E.C. Synkowski Still Wants You to Squat Deeper—and Eat Better

EC Synkowski-BLOG

Sean: 00:05 – Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode, I talk with the founder of OptimizeMe Nutrition, E.C. Synkowski. First, if you know me, you know that I don’t just like hockey. I love it. I like wrestling, pro football, dogs and fitness, and I also like podcasts every week. I am fired up to bring you the very best of the fitness world on Two-Brain Radio. I’m always digging for the best stories from the most interesting people in the industry. We are also cranking out other great shows that can help you run a successful business. Every Monday, the clever guys from Two-Brain Marketing are showcasing success and serving the secret sauce that gets leads into gyms. And every Thursday we’ve got the best of the business world, people who will educate you and inspire you. So if you haven’t, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. Leave us a rating or a review. I would certainly appreciate it.

Sean: 01:06 – E.C. Synkowski spent more than 10 years on the CrossFit Seminar staff and was their program manager from 2011 to 2017 where she authored CrossFit Training course materials and served as a Subject Matter Expert for their certifications. She has two master’s degrees, one in environmental sciences and the other in nutrition and functional medicine. She now runs OptimizeMe nutrition and helps individuals and gyms with nutrition programs. We talk about her time working for CrossFit, how that helped lay a foundation for her current endeavor and what exactly does good nutrition look like. Thanks for listening, everybody. E.C., thanks so much for being here. How are you doing today?

E.C.: 01:50 – I’m great, Sean. Thank you for having me.

Sean: 01:52 – Oh my pleasure. What was your athletic background before you even found CrossFit?

E.C.: 01:57 – Yeah, I’m from Maryland, so you know it’s kind of the epicenter of lacrosse.

Sean: 02:02 – Yeah, so I was going to say that, isn’t it the Maryland state sport, correct?

E.C.: 02:07 – Correct. Yeah. I mean it’s so—and it’s funny, it’s like in high school, you know the lacrosse games are what everyone goes to. Nobody’s really paying attention to football and everything else. So lacrosse was my main sport. I played some soccer and field hockey, but definitely lacrosse was my first and real love.

Sean: 02:22 – How then did you stumble into CrossFit?

E.C.: 02:26 – Yeah, my brother actually, he’s real active, always has been, two years older than me and he stumbled into the website, coming back from I think one of his ACL tears and just was like, you gotta check this out. But at that point I must have been, gosh, just finishing up college. So, you know, had some years there in between, but just finishing up college and stumbled into the website and of course saw the workout and wasn’t really impressed. I think it was seven by one deadlift. So, you know, so didn’t really stick with it. But then about a year later, I was just so sick of whatever I was doing in a globo gym up in Boston, must’ve been kind of mid to late twenties. And I was like, well, what was that CrossFit thing, I got to figure it out. And luckily enough CrossFit Boston existed. So I was able to go to an affiliate since January 2nd, 2006.

Sean: 03:17 – What was it that hooked you?

E.C.: 03:21 – Yeah, I mean, I think it was just so different, right? I mean, I remember going in and people were doing warm-up and like they asked me if I could do strict pull-ups and at the time I actually had strict pull-ups. But it was just like, wow, I was the weird one at the globo gym trying to do that stuff. And then here, this is just part of their warm-ups. So I think it was just so different. You kind of instantly knew something good was happening.

Sean: 03:43 – How then does that lead you to become a member of the Seminar staff?

E.C.: 03:49 – Yeah, I love some of the old-day memories, right? Like, it’s just so different kind of in those early years, but I just kept showing up to stuff.

Sean: 03:59 – That seems to be a common theme.

E.C.: 04:02 – Yeah. Like I just kinda kept showing up. I went to, you know, this is back of the day when people would go to multiple Level 1s. So there wasn’t another event, there weren’t Games to go see people. There weren’t other like competitions and affiliate gatherings. It was like if you wanted to go see CrossFitters, you had to go to the Level 1 again. Of course it’s a great seminar anyway. But yes. So I just kept going to Level 1 and eventually that turned into a position with them. And yeah, so I was on staff from 2006, which was kind of more of the informal years to then 2017.

Sean: 04:34 – I’ve asked a couple of people who are on the seminar staff this question, but how has not just the Level 1 seminar, but all the seminars in general, how have they evolved over the years?

E.C.: 04:46 – Yeah, definitely just more kind of structure. It’s interesting. It’s funny, it’s like you’ll hear people who go back after their five years, right? They have to re-up after five years and they’re like, wow, everything’s so different. I actually don’t think much is different. I think some of the bells, and of course I haven’t been there in a couple of years, but I think some of the bells and whistles are kind of structured a little different. Of course there’s a test in place and we hold the timelines better and all of that stuff. But really the message is still there. It’s all Greg’s original works and messaging and it’s so effective and so it’s like, why change it? You know? So I think a lot of it’s very similar. I think there’s some things that just make it a little bit more like a formal course that’s accredited, but the message is still the same.

Sean: 05:28 – You’re working as an environmental consultant while you were working part time on the seminar staff. Why did you give up the environmental consultant job to become a full-time employee with CrossFit?

E.C.: 05:38 – Yeah, that’s a great question. It was a little bit to have more control over kind of what was happening with my work in the sense of the environmental consulting stuff was really interesting. We had some really big cases and all that stuff was great. Mentally interesting, but the end product, I didn’t really see people benefiting from it. You know, it was kind of saving people’s assets or liabilities and environmental contamination. But with CrossFit you see all these life changes right away, right? So you can work on some stuff that’s mentally interesting as well, but then also get to see how positive it is for other people. And so it was being able to be more in touch and more control with, you know, what your work is really going towards.

Sean: 06:17 – You eventually rise to the position of training program manager for CrossFit. What did that entail?

E.C.: 06:23 – Yeah, a few things, Sean. You know, I think like most startups, a lot of positions kind of wear a lot of hats and I think a lot of people that had been there during some of those really big growth years, all understand what that means. And yeah, I mean, operations were pretty much doubling during the time when I was there. So what systems do we have in place? What kind of automation can we add to reduce our workload? How do we expand globally with translations and accreditation? What does our content say? Is it consistent across all of the courses now? So anything that went into kind of growing the training programs, courses and then how to scale the operations around that. You know, the staff doubled while I was there. The course numbers well over doubled while I was there, so, you know, I think Greg said it well at one point. It’s like you’re training somebody for a position that you just learned six months ago. It’s just you have to put in all these processes and procedures around all that growth. Yeah.

Sean: 07:21 – I’m amazed you had a job title because sometimes it was like, here do this and then yeah, there was no title that came with it. Why do you make the decision then to leave that job and pursue now a second master’s degree in human nutrition and functional medicine?

E.C.: 07:38 – Yeah. So I started actually that degree, CrossFit, our department had, what was it, continuing education requirements under the accreditation. Our full time staff had to kind of do some requirements for that. And so I ended up just starting a master’s degree for mine. It looked interesting, the course load looked interesting. It fit with a lot of my background. Of course I did some nutrition stuff at CrossFit, so I was like, well, I can start a degree. I don’t have to finish it. Right. And you know, it was just super interesting. So I’m in the second year of it and I was like, well, I just really like this and you know, you kind of always, you just hit a point where you need a different challenge and a change. And it kind of coincided with me finishing up the degree and I was like, yeah, I want to try to do something with this nutrition thing. Yeah. I left CrossFit June, 2017 now. Yeah.

Sean: 08:29 – I’m sorry to interrupt, but you had already a pretty good nutritional foundation as far as knowledge is concerned because of your time on the seminar staff. How did that get enhanced or how did it change after you got your second master’s degree?

E.C.: 08:42 – Yeah, I remember still at my first Level 1, which was in 2006, hearing, you know, eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, et cetera. And I remember going, that’s it? And of course, after years of working with CrossFit and of course some of my bio background anyway, I was like, yeah, that’s pretty good way to say it. And then I did the master’s in nutrition and I was like, wow, that’s really it. So I think what the second masters did, that’s kind of a long way to say is it strengthened my belief in how simple nutrition can be in application and how powerful some of that simple messaging is. And I think that’s what gets lost a little bit. Just where I was, whatever number of years ago that was, 2006 going that’s it, and now after finishing another degree, totally dedicated to it and being like, yeah, that’s it. And just having some, I guess more firepower to really be able to believe in that and message around that.

Sean: 09:39 – What then motivated you to start OptimizeMe Nutrition?

E.C.: 09:44 – Yeah, it kind of started with a different idea. I was going to do one-on-one consulting only, you know, personal clients working with different health issues, getting them on track, all that stuff. And I just realized, and it probably came out of my experience with CrossFit, in fact I know I did, is that I loved that education piece. You know, all the seminar work and how do you write courses and how do you teach people effectively. And so that’s what I’ve tried to morph my company now into is to some B to B and B to C products dedicated towards nutrition education. And so yeah, I think my motivation for it is like, hey, let’s just get out more messaging around what is simple, effective nutrition, you know people really want to do that. And it’s kind of now gone in two different ways. I mean, of course with my CrossFit background, I’ve been able to do that via gym challenges, selling kind of plug-and-play challenges for gyms, but then also selling directly to customers. Like, hey, these are some courses that you can use to help understand nutrition better.

Sean: 10:43 – What is the overall goal of OptimizeMe?

E.C.: 10:48 – I would love it for people to have confidence and clarity in nutrition. And however I’m going to get there, I don’t know. The gym challenges, the courses. That’s my method right now. But yeah, I want to simplify this stuff for people. I feel like nutrition is just this never-ending source of confusion and frustration for people. Right? Like it’s like, wait, I just heard something else. What happened? I don’t know. Like what other things in people’s lives bring that much confusion? Like do you have that much confusion about your taxes? Like do you have that much confusion about like, I don’t know, some legal issue at your gym or your business? It just sort of seems like nutrition is so crazy and I want to settle some of that for people. Yeah.

Sean: 11:26 – That leads me right into my next question, which is what is good nutrition?

E.C.: 11:32 – Yeah, it’s remarkably simple. It’s eat more whole foods than not, you know, eat whole, unprocessed foods most of the time. Vary your foods, you know, it really is that simple and it’s funny how much the physiology works correctly when you do that. Hormonally, recovery, immune health, gut health, you name it, things go really, really well when you eat more whole foods than not. And you don’t have to be perfect, which is a lot of my messaging, but you do have to be pretty darn good

Sean: 12:04 – When somebody says that she needs to get her nutrition, you know, quote unquote “dialed in,” where should that person start?

E.C.: 12:12 – Yeah. One of the phrases I really love to use about nutrition is start where you are and I think that also comes out of my experience coaching others, with CrossFit even and personal training and stuff like that. It’s like what does the person’s diet look like right now? We can have these ideas of dialing in nutrition to tracking every macronutrient and making sure that you’re perfectly optimized for body comp and performance and all of the different micronutrients. We can do that for sure, but we’re not going to start there. You know, we’re going to start exactly where you are and if that means cutting back on sodas, great. If that means adding more fruits and vegetables in your diet, great. So I think that’s kind of when people want to know, like dialing in my nutrition, what does that look like? It’s going to look different for most people. Although the end goal is pretty much all the same for most people. It’s just how we get there is a little different.

Sean: 12:59 – What are some common mistakes people make when they’re trying to figure out their own nutritional needs?

E.C.: 13:08 – Oh, Sean, we could chat on this one for a little while. It’s actually one of the things I try to do in my course that I released recently, but it’s kind of helped people understand more principles behind nutrition and understand some big-picture concepts before trying to focus on one specific thing. And in fact, one of the principles I talk about is, or write about it, it’s called, it’s never one thing, meaning there’s lots of things that you need to go right. There’s lots of nutrients that you need to go right. And a lot of times people would be like, well, I just read an article about calcium, so what’s my calcium doing? And I’m like, well, what about the other 27 micronutrients? You know? Or like, oh, I just read about fat. And I’m like, OK, but what about carbohydrate load and overall calorie load? So I think that’s probably one of the biggest pitfalls I see is that people, we learn about things one thing at a time. So I understand that. But then losing that bigger picture of like nutrition and health never comes down to one thing. And so worrying about this, I don’t know, one micronutrient is now coming at the expense of you understanding your total diet.

Sean: 14:10 – When you evaluate someone’s nutrition, what are the things that immediately stick out to you as red flags?

E.C.: 14:20 – One of the things I like to do with people when they want me to kind of give an opinion about their diet, which I only do when I’m asked, is hey, show me pictures of what you ate for the last few days. And then I look at that to sort of, and they can do a food log of course or MyFitnessPal, but just to get a sense of what’s kind of their norm I’m going to say, and then I’m also have some research on this, but generally they don’t have enough fruits and vegetables in the diet. They don’t have enough plant matter in the diet. There’s too much processed carbs that have a lot of fat in them. So nine times out of 10, we’re eating too much of the good stuff and not enough stuff for the healthy stuff.

Sean: 14:58 – Back with more from E.C. Synkowski after this.

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Sean: 16:03 – How do you help people eliminate bad habits and then replace them with good ones?

E.C.: 16:13 – Sean, if I had the answer to that—how to change. How to change is tough, but actually that that is one of my main messages with the 800 gram challenge, which 800 grams by weight of fruits and vegetables each day is what people are told to eat. And the whole idea there, well, there’s a bunch of great things about it, but one of the things that it’s doing is it’s flipping the script on dieting, right? Like typically you’re told, hey, you can’t have wine and you can’t have chocolate, you can’t have ice cream. I’m not saying that. I’m saying you’re gonna eat this much amount of fruits and vegetables. So it’s taking this addition versus elimination approach to the diet. Now, of course, when they start eating that volume of fruits and vegetables, the worst stuff tends to lower in their quantity because they just don’t have enough room in their stomach for it all. And so that’s the way that I go about it. I eliminate kind of the bad foods by adding enough of the good foods. You get a good buy-in with habit change, right? Like people do better when you think about the positive or what to add versus saying, hey, everything you’re doing is wrong.

Sean: 17:08 – You mentioned the 800-gram challenge. What exactly is that?

E.C.: 17:13 – Yeah, so it’s just kind of a approach I have for diet. You know, there’s lots of ways to be successful with eating whole foods, but it’s the one that I sort of use as my baseline level for people. It’s to eat 800 hundred grams by weight of fruits and vegetables each day. Ends up being about six cups. You can pick the fruits and vegetables you want cooked, canned, frozen or fresh, doesn’t matter how you weigh it. And so the idea there really is, it’s not that eight hundred’s this perfect, magical number that, you know, the skies parted and came out with, but that it’s enough of a volume that yeah, you kind of have to work to get there, but it’s not totally out of reach. You can still have, you know, a glass of wine or something. You could still be a quote normal person. So it’s this nice middle ground where it’s enough that your diet becomes a good level of quality, but it doesn’t require sort of this excessive obsession about quality.

Sean: 18:03 – It’s one thing to start a nutrition plan. Everyone can do that, but it’s actually another one to stay on it and be consistent. How do you keep people accountable?

E.C.: 18:13 – Yeah, I mean, yeah, these are great questions. I mean, that’s what nutrition comes down to. Habit change and how do you motivate people and you know, not to be a walking billboard for it, but one of the reasons why I promote the 800-g challenge so much, and I really think it’s a baseline level for most people, is it’s got so much flexibility built in. You know, you’re at the airport, you don’t have this option for roasted Brussels sprouts. Let’s say you just picked up the banana at Starbucks and you move along, right? Or if there’s, I don’t know, a massive sale on mangoes at the grocery store, you just get the mangoes that week. So by having so much flexibility built in, it helps people stay accountable, right? Because then they’re like, I can do this when I’m on the road or I can do this, you know, whatever, based on my family bought at the grocery store, there’s not all these super detailed rules. And that’s really how you help make people stay accountable in nutrition is you give them ways that can kind of adapt to their life. Right?

Sean: 19:08 – Yeah. I was poking around on your website and I saw the consistency project. What exactly is that?

E.C.: 19:14 – Yeah, I launched that cause a lot of times people will do the 800-gram challenge and they’re like, oh I did that. And I’m like well it was never meant to be like, hey do it for 30 days and done right. Like it’s meant to be this daily thing that you continue ad nauseum really. And so people are like, oh cool, how do I stay accountable? And I’m like well here’s a free tracker. So what I did is I just have a free tracker where you can kind of log every day on what I consider the four kind of pillars that I need people paying attention to before we worry about, I don’t know, vitamin D supplementation and that would be quality in the diet, which I’m measuring by 800 gram challenge, quantity in the diet, which comes through 800 gram challenge. And then also adding protein.

E.C.: 19:52 – If you hit those kind of two things, we know that the processed food amount in your diet comes down. So quantity typically falls in line. Exercise. I don’t really care what it is, just do something you like, and then sleeping enough. And so the consistency project is a way for people not to have to log all this minutia and data. We don’t need to know that you ate, you know, 150 grams of cucumber last Thursday, but instead just a kind of daily check in of like, do I have my priorities in line for some general health practices?

Sean: 20:18 – You mentioned sleep and that’s something I am certainly trying to work on. How does nutrition affect your sleep?

E.C.: 20:25 – Yeah, that’s a great one. I don’t know if you ever enjoy a glass of wine at night or some other alcoholic beverage, but that can definitely affect a lot of people’s sleep. You know, for me, I know I’ll wake up at 3:00 AM regardless of the quantity that I consume, might be just half a glass, might be two and I’m up at 3:00 AM. And so that’s a great example of how nutrition can affect your sleep. Same thing with caffeine too late, right? You just have that kind of unrested sleep and then when you have less sleep than ideal, you actually tend to be hungry the next day, even though you might be eating enough calories. Just the hunger signaling, it’s a little bit off. And then we also know that if you’re tired, you probably aren’t going to hit your workout quite as hard. So there’s this kind of interesting sort of, you know, is there a direct relationship on the sense of does your sleep affect your calories directly? No. But through some other ways it affects it and you typically end up having a poor diet. And maybe worse training overall from poor sleep.

Sean: 21:25 – Are there foods that you would recommend that you can eat not only throughout the day, but maybe later in the day if you’re hungry, that will help contribute to good sleep, and if so, what are they?

E.C.: 21:37 – Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about it. I’d actually want to think a little bit more about that, but I always encourage people to eat whatever fruits and vegetables they want at any time during the day. You know, and some of that’s with my messaging with nutrition as well, is that there’s a lot out there about timing. Like, oh, you have to eat this at, I dunno, pre-workout and you have to do this before bed. And I just don’t see that people are operating at such a level of consistency on some basic practices that giving more specifics than that really have a lot of value for people. You know, if we’ve got 80% of people, and this is according to the USDA, 80% of people in the US not eating enough fruits and vegetables, I’m certainly not going to say, well, you should only have these three before sleep. Do you know what I mean?

Sean: 22:20 We are smack dab in the middle of the holidays. What is the key to getting through this time of year without totally undoing any progress that you may have made in your own nutrition?

E.C.: 22:32 – Yeah. One of the things that I love and I actually do it here at my own place and I just don’t buy this stuff for my house. I don’t buy the holiday snacks. I don’t buy—like I love eggnog for example. I don’t buy eggnog for myself, you know? If it’s at your house, you’ll probably eat it. So like don’t make the temptation too great. Just save it for when you’re at the parties. That’s fine. It’s the time of year when we do have more parties, fine, go have the chocolate or whatever it is, the eggnog that you like, there, but do it when you’re with friends, do it in a social event. Just don’t like all of a sudden be bringing home all this Starbucks treats just because it’s the holidays. It’s that sort of mentality of like, oh, it’s the holidays, it’s the holidays, it’s holidays. It’s like, no. Those are like six days out of the next six weeks. Like enjoy them. But like let’s not make it a six-week party.

Sean: 23:22 – I will keep that in mind. What are the biggest obstacles you find people most commonly face when they’re trying to construct a nutrition plan and then stick to it?

E.C.: 23:32 – Yeah, it’s probably the same as when people start CrossFit, right? They see Mat Fraser and you know, Tia-Clair and they just want to be there and so they start training five hours a day, all the assistance work and all of that stuff. And it’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Like you can’t overhead squat a PVC. Hold on. So it’s probably the same thing for nutrition. It’s a little bit of like, I need to do all this timing with the pre-workout supplement and the post-workout and I’m going to make sure that I, you know, take these other things during the day and I’m only going to eat between the hours of 12 and six and it’s only going to be low carb during the week. I mean, you name it and it’s like trying to combine all these different ideas at once and it’s just like, whoa, whoa, whoa. What did you have for breakfast? You know, oh, it’s a pastry from Starbucks. Well, let’s switch that. We have to kind of refocus to just some really fundamental practices before we worry about these superfluous details.

Sean: 24:24 – You mentioned supplements and CrossFitters. We love us some supplements. How can you tell if you’re not only taking a good supplement but you’re taking the right one?

E.C.: 24:34 – Yeah, I really don’t recommend supplements as part of my kind of daily day in and day out. I definitely believe in supplements for certain therapeutic uses, but under the direction of a kind of practitioner and for a specific reason. So yeah, I don’t really believe in supplements. Now I actually do think some people see benefit from supplements, partially because of the placebo effect. They believe it’s going to work and therefore it does. It’s very powerful. So I think that’s some of it, and I actually recommend, I was talking to one of the Games athletes about supplements and I actually told that person, I was like, I think you should try them all. Why? Because when you’re trying to find the next half percentage of a performance improvement, why not try them so long as they’re all, you know, legit tested, et cetera. But for the kind of recreational exercise or the once a day person day in and day out, I don’t recommend them. Even if you try them and feel great, I would be like, well, let’s try the 800-gram challenge and see if you feel great, let’s try eating enough protein every day. Let’s try sleeping regularly. I think you’re going to feel great too. So I try to redirect that and say, well, let’s look at these kind of four pillars again, make sure they’re in line before we start trying to evaluate all these different supplements. Yeah.

Sean: 25:43 – Along those lines. So someone gets done working out. A lot of times, you know, it’s a recovery shake or it’s a protein shake. If you were talking to that person and you were going to say, OK, you need to replace that, what would you tell them to replace it with for a good post-workout meal?

E.C.: 25:58 – Yeah. I might actually tweak your question slightly because I might not tell them to remove that. Now, I know I just said I don’t love supplements and you’re like, E.C., you gotta be a little consistent here. But I actually use protein powder myself partially for variety and protein, right? Like sometimes you just don’t want chicken and that’s OK. But it’s interesting. So you know, my stick with the 800 gram challenges, let’s eat more fruits and vegetables and what that does is that helps bring down on processed foods. Well guess what else is then the next limiting thing in people’s diets? Protein. So I’m OK with a post-workout shake. Do I think that it needs to be post-workout and then it needs to be a shake to be effective? No, they could have a chicken breast there if they really wanted to. It’s just that they’re getting protein in in the day, and by default when you eat more protein, you’re gonna eat less carbs and fat. So then by having kind of those two anchors of fruits and vegetables and a protein target, we end up eating less of the processed stuff. So what I would say to that is I don’t know that I would tweak it, especially if they’re having a hard time hitting kind of an OK amount of protein each day anyway.

Sean: 27:01 – OK. So this is a personal question for me because I’m a bigger guy. I have trouble sometimes hitting my protein goals and I do use your protein shakes to help with that. How much is too much of a protein shake?

E.C.: 27:15 – Yeah, I mean at a certain point, yeah, you are going to burn off some for energy. But assuming that you have any sort of food with it, the digestion process will be fine enough that you’re going to get what you need from the protein that you take in. You know, you’ll see recommendations that are like spread your protein out throughout the day. That’s generally fine. But I also think that generally sort of fits with life. Like I don’t, even though you’re probably trying to get a good amount of protein in your post-workout shake, I also don’t think you’re trying to do 200 grams in a post-workout shake. Right. Cause you’re gonna have some meal at another point during the day, I think. And so I think that’s sort of it. You know, you might be 40, 50 grams of protein at a time or something like that. Fine. You’re fine.

Sean: 27:54 – What do you tell people who say, you know, look, I just don’t have time for all this planning and all this cooking. I’m busy. I can’t do that.

E.C.: 28:03 – I love them because I don’t cook at all, Sean, so I consider it—it’s so funny. I’m so into nutrition and I hate cooking and I hate meal prep and all that stuff. So my, my kitchen routine is like one step above college, so I can help these people. It’s a lot of fruit. It’s a lot of like easy salads. There’s not a lot of cooking. Like I just, I think I saw Miranda do a post on this recently, like going to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or wherever and buying a cooked roasted turkey and a banana is no slower than ordering a fast food meal and picking it up either. There’s so many to-go options now that I just don’t see that there’s any reason why it’s not fast. You know I think it’s just matter of like, which place do you pull your car up to versus that there’s no options available.

Sean: 28:56 – What is the biggest misconception that people have about just nutrition in general?

E.C.: 29:05 – You know, I think it’s, yeah, I mean I think there’s some similarities with other fields, but I think there’s this idea of like, I’m missing the secret, right? Like I’m missing the one thing that’s going to change everything for me. Like, oh, I just learned that this thing has the most antioxidants, now that’s going to be the most powerful for me ever. And it’s like kind of comes back to what we said before. It’s never one thing. There’s never one thing that’s going to make it easier or better or optimal, you know, it’s a collection of what your habits are every day. And so I think there’s kind of this quest for, I still haven’t figured out the answer to nutrition, when there really isn’t much of an answer besides eat more whole unprocessed foods.

Sean: 29:43 – CrossFitters who work out on a regular basis, it’s likely that they have some sort of nutrition plan, but there are everyday people out there walking around who just sort of wing it on a day to day basis. Why is a plan important? Not just for athletes, but for just your everyday average Joe out there?

E.C.: 30:00 – Yeah, I mean like you’re not going to make a change if you don’t have a plan because you know, like a change or a new nutrition thing is different than what you’re currently doing. What you’re currently doing is winging it. Right. So I do see that a little bit when people try to take on the 800-gram challenge, they’re like, whoa, I only got a hundred grand. So I’m like, well yeah, because you probably didn’t buy fruits or vegetables. So yeah, you do have to sort of set yourself up for success because you know, your current standard norm isn’t what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to change and with change requires some sort of thought.

Sean: 30:33 – We all have loved ones and people out there know people who need, you know, nutritional intervention. What advice would you give to those people as far as what they need to tell their friends, family to get them going on the right path?

E.C.: 30:50 – I love that question. I get it a lot and I actually get the question a lot of what articles and research can I show them, you know, how can I prove X concept? And I highly recommend that you don’t go that route. There’s no amount of proving and articles and PubMed articles that’s gonna convince anybody. Right? None of that. And in fact, what I really do recommend for most people is not even voicing your opinion until you’re really asked, until you’re kind of invited to the conversation. And I think that kind of just builds rapport. It’s the same thing with anything. Like, do you want parenting advice from somebody unless you’ve asked for them? If you want, you know, whatever advice, unless you sort of asked for it? I think nutrition falls in the same gamut. Let’s say then that you’ve been invited, somebody asks you, oh, hey, you look great.

E.C.: 31:37 – How do you stay in shape? You know, all of that stuff. I think it’s great again to kind of remember that idea of like, start where they are. You know, you can very quickly see, probably by being around them for one day, oh wow, this person really likes soda. OK. Or, oh wow, this person really likes cookies. You fill in the blank. I don’t know what it is. Hey, why don’t we try no soda after 5:00 PM, you know, or why don’t we try one less Big Gulp or all of that stuff. And, you know, I think CrossFitters, I love them, you know, Type A, hardworking personality. They want to shoot for the best right away, but not everyone kinda has that mentality. And so, hey, you know, warm them up to the idea of making some improvements that they can do, give them some small successes and that’s gonna actually make them more interested versus, you know, hey, everything you’re doing is wrong. Let me clean out your kitchen. Here are the 10 articles to read and tomorrow you’re having kale and chicken breast.

Sean: 32:28 – Yeah. That would not go over well with members of my family for sure. If people want to learn more about OptimizeMe Nutrition, where can they go? How can they get started?

E.C.: 32:38 – Yeah. and the same handle on Instagram. And that’s where all my info is.

Speaker 2: 32:44 – E.C., listen, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Best of luck moving forward and I am going to go now, eat an apple and some vegetables.

E.C.: 32:52 – Awesome. Thank you so much Sean. Take care.

Sean: 32:54 – Thanks again to E.C. Synkowski for speaking with me today. That was a lot of fun. Again, the website is If you want to get more information on the 800-gram challenge or the consistency project. Chris Cooper is not the fittest person who ever walked the Earth. He has never recorded a world-record snatch. His Fran time is—it’s just OK. But Chris does hold a gym record. He’s written the best-selling fitness business books of all time. Based on his experience as a gym owner and thousands of free calls with other fitness entrepreneurs, Chris put together four books that can help you make money and live the life you want. This isn’t smoke-blowing without substance. These books have helped thousands, and they can help you. Head over to Amazon and check them out. You’re looking for “Two-Brain Business,” “Two-Brain business 2.0,” “Help First” and “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.” These are best-selling books based on hard data and experience, and they can help you find success.. So pick one up today on Amazon. Thank you so much for listening everybody. We’ll see you next time.

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