Today on the podcast, I have Jess Toolson, co-founder, and CEO of Mixhers. We chatted about her health and fitness journey, and then her experience starting and growing her episode. If you’ve ever felt stuck, like nothing’s going your way even though you’re putting in all of the effort, I think you’ll find this episode will bring lots of value to troubleshoot your own fitness journey. So without further ado, let's jump into the interview with Jess Toolson!
PS – if you liked today’s episode, be sure to listen to last week’s episode (Number 204, linked below), where I interviewed the other co-owner of Mixhers, Cody Sanders.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/206
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- MixHers (3:00)
- Beating hormone health woes (7:28, 9:41, 12:03)
- Her TIme (9:41, 17:29)
- Recognize and do scary things to reach your goal (15:10)
- Idea of timelines and expanding timelines (16:08, 16:51)
- Realizations and learnings in running a product business (26:20)
- Restricting things from yourself does not work (28:10)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 206.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio, I'm your host Amber Brueseke. And today on the podcast, you're gonna be hearing from Jess Toolson, who is the founder and CEO of a company called Mixhers. And in this podcast episode, we talk a lot about Jess and her story. And it's one that I think a lot of you will relate to, of how she was trying to get results and how it was not working for her or for her body or for her hormones. And some of the things that she ended up changing, that made the difference, in the long run, to be able to make her more effective in reaching the goals that she wanted. And we talked about how that's a little counterintuitive what she did to be able to solve this problem. And I think as you're listening, some of you may relate to this and find some help if you feel stuck like nothing's going your way, you're not able to get the results you're pouring in effort. You know, it's not a lack of effort or a lack of trying or a lack of executing on a plan and you're still not seeing results, there's going to be some things in here some little easter eggs in here that I think are going to be helpful as you start to troubleshoot your own fitness journey. So without further ado, let's jump into the interview with Jess Toolson.
Amber B 2:07
All right, I am so excited to welcome Jess to the podcast. Jess, how are you doing?
I'm doing so well. Thank you for having me. This is a pleasure. So thanks for letting me join you.
Amber B 2:19
It's my pleasure. I'm excited to be able to share your story with my audience and some of the lessons that you've learned along the way that hopefully, you can pass on so they don't have to learn them themselves as well.
Yeah, I've learned lots. So yeah, I'm still learning but I do have some fun things I can share.
Amber B 2:35
Okay, wonderful. Okay, let's start out if someone hasn't ever heard your name or don't doesn't know anything about you, can you just give us a brief introduction of yourself?
Absolutely. So I am Jess Toolson, I am a mother of three and a wife. That's for sure a passion of mine. And then I'm also the founder, I have a co-founder Cody Sanders, and I'm the CEO of Mixhers.
Amber B 2:58
And tell us a little bit about that.
Yes, so our like hero product is called Her Time. We help out, we help balance hormones, and help minimize PMS symptoms all women can relate to. And then we also have an array of products, you know, that can help women balance their hormones as well, like a great greens product, a great sleep product, a great probiotic. And so we like to provide what women need from sun up to sun down and we make health easy and approachable. So that's like our biggest thing is we just want this to be fun and easy for women. So that's Mixhers.
Amber B 3:35
I love it. So you have a personal story that has kind of led to you founding this company. And so let's go back in time and talk a little bit about some of the rough stuff that you had to go through to get to where you are today. You know, you're sharing before we hit record a little bit about your health and fitness journey and some of the frustrations that you kind of those walls that you hit up against. And you know, things weren't working for you. So can you kind of just kind of paint the picture of what that was like for you. What were some of the frustrations? What were some of the things you experienced? And then where did you go from there?
Yeah, absolutely. So, for me, my biggest health frustrations actually came along when I was postpartum with my three kids. I have a son that is 10 and then I have twins that are now seven. And it was really when I was postpartum with them. I had breastfed for a really long time, I had started to finally get back into an exercise and nutrition plan. Honestly, when I was like two years postpartum with my twins, I was barely keeping my head above water before that, and so I finally felt like okay, I'm done breastfeeding. I can actually get some sleep, I'm ready to add in regular exercising into my plan. I'm ready to like, buckle down on my nutrition and start to actually work on getting a figure back, and I actually am proud of myself for how gracious I was, for those two years. I look back and I'm like, Hey, I was pretty patient and I'm happy that I was. But then after I was like, ready to like, okay, it's time for me, I have some time, I was very quickly frustrated at how I felt like I was eating very little amounts to lose all this weight. I was really exercising a ton and was going to get this awesome figure back. And none of that happened and none of that changed. And at the same time, I was like a crazy, moody woman that felt frustrated, and I had terrible acne, and my periods were horrible. And so then I was like, six months into this health journey of like, getting this rockin bod back. And none of that was happening. And I felt really defeated. I was like, I'm barely eating, I'm starving, I'm chasing three kids around. I'm also like, I don't have more time to add into the gym. Like I'm already trying to get in 90 minutes of exercise, I don't have more time. And so I was really frustrated. And I actually set off on a health journey and was like talking to everyone, I was seeking a lot of help from many different people. And I realized that a) my hormones were totally imbalanced, b) I was majorly over-exercising and undereating so my body did not trust me and did not want to let go of any weight. And it was thankfully when I actually had a conversation with my now business partner, Cody Sanders that she like opened my eyes to all of that, and how I really was teaching my body that we weren't safe and that my body shouldn't trust me because I'm just malnourishing my body. So why would it want to put on some muscle? Why would it want to trust me and drop a few pounds? And also my hormones were totally unbalanced because of those things that I was doing to my body. So that was the picture. And that was now about four or five years ago.
Amber B 7:19
So what brought you to Cody like, I mean, you're having all these symptoms, but what made you go to her as a specialist to be able to, you know, figure this stuff out?
Well, super fun fact, we're actually related, we're family. So I called her up. So I was going at the time like to and from Europe, I would leave for 10 months of the year, I'd come home for two months of the year in the summer. And when I was home in the summer, Cody would actually work with me, she would train my mom and me. We would do really fun workouts, she would do some nutrition plans for me. But it had been a while since I had been postpartum and like wasn't getting in that routine. So it's been quite a while since we've trained and things like that. So I was home for the summer. And finally, like I mentioned like I had been doing my own workout plan over in Europe trying to just get it in and totally change my body hadn't happened. So it was in the summer when I came home to the States that I was able to start training with Cody again. I remember getting super emotional and being like, I'm just tired, and I'm hungry. And I don't like how I feel in my clothes, I still felt like I just barely delivered these babies. And it was then that I was like, no longer willing to be patient with myself. But it's because I didn't actually have the full information and I wasn't working in alignment with my body. And so I just let loose to Cody and told her how frustrated I was. And it was then that a) she taught me how I needed to pull back on my exercising and how I needed to have my body trust me in that way. It was also when we dug into my nutrition and I learned which was amazing to learn how much my body really deserved and needed fuel to get working with me. And then I had never considered that my hormones were completely imbalanced. And that was like the number one thing is that I was postpartum then I threw myself into this whole nutrition crazy lifestyle with workout and I just depleted myself more and I needed to bring back my hormone health.
Amber B 9:32
So what are the next steps for you? Like you had this realization, Oh my gosh. Now, what do you do to figure it out?
So the first things we did. Cody actually challenged me to try this herbal concoction that she had been making in her home and she was like this is great for your overall health but this will specifically help with your PMS symptoms, your hormones just raging. I was, like I mentioned before, just having honestly painful acne. And I really was frustrated by that. I was bloated for like two weeks of every month. So that was honestly where we started. It was like, try this herbal concoction that Cody was making in her home, which we actually now call Her Time and sell it to tens of thousands of women, which is very fun. But it was also that she taught me to exercise less, actually build muscle, and pull back on all that cardio that I was doing. And I focused on building muscle. And I really learned the power of fueling my body and how much my body really needed to be eating. And I got myself out of that like starving. I mean, I was totally starving myself, let's be honest. And I am willing to state that because I have learned more women relate to that than don't relate to that. So I can admit, I have been a woman that has absolutely starved myself thinking that was what I had to do to achieve goals. And, my my, what freedom you feel when you learn that that is not the only way to feel good in your body.
Amber B 11:15
Yeah. So there are people who are listening. And they're like, Yeah, that sounds great. But there's that fear that keeps them. And some they know, Yeah, I probably should be eating more. And that sounds really amazing Jess where you're at now. But like the path to get there feels very scary because everything in their body is saying, eat less, eat less, eat less, that's if I start eating more, I'm gonna blow up, it's gonna be the end of the world, all these things. So for someone who is in that place of fear that maybe even I don't know, maybe you can speak to that. Maybe you felt that as well as like, how do you get through that? How do you feel afraid you're gonna gain weight and do it anyway?
Honestly, I felt so yucky anyway, at the time. And I was also so hungry. That I was like-
Amber B 12:01
like a breaking point.
Yeah, I'm like, this is obviously not working, and I don't feel great anyway. And then I really committed myself to timelines that weren't like, in three weeks, I'm going to feel better. In four weeks, my body's going to be completely changed. I stepped back and was willing to finally be like, What is my long-term goal? What is my long-term health, like going to look like, and I have to pull back from these like, fast approaches this like, yo-yo dieting, this like hardcore training for two months, that then I'm going to be in my summer bod sort of mindset? And it was one I was able to pull back from those unrealistic timelines and really realize that my body is trying to build something incredible. And my body wants to build something that is sustainable, and my body wants to work with me. So it's like when I changed my timelines, and like those expectations, and worked on building muscle, which I know you're so passionate about. But when I really built muscle and I focused on building muscle for 10 months, I built so that was my focus. I built back all this muscle that had been depleted through having kids, I wasn't a pregnant mother that really maintained a fitness plan, I was so sick. So I would lose all my muscle and come back and really have to start from scratch. So when I commit myself for 10 months, I am going to work with my body, unbuilding back such a powerful tool, which is muscle. And then I really trusted myself with the power of protein and health, you know, fruits and vegetables, and focusing on it was the shift when I changed my mindset to fuel and nutrition versus food being like something that holds me back from my goals. And it was when I allowed myself enough time to see changes. It was when I stopped viewing food as something that's working against me that I just unlocked this whole new patience for my program and my mindset to like I was willing to be way more patient. And I do have to say, I actually felt when I pulled back on that much cardio, I actually felt so much better lifting and focusing on that, I saw my body transform, start that transformation within two months. It was like and I was not nearly as tired and as beat down when I was trying to do like an hour of cardio a day. And Guardians is not all bad. I'm not trying to sound like that either. But I was just like the hamster on the treadmill. But yeah, I feel like setting realistic timelines and expectations and getting out of this, like, crash dieting, or is that making sense?
Amber B 15:10
No, it's perfect. And I think there are two things that you said that I want to make sure people don't miss. And that is the first thing that you said when I asked, How did you get past that fear? You're like, Well, I was in a crappy place already. And I think sometimes people don't take that into account, like, how are you feeling now? Like if you're feeling tired and lethargic, and like, you have acne, and you're like, can't lose weight, and it's like, like, you're in a bad place right now. And what you're doing is causing it and so yeah, it's a little scary sometimes to like, eat more food, and to maybe cut your cardio that is scary. But do you want to stay where you're at now? And so I think how, like, the way that you phrase that will allow some women to like, wake up to that fact of like, you're right, it is scary. But where I'm at right now is kind of crappy as well. So I'm willing to, like, willing to do a couple of scary things to hopefully get to the other side of things. And then the second–
Are you willing to cut 200 more calories from your only 1200 calories? You know what I mean, it's like-
Amber B 16:08
It's like there's a limit, right? It's like we can't just keep cutting calories forever, like, where we gonna go like, I mean, it just doesn't work. Like you play that out in the long game, it doesn't work. And then the other thing that you talk about, which I loved, and I'm gonna like reiterate again, because I want to make sure people didn't miss it was this idea of timelines, and expanding your timeline to not expecting something in two weeks, or four weeks, or six weeks, or even eight weeks. It's like, if we just expanded that timeline and gave ourselves six months, a year, like two years, I just think it would change the way that people approach health and fitness if we can really get out of that. I want it now. I want the mindset of yesterday that so many people are in.
So we always say over here at Mixhers that we all live in a world of instant gratification. But when you really want something and you're really searching for a solution, you have to have those realistic expectations. And it's you feel so much better in the long run.
Amber B 17:09
So, one of the things that I love to teach about is how life is happening for us, rather than happening to us. And how have you seen that play out in your life, and specifically in the birth of Mixhers, like taking something that was kind of crappy, and birthing this new, beautiful business that you have?
Yeah. Something that has been so incredible for us over at Mixhers was that Cody and I both had had, I mean tens, if not hundreds of conversations with other women that felt frustrated with their hormone health. And so then when I discovered that, you know, this herbal concoction was actually drastically changing my life, and I committed to a realistic timeline– Cody challenged me and was like, “Give this at least three months for this to start working for you.” And then it was when we realized that we needed to make this product more accessible. It was amazing the response that women gave us to Her Time and wanting to jump in and feel better as well. And people were wanting to work with us to get this product into more women's hands. And I think like we were actually laughing about this the other day, like we had so many unknowns, starting Mixhers, like we really, we've just put one foot in front of the other like baby footsteps at a time because we haven't known every bit of how to start a company or how to manufacture, how to get this product distributed and get it out into people's hands. But what we noticed was like if we just kept taking those little steps, like the work was multiplying itself, because women are so ready for this support. And they were ready to help us build this company because they want a) themselves to feel better, b) the sisters, friends, best friends, moms, their daughters, and their lives to feel better too and so Mixhers has really been it's fun to see kind of the bit of viral activity that we've seen behind Her Time. Because we don't feel alone in this journey like Mixhers is working for more women than just us. And so I feel like women are really like helping us and helping us build this with us. Arm and arm.
Amber B 19:35
I love that. I think that is the power of getting women together, we're going to take great things that are great and pass them on to people because we all do want to kind of support each other in that way which is awesome. So with supplements, you know in speaking to this it is like supplements are such an unregulated industry. So how do you guys go through formula creation and testing and like that process to make sure you know what you are putting in your clients' hands like actually works?
Yeah, so first of all, Cody formulates our products. So it took her years and years in her home to formulate Her Time. She was, you know, buying ingredients from like Whole Foods and some suppliers that she had relationships with and things like that. So she was really doing case studies in her own home, which is incredible. But that's like one of my favorite parts about like, the birth of Mixhers was all that we have had to learn to have a supplement company that is legit like you and, like, there is so much that goes behind it. So we've had to learn all of it. And number one thing is that we manufacture. We had to learn all about manufacturing, and my word, it can be a beast.
Amber B 20:55
I agree with that.
Yeah. But we manufacture in state of the art facilities that do quality control testing, they have to test our formulas and make sure that our ingredients come in as clean as they say they are, that they come in, you know, sealed and perfectly taken care of in the process to get to our manufacturing facilities. Then there's testing that's done when our ingredients are blended together, then there's testing that's done when they're in our stick packs. And then there's quality control that's done on the shelf life and how long these products can be okay, within these stick packs. And then on top of that Mixhers has additional testing that we like to have done such as, are we really 100% natural? Are we gluten-free? We like to feel like we can truly stand beside what and who we say we are. And that's something I'm actually really proud of us for is that Cody and I have had to battle people on that. People have wanted us to take shortcuts, people have wanted us to not care because unfortunately, Amber, not all supplement companies do care.
Amber B 22:12
And people are willing to cut corners. Not us. And so when we say like, this is Mixhers, this is what it is, this is what you have in it. That is us being willing to stand by our company. And we've worked so hard to fill this confidence in Mixhers.
Amber B 22:22
We don't just throw stuff and stick packs and ship it out and hand it to people. I’ll tell you that.
Amber B 22:38
And I want people to know that you literally could do that. Like that is the hard thing about that, people do do that. And so that's one of the things and I think I want to ask you this next question. Because I think you will have much better insight into this. It's like I, you're right like I don't know much about the manufacturing industry, I mean, it's out of my world. But for someone who is, as a consumer, going to buy supplements from different companies, what would you say now that you have a supplement company? What would you tell consumers? Hey, when you go buy supplements, look for this or ask this question, or this is what you should request from the company to like, really check on them. Do you have any suggestion as a consumer of how we can protect ourselves a little bit more?
Well, I can talk to what I personally look for and what I care about.
Amber B 23:27
That would be great.
Yeah, to me, I have been a consumer of plenty of different supplement companies. And actually, when I'm using certain products, or certain ingredients, and the way they make me feel is awful. Like if your supplements are making you feel bloated. If they're making you feel gassy, if they're giving you stomach pains, if you're getting headaches, if you're any of those side effects, there is something in the supplements you're taking that you don't want in your body. And so for us, something that we're very passionate about is truly being 100% natural. We want our ingredients to work with your body synergistically. That is what we look for. If you look at our labels, yes, there are certain herbs and certain powerful ingredients that are hard to pronounce. But that is something that we do care about, like our labels and the things we're putting in our formulas are ingredients that you can recognize or you could Google and know what they are, but we're not putting in these chemicals that your body just wants to reject and make you feel terrible. And so that's something that I look for is just how do these supplements actually make me feel? Do I feel like my body is thanking me when I'm using them or do I feel like my body's like battling me every time I use a certain protein or you know things like that.
Amber B 24:53
Yeah, that's really good. Thanks, that's helpful for people to know as they're looking for supplements.
And one last thing, that I would like to point out Amber. I would not recommend that people are always looking for the least expensive supplements on the market.
Amber B 25:11
I agree. Yeah, I agree. I actually think that's kind of a red flag for me is like if it is the cheapest, they probably cut corners to make it the truth.
Like all sorts of fillers, there's like there's they're probably not doing the right testing, things like that. So I would recommend people if they're truly investing in their health, price should not be like, Oh, I'm out because of the price issue. What am I actually investing in if I'm truly on my health journey?
Amber B 25:37
Yeah, that's really good. And I think it is really important for people to understand, like, you really could put sugar in a packet and sell it and say it has all of these things in it, and it doesn't have any of it in it. And that is actually legal like that it is an unregulated industry. And so, yes, if you're gonna get the cheapest, someone's probably doing that, like not to that extent, probably, but they do that kind of stuff. And so I totally agree, don't go for the cheapest that that would not be. That'd be my recommendation, too. So I think that I love that you brought that up. What is something that you have learned or has surprised you about running a product business versus maybe other styles of business?
Yeah, a product business, I think something we've really had to learn and relearn and be patient with is, I have learned that there's always room for improvement. And the biggest thing is like just getting started. And I don't mean, like since we're talking about supplements, I don't mean cutting corners in the actual formulas, but we more so focus on, okay, maybe this packaging came back. And it's run fully with all this product. And we're a little bit bummed because the color doesn't look as good as we thought. You just have to start, you just have to start and you can improve as you go, I was actually laughing with someone the other day like Mixhers has been through pretty much like five rebrands. Because we've just been like we can keep improving ,we can keep improving. And I think that's actually something great to admit to, like, we don't think we do it the best the first time. And we're willing to improve and make changes. And to us, it's like, how can we just get started? How can we just get this on the market, it belongs on the market, we're so passionate about how much women need this. And the health benefits behind these ingredients. Okay, the colors came back, they're not perfect, we're gonna improve by the next run. And so to me with product based companies and women that have so many passions for like, all these incredible companies that they want to start can take someone like five or six years to feel like they're actually ready because their label isn't the perfect size or things like that. So my biggest thing is like, just get started, keep improving and keep moving forward.
Amber B 27:59
I love that, it's awesome. All right. Oh, a little bit of a personal note. What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Something someone might be surprised to learn about me? Okay, so we've been talking so much about health and like this fitness journey that I went on, and Mixhers is a you know, health supplement company. But I feel like people should really know that I have a massive sweet tooth. And I love desserts. I love indulgent desserts, I do indulge in desserts frequently. And I have found that restricting things from myself does not work. And so I think it's sometimes surprising for people to hear like women that have felt like freedom in their health. They're like, “Yeah, but you probably actually don't still enjoy XYZ or ABC” and I think it's fun for people to hear that like no, there's still people that have found freedom in their health journey, and really have found peace and not feeling like they're out of this battle constantly with food needs. So I just think something surprising here is how much I truly indulge in yummy desserts and treats.
Amber B 29:20
I love it. That's so good. All right. If people are wanting to connect with you, learn more about you and Mixhers. Where can they find you?
Yeah, you can find us at Mixhers, M-I-X-H-E-R-S, and if people want to connect with me personally, I love making friends. You can find me @jesstoolson, T-O-O-L-S-O-N, on Instagram.
Amber B 29:39
Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast Jess and sharing your story and telling us about Mixhers and it's just awesome to hear where you're at in your life now.
So thanks for having me. Thanks for having me, bye.
Amber B 29:52
I hope that you enjoyed that interview. I really enjoyed chatting with Jess and hearing her experience and her expertise and sharing about her company and what she's built alongside Cody. If you haven't listened to Cody's episode, her business partner that was last week's episode, and so we wanted to share both, you know a little bit more on hormones last week and then a little bit more of Jess' story this week on the podcast. So I hope that was enlightening and eye opening for you.
Amber B 30:18
And if you like the podcast, please take a little bit of time to leave a rating and review on iTunes. I know you hear podcasters say it all the time, but it really does help. There is that algorithm out there. And the more that we can tell apple that, hey, people like this stuff, maybe I should show it to other people. The faster the podcast grows, the more I'm able to be able to create free content and put it out here for you. So thank you to those who have left a rating and review and if you haven't, please take two minutes and do it. It's really quick and it means the world to me. Thanks for being here on Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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