The Sharpening Strength Podcast Episode 8: Developing an Ironman Mindset with BJ Gumkowski of YogiTriathlete 

The Sharpening Strength Podcast Episode 8: Developing an Ironman Mindset with BJ Gumkowski of YogiTriathlete 


Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Spotify 

Subscribe on Stitcher




Are you ready to learn how to develop an Ironman mindset from one of the best? In this episode we discuss the power of creating awareness of your mindset and thoughts in your daily life. The importance of starting simple and avoiding the fast track.  The work of rewriting your story and your identity and becoming the best version of yourself – and so much more on today’s episode!


If you want to get a hold of BJ, you can find him at https://www.yogitriathlete.com or contact him on Instagram at @yogitriathlete or @briangumkowski. If you enjoyed this show, make sure to subscribe and please help us by leaving a 5 star review.  Also, don’t hesitate to reach out on social media @iostrengthperformance, or better yet – tag me in a post with your favorite part of the show! If you haven’t yet, make sure to join like minded men in the Strong Living for Men Facebook Group – designed to offer Performance Coaching to Help Men Get Strong, Feel Confident, and Level Up Their Life.


The Sharpening Strength Podcast Episode 8: Developing an Ironman Mindset with BJ Gumkowski of YogiTriathlete


[00:00:00] Dave: Welcome to the sharpening strength podcast. A show designed by men for men looking to get strong, feel confident, and live a high performing life. Every week, we will have a featured guest who will share valuable information and experience to give you actionable strategies you can apply to level up your life.

[00:00:16] Physically mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we will draw on our guests’ knowledge and experience, but more importantly, we’ll discuss how to this applies to the common challenges and struggles with being a man in today’s world. Our goal is to not only build strong men, physically, which help coach and develop strong friends, sons, brothers, fathers, business owners, and professionals in every area of your life.

[00:00:38] I’m your host, Dr. Dave Paczkowski, proud husband, business owner, physical therapist, and strength coach with a passion for helping other men level up their lives, wherever you’re at in your journey. I’m excited to have you here with us today.

Now let’s dive into today’s episode of the Sharpening Strength podcast.

[00:00:56]Hey guys, welcome to episode number eight of the Sharpening strength [00:01:00] podcast during with special guest today, coach BJ Gumkowski. We’re going to be talking about some great things here today. Uh, things such as developing an Ironman mindset from one of the best in his field, create an awareness of your mindset and thoughts in your daily life.

[00:01:16] Starting simple and avoiding the fast track, which can be a myth to success. Rewriting your story and your identity being the best version of yourself and what that really means, why it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. And focusing on the process over the outcome, guys, I’m real excited for this one.

[00:01:35] Coach BJ has a zeal for life that is infectious and a deep passion for serving others to achieve their greatest dreams. He works one on one with his athletes to empower them, to be an active participant in their process of physical and mental growth. When he’s not swimming, biking, or running, he’s found in the yoga studio, standing on his head and making room to answer life’s epic questions.

[00:01:55] BJ is a 15 times Ironman athlete, Ironman 70.3 [00:02:00] world championship and Boston marathon qualifier, triathlon and running coach with major street cred. He’s a 200 hour live love, teach, trained yoga instructor and certified in plant based nutrition from the T Colin Campbell Center of Nutrition Studies. Guys, we got a great one coming your way today.

[00:02:17] Let’s get started. BJ. So stoked to have you on here, man. Welcome to the Sharpening Strength podcast. Excited for this one here today.

[00:02:26] BJ: Oh, thanks, Dave. Yeah. I’m super grateful that you, uh, you invited me on, I think this conversation is going to be good. Really good.

[00:02:34] Dave:  It’s going to be really good. I’m going to be a lot of fun, but let’s, uh, let’s start things off here. So if you want to kick things off today by giving anyone listening here, uh, just a general overview of your background, both personally and professionally.

[00:02:45] BJ:Sure. So, uh, I’m a triathlon and running coach, yoga instructor. And, um, I haven’t always been that. Uh, I grew up as an athlete, but that transitioned pretty quickly, uh, through college, [00:03:00] um, became a business major, uh, worked for a company out of college that I worked for for almost 20 years. Um, started sweeping, uh, parking lots and taking out trash for this company, ended up being the director of digital marketing, uh, 15 years later.

[00:03:19] Mmm. And that set me on a really good path. I started when the internet was just starting. So in the mid nineties, um, I became their web designer. And so that just kept moving throughout the company. Uh, I became a manager, so I started hiring people and then this was all in Newport, Rhode Island. And I grew up in New England and that’s where I met Jess, my wife and we soon, uh, as soon decided to move to Boulder, Colorado.

[00:03:51] And when we did that in 2001, I was able to work as a contractor for the same company. Um, we wanted to go to Boulder because we were [00:04:00] snowboarding freaks. We snowboarded a lot. We actually took, I think, three trips, one year out to Boulder, uh, to go snowboarding. Um, my wife’s sister lived out there. And so that’s where this is bug for endurance sports.

[00:04:14] Really. It really took hold and it was, I think we were there for about a month before we bought mountain bikes, got all geared up. I started hitting the trails, entered myself in a 100 mile mountain bike race, the following spring. So from sea level two mile high living, and then the race was going to be 14,000 feet in Vale, Colorado.

[00:04:39] So I think that was, I don’t think I know that was the, the moment because, uh, I was really intrigued by this sport of going long and I failed. I didn’t finish. I didn’t make the cutoff. Well, what it did is it allowed me to. It allowed me to shift, um, my attention to what are the [00:05:00] things necessary to go back and complete this race the next year.

[00:05:04] And you know, some things were get, em, get a road bike, start putting in road miles. You don’t have to do all mountain bike miles, practice nutrition. Um, put more time in climbing. And so I did all those things finished the next year and that steamrolled into triathlon, which started in 2004 when I did my first sprint triathlon.

[00:05:25] And since then I’ve been in the sport now, 16 years and I have made my passion, my profession. And so I’m now a coach and, uh, and I love it. And I think, I think we’ll dive into it, but it’s, it’s super important too, to tap into what. What brings you joy in life? Um, what are you really passionate about and then pursue it no matter what.

[00:05:51] And so that’s my story. I, I stood up to some challenges and, and beliefs that were untrue and found my way [00:06:00] to, to be in a head coach for a team of athletes and, um, individuals who are looking to just raise their vibration and become better humans.

[00:06:12] Dave:  I love it. Yeah, no, I love your guys’ story and, uh, you and Jess are uh, just so you know, such a, such an inspiration and people to, to model in terms of following those passions and not letting the common things that can tangle us up and hold us back from doing that. Uh, we do have, uh, a lot of other good stuff we want to get to you, but I want to touch on, we left a little bit of a gap between, so you had this more traditional job.

[00:06:37] And now you’re following your passion and coaching people. There’s you make it seem like it’s such a simple transition, but I know there’s gotta be gotta be a little, little more than that. So can you touch a little on, so going from making that jump from more stable career professional to, I know I want to follow this it’s in my heart to follow it.

Rewriting Your Story 

What, what was going through your mind? Was this a quick switch, a slow thing. And how to, how did that kind of come together?

[00:07:00] [00:07:00] BJ: [00:07:00] Wow. That’s awesome. Dave, I’m glad you, you, you. Dived into that, because that was a pivotal moment in my life. Especially being with this company for so long. Um, when we were in Boulder, we were there for nine years. We moved back to Newport because the company, um, had asked me to come back into house. And so from freelance back to being in the  office atmosphere, and that was a challenge, you know, think about those, think about those environments, Boulder, and then coming back to the East coast in Rhode Island.

[00:07:29] And there’s definitely different energies. Um, in both spaces, but, you know, I was up for the challenge. I had done some work on the mindset at that time. Very little. Um, but, uh, getting back into the office was exciting because it’s something new at first, but man, I got, I got put through the ringer. I think even the first 90 days when Jess was still in Boulder selling our house and I had to fly back to Newport to start the [00:08:00] job.

[00:08:01] I’m living in the house that I grew up in with my parents at 40 years old in the bedroom, I lived in with the same carpet and same things hanging on the wall. I drove my grandparents’ car to work every day, which was 30 minutes there 30 minutes back. And I was out of sorts. I, um, I had all the, all the emotions, the regrets, the doubts, the fears.

[00:08:25] Mmm. A funny story is I, for some reason, you know, I grew up Catholic and for some reason, you know, I started listening to K love, uh, in the car. Am I on my trips to, to work? And for some reason it connected with me, um, just the music, you know, I don’t, I don’t, there was no highs and lows, but it really just set the tone for something positive, um, that I needed to focus on until Jess, my other half got, got back to go back to Newport.

[00:08:55] So. Yeah. So I’m working this job and I’m making it work and, [00:09:00] you know, building a team in house and loving what I do. And then things started to, to not align. You know, I started to question, um, what is it, what is this all about? What am I doing here? Am I going to continue building websites and marketing for 40, 50 years?

[00:09:19] And Dave, I completely could have, I could stay with this company. For the rest of my life, as I’m sure a lot of people listening are like, yeah, I’m secure. I’m in this job, but that wasn’t, that wasn’t feeling good. Um, I had also recently shifted to a plant based nutrition, um, diet and lifestyle. And I was working for a hospitality company and in marketing, I was posting a lot of photos of food that didn’t align with me. And at the point at that point, you know, I could do my job and I can separate the two, but eventually that vibration got higher and higher and the voice inside was like, this doesn’t feel good. This doesn’t, this doesn’t align. And [00:10:00] so Jess really encouraged me to start coaching.

[00:10:03] And the first step was swimming. I wanted to coach master swimming. And so the local boys and girls club, it had a pool. And they didn’t have any swim practice. And so I approached them about becoming a coach. Like I could go first thing in the morning, super early, before the pool open and they were on board, they were like, sure, let’s do this.

[00:10:24] You need to be a lifeguard though. And here we go with the fear I’m I have a route, I have a story that I’ve changed, but I had a story about fear of water and drowning and maybe in a previous life, something happened where. I was suffocating underwater, but I saw that as an opportunity to, to stand up because this is truly what I want to do, be a coach.

[00:10:47] And in this particular instance, a swimming coach, I need to become a lifeguard. So 40 years old, I’m in lifeguard training with teens who are just looking for that job at the beach. Um, [00:11:00] and it was challenging, Dave. It was really challenging. It wasn’t even though. You could see the maturity level and difference between the kids that were taking the class and myself.

[00:11:10] They actually had it up on me because they had no fear. They didn’t have the 30 plus years of, you know, all the stories that you’ve already reinforced that tell you you’re not good enough to tell you. You should not that you should not risk it. You should play it safe. And. Yeah, that was a really big Uplevel.

[00:11:29] So I passed and I started a master’s training and people from work. I started coming to the swim program. I was holding it four days a week, 5:30 in the morning. I held it on Saturday morning. I held it on holidays. Um, I would jump in with them and swim too. It was really, really the launching point for our coaching business.

[00:11:51] Cause I started coaching them on the side through triathlon. So, yeah, that was a really big thing, but I was still working my full time [00:12:00] job and I didn’t get paid to be a swim coach. You know, I aye. It was like, this is what I want to do. I want to gain experience. I want to be, this is what brings me joy. I want to do it for joy.

[00:12:12] I’m already getting paid for my corporate job. I’m doing fine there. This is what I love to do. I’m going to pursue it and not take money, especially the boys and girls club. Like. I felt good about that. So, um, I did that all the way up until we actually packed up everything we owned here. It is. We packed up everything we owned in the spring of may.

[00:12:36] The spring of 2016, sold everything in our house. The house that we owned loved perfect home took Clark in the car. And we drove across country for six months. To find a home in Southern California. So it, it really started,

[00:12:56] it really started with that coaching opportunity [00:13:00] that I, that I experienced and then moving to the quitting the job, Dave, that was, that was not easy because how many guys do you know, would just quit take.

[00:13:17] A pay cut, where you make a third of what you were making. If that, to hit the road and live in a car and a tent and think about providing for the family and have fear and doubt that, will you ever get this opportunity again? Is this the right choice? Um, and all those thoughts happen. All those emotions were stirred up inside.

[00:13:40] But I can tell you about that. At that time, I had been doing work on myself already. I had been working on the mindset, um, the morning meditation clearing the energies, the, the, the noise that’s happening and understanding that all that stuff is not true. It’s not real. [00:14:00] What was real was, this is an adventure there’s hesitation, and there’s a pause in moving forward.

[00:14:07] So that’s the very reason. Right there that I need to keep going, because change in and moving to something that is not in your wheelhouse is uncomfortable. Tim talked about it in your podcast. You talked about change being really, really uncomfortable. It is the things that we, I shouldn’t say should be doing the things that are the most rewarding are going to challenge our existing belief system.

[00:14:34] And if you believe that this. That belief system that you have is who you are as a person, it’s going to create a lot of suffering and resistance. So it’s good to begin experiencing the space between the thoughts and who you believe you are. So get in that area and in that zone. And so that helps my transition, but it didn’t, it didn’t [00:15:00] make it a piece of cake at all.

[00:15:01] I went through all the regrets. I was like, Walking in the office to tell my boss, I wasn’t going to work there. And I was like, what am I going to say? How’s he going to react? And how long do I have before I actually get that last paycheck and move out. And so, yeah, it’s a really growth process, Dave. It didn’t happen overnight.

[00:15:22] Um, for me it took months and I have an old story of being a delay person. I think about things too much. And I think maybe some of your listeners can, can, relate to that there. Let me think about it first, before I answer. No, just the answer. There’s no right or wrong. Uh, and that’s a belief too, no right or wrong.

[00:15:45] That really allowed me to, to take this, this jump because I knew deep down that I’m a good person and the energy that I have is going to take care of me and the experiences I’m going to have along the way are exactly experiences, [00:16:00] meant for me to be, to pull out my best self. And that’s really what it is.

[00:16:06] It’s you want to see an analogy? It’s um, it’s not like you buy a tree and you plant it inside yourself. The seeds are already there. You just need to keep watering and pull them out. Same with strength training. It’s not, yes, you need to do the physical exercises, but the strength inside is already there.

[00:16:26] You just need to develop and grow it and nurture it. You can’t do a transplant with that? Um, yeah, it’s, it’s an amazing ride. And it brought me, brought me to Southern Cal. It brought me to Carlsbad.

[00:16:39] Dave:  Not the worst place to be by any means.

[00:16:41] BJ: Oh, not the words, please.

[00:16:42] Dave:  Yeah. And there’s, there’s so many good things from, from your story. And I think so many things to learn from, and there was probably about 10 different things. I want to tangent off on that, but I’m going to try and hone it in here. Cause, cause we are talking so much on the mindset side of things and that’s something that’s so evident with your journey and it’s people probably look from the [00:17:00] outside and it’s like, they see the end product and they, they think that that’s sort of just happens, but a couple of things that you mentioned. So it’s the, at so many points throughout your journey and into following your passion and doing these things, there was so much resistance in those things that came up. I know you mentioned the lifeguarding was one that stood out in your mind, but things like telling my boss about, Oh, I got to sell the house and we have to do that.

[00:17:24] And like, well, where are we going to stay? Like, you could probably list a hundred, maybe a thousand things that. Anyone would have the opportunity to say like, okay, well, that’s a good enough reason that I’m not going to follow this. That’s too hard. That’s too much of a barrier. But those, that resistance is always going to be there in some form based on the person that’s going to keep us when we’re trying to level up and step into step into something like that.

[00:17:46] But the other thing you mentioned was that. Throughout this whole process, there started to be this shift to a conscious effort of working on your mindset with some of the meditation things, some of the awareness of what those, those thoughts were. And I think [00:18:00] that brings a good transition into what we want to talk about here, because I think people just can sometimes assume that mindset’s going to happen, or if it’s convenient, it’ll happen, but it has to be this, this conscious effort.

[00:18:13] And we worry so much about. The, we spent so much time on the fiscal X’s and O’s of training of how many miles do I want to run? How much weight should I lift? How many days a week? What, uh, what’s my frequency, what’s my intensity. What’s, you know, what am I going to wear? What should I wear? And we focus so much on these details that the training program, which are definitely important, but we can overlook the importance of having a conscious mental practice practice, a conscious mindset practice.

Mindset Training

[00:18:38]And can you, can you kind of dive into what. Mindset training should look like in relation to a physical training program and kind of start with maybe what does that even look like? Like where do we, where do we even start on having a conscious mindset practice? In addition to our physical training?

[00:18:55] BJ: Yeah, that’s, that’s perfectly, um, put Dave because [00:19:00] none of that stuff matters. None of the X’s though is times was like none of that stuff matters. If you can’t be mindfully there, giving 100% of yourself. All that stuff means nothing. If you, if you can, can run a 5K at 18 minutes. Right. When it in practice, when you get to race day and that you have all the mind, the doubt and the fear, and you don’t have control of that monkey mind.

[00:19:24] Well, it, your fitness means absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing. Um, so how do we get started with, um, with our athletes and the people we work with is it’s quite simple. When you wake up in the morning, take one conscious breath, super simple. Um, I think you talked about this too on the podcast with Tim, but people want to, they want to get to the end.

[00:19:52] Oh. So quickly they want to, they want to already be meditative and calm and, and spiritual and, and have it all locked [00:20:00] down. But that’s not reality. That is, is not reality. I’m sorry to tell you guys, we interview a lot of professionals on our podcasts. None of them have taken this fast track. They do the work every day.

[00:20:12] Show up. It’s hard work. Um, they have resistance, they have doubt. They face it daily and it’s overtime a little bit. Every day. Over a long period of time is a, is a great mantra. So we had just one conscious breath, but here’s the thing with, with, with mindset training. When you take that conscious breath, it’s not a checkbox.

[00:20:38] It’s not, it’s not something you complete. And then you move on with your day. Right. The same thing is with, with yoga, they go to yoga, they’re on their mat. They have that hour of flow and they feel amazing and the toxins are released and their breath is under control and they’re relaxed. And then they leave the hop in their car and they’re honking their horn at the person who just cut them off.

[00:21:00] [00:21:00] Right. So they they’ve already left the practice that they just spent so much time investing in behind. And that’s the same thing with mindset. You can’t check the box. Oh, you can. And, and you’re going to live a life or you’re going to go throughout your day, navigating it the same way you’ve been doing it.

[00:21:19] And so everybody wants to change. And the reason why they want to be they change is because they want to be better. They feel they can be better. So when they take that conscious breath, that’s just, that’s just the spark. Now, how do you move when you plant your feet on the ground and how do you move when you walk to the bathroom?

[00:21:39] How do you brush your teeth? How do you wash your face? How do you walk yourself into the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of water? How do you scoop the coffee into the filter? And what that all revolves around is is what mindfulness is, which is paying attention to what you’re doing [00:22:00] while you’re doing it.

[00:22:02] So this conversation we’re having. I’m paying attention to what you’re saying while you’re saying it, the mind wants to go into the future and say, well, when he asked this, I’m going to answer that. And it’s also going to rehash what I’ve already said and said that wasn’t good enough. So we’re constantly, Hm.

[00:22:21] The mind is constantly going into three places, the future, the past and the present, and the only thing that exists. And this is so cliche is the present moment. Like right now, this, this is it. So if we can get our minds wrapped around that, if we can understand that this moment is happening now, yes. We want to be better athletes.

[00:22:42] Yes. We want to get that hard training session done, but right now, what do we need to do to get ourselves to that point? And so mindfulness and meditation or prayer or gratitude, whatever you want to call it, I’m getting more into the flow of just calling [00:23:00] it, whatever it is, it’s time alone with yourself and your thoughts.

[00:23:05] The more you do that, the more you create that bigger space is what I was talking about before that space between stimulus and response, you have the thought, what did Dave say? That I say the correct answer and then What my response is so I can choose. And when you can choose something, when you can choose that thought or that, that path that gives you power, and we all want that power back, right?

[00:23:32] We’re power hungry people, but it’s the power of our own thoughts and the power of our own mind that is really dictating how we. Navigate our day, how we perform in a race, how we perform in a workout session. Um, so we’re constantly judging how we are, how we performed. Can we do it better? No, I’m saying scrap all that.

[00:23:55] I’m saying let’s pay attention to what we’re doing while we’re doing it. And let’s bring [00:24:00] mindfulness and, and present moment awareness to, to what we love and do. And in my instance, it’s coaching and triathlon. How can I. How can I be my best in that? And it doesn’t start when I start the workout, it doesn’t start, you know, when I’m, when I’m on the starting line saying like, I really hope I’m going to have a good swim here.

[00:24:19] I really do hope I’m going to be calm. It starts when I wake up in the morning and I set the intention of of calming myself, I’ve just broken, whatever had, and I’ve had from the previous day by sleeping. So six to eight hours, whatever. That’s good. That’s good. Sleep. Six to eight hours. I’ve broken the pattern.

[00:24:37] Now I have a chance to start fresh. Take that conscious breath, take five, build it up to 10. Mmm. Sit. Still sit upright, close your eyes. What does it feel like? Does it feel uncomfortable? Um, do you notice the thoughts coming in that the thoughts are gonna flood in? You’ve given it an opportunity to flood in, but when they do you just say.

[00:24:59] Oh, [00:25:00] that’s, that’s interesting. That’s funny. I’m thinking that I’m not good enough. Oh, that’s funny. What proof or evidence do I have of that? And you soon realize it’s all stories that you tell. Mmm. But it’s a, it’s a great practice. It starts small though. David’s really start small. Uh, you could say you can look at me or you can look at Jess, my wife and we do 45 minutes on most days.

[00:25:23] And you may think, wow. 45 minutes. You’re sitting still there’s there’s so much more I can be doing. Well, there is, but how are you approaching all those things throughout your day? And so the mindfulness starts first thing in the morning. So when I’m done with that, that, that session, let’s just say new athletes.

[00:25:42] Okay. They do their five breaths. They get up, they’re conscious of brushing their teeth. They moved to the kitchen. They pour that glass of water. They’re very conscious there. They start to realize, Oh, I actually always open the fridge with my right hand. I always grabbed the same glass. And then you start to get really [00:26:00] curious about the things that you do.

[00:26:01] And this creates the momentum. This is it right here. It’s questioning what you’re doing, why you’re doing it. If you’re paying attention, then you start to realize some things in your life may not be serving you. Right. It may be a pattern that you’ve created a habit, which is just a thought. You think about a lot.

[00:26:21] You can change that stuff. And when you. Take that power back and realize you can change the stuff. This is, so this is so great. You understand that you might have been in this victim mentality of listening to these stories? I can’t be a lifeguard because I can’t swim to the bottom of the pool. I can’t be a coach because I have no athletes.

[00:26:43] I can’t guide a team through a successful training camp because I’m not certified in something that would allow me to do this. And all that stuff is just noise. It’s just the excuses you talked about, that everybody can clearly make a list of. They can just [00:27:00] keep running down the list, a thousand excuses to keep you from being your greatest self.

[00:27:04] It’s true. Um, and I’m no, I’m no different. I have these things. I still have these things. I still struggle with these things, but what I’ve done is I’ve created more space through this mindset that allows me to, to, to laugh at it. And that’s a great response to it. You laugh at it because you are not your thoughts.

[00:27:26] Cause think right now, close your eyes and think right now, like what’s the thought coming in. It’s not, you, it’s not, if you can actually see the thought and hear the thought and notice the thought it can’t be you, there’s two things in there. And then you open your eyes and you’re like, ah, interesting.

[00:27:44] That’s that’s funny. And then you just keep getting on and on an onto it. But I caution you because this is going to question your identity is going to question who you are as an athlete, as a human, as a mom, as a dad, as a, as a [00:28:00] coworker, as a boss, it’s really going to question your identity, but that’s great. That’s a great place to be the first into first feelings you may have when I say that is like, Oh, no, like what happens if I’m not that I identified with that stereotype. What happens? Who am I great place to be really great place to be great question to ask who am I? And, you know, I had that experience and I don’t know if you want to talk about this, but in, you know, just touch upon it briefly if it’s okay.

[00:28:34] That was an in 2016. Um, our 2014, I had a major, um, lower back injury. Mmm. So I had already been in the sport. I don’t know, 10, 15 years. And, and, and it took me down. I was carrying my dying dog, golden retriever into the car and heard something pop in my back. And this was leading into an iron man where I was getting really, really fit and strong and [00:29:00] really getting dialed down into what this, this distance is all about.

[00:29:04] And I was unable to race and I went down a soup and my dog died and it went down to the super dark hole, super dark. And I didn’t know how to get out. Didn’t know how to get out, but it questioned my identity as a triathlete. And I can remember that the times of who am I, if I’m not able to swim, bike and run, what am I going to do?

[00:29:28] Am I just going to walk all the time? And what does that look like? And that’s where a full, strong. Two things, a fully, um, committed meditation practice helped. And I sought help for this. You know, I have a meditation guide that I meet with biweekly, but also a strength program that I had been lacking. And so the mind you’ve got to train the mind, but you got to train the body and you may think you’re doing the things [00:30:00] necessary to get you there. But the outside resources, the outside voices, the Dave Paczkowski’s out there that Bob’s, who is my meditator, Bob. Um, you need to seek outside of it. You need help. And at that point I needed some intense help. Um, but, um, I wouldn’t change it for anything because it, it woke me up. It shook me and woke me up.

[00:30:24] And that too has been a launching point into. Um, my commitment to doing the small things daily. Mmm. And we can talk about that too, how we work together, uh, you and I, but I really think we all, have experiences like that. And as coaches and mentors, I want to, I want to save people and give them the opportunity to bypass that.

[00:30:49] But also that’s not giving them. That’s not good. That’s stealing from them. Now, one of the yoga, one of the yogas laws is non stealing and that can mean so many [00:31:00] things. Um, obviously taking money from other people would be the first one you would think of, but also stealing the experience that they would have from this life changing opportunity.

[00:31:10] So I don’t, I don’t wish I didn’t have this. I’m completely grateful. And so, um, less to have that experience because it woke me up and now I’m a different person, different athlete. I like to say, you could drop me anywhere in the world right now. And I would be okay if I didn’t have my bike or running shoes or, or swim cap, think goggles, I would be okay because I’ve taken back that power of who I am as an individual.

[00:31:39] And that doesn’t, it’s not determined by what I do well that got, that got pretty extensive 


Identity and Who You Are and Keeping the Space 

[00:31:47] Dave: yeah, that’s a no, I like that. And that’s a different direction than where we’re heading, but I want to touch on somewhere those things, because it talked about a couple things that are hard to overlook in anyone’s life. When we talk identity and we talk [00:32:00] suffering in two things that, uh, depending on, regardless of what you believe in, there’s a lot of benefit in.

[00:32:08] In our faith. It’s, you know, there’s a lot of things that say we will be tested suffering, and that’s what produces. So produce our character and that’s what does those things and likewise, with our identity, it’s when you talked about, when you reflect on those things and sit in those things, it makes you question your identity and I don’t.

[00:32:25] I think it’s necessarily a question and I know what you mean, but I want to clarify here. It’s not questioning your identity. It’s questioning our perceived identity, our identity we’re putting in our work in our health, in those things. When. But being able to question that perceived identity allows us to get to more of our true identity and, and that’s, uh, can be a scary place for people, people to go to because we’ve masked it for some reason, for so long, but we, when we can really step into who we are and that sense, that’s like, that’s a really good place to be.

[00:32:58] BJ: Yeah, I thank you for [00:33:00] clarifying. Yeah. It’s it’s who we are. It’s the story we’ve built about ourselves. We keep. Of course, we’re going to build up the story that’s most comfortable, right? We’re going to, we’re going to, and we’re going to attach to it, but you’re right. The truest self is inside there. And when you, when you allow it to come out, Hey, listen, we’ve got one life.

[00:33:18] We’ve got, we could be gone tomorrow. This is it. We’ve got today. We’ve got this conversation. So are you going to keep living this story that you believe to be true or you’re going to start questioning things and. And maybe, maybe when you drive out of your driveway tomorrow, you’re going to go, right. And so then left and it may add more time, but it’s going to give you more options to look at different streets.

[00:33:43] Maybe you see a different house. Maybe you actually get to work earlier, or, or maybe you have a conversation with your neighbor. It just opens up all these possibilities. And that’s the essence of. Of that mindfulness of paying attention to what you’re doing while [00:34:00] you’re doing it. So yeah, your identity, you can build your identity to be anything you want.

[00:34:05] I was, yeah, a corporate, you know, marketing person now. I’m not any of that. Um, I’m a Yogi, I’m a yoga teacher. Like that is something I would never have been if it wasn’t. Um, if I didn’t create the space, the question. I question the stories I tell myself. So I encourage everyone to maybe even write down who they think they are.

[00:34:29] Like, what is this story you’ve built around yourself. And if you love it, if it’s, if it brings you joy and it’s, it’s exactly. Mmm. What you like, like to do and embrace it, keep going. But I can tell you a lot of people and. I’ve experienced this. We get this a lot through social media. We get questions from people like, how do you do this?

[00:34:50] Like, how do you know what you want? How do you know who you are? It’s not about, it’s not about waking up one day and understanding [00:35:00] this is who you are now. I’m a carpenter, or now I’m a, uh, professional athlete. It’s, it’s questioning the things that you’re doing now. And moving more towards the things that actually just light you up.

[00:35:12] So what lights you up? And that’s what I found. I found that I got lit up when I actually had a conversation with people and working behind our desks for 20 years, I got really introverted. I would say maybe that’s a little bit extreme, but I love to just send people, email, not answer the phone and work behind websites and code them and not have to talk to anyone.

[00:35:33] But in reality, that’s, that was a false story because I love to talk to people. Um, I’m super outgoing and. That just came from doing more of it. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s important to question the perceived, um, the perceived stories that you’re telling out there, and your words are powerful. Dave, your words are powerful.

[00:35:57] I’ve already said in this podcast, I’m a yoga [00:36:00] teacher. I’m a triathlete. So I’m already tying myself to those Mmm. Stereotypes. But it’s just a label. And, um, I don’t believe I’m a label. I believe I’m a high vibrating, human being in a physical body, having a spiritual  being, having a physical experience.

[00:36:21] That’s what I believe. And, um, I’m playing the game, you know, I play the game. I’m a triathlete, I’m a coach. Uh, but it’s, it’s. It’s good to keep that space there so that, you know, truly inside that you’re moving more towards the things that bring you joy and happiness.

[00:36:41] Dave:  Yeah. I really like that. Keeping, keeping the space is a, is a great way to put it in a five. Exactly. Heard it that way, but cause that’s what. Uh, that’s what, and I don’t know if protects is the right word, but if, if those things get taken away, that we attach so much identity to then who are we left to be?

[00:36:57] And that’s, that’s where people can get into a [00:37:00] tough place. And we see it all the time with people coming to us with injuries before a race, if you’re a runner or a triathlete or a lifter or any of the CrossFit or any of these things, and you get hurt and that gets taken away from you. It’s a, it’s a tough place to be.

[00:37:13] If you haven’t laid down that. That foundation beforehand, or if you don’t have a, if you’re not deeply rooted and comfortable in who you are as a, as a person, and we are so much more than our weightlifting numbers or our race times or these things, although those are very objective things and, and easy to, easy to get attached to.

[00:37:33] So that’s a really good point.

[00:37:35] BJ: [00:37:35] And those are just data points. Let’s lose, look them out as data points. So why aren’t we taking the heart as a data point and the feelings and emotions as a data point. And I do this with our athletes and I know you do too. Mmm. But it’s just the data point and the numbers you’re so right. The numbers of the ones that get the most attention, because it’s physically, it’s something you can see.

[00:37:56] Mmm. And the spiritual end of [00:38:00] things, whatever that looks like for you is, is having the faith and trust first and seeing it later. So you’re training for a five K you don’t know for certain that you’re going to hit your time. You don’t have, you don’t have certainty, but you believe and have faith and trust that the things that you are doing are moving you closer towards that goal.

[00:38:21] And so you’re not attached. Here’s, here’s the difference. If you attach to having that time, you, you go and run your five K and you don’t hit that time then does your house fall down? Does it crumble? Or do you understand that that is just one race at one point in time and that you can go out and run the next day.

[00:38:40] You can, you can change things up and come back and understand that it’s a process and a flow. And that you’re one unique individual. You’re not like everybody else. And so someone else has experienced shouldn’t dictate how you go through your experience in your journey. So, one other thing [00:39:00] that really, that really aligns with me is, is do you want to be the best version of yourself or the second best version of somebody else?

[00:39:08] And I think that’s the whole, Oh, getting caught up in the social media and the, the, the things that you see outside that somebody else are doing. So keep being the best version of you. That’s that’s really something that will be there when you need it. Motivation. Temporary. It’s not there when you need it.

[00:39:28] Sorry. Are you going to show up when, when, when you go do that race like you inside. Yeah. You are, is going to be there. So let’s start working on you, this, this belief system of, of who you are and what you can achieve.

[00:39:43] Dave: [00:39:43] Yeah, it’s so great. And what we’re talking identity with that for, and whether this is in this can be applied training related. This can be applied. Work-related like in your story and my story as well, and this can be applied to so many areas of our life. What happens when we start to realize that when you talk about [00:40:00] writing our identity down or being aware of that and becoming who we are when our current actions aren’t in line with.

[00:40:07] What we find our identity to be where, where, where do we start if we, if we notice that that, Hey, something’s, something’s not lining up here. Cause that becomes a scary place to be. And that’s where a lot of people meet some of that resistance that we’re talking about. So where, where do you recommend people start?

[00:40:22] If they’re like, Hey, this is what I’m doing. This is either the work I’m doing, or I’ve always ran because I feel like I should run, but I want to get into this other. Sport. And they start to realize there’s this gap between where they are and where they want to be. What kind of strategies or starting points would you give to someone in that situation?

[00:40:41] BJ: [00:40:41] Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. I’m actually just started working with, um, two. Um, teenagers on the East coast who are swimmers water polo players, but obviously their pools are closed. So they’ve attempted to get into the open water. Right? This is something that they, um, some of them, they have a little bit of trepidation, right?

[00:40:59] Open water, no lane [00:41:00] lines. It’s a little bit scary. It’s murky, it’s cold. You’re in a wetsuit. Um, so you have to site, you can’t just look down at the black line, but they’re they’re achievers. They’re, they’re very good athletes. So. I’ve just started working with them and the thing that I gave them, because they want to, they want to be good.

[00:41:19] They want to be really good. Mmm. And whether that’s swimming or not, it doesn’t matter. Um, simply a question is what I’m doing in this comes from presence. Again, is this is what I’m doing, moving me closer. So my goal, or is it moving me away from my goal? And so how do you ask yourself that question in the moment when you’re in the cabinet reaching for processed chips, um, a whole bag of it, and you’re just ready.

[00:41:48] This is why the, the morning practice of presence is, is Uber important because when you create the space, you’re able to say, uh, [00:42:00] those chips aren’t good for me. They’re not moving me to be an elite athlete. But I’m going to have them anyway. And that’s okay because that’s a start, right? It’s a start. Um, where we get caught up is it has to be all or nothing and it doesn’t, it’s not going to happen.

[00:42:14] I’m sorry, guys. This is not, uh, an all or nothing thing. Um, as a coach, as coaches, we, we experienced that belief a lot. It’s gotta be all or nothing. I have to do this program and these exercises, or I don’t have to do this program or exercises. That’s not how it has to be, and that’s not how change happens.

[00:42:35] It may happen for a few high achievers and that’s what is brought up in social media. And the news is these guys who have completely like changed their whole life. That’s not the norm. The norm is to, to practice presence and to make choices in the moment that are moving you either towards your goal or away from it.

[00:42:55] It’s a simple question. And even if you have to write it down on a piece on a business card and [00:43:00] just keep, keep it visually in your awareness stick, put a sticky on your mirror in the bathroom in the morning. Uh, put it on the cabinets in the kitchen. Is this moving me towards or, or away from my goal? Now you got to have a clear sense of what you want to achieve, or at least, um, uh, the direction you want to go.

[00:43:20] But that’s, it’s really simple to, to, to jump in there into that space. Um, you can do that with nutrition. You can do that with workouts. I think the people who don’t have coaches and are out there hammering themselves because they believe that, you know, if I run fast six days a week, then I’m going to, I’m going to be a fast runner.

[00:43:41] Is this moving me towards my goal or not? And most times those people are ending up injured or running only. Sometime because they’re nursing sensation in the body. Well, change it, like seek help change it. Um, but [00:44:00] I think that’s a, that’s a good practice. It’s it’s asking yourself and these kids, he, he really wanted the, the boy I worked with, he really, like, I could see him thinking about it, like, yeah.

[00:44:11] Is the food I’m doing or the workouts I’m doing, moving me towards being any elite athlete or not. And. It’s simple and it just takes time. You’re gonna, you’re going fail. Or I shouldn’t say fail. You’re going to learn, you know, I like that word better. You’re going to learn, um, from falling down, but you’re going to learn a lot about yourself and how you make decisions.

[00:44:35] The automatic of going to the cabinet and grabbing the chips. Maybe not so automatic anymore. And actually you may go to the store, reach for the chips and be like, I don’t actually need to bring them home this time. Which is even better. And so that’s how things snowball. That’s how, um, these mindful moments let’s call them mindful moments.

[00:44:55] Start to stack up a little bit by little bit every day. Uh, [00:45:00] Michael Phelps really believed in small many, many small wins every day. And he’s talk, talk about this relentless. He, so has his coach who I look up to, but little, little wins every day. Add up, they stack up. That’s how you create a habit. It’s not saying, well, Monday morning on June 1st is going to be the first day that I start this, you know, we’re both shaking our heads.

[00:45:27] No, no, that’s not. I don’t believe that’s the, that’s the formula.

[00:45:34] Dave: [00:45:34] Yeah, a hundred percent agree. And we have to educate people on this all the time as they’ve. Maybe come to us with injury, or they’re not performing the way they want. And it’s been 10 years, 20 years of developing imbalances or compensations or things. And they’re like, well, isn’t this gonna, I thought this was only going to take a couple months to get like, why isn’t this getting better sooner?

[00:45:55] And it’s, it’s having to explain there, there is no fast track and our body’s good example of that [00:46:00] are, and we have to assume that our mind is, I think for some reason, it’s easy to assume. The mind somehow responds quicker because it’s not as tangible and physical as the body. We know how to some degree how muscle grows and how we improve flexibility in those things.

[00:46:13] But we assume that the minds just snap our fingers and all of a sudden it’s, it’s better. And I like, we keep coming back to no fast track for this. And especially as it relates to, you know, in your example of. Train for an Ironman and completing many successful Ironman’s and competing in a very high level.

[00:46:31] Can you talk a little on kind of our, the outcome versus process of how you approach that? Because. Iron like looking from the outside, completing, maybe if you want to go back to you and your first Ironman, if that’s gotta be an intimidating task of, of even where to start, but how do, how do you break that down daily into actionable things and those small wins that allow you to go from, okay, I’m not ready to this to, okay.

[00:46:56] Now I’m competing at a very high level.

[00:46:58] BJ: [00:46:58] Yeah, that’s that’s [00:47:00] great. I, so I’ve done 15, I’ve completed 15 iron mans. I’ve had plenty of DNF, you know, uh, um, I had one in 2010 that just took me out of the sport because I just had a distaste for it. Uh, for two years, um, not out of the sport out of that distance. Um, cause it does take a lot it’s it’s anywhere, you know, if you’re not a professional it’s anywhere from, you know, nine and a half hours, which is really fast to 17, which is the cutoff.

[00:47:26] So 17 hours of, uh, of basically running because that’s where a lot of people spend their time. Um, yeah. It’s tough to wrap to wrap your brain around it. When I started my, when I did my first Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, I had all the intentions, I had a coach. I had all the intentions of I’m going to get my spot to Kona.

[00:47:45] Like all my numbers look good. This is my first Ironman. I’ve got a coach who’s qualified for Kona. Uh, I’m going to get it done. And your goals quickly, quickly, quickly shift. Throughout that day. You get to a point where you just want to get. [00:48:00] Whatever it takes to get to the finish line under 17 hours.

[00:48:03] That’s that’s what happens. I’d say 90% of the time. Um, and I finished that first iron man. It took me a long time. It took me 13 and a half. It’s all relative. This is all relative. Um, it took me 13 and a half hours. I want to say. Um, now I’m 47 and recently I’ve done my fastest one, uh, in just over 10 hours.

[00:48:26] So. I’m getting faster as I’m getting older, but that comes with, um, that comes with the process, not the outcome. Whereas I was originally focused on the Kona qualification, the finishing time, uh, getting there because I posted to all my family and friends that I was going to do this time. And cause they’re all eyes always asking.

[00:48:50] How long do you think it’s going to take? And then it quickly shifted from. Outcome oriented, too process oriented because I realized [00:49:00] in this whole journey that I love what I do, this is allowing me to stay fit and strong and be a role model. Right. For these people that, um, look up to, to me as a coach and athlete that.

[00:49:18] You can stay physically fit in and capable of performing well well into your forties. Um, I’m proof of that, but it takes, it takes patients, which I’ve been blessed to have. I’m extremely patient person. It’s, it’s been a curse at times because it takes me that thought, that thinking overthinking of things when I really need to just act.

[00:49:44] Um, but patients can be really good. But understanding that what you do today is setting the foundation for your ability to go faster, which is what everybody wants to do later on. So we need this [00:50:00] big foundation. We need this big platform. You wouldn’t build a house on a weak foundation, you know, in sand, you want to build concrete and actually let’s build a big concrete, um, patio.

[00:50:12] Um, even if the house is going to be small, let’s build this big, like. Big foundation that, that, um, that we hope won’t crack, but it may crack and that’s okay. But the wider we make it. And the more investment in time we make during that period, the, the more we’re going to be able to absorb the stuff that we put up at the top.

[00:50:35] And we’re going to call that speed. So if we lay a big foundation of endurance, you know, a big wide platform of. Of a low effort, um, walking, uh, easy riding, um, just getting familiar with the ocean and in the pool. If we build that out and get the mindset wrapped around, being able to complete a, you know, [00:51:00] 10 to 16 weeks of, uh, just, just work, just regular work, just going through the motions.

[00:51:05] When we sprinkle on the speed work and it will come. Right. People want this right away. But when we do add that speed work, that, that intensity in bouts, your body’s going to absorb it a hundred times better than it will if it’s in a fatigue and stress state. So the old adage stress rest adapt. So let’s stress the body.

[00:51:30] Not so much. Let’s, let’s give it a little bit here and there let’s rest the body. Let’s get it really rested in between the periods of hard training and then let the body adapt. Now, if we do this over a long period of time, and this is why I really like to work with athletes who are invested in something like an Ironman, they’re looking at a year or two out, not I’ve got an ironman in three months, get me ready.

[00:51:55] And so these are unique situations and everybody’s different. So I take them on. [00:52:00] Depending on, on the individual, but ideally you need a year or two to really build the foundation, to allow for yourself to, um, perform your best. And that includes, Mmm, nutrition. It includes, uh, body movements, uh, strengthening, um, yoga, the breathing practice.

[00:52:21] I can’t stress enough, the breathing and how important that is to these long endurance events. So. Wrapping back into your, your process. If you’re grateful for every day that you’re able to train, you’re not missing many days because you’re keeping the intensity low and you’re building upon brick upon brick upon brick.

[00:52:41] So eventually you get to the place where you’re, you’re crushing it. And this is what we see. Most people will say, I didn’t believe it at first and I didn’t want to do it, but I signed up and I’m on board and they get to that point where they need to do the hard work. And nine times out of 10, they’re telling [00:53:00] me, I can’t believe I ran that fast.

[00:53:01] I can’t believe I’m actually swimming well, and I keep telling them, I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised. Like this is exactly what you’ve committed yourself to is doing that daily work day in and day out. That consistency, consistency builds momentum. Once you have momentum building, you can kick back and just let that thing ride.

[00:53:24] But it’s really important to stay on top of the consistency, especially, you know, first six months, eight months you build that habit. Mmm. Some say habits can be built and you know, what is it? 21 days, 30 days, let’s get a really big foundation. Let’s talk six months here. If you can prove to me that, uh, and you gotta earn the right.

[00:53:48] This is another thing you’ve got to earn the right to do these hard workouts. If you can. If you can be really good at, at the small things, then, um, then let’s see what you can do. You earned it. Let’s let’s, [00:54:00] let’s put some pressure on you. Let’s test the system and, uh, there’s no formula. I don’t have a, like, this is the plan.

[00:54:07] How do you feel? And this is where I see you moving and we keep checking in. We take all the data points, uh, into plan then we move forward and, Hmm. The greatness that comes out of these athletes. When you shift that daily, um, daily gratitude practice, you could even call it and not so much on what’s going to happen in the end, because when you have that outcome, you have that time. You’re almost limiting yourself. You’re almost saying I can only do a 10 hour Ironman. Why can’t I do a nine 50 or nine 45 or nine 30? And so I wanna, I wanna celebrate. The potential versus celebrating the lack.

[00:54:52] Dave: [00:54:52] Yeah, that’s so good. So much good stuff in there. And the foundation work is what makes that possible too. And that’s, that’s coming back to that. [00:55:00] And we talk about that all the time. As you know, BJ, with working on some of the strength things we’ve worked on together and how long it takes to build that out too.

[00:55:07] If people it’s so easy to get impatient, and a lot of people were programming with and working with in the same sense are we’ve been working with them for six months or a year, a year and a half in some form because. It takes time and people get to that six month mark though. And depending on the person, how long it’s been going on and all of a sudden they’re like, Whoa, I want to do this thing that I hadn’t done in a while.

[00:55:28] And it was just so much easier and like, I feel so much better and I’m glad you didn’t rush me to doing a bench press or a pull up or jumping into sprints right away. When if that foundation is not built up, then we set ourselves up for all kinds of. In the physical sense injuries and the mental sense, let downs are missing out on our potential because we have this, this fixed idea of what we think should happen and that can get us into all sorts of troubles.

[00:55:57] I’m sure you see with your athletes.

[00:55:58] BJ: [00:55:58] Expectations, [00:56:00] Dave it’s expectations. You expect to be somewhere where you’re not, and that just causes suffering when you don’t meet it. So, so let’s remove expectations. Let’s just say, I’m going to do the work for the sake of the work. Not because of the reward. Just keep showing up and doing the work.

[00:56:17] And I can share my story, working with you if you, if you like, because I, I can’t believe the stuff that, uh, see, here we go. I can’t believe of course I can believe I’m doing the work right. I’m showing up every day I sought help. I’m doing, I saw a problem in my, do you want me to share the story?

[00:56:35] Dave: [00:56:35] Yeah.

[00:56:36] BJ: [00:56:36] So I, um, You know, I was going into our Ironman, uh, Santa Cruz last September and I’ll keep it short.

[00:56:45] Uh, I finally had had enough if I had my sucks enough moment. Like it sucks enough. Um, my left glute, which is exactly where my lower back injury happened in 2014. So even me mindful moments, I capture as many as I can. [00:57:00] I fall off the train and, um, this was showcasing itself in a big way. And I’m like, I’m done with this.

[00:57:07] The week leading into my race, Ironman, um, Santa Cruz, 70.3, uh, I came in and saw you the week of, so, and I asked you, I said these exercises and things I need to do now, or should I wait till after the race? And you were like, no, you can do them now. And that is old BJ tendency to be like, I’m going to wait, I’m going to delay.

[00:57:30] I’m going to get information. After I do this race and see if I really need to do the exercises Dave’s are, David’s giving me, but I didn’t. I, I stood up in that moment to my belief system. And then the day we drove up, it was the day after I saw you. I did the exercises and I was feeling sensation from these exercises because it was, it was using things I have not activated.

[00:57:55] Maybe never in my life. Um, even as an athlete in high school and growing [00:58:00] up. And so I just kept going with it. So I think Thursday,  Friday, Saturday doing the exercises. Dave gave me even the morning of the race. I was doing some exercises you gave me. And let me say, I did not run, uh, for three weeks leading into that race because of the injury or the opportunity.

[00:58:19] And showed up on race day, laced up my sneakers for the first time in three weeks coming out of transition two, and ran so strong. I’m not my fastest run, but I ran strong and solid, pretty, pretty good pace. And for the first time ever in an Ironman branded race, I finished on the podium. I came in fifth, um, which has yet to happen.

[00:58:40] Um, in the 15 years prior that I had been, I’ve been racing. So the learning here is that, um, seek help. When you, when you have opportunities in your body, even though I’m a coach and I know the body really well, I know my body really well. It’s important to reach out and get that, [00:59:00] that opinion that second, um, look at what’s going on.

[00:59:04] And since that time, so that was in September. So what is that 10 months? So, yeah, I’m well, beyond the six month I’m leaving this because it’s not working. I am still feeling stuff. Yeah. What you’ve given me has not removed any of the sensation. It’s, it’s dimmed it a little bit, but what I can say is I numerous other areas of my life and in my movement, I am not feeling things.

[00:59:31] Um, I’m able to swim, uh, super-strong I’m running, uh, I’ve run 50 mile weeks. Um, this is an important part too. I’m running 50 mile weeks in the same shoes that have over a thousand miles in them. So is it the shoe or is it the structure of the athlete that is in the shoe? And I know we can debate that and share sure there’s science out there, but I can say for this individual, in my.

[01:00:00] [01:00:00] Opinion of who I am as an athlete, I don’t allow the shoe or equipment to dictate what I can do. I take ownership and responsibility for my body and the work that you and I have done has allowed me to go from no miles to, um, 50 miles over the past couple of weeks. And actually I’ve been running every day for over 80 days, um, which I’m trying to track, uh, So those are just numbers.

[01:00:28] Those are the data points. What is the key here? The key takeaway is that when you take ownership of yourself and your life and your body and where you want to go, uh, you begin to discover that all the stories that you told yourself, all the excuses, um, that you’ve, that you’ve shared with others that jump on board and share the same story is untrue.

[01:00:52] And it’s only holding you back. So. Um, I have done one Ironman since we’ve started working together and I had [01:01:00] a, uh, an amazing race. I had a phenomenal race, um, almost close to the time that I had, um, in previous years. So yeah, things are only getting better. If I put a timeline on it and say, Dave, I’ll start working with you.

[01:01:14] If you tell me, by, my next race, I’m going to get my spot. Then I’m only going to create suffering because I’m setting myself up for expectations that are really limiting because why can’t I just get it sooner? Um, but I show up and do the work. I think that’s an important piece. If, if you’re working with Dave and Lindsey and you, you do the work, it’s going to make a difference.

[01:01:40] So remove the element of time. That’s my Sage advice. Just remove the element of time and just do the work. It’s quite, it’s quite simple. But it’s been, it’s been an amazing experience, um, for me as a coach and an athlete to have that rejuvenation of, of that [01:02:00] strength and power and stability. I feel durable.

[01:02:03] I think that’s a good word. I feel durable. Yeah.

[01:02:06] Dave: [01:02:06] Yeah, that’s the biggest thing. And you’re such a Testament though, of doing the work and the, like you said, you have the physical knowledge to do it, but having to go through this process also probably allowed you to grow mentally and some other ways that you maybe. Didn’t have to before when, when things were just clicking or supposedly clicking, they were just maybe hidden from, from what needed, what needed to be worked on.

[01:02:28] But yeah, we, we, I think the timelines, a big thing that the big takeaway there too, is a lot of people come and they want to know definitive times and whoever you’re working with and whatever area of your life, we’re, we’re complicated human beings. And it’s not a, it’s not a straightforward answer if someone’s telling you.

[01:02:46] Definitive have a, have some caution flags up because if they’re like, Oh yeah, you could definitely hit this number in this many months. Like you just have to follow this process and it’s like, Yeah, that that might be a common [01:03:00] pattern that we see if based on, but there’s your starting point. There’s how long you’ve been training for.

[01:03:04] There’s your mindset? We’ve, we’ve touched so deep on today. There’s so many factors that will impact that. And if you become too attached to that, it can distract you from the work that has to get done in the day.

[01:03:18] BJ: [01:03:18] Yeah, the mind’s always going to seek the, this it’s conditioned to think. So I’m saying, don’t think like there’s going to be distractions. You’re going to have those thoughts. You’re going to have all that noise, excuses, but let’s start to reign that in a little bit and understand and realize what is actually true and create that space.

[01:03:36] So. Yeah, that’s it. That’s it mindsets everything. I mean, it’s, it starts in the morning. You’re going to start in the morning.

[01:03:45] Dave: [01:03:45] Yeah, it starts in the morning. And, uh, there’s so many good takeaways from, from what we’ve talked about here. And I want to start to transition towards, as we get towards the end here too is, and we’ve talked about BJ when we initially set this podcast up is. I want this to be a place of so much more than health and [01:04:00] fitness and the mindset stuff.

[01:04:01] I think we’ve already gotten into so much more than just health and fitness in this talk, which is, which has been awesome, but wanting to start to be a space where men listening can realize that we see on the outside, this, this image of this. Super successful athlete in this owns their own business. And you and Jess have a great marriage and relationship and you guys are following your dream and you’re super fit.

[01:04:23] You always seem happy. And on top of the world, even, I remember when you come in with a swollen knee after one year races or your runs, and I’m like, dude, What’s going on with you. You’re like, Oh, it’s no big deal. Like just some, just something like, like nothing happened. I had a pointed out and I’m like, dude, aren’t you gonna tell me, aren’t you gonna talk to me about this?

[01:04:40] And, uh, just so nothing seems to phase you at times. And I think that can be dangerous though from people who maybe follow you and say like, Hey, you got altogether and nothing phases you, you’re, nothing can rattle you. You just roll with the punches and always seem to succeed, but that can be harmful for aspiring men that are.

[01:04:58] Maybe at square one. [01:05:00] And they’re like, Oh, I feel like I’m that all or nothing mentality. We talk about I’m here. I can’t be there tomorrow. So it can be intimidating on where to start. But if you wouldn’t mind, maybe an open about some challenges, a challenge you’re facing or something you’ve faced in the past, that’s been a big catalyst for your growth as a man.

[01:05:17] I know we’ve already gotten into a lot of the, your story and background, but if there’s something maybe more recently that you’ve been, been dealing with or struggling with or something that can be encouraging for, for listeners out there.

[01:05:28] BJ: [01:05:28] Yeah. You know, this is so timely. We just, we just moved. I mean, this is a simple, simple example. We just moved upstairs from one studio to the next. And my wife is, is, you know, she’s, she’s a recovering type A. Um, she likes to say, um, but we have to clean this place. We have to get it super clean. And, and my thought is, well, we just moved upstairs.

[01:05:54] They actually painted the place. So they’re just going to paint the downstairs. So why do we need to clean it? And so I, so I went [01:06:00] internal and I found, I saw myself. Mmm. Not wanting to rock the boat. Right. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t say anything, go inside, become quiet. What does that look like? What does that do?

[01:06:15] That was old BJ that showed up. Um, and this was two days ago, Old BJ. I just went downstairs and got to work in cleaning. I was just quiet and introverted and kind of went back to that old self. But I, but here’s the, here’s the difference? I saw it. I noticed it.  just like I was talking about with the chips.

[01:06:35] It’s okay. Have them. Even though you consciously had that choice. I consciously made the choice to go inside and quiet, but I knew that wasn’t serving me. I know that wasn’t the right choice and aye, aye. We, after we were done cleaning, I went inside, um, into the new place and just meditated for a few minutes.

[01:06:57] I just took a few breaths and, [01:07:00] and checked in with myself to make sure that. I noticed this was old habits coming up and it does, it’s not serving our relationship. It’s not serving where we want to go. It’s not, it’s not choosing the higher path. And those moments are very real Dave that they, it, it isn’t.

[01:07:21] Just because I meditate just because I’m fit and I, I have a wonderful life and, um, doesn’t mean I don’t have debt. It doesn’t mean I don’t have bills to pay. Doesn’t mean we have athletes walking away that don’t align. It doesn’t mean I have terrible workouts or, um, I go swim in the lagoon the other day and I have, uh, just moments of fear and doubt because I don’t know what’s in the water and I touch some seaweed.

[01:07:48] None, I’m human. And I think it’s important to share these moments of, of when we have, when we have doubt of, um, [01:08:00] and fear, because we’re challenging the identity of men, right. Of guys, guys are supposed to, uh, not have fear they’re supposed to, um, Not let the things bother them. Um, they’re supposed to shut down, um, and not talk about it, but let’s talk about it.

[01:08:20] Let’s bring it up. Let’s get into that uncomfortable space. Um, one of the things I took away from this whole journey I’ve been on is, is what, what sparked a lot of my changes to do the opposite of the very thing we were taught to do. And that means saying yes to everything. So yes. To when your wife says, you know, should we talk about this?

[01:08:45] Yes. Let’s talk about it. Do you have time now? Yes. Right. Everything was always no. Um, and I don’t want to portray the Jess as a, as a person that, um, is on his nagging or anything like that. She’s completely [01:09:00] independent and a strong, uh, human being. Um, but we’re real. We’re, we’re, we’re real humans. We, we left a life of no debt of full time jobs, have a beautiful house and we’ve, we got rid of it to, to lead a life that is on the edge.

[01:09:19] That okay. It is, we have debt is, um, living moment to moment is, is finding ways to be creative, to keep that momentum. Moving forward and it takes a partnership and the guys need to pull their weight. The guy, the guys need to be more in tap with, with their emotional side. The, the understanding that you don’t have to be hard all the time.

[01:09:45] We can have some understanding. We can cry. You know, I cry, um, plenty of times, especially during workouts. Like I bring them, I bring it when I, when I do some intense sessions and that’s what comes out and that’s okay because that’s healing. Um, [01:10:00] But that’s, that’s the healing process. If you keep stuffing it, if you keep pushing it down, it’s going to come back with a ferocity that is going to take you out of the game, out of the things that you love.

[01:10:11] So let’s, let’s work this karma out or whatever you want to call it. Let’s work it out now and stand up to the feelings and emotions that you have and let’s work through it that no time is better. Then this present moment.

[01:10:25] Dave: [01:10:25] Man. I really appreciate you sharing that BJ. And that’s a, it’s such good advice and things that we need to hear and over and over and over again. Cause we assume we. We shouldn’t be feeling this or we shouldn’t have it. Well, I worked so hard to get out of this old pattern. I, why am I still reverting back to it?

[01:10:39] And this is this guilt beat and shaming of beating ourselves up. And it’s just, it’s, it’s normal. And it, it happens regardless of wherever we’re at, we’re just a media and a outward appearances. And the brief snapshots we get of people are, uh, also dangerous ways though, to, to hide that as well, that those things don’t happen.

[01:10:59] So I [01:11:00] appreciate you sharing all that.

[01:11:01] BJ: [01:11:01] Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I think it needs to be, it needs to be shown.

3 Takeaways

 [01:11:04] Dave: Yeah. And, uh, as we finished up here, so I wrote down about 15 highlights here that I had from our talks. Um, I’m trying to narrow it down to three key takeaways. So I might need your help after I list some of the, the few that I highlighted, but, uh, overarching theme start simple. So we. We rushed to the end too much.

[01:11:22] There’s no fast track towards wherever we’re going. So starting simple, these small daily everyday wins that we have that lead to big success over time and not connecting to that timeframe. Disconnecting from the timeframe, focusing on those small daily wins. Absolutely love what you said about be the best version of yourself and not the second best version of someone else.

[01:11:44] And that gets into some of the identity stuff we talked about. Chipping away at what we feel our identity might be or should be and connecting to what that is and following it and being okay, being the best version of ourselves and not striving for what other people are doing, and then keep coming [01:12:00] back to process over the outcome.

[01:12:02] So once we can disconnect from the outcome, not get so attached to a time or how we should look or how we should be feeling or. Where we should be at this point in our life, or I’m this young and I should be doing this, or I’m too old and I should be doing this that the more we can get away from those things and just fall in love with the process, good things will start to happen.

[01:12:20] So that was three of many. I had BJ. Anything you want to add to that?

[01:12:23] BJ: [01:12:23] Yeah. Wow. That was no, those are three really good takeaways. And I think keeping it simple is the win. Um, we try to overcomplicate things, so let’s just keep just one breath in the morning. Um, one conversation with somebody let’s let’s stop the multitasking and monotask, let’s just. Let’s just engage in the moment and see how much more joy comes into your life.

[01:12:46] And, and that’s really what it’s about. Right. It’s really about what brings you joy and makes you happy.

[01:12:54] Dave: [01:12:54] Well said, keep preaching. So, uh, last hypothetical scenario, we’re wrapping up here. So I asking all of our guests [01:13:00] this question. So we’re saying you’re leaving your favorite coffee shop. We’ll assume that’s Steady State here for us, uh, Carlsbad residents and you bump into your younger self. So younger BJ of.

[01:13:10] 10 years back younger BJ asks current BJ for some life advice, looking for guidance for direction. You only have 60 seconds. You’re on your way to super-important meeting or time you have to meet up with Jess. You don’t have long to talk with him. What advice are you giving him? And what do you say to him?

[01:13:27] BJ: [01:13:27] Oh boy, I would, uh, I think I would say, um, it doesn’t have to be perfect, like make, be perfectly imperfect. It’s it’s trying to be perfect and say the perfect thing and do the thing that everybody’s going to like is only gonna, is only going to cause more stress and anxiety and, um, and fear that, that what you say is wrong.

[01:13:53] Just be, be yourself, be more of yourself because we’re all put here to [01:14:00] be our unique individuals. So let that shine and it may get dirty and, and, ugly at times, but it’s you it’s it’s you that’s coming to the surface and you need more of that. And not, not the perfectionist.

[01:14:15] Dave: [01:14:15] So well said reminder. I need myself too. So that’s awesome, BJ. Let’s let’s wrap up here. Where can people find you? Can they connect with you?

[01:14:22] BJ: [01:14:22] I think the best place is Yogi triathlete, our website, um, and then social media, everything is @yogitriathlete, I do have my own Instagram account @briangumkowski And, um, yeah, I have have some fun.

[01:14:36] Dave: [01:14:36] Cool BJ. This was awesome. Uh, exceeded my expectations as, uh, I guess exceeded them as I expected a lot of fun in this conversation and we covered so much good stuff. So I really appreciate you coming on.

[01:14:47] BJ: [01:14:47] Thanks, Dave.

[01:14:48]Dave: [01:14:48] Guys, thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the sharpening strength podcast. I hope you found today’s show valuable and that you have some actual strategies you can apply to your life today. This is your first time listening. [01:15:00] Thanks for being here. If you enjoyed the podcast and found it helpful.

[01:15:03] Please make sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave a five star review. These subscriptions and reviews, help other like minded men discover the podcast and take the next step leveling up their life. If you’re a regular listener, I can’t thank you enough for investing in yourself and this show, please make sure to share this with a friend or to post on social media and tag me @iostrengthperformance with your favorite part from today’s show. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to join the strong living for men Facebook group to be part of a community of like minded men. Looking to level up their lives, keeps sharpening your strength in all areas of your life. Thanks for listening and see you guys next week.

Are you overwhelmed with the options available when it comes to your health? Are you tired of settling for short-term fixes without long-term results? Are you in need of a clear solution to better your health and fitness? Are you ready to become the person you know you can be?


You shouldn’t have to waste your time and money on options that don’t work. We understand how frustrating it is to try different things without getting the results you had hoped for. Click here to fill out a contact form to request a FREE Virtual Strategy Session to help develop a clear and specific plan to reach your goals.  We help active adults in our local Southern California practice and throughout the country through our remote services.


Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Spotify

Subscribe on Stitcher




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *