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Community and How We Connect to the World

Season 6, Episode 6  | March 2, 2020

In our increasingly digital world, the way we connect with others has changed — but the positive effects of a strong support system have not. In this episode, we talk with Justin Reis, co-creator of Life Time’s AMP cycle format, about the communities he’s built inside and outside of the fitness space, as well as how we can create more meaningful connections and surround ourselves with those who support us.

Group Of People Sitting On Floor With Legs And Feet In A Circle.

01:01

Our guest this episode is Justin Reis. He’s been in the fitness industry for 10 years and is the co-creator of AMP, one of the signature indoor cycling formats at Life Time. He’s passionate about building communities both inside and outside of the fitness space.

01:24

Reis talks about what community means to him.

02:35

Reis has firsthand experience building a community through the AMP cycle class he co-created. He discusses that experience and how the opportunity came about for him.

05:47

Social media has introduced a new challenge with how we communicate within communities.

09:50

Building a community often starts with creating meaningful connections. Many times, in order to connect with others, we first need to feel comfortable with being authentically ourselves.

11:50

It can be challenging to not compare ourselves to others, especially with the superficiality that exists on social media. But self-identity is really important.

13:10

Something that’s made a big impact in Reis’s life is asking for feedback. It’s easy to react in situations, but gathering feedback can help you better respond.

16:28

Reis and Life Time Talks co-host David Freeman discuss their experiences with being bullied on social media.

20:55

There will always be critics, but ideally, the core of your community includes people you feel supported by and connected with.

22:24

How Reis facilitates a sense of inclusivity, helping to make people feel welcome and that they belong.

25:12

Reis talks about the other communities he’s involved in outside of Life Time, including being a Lululemon ambassador and an ambassador for a local Twin Cities greenhouse.

28:29

In 2015, Reis lost his partner to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He discusses how that inspired him to create a meaningful moment of connection — which he refers to as a dedication — in his cycling classes.

31:52

The one non-negotiable healthy-living habit that Reis incorporates into his daily life.

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Transcript: Community and How We Connect to the World

Season 6, Episode 6  | March 2, 2020

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, the signature program lead for Life Time’s Alpha program. We’re all in different places along our health and fitness journey, but no matter what we are working towards, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode we’ll cover the foundational elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, health issues like sleep and stress management, and mindfulness and community.

David Freeman

And we’ll be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

On today’s episode, we are talking about community and how we connect to the world. We’ll be discussing how communication has evolved with social media and how we can get back to the roots of deep meaningful relationships.

Jamie Martin

Our guest today is Justin Reis. He’s been in the fitness industry for 10 years and is the co-creator for AMP, one of the indoor signature cycling formats at Life Time. He teaches the class in clubs around the country and is passionate about building communities, both inside and outside of the fitness space.

David Freeman

Let’s kick it off. Let’s talk about community and what that means to you.

Justin Reis

Yeah. Absolutely. So, thank you so much for having me here. I am very excited to be here, and to broaden our community through this podcast. So, yeah, I mean community it’s a huge deal. Not only is it for us to have fun in the fitness space, but it’s also getting people to come back to our classes, and above all of that it’s getting people to feel welcome and secure within their own skin to relate to people. It’s not easy getting people to feel relatable. Especially in moments where maybe they’re feeling some serious defeat with maybe weight challenges that they’re having or any sort of physical challenges. I mean, there’s a huge level of like, I can’t do this. So, when people come into our classes wanting to feel like they can do something that they’ve never done before, like go to an Alpha class or an AMP cycle class. Or, even just walk into one of our clubs anywhere. I mean, there’s some challenge there. So, building that community through saying “hi” when they walk into the club or into a fitness studio is like number one. Greeting them with a smile. I mean these are kind of cliché things, but they’re things that we kind of forget sometimes. But bringing that into our daily practice of just saying “hi” and bringing joy into people’s lives is super important.

David Freeman

Yeah.

Jamie Martin

Absolutely. So, you have firsthand experience with being able to build a community through the AMP class that you co-created at Life Time. So, tell us a little bit about that experience and how you went about doing that.

Justin Reis

Yeah. Long story short, I’ve been teaching for 10 years and when I first started teaching, to be honest, I was broke. I was a broke college student and I needed a part-time job while I was full-time in school. I went to school for journalism, broadcast, and I needed something fun to do. And my mom who was a fitness instructor — she was teaching Jazzercise and aerobics in the small town that I grew up in at the Legion in River Falls, Wisconsin — and she was like you should maybe teach a couple classes and see how it goes, and I was already taking this “spin class” at Target Center in Minneapolis, and I was like well, maybe I’ll do it. So, then I expressed interest to my friend Katie Stein, who is still at Target Center today. She is the GM there now, and she got me going right away in teaching, well, getting me going and becoming an instructor.

So, I started teaching some classes. I ended up taking over her class which was a big deal because she had this reservation class and I was like oh my God, I don’t know how I’m going to live up to her level. And after time went by, I started building my following and I just wanted it to be a fun relatable class, getting people to come back to class, cheering them on, and anyway. So, fast forwarding just a few years ago, that’s when a guy by the name of Rob Glick, who’s kind of the Oz of all of our group fitness formatting here within the walls of Life Time. So, Rob came to my class and after class he asked if I would be interested in branding the class, and he made this comment that will always stick with me where he said you make an impact in maybe a hundred to, maybe a couple hundred lives a week, which is a big deal and he wasn’t minimizing that, but he said branding a class I would have the potential to impact thousands of lives every single day by branding class, and I didn’t even know what that meant. You know like, I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it. So, after class I was just kind of like yeah, right. There’s no way that this could really be a thing, to brand the class that I had made up just to have fun, and you know, get in a good sweat before and after the classes when I was in undergrad. Anyway, so, he reached out to me that weekend and then when he called, I saw his name pop up on my phone and then I thought oh my gosh, this guy is serious, and then we had a few more conversations. Long story short, he asked if I wanted to brand the class, again, and I said yes.

I left the job that I had at the time, came on with Life Time and throughout the last three years, I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of AMP cycle performers, you know going through the certification process. I’ve tested out hundreds of performers, mostly through FaceTime and Skype virtually here in Minnesota. I’ve been able to do them pretty much all live, but I’ve also been able to travel all over the country, teach classes, learn more about how to become a better instructor, how to connect with the back row better, along with the middle rows, and the front row. How to you know just engage with everyone in rooms where I don’t even know who anybody is. So, being able to pull that performer out of myself has been challenging, but it’s also been the most fun part of this job.

David Freeman

One thing that I’ve noticed over the years that’s a lost art is communication within communities. So, you can’t really have community without communication and nowadays people are so caught up in social media and looking at their phones and not connecting with people day in and day out. So, something as simple as how do you communicate? How do you connect with people and how do you make the vibe contagious with others?

Justin Reis

You know, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I hate social media in some ways because just like you said, we’re looking on our phones all the time. I mean in Minneapolis we’ve got our skyway system that connects all the buildings and people are just like walking by each other kind of like these robots, not even looking up but then on the other side of it, I’ve learned so much about social media and how to become better with my engagement in a really short amount of time. Like in a 15 second Instagram story video. Like how impactful can I be in 15 seconds? You know, I mean another positive with social media is, again, the hundreds of performers that we’ve certified just in the Amp cycle space alone. I mean, we’ve got just about two dozen. Yeah, we’ve got more than two dozen formats within Life Time. Our performers, we’re encouraging them to post on social media to you know help drive the awareness of our brands, but also to promote who they are as people. So, I think there’s something really special that comes out of, as we continue to post on social media, how much deeper can we get into ourselves to go back to that comment I made before about being totally relatable and that’s helped me a lot in my day-to-day interactions with people outside of social media. So, being more in tune with maybe what they have going on in their lives. Or, I can say something like oh my gosh I saw that you broke your arm a few months ago and look at the progress that you’re making in the small time. Way to go.

Taking social media, I guess, just putting that on the side, I think what it really challenges us to do is look people in the eye when we meet strangers, you know when we’re traveling from club to club across the country. David, I know you do the same thing. You know, going from club to club where we don’t know people. I think there’s something that happened where we are maybe afraid sometimes to say exactly what we’re thinking. Good, bad, or otherwise, but also, just kicking off a conversation. So, I think that’s something that we really need to focus on. On, think about questions to ask, like what are some easy go-to questions to kick start a conversation? As a group fitness instructor, going to a class that maybe you’re subbing, like I never teach out at our Coon Rapids club, which is here in Minnesota, but I can identify with people there just by a few easy questions, like why are you here today? What sort of classes do you normally like to go to? What freaks you out about a cycle class? Are you rhythmic? Are you non-rhythmic? You know when it comes to AMP cycle. And if they’re not, it’s OK, I can give him a ton of modifications and ways to feel successful. So, I think by breaking down those barriers, it’s helpful for them to want to come back and feel successful through class, but now we’ve got the connection. So, when I’m up on stage teaching the class, I’ll already know the person’s name or a little bit about their story in the back row, or wherever they are around the room and I can immediately just connect just with that eye contact. I don’t know if I’m completely answering your question there?

I don’t want to totally derail it, but I think between what we have going on in person, those simple, go-to questions — like back when I was a news reporter, I would always have my three go-to questions. Whenever I was sent out onto a story where I was thrown into a story where I really didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know what the story was yet. My first few questions, it was always why are you here today? What’s your mission? And is there anything else that you’d like to add? And the is there anything else that you’d like to add question always came in at the end because that just opens the door, I’ll say, for like the person I was interviewing, to like let anything else out. I think bringing those three questions on why are you here today, what’s your mission, and then at the end of class like is there anything else that you’d like to add about your experience today? So I think just those three go-to simple questions, like it’s basic but bringing that into your daily practice, it’s going to turn into so much more and then maybe it becomes friends on social media and you know, start building your friendship and relationship that way.

Jamie Martin
Well, I think there’s something about that where you’re finding a commonality. Again, this goes back to relatability, but what are these common interests and these common passions that people might have that come out whether it’s in a group fitness class or elsewhere when you’re trying to connect and building deeper relationships with people. And so, with that in mind, I mean you gave us the three questions. What do you think are some of the key components for connecting with people? Like, how do we build more meaningful connections that ideally help to then facilitate community?

Justin Reis

Being happy with who you are, and that’s such a hard thing. I mean I’ve gone through some serious challenge where like I’ve gotten in a funk and it’s hard to get out of that funk it’s like oh my God, I’m crazy, and I can’t, it’s hard to break through, and you see the light, it’s that moment that you can relate to with our friends that are dealing with challenge when you say that you understand, and you can give your reasoning behind it where then you completely relate.

So, I think it starts off with really knowing who you are and being happy with everything about yourself, and again it’s so challenging to do that sometimes but celebrating those things about yourself. You know we’ve all got those like weird quirks, like I mean, I’ve got a thousand of them. I think I am an artist, I have a major green thumb, I’ve got I mean with the entire process of the branding of AMP cycle, there’s been lots of wins and lots of loses, but walking away with it not feeling defeated and sink or swim, like you need to keep swimming. So, in those swimming moments where you make it through, I think that’s where those are the things that you can connect with, with people.

Jamie Martin

Yeah. That emotionality. I don’t think that’s even a word, honestly. I just created a new word. But the emotion. Like you’re creating an emotional connection by being authentically you, right. I think that’s an important piece of how we show up in the world.

Justin Reis

Exactly. Yeah, you know with social media, going back to that, it’s very easy to compare yourself to anybody on social media. I mean, there’s people that I see all the time that  have these flawless bodies and like the quotes that they use, it’s like where did you come up with that? In those moments of like comparing myself which happens from time to time, not as much as it used to, like, but I think by just, you know, being happy with the successes that you’ve achieved and really tapping into interests that you have like do you want to go back to school and learn more about something? Do you want to travel more often? I mean, these are things that people talk about all the time on like their bucket list. Like what have you done today to really make those things happen for yourself?

David Freeman

Well the beautiful part about what you just said is knowing who self is first and knowing who you are, and your self-identity is so important. We all are created in our own way and we are all unique in our own way, but to your point we always try to find ourselves looking at something else. So, I think that’s huge that you actually say about self-identity and identifying with who you are and what makes you move. So, going into…I heard you say a few things. Community beyond the four walls of Life Time. You’re very involved, like you said, with a green thumb and your Lululemon…

Justin Reis

You know, can I interrupt you really quick? Hold that thought for just a second. There’s something that I want to get out there, as you were talking. A huge thing for me as a performer is feedback. I think really owning that moment of asking for feedback, no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re in fitness, not in fitness, living your day-to-day with your friends. I ask my friends all the time now, like could I have reacted better in that moment. Or, could I have done something differently in that moment? Or, asking for that feedback I think only is going to make you stronger. It is going to give you that thicker skin of you know taking some comments that you’re not really ready for or necessarily you know super excited to get, but I guarantee you the next time that you interact in a similar way or maybe you asked for some feedback from friends, you’re going to say it much differently.

Katie Haggerty, who I’m sure you guys know, is a major mentor of mine. She’s always saying ask questions. So, when you get into a situation of like feedback, ask more questions, if you’re getting feedback on something. So, if they’re saying like I want to give you some feedback on your class today maybe lead that with so, what are some things that I could have done a little bit differently, and then as they continue to go on tap more into the comments that they’re saying, like ask more, ask more questions. It’s very easy to react. Ask those questions. Some things you’re going to like. Some things are not going to like. You’re not going to want to take all that with you, or maybe I guess own all of that feedback, but you’re going to hear it. It’s going to be something that you’re going to learn some lessons from, and you can only move on from it, and I think there’s a lot of excess success that comes from just asking for feedback. Day to day. Just a few questions and it can only take, maybe it only takes five minutes.

Jamie Martin

I was going to add to that. I think you’re hearing that feedback as well, but then also when people are able to give that, and they can feel heard. I think there’s also an investment with that. When they see that their feedback is being you know, considered, and maybe even incorporated in some way or another. So, when people feel heard, there is an investment then and wanting to feel safe. They feel safe enough to be able to do that and that way they can feel more connected. That’s my personal experience, but I’ve also heard that anecdotally, as well.

Justin Reis

Do you think that it makes you a leader, you know? You know like tap into your leadership qualities when you ask someone for feedback, you guys? You know like when you’re in a situation.

Jamie Martin

Oh, I think so I think so. I think it gives us . . . when we’re willing to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable, I think it helps. It’s a tool for growth for all of us. So, if we’re willing to be told something that might be tough to take, then what do we do with it? I think true leadership is then what do we do with it? Right? Like how do we take that and incorporate it into our lives and into our actions. Yeah.

David Freeman

Having a voice is very empowering and hearing feedback from all shapes and . . . like that’s very important because it’s a different perspective and what angle you were coming at, could’ve been totally received in a different way so it’s always great to hear perspective and grow from that. So, 100 percent, asking for feedback is crucial.

Justin Reis

So hey, quick question for you. So, David I know you post a lot on social media and Jamie I know you do, too, but David you post a lot. Have you ever, and this is a totally random question, have you ever gotten bullied at any sort of level on social media?

David Freeman

100 percent. 100 percent. I’ve actually gotten bullied as I’ve gotten older always been what’s known as the defender. So, the defender is a person who takes up for the individuals are getting bullied. All growing up, through middle school, high school . . . so I was always a defender. So, I’m a big, big advocate as you probably know as far as against bullying. So, on social media, it’s easier for individuals to do it because there’s no face to it. There’s no real repercussions because you feel safe behind, you know, your phone and people do it all the time and what I’ve learned over the years, the same thing I had in my mentality when I was younger, is people are usually envying something that they lack and they see something in you and jealousy by definition in my eyes is love and hate at the same time because you’re watching me because you see something you like but at the same time since you don’t have it or possess it, you might hate on it but you keep coming back and watching. So, I mean I use it as motivation as you probably know at this point.

Justin Reis

So, I think you and I talked about this once. Didn’t we say something like hater is the best motivator? Sometimes. Yeah, sometimes. I had something happen to me recently. A bullying situation on social media, and I really took it as kind of feedback in some ways for me. It was probably the biggest punch in the face that I’ve gotten on social media, and it was really, really, tough to recover from. I mean it took me a couple weeks where I was just like you know what, screw this whole social media thing. I need to take a break, and because I normally post a lot on my stories and my feed content but there was this one where it was screenshotted, reposted by this person that’s got thousands of followers, and he gets his followers on bullying people, like hating on people, but when he posted it, like my first few reactions were, why would he do this to me? Like, how did he even find me, and seeing all the likes on it, and the comments, I was like falling apart. It was so tough but after about a week went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, like I was having dreams about it, it was really, really impacting me because like I really try to make a positive impact on social media and I try so hard to be authentic. So, in this exact moment when I was hated on, completely bullied, like my face was right on there, like he screenshotted one of the pictures that I put on social media. I took it as feedback in a way, where I am now not necessarily rethinking, but I’m putting so much more thought into the text and the copy that’s going with the images and how I’m connecting. But when this one exact thing happened it made me think deeper into how can I relate better? How can I translate my authentic thoughts, like my real passion for motivating, uplifting and inspiring people in a way that’s just more identifiable? In a way that’s more understandable.

David Freeman

Let me jump in there. So, it’s two-fold. This is the thing. This is the effects of bullying. And don’t get me wrong, if you took it and you ran with it and it’s something positive came out of it, good stuff, but I’ve been in the same situation. I’m like, why is this not getting a lot of likes, why is there not a lot of feedback, and the thing is it’s what I wanted. It shouldn’t be the determinant based off of what everybody else is saying. If I wanted to post a picture of my daughter, I’m going to post a picture of my daughter and not think twice about it. So, don’t get me wrong, if the message was whatever it might have been and you want to tighten it up, fine but by the end of the day, it’s you. That’s what makes it unique. It’s coming from you. It’s your story and nobody can narrate your story, right. So, you’ve got to stay true to yourself. I would always say that to all the people listening, and then you’ve got to go back to your core group. I say maybe it’s a select five that is just your ride or dies. Those are the people really, really matter. Get their opinion versus this random bully, right, that doesn’t really know true who you are and your story.

Justin Reis

Totally.

David Freeman

So, that’s what I would look at. Stay true to who you are and then the people who really matter, ask their thoughts and their opinion because they’ll keep it real with you.

Justin Reis

You’re not always going to win the people.

Jamie Martin

It’s the reality when you put yourself out in the world, and I think that’s also the reality of social media, is that you don’t know. I mean, that’s the reality of any sort of public audience, right. You don’t know who everybody is, but you still, I mean I think social media has added this whole other layer of “community” and I’m using air quotes right now because sometimes it’s not really a supportive community, and community, when I think of it, it comes down to its, ideally, a supportive community with commonality, right. That we feel connected in some way, but when there’s these communities that are being built around negativity, or . . . and there’s a lot of this happening and we can go down a lot of roads with that, but I think that’s one of the issues with social media is that it’s a quick thing and people lose . . . they forgot that they said it and they move on but they don’t realize the long-term impact that this can have on people, and that’s what when I, like I love your idea of the ride and die community, who . . . ride or die. I don’t know what I just said.

David Freeman

Ride or die. That’s right. We’re going to ride with you or are we going to die with you.

Jamie Martin

I got it. I didn’t say it right. Anyway, but I think there is something to that. It’s like who am I really trying to connect with? If those are the people who are ideally replicated throughout your community, those are ones we want to connect with in some way, shape or form, and you have to know there’s always going to be the critics in any community but ideally the core, most of that community, is people we feel really connected with in some way, shape or form. That’s my take on it.

Justin Reis

Yeah. I think something that can help all of us is teaming up with our cheerleaders. So, the people that are riding with you, so to speak, you know.

Jamie Martin

That kind of brings me to the question of creating a sense of inclusivity in your . . . like how do you facilitate that, and how do you make sure that you know, regardless of where you’re starting when somebody’s coming into your community, whether it’s a social community, whether it’s an AMP class, how do you make people feel welcome and like they belong?

Justin Reis

What I think I’ve woven into just like what I do is to just talk to people. You know going back to saying “hi” to people is something that I really think that we’ve gotten away from. Walking around in our neighborhoods, you know, around people at the mall, the like grocery store. Just simple things like saying “hi.” That connection. I think also, ways to make them feel included is by getting them to meet people. You know within our classes. So, high-five your neighbor. Ask them what they did today. I got some feedback from a member last week that, he said he’s noticed something within fitness. Not necessarily just with Life Time but a thing within fitness. According to him — totally opinion based — is that fitness has gotten so serious and he has noticed that it’s not like it used to be back in the 80’s and 90’s where it was just fun. Dance-y, fun, interactive. Nobody was looking at their phones and I think there’s something really special about that feedback where it’s getting me to rethink how I’m getting members to be feeling involved.

Meet one another. High-five your neighbor. Ask them one thing about their weekend, like what did you do this last weekend, and feel OK about it. Look them in the eye. And I guarantee you that they’re going to walk out of that room feeling more included by the people around them in those moments of like oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do another challenge within this class, but feel motivated and inspired by the people that are working really hard around them. You know, hearing them scream for them. I’m getting the chills even thinking about it, like those things can happen and we have the power to do that as fitness performers, just by encouraging our members to cheer one another on. You know, not only just show up but cheer on your neighbor.

David Freeman

To piggyback off of that I would say that my mother always told me it’s like my gift and my curse is that I try to please everybody and I am huge on community and inclusivity and all those great things, and it does become hard because you build so many relationships, you change so many lives over the years, and the last thing you want to make anybody feel is like they’re not part of it or they’re not included. So, it is an art. It does take time, but at the same time it was something beautiful that you have to cultivate over time. You have to be authentic. You can’t force it and people can usually read through you know the fakeness of whatever you may be trying to portray.

So, earlier what we were talking about, because you go beyond the four walls of Life Time, and obviously you’ve championed a lot of being part of community, and like you said green thumb, I know you’re also recently championed as a Lululemon ambassador. So, these companies, these brands obviously see something in you to want you to be part of their community. So, can you take us a little bit through that?

Justin Reis

Yeah. So, with Lululemon there are so many, I mean hundreds of fitness professionals in Minneapolis alone. So, to be included even as a thought, to be considered as a Lululemon ambassador is a huge deal because I know they only choose a very small amount of ambassadors within their region, but also they choose people that are community builders, actively engaged in what they’re doing around them, not only within fitness, but just like being humans, and they are supporting what we’re doing with our lives. So, to get that support is also a huge deal. I’m also an ambassador for a local greenhouse which is called Tonkadale here in Minneapolis. So, with Lululemon, we will be teaming up on some social media-related things and I’ll be teaming up with some of their designers out of Vancouver, talking about the sustainability of their apparel. And with Tonkadale, we team up on anything plant related, from soil to pesticides to plants to sunlight — everything. And seeing the engagement on social media it’s really fun. Getting the direct messages on Instagram and like having friends reach out about like, just what’s going on with the Lululemon and you know what are you guys doing for outdoor events, that type of thing. It’s really fun to be included in that process. But also, I mean, my fellow ambassadors — I’m out of the North Loop location downtown Minneapolis — learning a ton from them. Just their hearts, like the authentic heart that they have for wanting to change people’s lives in a positive way is like, I’m getting the chills again to think about it. It is the coolest thing to be in that circle and by meeting the members and all of the other instructors that will likely be Lululemon ambassadors one day. So, yeah. It is like super motivating but the biggest thing for me is I’m learning from them.

Jamie Martin

Well, and I think that’s many ways the point. Like you’re learning from them and then the community you’re building is learning from you and they see that potential in you and in all the ambassadors and I think that’s what so important about ambassadors for communities is that we champion each other, right. We’re championing something that we want to filter out in the world in a more broad perspective, in a broader way.

One of the things, as we were you know, preparing for today in chatting with you, we talked about like you are in a position where you can inspire others to inspire people. How do you do that, and what would you tell other people about helping to champion that in other people as well?

Justin Reis

So, the topic is how to inspire others to inspire other people. God, that’s another big one.

Jamie Martin

Well, I guess we could reframe that and say, you go out and you have this brand that you’ve built. This AMP brand and it’s about building communities in all these different places. What are some of the common things that you encourage fellow performers to facilitate in their communities, to make their core values of building that community?

Justin Reis

I think to inspire others to inspire other people, going back to being happy with who you are and talking about those things within your classes. Like, I’ve experienced some serious loss in the past. I lost my partner of five years, Eric Gilseth, to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He passed away in 2015, and I have talked about that in my classes. I mean it’s not an uplifting topic, but there are so many impactful positive things that came out of my relationship with him that I can translate into my classes.

David Freeman

I’ll tell you the moment that I experienced your AMP class, at first, and this is me being transparent, I was like great energy, love the guy, moving, entertaining, all those things. The part that stood out the most me that was so real to me was the dedication, and to what you just said your partner, that was inspirational. In the moment that you probably would look at something that might be like down, and people might not like get excited about, it was that impactful and powerful and inspired me to be a better coach. So, that’s an example right there.

Justin Reis

That’s a great example. You know I mean I sometimes forget about the dedication, which didn’t even exist before we branded AMP. I always did this thing that was kind of chilled out at the end of class, just to recover, but as we were branding the format, I wanted to do this thing where we just dedicate you know, light to someone in our lives or maybe take in the light from the people around us. Where we’re still moving really fast or we’re pushing really hard but taking in the moment of just like being free. That’s the whole objective of the dedication. The messaging can be as deep as something like guys, I’m shining my light out to Eric today. Eric, I lost him a few years ago and I am talking to him right now like I am giving him everything. I want you to think of somebody that you know you want to give that to as well. Or, you can keep it as simple as take in the light from the people around you. Maybe send it out to your neighbor and then just, I just don’t talk any more during class. It’s a really beautiful, peaceful moment. Something that’s not very traditional to a lot of fitness formats where there’s you know, coaching that’s happening from beginning to the end and there’s definitely a need for that, but I think there’s something so beautiful and special about the moment of the dedication, just like you said, where the whole objective is to inspire and feel motivated. So, having that be the last part of class, it’s like when you leave a concert. You know, they always are going to do another song. You know, like when they walk off the stage, there’s always another one or two songs and they usually end with that banger. When you walk out of the stadium you feel just psyched and you want to like keep hanging out with your friends and like having fun. That’s the whole point of the dedication. It’s a beautiful, uplifting song. That’s what takes you on for the rest of your day, into your night, and it’s that feeling that we can create.

Jamie Martin

And you carry that out from that community to another and hopefully that just filters out in the world and continues to spread. OK.  So, our final question that we’re asking everybody, and it doesn’t have to do with community is. So what is . . . you know, this is a healthy-living podcast where a lot of healthy-living people that are coming on here. What are some of the healthy living habits that are just non-negotiable for you, that help you be able to show up in your life and your work and all those things as the best you.

Justin Reis

That’s a great question. So, I team up with a lot of my friends that are personal trainers. So, I’ll ask them a lot of questions on diet. So, I have a level of expertise within the like nutrition field but they’re the real experts that I rely on, like my friend Antony who’s down in the Chicago region. He’s at the Bloomingdale location and he’s awesome and he’s obsessed with everything to do with food and he knows everything about my fitness goals. So, he’s someone who really, really motivates me with nutrition and also with working out. My friend Alex Barton, who’s located at Target Center. He’s another personal trainer. He’s always like, he knows the goals that I’m trying to achieve and he’ll always be like I can see that you’re making some progress and just by him even saying something makes me feel like I’m winning and it is the best thing. So, I guarantee you that I walk away like thinking about like oh, I guess my traps are getting a little bit bigger.

Jamie Martin

So, you have . . . you’ve built this community around you as you’re working toward your goals as well.

Justin Reis

Exactly.

Jamie Martin

So, it’s like you’ve found the support you need to move forward.

Justin Reis

It’s finding that support system, exactly. So, I’ve found mine within some personal trainers and then I also have friends that are health coaches, or life coaches. My friend, Pam Davies, who’s located here in Minneapolis, she’s a life coach and we have coffee or maybe a glass of wine maybe once or twice a month. We’re actually meeting up tomorrow just talking about like what’s going on in my life. She’s asking me questions like challenging me with some things, going back to that friendly feedback. Those are non-negotiables for me. Teaming up with my friends who cheer me on and support me no matter what’s going on. Don’t leave me when I maybe am not my best self. Instead, them maybe asking me questions on like are you OK and opening that door. Like, asking them like, how am I doing? Those are non-negotiables. So, those friends that are coaching me on with like mind, body, soul. So, it’s the fitness. It’s the food. It’s what’s going on in my mind, my brain. And then yeah, and my friendships.

You know, like I joined a kickball team this year and it is just a community of support and it’s a lot of fresh faces in my life. So, that vibe and that newness that I got into is really cool and honestly getting into sports totally freaked me out. So, just like because my dad was the coach of everything when I grew up and he was like get in there when I didn’t want to. So, getting back into it was a little bit of a struggle. So, then cheering me on in those moments where I had a little bit of doubt was a thing, but it comes back to just to having support.

David Freeman

We want to thank you again for being here today and thank you for sharing what community means to you.

Justin Reis

Thank you very much, Jamie and David.

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life, what works for you, where do you run into challenges, where do you need help.

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life or reach out to us on Instagram @lifetime.life, @jamiemartinel, or @freezy30 and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at experiencelife.com/podcast.

David Freeman

And if you’re enjoying Life Time Talks, please subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcast. Feel free to write a review and also let others know about it, too. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on social or share it with your friends, family, work buddies, life coach, you get the gist.

Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks.

Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life. It is produced by Molly Schelper with audio engineering by Peter Perkins and sound consulting by Coy Larson. A big thank you to the team who pulls together each episode and everyone who provided feedback.

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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