Muscles, Motivation & the Mental Side of Fitness: Ray Wetterlund, III
With 168 hours in a week, people should invest at least a couple hours of that time into their health. That’s the sentiment of professional trainer Ray Wetterlund III. Armed with “Ray-isms” like “Fear and doubt; throw it out” or “Eat clean; be lean”, Wetterlund motivates while he trains everyone from professional athletes and celebrities to business executives and stay-at-home moms. In addition to holding a master’s degree in Sports Nutrition, Wetterlund is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning coach as well as a USA Weightlifting certified coach. From fitness to faith, he knows there’s no off season in being a champion and continues to challenge those that work with him both mentally and physically.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine at La Jolla Cove in California
Risen Magazine: What first got you interested in fitness? Did you play sports when you were younger?
Ray Wetterlund III: I worked out on and off, but it all started probably my freshman year in high school working out with my uncle in his garage – nothing very regimented or consistent until the middle of my junior year in high school. I started getting really serious about working out and I played football. That’s when I started recreationally training people – friends, local athletes.
Then I’d say my own body in itself is a story. I wasn’t always in the shape that I’m in now. Plus with my genetics and going through phases…from being a meathead and just trying to put on as much size as possible…by changing my own body composition and seeing how that empowered me, really helped me a lot in terms of wanting to share that with people. I found a method and formula that has been successful time and time again impacting and creating change within hundreds of people. That’s why I like to think of myself as more of a physique transforming specialist – a chiseler from head to toe. And that’s what I do by sharing that empathy with people that are overweight, because I remember that I was at that point where I needed to lose weight and I didn’t really recognize it right away. Going through the transformation was so powerful for my quality of life, it just resonated very well with me and I wanted to share it with the masses.
RM: You not only train people to get physically into shape but you’re such a motivator. How much does the mental side of training play when it comes to getting fit?
RW: Mental is everything. What I tell my team is you’ve got to get your mind right, you’ve got to get your head right. Without having the right mental state and the right positive attitude, it’s going to inhibit you from true success. I think that goes beyond just fitness. Your attitude determines your altitude. [It’s] the way you live your life every day; being a positive, happy person rather than getting stressed out and not reflecting on what God gave you, and what you’re really doing with it.
Motivation, accountability and results, those are the three components that really resonate and stand out to me. Motivation…because a lot of people lack motivation, drive and ambition… motivation can mean so many things. Whether it’s motivation for working out, doing your homework, or whatever it is socially. I feel that I have an uncanny talent and passion to really motivate people. I could motivate a sloth to run a marathon. There are so many CEOs and top executives that I work with who have such stressful jobs that working out is more of an inconvenience even though they know they need to do it. A lot of people like that are stuck in their ways and regimented; they need someone like me to get them motivated. More than that, people know I honestly care for whoever I work with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular client or a first time client; I treat them all the same. I think because I practice what I preach, and my message is delivered through so many different mediums, multiple times, on a daily basis, it keeps people motivated. If people are eating a bad meal, or there is an opportunity to do so, there are little tricks and tactics that I use.
RM: You touched on God a bit, but how does your faith impact your life?
RW: I would definitely say faith plays a significant role. I’m an only child and my parents divorced when I was 10 years old, so there was a time when it was very difficult for me and I wasn’t able to comprehend and digest everything that was around me at the time. Bouncing around from school to school, living in a tent trailer, and then living with my mom, I think just having God and a support network of everyone else and faith, was just unbelievable. Everything happens for a reason and there seems to be so many things that are so blessed that come into my life and it’s so crazy to me. It’s very humbling.
…you’ve got to get your head right. Without having the right mental state and the right positive attitude, it’s going to inhibit you from true success.
RM: At what point did you make the decision that this is the way you wanted to lead your life, and how have you incorporated it into the way you train?
RW: I always had a spiritual connection and a faith in God being raised as a Christian. Going to church as a young kid and growing up in that, it’s just something that has stuck with me. From what I’ve seen through trials and tribulations with close family members and friends who had to overcome more than adversity, battling for their life with cancer, calling upon the faith of God to help them get through whatever it is and to help their family cope with everything that’s going on around them, God plays a very important role in that. I pray every night and I take time to reflect on what I have, and be so grateful. Without God, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today, that’s for sure.
RM: Body image is a huge issue for a lot of women, and the number of men worried about their weight continues to grow. How can people combat this?
RW: People should embrace the good and be celebrated for what’s really on the inside, not what’s on the outside. Body image for young teens and college athletes is really crazy when you think about it and how people view it in general, especially from a competitive sense. Developing osteoporosis and eating disorders happen [due to] body composition reasons, or to make a certain weight – whether we’re talking gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling, or football.
Not to jump topics, but with adults emotional eating is huge. People don’t have a positive attitude or they think that it’s too late and give up. They believe there’s nothing that can be done, so they go about their regular sedentary lifestyle and all they do is eat and eat and eat. It takes baby steps… you don’t have to do these things all at once, but if someone is emotionally eating and they’re doing it every single day, [they should] try to start with just tapering that. [Also] if they’re not moving at all, they should just go for a walk or breathe more… if people would just breathe more, America will be a healthier place.
RM: We hear that with kids, the obesity epidemic has become rampant.
RW: It all starts in the home life. There can be intervention in the home environment. It’s the parents who aren’t properly educating and raising their children, so their kids are susceptible and vulnerable to all these sugars. Drinking Kool-Aid, eating pizza, hot dogs or whatever… this is what’s leading to diabetes. I think in the school system the more activities, the better. Rather than taking away physical education we need to make sure that there actually is some form of tested movement pattern through the P.E. system, [not] just play time. The average American watches 35 hours of TV a week. Those successful with weight loss watch seven hours or less a week and that goes back to the home life.
RM: For people that actually workout with you, what do you hope they take away from a workout with Ray?
RW: That it’s not a chore and it becomes part of their life. It becomes their newly adopted lifestyle. You can only lead a horse to water; you can’t make it drink. They’ve got to pull the trigger on their own. But some people need more guidance than others. It may not only be fitness related; there’s also the emotional component to it. I think more than anything I’m a counselor, that’s why I think trainer has a negative connotation. I’m a strength and conditioning coach, but more than that, I’m a life coach. I think that encompasses everything because it’s so much more than training. And it’s so much more than an hour that you see your people. You have to extend yourself and that’s where accountability really comes in. I just want to give a few tips and help give people a sense of direction.