Welcome to Bridge the Gap with hosts Josh Crisp and Lucas McCurdy. A podcast dedicated to inform, educate and influence the future of housing and services for seniors. Bridge the Gap aims to help shape the culture of the senior living industry by being an advocate and a positive voice of influence which drives quality outcomes for our aging population.

Wellness Discussion with Kyle Gardner, COO of NIC MAP Vision

On a journey to live a healthy lifestyle, Kyle Gardner, COO of NIC MAP Vision, shares encouragement for those who might put their health as last priority.


Investing in wellness has benefits in other parts of your life.

Kyle Gardner

Guest on This Episode

Kyle Gardner

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Josh Crisp

Owner & CEO Solinity

Josh Crisp is a senior living executive with more than 15 years of experience in development, construction, and management of senior living communities across the southeast.

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Lucas McCurdy

Owner & Founder The Bridge Group Construction

Lucas McCurdy is the founder of The Bridge Group Construction based in Dallas, Texas. Widely known as “The Senior Living Fan”.

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Working long hours, working long weeks, I need to have a certain level of energy and sharp focus to bring to my team and my customers.

Quick Overview of the Podcast

On a journey to live a healthy lifestyle, Kyle Gardner, COO of NIC MAP Vision, shares best practices for accountability, action items to accomplish a wellness-minded goal, and encouragement for those who might put their health as last priority.

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Welcome to season seven of Bridge The Gap, a podcast dedicated to informing, educating, and influencing the future of housing and services for seniors. Powered by sponsors Accushield, Aline, NIC MAP Vision, ProCare HR, Sage, Hamilton CapTel, Service Master, The Bridge Group Construction and Solinity. And produced by Solinity Marketing.

Lucas 00:43:

Welcome to Bridge The Gap podcast, the senior living podcast with Josh and Lucas. We have a very cool, exciting, and different episode today. We want to welcome a good friend of ours back to the program, Kyle Gardner of NIC MAP Vision. Welcome back to the show.

Kyle 00:57:

Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Lucas 00:59:

Totally. Well, exciting friendship and partnership. NIC MAP Vision has come alongside Bridge The Gap to help us produce this content to get it out into the ecosystem of senior living. But today, we're going to take a little bit of a different path because I have had the pleasure of getting to know Kyle through the Future Leaders Council at the NIC organization. We've had meetings and different experiences where we could talk about life and family and work and balance and blend and wellness. And come to find out, Kyle is a guru on so many different topics. He's not a self-proclaimed guru. I will say.

Kyle 01:41:

Your words, your words.

Lucas 01:41:

He wants to give a caveat, but I will say personally, I have picked his brain on a variety of topics and he has an answer, an accurate good answer for just about every question I've ever asked. And so I thought, what a cool way to come onto the podcast and let's talk about wellness today. I think wellness is very much tied to longevity. And this is something that people need to be thinking about at really any stage in their life. One of the things that I appreciate about what Kyle is doing is that he has thought this out extensively and is really on a very unique journey. So, Kyle, bring us into the fold. What is this journey of wellness that you're on?

Kyle 02:20:

This really goes back to when I was a child myself. Sports and physical activity were always something my parents expected from us. We got to choose what we wanted to do, but the oldest of four brothers, so this was a little bit of a strategy from their side to keep the energy out of the house. So played soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, just tried any and everything. And that really stuck with me throughout childhood and into adulthood too. But it wasn't really until my wife and I found out we were pregnant, and my daughter was born that it just kind of clicked. It was like, okay, this is a level of enjoyment for me, but this is also how I create longevity and sustainability so that when I'm older, I can be mobile and agile and play with her and not have aches and pains or have to worry about something like that.

Kyle 03:04:

I can just go and do without thinking in terms of going to the theme park, going on the rollercoaster, pick her up. And that's something that I've seen others in my family or others around me maybe struggle with because of mobility issues. So for me it's, I'm playing the long game, like you said, but I'm also trying to have fun with it. So I love to do some weight training, power walking, and hiking. I'm not a runner. Cycling, we might have to try that out someday. But just try and stick to the basics and create a foundation that I can maintain over the long run.

Lucas 03:36:

Let's go a little bit deeper because maybe from a high level, you're saying, yes, I need to be fit, but you've really drilled down a lot deeper than that and created a plan. And you've actually charted this out over not just a few months, but years. You're thinking very much longevity into decades from now and what that's going to be like for you in your life and the goals that you want to have.

Kyle 03:58:

We were all kind of locked in during COVID and didn't really get to go to the gym, didn't feel comfortable going out on runs, or things of that nature. So I was just cooped up a lot and had a lot of pent-up energy. And as soon as that started to open up, I started going back to some fitness classes. I was like, I need to create a baseline of fitness and just get smart about it. And as I was doing that, I was studying and learning from experts. So like many people, I've gone down the rabbit hole on the Andrew Huberman Lab podcast and found guests that I thought were interesting. So, Andy Galpin, I think he's in the University of California system, learned, what are they studying? How are they teaching athletes to be elite? How are they teaching athletes to have power, strength, speed, or things of that nature?

Kyle 04:40:

And what can I apply from their learnings and their practice in my life? And so what I started to do is kind of build-out, all right, I'm at a point right now. This was three years ago or so. I could run about two miles in under 20 minutes, but I'm dead after that. Couldn't really squat my body weight or anything of that nature. It's just an average guy who looked slim and in shape, but in reality, no. So I was like, all right, over a three to five-year plan, what do I need to do to achieve my ideal physique? My ideal energy levels achieve different skills like physical skills, being able to lift things, moving in certain ways, being flexible, and things of that nature. Started planning out a diet. What type of protein intake do I need to have? What kind of cardio do I need? Minimum amount so that I can achieve these different goals and what equipment do I need? And so what went from Orange Theory Fitness to different classes at Lifetime and just tried to experiment. And then as I started to figure out what I liked and didn't like, I turned that into a plan. Now I'm doing four days a week of weight training and a little bit of cardio here and there.

Josh 05:49:

So the journey, if I can recap, I think you said it really got real for you because it sounds like you've always been athletic, you've always been fitness-focused, but I was coming out of the pandemic. So really just over the last few years, I'm curious to see or hear as you have started this journey, what kind of impact have you seen in your overall wellness? What has the impact been on you at a personal level? Has it impacted your professional life or your family life? Because I think a lot of listeners are immediately going to, you have it in your mind when somebody says wellness, well what does that mean? Does that mean a lot of people are just like, well, I'm not sick, I'm well, you know, or oh my gosh, is this seven dimensions of wellness or everybody's got some rabbit that they're going to chase? But for you, what kind of impact have you seen from the level of wellness that you've sought after

Kyle 06:46:

In addition to mobility and agility over the long haul? I wanted to have more energy during the day. I wanted to have a sharper focus during the day. I've been working with my primary care physician to make sure that blood levels and hormones and things of that nature are in an appropriate range for the long haul, given my family history and things of that nature, which is something I think everyone should do. Go get your annual physical once a year. Work with them to develop a plan. Most of the time your insurance, actually, I found this out myself. My insurance covered sessions with a nutritionist. So I was able to get expert advice on food that I'd never had before that I was always clamoring through YouTube videos or books and I could tailor and personalize that to me. And after just two or three sessions, I had some basic principles that I'm still carrying forward now.

Kyle 07:34:

But what I was trying to do is as the Chief Operating Officer of NIC MAP Vision, working long hours, working long weeks, I need to have a certain level of energy and sharp focus to bring to my team and my customers. And I want to be able to do that for decades. And so that was a big component of it for me. The other was obviously I want to look a certain way, I want to feel a certain way. So it all comes together. So I've started doing some really simple things. They're not easy. I don't want to make it sound like we can all go do this overnight. I've struggled with it myself. But you can do some really simple things to get started. Like just write down what you eat. You don't have to change anything that you're eating at all. Just track it and look back at it.

Kyle 08:15:

At the end of the week, you'll figure out pretty quickly where you could make some changes where you're like, eh, did I need that? No. Was it amazing? Okay, I'll do it again. Be honest with yourself. When you're working with your primary care physician, you know, figure out what vitamins you might need or supplements you might want to take or focus on or things you should absolutely avoid from an impact standpoint. Three years in my energy during the day is vastly different. My sleep is much better. The kid's not really helping with that, but we're working on it. I feel like I'll be able to maintain my physical acumen and strength for a long time, barring any injuries.

Josh 08:53:

Well, so you touched on something that I will just kind of echo that was also life-changing for me. I'm actually going to do that. I'm going to actually journal and write down what I ate. I think you said you did it for a week. I can recall back seven, eight years ago life changing for me. I wanted to get well fit in a lot of things and I also wanted to figure out, I knew I was going to have to make some sacrifices and some changes and do some things that while they, as you said, were not really complex, but they weren't necessarily easy because it involved change. I journaled for two weeks and there was nothing scientific about that. I randomly picked, I need to figure out over an average of two weeks where I'm spending my time and I literally journaled every minute of the day what I was doing and what I was spending my time doing.

Josh 09:42:

Because I was thinking I don't have time to do some of the things that I'm hearing these coaches tell me. I'm like, who in their right mind has kids, family, careers, all that? How do you do that? It's amazing what you can learn when you actually write something down as it's happening because you find patterns and things that are pretty worthless. That's how I described it, that I was spending my time on, that I didn't realize from a cumulative perspective over a day or over a week or over two weeks, how much time I was spending on something. So I can only imagine what you said when you actually write down what you're consuming because when I come to events like this, you've got every opportunity in the world to eat anything and everything you want. It's right there. Such a huge part is what we consume. So that's a that's a great point. Lucas, are you going to do it with me?

Lucas 10:30:

Okay. Yes. Challenge accepted. One thing that I heard you say as a part of this commitment is you actually designated not a random value, but an actual number, a percentage that you said, I'm going to commit to invest this into my wellness

Kyle 10:48:

After probably six months of going on this experiment. Got this from someone on social media of like, let me commit, say 3% of my income to my well-being and my health. So that could be gym memberships, massages or occupational therapy working with a chiropractor, going to a nutritionist, spending a little bit more on better food, things of that nature, and scale that 3% up and down. You can do a lot median salary in the US it's like 60 grand, and 3% of that is enough to cover a gym membership and probably a massage every three months. So some self-care in that. It's not just getting fit or working out. You have to do recovery with that as well. That gave me permission in a way to go and spend money on things that maybe I was hesitating on before.

Lucas 11:35:

You get the permission to say, look, I'm gonna commit to investing this into me in my wellness. And I think, again, tying this back to longevity and also tying this back to our industry, these are caregivers, executive directors, frontline people who give their lives in caring for others. And I know that I've heard a number of different people in the industry focus on how you've got to care for yourself too. When you get on an airplane, the intercom, they say, if you're flying with a child, put your air mask on first before you put it on there. And I've used that phrase so much, just even in our own family with my wife who is a primary caregiver for our children. I have a son with severe challenges, health issues, and special needs. We are caregivers and there are a lot of times where that takes so much energy and priority. But the fact is, if you don't commit to taking care of yourself, you're not going to be able to take care of others.

Josh 12:33:

Well, and I'm wondering, I mean you're, you're a data guy. That's, that's how we really know you and you're expert in that and what you do. I think everybody that's here at this event, the people we come in contact with, we want to be at our best, right? Whatever we envision that is, if you could quantify a percent even of how much better we could be, how much more fit, how much that would quantify into performance how much better it would quantify into how we feel, and how much that could potentially impact everything we touch, everything that we influence our families, our relationships, our work. And I'm wondering if you've had any thoughts on that how does this quantify into what I'm putting my energy into every day?

Kyle 13:20:

It's not a one-size-fits-all metric, but something I read recently, I'll share it here because I think it's on point and also applies just broadly. So mental health is something I think about a lot and it's important to me. It's becoming a growing topic in our industry, but also just across the US and exercise has been shown in studies out of New Zealand to be a more effective antidepressant than any medication out there. It doesn't mean you shouldn't take your medication if it's prescribed by a doctor because you're working out, but the combination of the two is powerful. And if taking that as an anecdote to say like, when we, if we're feeling depressed or bad, we're probably not performing well. And so if exercise can help us feel better and overcome this challenge, we can perform better there.

Kyle 14:04:

So not a perfect answer, but I think that's a nice anecdote to put out there. And so my fitness journey has not been one of weight loss per se. I've actually always been the really skinny, scrawny kid. So in high school, I was really small and I was on the lacrosse team, but I was always like second string because there's someone who's 50 pounds bigger than I am. So my journey's actually been about gaining size and filling out my frame. But if you know someone who's been on a weight loss journey, I guarantee everyone who's been successful in hitting milestones they've set feels like a million bucks once they've hit that goal from where they started. And whether that's a mental barrier or just something that comes with the achievement of that change, I think that's another anecdote that we can kind of point to say like, well, investing in wellness has benefits in other parts of your life.

Josh 14:55:

So I would be interested in what you would say to the person or the group of people that's out there listening. I've been guilty of this too. You sometimes see these influencers or these people that do this for a living, they teach, they train, they coach, they're professional athletes or whatever and they just look beautiful. They're perfectly fit and everything just seems perfect. And you're like, I'm not that and I could never be that. And it's almost like deflating you from even starting the journey. But wellness, I guess can look a lot of different ways depending on that person and goals and stuff like that. So for the person that's out there, that's maybe put something spectacle that's what it looks like and that's preventing them from starting. Where would you say like would be the simple way to say to that person to go ahead and begin the journey and some simple ways to just begin the journey of health and wellness?

Kyle 15:52:

Putting it in perspective is helpful here. The professional athlete, let's pick on an NFL player or a hockey player who's 230 pounds of just pure muscle, and like every time they're walking around you can see a bicep vein pop out and just like, that's crazy. Think about how much they train in their life and compare that to how much you work in your profession. They couldn't come into your professional job and perform at the level you do without years of training and support and tools and things of that nature. So let's give ourselves some grace that we can't just walk into their world and do the same overnight. So reset the goal if that's the end state and you work backward, where were they in high school, right? Where were they at the beginning of their fitness journey? Can you go to the gym twice a week?

Kyle 16:42:

Can you go once a week? Can you walk the dog one extra time a day? Find really small attainable goals that you can repeat regularly and then just make a conscious effort to execute. You have to give yourself some grace to like get started, even if what you're doing when you get started is not as exciting or as adventurous as you want your end goal to be. But you've gotta build a foundation. And so go to a class, walk the dog trade fried food for a grilled option, or get a smoothie instead of getting a hamburger or something like that that you can feel good about in that achievement. And then build on it and build on it and build on it.

Josh 17:19:

Again, going back to the data quantifying it is kind of measuring your success along the way. Because I think, gosh, if you're here and your goal is way out in front of you and you think that's what it's going to be, when I get to a hundred percent of where I want to be, well how much better at 1% of math going to feel like you're 1% better, how that could impact. And then, I also think anytime that I've started something, I feel like the starting part is always the hardest part and making it become a routine or a habit. Something that then it goes from, oh, I've gotta do this to like, I want to do this, or Oh my gosh, if I don't do this, I feel like I'm like missing out. And I think so often surrounding yourself with people or a person, a group that gives you some level of encouragement, accountability when the times get tough, right? Because I mean that's I think getting well is whether you're talking about mental wellness, spiritual wellness, physical wellness, whatever it is, it's a journey and it's better to not go alone.

Lucas 18:28:

Well, now we live in an age where technology has drastically transformed. Everything that we do, including wellness, our growing friendship together. Kyle hearing you talk about this over the past probably six to eight months, I was really curious because I knew that coming out of COVID, I just really slacked off. I gained that weight that we hear so many people coming out of COVID had the same with me. And I've recently been on that journey myself and losing that weight. And one of the things that's been helping me is I think it's called the Withings Scale. And it tracks all this data. You stand on just like a scale, but it's gonna give you like a dozen different metrics that are tracked and categorized similarly. And then when you pair that with an app that tracks your eating and your nutrition and things like that.

Lucas 19:17:

Recently I read a book by Dave Asbury about I have to give Smarter Not Harder. And it talked about all these different ways of growing in your wellness. Even like cardio fitness and saying like, you don't need to run for an hour a day. You can do these little mini workouts and get the percentage of improvement on cardio is actually vastly greater. So look, I'm definitely no expert in this category, but it's interesting the level of data that is available to us today as opposed to five years ago or even more and all the tracking, the iPhone watches and the bracelets and the rings, we can track every little data point. Sometimes it's just wearable or it's just tracking and that sort of a thing. And so we have these tools and technology has really changed all that.

Kyle 20:00:

Building upon that. If you have an Apple Watch or something similar to it, there's a Garmin version, there's an Android version, and you can share that data with your primary care provider. Actually, I have friends and family who have had conversations, they had an event that led them to need to do that or they just were curious and took that two-year PCP and worked with them to incorporate that into the plan that's tailored to you because everyone's journey's going to be different. We all have different family histories or different conditions or challenges we're dealing with. So you've got to adjust accordingly. Like I've got terrible shoulders after playing lacrosse for 10 years. So any overhead movement is basically lightweight or no weight for me, much prefer a back squat or something like that where I just don't have any impairments. I can get more enjoyment out of that. And that shows in the data, when you look at the weight I'm moving or you look at the times on different events and things of that nature, it comes through and the concept holds true in other parts of the area as well.

Josh 20:56:

Well, I can only think Lucas, that you know, as our listeners are listening to this, whatever they're thinking, what I think about it is it's being the best version of you that you can be and that does nothing but do good for yourself. And when you're taking care of yourself that impacts everyone around you. And so this has been pretty cool. We rarely take a topic that's outside of necessarily the daily grind of senior living topics. Our audience is going to get to hear a lot of data points from you. So I appreciate you diving into the wellness topic, something that's near and dear to your heart. And it's cool for our listeners to get to know some of the things that you spend your time on just outside of driving numbers for the industry.

Kyle 21:37:

Indeed, I'm glad to be here. Thanks for having me guys. And I'm ready to talk data if you want to talk wellness again, happy to do that too.

Lucas 21:44:

We definitely will continue that conversation off the microphone and hopefully again on the microphone personally a part two, I would actually be interested in hearing from our listeners and our audience, and I don't believe that this is really new in industry wellness from a corporate standpoint, that's been a topic of conversation for a number of years and I'm wondering what are the operators and providers out there that are really taking this as a priority as far as corporately, what does it look like? Are they providing certain perks or fringe benefits or tracking or making sure people are taking time for themselves? I'd love to know from our listeners, do you know of a progressive operator out there that's really making this a priority in their organizations? I'm sure that there are, and maybe many of them are. I'm just not aware of it. But I think that'd be a great part too, to see how this ties in with running an organization that is caring for people.

Josh 22:37:

I totally agree with you and I'd love to hear that. And maybe we may bring you back on to respond to some of those comments and it's very easy to provide feedback. Comment on all the posts from this episode on a variety of channels, btgvoice.com. People can contact us there, and provide us your information. Who knows, it may show up on the show.

Lucas 22:56:

Absolutely. Awesome conversation. Thanks for taking time with us today, Kyle, and we'll see you back on another great episode of Bridge The Gap.


Thanks for listening to Bridge The Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas. Connect with the BTG network team and use your voice to influence the industry by connecting with us at btgvoice.com.

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