VISTA Magazine Interview with Cory & Tracy Holly

VISTA: During your time in the fitness, training, nutrition and health field, you have seen a lot of trends come and go, many of them flaming out spectacularly. What are the roots of the ineffectiveness of many programs and methods?

CH: I could write a whole book on this. How about insufficient knowledge about the program and our own body before we dive in. Here’s a good reason. The program itself is flawed. Sometimes we have a distorted or unrealistic expectation of return due to persuasive and highly misleading advertising. Many give up because their physical work ethic is poor. When it comes to achieving total wellness, body and mind, nature doesn’t recognize entitlement or the notion of getting something for nothing. If you don’t work you don’t get paid. To make the “team” in the sport of life you have to put out and maintain your shape. If you don’t you get cut. Reality is the coach.

TH: I used to own a gym and I would see people commence their workouts with great enthusiasm and then fade out….there are no quick fixes, it’s a lifestyle change.

VISTA: What have you found to be effective and to work?

CH: Elegance and simplicity. That’s what physicist Stephen Hawking states in his book The Theory of Everything. Just stay on track. If you’re going to do something, do it right. All or nothing, like how individual muscles fibers contract. Stick to the basics, like vitamin C for example. Be liberal. Add the powder or crystals to a solution and consume it throughout the day several times to keep your serum blood ascorbate levels in the ideal range. The science of sports nutrition answers the question why. The art of sports nutrition is revealed in the process of our application of the science.

TH: You have to want to make changes in your own life. Don’t do it for someone else, do it for you. Make a plan and stick to it. Drinking filtered water all day long is a key component for me.

VISTA: What are the essential elements to reaching one's health/fitness/life goals?

CH: State of mind is number one. You have to accept things as they are and see life as a kind of paradox, meaning, it might be easy to understand something, but in the real world, very difficult to apply.

I personally have a three-step action plan.

  1. Clarity of Purpose (Know what you want)
  2. Acquisition of Knowledge (Find out how to get what you want)
  3. Action (Do what needs to done)
    This is my universal formula for success in every area of my life, including health and wellness, athletics, work, relationships and family life. To be really successful, you have to be absolutely clear about what you want. Once you’re clear pay no attention to convention. Never give up. Never stop. Persist until you succeed. True success is wellness personified.

TH: Know what you want to attain and take small steps to reach those goals. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn't built in a day”. Take your time and do your homework.

VISTA: I have noticed from the content of your columns that you draw from a much wider range of source materials and influences than is typical in the field.

CH: First and foremost, philosophy is my focus for everything, meaning I always ask myself, “Why should I do it?”, “What are my options?” and “What’s the best course of action?” Achieving a state of functional health and wellness is completely logical and in sync with nature. The wealth of health is the health itself. Here’s how I see it. My brain is primarily where it’s at, so I need to create a functional disease resistant environment for my brain to live in. If my body collapses prematurely or unnecessarily due to abandonment, neglect or sabotage, I have a serious problem. As Dr. Michael Colgan states, author of Save Your Brain, “There is no worse disease than to outlive your intelligence.”

TH: Whatever he said!!!

VISTA: Who are some key influences on your outlook that readers may not have been as extensive exposed to?

CH: Ayn Rand for sure. I am Howard Roark. To understand that you’ll have to read her novel The Fountainhead, or better yet, watch the 1949 movie by the same name staring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. That movie truly rocked my world! Roark will not compromise his artistic work and personal vision for anything, including money, fame, love, power or position. I feel that way about exercise training, whole natural food and natural health products. I simply won’t compromise and I don’t care if anyone agrees with me or not. I am more certain about those things than anything else.

Of course I read a ton of literature, study online courses at Yale, Stanford, MIT, Harvard and the Ayn Rand Institute, and listen to a great variety of audio books constantly. I enjoy TED Talks and watch numerous documentaries. I have an incredible thirst for the type of knowledge that can help me in my quest to be whole and well.

TH: Don’t laugh, but Cory Holly has been a huge influence on my outlook about nutrition and drinking water. I was a professional competitive athlete when I was in my teens and 20’s, not one of my coach’s spoke about nutrition or hydration. Once I met Cory, his teachings changed my life and my health and I now have a career in sports nutrition, public speaking, writing books and recipes and yes, I still teach dance.

VISTA: How do their perspectives inform your outlook and work?

CH: I like to study what the great thinkers throughout history have said and done, like Marcus Aurelius for example. Insight from the great minds of the past and present inspire me to perform and act consistently better. I just finished reading Meditations, which Aurelius wrote in the second century A.D. Here’s a sample from Book Seven, “Nature, which governs the whole, will soon change all things that you see, and out of their substance will make other things, and again other things from the substance of them, in order that the world may be ever new.”

TH: I have always been into fitness and exercise and kept myself lean, however, I had no idea about nutrition. Nutrition was the missing link; it bridged the gap for me. I now really understand how my body works; what to do and what not to do…this is what Cory taught me.

VISTA: If you could boil your approach to nutrition down to a few key elements, what would they be?

CH: I eat natural whole food with confidence, pride and great appreciation. I take specific vitamins at certain times like clockwork. My diet is genomically compatible with my genes, metabolism, lifestyle and athletic objectives. I simply do, day-in and day-out, what needs to be done, and I don’t squawk about it. I embrace biological necessity and focus on the joy of being alive and well.

TH: Protein and salad, this is a standing joke at our house. The question…”What would you like for dinner?” always has the same answer, “Protein and salad”. Qualify the food you eat. We don’t count calories, we count quality!

VISTA: How are those things reflected in the recipes and other training that you provide to people?

CH: What flows from the river goes into the sea. I teach only what I do. That way I never have to cover anything up or lie. I just tell people what I do myself. That’s why I Iove what I do. I favor my own flavor and constantly seek to improve, upgrade and demonstrate progress. It’s called rational self-interest. CHI Is an acronym for courage, honor and integrity.

TH: All my recipes are tried and true; I wouldn't write a recipe if I wouldn't eat it. I wouldn't write an article about how to live your life, if I wasn’t doing it myself. I practice what I preach!

VISTA: Can you give our readers an overview of the Cory Holly Institute? What is the focus?

CH: Our mission is to educate the world in holistic sports nutrition, health and fitness. We facilitate this objective as an online school dedicated to the creation and distribution of digital courses, audio tutorials, video lessons, conferences, fitness camps, lectures and consultation.

TH: It’s truly a Journey of Self Discovery, we encourage our students to find out about themselves first and then they can help others.

VISTA: What is the foundation?

CH: Science as a method is our foundation…evidence based preventive medicine principles with functional health in mind. The approach has to make sense and be testable. My personal vision of optimum health and wellness excites and inspires my students. We all need to be inspired to achieve something wonderful that we create ourselves for ourselves and can call our own. Like a great piece of art. That is what builds true self-esteem.

TH: CHI is very personable with students, plenty of one-on-one conversation, we get to know the students and truly assist them in achieving their personal goals. There is nothing more rewarding that to hear our students tell us about their achievements and good fortune.

VISTA: Who participates?

CH: Student diversity is enormous. Certainly those who have the mind and the eye of the Tiger. Like attracts like. Every single one of my students has a natural affinity for health food, fitness and sport. They come to us because of what they have inside. They’re not “in” the health industry. The health industry is in them. I like to think of myself as an engineer. I build bridges of understanding in people between fitness and nutrition. We call it “bridging the gap”.

TH: We have students as young as 16 through to 85 years old. All walks of life, with one common denominator….wanting to achieve and maintain good health and wellness for life.

VISTA: How has it developed and where do you see it going?

CH: CHI began as a necessity to educate health food store retailers in the category of sports nutrition, but it has evolved into an international institution of holistic sports nutrition, health and fitness. The majority of our students now are fitness professionals. They are hungry for holistic sports nutrition knowledge. The CSNA Education Program teaches each student what it takes to be truly well and what it takes to maintain wellness throughout life. The goal is to create independent teachers of holistic sports nutrition worldwide. Optimum nutrition combined with fitness and applied is the union of logic with positive emotion. To master both nutrition and fitness is to be a true Master of one’s self. CHI History...

TH: To build an empire of health/wellness/fitness teacher’s worldwide.

VISTA: You have made reference in your columns to your competitive activities. Why do you compete?

CH: Certainly not to win unless winning is defined as the achievement of complete health and wellness mentally and physically. Competing helps keep my mental and physical screws tight. It raises the performance bar and motivates me to do what it takes for the right reasons. Also, I truly love my sport. The fact is I am the sport that I compete in. My thesis on sports type is simple. We are attracted to the sports that allow us to be who and what we truly are. Think of it. Why do you love the sport that you love? Whatever you say is who you are and what you need to do and be. Live differently and you will suffer endlessly.

TH: I have competed in Ballroom and Latin dance competitions, body building and fitness. I like to have a deadline, I work well under pressure. It’s a good feeling to see where you’re going and how far you've come. It’s also exciting to compete with other high ranking athletes.

VISTA: How does participating in competition shape other parts of your life?

CH: It enhances the experience all round. It sharpens my mental and physical pencil and prevents backsliding. I enjoy meeting and competing with other athletes at world class events in different parts of the world. Recently I competed in the Natural Universe in Chicago and Mr. Hawaii in Honolulu. I had a ball and achieved my goals. Competition is a test of my character. The more I learn about myself the better I feel about myself.

TH: One learns to become very organized. You have a plan and you execute that plan every day. I do this when I’m not competing; it certainly helps to get the job done in life.

VISTA: Are there concepts from your competitions that are transferable to activities that our readers may be pursuing or to their lives in a broader sense?

CH: Of course. What you learn in sport and training applies to every aspect of life. Newton’s Third Law for example. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, or put another way, for every cause there is an effect. Sowing and reaping. Sam Graci calls it “Divine recycling”. Karma. Call it what you will. In the gym you learn firsthand how to control the causes that effect positive outcome. You can see and feel the connection literally. To be successful you have to understand the secret of steel. You also learn how to be patient. Whatever it takes in you to show up and do the work consistently, can be applied to any endeavor.

TH: Getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to be the best you can be takes time and energy, which is work. Work is a four letter work…Willing, Order, Repetition, Knowledge. You have to be willing to have order to repeat the knowledge. Consistency is key, keep on it, and don’t give up.

VISTA: What brings the two of you joy in life?

CH: Doing what we love constantly. Living an authentic life. World travel. Dancing. Working out. Meaningful conversation. Pursuing health based on the knowledge we have, crave and incessantly acquire. Spending time with our kids and grand kids. Watching movies. Living how and where we want to. I love Hawaii. Just being there makes me happy. My first daughter was born at home in Maui. “Hang loose Brah” sums up my life mission. I love to body surf at Makena and Makapu’u when the waves are up, and from my point of view, the waves are always up!

TH: We have great conversations about everything under the sun, as you can imagine, we are both communicators. Lying in bed and watching a good movie together is my idea of a good time. The grand kids make us happy; they are the light of our life.

VISTA: How do you relax and restore yourselves?

CH: Plenty of sleep, downtime and afternoon naps are a fundamental necessity. I love to stretch out on the beach and suck up the rays. Nature walks and hikes nourish my soul. I love to party with my friends. I love intensity, purity and candid conversation. I love to dance with Tracy to loud funky music. I love to explore the world. Travel is critical to my existence. I like to try different things constantly. I thrive on change.

TH: Peace and quiet restores my batteries. Having a long chat on the telephone with a good gal pal is fantastic and I love to go to the spa, facial, manicure/pedicure and hair salon, makes me ‘feel like a woman.’ As Cory said, a glass of wine (or two), crank up the tunes and dance the night away, is just so much fun!

VISTA: Where does fun fit into your life and training?

CH: Everywhere as much as possible. Having fun in your work and play is what it’s all about. The idea is to lose track of the difference. Fun is the fourth principle in my 7-Fold Life Purpose Plan. Each principle requires a book of explanation.

  1. Survive
  2. Procreate
  3. Pursue Excellence
  4. Have Fun!
  5. Serve Others
  6. Seek Enlightenment
  7. Accept the Primacy of Nature

TH: My life is all about having fun, if I ain’t having fun, then I don’t want any part of it. And that’s the truth! I am and always have been a very hard worker, I don’t mind hard work, hard work can be fun….and if I’m not enjoying what I’m doing…I change it, it’s that simple. Now that I’m in my mid 50’s I realize that my life is ½ over (I’ll live till 100). I don’t want to waste time on drudgery, slack ass people, or anything that doesn’t serve me.

VISTA: None of us is immune to the passage of time. How can people maintain youthfulness and vitality (as you clearly seem to do) in the face of the passing years?

CH: Simple. Obey the laws of health. Sacrifice means nothing to nature. Obedience is everything. Understand the laws of health and simply obey them. Train routinely and get fit. Learn how to feed your cells and genome correctly. Live a life that is compatible with nature. Measure your fitness capacity and the length of your telomeres. Know your limit and stay within it (most of the time). The best way to extend your life is to create and maintain a health-centered consciousness. All action is preceded by thought. Rely on reason.

TH: What does a baby need? Mother’s milk (protein, water, EFA’s), good bowel movements daily, plenty of sleep and rest, playtime (exercise and physical activity) and lots of love. It’s that simple. What happens to us as we age? We suffer from constipation, sleep disorders, weight gain, and no movement and we wonder why we get “dis-ease” in our bodies. So the next time you see a baby think about it.

Interview by Dan Tidsbury
VISTA Guest Editor & Copy Editor
Issue 95 2014 May/June/July