Hi. This is Natalie Hoffman of Flyingfreenow.com, and you’re listening to the Flying Free Podcast, a support resource for women of faith looking for hope and healing from hidden emotional and spiritual abuse.
NATALIE: Welcome to Episode 151 of the Flying Free Podcast! Today, I have a treat. His name is Kylar. He is a massage therapist, a personal trainer, and a life coach, and the unique thing about Kylar is that he grew up as a kid experiencing what a lot of us experienced from the perspective of being the wife. Kylar, I could read your bio, but let’s just let you tell us a little bit about how you grew up and a little bit about your journey coming out and why you became a personal trainer and a massage therapist and a life coach. We just want to hear it from you.
KYLAR: I grew up in a pretty strict, religious family. My dad was always fairly controlling and narcissistic, and he got saved two weeks before my mom. They both had a spiritual encounter two weeks before they got married. He was 28 and she was 17.
NATALIE: Oh wow.
KYLAR: She was six months pregnant with me, and I was the reason they got married. My mom wanted me to grow up with a dad, and my dad felt pressured by both families to marry her. It was very reluctant on his part. I feel like he kind of lost his identity. He was a drummer, a filmmaker, and still did those things for a little bit, but when he heard the teaching that God works through authority (it was an extreme version of that teaching where God only works through authority), he really latched onto that, and I think it gave him a second chance at significance, at being the spiritual head of the home, being the leader. Things kind of got more and more intense as life went on. When I was twelve (and I’m the oldest of six, but there are some big age gaps, so at the time there were just four of us boys), we joined a Christian homeschooling cult, basically.
NATALIE: Was it ATI, by any chance?
NATALIE: I was going to say, this sounds so familiar.
KYLAR: Yeah. He took everything even more extreme than any other ATI family that I knew. On my twelfth birthday I signed the purity contract, and he wanted me to begin confessing my sins to him every day because he believed that since God works through authority, that God could only forgive me if he forgave me first. So basically anything I did wrong, I was supposed to confess to him every day, and I ended up doing that until I chose to quit doing that at 21. I didn’t get away until I was 22 from that home, and my actual act of rebellion at 22 was driving in a town without my dad knowing, giving permission, or praying protection over me for the first time in my life. And we were just completely kept at home, completely controlled. Everything that we did and said and ate was micromanaged. I was accused of motives. Whatever it was my dad felt like accusing me of was my motive, and it took me a long time to realize that I could know more than my dad what my motives were. So much manipulation and psychological and spiritual abuse, and some physical abuse.
I didn’t realize until last year that I had developed complex PTSD through that whole process. A lot of my health issues, including extreme fatigue and inability to build muscle, which specifically manifested as hypo-thyroid and hypoadrenia and Epstein-Barr virus. I was skin and bone, couldn’t get stronger, and felt my energy draining from the time I woke up in the morning. If I worked out consistently, I would get weaker and smaller. So it was super scary. I thought, “This is supposed to be my prime – this is supposed to be my youth. This is the time everyone looks back on and says, ‘I can stay up all night and then go to school all day or work all day or whatever,’” and I wasn’t experiencing any of that and I was like, “What is it going to be like when I actually get older?”
And then my love language was touch, but that was so evil, and my dad basically trained me to feel intense shame for being attracted to women in general through the confessing that I did. The healing process led me to pursue the things that I have pursued, including the personal training as I got obsessed with trying to figure out “How do I experience any amount of energy and any amount of increased strength,” and then massage therapy because I craved human connection, but also I grew up feeling like I could sense the condition of muscles under the skin. My dad did start asking me to massage his feet when I was three, so it’s kind of his fault. But I ended up in that direction.
NATALIE: There’s a little perk that came out of the whole thing, right?
KYLAR: Yeah! And of course the life coaching because I’m like, “What is this process of becoming someone that you have never been before?” Especially if you’ve been told that you could never be that person, but you really want to be that person, but you just have no tangible evidence of the possibility of becoming who you want to be or experiencing the life that you want to experience. It really motivated me on a deeply personal, emotional level to pursue the massage therapy, personal training, and life coaching.
NATALIE: What a combination. You’re really a miracle that you came out of that and that you were able to see it and recognize it. And you had to get out. I like how you called it the “act of rebellion.” You had to do that act of rebellion. And a lot of the women who are listening, they think in those terms. Like, “I can’t speak up. I can’t have a voice. That would be rebellious.” I’m just curious: your view of God… what is that like now?
KYLAR: It’s definitely changed, and I’ve kind of moved away from Christianity in the way that it looks now. When I was 29 and 30, I went to a one-year Bible school and discovered what hermeneutics was. It’s a branch of philosophy, and it’s the art and science of interpretation. A lot of Bible schools have that class focused on the Bible: how do you understand, based on immediate context and big picture context from all of Scripture, how do you interpret a particular verse and make it make sense, like all the different things that might seem to contradict — how do you bring that together? I realized I had actually been doing that on a limited basis from the time I was 15 because starting when I was 15, I was like, “I need to know if God is like my dad, or if He’s totally different.”
KYLAR: I’d had a beautiful connection with Spirit, with Source, and with Love when I was 3, and so that was kind of what gave me some hope that God might be different than that. From 15 to 22, I was reading the Bible around forty-five minutes to an hour a day, and I kept a notebook with all of these questions. I was filling out responses from Scripture that I found, and I was also memorizing a verse a day. I ended up memorizing and reciting eighteen books of the New Testament to my family in those years from 15 to 22. And so then when I was at this Bible school and discovered hermeneutics, I got so excited about it that the director asked me to teach hermeneutics the next two years, and then it was in that process that I was studying even more and realizing that the way Christianity has been lived out for most of two thousand years, and especially in America, doesn’t even line up with Jesus’ message or the New Testament, for the most part. I’ve kind of moved away from the Christanese and the Churchianity and really try to be more neutral in what I say, because if someone says “God”, depending on who is listening to you say that word, there can be a million different associations with that.
KYLAR: And so I try to focus on more neutral things like “Source” or “Love,” because I do believe that God is love and that we come from love and we will return to love, and all those things. That feels like it lines up more with the heart of Jesus without the religious baggage that is often associated.
NATALIE: Yes. Oh my gosh. I just love this. I love everything you’re saying. I caught that when you used the words “Source” and “Love” when you were 3 years old and I’m like, that is so good. When you say “God,” my brain’s programming, because this is from the time I was little, immediately just drums up this certain connotation of who God is, and it’s kind of this really mixed-message sort of a God.
KYLAR: Right. Yeah, totally.
NATALIE: Very confusing. I have also tried to find different words to describe Him. I’ve used “the Universe,” even. And I know some people, especially Christians, if you grew up in the whole Gothard thing, then you know the initial reactions that some of these people have to this kind of stuff. It’s like, “Oh my gosh — it’s new age!” But I think it’s really helpful if you use a different word, because then you’ve got a clean palette to work with, a clean slate. It’s white. Now you can actually paint on it what you know for sure of God. Like you said, you know for sure that He’s love. We know that for sure, so let’s just hang on to that. Let’s make sure that for sure is on our whiteboard and then we can add things to it as we go, and a lot of the baggage we are definitely not going to add it to the whiteboard anymore.
KYLAR: Right, exactly.
NATALIE: It’s so funny because we’re kind of going off in a different direction, but I just love this. The reason why we invited Kylar onto the podcast is because it’s the beginning of the year (but we’re recording this in… what is this? It’s still October, right? But this is actually going to go out at the beginning of the year 2022), and of course, a lot of people are thinking about turning over a new leaf and taking care of themselves, and “This year’s going to be different,” and I do this every year. I think it’s good because I feel like I take three steps forward at the beginning of the year and then I take two steps back, but I gained a step every year, so I think it’s important that we think about this now.
NATALIE: A lot of the women that are listening are actually struggling with health issues because they have been just broken down spiritually and mentally and emotionally, and some people actually think that it’s selfish to take care of your body. You’re supposed to just be a living sacrifice and end up washed up on the shore like a half-eaten whale.
KYLAR: For sure.
NATALIE: I don’t know how we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish if we’re struggling in these ways if we can help it. Some people who are listening, you have things that can’t be changed. They are just unchangeables. But there are some things, even if we have unchangeable things, we can focus on the things we can change. I’ve been doing yoga lately. You can do yoga just sitting. I can actually do the regular yoga, not all of it, but some of it. But if I was really old, I’m still going to do it, even if it’s just sitting in my chair and doing what I can do.
NATALIE: You said you could talk about how to keep things simple or how to keep things doable, which I think appeals to me especially because I still have a really busy life. My youngest is nine, I still have kids in junior high and high school, and I’m still really busy. You used the word “intuitive.” I need things to be more intuitive instead of, “Time to go to the gym and work out” like my two older boys do. They go to the gym, they work out, and they look like they could kill you if they touched you with their pinky finger. I don’t necessarily want to look like that. I just want to be healthy. I just want to feel good. Tell us about that. How can we do that?
KYLAR: I was forced to figure that out because of my extreme fatigue. I’m 5’8” and I couldn’t get heavier than 120 pounds until I was 22. Like I said, if I worked out, I got weaker and smaller. So I was reading all of these books. It was kind of like the beginnings of my rebellion, because my dad didn’t like me looking busy because he wanted me to be available all of the time. I was getting these books on fitness and strength training and studying this, and according to those books, which are good, quality books, I was supposed to be doing a certain frequency of working out and all of this, and it wasn’t working for me.
My first intuitive change that I made from what I was reading was, “Theoretically this can’t work, but I’m going to try splitting all of the muscle groups in my body fourteen ways, and then only hit that one muscle group each day, and come back to that one muscle group every two weeks.” So I split the body into two weeks’ worth of individual muscle movements. I kept the rest of my body in a state of calm, almost like I was meditating, and I would work the one muscle group, whether it was just biceps or just triceps or just calves or just inner thigh or just outer thigh, and I would reach fatigue in that one muscle and then rest for a couple minutes and then reach fatigue again and then rest for a couple minutes and then reach fatigue again. That was the first time I started experiencing progress and getting a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger — it took forever.
NATALIE: Like, what’s forever?
KYLAR: There were a couple of different time periods of doing this. I was getting ready for the Marines, so six months I was working, and I think this was the first time I had taken my power back. There was a huge energy boost just from doing that part. In six months, I gained 10 pounds, which is pretty amazing, but then after that, it was slower. I was really set back in boot camp and all the Marine training, so I had to take some more time to recover from that. Then after that, it was maybe 5 to 10 pounds a year. It took me a few years to get up to 170 pounds. I’m just over 170 pounds now. So I’ve added more than 50 pounds of lean tissue to my frame, but if a normal, healthy guy had been working as hard as I was working and being as consistent as I was being, I’d be a massive bodybuilder by now.
NATALIE: Yeah. So you’ve had to work really hard.
KYLAR: And very consistently and very intuitively and adjust my workouts each day based on my energy. You’re talking about ways for keeping it simple, especially when you have a busy life. Some of my workouts have been simply, “Today I’m going to do push ups against the counter whenever I remember to do that.” So every hour or two, I remember, and I go and I do a max set of push ups against the counter.
NATALIE: When you say “max set,” what does that mean?
KYLAR: That means that you’re reaching a level of fatigue.
KYLAR: So it’s not necessarily to failure, because sometimes people talk about always going to failure, like when you can’t do the movement anymore, and that’s a little bit intense. But you do want to reach some level of fatigue, because your body doesn’t necessarily want to increase your lean tissue, your bone and muscle, because it’s focused on being efficient. And so, your body is like a good accountant. It wants to increase savings and reduce expenses. So in one aspect of looking at it, your fat cells are your savings. Your lean tissue is your expense because it’s the most metabolic tissue. It burns more calories than any other tissue in the body. So if you’re not intentionally increasing or maintaining your strength, your body is going to be reducing it. It’s going to be lower in your bone and muscle density unless you’re intentionally maintaining it or increasing it. And all you need to do to maintain or increase it is to reach fatigue a few times a couple times a week.
NATALIE: Wow! That’s all?
KYLAR: That’s all. Your body needs to get that signal. There are three strength exercises that I feel are the most important because they involve the most muscle groups. One would be the push movement. Usually I recommend push ups against the counter, because if you’re trying to do it against the floor and you can’t get full range of motion, it’s not going to be as beneficial as doing full range of motion against the counter.
NATALIE: So by full range of motion, you mean that your body is going all the way down?
KYLAR: So from straight elbows to elbows as bent as they can get with the chest at the edge of the counter.
NATALIE: Okay. I could do that. I can’t do push ups on the floor for that reason, but I could totally do it against the countertop.
KYLAR: Yeah, for sure. Then, for the upper body, you also want the pull movement, which is kind of challenging to do without any equipment. But the piece of equipment I love the most and recommend the most is just a simple resistance band that you can pick up at the sports section of any major store. If you’re getting your first one, usually on the back of the package they’ve got five different colors that they have for their brand and the strengths are related to that. So I would get the mid-strength or just below that to start with if you’re not sure about where you’re at. The nice thing about the resistance band is that they usually come with the door strap, so if you put that in the door around chest height, you can back up a little bit more as you get stronger so that there’s more tension. You can use it for a little bit longer than you might use one weight of a dumbbell because you can adjust the tension.
And then just basic body weight squats get all of the leg muscles involved. So between those three exercises, you will be sending that signal of strength to all those muscles and the bones that they’re attached to. Bone density can only be increased through strength training. And I know a lot of people talk about increasing your calcium and your vitamin C and your vitamin D for bone strength — that’s good and helpful, but your body is not going to utilize those additional nutrients unless it thinks it needs to, and it doesn’t think it needs to unless it has that stimulus of lifting heavy things.
KYLAR: So being consistent with that. Fatigue could be burning in the muscle. That’s when the fuel in the muscle, the ATP, runs out and your muscles start producing lactic acid so it starts feeling warm, and then it feels like it’s burning. Your muscle could start quivering. That would be another symptom of fatigue. Or, you could just find yourself not able to do the full range of motion anymore, and that’s another symptom of fatigue. You could experience all three or one of those three.
NATALIE: Okay. So this is something, really, that we can do throughout the day when we think about it. Just be doing squats. I stand at my desk, so I could be doing squats when I’m standing.
NATALIE: The countertop thing — I’m totally going to start doing that. I love this because I don’t have time to go to the gym.
NATALIE: We do have weights here, but I have done weight-lifting and I actually just can’t stand it.
NATALIE: I hate it. But what you’re saying is making me think I could have a couple of weights in my office and just do that lifting. I think in my brain I think, “If I’m going to work out, I have to work out for an hour.”
KYLAR: Right. It feels like it kind of lines up with so much in our culture. We were talking about Christianity, and Christianity has been very patriarchal, and I don’t believe the Bible is patriarchal, even though it was written within patriarchal culture. So it seems like it is, but I also believe that Source is very gracious in adapting its message to the culture it speaks to. So it doesn’t necessarily agree with the culture, it just doesn’t try to change the culture because we have freedom of choice. So we have to be the ones to realize, “Wait. This doesn’t align with humanity’s highest good, so let’s do something different.” So, same thing within fitness — the standard within fitness is to push yourself as hard as possible to prove that you want it bad enough to send that message to your body, to yourself, and to everyone else that you’re a badass and all of that stuff. That is so unnecessary and beside the point. Like, why do we need to be fit? Not to be the fittest on Earth, but to be able to live the life that we dream of to its max.
NATALIE: Right. I love that. Okay, so what would you recommend as far as the cardio aspect of it, then?
KYLAR: Yeah, so that’s interesting as well. I actually couldn’t do cardio for a really long time because it was the most depleting of my energy. I do believe in movement and I believe walking is incredibly good for you, but unless you are just someone who naturally loves to run and you get a really positive physiological response from it…
NATALIE: Which I don’t.
KYLAR: Yeah, okay, great. So I would encourage ten-to-twenty-minute, maybe even thirty-minute, walks a couple times a week. Walking is really, really good for you. We are obsessed with sweating and with a high heart rate within the fitness world as well, and if you have any sort of trauma or trauma-related health issues, autoimmune issues, or multiple health issues like some people have, then you are going to be riding the edge of depleting yourself if you do anything super intense. But you do get all the benefits of increased oxygen intake and delivery just by the walking. So walking is really powerful. The other benefit to walking over high-intensity training or high-intensity interval training, the HIIT, is that when you do the HIIT exercises, often your appetite goes through the roof because your body is like, “We gotta replace these calories that we burned.” So sometimes you can end up eating more than you burned, whereas with walking, it’s usually kind of an appetite suppressant.
KYLAR: So then you don’t tend to overindulge, but you still burn some calories and increase your oxygen saturation for all of the cells.
NATALIE: This is really good news for me, because remember I told you I stand at my desk?
NATALIE: I also have one of those walk things under my desk.
KYLAR: Oh, perfect!
NATALIE: So I walk twice a day for half an hour.
NATALIE: I just turn the thing on and I’m working, because I work at my desk. I just work and walk.
KYLAR: That’s amazing.
NATALIE: I’m so excited right now because I always feel like (and maybe this is from that background) I’m never doing enough. I’m always trying to catch up. I can’t ever be perfect enough and do what I need to do, and I’m going to be cursed if I don’t get it right.
KYLAR: Right. I know. There’s so much pressure.
NATALIE: Yeah. Okay, this is good. I’m kind of excited. All right, what about the food thing?
KYLAR: Yes. Yes.
NATALIE: Talk about that.
KYLAR: So obviously there’s kind of a wide range of places people could be with their nutrition intake, but the way I like to keep that simple to start with is by taking an honest assessment of what you eat. Actually track for a day. I don’t actually believe or encourage ongoing tracking because that can get really obsessive and be triggering and all of that, but it is important to do that once in a while just to say, “What am I actually eating all day?” And especially to enter it into a calorie tracker. There’s a whole bunch of good ones out there. I’ve used “My Fitness Pal” a lot. It will show you the macros, the total fats, proteins, and carbs that you’re taking in. And then you can use the same app or a different app to calculate what seems to be an ideal for my goals. If I do want to lose a little weight, where should I be range-wise? It’s just that one time check in. Don’t get obsessed with it, but see where you’re at and just get a reference point, kind of like checking a compass. And then look at what you are eating: what do you know isn’t good for you, and what do you know is good for you? What I like to use is just, “Is it real food?” And I kind of loosely define real food as “Does it look like where it came from?”
NATALIE: Yeah, so Snickers bars don’t count?
KYLAR: So anything highly packaged or processed. And I know there are a lot of emotional things for people around food. And then there are people who are vegetarian or vegan or whatever. Vegetarian and vegan have been shown to be really effective for cleansing and for recovery, but there’s not a lot of nutrient density in there. People might be surprised to hear it, but animal muscle meat is 100 times more nutrient dense than vegetables. Organ meat is 100 times more nutrient dense than muscle meat. We’re very used to supplementing or supplementation in our health culture now, but if you’re eating the right things, you don’t have to. And yet, at the same time, you can make healthy changes within whatever realm of nutrition that you feel like you need to follow. There are a lot of really good vegan protein powders.
I think there’s a message out there that you don’t need as much protein as has been said, but aside from water, which is the number one ingredient for every cell in the body, amino acids are the next number one ingredient for every cell in the body. And your body is replacing cells constantly. You’ve got all new skin cells every two weeks. You’ve got all new organ cells every two to three months. Your bones, which take the longest, are completely brand new every five to seven years, so no cell in your body is older than seven years old. That is part of the aging process: the lack of nutrition. What is your body making those new cells of, if not what you eat? So if you’re eating things that are mostly calories, which your body does need, it needs that energy, that unit of energy, but if it doesn’t come with all of the nutrients, the minerals, and the vitamins that are supposed to come with the calories, then your body is still having to make those new cells, and it’s having to actually steal from your own tissue to make those new cells. And so, in the hierarchy of tissue, the least important tissue (even though it’s so important) is your bone and muscle. So that’s where your body is going to steal from for all the nutrients to make the new cells that it’s constantly making. So if you are not taking in enough of the amino acids (and nine of those amino acids cannot be made by the body — it has to come from food), if you’re not getting enough of those, you’re going to accelerate your aging process and the deconstruction of your body.
NATALIE: Fascinating. I need to bring you into my programs and teach a class on this for the women who are in my programs.
KYLAR: Oh, that would be amazing.
NATALIE: Yeah, they would love this. I would love to hear what’s the best kind of eating habits that would help you age gracefully?
NATALIE: I’d like to know, you know?
KYLAR: Yeah. For sure. It would emphasize protein and fat. It would limit carbs to vegetables and fruit. If you’re getting enough protein, protein is the main thing that your body is looking for, and so you’re going to stay hungry until you get enough protein. If you’re not eating protein and you’re snacking on carbs, you’re going to be hungry all the time and you’re going to be wanting to snack all the time.
KYLAR: But if you get enough protein, you should be able to go three, four, or five hours between meals, and just have those meals that you intend to have and be fine in between. I’ve been consistently prepping my own meals and working out coming up on nineteen years, and it’s been a journey, and I’ve been experimenting with different things. It’s not going to be an immediate thing, and I think it’s so, so important to have compassion on yourself and grace for yourself for whatever situation you find yourself in. But kind of like a ship that keeps checking the compass or the stars, if you just kind of keep a pulse on where you’re at versus where you would like to be, and you keep generally moving in that good direction, then you will continue to experience improvement.
So the other thing for aging gracefully is the strength training. I feel like that is the most important thing that you can keep doing, because if you signal to your body to keep that bone and muscle dense, then you’re not going to experience a lot of those symptoms that are assumed to be part of aging. I can’t remember who said it now, but someone that’s knowledgeable said that up to 90% of what we consider the effects of aging is actually the effects of strength loss.
NATALIE: Interesting. Wow. Okay, so if we have you come and do a class (which we will — we are totally going to do this, because I wanted to touch on this in the podcast, but I think we’ll just do a deeper dive in the class. I definitely want to talk about and this will be a teaser, I guess, for those of you who are listening. If you’re not in my program, you need to get in there), we can talk about the emotional aspect of all of this, because there are all kinds of barriers that have to do with our brains more than anything else. More than our stomachs and more than our muscles, right?
NATALIE: And that’s what I think I’d love to go into with you as well in a class. Okay, so we’re going to wrap this up. Why don’t you tell the listeners how they can find you? You’re a massage therapist, so obviously you can’t do that over the internet, but what do you offer for people who are on the internet and maybe want help from you?
KYLAR: Yes, so my website is kylarwellness.com. I have my services listed there. One thing I feel like your listeners might find most helpful if they wished to is, I run a fitness support group called “Intuitive Momentum Fitness,” and it’s based in a Facebook group. If they are able to join that, it’s just $22 a month, and they basically have me on retainer as their personal trainer/life coach. As they’re working on their health, any time they have questions, they are free to access me through that group. And then I go live every week and I prompt everyone in the group with a post, and then they can share with me what they’re experiencing, what they’re going through, and then I respond to those in the live as well. So that is one thing that might be helpful.
NATALIE: Yeah, that sounds awesome. What else do you do?
KYLAR: So live coaching, I can do that over Zoom. And some individual personal training if they want something like a full hour focused on their goals. So those are available. Like we said, this is the end of October, and I’m hoping by Thanksgiving I will have published my book “Keeping Fitness Simple,” and so that should be available as well.
KYLAR: Thank you so much!
NATALIE: That is so exciting! Oh my goodness, that is a huge undertaking to write and publish a book. Huge.
NATALIE: So you’re on the finish line.
NATALIE: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. And you guys that are listening, Kylar is amazing because he comes out of everything that we’ve experienced, so he’s got that past worldview and then he’s evolved out of that, kind of how many of us are trying to do. It’s just nice to be able to work with people who have that background and that understanding and honestly, that wisdom. I think how you have evolved and how so many of these women that are listening have been evolving is they bring a tremendous amount of depth and wisdom to the world at this point.
KYLAR: I’ve seen that over and over.
NATALIE: Yeah. So in some ways, I look back at that whole mess that really intensified twenty, thirty years ago and then now I feel like it has run its course and now it’s dying, thank goodness. But that whole thing, it seemed like such a horrible, horrible thing, honestly, when it was happening, and obviously there’s still people who are still stuck in it and its residual aftershocks, but God is still using it to birth something brand-new and something more loving, more powerful, and more amazing than what we had before that movement happened. So in that way, we can give thanks and know that God always has our back, and He’s always moving us towards His love.
KYLAR: Yes. Totally.
NATALIE: I just want to tell you, it has been amazing to talk with you. I think you’re an incredible human being, and I think this is one of our best interviews that we’ve ever had, and I’m really excited to share it with the listeners in a couple months. So thank you so much.
KYLAR: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that.
NATALIE: All right. And the rest of you, thanks so much for listening and until next time, fly free.