How I Sakara: Joe Holder
On summer plans, rituals for wellness, and early retirement
Nutrition, fitness, and holistic wellness expert Joe Holder describes himself as “a pretty simple person.” His wellness rituals are steadfast, even while traveling: he reads at least a chapter a day (often jumping between five or so books at once) and loves to cozy up at a quiet speakeasy (Old Fashioned or El Camino cocktail in-hand).
Holder’s pared-back approach to wellbeing is inspiring—especially in an industry where “less is more” isn’t always the dominant narrative.
We sat down to discuss how he stays true to himself (and the mind-body needs that support him) while constantly on the run, why summer is the perfect time to redefine how and when we exercise, and why you should allot time for joy in your Google Calendar.
What's on your summer agenda?
Working, plugging away, and minding my business.
I'm very distinct with my goals. I always appreciate the times where I can put my head down on my dreams and goals and not get caught up in everyone else's priorities.
So, I just focus and brainstorm and plot and plug away at the things that I want to work on.
Retiring early is one of my big goals. I continually work because I'm different with the way I see it: My desire to live is not to work. I know a lot of people find their purpose in work or [follow a] “love our work” type of thing. But, for me, the summer is an opportunity to get ahead; not in a sense of "grind culture," but in the sense of when everybody else gets a break, I can just be more deliberate with my work and the work on myself.
At Sakara, we live by the phrase “Eat clean, play dirty.” How does finding time for fun shape your summer days?
I think you have to practice scheduling in both hedonistic and utilitarian things. I think that's how you create a better balance for life. Scheduling fun doesn't make it less fun. It makes it actually more fun because fun is what you should be doing. We all feel guilty when we take time off ‘cause we think we should be doing something else. If you just schedule it, it is what it is.
You travel a lot for work. Any fave wellness habits that you take on the road?
I'm a big believer in limiting artificial light at night, which has helped my sleep. I always travel with tea bags. I travel with a tea for digestion, a tea for sleep, and a tea for energy. That always helps me, especially on planes.
Your body has a few different circadian clocks besides just time and light—there are also [those for] exercise and when you eat. I always try to [respect] these so my stomach doesn't go crazy. When I get off a flight, I typically try to exercise and re-acclimate myself, even with just a light jump-rope or a jog.
Do you have any advice for Sakaralites trying to feel their best while traveling?
It's about practices. It's figuring out what works best for you. Your body is your body.
You should have a morning ritual; you should have an evening ritual. You should have some sort of plan for how you eat and nourish your body. Then, you should also have some sort of plan for how you incorporate movement.
Having those practices—whether it’s just setting aside time in a hotel room and delineating a corner specifically for quiet time, breathing, meditation, pilates, or yoga—and finding those small rituals goes a long way.
Could you describe what “exercise snacks” are?
"Exercise snacks" are a thought process of breaking up exercise [into] intermittent movement breaks. It's moving for health because we understand that a sedentary lifestyle has a lot of negative impacts.
Whether it's standing up every hour or two hours to do two minutes of movement; going for a walk while you answer your emails instead of just sitting in your home; running up and down stairs; or a nice stretch break in the morning or in the evening, it's understanding that our workouts don't have to be so formalized—you can just do it where you are. Why do we think that we always have to put on these hundred-dollar leggings to go to a $40 workout class to get our exercise in?
Why is summer such a great time to start thinking about movement this way?
I think summer is a good time not to think about exercise as a formalized practice. Your body has the ability to move, so move it. I think we overthink things. If you could put yourself in environments that allow you to do the movements more naturally then do that, whether that's swimming in a lake or going on a hike with your friends. Take advantage of what you've been provided with.
Speaking of nourishment, what’s been your favorite part of Sakara—whether that be our products or being on our Signature Nutrition Program?
The biggest benefit [for me] is just kind of exploring my own personal food journey through the whole food meals that I've been introduced to through Sakara, finding inspiration from the recipes.