Daniel Wallen helps busy women free themselves from the shackles of restrictive dieting, figure out how to fit exercise into their busy lives, and take control of the Mental Monsters that limit their potential.
His clients and readers love that he keeps it snarky and positive, making sure everybody laughs and has fun during the process.
When I first spoke with Daniel we talked about the differences between being truly healthy and fit and being habitually unwell and out of shape.
No matter which way we looked at it, the conclusion was the same:
Those who succeed in health tend to be more positive, patient, and prepared than those who don’t.
Integrative health initially appealed to Daniel, for the simple reason that following a workout plan wasn’t enough to reach his goals. He had to do a lot of work on the mental aspect before he could achieve his fitness goals.
He started a blog where he wrote about his successes and struggles in 2010, and it turned out a lot of folks found it to be incredibly helpful and easily relatable.
About a year after starting his blog, he started to wonder about being a personal personal trainer given all the knowledge he’d picked up by this point, so he offered free programs and training to some friends in exchange for testimonials after they achieved their goals.
It turned out he was pretty good at it, and decided to take things much more seriously in 2012. He got certified, left a corporate job, started training, and even self-published a couple of books.
I focus on women a LOT more than men — it just seems like I am better able talk in their “language,” relate with them on a personal level, and understand their needs/wants.
Dan reads for 2 or 3 hours a day, about 2/3 of which could be considered research. He also tries to write for at least an hour or two each day (although he’s known to have the occasional all-day binge lasting 8-12 hours once a month or so).
Table of Contents
Quick Fire Questions
Book You’re Currently Reading?
I’m usually juggling 3 books: 1 for leisure, 1 for business, and 1 about fitness/nutrition/mental health/stress management/so on.Â Right now those are:
“Bossypants” by Tina Fey
“French Women Don’t Get Fat” byÂ Mireille Guiliano
Best Health Purchase?
“The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz.
It’s basically nothing but a big pep talk accompanied with lots of encouragement and tips to help you keep a positive mindset, but I originally read this book during a dark time at which I really needed to hear its message, and I believe it helped me turn things around.
Also, “The Slow Down Diet” by Marc David made the biggest influence on my philosophy: coaching/training/nutrition than anything else, so can we call it a tie?
Favorite Health Resource?Â
I’m a big fan of the Personal Trainer Development’s Center’s “top articles of the week” feature that started a few months ago. It helps me stay caught up when life gets busy.
My mom. She shaped who I am more than anyone else, and I hope I can be half the person she is someday.
She loves traveling and wanted to share that with me, so she took me to most of the states in the U.S. during my childhood, Now I also love traveling and want to go to all of the places.
Favorite Health Website?
http://psychologyofeating.com/ – I plan to get certified there when I am able, as I love everything about their philosophy and approach to fostering a positive relationship with food and your body.
How I Started
Initially, it was experiencing how much more energy/confidence/strength I had after getting fit myself. Being able to stay alert at work, feel comfortable in my skin, and carry all of the grocery bags in one trip are some of my favorite benefits of pursuing health.
I loved this change so much that I wanted to share it with the world. I follow quite a few blogs, Twitter streams, and a member of communities centered around my health topics of interested, and always have my nose in a book, so I soak up as much knowledge as I can.
I make things as easy on myself as possible by prepping gym gear/healthy food at night. My gym bag is packed with workout clothes, I’ve got my lunch refrigerated in Tupperware (I meal prep once or twice a week) plus an oats and whey shake ready to go.
All I have to do is grab it and go out the door, so it’s kind of hard to play the, “I don’t have the time,” card.
Best Thing I Did For My Health
My progress didn’t come fast or easy, so it was really difficult to stay motivated to keep going at first. But I spent a lot of time working on practicing patience, and finding ways to enjoy the process. Today I’m as patient as it gets, but it took a lot of work.
I finally wrapped my head around the fact that “time” is a figment of our imagination. Days, weeks, and months are just things we invented in an effort to understand the world we live in. And besides; there is no use fighting the reality that fat loss doesn’t happen at the rate your mind demands, but rather the rate your body allows.
A Healthy Day For Me
Wake up early (except on the rare occasion I get caught up writing and pull an all-nighter; a once-or-twice-a-month indulgence)
Get a glass of water and start brewing coffee/fixing breakfast (usually an omelet with peppers/onions/mushrooms/tomatoes/bacon)
Check my email if I’m expecting something important (otherwise that waits til afternoon or evening)
Read an article or two online, or read a chapter or two from a book
Take my dog on a walk/jog at the park or do a yoga/foam rolling session (usually one or the other weekdays, both on Sundays)
Lift weights (lately I’m a fan of high frequency training, so this is usually a 30 minute session, with an upper/lower split approach)
Write/work/strategic planning/business tasks/general life stuff of high importance
Unwind with some leisure reading, chatting on social media, and/or Netflix (my recent favorites are “House of Cards” and “Archer,” but I’ve also been on a stand-up kick of late, Louis C.K. especially)
Usually, I try to cut all lights and electronics about an hour before bed, but that doesn’t *always* happen if I get sucked into a good conversation with a dear friend.
There’s A Healthier Way
I am close to some folks who struggle with depression, high stress, and toxic thinking. It has made me very mindful of how important mental health is to success in health, fitness, business, relationships, life, just about everything.
Sure, one can hide from their problems, but the buck always stops somewhere.
A lot of those people are medicated on pills with names I can’t pronounce, and I have witnessed the consequences. If you’ve ever seen a pharmaceutical commercial, you know the side-effects tend to sound worse than the original problem.
It pains me to see people on these pills, because I know they have the potential to take control of their own health with natural remedies that are more effective and safe… it’s just that their inside (thoughts) needs to be taken care of before their outside (body).
I Could Have Become Super Healthy Sooner If…
I Thought about who I was actually talking to. When I first started blogging, I just wrote for “people who want to lose weight.”
One day, I was sifting through some of my old Facebook page posts to see if there were any trends (i.e. a certain time of day more people interacted, or a certain type of post my followers found more helpful/interesting).
I ended up noticing something I wasn’t even looking for: the OVERWHELMING majority of the people who liked, commented, and shared things were women — to the tune of roughly 4 out of 5, at least.
So, ever since that point, my “dear reader” or “ideal client” has been “busy women who want to get fit and healthy while maintaining their sanity.”
What YOU Should Focus On
The best self-help book in the world is useless if you don’t implement the material in your life.
Find a way to take action with every self-help or health book/blog/article you read. It doesn’t matter how big or small that action might be.
The point is to develop the action habit. If you can do that, you will become unstoppable.
My #1 Health Tip?
Drink more water! I know that is the most obvious tip ever, but most people just aren’t doing it. If you don’t think it’s important, consider this: you could survive for a month without food, but you’d be dead in a week without water.
“8 glasses of water per day” is the typical recommendation, but in reality this will differ from person to person depending on activity level/body type/so on. That’s beyond the scope of this article, so let’s just start with 8, and you can modify as needed, k? Do this:
1. Keep a water bottle in your car and take a few sips as you drive from place to place. If you want to give it some personality, find some stickers or decals to decorate it with.
2. Get one more bottle just like above, but keep that one at your office. If you have a hard time remembering to drink, just take a few sips every hour on the hour, and you’ll be good-to-go.
3. Drink a full glass of water: as soon as you wake; an hour before bed; and right before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Being dehydrated can result in a hazy memory and inability to focus, so it’s good to start your day with a glass.
Having a glass an hour before bed will help you stay hydrated at night, but also be far away enough from bed-time so you don’t wake up peeing. And the feelings of hunger and thirst are tough to differentiate, so it’s smart to have a glass of water before every meal, as this could help you avoid overeating (and lose weight).
Point #3 contains 5 glasses of water on its own, so if you combine that with your sipping in the car and at work, you should end up with 8 glasses per day. If you exercise, drink a bit at the gym, but otherwise you’re good to go. Pay attention to your body’s signals and feel free to adjust your intake based on what it tells you.