Q and A about the new post-production health resource Fitness In Post

We all know that editors and post-pros probably aren’t the most active and fit bunch

If you’re an editor, motion graphics artist, colorist or most any other post-production professional you’ll probably be interested in Fitness In Post. It’s a new online community with the lofty goal of getting post-pros off their rears and moving around; be it with a standing desk, exercise or some sort of subjecting yourself to unspeakable horrors that is a Spartan Race. That’s probably a bit extreme for some. You’ll hear a lot of talk about standing desks.

That’s oversimplifying things a bit but it’s not news to anyone reading this that the life of a editor is a bit sedentary. Instead of lugging camera gear over a mountain we’re lugging a coffee upstairs more than we like to admit. Enter Fitness In Post as it aims to be a both a resource and an inspiration for getting out from behind the edit desk and get to moving around. It was founded by editor Zack Arnold and he discusses the how and why of Fitness In Post on a recent episode of That Post Show. Also check out another discussion on the Going Postal podcast.

I sent over a few questions about this burgeoning initiative called Fitness In Post. Zack does a good job explaining it all, addressing a few questions about Fitness In Post that I’ve seen pop up as well as handing out some good tips and advice.

I have a Fitbit. I (sort of) have a standing desk. I have the will to exercise. Next I have to get involved. Take it away Zack.

What inspired you to start such a niche website? Fitness in general has a very broad audience but fitness directly specifically at post-production?

This wasn’t an overnight inspiration, it evolved over many years. You can read more extensively on the site about my story, but basically I was at a point of being incapacitated by stress, being sedentary, and working ridiculous hours. I was horribly out of shape physically, mentally, and spiritually, and I was ready to give up on my career and life in general. But then I found a doctor at the Akasha Center who helped me learn about wellness. So I spent the next ten years experimenting with everything under the sun to try and improve my energy and well being. The successful experiments are on the site, the failures…not so much. Then a few months ago I thought about putting together an exercise group of friends to help with accountability. It was just going to be a way to coordinate hiking groups and our exercise programs. Then I thought it would cool to broaden it further…then further….then I decided to jump in head-first, do this right, and provide a community for the entire post-production industry.

Do you think post-production attracts lazy folks in general or do editors and post-production personnel just become lazy when faced with sitting, staring at a computer screen all day?

I don’t think anyone is inherently lazy (though some recent studies actually prove opposite). I think editors and people in post-production are highly creative and energetic, but I think without proper guidance, it’s SO easy to get lazy over a long period of time because you’re inside, the lighting is dim, you’re sedentary, it’s very easy to eat poorly, and we focus on a flat screen for more than half our waking hours. I fell into this trap the same as anyone else. It’s a cultural thing as well, “Post people eat pizza and drink beer.” This is something I’m trying to change. Is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not. But a lot of people are looking for better options, and I’m trying to provide those healthy alternatives.

If an editor has spent a career sitting and not exercising regularly where does one begin to bring fitness into their life?

The best place to start is going step-by-step through the program. STEP 1: Set a goal for yourself If you’re really out of shape, that goal can be as simple as taking 3000 steps a day instead of 2000. It could mean adding one 10 minute walk per day after lunch. And the best way to motivate yourself towards a goal is STEP 2: Track everything What you measure, you can improve upon. It doesn’t matter what level you’re starting at, the best direction to move is forwards. The steps are designed to be incremental, not an “all or nothing” approach. Then STEP 3: Make small changes is about adding small amounts of activity to your daily routine that can add up very quickly. Once you have established a new routine and discovered some energy again, move onto the last two steps to really start seeing lasting results.

Have you always been active and deep into fitness as a post-production professional? You don’t decide to join in a Tough Mudder competition overnight!

The funny thing is…I did just decide to join my first Tough Mudder overnight! My sister was into it and coaxed me into registering with her, and I was in the WORST shape of my life. I had just had my first child, had gained a lot of weight, was sleeping poorly, and my diet was atrocious. But having this goal and the accountability (between the event and my sister constantly hounding me) motivated me to get in shape, so I used the Beachbody programs Power 90 and then P90X to get ready. I trained for four months, stuck to the program guidelines, and had the biggest transformation of my life. I survived and completed my first course…but barely. Since I have completed three other Beachbody programs, done an additional Tough Mudder, a Rugged Maniac, a Spartan Race, and I’m registered for three additional Spartan Races this year. To be fair, when I was younger I was very active in sports, martial arts, and strength training. But when I took the leap of faith to do P90X and be in a Tough Mudder, I hadn’t touched a weight or trained in any way whatsoever in several years.

Post-production can often involve long hours for multiple days at a time. What advice do you have for finding the time to exercise? How do you find the time to exercise regularly when you have a family to spend time with as well?

I have provided several FITNESS resources on the site to find ways to get in short bursts of exercise at your office which means you don’t have to “find the time.” If you’re rendering a shot for 10 minutes, drop and do 30 burpees. Or stretch. Or do a quick yoga class at Yogis Anonymous. I personally do my workouts later at night after my family goes to sleep. This isn’t the best time to exercise because it can impact your sleep, but it’s my only option. So I decided that exercising later at night is still better than no activity at all. And if I get home from a long day at 11 or 12 pm, I don’t exercise. Then I do quick workouts in the office instead to keep me going. I also have a treadmill in front of my standing workstation (that I’m walking on right now, as a matter of fact), so this helps keep me alert and active all day long.

Any advice for those working in snack and “finger food” friendly environments? It can be hard to walk by that bowl of M&Ms, pretzels and peanuts without grabbing a handful.

I’m the WORST offender of the bowl of M&M’s. EVER. My God it’s so easy. But the easiest way to change that habit is not to stop cold-turkey (this has a less than 5% success rate), it’s to replace that habit with something healthier. And man have I experimented with a lot of stuff. By far, the best solution I have found is a product called Shakeology It’s a meal-replacement, not a protein powder. It has over 70 nutrient-dense ingredients, it’s all natural (I avoid products with chemicals and additives), and most importantly, it reduces sugar cravings. It even improved my digestion which was a mess for a long time. So if I have one at breakfast or mid-morning, I don’t have insatiable cravings at 3pm like I used to. The stuff is an amazing investment.

If you could advise an editor to make one investment in their edit suite beyond normal post-production gear what would that be?

Anything to get you standing and active is a good investment. I bought myself a TBC Console 7 years ago. It was NOT cheap…but it’s the #1 investment I’ve ever made. Standing will change the way you work. This is not a sales pitch, it’s just a fact. Ask anyone who has converted to standing, they’ll tell you the same thing: “I’m never going back.”

There’s a number of shakes and supplements recommended on the site. Are there options and resources for those who want a healthier more natural lifestyle that doesn’t involve purchasing and consuming supplements?

Yes, on the NUTRITION page I have recommendations for several incredibly healthy diet options. And to clarify, these are not “diet programs,” these are dietary changes that you make long-term. They’re all about making different choices and learning how to properly buy your food. No gimmicks, no subscriptions, just good old-fashioned education. I don’t believe in quick fixes. I never subscribe to just one idea, I always blend different ones together. But the ones on that page are my go-to’s for having lasting energy and losing weight.

Some of the products recommended through Fitness In Post are for sale and have an almost multi-level marketing feel to them. Care to comment? Do participants have to buy into some type of program or purchase an activity tracker to participate in Fitness In Post?

There is ZERO obligation to buy anything on this site. This site will always be a free resource to this industry. Yes, I recommend products that I believe in on this site, and yes I receive small commissions if you purchase through my links. Affiliate links are not uncommon on the Internet. We live in a capitalistic society. If people prefer to bypass my site and use Amazon instead, I have no problem with this. What I can say is I try everything before I recommend it. I’m not an affiliate for companies I don’t believe in 100%. A lot of my recommendations are for products designed by people that I know personally who have changed my life. And to address your question about multi-level marketing, yes, Beachbody is a MLM company. They made a very calculated business decision that they wanted their customers to sell their products instead of plopping them on shelves in retail stores. Because Beachbody customers are passionate people. Their stuff works. Their products are changing peoples lives. I am proud to be affiliated with them and their mission to help people get healthier the right way. Those that believe otherwise are only talking themselves out of the opportunity to get healthier. You can lead a horse to water…..

The “Beachbody Challenge” and those before and after photos might be off-putting to some who’ve never been in a fitness program before. What advice do you have for those people?

Leave your ego at the door. Understand that the only person standing in your way is you. Those “before and after” photos are regular people. It is Beachbody’s company-wide policy that there are NO photoshop enhancements. Everyone starts somewhere. The people with those amazing ‘after’ photos worked their asses off and deserve every ounce of their success. I’m proud of my before & after photos because I earned them.

Right now an editor has a card table from Target and an office chair from Staples. They can only afford EITHER a standing desk or a Herman Miller chair. Which one and why? Or should that $1000 go somewhere else entirely?

No question. 100 times out of 100, buy a standing desk. No chair on the planet will make you less sedentary, it’s an oxymoron. Standing will boost energy levels, increase your focus, and you’ll be more engaged with your material. And that’s the whole idea behind the entire website…helping people feel better so they can be better at their jobs. It’s about making an investment in yourself.


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Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn’t really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production and Graphic Design he was in one of the early graduating classes at the Watkins Film School in Nashville, Tennessee. During that time at Watkins he discovered editing. While most of his classmates in film school wanted to be directors, Scott saw real career opportunities in post production and took a job as an assistant editor after completing film school. In 1999, Scott took the leap into freelancing and in 2007 accepted a position as an editor at Filmworkers – Nashville. In 2005 Scott created The Editblog a website dedicated to all things editing and post-production which is now housed here at PVC. Someday he hopes to edit on a beach with a touch screen device, a wireless hard drive and a Red Stripe.