Fitness Simplified with Kim Schlag – Episode #103: How To Be A Trainer After 40
0:00:00.0 Kim Schlag: Welcome to Episode 103 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag. On today’s episode, I am going to be talking to my assistant coach, Emilie Hansen. Emilie is a nutrition coach. She works with women to help them get lean, helps them get defined, helps them improve their relationship with food. She came to nutrition coaching late in life, just as I did, in her 40s. She’s a mom of four kids and her former career was in audiology. She started talking to me recently about lessons that she had seen that were similar, connections she made from working with patients who had hearing issues and women who had struggles with food, and today, we talked through these really interesting connections. I think you’re gonna learn some things. Let’s go.
0:00:48.9 Kim Schlag: Hi there. Hi Emilie. How are you?
0:00:54.5 Emilie Hansen: Hi.
0:00:55.0 Kim Schlag: I can’t hear you. Let’s see.
0:00:56.9 Emilie Hansen: Okay, yeah, ’cause I have this mic, so we might have to check and see if it’s working.
0:01:00.9 Kim Schlag: It’s working now. I got you now.
0:01:02.1 Emilie Hansen: You can hear me okay?
0:01:03.5 Kim Schlag: Yes okay. So welcome to the podcast. I’m super excited to have you on. What have you been up to today?
0:01:12.3 Emilie Hansen: My husband and my oldest son left for South Dakota for a prairie dog hunting trip.
0:01:19.9 Kim Schlag: I didn’t know people hunted prairie dogs. With what? With bow and arrow or rifles, or what?
0:01:26.6 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, with a rifle, I think. So they were busy getting packed up and last minute things, and so I helped them get out the door this morning.
0:01:37.9 Kim Schlag: Interesting. Okay, I’m gonna have to… My kiddo is really into hunting but I did not know people hunted prairie dogs.
0:01:44.9 Emilie Hansen: This is the first time that they’ve hunted prairie dogs. They do deer hunting and pheasant hunting but this is a first for them as well.
0:01:52.9 Kim Schlag: So I’ve eaten deer and I’ve eaten pheasant, rabbits, I’ve never eaten a prairie dog. Have you eaten a prairie dog before?
0:02:00.5 Emilie Hansen: No, and I don’t hope that I do.
0:02:02.8 Kim Schlag: Now you’re hoping that’s not in your future, anyway. [chuckle] My son has hunted squirrels before and fried them up in my kitchen, and it does not smell good. Fried squirrels.
0:02:14.9 Emilie Hansen: Did you try it?
0:02:16.0 Kim Schlag: No, I didn’t try it. I was totally grossed out. I was not… He swears it tastes like chicken but no, I’m not interested in eating fried squirrel. Thank you very much. So was today a workout day for you?
0:02:26.5 Kim Schlag: Actually, today was a rest day, so I just did some walking.
0:02:29.9 Kim Schlag: Nice, nice. So Emilie is my right-hand lady. She is my assistant coach in my menopause weight loss group. Besides that, tell everyone else about you, Emilie. What do we need to know?
0:02:40.7 Emilie Hansen: Okay. Well, my name is Emilie Hansen and I’m a certified exercise nutrition coach. I’m a personal trainer. I’m a mom. I have four kids. Their last day of school is tomorrow and after that, they will be a senior, a sophomore, seventh grade, and fourth grade. I’ve been married to my husband Casey for 19 years and we live in the Midwest, in a city called Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
0:03:09.7 Kim Schlag: Nice. And you had a former career as an audiologist. I had said that correct, right? It is an audiologist?
0:03:16.0 Emilie Hansen: Yes. So my first career out of college was in audiology, so I worked in a medical setting and I primarily helped people with hearing loss to hear better through hearing aids and cochlear implants.
0:03:28.9 Kim Schlag: And what was the transition like for you going from that to the fitness industry?
0:03:35.2 Emilie Hansen: Well, it wasn’t one to the other, necessarily. I practiced audiology for 10 years and it was a fun job, it was a very rewarding job. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of the YouTube videos when they put the cochlear implants on the babies and they hear for the first time. I got to be part of people’s really significant moments in their life but personally, I got to a point where I had had four kids in seven years, my husband’s job was getting more demanding, and we had a really amazing nanny but we found out she was gonna be going back to college, and there was just a lot of factors that led me to resign from my job. And the plan was I would be a stay-at-home mom for a year or two, [chuckle] and then I did that for seven years.
0:04:24.9 Kim Schlag: Okay, and then you were like, “I’m gonna re-enter the workforce but not in audiology”?
0:04:29.0 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, so in the meantime, as I was a stay-at-home mom, as my kids got older and they got into school… I’ve always been into fitness to some degree, I’ve always been someone who regularly exercised, but what changed for me is I made this transition from high intensity workout classes, I did CrossFit for a few years, to strength training and I finally got to a point where I felt really good about myself or good about my physique after I hired my own nutrition coach. So that really lit the spark in me that I had this strong interest in nutrition and strength training, and so last year, in 2020, when everything just came to a halt, all the volunteer activities that I kept busy with, I no longer had. I thought, “I’m gonna take a class on nutrition because I’m just really interested in that.” And so I took the Precision Nutrition course and as I went throughout the course, I realized, “I could do this. I could coach other women and teach them and help them.” So that’s what the progression looked like into that.
0:05:36.9 Kim Schlag: And you and I were having an interesting conversation the other day and you were telling me about how you see connections between your former patients as they were managing their hearing issues and now the clients that you work with as they’re managing their issues with weight loss and nutrition, and these things, and I found it super interesting, so that’s what I wanna talk about today. So tell us about some of these connections that you saw.
0:06:00.5 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, I see a lot of similarities between things I would do to help people hear better and things that I do with my women clients to help them with their weight loss goals. But I have to share really quick before we dive into that, I have to share the story of when Kim and I started working together. [laughter]
0:06:18.5 Kim Schlag: Oh, yeah. Was it funny? I don’t even know. Was it funny?
0:06:21.7 Emilie Hansen: Well, it’s just kind of a cute story. So I really, just kind of randomly emailed Kim and reached out to her and said, “Hey, I’m looking for a mentor, would you take me on as your intern? I’ll help you if you teach me.” And I think it was probably good timing for you as well, you were pretty busy…
0:06:39.6 Kim Schlag: Really busy.
0:06:41.0 Emilie Hansen: With your business, so it worked out really well. And one thing we decided is that I would help Kim manage and just organize her email. We talked on the phone this one time, and she sends me all her email passwords, and then about an hour later, I get this other message and she says, “I’m kind of freaking out.”
0:07:03.0 Kim Schlag: I forgot about this.
0:07:05.3 Emilie Hansen: She’s like, “Are you trustworthy? Are you legit? I talked to you one time and I just sent you all of my passwords.” And it was so funny, she’s like, “I’m totally stalking your Instagram to find out more about you.”
0:07:17.9 Kim Schlag: It’s true because we had made this connection on the phone, and I was super impressed with how you reached out to me. It was similar to what I did with my coach, she had been my coach for a while, but finally I was like, “Hey, I will do anything you need. I just want you to mentor me and I’ll help you with whatever.” And I just really appreciated your gumption and reaching out, and I was like, “No one has ever done that to me before.” And I was like… And I was impressed with the fact that you are older, not that I’m calling you old, but that you are mature, you’d had this other career, you’d raised kids, and this is somebody who… She’s had experience, she’s gonna be able to help me organize my life here, ’cause when you got into my email inbox, you were horrified ’cause it was a mess.
0:07:54.4 Kim Schlag: But then… Yeah, and we talked on the phone. I got to know you a lot and I was like, “Oh, she’s a Cub Scout Mom,” I’m like… And that’s what I said, that is it. When I hang up the phone and then over the course of 24 hours, I started sending her all these passwords, and all of a sudden, I’m like, “If this woman is a scam artist, she can get into my bank account, she could go post crazy stuff on my Instagram.” And I had, I did, I had this complete panic moment and I did, I messaged you and I was like, “Okay, I see you work with the Cub Scouts, I’m gonna… Hopefully you’re trustworthy.” And she has been. She’s been a rock star. Seriously, she… Weirdly enough, it wasn’t that many months later that I got sick, and you are the reason I held my business together as much as I did. She would send me the must-have things and she communicated with people like, “Sorry, we can’t take these calls,” and things, it was just… It was a life saver.
0:08:39.5 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, I think the timing was really good and we clicked right away, but I just… I always get such a giggle when I think about that message where you’re like…
0:08:49.7 Kim Schlag: “You’re not trying to rob me, right?”
0:08:51.5 Emilie Hansen: Right, right. Okay, so to draw some parallels between experiences I’ve had as an audiologist and what I see now as a nutrition coach. The first one is that having a realistic expectation can really dictate your success. So when someone has a hearing loss and it can’t be fixed with medicine or surgery, the way that we can help them hear better is by the use of a hearing aid or a cochlear implant. But even using one of those devices, they still have a damaged auditory system, so it’s not gonna fix their hearing, it’s not gonna give them back their, we would call “newborn baby hearing”, so they really need to go into it with this expectation that if they go to a noisy restaurant, are they still gonna have trouble hearing people talk to them? Yeah, they probably are. But will their hearing aid give them access to a lot more sound and improve their quality of life? Yeah, it’ll probably do that. And so when we talk with women with their weight loss goals, if you go into it and you’re wanting to look like your favorite Instagram influencer who has ripped six or eight pack abs, you may not be willing to sacrifice what it takes to get there.
0:10:07.4 Emilie Hansen: But can you get lean? Can you get strong? Can you feel great about yourself and feel good in your clothing? Yes, absolutely. But you probably won’t weigh what you did in high school, you probably won’t look exactly like you did before you had kids, so I think the importance of starting out with that realistic expectation of where you’re going and what you can achieve can really make a difference.
0:10:30.0 Kim Schlag: I totally agree. If you have unrealistic expectations, it really quickly feels like pointless on my most… “I’m not anywhere near six packs of abs.” You’re like, “Is this even working?” And people give up, and whereas, if you say, as you said, “If you can have realistic expectations of where you are even heading and a timeline that’s realistic to get there,” it can be so much more motivating to keep continuing on, versus constantly comparing yourself to this model you’re not gonna end up looking like in the end. I love that, Emilie, that’s fantastic. Give us another one.
0:11:03.5 Emilie Hansen: Okay, so the second one is, “It is always possible to create new habits.” The more often we perform an action or we behave a certain way, the more it get’s actually physically wired into our brain, and this is called neuroplasticity, so it’s the ability of our brain to change, it’s actually changing its physical structure and function based on the information that we give it from our experiences and our actions. To kind of simplify that, our brain can form a new connection based on actions we do repeatedly.
0:11:34.8 Kim Schlag: Isn’t that amazing? It’s amazing.
0:11:37.9 Emilie Hansen: It is amazing. And conversely, our brain let’s go of connections that we’re not using anymore. So the story I wanna tell, I had a girl, she was a cochlear implant patient. And for a cochlear implant, typically those people have a severe-to-profound hearing loss or it could also be called “deaf”, and the longer that they’ve been deaf, the less benefit they’re probably gonna receive from the implants, so we knew she wouldn’t get a lot of benefit as she had been deaf since she was a child, but she now had her own kids, and she really wanted to give herself all of the sound information she could to hear these kids.
0:12:17.1 Emilie Hansen: So we… A cochlear implant has an internal portion that’s surgically implanted, and then it has an external piece that sits on your head behind your ear. And when we activated the implant, she felt like someone was actually tapping on her head, behind her ear, she had no sensation of sound, she had this sense of touch. Those pathways had actually just been completely re-allocated to something different.
0:12:41.3 Kim Schlag: Wow.
0:12:43.5 Emilie Hansen: However, after a couple of weeks of time, she could start to hear a click. So “click, click, click,” and then after a couple more weeks of time, she could hear like a “ch, ch, ch” Like a C H sound. “Ch, ch, ch.” And can you imagine thinking you’re gonna hear but after weeks, you hear clicks and after weeks, you’re hearing ch, ch, ch, but she kept wearing it, she kept at it, and eventually, she didn’t hear perfectly but she had a lot of good awareness of sound and was able to get a lot of information from her kids when they were talking to her because she developed new pathways from that sound.
0:13:17.7 Kim Schlag: Wow, that’s incredible. And that was something that was actually very physical in her body, so it’s interesting that we can do the same thing with our habits and we can replace ones that are there and create new pathways to have better habits. Tell us about one of your clients who’s been working on developing new habits.
0:13:41.2 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, so I have a client who… One of the things she’s working on is eating enough protein, and so she… At first, we just worked up to 100 grams of protein per day. And then once she was able to do that, she was able to increase more into the range where we wanted her to be, which is about 125 to 150 grams of protein a day. And then once her protein was set, then we worked on things like making sure you recognize your cues of hunger and stop eating when you feel satisfied and not stuffed. Also things like if she would get off track or just if she’d be at a social gathering and she wasn’t able to track her food, could she get right back on track after she had that sort of thing. And so all of those things. And I think there’s many people listening that feel like this. Those feel really hard at first because they’re new, you don’t know if you’re doing it right, but the more you do it, the better you get because you’re gonna actually make new connections for these things. So when you look at someone, like you, Kim, people might think, “I could never do all that. I could never strength train regularly and eat a certain way,” but the thing is you’re relying less on motivation and more on your habits at this point.
0:15:04.5 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and it’s never too late to create those habits ’cause most of the habits that I have that are supporting the body I currently have are things I created in my 40s. It’s not like I was a person who, for many, many years, had been eating healthy. I hadn’t. I had a terrible diet most in my life. My 20s was mostly boxed noodles and Pop-Tarts, ladies. It’s not like it was decades of me eating with these good habits. But now I’m 50, heading towards 51, and it’s been less than a decade that I’ve been eating this way. I’m talking about eating vegetables regularly and increasing my protein. So it’s not too late. You can still form these habits. It’s not like, “Wow, they’re so ingrained, I can’t change them.”
0:15:46.4 Kim Schlag: Most of the women I work with these days are over 40, many over 50, and they are developing new habits for the first time that are not anything like habits they’ve had before. Things like, “I don’t eat all the food on my plate just because it’s there.” That’s a big one for people. They’ve literally done it since childhood and it was drilled into them. You ordered it, you eat it. And so now, they’re getting to the point where they can leave that behind. And it’s uncomfortable, like you said, and it feels like it takes a lot of effort but over time, it becomes the new norm. It would never occur to me anymore to just eat food just because it was on my plate. That is not my default anymore where it used to be. It absolutely used to be.
0:16:25.4 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, it’s never too late to have our brain make those changes, for sure.
0:16:29.5 Kim Schlag: Incredible. Alright, give us another one.
0:16:31.9 Emilie Hansen: Okay, so this… I was gonna tell a few stories and I titled it, “You Will Learn Things that Surprise You.” So these are actual stories. I had patients who got hearing aids and one gentleman called me and he said, “I am cooking bacon for breakfast and that sizzling noise on the pan is so loud.”
0:16:52.4 Kim Schlag: Satisfying.
0:16:53.4 Emilie Hansen: And I said, “It is loud. You just haven’t heard that before.” And I had someone call and complain about the clicking sound of their turning signals. I had someone call and say, when they’re chewing their potato chips, they can’t hear the TV. Those are all things that are there, they just didn’t realize it. And what it makes me think of is when women start weighing their food for the first time. So like peanut butter, for example. Maybe you’ve never even tried to measure it, maybe you’ve eyeballed it, maybe you’ve actually gotten out your measuring spoons, but when you put that peanut butter on your digital food scale and you look at one tablespoon of peanut butter, it’s shocking. And you say, “That’s it? That’s it?”
0:17:35.8 Kim Schlag: It’s an eye-opening experience.
0:17:37.4 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, cooking oils and olive oil, same thing. I think we’ve talked about this before, Kim, but once you see a serving of cereal on a food scale, you can’t unsee it.
0:17:48.7 Kim Schlag: It’s so annoying. [chuckle] It’s ridiculous.
0:17:51.7 Emilie Hansen: You can’t unsee it.
0:17:52.4 Kim Schlag: We’ve been lied to our whole lives.
0:17:54.5 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, so I think any time we have a journey where we’re trying new things and learning new things, we’re gonna have things that surprises us and are different along the way.
0:18:04.8 Kim Schlag: And being open to learning those things and letting them in versus having resistance against them is important because it could be really easy. I was totally into it but when I realized what a serving of cereal is, and people feel the same way about that peanut butter, there’s almost this internal battle of like, “I don’t want to accept that. That’s not gonna be the serving of peanut butter for me.” So being willing to accept the new knowledge that you’re gaining is important.
0:18:33.3 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, yeah because it gives you control of how you wanna spend your calories and you have all the information with which to do so. Yeah.
0:18:40.9 Kim Schlag: Yes. It’s really freeing. It’s really freeing to understand that.
0:18:44.1 Emilie Hansen: Rather than always feeling like, “I’m trying to lose weight and I can’t, and I don’t know why.”
0:18:49.4 Kim Schlag: Right? Like, “I’m doing everything I can and that… It’s not working.” Yeah, it’s powerful information. Alright, give us one more, one more connection you noticed between working with your patients and working with your clients.
0:19:01.1 Emilie Hansen: Okay. The support of your family and friends really matters. So when someone gets a cochlear implant, there’s this entire team meeting to decide if this is a good idea or a bad idea for them, and one of the main things talked about is, what kind of support do they have at home, from their friends and their family, who’s gonna remind them to wear the device and bring them to their appointments, and do their rehab activities with them, ’cause that is such a key to their success.
0:19:28.6 Emilie Hansen: What if women treated their weight loss plan this seriously? What if they had a meeting with their family, or their friends, and they said, “These are my goals. This is why it’s important to me. This is what you can do to help me.” You know, “Could you help me chop fruits and veggies up after I get home from the grocery store, or could we all decide together on a menu plan for the week?” And maybe that sounds sort of crazy or extreme, but really, if you have some key support people in your life, to be there for you and hold you accountable, that can make all the difference. So it’s okay to communicate those needs, and it’s important to do that and don’t feel guilty about that.
0:20:10.7 Kim Schlag: Yeah, and it can feel really awkward to do that. And this is something Emilie and I have been coaching people… A lot of people through in the Menopause Weight Loss Course, as they present their hurdles to me, one of the things it comes back to a lot is, having hard conversations. You know, because it feels like… You know… People are saying things like, “Oh, we went to this restaurant, and it was really hard for me.” And the questions led to, “Why are you going to that particular restaurant?” And… You know… They didn’t wanna be the squeaky wheel, and it seemed easier.” And almost…
0:20:37.6 Kim Schlag: And I don’t know that if I had a single person come back and say they didn’t think that their spouse would be helpful if they knew. And so it came back to, “Will, you have a conversation with your spouse, about what your goals are, why it’s important?” ‘Cause, you know, when I would ask and they said, “No, I never mentioned. I mean, he knows I’m trying to lose weight, but I’d never said, “This is what would help me. It would help me if we choose X kind of restaurant versus Y kind of restaurant, or if we just use Y kind of restaurant less frequently. Or it would help me if we didn’t keep the Oreos. If you really need to have Oreos in the house, can we keep them somewhere else? Not on the shelf, or the pantry that I go in all the time.”” And it’s surprising to the women that I press them to have these hard conversations, because when they have their family members on board… And you don’t have to ask them to do everything for you, but asking, like, very…
0:21:22.5 Kim Schlag: And I like people to be really specific with these things. Like very specific, “It would be meaningful to me, it would be helpful to me if you could do blah.” And get… Ask, actually ask. “Will you do this?” And, you know, sometimes people will say No, but more often than not, they’re gonna say Yes. I mean, if they’re your loved ones they’re gonna say yes.
0:21:40.8 Emilie Hansen: We had a really good story of that in the Menopause Weight Loss Group. One woman, she talked to her husband about her goals and why it was important, and he did most of the cooking at their house. So he really needed to be on board, and he brought her, I think it might have been Mother’s Day, but he served her an omelet breakfast in bed, and he wrote her a little note next to it of how many grams of eggs, and how much ham, or veggies in it, and I thought that was so nice.
0:22:09.0 Kim Schlag: Yes. Because he understood now, this is what she needed. If he was cooking for her, she needed to know what was in it so she could keep track of it and put it in with the rest of her day. It’s really important. That’s a good one. And look, are there gonna be people out there who don’t have the support of their friends and family? Sure. There… Look, I’ve had friends who’ve sabotaged my weight loss in the past, it was not an easy thing. It was not an easy thing when my friends sending me cookies purposely. That’s not cool. You know… So there are difficult people you have to deal with, and you can be strong and deal with that, but there’s no reason to at least not try to get as many of your loved ones on board as possible. Well Emilie, this has been a super helpful conversation. Before we go, tell us something about your training. I like… Whenever I have a woman on who trains, I like other women to hear, like, “Okay, what is someone like me even working for?” So what kind of performance goals are you excited about these days?
0:23:01.1 Emilie Hansen: I would say one performance goal I have is I’m trying to do five consecutive pull-ups unassisted.
0:23:07.6 Kim Schlag: Nice.
0:23:10.0 Emilie Hansen: I’ve been stuck at three for quite some time.
0:23:12.5 Kim Schlag: Yeah, they’re hard.
0:23:14.2 Emilie Hansen: But I do need to… I do need to stop and celebrate, I can do three.
0:23:17.4 Kim Schlag: Yeah.
0:23:17.9 Emilie Hansen: Because, you know, of course I started at zero. And so I’m so much stronger than I used to be. But really…
0:23:23.4 Kim Schlag: How long did it take you to go from zero to one? Like when you actually started working out.
0:23:24.6 Emilie Hansen: I think probably two years.
0:23:26.6 Kim Schlag: Yeah… And people are always surprised to hear that. They can take years.
0:23:32.2 Emilie Hansen: Mm-hmm.
0:23:32.3 Kim Schlag: They can take many months to years to get your first pull up. So, amazing. And then you went from one to three…
0:23:38.6 Emilie Hansen: Yes.
0:23:39.1 Kim Schlag: And now you’re shooting for five?
0:23:39.2 Emilie Hansen: Yeah. Yup, yup. So I do… I strength-train four times a week, I do upper/lower, upper/lower, which I think that’s what you do as well.
0:23:49.9 Kim Schlag: It typically is. Since I returned to training from being sick, I’m not doing that right now, I’ve just been doing three days.
0:23:54.9 Emilie Hansen: Okay.
0:23:54.9 Kim Schlag: It was a lot for me to see it back to three days. But historically, yes, for the past five years, I’ve done in an upper/lower split.
0:24:01.1 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, yeah. So I strength-train four days a week, and then usually on the other days, I just walk, get my steps in, and that is a change for me, like I mentioned, I come from a cross-fit background, very high intensity, less days off, and so it’s been a really nice change for me that I don’t feel like I have to run myself into the ground, you know, and I don’t have to be dying, and so tired after my workouts, and I get better results the way I’m doing it now too.
0:24:30.2 Kim Schlag: Yeah, fantastic, that’s amazing. So Emilie, where can everyone find you?
0:24:34.8 Emilie Hansen: Yeah, my website is emiliehansennutrition.com. And it’s, Emilie, with an I-E, and Hansen with an E-N. And then I’m also EmilieHansenNutrition on Instagram and TikTok.
0:24:47.9 Kim Schlag: Fantastic. Yeah, follow Emilie in all the places, hit her website up, she has some great articles. I’ve shared one before about creating a recipe in MyFitnessPal, it’s a really useful article, so hit her up in all those ways. Thanks so much for being here with us today, Emilie, I so appreciate it.
0:25:03.9 Emilie Hansen: Yes, thank you for having me, Kim.
0:25:05.5 Kim Schlag: And thanks for not robbing me. [laughter]
0:25:07.4 Emilie Hansen: [laughter] You’re welcome.
0:25:09.0 Kim Schlag: Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Fitness Simplified podcast, and if you found it educational, motivational, inspirational—all the kinds of -ational—if you did enjoy this episode, if you found value in it, I would love it, it would mean the world to me if you left a rating and review wherever you were listening to this podcast. It really does help it get in front of more people. And if you’re watching on YouTube, be sure to subscribe to the channel and give it a like. Again, this stuff really does matter. It helps for my stuff to get in front of more people, and help more people. Thank you so much for being here. I will see you next time.