You’ve got your favorite workout. Your co-workers have theirs, and the fellow up the street has his… The type of fitness training you embrace to change your body and improve your health can be as unique and personal as your hairstyle, your religious beliefs, or anything else you define yourself by. That’s why what “works for you” doesn’t always work for someone you recommend it to.
But everyone can agree that exercise should make you feel better than you do without it, and it should have benefits that carry over into other aspects of your life. In that respect, Onnit has you covered, whether you’re a young guy looking to lose weight or an older lady who’s trying to be active again. Such is the case with Onnit Tribe member and Onnit 6 Challenge veteran Jason Oberuc and his mom Tracy (aka “Tad”)—two people who grew closer following the same training system, despite having different goals and being decades apart in age.
The Oberucs spoke with our Director of Fitness Education, Shane Heins, for Onnit Stories—an ongoing interview series in which we showcase people who have made inspiring life changes. See below for video of their chat, and an edited transcript of some of the highlights. You can stay up to date with Onnit Stories by following Onnit’s Instagram TV (IGTV), where a new one appears every Wednesday.
Let’s start with Jason. How did you and Onnit first intersect?
Jason Oberuc: I was not into working out at all for a big part of my adult life. Then I started working nights last year, and that didn’t leave room for much else. When I was coming home and getting ready for bed, everybody else was going to work. I was listening to the Joe Rogan podcast when I heard an ad for the Onnit 6 Kettlebell program. I thought, “It’s 50% off, and I already have a kettlebell… What do I have to lose?” I bought the program then and there.
I liked it right away, and I started telling people at work about it. I stuck with it for the whole six weeks, and I couldn’t believe the physical and mental changes.
People should know that you followed through on the program alone, because you didn’t realize the Onnit Tribe existed to support you at the time. That’s impressive. What changes did you make to your lifestyle and your mindset during that time?
Jason: I think once I got halfway through I thought, “I can do this long-term.” The way the program is structured, the intensity of your workouts varies throughout the week. There are high-intensity days, medium-intensity, low-intensity yoga days, and rest days. That format worked for me. I liked checking off each day as it went by.
Exercise had never been like that for me. Even when I played sports in high school, conditioning days were always something I dreaded—like being in full lacrosse gear when it was 80 degrees in the hot sun, and doing bear crawls across the football field. Exercise was never fun. I always looked at it as a punishment. But three weeks into Onnit 6, I noticed how much better I felt, even though I was still working nights and not seeing any sun.
I now see exercise as an investment in yourself. It’s something that allows you to live the rest of your life easier than you were before. I think that was a turning point for me.
Tad, how about you? When did you intersect with Onnit?
Tracy Oberuc: It was all through Jason. We lived together at the time, so I could see him doing his workouts and he was trying the supplements and really talking the program up. I had had a doctor’s appointment in January last year, and my doctor challenged me to move some more. I wanted to take the Onnit 6 Challenge that started in February, and Jason offered to help me prep for it. He showed me the moves we would be doing, and all that stuff. At first I was like, “My body does not move that way anymore.” So I chose to do the Durability program first, and that was the perfect choice for me. I had been very active for years before, but I’d had a couple of surgeries and that had set me back, not just physically but mentally.
Once I got used to some of the moves, I decided I was going to participate in the Tribe, and that became an all-encompassing thing. I took up meditation. I started doing yoga. Little by little, I really saw some improvement. Just walking around became so much easier. So was getting up the stairs and getting off the couch. Whenever you have a question about anything, the Tribe is right there to jump in.
As a parent, how does it feel to be able to draw on your child for support?
Tracy: It’s great, because that’s what we want for our kids, right? To be role models and to give back to other people, whether it’s their own parents or other people that they know. It’s also a way for me to show respect to him. It says, “I value your opinion, and I listen to what you say.” I’m not going to say, “Well, I’m the grownup, and I know better than you.”
And Jason, how has it been for you to contribute to your mom’s journey this way?
Jason: Her doctor specifically said, “You need to move at least six days a week.” When I heard that, I was like, “Perfect.” I just saw it as an opportunity for her to do Onnit 6. Durability is exactly what she needed. It’s not so intense that you’re dripping sweat at the end of every session, but it’s enough to get you moving. It gets the blood flowing and it gets you moving at least six days a week.
One of our goals at Onnit is to meet people where they’re at, so to have a younger guy and his mom both be able to benefit from Onnit 6 programs is very gratifying.
Jason: I think the Onnit programs are for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, or what kind of shape you’re in—every workout can be modified. I got so much more out of it than just downloading a workout program. The community is great in the Tribe. We’ve even met some of the members in person. The amount of value you get from it that you don’t even have to pay for is incredible. Onnit’s just like, “Here are these resources for you; we just want you to use them and do well.”
Tracy: It really feels like you guys care, and that you love the people that buy your products. I hear Coach John [Wolf, Onnit’s Chief Fitness Officer] in my head all the time encouraging me, and I don’t want to disappoint him. My husband has done some of Onnit’s mobility stuff too, both on his own and with me. There was one day where we were all doing different Onnit 6 programs in different rooms and I could hear John’s voice giving instructions from around the house, and I was like, “It sounds like John lives with us.” [Laughs]
You’ve both completed Onnit 6 Challenges since then. How have you grown since your first Challenge? Let’s start with Jason.
Jason: Like I said, the first Challenge I did, I did by myself, because I found it a week late and I didn’t know about the Tribe group. But that first Challenge was just so eye-opening; it improved everything in my life. I’m a drummer, and it even improved my stamina on the drums. I’m looking forward to getting back on tour now that I’m in shape. The second Challenge I did, I think the philosophy started to set in for me—the whole outlook that Onnit gets you to have on life.
And how about for you, Tad?
Tracy: In the first Challenge I was really just learning the whole six weeks. I was just trying to become a little bit more proficient at whatever the move was with each session. Jason did a lot of it with me, so it was nice to have him by my side. The last Challenge, our schedules were different, so it was more me doing it on my own. In that one, I had something to prove to myself: “You can do this. You can do this a little bit better.”
About halfway through the six weeks, we went on vacation to Colorado. I was thinking that the altitude was going to kick my butt, but we went out on some kayaks and my strength and endurance shone through. We went out for two hours, but I remember thinking that I could have gone much longer. Had it been the summer before, it would’ve been me on the beach watching the family going out on the kayak.
I take my steel clubs on the road with me now when I have to travel for work. I do yoga in the hotel room. That’s the other part of these programs that I love—that you can do them anywhere. In October, I’m going to be heading down to Florida to spend some time with my mother. She has some arthritis and hasn’t been walking as much, so I’m going to introduce her to the Morning Mobility Onnit in 30 program. She’s already excited about it. So that’s going to be three generations of Onnit users in the family.
In my second Challenge, I really upped my game on my nutrition too. I’ve lost almost 45 pounds so far.
That’s so great. People often lose a lot of weight on our programs, but that’s not our primary focus. Many people start a fitness program because they want to make a physical change, and we want them to have that, but we also want them to lay a foundation to keep getting fitter over your whole life—not just in a six-week program. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your physique, but there will be times when your training waves will crest downward, and if you’re not focused on the bigger picture, it can be demoralizing and you may stop training. If we’re allowing ourselves to feel all the other benefits of working out—the healthy habits, the community aspect, the small wins—then we’re less likely to get thrown off by obstacles that come up.
Tad, you spoke a little before about having been active and then having some surgeries that sidelined you. Can you explain what happened?
Tracy: I had two open-heart surgeries that corrected a congenital heart defect. Just a few months before that, I had been doing some long-distance walking and running and had been participating in half and full marathons. The surgeries were four days apart, and the second one really did a number on my emotions and my way of thinking. I had done all this walking before and now, all of a sudden, I was fearful that something would happen while I was out on a trail. I no longer trusted my body.
Onnit helped me build some confidence back. The first time I went on a three-mile walk on my own, it ended in tears because I couldn’t believe that I’d actually done that. It had been so long.
Thank you for sharing that, and I want to praise you for your patience in that process. That’s amazing, and we’re so honored to have been able to help.
OK, I always ask our guests for their favorite Onnit products. We have supplements, we have nutrition products, fitness equipment, and online digital programs. What are some of your favorites?
Jason: For supplements, I use New MOOD®. I like the support with my serotonin production. I also use MCT oil.
What is your favorite fitness tool?
Jason: The kettlebell, bar none. I have a whole collection of them now. I especially love doing the Onnit in 30 Kettlebell program. The kettlebell is such a versatile tool—you can do just about anything with it. You can combine cardio with weight training, and use it for bodyweight training as well. If you were stuck on a desert island with a kettlebell, you’d be fine.
Tracy: I like the steel club.
What are your favorite digital programs?
Jason: Onnit 6 Kettlebell, for sure. That’s the one that started it all off for me. My bodyweight went from 220 down to 185. That was the program that did it for me and sold me on the whole Onnit 6 philosophy.
Tracy: I like Morning Mobility, because you can do it anywhere. And you don’t have to do it in the morning like the name suggests. It’s fine in the afternoon too.
Now, to wrap it up, some questions from our viewers. What Challenge will you each be doing next?
Jason: Actually, I’m going to sit this one out, because I have a few other goals in mind, so I have my own little plan for what I’ll do next. I’ve participated in most of the Onnit 6 programs and I feel like I need to do something on my own again.
That’s great. Our hope is that going through our programs will empower people to write their own training.
Tracy: I’m registered for Onnit 6 Steel Mace next.
Jason, have you gotten other members of your band into the Onnit 6 programs?
Jason: I actually have. They’ve seen me queue the workouts up on my phone, and they just were blown away—because that’s not something I ever used to do. They were fascinated. My guitarist and I plan to do Onnit 6 together. Now we just have to reel in the bassist…