A Q&A with Reliv Distributor and Fit3 Champions Challenge Finalist Richard Brandl
By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn
In 1983, the President’s Council on Fitness designated May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This was done in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life. The hashtag “#MoveInMay” has been trending, and it’s my hope that people will remember to keep fitness a priority all of the other months of the year as well.
Fitness as a Lifestyle
For some of us, our fitness journey was launched through participation in youth sports. Others turn to fitness later in life for the health benefits, as well as the social connections. Regardless of age or whether you are fueled by competition or more intrinsic incentives, physical activity is a celebration of what our bodies can do.
Richard Brandl, a self-proclaimed “jock” was a recent runner- up in the men’s division of the Q1 2020 Reliv Champions Challenge. He has been on a journey of physical fitness for more than 40 years. Now at age 60, Richard has no intention of slowing down. A former competitive body builder, Richard is currently training for obstacle course runs and uses Reliv nutrition to give him a competitive edge over his children and the younger competition.
Richard joined the Reliv Champions Challenge to jump start his training for the 2020 race season. He achieved his personal challenge goal to reduce his body fat percentage while maintain lean muscle. He was anticipating breaking some personal records in the upcoming season before his training was derailed by quarantine restrictions.
Modifying the Program
Even though his race plans are currently on hold and he has had to modify his strength training program, Richard is lifting and running and training with the equipment he has at home. Admittedly, he is still driven to be better than the other aging jocks and there is still a smidge of vanity behind his motivation. Ultimately though, he is determined to stay healthy and avoid the chronic health conditions that are in his family’s health history.
Motivation for Decades
Having seen Richard’s pictures from his prime body-building days, I was curious (and maybe a little envious) about how his fitness journey has evolved over the last 40 years and what really keeps pushing him to maintain physical fitness so I threw a few questions his way. His responses certainly resonated with my inner athlete, while validating the principles that the Fit3 program is build upon.
Tina: Fitness has been a part of your life for a very long time. Tell us a little bit about your history and what your fitness routine looks like today?
Richard: I started weightlifting in 1979, and got into bodybuilding in 1980, while I was assigned to my first duty station in the Army. I generally worked out for every day for about two hours, depending on the specific day and routine. I was always trying to progress weight and trained primarily for muscle mass, so cardio was minimal. I was really strict with my diet all of the time to maintain a body fat percentage below 8%. I participated in bodybuilding competitions from 1982 through 1986, but maintained this routine throughout the 80s.
Today my workouts last a maximum of 45 minutes, unless I am specifically training for a rucking event. I focus on circuit type training with minimal rest to be efficient with time. I definitely use more moderate weights and I stay with basic lifts that are multi joint and functional most of the time. Of course, I still like to maintain as much muscle as I can but realize that I’m not 26 anymore. I’m not lifting super heavy weights anymore because that might do more harm than good at my age. For cardio I use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get me ready for the obstacle course events
Tina: What are your motivations to keep moving and stay active? How are your motivations different today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago?
Richard: We all have certain level of vanity and I’m no exception. I like to look the part of a fitness professional. I also use the obstacle course runs as a motivator to be more structured and consistent with workouts. I am also motivated to stay healthy and to avoid serious illness. And I still have that competitive fire to be better than the other aging jocks.
Tina: What do you do when you don’t feel motivated?
Richard: When my motivation is low I know that I probably need to take a break from lifting, without feeling guilty. Sometimes I will substitute walks or biking for an active rest or really shorten workouts just to stay in the habit. If all else fails, I try something new, like the Reliv Champions Challenge. I see myself as an ongoing experiment to maintain as much muscle as I can. It’s a game that I play with myself when I have been slacking off.
Tina: Do you every take time off from exercise? How did you get started again?
Richard: Yes, I do take time off. After 40 years, I do experience burnout and to be honest it gets boring. When that happens, I join a class just to do something different and see what the trends are.
To get motivated I look in the mirror and do a “pec check” and decide I look puny and decide to get back to it; vanity again. I start slow, maybe a week of circuits and some cardio to get ready to increase intensity. I also have to get the mind ready as well. I’m also motivated by like class reunions, wedding things that I want to look good for. It’s a mental thing I have about that.
Tina: Tell us a little about your Reliv health story: How did you find Reliv, what have been your results with the products?
Richard: I found Reliv about 7 years ago when I heard about it on a radio ad. I had always used supplements and I was curious as to the results I would get compared to the past. I have certainly seen improvements with sustained energy, sleep, muscle recovery and management of joint discomfort. As I get older and with my profession as a physical therapy assistant, I definitely put more emphasis on joint health and workout recovery.
Supplement technology is so much more advanced today than it was 30 years ago. We have a new understanding of nutrition through the lens of epigenetics. Health issues run in my family and I know that optimal nutrition will benefit me in many ways. I’m committed to doing everything I can to stay healthy and keep my body in top shape.
Tina: What prompted you to join the Fit3 Challenge and what kind of results did you experience?
Richard: Initially my goal was to use the 90-day challenge to jump start my training in January as preparation for obstacle course training in the spring. The first event was supposed be in June, but has been canceled because of the pandemic. I also wanted to see how much body fat I could reduce while maintaining my weight and muscle mass. I also wanted to increase the weight I was lifting without causing joint discomfort. Really, I just to see what I could do at 60 years old.
Throughout the challenge, I lost about 1.8% body fat and my weight was stable. I was lifting heavier weights, too, before the pandemic restrictions took effect. I am happy to report my shoulder and knee discomfort was all but eliminated. I never say eliminated because I just don’t think it’s possible with as much activity I do and my age.
Tina: What advice would you give to someone afraid to take that first step on their fitness journey?
Richard: I suggest finding a trustworthy and practical coach to get you started and keep you accountable. Master the fundamentals that match your goals and commitment level. Ignore all the latest trends that promise rapid results. Instead think long term overall lifestyle habits. Keep it simple and be sensible!
If you are intimidated by a long laundry list of do’s and don’ts, just work on a couple of easier ones. Give yourself a chance to experience success and build your confidence. We live once and I encourage people to enjoy those parties but maintain a level of composure and to be ready to “work” it off. You’ve got to enjoy life and find a balance that works for you.