Be honest, how often do you say “no” to things you don’t want to do?
We’re conditioned to sit in desks, be quiet, raise our hands and ask permission to go to the bathroom, and follow the rules.
Do what you’re told and never stray from the herd. Get a job, bite your tongue, pay your taxes and behave.
But as the years chug along, saying “no” becomes a superpower.
Try it now, it feels good. “NO.”
Joining us on the show is Bobby Maximus a former UFC fighter and Toronto police officer, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario with a double major in Psychology and English.
We’re chatting about:
- The power of writing it down
- The importance of saying “no”
- Why we become too dependent on exercise equipment
- How to manage your governor without blowing your knee
- The problem with toxic masculinity on the internet
- And tons more…
Let’s hang with Bobby.
Bobby Maximus: The Benefits Of Self Imposed Limitations
Abel: Alright folks, Bobby Maximus is a best-selling author, former UFC fighter, and a devoted family man.
Bobby has been featured in numerous workout publications, conducted many seminars, and worked with Tier One assets and special forces groups within the U.S. military.
Today, he’s here to take away all of your excuses.
Bobby, thank you so much for being with us.
Yeah, thank you for having me on the show. I really appreciate it.
Abel: I’ve got to admit, I was reading your book yesterday, and I didn’t get the whole way through it, because I got up and went for a long, hard run through the mountains.
It was awesome. I was so pumped up just going through it. Because, like I was saying, you take away the excuses.
Why don’t we start right there, because if someone tells you they don’t have enough time for health, you have a nice little process you put them through.
Well, for sure. What I do is I give people a time audit.
And it’s actually interesting because one of the biggest platforms that I teach on, I say the gym is just a microcosm for the rest of life.
The things that you learn in the gym and the problems you encounter within the four gym walls, they’re relatable to your marriage, your business. If you’re a doctor, to your practice, if you will.
It’s all the same stuff. It’s the same toolkit. It’s the same process you’re going to go through to solve problems.
And in various aspects of life, the excuse of, “I don’t have enough time,” always comes up.
“I don’t have enough time to go to my kid’s recital.”
“I don’t have enough time to do accounting at my business.”
I know you said that you have a large listenership of doctors and health professionals, so, “I don’t have enough time for follow-up, for patient care, or I don’t have enough time to train.”
It’s all the same problem.
And what I do, is put people through this thing I call a time audit.
I start with 168 hours because that’s the amount of time in a week.
From there I start subtracting the things that you have to do or that you have to commit time to.
So the first one is sleep, because if you don’t sleep, you can’t survive the day and you can’t be at your best.
So I tell people, “Do you have time for eight hours of sleep a night?”
And it’s funny because the first thing they say is, “I don’t have time for that.”
And I’m like, “Okay, listen, so you get the point of the exercise then.”
But I’m going to let you sleep 10 hours a night. So there’s 70 hours, you have 98 hours left.
And then I take off work.
And most people, it’s really funny today, there seems to be a glorification of the idea that people work 60 hours a week or 70 hours a week. Like the more you work, the more you grind, the better of a human being you are.
But a lot of people don’t realize it’s 60 hours a week, that’s 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday to Friday.
Not many people pull that kind of schedule unless you’re on Wall Street.
So I give people a 60-hour work week, there’s 38 hours left. What else are you doing with your time? 38 hours is a lot of time.
Abel: That’s a lot of time.
And people will start saying, “Well, I have to go grocery shopping.”
Okay, I’ll give you two hours for grocery shopping. So now you’re down to 36 hours left.
“Well, I gotta hang out with my kids.”
I’ll give you 21 hours for that.
And they’re like, “That doesn’t seem like a lot of time.”
So I ask them, 21 hours is 3 hours a day, 7 days a week of hanging out with your family—no cell phones, no TV, no outside distractions. When is the last time in your life that you did that?
And they’re like, “Never, like I’ve never done that.”
Okay, so you still have 15 hours left, what are you doing with all your time?
And the reality is, everybody has time, everybody can make time.
And what’s funny, and it’s not unique to any one. The people that say they don’t have time for one thing, but something that they value more comes up and they can sure make time for that.
Abel: Well, you were just saying 15 hours left, that’s two hours a day.
One of the things that I want to do is upgrade my musicianship, because I got to play out in my undergrad, but I never got to go to graduate school. I would have loved to do that.
So I wrote it down, these are the goals and the skills I want to work on for the next few months.
And I signed up for Jazz piano lessons, and every morning I wake up and play for an hour.
I’ve been doing that for like three months now, and I can tell it’s happening.
But one thing that I love about your book is how you just quantify it, it’s like 130 hours.
Can you explain that example in your book?
Yeah, the 130-hour rule—I honestly needed something catchy to sell the book. I needed something catchy to sell my fitness program.
And 20 years ago, I actually worked in a Globo gym. Have you ever seen the movie Dodgeball? The Globo Gym Cobras?
Globo Gym is my word for a big box lifetime 24/7 fitness studio.
And when I was working there, I came up with this 130-hour number, and where that came from, is I believe that I can get anyone on the planet to a really high level of fitness if they work out with me 5 days a week for 1 hour for 6 months.
That’s the equivalent of 130 hours.
But when you’re trying to sell a book and you’re like, “Six months every day for… ” It’s not sexy.
130 hours makes you sound like you can get it in under a week.
Abel: Well, really, I haven’t thought about it that way, most people don’t really think about it, because that’s pretty simple.
Even waking up for me now that I built that habit, it’s like, oh, I make some coffee, and then I go and play, and sometimes I’ll just practice scales for an hour.
Let me ask you a question in that regard, because I always try to put something back in somebody’s arena. What instrument do you play?
Abel: I mostly play guitar and sing, and little bit of woodwinds.
Okay, so you play the guitar. I’ve never played the guitar in my life, I want to start that conversation by saying that.
If I got a really good coach, a guitar teacher, I don’t know, Jeff Healey, Eddie Van Halen, Adam Jones. I don’t know who the person is, but to teach me and I really poured my heart and soul into it for an hour a day for 6 months, I bet in 6 months I’d be pretty good.
Abel: You’d be pretty good. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter if you call yourself tone deaf or anything, if you put in the work, it’ll happen.
Yeah, for some people it will happen differently, maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse. But complex is not better.
Some people do some things that are very simple, very well.
Abel: To bring it back to the physicality and working out and working on your health.
There are different body types. Some people are going to be a lot better at doing the bench press. Other people can run really far, other people can run really fast.
Absolutely, but an hour of quality time a day, and that’s the key, it’s quality time.
This 130 hours has to be quality time.
I really believe if I spend an hour learning to cook under a really good cooking teacher or chef, if I learn to play guitar, if I do computer programming an hour of really good solid practice and I’m not on my cell phone, not distracted by the TV.If I'm really zoning in that hour a day, I think in 6 months I could do some pretty incredible things. @BobbyMaximus Click To Tweet
And the human body’s not any different.
The reason people don’t think it’s possible is because they’ve never put in a quality hour in their life. Let alone six months of quality hours.
Abel: Yeah, and the 10,000 hour rule is something that became a cliche years ago, but a lot of people are familiar with that.
You kind of become expert level in something if you just put in the 10,000 quality hours.
But if you just put in the 130 hours…
You’ll be good.
Abel: Whatever instrument it is—if you did that with guitar, for example, you would be indistinguishable in a lot of ways for just the average lay person who’s listening and has never played any instrument, from someone who has been playing for those 10,000 hours.
Yeah, you could probably tell a difference, but you don’t keep going up in a linear way.
Abel: It’s exponential, absolutely.
And the other thing, too, is people forget with the 10,000 hours, that’s for an expert.
Let’s understand that that’s not a relative term.
If you were to take an expert in the field of guitar, you’re talking a handful of 10 people on the planet.
If you’re saying an expert in the world of fitness—this comes up all the time in fitness—what’s your definition of fitness?
Like, great, you can bench press your bodyweight, you’re not that fit.
When you realize what the upper limit of human potential is, it’s insane how good people can get at stuff.
So yeah, you’re right. 10,000 hours, that’s how you get to the upper limit of human potential.
Like that book that came from, I think it’s Malcolm Gladwell Outliers—we’re talking about people like Wayne Gretzky and I don’t know if the listeners realize who Wayne Gretzky is.
But it is like as if God said one day, “I’m bored, I want to make the greatest hockey player ever.” And just unleashed him on the planet.
It’s not like you’re talking to a guy that’s kind of good at hockey. This is a guy that when he was playing was scoring 97 goals a year, and getting 215 points.
Guys are lucky to score 40 goals right now and get 100 points. He’s like an alien.
That’s the 10,000 hour guy. It’s not you.
Abel: Right. And a lot tougher to fit into a calendar.
I think people use it as an excuse for like, “Well, I’ll never learn to play piano. I don’t have the time for it.”
Whereas, everyone has some form of 15 hours a week to do something with, that’s under their control.
So make a little list. This is another thing you mention all the time, “write it down.”
It becomes real, it does something to you, so write down what you want to build in yourself.
But it also means admitting to yourself that you’re not perfect and whole right now, and that’s a big step for a lot of people.
But when it comes to fitness, you don’t need to be.
One of the questions I always ask people when they’re trying to get to a certain level of fitness is like, do you get paid for your level of fitness?
Are you a professional athlete? And if you’re not, you can settle, to a degree, for a very high level of fitness and be fitter than you’ll ever need to be in an hour a day, 5 days a week.
But we suffer from this thing where, “I want to be the best in the world.”
But that’s not going to happen unless you’re going to devote your whole life to it.
Abel: And what does that even mean? Can Kobe or Michael Jordan say that? Can Wayne Gretzky even say that to himself?
Well, you can’t, because fitness is relative.
If anyone asks me, “Bobby, do you think you’re fit?”
My answer is always, “Fit for what?” Or, “Fit compared to who?”
Because I’m really fit if we’re lifting weights in a gym. I’m really fit if you want to get in a fight because I used to be a professional fighter.
To run a marathon? I could finish one, but am I fit? I’m not running a 2:01 or a 2:03, I’m probably not even running a sub-three, which isn’t that great.
That doesn’t even qualify me for any kind of championship.
That’s a local guy and I live in Salt Lake City. That’s like a local guy doing a sub-three and I can’t do that. When you look at what fitness is.
So it’s a completely relative term, and that works the other way, too.
Where you can be really fit. You can be the Iron Man world champion, but you can’t carry a suitcase up a flight of stairs.
It’s a real thing. So it just depends what your definition is.
Abel: Yeah, and you need to choose. What do I want to be fit for?
Well, yeah, to a degree for most people it falls into the category of looking good naked. That’s the joke term that I use.
But when you ask, “What are your fitness goals?”
“Oh, I’d like to have some abs. I’d like bigger arms. I’d like to look good in my suit, my buddy’s getting married, I’m standing in the wedding in six weeks. I’d like to put on a bit of muscle.”
Great, I mean that’s pretty easy to accomplish. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.
I don’t get many people that call me up and say, “Hey Bobby, I want to run a sub-two-hour marathon.”
I’ve never taken that call from a person.
Abel: Nobody would hire you anyway, you’re too slow.
I’m too slow and too big.
The person that says, “I want to win the world Iron Man championship”, the person that says, “I want to win World Strongest Man,” you don’t get those calls.
Abel: Yeah. But also you don’t have to necessarily specialize. I consider myself, hopefully, somewhat cross-trained.
I went for a run, but I also lift at least once a week and do smaller kind of mini body weight exercises throughout the week.
And I want to stay fit enough to go out and hike or run almost a marathon if I wanted to. Not for time, but more just because it feels like something that I want to do intuitively.
You have to follow that energy somehow.
Yeah, the way I explain that to people is I always say, “Specificity has a cost.”
If you want to specialize in a field, there’s a cost. And I always use the medical profession to explain this to people.
You talk to a lot of doctors, right?
Have you ever met anyone that’s a pediatric neurosurgeon, cardiac surgeon and an orthopedic surgeon?
Abel: I don’t think so.
No, the first example I’m very specific about it. Pediatric neurosurgery—there is a division of neurosurgery that’s only for pediatrics.
So a good friend of mine, Dr Doug Brockmeyer, he’s one of the leading experts in the world for pediatric neurosurgery. He doesn’t deal with adults, he deals with kids, that’s his specialty.
I deal with a guy who’s one of the better orthopedic surgeons in the world and he does knees and shoulders. That’s it.
If I’m like, “Hey, I got an elbow problem.”
He’s like, “Well, I’m going to refer you to this person.”
“You’re one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the world.”
He’s like, “Yeah, for knees and shoulders.”
So you can have a general practitioner who knows a little bit about fevers, knows a little bit about cancer, knows a little bit about the brain, but that guy’s never doing a surgery.
And he has to send you to a specialist if you have a problem.
Abel: So, how do you get ready for a UFC fight when the goal is to win the fight?
How do you define that, and what do you study, what do you train?
The biggest thing about fighting that people, I think, misunderstand about any sport, you’re not in a fitness contest. You’re in a fight. It’s a skill.
You can make the argument, that the fat out-of-shape black belt or karate expert will beat up the most fit person in the world who’s never thrown a punch.
That’s absolutely true.
So what people forget is it’s not a fitness contest.
Now, does fitness play a role? Yeah, when everybody’s skilled.
But skill level is the single most important factor.
So when you look at a good training program for fighting, you better learn to love boxing, you better learn to love wrestling, you better learn to love some form of submission grappling like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. And the fitness kind of comes second.
By the way, while you’re practicing those skills, you should be getting more fit because they are physical skills.
Like for you, if you’re playing guitar, you’re not going to get more fit playing guitar. They don’t go hand-in-hand.
But if you want to learn how to box with me, there’s a certain fitness component underlying learning that skill.
Abel: Yeah, and to the point that we were talking about earlier, if you’re a great wrestler but you’re kind of bad at boxing, you’re going to get a lot more benefit probably from going at that weakness, trying to develop that up to some sort of sense of, “Ok, I can box now.”
And then that starts informing the wrestling, right?
Well, and what you said earlier about doing the 130 hours—you get a certain level of good, and if you do 10,000 hours you get a certain level of good, but it’s not a linear.
Abel: It drops off, yeah.
It’s not a linear projection, it’s more like it curves out at some point.
There’s an interesting book I was reading and I can’t remember what it is right now, but it was saying that once you’re at 90% of your potential, to get 2% more, you have to take everything you’ve done in your life and double it.
Which is insane. So you’re talking like when you’re already that skilled, to get 2% better, the amount of work you have to do is incredible.
Whereas, if you’ve never done anything before, you’re going to improve rapidly at the start.
Abel: Yeah. And that’s something that people should be encouraged about. Because the hardest part for a lot of folks is kind of getting back in shape, taking that, going the first time, getting that momentum.
I always joke that I hate beginners. On my podcast, Maximus Podcast, I talk about this. We had a whole episode on haters.
When it comes to new people in the gym, I’m a hater and it comes from my jealousy because these people hit personal bests every day.
Like every day is the best day ever in the gym because you’re lifting more and you’re running faster and you’re losing weight and you’re getting more ripped, and it’s like a party everyday.For me, if I sleep wrong one night I go backwards. @BobbyMaximus #training #gym Click To Tweet
So, I get jealous of my new people because it’s an amazing experience getting in shape. I’m just trying to stay on the bus.
Abel: Yeah. So how do you stick with it? Especially we were just talking before we started recording, about you, you’re doing some recovery right now.
And how do you maintain performance as you age? Let’s get into that.
Yeah, a big one—for people that can’t see what we were talking about—I’m in this set of boots called NormaTec recovery boots, and they run air pressure through your legs.
So, essentially, it helps with circulation. It’s a massage.
The pressure helps your legs regenerate—without drilling down into all the minutiae of the scientific detail, but they really work and they’re great.
And I’m sitting in them as we do this podcast, because to be Bobby Maximus and to stay on the bus at 40 years old and be one of the best in the world at what I do, I have to devote more time to recovery outside of the actual training.
So not much has changed since I’ve been 20, in terms of my physical output. I can do everything I did when I was 20.
But what I can’t do, is only get four hours of sleep a night, what I can’t do is miss a sauna session. A sauna session for me is as essential to my level of fitness now as the actual workout.
Sitting in these boots is as important as the workout I did this morning.
Abel: And what happens if you don’t do those things?
I can’t do the work in the gym. I fall apart.
So for example, if you were to quantify this, normally, I can deadlift over 600 pounds.
If I’m not in the sauna, not in the boots, not getting 8 hours of sleep a night, there are days I struggle to pick up 500 or 515.
I mean, that’s a 20% decrease, if you look at it. And I’m just sticking to the deadlift because it’s easy to quantify, but that’s true across all fronts.
Like my rowing times, my running times, my jumping ability, there are days that I go into the gym and I feel absolutely just hammered, like I have nothing in the tank.
And I’ll take a second and I’ll think, “Well, what’s been going on?”
“Yep, I only got 7 hours of sleep last night and the night before, I didn’t eat quite enough calories, and I wasn’t in the sauna or the boots.”
And it is always the same thing, the body starts to fall apart.
So as you get older, you just need to take care of yourself better.
Abel: What about managing your own personal best or what goals you’re aiming for as you age?
You coach people who are in their 40s, 50s, all over the place, right?
Abel: So how do you manage that, especially if they are experienced athletes, not the first timers kind of getting personal best all the time?
Yeah, I mean there’s a whole thing, and I’ll back up a second, I’ll explain it in the eyes of a normal person than a professional athlete.
There’s this whole myth out there that you can be at your best fitness level at 45, that’s not true.
I guess it’s kind of true, if you were the person who treated your body like an amusement park in your 20s and your 30s and did nothing, and found fitness in your 40s. You can technically be your fittest at 45.
But you don’t see a high-level Olympic athlete that’s done stuff their whole life, hitting their peak at 45 years old.
You’re struggling to hang on, at that point.
So there’s this myth out there, like I said, you can be amazingly fit at 45 years old. Well, sure, absolutely.
And you could be more fit than a 20 year old at 45, yes, but it depends the 20 year old we’re talking about, because if you found fitness at 40 and never did anything before, yeah, you’re going to be in the best shape your life.
But if you’ve been working out the whole time, it’s hard to just stay on the bus.
It’s through sports psychology, it’s managing people’s expectations.
Now, you can delay the inevitable, you can delay the inevitable to a point.
And you see it sometimes in sports. Tom Brady, an NFL player, is a good example of this, a quarterback who’s still playing really well at 41.
Well at 33, he wasn’t drinking and partying.
At 35, he wasn’t drinking and partying.
Abel: Or even eating tomatoes.
Yeah, or strawberries or whatever he does.
He’s got this system where this guy is regimented 100% of the time.
So, maybe he’s extended his career. Other guys are retiring at 38, maybe he lasts to 42 or 43.
At some point though, he’s going to fall off. It’s just, it’s going to happen.
So, it’s managing people’s expectations.
And what I tell people is, the older you get, the more work you have to do—more saunas, more recovery boots, more work on your diet, more sleep, more massage.
Eventually you can’t do any more, like you just run out of time in a day, and that’s when it’s time to call it quits or mentally, you’ve had enough.
It’s funny, I’ve never quit in a work out in my life, but there have been times I’ve wanted to quit the sauna or quit the boots because I’ve had enough of doing recovery.
Like the second time you’re in a 200-degree sauna in a day, the second time you’re in the boots, the third time you’re taking a nap, it’s like, “I just don’t want to do this anymore. I’ve had enough.”
And that’s, I think, the point where it’s time to walk away or tone down your activity, which means then your fitness has to drop.
Abel: Yeah. So about that, what’s longevity fitness for you or for anyone else, you know what I mean?
How do you manage the decline in performance, but still keep your head straight? Because a lot of people get that rush of hitting those personal best, everyone’s rallying in the gym, and then you don’t really get that.
You don’t realize that that’s a special thing when it’s happening, but it doesn’t happen your whole life, necessarily.
No. You really have to be level-headed with having a thorough understanding of what your goals are, and you need to do some psychological introspection on really what you’re trying to do with your life.
Like, listen, if you’re a 40-year-old guy that’s going through a midlife crisis, don’t start getting into competitive sports.
I see it all the time where a guy hits 40 or 45, or some guys hit it at 32, and he hits his mid-life crisis and all of a sudden they’re going to sign up for a 100-mile ultra race run.
You’re going to hurt yourself. You’ve got to know who you are, where you are on the food chain, and invest in yourself accurately, I guess.
Now listen, I guess, signing up for a Spartan Beast race or an ultra-marathon is better than buying a car you can’t afford and maybe having an affair or something else happening, like that’s a better choice.
We can agree on that, but the problem is, if you’re just trying to look a little better so you can be a better husband and a better dad, if that’s your real goal, you need to kind of stay in your lane, and not do all this crazy stuff.
And so it’s getting people, again, it comes back to managing expectations.
So if you tell me what are your goals and you’re like, “Well I want to be a better guitar player, I think being fit can help me play guitar better. I want to be better at hosting podcasts, I think being fit can help me with that.”
You’re absolutely right, but nothing about that says you have to deadlift 600 pounds.
Abel: Right. That’s why I don’t.
I mean, there’s a number there, maybe it’s 250, maybe it’s 300, but that’s good enough.
And so it’s being able to accept who you are and kind of marry that up with what your goals are.
Abel: How do you not get destroyed by injury, especially when you’re dealing with something like that?
Well, again, it’s losing that ego. I don’t know if ego is the right term for it, but I don’t need to deadlift 700 pounds.
See, so here’s the deal. In life, in any area, the closer you get to that red line, the closer you get to that cliff, the closer you push yourself to your extreme limit, the chance of injury goes through the roof.
So, if you and I go for a jog, we’re not going to get hurt. If you and I try to sprint for money at the track, one of us is blowing a hamstring.
It’s just going to happen.
So the thing is, it’s kind of understanding when enough is enough and being good with it.
And that’s a big part of my maturing process, I’ve kind of come to a point where, honestly, I’m happy with a 600 pound deadlift.
I don’t have to do 700, because if I try to do 700 my chance of injury goes through the roof.
If I get hurt, I don’t look like I look, I can’t live my life like I live my life, I can’t do my Jiu-jitsu, I can’t play with my wife, my kids, my family. Not worth it.
Abel: So, how do you kill your governor, but still stay away from that injury red line?
That’s difficult, and everybody struggles. The killing the governor concept is, I think, that we’re all capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.
And really it comes from self-awareness, and that’s going to be a huge theme if you talk to me long enough.
The whole, “I don’t have enough time,” thing, what it really comes from is a lack of self-awareness.
If you’re in a failed marriage, it comes from a lack of self-awareness, because chances are you’re doing some things that you could fix or you could change to improve that marriage.
If your business is failing, people will blame the economy, they’ll blame all kinds of other external factors, but it’s a lack of self-awareness.
So really, like when you look at self-limiting behavior and psychology, everything comes down to being self-aware.
It’s why people spend millions of dollars a year, billions of dollars a year, I’m sure, on therapists. Because therapists help you become more self-aware, they help you see things that you might not see yourself.
Abel: Yeah, sometimes you need to have that outside party who’s just there.
I don’t need a music teacher, it’s just more fun, it’s more interesting. You have a comrade.
Yeah, but also, if you find the right teacher they’ll tell you unbiasedly what you really need to work on. Because we’re all slaves to our own bias.
At some point, you’re going to gravitate towards what you like versus what you should be doing. We all do that in life.
Same thing with the gym. I love the bench press, I want to bench press every day.
Well, maybe I get more benefit working on my pull-ups, maybe I get more benefit going for a run. That’s where a coach helps you because it takes you out of it.
It was actually a really good niche quote, and I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but it’s, “Nobody gets into God’s opera box.”
And what that means is there’s no such thing as true objectivity.
For God maybe, for everyone else, you are incapable of being objective because you’re a flawed human being with biased.
Therefore you’re your own worst enemy in any situation.
Why It’s Okay To Fail
Abel: How do you allow yourself to be bad as Bobby Maximus?
What do you mean bad? Like not good at something or bad in terms of like I’m a bad badman?
Abel: If you’re going for a run and you’re the slowest runner with a bunch of runners who are skinny and long-limbed or whatever.
Yep, I’m actually quite good at that because I’ve failed my entire life.
I actually have a different relationship with failure than most people have. I love failing. It’s made me who I am today.I love failing. It's made me who I am today. @BobbyMaximus Click To Tweet
I talk about in my book a little bit, but I was bullied pretty heavily growing up.
When I was 15 years old, these four kids got together—I called them hockey bullies, because they all played in the hockey game.
They beat me up and broke my collar bone in gym class. I didn’t want that to happen anymore.
I joined a wrestling team. I was terrible. Every match I did, I lost badly my first year.
My second year I won 1 match out of 40.
I finally found the weight room. I was the guy that got pinned under a 45-pound barbell. I was the guy that didn’t know how to deadlift.
I was the guy that had to figure it out on his own.
Now luckily, some high school kids, some of the older kids that were in the weight room, helped me.
There was one kid, Peter Xavier that really helped me. And if I met him today, I would say “thank you” to the guy.
He gave me some advice, he probably doesn’t even remember who I am, but he helped me out with a couple of things.
Jim Fox was one of the teachers, he really helped me. Gene Vince, Bryan Ceppetelli, they helped me and I got better, and then I got better and I got better.
And eventually, you fail enough, you learn a lot about yourself.
You learn a lot about your psychology, you learn about perseverance.
And despite how many times I failed at various arenas in my life, one thing is true in any area: The more I try, the better I get.
So I just don’t let failure get me down. I look at it as a challenge.
If I go up for a run with you and you smash me, well, looks like I’ve got a lot of improvement to do.
Abel: So, you’re going to take me deadlifting.
Yeah, well, I’ll take you deadlifting to put you back in your place.
I mean, I look forward to the process of growth, and the challenges I’m going to face and how that’s going to make me a better person.
I don’t get hung up on actually failing.
And there’s also an ego part of that as well, because I’m not egotistical enough.
I mean, I’ve been called vain, I’ve been called narcissistic, I’ve been called cocky by haters online.
Because if you’re competent these days, people don’t like it.
But I’ll also be the first person to tell you I’m not perfect and I’m not good at everything. Nobody is.
Abel: One thing I really loved reading in your book was how you still feel like the kid who’s afraid of public speaking. Because I do too, I can totally relate to that.
Yeah absolutely. And it’s funny because with a lot of this stuff, who does think they’re good at everything?
Abel: Right. There’s that illusion.
It doesn’t make sense to me.It's okay to fail. It's okay to be bad at stuff. It's okay to be a beginner. @BobbyMaximus Click To Tweet
It was actually really funny. Me and my wife, the other day, she had a flat, and she’s like, “Can you change my tire?”
And I had a moment where I was like, “I don’t know if I can do this.”
She made a comment. She’s like, “Isn’t this the kind of thing that a husband should know how to do for his wife?”
And I was like, “Ouch, that kind of hurts. What did you mean by that?”
She’s like, “Well, I feel like all guys know how to do this.”
And I’m like, “No, I don’t. We need to call roadside service. I can sit here and figure it out in an hour, but we can call roadside service and they’ll do it.”
I’m like, “Babe, listen, if someone breaks into house in the middle of the night, I’m your guy. You want a UFC fighter beside you.”
“If you want someone to write you a workout, I’m your guy.”
“If you want a guy, like it’s with my boys, I love the ThunderCats and He-Man and Lord of the Rings, and I can be a good dad.”
I’m actually the king of all nerds. I love Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, all that stuff.
I’m not the guy to ask to change a tire or do some plumbing or work with some electricity.
I can’t be good at everything.
Toxic Masculinity on the Internet
Abel: I think that’s getting into, a little bit, something I wanted to talk about while we still have time, which is toxic masculinity.
Just what that’s morphed into today is not healthy.
What do you see when you look at masculinity?
You know, I struggle with this issue, because I feel the toxic masculinity idea has been taken too far and misunderstood.
There’s nothing wrong with being a man. There’s nothing wrong with being a man who likes “manly things.”
Like you, it’s okay to like football. It’s okay to like cage fighting. It’s okay to drink a beer. It’s okay to swear a little bit.
That’s not what toxic masculinity is to me, but that’s how some people are making it out to sound.
Abel: I hear that.
There’s a difference between toxic masculinity and because we are a family-friendly show, there’s another word I use for this, but I’ll use the family-friendly one—being a jerk.
It’s not okay to be a bully, it’s not okay to put people down, it’s not okay to be abusive towards women, it’s not okay to use a position of power to purposely hurt other people.
And by the way, liking football or fighting in a cage should have nothing to do with being a jerk to other people.
You can fight in a cage and be the most manly guy ever and still be nice.You can fight in a cage and be the most manly guy ever and still be nice. @BobbyMaximus Click To Tweet
At the same token I don’t like, it doesn’t make me less of a man because I like “feminine things.”
It’s actually really funny. I’ll tell you a little secret about Bobby Maximus.
I’ve got them sitting there, and I’m looking at them right now. I do scrapbooking in my spare times. It’s a creative outlet for me.
So for my first son, I did a baby book. I made him like a 90-page scrapbook, like the story of his life.
And I’m saving up things for my next son, to make some for him, too.
And every so often I go on this creative kick, and I do scrapbooking.
It’s really funny, when I walk into the scrapbooking place, Mom and me go into this scrapbooking place in Salt Lake City. I have a little membership there. And I walk in and I’m jacked and I’ve got a cut off shirt and shorts.
The looks that people give me there are like, “Dude, you’re in the wrong place. The gym’s down the street.”
But it’s funny that there will be some people that make fun of me for that.
They’re like, “Oh, you do scrapbooking? That’s kind of girly.”
“Come and fight me in a cage.”
If you want to question my manhood, let’s fight about it and we’ll see who the man is.
I always joke, I’m like, “You will see my toxic masculinity side come out in a hurry, if you want to question me for that.”
And I’m at home a lot of the day with my kids, and I kiss my kids and I tell them I love them. And I can cry in front of them and that doesn’t make me less of a man.
I think society needs to let go of these ideas of what’s masculine and what’s feminine, and focus more on what’s being a good person and what’s not a good person.
Abel: And what we have in common.
You can superficially look at you versus some woman out there, and think that you’re entirely different creatures superficially.
But deep down, you’re that little kid, I’m that little kid. We all are.
And it doesn’t really matter if we’re male or female, or anything in between.
And it’s the same thing—if a woman wants to be a firefighter or a cop, that’s great.
By the way, that works the other way, too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman choosing to stay home to be a mom to her kids.
There’s this whole movement lately where you’re somehow less than.
“No, that’s one of the best things you can do.”
And if you’re a guy out there who’s listening, and your wife makes a lot of money and has a great career. If you want to sacrifice your career to be a stay-at-home dad, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Like to me, a guy choosing to stay home and look after his kids, that’s a much more noble profession than being a cutthroat businessman.
We just live in a world that that’s somehow valued more.
You do get these guys that have a hard time with their wife.
My wife once asked me, she’s like, “Would it bother you if I made more money than you?”
“Whoa, what do you mean? So I can stay home and play video games with the kids all day? Yeah, that sounds terrible.”
“If I can have whatever car I wanted, if you were rich and the main bread earner and I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Yeah, that sounds horrible. Don’t sign me up for that life.”
But people get these preconceived notions.
S,o that’s what I think. The big issue isn’t about toxic masculinity.
I think it’s people really being comfortable with themselves, and getting rid of these preconceived notions.
Abel: Yeah, I love that. I can’t believe it, Bobby, but we’re almost up on time.
It goes by fast.
Why We Should Treat Each Other Better
Abel: Before we go, I don’t have a specific question, but if there’s anything that’s on your radar right now. What do you want people to hear?
The biggest thing is I wish we could just all treat each other better.
I know that sounds hokey, but a big part of my message is positivity.
We live in a world where it’s just so filled with hate. Like on Instagram. And I think I’m into this, because social media is a huge platform for me.
But what’s wrong with somebody else succeeding?
There’s this whole idea in the world today that if somebody else is winning, it means you’re losing.
That if somebody else is successful, you’ve got to tear them down.
If somebody else is successful it’s because they were lucky, they had a better opportunity than me, maybe they just worked harder.
There’s this whole thing of, I’m raging with jealousy because your podcast has more downloads than mine, so now I’ve got to hate you and make negative comments.
Why can’t I just call you up with a pad of paper and a pen and start taking notes, so I can do it, too?
I don’t want to have the tallest building in town because I tore everybody else’s to the ground. I just want to build my building.
And so one of the big things that I’ve really been focusing on is how to be a better person, and how to use the gym to help you get there.
Because I think a lot of people don’t like the way they behave.
I feel like a lot of people make negative comments online, they gossip about other people, they put other people down, but I don’t think they feel good about it inside.
You know what I mean? They know it’s wrong and it causes them a certain cognitive dissonance.
And so that’s a big thing I’m into lately.
And like I said, I want to raise a better brand of human in terms of my kids.I want to try to be better myself, and I'd like to be better for other people. @BobbyMaximus Click To Tweet
And listen, that means you can still talk some smack. You can be funny, it’s okay to make fun of people sometimes as long as it’s in good fun.
It’s okay to kind of be a bully sometimes or kind of have some fun, but there’s some underlying truths that I think as a society should be addressed.
And as an “influencer,” if you will—I don’t know if I like that term.
Abel: I don’t either.
But as a person that has a platform, I’ve kind of come to the point where I feel—I used to stay away from this stuff, not talking about politics, not talking about social justice.
But I think that if people have given me the privilege of allowing me to be in a position where you’ll listen to me, I think I kind of have a responsibility to speak my mind about some things.
And before we go, there’s some universal truths.
Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, that’s your business. I shouldn’t judge you on that.
What you want to do for work, I shouldn’t judge you on that.
But you know what, it’s not okay to be misogynistic. It’s just not okay. I’ll argue that all day, any day, with somebody.
It’s not okay to be racist, I’ll argue that all day, any day, with somebody.
It’s not okay to be homophobic. I will argue that till the day I die. That is not an acceptable behavior in our society, and especially speaking as a Canadian where we don’t have this stuff.
Canada is a friendly place. We’re known for being friendly, but there’s just certain universal truths that you can’t argue.
And so, I wish people would stand up more for those types of things, because even a misogynist doesn’t like being called a misogynist. Why? Because it’s bad.
Like a racist doesn’t like being called a racist, and will never admit to it.
So that’s kind of where there’s so much stuff in the world that’s negative. I’m just big on trying to effect change in as many people as I can.
And I actually had a situation the other day and it came up with racism. I’m not trying to preach to the choir here, I’m not interested in changing people that are already on the side of good.
But I had a person that sent me a message and thanked me because I helped them see another side.
That’s the person I want to help change.
And I think that if you do look at me and look at my image, and look at my page and look at what I do, I’m 6 foot 3, 250 pounds. I fought in a cage, I’m an ex-police officer.
You’ll probably assume a lot of things about me. Like that I’m a certain type of person, but I’m not.
I’m probably one of the most liberal and accepting people that you’ll meet. And so, if I can influence people to be better, I think that’s a good thing.
Abel: Yeah. Well, it seems you’re using your responsibility well.
And I’m glad that it seems like now we’re living in a time where it’s maybe a little bit more appropriate for people who do have that following to speak their mind, and say, “This is what I can stand for, and this is what I cannot stand for.”
And it’s important that we all feel okay about that. Because, free speech is so so right now.
Well, right, it is. And it’s all back to high school.
Abel: Oh totally, or junior high.
Think about if you’re getting picked on, or a girl’s getting picked on. All it takes is for the popular person in the class to stand up for them, and then it ends.
And you may have saved that person so much pain and heartache over the course of their life.
It just takes that one person.
And that’s something that I actually remember from high school.
I went to an all-guys Catholic school. And I was there when it switched over and girls were allowed in.
And the first year, I think we had 20 girls come to the school in a school of 1000 guys.
You imagine how poorly they were treated?
Abel: I cannot.
And I’ll never forget our principal, his name is Herb Petrus.
He gave us a lecture about like, “You guys have a responsibility to make sure they’re treated well. It’s everyone’s responsibility.”
“You see somebody treat somebody bad because they’re different? You need to stand up for them. Because it’s your school, and you should take pride in it.”
And I think that’s true that if you are in a position of power or you are in a position of strength, I think you’re pretty lucky, you’re pretty fortunate. And you do have an obligation to stick up for people who can’t defend themselves.
Or aren’t able because they’re being bullied, right?
And if more people would do that, bad stuff wouldn’t happen.
Abel: Yeah. I totally agree with you.
So that’s big for me and I’m trying to raise my kids in that way.
To say, “Never throw the first punch. Don’t bully others. But listen, someone’s getting bullied at school and you stand up for them, and you get in trouble. I will have your back, 100% on that.”
You know, because that’s important for my kids to be raised with that lesson, if you will.
Abel: Real superheroes.
Yeah. You get in a fight because you protected somebody from being bullied, you’re good.
You’ll get suspended, but we’re going out for ice cream. We’re going to The Avengers, I will reward you till the end of the world for that.
Because that’s, I think, a noble thing.
We’ve all been there. You’ve probably been in this situation yourself, where someone’s being really mistreated and maybe you didn’t do anything about it.
Everyone kind of stands around and watches.
How about you just say something? You know? So that’s kind of my thing.
Where to Find Bobby Maximus
Abel: Yeah, we need more of that.
Well, right on, Bobby. I got your book right here. Where’s the best place to find it and to find what you’re working on?
You know, there’s really a couple of avenues. My book’s called Maximus Body.
I’ve got a podcast, the Maximus Podcast. Talk about all kinds of stuff that I’ve talked about with you today.
Listen, it’s supposed to be a fitness podcast, but it’s like, we go off in all kinds of directions about how to make people better at life using fitness as a tool.
But we talk about these bigger picture things, like hate and bigotry, setting boundaries with people, developing self-esteem, and having better self-care.
And then, for everything else you can go to my website bobbymaximus.com.
Abel: Right on. Bobby, thank you so very much for taking the time.
Listen, I just want to say this, I really, really, really appreciate you having me on your show, taking the time to do this.
You’ve come very well recommended to me. I enjoy a lot of the content you put out.
Abel: Thanks man.
And as somebody that does podcasts now, being on the other end of it, I do appreciate the amount of work that you put into this and I’m humbled that you chose to spend part of your day talking to me, so I appreciate that.
Abel: Right on. Thanks so much Bobby.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review from Lauren. She says:
I love this podcast so much. My favorite way to start my day and drive to work. I really appreciate how Abel brings in a variety of guests with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
He is strong in his stance about overall health, yet is always open to hear different viewpoints, learn, and gain new insights.
I love the transparency and how this podcast opens the dialogue for different perspectives that needs to happen in the health space.
With so many people/things taking the “my way or the highway” approach (and putting other people down) in the health space, this podcast is a true breathe of fresh air. Keep up the mission of the podcast, Abel — it is a true inspiration to me!
Lauren, thank you so much for writing in and for the kind words.
I’m really glad that you’re finding inspiration during your drive to work, while other people are getting road rage or are slamming down disgusting fast food breakfast sandwiches, or what have you.
That’s a great way to get this show into your habits.
And don’t forget there are over 300 episodes of this show, and according to a lot of listeners you can find more in each episode by listening to them multiple times.
I’ve heard of some people listening to a single episode more than 100 times. That totally blows my mind, but they probably know me better than I do at this point.
So if you’ve got some value out of listening, then please drop me a line.
Of course, hitting subscribe and leaving a review for this podcast helps more than you know.
But even more than that, sharing this free show with someone who might be interested, just shooting them an email or a text message with a link to this.
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As a free bonus for signing up, we’ll hook you right up with a 7-Day Meal Plan and Quick Start Guide so you can get rolling right away.
And before you go, as promised, here’s a reading from my new book Designer Babies Still Get Scabies, which is now a #1 International Bestseller in Humor.
Let’s start with one that’s a true story about how I lost all of my worldly possessions in an apartment fire about 10 years ago.
I came home on a Friday night, it was Easter weekend, and this is what happened. The poem is called Flames.
A rocket of flames turned the Texas sky pink
As our fiery propane line blasted its stink
Toward horrified neighbors who couldn’t even blink
We were already on the brink
But somehow a former professional fighter
Predictably pulling another all nighter
Spotted the apartment growing brighter and brighter
And clenched his fists tighter and tighter
Then he kicked the doors down one after the other
As friends in pajamas cried for pets and their mothers
Firemen and cops found our sisters and brothers
While the towering inferno began to smother
Everything we once called our home
Leaving us naked, hungry, alone
Our armor already full of gaps and chinks
Who could ever possibly think
That it would all go up in flames
That there’s no one we can blame
That all we have is our name
That we’ll never be the same
Thanks to the flames
So if you want to know what I went through as the genesis of Fat-Burning Man, that’s it. Rock bottom. Fat, sick, broke without a place to live or clothes to wear.
If you’ve ever been at rock bottom, don’t be shy. We can help each other out of it.
Now this next poem might seem a little harsh, but don’t worry, we’ll lighten it up at the end here.
This one is called Hot Dogs and Aftershave.
Once we up and left the caves
We suddenly became enslaved
Told that we must now behave
That from our sins we’re now all saved
Today it’s currency we crave
From the cradle to the grave
It’s missiles and microwaves
Hot dogs and aftershave
Pop stars and rollerblades
Competitions and accolades
Global warming in the everglades
Porno politicians paying off milkmaids
Cancer, autism, Lyme and AIDs
Good and evil, Savior and Saved
We’re told it’s America’s Fireworks
That make us brave
So just pay your taxes and behave.
Once we lived together in the dark caves
Now we’re all plump patriotic wage slaves!
But what indeed happened
To the great power that we gave
When they defiled our daughters
In the Holy Crusades?
Does God really require us showered and shaved?
Were we truly so brutish, crude, and depraved
Before we suddenly became enslaved?
Were our eyes truly so blind and glazed
And our minds so primitive, wretched and crazed?
Imagine what spirits must have thrived in those days…
Before righteous plight flooded into the caves
With their palaces and churches
Hot dogs and aftershave
Ok, let’s lighten it up a little bit. This next one was also a true story, at one point.
It’s called This House Got Rats.
We got mice in the kitchen
Raccoons under the tub
But this house is full of love
Like I said, true story.
Alright, one last one about our friend, Sasquatch.
The world is what we believe it to be
But what if Bigfoot doesn’t believe in me?
Ok, so some of these poems are personal, some of them are uppers, some are downers, some make you giggle. But almost all of them are very fun to read out loud, and it’s designed that way.
I really appreciate your reviews, I appreciate your feedback. Thank you so much.
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These are literally the supplements we’ve been taking for years, and it’s our goal to give you the very best nutrition the world has to offer.
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What did you think of this show with Bobby Maximus? Drop a comment below!