The Founder of Rise Movement Shares His Secrets for a Better Body
Written By: Melissa Mitchell Jason Walsh
Photographed By: Erik Isakson
The Expert: Jason Walsh
Credentials: Celebrity Trainer & Creator of Rise Nation / Rise Movement
A-list: Jason has trained celebrities like Bradely Cooper and Matt Damon
Celebrity trainer and creator of Rise Movement and Rise Nation, Jason Walsh is transforming his clients’ lives one primitively positioned step at a time. From bulking up Bradley Cooper on the set of American Sniper to preparing Matt Damon to live on Mars, Jason’s sculpted his fair share of Hollywood’s A-list. This fabulous-at-40 fitness connoisseur has never broken a bone, never had a major injury, and strives toward living a healthy, pain-free life. From motion pictures to picture-perfect motion, Walsh’s emphasis is on long-term health benefits, rather than on the mirror.
Q: What led you down the fitness path?
Jason Walsh: I was always active as a young kid. Having grown up in a single family home with my mother, my uncle ended up being a huge influence in my life. He was a survivalist who grew up in the mountains in Colorado and he used to take me hiking. I studied chemistry and anatomy in college and eventually got into strength and conditioning which blew my mind and turned my vision toward the world of fitness and training versus bodybuilding. From there, I worked with my mentor Luke Richesson (Denver Broncos coach) who is a savant in his field. I adhered to his methodologies and that experience drove and inspired me! I love nothing more than the body’s ability to regenerate and adapt to stress and that kind of stuff is what really keeps me focused and moving.
Q: How did you get into training Hollywood’s hot-list?
JW: It wasn’t planned, it just kind of happened. The business has grown organically. You have to know what you’re doing and get results for people. Enough people talk…’There’s this guy who’s doing this instead of that, ’ and it just evolved from there! From the outside it looks glamorous, but what people don’t see is the pressure of a director or producer calling and saying that the whole production depends on the actor looking a certain way. All that aside, I’m so grateful for all of the success of Rise Movement!
Q: What’s the philosophy behind Rise Movement and Rise Nation?
JW: Our philosophy here is getting people back to moving the way they’re intended to move. I want to show people how to move well, get stronger, and most importantly, prevent injury. People go to the gym and get into a ‘lift, lift, lift’ mindset, but there’s much more to it than that. Eventually you work muscle by muscle and integrate those types of regimens, but if you don’t move well, you’re overcompensating. I’ve saved a lot of people from surgeries and pain. Sure, sometimes you have to have surgery but my belief is, why not try the gym for a few weeks to see if we can lessen or eliminate the pain first? I can’t tell you how many clients come in with neck or knee injuries, but then end up with no problems whatsoever after combined soft tissue work and strength training! We’re living in a mirror-dominant society. People want to look great in the mirror, but we want them to focus on long-term effects such as eliminating back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, etc.
Q: What type of workouts are your favorite, personally and professionally?
JW: There are so many variables involved in strength training. I mess around with a lot of set schemes and rep schemes and different types of loading to keep it interesting for me. Personally, I like to train seasonally. In the fall, I spend more time inside, tend to eat more, and end up putting more weight on, which is a trend that is primitively ingrained in us. Come spring, I like to be outside more and enjoy the weather. I naturally eat less and do more metabolic training with accompanied heavy breathing, and less rest between sets during springtime. I’m able to compress an hour workout into a shorter amount of time, which is another reason I created Rise Nation. I don’t want to spend hours inside the gym and neither do my clients.
Q: Any advice on keeping our bathing suit bodies in the fall?
JW: In that case, it all comes down to diet. Keep your portion sizes down, don’t eat late at night, and remain consistent. Be aware of your metabolic pathways and don’t be afraid of healthy fats!
Q: Do you incorporate diet into your training techniques?
JW: When my client is training for a movie and they say, ‘we need to accomplish that by this date, ’ we can go all in and inundate someone with tons of information. Under typical circumstances, when a client comes in to train I rarely talk about diet. First and foremost I want my clients to feel good and move well. Eventually, when the time is right, we can get into diet. I start with small things. I don’t like to overload people with too much information unless I have a timeline. I think diet needs to be more simplified. For instance, Monday through Friday, I workout. When the weekend rolls around I’m not going to eat a whole pizza but I’ll definitely enjoy a few slices! I don’t want to encourage people to obsess about food.
Q: What’s a typical workday like for you?
JW: I get up at 5 a.m., get my dogs situated, work from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., squeeze in some lunch and phone calls, work from 1 p.m. to around 8 p.m., come home, send emails, and then sleep! On weekends I work half days and catch up on things. While I don’t want to work at this pace forever, I never want to stop working!
Q: Discuss a workout regimen for one of your top clients.
JW: When we begin working with a new client we’ll give them an assessment and then go into the gym and exploit their weaknesses. Basically, I make them feel like they’ve never worked out a day in their lives. No one wants to go in and work on the things that they’re the weakest in … but that’s what I do! Once their fitness becomes more balanced, then we can get in a better workout and really go at it. That’s how we do it.
Q: How do you keep clients motivated?
JW: I try to get them to feel better, move better, and let them realize that the aesthetic stuff is a side effect result of getting healthier and eliminating pain. Once you get there, that’s life changing! That realization is motivating in itself, it’s all about the bigger picture.
Q: Any get-fit tips for our readers?
JW: There’s such a huge surge of interest in the fitness world and a wide array of different avenues. My advice? Try a little bit of everything; jump on the class-pass train; mix it up; and have fun with it! I never had access to any of this stuff when I was growing up but now there’s a ton out there!
Native Knowledge: Wondering where the name Rise Movement came from? We were too! According to Jason, “Rise” originated from conversations with his grandmother: “I grew up in a poor household and my grandmother was always telling me ‘It’s going to be difficult but you’re going to have to rise above what society is going to give you.’ Her saying ‘You have to rise’ always stuck with me.”
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A native East Coaster who now resides in Southern California, Melissa’s had her fair share of bicoastal living. As co-creator of the blog inPSYCHful Living (inPSYCHfulLiving.com), Melissa enjoys sharing her love of mindful beauty, style and living with those around her. Being a psychologist and international travel writer, Melissa fulfills her desire to learn about the individual by meeting new people and engaging in new experiences with others. A firm believer in the notion “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there,” Melissa has found that the most wonderful things can happen just outside of that comfort zone.