Tommy is an author, stuntman, retired pro football player (CFL and NFL), BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee, one of Canada’s top fitness experts, and importantly he’s a husband and dad.
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MB: I’m with Tommy Europe, welcome Tommy.
TE: Thanks for having me Tommy, good to be here..
MB: Tommy is an author, stuntman, retired pro football player (CFL and NFL), BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee, one of Canada’s top fitness experts, and importantly he’s a husband and dad.
TE: I'm a girl dad and after hearing all that and now I'm old.
MB: You're not old Tommy. Earlier this month, you were the keynote speaker at a Health and Wellness Show and talked about the mental side of getting in shape or staying healthy. So that’s what I'm going to talk about today. But before we do, Tommy may I ask you a difficult question?
TE Ok, shoot!
MB: You and Dwayne the Rock Johnstone both played in the CFL – but he didn’t make the cut, and unlike you also never made it in the NFL, and yet you both went on to TV and movie careers. How come he ended up being the headliner, the “Rock” and well, you’re in a video blog with me?
TE: Well he started off in the world of WWF as it was known back then and he was known as a people's champion. I continued on a similar path helping people in the health and fitness realm and thats where I find myself and like to be.
MB: And you did star in a few shows, tell us about those.
TE: I had a show called the Last 10 Pounds for 6 seasons and another show called Bulging Brides which ran for 3 seasons, both helping people lose those extra pounds but more importantly it was about teaching those people what it takes fitness, nutrition and the mental side to be successful.
MB: Tommy we know that being fit can enhance our quality of life and it can also help us promote our independence as we age. What are the characteristics of being fit just?
TE: Just being able to do the activities that you want to do. Whether it's skiing, snowboarding or golfing, whatever the case, you want to be able to participate in whatever external activity it is. And most importantly me being a girl dad, and my kids are very active, you want to be able to play with your kids and do those kinds of things and not be restricted with health issues, so that's how I define it.
MB: I really love how you touched on participation and being able to participate with what you love doing. I think that's really important. Yet in our automated and distracted world being fit is hard. What are common challenges on our fitness journey?
TE: Well there are lots of distractions. I call them goal killers and most of them are self-inflicted so negative self talk and procrastination excuses are the granddaddies of them all. These things will distract you from your from [delete your] goals. Off course it's really important to kind of keep in mind what you're doing, to set goals for yourself, going after them so that all the background noises is exactly that, noises in the background not distracting you from reaching your goals and doing the things you need to do.
MB: You coined an acronym but I think it is quite useful to address that mental side.
TE: Yes, I came up with my own philosophy, well really it's more of a mentality. SHRED mentality. SHRED stands for Strength, Heart, Resilience, Efficiency, and Discipline.
The strength part I'm really focusing on the mental strength. The obstacles are things that are going to get in your way on the path to your goal - because nothing is going to run in a straight linear line. You're going to have to learn how to deal with obstacles. Visualize things so you can visualize yourself getting past these obstacles in achieving the goal of whatever it is you want to do.
Heart is about going all-in. It's not one foot in and one foot out, you're all in. All the time and giving everything you have. At times you're going to have to dig down and it's not always going to be easy, you're not always going to be motivated. So you have to have some kind of internal mechanism to keep going.
Resilience, again that's just going through the obstacles not running away from challenges or things that slow your progress. These are to be expected and resilient people are always getting knocked down but they get back up.
Efficiency. Being efficient in what you're doing and I like noting the 3 R's in habit formation. The reminder the routine and the reward. The reminder is the trigger for the routine. For example, meditation. Every time I wake up in the morning I start with a cup of coffee, so making a cup of coffee is my trigger to remind me that it's time to meditate. The routine is the habit itself, in this case, the meditation. The reward is being more grounded, present in the here and now and thoughtful in my reactions. I'm thinking about what I'm going to say before it happens and all those things are going to play with each other.
Finally discipline which puts all the pieces to the puzzle together. Connecting the dots. Again you're not going to be motivated all the time so you have to be disciplined to your approach and think of the long term results. That means you have to trust the process because things aren’t always going to go your way all the time. Sometimes there's going to be things that you don't like very much but you're going to get through them [delete to make them happen] and that's where this discipline comes in. But all five of those pillars of SHRED all work hand-in-hand and they are present in every single success story.
MB: That's really helpful. One of the takeaways for me [delete and that] is that it's in our control, even when stuff happens, how we respond to it. So when you talk about the visualizing you're going to get those setbacks but picture how you're going to deal with that and stay focused. SHRED stands for strength, the mental strength, heart, resilience, efficiency, and discipline. When I'm in one of your classes when you're encouraging us to do one more rep, I'm thinking that's more discipline and I appreciate that.
At your recent talk, you opened with some breathing exercises. I think they would be a great way to finish. Can you walk us through those exercises?
TE: Yes just a simple breathing exercise as a grounding force to get you present and slow things down. I use this anytime I feel stress starting to come up in a certain situation. Just a couple deep breaths, do a 4 second inhale with an 8 second exhale. Breathing in, filling up your cavity, and breathing out, focusing on the breath. I also like to bring some gratitude to it. As I inhale and exhale, I'm saying out loud things that I am grateful for because giving gratitude is extremely important. Between three and five breaths is an amazing way to get back into what's happening now and forget all the external noise that pops up in stressful situations. So that breathing exercise is awesome, breathing in and breathing out. I also like to think of something that I want that I want to achieve on that day, as in “today is the day that I will...” And I'll use that in the breathing exercises well.
MB: That's great. I think that that's awesome advice and let me just say I'm grateful for you. Not just for being a SierraSil ambassador, but also for inspiring and helping people like me on our fitness journey and helping us on the mental side of that too. Thank you so much. Tommy, how can people follow you on social media?
TE: You can find me on all social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now TikTok, @TommyEurope. If you want to look for me online at www.tefitness.com lots of fitness tips and articles For the health and fitness side and if you have any questions you can chat with me at my website, using the Ask Tommy button. And make sure you get your SierraSil of course, I'm about to go get mine right now.
MB: And if people have sore joints what do you recommend?
TE: Sierrasil 100%. I met Michael 12 years ago probably and I was introduced to SierraSil and I've been taking it ever since. In the last few years I've been an ambassador [delete selling] and believe strongly that the product works, whether you're taking the capsules or the powder or the external Pain Relief spray. So check it out and you will like it. It is SHRED approved and I look forward to hearing from all the positives everyone has.
MB: Well Tommy thanks for taking this time for this conversation. Thank you for all you do. I know you're also volunteering your time to the community as well through the BC Sports Hall of Fame and it's much appreciated. You are inspiring not just adults like me, but also our kids. Thank you for all you do.
TE: Thank you Michael. Have a great day.