Video Interview with fitness and weight loss expert John Fawkes

 Audio-only version

Who is John Fawkes?

John has a fitness website helping people get into shape and live better lives. Currently, he is transitioning gradually from targeting beginners to working with an intermediate and advanced clientele. His goal is to help people aspire to greater heights­. Fitness is not just about fitness. It’s about self-improvement. John searches and advises people on efficient self-improvement. That’s why I wanted to interview him.

We met on Reddit. John started his business two and a half years ago as a career advice and job hunting advice website, then rebuilt it as a fitness website. He started using Reddit for market research. This led to questions on fitness, and eventually, a coaching service.

John almost got his Masters in Business Administration. But, he’s very interested in psychology. He took a class in the psychology of personality that he loved. His teacher said that for a period of about 20-30 years there was a near consensus amongst psychologists that people really don’t even have personalities. Because everyone is really just like the people around them. But the reason that shifted is because they realized it’s not that you’re trying to be like the people around you, it’s that you self-select an environment to fit in rather than trying to fit into a specific group or environment.

His blog talks about your social environment and how it can be more supportive in your goals. You will be the average of the people that you hang out with. Either, you live with people you admire, or you live alone.

Facebook Tips for avoiding distraction

Following friends and unfollowing friends, while still keeping them as Facebook friends. Distancing from people, you can unfollow, and put them on your “acquaintances list.” Put the most inspiring people on your “Close friends list,” rather than acquaintances list. Get rid of the uninspiring people in your life. This will shift your Facebook feed to align with your goals.

What led you to get into fitness?

He had been underweight for most of his life. Thanks to the Keto diet, he transformed. He was denied acceptance to a martial arts class at his college years ago, then starting attending the gym, working out, then re-applied to the class and got in.

Compensatory Behavior

Some studies have shown that people using fit-bits have lost less weight than people without them. That people taking diet pills, green tea—caffeine—even Ephedra, people had lost less weight, compared to the people that took none of those. Because when people think they’ve done something good, they think they deserve to do something bad… Don’t think of fitness as a balance sheet. Think of it as a construction project. You add things, not subtract things.

In his fat-loss course, there’s an exit strategy, where you follow the course in reverse. It’s about transitioning to maintenance mode. When your weight stabilizes, that’s when you stop reversing and you’ve found your balance point.

Grocery Shopping

He likes Trader Joes and occasionally Whole Foods, mainly because it’s cheaper than GNC for his vitamins/nutrients. Coconut oil is his diet staple. He’ll make meat and cheese sandwiches (no bread). Cinnamon in tea is good for blood sugar control. He eats a lot of nuts, especially Brazil nuts, that have a lot of Selenium, since he’s on the Keto diet, which depletes Selenium levels.

Keto Diet Experience

He tried the Keto diet several times previously, trying to ease into it each time. He had to dive into it, to make it stick. He fasted before he went pure Keto. He got the Keto-Flu. Recommending Potassium and sodium to avoid the bad Keto-Flu symptoms. He does recommend fasting before a Keto-Diet to make it stick, though.Diets that are low-carb but not ketogenic, don’t dip into ketosis for just a bit because there’s no positive effects. Either go in fully or get out.

Keto-wise, his energy levels are way higher and much more level. Before the keto diet his energy levels were up and down, the blood sugar swings. He slept terribly before the keto diet.

General multi-vitamins are dosed way too high (10 times higher). Take minimum dose. He thinks that’s okay.

John’s Ideal Day

Waking up around 8-9am. Getting some tea. Getting online, browsing Reddit. Then being “insanely productive” for five hours. Gym in the afternoon. A little more productivity, relax a bit, shower, video games, read, hang with friends. It’s a work/life balance.

Hardest Test?

In Grad school… he went to spring break in Florida, came back with the flu, got an allergic reaction to the antibiotics he received from the doctor… Then, on his own volition, he took anti-histamines with super drowsy side-effects… his memory was messed up, couldn’t think straight, he barely could stay awake. Meanwhile, he had a huge presentation for a non-profit… the test was trying to get through that…

What’s the coolest place you’ve been that hasn’t been on TripAdvisor?

Namibia, just outside the capital city. Amazing hot springs. Inexpensive and enjoyable. Lots of nature and minimal people.

If you had to repeat a phrase to yourself once a month for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“This, too, shall pass.” Don’t get too caught up in temporary problems.

What would you be happy to find out that was in your life five years from now?

Rock band. Actually, starting a rock band now. Would be very happy if five years from now, the band is still going on and slightly successful. Just for fun, though, not for money.

What would you tell someone… say they were in college now.

The number one rule is put a lot of thought into what success means to you. You want to ask, what is going to give me happiness versus just mammalian, hedonistic happiness?
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