It doesn’t take long after sitting down to talk with Dai Manuel before you realize that this is a different kind of guy. I was initially under the impression that I was interviewing a renowned fitness trainer, which Dai certainly is. But as you’ll see from this interview, his approach is wholly different than any Healthy Balance /fitness trainer I’ve ever met before.
First of all, he goes by the name ‘Moose’. Okay, that’s fitting for fitness trainer. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty cool for a fitness trainer to go by ‘Moose’. I love it!
But my first question, “How do you define what you do?” veers us into a direction that makes it more that obvious that Dai’s approach is way more grand and comprehensive than just drawing up workouts and diet plans.
Dai approaches fitness as a pillar of a whole healthy life. A fundamental pillar but like a building, that pillar has to work with the rest of the plans for the building’s construction or the whole structure doesn’t function properly.
Personal Choice & Accountability
Dai’s manifesto is centered on personal choice and accountability. If anyone would intimately know about those two things and how they impact a person’s quality of life, Dai would know it. He started learning about that from a young age.
“From the age of 9 to 14 years old, I was what would be classified as morbidly obese” Dai says. “It was tough, it wasn’t easy.” He tells me that he hit rock bottom and was depressed. “It was a state that I didn’t like so I decide to make a change.”
Dai is not shy about what being overweight meant. “There were a lot of collateral damage to being obese besides the look, there was self loathing and a defeatist attitude that just didn’t have a place in my life.”
Dai says that his parents were supportive, which was key. His parents bought him a mountain bike, they bought food that Dai researched and found out he needed to reach his goals of becoming a healthy weight.
“I started making changes at age 15 that I carried forward since that time” – Dai says.
It wasn’t something that happened overnight, it was a journey.
It was a marathon, not a sprint. There was no get fit quick scheme. It was just working out, going for bike rides, being smart about what I ate and repeating that every day.
Those visible changes that Dai started at age 15 got the attention of people around him. His transformation established authority at a young age and people started to come to him for advice on fitness and health matters.
When asked about what advice he would tell his younger self if we were to speak to him now, Dai responds: “Trust in yourself. Everything is going to be okay.” – the advice Dai would tell his 15yo self.
One thing I learned from that process was the energy you get from being around other people that are of the mindset and lifestyle that you want to lead. If you’re around people who are negative and don’t have the goals that you have, they are going to drain your energy and drag you down.
Life balance is a constant struggle.
“There are times in my life when I’ve focused on one pillar of my life at the expense of another and that can sometimes lead to guilty feelings about another pillar of life” Dai says. “For example since I have children I can sometimes feel guilty about going to train because I know that could be a time when I could be investing in time with my children.”
What Dai says he has to focus on, and what we all have to remember, is that investing time in our Healthy Balance and fitness makes us better parents, better partners, and business persons. “We don’t have to spend hours on end training to reach our optimal fitness as though we are training for an elite competition but we can invest just a little time each day in our fitness and that will pay dividends in the other important aspects of our lives. We will find ourselves performing better in the other aspects of our lives if we do that.”
For me, whenever I’ve prioritized other things over my fitness it hasn’t been long before I realized that things were out of whack and I had to make room for fitness or the other parts of life just weren’t operating optimally.
Enjoying Fitness/ Healthy Balance
Dai does admit that working out wasn’t always a joy. “When I was 15yo and just getting started on the journey to getting fit and healthy, it wasn’t always fun. It wasn’t easy.” He says that when people talk about not enjoying working out, it’s easy to understand because he’s been there before.
“While I greatly enjoy working out now, I didn’t enjoy it much at all when I first started. I think that’s natural and more common than not.” – Dai Manuel
“When you first get started working out everything is so hard. Everything is a struggle and that, by it’s nature, isn’t enjoyable.” – Dai Manuel
30 Minute Whole Life FitnessManifesto
The thing about improving and maintaining your health is like everything in your life that you prioritize. You have to figure out what’s most important to you. There is only so much time in the day. Most people work 8hours a day plus commuting and then there is sleep.
“A body at rest likes to stay at rest. It’s a physics principle but it applies to person’s activities too.” – Dai
Dai teaches that personal choices define the activities that you end up doing with your time. It’s not a “can’t” or “can” thing. It’s individual choices for each extra minute that you have that is not directly by non-negotiable responsibilities like working your day-job and sleeping.
Make a 30 minute commitment to self each and every day: 15 minutes of movement, 5 minutes of mindfulness, 10 minutes of personal development. This is an investment.
It’s like flossing your teeth
There is a “Compound Effect” of doing a little bit every day.
It’s about being mindful with everything you do with your time.
The typical person spends 8 hours a day at work, 1 to 2 hours a day commuting, and you should spend at least 7 to 8 hours a day sleeping. That only leaves 6 more hours a day for everything else. If you’re on autopilot you can easily spend most of that mindlessly watching Netflix, on Facebook, or other mindless tasks that improve yourself or invest in your personal future.
Dai advises that we all have to make choices in eating, fitness, and Healthy Balance . Those choices we make today will effect you 15 years from now.
“It’s not about tomorrow, because whatever you do today probably won’t effect you much tomorrow but you may have plans for how you want to live when you’re older.” Dai says, ” You may want to retire and travel. You probably have a vision of what your life will look like 10-15 years from now. How will your Healthy Balance and fitness level effect your ability to enjoy those years? The compound effect of small individual choices you are making right now will effect your ability to enjoy those aspects of life in the future.”
People make better decisions when they are mindful of what they are doing, what they are eating, how they spend their time, etc. When a person is mindful they will make choices that lead to a desirable end.