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Health Over Everything

Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 70 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I’m your host Kim Schlag. On today’s episode, I am joined by a super fit, super strong 53-year-old coach from California. Pam Sherman has been coaching in the fitness industry for several decades now, both one-on-one and in group fitness. One of her favorite sayings is, “your health is your wealth.”
[00:00:31] And she comes on today to discuss with us her “a-ha” moment when she realized it is just not all about how we look. All right, let’s go.
[00:00:49] Pam! Hello!
[00:00:51] Pam: [00:00:51] Hello!
[00:00:53] Kim: [00:00:53] How are you? 
[00:00:55] Pam: [00:00:55] Super excited. How are you? 
[00:00:56] Kim: [00:00:56] Good! You look so pretty! 
[00:00:59] Pam: [00:00:59] I’m not sweating, I’m done for the day. I got clean and my hair is clean. My hair is never clean. 
[00:01:07] Kim: [00:01:07] Amazing what that can do for us. 
[00:01:11] Pam: [00:01:11] Maybe every three days or so. 
[00:01:14] Kim: [00:01:14] Oh, me too. Every three days. That’s the goal.
[00:01:20] So Pam, tell me something today that’s made you smile so far. 
[00:01:25] Pam: [00:01:25] I just got a text from my daughter and she plays soccer in college, which of course is delayed until the spring, but she had a really great one-on-one training session with a couple of the coaches and then did some speed work afterwards. 
[00:01:38] Kim: [00:01:38] Oh, that’s fantastic.
[00:01:40] I’m glad she’s getting to play. Doing something. 
[00:01:44] Pam: [00:01:44] Well, you know, training without playing games is not ideal for anybody, but she has a whole bunch of new coaches and they’re all female. And of course, I’m actually an old runner and a track geek, so anytime there’s speed work, I’m like, “Ohhhh.” So I can’t wait to hear what the details for her speed work was.
[00:02:00] Kim: [00:02:00] Oh fun. 
[00:02:01] Well, that’s exciting. I know it’s really hard for kids who play sports right now because the opportunity to play just isn’t really there for most people. 
[00:02:11] Pam: [00:02:11] It’s not. And I mean, you and I are in different categories than young college athletes. They have a goal, right? And sometimes it feels like, why are we even training?
[00:02:19] I’m like, because you’re with your people and you feel great when you exercise. That’s why you’re training. 
[00:02:25] Kim: [00:02:25] Yeah, absolutely. 
[00:02:26] So, Pam, I want to jump right in. When we were talking the other day you were telling me about this big “a-ha” moment you had, big awakening about your health. Can you share that story with everyone?
[00:02:38] Pam: [00:02:38] Yes, of course. 
[00:02:40] So I have been a lifelong runner. I started running when I was 11. Very middle of the pack. Never great, but just always loved the way exercise made me feel. And in my early thirties, I became a group exercise instructor and personal trainer and then a running coach and a food coach. Wellness has been in my life forever.
[00:03:00] And as I’ve gotten older and wiser, at 53, I’ve taken better and better care of myself because I know what it takes. Before it was, “I was just a runner,” and then you add in stretching and strength training and eating better. Strength work, oh my gosh. 
[00:03:15] And then about four years ago, I was out for a run and I got hit by a car. I was on the sidewalk and a car just sped out of a parking lot and I literally ate the windshield — leaving one of my front teeth in the windshield — and I rolled into the second lane. Luckily there were no cars coming in that lane. And I won’t share all the yucky stuff, but I went in to go to my sports practitioner, who has known me for 15 years, and he said, “Pam, had you not been in such excellent shape, your injuries would have been far worse.” And it was like Oprah singing in my head, “aaahhhh!” I have the word out to women that they have to take better care of themselves because I could have died. I could have broken bones. I mean, my whole mantra after my recovery was whatever I went through, which was a ton of oral surgery, it was better than being dead. 
[00:04:17] Kim: [00:04:17] Absolutely. You know, so much of what we see in the fitness industry, people’s goals, often at the tip-top is physique, right? Like, “I want to lose some fat. I want to not have a muffin top. I want to fit in my jeans.” You know? When you dig deeper, people have other goals, too, but that’s usually top of mind.
[00:04:37] And especially as we age, I think it’s so important to talk about working out,
eating well, strength training for our health and for aging well. 

[00:04:49] Pam: [00:04:49] 100%. And as a trainer and instructor for years, all I heard women say was, “I can’t,” “I don’t have time,” “lifting will make me big and bulky” — that one will never die.
[00:05:00] And they would always put — as women, we put everybody else on the top of our to-do list and oftentimes we are not on it. And I tell women, “you have to be number one. Because when you take care of yourself and your health, you’re a better mom, you’re a better wife or a partner, you’re a more productive employee, you’re happier.” 
[00:05:19] But so many women think that it’s selfish. And I’m like, “no, no, no. Taking care of yourself is self-love. It’s not selfish.” 
[00:05:28] Kim: [00:05:28] Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually usually take it a step further and it kind of surprises people because you’re totally right. If we take care of ourselves first, we can take care of all those other things — people, responsibilities — better. But even if we didn’t, we’re worth it anyway, because we’re a valuable person, right? So we should put ourselves first because we’re worth it just by being who we are. 
[00:05:50] Pam: [00:05:50] 100%. And that age 11, I knew that running made me feel good. So anytime there is trauma in my life, I would go out for a run.
[00:05:58] And I look back now and go, that was just survival mode. I knew that I had to do that for my mental health and my mental health helped my physical health, but so many more people need to realize that it is about taking care of ourselves, which yes, we are worth it every single time.
[00:06:15] Kim: [00:06:15] What would you say, people listening, who they’re thinking like, “um, I really haven’t done that. I haven’t really put my health at the top of the list,” maybe, you know, they’re in their forties or their fifties and they’re like, “I haven’t really done that.” What would you suggest they do first? 
[00:06:33] Pam: [00:06:33] My favorite thing to tell women is think back when you were a little kid. Because oftentimes women think exercise is a chore. That’s why they don’t do it, because they don’t like it. What do you like to do? 
[00:06:45] I was talking to a client who moved from California to Washington in the winter and it was cold and she goes, “Pam, what do you suggest for cardio?” And I said, “do you like to jump rope?” And we were on a zoom call and she goes, “I’d love to jump rope! I was on the jump rope team in high school!” Oh my gosh. 
[00:07:01] What did you like to do when you were a little kid? Did you like to dance? There is Zumba on YouTube. Everything is on YouTube now. Find movement that makes you happy, then you’ll do it for the rest of your life. And strength train, of course. 
[00:07:13] Kim: [00:07:13] I totally agree with that combination, yeah. I don’t think you can leave one of them out because not everybody loves strength training, I do, but not everybody does. And it’s one of the things I tell people, “just do it anyway, because it serves a purpose.” You don’t have to love it and you don’t have to make it an everyday thing, but you should find a way of moving that you can do most days of the week that actually brings you joy.
[00:07:36] Pam: [00:07:36] Every single time. I call our bodies a Ferrari and that’s how we need to treat it. It needs great fuel, it needs to keep moving, you need to have it rest, but so many people are afraid, like, “it takes too much time.” I’m like, “it does not take too much time because we all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s what you want to make a priority.” Because let’s face it, we all have time for the things that we want to do every single day. 
[00:08:01] Kim: [00:08:01] Yeah. It’s true. It is about choosing. And that can be really hard for people to hear, right? Because, frankly, like we can have a lot going on, especially in this moment. Moms, I don’t know how moms with little kids are doing it, right? So, I have kids. I’m a mom. And it is like, my kids are here and I am making sure every day they get on their calls, but my kids are teenagers. Moms of little kids right now are somehow working and teaching their kids, not necessarily teaching, but making sure that the kids are there with the teacher on the call.
[00:08:31] I have one friend who like, it is so hard to get her little elementary kid actually physically with the tech, on there every day. It’s a lot. It’s a lot. 
[00:08:40] So what do you say to people if they’re like, “I really do struggle with time.” What are your go-to tips for how can we get it in even when we’re busy? 
[00:08:50] Pam: [00:08:50] Well, I just had a group of sisters a couple of years ago. It was a private little training group with them and they all had little kids, too busy, and I said, “do you have 10 minutes to work out?” And they’re like, “yeah.” I made a 10-minute playlist on my YouTube channel using mostly body weight. It’s just a place to start. 
[00:09:09] And whether it’s my YouTube channel, or yours, or anything out there, you could put in “10-minute workout” and things come up. But I think people, when they have expectations of what they “should do,” that should be an hour.
[00:09:23] No, no, no. If you’re doing nothing and you put in 10 minutes, let’s say five times a week. That’s 50 extra minutes. Amazing. 
[00:09:30] Kim: [00:09:30] Yeah, absolutely. I so believe in that, just those small chunks of time. Just make a commitment to it. Even to something that feels stupid easy, like, “okay, 10 minutes? That feels so easy. I can do that.” 
[00:09:43] Great. It should feel that way if you’re struggling to get started, right? It doesn’t have to feel like a big mountain to climb to be worth it. 
[00:09:49] Pam: [00:09:49] No. And then for the moms that have a little bit older kids, probably not under five, but if you take them to the park, every park has a bench — squats, pushups, triceps dips, lunges, you can use the swings and do planks, you can find places anywhere, really, to move just a little bit and fitting in that time you might not in your head think, “Ugh, it wasn’t worth it.” Every minute spent on yourself and your health is absolutely worth it. 
[00:10:13] Kim: [00:10:13] I totally agree with that.
[00:10:15] What do you say to women who say — and it’s such a common theme — they just feel this voice inside their head that says, “it’s just too late. I’ve waited too long.” 
[00:10:27] Pam: [00:10:27] Well, how long are you going to live? Another 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years? When you start now, your future self is already thanking you for doing it.
[00:10:37] I had no idea, clearly, that I was ever going to hit by a car. But I look back and think, “thank goodness I did spend time taking care of myself and my health.” And all I lost were teeth. That’s it. So we don’t know what life is going to throw at us, but I do see people, women especially, as they age and they just give up.
[00:10:56] And I think, you’ve got to wake up in this body and move every day. Don’t you want to feel as good as you can? And here’s the thing too, Kim, I’m sure you agree, little changes lead to big success. So when I’m coaching a client, let’s just fit in 5 or 10 minutes to start and do it in the morning so you can’t say later on that you’re too tired to do it.
[00:11:18] You know, have a glass of water along with your coffee, because coffee is a food group. We all know that. Make sure you add in some vegetables into your day. Like, little baby steps will definitely make you — a year from now, if you start doing those, you’ll feel like a rockstar. 
[00:11:33] Kim: [00:11:33] Yeah. It is really interesting when we think like, “wow.”
[00:11:37] And I remember, gosh, when I finally got my act together, I was like 42-43. And I do remember thinking, “can I really do this at this age?” And now that’s so funny to me because like, wow, that feels like a lifetime ago, right? And it feels like it’s too late and then when I try and think back to what I was doing even two years ago, it feels like so long ago, but I could have accomplished so much, right? 
[00:12:01] So if there’s something you want to do two years from now, you’ll be so happy you did it. And even though it feels like, “Oh, I should’ve started this years ago.” Yeah, nothing you can do about that now.
[00:12:12] Pam: [00:12:12] There’s not. And it’s good, too, to have goals. I told you this story last time we talked is when Terminator 2 came out, I was 23.
[00:12:21] 30 years ago, Linda Hamilton doing a pull up I’m thinking — there was no women’s strength training, doing anything at that time. That was a hundred years ago. And I thought, “Oh, that’d be so cool to do a pull up someday.” Never worked on it. And then I finally had a guy put a pull-up bar in our backyard and now I do pull-ups all the time because I can. Because I started. Now at 53, I can do pull-ups, which feels pretty badass.
[00:12:47] Kim: [00:12:47] Absolutely. I think a lot of us had that same reaction to Linda Hamilton doing that, or like, “wait, I want to do that.” And I didn’t do it then either. I didn’t do a pull up until in my mid-40s, but I remember thinking like, “wow, I want to do that.”
[00:13:01]Pam: [00:13:01] I remember putting it on a vision board at age 37, but literally made no plan on how to even work on it.
[00:13:08] Your health is not like this secret. You can’t just put it out there and magically happen. 
[00:13:14] Kim: [00:13:14] Right. It is more of a deliberate thing. Like, if you have a goal that you want to reach, if you’re like, “okay, I’ve wanted to do a pull-up,” or “I’ve wanted to do a pushup,” that’s another one.
[00:13:22] Those are the top two. When women get on the phone with me and they tell me something they had on their mind they want to try, those are the two. And they’re like, “you know, I’ve just never been able to do one.” Well, it’s a matter of you haven’t been persistent at following the plan that actually gets you there, right? 
[00:13:36] And I can say I was that person. I would go to the gym all the time and be like, “can I do one now?” And I’d try to do a pushup. I’m like, “nope, it still looks pretty bad,” but I hadn’t been trying, systematically, in any way to actually do it. 
[00:13:49] Pam: [00:13:49] Yeah. I work with a group called “the perfect balance tribe” and there’s a lot of older women in there and I have challenges every week.
[00:13:58] One of the weeks is pushups on the kitchen counter. And guess what? If you that for a minute, that’s hard work. 
[00:14:05] Kim: [00:14:05] Absolutely. 
[00:14:06] Pam: [00:14:06] You don’t have to start even on the ground, you can just start on the kitchen counter. That is better than nothing. 
[00:14:10] Kim: [00:14:10] Yeah. Those hand elevated pushups are the way to go. If you want to get a pushup, absolutely best place you can start is with a hand elevated pushup — kitchen counter, edge of your sofa, and just keep moving on down until you can get down there.
[00:14:22] So, Pam, what
do workouts look like for you? 

[00:14:28] Pam: [00:14:28] Well, I’m much less of a runner now. I might run a mile or do some sprints a couple of times a week, but I have a fun little gym in my backyard with a box for box jumps, my pull up bar, I have an Assault bike, I have a whole bunch of dumbbells. So it’s usually some kind of circuit.
[00:14:45] And then three times a week, this month, I’m like, “you know what? I have to get back to lifting heavy.” Because I’m afflicted with the “pancake on the butt” syndrome, so I’m going to be lifting heavy again for deadlifts and squats. Because on my pull up bar, I have two huge nails and I can make that into a little squat rack.
[00:15:05] Kim: [00:15:05] Oh, great. That’s fantastic.
[00:15:11] Any fitness goals on the horizon? Something you’re trying to do? 
[00:15:16] Pam: [00:15:16] Increase the size of the pancake. 
[00:15:20] Kim: [00:15:20] All right, all right. So squats and deadlifts, it is. Hip thrusts? You do hip thrusts?
[00:15:25] Pam: [00:15:25] You know, I don’t love hip thrusts. They’ve never felt great for my body, but I have some really great bands, so band work in there as well. 
[00:15:32] Kim: [00:15:32] Okay. Fantastic. My other go-to is step-ups. Step-ups are great for booty work. Low step-ups, high step-ups.
[00:15:41] Pam: [00:15:41] You ever do one leg get-ups? 
[00:15:43] Kim: [00:15:43] I don’t know what that is. 
[00:15:47] Pam: [00:15:47] If you sit on a bench, lift your left foot up off the ground and stand up with your right foot.
[00:15:54] Kim: [00:15:54] Gotcha. Gotcha. I just called those one leg box squats. 
[00:15:58] Pam: [00:15:58] And then when you get really proficient at them, hold a dumbbell at your chest and make it a little bit harder. 
[00:16:06] Kim: [00:16:06] Absolutely. Those were some of the first progressions I did on my way to doing a pistol squat.
[00:16:13] Pam: [00:16:13] Those are hard.
[00:16:15] Kim: [00:16:15] Well, those one-legged box squats, those are friggin’ hard too when you first start. I remember I gave my son those, he just started training like six months ago, he’s 19. And he’s like, “what is this? This is really hard.” He’s like, “I can’t do that.” And I’m like, “you can do it. You need to raise your box up higher, stop trying to go down so low.”
[00:16:32] Because he’s like, “this should be easier.” 
[00:16:34] It looks like it would be easy. Like, you’re literally standing up from a bench with one foot, but it is not easy.
[00:16:40] Pam: [00:16:40] It’s not easy. And as a coach, you probably can agree with this — so many women doubt themselves on like, “I can’t. I can’t do a box jump, I can’t do a burpee, I can’t run a mile.” I’m like, “sister, you pushed out a baby, you can do anything once you do that.” And then when they get to the top of the box and their face is so happy, it’s so empowering. That’s why I love strength training for women so much because it is so empowering for them. 
[00:17:13] Kim: [00:17:13] Right there with you. It really is. A lot of people think losing weight is going to make you happy. And it really doesn’t. I mean, you might feel better about yourself. The thing for me that, along the way, really made me happy, made me proud, made me feel like you said, empowered, was getting strong and seeing myself accomplish things that I was like, “I can’t believe I can do that now.”
[00:17:33] “I can’t believe I can do a pull-up.” “I can’t believe I can do a pushup.” “I can’t believe I can do pistol squats.” All along the way setting these goals and then watching yourself do the things you didn’t think you could do. That’s incredible.
[00:17:45] Pam: [00:17:45] I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud — I’ve run 15 marathons — I’ve never been more proud than when I got to a set of 10 pull-ups. That was amazing. 
[00:17:56] Kim: [00:17:56] That’s incredible. That’s fantastic. 
[00:17:59] So tell us, nutrition, give us two of your very favorite, “I don’t have time to cook, but I want something healthy that is going to help me in the weight-loss realm.” What are your two go-to meals? 
[00:18:15] Pam: [00:18:15] Okay. I tell all my clients who don’t have time and they have to go through the drive-through, I say, “you know what? I bet you’re driving by a grocery store on the way to the drive-through, go into the deli and get a cooked piece of protein, and get a green salad.” Every deli now has green salads and protein, and everybody has self-checkout. So I bet you’re actually getting your meal faster th
an if you’re waiting in the drive-through line.

[00:18:39] Kim: [00:18:39] It’s true. It certainly doesn’t take any more time and it might even be faster. 
[00:18:42] Pam: [00:18:42] And you know what? Your health is worth spending maybe two or three extra dollars on the fresh stuff than on the just awfulness that goes with anything that you get in the drive-through. 
[00:18:54] Kim: [00:18:54] Yeah. Although I do like a good McDonald’s fry every now and then… Pretty tasty stuff. 
[00:19:02] Okay. Give us one more. One more good quick meal. 
[00:19:05] Pam: [00:19:05] I want everybody to have enough stuff at home to have — I post every day — a BaS, a big ass salad. My go-to, I’m not super fancy, a fruit, a nut, and a fat. Like a goat cheese, feta cheese, bleu cheese, make my own dressing. 
[00:19:20] If it’s all there, it takes less than two minutes to put it all together. Maybe you have a protein, great, or if you have a protein shake with it, perfect. 
[00:19:29] Kim: [00:19:29] Nice. I think I saw you making a really good dressing on your stories or something. Do you have a go-to dressing you make?
[00:19:36] Pam: [00:19:36] I do. I do cashew milk, or almond milk is fine, that’s the base of it because olive oil is just going to sit on my butt. I don’t want that to happen. I’m lazy, I don’t use real garlic. I use the garlic in the tube.
[00:19:50] Kim: [00:19:50] Oh, garlic paste. I love garlic paste. It’s so easy. 
[00:19:53] Pam: [00:19:53] I squeezed some mustard in, I put in either white or red balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of coconut aminos, which is like soy sauce, but we can’t do wheat in our house.
[00:20:06] Oh, and a scoop of hummus, a little spoonful of hummus, shake it all up and it’s super creamy and delicious. 
[00:20:13] Kim: [00:20:13] All right. I’m going to try that. I’ve never made a salad dressing with a milk-type base like that. That’s interesting. 
[00:20:20] Pam: [00:20:20] It makes it thick and creamy and cuts down by like 600 calories instead of using olive oil, maybe 800.
[00:20:26] Kim: [00:20:26] Nice. Okay. Good one. That’s a really good one. 
[00:20:30] Well, Pam, it has been great having you on. Thanks for coming and chatting with us today. Where can people find you? 
[00:20:36] Pam: [00:20:36] I’m on Instagram @perfectbalanceguru. I’m on TikTok, thanks to you, @perfectbalanceguru.
[00:20:43] Kim: [00:20:43] You got on, what, like two days ago and you had a video that went crazy.
[00:20:47] I checked today because you messaged me. Like, TikTok is incredible, like how fast you can grow. How many hits did you get on that video? How many people watched that video? 
[00:20:57] Pam: [00:20:57] It’s been like 200 and it was insane. 
[00:21:01] Kim: [00:21:01] 200,000? 
[00:21:03] Pam: [00:21:03] No, no, just 200. But I just posted it two days ago.
[00:21:06] Kim: [00:21:06] No, you have a video with like 40,000 views, Pam.
[00:21:09] Pam: [00:21:09] Oh, I did not know that. 
[00:21:12] Kim: [00:21:12] You’ve gotta go look. It’s the one with the apple cider vinegar. It’s like 40 or 30 or 50,000 people have watched it. 
[00:21:21] Pam: [00:21:21] People are going crazy over that. 
[00:21:23] Kim: [00:21:23] You don’t even know. I’m telling you the fun news here. So you can find Pam on TikTok. She might not know how many people are watching her, but she’s there and she’s on Instagram.
[00:21:35] Thanks so much, Pam. It’s been great having you on. 
[00:21:38] Pam: [00:21:38] Thank you so much. I really appreciate everything you do for women in this space, because we need more women who are telling the truth and promoting strength training. So I think you are amazing. Thank you so much. 
[00:21:49] Kim: [00:21:49] Thank you so much.
[00:21:55] Thanks so muc
h for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational. 

[00:22:06] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
[00:22:21] Thanks so much.

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