An Interview With Jason Seib, the Paleo Coach
Every so often you come across a person who just loves what they do. They're not in their line of work just because it makes them a lot of money or keeps them famous and comfortable, but because it's their true passion. It's not as common as it should be, but when you see it you know.
Recently I had the pleasure to speak with just such a person: Jason Seib, author of The Paleo Coach, owner of Clackamas Physical Conditioning, regular contributor at Everyday Paleo, and co-founder of Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness. He's also a husband and father of three litle girls. Jason is living his passion, which goes way beyond the paleo diet. First and foremost, Jason is a coach and this quality shone through during our interview.
Jason's journey to the health and fitness world started where many other coaches and athletes have: in a typical commercial gym. However, from the start Jason was interested in more than bro science. "I never really turned into that 'gym rat' or the meathead-type trainee. I was more a geek right away. I was interested in the science behind all this stuff, in what was happening behind muscle hypertrophy and nutrition."
After working in a commercial gym, Jason decided to open his own facility, Clackamas Physical Conditioning. Shortly after it opened, Jason discovered paleo and decided to use it as the exclusive nutrition method for his clients. After Sarah Fragoso came to visit his gym, Jason started contributing to the Everyday Paleo website with great success - his second blog post on scale addiction crashed the server, in fact!
Over the years, Jason fine-tuned his approach, based on constant research and a desire to go beyond mainstream advice and delve deeper into fitness and nutrition. "I don't really have this amazing success story, as far as I didn't lose 100 pounds to get the way I am now. I just simply wanted answers." His research has led him where he is today and also provided an effective and health-based philosophy. Here's what Jason had to say about that approach and getting results:
At the end of the day, we all should be trying to get as healthy as you possibly can. That's the only thing that's ever going to make sense, regardless of your goal. If your goal is just to look really good in a bikini, and that's the only goal you have and that's as deep as you ever intend to get with it, it doesn't matter if you don't pass through health. Any results you get will only be temporary.
The success of Jason's approach is based on a variety of factors that all work together. "I do never and have never separated the concepts of exercise and nutrition and sleep and stress. Those are all components of creating a healthy human. To pretend that one of them is more important than all the others and can be your saving grace all by itself is ridiculous."
So that sounds great in principle, but I wondered how Jason has actually achieved the success he has with his clients. Here are two things they do at Clackamas that help clients attain remarkable results:
Although Jason encourages a holistic approach to fitness, at the same time nutrition is a cornerstone for his clients. "The results that you see here are at least eighty percent nutrition. If you think you're gonna be able to come here and out-train bad nutrition, you're going to have to rethink that."
However, Jason doesn't simply tell people what to eat and what not to eat. He also offers nutrition classes that are free and open not only to gym members but also the public. "I do that because I want people to come and learn and bring their friends and family, those people they need on board in order to change."
In terms of physical conditioning, at Jason's gym the most important factors are strength, walking, and mobility. Metabolic conditioning - a mix of HIIT and sprint training - is the icing on the cake, according to Jason. First and foremost is gaining strength and re-gaining mobility.
That approach has produced some impressive numbers, particularly for the ladies. Seventy percent of the women in Jason's gym deadlift over 200 pounds, and Jason could think of at least two female clients over 52 who can do a strict pull up. "That's the stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning…Getting someone fit for the first time in their life at 52 years old."
His years of experience as a coach and the extensive knowledge he has obtained serve as the foundation for Jason's new book, The Paleo Coach. Being a coach offers Jason a different perspective that makes his book and overall approach truly one-of-a-kind. "I think the advantage I get from being a coach is that big picture, that 30,000-foot view that's often missing. It's not human nature to maintain that view. We see this everywhere. We want to isolate individual factors and make a narrower and narrower point of view until we can finally blame one thing." Jason's approach, on the other hand, focuses on regaining health and ditching the severe calorie restriction, scale addiction, and other unhealthy practices people sometimes use to become "fit."
So what lies ahead for Jason? One thing that's definitely not in the picture is leaving his gym and his clients. "I will never sell my gym, I will never quit training clients. If I ever quit training clients it's because I've officially retired." At the end of the day, despite the fact that he's now a published author and part of one of the largest paleo communities on the internet, Jason's home is in the gym working with clients - "where the rubber meets the road," as he put it. "I don't really have these visions of growing my gym into a 500 person gym. I just want it to produce amazing work and continue to teach me things."