I firmly believe in the power of taking ownership over your life. You know, the whole “when life gives you lemons, sell artisanal, organic, first-press lemonade for $15 a glass to rich assholes” mentality.
In all seriousness, though, I mean taking the cards life has dealt you, and making the best of them. It’s easy to blame others and get into a victim mindset, but this line of thinking never improves your situation.
Everyone has the power to change their lives no matter their circumstances, and this is especially true in fitness. As I say in my books, if you can change your body, you can change your life.
This concept is why I was excited to get Doug Bopst on the podcast.
I’ll save the juicy details for the interview, but Doug is a fantastic example of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps” and truly transforming your life. A true rags to riches story that begins with drug addiction and a jail sentence, and twists and turns into Doug becoming an award-winning personal trainer, author, podcast host, and business owner.
In this episode, we chat about . . .
- How fitness improves your mood and mind (not just your body)
- Why fitness is actually necessary to be successful
- How Doug dealt with previous relationships after his life change
- Why you should surround yourself with good people you want to be like
- How Doug deals with “resistance”
- How to spark belief in yourself and build confidence
- Tips for meal plans in jail or college
- Being authentic on social media
- And much more . . .
So if you want to hear an inspiring story about how Doug completely turned his life around, and the role fitness played in changing his entire outlook on life, listen to this episode!
5:04 – How did fitness save your life?
25:50 – What are your thoughts on personal responsibility and extreme ownership?
44:51 – Did you have people from your previous life try to reach out to you?
51:46 – How do you deal with resistance?
55:15 – How can people get that initial spark of belief in themselves?
1:05:06 – What does spiritual health mean to you?
1:15:54 – How can someone make nutrition work while in jail?
1:37:08 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Howdy, howdy. Welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. And if you are familiar with me my work, you know that I am a very firm believer in the power of taking ownership of your life, of your circumstances. You know the whole, when life gives you lemons, cell artisanal organic lemonade for $15, a glass to rich assholes kind of mentality.
Okay. Seriously, though, I think there is a lot to be said for the philosophy that no matter the reason, If we’re not getting outcomes that we want, we must hold ourselves exclusively accountable and then figure out why we’re not winning, and then what it will take to win. Now, of course, many people don’t like that viewpoint because it invalidate.
Their precious justifications for all of their failures. But in the final analysis, there are two types of people in the world. There are people who are going somewhere, and those people are the least inclined to make excuses. And then you have the people who are going nowhere and they always have a wheelbarrow full of excuses to explain why.
And today’s interview is an object lesson in that observation, because in it I talk with Doug Bobst, who used his proverbial bootstraps to pull himself up from a drug addicted, incarcerated nadu, well to an award-winning personal trainer, an author, a fellow podcaster, and a successful business owner. And in this episode,
Doug: we talk about his story and how he
Mike: used fitness to literally save his life and then completely transform his life.
And in this episode, Doug shares his biggest aha moments and the biggest lessons he has learned along the way, including how to deal with resistance, how to inspire self-esteem, how to believe in yourself, how to be authentic and more. Also, if you like, what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world.
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Doug. Good morning, man. Mike.
Doug: Good morning. Thank you so much for having me on your show. Hey, my
Mike: pleasure. This is one of those random kind of serendipity type of connections, which is cool because I was telling you before we started the interview that most of my episodes they have. Basically no storytelling.
Actually, most of them are just practical how-to information. I’ll do monologues sometimes some motivational stuff. Mostly though, it’s just teaching people more about the art of getting more jacked. And the interviews will usually be with people who are experts on some specific aspect of health or fitness.
And again, is mostly just focusing on not who they are or how they got to where they are. It’s just give us some useful information so we can get bigger, leaner, and stronger and healthier faster. But this interview is gonna be a bit different in that I think it should very much revolve around your story.
And of course there are gonna be plenty of practical takeaways, but you have a unique story and a story I think people will find interesting and inspirational. So that’s why we’re here, huh?
Doug: Yeah, man. And I appreciate you having me on and once again, and you know, as much as I know I, you know, I heard you say you talk about fitness and from a practicality standpoint on how to get more jacked, right?
I think the one thing we can all agree on is trainers is. That fitness can really improve our lives in so many other areas than just physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. And for me, you know, fitness literally saved my life when I was incarcerated on felony drug charges and my transformation really began in there.
But before I kind of get into that and how I got to where I am today is being a podcast host. I’ve been a trainer now for almost a decade and author and that sort of. You know, growing up I was doing everything I could to mask insecurities. I had, I was doing everything I could to mask pain, trauma, and fears.
Because see, my parents got divorced when I was five, and it was a rough divorce. They were fighting constantly and we were going back and forth from house to house. So that created some insecurities inside of me. And then I was incredibly unathletic, yet I loved sports. I was the kid who woke up to watch Sports Center, stayed up to watch all the games, you know, played every sport, which just was never the guy that was picked first.
I was always picked last, never made the travel teams and that sort of thing. So that added another layer of insecurity inside of me. Right. And then on top of that, I was bullied and picked on in school. So I was a recipe for disaster when I was a kid. And when I was 14, I took my first hit off a marijuana pipe.
When I first started smoking, I felt like this monkey come off my back. Remember that first hit I took, and I don’t know if any of your listeners have ever smoked or have ever used drugs in the way that I did, but it felt like I could be at peace with myself. I didn’t have to worry about the pain, I didn’t have to worry about the trauma.
I didn’t have to worry about what people thought of me anymore because I was just so numb from being stoned that I didn’t have to think about anything other than the fact that I was high and one thing other the next. And then I’m smoking every day because now I’m like, okay, this feels good. Like I don’t have to wor to think about all the stuff that’s bringing me down.
I don’t have to think about all the crap in my life. I need to chase more of that feeling. And so I’m smoking every day starting to sell to support my habit, and one thing leads to the next. And I’m selling even more pot where I’m s you know, picking up, you know, half pound a pound a week, and that turns into two, three pounds a week.
By the time I’m a late teenager. And then I started experimenting with cocaine. And what really brought me down though, man, was when I got into painkillers and one of my friends offered me a five milligram Percocet. And that same monkey that came off my back when I started smoking pot, came off my back yet again when I put this five milligram Percocet up my nose and you know, five turned into 10 milligrams, turned into 20, turned into 40, and it got to the point where I was putting three, 400 milligrams up my nose every single day just to support my own habit.
I’d have to, you know, literally snort like two 80 milligram oxy pills just to get outta bed in the morning. And at this point, I’m like 19 years old, almost 20. And my life was in shambles. , I had 20 something jobs by this time. My relationships with my family were completely torn apart. As you can imagine.
I was only hanging out with people that didn’t sold drugs. So I’m just trying to, you know, painting a picture of what my life was like. Right. And you talk about like me being like the epitome of health and fitness today and what I was like before I got into fitness, I was the guy doing all these drugs, selling drugs, and then eating things like cheesecakes pizza, McDonald’s, not as a cheat meal, like as my diet.
That was like the foundation of my diet and everything kind of came to a head man. On Cinco de Mayo of 2008, I was riding around with a few of my friends that could pick up some Oxycontin and I looked in my rear view mirror and the police were pulling me over. What had happened was, I had a half a pound of pot in my car, $2,000 in cash, and a cop was running radar.
And I flashed my high beams at the police officer thinking that would hide my busted headlight. That of course, I’d been meaning the change for months, right? Because as we know, anybody who’s done drugs knows that when you’re in the depths of addiction, that’s all you care about is who you’re getting high with.
How are you’re getting the drugs and how you’re gonna sell it to support your habit, that sort of thing. Cop pulls me over, pulls me out of the car. I’m in handcuffs. One thing leads to the next, he’s searching my car because he asked me if he could search it and, and I think subconsciously go, looking back, I wanted to get caught with having the busted headlight.
And when he asked me to search my car, giving him permission, which is like, you know, no, no, right? He finds the half pound of pot where my spare tire is, finds a couple grand in cash in my glove box. And I thought my life was over that day, man. My heart was in the pit of my stomach. I was crying, I was shaking.
And just every bad choice and every bad mistake I made in my life just kind of was going through my mind at that point. And I remember just sitting in the back of this cop car and. I was like, man, like I had so many dreams as a kid, you know, I would often think I was gonna be a police officer going the f b I be an accountant.
I mean, obviously my dreams of being an athlete were gone because of my ability. And I was miserable at that point too, and I, I just was like, man, what’s the point of living anymore? And I got taken to jail. I was charged with a felony attempt to distribute marijuana, and my dad bailed me out the next day.
So I ended up going to court a few months later. And at this point, like you would think after being charged and arrested and that sort of thing, that I would get my life together. Well, no, it created more unease, anxiety and pain within me that I had to keep getting high to support that level of numbness that I was chasing, you know, throughout my entire.
And went to court in September and the judge found me guilty and he sentenced me to five years in jail. Everything was suspended, but 90 days, meaning if I messed up on, during my five years of probation, that he also gave me that I could potentially have gone back and faced a full five year sentence, 200 hours, uh, community service, all kinds of fines and drug classes.
But he looked at me and he’s like, Doug, I’m gonna convict you of this felony, but you’re young, you’re 20 years old. If you complete everything without messing up, no missed probation appointments, no failed drug tests, you do all your community service, that sort of thing. I’ll take the felony conviction off your record when your probation’s up.
And at that point, I’m 20, I’m high in court. I was gonna get high when I left. And I didn’t think I was gonna live to see my 25th birthday, so I had no faith in myself. I was like, there’s no way any of this is even matters anymore because I’m not gonna make it to that age anyway. Cause often my friends and I would joke like, what’s the point of living if we can’t do or sell drugs anymore?
Right. We admired, like the guys who died when they were 27, like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, tho, those like rock stars who died early because of drugs. Like we admired those types of people. And so I reported to jail about a week after my 21st birthday, which was a few weeks later. The judge gave me some time to gather my belongings and I’m sure you’ve like, kind of felt sorry for me because he was like, my man, this guy’s got no shot.
Right? Like, looking at me. Cause I, I was. 50 pounds heavier than I am now. I was very fat. I was unfit, was like the guy that you would think would get picked on in jail would get beat up just because of I had no confidence in myself coupled with the fact that I couldn’t fight, right? I’d never been in a fight in my life.
I was always the guy who ran from that sort of thing. And so when I got to jail, I detoxed cold Turkey of Oxy. So for those of you who have never experienced this, it’s pretty much like you have the most intense flu symptoms for three weeks. Uncontrollable bowel movements. You’re vomiting. I felt like I was trying to crawl outta my own skin.
Anxiety, pain aches three weeks straight, right? And then when you get out of that detox, then you have to come to the realization that you’re in jail. So you’re like, dang. Like, what have I done? So all the masks that I had been wearing, Mike growing up the mask, tried to fit in with my friends. The mask had tried to fit in at school.
The mask could try to do things to impress girls because I wasn’t happy with myself. The mask, uh, to try to fit in at that time on like Facebook and social media, they were all gone. It was just me versus me in the mirror and my cell. Who I met at the Scrabble table. He, he looked at me, he’s like, dude, what are you doing here?
Because obviously I didn’t look like the type that should have been incarcerated. They were almost like, who’d you piss off? Right? And I kind of told him my story and I started blaming other people for my problems. I was like, you know, it’s my parents’ fault. It’s my like, people who bullied me, it’s the girls.
And he looked at me and I kid you not, and he just said, Hey man, quit being a bitch. And I was just like, what? And it was the first time somebody that had no skin in the game with my life, like checked me like that. And he said, you made a choice to get yourself here, man. He’s like, did your parents hold a gun to you and tell you to sell drugs after they got divorced?
I was like, no. He’s like, did the girls hold a gun to your head and tell you to put Oxy up your nose after they rejected you? And I’m like, no. He’s like, you chose to respond to those circumstances the way you did. He’s like, plenty of people get rejected by women. Plenty of people’s parents get divorced.
Plenty of people get bullied, but they’re not all in jail. And I was like, wow. , you know, as much as I didn’t want to hear it, I needed to. And it kind of sat with me, right. And we started just talking even more and opening up to each other. And he had been in there for 10 years. He just happened to be in there on a detainer, like meaning he had spent 10 years in a different prison, came back cause he had violated his probation or his parole or whatever.
And was there a waiting to go to court. And so that night I literally am watching him exercise and he was like a more jacked version. I tell this story just cause it’s, he paints a picture of what this guy looked like to give people some context. He was like a more jacked version of Brat Pitton Fight Club.
And he was doing hundreds of pullups, thousands of pushups, running laps, climbing the walls in the jail, climbing their railings like. To this day, I’ve been a trainer now for almost a decade. He’s the most fit guy I’ve ever seen. Just because what the guy could do with his own body weight was incredible.
He was so jacked. And I remember him being like, dude, you’re gonna work out with me one day. And I was just like, there’s no freaking way man. Have you seen me lately? Like at the time I could have been a model for Pillsbury. And after him like nagging me and nagging me and nagging me about it, I was like, you know what?
Like what do I have to lose? Like I’m gonna show this guy. I can at least try. And I remember getting down to a pushup, couldn’t even do one for my feet, could barely do one for my knees, could barely walk up and down the steps cuz I was also like smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes before I went to jail.
And I remember just feeling so low, man. I was like, what the hell have I done to myself? Here I am in front of a bunch of grown men. Can’t do a single pushup for my niece, can’t even walk up and down the steps. And I’m 21 years old. And it motivated me and it inspired me. Cause I was like, man, I have to get my life together and this guy’s right.
I’ve been being a victim my entire life up until this point. And I got myself into jail. And I have no other choice right now than to go the other way and at least try. Right. So we set a goal by the time I left my 90 day sentence to do 10 pushups and run a mile, which is like laughable right now. Right?
Especially cuz you’re trying to get people how to and on your show, like get people to the next level to be jacked or maybe win a competition or you know, be able to bench like three 15 or whatever. I was just trying to do a set of 10 pushups, but what happened is he trained me in there every single day and was like, you know what?
I’m gonna hold you accountable. I’m gonna be on you, I’m gonna give you a diet. Right. So I know we talked a little bit at the beginning and before we recorded about diet and jail. So what he would do for me is I wasn’t allowed to eat like a lot of the bread when we would get served bread during meals. I wasn’t allowed to eat pasta that was served or the car.
Pretty much the carbs I wasn’t allowed to eat. But what I was allowed to have, it was pretty much just whatever protein they gave me. Whether it was like the harbold eggs or the chicken or some of the beef or it wasn’t really beef, it was soy products because there were so many different religions in there that they had to like not have beef.
and then we would have different stuff. I think we would get like tune off commissary, which commissary is like the jailhouse grocery store. Right. And then on Sundays we would have, I would be allowed to have like my cheat meal, which Sundays it was called the Hookup. Right. This is kind of cool. So in jail, what we would do is we would order like the ramen noodles off commissary.
We would save our meat from the week. We would get like this stuff called the cheesy rice off commissary like slim gyms. And we would take a big plastic bag and put all the food in it. It sounds gross. It was actually really good. Put all that food in it and then put like bowling water inside the bag and you’d let it sit for like 30 minutes and you’d have like this schorge pork.
And that was like our cheat meal for Sundays. And if I messed up on my diet, I remember him telling me that if I cheated at any other time during the week, I was either getting punched in the stomach or I was gonna run three miles. Well, at the time I couldn’t run three miles. And if he punched me in the stomach, he would’ve broken every bone in my body.
So it kept me motivated and encouraged enough to start to keep going. And then one pushup led to two. Two led to three, three led to four, and so on and so forth. And I felt like this light bulb go off in my head that I was like, man, like I’m gonna change my life. And honestly, man, like as I look back, I didn’t really believe it, truly, but I knew that if I didn’t believe it a hundred percent, that I wouldn’t make it.
So I just had that small belief in myself that I knew if I could just do what he told me in there every single day, the pushups, the running. Cause what would happen is we do a calisthenics in the morning, and then I would run at night. So I would have a deck of cards for the, for the running, and we would count laps and I forget what they measured as far as how, what the distance was.
But every time I ran a lap, I would put a card in the other hand and. . You know, obviously I started with being able to do just a few laps running and then that built up to do, you know, 5, 10, 15. And the more I kept doing that, the more I realized like, wow, I’m starting to feel better about myself, my confidence, the ability to do something I never thought I could do, because being the guy who couldn’t even do a pushup for my knees to now being able to do a set of five without failing, I was like, geez.
It was like, I felt like I’d just run a, ran a marathon. And by the time I left jail, I was able to do it, do that set of 10 pushups and run a mile, which I never thought I could do at the beginning. And again, going back, my mindset completely shifted. And it wasn’t the pushups and the sit-ups, it was how they made me feel.
It was the ability to stay dedicated to something in my life that I had never done. Having structure, which I, I had no structure in my life prior to going into jail. It was again, getting comfortable, being uncomfortable, feeling better at myself. I had lost a few pounds. I had this different swagger about me when I was starting to work on my posture.
Cause that was the other thing. I was the guy who always walked around with my shoulders rounded, almost like a hunchback, cuz I just hated who I was. So, of course, like why would I stand proud to be who Doug Boes was when I was so miserable inside and the person I’ve become. And when I left, I remember crying, right?
I cried when I went in there because I didn’t want to go in. And when I left, I cried because I didn’t wanna leave because this guy, among other things, Helped save my life, this unsung hero of my, my cellmate, where he came and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. And I think sometimes in life, man, I understand.
And I, I a hundred percent tell people that you need to believe in yourself before everybody else, for no doubt, no doubt. But I think when you’re at the lowest of lows like I was, when you have this person that just believes in you unconditionally, this guy owed me nothing. Like nothing, it gets you that spark to start to maybe like believe in yourself just a little bit.
And then once you get going, you get that ball rolling, then you develop the belief in yourself because then you’re able to see like, wow, he’s right. I can do a few pushups if I just put my mind to it. Wow, he’s right. I can run, I can stay on a diet. And so when I left, man, I was like, how am I ever gonna repay you?
How am I ever going to thank you so much for helping to change my life? And he just said to me, don’t fuck up and pay it forward. And he said, just remember, I’m not gonna be there with you when you’re outta here. Just remember that you’re no longer a fat ass and never have to be one again. As a matter of fact, he wrote this stuff on a workout plan that I still have framed in my place today, so I never forget where I came from and I got out, stayed on a workout plan that he gave me, lost 50 pounds, and then this is, you know, this is, I got out in.
The end of 2008. And so it’s like 2009 is when I really started losing the weight, joined a gym for the first time I joined a gym like on my own because I had that self-confidence to walk into a gym and knew that I belong there. Because I think so many times, Mike, so many people don’t go in the gym cause they feel because they’re not at a certain fitness level or they don’t have that confidence within themselves, they don’t belong.
Right. And it’s not the case at all, right? I mean we know that as trainers now we know that most people who go in the gym like nobody cares what fitness level the other person’s at. They’re just trying to do their own thing anyway. But internally for me, I knew I didn’t belong because I was always that fat kid who was unathletic.
I code no confidence, no self-esteem. And frankly it didn’t even believe I’d be able to lose weight if I wanted to. So like I said, I lost a bunch of weight and then got got certified as a trainer back in early 2011. I started as like a fitness specialist they called it at a local wellness center back in the end of 2010.
And mind you, when I got hired at this gym, I had to beg for my job. Cause I was still a convicted felon. So I had to check the box. Have you ever been convicted of a felony check? But I begged. I said, listen, fitness has saved my life. Like you don’t understand. Like I lost a bunch of weight. I now am just using this simply to help other people do the same.
And I said, as a matter of fact, I was in jail when I started working out. And I remember like the man, the hiring manager’s jaw dropped. I was like, hold on, like, wait a second. And they asked me a bunch of more questions. As you can imagine, I had different interviews with hr, other management. I begged. I said, listen, I’ll pee in a cup every single day.
I’ll do whatever it fricking takes. I was like, fitness changed my life and it’s gonna change other people’s lives with me, helping them do so just give me a shot. And they gave me a shot and I was incredibly blessed. And time flew by, built a really successful training business inside the gym. And my five years of probation was up, right?
And I went back to court for modification of my sentence in January of 2014, and the judge struck the felony guilty conviction off my record because I completed all the stipulations, never touched drugs, did all my community service, did all my probation, that sort of thing. My life was forever changed, man.
And I walked outta that courtroom and, and got inspired to help other people turn a negative into a positive. And that’s when I wrote my first book from Felony to Fitness to Free, to help people make the most, their second chance, turn a negative into a positive and focus on how far they’ve come and not how far they have to go.
But most importantly, as I look back, it was because life’s about choices, man. We all have a choice every single day and how we’re gonna treat other people, how we’re gonna treat ourselves, and what we’re gonna do every single day. And I remember when my cellmate, you know, he called me a bitch, you know, later on, he said like, when I, I was asking him like, why did you say that to me?
He’s like, listen man, you can be a man, or you can either be a bitch in life. and whether people agree with how I’m using these words, it’s not the point. It’s the message behind it that’s important. So listen up. He said, you can be a man and know that if you’re gonna change your life and if you’re going to take control of whatever have in front of you, it’s up to you.
It’s not up to anybody else, not up to your family, not up to the government, not up to girls. It’s up to you. And if you relinquish control over that and give it to somebody else, you lose. So he is like, you can either be a man, acknowledge you made these decisions to get yourself in jail. You chose to use drugs, you chose to sell drugs to get here, and now it’s on you to get yourself out.
Or you can be a bitch like most people will be. Go cry in the corner, be pessimistic, say Woe is me. Blame other people for their problems. Cause that’s the easy thing to do. Right? And so fast forward to, you know, when I wrote for Felony Fitness to Free, that’s what I wanted to inspire people to know. Like, like dude, like we all go through shit.
How are you responding to it? It’s on you like even today. Like you can blame one person who’s president or blame a person who was past president about, you know, your life. But at the end of the day, we’re all responsible and accountable to ourselves and how we live. And you know, so I wrote my first book, and then again, the beautiful thing about fitness Mike, is it inspires you to keep going.
It inspires you to kind of stack these small goals. So it was like, you know, you can do one pushups and two that leads to three and four and 10, but then it transitioned in my other areas of my life. I’m like, oh, I can use fitness to help beat my addiction and get into recovery. What’s next? Oh, I can change my friends.
Oh, I can change my nutrition. Like I remember. You know, I started reading, you know, obviously like the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. We all know that’s classic by Arnold. When I first got outta jail, cause I was like, all right, I gotta change what I’m reading right now too. Reading Muscle and Fitness, men’s Health, you know, things that were more focused on improving me as a person rather than just reading magazines about what the best pot was and Qs or whatever.
And so as I started to implement these habits and seeing that I could, you know, inspire myself to keep making changes, I ended. Getting extremely passionate about sharing my story after I wrote my first book. And I’ve, I’ve literally just been on a tear since 2014 to share my story of overcoming addiction, the power of fitness, and how fitness can literally be the catalyst to change your life and save your life in so many ways.
Right? And it’s not just about, like I said, the exercises themselves. It’s how they make you feel, and it’s the mindset and it’s the ability to set and achieve a goal that inspires you to keep going. And, you know, and since then I’ve written several other books. My story’s been, you know, featured on some of the most incredible media outlets such as the Today’s Show, and in Men’s Health on Impact Theory, Tom Biu and like Mind Pump, like a bunch of other different podcasts and shows.
But really it’s not about that, that fills me up. It’s about me doing things I never thought I could. I was the guy who had panic attacks as a kid who was afraid to ask a girl to a dance. And now I’m sharing my story on platforms that have millions upon millions of people. And it all started with fitness.
So I just wanted to paint that picture for everybody to know that we all love how much fitness improves the way we look, the way we feel mentally, the way we’re able to, you know, lift certain things. But when fitness can be used to literally save someone’s. That’s sweet,
Mike: man. I agree with so much that you have said, I want to talk a little bit more about this point of personal responsibility, which I completely agree with, and don’t be a bitch is one way of putting it.
But how did you get out of, cause I’m sure that for a while you were in a victim mindset and there certainly is an emotional appeal to that and blaming others for, uh, your problems or any of us. We’ve all done it, right, and, and I completely agree that what you’re actually doing then is you are relinquishing power.
You are giving then power over to the person or thing or circumstance that you are blaming and you are setting yourself up to continue to fail. I mean, that’s one of my fundamental arguments against that mindset is no. How you might be able to rationalize why it quote unquote makes sense to place blame elsewhere.
It simply doesn’t work. It never leads to better outcomes for you individually, which could be measured in many different ways. Well, let’s just take the old classic term flourishing, right? We all want to flourish. We all want to improve our circumstances, our physical circumstances, our emotional, our spiritual, our social, et cetera.
And how though, so like taking back to the beginning of, so your parents are divorced and you had a rough childhood. And so some people they would say, they would hear. Pieces of your story, and they would say, well, no, but that wasn’t your fault. Like, isn’t this a bit of victim blaming? If your Selma is saying you didn’t make those decisions per se, there were things that were done to you that you did not deserve.
Some people would say. I’m just curious, and you may have already answered this, but I was just curious if anything more specifically on that point of, it sounds like you just, uh, borrow from the book that Jocko Willink and, um, what’s, what was the co-author Leaf I actually pronounce? It’s L e i f, BBER, I believe.
But Extreme Ownership. And one of the, I think, most powerful ideas in the book, which is why they probably went with it for the title, is this point of owning your circumstances, owning your situation, owning your intended outcome. In the extreme, basically refusing to blame anything or anyone else for any obstacles or any problems.
And essentially being willing to take full and complete responsibility for whatever it is that you’re trying to do. And in the end, you either win or you lose. And if you win, then you can say that you are responsible for that. And if you lose for whatever reason, you can also say that you’re responsible for that.
But most people find that very. Unpalatable, or at least many people would, would find that idea very unpalatable or would say, well, yeah, that’s true sometimes, but there are so many exceptions where why are you supposed to say that you’re responsible for something that happened to you that you didn’t
You know, number one, I think it’s human nature to be a victim and to say, woe is me, and to blame certain circumstances. I think we’re humans and we’re gonna do that. The problem with that, like as you alluded to, is when you relinquish control and power onto somebody else for your own behavior and actions, you’re guaranteed to lose.
Because we all know at the end of the day, we are solely responsible for every single choice that we make, right? Like if we’re waiting for the government or our parents or our friends to fix our life for us, we’re gonna be waiting infinitely for that. Right?
Mike: And I guess the key word, where the awkward word is choice.
So we’re talking about how we choose to respond to our environment and things that happen to us. Right? Exactly.
Doug: And you know, the reason I started my podcast, the Adversity Advantage, is because I wanted people to understand that when you hit tough times, when you hit adversity, you have a choice in how you respond.
Because what happens, man, and trust me, I did this because I went the other way. I was the victim. I was responding in unhealthy ways. I did turn to copious amounts of drugs that was going up my nose on a daily basis. I was the guy that ruined relationships, bounced from job to job. And you know where that got me?
It got me being a convicted felon, 50 pounds overweight and incarcerated. So I knew that just logically, once I got my head out of the weeds, I was like, all right, well that didn’t work, so maybe I’ll try the other, right? And what happens when we hit adversity is we go through this. We have a small grieving process over something tough.
Maybe we go through a breakup, we lose a job, parents get split, whatever it is. But because of the way we respond, that grieving process and that pain becomes so much longer because now we gotta grieve the bad choices that we made too, right? So that golf ball size problem becomes a bowling ball, right?
The golf ball size problem might just be that job loss, but if you’re turning the drugs and alcohol blame, blaming other people and saying, woe is me sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day, every day for weeks. Scrolling through social media, eating like shit. You’re gonna create a much bigger problem, other problems than it was originally.
So I always encourage people, now it’s like, okay, like look at the problem. Give yourself some time to be a victim, right? And just say, woe is me for a few hours, whatever it is. Set. Set a healthy limit where you can actually just sit through the pain and then come up with a plan. Be like, all right, now what?
What can I control? Well, you can control your health to a certain extent. Maybe right now with covid and everything, you can’t go to the gym and work out for an hour and a half, two hours. You can certainly go for a walk or run. You can certainly do some pushups in your house. You can certainly go on YouTube and look for a workout or, or any other, you know, avenues of online training.
You can choose who you talk to on a daily basis. You can choose how you spend your time on the internet, whether you’re listening to podcasts, whether you’re watching inspirational videos, whether you’re reading a book, listening to a book. You can choose whether you’re gonna meditate. You can choose what, so you see, you choose.
You can choose, just like you make a choice. When you brush your teeth in the morning, it’s the same thing. And so some people might be like, well, it’s corny and this, but it works. And if you really and truly want to change your own life, this isn’t just like optional. It’s like m. It’s mandatory. You’re gonna go through life constantly mismanaging the way you approach stress and adversity, and you’re gonna train your mind.
So what happens is you have to reattach a behavior to that emotion. I’m gonna say that again. You have to learn to reattach a certain behavior to an emotion. So if you’re used to when you get depressed, go in and starting a line of coke or watching porn, or you know, going out and spending a ton of money.
If you’re used to that, that’s gonna be your default When you get depressed, oh, I’m depressed, I need some dopamine click. I better go do this. Or if you’re anxious and every time you’re anxious, you go drink a shot of vodka, or you snort a line, or you veg out on Netflix for a week at a time, that’s gonna be your default.
But what if you change the default and say, you know what? It’s not gonna feel as good immediately if I go out when I’m feeling like shit to go for a run, do 3, 4, 5 sets of pushups, but let me at least try it. Because over time, like now, my second thought is gonna be when I hit tough times, oh, well maybe I should exercise, or maybe I should go for a walk before making any kind of decision that’s gonna prolong my problem.
Because what happens, man, is we have no issue making choices that will lead to circumstances that we don’t want. Right? We have no issue. Sometimes it’s easy to, you know, do something. Go out and get hammered or go out and do a bunch of drugs, but yet we don’t wanna deal with the consequences. Right? But yet we want the consequences we do want in life, whether that’s to feel and look good naked, trust me, I don’t care who it is.
We all wanna look good naked. I don’t care who it is. I, I hate when people say, you know, I just love the way I am. No, we all wanna look good. We all wanna feel good. I mean, that’s bullshit. I love
Mike: the way I am when I have a six pack. I mean, it’s pretty simple. ,
Doug: again, like, and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t, you know, acknowledge that they still have positive qualities about them when they’re overweight and they’re trying to lose weight.
You have to. Absolutely. But what I’m saying is that, We all wanna look good and be healthy. That’s a goal, right? We all want that. We all want to have great relationships. We all wanna have some set sense of meaning and purpose in
Mike: life. And I would argue that it’s easier to just get there than try to wrestle with that internally and convince ourselves that we don’t actually want that, and that we’re okay with what we see in the mirror when we’re not.
And we’re okay with the lowered self-esteem and the lower energy levels. It’s easier to just, and I understand this can get to an extreme in the other direction where you get body dysmorphia and eating pro, like, no, I’m not talking about that. But I think it’s easier to just get to a place where we actually are just happy with what we see in the mirror, how we feel, how our body functions.
And I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of people over the years. Anyone can. Anyone can do what most people want to do. For guys, I’ve said this many times, but it’s probably, let’s say gaining 20 to 30 pounds of muscle and having a body fat percentage may be 10 to 15%. Something like that where you’re athletic and you have some abs and, and to do that, it takes a couple of years.
Doug: mean, that was my point. It’s like we don’t wanna do the actions, the hard action to get to the actual result and consequences internally, we truly want, but yet we have no issue taking the easy stuff. Like whether it’s turning to drugs and alcohol or food to get circumstances we don’t even wanna deal with over that we don’t want.
Right. So you’re right. I think sometimes we could become so comfortable and being like, you know what, this is just the way I’m gonna be. And that’s how I was when I was a kid, man. When I was a fat kid, I was unathletic by the way, I still can’t jump. I mean, I’m working on that, uh, , that I’m just gonna be like this the rest of my life.
I don’t even have the ability within myself to change or lose. But when I started exercising, and it wasn’t like when I got to a point where I was able to do a set of 50 pushups or bench my own body weight that I felt that I was gonna be able to get to a certain point. Fitness-wise, it was when I started and I was able to do a few pushups, I was like, wow, this shit works like it does.
And that was the big point I’ve been trying to hit home with people, especially who are battling addiction. Like the main thing that people do when they’re using drugs is they’re numbing pain or they feel like shit about themselves. So they use external, you know, things and substances to numb the pain or make themselves feel better.
Well, fitness in itself solely is the number one thing that can make you feel, feel better naturally. Right? Just from the start. And no one’s ever said to me, and I’m sure you experience the same like, man, I’m so. Pissed off. I worked out today. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah. I’ll say you’re not gonna enjoy every workout. Nobody does, but you will always enjoy having worked
Doug: out, right?
Yeah. I mean, of course there’s gonna be the spares exceptions, you know, where people got hurt or something. But 99.9% of the time, most people are like, you know what? I checked the box. I did something for myself today. If nothing else, I exercised and showed myself that I. Crap about my body.
Mike: And then you also just have the chemicals that come with it that make you feel good and are good for you, which is, I don’t know if there are any others actually out there that work like that.
Maybe caffeine if you don’t abuse it, but you know that’s pretty rare and it’s something you can come back to again and again and it never reaches that drop off of diminishing returns. You never get sick of it. It never gets old. There aren’t very many things in life that are like that either. Sex is one.
Probably the enjoyment you get from food, the love that you feel for the people who are closest to you and the feelings you get after working out. If I thought about it, maybe there are a couple other things, but there aren’t many that you can continually go back to in that don’t run
Doug: dry. Yeah. I mean exercise.
I would think meditation in some sense. There’s the increasing returns, the more you exercise in a healthy way, right? The more you start building equity in your body, the more it’s helping you in other areas of your life because. . You know, I think there’s four pillars of health, man. There’s spiritual health, mental health, emotional health, and there’s physical health, right?
You can be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy. Right? But not be physically healthy. There’s plenty of people that are very sound that way, but when you’re physically healthy, it improves all those other areas, right? And that’s the beautiful thing about exercising. And it’s not just about the biceps and the six pack.
Yeah, that’s obviously a great benefit, but internally and in for your mind, how that makes you feel. Because it’s all about dopamine. It’s all about chasing that feel good chemical. It’s all about chasing that feel-good endorphin to make you kind of happy with who you are. And so many people chase that rush from drugs, sex, money, vanity, right?
Versus doing it in a healthier way. I mean, I remember there was a study they took the brain of a coke addict, a sugar addict, and somebody who ran the effect on the brain was the same versus the three. So, You know, running immediately when you’re stressed might not feel as instantly gratifying as snorting of a line of Coke, right?
Because it’s not as I intense of a feeling. But I guarantee you if you choose to run and get that like moderately influx of dopamine, you’ll be a lot happier with yourself and less shameful than if you snort a line of coke does that line of coke. It’s like that when you’re chasing that dopamine, that feeling, it’s like you’re more excited about the chase.
Like once you get there and you do it, it’s like, fuck, why’d I do that? And with fitness, you really don’t have that. You exercise and you’re like, I’m actually really thankful that I
Mike: did that. Sometimes you’re like, I really don’t wanna do this right now, but I’m gonna do it. And then you’re like, I’m glad I did that.
Doug: Oh, I know. And even on the days where you don’t feel like exercising, it’s those days that count even more because we’re not always gonna feel our best. Right? I mean, if anybody tells you, you feel you had the best workout this day, a best workout that day. They’re lying to you. Right. Toxic positivity or whatever that’s they call it where the person’s just always positive about everything.
Even though like they’re like, man, I was, I got three hours of sleep. I probably didn’t drink enough water yesterday. I ate like crap. I was watching football, ate a bunch of wings and then your workout the next day you’re like kind of suffering and lagging a little bit, but you at least did something and you gave it your best.
Mike: And it might discourage the previous, uh, behaviors then, because that’s not gonna be a workout you enjoy. So if you know that you have to show up and get your training in that not showing up is not an option. You might think twice next time before you eat all the food and stay up all night and drink all the alcohol because you’re gonna dread the next day if you know that quitting, even if it’s just for one day is not an option.
Doug: Yeah. And then it’ll bleed into other areas cause you’re like, ah, I’ll just take today off. I’ll take tomorrow off. And then you’re like, oh, I’ll just skip this date night. Oh, I’ll just, you know, not put the forth this effort into work. Cuz trust me, it bleeds into other areas whether you like it or not the way you do one thing, in many cases, the way.
You do a lot of other things in your life. So if you’re very,
Mike: especially something so intimate as fitness, which is how are you conditioning your body? How are you treating your body? How are you operating your body? And I think it’s very naive for someone to think that they can be completely disordered in that area of their life, but then very effective and very orderly in other areas that are, that require, let’s just say a larger sphere of influence and take running a business for example, it’s much harder to lead people and to get other people to do the right thing than it is to just go for a run every day.
And so I would argue that for people who want to be more functional in really any area of their life, it starts. The things that are closest to us, our body, our schedule, our work, our hobbies, how we generally spend our time. And then it extends out into probably our relationships, the closest relationship for most people being their significant other, their immediate family, then their social groups, that if you’re not, I don’t think you have to be a fitness fanatic to be highly effective in life.
But I, I, let’s just put it this way. I’ve met a lot of very successful people, and by successful, I don’t just mean financially successful, but people who are good at the art of living. There’s a diff there’s a big
Doug: difference, isn’t there? Oh, for sure.
Mike: And in many cases, they also were financially successful.
Course, but that’s not all I mean by that. And almost one for one. I mean, I’m thinking of people right now, and it may be everyone, but I’ll just say almost one for one. Had or have some sort of fitness routine. Some people are more into it than others, but they understand the importance of taking care of their body, of staying, of sound, body and sound mind.
And they understand, and this is something you were talking about, the importance of maintaining a routine, maintaining discipline because, uh, that habit, if you strengthen it in just your fitness and just showing up every day and doing the workout, it is going to, you could say bleed over, but that has a negative connotation.
It is going to positively influence anything else you want to do. It just will, you are gonna be more likely to follow through on your intentions everywhere else in your life if you have consistently followed through on your fitness intentions.
Doug: Yeah, man, I tell you what, you’re so spot on. And my, the third book I wrote was called The Heart of Recovery, where I interviewed 50 of the most inspiring people from all walks of life on how they beat and overcame drug addiction.
And there were some common themes in these interviews, right? And I asked them specific questions because in my gut, I knew what you needed to do to live, uh, sustainable recovery. Number one, they all exercised in some shape or form. Some did body building, some ran, some did Pilate, whatever. They did something that worked for them, but they moved their body on a regular basis.
Number two is they all had like positive relationships in their life of people that, you know, were moving them towards, you know, further in their recovery or further in business, whatever it was, to make them a better person. And they were also spiritually grounded in some way that worked for them. Right?
So when you talk about being successful at the Art of Life, I think to be successful at the Art of Life, fitness has to be a staple of that. And I just think back as I’m, as you were saying, you know, you’re thinking of the people who are good at the art of living. I’m thinking of the same thing. They all exercise, they all do something, they all, they all lift weights or they all do some cardio, whatever it is that works for them and they’re consistent about it.
And so I think that. When it comes to working out and when it comes to fitness, I think it’s easy for people to kind of push that to the wayside when they get busy, when really that’s the very thing they should be keeping in their routine. When it gets stressed or they get anxious or they’re overwhelmed, is fitness.
Because if they don’t, like, why would you take away the one thing that we know improves our energy, improves our sleep, improves the way we feel about ourself during times of during the trials in our life. Like why would we do that? But I think when we’re going actually going through it, we’re so scattered, we’re so.
You know, jumping from one thing to the next that we don’t even think about it in a logical way like that. So that’s why having a routine and following a program and having people in your life that are aligned with that is so important so that you don’t forget about the importance of sticking to your fitness routine when you’re going through hard times.
Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. How have you dealt with the people in your life? I’m sure there’s some big change from before and after.
Did you have, when you were back and you were a very different person, did you have people from your previous life reaching out and people you normally would’ve went right back to?
Doug: Of course. Yeah. When I first got out, I still hung out with my old group of friends. I mean, I didn’t engage with the same stuff that they did.
Right. Because that’s all I knew and I, I missed my friends and I missed community, and I’d been in isolation for so long that I was like, I needed to be around people and do certain things. But the more I got into fitness, the more I got into health, the more I got into improving myself. I realized that we just didn’t have anything in common anymore.
It felt like awkward to be around them and not because they were bad people, but I didn’t care anymore about who had the best weed or who was getting. You know, hammered or whatever going outside and smoking cigarettes. I was more interested in like, all right, how am I gonna get my chicken breast and my protein for dinner?
Like, how am I gonna get that right? Like, I’m looking
Mike: for a new stir fry recipe. One of you guys.
Doug: No. Oh, okay. So I kid you not, man. What ended up happening was I just lost interest and I spent a lot of time alone. I was living with my grandparents at the time when I got outta jail. And I remember like, I would like lay on their couch and, you know, watch things like Dancing with the Stars or Food Network when I was home with them by myself.
But I taught myself how to cook that way. Cause I got inspired by watching certain chefs on the food network and was like, oh, like. I can actually now cook. Besides putting like, I mean, cuz when I first got out, all I would do was I was eat, like, I would eat like cans of tuna, then I would buy like the frozen like chicken breasts that were obviously pump full of sodium and everything else to put ’em in the microwave, which was great to start.
I was like, all right, well if I’m living on my own, everything, like I gotta learn how to actually cook. It’s gonna be more enjoyable. So I started to figure out, no
Mike: Sunday slim gym. Slop. .
Doug: Yeah, exactly. So I started, I started to figure out how to put things together and then I just started naturally like being more aligned with different people.
Certain people started falling into my life. When I started working as a trainer, I started becoming friends with some of the trainers there. I ended up getting involved in a mastermind group with, uh, this guy Todd Dirken. I don’t know if you people listening, know who he is, who, uh, was a trainer out in San Diego and ended up joining that.
Not for the money aspect. I just, I was trying to figure out how I could continue to grow as a person, and I just, I was drawn to this guy and I was like, I gotta fly out and meet this guy. He trains professional athletes. He’s built a successful business. And I was very green as a trainer. I was like, I wanna be able to learn from people who have gone before me and actually set a foundation like how I can get better.
So I went out and honestly, it was life changing for me in so many ways. The reason is I was like, all right, this guy’s gonna teach me how to do this. The next best launch, the next best pushup, which as you and I were talking about before we recorded, like isn’t how you become a good trainer, right?
Necessarily. And we went out there and it was more like personal development stuff that we focused on, like our five year goals, 10 year goals for business, what we wanna live by for the rest of our life. The things I had never really thought about. . And that just kind of put me in a weird frame of mind because I would go there and I was around all these positive people that were focused on goal setting and changing themselves.
And I would come back home and I would go to the gym and it was like this buzz kill. I was like, man, why aren’t these people the same feeling the same energy as me? And then I realized I had to get that energy from other people. I had to really be intentional in who I surrounded myself with, because without that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Being around people that were better than me or more successful, pushed me to write books, pushed me to start a podcast, pushed me to get on podcast, pushed me to write, pushed me to change so many ways in which I was living. And looking back as a younger kid, I was always so scared to be around somebody who was better looking than me, stronger than me, everything else.
But once you get to that point where you’re so comfortable with who you see in the mirror and you know that you just have to worry about yourself and the other person doesn’t really give a shit about you, they’re just focusing on themselves. Like you lose that ego inside of you where you have to only be around people who are less than you.
And I tell you what, man, if you’re the smartest person in any room right now, it’s time to get in a new room. Cause the only way you’re gonna really grow is to challenge yourself with, you know, who’s around you in your life. Because if you’re around people that are doing better than you, chances are naturally they’re gonna elevate you.
It’s just like if you’re around nine people that are doing drugs in your life and you’re the 10th, chances are you’ll do drugs. But if you’re around nine other people that are chasing after crazy fitness goals, they’re trying to build a successful business that’s meaningful, they are focused on like making a difference in the world.
They’re polite, they treat people with kindness. You’re gonna be that person too. Does that make
Mike: sense? Absolutely. And I think a very simple way of accomplishing that is what you did find groups that already exist. What I’ve seen has not worked well for people is to try to pick very specific individuals.
They want to be like asking for these people to be their mentor. That is a common thing. I mean, I’ve been asked that quite a few times over the years and given how much work is always on my plate, it’s just not feasible. And that strategy though, is a losing strategy. What you did, that’s the winning strategy.
Just go find groups that exist or the people that you want to be like and see if you can join the group. And if you can’t join the first group you find, then go find another one. Cuz there certainly is a group you
Doug: can find. Yeah. And so many people will stop at that first. No. So if they’re trying to, to join a certain group, they’ll be like, oh, I guess it’s not meant to be.
Well. I mean, stopping from pursuing a new group is not gonna get you to into a new group. Right. So you gotta keep trying. It’s just like with Fitness man, like I’m sure you got like millions of stories like this, but you have somebody who is trying to lose weight and then all of a sudden they, they get on a new program and the scale moves as we know very fast.
At first, they might lose that water weight and lose five to 10 pounds in the first few weeks, and then they keep going and going and going, and then they might plateau, right? And the scale might move, they might gain a pound. They’re doing all the same things that you’ve told them to do and they’re following the program and they’re like, ah, I might as well just stop.
The scale’s not moving when you’re like, well, stopping isn’t gonna help you lose weight, so why not keep going with the program? We’ll make adjustments as we go along, and that sort of thing. And it’s the same thing as you just described with the friend group, like not pursuing another friend group just because one said no or whatever.
Is it gonna help you get around better people? So I encourage people, number one, don’t DM somebody or ask ’em, Hey, will you be my mentor? Because I mean A, they don’t even really know you. B, everybody’s incredibly busy. It doesn’t matter what level of success you’re at, we’re all busy. And C, it’s not just the mentor you need, you need to be around other people that can support you.
You need a tribe. You don’t just need one person telling you what to do. Cuz ultimately, as much as I’ve said my cellmate and other people have had impacts in my life to get me started, what keeps you going is the tribe. It’s not that one person, right? And anytime you try to be around like just one person and try to like live like that person does, you lose sight of who you are as a person.
You lose sight of who you want to be. You lose sight of your own goals. Cause you’re so focused on what this person who you claim to have as a mentor or admire or look up to is doing. And instead of having a community of people that can elevate you on your goals, who you are as a person. And there’s a big difference with that.
How do you deal with,
Mike: and we all deal with this to some degree, but I’m curious how you specifically deal with what Stephen Presfield would term resistance. The part of us that wants us to fail and it will lie, cheat and steal and do whatever it takes to, uh, persuade us to do what is more or less the exact opposite of what we should do to accomplish goals.
I mean, I’ll speak for myself. It never completely goes away. I think I’ve done a pretty good job beating it into submission, but I don’t think, I don’t know if it’ll ever be completely eliminated. .
Doug: I agree. I mean, it’s like a muscle you have to work, right? It’s just like, you know, when you are exercising your biceps to get a bigger bicep, you gotta keep working that bicep until failure and you gotta keep staying consistent with that sort of thing.
And the same goes with like life when you’re trying to achieve goals. and you gotta keep working that same muscle. So to back it up a little bit, you have to really set some values and core beliefs around who you are as a person. What do you stand for? What don’t you stand for? And then build off of that because that’s kind of what happens when we get that gut feeling, when we know we’re not doing something that’s aligned with who we are.
Right. But a lot of times we’re, we’re like wondering like, why does this feel weird? Like why? And the people who are successful, the people who are really good at like catching themselves and the act, cuz it’s, it’s gonna happen. Like we’re all going to start something new, whether it’s a fitness journey, whether it’s a business, and we’re gonna see somebody else who’s successful and be like, man, like I wish I could get there faster.
What do I need to do? But when you check yourself and you’re like, you know what, like for me to be able to do that, it’s gonna go against my belief of integrity. It’s gonna go against my belief of honesty, a hard work, persistence, failing to get better. Then you acknowledge that like, okay, like I should not do this because I know I’m gonna feel like shit about it because I’m not being aligned with who I am.
And the way I try to deal with it, man, is I just know that. Throughout my entire life, I’ve always had my back against the wall. Always been that guy who had to just work harder than everybody else. And I just knew that if I can just do the right things every single day in my business for my podcast, for my health and fitness routine, and be consistent over time, what’s meant to work out for me will work out for me.
And what’s not won’t. And I know that sounds like cliche, but it’s true. If we’re so focused on, you know, what’s happening to us in life and that we’re constantly complaining that we don’t have what other people have, like we fall into that victim mindset of like, woe is me. They’re better than me. I’m never gonna accomplish everything because we’re so focused on them instead of us.
So I think if internally we can focus on what we really stand for, and just knowing that every successful person that I know you talk about the whole fitness. didn’t have it easy to get successful. They all had to go through shit. They all failed so many times to get where they are. But what they all have in common is they didn’t take shortcuts and they kept getting back up every time they failed.
And I always tell people, fail more, right? Because if you haven’t failed, it means that you never took a chance, right? And if you never took a chance, it means you never tried. And if you’ve never tried, it means you didn’t believe in yourself enough to take a chance or to try and you didn’t have faith.
And I’m not talking about like the religious faith. I’m talking about internally believing that you are worthy of taking a chance on changing your health or on starting that business, starting that podcast. And without that, we’re nothing like if we don’t have that internal belief and where we’re going and internally, like our core values, We’re not gonna accomplish anything in life.
Cause if we’re constantly gonna be chasing after other people’s goals, other people’s dreams, and then we’re gonna get so lost in that, that we lose sight of where we’re going. How
Mike: can people get that initial spark of belief in themselves though? Because, I mean, you know exactly what I’m talking about here because you said this is where you were at for a long time, where you felt like you had no reason to believe in yourself, which can be particularly insidious because if somebody is in a situation where, let’s say that their version of extreme ownership or responsibility is blaming themselves, and I, I don’t think responsibility and blame are synonymous.
I think those are very different things. Responsibility being the recognition of, cause I caused that blame coming with a negative shame and guilt. Right? So let’s say they’re, they don’t, . Anybody else, they blame themselves, which is a bit odd because actually they’re blaming some past version of themselves.
So it’s almost like they’ve kind of split themselves now into two entities. You have present them and past them and they blame past them for present them’s problems. However, the point being is, let’s say you have somebody and they say, look, I’ve basically fucked up everything I’ve ever tried to really accomplish.
And maybe that’s not even that much. Maybe they’re being a little bit dramatic, but that’s fine. And they feel like they just don’t have any rational, logical reason to think that they can do anything because past performance suggests that the future’s not gonna be very bright.
Doug: Yeah, I mean, there’s so much to unpack with that.
I think at the end of the day, number one, people need to know that like every single day is an opportunity for us to start something new, right? I think, you know, there’s plenty of people that. You hear about that have failed, failed, failed, failed, failed most of their life, and then finally something clicks, right?
And I think just knowing that, even just taking small steps, right? So maybe it’s somebody who has never been able to stick to a fitness routine. I’ll use this as an example, but maybe in their past, the reason they’ve failed is because they’ve tried to go from zero to a hundred super fast. So maybe they’re the person that you know, had an exercise in 10 years and sees this workout program that they’re like, oh man, I’m gonna try this because my neighbor’s doing, or somebody else is doing it and then they’re not able to keep up with it.
Cause there’s no progression. There’s. Sustainability. It’s not realistic for them at the time and they fail. So like what I would really tell them to do, somebody in this situation is say, Hey, why not start with just taking 15, 20 minutes a day, 10 minutes, whatever, and using that time to allocate towards your exercise.
Whether that’s going for a walk, whether that’s doing some calisthenics, whether that’s, you know, moving your body in some shape or way. And then getting those small wins. I think over time will add up to at least building a little bit of confidence to get yourself off of that ground zero. It’s up to like a little bit more.
And then you start building off of that and you’re able to like look back and focus on different things that aren’t just the numbers of the scale or aren’t just, you know, the size of your muscles and you’re like, oh, okay. Like, wow, I feel confident that I worked out five days in a row. I haven’t been able to string along five days of moving my body in 15 years.
The scale might not be moving, but here’s what is moving and I. Like you have to really focus on other things besides the metrics of the scale and how you look in the mirror when you’re first getting started, if you’re in that mindset, because otherwise, sure, like you’re gonna focus so much on the scale and how you look and you’re gonna be, wow, I’ve never looked better in my life.
I’ve never looked any better than I am now. I’ve never had the scale move, so what’s the point of doing anything anymore? But instead, I think if people can focus on other metrics of fitness to get started. As a byproduct, if they focus on those metrics, they’ll tend to feel better about themselves. If they’re having confidence that they feel better after working out five days a week, doing 15, 20 minutes, they’re gonna want more of that feeling, right?
So that 20 minutes might become 25 to 30. And then sure enough, over the next few weeks, you know, they might be inspired to then like, wow, try a 30 minute workout, try a 40 minute workout, and then they’ll keep building and building and building and they’ll look back and they’re like, wow. Two months ago I had no confidence in my ability to maintain any fitness routine, but now I have for the last few months, and it’s all because it started small.
I mean, that’s one of the biggest mistakes I think people make, man, is they try to overhaul their health in like one day. And like you said, it takes years. There’s no simple fix. It sucks. Like I always say this, this is like you gotta have to kind of have to choose your sucks. Somebody when they’re talking to me, it sucks to make those sacrifices and carve out that extra time in the day.
My morning cardio
Mike: basically sucks for the first 10 or 15 minutes every day. I’ve been doing it since the beginning of the lockdown, so whatever that was, March or whenever it started. So many months. And , it sucks just as much. It sucked just as much this morning for the first 10 or 15 minutes as it did right in the beginning, because I do it early in the morning and there’s a big difference in terms of perceived effort if I do it at 3:00 PM versus 7:00 AM or seven 30.
So I wake up and then I read for a bit, and then I get on the bike. But hey, I keep doing it because I know that after 10 or 15 minutes when I guess it’s, uh, I just build up some momentum and it just doesn’t feel as difficult. It feels fairly difficult in the beginning, just on the resistance setting that I have it or whatever.
And I accept that I’ve been extremely consistent with every aspect of my health and fitness for a long time. That just is what it is. And the same thing goes for certain elements. I enjoy the weightlifting a bit more, so that mitigates that resistance to some degree. But there are always some workouts that when I start, there’s a part of me that doesn’t wanna do this right now, but there’s 0% chance we’re not doing it.
So let’s get going. Yeah.
Doug: I mean, I, I relate so much. I mean, even like today when I’m like, I mean I love going for like long runs, not like anything insane, but maybe a five, six miles from time to time is like a moving meditation. If I got a lot of my mind, a lot of my thoughts, a lot of my ideas come when I’m like moving and.
Moving at like turtle pace, like slow jog. It’s just super low intensity. And the first like mile, oh my God, this is terrible, it’s cold, I don’t wanna do this. But then the endorphins kick in, right? And you start getting those feel good chemicals and those, your muscles get warmed up and you get, you start to get that little bit of a high and you’re like, wow.
Like I feel good now. And then it’s just kind of, you learn to embrace it and then you
Mike: don’t wanna stop, right? Then you come to the end. That’s what happens to me. I mean, I just do 30 or 35 minutes. I don’t wanna do too much cardio in general because my focus is more on my weightlifting and so I, I pretty much limit it to about three hours, three and a half hours a week.
But ironically, every single time, by the end of the workout, I actually want to keep going and it takes a little bit of effort to stop, you know? It’s kind of, it’s just funny that way.
Doug: Well, I know, I agree. And I think people, and the reason I say like that the whole shoes suck is it goes back to the beginning when I said it’s about making choices.
And I think honestly, the people. Who blame themselves a lot for the failures and everything. It somehow comes back to a user error. I think the majority of the time they didn’t follow through authentically with a program. They started too fast. They didn’t set the right goals. They cheated on their diet too much.
They hung around the wrong crowd. Something where it was like a user error because we all know what to do. It’s a matter of doing it. Like it’s funny, people were like, well, what should I eat to lose weight? And I’m sometimes cynical. I mean not just as being a smart ass. And I’m like, you know what to. Too.
We know that eating a hotdog isn’t gonna move you towards your goals. We know that you should eat, you know, lean proteins and good fats and all that sort of thing, but the problem lies with what people want in life, doesn’t line up with what they actually do on a daily basis. I mean, that’s
Mike: that point, right?
Of acting based on emotion and then using logic after the fact to try to explain why that made sense or why that was okay. And then not fully buying into it. So then you’re stuck with this weird cognitive dissonance, and then that opens the door to other negative
Doug: emotions. Well, yeah, I, I also would state that.
Sometimes when you go backwards, it has an even better effect. So like if you put logic first and you say, okay, like logically I know I should exercise, then you get that actual like, good emotion that comes with it. Whereas if you do it the opposite, you act emotionally and you’re like, ah, I don’t wanna do it.
Like, or you make an instant gratification choice, and logically afterwards you’re, you’re like pissed off at yourself and making yourself even more emotional about the situation. And the other thing I’ll say is, you know, it’s hard to make sacrifice. It’s hard to make changes when you’ve been going for a certain unhealthy pattern for so long.
But what’s also sucks, going back to my original point, is looking back and you’ve put on 10 to 15 more pounds or you’ve, your blood pressure’s gone up, your blood sugar’s gone up, or maybe you’ve put more strain in a relationship because you’re acting out of emotion now because you’re so stressed out about the way you feel about.
That sucks too. Like to feel like that. So would you rather go through and embrace the struggle and the challenge of the suck of making the sacrifices, being dedicated, you know, changing the way you think about yourself, which in turn you’ll build and cultivate fortitude, wisdom, determination, and you’ll work that muscle that when you do go through hard times, it’s gonna be a lot easier to get through those hard times because you’ve proven to yourself that you can do it through exercising on days.
You didn’t wanna do it through challenging yourself to do the morning cardio you never thought you could do through sucking it up and eating chicken breast during a football game. When you’re like really trying to dial in your nutrition like that builds a muscle. It’s not just about the physicality benefits of exercise, it’s the mental and emotional fortitude you build as a.
Of making sacrifices in your life because anything that’s important that gives you some level of success to achieve, you have to make some sort of sacrifice, right? Anybody who’s trying to win a bodybuilding competition, like there’s certain sacrifices that have to be made. If you want a six pack, you can’t go out and eat pizza every single day, all day, every day.
You can’t just consistently do that if you want a six pack. But so many people, they want both. And it’s like you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you wanna look like the epitome of health, which is being vascular and having a six to eight pack abs and having big muscles. Then you better start living and breathing like the epitome of health too.
It’s not just the, Ooh, I get to eat pizza and dream about getting a six pack. It’s like, if you want that, you better live like it too. Does that make sense? Absolutely.
Mike: Of course. What does spiritual health mean to you?
Doug: You know, it’s funny man. It’s evolved over the years. I mean, I consider myself to be a Christian, right?
And I’m not the guy who like goes to to church every Sunday or check the box. It’s more about like a relationship because you know what happened to me man, is I thought pure happiness. Forever in life would be for me, having a six pack big biceps, making good money as a trainer, being clean from drugs.
Right. And I got to a point, like five years into my recovery, like it was probably 20 14, 20 15, it was shortly after I published from Felony to Fitness to Free. I hit like another pivotal moment. And it wasn’t like rock bottom where I was like, whoa is me. It was more like something’s missing in my life because I’m not happy.
Right. I was still having a lot of regret and shame from my past. Whether it was the people I manipulated or all the drugs I did, or drugs I sold, or being a felon or whatever it was. I was living for Doug Bobs, like I was the guy who was just living for me. And somebody had said to me, have you ever thought about like having a relationship with God?
I was actually one of my clients, he was like a pastor and then non-denominational church, and he was like, you should come to church with me. And I was like, fuck, church. Like I’m going to hell for putting you through this workout and da da da da and like, and growing up, uh, my understanding. I hate the word religion.
My understanding of religion was if you’re good, you went to heaven. If you’re bad, you went to hell. And I was, at this point, I was like, no matter what, like no matter how much I’ve changed my life physically or mentally and emotionally, I’m on the highway to hell based on everything I’ve already done.
And I also knew that if God was about love, I didn’t believe in God. Cause I was like, is God is about love? Then why am I being picked on? Why am I being abused? Why am I hooked on drugs? Like, bitch, bitch, bitch. Victim, victim, victim. Right? That’s the notion I was playing in my head. So I remember one day I just, after I’ve just been made terrible choices with relationships, and I was at a point where I was as fit as ever.
I was like 5% body fat and making really good money. I decided to call my client and I just said, Hey man, I think I’m ready to give this Jesus thing a try. And you would’ve thought this guy won the lottery by the call, right? He was so happy. And I was like, all right, what the heck is going on? So I go into his office, say like a simple prayer that I understand, like Jesus died for my sins.
And again, the, the prayer and everything else isn’t what’s most important about this story. The story is what I’ll tell you in a second. I felt this monkey come off my back again. Like I felt at peace with all the decisions I had made. I felt that I wasn’t proud. A lot of the shit that I’ve done, the people that I got hooked on drugs, the people I did drugs with and ran around with and felt some sort of responsibility and shame around everything with my family and everything else that I felt, that all happened for me and not to me.
And that was all lifted off of my back. And I felt like I might not have been proud of all that, but God was. And I remember getting out of that church the one day and calling my mom for the first time and authentically like apologizing to her for being a jackass as a teenager in the way I responded to, uh, the circumstance I was dealt.
And I cried. And then I then began as time went on to understand that I was kept alive for a purpose. I was kept alive for a reason because I had lost plenty of friends growing up to drinking and driving, car accidents, overdoses. I mean, I was going to funerals when I was a teenager, man. And it wasn’t for like family members, it was for people I spent time with.
So I knew I was lucky to be alive. And that’s. Honestly, what increasingly encouraged me to continue to share my story, because that’s what I feel like. God kept me alive for a reason. There’s a Bible verse that really sits home with me. I forget the exact nature of it, but it pretty much says something along the lines that he intended to harm me so that I could, you know, get through that pain and help other people overcome pain, something like that.
I’m, I’m honestly not the, like I said, I’m not the best when it comes to traditional religion, but I understood that there was a, a moment of me that was reborn, rebirth. I felt like part of me died at that point. I look back and I was like, man, part of me died. When I was in jail and I was reborn into this new person because I don’t remember that old person I was anymore, I felt like I have somebody else’s memories inside of me.
And I don’t care what kind of transformation you’re going through when you feel like you have somebody else’s memories inside of you, whether it’s you’ve embarked on a health and fitness journey for five years and you’re looking back and being like, man, I can’t believe I ate cheese steaks every day.
And you know, sat on the couch and played video games. That’s when you know a true transformation has occurred. And spirituality for me has evolved over the years. I’m more open-minded with things. I embrace all types of spirituality. I don’t judge anybody for what they do. I mean, I still do things like meditation.
I look into things like reiki and other things. But without spirituality in my life, at least in my experience, I wouldn’t be where I am today because I’ve realized that I’m living for a greater purpose other than myself. And you know, I
Mike: relate to that. Just in my experience in the fitness space and having achieved different things related to quote unquote success.
Selling a lot of books and making money and building businesses and all that stuff. My version of it isn’t as deep as yours, but all that stuff, it has not been as satisfying as I thought it was going to be before having done it. Although the books. Maybe that’s an exception, just because it’s something I’ve always liked to read.
I always had an interest in, in just learning things and then found that I liked to teach things as well. And so there is a bit of a quote unquote, spiritual satisfaction that comes there. But certainly if we look at it more on just the material and especially the more just quantifiable aspects of what I’ve done are not nearly as satisfying as, for example, just getting, it sounds like it can’t be true because people who spend some time around these parts know that my supplement company, I mean, I’ll do about 20 million in sales this year and it’s growing and I’ve sold over a million and a half books, and I don’t talk about my personal life or finances or I’m not an extravagant person at all, but my point being, I’ve made a fair amount of money, I make a fair amount of money, a lot more than I need, put it that way.
And so all of that is nice in that I don’t have financial troubles. But what is far more satisfying on an emotional, and you could say maybe spiritual level, is just receiving an email from somebody who says, I read your book six months ago and now I’ve lost 50 pounds. I’m in a whole new place in my life and I beat, uh, addiction and I fixed my marriage and I’m closer to my kids than ever before.
And I just want to thank you. Like that means a lot more to me than. Legion having a big week or a best week or a best month. I’ve never been very money motivated, so I didn’t think that, I knew I was never gonna turn into like the Instagram, Lamborghini douche bag guy, but I just thought that there was gonna be more of a, you know, oh, I made it kind of feeling.
That comes with more the material stuff. That has not been the case for me. It’s been, again, it’s nice to see, but it’s more about what that really means in terms of just helping people. Well, I
Doug: will say just like in researching you and observing you and following you and everything else, you do a really good job, man, flying under the radar.
And I mean that in the best way. Meaning that you have all this success. You look at your book on Amazon, it’s got all these incredible reviews. You’ve sold all these copies, you’ve built an incredible supplement company. You know your fit is, can be, you have a successful podcast. Like you really wouldn’t know that.
Like you’re not the guy that’s like constantly posting about your success and your success. So I sense this level of like internal zen spirituality within you that you know that that’s not what it’s about. Right. And I think when you were saying, when you alluded to earlier that, you know, maybe the books you felt fulfilled, I think it’s more because of, you’re right.
Like you know, your book is changing somebody else’s life, right? And then that book is gonna change somebody else’s life and so on and so forth. And I look back, I’ll just tell a quick couple stories. And when I really started to believe in something greater than me and that the universe, or whatever you call it, was aligning me in the right ways was the day I went to court to get my felony conviction off my record.
The Baltimore Cell, which is like our local newspaper here, Had done a story on me training a group of kids, college kids. They wanted to know what was like the in-out for college kids. And I was running like, you know, high intensity boot camps for these college girls that I was training. And they came into the story, well, I had no idea when the story was gonna run.
The story ran on the front page of the health and fitness section the day I went back to court. So literally my lawyer like held up this newspaper and was like, your honor, you’re never gonna believe what happened. Like this kid . And the judge is probably like, he is like, that’s fake. He’s like, come on.
That’s what he said. He’s like, fake, that’s Photoshop fake news. He’s like, . He was like, how? He’s like, I know you’re good, but I didn’t know you were that good. And, and I just started to believe like, huh. And I couldn’t make up the fact that my cellmate was helping to use fitness to change my life. And now I’m helping other people use fitness to.
Other people’s, I couldn’t make that up. And then also the guy who was a quote unquote stagefright, I’m getting in front of people like the Clemson football team in other companies and stuff. And speaking, it means I’m not the guy that’s going through my PowerPoint presentation and like trying to like rehearse and memorize my talk.
It’s, it’s straight from the heart. And the only thing I can like connect the dots to is that I feel that God, higher power, whatever you call it, is literally speaking through me, and then I’m speaking that into the room I’m in. And I only say that just because I’m the guy that had panic attacks growing up.
I’m the guy that was afraid to, to ask a girl to a dance. And here I am speaking in front of hundreds of people, sharing my story and sharing like the bad stuff about my story too. Sharing the stuff that, like most people keep in the closet and hide behind. And so I just invite people to just know that, like Mike said, and like I’ve said, like, like fitness can do a lot of amazing things for you.
I don’t think it can be just the only thing you do in your life. I think it’s important to also have fulfilling relationships, have a sense of meaning and purpose. Know you’re doing things for the right reason, because at the end of the day, God forbid if something happens and you get hurt or you’re not able to train for a few weeks because of an injury, you gotta have something else to fall back on that keeps you motivated and encouraged to get back on the saddle.
You know when your life gets better.
Mike: Totally agree. All right, last question for you, and hopefully people who have asked me this question quite a few times over the years are still listening because it’s very specific. So I have had many people who are in jail email me and ask about nutrition in particular, how to make it work.
How did you make
Doug: it work? Well, the way I made it work was I had, I was lucky to have, like I said, my cellmate hold me accountable and create something, but looking back into what he did for me. Yeah, if there’s just a
Mike: few tips or basic, yeah.
Doug: Yeah. I mean, it was skip the bread. Like I think at dinner they gave me like five pieces of bread.
Skip the bread, skip all the, the stuff that. It was like pasta, the rice and everything else. And really focus on the quality of food. So try to eat the best, whatever they serve, you eat that best quality. Right. So in the morning, like I would stick to like eating the eggs and I think they would serve like oatmeal back in the day too.
And I would skip if they gave toast and jelly. And that’s if you’re trying to lose weight. Right? And then also when it came to lunch, there was like a choice between stuff called sweaty meat, which is like this nasty ass baloney and peanut butter and jelly. I would always eat the peanut butter and jelly, sweaty meat
It was like this mystery meat. You can
Mike: eat the sweaty meat or you can eat the spam. I’m going for the
Doug: spam every time. No, and it was sweaty meat or peanut butter and jelly. So I, we would go for peanut butter and jelly and then at night, like I said, we would skip the bread and whatever protein I would eat, I would eat the protein.
We’d always get some sort of salad to like a greens mix and then the vegetables. And I would stick to that. And then if you can afford it, if you’re fortunate enough to get off commissary, we stuck to things we can get like can tuna, or maybe it came in a package, the tuna, and then. I think, I don’t know if it they had salmon there or not, but I literally would just, we focused on just the quality of the food.
Yep. Stick to
Mike: the lean protein. Yeah. And leave out the carbs. And I guess you wouldn’t have to do that entirely, but I understand if you’re just trying to control your calories, that’s an easy way to do it. And then anything with nutrition, eat that as well. Like if it came from a plant, uh, maybe other than the rice, which you could argue that getting a serving of rice per day actually might be good for the whole grains, but getting some fruits and vegetables in any way that you possibly can.
As well as the lean protein, the oatmeal as well, you know, a good whole grain. Similar to my advice for, I get a fair amount of college guys and gals reaching out, asking about nutrition in particular. And it’s similar, right? Like it’s not a sexy. But it works. And if you can just get over the lack of variety, which I think is mostly just an emotional thing, then you can certainly achieve your fitness goals.
Doug: Here’s another tip too, because you get like hungry obviously when you’re in jail and you’re restricting your calories. I mean, cuz number one, you gotta, you acknowledge the fact that you’re in jail and you’re like, oh, this food sucks. Then you’re like, wow, now I gotta like, I gotta adjust what they’re even giving me, which is almost can be sometimes next to nothing compared to what you were eating beforehand.
Like I was to curb the hunger. I would just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day too, if they serve coffee. And so that would be one thing that I would do whenever I would get hungry. And it wasn’t like anything. Excessive, but I would have a cup of coffee if I got hungry cause it kind of curbed that.
So that’s one thing that kind of helped get me through. And then breaking up the work workout. The last thing I’ll say is breaking up the workouts really helped me like with my day in jail, because it gave me something to look forward to. Once I, obviously, once I started getting excited about exercising, I was like, all right, in the morning I have my calisthenics that’ll get me through an hour of the day or however long it took me.
And then at night, I looked forward to. It’s a little jog I would take at night and I just knew that I was able to kind of bookend my days with something that was filling me up instead of just sitting there watching TV, playing games, which you’ll end up doing anyway just cuz it’s just, you’re in jail.
What else are you gonna do for 24 hours? But at least take know that you took care of your health and fitness and try to break it up as much as you can so that you have something
Mike: look forward to. Yeah, I think that’s smart on two counts. One is, so you have something to look forward to every day. So when you’re going to bed at night, you’re looking forward to waking up and doing your workout, and then as the day drags on, you’re looking forward to your workout later.
But then two, research into human memory has shown that we tend to. Remember beginnings and ends more than middles. So I’m, you probably were benefiting from that as well and that every day started and ended well. So even if it was ho hum in the middle, I could see that having a compounding positive effect just on your mood.
And when you look back at the, the last month or several months or whatever, by doing it that way, you were probably more likely to like what you were seeing or what you were feeling when you were looking back than if you had done it otherwise. Just a theory. But , it’s what comes
Doug: to mind. What I think it also allows you to kind of appreciate more fitness.
Because you’re able to now look back and see how simply you started something and then you’re able to now build off of, you know, what you started with and you look back and like, wow, I can’t believe I started with just 10, 15 minutes of exercise or 30 minutes in the, in the jail cell. Yeah. One knee pushup.
Barely. Well, it’s funny because with your body weight, man, it’s a lot easier, I think, numerically to kind of track your progress, right? I mean, yeah, you can track your progress when you’re like pumping iron with like the weight and it’s incremental and that sort of thing. But from going from being, being able to do one pushup to a hundred pushups in a clip, which a lot of people when they go into jail can only do one and they leave maybe years later being able to do a hundred, it’s a big freaking jump.
Right? And I think that’s something that people can really hang their hat on as gratitude for themselves to know that like, wow, like I am able to do a hundred times more. Pushups than when I started. And that’s something that you, you can’t replace
Mike: that a hundred times better. Sounds pretty
Doug: nice. Yeah, exactly.
That’s what I’m saying. Like the whole body weight thing, you know? And that’s been the one of the benefits of being in isolation for me and being the guy that didn’t have much equipment at home and didn’t have access. I was like, all right, well I guess it’s back to the jail workouts. And that’s literally what I had to lean on was max pushups, like 10 sets max dips off my couch, pullups running abs.
And I was like, eh, it sucks cuz it’s not ideal split routine that I’m used to doing. But I’m like, you know, what other choice do I have? I sit on the couch, say, whoa is me and feel sorry for myself or can I actually just make do with what I have? And that’s, if anybody takes anything from what I said about that, about fitness in jail or about fitness in general and about their own life is making do with what you have.
Like we all are dealt shitty circumstances, we’re all dealt challenging times throughout our, our life. Right. But we have to make the best out of what we have, right? We all have the ability, like I’ve said several times, to control how we exercise, with what we have, to surround ourselves with the people, with what we have and what we consume and eat in our bodies and through media with what we have.
Like we all have choices in how we act on that. And just make sure that the way you’re acting aligns with. Who you want to be when this quarantine’s over who you want to be, when the grief and pain of your divorce or you’re losing a job wears off. Like who do you want to be and make sure that what you’re doing on a daily basis aligns with that.
Mike: I agree. Bigly with, and that is a word for anybody that wants to challenge me, just consult a dictionary. . I agree that, and it’s something that has been an important element of many of my choices that, uh, I’ve made in my life, and particularly in the last probably 10 to 15 years or so, is who do I want to be?
I want to be the type of person that blah. And starting there has helped me make a lot of hard decisions that have panned out and has also helped me avoid disasters, decisions that would’ve gone very badly for me, but that were enticing that certainly there was an expediency and that I could have made reasons to choose those options, but it would’ve been.
Going against the type of person I want to be. And so there’s an immediate moral injury there that fester in a way that external hardship simply cannot, especially if it’s hardship, that you are enduring because of making the right decision and because of acting in accordance with who you want to
Yeah, and I think you were right on so many things, bigly, I think that’s funny. I didn’t, I was like, is that a word? But I, I believe you obviously, but you know what’s funny? That everybody wants to, to get healthy, they wanna have that six-pack. And I’m sure many of your listeners wanna lean out if they wanna bulk up whatever their goals are.
But without having that internal dialogue of who do I want to be and having that strong why behind it, like it’s underneath all of that. Like they’re not gonna be able to succeed that. Because like getting big arms and getting a big chest and everything else is, can be very surface level. Right? But it’s like deep down.
Is it because you wanna challenge yourself to do something you never thought you could because it’s gonna increase your self confidence. Is it because you were like picked on as a kid and told you were weak and you want to prove that you aren’t weak and that you’re
Mike: strong and Yeah. Yeah. Finding your whys.
Talk about that in my books. Uh, go through a whole little process with people of, let’s get very specific. Let’s find your whys and they are uniquely yours. They don’t have to make sense to me. Or maybe, maybe they make sense, maybe they don’t resonate with me, and that’s totally fine. My whys may not resonate with you.
The key is though, that you believe in them and
Doug: that it strikes a chord with you. Amen. Man. At the end of the day, like I, I said, and you’ve alluded to it as well, like you have to be aligned with like yourself and what you want in your life, and not focusing on, you know, what your neighbors why is, or what your.
You know your friends, why is like, what’s yours? I mean, there’s a reason that I think if, you know, you end up running in somebody else’s lane when if you’re doing an Olympic race and you end up running in somebody else’s lane, like you’ll be disqualified and you’ll lose, like you might have beaten everybody in the race itself.
You don’t win. Like you don’t, they disqualify you. So just think about that in, in itself, that you have to stay in your own lane and you have to really get internally sound with what you want in your life, whether it’s your fitness, your business and everything else. And that also goes back to what we were talking about earlier, Mike, that how do you know when you’re like off with your values?
Like you were talking about like kind of almost. When you start to cheat the system, quote unquote, to get what you want, it all goes back to are you really running your own race? Are you really doing what you want in your own, why are you just trying to fulfill some other void? Like you said, like is it because you wanna post a picture of yourself with a Lamborghini because somebody else is doing it, or is it because you want to have this house, somebody else is doing it, or assert
Mike: your superiority?
Right? So if you, we all exactly probably have a, at least a little bit of an arrogant streak in us that we’ve had to overcome. I mean, I don’t think I’m an arrogant person now, but when I was younger there was definitely a little bit of arrogance there. And so that can drive unhealthy behaviors in the extreme.
Well, I know,
Doug: and I think it’s what’s important for people to hear is that’s normal. I think the people that are like, oh, I’m never gonna have arrogant thoughts or competent thoughts, it’s
Mike: bullshit. I mean, I would say then I guess you’ve never accomplished anything because
Doug: Exactly , right? It’s like we all have it, it’s just how do we manage it?
Are, do we act on those arrogant thoughts? Because remember, I don’t mean I don’t know the exact number, right, but there’s millions of thoughts that I’m sure go throughout our mind on a weekly, monthly basis. We have a choice in whether we’re gonna act on those thoughts, right? It’s just like when someone is stressed out, they have a choice.
The thought might come to mind like, wow, I could really use a drink right now. There might be another thought that comes to mind. It’s like, man, I might be better off exercising. You have a choice in which thought you act on just like an arrogant thought. That’s like, wow, like, I mean, I’ll just use this as an example cause it’s something a lot of people do right now.
You have a thought that’s like, wow, I want to get as many followers as Mike, so I’m gonna buy 50,000 followers, right? It’s very arrogant and it’s very vain metric, right? You have a choice in whether you’re gonna actually hit purchase or not. , right? And the same thing goes with, you have a choice in whether you’re gonna be like, you know what?
Like I’m gonna catch myself and I’m not gonna take this instant gratification because I wanna be like somebody else. I’m gonna focus on myself. What can I do personally to organically build a following or organically connect with people or build something special? So that I can impact more people through my social media account.
I mean, that’s a very relevant example for today’s society.
Mike: And I would tie that back into how does this help me better express or become the person I want to be? And for me personally, if I weren’t able to make that connection, I wouldn’t have a social media account. And that’s actually a good example because I personally, I do not like social media.
I think that we probably would be better off if it were just banned. I don’t know if I would agree that the government should be able to do that. But if these platforms were to just disappear, it probably would be a net positive. And I personally spend as little time as possible. I rarely, if ever scroll, like if I do scroll, it’s maybe, uh, I don’t know, two or three images down the majority of my time, the vast majority of my time on social media, I guess it’s really just Instagram and I’ll reply to dms and reply to comments, and that’s pretty much it.
I give that some time, but I only can give it so much time and I don’t have any account outside of the accounts that people know. Like I don’t have my private personal account where I show off my Lamborghini that I don’t have or I, I just have my work related accounts. And if I wasn’t seeing that, I was able to, Really what I’m doing is I’m just taking a lot of the educational material that I’m producing elsewhere and repurposing it for social media, showing a bit of my family and a little bit of my personal life to promote what I think are good social values.
I think the nuclear family is very important.
Doug: So yeah, we, and we’ve lost that. So it’s important that you do do that, you know?
Mike: And I’m doing it really not in service of, I can’t say maybe not exclusively just to say, Hey, having a family is good, but that is the primary reason. And I also know that people like to see that stuff.
And so if it produces a positive feeling in other people and it’s wholesome and it’s a picture of me and my kids or something, then I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. But if I weren’t able to do those things, which do connect to the person directly that I want to be, especially in terms of helping others and educating others, if I couldn’t get any traction with that strategy, I wouldn’t be on social media.
I wouldn’t waste my time with it. Yeah, you’re right.
Doug: You know? And I think so many people now, we put so much emphasis. and it all goes back to the external validation and not being true to ourselves internally, that we put so much emphasis on likes, comments that, you know, at the end of the day, if you’re not happy with yourself and who you are as a person and then you’re not aligned with who you want to be, the likes and the comments aren’t gonna matter.
Mike: matter for a minute, I don’t
Doug: know. Yeah, if they do, I’m sure like if you post a p a picture of yourself like, and it. A thousand likes. I’m sure you’d be like, wow, that was awesome. I got a thousand likes. But then you have to chase the next, you’re like, oh. And then you’ll be comparing like, how come that got a thousand and this only got 600?
I mean, there’s
Mike: research on this. That’s exactly what happens. And in some people that creates problems. Like they feel stressed out about it, they feel anxiety, and they get stuck into chasing, chasing likes. And that can lead to what you had mentioned earlier in the podcast where what they’re presenting on social media is completely contrived.
Like they get to that point where they go, oh, so people seem, I, I seem to notice a pattern here. If I do this kind of thing or show this kind of thing, then I get more likes. How can I artificially maximize that element of my life? It can just get into a very psychologically harmful
Doug: habit. Yeah. I mean, cause at the end of the day, social media, It can be used very positively, right?
In a, in, in a way, in some ways, I agree with you that, you know, it’d probably be, there’s a lot more negatives that I think in time outweigh the positives of it, particularly with younger people, of course. And I think with the positives though, like for business, let’s take business as an example, when you’re trying to build a brand online, which we all are, so I get that, you know, if you’re not creating content that’s conducive with who you are and who you want to be, and you’re just chasing after likes, you’re not gonna get to the, at the end what you want.
Like most people, I would say a hundred percent of people would love at the end of their life to look back and be like, wow, I fulfilled the person that I wanted to be. I was happy with how I lived my life. Like I became that person I wanted to, I was my own hero. The problem. because we focus on the likes and the comments on social media.
It pulls us even further away from the very thing we want. We want to have an impact. We want to create content that changes people’s lives, but we focus on all the wrong metrics. Right? And that’s why I love how Gary V kind of puts it. He’s like, just create content. Don’t worry about the likes, like don’t post a booty picture because it’ll get you more likes than posting something that might be a little bit more vulnerable and inspirational.
Like just do you and quit like focusing on the vanity metrics of social media and the
Mike: following in particular, because if you do that, you are not going to have as many followers as the butthole model. You won’t, like the butthole is gonna have a way bigger following of dudes who just jack off to her pictures.
But who cares? Like I, I could care less how many followers I have. I just like to see most. What I like to see is the engagement with the educational stuff that I share and that I do pay attention to. What types of things tend to do better? But that’s just because that’s what I like to do. I like to put out good information and help people improve their fitness and improve other areas of their life.
And I would much rather have a hundred thousand of the right followers who are highly engaged and who really appreciate what I’m doing than a million followers of people who are following me for the wrong reasons that don’t really matter to me. Like if I were to change up my strategy and try to sell myself as a business guru or just some rich guy with cool things, it wouldn’t quite work.
Cuz I’m married with kids and I, I’d have to pretend like that’s not the case. Maybe, or, or maybe there is a niche in there somewhere. But usually it’s the full douche bag persona. Married with kids throws a little bit of a wrench, but maybe I could figure it out and yeah, I could build a following faster, but what would be the point of.
That would be so unfulfilling. That’d be so demotivating doing that work. Cuz every minute of it I’d be like, why am I doing this? What is actually the point
Doug: of this? Yeah. You’re trying to impress people that you don’t even know. That’s the problem with social media is we care more about what other people think that we don’t even know they could be a bot for all.
We freaking care. We, we care so much China, more about whether they, yeah. China, whether they like our photo. Then we care about having like a deep, intimate conversation with somebody we love. It happens every day. Right. And I will also say that like I just saw talking about Gary V, Gary V Post, the video and he was just saying like somebody was asking him about how to create content and he’s like, you know, so many people struggle with what to post and everything else.
He’s like, Just document the journey. Like for you Mike, you’re documenting the journey with yourself, your clients. I’m doing, trying to do the same thing with what I’m doing, but he is like, don’t just post and say you’re a 21 year old life coach and pay me $5,000. He’s like, fuck you. He’s like, you know what I mean?
And that’s the point. It’s like so many people are like, they think so much about what other people are gonna think about what they post or trying to sell something instead of like actually posting about what actually matters. And that’s just the journey, like documenting who you are as a person and who you want to be, not who you want social media.
Think of you. Cause there’s plenty of people out there, we all know ’em. They don’t on social media. You’re like, that is not that person. That’s not that person. They don’t have that car. Their marriage is in shambles. They don’t know how to regulate themselves, they don’t exercise. But on social media, it’s easy to craft an image of somebody.
You’re, it’s polar opposite of you. So I always go back to is what I’m posting a line with who I am and who I want to be? Like, is this really who I am? Could somebody look at my page? And say, oh, that’s Doug. I know Doug, that’s who he is. Or somebody look at my page and be like, dude, that guy’s a fraud.
Right? Like that guy’s fake. And it’s not that I care if somebody were to think I’m fake, it’s just internally, if somebody else thinks I’m fake because they know me at an intimate level and see what I post, that means internally I know that I’m living like a fraud if the people closest to me know it.
Does that make sense? Yeah. And then,
Mike: and then play that out. Okay. So you know you’re a fraud. How else does a fraud behave? . Exactly. And, and inevitably your behaviors will align more and more with who you are being. And I don’t think you could be a fraud and behave like, be a fraud in the way that you’re talking about, and then behave like an ethical, upright, productive member of life and society and other people’s lives.
Those things just don’t go together. They just don’t.
Doug: No, it doesn’t. And I think it all goes back to your core values. Having integrity, it takes. Time, right? To build reputation, have integrity, but it can go away real quick by just making one small move. It doesn’t align with who you are as a person. And I think what tends to happen then is it becomes like, okay, what else can I get away with?
Well, I cheated this system here, like what else can I get away? And that’s why it’s said like fitness, it starts with fitness. It’s like if you say I’m gonna take a day off at the gym, or I’m gonna cheat on my diet, it’s like, well, what else can I cheat at to try to like get a short, easy result? Like what can I do to cut corners here and there?
And then you start cutting corners in your business. You start, you know, skimping people when you’re paying them. You start. Maybe you’re running around on your spouse or your
Mike: significant other. Yeah, being dishonest, finding all the different ways you can be dishonest, thinking that you’re like dancing between the raindrops, like it’s not gonna get you.
Doug: then our perception of ourselves become so hijacked and warped that we start to justify things based on the person that we’ve now become. Like we’ve become a totally different person than who we knew and we’re this different fraudulent person that’s now like running around on their spouse or you know, getting hammered every day and pretending like they’re healthy online, whatever it is.
And we’re justifying that behavior cuz now that’s our new normal, right? We create our new normal based on the actions and behaviors that we do over time. So it all goes back, I said, to being grounded in yourself. And like you have said countless times in this episode, Behaving and acting and making decisions in such a way and that who you want to become like.
I think it’s great to have mentors. I think it’s great to be inspired by people. I am inspired by tons of people, Mike, you inspire me, but I also think it’s important to be your own hero. Who do you want to be five years from now? Who do you want to be three years from now and behave and act in a way that’s conducive to that.
Mike: said, man. Totally agree. Well, hey, this has been a great talk. Really appreciate you taking the time. Let’s wrap up with where people can find you and your work, your books. Anything else that you want people to know about? You’ve mentioned that you have a podcast. You mentioned the name, but we should probably just re-share all of the specifics.
Doug: Yeah, so like I’ve said, I’m the host of the Adversity Advantage podcast that can be found everywhere that, you know, podcasts are run Spotify, box, iTunes, that sort of thing. And pretty much the gist of the podcast is to help people get through adversity and tough times. In a way that will make them a better person than, than when they got out of it.
So they’re learning how to build stronger habits. They’re learning to challenge themselves,
Mike: anti fragility, to use the trendy term. Yes, it’s
Doug: helping the, using the adversity to make you and not break you. And doing the right things and making the right choices. So I interview people from all walks of life on how they’ve taken different trials and turn them in the triumphs and the exact tips that they’ve used to go through that.
And, and also bringing on different health experts and, you know, therapists and people in the mental health community to talk about some different exact modalities of how to deal with stress, how to deal with anxiety, stuff about the brain to help people then when they’re going through challenging times, to be able to understand what they’re going through or be able to have different perspectives from experts in other fields.
And really, it’s just, like I’ve said, like we’re in a tough time right now. Everybody’s business and life in some shape or fashion, whether it’s directly or indirectly, has been affected by this pandemic. And so being able to help prepare people to get through this time of adversity and other adversities in a way that they’ll be.
Align with who they want to be. Right. So that’s the, the notion of the podcast. And then my books are all on Amazon. I’ve written three from Felony to Fitness to Free Faith, family and Fitness, and then the Heart of Recovery. And then I’m on Instagram at Doug Bobst. It’s probably where I’m most active, you know, trying to post stuff to inspire people, different tidbits about my story.
Mike: B O P S T for anybody you wondering? Yeah,
Doug: just in case the, and then Doug Bobs dot com’s got all my other stuff. If people want to read more about my story where in different interviews where I might go into more detail about certain things or my books are available there as well. But yeah, I mean, I appreciate you having me on, man.
It’s been, I felt like I could talked to you for four hours. I mean, the conversation was amazing.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Great story, great insights. Great guy. I really enjoyed it. So thanks again for taking the time and I look forward to our next chat. Yeah, man. Can’t wait. All right. Well, that’s it for today’s episode.
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