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Posts Tagged ‘Chek Practitioner’

Brandon Alleman Interview

Monday, November 1st, 2010

TG: Hi Brandon, thanks for being interviewed. Could you start out by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

First, I would like to say thank you Tom, for the opportunity to share with your audience. I really appreciate that.
To answer your first question, I was very athletic growing up and was always interested in sports and physical activity. I was actively engaged in just about all sports and settled into basketball, track and field, and boxing competitively throughout my teenage years.

When I was 17, I suffered a back injury that would change things for me from that moment on. I had a hard time overcoming the injury with conventional methods of treatment (i.e. – physical therapy, etc.) so I decided I would take matters into my own hands. I read my first orthopedic and rehabilitation text at that time and was fortunate enough to rehabilitate myself and get back to my old “young” self again.

From there I decided to pursue a career in the health, fitness, and rehabilitation industry. I began working with clients professionally immediately out of high school and accumulated several certifications. Roughly a year later in 2000, a colleague turned me on to the CHEK Institute, Paul Chek, and the CHEK Certification Program. I took my prerequisite courses and completed my Level 1 training in 2001. From there, I immersed myself in the CHEK Certification programs and all that they entail and I moved from my home state of Louisiana to Rhode Island to be part of a very elite group of rehabilitation professionals. I worked there for 2 years heading up the clinical and corrective exercise for the facility prior to returning home to start a clinically based holistic health and corrective exercise practice that I run today.

TG: How important do you feel it is that individuals take responsibility for their own health?

This is one of the most critical aspects of attaining ideal health and wellness. As someone who has been in this field for a while now yourself, you are very familiar with the fact that many people believe that when it comes to their health and wellness, that “life is doing them.” They are a victim of poor genetics or some other “cause” of ill health. Taking responsibility for where one is in life, whether that be in terms of health and fitness or otherwise, is a necessary first step in “turning the ship around” so to speak.

I do feel that we, myself included, overuse the word responsibility. The word itself is very punitive and sort of has a stigma of blame attached to it – “Who is responsible for this mess?” I prefer to teach my clients that they are the co-creator/architect of their own health. There is no one or no “thing” to point the finger at for why you are where you are. I am personally a huge believer that 99% of the things that happen to us in our lives – we create. That is not always easy to accept, but for me, true nonetheless.

Health, fitness, rehabilitation, performance enhancement, etc., are not things that can be done “to” someone. An individual has to want to be healthy or fit more than the trainer, coach, or whoever, they are working with. If this is not the case, results will likely not manifest in a timely manner, if at all. So taking on the self-responsibility of creating more health and vitality in one’s life is an absolutely essential step to long-term success in my opinion.

TG: In what ways can people do this?

I feel one of the first ways this can be achieved is through attaining an awareness of the consequences of the choices we all make on a daily basis. For example, everything we choose to eat or not eat has a physical, mental, and hormonal consequence to it. Knowing what those consequences are, at least for some, may help to steer them in the right direction. I am of the opinion that the more you know about a given topic, the easier it becomes to make a better decision.

I also like the Ericsson Theory of Deliberate Practice. The main point of this theory put forth by K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, is that in order to achieve expert performance in any endeavor, one must engage in deliberate practice with the explicit goal of constant improvement.

There are four basic steps to Deliberate Practice and they are as follows:

(1) Practice

(2) Break the goal down into small, manageable components

(3) Enlist the help of a coach and be coachable

(4) Be prepared for setbacks.

In terms of applying the Ericcson Theory to taking responsibility for one’s health, one first has to make the conscious choice to improve his/her current state of health. Then they can choose to find a coach, someone like you or myself as an example, who will help them break that goal into small parts (what to eat, when to eat, lifestyle modifications, and on and on). Next, they have to practice implementing those small action items on a day-to-day basis and finally, they must be prepared for the occasional setback and be aware of how to respond if and when they occur.

TG: You are a CHEK Practitioner. What special skills has this given you?

That is a great question. The training that I have received as a higher level CHEK Practitioner has proven for me to be invaluable. I suppose the biggest take-away that I have received to date is the ability to accurately assess my clients on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, chemical, and even spiritual – to identify the root cause of their issues. Integrating this information into total wellness program design in order to give my clients whatever tools they need to foster health and well-being is what I consider to be my greatest ability as a CHEK Practitioner. The CHEK Program has been the catalyst that has helped me to help individuals who would be considered “challenge” cases. To anyone who has a passion for living a life of health and helping people overcome chronic pain and ill health, I recommend the CHEK Institute Programs without reservation.

TG: How important is the connection between body and mind?

Well, the two are inseparable. Without the mind, the body would not survive and vice versa. There is no body and no mind – there is only a body-mind. So from that standpoint, it is hard to overstate the importance of the connection. One thing that is very interesting is that if you look at the research that has been done on individuals with multiple personality disorders you find that one personality is near-sighted and another personality is far-sighted! One personality will be allergic to cats and another personality loves cats with no ill effects. It is the same body, but a different mind controlling that body.

By the same token, it takes a healthy body to support a healthy mind. I believe it was Socrates that would have his students practice with wrestlers because as he stated, and I may be paraphrasing here, “You have to be in shape to think!” Whatever it is that the mind conceives the body has to have the ability to support that idea for it to manifest. For example, my mind may hold the idea of running a marathon. But if I have spent the last 15 years living a completely sedentary lifestyle, I will probably run about 800 feet and then I will either pass out or vomit – or both!

I encourage creating a lifestyle that integrates mind and body to foster well-being. Many of the Eastern Philosophies do a great job of this. Meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and all of the cultivations sciences are excellent additions to a really sound exercise program – provided they are executed in their truest form of course.

TG: What does your consultation process involve?

Well I usually have potential clients fill out an extensive array of paperwork prior to their Initial Consultation in order to maximize time during the consultation process.

Typically, I review past and current lifestyle factors, past and present medical and injury history, review any medical tests/imaging studies the client may have, set an overarching goal, address any questions that the client may have about the healing process, investigate financial and temporal resources available for healing, and establish the short and long-term commitment options.
From there, my clients are scheduled for their physical evaluations and we move forward based on those results.

TG: What are your top 3 tips to achieve weight loss?

My first tip is always to develop a healthy relationship with food. Many people view food as an inconvenience and do not realize that that attitude towards food has physiological consequences which can set them up for fatigue, weight gain, sleep issues, and a host of other problems.

Far too many people try to rely on their exercise programs as the primary tool for weight loss, when the focus should be on their nutrition. You will never out-train bad nutrition. How many times per week can someone exercise? Now, how many times do they typically eat? So where is the priority – the answer is obvious.

My second tip is to eat whole, real food and avoid foodstuffs that are processed, enriched, and/or fortified. It takes life to give life – that is the bottom line. The further from Nature your food is, the more difficult it will be to lose weight. The longer the shelf life – the worse the food is for you. Two very basic rules of thumb that I give my clients is that (1) If it was not here 5,000 years ago it will detract from your health not contribute to it and (2) If it has more than a handful of ingredients, or words on the food label that you cannot pronounce – do not eat it. That’s pretty much it from a very basic level.

I suppose my third tip would have to be to listen to your body. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals and communicating with us. We have to be still enough and have an awareness to listen and interpret the signals accurately. Headaches, pain, digestive problems, fatigue, sleep issues, and on and on – all of these are the body’s attempt to let you know to change your current habits because they are not serving you. If you continue to ignore the body’s signals, it will be increasingly difficult to achieve any health or fitness related goal you may have – or any other goal for that matter.

TG: What part do you feel nutrition has to play in overall wellbeing?

Hippocrates stated very clearly, “Let your food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Nutrition is your acquired life-force, or energy. It is an extension of energy from the Divine, or that which you feel created you. It is necessary to provide the body with what it requires to be healthy.

If you stop eating right now, you may live only 2 weeks –depending on your body fat levels. As I mentioned earlier, everything we choose to eat has a physical, chemical, and hormonal consequence to it. Unfortunately, we have added over 10,000 man-made chemicals to our food supply in the last 100 years, and very few (I believe it is less than 3%) of them have ever been thoroughly tested in any quantity.

Here in the United States, we have a very interesting silent experiment running and if I were to title that experiment it would sound something like this: “The negative health effects of feeding a healthy population of people overly processed and fast foods over an extended period of time.” The results are pretty clear so far – they get sick – very sick. Over 90% of the money spent on food in the US is spent on fast and/or processed foods and we have more disease of every kind per capita than ever before in history. This is not a coincidence.

If the quality of your nutrition/food is poor – so will your health be.

TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you.

The future is very promising. I am currently in the process of re-branding my company and I am writing an e-book which is at the present moment untitled. I am currently integrating a fair amount of Functional Lab Assessment into my practice and am also studying Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Cures and slowly integrating these into my practice where applicable. As well, I am designing a several 4-6 week presentation series on various topics such as fatigue, chronic back/neck pain, and weight loss to name a few. I plan to begin these presentations within the next 6 months.

On the educational front, I plan to continue to work towards my Level IV CHEK Certification and position myself as an Instructor candidate for the CHEK Institute.

Interview with Leigh Brandon (Chek Practitioner – BodyChek)

Monday, April 12th, 2010


This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Leigh Brandon one of the leading Chek practitioners in the UK.  Leigh has been involved in wellbeing for a number of years and has held a wide variety of positions within the industry.  He has a great outlook on how to improve wellbeing and has his own consultancy BodyChek which is well worth a look.


TG: Hi Leigh, thanks for being interviewed.  Could you start off by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?

LB: Sure! I started back in 1996 having completed a Certification in Health/Fitness Instruction and Personal Training with the ACSM. Soon after qualifying, I helped a friend of mine with her training and she went on to win the Danish Ms Fitness title in 1997. In 1997 I went to off to Australia and worked as a personal trainer in Sydney and then in Perth. In 1998, I returned to England and worked in a leisure centre in Hertfordshire with a team of freelance trainers. After two years I felt I needed to work in an environment that was more conducive to developing my skills and so I joined Holmes Place Health Clubs in 1999. It was there I first worked with a CHEK trained professional which dramatically changed the way I worked. From 1999 to 2004 my position at Holmes Place went from personal trainer to personal training manager to regional personal training manager to fitness manager to academy trainer. The last two years was spent training the personal trainers and managing the personal training business for 18 clubs across the UK. I continued to see a small number of clients during this time. In 2001, I took the CHEK Level I Certification and it turned my view of exercise upside down.  From that point I began working with back pain patients and was very successful straight away helping people to eradicate their pain. In 2004, I started my own company BodyCHEK.  Today, I incorporate a number of different skills into my work. These skills include holistic lifestyle coaching, metabolic typing®, functional diagnostic nutrition™, golf biomechanics, strength and conditioning, BodyTalk™ and sports massage. Most of my current clients come to me to help them with low energy, digestive disorders or chronic injuries.

TG: You are a Chek trained professional, can you tell us a little about this and how you approach things differently to the average personal trainer?

LB: The main difference in how I work compared to a personal trainer would be the assessment and programme design procedure. Before I see a client they are required to complete a whole series of questionnaires which take 10 days to complete. When I receive the questionnaires, I analyse their answers, beginning to build a picture of what might be the cause of their health challenge. I then print a graph showing me which systems are our of balance and require attention. I then prepare potential strategies that the client will need to follow to be successful. During the initial consultation, I spend 90 minutes goal setting, understanding the clients’ core values, understanding what has caused their problems and agreeing a plan to help them be successful. A two to four hour physical assessment is carried out, which includes postural assessment, length-tension relationships, movement assessment, and assessment of breathing, vision, vestibular function, upper cervical spine, viscera and mental/emotional issues. The length and complexity of the assessment process is vital as the body is a system of inter-related systems which can all affect each other. This is followed by the programme design which takes me about 2 hours. My clients are then coached to follow an exercise, nutrition and lifestyle plan and given any specific referrals that I feel are necessary to achieve success. I refer about 90% of my clients to allied health professionals. My clients are given a 15 page manual and a DVD with all their stretches and exercises on so they do not need to have weekly exercise sessions as most clients tend to with a personal trainer. My clients are re-assessed every 4-8 weeks and I tend to see them every two weeks for a 30 minute coaching session (in person or via the internet) to ensure they are able to incorporate all the necessary lifestyle changes into their busy lifestyle and to help them overcome any challenges.

TG: You are also a Function Diagnostic Nutritionist; can you tell us a little about how you use this to help your clients?

LB: Yes, sure. Many people have ongoing problems for many years and often times their Doctor is unable to find out what is wrong with them. Using Functional Diagnostic Nutrition™ (FDN) I become a detective for the body. My job is to find out the ‘cause’ of their health challenge. I use saliva, urine and stool tests to establish my clients’ hormonal levels, oxidative stress levels (free radical damage), liver stress, and whether they have ‘leaky gut’ or any fungal or bacteria overgrowths or parasite infections. I then help my clients normalise their hormones, support the cells and liver, repair any leaky gut and eradicate any infections using a combination of specific nutritional, lifestyle, supplemental and detox protocols.  It’s all about addressing the cause of the problem and not treating the symptoms.

TG: How do Metabolic Typing® and FDN™ help clients who are looking for weight loss?

LB: That would be a good title for a book, but I’ll try to keep it brief! Weight loss is such a complex subject. It’s not just a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend. The body is controlled by a number of fundamental homeostatic control  systems (FHCs). When these control systems are working effectively or are ‘in balance’, you have health. When any of these systems are out of balance, then compensations occur and the body is pushed out of balance. One of the symptoms that can occur is excess body fat. Metabolic Typing® recognises 10 FHCs. Two of the three primary control systems are the oxidative system and the autonomic nervous system. In each of us the oxidative system or the autonomic nervous system is dominant. In a minority their ‘dominance factor’ switches between the two systems. What this basically means is that based on your metabolic type®, you can eat a specific diet that will help to balance your FHCs by supporting the weaker side of either your oxidative system or the autonomic nervous system. Balance your FHCs and your body weight normalises. However, there are other FHCs. Another is Steroid Hormone Balancing (SHB). Of particular importance is the balance between Cortisol (stress hormones) and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the precursor to your sex hormones. It is well established that there is a link between a person’s Cortisol/DHEA ratio and the function of a number of crucial systems in the body. If the Cortisol/DHEA ratio is out of its optimal range it will affect fat and protein metabolism, endocrine function, detoxification, immune regulation and carbohydrate metabolism which all effect body fat levels. The Cortisol/DHEA ratio is affected when there is excessive long term stress on the body. FDN allows me to establish where the stress is coming from. It could be hidden internal stress like parasites or external stress like the chemicals in someone’s cosmetic products or a combination of many internal and external stressors. So I follow a process to help people reduce body fat. I get them to eat the right foods and eliminate the wrong foods for their metabolic type. Get them eating organic food. Fine tune their ratios of fat, protein and carbohydrates at each meal, introduce high quality appropriate supplementation, identify blocking factors (stressors) and optimise enhancing factors like getting to bed on time, meditating and getting time in the sun. I teach my clients that you get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.

TG: What are the first three things you tell an individual to do who is looking for weight loss and why?

LB: What I don’t do is tell the same thing to every body. We are all different and the reason one person is overweight will be different from the next. It really depends on the wrong choices that people are making. Someone might be exercising well, but consistently putting on weight. It wouldn’t make sense to tell them to do more exercise. You have to find the ‘blocking factors’ and help the client to overcome the ‘blocking factors’. I’ll tell you what I believe is the most important factor, ‘the mind’. Thoughts become things and if you are always thinking about being fat or losing fat, you are giving energy to being ‘fat’. I could get quite deep here, but suffice to say, it is our unconscious minds that run our behaviours 95-99% of the day. These behaviours are set up in the first seven years of life and remain in place for life. Unfortunately today, many people have an unconscious behaviour pattern that leads to ill health of some sort. There are a number of ways in which someone can re-write these behaviour patterns. I use a number of techniques including BodyTalk™, art therapy, poetry and meditation. Clinical hypnosis is very effective too.

TG: What are the common issues you find with overweight clients?

LB: There are few. These are generalisations, but my observations have shown most of the factors below to be true in most overweight people I have worked with. I find overweight clients don’t know what makes them truly happy. They do not know what their purpose in life is and they often times do not have big goals to achieve in life. As Paul Chek says, “If your dream is big enough, you don’t need a crisis”. I also often find that they were either abused as a child or found they got more attention as a child if they were sick, so they have what’s called ‘an illness currency’. They also tend to go to bed too late and are always stressed and take little time out for themselves. Many are workaholics and dislike being on their own in a quiet environment. They also have a strong dislike for themselves. They often are dehydrated, eat too many carbohydrates, have a number of food sensitivities, have Adrenal fatigue, often have leaky gut and a fungal or bacterial overgrowth and/or a parasite infection

TG: What kind of strategies can you put in place to overcome these?

LB: Most of the answers to the previous questions give you your answer. To put it in another way, I help my clients to put the ‘Foundational Factors of Health’ in place. The six factors are: Positive Thoughts, Breathing, Hydration, Nutrition, Movement and Sleep. These are controllable lifestyle factors that each of us needs to put in place on a daily basis as a foundation. I tell my clients that building a strong, healthy, energetic body is like building a skyscraper. The stronger the foundations the taller and more resistant the skyscraper will be. A skyscraper without strong foundations in doomed to failure.

TG: What do you feel that the NHS should be doing to combat the obesity problem in the UK?

LB: That’s a big question! I’ll try to keep it short. The first thing is that people need to take responsibility for themselves. Before people can do this, they need correct information. The public need to be educated on the truth around subjects such as nutrition, not the ridiculous food guide pyramid which we know makes people fat and unhealthy. Organisations such as the Price Pottinger Nutrition Foundation and the Soil Association should be used to educate people. I believe that ALL chronic degenerative diseases (obesity is one of them) should not be treated by tax payers’ money. I believe the NHS should be called ‘The National Medical Service’ (NMS) and provide emergency, paediatric, obstetric, congenital, accident and emergency and geriatric care paid for by the tax payer. All chronic degenerative diseases should be the responsibility of the individual. If someone chooses to live an unhealthy lifestyle, then they need to take responsibility for that. If they are overweight, they can either hire a health coach or pay for medical care. It may sound harsh, but you can only heal yourself and before you can heal yourself, you need to take responsibility for yourself. I also believe that Doctors should be paid on the improvement of health of their patients. A suggestion might be a basic salary of £30,000 per year with a bonus of £100,000 per year. The bonus would be performance-related based on the level of health improvement of their patients. This would shift the current focus from ‘waiting times’ to ‘actual health’.

TG: What can the individual do to ensure that they are eating good quality foods?

LB: Buy organic! If they live in the UK, buy Soil Association approved organic. The one exception would be fish. I suggest buying ‘wild’ fish, not organic because organic fish are farmed and fed unnatural feed, even though it is organic feed. Also, when buying meats, ensure it is free-range and when buying beef ensure it is grass fed only.

TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you Leigh?

LB: Well, I’m certainly going to continue to live my dream by helping people to achieve healthier, happier and more productive lives. I have a few ideas about writing some more books and I will continue to teach for the CHEK Institute. Playing tennis is my passion outside of work and I’m happy with my game right now. I am currently working with a few young tennis players and I hope to do more of that in the future. I also have a dream to open a natural, holistic health centre to help people to take control of their health following cancer surgery.

TG: Thanks for your time Leigh, and we wish you all the best for the future!

My pleasure!

Josh Rubin Interview

Monday, December 7th, 2009


Tom Godwin: May I first of all thank you for giving up time in your busy day to take part in this interview.

TG: Let’s start from the beginning, what got you started in the Personal Training Industry and wellbeing in general?

JR: It is pretty simple, I got my OTR/L degree and was practicing in hospitals for many years. I saw a lot of people, but most never got better. Insurance companies dicated what we could and could not do and we could not do more, lets say that! So I started to personal train on the side and really started to fall in love with it. I did NSCA, NASM, etc but really found myself looking for more. It was good stuff and is, but I needed more mental stimulation. Then around that time, a good friend of mine named Jason Waiton introduced me to Paul Chek’s information, etc and that was the beginning of the itch I could never scratch! I first watched Scientific Back Conditioning and was blown away with the depth of information and the comrehensiveness of it all. I was hooked!

TG: What first attracted you to studying with the Chek Institute?

JR: Plain and simple…I loved how confident Paul was and that he only had a 9th grade educating. I had a degree so I felt I could match up to that…at some point! As well, I looked into other institutes, but no one had as comprehensive approach as theirs…..looking not only at the physical, but also at the nutritional and lifestyle. Most, actually all other organizations…..such as NASM, NSCA, MAT, etc do not go into the Holistic Approach, which means Whole Person.

I know some people think Paul is a cocky asshole, but that is one way to look at it…he is just confident because he walks the walk and talks the talk. When you meet him and understand what he has done and what he knows, you understand that it is just confidence, not cockiness.

TG: What do you feel the major differences between a Chek Practitioner and a fitness professional who has trained with another education provider?

JR: Well, that is a judgement call as there are some who are very educated and good at what they do. But I would have to say the main difference is that every CHEK practitioner practices what he/she preaches….they live it 100% of the time as you cannot give what you don’t have. Some say we are cocky, but I saw we are confident, gleaming and vital expressions of health. Typically what you judge you are expressing hidden personal needs.

If you go to any conference, seminar, etc and there are 300 people there, you will be able to pick the CHEK Practitioners out without them even saying anything. I know that is a big statement, but it is true. I speak all over the world for them and some of the most put together, healthy, vital, compassionate, and confident people I see our CHEK Practitioners. Another main point is that most, not all in the industry talk talk talk, but they never back up what they say or even understand the true meaning behind what they say. Everyone talks movement, which is great, but we understand anatomy, how the body works mechanically, chemically, neurologically and hormonally.

TG: What would you say are the best aspects of being a personal trainer and being involved in the wellbeing industry?

JR: Educating others and teaching people how to help themselves! I do it every day, but as well, I am able to learn from people all over the world every day. What is better the University of Life!

TG: Who have been your major influences within the industry?

1. Paul Chek and the entire CHEK Institute. This was a major and has been a major influence on who I am today.

2. Dr. Timmins and BioHealth Diagnostics. This is what got me started in Functional Medicine 6yrs ago and today I work with people all over the world helping them with hormonal, detoxification, immune and GI system dysfunctions.

3. Janet Alexander and Chris Maund….two CHEK Faculty members who taught me the beginnings of what I know. I still consult with them here and there.

4. John McMullin…this guy is amazing. He is a Holistic Health Coach and Intuitive from Ohio. I worked with him every other week for about 2yrs working on myself in order to work through my past bullshit and my current issues in regards to myself, relationships, my own thoughts, my business and so forth. I love this guy!

5. My parents….for 100% supporting me along the way and never doubting any decisions I made!

6. My wife….she is great at what she does and I have to say I learn compassion from her each and every day. I learn about myself though my experiences of myself while around her….she humbles me, teaches me that there is more to life material things and she grounds me each and every day. I thank her everyday for joining my life and teaching me that it is OK to be me 100% of the time!

7. From there, I just read, take courses, study on my own, research. I love studying Chinese Medicine, Canadien Osteopathy, Functional Medicine and Physiology and Anatomy.

I am a very driven person and I do well studying by myself. I love to study on my own, learn and teach myself as I find it more rewarding. I am not under the contraints as…”you have to do it this way.” I take what I want and adapt everything into MY own approach. I find that taking certification after certification, class after class, etc, leads people far from THEIR path of what THEY want to become and down many paths of what all these teachers are becoming. They get caught up with “well he said this, but she said that,” which leads to too many cooks in the kitchen.

TG: What would you say is the most important attribute of a personal trainer and why?

JR: I think the most important things are to live it, study and learn about you so you can give what you have, someone who learns to ask the WHY question behind what is said and someone who is passionate about their profession.

There are a lot of “so called health professionals” that think eating like a bodybuilder and training to kick ass and take names is the way to go. I think that is the easy way to go and it does not take much skill. I feel that most have to understand that you have to treat and train each person as an individual, that not everyone needs bodybuilding, that kicking ass and taking names just keeps people like me in business and that most are in this business for the money. If you love what you do, the money will come. We have to change the energy behind the word personal trainer from negative to positive. Once people realize that success is not how many people you train, but how many people you actually help by treating them as an individual, it will shift.

TG: You are a faculty member with the Chek Institute, what does this involve?

JR: I teach Exercise Coach, CHEK Level 1, HLC 1 and HLC 2, plus speak at many conventions (IDEA, SCW, ECA, BAM, and more) all over the world. I travel and teach all over the US and Canada about 8-12 times per year. It is a lot and it is hard being away from my wife, my business, my rhythms, but it is worth it in the end as I love educating students and passing on the passion I have for what I do.

TG: What has been your most rewarding moment in the field of health and wellbeing?

JR: The most rewarding moment….that is a tough one….I would have to say everyday is. I love what I do and I thank my creator every day that I can do what I love and love what I do. It is not a job to me, it is a hobby. I get to learn from clients all day, study in my off time and get to grow each and every minute of it. We think we are in this to help and change others, but we are really in it so we can help and change ourselves….as your life and business are an extension of you!

TG: Your East West Healing You Tube videos ( are well known within the fitness world for their informative content, not to mention the great information on your website. Where do you get your ideas from?

JR: I get my ideas from clients I am working with, from past clients, from conversations I have with family and friends, etc. There is no rhyme or reason, whatever comes up that minute or day I put it on my YouTube list….which is about 25 deep as we speak. So I have a lot to say and there is no end in site.

TG: If you could only give someone one change to make to make a start improving their levels of wellbeing what would it be?

JR: Learn that is must come from within, that you can’t give what you don’t have and that you must get healthy to loose weight and not loose weight to get healthy. There is more to health than chicken, protein shakes and doing cardio til ya drop. Health is taking responsibility for oneself!

TG: So what does the future hold for Josh Rubin?

JR: My goals are simple:

1. To continue to teach for the CHEK Institute and begin to teach CHEK Level 2 in 2012 and CHEK Level 3 in 2013, which I am already assisting on.

2. To continue to market and grow our (my wife and I, she is a CHEKie too!) business, not with practitioners, but with new clients all over the world.

3. Continue to educate by coming up with some of my own seminars in regards to holistic health

4. We are working on a 5 part Ebook called…The Ultimate Holistic Weight Loss Program!

5. I am beginning in Sept 2010 to attend The Canadien School of Osteopathy in Vancouver to obtain my 5yr D.O. (M.P.)

6. To continue to grow and learn to love myself more and more each day

TG: Josh thanks so much for sharing with us!

It was a pleasure!

Have a look at Josh’s website at it is packed full of great information and articles!

Brandon Krieger Interview

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Brandon Krieger is a Chek practitioner trained by the Chek Institute working out of Toronto, where he founded KNSS consulting.  His inspiration to found KNSS was driven from his own experiences with back pain, which lead him to seek out and research methods to reduce his pain.  The Chek approach worked for him, I will let him tell you the rest!


Tom Godwin: May I first of all thank you for giving up time in your busy day to take part in this interview.

BK: Thanks a lot for having me. I really appreciate it.

TG:  Let’s start from the beginning, what got you started in the Personal Training Industry and wellbeing in general?

BK: I first became interested in health after a back injury that I couldn’t heal from and was suppose to have surgery for. I learned through working with some great practitioners, and from applying Paul Chek’s principals, that I didn’t have to live with pain. In fact, I was able to heal my back within 3 months even though I didn’t have the surgery I was told I would need. That’s when I started on my journey, studying and learning more, to the point I’m at now where I work with clients internationally to help them overcome their health challenges.

TG: You have currently embarked on a brave personal challenge, of loosing 22lb in 33 days.  Tell us a bit about your reasons and motivations.

BK: Over the past 2 years, I’ve been so focused on studying and learning as much as I can, meanwhile only applying the skills I learned to heal my back and not the all-around health principals I know. I started to get heavier because I was sitting in my home office either working and/or studying for 8+ hours per day. I was getting ready for my HLC 2 course and finished all the prerequisites when it hit me that I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching – so I decided enough is enough. I knew I was overweight and needed to lose it for a few reasons: firstly for my health, but also to reduce the stress on my lower back and, last but not least, to show my clients that I, too, use the principals I’ve learned myself every day.

TG:  What first attracted you to studying with the Chek Institute?

BK: I was at the CanFit Pro Conference in Toronto when I first heard Paul Chek speak and thought, “Wow, he completely lost me in the first 15 min.” But by the end, he brought everything together and it all made sense. That’s when I had an epiphany and felt drawn to know more. Being an IT guy (a.k.a. computer nerd), I did a lot of research on Paul Chek, his courses and what other people were saying. So many were writing about how he helped them and I was starting to find the same with his trained practitioners. That was enough for me; I started taking his courses shortly thereafter.

TG:  What do you feel the major differences between a Chek Practitioner and a fitness professional who has trained with another education provider?

BK: This is no slight on any other professional – there are some really great fitness professionals out there – but I find that so many mainstream trainers have cookie-cutter approaches to training, having their clients for injury, sickness and even disease train by overworking, caloric-restrictive diets, etc. In my observation, Chek-trained practitioners take a more detailed history of the person. For example, before I will start working with any client they have to complete a Lifestyle questionnaire, Metabolic Typing questionnaire, Food Sensitivity test and a fitness assessment.  Like Paul Chek says, if you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.  Each person is individual and has unique lifestyle, stress, nutrition, digestion, sleep habit(s) and spiritual factors that need to be considered prior to designing an action plan for them. I find this is a better way to help clients achieve their goals, be it to lose weight/build muscle or overcome a Personal, Professional and Spiritual challenge. A Chek practitioner’s clients leave their sessions with an education that they can use for the rest of their lives.

TG:  What would you say are the best aspects of being a personal trainer and being involved in the wellbeing industry?

BK: That’s a great question.  For me, so far being a practitioner has blown my mind. I started with the CanFit Pro Nutrition/Wellness Specialist course, which I thought I was just going to lead me to help people with the Ontario Canada Food Guide and how to use it. But I’ve since had the opportunity to help people with diseases, addictions, relationship issues, building action plans to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, and so much more. It’s absolutely gratifying to know I can help so many people to change their lives for the better. To see people’s lives change just because I was able to sit with them for a short period of time, to hear their story and know I can help them to actually see their goals being realized, that’s the best part for me.

TG:  Who have been your major influences within the industry?

BK: The people who have been most influential to me are:

–          My girlfriend, Carolyn Zepf (, who was the one to initially help me heal my back and got me on my current path.

–          Paul Chek (, who is my Guru I will always turn to for advice and am constantly learning from.

–          A good friend of mine, Sean Croxton, has motivated me to learn marketing and keeps challenging me to better myself.

–          Josh Rubin ( has been a great help and has always been willing to answer any questions I’ve had.

–          Mark Stone from North Shore Smart Bodies in Chicago.

TG:  What would you say is the most important attribute of a personal trainer and why?

BK: In my opinion, the number one attribute of a good personal trainer is looking at your client as an individual. The practice is often too standardized…if a person is overweight, have them do lots of cardio and calorie-restrictive diets; if they want to build muscle, put them a bench press; and so on. Each person is unique, with mental, emotional and lifestyle factors that need to be addressed in each session. The process will be revised and modified along the way, depending on how the client is doing.  A good personal trainer will determine whether to keep progressing with the workout program or, if the client is having increased stress, modify accordingly with decreased reps, sets, tempo, etc.

TG:  Tell us a little bit about KNSS consulting and your initial reasons for establishing it.

BK: It’s a funny story, actually.  Initially, I was an IT Consultant and my company was called KNSS Computer Consulting Group Inc. (the KNSS stood for “Knowledge of Networks and Systems Solutions”), which did tech work for a few large organizations.  After my back issues and subsequent recovery, my eyes opened to a new way of life. I became driven to learn about how to eat properly and why I wasn’t healing.  I learned principles from Paul Chek which increased my knowledge to a whole new level. Hearing time and time again of people struggles with their health, difficulties of medication and unnecessarily living with pain, my professional ambition took a drastic shift. I decided to use my new knowledge to help others, who may not be getting proper direction in the allopathic approach, to find the answers and solutions they seek.

I still operate KNSS, but it now stands for “Knowledge of Nutrition, Stress reduction and Successful lifestyle solutions”.  I have clients worldwide that I’m able to help by answering their questions and getting them back to homeostasis (balance health).

TG:  What has been your most rewarding moment in the field of health and wellbeing?

BK: Hmm…there’s been a few. Professionally, I’ve been working with a client who has Level 3 Adrenaline Fatigue and has been struggling with it for a while. They’ve been going to various doctors and practitioners for almost a year now, trying to find a clinical solution.  Working with me for just a few months, I was able to help them overcome some personal blocking factors and emotional challenges which, in my opinion, were big factors in developing (and sustaining) the condition.

On the personal side, it would have to be the time I did my first talk and invited my Grandmother, who raised me since I was 2 years old.  We went through some challenging times together; she acted as a single mother to me, trying to make ends meet and providing for me in any way she could. The emotional factor wasn’t very pronounced, however, which contributed to my being more unemotional in life and relationships up until several years ago. (I tell you this as a bit of history to convey why this is such a rewarding personal moment) So, fast forward to my first talk: I was nervous talking about nutrition and going against people’s mainstream ideas on the subject. I did my bit, answered questions and felt the talk went really well. Afterwards my Grandmother came to me to say how proud she was. That was a shock because I never expected it from her.  That has been the most rewarding experience for me to date.

TG:  If you could only give someone one change to make to make a start improving their levels of wellbeing what would it be?

BK: Good question. I find most people need to change multiple lifestyle factors.  But if I could give only one, it would be to start eating right for their metabolic type using whole organic foods. It contributes to so many other facets of life.

TG:  So what does the future hold for Brandon Krieger and KNSS?

BK: Starting in September, I’ll be taking 2 courses: HLC (Holistic Lifestyle Coach) Level 2, as well as an Energy Healing course.

Within the next year, I will complete my HLC 3, CHEK Practitioner Level One, and two more Energy Healing courses.  Then, I’ll take my time and work towards achieving CHEK Practitioner Level 4.  The more skills I learn, the more people I can help to meet their health challenges and achieve their goals.

I want KNSS to be known internationally. In the short time I’ve been doing the Holistic Lifestyle Coaching, I’ve met so many great people all around the world. I’d like to keep that momentum going and make KNSS a solution for all people, no matter where they are in the world (via seminars, webinars, courses and videos). I want to work on building friendships with other practitioners and businesses worldwide.  It’s always been a dream of mine to develop KNSS and myself to where I’m travelling and/or meeting people like yourself all around the world and helping them with their personal, professional and spiritual challenges.

Keep an eye on my website , Twitter and Youtube Channel

TG:  Brandon thanks so much for sharing with us!

BK: It’s been my pleasure, Tom.