An Exclusive Interview with Thailand Based Vegan Celebrity Fitness Coach Steve Pilot

Brand Voice
·12 min read

As the adage goes, a healthy body, a healthy mind. Science has it that a healthy body leads to a healthier mind and a happier life.

Vegan Celebrity fitness coach Steve Pilot is a well-traveled and learned professional who has exercised his profession for close to thirty years. He integrates vegan nutrition into his fitness coaching, which has helped people from different walks of life achieve their fitness and nutritional goals.

We caught up with the German who took his practice to Thailand. We sought to find out why he is passionate about helping people reach their fitness goals on a purely plant-based diet.

Q: Hello Steve, nice to meet you. Let me start by asking you when and why you got into the whole vegan fitness lifestyle?

A: Nice to meet you too. I became vegan ten years ago. I felt better than I had ever felt, more active, full of energy, and much stronger. My lifestyle completely changed for the better, and my passion for fitness only got stronger.

I love working with people and sharing my knowledge. I realized I had to help people feel amazing about themselves and their lives as I did about mine. The best part was not that I wasn’t only helping myself feel better, but I became a better person for those around me while choosing a life of compassion, for the planet, for the animals as well as for mankind.

Q: Are you CPR-certified? What other certifications do you hold?

A: Yes, I am CPR / AED certified. I also hold NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certification and my nutrition certification – PN {Precision Nutrition)

Q: How do you keep your vegan and fitness training knowledge base up to date and relevant?

A: It is the responsibility of every health and fitness professional to constantly update their knowledge through research and learning.

We educate ourselves about fitness trends that take over the industry, investigate and dispel new falsehoods as they develop. With this information, we help “digest” the science for our clients.

Q: What are your personal fitness goals?

A: Some of my more general goals include increasing mobility and I am forever trying to become the best version of myself. This means I am always learning, training, asking questions, and trying new things. Some of the more specific things I am working towards include being able to hand balance on one arm.

Q: Have you taught group classes? How do you accommodate varying skill and fitness levels?

A: Yes, I teach and offer group classes as well as personal training. Most of my group classes focus on strength & conditioning. See, everyone has a different fitness level. Some people even have injuries we have to consider.

Depending on the group classes and the levels of fitness, we can modify movements to suit the person. I cannot get into specifics here because each case is different. Sometimes, all it takes is a modification to the exercise. I give some individuals different movements to do if necessary.

Q: What diet and nutrition education have you received?

A: I have completed and received a certification from PN {Precision Nutrition) as well as 10 Years of Self Education on Veganism.

Q: What is your schedule for classes, and can you walk me through a class from start to finish?

A: I coach daily, and most of my classes include a proper warm-up and a Q/A with my client where I answer any questions they may have about fitness and nutrition. We then proceed to a customized training program and guided workouts that end with a cool down.

During this time, I try to incorporate a lot of knowledge the client can take forth and add to their life, long after we stop training together. I equip my clients with the fitness knowledge that they can use for the rest of their life.

Q: How important is nutrition to you in creating a client’s regimen?

A: Nutrition is everything. It is the first thing I consider followed by sleep for recovery, and then training. All the training in the world can’t get you healthy or sustainable results without good nutrition.

Understanding the way your client eats helps you make changes to their diet and create a suitable workout program – especially when training clients with health problems.

Q: What evaluations do you conduct with a new client who’s eager to begin a fitness regimen?

A: We start by evaluating their current food intake, their weight, their muscles and I test their fitness level. Then we get on to the most important bit – setting realistic/achievable fitness goals.

Q: Do you recommend dietary supplements to enhance your clients’ performance? Which ones?

A: Real food comes first. Supplements like minerals, vitamin, and vegan protein are set according to individuals and what they need. Some people can be perfectly healthy and achieve their goals without supplements.

The traditional reason for using a dietary supplement is to provide the body with nutrients that aren’t supplied by your diet. They can be very beneficial for you if your food intake isn’t providing you with the nutrients you need or if your body requires a little extra. For vegans, vitamin D, B12, and the omegas are a bit rare in foods, though still not impossible to incorporate into your diet. These are probably the most used supplements for vegans.

Q: Can you describe your time management approach for assisting individual clients versus group workout classes?

A: During personal training sessions, clients have my undivided attention. I help you overcome your threshold and push, motivate you to push your boundaries according to your own pace, with special attention as per your needs. I educate you with the knowledge I have.

With group classes, you get a lot less individual attention, but you do draw motivation from the group – when everyone is working hard, it creates a productive atmosphere. But if you can do more than the others, or are falling behind, you don’t get special attention – it becomes your responsibility to make up for it or put in more effort.

Q: Let’s say a client is discouraged during a training session. How do you keep that person motivated?

A: First I listen to my client’s problem, analyze, optimize, and break things down for them. Sometimes I will pull them off the program and show them something they can accomplish or make them accomplish something they didn’t think they could – and then lead them back into their custom program.

What most people don’t realize is that training takes time. Just because you’re not making progress as fast as you’d like, doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. A lot of times, you just need to lead your client through the workout and talk to them. They will automatically feel better after the workout.

Q: If a client complains about a previous injury, how do you handle that when constructing a fitness regimen? What do you do to prevent further injury or to discourage the client from engaging in activities—during the client session or working out without you—that would exacerbate a pre-existing condition?

A: First, he needs to provide a clearance from his doctor. This depends on the individual case. All details need to be discussed, and if necessary, I have to forward to colleague experts if it is out of my scope of professionalism.

Q: Can you tell me three essential exercises you suggest for all clients, and why?

A: Every client is different and has different needs and fitness goals. Each session starts with movements and mobility screening (Functional Movement Screen), and then we determine what strengths and weaknesses to work on. The usual phases are Phase 1 Stabilization, Phase 2 Strength, and Phase 3 Power.

Q: What techniques do you use to increase your clientele? What are your goals for increasing the number of clients you serve?

A: For personal training, quality over quantity – social media and spoken recommendations are still the best. My online clients come from all over the world. My goals aren’t to increase my clients but to make sure each one of my clients reaches their goals.

Q: What experience do you have with customer service? Can you describe how you handle customer service situations involving difficult fitness center members or prospective members?

A: My Client has my highest priority. The goal is to provide the best and or highest standard of training, safety first, prevent injuries, goal setting, and accomplish set goals.

Q: What are your thoughts about organic food and a vegan diet? When you encounter a client or prospective fitness club member who is committed to a diet that differs from your own, how do you remain objective?

A: Surprisingly, all my PT clients are interested in or already are vegetarian or vegan. My food recommendations will always be plant-based, that’s why people come to me.

Q: How would you handle a client who is unhappy with your work, or a client who doesn’t achieve goals, when you know the problem is with the client’s level of motivation?

A: Do not quit or make excuses if you haven’t achieved your goal today, rest, and get back at it tomorrow. I like to promote longevity so remember that it isn’t a race. Fitness is a lifestyle, and a new lifestyle requires patience. As long as you’re in, it’s all good to take a day to reflect so you can come back stronger.

Q: Walk me through an overview of a training program you would set up for a client looking strictly for weight loss and toning. What do you tell clients who are looking for instant results?

A: Personal trainers are in an excellent position to “demystify” the world of nutrition and exercise for weight loss. By using academic resources and authoritative recommendations from credentialed sources, personal trainers can educate their clients and empower them to make healthful behavior changes.

Everything takes time, COMBO of HIIT sessions, Nutrition coaching, Skillset on compound lifting like squats, deadlift, bench press. Do not neglect the importance of carbohydrates and fat. It takes more than protein to increase lean body mass.

Q: Do Carbohydrates Make Me Fat?

A: The answer is no. Carbohydrates are necessary nutrients. They provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, spare muscle proteins, and provide essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Excess intake of any nutrient, carbohydrate, fat, protein, or alcohol over daily calorie needs will cause weight gain.

Selecting moderate carbohydrates- to low-glycemic foods and high in fiber can help with satiety, blood sugar regulation, and energy balance indirectly. Overconsumption of sugar, refined processed carbohydrates, and high-glycemic foods could lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy, and increased appetite.

There- fore, to avoid hunger, it is advisable to choose unprocessed, whole-food carbohydrate sources, vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole fruit, and grains to provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals for healthy weight loss. Also, carbohydrate is imperative to glycogen repletion before, during, and after exercise for strength, power, aerobic and anaerobic performance, and conditioning.

Q: How would you structure a training program for a senior citizen with a pre-existing condition like diabetes.

A: Consider Obesity and Exercise Training

Regular physical activity and exercise are some of the most notable factors related to long-term successful weight loss. Note that obese and morbidly obese clients have unique problems associated with exercise. For example, research has also shown a correlation between body weight and the mechanics of their gait.

In a study involving more than 200 75-year-old women, the relationship between balance, muscular strength, and gait was such that heavier individuals exhibited worse balance, slower gait velocity, and shorter steps, regardless of their level of muscular strength.

Exercise training for obese clients should focus primarily on energy expenditure, balance, and proprioceptive training to help them expend calories and improve their balance and gait mechanics.

By performing exercises in a proprioceptive enriched environment (controlled, unstable), the body is forced to recruit more muscles to stabilize itself. In doing so, more calories are potentially expended.

For effective weight loss, obese clients should expend 200 to 300 kcal (calories) per exercise session, with a minimum weekly goal of 1,250 kcal of energy expenditure from combined physical activity and exercise. The initial exercise energy expenditure goal should be progressively increased to 2,000 kcal per week.

Resistance training can gradually be added to any exercise program designed to promote weight loss, but sustained long-term aerobic endurance activities will always remain a priority. Research suggests circuit-style resistance training, when compared with walking at a fast pace, produces nearly identical caloric expenditure rates in the same given period.

Resistance training is a key component of any weight-loss program. It helps increase lean body mass, which eventually results in a higher metabolic rate and improved body composition.

The same exercise training guidelines for apparently healthy adults can apply when designing aerobic and resistance training programs for obese clients. Health and movement assessments should always be done to establish initial program design goals and parameters. Assessing obese clients can be challenging, but there are some excellent resources available on the fitness testing of obese individuals.

Assessment

Push, pull, squat, single-leg balance (if tolerated)

Can I Eat Whatever I Want as Long as I Exercise?

You must plan your total energy expenditure for 24 hours. Approximately 3,500 calories equal a pound of body fat, so to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, a client must maintain an average calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. However, a person may burn 250 calories from exercise and spend the rest of the day participating in sedentary activities.

Calories that are not used for energy production are stored as fat. Therefore, a person can eat 100 calories a day more than what their body needs to maintain, and in 35 days theoretically, they will gain a pound of fat. Even a mere 10 extra calories a day over daily maintenance needs could add up to a 1 pound of weight gain over 350 days!

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