Business Spotlight: Olympian Ken Chertow urges slow, steady road to healthy lifestyle

Three-tine NCAA All-American and 1988 Olympian Ken Chertow coaches wrestling and helps people become more healthy through a nutrition program called AdvoCare.
Three-tine NCAA All-American and 1988 Olympian Ken Chertow coaches wrestling and helps people become more healthy through a nutrition program called AdvoCare. CDT photo

Ken Chertow learned about discipline from wrestling, a sport that requires it on and off the mat.

The three-time NCAA All-American and 1988 Olympian knows what it takes to reach one’s potential.

Chertow has helped youth reach new heights through coaching wrestling. He also helps people become more healthy through a nutrition program called AdvoCare.

“I love coaching kids,” Chertow said. “I love helping people get better and reaching their goals.”

With summer on the horizon, it’s time for some people to consider changing their lifestyle for the better, and Chertow shared some tips on how to do it.

Q: Is the hardest part to living a healthier lifestyle just committing to change for the better?

A: I think that’s the first step, deciding you want to live healthy, be energetic and be fit. It’s just my slogan in wrestling on the wall in here: “Commitment to excellence.” I find the biggest challenge is a lack of discipline. What wrestling and lot of other sports have taught me is discipline. The more consistent you are, the better you perform. It’s the same with nutrition and life.

Q: What are some basic health and nutritional tips you could offer for some to have a healthy lifestyle?

A: Set goals. Decide, if you want to lose weight, how much you want to lose. Generally, you can set a goal of a pound or two a week, and you can work toward your larger goal. I recommend buckling down for a month to lose five or 10 pounds depending on how overweight you were, and then you’re in a routine and you can keep losing weight or maintain what you’ve lost. There’s losing weight and then there is maintaining what you’ve lost. What you don’t want to do is Yo-Yo and lose a lot fast. Do it slow and steady.

Q: Can you give some basic tips about how to eat healthy?

A: Start with what you buy. Shop the edges of the grocery store where generally all of the healthy food is. Stay away from the junk food. Don’t go to the potato chips and cookies or go out to eat the fast food.

You’re also way better off preparing food at home than going out to eat, because fast food and restaurants hurt your nutrition and consistency. They just pile on the calories, so the less you go out to eat the better.

Q: What should people look out for when buying and then consuming pop, sweetened and other beverages?

A: Drink as much water as possible. Soda is terrible. Tea is just a little bit better, but it’s not much better. So, literally, drink as much water as possible. Skim milk instead of whole milk, and AdvoCare supplements that I like instead of the Monster (energy drinks) or soda ... If you’re constantly drinking water, it flushes your system, maximizes your health, decreases your appetite. There’s so many benefits to drinking water.

Q: Let’s talk about fitness. What are some basic pointers you can give about working out on a daily and weekly basis for things like cardio and weight lifting?

A: If you’re sedentary, start walking. If you’re walking, start jogging. Doing something daily is important, especially in the morning. A lot of people wait until after work to do it. If you do it in the morning, even if it’s only for 20 or 30 minutes, it gets your metabolism going for the whole day. Increase intensity over time, get your heart rate up and continue to increase your metabolism.

Q: Say you’re in the gym and fairly new to it. Would you agree that safety and knowing what you’re doing with the correct technique go hand-in-hand as the most important things in there?

A: Most importantly, for the typical adult, is cardio to get your heart rate up and raising your metabolism. Then, as you get into fitness and embrace it more, definitely get education on gyms that fit your needs where you like the coaches and you can get the personalized attention you need.

Q: Should you give your body a chance to have a break a day or two a week to rejuvenate?

A: That’s a personal decision. I enjoy exercise, so I might only take off a day or two a month. Certainly, I think some people decide they busted their tails off for six days, so they want a day off. It’s a personal choice for everyone.

Q: You swear by AdvoCare. Can you explain what that is?

A: I’ve been around AdvoCare for 20 years. Its a nationwide direct sales nutrition company, and we’re advocates for taking care of your body. We have it growing like crazy in Centre County.

Twenty years ago an Olympic coach Joe Seay recruited me to get involved, but I didn’t get involved as a distributor until four years ago. I decided so many young people made poor decisions with their diets that I had to step up and provide them something healthy.

We don’t do muscle gain until kids are teenagers, and then we have things for parents, too, where they do what’s called the 24-day challenge. It’s a package of products that raise your metabolism and decrease your appetite. AdvoCare is a lot of different things, and our main package of products are to help adults to gain energy and lose weight.

Q: How did AdvoCare make a difference for your health and fitness?

A: In my 40s I found it hard to keep my weight down. I was starting to gain more weight, so I embraced helping my athletes perform better with a safe supplementation program, and the 24-day challenge worked for me. I lost 10 pounds. I’ve worked to stay fit through my 30s and 40s, but it gets harder as you get older. This program really helped kick start my weight loss.

Q: Can you tell me about the last time you cheated on your diet?

A: I don’t eat (healthfully) strict 100 percent. I guess I really like hibachi. That’s my favorite splurge maybe once every two months. Nobody is ever going to be 100 percent clean, but if you make at least 90 percent of your choices clean then you’ll do well.