Fitness Professional Online Radio Show : 027 – Jessica Howard
Welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show where you get access to fitness industry news, tips and insights from professionals around the world. Visit us at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com and now, your host, Doug Holt.
Doug Holt: Hello everyone and welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Show. I am your host Doug Holt and I’m excited to be with you here today. It is a warm and sunny January in Southern California. We have Jessica Howard on the line today. Jessica is a former three-time National Champion in the sport of Rhythmic Gymnastics and Jessica just put out a book on EFT for Sports Performance so we’ll talk to her about that.
Also thank you for all the inquiries and applications we got to the platinum mastermind group. That group is now closed but we are accepting applications for the next group coming up. So you want to get those in right away, simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information and an application and we’ll be conducting interviews next month for that group. So definitely get on that right away. I hope 2015 is off to a great start, I know ours is. And so without further ado let’s jump into the call with Jessica.
Hi, Jessica. Thanks for joining us today.
Jessica Howard: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Doug Holt: It’s a pleasure. For us listening or those listening, our listeners. Tell them a little bit about yourself.
Jessica Howard: Well, my name is Jessica and I used a rhythmic gymnast. I trained for about 10 years. I ended up being three-time national champion. Actually, just recently I found out that I was being inducted into the US Rhythmic Gymnastics Hall of Fame which is very exciting.
Doug Holt: Wow.
Jessica Howard: Yeah. So the reason I’m with you right here today is because of a book that I was working on called EFT for Sports Performance and it’s just kind of combined a couple of my past experiences and talks about how EFT can really help people of any level of athletics really make a difference for themselves.
Doug Holt: I’ve heard of EFT before and we talked a little bit offline about it and even though I’ve heard a little bit about it and I think I’ve referred to as tapping or something along those lines and correctly if I’m wrong because I’m sure I’ll get wrong. Probably wrong several times. But most of our audiences obviously health and fitness professionals, we have chiropractors, personal trainers, group instructors, and a lot of business owners. Tell us a little bit more about what EFT is and how that would apply to them?
Jessica Howard: Well, this is actually interesting question because I come from a background that is obviously athletic-based in various fitness alliances and the entire basis of EFT is about accepting yourself and not something that most athletes would just rather die than do. They want to work as hard as they possibly can and fix every flaw and not accepting the pain or problems. So getting into this was a talent for me that I had an amazing guy at Dawson Church. He just put me through every little thing and I found a lot of help over the years but it is called “tapping” and it’s a very simple variants of statements and it really takes you through, I’m sorry, I have trouble explaining things.
Doug Holt: No problems. It’s complex. Do the best you can.
Jessica Howard: Okay. It takes you through a series of affirmations and help you guys best from the emotional situations that might be contributing to your pain and limitations and I found that to be very helpful especially since I’ve retired from gymnastics I wish I had this tool while I was an athlete.
Doug Holt: And so you’re working with athletes now right?
Jessica Howard: I work with dancers and I do consider them to be athletes. Primarily work with [05:37] in New York City and abroad. I have stepped out of gymnastics world a little bit but I’m taking what I know from gymnastics and [05:45] it in to the arts world.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. We’re talking a little bit offline, myself owning a personal training studio. We relate it on how we describe, who we work with? Athletes and I consider dancers than athletes. Athletes definitely as torturing them. But this is a totally different side to the spectrum because you’re actually healing people, right?
Jessica Howard: That is the goal and I went through a very very rigid amount of timing and it was emotionally healthy. A good timing into an athlete and made me the athlete I was and I was very respected in the field but it left a lot of emotional scars over time.
So I’ve been dedicating a lot of my post-gymnastics life to making sure that anybody I come in contact with could also taking time emotionally as well as physically. It’s just about packing you up and getting you on to the next thing. It’s got to be about making sure your mind and body are ready to move forward so that you can actually embrace the success that comes and it doesn’t hurt you. I don’t believe anybody should be hurt after the amount of work that they put in. So it’s very important to me with athletes, dancers, anybody that’s really taking their body to the next level instead taking care of themselves emotionally as well.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. I’ve read about it in the past and looked into it. I know people that I follow everywhere, anybody from Tony Robbins for example. He’s a huge proponent as well as a lot healthcare practitioners I’ve talked to for my career but when I heard about it, it’s also not only the emotional aspect. We all know how tight-in the body is but we also talk about in your book about how it helps you recover from knee pain, back pain, sprains, and things that all athletes whether they’d be basketball players, dancers, or even just kind of your average weekend warrior can go through just by being active, is that right?
Jessica Howard: That is actually one of the miraculous things about EFT. It helps them on its own over and over again and there are examples in the book but it’s just amazing once you have priorities like simple techniques that something that is physical could be broke in two. Like for me as a dancer and a gymnast, the height of your leg. It makes a huge difference in your performance and if you can do something emotionally that is going to actually based on the barriers, you’re going to be able to see the height in your leg increase just by doing this process and to me that made no sense going in. Absolutely none because it would take me extraordinary amount of pain and trouble and corrections and going to be all that by your coach [08:43] leg up higher.
So I was almost a little taking back by the fact that somebody was suggesting that it could be a little bit easier. So what EFT does is it raises the emotional aspects of a movement. Maybe you’re holding yourself back, just focusing for example on the tightness of your leg instead of accepting that your leg is tight but it can’t move. And once those barriers start falling down you’ll actually see tremendous amount of improvement, it helps with focus.
One of those things about EFT that makes us a difference to me is I was always really focused on something specific to try to get away the clutter so that I could actually focus and this provides something specific that you can focus on so that you don’t have to get stuck in all the negative energy surrounding performance.
Doug Holt: Okay. So can you give me an example. So let’s just say hypothetically speaking, I’m a 37 years old male who plays competitive soccer still against a bunch of 20-years-old and I always have tight hand strings or something going on. Can you give me a specific example or walk me through just some steps? Of course, these are all hypothetical right?
Jessica Howard: Yes, of course it is.
Doug Holt: But just give me an idea or listeners an idea of what a session would look like and I’m sure they’re varying but you tell me, you’re the expert.
Jessica Howard: The truth is I’m quite needing EFT as well. Getting around the idea that there is something that is simple that can help you so I don’t take many people through the exercise. But I can try to tell you how it would work.
Doug Holt: Okay, great.
Jessica Howard: The beginning is just a simple setup frame. So you have the tight hand strings. So you say even though I have tight hand strings, I keep to incompletely accept myself and while you are staying this you will tap on a point in your body that is connected and helps you really maintain your energy and focus.
Doug Holt: Okay.
Jessica Howard: Then you go to a series of tappings and then you discuss whether your level of pain or discomfort is higher or lower than when you started. And normally when you start tapping on the aspects, on the pain or connected to something that’s a little bit deeper emotionally you will see an improvements, it’s just tons.
Doug Holt: Excellent. It sounds a lot to me like it’s linked to if you’re familiar with neural linguistic programming and what’s called “anchoring” and there’s like a lot of modalities used, very similar techniques because they work and it sounds very similar adaptation.
Jessica Howard: They had nothing to do.
Doug Holt: Yeah.
Jessica Howard: I don’t know how it is. There are plenty of things out there regarding EFT and I wish I was like completely fluent in the more medical terms but I’m blown away by the fact that it works.
Doug Holt: And really when it comes down to it as a fitness professional, we talked a little bit about offline about my background. But you saw many different modalities. You’re not just in our field just somebody that in my opinion you shouldn’t be someone just a Pilates or just core conditioning or just as whatever. You should combine a lot of modalities to get the best for your clients and the best outcome and for yourself.
Jessica Howard: Absolutely.
Doug Holt: Yeah. Regardless of what you’re doing as long as it works, that’s the most important thing.
Jessica Howard: As long as it works and there are so much opportunity now and you discover so many different methods that are actually going to combine themselves to make you the best that you can be. You don’t have to [12:56] yourself anymore. It’s one very rigid technique. You can use everything about that and [13:06] that’s a first challenge to me because my training was so rigid and I couldn’t incorporate anything that was going to actually maximize my potential. So no one out there, people can train and making it learn from so many different outlets [13:29] how to train himself and it’s really amazing.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. I don’t see why. I understand that when you first start out with learning any new skill where there’d be probably dance I would assume, gymnastics training, you follow one set of principle you get good at and then you can expand. It’s always dangerous when you think you know everything, right? That’s when you know you don’t know anything as soon as that comes up. There’s always so much more to learn.
Jessica Howard: Yeah you can never get to that point.
Doug Holt: Exactly. You talk a little bit about having multiple passions too. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Jessica Howard: I have been into things since I retired. Of course the journey of my life still spent in the gym but now, I’m getting to the point where I’m a little bit further removed from it than I would like to admit but after I finished gymnastics I really wanted to get involved the sports.
So I was involved with USA Gymnastics on the board of directors for about 6 years as an athlete representative. It allowed me to be the voice of the athletes on the board of directors and that was an important launching for me when it came to really realizing my passion for students and athletes and people that I have dedicated my life and increasing their passion really. And there is [14:57] tired actually. It’s New York City. I did with Barbara [15:00]. She’s one of the coolest experience with my life.
Doug Holt: I bet.
Jessica Howard: But my body was too injured by the time I finished the show. It’s because of gymnastics not because of [15:14]. But it turned into become abnormal. So I started to go to school and I worked on Political Science and worked with WBC Radio actually for 3 to 4 years. I loved it. I really enjoyed being a part of the news record and some small way. Then I barely accidentally started working with studios again on [15:45] who’s actually the [15:46]. And she wanted some help with her flexibility. So we started working on the studio and then from there just went from one class to the other, word-of-mouth really helped and I started working with [13:05].
Doug Holt: Wow. Great. Sounds like an amazing journey.
Jessica Howard: It’s been fast.
Doug Holt: Let me ask you this and that’s a question I like to ask everybody. It’s kind of curveball question but let me set the scene for you. So you’re walking the downtown New York minding your own business, you turn to the corner and there is a time machine. You’re able to go back and talk to yourself during your first year at business, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Jessica Howard: I would tell myself to just go for it. I was so obsessed with everything being perfect and not like perfect but an elite level of perfect because I was doing a mind work and I didn’t want to go for anything until I was perfect. Knowing that level of perfection is never attained, it’s just something that’s always out there to just try and go for it. That was the concept that I really didn’t understand and I only just beginning to understand how to move forward confidently without knowing what the result is going to be.
As an athlete you know the results, you know that you’ve practice, you know what you put in and you know that if you go on the floor and you do something a specific way there is a specific outcome. But that is not the way my life works [17:48] about the way I were supposed to move forward in life. So I would just tell myself to go for it. Do not be afraid and give myself a little bit of a break when it comes to the perfection thing.
Doug Holt: Absolutely and our listeners know this but I run several mastermind groups for fitness professionals and that’s a topic that comes up a lot. If you look at these people that have made their experience, fitness professionals are always going through that when you look at your younger self. We can often be our own worst enemies’ right? Beating ourselves up.
Jessica Howard: Absolutely. It’s a little bit scary how far you can go beating yourself often.
Doug Holt: Yeah.
Jessica Howard: I really appreciate if there would be somebody especially with EFT started to help me to realize that I don’t have to be myself that I can have issues or problems and things that I’m dealing with, worries and concerns. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of doing exactly what I dream of doing.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. When you’ve done that, you may write in the book and not many people can say that. That’s fantastic.
Jessica Howard: It’s something. It was a shock to be involved in the project and just a huge learning experience. Like even going back and recounting my story is something that I’ve ignored or not ignored I pushed down for years just because it was very painful.
Doug Holt: Sure.
Jessica Howard: Bringing all those things up and connecting it to something that’s actually going to help so many people out there. It’s an incredible experience.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Tell us a little bit about the journey of writing the book. I know you have a co-author, Dawson Church, right?
Jessica Howard: Yes.
Doug Holt: And tell me about your journey with writing a book. There are so many people listening, that’s the question we get all the time and we talk about the process again on our mastermind group. But tell me about the process for you on how that was writing a book. I know for a lot of people that can be a stressful experience. Some people can say it’s a very enjoyable experience. What was it like for you?
Jessica Howard: It was incredibly stressful. Just because Dawson is brilliant. We’re talking like stratospherically brilliant. So it’s knowing that he was going to even read what I wrote made me very very nervous and I love reading. I’m a word person so I have a very high respect for literature and words that are written beautifully and knowing that I can’t do that personally, it’s not my gift. It wasn’t my endeavor in life to be a prolific writer.
Actually putting words on paper was very interesting experience for me. But once I wrap my head around, the ideas didn’t have to be the next great amount of novel. I started writing a little bit and seeing the benefits of EFT and how it has helped so many people. At the same time I was working EFT with Dawson and he was helping me kind of bring up a little bit more about my experience as a gymnast.
So the most physical chapter for me to write was ended up being the first chapter. It’s just my story and my coach was extremely, it should be came from a still very [21:23] background and the message are borderline abusive. They’re not healthy in any circumstance and that’s how I trained and I didn’t know that time how severe the training was. I only realized after I had retired but kind of bringing positions in lighting it down on paper and then expecting somebody else to read it.
There’s so much insecurity but the reactions I got from Dawson and from other people involved with the project were so positive and I was really surprised that people really weren’t as mean as I thought they would be. I was expecting to be [22:13] for every mistake and everybody just really loving or helped me along and I couldn’t be happier that I did it because it really has taught me so much about the process of creation.
Doug Holt: It sounds amazing. Of course we all create those stories in our head. That’s the worst case scenario that more often than not never happens. Everybody [22:35] or whatever may be.
Jessica Howard: Do you think I’m crazy? Expect it to happen all the time, all day everyday and it’s just somehow doesn’t most of the time.
Doug Holt: There’s that acronym for FEAR which there is different one but “False Evidence About Reality” is the one that I always repeat.
Jessica Howard: I love that. That’s great.
Doug Holt: Absolutely amazing and we all go through it no matter how much training. Repetitions, it gets better and better the more you train your mental and emotional muscles. But everybody goes through that. It’s also just like when you go to an networking event or anything else for business or anything, a party where your concerned is what other people think and really the reality is that nobody cares. They’re all worried about the same thing. They’re not worried about you.
Jessica Howard: Back to your question about what I would tell my younger self before I started? It would be exactly that. Nobody cares. They really don’t. They are concerned about themselves as well. That’s a really good point.
Doug Holt: Yeah. It’s none of your business when anybody else thinks of you.
Jessica Howard: Exactly. Nice.
Doug Holt: Jessica, you mentioned that you love words. What book besides your own and besides Dawson’s because I know Dawson. I looked him upon Amazon with your book and I think he’s got 46 books or something like that. What book besides those has made the biggest impact in your life?
Jessica Howard: That was completely [20:04] fiction book. So I don’t know if that – it just spoke to me somehow but it’s called The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and it actually blew out my world.
Doug Holt: What was that title?
Jessica Howard: The Blind Assassin.
Doug Holt: Okay.
Jessica Howard: I know it has nothing to do with anything except it’s childhood and putting the piece back together, the life and actually really looking back and realizing what you had in your life and how it all fit together. Something about the prose really just took me completely by surprise and made it one of my favorites.
Doug Holt: That’s awesome. It’s now on my Amazon wish list.
Jessica Howard: I highly recommend it if you want some crazy stories you can put down. I would go for it.
Doug Holt: Excellent. I’ll definitely be reading it. No doubt about it. So what can we expect from you in the rest of 2015?
Jessica Howard: I got a few exciting things in the work for dancing. I am actually going to be teaching a few of the major schools of New York this year which is a huge accomplishment for myself and for the students. But it’s like put themselves out there and really show them the work that we do together is beneficial. I would like to see this book move forward and smooth some copies so we can help some people and know personal journeys and I will actually be in Europe over the summer teaching stretching conditioning. So I’m very excited about 2015 and everything it has to offer.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Europe didn’t sound like a bad place to go for a stretching class.
Jessica Howard: No, not bad at all. I’m working in the most beautiful place in the world. It’s definitely not a bad kind of the profession I chose.
Doug Holt: No. Not at all. Especially when you’re in New York right now, we’re chatting and I’m in Santa Barbara. It’s a little chilly where you are.
Jessica Howard: It’s miserable out there. It’s cold and rainy and everybody wants a snow or not snow and it’s all slushy rain. It’s going to be a workout just to get to work.
Doug Holt: Before I go off and head off to the beach here, if somebody wants to learn more about you, where do they go?
Jessica Howard: You can just check us out on Amazon.com but I would absolutely go to EFTUniverse.com and check out all of the products I got a brief bio up there and it will give you explanation of what we’re doing and then if you’re also looking for tutorials or anything to find out a little bit workout things in EFT and all the medical research found into it, it’s a great place to find everything you need.
Doug Holt: Absolutely great and for all listeners you always know you can get this in the show notes. We’ll have Jessica Howard’s book and information up there. You can click on the show notes and you can get right to her book. EFT sounds fantastic. I will definitely be picking it up and try it on myself and then after I torture my clients, they’ll probably need that as well.
Jessica Howard: Awesome.
Doug Holt: Jessica, thank you so much for being on today. I really appreciate it.
Jessica Howard: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Doug Holt: That’s it for us today at Fitness Professional Online. Please go over to our website FitnessProfessionalOnline.com and of course join us on Facebook to continue the discussion. Go ahead and look at the show notes if you want to go ahead and get Jessica’s book. Highly recommended after a lot about tapping and EFT in the past and it’s nice to get a little insight as how it’s definitely used for sports performance as well as us athletes. Especially people like me that are getting a little older and still trying to live our glory days. On behalf of the tea here at Fitness Professional Online Show, wishing you a healthy and happy day.
Thank you for listening to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. You can share your thoughts and join the discussion on this episode by going through our website or on Facebook.com/FitProOnline. Let us know what you’d like to hear on future shows and please feel free to contact us via e-mail or give us a call at (805) 500-6893. We look forward to hearing from you.
Links & Resources Mentioned In This Episode
Latest posts by FPO Crew
- The Fitness Industry Voting Results - March 26, 2018
- Greg Zuffelato of Too Busy To Eat - November 7, 2016
- Karsten Jensen – The Flexible Periodization Method - October 17, 2016