The Path to Gold 001 | Introduction

Join us for this exciting NEW SERIES - The Path to Gold with Chauntae Gold as we dive into what it takes to create healthy lifestyle habits.

Follow Chauntae on Instagram @thepathtogold


Check out her website


Shauna Costello (00:00):

You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA technologies this week, we're starting an exciting new series. The path to gold, Chauntae Gold is a board certified behavior analyst with more than five years of professional experience, working directly with clients who struggle with behavioral challenges, she holds a level one precision nutrition certification, and more than seven years of personal experience in various athletic sports, such as bodybuilding, Olympic weight lifting, power lifting, and CrossFit. Over the next few months, Chauntae will be discussing topics about creating healthy habits, health, nutrition, and meal, prepping, working out and individualizing your workouts data and why it's important and even more. But before we jump into those topics, it's time to learn about Chauntae her background and how she decided to merge the two things she loves, behavior analysis and health and wellness

Shauna Costello (01:00):

I'm here with Chauntae Gold. And some of you may know her or know of her from social media. Um, but I can't remember when I started following her on Instagram. I don't remember. I think it was because of the working out posts, but then one day I randomly found out that she's also a board certified behavior analyst and also certified in nutrition. And I reached out to her very excitedly and asked if she wanted to maybe get on the podcast and start something. And so before we get into, you know, what she's going to be talking about, I asked if I could just do a little interview with her, for her to describe herself to you and who she is and how she got into it. Um, so welcome and thank you so much for being here.

Chauntae Gold (01:52):

Hi, thank you so much. Thank you for, uh, you know, giving me this opportunity to speak about what I love.

Chauntae Gold (02:00):

and I'm very excited. Um, we've talked a little bit before, but I'm super excited. Um, but first I'll kind of let you describe your background and you know, where you came from and how you got into the field and what made you maybe change your mind and going, you know, working behavior analysis into health and fitness. Okay, well, um, my journey, I guess, I don't know if I should start with like behavior analysis or fitness, but I have been in the, um, fitness, uh, I guess area. I have a lot of experience in this area for about eight years. I've been a behavior analyst for five, I think going on six years. Um, my fitness background, um, is I've been in a lot of variety of different sports. So like bodybuilding, powerlifting, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, um, I,

Chauntae Gold (03:02):

Um, you know, started, uh, my fitness journey as, you know, just wanting to, you know, to look, uh, look a little bit better in the bikini is, you know, most women, uh, start off as, um, and I, uh, you know, kinda just took that to the next level. And I hired a coach to do a, uh, like a bodybuilding show, a bikini body building show. And, um, that was like the best and worst decision of my life, um, that, uh, worst because I hired a really, really bad coach who put me on a cookie cutter diet plan, um, ran my metabolism to the grounds. Um, the entire prep was absolutely miserable and, um, I didn't know what exactly I was doing to my body health wise, but it was just like a torturous process. And, um, at the end of it, I wasn't really guided on what to do after the competition.

Chauntae Gold (04:05):

So I just went back to, you know, to eating, not like unhealthy food, just normal. And I was rapidly gaining weight back. I gained about like 20 to almost 30 pounds within two months. And I was just really confused on what was happening. Um, and it was terrible. I felt so, you know, self conscious about myself and embarrassed because I worked so hard to get a certain, you know, size and look a certain way. And now I was just like, I had gained more weight than I was than I had when I started. So it was just kind of like an interesting experience to say the least. Um, and, but that experience really forced me to understand what was happening with my metabolism. Um, um, I discovered flexible dieting, which is a dieting practice that I practiced to this day. Um, and it has brought me so much freedom within the foods that I eat and knowledge on, what a portion size actually looks like.

Chauntae Gold (05:12):

And so I just went on the deep end and I just like put everything I had to research, um, you know, nutrition, basically. I just wanted to understand nutrition and how I can, you know, be better at it. And so I hired another bodybuilding coach to help me rehabilitate my metabolism and that took about a one year with him, but it took, I guess, uh, probably two years to recover from that show. And, um, I decided to step away from bodybuilding because, um, you know, from that I developed, uh, you know, body dysmorphia and I was just getting too obsessed with the way that I looked. And so I stepped into the CrossFit world that really helped shift focus away from the way that I look to how I performed in the gym. And that was great. And that was fantastic. And around that time, I decided to go back to school for my master's.

Chauntae Gold (06:09):

Um, before that I was a makeup artist for eight years. I know so many random things like what do I even do? Um, I was a makeup artist for a really long time. I had a undergrad degree of sociology, um, that didn't really do anything with it. And so I figured like maybe I should do something with this and try to earn more money somehow. So I had a friend who was working with, uh, children with autism and, um, he said, yeah, you should try it. You should do it. Um, and so I kinda, you know, did my research and started working at my first company, um, with children with autism. And I instantly fell in love, um, mostly because it was a science that I understood and that was, um, it made sense to me and, uh, I was actually pretty good at it.

Chauntae Gold (07:01):

And so that made me feel really good. And, um, I, you know, I was tired of being a makeup artist. And so I was, you know, looking to kind of switch and transition into another career. And so it was like, okay, this is what I want to do. Um, and so I uh, you know, went to my grad school. I did, um, I started with a national university and did their, you know, in class portion at first I started with a school psychology, and then I decided I just wanted to go full on ABA because I had the most amazing ABA teacher at national that he just really inspired me to like, just, you know, say screw school, psychology, I'm going to go full force behavior analysis. Um, and, uh, so I pursued that and, uh, I decided to transition from national to ASU online Arizona state university.

Chauntae Gold (07:56):

And that's where I finished my grad school program. Um, and then during this time I was doing CrossFit the entire time. And, um, up until about two years ago, two and a half years ago, I switched back to bodybuilding. I did power lifting. I did a few power lifting competitions and, um, back to bodybuilding and I still work, um, full time as a behavior analyst with children with autism. But, um, in the beginning of this year, January of 2020, I just launched my side business for helping people, you know, just the general population, um, create healthy lifestyle habits, um, using ABA. And now I'm here talking with you.

Shauna Costello (08:45):

I'm very happy about it.

Chauntae Gold (08:46):

That was such a long introduction. I'm so sorry.

Shauna Costello (08:49):

No, don't be sorry. Yeah. And you know, I've looked at your website plenty, and if any of behavior analyst goes to your website, they are going to notice the Skinner references. They're going to notice it's very behavior analytic in nature. And so that's, you know, one of my goals and the goal of the company is to disseminate behavior analysis. And I know that, you know, from following you on social media, that you're very data driven with the clients that you have. And so, you know, what is kind of your, like, I don't want to give too many secrets away cause you know, I'd like people to, you know, actually go out and reach out to you. Um, but what is like your premise when you talk to a potential new client?

Chauntae Gold (09:38):

Um, well, um, I have them fill out, uh, uh, intake form, uh, kind of, you know, like a assessment, if you will, um, about specific questions around their eating habits, their working out habits, their time management, their routines, things like that. And to kind of just give me like a general idea of like where they are with all these things. And I, um, um, on the questionnaire it asks, what are your top two, um, habits that you want to improve and what are your top two habits that you want to limit? And then, um, once they give me that information, I, um, you know, talk to them and get, you know, just talk to them one-on-one and get to, you know, ask them, you know, like dive into those questions a little bit more. Um, just so I can get a little bit more information. Um, but basically I just kind of help them create, you know, identify their goals. Um, practical goals have them operationally define it. Um, obviously I'm, I don't like to say let's operationally define this, but I usually just say like,

Shauna Costello (10:49):

What? You're not telling people to operationally, I'm just kidding.

Chauntae Gold (10:54):

I'm like, well, what does that look like to you? Like if somebody was watching you in a video, what would that habit look like to them? Um, and so I would have them describe it to me. And then, um, we kind of like come up with a definition and then, um, kind of set up a system of a data tracking system based around the habits that they want to improve and teach them how to manage their own habits. Um, cause a lot of it is just like, you know, self-management, I hold them accountable. Um, and I kind of like help them make decisions based on their own data. Um, and that's a big part of what I try to do is like, it's not like you pay me and I do the work for you. You're paying me and I'm help guiding you to make your own decisions based on your progress.

Chauntae Gold (11:47):

Um, so it's a lot of that type of coaching. Um, and so, you know, after we reached one goal, asked them, you know, okay, how do you feel? Like, do you feel like we can add advanced a little bit more, um, you know, harder goals and if they say, no, I want to stay here, then that's what we do. If they say yes, I can handle a little bit more than we go there. Um, depending on, um, you know, what type of goal that they're doing. Um, I do try to do like, uh, so like macros, for example, like I'm really big on like macro, um, counting macros and, um, you know, tracking your food on an app. And a lot of, you know, I think a lot of like you see a lot of fitness influencers talking about that. Um, and it sounds like a good idea except for when you actually do it.

Chauntae Gold (12:37):

It's really confusing. And it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of effort. And, um, I can imagine that as you know, for somebody who just is not familiar with that type of system, it can become very frustrating. So, um, I am always, you know, I try to tell them like, or I should say, I try to ask them like, is the macro dieting thing, something that you want to do? And if it is, then I need to give you really simple step by step directions on how to do that. So a task analysis basically on like all the steps on like what you need to do. And we're only going to do this one or two days a week, not every day, because that's too much work one to two days, that's practical that you can do. And then once you get comfortable with that, then we can maybe add on an extra day. So that's just like one example of, you know, breaking a difficult, complex skill down into something a little bit more digestible. Um, so they are, you know, set up so I could set them up for success basically.

Shauna Costello (13:40):

Well, and I mean, you're also individualizing it to them, what their needs are, and you're also teaching them these self management skills to help, like you said, that you had to kind of relearn as well to maintain it over time. This isn't like you're trying to help people avoid, you know, the types of experiences that you personally had.

Chauntae Gold (14:06):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, like I said, like my experience, I think is it's not uncommon, but I don't regret it. I, I really don't as awful as it was and hard. Um, it really pushed me to, you know, understand nutrition, but I wouldn't want anybody to go through that just to, you know, be educated on nutrition, right. There are better ways. There are better ways to help people, you know, live healthy lifestyles and reach fitness goals other than like, you know, um, putting them through hell. So, um, that is kind of what I want, um, to help people with. And it's not, it doesn't even have to be like macros, like counting macros, cause it's not for everybody. I don't believe that, um, you know, the principles of, you know, macro counting can be applicable to every single person it's just it's. Um, um, but I definitely want, you know, my whole mission is to kind of help people make healthier choices and be more mindful of their actions and be able to maintain that type of, um, health behavior over a long period of time.

Chauntae Gold (15:14):

And, um, you know, be empowered with the decisions that they make on a daily basis, whether it's at home or out, out with their friends. Cause a lot of times, you know, people are so, you know, they can meet goals and they're consistent when they're at home, but you kind of fall apart when they're out with friends, they don't know what to do. So I definitely work on that as well as helping them manage the, like navigate those social, um, interactions and experiences and help them, you know, modify their goals based on like social outings or, um, how to navigate like negative feedback from friends. Like things like that, because those are all huge, um, factors and why people would be consistent with their, uh, nutrition or not.

Shauna Costello (16:00):

Yeah. And I mean, that kind of gets us into what we're kind of doing here is, um, you've agreed to give one to however many you want to, but some episodes on what you do and why it's important and how behavior analysis fits into it. Um, so what are some of the things overview topics that you're going to be, you know, chit chatting about?

Chauntae Gold (16:31):

Hmm. Um, well, how to, um, create habits, I guess, how to, um, I guess unlearn old habits, um, because that's, you know, I think a big part of, you know, people, you know, why we're stuck is because we have the history of, um, you know, um, behaviors that, you know, have served us well in this very moment, but over time they are no longer serving us. And so, um, helping people recognize what those behaviors are. Cause a lot of people just don't, they don't even realize it. They're just like kind of wondering, you know, why am I not making progress? And it has a lot to do with like the bad habits that we've spent so many years building. So breaking those, um, and how to, um, build new ones. Um, and, um, I could dive into a little bit about nutrition itself, um, different types of training.

Chauntae Gold (17:37):

I I'm using the word specialize in a very loose term because I'm not a certified personal trainer. I just have a lot of experience in the bodybuilding world. Um, and then a little bit of experience in powerlifting. Um, so I can definitely, um, talk about like different types of weightlifting styles and how that benefits, um, your nutrition and your body composition goals. Um, I think you had a lot of ideas too, that I'm trying to remember, but I don't, I can't think of at the top of my head, you had like a whole list of them and you sent me, I was like, Oh yes, I could talk about all those things.

Shauna Costello (18:16):

And I mean, I'm just excited to learn more about it because I get questions all of the time, just from my students, from the general public and people who are like, how did you get your job? Because I don't have a standard stereotypical behavior, analytic job. I even went to, um, the holidays this year with my family with, um, you know, like grandma, grandpa, extended aunts and uncles, um, things like that. And I had been with ABA tech for a year and they just thought, when I got a new job, they're like, how's your new job going? How are your, you know, how are your kids with autism? I'm like, Oh, I haven't done that in over a year. And they're like, wait, what? So, um, you know, I get questions all the time. Like, well, how did you get into this? And I'm just excited for you too. You know what I mean for you to be on here and show people that you can take, even what you're into? You know what I mean? Like what your passion is and behavior analysis will probably fit into it somehow.

Chauntae Gold (19:24):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, that is I, and I, I have that same experience as why so many people, behavioral analysts or RBTs have reached out to me through my Instagram and asking me like how to get started. I'm like, I'm still trying to get started, but yeah, sure. I could give you some tips on like how I got here, I guess. But yeah, it's definitely like very, very, very few people are doing the health and fitness thing. And, um, I think what I'm trying to do is, you know, a little unique in a sense where it, like it targets like the weightlifting, like women in lifting weights specifically, um, and nutrition and flexible dieting. And, um, so yeah, I would definitely, yeah, I'll definitely love to talk a little bit more about that and, um, the importance of, um, you know, collaborating with others to, you know, get our science out there too, and yeah.

Shauna Costello (20:25):

Yeah. And especially to get trainings in these other fields that you're interested in too. I know that, you know, I'm, I'm in more of a business role now and project management was, it seemed to fit. So, you know, I did take a project management, um, course, to make sure that, you know, I could maybe even potentially be certified as a project management as a professional, get those credentials as well. Um, because you know, that's what, that's what interests me, but you know, you do need supplemental trainings and

Chauntae Gold (20:59):

Absolutely to build your toolbox, to, you know, um, get our science out there or to be more, I guess, um, appealing to the general population or whoever you're trying to serve, I guess. Um, because I don't think that just being a behavior analyst alone will, um, get, you know, the information that we need out there. Um, I think that you have to kind of have a lot of different, like other components that people are already familiar with for them to like, even like consider working with you or even consider looking into like who you are. Like I ended up, I've gotten people to like that, um, you know, just regular like trainers and stuff that I've become friends with, who follow me on Instagram. They're like, so what do you do? You're like a behavior analyst. Like they're trying to like figure out, what is that?

Chauntae Gold (21:50):

Like? That's been really cool because they're starting to notice as well. And I mean, it's opportunities for me to share, you know, what exactly they gave her an analyst is became her analysis is. Yeah. So it's just, and again, I, and I've talked to you about this a little bit before. It's like, I don't get too techie on my Instagram because that is not like behavior analysts aren't my target audience. It's general population people. So I really try to find that balance of like, like being stupid and fun and like, you know, the Instagram like entertainment and then like a little bit of educational and like seriousness and like, wait, I'm still a clinician over here. Don't forget. I'm smart too. But, um, yeah. So, because I want, I want to be appealing to just, you know, people who are just scrolling through Instagram just for fun, right? Like I can't just like cite a bunch of research articles and expect them to stop and listen to what I have to say.

Shauna Costello (22:54):

That's not how you get readers?

Chauntae Gold (22:56):

No, I don't mean to do that for other people like, oh, you're studying a research and now I'm just, I'm just here for the, for the muscle pictures, people. Sorry.

Shauna Costello (23:07):

And I mean, like I said, I'm pretty sure that that's how I started following you in the first place. And then I randomly, it was just like, Oh my gosh, she's a BCBA too. Um, I think, like I said, I don't even remember now. Um, but no, and I, I mean, even like when we, when we've talked before too, you're like, but no, I do want to still talk to, you know, behavior analysts about how you can, you know, spread, take your passions in, work them into a field that you love and mesh them together and disseminate this behavior analysis out there to the general public. So what's your, you know, what you're trying to do and what you will, what you are doing. Um, and I'm excited about that too, because so many people ask those questions. And so I'm so happy to have you on here, but I mean, I'm looking forward to it. I'm very excited. And I think, I think this will be a fun little treat for many of our listeners, but thank you again, and we'll be hearing from you soon. Sounds good. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the path to gold. Come back next month to hear more from Chauntae Gold on building healthy habits.


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