Spotlight - Brian Parana

February 20, 2020
Spotlights

As part of our first Health Coach Spotlight, we are speaking to health and lifestyle coach Brian Parana, creator of Woman's Body Breakthrough. Brian is a former owner of two CrossFit gyms, and has spent years studying and teaching it’s methodology. While in CrossFit, he gained numerous certifications through the organization, and his current area of area expertise is helping busy professional women claim back their body, health and most importantly, their lives. Woman’s Body Breakthrough is a 12 week coaching program designed to help busy women reclaim both their health and their confidence. 

Read below to get practical advice on nutrition, exercise, and motivation.


Sam: "Hi, Brian! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your journey to becoming a health coach?"

Brian: "Thanks for having me here, I really appreciate it! I’ve been pursuing a profession in the health and fitness arena since 2002, when I started out teaching my first group exercise classes. The one that everyone loved was a 30 minute core training class on Mondays at 5 PM called “Phenomenal Abdominal”! From there I grew into teaching other fitness classes at the local YMCA and enrolled in the University of Akron to study exercise science.

I worked at the University Rec Center as part of the wellness suite in which I did a number of different tests such as body composition, resting metabolic rate, bone density scans, along with a variety of others. Upon graduation, I transitioned into becoming a personal trainer at the Akron General Wellness Center. Spending six years as a personal trainer taught me invaluable lessons in health, fitness, nutrition and overall life balance when working with my clients.

I have owned two CrossFit gyms, and spent over eight years consumed with CrossFit and it’s teaching methodology. Throughout these years, I earned numerous certifications through their organization. If I were to put a feather in my cap, it would be taking Betsy Finley to the CrossFit games where she got first, second and eighth place the three times we went! I really enjoyed my experience with CrossFit.

As much as I really enjoyed teaching classes and coaching CrossFit, I began to understand that I really enjoyed coaching individuals a lot more. I have been refining my skills and talents to be able to become more of a health coach in which we looked at various aspects of a client's life including nutrition, fitness, active lifestyle, stress management and time management. By understanding all of the different moving parts in someone’s life, I have coached and helped people transition into healthy lifestyles for the last five years, through the use of simple conversation and goal setting to hold my clients accountable to."

Sam: "How did you get into Health Coaching? What made you start?"

Brian: "Health coaching over the last five years has been a natural progression in my life to helping individual clients reach their own personal health, fitness and nutrition goals. What makes me most excited about my work is seeing clients' successes and how it not only impacts their lives, but the people around them as well. Seeing their energy, confidence and success far extends beyond just losing weight. It truly becomes much more about lifestyle changes through improving their health with nutrition and exercise."

Sam: "How would you describe your philosophy on health, nutrition, and lifestyle?"

Brian: "What I have found is that the body is just a symptom of the things that are going on in someone’s life. So if someone is overweight, there are a couple things going on with their health that need to be taken into account. 

We start looking at where their priorities are in life with relation to their health. How much time are they spending with exercise or even considering what they are eating in a day? Once we see what’s happening in their everyday actions, we can begin to create new habits which can start changing the outcome of their health. My philosophy is very much all about creating powerful new behaviors that impact overall health."



Sam: "What’s unique about your approach and how does it differ from other coaches?"

Brian: "The biggest difference and uniqueness in my approach is that I actually talk to my clients. I listen to what they are telling me and come up with a strategy that they can implement into their everyday life. I put on much more of a coaching hat when consulting with my clients. I have a very interactive program using the “SANE Approach” to get you out of the rut you are stuck in and achieve the results you want.

WHAT IS THE SANE APPROACH?

SUPPORT

Client support is a very engaging and interactive experience. Included in the health and fitness lifestyle coaching you'll get in Momentum. Weekly calls, access via text message, and a client website that guides you through a step-by-step process to achieve the results you want.

ACCOUNTABILITY

In Momentum, we are looking for commitments from you to reach your goals. The more commitment you show, the more powerful the followthrough, and the more impact we are able to have on your life. I'll be there to help implement your commitments for yourself and ask questions to guide you in the best directions.

NUTRITION

Learn how to approach nutrition without fad diets or old myths that have been passed around for too long. The process around learning how to eat and what foods will work best for you to reach your goals are built around your lifestyle. We will talk at length about how to incorporate the foods that are going to deliver the results you want.

EXERCISE

Exercise is built around progression and overload. We will assess your current fitness level and develop a plan that is appropriate for you to follow in order for you progress to better fitness levels while redefining your body."

Sam: "What advice would you offer to those who are struggling to motivate themselves to start or commit to a new training program?"

Brian: "Once someone talks about not having motivation or willpower to go to the gym or to eat a certain way, I suggest that they take motivation and willpower out of the equation. What I mean by this is that motivation and willpower are not great things to rely on as humans. They will fail you time and time again.

Look at your average day and see all the actions you should do that you aren’t motivated to do. Habitual behaviors and repetition are far more reliable than motivation and willpower. For example, many people don’t enjoy the jobs they work. Yet they still wake up everyday and get to work on time to do this job, simply to get a paycheck. I am more focused on establishing healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes that will lead to more excitement around the activities they want to do for themselves."

 

Sam: "What’s your take on New Year's Resolutions? Do you have any 2020 resolutions you’re working on?"

Brian: "New Year’s resolutions fall right back into the willpower and motivation explanation in the last question. Sure, you can get excited about starting out the new year with new goals. But at the end of it all, is that the life you want to live? When you understand that you want to live an active, healthy lifestyle, then you can start asking yourself better questions. Mainly around why it’s important for you to live an active, healthy lifestyle, and what do you need to do to start creating that lifestyle for you.

As far as my goals for 2020 I am actually really excited about traveling more with my family. We have set some lofty goals to travel all 50 states and start seeking out international travel experiences as well. We are currently 24 states into our journey and plan to hit the remainder in the next 3 to 4 years. Our next few trips involve Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Washington and Alaska!"

 

Sam: "What are some key recommendations on fitness and nutrition you typically give to your clients?"

Brian: "One simple nutrition advice I would advise my clients to start off with is what I will call the “Simple Six”.

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat enough protein
  3. Fill up on fiber
  4. Be conscious of your carbs
  5. Reduce fat
  6. Eliminate processed sugars

As far as a simple question you should ask yourself when considering your fitness routine would be this, “Can I workout tomorrow?”. The reason I have my clients ask this is to help make sure they do not overdo it anytime they approach their exercise."

 

Sam: "If you had one rule for people to stick by, what would it be?"

Brian: "The number one rule I would suggest to people is to be consistent! Consistency over time will allow you to understand how to continuously improve your health journey. If you are not consistent, then you will never understand why you aren’t making any progress, whether that be with your health, fitness or nutrition."

 

Sam: "Have you tried Carnivore before? What’s your take on it?"

Brian: "The carnivore diet consists entirely of meat and animal products while excluding all other foods. It claims to help with losing weight. It is definitely considered an extremely restrictive nutritional approach as there are no carbohydrates to eat.

Unfortunately, any review that I have come across of this diet approach is that it is unnecessarily restrictive and there is not much research to back its claims. The diet journey consists of high fat, sodium and has no fiber or other plant compounds that can help the overall body’s health. This would also suggest that it is very hard to maintain long-term."

 

Sam: "What simple change can people implement in their daily lives to improve their health and well being?"

Brian: "First and foremost, the easiest change people can make is to drink plenty of water. Secondly, get enough sleep. Thirdly, prepare more of your own food so that you know and understand what is going into what you were eating. With those three simple things you will start feeling more energetic in your everyday life."

Sam Garst

Sam Garst is the co-founder and head of product at Choose Health

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