Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry NetCast, where leaders with three or more years in the senior care industry share their advice. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences tell us who you are and what you do.

Pat VanGalen: https://www.activeandagile.com

I’m Pat VanGalen. I’ve been in the movement profession, oh my gosh, as a trainer teacher, coach, since I graduated from college in 1976. So been at it for a long time. The full pre-K all the way to frail. Everything to do with movement, health, promotion, health awareness, all that kind of stuff. So yeah, long time, full-spectrum, and still very passionate about it and not slowing down.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And what do you do now? What’s your [crosstalk 00:00:56]?

Pat VanGalen:

Oh my gosh. I still train and teach people. I coach athletes, I write, I lecture, I do continuing education. I do anything possible to keep people moving for as long as possible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. That is definitely the key to good health, movement and what you put in your mouth, right?

Pat VanGalen:

Oh my gosh. Yes, definitely. Yes. Uh-huh (affirmative).

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Well, what is the best thing about serving seniors and sometimes their families too I’m sure?

Pat VanGalen:

We basically change the way they age. I think we have so much influence as a trainer/coach/teacher to change the trajectory of that agent curve. We change how they live. We give them confidence, competence so they can live their lives and not think and not be fearful all the time of, “Oh my God, what if I fall? Or what if this? And what if that? I can’t do that.” No, no, no. We do the complete opposite. We boost them up.

Pat VanGalen:

And people have a false conception of what is moving well. It’s not just about in the gym. Anything you do to train people needs to transfer outside the gym and this is probably one of the things we’ve been dealing with as an industry for a very long time. It’s not about fat loss. It’s about moving and moving where you want to move. At home, outdoors, with your grandkids, caregiving, playing, whatever, competition. It’s all about that. So it’s prepping them for that. Prep and prehab for the long haul. That’s what I say.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s a good one. Yeah, that’s awesome. All right. Let’s talk a little bit about online marketing. We were just chit chatting earlier about how challenging tech can be. So the world has changed a little bit and we’re not as able to meet in person or maybe we can, but we have to be very careful. So online marketing has become more important. What are your thoughts about online marketing?

Pat VanGalen:

It’s a must and remember I’m of the generation that didn’t have any of this. It’s an absolute must and I’ve been forced by peers and colleagues who are typically younger than I am. “Pat, you have to do LinkedIn. Pat, you have to do Instagram. Pat, you have to do a website.” So I’ve been doing those things, but my kids are all grown up and usually your kids help you with this stuff. So I had to rely on people, younger people to help me with that stuff.

Pat VanGalen:

I’m still nowhere near what the possibilities are, but it’s a must. I’m forced into it. I still train people online. I mean, I’m doing Zoom, coaching people, but it’s people I’ve already known. It’s not like newbies. So there’s nothing like the face-to-face personal contact, especially in my field of movement, but it certainly helps. It plugs a hole, but I don’t think you can survive today unless you adapt and…

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I would agree. I would agree. I think you really need to at least try something new and try to learn something new and Zoom is actually, or whatever platform you want to use, is actually half the battle because it’s the most, it’s one of the most challenging and it definitely requires a little setup, a little knowledge, but it’s doable.

Pat VanGalen:

I mean, I like what it does for things like continuing education. You can’t go to a conference or maybe even before the whole virus thing. It’s helpful for that kind of thing, but oh man, the city’s brutal. The city. Yeah. It’s worse than before. Definitely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. It does take a toll. Absolutely. All right, let’s go back to your wisdom about people who’ve been an influence on you in your life or organizations. So I’m sure there are other successful leaders or maybe just humans in general, who have been an influence on you or have been mentors to you in your lifetime or maybe an organization. Would you like to give a shout out to anybody?

Pat VanGalen:

Sure. First of all, my pops, my dad. We were raised to whether it was physical labor and chores, whether it was swinging on ropes. All four seasons go and there was nothing… I mean, that’s just the way it was. He’s a World War II vet. So that’s the greatest generation. So definitely pops. Organizations is, I would say it started really at Springfield College as a physical education major because the thing about physical education, it’s the full movement spectrum. It’s not just training, which is one piece of this pie. It’s dance, it’s sport, it’s adventure, it’s play, it’s competition, it’s tactical stuff. It’s all of it. And so the training piece is this, the movement pie is huge. So I would say the whole spirit, mind, and body approach to total health there and then, now I’m going back Valerie, back in the seventies was Ken Cooper, the Aerobic Institute and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Pat VanGalen:

So they were the first ones doing the research to say “Whoa, if you’re active, you’re going to be healthier.” And that’s where it all mushroomed. And then I, oh my gosh, I’ve been in it so long, but other organizations I would say would be The Gray Institute. I would say Mike Boyle, strength and conditioning, I would say Vern Gambetta.

Pat VanGalen:

These are people who started with the concept of functional training. What are you training for? It’s not about looks. It’s not about fat loss. It’s about moving so you can be healthier for a longer time. And then it just continues along the way. I mean, I’ve learned something new every single day. Every client, every coach, every teacher, I try to keep learning. Do not stop learning. The body eventually is going to give out, but let’s just live long and as Dr. [inaudible 00:07:12] said “die short,” so I’m trying to stretch that middle zone.

Pat VanGalen:

How can we stretch that healthy zone out? Because we’re living longer. You know. You’re in the profession. We are living longer.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely.

Pat VanGalen:

So anything we can do to stretch that out. And to be honest with you, it really starts in childhood. But by the time you’re 35, you’re a full grown adult. You better get that mindset then because it’s like a leaky roof. Do I just keep cleaning up the mess, put a little patch on here or do I really get into taking care of that roof? So it’s a mindset. The whole thing is mindset. Don’t you agree?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, absolutely it is. Absolutely. And the difference between when you said gym is not for looks and it’s not for it’s, it really is about being able to apply the skills you learn at the gym to everyday life.

Pat VanGalen:

That’s right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And moving better. And as a nurse, as a young nurse, I did a lot of dumb things like moving 200 pound patients or 300 pound patients by myself when I shouldn’t have been doing that. So but when you’re short-staffed and you’re 23, you’re invincible, right?

Pat VanGalen:

That’s right. We’re all invincible in our 20’s. We even think we are in our 30’s, but then we start getting some wake-up calls.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

We realize that. Yeah. So, I kind of did a number on my back. I have never had surgery or anything, but I know that if I am moving correctly and lifting correctly and doing the things and actually going to the gym and strengthening those muscles that I fare much better than if I slack off or if I lift incorrectly, then I know that that old invincibility comes back to haunt me.

Pat VanGalen:

Oh yeah, you’re right. It’s maintenance. It’s maintenance of these vehicles. And the more vintage we are, the more maintenance we need.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely.

Pat VanGalen:

So it’s, yeah, but you do the maintenance.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Knowing how to move your bodies-

Pat VanGalen:

I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, no. You’re right. You’re right. You have to do maintenance and you have to understand the way to move correctly. So when you lift, know how to not hurt yourself, how to be functional without injury is I think half the battle.

Pat VanGalen:

Yeah, we’ve been… The image of being fit is finally changing. It’s not about appearance. It’s about, and the movement pillar transcends all the other pillars of wellbeing. I mean, we got the stress part. You’ve got the food part, you got the sleep part, you’ve got the recovery part, you got the movement part, but that touches them all.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It sure does.

Pat VanGalen:

So and it doesn’t have to be formal formal. You know what I’m saying? If we did some physical labor on a daily basis, we would be in a lot better condition. Like the greatest generation. They were physical.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. If we did something nicely intense every day, we’d be in great shape. Absolutely.

Pat VanGalen:

Yes we would.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No more sitting all day in the front of the computer.

Pat VanGalen:

Oh my gosh. Computers.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s the worst. Yes.

Pat VanGalen:

Yeah. Sitting is brutal.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. So let’s see. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers or other providers like yourself? What did you want to tell other professionals?

Pat VanGalen:

Put yourself in their shoes. And I think probably the most important thing is to, when you’re training and coaching and trying to get people to adapt to different lifestyle. What makes them tick? Why do you get up in the morning and what makes you tick? In other words, “I used to be a skier as a kid and as a young adult and I just loved to ski. It gets my juices flowing.” Well, then let’s train you so you can ski. Or, “I love the outdoors. I want my grandchildren to be able to fish and hunt and dot, dot, dot, dot, dot.”

Pat VanGalen:

Let’s get you prepped and freed up to do that. So it’s about what’s making people tick. It’s not just about, “Oh, I want better health.” No. “What do I want to be able to do?” So training and coaching is all about getting those people prepped and prehab to keep going, or to go back to some of the things that they used to do that they still love and they want to share. It’s not about just self, feeling good about myself. No, no.

Pat VanGalen:

It’s about all the people you’ve touched through movement and everybody’s got something that makes them tick. Maybe it’s a beach vacation. Maybe it’s traveling. Maybe it’s something to do, not just have health. So I think that’s, as a trainer coach, first thing on the front page, what do you like to do? Not what is your history? What’s wrong? No. What do you like to do? Do you want to do it again? “I would love to do it again.” Okay. We’re on the journey.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. That’s a great way to approach it. Very nice. I love that. That’s perfect. Yeah. Just being able to fish again.

Pat VanGalen:

As you know, Valerie, you’re coming from a nursing background, there’s so much doom and gloom about health, the stats, the this, the that. No, no. You fight frailty with a vengeance so you can go do stuff and share it. It’s here. It’s a mindset.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. All right. When you have a win in life could be big, could be small, could be just having a great day. How do you like to celebrate?

Pat VanGalen:

When I have a win it’s like, I want to do more, I want to learn more, I want to inspire more people. So whatever that win is, maybe it was a presentation, maybe it was a training session with some… It always to do more because that one little win is just one piece of that big jigsaw puzzle. So it just makes me want to do more. Hey, my passion keeps growing and growing and growing and it’s because of the people I need, the people I coach, people like you in the profession who are passionate about changing the way and the pace we age. That’s what it is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Absolutely. That’s great. That’s awesome. Yeah. Just the little things about, a win can be, I mean, seeing somebody do a movement that when they came to you, they could never have done in the past or just some little thing like that. Those things inspire us and remind us why we do what we do and that those are definitely wins and it’s worth even a silent cheer.

Pat VanGalen:

Oh, listen, I had a lady the other day, she goes, “Pat, I dropped the back of my earring and I got down on the floor and reached under the bed and I got it. And I haven’t been on the floor in years except when I [inaudible 00:14:35] the floor.” So those are the kinds of things. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Yep. You live in your life. Absolutely. Well, that’s great. Well, you did a wonderful job. Thank you so much for being on the show. This is all about sharing our wisdom and sharing what we do and how we can make the lives of our clients better, but also be better professionals in whatever industry we serve. So thank you very much.

Pat VanGalen:

And Valerie, thank you for having me.