Nathan Kolar joined the Zest Wellness team in 2017. Among his many responsibilities, Nathan has worked with clients in Bermuda and Turks and Caicos to implement well-being solutions for their employees. Read our interview with Nathan below!
Tell us a bit about your background in the health and wellness field.
First of all, I believe health is the new wealth! What very much resonates with me in this world is the ability to notice someone in good health, due to the glowing of their skin, the sparkle in their eye, or their straight posture.
I began formal work in the health and wellness field in the exercise physiology space, most specifically, protein metabolism. I studied topics like what happens to our bodies during exercise, and how protein can help with muscle building and quality of life, which, especially in the elderly population, are important questions!
When I took a step back from the formal laboratory, it gave me the opportunity to embark on a new path. I moved on to engaging in community outreach and connecting youth populations with extreme sports, which has been a thrill. Allowing youth to develop life skills through risky extreme sports, which require the resilience to not give up, is a passion of mine in action.
I saw an opportunity to broaden my reach to the parents of my youth communities, which brought me to Colonial and Zest Wellness. Leveraging the reach and data from health insurance to create not just health programs, but rather healthy workplaces, is what I tie up the dress shoes for.
What would you tell a member who is just getting started with Zest?
To the member just getting started with Zest, give it 21 days, and recruit a co-worker. Even small changes can feel scary, but that’s okay! Bend but don’t break! With Zest, it isn’t about lecturing you, but rather, helping you develop healthy habits that will one day (on average in 21 days) turn into automatic actions. Secondly, social support is the real deal. We are the product of the 5 closest individuals in our lives! If we can surround ourselves with like-minded individuals or co-workers, we then have someone who is depending on us to maintain our healthy lifestyles. Accountability is everything!
You are known among the Zest Wellness team for always reading a book. Can you share some personal development book recommendations?
One of the most valuable principles I have become aware of is that learning doesn’t have to be restricted to the walls of a formal school setting. What resonates with me is reading about myself! Selfish right?! If we can learn about ourselves and why humans have certain tendencies, we can immediately apply that to our lives. Some authors and thought leaders advocate for if we can get our thinking right, the skills will come for free! A fantastic personal development book for building our self-awareness and establishing well-intentioned principles in our lives is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The four agreements simply are:
- Always try your best
- Don’t take anything personally
- Be impeccable with your word
- Never make assumptions
What are your favorite ways to stay active?
Multiple ways! I purposely add variety in my life for how I stay active. Variety is the spice of life right? Most commonly, I stay active through attending local gyms and engaging in resistance training (i.e. weightlifting). When I am at the gym, I enjoy listening to new music, and surrounding myself in a social environment. This makes a trip to the gym less about the activity itself, and more so about the experience.
Two other activities I pursue both have weather as an important factor! On a warm and sunny day, you can find me swinging on the golf course. With golf, the fact that I can spend time outdoors and engage in an activity which is very strategic mentally, but yet has a hidden exercise part to it, is perfect. Golf even has a social component as well! In the winter, when the opportunity to take advantage of a ski trip arises, it is nothing but smiles from my end! Between the high speeds and steep hills, skiing is my method of staying active which includes the most risk. Watch out! Needless to say, the social aspect of skiing with friends and remembering timeless conversations on the chairlifts is what excites me to be a skier.
Which features of the Zest Wellness program have the biggest impact on your personal well-being goals?
Healthy habits! The ability to track healthy habits has developed my morning routine. It’s almost like each morning I now start with a win! Even the building relationships option for the healthy habits has influenced my social network. There is still room for improvement, but listening to others before rushing to judgements is a healthy habit which I have very much been utilizing. When I further reflect on the healthy habits, the simple feature of the healthy habits being very user-friendly to track on the Zest Wellness app (powered by Virgin Pulse) has contributed to my willingness to continue using the healthy habits.