the role it plays in our lives.

But you must have been fairly fit before in the army. You can't be a slouch.

David Viergutz: Yes, sir. So though my job was centred around computers and being behind a desk. My unit specifically was not that type of unit. We didn't want to be that vision. So we were always out working. But yeah, there was some forced level of fitness being involved in the service. There was always a force level of fitness. I didn't want to be a statistic when it came to being law enforcement.

So there was a natural inclination to wanting to be strong, wanting to at least do something actively to take care of myself. And since, I view my authorship as a job now, I still apply the same thing. Because if I'm bedridden, it's taking me away from my writing.

James Blatch: Which is where this all comes into. Now, I know you've given some brilliant advice in the group and we want to explore that a little bit now. You've got quite a diverse audience here, I think with writers. Some people will do very little exercise at all. Others will fret about it. I'm probably somewhere in between those two.

What's your basic guideline to people who are writing, and perhaps most of us not thinking too hard about our fitness?

David Viergutz: Sure. I think it comes down to perspective. If fitness is not something you're interested in and it's hard to afford a lot of time, especially things that are require active thinking. It requires physical strain. You have to make it a part of your job.

The reason for that is that in the long run. It pays dividends. It's not going to pay you off right now, because it's taking away from what you want to be doing for something that you may not be interested in, but in the long run, financially, in the long run, medically, it's better for you, you might find that.

So with that, I would just ask people to change their perspective, to look at us as an investment into your body, you're investing in your business, you're investing in your ads and your authorship. You should be investing in your health as well. And it's more than just health insurance and getting your regular checkups. I don't know anybody out there that says, "I don't need to work out."

Mostly, what I hear is, "I should be working out or I should exercise or I could do better." And so, with that is if you have that mindset and you're at the point that you said, "I know I should be working out." Then, go out and do something. That's the first step is to do something, because it's not the, for lack of better terms.

It's not the people who were doing nothing that's rough. It's the people that I find really difficult to stand behind. It's the people who were, that knew they should be doing something, but they chose not to because something else took priority instead of prioritising themselves, if that helps? I think that's where I was trying to go with it.

James Blatch: Yeah. So making it a habit and a part of what you are and what you do, I understand that. And this is difficult for people. Our bodies are also different, aren't they? Some people really struggle with weight for a start, and we live in an age now of processed food and fast food and more sugar than humans have ever been had offered or at ease before.

A little bit of jam a hundred years ago was a treat, wasn't it? Whereas today, we're going to have five miles before breakfast without breaking a sweat. So some people struggle with weight, and we then combine that with a lifestyle that's quite sedentary, writing and quite stuck at home.

My heart goes out to some people who don't really know where to start and probably feel maybe that they've even missed the point where they can start.

What would you say to people like that?

David Viergutz: I say it's never too late. It's never too late to start. And the cool part is that the long term benefits, you will, of course, see in the long term, in your overall health, however, the short-term benefits are there immediately.

If you go on a 15-minute walk, when you haven't been walking in a week, you'll immediately feel the benefits when you get back if you've broken a sweat, if you tried and put some effort into it, the benefits when you come back, the increased energy, the feeling like your joints aren't stiff anymore.

You might have some minor aches and pains that were there while you were sitting for long periods of time that have gone away now that you've had time to exercise. Those types of things, you get right away. And so, I would say to people is that it's never too late. You can feel the benefits immediately. And that's on the fitness side of things.

On the nutrition side of things, one of… In the post that I made, which I put it all together into a PDF for y'all. If anybody wants to be able to access that for just some general tips and tricks, just like our ad spend, just like our metrics when it comes to read through, we need to be tracking what we're doing nutrition wise, so we can figure out what's working and what's not.

I would encourage anybody to just take what they've done for the week, record it down for a week, and then make a minor change somewhere. Maybe forego the extra piece of toast and see where things start to adjust, establishing that metric baseline is really important and anybody can do that right away. That this isn't something you need to hire a personal trainer for. This isn't something that you need to scour the internet for the next best diet or the next best workout routine.

Starting somewhere, seeing how it affects you, and then trying something new if it doesn't work. So one of the companies I really admire is Spotify, because they had a motto that was fail quickly that way we can move on to something that works. And the same thing applies for fitness.

If what you were doing is not working for you, if you don't like the way you feel, if you don't like the way you look, you can move on very quickly to something else, because there's a wealth of information out there. And it's a matter of finding out what set of tyres fit your car.

So it's not a matter of finding the best set of tyres. You need the set of tyres that's going to fit your car because it's an individual, and I'm not going to say the J word. I know the J around here is forbidden. So it's an individual event that everybody should partake in.

James Blatch: I did hear one fitness person who's talking once about how to start. He said, "Should I be running? Should I be…" So he said, "It doesn't matter. Just find something you enjoy. And then, that can be it." But some people say, "You've got to run 5ks, and then cycle at the weekend.

And I think this is what you are saying is find something that works for you.

David Viergutz: Yes. And you can find something that's enjoyable. Majority of sports of any kind, if you've ever done a sport, the majority of them are pretty strenuous. Even if you're a golfer walking around instead of using the golf cart, walking the entire course is, that's a long walk. That's a long day of walking. Even that can be something that you can say, the sacrifice is okay, I lose the cart, but the benefit is now I've gained an entire day of exercise and I still get to do the thing that I want to do.

It's not a matter of getting a gym membership and then lifting weights and feeling obscure in the environment, right? Because you don't know what to do. And now you're looking in expensive personal trainers or expensive programming. You don't have to do all that. It's a matter of finding something you enjoy. And then, pursuing that.

James Blatch: I did play golf today and I pushed a trolley rather than drove a cart, but a manual one. So I always try and do that. Well then my friend, funnily enough he does always carry his clubs for this specific reason, but he doesn’t run or cycle, which I do a bit of. So in terms of getting gain like this, for somebody who's not done exercise for some time, it's not a regular part of their life. And that would be a lot to people listening to this.

Do you have a particularly recommended way apart from just saying find out what works for you? How do they go about starting?

David Viergutz: Sure. I think it comes down to assessing your individual capabilities. So after you've been down for a while and you haven't been up and exercising, it's hard to know what your body's capable of and we don't want to risk injury. So I'd say is to find a general fitness assessment to find out where you are and what you can do. And then, starting to tailor a programme around there.

Generally, any kind of resistance training can be modified up or down in any way. So what I mean by that is if you chose to go to a gym or to a place like that has free weights, resistance training with free weights is very, very easy to manipulate for you specifically, because if you can't lift the 25, then you can lift the 20. And then, finding a base set of movements. I would say there's a lot of forums out there and I can try and get some links together. Some ones that I would say are pretty good quality of general programming guides, especially for beginners and for intermediates and for experts.

Resistance training is a very, very safe thing to do. If I was assessing a new client, I would try and make sure that if we're going to look at a programme that involved these exercises on this fitness programme, I want to make sure they're physically capable of doing it. If they've got a lower back injury, I need to modify things around that.

And then, as far as cardio goes, I know a lot of people with ankles and knees are really tough. So running is normally something that people consider doing or not doing. You mentioned bicycling. That is a great idea as well, because there's low impact. And so, there's a lot of low impact machines out there, like the elliptical or like the rower, like stair master. That can be very, very good for people who've got knee, hip, and ankle injuries or who are at the point where physically where running is tough because of their weight or something like that.

James Blatch: And the great thing is if we do lose some weight, you can then potentially run later on. I got a knee injury and moved to some cycling, just stopped, right? I thought I probably wouldn't run again just because it always aggravated my knee. And then, started again after about 18 months and it's magically fixed itself. No physio, no nothing like that. Just resting it for a year and a half. But I spent a lot of time cycling, which just underlines the point you've made. Cycling is remarkably low resistance on your body. It's good for your heart. I want to talk about that with that without getting too technical here.

David Viergutz: Sure.

James Blatch: Two fundamental parts of fitness, which is cardiovascular. We call CV, cardio for short. And the weights, which I guess you were calling resistance training. They're different types of exercising, aren't they?

Do we need to be doing a bit of both or could you stick to one, if you just prefer one?

David Viergutz: I would recommend everybody do both. Cardiovascular it's going to work on your heart. It's going to work on your oxygen depletion with your lungs. It's to get the blood moving, get the blood pumping without getting too technical. Everybody needs to do cardio because the benefits that come with cardio. And then, resistance training, if that's your method of exercise, I would encourage that as well.

There's a lot of runners who don't do a lot of resistance training, but they do a tonne of running. And you look at them and these are runners tend to be very, very slim. So it has to dependent on your goals. If you want to be a more muscular person, then I would encourage, you're definitely probably going to have to do some sort of resistance training. If you are a runner, you're going to start to look like a runner and that's just the nature of the game.

But yes, they are equally important having the cardio, everybody should to do cardio as a baseline. And then, everybody else needs to start looking at something else that they enjoy.

James Blatch: And the basic definition of cardio, again, for people who aren't exercising a lot at the moment is a raised heartbeat where your heartbeat starts beating faster for a sustained period of time. When I started running, I used to think, "Well, if I could do 30 minutes, three or four times a week of my heart beating at 150, rather than its resting state." That felt to me like it was moving me forward in fitness.

David Viergutz: The intent is what's important here. If the intent is to raise your heart rate and keep it up, then that would generally define cardio. Now everybody based on their age, their weight, and I think their height is involved is going to have an optimal heart rate zone that they should hit as a target to try and, if they're going to burn calories or if they're just trying to do extreme exercise.

So everybody's different when it comes to what their optimal heart rate is. But, yes, if the intent is to raise your heart rate that would be a definition of cardio. If you go out and walk down the street, that's not necessarily cardio, but if you walk with a purpose, if you walk with intent to raise your heart rate and keep it at a certain rate, whatever that optimal is, then you're going to start reaping the benefits.

James Blatch: And of course, lots of people wear these watches now. I think mines a Garmin, but the Apple Watch will tell you that so you can actually, well, technologies everywhere now that we didn't used to have.

Writers do work alone quite a lot and feels to me that my most enjoyable times are exercising. I almost never exercise alone. I run with the neighbour, go cycling with my buddies and stuff.

Is this an important part of it? You talk to people about to make it sustainable.

David Viergutz: Yeah. You've got to make it fun. If you like being around somebody, that's a good way for my wife and I to just spend time together, because our schedules are crazy. So we like to exercise together. There's time for us to joke, there's time for us to, we've got the same goals, we're both trying to accomplish something. And so, it's a like-minded environment where we can both kind of feed off of each other.

When there's days that I don't want to exercise. There's days my wife, she does want to really exercise. And so, she really helps to get me going. And I think that's important. If you need the external motivation, bring somebody along, make them do it with you. And then, at that point it's, it's not so boring. If that's what you find yourself doing.

And the other thing is, it's okay to multitask. I use a lot of the time with my wife and I are not exercising together, I use a lot of that time to kind of think about my business. It's okay to do that. You can do that. It'll take a little bit and you can, and there's a lot of people now too, who are doing the voice recording the recording down their books and narrating their books. You can do that on a long walk. I think Mark does that or has done that before or talked about it.

James Blatch: Mark has. Yeah. It might have been Kevin Anderson or David Penny, one of those writers who I think Mark saw talking into, dictating his book when he went for a nice walk on the beach and he thought, "That's a good way of writing a book."

David Viergutz: Yeah. Multitask. There's nothing wrong with it. I like to use the time when I'm on doing cardio, I reward myself while I'm doing cardio by listening to the audio books that I've been trying to catch up on. So I call that, that's my case study. It's my genre study is when I'm listening to audio books while I'm doing cardio. So that's another way I can try and get some, try and double tap on the time there and make good use of it.

And the other option is to talk to your partner about it, whenever you got them at the gym with you is talk about your books and see what they think. And every now and then my wife has to remind me, can we talk about something else?

James Blatch: Yeah, of course. I think it's important to have a sort of buddy if you can. And I suppose it could add a pinch, could be done virtually, and we do writing sprints and all sorts of things where you just sort of agree to do something together with somebody else. And that can make a difference.

My neighbour, John, is much better at getting out and running and cycling than I am. And I do much more than I would've done because of him, because he texts me three times a day and says, "Come on, we're going for a run. We're going for a run. We're going for a run." So eventually, I have to give in and go for a run. That's brilliant because I will find work to do all day, every day, and suddenly it's dark and night. That's why I want to go out.

So finding somebody to partner up with, I think, as we know for writers, right? Just from writing is a really good thing to do.

David Viergutz: Yeah. Just little accountability. Sometimes that's all it takes. Just somebody to check in on you who you know they care about your journey just as much as you do.

James Blatch: Do you know Mark used it in the introduction last week, so that's fine, you can use it.

David Viergutz: Okay. I got my freebie in on that one. So just somebody else who knows about what you're trying to do and that's one of the things I tell my clients or I used to tell my clients is like, look, if you're trying to accomplish something, tell the world about it, tell everybody, put it on Facebook, put it out on to your fans. Let everybody know what you're trying to accomplish. You're going to find community there. You're going to find a lot of people. I don't know anybody. That's going to say shame on you for trying to exercise and feel better. I think you'll find a lot of support if you just reach out for it.

James Blatch: Reminds me of somebody who once told everyone in the world he was writing a book and that turned out all right in the end. You've produced this PDF for us very kindly. I think I'm going to do my thing I normally do is just to make a year on the spot and hope that when John's editing this, he passes this on to everybody else who's ready to go, but we'll give it away at seems like a good thing.

Tell us about the PDF. What's in it and how should people use it?

David Viergutz: It's a cleaner version of the post that I put into the SPF community group. I'm going to add a few more details about just some internal thoughts, maybe some stuff we talked about today. It's the Q&A style of I find that most of my clients came to me with questions about what do I do in this scenario? What do I do about this?

And since I can't work with everybody, one on one, what I would say is let's keep it big picture. Let's talk about the things that we talked about today. And kind of given everybody an idea of can I start now? How do I start? And then, what should I really be looking at? And then, how do I know if I'm doing the right things?

And that's what the Q&A is supposed to do. It's supposed to say, "You know what? We know how to track metrics so here's what we track. We know how to track our progress so here's what we track."

And then, just some words of perspective, guidance, and say, "I'm an author too. I'm hurt. I think everybody's probably got to hurt somewhere. We're all in the same boat. And I believe in you and I think…" I don't want to say if I can do it, you can do it because I don't know where you're at, but I do believe that if you get out and try, you'll find something that's going to work for you.

James Blatch: That sounds really good. I definitely think you were saying earlier about starting in a sustainable way. I remember I did, I think I did the couch to 5k app to start running in my 40s. And I think I did it for three weeks when it was basically just fast walking, and then resting. I thought this is the easiest thing in the world, but it was a brilliant app. Obviously, it got more intense, a brilliant app for getting me running from zero start.

And I think I see this all the time. How do I start it without that app, without somebody slowing me down? I would've gone for it from week one, too fast and given up. It's a really, really common thing is for people who start exercising is they do too much too quickly and give up. The first few weeks, if you are doing nothing now and you want to start doing something. The first few weeks, you should barely be breaking a sweat. You just enjoy a walk and gradually, it just starts to come, doesn't it?

You just find yourself walking further, walking a little bit faster, and then you can start setting yourself goals. But I think it's really important to make it sustainable and enjoyable.

David Viergutz: Yeah. And you see a lot of this around the New Year's. You see these New Year's resolutions that are big and it's great. But you see the resolutions starting somewhere around January or December, and say, "In January 1st, I'm going to hit it hard." And it's really tough to stand behind. And the reason I say that is because there's no plan.

I'm going to get fit. I'm going to eat better. It sounds to me that a lot of people, they know what they're doing wrong, but they don't know how to adjust around that. And they don't know how to make it fit their lifestyle. And that's a lot of things that I would talk to my clients about, say, "Look, I'm not the guy who supposed to take food out of your hands and tell you not to do that."

I'm here to provide answers. I'm here to provide solutions on how to make what you want to do fit your lifestyle, how to make your fitness fit your lifestyle. I would not encourage everybody to eat the way I eat. It's just the way I do it. And I would not encourage that on everybody, because people like variety. They like change. They like to eat with their family, because of our schedules, I don't do a whole lot of that.

James Blatch: How do you eat then?

David Viergutz: I eat micro meals. So very small meals. I call it six meals a day, but it's not really six meals. It's more like three meals, breakfast and two shakes. And so, it based out every few hours and I have a timer that goes off to remind me.

James Blatch: Wow.

David Viergutz: So it's just, because I know how I am. If I get involved in my work, I will forget to eat. And it's very important that I fuel my body, especially when I work out as hard and as long as I do. It's really important to keep feeding myself. And it keeps me going and it keeps me feeling good.

I would not encourage that for everybody. But what I would say is that if you are, and this is kind of harping on the diet thing a lot, we all want quick fixes. And a lot of people jump on a fad diet or something like that, starting right the first of the year, "Hey, I bought this programme. I paid for these expensive fees and shakes and weight loss this."

And there's no magic pill. They offer tips for the next greatest, latest and greatest thing. And that's always, that's not the solution. The solution is consistency and finding out what works for your body. And so, I would tell anybody if they have a personal trainer that says, "I've got the one ticket that's going to fix you, and I've got the…" or you found a programme that you got hit with a Facebook ad for, and it's look at this, lose 30 pounds in three weeks or whatever. I would seriously examine that and question, what are they trying to sell you?

James Blatch: It's a big business.

David Viergutz: Yeah. The fitness market is huge and supplement industry is huge and they all want you to buy their pills. They all want you to buy their powders, but I can tell you that you can do it right now in your home kitchen and you can do it right outside your front door. It doesn't have to be something that comes in a box. It doesn't have to be a high price programme. It just takes a little bit of research and consistency.

James Blatch: And if you do want to make changes to your diet, there's lots and lots of stuff, really well research stuff online that's free. So the fasting method, the 5-2 method stuff. We've tried all of this stuff at home occasionally go through and all of them are beneficial and well-researched. You don't have to go down the fad route with buying all the shakes and weigh on the rest of it.

David Viergutz: Right.

James Blatch: I agree. Brilliant. David, I think I really like the sort of sustainable approach to this. And we should say that the benefits are multi-fold, aren't they from this? You should feel a little bit more energy during the day, get a little bit more productivity out of yourself, which is going to be good for your career. From health-wise, if things happen and happen, of course, life throws stuff at us.

I always feel it's better to be a little bit fit and healthy to try and fight whatever it is you've been thrown at. And it's worse if you do become very, very unfit. You can cause health problems as a result of that. So there's lots of benefits. So really we don't need to espouse, but I'll say what I said earlier, my heart does go out to people who find it very difficult, particularly weight. Some people just have that metabolism. It's much harder for them to lose weight than it's for me. I'm lucky I think in the way my metabolism works. So my heart goes out to them. But even small changes can make a difference in the long term.

David Viergutz: Yes. Absolutely. And I feel for everybody too. I want everybody to live their best self. And that's one of the things I put in that post and said, "Look, I want you to put more words on the page. I want you to keep doing this for a long time. I want you to put the best books out there, write the best books out there." And the only way to do that is to make sure that we stay as healthy as possible and avoid injury if we can, avoid burnout, avoid causing additional sicknesses.

James Blatch: Superb, but if people want to get going, no magic bullets, no magic weight powder, whatever, but some good sound advice from David. And David, people potentially could tap you up in the group with questions in the community group, Facebook community group.

David Viergutz: Yeah. Absolutely. I would say just if you've got questions about this tag me and that way we can kind of share with everybody. I don't do this for a living anymore. And so, at this point, it's not my time that people are paying for. It's not my knowledge that people are paying for. It's going to waste… If people don't ask me questions. So if I can help you, please reach out to me, tag me, and I'll do the best I can. And hopefully somebody else can learn from the conversation as well.

James Blatch: I do like this idea of buddying up with people and making a sort of accountability packed with somebody. It doesn't necessarily need to be somebody physically close to you. It could be done online through our Facebook group. If people want to do that, they should definitely post into the group as well. Find a buddy at a suitable level and keep each other honest, get out there.

David Viergutz: Absolutely.

James Blatch: David, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us to day. Really great to talk to you. I have missed, I played golf today to be fair, which as you say is about… I tracked it. It's six and a half, seven mile walk, which is pretty decent, and whilst shouting expletives, which I think also you lose a little bit of energy and get your heart going then. But tomorrow I should be back on it with my running. So I appreciate the mental little push there.

David Viergutz: Yeah. We'll just see how it goes in Vegas.

James Blatch: Yeah. Vegas. Well, I'm hoping to run in Vegas, although often in America, I end up running around car lots because I can't really find anywhere to run. So I do know, you've reminded me, I need to do a research to find a park that's safe that I can go somewhere and run in Vegas. But are you going to Vegas?

David Viergutz: I am very excited.

James Blatch: Well, fantastic. We'll have a beer together.

David Viergutz: Excellent.

James Blatch: Because we deserve it by then.

David Viergutz: Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. David, thanks so much indeed for joining us.

David Viergutz: Thanks, James.

James Blatch: There you go, David Viergutz. Lovely guy. He's somebody who's done a bit of PT stuff in the past, and just noticed that he could be of service to his community. He's not a big, it's not a commercial venture for him at this stage. Anyway, he's an author selling his books. But I was really intrigued by his quite long and detailed post about the benefits and the whys and wherefores. I thought he did a great interview on it. Lovely guy.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Lovely guy. And it is an important subject that we often, I'm as guilty as anybody else is not really paying attention to the amount of time sitting down, but I have a standing desk. I've kind of been standing the afternoon-

James Blatch: You're good at standing at your desk. I've sort of fallen out that habit.

Mark Dawson Really start to F-up my back. By sitting all the time it's actually, it is a problem that I'm finding quite hard to sit all day. And also, as Project Cow Shed nears completion, we're going to have a little gym in the cow shed with a treadmill and the Peloton. So I'll be able to do a little bit of exercise at lunch time.

James Blatch: Very good. Yeah. So you heard what David said. You could start small, try and find something you enjoy. It doesn't matter what the exercise is. Try and make it a bit of a habit over time. And I would always say for my own point of view, and I've started to exercise several times. I've been pretty good the last few years, but don't go for it too much at the beginning, because that's how you stop doing it.

So just go for really gentle walks. If you're not doing any exercise at the moment, carry a bit too much weight you think, just go for really gentle walks and gradually you'll find yourself walking a bit further, exercising a bit more. And it's a good thing. I've actually been in on one 5k run this week, which was-

Mark Dawson: I went to the gym for an hour and actually was on the treadmill for an hour, which is pretty cool. So yeah. Then, of course, I did all that good work by, we just had some cake, didn’t we?

James Blatch: We had lots. Well, all that cake, and that steak and beer and everything else. Yeah. It's Vegas, baby.

Mark Dawson: There's a story about steak.

James Blatch: Yeah. Not tonight. We're sort of in romance alley here, fantasy alley, because you can see some of the books behind me as some of the authors signing and selling their books. You've got one author quite close to us just behind me called Brit Andrews, who you are going to learn a lot more about in the future. Brit is a sensational story, not least we are proud of because she was an SPF Foundation winner and has come up that way. But she's had a tough start, tough background, incredible story, and is now having some brilliant success. And we are absolutely thrilled to bring you a Brit Andrew's interview very soon in the future. So a little taste of what's to come. Right, Mark?

Mark Dawson: Yes, James.

James Blatch: We're going to leave the inside of this...

Mark Dawson: It's cavernous.

James Blatch: It's cavernous rooms.

Mark Dawson: Like an aircraft hangar.

James Blatch: Almost like you're a writer. We're going to go out into the blue sky of Nevada or maybe the nighttime of Nevada, depending when we finally get outside and record next week's episode out there. You can hear my voice is starting to go from doing this. But, yeah, if you get a chance one day to come to one of these conferences, you won't regret it. You'll meet people who, I think both our cases, we've met people who will be friends the rest of our lives at these events, and definitely worth it for that. For that energetic punch, you get in your career to double down when you get back. Okay. That's it.

Mark Dawson: That's it. So all that remains to be said is, it is a goodbye from me.

James Blatch: And it's goodbye from him.

Mark Dawson: Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

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