Robyn has been empowering women and athletes for over 40 years! She is the founder of ‘Women Weightlifting Academy’ and she has won numerous titles including Teenage bodybuilder of St. Louis, Ms Missouri Overall Champion, Tri-State Regional bodybuilder champion, Top 10 bodybuilder in the country and more. She is a weight loss coach who helped individuals to lose 10-400 pounds in her career.
Back in 1994, she got hit by a bus and life has changed dramatically. During recovery, she developed a nutrition and exercise system that consists of low, medium and high energy days and it has been instrumental in helping her clients to lose weight and get fit.
In our conversation, we talked about what is the hardest part of all these weight-loss journeys or all her championships and cross country trips. She also told us the key principle to have effective weight loss, is to have an effective body to work.
The following are the Top 4 tips she shared in our interview:
- Know how to work with who you are, your body, like a detective
- It takes 72 hours to store excess calories to turn into fat, so within that 72 hours, you can work out or change the way you eat to avoid weight gain.
- Our body like stability, so if we rotate the low, medium and high energy days, it will boost our metabolism.
- Instead of counting calories or cutting carbs, we should focus on having a clean eating lifestyle and avoid highly processed food.
You can listen to our interview with the podcast links above or watch our YouTube video below:
If you would like to connect with Robyne, you can do so online:
Sze Wing: Hi everyone. Today we got Robyne Arrow joining us. So first of all, a little introduction about Robyne and she has an incredible background. She’s the founder of Woman Weightlifting Academy, and she’s been involved with the health and fitness industry for over 40 years. which is a long time, and wow I’m so excited to talk to you today. And she was a nutritionist and fitness trainer for elite and models, so clearly she has worked with celebrities, athletics, professional people. And she’s a trainer for bodybuilders and fitness competitors.
Sze Wing: And she’s a weight loss coach who has helped individuals to lose between 10 to 400 pounds in her career. So that sounds crazy. And I usually have very short introductions, but with you I’ve got some of the incredible things that I read about you. So first of all, she was a teenage bodybuilder at St. Louis and she’s Missouri overall champion, which I assume all this was happening when you were really young. And she has done Tri-State Original Bodybuilder as champion. Top 10 bodybuilder in the country, Miss Fitness Champion, lots of titles. And she rollerbladed across the United States, she ran across the United States, and she cycled across the United States while working with community leaders. So crazy, amazing background. So welcome to my show Robin.
Robyne: Thank you for having me, Sze. Thank you.
Sze Wing: So first of all, I’m super curious. I’m just reading your bio, and just checking what you have done, it seems to me you start feeling interested in fitness, bodybuilding at a very young age. So how did it all happen? Or did you accidentally stumble across it, or at a very young age you already said this is what I want to do with my life?
Robyne: Well when I started, I was pretty young, I actually started when I was six years old. That was the first time I lifted a dumbbell. And the reason being was because I wanted to try … it seemed like there was a lot of people in my immediate environment hurting each other, and as a little kid it was like how could this be? How could this be? And I was like I have to help. And as I was trying to make sense of how can I help, I slipped inside of myself and I felt this if I could speak then because I didn’t really start speaking it could’ve been from the trauma until I was a little over four years of age. And I was like how can I help? And within that desire, I slipped inside of myself and I felt this place if I could then a place of joy, peace, and sheer bliss and happiness. And so I knew it was that that I had to share. And I tried, and tried, and tried. I was even learning leadership which most adults don’t even know what that is by the time that I was six.
Robyne: But to get to the question, I was in a grocery store with my mother and I noticed this magazine. And it had a guy bodybuilder and a woman bodybuilder on it, and when I looked at it I knew instantly that that’s what I needed to help me express my inner strength because it was like how can this child … I began to realize, help these adults, right? But I had faith, I believed in myself, and I believed in them. And so the minute I noticed that magazine, I knew that that was going to help me. Little did I know that 40 plus years later, it’s still helping me, so.
Sze Wing: So tell me … I would say I’m pretty active and healthy, I have tried many forms of exercise like say yoga musculature exercises which involve dumbbell. And I have been dancing for a long time, but is there a difference between what some people call bodybuilding versus just getting fit and going to the gym? Is there a particular thing that is different when you go for bodybuilding training?
Robyne: I think it really depends on of course with the individual. But as far as helping … I think dancing is incredible, you know? It’s a great way to express yourself, and to me that’s what the sports are about really to me. It helps upon one’s self how to have that athletic mind because there are so many challenges in life. And often times, we don’t know what to do with those challenges, the challenges get the best of us. And so when we have an opportunity to express who we are, it could be dancing, it could be callisthenics, it could be running, it could be walking. It could be bodybuilding. But I think what’s so spectacular about bodybuilding is it does strengthen the body unlike anything that I’ve seen.
Robyne: And so especially as we get older, our bones, our joints, and just being able to stand tall and be strong I don’t think anything can beat bodybuilding.
Sze Wing: So you have done so many competitions or really challenging things like run, bike, rollerblade across the U.S. So in your life, what do you think was the hardest thing you ever done in terms of more like a physical thing? I mean we have different challenges in life, or competition you prepared for, or anything that you think was the hardest? And what have you learned from it?
Robyne: I think the hardest … yeah I think the hardest was just really getting started and knowing what to do. Knowing how to tap into that, it’s kind of like getting a … like trying to run and get what would that be called … it’s kind of like going uphill, you know? Or a car that’s not running that good and trying to drive it uphill it’s just not going to move very quickly, or very effective going up a hill. To me, I think the hardest part would be to get started.
Robyne: Once you get started, something I think within each person that just ignites. But I think we have to be able to connect with ourself. The biggest issue I think … and the reason why I think that what I’m talking about as far as getting started is hard not just for me, but really mainstream is that we’re listening to everybody else. Do this, do that, do what I did, do what I do now. And that’s … rarely will that ever work? So I would have to say getting started you know what anything really. But the biggest, hardest thing for me was getting started with the bodybuilding because of what it took for me to realize the benefits of it. Finding something that would help me express my inner strength.
Sze Wing: And once you started, it’s kind of like there’s no stopping you isn’t it because it seems like you’re doing one thing after the other.
Robyne: It really is, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Sze Wing: And so you have such an impressive record for helping people to lose weight. And I know that diet and exercise are always linked together, like is that a body, mind and soul. Everything is integrated, it’s the same with how we move, and what we eat. And you mentioned on your website about how to build a diet around lifestyle and your goals, but you still get good metabolism. And I have a feeling that you may not be like sort of championing some diet like some people sort of … they kind of promote eating very little in a way to get lean and tone body. And often what I’ve heard is that effects metabolism. So what is your sort of overview of the diet piece when you exercise? Can you tell us a little bit more about your tips or what you think works generally?
Robyne: I think what’s really most important is what we were kind of tapping into earlier as far as getting started. And that’s why I really enjoy working with people getting started because it is hard when we have all these gadgets and all these people rooting for our attention, or seeing before and after photos. We are immediately wanting to ask people that have impressive bodies what do you do? It’s all about the journey. So I don’t think, I know that what’s most important is learning how to work with who you are. Kind of like being a detective because … and I’m not just talking about healthy foods, I’m talking about junk foods. In order to have effective weight loss, you need an effective body at work.
Robyne: So how do we do that? We’re certainly not going to get that if we’re trying to follow what everybody else does, right? And really what are we doing, doing that because that means that we’re not really that valuable, right? We’re putting ourself on the backseat. And so number one is learning how to work with who you are. Number two, what’s really cool what I’ve learned throughout my studies and stuff throughout the years is it takes 72 hours to store excess calories as fat, right? We think that if we eat a Twinkie or a muffin, or whatever that it’s immediately ploughed on our hips, right? But it’s not, it takes 72 hours to store those excess calories. Now the people that might understand this would be people like around the holidays, you seem them jogging on the side of the road, or walking, or they’re going to the gym. And they’re trying to burn up these calories. Well you can do that, also if you’re not into working out, you can do that with the way that you eat.
Robyne: And so what you want to do, the body loves stability, right? It just does. It’s kind of like the chicken that knows it really can fly, but it doesn’t. It’s kind of lazy, wants to hang out close to the ground. But our body has just really become subdued. So what we want to do, we can jack the metabolism up by having like these low, medium, high days because if you’re having a low day, if you have a high day, then you have a low day after that, you’re actually burning those excess calories from the high day because you’re having that low day. And when you manipulate this, then you’re body doesn’t really know what you’re going to do from day after day after day. And so what that does alone is it’s going to boost your metabolism also.
Sze Wing: Okay that’s really interesting. So I must ask now, so I have heard a little bit about this sort of cycling type strategy where you have a low day or medium day, or a high day or low day. So this is interesting because you said that our body loves stability, but we’re trying to surprise our body a little bit, is that what you’re saying?
Sze Wing: 72 hours, so we can manipulate the time frame. But going back to what you said, first of all, we kind of need to do this to observe how our body reacts to get to know our body first before we get it? Like oh, okay so that’s what we need to do. And finding yourself first would be that approach?
Robyne: Yeah, that’s really the main thing. That’s the journey is learning. And it really does focus because now instead of you trying to keep up with everybody telling you to eat this, don’t eat this, eat at this time, don’t eat at this time, c’mon. I mean you’re focused on yourself, you’re not focused on all these people, or all these programs out there telling you to be like that, right? And so really your focus is on you, and so like for instance, I used to own nine wellness centres, too, and I had a bunch of clients. But I was hit by a bus, and so I was gone for a very long time, and I’m just getting back into society from all of that. But like one lady would say, she had a chocolate chip cookie. And she’s like I felt very tired and stressed after I ate that. And she’s like I feel like I’m a detective, I know now that I shouldn’t eat that cookie. And I’m just okay, well what are you going to do? And she goes because I came up with this thing called replace, eliminate, limit, it’s called REL.
Robyne: And so you determine, if something’s working like you feel tired, you feel bloated, you feel moody, stressed out really easier than normal, then generally we think it’s our spouse, our friends, our coworkers, our family, but not our body, our essence is designed to handle challenges in life. More than likely it’s the food you just consumed, right? And so it wasn’t that she had to quit eating chocolate chip cookies at all, but she had chosen another kind, right? And her body wasn’t this stressed out.
Robyne: Another … a girl had gone to a Mexican restaurant-
Sze Wing: Wait, wait, wait so I’m curious. So if chocolate chip cookie doesn’t feel good what can we replace it with?
Robyne: Well a lot of options. See when I look at my system, when I created it, I’m not really looking at carbs or any of that because that’s a whole … it’s all … everything that you’re hearing on the market is bogus, okay? It seriously is, all the weights of calories, carbs, all that which is another story. But it’s about the ingredients, it’s about the processed foods. So like on your low day, you would have a clean eating style, mainly fresh nuts or salads, or meat by itself, or fruits, vegetables, fruits even. And then like on a medium day you would have a few sweets, and on a high day is where you would have your carbs, see? And that’s where you really … and it’s really about process foods more than anything because once again, in order to have effective weight loss, you need an effective body at work, right? And so if we’re consuming foods that work against the body, it doesn’t have to be healthy but it can be processed… and the foods are changing so drastically nowadays. This is really significant to know, to tap into because what might work for you today may not work for you another year from now because the foods have changed.
Robyne: So it’s really about the ingredients. And what she ended up doing was making her own. She knew what ingredients were going in there. So one lady had consumed like a burrito, and she came to the wellness centre tears rolling down her face. And I’m like what’s going on? And she was like I just ate a burrito, I wanted one and I gained six pounds just like that. And I’m like okay well what do we need to do? Yes, you know and I’m assuming it was like the MSGs or monosodium glutamate and that stuff, and so her body just responded and see the thing is, this is important not just for weight loss, but energy, a better night’s rest, but most importantly, our health, you know? It takes 20 years for the body to be … actually it’s a lot sooner than that now, but many years ago, it would take 20 years for the body to be affected. Like generally, the general rule of thumb and old school was that if you were 70 years old you were more than likely going to get high blood pressure.
Robyne: And then it was 50 years of age, then it was 20 years of age. I have conversations with women who their children are just getting put on high blood pressure, okay? So it’s … right. And it’s because of the foods, the foods are really … that’s a whole other thing. And it’s really sad to see what’s happening to our foods. So it really is about the process of food more than anything.
Sze Wing: I definitely agree with you, I feel in terms of what we eat, say I’m basically Asian background, I won’t say what we eat now is very different from what I used to eat when I was little. But definitely was much more processed now than when I was younger. And I guess that one of the things about Asian diets, I find it’s relatively less processed because you know we do a lot of stir fry, or cooking from raw materials, and we don’t really each much like packaged foods generally. But obviously, it’s different now and we have those microwave meals and stuff, too in Asia. But I definitely agree that processed foods, it’s not something that I feel good, or doesn’t even taste good. But the taste now doesn’t even replicate a good taste when you’re so used to process. So that’s definitely my number one thing about processed food.
Sze Wing: And you also make me very curious about you know it seems like it’s almost a science and art to observe our body, how do we feel? What happened, what should we change, and figure out the days, what high, what low, and what doesn’t feel good, what feels good? So how does like a beginner comes to figure it out? It seems like it’s a science, and art, is it that hard? Or once you get it, it’s not that hard? I’m hoping.
Robyne: Oh, it’s really, really easy. I mean most of the people that I’ve worked with all these years, they love it. They love the concept, they love the connection, they like paying attention to what they’re doing. They get it, and people are excited about it. Generally, when people are focused on what somebody else is telling them to do, like follow what I do, their heading for the hills. I mean they know the next time they say … like people have tried the diets and tried them, and tried them, and they’re like I have to lose weight, what happens? Generally, they’re running for the hills for weeks or months or maybe even a year or two. And because they’re really intimidated by the fact that they are going to be uncomfortable and chances are they’re not going to lose the weight, blah, blah, blah.
Robyne: This is something that people are running to. I mean it really is fun. And it really does break to me what I’ve seen is it breaks the shackles. It gives back that freedom of I can achieve. Do you know how powerful that is?
Sze Wing: Yeah, to see results and see you could do this.
Robyne: Yeah. And that’s what I tell people. You don’t even have to set goals, I’m like let’s not even set goals right now because really once you start seeing the success, you’re going to start setting the goals. You’re going to be reaching the goals faster than you could write them down. So let’s not even focus on goals. I mean that’s kind of ridiculous.
Sze Wing: So tell us really like can you outline-
Robyne: Can you see me?
Sze Wing: It’s okay, I can hear you perfectly, but your sun is setting right now … it’s so interesting I can hear you perfectly. So tell us, outline what you do with people or what you teach people because it sounds like you have a different strategy. Can you outline that for us so we have a better understanding? I know you have a lot of information on your website, but you can just tell us a little bit about what you do, or outline your concepts, or principle that would be fantastic.
Robyne: Well I mean the 72 hours, you mean mainly in the diet or the nutrition stuff? Or the exercise stuff? Like which one because I mean I have a … everything that I have is colour-coded that works with that low, medium, high. I mean I created this program when I was hit by that bus which was in ’94. So I really originated that low, medium, high over 20 years ago. And I think some people try to-
Robyne: I mean I think people have tried to take what I have, but I don’t think a lot of people understand the true essence. See I think the power that I have with my ability really comes from trying to help somebody for so long. I mean I finally began to wake up it was like something came to me in my mid to late 20s and it was like do you know what you’re doing? And I’m like well what do you mean? And it was like you could climb Mt. Everest, you’re going to be close to working with … you could work with say a million people, but all you’re trying to do is to help that one.
Robyne: And so my passion, I mean in the beginning I didn’t really want to share what I knew. And what I had captivated on in the very beginning. When I went to the gym for the first time, public gym, people were like what the heck are you doing? Can you share this? And I’m like well I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to I mean this was scary for me. And I really just wanted to help the one, that’s all that I wanted to do. And over time, it kind of started like marrying each other because everybody kept asking, help me, help me. And so my desire to help the one individual, my mother, and I was unsuccessful with it, started merging with my desire to help other people. And that’s why I think it’s so powerful because I felt a deep need just … and whenever it comes to weight loss, I can’t be like everybody else because if my desire truly is to help and I’m not taking this away from other trainers, nutritionists, etc, but they’re following mainstream.
Robyne: Mainstream is built on a fallacy. When they put together what a calorie was, they were given, it was I can’t remember the school was it, Yale? I can’t remember, but they had a major lobbyist company come in and give them millions if not billions of dollars. This was like in the 1800s. And it was like we need to find out what a calorie is. So they took like three of their best scientists and every time that they tried to take that kilowatt to determine what that … how much burned, how long it took to burn like proteins are four, carbs four, fat nine, but every time they did this, and took it through the kilowatt meter, they had a different number. Well the dean comes to them and says well this corporation, let’s say is getting a little antsy. We need to come up with some numbers. We need to give them these numbers. And the scientists are like look but we don’t know what to give them because every time it’s different.
Robyne: So the way that they came up with their numbers for the carbs, the proteins and the fats was that they just averaged everything based on the fact that fat was more concentrated, double perhaps, concentrated than protein and carbs. So I mean we’re really basing everything mainstream on a fallacy that doesn’t even exist. Those who succeed are the ones that find the needle in the haystack. And that needle in the haystack is learning what works for you.
Sze Wing: I always like that approach about learning what works for you because everyone’s body is different and this calorie counting definitely doesn’t sound very solid. Putting everything together, but also even when you put the same piece of meat of fish, but if it is completely natural, organic, and not processed versus something that is put a lot of hormones, preservatives, everything on it. I think it would definitely be different with or without changes in calorie count if we even can measure. so-
Robyne: I mean even the 1200 calorie, that’s based on something that was designed I can’t remember the lady’s name right now, but that was like in 1912, or 1920 when the 1200 calorie thing was … it was a book she wrote on 1200 calories. I mean we’ve gone way beyond 100 years still following this 1200 calorie thing. I mean if your body’s in effective working order, it doesn’t really matter what kind of calories you’re consuming, as long as you’re consuming foods at what? Work with your body to keep it effective. The body knows how to work, I mean and this even works with building muscle. I mean there’s so much to be said.
Sze Wing: I know it is so interesting because there are so many different aspects. And coming back to that, like 1200 for women, maybe 14 for men. Look I mean some people walk to work, some people cycle to work, some people sit at home to work. So that’s already different, and different age-
Robyne: Right some have more muscle.
Sze Wing: Yeah and different mass, different heights, and sometimes we come back like I’m ill at the moment so I’m a bit tired so I have no appetite. And some days I’m more active, more appetite. It’s like things changes all the time. I also don’t like fixed rules. So I really like your approach to really understand our body, and then observe it and then figure it out. So tell us a bit more about your three-day program to help women to kickstart and get fit because you said the beginning is the hardest. So tell us a bit more about the three-day program.
Robyne: The three day … there’s … it’s a three-day video series and they’re back to back. So the first day really goes into my concepts with the low, medium, high. And how to work with who you really are and what does that mean? And then the second day we go into the exercise essentials where we’re trying to now start helping build that foundation. Without that foundation, we’re running to YouTube, we’re doing random workout after workout, we’re chasing the before and after photos. We go to the gym, sign up at the New Years but we never go back because we feel uncomfortable. We don’t get it. And so really the exercise essentials are significant, we need that foundation.
Robyne: And then the third day goes into how to create a symmetrical body. And an hourglass shape. And it doesn’t matter what kind of physique body shape you have. You can still create an hourglass shape, it’s all a perception, it’s all an illusion. And when you have that knowledge, now you’re like okay, well now I have to have wider shoulders or I have to have my legs flare out just a little bit. So I know I need to do this movement, I know I need to do this movement, and that gives you something to work towards which therefore makes you want to go to the gym or workout. So that’s the three days.
Sze Wing: That sounds fantastic, and for people who are interested I know that you have it listed all on your website. And would you like to tell us how people can sign up for this three-day program and I will also make sure that I let them know.
Robyne: Yeah because it is free so yeah. And it is for women. And it’s at the women’s W-O-M-E-N Weightlifting Academy.com so womenweightliftingacademy.com. And I have a membership, too that helps individuals get started, build that foundation, and even it has the yoga and the meditations and all kinds of stuff, I take you guys … I do a lot of daily workouts, too from walking to bicycling to callisthenics to weightlifting to all kinds of stuff to help prep your body to help build secondary strength in the ligaments, strength in the bones, tendons, etc. etc. And then throughout the year, we get to work towards the intermediate levels, towards the advanced levels. And then we really home in on your bucket list. What is it that one thing that you’d really like to do? Is it climb Mt. Everest? I’m joking, but not really. Is it competing in a bodybuilding show? Or a fitness show? Is it a trail run, or a hike, or biking across country kind of thing? And it’s being able to take this thing that I really love is you got to … for me, anyway, is to keep reaching beyond, keep reaching beyond my position so I can achieve all that I still have left to achieve.
Sze Wing: Wow that’s very exciting, so I really like the idea that you got three days of the free program so people get to know about your concept, your way of doing things, see whether that’s something that fits them. Sometimes people … I think it’s so important that we have something like that to offer to people so they can have a sort of taste of the sample and if they’re serious about health and fitness and if that seems like something they want to do, then they can definitely sign up for membership or doing more like a step by step. But you help people to do the hardest thing which is kickstart, right?
Sze Wing: And with the membership clearly you have different levels and at the end, you want to push people to achieve the bucket list. It’s like success doesn’t come overnight. So people have to do the baby steps.
Robyne: You’d be amazed, the average … if I may, the average when you learn how to work with who you are and these concepts it’s amazing how quick people lose weight. I would say if a person had to lose 30 to 40 pounds, in the first 10 days alone, the average weight loss is about 12 pounds in 10 days.
Sze Wing: Wow but that’s after they figure out … they have to figure out what works first, and then-
Robyne: No. Not necessarily. I have a system because when I was hit by that bus I designed a book and a recipe book and stuff that went with it, it’s a colour-coded system. And that’s really what led to my wellness and everybody was like okay, I feel better, I lose weight, now teach us how to workout. And so that’s kind of how everything transpired, but there are meal plans and recipes that … and they’re not like recipes that you would find online. Grocery shopping videos galore, grocery shopping hacks, there’s all kinds of stuff on there.
Sze Wing: Sounds like you got lots of content for those who are interested. And so it has been really wonderful, and I’m really excited. And also I think you know it sounds like people from whether they want to be bikini ready or maybe after a baby, or hit by a bus that it doesn’t matter where you are in your life, this system seems to be able to help people. And like I don’t have a lot of weight to lose, I mean I think I’m okay. I feel okay with myself.
Robyne: You look good, you look great.
Sze Wing: When we’re getting older or we … I want to stay strong and fit. And you know you still know where you can improve, and I think it’s so important to just keep learning. That’s my main thing, that’s a matter of how old you are, there’s still more to learn and more to improve on yourself or with others. So I think it’s so exciting that you have so much content for us. So thank you so much.
Robyne: Thanks for having me, I enjoyed hanging out with you guys. I hope that I was able to present some material that inspires people to believe that hey maybe I can do this, maybe I can achieve my goals.
Sze Wing: Definitely.
Robyne: Thank you.
Sze Wing: So I put the link at the-
Robyne: Sorry it’s so dark out here.
Sze Wing: It’s okay, we can hear you. So I’m going to put the link at the bottom of the podcast and the blog so people can find you. But once again if people listening to its womenweightliftingacademy.com.
Sze Wing: So thank you so much for today.
Robyne: Thank you. I appreciate you.