We tend to train to get stronger and to lift more. But we often neglect the importance of being mobile and improving our posture, especially as we get older.
Today’s guest, BJ Gaddour, has mastered both areas. BJ went from being a pudgy kid to being named one of the 100 Fittest Men of All Time. He’s also the former fitness director of Men’s Health Magazine and the author of the book Your Body is Your Barbell.
BJ started training with the same goals many of us had: To get stronger and look good in the mirror. There’s nothing wrong with that approach. But fitness is so, so much more than that.
BJ learned that the hard way. He could lift 500 pounds but couldn’t do a lunge or a single pullup. His body disobeyed him, even though he was strong as a bull. He’s since molded himself into a primer on increasing muscle mass, getting stronger, and being more agile than ever.
More importantly, he found that being mentally fit is as important as being shredded.
In today’s episode, he shares his advice on how to train as you’re getting older, the importance of leaving ego aside in every aspect of your life, how he took agency over his mental state, and much more.
The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!
Use the RSS link to find the Better Man Podcast on other apps: http://feeds.libsyn.com/404744/rss
Watch a Clip From Episode 019
Key Takeaways with BJ Gaddour
- Negativity can fuel you to achieve your goals. But there’s a better way.
- How BJ recovered after two years filled with traumatic events.
- It’s OK to push yourself, in work or fitness, but give yourself a breather from time to time.
- Avoiding uncomfortable emotions is the worst thing you can do. Do this instead.
- Don’t jump out of bed checking on social media. Find out how BJ primes himself in the morning to have a kickass day.
- To succeed, revel in the success of other people.
- You don’t need a gym for a killer workout. Learn how to squeeze in one wherever you are.
- Want to test your mobility? Try out BJ’s Turkish Getup test.
- Why constantly breathing through your mouth when training is hard on your body… Use these nasal breathing techniques to improve your fitness, increase overall capacity, and recover faster!
BJ Gaddour Notable Quotes
- “If you let your ego get in the way of anything, particularly with your fitness, you end up going down the wrong path, and you’re worried about serving other people instead of yourself.” – BJ Gaddour
- “Ultimately, I have to stop complaining and wallowing in that self-pity and just do the work of rebuilding my mind and trying to become a more positive person, a more compassionate person.” – BJ Gaddour
- “We have a natural tendency to show affection to each other by breaking each other down, making fun of each other, busting each other’s balls instead of lifting each other up, showing love, showing true love to your common man.” – BJ Gaddour
- “I believe that is what separates a good man from a great man; it’s their ability to control the mind and their emotions and not let the ego or the preprogrammed old societal norms of what it meant to be a man dictate the way you live, dictate the way we deal with people.” – BJ Gaddour
- “It’s about elevating yourself and empowering yourself. It’s not about punishing yourself whether it be because of how much you ate or how much you drank or because you don’t like how you look.” – BJ Gaddour
Dean Pohlman: Gentlemen, welcome back to The Better Man Podcast. I’m your host, Dean Pohlman. And today, I have BJ Gaddour as my guest. BJ, welcome.
BJ Gaddour: Thanks, man. Pleasure to be here.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, BJ is the former Director of Men’s Health. He is the author of one of the most popular fitness books of the 21st century, Your Body is Your Gym. He has been in the fitness industry, a major trendsetter in the fitness industry since the 2000s. And he just has a ton of experiences that I want to get into. He’s had a lot of well-being struggles that he went through for the last couple of years. And I really want to talk about that and what you’ve done to get out of that. And anyways, I don’t even know where to start. Do you want to talk a little bit more about your fitness journey and how you got started and kind of where you’re at right now?
BJ Gaddour: Sure, man. Just a couple of quick corrections, the book is Your Body is Your Barbell.
Dean Pohlman: Dang it.
BJ Gaddour: And I was the Fitness Director for Men’s Health. Director would be, I wasn’t that high, I was just a little Fitness Director there for a couple of years and consulted for about eight years. But I mean, I guess the long story short is I grew up overweight, dealt with a lot of injuries as an athlete. And I got into fitness kind of my senior year at Amherst College. I was a double major of economics and sociology and had no idea what I wanted to do with that. And I had another injury, my fourth and final knee surgery, which prematurely ended my football career in college, and I was like, “What am I going to do?” And it’s like, what is the one thing I have to do when I wake up every day? It’s on my mind. And it was working out.
And in my senior year, I started training students, professors. I sold my first hundred-dollar program because of demand. And I was like, you know what? Even though everyone’s going to laugh at me for going into this profession because I went to Amherst College, which at the time was the number one liberal arts school in the country. And usually, people exit with big six-figure jobs in the financial sector, especially if you’re on the football team, and I’m going to become this gym coach/trainer.
But I brought a lot of passion to it, I wanted to help people overcome being overweight and dealing with injuries, and I made a career out of it and I was lucky. A lot of it is timing, too. Like, I remember when there wasn’t social media, in fact, Amherst College was the third place to get Facebook. It was Harvard, Princeton, and then Amherst. And so, I was there from the birth of social media, not just for the world, but what it meant to the fitness industry, like YouTube 2008. And then the growth of Facebook, Instagram 2013, and obviously, now with the rise of TikTok, and it’s like how many different platforms are we going to have?
And also, the costs of it, man, seeing the costs of it to mental health, and it’s really going from like there’s a couple of places like a couple of power brokers. Men’s health was one of them. Like, if you want to be an expert in this space, you had to contribute to men’s health. Now, those camp brands have been diminished because there are these satellites all over the world of people that are doing their own thing.
And I also got my start to kind of, I don’t know if you remember the economic recession in 2008 and boot camps became a big thing because it was too expensive, their personal training, it was more affordable to do it in groups. And I was a leader in that space. And I helped a lot of trainers all over the world with business systems, training systems.
And then, in 2011, I launched StreamFIT. That was one of the first streaming fitness platforms to market period. It didn’t work out like I was hoping it was going to be kind of my retirement plan, but we didn’t raise enough money and it was a little bit too early. Believe it or not, a lot of it is timing and we didn’t raise enough money to market, and people still were into DVDs because fitness really lags behind the trends.
And after that failed, I guess you could say that’s when I became the Fitness Director of Men’s Health, did two years there, and then have since been on my own for five years at TheDailyBJ.com trying to build my own brand sheepishly to the level of a men’s health, but it hasn’t worked out necessarily to that regard. It’s been humbling, but taking the lessons I learned there and trying to really help people and learning to also be okay with the fact that there are pros and cons.
If you work at a place like Men’s Health, a lot of criticisms but also a lot of opportunities. And people want to talk to you and people want to send you free stuff and people think you’re worthy. And when you leave, things change. So, I’ve been on both sides of it and I think some of the mental health issues you alluded to, I believe, were in regards to not being ready for the criticism I got when I was at Men’s Health and then not really fully understanding the implications of being on social media at all times, which is what you need to do to build a business now and what it can do to your mind and the addiction to it, frankly. So, crazy stuff, man, but I’ve been all over the place and I’ve learned a lot. I’m about to be 40 and as you know, body starts to change, so you’ve got to tighten that mind up as much as you can.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, there are a few things I want to reply to. So, first off is my assumption about you, your story was BJ was overweight, and you shared images of you overweight when you were a teenager. And my assumption was like BJ was a guy who was overweight, and now, he works out all the time because that’s his story and that’s all there is to it.
And a lot of this, by the way, I’ll start off by saying that a lot of this podcast episode is going to be based on what I heard from BJ in his BJ Raw & Uncut episode on the Jeremy Scott podcast. And that was where you go into all of these things that came up and kind of your– I don’t know what you called it and I don’t want to call it myself because that would be rude, but your awakening of sorts in the last couple of years.
And then part of that other, from me, looking in, 2018, that was when I found you. That was when I found you on Instagram. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, this guy is killing it.” And you’ve got hundreds of comments on every post. Every video is a super helpful video with a workout routine, and you posted every day for 10 years. You spent hours answering comments. I’m sure your DMs were just insane. How many messages were you getting a day?
BJ Gaddour: The DMs were popping and they were explicit in nature as well. So, that was interesting. I will say, like I don’t check them anymore, but I used to check them every day and answer as many as I could. And you do a lot of business through DMs. And for me, because I have my own members to be accountable to, I don’t have the time or desire, and I know it costs us business. This is part of what we have to do as a business owner. You got to understand, it’s great to make money, but at what expense? And to have to worry about all the anxiety I would get having to get back to all these DMs, and then people thinking like, we’re friends, we’ve never met you. And it’s kind of sad because I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s just like it’s hard for me to be friends with someone that I haven’t spent time with in person. Like, you got to feel someone’s energy, and it doesn’t really translate virtually.
Dean Pohlman: No, it doesn’t.
BJ Gaddour: So, that’s an interesting piece of it, too. And you got to make choices, but I think Instagram for everyone was, like the peak experience for Instagram as a content creator was 2018, but it’s already nowhere near what it is now in 2022. I mean TikTok is a big thing, but I don’t know if TikTok is going to take over Instagram or if it’s just going to be its chief competitor. But Instagram has done a great job of sealing every other platform’s IP. So, I guess you got to give them the benefit of the doubt of just staying consistent or keeping up with the Joneses.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, but I bring that up because me looking at you in 2018, I just assumed like, oh, this guy has got it all figured out and you were posting every day, you’re putting all this effort into it. And I never questioned what was really going on behind the scenes. I wonder what BJ’s mental health is like. I wonder how he feels on a day-to-day basis.
And I’m just going to kind of skip to 2021, and again, I’m referencing the podcast you did with Jeremy Scott. And you had a breakdown in April of 2021. And specifics aside, if you want to go listen to that, I mean, I think it’s an extremely vulnerable podcast. If you want to really get BJ’s story there and really hear it all, go over there and listen.
But I want to bring it up because I’m just curious, you were living this extremely stressful life, it sounded like, like really grinding hard, really pushing yourself for years and years and years. And you were a college football player, you were pushing yourself then. You were pushing yourself through all these different business ventures. And you got to this point where you just couldn’t do it anymore.
And I’m over here thinking, were there signs before that point? Were you just not aware of it? Or did you think it was normal to feel that way? Did you recognize it was there and just ignore it and power through it? Like what was going on leading up to that?
BJ Gaddour: We know there are a lot of factors. I had a not-so-clean break with Men’s Health. I laughed, but if I stayed, I probably would have gotten fired because of what was going on there internally. I did a podcast on that on my Get Some Gainzzz! Podcast where I go and adapt, and I’m actually going to do another one, it’s been five years. And there are a lot of regrets I have now. I did not– in some ways, I’m ashamed of how I acted, but I was hurt. I was hurt with how they treated me and kind of what went down there.
And based on my childhood and my past, I respond to hurt with anger, rage. I kind of went Men’s Health with the goal of like showing up there. You know what? They were like a cheap motivator to me. And again, the thing about most of my life, I use negativity to fuel me. And in fact, being called ugly, hideous, whatever, people making fun of my injuries, calling me The Bionic Man because I had knee braces and I had actually elevator key at school because stairs were painful.
And then when I was at Men’s Health, people made fun of my legs. They didn’t know my injury history in the knees. I was told at 22 that I had the cartilage damage of a senior citizen and that I wouldn’t be able to lunge or squat or run again. I have since rebuilt my lower body the last two decades. And I also blew up my legs so much so that I had a short shorts fashion life.
So, my whole life, I use the negativity as fuel and I flipped the script on it. But I got to the age of, let’s say, 37, 38, man, and then it just didn’t do it for me anymore. The negativity, instead of like being fuel for me, it just burnt me out. And it was kind of such a contrast because my wife and I worked our whole lives to get to California. We finally did spend some time in Malibu, Thousand Oaks. Malibu in particular was like Paradise, man, best time of our lives.
And then the pandemic hits, and my wife’s father dies early in the pandemic. Business starts to go to sh*t. I’m sorry, excuse my language. I thought it was going to be a good thing for the business because if people were stuck at home and they’d be more interested in home fitness, that went away after like three to six months, and we got kind of burnt out with being at home and they also had anxiety, depression, existential angst. All the things we were going through in our fitness business started to take a hit.
And then, I just fed my dog, I went to the other room, and then I went to check on, and 10 minutes later, he was dead. My best buddy, his heart stopped. I tried to resuscitate him, and he was gone. And that’s when something happened to my brain, the pain of that– like, man, I’ve had some dogs when I was a kid. And I love dogs, but I never thought a dog would do it to me, and that’s who it was. It was a dog named Kong, a boxer. And his heart stopped, and my brain changed.
And from that point, I left social media for six months. And it really hurt our business even more. I still haven’t recovered from that departure. I lost maybe, let’s say, 10 years of momentum that I had built. The algorithm now seems to be constantly against me when I win, but it isn’t my 2018, and maybe I’ll never recapture it, but I had to kind of come back to social media when I did. And I’m just approaching it like a video game, man. I come in, I’m trying to collect coins, and I leave. And I’m just a coin collector and I don’t take anything too seriously there. I let it be my self-esteem, like all the success of my life because I had such low self-esteem, I only had esteem through success.
So, when bad times happen or I had failures, I go to such darkness and depression. In this time, with the deaths and the pandemic and the business struggling and then hitting a midlife crisis, and then finally, as I begin to breathe, I learned how to breathe, I learned how to meditate, and I think I may have meditated, my meditation was too long. There’s actually a study that says 20 minutes is a good cutoff because I started to get disconnected from reality.
And I finally confronted my childhood with dysfunctional home. I grew up in the verbal, physical abuse of my mom and I experienced at the hands of my dad coming to terms with having trouble looking in the mirror because I started to see my dad, and he was my hero but also the person that made you want to start working out so I could kick his as* because he would beat my mom and he would abuse me and belittle me. And he stole any confidence I’d ever have as a man, and in many ways, gave me the worst example of what it was to be a husband, though he was there and he provided and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He came from a slum in North Africa, in Tunisia, built a life for himself in America. And he was my hero, but at the same time, like a really mentally ill individual who, to his credit, took care of his family at the age of 10 because his father passed. And he still takes care of all the family he has there.
And so, it’s complicated stuff, and I kind of use my career to run away from it. I left home. I haven’t really been back, but then I finally confronted it. So, all these elements became this perfect storm where I broke down. And on April 13, 2021, I woke up and I was going to just go to Zuma Beach in Malibu one more time, see a sunset, and then drive off a cliff accidentally so my wife could collect my life insurance and find someone more stable to spend the rest of her life with. And I didn’t do it, but I was close. And I don’t know how I got there except for what I’m explaining and dropped all the time, though like I never stopped exercising and my commitment to my craft was there. That probably is why I’m still here.
But it was tough, man. But a lot of people are going through it right now, man. As I tried to even get therapy that I had to wait six weeks because so many people were also searching for therapy and help because people finally got the time to really confront their inner demons. So, you went through your own version of it. And a lot of people had a lot worse than me, but a lot of it was timing, approaching 40, realizing my physical limits, and having to evolve that. And as we both have to do, we’re old men in our profession. We got to be with 20-year-olds or we don’t compete with them, we evolve what we do and understand that now, we have to do things a bit differently, focus more on recovery.
And also, our audience is evolving too. I think what happened is with our audience and our business, a lot of people were my age, they had new families. And can you imagine having a new family during the pandemic? Fitness was an afterthought.
Dean Pohlman: Yes, I can.
BJ Gaddour: So, you did.
Dean Pohlman: I did. I had a child in June of 2020.
BJ Gaddour: How’s it been?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. We didn’t have a lot of the normal support structures that some other families would have had. I don’t think as many people have family nearby as I think there really are. I think fewer people actually have family nearby to help. But we didn’t have any family nearby to help. My family’s in Ohio. My wife’s mother passed away in 2018. And her dad doesn’t really know how to take care of small children.
And then, also the pandemic, so we were scared to have people come over and hang out with us. Babysitters are an absolute no, no. We don’t know you. We don’t know where you’ve been. You can’t come watch our child. And there wasn’t enough data yet for us to understand what was a significant risk and what wasn’t. So, we’re inside a lot. And some of the outlets that you normally have to really stress to create to do other things, those weren’t there. So, yeah.
And one of the big things that I realized during that time– and then I’ll turn it back over to you, but one of the big things I realized during that time was my, just because there were fewer possibilities of what you could physically do in your personal life, it started going into other areas of my life, too, and I had gotten to this point with my own business where I was like, no, I can’t do that. No, I can’t do that. No, I can’t do that. And they’re like all these possibilities of just shrinking in.
And there were times when I really did have moments like I don’t really care, like in this particular minute, I don’t care if I continue to live. I don’t think I ever got to the point where you were, I don’t think I was ever as serious as– and I will also say that where you were was serious. I don’t want you to diminish that. I think that’s really significant. And my hope for you is that you do realize how significant that was. And yes, maybe some people have it worse, but like you were really there.
But for me, I did have some moments where I was like, I just like– there’s no hope, like there’s no change. This is just like– and it would go away a few hours later or the day later, but there were definitely sometimes I was like, this is just like– this sucks and this isn’t getting better. And then I realize– I was going to say and it wasn’t until I started doing some practices to start expanding my perception of possibility and to be grateful for the things in my life that I thought were causing all my stress. Then I started to like, within about 30 days, I’d say of doing that consistently, then I started to kind of climb out of where I was, but it was tough, so.
BJ Gaddour: Well, again, all I went through, I didn’t have to have the challenge of raising a new child in this incredibly unpredictable world. And this is where it becomes important to have the perspective. And I completely lost it because, as you know, if you spend a lot of time on social media or you have to cater to clients, it’s tough to maintain friendships. And the thing is, when you lose touch with the common humanity, it’s difficult to get out of your own world. You become in this bubble.
So, if things are going tough in your bubble, that’s all your eyes are on, whereas like, well, there are eight billion people here. And I lost touch with most of my friends that I had. And I don’t really have “family” that– we’re cool with my wife’s family. I have a very complicated history with my own. So, there’s that piece to it.
But again, had I done a better job of cultivating friendships, I would be able to talk to people like you. I mean, like Dean is really going through it. He’s got a new child. Now, he’s responsible for himself and this new life. So, that’s a perspective that I could have used at my lowest moments. But when you get so self-absorbed, which I was, and almost like you make it worse for yourself. And like you said, too, it’s all temporary. So, that’s the mindset you have to take.
You’re going to suffer, you’re going to have pain, you’re going to have problems, but you have to do, before we started recording, I said, like, when you’re a negative person, that’s your lens. So, you have to take all the inputs that your brain takes. And almost sometimes, for me, I’ve learned whatever my initial emotional reaction is to something, I should be like, okay, the right way to respond is the exact opposite because that’s all my baggage talking, that’s all the pain and the modeling from my youth and my immaturity and my taking in the facts.
So, I’ve got to flip the script and look at it from a positive angle. And it’s just like training, it’s a constant practice and habit, but dude, man, much respect to you, I don’t know how because honestly, I have a lot of compassion for people that did that because this was a once-in-a-century type of thing. And yeah, we were able to work remotely and everything else. But I don’t know how you did it and you have my true respect for that.
Dean Pohlman: Well, thanks. I mean, I think honestly, in a lot of ways, it was more convenient because you were at home. Most of us were at home so it was easier to watch the child. I don’t know, I think, a lot of people had a really great experience with it, honestly. We’re a little more introverted. We had our year of– after we met, we used to go to the bar three times a week and go party and go rage and drink a lot. And then after that, we’re like, oh, that’s good, we’re done.
And then we’re kind of more introverted, but you realize like, yeah, it is nice to hang out with people once a week as opposed to never. But the few things that you bring up, using negativity is fuel, your esteem being based on your success, your inclination to value your clients’ relationships over your real friendships and those other relationships, it sounds tough and it kind of makes me think of having to, like you said, you have to understand the filters through which you view things before instead of just reacting first, like, this is how I feel. You have to peel it back and say, oh, you’re right.
I feel it because I know these things about myself to be true. And I’m kind of curious, what are some other things that you learned about yourself once you started going to therapy? What are some things you learned?
BJ Gaddour: It’s interesting. So, I talked to a therapist twice, and after the second one, I was like, okay, I get this. Basically, he gave me permission to, that was okay if I didn’t want to have my dad involved in my life anymore, that I’m not required to deal with him based on the way he treated me just because he’s my dad. And I’m like, okay.
And what I got from the therapy, too, is just someone listening to your problems. And ultimately, I have to stop complaining and wallowing in that self-pity and just do the work of rebuilding my mind and trying to become a more positive person, a more compassionate person. Just the stuff I would say to myself, I’ve always been very self-critical, but just terrible things I would say to myself. I’d be literally myself, and again, a lot of the words that my dad used to say to me, I’d say to myself. And so, there’s a lot of that and always looking at things, looking to poke holes in everything. And any time something positive would come, there was self-sabotage that started to become a real problem. Like, I’ve cost myself a lot of opportunities.
For some reason, I wanted to make things really hard on myself, and I don’t know why. And again, it’s one of those things when you reach your late 30s, at least for me, and I can’t speak for everyone, but you have less energy. You don’t really care about proving yourself to others as much. And it’s hard to find the motivation. Unless it makes me money, it’s hard for me to get interested in it. We’re like, the times are talking in 2018, I couldn’t wait to wake up. I would jump out of bed to share a new workout with people.
Now, I’m just recycling old content, frankly, because I don’t– the algorithm is not being kind to me, so I’m having a hard time getting the motivation to share. Where I need to get back to is you share to share, you share to help people, you share to inspire, you share to motivate. You’re a part of a culture, an industry that’s trying to get people moving better. And again, it’s a battle, and I’m trying to just get back to that because I don’t think my personality or people’s personalities really translate virtually. People that tend to meet me in person definitely have a more positive view of me maybe than they would necessarily online because I’m a nice guy, but even online sometimes, I’m short with people online than where I wouldn’t be in person.
The repetitive questions you talked about, like I’ve been out to a gym, what are you to do when it rains? People kept asking that. I got annoyed and I would snap back at people. And it’s like, look, they’re reaching out. There are people that would kill to have 18 people ask them, what do you do when it rains?
To my credit, I did partner with a company called Fluid Film that was like antirust spray you could put on your gym equipment, but it was after a year, freak about it to people. So, I took it for granted. I didn’t deserve the attention. I did my best to share good stuff. And that part covered, but I lost my humanity in social media.
And as a result, people would give it back with a lot of criticism and hate. So, I guess that punishment is a wrong word, but those are part of the growing pains of dealing with that. And sometimes, honestly, man, I’m like, I should have just stayed with my gym. I could probably be making just as much if not more money. And it’s so hard, I’ve got a thousand members that I have to constantly think about and program for at a distance versus 50 to 100 people that are in person, it’s just easy. You give them your energy, you show you care, and, man, online, it’s not all that it’s cracked out to be. We live a great life. We can do everything remote. My wife and I have flexibility, we work from home, but then home becomes everything.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean…
BJ Gaddour: That was also difficult too. It’s just like you’re stuck.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I never understood, or maybe because I do somewhat understand, but when people talk about, I’m able to work wherever I want and whenever. I’m like, yeah, but you’re still working 12 hours a day and you’re doing all these phone calls with people. I’m like, yeah, you could go work at the beach, but you’re going to be sitting in a covered area at the beach with crappy Wi-Fi trying to do your job. You’re probably just going to get more frustrated. You’re not going to be like– so it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
BJ Gaddour: And then you’re ruining the beach, you work.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, exactly.
BJ Gaddour: So, that exactly– dude, it’s pros and cons. I’ve got to go to the library now. I’m writing my new book and I can’t seem to do it at home. Every Wednesday, I go to the library with my wife, and it’s like my gym. Someone has to go to a gym to work out, they can’t work out at home. It looks like I have to go to the library now and write because home has become just too much. So, that’s important. Environment is critical.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I completely agree. So, I’m still thinking about this, but I’m going back to you in 2018. You’re so excited that you’re jumping out of bed, but you’re also– were you excited because you just had the attention? Or were you excited because you still got short with people? And by the way, I totally get that because I have social media. I didn’t have nearly as many followers as yours, much engagement and comments, but I definitely lost it on social media and both publicly and privately on social media in the past.
And I took a break too. I think I got off for six months, actually. I personally got off for six months. I didn’t scroll on Instagram at all. I didn’t scroll on Facebook at all. I didn’t even have TikTok so that was a non-factor. And the only way that posts happened was if I had one of our team members do it or if I quickly installed it, made the post, and then deleted it immediately because it got to the point where I’m like, I’m going on social media, like looking for a fight. Like I’m just waiting for someone like who’s got the negative comments today because I’m going spend 30 minutes thinking about how to come back to you and make you feel stupid? Like, it wasn’t good, it wasn’t help for anybody.
BJ Gaddour: You know how guys are. And again, I got bullied mainly verbally in school, and it made me a bully. I also got bullied by my dad that made me a bully. So, I always felt like people were picking on me. I’m sharing free fitness here, why are you making fun of the way I look?
Dean Pohlman: Right. For free. We’re giving you free content. What are you mad about?
BJ Gaddour: Well, they’re mad because they think we live these amazing lives and they’re like, well, f*ck this guy. Excuse my language. I did it again, but screw this guy. I would look like him if I worked out all day. What? First of all, I don’t necessarily work out all day, but you want to work out all day if you had the opportunity itself, especially as you get older.
So, at Men’s Health, they would be very careful to put someone on the cover who is in too good of shape because it became a non-relatable issue and feel bad about themselves because we’re very egoistic people, much more so than women, especially when it comes to what we own, what we have, how we look. And we have a natural tendency to show affection to each other by breaking each other down, making fun of each other, busting each other’s balls instead of lifting each other up, showing love, showing true love to your common man.
And having worked at Men’s Health, I got all that toxicity, and some of that audience came with me when I left. And even though it wasn’t as bad, I knew any video that would come out that I was at Men’s Health and I was in hundreds. I had one video at Men’s Health I made, got 48 million views on Facebook, and added one million people to their Facebook page in a couple of days.
Dean Pohlman: Wow.
BJ Gaddour: Can you imagine what that would do to your business if you had a million people on one of your platforms? I mean, it’s pure money, just on numbers. And so, I was achieving a lot of success through it, but even when good things would happen, it was cheapened by– I look at the negative comments, the thousand people that liked it when someone said someone skipped leg day. That technically means that they think you have a good upper body, right? Or they’re making fun of my high calves because, well, what am I going to do? I got very feminine, slender ankles. I put in the work to my calves. They’re just going to get higher and tighter.
So, again, but that’s me then changing the way I live, changing the way I train for someone else who honestly, not only doesn’t care about me but is just waiting for me to have the mental health breakdown I ended up having. So, one of the lowest moments in my life, man, was I had a dream of making the cover of Men’s Health since I was 17, like, I was this kid, they would say nice tits. You can check out my before picture. I don’t care what– you may not think I look great now, but the transformation is undeniable. What I did with what I was given and the change, and I ended up making the cover of Men’s Health, and not one of my friends reached out to me about it.
Dean Pohlman: Wow.
BJ Gaddour: It was one of the loneliest because I lost touch, I was too busy with my career. And by the way, I don’t come from much. Some of my friends have a little more financial security. Their parents could invest in their business if they wanted to start a business or they just had some generational wealth they could lean on. My wife and I don’t.
So, to our credit, they don’t understand what’s required when you’re an entrepreneur. And we don’t have kids right at this point because the baby that is our business requires so much attention and there was so much internal work we had to do yet. I never wanted to bring a child into this world until I was right here and ready to do it. I don’t want to become my dad is what I’m trying to say. And I don’t know if I want to ask on the mental health issues that run in my family. But I could have been open with them about that instead of just shutting them off.
Total lack of communication. Total lack of empathy for them. I’m sure this is happening for you, too, is all of a sudden, you seem to like end up in camps. Some people have kids, some people don’t. Some people have regular jobs. You are entrepreneurs. Like the lifestyle started to shift. And then now, because we spent so much time on social media, none of us have friends. And we’re wondering why we’re so lonely and we’re putting so much on our partner.
Our partner is helping us take care of the home, make money, become our therapist. And that’s too much. No one individual is supposed to be all that to you, and it’s not fair to them, and it’s not fair to you. And so, we’re all kind of in the same boat now. We have to find a viable way forward.
And by the way, part of what I’ve done on social media is quarterly, I take a two-week complete break, and then every three weeks, I’m on, I then take a week off. It’s kind of like in line with my training. I train hard for three weeks, I recover for one, quarterly, take a two-week break. And I’m sticking to that and I don’t care what it means. It might mean we have some down weeks, but it got so bad for me, man. We’re like, I was checking during workouts. I check it like 10 times during an hour workout just to see, oh, what did someone say? Or how did this thing do it? It’s like giving that the focus to get through a workout. And then I tried to start reading again, I couldn’t get to a page. So, I literally lost. When I was in high school, man, I could do six hours of homework, unbroken, after a full-day athletics, lifting, so…
Dean Pohlman: I could do six hours of Warcraft after lifting in school, but I couldn’t do two hours of homework after workouts, sports, and school. So, that’s incredible. But that’s a big difference.
BJ Gaddour: No, there’s no difference. That’s the flow state. It’s a small state. So, it’s a video game, but homework video game, like some people don’t even have the ability to do that with a video game because they’ll be playing a video game, like my little brother, he watches a movie and plays a video game and tests. You talk about a stimulation overload, like we’re addicted to stimuli. It’s a dopamine addiction. And we’ve lost focus.
So, my favorite weeks are the ones I don’t have to go on and post. It’s so great, like if you’re listening, you’ve got to create a social media, you got to be disciplined with your social media, you have to be able to cut it off. I only post about four days of the week and then I take three days off and I don’t do anything on the weekends for the most part because I just…
Dean Pohlman: How do you enforce that?
BJ Gaddour: How do I enforce it?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. How do you self-regulate yourself?
BJ Gaddour: I just don’t go on.
Dean Pohlman: You just don’t?
BJ Gaddour: Yeah, I look at it as I’m going to do my jabs or boxing analogy. I’ll jab, baseball analogy. I had a single. I used to try to hit home runs all the time or throw knockout shots, like to try to go viral. And honestly, because I’ve been in this industry for a long time, I know things ebb and flow, things used to have power brokers in the space hubs. Now, it’s all satellites. Well, we’re already seeing like these hubs are starting to acquire the satellites. Kayla Itsines got bought for like, I think, $50 to $100 million or Instagram account. So, it’s going to switch back.
And a lot of these people that are experiencing the growth now, I don’t know if they’re going to last. Is it probably they haven’t built an email list and don’t have their own robust infrastructure of customers? They’re depending on the algorithm in Instagram or Facebook or YouTube or TikTok for their distribution. So, we have our own community. It’s not as much as we would hope it would be, but it’s enough, especially if you lean into them.
And so, I look at social media as a game you have to play, but like all games – video, competitive sport, even as restorative as yoga is, you can’t do yoga all the time or you have to create variety in your yoga or take some breaks so that you can still enjoy. It doesn’t take over your life and it doesn’t become your only identity. By the way, every morning, I do hot tub yoga.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, yeah. I was going to ask you about your morning routine because it looks like it’s something that is like you just started doing or I mean, I’m sure you’ve always had a morning routine, but I’m assuming that it was way more intense and way more fitness focused than it is now.
BJ Gaddour: Man, to be honest, I’ve never had a routine. I would wake up. I’ve never had a schedule. I would put appointments in Gcal occasionally, but I started working off of like, I’ve got my month, my days, my week. Not now, I write things down. It used to just be in my head. I would just memorize appointments, I would just find a way to get things done, but I was waking up with a level of anxiety that was like here, like the water was right up my notes, couldn’t breathe. And I was just like gutting out every single day, even the good days, and having anxiety about like, oh, I got to get back to this person or I got to make this post, or this one just posted really well, I got to try to match it. But it’s so sad because there’s been times in my life when I’ve been so hyperfocused, I can’t do multiple things at once, but I can take one thing and I can give it all of me so much so that like…
Dean Pohlman: That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re not supposed to do multiple things at once. You’re supposed to do one thing really well.
BJ Gaddour: Well, that makes me feel better. The only problem is, man, like there’s a five-year period in my life, I don’t remember much about because I was so focused on my career. So hyper focused, again, there’s two sides of the coin. I’ve got to make sure that my hyperfocus shifts. So, I agree, do one thing at a time, do it well, but make sure there’s a couple of things, at least a couple of things or a handful of things that you can shift between because otherwise, you get caught in this bubble and it’s hard to get out.
Dean Pohlman: So, you were only focusing on professional life during this. You weren’t doing okay?
BJ Gaddour: Yeah, honestly– well, this is the problem, too. It was all about me. Because my business is based on how I work, fitness, so I was just focusing on training and that, and getting as many customers as possible. And it becomes a cycle where you’re running out of time in the day and you’re low on energy, and it’s like, who should I give this time to someone that’s going to give me money or someone that has known me before all of this?
And sadly, too often, I was saying, “Well, I got to look at the bottom line.” And these are the people that actually support us. And I don’t want to feel bad for saying that because at the same time, like to be– I’m reading this book on self-compassion, which apparently is the alternative to self-esteem.
Dean Pohlman: Is this Kristin Neff?
BJ Gaddour: Yes.
Dean Pohlman: Okay, I read that a few months ago.
BJ Gaddour: How’d you like it?
Dean Pohlman: I liked it. I thought it was written– we need a man. There needs to be a man who writes about self-compassion because you’re reading it, you’re like, this is written for women. I think the content is great. But I think if there was a man who wrote about self-compassion, and0 he looked like you, then everyone read it, right? Like you just need like a really hypermasculine man to write about self-compassion.
BJ Gaddour: I’ll have to make sure my beard is in full effect at that time, too. Well, you know what’s funny? I had two books gifted to me by– a coach and mentor actually reached out to me after he heard that podcast on Jeremy Scott Fitness podcast, who himself had just had some suicidal issues and was on medication for about 18 months to get his life back after a divorce. And so, he gifted me both The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday, which I have read and highly recommend, and then he gifted me this book, this one’s taking me a little bit longer to get through because it’s a little longer and also, like you said, there are moments where like I’m reading, it’s like, well, whenever you get negativity, you feel down, give yourself a hug or a gentle caress. And I’m like…
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I like that’s like…
BJ Gaddour: How did I get here? I’m going to hold myself now and give myself a kiss on the cheek, but…
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, it makes sense. It just seems so, like, that’s something I would never consider. Like 10 years ago, that’s something I would never consider doing. I would just say, like, now, just do it, just do what you need to do, just f*cking do it.
BJ Gaddour: Yeah, honestly, it seems like what being a man is today is every year, we’re just trying to reduce our toxic masculinity percentage a little bit. Where it was like 100% when I was 20, I’m hoping by the time I turn 40, it’s like 25% because we’re so programmed. Like, it’s tough to teach old dogs new tricks. The world is changing all around us. And again, like I said, we have a tendency to rage instead of being compassionate or find alternative ways of releasing the stress and so…
Dean Pohlman: You talked about this. I’d love for you to talk about this, but you mentioned that you’ve started having these wonderful, powerful, ugly man cry moments where you just completely lose it and you just let yourself cry and you actually feel better. You feel way better. You feel a release. And I wanted to ask you about that because I understand, I think intuitively now I understand, like my body, whatever it is, like, I need to cry. I need to let some stuff go.
But whenever I think about things that would make me cry, it’s so much easier for me to access rage. Like, it’s so much easier for me to think I’m just going to destroy this thing or I am going to channel this into a workout, or I’m going to go on an angry walk instead of putting that outlet into where it should go, which is having a cry. And so, I’m just curious for you, did you have issues crying? Did you have difficulty accessing sadness and you just rage instead? And if you did, then how did you get to the point where you were able to access that sadness and actually cry?
BJ Gaddour: I’m glad you brought this up, man, because I’m a huge advocate of dealing with your emotions. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with crying, just don’t cry too much because I think one of them happening to me is I’ve made a decision, I’m no longer going to rage. I’m just going to feel the pain.
But then I was feeling 38 years of pain, nonstop, stuff I haven’t dealt with in decades. And I was like crying all the time and I was sad all the time. And that was part of what put me, you combine that with some major losses and just like this world seemingly imploding around us. And I just got caught in a black hole of sadness, negativity, pessimism, and cynicism. And part of my mental health problems are– and they don’t diagnose you until after a year of working with someone or having medication, stuff like that, but likely, it’s a mix of depression, anxiety, mood disorder, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. And part of what like the mood disorder/bipolar piece is my emotions, they swing too much. Like I go to the highest of highs and I go to the lowest of lows.
And what you want to be is, and that’s part of why I’ve been like trying to be more stoic and I try to read more stoic stuff, and you want to be, I guess, again, without getting political, it’s like that Barack Obama, Senator Coleman is like you never really got that, I mean, say what you want about him. There were no shortage of controversies and conflicts he had to deal with on a daily basis. And he really seemed like he was just in the middle.
And the emotional control is what I lacked. So, when I finally started tapping into my pain and my sadness, much like with my rage, I couldn’t control it, and it took over me. So, the medication I’m taking has helped me. Like, I’ll feel a few things now, but then I don’t go all the way, they don’t become my date. You know what I mean? Like, it’s temporary. Finally, it’s temporary for me. And part of that is not just the medication, it’s me being like, okay, you got stuff to do. I can’t be crying all day.
So, I think that a big part of it is just like you don’t want to meditate too long or too much. You don’t want to cry too much either. Like you got to balance your day and you got to have some perspective. And being able to cry for a minute was like a new thing to me, like to cry for a minute and then pull back and start. Typically, once it happened to me, my whole day would be sad.
I’m saying, like, so it’s a lack of emotional stability and control, but that’s conditioning. You can condition your brain to be like– I can finally now talk about my dog. I mentioned my dog who died. And by the way, they all die. But just the way he died was like, dude, it was cruel. I just fed him, and we spent, like, what seemed 20 minutes cuddling, playing, looking at each other’s eyes. Like, if you ever look into a dog’s eye when you can connect with a dog that way, typically, it’s a threat to a dog when a dog really trusts you and they can look at you in the eye for a prolonged period of time. We had this moment right before he died. It was almost like he was saying goodbye. And then he just died.
And he didn’t look the same because he was such an animated, joyful dog, and we lost that joy in the house. And then the other dog died of anal cancer. And then it was just my wife and I, we lost technically half our family, so I wasn’t able to even talk about it. I get emotional now about it, but I can do it now without crying because of time but also training myself to talk about it and then rein in the emotions. We avoid the emotion.
It’s much easier to avoid it or to cover it up with rage or denial, but when you start tapping into it, and now, I just took what was pain and I almost started to cry. And now, I feel joy thinking about him because he was such an impact on my wife, talk about him every day. My wife and I still use his dog voice around the house. So, that’s part of the conditioning is, and it’s just like building muscle. You got to put in the time, you got to put in the reps, and it takes a long time.
But finally, a couple of years pass, and you’re like, wow, I’ve got some real control over this. And in this case, we’re talking emotional control and stability, and that’s for men. I believe that is what separates a good man from a great man, it’s their ability to control the mind and their emotions and not let the ego or the preprogrammed old societal norms of what it meant to be a man dictate the way you live, dictate the way we deal with people.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I feel all of that, and thank you for sharing your experiences with that. Before I forget, I want to go back to, because I was going to ask you about your morning routine, and then we went into something else, which I’m glad you did, but I do want to ask you about your morning routine now and ask how you have tweaked that to make it more– or you’ve never had one before. So, what do you do now, I guess?
BJ Gaddour: Well, used to be, I’d wake up and jump right in the phone. So, don’t do that. What a mistake. I would literally get the gift of a beautiful, restful sleep, and you wake up and then you ruin it by going into this fake world, like this really is designed to make you feel worse about yourself so you keep using it.
So, I don’t touch my phone typically until mid-morning, late morning, but what I do now is I wake up right away. I can’t believe I’m here at this point of my life, but I take my medication and then I drink some water. I’ll do a 10-minute box breath using a guided meditation device. And it gets me my resting heart rate and heart rate variability.
Dean Pohlman: I’ve never seen that before. That looks really cool. So, instead of having to do it on your phone, there’s like a thing.
BJ Gaddour: Yeah, like there’s an app on the phone so you can do either guided meditations or you can listen to soundscapes or you can do breath training. It’s a closed environment, meaning you’re not seeing. It’s specifically for you. So, I’m not against the phone to start the day if it’s like something that’s going to help you work on your breathing, give you some biometric readout. But yeah, it’s called the Core Meditation Device from Hyperice and…
Dean Pohlman: Oh, I love Hyperice. We’re doing a giveaway with them right now. I got to look into that.
BJ Gaddour: They’re my favorite recovery company. They acquired a startup. It was just pour on their own to get acquired as part of their overall wellness approach. And then, so based on what my heart rate variability says, it tells me how well I’m handling stress.
And the box breath in particular, which those who are unfamiliar, it’s a Navy SEAL breathing technique where the four phases of breathing – the inhale, the exhale, and the two transition points between the inhale and exhale, and the case of this breath-hold are equivalent. So, it could be four seconds inhale to the nose, four-second breath-hold, four-second exhale through the nose or the mouth based on what you’re trying to train, and then a four-second breath-hold. Then you repeat that for at least a couple of minutes.
I typically go at least 10 minutes, and it actually tells me, based on my heart rate and my breathing, how much of the time I spent in calm, how much of the time I spent in focus and HRV, heart rate variability, means for those listening, this is actually really important, this may be the most important number you can track for your body. A lot of people like to go with steps or calories burned, but heart rate variability tells you how well you’re handling stress. You have a sympathetic nervous system which is like fight or flight. That’s where most of us are running all the time, which elevates your heart rate.
And you have parasympathetic – rest, recovery, digest, which does the opposite. So, when you get your parasympathetic system more dominant, which you can do through breathing techniques, particularly elongated exhales and breath-holds, it makes that parasympathetic more dominant. So, now, you’ve got sympathetic elevating heart rate and you got parasympathetic decreasing heart rate that creates more variability, which actually means your body is more resilient to stress.
So, it’s a number you want to see go up over time, and you will, if you are training the right amount and doing the right amount of recovery, sleeping enough, fueling yourself properly. So, it’s a great way to start the day. I basically, automatically, where the day start of a call with anxiety because the more you do it too, the more quickly you can shift into calm and focus. I use the box breath as the base of all the breathwork I do. Like if I was going to jump in the cold, I would jump in and go right into a box breath because I can find calm and focus so I don’t even feel the cold or the heat in a sauna or whatever else.
But then I jump into the hot tub, I’ll read for 30 minutes, then I’ll do a bunch of kneeling, shin boxing, squatting, lunging stretches in the hot water because the healing benefits of the compression, the unloading of the body weight, you can get into positions and stand in those positions a lot longer than you could otherwise, especially if guys were stiff, bigger guys in particular, it’s hard to get into some of those shapes. And even if you’re using yoga bricks or even a stick to self-assist, the water just has these therapeutic benefits and allows you to get in these positions in a way that won’t create as much aching or inflammation.
And then I’ll do mobility on dry land, go for a walk with maybe like a walk/run, and have some coffee. And then I start my day. But I wake up at six to do it, like now, I go to bed at eight or nine. I used to be like, I go to bed at midnight or one, wake up at eight or nine, and I just fly all day. But now, because of my age, I just have to do so many extra things now to be effective at what I do, recovery-wise, mobility-wise. There’s just more stiffness and soreness. I mean…
Dean Pohlman: You were up until midnight, like two years ago.
BJ Gaddour: Oh, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: You were up until midnight.
BJ Gaddour: I would be watching TV up until– I was prioritizing entertainment for my recovery and then sleep. Now, I would still get to sleep, but it seems like I’ve got to, for me, to be effective, so by the time it’s 10, like today at 10, we have this podcast 10 a.m. PST., I have been up for four hours. And I did this whole routine where I got all this stuff done. But I haven’t been on social media yet. I’ll get on there, but it’s not a priority because I got to do my posts during the week. But then I post and I ghost, I post and I leave. I’m not going to hang around. I’m not looking for…
Dean Pohlman: I need a list of these things, post and ghost. Do you call it EHOH? Or how do you pronounce E-H-O-H?
BJ Gaddour: EHOH, E-H-O-H means every hour on the hour. And that’s actually the name of my new book is The EHOH Movement. And basically, it’s about transforming your 10-hour workday and your physical fitness through hourly movements. I’m saying just like at least a minute up to five minutes hourly, do some mobility or movement. And I have 10 movement standards that will be part of the book that you can do. And all this stuff is accessible.
All you need, and I have it, I usually have it up, but I took it down as I closed the door. I have a door pull-up bar. And I mean, most days I do it like 5 to 10 sets of hands. And the beauty of this is if you commit to one to five minutes of hourly movements, at the end of the day, even if you don’t train, you’ve done at least 10 to 15 minutes of stuff that’s good for your body, and stuff that because of the frequency that I do it and because it’s so maximal, I don’t get fatigued because I’m not chasing fatigue like most workouts do. I’m avoiding it, I’m managing it, and then I’m overcoming all the stiffness and soreness I will deal with because these are what most people do.
They don’t do anything all day. They park their car right next to the building. They sit and then they put a 30 to 60-minute bomb through their system without warming up properly or cooling down. And then they wake up and then they limp around for three to five days. I used to do it. Okay, I know all about it, and it’s great to feel good. Like I crushed myself, I smashed myself. But my legs are heavy. When I sit, I’m sore. I don’t want to make content.
And as you get older, people don’t want to get crushed because we can’t handle that stress. It’s unsustainable, 100%. So, the frequency of movement actually helps you avoid soreness and stiffness, and it’s basically movement practice. And that’s where I made the biggest gains, like I put so much time into the bar last year. Like, every time I walk by the bar, I would jump on it. And I spend one to five minutes on it. A lot of it was self-assisting with my feet on the floor, but my ability to get my arms overhead, like it’s locked in now. And it’s one of the best things you can do for your spine because of the decompression and the tractioning, and just by putting the time in the bar so maximally, my pullups have gone up, not just reps but how much you can do lifting weights.
So, it’s a paradigm-shifting approach. It’s that concept of peppering in your training throughout the day. And it’s like, to me, I think, especially as you get older, it’s the way forward because there comes a time in life where you’re not going to be able to find 20-plus minutes for something anymore, but you’re able to find a one or two-minute pocket here and there. Playing with your kids, you can get on the floor, you can sit in a shin box, or that 90/90 position to stretch your hips or straddle shape or you can do some quick yoga with your kids, you can do a wall sit.
Right now, as you’re doing this podcast, I just did some running at the park. So, if I would come in and sit in a chair for an hour plus, I would offset all the mobility. So, now, I’m sitting on a pad, I’m going from a double kneel to a split kneel, and I’m switching sides, and in this way, I’m getting my hip mobility in for the day.
So, you start to stack your movement with your other habits. You’re talking on the phone, why not put your foot up on a tall box? You’re checking your email, put your foot up on a tall box and stretch your hip flexors and your glutes and immediately unload your back. So, these are just the habits you start to adapt because the days of one-plus-hour workouts for people over 35 unless you’ve got nothing else going on, you’re a trust fund kid and you have no kids and you have no family, have no commitments, maybe that’s your life. That’s not the life of the people listening.
And I know this firsthand because again, there’s your age and there’s a real age because I was such an idiot when I was young, I was a barbell, I got caught up in the whole powerlifting barbell scene and damaged my body to the point where I don’t have the margins for error anymore. Even though I completely evolved my training, I went through those cycles. And as you get older, there’s less and less margin for error.
So, you got to be willing to find a way to just fit in throughout the day. And then if you find time to do a 20-plus-minute workout, it’s just a bonus, but the foundation is just a base level of movement, and the frequency is the key because then you never get stiff or sore because when you get stiff or sore, you don’t want to work out because it takes you so long to warm up.
Dean Pohlman: Right. Your body’s not ready to work out because you have to spend so much time undoing all of these, not doing from the day. I’m actually really glad you brought this up because one of the things that you are really well known for or still are really well known for, I don’t know if you still do this or not, but you talk about building up to being able to do a mile of lunges, like just to go for laps around the track doing lunges, which is crazy.
And then on that Jeremy Scott podcast, he talked about doing split squats every day for a year. And I’m just curious about what’s a similar long-term challenge that’s going to create really long-lasting results for years afterward that someone can commit themselves to for three, six, nine, or twelve months, something similar to that. Or maybe if it’s going to be dependent on each person, I get that, but maybe you have a suggestion about something that people can try doing for a really long time and really seeing pretty awesome results from it.
BJ Gaddour: I mean, this is one of those things, right? So, as practitioners, we have to find that unique balance between structure and variety. Variety is Instagram, new workout every day. Let me create a new movement from scratch. Okay, this is how you can move. You can make it fun and mix it up. Look, I get it, you got to do that to make things new and unique. But you can push, you can pull, you can squat, you can lunge, you can twist, whatever. And structure is where anything great is built upon, but it’s boring to a lot of people because people don’t like to put in the time. They can’t do the same thing over and over again, they think they can’t.
So, my knees were so bad, and I had such imbalance in my body that I could deadlift over 500 pounds, but I couldn’t do a bodyweight lunge. I could bench close to 400 pounds, I couldn’t do a pullup. Because I got so caught up in the load, load used to be my God. My day would be based on if I was moving the load up, and if it wasn’t, my day was ruined.
So, I know what it’s like to be a total meathead. I think of myself now as a sophisticated meathead because your roots are your roots. But there was a time that I wouldn’t even say the word yoga because I was so insecure, I was so caught up in that culture and lifestyle. But it’s all about feeling good, it’s all about moving well. And when it comes to good training, the less things you focus on, the more successful the session. In fact, if you focus on one thing, that’s when you’ll have the best results from a given session. All your resources are dedicated to it, but that’s not fun for people.
That being said, I started with a minute of lunging in pain, and over the course of a six-month period, I built up to doing an hour of lunging without pain. And what people don’t realize when you put your body and a focus on one thing, it could be walking, it could be running, it could be lunging, it could be step-ups, it could be hanging, it could be crawling, it could be any yoga position, you start to (a) get into a flow state, especially when you have a breathing strategy. And flow state means time disappears.
And then you can start to be able to do it with your eyes closed. You shut down your visual senses, and then what else heightens? Everything else. You can feel more of your internal anatomy, your joint positioning. You have more body awareness and you start to automatically apply variety. You’re like, well, let me try lunging laterally. Let me try doing it on an incline because variety is the spice of life, I’m not against variety, but you can launch for an hour and do 20 different lunges. But initially, don’t make it so complex. Start with five and ten minutes just lunging. And by the way, like, you want to get a killer set of wheels, you want to strengthen imbalances between sides of your body. You want to deal with just your body weight. There it is.
One of the best starters or finishers you can do is five to ten minutes of straight consecutive lunging. I’m also just a huge fan of just, again, like spend as much time hanging from a bar as you can. It’s one of the keys to shoulder and spine health and it offsets a lot of the compressive damage of sitting and standing or squatting throughout the day, but sometimes, I’ll go and I’ll say I’m going to crawl for 10 minutes.
Now, I’ll take a break when I need to, but what starts to happen is I go from a bear crawl to a crab walk to moving laterally, moving forward, adding some circular motions, adding some leg and arm reaches, moving from a bear crawl to a plank or push-up position. So, again, you start to unlock the beauty of life. Beauty of movement is that flow, its flow state in the mind and its ability to fluidly move between shapes and positions.
One of my favorite movements for time is the getup. And one of the things I’m most proud of in my career, the getup, you can Google this, or some called the Turkish getup, it’s where you starting your back and typically holding a dumbbell or a kettlebell in one hand and you basically move through a series of positions to get to a full stand with the weight overhead. It’s the ultimate test, in my opinion, of mobility and stability.
Dean Pohlman: What does the Turkish getup work, BJ?
BJ Gaddour: Five years ago…
Dean Pohlman: I’m trailing you.
BJ Gaddour: I guess it’s not obvious that it’s a whole-body movement, but I’m using my whole body. That’s the thing, head to toe, right? But really, it’s a lie detector test because any lack of stability or mobility at some point in the process, you get exposed. So, to me, it’s good to get exposed in your training. Anyone can go in and cater to their strengths and work their chest and biceps and get big mirror muscles, but not everybody has the ability to take their body through the key patterns of movement.
And again, we’ve done studies on this. One of the true indicators of longevity and life expectancy is people being able to get up off the ground. And you know, being a yoga practitioner, how good it is for you to get grounded. It helps set your pelvis. You get a real connection, a human connection to the earth. And it helps you build strength, raw strength from the bottom up, which is how we were programmed to learn movement as kids. We start on our back, go to our bellies, move to the side, then we start crawling, then we start kneeling, then we start walking.
So, it’s a very natural way to do things. So, I’ll do 10 to 23 straight minutes of one getup left side, one getup right side, and you can do it from a variety of shapes. I do it out of a shin box sometimes. It’s one of the EHOH movements because you can do it with body weight or a two-pound water bottle or can, but it’s the ultimate mobility exercise.
And then you can start to add things like presses to it, or you get to the standing shape and you do some squats or some snatches. So, again, that’s flow. So, once I have the basic movements, I can then find ways to plug in the other basic movements with the current movement I’m working on to add in the variety, but on paper, like another one of my favorite things, 10 to 20, I do 20 minutes of just straight sled dragging three times a week, and I’m not looking to add too much variety to it. It’s been a backward dragging, in particular for my knee reconditioning and lower quads.
One of the best ways, the knee-over-toes guy says it well, it’s a way to reverse out of knee pain going in the opposite direction. And I would agree that sled training has been around for decades and it was like part of my DNA as a football player, but I kind of got out of it, and then he reminded me again of the importance of it. And I’ve been on that tip. That’s great.
I lock into a breathing floor. I go four steps inhale through the nose, four steps exhale through the nose. And then if I have to exhale to the mouth at some point when I fatigue, I will, but I try to keep it all nasal because that’s what activates the diaphragm more. And it keeps you calm and focus, which is what I try to look for when I train, the Bruce Lee style.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Have you heard of Brian Mackenzie?
BJ Gaddour: I think he worked with Kelly Starrett.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, he was my first podcast episode. We talked about breath nasal– if you ever want like blow your mind with nasal breathing, I’m sure you’ve already done the research on this, but we had such a cool conversation on that. And nasal breathing, I don’t know if it’s the key to your health, but it is a key to your health. It’s really cool. So, just chiming in about the nasal breathing you’re talking about.
BJ Gaddour: There’s always more you can learn about breathing, and everyone has. Again, that’s part of breathing for time. By the way, two years ago, I couldn’t breathe through my nose. And I couldn’t breathe at all through my left nostril. But now I can do a full hour of walking while doing a box breath through my nose only, my mouth never opens.
So, what I’m telling you right now is because I put part of my manic, I guess you could say, or just I have a perfectionist, obsessive personality, hyperfocused on– I went hard on the breathing, man. I’ll do box breath hangs, but the walking, in particular, it’s such a good breathing workout when you do it that way. And when you breathe through your nose, it allows you– even if you initially have to go slower, which is good because slow is fast, if you do it slow perfectly and you stay ahead of your breathing instead of getting behind your breathing, you can maintain your mechanics.
And because your breath is fuel and your breath is movement, every exercise I program now has a breathing strategy depending on the exercise. The strength exercise, we inhale through the nose during the loading or stretching phase, such as the lowering of a push-up or squat. And then we exhale through the mouth explosively during the contraction phase or the concentric phase where we use the air pressure to power the movement in the weakest phase of the exercise.
If it’s rhythmic, like cardio, I love the 4/4, four steps or four strides, inhale, four strides, exhale, and you lock into that. And a lot of times still, I limit myself to the nose because it prevents you from going too fast and overstriding, which is good.
Dean Pohlman: Right. Yes, you get it. Yeah, it’s great because it’s a regulator of sorts. It prevents you from going into this fitness or this intensity level that you shouldn’t be doing every day. Like if you’re doing a workout and you are ah, ah every day and you’re not doing, I don’t know, three hours of recovery work or you’re not a professional athlete, you’re not going to be able to keep that up. It’s unsustainable. So, learning to be able to exercise at a pace where you have to maintain nasal breathing, you’re actually increasing your overall capacity and you’re being way easier on your body.
BJ Gaddour: You feel wasted after the workouts and you can still work. I mean, when you go with the adrenal rage, which is like being out of breath and like killing yourself and operating purely on cojones, like our ego or willpower, I mean, I sustain that for 15 years. So, it is sustainable, but it’s huge costs, and the juice is not worth the squeeze because it basically allows you to go above and beyond capacity, the super maximal effort, because I’m depending on adrenaline.
To me, true strength, again, what I mentioned alluding to that Bruce Lee style is, it’s expressed in a state of calm. It’s not having to go, hah, hah, hah, hah, hah, and then to get out to do something, it’s like you walk up, you take a deep inhale, and you exhale it up. And you walk away and you might not even have broken a sweat because, like you said, your baseline level of capacity has been raised so that the performance is effortless, which means the recovery demand is less.
And over time, you bring your fitness level way up and you’re like, something is like, I didn’t feel like, did I work out? It’s like, oh, you did, you put in the time, you did the reps. But when people say I feel better or more energized after a workout, it’s not after a soul-crushing workout. It’s after the style of training where you can breathe through the whole thing and you have a peak experience towards the end of the workout because you’ve warmed up, you’ve done such a steady built. You know what I’m talking about.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, yeah, we hear about it all the time. This is like what a Man Flow Yoga workout is. I mean, most of our workouts are about 25, 30, 35 minutes. And yeah, you’re doing everything. You’re working on strength, you’re working on mobility, you’re working on your breathing, your balance, but then you finish and your anxiety is lower, you’re breathing better, you feel more confident, you feel calm and focused, and that persists throughout the day. And you’ll feel sore the next day, but you’re not going to feel like, I don’t know, it’s not like the almost comically soreness that accompanies leg day at the gym.
BJ Gaddour: You’re not going to get DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. The three to five days of just like hell. It feels like you got rhabdo or something. I mean, that’s such a key point because our society, especially American culture, judges the effectiveness of a workout by how sore, sweaty, and tired you get, which is not the sign of a great workout necessarily. Anyone can program a workout that does that, but you also have to understand to what makes you sore. Anything new, like you’ve never done yoga before. You do yoga, even if it’s low intensity, you’re going to get sore because it’s a new stimulus. So, anything new causes soreness.
Also, anything at extreme volume or extreme intensity or both, but you start EHOH and you’ve never moved frequently, you start EHOH, and for the first week, you’re going to have a little bit of soreness, but then it goes away and you get over that. But people are constantly chasing soreness instead of progress.
And there’s like a masochism or a desire to punish ourselves, and it’s so sad because it’s not like that in other places in the world. They truly know they have a physical culture, and it’s about elevating yourself and empowering yourself. It’s not about punishing yourself whether it be because of how much you ate or how much you drank or because you don’t like how you look. It’s such a negative feedback cycle, and I’ve been in it, again, because I’m finally starting to like the way I look and I’m about to turn 40, taking me a long time. And even when I’ve been in peak condition, supposedly, or whatever else in the past, I still couldn’t find happiness in the way I looked. And so, it does take some time.
But again, at the end of the day, there are so many other factors to fitness and how you look. And really, it’s like the true test is do you have a desire to move? Because if you have a desire to move, it’s likely that you have good range of motion, you’re not in pain, and you genuinely want to do it for the joy of movement. When you do it out of the desire to compete or to punish or to offset, it never works out, man.
Dean Pohlman: That’s awesome. I’ve never heard that before if you’re doing it from a desire to move, and that makes total sense to me. That’s a really great point. Thanks for bringing that up. I do have a question for you related to– because I think both you and I have this, and I would assume most guys who work out in our typical workout culture, the workouts, the energy comes from anger. It comes from using negativity as a fuel. You’re trying to show someone that you’re stronger than they think you are. You’re trying to make a statement. And I’m just curious for you now, where does your fuel come from for your workouts? Are you still feeling the same things that you used to feel when you’re working out? Has the motivation shifted? Does it feel different?
BJ Gaddour: Now, more than ever, it’s not just what serves me now as an aging athlete. Also, it serves my people. Like for you, yeah, you could have done yoga and then taken five years off and still know how to program yoga. But it’s different when you’re actively practicing because you’re like, I like to do the programs with my people because I have a connection to it. And damn, I know what they’re going through. I can better speak to their experience.
I’m not saying that I don’t have– like, for example, people don’t have a sled. So, the sled training I do is not necessarily something they can follow. Some people have gotten the sled since I’ve started talking about it, but for the most part, though, like, I live it and I walk the walk of what I preach and teach, and a lot of my– in terms of desire is just I don’t want to take it for granted, man. I’ve been in pain before. Like, there’s nothing worse than that.
Actually, about a month ago, I had, just like it was a series of misfortunate events. And then I was filming something and I hurt my lower back. And that night, man, it was eight hours of the most excruciating pain I’ve ever had in my life. I was in tears. Never felt pain like that before. And I had to take painkillers to get through the day for a week. It was humbling. I felt like Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises, the back break scene when he’s in the cell. You ever see that movie? I love that scene. It’s the best Batman, by the way, hands down, in my opinion.
And a true physique, like that guy could go up and down 100 pounds in six months. He is the legend of physique transformation. That guy goes somewhere else, but he’s such a good actor because I was making the sounds he makes in that scene when he’s trying to get up and the guy sets his back and puts him in the traction device like the medieval chiropractor. And so, a lot of it, man, that was humbling because that was the first time I hurt myself filming content and I didn’t warm up properly and I woke up with a stiff back that day. And it’s like, well, this is it, this happens.
And so, I have a great desire to stay out of pain and I have a great desire to help other people get out of pain and stay there as well because that’s the stage of life right now, man. It’s like we’re trying to become as well-rounded as possible. Strength and size matter much less than mobility and stamina. And you’re just having joy with movement.
And again, like, I’ve kind of killed my ego with the training because my best workouts are with lighter loads. It’s about to hit the summer here in the desert, which means in the 100. So, it goes out to like 120 some days. And I like to embrace the heat. I don’t run from it. People don’t leave the house. They don’t go outside. I couldn’t believe it. It’s like a death zone here during the summer.
Dean Pohlman: You’re from Wisconsin. And I’m from Ohio. So, I also sympathize with that because now, I’m in Austin, Texas. I’m like, it’s sunny. Let’s go outside. They’re like, no, it’s hot. I’m like, but it’s sunny.
BJ Gaddour: I know. It’s so funny to me. People will pay big money to do hot yoga, but they won’t do yoga outside in the sun. You know what I do? I have this black mat that the sun hits it and I put a carpet over it, and it’s like a giant heating pad. And I’ll do all my kneeling work, getup, squatting, lunging on it, and dude, the positions I can get into just because it’s a constant convection pad.
So, typically, where you start a workout and it’s just tough to get into a kneeling position because you got stiff knees, the knees melt. And so, again, that’s part of mental training, is you could say turning lemons into lemonade or flipping the script. People complain about the heat. To me, I know this is like I’m going to have big mobility breakthroughs again this summer, like I had last summer, and I’m okay with my loads coming down, sometimes 25% to 50%, to accommodate the extreme heat because I know when it starts cooling down, man, my energy’s going to be through the roof, and I’m going to take all these range of motion gain, stability gains, and breathing gains, and I can apply it at a much higher intensity.
So, I’m a huge advocate of that. Again, I know you’ve got a yoga audience, and put on your SPF, make sure you cover your head because guys, even with medium hair, that sun is going to penetrate the scalp. You don’t want to get scalp cancer. But other than that, embrace the heat this summer and get out there under the sun, get the vitamin D, and explore these positions. And for time, you’ll melt. And it’s always better outside than it is on a carpeted, enclosed space.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, agreed. Well, I want to move on to Part 2 and start asking you some of these big questions that I think you have a lot of experience with that I think we’re going to get some really cool answers from. But thank you for all of the fantastic answers and sharing your experiences for that Part 1. That was really cool to hear. So, first question here is what do you think is one habit, belief, mindset, or practice that has helped you the most in terms of your overall happiness?
BJ Gaddour: Well, I think it goes back to movement is medicine. Fitness has gotten me through all of my rock bottom moment. It’s been a constant because I can control my movements. Even if I get injured, I can control my movement because I can find ways to work around it or regress as needed to see emotion, but I can’t control the algorithm on social media, I can’t control people that want to spend money with us or not, I can’t control politics or climate, you know what I mean? So, that’s really important.
I see it all the time, the more members focus on what you can do, not what you can’t, and control what you can. And you can always control your attitude, your effort, and you can always move. So, that’s pretty important, man. I think it’s been a guiding principle in my life. And even during all the stuff that we talked about earlier that happened during the pandemic, I had never been more locked into my exercise. I think it was the only thing that kept me grounded in some sort of reality.
And I also have members of TheDailyBJ.com who I was still programming for and showing up for many of them, not knowing what I was going through personally at the time. But service to others is always great because there are many times in your life when things aren’t going to go well. And this is why it’s important to have friendships because sometimes, your life sucks, but your friend gets a promotion, or they have a new child in their life, and you can start to take joy in other people’s successes.
And that’s important because life is not nonstop happiness or success for you, but if you have enough of a community and you are in service to others in some way, again, it’s paid service, but it’s still service, and what I’m talking about. I started to take those small wins and I make them my wins and not to take away from their effort. But it’s always great to have the ability to find success in other people’s work or people you care about, especially when you can contribute to it in some way.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s a great answer. What is one thing that you do for your health that you think is overlooked or undervalued by other people?
BJ Gaddour: I do it every day. It’s the one thing I think we all can do until the day we die or should hope to be able to do. And I think it’s often maligned because, yeah, it’s not the holy grail of fat loss the way people traditionally think. But if you train at least a couple of days a week, you train your full body a couple of days a week, you focus on mostly protein and produce, and you have a flexible eating approach, meaning like maybe one or two meals a week, you kind of indulge in moderation and you sleep well, walking becomes a potent fat burner.
Now, doing only walking, you may still have some body fat, but if you do some sort of full-body resistance work or mobility work and then you add walking on top of that, that’s when like people get sustainably lean. So, beyond all the mental health benefits and cardiovascular benefits and mood benefits, which for some reason, we’ve discounted because we went through this period of time, everything was so superficial, what helps you lose weight because of the obesity epidemic.
But maybe, people, if they weren’t so unhappy because they’re worried about losing all this weight and trying to do Biggest Loser-style workouts that make them feel horrible about themselves and that hurt, they end up gaining the weight back and more because you can’t sustain that level of intensity and that level of working out all day and starving yourself, but noone wants to commit to just a daily walk and see what happens in three to five years. Nope.
Dean Pohlman: It’s not sexy enough, yeah. Well, actually, walking has come up a lot on this podcast as has journaling as well, but walking is one of the biggest things that comes up, and long walks. Walking for as long as you need to, that’s what has been consistently said. Walking for as long as you need to, not just like going for a quick walk, but walking for as long as you need to, so hours.
BJ Gaddour: By the way, it’s one of the EHOH things because you can do a couple of minutes of walking every hour on the hour and just get up, go to the bathroom, get up, grab some water. And at the end of the day, you walk for 20 to 30 minutes. So, don’t tell me you can’t fit it in. You’re choosing not to. You’re not prioritizing it. Or you can march in place or you can do single-leg balance holds. I mean, those are still ways to train your gait, even if you’re not actually moving. So, yeah, man, it’s a commitment to make and, again, if there’s a place to start, we don’t have a choice. We have to walk so might as well make it a habit.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, agreed. All right. What’s the most important activity you regularly do for your overall stress management?
BJ Gaddour: I guess it would have to be the breathing work. I love to elevate my legs against a wall and get rid of the inflammation in my legs and kind of restore my pelvic positioning. That’s great.
Dean Pohlman: My sister-in-law saw a TikTok about that, I think, a few months ago. And she’s been doing like 12 minutes up the wall every night.
BJ Gaddour: Dude, it’s very restorative. I was gifted these things called NormaTec, which is an air-operated compression device, my favorite thing. My wife and I every Thursday, so Thursday is our like “cheat” or retreat day, but because we’re in the desert, we can kind of have these hydration parties where I’ll get a bunch of cheesy rolls, lots of water, fresh pineapple, watermelon, and some avocado oil chips so healthy oils, some thin crust pizza, some sushi. Then I’ll put my legs in these NormaTec and elevate them a little bit on a ramp. For a couple hours, I watch a movie. That’s one of my favorite things. It’s like a recovery party. It’s like when you prioritize recovery, you put in the work. It doesn’t have to be damaged, and you can actually choose healthier foods and you just tend to have them maybe a little bit more. I have maybe a little more pineapple than I would normally instead of it being like Hostess cakes.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that sounds awesome. That sounds like a great afternoon. That just made me think of when I was still going to the bars, I would love it if, in addition to all the alcoholic drinks, obviously, if they had juice shots or if they had ginger shots or healthy drinks next, I would be crushing elixirs instead of alcohol.
BJ Gaddour: I’m a huge advocate of vitamin C loaded. So, there’s a particular brand of orange juice called– it is my favorite, Uncle Matt’s Organic. One cup has 300% vitamin C. Vitamin C is very important for recovery and anti-inflammation. So, I’ll treat myself to a couple of glasses of orange juice. And again, I know juice is considered the definition of sin, like avoiding all the calories on the side.
I used to be on that tip, but again, I’m a very active individual. The leaner you get, the more active you are, the more carbohydrate your body can tolerate. Muscle is like a blood sugar sponge. So, I’m not advocating this if you have a lot of body fat and you’re not active. But I’m like, if I box outside in a 100-degree heat for an hour, my body has a lot of flexibility, and it also needs that vitamin C, it gives me a lot of energy and recovery. So, that’s part of what I do, is I’ll have a couple of glasses of that type of fortified orange juice and I still stay very lean.
But I don’t overdo it, like I’m not drinking the whole gallon of orange juice. And most days, I just have a cup, typically, after exercise. Vitamin C, by the way, also people that take collagen, the benefits of collagen are typically limited to taking it in conjunction with vitamin C. Otherwise, you don’t absorb the collagen as much. So, if you’re making a shake and you want to throw on some collagen protein, use a cup of orange juice as a liquid base.
Dean Pohlman: Good to know because I throw in two cups of berries with my collagen.
BJ Gaddour: That’s got some vitamin C but not to the level of a…
Dean Pohlman: I hope that has.
BJ Gaddour: Again, one cup of this got like 300% because also, you need more, the more active you are.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I remember you bringing that up in the podcast that you did with that previous podcast we kept mentioning. So, that was cool to learn too. Spinach has vitamin C, right? Power greens have vitamin C?
BJ Gaddour: Yeah, it’s just not like 100% plus. I think it’s probably like 30% of your daily value.
Dean Pohlman: Gotcha.
BJ Gaddour: You can still get it in with that orange juice. Again, it makes for a great smoothie or shake and it tastes great. It is natural. You just don’t overdo it.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. All right. Got to look at this orange juice. What’s it called again?
BJ Gaddour: Uncle Matt’s Organic. I should be getting an affiliate from them at this point.
Dean Pohlman: We’ll message them. We’ll send them this podcast, for sure. What’s the most stressful part of your day-to-day life?
BJ Gaddour: Anytime I have to make new content, I put a lot of pressure on myself because people really typically enjoy it and I always want to make it a highlight of their experience. I probably put too much pressure on myself for that, and it might be more stressful than it needs to be and I’m working on that. I typically buy, like limiting the amount of time I can put into it because when you do a perfectionism, you’ll work until it’s due.
But then you waste all this time over-fixing when it was probably done in the first hour of work and you spend like five-plus days on it. So, I have to limit myself to how much I put into stuff. Because of that, again, it’s a mental health problem, perfectionism, it’s not a good thing. I don’t say it, like I will say it in a bragging way I say it. And so, it limits me unless I get a handle on it.
So, at the end of the day, you get paid for done. Typically, your first instincts, if you’re a regular practitioner, are the right ones. I’m not saying don’t come back and double-check or add in tweaks, but making content, I need to find a way to make a joyful and not stressful. That is a current battle for me.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I bring this up because I used to– I still do, but we’re thinking about starting to create content ahead of time instead of creating it. We used to do it day to day. And now, we’re finally going to actually create it for the future. And I’m hopeful that by creating things and having them ready to go, I’ll be able to kind of take myself out of the scarcity mindset of, oh, I have to create this. And then if I have three months of content built up, videos like ready to go, then I’ll be able to– when I create content, I’m like, oh, I’m creating this because I want to, I’m creating this because this is something I’m excited to do as opposed to this is something I have to do for Tuesday, and it’s Sunday.
BJ Gaddour: I want to chase your tail.
Dean Pohlman: So, I don’t know what you guys…
BJ Gaddour: And I think that’s where a lot of anxiety and stress comes from. And again, I’m glad you’re committing to it. I need to start committing to that because it’s always good to be ahead. And it’s also okay to repurpose old stuff to fill in the gaps. I mean, ego wouldn’t have allowed me to do that even a year ago because if it’s not new, it sucks. That was my mindset.
But now, that’s good, man. That’s how you have to do it because it takes the anxiety and stress out of it and also making stuff daily is stupid because you don’t take advantage of– batching is important, like having a shoot day as much as it can kind of suck to say I’m going to shoot for three hours, you get a month’s worth of content and you can drip it.
And the hardest part is the setup and just starting to shoot. And once that’s going, you get into the flow. So, it’s just like a workout. And when we tried to do it like daily, it’s just so stressful until I have to get out there. And sometimes, you’ve got to go and get a clipper or something like that, but it’s not a good practice for longevity in the content creation game.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. You keep on bringing out flow. Have you read the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi?
BJ Gaddour: No.
Dean Pohlman: Okay. It’s an awesome book. It’s actually one of my top– it’s probably my top book, actually. I read it like once a year, but it goes into– it’s called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. And it’s the guy who came up with the concept of flow, and he goes into all of the different parts that are required by flow. But then he transcends that into building a lifestyle around flow. And just because you brought it up so many times, it’s just I haven’t considered that many types of tattoos, but I do want to figure out how can I get some sort of symbol for flow on my forearm just to remind myself, make sure you’re trying to do something to flow right now.
BJ Gaddour: I have to check it out because I use that word a lot, as you can tell. It’s a powerful word, man. It means a whole lot in almost every setting.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I agree. All right. Here’s the big one. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men in their well-being right now?
BJ Gaddour: Ego. I think a lot of men if we’re talking specifically fitness, they’re unwilling to evolve their approach to training. They still want to train like they’re in their teens because it makes them feel like they’re “young” or tough or like as manly as they used to be, unwilling to try new methods. But it’s also improving too, like 20 years ago, getting a guy to do yoga would have been like pulling teeth. Now, men know it’s good for them. Whether they’re doing it or not is one thing, but if you let your ego get in the way of anything, particularly with your fitness, you end up going down the wrong path and you’re worried about serving other people instead of yourself.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I agree with that. I have Ego is the Enemy. Sorry guys, TMI. It’s my bathroom book right now. I’ve read it like five times, but I just…
BJ Gaddour: I was thinking of getting that because it’s one of that author’s books we talked about. You recommend? Okay.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, yeah, definitely. All of his books are great. I was fortunate enough to meet him at the– there’s a bookstore downtown in Austin, and he lives in Austin or he lives outside of Austin, Ryan Holiday. And I went to his last book signing there, waited in line for a while, got all my Ryan Holiday books signed, gave him a copy of my book. Actually, it was pretty cool, and he asked me to sign it. But yeah, it’s cool to see– his content’s awesome. I don’t follow that many accounts, but Ryan Holiday and all the stuff that he puts out with the Daily Stoic and the Daily Dad and all of that is awesome, so. Oh, I want to ask you, I forgot to ask you this, but what are your influences for your hot tub yoga?
BJ Gaddour: If I’m being honest, it was just something I started doing just because it just felt good, it felt natural. I play in the water and I have one of those grounded wave spa hot tubs, like it’s inflatable. You can move it around if you want, something like 500 bucks, yes, so it’s generally affordable compared to the $3,000 to $5,000 options. And yeah, it was kind of out of necessity and just playing, but there was no particular inspiration for that.
Dean Pohlman: Nice. Yeah, I figured you have the knowledge to be able to figure out how to do different various stretches. So, that makes sense. What’s the best…
BJ Gaddour: It was a simple ask, maybe I should do this in warm water because it feels good and I can do it for longer. And that’s where it came.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I bet it feels awesome. I got to try that next time I’m hot tubbing. I’m in for it. Oh, and then I got to ask my other question. What is Uncle Baby cakes? What is your Uncle Baby Biscuits? What are these?
BJ Gaddour: People ask me this.
Dean Pohlman: Where did it come from?
BJ Gaddour: Like all my nickname, it’s self-proclaimed. And I love biscuits and I’m all this funk, so Uncle Baby. But I’m still young at heart and I try to take care of myself, so kind of Uncle Baby Biscuits. You know what I mean? It’s one of those things, like it’s harder to explain. It’s just kind of a vibe. People want it though. People want it.
Dean Pohlman: Okay, Uncle Baby Biscuits is a vibe. I’m in for it now. I like it.
BJ Gaddour: It’s better than being called blow job. So, that was the alternative.
Dean Pohlman: Okay. Yeah, I mean, your website is The Daily BJ, which you probably know that.
BJ Gaddour: You’re welcome.
Dean Pohlman: It’s a great title. No, I mean, like it’s Man Flow, right? Like, every time we’d start running like ads to new audience, people are like, Man Flow, really? I’m like, you looked, you took a second look. It worked.
BJ Gaddour: It’s a good brand. I like it.
Dean Pohlman: All right, BJ, what’s the best way for people to follow you to learn more about what you do to keep up with you?
BJ Gaddour: OnlyFans? Maybe not. My website is BJGaddour.com and I’m @bjgaddour, B-J G-A-D-D-O-U-R on all social outlets so you can find me there, but the website is the best place. I also have a podcast called Get Some Gainzzz! podcast. And yeah, man, a lot of stuff in the works.
Dean Pohlman: Awesome. Cool. Well, keep me updated on that. I’d love to see it. Guys, thank you so much for joining me. BJ, thanks so much for getting on and going through a ton of stuff. That was awesome. I’ve followed you for years now, so for me to be able to open up my web browser and get you on video in live and real life, that’s pretty cool, so…
BJ Gaddour: Dude, it’s an honor.
Dean Pohlman: Thank you.
BJ Gaddour: And just so you know, too, that’s before, and I just wasn’t mentally ready to talk. So, that’s why I accepted the latest invitation. So, I hope you didn’t take that the wrong way. There was some heavy stuff I was going through and I wanted to…
Dean Pohlman: Oh, not at all.
BJ Gaddour: So, you want to be able to talk about it with some perspective and some distance from it.
Dean Pohlman: No, I honestly just assumed that you had thousands of DMs a day and that this was just like, oh, it’s okay, he missed it. But I’m glad you got back to me eventually. Yeah, all right, cool, guys, well, thanks so much for joining me. BJ, again, thanks for getting on the show. Guys, I hope you enjoy this episode and I’ll see you on the next one.[END]
- BJ Gaddour on LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | YouTube | Facebook
- Men’s Health
- The Daily BJ
- Get Some Gainzzz! Podcast
- Men’s Health Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days! by BJ Gaddour
- BJ Raw & Uncut on Jeremy Scott Fitness Podcast
- Fluid Film
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
- Core Meditation Device from Hyperice
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- Daily Stoic
- Daily Dad
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