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Jean Paul Francoeur
JP Fitness

Jean Paul "JP" Francoeur is one of the top fitness authorities in Arkansas and beyond. In 2008, burned out, he sold his thriving high-end heath club atop the TCBY Tower building in downtown Little Rock and recreated himself, becoming the “Golf Performance and Functional Training Specialist” at Alotian Golf Club. Today he is back in entrepreneurial mode by opening a new gym as a certified NeuFit therapist helping people put on muscle, circumvent health problems, and recover from injuries and chronic pain.

He’s been featured in Parade Magazine twice, as well as in USA Today. He has been a freelance writer for health magazines and websites, having been published in both Men's Health and Best Life, just to name a few. He was a top fitness advisor to former Governor Mike Huckabee’s well-publicized weight loss program Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork and served as chairman of the Arkansas Governor's Council on Fitness for eight years.

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Listen to Learn:

  • How JP got his start in fitness
  • The use of electrical stimulation in physical therapy
  • JP's philosophy on health and aging, and more...

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TRANSCRIPT

EPISODE 377

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling, conversational interviews and Kerry's natural curiosity, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners and insider’s view into the commonalities of entrepreneurs, athletes, medical professionals, politicians and other successful people all sharing their stories of success and the ups and downs of risk-taking. Connect with Kerry through her candid, funny, informative and always encouraging weekly blog. And now it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:40] KM: Today I am happy to say that we are excited to welcome back to the table one of my favorite people, Mr. Jean Paul Francoeur. Affectionally known to the world as simply JP. The last time we interviewed him was in 2017. JP is one of the top fitness authorities in Arkansas and beyond.

In 2008, burned out, he sold his thriving high-end health club atop the TCBY Tower building in Downtown Little Rock and recreated himself becoming the golf performance and functional training specialist at Alotian Golf Club. Today he is back in entrepreneurial mode by opening a new gym as a certified NeuFit therapist helping people put on muscle, circumvent health problems and recover from injuries and chronic pain.

You may have seen or heard of JP already. He's been featured in Parade Magazine twice as well as USA Today. He has been a freelance writer for health magazines and websites having been published in both Men's Health and Best Life magazines just to name a few. He was a top fitness advisor to former Governor Mike Huckabee's well-publicized weight loss program Stop Digging Your Own Grave with a Knife and Fork. And served as chairman of the Arkansas Governor's Council on Fitness for eight years. It is my pleasure to welcome to the table, a man that has dedicated his life to helping others through physical fitness. My longtime friend and my current personal trainer, Mr. Jean Paul Francoeur.

[0:02:17] JPF: I feel like I need some theme music here.

[0:02:18] GM: Ta-da-da-da. That's for post. Yeah.

[0:02:21] JPF: Okay. We'll put that in post –

[0:02:23] KM: Aha. We will.

Thank you for coming back on.

[0:02:30] JPF: You're welcome. I'm happy to be here.

[0:02:32] KM: Before we talk about your entrepreneurial story, which you could go back and listen to it because it's really good. I was fascinated. I've known you for 30 years. But I kind of forgot all the details about how you started. You have just opened today though yet another gym in Little Rock, Arkansas. You just opened it a couple of months ago and revamped your website.

this is not really what I would call a gym. This is one-on-one personal training with some high-end equipment. And you're not a physical therapist who went to school for a degree. You are a passionate certified personal trainer, massage therapist who probably knows more about physical therapy than anyone even with a degree.

And a part of the catalyst for you getting back into the fitness business is you were introduced to the power of using electrical stimulation machines, NeuFit technology, which is kind of why we're back here today.

All right. Let's go. What is NeuFit therapy?

[0:03:27] JPF: We use it for both therapy and for fitness. From a therapy standpoint, someone comes in who say has an injured shoulder. Like a real common one is a torn supraspinatus, which just impinges when they're trying to bench press or something like that.

[0:03:42] KM: Is that your shoulder?

[0:03:43] JPF: Yeah, it's in the shoulder.

[0:03:43] KM: Supraspinatus. You didn't know that was it.

[0:03:45] JPF: Supraspinatus. It's an external rotator. It's a real small easy – it's easy to tear. So many people come in with that. It's like a real common one. Let's say somebody has a torn shoulder rotator. Let's keep it simple here. When you go to traditional physical therapy, they're going to take you through some range of motion exercises. Kind of progressively loading you. Kind of building your range of motion. But they're treating basically the pain, which is a symptom. It's not the actual root cause of the problem.

And so, they can get you some relief and they might get you out of pain. It might take you six weeks. It might take you several months. Most of the people who come to me have been through the whole racket for a while. And they've been through physical therapy once or twice and they just haven't gotten back to where they feel like they're out of pain and able to perform.

When they end up in my lap, we have a completely different process. We're not physical therapy. When you have problem with performance, you've got a weakness problem somewhere else in your body. There's something in your body that isn't – a broken link somewhere where your nervous system isn't getting a good signal, where you're not getting good blood supply.

What we do is a scanning process where we map your body. And we've got one pad on you as a ground and then we're scanning you with the other pad. What I'm scanning for the root cause of a problem, that's where it's very different. In physical therapy, you have a person with a torn supraspinatus, a torn rotator. And they're going to go in, they're going to do the exact same therapy as the other 10 people who have a torn rotator.

With us, we're going to find out why you have that torn rotator. And it's not going to be the same exact treatment as the other person. Because our bodies are all very unique. We're looking for – one person might have a problem that's down in their arm or close to their elbow. Another person might have a problem back in their scapula. We're going to scan and we're going to find out where the real problem is.

And the way that shows up is we're sending a signal. Whatever area that pad is on is sending a signal that the brain interprets as loaded movement. If the tissue is healthy, then your brain says, "Oh, that's fine. It just kind of tingles." But when I get over an area that your brain is trying to protect, then I see you try to get away from it, I immediately see you go into to compensation. Or you might say, "Aw. Get that away from me." That's actually how we identify the areas to treat.

Once we've identified basically what areas are not communicating with each other, this is where the whole neuromuscular reeducation process starts up. Because what we're trying to do is teach the body to be able to load in a pattern that it gets a pain signal when it tries to move in that movement pattern. But now we're re-educating it because we're teaching the brain that it can load those muscles now and it starts to feel – as I'm cranking the machine up, it actually starts to feel a little easier because you're adapting. As I increase the load, your brain is basically saying, "Oh, I was trying to protect. But now I can see that I can get in that position. And, oh. Well, I guess I can let down some of these governors."

In essence, we're just teaching the brain that it can start removing these governors that it puts in place to keep us from moving in areas that it's trying to protect. It's really about protection patterns. It's all about pain.

[0:06:59] KM: Grady fell down the steps. Hurt his shoulder. Rotator cuff, I guess, or something maybe. He comes into you. He can't lift his arm over his head.

[0:07:09] JPF: He couldn't lift his arm 45 degrees away from his body.

[0:07:12] KM: He couldn't put his shirt on hardly. And he comes in. And you put the pad on his back as the grounding pad. I'm trying to paint a picture for the listener. And then you took this other pad and, sure, you put it on his shoulder. Nothing.

[0:07:25] JPF: Yeah. Scan. Right. Right. It was tingling.

[0:07:27] KM: Where he was hampered. On his shoulder. And then you started going down his arms. And as you got down his arm, he flew off the table. It just was like a jolt. And you're like, "Okay, you're compensating right here. And here's your hot spot. This is what we're going to work on." And it was so counterintuitive.

[0:07:48] JPF: Mm-hmm. It would seem that way. But really, it's – I mean, obviously to me, I've been doing this for so long, it's very logical. What we're trying to do is, like I said, reconnect these areas. It's kind of like acupuncture with a load. Acupuncture is about identifying these sort of broken meridians. Our bodies are electric. And I guess the people who came up with acupuncture 2,000 years ago or longer understood that. And intuitively just understood that.

And so, they figured out how to sort of reconnect our electrical connections in the body. But the difference with what we do is we can identify where those broken meridians are, just for lack of a better phrase. But we can also look the pattern. We can actually – I can crank up the output and it's like cranking up the weight. I can simulate lifting weight or whatever making those areas bear weight. It's kind of like I can make you adapt a little bit faster.

[0:08:42] KM: Without ever lifting weight.

[0:08:44] JPF: Without having to lift a weight. You're right.

[0:08:45] KM: Without having to damage or anything.

[0:08:46] JPF: Right. Right. And what I typically do is then I go through what I call mobilization exercises. I start with some basic ones that are sort of normal. Just get the shoulder moving. But then I go to exercises that are in the range of motion where they are typically avoiding like something that would hurt. If it hurts to scratch your back, if you can't get your arm back there, then I'm going to have you doing some exercises like that. Or if it hurts to fasten your seat belt, I'm going to have you simulate fastening a seat belt. If it hurts to draw your sword, I'm going to have you do some sword pulls. I'm just going to find the areas that your –

[0:09:17] KM: If it hurts to bring up – curl your beard to your mouth, we're going to curl beards to our mouth.

[0:09:22] JPF: Exactly. Exactly. We're going to find the movement pattern that your body is trying to protect against. And we're going to have you work in that range. And then I'm going to keep increasing the load as you adapt. And the higher I can get you on something like this, usually the better and faster the outcome. And you feel the difference immediately.

That's one of the things that I love about this, is that you feel the needle move day one. There's no question about it. You can come in at a six or seven in pain. Really limited in your range of motion. And by the end of the session, you're like at a one or a two and you can raise your arm overhead and you're just like totally moving.

[0:09:59] KM: It's bizarre. But then it starts to cry to creep back. Because your muscles start compensating.

[0:10:05] JPF: Well, what happens is – when I do therapy, it's a little different than training. I can train somebody a couple of times a week and get really great results. And we'll get into the training.

[0:10:14] KM: And you're talking about muscle training.

[0:10:14] JPF: I'm talking about the fitness part of things. Yeah, that's different. I can do that a couple of times a week. But when I'm trying to do therapy on someone who's got an injury, then I usually want to get those sessions closer together because we're trying to override old neurological patterns. They're pretty etched in. If it's chronic especially, it's pretty etched in.

[0:10:36] KM: Muscles have memory.

[0:10:37] JPF: Right. When you feel that needle move, I might get you down to a two. But then 10 hours later or 11 hours later, you might start to regress a little bit because your body likes to repeat these patterns. It's all about patterns. Our brains are pattern recognition machines.

And so, we try to go back into that old pattern because it's familiar to us. And so, why I like to get in there and do another therapy session is, as you start to regress, you might get back up to a four. Well, then I can catch you and bring you back down to like a one or a zero. And then you might regress up to a two. And then I can get – and then eventually, I start closing that gap where you come in and you haven't regressed at all.

And when you show up a couple of times in a row where you have not regressed and you're still kind of where you were when you left, then I know it's time to start bridging into more strengthening. The steps are basically – first step is we want get your body in balance, which is what I do with my activations. The little muscle activation techniques where I test to make sure that – try to get everything firing that I can. Then I do the machine to remove hot spots. And then the third stage is increase neurological strength. And the last stage is to increase physical strength. Neurological strength –

[0:11:47] KM: Yeah. What is that?

[0:11:48] JPF: Basically, like your ability to hold positions like at your end range or something like that. If you have an injured shoulder, I might have you holding your arm out in front of you or holding it out the side with maybe even with a little bit of resistance, a little weight.

[0:12:02] KM: And that's neurological.

[0:12:02] JPF: Yeah. I want you doing basically iso exercises to try to build. But while holding – while I'm increasing the load, it's going to try to pull you out of position. Your job is to sort of fight against the machine and keep yourself in the correct position. And as you do that, that's where the whole neurological neuromuscular re-education process takes place.

A lot of times, people will come to me with three or four issues and I'll say let's start with the worst one and see what happens from there. Somebody might have a shoulder problem and a hip problem. I'll treat their hip and then I'll say we'll treat your shoulder after we finish with your hip. But a lot of times, when we're finished treating the hip, the shoulder problem has disappeared.

A lot of times your body will create just this chain reaction of compensation problems as we try to avoid pain or we try to – pain is sort of like the name of the game here. It's like the brain – we have this paradigm that if you feel pain, that there must be some physical reason for it. We go looking for evidence of that pain.

And so, they had a study. I don't know. It's about six or seven years ago. Maybe longer. Where they took 30 healthy baseball players that – normally, the idea is that if somebody comes in complaining about pain, you want to go get an MRI of their shoulder and see what's going on under the hood and then say, "Oh, there's evidence. There it is. There's the tear."

And so, they said we always look at people who are unhealthy or coming in complaining about pain. Let's see what happens if we do MRIs of – let's take the top 30 pitchers who have not reported any pain, have not had any problems, no surgeries. Everything's good. They're pitching 100-mile-an-hour fastballs. Let's see what their shoulders look like.

And they did MRIs. And 26 out of the 30 had such significant damage to their rotator cuffs that had they come in reporting pain, the doctors said they would have whisked them right into surgery right away. But they're not having problems. They're still throwing 100-mile-an-hour balls. We have this paradigm that if you've got something broken, that it's going to hurt. You can have structural problems and not have pain.

[0:14:14] KM: And it's fine?

[0:14:15] JPF: Oh, yeah. They don't have any problems. They're perfectly fine.

[0:14:17] KM: They're fine.

[0:14:18] JPF: They're absolutely fine. Because, again, think about it. As long as the muscles are able to do their job – and the thing you have to remember is muscles are the only structure in the body responsible for absorbing or generating force. And so, if you are feeling pain – if you've got some joint damage, it's because you are absorbing force in the joint. That means your muscles aren't doing the job. Our job as NeuFit therapists is to get the force back into the muscle and out of the joint.

[0:14:46] KM: Which is why their shoulders didn't hurt. Because they were using their muscles correctly.

[0:14:49] JPF: Exactly. They had damage, but it wasn't hurting. And so, a lot of times, when I fix somebody's shoulder – I work with a lot of athletes. I've worked with golfers, tennis players. And I had a guy who had a torn meniscus. And he had 100% tear. That thing was gone. And did his meniscus heal. I don't know. Maybe over time, it did. But I can tell you, in the month that I worked with him, I don't think it would just reattach and heal. We didn't perform any miracles in that sense. We just taught his muscles the proper firing sequence. And he was able to go back to golf and tennis. He was a former tennis player. Pro tennis player. And hiking, and running and doing all the stuff that he did. No problems. Maybe eventually that meniscus healed. I have no idea. But the idea, joints are just more or less hinges. They're not supposed to absorb force.

[0:15:36] KM: They're not the ones doing the work.

[0:15:37] JPF: If they are, the only that can damage joint is like shearing forces. When you have muscles that don't operate correctly – like so many soccer girls were getting ACL tears. And they didn't really understand why. And they kind of did a little research on that. It turns out that they did not do as much posterior chain training like boys do. And so, they had weaker hamstrings. And so, when they were getting ready to cut right or cut left, they were getting what's called co-contraction. Their hamstrings would contract.

But when an agonist contracts, the primary muscle that is supposed to be doing the load, its antagonist is supposed to lengthen. And, biomechanically, that's how our bodies are supposed to function. But if both fire at the same time, then that's what's called co-contraction. And guess what? That force gets all sent into the knee or all goes up into the hip. Gets absorbed incorrectly.

And so, it doesn't happen just right away. You don't just operate incorrectly one day and, boom, you're hurt. A lot of guys come to me and say I was fine until I reach down to pick up the newspaper. And, boom, my back went out. Well, your back didn't go out then. Your back went out 10 years prior when you started moving poorly. And it just took that long – took that many cycles of incorrect movement to manifest itself into something that looks like pain or injury. We're basically just adapting the body, the muscles to do their job and absorb force instead of putting that force into the joint.

[0:16:58] KM: I want to read this again from what I got off your website, "Whether you are looking to recover from injury or pain or you are looking to tune up your fitness, you have found the right place. Often, people find their way here as a last resort after months or even years of dealing with pain to the point that they almost accept it as part of getting older. No one should live in daily pain. We approach things at JP Fitness from a completely different angle than traditional therapy does. And we get results far faster." But insurance doesn't pay for what you do.

[0:17:29] JPF: Actually, what we do is FDA-approved, which means there – and there are PT billing codes. I am not a physical therapist. I don't accept insurance and I don't – and I'm not – physical therapists can use this. In fact, there are two schools right. Unfortunately, not UCA yet. We'll work on that. But there are two schools so far that are teaching NeuFit in the schools.

The students are coming out knowing physical therapy obviously, but also having a good background in neurotherapy with using the NeuFit devices. Yeah, it is something that if somebody were a physical therapist or a chiropractor they could bill Insurance.

Theoretically, now, whether or not the insurance company will pay for it is another story. A lot of times they won't approve something that they don't really know about. I don't know. And I don't really care because it's not my business model. I mean, people just pay me. I'm just a cash business. Or checks, or credit cards, or whatever. But I mean, people just come in and pay me out of pocket.

[0:18:29] KM: Yeah. You don't file insurance.

[0:18:31] JPF: No. I don't file anything against insurance.

[0:18:32] KM: All right. This is a great place to take a break. We're speaking today with certified personal trainer, massage therapist a NeuFit expert, Mr. Jean Paul Francoeur. A.K.A JP from JP Fitness in Little Rock, Arkansas. When we come back, we're going to talk more to this expert on electrical stimulation recovery, about the business of being a personal trainer. Are you interested in becoming one and what it took? We might even recap his entrepreneurial story that I'm just charmed by. And tips for the everyday person wanting to improve their health. We'll be right back.

[BREAK]

[0:19:06] GM: You're listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge.

In 1995, she embraced the internet and rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com. In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom. Began publishing her magazine, Brave. And in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcast.

In 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com, an online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years. And in 2021, opened a satellite office in Miami, Florida.

Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you, Kerry.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:20:04] KM: We're speaking today with JP, owner and founder of JP Fitness in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been a personal trainer since the 80s. And besides athletic sports trainers, was one of the first in Arkansas to offer quality weight training to everyday persons. You love what you do.

[0:20:22] JPF: Oh, absolutely. I mean, obviously, we all need money to pay the bills. But my currency is the outcomes that I get. I mean, I have a stroke patient who came to me who the physical therapists and occupational therapists told him, "We have done everything we can do. And you're going to just have to accept the fact that you're never going to get use of this arm again. And it's just going to be paralyzed."

[0:20:51] KM: And now he's playing baseball.

[0:20:52] JPF: Not playing baseball. But he can use his arm though. I mean, day one, we actually got movement out of his arm. Day one. His wife was there the first day and she just burst into tears. It was very sweet. It was very sweet. And now, he can he can drive again. I got him ready for the neuro-driving test, which is a tough test. It's three and a half hours of making sure that you can do everything you need to do to safely operate your vehicle and not hurt anybody. Right? And so, we worked on getting him ready for that for a while. But now we're just fine-tuning stuff. He can raise his arm overhead. He can raise it out to the side. He can rotate his arm. He can use his fingers. He's starting to get back slowly where he can type again. It's something I had never dealt with prior to that. Now I've got a couple other people that I'm doing that with. But just being able to see the results he gets and just see how much it's changed his life, it's why I can get up in the morning and just bolt out of bed and say, "I'm ready for the day." I want to just get in there and work with people.

[0:21:50] KM: You work 10 hours a day, which is 10 different people. One-on-one, which talk about listening and paying attention. I mean, that is hard. Most of us go to work eight hours a day and we'd zone out for a couple of those hours. But you actually –

[0:22:07] JPF: Mm-hmm. I can't.

[0:22:08] KM: You cannot. Those guys are paying big bucks to have you in there. They want you paying attention. And you've got to pay attention to heal them. You have to love what you're doing.

[0:22:17] JPF: Oh, absolutely. I could not handle the schedule. It would not be sustainable.

[0:22:21] KM: We talked about a lot about chronic pain and recovery at the last segment. But you also train people for –

[0:22:29] JPF: Absolutely. I mean, I think most people who come to me just want to – I'd say probably a majority of my clients are – well, I say 50-plus. I have a wide range. I literally work with everything from like teenage athletes, soccer players, football players, baseball players. Whatever. Kids in sports to – but I'd say the majority of my fitness clients are usually 40s, 50s, 60s.

[0:22:53] KM: Well, that's because they're the only ones that can afford you.

[0:22:54] JPF: That might be the case.

[0:22:55] KM: It's very expensive. Not everybody can look like JP no matter what you are. Because they now got this thing where you do 23andMe and you send it off and you find out your DNA. And JP, tell us about DNA. Because it is a weird stuff. I could never – what am I? A mesomorph?

[0:23:10] JPF: Mesomorphic. Yeah, I think you are. I think you're a mesomorphic.

[0:23:15] KM: That's a skinny person.

[0:23:16] JPF: Well, no. No. Mesomorph is rectangular. That's the more athletically-built people.

[0:23:20] KM: Oh, no. What am I? What's a skinny person?

[0:23:22] JPF: That's an ectomorph.

[0:23:23] KM: I'm an ectomorph.

[0:23:24] JPF: And endomorphs are more heavily built.

[0:23:27] KM: You're a –

[0:23:28] JPF: A mesomorph. Yeah. There are things that, genetically, you can give people a leg up on sports performance. Most of your runners, and jumpers and throwers, there's a gene called ACTN3, that if you don't have it – you're not going to find anybody in the elite level that does not have ACTN3, which basically you synthesize protein differently. They typically are much – they're a little leaner. It's kind of easier for them. They have a lot more power.

And actually, I read a book called The Sports Gene by David Epstein, which I highly recommend. It's a great book. But he talked about that. He talked about why Jamaican sprinters were like the fastest people in the world. Apparently, when they were doing the slave trade, they took all these West African people to Jamaica and they were just incredibly powerful and fast people. And their ancestors had survived a malaria outbreak like generations before.

And so, the people who were best suited for survival had a combination of two genes, ACTN3, and they had a single copy of the sickle cell gene, which sickle cell anemia is something that really saps your oxygen. I guess the combination of those two meant that they could really just produce a lot of power in this low-oxygen environment. Very anaerobic.

There was actually one year, in fact, where Jamaica won in a 100-meter dash. They won first and third. And the second-place winner was American of Jamaican descent. their gene pool, they have that combination of the ACTN3. But you'll see that in any elite athlete of any race will have like – you can't make it to that level if you don't have that.

[0:25:13] KM: Do you have that gene?

[0:25:14] JPF: Yes. Actually, I do. When I checked out the 23andMe, it was like one of the first places I went. I was like, "Okay, let's see if I have that." And sure enough, I did.

When I was 18, I was a wrestler and a pole vaulter. In high school, that was my sports. And I was actually – I had schools looking at me to come wrestle. D1 wrestling. And I ended up with a music scholarship offer from Arkansas. That's how came here originally was because I was a classical guitarist.

[0:25:39] KM: He's not just any old jarhead.

[0:25:41] GM: I remember this.

[0:25:43] JPF: I thought that – well, this is pre-internet day. I moved down to Arkansas and I thought, "Well, I'll just take the music scholarship and I'll just walk on the wrestling team, whatever wrestling team. They'll be happy to have someone with my experience to walk in." And I thought I'd just walk right in. And, "Yeah, here we go. I want to join your team."

And then I got here. Registered for my classes and got everything kind of settled in. And I started calling around trying to find the wrestling coach. And I found out there was no wrestling in Arkansas. I was like, "What?" And then I started calling high schools to see if I could at least assistant coach and keep my feet wet. And there was no wrestling at all in the state of Arkansas.

[0:26:17] KM: You started wrestling. No?

[0:26:18] JPF: No. No. No. I did not. I moved here to Arkansas for music scholarship. But the first year, of course, I was eating pizza and not taking care of my health. Doing some other things that might not be too healthy for me.

[0:26:33] KM: Well, you're a college kid.

[0:26:33] JPF: And I had an unhealthy relationship. And I decided in 1988 – or '87, I mean. I decided to just take a year. And I took off. And I went back to Massachusetts where – or I went to Massachusetts and I lived there for almost a year. And I took a job in a factory and I started working out. Because I'd just gotten a little pudgy, for me. I probably wasn't that pudgy. But my perception of myself at the time, I was like, "Man, I really let myself go."

And I started reading about it and started really getting into it and got really, really, really, really ripped. I mean, just in the best shape of my life. Anand bunch of people at the gym noticed. And so, next thing you know I'm taking this little certification test and I'm starting to help people at the gym just kind of part-time and just for fun.

And so, I moved back to Arkansas in '88. And one of my first jobs when I got back was working for Gold's Gym under David Bazell. He was a longtime friend now. And he was very much a mentor in my early stages of this. I still had no idea that this was going to be my career. But I just loved it. I still love it. I worked out with people. And I was always kind of like – it was always a learning process for me. I mean, I was very passionate. So I could get results with people. But I mean, looking back on it now, I'm like, "Man." Back then I used to charge a whopping $15 an hour. And I can tell you now, it's probably overpaid. But I mean, what I lacked in experience, I made up for in passion and willingness to learn and willingness to dive deep and figure things out.

[0:28:07] KM: Everybody needs to go back and listen to our 2017 show. Because you go really into depth about those years. And it really checks all the boxes of an entrepreneurial story. About working with Integrity. About being responsible. About keeping your eyes open for opportunities. Doing the work and not being afraid to take entrepreneurial leaps. Because you left Gold's Gym –

[0:28:30] JPF: I floated for a little bit. I was around in a few other gyms.

[0:28:33] KM: But you left Gold's Gym in kind of a storm. And this is how you know that you truly do love and care what you do. Tell our listeners in a short synopsis, because we're running out of time okay, what you did for AIDS patients. And why it culminated? And why you ended up opening your own gym?

[0:28:57] JPF: Right. That actually was the impetus or the catalyst I should say. In a nutshell, I had this idea just as I was getting further into fitness that people living with AIDS. Because that was kind of a relevant issue in the –

[0:29:12] KM: It was new.

[0:29:13] JPF: Yeah. It was not new. But it was definitely still kind of like – it was still newish in the 80s and late 80s. And I was convinced that if people living with AIDS were to exercise and take charge of their fitness, like really be proactively healthy. Like eat healthy, and exercise, and stay hydrated and all this other stuff that they could actually improve their lifestyle. And in some ways maybe just enhance their lives and maybe live longer lives.

And so, I went down to the Ryan White Center downtown and I gave a little speech to the nurses and doctors. And they said, "Okay. Well, we like it. We want to try it." I was like, "What?" And they offered to – they said, "Well, where do you work? We'd like to send you some people. We can bust them in from –" they were sending them from Jefferson Memorial in Pine Bluff.

And so, I got this big corporate membership for them. And they were busing them in every day to work out with me. And I was getting really good results. I mean, I had a guy who like literally couldn't – he could almost not take a full step. And within three months, he was doing lunges, full lunches across the floor.

And word got out that the people that I was training had AIDS. And so, as if I – but it was known upfront to management. Because I told them. But but once it got out, they decided to fire me. And the manager at the time was like – and I said, "Well, then I'll just buy a membership and I'll just train them." He said, "Well, we reserve the right to – it's a private gym. We reserve the right to sell memberships to who we wish. And you are barred from the gym from now on."

I had to basically walk out. But I was really pissed. And I said don't think I don't see what you're doing here. This is outright discrimination. And I said, "You know what I'm going to do to get around this? I'm just going to open up my own place." And he kind of looked at me and he said, "You just do that."

[0:31:05] KM: Let's not tell the rest of the story. They got to go back and watch 2017 because we're running out of time. But you did. You did every entrepreneurial thing that you should do. The working the two jobs. And there's a great irony twist at Gold's Gym that comes back that people should really go listen to. Do you have any recommendations for someone interested in getting into the business of personal training today? It's a lot different today than it was when you started. You were like one and very few. You were getting national publicity. Because they were so few of you. Do you have any recommendation for people today?

[0:31:37] JPF: Well, I mean, I don't pursue it as a career just because some – don't go to a guidance counselor thinking this is going to be like a big money maker for you. I did not get into this because I just thought I was going to make so much money. I just loved what I did. And I tried to figure out a way to make money doing what I love to do.

If it's just something you really just – you lose sleep over it. You're thinking about it when you fall asleep. You're reading books on it. That's a pretty good indication that this might be a good field for you.

[0:32:05] KM: Yeah. If you're an avid reader.

[0:32:08] JPF: Yeah. Well, you don't even have to be an avid reader.

[0:32:09] KM: You are though.

[0:32:10] JPF: I am. Yes. Yes. I mean, I like to research. I like to educate myself. And ironically, my college education was mostly fine arts.

[0:32:20] KM: Because you're a musician.

[0:32:22] JPF: Yeah. Fine arts and also just human behavior. I was a philosophy major for a while. I was a psych major for a while. I was a writing major for a while.

[0:32:29] KM: Did you ever graduate from college?

[0:32:32] JPF: No. I did not. I have 15 hours left. 15 hours. I literally opened my business my senior year. And I thought I would just finish it out and I just got – and I didn't think I'd be that busy. In my financial projections, when I wrote my business plan, I estimated it would take me you know 12 months to get to 12 clients, which would be my – I needed 4.8 to break even on my rent and expenses. And I thought it would take me – and I had 12 clients in the first – I was over 20 clients in the first month.

[0:33:02] KM: Which is why you've opened another gym now.

[0:33:04] JPF: I had to hire people and all that stuff. And so, I really grew fast. And then I just got so busy I ended up kind of dropping out. And I just haven't gone back and finished it. And so, I mean, I also got like over 140 hours of classes. You only needed 104 back in those days to graduate from UALR.

[0:33:24] KM: But you got to stick to one thing.

[0:33:25] JPF: I did not stick – I had just some requirements out there that I didn't finish.

[0:33:29] KM: You needed a better guidance counselor who'll give you a pass.

[0:33:31] JPF: Maybe. You know, the thing is I really was – I wasn't there to build my career. I was really there to learn. I do love learning.

[0:33:39] KM: You do love learning.

[0:33:41] JPF: I'm a nerd. I admit it.

[0:33:45] KM: You're a hot nerd. All right. We're speaking today with JP from JP Fitness in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a certified personal trainer. He is a licensed massage therapist. But that is not his career. And he only does it to help you through some chronic pain. Don't call him up and think you're going to get to go lie on a table and listen to waterfalls. Because that's not his – that's not his deal. He's a certified NeuFit therapist and trainer. And he does use some of his massage qualities to help you through your pain.

When we come back, we're going to talk about what you can do if you can't afford him or even a personal trainer. I mean, there are great gyms out there that you can join. Franchise gyms. And we're going to find out what you can do in your own home. It's all about creating a habit and getting used to the habit. We'll be right back.

[BREAK]

[0:34:34] TW: Part of McCoy Enterprises is ourcornermarket.com. The perfect online shopping site for everything you need to strengthen your business's image or beautify your home in landscaping. You can browse through products like custom plaques in bronze or aluminum, business signage, address plaques to dress up your home or apartment complex, memorial stones and markers even for your beloved pets, logo mats and countless other items. Please visit ourcornermarket.com today and start shopping.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[0:35:09] KM: We're speaking today with Mr. Jean Paul Francoeur. A.K.A JP, who recently opened yet another personal gym in Little Rock, Arkansas. He just can't help himself. He's a visionary with a passion for helping people. We've talked about NeuFit and how it helps you to recover from injury, or build muscle, or just circumvent problems that happened through the aging process. And then we talked about some entrepreneurial stuff in the second segment. And now let's talk about what everybody's talking about, which is rich people are the only ones that get to live to be 104 years old because they're the only ones that can afford you, afford good foods. Have a lifestyle that's healthy. Let's talk about it. If you can't afford you and you want to do something at home, what would you suggest a layman do?

[0:35:58] JPF: Well, you don't actually have to join a gym. I didn't have a gym membership for years. I just worked out of my house.

[0:36:04] KM: And that's just about the only thing I have.

[0:36:06] JPF: After I sold my gym in 2008, honestly, I was burned out of gyms for a while. I didn't step foot in a gym. And I had no interest in going into a gym. Kind of once you've seen how the sausage is made, you don't really want to – it's like, "Oh, it just depressed me thinking about going to a gym." Now I don't mind it. I've had enough time to –

[0:36:25] KM: What is that? 2008, you sold your big gym.

[0:36:27] JPF: Yeah. It was a 15-year gap before I reopened. Originally, when I started doing this in 2009, I was going to people's homes and I was working them at their home. Literally, some people had a home gym. Some people didn't. It didn't matter. I brought all the equipment with me that they needed. And whether it's kettlebells, or dumbbells, or whatever. And I hauled a little table along with me so I could do the stretching and all that stuff. And eventually, I ended up setting up a home studio. And then I moved into a house that had a much bigger space for a better home studio and I kind of equipped that thing out.

[0:37:02] KM: And now you got a gym again. You're back into the gym business.

[0:37:05] JPF: Yeah. It kept pulling me back in. I just couldn't help myself.

[0:37:07] KM: No. You can't help it. Well, you're in such demand. But if you're home.

[0:37:10] JPF: I mean, it was great though. No. If you're at home, you can – you just –

[0:37:12] KM: Bands. You're big into bands.

[0:37:15] JPF: I like bands. I like kettlebells. You can get a set of adjustable dumbbells. I mean, there's a lot of different things you can do with a very small amount of space to be able to build a good, strong body. And you don't have to have like an expensive gym. You don't have to be hooked up to electrodes that are stimulating your muscles. I mean, all that stuff helps.

But what really is the most important factor in your success is just some level of consistency. Making sure you're getting enough sleep. Make sure you try to get 8 hours of sleep at night. Make sure that you're staying hydrated. For the kind of stuff that I do, on average, I'd say the regular demand is people say that you're supposed to have half your body weight in ounces of water. For what I do, I ask people to drink their body weight in water. So, in ounces of water.

[0:37:58] KM: There's no way.

[0:38:00] JPF: Yeah. This thing right here holds 24 ounces. I drink a minimum of eight of these a day.

[0:38:05] KM: Well, that's because you're that weird gene. You can do all kinds of weird stuff.

[0:38:07] JPF: No. Remember that when it comes to this type of training, you have much higher metabolic demands. So you have to consume more protein. You have to drink more water.

[0:38:18] KM: You just have to go to the bathroom all the time if you drink that much water.

[0:38:20] JPF: I'm normal. I don't go to the bathroom anymore than anybody else.

[0:38:24] KM: If I try to drink very much water, I go to the bathroom all day long. I can't even get to the bathroom –

[0:38:27] JPF: Maybe we should talk about doing some pelvic floor work with you.

[0:38:33] KM: My husband will probably like that.

[0:38:36] GM: Different kind of pelvic floor work.

[0:38:40] JPF: That's out of my scope, by the way. I will refer out on that kind of work. But no. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated. Get lots of sleep.

[0:38:49] KM: You're big on sleep.

[0:38:49] JPF: I am big on sleep. Sleep – oh, my gosh. If I had only known –

[0:38:51] KM: You monitor your own sleep.

[0:38:53] JPF: I do. I wear this little wristband here. And I track my sleep. I track my heart rate variability at night. My deep sleep.

[0:39:00] KM: How much does a wristband like that cost?

[0:39:02] JPF: I can't remember. I think this was like 200 bucks and I pay like $10 a month for the sleep study. But I think there's one you can get for – WHOOP, I think you can get for free or very inexpensively. But it's like a $ 20-a-month subscription. It kind of works out to be even, I guess, at some point.

But there's also a ring that you can get called Oura Ring that does the same thing. Those are really good tracking devices. Or if you have an Apple Watch, those track HRV. You can track your sleep stats.

[0:39:31] KM: You highly recommend tracking your sleep.

[0:39:33] JPF: Yeah. I think if you get in the mode of tracking it, you start getting better about discipline. It's like when you start getting good at something, you start doing it more and you start paying attention to it more. And you start noticing, "Hey, I slept really good. My recovery was really high. And I'm really on top of my stuff today."

That's the main thing, is if you're getting sleep, it's better for you cognitively. It's very bad, of course, as well as anyone that I am as ADHD as they get. And one of the number one things that helps people with ADHD is getting lots of sleep. I try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Sometimes it's only seven. But usually, I get about eight hours. Seven or eight hours.

[0:40:17] KM: What about walking? A lot of people walk dogs.

[0:40:18] JPF: Walking is great. Absolutely.

[0:40:19] KM: I thought about getting a dog so that I will be forced into walking twice a day.

[0:40:22] JPF: You live right next to the best set of trails in the city. Just walk across the street and drop down into the park and walk a circuit and you're done. It's beautiful. You don't need a dog –

[0:40:31] KM: How long do you have to walk?

[0:40:33] JPF: Personally, I would – no. Just walk the circuit. You don't have to do anything significant. Just a couple of miles is great.

[0:40:39] KM: Couple of miles is a lot.

[0:40:42] JPF: Okay. If you say so. Make it a mile. I mean, it just – I mean, the funny thing is all this exercise that we do right now, it's kind of ironic. We didn't used to have to exercise, right? I mean, life was challenging enough on its own. We had hard labor. We actually started exercising in the modern times because we weren't doing – everything was so convenient, we didn't have to do all this labor. So we had to sort of pretend like we're doing all this labor on our body. We sort of put ourselves through all these different exercises to try to induce fatigue in muscles and the nervous system so that we could be healthier. Because we were healthier before we had all these gyms and everything.

I mean, look at the nation now. I mean, we've got all this availability, but the nation is fat because most people don't have a regular exercise routine. They don't eat correctly. They don't take care of themselves.

[0:41:41] KM: Talk about diet. Do you coach on calorie intake?

[0:41:45] JPF: Yeah. Ultimately, weight loss is about calories. I mean, I do think that the quality of what you eat is very important. I'm big into eating organic. And if you have a hard time affording that kind of stuff, a lot of people raise their own. I know some very poor people who have a garden. And it's very cheap. And they eat extremely well.

[0:42:08] KM: Well, they talk about how it's expensive to eat right. But I disagree with that. Canned foods, which I eat probably every other day, canned food, it is just green beans, water and salt.

[0:42:22] KM: Well, yeah. I mean, green beans is just as good. Get fresh green beans.

[0:42:28] KM: But they say sometimes that the can locks in the freshness better and that sometimes it's more nutritional to eat canned foods. But I don't know.

[0:42:37] JPF: I haven't actually done any research on that. So, I can't speak as an expert on that particular thing. But I'll just say eating plenty of vegetables, eating lots of – making sure you're getting enough protein. Making sure that you're –

[0:42:49] KM: You're big on protein.

[0:42:50] JPF: Well, especially with regards to what I do. Because I'm doing such – one workout on the NeuFit, on the Neubie, is equivalent to about 10 workouts metabolically. The big benefit to training on the Neubie is that you get all the metabolic benefits of heavy lifting, which is where we get – that's what we need for nice, strong, lean muscle tissue and burning off the fat. That's all about – but as you get older, it gets harder. It has a much higher risk-to-benefit ratio because your connective tissue can't really handle heavy loads. It might get damaged. And that's where you start getting in pain. And I can't tell you how many people are in CrossFit that are my age and everything is broken on them.

[0:43:34] KM: You're not a big CrossFit guy.

[0:43:34] JPF: I mean, I respect the idea of intense short circuits, of intense workouts.

[0:43:42] KM: And the ambition that it takes to do that.

[0:43:44] JPF: But I also see a lot of – there's a lot of problems in the business model. Or not business model. But the business-wise are doing great. But there's a lot of – I get a lot of people from there because they do tend to – a lot of people tend to get injured. If you notice, a lot of those places are attached to chiropractic clinics. There's a reason for that. They kind of feed each other.

[0:44:03] KM: Do you ever eat fast food?

[0:44:08] JPF: I eat Chipotle sometimes. I guess that's fast food.

[0:44:11] GM: That doesn't count.

[0:44:12] JPF: That doesn't count? I don't eat fast food at all. I refuse to eat like fast food hamburger. I am very – I mean, I guess I'm a snob. Maybe now I'm at the stage of life where I can afford to be a snob. But I won't eat that stuff. It's like the way they raise the animals, it's stressful on the animal. And they've got a lot of chemicals, and hormones and all that stuff in it.

[0:44:37] KM: And they put flavor enhancers. And they put chemical cravings in it so you crave it again. It's such a science.

[0:44:41] JPF: Absolutely. Absolutely. I don't want eat anything like that. Yeah. I just like eating clean. Right now – I don't know. I'm kind of in a crossroads. Because I've been eating based on my gut health. I took a gut health test and figured out that all the things that I had been – four and a half years, I did not eat gluten, sugar or dairy. And then I come to find out, I did this gut test and I found out that my gut's actually completely fine with all three of those things. But I couldn't eat – but I have a reaction to carrots, corn –

[0:45:13] KM: Grapes?

[0:45:13] JPF: No. Grapes weren't on my list. Lemons. I don't know. There was a bunch of stuff. Peanuts. I had some stuff that I had to avoid for about six months. And your gut can kind of repair itself if you do that.

[0:45:27] KM: You can eat wheat again?

[0:45:30] JPF: I was able to eat wheat again. And sure enough, I ate wheat and I didn't have any issues with it. But that's not to say that – it is kind of inflammatory food. If I do eat wheat, it's usually going to be like in the form of farro or some sort of fresh grain. It's not going to be like – I won't eat any like big brand cereals or that kind of stuff.

In America, we harvest our wheat too early. What we call organic food in Italy, they just call it food. They don't allow any imports of anything that's been raised with like all the weed killers and pesticides. They won't allow any of that in their country. They won't import any foods that are raised with that. They won't import any – and so, everything that they do there is just – that's just food. And that's the way I feel like it should be here. But we just have – I guess we've just got a bigger country and we've got to figure out ways to feed more people. They have ways to enhance harvests that are not necessarily long-term healthy for us. But I wish we could adopt – do a whole paradigm shift and just eat like they do. Because they can eat wheat. You can eat the pasta there and it's perfectly healthy.

[0:46:41] KM: I can too. Yeah.

[0:46:42] JPF: And they harvest their wheat when it's mature. And they don't use any pesticides on it. And they don't use – we use that glycophosphate or whatever. I mean, we use all these chemicals on our crops.

[0:46:54] KM: What do you see for the future of America's health?

[0:46:56] JPF: Nothing ever gets done until there is a radical – until something just collapses. I think we're just going to have to have some kind of collapse of a system where we just have to go into some sort of Manhattan project mentality on we've got to revamp fitness in America. Go Google physical education in 1962 right after the Kennedy fitness challenge. Average Boys in 1962 could do 15 push-ups and 10 pull-ups. I mean, right now our military readiness is down because half the kids who come in can't even do a single push-up or a single pull-up. That's scary. I mean, everybody should be able to do that. Right?

But these young kids or especially at that age, like 18 years old, they can't do any of it. I tried to do something about this. When I was Chairman of the Governor's Council on Fitness, I tried to bring in PE. And, man, I'm telling you. I met with opposition. You know who I got the most opposition from was from the school systems. And they were saying, "Well, we have a literacy problem. These kids aren't – they can't read." And I'm like – I would be like they will do better in school. They won't have as many behavioral problems. They will learn better if they're exercising every day.

Because we did. In the 70s, when I was a kid – and when I was a kid. Sorry. I didn't mean to sound like an old person. My age. My day, we did. We did PE every day. We had to dress out, shower. And we sweat our butts off. We had to climb ropes and learn to play tag football and tennis and all. Just everything. We just had to use our bodies and do a lot of calisthenics. And kids don't do any of that anymore.

And we're all capable of it. That's the problem. We're all capable of it. But we've become so focused on devices and our digital – our phones, and our computers and our TV. And it's like we just have very – we've become very sedentary. Until we have an absolute collapse of some sort of – some branch of our economy or something like that where we can't sustain all the people who are too obese to be employed and they can't work and function in a regular basis, until we get to that point, when the train finally crashes, then I think we'll turn things around. But until then, people will just keep spending money on –

[0:49:16] KM: Fast food.

[0:49:18] JPF: Fast food.

[0:49:19] KM: We're speaking today with JP from JP Fitness in Little Rock, Arkansas, who has been in the business of helping people put on muscle, get out of pain and circumvent the aging process. You've done so much, JP. What are you most proud of?

[0:49:31] JPF: Wow. You just like have to throw me a curveball, don't you?

[0:49:35] KM: Yeah. I got to. I got to. Every day of my life. You've done a lot. Every decade, you've reinvented yourself.

[0:49:40] JPF: I have. I really have. I think the thing that I'm most proud of is that every view that I have is able to be changed if new evidence is presented.

[0:49:48] KM: You're open-minded.

[0:49:49] JPF: I'm very open-minded. And I just think that fitness should be for everyone.

[0:49:55] KM: Finish this sentence. Every day, everyone who can should –

[0:50:00] JPF: Exercise. We have six primal movement patterns that our bodies are capable of. That's squat, deadlift, lunge, push, pull and rotate. That's the six things that we do. And everything we do, whether we're going up the stairs or whatever is some combination of those six movement patterns.

[0:50:18] KM: How do people get in touch with you?

[0:50:20] JPF: Call the gym at 501-916-2541. Or visit the website, www.jpfitness.com.

[0:50:29] KM: Thank you, JP. And thank you for caring and for helping so many people.

[0:50:33] JPF: Well, thank you too. And I love this – I love it when you get all up in my business. You do every morning anyway. This time we're doing it on your show.

[0:50:41] KM: That's right. You're one of a kind. Don't ever change.

[0:50:43] JPF: I won't.

[0:50:44] KM: All right. Here's your gift. For our listeners, I just gave JP a desk set, 4x6 inch flags of all the states he's lived in so that he can take it back and put it in his gym.

[0:50:53] JPF: Thank you. That's very sweet.

[0:50:55] KM: You're welcome. In closing –

[0:50:57] JPF: Drop and give me 20. Push-ups that is.

[0:51:01] GM: Save that for tomorrow morning.

[0:51:04] KM: To our listeners, this show was recorded in the hallow walls of Taborian Hall in Little Rock, Arkansas and made possible by the good works of flagandbanner.com, our audio engineer and local celeb, Mr. Tom Wood. Summa cum laude videographer, Mr. Jonathan Henkins, production manager, my daughter, Ms. Megan Pitman. And my co-host, Mr. Grady McCoy IV. A.K.A Son Gray.

Thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. And that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on the radio. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

[OUTRO]

[0:51:43] GM: You've been listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio show and choose today's guest. If you'd like to sponsor this show or any show, contact me, Gray. That's gray@flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you like to listen. Kerry's goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.

[END]

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