Total Health in Midlife Episode #163: Men’s Midlife Health w/ Craig Spear

Men's Midlife Health w/ Craig Spear

What happens when the invincibility of youth starts to fade, and the reality of aging and health decline sets in? Can men truly embrace self-care and emotional vulnerability as they cross over the age of 40? 

Join us as we navigate these thought-provoking questions with the unique insights of our esteemed guest, Craig Spear, a renowned men’s health and weight loss coach. 

Craig Spear, once a professional athlete and now a passionate advocate for men’s health, shares his journey and his mission to help men, particularly those over 40. He dives into his experiences of creating inclusive gym environments and explores the emotional pain and fears many men face that lead them to seek help. 

With Craig’s expert guidance, we uncover the obstacles around self-care and emotional engagement, offering pragmatic advice on overcoming these hurdles. This deep-dive conversation unravels the complexities around defining optimal health and how it varies for each individual.

My final segment with Craig explores the essential health tips specifically designed for men over 40. He shares valuable insights from his podcast, ‘Man in the Arena,’ among other resources he offers. We address the challenge of managing emotions without resorting to harmful coping mechanisms such as overeating, overdrinking, or overworking. 

This episode proves to be a goldmine for those seeking to understand the unique health challenges men confront, especially as they age. You don’t want to miss this enlightening episode, packed with insights and practical tips for achieving optimal health.

About Craig Spear

Meet Craig Spear, a former CFL player turned Ironman athlete, Entrepreneur, and Weight Loss Coach. As he reached his 40s, Craig noticed a decline in his health and decided to take charge. 

Recognizing the power of a solid plan and support, he created ‘The Spear Method,’ a tailored approach designed to assist men over 40 in losing weight and shifting their mindset towards healthier living. 

Craig’s journey from sports to wellness entrepreneurship serves as an inspiring narrative, and he now invites others to connect with him to embark on their own transformative health and weight loss journeys. 

If you’re ready to prioritize your well-being, Craig Spear is here to help you create your next success.

Chapter Summaries

Men’s Health and Weight Loss Coaching (0:00:04)

Craig Spear is a men’s health and weight loss coach for men over 40, with a degree in Kinesiology and Psychology and CFL experience, creating an inclusive gym environment and now offering virtual coaching.

Health Coaching for Men Over 40 (0:06:58)

Craig Spear helps men facing physical and emotional pain to achieve optimal health.

Navigating Emotions and Vulnerability in Men (0:17:37)

Men discuss internal resistance, shame, vulnerability, and emotion management to promote self-care.

Health Tips for Men Over 40 (0:30:36)

Men’s health coach Craig Spear shares how to overcome fears and reach optimal health, discussed on his podcast Man in the Arena.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Uncover shared backgrounds and challenges as health coaches Craig and I discuss our journeys, revealing striking parallels in education, lifelong wellness passions, and client demographics.
  • Dive into the importance of focusing on your fitness journey, steering clear of comparisons, and embracing individual progress for a truly fulfilling experience.
  • Examine how emotional pain and fear serve as both obstacles and motivators in health improvement, particularly with concerns about failure and health risks.
  • Gain insights into navigating resistance and shame in relationships, drawing from personal experiences and addressing challenges in self-discovery, coaching, and communication within partnerships.
  • Learn the distinction between having emotions and being emotional, understanding how this allows men to express and share feelings without societal judgment or negativity.
  • Prioritize optimal health in retirement, understand the shift in values, and discover practical insights for aging well with partners, traveling, and enjoying activities in the next phase of life.
  • Explore options for men 40+ with Craig Spear, from personalized one-to-one coaching to group programs and community memberships, creating a supportive environment for their health and wellness journey.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

As you get into your 40s or your 50s, you have all this experience and wisdom and knowledge that you’re bringing forward with you. I think of like, I’m a sports nut, so quarterbacks, right?

When quarterback first starts playing in the NFL, for example, he has all the raw talent. He’s fast, he’s strong. But he doesn’t understand the game intellectually. And then, there’s this point where their body starts to slow down, as athletes experience normally do, and they get on in their career. But they have all that wealth of experience and knowledge, and the game slows down intellectually for them. And that’s where they really peak and perform at a high level.

And so, it’s like, what if we combine that, use that analogy, going forward from our 40s. We have all this life experience to pull from, and we apply that going forward. So, this is like the perfect time to change the trajectory of your health if it’s not in a place where you want it to be.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. Today’s episode is for everyone, but particularly if you are a man over 40 grappling with health issues, or someone who deeply cares about the men in their lives. Our conversation today could very well change how you view men’s health.

My guest is none other than Craig Spear. He’s a former professional football player, turned Ironman, entrepreneur, and now a dedicated men’s health and weight loss coach. Over his impressive 18 year career, Craig has helped thousands of people unlock their personal greatness through the Spear Method. His mission is to empower men, especially those over 40, to take charge of their health and shift their life’s trajectory for the better. Very similar to what I do.

In today’s episode, we’re going to explore the unique challenges and fears men face as they age. We’ll also discuss how to manage emotions without resorting to harmful coping mechanisms, like overeating, overdrinking, or overworking.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Craig will share practical tips on how men can achieve optimal health, even as they age. If you’ve been seeking advice, resources, or support in your health journey, or you simply want to understand unique health challenges of aging men, then this episode is a must listen.

Stay tuned as we dive into this enlightening and life changing conversation with Craig Spear.  

Elizabeth: All right, everyone, welcome Craig Spear to our podcast. Craig, I am so excited, we’ve been having such a hard time connecting, and we are finally here. And this has been months in the making, trying to get us scheduled. So, I’m really excited about our interview today and what we’re going to talk about.

So, Let’s start off with who you are, what you do, who you help, all of those great things.

Craig: Absolutely. Well, first and foremost, thank you so much for having me. It has been months in the making, but that just makes this even greater and even better discussion that we’re going to have. So, thank you for having me, Elizabeth. This is great.

Who I am. I’m Craig Spear, and I am a men’s health and weight loss coach. I primarily, work with men over 40, although I do have some men who I work with who are younger. But primarily, my target audience, guys over 40 who are dads, they’re husbands, they excel really well in their careers. They are executives, they’re entrepreneurs, they run businesses, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers. And so, they perform at a really high level.

They’re guys who at the same time because they perform at a high level, they often neglect their health as a result. Right? That’s one of the things that comes at the expense of either being a great father, a great husband, or selling really highly in their career.

So, that’s primarily who I work with, and it’s a ton of fun. Who I am personally, I’ve been a lifelong coach. I used to run a lot of fitness businesses. I had my own gym chain for a while. I played professional football up here in Canada, where I’m from. And then, I got into coaching. I got into helping people live healthier lives. And I’ve been doing that for the last 20 years. So, here I am.

Elizabeth: Fantastic. Well, and I think that it’s really important to share with everyone that when Craig and I met that we’re like, Oh my God, we are the same person just doing the same thing for different groups of people. So, you work with men, I work with women. And our niche is like who we help is almost exactly the same.

Craig: Yeah, we’re counterparts. And I think ultimately, we come from the same, maybe educational background, the same lifelong passions with health and wellness and nutrition, of course. And so, we’re just connected to that. And I’m sure, I don’t know how you got started, like working with women, I could take a guess.

But I just saw myself different patterns and different things that I was struggling with as I was getting older into my 40s. And I said, if I’m struggling with this, there’s got to be a group of guys who are facing the same challenges. And so, that’s where I started to work with the guys that I work with, ultimately.

Elizabeth: Yeah. So, let’s talk a little bit about how you got started. So, you played professional football. And from there, you just started doing coaching. And when we say coaching in that context, are we talking about coaching teams? Are we talking about coaching individuals? Tell us more about your path.

Craig: Yeah. So, I graduated with a degree in kinesiology and psychology, and I was drafted into the CFL to play football. That career didn’t last very long, but it was still a great experience. Gave me a taste of what it was like to be a professional athlete.

And then, when my career was done there, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I knew I wanted to be in business for self and I had different ideas and different passions that I wanted to pursue with how I was going to help people. Specifically, around their health and their wellness.

When I say coaching, I mean, training, the traditional personal trainer, group trainer. And so, my first fitness business really dove into that. And my whole philosophy was having been in gyms my whole life is I innately understood just how intimidating they could be for someone who wasn’t an athlete or someone who wasn’t that passionate about fitness.

And so, I wanted to change that. I wanted to create an experience where people could go to the gym, and they didn’t have to get all dolled up. They could wear gym clothes. They didn’t have to worry about what other people were going to think about them. So, that was my first jump into coaching and training.

From there, I kind of grew into more of a boutique gym experience. So, still your traditional gym experience where you go in and you have a membership, but smaller experience, less intimidating. And I wasn’t targeting the traditional fitness person. So, I didn’t have a lot of meatheads in the gym. Didn’t have a lot of athletes, general pop, people who just want to go in, do their work out, go home, and feel good about themselves.

And so, my philosophy has always kind of trended along that space. And I ended up closing my gyms. They’re not closing, selling my gyms, actually. They’re still open. But I sold that business and moved into this coaching space, this virtual online coaching space.

It just fit my lifestyle a little bit better. I have a family now of young daughter and this lifestyle, this business just really aligned with that. And then, also being able to connect with guys all over North America rather than just in where I live, right? So, there’s a lot of positives, a lot of benefits to that. So, that’s kind of how my coaching career has evolved. And how I am, where I am now. But always in the fitness and health and wellness space.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I love that because so many people, I remember hearing this years ago. Like, I have to get in shape in order to get to the gym. Right. And I always reminded my clients that everyone who is in there, well, first of all, they’re not looking at you. They’re like worried about themselves.

But everyone in there unless they were like a lifelong athlete or something like that. They started somewhere. And so, you don’t know what their path was before they got to be where they are today. And if they’re being a jerk in the gym, chances are they’re just a jerk.

Craig: Well, it’s that whole compare and despair mentality, right?

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Craig: We see where people are at. Whether it’s at the end of their journey, like they’re further along in their journey, and we compare that to where we are at. And it’s just apples and oranges. It doesn’t compare. We don’t know where they started. We don’t know what their struggles have been or what their journey has been. You know, we got to focus on ourselves, and where we’re at, and where we want to go.

And when you approach, whether it’s going to the gym or your own fitness routine, whatever that is. You’re going to be so much more successful because that’s what’s driving you, ultimately.

Elizabeth: Yeah. So good. Okay. So, let’s move into like current day. So, you work with men who are generally, over 40. How did they come to you? Is there a tipping point or what are the things that you see as a commonality maybe, or maybe there are a couple that is a breaking point for where these men are finally like, okay, I need help.

Craig: Yeah, such a great question. And 99% of the time, my guys are coming to me from a place of pain. Now, it could be emotional pain, it could be actual physical pain. But usually, they just don’t feel great. They don’t like how their body looks. They lack energy. They actually have physical aches and pains. Sometimes they come to me because they just got back from their doctor, their yearly physical. And the doctor said, you need to change this, this, and this, and this, this list of things that are, you know.

Ultimately, the trajectory that they’re on is not a great trajectory, and they start to see that. And I think as we get into our 40s, it really becomes apparent, even more apparent because I don’t know if it’s age thing, or just we know our bodies just start to degrade a little bit, even at the healthiest person, right?

Our metabolism slow down, our hormones change, all these things happen, men and women alike. And so, they often come to me from a place of pain, they want to change, and they’re kind of sick and tired of the status quo, where they’re at. Right? There’s a lot of guys out there who are at that place but they’re full of despair, like they just feel hopeless. They don’t see that that’s possible to change.

And so, they just continue living that lifestyle. The guys that come to me, they have some hope. They understand that, Hey, there’s still a possibility here for me to change the trajectory that I’m on and make changes that are going to benefit me in the long run.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah. You know, something happened in our life recently. So, I’m 55. I’m almost 55. And my husband is shortly thereafter a few months. And just recently, there were a number of, I don’t want to say health scares, we have not been affected. But our friends and family have been affected.

Where I think that when we get to this age, we like to think that, like from when we were younger, that we are impermeable, right? That we are resistant to any disease, and we’re going to live forever, that aging is for old people. And we know that we’re going to get there, but we don’t really, like the writing isn’t on the wall.

And so, once we start having friends with cancer diagnosis and heart disease and getting medications, that kind of creates this awareness around, you’re not young anymore.

Craig: You’re not infallible. And these things, these small little things can turn into big things really quickly, if you’re not careful.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And I think that that probably speaks a lot to that fear that you’re talking about that emotional pain of, gosh, if I keep doing what I’m doing, then this is going to be my fate as well.

Craig: Absolutely. And it’s funny, you mentioned the word fear, like there is a lot of fear there. But it’s a two sided coin. A lot of times, the fear is what holds them back from doing anything to improve their health. Like they fear that, well, if I do something, I might have a heart related episode or something like that. I start working out. I’m sure you see this a lot in your coaching, this fear of failure.

If I start something and I’m not able to continue it, what does that say about me? So, by not even trying that I don’t have to experience that failure, right? But we know they’re failing ahead of time. So, yeah, there’s the emotional pain that they’re in, the physical pain. There’s the fear that is driving them.

So, when I first meet with my clients, I want to get them moving towards this place of what’s possible. Right? Because I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, Elizabeth, in your coaching, but the fear is a short term motivator. That’s what I call it. It’s a short term motivator because here’s what often happens.

We’re in a place of fear or pain, and then we start to see results. People start to notice the results. Oh, you look great. You know, you’ve lost weight. And we get far enough away from that fear and that pain, then we feel like we’re good, right? And we sort of fall back into old habits. Fall back into old habits, right?

And we don’t sustain the things that we’ve been doing to get to that place and that’s why people, not the only reason why, but why a lot of people go on this cycle of dieting, and restricting, and exercising, and then back to this place of putting on weight and overeating and whatnot.

So, I often try to say that that’s great. Hey, you’ve seen results. You’re not feeling low energy anymore. You’re feeling more confident. Your body’s changing. Great. But hey, there’s still way more possible. Let’s continue to pursue, I call it optimal health, ultimately. What is your optimal health? And that’s where we try to get them.

Elizabeth: I love that you brought up optimal health because I talk about that a lot myself. What do you define as optimal health?

Craig: Ah, great question. Well, I think it’s personally, right? I know there’s a lot of like standards out there and ideals and whatnot. But that can be sort of defeating. Again, because we’re comparing to where we think we should be. So, I think it’s personal. How are you able to function in your life?

If your job requires a certain level of energy or a certain level of physicality, are you able to do that? If you have kids in your life that you have to sort of engage with and play with, can you do that with vibrancy and with energy?

Overall, I think it’s just a general feeling of feeling healthy and vibrant and feeling good. Ultimately, that’s optimal health from my perspective.

Elizabeth: Well, and I think that optimal health can be achieved at any age, at any physical state. So, you can still have optimal health, even if you have a cancer diagnosis.

It might look different than when you were 20 years old and healthy, but you can still achieve optimal health at any point in your life. And so, it’s just reframing, what does that look like for you and your body in this stage that you’re in.

Craig: Totally. I love that. It really is, where are you at in the stage of your life? Right? Yeah. You know, optimal health for a 20 year old is going to be different than an optimal health for an eight year old, ultimately.

Elizabeth: All right. There are probably women who are listening right now who are being ‘judgy.’ Let’s be honest. We’re being ‘judgy’ about our partner and his or her habits, right? And we really want our partner to get on board with this health thing.

Because one, it would make it easier for us to keep our health thing going, but also because we love them, and we want them to be healthy. And we can see the pain that they’re going through.

What are some of the things that the women listening right now, might be able to do in order to nudge them along? Let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts. How about that?

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s such a great question because it’s a very sort of fine line to walk, I think, ultimately. You don’t want to nag your partner; you don’t want them to feel like you’re nagging them and need them to do something. Again, that’s another whole side of coaching, right, as well. Why do you need them to get in shape, all that sort of thing.

But you do care about your partner. You want to see them be a healthy individual. And so, I think something that’s really important to understand, and I see this a lot in the men that I coach. They can be very resistant to coaching, at times, right?

I think women just by virtue are a little bit more open to coaching and are more likely to kind of be interested and seek help from someone else. That’s a generalization, that’s a stereotype to understand.

But here’s why I think that is. I think that when someone says to a guy, hey, have you thought about getting coaching and working on this, for example, right? They might internalize that immediately as, why is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with me? And that can elicit shame.

They feel shame about maybe their physical health or where they’re at, whether they are active or not, what they are eating, how much they’re drinking. They start to really focus on that as if they’ve done something wrong, right? As if there’s something flawed in them.

And I think just by virtue guys, will think that way anyway. Right? And so, if they sort of admit to that, and this is where the walls go up, by the way, right? Usually, they just defend and blame back. Now, I don’t want to acknowledge this. I don’t want to accept this. That takes the pressure off of them. And so, then, they don’t have to sort of focus on what they can change, ultimately. Right?

Elizabeth: And take responsibility then for why they are where they are. Yeah. I get that.

Craig: Exactly. And I relate to that because I was in that similar position when I was in my late thirties and my wife was doing a lot of her own self-discovery and her own coaching. And she had a coach, and she was working with a coach and learning about herself and. And I was just kind of this, going about my business doing what I always do.

And she offered me to listen to a podcast that she had listened to. And my immediate response internally was just like, is there something wrong with me? Like, what do I need to fix about myself? And so, I wall off and resist.

And of course, I didn’t listen to it. I wouldn’t. And not that I didn’t want to learn, but I think subconsciously there was just these barriers that were in place. And I see that a lot of the guys that I coach, and I experienced that myself.

So, you got to ask yourself if that’s what you’re up against with your partner, how do you navigate that? That’s the question. How do you navigate this resistance or the shame that might come up on these walls that might get built? And I think it’s being coming from a nurturing place, not from a needy place, not from a they have to do this in order to X, Y, and Z, right?

It’s a genuine care. Hey, I just care about you. I want to live a long life with you. I want to see you be happy and your health, the healthiest self. As I mentioned to you before, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force them to drink. And so, maybe you just offer up different resources. That’s what my wife did with me, offered me just different podcasts without expectation. And that’s the key, right?

You can’t, Oh, did you listen to that podcast that I sent you? Right? You just offer this stuff up and if your guy is open to that, eventually, I think he will be and they’ll start to kind of see what’s possible. Right? I think just to add on to that, leading by example is always a great practice in my experience as well. Right?

Showing up how you want to show up. Doing what you want to do. And if you’re with the right guy, he’s going to see that and be like, oh, I got to step my game up too. I want to be part of what she’s doing.

Elizabeth: Yeah. It’s leading by example, and then sharing, how good you feel. Right? So, Oh, I feel so much better now that I’m exercising, like for example. Hopefully, without not giving too much away for my partner. But when we first started dating, he used to have really large, he used to call them adult temper tantrums. He called him that, not me.

When he started exercising, it was amazing how they completely reduced. Like just exercising allowed him to, yeah, manage his stress, I guess.

Craig: That was a good outlet for him to manage that energy, for sure. I totally relate to that. I mean, I’ve had adult temper tantrums myself. And I think a lot of guys lack that self-awareness, right? I remember when I first learned about emotions and feelings and all that sort of stuff.

Elizabeth: Oh, yes. Let’s talk about this.

Craig: Our line of coaching is really predicated along this stuff. And when I first heard that, I was dumbfounded. I was like, what do you mean you feel an emotion in your body? I had no idea. I mean, I knew intellectually, what a feeling was that it was an emotion and this sort of thing.

Practically, and how do you apply that day to day? I had no like practical application of how I do that and what that even means. No responsibility for my emotions is what I’m trying to say. Right?

It was always abdicated to other people, what they did, how they treated me. And then, I would respond and react in kind.

Elizabeth: Well, and to insert here, I think that it’s really important to talk about the cultural differences of how men and women are socialized to talk about their emotions. Like for men, it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be frustrated and all of those type of motions, but it’s not okay to be sad, to feel grief. And it’s okay to feel love.

But I think that that’s probably only in a romantic relationship. Like there are certain emotions that it’s okay for men to experience. And certain emotions, other emotions that it’s culturally risky.

Craig: Yeah. You’re right. It is culturally risky, and it takes a certain vulnerability. And of course, we’re sort of socialized as men that vulnerability means weakness and you can’t be weak. You have to show strength. You have to show sturdiness.

And I definitely think having done this work since I became more virtual online coaching in this space is I’ve seen a shift for sure. Not just in the guys that I coach and the space or the groups that I’m in, but outside of that as well on social media.

There is more of a movement towards understanding how our emotions impact us. But there’s still a long way to go. And it’s certainly, you’ll see older generations still kind of stuck in that mindset, right?

And so, I love this work because I get to say to guys like, Guys, this is what an emotion is. We weren’t taught what emotions were when we were younger. If anything, we were taught, how to get rid of them or how to buffer them in terms of our terminology, right? Like, how do we distract ourselves from feeling those emotions?

And this conversation that we’re having, opens up so much more possibility in terms of emotional adulthood and responsibility. When we get to that place, we don’t need to overeat, we don’t need to over drink, or overwork. Which are the three things that I often see in the guys that I coach. That’s how they manage their emotions. They drink, they eat, and they work.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And working is such a subtle one because we do it under the guise of, Oh, but I’m providing for my family. I have to do this, right? Whereas with overeating and over drinking. Yeah, exactly.

Craig: Yeah. It’s celebrated, right? It’s rewarded. Like you worked hard, you’re working extra hours. And it’s like, granted, there are benefits, but certainly, it’s not coming from a clean place. It’s coming from a negative place.

Elizabeth: Avoid it.

Craig: Avoid it. Yeah.

Elizabeth: So, tell me like with men, it’s good to lift weights, right? It’s good to exercise. But the type of work that you and I do is that softer emotional side. The reason that we do or don’t do anything is because of the emotion that we’re feeling. And so, how do you approach that with your clients? I’m curious.

Craig: Yeah. How do I navigate that? That’s such a great question. I try to get a read of the room. I try to navigate it; I do both one to one coaching and group programming.

So, in my one to one, it’s a little bit easier. I can navigate that. I get to understand where my guy’s at, like what’s his mindset. How does he think? Is he kind of got a tough exterior or soft inner core, so to speak.

In a group setting, it’s a little bit more tricky to navigate. But ultimately, I think I offer the information. I offer personal anecdote as to how it’s influenced me. And I think guys inherently will see the value in that say, okay, well, here’s a football player.

Here’s a guy who’s like a tough guy. And here’s a guy who’s worked out his whole life and kind of falls into that stereotypical male. And he’s talking about his emotions. Oh, well, this might be a safe place for me to kind of speak about that.

And I don’t have to put up this tough exterior and I guess what I’m trying to say is I just try to lead by example first and foremost. And allow a safe space that it’s okay for us guys to talk about emotions, right?

And here’s a key distinction, I think that will really land with your listeners. There’s a difference between having emotions and being emotional.

Elizabeth: Oh, interesting. Talk about that.

Craig: Well, a lot of guys confuse having emotions with being emotional. As in, like being exaggerated in how they display and emote their emotions. And I say that, no, that’s not what having an emotion is. We always have an emotion. Even in this moment, we’re experiencing some kind of emotion.

And so, that doesn’t mean like, we have to cry on each other’s shoulders. Doesn’t mean we have to express all this grief. Although, if that’s where you’re at, absolutely, that’s okay. But I think just framing it in that way, opens the door that guys can walk through and be okay. They can be vulnerable. They can share their emotions and it doesn’t mean anything negative about them.

Back to your point about being socialized to not feel certain emotions, they equate that with being negative or weak or whatever it is. And so, this kind of opens the door for them to kind of walk through with them to be able to experience an emotion as we want them to.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I think that one word that has been coming up in terms of resisting the work that you do probably is that men might feel emasculated through the process. Do you want to talk about masculinity?

Craig: Sure. Absolutely.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Craig: I can totally see how that would be assumed, right? Like, if I start talking about my emotions is that going to mean that I’m less of a man, ultimately. And we know the answer is of course not.

If anything, I think it makes you more of a man, especially in today’s world, like it makes you stronger. If you aren’t able to fully experience your emotions, then you’re burying that in some way, right? And that to me is causing you to be, by virtue, weaker.

You can’t express sadness, or grief, or guilt, or shame. Shame’s the biggest one, right?

Elizabeth: Yes.

Craig: Shame’s one of those ones where it thrives in the dark. And so, if you don’t talk about it, it just takes deeper root, and it will impact your life and only negative ways. There’s nothing positive that’s going to come from that. If that’s being a man, then why would anyone want to sign up for that? If it’s just going to make your life less fulfilling, less enjoyable, right?

So, if that’s what masculinity is, then why do we want any part of that? And I think that’s where there’s this whole culture toxic masculinity now, right? Because we are understanding just how toxic it is. It doesn’t help anybody. It doesn’t serve anybody.

And so, let’s just drop all that and be open to the full range of emotions. And we can still be masculine as we do that. Right? Still step into our masculine energy as we do that.

Elizabeth: Well, and hearing you talk about emotions and men, I immediately started thinking about leadership. And how the best leaders are actually, whether you’re a woman or a man are able to create emotion in their followers, right?

Think about the leader of a company, like they need to inspire and create trust and those are all emotions. And so, like, for a man to really be in touch with his emotional state, could also really impact his career. Have you experienced any of that with your clients?

Craig: Absolutely. And I think what you’re kind of expressing is like emotional intelligence. There’s a certain emotional awareness and intelligence that they either innately have. They had the right circumstances growing up, whether one of their parents was nurturing of that or a certain mentor, whatever it is.

Some people are more conscious of doing work around their emotional intelligence to improve it, right? Either way, the best leaders are emotionally intelligent. They understand the full spectrum of emotions. They understand how that drives human behavior, and they put that above any sort of just bottom line or any sort of metric that might determine quote unquote success.

So, I think absolutely, having a certain emotional awareness and intelligence to our point around masculinity or just leadership in general, it makes you a better leader. And so, why wouldn’t we step into that. And I think why a lot of guys don’t is again back to the original point. They have some kind of fear. They have some kind of subconscious fear that they might be exposed.

That was mine. Like, I was so afraid of being exposed in some way. Right? Imposter syndrome, or people pleasing, or whatever it is. And so, once I was able to do this work, if I didn’t do this work, I wouldn’t get to the place where I am now. I have so much more confidence, so much more resiliency, and tolerance. And I don’t have emotional adult temper tantrums anymore.

So, that to me is just so freeing. Right?

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Craig: I know I kind of rambled there, but.

Elizabeth: No, no, no. And I love the idea that you kind of started out with, which is it’s never too late. I think that a lot of women listening today are also in that mindset of, Oh, the ship has sailed. But there is so much that you can do to not only improve your physical health, but also improve your emotional and your mental health moving forward.

Craig: Yeah. I’ll take that a step further and say, this is actually the perfect time to do it. Right? As you get into your 40s or your 50s, you have all this experience and wisdom and knowledge that you’re bringing forward with you. I think of like, I’m a sports nut, so quarterbacks, right?

When quarterback first starts playing in the NFL, for example, he has all the raw talent. He’s fast, he’s strong. But he doesn’t understand the game intellectually. And then, there’s this point where their body starts to slow down, as athletes experience normally do, and they get on in their career. But they have all that wealth of experience and knowledge, and the game slows down intellectually for them. And that’s where they really peak and perform at a high level.

And so, it’s like, what if we combine that, use that analogy, going forward from our 40s. We have all this life experience to pull from, and we apply that going forward. So, this is like the perfect time to change the trajectory of your health if it’s not in a place where you want it to be, right?

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Craig: We have so much more knowledge and understanding. Like I think of when I was in school, I had no idea how to learn. Like I just showed up to class and we went through the whole school process, university, whatever it was. But that’s not how I learned best. And now, I know how to learn in a much more efficient way.

And so, as I go through courses and do continue learning, it doesn’t take me nearly as much time. I show up differently. And so, imagine applying that to your health and your wellness, like you don’t have to figure it out from square one. That’s what I’m trying to say, to figure out what works with your lifestyle and go from there.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, and I think that for many of the listeners today that we are now so much closer to that next phase of our life that we really want to enjoy retirements and aging well with our partners. We want to be able to travel. We want to be able to play with our grandchildren, and do all of those things, and be healthy at the same time.

And so, it gives you a clearer picture than when you were in your twenties. Because when you were in your twenties, you’re just like, I just want to look good. But now, that optimal health again, we really want to experience that as we age, together.

Craig: Absolutely. Yeah. Ultimately, our age provides us with more clarity. We see things differently. We see what we truly value. To your point, like maybe our values might shift a bit, but we understand those values more clearly. And I think that’s really helpful. That’s a great place to do this work from, ultimately.

Elizabeth: Yeah. So, you have a podcast that the folks listening can like nudge their partners to listen to. Yeah? Tell us about that.

Craig: Yeah. It’s very much your counterpart. So, if the women listening to this podcast or your followers, then, they probably have a guy similar to them who they can come on over to my podcast and we share very similar concepts. Granted more geared towards where they might be at in their life.

So, my podcast is called, “Man in the Arena.” It’s a podcast I release every Wednesday. You can find it on all the traditional podcast channels. And little bit shorter in nature, just to give bite sized information to the guys, scratch the surface, pique their interest a little bit. And I speak about a lot of the same things you speak about.

So, health, nutrition, sleep, exercise. A lot of the mindset stuff that we’ve learned along the way, I teach those concepts as well. We talk about emotions. We talk about urges. We talk about all that good stuff. And so, if anyone’s interested, yeah, absolutely, check it out, Man in the Arena with Craig Spear.

Elizabeth: Awesome. And you also work with folks one-on-one, and you have a group.

Craig: Yeah. So, I actually have three sort of different offers. I have a one to one practice where it’s very customized, very focused on one person at a time. Then, I have a group program where we work with smaller groups, four to eight people.

And then, I have a membership where if guys aren’t quite ready for a group or for one to one, they can just jump into the membership. It’s an online portal. It’s a community.

So, all the guys are in there.

We got a ton of guys in there who are doing the work together, sharing their wins, talking about their challenges. And it’s just a great place for men over 40 to go and have a community similar to themselves, and just sharing that. So, it’s a lot of fun.

Elizabeth: That’s awesome. Great. Well, thank you for being here. Anything else that you want to share with the listeners? Do you have anything coming up as far as classes or free things for folks to tune into?

Craig: Not really, just the podcast and like I said, those three other offerings, that’s the best way to kind of get in touch, work with me. You know, what? There’s another way if guys just have questions, they can always just find me on social media.

They can reach out to me. I’m an open book. You know, I just want to create as much value as I can for guys. It doesn’t have to be paid upfront. Like any way that they’re going to get the ball rolling, I’d love to help out.

Elizabeth: Yeah, you’re pretty active on LinkedIn. Yeah?

Craig: LinkedIn. Yeah, that’s where I’m at. That’s where my guys are. And that’s the best place to reach out to me, just search for Craig Spear, Men’s Health, Weight Loss Coach, and you’ll find me there.

Elizabeth: Great. Well, thank you for being here today.

Craig: Thanks Elizabeth. It’s been great.  

Well, there you have it. Thank you so much for joining us today and staying to the end. It’s been a great conversation with Craig, who shared so much about men’s health, weight loss strategies, and the unique challenges aging men face.

I hope you were able to take away some key insights about the emotional pain and fears that often lead men to seek help. As well as practical advice on how men can achieve optimal health as they age.

Let’s not forget about the importance of emotional intelligence, navigating emotions, and the power of vulnerability. All these are crucial aspects of leading a healthy, balanced life, whether you’re a man or a woman.

If you know someone, maybe a husband, father, brother, or friend, who struggles with these issues, Please do share this episode with them. Let’s spread the word and create a culture of health, well-being, and understanding.

And remember, if you too are struggling with dieting or your relationship with food, you’re not alone. Coaching can be an incredibly effective tool in getting your eating under control and setting you on the path to optimal health.

If you’re curious about how coaching can help you, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how we can work together to make your health and wellness goals a reality.

Once again, thanks for tuning in. Stay strong. Stay healthy. And remember, you are more capable than you think. Have a great day, everyone. Talk to you later. Bye-bye.

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