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Art Pruneda, Staying Fit, Healthy and Sane during COVID-19

Art Pruneda and his wife were some of the earliest disciples of Crossfit in San Antonio. They have owned and operated Crossfit Unchained in the Eastside of San Antonio for over seven years. He joined us to talk about how to stay health when the gyms are closed, how to find information for at home workouts, and some general thoughts on staying healthy and sane.

Transcript:

Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido, San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonioan, and keeper of chickens and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you’ll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique, and the best-kept secret in Texas. We’re glad that you’re here. Welcome to today’s episode of The Alamo Hour. My guest today is Art Pruneda. Did I say that right?

Art Pruneda: Pruneda, but close enough.

Justin: Close enough. Art is one of my good friends. Art is also one of the original CrossFit aficionados in this city. He has owned CrossFit Unchained since when? Seven years.

Art: Seven years. Yes. Well, we got our affiliate with CrossFit in December of 2012.

Justin: Also, a small business owner who had the guts to be one of the first early movers into the Eastside, I think it would be fair to say.

Art: Yes, fair to say. When we first started looking in that area to open our gym, there was one CrossFit downtown, and then by the time we did get our lease and get open, we were the third one there.

Justin: The city has had a hard time getting people to move into the Eastside, so it’s great that you did. You’re still in the Eastside. You’re in the near Eastside, I guess, would be the best way to put it but pretty close to Sunset Station.

Art: Yes, very close. About half a mile from Sunset Station, so not too far.

Justin: Art is one of my good friends, and Art helped me right the ship when I had let health issues go the wrong direction. I didn’t have any diagnosis at that point, but I just knew I was eating and drinking and being a slob. Art helped me get everything righted, and I was pretty consistent for about three years, and then took about six to nine months off, and now I’m back dipping my toe in the water.

I’ve got Art on here today to talk about a few things. One of the more important things is staying fit, staying sane, staying calm during our impending shutdown which starts tomorrow. We’re going to talk a little bit about that. Before we get started, I want to run through some things with Art. I’m doing top 10 lists with everybody. That’s going to change a little bit, but a few things stand the test of time. For one, I have my dog in here right now as we’re doing this, so it’s really two guests and a dog which was the lesser-known canceled NBC show. Art, do you have any pets?

Art: Yes. We have a dog. Her name is Aspen. She is a golden retriever. She is five years old. We recently got her less than six months ago from a breeder. Our 18-year-old daughter has pretty much coined that we saved her from sex slavery, so she had four litters, and now she’s ours. She’s an awesome dog. Before her, we did have Abner who was a Basset hound. We had him for 14 years. We got him when he was about six or eight months old and had him for his entire life, and we miss him a lot. Aspen has been really good. She’s a really good dog.

Justin: A golden retriever named Aspen. I feel like the picture needs to be like an American flag flying in the background. I tried a case against a defense lawyer and he got up and he started and he goes, “I have two dogs, a golden retriever and a black lab, General and Scout.” I just knew it was all bullshit. None of that was true. He was just trying to like paint this picture. Next question. What’s your favorite spot to eat at in town right now?

Art: Favorite spot to eat at in town right now? Gosh. Right now, at the moment, I would have to say favorite spot go-to is usually Sweet Yams downtown. It’s not too far from the gym. I usually hit them up for lunch. I really don’t go out to eat too much. We do a lot of eating at home. The last few times we have gone out to eat together, my wife and I, the last two times, we’ve been to Marisol or Marisol.

Justin: Marisol.

Art: Marisol, yes. I went there the last two times.

Justin: Because it’s delicious.

Art: Other than that– It is delicious and the drinks are good. That’s about it. We really don’t have–

Justin: The new one or the old one?

Art: The one that’s over there at a lawn.

Justin: The fancy one.

Art: The fancy one, yes. It’s closer to our house, I guess.

Justin: All right, fair enough. I always tell people that come to San Antonio, “Okay, you should go do these things or you should do those if you have kids,” but if you really want a PhD in San Antonio, you need to check out these hidden gems. What is your San Antonio hidden gem that you recommend to people?

Art: Being in the Eastside, very close to downtown, we get a lot of traveling CrossFitters. What we usually recommend for them, depending on how many times they’ve been in San Antonio, once or twice or even how long, we always recommend heading to The Pearl. There’s just so much down there now in regards to restaurants, little bars, they got that food court now, they’ve got shops. It’s a really good spot for people who are visiting to go and hit.

Even if you have lived in San Antonio all your life, maybe you live outside 1604 somewhere or out by SeaWorld, if you are going to hit downtown, definitely go check out The Pearl. That’s usually where I’ll tell people to go. After that, any of the missions, there’s a lot of history involved not only in the Alamo but even the other missions that are a little bit further south.

Justin: I lived here five years before I knew what the other ones even were. I got there and thought, “What in the hell have I been doing this whole time?” They’re beautiful.

Art: Yes. They’re really nice and a lot of history. We’ll usually recommend people go and do that. For us at the gym or me personally just talking to people that are visiting us, it’s always, “You got to go hit The Pearl.” Sometimes, we have families coming in with kids, “So got to go hit the children’s– the new Doozium down off of Broadway.”

Justin: Yes, that’s great.

Art: Yes, go hit that. Then, definitely, of course, walk the river just once. Don’t spend all three days there. It’s like just go walk at once, you’ll see everything, and then venture out.

Justin: Your wife is a San Antonio police department officer. I think you all are pretty involved with church, but what outside of your professions, activities, nonprofits, church, any other groups, what do you all do outside of that?

Art: We used to be involved in a lot, but recently with our kids, we’ve got two high schoolers, we’ve got one in college, we’ve got one on his own, our youngest, they’re seniors, we’ve put a lot of any extra stuff on hold for at least these last four years since Alicia started on with PD and our kids got into high school. Before that, yes, we were involved with our church. With the church, they would do things with the food bank.

We were at Bandera Road Community Church which then went to City Church Downtown, and now they recently changed the name to The Tribe or something like that. I don’t know for sure because it’s probably been about a year or two since we’ve been to that church.

Justin: Now, kids, that’s your hobby right now.

Art: Yes, kids are our hobby and our last two are seniors. Now with the shutdown, they’re doing school from home, so they’re home all day.

Justin: Fun.

Art: It’s been fun. I had a talk with them just recently, last night actually about, “This is a taste of what it’s going to be like when they finish school, so don’t get used to just sitting around and doing nothing. You better start getting out there looking for work, getting things done. No more sitting, playing video games until 2:30 in the morning or going and hanging out with friends. Your mom and I, we go to bed early because we both have to get up early. You all got to be in the house by 7:00. You got to be quiet by 10:00. If you don’t like it, you can move out.” That was a good talk yesterday.

Justin: Do you have any odd hobbies?

Art: Gosh, odd hobbies. Computers. I’ve always been involved with computers at some point. My college degree, I got a degree in information systems. I started doing software development. The first year that I was doing software development, my coworkers, they got me into online gaming.

Justin: Counter-Strike.

Art: Counter-Strike. That was back then. Condition Zero now. It’s changed over the years. I started building computers. Since then, man, I was going through my garage recently and just throwing out a bunch of old computer stuff that has been sitting there and it’s pretty obsolete. My son, he’s doing a lot of online gaming, so I recently built a new computer and started doing some gaming with him online which the computer got put away probably about a month ago because I hadn’t been on it for about six months, but there was a time for probably about a good six to eight months that he and I were doing some gaming together. It was fun.

Justin: We’re going to get into this more. What is your recommended shelter in place activity? Mine is going to be Netflix.

Art: Right now, mine is probably playing with Aspen. Being a rescue dog, she’s just been very timid. She lived in a kennel all her life being with the breeder. We’re trying to slowly get her out of her shell, and so just spending time with her and having her feel comfortable around us enough to where she won’t just go lay on her bed all the time. She’ll actually come up, she’ll engage and talk. That has been my favorite, favorite thing to do right now.

Justin: Winning over your dog’s love.

Art: Winning over my dog’s love. You know what? The funny thing is this, that when we talk about her, is we went out and we bought her a bunch of toys and she does not want anything to do with any of the toys that we bought her. I took an old towel and I cut it in strips, tied a knot in it, gave it to her, she will tear that thing up. She’s funny. She won’t touch toys, but an old towel or something, she just goes to town on it.

Justin: All right. I and most people in their youth followed some terrible trends. I had a mullet. During the Kriss Kross days, I wore overalls. I was probably in third grade then, so it’s excusable, I think. What terrible trend did you follow?

Art: Gosh, Girbaud jeans.

Justin: No, that wasn’t a terrible trend.

Art: How was that not? No.

Justin: That was a sign of status. I couldn’t afford Girbaud. What are you talking about?

Art: Dude, I got all mine from Solo Serve. They were the irregulars.

Justin: Solo Serve is a cup, I thought.

Art: Is a what?

Justin: A cup.

Art: No. See, that wasn’t until after YouTube.

Justin: Okay. Well, let’s not do the humblebrag because, honestly, you saying your terrible trend was how much money you had, because I couldn’t afford Girbaud. I wore Arizona jeans back then.

Art: It was all a facade, man.

Justin: Anything else?

Art: I would get them at– No.

Justin: JNCOs?

Art: No. K-Swiss? Again.

Justin: Oh my God.

Art: No, I was that prep. Yes.

Justin: Okay, so you were a jerk back then, obviously.

Art: Pretty much, yes.

Justin: All right. When did you move to San Antonio?

Art: When I was three years old. All my family is from San Antonio. My dad was in the Navy, so he was actually stationed out in California in Twentynine Palms. I was born in Twentynine Palms. When I was about two or three, it was whenever he was done, so that’s when we moved back to San Antonio. People ask me if I’m from here, and I’ll tell them, “Yes, I’ve lived here all my life, but I wasn’t born here.”

Justin: I think since three is long enough to be your whole life, yes.

Art: 45 years out of my 47. Yes.

Justin: Favorite fiesta event?

Art: Gosh, favorite fiesta event, it has got to be NIOSA, but like on the Tuesday, not Thursday. The first day it opens when it’s not crowded, you go early. You can walk around, you can get food. That would probably be my favorite thing. Because you can see a lot and taste a lot when it comes to the different cultures that are out there.

Justin: I’ve got three King William Fairs. I’ve got one guy that said NIOSA. He doesn’t really do that stuff. You’re the first NIOSA because it’s usually just a cluster. All right. Last question. What is the best excuse you’ve heard in a CrossFit class?

Art: Gosh, the best excuse?

Justin: “I can’t do that coach, I–” blah, blah.

Art: I don’t have time.

Justin: You don’t have time?

Art: People say they don’t have time or too busy.

Justin: I feel like there’s a better one, like I got bursitis or something, these made-up things.

Art: No, not in CrossFit class. We don’t get too many excuses.

Justin: I tried everyone.

Art: You’ve tried but–

Justin: When I was in CrossFit, I would go up in front of drop-ins who would take my space in front of a fan, I would tell them I had a medical condition. I had to have the fan in it. It never did not work. Every single time, it worked.

Art: It was your gym, so they would move. They didn’t know you.

Justin: You do what you can. If they had challenged me, I wasn’t going to fight them about it. I’m a sweater. I needed it. Okay, I got Art on here today. I want to talk about a few things. Every gym in town teams is doing a how to stay in shape during the lock-in. For a lot of people, it’s not about staying in shape. It’s more about maintaining some semblance of routine and mental health, and just getting out and sweating and getting that stress out of your body.

Let’s talk about a few things. One, is there any place you’re posting information for the general public about workouts or anything like that, or do you have any recommendations where they could go and look?

Art: Right now, there’s a lot out there, especially with this nationwide shutdown, lots of gym including mine. If you go to our website, unchainedaf.com, we have an at home page, which is our blog that we are putting workouts, daily workouts on. These workouts, they can easily be done with somebody using a backpack. Inside the backpack, you can put a couple of objects to change the weight. A lot of gyms right now are doing stuff like that.

Anybody, even if you’ve never had a gym membership, you’ve never had guidance, now’s the time to get online, find a gym that’s doing this and just start moving around. Follow the videos. Some gyms are doing zoom classes. It’s like a virtual meeting, everybody signs in, everybody does their workout together and then you’re done. Some will pre-record an hour-long class and you can watch that. Some just do little tips of movements and stuff so that you can see what the movement is supposed to be like.

Justin: For people that don’t know, what is CrossFit? It’s a scary, nutty, weird world of people for the people that don’t know. What is CrossFit?

Art: CrossFit, it’s a strength and conditioning program. Have you heard of Zumba?

Justin: [chuckles] Have I heard of Zumba?

Art: Yes. Everybody has heard of Zumba. Zumba is more conditioning than strength. They don’t use weights. Have you heard of boot camp classes?

Justin: I have.

Art: Okay, boot camp is a strength and conditioning, but the strength part, the weights in a boot camp class generally won’t be more than like 25 or 30 pounds. That’s a combined weight. If you have two dumbbells in a boot camp class, they’re both going to be 15, maybe 20 pounds, and that’s it. CrossFit, it is a strength and conditioning. It combines weightlifting, gymnastics, and conditioning movements.

You can have all three of those in one workout in one day. The next day, you could have two of them. The next day, you could have one of them. It’s always going to be different. We don’t typically follow any type of routine. Back in my college days, I’d go into the gym. I’m sure you did the same thing, on Wednesdays, it was back and biceps. Then, on Tuesday, it was chest and triceps, and then on Wednesday–

Justin: 20 minutes of cardio to start.

Art: Yes. Maybe even that, walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Yes, that was my– That mundane type of the same thing over and over and over again, we don’t follow that. CrossFit is all about doing different workouts, workouts that are going to help you be better outside of the gym, in your regular life. Whether you’re going to be carrying all the groceries into your car. You’re going to be helping a friend move from a one-story apartment to a three-story apartment. You’re going to be carrying stuff–

Justin: Or just an impromptu walking on your hands contest. This could probably [crosstalk].

Art: Yes, who knows. Lots of things happen when alcohol is involved.

Justin: When I was trying to pitch to people, I always said CrossFit is like having personal training with a class of eight people. It always felt like you walked in, and you had a fairly personalized workout that was very different that you would not have thought out on your own, and you had a coach that was going to be involved enough that it was almost like personal training. That’s how I always felt about it.

Art: That’s actually how it started. CrossFit started with somebody doing personal training, they got really busy, so they started to do two, three, four people at the same time, and then it just evolved from there to being like a group fitness. We’re going to show people how to move. We’re going to model it as they’re moving. We’re going to correct their movement. It’s not like a room full of 30 to 40 people and I’m standing on a stage and you’re just following, try not to bump into the person next to you. No, it is not like that.

A lot of CrossFit classes in town and even around the world, they average anywhere from 10 to maybe 20 people. The bigger the classes, of course, you’re going have more coaches. Some gyms do, some don’t. They’re all different. If you’re looking for something different and you find a CrossFit gym, visit it for a while, take a couple of classes, assess how many people are there, assess how many coaches are there. What’s that member to coach ratio in each class. Then, make your decision.

If you don’t like one, go to a different one because they’re different. It’s like trying to Italian food, but you go to one restaurant and their sauce is too thick. Well, you’re not going to not eat Italian, you’re just going to go find another Italian restaurant.

Justin: Why did you get into coaching CrossFit? What was the draw to you?

Art: The draw to me was that– so my wife and I, when we found CrossFit, we were actually on our way to being entrepreneurs. We’re trying different types of businesses. Previously, before CrossFit, we were doing a boot camp class at a regular big gym. Spending time in that gym working out, I’m sure every guy has that thought, “I wish I could do this for a living, but I don’t know how to open up a big gym like this.”

Then, when we found CrossFit and we saw how it was more of the mom and pop type of gym shop, my wife and I, we sat down, talked about it, and we’re like, “We can do this.” Let’s see what owning a CrossFit gym is going to look like and start talking to owners, and then we just took it from there.

Justin: There’s got to be a lot of hurdles along the way. I’ve known you long enough to have seen some of the hurdles you’ve gone through, go through. Talk to me about what the most rewarding portions of doing CrossFit are? For me, personally, you helped me without knowing it get my life back on the right path when work and life and everything just creates the wrong direction and you want to get right. Sometimes, you need a shock to your system. Tell me about some of these great experiences you’ve had in helping people get on the path that they’re trying to get on.

Art: For me, it is more about helping people become conscious of the choice that they make outside of the gym. When you walk into the gym and you’re about to do a workout, if you’re dying in this workout, your coach is usually going to ask you, “Why do you think you feel the way you feel? Did you eat today? Did you sleep? Did you drink?” all these kinds of questions. It’s more about, “Are those good choices if this is what you want to do?”

If you want to be fit and you want to be healthy, do you think having six beers every single night is going to help you get there? Most of the time, people will come to that realization that, “No, it’s not,” but that doesn’t mean stop drinking beer. It just means don’t have six every night. Wait until the weekend and have two or three but not in excess.

Justin: Make better life choices.

Art: Yes. It’s about helping people make better life choices. A lot of the times, as a CrossFit coach, as a gym owner, we see people for maybe about an hour a day, three to four times a week. Every now and then, you get to talk to somebody and really, really talk to them and figure it out, figure out and see how life has changed. A lot of times, they’ll just come up and tell you. Recently, we had a member that joined us. Her goal was to lose 20 pounds.

She went to the doctor and they told her, “You’re overweight. You’ve got some thyroid issues. We might have to put you on medication. You need to lose some weight. We’ll have you test again in about three months and we’ll see where you’re at. We’ll see where everything’s at.” She came in with us. She started. We got her changing life habits and changing her lifestyle. In about two months, she lost 20 pounds.

Then, one day, she just came and told me, she’s like, “Coach, I went to the doctor. I had my bloodwork. They said my thyroid is fine. You cured me.” I’m like, “I didn’t do anything. You did it. I was just a tool. I gave you what you needed to do. You did it. Even at home when you weren’t here, you changed your eating. You even got your husband and your kids to change their eating. That’s what did it.”

When I hear stories like that, it makes me feel good that I had that much of an influence on somebody’s life to change it for the better knowing that their health– for a long period of time. This isn’t something that this one person did for two, three months, six months now. She’s been with us for six months. It’s not something that she’s just going to do for six months. She’s in her 40, so she knows like, “This has to be my life for the rest of my life. Otherwise, bad things are going to happen.”

That’s what I think, for me, I get the most out of it. It’s just knowing that in the long term, helping somebody make a few changes today that are going to exponentially get bigger as they get older and as the years pass that that’s what’s going to help them. It’s not so much what did I do for somebody today but how that’s going to affect them 5, 10 years from now. Recently, I was going through first-world problems.

My iCloud got [unintelligible 00:23:29], so I had to go in there and start deleting pictures and videos. I went as far back as six years and I had pictures and videos of some of our athletes. I was just like, “Wow. I didn’t even realize that Jose has been with us for six years and I had pictures of him.” I even found some videos of you and I. I sent you some clips. Looking at you then, it’s just different. I’m sure watching that video caused you to think like, “Wow, what was I doing back then that I’m not doing now?”

Taking the break, I want to get back to where I was and not necessarily doing the same things but just feeling that way. I’m sure you’re starting to make a few changes and getting back to where you were. That’s what this is about.

Justin: That’s the goal. I have a long past of competitively lifting, parallel lifting. I wasn’t walking in as an amateur. I was walking in with somebody with a lot of experience in the weightlifting world. CrossFit interested me because I knew it would be a challenge. I tried a different CrossFit. I felt like I was on an island. People were very clique-ish and I think that’s something probably some listeners will think, “I don’t want to go there. It’ll be very uncomfortable for me.”

I tried that for about a month or two. I said, “I’m not doing that.” I went back to being a blob. Then, I saw y’alls. I was on my way home from work and I checked with a friend who I knew knew you all. I wasn’t going to know anybody there. I went like people do. I wore my fat shirt. I went to the 6:30 class because I knew that was the least attended class according to you.

It was a long road, but I think a lot of people have that discomfort of just, one, being uncomfortable in front of new people who know what they’re doing, and two, stepping into a situation where you don’t know what to expect.

What do you have to say to people that are thinking, “I would love to do CrossFit, but that shit is scary to me”? It’s a very scary situation. What would you tell them about trying to alleviate those fears so they can at least give it a shot?

Art: I would tell them to come to our gym. That’s what I would say. Just come–

Justin: Why is yours different?

Art: There’s probably about 30 to 40 CrossFit gyms in and around San Antonio. If you research CrossFit online, what you’re going to see are a lot of the CrossFit games which are professional CrossFit athletes. It’s like typing in basketball in Google and all you see are the Spurs, the Lakers, that’s it. When you see them playing at that level, the first thing you’re going to think is, “I can’t do that.” Some gyms in San Antonio and CrossFit gyms, that’s what they are. They’re about that competition.

Justin: They all have their own personality.

Art: They do. They’re about looking better naked or being the best and being the strongest, being the fastest. My wife and I, we believe that CrossFit, it’s a program that is developed for the person who doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about working out and they want some guidance. Those are the people that we like to help. We’re not about going the fastest or being the strongest. It’s more important for us to have you show up and move around than whether you lifted 300 pounds today.

Justin: I always tell people, your classes are full of normal people. These aren’t people that are going to blow the doors off and put a bunch of videos up on the internet about how strong they are. These are working people. Some of them are older. A lot of women. They are there to try to stay healthy.

Art: Yes. The only way to find that is to come and see us. You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone just for a little bit, go to a gym, take one or two classes, and you’ll know within one or two classes whether it’s for you or not. If you go to one and it’s not for you, go to another one. Don’t go to a CrossFit gym. I don’t want to call it a bad experience, but it just wasn’t the experience you were looking for.

Go find another one. If you don’t find it there, go find another one. There are so many CrossFit gyms. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and still talking to a lot of the owners in San Antonio of CrossFit gyms, so I know that there are a lot of different personalities. The personality of the owner and of the people that they have there, that’s what their gyms is about. If you’re listening to this, whatever your personality is, there are other people out there that are like you and you’re going to be able to find that in a CrossFit gym.

Justin: 60 days. That was my mentality. I’m going to go. I’m going to do it 60 days, and if I like it, I’m going to do it six months.

Art: Once you find a good one, yes.

Justin: I give the other one 60 days too and still felt like an outsider after 60 days, and I was done.

Art: That was maybe too long.

Justin: Yes, you pay for two months though, you’re going to stick around for two months. I’m cheap. Another thing to point out is people see these crazy movements. You look like a gymnast and doing all these crazy jumps. Everything is modifiable too. People can come in and say, “I can’t jump on a box that’s 30 inches high.”

Art: Yes, we have a box that’s four inches high.

Justin: Yes, and maybe you can step on it if you can’t jump on it. Then, maybe in six months, you can jump on it.

Art: Right. We take it from four inches, we go to eight. From eight, maybe we go to 16. From 16, maybe we’ll go to 20. Whenever you’re ready to do it, that’s how we see it. As long as you’re coming in and you’re getting your workout and you’re moving around, that’s the first start in making different choices.

Justin: Let’s talk about this. People are stuck in their house right now. They’re going to be stuck in their house for at least 15 days. I want to talk about a few things with you. Are you okay?

Art: Yes.

Justin: You just made a crazy face.

Art: That was my knee.

Justin: I want to talk to you about making good nutritional choices while you’re stuck inside because, honestly, I’m sure we’re going to eat a frozen pizza tonight.

Art: I think it’s too late for that if you’ve been to the grocery store and seen what’s gone from the shelves. It’s too late to make healthy choices right now.

Justin: [chuckles] Okay. I think there’s a few angles to this. Let’s talk about first, making healthy choices and not doing boredom eating. How do we avoid that? I sit on the couch and I think, “Well, I wasn’t hungry, but now I’m hungry. I want to go eat that thing.”

Art: Yes, best thing to do. Boredom eating, you can’t avoid it. You’re going to get bored and you’re going to want to eat. It’s more about what you make available to yourself to eat. If you’ve got three different kinds of bags of chips, guess what you’re going to go for, the three different kinds of bags of chips. If you have three different kinds of fruit instead of bags of chips, guess what you’re going to go for, one of those chips. Well, I said if you didn’t have the chips.

Justin: Did you just compare fruit to chips?

Art: No. What I’m comparing is what’s available to you is what you’re going to go for.

Justin: Carrots is one of those things I know if I keep around, I’ll eat, and they make me full and I’m not totally dissatisfied.

Art: Yes. There are so many healthy choices out there instead of eating processed food. That’s the main thing, is if you want to see what you can change in your life when it comes to eating, the first thing you need to realize is what you’re eating. Most people, they only really consider what they’re eating right at that moment or what they’re going to eat. Did you eat lunch today?

Justin: Yes.

Art: What did you eat?

Justin: Carrots and a smoothie.

Art: Carrots and a smoothie. Did you eat lunch on last Wednesday?

Justin: I don’t know.

Art: See, that’s my point, is that people, did you eat lunch on Friday?

Justin: This Friday?

Art: Yes, so you have to think about it. First thing to do is start journaling. Journal for a week. Don’t change anything. Journal four weeks so you can just see what it is you’re eating and how much of that that you’re eating. Then, from that journal, you can start looking at like, “Wow, I eat too much of this,” or, “I eat too much of that.” That’s what pretty much gets people to the position that they’re at, whether they’re overweight or not. It’s not because they’re eating too much of something.

I have people tell me all the time, “I don’t know why I’m overweight. I only eat once a day.” It’s like, “Well, number one, that’s why you’re overweight, it’s because you only eat once, but what are you eating that one time?” You got to look at that also. Take a journal for a week, anything that you eat, anything that you drink, just write it down and then look at it. Then, pick a couple of items out of that that you know aren’t healthy and stop eating them.

Replace them with something else. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It could be one or two items out of the seven things that you eat a day that now you know you eat because you’ve written it down and maybe replace it with something else. Do that for 30 days. After those 30, do it again. Take two more items off and just start making those little changes over a longer period of time.

Justin: That’s great advice in the larger picture. What about right now? We’re in a quarantine.

Art: It’s too late for that in the sense that I’ve already done my shopping. I already went to the grocery store and I hoarded everything that I could. I’m kidding. We didn’t. There are people out there that already did, so now they have all these boxes of processed foods and pastas and chips and just all this bad stuff. What are they going to do with it? I know, you have no choice but to eat it now.

If you’re one of those latecomers like this was going to end tomorrow and now you’re realizing that it’s not, grocery stores– Every time my wife and I go to the grocery store, we get meat, we get vegetables. We never have a problem finding meat and vegetables. If we want some pasta, yes, the pasta is gone, but we don’t eat pasta every day. It’s about making–

Justin: Beautiful people in great shape. Some of us like pasta.

Art: Yes. Some of us– I like pasta. Pasta is good.

Justin: It sounds like we don’t have any grand advice for how to eat through the quarantine because apparently, everybody already shopped like crap.

Art: Yes, pretty much.

Justin: How do you stay active? Let’s just structure a workout in a way that people can use it moving forward. What are we looking at? Are we looking at, “Sit on your couch, sit and be fit,” or should people go out and do some squats and lunges? We’re allowed to go to the parks. How can we use that to our advantage?

Art: Go to the park. Depending on what your fitness level is, start walking around. Just do a nice little easy slow walk for about two to three minutes, and then for the next two minutes, pick up the pace on the walk, and then for the next three minutes, easy walk. Pick up the pace, slow the pace, pick up the pace, slow a bit. Start with that. By moving slowly and then moving quickly for a short interval of time, that’s going to get your heart rate up, and then you start moving slow again.

It’s going to bring the heart rate– The heart rate elevating a little bit, going down, elevating, going down. That’s going to, number one, help start to boost your metabolism. Now, your body is going to start thinking like, “Okay, I can start burning some fat.

Justin: Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down.

Art: Yes, doing movements. People don’t need to work out for an hour or three hours a day. It’s doing something in a 30-minute window. Of course, the higher the intensity on the workout, it’s always going to be better. My high intensity compared to your high intensity, they’re going to be different levels.

Justin: I have seen you work out [laughs].

Art: Yes. Okay. I’ve been working out recently. I work out when you work out.

Justin: There was a time.

Art: There was a time. Getting around, picking something out. The next walk that you go on, carry something. Just carry something. It doesn’t matter what it is. Carry a weight, get a backpack, put some stuff in, it doesn’t need to be heavy, and carry that. Just adding a load to you moving around is going to change what that workout is going to be. Right now, the main thing is you just got to get out. Being quarantined and being told if you’re not going to the grocery store, you have to stay at home. Yes, but you can still go outside.

Justin: Parks are still open.

Art: Yes, parks are still open. They don’t want people walking around on the river walk. Go on the trails or–

Justin: I said park.

Art: Park. Yes. That’s what I mean.

Justin: The river walk is not a park.

Art: It’s not. That’s why I said they don’t want people walking down there, but people are going to think that. “I’m going to go out, I’m going to go walk on the river.” No, don’t. Go to a park. Go on some of the trails. Now, the trails, my gosh, San Antonio has put so many paved bike trails out there. Go find one and go walk around. You can pull up to almost any street nowadays and there’s going to be a parking lot that you can park to get on this trail.

They’ve done a lot. Go and walk on those trails. Find some stairs somewhere. Walk up and down the stairs. If you’re at home, go online, do a search for a bodyweight workout. You’ll see things like doing 20 situps, 20 push-ups, and they don’t need to be the military-style push-up. They can be like a knee push-up. You can do a push-up to an elevated surface, but all this stuff now, there’s so much on YouTube and online that social media, just hashtag workout, search for it, and you’re going to find a lot of stuff out there.

Justin: Let me ask you this. If somebody wants to start at CrossFit, you require them to do what’s called an elements class. If I’ve got any listeners that are sitting here for 15 days and they’re deciding, “I’m going to make a life change, and in 15 days, when I get out, I’m going to go and meet Art, and I’m going to go start CrossFit.” Is there anywhere they could look and say, “You know what? I want to start learning what I’m going to need to know.” Is there any way they can get any of that information right now on these 15 days they are sitting on the couch? What are the movements that you teach them?

Art: It’s going to be different for all CrossFit gyms. There’s not a standard that is available.

Justin: No, I’m talking about you for CrossFit Unchained.

Art: For CrossFit Unchained. If you go to our website, crossfitunchained.com, we do have a link on there that says elements. When you click on that link, it’ll give you a little bit of information. We’re basically going to run you through some of the most common movements that you’ll see in a CrossFit class. Box jumps, wall-ball shots, push-ups, situps, kettlebell swings, even Olympic lifting movements like cleans, snatches, jerks.

We will walk you through all that stuff. People are like, “Well, I’ve never done a snatch before.” That’s okay. We’re not going to have you doing a snatch movement with weight. It’s going to be like a broomstick or a PV stick. We’re going to show you what the movement is. We’re going to have you move. We’re not even going to do any weight yet. We do a whole week of pretty much one-on-one, almost private training type of class in order to get you ready to understand and just have an idea of what a movement is and where you’re going to start.

For example, a box jump, standing in front of a box and jumping on top of it. Usually, in a workout, it’s suggested that a male use a 24-inch box and a female use a 20-inch box. During our class, we’re going to start you with like a four-inch and take you to a 10 inch. If we get you to a 12, and that’s where you’re comfortable, in our beginner’s course, then when you get to class, you already know there’s that 12-inch box when we’re doing box jumps, and that’s what I’m doing.

Even though the workout on the board says 24 inches, I’m doing 12. That’s what our beginner’s course is all about. We give you an intro, get you to a starting point so when you are in a class with 8 to 10 other people, you already have an idea of what’s going on, you have an idea of what the class, how it’s going to flow from our little briefing intro to our warm-up, to maybe our strength, to the conditioning part, then to our cool down. Then, of course, high fives, and if it’s Friday, we have free beers.

Justin: I’ve never gotten a free beer at the gym.

Art: You’ve never been there Friday evening.

Justin: What should somebody expect if they’re going to try to join your CrossFit? I think it’s a two-week elements class.

Art: Yes, we have a couple of options now. When we first started, it was a two-week elements class. We still have that option, but we are also doing a three-session one on one private training which is– If you’re talking price, it’s the same price. We just do the private training more to your schedule. The other two-week one, it’s five classes in the evening at 7:30. Then, after that, the two-week intro, you get a week of regular classes.

You’re pretty much committing to two weeks, and after the two weeks, if you feel it’s not for you, then that’s it. You’re done. There’s no obligation or anything. The private track is more for somebody who wants to give it a month. They’re going to give it a month, they want to get their three done really quick, and then jump into regular classes because they’re ready to go.

Justin: You’re really good about working with people who have high demanding jobs and things like that. That’s what I’ve always appreciated with working out with you. Okay, let’s do a little bit of speedball here. Single best movement somebody can do if they want a single body workout, like a whole body workout with a single moment.

Art: A burpee.

Justin: Okay. Yes, that’s true. I hate those.

Art: Everybody hates them. Burpees are–

Justin: For people that don’t know, standing down to a push-up position, push-up, stand up again, and jump.

Art: Yes.

Justin: Technically a burpee.

Art: Technically a burpee.

Justin: The easier way to say it is, you start at a standing position. I want you to lay down on the ground, on your stomach. From laying down on your stomach, I want you to get up. That’s a burpee. That’s it.

Art: No jump?

Justin: You don’t need to jump. No. From a standing position, lay on the floor on your stomach, get up off the floor off your stomach. That’s a burpee. Now, if you want to do them really fast, then that changes the movement just a little bit.

Justin: How long should somebody expect if they’re saying, “”You know what? I’m out of shape. I need to get in shape.” What are you going to tell them in terms of, “Okay, we’ll give it this many months of making good choices before you’ll start to see something”?

Art: It all depends on what the person is doing outside the gym. You can come and you can be the hardest worker in the class, five days a week, but if you’re treating your body really bad outside of the gym–

Justin: I’m saying, somebody is going to listen to your advice, nutritionally, sleep, workout, how long before they start to see changes?

Art: Two months.

Justin: Two months? I think that’s fair. People think, “I’m going to get this done real quick,” but that’s just not the truth of it.

Art: No. You can take a shortcut and you can drop 20 pounds in like two to three weeks, but it’s not going to be healthy. You’ll just end up gaining the weight right back. If you want to make a good lifestyle choice, eight weeks.

Justin: If somebody wants to join CrossFit, is there any age limitation?

Art: No.

Justin: Is there any weight limitation?

Art: No.

Justin: Do they have to have a history of doing any physical activity?

Art: Like high school sports or college sports? No.

Justin: Anybody anywhere can come join CrossFit and they’re going to be able to find a way to do it?

Art: Correct.

Justin: When I worked out there, there was a man in a wheelchair who came and worked out with us every so often. Workouts were made for him.

Art: Yes.

Justin: Then, I saw some people that had to be in their 80s there on occasion. We had the full range of people.

Art: Yes. We’ve done kids classes, we’ve done teen classes, we’ve done silver sneaker classes, everything in between. It’s interesting because it’s always, minus the kids, everybody is doing the same workout, it’s just a different version for you depending on where your fitness level is at. That’s the responsibility of the coaches to make sure you’re at your level and you’re not doing anything that’s going to cause you any harm or potentially get you injured.

Justin: A lot of people are going to be sitting on their couch for the next two weeks, and if they want to reach out to you and learn more, how can they reach out to you?

Art: They can go to our website, crossfitunchained.com, go to our contact page, fill out the form, and yes [crosstalk].

Justin: You will respond?

Art: Yes, I will respond or Christina will respond. Yes, either one of us.

Justin: Anything else you want to add for our people that are going to be stuck in their houses and want to maintain some level of mental and physical fitness?

Art: I think it’s more important now to just get outside, even if it’s just to go walk around your street, walk around your neighborhood, get outside your house for about 20 to 30 minutes every day. Go for a walk.

Justin: Avoid cabin fever.

Art: Avoid it, yes. That isolation thing, it’s bad. Yes, I can FaceTime with my aunt who lives down the street that I shouldn’t go visit because she’s in the high-risk group, but I should walk down to her street, knock on her door, wave to her through her window rather than do the FaceTime because then, I’m getting out of my house. Yes, the cabin fever, don’t be stuck in your house. You got to get out.

Justin: Fair enough. Art, thank you for joining us. That does it for this episode of The Alamo Hour. A huge thank you to Art Pruneda who owns CrossFit Unchained here in San Antonio. You can reach out to him and ask more questions. I’ll put his name and contact information on our website. Our next episode will be coming up soon. We have a lot of great guests to choose from.

I don’t know who it’s going to be right now, but I promise, it will be somebody good. Our guest wish list continues. Coach Pop, Robert Rivard, Jackie Earle Haley, come on, talk to us. If you know them, help us. If not, we’ll see you next episode.

[music]

Justin: Thanks for joining us on this episode of The Alamo Hour. You are all what makes this city so great. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, subscribe to our podcast. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/alamohour, or our website, alamohour.com. Until next time, Viva San Antonio.

[00:46:58] [END OF AUDIO]

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