Ep9 – The Whole Life Challenge and a CrossFit journey with Andy Petranek

Fitness expert Andy Petranek discusses how to build healthy fitness habits, the Whole Life Challenge and his early CrossFit entrepreneur journey.

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Fitness expert Andy Petranek discusses how to build healthy fitness habits, the Whole Life Challenge and his early CrossFit entrepreneur journey.

welcome to another episode of head first with dr. hill today’s guest is Andy Petro neck a
athlete and CrossFit entrepreneur co-ceo co-founder of the whole life challenge podcast and all-around fitness guru so
Andy hi done today good I’m doing great great thanks for having to come in today it’s great to be here it wasn’t that hard here you’re in Los Angeles so I got
a captive CrossFit expert here in the house given given the amount of rain we’ve had in the last two months I’m
kind of glad it’s a nice sunny day oh yeah it’s a little ridiculous so Andy tell us about yourself I encourage your
CrossFit roots but you’re sort of CrossFit og you were one of the first
people who really sort of saw the LaCrosse footlight and really leaned into that a little bit so so weird it
was a weird thing you know is weird time I had been I’d come off of adventure racing so my background before that was
in long distance endurance sport okay and I was a mountain biker and climber
and Mountaineer and less for the less for the purity of each one of those and
more for the kind of excitement and adventure of em okay so when the sport of adventure racing came around I was like oh my god I got to do that
Adventure is just like like Vin Diesel xxx kind of stuff jumping off a helicopter so it’s not that extreme it’s
not that exciting is it’s pretty extreme but it’s much it takes much much longer to get it’s not grueling so it’s a very
boring movie because you’d have to watch it for like eight days you know so you
know you go let you know you go like 450 miles of the team of two to four people two to five people and you have to do
all your own logistics you have to do all your own navigating with a map and compass and you find your way in the I
was in a bikini navigator mostly and you find your way in the mountains or in the in the rivers or you know whatever all
of all your own locomotion so so mountains River so your your mountain biking you’re hiking you’re running
you’re kayaking what are you hacking huh you’re kayaking you’re rock climbing if they’re if they’re sections of the race that are you know cliffs and whatnot
you’re rappelling you’re rock climbing you’re going up you’re going down I have this image of you know with a kayak strapped to your back on us year man you
don’t have to do that you don’t have to do that so like so when when you carry your gear you carry your food yep you
carry your clothing but if you get to a transition to a different way of locomotion they provide
that for less nice not distract your bike in your kayak and all that stuff too fast but ragged like a like B I did
a ride right that’s why I was thinking okay all right so um I so expect for you but you know it’s a little easier than
you originally thought um and and those races were you know five to five to ten
days but then I got involved in the shorter distance ones will cut shorter distances in quotes because it’s like three hours right that was a sprint
assistance the total marathon but right right and then you know I’d kind of hung
my cleats up from doing that stuff and was in the personal training space you know and I was looking online to see
what how I was going to take my business online and I bumped into CrossFit I start literally stumbled into it and I
remembered my experience originally was where the section of the site that you have to pay for something I couldn’t
find it I couldn’t find it and I couldn’t figure out what this thing called a wad was and you know it turns
out that’s the workout of the day right right there on the home page the first thing you see is the wad and I for some
reason decided I was going to try it and you know it leveled me the first time I did it and I I then did an experiment
cuz I consider myself a strong athlete and so anything that leveled me was right this is this is outside of the
norm of what I’m expecting I perform and I decided to go out and run a 5k could
some of the literature I read an article by Greg Glassman who is a founder called what is Fitness and it totally resonated
with all my philosophies around training and fitness and but one of the things he said was you know cross it these short
intense workouts can take the place of endurance of like long drawn-out stuff like well I’m not training for anything
why don’t I try it so I did an experiment I ran a 5k and I started doing Crossfit for all my workouts
reduce my training volume probably by less than a half I was doing before in
terms of time and ran the same 5k about three months later and I was to two and
a half minutes faster than my sidekick wow so didn’t didn’t impair you certainly no any faster and everything got better oh you know all
these things got better and I just was like okay I’m doing this I went up to Santa Cruz to their headquarters and met
coach Glassman booth and you know we became the you know one of the very early adopters 2004 which you know for
me that was the one of the exciting parts I’m kind of an early adopter guy so finding something new and exciting
and it fit with my kind of personality of adventure your adventurer it was an
adventure like the outdoors right but it was you know you’d finish a workout in the gym and people would look at you I
mean you literally you’re you’re draped out on the floor in a puddle of sweat nobody else knows what the heck it is you’re doing right on the Red Cross no
social acceptance to this thing back there back then and you know and then
the gyms I was doing in and they were like personal training gyms where it was the average age of the clientele was 50
and I was a freak and it was and it was
fun that was fun and open up cross with LA learned very quickly that was your
CrossFit gym that was my CrossFit gym because the tronic Fitness when I first opened and then we morphed into CrossFit
la found out very quickly that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about running a business okay and I’ve
discovered that too funny how that works man I’ve spent more money in a coaching
and business coaching and life coaching and like learning how to do this stuff
so if I could have all that money back well first of all I’d be out of business if I didn’t have the advice that’s right never mind I can’t happen right right
right um but yeah it took me a lot of head-banging and learning and growing
stuff against the wall to see if it stuck yeah and fortunately it did and
fortunately I ran into some people I hired some people that were they were really influential in helping me establish a solid business practice and
I you know we built it from nothing to 300 350 members Wow you know it took
like three or four years to do that it’s not bad and just sustained it you know
like the the business model sustained itself they reviewed I’d love to say continue growing to five six seven hundred but we
were very limited in space you know we have three thousand square feet Santa Monica is not known for its
spacious spaces this is still there still there where it where there it’s um
near Bundy and Santa Monica Boulevard okay so easy after section it’s great it’s a little bit west of there on Santa
Monica but that’s probably the most well known are you still involved with the cross that I I’m still coached two times
a week I coached classes and going there this afternoon actually to do work out myself great all right now I’m really good
friends of the new owners name is Kenny cane and so you solder Jo guy sold the gym okay soul gym two years ago the
whole a challenge really took over in and that’s kind of the that was my next
adventure really because I was in the middle of doing what I was doing across with LA and one of my challenges always
as a coach was how do I get people to how do I get people to take what they’re
learning in the gym yeah and then go back to their life and not do the same
dumb can I curse on this sure not do the same dumb that they did the day
before yeah like the same dumb stuff that they came to the gym to not do in the first place right whether its posture or is
eating crap or it’s you know only sleeping four hours a night or it’s um you know not stretching no no mobility
yeah um and so that was really the motherlode for me I I didn’t
I felt very limited as an influencer when I only saw somebody two hours a
week or three hours a week you know and then they went back to their life and you know trial right and Charlene and
was the way to whole life challenge came well we’ve been doing fitness challenges for many years okay which were do
workout train for eight weeks do the workout again and see how much you’ve improved kind of like my original test
sure sure we should do it with prizes and give giveaway all these things and it was super fun we’d have 150 people
show up for these events that we do um and my head coach my now business
partner Michael Stanwyck and I were we had attended a nutrition seminar we really wanted to incorporate nutrition
into the gym into the culture at the gym and we tried it we tried doing it in a
way that was educational and it was just it was so boring and dry like a class like something you’d go to UCLA to take
a class work yeah did it you know I think the program we set up uh twelve
people started and three finished and you know it’s expensive I think we charged four or five hundred bucks for
it and it just doesn’t have an impact we have a community of 300 people yeah yeah
so we’re like okay well let’s go back to the drawing board how do we take nutrition and then what are some other
elements we could do you know like oak stretching and exercise and at the time
we said supplementation we’ve we since change that to sleep um hydration okay
um and then the other extremes not extrinsic the other X factors when it
comes to health and well-being like gratitude yeah like compassion like
meditation and consciousness how do we incorporate those things and we came up with this very rudimentary concept this
game concept where you’d score yourself you get points and we our plan was throw
it up in a spreadsheet on google google Shirelles or a spreadsheet and let people sign in and keep track of their
stuff well we had two people that were software engineers who said don’t do that that’s just bad I mean we had big
reservations because if you have say a hundred and fifty people playing a game and somebody makes a mistake on that
spreadsheet and put something in the wrong spot or racist somebody else right or or you can’t really lock it out right
make one line accessible to one person in one line through so we knew there were pitfalls with that but we were just
fortunate to two of our two of our clients were software engineers in there like list let’s build something for you
we’ll trade a membership for it and we had the first to let challenge and we we had the the reason it became what it
what it’s become which is of this kind of crazy was simply because it worked I
mean it just it did everything we wanted it to do in terms of the culture the conversation empowering people to make
decisions on their own on not relying on us as coaches we you know like I never wanted it to be
Andy peconics whole life challenge so yeah like there are a lot of there are a lot of great trainers in the world who
have made it all about them is it’s just a different way yeah I’m like Jillian Michaels is all about John Lee Michaels
great it would totally works you know I’m phenomenal yeah but it’s up and not what I want I want people I want to be
kind of out of the picture I don’t want people to have to call me to find out what to do and just tell him that exactly so um that’s what that’s what we
experienced in that first whole life challenge and we said on it let’s do it
again and we did we did again we got them to invite their friends and family mm-hmm we grew from 150 people in the
first one to 300 people and then we went to a former colleague of mine who’s a consultant he was working with a bunch
of CrossFit gyms and we said we will give you exclusive rights to the first Olight challenge and he is a master at
enrollment he got 7,000 people from these 300 gyms to enroll in that next
Olight challenge Wow and that gave us our foothold and um we you know we created a business model
that supported financially the businesses that joined they earned a revenue share back home measure on the
signups signups that they brought in and you know we were off and running we a
lot of pitfalls along the way we suddenly became a software company and we’d write you know never no idea what I was doing you know developers and the
amount of money that that cost it’s it’s like a it’s like a fire hose
of of cash yeah going out coming out yeah going out yeah I’m going out of it so um now you know we had 23,000 people
in the current whole life challenge in January Wow and 23,000 people 23,000 all over the
world we’ve had him we’ve had reports of people doing it in every continent except Antarctica so we’d love and all
right right and Carol I’d like to go there and play the next life challenge we’re looking for that person could open a peak brain city okay but if you forget
much walk in traffic but I bet there’s a market for wim HOF method down there like the destination for women HOF
method I know absolutely true yeah you get all the you know all the serious athletes the world to pay 20 grand and go down there for a week and yeah yeah
something like the bulletproof weeks and things yeah right right I mean it’s marketing right there’s a
it’s all marketers a draw down there that’s good so yeah so that’s that’s where we are we do three of them in yo
and we also do three of them here now so instead of instead of a hundred and fifty people or 300 people once a year
its twenty three thousand three times a year Wow so this is essentially people doing it on their own checking with a
community having a sort of support system and excitement around what they’re doing yeah it it’s an event so
it’s very unlike most apps out there we have an app it’s a it’s a we have an
Android app and an iPhone app but it’s a it’s a I’m going to say sidebar but it’s
not a site so it’s a accompanying app to the game the game takes place online but it takes place in your life yeah so you
sign up it’s it we do one in January one in May and one in September if you’re if you’re listening to this podcast and
it’s March sorry there’s no there’s nothing for I wish you know there’s nothing for you to do except to register
and get ready for the one in May right but it doesn’t start until May yeah and everybody in the world is doing it at
the same time it’s kind of like the original concept for that came from my experience doing marathons and doing events like you can go out and run 26.2
miles anytime you want sure but it’s building onto it it’s not the same as going out running running the New York
City Marathon it’s just a different experience so we wanted that camaraderie and that community around everybody
doing it at one time and their pitfalls in that business model but sure you know absolutely and of course you have other
things besides the challenge of a podcast I think podcast is and is accompanying to the whole challenge so
we you know like we’re really are our
intention is to become a valuable source
of information for people who want to make small improvements to their life small or big improvements to their life
and so we have a stable of blog writers who write articles for us we partner
with people who are exercise experts who are mobility experts who are who provide
video content for us.we I do the podcast in the podcast I bring people on like you came on my
podcast that’s right you guys you analyze my brain and found that I was a deep and uh and wasn’t your mom involved
in the background my mom was shouting stuff happen will she happen to be here and she’s like Oh remember when you fell
on your head we were one year old I drop you down the concrete steps in the backyard all right like what yeah and oh
I don’t remember that but I found it I found it in your brain yeah here it is yeah that was great um so yeah that was
pretty darn funny um yeah I’ve never had a podcast guest mom be chiming in from
the background that was lovely I didn’t expect I mean how would you know yeah he just came because she’s interested in what you do I know like
never been to a place like sure sure little did I know she was going to provide that actual useful information
so you have a lot of the CrossFit community worldwide a massive movement at this point we do you know that that
was one of the interesting things when we first started we were very pigeon-holed into CrossFit yeah it was a I mean all our images all of our
marketing was all crossed because it’s worked I was right thing yep but you know we very quickly realized that the
real power behind the whole life challenge was in non CrossFitters cross fighters while certainly CrossFitters
are up for it yes sirs can do it in it and it actually is effective for everybody the people in the world that
that need the most help with with empowerment with community with building
great habits are not doing it on their own already right you know and so it’s
the CrossFitters who bring their mom in it’s the CrossFitters or the the people who are already hard strong athletes who
do degree to do it but they bring in their sister their brother their co-worker and their and their best
friend or they or they have a community of lawyers that their office the workplace and they all decide to do it
together we have companies that are contacting us now who wanted bringing in as a corporate challenge sure sure so
you know we had to really go back to the drawing board in terms of making the
pictures the imagery and the marketing and the what it looked like and when our
content match the people that were our customers which are the which are people that are
not doing stuff they’re not already hardcore you know so for those people I’m sure there’s many people listening who aren’t
CrossFitters can you just back up a little and explain what is CrossFit because I have a sense of assurance from
the aldehyde it seems a little bit not well let me I wit but it’s funny because I thought you’re going to say what is
the exercise part of the whole light challenge the exercise is ten minutes ah okay so it’s not purely and it’s not
ethical it’s not defined so if you consider what you did today exercise you
don’t get to count it it’s yes I did it great I get my five points okay uh you know there’s some days when I walk my
dog literally and I would count that okay now so it’s not an on-ramp on to
the CrossFit way of doing no even look at most can do my sister did this she my
sister is notorious for not listening to me fish maybe is like ministers I’ve had
I gave up a long time ago trying to get her to do anything that I’m sure you know wanted her to do and uh so I told
her I’m like look here’s the challenge I’d love you to do it here’s a gave her free entry she goes you know I really
want to see if I can run every day for 56 days because she wasn’t a runner she did not do this was not a consistent
habit she goes she goes you know I know it’s probably better for me to do the whole whole life chance but I’m just going to focus on the exercise part I’m
just gonna try to do 10 minutes of running and walking she counted walking – hmm and uh she did it she had a very
funny looking graph because we have seven colors it looks like a rainbow chart yep and and one color is for
exercise and her graph was one color all the way through one strip yeah all the way over you know very low score and it
didn’t matter like that actually you know she wants marathons now she met her goal arena even have three and a half
years laters and run grab on so you know uh it’s very very gentle you know ten
minutes of mobility ten minutes of exercise self-defined how much sleep do
you need well you get to define at the beginning of the challenge you say you know good night’s sleep for me I’m only getting six hours now I know perfect
would be eight but it’s realistic for me that six hours and twenty minutes would be good would be a accomplishment you
get to put that down and any time you do six hours and twenty minutes you give yourself to check it’s great got it so
very gently cross it is a is not-so-gentle that has been my impression I’ve driven by a lot
of CrossFit gyms and I’m like oh that’s that CrossFit thing oh it’s okay I don’t now along there no it’s fine it’s
interesting because if you go to the right place and you join a community of
people who are uh who are similar in
maybe age or similar in in kind of category of life of you wow you won’t be
as fit as they are because they’ve been doing it for a year or two years or three years you will them your mindset
will be very similar to those people because you know they’re not training to go to the CrossFit Games they’re not
training to be elite athletes they’re most of them are not training to go you know do the Race Across America right
right you know go do some other strongman competition or something so um
you can you know CrossFit really the roots of CrossFit back when I got
involved would cross it it was really about creating um you utilizing functional movements which are compound
movements that are universally scalable and universally applicable to life
movements in life they mimic what we do in life sure and um doing those in a way
that allows you to get better at your life you know scaling them in a way that
makes them supportive of where you are okay so you know my mom who’s 83 years old she doesn’t say she does CrossFit
but she does yeah I mean she does my vert what I’ve taught her how to do she
does the version of CrossFit that I’ve taught her how to do which you know she incorporates squats she can actually hold the squat the
bottom of a deep squat doing over a minute now we’re 83 none of her none of
her friends do that but gerontology perspective one of the biggest signs of health and wellness and gerontology geriatricians will have you stand up
from a chair without using your hands activate just stand up just stand up that and they’ll drop their keys now you
pick up their keys pick up their keys off the ground without falling over you can stand up without using your arms to push yourself up you’re engaging the
largest muscles in the body in a very balanced way right so the fact that your mom can squat and hold a deep squat suggested or
quadric lose everything is really really good so geriatricians would say you know you
decrease the risk of long-term falls balance issues that are because of that exact workout right the exact exercise
ya know it’s really uh uh you know she lives in a retirement village and nut
people are terrified of getting on the ground going on the ground yeah she gets she most of her workouts start with her
on the ground she gets up and off the ground all the time like this huge and she tries to get her friends to do it with her but they there’s just a fear
and you know people stop doing it and they start falling into chairs yep and
then using their arms to get out of chairs and then falling onto the toilet and then using bar grab bars to get off
the toilet and they you know 20 years of that and suddenly you can’t do it and of course you’re scared yeah you will fall
over can she kick it up yep yeah there’s these um cells in the brain the motor system called bets cells we only have
30,000 of them that’s it and they control the ability of the leg to spring to catch your weight going downstairs
that that flex that catches your weight and starting by 8:30 those cells start to die off
really and this is why around 50 or 60 some elders have this sort of stiff legged kind of gait the lack of the
actual tissue that supports catching your weight with Flex where do those cells live in the motor in the the
primary motor system brain yeah yeah the descending motor cells so there they actually send the signal to the muscles
to do what they need to do the weight as it flexes we still have other systems that can bend confuse you can still walk
but it’s one of the two predator sort of systems that that allows animals to really be springy so if you keep doing
it you don’t lose them right we don’t know them cells is so few of them and there’s these giant cells that are kind
of fragile that they do seem to have a sort of notice it’s not pathological aging they do seem to be lost but of
course the brain can always change and so you can do other things and probably to get some of that feature back even if
you’ve lost the flexibility because I can tell you I’m 50 and I just learned I just did something called movin attitude
certification in a natural movement and one of the things we worked on is is getting up above a
our or like a tree branch how would you if you’re hanging below a tree branch how do you get yourself up above it and once you’re up above it how do you get
down so we practice these things called depth jumps okay and then you learn how to do a depth jumps dunk jump depth jump
with a pan slap so that you take you dissipate the energy from your feet and
legs into your hands okay and then you learn to do the depth jump hand slap for
roll mm so you are doing it’s more of a part Coria and I like move and I’ve
recently started doing them off the 8 foot pull-up bar in the gym and it’s freaking so much fun great that’s great
hope if you need those cells and I cannot lose those cells holy curry and and you probably are maintaining them I
mean on things many good studies showing folks and get older but but that is generally how things work if I use it
and they are perfect they’re preserved or repaired right but we’re all discovering more and more every day that
we have new brain cells generated every day of course there’s a story potent
sort of neural stem cells in a few regions of the brain that continue to pump out cells and they were sort of considered to be very certain narrow
areas like 2 or 3 weeks ago there was a study showing that there’s also a sheet of that cell generating tissue outside
the brain that wraps the entire brain Wow so we actually have the ability to make cells a lot more reliably and we thought
we did your whole life your entire life but cells respond to challenge learnings and I have to be doing things to create
the circuits the cells will live in otherwise the cells are being born don’t survive yeah I always you know equate
not equate but I always tell people look your your body is inherently I use the
word lazy it upsets people um but but it’s it’s designed yeah to be efficient
absolutely efficiency means shutting off the things that don’t need to be up no don’t need to work minimize your expenditure for the best rewards you can
get right if you can reach for the shells and eat the sugar you know you know your body’s like alright and I don’t know anything else legs off
exactly right so you move it or you lose it I guess interesting so anyone else you working on these days well the kind
of projects or well like I said I was doing I did that move that thing I’m learning how to ride a unicycle that’s
not another I’m not moving I mean that sounds great form of rain in balance for the view but why the hell are you learning you had
your cycle well it’s a very funny story I was talking to a buddy of mine and I was telling him about this guy that’s on
my Instagram feed who posts his pictures of Zeus’s Ronnie Ronnie Teasdale he’s across that guy here owns a gym CrossFit
gym down and down in downtown LA I don’t really I don’t think I’ve actually ever met Ronnie in person but he’s a very um
he’s a kind of an extreme CrossFit or he’s very capable of pretty much anything he does a lot of slacklining he
does a lot of balance stuff but he’s very strong as well sure good competitor and I can I’ve always wanted to you know
like maybe try I wasn’t committing to doing it any better and so I got on Instagram and you know Ronnie’s got
thousands of followers on Instagram and I’d send in one of those private mess private messages hey Ronnie and chronic
what does it take to start unicycle and I’m just curious he goes want to come down to the gym and pick one up I’m like
oh I did all my bluff yeah I wasn’t
prepared and literally two days later I had a unicycle in the back of my car I still actually have it I need to get it
back to Ronnie because I need to get my own but uh I got on it and I just it
became another one of those things for me like the things that I glom on to in my life sure it’s counterculture yeah
not many people can do it it’s really cool if a 50 year old could do it right oh right hair duh the other 50 year olds
on my blog sure and suddenly it became a really fun thing for me to to work on
and it totally fit my personality even though I was terrible I mean it took me I was counting the hours of training
okay that because I have sense outside my house and so I would take the unicycle out and get along the side of
the fence and get myself up on the unicycle and hold on and there are different strategies that people talk about one is don’t do that let’s just
push off and fall just find your balance yeah and the other is to hold on and I was like I’m holding on and and it took
me about three hours of combined not in one time but three hours total before I
was able to take probably I don’t know five or six pedal strokes we went free and clear of who
not touching the to the railing and then um you know it kind of works like a lot
of things in life where you have these breakthroughs and you know I’d be going five or six pedal strokes and all of a
sudden I’d go twenty pedal stroke some legal holy crap would just happen right and then uh you know I pedaled down to
the corner I’m like you know and that didn’t happen again for you know another 20 attempts uh-huh but now I can I can
get on the unicycle I don’t practicing as much because of all the rain in the weather trap yeah but really so yeah
yeah um but I can get on the unicycle now and can pretty much make it to the
corner you know not at war not at whim I mean not it not at would not win that voluntarily not not not like on them on
the spot if I was taking a cycle out of back my car right now and we would I would probably get on it make a fool of
myself okay because typically that’s what has happened for me mark I wanted to show some friends at a party we were
having that III can you cycle and I literally couldn’t take one I’ll talk about it crashing to the ground you know
so I wouldn’t put myself on the spot like that guy but most of the time I can make it down to the corner if it hard to
go up or down hill I don’t know I don’t know that’s good my vision is that I get
um out what’s called a mountain unicycle has treads and it’s a much bigger the wheel I’m learning on I think is a 20
inch wheel okay and the the mountain unicycles are 26 or 29 just like a bike step they have a break so when you’re
going downhill you can I guess yeah can’t I can’t really comprehend quite comprehend that yet um and these guys do
these crazy they go down these mountain bike trails on a unicycle okay that rule I can’t really imagine they’re basically
fixes like that there’s no gear it’s the pedals are tied to the yep hub yep okay so that so that that’s when you need a
26 or 29 so that you can keep up yeah would need certainly um but that would
be interesting if I can’t do that someday I need to get one because right now the bike the unicycle I’m on is Ronnie’s for small yeah do kind of a
training unicycle and but I imagine they’re pretty same you
know that’s great I’d say so let’s back up for a second you’ve been a coach for a long time you’ve been in fitness in
all kinds of areas personally you know professionally let’s say there’s some
folks listening who would love to be more fit but have no idea where to start because either they’ve you know gone
decades without being fit whether may have some physical limitations or they’re just new getting into this idea of trying to be fit if there’s a young
person what are some inroads what are some some ways that that people can you know be coming aside from what I think
they probably should join the whole life challenge but what are they know yeah what are some general you know so I
think one of the coolest tools that I learned over the years of coaching people and doing stuff is to stop watch
the stop watch is a it doesn’t mean
you’re racing it’s just a way to mark time so if you don’t do something now
let’s say you come home from work you prepare dinner you sit down on the couch and you watch TV until you fall asleep
let’s say that’s your number anything more than that is a is an improvement
yep anything yeah so why don’t we say one minute walk out your back door with
a stopwatch and walk for one minute mm-hmm come back in don’t do more than that don’t chew off tiny bites
okay don’t you because you don’t want to do so much the one of the problems that people do is they’ll enroll in a
bootcamp yeah they’ll be they’ll go from couch to bootcamp yeah and invariably
that one of the reasons the yo-yo thing happens is they they just can’t sustain it’s painful it’s it’s watching The
Biggest Loser and without support yeah and and trying to live your life and you
know you crash and burn six weeks later and you go back to a worse state than you were in before so taking a very very
small step like so small you think this is just silly right of course I can do a minute go for a walk for a minute with
that couch to marathon or couch to 50k or there’s a guy that does those programs it goes counselor the first day
you’ll get up to walk around the house and sit back down or something right like it’s very incremental and and you can do that with any body movements so
you know I always tell people look run while is great and natural as running is
for the human being it’s it does not move your it does not force you to move
your body from full ranges of motion at your hips your knees surely can if you don’t do those things it can cause imbalances and pain and
suffering yeah so you know use the stopwatch with squats learn if you can’t
do a squat get a Swiss ball put it against against the wall on your back and do wall sits
yeah wall squat yeah you know you use the advantage of the Swiss ball and go down as far as you can’t go down and
hold for 10 seconds yep come back up there were those things we say I was a captain of the UMass Amherst fencing
team for a year and we used to do well so you’re a balance you have one leg that’s probably or you did I did you had
one leg that was probably the size of the other actually I used to teach the team and I’m left I’m left-handed but I
would teach right-handed so I would actually switch all day long gray because I worked with a couple of sensors mhm and I mean the difference
between their low their if you don’t let their there I think it’s the front leg right it’s the power leg you push off
the back so it’s the opposite of your strong hand usually I can’t remember which leg it was that was their larger
mesh it’s usually the back leg that’s all your weight and your thrust and you’re exploding off of it the front leg actually goes out of the way and ok and
they land on it ok but yeah I for a while with developed a huge in a Valerie yeah imbalances so um yeah yeah I only
competed left-handed have a very strong left wrist so my wrists are very imbalanced even still as a you know 25
30 years later Hamm Stan I’m working on that I do want to study again ok I down
dog is up great yeah the the the vinyasa is the stronger has a transition of his
busy Sun Salutation yet weaned every pose oh cool you’re doing a Sun Salutation so you have the opportunity to do about 10,000 down dogs everywhere
I do it but my legs are pretty bounce because I could quickly you know pick up a different weapon switch gears teach
somebody right but in competition and and all the really serious practice I would do it was all lefty and I end up
with a giant Popeye forum on one side right right you know it just it happens about bodies adapt they that’s what they
do it’s exciting as you can you can control that but they can you know go where directions to yeah yeah yeah so
yeah so I would I recommend to people all the time grab a stopwatch she’ll come up through
some way to measure a fixed amount of time that seems very small compared to what you’re doing now and okay okay
ready 3 2 1 go do as many pushups against the wall as you can in one minute yeah then you’re done that’s great so
incremental measure it quantify it yep and then write it down write it down low yeah you got it you’ve got a you get a
journal you get a Evernote these on your units like you’re describing absolutely they’re great and you need a way to
measure it simply because it’s important to want to see and yeah you’re doing what’s what you’re up to yeah you know
gerontologist I teach courses on gerontology at UCLA oh you’re laying things on me and I have a course I teach
in the winter called psych of Aging and I make all my students do what’s called a modifiable behavior exercise because
in gerontology the focus is not so much on curing things but it’s changing the trajectory of decline flattening it so
you so you you know sail into the last year of your life with all your features intact instead of declined for 30 years and the
big focus not only on the life course things you do early in life and how they affect your aging but in actually
changing healthy habits early in life big things like you know smoking or little things like dropping sugar
increasing fat and so I make all my students for a week track sleep and
something else that they think might be worth changing and quality of life and then for another week make a small
change and keep tracking everything and some of them you know struggle with it and they usually aren’t quite sure what
they’re doing and it’s weird excitement because I’m not asking them to like write a paper but by the end they’re like oh my god I had this incredible
experience now I can I discover I can do things and change how I feel right and I’m really from a Jarrow point of view
talking about you know decades of perspective but you can feel some of these changes like if somebody went from
the couch to walking for one minute a day it would actually be perceptible subjective yeah different quickly within
80 days yeah and so I love when I can you know force / encourage young students to do stuff like this it’s one
of the you know that’s one of the premises of the whole life challenges where you know we’re trying to get people to change their context from
thinking I want to be fitter in six weeks or eight weeks then channel the whole life challenges eight weeks
I want to be fitter ten years from now what do I need to do and then I got eight weeks to take to take measurable
steps to improve that are sustainable after the eight weeks yeah yeah now that’s and that’s really the that’s
really the message that we’re trying to get across even though it’s so it’s got points and there’s some competition and
well your game of fighting it to make it image of all people have unaccountable Ward and it’s more fun you know
otherwise it’s kind of mundane and boring that’s great I I do personal five week Sprint’s generally uh so I tend to
like you know I’m an entrepreneur I have lots of jobs and lots of activities so when things get out of control I find
that I beaten like crap for a few days and haven’t worked out for a week and so every so often I buckle down and for
five weeks do everything you know tightly and I think five weeks is a magical time because that’s how long it
takes neurons in your brain to be born turn into the kind of cell that they’re going to be and travel to the place
where they’re going to be in a network take about five weeks okay half the neurons that start that journey die huh
what is a criteria for you know living if you’re a proto neuron is making
connections with your friends making actually setting up shop in a circuit okay and so that requires using the
resources and so for me people tell you oh you can do this thing in a week like I’m in there a feedback field people
always have these like camps that are week-long I’m not a big fan of the the short intense frames don’t change that quickly
eight weeks like you’re doing is definitely enough time to instantiate not only new cells but habits it’s
interesting I never really thought of it from the neuro dirt what do you call the neuroscience the neuroscience of view um
we made it eight weeks because five weeks there’s a there’s an agreement
among most people that participate in the whole that challenge of five weeks is doable five vocab you’ll struggle like I does not allow to drop off after
five weeks but after five weeks it becomes the things we hear back from a
lot of people your challenge art now it’s boring it’s mundane give me something else to do give me and that’s
kind of what we want because that’s your life yeah your life becomes boring and recommend a nav to keep doing it you
have to keep doing it you have to be continue to be conscious and as much as uh you know we’re I think we’re in this
in this pattern this societal pattern where we expect the app or the program or the watch or
the phone to buzz or beep to make us do something and there’s only so much that
an app or something else can make you do it it’s your life and um you know so we
wanted to keep it at eight weeks but we we’re very much the the philosophy is do it for eight weeks come off for eight
weeks do again for eight weeks come off for eight weeks do it again like the I’ve done every challenge where we’ve
had 15 now and I make different changes every single challenge I use them as
training cycles yeah and then I relax for those eight weeks and then I get back on for eight weeks and I get back off for eight weeks and it’s very very
useful to have that kind of a habit and your sort of scaffolding behavior for people with the gamification the
competition and everything else for the eight week and the community and the people that are on board we have you so and then during the intervening eight
weeks do you find that after especially a couple of times of doing these challenges people start generating more internal disciplines yeah I call it I
call it the converging lines oh you know at first when you first take on the whole I challenge you your goal is to
win yeah goal is to get to take off the biggest bite you can possibly to get every point be perfect all the way
through the whole channel oh yeah that’s like way up here your normal lifestyle here right as you become more
whole life challenge mature you you learn that because the chances are after
you do that that the rebound is I’m going back ice cream that pizza and beer every weekend and I don’t care what you
don’t care yeah you know right I would look cessful doing that extreme thing give me a break right right okay look it can work and
some people maybe that’s the right way to do it what I found and what what a lot of people have found is that as that
as you gain more maturity in a whole life challenge you realize that the points aren’t really the motherlode the motherlode is the ten year change and
and if you won’t really want the tenure change on the sustainable change take a much smaller bite so get that bring that
line down of what you’re willing to chew off and slowly your life will start to
come up to meet that line that’s coming down and so now I’ve done changes your baseline change you get you get a little
bit like your your bad days become not as bad you still have them sure I’m
gonna have birthday my son turns ten this weekend and I’m gonna have birthday cake right that’s right I love ice cream
cakes one flavors and I’m having it right um I might not have three three pieces which
I’ve had before maybe I will I don’t know right oh yeah it depends on what kind of you know energy burn past few
days how much you feel like it’s going to throw you down right right of course but I thought if you were a fatty
year-old who had never worked out you’d be and you’re eating American diet you’d be pre-diabetic and those three pieces
of birthday cake would throw up your vdl for the next two weeks and you have increased heart disease and sir but you
could you can handle a sugar hit every so often right invited somebody who’s not conditions but what I found is I
don’t need the same kind of sugar hits I don’t need the same amount of Pizza right satisfied is because there’s an
emotional tie here or enough sure and I don’t need as much anymore you know like I said I don’t like last night my
dessert was dates I’d like to put almond butter or some kind of a nut butter on dates not so now I sometimes that over
iam I had for last night well I was like quite a lot um but you know in the past
that’s not that wasn’t satisfying from that was what I did because I’m in the challenge and I didn’t want to lose points now it’s what I do because I
actually like it sure and I don’t need the I don’t need to have an Ice Cream Sandwich you know in order to feel good
after dinner right you know so my my emotional ties are changing you know my
snack foods or change or I’ve changed um so it’s just interesting it’s it’s not
so much that because I’m fit I can handle the that was almost a negative
yeah back in the back in the back you know 15 years ago when I was adventure racing I could eat whatever the heck I
want because you’re burning so much fuel they could go dad or I could go to Krispy Kreme I followed by you know
followed by the Olive Garden well that was one of my favorite places to eat unlimited breadsticks unlimited pasta
unlimited salad who cares about Fredrik unlit everything right um and I could do
it never looked any different right now and never performed well I don’t know if I would have performed different because
like you know I’m only a test case of one I sure didn’t have a I didn’t have a but you could halo cycling high levels
of like agenda it out of your system without even that about absolutely and so there was really no impetus to
improve the quality at that at that time there there would have been now and I had the same knowledge that I do now back that
up but um and you’re older now so I’m writing that way now it might do more they might slow you
down more it might yeah I fart way more now I’m some more like that cholesterol
going up and things like wow that’s just the excessive superficial you know ramifications of the bad the bad diet
maybe I don’t fart more maybe it’s the same and I just notice it more maybe
well on that note Andy thanks so much for coming the show today if our listeners and viewers want to check out
the whole life challenge want to check out your show your podcasts things you’re doing where can they find you so whole life challenge calm that’s our
main website I’m very findable the College on sat-comm forward slash podcast is where the podcast is and I’m at and eepa
tronic mm-hmm everywhere I’m in Facebook Twitter Instagram cool I I’m you know
I’ve got this social media love-hate relationship kids so I’m not obsessed by
being on social media mm-hmm you know like I logged into Facebook today for the first time in a couple days and I
had over 100 notifications yeah and for me that’s kind of good that means I’m not checking to be sure sure if I log in
and there’s less than like 20 I am get a little too much and too much in Facebook gotcha so those are the places to find
me and I’m responsive and you know love to answer questions from people and yeah
great well any any pathetic our guest today oh gee crossfit modern riche redefining
what we’re doing with fitness get this to think about how to be fit and how to change lifestyles over time so really
eliminating thanks so much for dropping some wisdom today and folks this has been another episode of head first a
doctor he’ll take care of those brains [Music]

Andy Petranek

Andy Petranek is an athlete and CrossFit entrepreneur, cofounder of the Whole Life Challenge and the host of the WLC podcast.