The following is the full response I received from Julian Hayes, the October 2016 featured Millennial for my monthly column at the local newspaper, The Wilson Post. Due to being constricted to a word limit, I use my blog as an outlet to post the full transcripts of my interviews. These transcripts contain a treasure trove of valuable content for anyone interested in learning more about the individuals I write about, as their experiences and insight provide an outstanding resource for those wanting an inside look into their success.
The archived published article on Julian can be found here.
Thanks for letting me write a feature on you. It looks like you’ve
done a lot of really awesome stuff!
If you’ve read the last two columns, I think you get the gist of what
kind of content I’ll need for the article. I know you’ve done a lot
with fitness and helping people transform themselves personally, so
anything you can elaborate on to describe how you’ve helped people
would be great. Maybe individual stories of people you’ve helped or
anything in particular that might stick out where you’ve had an impact
on someone’s life.
Also, if there’s anything outside of fitness that you do like
volunteer stuff or anything, fee free to let me know. The article will
essentially feature how you’re making a positive difference in
peoples’ lives, so anything you can think of is welcomed.
Thanks again! I’m looking forward to featuring you in November 🙂
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I’m a nerd. I’ve been a nerd long before the Marvel blockbusters made them cool. With that said, my interest in fitness started due to superheroes and to hopefully impress the girls on my college campus.
Doing what I’m currently doing is the last thing I expected. In fact, I gave up on thinking I was creative in grade school after realizing my work in art class wasn’t as good as everyone else’s—so I just stuck with athletics even though deep down, I’ve always had a creative itch. I’ve always secretly preferred an art crawl over a football tailgating event.
I ignored my creative itch for over a decade until I found myself in New York in the middle of taking first year medical school classes. Through chance encounters and meeting people from all over the world, that was my call to action that maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing.
With this in mind, I woke up in the middle of the night during my summer break and decided not to go back to school, but instead to start my own company.
Merging writing with speaking and coaching allowed me to still have the potential to tremendously affect people’s lives in a positive manner just as I could if I have chosen to continue along the path of becoming a doctor.
Honestly, my mission was really small at the beginning—I planned to just train at a gym and write on occasion for business purposes. The mission became bigger once I started working with more clients. hearing their stories, watching them grow and having random conversations with people who in return encourage me to think bigger.
Health and fitness are the most powerful and essential of assets required for us to live a fulfilling life and reach our potentials. Our health is the head of the octopus and the tentacles are the other facets of our life. Without the head operating accordingly, those tentacles aren’t going to operate as they should.
Achieving a fitness goal creates ripples within your life, increases your confidence, and allows you to share your unique superpower with the world.
With this new perspective, I rebooted my company into The Art of Fitness and Life and wanted to provide people a roadmap to succeeding not only in fitness, but in their specific personal and professional lives as well.
Our toughest challenges isn’t finishing another set of squats, it’s learning how to incorporate these healthy habits that we want to do and know we should be doing into our specific lifestyles without throwing everything else out of order.
I want people to improve their health, but not at the expense of becoming a servant to fitness—this is a mistake I made in college and my early twenties.
Leveling up your fitness leads to new discoveries and capabilities about yourself. While I certainly have helped a decent amount of people, they have equally played a huge role in helping me become the person I am today.
I wish I had the space to highlight all of them, but I’m going to stick to two of my favorite stories.
One of my clients was Cortney, many know her as the fearless leader of Thursday Thrive. Through a very detailed and long email, Cortney reached out to me.
The Cortney who reached out to me was a highly successful accountant, but equally unhealthy even if the outside didn’t show it. As with many people, we over-emphasize our physical fitness and place our professions above our health leading to a neglect in our mental and emotional fitness. She was over-worked, stressed, had a very unhealthy relationship with food, and was excessively exercising.
With that said, I only allowed her to weight train a couple times a week and eliminated almost all her cardio. I made her stop counting calories, avoid the scale, prioritize sleeping, not skip social outings with her girlfriends because she was scared of ruining her progress, and most importantly—start the process of falling back in love with herself.
Cortney was so unbalanced that it took a couple of months for significant progress to happen because she was so sleep deprived and stressed.
The story ended well though. This was a huge breakthrough for me personally that helped me think bigger about my abilities.
Little did I know during this process, she was confiding in a good friend of hers and a group about the influence I was having on her beyond the nutritional and workout arena. Most importantly, as she stated in a email she sent me, “I helped with her obsessive dieting and with her mental struggles with food”. My favorite line she wrote was “I’ve really fallen in love with myself and have a newfound confidence. I feel I’m coming onto something great and she was now reaching out to other girls to help them with their various struggles.”
And the rest is history. She took control of her health and that served as her launching pad to greatness in other areas of her life. Cortney is a picture perfect example of why mental and emotional fitness is critical.
Another client to briefly mention was Princess Belinda as I call her. The first sentence she said to me was “you’re the last hope—if this doesn’t work, I’m going to give up on this fitness thing.No pressure.” It was so bad with her that she wouldn’t look in the mirror nor take initial measurements. By all accounts to the outside world, she’s confident, successful and rather funny. She’s a highly-accomplished songwriter and singer with a light-hearted personality I’m jealous of.
Belinda’s case was intriguing because she has a disability with her foot and has a hectic traveling schedule, so she could’ve easily used that as an excuse. However, she didn’t and in doing so provided a model for others like her to follow. No one is excluded from achieving greatness with their health. It may look different, but everyone is capable of taking control of their health.
Another pivotal moment for me was when she wrote “I was walking in front of a store window yesterday and I saw a reflection in the window and in my peripheral. I thought, ‘if I could just look like her, I would be so happy.’ After a few steps, I glanced over…and it was me. So there I stood at the mall weepy. You changed my entire perception of my abilities.”
I’ve recently started speaking and will only do more of this. I have Cortney, Belinda, and a couple of others to thank for getting me out into public more. I’m in the process of launching health and wellness consulting for small businesses and companies in addition to one-on-one coaching and writing for my blog and various publications full-time. It’s not all work though, I have fallen in love with various latin dances, in particular salsa dancing.
It’s a busy schedule, but if I demanded my clients to think bigger of themselves and their abilities, then I must practice what I preach.
My initial big vision is to help a million people integrate health and wellness into their desired lifestyle and use fitness as their launching pad to leveling up in life, business, and creating their unique impact in this world.
Fitness can keep us young, music can move our soul, books can feed our brain, and creativity can drive us every day. This is what I deem living the good life and ultimately that’s what I want people to do.