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Greg Joujon-Roche on Healthier Living

Greg Joujon-Roche is the founder of Holistic Fitness, a team of nutrition, fitness, yoga, martial arts and massage teachers and practitioners who provide specialized training for actors. He has worked on the movies “Striptease,” “G.I. Jane,” “Spider-Man” and “Troy,” as well as on many world-music tours. His clients include Brad Pitt, Demi Moore, Pink, Tobey Maguire, Giselle and Rachel Weiss, to name just a few. In this interview, Joujon-Roche explains the importance of fitness in a healthy lifestyle.

What can we expect to face in the first month of getting fit?

In week one, you’re full of optimism, new information and new feelings about your body. You’re using new muscles and establishing new eating habits and seeing some results. Life will still come knocking at your door with that party, business dinner or date, but you can prepare yourself for how you handle these and express a sense of will and a commitment to change.

In week two, you start to see results but you also feel withdrawals from foods you’ve always eaten and places you’re used to visiting. This is the time to buckle down, focus on results and grab onto all the positive changes you’re feeling.

Week three is when you have to stay the course. It’s a time when you can reach a plateau and start feeling negative. Keep your head down, show up and focus on how you feel, not the numbers at this stage.

Week four is when you really see a change. This week creates hope and some specific patterns that you can now stick with. If you’ve gone through 30 days, you can and must honor where you are. It’s been a great month. You may need to reevaluate and change some areas, but mostly you’ve set the tone for your experience and set the scene for your success. You can even take a week off—I’m all for that.

What influences health the most?

We try to integrate a holistic viewpoint, where it’s about taking time for yourself. I use the expression “back to breath.” When clients walk in, we focus on helping them regain their center, not just getting their butt smaller. It’s important to find your own balance, find what works for you and truly accept that.

What’s the most damaging myth about fitness?

People get blanketed by the images in society—all the “perfect” people, like actors and models. They pin a picture on their fridge that’s impossible to attain unless they were born that way. We focus on the essence of people. For example, when we work with rock stars, we might not be able to get them as thin as they want to be, but we work on their presence. Mick Jagger is not in the best shape, but when he walks on stage, he has energy, and energy is so important. If we work a little bit on fitness, a little bit on presence and a little bit on restorative stuff, that all boils down into a nice package for someone to be really happy.

Why is it so hard for some people to maintain weight loss?

I see lots of people who are perfect when they are filming, but after filming wraps they fall off the wagon. Those people are usually unhappy, something is going on in their lives or they got fit for the wrong reason. They did a thing called “trauma training.” They didn’t have the restorative aspect and they didn’t have balance. They did boot camp, the “no-this, no-that, no-carb diet.” They beat themselves to the ground to lose weight, but their weight loss came from the wrong place and once they achieved it, they were still unhappy and unfulfilled. We don’t train like that. If we’re under a serious time constraint, we get absolutely intense, but we control the intensity. If we need to run 12 miles today, it might take us half the day, but we do it and we have a lot of fun. People who create balance in their lives in response to weight loss are just healthier.

What if someone isn't lucky enough to have you as a trainer? What would you suggest?

There are many steps. The first is to self-assess, which means to ask yourself” “Who am I?” “Where am I?” “What’s going on?” “What’s going on in my life right now?” Get real with your assessment and honor where you are. There’s nothing wrong with where you are; it’s just where you are. What’s going for you? We call it “the fancy five:” Stress, big butt, poor eating, too much drinking, too much smoking. Write it down. Five may turn to twenty, but prioritize them. I call them your “super intention.” So, now you know: “Here’s where I am; this is where I want to be. How do I want to get there?”

If you don’t know, then go get help. Go to a local gym. Ask some friends whose opinions you value. Ignorance used to be bliss, but now people have to take a little responsibility for where they are. There’s so much information out there on the Internet when it comes to health and fitness. People need to be a little self-motivated, take responsibility for it.

What do people underestimate about themselves when they start training?

I’d say their ability to follow through and their ability to change their bodies. It’s amazing that when you really connect, your body just responds. The most important thing is to start. People don’t realize how quickly their body can truly change if they truly commit to it.

What’s the most important thing to understand about change?

Change is necessary and it’s a great thing. I don’t care how it feels in the moment; it’s positive. We are on this earth to learn. A lot of my training is trying to bring people into the present moment, to be here right now, because right now everything is fine. I try to put them in their bodies and connect them with their breath. Change is scary, but it’s part of human nature.

For more information on Greg Joujon-Roche, visit www.holisticfitness.com.

Posted: 12/28/07
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