Dan Hulverson – Fitness Guru

Dan Hulverson, fitness guru, talks to us about something even more important than your finances: your mental health and your physical health.Have you ever wondered how to get fit, stay fit and stay motivated about your health? Dan shares his hard learned secrets about that and:

  • How to plan your week so that you are intentional about your nutrition
  • How to get moving if you only have 15 minutes to work out in
  • The tools he uses to work out and stay fit, even while on the road
  • How to use accountability to keep your fitness goals on track

Josh Mettle: Hello and welcome to the Physician Financial Success Podcast. My name is Josh Mettle and this is the podcast dedicated to advising physicians how to avoid financial landmines. Today, I’ll be talking with Dan Hulverson, fitness guru, and in the interest of full disclosure my best friend. This podcast will be a break from the normal financial focus. Today, we’re going to unpack something even more important than your finances: your mental health and your physical health. Dan has come up with an easy way that every physician can be mentally and physically fit by focusing on three areas and three key steps, and I can’t wait to unpack that with him today. So, Dan, good morning. How are you, buddy?

Dan Hulverson: Doing really well, Josh. Thanks for having me. How are you?

Josh Mettle: I’m doing well. It’s my pleasure. Thanks for coming along and enlightening some of the listeners, and I want to give them just a little bit of background about you. You and I have been friends for about 10 years, maybe longer. I don’t know. We’re getting old [laughter], and we started working together at a fitness club about 10, 15, I guess 15 years ago now, and what I respect about you, Dan, is that even though you have an incredible busy travel and work schedule, I mean you are always on the road, but you’ve been able to take incredible care of yourself. You look like Hercules at all times, which is a little intimidating to say, but it’s your intentional approach to health and fitness that I respect, and that’s what we want to unpack and have you share with us today.

Dan Hulverson: Absolutely, Josh. Hey, like you say we worked in the gym back in the days, I guess 10 or 12 years ago, maybe a little bit longer like you said, and it was always amazing to me because we lived this lifestyle. We were in it daily. We spent long hours in the gym as you are aware, and I just couldn’t understand how people couldn’t make it to the gym, and actually I went to college. I majored in physiology, sports science and nutrition, and just fell in love with this type of business and fell in love with this lifestyle. It’s been a key component of who I am and what I do. So now, I’m on the other end of it. So like you said, I’m very busy. I do medical device sales now over 260 hospitals, in airports four to five days a week, and now I understand why people didn’t make it into the gym. It’s just hard. It’s not easy, and so, what I did is I kind of I looked at three components that I found that bring success into people’s lifestyle as far as their nutrition and fitness. It comes down to three components. It’s nutrition, activity, and accountability. So, I tried this with a number of people, a number of coworkers. I have a key friend, who is also a surgeon who just finished his fellowship, and as most doctors and physicians know that time is of the essence, and a lot of times, he was in surgeries in cases for 8, 10, 12 hours, then naturally getting into the gym was probably on the backburner, as well as the nutrition.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: And so, the three things that I want to kind of hone in on, like I said, are nutrition, the activity component, and then, the accountability piece of it. So, nutrition is pretty simple. It’s a matter of really pre-planning. So, a lot of times people are reactive when it comes to nutrition, and I found myself this way as well when I was on the road. I’d be flying for three to four hours, and land and I was starving. So, the first thing that I could get to would be the first thing that I’d eat, and it usually wasn’t healthy. So, the big piece of it was the nutrition component is just really planning trying to figure out, “Okay. What am I gonna be doing in a day? How can I prepare meals? If you’re gonna be doing organic food or low-processed foods, then you should actually plan probably on a Sunday, if you can’t’ plan for a week. And so, one thing that I’ve done is that I’ve actually started supplementing, and I found great supplement that I can talk a little bit about later on just because it makes a little bit easier as far as how you’re getting some of your nutrition rather than planning on three, four, five meals a day.

Josh Mettle: Right.

Dan Hulverson: The other part of it is frequency. So, a lot of times people think, “I need to eat three meals a day. It’s not necessarily the case. It’s kind of energy in versus energy out. So, you shouldn’t really be starving at any point of your day, and you shouldn’t sit down and just binge at any point in your day. You want try to graze as much as possible. Sit down and eat four, five meals a day if you can. In that way, you’re not going to storing fats. So, naturally just eating clean. I’m not going to get into too many details about how and what to eat, but hopefully that component makes sense. Is that making sense, Josh?

Josh Mettle: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the big component, as you mentioned, was being intentional on the day when you have food prep because exactly as you said you can know composition, you can know frequency, but if you don’t know – but if you’re not prepared, all of that’s great that you hold that knowledge in your head but the reality is, it’s all about the preparation, so I’m with you. Hillary and I do the same thing. Sundays for us is trip to Whole Foods with the kids. Football is on in the afternoon. We’re grilling salmon. We’re grilling chicken. We’ve got more Tupperware than I mean you think we sold the stuff, and you just work it into your routine so it’s not a pain in the butt. It’s just an enjoyable Sunday. It’s the natural rhythm of your life. You hang out with your fam, your girl. You have a few friends come over, and when you’re done, you’ve got enough, instead of cooking Sunday night quinoa in a pan that feeds four, you do it in a pan that feeds 20, and of course that’s just 20 portions, and it works. It’s great. I don’t know any other way to make this happen and to make it a part of a ritual or a normal routine in your life.

Dan Hulverson: Absolutely. So, I agree with that 100 percent. So, the other piece of that is the supplementation, so I found that for me, a great product that I’d like to take in place of some meals now is I take it as a supplement after my workout. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that on the backend, but the other key component is activity. So, activity is tough because sometimes people can’t fit it into their schedule, and I get it. So, for me, sometimes I’ll do 15 minutes. Sometimes, I’ll do 30 minutes. Sometimes, I have enough time to get to a gym and do an actual hour, but the fact of the matter is every day I do something. So, whether it’s 15 minutes in a hotel room or 30 minutes on a bike, I always make it a point to at least get 15 to 30 minutes of high-intensity workout, and if I get a lot longer, then I do a full body workout, but that’s sometimes not the case. With working out, you can look at it multiple different ways. So, there’s ways you can look at this to where park a little bit farther away at wherever you’re going. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Little key components like that. There’s also applications. I put an application on my phone called Pacer, and it’s a pedometer basically. So, it tells you each day how many steps you’re taking. My goal is to get 10,000 steps.

Josh Mettle: Wow.

Dan Hulverson: And it’s funny how something like that – yeah, it’s funny how something like this works. So, I’m sitting down for an hour it reminds me, “Hey. You’ve been sitting for an hour or longer. You may want to consider walking.” So, it just kind of drives you to be more physically active. It drives you and gives you an incentive, and sometimes if I’m home and I get home a little bit earlier, I look down and I only have 6,000 steps and I’m like, I go get the kid, the dog and we go for a walk [laughter]. So, it’s just part of the components that help you. There’s other types of applications. YAYOG is one, which is Y-A-Y-O-G. BodyRock.tv is one I have on my phone as well. So, if I’m in a hotel room, and I don’t have time to make it to a gym, you can download it on your phone and it runs you through anywhere from a 15-minute to a 30- minute workout on core stability-type motions. So, that’s the second component. So nutrition is huge. The activity component is definitely there, but it’s not working out for an hour or two hours a day. I know that people can’t do that, and I know I can’t do that, but it’s just having balance of the activity, nutrition, and also the third component, which is probably as important and more important, is the accountability piece. So, for accountability, I know Josh that you make it to the gym and your wife she makes it to the gym probably almost every day. What do you do to hold yourself accountable?

Josh Mettle: Well, I want to unpack, but there’s two things that you said on the activity. Do you mind if I just go back and park on that for just a second?

Dan Hulverson: Yeah. No do it.

Josh Mettle: So, I think that one of the big mistakes that people can make is saying, “If I don’t have an hour and a half to get my gym shoes on and get my backpack and get to the gym and then get back, and you know, that’s really hour and a half turns into two hours. So, if I don’t have two hours, then I’m not just going to do it today.” And I think that’s how people get out of the routine, and what you said was powerful because what you said was that if it’s a 15- to 30-minute workout, if that means that you’re living in a hotel and your going to hit the stairs for 15 minutes, if that means you’ve got 30 minutes to get on a treadmill, whatever it is, you’re just breaking a sweat. And so, from the mindset piece or from the making the routine piece, you’ve eliminated excuses as soon as you don’t in your mind say that a workout has to take an hour or two hours. Now, all it is, “Look, my commitment to myself is everyday, and I just got to break a sweat.” I like to break a sweat in 120 seconds on a jump rope. Once you start looking at it that way, it becomes a lot more comfortable and you take away the excuse factor.

Dan Hulverson: So true, so true. The amount of activity that you do in a day is imperative that you get activity. So the time is not as imperative as just the fact that getting and doing something, and then, the other piece of that is that the more you actually do and the longer that you follow this pattern, it’s more of a maintenance thing‑

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: Than anything. So, you may have goals and you may have accomplishments that you’re trying to achieve. And at first, it’s never easy because it’s lifestyle change, but then once you start getting into a routine, it’s a lot easier to just maintain it rather than reach for the stars.

Josh Mettle: Exactly, exactly. Well, okay. So that brings you to my second question. Ten thousand steps. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around how many steps that is. So, how do you get that in? Like literally walk me through what that looks like in a day.

Dan Hulverson: For me, it’s usually in the morning, if I have time, I’ll run over to the gym and hit the treadmill, and I’ll hop on the treadmill for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, right. So depending on the pace, I mean that could be 3,000 steps right there, right, and then, just throughout the day like I was talking about earlier, parking farther away. Don’t take the easiest parking spot. It’s always fun. I think we used to laugh about it in the past. We’d see people coming into the gym, but they’d wait 15 or 10 minutes for the closet parking spot to get the door [laughter] right?

Josh Mettle: I love it.

Dan Hulverson: It was one of the things we’d look at the door and like, “Here’s this guy. He’s gonna take five minutes to drive around the parking lot to get the closet spot, so he can come in and hop on the treadmill for an hour and a half [laughter].”

Josh Mettle: Totally true, man.

Dan Hulverson: It’s fun, so yeah, parking farther away. Naturally for me, I’m in hospital daily, so I’m taking steps rather than the elevators.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: Every time I go to a restaurant if I’m going to go to a restaurant if I’m not packing my lunch, I’ll park as far away as I can for those. So, those little things like that, it adds up, and the fact of the matter is you’re watching the pedometer. Most people try to challenge themselves. It will just hold you more accountable.

Josh Mettle: Yeah, Dan. So, once or twice a week, you get a great workout in. It’s an hour or it’s a yoga class or it’s something that you really test yourself. The other couple of days a week, it’s 15 to 30 minutes. It’s up and down the stairs during a break, and then daily, you just try and keep to 10,000 steps. So, at the end of a week, you only got one workout or two workouts, but you’re lifestyle is not sedentary. Your lifestyle is one of fitness and like you said, you’re in maintenance mode instead of crash and burn and then try to rebuild, crash and burn, and try to rebuild. So, those are subtle things, but that’s the difference between making this work and not work, and I just want to really park on that. So, thanks for elaborating.

Dan Hulverson: Yeah, nothing. No problem. So, that brings us back to our third and final component of these three components. So, remember the first is nutrition, second is activity. The third one, like I said, is imperative and it’s accountability.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: And so accountability is to me is putting a goal out there, putting in whatever your accomplishment. If you want to run a marathon, I’ve never run a marathon but some people do [laughter], but if you want to, whatever it is. Lose 10 pounds, lose 15 pounds, lose 3 percent body fat, but take a picture of yourself. It sounds silly. Put it in a place where you can see it. It doesn’t have to be out there for everybody or you can make it public if you want to get really crazy with it, which I have done, and I’ll tell you a little bit about that piece, but make a goal. Put it out there as far as the date and time that you want to be there, but make it visible.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: And then, the other component to accountability is reach out to three or four people, the people that you just want to reach out to that you never talk to, but somebody that’s going to hold you accountable, your mom, your dad. A close friend of yours, and let them know. “Hey, I’m starting a new life health plan, and my goal is to whatever your goal is, and I want to accomplish it by this and this date, maybe check in with me every once in a while and see how I’m doing.” That’s somebody that’s going to hold you accountable or do it online. Do it on Facebook, whatever the case maybe, but just by that specific premise of putting something out there, it does hold you accountable. So, I kind of joined forces. I look for supplements for a long time and found one that’s fit for me and my wife, and we love the supplement, and it actually had a 90-day challenge along with it. And so, I actually took a few months off from the gym just because I didn’t have time and wanted just to let my body rest, and now I’m like 62 days into the 90-day challenge, and I’ve lost 4 percent body fat.

Josh Mettle: Wow.

Dan Hulverson: And I will tell you that yes, it’s crazy. So, by doing the 90-day challenge, it held me accountable every day. So, every day I would log in and document one sentence as far as what I did, what day I was on my challenge, and I made it public. So, I put mine on Facebook, and I took a picture and I did a video and I’m doing it for a cause, but I will tell you that there is not one day in that 62 days that I missed the gym or missed an activity because everyday, even when I’m home and I’m beat, I’m tired, and I was in an airport for five or six hours, I got 15 to 20 minutes and I make it happen. So, I’d say that accountability and make sure you’re making it public however you want to make it public, but that will actually drive a lifestyle change for you because you’re going to follow that. Is that making sense, Josh?

Josh Mettle: Totally makes sense. So, I’m just thinking about how this rose out in mine and Hillary’s world. So, our 90-day challenge is as you’re mentioning is not necessarily 90 days in length, but it’s usually about 60 days and we schedule little vacations, and we have many vacations that are three, four-day vacations, and we plan them somewhere warm and tropical, and we end up spreading them apart about 60 days, maybe 90 days. And so, we kind of, by virtue of the way we vacation, we drive ourselves into a situation where we always have a goal, and if you’re saying I’m not going to sit down and watch football and destroy a bag of potato chips for the rest of my life, that kind of gets hard because potato chips are good, and it goes with football. That’s fun, but if you’re going, “Okay. I know that I am going to Cabo, and I have to be hanging out for four days with my shirt off and that vacation is 45 days away, I can do without potato chips and football for this afternoon.” So, the timeline and the specific goal and the date, so I’ll do the same thing where I’ll say, “I know my target weight, and I want to hit that weight by that day.” And so, it’s very specific. It’s a place that I want to be at a future time and then our accountability is with each other because we’ll both each other, “Okay. Vacation 45 days. I want to be here. Where do you want to be? I want to be there.” So, now we get kind of this competition going between me and Hillary, and unfortunately, my wife is younger and has much better genetics than I did ‑

Dan Hulverson: I agree with that, Josh [laughter].

Josh Mettle: I thought you might. No argument there, but that really drives me because I know come hell or high water, she’s going to hit that benchmark, and so, it drives me to miss a chip when I should be eating it and it drives me to hit the stair-climber a little more than I would if I didn’t have a date and some accountability, so powerful. I agree. I use the same tools, just a little bit of a different method.

Dan Hulverson: Yeah, yeah, and the other is I don’t compete with my wife because like yours, she would dominate me, so I’d rather compete with myself and make it public to the world [laughter].

Josh Mettle: I love that, I love that.

Dan Hulverson: I have competitions in these conversations in my house [laughter]. I kind of stay away from the competitions of fitness.

Josh Mettle: We are blessed and challenged with our spouses. We have that in common [laughter].

Dan Hulverson: Yeah, so that’s I mean three simple steps I know it’s not rocket science, but I tell you for me and a number of physicians that I work with and the number of business owners and very, very busy people that I deal with on a daily basis, the three components when I was reaching out and coming up with something is really the key for success for fitness and a lifestyle change. We worked in a gym. The success rate of people coming into the gym was sometimes 10 percent, maybe 15 percent, and it was because people didn’t want to commit to an hour in the gym or 45 minutes into a gym and then change their home meal plan, so this is a simple approach. It’s three simple steps, and for me, it’s worked tremendous.

Josh Mettle: Yeah. Well, before we leave, I want to go back and talk about our friend, Dr. Mackey because that was really one of the precipice for this podcast is we had a physician friend, and I will let you tell the story, but he had some kind of a really cool story and a really cool set of events where he had put his body last. I mean he just put his physical being and really probably mental health last because he was pouring every waking hour into his fellowship, which was demanding, and I guess maybe it was his residency where he got really beat up and now in his fellowship, he’s starting to get on top of it, but anyways, I’ll let you share that story. I think that’s a good segue.

Dan Hulverson: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, Dr. Mackey is a good personal friend of mine and actually the long hours that he put through this residency to the point he basically just got very far out of shape.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: He was a competitive athlete in college, played baseball, was always in great shape, but then due to the demand of becoming a surgeon and working in a hospital in different cases, he just didn’t take care of himself. And when I had met him, he was miserable, questioning, “Why do I do so many hours, why did I pick this profession, why I love the art of it, but now look at – I’m really a hypocrite. Look at me.”

Josh Mettle: Wow.

Dan Hulverson: And so, we said yes. We sat down. We talked. I’ve always said, “You’ve got to the gym.” I got him to commit to these three components and he rode his bike to work at his fellowship that he’s at right now, trying to make it a point to drive three days a week and it’s a 7-mile drive, right? So, not the easiest to drive. So, he jumped in full force, followed the nutrition principles, started doing some supplementation at work just because he knew that he couldn’t always pack his meal if he was going to be riding his bike. He’s down I want to say 6 percent or 7 percent body fat, and he feels much better. He’s in the best shape of his life, and he completed this, and gosh, it must be three and a half, four months ‑

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: And anyway, he followed these three principles like I mentioned and it changed his complete outlook on fitness, his complete outlook on life. He’s a completely different person from when I met him.

Josh Mettle: So, yeah. I can tell you that I’ve known him as long as you have, but just in the time that I have known him, he just seems to be enjoying life more. He looks better, and he’s a young guy. He’s not married, so he’s got to be sharp. He’s got to be full bullock category to find the right women. So, he seems a lot more fulfilled, and he’s got a great story with and let’s segue into the nutritional piece that you like because he has a neat story with that in that he wasn’t able to everyday bring and prepare meals, and he recognized that. And so, he started down the line with a nutritional supplement that worked good with him, and then, now he ended up getting his entire office to give up junk food and start on a fitness path. So, would you share that part of the story as well?

Dan Hulverson: Yeah, absolutely. So, one the supplement that I was talking about earlier, the supplement that I promote, I’ve taken supplements and I think you have as well, Josh, for probably 15, maybe longer years.

Josh Mettle: Yeah.

Dan Hulverson: So, the issue that I have with a lot of supplements that are out there is one they have a lot of genetic enhancements to them. Two, they weren’t that pure. And then, three, I didn’t really feel good when I was taking them. And so, I came across a product that’s very pure. It’s ViSalus. It’s a great product for me. I use it as a meal replacement, and also meal supplement. And so, I started taking this product. I took it for probably 20 to 30 days and noticed an immediate difference with the vitamins and supplementation piece of it and started promoting it because I like it, and I think there’s a lot of products out there that I actually would promote. So, they stand for a good cause. They have a 90-day challenge that actually goes with the product, and that’s really what kind of set me into living my life off of a multitude of 90-day challenges. And so, on that follow-up, you took the product. You think, “Wow. I feel better than I ever have, and it really wasn’t feasible for me to pack meals every day.” So now he has a meal replacement that he does at lunch and rather than the charge nurse coming in and making orders for all of the OR staff, they have blenders and they’re doing shakes for lunch, and ‑

Josh Mettle: Such a great story.

Dan Hulverson: I mean it’s ‑ yeah, it’s a great story. So, he was telling me, “The girl that’s been drinking Mountain Dew every day and at her heaviest, she came and she was drinking shakes, and she’s now our shake master. She’s making specific shakes for all of us, and she’s down like 15, 20 pounds. She’s our rock star staff here now [laughter].” It really opened their eyes, and it was just a simple change and the one thing I will tell you is when you get the right amount of nutrition, and most doctors would attest to this, when you get the right amount of nutrition, the proper nutrition, you feel better, and then you start doing more activities. It’s not that people always eat bad, but a lot of times, they’re not giving the right amount of nutrition, and they’re not getting it at the right time of day. And so, by having more of a balanced nutritional base, especially midday, it can help you through that lag towards the latter part of the day. He changed his life with it, changed his staff’s life, and it’s not one component that’s better than the other. I think it’s just having the activity piece playing with the nutrition piece and playing with the accountability piece. And so, that product is great. Like I said, it’s ViSalus. My wife and I promoted this because it had multiple testimonials with it. Most children’s hospitals back it now because they’re trying to truly eradicate obesity with this product, and I’ve not found anything out there that competes with it.

Josh Mettle: Yeah. My wife and I started taking it a while back, too, and we love it. I don’t promote it like you do, but we take it every day, and the precipice for this podcast is talking to Dr. Mackey and talking and hearing his story and seeing how it hit him, and I said, “Man, if that’s something that is prevalent and that physicians are out there and having a hard time with, we should do a podcast and we should talk more about it.” So, if there are listeners who want to contact you, ask questions, figure out maybe have questions on these three key items that you mentioned, how do they get a hold of you, Dan?

Dan Hulverson: Okay, so, naturally feel free you can always call my cellphone. I’m there first. They can always call me. My phone number is (801) 403-8515. Once again, it’s (801) 403-8515. That’s my phone number. If they want to reach our website, they can reach us at Hulverson, so it’s HULVERSONS.bodybyVi.com. So, that would be the address that you can reach us at. I don’t know if you’ll put something out an email format or not, Josh, so people can follow that.

Josh Mettle: Yeah, I will. Underneath the podcast, I will put that link. I appreciate you being so gracious with our time, man. I think this is as important or more important than any other aspect of life, and I appreciate you’ve given us a glimpse inside yours. Thank you very much.

Dan Hulverson: Anytime. Thanks, Josh.

Josh Mettle: Okay, buddy. Talk to you soon.

Dan Hulverson: See you. Bye.

As always, we’d love to have a conversation about this podcast. Please leave your comments below.