Bouncing Back From Cancer

Bouncing Back After Cancer Strikes [Podcast Episode #089]

You've done all the right things. 

You try eat healthy foods. You exercise when you can. You get lots of sleep.​ You take your vitamins. But, none of it seems to matter when hear the doctor's words, "You have cancer."

The same can be said about any serious disease or injury. It wasn't in your plans. Those are the sorts of things that happen to other people, not you.​ That's what Kara thought too...

Episode Resources:

Bouncing Back After Cancer Strikes [Full Text]

Dave: Hey thanks so much for joining me in this episode of the Make Your Body Work podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life.

Today we have a pretty serious topic. We're talking about cancer and we're going to be talking about cancer but we're also going to be talking about any sort of major setback in life, whether it's another type of disease, an injury ... could be something that comes up in your life emotionally or just a change in lifestyle in general that sets back your health.

How do you get over those roadblocks or those bumps in the road and get back on track? And this all stems from a great question that Heather wrote in. Here's what Heather had to say.

“14 months ago, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It was like getting hit by a truck to hear the word cancer come from the doctor's mouth. Thankfully treatment was a success and I'm now cancer-free.

Of course, I'm already getting back into my old exercise routine but I'm wondering if you had any suggestion on specific types of exercise for cancer survivors like me. I'll be 59 next month so I know I can't do everything I used to do but I want to keep doing what I can.”

Heather, thanks for writing in Thanks for sharing a little bit of your story. When I read that, the first thing that I just thought is, I'm so proud of you just for getting started again. A lot of people, myself included, we hit those roadblocks, it's easy to say, "Woe is me. Life's changed. I'm not the same. I can't do what I used to do therefore I'm just not going to do anything and be miserable."

I just love the really positive message you have here. "Of course" ... I like the fact that you said "of course I'm already getting back into my old exercise routine." So kudos to you. Thanks for writing in and just having that positive energy. I do want to have someone come on the show though who can speak your language and who kind of knows what you've gone through.

A couple weeks ago I met someone in the fitness industry who actually has been through a very similar situation in dealing with her own battle with cancer and her message is just so positive and so inspiring I knew she had to come on this show. So I'm really excited to introduce to you, Kara Watsky.

Meet Kara Wutzke

Dave: Hey Kara, thanks so much for joining us on the show today.

Kara: Thank you very much for having me Dave. Excited.

Dave: Yes I'm excited to have you with us. So for the audience, Kara and I, we actually met a couple weeks ago face-to-face, which is new. Most of the guests that I have on the show we've never met and probably never will. This is neat because you live in China but you're actually Canadian. Maybe you can start off by telling us a little bit about your story. Why do you live in China?

Kara: Yes, sure thing. I was born and raised in Victoria, Canada. When I was 19 I had the opportunity to move to Australia, so I spent some time there. And basically when I got back to Canada, I was working at the gym and I loved what I was doing but I looked around and was like, "Hmm ... is Victoria going to be my be-all, end-all for the rest of my life? I had this travel bug. So I had clients actually moving to Guangzhou, China and invited me to go along with them. I just took up the opportunity to do so.

Dave: So wait a second. So your clients were going there so you knew that if you went to China you'd automatically have your first set of clients?

Kara: Yes, basically. I just followed my clients around the world. It was definitely an opportunity to know that I had a base support. Because going to China, it's a big deal right? China is ... nobody speaks English. They do now but yes, it was a big deal. So knowing that I had people in Guangzhou that I could rely on, and of course continue to train, was a good stepping stone.

Dave: So tell us then about your career over there. So you got there, you have two clients ... I assume you don't speak Mandarin or any other dialect of Chinese?

Kara: I didn't at the time...

Dave: So what were your steps then? How did you make life work?

Kara: First of all, I actually took a job teaching English because that's the best way to get a job and get an "in" within China. So I was teaching English to little kids. This I did not like so much because I'm used to people listening to what I say and little kids are a little bit erratic and it was hard to control because I didn't speak Mandarin.

So I'd be communicating in English and hoping these kids would keep their attention span on me, which is very, very difficult. So I lasted a very short time English and I went right back into training. Got hired by a gym here and dove right in.

Differences in Fitness Around the World

Dave: Maybe you can tell ... Like I've never been to China before, so fill me in fitness-wise, would you say that the same styles of exercise are used over there? Or did you have to adjust how you train clients? How does that compare to Canada or US or just North America, I guess.

Kara: At the time when I moved here it was very rare to see any women in the gym whatsoever, and if you did, of course they were on the cardio. They did cardio or dance. So getting Chinese clientele to understand my way of training and what I feel is good for the body and what we need to do to make it well-rounded was very, very difficult at first.

But I've been here for 15 years now and it's evolved a lot. So China's definitely catching up to where we need to be in the fitness industry. It's taken some time but they're definitely catching up.

Dave: So now would you say ... 15 years later, would you say that it's more common to see women lifting weights in the gym?

Kara: It is more common but they'll still have like two pounds so I have to convince them that lean mass is not going to kill them, it's actually going to benefit their body. So that takes a little bit of time though.

The mindset is still maybe a few years behind in that whole scope. Like, "If I'm going to gain muscle I'm going to be huge like the Hulk." That's a kind of thing ... that's what I get from people still. Convincing them that they're not going to turn into the Hulk is a little bit of work.

Dave: Which actually, like you say ... They're trying to catch up with our standards, or how we do things here, but I'd say that's a really common misconception still. Anyone who listens to my podcasts knows that I'll have guests on here quite regularly, women trainers who will say exactly what you just said; "Women don't be afraid of lifting weights." So I think in Canada and the US we still got a ways to go as well.

Kara: Yes I agree. I definitely hear that as well. I have clients from all over the world actually and I still get that. "If I'm going to do weights am I going to be big?" And they really are a little bit worried anything. But they're a little bit more receptive to me saying, "No, you're going to be fine." So it's a little bit easier to convince expats and there's the local Chinese.

Dave: Gotcha. So you work with a fair big community of expats over there. Do you have clients that are Chinese, Canadians, Americans ... Who is your biggest face-to-face clientele?

Kara: Face-to-face I don't do too much anymore but it would be mostly expats. It would be like an 80:20 ratio. And even in the online work that I do, it's still about ... I would say it's 80:20 or 70:30 and it not because I'm not targeting the Chinese market per se.

It's just that I feel very confident coaching in English. And in Chinese, as good as I am with the language, my terminology and coaching is not up to scratch. I want to be really, really good when I coach so I'm just easing my way into getting more clientele that are Chinese.

Dave: Oh I totally hear you. When I was living in Panama a couple years ago and was doing some fitness programming there, just doing some informal fitness classes, I remember trying to teach people and I don't speak a lick of Spanish.

It was sort of just through miming in China, you know ... demonstrate, and you can do it so much but there does become a point, especially when you get into some more complicated exercises, where that language barrier ... I don't know if I'd say it becomes unsafe, but it definitely isn't the same quality as if you have a coach that you completely understand.

Kara: Yes absolutely. I totally agree. I know I can do the coaching with the movements and stuff but if I want to go into more depth it's very, very difficult. So I'm studying and working on my exercise Chinese. That's my next step.

Kara's Specialty: Coaching for Body Transformation

Dave: Oh, so cool. Would you say then ... What is your specialty? Because on the show, quite often I have experts in all different areas but it all comes back to weight loss. Are your online programs or your face-to-face programs ... Are they specializing in weight loss or do you do something else?

Kara: I do a little bit of both but it is ... Transformation is my main thing. So we do transformation challenges, a 10-week challenge where people sign up and I give them their programming for that whole 10 weeks, inclusive of their nutrition plan, everything ... all-rounded, so they really know what they're doing.

Your body achieves what your mind believes

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Now, I have clients in that transformation program that are trying to gain muscle, so I have to give them a little bit more attention. Not attention but, adjust their meal plan and adjust what they're doing in order to gain muscle. And to convince people to overeat is another hard one.

Dave: So I know that you are quite an expert when it comes to exercise and fitness. We could talk about nutrition and all sorts of things related to that, but there's a very specific reason why you and I are chatting right now and when we met a couple weeks ago, you were back home in British Colombia, I think visiting family and we were just talking through career paths and such and once we were doing in the fitness world. And you were telling me a bit about your personal story of dealing with cancer.

And as you had started telling me what you had been through, I was thinking I knew that I had listeners call in or write in before talking about their own experience with cancer or other disease, and I just thought, "Okay, hearing your story would not only be inspirational but also provide just some guidance for people who are going through that and don't know what to do."

And before we dive into ... I guess, Heather's question ... would you mind sharing about your own battle with cancer?

Kara's Cancer Battle

Kara: Sure. No problem. About a year and a half ago I was having some issues, obviously, and I realized that they were going on a little bit too long in my body. I realized that something was wrong. I've been a trainer for a long, long time and I've always felt healthy and fit. So I went to the doctor and I was having bowel issues basically.

The delivery of having cancer was not so subtle. He was like, "You have cancer. You're going to die if you don't have surgery and chemotherapy immediately."

I was like, "Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa ... slow the boat." So it was really, really scary at the time but I went for a second opinion with another oncologist in Hong Kong and he was like, "Slow down, slow down ... you're not going to die. It's all good. We got this." But yes, I had colon cancer.

So I went through four surgeries last year and it was only supposed to be technically one surgery. We had removed the tumor, everything seemed all good but I had to have a ileostomy, a stoma, for six weeks so I could recover. That went wrong so I had that surgery four times. So I'm pretty affected in my core area right across my stomach and right-hand side.

It was hard just having cancer but not being able to work out the way I'm used to working out was very mentally and emotionally hard on me as well, not just the physical. But I'm through it now. I finished chemotherapy just a couple weeks ago actually.

I'm feeling very, very good. Very strong. Still have limitations at the gym, still have to avoid certain exercises or modify but I think that's absolutely okay. I'm alive and I'm happy and I'm here so it's all good.

Dave: Congratulations. That's such a huge victory.

Kara: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Dave: I've got so many questions as you start telling us a little bit of your story there. First of all, can you tell us how old you are?

Kara: I am 36 ... 35 when I was diagnosed.

Dave: That just seems really young. Is that atypical for colon cancer to show up at such a young age?

Kara: You know what? It's not. Actually it's really scary when you start knowing about it and read statistics on it. Actually it happens younger than I think. So if people have any history within their family or have any gut issues I definitely recommend getting it checked out.

They say it's 50 but I definitely think that should be lowered. If you do any of the research and see anybody that's had it before they're all checking after 30 and just being very aware.

Dave: So you mentioned checking. What is the actual process? Do we just make an appointment with our doctor and say, "I want to have my colon checked"? Is that as simple as it is?

Kara: Yes, something like that, basically. Yes you talk about your family history. If anything is looking abnormal like abdominal pain or problems with your bowels, your stool movements, anything like that, then you need to have them check that as well. It's real fun. They look at your poo.

Dave: My next question, and this could be a little bit gross, but what are the specific symptoms? Honestly I would have no idea. What do you look for in your poo?

Kara: Blood is the first thing. If you have blood in your stool then you definitely need to talk to a doctor and see what's going on. And if you have any troubles going to the washroom, any feeling like a blockage or anything like that, it could be ... something just to worry about.

Of course not everyone's going to have it. It's just we want to make sure we're taking care of our body.

The Psychology of Dealing with Disease

Dave: Yes. So can you tell us little bit about the psychological process of going through this. First of all, when you found out that it was cancer, I imagine ... well it's actually interesting because Heather, she said, "It was like getting hit by a truck to hear the word 'cancer' come from the doctor's mouth." Well how did you...

Kara: That's exactly what it is like Heather. I feel you. That's totally what it's like. Yes, you're just in disbelief. I went in complete shock. I think I was in shock for about a week and didn't really understand how it's possible for many people of many ages, many sizes ... It doesn't matter.

But yes, it took about a week and then I came to terms with everything's going to be okay and then I flipped the switch and went completely positive. "Everything is going to be fine, this is how I'm going to get through" and everything that I possibly could do to keep my mind settled was the best for.

And every doctor that I saw said the same thing. "Keep a positive spirit. Keep your energy up as much as you can. Laugh, smile, be around people who love you and want to be taking care of you and accept that care from people."

Keeping a positive mindset sets the stage for physical rebirth. What you believe really is what you can achieve

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There was some people that get sick and they're like, "No I can do it, I can do it." I gave in totally. I had never really had anyone take care of me in that sense. I was just like, "Yes, I need a glass of water. Anybody? Yes, cool." Just totally embraced it and just made my life as easy as possible so I could get through, emotionally and mentally.

Dave: So during that time did you have to stop working?

Kara: I worked actually. I cut my hours back and I worked only within the vicinity of my home. Because I had bowel cancer it made life a little bit hard for me, a lot harder. But I just kept a few hours within the vicinity of my home.

And that's actually why I transitioned more to online, is being able to write more and study more, research more and help people that way because I knew that I had this time that I could be at home and really making a difference. So that's what I did.

Dave: That's so cool. I can totally relate to that. This is such a drop in the bucket compared to battling cancer, but I had two knee surgeries and I remember my first one I just thought it was a fluke. It was during a basketball game. I thought, "Okay that won't happen again," and then within about two years of going through the rehab and fixing my knee the same thing happened again.

And I remember thinking it was a real eye-opener to the shelf life we have as personal trainers or just active people. And sort of similar to what you're saying, I started to reevaluate and think, "Am I going to be able to do jumping box squats or box squats and box jumps and wind sprints and all this stuff for the next 30 years? Probably not." And it really makes you take inventory of what you're going invest your life in.

Kara: Yes absolutely. And don't worry about your knees being a drop in the bucket compared to cancer. Everybody has their own stuff. Everything is valid. I had a knee surgery too and I thought that was the end of it but my knee is doing great now and stuff like that. But I have clients come to me and they're like, "Oh it's nothing compared to your cancer." I'm like, "That's okay. It's still something and we work around it. No worries."

It is just about what we can do in making sure that we take care of our bodies. So of course you're not going to be able to do like huge ... maybe big box jumps or deep squats or wind sprints for the rest of your life but you can do some stuff and I'm sure you'll be able to enjoy anyway.

Learning to Adapt to Your Body Changes

Dave: You know that's such an awesome message. That leads well into Heather's question. She's saying, "Okay, I'm through cancer." She said that she's cancer-free. She's ready to get back into routine but sounds like she's got a little bit of apprehension about getting back into what she used to do and she also cites her age as well. She says she'll be 59 next month. When you hear that ... those sort of doubts, what do you say to that?

Kara: Just that I think that our bodies are capable of whatever we want but we need to listen to them and make sure that we adjust to what we can and can't do.

So for example, for me, because I know where my cancer is and I've got injuries in my core, there is a lot that I can't do anymore or have to do at a very modified scale as to ... like how long I can plank. Can I do a side plank with a twist? It's just certain things that our bodies may not be able to do quite the same.

But that's okay, if you know what I mean. It's okay that we're not machines, we're not superheroes anymore but we can still do what our body is capable of, and we can push a little bit harder in different ways when I feel comfortable I feel strong and that allows me to have that confidence in the gym. "Okay, I can't do ... " but "I'm going to do ... " this and I'm going to do it really well.

Focusing on YOUR Best

Dave: That's the ideal approach and obviously I wish everyone, myself included, would think that way. Do you ever find that when you're in the gym and you see ... maybe it's your clients or your peers that are exercising, do you feel like ... sort of comparing yourself or feel like you should be able to do things that you know that you actually shouldn't be doing?

Kara: There's always going to be things that I want to do because I like calling the gym my play place. I like to play. I like to do jumping everything, I like to jump up, do chin-ups. I was on American Ninja Warrior here in China. I like to do like skills and big moves so a lot of those I can't do anymore.

So if I see somebody doing them, like "Ugh." It's kind of like ... maybe one day. Because I still feel like I'm getting stronger too. I just had cancer, just finished my surgeries. So I think with comparing to other people though, I don't get jealous in a sense and I hope that most people don't.

I think we need to focus on what our best self is and that just is, like I said, anything that you possibly can do. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel good that's what you need to focus on. Focus on the good that you can do. Don't focus on the guy next to you. You have no control over that. That guy is that guy. You are you. So I constantly just do what makes me feel good and confident and energized.

It's tempting to compare yourself to others, but to be your best self, focus on the one step right in front of you

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Dave: I love that message. That's a really important one. I know a lot of women listen to this podcast and specifically women who have had babies at some point. As we know, when women have babies, quite often there is damage to their abdominal wall and they come out and they're not able to ... you mentioned planks, for example.

Not able to do some of those things that maybe they think they should be able to do and especially when they get in group fitness classes, look at other women and say, "Well she's doing it and I'm more fit than she is," but don't give their body that time to heal. Is that something that you've seen or you felt?

Kara: Yes definitely, definitely. In the classes that I ran, of course I tried to get people to be teams and to have teamwork and a community feel. And if you can make friends with the people around you I think you're likely to compete. I still get the feeling when I walk into a gym in Canada, that people look at me, which is quite strange because I'm a trainer.

I'm confident in the gym, but I even feel that so I understand that the regularly, the everyday person who is not a trainer or coach can also be like, "Oh, they're looking at me. Is my form good?" Or "I'm not as strong as them," or "I want to be better."

But I really would advise to get into your own mindset, your own space, and always concentrate on yourself, not trying to beat the person next to you. It doesn't matter if we beat the person next to us. It matters how good we are and our day, how hard we try, how much success we had.

The Limitations that Come with Age

Dave: And again, I completely agree. I want to play out a specific line from Heather's question or what she wrote in here. She says, "I'll be 59 next month so I know I can't do everything I used to do." How do you feel with that statement?

Kara: I don't know, because I think at any age we can do anything. It's just about building up the strength so I understand that age is going to be a factor in certain things, but if you start at a beginner level ... like I have people come all the time and say, "I can't do a full push-up kara."

I get them to try and they can do like a quarter push-up, and then the next time I se them they can do a half push-up. The next time I see them they're at three quarters and then they're into their full push-up again.

There is always ways to build up strength I think no matter what age. Now if there is certain restrictions because of injuries and stuff like that of course we have to work around those. But ultimately, to look around the world just for a reference, there are 59-year-olds that are marathon runners or doing Iron Mans or bodybuilding competitions. It can be done.

Age may be more than just a number, but it doesn't have to be a limiting factor when it comes to fitness

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Dave: Again, 100% percent agree. So a little inspirational story for Heather and anyone else out there who's sort of feeling like that. Like feeling maybe you're past your prime and not able to do what you used to do, one of my very good friends here in Vancouver, his name is Gary and he's a runner.

He and I will go and run together and he last week just completed something called the Marathon des Sables. I don't know if anyone's heard of that before, but basically it's a five or six-day run through the Sahara desert and he has to carry everything on his back so he's carrying all his food. He's got a little camping stove, all his clothing everything and making these checkpoints in certain time periods.

The entire race ends up being ... It was 200 and ... I don't know, 256 km or something like that and Gary is almost 61 years old. Honestly he and I will go train together, like he could be my father and I just look at this guy and think, "What proof ... " like it's such a good example of proof that when you commit yourself to doing something our bodies are just so adaptable. This is so cliché, but age is just a number.

Kara: I agree. Absolutely. Hats off to your buddy because I couldn't do that.

Dave: Nor could I.

Kara: I'd probably be like, "Nah, it's all good to me man. You go." Give him kudos and a high-five at the end.

Dave: But that idea of like, "I can't do what I used to do, it is just such a mindset I find. What sort of like the typical age group of clients that you do work with?

Kara: I would say mid-30s to mid, late-40s. That's typical but there are some on the outerskirts of both of those.

Breaking Through Your Negative Attitude

Dave: So have you seen any examples of clients who have come in sort of had that ... I don't want to say negative attitude, but an attitude of, "I know I can't." And then you've seen them actually break through that?

Kara: Yes. Absolutely. It definitely is a mindset shift though and people need to believe in themselves. And it does take work to do this. But absolutely, people come in all the time thinking they can't do it.

They'll say at the beginning of a class, "Okay, I can't do half the stuff you're going to put us through." I'm like, "Well, number one, you don't know what I'm going to put you through. And number two, I know you can. There are always smashing barriers. I think people's heads gets in their way sometimes of what they're actually physically capable of doing.

Once they try that task or workout or whatever it is, and they see that they can do three quarters or the whole thing or whatever, then they build that confidence slowly, slowly. And then they get into the mindset of, "Hey, I can do anything, really."

Dave: Yes that's so cool. You said something really important. You said, "Slowly, slowly."

Kara: Yes absolutely. I think people want results and whether it's mentally, emotionally, physically ... I think they want them overnight. Unfortunately our bodies and minds just don't work that way.

We have to work on it every single day to make it consistent to make it a habit, to make sure it's sustainable in every sense of the word. Like I said, again, emotionally, physically, mentally. All these things need to be worked on and that's where we get our whole wellness from. Nothing just happen overnight.

Dave: Yes. Again, agreed. You just used the word, probably my favorite word when it comes to fitness ... you used the term "habit." Can you tell me a bit, some of the tactics that you would encourage clients or anyone, maybe Heather or anyone else listening, how do people build habits?

Build Good Habits, Break Bad Ones

Kara: A little bit every day. Being conscious of decisions every single day. It's hard. I'll use nutrition as an example. I like the 80:20 rule. I'm sure you've heard of it. So 80% of the time you're pretty darn good and you're eating very clean and 20% you have a little bit of leeway.

If people practice that daily and know that they're eating mostly clean and they're just getting into that habit, "Okay, I'm just going to have side of sauce ... " or whatever but "I'm not going to use the whole thing."

And they do that constantly and consciously every single day, the habits come but I think it is a lot of work mindset-wise so being conscious when doing anything is going to be that building block that you need to keep the habits sustainable over a long period of time.

If you let it go, and I've said this many times to clients, if you make a mistake or you fail one day or something like that, don't worry about it. We brush off that day. We start back the next day. Don't go on a downward slope where you're like, "Oh well, I messed up. I had pizza last night. I'm the worst person ever and my diet's screwed and I'll never get my goals."

We don't want to go into that downward spiral so we just want to flip the switch again and be like, "Okay, today is a new day. We're good to go. I'm going to start with my healthy breakfast," and move on from there.

Dave: Yes oh again, I agree. Okay Kara, I'm going to put you on the spot here. What is a bad habit that you're trying to break right now or a good habit you're trying to instill in your life?

Kara: One of my bad habits right now and I think most of my clients know this ... Because I was going through cancer ... I'm not going to blame cancer but I wanted comfort food. And my favorite food, as a kid, and I guess still now, is mac & cheese. So if I'm having an off day, I'm like, "Where is my mac & cheese ... give me my mac & cheese."

It sounds ridiculous but that's the emotional craving that I feel so I'm trying to break that habit right now. I haven't had mac & cheese in about two weeks so I'm doing okay.

Dave: Okay so I'm quite interested, actually in this mac & cheese fixation. What are you actually doing to break that habit or to reduce that habit?

Kara: Just don't buy it. It's so easy. It's such an easy thing to do. I really feel like nutrition is not as hard as we make it but the temptation is always there, that's the problem. And especially like in Canada and the US.

When I go there, oh my gosh, the food is just in your face all the time. So it's very hard. I can understand that it's easy to give in when you're seeing chocolates around your chips in every aisle.

And then the bags are huge in Canada. But here in China, luckily, you'll have to actually make an effort to go and get imported food or order online. So for me, as long as I don't go there or have it in my cupboard then I'm good to go. But if I had mac & cheese in my cupboard, I'd probably on the day that wasn't feeling great I'd be like, "Mm ... I might give in to that mac & cheese today."

Dave: You know what's so funny is I really pride myself, and I guess the city of Vancouver, for being so physically fit and just active and healthy living and all that and when we met up, that was one of the very first things you said to me is, "Oh, man there's so much junk food here and everyone eats so much," and I just remember feeling kind of crushed, like "Whoa, I thought we were doing pretty well."

Kara: I think in the grand scheme of things Victoria, Vancouver, yes ... is doing amazing and everybody looks super fit. Everyone's wearing fitness gear all the time, which is quite cool. I like seeing that because I'll walk around in Guangzhou and I'm the only one wearing fitness gear all the time. It's quite strange.

But being in that atmosphere where everybody's moving all day, hiking, doing ... Like going up to Whistler and going skiing and all these amazing things ... yes, I think is way ahead of the game to be honest. It's just that food is just so in your face I feel, like there's just so many options.

A Fitness Coach Eats Mac & Cheese?

Dave: Yes. Oh I get that. Now I'm not going to diminish your mac & cheese cravings or whatever because I believe those are totally legit. The one thing you have going for you is that mac & cheese, it's not really something that's like just a convenience for you. You don't just reach into your cupboard and grab some mac & cheese.

You have to actually make a very conscious decision to cook this dinner. What would you say for someone who is struggling with a habit that's ... is that grab-and-go? I hear ... Like cookies, chocolate, wine, all these things that are just so easy. Do you have any tricks on how to work on those?

Kara: Well, first thing is don't buy them. Having it in the house, whether ... I have clients say, "But my kids like them." Well why can't we make our kids better options as well? I like to make smoothies and freeze my smoothies. I think that's a really, really easy go-to snack. So you just pop in the blender some fruit, whatever you want ...

If you want to throw chia seeds in there, some super foods, a little bit of milk or yogurt and just blend it all up with a bit of whey protein powder. I make like six at a time and then when I'm ready to have a snack I know that I've got that ready to goin the freezer.

It's like having ice cream. If you sit down and you're scooping out with a protein shake out of the cup, it feels like you're having ice cream and it tastes just as good. It's just not filled with crap. So I think finding better options and easy options that you can plan for future like having cut-up veggies of course in the fridge or a big batch of hummus that you've made homemade.

So quick stuff like that and just making sure you don't go into those ... stay out of those aisles completely in the grocery store. I seriously get overwhelmed. No wonder people want them; it's right there and the packaging is beautiful and everything says "low-fat" and it's not.

Yes so I think definitely just trying to keep it out of the home in general, because you're not going to usually grab it ... I don't think, most people ... at like 7 Eleven. You're not going to grab some cookies right there. You're going to usually wait until you get home and have that snack at home, hopefully.

Dave: Yes I do agree with that. Just as you're talking there about not buying things, I have quite often ... I'm sure you've heard this as well with your clients here; the idea of, "Well, I bought it and it was in my house and so I just ate it all in one day because I just want it out of the house and then it's gone. I don't have to worry about it." And I was just like, "Who actually thinks that? That's so stupid."

And then, I had this just like a week ago it was my birthday and I think I talked about this on a previous podcast, one of my friends baked me this cake and he brought it to our party and everyone had some but he actually baked two cakes, then he gave me the leftovers.

And I remember sort of in my head rolling my eyes thinking, "Okay, I'm just going to go home and throw these out, but I'll tell you that I hate them just to be a nice guy." I came home and put them in my fridge just not really thinking about it and then literally the next morning I woke up and didn't have anything prepared and looked in there and thought, "You know what? I'm just going to eat this and get it out of my fridge."

And I everything that was left, like literally I had a breakfast of chocolate cake and I did exactly what I used to, again, roll my eyes at when people said "Just get it out of the house."

So think about, as you were talking about avoiding picking things up at the grocery store, we're just killing ourselves if we bring it into the house and then have that mindset; "Got to get rid of it so it's not in the house," and then we go grocery shopping again and re-buy it.

Kara: Yes absolutely. It just becomes a cycle, right?

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: Totally. Now we'd like to wrap up the show with what's called a "Make Your Body Work takeaway." We talked about a bunch of different ideas about exercise and nutrition and mindset but for someone like Heather and like yourself who's coming out of ... it could be an illness, it could be an injury, it could be a setback emotionally, something relationship-wise, could be a new job.

Anything that's really set someone back, what would you advise Kara as sort of that one step that you got to take to get back on the horse and to get moving in the right direction again?

Kara: I think that we need to be kind to ourselves. I think people put too much pressure on themselves sometimes and when we have limitations it's very easy to think negatively. So being a little bit kinder and giving yourself kudos for small goals that you set every day.

Making sure you recognize those small goals or small steps to getting stronger, getting healthier, getting fitter and becoming confident every day by ... I like that word "kudos."

Giving yourself kudos, inside high-five and being grateful for what we have. I'm just so happy to be in this life. Honestly, if you think about that every day when you wake up you're like, "Hey, I'm alive. This is going to be a good day." Then give yourself kudos for something that you do, even if it's a step, a small goal.

Dave: Oh I could not agree more. In the online groups that I work with I have these women and quite often they'll ... at the end of the day they'll check in and they'll say I ate according to my plan and I exercised and I did this and this and this but I didn't drink any of my water so I guess tomorrow's a new day.

And not taking away from that concept; tomorrow's a new day, I think that's very true but it always just amazes me how we're so critical of ourselves. I did this and I did this and I did this and I did this, but I didn't do this one thing therefore my day was a write-off or a failure.

Be kind to yourself. Each day is an opportunity to work on where you left off the previous day

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Kara: Right yes, we've done all these positive things and that one negative thing or not-so-great thing is the one that we take away. We don't want to take that away. We want to take away all the good stuff so let's focus on those.

Connecting with Kara

Dave: Great, great advice. Heather if you're listening I just really hope that you heard Kara's message here, that there aren't limitations, just do it slowly, get back on that horse, do it day by day, set those little goals, nail those goals one step at a time. All right Kara if Heather wants to connect with you or anyone else wants to connect with you, what is the best way that we can find you?

Kara: You can connect with me at We have support there or direct Those are two main ways and I'm also on Instagram, kara.wutzke at Instagram. I might have to spell my last name.

Dave: I was just going to say. I'll put it in the show notes so for anyone if you go to I'll have links to Kara's website and her contact information. You can find her there.

Before we go Kara, you mentioned in passing, and I wanted to ask you about this for the entire show. You mentioned about being on American Ninja Warrior. Is there a video somewhere that I can post in the show notes that we can see you in action?

Kara: Yes I actually have it up on YouTube. I can send it over to you, absolutely.

Dave: I'm excited. I love that show and so again, listeners I'll post that video there. You can watch Kara. Honestly, I've never seen you exercise, but when I met you I was like, "Wow, you got great shoulders." I just remember being so [crosstalk 00:36:56] by your shoulders.

Kara: Thank you.

Dave: So I'm excited to see an action. So Kara thanks again for being with us today.

Kara: It was an absolute pleasure mate.

Dave: Thanks again Kara for joining us on the show today and just sharing, really opening up and sharing some of your personal story and sharing some inspiration for Heather and anyone else who's sort of dealing with some sort of setback, whether it's cancer, another type of disease, injury, whatever it is and just giving us a message of just start. Start small, step-by-step, do what you can, watch your body change.

Now before I go, I want to tell everyone, all the listeners out there, Kara and I, we were talking after we finished recording and she was telling me a little bit more about her American Ninja Warrior experience and as you'll see in the video that I post in the show notes for this episode, so again you go to to see the video. Kara was saying that she got called to be on the show with two weeks notice.

So she had basically no time to train and she got in there and was practicing on some the elements and the third obstacle in her race was just one that she could not get. She said that she actually didn't do it once successfully in practice, and then she was just kind of pretty nervous about this thinking, "I'm going to go on there and I can't even do this one obstacle, the show's probably thinking 'Why the heck did we invite this girl? She can't even do this in practice.'"

And so it's cool because she said when she got out there and got to that third obstacle in her race, she just kept on thinking ... you'd have to take a look at it but she kept on thinking about rolling and you'll see when you watch the video what she's talking about.

But she completed the obstacle and said when she got off that when she was just so excited, felt like that that was a victory in itself and said she went on and she wasn't able to complete her entire race. There was another obstacle that she ended up falling off of, but it didn't even matter because she had overcome her nemesis, so be sure to check that out.

Get Your FREE Copy of “Can’t Lose”

Another thing that I'd like you to check out if you haven't already, is my latest book, it's called "Can't Lose" and if you like this podcast you got to get a copy of "Can't Lose" because I take some of the best interviews I've done over my time as a personal trainer and interviewing some of the world's top experts. These are the best of the best when it comes to losing weight and I've taken 14 of these interviews and compiled them into a book.

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So you can get your free copy. I bought a whole bunch of free copies and I'm giving them away on my website. I just ask that you kick in a few bucks to cover my cost to ship it to you. If you go to you can order your free copy today. So that's my gift to you. Hopefully you have a great week and I'll see you back here on the podcast again next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

Cook Marvin - April 28, 2017

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