Pam Sherman - Attaining the Perfect Balance
Fitness For All Podcast: Episode 13
Welcome to another edition of Fitness for All with Cam Jenkins, sponsored by Lebert Fitness.
There are lots of fitness "experts" and fads out there, but what makes Pam Sherman different is the years of experience with real results, providing a practical, creative, and fun (but no-nonsense) approach to health. She has reached thousands of people of all ages, weights and life stages, providing creative, small ways to get started on a path towards better health and motivate them to keep going.
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*The following podcast has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Show Notes - Episode 13
Key Takeaways From This Episode:
On today's show, we have Pam Sherman who I'm going to introduce as fabulous and over 50. Pam, welcome to the show.
Cam, thank you so much for having me on.
My pleasure. I know about four years ago you were in a car accident. Do you want to start off with that and your journey from that accident into what you're doing today?
You bet. I have been a lifelong runner and I was out on a December day, I live in California, so December is beautiful here, it was 50 degrees, no wind, just perfect weather.
I was training, actually my girlfriends and I used to go do a race in San Francisco, and in January there was going to be a nine-mile race. That day (December) I went out for a six-mile run and I was checking my pace. It was literally as a runner, one of those days, you're like, it's perfect right now! And then a car sped out of a parking lot and I couldn't stop; I put my hand out, I screamed and I literally “ate the windshield” for lack of a better term, and I rolled off his car into the other lane of traffic. Luckily, I was able to crawl back to the sidewalk and I was safe, and I did not have any big injuries. I lost teeth, which is so gross; nobody wants to talk about teeth, let alone going to the dentist! Since my injuries were, at least for me, really minor, I did have to spend the night in the hospital because I had a small brain bleed, which cleared up the next day.
I went in to see my sports guy who works on sports injuries. He's known me for 15 years and he looked at me and he put his hand out like a mom talking to a little kid and he said, “look, had you not been in such excellent shape, your injuries would have been far worse,” and I took that as my Oprah aha moment.
I've been a teacher, a group exercise teacher and personal trainer for 23 years, but that was my moment of, I have to reach more people to take better care of themselves and their health.
I was lucky I didn't die, I didn't have a really serious brain injury, I didn't break any bones, but I have seen too many people for too many years, not take care of themselves. They think they're too old, it's too hard and even though I was a hobo, I had no front teeth, I was like, I have to educate people on taking better care of their health.
How have you done that moving forward? Is that something that you learned right away or was that a process for you to learn?
Well no, because I had been a group exercise teacher and personal trainer. That was my career. So, I have been helping women, mostly women, for over 20 years, but that was in one classroom; there's only so many classes you can teach a day. I found a woman to help make a website. She made my whole website and I started having a weekly newsletter where I would try to inspire people with different things that happen in life.
I started writing books because I had 20 years of knowledge. I was training my daughter's soccer team. At the time they were in high school, and the girls would tell me the awful things they ate. So, one of the first books I wrote was “Nutrition for Athletes”; I'm not talking about college or professional athletes, but just basic nutrition because I know how to tell people to eat well, to fuel their bodies.
Then I had another friend's daughter say Pam, I'm going to college and I don't want to gain the Freshman 15. Can you help? And I said, not only can I help, but I’ll also write a book for you because I gained 30 pounds in college; I know exactly what not to do.
So, because I couldn't go to work because I had oral surgery; I had five big surgeries, I would never have written any books. They just naturally evolved on when my website designer said, “okay, if you have a newsletter, when people get your newsletter, you have to give them something free.” So, I would write, and I would actually write until I would get a headache because my brain was recovering and then I would stop writing. I gave it to her, and she said, “Pam, this is a book. I just want like your 10 best tips on how to be healthy.” And I was like, what do you mean? It's a book. She goes, “you gave me 10 more pages. This is a soft cover book. We can publish this on Amazon.” So, the books kind of organically happened.
Then I thought, you know what? I, I could start speaking because I have so much passion for health and wellness. I went down the motivational speaking route and was able to reach a couple thousand people doing that. Then more recently I thought, I'm a teacher by trade, I love being in the classroom with the microphone on and helping people move so I created The Perfect Balance tribe.
My company name is The Perfect Balance, and the tribe is a place where I put - it’s a private Facebook group - daily motivation, we have contests, I have Facebook lives where they can ask me whatever they want, and we can talk about whatever comes up. I also have videos in there. I think I was put on this earth to motivate people to do more than they're doing right now because, I think people think if they don't do everything, they're not going to be successful and I say to them hang on, you don't have to do everything, let's start with a little bit and add on from there.
I think that's so important because in today's times of COVID, people are getting overwhelmed, and they need to realize that they need to start off with small steps and then go from there.
Absolutely, yes. I have seen so many clients, people over the years, everybody's an all or nothing. If they can't do an hour of cardio and go to yoga and stop drinking wine and stop eating carbs and then do whatever else, they’re like, forget it, I'm a failure. I'm like, hey, can we just start with a 10 minute walk every day and add some water to your day? Like literally baby steps, let's be successful at that. Then maybe add in some pushups in your kitchen while you're waiting for your coffee to brew.
That's a great idea.
Oh Cam, I have so many good ideas I can’t even tell you!
I'm not a coffee drinker, so that's probably why I never thought to do that. So, that will be my "reason / excuse", as far as that goes.
If you're heating something up in the microwave or if you're boiling water for tea, I mean, everybody's in the kitchen a couple of times a day, at least if you busted out 10 counter pushups, say five times a day, you have 50 pushups right there.
That's a good idea; and to think that I went to the gym and I saw Mark yesterday, who we both know, and I did an entire fit workout rather than doing what you're suggesting.
I find when people are all or nothing, like you said, the first day or two, they get so sort of like, “forget it, this doesn't work, I can't even move.” Let’s add that and then let’s add in, I know coffee or tea is a food group for most people, but let's add some water in as well because we need water every single day. Then let's talk about sleep. I'm the biggest proponent of adding little things in, and as you're successful, adding another little thing and not totally overhauling your whole life.
No, and I think that’s it, like I said before, people think that they have to do everything right away and they have to do it on that day, but it's so much easier to not overwhelm yourself. I'm just learning this part way through my life and that is to try to focus on what you're doing in the moment or taking small steps, so you don't get overwhelmed.
Yes, and it's hard because in our society, everything is instant. When it comes to your health, there is nothing instant about your health, ever. It is a long, slow journey and most women over my career have wanted to lose weight and I have to look them in the eye and say, okay, the body you're in today is a reflection of the choices you've made over the last three, six or nine months. You have to give yourself that much grace on the other side, losing weight. Then they look at me, and say, “well, that's no fun.” I'm like, that's the reality of weight loss!
So, in today's world, Pam, with everyone wanting results right away, since everyone is different, how do you motivate your tribe to be able to understand that and move forward to get the results?
Well, I try to dispel any myths they have. So, we had a challenge for September, and everybody got to set their own goals because the youngest person I think, is in their twenties and I have a woman who is 78 in there. So, everybody had different goals. One of the gals, she works from home, well, who doesn't work from home these days, but she said her goal was not to reach in the pantry for crackers for the whole month, because it was just something that she did. That’s a realistic goal, right, and when you're hungry, sit down and have an apple. Somebody else said I am going to drink less. That's realistic and achievable.
So, when I have people who ask, “well, what should I do?” I tell them, let's talk about goals that are achievable for you. If you're sitting down at a desk, can you get up every hour and walk for five minutes? Just five minutes. Well, that's not much, but if you add that up over a day, so you walked for 35 minutes, times seven days in a week, that's a lot of great movement.
I try to be realistic. I try to dispel myths. I try to tell them, you know what, let's just say, I call our body a Ferrari, you have to treat the Ferrari well. There's no cutting corners with your health, but what you do now, your future self already thanks you for how you're taking care of yourself. So, let's make sure we take these small steps daily that will lead us to feeling amazing in our own skin.
For the people that you're training and helping out is there a number one thing that you say to them that this is how you should start. For example, drinking water every day; is there a number one thing that you suggest to them to get them started on that path to feeling well and healthier?
I do and it's going to surprise you Cam, are you ready?
Sleep is my number one thing. I know that if we don't sleep well, we're certainly not going to want to eat well the next day and we're certainly not going to want to exercise because our body's tired and our brain is going to crave sugar. I mean we've all stayed up too late, not gotten good sleep; you feel like crap the next day. So, I've actually told clients and even tribe members: with the abundance of things we can watch, on our phones or on our TVs, I want you to set your alarm to go to bed, because guess what? That show's going to be there tomorrow, and we all know when you get a good night's sleep, you feel like a million bucks. You're going to want to add some fruits or veggies into your day. You're going to want to move your body. You are going to want to drink water because you feel great. So, a good night's sleep is always my number one thing for starting your health journey.
There’s another thing that you said that I think we talked about before doing this podcast, and I also saw it on your website, and that is, “it's never too late to work on yourself or your health.” I think that's a really big thing that you're a proponent of.
A hundred percent. I was 49 when I got hit and I'm 53 now, and I am in the best shape of my life at age 53. I will just talk for the women who are listening to this, as we are experts at taking care of everybody else in our lives and I know a lot of women think it's selfish to take time, to take care of themselves, and my view is, it's not selfish, it's self-care. It's also self-love, because when you take care of yourself as a woman, you can take care of everybody else far better, when you take that little bit of time for you.
When my kids were little, I would see lots of moms at the school and they would say, “oh, I don't have time. I can't do it. I just, I feel bad.” No, no, no. Put yourself at the top of your priority list every day and the whole day is going to go better. We talked about this Cam, it’s not an hour, it's not two hours, I highly encourage people to do movement they love; exercise should not be a chore. The second part of that is, aside from what you love, I want everybody to strength train, because we lose muscle every decade after we turn 30 and we need to protect our bones by having our muscle mass stay. I’m not talking about bodybuilding, huge, but just protecting our muscles. So, do movement you love and strength training.
There was something else that I was looking at on the websites. You were talking about how you should add a, BAS daily, as it is a really good thing to do. I already know the answer to this, but can you tell our listeners what BAS is?
A Big Ass Salad
There you go. You set it beautifully. Why is it so important to add a big ass salad daily to your routine?
The thing that I find most people lack is their fiber intake and their veggie intake. I don't know if people know that fiber acts as little scrub brushes in our arteries so that our blood can flow freely in our arteries, and when it gets clogged up, that's a bad thing and can lead to all sorts of heart attacks, stroke, etc. Fiber keeps you full.
Our bodies love food, grown from the ground and in our insta-society where there's fast food, there's Uber Eats where they deliver it to your house. It's easy not to eat healthy; when I encourage people, please, please, please think about making your meals based around veggies first. I know when I go out there, there's crazy salads out there. I'm very basic I put in one fruit; so, depending on the season in the summer, berries are yummy and the winter and fall apples or pears, one nut of your choice, and then whatever kind of crumbled, goat cheese, and whatever protein you like it. I want to make it super easy for people because they go, “oh, I don't like it.” Oh my gosh, you got to try it. I have a client I've been working with her for three months. She had no vegetables when we first started working together and she tells me every week, “I can't believe it. I love my salads. They're amazing.” If I could sing, I would burst out in song and I can't, so, I will not hurt anybody's ears, but I mean, she was saying I'm so full and my skin looks better and I’m like, yeah, vegetables are amazing. They're so good for us.
Is there a certain type of vegetable that we should be eating more so than other ones?
I am a big proponent of think of the rainbow and I'm not talking about Skittles or M and M's.
You were making me hungry there by talking about Skittles, I'm not going to lie.
I'm a visual person, so when I look down and there's different colours in my salad, I'm so happy. So, of course lettuce is going to be green, if you could get something red in there, yellow; if you’re happy, when you're looking down at your plate, you're like, Oh, this is amazing, then that sends signals to your brain, like, oh my God, it's going to be awesome. As opposed to, just think of the standard Thanksgiving meal, it's brown, brown, brown versus a salad that's green and red and yellow. That's super vibrant. Just picture that in your head and you're like, oh yeah, that looks so good.
So, I don't think there's one particular vegetable, but trying to get a wide variety. Like I said, I’m 53, in the seventies, when I was a little kid, we didn't know how to make vegetables. Our moms boiled everything and it was gross. I mean, it was mushy, and the house smelled bad and brussels sprouts were so gross. Now I'm like, oh my God, roasted brussels sprouts is amazing.
They are after roasted. But if you boil them, I will not eat them.
No! Roasted with a little balsamic glaze on top with some caramelized onions.
I know my mom and dad, they had to end up putting on a timer for me growing up. They said you had to finish it by this time, or the food would be taken away from me and they made me eat that within that time, half hour or hour or whatever it was. You're right, it was so gross. That’s why up until in my later years now, I didn't necessarily like vegetables, but I ended up seeing the beauty in brussel sprouts and baking them, and cauliflower and baking them. So, I'm eating a little bit more vegetables, but I still have a little way to go. That's for sure.
Roasting is hard in the summertime because it's so hot and it makes your kitchen hot, and I have an air fryer, so I will put brussel sprouts or like yellow zucchini, yellow squash in my air fryer and we’ll use that. I'm putting my little quotation fingers up for the yellow zucchini as like a “crouton” in my salad because it's yellow and it's really pretty.
Absolutely. Now let's go and talk about your books on Amazon, because you are a published author of seven books. Do you want to talk about those books and if you have a favourite one or all of them your favourite?
My favourite one is my workbook because I've spent 20 years trying to help women, mostly women, a couple of guys, but mostly women lose weight. Most of them fail because they don't write down their goals, they don't write down how they're going to reach their goals. When you want to lose weight forever, not just a fad diet, there has to be a lot of mindset work and you have to think about, okay, what kind of action plans am I going to take to lose weight? So, when people buy the book, I'm like, you know, you need to sit down for a good hour or two and really think about your answers. You have to think about your huge, why, why do you want to lose weight? You can't just say to look better or feel better. Like, can you not play with your kids right now because you are out of breath? Do you want to live to see your grandchild graduate from high school? It has to be a huge WHY.
It's a deep dive into, yeah, you want to feel good and look better, who doesn't, but it's your big why that's going to get you to the finish line. Knowing okay, Friday night’s your dangerous time, let's talk about ways to game plan that. So, instead of going out with your friends for drinks or whatever, could you meet for coffee and go for a walk? So, it's literally thinking about what is harder for you, let's plan around that, let's make action steps that are going to make you successful along the way. A lot of people don't want to take that deep dive; you have to take the time to really think, because I want people to feel great in their own skin. I want them to know that it is possible. It's not going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but you put time into it. Let's say you start now, beginning of October, you could feel amazing by the end of the year. I mean, you could start next year off saying "look, I've dropped a couple pounds. I put some great new habits into place, I'm going to keep going." So, the workbook is my favourite.
Perfect. I think that's very important as well, when you were talking about writing it down, because once you write it down and you see it every day, then it's more real rather than you just thinking it in your head. From my experience when I'm just thinking about things, if I don't write it down it just doesn't seem to be as believable or reachable as a goal.
100%. I tell people once you have your why, put it on a sticky note, put it in your car, put it on your desk, put it in the kitchen, put it in your bathroom mirror, as a reminder every day as to why you're working towards this goal.
You're a fit radio coach. That's really interesting because I've never heard about that before. So, for our listeners, once again, can you let them know what a fit radio coaches and how that works?
Yes. This is a super fun story. When I was recovering from my accident. Actually, my Garmin, my super fancy running watch got smashed and I'm a running geek at heart Cam, I need to know what my pace is, even if I'm recovering from surgery and I don't feel well, I still want to know what my pace is. I found fit radio that had a Garmin like feature, which I was like, oh my gosh, this is great, and they have music on there so, I was like, oh, this is pretty fun. Then they added coaching. At first it was literally just music and the Garmin feature, and then they added coaching, and I remember being out for a run one day and I was about two miles away from my house and I thought, hang on, I'm a runner, I'm a coach. I could coach for fit radio.
I ran home, looked at how to apply online. I applied and at the time I did not have my permanent teeth and I just had a bridge and I was a little bit "lispy". So, the gal who I talked to, she said, “we're not saying no, we're just saying not yet.” We kept in touch and then once I got my permanent teeth, I'm like, hey, I got my teeth in. Can we talk about it? They said, “let’s do this. Let's have you put together 12 strength, workouts, and four interval running workouts, and we'll go from there.” They didn't know if I really knew my stuff or not, and for me, I was like, I'll get it to you tomorrow. It’s what I love to do!
She emailed me on Saturday night, I spent all day Sunday making these workouts and the running routines, then she called me on Monday and said, okay, you're hired. They were in Atlanta, Georgia. She said let's set up a time and fly you out. It helped me so much during a time when I needed and I don't even know how I found them Cam, I tried to remember, I don't know how I found that app. So, it is an app and now they have not only running coaching, but they have also biking coaching. You can be on the rower. You can be walking. They have yoga, they have so many DJs on there. So, there's tons of music to choose from.
I do have four interval running workouts and 12 strength training workouts on there and I hope to be able to go back to Atlanta to add on, because I want to add some stretching on, and I would love to do some more running workouts. It was the end of a super cool idea that I was like, I could do this and then it actually happened, which was an amazing part of my journey.
That's amazing. I use a meditation app to try to relax myself or try to focus myself. Then, when I saw this, I just thought this is amazing to be able to have somebody talking to you while you're actually doing it and how motivating that must be.
Well, it is. I know in the beginning, you know, they've evolved so there’s a lot more cues that a coach gives. I was in a sound booth making my workouts, and I've actually done my own workouts where I'm talking to myself, and I'm thinking, this is why people get trainers and coaches, because it's so much more motivating to have somebody tell you what to do.
When you're in the sound booth, are you actually doing the workout too or do you find yourself a couple of times starting to jog a little bit faster?
It's a tiny, think of an old school phone booth. I don't even know if the younger people know what that is, but there's no room at all.
You and I know what a phone booth is and that's all that matters.
It's a very small space and each workout, there was five to ten pages of cues that I have to go through. It’s more about the voice intonation and reflection. I don’t even think I was moving my arms. I was just trying not to lisp and not talk too fast because I tend to be a fast talker.
Ah, okay. So, do you want to let our listeners know how they can reach out to you if any women want to reach out to you to get help or anything like that?
Absolutely. I have a great offer for anybody listening. If you want to be inspired daily, if you want to see what The Perfect Balance tribe is like, you could try it for a month free. It's only $9.99 a month. I have so much free info for everybody that joins. You go to my website, theperfectbalance.guru and there's a button that says, Join the Tribe. You just click that and in the coupon code you put in FREEMONTH in all caps. If you date me for a month and think, oh, that's not for me, you can break up with me, but I think you will be like oh my gosh, I love the inspiration, and then we stay together until you're done.
That's awesome. For your seven books on Amazon, how can they get ahold of those, if they want to be able to buy any of those books?
You just put in Pam Sherman on Amazon and my Instagram handle is @perfectbalanceguru, and one thing we didn't talk about Cam, my YouTube channel is called, The Perfect Balance. I have so much on there. I have a five minute playlist, a 10 minute playlist, a 15 minute playlist of all home workouts, mostly body weight, a lot of stretching videos. I have a playlist of one minute of peace just to debrief and stretch for literally one minute at a time and I have a whole video library of “how to” exercises because it's when you're working out, you got to have good form. As a teacher, I was a stickler on form, so that is on there.
If you want to subscribe, that would be amazing and like we talked about Cam, I want people, if they're doing nothing, start with one of my five-minute workouts or 10-minute workouts, it's better than nothing. You might be mad at me and call me some names by the end, but it's a good start to getting back to feeling good in your body.
So, what I will be doing after this podcast, I'll do the five minutes and then I'll certainly let you know whether or not I'll be swearing at you or will be thanking you.
Well, you know, I have been called “Damn Pam” quite a bit in my career.
Well, I'll be calling you either Damn Pam or fine Pam because you got me to work out for five minutes and sometimes that's all you need to get started. Pam, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. Thank you for being on Fitness for All, and I hope to have you on the podcast again.
Amazing. Thank you. Thank you for having me as a guest and my tagline Cam is “your health is your greatest wealth.”
We'll talk to you again. Thanks so much.
Contact Pam Sherman at:
- Lebert Fitness