What to Expect When You Become My Student

I did this interview on my own show several years ago, taking to the other side of the mic, so to speak, to talk about my stances on health, fitness, hydration, martial arts, food, and reclaiming your power.

If you’re thinking about training with me and am not sure what that will look like, I get into it in depth here. Listen to this “oldie but goodie” show now, or just check out the transcript below. Joe: Welcome back everybody. Are you in for a treat this week! Andrea is on the other side of the mike, and we’re going to be talking about it so I get to be the host of Your Life Program. So we get to put her on the chopping block a little bit today. Welcome to the program, Andrea.

Andrea: Thank you, Joe. Happy to be on my own show.

Joe: Why don’t you tell the audience and your future listeners exactly who you are and where you came from.

Andrea: I have always been into health and fitness my whole life. I’ve always worked out. I’ve always tried to eat well. The thing that really spurred me into becoming a certified fitness instructor, happy life coach, and nutrition counselor, originally started with martial arts training.

I had my son in a Tiny Tigers program. He was a wild child so I thought I would settle him down. And when he was over in the kid’s section I’d be looking through the window in the adult’s section, and finally one of the instructors after about six times ran and got me and told me to get into the classroom. And I just took to it. It was so empowering, and physical and mental that I just found such an internal push for physical, mental, and spiritual empowerment. That’s what really kicked off my training, I’ve studied really intense stuff. Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Ju Jitsu, Arnise, which is stick and knife defense. And in every one of those disciplines I found the heart of the warrior.

And what I took from that, the honor, the integrity, the courage, and the discipline, and the perseverance from that is the belief in yourself. And when you believe in yourself and you love yourself, and you find that warrior you can really attain any goal in your life. And you can withstand all the trauma, drama, and “oh, mama,” challenges that life throws at you. That’s really what spurred me forward to extend all my knowledge and become a trainer.

Because it was very physical, extremely physical, to do martial arts. I had a Navy Seal as our commanding instructor and put us through a lot of things that were outside the dojo. We had to run outside and had this huge training session out in a rainstorm that was like a monsoon. I was soaked through to my eyeballs.

Push-ups in the water and fighting skills down on the ground. The biggest lesson from that is, you know, another mother’s not going to come and get me for a box of Cheerios. It’s going to be somebody with bad intention. And here I am, 5’2″, 100 pounds, so I was the little girl on the block fighting all these big Sequoia-sized gentlemen. And it really made me dig deep into my guts and into my heart to find the fight in me to survive. And I trained for many years and got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. And I branched out afterwards to do women’s self-defense with that.

Helping a lot of women to find their power and their physical and mental internal strength.

Joe: You talked about discipline, and fighting. It seems like the Number 1 thing on television lately has been the fighting that they do with combination martial arts and boxing. Tell me the difference between fitness and that sort of thing.

Andrea: Well, you have to actually be fit to be doing the fighting that’s on MMA and all the superhero stuff you see on TV. You really do have to have inner strength, coordination, balance, and agility. But with martial arts, for me, it was more a discipline of the heart and knowing you can defend yourself and the lives of others should you only need be.

It’s not an ego trip for me. I just tuck that behind the back of my ear in case I ever need it, but I never go around, “Look at me, I can kick your ass.” I want to decelerate a situation, not accelerate it. I think it takes greater strength to promote peace, instead of fighting.

And there’s so much graphic violence on TV today, and they promote that as entertainment. And it has its place, I would guess, you can say, in entertainment, but for me the ability to defend yourself is the only reason you would really need to be violent. No one has the right to take your life from you. I’m a wife and a mother and a daughter and a sister. And I have my own business.

God’s given me this gift of my life and nobody has the right to take that from me. And nobody has the right to take that from anyone.

And so, for women, that’s a very empowering step to know that you go home alive.

Joe: In martial arts usually it’s set up to be to train you to know when you need to fight, and not go out with the “big bully mentality.”

Andrea: Right.

But there’s some schools that do teach that. I left a couple.

Joe: Especially now with more reality TV type things.

Andrea: Yes.

Joe: Do you have people come to you and say, “Train me to be a fighter?”

Andrea: No. My usual clientele for self-defense, I specialize in women. And I specifically specialize in teenage girls that are seniors in high school, that are transitioning to college, their parents are sending them off into oblivion hoping they’ll be safe. So I like to get them at least end of junior year and throughout senior year to prepare them for what it really, really takes.

It’s a guts class. It’s a real class. I don’t spend time on forms, or history. It’s straight to, vision, wind, mobility. Eyes, throat, knees. The essential parts that someone who is tiny and a little girl who’s sweet and innocent really needs to know where the targeting points are. And have the guts and the ability and the skill and the fearlessness to actually do that.

So, seniors in high school is really my niche. And it’s really empowering and a self-esteem class. When I get these little lambs that come to me, I have to turn them into a lioness before they go off to school, so there’s full on contact. And my special program called the “pencil defense.” It’s very very specialized training with a #2 pencil. The skills involved with that can really save your life.

And my girls don’t go anywhere without one once they know how to use it. That’s a very intense class. And it has to be intense. Because if you have a young girl, she’s so sweet, she really doesn’t know the actual life experience that is going to befall her where it’s going to be terrifying. And you’re going to have to find guts in you that you didn’t know you had.

So to come to train with me, I give them to it as absolutely real as possible. I’m on ’em. I grab their hair. I grab their neck. I twist their arm. I throw them down. I sit on them. I get them in a bear hug. As safely and as lovingly as the Mother Bear I am, to help them learn it as real as possible. They need to know what it’s really going to take to get out of something if you’ve got a giant guy who’s trying to hurt you.

So that’s what my program does, and it’s really specifically for them. And I’ve done, once they go home and tell their mothers and the mothers want to come to class too. But I don’t readily train boys or men anymore.

That’s a different level of training. So women really need it the most. And so I specialize with women.

Joe: Is the method you use to train over-50 women the exact same kind that you use to train the younger generation?

Andrea: No, I have to be very careful depending on the age and maturity of the teenager. I won’t take anybody under 14 years old, preferably 16 to 18. It involves a lot of information about what would happen if I’m at a frat party and somebody wants to take me to the bathroom? There’s very sensitive issues and body parts that are very private to young girls that I have to be sensitive too. But it’s so much safer and easier for them to train with me, another woman, than to have some big burly dude in a public class try to get them out of a rape situation. It’s safer for them to learn and understand the specific techniques with me.

Because I’m gonna behave like a man would be, but having a woman teach you is so much more synchronicity. You know, it has so much more…what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s just a gentler learn for a young girl. Now, when you’re an adult woman it’s very sexual. That’s what’s gonna happen. As a mother, a grown-up person, it’s easier for me to say “I’m going to grab you here, and grab you there.” They understand the reasons why. It’s a little more intense for an older person.

Joe: How many people, women, come to you that are doing it more for fitness than anything else?

Andrea: I would say more come for fitness in their later years that are 35-55 years old come for fitness. It’s the younger girls that come for self-defense. If they’re going off to college every girl needs to know what to do. You’re going to be walking in the parking lot, the dorm room, classroom hallways, out at nighttime at parties, and danger could be lurking.

And not to make you fearful of everywhere you go. It’s to make you not fearful everywhere you go. And my older clientele of women, they’ve been around the block. They have a lot more experience in the world. So they like the additional information and self-empowerment of learning self-defense, but the conditioning from it is pretty much where they really enjoy getting some “shredded muscle.”

Joe: So if you have an older woman, 50, even 60s, come in, do you kind of evaluate them when they come to you and say, “Give me fitness?” Do you evaluate how they walk? So that you’re not having somebody who is trying to pick up at 250 lb weight?

Andrea: Every person is unique and special and has their own ways of learning, their own limitations, their own likes and dislikes, their own physical abilities. And so, of course, absolutely, I give a full assessment. A psychological assessment, nutritional assessment, physical assessment, a whole health questionnaire before I even train you. Because I need to know everything about you.

So that I can be the best and safest trainer. To give you the ability to reach your goals. So if I’ve got a 60-year old who has got a hip problem on heart medicine, I’m not going to train her with the same intensity I’m going to train a 25-year old. Or even a 45-year old who’s a marathon runner.

So everybody has specific training that works exactly to what they’re capable of. Then I push them just a little more, just a little bit at a time, to bring them to a higher and higher level. I start with where they are, then move forward at their best and safest pace.

Joe: Do you have a group, do you have them come together sometimes to talk among themselves? Like a party, but I don’t want to say party.

Andrea: I did have that, yes! About a year and a half ago I had all my Hammer Health & Fitness clients. Everybody had to have a healthy dish to share with a recipe, no chemicals in it, and they all sat around and I had to tell them all the horror stories about me being…I’ve been called Sgt. Slaughter, the Beast, the Terminator…I’ve had a lot of names, but mostly friend and mentor.

They’ve all had to tell their stories of their best experiences and the hardest experiences I put them through. It was a lot of fun. It was wonderful, too, for my heart to hear how truly I have impacted the world with what I know, do, and love. It’s my passion. And then they all became friends and they keep in touch with each other. A couple of them will call each other to go running together or work out together or compare their routines. And help each other out.

So it created such camaraderie. It was wonderful, yes.

Joe: You made a comment, when we talk about fitness, and we’ve talked a lot about fitness. But you mentioned just now about the diet. Working with them with food and stuff like that. So basically not only do they learn and lift weights, strength and muscles and whatever the case may be, self-defense, but you also work with them so they’re eating a proper diet compared to McDonalds down the street 5 times a week.

Andrea: Ugh! The bane of our existence, McDonalds. Yes. Nutrition is probably one of the most important protocols of my program. There’s a lot of trainers who just march up and down and count reps and tell you “do this routine,” and they’re done. But for me it’s a whole life program. Because it involves your heart, and your head, and your physical body. But if you don’t feed it the nutrition it needs, and you’re eating junk food, nothing’s going to work.

There has to be no chemicals for you to be in radiant health. The chemicals pollute our body. They cause major diseases. When I teach food and nutrition to my students, I call everybody students because we’re all learning. I don’t really like to use the word clients.

It’s because the nutritional base in the body feeds you at a cellular level. It feeds your cells when you feed yourselves. It’s what I say to them. Whenever I take them grocery shopping, I prepare foods and smoothies and salads. I have them understand the ingredients. I make them read the ingredient list. I make them Google what things are and how they metabolize in your body.

Aspartame, asulfitame, artificial sweeteners, the most carcinogenic thing on the planet. Nitrates, sulfates, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, preservatives. PEG, propylene, ethylene, glycol. You don’t need that ever in the body! The body cannot ever process it in any way. Whatever the body cannot use it’s going to store in a fat cell.

Believe it or not, your fat cell really is the self-defense mechanism for the body. You’ve got 60,000 miles of blood vessels under your skin, which is your largest organ. And everything travels that 60,000 miles. So you put some crappy chemical in it, and your body goes on high alert and says, “Oh my god, what is that? Let’s go get it.” And scoops it up and let’s put it in a garbage container. That’s why fat layers us like cream cheese on a bagel. The body is trying to pull it to the farthest outreaches that it can so it gets out of that 60,000 miles of bloodstream so it’s not going to your heart and your lungs and your head and your brain. And if we don’t put toxins in us, the body does not need to produce that fat cell. We don’t overeat and not exercise and not use up the calories. The body doesn’t need to put it in a fat cell.

I tell my students this. When you eat food, you want to eat for fuel, not for storage. You want to eat for enlivenment, revitalization, restoration. Renewal of your body so that you feel and live in radiant health. So food and nutrition is the most essential part of having a successful body to be able to train.

Because if it’s not well-fed, literally, you don’t have the muscle strength. You don’t have the good blood volume. You don’t have connective tissue. Your bone-mineral density will be weak. So, you have to have good nutrition in order to support the body so I can train you.

If it’s weak, you can’t train it.

Joe: Let’s talk a bit about the food angle. One is they have multiple things about how many, we’ve been at the thing where you’re supposed to have 8 glasses of water a day. Then they talk about “you don’t need that much,” or “you need more.” When somebody says, 8 glasses, or a glass of wine at dinner, or whatever the case may be, it really depends on the person, and their body fat, and just their whole metabolism? How can you say, hey, 8-glasses of water or a glass of water is going to do whatever the case may be. And you may be obese and you may not be. I mean, that judgement is for an average person more than anything else.

Andrea: Yes, there’s many times you need more, and there’s many times you need less. I would use a general formula that whatever you weigh in pounds, say you weigh 150 pounds, then you should drink about 75 oz. of water, so half your bodyweight in ounces of water. And that would pretty much give you enough fluids to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

You don’t want your blood to get sludgy like toothpaste, god forbid, or even sticky like honey. You want it to be smooth and fluid so it can carry oxygen and nutrients around the body. One of the reasons we get high blood pressure, we get toxicity, is the blood is not very viscous. Keeping it hydrated has so many wonderful benefits to the body to keep blood flow going, and keeping nutrient value in and being able to remove metabolic waste out. Through the kidneys and through urination. And also many times when people are very dehydrated, they think they’re hungry so they eat more. When really, they’re really just thirsty.

By the time you really feel thirsty, you are dehydrated. So depending on your level of activity, if you’re out in the sun, if you’re running a marathon, just sitting at the beach getting a tan, you’ll need to have more water and hydration. So, 8 glasses a day, I suppose, if it was 8 oz. for 8 glasses, that’s 64 oz., if you’re an 125 pound person that would probably be average.

If you are obese, you absolutely need to drink water, because water actually does help with fat loss.

And I always say fat loss. I never say weight loss. The word “weight” is really the biggest cliche. Because if you take into consideration all the things your body parts “weigh:” bone mineral density, lean muscle mass, connective tissue, blood volume, then fat, then we’re 75% water anyway. You don’t want to lose the structural support of your body! You only want to lose fat.

And if you diet poorly, or if you don’t eat, the body goes into malnutrition. It feels like it’s starving, so it’s going to slow down your metabolism to a screeching halt. You want to feed your cells when you feed yourselves. You want to eat the most dense micronutrient foods you can to support it at the highest level.

And when you do that, the body runs optimally and fruits and vegetables, no chemical foods, if you’re going to eat animals, no hormones, steroids, or antibiotics in it. The water content of vegetables also is another part of your hydration. A lot of people don’t realize that so much of fruits and vegetables have water content so it also helps keep you hydrated. And that’s why fruits and vegetables are so good, in addition to water.

So, I can counsel you on more specific water depending how much movement you have or what you do, but for most people, especially living here in Florida, I think 8 glasses is pretty good. Even for me. Being busy, I have to remind myself to drink more water each day too.

It keeps your skin supple and your hair nice. It prevents wrinkles.

Joe: So along that same line, as a fitness trainer, tell me your take on things like gatorade.

Andrea: UGH!

Joe: Well, every football game on Sunday shows gatorade everywhere.

Andrea: Red Dye 40, Blue 1, Green, Yellow, the paint, you might as well be going to Home Depot and licking the lid off every paint can! Every time you have food coloring in your food or drink, any time you have aspartame or sulfartame because it’s no calories, you’re just drinking chemicals. Coconut water, and water with lemon, maybe with a splash of honey. Maybe if you need a drop of baking soda in there to get your electrolytes. If it’s got crap in it, I’m against it.  It’s just not good for you.

Joe: Gatorade will not be a sponsor of this program, I hope you realize that.

Andrea: I’m sorry! As soon as they clean up their water…and don’t put any food coloring? How about vegetable coloring? Strawberry, tomato, instead of Red Dye 40. What purpose does that have? Where does that red go? What does your kidneys have to do with that red? It causes hyperactivity in children. It causes a lot of brain malfunction in terms of cognitive ability, it causes a lot of brain fog. I’ve done a lot of research on food additives and food coloring.

And they’re banned in Europe! All of Europe bans food coloring, but here in the United States we’re allowed to have it. What’s wrong with you guys in the FDA? They have to reformulate so much food to take it out of there. It’s unconscionable. Don’t even got me with the FDA and food coloring.

Joe: So Andrea, how can people get ahold of you when they need to ask questions, talk about fitness, and book a session with you?

Andrea: You can call me directly at 954-270-1870 or email me at andrea@hammerhealthandfitness.com. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, please follow me there, please call me with your questions and comments, I love to catch up with you with more information and inspiration.

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