When I first met Brian and Haley from Elev8d Fitness, I thought it was going to be another “get skinny quick” fix they were telling me about. I quickly learned that this was far from that! While it is a website that customizes 8 minute workouts for you, it truly showcases the power of being focused and consistent. (Need some fitness inspiration?! Check out my favorite 5 Instagram fitness accounts here!) Check out this full interview of my chat with Brian and Haley, and don’t miss the end where I actually try a workout (yes, even in my work clothes!):
Amanda: Hey everyone. It’s Amanda with the San Diego Lifestyle. I’m here with some amazing people who are here locally in San Diego, working really hard with their company every day. I want to introduce you to Brian and Hailey. They’re from Elev8d Fitness. They are incredible people. I want to know all about them and their company. Tell me about Elev8d Fitness. What is it?
Hailey: Elev8d Fitness is a posture and alignment-based workout method. It’s based on the core movements that we think that your body should be able to do to be functionally fit and have full range of motion. We’ve created this online subscription-based platform. You can do these exercises literally anywhere, anytime, no props required in your living room.
Amanda: That’s pretty amazing. How is that different from a normal workout?
Hailey: Elev8d is low intensity interval training, rather than high intensity. Our exercises are meant to be deliberate. They’re designed to align your body. High intensity is extremely effective, but there is a very high risk of injury. You burn out really quickly, and it’s hard on your system. Our exercises are maintainable whether you’re 18 or 80.
Amanda: I always hear about high intensity workouts being the big fad. It’s nice to have something a little bit different to do.
Hailey: They’re still challenging. That’s the point. It’s not like a walk in the park, but it’s very deliberate and focused. Our focus is on form.
Amanda: It reminds me of barre, the whole theory of doing little, tiny movements but making a big difference.
Brian: Yes, less is more.
Amanda: You have these different concepts of 8, 16, and 24-minute workouts. How does that work?
Brian: Think about an 8-minute workout. You have 23 hours or more left in the day for sleeping, walking, moving and going to work. The 8-minute workout is so effectively sequenced and low intensity interval, maybe trickling into medium intensity once in a while.
For the rest of the day, your body is reaping the benefit of the 8-minute workout. If you choose a 16-minute, that’s up to you because you’re at a different fitness level. We have a 24-minute one. We even have one above it if someone wants to go there. Honestly, 8 minutes a day, which I know you’re a fan of, will create huge effects down the road. It’s honestly enough.
Amanda: What impact does it have on your body? That doesn’t seem like a long workout at all.
Hailey: It’s this amazing thing. The idea is that, when you align your body, it operates as a unified system. If you’re out of whack and your body is not aligned, you have all these dysfunctional parts. When you work out, you’re not efficient. Think about it as a tune-up for your car. When you tune up your car, it runs smoother. It’s more efficient. It’s the same way with your exercises. If you’re aligned, you will function more efficiently.
Brian: There are a lot of people out there looking at different approaches to fitness. Our approach is based on giving you the most benefit in the shortest amount of time, no equipment needed. You can do it anytime, anywhere. The cool part is the result. We have people coming back to us and telling us, after 60 or 90 days, 8 minutes a day in their house or hotel, three to four days a week, they’re losing 15, 16, 17 and 18 pounds. That wasn’t their goal. We didn’t go after them nutritionally.
Hailey: They didn’t change their diets.
Brian: That’s what is amazing.
Amanda: That’s crazy.
Hailey: If you put all the pieces together and make it work functionally, then your metabolism kicks up. You create energy rather than spend it. It’s an incredible thing. It’s kind of like magic.
Brian: A lot of people sit for a living. Then we think, “Now we’re going to get up and go to the car.” Our hips shut down. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about in fitness approaches is, “Yes, I lost weight here and here, but not so much down here.” The only way to get that going is to become more hip-driven. These exercises are speared at that. We’re trying to get you to become as hip-driven as possible, dropping your shoulders and getting more relaxed. The hip drives all the movement. The results are unbelievable.
Amanda: You seem so serious about it. Is there any fun involved with these workouts?
Hailey: That’s the best part. The workouts are extremely short. That part makes them more approachable. They are extremely fun, especially when you do them in a group. You’ve never done these movements before. It’s like playing, like you’re a kid again. The whole idea is that you become functionally fit. When are we the most functionally fit? When we’re kids. We’re climbing trees and crawling around on the ground.
Amanda: Have you ever seen a child do a squat? It’s perfect.
Hailey: Exactly. That’s the idea. You should be having fun in your workout. Working out shouldn’t be drudgery. It shouldn’t be something on your to-do list. It should be a release; something that makes you excited to do at the end or beginning of the day.
Brian: After the workout, you’re going to say, “Wow, that was fun.” Two or three months down the road, you’re going to say, “Wait a second. There are some game-changing results here.” Then it becomes a lot more fun.
You won’t be able to be quiet about this. You’re going to pull in friends to do this. You’re going to say, “You have to try this.” We hear from so many people who say, “I’m working with this or that trainer.” They’re not being mean to their trainer, but they say, “I wish I had better results.” Quit spinning your wheels.
Amanda: Now it’s three weeks into January. A lot of people are dying on their resolutions. How does this keep you on track to a good resolution?
Hailey: Again, it comes down to enjoying what you’re doing. Make manageable goals. Eight minutes a day? I don’t care how busy you are. You can maintain that. If you’re having fun in the exercise that you’re doing, you want to do it. That’s the whole point.
Brian: If it’s not creating results, it’s not fun. I’m the boring guy. I always talk about results. My customers are coming back and saying, “I have never experienced something like this before.” This is why I’m so excited to put this out there. The results will speak for themselves and you’ll be smiling the whole time.
Amanda: It’s great that it’s all about alignment. What about people who have pain or are not able to do normal workouts, go to the gym or hook up with a trainer? What do you do for customers like that?
Hailey: It’s all about functionality. People have pain because their bodies aren’t functional. Something is out of whack. We should be like Davinci’s Man where everything is in alignment. Our exercises put you into alignment so that, ultimately, those issues disappear.
For example, we had an ambassador series over the summer. We had five people do the exercises for 12 weeks. One lady had a lot of back pain. She was really struggling. Throughout the course of the exercises, her back pain completely went away. Her big fear was getting down on the ground with her grandchild. This woman is 65. Besides the fact that she lost well over 15 pounds, it released her from what she thought were her limitations.
Here is another example. My aunt started doing the exercises. She has been terrified of stairs. The doctors have told her that she has weak knees. She did the exercises. Brian took her through a few things. There were these stairs coming up from the lawn where we were doing the exercises. She went after those stairs. No problem. She didn’t use any handholds. She’s in her 70s. This was a big fear.
Brian: This was after the workout. She should have been tired. Her body was able to take the stairs and say, “No fear because my body is not going to fail me.” That’s what we have to get people to believe in.
Amanda: What about people my age? I like to do things very quick and efficiently. I do not like to spend a lot of time.
Brian: I don’t blame you. I think that working out for extended amounts of time can make you worse. Studies are going in that direction. When we look at these fast workouts, 8 and 16 minutes will be enough. You can do it as a standalone.
Let’s say that you’re a runner and you run five miles a day. You’re running so far out of alignment that you’re stressing your body, but you think you’re more functional and fit when you’re done. It’s absolutely the opposite. You’re only tapping into 50% of your body’s real ability as an athlete. Your age group doesn’t have a lot of time. You are doing other things. Let’s get excited about this.
Eight minutes is going to change that whole demographic. They will say, “I’m finally done texting. My fitness for my thumbs is over.” We put it down. Now we do 8 minutes. Then your body says, “I feel like going for a run again,” which hasn’t happened in 10 years. They’re only 25 years young and thinking that they’re getting older. We need to break that cycle. It’s going to be amazing for that demographic.
Amanda: What about runners? Do you recommend doing this before running?
Hailey: Like Brian said, if you’re running and you’re out of alignment, you’re only tapping into a fraction of your power. It’s dysfunction.
Amanda: You can do all of this and still go for your run?
Brian: Yes. You can’t run with your shoulders up and be okay. This is what does the work.
Hailey: It creates energy. It will make you feel like running because your body becomes more functional when you do these exercises.
Amanda: On a day-to-day basis, it will make you feel like doing more in general?
Hailey: Absolutely. It is an energy creator. That’s the most amazing thing. It wakes your body back up. When you are in alignment, everything functions better.
Amanda: Do you recommend doing them in the morning?
Hailey: It’s whatever works for you.
Brian: I do mine in the afternoon. The morning, for me, is about getting ready for the day and going through business metrics. In the afternoon, I might do it at 12:00, 2:00 or 6:00. I will never do anything as it relates to plyometrics and hard work, if I want to work out with some of my pro athletes, without prepping with this first. Sometimes that becomes the workout. We do high fives. Everyone goes home, and you go on with your day.
Amanda: What if you’re going to the gym a lot? Do you do this instead of going to the gym? Do you do it before you go to the gym?
Brian: You could do it before the gym to get a real benefit out of the workout. There are people walking around every day, spinning their wheels in the gerbil cage. They’re working out and working out. They’re getting fatter.
Amanda: That’s not working.
Brian: How much fun is working out with no results?
Amanda: I would love to cut out my hour and a half of driving to the gym, parking and putting my stuff away.
Brian: Let’s go with that. You drive to the gym. Think about that. The workout could be, “I park my car and walk or run to the gym.” That’s not our mentality. What if we gave you an 8-minute workout? It’s the simplest thing to do but the effects are massive for you. You’re saying, “I want to get more efficient so that I have more time in the day. I want results.”
Do this three to four days a week, times 90 days. You’re going to come back to us and tell us, “I didn’t believe it, but I proved it here.” You’re going to write something for us.
Amanda: I can quit the gym and just do your workout?
Hailey: Yes, 100%.
Amanda: I want to try that.
Hailey: You shouldn’t dread working out. It should be something that reenergizes you and that feels good. It should be fun. Period.
Amanda: I might not completely dread it. But when I get there, I think, “This is going to take an hour.”
Brian: When you look around, it’s always the same people. They’re in front of the mirror, staring at themselves. You’re thinking, “I’m a young female. I want results. I want them fast. I want to hang out with my friends and family.” That’s the beauty of this workout.
Amanda: This morning, I did not have enough time. I was supposed to go to the gym. I didn’t have that two-hour block.
Hailey: Before Elev8d Fitness, I would go to the gym and get on the Stairmaster and slog along for 20 minutes. I was doing one movement. When I do 8 minutes of Elev8d, I am literally moving every part of my body. I’m rotating. It’s flexion. It’s extension. It’s lateral movement. When you move your body like that, it wakes all the systems up. It kicks up your metabolism. It creates energy. It’s a total body workout. If you’re getting on the elliptical for 45 minutes at the gym, you’re spinning your wheels.
Amanda: Is it the same basic workout for the whole 8 minutes every time?
Hailey: There are all different workouts.
Brian: It changes, but the sequence is very important. Let’s say you get to the gym and you have even less time. It’s an 8-minute workout. If I get through 5 of the 8 exercises, I’m happy with that right now. Tomorrow, you’re going to get 8.
Amanda: Do you go back and do the ones that you missed?
Brian: No. You say, “I didn’t miss. I did enough for my body that day.” That’s how brilliant the sequences are. The whole thing is about getting you in and out with results. It’s based on 8 core movements. You’re rotating, going under, over, extension and flexion. It’s every movement that the human body was organically, naturally made to do.
Amanda: Tell me about the blog. How do I find the workouts?
Hailey: It’s at Elev8dFitness.com. Just go to the blog. It’s subscription based. We have a two-week free trial for anyone who wants to try it.
Brian: Try it. It’s worth it.
Hailey: The blog is a space for us. We feel like we have a lot to say. We want to bring alignment into the fitness space. We have a lot of really great articles that discuss that. What does alignment do to your body and why is it so important to fitness, functionality and range of motion?
Another big thing that we touch on in the blog is this idea of play and having fun in your workouts. I mentioned this earlier. What was it like when you were a kid on the jungle gym and crawling around on the floor? We want our users to focus in on that playful aspect in their workouts.
Amanda: Can they find the workouts through the membership online?
Amanda: Is it a video series?
Brian: It’s great instruction. It’s literally going to turn fitness upside down. Either they get on board with this line of thinking, or they’re out of business. You’re a customer. You say, “I hate going to the gym, but I know I need it. It’s supposed to be good for me. I’m out of time.” There are all of these stressors. Every cell in your body is reacting to that stress.
Amanda: One of my big things is having a monotonous routine. I don’t go to yoga or spin classes because it’s the same thing. I learn it and then I’m bored. I want to go on to the next thing. Once you learn how to memorize something, it becomes boring.
Brian: That’s why people use trainers. It’s so that they can get some variety. A great trainer is hard to find. If you have a great one, stay with him or her. They’re amazing. It’s expensive, but they’re worth it. This is your 8-minute trainer three or four days a week. It’s on your own, in your house. Use your own floor. There’s no judgement in your own house.
Hailey: It is always changing. You get the variety. Instead of turning into a wrote experience, it’s always something new. It feels good. You’re always experiencing new movements in your body. It’s a great way to burn a lot of calories.
Amanda: How do you know exactly what I need for my body? What does it cost?
Hailey: It’s $10 a month, which is a lot more bang for your buck than a $30 studio class. When you sign up, you put in information like your age, height and fitness goals. We’ve created an algorithm so that your fitness plan is designed specifically for you. It learns from your previous workout. It leads you towards your fitness goal.
Amanda: That’s cool, and $10 a month.
Brian: It’s personalized for you.
Amanda: You really can’t beat that. That’s amazing. I want to turn this space into a little studio so that we can see what you do. I can’t wait to see some of these workouts.
Brian: We’re going to take you through three exercises that are three of my favorites for posture, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. It relates to what we talked about before. In these 8 minutes, we have to instantly impact someone so that they’re moving better. We’re going to start with your feet pointed straight ahead, fist-width apart between your big toes. “Straight” means straight. It’s going to feel slightly pigeon-toed to you.
Just that movement alone, which is critical, is going to trap your hips and make them do more work. By the way, everything is hip driven. If your feet turn out, the hip is off. Keep your feet straight. Put your hands in this position. Here is a fist. Open it up, nice and stiff. It’s what we call a golfer’s grip position. Drop your arms to your side. Stay out of these muscles.
You’re going to very lightly pull your shoulder blades together. Hold it there. Drop it down. It’s a down and back movement. Hold it there. Bring your arm straight out to the side and circle forward 40 times. Every time you move those arms, the abdominal wall and hip muscles are coming back into play to make this a hip-driven stabilizing exercise.
We can affect your postural position by changing your shoulder position. Now go palms up, thumbs back. Circle up and back now 40 times. Shoulder blades are squeezed. Feet are planted straight ahead. That’s what traps the hips so that they come into play to make this a whole-body exercise. How does that feel?
Amanda: It feels pretty good.
Brian: You’re smiling. That’s all that counts. I want to get you down on your hands and knees, facing me. We’re going to do what we call cat dog. I know in yoga they call it cat cow. We’re going to try to turn this into a hip-driven movement. Most people will push. They make it hard. I want it to be a hip movement that brings your shoulder blades together.
I want you to take your pelvis into this position. Pull it under. Try to pull your nose to your zipper line. Come up into that rounded back position. You’re pushing up to me. The release of this is to let it drop. Bring your shoulder blades together. Look up. That’s the dog position. To come out of that, let your pelvis go the other way. Then push back to the ceiling. Drop your head. Let this round over like the cat.
Then go the other way like the pointer dog. Let it happen down here at the pelvis and hips first. Shoulder blades together. Really sink those together, which is the opposite of your sitting-all-day position. Go the other way. It’s a fluid movement. How does this feel?
Brian: Do you see how you have the tendency to try and keep this up? That’s because all of your movement right now is shoulder-driven, which is why you don’t like to go to the gym. You’re tired of working out inefficiently. I don’t blame you. Your hips drive the movement. You want to move from the pelvis first. That’s a hip-driven sequence. Shoulder blades collapsed. Let’s have you stand up. Just stand there. Just from doing those two, what does it feel like has changed in your overall body?
Amanda: My shoulders feel more aligned. They feel more naturally straight.
Brian: Up here is not so tight. The stress of the day, kids, driving and San Diego traffic is gone. Now we’re going to give you an exercise that we titled Finish Line Abs. It is the greatest abdominal exercise ever. Think about this. You’re going to train your abs. No one likes ab training. We’re going to make it fun.
Put your left foot forward as if you were going to sprint and your back foot up off the heel a little bit. Lift your back heel just a hair, like you are going to use that leg to push off. Put your hands at 90 degrees at the elbow. Start moving very slowly like this. Then go as fast as you can go for 30 seconds.
What I’m seeing is that your whole body is trying to stabilize this. That’s why it’s so effective. You have to put the other leg behind you. We have to do that side, too. We’re going to do it again on the other side. Go as fast as you can go for 30 seconds. Just stand there for a second. You’ve done three exercises. What does that feel like?
Amanda: It feels good.
Brian: If that were the only thing you could do today because of time, your metabolic rate is up. For the next 23 and a half hours that are left in the day, your body is saying, “What did I do this morning?” Normally, it says, “I’m going to beat myself up. I’m going to stress my internal systems. I don’t want to be here.” That trickles into the rest of your day. By 7:00, you say, “I’m done.”
We’re going to take Colby through three exercises for a sculpted butt routine. These are three of our favorite out of this routine. The first one is called squat Davincis. In this position, he’s active in his hands. The spinal curve is erect. The videos will take people through all of this. They will have videos that talk about the exact form.
You will see that there’s no rush at this. It is a deliberate lean in one direction, and then another deliberate lean in another direction. All the while, he’s holding the stability at his hip and pelvis. If you’re trying this at home, it’s not about how far you go. Go to where you’re comfortable. Allow that pelvis to sit.
From the side view, he’s kicking the butt back and sitting like this. We don’t want you bending over like this to do it. Kick your butt back and then create the movement upstairs. You’ll notice that his feet are dead straight ahead while he does this, trapping the hips to keep this hip driven.
Let’s go to the next exercise. With squat lateral toe touches, you can see that it’s basically the same level and stability with his hip and back. He’s mobilizing the hip and pelvis laterally. When is the last time anyone moved laterally? We’re all up, down, straight ahead and back up.
Nothing is ever to the side, unless you’re making a turn in your car. That does not help your fitness. Ideally, mobilize the hip to create that hip-driven movement. Increase calorie burn. Increase your metabolic rate for the rest of the 23-some hours that are left in the day.
That will lead us to this next exercise, which is a little bit more aggressive. We’re going from low intensity slightly up to medium intensity. Everyone is familiar with a typical burpee. We call these lateral burpees. You’re jumping. You’re coming down. You go at your own pace. I don’t care if you have to walk your feet out while you’re doing this. You can see that he’s not doing any explosive work. He’s going where he’s comfortable. This is where to start to ramp it up a bit. You do as many reps as you want. If I say to do 15 for 30 seconds, and you can only do 5 or 10, you have to listen to what your body is telling you.