Pursuing Uncomfortable Blog and Updates Episode 32: Pursuing Health In The Real World with Chris Janke

Episode 32: Pursuing Health In The Real World with Chris Janke


🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: Hi friends. Welcome back to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast. If you want to leave a comment, ask a question, or keep the conversation going, hit up the blog site at melissaebken.com/blog. And check out the video interview over on YouTube. The channel is called Melissa Ebken. Today I have with me, Chris Janke. Chris is a personal trainer out in California. He's written five books. He has four kids under the age of 10. And he hosts, a podcast called Health In The Real World. Let's jump in and let me introduce you to Chris. 🎶

Melissa Ebken  0:02 
Hi, Chris, welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. Thanks,

Chris Janke  0:07 
Melissa. I'm doing great. Thanks for having me here. It's great to be here.

Melissa Ebken  0:12 
So Chris, you are in San Jose, California. And you are a health and fitness training. Yes.

Chris Janke  0:19 
Yeah. I've been the been a trainer for about 17-18 years.

Melissa Ebken  0:24 
Yeah. It's been great. How did

Chris Janke  0:28 
you get well, so it's a fun story. Actually, I was I graduated college in 2003. But before that, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was actually undecided. And junior year, I tried out for the basketball team at school and didn't make it. But the coach said, hey, well, you and your buddy are good enough to at least practice with the team. So we got to practice with the team for a whole year. And at the end of the year, one of the players on the team actually got a scholar or not scholarship, but he got a contract to play semi pro basketball in Europe. And I don't want to take anything away from this player. He was good player, but he wasn't, you know, LeBron James, Michael Jordan. He was good. But, you know, in my opinion, I was like, wow, okay, well, I guess there are more leagues, I could, I could maybe play, you know, I, I felt like if I really worked at it, I could go play. So I hired a trainer. And he kicked my butt for a year and a half, and I got in great shape. And I tried out for a few teams and didn't make them. But that was a very seamless and easy transition to becoming a trainer myself, because I just, I thought he was just living a great lifestyle and just being around fitness all the time just seemed like a really cool way to go. So since then, I have sort of got into different specialties. My specialty now is helping people who want to get fit, but have some back pain. So you know, balance, core strength, flexibility, things like that. So that's my story.

Melissa Ebken  1:58 
I know, You've written a book about that. And we'll get into that here in a minute. But before we do that, what are some lessons you've learned along the way?

Chris Janke  2:08 
I think a huge lesson is to always keep learning. I think that would be one of the biggest ones to stay humble to keep learning. And, you know, not that. It's, I definitely feel like I do know a lot about a little, you know, I've gone very deep into this specific thing and fitness. But if I just go over one inch to the right, or one inch to the left. So there's a whole new world. So I feel like everybody that I come across potentially as something that I could learn from, and, and just staying humble enough and grounded enough to be able to see those opportunities as what they are, which is one of the reasons why I started my podcast, I wanted to keep learning.

Melissa Ebken  2:54 
Yeah, and you have a tremendous podcast. Thanks, tastic. It's called Health in the real world. It's a video podcast, which, you know, might seem ironic, but that's the thing to face. Since

Chris Janke  3:08 
she video, there is an audio version, there's an audio only version as well. So if you don't want to be distracted by the video, then you can just listen.

Melissa Ebken  3:18 
And I see you have a cleverly named YouTube site. It's YouTube. And, yes, your name afterwards. Not really too cryptic about it. So easy to find. And there are tons of videos there on that site. So if anybody wants to get any kind of idea of who you are and what you offer, that's a great resource.

Chris Janke  3:42 
I've been on YouTube for a while.

Melissa Ebken  3:44 
So let's let's talk about your book. Well, let's start with that book. You have

Chris Janke  3:52 
several books, I would say, there's a couple that I'm really proud of. And there's a couple that I'm like, could have done better. But the big one is called to help I threw out my back. That's the one that I wrote, to help people get out of back pain. I was coming across the same type of individual with my my fitness training, I'm very, into again, flexibility, core strength, posture alignment. And so a lot of people who came to me is that my doctor said, there's nothing wrong with me. But my back is killing me like it hurts so bad. You know, but the MRI, the X ray, they're clean, right? I'm perfect. The chiropractor did all that he or she could do and I still have this pain. And you know, in those cases, one or two, maybe three sessions into it, their back pain was significantly better, just from very gentle stretches and exercises. And the reason why preface all that with you know, the doctor said nothing was wrong because sometimes sometimes something is wrong. Sometimes times you do need to go to the doctor, sometimes surgery is required. But in the cases where you know, it's just like, I sit too much and my neck gets stiff or, you know, I bent down to pick up a pen off the floor and my back kind of tweaked a little bit. In in those cases, often, you can greatly improve with just some simple exercises.

Melissa Ebken  5:22 
And that's fantastic. I herniated a desk about five years ago. And my chiropractor was a tremendous help not only in getting the adjustments I needed, but in recommending the movements and these exercises. Yeah, yeah, I still do those there. I would be a mess

Chris Janke  5:46 
and a great how, you know, once you just remind your body just a little bit, you give it just a couple exercises, then it kind of remembers, oh, yeah, I know how to stand up straight. I know how to do this. Yeah.

Melissa Ebken  6:00 
The body is amazing. It is for sure. You know, I wish I had a great story about how I agreed that this, you know, saving someone from a burning house or stuffing a runaway bus with children on it or something. But the honest truth is, I think

Chris Janke  6:20 
that's a very common, I herniated a disc when I was in eighth grade. And all I was doing was stretching, I was standing up and I was bending down toward my toes. And as I came up, I thought somebody hit me with the baseball bat. And nobody was there. But yeah, same thing. It just is very mundane movements, right?

Melissa Ebken  6:40 
Yeah. Yeah. You also have help, my diet sucks

Chris Janke  6:48 
that I like that one, too. That's another one I'm very proud of. The backstory behind that is that I realized that there are a lot of diets, you know, that come out. keto is huge. Right now, Paleo has been big, Atkins diet, raw vegan, you know, all these diets. And you know, some components of each diet, maybe work for different people in different ways. So I didn't want to write an actual diet book, like this is what you need to eat. It was. It was a checklist. I just made a checklist. So if you so right now at this moment, Melissa, if you do not drink, I say a gallon a day, because it's like, it's a lofty goal, it's actually double what they record what they recommend you drink. But in the summertime, I think even for like a five foot female, a gallon is realistic. But I'd say drink a gallon of water a day. And stay on level one until you've mastered that habit. And then once you've mastered that, okay, cool. Now you can turn the page and get to the next habit. And that's to make a green drink every day to basically drink your vegetables. So it's progressive like that. It's you don't have to eat the whole elephant. There are seven steps and don't get don't go to the next one until you've mastered this one.

Melissa Ebken  8:13 
I love that. So it's helping to build sustainable unhealthy habits.

Chris Janke  8:17 
And even if you only hit three or four out of the seven, you're gonna be in pretty good shape.

Melissa Ebken  8:24 
That's probably three or four more exactly. Four. So that's chakras. Yep. Yeah, you're healthy sustainable habits are

Chris Janke  8:33 
just a it's really it. Like there's so many different theories out there of what's the best way to work out what's the best way to eat? Again, there's validity in many of them, if not all of the big ones. But it's how can you actually apply them to your own individual life? I think that's what's very important.

Melissa Ebken  8:54 
Yeah. And somebody told me once, or it was probably written somewhere that the best exercise is the one that you're right. Right. So

Chris Janke  9:02 
100% 100% Yeah.

Melissa Ebken  9:05 
Yeah. I know, sometimes that so easy to get hung up on the all or nothing traps. Like I will think about, okay, I have to have all of these vegetables, this many legumes, and whole grains, and all of these things, and it gets so overwhelming, and it's just easier to go grab something. But overcoming that all or nothing mindset would be doable with a book, like you've mentioned, where it's just pick out one thing. Yeah, yeah,

Chris Janke  9:39 
I agree. It's, and we can really only focus on one thing at a time, right? We, you know, they say 95% of our, of our behavior on a day to day basis is habitual. So it I think, right before I wrote this book, I thought, Well, if that's true, then shouldn't my goal be to develop a new habit. And like you said, if even if you develop one new habit, that's one more than you used to have. So, let me work on developing one new habit. So if I could choose any healthy habit that I could develop, what would it be and it was water. So that's why that was number one. Because, you know, if you're not drinking enough water, I don't care about your protein, your fat, your carbs, you know, fasting doesn't matter, drink water, you know, it's like and then once water becomes automatic, and there are different timeframes as far as how long it takes to develop a new habit, you know, some say like a week and or 21 days or three months, whatever. But I think it's up to the individual when you really feel like you have that habit down then time to move on to that probably applies to a lot of other habits as well, right, non even non health related habits.

Melissa Ebken  10:51 
And probably, then I got really interested in this one book, and then I read the subtitle and I'm still interested but in a different way. It says, how to get a great workout. You're interested

Chris Janke  11:09 
in a different way. Yes, that was a fun book to make. So I think this is also one of my top I would say four books. Well, I don't want to like feel like I'm setting myself up for like I'm talking smack about myself because all the books are good, they're just different. They're like different focuses. So this is good, we're diving into them. Naked fitness is very practical. So I think there are 68 exercises in there. Plus some some ways that if you wanted to transition from using weights or being very reliant on weights and then moving into more of a body weight and body weights not just push ups pull ups, sit ups, and squats you know it there are other concepts about how to drive tension into the muscles. And these concepts are also very good for rehabilitating let's say like you hurt your shoulder or something and you want to go move it again. And you need to be able to produce tension in those muscles in a certain way before you can move your shoulder in a healthy way to do you know harder exercise so yeah, naked fitness is fun. There's a lot of pictures not those pictures but you know, like you said people me doing exercises without equipment. So and

Melissa Ebken  12:35 
Melissa Ebken  0:01 
You know, it's funny that you said shoulder because I've had a wonky upper arm, I guess technically, it's not my shoulder joint, but the muscle in my upper arm. And again, I'd like to say it was from some heroic act when I was lifting something heavy off of someone to save their lives, but it's not. I think it's due to the way I sleep and the way my arm hangs, but that muscle is sore, and it really drives me crazy.

Chris Janke  0:30 
I would be happy to help you with that. Because I think the body should be able to sleep on its side, right? Like it's uh, but it but it is sort of, like you need to warm up in order to get into like a workout. Same kind of thing with, you know, sleeping even, like, if you're gonna sleep on your shoulder for let's say, three hours a night, you got to make sure there's some like, we call it structural integrity in the joint. And it's not going to like slip out of position or over tighten. But you know, we can give you some some classes, some shoulder workouts,

Melissa Ebken  1:11 
I tell you that what I hear you saying is that I gotta do a workout so I can sleep at night. And that just sounds

Chris Janke  1:18 
I know, it's I know. It? Well. I know. It's crazy, right? I know, a lot of people don't come in for shoulders, because we, I would say that's like the most that's like the major joint that we don't use enough. Because even if you don't work out, you still use your hips, your knees, your ankles, because you're walking around. But when was the last time you raise your hands all the way up overhead? Right? A lot of people will hurt themselves just doing that. And the body functions on a use it or lose it principle. And it's you could call the body lazy. I, I prefer optimize. It'll optimize, right? So if it doesn't need to build muscle in a certain area, it won't. And it'll use those resources for something else. So yeah, once we hit about, it's younger than people say, I think the aging process starts pretty young, like 20 to 25 years old. Once we hit that it's not automatic. Like when we were kids, we were like 10 years old. And we could just do whatever we wanted. No,

Melissa Ebken  2:27 
well, I won't be able to watch that. And when I hit 25, to make sure I'm incorporating the right habits. So moving on. Let's not yes, do any math or anything there. So you also have a book called back to basics.

Chris Janke  2:45 
Yes. That one, if anyone's watching this, don't buy that book once.

That one, it was never actually designed to be for sale online. But Amazon has a really cool program. And that's how I made these books is called KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. And I made that book to give to my new clients. Nice. Just as like a here. This is about me, this is about the program. This is what it's like. It's only like 12 pages long. And it's not designed to really stand by itself. It's designed to function in conjunction with the workout program.

Melissa Ebken  3:27 
Well, that makes sense. And then I see you also have a workbook there for a 12 month or a year long.

Chris Janke  3:35 
Yeah, goals. Tracker. Yeah. For those of us who don't use smartphones, or want to write stuff out. Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Yeah. So I, the reason why this is kind of a fun story. My friend and client and she's coached me, Katie Parral. She's, she has a company called your insight edge, she would be a great guest for your podcast. And I originally hired her when I was training for basketball teams when I was trying out. So this is like 2004 Maybe. And she was doing like hypnosis, like visualization and hypnosis. And so I would visualize all the scenarios on the basketball court and what might happen and how I would respond. And you know, building up confidence and things like that. And it's incredibly powerful. And then after I decided not to pursue basketball anymore, then we started working together for business strategy and things like that. So now currently, we sort of have like a mastermind. We meet every week and encourage each other with each other's projects. And a couple of years ago, both of us were in the same spot. She had just written a book. I had just written that help. I threw out my back book, but we had both stagnated. And we were saying like Gotta I feel like I have like 15 books inside of my brain, but I just can't get them out. And we've made a little bit with each other. And basically, we had to produce a product, every single Wow. And we did this for 15 or so months. It didn't have to be like this huge thing, just anything that you could put online that that you could sell without you being there. So like the book on Amazon or whatever. She did a lot of audio recordings. And the reason why it worked, I think is because the punishment was if you didn't finish it in the month, you had to donate $100 to a politician who you didn't like or didn't agree with. And I won't tell you who either of our politicians work because I don't want to get political. But it was really fun. That's hilarious. And they worked. It definitely worked. So that's what I have a bunch of content as far as books and downloads.

Melissa Ebken  5:56 
I love that. I may steal that. Yeah,

Chris Janke  5:58 
will always give you credit. Definitely do.

Melissa Ebken  6:01 
Fantastic. Yeah. Now I see that you probably have your own built in fitness program, because you are the father of four kids under 10.

Chris Janke  6:16 
Yes, yes. Built in fitness program. Actually. I did a jump rope class with my son the other day. He's 10. And yeah, I have a sorry. Hopefully that's not too loud in the background, I had to open the window because it was just burning in here. And there's loud motorcycle outside. But yeah, my son 10. I have three daughters who are eight, six, and three. And yet built in fitness program, dads always go in rows around at the park, it's might

Melissa Ebken  6:48 
be less expensive to go to a gym or to hire a personal trainer. But hey, whatever works, right?

Chris Janke  6:54 
Yeah, I can hire the best personal trainer in the world, and still save money.

Melissa Ebken  7:01 
So Chris, if anyone wants to connect with you, they can find you on YouTube, they can reach out to you on the website. And of course, buy your books except for the one you don't want them to buy, of course,

Chris Janke  7:11 
but just that one, that's the only one. All the other ones are cool you could buy. Exactly, exactly. Yeah, the podcast is probably a really good way to start to because it's a conversation like what you and I are having now. And I bring on a different guest each time to talk about a different aspect of health and wellness. And it in it, it bleeds into all areas of life too, because I even have had a few financial people. I've had, you know, a lot of mental health practitioners come on doctors, acupuncture, chiropractor, massage therapists, personal trainers, professional athletes. So it's been a lot of fun during that podcast. Yeah.

Melissa Ebken  7:51 
So before we close, what would be three pearls of wisdom that you would like to share with folks?

Chris Janke  8:01 
Three pearls of wisdom, this is a good question. And this is I guess, I feel the way that my guests must feel at the end of the show, when I put them on the spot with this. But this is a great question. Because I think one thing all right, I would say I would put this by far number one, especially now with all the there's a lot of political turmoil and fighting and social media does not make things better. Remember that we deep down in the way that we function and our needs, and how I would just say our needs, we're all the same. We have certain needs. And what is different is how we go about meeting those needs. Some people value security, and some people value independence, and some people value. You know, there's all these different values. And based on your particular combination of values, you're going to fall in a certain maybe political camp, or you're going to live in a certain neighborhood or you're going to live in a certain part of the country. And I would just just encourage everybody to remember that that really doesn't matter what you believe politically or anything else, because it's all that is just a function of what's deeper. And so that'd be number one. We're all we're all in a sense, the same in that regard. To this life is a start this, you know, don't take it too personally, I think we are spirits just kind of inhabiting this earth suit for a temporary time. And eventually, we'll unzip the earth suit and move on to wherever we go. You know, nobody knows for sure. But you know, that's what faith and belief are all about. And I'm not espousing necessarily a specific religion but, you know, just remembering that, like, your time on this planet is very short. And the time you're going to be dead is going to be a lot longer. So like, take advantage of where you are now. And then third, like, try to as much as possible live in accordance with your own personal values. Like, there are a lot of values that that do get instilled in us from society and from our family. But at certain point, we have to decide like, This is who I am. And again, you mentioned I have four kids, I can tell you, they come out of they come into the world, themselves, like all for my kids are the exact same as they were, when they were born, the day they were born. Their little personalities are there, and they are so different. And you and I and everyone listening and watching have their own unique personalities and interests and values. And it's hard. This is probably one of the hardest things to do is to actually be yourself. Because we're looking everywhere else to copy people and, you know, motivational speakers and we're, we're, we're copying people and what we really want to do is I mean, if you're gonna copy anyone copy who you are, copy yourself, right. So I guess those would be the three pearls.

Melissa Ebken  11:15 
Thank you, Chris. That's great stuff. Really appreciate it. So again, Chris Genki if you want to follow him on YouTube or his website, those links will be in the show notes. And Chris, thanks for being on the pursuing uncomfortable podcast.

Chris Janke  11:32 
Thank you, Melissa so much. It's a great show. And remember you and you are on my podcast. You're actually coming up next week, but so check that out too. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

🎶 Episode Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶


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Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so thankful that you found your way here. 

I support people who are ready to lean into and overcome difficult challenges, situations, and experiences in their lives. I have been a pastor for 20+ years and have helped, guided, and supported many as they have grown through life's ups and downs. 

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