Sean Allt is like a fitness Jedi who uses physical activity to build awesome lives
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Sean on his approaches to fitness and how you can use it to boost your lifestyle in all sorts of ways.
Sean is the Manager of the Vancouver branch of Innovative Fitness – a personal training company with a twist. Find out what makes them so innovative, how fitness impacts our mental health and more right here..
Q1. Sean!! Thanks so much for taking part in this interview. To get started, could you share what your role is at Innovative Fitness and a story of what sparked your interest in fitness?
Thanks for having me! My role with Innovative Fitness is Club Manager of Innovative Fitness Vancouver, a Personal Training facility located in Downtown Vancouver which means that I’m responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations as well as managing the staff of Professional Training Coaches to ensure that they are delivering the best possible service for our members. As far as what sparked my interest in fitness, I guess you could say it was a notable LACK of natural physical talent. Growing up I was never particularly athletic, until I started focusing on working at improving my physical conditioning, which happened in high school. In grade 12 I took a class called Exercise Science and absolutely fell in love with the marvel that is the human body. It was then that I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about how the body works and how to improve. I went on to study Kinesiology at Western University and wrote my Personal Training exam through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Since then I’ve worked with Varsity Track & Field Teams, The Canadian Opera Company, and countless weekend warriors and individuals just looking to move and feel better.
Q2. Innovative Fitness is a great name, but our readers might not be fans of working out in the gym. What makes Innovative Fitness so innovative?
The biggest differences are a) that we get everyone working towards some kind of event or destination OUTSIDE of the gym (in April we had a group fly down to Arizona to complete a hike of the Grand Canyon, and for the May long-weekend we took a group to Tofino to learn how to surf) and b) we are a personal training service provider, above all else. We are not a membership based gym where personal training is an after-thought add-on service. Everyone who comes to work with us works directly with one of our Professional Training Coaches.
Q3. A common problem with getting fit is the ability to keep with it after the initial excitement of a new program or activity wears off. How does Innovative Fitness address this?
There are a couple of ways that we address this, and my apologies, but I know there will become a certain point when I will begin sounding like a broken record. That is only because the points are worth driving home! The key is to attach a goal that REALLY means something to you, and to surround yourself with like-minded people. It’s been statistically proven that those who have a social support network in place are 300% more likely to achieve their goals than those without social support. Our coaches are here to support our members every step of the way. On top of that, many of our members build long-lasting friendships with each other, which results in growing their social support network with like-minded individuals!
Q4. I fully agree that social supports are key. I know it’s a common challenge not having people to do healthy things with. Real easy to find people to go for drinks or coffee.. harder to find someone to join for a trail run or fresh juice. What are some ways we can start to build a network of people to do healthy things with?
Come out to one of the Innovative Fitness Destinations! We’ve got something going on every month! Whether it’s a hike of the Chief, kayaking in Deep Cove, or skiing in Whistler, we’ve always got something to get involved with!
[Brent Edit: more info on IF Destinations here]
Q5. Nice!! Whether people workout in a gym or not, what are a couple of ways people can use the principles of Innovative Fitness to build better health?
Do a little deep reflection on what you would do if you didn’t feel that you were physically limited. What would you do if there were no way you could fail? Would you climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Would you go skiing with your family? Would you get down on the ground and roll around with your grandkids? Once you know WHY you’re working towards better health (beyond just “to be healthy”) it’s much easier to stay motivated. The next step after that is to find a group of people with similar goals to help hold each other accountable.
Q6. Love that focus on the aspirational. When I’m exercising a lot, I not only have more energy and am more productive, I also feel a lot more positive and just good overall. How does physical activity impact our mental health and why is it such a good boost to our mood?
The human body is meant to move. Some people move better when they move quickly for short durations, other are more inclined to move slowly for longer periods. What the body is not meant to do is sit around for long periods. When we exercise it helps improve oxygen and nutrient delivery to your heart, lungs, brain, nervous system, and muscles. If all of those areas are getting everything they need, then it’s much easier to feel great all (or at least most) of the time. Do a quick google images search for “brain on exercise” and you’ll see that even 20 minutes of walking will help activate dormant areas of your brain!
Q7. Makes sense, but a lot of people feel in a rut physically and mentally and it can be difficult to break out of it. What are your tips for either the beginner who doesn’t know where to start with their fitness/health or the person who’s just lost all momentum with it?
Think Big…. Like, Bucket List big. What’s one thing you DEFINITELY want to be able to look back on your life and say “I’m glad I did it’? Use that to fuel you. Put pictures up in places that you’ll see them every day to help remind you of WHY you’re putting in all the effort.
[Brent Edit: The pictures idea works. I’ve done this with big goals like ‘speak in front of 1000 people and had pictures of specific mountains on my wall I’ve since climbed]
Q8. You mentioned goal setting has a lot to do with the Innovative Fitness model. What’s the best type of goal to set and what is your number one tip for going after massive goals?
Set a timeline and break it down into actionable steps. Without a timeline there is no call to action. The sad truth is that “someday” just never seems to come so when someone tells me “I’d like to do ________ someday” my first questions is “when is ‘someday’”. Want to go rock climbing in Thailand ‘someday’? Set a date, buy your plane ticket, and start taking steps every day to help you prepare for the physical challenge.
Q9. Brilliant insights. Sean we’re super excited that you and your IF colleague Bret Hodge will be joining us at our next Vancouver Wellness Meetup, May 28. What will you guys be talking about??
We’ll be covering what we’ve been discussing today, except in greater detail, and with specific real-world examples. Having trouble coming up with a goal or challenge that motivates you? We’ll likely give you your “THAT’S THE ONE!” moment, and then we can begin discussing how to set those actionable steps to help you get ready to make it a reality!
Reserve Your Seat at the Meetup Here
Q10. Can’t wait for that!! Any parting words for our readers Sean?
I’d like to leave with a question: what would you do if time, experience, and physical conditioning were complete non-issues for you? The reality is that nobody just “has” these things. They decide to prioritize it in their lives and they make time in order to make their greatest goals and aspirations a reality. What IF you could?
Brent: If you like this content, make sure to check out Innovative Fitness and all their great work and “Like” this post so that other people can have a chance to check it out!!
Keep well and have an amazing day!!