Dec 31, 2022

Health Tips for Teachers 

I strategically planned this episode to launch close to the end of 2022 because, as you heard in my episode last week about how to determine your Word-of-the-Year and the reason why it comes before resolutions, you know that I want you to be intentional when it comes to your goals. 

Also, I can't go into 2023 without also addressing the fact that there are a lot of people around this time of year who set a goal for themselves to focus on their health. And trust me, I get it.  Since I turned 40, I'm always thinking about how I can improve the way I feel and the way I look became I want to continue to feel better and better. But this episode is so much more than just weight loss tips for teachers, it’s about health and wellness tips for teachers so they can be their best selves - both inside and out - in a sustainable way.  That's why I invited my friend Bryan Holyfield to the podcast today. Bryan is a 10-year educator turned online fitness coach. He's a certified personal trainer and the founder of TGT Fitness (This Guy Teaches). Brian is also a dad of three boys and is married to his high school sweetheart.

I strategically invited Brian onto the podcast because he is a former teacher, this is actually his first year out of the classroom running his personal training business, I knew he would have the best health tips for teachers and fitness advice for teachers because he understands the unique challenges that come with being a teacher. I felt very strongly that I wanted a teacher to share their perspective on health and wellness because of the unique challenges that come with being a teacher. These healthy tips for teachers that Bryan shares will help you go into 2023 as your best, most powerful self.   

Amber: Thank you so much for joining us in The Burned-In Teacher Podcast! Will you let our listeners know a little bit about you? 

Bryan: Of course! I have had a wild life so far - from Mississippi to Moscow, Russia, to teaching in public schools and private schools, to now doing online fitness and health coaching. There have been many different and unique twists and turns, I never thought I'd be where I am now -  sitting here in the northern part of Georgia. I've got three boys and another on the way - soon to be arriving. You can't anticipate where you think you’re going to end up, but where I am now is where I need to be, and I'm loving being able to talk with educators and continue to support educators. That's where my heart and passion really is.

Amber:  I cannot wait to get into this episode! We connected through a mutual friend, Alexis ShepardWe were talking about fitness and health and I said, I'd really love to find somebody in the educator space to talk about health and wellness because I want to speak to somebody who knows how extremely draining teaching is day in and day out. And she told me that I needed to connect with you! I'm just so excited that you're here to share your knowledge and your wisdom with us.

So you’ve had a lot of life experiences - Mississippi, to Moscow, to now Georgia! Could you tell us a little bit about how you came to be a teacher?

Bryan: Moscow is actually a big piece of that story because there I was, 10 years coming from a relatively small, rural Mississippi town.  Both my parents grew up on farms and the last place on Earth anyone ever expected them to end up was in one of the biggest cities in the world! 

When I was 10, God called my parents to go over there as missionaries, and the four of us kids were along for the ride. It was incredible! We were there for almost nine years. During that time, I got to experience not only the Russian culture and learn the Russian language, but I also got to travel all over the Mediterranean: Cyprus, Egypt, Eastern Europe, and Poland.  As a historian, we talk about things like communism in Eastern Europe and the Iron Curtain and I got to see the real living impacts of those times.

These experiences really drove a sense of love for maps and geography, a love for culture and languages, and a love for understanding. For example, why does schooling there look the same as schooling here? That's actually what I did my master's research on, a comparative view of how secondary education even came to be focusing on the Russian school system.

That’s a summary of the background to this passion that I have for history, Global Studies, and understanding all these different international relations. 

Amber: I’m always so inspired whenever teachers share how their teaching career was brought about by a love for learning about a certain thing, a certain topic, or a certain place.  I love that.  I didn't have that. I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I never wanted to be a teacher, I just never thought about it.  I just stumbled into it, but I love it.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

Bryan: From an early age I recognized that I had a gift for teaching, just inherently, I would learn something and I immediately want to share it with someone - my poor mom was the recipient of all the random things that I learned! I have a 10-year-old son now who is very similar to the way I was. He infuriates me in some ways and at the same time, I love the direction that he’s going because he’s so curious. But his mom and I sometimes are just inundated with, Did you know this? Did you know that? Do you notice…? 

I also had a history teacher that inspired me in high school. And from that moment on, I was like, That's what I want to do. I want to teach people more about these things that I find really interesting. 

Amber: And you give us a window into your actual teaching experience. You said you taught for 10 years, is that correct? 

Bryan: That's correct. Two of those years were not in the school system - they were at the university level. When I was doing my grad studies at Indiana University, I was also teaching as part of my graduate assistantship. I actually taught Russian 101 and Russian 1 and 2 for the Slavic department. 

I taught two years there and then eight years in the classroom - a few of those years were at a private school where I taught sixth through 10th grade.  Then I moved from there to where I’ve been teaching now for the past three years and I’m currently teaching mostly 9th, 10th, and 12th-grade courses. 

Amber: I know your former teacher and this year is the first year that you've been out of the classroom,

Bryan: Yes, this is the first year, and it’s been a very interesting shift because there are a lot of days where I feel like I'm supposed to be somewhere, but I'm doing what I need to do. 

 To touch briefly on my experience in 2020 and then the subsequent year, both of those years were very tough. At the time, we had just moved to Georgia and it was all new. I was hired for my position over the phone - this was before Zoom made it to the big picture yet - sight unseen. It was a great school with great people, but there were a lot of challenges. One of those challenges was I didn't have a classroom; they had me bouncing from room to room. You see, I was hired just because the student population had swelled up, and while they needed more teachers, they didn’t have the classroom space. 

And then the pandemic hit and we switched to virtual. Then the following year I was teaching a double caseload of class load which included in-person classes and fully online classes. It was incredibly stressful, and I'm sure teachers out there can completely relate. My situation was by no means unique to me. 

During that 15-month stretch, the thing that I kept falling back on was good food and a lot of movement, and that's honestly where a lot of my true, deep love for taking care of myself originated. At the same time, I saw a lot of people around me who, because of the pandemic and because of this added stress, let go of their healthy habits, and the things they had doing and had been working for them fell to the wayside. And when abandoning those healthy habits happened, I saw the struggle become that much more challenging because a lot of those things that they were doing were keeping them grounded.

For the most part, they had valid reasons for letting go of those habits, but the implications or the impacts of that choice were far-reaching which I think we're still dealing with - especially in the education space. So I started to work with teachers and I started doing online coaching. Right now, I've got teachers and administrators that are working with me and I'm seeing them actually turn things around.  

 Eventually, I got to a point where I couldn't do both with the level of intentionality and quality that I wanted to do. It became Man, I love students, and I love teaching history. But right now, I think there's a greater need for supporting educators. I think there's space for somebody like me who understands and has been there on the ground floor and understands what they are going through.

That's a very long-winded answer, but I wanted to provide context as to what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Amber: I can relate to what you're saying. And in so many ways, I can relate to that weird feeling that first year being out of the classroom. I don't know if you know this about me, but I left the classroom in 2018 to pursue Burned-In Teacher full-time because it was very hard for me to do both. At that time, I was doing some EdTech consulting as well as doing some Google training and I was having to say “No” to a lot of opportunities because I didn't have any personal days left. So I decided instead of saying “No” to these schools and no to the opportunities that were being presented to me, I decided to step away and say “No” to teaching for a while. And I'm living proof, Bryan, that if you ever want to go back, it is possible - this is my second year back after three years of working from home. 

And I can relate so deeply to what you're saying about when you're in the midst of that hardship and when there's so much that's out of your control, is what you put into your body and how you spend your time and your energy IS under your control.  

I have so many questions about why you decided to become a personal trainer and what that journey looked like for you. I feel like you and I are going to be able to relate because back in 2015 - 2016 before Burned-In Teacher was born, I just always felt that I wanted to do more but I didn't know what that was. I kept telling myself, You have another purpose. There's something else out there for you. I didn’t know if that meant leaving the classroom or staying - I was really struggling with that push and pull because then I would tell myself, What are you talking about? You're just a teacher. This is what you do? This is what you always do. Can you tell us what led you on to this path to then leaving the classroom to do personal training and physical training full time? 

Bryan:  I was the guy that didn't use social media. I was the guy that just thought, There’s no point in that. But what I started to get a sense of in 2016 and beyond was, I'm a teacher, and I have an impact on this local community. And that's incredible. I think there are a lot of teachers out there that teaching is their safe place, and that's where they feel most comfortable.

But I realized that I could also have a bigger impact, not more of an impact or a better impact, but just simply a more expanded impact on the world at large. Before we got on, you had mentioned the YouTube channel - which is very much dormant. I started A teacher Instagram in 2019, and at the time I thought, I'm going to do some YouTube videos on history, how to teach history better, or just talk about history because I love it. I pursued that for a little bit, and then the pandemic happened and that's when I started to shift focus and go, Oh, you know what I have that a lot of people don't have is this passion for exercise.  As a teacher, I have a background that allows me to communicate clearly and I felt that I had the ability to reach a wide audience that need to hear some of these hard and sometimes uplifting and empowering truths. 

Amber: Did you get into personal training thinking that you would leave the classroom? Or was it just something that was just really interesting to you that you felt really passionate about in your own life that you just wanted to learn more about?

Bryan:  I definitely didn't see it coming.  I never thought I would start a business. I always thought I was going to become a professor or I was going to do something along those lines, and here I am owning my own business and doing it full-time from home. I definitely wouldn't have predicted that. But it was just kind of like let's see how it plays out. 

But here's the reality, I have three kids and my wife is committed to, for the most part, staying at home. Now that they're all school-aged, she's working during school hours, but for the most part, that was her passion from a very young to really be intentional about how she was raising our kids. But that meant that I had to pick up some extra income - I had to wait tables or clean churches, or pick up odd jobs that would just help pay the bills as a single-income family. So for going into personal training, I was like, Well, I have this passion and it's something I've already integrated into my life that I know, so I'm going to pursue some education around it, invest in some coaching for myself, and then I'm going to offer that out. The reception has been really strong and that's allowed me to transition out of the classroom, and it's a very humbling thing to do.

Amber: It’s a wild ride, isn't it? 

You and I have talked about having the “hard conversations” and being able to talk about and bring to the forefront some of those things that are difficult to talk about, and with that, I love how you said, There’s no judgment.   

When I look around at our teaching profession and think about how incredibly hard our job is, it’s important for me to be invested in living a really healthy lifestyle. I just turned 40 a few weeks ago and I was telling some friends that I want to feel better and better and better. I do not want to settle for saying, I'm 40 years old and therefore I'm just going to start going downhill and start feeling like crap and just give up on myself

I also related to what you said about the pandemic because I think it almost became popular to talk about the garbage that we were eating, or how we have just “let go”. We've even had celebrities that talked about the weight that they gained, but again, this isn’t about weight. I'm talking about this idea that we put in, we get out, and know that you have some strategies and some of your own perspectives on this so that we can help teachers to feel better.

Bryan: Absolutely. Most of my clientele has been and continues to be,  teachers, or admin. The reality is these roles are very unique situations in terms of how they impact your health. There are a lot of people that can leave their job at their job. Teachers can’t. There are a lot of people that have flexibility around when they have breaks. Teachers don't. There are a lot of jobs out there where there's an opportunity to pick up lunch or go run that errand, but that’s not the case for teachers. We have living human beings that are totally dependent on us and that need us to be there. And if we're not there, someone else has to cover for us. 

There are a lot of aspects to teacher health and teacher workplace health that need to be addressed - I'm talking about deep systemic issues within the school culture itself.  I can't change your unique school situation, but what I can speak to is -  like you mentioned - parameters that you have some capacity to change. So what are those? What are those parameters that are under our control? What are those areas, and avenues that we can actually impact and change when it comes to our own personal health? 

One of them is eating right. Between the teachers that I’ve talked to and the surveys that I’ve done, a large percentage of them do not eat during the school day. Now, there's a lot of stuff out there about intermittent fasting, but not eating is not the same thing as intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can work great for some people. It is a tool.  There are a lot of different tools out there for some kind of restriction of calories, but not eating for entire stretches of the day because you're so busy is not the same thing as intermittent fasting. 

Also, there are a lot of things that we neglect to do.  That could be hydration because we're thinking, What if I have to pee? That's a challenge in and of itself and that's something I think every school should have really serious discussions with the administration about - how can we actually allow teachers to have more equitable access to the restroom -  that's a whole nother topic. But not eating for entire stretches, not hydrating yourself properly, and not taking some time in the morning to stretch out your body before a long workday will have an impact on your day.  Another thing is having a plan for exercise and physical movement - not for weight loss, not for fat loss, not for anything for your mental health. 

When you're in your four walls of a classroom all day long and you're not eating, you're not seeing the sun, you're not moving, you're not getting your heart rate up, all that impacts your stress levels, blood pressure levels, and blood sugar levels.  We're talking about a lot of really detrimental things happening to our bodies unless we start to figure out simple things that we can do within that period of time that is within our control.  Maybe it’s bringing a high-quality snack that will provide me some sustenance and some energy. There are a lot of teachers that I talk with that say, I don't eat all day, and then I go home and I have everything in sight.  That is not a strategy that is going to yield positive results. 

Amber: What are your strategies for those teachers who are not eating all day? 

Bryan:  Start with thinking about something can you do every single day, even if it might be boring. Also ask yourself, What is your fallback? There are so many teachers out of the generosity of their hearts buy snacks, candy, chips, and whatever else to have in their classroom for kids. Fantastic, but what are you doing you? Do you have a fallback when you forget your lunch or when the meal option at the school cafeteria that day is not something that works well for you? Having a fallback needs to be first and primary.  You need to have something, even on your worst day, that you can have that will allow you to still feel good about yourself and provide you with the energy that you need to make it through the day.  

Amber:  I love that you mentioned that. So, a habit my husband and I have is we make enough food for dinner so we can fill bowls that we have set aside for our lunches for the next day. But we also always have something in our freezer - like some healthy noodle bowls or things to make a wrap -  just in case there wasn't enough leftovers to have for lunch 

I just can't imagine what it would be like to not eat all day, you have to be so depleted and so exhausted by the end of the day. I mean, I eat lunch every day and I'm exhausted at the end of it! I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I wouldn't eat!

Bryan: Absolutely. And the second thing is we have to take a look at your protein levels. We're talking about your meats, your cheeses, your eggs, your cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and whey protein (if you're doing a protein smoothie).  We’ve got to take that category of food and we got to bump the heck out of it because we are incredibly under consuming protein.  I could talk for two hours about the true, incredible benefits that a high-protein diet is going to bring to you your life.  This could include starting your day with protein, you have a protein snack during the day, and then you have a meal at some point during your workday -  don't care when it is or if it's spread out, but you need a full meal. You need a real snack, not 100 calories. You need a real meal, not 300 calories. 

When you have sufficient levels of protein in your system throughout your entire day, you’re going to have a much better blood sugar balance and you’re going to have the nutrients you need to sustain energy.  You’re also going to have the nutrients you need for rebuilding tissue and the nutrients you need for your hormonal production.  How many teachers are dealing with hormonal imbalances? Do you realize 70% of those hormones are coming through the energy provided by protein? So if your protein is chronically low, you're not going to be producing hormones. 

Another great benefit of a high protein diet is you're going to see your satiety levels go up - meaning your fullness signals are going to be more balanced and you're going to stay full, longer. Protein is so complex. When you think about something simple with highlighted processed carbs like a Krispy Kreme doughnut, it hits your bloodstream so quickly because it's digesting so fast.  So how long do you think you’ll stay full after eating that doughnut? 

Amber: Like an hour?  Maybe? 

 Bryan: It’s more like five minutes! 

Amber:  What you're talking about is eating for sustainability. You're trying to sustain your energy, and that's what we talk about a lot here on the podcast -  how to create a sustainable career and education. And if you're literally not fueling yourself, it’s physically not sustainable. You're running on literal empty.

There are all of these euphemisms, like, “fill your cup first” and “put your mask on first”, but you literally have to fuel your body first, or you can't show up as your best self.

Bryan: Here's the reality -  I've seen many comments saying, I can’t. I can’t do this, but the reality is, Yes, yes you can. The reality is there are things you can control.  You can go to a Costco today and get a box of prepackaged boiled eggs and take those to have and store in your fridge. Just that alone can be a game changer for your day-to-day existence. 

I think part of the problem I have with our education system is that we see learning as a destination. We have ninth-grade checks, we have semester report cards, and we have a tiered structure with 12 different grades that you pass, or you fail, then you graduate. Check, check, check, right? But that's not how we learn as human beings. That's not how you are going to improve your health. It's going to be about what small step can I add that doesn't feel overwhelming. Then what else can you add on top of that? And what can you sustain on top of that, until all of a sudden you’ve built four or five compounding habits that are de-stressors and allow you to cope and support you in becoming stronger. 

 We haven't even talked about exercise yet, and that's a whole nother category of things that you can do that are going to reap incredible benefits to your longevity and to your mental stability. 

Amber:  I was just going to ask what suggestions would you give to a really busy teacher.  My season of life right now is not what it was 10 years ago. Our oldest daughter is in college and our youngest is 14, so I don't live the same life outside of school that some teachers do who have young kids. I've heard so many teachers say I don't have timeWhen am I supposed to be active? 

Can you give us an insight and share some tidbits that would help a teacher that wants to be active, but it's also maybe telling themselves, I have to do a hard workout for an hour every day. otherwise, it's worthless?

Bryan: Park further away from your classroom, or on the opposite side of the building. Build that into your routine. This could add 500 steps depending on the size of your campus. Can you stand more during the day? Or can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? 

Obviously, different people have different physical limitations and constraints, and I have complete compassion for that, but do what you can do when you can do it. Don't take shortcuts. You’re perfectly capable of doing something that's going to take a minute, two minutes longer. We have this idea that it's all or nothing, and that’s just literally BS that's pushed by this kind of fitness machine. 

There’s this belief that exercise has to be this high-intensity thing. If you're not sweating and totally gassed afterward, you didn't do it right. On my Instagram, I preach over and over again that high-intensity workouts are not good for 98% of the people out there. Do not need to be doing them, especially women.  If you love them and have adapted to them, great.  I’m not going to judge anybody for the way they choose to move their body.  But that kind of exercise is not the end all be all, and for many people, it's going to lead to more burnout. You need to focus on what's simple and what's manageable for YOU. Five minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Do what you can do when you can do it.

Amber: I love how you also brought up compounding habits because again, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. 

I planned this interview strategically to be at the end of the year because I hate New Year's resolutions for this very reason. You go in you go hard, and you set the bar too high for yourself - which I have been guilty of in the past. We, by nature, are overachievers, so we set the bar super high and we can't even meet our own expectations and we feel like failures.

Bryan: Here's what I say about that. Your brain doesn't know the difference between a huge win and a small win.  And when you wait for the big wins, you delay that gratification for a long time.  For example, you can say I want to lose 10 pounds. Until you lose that 10 pounds, you're not going to be happy. What if you say I'm going to lose two pounds? Then, when you lose that two pounds - which is going to come quicker than 10 pounds - you can celebrate.

You're going to get that sense of elation, that sense of accomplishment, the same sense of I did something meaningful.  The more of that you can build into your life, the better, and that's why I say small wins. Find the small things and simple things that you can do every day, and then celebrate when those things happen.  Say what you’re going to do and then do it.  

When you celebrate more, you're going to create a winning mindset around what your health looks like and you are going to find that it's more enjoyable. You’ll like it more because you've learned how to celebrate, and that celebration is incredibly powerful! You can also talk about the hormonal impact. With this mindset, you can start to reduce stress which then reduces your cortisol levels.. Every single day, when I go to the gym, I go in with a dedicated target. I tell myself, If I only do this, that's a good workout. The entire workout could not have been that great, but I did that ONE thing, so it's a success. And I walk away feeling that it was worthwhile.

Amber: I love that. It's about being intentional and not trying to overextend yourself because we overextend ourselves in our jobs already. When we overextend ourselves in our fitness, as you said, it can lead to injury and burnout for so many reasons. 

The last thing I'd like you to quickly chat about is sleep. I've done some research myself on sleep - certainly not as extensively as you probably have - but I am just shocked at how much our sleep affects our mental health and how getting more sleep, can really eliminate many hardships that we're having. Can you share a little bit about that really quickly?

Bryan: Yeah.  I don't know if you're familiar with Matt Walker, but he's got a great TED talk on sleep - he's like the sleep guru.  Or Andrew Huberman - I love his podcast.  So Matt shared an interesting fact that I can't remember the exact percentages, but there is a 200% increase in the average number of heart attacks after daylight savings because everybody lost an hour of sleep, and there are more heart attacks that happen on that day than any other day of the year. It’s important to understand that it wasn't just that one hour, it’s the cumulative effect. The key idea and the key takeaway is this: every hour that you can get more than what you're getting right now has incredible health implications for your long-term memory and for your cell generation. 

Here's the reality, we are made up of lean tissue, muscle, and adipose tissue - fat. The majority of us have too much adipose tissue. If we slow down generating lean tissue, which happens primarily when we're sleeping, the only other option is for the percentage of our body that is fat tissue to go up. Even if we don't gain new fat, the fat percentage goes up. So I don't care too much about BMI, I focus a lot more on body fat percentage if your body fat percentage is steadily increasing, whether it's because you're losing lean tissue, or because you're gaining new fat. We've got problems.

If you're not sleeping enough, you're not creating enough new cells to replace the tissue that you already have, you’re not building on and making yourself stronger or more resistant to injury. There are also immunity,  memory, and mood hormones. If we could just make some simple changes to our sleep patterns, our nutrition, and our exercise, we will feel like new human beings.

Amber: It’s like you mentioned those compounding habits, because when you feel better, then you're ready to take the next step. Then you feel even better, and then you're ready to take the next step. 

When it comes to sleep I know that if I plan to get up 10 minutes earlier, then I need to go to bed 10 minutes earlier. For example, I get up to work out in the morning because, after I teach all day and run my business for a couple of hours after that when I get home I want to spend time with my family and sit down and eat a good meal with them. Therefore, I prioritize exercise in the morning over sleeping When I first started falling into this routine 15 years ago, I would just get up 15 minutes earlier, which meant then I need to adjust the time that I went to bed. 

I also noticed I need more sleep now than I feel I did a couple of years ago.  I'm 40, so I know that my body is different and I need more sleep. So it's an adjustment. 

I feel like this is the definition of balance, right? It’s about thinking about what can I give today and what will I be able to give tomorrow.  I need to think about how my habits are going to build on each other. 

Bryan: One practical time that I have is to have a bedtime ritual and routine. Your brain craves routine and it will find routine in the absence of one, and oftentimes the absence of routine is us looking at our phones, or engaging in a lot of media and a lot of stimulation right before bed.  And all of that's going to be detrimental to your sleep.  When you create a dedicated bedtime ritual, your brain gets the sense of, Okay, we’re in this pattern and I know that sleep follows

Your patterns will get deeper and more engrained, so sometimes we've got to unwire and rewire some new pathways.  This could be as simple as a five-minute bedtime routine.  What do that five minutes look like? And then get in bed only after you’ve done all those steps. 

I'm sure you experienced this, but when you lay down at night do you think about all the things that you didn't get done?  We've got to start to counteract that by having a really good ritual that makes our brains feel like we’ve accomplished what we needed to create calm.   

You can come up with just five simple things and put them in a little checklist and keep it on your bathroom mirror as a reminder. 

Amber:  I have to admit that used to be my reality. I used to lie down and then my mind would just race and race and race. The Sunday scaries you know used to be my reality and it's not anymore, and I really do feel like it is because of these compounding effects of prioritizing my physical health and how it has really affected my mental health in the long run.  

One reason I really wanted to have you on here, Bryan, is because I really do want people (teachers) to think about the long-term effects of them caring for themselves rather than thinking It's a new year so I need to lose weight. It just can become so disappointing because even if you do lose the 15 pounds if you're not building those strategic compounding habits over a long over the long term.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Bryan: But even good marathon runners don't think of it in terms of that distance. They have strategies for different parts of the race that they rely on and that they fall back to. That takes us, again, back to those defaults. You have this end goal in mind, but that has to be broken down into the skills that you need, what you need to practice, and what daily actions you need to take that will lead us to your goals.  Actions are going to build practice, practice is going to build skill, and skill leads to results. Too often, we think about a goal and we think about one thing that we can do to get to that goal, but again, that's not how we actually learn. That's not how we build skills. When you set a goal, there's a multitude of things that go into reaching it.  It it's going to start with those daily small actions that can be done consistently, that will allow for more opportunities to practice and to create the skills that you need to reach your goal.  

Amber: Thank you so much for sharing all this information. You lay all of this out in a way that is so manageable.  Your health is worth the investment.

Bryan: I heard something today that I just would like to leave your listeners with: You can pull up where you need to go on your Google Maps, but if you never pressed the gas, you’re just going to sit on your driveway.  But if you just push the gas and never check the map, you're going to go a lot of places, but you're never going to end up where you want to go. It takes doing both. If you have that drive but don't know the route, that's where some extra support is really going to benefit you. If you know the direction, but don't have the drive. We've got to figure out what's the underlying issue. On both ends of the spectrum, if there’s a piece missing, it helps to have a support system and to have community. That's where having that learning mentality comes in. And, yes, sometimes it feels embarrassing, or humiliating, and sometimes you're the worst person to make decisions for yourself.

Amber: It’s so true. It's so true. The self-sabotaging is just so high in that area. 

Well, Bryan, I know that the teachers that are listening to this are going to want to learn more about you and get to know you a bit better. So can you tell them different places where they can find you?

Bryan: Yes, so I have my website: (This Guy Teaches) And then you can find me at @this_guy_teaches on both TikTok and Instagram.  

Amber: Teachers if you're listening to this and this is making you think about the long-term effects of taking care of your body, taking care of your brain, I encourage you to take the steps to truly put yourself first. That is the definition of what true self-care looks like. Fill your cup, and put your mask on first. I can tell you from experience that putting your health first should be number one because if you can't show up for yourself, you're not going to be able to show up as your best self for your students, your family, and all the other things that you want to do with your time.

Bryan, thank you so much for joining us today on the Burned-In Teacher Podcast. I'm so grateful for your time and I just loved hearing your story in addition to learning steps to help us to move into 2023 as our best selves.  



  1. Create a backup plan - purchase healthy snacks and other items you can fall back on to fuel yourself even on your worst days. 
  2. Schedule in time to intentionally move your body every day, even if it's only ten minutes! 
  3. Create a sleep ritual to practice before you go to bed.







​​Bryan is a 10-year educator turned online fitness coach. He is a certified personal trainer and the founder of TGT Fitness (This Guy Teaches). Bryan is also a dad of 3 boys and married to his high school sweetheart.






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