Since I started this journey, I've gotten to both work with, and learn from, some incredible individuals and organizations. The inception of it all was when I injured myself training and had to get surgery for a torn labrum. For my recovery, I was lucky enough to be treated by the brilliant Tony Rocklin, someone I now consider a good friend and mentor. Through my recovery, I began to develop a voracious appetite for knowledge and information about training and the body.
Since then, I've consumed and dissected anything and everything I can get my hands on related to health. I've attended many workshops, symposiums, and retreats over the past few years- some of them hosted by powerhouses like Kelly Starrett, and now passed legends Charles Poliquin and Ivan Abadjiev. I’ve spent extensive periods learning about sleep from the likes of Matthew Walker and his constituents at the Center for Human Sleep Science. The driving force behind me adding distress management to my overall view of the fundamentals of health has been the writings of Robert Sapolsky, specifically Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Behave.
PICP(1), NASM, CSCS, FMS, BBM.
I'm Spencer Willhite. Since 2014, I've been helping people live healthier, happier, longer, and most importantly- live better lives. I started off focusing my work towards recovery and prevention of potential injuries through exercise. As time has progressed, I’ve taken a more “holistic” approach to health, utilizing what I refer to as the “main 5” pillars of health (or in my model, the base and 4 pillars). Through the study and implementation of best practices of sleep, exercise, diet, distress management, and exogenous supplementation, I’ve been able to help people with an immense variety of goals- from cognitive retention in the elderly, to performance optimization in competitive athletes.
I've always found the idea of a "Leviathan" to be appealing. Ever since hearing about Thomas Hobbes' book, the idea of an ultimately efficient operation always appealed to me. I competed in a couple of e-sports when I was growing up, and I quickly grew to love the process of maximizing efficiency while minimizing extraneous effort output- what we called min/maxing. I didn't make the connection until later in life when I had stopped competing that I was essentially trying to operate as a Leviathan- to be as effective as possible and eke out every potential advantage. This is what I found ultimately pushed me to physical training- I've always believed strongly in being the best you can be in all facets of your life, and after ignoring my physical capabilities for so long, I decided to stop putting it off and embody the "Leviathan" mindset as best I could.
A bit of my Personal background:
When I was about 12 I started falling behind on the growth charts. I had difficulty eating much at all, I wasn't getting stronger or faster like my classmates, and I effectively stopped growing. After a few years of poking around and trying to figure out what was going on, it was determined that I had Crohn's disease. Now despite what you may have heard about Crohn's, it's not that bad. Well, it can be awful, but for me it's never been hugely limiting- and for that I'm incredibly lucky. I feel like I drew a pretty good straw in the game of diseases. However, I did have to spend a significant amount of time catching up, and then tapering my weight back in order to reach a level of "normalcy."
Now when I tell people I have Crohn's disease, I'm usually met with surprise. I'm quite a bit bigger, stronger, and healthier than the average Crohn's patient, and I strive to constantly improve. However, my own progress is neither the primary motivator, nor is it good enough for what I hope to achieve. What do I want to achieve, exactly?
Why I Do It
I've been asked a lot what I think of trainers in general and why I decided to do things on my own rather than make use of the security that a larger employing company can provide. The answer for both is simple- they don't want to teach, they want to leech. These companies and trainers are out for one thing, your money- and honestly, it's rarely the fault of the trainers themselves, they're just playing the game. But the goal of these organizations has never been to empower their clientele, despite what they may repeatedly claim- they want your money, and they want you to keep giving it to them. I do everything I can to teach and empower my clients, effectively working myself out of a job. I do this because the goal should never be to give people just enough information that they keep coming back- it should be to give them the tools they need to be able to help themselves.
With that in mind, the discussion has more nuance to it than simply “they bad, me good.” I’m well aware that there are instances in which a client simply prefers having a trainer or a coach long-term. Sometimes this is for mental/emotional support for the journey, sometimes it’s for myriad other reasons. What’s most important isn’t that the client adopts my particular mentality in that they should be self sufficient eventually- it’s most important that they’re getting the support and help they need while being informed of their options. If a client wants to work with me for years just for their own peace of mind and they are financially able to do so, it’s not my place to attempt dissuade them or tell them their needs are “wrong” in some way.