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Dr Robyn's Bio

Growing up on a farm, I always had a lot of energy. As a teenager someone said to me, “I used to babysit you. I have never met a two-year old who was so exhausting.” (How do you even respond to that?) In high school I ran cross country and track but at 18 I was moved far from home (long story) and didn't have the opportunity to exercise anymore. Looking back at pictures it’s easy to see that I got a little fluffy. Not to worry though. In my early 20’s I discovered volleyball, eventually playing competitively in beach tournaments. In those pictures I’m back to my lean, athletic self.

When life moved on from volleyball I continued to go to the gym and lift. But the intensity wasn’t there. I no longer had a workout partner or the competitive motivation. I would go regularly, take a break and go regularly again (sound familiar?).

In my mid 30’s I was soft again, but not in the girlish way I was at 20 but in a thick-around-the-middle-I-have-no-waist kinda way. When I complained about it people would tell me I was “crazy” and that I was skinny. But I didn’t feel it. I bought a hybrid bike (halfway between a road bike and a mountain bike) and started riding 10-20 miles at a time (weather permitting). But the weight just kept creeping on.

Robyn back in her vollyball daysAbout the time I finished my doctorate in psychology and started my coaching and speaker training business (Champion Performance Development) in my late 30s another nagging problem arose. My cholesterol started to do more than just creep upwards and doctors started to nag me about taking a statin (cholesterol lowering drug).

By 45 I was twenty pounds overweight and my cholesterol hit 256. I was working out 5 days a week religiously and biking 50-100 miles a week. But nothing was touching my weight or my cholesterol. My doctor was adamant that my cholesterol level was causing damage to my cardio vascular system.

I relented and picked up the prescription. One of the (supposedly rare) side effects of statins is muscle damage. Within 6 weeks of starting cholesterol lowering drugs my shins ached so badly I couldn't sleep. I called my doctor and told her, “This is simply not going to work.” She didn't fight me on it (she knows there’s no point) but she did express grave concern about my heart.

It was about that time that Russ and I decided to go on the superhero diet (Don’t look it up. It’s not really a thing and it didn't work). After two months of that failing to budge the scale or my cholesterol downward, we started talking about options. And that is where RnR Journey to Health started.

Continue reading the RnR Journey bio below.

Russ's Bio

I started working out with a plastic-covered weight set from Sears when I was 12 or 13 years old. I subscribed to all the muscle and fitness magazines at the time to help me learn how to workout and rolled the weights out from under my bed to use them after school. I was determined to look like the guys in those magazines!

As soon as I was old enough to drive I joined a local gym. At the time the only people who really worked out were either bodybuilders (how defined and proportional can you look) or powerlifters (how much can you lift). The gym I joined happened to be a bodybuilders’ gym. They were all friendly and helped me learn even more. Before long I became one of the most knowledgeable people there.

I competed in my first bodybuilding event at 22. About that same time, I started playing semi-pro football. Neither of those things paid enough to pay the bills. I always had to have a “real” job as well. Two years later I stopped playing semi-pro to focus on bodybuilding, competing in Nationals and Junior Nationals, eventually winning the Gold’s Classic, NJ.

At the ripe age of 27 I retired from competition to focus on being a full-time certified personal trainer; training bodybuilders, soccer players, football players and regular people trying to get in shape. I was also the nutritional expert for all of my clients. As registered trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour I was able to travel Europe with my client (who was competing). After that tour ended I opened a World Gym where I continued to do personal training and nutrition coaching.

When I went to college in my mid-30s to pursue my interest in art and design, I also took athletic training and nutrition classes. But more often than not the professors were asking me to answer student questions about working out and nutrition. It was fun to realized I was the expert in the class!

Fast forward 20+ years after selling my gym and joining a different one. I met Robyn while working out. We clicked around being healthy; which for us meant working out regularly and eating (what we thought) was well. Soon our individual journeys merged into RnR Journey.

Continue reading the RnR Journey bio below.

About RnR Journey

If you are ready to say goodbye to extra weight, sluggishness, inflammation, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol by getting on, staying on and succeeding on your journey to health, we are ready and willing to enthusiastically support you!

This is how RnR Journey to Health came to be:

We were overweight and our blood work wasn't great so we went on what we called “The Superhero Diet.” Don’t look it up. It’s not a real thing. We made it up. We decided we were going to eat like we thought a movie star would eat if they were getting ready to play a superhero. For an entire month, we got serious. No sauces or butter. Bread was out! We had always eaten “healthy” (we are after all both former competitive athletes), so baked chicken breast, ground turkey breast or salmon with a veggie (usually broccoli or peas) was easy. And going to the gym 5 days a week and 20+ mile bike rides were the norm. But our weight didn’t budge.

Okay then. We will just double down! But towards the end of the second month still nothing. In fact, Russ jokes we might have gained three pounds. We don’t remember how we got on the subject, but we started talking about eating less meat (likely Dr Robyn brought it up). Russ responded that he was concerned about protein (that is usually the concern). We decided to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives (NetFlix), just to see what we could learn. Why not?

That documentary changed our lives. We decided we would eat the meat and eggs we had in the house over the course of the next few weeks and not buy anymore. We were already eating oatmeal for breakfast. We switched out cow’s milk for almond milk, started making things with beans instead of ground turkey and, because it was summer, we figured we could eat a lot of salads with chickpeas. If we had friends over or if we went out, we weren't going to worry about it.

Just those changes had the scale creeping in the right direction.

Six weeks in Dr Robyn when to see her doctor for what turned out to be just allergies (I told Russ that but he insisted I go). The doctor mentioned that she had been doing some reading about intermittent fasting and that the science seemed pretty solid. That was on a Wednesday. We got two books from the library and watched the BBC documentary Eat, Fast, Live Longer (YouTube). The following Saturday was our first fasting day.

Now the weight was steadily dropping at a pound or a little more a week.

Having friends over for dinner brought a realization. Dr Robyn was asked to make her “famous” turkey tacos. Great! Easy. But Russ said he didn’t want to eat turkey. Could we make beans too? Sure. A week later we ended up throwing away what was left of a pound of turkey taco meat and a container of sour cream because we weren’t going to eat it. The waste was ridiculous.

Several weeks later we had different friends over. Bean tacos were a hit! And we happily ate the leftovers. BUT we have easily a pound of cheese we had put out that didn’t get eaten. It sat in our fridge, taunting us, until it got moldy and had to be tossed.

It was then that we realized that if we weren’t willing to eat something because we thought it was bad for us, what were we doing feeding it to our friends?

Ten weeks after starting to change our eating we decided to get our blood work done, just to see if we were making progress. Both of us now had total cholesterol UNDER 200!

That was also when people started noticing our weight loss (we were both down about 15 pounds at that point) and asking what we were doing. What we were eating and how we could possibly be functioning without meat. On a whim one morning Robyn said, “We should do a Facebook live to show people our breakfast.” Surprisingly, Russ agreed (not even begrudgingly).

The first one was awful. The lighting was bad. We had really no idea what we were doing. And we aren’t sure anyone watched it.

The next day we did another one and it was a little better. We weren’t trying to gain anything. If it helped one person make a change toward better health, that would be a win.

Then something unexpected started to happen. The more we learned (we, especially Dr Robyn, loves books, talks, lectures and documentaries about anything related to health), the more people started asking us questions. We started getting stories about how people were creating healthy change in their lives because of the information we were sharing. We started being asked, “Can you help me? I don’t know where to start.”

At that point we had a decision to make. While it was fun to learn and fun to share, we really couldn’t take additional time away from our business that were paying the bills (Russ: www.RgBDesignGroup.com  Robyn: www.DrRobynOdegaard.com). We started to brainstorm. How do we make this viable so we can help people who are clearly so thirsty for knowledge; while at the same time not end up living under a bridge because we aren't paying the mortgage?

We created a survey asking our growing audience what they would find the most helpful. From that the idea for Whole Food Muscle was born. From there, coaching, consulting, pantry revamps, success groups and workout plans began to take shape.

If you are unhappy with where your current health journey is taking you, our role is to help bridge the gap between what you want to do, eat healthier and be healthier, and HOW to actually do it.

Become a Whole Food Muscle member today to unlock access to all the resources and support we have to offer. We are excited to be on this journey with you!

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"Hello
Russ and Dr Robyn,"

"You changed my life and my husband's. His cholesterol has been cut in half. We both have lost about 12 pounds and feel terrific. We don't miss meat, fish, eggs or yogurt or cheese. Thank you so much for all you are doing for the world. We too thought we were eating healthy but couldn't lose weight even though we exercised a lot. Until we changed what we ate. We are truly grateful. I loved your Christmas message about what to say to those comments people make when you say you eat Plant Based.

Thank you again."

Nancy and Mark Hetterly

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