Explore the insightful conversation between Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Katie Bramlett in this episode. Delve into various compelling topics, including the crucial distinction between movement and exercise and the intricate dynamics of body transformation. Katie, the co-founder of weshape.com, shares her expertise on redefining fitness standards through functional movement patterns for sustainable results. The discussion sheds light on conventional fitness programs' challenges and the importance of prioritizing quality movement over calorie burn.
Discover how weshape.com offers personalized at-home workouts and engages users in a holistic approach to fitness. Tune in to gain valuable insights and embark on a journey towards improved well-being.
In this episode, we cover:
00:27 – Weshape Brief Introduction
05:10 – Common Foundational Movements
08:46 – Emotional and Motivational Factors
14:36 – Bringing Workout to Another Level
18:53 – Body Transformation Expectation
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey guys! It's Dr. Justin Marchegiani here at Beyond Wellness Radio with Katie Bramlett. Today, we're going to have a great podcast. We're going to be talking about a handful of topics ranging from movement versus exercise and a whole bunch of aspects of body transformation. Katie, welcome to the podcast. How you doing?
Katie Bramlett: Great, thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, very good. Excellent to have you. We talked about kind of in our pre-interview here on a couple of topics we wanted to hit out of the gates. We chatted about kind of movement versus exercise. I know you have a company over at weshape.com that does a lot of functional movement type of implementation to the masses. If you want to talk a little bit more about that movement versus exercise component.
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, absolutely. So, maybe I'll even start by sharing, you know, my co-founder and I used to run a different company that was rooted in digital Fitness Products that would offer people like how to get a six-pack or how to burn the most calories, and it was rooted in body transformations. So we helped thousands of people lose a lot of weight and transform their bodies.
And it was really interesting after we were in that company for a while and we had scaled that company, we had made the Inc 500 three times, I was like, “This is not feeling right.” And part of that was because I had noticed that all the people who joined our program, who had lost the weight they wanted and transformed their bodies, they still felt really bad. And so I was like, “We might be going down the wrong path.” So my co-founder and I got together three years ago and we said, “What are we gonna do? We don't really—we're, you know, we're in the business sense, we're doing great, but we're not really aligned philosophically. So, what are we gonna do about this?”
And Key is what I consider an incredible movement specialist. He really understands, like, all the biomechanics of the human body and how all the movement dysfunctions that people have and how to remedy those through movement and through exercise. So he was like, “I feel like we need to come in and redefine the standard for exercise, right? It's sort of like, I think about, if someone were to get a personal trainer, not—not one personal trainer is like the other, right?
You have a personal trainer who could have gone to a weekend certification all the way to a personal trainer who worked maybe in a physical therapy office. So there's no real standard in the fitness industry in terms of what do we believe is best for the human body, and are we—are we linking that to movement patterns? So we decided to create a product that was redefining that standard and setting the bar very high and focusing on functional movement patterns.
So our product is an at-home workout product. We focus on movement, not on, like, a fat exercise. So, the difference between those things, I like to think about it like if you're participating in a workout, first of all, if you're doing something to move your body and you enjoy it, I'm not going to talk you out of that. You should absolutely be doing that. But if you're doing something and it's causing pain or you're doing something and you're only focused on calorie burning, and that's the only reason why you do it, in my opinion, that's not a sustainable program.
So, exercise to me feels more like a fad, like, “Can I do this new program that will burn the most calories and help me lose the most weight?” That doesn't really serve people long term. So movement is thinking about how is the body supposed to move, right? Like, how do we create a program that offers people longevity in their exercise plan for the long haul? And a perfect example of this is you know, again, if you enjoy riding the exercise bike, please do that.
But for me personally, riding the exercise bike for 30 years is really not going to help my functional movement patterns, that I'm actually potentially setting myself up for an injury. So we're really trying to create some sustainable plan so that people can address their movement dysfunctions and have sustainable fitness.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. So I go to weshape.com, and then I can basically talk about my goals on there. There's a quiz, right? You can talk about reducing pain or improving energy. And then typically, it builds you out a workout. How many typical movements or functional movements are created in a typical workout? Six, eight, oh, what does that look like?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, so it's really complicated behind the scenes. We actually have thousands of video files, but it's very simple for the user. They just push play. The quiz is for us to be able to understand how does your body move? Do you have shoulder pain? Do you have knee pain? Did your back hurt? Can you do a full squat? Can you do a half squat? We have to have a basis for, like, where to put you.
And then you come in the product, you push play, and you might do two to four different movements for the day. Maybe you would do squats. Maybe you do planks. Maybe you do burpees. But there's, like, many, many different variations of each one of those. So, we do what we call micro-movement progression. So we might have, like, 15 levels for a squat. So, you might be, like, level three for a squat, level six for a push-up, level two for a plank, and like our system will be able to pull the video file in real time that need for that particular plan for the day.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. That makes sense. And what are some of the common movements that are foundational? Are you looking at things like squats, lunges, deadlifts, those kind of core movements? And then micro—micro-progressing those individually, anything foundational, typically?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, so we're doing all body weight exercises. So, you have, like, your standard squats, push-ups, planks. We do burpees. We do variations of the Burpee, the drinking bird. We have all these foundational movements. But the thing that we're really focusing on is, like, balance, coordination, flexibility, and then progressive resistance to that.
So, if you start with a level two push-up, our goal is to get your body functioning in that movement before we put you to level three. It's like a lot of programs focus on no pain, no gain, just, like, mind over matter. And it's like, “Whoa, actually, we're gonna ask you to listen to your body and if there's any pain, we're gonna put that movement in a different level. So, we're really focusing on quality movement patterns versus maximum output.
And people have a misconception around this philosophy. They think that they will not get a good workout. And I—I laugh a little, and I say, I get it, that's what we've been taught, like, the harder you go, the better the workout. But what we often find is people coming and do a couple workouts and they go, “Oh, I got a really good workout and I had no idea that I could address functional movement patterns and get a workout at the same time.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Now, is there any way people can chime in with people live, because if they're just watching a video, what kind of feedback are they getting on their form being off or just things kind of needing to be tweaked a little bit without someone live there? Is there a live option?
Katie Bramlett: So, right now, it's all user-generated feedback. So the screen will interact with you in real time and say, “How did that feel? Do you need to scale down?” So, it's really reliant on the individual's own perception of what's happening. We do a lot of cueing so that we can help the person understand, like, “Oh, your knee goes here. You're— So that is the future of our company. I've actually met with a particular B2B company that has an integration with that technology that can be added to our products.
So, for now, it's user-generated feedback. The future of our company would be the camera scanning your body and automatically adjusting, rather than you pushing the button to adjust.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what are the biggest barriers people have, kind of starting with a program, let's say exercise in general, or using you guys as a facilitator of that? What are some of the biggest barriers that you see or that you get feedback of from clients or patients coming in that want to take that next level? The next step.
Katie Bramlett: Yeah. I'm gonna say one thing just to go back really quick. I want to share that we also offer daily live calls. So, some of our head coaches will come in and be able to address various movement problems that people may be having and help them through that. We also have, like, community support calls where people can gather just to connect about their experience.
But I would say some of the greatest barriers are people's misconception around what fitness is, right? They don't believe us that it's a good workout just because we're focusing on foundational movement patterns. So, it's sort of like getting them to do a couple workouts to see, like, “Oh, you're gonna—you're gonna feel the workout.”
So just— these misconceptions around what the goal is which is a lot of like the more I sweat, the harder it is, the better. And also like, I want to do this because I want to lose weight. And again we've taken many thousands of clients down that path and have not found success for them even though we gave them what they wanted. So that's when we really had to turn some of those philosophies upside down and try to figure out a different path.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, very cool. Now you mentioned in your last business that people had lost a lot of weight. But, but you said it wasn't sustainable. I can't remember the exact words. People lost a lot of weight, right? I think maybe was it hyper-focused on calories? Was it hyper-focused on exercising, kind of this calorie in, calorie out model? What was the reason why that last business you mentioned didn't quite provide them the more optimal results long term?
Katie Bramlett: Well, I'll just share, first of all, since I've gone down this new path, I've actually brought a lot of guests, guests that we've had on our podcasts that are ex-fitness professionals, models, fitness competitors, and they all share the same experience. Once I met this goal, you know, my social media life looked incredible, but the inside of my mind and my body were really not happy.
And so what we noticed was that so much of what people were experiencing was if I come in and I lose weight and I meet a standard that culture and society tell me I need to meet, I will feel happy. I will check the box. And what we noticed is that it really didn't provide that satisfaction and happiness that people were hoping for. So when you get there and you don't get that, what is the motivation to keep you doing that? There's not.
We noticed that it was this form of extrinsic motivation that is driving a lot of people in the fitness space. And we said, what happens if we look at how people can be intrinsically motivated and have a self-drive to take care of them?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And how did you facilitate that? What were the biggest tweaks that you made to help make that happen?
Katie Bramlett: We basically, well first of all, we had to start a podcast, bring in guests like psychologists and eating disorder therapists and various people to really break down some of the misconceptions behind body image and weight loss and toxic messages that we get in our culture. So there's a huge educational piece to our product. And then we started hosting live calls. So we have the one type of live call that we host is where you can talk with like head coaches about movement and injuries and pain. And then the other type of live call that we have is like a podcast discussion group where we can have these conversations.
And then another one is where we just have community calls or people can come in and they're like, “Gosh, you know, I'm so tempted just to be on a diet, but I know that it doesn't work.” And we just kind of talk about these things and we talk about why it doesn't work. So we're addressing it by just talking about it and bringing in professionals and educating our community around sort of the trap behind this toxic weight loss culture that we all live in.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think we talked about that earlier. We're talking about kind of the body transformation and the scale, so to speak. Can you go more into that?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, I mean, I think that, I mean, how many people do you know that have started a diet and then not like continued with that diet for the rest of their life? I mean, I think the data says it's over 98.5%, so it's really significant. And I think that we're always just waiting for the next thing. If I do the keto diet, if I do the Paleo diet— we've actually taken the experience of how does my body feel and what does my body need?
And we've put it in the hands of other people telling us what they feel is the best path for them. And I want to be able to use science and data to drive decisions that can be paired with our intrinsic knowing of what we need. Not like I'll give you a really great example. We used to sell keto cookbooks and the keto diet in our old business, and my partner does phenomenal on a ketogenic diet. His body feels great. He has tons of energy. I literally can't do it. Like my body shuts down. (Right) And it was just such a perfect example of like this idea that we subscribe to fad diets and like maybe they work for some people and maybe they don't work for everyone.
And so I think when we created WeShape, first of all, I said I don't really want to give diet advice anymore. I feel like everything that we know about diet is always changing, and I'd rather give people permission to feel autonomy in their own decisions and check in with their body. So if I could bring somebody in and give them the tools to connect with themselves, to listen to their body and come from that space, I felt like that would be more valuable in their relationship with food than telling them what to eat.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what are some of those big tools to get people kind of checked in? Is it just more coaching? Is it more some of the questionnaires? Is it more kind of preemptive feedback? What are some of those tools look like?
Katie Bramlett: Well, I mean, first of all, I tell everybody it's a slow process, right? Because, you know, I'm 38 years old, and I've had 38 years of messages from the culture that tell me do this diet, do this exercise program, weigh this much, be this pant size. And so I have to unravel all of that. So people who come in our community, they're also unraveling all of that. So that's why we offer the podcast with professionals who can come in and really give us the understanding as to why some of these things aren't helping us psychologically or emotionally.
It's why we have the community calls so that people can come in and we can have discussions. So we do a lot of community and discussion, and we bring in a lot of experts that help us see a different side to it. And I think that slowly over time, expose— it's like once you see something, you can't unsee it, right? And so offering people the tools and the resources to see a different way, you can't unsee it.
And once you start doing that, you start to develop a different relationship with why you work out, with why you choose that food over that food. It comes from a different place. And it takes time and it takes patience and it takes support. And so we're offering all of those tools for people to be able to take those steps.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. We'll put a link down below for the WeShape.com/beyondwellness. We'll put that link down below. So if you guys want to dive in, there'll be a link over there for you guys to get access and to kind of see what that's about. What else, anything else that you think is valuable for the listeners to hear that would kind of help take their workout or their health routine to another level?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, I would just say, you know, it's always important to pause and say, “Is the methodology that I have used for the X-number of years actually serving me? Or am I just ending up in the same place every time?” And if the answer is you're ending up in the same place every time, then I promise you another fad exercise program or another fad diet is not going to create real intrinsic change. So try something different.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now, how do you define fad diet? I mean, for me, I look at a fad diet, it may be overly restricting, overly restricting, especially on calories. I mean, obviously, you know, you want to restrict processed food, processed inflammatory food, trans fats, you know, things that we know, just according to science, right? It's not good for your health long-term, right? Foods that are neolithic foods that we really haven't evolved to eat more than the last couple of decades.
But then within that time frame, you know, people may have an 80-20 principle or 90-10 principle where, hey, 10-20% of the time, I'm going to cheat a little bit because I'm doing the right thing most of the time, right? And so there's that kind of a mindset. How do you— what attributes would you assign to kind of a fad diet?
Katie Bramlett: It's a really layered question because first of all, I have to just call out the idea that we apply so much morality to food choices. And those two don't belong in the same camp. You're not a bad person if you eat a chocolate chip cookie, but what we do is we intrinsically call ourselves that and judge and shame. And I'm cheating. I'm bad. This is bad for my health. And like what I believe is that energetically, emotionally, and psychologically, that may have more harm.
And those things that we think are disconnected from our physical body. I mean, it's all connected. The emotional and psychological pieces. So I would say any diet that causes you to feel like crap about yourself, like psychologically, emotionally, morally, is maybe one to be reconsidered. And I would encourage people to think about their relationship with food in a different way.
Like, what do you actually want to get from your relationship with food? Do you want to feel good? Do you want to have energy? Do you want to have gratitude for the person who, you know, got all that food? I mean, I feel like there are so many layers in which we can go, and what we do in our culture is we say do this so that you're healthy, and everything else is bad. And then we associate that value with a more our moral compass that says we are intrinsically bad.
And I promise you that anything that we do that then points the arrow at us that says we're intrinsically bad is really not going to serve you. So I think it would be checking in with yourself and saying like, what is my intention with wanting to evaluate the food that I eat, and where do I hope to be with my relationship with food, and will this thing that I'm following offer me that?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right, exactly. Are these decisions getting you on your path to your goals, which are going to help you, you know, be, do, or have? Whether it's the energy, whether it's how you feel, whether it's the ability to function at a high level thinking, right? Food, nutrition, movement are all important vehicles to kind of get there. That makes sense. I agree. Anything else?
Katie Bramlett: Just the idea that, like, I'd rather eat a processed cookie and not feel shit about myself versus, you know, judging yourself has so much energetic value. And I think that we, like, again, I think it's more important to focus on your relationship and connection with the food that you're eating, than placing yourself in a moral camp of good or bad.
And so just really focusing on the fact that there are so many paths we can take in terms of our relationship with food, and it's really complicated, and the media really, really makes it even more complicated. But there is a path that's right for each person. And I think that if we can just take that power back and have our own autonomy in those decisions and not assign morality and judgment to it, we can go pretty far.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I see patients all the time, you know, good is the enemy of great, and you'll see patients make a decision that's maybe a bad decision, gets them off their lifestyle plan, they feel like crap, they feel crummy. I always tell patients you're one decision away from getting back on the horse, so to speak, right? And you don't want to beat yourself up to the point where you're afraid to get back on the horse and continue the path that you were on. So I think that's important.
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, I think that's great.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, anything else you wanted to highlight regarding, you know, I know you talked about like kind of body composition expectations, some of that shifting over the last decades or so. Any comments on that?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, I mean, I'll just say that in terms of like we had a lot of people go through in our old company, go through body transformation, and yeah, the reality is, if you don't feel like a worthwhile human being at the weight you are today, I promise you, you will not feel like a worthwhile human being with any type of body transformation.
Most of the work that we have to do is between our ears and our mind. And I think if we can focus on that, that's like a completely different intention than let me follow the rules, let me check the boxes, let me do what somebody else tells me. I'm always going to come back to the connection with self and cultivating that self-worth and moving from that space. Somebody who is focusing on cultivating self-worth and value over time, you won't have to convince that person to make a choice that feels good for their body. They will intrinsically want to do that. (Makes sense.)
But if you come into it with,” I don't feel worthy and valuable in this world.” And you just are going to follow the rules, and then you're going to fall off the horse, and then you're going to feel like crap because you fell off the horse, and you're going to get back on, I believe that if we kind of go to a different path and say, “How can I focus on my intrinsic value and my intrinsic worth as a human being without doing any of those things?”, I think that will take us so much further.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very good. We'll put the link down below, weshape.com/beyondwellness. There'll be a link down below. So, is the best way to kind of get going, you go to the website, there's a little “Build Your Workout” tab, take that quiz? Is that the best way to kind of get going, get a customized plan?
Katie Bramlett: Yeah, so if they follow the link, your listeners will get a two-week free trial. You fill out the quiz so we understand what your physical capabilities are. Then you just go in and push play when you want to work out, and you'll have a customized at-home workout. And then there's also, in the product, you'll be able to join any of the live calls that we have as well to talk with our coaches. Or I lead the podcast discussion call once a week. And then we have other coaches leading the support calls as well.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's great. What's your major audience there? Who do you see the most? Is it kind of across the spectrum in regards to the beginning?
Katie Bramlett: I feel like we see a lot of people who are female who come in who have said, “I've gone from diet to diet, from exercise plan to exercise plan, and I'm fed up, and I want something else.” (Yeah, that's great.) That's a lot of our clients.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, that's great. I'll put the link down below here, Katie. Anything else you want to leave the listeners with today here?
Katie Bramlett: Just the permission to go a different path. If the path that you've been on, the path that you've been on isn't serving you, there are other people out there who are on that same journey. And WeShape is a wonderful opportunity to try something different that roots you in connection with self and not connection with what the outside world tells you you think you need.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. All right, well, really good. Excellent, Katie. I'll put the links down below here. Very nice chatting with you today, and have an awesome day.
Katie Bramlett: Thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: All right. Thanks, Katie. Take care.
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