Today’s guest, Chase Chewning, is an army veteran, fitness entrepreneur, and podcaster who overcame that fear that so many of us men have: to open up and share their vulnerabilities.
Chase has endured severe emotional and physical traumas. He lost his father when he was 19 and soon after suffered horrendous injuries to his entire body that required a complete reconstruction of his femur. On top of that, he suffered from PTSD after ending his deployment.
Those experiences took a severe toll on his entire well-being. But ultimately, they were the catalyst for him to dive deep into his biggest insecurities, share them with the people he loves, and accept what life brings him, good or bad.
He’s now helping people all around the world transform their bodies and minds through conscious content, coaching, and consulting services.
Today, we cover his journey from army veteran to fitness coach, the importance of listening to your body, why bottling up your emotions is a surefire way to anxiety and trauma, and so 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 020
Key Takeaways with Chase Chewning
- The key lessons Chase learned about health from his years of podcasting.
- Your body is your greatest coach. Stop and listen to what it’s saying before you do yourself harm.
- What’s one thing you can commit to that you know will make you happiest in the long run?
- Find out how Chase bounced back from PTSD and depression after losing his father and suffering gruesome injuries.
- Surround yourself with people that love you, and love them back. The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life.
- What’s your love language?
- Learn Chase’s practice for identifying his deep-seated emotional issues.
- Don’t bottle up your emotions. Do this instead.
- Stop trying to control external events. Let them unfold and see what happens.
- Sometimes a walk in nature can be more beneficial for your health than a gym session.
Chase Chewning Notable Quotes
- “Our body is the greatest coach we could ever have.” – Chase Chewning
- “I think knowing without doing is the same thing as not knowing.” – Chase Chewning
- “If you’re not going to take care of yourself emotionally, like the way you have physically, then we’ve got a bigger problem.” – Chase Chewning
- “Just because you think you’re doing something out of goodwill doesn’t mean that it always needs to be done or is even wanted.” – Chase Chewning
- “To feel something, to have an emotional response to a situation is to be human, but how you act on it will define you. How you act on it is going to either help the situation or not help the situation.” – Chase Chewning
- “Things are far worse in my imagination than in reality.” – Chase Chewning
Dean Pohlman: Welcome to the Better Man Podcast. Today is a special episode because I’m joined by Chase Chewning. And we’re also here in the Hibel Studios recording a much higher quality podcast than I’m personally used to, sitting on my fuf in my office. So, yeah, welcome. Welcome to the Better Man Podcast.
Chase Chewning: Dude, Dean, so good to be here. Thank you so much, man. Yeah. Shout out Hibel HQ. Woo. Pretty cool.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I feel weird welcoming you to the Hibel HQ but that’s the position I’m in right now.
Chase Chewning: It’s your show, baby. It’s your show, man.
Dean Pohlman: I’m just going to roll with it. So, we always start these off by me telling the audience how we know each other. So, Chase and I both work with a brand called Caldera + Lab. I don’t know about you but my experience with them, they reached out to me and said, “Dean, can you try this face serum?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure, whatever. Yeah, it won’t work.” And then within three weeks, I didn’t even use it consistently but within three weeks I was like, “Wow. My skin actually looks better.” So, I’ve been using it ever since. It’s probably on a year-and-a-half now. An old friend of mine from college is actually the marketing person there. So, that’s how I got connected. Yeah. Kelly?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. You like interacted with the whole team for a while now. Same thing. Found them or they found me rather. And that’s when they were really just with the flagship, the good multi-functional serum. And I was like, “Absolutely. Always looking for new wellness products, especially skincare, and same thing in a matter of a couple of weeks.” For me, the most noticeable thing was like, overall, even skin tone. I kind of felt like I had like, I don’t know, like some redness kind of shining coming through here and there. Yeah. And then just loved it. And then, of course, really everything that’s not in it was just incredible. Just like pure nature in a bottle.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. No, you can just feel how.
Chase Chewning: Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: By the way, this episode is not sponsored by Caldera + Lab. I just want to point that out.
Chase Chewning: They just call me.
Dean Pohlman: We spent the first 3 minutes talking about it.
Chase Chewning: I brought it with me on my travels here. I got my little baby travel tincture as we feel on the go.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I just need them to create a serum that changes my hair from white back to brown.
Chase Chewning: Now, you got to embrace the salt and pepper, man. You got to embrace that. Actually, I haven’t gotten it in my hair. Well, I got a couple I think coming through on the front, a couple, but I’m starting to get a little bit more of my beard down here. I’m going from mid to late thirties now, so I’m looking forward to the salt and pepper look. I think it’s in my cards. I think it’s in my future. So, we’ll see, man.
Dean Pohlman: I’m fine with it. My wife hasn’t accepted it.
Chase Chewning: Really?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. She’s like, “Are you going to dye your hair?” Like, I don’t think so. I mean, yeah, but she’s half Persian. Are you Persian, by the way?
Chase Chewning: Full Persian.
Dean Pohlman: Full Persian?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. Iranian-American. Yeah, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: Wow. Okay. Very cool.
Chase Chewning: Salamati. Salamati.
Dean Pohlman: Salam. Chetori.
Chase Chewning: I got to get some kabob after this.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That’s what I was going to – I was going to bring that up because I saw you celebrate Nowruz in a recent Instagram post, I was like, “Oh, gosh. No way.”
Chase Chewning: She’s a first-generation Iranian-American. Her parents came over here during the Iranian Revolution. Yeah, and it’s just been incredible. Yeah. Persian culture is amazing. The people are so loving. I feel like there’s like this, my experience, like initial little cultural friction. And I think it’s because they come from such a persecuted background where their way of life, their culture, their religion, their religions aren’t always fully accepted. But once I think they saw me really make an effort of trying to just learn a couple of words and just really not be a standard, I think, American maybe who is stuck in their ways of you’re a foreigner kind of stuff. And I just loved it. And it’s just been an open-arms embracing relationship ever since.
Dean Pohlman: Nice. That’s great. Yeah. My wife had kind of like a different upbringing with it whereas her dad is Persian or her mom was. I say she’s not American. She’s full Texan. She’s just like fifth-generation Texan but they kind of just didn’t – she wasn’t really raised Persian or Iranian. And she didn’t speak the language. She learned it from her dad but, yeah. And she changed her name. A lot of her experience with that was like post-9-11, having the last name Husseini and getting checked in airports. And that’s kind of traumatic when you’re like ten years old and you’re…
Chase Chewning: Yeah. Searched.
Dean Pohlman: But anyways, let’s get back into whatever we’re talking about here. So, the first thing I just wanted to talk about was you’ve got a health wellness success-focused podcast. I don’t know what all you would describe it as but I looked at your guest list. You’ve had a lot of amazing guests on the show. I’ve also listened to some of your solo podcast and you’ve gone through it sounds like a really cool journey over the last four or five years. And I just wanted to start off by asking you, you’ve had all these great guests on the show. What are two or three practices for your health that you’ve learned about from your guest or you’ve learned about through your own experience that you think other people should know more about? And what were some of your experiences with those practices or whatever you want to call them?
Chase Chewning: Yeah, man. Powerful question, powerful stuff. I mean, I’m so grateful for all the people that I converse with on the show. And I truly take away something either unique or a reminder of something that I need to be reminded of for my physical health, my mental health, my emotional health, my spiritual health. And one thing that I would want to really let the person listening pick up on is that I think we’re looking for that a lot. We’re looking when we’re listening to a podcast, watching a video, when we’re in search of bettering ourselves. At least maybe in the beginning, we’re really like, what’s the thing? What’s the bio hack? What’s the smoothie? What’s the workout? What’s the this, what’s the that, that’s going to revolutionize my life or going to finally let me shed the weight or hit this PR or become enlightened or whatever the thing is? But the important thing is there are certain things I think that the vast majority of humans, if you do A, B, and C because we’re all humans, you’re going to get some kind of benefit. It might be immediate or just simply compound over a short period of time. But the important thing is that I pulled away from all of my guests and it’s a great reminder for me is that the important thing is that I’m in search.
The important thing is that I’m testing. The important thing is that I’m going back to familiar things and basic principles of movement, of nutrition, of good sleep, of quality relationships, relationship with myself. The important thing is that I’m making a practice of being in search of bettering myself and bettering my community in maintaining certain things but then being curious and being aware of what’s maybe something one tiny little new thing that I can pull from you, that I can pull for me, and then implement and test. So, it’s being curious. It’s maintaining and then testing and then being aware of all this stuff that I think is hands down the most important thing. I mean, no doubt I’ll pull like one really unique thing, like, “Oh, really, you do that that way kind of thing?” And then I’ll maybe mull it over or try it and apply it. But it’s just a reminder, really, that we’re all so uniquely unique. And what works for you might not work for me but I can pull a little part of maybe what works for you to make it my own. And then it just further solidifies my own self, my own wealth, my own health, wealth, everything.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me. And also, one big part of that is it keeps things exciting and interesting like the idea of doing, you know, my morning routine, for example, has changed over the past eight years because as different phases of my life, different things were interesting. And then I had my son two years ago, almost two years ago and so that completely eliminated the morning routine. But, yeah, you do these new things and you find these new practices because, one, you’re going to get different benefits and, hopefully, you’re going to keep what works really well and then add in things that you notice the benefit of and you’re excited to do. But also, yeah, it just keeps things interesting. If you’re not excited about getting up and doing the same health practices every day, then finding new things is just going to make it fun to do.
Chase Chewning: And in that process, too, I think you will find or rather your body, your soul, your everything will really cue you if you’re paying attention. So, in pursuit of trying these things or even just becoming aware of maybe what am I doing, what am I not doing where we’re beginning that initial stage or amplifying whatever state we’re in already of awareness. And I firmly believe I’m sure you can relate that our body is the greatest coach we could ever have, and it is constantly cueing us things of I want more of this, I want less of that, hold, but in pursuit a lot of times of personal development, of strength, of whatever our goals are, we kind of it’s like we try to mute what the body is telling us, whereas if we’re just trying things but then also listening and being still and being present, I can’t tell you how many times I’m like, “Oh, okay, I’m trying to make this happen but my body is clearly wanting to go maybe more that direction. So, the important thing is that I’m trying something, I’m testing something, and then in pursuit of that thing, I actually find my thing.” I find, “Oh, okay. Actually, I need to have my feet canted more out when I’m in a squat because going heavy like this person that I saw doesn’t work for me or this type of yoga works better for me, or this meal plan works but I actually need to eliminate a couple of things because I feel some indigestion or bloating.” It’s just in pursuit of whatever practice we are in pursuit of. If we’re listening, it can really put us on our own path for the rest of our life.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Listening to your body is something that and it’s interesting because I think that has I don’t think. I know that has to be developed. It’s like your intuition with your body has to be developed. And if you don’t have that, you have to work on developing and you have to, for me, for example, like I’m really in tune with my physical body. So, I know if I’m doing an exercise and it doesn’t feel right, I’m like, “This doesn’t feel right. This is wrong.” But with my, like, if I were to check in with my emotional side, I’d be like, “I don’t know.” I have no clue what’s going on here. And that’s a big reason why I started the Better Man Podcast because physically I’m like, “I’m doing pretty well,” but like mentally, emotionally, I feel like this needs to be brought up a little bit. So, I’m not an expert in any of this thing. I don’t profess to be. I’m just here trying to do it. And I think a lot of other people is in that same situation. So, I’ll leave that into my next question, which is you have this background as you’re in the military, you’re in the U.S. Army for five?
Chase Chewning: Six years active duty, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: I did Army ROTC for one year and then I did airborne school that summer because I had really good grades and real good PT scores. So, they said, “You’re going to airborne school. Someone dropped out.” I’m like, “Great.”
Chase Chewning: You’re in good shape. Let’s go screw up your knees. Go to jump school.
Dean Pohlman: Exactly. And then within two weeks or then probably, definitely, by the end I was like, “This is my last army experience. I’m good.” And then I did not proceed. So, respect to you for doing that.
Chase Chewning: I respect you for knowing that. I mean, anybody to keep going back to the pursuit kind of thing of what I want from my life, how do I want to optimize my life, I mean, there are so many people that actually commit to something as big as military service and then you get in and you’re miserable. And, I mean, it’s going to suck. I mean, any job you commit to, especially one like the military, where it’s really, really hard to get out, I’m glad that you had that kind of realization beforehand because, I mean, you could have been miserable. You could have put your life in jeopardy, maybe somebody else. So, I mean, like commitments aren’t for everybody at that level but you commit to yourself and you know what you want and then you shift it appropriately.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, you were army six years. You have a background in physical fitness, you have a B.S. in exercise science. You came out in the military. You’re still working a physical fit. You are a trainer, right?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. Personal trainer, group exercise instructor, health coach, kind of a lot of hats in that space.
Dean Pohlman: So, it’s safe to say that you were very focused on yourself physically for a lot of time. I’m just wondering were you always also focused on yourself mentally and emotionally? Or when did that awareness start to creep in? What were some realizations that you had? And maybe what were some of the processes or what were some of those experiences that you had to actually start saying, “Oh, I need to take care of this aspect of myself, too.”
Chase Chewning: You know, I did not have the mental and emotional practices in place like I do now. And really the only reason that I do is because I was just pushing my body to the limits in pursuit of running away from those problems. And like I was saying earlier, the body can be your greatest coach of what it needs, what it wants, physically, but also emotionally, spiritually. And I just really reached a breaking point. I went through quite a bit at a very young age in terms of emotional trauma, physical trauma. Kind of to wrap it all up, my father died when I was 19. He had about an 18-month battle with a really severe case of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. And so, I was miserable. You know, he was my hero. He was the glue of our family. And it happened right after I left for the Army. So, the first like year-and-a-half that I’m in the military, he’s literally just dying. So, he passes away. I’m 19 years old. And then I go through a couple of years of active duty. Actually, I’m in pursuit because the emotional toll was so heavy. I was just kind of like, “I’m done. I’m cashing out.” Like, I can’t suppress this anymore and I can’t bear it anymore.” So, I put myself in pursuit of some deployments. I was volunteering for these missions to kind of like completely take myself out of my typical job.
I was working in military intelligence and to go from my area of specialty, which is Russian, and then go to just general military intelligence to be wherever that support is needed overseas at the time. This was the height of OIF/OEF 2005. And so, in pre-deployment training, wargame training, I actually suffered career-ending injuries and I became a patient myself for the next like almost a year-and-a-half, blew out my back L4, L5, torn hamstring, major trauma to my hips while I’m having both of my femurs like removed, completely reconstructed. I’ve got two pins in both my hips. And so, I say all that because like the physical trauma happened because of the emotional trauma. And then I just didn’t deal with any of it for the next several years because I was, like you said, so focused on the physical self.
Dean Pohlman: So, you were able to use a physical to like block out all the mental?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. I mean, because I was like, okay, it was kind of like weird timing of now I’m so physically broken. Like, I had to learn how to walk again twice. And I left the military with a wheelchair strapped to the roof of my SUV, drove home, left Texas station, San Antonio at the time, went back home, and became so focused on my physical rehabilitation. That’s why I went to school for it. That’s why I studied exercise science because I wanted to kind of like take my life back. I wanted to live again. I wanted to like be a real boy. And so, I got really good at it. I got really good at kind of finding my footing again, so much so that I just kept running with it and I was still ignoring that initial trauma and loss and grief of my father. And also, along the way, I had several of my closest military friends actually after they left, suffer from such severe poor mental health, wound up taking their own lives. And so, it was just like trauma, trauma, trauma, trauma, trauma. And my body was finally just shaking me to the point of having severe panic attacks, anxiety attacks, diagnose PTSD, not being safe behind the wheel of a car sometimes, having panic attacks like in a movie theater.
But the things like to really get to your question, the biggest catalyst was I was with my then girlfriend, now wife, and we were watching this movie where there was a death scene and it just triggered something in me. It was my most severe panic attack I’d ever experienced, and it was almost like a seizure like I blacked out. My eyes were rolling back of my head, severe convulsions. I began to just sweat profusely. My girlfriend, she was a nurse. Now, she’s a nurse practitioner. So, she was kind of like medically very scared for me. But then once she kind of connected the dots and I really began to explain to her why, it was also a huge, huge moment in our relationship because she was like, “Chase, I love you.” We had begun to kind of talk about marriage and engagement, all this stuff, but I can’t. Like, if you’re not going to take care of yourself emotionally, like the way you have physically, then we’ve got a bigger problem.
Dean Pohlman: So, at that point, you had not done much to help?
Chase Chewning: In and out, in and out of like therapy, in and out of a few things here and there, very, very inconsistently over. I mean, at that point it had been like 12 years.
Dean Pohlman: What was the friction? Why wasn’t it working or why weren’t you buying in?
Chase Chewning: A couple of reasons. Good question. You know, like I said, a veteran. So, I would always go to the VA system for health care. And whether I was seeing a mental health therapist, physical therapist, regular doctor, whatever, it was very rare for me to see the same person probably more than three times.
Dean Pohlman: Interesting.
Chase Chewning: Just being shuffled from department to department. The doctor would leave, the therapist would leave. And so, I mean, especially with something like therapy, like mental health work, like you need that time, you need that rapport to develop that trust and just to feel like, okay, I can unload with you and you’re not going to go anywhere, which is kind of ties into a lot of other parts of mental health. I mean, if you suffer from like abandonment issues, trust issues, I had male/female therapists, especially I can say this now kind of looking back like my father dying. Like, two or three of my closest relationships in military were other guys that took their life. So, I kind of had this like, “Are you going to leave me too?” kind of thing. And so, I never fully surrendered to the work that it took to really begin to peel back the layers.
Dean Pohlman: You don’t feel safe enough to do it.
Chase Chewning: No. And it was so painful. I just felt like I don’t want to revisit this. I don’t want to work through the pain. But ultimately, I realized that I have to. I have to for me and a lot of credit to my wife at the time, that really scared me because when she was like, “I don’t know if you’re in a good enough place to commit to marriage with me,” I was like, “I love you that much. I don’t want this to be the reason why we’re not together.” So, at first, it was definitely more for her but ultimately it wound up being for me.
Dean Pohlman: So, what was that like when you actually started working on it? I mean, did you have to experience a lot? I mean, obviously. I’m assuming you experienced a lot of emotions that your body had been or you had been repressing. Or was there…?
Chase Chewning: Things I had no clue were inside of me. I mean, something’s obvious. Yeah. Okay. I want to talk about death. I want to talk about grief. I want to talk about watching my hero, my father, just literally wither away and die. I want to talk about my inability because I was serving in the military at the time to not be with my family during this time. You know, to have all this weight and responsibility fall on my family and them to be caretakers and just I’m the oldest of three, so I got a little bit of Big Brother Syndrome as well. You know, I got to be there. I got to take care of people. And it was that and more. And that’s what I think is so unique about when you begin to really commit to your mental health, your emotional health. The surface-level things are just the obvious things. This is what I went through. This is what hurt. This is how I felt. This is where I’m at in this process or my perspective of that pain, that trauma, that loss, that addiction, that whatever. But once you allow yourself to really just be present with them and peel back the layers and go, “Why does it hurt so much? Why wasn’t I there? How do I feel about this person? What do I feel about feeling about this situation?” It just began to unravel in a good way.
I mean, how it really kind of started for me was before I went back to professional help. I just sort of like journaling. I wouldn’t even call it journaling. I would just say brain dumping. I just bought this cheap notebook from a convenience store and just started just to write. I didn’t know what I would just pour things out and then I would look at it, I would think, “Oh my God, I had no idea this was living inside of me.” This is scary but this is the stuff that I want to commit to now. And also, I really do think that I think the physical training, I mean, at this point in my life, I was the leanest I’d ever been, the strongest, well, about the strongest I’d ever been. I felt like I am man. I’ve done four plates. I’ve gotten to 8% body fat. I’ve got this job promotion. I’ve got this woman. I’m successful. So, in a way, the ego kind of worked to serve me up to a point because that allowed stability like, “Chase, all the rest of this other stuff is good. So, you now have the time to shift over to commit to these other things that have been neglected.”
Dean Pohlman: And what year was that about? What year was this?
Chase Chewning: 2015.
Dean Pohlman: 2015? So, journaling. What are some of the other practices or experiences that you went through?
Chase Chewning: That was the year, that was the summer that I finally began to train other types of muscles, to train my brain. That’s when I picked up a book again for the first time in a long time. That’s when I really got into personal development. That’s when I really started reading about the self and the ego and books about trauma, books about personal development, books about productivity, books about relationships.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, you have a resource list on your website with a lot of your…
Chase Chewning: Needs to be updated, yeah, but still a lot of my classics is there.
Dean Pohlman: Have you read The Body Keeps the Score?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. My wife and I kind of went back to the audio version again, like for me, like the second time. Powerful stuff. Powerful stuff.
Dean Pohlman: So, you and your wife do that together?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. A lot of the stuff we do, do together. Yeah. And at that time, we actually read – we were going through like a break kind of thing at the time as well. And so, we actually wound up, once she kind of realized that was in me, it was kind of like an aha moment for her as to maybe why there were these other relationship areas of work that she wanted us to work on and I wanted to work on. So, we actually wound up reading together the five love languages. And that explained so much about myself and our relationship and kind of just helped. I mean, I think whether you’re in a relationship or not, that book will help you, immensely help you understand like what lights you up emotionally, how you want to connect with other people, how you need to give and receive love.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. It’s required reading.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. Absolutely. So, we read that together at the time. I’m like fully committed now. I’m probably reading four or five books a month. She’ll pick up something here and there. But, yes, some audible stuff like that we’ll dive into together.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I read just a brief story about my self-development journey but I had this weird period where I’m kind of disillusioned with self-development books because it’s like I was reading them all the time and like this is the same concept that I read about in another book but it’s explained in a different context. And I was kind of thinking like, “I’ve read all these books. Why am I not implementing them? So, what’s the disconnect?” So, I stopped because I just like, “I’m reading all these books and not actually implementing them. So, what’s the point?” So, I guess taking that question to you, have you had a similar experience or have you found that you’re better able to implement the lessons that you’re learning if you do something, in particular, if you attach it to a practice or…
Chase Chewning: Oh, absolutely. I think knowing without doing is the same thing as not knowing. So, it’s kind of like you need to know that going in or to bring back awareness, to pick up a practice maybe from this conversation or somebody else, like we’re saying at the beginning to read a book about personal development, to do anything to know ahead of time that there needs to be doing with the knowing, doing with the learning. There needs to be application with the lesson. I think that is going to really help out of the gate because you can soak it up all day long. You can read all the books, you can listen to all the podcasts, but then what are you doing with that information? Not to downplay. There is, I think, great value to be had in being in a learning phase, too. Let me just commit to learning. Let me commit to reading. Let me commit to podcasts. Let me commit to whatever. And just commit to, like we’re saying earlier, when my body really leans into this movement, I love it so I’m going to latch onto it. I think the same is true when we’re going through personal development and mental and emotional health.
There’s going to be one thing that you’re going to read, you’re going to hear somebody is going to say that it’s going to just hit hard. It will be a visceral feeling, a gut check. And you’re going to know right then and there. I’m sure you can relate like, “Oh, this makes me feel some kind of way. Why?” Why? Like pause. Think on it, dwell on it, write on it, journal about it, ask about it, share, live in that moment. Don’t just read. Don’t just listen. Don’t just be a consumer. Be a student of that moment. Because right then and there, your body is triggering in you something like, “Hey, we like that, we need that, we want that.” Go deeper there. And then in going deeper there, I think kind of the steps unfold themself of, okay, this made me feel some kind of way. How should I act on it? How can I make a practice out of acting on it?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, kind of digging into that in a different way, I don’t know what to call this, your awakening of 2015 or your reorganization.
Chase Chewning: Definitely coming to. Definitely awakening, yeah, waking up.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. But during that period, so I haven’t done too many of these yet, too many of these conversations yet but I found that the really powerful transformations are accompanied by revising beliefs, by looking at beliefs that weren’t serving you. And I say weren’t serving you and that’s kind of like a, you know, that’s a self-development phrase that like, “Well, what does that really mean?” But by that, it’s holding you back or it’s preventing you from being happy or it’s preventing you from accomplishing. It’s something that it’s making yourself your own worst enemy. So, I’m curious about when you were going through this period, were there a couple of beliefs that you realized like, “Oh, I’ve got these deeply held subconscious beliefs that are preventing me from being happier or being better or whatever.”
Chase Chewning: Yeah. The first that comes to mind and, I mean, actually, I’ve been kind of revisiting this recently. Like I said, I’m the oldest of three. I was away from my family during arguably one of the most difficult things we’ve ever gone through.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: And especially when you’re enduring a shared trauma such as a death in the family, there’s the obvious part about how this sucks for everybody. This is difficult for everybody. But what really came to light for me first in this kind of awakening was I assumed I was making an assumption and I was acting on that assumption that that level of hurt, that level of pain, that experience, how I was feeling it was also how all my family was feeling it. And what I mean by that was, like I said, the moment that I was asked to leave the military, basically, I was medically retired, I immediately packed up my car and I drove home. Why did I do that? Because, say, well, my family needs me. They haven’t had me. They need support, they need this, they need whatever. The assumption I’d been making all those years was that my traumatic experience was the same traumatic experience of anybody and everybody else involved. And so, out of good intention, I say, “Let me go home. Let me be with my mom, my stepmom, my brother, my sister, my family, my extended family. Let me make up for the lost time. Let me let them know that I’m here now and that I care. And I’m not going anywhere,” which again, sounds not like a bad thing.
Dean Pohlman: Sounds reasonable without you asking.
Chase Chewning: That’s the point. And so, I think we can even make the argument that there was like some ego imposed there of like, “Chase, maybe you’re not that important. Maybe they don’t need you as much as you think they need you.” What you’re really doing here is projecting what is really happening is that you need them. The reason that I went home was because I wanted to be there because I felt I lost all this time, that I felt disconnected. But I was acting in a way that really made it all about me not in a good way to the point of being there all the time, like interjecting. You know, my brother and I, we’re very close and I look back on it now and he welcomed me with open arms quite literally into his friends’ circle. We’re four years apart but he started college at the same time as I was because I was in the military. And so, it was just like kind of fun timing. And so, I just kind of inserted myself into his social circle. His friends became my friends. And a lot of these events and stuff I was just really kind of like inviting myself and again, making the assumption that, “Oh, you’re my brother. This is my family. Like, we’re just going to do all these things together.”
But I wasn’t honoring how he was enduring this healing process. I wasn’t honoring how he was working through this. And that was kind of one of the biggest things of you might have good intentions in how you want to act but is this really what the other person needs? And so, again, just going back to basic communication, I could have very easily asked them, “Hey, I want to be here. I want to do this. I want to do that. What do you need? What do you want?” And that showed me how I was also kind of doing that in other areas of my life, in my relationship at the time, some things that we were working through. And it was really powerful to know that just because you think you’re doing something out of goodwill doesn’t mean that it always needs to be done or is even wanted.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I’ve definitely found that, like things that I think I’m doing that I’m doing this to help you, but unless you actually have the conversation to clarify, what do you really want me to be doing here? What do you need for me? Yeah, it’s like you could spend all this time doing something, but that’s not what I want it. Why didn’t you tell me?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. Do you even want help? How does help look to you? What do you need? What do you want? What do I need? What do I want? Where can we meet in the middle instead of me trying to just impose?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, I’m going to use the example of your relationship with your brother here. But I saw you put out a video about a year ago questioning kind of what does it mean to be a man? What is masculinity? And that’s a huge part of the Better Man Podcast, the whole point is like, hey, I think we need to redefine what it means to be a man, or what does it mean to be masculine?
And a couple of points that you brought up, I like the idea of questioning why, if someone says as a man, you should _____, then that should immediately be, okay, convince me why that is, or like, let me think about if that’s actually helpful. And the thing about our ideas of manhood, most people don’t think about that, most people don’t have the time to think about anything in terms of life philosophy.
But in terms of how many men actually think about what does it mean to be a man or what does it mean to be– and so, I’m kind of curious about, did your relationship with your brother in that was part of that? How was that subconsciously influenced by your ideas of being a man and not talking about emotions, not talking about things that were the real emotions, but focusing on, oh, let’s just talk the sh*t instead or whatever you want to call that?
Chase Chewning: Yeah, interesting question. I can only kind of have this reflection now. I definitely was not aware of this during all of this process, but I had a really good male model, my father, growing up. Growing up, we didn’t have a whole, whole lot, but I never knew it. We were a family just built on and around love. My father bent over backwards to provide for his family. He was a loving, faithful husband to my mother and my stepmother. He was a great father. He was a provider. He cared for his family, cared for his community. I’ve literally seen him give the shirt off of his back to a person in need.
And so, I had that growing up until I was about 17,18 when I left the military. And then I go into the military and it’s probably the most peak definition, primal definition, obvious definition of masculinity, the warrior. And especially, this was 2003 when I joined. We’re at war.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: And so, it was just a very, very high, like go, go, go mentality. There’s no time for emotions. There’s no time for weakness because quite literally, people could die.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, this is not the appropriate setting.
Chase Chewning: No, this is not the appropriate setting for like let me check in on everybody. We have our checks and balances and we have ways to do that. But it was different. So, I had this kind of loving, community-driven guy, and then the peak version of masculinity. And I went through that for six years and then coming out of that, the transition out, I didn’t have that father figure to go back to, so I didn’t kind of have that new container or that old familiar container to kind of transition back to.
And so, then I was just kind of like, well, sh*t, what do I believe? What is my role? What am I supposed to do here? I mean, the whole thing was it came down to like belief systems. Once I kind of realized that I had both of these models in my life and I had been put into these containers by nature, by nurture, I mean, it just opened up, well, sh*t, now what do I believe? Are my emotions safe to share? Because in those six years of being in the military, because there was such high pressure at all times and I was witness to people, hey, if you go down kind of like this hall and sick bay or in the hospital or whatever to the mental health section, say goodbye to your promotion, say goodbye to this. You’re going to be looked at in a certain way. It wasn’t a good look.
Dean Pohlman: Is it still like that?
Chase Chewning: I’ve been out now for about 10, 11 years. And I hear that it’s gotten a lot better. But definitely from ’03 to ’09 when I was in, it was just like what’s wrong with you? And stuff like that, whether it was rightfully so, like there was a legitimate mental health disorder that could put you and others in danger, that prevented you from getting promoted, prevented you from getting deployed, prevented you from anything or even getting discharged. It was enough for me to see in that way of, oh, if I keep opening up, if I keep going back to this therapist, my career here could suffer.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, there’s no logical reason why anybody would do that if it’s going to hurt your career.
Chase Chewning: And especially, like I said, I was at a point shortly after my father died that I always say I was never suicidal, but I just gave up the will to live. I literally didn’t care if I lived or died. And I thought, you know what? I’m in the best job in the world to have that happen. And it’d be admirable. Let me come home in a box wrapped in a flag. Let my family get that $400,000 life insurance plan so that they’re okay, and my pain and suffering can be over.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: And so, if that’s my mentality at the time, then best believe, I’m not actively in pursuit of let me get this over, let me talk this out with somebody, let me get help because my mind ws already kind of made up the other way.
Dean Pohlman: Wow. I’m kind of reflecting on how. I mean, there’s nothing really to discuss. It’s just kind of interesting that that’s where you were and that you don’t realize, like, oh, this is fine. You do, you’re really like, this is fine, this is okay. I mean, it is my own personal experience with being a new dad and going through the ups and downs of struggling through the first year, figuring out parenthood. You’re in that kind of, I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I had periods of depression. And you’re just in it and you’re there and you’re like, this is what it is. And then you get out and you’re like, oh, gosh. That’s where I was. And that’s not where I want to be and that’s not okay and– yeah, anyways.
Chase Chewning: I think it’s such a good point, man. I mean, I’m not a father yet. I want to be, will be. But I think as humans and as men, that’s kind of the unfortunate lies that were made to be believed as truth is that what I’m going through, especially as a man, is the norm. Because I’m an athlete, because I’m a boyfriend, a husband, a father, a cop, a firefighter, a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, whatever, because I am these things that are typically masculine roles, whatever comes with that territory, I’m just supposed to endure. Now, there’s a time and a place you got to just embrace the suck every once in a while and just drive on, but that doesn’t mean that what you experienced during that time doesn’t need to be addressed.
Dean Pohlman: Right. Just because it’s not special doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be addressed.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. What you’re going through is what you’re going through. And that was honestly what I wished I would have told myself going through all that was Chase, you don’t have to accept this as the end-all, be-all truth. You don’t have to accept this pain as it but feel it. I didn’t allow myself to feel all of these things. I tried to just bottle it up. I tried to be a version of myself that I thought I was supposed to be, quite literally had to be during my active duty, and also a version of myself that I wanted others to see me as. And I mean that particularly by my family, I wanted them to see me, I wanted to make sure they saw me as Chase is good. He’s strong. He’s the oldest.
Again, my perception, like he is going to be fine. He’s now the caretaker, so like he’s got this kind of thing. And so, I didn’t want anybody in my family or anybody related to me to see me as someone who was suffering because I perceive that as me kind of taking more on of, like, their suffering and their worry. But it was just all the stuff I was telling myself that if I would have just allowed myself to feel it out a lot more or get help or even just talk to my family about it, I don’t know, you could change some stuff, but I don’t know.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, I want to talk a little bit about– so I saw that you’re interested in stoicism or if you call yourself a stoic or whatever, and you read it from Ryan Holiday books.
Chase Chewning: All of them.
Dean Pohlman: Awesome, yeah. Have you met him yet?
Chase Chewning: No.
Dean Pohlman: Ryan, we both want to meet you, so if you’re listening to this.
Chase Chewning: I’ve got an email from back about like five years, actually. I went to his bookstore, he wasn’t there, but I’m just kind of like that polite stalker in the back one day when…
Dean Pohlman: I emailed him, I was like, hey, man, I know you just went to Barton Springs. Can I just meet up with you one day? He’s like, no.
Chase Chewning: Same.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, yeah, but anyway, something that’s always, I would say confused, but something that I haven’t been able to figure out is how stoicism incorporates, like emotional reality into it and if it even does at all. And I don’t know if you’ve studied this at all, but as you’re reading through Ryan Holiday’s books or books on stoicism in general, it’s like the whole point of most of the stories is like, just keep your head down and do the work, or like, don’t acknowledge it. Here’s the logical side. I’m like, okay, that’s great.
How long am I going to keep this in for? Or like, where’s the appropriate outlet for these emotions that I’m having? And I’m wondering if you’ve thought about that at all or if you’ve done enough study of stoicism to understand, like, what are the appropriate emotional outlets for those situations?
Chase Chewning: What an interesting approach. Part of what I love about stoicism, I’m a pretty ritualistic guy and I tie meaning to a lot of things about I was doing this at this time with this person, wearing this shirt and this place. And so, I go back to kind of we were talking about my great awakening period, the summer of 2015. Ego Is the Enemy was one of the very first books that I read during that time. I just grabbed it, I didn’t know who Ryan Holiday was at the time, but I read that and then Obstacle Is the Way. And then I got The Daily Stoic, and then all of his stuff.
And so, I tie his work and I tie stoicism. Like I have a tether to a very specific time in my life when I was finally waking up and working on my mental and emotional health in a way that I will be forever grateful for. And so, there’s like that part that I remember of just really be stoic, detached emotion. Things are or are not. I’m responding or I’m reacting. Things are far worse in my imagination than in reality.
So, I think that kind of black and white helped me so much in that period of my life. But honestly, now, I mean, still, I read, open up The Daily Stoic every day. I’ve been doing it every day since 2015. It’s the first thing I post on social every day since 2015.
And so, again, it’s just become kind of ritualistic for me. God’s honest truth, I mean, I’m not fully reading everything anymore, but I look at the caption, I look at the quote, and we’re saying earlier with picking and choosing nutrition or training, I’m now applying my own reason to it. Like, I have that foundation. I have that infrastructure built on what I can fall back on if I need it, if I want to. Now, it’s my own.
And so, now, absolutely, because I’m such an emotional personnel and I have no qualms opening up about it and sharing feelings and emotions and crying with a stranger, it’s just now I can apply emotion to it. Now, it’s like, okay, this thing is cool and it works, but you know what? It doesn’t have to be the truth. If I need to feel some kind of way about it, I’m going to feel some kind of way about it because now I got my guidelines better.
So, I have no problem kind of inserting emotion here and there when necessary, but I do still fall back on it a lot of, alright Chase, like, just even keel. Let’s respond, let’s not react. Let’s try to just be cool, calm, and collective instead of kind of being human and just flying off the handle.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: But I think emotion should be warranted and I think there is room for it in stoicism but emotion that doesn’t get the better of us. To feel something, to have an emotional response to a situation is to be human, but how you act on it is going to define you. How you act on it is going to either help the situation or not help the situation. And I will say collectively, by removing emotion entirely, I think in any experience unless, of course, maybe you’re on the battlefield or something, is ultimately going to be detrimental to you.
So, I think there’s a way if we can have enough awareness and create enough of a practice to keep a container for emotion, particularly through the lens of stoicism, but then know like this is what I’m feeling, maybe this is why, and this is how I’m going to act on it or not act on it. So, to have that kind of choice, an awareness of how I’m going to act or how I’m not going to act, I think is still staying true to stoicism. But then you’re not suppressing your emotions along the way, kind of you’re allowing them all to be in the safe container and you’re developing your own practice for how you want to act and live your life.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I guess the one thing I want to add to that is, I mean, you really get into specific and then specific parts of that, but one thing that I heard that was really, really helpful recently is that if you are experiencing strong emotions, just understand that that is going to affect what you’re thinking and what you’re going to be saying for as long as you’re experiencing it. And so, you have to acknowledge that when you are thinking those things or when you’re saying those things, you’re just going to be in this heightened state where you might as well just throw out all those things you said here. Like, I don’t really mean that or like my brain, that’s the monkey brain going off. That’s not my true self saying these things. But yeah, anyways, I’ll keep…
Chase Chewning: I love that question. That’s really cool, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: So, something that I’m really intrigued by and that I think based on some of my conversations, based on my knowledge of the self-development world is this idea of developing clarity in your goals. And I listened to one of your recent podcasts, and it might have been one of your recents, when I say recent, I’m going to say it was the last three years.
Within the last three years, you had a podcast where you briefly mentioned clarity. So, yeah, that’s vague enough for you. And I wanted to know if you had any experiences or any practices or tips to helping to create clarity in your goals. And the reason why I’m asking that is because I’ve just come to understand that it’s so important in order to help you get to where your goals are. You have to have clarity on what that is, like for me, for example, a few years ago, I was like, Man Flow Yoga is going to be this brand where people come and they do yoga on the Internet. They’re following my programs. I’m going to have a small team of people. I’m going to do some books, do some yoga mats, some DVDs.
Chase Chewning: All the things.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And that’s where it is. I don’t know what else I’m doing, though, like, I don’t know what the next level of this is. And it’s because like I haven’t created the clarity for it yet. So, I’m curious, this is partly for me, but also because I know that creating clarity is important. So, I’m curious, what are some of your experiences with going through this process of creating more clarity? And what’s been helpful for you?
Chase Chewning: Yeah, great question, important question for anybody and everybody, I think. I’m going to piggyback off of Ryan Holiday again, and one of his semi-recent books within the last three years, Stillness Is the Key. That book really showed me how powerful getting clarity is or honestly, how easy getting clear on things could be if we just stop trying to make them happen and just let them happen. And have you read Stillness?
Dean Pohlman: I have, but I breeze through it.
Chase Chewning: Okay. So, I mean, the main concept is really, like Ryan does in a lot of his books, he kind of takes key concepts and explains them but also gives a lot of historical examples.
Dean Pohlman: Right. Makes it fun to read.
Chase Chewning: Exactly. So, you can look back at this president, this leader, this game changer, this yogi, this whoever. There’s this common thread of when they needed to get crystal clear on a decision for their life, for a nation, more often than not, they would get away from it all. Go on a retreat, take a walk, meditation, just the power of getting still so that we can, here is our theme again, just let the body tell us what it needs. Let the mind tell us what it needs. Let the heart tell us what it needs. That’s really, I think, the most simplistic practice I have for getting clarity is inserting stillness.
Dean Pohlman: What does that look like for you?
Chase Chewning: So, for me, it’s really walking.
Dean Pohlman: Where do you live?
Chase Chewning: Los Angeles.
Dean Pohlman: Los Angeles. Where do you live? Like, do you have lots of nature, trees around you or you’re in the city?
Chase Chewning: I got to go looking a little bit. So, I live in West Hollywood.
Dean Pohlman: Okay.
Chase Chewning: So, it’s more residential-ish. I used to live downtown. But I’m in West Hollywood now, I’ve been here for like two years. And so, I got my paths, I can easily cut over and get into the hills, Beverly Hills, which actually have great, beautiful walking paths and trees and nature and quiet. So, for me, it’s walking. I say it’s my former meditation. I’ll walk for a while, 40 minutes, usually minimum. I’m probably going for maybe sometimes two or three hours.
Dean Pohlman: Wow.
Chase Chewning: And kind of depending on how I’m feeling, what I need. If I’m feeling some kind of way about like I can’t get through this obstacle in my business or I’m really stressed out or whatever it is, instead of trying to just attack it and just do it or make something happen, I step away from it. I go take a walk and sometimes, I’m listening to a book. More often than not, I’m just with myself. And either on that walk or shortly afterwards, something happens, I have a realization, I get my answer, or I get the next step towards my answer.
I can’t remember the study or I’m going to butcher the specifics here, but I did read a paper. There was a study done on why do so many people take a walk and what are the therapeutic and even kind of clairvoyant benefits of walking? And someone’s going to chime in and tell me the specifics here, but there is an actual scientific explanation as to why during walking for specific periods of time or minimum periods of time of like 20 to 40 minutes kind of minimum, why we kind of get this clarity?
And when you’re walking, the gravitational force of your body, your body weight against the Earth causes– and you’re in motion, you’re walking, so that gravitational force, when your heel is striking the ground causes an energetic reverb that shoots back up your body. Where does it go? It goes straight to your brain. So, there’s this energy exchange that is happening, this reverb that is happening that is so unique to your body weight against gravity in motion that causes a brain state change that we don’t really get in other places.
And so, there’s something to it. There’s that, there’s some science happening, a little bit of biochemistry. There’s what I think the Japanese called, or Chinese, the practice of sound, forest bathing.
Dean Pohlman: Forest bathing.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. So, you’re just getting and you’re connecting to other forms of nature in different ways. You’re getting fresh air. You’re getting sunshine, all these things that fuel the body and the mind that allow your brain to actually just be in a position to where you can finally think. Usually, you don’t have any other metabolic processes going on, so you’re physiologically in a better state to get a good idea.
And so, I mean that once I kind of understood the science behind it plus the anecdotal experience of every time I take a walk, nine times out of ten, I take a walk, good things happen, good experience happens. That’s what it is for me. And so, then I can come back and act or get to work on acting.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I’ve had a similar experience. So, that makes sense. So, my last question here before we move on to my part 2 rapid, not-so-rapid-fire questions, is I listen to a podcast of yours recently, within the last three years.
Chase Chewning: There we go.
Dean Pohlman: And you mentioned that you were 100% fulfilled with what you were doing. And I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing. I like what I do. I like the content that I get to create. I like that I get to set my own schedule, that I get to create whatever content I think is going to be helpful to somebody that I get to make all the specifics of it, but I know I’m 100% fulfilled with what I do. So, I’m just curious, like, was there a tipping point? What got you to the point where you were feeling “100% fulfilled” with what you’re dealing with Ever Forward?
Chase Chewning: Ever Forward is an extension of me. My podcast is an extension of me, my social media, my email, all my work, all the things that I do, all the platforms, all the things, they are an extension of me. And about two years ago, when I realized that and I realized that these are just things that I have created out of being in pursuit of a better me. I realized I’ve worked hard for these things, but I’m also very grateful to be in a position, to be in a time in life where I can just choose to be in pursuit of me and make a living out of it.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: I can choose to be curious. I can choose to take a walk for three hours on a Monday. I can choose to do all these things that make me feel better, perform better, just be 100% satisfied with myself. And are there certain things that I’m working on? Sure, always. But I say I have 100% satisfaction with my life right now because I have fully committed and am in love with and I mean surrender with the flow of life and just knowing that it’s only going to keep getting better. I’m going to keep getting challenged, I’m going to keep getting tested. I’m going to challenge myself. I’m going to test myself. The good, the bad, the ugly, all these things are going to happen.
And I say that because I’ve endured so much, I’ve gone through so much. And I’m not special. So many people have endured and gone through way worse. But when we can turn and run towards those things instead of away from them and learn the lessons and then carry them with us, like I have finally learned how to do, it’s just like nothing matters. I know I’m going to get through everything. And the one thing that I’m not going to get through is going to be my end. And that’s fine. Death is going to come for us all, memento mori.
And so, I’m 100% in satisfaction with my life because I accept all parts of my life. I accept all parts of me. I’m no longer suppressing anything. I am prioritizing just as much, if not more, my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I’m so grateful to have a body, to have a body that is like the bionic man, but I am moving again.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. You know what it’s like to not be moved to.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, exactly. And I’ve had the love of my life removed. We figured it out, we got married. I’ve had my hero taken from me and I’ve revisited him in some pretty amazing ways through the powers of plant medicine, ketamine therapy, psychotherapy. I’ve had my body, my capabilities to move taken away from me, my family, my home, all these things. But you know what? There is a way to go through it. There is a way to push forward, ever forward, as my father would say and as I now say.
And so, I have 100% satisfaction with my ability to endure every day because I’ve been tested and I’ve had these other areas removed. And then I get to create out of it. So, I no longer say, I’m a podcaster, I’m an influencer, and this, whatever. I’m me, I am Chase and I’m making Chase better every day. And in the pursuit of that, things happen, I can create a life out of it.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to add anything on to that because that was beautiful. But I want to point out two concepts that I noticed. Number one was that you’ve gotten to the point where you feel 100% fulfilled because you’ve had experiences, you’ve had challenges, and you’ve had enough of those experiences where you’ve experienced something difficult that you know you’re going to come out better. So, you have faith in what you’re doing because you’ve continually seen over and over again. I’ve gone through some hard stuff, but I can come out better for it. So, you have that. You have those experiences so that you’re not in fear of the result. You’re like, I’m going through something right now, but I’ve had all these other past experiences that tell me I’m going to come up better for it. So, like, you’re almost, I don’t know. That’s just…
Chase Chewning: Oh, I’m excited about it, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: That’s just kind of what I’m hearing.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, absolutely right. It’s an easy way now to just know that, is this going to kill me? Probably not. I was thinking that this morning at yoga. I was dying, sweating my as* off, but you know what? When we’re in the suck, when we’re physically in pain, when we are in torment, heartbreak, it sucks. It really does. We’ve all been there in different ways.
But now, just to ask myself or if you can ask yourself, is this going to kill me? Most likely, the answer is no. And so, if this isn’t going to be my end, then why not get back to living? Why not just sit with it? Why not learn from it? Why not embrace it? Why not just sit with the feelings, the pain, the anguish, the joy, the pleasure, the heartbreak, whatever? Why not? Because what’s the point, otherwise? It’s just going to come back later.
Dean Pohlman: Right.
Chase Chewning: Which I’ve also experienced.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, again, the logic’s there. Just got to convince yourself.
Chase Chewning: That’s the hard part about being human, though, logic doesn’t always come to be our first choice.
Dean Pohlman: No, we are emotional beings and we reinforce or defend our emotional decisions with logic, and not the other way around. All right, I want to move on to part 2. And before I do that, I forgot to say this in the beginning, but you look like a cross between Roy Kent and Zac Efron.
Chase Chewning: Oh, Zac Efron. I forgot him now.
Dean Pohlman: Zac Efron and Roy Kent.
Chase Chewning: Interesting, okay. Yeah, that’s not bad looking.
Dean Pohlman: I saw you on Instagram. I was like, he looks like Roy Kent and Zac Efron, so.
Chase Chewning: I’ll take that, man. Thanks.
Dean Pohlman: Random thought from Dean. Sorry, guys. All right. So, my first question here is, what do you think is one belief, one practice, one mindset that has helped you significantly in terms of your overall happiness?
Chase Chewning: Having at least one person that I can bare it all to. And for me, that’s my wife.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: To have a partner, to have a friend, to have anybody that you can run to when sh*t hits the fan, when you just crushed it at work, when an amazing opportunity comes your way, when you injure yourself, when you’re feeling some kind of way and you have no idea why. Just to have another person to just sit there with you, to hear you out, to ask you, do you want my opinion? Do you want me to sit with you? What do you need? What do you want? Or just to be there, has been everything for me, everything.
Dean Pohlman: Did you have that before your wife? Your mom and your dad, did they do that for you? Or was this the wife that was the first time?
Chase Chewning: It was definitely my father. Long story short, my parents split when I was very young, about four or five. My stepmom came on the scene. And I also call her my mom. She is an amazing woman and has raised me and my brother and sister in a big way. She’s incredible. But my father was definitely that person that no matter what, as a teenager, as a young soldier, whether it was about life, whether it was about serious sh*t, whether it was about girls, whether it was about drinking, whatever, there was an immense level of fear and respect, not in like, is he going to hurt me kind of way, but just like because I idolize him so much, I respected him so much, and I feared the disappointment that came with if I were to act out or do anything. But also, I knew that that didn’t matter because if I ever did need to come to him about something serious or if I did screw up or whatever, it wouldn’t matter because he was going to be there for me and he was going to sit with me and he was going to work it out with me.
There might have been some punishments involved depending on what was going on, but it wasn’t like a punishment, like how dare you kind of thing, it was, are you okay? What do you need? How can we solve this problem together? And so, yeah, it’s my father, and then my wife.
Dean Pohlman: Awesome.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, it’s a funny story. Like, the first moment I met her, I just was like, sh*t, this is it. We call it day zero. We met, and then we’ve just been inseparable ever since.
Dean Pohlman: Wow. That’s great. All right, next question. What is one thing that you do for your health that is overlooked or undervalued by others?
Chase Chewning: I take a lot of downtime. I say this now because I’ve been active my whole life, growing up in the mountains, playing sports in the military. I’ve been in the gym training. I was strength training, active guy for really like 15, 16 years, but active my entire life. And so, I kind of have, again, a strong foundation. My body is pretty good, or I’m good of where my body is.
And I used to think that I need to train eight days a week. I need to take no days off. I need to push harder, go more weights, more everything. Honestly, now, I’m training two or three days a week, kind of a new rule for me now. I’m trying to do yoga at least once a week, if not twice. And I will take a lot of downtime, like I will take– again, I’m very grateful that I can do this in my life now, but most Fridays, for me, it’s just complete recovery.
Dean Pohlman: Nice.
Chase Chewning: Sauna, cryo, or ice bath.
Dean Pohlman: Everyone who’s been on the podcast has been like sauna. Oh, everyone’s about the sauna now.
Chase Chewning: Game changer. I call it my Superman booth. I walk in. Clark Kent had walked out Superman? Incredible. I mean, there are so many proven benefits, physiological benefits to it. But other than that, it’s just, I finally got 45 minutes to an hour where I’m doing me, I’m sitting, I’m thinking, being still, call it meditation. I track it on my Whoop as a meditation, but it’s just complete recovery because the other two or three days of the week that I am training and beat myself up pretty good.
I’m doing the work necessary, but then just a total day recovery, then maybe a float tank, maybe deep tissue massage, using my hyperoize gun, kind of just completely recovering. It’s so good for the body but just so good for the mind, too, because I am an entrepreneur, I am self-employed. I’ve got two businesses technically. And so, the brain band, what it takes to run all of that during the week is very, very draining.
So, again, grateful that I’m in a position, and I would recommend for everybody like honestly, you would be really surprised how far you can go by kind of doing less sometimes, especially when it comes to your body. You’d be really surprised by implementing a recovery day, just like in most program, you call it a deload week. Your body, you’re going to grow and get stronger and you’re going to see the changes when you actually give it time to grow and get stronger but don’t sleep on recovery.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, great tips.
Chase Chewning: And also sleep more.
Dean Pohlman: Yes, sleep. Enjoy that while you can. Future father.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. That’s like my one thing. I’m like, oh, we have kids, like, but how am I going to sleep?
Dean Pohlman: Just everything goes out the window, like your morning routine goes away, your free time goes away. Your Friday recovery day is going to be replaced by something else.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, probably too soon to bring the baby.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s another option.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. I got to come to you for that soon.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I’m just going to recommend the Snoo. The Snoo is this futuristic crib that rocks your baby for you because they don’t like sleeping with that, like being jostled for the first six months. So, you put them in there and then you press a button and then it starts going brrr, brrr, brrr, and then like gently moves them back and forth,
Chase Chewning: Interesting.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I have like everyone I’ve spoken to…
Chase Chewning: I guess it makes sense. It’s like them being back in the womb kind of thing, right? They’re just like doing the thing.
Dean Pohlman: Everyone who has $1,500 and is ready to have a baby, yeah, Snoo.
Chase Chewning: Maybe, it’s why I like the floating so much now where it’s an adult version.
Dean Pohlman: It’s an adult’s Snoo, exactly. All right, so what is something that you do for your stress relief, something that you do, a regular stress relief activity?
Chase Chewning: I would piggyback and say, kind of like that recovery. It’s something that anecdotally, I feel, I feel distressed, I feel less anxiety, I feel recovered. I track a lot of things, Apple Watch Whoop. I see an improvement in my recovery and improvement in my HRV, all these things. So, I know that is actually happening to work on my stress.
I supplement with a lot of de-stressing things. I’m a daily user and believer of CBD. I also daily use reishi, functional mushroom reishi. Clinically proven, it lowers cortisol and makes you feel more relaxed, so lowering stress, lowering anxiety, the walks, all those things, and then, just really nurturing relationships. Nurturing relationships, that’s another practice of mine that I have. If I’m not in the sauna every Friday, I’m with someone in real life getting coffee, getting lunch, going to the gym, doing whatever.
And so, I found great power and definitely less stress by getting back into people in my life that matter, that help me, that I can help and kind of just gets me out of my own head because usually, when I’m with somebody, we’re kind of talking more about the other person or talking about us of different things, where instead of it’s just me, I’m only focusing, working on me stuff, which is not a bad thing, but it allows me to kind of detach a little bit.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I think I recently heard that. The biggest indicator of your overall health is the quality of your relationships.
Chase Chewning: Oh, yeah. I mean, look at all the blue zones. I mean, besides a couple of commonalities, they all have these groups all over the world that live to be at least 100 years or older. The number one common denominator is they live in, in prioritized community. Significant relationships, three to five other people that they are with majority of the time. Quality of life significantly goes out with good community.
Dean Pohlman: Wow. Been working out for all the wrong reasons.
Chase Chewning: I joke, but I’m kind of getting to believe it more now. I’m like, there’s no future in fitness. If we do all these things to lift ourselves up to become more strong, to do us right, but then, I mean, like, I’m 36 now, man. If I can just keep a good body weight, keep a good strength, I know I’m doing things for my longevity. Like it’s more important to me when I’m traveling here.
Now, this week, I’m here for like three or four days so I’m weight training two days less this week than I normally would. But I’m like, I’m okay with it now. Again, 100% satisfaction thing. Like I’m okay because I’m fulfilling it in other ways and coming here and seeing other people and that fills me up. And then I can go back to the gym more rejuvenated, less stress, less anxiety, less cortisol. My body’s in a better position, more primed, and ready to do the work because I’ve honored it in a different way.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So, I got on TikTok recently. I got a…
Chase Chewning: Black hole.
Dean Pohlman: Oh, my gosh. But it’s a younger audience, younger people. So, like, they haven’t gotten to the point where they’re all burnt out yet. They haven’t gotten to the point where they…
Chase Chewning: Just wait, young whippersnappers.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, they’re all like just keep pushing yourself. Work out eight days a week, skip rest day, and they’re just like, they’re so– I’m like, you’re going to burn out, it’s like when I see people talking about going out until 2 a.m. or going to music festivals, I’m like, that just seems really tiring.
Chase Chewning: I’m the festival guy. I’m a big music fan and I work hard and I play hard. I probably play harder.
Dean Pohlman: I would like the music festivals if there were fewer crowds. I could do it, like if I had a VIP experience, which now looking back when I was going to music festivals and I was like 22 versus, oh, I’ll spend $300 extra for the VIP, that sounds great. But yeah, anyways, the TikTok audience, fitness people, they’re pushing it so hard. And I’m like, it’s okay if you miss a workout, you’ll actually be all right. Yeah, and I’m really glad that I’m now at that point where I can skip workouts and be like, no.
Chase Chewning: Likewise, man, yeah. And then now, you can just get to allocate those resources somewhere else. All right. Not to get off the tangible, I remember those days so much of, oh, I missed my numbers. Oh, I missed a day on the program or I missed this, whatever. And we think that’s it. It’s because we didn’t have these other things that we could have been working on, our mental health, our emotional health, our relationships. We’re so fixated on one quadrant of our wellness, one area of our life. Like, no, bro, there’s so much more.
And so, I think that’s an easy kind of thing for me to snap out of now. I guess a little bit of a hack is when I catch myself still doing that sometimes of, ah, I wish that would work out one more day or am I being lazy or what am I doing? I say, am I actually not doing something to do something with my life? Or am I doing something different? And if that doing something different still provides me joy and fulfillment, then I just let it go. Like it’s fine.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. There’s one other resource here that– with first podcast I did with Brian MacKenzie, whatever he calls himself, human performance optimizer, something like that, and he joked about this. He joked about his title too. But yeah, he and I had a conversation once that was basically focused on actually listening to your body instead of continuing just like to do workout after workout after workout to actually stop in and check and say, does my body actually need to work out today? And it probably doesn’t if you’re working out that much and you’re that stressed.
Chase Chewning: That’s why I don’t run programs anymore. I haven’t done a program in years, a long time. I just walk into the gym or I wake up or if I carved out time, I’m training or I’m working out today, how do I feel? I’m super tight. I just travel. I do yoga. I’m super stressed out. I got a lot on my plate the rest of the day, the rest of this week. I’m not going on much downtime. I’m going to take a walk. Or if I get to the gym, I walk in, I literally just go, all right, where am I feeling? What do I need? What do I want? Cool. I’m just going to do some push.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: You know what? I haven’t trained legs in two weeks. Let me just murder my legs. And then the next day, it’s like, okay, well, what did I do yesterday? I’m not going to do that. Let me do this today instead. So, there’s so much freedom that comes with surrendering to just paying attention to your body.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And for those of you listening who are not quite at this point yet, where you’ve really gotten that having a fitness and that consistency, this isn’t for you. You guys need to…
Chase Chewning: Yeah. I’m 16 years into the game.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, it’s part of it, but you are at a point where you do need to actually develop that consistency and that doesn’t mean you have to do the workout exactly as scheduled. But like building up that consistency, building up that habit is really important. I just wanted to be aware of our audience here. All right. What’s the most stressful part of your day-to-day life? While you think about that. I’ll just point out that I say, all right, before I say a question every time, note to self, stop saying that.
Chase Chewning: The most stressful time or part of my day, actually, this is good, this makes me think. I’ve come to realize this about myself, where I get this little window, this little pocket of stress of, did I do enough or have I wrapped up enough is about the time between my wife is getting off work. She’s a nurse practitioner. She works in a medical clinic. And most of the time, she texts me, says, hey, I’m on my way home. From that moment when she texts me, hey, I’m on my way home, I’m like, sh*t. Depending on traffic, I know I’ve got 40 minutes to an hour, 15…
Dean Pohlman: Oh, my gosh, she drives an hour for work.
Chase Chewning: That’s seven miles, but L.A., it’s just…
Dean Pohlman: It sounds terrible.
Chase Chewning: It could be at least 40 minutes if not more. So, I know in that window of time, something I’m trying to get better at is when she comes home, I’ve been really trying to stop my work as much as possible too because I want that time with her. And so, I get very stressed out in that period of time because I begin to really just reflect and question, did I get enough done today? Did I get done the things I said I was going to do? I looked at my to-do list, I look at my priority list, I look at tomorrow, like what do I need to get prepped for?
I begin to think like was there something around the house that I said that I was going to do or she asked me to do that I didn’t do or I want to check on it? Does the dog need to go out? It’s like this 45-minute or hour-and-a-half window, I’m just like all the things, all the things. And so, yeah, that’s the most stressful part of my day.
Again, your personal problem, I guess, really, but it’s my life and it’s where I’m at, but what I’m learning from it is that that is a gift, that is an ability that a lot of people don’t have. But also, it’s a good reminder for me to just get better at my systems, get better at my workflow, so that next time when that happens, I can like, okay, cool, and take the dog out. By the time I get back, you’ll probably be home, and I can just close the laptop, put my stuff away, and detach.
Dean Pohlman: Well, yeah, as far as personal problems go, for a long time, my biggest, most stressful part of my day was what am I making for dinner? Not that do I have enough money to go buy dinner, or like, do we have the ability to have dinner? It was, what am I going to make for dinner? So, I feel like that’s a pretty good problem.
Chase Chewning: Am I going to whip something together? Or am I going to look at this curated Green Chef meal that is literally done for me? I just have to put it together.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: Like the 21st-century stressors, man.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, the added difficulty of the dinner now is what is my toddler going to eat?
Chase Chewning: Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: So, yeah.
Chase Chewning: Life is so funny, man. It’s a joke when you say this, another good point, we talk about our stressors out loud. It’s just like that’s not a problem.
Dean Pohlman: Right.
Chase Chewning: Exactly. So, just like chill.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I agree. Again, just convince my emotional side of that. All right. This is the last question, big question here. Take as much time as you need to figure out what your response is. I’m really building this up. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men and their well-being today? And every time I’ve asked this, I’ve had great answers. Most people have oddly unique answers. I don’t think people have answered the same thing twice, so.
Chase Chewning: I’m feeling some kind of way. I think I wonder if you’ve had a lot of similar answers about we need to be this masculine version. A lot of the problems facing men today is that we need to be these typical men of just the machismo and the mask of masculinity, all this. And then I don’t know because I live in L.A., but there’s this whole other, like the wokeness going on and tap more into your feminine energy, and basically, complete other end of the spectrum. And I personally do see merit in both.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: Because it’s worked for me. I’ve been the warrior, what’s the word I’m looking for? Archetype. I’ve been the go, go, go, go, go, go. And I’m in a very, like chill, tap into my chill side, be okay with my emotions, cry all this stuff. But I just don’t want, whether it’s just with masculinity alone or any type of human being, I just feel like, who are any of us to say what we are supposed to do? How are we supposed to feel? What that representation of our self needs to look, feel, smell, taste like, whatever?
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, we’re all different.
Chase Chewning: Yeah, I mean, there are certain things to being a male, female, just hormonally. You’re going to have more tendency to go one way or the other, typically, or emotions, feelings, strength might represent themselves in a different way. But I mean, ultimately, just remember, we are human beings and we are a very, very unique and dynamic creature. What’s the phrase? Fearfully and wonderfully created.
And I just think if we can just fall back on, like, maybe I don’t need to worry about my masculinity, I need to worry about my humanity. I need to worry about me as a human being and whatever that feels like for me and how I want that to be represented and how I want others to think about me when they look at me as a man, look at me as a human, kind of just shedding that even other layer of how masculine do I need to look today? What does masculinity look like, feel like to me of just me? Personally, that’s where I am in.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: Because that has been serving me for the last couple of years. And then I think in doing so, to kind of bring it all back to like what we were talking about a lot, in the beginning, is that I now am able to pick and choose, pull certain things from the divine feminine, the divine masculine, from the machismo, from the woke, and all these things. And like when I’m aware of these things and I’m aware of me and I practice and I apply them and I pay attention to where and how I feel about them, I get better at being me all the time. And then, if I need to step into being the man, I can, if I can let that guard down and just be still and be emotional, be whatever. Then, like, it’s okay, because I’m just tapped into me.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s great. Guys, if you like this episode, make sure you check out Chase’s podcast, Ever Forward.
Chase Chewning: Thank you.
Dean Pohlman: Do you have a second one?
Chase Chewning: Ever Forward Radio. Technically, yes. So, I have a podcast production company as well called Operation Podcast. And we’re bringing back our show associated that’s called Operation Podcast, which I also host. It’s just all about podcasts, how to start it, how do you get good at it, learning lessons, things like that. I did co-host another podcast actually with Nick Bare a couple of years ago. We co-hosted one called Embrace the Suck. We did one season, two seasons of that.
Dean Pohlman: Okay.
Chase Chewning: Yeah. And actually, working on a new show all about relationship, health, relationships in general with my wife.
Dean Pohlman: Awesome.
Chase Chewning: Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: That sounds really cool.
Chase Chewning: You heard it here first.
Dean Pohlman: Nice. Where else can people find you?
Chase Chewning: Yeah. So, anywhere and everywhere podcasts are heard, Ever Forward Radio, and then pretty much Instagram @chase_chewning.
Dean Pohlman: Okay. Sweet.
Chase Chewning: Yeah.
Dean Pohlman: All right.
Chase Chewning: Maybe you can find me walking the trails in Beverly Hills or WeHo one day, too.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah.
Chase Chewning: Come say hey.
Dean Pohlman: Nice. Man, thanks for joining me.
Chase Chewning: I’ll do. My pleasure. I love this, yeah.
Dean Pohlman: That was awesome. I’m interested to see what this video version looks like.
Chase Chewning: Me, too. My first time in the studio. But Operation Podcast works with the show with Ibble here called Up and Adam! that shoots out of this studio. So, I’ve seen the content. It’s good. But now, we get to see you also, I guess.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah, exactly. By the way, this Better Man Podcast is on YouTube too. So, if you’re listening in, we are on YouTube so you can check it out. It’s called the Better Man Podcast Man, Man Flow Yoga. All right. I’m terrible at outros. Thanks for joining me. It’s awesome talking with you.
Chase Chewning: My pleasure, man. Thank you.
Dean Pohlman: And I hope to talk to you again soon. Guys, thanks for listening in here in another episode. See you soon.
Chase Chewning: See you out there.
Dean Pohlman: Also, special thank you to Ibble for hosting us in here. You should check out the podcast there. You can actually have conversations with us and ask questions over there, which is pretty cool. It’s a startup app based in Austin here in Austin, Texas.
Chase Chewning: So cool. I love podcasting and love this kind of content creation, but what they’re doing here is so unique. Kind of one of my pain points about podcasting is it’s really kind of hard to interact a lot. It’s not technically yet a social platform, but…
Dean Pohlman: You have to ask people to email you.
Chase Chewning: Exactly. But Ibble is kind of changing that so you can watch it there, you can interact with us there, start questions. And we love to hang out with you there as well.
Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Link’s in the description.[END]
- Chase Chewning
- Chase Chewning on Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
- Ever Forward Radio
- Operation Podcast
- Caldera + Lab
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
- Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman
- Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday
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