Control stress. Many people think that exercise is just for losing weight or adding muscle. However, exercise can help you control stress, clear your mind, and make you feel better once the endorphins kick in.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Armen Ghazarians.
Armen Ghazarians is the CEO of Finish Fit®, with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. He has created the Finish Fit® Coaching System which combines the power of technology with the knowledge of Finish Fit®. Coaches to remotely train its clients around the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
In high school I was a cross country runner. I was fit and felt great. My story changed when I started college. I focused so much on school that I lost sight of my health and fitness. I gained 50 pounds over 5 years and my cholesterol shot through the roof. The funny part was that I didn’t realize how overweight I was until I took a good look at my license photo. I was shocked! So, I hired a personal trainer and went on the WW diet. It wasn’t long before my trainer told me that he landed a gig on a TV show. Understandably, he left to pursue his dreams. The next question for me was: now what? I studied fitness, got certified, and started working as a trainer at various gyms. Now, after spending nearly 20 years in the fitness industry and receiving over a dozen certifications, I’ve started my own fitness company, Finish Fit®. I created Finish Fit® with the desire to help all those who are struggling with their health and fitness just as I did. My mission is to help change lives for the better, just as my trainer and WW helped change mine.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I first started Finish Fit®, a mobile fitness company, I never anticipated how relevant it would become as a result of Covid19. Finish Fit® is one of the pioneers in using technology to deliver fitness. Now, almost every fitness company has shifted to deliver virtual personal training and group fitness classes in an effort to adapt to the Covid19 world.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
When I first started in the fitness world, I read every book I could find on the topic and followed all the known athletes and coaches from around the world. When I would train, I would stick to the plan. That is, I would follow a set routine I’d programmed to the letter. Now, after many years of experience, I’ve learned that although you need to have a plan before you coach, you do not necessarily have to follow it to the letter. It’s best to make course adjustments based on what’s happening at the time you coach or train a client.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I believe that I’m an authority in the fitness and wellness world because I’ve created a system (based on my 20 years of experience) that consistently delivers results. I have over a dozen certifications and I’ve trained well over 10,000 clients. My unique contribution to the world of wellness is the culmination of all of my knowledge and skills to create the Finish Fit® Coaching System. Unlike any other system, it’s specifically designed to deliver a periodized fitness and nutrition program that consistently delivers results for our members around the world.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would have to thank my parents for always supporting my career decisions without bias. They always encouraged me to follow my dreams regardless of what they thought would suit me best.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- Complexity. The more complex the workout program or diet the more difficult it would be to follow it. It’s best to start with a few simple habits and then gradually build the complexity.
- Lack of a clear goal. “I want to lose weight” is not a clear measurable goal. Your goals need to be “SMART”.
- Time bound
On the other hand, “I want to lose 10 lb’s of weight in 6 weeks, and decrease my body fat by 1.5%” is a “SMART” goal.
3. Lack of urgency. Many people put off healthy eating habits and exercise because they don’t feel the urgency. Sometimes a visit to your doctor to get a physical is just what you need to create the urgency. The lack of a clear health bill is just the fuel you might need to create the urgency to begin a healthy lifestyle.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Getting enough sleep: Lack of sleep is one of the main contributors to weight gain. When you don’t get enough sleep (7–9 hours), your body produces more cortisol, which in turn contributes to more weight gain.
- Control stress. Many people think that exercise is just for losing weight or adding muscle. However, exercise can help you control stress, clear your mind, and make you feel better once the endorphins kick in.
- Discipline: Discipline will help you create healthy lifestyle habits that you will follow. How do you create discipline? Start by making your bed every morning. A Navy Seal Admiral stated that making your bed every morning will encourage you to do another task and then another. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the bigger things right.
- Be willing to adapt, overcome, and improvise: Life will not always go your way. Many times you will not be able to eat the meal or exercise you had planned. You need to be able to immediately adapt and find another way to eat healthy and burn the calories.
- It’s never too late to start: It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Increase longevity: Many studies have shown that exercise can increase your life span.
- Maintaining bone mass: Strength training can help maintain or increase your bone density. This is known as “Wolff’s Law”. Regular strength training can help reduce the onset of bone diseases such as Osteoporosis.
- Reduce Sarcopenia: Regular exercise can help reduce Sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass with aging.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
- Body weight squats (provided that you don’t have any knee issues)
- Pushups (regular or modified…provided that you don’t have any shoulder issues)
- Forearm Planks (contraindicated if you have high blood pressure)
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
- Get regular massages
- Take ice baths
- Stretch regularly
- Use Trigger Point Therapy
- Implement Self Myofascial Release
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
Over the several years I’ve implemented the Finish Fit Nutrition App (https://www.finishfit.com/nutrition-coach.html) which creates an exact meal plan based on your weight, height, gender, and preferences. I follow the Finish Fit App’s athletic meal plan. Our meal plans on the app are tailored to our client’s preferences. That is, are they Vegetarian, Vegan, or do they prefer something like the Keto, Paleo, Intermittent fasting, or the Mediterranean Diet (https://finishfitapps.com/nutrition-app-sign-up/). Our app pretty much has a meal plan for every popular diet. You simply enter you information, and an exact meal plan based on your preferences and body type is created for you. My recommendation is to choose a diet that you can follow the rest of your life. You may be able to follow a restricted diet for several months, but eventually you’ll go back to your old habits. Hence, do you research and find a diet that you can follow without feeling like you’re going to be deprived for the rest of your life.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen Covey
- Be Proactive Not Reactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
I believe that if you can follow these 7 habits, you can successfully begin and continue a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating, exercise, and stress management. I try to implement these 7 habits on a regular basis. These habits have helped me improve my life and I believe that they can help improve yours.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would like to be the instrument of change. That is, I’d like to be able to influence everyone to put their health first. Health before wealth, health before work, health before ambition. If you always place your health first, you’ll enjoy a long productive life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Constant dripping hollows out a stone.” ― Lucretius. You only fail when you stop trying. If you continually try, you will eventually succeed. During my career, many have told me that it is impossible to make Finish Fit® a world renowned brand. The common line is: “The fitness world is are far too crowded and competitive”. However, as time passes, Finish Fit® is becoming more recognized. Our hashtag “#finishfit” is now used by other social media accounts to gain likes and followers and the Finish Fit® brand is becoming known for its excellence. Persistence is the key to success and I persist to prove everyone wrong.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to have breakfast with Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the CEO of EXOS. She is an innovative leader who leads by example. I especially loved reading her book: “Extreme YOU: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat”. She is a visionary leader and I can learn much from her experience.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
- Website: https://www.finishfit.com/
- Newsletter: http://finishfitnewsletter.com/
- Blog: https://finishfit.blog/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/finishfit/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/finishfit
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/finishfit/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/finishfit
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/finishfit
- Tumblr: https://finishfit.tumblr.com/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!