Chris Johnson, the founder of On Target Living, shares his experiences with his clients and finding success with rest. Chris discusses the topics from his most recent book. Rest. Eat. Move: You Have the Power to Feel your Best. He elaborates on the connection between good sleep, healthy eating, and stress management to build a foundation for long-term wellness and success. 


Brett Gilliland: I’m your host, Brett Gilliland. Today I’ve got the privilege of interviewing, again, for the second time, Chris Johnson. What’s up Chris? How you doing? 

Chris Johnson: Hey, Brett. How are you? Happy to be back. I can’t believe it’s been since, I think you said April, 2018. 

Brett Gilliland: April of 2018 is when we chatted last. It’s uh, it’s crazy. I said time flies when we’re having fun and, uh, yeah, we’re, we’re doing that. 

Chris Johnson: It’s crazieness. 

Brett Gilliland: Uh, you are also probably the only person I know that, uh, on my podcast, uh, at least I’ve had your son, Matt. I’ve had your daughter Kristen, on the show. So we’ve had all three of you on and, and, uh, it’s been awesome. I just love that Matt and I have stayed connected and I still gotta get Matt out on the golf course because I’ve, I’ve see he’s a pretty good golfer, so we’re gonna see who wins some cash from each other.

Are you putting your money on? You know, is he still playing ? 

Chris Johnson: Yeah, I play, but. You know, I’m like an A handicap and he’s, you know, he’s good. He’s really good. 

Brett Gilliland: Okay. 

Chris Johnson: So yeah, it’s amazing. He doesn’t play that much anymore, but man, he’s still good. Well, kids have a way of doing that, don’t they? Yeah. So I don’t, I don’t really, I used to try to blame, you know, straight up and I always would lose, but as just my eagle getting in the way and then now I still stake take strokes and I still lose, so it doesn’t matter.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, those stroke things are fun. But they’re frustrating too, aren’t they? 

Chris Johnson: Yeah. 

Brett Gilliland: So you are the, uh, founder and CEO of On-Target Living. Um, author of, of numerous books. Uh, you’ve got a new book out called Rest. Eat. Move. Uh, you have the power to feel your best, so we’ll talk about that. Uh, I read this book right here in 2018.

Capacity. Uh, you and your son Chris, wrote that, uh, I’m sorry, you and your son Matt wrote that. And um, it’s just an amazing book. Amazing book. I love it. So we’ll, we’ll dive into your stuff, uh, as well, but if you could, for those that didn’t hear us back in 2018, Chris, just maybe give us a little lay of the land on, on who you are, what’s, what’s made you the man you are today.

Chris Johnson: Well, Brett, uh, without getting into the weeds too much, uh, you know, I’m, I turned 66 this year. I’ve been doing this a long time over 35 years, but I was a business economic major at Western Michigan. So I’m here at our headquarters here in East Lansing, Michigan. And, um, when I got outta school, I was, there wasn’t really a lot of jobs, but I had kinda thought about what do I really wanna do?

I was always interested in exercise and working out and eating right. I got into bodybuilding in the early eighties and then I decided to go back to grad school and so I went to back to grad school at Michigan State and exercise physiology. And when I got outta grad school, I worked at in a hospital doing stress testing, and I worked for a private practice doctor for a couple years.

But really the thing all started to change when I went to work at the Michigan Athletic Club as a director of Fitness and personal. and I did that for about 17 years and that’s when I started speaking and I wrote a, a couple books and then I decided to take my, um, my deal on the road, uh, in 2007. And I’ve been full-time speaking and, and since then.

And then as you mentioned, my daughter and my son, my son Matt, runs our business and we have a nice team here. And we have a beautiful headquarters in East Lansing. So what we try to do is help organizations, uh, be their best and feel their best. So yeah, that’s where we’re at today. And um, we also have a very, uh, vibrant e-commerce business.

We sell wheatgrass and cod liver oil and things like that. So yeah, content, uh, delivery, training, and then our e-commerce. So that’s our business. 

Brett Gilliland: And, and would you say that the, the bulk of what you guys are doing, like you said, really is, is around those three things, right? Rest, uh, eat, move, uh, and, and, and in what order, right? Because I think all three of them are equally as important. Uh, maybe you would, I would assume you would agree with that, but we’ll dive into that. But let, let’s talk about, if we can, for a while, there’s a lot of business owners and people in sales that listen to this podcast. That, what, what was it like to grind for you?

So it, you know, you, you made it sound easy, which you guys have done an amazing, you got amazing business. But what, what were you doing during the early days when you didn’t have, uh, uh, a well oiled machine running a business? What was it like? What, what were the day-to-day like for you? You were raising a family, uh, young kids and traveling and doing all those things. What was it like? 

Chris Johnson: Well, like many of your, uh, listener viewers that Yeah, it’s a grind. When I got outta grad school, in fact, when I entered grad school, my wife came back to me and said, Hey, you know, honey, we’re pregnant. And I go, oh, okay. Um, and then a couple months later, we found out we’re having twins. So I’m working full-time driving a, a Frito-Lay truck delivering Doritos , and she’s working full-time in a law firm.

And we’re raising in two, you know, two twins. And then, uh, I’m in grad school full-time. So was it a grind? Absolutely. And so you look back and you’re like, how in the heck did we do it? And then, uh, I think that work ethic, again, I’m, I’m old school, but when I worked in the Michigan Athletic Club, you know, I was working 60 hours a week every week, and we had one of the largest personal trainer programs in the world.

And um, and slowly over time, it was that bedrock of training that I realized, okay, how do I take this and scale it? And so when I started speaking full-time, my wife, I can’t remember coming back to her. And I remember, uh, Merrill Lynch reached out to me and wanted me to do this training for their advisors.

And, um, they came back and said, we want you to do X, Y, Z. And I’m like, well, I have a full-time job. I can’t do that. And then, I thought to myself, I’m like, Hey, time’s, time’s to go. So anyway, I started on Ontario living in 2006 and I went full-time speaking in 2007. It was just me and, um, Don Miller, and she scheduled my events and, and then, then Matt came on 12 years ago.

And, but yeah, it’s, uh, it is like any business, you know, people say, well, I wanna do what you do, and I, well, do you really wanna speak for free for five years? 

Brett Gilliland: Right.

Chris Johnson: I’m like, what are you talking about? I said, well, you know, it just doesn’t happen. So I think sometimes people, you know, nobody’s a black belt, you know, to start with everybody’s a white belt.

Yeah. And so I always tell people, you know, you do the Jim Collins thing, you gotta have the, kinda like your Circle of Success podcast. You have to have passion and. And you gotta feel like you can make a living at it. And last but not least, you need to be, feel like you can be really good at it. So I think that’s the circle we always talk about.

But as you mentioned, it doesn’t happen overnight. And um, I probably wouldn’t do it any other way cuz again, the, the struggles we all face, whether it’s our health or whatever, but some of the good, best stuff is through the struggles. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, for sure. And, and so do you have a, a defining moment? I was in a meeting earlier today and we’re talking about uh, we’re gonna have an event coming up in March on Inter International Women’s Day, um, on March 8th. And I was talking to three of the ladies in our firm and I said, let’s talk about a defining moment. Like I had a defining moment in my life in 2003. So I started the business in 2001, 2002. I was like the advisor of the year in, in our, in our, you know, in our area here in St. Louis, uh, for the company I was at. And then 2003. I, I should have been fired. I mean, I didn’t do any production. I just, you know, I let this talent think that’s just gonna carry you. And it was a defining moment for me, right to, to where I learned you have to work hard. You can’t just show up and expect things to happen.

You gotta work your ass off to become successful. And even though it was the toughest year of my life, it, in looking back now, 22 years later, it was the best year of my. Right. So do you have a moment like that for you on the, on the way up on the journey that you said, man, that looking back, that was a defining moment?

Chris Johnson: Yeah, I think there, there is many defining moments, but one that I can really think about. Um, I had an opportunity to get on the biggest stages in the world. With Merrill Lynch, uh, way back in 2007, it was just before the market kind of imploded. Um, but I was doing this event for Merrill Lynch managers, about 3,500 people in the audience, and I didn’t get a rehearsal.

And so before I was gonna get up on stage. One thing got pushed back, one thing got pushed back, and the next thing you know, when I get up there, this is not ready to roll in front of 3,500 people. And so the woman that hired me, I didn’t know she was in the audience, and I talked to her about a couple days later and she said, Hey, how’d the event go? And I go, well, it’s really tough to start with. And she says, um, she asked me a question, “Are you a professional speaker?” And I said, “Yeah.”. And she said, “Well, you need to act like one.” And I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “I was in your audience and you weren’t ready to go. You didn’t even know where your clicker was. You didn’t this…” And I got, I’m now making excuses that, you know, the reason I didn’t know that is because they didn’t gimme a rehearsal. And she said, well, any professional speaker would’ve never stepped on up on stage in front of 3,500 people without a rehearsal. And she said, you know, I have you scheduled for some of these largest events that we do.

I don’t think you’re ready to go. And I thought to myself, I go, I am ready to go, and you’re right, I did drop the ball. I need to do this. She goes, you’re tired, your slides are tired. Your jokes aren’t funny. I go, so I really got hit between the teeth. But she was exactly right. She, she said, you know, later, I, I saw potential in you.

I knew you were relatively raw in this world, but our advisors were so attracted to your message and your energy that I wanted to get you out there. But I had to see if you were willing to make some of these changes. And I did and that, that really was a defining moment cuz then I came up and did their series of events and, you know, the, the energy took off and then next thing you know, I’m speaking all around the world with some of the largest groups in the world.

So, but that was a real defining moment at the time. It wasn’t fun to listen to that, but sometimes we need some of that tough love and yeah, you know, I’m always grateful for that.

Brett Gilliland: It is amazing. Isn’t the the tough love and how in the, in the moment it sucks, right? You probably were pissed at her. It’s like, you don’t, you don’t understand, I, I got this. I’m good. This is your guys’ fault. But then when you slow down and learn from it, that’s when it becomes really, really valuable information, right? 

Chris Johnson: Well, and then now when I go to an event, I’m always, you know, I, I’m overly friendly. I wanna be, I’m not that, you know, I don’t wanna be that person.

But at the same time, I I, I treat it like, you know what, if I don’t have a rehearsal and I’m not, I’m not going on. And so I’ve really learned along the way, cuz a lot of times you get with different people, whether it’s the AV teams or whatever, and they’ll say, we’re all set. I’m like, no, we’re not at set.

We’re gonna make sure this thing rolls. And even doing that, sometimes it doesn’t always, you know, go off. But you know, you, you have to set the tone. You have to let ’em know that I’m coming in here. My goal is to have an amazing impact of as much as I can, but it’s gotta, it’s gotta be in the right realm. So, and then we do the same thing, you know, ideally with podcasts and virtual events and the same things as, you know, preparation is everything. What’s the process look like? And, um, sometimes that’s what I teach, you know, Other people in this space. I’m like, what are you doing? I’m like, well, you gotta, what’s your process?

What’s it like before you’re gonna get up on stage? What do you do, you know, the day before? What do you, what do you, what? How are you preparing? So, so again, that’s the stuff that I think people, um, you know, once they get the process in place and they really start to polish it, whether it’s an advisor or whatever profession, you’re in, then you can really, really get good at what you do. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And I, I just love the fact though, I wanna make sure we’re spending more time on that, that you talk about the preparation, you talk about the rehearsal. I mean, we, you’re the 325th person I’ve interviewed and just had our sixth anniversary, but it’s, you know, we have the same process every time.

Right. There’s your picture, there’s your bio, there’s your stuff. Here’s my notebooks. Over the last couple years, you know, they’re the same note. And I don’t say this as in bragging, it’s it’s, but you gotta have a process, right? So when I’m getting ready for my interview with you today, what does that look like?

Right? So if it’s a sales meeting, somebody’s walking into, yeah, maybe you’ve given the same sales presentation a million times, but that million first time matters just as much as the first time. And so what are you doing to make that process better? So for me, my question for you there is, what do you do now to stay a student of the game, to keep getting better and growing from what you do every single day? 

Chris Johnson: Well, I think I always try to do, and number one, I want to be prepared. So I just did a webinar with a group outta Chicago just before I came on, and so preparation is starting at, we did it at 11:00 AM. Eastern time. So at 10 o’clock we’re getting ready, lights, camera, action. I’ve already done, I already know who I’m talking to, what we’ve done with ’em.

I know the P players, you know, it’s all that preparation. Yeah. And then I go through my slides and this is what we’re gonna discuss and I, I kind of rehearse in my mind what I’m gonna do, and then I try to bring as much energy to the party as I can. And so it’s the, the same thing over and over. And then you step back and say, okay, what resonated with ’em? What kind of q and a did we do? Were they asking? What were they not asking? So then you make some notes to yourself and like, Hey, this really resonated with ’em. These are the questions we’re getting. And so it’s not an accident now that you’re hitting those points during your presentation in the future. So to me, even though it might be similar, but it’s always new.

And so if you’re not making it new and fresh, like if you did, how many webinars or how many podcasts have you done? You said 325, is that right? 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Yeah. 

Chris Johnson: Well, if it’s 325 and you’re bored, then the, your listeners and your viewers are gonna feel like it, you’re bored, so, right. I’m not bored. I’m excited. I wanna see the twinkle in their eye even sometimes I can’t see it, you know, with virtual, but that’s my goal.

My goal is to say, how can I share this content, which I think is really important, but maybe help them understand how important it is and that how they can take it and put it into their world. So that’s always the challenge and that’s the exciting part of it. But yeah, a lot of the preparation, always looking at how can I make it better.

And I’m a big fan of being curious, you know, asking questions and being really curious. What can we do better? And any, and as you know this, you’re good at this and this is what you do, but when you think you know it all, you pretty much don’t know a whole lot, so…

Brett Gilliland: Right, yeah. Exactly.

Chris Johnson: I’ve been doing this a long time and I always feel like I can learn something.

Brett Gilliland: So I’m gonna, uh, turn the page a little bit and, uh, and I, I say this is be not just because you’re a guest on the show, I, I truly mean this, or I wouldn’t say it is you, I think you look younger today than you did in 2018. So one of the things I wrote down, I, I wrote down is how do we age gracefully? Right?

You got a lot of 40 year olds probably listening to this podcast and, uh, I don’t know exactly how old you are, but you look younger than you did five years ago. So that’s a good. So let’s talk about that, how we age, gracefully? 

Chris Johnson: !Yeah. So I’m, I’ve turned in 66. I five grandkids. Um, as you know, Matt and Kristen are gonna be 37, so , um, yeah, tabs in in the room with me.

Tabs gonna be 75 in the fall. And we, um, we’ve been friends for a long, long time and we try to take care of business because you gotta walk the walk. But if you think about aging, you know, my book was set up, you know, if you looked at my book here, I just pull it up here so people can see it. But the reason rest is first eat move is because rest is really the pillar.

And so if you don’t have the pillar of rest, I just did a. MIT Con Conference , MIT conference in Boston in the fall. And I was telling all the group, these are all CFOs, some of the top CFOs in the world. And I said, you gotta be intentional about your rest. And if you look at the financial services arena, I find more and more advisors don’t get enough rest.

Brett Gilliland: Mm-hmm.

Chris Johnson: That’s when I get their blood back and we look at their blood work and their testosterone level for both men and women. It’s. I already know that they’re not getting enough sleep. So, so then they were like, how’d you know that? I’m like, well, cause if your stress hormones are on the building, your sex hormones are turned off, are o off.

So, so the point of it is, is we have to understand the power of, of resting. And again, if you’re not sleeping, that’s the fastest way to age the human body. So we’re a big fan of understanding stress and understanding, you know, the conversations you have with yourself cuz stress is a killer. And then, uh, you have to have strategies.

To be in performing your best from a rest standpoint. And that’s how you breathe. You know, are you breathing through your nose? You using your diaphragm? Are you slowing it down? Cause we’re just the opposite. We breathe through the mouth, we breathe through the chest, and we breathe too fast. So one of the fastest way to calm the mind, relax of ice, change how you breathe, and then, and then we move into sleeping and how important it is.

And with all the social influencers and we deal with every day, but people think they need, they can hack their sleep. I tell ’em, here’s the deal, there’s nothing more important than getting a good night of sleep. You have to understand the value of sleep, and if you think you wanna hack it, I’m, I’m here to tell you, you can’t.

There’s no hacking sleep. And the last but not least, you like the pace of your life. I find a lot of people, especially in the financial services arena, love what they do. They do not like the pace of their life. So then we have to deal with that. And then from there we move into, you know, are they getting enough water?

You know, what nutrients are they missing? Are they getting more whole foods? And then, you know, are they fasting 12 to 14 hours and then we move in our body, we’re getting sunlight. Um, so those are really as simple as it sounds, it’s no different than you were talking about your process. That’s what I do with people when they come in and do retreats.

We do one-on-one training or we do live events. We help them build a, a, a sustainable, uh, foundation that allows them to age and be vibrant, you know, in that capacity as, as we age. And I think people are looking for that. And we just got back from skiing out in Colorado and I’m skiing with two of my friends and we’re both, you know, they’re a little bit younger than me, but, you know, all in that same 65 range.

And, I was teasing ’em. I’m like, Hey, hey, I’ve never seen you guys ski this good. And they’re like, you know what? I’ve never seen you ski this good. And we’re all kind of patting each other on the back. But , it really was, it was three, 65 year olds have been skiing their whole life that are, are doing pretty good.

So I think that’s what people are looking for from an aging standpoint. They wanna, they wanna have that vibrancy as they age. And again, um, it’s, the body is incredible. , it’s ability to heal and self-correct if you just give it the right, right ingredients. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So what will you do? I always compare this to like investing money. You can’t invest a dollar today and expect it to be, you know, worth $3 tomorrow. Right? Well, I mean, I guess you could get lucky and do that. The point is, it’s compounding, it’s time, right? And same thing with our exercise at 65 years old skiing, doing all that, how many people listening to this right now wanna be 65 and skiing?

Raise your hand. I think a lot of people will be raising their hand. But what were you doing when you were 35 years old or 40 years old, right? What have you been doing for the last 30, 40, 50 years of your life to be where you’re at now, to be skiing at age 65? 

Chris Johnson: Well, I think the big thing, you know, way back in the day, I was an exercise physiologist, so I was always interested in playing and you know, I played sports and working out and all that kind of stuff.

So we’ve always been a big fan of strength training. Cause strength training is the fountain. I would say today I’ve probably, we did a podcast that comes out on Monday on strength training. But I think the way I, I stretch a lot more, I work on more mobility flexibility. I train a lot smarter than I used to.

I would say my nutrition is so much better than it used to be. Um, I’m a big fan of wheatgrass and cod liver oil and just eating real quality of whole foods and then I’m really intentional about my rest. So I think I’ve polished the, the stone quite as I’ve gotten older, but I always was interested in my health.

I think that’s the biggest thing, that you have to get people to be intentional about their health. And if they’re not intentional about order than their wealth, they’re not gonna have it. And so it really is what you just said. It’s compound, compound interest. You just build and build and build, and then you keep getting better at it.

And I think that’s what your, your, your group would tell you as, as advisors or whoever’s listening to this. It’s all about how do you do what you’re doing and, and, you know, make it 1% better or whatever, wherever you’re at and what’s driving you. So I think that’s, for me, I’ve always been interested in it, but I’ve learned a lot over time.

I, I know a lot about medications. I know a lot about blood work that I didn’t know early in my career. But those things that I, I’ve, I’ve definitely, um, for myself personally, I, I try to really pay attention to those three pillars that are how we rest, eat, and move.

Brett Gilliland: So that, let’s talk about that. The, you said strength training, um, you’re a big fan of that. So, you know, I do strength training, I do yoga, I do stretching. I do, you know, a rower or a bike or a, or a treadmill, all those different things. I got, I got another exercise. I do a lot for mobility type stuff. H how much time should we be spending on weights versus, you know, mobility, flexibility type stuff and versus cardio, those three areas.

Chris Johnson: Well, I think number one is you gotta get people interested in understanding that they need to move their body every day. So that mindset needs to change. I need to move every day. Now, it could be five minutes, could be 10 minutes, but I’m gonna move my body sometime during the day because the greatest benefit of moving your body is what it does for your mind.

And so we gotta get outta the mindset that workouts is just for my body, heart rate variability and all the stuff that’s going on out there, but what it does for my mind. So I’m gonna move my body every day. And then from there, I would spend a lot less time doing cardio and a lot more time working on mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength.

And I think that’s the missing link out there for many people getting on a treadmill or getting on elliptical or getting on these things. There’s nothing wrong with letting your brain kind of just chill out, but that’s where I see the mistake. People are getting very, very, they’re spending too much time doing cardio and not enough balance in the routine.

And so when I bring ’em in and we do training, and they’re doing X, Y, Z. I’ll challenge ’em. What’s your balance like? What’s your mobility flexibility like, what’s your strength like? And so when now we start looking at what are their goals and then really start training specifically for goals and then make it, make it enjoyable.

I think that’s the big thing when you talk about movement, it has to be somewhat enjoyable where you’re not gonna repeat it. So I’m a big fan of play, you know, as we age, we need to play. I just mentioned about ski. But then you wanna train to play. And so I have a lot of people playing pickleball and you know, I play a lot of paddle ball, but that’s their workout, that’s what they do, right?

They play to get in shape. I’m like, no, you gotta, you gotta, you gotta, you gotta train to, to play. So anyway, so that’s really my, kind of, my thoughts on, on creating that balance in your, in your workout or, you know, your movement routine. 

Brett Gilliland: And so what’s that look like for you or for, you know, people again, whether they’re 35, 45 or 65. What are you doing? Like what is that? Are are just literally old school stretching? Is it there a program for that? Like what are you doing? 

Chris Johnson: Yeah, so I, so yeah, so in my book, and again we have it on our work workout Wednesdays on our website, on target living. But I always start some type of movement. So I’ll get in there and not do dynamic warmup.

I’m moving my arms overhead. I’m twisting, but I’m warming the body up. And then I do a y a group, a handful of yoga poses. That works in my mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength. That might take me a total amount of time, maybe five to six, eight minutes. But I’m a big fan of working on your extremities.

Like for example, I do mobility, flexibility, wrist exercises, hands my feet, my ankles. So I, I’m always doing that kind of stuff. And then I do generally some type of cardio. Like today I did mini trampoline. So I get on the mini trampoline for a minute. I’m hopping, running, jumping, doing , and then I get off that and I do a three day strength split routine.

So today I did chest and back and core. I do the mini trampoline, and at the end of the workout, after I’m warmed up, I’m gonna do some restorative stretching. So I work on the hip flexors, I work on my back, I work on all these different things, and that would be something I didn’t do probably 20 years ago. So that allows me to keep my mobility flexibility and not hurt myself and feel good.

So that’s kind of a typical routine for me. I warm up to get my heart rate somehow up there. I’m gonna do the strength training and then I’m gonna do finish up with some type of restorative movement. And then I work on my breathing at the end. And I find many money with clients coming in that they, you know, they’re like your clients.

I mean, they’re going 900 miles an hour. They’re simply successful in their business. But they’ll say to me sometimes, this is the best hour of my week. And I said, why is that? And they said, because you intentionally get me to slow down at the end. Yeah, yeah, 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. So that breathing, is it more of a meditation type breathing, or is it like belly breathing, box breathing? What, what kind of breathing are you doing? 

Chris Johnson: It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s traditional belly breathing. So again, you’re gonna breathe through the nose, you know, use your diaphragm, your belly. And then I’m a big fan of, you know, the four second inhalation and the six second exhalation . And so if you can get people to do that, and they do either do that for a minute or so, the next thing you know they’re breathing five or six breaths per minute versus, you know.

So it’s a skill that people have to learn because as they learn it, they’re gonna just be naturally slow breathers using the diaphragm. Yeah. And then understanding the power of box breathing is more an energy thing. That’s why the Navy Seals do it, cause they’re getting ready to go into battle. So I’m not a big fan of holding the breath when I’m really trying to get ’em to chill out.

But there’s lots of different ways. In fact, in a chapter my book, I have the Lost Art of Breathing. It’s, you know, it’s a whole chapter on breathing. But yeah, if you make a simple nose belly, slowing it down, That’s, that’s really powerful stuff for people.

Brett Gilliland: And I, I have found too, I’ve, I’ve been, uh, um, focused on breathing and meditation for, gosh, probably seven, eight years now. And it, it’s been a life changer for me from a guy that’s got a ton of anxiety. It’s, it’s been probably the number one thing I would say actually that’s helped me get through anxiety and, and now it be an ally, uh, versus an enemy. But I would say it’s also a big deal that when you’re sitting in that meeting and you’re in a boardroom versus working out and you kind of have some anxiousness come in, or man, this is a really big meeting and, and you know, you have to have a tough conversation.

I have found the training, that training right, you do in the gym also has helped sitting at a desk. Right. That it’s like, okay, I can, I can quote unquote meditate and you not even know it. Right. But I’m slowing my heart right down. 

Chris Johnson: Well, again, you what you’re just saying now you’ve developed a skill. This is a skill.

People are like, oh, I already know that. Well, you don’t practice this. So it hasn’t turned into a skill. So when I look at breathing, you wanna teach people the skill of how to breathe. In fact, I had a couple in last night, I have birthday balloons, and this is something all your advisors could do with their clients, but get a bunch of birthday balloons and have ’em blow it up, and they know the strength of the diaphragm, right then.

And so now you get their attention. So if you don’t have that strength in the diaphragm, you’ll become more of a chest breather, especially as you age. And the fastest way to quiet the nervous system, which your sympathetic nervous system, that’s fight or flight, is changing how you breathe. So now we have a skill that I can calm the mind, relax the body, and I can do it on demand. And nobody even knows you’re doing it. 

Brett Gilliland: Right. 

Chris Johnson: Sometimes when I do alternate nostril breathing , that’s a whole nother level. My wife will say, you know, you’re an idiot. I’m like, okay. She, cause she knows we’re probably not having a great conversation.

Yeah. As soon as I do that, she start, she starts to laugh and then, you know, things become a little bit more relaxed, but the breathing is a powerful skill. 

Brett Gilliland: Yes, it is. It is. What have you seen, I’m sure you have, you’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve, I’ve been seeing people, these, these people hunt social media that tape their mouth at night to, to sleep.

What, what are they doing there? 

Chris Johnson: Well, the big thing, we were running out during covid toilet paper and mouth tape. And so when James Nester came out with, you know, the book Breathe, which is about 400 pages, about how to breathe, you know, he would, he lead starts his book off talking about, you know, having the awareness with the mouth ,mouth tape.

And so when people, you know, tape their, your, your nose closed and they breathe only through the mouth, that turns into a disaster. And then we do the mouth tape, now they realize they breathe a lot more through their mouth than they knew. So it’s more of an awareness thing. I don’t think you need to go to a level where you have to tape your mouth. Being more aware of it during your day and people around you, how many people breathe through their mouth and not through their nose.

So during my day, most of the time I try to breathe through the nose 24 7, even when I’m in the gym, unless the intensity gets too high. So yeah, it’s just an awareness but yeah, I don’t think people need to go to the extremes with mouth tape. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, I’m with. And you exhale through your mouth when you’re breathing. 

Chris Johnson: I always breathe, exhale through my nose. Inhale through my nose. Exhale through my nose. 

Brett Gilliland: Okay. Okay. 

Chris Johnson: So it’s more of, you know, cause the nasal passages are the switchboard for the nervous system. And there’s nothing wrong, like in yoga, they’re always getting you to exhale through the mouth. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I like to teach my clients, inhale, exhale through the nose. 

Brett Gilliland: Okay, that’s good to know. So let’s talk about the eating. So we talked about rest. It’s the fastest way to age a human body. If we’re not doing it, we gotta be purposeful with it. We gotta be intentional. Uh, we’ve talked about moving right there. Let’s talk about eat. I went a little bit outta order, but, uh, rest, eat, move.

Chris Johnson: It’s okay. 

Brett Gilliland: What are we talking about eating now? What, what kind of habits do we need to be creating? We, we all know that, right? Eat healthy, eat your vegetables, shop around the, the exterior edges of the, of the grocery store and all that stuff. But let’s dive deeper into that. 

Chris Johnson: Well, I think the biggest thing you have to understand about eating is if the nervous system is out of balance. You can’t have good digestion so the first thing you have to get under control is stress and understand the power of sleeping and the breathing and all this stuff. Once you can understand that a little bit, it’s not think about what nutrients are you missing. Is it B vitamins, it’s omega-3 fats, whatever it is.

And number two, what are you not absorbing? So I always try to teach all my clients that your gut is a garden, and if you look at your gut as a garden, then everything begins in. So hormones, melatonin, serotonin, all these wonderful neurotransmitters, sleep hormones, or testosterone, growth hormone, it’s all made in the gut.

Well, if the gut’s not healthy, you’re not gonna be healthy. So step one is you gotta get the gut healthy. Treat it like a garden. That’s the soil, that’s the seeds, that’s the water, that’s the sunlight. So once that’s under control, then we start looking at, you know, where do we begin? And it really begins with pre-pro and symbiotic foods.

Not supplements, but foods. And most of those live in the carbohydrate family. So it’s apples, bananas, real oatmeal, sauerkraut, pickles. You know, we have a whole handout on, you know, uh, pre-pro and symbiotics kakao nibs coconut. So once I start bringing some of those real foods into the body, then we get into the water, making sure they’re hydrated.

Cuz water is simple as it sounds for everybody. If they don’t put it in front of ’em, they get behind. It’s too late. Yeah. So you really need to get, you know, the minimum water. I’m a big fan of ginger and, you know, uh, lemons and things like that. But then, then we move into the super foods and so this is a big part of our business.

I don’t wanna be a commercial. But you know, cod liver oil, we, we promote cell cod liver oil because omega-3 fats is about 95% of your population deficient. And the number one benefit of omega-3 fats, including cod liver oil, is brain health. And so when you talk about aging, if you’re not getting an omega-3 fat, you will not age well.

So it’s good for your skin, your digestion, your heart. It’s great for hormones, anti-inflammatory. and this high vitamin D three natural. So the first thing I try to get all my clients to get some from omega-3 S, flax, chia, the cod liver oil. And then from there we move into Chlorophyl. Cause chlorophyl is great for the gut, anything dark green, but really wanting to start eating chlorophyl foods.

So that’s gonna be kale, spinach, broccoli, bach choy. And then what we promote is spirulina chlorella, which is a freshwater alge which is high nucleic acids, a builder immune system, and then frozen wheatgrass. So now we cover lots of ground with very little supplementation, and that gets us to the next piece, which is the source.

And what the source means is where does it come from? So if you’re eating an apple, you know, the apple’s the source. Then we turn into apple cider vinegar or apple cider vinegar, gummies. We keep moving away and that’s what the, that’s what I see right now in the world today. Everybody’s doing all these supplements and reality is why, just because you put it in the body does not mean your body’s gonna break it down and absorb it.

So, so that’s nutritionally when you say, okay, let’s get the gut healthy. Look at some of those foods that make the gut healthy, make sure you’re getting enough water, then we. Certain nutrients were missing. Like my oatmeal on the run in the morning is loaded with B vitamins loaded with magnesium, but it’s all coming from food, so it’s a hundred percent rolled thick oats to cacao nibs, shredded coconut, so maybe some frozen raspberry cuppa, raisin, some nuts.

Plant milk, cinnamon. In the refrigerator the night before loaded. And again, when I’m doing training here at our facility with our clients, especially in the morning, I bring it so then they like, oh my God, this is so easy and it’s so this and so that. And by the way, it tastes good and it’s great for my gut health.

So that’s pretty….

Brett Gilliland: …put that in a bowl. You put that into a bowl at night before you go to bed or whatever, put it in there and it’s ready to rock the next day. You have nothing to do other than just start eatin’ it? 

Chris Johnson: You just start eating it. Yeah. So again, simple. We bring groups in here. I had a group in here a couple weeks ago, 25 people I made oatmeal the night before.

Probably took me, maybe, maybe took me a minute to make, doesn’t cost hardly anything but the real thick oats. Put ’em in the, the glass container, put your stuff in it the night before. It’s perfect. Oatmeal, can’t really screw it up. Any monkey can make it. And that’s the only in, in our, in our cookbook. The only recipe I get credit for is the oatmeal run.

So the kids are kind of making fun of me in the, in that. So, and then from and from there, there, from there we look at, you know, meal patterning and the timing. And so once I start upgrading using the food target, so if you’re, you know, if you’re, if your folks aren’t familiar with this food target, we can send you this.

Again, it’s easy to do. You can send it to your listeners , but it’s just upgrading. And then look at your timing. Am I fasting 12 to 14 hours overnight and am I eating, you know, three or four, five times a day? So, and that’s the big thing out there right now is like, everybody’s skipping meals, shrinking their time.

I’m like, no, no. If you wanna be healthy and have good gut health and not stress the body, not be on a diet, then you need to make sure you’re fasting overnight and then you’re, you’re eating throughout the day. So, yeah. Yeah. We make this so hard sometimes., , so. 

Brett Gilliland: It is. It’s amazing, isn’t it? But you just go back to normal things the way our forefathers ate, you know, hundreds of years ago. It’s pretty simple. 

Chris Johnson: Well, I think the thing we’re seeing more today, you know, whether it’s the keto or whatever, and so we’re cutting macronutrients out of the diet and that’s not gonna work. Yep. So, you know, back in the, back in the eighties, we cut out fat. In the nineties we had a high protein, low carb.

Today it’s the high fat, no carb, so we need the OAC or nutrients cuz they’re essential. We need healthy fats, we need healthy proteins, and you need healthy carbs. So that’s what’s, that’s where people are getting it wrong, in my opinion. And I’m seeing this because, and that’s the world we deal with and with their blood work, I get their blood work back and their hematology report’s not good.

Their GFR, their kidney function’s not good, testosterone’s lower than they want it to be. They don’t know what they’re doing wrong. I’m like, well, yeah, you’re doing protein shakes, you’re doing energy drinks, you know, it’s not an accident to what I see.

Brett Gilliland: Right. 

Chris Johnson: And then they waking up because the blood work doesn’t lie.

Brett Gilliland: And what’s the wheat wheatgrass do for us? So the wheatgrass is high in chlorophyl, which is natural detoxifying, but wheatgrass is the highest source of minerals of any nutrient in the world. So that’s, it’s grown in the ground for five months. We get ours from a, a farm about 120 miles north of Toranto. So the wheatgrass comes to your house in a frozen ice cube and you can just put it in a glass of water and it’s the first thing most people do in the morning.

Chris Johnson: That’s, that’s a big, that’s a big thing we try to promote because it covers so much ground. I don’t have to take all these minerals cuz it is in the food back to the source. So that’s…

Brett Gilliland: it just melts over time. It just, it just melts in the water and just…

Chris Johnson: Yeah, you’re just drinking. It’s clean tasting. You know, I had a couple in here last night and um, they were like, is this gonna taste bad?

I’m like, you’ll be the judge. I’m like, wow, it tastes pretty clean. I’m like, yeah, it’s supposed not, supposed to taste bad. Thing with a cod liver. Liver shouldn’t taste bad. Organic lemon flavor.

Brett Gilliland: And if I’m doing a omega-3 vitamin, do you like that versus, uh, the, because you guys do the liquid, right?

Chris Johnson: Yeah. So the reason we, so back to the source. So again, if you looked at this bottle here, we get it from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It’s high in vitamin D-3, it’s line caught. Livers are frozen on the boat. But now the dosage, one tablespoon a day would probably be equivalent to maybe 6, 8, 10 gel tablets. So now you’re not doing the gel tablets.

So again, we’re getting away from it. So my dose isn’t as good, the quality’s not as good, but then people are afraid of the taste. I’m like, okay, you try it. And they’re like, that’s when I do live events. Or Matt does it, or Kristen, we take these things. People are shocked at the taste. I’m like, well, it did. It shouldn’t taste bad. So that’s what we’re missing out there. It’s no different than financial services arena. It’s all about the quality. And if you can get people to do higher quality and do the compound interest, then their need for all these little itty bitty supplements starts to disappear.

Brett Gilliland: This is great. I really appreciate all this and we’ll keep div…. We’ll put the link, uh, for those listening and watching to the Rest. Eat. Move., Uh, you have the power to feel your best book in the, in the show. Show notes here, pick it up. I can tell you they’re great authors cuz I have read their books. And, uh, it’s phenomenal.

So I’ll be buying that one as soon as we get off here. 

Chris Johnson: Yep. 

Brett Gilliland: I buy some wheat grass. Don’t be buying. I’ve been fighting the wheat grass.

Chris Johnson: We’ll be buying it. We’ll, we’ll we’ll send it to you. I’ll send you book. 

Brett Gilliland: Alright. I, I, I’ve been, uh, fighting the wheat grass and cod liver oil, so I’m just, I’m, I circled it and said buy it.

That’s why I put in my notes right here, so I’ll be, you’ll, you’ll be getting a sale. At least one sale today outta me. 

Chris Johnson: Well, I think, I think our cod liver oil and, no, I’m not thinking I know it. It’s, I think it’s the best quality in the world. Yeah. And so we spend a lot of time and energy really getting that. And the same thing goes with the wheatgrass. So again, you be the judge. But yeah, those are two really powerful, um, super foods that we, we recommend. 

Brett Gilliland: And then my last thing, kinda on the Rest. Eat. Move. Thing that move. How many days a week are you working out so hard that you’re breaking a sweat? Like how important is that versus, you know, you’re flex? Like if I’m moving around and doing some of those yoga, like I don’t, I can do 40 minutes of yoga, not really sweat. So do I need to be sweating every day? 

Chris Johnson: No. No. Okay. What you need to be doing is you need to be doing movement. And like you said, sometimes movement’s gonna be more taxing and other times it’s not.

But if, again, if we redline all the time, that’s no fun. 

Brett Gilliland: No. 

Chris Johnson: So that won’t last long. In fact, your stress hormones will go up. So when I’m over training, back to the bodybuilding, I’ve competed in a 10 bodybuilding contest since 1985 when I was over training. My resting heart rate would always go up. So I don’t want your, your, your viewers, your listeners to overtrain, and so that’s part of the recovery.

But I want you to move. So like certain days I might just do stretching and, and I, I’m go for a walk and it’s pretty chill pill or maybe some yoga activities. I would say yoga’s easy, cuz sometimes yoga can be really hard challenging. 

Brett Gilliland: Oh right. 

Chris Johnson: But you don’t always need to break a sweat, you know, get into anaerobic, you know, training, that kind of thing, so. But I’m a huge fan of what movement does for my mind.

Brett Gilliland: I like it. So I, I picked up, uh, a couple of your core values, uh, from your website. I, I, I’m a huge believer. Our firm’s a huge believer in our core values. Also trust and respect. Um, so I picked two. Anything is possible. And then curiosity and growth.

Uh, those are two of your guys’ core values. So when, when you hear those, like, let’s talk about that anything is possible, what does that mean to you? 

Chris Johnson: Well, when it kind of gets in towards health again, I think your listeners all would agree. If you don’t have your health, you have very little. Yeah, and so why is that not front and center for more organizations?

That’s why Matt and I wrote Capacity, cuz again, we’d get, always get bunted. Hey, we’ll get to that when we get a chance. Well, I go, wait, wait a minute. That’s your four. That’s your core. Your people are always your greatest asset and the greatest asset of your people is their health. So when it sounded about being perfect, but understanding that if I had greater energy throughout my day, I have a bit more capacity.

I feel good. I get a good night’s sleep. The list I’m gonna, I’m gonna rock the house. Yeah. I’m gonna have so much, you know, more to give. So, so that’s, that’s the foundation of pillars, so, so big part of that is if you’re not going in a great direction, well maybe start asking better questions. How could I be a little healthier?

How could I enjoy the process? So I think that’s the challenge all the time, is I, I challenge ’em from a curiosity stand. If you’re on a cholesterol medication, you don’t need to be on it if you’re willing to change your lifestyle. Yeah. If you’re a diabetic, you don’t need to be a type two diabetic. It’s not irreversible, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, so, so that’s where you start throwing that, that curiosity that, you know, why do I, why don’t I sleep anymore?

Why do I have ED? Why do I have, you know, a problem with my testosterone, right? Why do I have trouble sleeping? But when you get curious, those are the questions we’re always pushing the buttons. Then you start uncovering the real answer and the human body, as long as I’ve been, you know, it’s amazing ability to heal and self correct. 

So it’s no different if you start today and you don’t have a whole lot of resources financially, we all know if you start doing a little bit at a time, it starts to add and add and add, and the next thing you know, people are doing pretty good. 

Brett Gilliland: Yep. Taking my notes here.

Awesome. Um, curiosity and growth. I think we talked about that. So, um, your, your daily choices. I mean, when you look at your day, if I follow you around with a camera every day, all day, what am what am I finding? Obviously the rest, eat, move is important, but what, what are some more things, habits, rituals, that you have that have helped you become, you know, super successful over your lifetime?

Chris Johnson: Well, a thing, I really, I really focus on getting good sleep. So, and I, and I look at my lifestyle, I try to really pay attention to my space in my life. So if I don’t have a lot of space in my life, I’m not gonna be able to write books. I’m not gonna probably be very good on stage. I’m probably not gonna be very good, you know, with my kids and my spouse and my grandkids.

So that’s really important to me. Um, and then from a business standpoint, you know, I try to bring energy here every day. I mean, I’m a, I’m very intentional about my energy and so as kind of a leader in our organization, you know, if I come in and I’m like, oh, I just don’t feel like it today. I’m like, you kind of have to fake it sometimes.

But if I’m not having good energy, then I step back and say, what am I doing that I’m not real happy about? And so, you know, what’s my process look like? Do I have enough space? Do I have enough downtime? Am I going from meeting to meeting? I used to work for a hospital many, many years ago and it was crazy how many meetings we would have in one day.

So, so I really look at my space and my day and do I have enough time to eat? Do I have enough time to move? Do I have enough time to breathe? You know, all that stuff. That’s kind of why I set the foundation and then I start really being intentional about what I’m gonna get done today. So I’m always looking at like, today, what am I, what do I have to do today?

I have to leave the off. I gotta get it done today. So I’m not doing, trying to do 10 things, but what are the three most important rocks I gotta move today. Yeah. So that’s kind of how I look at my business, but the foundation of my business is always based on around my lifestyle. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. How much of that planning are you doing? Are you writing it down in a journal on your phone, a little post-it note, like, what’s that look like for you? 

Chris Johnson: Well, my son will tell you I’m a paper guy, so I write it on paper and then what I have is I use Brian Moran. Brian Moran is 12 week year, the author of the 12, 12 week year. And I use that plan for everybody.

And so at the beginning of the week, I look at my 12 week year and what are my rocks? I’m moving this week. and then I break it down. You know, when I come in in the morning, you know, if I’d have time later, later that later that day, or what am I gonna do in the morning? And I go, okay, this is what I gotta do today.

And then if I don’t like what’s going on, I gotta really look at adjusting my calendar. Like if I got too many meetings, I can’t get to this. I’m like, wow, why, why am I not blocking this time to do the stuff that’s most important? So, so I use that model and I think that’s helped me a lot over the years.

Of setting up my calendar and my schedule and when my schedule’s flowing, then I’m flowing. Yeah. And that allows me to come up with, you know, good videos and good content and things that we do in our business. But I think scheduling is a big deal for people cuz they have too little space in their life.

Yeah. And they don’t like the pace of their life. So to me, I’m always looking at do I like the pace of my life? And if I don’t, I try to pay attention to that. And if I don’t do that, then everything else starts to fall apart, including lifestyle habits. 

Brett Gilliland: It’s funny, I was just pulling up my, um, phone here. So I go to my calendar every, every Wednesday, you know, from one to three. It’s already pre-booked in my calendar. Strategic think time. And I’ve been doing this for years and it’s funny how many people I’ve shared this with, but nobody really ever does it. Um, but just having think time put on your calendar on repeat. You know, I used to, I used to do an hour and a half of it. Now it’s two hours where I just sit down with my black journal here, an ink pen and no technology and just think, and sometimes you literally just sit there and you kinda look out the window and you just, but you think, and, and I have found it to be some of the most critically important time for me as a leader, as a father, as a husband of, of anything I do all week long.

Chris Johnson: Well, and I think the big thing you’re seeing right there is you give yourself some stillness. And in that stillness is where all the good stuff comes out. If you looked at, you know how the mind works, you have the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. And so again, that two hour block gives you that space in your mind to, to think, and again about, talk about sharpening the saw.

I mean, how incredible is that? And then people will say, well, I don’t have time to do that. You don’t have time not to. 

Brett Gilliland: Right. 

Chris Johnson: If you don’t have time not to, then you need that time because the time we love to waste is not wasted time. You might be looking out the window, but you’re getting your mind right for some, something crazy good in your world.

Brett Gilliland: That’s right. That’s right.

Chris Johnson: So I always have to remind myself like, I was flying back from Houston, uh, a week ago and I’m on the plane and I’m like, all these things came in my brain cuz I didn’t have, I wasn’t watching tv. I wasn’t, you know, texting, I wasn’t doing anything except just sitting there. And then I had, I’m right with you. I’m a paper guy, I’m writing the stuff down. I’m like, wow, okay, that’s cool. I need to write, you know what I mean? But, but you have to have that stillness to let these things up. And I, so I love what you’re saying, to have that on repeat and, and do it every week. And again, I, I think it needs to be not something you don’t do once a month, but you do weekly.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, absolutely. So where do our listeners find more of Chris Johnson and On Target Living? Where should we be sending them in the show notes here?

Chris Johnson: Well, I think you could send, uh, it’s our website, which is ontargetliving.Com and if you wanna give him my email, I’m happy to chat with him. As you know, my son Matt used to say, dad, you’re too available.

I’m like, uh, that’s the goal. So, and I think Matt’s definitely changed this tune over time because we’re here to help you. But my, my email’s, my name Chris Johnson with a C, all one word at ([email protected]) so yeah, we have a great team. We have a lot of resources. Podcast comes out every week and um, we have to get you on our podcast.

Brett Gilliland: Let’s do it. I would love it, man. 

Chris Johnson: Yes. 

Brett Gilliland: It’d be fun. 

Chris Johnson: Absolutely. We’ll do that. 

Brett Gilliland: Uh, well great. This has been awesome and, uh, always love spending time with the Johnson family and, uh, keep up the great work with On Target Living and, uh, and just thanks again for being on the Circuit of Success. 

Chris Johnson: My pleasure. See you Brett.