Finding Purpose Through Loss & Corrective Exercise | Blake Bowman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 017

Finding Purpose Through Loss & Corrective Exercise | Blake Bowman | Better Man Podcast Ep. 017

In this episode, I’m talking to Blake Bowman, a postural alignment and corrective exercise coach who’s been in this industry for over a decade. During that period, he learned that health and performance is a chess board consisting of many critical moving pieces.

Blake has been a guinea pig almost his entire life. After suffering a grueling injury, he couldn’t find help to get his body repaired. He could lift 500 pounds on a deadlift at one point but couldn’t go on a hike. So, he took matters into his own hands and learned how to fix himself. Today, he’s stronger, has better posture, and is healthier than ever.

Through GuerillaZen Fitness, he now uses that experience to help people perform and train better without any muscle imbalances and injuries and be at 100% capacity at all times. 

Today, we discuss how to stop your body from declining, balancing training with self-reflection and reconnecting with nature, the crisis of masculinity, 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!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 017

Finding Purpose Through Loss & Corrective Exercise with Blake Bowman | Better Man Podcast | Ep. 017

Key Takeaways with Blake Bowman

  • How his injuries led Blake to become a corrective exercise specialist.
  • Surgery is not always the best option to treat an injury. Try out some of Blake’s advice before going under the knife.
  • Find out why foam-rollers can be a game-changer for your mobility and posture.
  • Blake’s homemade pre-workout cocktail that enables him to crush workouts. 
  • It’s good to power through discomfort, but it’s not good to power through pain. Learn the difference.
  • Find out how Blake overcame depression and anxiety after losing his father and suffering a gruesome injury.
  • Ego shouldn’t guide your goals. To help yourself, help others.
  • So much data shows how going out into nature improves our well-being. Find out the key benefits of “forest bathing.”
  • Motivation follows action. Don’t wait around to get motivated; start taking action and see what happens. 
  • Have clarity on your purpose and goals, and you won’t suffer from burnout.
  • We’re witnessing a nationwide decline in testosterone levels. What can we do as men?
  • Learn his morning sauna protocol for decreasing stress and promoting recovery.

Blake Bowman Notable Quotes

  • It’s very easy to get worried about all your life circumstances when you’re sitting at home staring at a computer screen but it’s amazing how all that just leaves you and you find peace when you’re hiking in the woods.” – Blake Bowman
  • There’s no sideways movement in life. You’re either improving or you’re declining.” – Blake Bowman
  • “Your results are about how accurately and effectively you can execute on your strategy. Your strategy is really contingent on how much clarity you have about the problem and the solution and what you need to be doing or want to be doing. You need to have that clarity to practice the strategy in the first place and then to be able to execute on it.”  – Blake Bowman
  • “There’s nothing wrong with being continuously focused on improving as long as you’re willing to roll with the punches and transition what you’re trying to improve to whatever you’re being called to at the moment.” – Blake Bowman
Episode 017: Finding Purpose Through Loss & Corrective Exercise | Blake Bowman – Transcript

Dean Pohlman: Hey, guys. It’s Dean. Welcome back to the Man Flow Yoga Podcast. Today, I’ve got Blake Bowman as a guest. Blake, go ahead and say hi.

Blake Bowman: Hello, everybody. Dean, thank you for having me on. It’s a pleasure.

Dean Pohlman: Absolutely. So, Blake, you and I met at a health conference probably like six years ago. Something like that?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. It was a while ago. I don’t think it was that long. It was 2017.

Dean Pohlman: 2017. That’s five years ago, man. That’s a long time.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Wow.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Blake Bowman: Geez.

Dean Pohlman: I know. I know. What have we done with the last five years of our life?

Blake Bowman: Lives.

Dean Pohlman: But anyways. Yeah. So, I knew you had looked familiar but we cover a lot of the same topics. We talk a lot about correcting posture. We talk a lot about movement and fixing your body’s stress relief. But I’d love for you to just give an intro to people just so if they haven’t heard of you yet, get to know a little bit more about you.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Well, as you said, we have a lot of overlap. I know for a fact that many of the people that kind of tune in to you are also tuned into me. I see that in the analytics of a lot of things. But, yeah, basically, my kind of back story is I grew up in a pretty health-conscious family. I was always an athlete.

Dean Pohlman: What did you play?

Blake Bowman: Mostly, like combat sports, martial arts, folk style wrestling. I did a little bit of soccer but when I was in middle school and high school, all I did was wrestling and taekwondo and then some judo and jujitsu.

Dean Pohlman: Cool.

Blake Bowman: So, yeah, basically I was involved in those athletics my entire youth, and I actually still do jiu jitsu but I started lifting weights for wrestling in high school and I really fell in love with weightlifting. And after high school ended, I stopped doing all forms of grappling or martial arts and I just started doing strength training. And I just stayed consistent with that. You know, I really loved building up my physique, and that’s what I basically did after high school for two years until I was about 20 because I hit a hard stop at the age of 20 by suffering myriad different injuries in my body as a result of poor posture, muscle imbalances, postural misalignments, joint mobility, and flexibility issues. I was just training through these things for many years as I had for biomechanics. I didn’t know this at the time but I was adding strength to this function and making all my imbalances worse, predisposing myself more to injury. And I just kept getting stronger every year to the point where, like I said, I was 20, I could deadlift 500 pounds at 180 pounds raw but I couldn’t play basketball. I couldn’t even go for a hike with my friends without my knees killing me, my SI joint killing me. I have been all over the place and it really sucks.

I ended up getting shoulder repair surgery to repair my labrum. But even after I had that when I was 20, I still had all these muscle imbalances and horrible posture, bilateral shoulder impingement, both sides, bilateral patellar tendinitis in my knees. I was just a mess, man, and had this surgery, had to take a bunch of time off training. Everybody that I kind of consulted with was not giving me the answers that I was looking for. And I had seen many, many different professionals at the time, and nobody really gave me any solutions that worked to fix me for good, which is why I started studying corrective exercise. I got many different certifications, read a lot of books, physical rehabilitation. Long story short, I fixed myself and that’s what I’ve been teaching other people how to do as well for the last eight years now.

Dean Pohlman: Nice. Cool. So, we’ve got very similar timelines and backgrounds actually. My background is in lacrosse and I had knee surgery when I was 16, a lot of weightlifting that had issues such as… I never had, you know, I was still playing lacrosse so I was able to still play lacrosse but I did have, you know, I think I had a lot of instability, I had a lot of imbalance, and that was highlighted and certain injuries that I got over the years. I’m curious about this. I’m going to ask you in a second but I grew up in a, my dad is a doctor. He is an oncologist, and my mom is or was a nurse before she became a lawyer. So, I grew up in a go-to-the-hospital-listen-to-the-doctor kind of house. And when I was told, “Yeah. You need surgery,” I was like, “Great. Let’s get the surgery. It’s going to fix my knee. It’s going to fix all my problems.” And it wasn’t really until I was 22, 23, after I kind of finished my collegiate lacrosse career that I started to learn, “Oh, like the knee is not the issue. It’s the things that connect to the knee. It’s the hips. It’s my core strength. It’s my mobility, my ankles.” And so, for a long time, I was looking at my knee like, “You stupid knee,” and like, “Yeah, my knee was just better,” and in reality, it was like, “Oh, no. You have weak hips, you idiot.”

But no one that’s, at least for me, the environment that I was in, it wasn’t looked at like it wasn’t looked at as a whole. It was looked at the knee is the issue. Let’s fix the knee. So, I’m curious, you grew up in a health-conscious home, you said. What was your experience with hospitals, doctors as you grew up?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. It was similar to yours, a little bit different. You know, my family, my mom used to sneak supplements into my sister and I’s food ever since we were like five years old.

Dean Pohlman: Interesting.

Blake Bowman: She was doing that. We had reverse osmosis water filtration on the house as well. So, we were kind of crunchy in that way but also like more mainstream other ways, very similar to kind of how you were raised. Doctor has ultimate authority over your own health and you need to listen to whatever they say. So, when I had a shoulder MRI showed a partial tear in my labrum, just like you, they told me I was a surgical candidate and just signed up for it while I was 20 thinking that that would be the solution to what was bothering me. And it wasn’t, right? Yeah. As you just described, we have a saying like the corrective exercise we’re all intrigued. You’ve definitely heard it. It’s where it hurts is where it ain’t. It’s like the problem that bothers us is typically the cause of whatever is going on, right? It’s usually something going on with the muscles and structures above and below the area that’s bothering you. And there’s a myriad of other factors involved in this as well, inflammation. There’s a major mental component to being able to regenerate your tissues and recover from things as well. And yet I didn’t understand any of this when I was younger. Pretty much until I was like 25, I didn’t have a really solid understanding of these things and how they all worked.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And it’s kind of we talk about this. You and I are both talking about our background and experience with this. And I think sometimes people get the perception that doctors are out there to get us and they just want us to spend money on their treatments or buy the drugs or… And then like, I think that’s a ridiculous way to look at it. I think that’s like way over the top. I think there probably are some back surgeons out there who are like, just get them in. Let’s cut them open. But I think they’re just doing what they’re trained to do. I think a lot of people just assume that that’s the solution. That’s what it is. And we don’t know about these other solutions. I don’t know. What are your kind of thoughts on that?

Blake Bowman: Yeah, I agree 100%. I think as with every field of professionals, there are good professionals and bad professionals. So, make a blanket statement about doctors being bad or just out for money or something like that, you’re really throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And what I mean by that, too, is I think that medical treatment synergizes really well with yoga, corrective active exercise for addressing joint issues, more specifically, like medical treatments that fall within the category of regenerative medicine, right? PRP injections, platelet-rich plasma, prolotherapy, stem cells, cold lasers. These things can all really help to regenerate tissue. And when they’re done in tandem with addressing biomechanics, which is often the root cause of many orthopedic issues, there’s a lot of awesome synergy between those things, right? So, it’s not so much so about, like and even surgery, too, has its place sometimes, right? But tendon is completely ruptured off of like a bone, there’s not a whole lot that exercise or even injections or lasers are going to do for that.

So, there’s a time and a place for everything but to your point, I think that most people kind of think that that’s the only option, this surgical route, when they have something come up and that’s a very slippery slope because it’s not the only option that there is out there. There are many other things that are very efficacious. And the problem is just a lot of people are not aware of all the things that they can do, right? The number one thing that they’re aware of when their joint hurts or their back hurts is, “Oh, I get surgery on this.” They don’t know about all the other things that they could potentially do that would also help them out. So, it’s kind of like a very one-dimensional kind of thought process.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, how did you get into or how were you exposed to the idea of corrective exercise when you were going through your injuries, when you had your issues with movement dysfunction, deadlifting 500 pounds but not able to go on a hike?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Well, I understood kind of intuitively that I shouldn’t be feeling that way when I was 20 years old. I also knew that my workouts were making me feel worse so I correlate increase of pain in my joints and how my body looked with the frequency and intensity that I was working out. So, early on when I was still a teenager, I started to feel these things in my late teenage years. I suspected that a lot of it was due to my training and attributable to that. So, I knew that, alright, at least I thought at the time that the answer would be there as well. That’s when I first started to think about it, like my training is making it worse and potentially causing these injuries then maybe my training can help these things as well. I knew I had bad posture just intuitively as well. So, yeah, the first thing I did, which blew my mind when I was 19, I started working with an osteopathic doctor. He introduced me to foam rolling, which I had knew about conceptually when I was 19 because I was a certified personal trainer when I was 19. I learned about it but I just never really foam rolled anything.

And I just remember foam rolling my TFL and not even being able to put 25% of my body weight up from my hips on the roller. That’s how tight I was there. And I was like alarmed by how tight I was. And I just started rolling the area more and more, staying consistent with it. After about two sessions of rolling it, I had much less contraction of those muscles. My whole IT band felt better. And this change was so profound, it happened so quickly that that is kind of what started me into corrective exercise is just basic self-massage. Self-myofascial release with the foam roller felt such a big difference just from foam rolling by itself that it kind of opened a can of worms in my mind where I said, “If this helped me out a ton then I need to learn more about this,” or I can do this elsewhere in my body with other tools I can use. Eventually, from there, my knowledge of how to do joint mobilizations, advanced stretching techniques, activation of certain muscles that I was not activating with my compound lift-based training. I just started to kind of expand from there. But the first thing that really blew my mind was just foam rolling and the benefits I got from that.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, foam rolling. If you’ve never foam roll your calves before this is like, “Oh, this is a fun experience like I think something is going to break here,” but I want to go back to you were pushing yourself through your workouts and I can completely relate to that continuing to want to show up to your workouts and want to keep lifting but I’m wondering, were you conscious of the reasons why you continue to push yourself through the workouts, even though also intuitively knew they were causing you pain? Like, did you think they were going to fix you, or was it just like was there something else like, “I just need to keep getting bigger?”

Blake Bowman: A lot of it was like ego. Especially at that age, I wanted to be as like jacked and muscular as I possibly could regardless of the consequences or price I would pay to be able to sustain and maintain that much muscle mass. So, even though my body hurt, I would still go balls to the wall in my workouts because I wanted to train hard to facilitate muscle growth. The other thing was that I was like very addicted to working out. When I was 19 to 20, I did three things or maybe four things like exclusively with my time. I ate, I went to school, I played World of Warcraft, and I trained in the gym. That was it. For like two or three years, that’s all I did with my time. And it was such a part of my identity that I was so addicted to it and the endorphins that would get released from pumping iron, that I just needed that feeling. I needed that feeling.

Dean Pohlman: Did you take a pre-workout?

Blake Bowman: Oh, yeah. I was taking all the pre-workouts.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, you went all-in?

Blake Bowman: Oh, yeah. I was taking Jack3d. I don’t know if you remember that one.

Dean Pohlman: I did. I took that when I was probably at the same time as you. I was taking that in like 2010. I would have that before like every workout.

Blake Bowman: Dude, that stuff was crazy.

Dean Pohlman: That stuff was messed up. I took it once like before an evening workout, and I just didn’t go to sleep the entire night.

Blake Bowman: That one crazy blend of stimulants in that one.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Which, by the way, if you’re listening to this, don’t go take Jack3d. Don’t take it. I mean, maybe if you really want to stay up and you want to like party all night, I don’t think those are the – I don’t think you’re listening to this podcast if that’s where you’re at right now in your life. Maybe you are.

Blake Bowman: The 2010 formula was also banned after a year that was on market.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, okay. Just like Four Loko. Just like the other thing that’s hyped in college.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. They might still make it but it’s not like what it was when we tried it back in 2010.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. That’s probably for the best. Yeah. Do you take any pre-workouts now?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. I make my own, though. Super simple. It’s just beet juice and creatine.

Dean Pohlman: Okay.

Blake Bowman: Beet juice is a super potent vasodilator so it increases blood flow a ton. It really helps facilitate like a pump.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Side note, it’s also very good for before sex.

Blake Bowman: That’s also a pump, yep. Multiple pumps going on there.

Dean Pohlman: Multiple pumps.

Blake Bowman: But, yeah, that and then creatine, which is just like a very well-studied supplement that increases ATP energy within your muscle cells. So, it helps you with facilitating more explosive strength, which is good for strength training. So, those two things together, super simple. Sometimes I won’t even do the creatine. I would just do beet juice.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Sweet. So, I’m also curious because we talked about touching on this. So, I’m very curious about something that I’ve been exploring a lot and thinking about lately is the idea of what it means to be a man and how our culture and just how peer pressure and things in general kind of affect how we behave. And I’m wondering, did you see your weight training as something that like that went into that, that you had to just like keep pushing yourself because I’m trying to put a thought into your mouth but really, I’m curious because I think a lot of the reason why I pushed myself and I just kept pushing myself through things that were uncomfortable is because this is what you do. This is what makes you like a badass man is like pushing yourself through this discomfort. So, I’m just curious like do you have any thoughts on that or do you have any experience with that or was that at play at all?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. That was definitely at play, having done all those combat sports and different forms of martial arts growing up and having those be my primary physical competition, powering through discomfort and even pain came along with all that. That’s like kind of part of jujitsu and judo and wrestling. I mean, it’s not fun to do those all the time. In fact, 80%, 95% of the time, it’s not fun. It’s grueling. It’s very torturous mentally. That’s the word. And, yeah, if you’re successful in those sports, you just power through that. So, I took that same attitude with me to the gym and it didn’t serve me. It’s good to power through discomfort. It’s not good to power through pain, obviously, especially when it comes to, we’re talking about physical pain or physical discomfort. If you’re having a good workout, it’s going to be uncomfortable, right? You’re going through discomfort. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad but if you’re powering through pain, that is much different. And that’s what I was doing. I just kind of took this like hard ass attitude where I was just going to trudge forward, continuing to do the same things very stoically and stubbornly, no matter how my body felt or responded to it. And then I had to stop. I just hit a wall.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Blake Bowman: When I had that surgery, when I was 20, I was not able to work out for six months and that whole part of my identity was taken away from me. And I went through a major period of like reflection and depression.

Dean Pohlman: Tell me about this. Let’s go.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Well, what was interesting is my father passed away a year before that when I was 19. And I don’t know if this is – I’ve thought about this before and how weird it is. Going through this period where I was not able to work out was more distressing to me than even dealing with the passing of my father when I was 19. And I think part of that was because I transferred all the pain and anger and everything that I was feeling around his becoming sick and eventually passing when I was 19 into working out. And that’s one of the reasons actually that I was working out so hard at this time in my life and also powering through physical pain because I was in like mental and spiritual pain as well from my father passing away. And I was trying to just get this outlet, this catharsis from strength training. I felt so much pain on the inside that I was like, “I’ll just destroy my body in the gym like literally destroy it and that will make me feel better.” And it did temporarily but it was some weird way of coping with my father’s death. And then a year later, when I had to have surgery and I was not able to train, that outlet that I had created for myself, which was my primary way to deal with my dad’s passing, even that was taken away from me.

Dean Pohlman: So, you actually had to deal with it?

Blake Bowman: Yes. And I think that’s partially why that was such a depressing time for me is because I had to deal with like whatever I was not dealing with that I was trying to compensate for by training my body. Once that was removed, I had to deal with everything and really kind of transition into a new way of being.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. What was happening during those times? Like, how are you dealing with that? What thoughts were coming up? Talk me through some of it.

Blake Bowman: Well, for a period there, I removed as much as my identity from my physical body as I possibly could, which was very rare for me to do because like I had described during this time, all I was doing was going to school, working out, playing World of Warcraft, right? So, it was a major part of my identity and not something that I had ever really been separated from. But then I realized my own mortality, if you will, when I went through all this. And part of the depression was removing many layers of my ego all at once. I realized that my body wasn’t going to look the way it looked when I was 20 forever. I realized that it was very unsustainable to try to even attempt to maintain that. And I just kind of gave it up completely and stopped training completely. And I lost, like, pretty much all my muscle. I got really skinny. And at this time, I kind of transferred that neurotic focus energy that I used to give to working out into developing other things. I started reading a ton of philosophy. I started taking a lot of different entheogens, different substances to kind of help me think about things differently.

At the time, I was spending a lot more time in nature reading Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and journaling and just trying to find my like life purpose. This whole thing shifted me into a different mode of being where I was trying to figure out what the best life path for me to be on would look like. And, yeah, so it was a very depressing time for me but also very formative. And now looking back on it, that was probably one of the most critical points in my life where I pivoted in a new direction.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, it obviously sucks what you went through. Losing a parent is tough when you’re young, especially. Even when you’re older, it’s tough. But for you to be able to have that opportunity or that experience where you were able to get into that state, into that pensive state, where you were able to like really develop these thoughts and think about your purpose, think about things that were important to you, that’s something that’s tough to do. Let’s say you’re already doing stuff. You already got a full-time job. You’re already busy. If you have kids, you have a family, like to be able to get yourself into that state and remove yourself from the day-to-day to think about something like that is really hard to do. I think that’s a huge reason why most of us aren’t as happy as we want to be or fulfilled as we want to be because we don’t take the time to think and to create that clarity within ourselves. So, that’s something that I think is really important, is creating clarity in your values, creating clarity in your goals. So, what did you, at the end of that period or if there was an end of the period or whatever that was, were there certain values that became apparent? Was there certain clarity that emerged in what was important or what you wanted to do?

Blake Bowman: Yeah, great question. And to kind of piggyback off of what you said before that question, I think that clarity is super important as well. And I also think people don’t make time or have time for it. I was privileged and lucky enough to have that happen when I was so young.

Dean Pohlman: Before Instagram got popular because you wouldn’t have had the opportunity if that was around.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Before I had a real “job” or a family or anything like that, I had no responsibility. And I was catapulted into this bad situation that ended up being a major catalyst for change and the whole thing was a blessing in disguise, right? But, yes, I did learn a lot and crystallize values in that time that were not very solid within me beforehand. One was that this was largely due to a lot of the philosophical books and things that I was reading but I decided that I was going to be of service to others for the rest of my life at that age. Before then, it was really just me focus, yeah, that was just very selfish. But that’s one thing that I kind of determined.

Dean Pohlman: How did you come to that idea and what led you to that?

Blake Bowman: Well, I think that anybody or anything that’s truly great is a collaborative effort. And that was confirmed through multiple readings and things that I was into at the time.

Dean Pohlman: So, you were able to glean that knowledge from the book, and did it translate emotionally like so your subconscious was behind those ideas or did you just kind of decide this is the right thing to do and this is where I want to move toward?

Blake Bowman: I just decided that it was the right thing to do and the right thing to move towards. And it’s interesting that you say that about the subconscious thing because I actually did not integrate that. It’s like a firmly held belief, feel something that I just told myself over and over again for many years. But it also says in the Bible that it’s better to give than to receive, right? And once I started giving more and seeing how people’s lives could change through my teaching them or working with them as a client, whatever, that started to bolster that internal belief on the subconscious level for me that this is why I’m here. Once I started seeing the results and the fruits of my actions and how I was able to help people and change their lives, that really keeps you going, adds a lot of fuel to the fire. So, it helped to crystallize that even more in me and make it not so much so, just something that I would repeat to myself and tell myself with no meaning or weight emotionally. Eventually, over time, it became that way through repetition and success and working with people and seeing the impact that I could have on other people’s lives.

Dean Pohlman: Cool. All right. I interrupted you. Second thing you learned?

Blake Bowman: During that time period, yeah, the second thing that I learned was that. So, I learned that I wanted to be of service. The second thing was that I just became confident with the whole foam rolling thing where I got amazing results in chronic issues that I had with my legs and IT band from foam rolling the hips. I became very confident that I could fix myself at that period in time, all my injuries. All right. It was a little delusional, I suppose, because all I had been doing was foam rolling but that was so profound for me that, like I said, it opened up this world of potentials in my mind, and I became certain that I could heal my body. I didn’t know the roadmap or what that would look like. I was yet to acquire those skills, knowledge, and understanding to do that but I became confident and convicted in the fact that I could do it, which started me down this educational journey from the years of like 20 to 25 I learned a ton. And a lot of it came from that belief that I could fix myself so then it was just me diving into different books, studying different mentors, working with different osteopaths in my own body, eventually with their patients and stuff like that.

That’s another thing that really crystallized in me and, like I said, I was delusional potentially because I had really nothing to base that out off of but I just became very, very confident that I could fix myself and all I needed to do was find the constraints that were keeping my body from healing and then remove those.

Dean Pohlman: Got it. When you first said the second thing, I thought you were saying foam rolling. My second life realization was foam rolling. I was like, wow, we just went from the secret of life is giving to secret number two, foam rolling. And then it made more sense when you explained it in the context of…

Blake Bowman: Yes, foam rolling, man. It is a game-changer. I will say that.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I’ve got like four I think in here. I’ve got one in every room in my house. So, kind of wherever I go, there it is.

Blake Bowman: I will say I do find that the new generation of percussion massagers are way better than foam roller in terms of releasing tissue but foam rollers still have their place, obviously. It’s like hard to use one of those things on your back and certain areas.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. But I want to feel the pain. I want to feel the pain of the foam roller because I know immediately afterwards my endorphins are going to come out.

Blake Bowman: Yes.

Dean Pohlman: So, I use the percussive one incorrectly. I’m like I just dig it in and I’m like, “Why isn’t this harder?” And then I realized, “Oh, that’s not what you’re supposed to do.” Anyways, what else did you realize? Two points, were those the two big ones?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. That was primarily it.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. Because those are profound. I’m just wondering if that was that. Awesome.

Blake Bowman: Well, I’m trying to think about that. I mean, this was like two years of just like constantly reflecting. I also like learned a lot about…

Dean Pohlman: Did you journal it or did you just like you thought about it or…

Blake Bowman: Oh, yeah, I journaled a ton.

Dean Pohlman: You did? Okay, cool.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. So, I had many, many different journals from back then. I went on like little, I don’t know, vision quest, if you will, my dog and myself in one year. Again, this is when I was 20. I just like left society for like two weeks and camped in a tent in some state land for like two weeks. And I was just like sitting there journaling reading Henry David Thoreau and trying to figure out my life.

Dean Pohlman: You did it. That’s awesome. Yeah. I think if I told my wife I was going to leave for a week and go in a tent, I think she’d be okay with that.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. You know, that’s like what I was talking about, the blessing of having gone through all that at such a young age without the responsibility of a wife, children, work, all these things. I was blessed to have gone through this period of like reformation when I did when I was younger.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I meant to ask this at the beginning but where do you live now? Do you live in the woods somewhere? Because it looks like you’re always posting from the woods or a lake or some sort of nature area.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. I live in northern Michigan. So, this area, if you’ve never been here, you could categorize the vibe, especially in the summertime, by saying like tons of like cottages, lake houses, bonfires.

Dean Pohlman: It’s very nice.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. That’s kind of how it is. There are two ski resorts right next to me, then 20 minutes driving distance.

Dean Pohlman: Nice.

Blake Bowman: Yes, it’s super nature-y here. Lots of trees and, you know.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, you found, I mean, I’m kind of stating the obvious here but you found that being in nature allows you to have this ability to reflect.

Blake Bowman: Yes, 100%. And that comes back to the clarity thing. I mean, it’s interesting, if you look at the Bible, like most prophets and even Jesus himself, like they go out into wilderness to talk to God. It doesn’t happen when they’re sitting at home or in a city, right? You go off into wilderness to have that kind of spiritual experience. And, yeah, there are also studies on this. You know, the Japanese call it forest bathing, just becoming immersed in nature, but we know through studies conducted in the U.S. I think that being in nature lowers rumination, which is dwelling on negative things, negative thoughts, which if you live in a city or a suburb, you’re more likely to do. It’s very easy to kind of get worried about all your life circumstances when you’re sitting at home staring at a computer screen but it’s amazing how all that just kind of leaves you and you find peace when you’re hiking in the woods.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, totally.

Blake Bowman: And, yes, the clarity thing too, I 100% am in agreement with you on how important that is, Dean. I always talk to my business coaching clients but even my girlfriend and my friends about that. Your results are about how accurately and effectively you can execute on your strategy. Your strategy is really contingent on how much clarity you have about the problem and the solution and what you need to be doing or want to be doing. You need to have that clarity to practice the strategy in the first place and then to be able to execute on it. And I didn’t always live here. I moved here when I was 28. I’m 32 now. I used to live in Detroit and, yeah, my health suffered there. My business, my mind all suffered because I didn’t have access to nature in the degree that I wanted to have access to it back then, which is why I moved here. Way happier here, healthier here. My business is doing way better. I have way more clarity and focus just being in a place where I can just easily walk outside and be in state land in like 2 minutes. Just walking around in nature is huge for me.

Dean Pohlman: That’s amazing.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. I think it’s huge for a lot of people too. And I just feel like they either don’t know that or they remember it when they’re in nature, on vacation or something like that. And they’re like, “Wow. This feels amazing. I need to do this more.” But then they just get back into their normal routine of things and they get lost in the sauce.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, I feel like there has to be something that innate about being in nature that applies to every human. Like, I don’t know if that’s something that I can understand. I don’t like nature because of bugs or dirt or it’s hot or it’s cold. But I can’t imagine that your overall health would not improve if you spent more time in nature like no matter who you are.

Blake Bowman: Oh, yeah. Easy. Well, I made a video on this like the top three benefits of forest bathing. One of them is lower rumination. If you’re doing it barefoot and you’re also getting this, you’re grounded, which means that there’s a free flow of electrons between you and the earth, which also has been shown to reduce inflammation and help with certain psychological things. But also, trees give off chemicals called phytoncides, which are aromatic chemicals. And when you breathe that area and it smells like trees, that’s really good for you, right? That boosts natural killer cell function in your body and does a bunch of other beneficial things. And that’s just from breathing the air in the woods. So, you’re getting multiple benefits. You’re out there, your mind is clear, you’re barefoot, you’re grounded, you’re breathing in those chemicals, you’re thinking less on your problems. Yeah. You’re really facilitating good feelings of well-being emotionally, which is super important for genetic expression, epigenetics. You need to be facilitating good positive vibes, good feelings, feelings of wellness mentally if you want your genes to be expressed in the best way that they can be. Bad genes not being turned on, good genes being turned on. Joe Dispenza talks about this a lot in his books.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, I’m curious about, I’ve said this before through this podcast but the idea of creating clarity. So, I’m wondering for you, is there a certain, even if it’s an informal process that you use for getting out in nature and creating clarity around if you’re working through a personal issue, if you’re working through like a business decision, what does that look like or do you have one?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Great question. I’ve worked with like Tony Robbins Results Coaches and stuff before and they have like a whole framework that they take you through when you’re dealing with something like this. And I found things like that to be helpful. But to be frank with you, the thing that’s helped me the most is simply just journaling with no serious structure or framework that I’m working with, just writing out the problem. You know, I think Tim Ferriss says you got to get the problems out of your mind and then lock them into like two dimensions on a piece of paper. It removes them from your like consciousness.

Dean Pohlman: It makes sense.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. It almost allows you to look at them objectively, which you’re not able to do and they’re like floating around your head. You got to like get them out there and put them in front of you, right? And then kind of back up and like consider what you just put on the paper there and then just start writing. In my experience, I’ve had lots of coaches and things like that, business coaches, mentors, and things like this throughout the years. And I always tell people that journaling, if you just sit down to journal uninterrupted thoughts with no pressure on yourself about sticking to frameworks or anything like that, if you just do that for 10 to 15 minutes every day, just kind of describe out your thoughts, some potential solutions, what you want to be doing, what you think you should be doing. If you just can spend 10 to 15 minutes a day doing that, doing that is like a coaching session for yourself. It’s like how you can coach yourself, right? And you already know what you need to be doing, right? Most people do. It’s not rocket science. We know within the back of our mind what it is we should be doing to get the best results in the life that we want for ourselves.

And there are some weird stuff that comes up that prevents us from doing the things that we know we should be doing and just journaling it out with no judgment on yourself just writing every day like that uninterrupted for 10 to 15 minutes is so powerful of an exercise that I think that everybody should just be doing it, especially if you do that in nature. And that’s what I was doing too.

Dean Pohlman: Journaling in nature. There’s the secret sauce.

Blake Bowman: I would literally like sit against a tree, right, whip out my journal and put something behind it like a book that I would bring with me or a clipboard and just journal like sitting against a tree somewhere like in the middle of nature.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. It was very good to journal in that environment for sure.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that makes total sense. So, I played bass guitar when I was younger. I played all the way from I think I started when I was ten and I played up through probably through my sophomore year of college. So, when I was 19 or 20 and I would play and I was good like I would play gigs and I played with multiple groups and trios and primarily jazz. And I even went to like jazz camps in the summer and stuff. But one thing that musicians know is something that they need to do in order to get better is transcribing music. So, that means putting on a song, listening to it, and writing it down, writing it out note for note, writing out the right tempo, writing out the – not tempo. I can’t even think of the right word because I never got into this. And that’s why I’m not a great musician because I never got into transcribing music. But I think that journaling is what transcribing is to developing your music skills, I think journaling is to creating clarity or creating life success or whatever you want to say. I think it’s the one thing that it’s something that I don’t know if it has to be done but I think it has to be done.

I think some form of journaling has to be done regularly in order to really move forward. And I think I know that like I know every time after I journal, I feel better but for some reason like I have a lot of – it’s that thing that you do like, “Ah, I don’t…” Like, I just have to get started to do it. Like, once you start it, you’re fine, you’re in it and afterwards you feel a lot better but like getting the initial push to just go do it. So, I think that’s one thing. Anyways, side note, note for myself, this is another podcast that I’ve had where the importance of journaling has been discussed. So, I need to make that a more regular habit.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Super interesting your analogy about transcribing music because I could see how that would be very beneficial to a musician. It really helps you hone in on your craft. And similarly, the parallels of doing that with your life, making your craft your life, right? That’s a great comparison to make there. Then, yeah, like I don’t really know anybody that’s operating at a very high level in sports or their career or really anything that does not have some sort of period of reflection like this scheduled on a daily or weekly basis. It’s just so important to have the clarity, which comes before any action that you can take in the action again, kind of like dictate your results, right? So, you have to have that clarity. And also too, you asked me earlier about masculinity. And I think something that I’ve been thinking about recently. This is just totally off the wall with regards to what we know we should be doing. What I’ve been thinking about, and this is similar to what like Joe Rogan says where he says, “Be the hero of your own movie.” You know what the hero would do in the movie.

If you think about like a king, like the king archetype, king energy, what the king does, how he sits, how he holds himself with his posture, how he relates to other people, the task that he spends his time and focus on. You can think of that. Most people can, in their mind, conceptualize what this king does, what he stands for, what he’s into, all of these things. And that’s like an ideal that we can hold in our minds and strive towards. And we can re-invoke this archetype in our mind just by thinking about it. What would the king do in this situation, right? And for me, that’s just something that has been pretty valuable recently is thinking about that, that king archetype or what the king would do.

Dean Pohlman: What would King do? WWKD.

Blake Bowman: Yes, right? And then just aligning your own actions with what the king would do, which you already know. And that’s the interesting thing about this. Like, most people already know all these things in their mind. They’re just not taking action on them. And also, to pick up on what you were saying with regards to journaling being hard to start but once you start it, it becomes very easy and you’re like, “Wow. This feels great.” I think Steven Pressfield, who wrote this book called War is Art or something?

Dean Pohlman: Art of War?

Blake Bowman: Yeah, Art of War is Sun Tzu. His book is…

Dean Pohlman: A War of Art. You’re right. My Bad.

Blake Bowman: He talks about this concept of resistance popping up, this idea where we have something we know we need to do but we feel resistance toward doing it. We don’t know why but as soon as we start doing taking action in it, then all of a sudden, the resistance is no longer there. The things that you feel resistance around are the most important things that you need to be doing for your personal growth, right? And the more resistance they have, the more important that it is for you to be doing that. It’s different for everybody. But that’s actually like an indicator that I now use for myself when I’m trying to figure out how to allocate my time, focus, and energy. I have a list of ten things and they all are equally important or they seem to be so objectively. But I feel an enormous amount of resistance around one of those things. I’ll go after that thing first.

Dean Pohlman: What’s the thing that when you finish it, your mind is going to be clearest? Or like, what’s the thing that’s stressing you out the most right now? Do that thing so that you can move forward with less stress or that less resistance.

Blake Bowman: Yes, exactly. And yes, stress. That’s something that you had on your notes that we talked about prior to this show as a possible topic of discussion. Stress management is huge. And I think that ultimately what stress comes from is two things, really, knowing that you should be doing something and then not doing something about it.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Right.

Blake Bowman: Right? You have like a to-do list or something that you know is important for you to be spending your time on but for some reason, whether it’s due to outside circumstances, procrastination, or whatever, you’re just not doing it, that’s how you create stress. So, when you have something come up and it’s easy, by the way, to just continue to procrastinate on the things that we know we have a lot of resistance towards, right? It’s much easier to push it down the road, kick the can to tomorrow or next week or next month or next year than it is to address it right now. But doing that causes stress because now you know that you have this thing that you’re not doing, right? It’s in the back of your mind. You know you’re not functioning out of your highest self and you’re kicking the can down the road. You’re creating more work for yourself in the future. The quickest way to address those things, like you said, is just to go straight through them, straight at them. You know, one of my mentors says that action beats anxiety. So, it’s just like if you feel anxious or stressed about a certain thing that you have to do, don’t procrastinate or delay on it anymore. Literally, convert all of your focus and energy like a laser right onto that thing and blast through it immediately. And the sooner you do that, the better you’ll feel.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I can definitely agree with that. It reminds me of a Mark Manson’s paradigm shift for me, you know, there’s a ton of self-help books. A lot of them are self-development, whatever you call them. And a lot of them just kind of have the same ideas in different situations or different contexts. But one really powerful paradigm shift for me was looking at instead of saying, “Motivation inspires action,” and flipping that and saying action inspires motivation. So, by taking action, not sitting around and waiting for motivation to go do into action but to use action itself to help inspire you to feel motivated to continue more action is a much, much more powerful way of doing that.

Blake Bowman: Yeah, that’s how it works objectively. I think Emerson also said, “Do the thing and you will have the power.”

Dean Pohlman: You’re the living-in-the-cabin-by-yourself expert man. So, if you say he said it then I believe you.

Blake Bowman: Well, yeah, I did read all of his collected works but, yeah, I’m pretty sure he said that. It was either him or Thoreau.

Dean Pohlman: One of those. One of those guys in the cabin.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Very similar people. They’re actually like really good friends. But that’s another topic for a different discussion.

Dean Pohlman: Another topic? Yeah. So, I mean, I think honestly, we went through some really good things here. I had some other topics but, honestly, I don’t want to dirty this conversation with some other topics that could be potentially less than what we discussed. So, I want to transition into part two here. And this is kind of where I go through rapid-fire that aren’t rapid-fire questions, more like just a list of questions that I have, you know. So, we talked a lot about stress relief and stress management. One thing I did want to ask before we do that, you talked about taking regular time for reflection. Do you do it like as needed? Do you make sure to do it once per week? What’s your, you know?

Blake Bowman: So, I actually do it every day in like little micro-events in the morning and then one weekly reflection every Sunday. I use this planner called the Self Journal, which has thought exercises built into it. Every day, for example, I fill out a list of things that I’m grateful for, a list of today’s goals, and what will make today great. And then I answer some other questions. I do that every day but I try to set aside at least 15 to 30 minutes of journaling every Sunday to reflect on the week, the lessons I learned, how to make next week better, etcetera. And sometimes I’ll journal more frequently and longer sessions throughout the week, other than just doing those daily updates that are in my planner. But what I do week after week, no matter what, without fail or exception, and what I have done for the last ten years, is what I kind of just described, a weekly reflection on Sunday and daily kind of like little writings here and there that I usually use as a part of my morning routine.

Dean Pohlman: And you do it written or do you use a phone?

Blake Bowman: I do it written.

Dean Pohlman: Good. Yeah. Cool. I try to encourage people to do written too and then speak like, “I’m only on my phone.” I’m like, “Okay. Well, go ahead.” But anyway.

Blake Bowman: We all need less time off our sitting in boxes.

Dean Pohlman: Yes, we do. All right. So, my first question here is, what do you think is one habit, a belief, or a mindset that has helped you the most in terms of your overall happiness? And it can’t be journaling because we’ve already talked about that.

Blake Bowman: One habit, belief, or what was the question?

Dean Pohlman: Or a mindset. Habit, a belief, or a mindset.

Blake Bowman: Oh, I think it’s this idea that like to flow is to be alive, and to stagnate is to die.

Dean Pohlman: So, you’re always growing or you’re dying?

Blake Bowman: Yes. There’s no like maintaining an even pace. There’s no sideways movement in life. You’re either improving or you’re declining. That’s true for your development of skills, your career, your relationship, everything, your YouTube channel. This is just what I’ve noticed. So, yeah, I’m just like committed to this path of like just growing all the time.

Dean Pohlman: So, I have a quick follow-up question for that. So, my main gripe with like this idea of always pushing yourself and always growing is that like eventually you just get f*cking tired. You’re just like, “I don’t have any more energy anymore. I don’t want to.” Like, I’ve said and you’re saying this after you’ve already said, “I don’t want to for six months.” Like, you can push yourself for a long time but eventually, you’re going to get to the point where your willpower does run out. There’s this idea like just keep pushing yourself. Just keep pushing yourself for years and don’t listen to your feelings and just keep doing it because it’s important. But eventually, like something is going to give. And that’s just been my experience. So, how do you balance your desire for growth with what I think is an innate need to listen to your body, listen to your mind when it’s saying, “Hey, like, that’s enough. Like, seriously, no more.”

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Well, very good question and observation. I think that life moves in cycles and seasons and there are cycles and seasons for everything. One season of your life, you might be focused on developing your career. Another season of your life, you might be more family-focused. Another season, you might be more dating focus. Maybe another season you might be more focused on yourself and building up your physical body and your strength. Everything happens in cycles and rhythms and patterns. And I think that where we can get stuck sometimes is if we don’t listen to the call to transition. There’s nothing wrong with being continuously focused on improving as long as you’re willing to roll with the punches and transition what you’re trying to improve to whatever you’re being called to at the moment, right? Like, when you were playing lacrosse, you probably were not dealing with the same growth and stuff that you are focused on now that you have a child and a family. Your priorities have changed. You’ve shifted.

So, it’s not so much so about being committed to growth over the long haul, all being bad or not sustainable. It’s about understanding that what you’re growing into and what you’re developing is going to change and you need to like roll with those changes as they kind of unfold throughout your life because these things do function seasonally. Also, my mentor says that like burnout, if we’re talking about professionally, burnout happens when there’s no end in sight, meaning it’s very easy to get burned out if you look at all the things that you’re doing now as being things that you just have to repeat through infinity forever and ever with no finite end, right? When there’s no end in sight, that’s what leads to burnout. If you actually have an end in sight, you can muster up the strength and the willpower to continue to do the things that you know you need to do as long as you know that there is some sort of finality to your efforts.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Like I can hold a five-minute plank. But if you just ask me to hold a plank for as long as I possibly can, I might give up at 2:45.

Blake Bowman: Exactly. Interesting, huh?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Blake Bowman: That’s a good example, too. Very good analogy of that. So, yeah, this is something I’ve been thinking about in business, too, because I’ve been making YouTube videos for, like, forever, and it’s a grind to make YouTube videos and content. And if there’s no end in sight for any of that, that’s how like content “creators get burned out” because they’re just like, oh, crap, I have to do this every day for the rest of my life. I already don’t like doing this. So, I would have presumed a lot of people think once they get sucked into the grind of things and that’s how you get burned out. So, yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. All right. I like that way of looking at it. What’s one thing you do for your health that you think is overlooked or undervalued by others?

Blake Bowman: Well, two things, being in nature, and the second one would probably be sauna.

Dean Pohlman: You are the second person who said that.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. I mean, I bought an infrared sauna, have it in my house and bought this in 2016. And I’ve used it almost every day, at least once a week.

Dean Pohlman: Like half the guest I’ve had on the show so far have saunas. It’s like this is a thing.

Blake Bowman: Yeah, it’s huge, man. I mean, there are myriad benefits to it. You start your morning in one of those things. I even saw that you got one from Higher Dose.

Dean Pohlman: So, yeah, I have a sauna sleeping bag, basically. So, it’s like an oversized sleeping bag that heats up and you get in there and you sweat and you breathe through the anxiety of being in a bag that’s overheating, but yeah.

Blake Bowman: So, those are actually pretty good, much more affordable than bigger ones made of basswood or cedar, but…

Dean Pohlman: It is pretty cool for that. Like it’s a way affordable way to have sauna benefits.

Blake Bowman: Oh yeah, for sure, especially good if you travel a lot and stuff like that. But yeah, that would be it, man. I mean honestly, that’s such a powerful biohack if you want to call it that. I mean, if you don’t have one at your house, join a gym that has one and try to use that thing a couple of times a week. It’ll be such a game-changer.

Dean Pohlman: There are now sauna studios, like they exclusively have saunas and you just pay a monthly membership for sauna use, so.

Blake Bowman: Yeah, that would definitely be worth it if I lived in an area that had more of a population like you’re in Austin, right?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. There’s a sauna studio half a mile for you.

Blake Bowman: Yeah, for sure. I would definitely do something like that if I didn’t have a sauna and pay for it and go weekly because of how powerful it is. Stress relief, increased rate of recovery, your skin, hair, and nails all look better when you’re in those things, just so many benefits. But stress is really the main one. You’re really stressed out, you could feel the cortisol pumping through your veins, you jump in a sauna for an hour, you’re literally, like, feel it, like leaving your body’s tissues as you sit in that thing. So, there’s nothing that would melt your stress away like that, so.

Dean Pohlman: And I will say that you don’t have to spend an hour in it because like a lot of people– I’ve spoken with some people who are like, oh yeah, my morning routine is, well, first I do this, then I do this, then I spend two hours in the sauna. I’m like, “Is this your morning routine? Or is this your job?” But even like 20 minutes, depending on how hot it can get, is plenty, so.

Blake Bowman: What else I do sometimes and I’m sure you do this if you just get your core body temp up before you get into the sauna bag, you’ll sweat faster. If you train, for example, beforehand, and then you get in right after you’re done training and you already get kind of sweat going, you’ll be sweating like a ton in there in like two seconds. I like to take a magnesium bath, like Epsom salt baths. Really get my core temp up really high just by soaking in that, and then I’ll get in the sauna for 30 minutes and start sweating immediately because I’m already super hot.

Dean Pohlman: I’m going to give that a shot. So, I’m going to do my workout, then I’m going to do sauna bag. And then I will immediately jump into my ice bath, which is a chest freezer that I got on Craigslist for $100 that is in my backyard.

Blake Bowman: Oh, nice.

Dean Pohlman: Oh yeah.

Blake Bowman: I have always wanted to do that, but I’m like, do I have to modify it somehow?

Dean Pohlman: Nope. Just don’t plug it in.

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Oh, wait, so you just never plug yours in?

Dean Pohlman: Oh, I plug it in. I keep it on a timer from like 4 to 6 a.m. So, it goes on for 2 hours and then it cools, but then it’s off. And I’ll go and like, oh, unplug it to just for a little added security.

Blake Bowman: Yeah, but you don’t want to get in it when it’s plugged in because it’s not…

Dean Pohlman: No, don’t do that. You’ll die.

Blake Bowman: Maybe I’ll get one of those this summer. I’ve been meaning to do that myself.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And they make actual ones, they’re just like $4,000 or $5,000, so anyways. All right. Do you have a set time for regular stress relief activity? And what do you do?

Blake Bowman: Yeah, it’s my morning routine. I usually start every day with a sauna. Hearing it, I don’t have a family or anything like that, so it’s easy for me to be ridiculous with my morning routine. I’m one of those guys. I’ll sit in there with my red light therapy device in my sauna for an hour in the morning. And yeah, it’s usually how I start my day.

Dean Pohlman: Nice.

Blake Bowman: I’ll do some calls maybe even when I’m in there, maybe I’ll listen to some podcasts or journal at the beginning. Once I’ve been in there for a while, I can’t journal anymore because I’m sweating all over the journal. But yeah, that’s a very powerful thing. That and taking massive doses of ashwagandha and reishi mushroom first thing in the morning, if I do that combo – sauna, reishi, ashwagandha, there’s nothing that will happen later on the day that’s ever going to stress me out or knock me off in my center like at all.

Dean Pohlman: What do the mushroom supplements do? I mean, I’m assuming they’re supplements.

Blake Bowman: Well, ashwagandha is an herb. Reishi is a mushroom. Yeah, I actually grow these things and forge them myself, but you can buy supplemental extracts of these things online. They’re both adaptogens, meaning that they help with the stress response. They basically mitigate the release of cortisol, a primary stress hormone. So, yeah, I don’t take them always at the same time. Sometimes I’ll just do ashwagandha, sometimes I’ll just do reishi, like in my coffee. Some people think that herbs don’t mix well with mushrooms vibrationally. That’s up to you. But yeah, they basically help relieve stress, so. And many other benefits as well, but that’s a primary use, especially with something like ashwagandha.

Dean Pohlman: Cool. All right. I’m intrigued. So, what is the most stressful part of your day-to-day life?

Blake Bowman: Probably making content. I’m used to it. I’ve been doing it forever, but I still get nervous when I stand in front of a camera lens every single time, so.

Dean Pohlman: When you’re going about your day, do you think about doing things and then think, oh, how do I make a piece of content out of this?

Blake Bowman: Yes.

Dean Pohlman: Because that is my life. Like, I’m sitting and meditating, and then like instead of meditating, I think about, oh, how can I write about meditating? Like, no, you’re supposed to be meditating, stop thinking about writing about meditating.

Blake Bowman: I got a note in my phone, which is just by now, it’s like 5,000 lines and just like random thoughts that I get about video content, when I capture them from the void when they come in because if you don’t write them down, you find that they just like kind of disappear.

Dean Pohlman: Right. And then it’s time to film and you’re like, I had a bunch of ideas. Where did they go?

Blake Bowman: Yeah, exactly. So, you got to write them down, and I got a big note on my phone for that.

Dean Pohlman: Nice. That’s great. All right. Last big question here. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men and their well-being?

Blake Bowman: Their testosterone levels.

Dean Pohlman: Like their lack of them?

Blake Bowman: Yes.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. I thought you were saying, like, there’s too much testosterone, like, oh, okay.

Blake Bowman: No, it’s the opposite, there’s not enough. Some studies show that testosterone is declining in the male population 1% every year since the 1980s. The study stopped early, though. I think that it’s probably higher than that. Testosterone is your primary male sex hormone, It’s responsible for everything manly – body hair, facial hair, strength, dominance, aggression, confidence, your ability to put on muscle. It largely regulates your body composition, how much fat you have as well. It is just super important on a chemical level in terms of constituting a man.

And there are so many things that are attacking the endocrine system, the hormonal system of men and women messing up everybody’s hormones nowadays. That’s one thing that really needs to be focused on and optimized is I don’t believe personally that it’s enough to just “eat healthy and exercise” anymore. Those are natural activities that are good, but we live in a very unnatural world that puts very unnatural demands on us and we have to take unnatural actions to balance out the scales. You know what I’m saying?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Blake Bowman: So, yeah, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things. That and also, I read this book a long time ago, lots of books on the subject actually, of like what it is to be masculine? Basically, men need to emulate other masculine men. They also need to have an initiation, some sort of process that they go through that catalyzes a transition from being a boy to a man.

Cultures all throughout history have had something like this built in. Some cultures would send the boys out into the wilderness for a week to survive on their own. Then if they survive and then they get back, they’re a man. Other culture is like, well, put the kid’s hands in mitts full of ants that are very painful, and they bite their hands, like, mutilate their hands. And if they make it through that, they’re a man. A lot of these things seem cruel on the surface, but what they are is they’re psychological catalysts for transitioning boys to men, which is a necessary process. In the U.S., we just tell boys that they’re men when they turn 18.

Dean Pohlman: You’re 18, you’re a man now, go get a job.

Blake Bowman: Yes, it’s like, no, that’s not how this works. You had to go through something like this, whether you manufactured on your own, like a vision quest or something like that, or you do something that really put you through a lot of trials and tribulations. It’s important to have something like that in tandem with optimal hormonal levels. If the whole world went through initiations like this and they had optimal testosterone, the world would be much, much, much, much, much different than it is right now.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I think it’s a great point. Cool. All right. Well, Blake, where’s the best place for people to keep up with you and learn about what you do?

Blake Bowman: Yeah. Well, my company is GuerrillaZen, that’s spelled G-U-E-R-R-I-L-L-A-Z-E-N, GuerrillaZen Fitness. You can check out my website, GuerrillaZen.com. You can check out my YouTube channel or my Instagram, guerrillazen. If you just search that, you’ll find me on both of those. I upload on all those places weekly, so check me out there.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And he’s got a lot of cool content on– what I’ve seen a lot from you recently and I think would be particularly helpful for people who listen to this, physical-wise, there’s a lot of stuff there on posture alignment, like a lot of cool exercises that you might not have seen before that you can easily consume in 20 or 30 seconds and then learn how to do those and give those a shot. And then you also touch a lot of it on what we’ve talked about today, so anyways.

Blake Bowman: And longer-form video is obviously on YouTube. On Instagram, I keep the videos pretty short, but on YouTube, like dive deep into joint mechanics, how to correct muscle imbalances, and the more complicated issues with a longer-form video format than what I’ve put on Instagram.

Dean Pohlman: Nice. Cool. All right. Blake, thanks so much for joining me today.

Blake Bowman: Dean, thanks for having me, man. It’s been a pleasure.

Dean Pohlman: Talk to you later.

Blake Bowman: Please.

Dean Pohlman: Thanks, guys, for listening, and I’ll see you on the next episode.



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