by DND | May 18, 2023
Live Happier Healthier and Longer | Jason and Colleen Wachob
Jason Wachob is the founder and co-CEO of mindbodygreen, the leading independent media brand dedicated to well-being with 15 million monthly unique visitors. He is also the host of the popular mindbodygreen podcast and the bestselling author of Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company, Business Insider, BoF, and Vogue, and has a BA in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years.
Colleen Wachob is the co-founder and co-CEO at mindbodygreen, the leading independent media brand dedicated to well-being with 15 million monthly unique visitors. She graduated from Stanford University with degrees in international relations and Spanish. She spent ten years working at Fortune 500 companies including Gap, Walmart, and Amazon before devoting her life’s work to mindbodygreen. Colleen has been a speaker at Fortune 500 companies and numerous trade conferences on well-being trends.
In this episode we discuss:
– What is joyspan, and why should you care about it?
– How can we make physical, mental, and emotional fitness more accessible?
– The future of health and wellness.
– How to make lasting changes towards meeting your health goals.
Colleen and Jason Wachob, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:00:01]
Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show, where I believe a healthy world is based on transparent conversations.
In today’s episode, I sit down with the founders of mindbodygreen, Jason and Colleen Wachob. They have a new book out called The Joy of Well-Being. Both are incredibly accomplished visionaries. Jason is the founder and co-CEO of mindbodygreen. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue. He has played varsity basketball. He played that for four years and went to Columbia. His amazing wife, Colleen Wachob, is also the co-founder and co-CEO of mindbodygreen. She graduated from Stanford with degrees in international relations and Spanish. Both have spent many years at the forefront of the health and wellness space. They really are visionaries in this field. They recently wrote a book called The Joy of Well-Being, and I have to tell you, these guys are just incredible, forward-thinking, and inspirational.
In this episode, we talk about what joyspan is. What does it mean to be joyful? Why does it even matter? And who cares? What the future of the health and wellness field has to offer, and the reason why these individuals are experts in this, is that they had the vision to put mindbodygreen together a decade before it was even something people were talking about. We also talk about how on earth do we make wellness affordable and applicable to everybody.
As always, if you like this episode, please like, share, subscribe, and rate it. helps spread the message and the word. I hope you enjoy this conversation with true visionaries in the field. Thank you to Mellö for sponsoring this episode of the show. Mellö is made by a company called Ned, and they make a Superblend Chai Latte with aminos, functional mushrooms, magnesium, cinnamon, clove, and ginger. I used to drink it hot in the winter, and now I’ve been drinking it cold. What I do is engage my daughter. We mix it and throw it in the fridge until bedtime. I drink it an hour before bed. It helps me sleep. It has chaga, reishi, and ashwagandha—all of these herbs that have been around for a long time. I think they’re going to make a huge comeback because of their safety and efficacy. These are all crafted with single-origin ingredients. They’re ethically sourced from small-scale farms, which is another reason why I love them. It doesn’t have any melatonin, dairy, CBD, caffeine, nothing. It is third-party tested, which is amazing. It has what it says it has in it. I’m telling you, if you are having trouble sleeping, try their Shuteye Chai. You can head on over to helloned.com/drlyon, and you will get about 15% off your order.
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Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:04:53]
Colleen and Jason Wachob, did I get it right?
Jason Wachob [0:04:57]
You got it right.
Colleen Wachob [0:04:58]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:04:59]
All right, only one time practicing off camera. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I cannot wait to chat with you guys. We have lots of things to discuss, like number one, The Joy of Well-Being, and a handful of other things. Tell me, what brought you guys here?
Jason Wachob [0:05:17]
Love you. We love your show. It’s one of the few shows I listen to. I love muscle-centric medicine. I think you are at the forefront of a new movement. We’re here to talk about our book, among other things, but it’s just an honor to be with you today.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:05:29]
I’m so grateful. By the way, you’re so tall and jacked. You’re officially jacked and tanned with biceps and muscles. Colleen is so fit. Between the two of you, you’re a total example. Yes, we’re going to talk about the book. As you know, because you listen to the podcast, I am very selective about the individuals that come on the show. One of the reasons I’m so excited to talk to you is because you guys are forward thinkers and have really transformed the space before it was even a space of health and wellness. You were the founders of mindbodygreen, which, by the way, I think turned me down when I went there about six years ago. Not that I’m holding it against you all, but that potentially did happen. Let’s put it out there.
Jason Wachob [0:06:16]
I’m still going to find out what happened.
Colleen Wachob [0:06:18]
We’ll get to the bottom of it.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:06:20]
Yeah, you better. You are leaders in this space and both entrepreneurs. This was not about health and wellness as your first line, but rather because you saw a need within yourself. If you can just mention it and talk a little bit about how it started.
Jason Wachob [0:06:36]
The backstory is my lower back.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:06:43]
No pun intended.
Jason Wachob [0:06:44]
Yes, no pun intended. As you mentioned, I’m very tall. I’m six feet seven. I played basketball in college. I graduated from Columbia in ‘98. Fast forward to 2007 and 2008, I am part of a startup that’s not doing well, and I am flying way too much—100,000 miles plus domestic. Me and a coach seat are not a good look for anyone.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:07:04]
But definitely not for you.
Jason Wachob [0:07:05]
Terrible. An old basketball injury combined with stress and a poor diet meant that my idea of a great diet back then was just steak and martinis at The Palm Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. If you go up to 15th and 8th, you’ll see a picture of me on the wall next to Adam Sandler and Joe Namath. Literally.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:07:23]
They’re like, this guy is here. He has his own table.
Jason Wachob [0:07:25]
Probably more martinis and steak. With all that said, it led to two extruded discs in my lower back, L4-L5-S1. I had excruciating sciatica. I could not walk. I went to a doctor. He said, do you need surgery? Nothing against surgery, but see, it generally is a last resort, so I sought a second opinion. That doctor said the same thing. Almost like an afterthought, he said, maybe some yoga can help. I started some really light yoga. Over the course of three to six months, the sciatica went away. I completely healed. I had this moment where I said, true well-being is not about– keep in mind, we’re going back in time. Well-being wasn’t even a word. Wellness was spa life. Everything was about abs and six packs. Nothing against them, but there’s more to the picture.
But in my mind, it was this fundamental physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being all connected, hence, mindbodygreen, one word, not three. That was the birth of mindbodygreen. It started with content. Then we went to classes, and then products with supplements, events, and podcasts now. I’d say, where we sit today, my passion has evolved to longevity. I’m 48. We have two little girls. Men in my family have a terrible track record with longevity. Father died of heart disease at 47, maternal grandfather heart, disease at 49, paternal grandfather, cancer at 44. But I’m not buying into that. I believe in the power of epigenetics. That stops with me. I am determined to live not just a long life– I think there’s a conversation around longevity right now, which is great. Longevity, we view as like the 1.0. Then there’s health span because living long doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. No one wants to live till 90 and be in a wheelchair for the last 25 years. The conversations evolve the health span where I am healthy. I’m able. I can do the things I want to do for as long as I can, and then I have a very fast death. We like the conversation what we’re coining joyspan. What’s the why behind all of this? You want to live a very long healthy life but be joyful and enjoy it. You could be fit and do all the things you want to do, but if your children don’t talk to you and you have no friends, that’s not going to be fun either. I’ll pause there.
Colleen Wachob [0:09:41]
I also had a personal experience that really brought me into this world of health and wellness. Back in the 2010s in New York, I was coming from a yoga class because that was what you did in the 2010s in New York, and was like, Jason, I’m having some trouble breathing. Can you meet me in the city? We were walking around, and I was like, I think I need to go home. We took the A train home, and I collapsed on the stairs trying to get up from the subway. As was my tendency, I gaslit myself and was like, I’m fine. I don’t need to go to a doctor right now. I napped and did these things that I don’t do over the weekend. Then on Monday morning, Jason was like, you’re not going to work unless you go to the doctor.
I went to my doctor in SoHo, and he’s like, you’re having a pulmonary embolism. I was so confused what is happening. He gave me a piece of paper, and he wrote, I’m having a pulmonary embolism. He didn’t think that if I was left at NYU, that I would be able to communicate what was going on and get the care I needed.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:10:43]
That’s really serious.
Colleen Wachob [0:10:44]
It was really serious. Once I got there, they were like, we’ve never seen someone with so many showers of clots in their lungs that’s still alive. The likely culprit of it was me being on birth control pills, which I had been on for a decade. When you do the standard panel testing that you would do at an OB GYN, I don’t have any of the predispositions for major clotting. I’m not a big red alert candidate. But it was definitely one of those gut-wrenching moments of the soul. I often don’t think you make really big changes in your life and evaluate your own life’s mission and purpose and what you’re doing here on this wonderful planet until you reach one of those low points. When everything’s fine, you’re like, okay, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing.
That was a start for me of a very long recovery. A pulmonary embolism is one of those invisible illnesses because it was the first time that I’m like, I’m having trouble breathing. I would fight old ladies on the subway for that chair so that I could sit down because I didn’t think I could stand the whole time. I really look to women like Serena Williams who had pulmonary embolisms and people who would overcome these types of issues to remind myself I’m going to be okay again. I’m going to be able to breathe and run and exercise and do all these things. It was a start of a journey on both the western side, the spiritual side, the movement side of really just looking at what would help me create a complete and fulfilling life. I tried a lot of things. Some of them worked. Some of them didn’t. I hope that this book can help people get to the answer faster because I think it’s a lot in the fundamentals.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:12:24]
That’s really altruistic and so important. Now where was it in terms of how far along was mindbodygreen?
Jason Wachob [0:12:34]
When Colleen almost died.
Colleen Wachob [0:12:36]
Jason Wachob [0:12:37]
It was May 2012.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:12:38]
That would have been really bad for business.
Colleen Wachob [0:12:42]
I was still working a corporate job at that point in time. Jason always jokes that I just missed Exxon on my tour of duty because I had been working at Gap, Walmart, and Amazon. That was the catalyst to move in full time.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:12:55]
You had mindbodygreen already.
Jason Wachob [0:12:58]
It officially launched in 2009. I initially said to Colleen, give me six months. I’ll figure out how we can monetize this. Six months turned into almost three years.
Colleen Wachob [0:13:09]
We had a really good therapist in the early days.
Jason Wachob [0:13:11]
We had a very good therapist. It was stressful. We just got married, and it was really stressful. Colleen was supporting us and paying our health insurance. There was a lot of passion that allowed me to go on because it was terrible on our marriage. But eventually, it did all work out. I think Colleen also would work on weekends and write. We’d have to go back in time here. I remember I would do every—well, I didn’t code. My co-founders could code. That was one thing I couldn’t do. But I would post it on social media. I just stayed there. You couldn’t auto populate things on Facebook. When they allowed you to actually populate, oh my god, I can leave.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:00]
Jason Wachob [0:14:01]
I can leave.
Colleen Wachob [0:14:02]
I can schedule posts.
Jason Wachob [0:14:03]
Yes. No Instagram back then.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:04]
Okay. You were working and supporting the family. You were working on a dream. You were very focused. You’re obviously an athlete. You were heads down, this is the way it was going to be, and you’re going to make it work.
Jason Wachob [0:14:17]
Yes. The first couple of years, you’d get a little momentum. But in 2012, that’s when things started to really take off, or I think. I have to go through the numbers. It’s been a while. But from zero to 100,000 unique monthly visitors, it took almost, I think that was sometime in late 2011, but I want to say in January 2012, then we went to 500,000. Then 500,000 went to a million and then 15 million a couple years later.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:45]
Not too shabby.
Jason Wachob [0:14:47]
But the first three years was zero to 100, and then the J-curve, and then there were some bumps along the way.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:53]
The first three years, you had a very good therapist, and you had a sugar mamma.
Colleen Wachob [0:14:58]
Ultimately, I think the lessons that we learned in therapy were so applicable to business, of this idea of financial well-being, that if we were going to live together as partners, and then work together as partners, we had to have a similar understanding of how we all viewed money and bring it closer together, understand our risk thresholds and tolerances. It’s been helpful for our marriage, of course, but also for our business.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:15:22]
Financial literacy also leads to health and wealth. They’re together.
Colleen Wachob [0:15:30]
He wrote a book on the topic.
Jason Wachob [0:15:31]
Yeah, that was my first book. This book’s way better. Way better. But—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:15:36]
Well, it is. I mean, I am in the book here. I saw my name. I’m officially publishing this book.
Jason Wachob [0:15:41]
You’ve had a profound influence on us. But I think, too I would say Colleen felt like she got dragged onto the entrepreneurial journey where I was like, I’m going to figure this out. Then it’s like, wait, what? But I think ultimately, it made us stronger as a couple. I think it made us stronger as entrepreneurs. I think getting an understanding of our thresholds for risks and how we communicated and how actually we thought about running a business ultimately made us better co-founders and co-CEOs. We actually work quite well together. We’ve seen a lot of people in the space when husband and wife start to work together completely falls apart and destroys the marriage. We’ve seen that. But for us, we actually complement each other very well and know our strengths and weaknesses and know when to get out of the way of each other.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:16:33]
I’m really curious. That was a lot of foresight to think about. Did you create something for yourself because it didn’t exist at the time?
Jason Wachob [0:16:40]
Yeah. I think back then it was all the print magazines, Shape, Self, Women’s Health, Muscle & Fitness. The only thing that was holistic, and it’s funny because I think we’ve come back to this place, is you have the traditional mainstream fitness or the more Western that anything that was slightly holistic was way out there. Mercola was around. Elephant Journal, we haven’t talked about that name in a while. But in my mind, there was an opportunity to be somewhat integrative and balanced and not just preach to a choir of people who live in the west side of LA or Brooklyn and Boulder. There was an opportunity to cross over. Both worlds could exist. I’d look back, and I thought we were making progress. I look at where we are today, and we’ve gone really backwards.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:17:32]
Why? Why have we gone backwards?
Jason Wachob [0:17:34]
I think we live in a world of polarization. There are a couple of things. I think it’s playing out in the political landscape. It’s also driven by social media. There’s a great statistic in the book where researchers that Wharton analyzed as the most viral articles at the New York Times, the most emailed list. They classify the articles by emotion. The top three were awe, anxiety, and anger. Anger was number one. Anger increased virality by 34%. If you just pause and digest, what does that mean? If you write an article that causes someone or a large group of people to be angry, that article is going to be read more, is going to be shared more. More clicks equals more revenue equals more subscriptions equals more engagement. If you think about media, and media, that could be a personality, a personal brand, or a publication as big as the New York Times, you’re incentivized to have strong points of view that tend to alienate some people. That’s why I think we’re there. I think without going down the rabbit hole of COVID, that played a significant role. Unfortunately, I think we’re back at that place where– I think there are some people who exclusively will take supplements and will never take a pharmaceutical drug. The same goes for people who take pharmaceuticals and never take a supplement. Then I say there’s balance of someone, depending on the circumstance, who is open to any type of intervention. But that really doesn’t exist.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:19:27]
That’s crazy. Essentially, we could make a post that would make people very angry, which we have, I mean, we could just share our interview, and then it’s going to go viral.
Jason Wachob [0:19:35]
Let’s talk about blank.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:19:38]
It is so amazing that the space that we’re living in, and this is the foundation for where people are getting information. People are getting information on the internet, on social media. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is good information. The culture is now so divisive, rather than if the ultimate goal is how do we move the needle, which I think you guys really did a great job with the book. I want to understand why you chose the pillars that you chose, especially as you talk about leading a joyful– what did you call it? joyspan. I love that word, joyspan. As we think about how do we come together as a team, if we thought about the entire society as a team, how do we move the needle? Right now, I love what you’re saying is that we’re back at square one. We are fighting about the things that are so minuscule are on the periphery of does this really matter, and are you doing Pilates?
Jason Wachob [0:20:43]
I’m not doing anything. Well, that’s a good example. I’ll bring it up. When I had you on our show, I asked about Pilates, and was that enough to build lean muscle mass? You said, no. It really isn’t. You love Pilates. There’s a lot of great stuff that Pilates can do for someone. But if your primary goal is to build lean muscle mass, it’s probably not the most effective use of your time. If you do Pilates, you should still do it, and that created an uproar. It’s ridiculous because—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:21:15]
It’s quite comical.
Jason Wachob [0:21:17]
It really is. I think what, specifically if we’re going to go to the inside baseball of health and wellness, we could get on a diet. That’s the worst one. There are lots of landmines in diet and apparently in Pilates too, in fitness. I think there’s so much we all agree on. At the highest level, if you think about the obesity crisis, the diabetes, there’s so many. Over 90% of us now, it used to be 88%, are metabolically unhealthy. We’re not really doing a good job of building a bigger church here and letting people in. We’re failing. If I’m an outsider who’s trying to get well, and I’m looking at our space, I’m like, these people are a mess.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:21:59]
Yeah, train wrecks.
Jason Wachob [0:22:01]
They can’t agree on bananas.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:22:02]
Right. The conversation—
Colleen Wachob [0:22:04]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:22:06]
Yes. The conversations are train wreck conversations. People are fighting with each other and doing things that definitely don’t move the needle, and confused the general population. How have you solved that? ‘
Colleen Wachob [0:22:23]
One of the studies we referenced in the book is that as people move away from organized religion, their movement modalities have the same sort of tribalism and fervor that people once used to put into their religion, which is just interesting. You see it play out in Pilates, CrossFit, and all the different modalities that we do today. But we really approached the book as it’s longevity for the rest of us. We can’t keep up with these protocols. It’s literally our job to be at the forefront of health and well-being and two parents and entrepreneurs. But everyone’s busy, and everyone has commitments regardless of what life stage. We can’t even do this. We have such a conflicted relationship with the word wellness because we’ve seen literally the life-saving role that can play in our own lives. But we also appreciate the criticisms, especially as they’re rolled out on social media. We really approached it from what is going to have the biggest ROI on your own health and well-being, and how do you figure that out and then integrate it, being the key word, into your life so that it’s not something extra that you have to
Jason Wachob [0:23:26]
Look, I understand so many people come to this world from there’s a healing that takes place. Maybe it’s an illness that no one can figure it out. They remove something from their diet, and all of a sudden, it goes away. In my instance, my back issues where yoga saved me from back surgery. When that happened, I couldn’t get enough yoga. I went to every public yoga class in New York City. I used to go to Tara Stiles’ class all the time. I go to Elena Brower. I go to Jivamukti. I would go whoever was in town. We’d go to LA. Seane Corn, all the great yoga instructors, I couldn’t get enough of it. Then the business grew, and that started to like, I don’t have time for yoga. I think what happened over the long term was I ignored resistance training. Then I had a moment, which I talk about in the book, where all of a sudden, I had lost weight and I don’t understand where it went.
I started doing some training, but I stopped doing legs. I never liked doing legs. I stopped doing legs 25 years ago. The last time I played basketball, I’m like, I’m done with legs. I looked in the mirror, I’m like, my ass is gone. I don’t care about the aesthetics here, but oh my god, I’m getting old white man ass. I need to go back into the gym and do legs and resistance training. It was like an eye-opening moment. I had talked to you recently. This is like a way of saying is I understand how something saves them, it becomes part of their identity. If you challenge that point of view, whether it be yoga, Pilates, a certain diet, someone feels attacked personally. I think it’s difficult to sometimes step back and say, am I doing the right thing? Am I ignoring something? Is my ass shrinking too? Or am I not as well as I could be? I think that’s difficult to do. I think one of the reasons we’re able to do it is because it’s our job.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:25:15]
You have a huge responsibility with that.
Jason Wachob [0:25:17]
We believe it’s our job to be balanced, and we actually believe in multiple points of view.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:25:22]
Yeah, you have a huge responsibility because of the size of the platform and also being one of the first ones. People look to you. People look to mindbodygreen, and they want to find well-vetted information. I know that you are very interested in that integration of well-vetted scientific information with the art of medicine and the art of healing. Would you say that that’s fair?
Jason Wachob [0:25:49]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:25:51]
On a side note, you were just doing universal chest day, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you saw Jason at the gym, you can guarantee he was at the bench press and not at the squat rack, which you’ve changed, thank goodness. In terms of the book, why did you ultimately write the book? What are some of the core fundamental principles? I’m going to preface this by saying, you interview and curate all a huge amount of information. It is your job to put good information out there, which means it’s also your job to pick through the large scope of the buffet. How did you do it? What are some of the points?
Jason Wachob [0:26:44]
I think that the why does stem from the passion for longevity to health span to joyspan, and we felt like we are at this great moment in time where there are so many great minds. There’s so much great science. But the big objection to our world is still resources in terms of time and money. That’s the objection. I don’t have the time to do this. I work. I have kids. I have a life. I don’t have three hours in the morning for morning sunlight, and then sauna, and then cold plunge.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:27:19]
What? You don’t have three hours? I mean, you only have two children.
Jason Wachob [0:27:23]
That’s the protocol for divorce if you’re married. But there’s still a lot of great science there. There’s just so much great information, but the objection still looms large. In our mind, there was an opportunity, and it was partly out of frustration. We’re in this business. We live and breathe it. This is our passion. We are married. We don’t have the time for all of this. We just felt it was somewhat incumbent upon us. How do we take all the great science, all the great minds, and put it into a book and present the information in a way that is grounded in research and science but provides takeaways that people who do work who have children who have lives can implement and not put them in a position where they start reading something and say like, alright, you lost me. I can’t do that. I don’t have to eliminate this food group or spend three hours on that, and so forth. The book became, we felt like, the ultimate format to do that and also have a point of view, that you can do in print, which is harder to do online.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:28:38]
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the first chapter is how did you decide on what you decided on, and if you want to talk a little bit about that? I think the first chapter, which I guess I will spoil it, I was going to say it was breath. How did you decide on the structure of the chapters and also specific techniques? We have a lot of people listening that are very busy. They want to know, what do you do?
Colleen Wachob [0:28:59]
Breath for us was the easy place to start because you can have such a fundamental impact on both your anxiety levels, your stress levels, your sleep. It impacts so much. It was one of those, we didn’t even learn how to breathe properly until a couple years ago. Again, we’ve been living and breathing this world for 15 years. You take 15,000 to 30,000 breaths a day. I was definitely part of the 80% of the population that was breathing all wrong.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:29:29]
When you say breathing wrong, you mean breathing from your mouth?
Colleen Wachob [0:29:33]
I was a mouth breather.
Jason Wachob [0:29:39]
The cat’s out of the bag.
Colleen Wachob [0:29:43]
But it’s like, how do you fix these things and starting with just the simple time in carpool, when you’re doing the dishes, starting to breathe through your nose? I think when you focus on it, it can make you a better listener because you’re not just jumping into the conversation. You have to be a little bit more calm. The ripple effects of this, and we talk about this in the book, it’s like when you have those wellness waves, when something starts going better in your life, you’re just so inspired to do the next thing and be more intentional about taking on something else. The inverse unfortunately, and that is also true when you have a wellness pile up and things aren’t going your way, you don’t get sleep, then there’s this cascading effect of maybe you miss a workout, maybe you’re not cooking as well for yourself. It’s like when you get some of those easy wins, it makes the rest of it so easy. I think breath is just such a great place to get an easy win. Personally, I’m very fascinated by it by my personal experience.
Jason Wachob [0:30:38]
Colleen, she shared her personal story. It’s something you tend not to think about unless you can’t breathe, and not being able to breathe is one of the scariest things in the world. It is, if anything about the power, you do it 15,000 to 30,000 times a day. You don’t think about it. If you think about anxiety, it is the best real-time tool you have. I’m a big fan of meditation. However, when you are anxious, or if you’re in a heated moment, it’s very hard to say I need a timeout. I’m going to go meditate and find space. Practicing mindfulness, you can somewhat do that, but having that real-time technique when you’re in someone’s face or someone’s in your face and to be able to just slow down your breath and try to be more consciously aware, whether it’s your inhale for two, exhale for four, whether it’s your box breathing, we love— one of the reasons that we moved to Miami, we love the school our kids go to. Our six-year-old learn box breathing.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:31:37]
How is that possible?
Colleen Wachob [0:31:39]
She draws the box.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:31:42]
Explain box breathing for the listener
Jason Wachob [0:31:43]
Essentially, it’s inhale, hold. Exhale, hold. Inhale. I’m doing the best bit.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:31:52]
For a count of four, right? The military uses this.
Jason Wachob [0:31:55]
Exactly. That’s pretty impressive.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:31:57]
No, you are the expert. This is your book. You are the breath expert.
Jason Wachob [0:32:01]
But it’s an amazing tool, and there’s the downstream effects. It affects your anxiety, your stress response, your parasympathetic nervous system, your immune system. When you’re breathing well, I think it puts you in a better state.
Colleen Wachob [0:32:21]
There’s such a profound impact on sleep, which is a chapter we’re both so passionate about. 33% of Americans have some sort of sleep disorder. I think it’s probably even more now.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:32:32]
It’s probably double.
Jason Wachob [0:32:35]
Yes. I didn’t tell you this. I track everything. I forgot to tell you. We woke up super early to fly here.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:32:43]
Thank you so much.
Jason Wachob [0:32:44]
Of course, only for you. You’re literally the only reason Colleen’s come back to New York.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:32:48]
Well, I’m thrilled. I’m taking her back with me to Houston. You know we’re going to Houston. We’ll see you later.
Jason Wachob [0:32:56]
I didn’t sleep long, but I intentionally slept on my back last night. Part of the reason why is that our six-year-old daughter climbed into her bed. The box breathing did not work for her at 2:00 a.m. I slept on my back. I was very conscious about breathing through my nose. I tracked everything, and my respiratory rate actually was quite the strongest it’s ever been, strong being low, not crazy low. Yes, I actually think that’s why my deep and REM were better than they would be, except they were normal, deep, and REM, but I only got six hours of sleep.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:33:29]
That’s impressive. Typically, when people sleep on their back, if there’s any issue with apnea, it can—
Jason Wachob [0:33:35]
I don’t have it. I was so in the zone with my nasal breathing.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:33:38]
While you were sleeping, that’s impressive.
Jason Wachob [0:33:40]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:33:41]
Whoa, that’s almost lucid dreaming material right there. When you think about the health and wellness, you think about breathing. Number one, it’s free. Everybody has to do it. Zero cost, free, everybody has to do it. The components in the book are box breathing, which is a four-count inhale, hold for four-count, and exhale for four-count. You guys get the picture, the box. The other part of that, was there a double inhale?
Jason Wachob [0:34:14]
My personal favorite, which is in the book, is the inhale for two, exhale for four. I just think some people can sometimes get tripped up on the box. It’s like, oh, no, I have to think.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:34:24]
Yeah, it’s just way too much.
Colleen Wachob [0:34:26]
It’s real-time useful.
Jason Wachob [0:34:27]
The inhale for two, exhale for four, I feel like, is so simple and tried and true. Essentially, you just hold the exhale longer than the inhale. If you do the inverse of that, you have a problem.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:34:37]
Yeah. You mentioned something that I think is really important. You talked about how if someone is breathing incorrectly, they can increase their anxiety. Well, what if an individual doesn’t realize that they have anxiety because they’re not breathing well? It’s not necessarily that they have an anxiety problem. Potentially, they could have a breathing problem, which is feeding into this concept of being anxious and then—
Colleen Wachob [0:35:01]
Triggering your fight or flight.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:02]
Exactly. If you’re feeling anxious, and you’re listening to this, try it. With all these tasks about the inhale, exhale, it can all be very confusing. But the reality is everybody has to breathe. You have to breathe, so you might as well get it right.
Jason Wachob [0:35:18]
Yeah, well said.
Colleen Wachob [0:35:18]
I like that. Well said.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:22]
Next, what are some of the other pillars? By the way, I already know what these pillars are. But I don’t want to steal the thunder of the book, so we’re going to talk about it.
Colleen Wachob [0:35:33]
Breath dovetails to sleep. Sleep is deeply personal for me. In my 20s, I couldn’t fall asleep for three nights in a row and ended up at the hospital.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:41]
Why? Too much caffeine?
Colleen Wachob [0:35:43]
It was probably a combination of bad sleep etiquette, the mouth breathing, phone.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:47]
It was universal chest day, and then it was mouth breathing. It was just the whole thing.
Colleen Wachob [0:35:50]
Jason Wachob [0:35:51]
The full moon, if we want to go in that direction, wrong day in the astrology calendar.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:35:57]
Mercury in retrograde, I get it.
Colleen Wachob [0:35:59]
Totally. That, coupled with real-world anxiety over giving a presentation in front of 50 people, I couldn’t fall asleep for three nights. I ended up in the hospital where they gave me a Xanax, which definitely helped put me asleep. But then, you’re right where you started. Stress doesn’t go away. It changes and evolves through life. I didn’t learn really how to sleep and think about sleep until much later in life. For me, I’m super thoughtful about caffeine curfew. When I came in here, it was a hot chocolate not a coffee.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:36:33]
Oh, really? I picked up a hot chocolate off the floor. I do, and I’m going to spill this coffee because you don’t want it.
Colleen Wachob [0:36:38]
Yeah, I can’t do the heavy stuff. I have to take a caffeine curfew and move it back a couple of hours. But really being thoughtful about sleep etiquette and things like that. There are studies that show that if you have an alarm clock in your room, and you are an anxious sleeper that it actually can exacerbate those feelings of anxiety before you go to sleep because there’s so much more anxiety involved in the thought and the dread of not being able to fall and stay asleep than what the process actually entails.
Sleep is something deeply personal for me. I can miss a week at the gym. I can eat crappy for a week, and I’ll be okay. If I don’t sleep for a week, I will literally be in the hospital, a place I really don’t want to frequent. It’s been a journey for me. It’s something I’ll always going to have to be thoughtful and intentional about. But I also don’t want it to control my life, and I still want to find joy in it. So even though every sleep expert will tell you not to watch TV in bed, we found that watching TV in bed brings us a lot of joy.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:37:33]
I agree with you, that the next question is what are you watching? I’m going to share with you what we’re watching: SEAL Team 6.
Colleen Wachob [0:37:41]
Oh, we’ll have to add that into our repertoire.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:37:42]
I think actually it’s just called SEAL Team. I don’t know, I think it’s SEAL Team 6. But they’re on deployment number 5085. It’s just pretty impressive.
Colleen Wachob [0:37:51]
But I think you’re hitting on a really important point that you can’t watch anxiety-ridden murder mysteries or things that are going to cause you bad news cycles before you go to bed. We’ve been loving learning about Formula One and Ted Lasso. I learned so much about golf through the amazing Netflix golf series and lots of inspirational sports stories through the Netflix tennis series. There’s some good quality TV, and we find it important to really exit the wellness world so that it’s not like, oh, we’re working. It has to be outside of our world.
Jason Wachob [0:38:24]
We’ll watch Bill Maher. To your point about understanding different points of view, whenever we’re near an election or something big politically, we will consciously watch Fox and watch CNN and MSNBC and just rotate and just understand what everyone’s saying.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:38:46]
Deeply balanced. This is pretty impressive.
Jason Wachob [0:38:50]
I think to understand—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:38:51]
–the craziness of the world.
Colleen Wachob [0:38:52]
Yeah. We do that in the wellness world, too. We will read and consume everything and curate the best.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:38:59]
That is pretty amazing. I love how you said exit the wellness world because it can be very dogmatic. Basically, the worst thing anyone could ever do on the face of the Earth would be to watch TV in bed. You realize that you are destroying your circadian. How could you do that? This is what is so funny is that in the real world, it doesn’t have to be so binary. Again, you said waking up, doing your meditation, you have three hours later. I don’t know who has time to do that. The other aspect is you shouldn’t be on your phone and don’t be watching– I should probably change the SEAL Team with all the deployments that may be not be so relaxing. I look over at my husband, he’s dead asleep. But the balance here that you’re talking about is how do you integrate wellness with joy in the real world? You guys are at the forefront of putting out that information, and you both are really fit.
Jason Wachob [0:40:01]
We’re trying. Again, you’ve had a profound influence.
Colleen Wachob [0:40:05]
I’ve been in training for this conversation.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:40:08]
We are doing push-ups after this. That was the deal.
Jason Wachob [0:40:10]
I didn’t workout today, so I’m up for that.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:40:12]
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Jason Wachob [0:42:57]
One of my funny anecdotes, you mentioned being dogmatic in this world, and that’s a real thing. There is judgment. I’ll share this. You will remember that when Colleen was first– and we write about this in the book, getting pregnant was extraordinarily challenging. It was a long road. We waited to the absolute end to start telling people. Colleen was pregnant, and this was the pregnancy that ended up being Ellie. A friend of ours in the space, we will not name him, looks at Colleen and says, you look bloated. I think you have SIBO.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:43:28]
That is hilarious.
Jason Wachob [0:43:32]
Colleen’s like no, I don’t have SIBO. I don’t think so.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:43:38]
Well, I’m actually pregnant. What were some of the takeaways, aside from the TV situation, which I’m sure I think I read in this book that you guys do use dimming light, blue blocker, and you’re doing the whole thing. You’re integrating.
Jason Wachob [0:43:53]
To some degree.
Colleen Wachob [0:43:54]
We’re not dogmatic about it.
Jason Wachob [0:43:56]
When we go to bed, we try to do the blackout as well. We watch TV. We have a flat screen TV., so the blackout really isn’t a blackout. It’s essentially lights out. We do have an Eight Sleep mattress, and I do wear technology.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:44:10]
We love Eight Sleep.
Jason Wachob [0:44:13]
So do we. The EMF, that’s another conversation. Wow.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:44:17]
You’re irradiating yourself while you’re sleeping?
Jason Wachob [0:44:19]
I think without going down, it’s a rabbit hole. At least we think there’s something there that’s interesting that does make sense. But it quickly goes through a space of conspiracy theory and 5G Bill Gates and the world and they’re tracking everything and the chips. It’s just too much, and it’s really hard to speak to someone who we think is really credible and balanced. I don’t think that exists. At any rate, we violate that rule.
Colleen Wachob [0:44:50]
I think you have to be dogmatic about the things that are actually going to move the needle for you. For me, that’s unfortunately changed how I consume alcohol. I consume a lot less. If I do, I try to have it earlier in the day, so I’ll be the weird person ordering a margarita at brunch.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:05]
It was that way now.
Colleen Wachob [0:45:06]
Exactly. Check out that backpack.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:08]
What are the recommendations that you give in the book for sleep?
Jason Wachob [0:45:13]
Temperature is a big one. If you can cool your room to 65, that’s always a good one. Or if you have a cooling mattress, that’s amazing. I think alcohol is a huge one. Meal timing is another one.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:27]
I want to hear about the meal timing. When should you stop eating for sleep?
Jason Wachob [0:45:32]
You need to feel what works right for you. But I think our general rule of thumb is three hours.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:41]
I would agree with that.
Jason Wachob [0:45:42]
Try not have too heavy of a meal, sugar and heavy desserts, especially.
Colleen Wachob [0:45:46]
We just naturally eased into that from a family rhythm standpoint because we have two kids who eat early. It was just like, great. We’ll just make this our mealtime.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:45:54]
Do the early bird special.
Colleen Wachob [0:45:55]
Jason Wachob [0:45:56]
Routine is very big with sleep. Try to establish a routine that relaxes you. Go to that routine, especially for those who struggle because you start setting yourself up for success. You start building that momentum.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:46:14]
What I’m hearing you say is that I’m assuming that you don’t have a huge variation in the time you wake up and the time you go to bed. Colleen doesn’t. Jason—
Jason Wachob [0:46:26]
Not really. I’m a little earlier these days.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:46:29]
But is it consistent?
Colleen Wachob [0:46:31]
I think because we have a schedule with kids, our life is relatively consistent. They’re going to wake us up if we’re not up. Because of the impact that a late night out will have, we don’t do it. We try to drink earlier at lunch. Or if we do have a drink, it’s on the earlier side, and it’s not that frequent because of its impact on our sleep.
Jason Wachob [0:46:54]
If someone invites us to dinner at 8:30pm, we’re like, we just can’t even fathom what that would—
Colleen Wachob [0:46:59]
We wouldn’t do well in Argentina.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:47:01]
That’s parent midnight.
Colleen Wachob [0:47:03]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:47:06]
Yeah, that’s parent midnight. You cover nutrition and exercise. You also cover connection, which I thought was really unusual. Tell me why you chose that.
Jason Wachob [0:47:16]
That’s a huge one given where we are in this moment of time. There was this great study in 2019 that came out, which essentially said that half of all people lacked any meaningful IRL connection. This was 2019. Can you just imagine what that number is?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:47:37]
That’s in real life.
Jason Wachob [0:47:38]
Yes, IRL, in real life. Coming back to joyspan, we just think this is so paramount. I’m going to share one of my favorite studies, the Roseto study. I love this study. Even though I do all the things nutrition, the exercise, the 28 vials of blood twice a year, the trackers, I do all the things. This study is a good reminder for me personally about connection. Roseto was a small rural town in Pennsylvania in the 1950s. In the ‘50s, heart disease arrives in America, unfortunately, with the exception of Roseto. Their population that are 65, I think, had half the rate of heart disease, and heart disease was completely absent for under 55, which is unbelievable. They studied Roseto, and they’re like, what on earth are these people doing that heart disease is just not here? They’re immune to heart disease. They looked at their diet, and they’re having spaghetti and meatballs. They’re drinking every night, and they’re smoking, so that’s not it.
They took a closer look at the community. It was a small, very close-knit Italian community. Multi-generational living was paramount. They were celebrating every night, whether it’s an anniversary or a birthday. The famous saying it takes a village, it really did. Those people stuck together, and they were joyful. What happened in the early ‘60s when the community started to break up, people started to go away to college, and so on, heart disease catches up with the national average. Any reputable doctor in our space will say all these things are wrong, and they were wrong. But to me, it just speaks to the magic of connection. There are so many studies, we could cherry pick them, but I will for the purpose of me proving this point. Essentially, exercise can lower mortality anywhere between 20% and 40%, nutrition, 30%. But having and being in a loving relationship or meaningful friendships can lower mortality up to 45%. There’s study after study with happiness and joy, and it’s just something I think we don’t talk enough. There are so many people, I think, in our space, in our world, we’re consumed with nutrition. We’re consumed with exercise. That’s important. But if you’re miserable, you’re going to die a premature death. You will not maximize your, well, I will say it, joyspan.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:50:15]
I love that. Actually, I had never thought about that before, frankly. When I think about health and wellness, I do. I think about nutrition and sleep, although I have two really little kids, so I don’t really think about sleep that much, and exercise, all the things. I think about community. But what you said that is really fascinating is happiness. I don’t think I have ever thought about happiness, nor have I ever prescribed that, and I should.
Jason Wachob [0:50:45]
I think you’re probably generally happy.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:50:47]
I am a very happy person.
Jason Wachob [0:50:48]
Yeah, and you’re married. You look happy. You have two beautiful kids. A lot of people can’t say that. I think it’s just something not to lose sight of, and I do think we lost sight of that. It’s something I need to be reminded of. On a personal note, I went to Columbia. I played basketball and a fraternity, all of that. Picture what that looked like, that was me. In my 20s, we had an amazing group of friends, 15 to 20 guys. We all lived in New York, all had a great time. It was just like this amazing community. Then people start to move away just like my Roseto story. I get married, kids, business, and I lost touch. I’m not alone. I’m still very happy person. But I think of friendship and community, it’s something in my 40s, and men are actually terrible here, I think, compared to women. I’ve lost touch with a lot of people. This is something I need to work on. I don’t think I’m unique.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:51:50]
You’re not. We see that with the military when they transition from military to civilian. They lose the brotherhood. They lose their brothers. It’s not just men. It’s men and women. This is the time where depression, substance abuse, suicide, all of these things pick up.
Jason Wachob [0:52:06]
Yes, and men don’t share.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:52:09]
That is very true. The idea of happiness, have you thought much about how to implement that? I guess it’s different for everybody. But you said something, and I don’t mean to interrupt you going on, but you said something really interesting. You said here I am, and we were talking before we turned this on, and we were talking about Jason’s muscles and all the other things. He was back in there doing squats and sprinting to the bathroom back and forth, getting all pumped for the show. You said something really interesting. You said, I’m co-founder of mindbodygreen, but the most important thing in my life is my family and the happiness that comes from your family.
Colleen Wachob [0:52:53]
We talk a lot about this idea of purpose. We love how Arthur Brooks coins it in terms of writing a personal mission statement and really thinking about the type of life that you want, what brings you joy within that life, and how you are serving others, how you are caring for that others, how you feel useful. I went through so many stages of trying to find my purpose and putting a lot of effort behind it. Instead, I had to step back and realize, too that as the decades unfold, my purpose in life changes. I also went through this exercise of looking forward and thinking about, what is the type of life that I want to have in my 70s, in my 80s, and my 90s? You imagine a world where your, hopefully, potentially, if my children are into that, future grandchildren are nearby, and I want to be present with them. I want to have the type of relationship with my children where they want their children to be part of my life. I want to be agile on the ground with them and able to move and play in a way that has a lot of ease. So you start thinking about preparing your body and your soul for the type of life that you do want in 20 or 30 years. For me, that has taken on a lot of different roles through the ages. One of the things that has brought me a lot of joy is really being closer to water. In a way, I feel like that brings me closer to nature, closer to the universe, and it’s helped playing more of bringing more of the transcendent into my life here. But through it all, right now, caring for our family is my purpose, and yes, I have this other job here on the side.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:54:39]
That only has 15 million views or downloads or whatever it is a day or a month or something outrageous.
Colleen Wachob [0:54:46]
But in terms of values, I have gotten so much personal purpose out of that. I know through the decades, it’s going to change. Right now, there’s parts of my life that I’m not able to nurture with the same love. We’ve all joked about not having enough time. There’ll be a decade in life where I have a lot of time. I want to make sure that as I navigate through these decades that I continue to ask myself and check in on the present, and then look to the future of where I’m going.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:55:14]
What is the one piece of advice that you would give an individual who’s sitting at home thinking, I’m a complete workaholic? I want to be successful. I want to make money for my family, and I’m not happy. What would you tell them?
Jason Wachob [0:55:28]
I think it’s a couple things. People have to work. People have to make a living. Financial security is a big thing. We’ve had money worries along the way. There have been stressful times. I don’t want to discount financial wellness. That’s a big thing. When you’re worried about your finances, you’re not sleeping well. You’re not exercising. You’re not eating well. It dovetails. That’s super important, and that’s something we actually don’t talk enough in this space. But with all that said, I think the questions I would ask, are you looking forward, or are you looking backward? That’s a big one. Are you reminiscing about the past you’re regretting? Are you thinking about exes? Are you thinking about I should have done this or that? Or are there things you’re looking forward to? What’s the new project? What’s that vacation? Although I will say, if you’re thinking about vacation too much, you’re probably in the wrong position that you’re looking to escape. Are you looking forward, or are you looking backward? In terms of connection, do you have someone you can call when you things hit the fan?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:56:35]
You’re allowed to swear on the show. We’ll beep it out.
Jason Wachob [0:56:37]
If you can’t, you need to ask yourself, why is that? Maybe it’s time for some introspection. Maybe you need to reach out to some people. A great tip we got from Esther Perel we’d included in the book, I think it’s gone a long way. This is something I’ve included. When I was growing up, you’d have to pick up the phone and call someone and say hello? And they would say, who is this? And you’d say, oh, it’s me, remember me? Versus today, you can just text and say, hey, so and so, it’s Jason. I thought of you, and I just wanted to reach out. How are you doing? I would love to catch up sometime. It’s that simple, and you would be surprised by the response in that you will probably get a response that’s positive. If you don’t, you’re going to know. No big deal, you move on. It’s a text. It’s not as confrontational as like, oh my god, a voice phone call. So that’s a big one. I think that’s a good place to start, that introspection. I think another big one is waking up in the morning and asking, what brings you joy? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of? Taking inventory is something we do quite regularly.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:57:47]
How often do you guys make a new why statement, why you’re doing what you’re doing?
Jason Wachob [0:57:52]
I think not that often anymore. I think the big one was when we had children. I think things changed pre kids. We still work a lot, and mindbodygreen is still our first child.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:58:09]
That’s a big child. That child must eat a lot.
Jason Wachob [0:58:13]
Colleen Wachob [0:58:14]
Very hard labor.
Jason Wachob [0:58:15]
GenZ? Wow. And I think with children, it put everything in perspective. The why, I think, is our family and our children. People use the word legacy and making the world a better place. I think we do actually want to make the world a better place. I do think all the anger, all the divisiveness, all the wonderful and terrible things about our world also are part of our why right now. We think we serve a purpose with mindbodygreen and everything we do. It is purpose-driven, but I think family entered the equation in a new and different way when we had our children.
Colleen Wachob [0:59:05]
Going back to your question about that stressed out person, I know that person who was working too hard, too many corporate jobs, and too much stress. I wish I could have been more thoughtful and nurturing with her because I think we put too much pressure to connote purpose with job. If you are lucky enough to have your vocation be your purpose, fantastic, but that should not be the expectation. I do think it sets us up for failure. Whenever I talk to anyone who’s like, should I quit my job and do this entrepreneurial venture? I’m like, no. You should figure out if it works first, ease into it on the side, and use the stability that you have from your current job and your financial well-being because if then you find yourself in a situation where this project doesn’t pan out and you don’t have a job, and then you’re worried about money and rent and caring for your basic needs, that doesn’t help. I think it’s really about just putting one foot in front of the other. If your job isn’t bringing you joy, trying to find out what does bring you joy? If you can’t answer that question, then really just putting one foot in front of the other until you can answer it.
Jason Wachob [1:00:20]
To add to your point, and we do still struggle with this and I’ll speak for me personally, is pre kids, my identity, and it still is, is founder of mindbodygreen.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:00:34]
You mean it’s not buff, basketball player? She slipped me a five, and she was like, hey, got to make sure he’s on the—
Jason Wachob [1:00:46]
Colleen was like, why do you want to join this gym? She was very supportive. But she was like, you really need a trainer this often? I’m like, I knew the dude at the beginning. I do think your self-esteem, the day you’re having, when traffic is good, or revenue, or the supplement or whatever it might be, or this interview, you’d feel good. I think we feel the ups and downs more because our identity would be so wrapped up in mindbodygreen. With kids, that somewhat changed. I’m dad first, although we still struggle with that. If you’re an entrepreneur, there are always bad days. That’s something we still work on, but I think more so pre kids.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:01:35]
That’s really important just in terms of the spectrum of life, of how in this world do we balance family, really moving the needle for people. Where do you think this space is going? Many years ago, you were on the forefront. You both were on the forefront of putting information in place, of doing the things that probably felt crazy to people. What are they talking about? They’re doing the mindbodygreen, what is this? I am sure that you have thought about what is coming next.
Jason Wachob [1:02:08]
You’re one of those things. You are coming next. You are here. We’re huge believers in what you’re doing, muscle-centric medicine. There’s so much gray in our space and nuance. However, when you were talking about the connection between lean muscle mass, we all know the stat. It’s one out of four people fall over the age of 65. If you fall once, you are twice as likely to fall again. If you fall and break a hip, you have a 30% to 40% chance of dying within a year. I want to point out to everyone who’s listening, that doesn’t mean you die from the broken hip. It’s all the things that could happen, the complications. And look, you can die. The complications, whether it’s an infection in the hospital or I’m bedridden, I lose hope. Someone’s going to try to cancel us.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:02:58]
Thank you for clarifying.
Jason Wachob [1:02:59]
I know much of our world speaks anecdotally, so I try to avoid it. Those are the stats. But anecdotally, we’ve seen this play out unfortunately with friends. With all that said, I think, without question, when you look at the data, you need to focus on building lean muscle mass for a variety of reasons. One, it’s not just about the life you want to live. You want to be mobile. You want to be strong when you’re in your 70s, 80s, and so on with your grandchildren or great grandchildren. If you do have a moment where you slip, are you strong enough to potentially break the fall? Do you have mobility so you can grab something? Or do you have the body armor to absorb the fall? Without going into it, this is your world, metabolic health and all the other things that can go wrong, and the best way to combat so much of this is building lean muscle mass. It’s not just about the fall. It’s bigger than that. It’s about cardiovascular health and metabolic health and the downstream effects. So without question, that is something that we believe is here to stay and, I think, somewhat absent from the health and wellness conversation. It’s always been in muscle and fitness, and body has always been around, but I think in the more, I would say, holistic space, it was absent. It was about yoga and Pilates and definitely leaned to plant-based.
Colleen Wachob [1:04:31]
I think the nutrition modalities tend to move with the movement modalities. In the 2010s, it was a lot of yoga. I think vegan, vegetarianism, lots of green juice had that moment.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:04:44]
That’s when you had SIBO.
Colleen Wachob [1:04:47]
Exactly. Now, it’s really exciting to see women turning to the gym for weightlifting classes. There’s been a huge surgence of that within ClassPass and people with data around which classes women are choosing. I think that movement and nutrition tend to move in tandem. It’s really exciting to see this new wave that you are definitely at the forefront of.
Jason Wachob [1:05:10]
It’s indisputable. If you’re looking to build muscle, and you talk about muscle proteins and all the things your audience is familiar with, and I’m not going to go through all the numbers because you are the queen, there’s no denying it. That is so big. I’ll bring it back to connection and joy we just think have been absent from the conversation and are just so critical, especially in this moment of time. We’re in a loneliness epidemic. There’s the other terrible statistic. Loneliness is equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It’s not just loneliness, we’ve got a mental health epidemic. We’ve got some work to do. Again, you can be the fittest and be doing all the things, but be miserable and a complete emotional wreck. That’s just something that we really think needs to, and we hope it’s here to stay, really enter the conversation.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:06:20]
I really have never thought about that before. I have never thought about happiness.
Jason Wachob [1:06:25]
Think about it this way, too. I’d say most people know if they’re not eating well. Most people know if they’re probably not working—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:06:36]
Come on, you guys all know it.
Jason Wachob [1:06:39]
But I would say when it comes to emotional well-being, I think a lot of people are like, I never really think about that. Did I do the friend inventory? Do I really have purpose? Happiness, I think, is tricky, but I think that is a little bit more nuanced and not top of mind.
Colleen Wachob [1:06:59]
And are you making the right effort? I mean, we talked a little bit about the show. I think for 13 years of my life, I wasn’t making enough of an effort to connect to old friends, to make new friends and a new community. I think when you start thinking about connection and how important it is, you really have to be aggressive about making connections, making friends, doing things that make you uncomfortable, being the first one to ask someone else out on a friend date and to keep in touch, and in some cases, putting yourself in slightly vulnerable situations. I’ve had to really work on that myself, seeing that I’m now in a new area that I know I’ll be in for at least 15 years, probably more, and that I do see the importance of having a group of supportive women, not just from college, but really near and dear to me.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:07:48]
I want to highlight something that you said. You said something about doing something uncomfortable. You also said happiness in the same sentence, well, potentially in the same sentence. I often think about happiness as it doesn’t matter if I’m happy. But what I realized is that it doesn’t matter if I’m executing and doing an action, happiness in that moment, for an outcome that is going to generate joy, and that, I think is so important. That’s what you’re talking about. We’re using happiness and joy interchangeably. But the initial thing of doing hard things, people are going to be like, that is not making me happy. And you’re right. I would say a whole bunch of swear words now, but I’m not because I’m hoping that your kids will listen to this, is that you do the hard thing in the moment, and that hard thing in the moment may not make you happy. You might be quite miserable. But subsequently, you begin to facilitate joy and happiness because what does that end up meaning? You have new friends. Or you ran 100 miles or whatever it is that you’re doing. Or if you’re like Jason, squatting 575 pounds, and that’s really critical. There’s a solution to that. Joy, happiness, again, I have always thought that happiness is irrelevant. But it’s not because the joy after doing the hard thing, or whatever it is, is critical.
Colleen Wachob [1:09:22]
Yeah, and I think after, you get that wellness wave, whether it’s making a friend or something else. I don’t think anyone most necessarily love that first day in the gym, the first time they’re eating healthy. But it’s like once you get that momentum, you’re like, I get this. I want to do it more. You start seeing those, whether it’s joy or whether it’s just signs of momentum, and then it’s like, this is just an actually joyful way to live.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:09:47]
I love that. There is one thing that I wanted to talk about, but I know we’re getting tight on time, unless you guys have a little bit of time. I don’t know a better way of saying it, but you called it Kardashian wellness. What is that?
Jason Wachob [1:10:02]
Do you want to start on this one?
Colleen Wachob [1:10:05]
Yeah. I think when I—
Jason Wachob [1:10:05]
We watch that show.
Colleen Wachob [1:10:08]
I actually love the show. We use it really as a metaphor for some of the things that happen in some of the predominantly coastal, but not just limited to coastal, wellness that makes me cringe when we talk about the knock on wellness and why we have a complicated relationship with the world is because you think it’s very expensive. It’s out of touch. It’s not something that people can incorporate into their lives. I saw that a lot when we lived in New York for 14 years. I didn’t feel like it was a movement that I felt included in or wanted to be a part of when well-being to me is so much more about just the fundamentals of these life skills that we’ve been talking about through our conversation and less about these wellness things or aesthetics or quote, unquote, vibes. It’s why we intentionally moved away. Our book is not The Joy of Wellness, it’s The Joy of Well-Being to try to bring it back to this conversation on the fundamentals.
Jason Wachob [1:11:09]
I think what you’re also getting at is a feeling that that type of wellness was a bit more of a popularity contest, the kind that felt more like a high school popularity contest. Maybe it was a little bit more flashier, maybe lacking substance. I think, again, the big objection to health is time and resources. We’ve come so far, technology has advanced, and there are so many great products, but it plays into that stereotype in a way that is hilarious and not inclusive. If you have the resources, there are a lot of great products. It’s like Eight Sleep, that’s not cheap, but it’s amazing. If you can afford that and sleep is important you, knock yourself out. It feels almost like cult of personality in a pop culture way, which, there’s good to it. But I think what we’re attracted to is substance and science, and another big one that people don’t have, nuance and balance.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:12:30]
I would say that’s a four-letter word, but it’s more than four letters. It’s more than four letters. I think it’s great. I think you guys are doing amazing work. I’m so happy that you got up early and you missed your beauty sleep to come and hang out with me. This episode is going to be so valuable for people. Your book is great, The Joy of Well-Being not The Joy of Wellness, and obviously I’m going to include where everybody can find you. You guys are changing the game. You’re a little short, but you’re changing the game. I’m so grateful for your time and energy. Thank you.
Jason Wachob [1:13:03]
Well, you are so kind. It’s such an honor to be here, and you’re literally the only people we find in New York.
Colleen Wachob [1:13:09]
Thank you for inspiring us.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:13:11]
The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon podcast and YouTube are for general information purposes only and do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice. No patient-doctor relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast, YouTube, or materials linked from the podcast or YouTube is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professional for any such conditions. This is purely for entertainment and educational purposes only