Nate: Boundaries — With our very dynamic lifestyles, it is really important that we have boundaries in place to unplug and stay connected with one another. This is absolutely non-negotiable.
Remi: Balance — We are polar opposites, but we balance each other out. Nate is an extreme-ist and I have a more balanced approach to things. AKA he never has a cheat meal while I happily enjoy my snacks :) It’s what keeps things interesting and on our toes, we learn a lot from each other and take the positives from both sides.
As part of my series about “Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Remi Ishizuka & Nate Pontious.
Influential health coach/wellness blogger Remi Ishizuka and partner Nate Pontious (ISSA , NASM , Pain Free Performance Specialist Certified, CrossFit Coach Certified, USA Boxing Certified trainer) have launched HōmeBodies, a hugely popular new fitness program and thriving community they creates to share 1 new workout everyday, 365 days a year from their living room. HōmeBodies was born out of Remi and Nate’s passion for moving their bodies and sweating daily and how they found a sense of normalcy and routine during pandemic lockdowns. We would love to also give you a complimentary HōmeBodies membership to see the duo in action and experience the place they created for anyone who wants to incorporate fitness into their life for the long run, for their health, and happiness.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?
REMI: The moment I got demoted from my high-pressure corporate job and quit was the turning point of my career. What seemed like the lowest low at the time was actually a blessing in disguise- it allowed me to align with a career path more suited for me and one that would jump out of bed every morning.
My passion for health and wellness came from a simple desire to feel more energy, be more productive and feel more confident. I’m your everyday girl next door- I WANT to be healthier and workout but I just need a little push. That’s why Nate and I are the perfect match. I am the relatable one and he is the overachiever.
What brought us together was our passion for movement. Working out and cooking healthy meals together is how we feel most connected as a couple. Naturally when the pandemic hit and our gym routines were halted, we adapted to working out at home with zero equipment. We turned on IG LIVE and flowed through our workout — many people hopped on and it was awesome to connect during a time that we all felt isolated. From the day the governor shut down the gyms — we showed up every single day ready to work out on IG LIVE @9am. The workouts were programmed so you could show up 7 days a week and we had thousands of people joining us from all over the world saying that this 1 hour with us was keeping them sane and helping them establish a new routine. After 3 months of daily workouts, we saw amazing progress from the community we called Pancake Fam.
Pancake Fam came about because we always ended each workout in a pancake stretch. It was at this point that we wanted to make this experience even better and decided to launch HomeBodies. An all-inclusive one stop shop program that you can do with minimal equipment and never get bored.
NATE: My fitness journey has been an absolute roller coaster fueled primarily by trial and error. The only thing that has been consistent is that not one single thing has come easy. I have failed, had gigantic setbacks, near-fatal injuries, lost everything, and gotten last place more times than I can count.
I have been surrounded by some of the most incredible athletes, coaches, movement practitioners and fitness gurus from all backgrounds that have motivated and inspired my methods of movement-practice and teaching all across the board.
It wasn’t until I was on my second deployment in Afghanistan that I realized the utmost importance of being physically fit. Being bigger, faster, stronger, harder to kill is all that mattered — it’s what let you stay alive.
Physical fitness became a way of life and a means of survival. I learned very quickly that abs and beach body goals are insignificant — having the ability to get out of life or death situations by utilizing my body in an efficient manner proved to be a little bit more important than looking good.
When I got out of the Marines, I had no idea what I would do — I packed my sea bag in my car and just drove to Los Angeles. I figured there were a lot of fit people in LA — it seemed like a good place to be. I was living on Venice Beach (literally on the beach) — right in the mecca of fitness and weightlifting for several weeks before I decided to start my brief stint in college.
After a month of anatomy and physiology classes, I had finished my textbooks and found Google to be far more informative and time-efficient than going to four-hour lectures. So, I quit showing up to school and instead started working and getting hands-on experience with training people, and coaching classes.
After my active duty ended in the Marines, I had struggled with finding a sense of purpose. I found a disciplined and regimented structure as a CrossFit competitor that really contributed to a shitload of success, and failure all around. From 2016–2019, I won a functional fitness world championship, wrecked 2 motorcycles, many concussions, two fractured fingers, a fractured thumb, a broken wrist, a ruptured testicle, a hip/pelvis dislocation, and a torn/strained glute and groin, multiple rotator cuff tears, rhabdo, and compound stress fractures — all while making over 20 podium finishes in the competitive CrossFit circuit, and qualifying individually for the CrossFit games West Regional, finishing 160th in the world and 35th fittest individual male in the West region.
From 2015–2019, on a professional level, I trained, programmed, and created nutrition templates for people from all backgrounds — from bikini competitors to collegiate athletes to fighters. I held gymnastics, and nutrition seminars and ran women’s self-defense programs at corporations such as Google.
The broad spectrum of fitness studios and gyms that LA has to offer provided me the opportunity to coach and learn such a wide array of functional fitness. In any given day I could be found coaching anything from Crossfit or weightlifting classes; Instructing boxing and HIIT-X, I even ran booty blast and TRX classes in a yoga studio.
In addition to coaching all of these elements, I always wanted to be learning new components to put into my own toolbox. So, I would frequently sign up for random fitness classes around town — anything from Pilates to rowing studios or versa-climber gyms. Not only did they make me more versatile as an athlete, but they allowed me to expand my knowledge and understanding of fitness in more areas. From the moment that I stepped into classes, I would be a sponge- soaking up different coaching cues, techniques, programming, coaching styles, flows, and stretches. All of this information I gathered from these different fitness professionals of various backgrounds allowed me to build a pretty extensive fitness database.
My professional and athletic defeats and successes both have brought me where I am now. I seek to implement the most diverse training methodologies to everyone who trains with me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?
NATE: Remi thought that I was a drug addict the first time we met. She was dropping her dog off to board with me for a weekend, and I had just had a fight the day prior. I also wasn’t seeping a whole lot at the time. She didn’t ask me any questions or anything- I grabbed a bag of dog food from her- tossed it on my shoulder and took Simba with me and we had a blast.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
REMI: Well it’s not so funny while it’s happening but we always have a good laugh at our HomeBodies bloopers after the fact. We film one new follow along workout every single morning at 7 am so if we are having an off day or if we are extra caffeinated it shows. The funniest was when one time — Nate was having an off morning, accidentally tripped over his mat, lost his train of thought coaching and started yelling at the top of his lungs like it was the end of the world “ DAMN IT THIS WAS THE BEST WORKOUT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!AHHHHH” . We all know he puts a lot of pressure on himself to give us the best 1 hour workout. But these mistakes and bloopers- whether it be the mailman ringing the doorbell, our 3 dogs making a cameo on camera- it’s what makes us real and relatable, so we learned to embrace it (bloopers and all) and it’s always fun to share the behind the scenes on my Instagram stories
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
NATE: I believe whole-heartedly that our raw and authentic approach to health and wellness is what sets us apart. We are like the perfect balance- yin and yang. I am very regimented, and disciplined. I come off a little intense and in your face. I’ve got a no bullshit way around everything i do, and i don’t sugar coat things… and well, Remi is happy go lucky and care free, she takes that edge off of me by making me smile and showing who i really am. She brings a lighthearted and goofy energy into our workouts everyday… By taking the best pieces of both of our personalities and practices- and blending them together, we bring out a fun way to enjoy health and fitness in a sustainable way.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
REMI: Yes we have some super exciting launches in 2021!
HomeBodies was born during the pandemic, so at the core, everything that we launch will always provide some sort of fun, challenging, explorative workouts with minimal equipment.
We are known for our 54 Card Pick Up workouts (utilizing a deck of cards) and challenging, heart racing movements so although we can’t say much yet — it’s going to be an amazing tool to workout with ; )
NATE: The lockdowns forced many of us to adapt a new method to getting and staying in shape. Training- for me, is just as important for the mind as it is for the body. I would argue it’s the most powerful tool at your disposal to deal with uncertain times.
Health and fitness is more than a physical outlet though. It is a powerful mental, emotional, and social outlet that helps maintain balance in an otherwise stressful life. We have no plans of letting up on the throttle- dishing out minimal training programs to strengthen body and mind alike.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
NATE: Do more. Talk less. Inspire with your actions, because they talk louder than any words.
How do you define “Leadership”?
NATE: Leadership is- eating your own dog-food. A good leader leads by example because they truly believe in their purpose.
A Lot of how i view leadership stems from my time in the Marine Corps, along with one of my favorite books- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink…Which the name in itself is likely one of my biggest descriptors of a leader- having extreme ownership. Owning up to whatever is happening or has happened- good or bad- success-or fail. If something is not communicated or executed properly, it is a responsible leader who will act, and solve the situation instead of wallowing in anger and blame.
REMI: Leadership to me is being able to empower people through daily action. It’s why I love showing up on my Instagram stories everyday and sharing the ups and downs. I don’t feel motivated to workout every day and that is okay, but I will still show up on my mat and try. I hope that through my journey and showing that it is possible, I inspire both men and women to put their health first and be their happiest self as a result!
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?
REMI: We couldn’t have done it without our business coach, Jess Glazer. She helped us see the value in what we were providing during the pandemic and the impact we could make by creating HomeBodies and changing more people’s lives for the better. We learned so much through the process and grew not only as a business but as a couple.
NATE: Jess picked us up throwing spaghetti at the wall and turned it to a plan of action. She’s a rock star with a wealth of knowledge that helped us hone our skills to run a company more effectively.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
REMI: We donate a portion of our proceeds to dog rescue organizations that help veterans with PTSD because Nate is a combat veteran and we love dogs!
What are the “5 Things You Need To Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.
We are HomeBodies at heart so spending quality time together outside of work, cooking a meal, rollerblading with the dogs, or taking care of our chickens and ducks is really important to us to stay present
Nate likes space and quiet when he works and works on one task at a time. I like to brainstorm out loud and engage with people around me and do multiple things at one time. We have different working styles but it works out because we make sure to communicate what we both need.
We are both of each other’s biggest cheerleaders and I think that’s really important. We work towards the same goals and feel most connected when we accomplish things together.
We are polar opposites, but we balance each other out. Nate is an extreme-ist and I have a more balanced approach to things. AKA he never has a cheat meal while I happily enjoy my snacks :) It’s what keeps things interesting and on our toes, we learn a lot from each other and take the positives from both sides.
Conflict is normal, and if you watch my IG stories you’ll know that I am very open about the arguments we have and how we are navigating through being new business partners or just communicating better. I want to normalize fights because oftentimes on social media -it may come off like we have a perfect life, but we are just like every other couple and have healthy arguments every now and again. We give you a taste of reality.
Adapting to changing roles
With us- it is especially interesting because I juggle a hat for our shared business, whatever random duties may need attending to for her on an influencer level, as well as a boyfriend. Its crucial for us to be able to flip the switch in and out of different roles. We try not to take work things personal, or let personal things hinder work productivity. Just like all things though- it takes work, and patience.
With our very dynamic lifestyles, it is really important that we have boundaries in place to unplug and stay connected with one another. This is absolutely non-negotiable.
You are people of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
NATE: I think that essentially- Homebodies is just that movement that i would want to create. We created it by accident…We started doing these online workouts the day that gyms were shut down, and for 5 months we showed up every single day at 0900am to break a sweat with whomever needed some movement in their lives. I know that for me- physical fitness is a lot more than just a workout- its therapeutic. It’s extremely important for my mental wellbeing and i know that many of our Homebodies members relate with me in that regard. From that- our fitness program was born…The way that we train and move our bodies day in and day out is aimed to inspire others to see their untapped potential. They’re reminded constantly that they are athletes. We train like athletes so that we can perform whatever tasks are thrown at us the other 23 hours of the day. Essentially, at its core we just want to inspire others to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, and our approach is one that yields long term benefit- not short-term hype.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
NATE: “No one cares, work harder” …this can apply for times when things are going really well, OR really badly. I am a firm believer that comfort breeds complacency. I set goals, and when I reach them I don’t celebrate them long…if at all. I simply reflect on ways that I could have done better, and I keep grinding. No one cares that I did something well-work harder. When things get difficult- I remind myself frequently that there is always someone out there working hard than me and doing more with less. No one cares that life gets hard sometimes- work harder.
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 with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
NATE: Remi and i are both introverts really…I have ADHD, so in order for me to sit still for a very long time i have to be pretty mentally stimulated- and even then it’s hard to keep me from doing weird things. That’s all i have to say about that.
How can our readers follow your work online?
Follow @rrayyme for daily tips on healthy living
Check out our workouts www.teamhomebodies.com