Behind the scenes with Kent Burden (Is Your Chair Killing You?)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tell us about your book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
A. A few years ago when I was sitting in my office (I was working as the Mind/Body director at a high end spa resort in southern California at the time) reading a popular men's magazine (I was on my break-- I swear) when I came across an article that said new research proved that sitting for extended periods of time increased your risk of getting diseases like diabetes, heart disease obesity and certain forms of cancer and that doing 30-60 minutes of exercise a day wasn't enough to counteract the damage that sitting did. The article even claimed that as far as negative health effects were concerned, sitting was just as bad as smoking!

I remember sitting there feeling like I had just been kicked in the crotch by Chuck Liddell. This is not what they had taught me in my six years of college. It's not in the literature they give you for your personal trainer certification and no one was talking about this at fitness conferences. This had to be complete and utter hype! So I did some research myself and what I found shocked me, and the deeper I dug the more I began to think this new discovery might just have merit.

I called a couple of the researchers that had been quoted in the article and came away with the feeling that this was big. I mean the-sky-is-falling big. This was when I decided I HAD to write the book. I pulled together all the research I could find, I talked to all the major players in the field. I collected opinions on how best to counteract the deadly effects of prolonged sitting,  then created movements that could be done anywhere (even in the office) so people could discover new ways to be healthy. For me the hardest part was figuring out how to make all these facts and medical research interesting enough to actually read. The bottom line is I was on fire!  I needed to spread the word and get these simple, effective tools into people’s hands. That’s how my book, “Is Your Chair Killing You? A Healthier You in 8 Minutes a Day” was born.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
My two incredible children. I truly can’t believe how wonderful they are. Both my son and daughter turned out to be hard working, talented and caring adults. They must have taken after their mother.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
No, in fact I still have trouble thinking of myself as a writer. My spelling and punctuation have always been atrocious (when I was in college one of my professors asked if English was my second language). All I can say is thank God for my wife and my editor because without them people’s brains would explode trying to read my books.

What motivates you to write?
Helping people get healthy. I have always been one of those people who wanted to help others and I have always been fascinated by taking care of the body. It’s staggering how many people are out there with diseases that are preventable and reversible through simple changes in diet and activity levels. I feel it’s my duty to help them and a great way to get that information out there is through books.

What books did you love growing up?
The first real book I remember reading (and when I say “real book” I mean it didn’t have any pictures or things that popped up out of it) was Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I just remember being entranced by the story. Such a boy book. Then I fell in love with Conan the Barbarian novels by Robert E. Howard. I read every one I could find.

Who is your favorite author?
I have a lot of them. Non-fiction is Michael Pollan; I love the way he makes science both interesting and accessible. For fun fiction reading I like James Doss, Robert B. Parker and Robert Ludlum.

Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes, in my office I have a big cork board that says “books to finish by 2015.” There are currently 30 note cards tacked to that board with the titles of the books I’m going to write. It’s going to be a busy couple of years.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time
I’m a wellness coach and personal trainer. I also do a lot of healthy employee consulting for businesses. I have a program called “Creating a Dynamic Workplace” that helps businesses keep their employees active and productive at work. The program is aimed at lowering health care costs for employers.

What other jobs have you had?
Well I was an actor for a while which means I was also a waiter and a pizza delivery guy. I worked at a lumber yard for a while loading lumber into the back of contractors trucks. In college I worked as a raisin dumper at the Kelloggs cereal factory, that’s right I was the guy who put the two scoops of raisins in your Raisin Bran. They were 50 pound boxes of raisins that you dumped on a conveyor belt for 8 hours a day. The job was brutal.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My wife Maria. She was the only person who really believed I could do this. When I said I couldn’t write she said “That’s not true, you’re a great writer, you’re just a terrible speller and punctuator. But I can help you with that. Your writing is very conversational and you do a great job of making things that are complicated understandable for people. That’s a gift and you need to share it.” My wife convinced me that I could write, then supported me through the process. Every time I wanted to give up she gave me the little push I needed to keep going. The woman is a goddess!

How much sleep do you need to be at your best?
I’m an 8 hours and a bowl of Wheaties guy. I need plenty of sleep for optimum brain function. If I get 5 hours of sleep I’m absolutely useless.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twiitter? Are they a good thing?
Social media can be a great tool for book marketing, but I think it can be very tricky. If all you do is market, people will un-friend and un-follow you like you have the plague. Nobody wants to be constantly spammed. But if you start posting stuff that’s too personal, political or offensive that can be a problem as well. You really have to find a balance. Needless to say that pulling an Anthony Weiner is well, frowned upon. By the way my secret Twitter handle is Jose Peril…Just kidding.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Kent Burden on Facebook & Twitter

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