After four fun-filled years as the Get-Fit Guy, Brock Armstrong is passing the barbell to a new fitness professional, Dr. Jonathan Su. Today, the two fit buffs sit down for an in-depth interview to learn more about the new Get-Fit Guy.
It's true! This two-part episode will be the final time you will read my words and hear my voice as the Get-Fit Guy. But don't despair! There is a great new Get-Fit Guy and he's ready to dive headfirst into guiding you on your fitness adventures.
Before I introduce you to your new host, I want to let you know how grateful I am that you have allowed me into your life for these last four years. I know that there are so many places to get fitness information and the fact that you have trusted me to lead you is not something I take lightly. So from the bottom of my well-toned heart, I thank you for making these last four years so much fun.
If you enjoy and value what I bring to your fitness life, I would encourage you to visit BrockArmstrong.com/newsletter to sign up for updates on where you can find me next. I have a very exciting and fun project coming soon that you won't want to miss, so join me (I am CoachBrockArm on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and if you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel, so you won't have to miss me and my movement filled content at all.
Meet the New Get-Fit Guy, Dr. Jonathan Su
You are an award-winning physical therapist and bestselling author who has worked one-on-one with more than 10,000 clients of all ages. Can you tell us, in your own words, what makes you a great fit as the next Get-Fit Guy?
The first thing that comes to mind is my desire to make fitness work for anyone regardless of age, weight, ability or goals. Research shows that the benefits of being even slightly more fit are transformative. From better mood, energy, and sleep to improved brain function, protection from chronic diseases, and help with weight management. Everyone should be empowered with the knowledge on how to be fitter, healthier, and happier.
What also comes to mind is the unique perspective I bring, having spent years in the trenches working with diverse groups of people, including managing functional training for soldiers in the field, prevention of repetitive strain injuries for office workers, and reconditioning and fall prevention for older and frail adults. This gives me a deep base of knowledge that listeners can draw from. At this point, I can confidently say that while I don’t know everything, I know what works and what doesn’t.
But I believe the most important reason why I’d be a great Get-Fit Guy is my excitement and passion to help anyone, young or old, in shape or out of shape, reach their goals. The best way I can do this is by engaging with listeners, by staying tuned into their questions, their challenges, and their successes.
I have spent a lot of my time over the years trying to define what “fitness” or “being fit” truly means. What definition do you identify with?
That’s a great question Brock and I think the definition depends on what your age, health, level of function, and limitations are at the moment. Based on these factors, fitness can mean different things to different people and even different things to the same person at different times in life. Being in my 40s now I’ve noticed that my idea of fitness is very different from what it was in my 20s. But if I had to nail down the definition of fitness, I would say fitness is the capacity to meet life’s demands with enough energy left to pursue your purpose with vigor.
Tell me about your early experience with fitness and how you like to keep yourself fit now. What does a week in your fitness life look like?
Wow, this brings back memories of being nine years old and posting ads around the house charging a quarter for personal training sessions. I would have stations set up where you would do exercises like lift milk jugs or push laundry baskets down the hall. I had only three clients, all of which were family members, and none of them repeat clients.
Growing up, I was a skinny kid and I got picked up on a lot. So for my 12th birthday, I asked my mom for a gym membership and I remember hitching rides to the gym with a friend’s dad at 5 oclock every morning. I wrestled and played football in high school and looking for that next challenge, I enlisted in the Marine Corps as soon as I graduated.
A typical week in my fitness life is 30-45 minute workouts 4 days a week. Two days are devoted to strength training and stretching, one day is devoted to HIIT training on the fan bike and core and shoulder stability, and one day is devoted to moderate intensity rowing and core and hip stability. I also spend at least one day a week outdoors chasing my two little boys around which is a fantastic form of exercise.
I am very excited that you are a physical therapist because over the years I have had many questions about injuries. As a coach, I focus more on pre-hab than re-hab. What can the listeners expect from you?
Pre-hab is commonly overlooked in the fitness world and I’m excited to hear that you’ve focused on it. For listeners who may not be familiar with the term pre-hab, it’s essentially rehab that’s done before an injury or surgery to prevent injuries and make recovery from injuries and surgeries much easier. Pre-hab works because physical therapy concepts such as stability, mobility, motor learning, and motor control are foundational to all movement and physical function.
What listeners can expect from me is a perspective on fitness that incorporates ideas from physical therapy to prevent injuries, address pain, and just move and feel better in general. Injuries, pain, and poor movement habits are more common than they should be and they’re easier to deal with than most people realize.
How does massage therapy fit into your PT training and work? Also Yoga Therapy?
Massage therapy adds something unique that’s difficult to develop as a PT. As a massage therapist, you’re spending an hour or more with a person assessing and treating their soft tissue from head to toe. After hundreds of hours of experience with people of all different ages, shapes, sizes, and physical complaints, your hands begin to develop a sensitivity that’s able to pick up on subtleties that’s otherwise missed. For example, you begin to notice global patterns of muscle tension related to stress or anxiety or local patterns of soft tissue tautness related to overuse, a recent injury, or an injury that occurred years ago. I find this information so useful that I’ll typically do a hands on head to toe assessment, even with fitness clients.
I began to study yoga therapy after co-authoring the textbook Netter’s Orthopaedic Clinical Examination: An Evidence-Based Approach. At the time, I was in the army embedded with an infantry unit and my job was to meet the musculoskeletal needs of 4,500 soldiers. You would think that after writing this book I would be able to solve all of my patients’ complaints, right? That didn’t happen and that’s when I realized the importance of the mind-body connection. If you’re constantly in a state of hypervigilance or fight-or-flight, you’re likely going to have pain from muscle guarding or muscle armoring and it’s also going to be difficult for your body to recover from exercise or heal from injuries due to high levels of stress hormones.
So I began studying yoga therapy which bridges movement with mindfulness, breathwork, visuzalation, and mantras and began incorporating them into my work with soldiers with surprisingly great results. It makes sense though because mind-body approaches have been used for peak performance by athletes for decades and have been shown to be effective for improving performance in sports psychology research. I found the mindbody connection so useful in rehab, fitness, and human performance work that I ended up completing a masters in counseling psychology years later but I’ll save that story for another episode.
That is it for this. We will continue our conversation next week - so stay tuned for more information about your new Get-Fit Guy, Dr. Jonathan Su!