Episode 143 – Bedros Keuilian
What’s up everyone? It’s me, Drew Manning, your host of the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. Thanks for tuning in for today’s Podcast and for tuning in each and every week. Hopefully you guys are enjoying this Podcast, where most of the time I get to talk to experts in the industry. I interview them, pick their brains and find out how it can apply to you, to better your life, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And even for selfish reasons ,how can it help me out too. I know most of you know me as the Fit2Fat2Fit guy, the crazy trainer who gained 75 pounds in six months and then lost it. Through that experience, I was humbled. I realized how wrong I was about health and fitness and the way I was trying to help people and the way a lot of people in the industry still try to help people. It doesn’t work. It may work for some, but it changed my perception of what health and fitness is. And that’s what I try to get across on these Podcasts, interviewing people that are like minded and taking their knowledge and applying it to you and how you can change your perception of health and fitness. It’s not just about getting skinny, losing weight, eating less and working out more. I think most of us know that’s not the key, otherwise everybody would be healthy and fit, right? Today’s episode is with a very good friend of mine, a very smart dude. He actually asked me to come speak at Fitness Business Summit recently in San Diego California and now it is my turn to have him on my Podcast. He came out to Salt Lake City, I had him on the Podcast and I had a great time with him. His name is Bedros Keuilian. He is a best selling author, speaker and fitness consultant. He is the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, which is a little franchise that …. actually not a little franchise, it’s actually a big franchise. But basically it’s a brick and mortar boot camp type of gym and it’s awesome actually. It’s one of the nation’s fastest growing franchises. He is an investor in over a dozen companies, ranging from software, digital ad agencies and coaching and consulting services. He has an awesome master mind as well. He is also known as ‘the hidden genius’, the entrepreneur’s best selling author. Thought leaders turn to him when they want to create high level master mind and coaching programs and quickly scale their businesses. He is an immigrant from a communist country and turned hugely successful entrepreneur here in the U.S. So he is like the typical American dream story, not typical, but really cool. He came from nothing, he had nothing as a kid. His parents came here to the U.S. He tells a funny story of where he …. you know, they didn’t have money for lice medicine, so they just used gasoline. His mom used gasoline to kill the lice. *laughing* And it worked! A very cool, unique story, I think you guys will really love what he has to share with you.
Drew: What’s up everybody? Welcome to the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. I am here with my friend, Bedros. Bedros, welcome man.
Bedros: Thanks for having me, Drew.
Drew: Welcome to Utah.
Bedros: It’s a beautiful place, man.
Drew: You said this is like your first real time here.
Bedros: First real experience here in Utah, where I actually got to travel and drive around and experience the geography. Interestingly, I was working out this morning and I realized I am either deconditioned or we’re in an altitude. Then I realized, we are probably in an altitude, compared to sea level, where I am from.
Drew: It gets people every time, it really does. Even just walking up the stairs, you are like, ‘Why am I breathing so hard?’ *laughing* It happens to everybody, so don’t worry about it. It takes a couple of days to get acclimated.
Drew: Before we get into your story, Bedros, I have two questions for you. The one is tell us who this alter ego is and where that idea came from. *laughing*
Bedros: *laughing* Alright, I hope my dad doesn’t watch or listen to your Podcast, because he will kill me.
Drew: We will send it to him.
Bedros: Yeah, alright. So, Vlad Perestroika, as you know, I escaped communist Soviet Union, me and my family did. I was 6 years old when I came to the United States. I lost my accent, my heavy Russian accent. I’m very Americanized, in the culture. But my older brother and sister, who were 19 and 20 at the time and my parents, of course, are still old school. So, between my brother and my dad, they have this very strong accent and they live in the communist message. And so, while they don’t believe in communism, they are very old school. So, a lot of gold, a lot of bling, hair shellacked back. So, for fun one day I decided to wear that tight blue collared shirt, open it up all the way down to the belly button. I had on every gold chain that I could find. People always ask me, are those gold chains real? Yeah! Throughout high school and elementary school, my parents would give me gold chains and bracelets and rings. Like lions with diamond heads on them, right?
Bedros: All I wanted was like an Atari or a boogie board, right? But I was getting these gifts and of course, I wasn’t going to wear them, so I would just put them away. But now I am a grown ass man and I put all that on and I shellacked my hair back. I put on the shades and I walk around as Vlad, insulting people like my dad would.
Drew: *laughing* I love it. He even has his own Instagram account.
Bedros: He does. Vlad has his own Instagram account. He’s a kind of lovable asshole.
Drew: Yeah, we love him. He’s cool. I wanted to ask you about that because it’s funny. You do a great job impersonating, in a good comical way. Next question for you, before we get into your story, because I think this story is really important for me, instead of the audience. You are similar to me, you have a family and you run a successful business, but at the same time you take care of yourself. You are in shape. How do you find balance between giving to your family as a spouse and as a dad? Also giving to your business as an entrepreneur and your employees, right? Your other family and then also giving to yourself, self love, self care, working out and staying in shape. Do you find it hard to be like, ‘Ok, I know if I work out for an hour, I’m sacrificing family time or employee time. Or if I go home to my family, the business might suffer from it.’ How have you found balance over the years?
Bedros: The way I found balance is realizing that probably for the entrepreneur or any type A person, there is not too much balance, it’s more of a work life mix, right? And for me, it was sticking to priorities. I think I read the book, “The One Thing”, long ago. He said, until the 1940’s, it used to be the word priority was singular and as we evolved, people started finding multiple priorities. One, I realized they should all be like one big priority, for me it’s my family, my core family. Of course my legacy with my business and the impact I want to make in the world as a business and wellness space, is yet another priority. So I do have priorities and I know for those two priorities to be fulfilled, I have to be operating at my fullest capacity. So, I look at myself as a fighter jet and a fighter jet is always going to war and it has to be maintained well. And in fact on a fighter carrier, an aircraft carrier, the fighter pilots and the fighter jet have a different place that they keep them. They don’t keep them on the tarmac until they are going to fly. They keep them underneath. The fighter jet pilots have regular beds and not cots. Their workout environment, their eating environment is different, because there are higher expectations of them. I think most people need to go, ‘Alright what are my top two, maybe three, priorities and then you have to eliminate everything else. I don’t have many friends. I don’t go out on weekends and party. I am not on social media consuming content, I am creating content. Where I take time away from social media, where I take time away from trivial friends that I grew up with that I have probably outgrown, I use that time for my health and wellness and for my family and to move my legacy forward.
Drew: I love that. It’s really important for me to learn from people like you, because you have been in this business for years. The hard part for me is I don’t want to live in a guilt or shame based mentality where I am giving, giving, giving, but then I feel guilty if I don’t give to my family enough. Do you ever feel that guilt of where …. it’s not out of balance, but you know, what you were saying …. do you ever feel guilt enter in your life where you are like, ‘Man, I need to step away from this and give today.’
Bedros: Absolutely. In fact, I will give you a great example. In two weeks, I am supposed to fly to Michigan. But I also realize that I haven’t spent much time with my son recently, since Fitness Business Summit, which`you spoke at, which was about 3 or 4 weeks ago now. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, a lot of speaking and in two weeks I am flying off again. I realized, you know what, my son’s 12 and we haven’t spent much time together. Yeah, I see him at home in the mornings and the evenings but it’s like, ‘Hey buddy, why don’t we take you out of school and you travel to Michigan with me.’ We haven’t been to Michigan together, so I will take him to speaking engagements with me. So, I do feel guilt, of course you do. You are never going to have that perfect balance, which is why I say it is a mix. Because my son has gone with me to New York, where Gary and I have shared the stage together and along with others. My son is in the back of the ballroom watching and then afterwards we will go enjoy Manhattan together. So, we are going to do the same thing in Michigan here as we go to Detroit for a couple of days together. So, yes you are absolutely going to feel some level of guilt. Truth of the matter is, I think someone who works a regular 9-5 job, will feel that level of guilt. Because, they are at work and their kids are in day care and they feel bad about that. So, my kids aren’t in day care. They are at home with their mom. But I have guilt sometimes because I made a commitment to go speak here and it’s really time theft from my family, you know, my son and my daughter. But I try to work them into my schedule and travel and business. It’s actually a very bonding moment too, when you travel together and when they see you speak.and when people go, ‘That changed my life. ‘ He goes, ‘Dad, I didn’t realize you had such a big impact.’ Because at home, I’m just dad, right?
Drew: That’s true. I love that and thank you for talking about that personal stuff. I think it’s very relatable to the audience and the people listening, whether they have a 9-5 job or whatever, an entrepreneur. It’s very relatable. Let’s get into your story, because there might be some people out there who might not know who you are. Introduce yourself, talk about your story coming here and what led you down this path you are on today.
Bedros: Yeah, yeah, very good question. So, in a nutshell, I call myself the immigrant edge and the American dream. The reason for that is, in 1980, my dad decided that he wanted to escape communist Armenia and at that time it was under the Soviet Union rule. My dad was a member of the communist party. I still remember, I was six years old when we came here. I still remember in Armenia he would wear Ray Ban sunglasses, Jordache jeans, Adidas shoes, right? They weren’t being sold in the stores, he was buying it on the black market. So, he believed in the American way and the American culture and democracy, but he was born in a communist state. So, he was a member of the communist party, reluctantly. He knew that my oldest brother was about to turn 20, and he was going to go into the Soviet Army and go to Afghanistan and fight. This was back in the 80’s, and of course Afghanistan was at war with the Soviet Union, or vice versa. He’s like, ‘You know what? The Soviet Union came and occupied Armenia, I didn’t like that. I don’t want my son to go fight the Soviet Union’s war and come back dead or dismembered. I don’t like this way, so I am going to escape and give my family a better opportunity.’ So, he went to Italy. He bribed the Soviet government, the consult, 25,000 rubles and we spent three years there. He was a tailor and everyone there works for the man, for the system. He was a tailor and he saved up so much material by putting the patterns close together when he was making suits, that for every 10 or 12 suits he would make, he would have enough material to have one extra suit that was kind of unaccounted for, right? He would then sell that on the black market and he did that for about 3 years and raised this 25,000 rubles and bribed the Russian consult, or a member of the consult, to let us escape into Italy. From Italy, we went into the American consult and said, ‘Hey, we are political refugees. We don’t want to be communist. We want to go to America. We believe in the American way.’ And we legally entered the United States June 16, 1980. So, I grew up in this country and we were in the Santa Ana Anaheim area, kind of gang infested areas of those cities. But, we were in the United States and we were broke. We were poor. We didn’t speak English. We didn’t understand the culture, but my dad was like, ‘Hey, we’ve got opportunity.’ So, he took on many side jobs. He had a paper route and he was pumping gas. He was working at a pizza place, three jobs at the same time. We slowly made it. We certainly didn’t have every resource. For example, we moved around a lot. We had section eight housing that we lived in, which is government assisted and those apartments were sometimes pretty infested with rats and lice or whatever. So, I had lice one time as a kid. We couldn’t afford lice treatment, so my mom had my dad go siphon out gasoline from a parked car. She washed my hair with gasoline.
Drew: Really? Does that work?
Bedros: It does. I don’t recommend it, just go pay the 5 bucks and buy the lice treatment or whatever it cost these days. *laughing* I learned very quickly that when you don’t have resources, you have to get resourceful in life. I saw that in my parents. For example, my mom, dad, brother and sister were all significantly older than me, because I was also the ‘oops baby’, which is why there is a 15 year gap between me and the next closest sibling. They all had multiple side jobs that paid for our apartment and the electricity bill. I was the breadwinner. My dad had figured out that these grocery stores were throwing away food that was expired, because they couldn’t sell it. Because it is expired, you can’t sell it or it might have a little mold on it or the milk is expired and you can’t sell it. He would throw me in there and I would pull out bread and cheese and lettuce and milk and we would take it home. So, I was the breadwinner and we used the money that they made to pay the rent and electricity bill. So again, I learned to be resourceful. As I grew up throughout elementary school and high school, living off found food or government food, you quickly adapt to a very poor diet. So, by the time I reached 11th grade, I was 35 pounds overweight.
Bedros: I had low self esteem. I looked at myself as an outcast, because I just didn’t fit in. I was a foreigner. I realized, you know what, senior year is coming up and there was this girl that I had a crush on. Her name was Lakia and I wanted to ask her to the prom senior year. So, I have got a whole year to do something about all this, right? About my weight, about my physique, about my confidence, or lack thereof. I didn’t know anybody but my partner in science class, he was the center for the high school football team. I said, ‘Dave, what does it take to lose fat and build muscle?’ He said, ‘Oh dude, buy some muscle magazines and read them and just do everything in there.’ The summer of senior year, before senior year, I lose 35 pounds by working out and eating cleaner. Because I was just eating crap, like bologna and cheese and white bread. I come back senior year in great shape with more confidence. I talk to people, even talked to Lakia. I didn’t have enough confidence, Drew, to ask her to the prom.
Drew: Even with the body, you didn’t have the confidence? *laughing*
Bedros: No, no. So, I never made it to the prom. But that forever changed my trajectory. I said, ‘When I get out of high school, I’m going to get certified as a personal trainer and help more people overcome their confidence, self esteem and health issues’, because it had such a big impact on my life. Well, as it turns out, you can’t just look great and be certified and get clients. You know that.
Bedros: So, I am also …. I was the personal trainer that had two side jobs. I was a fry cook at Disneyland and a bouncer at a bar, because I had to make ends meet.
Drew: Were you pretty big at that time? Did you start lifting and like put on some good size, to be a bouncer?
Bedros: Yeah, at that point I was probably around …. it’s funny, I was 235 pounds, went down to about 180 pounds. By the time I got certified as a trainer, the year was 1996 or 1997, I was around 200 pounds. Just to give you some reference, today I am around 215 pounds.
Drew: Ok. Gotcha.
Bedros: But, I hold more muscle today than I did then. Thank god for one of my clients. See, when you’re a personal trainer, you know this, your clients are usually affluent. I had a built in mentor and I didn’t even realize it. This is another great lesson in my life. From resourcefulness to built in mentors. His name was Jim Franco and he was a personal training client and he goes, ‘Hey, why do you come into work and train me on Monday mornings so tired and fatigued?’ ‘Well, Jim, I am a bouncer and I work at Disneyland as a fry cook during the day and on weekends. Then I go and I bounce at this bar.’ Dude, I don’t even like to fight. I could talk my way out of fights. I’m not a fighter. But, you are up until 2 in the morning and then I have to train my client at like 5 in the morning, right? So, I was really doing him a disservice by being tired. He goes, ‘What if I teach you how to sell. Because you are a horrible sales person. I see you let so many prospects walk.’ ‘Great, teach me.’ So, he started to mentor and teach me and took me under his wing. Within about 4 years, I had 5 small personal training gyms that I had opened. So, I went from just this meathead to becoming an entrepreneur and understanding what it takes to run a business, make decisions, be decisive, communicate clearly, have a vision, hire a team and man, what a game changer that was for me. So, that was by 2003 and now of course you fast forward, after the economy crashes in 2008, I realized one on one personal training is really difficult for people, for personal trainers. Because no one is going to pay 600-800 dollars a month.
Bedros: I knew there was something with the boot camps. There was this whole outdoor boot camp thing that was happening. There was a better way to run this business model where it’s not dependent upon good weather. You could run it indoors and actually use equipment and deliver results one on many, instead of one on one. Therefore reducing the price and making it more convenient for people. In 2009, I came up with the idea of Fit Body Boot Camp. By 2010, we were a licensed program, which is like CrossFit affiliate, right?
Bedros: By 2012, we turned into a franchise. That’s when we really became legit. And now here we are in 2018, with nearly 700 locations on 6 countries and 3 continents.
Drew: Wow, that is so cool. I didn’t know it was in other countries.
Drew: That’s cool.
Bedros: Yeah, and I still look at myself as the personal trainer that is making a big impact. I’m still changing lives, now through Fit Body Boot Camp locations and through the people that I coach and consult instead of hands on.
Drew: Yeah. I love that story. I think it’s so inspiring for so many people to give them hope and inspiration that where you are now, isn’t your final destination. So, don’t get fixated on where you are now, like, ‘Oh, is this what I am going to do the rest of my life?’ You don’t know where that road will take you. Having those connections, those experiences, those mentors coming into place to elevate you. Quick question, you kind of mentioned in the beginning, when your original intent or passion was to help people, right? And you having been overweight, did that empathy follow you throughout the years of truly giving back to people? Do you feel like that kind of gave you a different perspective, versus someone who was gifted, born ripped, like never struggled a day in their life. Do you feel like it’s different for you, because that’s kind of what my brand is built on, empathy and it changed the way I looked at it. Did that impact you at all and if so, how?
Bedros: 100% and in fact, back when you did your presentation at Fitness Business Summit, I was in the back of the ballroom like, ‘Yes! Exactly, exactly.’ Because everything you were going through, you put yourself through to gain that 80 pounds, I just organically was going through. Captain Crunch was my dearest friend. *laughing* It was just a reality!
Bedros: It is an addiction. I realized I was going through this sweet, salty cycle as I would watch ‘A Team’ and then ‘Knight Rider’ as a kid. I remember, I would get out …. it’s only in hindsight that the dots connect, right? I remember I would watch cartoons and then Knight Rider or A Team and then some other show and I would run to the kitchen in between shows and get the salty and then the sweet and then the salty and then the sweet. So for me, absolutely, man. Because I wasn’t the best trainer, even to this day, I am not the best technical trainer. So, I didn’t have that advantage, but the advantage that I have is I’ve walked more than a mile in your shoes. I know what it feels like to be invisible, because sadly when you are overweight, society see’s you, or doesn’t see you. You are invisible. It’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of people who are outgoing and enthusiastic and they are overweight. But the majority of us, and I will clump myself into this, I am a fat kid in a fit body right now, you are invisible, man. I saw that when I came back to high school. I am the same kid, but all of a sudden everyone is talking to me. They want to know what I am doing after school. How come no one asked me that before, right? I had that empathy and that empathy was able to transfer into my business. I believe that was one of the advantages that I had.
Drew: Gotcha. I love that. How do you help those people who feel like there is no hope? Who feel like they are stuck in that ‘sweet, salty, sweet, salty’ and will go really hard at a boot camp for 30 days and then go back to their old ways. How do you, in your business, kind of tackle that problem? Especially here in America, and it’s prevalent, man. When you guys came here, this is the American diet and it’s horrible. White bread, bologna, cheese and …. I remember, I grew up in a family of 11. My mom would trick us by putting powdered milk in a milk carton, so we thought it was real milk. *laughing*
Drew: But to feed 11 kids, is really hard. Anyways, the diet isn’t always the best here. How do you get people to overcome that mental and emotional aspect of being stuck in the same place? Exercise, I feel like that isn’t the hard part for people, in my opinion. The nutrition, staying consistent with it, what have you seen work for you guys over the years?
Bedros: It’s education and it’s full transparency. Anytime a new member signs up at a Fit Body Boot Camp …. I used to do this with people when I had my gym, ‘Hey surprise! You’re not just signing up for personal training and workouts! You are signing up for a whole nutrition coaching, and also mindset lifestyle coaching.’ I’m going to tell you that you probably have people in your life who are crabs and they are going to want to take you down on the weekends and get you to drink wine and cheese and bread. Because they don’t want to change, and they don’t want to see you change. I would tell my clients right away that you have people in your life that you are going to have to distance yourself from, if you want to get this outcome. I would also tell them, we are not in this for the sprint, we are in it for the marathon. You are also going to stub your toe during the marathon, hurt your knee, the shoelace is going to start cutting into your foot. You are going to have pain and setbacks during the marathon. But the goal is to cross it, you cross it at the end of your life. So don’t look at this as, in the next 30 days, I want to lose 30 pounds. Look at this over the next 12 months, I want to lose 30 pounds. And then understand my body, my psychology, my behavior, my habits, my emotional eating triggers. If you are willing to do that, we are willing to personally train you. And they go, ‘Holy cow! I thought we were just going to bench press or do squats!’ Or now at Fit Body Boot Camp, battle ropes and kettlebells. No, it’s not just all that stuff. We are actually going to dive into your nutrition and your circle of influence. By being that transparent with them …. we have this thing at Fit Body Boot Camp. We don’t have personal trainers, we have coaches. Because a personal trainer can program a work out. Assuming that you slept well last night, and you are in a positive headspace and you didn’t eat crappy food, I’m going to program a work out and it’s going to work for your body. Most people have a life and their life is turbulent, right? *laughing*
Drew: Right. *laughing*
Bedros: You get in a fight with the spouse. You decided to overdrink over the weekend. You didn’t sleep well last night and you were stressed. So, you come into your workout, so a personal trainer just knows where the muscles, inserts and originates and can program a workout. A coach can read the body, can see that …. can get that client to come back in. So, while I wasn’t a very good technical trainer, I was a great coach, because I would keep the workout so fun and exciting that the client would want to come and see me again the next day.
Bedros: I remember one of my clients saying this is the most positive way, not in any creepy way. She said, ‘I feel like you are the other man in my life. I come to the gym every day to see you. I feel like you are the other husband, the other boyfriend in my life.’ The moment she said that, it clicked for me. I thought, ‘I am going to be every clients other man. Whether male or female, I’m going to be your best friend or the boyfriend that you want to come see.’ If we keep the workouts fun and you trust me, you are also not going to want to let me down on your nutrition program, when you’re not with me in that one hour.
Bedros: Because the other 23 hours a day, what are you doing to get yourself sick and fat and tired? Right? So, we figure that out and of course, I transfer that into Fit Body Boot Camp. I said, ‘Hey guys, you are all trainers, congratulations. Now I want to turn you into coaches to read people and to be able to understand them.’ We talked about emotional eating, stress eating and to work on their habits and behaviors. We have a whole four day university that we take our coaches through, or trainers through, to train them into coaches. I believe that is one of the defining factors of our success.
Drew: Gotcha. I love that. I think that’s where the disconnect is sometimes in the fitness industry. ‘Oh, I am just a personal trainer. You are paying me for this hour. Here is your scheduled workout. Boom, do what I tell you to do the rest of the day, the rest of the 23 hours of the day and come back.’ I feel like that is where some trainers maybe don’t understand that aspect of it. And that’s what I didn’t understand either. I got the training, I know how to physically manipulate the body and help you lose weight and lose fat. But it was the mental and emotional connection that was missing sometimes, that coach aspect, like you are talking about. I think it’s so valuable and I love that and that you are doing that. Getting back to your story, it sounds like you went through different phases. For example, you had this mentor kind of help you sell better and then that evolved into four studios, right? From there, you had this idea to eventually create a franchise. Did you have different mentors to get you to that mindset? Because for me, I think the problem most people have is that they have a simple mindset, they can’t think big. How did you get yourself to think big? Did you have people ….
Bedros: I hired people who think bigger than me.
Bedros: Look, I was just this foreigner kid …. I mean, the mantra in our apartments and the homes that we lived in, was …. I would always hear my dad walking around at the end of the month saying, ‘Ah, we are running out of money before we run out of month.’ You know?
Drew: Oh, yeah.
Bedros: And that is a horrible feeling. So, I grew up with a really bad mind money connection. I felt like money was for the white collared people. It was for the rich people, for the people who were born here and went to college. I never went to college, I barely made it out of high school, man. I grew up broke minded and poor. I did not have this ability to think big. Had it not been for Jim …. one wacky little gift I have is, I’ve got the ability to observe and go, ‘Ok, I see what my mom did, she couldn’t afford lice treatment, so she washed my hair with gasoline.’ She needed an outcome and she got resourceful. My dad knew that we needed to pay rent to have a roof over our head, so we are going to throw the son into the dumpster and he is going to dig out food for us. We are going to eat that food, so we can use this money for rent. I learned to be resourceful. I learned that you can turn adversity into an advantage. I’m really good at observing people’s lives and then taking lessons from it.
Bedros: So with that, as I saw how Jim was mentoring me, and I realized and had asked some questions. He had two daughters and I realized, I think he looks at me like a son. What an advantage I have here. So I said, ‘Jim, if I give you one extra session a week’, I was training him three days a week, ‘if I give you a forth session, would you be willing to hang out afterwards at the juice bar? Would you hang out at the juice bar with me and just mentor me some more, instead of just during the workouts?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah kid, I would.’ He always called me kid. And he goes, ‘Yeah kid, I would.’ He was kind of an older gentleman in his 60’s. So that was my first experience with a mentor. So as I started growing my personal training gyms and I realized I wanted to grow bigger, but I don’t know how to think bigger, what do I do? I’m going to hire my next mentor, a coach. Because what do athletes do? They go, ‘Well, I think I am gifted and I want to be a sprinter and I could be world class, but I have never broken a world record. Let me hire a world class coach, who has been there and done that.’
Drew: That is a good analogy.
Bedros: Just because we can’t think big, or we can’t see the vision, doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are willing to guide you, because they have been there and done that. I’m willing to pay for that.
Drew: I think that’s really valuable. I want to talk about how …. because you have been in the fitness industry a long time and it’s evolved over the years. *laughing* It’s grown so much. How has social media changed the game of fitness? You have seen it before social media and then how did you adapt to that? Was it slow coming at first? How did you learn to monetize it at some point?
Bedros: Yeah, seeing how the industry went from people who had a website, no social media, you had a website or you had your local business and it was through word of mouth, right? Whatever you say on your website, if you say, ‘Hey, my name is Drew and I’m the worlds best personal trainer.’ Well, I have to believe that, there is no one I’m going to go ask. I don’t know any of your clients, right? *laughing*
Bedros: You might have some before and after pictures on your website, etc. But I was having to make what I called a blind decision, right? I remember thinking, ‘Ah man, I lost a client to some other guy because he’s got a better website than me or his word of mouth is better than me, even though I think I deliver better results.’ So, when social media came around, I couldn’t make out exactly what it was and how it was supposed to work in business. I knew that we were going to post pictures and family members are going to see it. But I also realized really quickly that you can demonstrate your skill sets. So the number one problem I was having was, I’m better than him but I don’t know how to demonstrate it, because he has got more money and he’s got a better website. Now I can demonstrate in videos and pictures, essentially using social proof and win the audience over. All of a sudden I can start getting comments, which is review sites. We go to Amazon now and we don’t even think twice about it. We look at the product that’s got the best review, we read some of the reviews and then we buy it. If it’s got bad reviews, then we read why they are bad and then we don’t buy that. So, now social media has put us in a place where we are no longer blind as consumers. We are actually pretty well educated. We know through review sites, like Yelp and Facebook reviews and Google reviews, that this guy is a great trainer. Does he show results? Is the place clean? Is he not creepy? Right? All those things. I think social media allows …. now I will switch to the entrepreneur side, the personal trainer who owns a gym or business or training program, you can showcase more of your skill sets, abilities, personality and at the end of the day when someone is hiring a personal trainer, that is a personal gig, man. You are working pretty tightly with that person and you want to know that you are abiding on every level. So if I can say, ‘Look, Drew’s a family man. He’s got his kids, oh look he’s got a tattoo. Ok, I’ve got a tattoo.’ There are all these points of connection that we kind of make up a website or just a leaflet or a flyer, now we can do it all through social media. So, the more authentic and transparent you can be as an entrepreneur or a service provider, the better your business is going to grow.
Drew: I love that. That’s great advice. I think social media is one of these things, in my opinion, that has totally changed the game. It’s done good and bad, right? I think there is a down side to everything. What I see from a health and fitness perspective, is this idea of what health is supposed to look like, right? Before social media, it was TV and movies and magazines, right? Like, “Oh, I need to look like these guys in these flex magazines to be healthy.’ Now, I think it’s starting to change and we are starting to tell people, ‘Look, your healthy looks different on your body than my healthy on my body. You need to be ok with that. Just because you don’t have 5% body fat, does not mean you can’t be the best version of you.’ So, it’s changing people’s perception of what health and fitness is supposed to be. So, that’s the balance that I kind of want to ask you, how do you …. I mean obviously it’s sexy to sell weight loss programs and how to lose weight and get skinny and get fit. But at the same time, for the long term, how are we helping people on the mental and emotional side, truly love themselves nowadays in the health and fitness industry? Where do you see it going?
Bedros: Well, ok, where I think social media is concerned, I think social media is doing a lot more damage, because before you would have to open a magazine or turn on the TV to see, ‘Oh, that’s what I am supposed to look like.’ Today, man it just shows up right into your pocket, into your purse, onto your screen. You get a notification, ‘Hey, look, this is how you are supposed to look.’ Gee thanks, as I am eating my hamburger or whatever! The truth of the matter is, you nailed it, man. Healthy on you looks different than healthy on me and it looks different than how it would look healthy on her. I don’t see anyone on social media, let me rephrase that, I don’t see enough people on social media teaching that. Because, social media is such a visual platform, that if you do have the abs, if you do have the booty, if you do have the nice bikini and you know how to strike the pose, you’re going to get more attention than the guy or gal who is like, ‘Hey look, healthy looks different on everybody else. Just be the best version of yourself!’ That can fall on deaf ears, unfortunately. I don’t have an answer. Do we have a responsibility as trainers and coaches? Absolutely. But we are still outnumbered by the bikini clad, ab rocking guys and gals. They are not saying, ‘Hey you should all look like me!’ They’ve got great body’s and they are showing them off and God bless them for it. God bless them for it, good for them. But they might be genetically gifted, they might have a lot more time than you and I do to really dedicate to fitness, because this is how they make their money. They are sponsored. So we can’t go and compare ourselves to them, but again, that is falling on deaf ears, because at the end of the day, everyone is following them.
Drew: Yeah, I know. It’s an uphill battle for sure. That’s my hope at the end of the day, that hopefully in the long term, it will change people’s perception of what health and fitness is. Anyways, shifting gears. You are in a successful position, you have done so many amazing things. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Tony Robbins. “Success without fulfillment is ultimate failure.” How do you, Bedros, stay fulfilled with all these things? Because I think you realize, it’s cool to have all these things, but after a certain point, it doesn’t bring any more fulfillment, does that make sense? So, how do you stay fulfilled?
Bedros: Well first of all, you have got to define where does fulfillment come from for you?
Bedros: For some people its, I need a lot of money. I just want a lot of money. Other people are, I want to make an impact. And I am impact driven. I knew growing up, even as a child, I loved doing things for people. I am service driven. You know this, as a personal trainer, we don’t sign up to get certified to make money. We sign up to get certified so we that we can wake up at 4 am and train our first client at 5 am. Even though they are reluctant, they are angry, they don’t want to be there, they are complaining or they have morning breath, right?
Bedros: You have got to be a really heart centric, service driven person to go into this industry anyways. So, fulfillment for me is still about transforming bodies and lives. The byproduct of money is good. I’m very vocal about this fact, and I don’t do this to get a pat on the back, but I use money as a vehicle of impact too. Because it feels good, so I serve with my money. Just this past Christmas, every Christmas, we spend a quarter million dollars with the Toys for Tots ….
Drew: Yeah, I was going to ask you about this ….
Bedros: The Marine Corp Toys for Tots. I’ve got 57 children that we have adopted through Compassion International. You pay for them on a monthly basis and my kids write to them. My goal is to get 5700 children over my lifetime. I want to be able to adopt 3, 4, 5 or 6 villages. The way I look at it is, the more impact I can make on people’s lives through our Fit Body Boot Camp brand, and change physiques and health and mindset, the more money I will make and use that money. I am not the private jet guy, I am not the have an army of Rolls Royce’s guy. I’m a jeans and shirts and I am good guy. So, I use that money for impact, man. Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Toys for Tots, and Compassion International and then Veterans Foundations is who we have adopted. I use my money for that and so because of that, I’m not apologetic for the money that I make. Fulfillment still comes to me from the main thing, which is the vehicle of fitness.
Drew: I love that.
Bedros: Anytime, as you start growing as an entrepreneur, you get opportunities. I’ve gotten opportunities in different industries, in the finance industry, in technology and even in the dating space, from some guy who paid in for my business model. When I did …. so this is the other thing, we can always kind of fall off track from our fulfillment. When I did, I realized I wasn’t fulfilled. I didn’t enjoy problem solving in those industries, because that’s not where I am from. I don’t care about stocks and bonds and stuff. I don’t care about if you can pick up a chick or not. What I do care about is if Mr. Jones or Mrs. Jones can lose those last few pounds and finally feel good about him or herself. So, I sleep better at night. So, where does fulfillment come from? Figure that out and then stay that course and stay in your lane. I’ve gotten really good at staying in my lane.
Drew: I love that. I love that and I think that there are different phases that you go through, of what brings fulfillment during different phases of your life. In your 20’s, your version of fulfillment might not be the same as when you are in your 40’s. *laughing*
Drew: So, being open to that change, what brings me to fulfillment nowadays? Anyways, I want to ask you about this, because you did your first fast ever, ever.
Bedros: Yes, first ever. Because of you! *laughing*
Drew: *laughing* I made him do it! I made him do it! Just kidding! Tell us how that went, what happened and what did you get from it?
Bedros: Yeah, ok. Maybe I should be very honest here. I don’t know if it was a fast or a cleanse, because what I did was a master cleanse. Is that technically fasting? Or is fasting no calories?
Drew: Ok. Fasting …. a true fast is no calories. Just water, right? Water only, maybe salt, because it is no calories. Black coffee and tea, but yeah. The master cleanse is …. explain that again? It’s water, lemon ….
Bedros: It is water, lemon, pepper, cayenne pepper and ….
Bedros: Not molasses, maple syrup.
Drew: Oh, maple syrup. That’s the only thing that would knock you out of a true fast. But there are still benefits from it. So you did the fast sequence ….
Bedros: So, for a guy who eats about 3000 calories a day, I was dying man.
Drew: *laughing* So, yeah that was a fast for you! For sure!
Bedros: I was dying! So, I saw you post it and I think you did what, like 7 days, right?
Drew: This one was a 4 day. I’ve done a 7 day fast in the past.
Bedros: Ok, so I thought, if this guy can do like a week of fasting, man, surely I can do a 72 hour, 3 day master cleanse, or a fast. I got to tell you, the first day I was so foggy and I felt weak. I thought, what am I doing? Obviously this is my body telling me that I have got to go eat food, right? Then I thought, wait a minute, here is an opportunity for my liver and my lymph nodes, for my body to reset. For my gut to reset and heal, because it is not digesting stuff. I read the information on it and of course I trust you. You are an expert and I follow you, I’m a fan. So, it was like, alright, if he does it and I like what he talks about, then I am going to do it too. Again, I am that guy, if I trust someone and I watch what you do, I will just mimic it. Do you know who Craig Valentine is?
Drew: Yeah, yeah.
Bedros: Ok, listen dude. I am a fatty. So, when Craig and I travel together, because he is a business partner of mine, we travel together. I just pig out on the hash browns and the oatmeal and the eggs with cheese in it. I look and like he is eating egg whites, pineapple and steamed spinach. There came a point where I was like, ‘Waiter, just double that order.’ And now, that’s all that I eat, right? So, I watch what Craig does and I call him the most disciplined man on the planet, because he really is. He really is, he is structured and disciplined. I didn’t have discipline, so I watch my buddy and I do what he does. He started sleeping early, I started to sleep early. He wakes up at 4, I wake up at 4. I see that you are fasting, and you know what? I believe in your mission, your purpose and how many people you help, I am going to do that. As I did the research, I did this 72 hour cleanse. I was foggy headed at first. Day two, I started to feel less foggy headed and more clarity. Towards the end of day two, I started feeling like I was strong and thought I would go get a work out in. I told myself, I’m not going to work out those three days, but on the evening of day two, dude, I got a leg work out in. While I wasn’t super strong, what I did notice is half way through a set, my strength would just fall off. I thought I had three more reps in me, but I had nothing left in me, right?
Drew: Yeah, literally. Literally you had nothing in you! *laughing*
Bedros: Yeah! Then by day three, I was telling Randy this yesterday, I had this clarity. I had vision and I don’t know if it’s the body processing toxins out. I’m sure someone like you could explain it to me, but I felt the best at day three. Of course, the last two days, I have been eating again. But, I decided I am going to do this at least once a year.
Drew: Yeah, I think once or twice a year is good. That’s the thing, when people first get in to it, they don’t realize, you’ve been eating 3 or 4 or 5 meals a day for the past 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. Now you are like, ‘Alright body, no more food today, for 3 days.’ And then your body is like, ‘What are you doing to me?’ So there is this shock and you feel the brain fog, because you go from being mostly a glucose burner. Your body can only store maybe 2000 calories of glucose at a time. You burn through that and then your body is like, what do we have left? Well, there are these things called ketones, but to get efficient at ketones, it takes a few days. It’s not instantly, right? That’s why you have the brain fog, the lethargy and you don’t feel great. But once your body starts making the ketones, it’s like ok, these are a different energy source. Then like day two or day 3, your body can use these instead. It’s different for each person and I think it’s a great cleanse to do once or twice a year. The seven day fast, I will be honest with you, was too much for me. *laughing*
Bedros: Was it? Ok, then I won’t do it.
Drew: Yeah, I mean ….
Bedros: I’m glad you said that.
Drew: It was good as far as discipline and being in tune with my body. Because you will be surprised at how much energy goes into digesting food. Anyways, it was really interesting and I am glad you had that first experience. For everyone listening that thinks you will die if you go without food for 2 days, Bedros is still alive!
Bedros: I was meaning to ask you though, and I think I could probably play the voice of your audience here for a minute. What about a cleanse? You hear about these juice cleanses, and honestly, I was going to ask you anyway, so I figured why not here on the show.
Drew: The best cleanse I’ve ever done is fasting. I’ve done the juice cleanses. I’ve done the master cleanses. I’ve done the master cleanse once, sorry, I’ve done it once. The best cleanse I have ever done is the fasting so far. Just giving your digestive system a break finally, you know even with a juice cleanse, there are benefits to it. But at the same time, your digestive system still has to work. I’ve done a fat fast, where all you do is just eat 500 calories of just coconut oil or butter in your coffee. There are benefits to that too. There are benefits to calorie restricting in the short term. But the best cleanse I have ever done is the water with salt or electrolytes. That’s why people don’t feel optimal is because their electrolytes aren’t balanced and they are a little bit dehydrated. So, there are ways to optimize it so that you don’t feel so miserable when you go into it. To answer your question, the best cleanse I have ever done is true fasting.
Bedros: Do you work out during that period when you are fasting?
Drew: I don’t. I don’t. The only workout I do is to walk. Like about 60 minutes or a 90 minute walk every morning. The goal for me, I don’t do the fast to lose weight or to lose fat. You’re going to lose it, but you are going to gain it back. The goal is more on the mental, emotional and spiritual side with the fasting. There are physical benefits, but not weight loss or fat loss or build muscle. Your body actually, surprisingly, doesn’t lose as much muscle as people think. There is some loss of lean body mass, but within a few days, it’s right back up. It’s not like all of a sudden you lost all your muscle or all your strength. It’s a reset, it’s a great reset and that’s what I tell people. Reset, detox or cleanse, whatever you want to call it. It’s different, but it’s becoming mainstream now. Everybody is doing it and trying it out. It’s going to become your own self experimentation. I’m glad you talked about your experience.
Bedros: I enjoyed it.
Drew: Were you with your kids? Did your kids see you not eat and you had to see them eat?
Bedros: Yes. As a matter of fact, my daughter and I had to go to Chick-Fil-A because there was a daddy daughter dance at her school. And so, I’m just sipping on water …. while she is eating chick-fil-a.
Drew: *laughing* See that’s the thing, I did it with my girls too, where I was cooking them meals and trying not to lick my fingers.
Bedros: I was taking meetings, because I knew my life was not going to stop. I looked at my calendar and I told my assistant, Joan, ‘When do I have three whole days back to back?’ She goes, ‘Uh, you don’t.’ So, it’s just not in the foreseeable future! I go alright, well I am going to have to take meetings and travel and do the daughter daddy dance. So, that was an extra layer of challenge. But I also love putting myself out of my comfort zone like that.
Bedros: So, you have to kind of embrace the suck and when you do, you learn so much about yourself.
Drew: It’s so true. Yep. Ok, since we are coming up on time here, Bedros, what’s the most recent book that you have read that you would recommend to the whole world? The most recent one.
Bedros: Hmm, the most recent one? The most recent one I read was Seth Godin’s “Linchpin”, which is one of his older books. But it is a great book, because it really helps you understand that you are an artist no matter what you do. Whether you work for someone or you work for yourself, you are an artist. And as an artist, if you look at it as a duty and a responsibility to expose your art to the world, you’re really going to have a lot more …. going back to the word we talked about, fulfillment. So, I liked it so much that I had my entire team read it. I said, I will buy it for you, either the book or the audio book. I want you to read it or listen to it and just send me a one page note of all your takeaways from it. So many of them thought the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize, I am a web developer, but I’m an artist. I do business coaching, but I am an artist.’ There is an art to the way they do it and they take creative pride in it. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a personal trainer, but I am an artist. There is an art to what I do and to what you do. To be able to embrace that and realize that I’ve got an obligation and a duty to reach my fullest potential, that is a whole different paradigm shift than just saying, I am going to go work today.
Drew: That is awesome. I love that. Last question for you, let’s say you are on your deathbed and you want to give the world some advice. If that was today, what advice would you give to the world in general? It doesn’t have to be fitness advice, just in general.
Bedros: If I was on my deathbed and I had to give the world advice in general, what would it be? It would be that you are running out of time. You’re running out of time to live in urgency. Live urgently. I didn’t get started on my journey, like truly on my journey, until my late 30’s. To be honest with you, like 35 or 36. I realize that and now I’ve got coaching clients that are in their early 20’s. These young men and women and they are old souls, like they are so focused and driven and determined. I think, man, imagine the bigger impact I would have made. I would have had 2500 locations of Fit Body Boot Camp right now. I would have impacted 10 million people a day instead of 3 million people a day, right? To me, that’s an unfulfilled …. again going back to fulfillment, I always feel this sense of, I’m unfulfilled, I’m unfulfilled, I’m behind schedule. This is why I work so hard, relentlessly. Well, for my family, in my own personal health. I guess I am a late bloomer in many ways, as an entrepreneur. But, live urgently is the best advice I can give.
Drew: Well, that’s how we get better as a society, as the human species, passing on what you have learned or what you wish you would have learned at a younger age. So, you are doing that to your kids, your employees, all the people, all of the million people that you impact. You are able to change their lives, sooner rather than later. That’s how you pay it forward. I love that. Bedros, thanks for coming on brother.
Bedros: Thank you sir.
Drew: It’s really good having you here in Utah. I will be out in California to see you soon. We will see you guys next time. Have a good one.
Outro: Hey everyone. Thank you so much for listening to this episode on the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. I really, really appreciate all the support you show me throughout all the years. If you love the Podcast, then please go subscribe to the Podcast on ITunes. And also if you love the Podcast, please leave us a review. It definitely helps out with rankings, which means more people listening to this Podcast when they see it. Feel free to reach out to me on social media @Fit2Fat2Fit or at Fit2Fat2Fit.com with suggestions, comments or concerns. Anything that you guys think that I could do to make this Podcast better for you. I definitely want to bring the highest quality content to you, the most value. I know you are investing 30-50 minutes per day, when you listen to the Podcast. I really appreciate all the support and like I said, go follow me at Fit2Fat2Fit on social media. If you want to reach out to me with any comments, questions or concerns. Thank you guys so much and we will see you guys back here next week on the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast.