Monday, April 3, 2023

Q&A with Tyler Martin



Tyler Martin is the author of the new book The Friction Factor: The Busy Person's Guide to Sustainable Diet and Exercise. He is a fitness writer, former competitive athlete, coach, and personal trainer. 


Q: What inspired you to write The Friction Factor?


A: When I graduated college and began my career at a large company while also managing a side business, I experienced firsthand what it means to be truly busy.


As a former high school and collegiate-level athlete, I thought I had all the fitness knowledge and experience required to keep myself in great shape for life—but I was wrong. For the first time I struggled to consistently make time for exercise and healthy eating.


This taught me that the conventional approach to fitness I learned as an athlete wasn’t compatible with a busy person’s lifestyle, which drove me to create a better method.


I wrote the book because millions of people (like me) want to be healthy and fit but are setting themselves up for long-term failure by adopting diet and exercise systems that aren’t designed with the challenges of busy lifestyles in mind. My solution is unique because it takes the problem of being busy seriously and provides a road map for people with limited time.


Q: How would you define friction, and how do you see it affecting people's willingness to exercise?


A: Contrary to popular belief, the secret to long-term exercise (and diet) success is not drumming up extraordinary motivation, seeking constant novelty, or maintaining extreme discipline. The secret to fitness success is building effective habits.


Habits make routine behaviors much easier to perform by putting them on psychological autopilot; for example, brushing your teeth and driving to work are routines that require very little mental bandwidth because they are habitual. To turn a behavior into a habit, the behavior must be done frequently and consistently over time.


The mortal enemy of habit building is friction, which is the inefficient use of time and energy in a diet or exercise routine.


For example, commuting to a gym and waiting in line to use a piece of exercise equipment create friction. If your fitness program is full of friction, it will be harder to stick to, which makes habit formation more difficult. People living busy lifestyles are especially sensitive to friction because their time and energy are particularly limited.

Q: Who do you see as the perfect audience for this book, and what do you hope readers take away from it?


A: The perfect audience is anyone living a busy lifestyle. Whether you’re a corporate executive, a working parent, a small business owner, or any other person with a never-ending to-do list, this book can help you build sustainable fitness habits.


My key message for anyone interested in improving physical fitness is that regardless of your current fitness level or living situation, my approach can teach you to build and sustain habits that last a lifetime.


Q: What is your own daily fitness routine?


A: The routine presented in The Friction Factor is literally my fitness routine. I wake up, check my body composition metrics, complete a quick 20-minute workout—at home—that includes cardio and strength training, and get on with my busy day. For my diet, I have a set of core meals that I can stick to during the busy workweek to eliminate the friction of meal planning and calorie counting.


I’ve been following the same routine for eight years, and at 36 years old, my body weight is the same today as it was 14 years ago when I was a college athlete—and I’m stronger and more muscular now.


Honestly, I spend very little time focused on my personal fitness. All the behaviors I need to stay on track are deeply ingrained habits that allow me to keep making progress without much time or energy, which allows me to focus on other passions and priorities (such as writing my book while still working a full-time marketing job).


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now, I am focused on producing new podcasts and writing articles that help spread the word about what fitness friction is and how people can learn to build better habits by eliminating it. I’m also exploring the possibility of launching a smartphone application that can help people eliminate more friction from their workouts.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I think the most unique and valuable feature of my book is that it’s based on fundamental principles of fitness, psychology, and habit building that aren’t going to change. It provides a framework that readers can implement and build on, even as exercise and dietary sciences make new discoveries in the future.


What I’m presenting is not a fad workout or diet plan that’ll be out of fashion in six months; it’s a single approach to fitness that teaches people to make permanent lifestyle changes.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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