Women In Wellness: Lissa Bankston Of Therabody On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Lissa Bankston Of Therabody On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Trust your instincts: We all have a different set of instincts that are specific to our individual experiences. When the moment presents itself, trust yourself. There is a reason you feel the way you do and know one knows your body as well as you do.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Lissa Bankston, Director of Human Performance, Education, and Training at Therabody.

Lissa Bankston is the Director of Human Performance, Education & Training at Therabody where she helps create and deliver education using the Therabody EcoSystem of products. She works directly with Therabody Athletes, Teams, and Ambassadors helping design wellness and recovery protocols specific to their sport or profession. With over 20 years of experience, a background in personal training, and a passion for education Lissa has also had the opportunity to speak at events sharing her expertise in programming design, coaching, movement correction, mental health, and recovery techniques.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Igot into health and wellness at 19 by teaching fitness classes to afford the membership at my local gym. From there, I worked my way through the fitness world from high end personal training, group fitness to fitness education. Every step on my career path has included wellness, especially as I love helping others. From big pharma to holistic and integrated medicine, I have had the opportunity to see a variety of treatments for and definitions of ‘health.’

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

In my early 20’s, I was misdiagnosed with depression only later to find out that it was a simple hormone imbalance. This happens less today, but it significantly impacted my health and how I went about getting treated. It was the first time I realized that I have to learn more about my body or this would happen again. I also did not want that for other women. Based on my experience, my key takeaways for all women are:

  • Women may be complex, but the more we know about our own bodies, the more powerful we become as advocates for our own health and wellness.
  • Trust your instincts, and be vocal. You have to have your own back first and foremost.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

For me, it is all around fitness and training. When you are in the industry for years, you start to see the trends. Some you try out and like, while others make you feel like you are totally lost. What I’ve learned is that if something feels confusing, it’s likely a passing fad. Also, everyone is unique; It’s important to invest in each client so I’m enforcing methods that support their specific lifestyle.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

At Therabody, we want to put the wellness power into the hands of people so they can take control of their health and wellness. We match innovative technology with effective design to deliver products that address real human pain and needs. We’re constantly innovating and recently launched three new Theraguns — the Theragun Relief, Theragun Sense, and Theragun PRO Plus — all of which are designed to serve people with varying needs, aches and soreness. So whether you’re a busy parent taking care of loved ones, someone who wants to introduce haptic breathwork into their routine, or the athlete running marathons every other week, we have made products specifically for you. I think this is so key and it makes me so proud to stand behind a company that is evolving the way we think of medicine and traditional therapies — I’m excited to see how we continue to innovate and push the boundaries of the health and wellness industry.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

  1. Water first: drink at least 8 ounces of water upon waking, more if you can.
  2. Wake early + work out: get the day started well before your responsibilities do so you can work out. This helps with hormone balance and supports healthy glucose levels, especially in women.
  3. Sleep: this is where your body restores itself, specifically where all your anti-aging happens because in your REM cycle, your body detoxes from the dead cells that no longer serve it. I recommend at least 8 hours for women. When we go through long stretches of time without good sleep, we see illness, physical decline and accidents. So, you may think doing mindless activities like watching TV, playing on your phone, et al, is relaxing. But it’s better to skip that and transition to sleep earlier in the evening so your body and mind get enough rest.
  4. 80/20 rule: this involves nutrition and it means eat well 80% of the time and don’t worry about the rest. I also like to look at my nutrition over the course of a week, as opposed to a day which gives me more freedom as life happens. I’ve never seen more failure than when people go all or nothing — like with Keto or intermittent fasting. Just do your best. Your body — and mind — will appreciate it.
  5. Look for small wins: walk after every meal, or integrate more little moments of healthy activities. We’re not all or nothing so let the small wins add up over a day or a week and count them.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would rewrite the Health and Wellness curriculum at an elementary school level. Making health and wellness a significant requirement through graduation. Teaching what a calorie is, is not as valuable as teaching the value of nutrient-rich calories and how they impact hormones and integrated wellness. School curriculum can be black and white and not applicable to different lifestyles. What if we taught kids how to use food as a fuel for big tests or for physical activity. Even teaching young women about their cycle and ways we can eat/sleep/hydrate/move and more can help them to reduce negative health effects and avoid severe menstrual symptoms. There are more significant themes than the traditional curriculum of food groups and calories. Ideally, you should be able to put together your own workout by the time you graduate high school. What if we truly taught people from a young age how to take care of themselves, stay healthy, and live a quality life?! The reality is that sick people make the world more money than healthy people.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Learn to let go: you can’t control everything and you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Know when to let go and move in a new direction.
  2. It doesn’t have to be perfect: Starting is the hardest step, but it is the key to creating significant change. You can make tremendous changes by initiating action. This might involve dedicating 15 minutes to exercise if an hour seems daunting, adding an extra glass of water to your daily intake, beginning with one healthy meal or snack instead of trying all three, or aiming for an additional 30 minutes to an hour of sleep. These are practical ways to gradually incorporate healthier habits. Taking small steps and integrating them into your daily routine simplifies the process and allows you to adjust as needed for perfection along the way.
  3. Find joy in what you do: if you don’t love it, don’t do it. Life is too short and your should prioritize the activities that excite you instead of forcing yourself to do something that you don’t enjoy.
  4. Trust your instincts: We all have a different set of instincts that are specific to our individual experiences. When the moment presents itself, trust yourself. There is a reason you feel the way you do and know one knows your body as well as you do.
  5. The toughest moments come before breakthroughs: Most of my best moments are on the heels of really hard growth that I often want to bail on or take the easy way out. Do the work, especially when you don’t want to, it will serve you in the end.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is closest to me at the moment. Personally I have dealt with my own ups and downs from mental health and have found it frustrating to get the right support. I think we could make a significant impact by educating younger people on the connection between mental and physical health. Showing individuals how everything we do- from how much sleep we get, to what we eat, to our level of exercise can all play a major role in how we protect our mental health. Instead of addressing problems once they become severe, we should focus on proactive measures and preventative resources. I would love to promote a better understanding of how to safeguard one’s mental health and recognize the triggers that affect our cognitive functions.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and follow what we’re up to at Therabody.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .

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