You can’t enjoy wealth if you’re not in good health, right? Though sometimes overstated, the saying “health is wealth” — a variation of American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings — rings true for a variety of reasons. In this episode of The Agent of Wealth podcast, Marc Bautis invites John Williams, Wealth Advisor at Bautis Financial, on to the show to discuss health in the form of movement. They discuss everything from the benefits of exercise, to getting (and staying) motivated, to the mechanics of beginning a training program — especially as it relates to running a race. Throughout the conversation, Bautis and Williams lean on their personal experiences as collegiate athletes.
In this episode you will learn:
- How health affects cost of living, especially as you age.
- Trends in health and fitness in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How to start a fitness program, specifically running, including what to avoid.
- How to create (and crush!) realistic fitness goals.
- Intrinsic motivation and accountability.
- And more!
This is the first installment of a six-part Agent of Wealth series, called “Health is Wealth.” Listen to the other episodes:
- How to Overcome Your Sugar Addiction
- How Collaborative Problem-Solving Can Lead to Better Parenting
- Tools for Solving Common Sleep Issues
- How to Build Resilience
Welcome back to the Agent of Wealth podcast. On today’s show, I wanted to introduce a four-part series we’re doing on improving your health. And I’m bringing back John Williams to the show. John, how are you?
How’s it going, Mark? It’s good to be here.
So in this series, and this episode, we want to talk about how improving your health will improve your wealth. Improving your overall health is always a good thing, but it’s even more important as we age and enter into retirement. It can also be a lot more cost-effective to have better health.
I know there’s a lot of studies that prove it’s real money if you can stay healthy, for sure. Eventually, down the road, as you start to age, you may develop health issues that could lead to large transactions, depending on your health insurance. Like you said, you want to stay healthy to avoid this. You want to live as long as you can, but from a money perspective, it affects that as well.
Fidelity has a calculator that can project your healthcare expenses in retirement. Just before we started filming, I took the assessment. It asked if I wanted to calculate for both myself and my wife, but I just calculated it for myself. It asked my age, when I’m going to retire and it spits out a number. For me, it said $216,000 — that’s what I should prepare to spend on healthcare in retirement. So, like you said, it’s a pretty penny.
And you said that’s on Fidelity’s website — you can go in there and plug that stuff in?
I think people are getting used to the sticker shock when we project college expenses, but I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet when it comes to retirement plans. A lot of people think healthcare is covered under Medicare in retirement, and that if they pay their premium everything will be covered. And that is not true.
Yeah, especially those who have really good health insurance. Currently I’m on my wife’s insurance plan, and when we jump around it changes — the percentage you’re paying. If you have one of these ‘Cadillac’ programs — where you’re not paying anything beyond a co-insurance or a copay — you start to get comfortable with the idea that health insurance will cover expenses forever. It’s obviously just not the case.
That’s very true.
So, for this four-part series called “Health is Wealth” we are going to talk about different aspects of healthcare and how improving your health can improve your financials and your life.
If you were to break down the different aspects of improving health, there’s four main categories:
- Stress Management.
I think sleep is an underrated one. A lot of people don’t understand just how beneficial a good night’s sleep can be for your health. And, you know, stress is something a lot of people are feeling right now.
In the last episode, I will talk about how to put a retirement healthcare budget together.
On today’s show, we’re talking about movement and exercising. Although John and I are both financial advisors now, we were athletes in college. I was on the wrestling team, and John was on the track team.
The last year has been unprecedented, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot of people didn’t move around as much — they were locked indoors and unable to go to the gym. How can someone go from that, to running a race… or putting a fitness plan together? Whether their goal is to get back in shape, or get into shape in the first place?
Yeah, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on us. But I do think that, because gyms weren’t open, people were looking for ways to work out. Running was one of them — because if you had a pair of running shoes, all you needed was a space to start moving. So I do think a lot of people fell back on running as a form of exercise.
We almost saw the two extremes during the pandemic: People either sat on the couch and got terribly out of shape, or they became extremely fit. You might not have seen someone for, say, six months and you’re like woah, that person either lost a lot of weight, or the opposite.
It’s funny you say that because I was thinking the same exact thing. I remember talking to some people who said, “You know what, this is a bad situation, and I’ve been thinking about training or getting back into shape,” and just crushed it through the pandemic. And there were other people who said, “Man, I put on 10… 15 pounds.”
A lot of the weight gain has to do with stress, so what we’ll cover in the next couple of episodes will be beneficial.
Movement is not just about improving your physical health, but also your mental health — a lot of people will look to their exercise as a way to relieve the stress. But, others might see it as an additional stress: It all depends on how exercise fit into their life.
During the pandemic, I tried to work out more. But, it was challenging trying to plan a daily workout — there’s stress involved in that alone. And then during the workout, I sometimes thought ‘Why am I doing this? When is this going to be over?’ But once the workout is complete, that’s when, for me, the endorphins kick in and I start to feel really glad I made it happen.
Definitely. I’ve never regretted completing a workout, it’s always that time leading up to it when it’s hanging over your head. I see how stress can come from that. But absolutely, it’s just a matter of taking the first step.
On the topic of taking the first step, how does someone get started? Maybe you can answer this in the context of running and preparing for a race — because a lot of people (even me) signed up and were training for a race before they got cancelled. And I think we’re going to see a big demand once races do start again. So let’s talk to the person who hasn’t trained much (if at all) recently, where do they start?
First, I’ll take a step back and explain my expertise.
I’ve trained hundreds of people at different levels throughout the years, most of which were friends who would come to me and say, “Hey, you’re a runner, can you help me out?” I owned a running store for five years, and as a part of marketing and community involvement, we did all different types of training programs.
Starting With a Positive Mindset and Realistic Expectations
One of the things I learned through that time in my life is how important it is for you to set a positive mindset from the beginning. Before you even start moving. It really comes down to setting realistic expectations and goals. I think one of the things that derails people once they get started is their expectations are just wrong or too high, and they don’t have an accurate understanding of what to expect.
To use running as an example, it’s a gradual process that is often difficult to see noticeable progress. You might go out and work your butt off for an hour — which is great — but you’re not going to see a couple of pounds melt off right after. You’re not going to necessarily feel the fitness coming to you because it happens so gradually.
So what I usually advise people is to set goals around action. And we talk about this a lot with our clients at Bautis Financial.
The success at the end of the week should be that you got every workout you planned done. That is an example of a goal focused on progress, not results. This way, if you’re expecting to see these results and don’t right away, you won’t get discouraged or give up. Instead, you should be excited about getting to the end of the week and achieving that goal. The focus should be the process — getting in those workouts.
And the second part is framing your time to keep focused. Because one of the hardest aspects about training is finding the time to do it. Yes, everyone is busy, but defining and planning the time to train sets you up for success… no matter your schedule.
At this point, you are setting the framework (or building the habit) of the activity. You still have time to figure out what the activity is — including how much and how long — but you really want to get that stage set for changing your behavior of not doing anything to actually completing the given activity.
Absolutely. And habit is a big part of it. There’s a lot of information out there that can help you with those habits. Exercise-wise, I almost don’t even care what activity you’re doing. If you’re just going to walk for that 30 minutes, that’s great. Getting into that habit is what is going to benefit you moving forward.
New to Working Out? Avoid This #1 Mistake
Now, something you want to avoid is doing too much too soon. That’s the number one mistake people make, especially with running.
Like you mentioned, I ran at the collegiate level. I can remember like it was just yesterday my first run with the team. I thought it was the most grueling experience because I wanted to stay with them (pace-wise) so I was struggling — fighting and fighting my way through the workout. It wasn’t easy. But, fast forward, I was able to run competitively against people at the same, or higher, level. It is a process, and it can be a long process.
Do you ever see somebody running who looks exhausted? The thing is, it shouldn’t be that hard if you are working in gradual steps. So if you are struggling all the time, reel the intensity or the pace back in. What you need to do is find your “easy”. For most people, it is walking.
And walking is underrated. I’ve seen people get in amazing shape from walking. As long as your heart rate is elevating, you are burning calories. That’s really what it comes down to for cardio.
Getting (and Staying) Motivated to Exercise
What’s the best way to stay motivated? And I’m asking this because running (or walking) is not the most exciting thing — as you’re essentially going around in a big circle. To stay motivated, would you recommend joining a club to get some kind of group motivation, the same way that CrossFit or Peloton has a community? Or would you recommend getting a run coach? Or should you set a target for a number of miles per week? What are some tips on staying motivated?
All of the examples you just gave are spot on. One thing I always recommend is to not do it alone. You can find a coach, yes. You can also join a group, or ask someone in your life/support system to keep you accountable.
There are groups everywhere. Like I mentioned, I owned a running store that had all different types of programs. One of which was called “Couch to 5K.” It wasn’t the best name, because not everyone is a couch potato before they decide to pick up running. But, essentially, it was a 10-week program that started small and built up to a 5k (3.10 miles).
This program in particular was a group of people training one to two times per week. It is a great way to meet new people or tackle a challenge with one of your buddies. There’s a lot of camaraderie, because you’re there for the same reasons — as human beings, we tend to cling to others who have similar mindsets.
I do want to take a step back for a moment, because I do want to emphasize that I think goals are important — like you just mentioned, and we previously spoke about. In the Couch to 5K case, the goal is to run your first 5K. You definitely do want to have long-term goals, and a plan to get there. But, in the moment, you can’t get too caught up in results. Achieving a goal is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Got it. So let’s say someone has never done a race before, would you suggest that their first race be a 5K, rather than a half marathon or maraton? Or have you coached people that went straight into half marathon training, and that’s the first race that they do?
I’ve definitely seen it, but I think the smaller you start, the better.
Yeah, and I think that goes back to what you were saying, where you don’t need to overdo it at the start.
Exactly. Because what happens is someone can run their first 5k and be extremely sore after. We have to create that progression over time to avoid injury and soreness. If you’re doing it right, you almost don’t even realize it’s happening. The cool thing is, when I work with people at this capacity, they’ll get to week six out of the 10, for example, and when they look back on week one they’ll say, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I thought that was hard.”
Now look, if I’m coaching somebody to do really intense, hard workouts, it is a whole different story.
Where Does Strength Training Fit Into This?
Another point, not necessarily related to running, is that a lot of people think getting in shape means doing cardio. But what about the strength aspect? Is it important to do strength training as well?
That’s a really good question. In the world of run coaching, there’s schools of thought — probably no different than wrestling — and some coaches really believe in it, while others don’t. Everybody is completely different.
I personally think that the person’s history and goals are going to speak to how important strength training is.
For instance, running alone, believe it or not, is not the best way to lose weight. It But what you get from running enables you to lose weight so much faster, because you’re building heart strength, capillaries and these systems that enable the strength to actually be more effective.
And if you’re looking to run a race, and you only have a couple hours during the week of free time, you’re probably going to spend them running — not strength training. There’s that part of it too, is how much time you have as well.
On one hand, the answer is yes, it’s important. On the other hand it’s no. And I think that’s really where it’s important to understand what you’re getting into and have a coach who can give you guidance.
On our next episode in the “Health is Wealth” series we talk to Dr. Vera Tarman about how to break sugar addiction. But one of the things she mentioned was relapsing. Do you see that, in terms of working out or running? Let’s say that someone runs for a couple of weeks — getting into a good habit — but then lose the oomph. How can they avoid relapsing?
Motivation. It’s something that crosses over in everything we do in our life. There are so many different ways, thoughts and theories, but I think the best answer is to always look for ways you can improve your life, and don’t give up.
One thing that has worked for me is figuring out my “why.” and having reminders of what those whys are. It might be: I workout to stay healthy because I want to be on this earth when my kids are graduating college. Those kinds of things are bigger than what you’re doing in the moment.
Because the fact of the matter is, when you’re going on this journey, it’s going to be hard. Probably more times than not, you’re going to be forcing yourself to do things that you don’t want to do. So you’re always going to be looking for that motivation.
We talk about David Goggins. I reach to him sometimes, because he’ll just tell you the way it is. Things like that, having a book, podcast, person or place you can go to.
I’ll also add that having somebody in your life that understands how important your goals are, and can help create an environment for success through support is crucial. For me, this is my wife. She knows how important my goals are and she helps me stay accountable. And vice versa.
That reminds me, in episode 64 of The Agent of Wealth, we had Ellen Rogin on the show. One of the big takeaways of our conversation was visualization and creating a picture board. Whether the picture board is based off of financial, health or fitness goals, it can help keep you motivated. It may be the stimulus that motivates you to go on that run, crush that workout, not pick up that Twinkie, whatever it is.
Absolutely. Set yourself up for success, have a plan and respect the process more than the results — if you stick to those three things, you can accomplish anything.
Alright, so we’re just about out of time. You can get in touch with either of us through our website, bautisfinancial.com. But John, I know you recently started a new podcast. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Yeah, sure. Thanks for the opportunity to plug here, Mark. I mentioned earlier that I was a business owner, and I’ve always had a fascination with entrepreneurship and people starting businesses. The idea for the podcast was really based around that — I wanted to showcase business owners, their struggles, their successes and create a resource for current business owners — so they feel like they’re not alone.It can also be a resource for someone interested in opening their own business as well, a place for them to go to hear these stories.
It’s called Clear a Path Podcast (points for anyone who wants to send me a note where that comes from!) and you can find it on all your favorite spots to listen to podcasts. There are four episodes live now.
Great, that just about wraps things up. Thanks for talking to us, John. I’m looking forward to the next three episodes in this series. And thanks to everyone who joined in.