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TMHS 608: Avoid These Fitness Mistakes & Instantly Improve Your Results – With Jay Ferruggia
There’s a lot of conflicting advice about the best way to get results in the gym. And if there’s anyone who knows how to get results, it’s my friend Jay Ferruggia. Jay has been a personal trainer for over 25 years and he has thousands of hours of experience training folks in the gym. He has an impressive resume of advising in major league sports and contributing to magazines and major news networks.
Jay is one of the most elite fitness coaches in the world, and what I love about him is his realistic approach to training. Jay’s mission is to make fitness simple and efficient. He incorporates key lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep, easy nutrition tips to help maximize your results, and how things like relationships and mindset can impact your fitness goals.
No matter what your fitness goals are, Jay’s tips can help you achieve them. On today’s show, he’s sharing some of the most common misconceptions about training, the importance of having a plan, and why training for longevity and health is so effective. So listen in, take good notes, and enjoy this episode with Jay Ferruggia!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The biggest mistake most people make in the gym.
- Why your goal should be to build muscle.
- The role sleep plays in getting lean.
- Why cardio isn’t the best strategy for fat loss.
- What it means to have a rehabilitative workout.
- The importance of progressive overload, and why form matters.
- Why having a plan is necessary for body composition goals.
- The role that genetics play in your fitness outcomes.
- How prioritizing aesthetics can damage your health.
- Jay’s background in the fitness industry.
- How to structure your workouts around the long-term goal of longevity.
- What role your metabolism and thyroid play in getting results.
- The dangers of overhydrating, and the importance of electrolyte balance.
- Why your nutrition protocol matters in the long term.
- How helping others can balance your stress levels.
- The role community plays in your growth and strength.
- Why self-development matters for your overall health.
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
SHAWN STEVENSON: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. What are some of the biggest mistakes that we're making in the gym? What are some of the biggest mistakes that we're making when we wanted to transform our bodies? How can we leverage our time? How can we find a way to get it faster? Well, today we have on one of the most elite coaches in the world to fill us in on how to up-level our health and fitness with efficiency, intelligence, and momentum. Now, before we get to our special guest, I've got to tell you, we've just crossed Episode 600 of The Model Health Show. Episode 600, it is blowing my mind. Alright, we're talking about hours and hours behind the scenes in preparation and recording and the post-production pieces, all these things, and I did a little math, and we're well over 10,000 hours invested into creating this show, and it's something really, really special. And recently, I shared a little snippet, a little word that Malcolm Gladwell, the one and only New York Times best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell gave a little shout-out, a little vibe for The Model Health Show. Check it out.
MALCOLM GLADWELL: It can sometimes feel like a Lord of the Rings sized quest to find our way to the health and fitness we desire, but what if we had a roadmap that actually made the process fun, entertaining, and empowering? The Model Health Show is packed with the latest science on every health topic you can imagine, interviews with the best experts in their respective fields and delivered in a way that's actionable and easy to understand. Join research scientists and best-selling author, Shawn Stevenson, to explore the realms of sleep science, hormone health, longevity, and so much more. The show is a treasure trove of actionable health and fitness knowledge. Find The Model Health Show wherever you get your podcast.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Now, if that's not cool enough, we've also got all of these amazing people and amazing companies that are huge fans of The Model Health Show, and they want to do something also to help celebrate the 600th episode. And so even though we're a few episodes later, I thought that this would be something really special to share. My favorite company that's dedicated to regenerative farming, and if you're somebody who's like, you're looking for great snacks for your family, for traveling, even here at the studio, we keep their snacks in stock all the time for our team, their incredible bars, and their meat sticks, I'm talking about none other than Paleovalley. And for a limited time right now, if you're wanting to try their grass-fed beef sticks, or if you've already had them before, for a limited time right now, they're going to give you, to celebrate Episode 600 of The Model Health Show, 80% off a pack of their meat sticks, again right now only. It's exclusive, take action, go to paleovalley.com/model600. Alright, that's P-A-L-E-O-V-A-L-L-E-Y.com/M-O-D-E-L and the number 6-0-0 to take advantage of this.
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ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled “Always Informative” by jlandwar. “I've been listening to The Model Health Show for at least a year. I have found the information in every episode useful to my daily life. It's helped me clean up my diet, pay more attention to ingredients, and I've learned about how nutrition and health affects the mind and body.”
SHAWN STEVENSON: Amazing, amazing, thank you so much for sharing that over on Apple Podcast. I appreciate it immensely. And if you're yet to do so, pop over to Apple Podcast and please leave a review for The Model Health Show. And on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day. Our guest, Jay Ferruggia, is one of the most elite fitness coaches in the world, advisor for teams and athletes in the NFL, MLB, WWE. He's been featured in Men's Health magazine, Men's Fitness, the list goes on and on and on with his attributes and his experience, but he's also a good friend and somebody that I had the opportunity to spend time with and to learn from, and I always walk away with a new nugget of wisdom or 20 when conversating with the amazing Jay Ferruggia. So, check out this brand-new conversation with my guy. Alright, I've got a friend here, one of the reasons that I'm here in LA right now. Alright, we'll talk about that a little bit later. But my guy, Jay Ferruggia, miss you man, I'm glad to see you again.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Nice to see you man. Appreciate it man. Thanks for having me.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Listen, when I see you, obviously, if people don't see the video, you got the biceps just busting out your shirt, man. Your tattoo, bad ass. And when I see you, I think about two things, I think about fitness and really being about that life, and I also think about community, and these are the two things I want to talk to you about today.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I just got goosebumps.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, let's go.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I appreciate that. Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Let's go. And so, the first thing I want to ask you about, obviously, there's been an absolute wave, and I know you've seen it first-hand, of gym culture changing in our society. There's so many different iterations of what that looks like, but you've been doing this for decades at a really high level, and I want to start off by... Because there's a lot of folks that listen to the show that are obviously into fitness, they're going to the gym, maybe they got themself a home set up. Well, let's just talk about the gym itself, let's talk about some of the biggest mistakes people are making when they're going into the gym, like they're wanting to get fit, they want to transform their body, all the goodies. What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making?
JAY FERRUGGIA: I think... The first thing that comes to mind is people just do too much, they go too hard, so they go zero to a hundred real quick, like, where you don't have to do that. Most of this stuff we see on Instagram, on commercials, is like a Rocky training montage, like you're going super hard, your heart rate's up, you're pouring sweat, and you're just totally wiped out, where the crazy thing is where a lot of people who aren't as into this as you and I might be shocked to hear, that's actually not that good for you, what it does for your hormonal system, your endocrine system, your immune system, that can actually crush you. People will start training and they're like, "Oh, I actually feel worse, I get sick more often," or whatever, it's like, there's a lot of things like that that I think are just total misconceptions.
So, if someone's not training or if they're kind of just like going half-assed at it and they go, "I want to get serious now," basically strength training is the most important thing, and you don't have to crush yourself. If you just do three times a week, if you just did basic kind of relatively heavy lifting in a six to 12 rep range, some basic press, pull, squat, hinge, the basic movement patterns, three to four sets, and long rest periods. Like people think, "Oh, I got to have my heart rate elevated the whole time, I got to be panting, and I got to be pouring sweat, and I got to be getting a massive pump." Well, no, real world evidence and science shows that none of that's true, you actually get better results if you're trying to build muscle, which most people who'll go to the gym should be trying to build muscle. It's one of the best anti-aging strategies there is. Shout-out to our mutual friend, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, she talks about that all the time.
So, you should be trying to build muscle when you go to the gym, and research is pretty clear, three minutes between sets is way better for building muscle than like a minute between sets, but people just don't get that. Again, 'cause we've been conditioned to think everything should be super hard. I've done photo shoots where I'm like single-digit body fat and people are like, "Oh, how much cardio did you do?" And I was like, "None." Like, "How hard are your workouts?" I'm like, "Not really that hard. You would be pretty bored. It's like I'll do a set of six and rest three minutes, it's like it's mainly diet, it's sleep, its stress reduction," like those things. People don't think that that has anything to do with getting lean. That has everything to do with getting lean. So, I could go on forever with all of the mistakes people are...
And people do way too much cardio. To this day, again, if we're in our bubble of fitness people, we kind of assume, like "Oh, everybody knows you got to lift and don't do cardio," but they don't. Once you get outside of our bubble, you talk to normal people, they're like, "Oh, I should just do cardio, cardio, cardio." Or they'll be like, "Yo, I'm going to lift, I'm going to do your program, but I got to do cardio for a few months to get in shape." I'm like, "No, no, no, you don't have to do that, that's totally backwards." Cardio is actually not that effective for getting in shape. It's good... Now we have all the research and shout-out to Joel Jamieson, he puts out all kinds of information on conditioning and HRV and longevity. It's great for longevity, especially... I'm 47, I'll be 48 in a month, it's great for longevity, for cardiovascular health. Now it's even... We see the benefits of cognitive health, but for losing fat, it's not really that effective. So, there's so many misconceptions that sometimes it's like, "Man, this is an uphill battle," but it's easier than you think it is. You don't have to do as much stuff as you think.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, man, you just said it. It's so wild how we've got so much data now, and again, you get into your bubbles, you don't realize that people are still doing this stuff, and they're just completely bought into that narrative and they're just like, "Well I'll do cardio on my second workout of the day, or I'll do it on the days off." If you're just trying to get somebody on board with lifting, they're still trying to find a way to plug it in. And this is the thing, as you mentioned, cardiovascular exercise is great for cardiovascular health.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You know? But as far as being effective and efficient for fat loss, there's nothing better than focusing on lifting some weights and building some muscle.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Totally, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, we've got a couple of things here. Now you started right out of the gate saying something's very... Unfortunately, it's controversial, you say you don't have to crush yourself, but the mental narrative, the picture is, again, you just said like a Rocky montage, I just thought about Creed, shout-out to the new Creed montages. But we believe that we've got to be sprawled out on the floor, just beat ourselves to a pulp, and that's how you really get a good workout. So that's very counterculture idea, but it's true, and you've seen it again and again.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah, one of my favorite quotes ever about fitness in general was from Pavel Tsatsouline who said, "What is the biological cost of your training?" And nobody really asks that, right? Like what is it doing to age you, what's it doing to your joints, what's it doing to all the things I mentioned, like suppressing your sex drive, suppressing your immune system, all those things. Well, most people don't think it can do that, but it can definitely do that. And again, in this society, probably a lot of people that listen to this show are Type A, hard-charging people, who're already stressed out, who're already probably over-caffeinated, over-stimulated. We're indoors in unnatural lighting, we're not spending enough time outside, all the things.
So we already are coming from a kind of stressed-out perspective, so now we go in and we do these things, now we know, like science has shown now, we used to think, and I used to say this, and colleagues of mine, Luca, Joe DeFranco would say this, years ago in the early '90's, we would say that doing lower reps is more stressful on your CNS, and it contributes to overall systemic fatigue more. Now science has proven it's actually the opposite, higher reps crushes your CNS more, that's harder to recover from. So, if you want... If you come in, and again, you're over-caffeinated, you're over-worked, you're already strung out, you want to do a workout that seems easier, that's going to actually...
My friend Doc Chang says, Dr. Mark Chang says, "Every rep you do should be rehabilitative," and I love that. Whereas just, instead of just crushing through everything, you're like, "How does this improve my shoulder health, my shoulder mobility?" You're building muscle still, but it should be... You should be conscious and cognizant of what you're doing, "How is this improving my life? Am I going to have more energy tomorrow or am I going to be totally wiped out from this workout? Am I going to have more mobility or totally wiped out? Is my immune system going to be stronger or am I suppressing it 'cause I'm doing so much cardio, so much high rep stuff, so much low rest period stuff?" So, you got to think about all these things. And again, what is your training doing? Is it making you better or is it making you worse? And most people are addicted to stimulus, and I get it, I totally get it, I am too. I'm a hard-charging guy, I have this relentless stat, I like to be cranked up. You've seen me, I don't like to be chill, I don't really have that mode, but you have to keep yourself in check, otherwise you get injured, you get sick, you have no energy, so you got to kind of keep it in check.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, you don't want to play trivia, get people together for a trivia night and be against Jay.
JAY FERRUGGIA: No.
SHAWN STEVENSON: It's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. So, I want to ask you about this too, so another possible big mistake, what about the efficiency of what people are doing as far as their form and their technique? The other day I was at the Genesis, true story, there's this guy, he's doing a lat pulldown, but he pulled... Do the lat pulldown, he pulled it down by halfway, then he's doing like a breakdance move, and then he let it back up and then he do it again. I'm in LA, so I don't know, maybe he's with the... What are those guys? The Jabberwockies, I don't know, maybe he's a Jabberwockies masked off.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Maybe, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But yes. What about form and actually getting the most out of what you're doing?
JAY FERRUGGIA: I think that's huge. Anyone who follows me on Instagram or something, I talk about that all the time. Excellence of execution. We always hear about progressive overload. Anyone in strength and conditioning, we always talk about progressive overload. Meaning, in simple terms, you have to do more weight or more reps. If you go in today and you can dumbbell press 50s for eight, if you're doing that in a year, you probably haven't gained any muscle, your body probably hasn't changed, it's where you go to most public gyms, everyone looks the same 'cause they do the same weight, same rep.
So progressive overload is the key. We want to get strong, we want to do more reps, but the first form of progressive overload is better form. If you come in, first time I see you train, we go through a bunch of exercises for each body part and your form is like a six, a seven, I'll say, "I don't even really care about adding weight. Let's get that to an eight first. Let's just do those. Let's hammer those. Let's do a bunch of sets and reps. Let's really build a mind-muscle connection. Let's make sure we're not exceeding our active range of motion." Again, everything's kind of safe, everything is controlled, and then, like I said, that's your first form, progressive overload. Now we can start adding weights. Now we can start checking your training journal on PR on each week on that. That's great. That's fun. It's not as fun, my PR is better form, but long term, that's going to be so much better for you, for your health, for your joint health, for your tendon health.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Why don't you think people do that? Why do we just want to just blast through and get to the end versus getting the form and the technique down?
JAY FERRUGGIA: See, I ask that question too all the time, because if you were a basketball player and I said, "Alright, you're going to do 5000 free throws," they'll be like, "Yeah, that makes sense." Or Mariano Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher of all time, he has one pitch that he just practice. Or you can talk about the Bruce Lee quote of the man who practice 10,000 kicks once; or one kick 10,000 times, that's the guy you're going to fear. So, I don't understand that mindset. A lot of people who come from a sports background, they're like, "Yeah, I get it, practice." And I go, "Okay, cool. That's what we're going to do in the weight room, we're going to practice." In 1906, Arthur Saxon and George Hackenschmidt, they didn't call it training, they didn't call it working out, they called it practice. In the early days of physical culture and strength training, it was just practice. You'd go to the gym, and you'd practice doing snatches and cleans and ring dips and push-ups and it was just practice.
And I wish more people... It's not as exciting, but I wish more people took that mentality. You're not just going in to kill yourself and burn calories, you're going in to get good at something. Again, you wouldn't go on the basketball court and just be like, "I am just doing whatever." No, you'd be like, "No, let me learn how to play defense." So, he practice this over and over and over again. So, I think if people can get that mentality and that it's practiced and then you get good and kind of just take that... Again, the society we live in, it's instant gratification, whatever, but if everybody could take that mindset of mastery... I love that, maybe that's because of my age, but I love that old school mentality of let me just do something slowly, master it, get really good at it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, man, it just seems very logical. But again, I think you just hit it, which is, we have this instant gratification culture, it's deeply ingrained, and so people just want start, finish line, that in-between part is not very attractive at all. And so, you mention not doing too much, what about the other end of the spectrum, in doing too little? That's one of the things also that I see quite a bit, is folks not necessarily having a plan in a sense, but also just spending more time on their phone than they are lifting weights or practicing to get better.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, you nailed it, you have to have a plan. Most people who failed to get anywhere, failed to transform the body, failed to do all the things that you go to the gym for, build muscle, burn fat, gain mobility, flexibility, they don't have a plan, they just go in and wing it. It doesn't have to be mine, it could be anyone's, probably... 100 people you've had on the show probably have great training plans, buy a training plan, or hire somebody, so you actually have a plan that you follow. That's first and foremost. You wouldn't approach your business that way. Most people that go into the gym, they probably have some structure to how they run their business, or they work for somebody who tells them what to do. They go to the gym and wing it and wonder why they don't get anywhere. So, you got to have a plan, you got to have structure and then that actually makes it more fun too, because a lot of people don't like training. Close friends of mine don't like training. I was with Tony Jeffries in Miami recently. You know Tony, right?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
JAY FERRUGGIA: And he's like... I was asking about his training. He's like, "Jay, I just hate training. I hate it so much." And I always think that if you set goals and you start to track PRs, then it kind of is more fun, then it's challenging, then you're kind of gamifying it. Like I said before, "Oh, I could only dumbbell press 50s for eight, and now I'm getting 60s for eight a couple of months later, and then I'm getting 70s for eight." And what I like about that, the mindset of beating the logbook is it kind of applies to everything in life because it holds up a mirror for you, immediately says, "Have you been on point with your sleep? With your stress reduction? With your nutrition?" All these things. Because the logbook's not going to lie. If you can go up, you've done all the things you said you were going to do. If you don't, now you're still doing 50s for eight, you're like what happened? Well, just look, what did you do? You can check off, and that applies to life and business and anything else. That's why I echo the sentiments of The Rock and Arnold, you can learn so many of life's most valuable lessons in the weight room, but you have to take that mentality, be really serious about it. If you're just going in and you sit on your phone and whatever, you're not going to get anything out of it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, man. I've seen this absolute wave of people. They come in with the tripods and the whole thing. And that's cool, again, if you're really about that life. A lot of folks, and I've seen this time and time again, they'll set up the tripod, they'll do a set just for the gram, and then they'll keep it moving. You know what I mean? They're not actually practicing. And there's a big misconception too about natural attributes versus people who are actually coming from a place like you, which it would be self-described skinny kid... Did you say skinny fat?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Skinny fat, I'm sure, yeah. Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Skinny fat kid and you being able to achieve these results versus somebody, again, coming out of the gate, they publish in their Brazilian butt post telling you all these booty exercise, but their butt was big before they touched the weight. You know what I mean?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Exactly. Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so... But that's one of the interesting things happening right now with our culture, is not really being able to identify who's really about that life.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I know.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Who has worked to create this that can be replicated? Right. And so, I want to go back because bringing up the fact of how you started, a lot of the things, a lot of the training techniques and equipment that are popularized today, you were doing this stuff decades ago. Obviously, one of my favorite things, I was just doing yesterday, battle ropes. Right? But you were doing this when you had to go and like find a rope somewhere. You didn't have the internet. Let's talk about that.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I do want to touch on one thing you said there. There's a huge misconception that if you train like somebody, you'll end up looking like that person. If you train like one of the Brazilian butt girls, you're going to have her butt. If you train like The Rock, you'll have The Rock's physique. If you train like a body weight guy, you're going to look like that, or a kettlebell guy, or if you train like me, like... No, you're going to end up, no matter what you do, whether you do a full body, a split, only kettlebells, only body weight, you will look like your genetics allow, nothing else matters. So, I just hope people understand that and they don't get misguided into like, "Oh, you're going to look this way." You're not going to. Your muscles can only do one thing, they can get bigger, they can get smaller, you can lose fat, you can gain fat and how you look, that's mom and dad, that's it. So, I don't like when people are selling these false hope and these promises, it's like, no, that's not true. You can't change your genetics. I'm never going to look like The Rock. If I put this bracelet on my wife, it's tight, and it's loose on me That's it, that's the sad reality. You know what I mean? So, you got to accept your genetics and not compare yourself to other people.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right. And before you answer the other thing about getting started early on, just to lean into that specific point, you just said something so remarkable. It's one of the most remarkable things of this conversation already, which is it's accessing your genetic potential, which that in and of itself is just out of this world. What you can accomplish with what you have, but it's like being the best version of you.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yep.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And that's the thing, people say that stuff, but really getting it like, "I'm not going to look like this person, and that's cool."
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And for us to make this shift as a culture, to not glamorize a certain way of being, and instead appreciating the variety of human bodies, but the caveat is also health as well. We have a movement towards acceptance. Right? And we want that, absolutely. Because we're all different and unique, but we also want to make sure that we are promoting health within that acceptance.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Dude, 100%. And I love that you brought that up. I mean, not that you wouldn't of course, but in 1906, George Hackenschmidt said, "Health can never be divided from strength." And nowadays it's a very different thing. Aesthetics and health are divided a lot. The way you would diet, the way a lot of people diet to be ripped for the gram or for a magazine cover or something isn't necessarily the healthiest diet. It's not going to improve your blood profile. It's not going to improve your cognitive function. You know what I mean? I like the blend of that. I think that's super important. Most people go to the gym, unfortunately, and it's just aesthetics, aesthetics, aesthetics, even to the point where they'll start taking all kinds of drugs and things like this, but you got to consider health first and foremost. That's so important. If you could blend the two, and that's, again, that was the early days of physical culture. I go back to that, and to your prior question, that's how I got into it with those old guys from the early 1900s. I was like, "Oh, this is really cool." It's not that anymore. I wish we could get back to that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Facts. So can you talk a little bit about your experience, because I think at this time... When did you open your gym?
JAY FERRUGGIA: 1996. I started in '94, and then I opened the gym in '96.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome, awesome.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Was it '95?
SHAWN STEVENSON: And you didn't open a kind of franchise type spot. It was very different from... What was around at the time, was it like Bally's?
JAY FERRUGGIA: It was Bally's. Yeah. I remember Bally's. There was definitely Gold's. There was Bally's, there was World Gym. And then there was like...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Do you remember Vic Tanny? Did you guys have a Vic? Vic Tanny?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
JAY FERRUGGIA: And there was some other circuit aerobics class type of thing. I forget what it was.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, at your gym, what was different about that type of franchise versus what you had going on?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah, so I mean, it was literally underground. It was in a basement. I found a spot in the basement. It was a thousand square feet, and we played... It wasn't old school hip hop. It was the hip hop of the day, at the time. So, we would play NWA and Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, and you know, all that kind of stuff and... But you walked in, it was a hardcore vibe. You knew you were there to work. The music was deafening when you walked in. We had a list of rules, and I was not a good businessman by any stretch of... People would come in, there was no selling them. I was like, "Yo, you want to train?" They're like, "Uh," I was like, "Yes or no, dude. Like, you're either in or you're out." You know what I mean? And the first workout was your tryout. You had to basically apply, and then we were like, "Nah, you're not going to cut it." So, it was like hardcore. It was underground. And so, we developed this cult following where I started training an athlete who was... He was in eighth grade at the time. And then within a few... Within a month, he was getting incredible results. He was like, he's sending me kids in, and all of a sudden, we had... When school would get out, we'd have 50-55 kids every other hour, coming in. It was crazy. It was just packed. And then those guys went on to play college ball, went on to play pro, then they would bring their teammates back. So that was just my life for 12 years straight, just nonstop.
But to your earlier point, we had all the stuff because Larry Scott was the first Mr. Olympia, I believe, in 1959. And he and Vince Gironda would always talk about doing pushups on rings. Now, in every CrossFit, every gym has rings now, right? But I'd never seen that before. It was crazy. It was like '95, '96. So, there was no... You couldn't go on the internet and order them on Rogue or anything. I can't even remember. We scoured the planet for like a year. We finally got rings. So, nobody had seen it. So, we were doing rings, and then I was able to access some of those all... There was a guy named Bill Hinbern who had this catalog that you can get. And he reprinted all that stuff that I referred to like the Hackenschmidt, the Saxon, the Bosco stuff, all that stuff from the early 1900s through 1950. So, I'm ordering all that 'cause before that, all you could do was read like Flex magazine, Muscle & Fitness, and you'd get Lee Haney and Shawn Ray's stuff in those days. But I was like, "Man, this is unbelievable. This is so different." And I would see the pictures of them with anvils and sandbags and barrels. So, we just went out and we got all that stuff, and we would just have to drive like...
Somebody that I knew that I trained, he was like, "Oh, I know a guy at a shipyard in New York. If you drive in there, drive into the city, go to the shipyard, I'll hook you up with this guy. He'll tell you to meet that guy. You can get chains and ropes." And then we went somewhere else and got barrels, and we had all this stuff. And then what we would do is we would have a strong mandate with all of our guys outside on this field. And I never did advertising, but I was jammed 12 hours a day. I never, never paid for an ad. And that actually, finally, a few years into it, we did that and that became our advertising. People would stop. They're like, "Oh my God, what is this? This is insane." And they'd be like... They would just sign up on the spot. And then this place, it's a franchise now, nationwide. I don't know how many of them are. It's called TEST. Have you ever heard of this place?
SHAWN STEVENSON: No.
JAY FERRUGGIA: So, it was like a, maybe 5, 10,000-foot place, way bigger than mine. And they're spending a fortune. They're going, "Who is this guy in his basement that's taking all of our clients? This is crazy." And yes. So, that was it, man. It was 12 years of that, good times.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That is incredible, man. That's like straight up. That's a mixture of The Goonies and like El Chapo, you know what I mean? Like trying to find these pieces.
JAY FERRUGGIA: We do this... Well, like, we had guys break out in fist fights in there. There were... The new guys would always get hazed. The guys who came up through the ranks would haze the new guys. It was just a totally different vibe. I don't know if you can get away with it nowadays. Knowing me, I would do it anyway, but I don't think it would be politically correct, half the stuff we did.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, you know, again, you see these things with the tires and the sledgehammers and the chains and the battle ropes and all these things. Again, these things are becoming popular, but you're so ahead of the curve. And this is what I really want people to understand, because people like you tend to be on to that next... You already know where things are going. It's just how your mind works. And so, the place, and you, you came right out of the gate, talking about this. Especially for longevity and the results that we want, it's really about, for a lot of us, being able to rope it back in a little bit and be effective and efficient versus just trying to do a lot of stuff.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right. So, I want to hang that on the coat rack for everybody and just to keep that there. But also, I want to... You touched on this a little bit, but what are some of the things that we're doing outside of the gym that are hindering our performance in the gym? Let's talk a little bit more about that.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Well, I mean, you know, sleep, sleep first and foremost. Sleep controls everything, I think, if you're not getting the results you want. And I think a lot of people would assume, "Okay, if I'm not building muscle and I'm not getting strong, sleep." But fat loss, 100% fat loss from sleep. So, sleep's always going to be the most important. Read your book, you know, easy answer there. Nutrition, it's got to support what you're doing. So, a lot of people, you know, we talk about going hard. Going hard is living on stimulants, eating super low carb, low calorie. That's not going to work either. And that's what people, when they go zero to 100, they'll go do those hard workouts, cut the calories, cut the carbs. That's not going to work either. So, you got to support... You got to support a healthy metabolism, thyroid, make sure those things are optimized, which...
I know I have a lot of friends that are carnivore keto. I don't think it's for everybody. Most of my guys, I don't have ultra-low carb because, again, they're coming from that background of super stressed out, not enough sleep. So, I have guys on a really good amount of carbs that are losing fat. I don't think enough people know about what crushes your metabolism and what boosts your metabolism. It's the opposite of what a lot of people think. So, for example, the lower volume, lower intensity workout is better for your metabolism, and you could test this yourself. Do one of those crazy, high intensity circuits and then take your body temperature an hour or two later and see, is it normal or is it lower? And I bet you it's lower if you're doing some of those crazy circuits. So, that's lowering your metabolism. You don't sleep enough, that's going to lower your metabolism. And you, again, you could just test these things and just take your body temperature. I mean, that's a rudimentary, but still, it's legit.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, and your immune system as well.
JAY FERRUGGIA: If your metabolism... If your body temperature's going down, your immune system's getting suppressed. Your sex drive's getting suppressed. Everything's getting suppressed. So, I think... And I think so many... Again, the general misconceptions about fitness, go hard, drink a gallon of water a day, that could actually be a stressful thing if... For a lot of people, drinking too much water and having that kind of cascade of cortisol and adrenaline all day and running to the bathroom to pee all day, that's... If you have a dog and he pees clear, you take him to the vet, something's wrong, but we wear it as a badge of honor. Oh, my pee is clear. It's great. Well, I don't know. Maybe, I don't know. Is it? Maybe not. So, sleeping, low carb, stress, again, those are really the main things. And then when it comes to metabolism, what's... I think, I don't know if it's Ray Peat's thing or something, but it's like the five S's, salt, saturated fat, starch, sleep, and sun. Make sure you're getting enough of those. And sugar, sugar. And when he says sugar, I mean from good carbs, things like that.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, you just said something really profound, man, which is, of course, we want to drink enough water. But when we get into these narratives, a gallon a day, right, drinking a gallon of water a day. And somebody might be 5'2" and 100 pounds, and they're like, because their trainer said to drink a gallon of water a day... And you're just literally... Your body's going to be attaching a lot of things to that water to process it. And we can go too far. The big reason, and what's missed, even with our hydration, is making sure that our cells can interact with that water effectively and you actually are hydrating your cells properly. And this has a lot to do with that electrolyte balance. You were the first person... When I was at your house, and this was a couple years ago, and we were doing an interview and then you gave me some LMNT.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Oh, okay.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right? And I was just like... I had some there, but I was just... I was running around. I was like, "I don't know, whatever." And you gave me some to take home, and they sat in my house for six months. And then my wife went to a hot yoga class, and she was just cooked. And so, she came back, and I was like, "You need some electrolytes." And I was like, "Actually, I got some over here. You know, Jay gave me these." And I opened a pack, gave her some water, whatever. I saw her 20 minutes later, she was like a new person.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah, it makes a huge difference by the way. Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe... Unless I saw it myself, I wouldn't have believed that that kind of change would happen and energetically so quickly, and but now, I can't explain something if I don't do it myself. So, now I'm like... I started having the LMNT, and I would... Just wrapped up a tough workday, it was 4 or 5 o'clock. I usually don't want to talk to anybody at that point, and I had LMNT which I didn't put this piece together. But it was 4 or 5 o'clock, I was just like, "Let me call such and such. Let me call. I got to... I've been meaning to call this person," I'm in my backyard making all these calls, and I'm just like, "What am I on?" And come to find out I had LMNT the last two days and just getting those electrolytes right.
JAY FERRUGGIA: It's a game changer. Yeah, I've seen the same thing with my wife, especially when we travel. Sometimes she'll get a little jet lag and headachey and she'll drink an LMNT. Totally fine, crazy.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Alright, guys, go to drinklmnt.com/model. The team there just hit me up. They've got a new free gift that they are giving everybody. With every purchase that you make, they're going to send you... And they just sent me some of these little sample packs. And again, that's drinklmnt.com/model. You get a free gift with every purchase. But here's the thing, you know me, I'm going to find like what the hell? Why does this work? And so, there was something that I remembered from biology class in high school, which I hated, of course, at the time. But there's a sodium-potassium pump, and I really didn't get it at the time. I get it. For the test, okay. I got to know this transaction, this cellular transactional process, but essentially everything in your body requires a sodium-potassium pump, this interaction with these two electrolytes for all the sh*t to happen in your body to happen. This is how important electrolytes are, and we just brush it off like it's not a thing.
And then also, I was looking at some data. And this, I put this in Eat Smart as well, around sodium because, again, it's so villainized. But number one, people don't realize, upwards of about 80% of the sodium people are getting are from processed foods. What happens when you don't eat that sh*t? What happens when you pull back and you eat more real food? You need to make sure that you're getting these electrolytes, high quality sodium. And researchers at McGill University found that sodium works as a... They called it an on-off switch in the brain for certain neurotransmitters to actually work, and it was actually one of the things that optimizes cognitive function, so your brain just works better, but also it protects you from neuro-degenerative diseases. What happens when you're deficient in these electrolytes? So, it's so powerful, so simple.
Last one, this one, I don't know if you know this one. Again, in biology class, the same class, I was taught about ATP. It's the currency of the body, the energy currency of the body. But ATP is not in its biologically active form, bioavailable form, until it's binded with magnesium. So again, another electrolyte, and yeah, so that's why, man, LMNT's dope. And they're doing stuff right, there's just no artificial colorings and sugar and all that craziness, just the right balance that you need, and also, they've got, I don't know, 1 million, 2 million data points on getting the right amount in, so really cool stuff.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I never travel without it. We always stock our bags before we leave, filled. It's all so good, if you're on a low-carb diet, that's one of the things... That's a game changer for low carbs. If you're like, "Oh, I can't get a pump in the gym anymore, my performance is plummeting," just jack your sodium up, and you'll feel way better.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. This is one that I... Generally, probably 60, 70% of the time when I'm at the gym, I've got LMNT in my water bottle.
JAY FERRUGGIA: 100% for me, always yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. So again, thank you for that man, cause I would have had... And again, I didn't trip off of it, that moment six months later, but then when I actually tried it, I get it. So, that's again... So, that's looking at one of the kind of nutritional pieces, the hydration. I want to dig into this a little bit more because even this is a stress component, but you talked about stress. You also mentioned how little you actually work out versus what somebody might think. The same for me. I lift weights, on average, maybe three days a week, and go hiking with my family another day. I do HIIT another day. So, that's kind of the general format of what I have going on, but when people would see me, they would think like, "You're lifting weights an hour, two hours a day, whatever." Man, a lot of times I'm lifting maybe 30, 45 minutes of getting it, just very efficient and effective, but it's the stuff that I'm doing outside the gym. You mentioned stress before. So why... Fitness, working out, is a stress, right? Why would this not be a problem if we're going to the gym and we're really working hard? Why would that be a problem if stress in our life is high?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Well, there's lots of good stressors like a sauna is great, an ice bath is great, but you don't go in an ice bath for two hours, you're going for three minutes, you go in the sauna for 30 minutes. So, we need all these stressors in our life to be more resilient, to boost our immune system and things like that, but you never want to overdo anything, and I think most people... You can't overdo the ice bath 'cause you're like, I got to get out of here, I'm numb head to toe. Pretty much sauna, you're going to tap out, but people don't get that because, again, they get that kind of euphoric high of like, "Oh, I'm getting that stimulus high, and I'm training," so you kind of just got to check yourself and just... The easiest way to convince people is just test. Test it and try it.
People always are like, "Dude, there's no way I can do this. This is half of what I used to do, I'm going to lose my mind," I'm like, "Just trust me. Just give it two weeks and let's see how you feel," and they're like, "Oh my god, more energy, I sleep better. My joints feel better. My libido is better." All these things. So, you want minimal effective dose, and then again, going back to what I said earlier, is it improving your life? If it's just an addiction, if it's just a stimulus, then I would say, "Okay, cool. Then learn a skill." Don't just go to the gym and just pound weights 'cause you want that addiction, why not get a black belt, take 10 years, and get a black belt, learn how to box, do something else with that energy. I get... I have friends and I have it myself, I have to do physical activity, I want to do stuff, but then learn something else because you can prove it to yourself, you're not building any more muscle, you're not getting leaner, you're not getting stronger. There's only... And if you look at the pro bodybuilders, like those guys, physique is the number one most important thing to them.
The majority of them train five days a week for an hour. Powerlifters, big strong guys, the majority of powerlifters train four days a week. So, between the two, we have 4.5 days a week. So why are average people training seven days a week, you know what I mean? I think you just got to consider what you actually... You got to be honest with yourself, like, "What am I getting out of this?" And so much of this is a waste of time, why can't I go and acquire a new skill, learn something else, or even just spend time with your family? Like the gym, you're there by yourself, pounding weights, maybe you're with somebody, but go out in nature, like that's going to do so much more for your health and your stress reduction and your immune system than being in a stuffy gym with artificial lights.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh man, it's such great advice. Actually, learning something new, challenging yourself in a different way, because I think even with the gym, we can become complacent.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Totally. Yep.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And just like that's my thing, that's where I get all the... Whatever. We can magnify that, especially... And there's a lot of cross-over too with things outside the gym, whether it's taking your strength into a certain sport or a skill, and vice versa, learning other things brings a different energy to your gym experience, it just feeds into each other. So, I want to ask you about this as well, because Major League teams bring you in, man. And people are seeking out your wisdom, your counsel, your advice, what are some of the things that you are teaching to these teams, we're talking about top-tier professional athletes, professional teams, what are some of the things that you're teaching them when they bring you in?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Are you talking about from a fitness, and strength, and conditioning standpoint or more like the mental stuff?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Both.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah, the fitness and the training stuff is pretty much what we've covered here, especially at the highest level, guys tend to still want to just do too much, so it's just cutting back, and I do think if someone is getting paid millions and millions of dollars, the training really has to be joint friendly and longevity-based, you don't want to get those guys hurt. So, it's got to be even smarter than what you and I would do, like let's remove the risks, let's make them resilient as we can but let's be really smart about this. So, when I talk about execution, we're going to double or triple down on that, like are your joint stacked properly? Is this aligning right? All the things that go into perfect execution. Are you exceeding your active range and now you're going to get injured? That's got to be on point. Are we keeping tension or are we crushing grip, and we're bracing the abs or we're squeezing our glutes. All those things become really paramount, in my opinion. If you're a strength coach at the pro level and you get a guy injured, your career is done. So that's really important to the point where you got to be a scientist with that, and then you would think...
I think a lot of people... You know, you know this, but a lot of people would assume pro athletes eat the way you would recommend. Not at all. Some of the guys at the highest level are eating Skittles and whatnot. And they can get away with it, but I would argue and I'm sure you would agree, get them on grass fed beef, get them on salmon and blueberries and the things that we think are good, and their performance is going to be way better. They're getting away with it at 23-24. But I think you also... We alluded to this earlier, I don't think we touched on it enough, is if I was 23-24, I'm working with someone 23-24, I would want to think about how you going to feel at 48, like "I wish I did that." I know so many colleagues and friends that wish we did that. Hindsight is always 20/20. It's hard when you're young and you're hard charging, but then you have years of fixing things, now I got to fix my hip, I got to fix my elbows, you wish you could be smarter. And then in terms of the mindset stuff, man, it's all over the board, but again, people assume someone's a celebrity, someone's a famous athlete or whatever, they don't have the same problems I have, they don't have the same self-limiting beliefs, they don't have the insecurity, they don't get affected by people commenting on their stuff online, they don't compare themselves to other people. They do all of those things.
I have personal conversations with those kinds of people all the time, they're personal friends of mine or I work with them professionally, they have every single thing, everything that you have, they have that insecurity. Now, there are certain things that I do that allow them to reach their highest level 'cause they can compartmentalize and block some of those things out, but still, they're human beings at the end of the day, they need someone to talk to, and they need to know that it's okay, that it's normal. I think we hold them to such a high standard and then they hold themselves to that high standard. So, a lot of times I'm just talking... When I'm working with those guys, I'm just talking to them like, "Hey man, what was your upbringing like? What's your family like?" Getting to know them and then I don't even know how, I think it's just my obsession with it, I've just developed a really good, deep understanding of human nature and social skills, and within five minutes of sitting down and talking to someone, I kind of know what their background was, what self-limiting beliefs they have, maybe how their parents treated them, what their relationship is. So, it's from years of studying that kind of stuff and just being acutely aware of it and probably from some of my background stuff. So, it's just a lot of that kind of stuff. I don't know if that's specific enough of an answer, but it's like, they're just people.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. That's so powerful, man, because again, even you, you can be put into that perspective for other people, some people fan out with Jay Ferruggia and not really understand, again, like you just said, all of these things. You're a human being, and so these things can be even magnified with the potential vitriol and attention and people vying, trying to pull them in these different directions. And so, I love that so much because it's just providing a space and basic human life skills that we don't get in our conventional education, which is the craziest thing. Why are we not educating our kids on how to handle social media today. If you're going to use it, these are the potential problems, the list is long. Here's the potential good, it's a shorter list, but big, it's big. You can connect, connect. Build a business, whatever. But there are all these potential pitfalls, and this is a part of our culture. Yeah, we're not talking about it or educating young folks about it, so they get to be adults and they get in positions where they've got a $20 million contract for a sports team.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And they're just breaking down inside because they're getting all this hate for, I don't know, maybe they... I don't... Dropped the ball or something.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. Well, and that's an important point you bring up there. And Booker T Washington said, "Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others." That's what Booker T. Washington said. And so, I'll have that conversation with high-level athletes a lot, because they're like, "Yo, this, this, this, this, and this." I'm like, "Man if you just think about yourself, you're always going to be unhappy. So, what about that guy? He's struggling. He just signed for the league minimum. It would mean the world to him if you went up and took an interest in him and said, 'Hey man, I noticed on your swing, you're doing this.'" Or with some of my WWE guys. Same conversation one time. I was super stressed out.
He was at the top spot, and he was fighting for that top spot, and it was just driving him nuts, and I was like, again, "Yo, this guy and this guy," two other mutual friends, "they would love for you to just put your arm around them and be... And then you would feel so much better, 'cause you wouldn't care about all that stuff." You know what I mean? So, it's just, anytime you're having that stress, whether you're Jay-Z or The Rock or Derek Jeter or just an average person, you're inside, you're in your own head, you're freaking out, you're stressing out, just go help somebody, just reach out, do something for somebody else. Go have coffee with somebody. Like for me being around the person, like right now being around people I love feels amazing. So, if it's all about you, no matter what level you get to, you'll always be stressed out you'll always be bummed out.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Man, the thing is, it's so simple, and it's so accessible, but like you said, and this is the transition that I wanted to get to, which is community and the importance of this, because it's one of the things that makes us better, it's one of the things that strengthens us. And this is coming from somebody who definitely like, I was the shy kid, I was the person that definitely, I'm not going to come up and talk to somebody, I'm not going to go and introduce myself, there's no way that's happening, to, of course the work that we do today and also you being somebody who's... How would you describe yourself as a youngster?
JAY FERRUGGIA: I was super-introverted, shy, socially awkward, very insecure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, this is coming from these two people saying how important community is. So, let's talk about why you are intentional about getting yourself around great people and great environments and how community is so vital to our growth and our strength overall.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. I think it's one of the top three things you can do for your overall health, your personal development, your level of success in life. Like, who you do life with, that's it, man. I mean, that's a game changer, and I was not that person for 30-something years. And then I moved to LA, I knew three people. I had three numbers in my phone, and 10 years later, I had like 300 numbers in my phone. People would joke around that I'm the mayor and I know everybody. And I just... One of the reasons I moved to the other side of the country was to reinvent myself. And I realized who I was hanging out with, who I was spending time with, I realized the mindset I was stuck in and that environment triggers behaviors, and I didn't really have the kind of inner circle that I wanted, so I moved away to try to cultivate that. And for a while, when I first got here, that was my mission. Like I just read books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, and captivate and fascinate, and any book about... Never Eat Alone. I mean, you name it, I was reading books about that. And when I studied the Blue Zones, and I realized that it wasn't the diet, it was the people that lived the longest, to be a 100 plus, had really close social bonds and connections and relationships.
And once... I never really had that, like I wasn't Mr. Cool in high school, nobody was coming over my house for all the parties. And I remember as a kid just watching shows and be like, where friends would all go over, I was like, "I wish I had that." And then I finally created that as an adult where, you've been over, you know we'd have 30 people over for the UFC or Super Bowl, but I was really intentional about that. And it wasn't so much from a place of insecurity or whatever, that I just wanted everyone to like me. It was like, once I started building those relationships, I was like, "Oh my God, I feel so much better. This is it. You got to be connected with the right people." 'Cause I only had the wrong people around me. And once I got to know people like you and Mary and Bedros and every time, I would add one of those relationships, my life would just get better in some way. I would be better in some way. And the cool thing about being around those kinds of people is... See, I love my friends so much, and I'm getting goosebumps now just thinking about it. You just get better by osmosis. Like you and I could hang out and talk about nothing, but I don't know, '80s sitcoms, and somehow, I'll take away some life lesson, be a little better, I'll be a little happier, maybe the way I treat people is different, whatever. Same thing with Bedros or any friends like that.
You're always just kind of learning by osmosis, you're getting better. And just the way people talk, the way people think, the way they approach life, that helps you level up. The way they treat the waiter, that helps you level up. The way if you don't see somebody for three months and they've gotten rid of maybe some self-limiting belief or some bad habit, you don't even have to bring it up. You're like, "That's amazing. That's amazing, that's so impressive." But just having that strength to lean on. And I'll give you a story. And I haven't really... I don't know if I've shared this publicly, but we left here after 10 years, we left LA just because of everything that was going on, I was like... I don't know, for a variety of reasons that can be a whole show, but we left. And when I went through... For me, the toughest thing that ever happened in my life was when Bronx, Bronx is my dog, he died. He was my best friend. And I... People who are dog people can understand the love you have for your dog. I cried every day for three months and to not have that community of everybody that I had here, like just literally dozens of friends, that made it real... That made it exponentially harder. And I had a really rough time.
Like I lost my confidence, 'cause here I had everybody and everybody kind of relied on me and counted on me to bring everybody together. Like, "Hey, we're going to Sunday brunch, we're going to this concert, we're doing this." And I didn't have that anymore. And it was a really rough time. And that's why being back here, I feel great, 'cause I have a community and everything. So, I know there's people who are, you know, naturally all the things that you and I were, introverted, shy, insecure, whatever. And they'll tell themselves, oh, I'm alone or I'm a lone wolf. I like to be alone. I just don't think that's true. I've had that conversations.
I'm now like, "Dude, I'm not saying you're lying, but I think your life will be better." And every time that's been the truth. Now they still may be naturally introverted where they're like, I need to go recharge in my room or I can't be with people tomorrow after I've done it today. That's fine. But I mean, I thought that, now all it does is energize me. I get around my friends, like my heart rate goes up. I start sweating. Like why are you sweating? Were you just ripping eight ball? I'm like, "No, I'm so excited to be with everybody. You know? Like I love it." So, I do think it changes your life. And then what that does is, you know, having those good endorphins flowing, having that positive mindset, it improves your health in every single way. It's crazy to say that having a community could improve your results in the gym, but I think so. If you feel that great and what that does for you internally, you know, it's just so important.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely, man. All the things, all the things you said, and then some. Again, you being here was one of the like icing on the cake of me coming to LA because you bring people together. I used to say, and I still say this thing because I mean I call it a syndrome, I say that I had lone wolf syndrome. Right. And the syndrome is something that we can, we can evolve out of. And so, this particular condition that I had placed on myself is like, I'm going to change the world. Right. And I really, really deeply believe that. And I... And my work affirmed that, you know, the way that I was living my life. But because being so kind of disenchanted by relationships that I've had in the past and, you know, the environments that I come from, is just like one of those situations where you don't really trust people like that, you know? And it takes a lot, like it takes a lot for you to let down your guard.
And so, but by bringing that with me to the new party of like growth of empowerment, of service, it's not a helpful... It's not a helpful thing to hang on to. Just going back to you mentioning the anvil earlier, like I was... Felt like I was carrying an anvil with me, with all, everything was exponentially harder. Because I'm like, I'm going to change the world. I'm going to make, you know, I'm going to transform the health of our society, all the things. But it's a false perspective because we change the world. I can't even change the world without another person being changed and that, within that person, it's a co-creation. So even on that very minute level but when we talk about working together, collabing with other amazing people who are on that same wavelength, that's when real change happens, that's when we have that exponential growth and change versus like my little self, like I'm going to change the world and that's... It's great to have that for sure.
That's a level, but we need to level up. We need to level out of that. And part of that was opening myself up, and it's so crazy. Like once I... It was... To be able to do that though, and this is what I want to ask you, how do you get to that place of being kind of like excluded, cutting yourself off and maybe, maybe there's fear around inviting other people into your life and hanging out with other people, working with other people. I'm just going to, I'm going to toss something to you because, you know, for me, it was working on myself is what made me open myself up for others.
JAY FERRUGGIA: A hundred percent. Yeah. I agree. Yeah. Because I think that that's what a lot of it stems from, right? Like you don't love certain things that are going on internally and so you need to do the work on yourself and then you become more confident in sharing that person with others. And that's really, that really resonates 'cause that was... My first couple years here were a lot of work on myself. Let's get rid of a lot of those self-limiting beliefs. I was just writing down like these are self-limiting beliefs. These are things that I'm insecure about. These are things that I think people are judging me about. Does that matter? Do I need to work on some of these things and systematically go through that just like you would do with training or with a business, where I was...
And again, I think so many people think that as you age, you'll be like wine, like you'll just get better which you don't. I know a lot of old school Italians in their 80s that I grew up with that are the same person they were when they were 30. You know, you have to work on it. Like you have to address these things. You have to work on your personal development, or you don't get better. I'd still be the exact same person I was when I moved here, when I was 36, 12 years ago. So, you got to address those things.
And then I always tell people, I don't remember where I originally heard this quote, but instead of trying to think your way into acting differently, act your way into thinking differently. So, decide who you want to be. Like, okay, I want to be... I don't want to be the shy person in the corner anymore. I don't want to be the person who thinks everyone around them is competition. Right? 'Cause like, if you looked at let's say me, Luca and Joe DeFranco, three bald-headed strength coaches that do very similar stuff, we'd all be competition. I used to think that years ago. Now, I'm like, who cares, man? Like, you know, rising tides, bring up all the boats. Like I just want everyone to do well. I want you... Nothing makes me happier than you doing well or Luka doing well or Bedros's doing well, or Mary, or anybody. I want everybody to do well. And until you genuinely get there, a lot of people are like, they're bitter or they're jealous of somebody, it's like you'll always be in a rough place. Until you genuinely get excited to the point where you get goosebumps and you're almost more excited for your friends succeeding than for your own success, you're going to be struggling.
So, you know, just realizing all those things, but it's deep work. It's deep work. It's like, you know, let's say you want to gain 30 pounds of muscle. Is that going to be easy? That's a lot of work. You want to increase your income by a 100%? That's a lot of work. Well, personal development's a lot of work. I think people just don't proactively, you know, push it like that. But again, what I was saying was, you know, to get out of that 36 years of being the guy in the corner, if there's more than six people at the dinner table, you won't hear from me. I'd be quiet. I'd be too like nervous and shy. You know what I mean? I'd be, it'd be intimidating, but you just work on it like anything else. You tell yourselves these false narratives, "Oh, that's how I've always been." Yeah. Okay. But you've always been 150 pounds, now you're 180. So, you've, like people have proven that they can do certain things, right? People have proven that they can learn an instrument, that they can gain a bunch of muscle. They can increase their income by 1000%, whatever. So why would this be any different? Of course, you could do it. You can do anything you want. You just need to put in the effort and put your mind to it, and then you'll find like I found, it is super-energizing. It's such a positive force in your life. And again, just to reiterate, like if you have those good people in your life, you're always just going to get better every single day.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Yeah, man. So, a couple of big takeaways. One is, what you appreciate appreciates. So, you genuinely being happy for and supporting people who might seem like competition. You're dropping some secrets here that shouldn't be secrets. It's, again, it's just like, we tend to block ourselves off and want to hate our way to the top of whatever it is, versus like... And by the way, Michael Beckwith is the one who said that to me back in the day, what you appreciate appreciates. And so like, it just grows, it grows in magnitude. It doesn't mean that there's... We have this thing that there's not enough. And it's just such a silly concept. Like we live in an endless universe. Like we can't even understand the magnitude. Even the earth itself we're like, "We're running out of resources." Like we have water, we have a water crisis on our hands. It's 75% water. That's what the planet is made of. There's a solution. There is a solution already present. The solution, we cannot have a problem without a solution. It's two sides of the same coin. It exists. It's just our perspective, what tends to limit us. And this is go... A lot of people attribute stuff to Einstein, he's obviously, even if somebody's smart, "You're an Einstein," right?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But he talked about this concept of not being able to solve a problem from the same level that created the problem. We have to evolve; we have to change our thinking. And so that's one of the big takeaways for me, is what you appreciate appreciates. And also, just being able to open yourself up, to get people together. That's the thing that is really remarkable about you, because even as you were... You've been talking today, I'm like, yeah, I've actually met them through you. Bedros, Luca, Mary, these are all people we've had on the show like world class individuals, and Tony Blauer. Connecting with Tony in a couple of days like just you're a... You become a magnet for whatever it is that you're kind of... You strive for excellence. Right? But also, even within that, you have this, there's this thing about you of exploration too.
Like you do a lot of cool sh*t, and that's, for me, like that would be outside my comfort zone. Like you've found a way to like marry that. And it's really cool because there are certain things that I've done even in LA in this small amount of time that I wouldn't have done otherwise if I didn't know you. You know what I mean? So, you being the mayor, so I started the show off with this. Part of the reason, again, the icing on the cake, there were a lot of things stacking in my favor for me to move here from St. Louis. And one of those was you, like that was the one of those last little, like put that right there, like I got a guy, got the plug on the vibes here. And then you promptly left.
JAY FERRUGGIA: I know.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Alright? Then you promptly left and I, respectfully...
JAY FERRUGGIA: I had no idea that was going to happen.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Respectfully, I understand.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, the question on a lot of people's minds, "Are you coming back Jay?"
JAY FERRUGGIA: That's what everybody's been asking the last few days. Maybe. Maybe.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Alright. We're going to keep the door open.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. We'll keep the door open for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Shout out to Silk Sonic. We're going to leave the door open.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Alright, man. I got to ask you this. You've mentioned, just in passing, 'cause I listen to you, man. I listen when you speak, I listen. There's this greatness, there's nugget after nugget just coming off. I really hope people are doing the same, but you mentioned '80s sitcoms. It was just a random thing you just implemented through today's conversation. Since you're here, man, this is one of the things that we connect with, that generation of hip hop that you mentioned even that you were blasting in your gym back then, '80s sitcoms, man. Let's go top five.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Eighties sitcoms. Alright. Cosby Show's '80s, right?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. Cosby Show, I like Facts of Life.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and there you have the facts of life.
JAY FERRUGGIA: You take the bad, you take them all and there you have the facts of life. Yes, yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Boy. Knowledge.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: They was right. Shout out to Tootie. Had a serious crush.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Was it, Tootie, Blair, I don't remember who else. Who was like the top one? Blair?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Blair, of course, she... You've got the name for it too.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. Oh man, drawing blanks.
SHAWN STEVENSON: What about Diff'rent Strokes?
JAY FERRUGGIA: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Got to go with Diff'rent Strokes for sure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And then the pivot was Webster as well.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Webster was great.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Webster.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Yeah. I think you're nailing it. I'm drawing a blank, but what else?
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, I think that's four.
JAY FERRUGGIA: That's four.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Let's go, what about cartoon? What about, because of the Facts of Life, I was just thinking about always tying it back to a lesson, GI Joe.
JAY FERRUGGIA: GI Joe was my favorite. I was obsessed. I had all the little figures. I loved GI Joe.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I never would've guessed that, Jay. My God, man. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with me.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Thank you, man.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm glad that you're back in town for however long it is you're here.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Always a pleasure.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And, man, I just appreciate you so much.
JAY FERRUGGIA: Same.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome. Jay Ferruggia everybody. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. Make sure to check out Jay's podcast, the Renegades Strength Show. And of course, you could follow Jay on Instagram. He's @JayFerruggia, that's J-A-Y F-E-R-R-U-G-G-I-A, hit him up, let him know what you thought about this episode. And of course, you could take a screenshot and share it on social. You could tag me as well. I'm @Shawnmodel, tag Jay, and share the love. And also, of course, you could send this directly from the podcast app that you're listening on, sharing is caring, so share the love. Let's get this momentum going. Let's get people empowered about health and fitness, that's what it's really all about. And I appreciate you so much for being a part of this movement. We've got some incredible master classes, epic world class guests in store for you. So, make sure to stay tuned, take care, have an amazing day, I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after this show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes. You can find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, And I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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