On today’s episode, I have Doctors of Physical Therapy Shannon Ritchey and Payton Busker on the podcast. Shannon is the Founder and Owner of Evlo Fitness and Payton is my best friend and the Head of Content at Evlo Fitness. Evlo is the workout program that I’ve used consistently and exclusively for the last year. Not only have I seen physical progress because of Evlo, but to have access to these workouts from the comfort of my own home is worth its weight in gold. I can’t speak highly enough about these women and this program!
Dr. Shannon Ritchey is the founder of Evlo Fitness. As a former physical therapist, she recognized the clear need for a science-based fitness program that was both effective for driving results, but not overly destructive on joints. She loves to educate on biomechanics, energy expenditure, and how to apply neurology principles to exercise. Shannon, Payton, and team Evlo invite more people to use Gentle Consistency ™ to build themselves up in the fitness routine, rather than tear themselves down.
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Welcome to That’s Healthy?! The podcast where we deep dive to answer these questions and so much more! Tune in for conversations with host, Hope Brandt RD, and guest experts as we bust myths, talk about health and wellness trends, and embrace achievable wellness. We’ll cover topics like nutrition, fitness, mental health, and you’ll learn tangible tools and strategies to transform your life.
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I am so excited to have Shannon and Payton with me on the podcast today. Shannon is the founder, owner, creator of Evlo and Payton is my all time best friend, she was maid of honor in my wedding. And she’s the head of content at Evlo. So welcome you guys.
Thank you for having us. We’re excited. We’re so excited to be here.
I’m honored, literally honored to have you guys on the podcast. So I will just give a little bit of spiel about Evlo Fitness. This has been the workout program that I’ve been doing for the past, I guess, year now, only consistently. And I have just seen not only such progress physically, but it’s just been such a weight off of my shoulders to be able to have access to a program like this at home. And it’s such a time saver, it’s so efficient, I just I cannot speak highly enough of it. So Shannon if you would just kind of give me a SparkNotes version of Evlo; what your philosophy is, and then we’ll kind of go into what prompted you to create it and go from there.
Yeah, I would say if we had to sum up our philosophy in one sentence, it would be our goal is to teach people how to build their bodies up without breaking them down. And that goes mentally, physically, it kind of is all encompassing, it’s really a 360 degree approach, because we like to use the science behind why we’re doing certain things, why we’re leaving on other things. But then also, it’s wild how much the mindset piece is such a big part of it. And I always think about this, like, we get comments people are like, you’ve changed my life. And I’m like, you know, it’s like it’s just a workout like, wait. But it’s wild, because I think that the way people associate physical movement is very like impactful in lots of other areas of their life. And again, it sounds kind of dramatic that a workout could change other areas of your life. But I think how you move and how you view your body is crucial in all areas of your life. So it’s really we really tried to like, impart this philosophy about like, less is more working smarter not harder, taking care of yourself, prioritizing rest. And I think unfortunately, it’s rare in the fitness world, but we need it, especially like in with our hustle culture. We need more of this, I think.
Yes, well, and I forgot to even say that y’all are both doctors of physical therapy. So when you were talking about using, like, the biomechanics on everything, like, oh, that’s kind of important to know. So you guys have so much education in the science behind movement. I mean, and you guys are Payton, I think you’ve referred to yourself as like a movement specialist and that’s the truth. And so I love being able to learn from you guys who have not only the schooling but the real life experience in doing these things as well. So speaking of that, let’s kind of talk about your experiences that led you to Shannon creating Evlo and then Payton wanting to be a part of Evlo and joining Evlo. So, Shannon, kick us off with what made you develop this philosophy.
It’s interesting , Payton and I have very different backgrounds, but like it kind of brought us both to Evlo for different reasons. I started developing like I would say patterns of over exercise and overuse in my body in my early 20s. I kind of had the mindset of like, you know, if I’m not burning enough calories, if I’m not working out every single day for at least an hour a day. Sometimes I would work out like 2-3 hours because I would teach fitness and then I would like do my own workout. Which anyone that teaches fitness knows that like teaching is a workout. Yeah, it’s a workout and that is enough and then going on top of that and doing my own workouts and
I know anytime I’m doing an Evlo workout and I’m literally like panting and I think to myself, How are y’all talking during this?
It full body workout cardiovascular all in one. Truly. Especially the way that we do it.
Yes, yes, it’s a workout. And like that is enough, as it is. Just teaching. And, I also like had this pressure that I needed to like look a certain way as a fitness instructor. And so like I was just in a pattern of under eating, tracking my calories burned. And I would like literally at night, if I didn’t burn enough calories, according to my fitness watch, I would like jog in place at night, and like, try to burn those extra like 50 calories that I had left so that I was always in a deficit. And it was just, I got to a point where I started developing like chronic back pain, chronic hip pain, wrist pain and sort of spreading throughout my whole body.
And you’re in your 20s like early 20s
Yeah early 20s. And I was getting like treated every single week I was getting massages, I was spending a lot of money on like physical therapy and massages and all this body work to kind of like patch me up.
Well, that’s what I tell you you should do and you need to do. Yeah, it’s like, you don’t need all this stuff. And you’re not working hard enough, obviously.
Yeah, it’s not like, let’s take a look at like what’s causing you this? It’s just like, let’s patch you up and like, send you back to it.
Yeah, like this is part of the this is part of how it goes hard to be fit.
And that’s what I would tell my patients when I was a practicing physical therapist and kind of going through this in my own body, they were suffering from the same thing. A lot of them just beating their bodies up in the pursuit of “fitness”. And I remember telling them like, you know, this is just the price you have to pay to be fit. Unfortunately, you’re just gonna feel a little broken down if you want to be fit and strong and feel good. And I feel so guilty for telling so many people that that it was normal. Because now I have zero chronic pain. And I learned more about biomechanics, I learned more that like, oh, the reason that my body hurt wasn’t because there was something wrong with me, it was that my workout programming, I was working harder, not smarter. And so I developed Evlo, and lots and lots of my own research lots of like layering on what we learned in physical therapy school and just kind of digging even deeper, because a lot of the biomechanical stuff we didn’t really learn in physical therapy. Believe it or not, we learned it after.
That’s really interesting, because I feel like in dietetics a lot of it is the same way where you don’t learn a lot of the maybe general wellness, or even like counseling skills that I think are absolutely necessary to be an effective practitioner or even, you know, just an effective nutrition coach, or whatever it is that you want to use your degree for. So yeah, I would not have expected that at all.
So what made you want to learn more about biomechanics specifically? And then where did you go to find that information?
So right after physical therapy school, I worked at this awesome place, and had this amazing mentor who was starting to teach me like not all exercises are created equal. And there are certain forces that go through your body and exercise is physics. And that’s wasn’t something I was exposed to prior even in physical therapy is going to all of my fitness trainings, but it’s like one of the most foundational things of movement is that exercise is physics. And so being exposed to that information really, truly opened my eyes to like, oh, we can just use our time more wisely. Like, we don’t have to, like do all of these gold standard exercises, like squats and overhead presses to be fit. And a lot of it is just coming from history and dogma and not necessarily from an academic lens of how physics and force is going through your body.
Yeah, well, and I mean it’s absolutely like mind blowing when you really start to think about it. And I love how you guys explain what we’re doing and why we’re doing it in the classes. And so you literally can picture it in your mind, like, okay, we’re doing lateral raises this way, because I can see the moment arm is longer when we do it this way. And then you can use that to apply to whatever else that we’re doing. Because I don’t know, I’m a very big and I know that y’all are too on being able to take a principle and then apply it to your own life and what you’re doing. And y’all preach that all the time at Evlo that we don’t have to look exactly like you if we know the general principle and then the muscle that we’re supposed to be working, you can make your own little tweaks to be able to get to the place where you’re feeling the muscle burn and you’re creating the muscle fatigue that you want to be getting out of that class. And so I just think having the explanation behind it is so helpful and being able to be more autonomous in your workouts which I preach that all day long for your nutrition as well being able to make your own choices because you know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
I feel like that’s one of the main reasons why we are so passionate about doing classes that are follow-along-classes where we are doing everything with you 1) so we can feel it in our own bodies, and we can give real time modifications, explanations. And then 2) so that people know the why behind it. Because when you know the why behind an exercise, or we give you the information about the anatomy of the muscle, it truly allows you to then better work that muscle. And like you said, I liked what you said about it then allows you to actually be more autonomous because I feel like sometimes people see a class and they’re like, I want to be able to go do my own thing, go to the gym, get in and out with my little set of exercises. And it could actually end up hindering you because you don’t have that same information to really apply it really well within your own body. As opposed to being in a class where you’re hearing this information constantly, you’re then able to be more autonomous and make those decisions that work the best for your body.
We always tell people that we want them to feel like they have a master’s degree after taking our classes. Like, we want them to feel like truly like educated and understand.
I do. There’s some classes where you know, Payton will say something about like the ground reaction force or whatever. And it’s like, I know it’s coming like, oh, yeah, it’s the ground reaction force.
And you know what it is. I mean, the layperson, that’s probably listening to this has no idea what a ground reaction force is but like the fact that you just even said that, like so casually in conversation. Yeah, like you’re clearly like soaking in a lot of like what we say in class, which is our goal. So I love to hear that.
I know, I’m literally like a fan girl, I’m your biggest fan, I could probably like quote classes, because I have some favorites that I go back to.
That’s so fun. I love that you do that.
You were you were kind of talking about doing workout classes and being very reliant on being at that class or the instructor in the class. And that’s kind of where I started with my like post athletics fitness was actually started doing CrossFit. And so it was very much like, you know, you have to show up for certain times for your classes, you’re very dependent on, I mean, modifications and things are encouraged. But, you know, you don’t get a lot of say in like, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it. And I think that starting out in group fitness classes in person can be a really great starting point, to add some accountability to add some structure to feel like you’re not alone. But it’s so funny that it’s like full circle, but I’m in a completely different spot. Because these group classes just, they’d feel so different because I’m on my own time. And I can feel much more in control of what I’m doing. And I went through a period of time to where I was like going to the gym by myself and making up all of my own workouts, which was good for a period of time, too. But it gets to the point where I felt like I was truly wasting a lot of my time, either going back and forth, doing different sets, or just picking, like inefficient exercises that you see everybody doing. And it’s like, oh, that girl’s doing like cable kickbacks, maybe I should do cable kickbacks. And you just, you know, do random things like that not really knowing if what you’re doing is adding up to producing results. So it’s so nice to know what I’m doing is actually producing the results that I’m looking for. And I just have to tell you, I’ve never in my life had like, visible quad muscles, and my quads are poppin’. It’s so much fun.
Yay! We love to hear it, that’s when it gets exciting. And you’re like, Okay, I’m sold. When you start to see because sometimes, and maybe you can attest to this, sometimes you’ll do a workout and you’re like, I mean, I don’t feel like wiped and depleted and like did I do enough? Like you kind of ask yourself that you’re like, was that enough? And then you start to see the physical evidence, you actually start to see your muscles change, and you’re like, oh, and then you won’t go back. You won’t go back to torturing yourself for no reason.
Yes. Okay. Well, and I’m so glad that you said that because the concept of ‘you’ve done enough’ and then Payton you kind of take that into ‘you are enough’. I just noticed like both of y’all end your classes that way. How did that start? And kind of what is the underlying goal of saying that at the end of every class?
It’s so funny, because I don’t even know when I started saying that. I think in the beginning it wasn’t intentional at all. It caught on because I started this in COVID. And so I think people were feeling really stressed and really anxious. And and I just remember a lot of the members being like, I don’t think this is enough. I don’t think I’m doing enough work. I think I need to go do more. And so I was getting that feedback a lot. And I just started saying it at the end of every class because I’m like, just to remind you, I know you want to go do more after this, but you’ve done enough. You are enough, it’s okay. And it started catching on. And people started being like, Thank you for saying that I needed to hear that. And I realized that, oh my gosh, this is a real issue that people struggle with. And again, I think it’s a lot of our culture, a lot of our hustle culture is like, more and more, more and more is better, more is better. And that translates into exercise and pretty much everything in your life; career, relationships, I think everything. So that’s kind of where it came from. And then it just caught on. And now it’s like a staple in most of our classes, or I try to. What’s it mean for you Payton?
For me to the you’ve done enough is is huge in and of itself, having that piece of you in this actual class, you have done plenty enough, you can trust that if you’re following along with the programming, like you are getting in more than enough work to see those physical results. But then I always say at the end ‘and most importantly, you are enough’. And sometimes I’ll say like exactly as you are, like right here right now. Because in our general culture. So many people are working out with the intention of looking a certain way, with really the intention of them thinking when I get to look that certain way, or I get to that certain weight or I get to whatever that is, then I’ll be enough, then I’ll be worth something, then I’ll be. And that is one of the saddest things for me. And one of my main goals as a teacher within Evlo is to truly have people hear and hopefully one day be able to really believe in themselves, that they really are enough exactly where they are. Not meaning that you can’t have goals, we both have very real physical goals. I know you do, Hope. But I believe that real growth comes from knowing that you’re enough right then and there. And then you can continue to grow. And it’s like the rest is just bonus, I don’t know if that’s where it comes from me.
And it allows you to then approach those goals with feelings of self respect, and with honoring your body and honoring your mind, instead of like beating yourself down exactly like what y’all talk about.
Because that will never get you where you want to be. It just gets worse and worse and worse, like it just perpetuates.
Because if you’re chasing that standard, then that’s never gonna be enough. You have to know that your value comes from, I mean, literally, your existence. You are on this earth for a reason. And being five pounds lighter, or being more toned or seeing, you know, your leg muscles, like that’s not going to actually increase your worth. And so I love that you guys talk about that and say it because I mean, it goes right into a lot of principles of body image that I teach, and that I kind of go through with a lot of my clients, which is approaching your body from a place of respect and not shamefulness. So being able to like really believe that and kind of hammer that home after you’ve just done something that was really great for your body. And that will encourage you to keep showing up. Instead of getting to the end and feeling like you haven’t done enough and you’re a failure.
But it takes reps because we always talked about like neuroplasticity, which is like your brain’s ability to rewire itself in a new way. All the research shows it takes like tons, 1000s of repetitions. And so it’s easier said than done. And people are like, Oh, well, that sounds nice, but like, that’s not how we were taught to believe about ourselves. And so we have to rewire it by showing up every single time and putting in the rep of being like, okay, maybe it’s possible that I’ve done enough. Maybe you can kind of can give yourself more neutral thoughts. You don’t have to jump straight to like, I’m enough, I’m worthy. Everything that I’ve ever been taught all of my conditoning I’ve ever been taught is all erased, like, it just doesn’t work like that. So you have to continue. And so that’s one of the reasons why we really say it in every single class because we know it takes the reps. And then like you said Hope, you get the proof and then it’s way easier to actually adopt that mindset.
But it takes time. It takes so much time and consistency, both from the mental aspect of it and a lot of times the physical that our culture doesn’t necessarily lend itself to. Our culture wants fast results now. I want to be able to do this for X amount of days and know that I’m going to see X results and that’s just honestly not based in reality. Unfortunately. That would be so much easier. And I wish that was the way it was for people, but it isn’t so that’s why implement these things that are pretty different than the typical fitness culture, because we want to create something that people keep showing up to day in and day out, because we know that that is what will then drive results. It’s that gentle consistency that we talk so much about in so much of our content. And it’s establishing principles like including something as seemingly simple as ‘you’ve done enough’, and ‘you are enough’ at the end of classes or encouraging you to come to your mat, giving whatever percentage you have that day, even if it’s 10%, like you just show up to your mat and that’s all you can do. It’s that consistency, that repetition of coming to that place of coming to your mat, that’s really going to do the trick.
I love the concept of gentle consistency. And I know Payt, because we’ve known each other our entire lives, you kind of talk about coming from a place of needing to find a little bit more consistency in your workout. So not necessarily coming from a place of like overworking and over exercising and all those things, but looking for more consistency in your workouts in your routine. And I feel like a lot of people can resonate with that, as well. So how did you find that consistency that you’re looking for that ultimately produces results?
Yeah, that’s a really great question. And it’s one of the things Shannon and I are so similar in a lot of ways. But our journeys to get to the point where we are were pretty different. And you know, Shannon has just described it in this podcast, and then in a lot of other content as well of coming from this place of overuse, beating yourself up. And that’s not something that I personally ever struggled with. So I grew up, you know, playing sports wasn’t good at any of them. But I played.
You were not NOT good.
Yeah, arguable, but I was always active. And then in college, like I didn’t really do much freshman year. And then I started going to classes and I became a fitness instructor when I was in college, a Pilates instructor. And so that gave me like a little bit more consistency. But I was mainly just working, it wasn’t necessarily for my own fitness journey. PT school, same thing, bopping around, I’d go and try anyone’s program, or I do an online program for a month or two and then stop. And it really truly was not until I came across Evlo that things radically changed for me in that department. So I found Evlo in August 2020. So within the first six months of the business, and I first of all was attracted to the principles behind it in terms of like the actual exercises that were being done, I agreed with them very much on from a physical therapy standpoint, and the type of physical therapy I was practicing at the time, I thought that those principles were really aligned. So it was like, Oh, I’m going to try this for myself. And then once I started doing it, it was the ability to come home to my house and at the time I didn’t have my garage set up or anything, just in my living room, come home after a long day at work and still have the energy and know that I wasn’t about to go wreck myself doing a workout. So it kept me showing up time and time again. And I also just loved the classes I loved having the direction I like being told what to do and not having to really think about it. And day in and day out it just continued to reinforce and reinforce and now I’m over two years in and mentally I am a different person. Physically, I am a very different person. And it wasn’t until having something where I was able to show up pretty much every week for the last few years that I saw actual changes in both of those categories.
Yeah, well and I also love the timeframe and I tell people this all the time too I you know have gone through a kind of a physical transformation myself but it literally was like a five year period of time. And you just said two years. Literally years that it takes.
We always say like give yourself a long runway but the fitness industry again doesn’t train you to do that they’re like in 80 days you’ll transform your body.
It’s obnoxious because it really does give this false sense of reality that so many people cling to because it I mean, it preys on hope on people’s hope of wanting to achieve these quick results and nothing makes me more angry than that honestly.
Because you can, I mean it is possible to transform your body in 80 days or whatever. But like look at like the biggest loser you never see reunion of the biggest loser because they can’t sustain it.
No you’re gonna wreck yourself. If you completely transform your body in 80 days. Could you do it? Yeah. Are you gonna be suffering from that for like the next 80 years? Probably.
Yeah, it’s very true because both from 1) the the actions that you’ve taken to achieve those changes in 80 days are not sustainable. Typically in the least, both from a nutrition standpoint and an exercise standpoint. And then 2) you are most likely physically disrupting something within your body, whether it’s a metabolic process, whether it’s an injury and actual physical injury. It’s just it’s not worth it when we have that’s also one of our big things is we have the our entire lives to work out. That is our goal to still be able to work out when we’re ninety years old. And so what’s 80 days in the grand scheme of things? Why not give yourself that time to continue to make those small changes that then add up and you look back at yourself from five years ago. I have a picture of the two of us in my bathroom, and Shannon’s like, that literally doesn’t look like either of you. And it was from your wedding six years ago.
But it’s like that didn’t happen overnight, tt wasn’t like a year, or even you know, it certainly wasn’t even just a year like that, it takes years.
Yep. Okay, so I just want to wrap up with kind of a deep question. But I know that there are, and I deal with this as an RD, too. People, you know, latch on to things like don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t want to look like yourself. And there’s all these like, standards that people talk about as far as being in the fitness industry, or maybe someone thinking about getting into the fitness industry feeling like they aren’t adequate if they don’t look a certain way. Have you ever dealt with any insecurities in that area? And like how do you combat those things?
100% I think being online opens you up to all the internet trolls who can say whatever they want about your body, and it’s hurtful, like, I don’t care how secure you are, it cuts every single time, even if it’s like someone with no profile picture and like obviously a troll, but they say something mean and about your body and it cuts. And so I’ve definitely had to do a lot of work on that a lot of times like Payton, God bless her, she just goes and deletes the comments, so I don’t have to see them. And that helps. Yeah, honestly, it’s just like, limiting my exposure. But I’ve definitely suffered with like, okay, if I’m going to be the face of this business, I need to like look a certain way. And I go back to that. And what I’ve ultimately decided is, okay, if you’re coming to Evlo because you want to like “look like one of us” I don’t want someone coming to Evlo for that reason. I want them to come to Evlo because they resonate with the message and the mindset. And I think that being an example of that I’m a real human that I sometimes you know, eat a healthy, whole foods bowl. And sometimes I eat a pasta feast. And I have seasons where I might gain a couple of pounds. And sometimes I have seasons where I’m more consistent with my nutrition. So I think it’s that’s what I’ve ultimately come to the decision is that I need to be an example of a real human who has real fluctuations and isn’t perfect and isn’t perfectly cut all the time. I think that’s kind of where I’ve landed. And of course, it’s a continual battle, because we have to rewire a lot of BS.
Yeah, I think that sums it up really, really well is we want to be able to show up as our real selves and as real people. And we’re lucky that we developed a community that is supportive of that. And so it’s kind of like that feeds on each other. Like that’s what we ultimately want to develop and create for other people. And then they’ve given us that space to be ourselves as well. So it doesn’t come without your days where you look at yourself in a video and you’re like, I you know, X, Y and Z, whatever. But for the most part, it’s been like a really good process on how to be better to ourselves too.
Well, and I mean, you guys are truly living examples of that. So thank you. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. It’s just been such a pleasure to talk with you all. Thank you so much for coming on.
Unknown Speaker 29:12
Thank you for having us. It’s been so fun, Hope we love you.
But wait. Before you go, I’d love it if you’d share this episode with a friend who needs it. And to make sure we stay connected. Find me on social media @hopewell_health or for more information about my nutrition coaching services, check out my website, hopewellhealth.online And always remember, you are smart, capable and talented, you have what it takes. I’m just here to educate and encourage you along the way. Catch you next time.