Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, former professional athlete, and the founder / CEO of Healthpreneur®. As one of the world’s top business strategists, Yuri Elkaim has helped more than half a million people to take ownership of their health.

And his pathway to health and business seemed inevitable. After dealing with a host of health issues as a teenager, Yuri eventually lost all of his hair at 17 years old to an autoimmune condition. This, along with his passion for sports (which led him down the path of playing professional soccer in his early 20s), propelled him into the health and fitness field.

Yuri’s authentic and caring approach allowed him to build a successful online health empire, while providing him the platform to write three bestselling books and share his message on major media outlets such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. In 2018, after 13 years at the helm, Yuri sold this health business to focus on Healthpreneur® full time.

With Healthpreneur®, Yuri and his world-class team help health professionals and coaches leverage the internet to turn their expertise into high 6- and 7-figure virtual practices that create transformative results for more people without the grind.

Healthpreneur®’s mission is to help health entrepreneurs make their dreams happen in the service of others and eventually leave a legacy where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves so that they can wake up each day with purpose, contribute through meaningful work that feels like play, and live freely and abundantly.

In this episode, we’ll go through:

Yuri is a super accomplished guy and there's a ton of value in this one.

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Yuri Elkaim!

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Healthpreneur website.

📙 The Strong60 by Yuri Elkaim.

📝 Healthpreneur on Facebook.

📷 Healthpreneur on Instagram.

🎥 Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

🎢 The Dip by Seth Godin.

📖 The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, former professional athlete, and the founder / CEO of Healthpreneur®. As one of the world’s top business strategists, Yuri Elkaim has helped more than half a million people to take ownership of their health.

And his pathway to health and business seemed inevitable. After dealing with a host of health issues as a teenager, Yuri eventually lost all of his hair at 17 years old to an autoimmune condition. This, along with his passion for sports (which led him down the path of playing professional soccer in his early 20s), propelled him into the health and fitness field.

Yuri’s authentic and caring approach allowed him to build a successful online health empire, while providing him the platform to write three bestselling books and share his message on major media outlets such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. In 2018, after 13 years at the helm, Yuri sold this health business to focus on Healthpreneur® full time.

With Healthpreneur, Yuri and his team help health professionals and coaches leverage the internet to turn their expertise into high 6- and 7-figure virtual practices that create transformative results for more people without the grind.

Healthpreneur’s mission is to help health entrepreneurs make their dreams happen in the service of others and eventually leave a legacy where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves so that they can wake up each day with purpose, contribute through meaningful work that feels like play, and live freely and abundantly.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this episode, we’ll go through:

Yuri is a super accomplished guy and I know you’ll get a ton of value out of this one.

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Yuri Elkaim!

James Whittaker:
Yuri, great to see you my friend. Thanks so much for coming on the Win the Day Show.

Yuri Elkaim:
Absolutely James. Thanks for having me buddy. It's good to be here.

You've had some big wins in the holistic health space, and it's also what changed your life. But there's so much misinformation about health, particularly these days with the internet and the rise of influencers who mightn't have the necessary qualifications for the advice they're providing.

To kick things off, are there any myths that need to be busted about exactly what holistic health is?

How much time do you have!? We could be here for a long time. When I got into nutrition, the deeper I went into it, the more I realized I had no clue what was going on. And the thing is there's so many different approaches, and I think every one of them can work for different people. I found an approach that worked for me which was mostly plant-based, and I just felt the best. But I also know that there's a huge population of the earth that is very keto based, animal product based, and that's totally fine.

In my journey of having done that for so long, I came to realize that you need to do what's best for you. And part of that is experimenting with different things to find out what's going to resonate most with you. But I think even beyond our food choices is the energetic intention, or the energy that we feel in that pursuit.

Do what's best for you.

If you're sitting down and having a supposedly healthy meal, and you feel shame or guilt around that food because it's not organic or perfect enough, there's an energy around that's not going to be great for your body. Contrast that with someone who's going to have a beautiful grass fed burger with zero shame and guilt, and enjoying that. In short, it's not just what you eat, but it's how you approach what you eat. That was a big thing that I learned over the years, and that's how I approach a lot of my stuff now. I'm less fanatical about my diet now than I was back in the day, because I've recognized how important that energy and that intention is.

Just before your 17th birthday you noticed significant hair loss, and were subsequently diagnosed with the autoimmune condition alopecia. Can you take us into those circumstances and how it changed your mindset at the time?

Yeah, I think it was the Universe's way of giving me a bit of a kick in the ass to be honest with you! At the time, I was like the jock in a stereotypical high school movie. But I was nice to most people except my brother. I was a bit of a Grinch to my younger brother and I think the universe said, "Dude, we've had enough of this. Here's your payback."

My brother would tease me and he teases me now, "Hey, remember back in the day when you used to spend 30 minutes in the bathroom doing your hair?" And I was like, "Yeah. Good days." Just for context, my dad's Moroccan so there's a lot of hair, bushy eyebrows, hair all over. And in the space of a couple of weeks all of it was gone. And it was weird because I was in my last year of high school, and just seeing how people looked at me was kind of odd. They were like, "What's wrong with this guy? He looks like an alien or is he going through chemo, or whatever?" That really again was awkward, but I think I handled it pretty well. And I think I've always been very mature, even from a young age.

That experience really allowed me to recognize it's only hair man, come on, there's far worse that could be happening. I had friends and family members who were like, "Oh my God, is everything okay? It must be so hard for you." I was like, "Well, I mean, whatever, it's not the end of the world. There could be worse things." I think my perspective was really helpful. But it was also in retrospect a blessing, because that was the impetus that really got me into the health space. Because the solution the medical community had was, "We'll just inject your head with cortisone." I'm like, "Are you for real?" I didn't really get any solid answers medically. And that really prompted me into studying kinesiology, because I had a really big passion for soccer and fitness, and then nutrition to learn more about what was happening in my body.

And those two things really made a huge difference for me. I was able to regrow my hair back when I was 24, because of a lot of the changes I was making from a dietary perspective. I obviously don't have any hair now, that's because a number of years ago, long story short, took my son to the doctor, my doctor's like, "Hey, while you're here, why don't you just get a tetanus shot or a booster?" I was like, "Sure." I didn't even question her and within two weeks my hair fell out again. I simply mention that so everyone knows what's going on, but who cares!? I don't really think about it anymore. And I think it's a blessing to be honest, because it's allowed me to put things into perspective and approach difficult situations with a lot more grace and perspective. That's kind of how it all started.

That attitude to adversity is critical and, in my experience, it's the most important difference between ordinary people and extraordinary achievers. And what I love about your journey is you really had to take the reins yourself. You had to dive deep into the holistic nutrition and health space to start uncovering some answers.

How was that condition not really on the radar of all the previous medical professionals you had seen? Why was it on you as an individual at the end of the day to try and figure out what the hell was going on?

I'm sure there were some tremendous health professionals out there who probably did have a solution, I just didn't know who they were at the time. My mom exposed me to a variety of practitioners, medical doctors, immunologists, traditional Chinese medicine... I actually remember going to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and I remember having this weird concoction of tree bark, and I made this huge vat. It was a tea and I still remember the smell of it, it wasn't pleasant. And I remember drinking that for months and I don't know if that helped. I don't know. We tried all sorts of different stuff, but I think being relatively young, 16-ish, it's not like I was living on my own, I had my own resources to go to find my own stuff.

I just started really introspectively doing some thinking and research. This is back in the day when Encyclopedia Britannica was still the main thing. Google didn't exist, I don't think. Now it would have been a little bit of a different scenario, but it really inspired me to want to learn more about why was this happening. Because I didn't have any answers. If I went to the doctor and they're like, "Well, there's not much we can do but we can do this." I had really bad eczema growing up as well. And I always remember the solution to eczema was just putting more cortisone cream on, and it was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me and I really wanted to figure out what was going on.

It was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me.

And that's kind what eventually prompted me to get into these studies, and doing a lot more reading, research, and experimentation. Then I realized for a lot of medical doctors, they know what they know, and they're very good at diagnosing and prescribing, in a lot of cases, medication. There's others that are a little more holistic and functional based, and they might have an alternative point of view. I traditionally resonated more with that because growing up my body was pretty much a toxic wasteland from just very bad food choices because I didn't know better based on what I was exposed to — antibiotics, vaccines, it was ridiculous. As I started learning a lot of this stuff I was like, "Huh!? Maybe this is starting to make sense."

Then I said, "Well, what if I were to do this, and maybe eat a little bit better, and remove some of these problematic foods." That was the journey. It was just kind of learning, and experimenting, and seeing how my body responded. And I quickly recognized that how I felt was a really important indicator of the overall health of my body. Because I was really tired for a long time, half my life I spent sleeping pretty much.

And that's why I went on to write the book The All-Day Energy Diet, because as I made these changes the most profound difference I noticed instantaneously was my energy level was through the roof. And it just so happened that as that energy went up, my hair started coming back, my health improved and I was like, "Huh!? That's good to know. Energy first, those other outcomes second." That was one of the really big discoveries in my dream for sure.

There are people who have come on the podcast who are very well-regarded professionals. And a big trend that I've noticed them saying is that you are your best scientist. We had Dr. Michael Breus, one of the world's top sleep doctors, on the show. On the benefit of sleep trackers, Dr. Breus said, "I would argue that how you feel when you wake up is much better than any sleep tracker." Being able to experiment firsthand, and see in real-time how you're feeling, made a big difference to you.

You mentioned energy levels. I worry there are people out there who don't know that a healthier life actually awaits because of their information, their lack of energy, and any other symptoms that they might have, or just what they are used to. And as a result of that they don't know any different. I know this seems like a bit of a simple question, but how should a healthy person actually feel?

Good. A funny thing is I never really used to drink coffee. And I was like, "Caffeine is the devil." And I still think it's not that great. I don't know what happened, but along the way I started enjoying coffee. I'm now one of those guys who has a coffee every morning now! But back in the day when I wrote The All-Day Energy Diet and I was going through this whole process, I recognized how does it make sense that people say, "I can't start my day without a cup of coffee?" I don't understand how that's normal, that shouldn't be a thing. You should wake up and you should feel good. And if you want to have a coffee it's not because you have to have one to feel normal, it's because you want to have one.

I think most people don't know how good they can feel because they've never felt that. It's almost like The Truman Show, the movie with Jim Carrey. He's in his own world, and at that one point in the movie he walks up the stairs, and opens the door and there's something on the other side. It's like this whole thing has been a set. That's kind of how most people live. It's like we don't even know what's on the other side of the wall until we've been on the other side of the wall. And then it's like, "Oh, wow! I feel a thousand times better."

That's really important because any one of us can say, "Oh, do this and you'll feel better." But none of us clue into that until we actually experience it. And I think one of the things that I was always really espousing with our clients was do this for two weeks, just see how you feel. And then you can go back to the way you were eating before or not.

And at that point it's your choice. Just like, "Holy cow! Why would I want to go back and do what I was doing before if I feel this good?" At least now you can make a choice from a place of power where you've experienced it, and now you have the choice to go down your old path or the new path.

That's really powerful because it's coming from a place of you owning that, and having been exposed to how good you can feel. And now the responsibility of the choice is up to you based on that. Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel. And I don't even think age matters, because we've had clients that have been in their seventies who in five days are feeling like new people, which is amazing.

Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel.

At the very minimum, give yourself an opportunity to cut away some of the distractions and vices. And if it's uncomfortable, it's going to be uncomfortable, but just give yourself that opportunity to feel how good you can feel. Do it for a week or two and then be like, "Well, do I want to go back to the way I was before? Or should I continue on this way?" And then you can make a choice from there, but I think it's important to at least experience it once.

There are teenagers out there who might be naturally lean or more active. How do we get teenagers to start to understand that their health decisions have very real consequences and the earlier they can implement strong health rituals the better?

There needs to be some type of technology developed that can fast forward them to where they're 50. Because I was that guy. I was that guy, and I worked as a coach at the University of Toronto with the men's soccer program for seven years, so teenagers 17 to 21. And every year it's the same thing. I was the guy who ate McDonald's to get ready for a game. That was me when I was a teenager, and I was still a really good soccer player.

When I was coaching at the University of Toronto, one of my proudest legacies — if I can call it that — is the fact that instead of guys coming to the stadium with gummy bears and McDonald's, they were coming into the stadium with green juices because there was a vegetarian restaurant not too far away.

And a green juice is $10 so for a student that's not cheap. And it was really cool to see these teachings start to resonate. I was like, "My work here is done." What's the saying? Youth is wasted on the young, something like that. And that's the way it is. We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore. And I think we're like, "We're invincible when we're young." I've got four boys under 10, they never get tired. I'm thinking they're like dogs I can just wear them out, they just keep going! And that'd be cool if you could do that forever, but I think by the time you're 35, 40, things start to change a bit.

We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore.

I'm not too sure... I think there's a certain aspect of maturity that comes with it. I think there's certain teenagers who are a little bit more forward thinking, they're a bit more mature. They realize because they're a bit more tuned into themselves in performance that they can't get away with that forever. But I also do think a lot of high level athletes that they look up to can be really good role models. Because if you're growing up in the '70s and '80s, and your role models are John McEnroe's and... I love John McEnroe.

John Daly on the golf course!

Yeah, totally. It's a very different role model than the Novak Djokovic's, or the Roger Federer's, or other role models who are maybe be a bit healthier in the way that they approach the game. Christiano Ronaldo, these are all great examples of guys who are not just great athletes, but they live a very clean life. Those are great examples for teenagers who want to emulate in their footsteps. Again, whether they're athletes or not, I think it's important to have good role models that really espouse that, because we become a reflection of our environments.

My kids are getting into skateboarding and there's a skate park by our place. And I'm very fascinated by the culture of skateboarding. I think it's a really cool sport, I'm terrible at it, but kind of sitting there and observing it, it's like they all dress very similarly. They all have their Monster energy drinks. One guy last week, he's on a skateboard, he's got a cigarette in his mouth as he's going up the halfpipe. I'm like, "This is a very different culture. Or hopefully not role models that my kids will be exposed to." I think it's important to look at who our role models are and what that environment looks like.

Yeah, and helping encourage the discipline that can lead to the goals and outcomes that people want.

We had Gabby Reece on the show earlier this year, and she had some amazing insights, but one of the big ones she shared was that the best way for people if they're truly grateful about something is not to talk about it, but to actually take care of it to the best of your ability. Yet people want that magic bullet to success. People want to be able to lose 10 pounds of fat overnight, or gain 10 pounds of muscle in a week, or whatever it might be.

How do we actually get through to people the importance of sustainable change in such a transactional world when everyone just wants that magic bullet?

The same thing happens in business as well. I think it's what people are seeing. They're seeing the 'after' on Instagram for instance, but they don't see the journey. And I think that's a major issue, and it's something I was actually speaking to my clients this morning with about.

Seth Godin has a really good book on this topic called The Dip. And the whole idea is that there's very few people who are amazing at what they do. And they're more valuable because it's more scarce, there's fewer people that are at that level, like the Gabby Reece's, the Laird Hamilton's, etc. And the difference is that everyone says they want to do that. They want to become that person, but as soon as the dip happens, which is that, "Oh, this is hard" they give up.

The difference is that the select few recognize that either before or during, so they say, "I'm just going to keep going and figure it out until I get through that dip." That journey needs to be highlighted in some way, shape, or form in a way that it's not right now. And to be honest I don't know if that ever will be, because humans want what we want. We're very compelled by things that are new, and shiny, and alluring. Although we're inspired by courage on the journey, that's not the thing that really grabs our attention right away.

And I do think if you look at the example of P90X, which came into the market at a time where infomercials were promoting six-minute abs, and sauna belts, which are these overnight magic pills. And here comes P90X saying, "This will be the hardest thing you do for 90 days, but it's going to transform your body."

They've done pretty well — about $1 billion in sales as a company. And I think that goes to show that there's always going to be a segment of the market that understands that the quick fixes don't work. At some level I think everyone needs to come to that epiphany, because they've done the diets, they've done the pills, they've done all this stuff. They've tried one business model, one tactic, and it hasn't worked out.

At some point, and where that point is in someone's life I don't know — it could be early, it could be later. Everyone will come to a realization: if you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy. And if you're not okay with that you should quit before it even starts, as opposed to quitting halfway through. And if you are okay with the fact that it's going to be challenging and full of ups and downs, then recognize that and find a way to get through that.

If you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy.

Whether that's through coaching, mentorship, being in a surrounding that's going to inspire you, have the right support, I think those are all really important. But it would be like someone who's never worked out before and the trainer's like, "You know what, we're going to help you get an amazing shape. You're going to feel amazing. It's going to be so good." And then the next day the client is so sore they can't even move, because they've never done half the stuff and they're like, "What's this all about?" You say, "Oh, sorry about that, I forgot to mention there's this thing called delayed onset muscle soreness."

I think it'd be a service to the client to be upfront and say, "Listen, here's what it's going to take to lose 20 pounds. It's going to be hard. You're going to have moments where you want to quit. There'll be times you want to cry, there'll be times you will be swearing at me, and there'll be many times where you want to give up. Are you okay with that? Because if you're not, you're not going to achieve the goals that you want."

And I think in today's day and age, hype and hyperbole, people see through all that stuff and it's just overdone. There's a lot of value in just the honest truth. Just being honest with your market, or your clients, or your messaging or whatever it is you do, yourself. I mean it just becomes so much more believable from a business perspective. But also as an individual pursuing a goal it becomes a lot more believable. Be like, "Cool, this is going to be tough. How do I prepare for the challenges and get myself okay with meeting those?" I think that's really important, because otherwise everything is a surprise and you're like, "Oh shit, I didn't think it was going to be so hard." I think that mindset shift is super important.

That's probably the perfect segue now for us to switch gears and focus on the business side more specifically.

Have you ever had any experiences where you thought that you were able to help everyone, but most of the people you were seeing just weren't committed to their goal and that journey? And as a result, you were not only unable to bring them up but they ended up pulling you down, to a degree?

Oh yeah, totally. That was one of my biggest crises as a health expert was that I wanted to help everyone. It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least. And I was like, "That sucks." But it's the reality.

Even now, when we help clients in the business front, we don't even talk about sales. For us it's interviewing. We're only going to hire this client if they fit our criteria, because we don't want someone's money, we want their transformation. And we're very clear with people upfront about how challenging it's going to be. But it's going to be challenging either way — the difference is that you're going to have guidance, coaching, and a proven model, versus doing it by yourself.

But I think it's a major disservice to people with a lot of over the top promises, like "You'll make 100K in a month" or whatever, and they focus on the shiny without the dirt along the way. It's like, "Hey, just go into the mine you'll find gold sitting there." It's really important to have that conversation with people before you even consider engaging with them. Because otherwise you're just taking people down a delusional path, and we want clients who are committed to the transformation.

It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least.

I think that is maybe a bit more applicable to a coaching type of environment. If you're selling widgets it's a little bit easier, a little bit different. But I do think it's honest communication and being transparent about the journey is in your best interest, but it's also in the client's best interest. Because you're going to have better clients who are like, "I understand that and I'm willing to sign up for this." And there's no surprises because you've laid everything out, you've laid the gauntlet in front of them.

And they probably appreciate that transparency. They might not like hearing it immediately in the present, but they also know then that you're focused on the transformation rather than the transaction.

You had seven years working as a trainer and nutritionist, working with people one-on-one but you hit a wall with that career. What was the turning point for you in recognizing that there had to be a better way than seeing people one-on-one? Which is essentially exchanging time for money.

Well, if I hadn't lost my hair when I was 16 I probably would have lost it after doing all that! Working from 7:00 in the morning until at least 7:00 at night, and then I was actually working at the university as one of the coaches with the soccer team, so that was an extra three hours on top every day. And I realized as much as I loved helping my clients transform, and hanging out with them was great. I realized there's a really low ceiling here, that I'm not even going very far in terms of impact, income, etc.

The big turning point for me was 2006 when I went to Europe with my girlfriend (now wife), and we were over there for six weeks. But trading time for dollars for so many years, I had to save up a bunch of money for the trip. And then when we took the trip, every single time we went out to eat or purchase something that money was going down and nothing else was coming in. And I'm like, "I never ever want to experience this again."

I was just committed to finding a better way. The questions I was always asking was, "How do I make more money? How do I help more people even if I'm not present with them?" It was never about how do I make more money without doing any work. That was never the conversation for me. It was how do I make more money in the service of more people, to help them get even better results but without relying on my time because I love helping people. And I remember toward the tail-end of those seven years, I was working with a client and he's huffing and puffing. He's like, "Why don't you put your voice on tape?" And I said, "Hmm, that's interesting!"

This is just when the iPod had come out and I was like, "I don't know what that means, but let me think about it." And what I eventually ended up doing was I thought to myself, "How would I help my clients get results if I were not with them, but kind of still with them?" And what I did is I actually recorded a full 90-day workout program, where my voice was on their headphones guiding them through their workout as if I was with them right there. And we were actually one of the first companies back in the day to even have that type of technology.

It was awesome because essentially what it allowed me to do is it allowed me to productize my service. And without even knowing it, that was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way. Is an audio guide to workout as effective as working with a trainer? No, but it's pretty darn close instead of doing it by themselves.

That was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way.

And that's kind of how things started with the online side of things. Even now with our clients all of our coaching is group-based. And we have hundreds of clients who get amazing results, but I don't want to spend one-on-one time with every single one of them every second of the day. And the reason, really, anyone's able to do that is by stepping back and really assessing how do I do what I do? What's the recipe through which I help people achieve an outcome? And really starting to extract it, articulate it, and then map that out in some type of curriculum that they can follow, but then you come on top with accountability, support, and coaching.

It's just incredible to see the transformation that people get. Because with my health the thing that I realized as I went from the one-on-one, which was just I'm like, "I never want to do coaching ever again." I went the complete opposite to, "I'm going to go online and live the laptop lifestyle! I'm going to sell eBooks, and all that kind of stuff, and kick my feet up." Didn't happen, it's a lot of work.

And what happened is eventually when that business took off, I got so disillusioned from it because we helped so many people on paper but I didn't know any of them. If someone purchased a workout program, or a book of mine, or a course, the likelihood of them actually doing it and getting the results? I don't know. They're on the other side of the world, are they actually doing it? And I became very disconnected from the people that we were serving, and I wanted a way to come back to really impacting people in a way where I actually knew them, where I could see their transformation. And with Healthpreneur, that's where we come back to. I went from one-on-one, kind of despising it all the way, to the other side which is very product based.

And now coming back to the middle, which is high-touch coaching in a leveraged format with those elements of productizing our service, and bringing the best of both worlds together. Again, everything happens for a reason, but I only if we learn from it and improve our future.

A lot of the stuff that you're talking about here is by going back and questioning the underlying assumptions that people had made; that you can actually have more of an impact and earn more of an income without having to exchange time for money, which I think is a really great lesson for people to think about.

Is it possible for everyone out there to be able to duplicate themselves so that they can scale?

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it. We had a client this morning who was a naturopathic doctor. She loves traveling and she was just like, "I love the fact that I can help people when I'm in Hawaii, or Alaska, or wherever else." And she said this several times and I know this to be true. It's like her clients get better results virtually without the one-on-one, so in more of a group setting than they were coming in sort of a clinic. And I was like, "It's amazing. It's so cool."

We help health professionals, so chiros, naturopaths, health coaches, etc. That model is very broken, it is fundamentally broken because it's transactional. Let's say I've got a bummed back, I go see my chiro, he gives me an adjustment, I give him $50, and I leave. And then the next time I have an issue I come back, same thing.

It's very much tit for tat and there's no journey. There's no, "Here's what we should do between sessions, etc." It's not good for the patient, it's not good for the practitioner, and it's not sustainable. The thing is we speak with quite a few people who are like, "Well, I'm a bit different. My situation's a bit different because I do something that no one else can do." And I'm like, "Awesome, that's amazing. You've got two choices: you can let that story shackle you to the situation you're dealing with right now of low-income, no freedom and tell yourself you're a special snowflake. Or you can find a way to extract that magic and figure out a way to help more people."

You have two choices, that's it. Because we help practitioners build their virtual practice, we had a lot of chiropractors, physical therapists, really hands-on practitioners, especially during COVID who came to us who are like, "Hey, my clinic is shutdown. I got to figure out how to go online."

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it.

And then they're like, "Well, I don't know how I can do this." And I'm like, "You've got two choices, you go out of business based on your current situation or you figure out a way to do this." And some people are like, "Let's do it." Charlie, one of our physical therapy clients, the most he made in a month in his clinic was $10,000 a month. Since he's been with us online, he's doing $30K - $40K a month regularly. And his clients get better results with sciatica and back pain.

In this fashion you have to change the way you help people, the delivery, which means the client has to show up in a different way. They become more empowered in their own journey as opposed to just kind of showing up, laying on a table, getting a crack and leaving. It really benefits the practitioner or the coach, it benefits the client because the delivery is based on the outcome. Not just, "Hey, I'll see you for half an hour" etc.

Every single person can help people in a virtual manner, but also in a way that's not necessarily one-on-one. Unless you're dealing with deep traumatic stuff, if you're a psychotherapist as an example. However, there are still ways to do that in a group setting because not every single interaction with your clients needs to be with you. If you brought 10 women together who are all dealing with the same issue, they have a community now. They're part of a tribe of other women who are like-minded and they're like, "You're going through this too!? Let's support each other."

Isolation kills, community heals. I think it's in our client's best interest to put them in a supportive environment. And then whatever way that looks like in terms of your support and coaching, there's tremendous ways to help people beyond the one-on-one. There's definitely ways, all it comes down to is being creative and willing to adapt as opposed to being very stuck in ways that may not support you.

What about those who want to serve an audience who don't have the capacity to pay? How do you provide the support that you need for an audience that you might be super passionate about, but you obviously don't want to burnout in the process? I mean if you're spending all of your time servicing clients for a dollar a day, you're going to reach a point where you burnout and you're not able to help anyone.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life. Because if you want to help everyone who doesn't have money because you have a connection to that, that's amazing. But you have to understand that if they don't have money they can't pay you.

A lot of the typical marketing or business advice is start people low and then build them up an ascension ladder to a higher point. Our philosophy is the exact opposite. For people to get transformational results it doesn't come from a $7 ebook. It comes from a higher level coaching program where you work with them, they get an amazing result, you fill up your cup financially, they get amazing results. You now have more social proof that can feed back into your marketing and attract more clients like that.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life.

If you fill up your cup first, let's just use dollars and cents as an example, then you have more dollars and cents to then give back to the 95% of those other people who would not be able to afford your services in the first place. It's almost like a Robin Hood type of approach. I don't even want to say you take from the rich give to the poor, but you work with people at a higher level who can afford your services, who signup because they see the value in it at least.

First and foremost you have to take care of yourself because, if you don't, you can't take care of anyone else. But then you'll reach a point in your business where you can take a portion and give it to charity, or you set up a foundation. I think so many people get caught up in all these little products, $10 here, $97 here. I was that guy, I had hundreds of products in a previous business.

And with Healthpreneur we have two: we have our coaching program and our mastermind. Pretty much everything else is free because we can give it all away, because we don't need to make sure that everything turns into some funnel or a book sale or whatever. It's like if it helps people we can give it away for free, mostly because we're ticking, we're good because of this stuff. That's my approach. It's worked tremendously well for us, it makes a lot of sense for our clients because a lot of our clients feel like martyrs in the service of others. And that's not a good place to be. I think we're all here because we want to help a lot of people, but you got to help yourself first.

You've worked with so many high achievers all around the world. What's the difference between the top 0.1% of people who might be 7- or 8-figure entrepreneurs, or at the absolute pinnacle of their industry — what do they do differently? Or is there a common trait that they have that other people don't?

Such a good question. I'll give you two very clear examples of this. We have a client who last February as the whole pandemic is just about to start, he's interested in working with us and I told him, "I think you're a little bit early." And he was making about $800 a month at the time as a health coach. And he told me, "I can do this. Watch me." And I was like, "Okay."

Twelve months later he's doing $100K a month, and helping thousands more people than he ever was. That statement says everything, "I can do this. Watch me." Embedded in that statement is a massive amount of self-belief. That is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success. If I see someone and their answer is, "Well, maybe." You're finished, it's that instantaneous. Versus someone who's like, "I'll figure this out, watch." That's the big thing right there.

Self-belief is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success.

Second quick example is we had a client who in November 2019 was on the verge of bankruptcy. He was a chiropractor, had six people in his office, five daughters at home. He had to take a $40,000 loan just to survive. He comes across our stuff at the end of November and he's like, "I need to do this, this makes a lot of sense." He starts working with us, and the first post he made inside of our Facebook group was celebrating that he was negative $14,000 in the hole.

I was like, "This guy gets it." He's like, "I'm so excited we spent $14,000. While we haven't seen a single return yet, we have 300 prospective client calls on the books for the next month and a half. I'm like "This guy's going to kill it." By July of 2020 they're doing $1.5 million a month.

And what's the difference? The difference again in his case was a belief in himself that he would do this and he would figure this out. The example of the first client I gave is the same thing. Self-belief is huge, and the second thing is courage. Especially as an entrepreneur there's no guarantee, if you're like, "Hey, what's the guarantee for this? I want to know it's going to work out." The very fact that you asked that question tells me this is not going to work out for you. Because people who have courage and belief in themselves know they're going to make it work, and that's a big thing.

The courage to step into the fear, to step into the unknown, because you believe in yourself enough to make it work with the right type of support around you. I think those two things beyond anything else make the biggest difference at least in my experience.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


The courage you mentioned there reminds me very much of faith, which is one of the principles of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, which I'm sure you're aware.

That first one that you mentioned, self-belief, how coachable is that in your experience? Is that one of those things where it's like you have it or you don't?

I'm sure parenting has a piece in this, for sure. If you're brought up at a young age with parents who are like, "I believe in you, you can do this." That probably helps a lot. But I think the thing is if we really think about this, we all have many wins in our life. It's just those I think who have a little bit less on the self-belief side, they tend to focus on the things that didn't work out as well for them. Because self-belief I believe is something that you can dial up or dial down, and it changes based on the situation. I don't have a lot of confidence in dancing, but you put me on a soccer pitch and I'm very confident.

But the reason I'm confident in soccer is because I played it for so long, and I had so many wins and reference points. But I also had many failures. I also got a really good because of those failures and the mistakes. I tell my kids, "Guys, as a goalie, when I was 10 years old, I was playing on teams and we lost 15-0." That's 15 goals against me! That kills your confidence but again it's perspective. It's like, "Hey, I got the benefit of facing 25 shots. 15 of them went in but I saved 10." The other goalie maybe didn't have one.

I don't know. I think perspective is a big thing, it's like how we see a coin, is it this side or this side? I think makes a huge difference now into the future but also in the past.

Confidence is all based on momentum.

For those who are a little bit low on self-confidence or self-belief, try this simple exercise — and you can do this every day. Look back on your life and make a note of three moments that were, let's say, big successes for you. It could be a sporting success, it could be an achievement in school, it could be giving birth to kids — whatever it is. And don't discount those. Really think about, "Man, that's a big deal. That was remarkable."

Understand that if you do that there, that success leaves clues, and success is transferable. Building that success muscle I think is important, because the more you can do that, and then on a daily basis focus on what three wins you had today, it's going to build. Because confidence is all based on momentum. And if we focus on the right things, and we do it more, that's going to build our self belief, and we're more likely to have courage to take on more things in the future. That's what I would recommend for that.

Love that. Great advice.

You and I are both very much focused on continuing to grow. Is there anything that you include in your calendar to make sure that you're getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis to keep growing?

Yeah. First thing I do every morning at about 4:00 AM is I jump in a cold plunge. Four degrees Celsius and I sit in there for three minutes. And I do that for the health benefits, sure, but for me it's like if I can do the most challenging thing of my day at 4:00 in the morning, everything else will be a little bit easier. That's the first thing.

I like putting myself in situations where I'm sympathetically challenged. In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm. I call it the calm in the eye of the storm. Trying to center with my chaos. I've got four kids under 10. That's 24/7! How do I center myself and stay calm with the chaos? I'm not perfect, I lose my cool sometimes, but I think that's one thing I do. I like to get uncomfortable first thing in the morning.

In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm.

The second thing I would suggest from a growth perspective is that I listen, or I read, a tremendous amount, or listen to a lot of podcasts. Growth is a major value of mine and our company in general, and so always learning and growing has been huge.

I'd say what's even more challenging by an exponential amount than sitting in an ice bath is having hard conversations with other humans. That's always been my Achilles heel and I've never wanted to ruffle feathers or whatever. And that's cost me a lot of time, frustration, and maybe some team members in the past that maybe should have gone a little bit sooner than they did. And I've really been aware of that and started to nip that in the bud to be like, "Hey, if I have to have a conversation with someone it's got to happen now, because I'm not going to tuck away this problem and expect it to go away."

That for me personally is probably more challenging than a tough workout, and more challenging than a cold plunge. Because of that I really have to be intentional about making that maybe not daily but a few times a week type of thing.

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I get my most important work done first thing in the morning.


Resources / links mentioned:

🌱 Want more Yuri Elkaim? Check out the YouTube or podcast version for the full interview, including the Win the Day Rocket Round.

⚡ Healthpreneur website.

📙 The Strong60 by Yuri Elkaim.

📝 Healthpreneur on Facebook.

📷 Healthpreneur on Instagram.

🎥 Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

🎢 The Dip by Seth Godin.

📖 The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

Dr Carol Dweck

Nick Shaw is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization (RP), a multi-million-dollar health and fitness company that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of clients around the world. Through its leading programs, technologies, and team of PhDs on staff, RP gives its subscribers an easy to follow nutrition plan that fits neatly into your schedule so you can achieve your health / fitness goals. 

Over the years, the RP team has sold hundreds of thousands of books to help people with their nutrition, training, and recovery, and to help create healthy habits. Nick has also personally coached numerous world-class athletes including CrossFit Games champions, international weightlifters, UFC fighters, Navy SEALs, and Olympians.

Last year, Forbes published a feature story that documented Nick’s journey and RP’s meteoric rise from a small business into an influential tech company with an industry-leading mobile app available on both Apple and Google. 

However, tragedy struck in January 2020 when Nick’s wife, Lori Shaw, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Lori is not just the mother to their two children, but also an instrumental part of the RP business.

Shortly after the diagnosis, the COVID pandemic swept the world, forcing the Shaw family to juggle homeschooling, chemotherapy treatments, and navigating the business landscape in the most uncertain time our generation has faced.

In November 2020, Nick published Fit for Success, a book that outlines the seven foundational habits for achievement to help anyone, irrespective of background, chart their path to success. It also delves into some of his favorite books, most valuable takeaways, and key lessons from his rollercoaster journey, to complement the insights gained from working closely with the most accomplished individuals on the planet.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Shaw does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this episode, we’ll go through:

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Shaw!

James Whittaker:
What was 'success' to you when you were a teenager? And when did the possibility of owning your own business first come on your radar?

Nick Shaw:
I was really into sports and anything fitness-centric. Although, I will say the one thing that I realized pretty early on that has always stuck with me — which is really important in fitness — there's never a place that you arrive at. You're always just doing it because you like it, there's always a little bit more you can strive for, and you can work really hard.

Typically, if you work really hard (like with fitness), results come. So I guess those were two really good things to be drilled in my brain early on. And they've always stuck with me because there are so many similarities between business and fitness, and I love seeing how those they're alike.

You're right, people get way too focused on a quick destination, rather than the journey. If they carry that attitude to multiple areas, their life can quickly become a mess.

Totally. It will. I can give you a great fitness example. A lot of people, they get so stuck on a set number, "Hey, I want to lose 20 pounds." And then they get those 20 pounds off, but then what? Or they don't develop those good habits because they are so focused on the outcome. What they need to focus is on is setting good habits.

They don't develop those good habits because they are so focused on the outcome.

If you focus on setting good habits, you're eventually going to get to a good outcome, but maybe that good outcome is you lose 15 pounds, but you don't have to do anything super crazy at the end. And, for most people, that's probably a better trade-off.

You need to love the process, rather than being so focused on the outcome.

What was the gap in the market that you saw for Renaissance Periodization (RP) and how were you able to assemble this amazing team of 20+ PhDs and eight registered dietitians to help make your vision a reality?

My buddy who started RP with me was always really smart guy. I met him in college. And he went on to get his masters and later he got his PhD in sport physiology, essentially studying how do you make athletes as best as they can be. That research requires you to take a look at a lot of finer details.

And so, we started out working with a lot of athletes. You would see some folks that could just skate by with genetics, but maybe the stuff that they were doing wasn't really the best. But if you have really good genetics, you can do that; you can skate by. But if you take someone with really good genetics, and then on top of that, you combine an evidence-based program that has the best methodology behind it, you get some really crazy outcomes.

Think of someone people like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, who are very genetically gifted, of course, but they are also just tenacious hard workers — probably some of the hardest workers of all time. If you combine genetic gifts with a tenacious work ethic, you get the best athletes of all time. So, that's really what we were just trying to combine. If you have just one or the other, that's okay. But if you combine both of them together, then you really have something. So, that's really what the gap was in the market about a decade ago.

What is an 'evidence-based approach' to nutrition and training for people who don't know?

You can find one study out there that can say pretty much anything, right? And so, if you only go by one study, you could be really led astray if you only go by that. But an evidence-based approach looks at all the combined evidence out there. You take a look at a meta analysis. You take a look at literature reviews, which can combine hundreds and hundreds of studies.

So, when you have hundreds of studies and it starts pointing you in one direction, you know that you're probably on the right track. Yet, if you only rely on one study, you may be heading in the wrong direction. And so, when you pool everything together, it just helps point you in the right direction. That's really what evidence-based is about.

In 2015, your wife Lori quit her successful corporate job to support you at RP. I'm married, you're married, so we know that marriages can be tough without the added complexity of working together at the same time! What did you focus on as a collective to make both your business and your marriage a success?

We were just really struggling in terms of the help we needed. You know how it is as a one-person business early on, where you have to do everything. I didn't know what it looked like, but I knew I needed help. Over time what we did, because as you said it can be tricky working with a spouse, right!? We focused on how we could compartmentalize things where Lori could do the things she wanted to do and is great at.

Because she left a fantastic corporate job and is a super, super smart, incredibly accomplished woman. We said, "You specialize in what you want to specialize because you're fantastic at doing that." And that's what led her into doing all of our cookbooks and recipes, and all that stuff, because she's a phenomenal cook, top-notch, and I'm very thankful for that, of course. Our approach was to give her a couple of areas that were all hers.

Yeah, the importance of having that discipline around each other's lane, so you can each focus on having the impact you want to have without feeling like you're stepping on each other's toes.

That's a real good summary. Because I mean, it is just another normal work setting, where sometimes you have to tell people what to do a little bit here and there. And if you mix that in with a spouse, you can carry over when the "work day" ends. So, it can be a little bit of a slippery slope, and that's why we wanted to segment things as best we could.

Well, it's a testament to both of your characters that you're still able to create such a successful business and have a great family at the same time. So, well done on keeping all of that together.

2020 was a year of enormous transition for the whole world, but in January 2020 your family was facing a lot more than the pandemic. Can you take us into that difficult time for your family, and perhaps what your mindset was like when you first received the news about Lori?

First of all, I'll say she's doing great now, a year and a half later, which is phenomenal news. In January 2020 she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, just five days before my son's eighth birthday. And then she had surgery in February. In March, she started chemo.

And then what happens in March 2020? COVID, the pandemic, and everything hit. And we had to take it incredibly serious because she's gone through chemo and was immune compromised to basically the highest level you can be. So we had to be really, really careful.

We're just not the type of people who are going to sit around and let life dictate what we're going to do. We don't want to sit around and be victims or whatever. So, we were just like, "Well, how do we make the most of this?" And we focused on things that we could control.

We're just not the type of people who are going to sit around and let life dictate what we're going to do.

We looked at the handful of things that you can do each and every single day that you have control and impact over. And that's what we did. That's what we focused on. And ultimately, that's what led to me writing the book Fit for Success because I was like, "I'm not going anywhere for the next three or four months. Literally, I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to take this time, I think I have some know talking points to put in the book."

I created the Success Pyramid. And everything just came together from there.

There's a mental health pandemic happening behind the scenes right now, and a lot of people are really struggling. On this show, we like to try and keep it as raw as possible from that mental health perspective to give people those insights. And totally feel free not to answer this question, if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Is there a particularly dark day or dark moment that stands out in the last year or two that you can think of?

I think just the day that my wife found out, because really it's one of these things where you just... I mean, my wife is a healthier person than I am — and I run fitness company. So, that just gives you some perspective as to just how luck, genetics, or whatever it is can play a role there. But instantly overnight, it literally just changes everything.

What I like to tell people is, it's entirely different when you're just thinking about these things. And then when you're truly thrust into having to put them into action every single day for months, if not a year on end. That was a big turning point where I was like, "It is really time to put all of these things in the practice more than I've ever done before."

That was even before COVID hit. Then you throw in COVID on top of that, and now it was like this just complete windfall of things.

Perhaps the second day was March 12th, and funny enough where we live here in North Carolina, my kids didn't go to school that day, because there was some weird water boil thing. I was driving my buddy to the airport because he was in town to visit, and that's when everything unraveled that day, and I'm just like, "Holy crap." We have all this stuff going on, of course going through chemo and all of that, that's enough.

Now, you throw in all of this!? It was a recognition that there was no time to mess around and feel sorry for yourself. It was about getting back to, "What can we control? Our kids are going to be homeschooled now, what can we do? What are the things that we can do each and every single day that are going to turn this around, so it's not just this really rough year?" And I think, knock on wood, we were able to make the most of it.

What one or two books have contributed most to the mindset that you've got today?

So, the first one that jumps out at me is called The Slight Edge. And ironically, it did not make it in the book, because I had my draft and everything completed. But this is one of the books that, when I read it, it was life-changing. Nothing in there is new or crazy, but you see that these little incremental things each and every single day — if you are consistent and disciplined with them — add up over time and you just get this snowball effect eventually.

That was when I started writing down a handful of things that I would do every single day, no matter what's going on.

And I love reading. I don't know about you, but I actually get really physically excited. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I got a new book here! I can't wait to read it." I know that's a total nerd thing to say, but do you get that at all?

I do. And literally every single book that I've read has changed my life in some capacity — every single one. If you just get one ideas, insight, or solution, as a result of reading that book, it can change everything for you.

Do you do audio books or hardcover?

I'm a little bit of both. So, actually I have to make a road trip tomorrow, which is a five hour drive. I was actually really excited because I have 10 hours of audio books. I know that that's probably going to cover me all the way there and probably back too, so I'm really excited for that. So, I do audiobooks if I have road trips.

When I'm done with a book, any book, I write down what I believe is the primary concept from the book. It doesn't have to be pages and pages of notes. I ask myself, "What would the author think is probably one of the most important points here in this book?" And I try to just make a list of those. Every now and again, I'll just flip back through it. And so, this is a really long-winded answer, if we circle back to you had mentioned two books.

The other book that has made a big difference for me in terms of my mindset is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. When you think about it, anything that happens is on you. And when you think about it that way, it doesn't matter if someone is five levels below you in an organization, if they mess up, it's on you because you should have taught them better. At the end of the day, all roads lead back to you, the choices you make, and how accountable you are.

At the end of the day, all roads lead back to you, the choices you make, and how accountable you are.

So, if mistakes are made, don't blame other people. This is something that my kids tried doing and I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no. We're not going to blame other people." They're nine and seven years old, so, maybe it'll sink in eventually! Or maybe I repeat it enough that they do get it. Hopefully one day they'll catch themselves and think, "Oh, I'm not going to complain. I'm not going to blame other people. What can I do to fix the issue?"

You touched on the victim mindset, which greatly undermines any ability people have to be able to create whatever circumstances that they want. What do you do from a practical perspective to help get people out of that victim mindset and into more of a success or growth mindset?

This goes back to the second principle in my book, which is the 'internal locus of control.' So, if you have an external locus of control, you tend to be more of that victim mentality where things are happening to you and there's nothing that you can do. I just, I don't agree with that. I mean, I don't care what your circumstances are — and I definitely understand and have lots of empathy for people who are in bad situations — but if you take that external locus of control, it does not lead to good outcomes in terms of your mental health, physical health, and all this stuff. It just doesn't. And this has been proven time and time again in all sorts of studies.

So, you have to look inside and be like, "Okay, whatever's happening, it might be objectively bad, but what can I do about it? There has to be something that I can do." And maybe it's really small, but even those really small things starts to put you back on the right track. If you can do those little things, probably gain a little bit of momentum, probably start to feel a little bit better about yourself, probably become a bit more hopeful, because now you know that what you do really matters, and now you're on the better track. So, that's really, I think just the biggest key, if I had to give one that would be it, hands down.

You've worked with UFC fighters, Navy SEALs, Olympic athletes, a whole bunch of different people. What is the common trait that the top 1% of people have and how coachable is that trait?

They are tenacious hard workers. And I like to think that I'm a hard worker, but being around some of these folks is another level.

Tomorrow my road trip is to visit Rich Froning, who's like the Michael Jordan of CrossFit. The amount of work he puts in puts me to shame. So, we mentioned earlier, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and it's like that with Rich Froning because he trains literally 4-5 hours a day, pretty much every single day.

They know what it takes to be the best, so they just always put in that work.

And if you really stop and think about it, if you work out an hour a day, you're doing well, multiply that by three or four, and it just, I mean, it's crazy, not to mention just how disciplined they are.

They know what it takes to be the best, so they just always put in that work. And it really doesn't matter how they're feeling, they just do it anyways.

You talk a lot about the importance of self-belief in your book. What role does environment, like where you live, where you work, and the people you hang around, play in that self-belief?

Yeah, it definitely plays a role. And if you're in a bad environment, it's going to be tougher. The odds are stacked against you. Now, we can acknowledge that. But at the same time, there are things that you can do. Again, this goes back to the internal locus of control. I guarantee there's little things that you can do to start to fix that. It may be that the odds feel overwhelming against you, but then it goes back to The Slight Edge principle — just start doing the little things.

It's going to seem like you're probably not getting anywhere, but if you have a long-term time horizon — and you're prepared to just do these little things each and every single day — you're going to be better off. And I'm not guaranteeing success of course, because we can't do that. But if you approach it the right way, your odds of beating those circumstances are going to go up exponentially.

What about your own process for setting goals personally or for your business? Is there a certain system or structure that you use to set those goals?

With your business, we have a roadmap of what we need to get done and the North Star we're aiming towards. We then break that up into chunks of what needs to be done in a given month and quarter to get there. We also implement feedback we can see in real time on the app store for our mobile app based on what our users are telling us.

On the personal side, it's a mix of short and long goals. Usually on the physical side, I'll need something to train for. On Memorial Day, there's a workout called "Murph". That's my couple month thing that I've been training for, just so I have something. After that, it's like, "Hey, how fast can I run a mile?" Just something to guide me on that right track. Because if you don't have any specific goals, it's easy to get lost — a day goes by, a week goes by, a month goes by. So I really think goals are helpful on the business and personal side.

For entrepreneurs, the ability to duplicate themselves seems to be the difference between average entrepreneurs (who are always on the brink of burnout) versus those super high achieving entrepreneurs. What was the biggest step that you took to be able to duplicate your own expertise so the company could grow without hitting a ceiling?

Well, I was definitely guilty of what you said, of not knowing what to do early on, and that's where we got to the point about burning out, because we thought that we had to do everything ourselves. One of the biggest things was realizing that we know a little bit about a couple of things, but there's so much we don't know, so let's bring in some other people — other experts — because that's what they specialize in, that's what they're good at, and that was really the biggest change.

The other thing would be some automation stuff that opened up our world to being able to focus on other things. And it just became this snowball effect that once we had more time, we're able to better focus our efforts elsewhere. And that's a great thing to do all around.

Yeah, to help make you redundant, so you can take some time off if need be.

Absolutely. I would agree with that a hundred percent.

Fitness often talks about a 'recovery phase' but many people people — especially entrepreneurs — very rarely do a good job of incorporating a phase of recharge and recovery in their regular routine. What does recovery look like in a business sense? Have you ever implemented something like a de-load or recharge phase for you as an entrepreneur?

If we go back to 2015 and 2016, our kids were pretty young. And if you have kids, you understand that's a full-time job, having small kids. They take up a lot of time and energy. So, if you factor in that with trying to train and trying to grow your business, and we were teetering definitely on the point of burnout. We needed constant help because it just seemed like we were always so busy. And by 'busy' I don't necessarily mean in a great way, but just busy. Whether it was customer service, or little things here and there, and we had to really fix that.

Once we were able to fix that, I looked back and I thought about where I'd been the last couple of years. And it's like, "I have this." And I think this is the end goal for a lot of entrepreneurs. Not that this is an end goal for me, of course, there's always more to achieve and strive for, but at the same time, I just have a lot more flexibility and freedom over my own time.

Before this podcast, I was picking up my kids from school at 2:00PM. I was sitting in the carpool line for literally 30 minutes. Before that, I was reading. It's like you have that freedom. That's my downtime, I make sure I have that time every day where I can read and do these things. I make sure I workout every single day.

For entrepreneurs, and I understand, it's a really delicate balance — because in the beginning you have to go, go, go, go, go, if you want to be successful. You have to put in that work to create that initial momentum and success. I get it. Been there, done that.

But at the same time, you eventually realize that if you don't take some of that time off and step back a little bit, your output goes down. You're not putting out very high quality work. And if you, instead of just cramming the night before and skipping on sleep and all that stuff, if you maybe just got the sleep and relaxed a little bit, you wake up in the morning and the amount and quality of work that you can now do is better. And it's a hard thing to learn. I did it wrong a million times and probably still do, of course. But once I started to realize that a little bit, I was like, "Wow, this is where I'd probably need to try to trend towards."

Let's now switch gears and focus on the health and the nutrition side. What are the biggest myths about health and nutrition that need to be busted in 2021?

Do you have six hours!? No, it's alright. So, we want to talk about, I guess a couple of main ones. One would be the idea that carbs are bad. They're not really inherently bad. In fact, there are very few foods out there that you could classify as "bad". Trans fats are an example of something that is probably very, very bad for you. Other than that, it's this balance and moderation thing. And if you understand that, everything else is so much simpler.

Because the nutrition industry is crazy. I'm telling you, it's crazy. People love this dogma, and they just get in these camps and they're not willing to change their mind or anything. And it's like, "No, I'm keto. And if you're not keto, you are a bad person." It's like, "Oh, okay."

So, if people ask me, "Hey, what do you think of keto?" we start by talking about the good. We might mention how, because it's low carb, it's probably helpful in that it will make you feel more full, because you're eating more proteins and more fats, and you'd probably be still eating a good amount of veggies. So, these are great things.

It's not that carbs are inherently bad, but guess what? Most things that taste really good have a lot of carbs, have a lot of sugar and salt, and usually have a lot of fat. Think about donuts and pizza, and ice cream. It's not that carbs are necessarily the fault behind them, it's just that they are very calorically dense, which means they're very easy to overeat because they taste delicious. Our brains are wired that way and we want to keep doing it.

The best way to be healthy — and have a normal, healthy body weight — is to eat high quality foods.

And so, that's probably the biggest one, because people like to say that, "Oh, calories don't matter." I mean, calories do matter. At the end of the day, it's probably the biggest chunk of the puzzle. But the best way to be healthy — and have a normal, healthy body weight — is to eat high quality foods. And if you do that, you don't have to get crazy restrictive. You can follow the 80 / 20 rule. And again, if you do that, you eat mostly higher quality foods. I always do air quotes around "good foods" — lean proteins, fruits and veggies, healthy fats, things like nuts, avocados and healthy carbs, rice and sweet potatoes. If you eat mostly those things, it is almost impossible to over eat.

Some of those fad diets that seem to pop up every year, would they be an example of something that would not be as evidenced-based as what you just mentioned there?

Typically, here's how something like that works. You can find some studies on some of these things, or maybe there's some evidence that points towards that they might do something, but people love to extrapolate these things to the nth degree. And they're like, "Oh, well, if it showed this tiny promise of evidence approved then, well, obviously that is the main thing that you must be doing, and you must fast for 24 hours. That is the magic key to everything in the world." And I go, "Okay, maybe."

Here's the good thing about fasting. When do most people tend to overeat? Usually it's later on at night. You're out with friends, family, or you're sitting down and watching Netflix or whatever. And all of a sudden, a bag of chips has gone before you even realize it because you just watched two hours of TV.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Shaw does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


Again, there's nothing really magical about fasting. It's just, does it help you stay on track? Does it help you stay more compliant? And if the answer is yes, then great, it's an awesome strategy for you.

But again, it goes back to these diet camps that people love to get in and someone's like, "Oh, well, I did fasting and had these awesome results. You must do this now." You're like, "Well, what if I really like eating breakfast?" They're like, "No, no, that's stupid. It doesn't matter." And you're like, "Well, don't we have some wiggle room in there to meet people where they're at?"

The health and fitness space is just crazy at times, man. It's crazy.

In your book you mentioned how beneficial it can be to find a healthy activity that you love. For me, I love nothing more than going surfing or having a hit of tennis. We can burn through a whole ton of cals, and it's actually really fun. You're not forcing me to go and do something that I hate. So, as a result, you can stay fairly fit by doing some of those endeavors.

So, what type of exercise should people be doing when it comes to health goals?

Yeah, you nailed it. This book is more intended for people who are not your hardcore fitness folks. So, if I were to have written in this book, you must lift weights and you must do these things, people are going to say, "Look at that advice from Nick, that's stupid." I don't even like doing that. I don't like being in the gym.

If someone liked doing tennis and surfing, I would say, "Hey, that's awesome." Because you can do those things, and you can be in really good physical shape because they're very active, and that's a fantastic thing. So again, really, it's finding what you like to do. Because if you said, "Hey, Nick, do you want to go play tennis? And then go surfing." I'm going to be like, "I've played tennis one time in my entire life and I've never surfed." So for me, that's going to be a terrible day! "But hey, I'll meet you in the gym and we can go pump some iron." That's my idea of fun. So, we are two different things, right? You like different things. So, it'd be silly for me to say, you must do this.

Now, on the flip side of that, I would say, if you wanted to give some bare bones advice, try to lift weights at least twice a week. It doesn't have to be crazy heavy or anything like that. And then, just try to find some activities that you like, whether it's sports, hiking; all that stuff is great. There's no kind of one thing for every person.

I would suggest the lifting because I just think there's so many benefits around it, but again, you also have to realize not everyone likes it. For example, my sister doesn't really like lifting weights. She prefers to go run. I'm like, "Okay, cool." I have no issues with that. I'm not going to tell someone that it's mandatory to lift weights, but I think there's a lot of benefits that come from lifting weights.

Is there any technology or research that's come out in the last year or two that really excites you in terms of human performance?

There's just, there's a lot of that stuff coming out now. It seems like everyone's focusing on that. There's this rise of home gym stuff, and you have things like the Mirror or the Tonal.

I've been getting hammered by Facebook ads for the Tonal!

You and me both. I don't think I'm their target market, but I'm getting those every single day. Listen, I think something like that would be great for people. And here's the thing, a lot of people are scared to go back to the gym. I have a home gym, so it's totally different. I might be maybe a little skeptical of going back into the gym. I understand that. So, I think that's a really cool trend that Peloton and companies like that have done. You connect and you join these online classes, and it gives you that sense of community.

We work with a lot of CrossFitters. And the cool thing about CrossFit is they just have this really tight knit community behind them. My mom had never worked out for her first 60 years of her life. And I said to her, "Mom, why don't you go try CrossFit? I'll buy you a membership at the gym." It's 20 minutes away. And she loved it, because she could go and she could socialize a little bit. Of course, this was before COVID. It's been a little tricky to get her back in there. But it's one of these things where you're going to get some lifting, and you're going to get a lot of cardio. If you're moderately interested in those things, it might be worth checking out.

What are you focused on as a parent to ensure your kids grow up motivated, happy, healthy, and adaptable?

So, I consider myself extremely, extremely fortunate, because my kids love to read. And I don't know if they got that from me. My son could read at age four. I mean, it was phenomenal. I can't take much credit for that. I wish that I could!

My wife was out of town and I took my kids to Target. I told them, "You can pick out whatever book you want." And I knew they would be excited by that, but also they can have a book, and they'll sit and read it for like an hour or maybe even longer. And I think that's probably the coolest thing that I could possibly hope for. My son almost has never really played video games and he's like nine. So, I'm just super fortunate about some of that stuff that they love to read.

Other than that, I try to just make sure that they're active a little bit.

So, the one thing that actually, so this goes back to the whole control thing, when COVID hit, I had them trained in jujutsu, just because I think it's such a good skill to learn, self-defense for life and it just builds confidence. It helps develop that discipline of just being a good person. If you're going to train jujutsu, chances are, you're probably a pretty good person, because if you're not, you're going to get choked out a lot at your gym or whatever. So, we made it a thing. We tried to train... No, I'm not going to say every single day, but we kept training. And I just want him to be active. And if they read beyond that, I think that's pretty good start.

Final question: what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

Read, every single day.


Resources / links mentioned:

🌱 Want more Nick Shaw? Check out the YouTube or podcast version for the full interview, including the Win the Day Rocket Round.

📙 Fit for Success by Nick Shaw.

📝 Renaissance Periodization on Facebook.

📷 Renaissance Periodization on Instagram.

🧭 Nick Shaw on Instagram.

⚡ Renaissance Periodization website.

📚 The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

🎖️ Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

“No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome to Win the Day with James Whittaker! If this is your first time here, we sit down with some of the world’s true legends to help you take ownership of your financial, physical and mental health.

And our guest today is the perfect intersection of those three areas.

Gabby Reece is a volleyball legend, an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, a mum, a wife, fitness coach, host of The Gabby Reece Show, and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s been featured on Dr Oz, The Today Show,  and the Joe Rogan podcast, and was the first female spokeswoman for Nike.

In September 2020, Gabby and her husband — big wave surfer Laird Hamilton — listed their plant-based food company Laird Superfood on the New York Stock Exchange, just five years after they launched it.

Gabby and Laird are also the founders of Extreme Performance Training (known as XPT), designed to stimulate growth in all aspects of human performance through exposure to a variety of natural elements and environments. Essentially, they kick your ass through breath optimization, functional movement, and recovery techniques like ice baths and hot saunas.

Like all of us, Gabby’s journey has had its ups and downs, which we’ll get into — but what I love most about her is her hunger to gain new perspectives, while keeping it real at the same time.

In this interview with Gabby, we’re going to talk about:

Let’s win the day with Gabby Reece!

James Whittaker:
Gabby, great to see you. Thanks for coming on the show.

Gabby Reece:
Thank you for coming to my house and hanging out with me!

You had situations when you were young that forced you to grow up very fast. When did you feel like you developed a growth mindset for the first time?

I don't know if that's ever a conscious thing. I'm always nervous when people make the conscious effort like, "I'm going to have a growth mindset." I think it's something that some people are born with, and then I think some people realize, "Hey, I'm going along, and this doesn't seem to be working. Maybe I could do that differently. That seems like a good reason."

For me, it was a survival reaction. It was scanning ahead to try to anticipate so that I could not only land someplace that I wanted to but that was going to be essential to my survival too. When you do that long enough, and then combine it with athletics – because the thing about athletics, your goal is to always improve. So why not take that focus of continuous improvement off the court and do that as a human being? Because we spend a lot more time away from athletics living as people.

We always say there's a difference between ‘winners’ and ‘champions’. I was always more interested in trying to continue to develop as a human being. Also, when you have the opportunity to express yourself – or have your life reflect you – you start to recognize, hopefully, that it's a gift. Then you want to participate in not only maintaining it, but then seeing if you can continue to expand that.

What helped you learn effectively when you were young? Was it the athletic pursuits that gave you that structure and a finish line to set your sights on? Or were there any books that helped in your journey, too?

A friend gave me Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when I was 15, and I was around adults who were not modeling certain things. I was looking for that structure, so I self-inflicted it. By nature, I have a little bit of a rigidity that I was born with. Then it got, I think, accentuated by my environment. Once I became involved in sports, I realized that progress is about systematizing certain things and having a practice. Everything is about practice. If you ask me now at this time of my life, I would say to people, "We have all the information. We just have to practice."

Everything is about practice.

All of those elements really helped me continue to do that, so you're also quick to understand, "What can I participate in, and what am I in control of?” and “I can't control that” or “I have to get up.” It's helped me pull the cord when I needed to and just move on. I think that you learn to do that quickly, too.

As you said, people usually know what they need to do. But it's that discipline, every single day, to just get it done.

Yes, but personal accountability and truthfulness are so important. One thing I did love about sports is I always felt really honest, and you couldn't hide. Let's say, for example, I was having a bad game, but my teammates are playing well. You would learn how to tuck in behind that. You could still come away winning even if you didn't perform well. But within that, you’re being honest with yourself and saying, "Hey, I didn't play my best” or “I didn't participate as much” or what have you.

It’s about always having that honest check in, "Maybe I don't feel like it” or “I want to be angry” or “I want to exercise my ego and let that person know I want to exert force.” It's just being that honest all the time in all the scenarios as much as you can.

That athletic background seems to be such a great foundation for people who are able to use those principles later in life. Obviously, you're still very actively involved in fitness and holistic health. Today, when you’re not training for a gold medal or a finish line, where does that motivation to get up and give it your best every single day come from?

My middle daughter who's 17, we talk about this a lot. In the last few years, I’ve really identified that there's a part of me who’s a very blue-collar person in certain ways. Also, I don't need to lose my health. I've had enough athletic surgeries and things like that. I don't need to lose my health to covet it and to understand – besides my family and my friends – that it is truly the greatest asset that I have. Houses and cars, I don't get distracted in that.

I don't need to lose my health to covet it.

The other thing I'm doing is I'm practicing. When people talk about gratitude, the best way I can show that, "Hey, I'm really grateful for my health," is to take care of it. That's ultimately what I'm doing.

The other side of that is it's a level of sanity. I mean, I am a better functioning organism if I can also take care of the physical avatar to the best of my ability. It's a law of the universe. It's the truth, and so I don't need to keep relearning that lesson. I know what the lesson is, and I'm just ahead with it.

How often do you define and redefine what success is to you personally? Are you always acutely aware of having a definition of what is important to you or what success looks like to you?

Absolutely. Well, there's parts where I'm already clear about what success is, like keeping my family in as much of a loving environment as possible. That's not always... I don't always do that myself. It's just not always practical. And being in a relationship where I'm here to serve the relationship, and hopefully, my husband's on the same page, because I can't make him do anything.

Then there’s my physical health, as well as continuous environments to continue to learn and improve, be it in really small ways. I know at my core if it feels successful to me. Then I enjoy setting new external goals, such as in business. In 2020, for example, like you stated earlier, “We're going to run this over the goal line and take this company public” which, to be clear, was after having many failures. So, I think you've got your foundation that you're always going to stick to, and then you're expanding in your external goals of what success is.

Actually, the big thing for me is figuring out how I can strip everything down and keep simplifying as I get older. Let's say our businesses are growing and expanding, but even within that, how do I simplify and keep simplifying, because the thing I'm really drawn to is that essentialism. It’s not about parties and boats and stuff. Drilling down to simplify, that’s always part of it.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Gabby Reece does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about her favorite quote, what advice she’d give her 18-year-old self, the one thing on her bucket list, and a whole lot more 🚀


You’re at a time of your life now where you’ve got many options and different things to do. It sounds like that focus and simplicity can help you move forward effectively, rather than get distracted and ultimately be ineffective in a whole bunch of different areas.

I’m really happy you brought up the failures you’ve had too, because people from the outside looking in might think, “Gabby Reece has this perfect life,” but of course, we all have these struggles behind the scenes. Your entire life has been about peak performance, physical fitness, and mental health. What have you incorporated into your daily routine today as a result of a lifetime of that pursuit?

First, it's the easy practice of going to bed early. Listen, let's be really clear about something. I have a built-in person in my home who also makes this a lot easier, because he's even more disciplined than I am. It's obnoxious, but he is in a pursuit.

Of course, we all know it, but food is the thing. It's the medicine that can put you in an energetic mood or it can put you in a funk. With exercise, it's about consistency, so I'll do pool training or land training, but there's plenty of days I don't actually have time to train. I just try to support my wellbeing through these other practices – good sleep, good relationships, and clear communication.

A big thing is, I avoid drama. I don't move towards things that I know piss me off. If I see a scenario personally or with friends, and it's not for me to work out, I just stay away. I think it's all of these things. Having a practice also goes back to keeping it simple, where I'm trying to not onload extra crap. I'm trying to figure out how to offload, rather than, "Can you believe they said that?" It's like, "They said it. I didn't like it. Why would I continue to repeat that and keep that story going, versus finding the place within me to work it out?"

I don't move towards things that I know piss me off.

That’s the other great thing. I can say, "Hey, I want to talk about something that really pissed me off and got me going today," even in that bratty way, where I responded with my ego and just totally identify it and then let it go. It’s about having these practices where you know yourself and you can move towards the place that you say you want to be. That all comes from practice.

There’s so much to unpack in all that. I love that it's more a pursuit of simplicity and the lifestyle that you want to live – a lifestyle that gives you energy – rather than it being the summit of some type of mountain or an achievement over the horizon.

Given how focused you are on the health / fitness side, what's an average menu look like in the Gabby Reece household!?

It's just anything with real food. You just heard my daughter complain, "There's no snacks!" Of course, there's weird funky food, because I don't want to make this an issue for my kids. This is our lifestyle. They will make their choices.

However, when we make dinner, it's high-quality animal protein, just a little bit, which usually means humanely killed, and vegetables. It's just real food; it's really not complicated. I try to be careful about what oils we eat, so I stay towards coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil, and also try to find the good stuff, because even a lot of olive oils have sunflower and safflower oil to make it more affordable. Our health is important to us so we aim for high quality ingredients.

People have to realize a lot of the reason, other than emotional reasons, that we overeat is because we're not getting the nutrients that we need – the macronutrients, the micronutrients, the good fats – so we overeat. If we’re eating food that doesn't have nutritional stuff in it, our body will be like, "Well, I'm not full, so I need to keep eating." What people have to realize too is that if you eat a lot of the good stuff, because it is more costly, and I'm sensitive to that, is you do need less of it.

If you're eating for other reasons besides being hungry, it's also taking a look at why that is. When I have stress in my life, believe me – we were talking earlier about your chocolate that you love [here it is if you’re interested; be warned ... it's addictive!] – I'm looking for it. I'm looking to medicate, right? I think it's always about being aware of those relationships, and then be like, "You know what, I am eating this chip because I hate everyone in my house right now!” But at least I know why I'm eating. I'm not doing it mindlessly, and it’s not all the time.

For me, I usually skip breakfast. I have a very big coffee, with tons of fat. I train. I might eat my biggest meal at lunch, depending on how I'm feeling. If I'm very active, I will eat two decent-sized meals at lunch and dinner. If I'm medium active, lunch usually gets to be the big one, maybe not dinner at all, or maybe something light, and that's it. Again, it's not really complicated, very simple things, very few ingredients.

Have you got the kids to work in the kitchen yet!?

Yes, my older two daughters are great cooks! Laird has other things that are his strong suit, so this one is more in my lane. It's the common joke of, "What's for dinner?" But that's the thing you realize, too, is that you have to model to your kids what they should be eating to be healthy. It's food and fun, and they always come back to it.

As teenagers, they want to eat weird non-food, and you just have to let them. Let them. You don't have to stock it in the house, but if they go and eat whatever, let them, and then they're always going to come back to the real food because also they feel better, and they know it. The funny thing is we don't have a microwave oven in our home, so you have to make the effort.

Yeah, so you probably enjoy it more too.

Yeah, and I think getting away from that convenience. I think we need to cherish ourselves enough, even if it takes a few minutes to notice what we're eating and how to prepare it. I just think that that's an important thing.

You've done so much in your life and are still doing so much. How do you balance that hunger for future achievements with happiness and peace in the present?

One great thing about accomplishment is that you realize it isn’t the answer. Accomplishment is just a marker that you had an instinct about something, or a passion for something, and the accomplishment is a validation. I even look at money that way. It's just an indication like, "Oh, that worked out, right?" You realize that it's unsustainable, so if you don't have a relationship with having a sense of fulfillment and connection with the people in your life, and a real life, you're going to be looking and chasing those external accomplishments forever.

You can be a champion one day, but the next day there’s someone else. For me, it's saying, "Hey, I'm going to pursue things that I believe in; that I'm willing to wake up for when it sucks, and that I feel proud to be connected with, whether it’s a message or a product.” It’s about doing it for real reasons, and, yes, being strategic about it – sometimes to a point that you can’t even see.

It seems disingenuous, but I've gotten good enough at certain things that it's blurred. It's all very genuine and authentic. But believe me, it's very strategic. It doesn't mean I'm lying. It just means I've learned how to put it all together. It's that pursuit for that challenge, because I need to keep myself busy and occupied, but that it's always having a level of feeling about myself, and my value has to be based on me. It can’t be based on this week’s success and opportunity, because next week might suck and there might be no opportunity, and you'll die with that attitude.

What in life gives you the most peace? And what advice do you have for others who feel that life is a bit too hectic?

That's the thing. It's on us, and it's nothing from the external. Anytime I take myself really seriously, I quickly realize I'm a grain of sand. I think when you can always have this perspective, you get a more realistic look at things and your responses to things.

Laird says it all the time that you can't put your happiness in other people's hands. That's why I train. That's why I try to go to bed early, so I feel good. That's why I'm trying to be as kind and loving in my relationships as I can be, because that's all I'm in charge of.

I'm going to pursue things that I believe in; that I'm willing to wake up for when it sucks, and that I feel proud to be connected with.

If there's something that I need to do, or I need an external validation, then I need to take a look at that, because that's my ego. Listen, ego is important. You need it to go, but you can’t let it drive the vehicle. I think if people are feeling restless, you need to survey all the corners of your life, starting with your relationship with yourself and your health, then go from there to those most intimate relationships.

Then, look at your work. If you fricking hate your job, what is the strategy to find the next thing? Don't be an idiot. Don't just be like, "I'm out of here." It's like, "Okay, wait a second. What’s the plan I can create to get me where I want to be?” I have a friend, Neil Strauss, who said it’s like being on parallel trains. It's never going to be easy to make change, but if you're really doing something that you absolutely can't stand, figure it out.

Yeah, and get on the front foot. Any plan is better than a prayer, rather than thinking that a lightning bolt is going to hit you and all of a sudden you’re going to be happy in a role you’ve hated for 40 years.

I am of the belief of always focusing, and I don't always do it. I'm just of the belief, but it's part of my practice. It's not about what I don't want. It's about continuing to focus and look at, "What do I want? What am I interested and working really hard at?" Just the pursuit would be a success, right, because we cannot control outcome. I think that's a really important thing if the energy is about, "Where am I going? What do I want? Who do I want to be with? Who do I want to be?" Rather than, "Well, I don't want to do that. I don't want to fail. I can't stand my..."

Be clear on what you want and put your energy into that. It means also that you have to be a grown up, and everything you do, everything you say, everything you eat, everything that you read, unless it's guilty pleasures, needs to support that thing that you say you want. If they're in conflict, it's never going to happen.

You mentioned people feeling restless. We know that 2020 has been a year of massive transition for the entire world. How did your life change in 2020?

Obviously with the kids being around, and we haven't traveled that much, I'm going to say that we're really on the good end of this as far as we live in a place with space, because we're entrepreneurs. We've always worked from home. Now, we don't fly to meetings; we're on Zoom like everyone else.

I stopped watching the news many, many months ago. Energetically, I feel that there's a weird divisiveness going on. It's stating the obvious, but what I really want to do is keep focusing on participating in the energy of being calm and loving, because I think that there are forces right now that are trying to make us all feel like we don't trust each other and that we don't love each other. We can't come to some mutual agreement, even when we don't agree. See, that's the thing. We're in a democracy, so we have to figure out how to work it out.

Yes, there are certainly a lot of companies and individuals who benefit from division.

I don't want to participate in that game. I recognize that I can't get to the bottom of a lot of things. I won't know what the truth is, and so rather than being all perplexed or stressed out about it, I am going to be like, "Well, what do I want to be?" I just practice that and fortify myself.

Be clear on what you want and put your energy into that.

Going back to COVID, we've been really fortunate. It has made me look at how the world shifted quickly in business and in technology, so that was an interesting thing. You're always adapting and adjusting. Because I am older, these certain things are not intuitive, so if you're talking about business, it's really paying attention to where's the soul heading, and finding the right people to get informed by or who to work with, because you can't possibly adjust as quickly as it's adjusted.

Another thing, if I talk about my business, there are opportunities to think, "Oh, I'm going to evaluate this because there’s an area where I probably need to brush up on and get re-educated."

This year, 2021, continues to be really interesting for the world. There are a lot of people who are having a pity party and feeling sorry for themselves, but if there's one thing I do know about success, it's that how you respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes is what separates ordinary people from extraordinary achievers. What's the biggest adversity that you have faced that you have been able to identify an equivalent benefit from?

Like I said, I've had failed businesses, but nothing really is that apparent. You think, "Oh, I'm going to show up the best way that I can, and I'm going to do the very best I can, and really be alert and try to do all these things." But what happens is inevitably, your children or child – and every kid’s different – will say to you, "Oh, by the way, that thing you were doing for five years, I hated that, and that was the worst for me. I was actually quietly suffering over here, and you didn't even notice."

Business failure, it's only going to come in so deep on me. But my family and especially parenting, what you learn is you can crawl up in a ball. You can say, "Well, this is how I do it, so when you get out in your life, you'll do it your way." There are certain things that are true to that, like how clean you keep your house.

But when you're talking about the emotional stuff, what you actually have to do as a parent is so fricking uncomfortable, because you have to say, "Alright, I'm going to take a look at that, and maybe I need to make a change." That's a change when you're 100% well intended, and it’s really important for people to know that you can be in a relationship, or you can be a parent, and you have the best intentions in the world, and still be wrong. Even within that, you have to take a look at it, because usually, we say, "I'm well intended. I'm here, and that should be enough." But that's sometimes not the case. Those have been the most difficult changes for me, especially when a lot of that stuff worked in my life.

I wanted to bring up parenting with you because one of the things I love about you is that you never romanticize parenting, relationships, or anything like that. You always keep it very real. What is the biggest fear you have for your children as they grow up?

For example, having a 20-month-old daughter, my biggest fear for her is that one day she's going to wake up and realize that the world is a very big, dark, scary place. How I gently usher her in to be resilient enough to handle that is something I think about every day, and will constantly be on my mind as she gets older. What's the biggest fear you have for your children?

My kids are a little more formed because they’re aged 12, 17 and 25, so you get a sense of them. It's hard when they're 20 months old. I have a lot of confidence in who they will be and who they are as people, even though it can be a bumpy ride. It's like having a vehicle where you're on a really radical road, but you're like, "No, the tires are going to stay on. We'll make it."

Technology is really interesting. Before, I'd be like, "Oh, I hope they have a job, and they find someone they love and who loves them back." Now, I just hope that they survive technology. That they have the ability to connect, to focus, to not compare, and also their relationship to the environment.

Worrying about it probably doesn't do any good, so I just continue to have those conversations with them. I apologize when I blow it. If I don't understand, I tell them, "I don't really understand." That's another thing. When I said to my parents, "You don't understand," my parents better understood what I was going through than what I understand about what my kids are going through, because they're growing up with devices. I don't understand, and so I've really said, "Okay, I'm going to look at it." I don't use the metrics of how I grew up in the '80s to what they're going through today.

By the way, yeah, we work hard at it. The Gordon Gekko type style, that attitude doesn't work. It's also having some malleability. In certain ways, I feel like, "Oh, they're all soft and a bunch of complainers," but the way we did it didn't work, so let's see what happens.

Sure. This generation cops a bad rap for not being as tough as the previous generations. In many ways, I feel like it would be extremely tough to grow up today, where every single thing that you write or every picture that you send is out there in the public domain, and you never know when something like that is going to come back to haunt you.

Think about their ability, their emotional awareness. Sometimes for me, it goes too far. For example, when people say, "Oh, the way you're talking offends me." It's like, "Stop it. Figure out how to protect yourself." However, within that middle, somewhere in there, there's an opportunity to really have better conversations, so I think we can learn from them, of course.

I worry about technology. I worry that our humanity and technology and biology is not how we can find that harmony, because technology also is such a valuable industry, and what they monetize on is often not what supports humanity and our biology. How then do we figure that out?

Where do you interject between that freedom of letting your children experience life – which is, probably, the best teacher, if they can go through these experiences themselves – versus having that feeling deep down that they are going down a wrong route, whether it's spending too much money that they don't have on a credit card, or hanging around people who might not have their best interests at heart?

Well, the people thing is, it's their journey. I mean, obviously, if it's really radical, you'd step in. I would send Laird, quite frankly. My kids are pretty tough, so it's more about trying to get them to self-regulate.  Somebody corrected me once. I said it’s about getting them to self-control themselves, and I had a woman named Dr. Sarah Sarkis go, "A better expression is self-regulate, because control has a whole other set of things, right?"

For me, it's just about, "Here's the world, and these are some things you have to look out for. And trust your instincts. Don't lose those."

Get your kids to do all the weird stuff when they're living at home.

One of my daughters was really interested in being with a bunch of popular girls. Well, let me tell you, when she made a mistake, they were gone. That's an uncomfortable lesson, but it was also like, "That's a reflection of who you were being."

And without using, "I told you so," because you can't do that. I don't think you can protect them too much; I don't think that's a good idea. Also, I would say to people, get your kids to do all the weird stuff when they're living at home. Hopefully, don't send them into the world unprepared and then you're not really there to help them out. At least if they fall in their face, which we all do, you can be around.

You and Laird do such a great job of being supportive of each other's individual dreams. How do you retain that shared bond as a couple, while giving yourself the freedom to be yourself and do what you got to do in the world?

Well, Laird certainly more than I am, but Laird is really not to be contained as a person. Laird's here because he chooses to be here. When I met Laird, he was obviously surfing. That is a part of who Laird is, so if you want to be with Laird, it be a good idea to support that.

Also, I benefit so greatly from who Laird is because of that pursuit – his rawness, his presence, his capacity, all the things that he's quite talented at – I reap the benefits of that pursuit. And it's a pursuit I admire, "Oh, you want to go into nature and challenge yourself? I can support that." It's not like, "Hey, I want to smash this company and take this one over." It's pretty pure. Both of us came into it as individual people, so what we've decided is that there's parts in here that we would like to be together.

Couples make a huge mistake where all of a sudden they start trying to change the other person. I think it's more natural for women to do this, because we're mothers, so we mother everybody. It's really important, I believe, for us to all adapt and change. Let's say I'm in a conversation with Laird, and I make a reasonable point about wanting maybe something, and it seems reasonable to him, then make the change. But I'm not there to be Laird’s mom. I'm Laird's partner. When I understood that really clearly, that was made very clear by Laird, it liberated me from having that approach.

Also, if I don't defend my real estate as a wife and a mother, I'm going to be really pissed when this is all over, and they don't talk to you about that, but I knew that going in. I would always encourage, especially women who are pursuing business, you have to find a way to defend your real estate because your kids aren't going to say, "Mom, I'm going to take less of your time. Mom, you know what, you look tired. I'll tell you what, I'll unload the dishwasher." They're just not going to do that. That's not their job, and your partner isn't typically going to make it really clear, right?

Couples make a huge mistake where all of a sudden they start trying to change the other person.

Women have a tendency, not all, there's always exceptions, to anticipate everybody. Like, "Oh, he needs to go on a little adventure. Look at him. He's so domesticated and restless. Oh, the kids look like they haven't gone outside enough," but really, as a female, I think that's important to defend that for yourself. That sounds selfish and harsh, but I think it's realistic. I've been doing this for 25 years, and it seems to be what I see over and over.

The idea would be join the relationship to enhance. Come with the objective to enhance the situation and enhance your partner's life. Hopefully, your partner is on the same page. If after a while, they're not, that's on them, and that's on you to decide what you want to do. Then it is your responsibility to care for your own personal voice.

It changes when you have a little baby. I used to say you blow on the fire. Just try to keep the fire alive a little. As they get older and they're more independent, you can let the flame blaze up again. Again, it's assessing, checking in, noticing, and seeing when things start getting out of whack.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Gabby Reece does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about her favorite quote, what advice she’d give her 18-year-old self, the one thing on her bucket list, and a whole lot more 🚀


Yeah, and staying true to yourself. If your partner is about to have some freedom individually but you're pissed off at each other, they can’t enjoy their time away, and when they come back you still hate each other. Therefore, the time away never accomplished what it needed to.

Laird jokes that we’re in the Cold War, him and I, because we have a very peaceful relationship. There’s a lot we don’t do. We don't do fighting or bickering or whatever. Really, it's probably because we're both too mean, so we don't even know.

Also, let's say he's in a bad mood, I am way more effective. I don't go, "Why are you in a bad mood?" I elevate my behavior, and sure enough, it pulls him up. Same with me. If I'm down and out and funky, and I watch Laird, and he's staying in his best self, I'm reminded like, "Oh, that's the standard. That's what we're doing.” We're not going to make anybody do anything. The idea of being in relationship where you don't want to try to make it better for your partner, at some point, it's like, "Why bother?"

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I show up every day to do my best and create value. If it requires 20, I'll always do 22.

And I try really hard to not allow my ego to be in charge. I save myself a lot of hassle when I can just look at things reasonably, process them, and make decisions from that attitude — be it in business or personal. It seems to be more effective in the long run.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🎧 The Gabby Reece Show.

😋 Laird Superfood (I start every morning with an espresso shot and a tablespoon of Laird Superfood Creamer).

💪 XPT Extreme Performance Training.

📝 Gabrielle Reece on Facebook.

📷 Gabby Reece on Instagram.

⚡ Gabrielle Reece website.

📙 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

“No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome to Win the Day with James Whittaker! If this is your first time here, we sit down with some of the world’s true legends to help you take ownership of your financial, physical and mental health.

And our guest today is the perfect intersection of those three areas.

Gabby Reece is a volleyball legend, an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, a mum, a wife, fitness coach, host of The Gabby Reece Show, and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s been featured on Dr Oz, The Today Show,  and the Joe Rogan podcast, and was the first female spokeswoman for Nike.

In September 2020, Gabby and her husband — big wave surfer Laird Hamilton — listed their plant-based food company Laird Superfood on the New York Stock Exchange, just five years after they launched it.

Gabby and Laird are also the founders of Extreme Performance Training (known as XPT), designed to stimulate growth in all aspects of human performance through exposure to a variety of natural elements and environments. Essentially, they kick your ass through breath optimization, functional movement, and recovery techniques like ice baths and hot saunas.

Like all of us, Gabby’s journey has had its ups and downs, which we’ll get into — but what I love most about her is her hunger to gain new perspectives, while keeping it real at the same time.

In this interview with Gabby, we’re going to talk about:

Let’s win the day with Gabby Reece!

 🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🎧 The Gabby Reece Show.

😋 Laird Superfood (I start every morning with an espresso shot and a tablespoon of Laird Superfood Creamer).

💪 XPT Extreme Performance Training.

📝 Gabrielle Reece on Facebook.

📷 Gabby Reece on Instagram.

⚡ Gabrielle Reece website.

📙 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

💚 Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join us at We Are Podcast.

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