Jorden Gold of Stretch Zone: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing
Perspective: Put everything into perspective. As soon as I become aware that I or someone I am with is upset, I ask myself or them… Will this matter in five minutes, or one hour or one day or one week from now? Once it is put into perspective, then, and only then, we should react proportionately. As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Asa part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jorden Gold, Founder and CSO (Chief Stretching Officer) of Stretch Zone.
Gold’s passion for assisted-stretching began more than 20 years ago when his grandfather began losing mobility from diabetes. By applying a proprietary stretch methodology, Jorden was able to improve his ”Pop-Pop’s” circulation and create a more ideal resting muscle tone, which eventually helped enable him to dance at a family wedding. Since then, Gold made it his mission to help individuals of all demographics and fitness levels — including non-athletes and aging baby boomers — gain full range of motion without pain and ramifications of muscle strain.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
My passion for assisted stretching began more than 20 years ago when I regularly stretched my grandfather. He lost much of his mobility due to diabetes, but assisted stretching eventually enabled him to dance at a family wedding. The spontaneous applause from the wedding guests enjoying my once lethargic and bedridden Pop-Pop’s dance moves was the moment Stretch Zone was born. I found my “why,” my purpose. I decided there and then that I was going to become the best stretcher and share all that I had learned from stretching my Pop-Pop. My contribution was going to be creating a mass vehicle to provide full range of motion without pain and ramifications of muscle strain to the everyday non-athlete, de-conditioned, and aging baby boomers. That is what I would be all about. Stretch Zone’s mission is to improve everyone’s lifestyle. My passion is to focus on the real reason people seek out practitioner-assisted-stretching: to improve and maintain their Flex-Ability for Life. ®
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
There are so many interesting stories from years of jet-setting with eccentric clients. But the first story that comes to mind is eating live octopus in Seoul, South Korea. I was invited to speak and demonstrate the Stretch Zone table (our practitioner-assisted stretching surface) and method at a sports hospital in Seoul. At the time, I had never crossed the ocean or spoken in public before. At the equivalent of 4 a.m. back home, I was thrown on stage to work on their star baseball pitcher’s throwing arm in front of a large team of sports doctors in white lab coats. Then at 7 a.m., I was taken to a live fish market restaurant where I wrestled with eating a live octopus. By moving outside my “comfort zone” into my “Stretch Zone,” I gained confidence and was ready and willing to perform public speaking anywhere. All progress happens outside your comfort zone.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I was walking through Times Square, numb from the freezing six-degree winter night. I was burnt out and disappointed with my education/license model not taking off. I was talking to myself about how frustrated I was. That is when a man wearing a Stretch Zone sandwich board hands me a brochure with my picture on it and says “hey, have you heard of Stretch Zone?” I literally started looking around waiting to hear, “You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop — The Twilight Zone.” Several blocks later, a woman wearing the same sandwich board hands me the same brochure saying, “hey, you heard of Stretch Zone?” I arrive at the address of that gym in Times Square where I find three of my proprietary strapping systems. I go behind the counter and grab a trash bag and begin to strip the tables of my equipment. Immediately, I recognized former Stretch Zone workshop students of mine as they ran up to me. They told me that I could not take the straps. That they were doing more than 100 sessions a month of stretching and it was the biggest money maker in the gym. For reference, months earlier, I taught a large Stretch Zone workshop in NYC where a gym owner paid me to certify his staff. He signed a license deal and was to pay a flat monthly fee per each stabilization system. The owner never paid me the monthly fee, claiming that Stretch Zone was not being well received. When the owner of the gym showed up, I did not know whether I loathed him or loved him. I left with a check and a promise to pay the monthly license fee. I learned a valuable lesson: going forward I would always set up electronic autopay.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
We are pioneering and leading the new practitioner-assisted stretching vertical in health and wellness. I am the founder of Stretch Zone® and an international expert on assisted stretching. I also created and manufactured the Stretch Zone table and its accompanying nationally-accredited Stretch Zone® practitioner certification course, as well as hold the patent on Stretch Zone’s proprietary stabilization system. I have met the high standards of excellence put forth by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and am a board-approved continuing education provider. Lastly, I have taught and implemented my proprietary stretching program with luxury spas, health clubs, hospitals, and professional sports teams in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
My ability to enhance one’s physical and athletic capabilities is sought out by many pro sports teams, celebrity actors, famed musicians, and Fortune 400 billionaires from around the world. I have worked side-by-side with professional NBA and NFL teams, certifying their trainers in the Stretch Zone method. I have privately worked with many sports celebrities, including a U.S. Open Champion, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, and IBF Light Heavy Weight Champion of the World.
On the business side, I am the founder and chairman of Stretch Zone Franchising, LLC. Stretch Zone has successfully opened more than 115 franchise locations throughout the United States, offering practitioner-assisted stretching to the masses.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who of you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I cannot think of one specific person during the early stages — there was a collection of clients that gave me nuggets of wisdom along the way. I always wished to have had a mentor. I was never jealous of people who had money or connections but was always envious of those that had exceptional mentoring. One of my biggest aspirations is to someday become an angel investor and mentor to young entrepreneurs that lack these advantages.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion, what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- Boredom: Attention spans are short these days. People stop routinely exercising or eating healthy foods because they get bored before they get real results. Going to the big box gyms and doing the “no pain no gain” 80’s workouts are trending down. Running on a treadmill or eating a strict limited meal plan with little variety can be so tiring and boring. Making it fun and interactive with friends and family will increase the likelihood of sticking to it. When I played basketball in a league with my friends, I kept my weight down without even realizing I was exercising. When someone asks me, “is doubles tennis an adequate exercise or do I have to go back to the treadmill?” My answer is, “do you enjoy playing tennis? Do you have friends or family who would enjoy volleying with you on the courts?” Any exercise that you routinely do is better than a superior one you don’t routinely do. The more you can make it fun, the more likely you will keep up with any activity. Mix it up and Change it up: rotating your activity and nutritional eats can help keep you interested and engaged.
- Identity:Why do athletes get up and exercise every morning? Because they are athletes, and that is what athletes do. You must first change your attitude — and ultimately, your identity — to what you want to be before you can successfully be it.
- Convenience: We tend to gravitate to what is convenient, hence convenience foods. To integrate a healthy lifestyle, we must make all efforts to make it convenient: Meal prep. Find workout partners with compatible schedules. Work out at the house, community gym, courts that are local or adjacent to your workplace, rather than places that are inconvenient.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Stand up every 20 minutesduring waking hours, and remind yourself that “still water goes stagnant.” Set your phone/watch alarm to go off every 20–30 minutes to remind you to stand up, shake and stretch it out before sitting back down.
- Eat by color: Go moderate with the white and light and eat more dark colors. Simply put, eat colorful and pretty meals.
- Quiet the mind for 10–15 minutes daily. Slowing down thought, sitting still and quiet allows the reality of now. Nearly every day, I stop what I am doing and lay down on the floor very still and zone out. My staff says I am recharging. Remember, the moon’s reflection only appears when the water is still.
- Energy flows where your attention goes:I am always mindful to keep my focus on what I want or want more of, not what I don’t want or lack. “What you seek is seeking you.” — Rumi
- Perspective: Put everything into perspective. As soon as I become aware that I or someone I am with is upset, I ask myself or them… Will this matter in five minutes, or one hour or one day or one week from now? Once it is put into perspective, then, and only then, we should react proportionately. As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Good restful sleep.Americans sit for 13 plus hours a day, building up tension and making muscles restless. Ergo, tossing and turning to try to get comfortable can disrupt the quality of our sleep. There is solid evidence that 30 minutes of exercise — especially stretching — can relieve tension and the excitability of your restless legs kicking under the sheets.
- Clear and positive mind. The endorphins from exercising are the same endorphins that enable you to think sharply and positively. “A strong body makes the mind strong.” — Thomas Jefferson
- High work productivity.Large companies have acted on the realization that exercise directly increases employee productivity. Standing desks and allowing working out during working hours may be here to stay. For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical? I would choose the following three because they translate to real-world scenarios while addressing flexibility, strength and agility.
- Dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. They can be used to help warm up your body before exercising. Dynamic stretches can be functional and mimic the movement of the activity or sport you’re about to perform.
- Stairs or bleachers. Create a circuit routine walking, running, and lunging up and down the stairs. Get creative by mixing up single-step, double-step and zig-zag patterns.
- Swimming. Swimming is an excellent way to work your entire body and cardiovascular system without the impact on your bones and joints.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I picked up “I Feel Great and You Will Too! An Inspiring Journey of Success with Practical Tips on How to Score Big in Life” by Bill Lyon and Pat Croce and could not put it down. I read it cover to cover; I simply could not put it down. The book is in part an autobiography of Pat Croce, the first trainer to rise from the training room to an ownership position. He literally went from taping the ankles of the Philadelphia Sixers to signing their paychecks as president and owner. In between, he managed to pioneer the private sports medicine field, opening 40 centers that he sold for $40 million in 1992. This black belt kicked but and never took no for an answer. His slavish devotion to the cult of customer service was his secret weapon. I remember when as a child living in Philadelphia, I used to listen to Pat Croce on the local radio, where he would not take any callers unless they first shouted, “I feel great!” I am in the personal service business and adhere to creating a cult of customer service. Success is directly proportional to what you do after you do, what is expected by you. It is about rendering more and better service that is expected of you. It is about the extra. You must WOW!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Preventative health card: I think that we need to have incentives for the masses to get healthier. You could use your preventative health card to purchase designated healthier foods from grocers or restaurants to accumulate points. You swipe the card every time you go to the gym, track, pool etc. to you accumulate points. As well as subsidized discounts, the points are used as a qualifier to lower one’s health insurance premiums.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Burn the boats,” leaving only room to sink or swim. It takes infinite thinking where there is no quit or end but continuous existential flexibility to achieve anything revolutionary.
I cannot tell you how many times that I was told that I could not create an assisted stretching-only business. What experience, authority, credentials, or example of a proven like business model did I have? Why risk my little success on such a fool’s errand? You must be willing to blow-up or risk disrupting the status quo to achieve anything great and then be willing to take the calculated risk again and again to maintain it. Little by little, I gained the experience, authority, credentials and proved the business could work. But to create a whole new vertical in health and fitness, I had to truly “burn the boats.” One day, I called all my clients and told them that I was no longer available to stretch them. I had a party where I told all my friends goodbye. I was planning on working 80-hour weeks without pay for the next couple of years. My friends had a great laugh. Four years later, they all toasted with me at my 50th store milestone party.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Elon Musk is the epitome of an infinite thinker willing to easily burn the boats again and again on his way to Mars. Literally. This self-made billionaire has been kicked out as CEO of the very companies that he has founded. He has chosen to sell all his physical possessions and been on the brink of bankruptcy, all while pioneering completely new industries like mass-market electric cars and commercial space travel.
In his biography, Musk was asked just how much he was willing to put on the line. His response? “Everything that other people hold dear. I would die on Mars.”
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