With the new year comes a resurfaced attention to health in all kinds of interesting and dynamic ways. We think about our physical health, we fine-tune our mental toughness and we seek out ways to keep our routines fresh. We had a chance to peel back the layers with some of the world’s most elite trainers in LA: Julia Brown, Kevin Mejia and Erik Anderson of DOGPOUND. In this Q&A, we had the opportunity to see how they stay at the top of all things health and wellness while staying grounded at the same time.
Vuori: What is your favorite exercise that you currently integrate into all of your workouts and why?
Julia: I am currently obsessed with deadlifts because there are so many different variations, like sumo, stiff leg, single leg, using the trap bar versus the straight bar, so I never get bored. They’re fun to mix up and make me feel like a total badass when lifting for strength.
Kevin: Anything with some type of rotational pattern. Most people, when they think of core, they just think sit-ups, plank, etc., but core also includes obliques and lower back. Being strong and able to move in every plane of the body should be important to everyone.
Erik: My favorite exercise is the squat. It is simple yet the most effective exercise for building a strong foundation. Practicing the squat allows one to develop movement patterns which are beneficial for day-to-day life.
Vuori: How do you motivate people who are hesitant to start working out to stay committed to the grind?
J: I do my best to find their underlying motivator, their “why.” Once you discover their “why,” they will work with you 10 times harder.
E: I believe motivation comes from within. My goal is to lead by example.
Vuori: Has there ever been a specific moment or certain success story that has stuck with you and remained your “why,” even today?
J: I remember being really down, suffering from anxiety and depression for what seemed like too long, and never wanting to feel that way again. There are amazing stories of people who motivate me, one being Kirk Myers. He’s one of the most passionate and selfless people I have ever met. He is definitely someone I aspire to be like.
K: My own story, I guess I could say. I moved to New York for a physical therapy internship. I worked for the practice for over a year and was doing really badly financially, trying to live on a $10 per hour wage in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I found myself disconnecting from social life because of embarrassment or jumping subways because I needed to preserve what I had in order to eat. After almost giving up, my mom motivated me to get a second job and start personal training again. I applied to every gym in the city in hopes that someone would give me a chance. When I got that chance, it was DOGPOUND.
E: No, but I have a general fear of losing, so I do whatever it takes to prepare. I wrestled for 12 years growing up. I loved winning; however, I hated losing even more.
Vuori: How do you avoid burnout?
J: Avoid burnout by making sure you make time for you and the things you love to do, physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t overtrain your body by trying to hit your goal faster. You will get there when you’re meant to get there. Don't overthink or overcomplicate things because life is pretty simple and chances are the answer is right in front of you.
Vuori: DOGPOUND is one of the toughest, most in-demand workouts out there. How do you maintain relatability?
J: Honestly, people tend to underestimate themselves. At DOGPOUND, we push you to a limit we know you’re capable of doing. Our clients are so much stronger than they think, so it just takes us, as trainers, to help them realize it. When they do, they become hooked.
K: Authenticity and doing exactly what brought us to being one of the most in-demand workouts. Also, making sure every client has the best experience no matter who it is.
Vuori: How do you define mental toughness, and what are your tips for maintaining it in all facets of life?
K: To me, mental toughness is anything that challenges you mentally. This could be doing 100 calories on an assault bike or drowning in work projects. However, true mental toughness is not cracking under pressure. At least once a week, I’ll do conditioning, which requires me to push myself to the highest limit and fight discomfort. I know if I can get through that, I can get through a lot of things in everyday life.
E: Mental toughness is a measure of one’s resilience and how much they are willing to fight in order to achieve their goals. If you want to maintain mental toughness, you must keep your goals at the front of your mind.
Vuori: What is DOGPOUND’S mission?
J: To build a billion-dollar lifestyle brand that makes a significant impact on society by bringing out the light and transforming people at a cellular level.
K: To create a global lifestyle brand that smashes areas of fashion and entertainment while helping people better their lives physically through fitness.
E: Our mission is to change people’s lives for the better. We are not only a gym, but a healing center.
We hope this Q&A was informative and that you take away some inspiration from Julia, Kevin and Erik. Sprinkle these simple practices and moves into your active life to help break up your daily routine.
When you take the time to invest in your health and wellness, whether that be mental or physical, you ultimately are taking the time to invest in your happiness, which is a way of life that is embedded in our brand DNA here at Vuori Clothing and promoted through the DOGPOUND trainers.