Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Jason Khalipa, an eight-time CrossFit Games competitor. Transcripts may contain a few typos—with some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it’s difficult to catch some minor errors. Enjoy!
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Tim Ferriss: Hello boys and girls. This is Tim Ferriss and welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss Show where it is my job to deconstruct world class performers of all different types from the worlds of business, military, entertainment, athletics, and sometimes combinations of different fields, and that is the case with this interview. Of course, the objective is to tease out tactics, routines, habits, specifics that you can use. My guest this time around is by popular request; Jason Khalipa. That’s K-H-A-L-I–A. You can say hello @JasonKhalipa at Instagram, Twitter, etc. He is one of the fittest men in the world, a title that was officially his when he earned it at the CrossFit Games and won the CrossFit Games in 2008.
He is an eight-time CrossFit Games competitor, a three-time Team USA CrossFit member, and among other athletic feats, he’s dead-lifted 550 pounds squatted 450 pounds, and performed 64 pull-ups at a body weight of 210 pounds. This podcast, very important note, and of course you probably are listening to this as audio only; we have a bunch of video bonuses and tutorials from Jason recorded in my home gym and elsewhere which you can find at YouTube.com/TimFerriss, two Rs and two Ss.
Keeping in mind that beyond sports, Jason is also a very successful entrepreneur; he is the founder and CEO of NC Fit, which has more than 20 locations in eight different cities. And he is the cofounder of Box to Business, which is a nonprofit that helps gyms become profitable businesses. Jason uses the proceeds from Box to Business to help fight pediatric cancer.
We cover a ton of stuff in this episode, a lot of specifics, a lot of stories including his training and diet, the hardest workouts he’s ever performed, the mentor who taught him how to sell anything, which is hilarious. How he and his family have coped with his daughter’s battle with cancer, how he has navigated going from competitive athlete to very, very successful business owner and much, much more. So I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. Jason is a great guy and he is very, very generous with sharing his knowledge. Don’t forget to check out the tutorial videos, his favorite warm-ups, etc. at YouTube.com/TimFerriss.
Jason, we’ll do a quick sound check. Could you please tell me what you had for breakfast?
Jason Khalipa: I had a kale smoothie and an egg with bacon on top.
Tim Ferriss: One egg with bacon on top?
Jason Khalipa: One egg.
Tim Ferriss: Whole egg?
Jason Khalipa: Nope, because I was on the road at 4 a.m. I went to Starbucks and I took the sandwich I took it apart and I just had the egg with the bacon on top.
Tim Ferriss: Nice. And then the kale smoothie was before you left the house?
Jason Khalipa: The kale smoothie was at the gym shortly after.
Tim Ferriss: What is in the kale smoothie besides kale?
Jason Khalipa: Kale, peanut butter, some of this Progenex protein powder I like, and almond milk.
Tim Ferriss: Fantastic. I think we’re just going to keep rolling since that sound check was so successful. And while my pooch Molly is going to make a racket throwing around an elk antler, we’re just going to get to it. Welcome to the show, and welcome to my living room. Thanks for coming.
Jason Khalipa: It’s great to be here.
Tim Ferriss: We just had some fun demoing things and certainly learning things. I wasn’t demoing anything; I was observing in the gym in the garage. So for people who are listening and want some additional video, which I highly encourage, just go to Tim.blog/podcast and click on this episode, or you can go to YouTube.TimFerriss, two Rs and two Ss and you can find a [00:08:00] bunch of video.
I know you’re not going to say this, but you are considered a demi god within the world of CrossFit by a lot of people. People look up to you for good reason. I’m curious to know, if you were to look back at your peak competitive success, what do you think the advantages were that you had or developed? Why were you as successful as you were? And of course, you have incredible work ethic and so on, but if you had to dig into that, what do you think the elements were that made you as successful as you were?
Jason Khalipa: I think primarily it was that I really enjoyed training. A lot of people like to compete. I didn’t necessarily like to compete, or did like to compete. I enjoyed competing but I enjoyed training more. I liked being in an environment that just pushed me. I liked getting comfortable, uncomfortable. I liked leaving the gym and feeling like I just got my butt kicked. It made me feel really good about what I accomplished, and then I went on and tried to accomplish that same concept in the rest of my life.
I think that was something I really picked up on early on, when I first found CrossFit back in 2006. Then I won the CrossFit Games in ’08 and I was able to compete eight more times, mainly because I just loved to train. And the byproduct or the expression of that was my ability to go out there and compete.
Tim Ferriss: Are there any particular workouts that come to mind, or exercises, anything that you find particularly enjoyable even though they might be very painful?
Jason Khalipa: I like the ones that give you the biggest return. I think if you’re doing thrusters, yes, they’re very challenging but they give you a huge return in terms of benefit, in terms of the way you look, in terms of the way you feel, the byproduct of strength. So I think thrusters, burpees, those types of things if I had to pick several items or movements I would only do for the rest of my life, it would be things like that.
Tim Ferriss: We’re going to look forward in a second; I want to keep focusing on that for a second.
If you wanted to gauge the cross fitness of anyone, are there any particular tests you would put them through to evaluate that? Whether it’s like a certain variation of fran, or anything like that?
Jason Khalipa: I would look at different metrics. I would look at what is your mile time? How many pull-ups can you complete? What is your max dead lift, back squat, press? And then start looking at a few like the movements that combine both. I think sometimes there are people who are really good at running, and there are some people who are really good at lifting. But I think the beauty is when you can combine those two. So a lot of the frans, and the different types of workouts like a fight gone bad score; those are good ways.
Tim Ferriss: What is a fight gone bad?
Jason Khalipa: Fight gone bad was originally created with BJ Penn and Greg Glassman a long time ago.
Tim Ferriss: This was back when BJ was probably training at the Ralph Gracie Academy in Mountain View.
Jason Khalipa: Old school; long time ago. Essentially what it is is one minute, one minute, one minute; five five movements.
And then you one-minute rest, and you do that for three rounds.
Tim Ferriss: What are the five movements?
Jason Khalipa: [Inaudible] high pull, there’s a push press, there’s a rower, a wall ball, and a box jump. All the movements are light enough that you can keep moving on them. As the story goes, when BJ finished it was like: oh man, that felt like a fight gone bad. So that’s kind of how the story goes.
Tim Ferriss: Just as a random side note, I used to go to these chiropractors, the Jansens, who worked on a lot of fighters. I remember they described BJ Penn’s hip flexers as the hip flexers of a camel. They said they were just like a quadriceps on normal humans.
Jason Khalipa: Just rocks.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. If you were to, say, want to get someone hooked on exercising because you enjoyed the training, and not everyone enjoys training. So let’s say you’re taking someone, you want to get them hooked on that drug of training, is there any particular approach you would take? You’ve coached a lot of people. I’m sure you’ve encountered every different type of person from NFL player, to, say engineer who’s never played sports and everybody in between.
What do you do to get someone hooked so that they continue to come to the gym?
Jason Khalipa: I’ve been really fortunate over the years. I started a company, NC Fit, and we have a ton of members. I’ve been able to look at it and say what generally gets them to stay with us? And more times than not, it’s starting off slow and then working their way up. I think a lot of people get gun-ho. They come in: oh, I want to lose weight, I want to do this, I want to do that. I’ll eat whatever you tell me; I’ll do whatever you tell me. And then all of a sudden a month later, they’re gone. So I think the secret to success is hey, just take your time.
This is a lifelong journey. It’s not like a one-month fad. It’s I want to be fit, and I want to be fit for the rest of my life. So I think it’s important to recognize that and to make small steps towards the right direction. Take out sugar, do this, do that; small little steps. Then go into the gym and start doing certain stuff. But I think finding a comradery, finding a coach, and finding a community to support you are rule No. 1.
I think doing it on your own is very challenging. You and I were talking about cooking earlier. It’s like, if I want to learn how to cook, really, really learn how to cook, I could learn from a book. I could learn from maybe watching a show. But to really dive into the nuances, I would need to have someone show me in the kitchen what I would do next, at least for me. I don’t have enough experience with it. So when people go into the gym, sure they can read books, do stuff, but I think having someone there like a coach advise them on different things is going to be an easier way for them to get more success from it.
Tim Ferriss: Just to reiterate that, I think the social accountability piece of it is huge. So having some type of social cohesion is just gigantic. And for people who are listening who might be in the sticks, don’t think you have access to that; you can certainly find communities online like Coach.Me and other sites and services along those lines. But the point you made also that I think is really important to underscore is in the beginning, focusing on the good program that you will follow versus the perfect program that you’ll quit, because a lot of people come in, like you said.
They’re like okay, I haven’t done anything since college. Now I’m going to do a two-hour workout five times a week as my New Year’s resolution. And they just flame out, or they get injured, or fill in the blank and like you said, they’re gone a few weeks later. As opposed to saying look, since you’re stating from zero, let’s just do whatever it might be; a half-hour workout twice a week so that you develop the habit. And then you can always make it harder, more complex later. But if you make it too hard, too complex in the beginning, you’re going to be gone.
Jason Khalipa: We have a program that we’ve incorporated called the Rise Program. It incorporates a nutritionist, a mindset coach, and a fitness coach. And for a lot of people, it’s all a mindset. For decades they haven’t exercised. They’ve used food as an outlet, or whatever it may be. And that’s okay. But they need to get over that in their head to truly make an impact and change for a long time instead of making it this short-term thing.
Then you really get down to the root of the problem and make it as more part of their daily routine instead of just something they do. To start slowly and work up is much easier than to kind of just go crazy. I haven’t seen it work as well.
Tim Ferriss: Right, have a nuclear meltdown and have to stat again for your next New Year’s resolution.
Jason Khalipa: That’s right.
Tim Ferriss: I’m going to take a couple of questions here that have been volleyed over via the internet because there are some really good ones. They range from training to family to business, so w3e’re going to get to that in a second. But I wanted to ask you, you mentioned NC Fit. How many locations do you currently have?
Jason Khalipa: 24.
Tim Ferriss: 24 locations. So you’ve been very successful as an athlete. Many people who put in the effort and focus that you did in athletics are so singularly focused that they have trouble – and I’ve observed this in friends – transferring then to a career outside of competitor; sponsored athlete.
If you were sitting down with an accomplished athlete – or not – who wanted to get into business, and let’s just for the sake of simplicity say it’s a similar business. They’re somewhere in the Midwest and they want to get into fitness and gyms and so on. What advice would you give them, or resources would you point them to to increase the likelihood of success?
Jason Khalipa: One thing I’d ask, and I get asked this often: hey, I want to open up a gym; what do you think? I’m like okay, let’s start with these three simple questions. 1) Are you qualified to do so? What makes you qualified to open up this business? Do you have an expertise in it? How are you going to basically give yourself this competitive advantage that you know when you go to open it up, you’re going to win? What is your competitive advantage?
Tim Ferriss: Right. What’s the credibility?
Jason Khalipa: Just because you like to work out, doesn’t mean you should necessarily open up a gym. I love to eat. I love food. But I sure as hell am not going to open up a restaurant because I’m not qualified to do so. I don’t have the training, the expertise. And it’s okay if you don’t in certain areas; just go find an expert in those other areas. The other thing I’d ask is are you doing it with a strong intention, a strong why? What is your why? Why do you want to open this business? Is it to make money?
Because if it’s just to make money, just like competing at the CrossFit Games, you need to have a strong internal why. Because when you’re back is up against the wall and it’s very challenging, you need to revert back to that why to push though. And in business, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. There are challenging times. So you need to be able to revert back to your internal why of why you started to be able to do well.
So I would say, 1) How are you going to win? Tell me how you’re going to win. Why are you better than the other guy down the street? 2) Do you have a strong reason why you want to open it; and then 3) Is it a good time in your life to do it? Is it a good time for you to open it? Did you just have a baby?
Do you have tons of mortgages and different types of stuff or is it a good time in your life to go open up this business, is really what I like to ask people.
Tim Ferriss: What are the most common mistakes that you see or that you think you avoided? Another way to phrase it so you can tackle it however you want, is what were some of the most important decisions that you made, looking back?
Jason Khalipa: I think looking back, it was understanding that back in the day you weren’t going to make money off your competitive fitness career, and so I had to open up a business. And I think one of the best things I ever did was I recognized that trying to rob and steal as much knowledge as I can from people around me. When I was in high school I worked at the front desk at a conventional gym. Then, when I graduated high school and I went to college, I started working as a sales associate there and I started making good money. So as I’m going to a junior college, West Valley, actually; I was there and I just got woken up. Like, no one cares about me. I was the jock, kind of like the class clown in high school.
Then all of a sudden you get to college and it’s like they don’t care about you. I really turned a corner. I said hey, look, I need to take responsibility for what I need to get done, and I want to be successful. And so I started going to school full-time, working full-time. But what I also did was I learned how to talk to people. I learned how to sell, which was really important because in my line of work, in the fitness industry, you’re a coach. You’re talking to people, you’re coaching them but if you’re a business owner, you also need to learn how to sell.
But one of the things I would also do is about twice a week I would go ride the elliptical with the owner of the business. I would just pick his brain to understand what’s going on. I think one of those things early on was recognizing I wanted to learn everything I could from his mistakes so I didn’t make as many. One of the things we’ve done a lot is delegate things. Have enough of a humbleness to be like: hey look, I can’t do everything the best; I need to hire outside people. I learned that early on from him, learning from some of his mistakes.
Tim Ferriss: How did you convince him to do the elliptical with you? What was the pitch? You were in sales, so how did you get the owner to hang out with the former class clown on the elliptical?
Jason Khalipa: Funny enough, he really took me on as a mentor. He really mentored me really well. He would ride the elliptical as part of his fitness routine. I would just go over there and meet with him. I don’t think he disliked it because we would just bullshit, have good conversation and I think it kind of made the time go by a little bit quicker.
Tim Ferriss: Got it. So you’d just roll up when he was working out.
Jason Khalipa: I would just roll up.
Tim Ferriss: When your back is against the wall, you mentioned the why. When you were competing and this is actually a question that came up at least once from people who listen to the podcast and wanted me to ask you. Why did you go back to it when you were competing in the games? Or, sorry to keep rephrasing my questions but I’ve had too much caffeine.
When you were, say, behind or you saw someone gaining on you, the why or what is the self talk to make sure that you don’t drop the ball or otherwise get psyched out?
Jason Khalipa: I think positive self talk is a really hard thing to learn, but it’s an important trait to develop. I learned that over the years with the mindset coach I work with where you try to find ways to reframe things in your head. If something’s going wrong, instead of saying oh, my leg is hurt; you say folks on mid-foot strike if you’re running, or whatever. You try and rephrase it into a positive. And reverting back to your why, I think it’s really important. Going into these games, what I would do is I would tell myself that I’ve made a commitment to myself and my family to go out there and do this.
And I wanted to do it because I wanted to get comfortable but uncomfortable. I wanted to see where I stack up against my competitors, and I wanted to do it for me. And at the time, I didn’t have as many other obligations. Now, as life changes, things change. But at the time, my why was hey, I made a commitment and I’m going to do this.
I remember one year, we did this Camp Pendleton race. It’s a ten-mile, just crazy hill run. I was half done, I’m going through this desert. I look around, there’s no one around; I’m like oh, gosh. This is a true story. I see a tarantula just walking across. I’m just looking at him like, what the hell? Or a big-ass spider. Maybe it wasn’t a tarantula; it was a big-ass spider. And I was just like, what am I doing out here? I had to instantly revert back in my head; you know what? I made a commitment. That commitment was I was going to finish out these games.
So I better slap myself in the face, stop being a wimp, and finish it. Because if I allowed myself to give in then, what other things would I allow myself to give in to? I made a commitment to myself and I wanted to live up to that. Over the years, because of other things happening in my life, I haven’t been able to make that strong of a commitment so therefore I choose not even to go out there and attempt.
Tim Ferriss: I’m very fascinated by these little moments, or days or weeks that can really affect the complete trajectory of people’s lives.
You mentioned a couple of minutes ago you get to college age, you realize alright, I’m no longer the class clown in high school and you did a course correct. You started going to school full-time. What triggered that? Was it a particular conversation? Was it a particular afternoon? What was it?
Jason Khalipa: Going out of high school, I thought I was going to play football and it ended up not working out. So I ended up going to West Valley. First day it wasn’t that big of a deal. I get there the first day. I’m like oh, I’m at West Valley, no big deal; I’ll transfer to another school in a couple of years. But all my friends had gone on to four years at Santa Clara University where I ended up graduating from. But I just remember the first day of school, we’re going around, we’re all saying our names.
It’s like hey, I’m John, this is my second year. Hey, I’m Mary, this is y – whatever – second semester, whatever it is. And then all of a sudden I have this woman next to me. And I kid you not. My first class on my first day at West Valley. The lady goes: Hi, my name is Suzanne. I can’t remember the name exactly. She goes: this is my seventh year at West Valley.
I just remember looking at her, and looking at this teacher and just being like, dude, I’ve got to get my ass in check and I need to get my shit together. That’s what I told myself. And so that moment I left there, I went to the counselor’s office. I said look, I need to figure out the fastest way to get the heck out of this school. I ended up taking full class loads, doing whatever I had to do. I ended up applying to Santa Clara two times after that and not being accepted. After one year, I didn’t get accepted. I tried after a year and a half; I didn’t get accepted.
Then after two years, I was accepted which got me on track to graduate in four. So I graduated with all my peers, which was great. I graduated with my wife, actually, which was really cool. That was the moment that really kind of sparked it. Like dude, playtime’s over. High school’s done. You’re in the real world and no one really cares about you; you better get your ass in check.
Tim Ferriss: You’re making me think of Rudy a little bit. So you applied, didn’t get in, applied, didn’t get in; then applied and got in.
What did you change in between the not getting accepted and getting accepted?
Jason Khalipa: I had more courses underneath my belt and they didn’t have to use my high school GPA anymore; they were able to only use my college.
Tim Ferriss: They could use your credits that would transfer.
Jason Khalipa: That’s right.
Tim Ferriss: Got it. So many questions, but I’m going to pull some in from the audience. This is from Fern Hernandez. What are your thoughts on the frequency of doing CrossFit? Asked another way, what benefit do you lose or gain from doing twice a week versus four to five times a week?
Jason Khalipa: I think by design, when you look at a program and if it’s constantly varied, by design you should be able to do it five days a week and you should be okay. If the program isn’t appropriate and the volume is good, and you listen to your body, you should be able to perform that program five days a week because of the variance. You should be able to go long one day, heavy one day, below parallel one day. And that just depends how much effort people put into the program itself.
So two days is better than no days, but two days is also challenging because you go in and you get really sore, and then you recover and then you get really sore again and your body never gets into this rhythm.
So assuming you go to a gym that has good programming, I think you can go five days a week.
Tim Ferriss: Just to touch on good programming in the gym, when you were demonstrating back squat and we were talking about five by five and so on, these five sets of five reps; if the variance doesn’t exist and someone is trying to do five by five seven times a week with a low parallel squat?
Jason Khalipa: You have to have a program that has variance. The way we do it at our gym is one person creates this template, the skeleton, and then he creates the workouts. Then we have it peer-reviewed by six of our other coaches, and then it gets back to him. So we try and have a lot of checks and balances in our program, because regardless of who’s programming the program, there’s always going to be some type of bias towards what you like, always. So you need to have other people have checks and balances on that.
Tim Ferriss: How might someone create a skeleton of a program? And I’m not saying just Joe Blow in the street; I’m saying one of your coaches.
What does that process look like? What are they thinking about or considering as they do it?
Jason Khalipa: I think they’re looking at time domains. So you’re looking at are we talking five minutes? Are we talking 12 minutes, are we talking 30 or 40 minute long workouts?
Tim Ferriss: The total duration.
Jason Khalipa: Right, the total duration; the actual AMRAP or whatever they’re doing.
Tim Ferriss: Just for non-CrossFit people, AMRAP is what?
Jason Khalipa: As many rounds or reps as possible. And then you start talking about in the skill work, what is the theme for the month? Are we trying to develop someone’s handstand? There’s a lot of things in play. It’s a challenging topic to discuss briefly, but in theory it’s let’s have some big, macro goal. Maybe it’s to get everybody ready for a 5K that’s coming up. Maybe we’ve started noticing that our gym members may benefit in X.
Let’s create that macro goal and during our warm-ups, make sure we touch base on it several times a week. Then let’s have these other goals where it’s like we go heavy two or three times a week. Then we go longer met-cons, or metabolic conditioning workouts a couple times a week.
And we add in these short burst, high intensity ones a couple times a week. So in skeleton, you want to think about you want to push, you want to pull, and you want to squat once a week, right? You want to incorporate the Olympic lifts when you can, and that’s kind of like the big picture stuff. Also when you program, you want to think about this idea of if I’m programming a workout, I’ll want to think about what’s going to keep people moving?
So you wouldn’t want to do, for example, squats, lunges, jumping air squats, jumping lunges, and a bunch of whatever. Because what’ll end up happening is people will just burn out their legs and they’ll just sit there or stand there until they can recover. But if you did jumping lunges followed by push-ups, they’re not the same muscle [inaudible]
They’re different functions and so you can keep your body moving.
Tim Ferriss: And as you mentioned when we were chatting before recording just the audio, the Olympic lifts generally would come after at least a familiarity, maybe a mastery of the mechanics of, say, power lifting movements and some gymnastic component.
Jason Khalipa: I think we incorporate the Olympic lifts early on; we do.
Tim Ferriss: How do you do that safely?
Jason Khalipa: I think it ultimately just comes down to the coaches who are doing it. You start off, you make sure that people can do it right with just a PVC pipe or a light bar, and then you can work your way up. But I think the difference is that whereas with the power lifts, it doesn’t take as long to develop all the techniques incorporated with it. With the Olympic lifts, it does. And so you need to be okay with doing the Olympic lifts early on, almost from the beginning; it’s okay. But you need to do them at a moderate, controlled level versus the back squat you can push a little bit more.
You can push them all, but you don’t want to push the Olympic lifts so much so that you start developing bad habits. And the same thing applies to the back squat. It’s just a little bit less technical. The Olympic lifts are highly technical.
Tim Ferriss: Sure. Let’s just say you have an average person off the street, or a power lifter comes in: I want to learn Olympic weight lifting.
If they have really bad thoracic mobility and shoulder extension, so they’re here. They can barely get their biceps past their ears. Do you have any favorite approaches to helping address that, or any suggestions?
Jason Khalipa: You know our friend Kelly has some good tools at Mobility Wad, right?
Tim Ferriss: Kelly Starrett, yeah.
Jason Khalipa: Yeah, Kelly Starrett. I think there are multiple things you could do but ultimately you need to commit to it. if you have poor shoulder range of motion, it’s going to take you awhile to develop that. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid all lifts altogether; you can still do them. Just recognize you need to put in the time; ten, 20 minutes a day to develop the range of motion and mobility. And the best way to do that is by incorporating the movements, slow and control with light to little or no weight. If you want to really develop a good squat, try and work on the squat up against the wall with no weight, and work through the full range of motion of it.
Tim Ferriss: Up against the wall, you mean facing the wall?
Jason Khalipa: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: Question from Luke Campbell. Ask about his training with former endurance athlete and now coach, Chris Henshaw. It was interesting to hear how a giant like Jason could build his aerobic capacity without sacrificing size or strength.
How does he do it, specifically?
Jason Khalipa: That’s a great question. Henshaw is great. Years ago I started looking at some of the results from across the games and it would be like top ten, top ten, top ten, top ten, 50th, top ten. I’d be like oh boy, I’ve got a glaring weakness there. So I found Chris, and he really helped me out. He made running fun for me.
Tim Ferriss: Who is Chris, just for those who don’t know?
Jason Khalipa: He’s a local guy. He’s here out of Palo Alto.
Tim Ferriss: Here in the Bay Area.
Jason Khalipa: Yes, and he’s a former Iron Man Triathlete, really successful. But he has a unique way of making running quantifiable and fun. And what I mean by that is I’ll go to the track and before, it would just be like oh, run 400 meters. I would just run it aimlessly. But it felt good for him to give me 100-meter pace goals, 200-meter pace goals, etc. And then those goals then turned into something I could really try and shoot for.
And I think going back to the whole thing about someone going to the gym, is for those people who are interested in doing running or doing [inaudible], having a program that kind of gives you quantifiable numbers to shoot for, I believe is a great way to not only get better results but also to keep it more fun.
You can just go out for a 5K on your own. That’s cool; I get it. but you should start quantifying what your target numbers are and your target paces. That’s what I did with him, and that’s why I was able to maintain those numbers.
Tim Ferriss: When you were at your peak of training, what did your nutrition look like, and were there any go-to supplements on top of that? It’s a tricky, sort of murky waters we get into sometimes and it’s fine if any of them were sponsors, but if you could just indicate which were if that’s the case. But diet, what did your nutrition look like at the height of training, and then any particular supplements that were kind of your go-to?
Jason Khalipa: I never have to this day eat as much as what most people probably think I eat. But with the amount I was training, sometimes just broccoli and cauliflower weren’t cutting it for the carbohydrates I needed to retain. So sweet potatoes had to be thrown in and things like that. I tried to eat real food. I still do.
I try to eat real food, and I try to avoid excessive amounts of sugar and different types of things. But that doesn’t mean that if my daughter wants to go out and if it’s her birthday, that I’m not going to eat her birthday cake and it never has meant that. I’m okay with that. I train because at times, I want to be able to go in and enjoy a margarita with my wife, and that’s okay. It always has been that same way, whether I’ve been training at the highest level or where I’m at today. And as far as recovery, I partner with a company called Progenics.
I think they make a good recovery tool for me. That’s something I use. Outside o that, maybe some fish oil and that’s pretty much the extent of it. It’s just real food and I think people don’t realize the value you can get from just consuming real, regular food.
Tim Ferriss: Did you track macros and all that type of stuff?
Jason Khalipa: No, a lot of the guys at the top don’t really track all the macros. Some of them do, but not a lot of the guys. A lot of them just work hard, train hard, and just eat appropriately.
Tim Ferriss: This is a question I would love to hear your thoughts on. This is from Lee Jackson. What do you picture your workout to be when you hit 60 years of age?
Jason Khalipa: I think my workout is going to be roughly the way it is right now, just basically scaled down. The demands that I have at my age with my strength, we all need to squat, we all need to press, we all need to lift. So whether I’m 60, 30, 50, I still want to be doing those same movements. I just might do it with a little bit less intensity. And even now, being 31, the intensity I can bring to workouts is a little bit different than when I was 25.
My body has been beat up a lot by doing that. And so I just need to recognize it, listen to my body, and recover as much as I can. But the amount of volume I’m putting in isn’t as much as it used to be. And I assume that by the time I’m 60, the amount of volume I’m putting in wouldn’t be as much but the movements would be similar.
Tim Ferriss: Is there any particular type of movement, conditioning, strength, fill in the blank that you’d really like to work on and develop more now?
In other words, you talked about top ten, top ten, top ten, 50th place, top ten. Are there any particular weaknesses that you’re trying to work on now? It doesn’t have to be limited to the gym, either. Is there anything you’re working on currently?
Jason Khalipa: Obviously I like rolling jiu jitsu. There’s a ton of things to get better at there. But for me, it’s really on the business side and on the family side. I’m trying to be the best dad I can be, the best husband I can be. And I’m trying to support our business and run it the best way possible and treat people that way. That’s what I’m really focused on. Stealing a line from Mark Cuban, it’s just the sport of business and I’m trying to win at that right now for myself in particular. So that’s what I’m focused on.
My fitness side, I’m still hitting it all the time. I still workout really hard, but I don’t have any specific goals other than just to maintain my fitness.
Tim Ferriss: This is actually a segue. We’re going to talk about family a little bit, and these were very highly uploaded. This is a question from Sherry Gall. I’ve so admired him as an athlete and businessman.
His work ethic and determination to continue to improve, as well as his humility, have pushed him to great levels of success. I’ve also watched his journey through Ava’s illness and seen him give back in the midst of it at blood drives, etc. I know behind all of this is a good marriage. I’d like him to talk about marriage and how Ava is doing. It would also be fun to hear his perspective on the evolution of the sport, but let’s keep that separate. Could you talk a little bit just about the components of a good marriage, and also tell us a little bit about your family and Ava since a lot of people listening aren’t going to be familiar?
Jason Khalipa: Sure. My wife Ashley and I, we started dating freshman year of high school so 14, 15 years old and we’ve been together almost ever since. What happened is we started dating for a week – two weeks, actually. I thought we were in love. I went home, I told my mom. I’m like, Mom, I found the woman I’m gonna marry.
I was all fired up. And then of course two weeks later, she dumps me because he said I was too nice.
Well, you know, a year later she knew. She knew we were meant to be together. So we ended up getting back together again a year later, and we haven’t been separated since. So that was 15, 16 years old. We went to college, graduated college together, did our thing, got married in 2009. We had or first child in 2011, Ava, and then we had our second child in 2014, Caden. Ava was diagnosed with leukemia January 21st, 2016 so about a little over a year ago. You know, I think when you talk about what makes a marriage successful, it’s obviously a number of things. You have to respect each other, you have to become best friends.
You need to be able to be okay with supporting each other on your journeys. But you also need to align well on difficult times. And I didn’t know that until Ava got sick. When you’re in high school, you don’t know how your wife or girlfriend is going to react to a negative situation in life. And I think what’s really intriguing about what happened to us is my wife and I, and my family in general, has gotten a lot closer through Ava’s diagnosis primarily because she was so strong, and she still is.
That’s really exciting for me because I take it on like hey, we’re going to get after this, we’re going to be successful. She was the one who really started that from the beginning. When we first found out Ava had leukemia, we were called to the Stanford ER. Before that, she was having a lot of leg pain and different types of things.
Tim Ferriss: When did that start? How old was she?
Jason Khalipa: Right now, she’s five. She’ll be six in a month. Looking back on it now, we probably could have identified that she had leukemia earlier. But everything had a reason. She had an ear infection. Then she had another one, then she had another one. And then the doctor is like it’s the worst ear infection I’ve ever seen. We’re like wow, her immune system seems kind of suppressed. We didn’t really think about it; we’re just like oh, we’ll just keep giving her medicine because she has an ear infection. Then it’s like oh, my legs really hurt. I can’t walk more than 100 feet without stopping.
Oh, man it must be growing pains. Let’s get you a trampoline, let’s get you into PT, all these different things. Then she started having bruising, and that’s when we knew something was up. So we called an ER and went in for blood work. When they told us that night that she had leukemia, it was at 2 a.m. in the morning. I just remember it was a very challenging time for us. Now I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on it. When I used to talk about it, it was a lot harder.
Now that I’ve reflected on it a lot, it’s a little bit easier to talk about. But I just remember when I told my wife. I was crying, and she just looks at me and says: look, tell our family. Let them know she has leukemia. But just tell them if they want to cry, they can cry outside but as soon as they walk in the doors, they better be happy and they better have a smile on their face or else they can’t be let in. It was the mentality that was kind of like she’s just like yeah, hell yeah. We’re gonna crush this shit. And then it made me realize like oh yeah, we’re gonna crush it.
It was very much so like football. You’re in the huddle and you’re in the fight of your life, and it’s like no, we’re gonna crush this thing. And we’ve had the mentality ever since, and her strength has been awesome to see from a marriage perspective. That’s kind of a cool thing to find out about your spouse.
Tim Ferriss: For sure. What types of practices or routines, anything really, do you have that helps the family to be as cohesive as possible?
Jason Khalipa: I think we have a lot of really, really good family support, so we’ve been super blessed. The night that my daughter was diagnosed, my mom and dad took my son and took him for a month. We were in the hospital for five weeks. Lucille Packard; they’ve done some really great things for us. But when you see that family around, and then all of a sudden my father-in-law would be there every day.
My father -in-law would just be sitting in the waiting room. We wouldn’t call him, we wouldn’t do anything. He would just be sitting there. That family dynamic has been something that has been really special to see and it’s something that I’ll ever forget.
And even now, here we are over a y ear later and we still have a lot of challenging times, and it’s the family the helps us get through all of it. Because for example on Saturday, we were in Vegas. My mom and I helped watch our children so my wife and I could go have a night out to ourselves. Those are really important things in life. My wife and I since the beginning have always said look, we love our children but it’s me and you first for our relationship, because if our relationship isn’t good, then we’re not going to be able to have a solid home for our children.
And so we’ve really tried to set aside time to do date nights, and do this and that which has really been helpful especially during this time. Because sometimes we have to have adult conversations. Like right after this, I’m going to go see a counselor because we need to get some support to help with the situation. My wife and I had to have an adult conversation about that to go see a counselor, you know?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. If you were giving advice to someone who for instance just found out their child was diagnosed with X, some type of very intimidating disease and they wanted any thoughts or advice from you whatsoever, like for instance what your wife said: you can cry but it has to be outside.
One you come in, you have to have a smile on your face. Is there anything else that you would share with them?
Jason Khalipa: I think it’s really important to educate yourself. Educate yourself on the disease. My daughter has AOL. It’s a specific type of leukemia. It’s very treatable, which is awesome. There are a lot of them that aren’t as treatable, and my heart goes out to those families. You come sit in the oncology department for a day with me, and you’ll just be humbled. So what I would say to them is educate yourself. We’ve had phenomenal healthcare, phenomenal. But there have been one or two times where we’ve had to catch the doctors because they have other things going on.
But for me, there’s nothing else going on; it’s just this. But I need to be able to educate myself on it with all the different medications, what’s going on here. What is this? What are the side effects? What should we be looking for? Because those things are critical, especially for us. We end up in the ER probably once every two weeks because of temperatures.
But we have to be actively engaged to take the temperature. We have to be actively engaged on what the side effects are of certain medicines. I think that’s the most critical piece is educate yourself on what’s going on, because no one’s going to care more than you’re going to care.
Tim Ferriss: This is going to seem maybe like a gear shift, but I think it could be related. When we were talking about transfer when we were in the gym earlier, looking at modeling your push-up position so that it transfers to other movements, your elbows are flaring out. Looking at dead lifting, say, first and foremost in a conventional stance so that it transfers more to clings and everything else. You mentioned AMRAP earlier, as many reps or as many rounds as possible. And you mentioned AMRAP philosophy before I hit record. And I was like okay, I want to come back to that. So what does that mean? Does it apply to areas outside of the gym?
Jason Khalipa: Oh, yeah. It’s actually something I’ve been working on for awhile, and I’ve given talks about it. It’s called the AMRAP mentality. And to me, it’s the way I kind of live my life and I’m trying to live my life. What the AMRAP mentality really means is think about if somebody said to you: hey, I want you to do as many pushups as you can in a minute. While you’re doing them, you’re just focused on that.
You’re not focused on anything else; you’re just focused on the pushups. And then when you’re done with that, you move on. Right now on the podcast with you, this is what I’m focused on. I am AMRAPPING with you right now. We’re trying to do the best we can together. But what I’m not doing is on my phone, and talking to you, and trying to work out at the same time. I’m not doing that because I think nowadays, I would make the argument I don’t know if we’re less productive or more productive than we were 20 years ago.
Because 20 years ago, when you were at work, you were working. When you’re at home, you’re at home. Now, it’s this huge carryover. So what I found myself doing for many years, and I had to really nip myself in the bud and I still am; and I’m trying to get a lot better. Is I wouldn’t be focused on my family or focused on what I was doing. I’d be focusing on other things. There were times when I would go to dinner, and I’d be having dinner with my wife and I wouldn’t remember anything we talked about because I’d be thinking about the CrossFit competition I had coming up. That was an example of me not AMRAPPING, not being present and focused on what I was doing. So the theory is you identify your focus, whatever it may be.
For me it’s family, fitness, business. Then you work hard at it, whatever it may be. Then you switch gears. And you do this throughout your day. And then every now and then you need to reevaluate. I’ll give you an example. For awhile, I was competing at the highest level in CrossFit, owning the business, and I had the family. Then I had more children, the business grew, and the competition got harder. So I decided to switch gears and go team because I didn’t have as much time to allocate to these other things. So I had to switch gears, evaluate what was really important to me, and then do that.
But then when my daughter got sick, it was another time for me to reevaluate, what am I trying to really focus on, and how many things can I actually AMRAP? So now, I chose not to compete because I want to do the best I can at business. Then I want to switch gears and do the best I can with family. And then I still want to work out but I can’t spend as much time on it. That’s kind of the AMRAP mentality. Identify your focus, work hard at it, switch gears and then every now and then, reevaluate and get rid of some of the stuff on your plate.
Tim Ferriss: When you’re reevaluating, do you sit down with a pad and a pen and write it out? Do you have a set time when you might do that, in the morning or at night? If you could just describe perhaps some of the details of what that looks like?
Jason Khalipa: Reevaluating happens with big moments in your life, such as your daughter getting sick, or you’re getting married, or you have children and you have to reevaluate with the things that are going. You used to love maybe playing video games for three hours a day. Once you have a kid, you need to reevaluate. You can’t do that anymore. You just can’t. You need to reevaluate those times.
And so reevaluation happens kind of internally for me, whether I’m on the bike just kind of thinking in my thought or whatever it might be. But I identify every so often when I reevaluate. But on a consistent, daily basis I try and check in with myself. I try and ask myself hey, did I do the best job today as I could? To be a father, to be a husband, to be a business owner and did I maintain my fitness? Did I do that today?
If the answer is yes, hell yeah! But if the answer is no, then there’s always tomorrow. I think if you do those micro goals on a daily basis, it doesn’t lead to these oh shit moments where you wake up and you’ve been doing the same thing for five years and you’re unhappy. You need to start taking that into your own hands on a daily basis and evaluating.
Tim Ferriss: What are some of your goals right now from a business standpoint?
Jason Khalipa: I just think that service-based fitness is the way to go, I really do. I feel very passionate about it.
Tim Ferriss: What does that mean?
Jason Khalipa: Just service! Like you walk into a gym, I want to be serviced. I want someone to help me. I want their guidance and direction. Think about hotels. You go into a hotel gym, the Four Seasons, everywhere else it’s like hello Sir, how can I help you? You go into the gym and there’s no one there. You just get on the elliptical and you have an aimless workout; no direction, no guidance.
So from a business perspective, I want to bring service to the hotels., I want to bring service to corporate wellness, where instead of just people going to the gym and wearing their headphones, now all of a sudden they’re creating connections, and the helps with productivity in the workplace.
It creates with fostering this sense of more culture in the workplace. And I also want to do it on the commercial side; open to the public. I want to be experts and the best at service-based fitness; bringing the highest level of quality coaching combined with quality programming in a fun atmosphere. That’s what we’re really focused on right now.
Tim Ferriss: If we could rewind the clock, this is from Tyler Eggeman, I think it is. If you, that means Jason, could go back to 2008 after winning the CrossFit games, what advice would you give yourself in regards to training for the games or business? What advice would you give yourself at that time? It doesn’t have to be actually related to games or business. I’d say what advice period.
Jason Khalipa: The advice I’d say is earlier on identify this whole concept of AMRAP mentality and evaluate more regularly. Because there are times in my life that I regret not spending quality time. I don’t necessarily regret because it’s gotten us to where we’re at today.
But there have been times where I haven’t been the most present father. I’ve been doing a lot of different things. I wish I had learned that earlier on. Like this morning, I left the house at 4 and I’m not going to be home until later. At least now, every time I do that I recognize that it’s a sacrifice I’m making, but that I have to accept it and then try and make it right in the future. But at least being aware that there’s sacrifice. I think before, I was just trying to just do so much. Now I need to identify and say no to more things so I can really start pinpointing my focus.
Tim Ferriss: The question I had earlier about how you go about doing that is still one I’d like to dig into a little bit because I think it’s so important. For instance, I was chatting a few months ago with this older gent. He’s in his 60s, he has a bunch of kids. Every quarter he gets a report card from his wife. The report card is 0 to 10 in four categories. He’s got provider, husband, father, lover.
Those are the four. He owns his own company, at least one company, and travels a lot. So let’s say he’s traveling but it’s for business purposes and he’s opening up new manufacturing plants or whatever it might be in China, who knows. So he’s gone. He might get a 10 out of 10 in provider, but he’s going to probably be very low on the lover score and so on; maybe 5 out of 6 on the others, who knows.
And it’s allowable as long as he has a good average. It’s like one can drop as long as the others are higher. How do you keep track of reprioritizing or think about that. Is it all in the head, or do you put it down anywhere? Or is it something you try to do at the end of each workday? I know we talked about it a little bit.
Jason Khalipa: I think it’s just in my head. I think it’s just constant evaluation. I like to, let’s just say, be a lone with my thoughts in the garage working out.
I just think about hey, what am I doing right now? What am I doing well? What could I do better at? How could I be better at this, this, and this? And it’s just that constant pursuit of being better at whatever I’m doing. And I think it’s an internal conversation with myself. I think if I ever get complacent or comfortable, that’s where I start getting nervous. And I think I want to get uncomfortable in business.
I want to get uncomfortable and get out there and start sharing my message of what I’m trying to do, and what we’re trying to accomplish and provide for more people to do what they love for a living. These are the conversations I have in my head. Hey, Ava’s getting better. Now I can start focusing a little bit more on this, but don’t forget about this, and things like that.
Tim Ferriss: Do you have any favorite books, or books you’ve gifted to other people; either or both?
Jason Khalipa: I read a lot. I think there are some really poor books at the airport, I really do. For me, I like more of a practical application book. I like a book like Mark Cuban’s Sport of Business. I Like it because it gets me fired up. I like it because it’s a real story from a real guy, just saying it like it is and it’s easy reading.
It’s not so analytical and things like that. So that’s the book I like.
Tim Ferriss: Got it. Let’s talk about morning rituals, if you have any. This is from Da SJ. What are some morning rituals or reflections that he does to keep passions alive while juggling children and life’s twists and turns? I would say let’s focus on the routines or rituals. Do you have any? If we look at the first 90 minutes of your day, and I’m sure it varies, but generally speaking are there certain routines, habits, elements that you have?
Jason Khalipa: I’d say in general, it’s probably some type of exercise, in general. There are exceptions to that but in general, it’s exercise whether it be jiu jitsu, hitting it in my garage, whatever it is; I like to get the body moving and I like to get it flowing early in the morning.
Tim Ferriss: Do you do that before breakfast, after breakfast?
Jason Khalipa: Before.
Tim Ferriss: Before breakfast.
Jason Khalipa: Yeah. That’s before the kids get up. That’s before my wife is up. That’s before everything.
Tim Ferriss: What time is that, typically would you say?
Jason Khalipa: It varies. It used to be a lot earlier. This morning I left early and yesterday I left early, but on average it’s probably about 6.
Tim Ferriss: 6?
Jason Khalipa: Yeah, because some days it’s a lot earlier; some days it’s 7.
Tim Ferriss: And you’re exercising on an empty stomach?
Jason Khalipa: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Do you drink coffee?
Jason Khalipa: I do. I love coffee.
Tim Ferriss: Do you drink coffee before your workout, or do you save that for later? How many cups of coffee do you have a day?
Jason Khalipa: I probably have one and a half, two maybe.
Tim Ferriss: Very moderate.
Jason Khalipa: Maybe. I love coffee. But what I would do normally is exercise, come in, see the kids. I’ll make my coffee. I like doing pour-overs. I want to get a really cool espresso machine; that’s what I’m working on next. You know, hang out with the kids. They get breakfast, they go of to school, and I go off to work and we do our thing. I’ll go to meetings, I’ll go to different gyms, I’ll try to just see what’s going on. Then sometimes I’ll take one of our classes throughout the Bay Area. And then I’m always home for dinner at 5:30 with the family.
Then I get back on emails and different stuff around 7:30 until about 10 because the kids go to sleep. So basically I regiment my day. It’s exercise to get the body moving. It’s time with the family briefly in the morning. They go to school; I go to work. Then when I get home at 5:30, we have dinner, we hang out. Then, for the rest of the night I’m doing work. And I go to bed. I try and go to bed by 10, 10:30 and then do it all over again.
Tim Ferriss: Do you have any particular – and maybe this doesn’t happen to you. You have so many different hats. You’re a business owner, father, husband, certainly competitor, perhaps not going to the games necessarily but still you have extreme athletic drive. Do you have insomnia, or do you find it easy to sleep? Do you ever have insomnia?
Jason Khalipa: No, I find it pretty easy to sleep. You’d think with the different stresses I have, no, I think it’s because I exhaust myself throughout the day. I generally run on a high level throughout the duration of the day. I’m kind of like a kid. It’s like dadadada all day, and then all of a sudden it’s bedtime and it’s like boom. You see what happens to me.
Tim Ferriss: You definitely have a high standard RPM, which is good. Do you have any wind-down routines or anything you like to do before bed?
Jason Khalipa: Generally it’s answering a lot of emails because during the day I’m doing a lot of other stuff. It’s answering a lot of emails, getting back to people. And then sometimes my wife and I will watch a show together, but that’s pretty much it.
Tim Ferriss: That’s it, and then face plant.
Jason Khalipa: And then face plant. And on the weekends, we like to travel. We like to go do things. This weekend coming up we’re going to Disneyland with my daughter, and the weekend after we’re going to Mexico to see one of our locations but also have a good time. So we try an travel as a family and have those times.
Tim Ferriss: Who do you go to for business advice?
Jason Khalipa: We have a few mentors who have really helped out. Some of our corporate partners, Western Digital is one of them. Some of the executives in there have really been amazingly helpful just in asking about things.
Because for me in my industry, sometimes I get overwhelmed so I need to get outside my industry and start asking what’s going on. I also have friends through different sponsorships that I have who have really helped me out. I have a lot of people.
Tim Ferriss: Who would they be?
Jason Khalipa: Paul Gomez, Mike Cordano, Gerry, and then Joe Gigantino back in the day. He was like the original guy that really kind of took me under his wings from a business perspective. And then this guy Min taught me everything to do with sales.
Tim Ferriss: So is Joe the fellow on the elliptical?
Jason Khalipa: Yep. Joe’s the elliptical and Min is the guy who came over on a ship from Vietnam. He got in a concentration camp in I want to say like Korea or something, and then ended up getting here and selling perfume door to door, and now he’s doing really well for himself. So straight-up hustling.
Tim Ferriss: How did you meet Min?
Jason Khalipa: He was the gym sales guy and I wanted to be like him because he was making big checks.
Tim Ferriss: So you met him at the same time you were also later doing the elliptical mentoring sessions.
Jason Khalipa: Yes. I was working the front desk, so Min would put in his sales slips. I looked at his commission slips and I was like dude, what’s going on? Teach me how to sell! And he did. And that was really a cool experience because I learned how to talk to different people, identify what their wants and needs were and see what’s going on. But it was also a time in my life where I started to recognize that you need to run an ethical business. Just because you make money, money is not everything in life.
Running a very ethical, successful business is critical for me. What happens is I would sell them the dream, like hey, join our gym for $9.99 a month and you can get in the best shape of your life. But they wouldn’t. and I knew I was selling them a false hope. So that’s when I got into the group coaching style, which just changed the game for me.
Tim Ferriss: I want to talk about two pieces of that. What made Min so good at selling?
Jason Khalipa: The best way to describe him is straight-up hustler. I mean just hustler.
Tim Ferriss: For some people that’s going to conjure the image of some guy with a fold-out table and three-card Monty who picks up and runs away from the cops when the siren starts.
Jason Khalipa: He lived by the code, you know? ABC, always be closing. He would just identify what somebody needed to hear and he would work really hard at doing it. there was no sugar coating. He would follow up with people, he would tour people well. He showed me from an early age that there’s no easy answer in life. You’ve got to put in the work. You’ve got to get on the phones and hustle it. you want to get leads/ Go to the collections, like all the members who are past due. Call them all and try and collect it. Go back to people who visited the gym from five years ago and call them. And it was stacks beyond the phone. Maybe you get one.
Tim Ferriss: What would be an example of a potentially successful script or question when you’re calling up the Glen Garilades that you have from five years ago? What does a good call look like? If someone in your company had that job today, and you’re like: here’s a stack, better start smiling and dialing! What would you tell them?
Jason Khalipa: I think you start off saying hey, I’m Jason Khalipa with NC Fit. I just want to follow up with your whatever. I think really what you would try and do is just identify: how was your experience? We’re just checking up. Did you enjoy your experience? What are you looking for out of your experience. And you identify what they were looking for. Then you say: oh, did you hear that we actually just added this program, that kind of tailors to what they were looking for. I think finding out what people are looking for is really important. Instead of trying to force feed what you think they want; find out what they do want.
Tim Ferriss: Right, asking good questions.
Jason Khalipa: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: What are the magic ingredients to a good tour? You aid Min toured well.
Jason Khalipa: Oh, man he toured the best. To some people it would just be treadmills and elliptical but to him, it was money-making pieces of machinery that you could sell. Hey, this is the Lifestyle 1032, top of its class. It comes with a fan. It sings music to you.
Tim Ferriss: It’s like selling a Mercedes.
Jason Khalipa: And then he’d talk about the treadmill, and then he’d talk about this and that. Oh, by the way, let me show you downstairs. And then finally it’s like oh, did we tell you, though, that you could for an additional $8.00 a month, you can get towel service? Let me show you where those towels go. Let me show you what they look like. Let me show you the quality of them. Those are the type of things you learn.
Tim Ferriss: Did he have a strong accent, or no?
Jason Khalipa: Oh, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: That’s great, though because it just shows you that it does not matter, you know? He powered through it. I used to live in San Jose and I used to go to a Vietnamese barber shop. One of my best friends growing up was Vietnamese on Long Island. When anyone has a strong accent, it’s a strong accent. He was able, despite that, to just power through and become one of the top salespeople.
Jason Khalipa: Oh, he was the dude! Oh, yeah. He was the baller! I learned a lot from him.
Tim Ferriss: Alright, I’m going to ask just a few more questions and maybe we can do a round two sometime since we’re basically in the same neighborhood. One would be if you could pt any message on a billboard, and this is a metaphor but just to get a message out to millions of people, and let’s assume it’s noncommercial so it can’t be an advertisement. What might you put on a billboard?
Jason Khalipa: I would love to get this out to as many people as you could possibly push this to. It would just say “be easy.” “Life is good.” And I mean that because I really believe that. Meaning when you’ve seen children oncology, it changes your whole perspective. Yesterday I was on the road and this woman was just tailing me so hard, coming around and getting all crazy. I just look over at her, and I’m just like: easy, life is good. You have a beautiful car. You look healthy and young and pretty, whatever. Chill the hell out, you know? And I think people, they get so caught up in these little problems.
And they let it manifest into something so great. They never stop to reflect that hey look, life is okay. But me personally, I choose to look at the world in a pair of glasses, not sunglasses. I choose to look at things in a brighter light. I spent three nights in the ICU. My daughter was on the brink of not good. You don’t go to the ICU as a cancer patient; it was really, really not good. It was the only time that we really felt like it was a life and death situation.
I’m sitting there, and there was this baby to my left, and he’s seven months old. His dad comes in. The baby had never left the ICU before. And all night, they were sucking fluid out of this kid’s lungs because he had pneumonia or whatever it was. And I’m sitting there for two days straight, up all night, eating muffins, looking at my daughter over here really not in good shape. and this baby over here and the dad.
And I’m just sitting there like, people are complaining that there’s traffic? I never want anybody to be in our position; I don’t. But what I want them to do is to really reflect on their life and realize that everybody has something to be grateful for if you think about it. If you’re a live, you’re well, you have the ability to get up and go do some amazing things, you know? I think that sometimes people get caught up and they forget that. I think they could use a reminder of that.
Tim Ferriss: Yes, I think that is where we should wrap up. I think that is, among many other things, what I want people to remember. That’s a fantastic point. Just in closing, where can people find you online, learn more about you, learn more about your business and anything else you’d like them to take a look at?
Jason Khalipa: NC Fit. NC.Fit would be great. I’m very active on Instagram: JasonKhalipa. I don’t use Facebook as much.
Tim Ferriss: That’s alright. Khalipa K-H, right?
Jason Khalipa: K-H-A-A. I do these things called Box to Business. They’re seminars we do for affiliate owners or gym owners. My partner and I, JP, we do them all for charity in pediatric cancer. And so back to one of the questions, we have a blood drive coming up in September. We do that on a nationwide scale at different CrossFit gyms around the world.
Tim Ferriss: Just to place it since people might be listening five years from now, this is 2017.
Jason Khalipa: Yeah. Well, we’re going to do it on a yearly basis.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, you are? Okay, good.
Jason Khalipa: But at the end of the day, yeah, you can just find me NC.Fit, JasonKhalipa.com, or Jason Khalipa on Instagram. You can find a lot of stuff about me on that.
Tim Ferriss: Awesome. Well, guys, say hello to Jason and it’s great to meet you, man. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve followed your career for awhile now so it’s really nice to meet in person. And thanks Mark Bell, Mr. Smelly himself, Mr. Thousand Pound back squat for making the introduction. And so first and foremost, I should say thank you for taking the time. I appreciate you making the time today.
Jason Khalipa: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, man. Really fun and there’s so much more to dig into so hopefully folks, we’ll be able to do a round two and get more questions answered. If you want to see some additional video, make sure you go to Tim.blog/podcast, where you can find the show notes for this episode, links to everything, books and so on mentioned, links to Jason, his sites, and so on as well as some demos and work in the gym that we recorded earlier. So you can find that at Tim.blog/podcast. And as always and until next time, thank you for listening.
Posted on: June 1, 2018.
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Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.