Phil Murray Makes Nutrition Coaching Simple(ish)

Phil Murray Bio:

My name is Phil. I like to call myself a fun-loving superstar who catches lightning in a bottle on the reg! But my friends might not be so flattering. So, let’s try again - I’m a 5’8”, medium build, blue-eyed human. They can’t argue with that, right?

Maybe my introduction should be somewhere in the middle. Hm. One more try: I tend to be quiet in new environments but have lots of opinions underneath. I find that I can be a bit of a control-freak, but am learning to let go and support others better. Sports and music are the two things that grip me (we will see if they leak into the show). I consider myself a family man and, once or twice, my wife may have accused me of being the reason our daughter is a tad spoiled…

I have spent the last 10+ years as a leader in the recreation and hospitality industry. I have always found fitness to be intimidating. I’ve certainly tried to power through and get going, never finding success. I am taking this journey with you to ask the questions we find ourselves getting stuck on. Does fitness really matter? And if so, how do I capture the benefits of fitness without flipping my life upside down? Because, you know, I really like my life.

Laundry has always been my household chore of choice. Because it makes me feel productive, but I can still watch TV or listen to podcasts while doing it. So that might be the most telling thing I can share about myself.

Simple(ish) Fitness Summary:

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Guest Intro

Phil, we’re excited to connect with you and hear your thoughts about achieving fitness goals.

At Simple(ish), you and your partner, Brandon McDonald, have taken a stance that we agree with: achieving goals requires habit coaching and formation. You share tips and tricks to make that tricky transition from bad habits to good habits easier on your website and via your Podcast. We’re excited for you to share some of those.

We also look forward to learning more about you and your partner’s experience getting your nutrition coaching business off the ground. 

Now let’s get to the good stuff:



Q: All great comic book characters have an origin story…tell us about the origin of Simple(ish) Fitness. What inspired you and Brandon to get started?

Brandon and I have had a long friendship: we have been roommates, coworkers, and friends through many stages of life, and have really been wanting to work together on a project that we care about. 

Enter the fitness world: we realized that in the fitness space there were principles and topics that we wanted to have a voice on. We wanted to ask questions and find answers that simplified the process and made living a healthy lifestyle attainable and not intimidating. So we launched Simple(ish) Fitness, a podcast where we could have that voice and really begin to help others.

Q: How did you guys decide working together made sense?

Brandon is a lifelong athlete and fitness professional (as an athletic coach and personal trainer). 

I come from the proverbial ‘other side of the street.’ I was intimidated by fitness and found avoiding it easier than learning and trying to tackle a healthy lifestyle. 

We realized that what we could bring to the fitness community as a team was a perspective that combined well-understood values and habits with well-defined questions and concerns. 

Together we are able to find answers to those questions in an educated way that effectively relates with, and speaks to, others struggling to make fitness a part of their lifestyle.

Q: How do you work with clients? What are they looking to achieve over how long?

Like so many answers in the fitness space… it depends. We understand that everyone's view of fitness, what works for them, and their mental and physical responses are very idiosyncratic. 

Our goal is to not be intimidating, teach the value in learning about health and fitness, and give actionable items that are easy to implement for others. 

Then as we make connections and listeners ask questions, we want to meet them where they are and help them make positive changes to their life. 

Sometimes this is as simple as understanding how important sleep is and week by week checking in and encouraging them to make small changes to improve their sleep. Sometimes it’s helping someone lose a lot of weight by teaching larger topics, such as nutrition, and how to have a good relationship with food and the scale in order to be patient and achieve their goal in a slow and sustainable way over many years.

Q: You and Brandon have the Simple(ish) Podcast, which you record from your respective homes in Oregon and the DC area. Tell us about that. How did you land on doing a Podcast? What would you say are the pros and cons versus just a website?

Yes, Brandon and I live almost three thousand miles from each other! And with technology these days, we are able to make it work. The hardest aspect is not the distance as much as the three-hour time difference.

In order to get together for recording and making episodes, it often requires one of us to stay up extra late or get up extra early, but we are happy to do that because we care about the project and helping others! 

We really wanted to make a podcast where our relationship and dynamic could be a part of what makes our offering unique.

There is a lot of work done for our website, blog, production, and other aspects that we are not able to do together, and while we find that very valuable, we did not want to lose the connection of our physical voices and chemistry being displayed as part of the experience.

Phil Murray Makes Nutrition Coaching Simple(ish)

Q: The Podcast motto is: “Simplifying fitness for everyday people without flipping their lives upside-down.” Tell us a little bit about that last part. What have you seen people do that you’re trying to help them avoid?

Great question, going back to a common fear we have when trying to tackle a healthy lifestyle, fitness can be intimidating. 

And often what we hear, or sometimes just the conception we have, is that we can’t begin to make meaningful changes to our life without uprooting parts of our life that we don’t want to change. But that isn’t true! 

We can all make healthy changes to our life and make huge impacts without having to ‘flip our lives upside-down’. Going from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one does require some identity and mindset shifts. We don’t ignore that, but it’s okay if those changes take shape slowly and you start by making little changes now that don’t alter who you are as you gain value and understanding in fitness.

Q: You recently did a 5-part series on nutrition on the podcast. What are some of the takeaways for our non-podcast listeners?

The nutrition series we just completed was a blast to put together, and is the most in-depth we have ever dove into a single topic. 

But nutrition being the monster that it is, we felt that the best way to simplify it was to tackle one piece of the puzzle at a time: having a relationship with food, understanding our food, dieting, learning what to actually eat, and making a nutrition plan that works for you. 

The biggest takeaways that I would want someone to know if they can’t listen to the whole series would be: 

1. No food is bad, and eating any food doesn’t make you bad. 

2. Learning what you are getting from your food helps you buy into making healthy choices. 

3. When making a plan, figure out what works for you and not just what you think you're supposed to do. 

Obviously there is a lot more and I could dive into what each of those means, but those are the biggest lessons for me!

Q: You give away a lot of great tips on the podcast and your blog, but also offer coaching (or to help find the right coach) for those that need it. Tell us a little bit more about who actually needs a coach and what benefits they get?

Honestly, almost everyone could benefit from coaching. It is the act of connecting with someone who knows more than you in that area and can help you make improvements in yourself, no matter what stage you are in. 

But the person who is really ready for a fitness coach is the person who has likely started to see value in fitness and is ready to make a commitment to it financially, physically, and with their time. 

That person who is ready to commit to giving of themselves in those areas will see many benefits - they gain accountability and will follow through more often, they will have direction on what to focus on and when for meeting their goals, and they will get attention given to them in a personalized way, which is really the only way that works. 

Sometimes we are able to effectively personalize our approach to fitness ourselves, but a trainer is a professional at knowing what is most important and what will work best for you through their expertise and experience.

Q: You reference more quantitative measurements of progress like weight lost or changes to circumference due to muscle gained or fat lost, but you guys also use some less traditional progress measurements. Tell us about those? What are some of those?

Tracking your weight or measuring your body, as you mentioned, are great! And when kept in the right perspective (mostly I mean when patience can be exercised), are really very helpful numbers to track. 

But they aren’t the only way to know if what you are doing works. And not everyone’s goals are always to gain or lose weight (i.e. get bigger or smaller). 

So one thing we bring up over and over is ‘how do you feel?’ It's certainly less quantitative, but when you are working towards a healthier lifestyle, we want to get in tune with what our body is telling us and where we can start to see results right away (and not have to exercise patience to learn value). 

Things like: 

  • How is your energy level?

  • How clearly are you thinking?

  • How is your stomach responding?

You will likely see the positive effects of what you are doing in those areas much quicker than you would in weight loss; and they are huge in helping us gain value in the short term while waiting for long-term results. 

But tracking how you feel, and not just the stats, is important, too. That’s why we are big believers in journaling of any kind where you can look back and see how you felt - that’s why we felt it was important to dedicate a whole episode and blog feature just about journaling.

Q: You reference fixing “Your Relationship with Food.” Tell us a little bit about that. What transformation are people achieving when that relationship changes?

Changing your nutrition is arguably the biggest factor to seeing changes in your life. 

Now I’m not saying you can cut out things like movement and sleep. Those are essential to a healthy lifestyle too, but your nutrition is up there.

And the emotional side of eating is really a big factor in being able to make effective changes. Think about how much of what you eat is decided by emotions… do you eat differently when you're stressed? Busy? Bored? When you feel like you deserve or don’t deserve it? 

A lot of eating a certain way, and how we feel about ourselves following that choice, comes from our relationship and habits around food. So when we talk about fixing your relationship with food we want to look at that and wrap our heads around why we eat the way we do, what we view as good and bad eating, and the importance of the emotions around food before we get lost in the details of things like how protein works in your body or if a particular diet will work.

Q: Care to share a healthy recipe that clients just love?

Oh man, there are so many, and it’s really all about what you like, but one of our big talking points is getting more protein. And one way to do that we love is getting rotisserie chicken! It’s easy and affordable, and there are so many ways to serve it and make it last. 

So every week or two (depending on how much your household eats), grab a rotisserie chicken and spend some time taking it off the bone. Then you can put some in a soup, mix it in a salad, save some later in a container, or heck, even carry it around for a snack! But it’s precooked, goes with so many dishes, and saves really well, too.

Q: For those that want to see more of your writing or get subscribed to your podcast, where can they find the Simple(ish) Fitness team?

Thanks for asking, we would love to connect and have everyone check us out! You can find the Simple(ish) Fitness Podcast on any app where you get podcasts or on our website, (there are also links for the show on all the major podcast platforms on the website).

You can join our facebook group titled, Simple(ish) Fitness where we post updates and are working to build a community. On Instagram, you can follow the show at @simpleishfitness and you can also follow Brandon (@coach_bzm) and I (@pmdmurray) directly on our personal accounts.

And you can find our profile in the MevoLife community.

We are eager to connect with anyone looking to build a healthier lifestyle and see where we can fit into their quest to do so!

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