The Surf Strong Show

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In this conversation, Brian McKenzie discusses the importance of breath training and its impact on overall health and performance. He emphasizes the need to understand and manage stress in order to optimize breathing patterns.

Brian also highlights the significance of walking as a foundational exercise and shares his personal experience with overcoming fear and trauma. Overall, the conversation explores the intersection of breath, fear, and performance.

Brian and Greg discuss the importance of prioritizing self-care and personal growth. They explore the concept of reordering priorities and letting go of non-essential tasks.

Brian shares his experience of investing in himself and overcoming codependency. They also discuss the dangers of multitasking and hyperconnectivity in today's society.

The conversation delves into the impact of childhood experiences on adult behavior and the importance of breathing and self-reflection. Brian shares his insights on the power of walking and connecting with nature.

They also touch on Brian's experience working with Tim Ferriss and Laird Hamilton.

Finally, they discuss the benefits and misconceptions of heat and cold therapy, as well as Brian's training block and approach to competitions.

  • Breath training is essential for optimizing health and performance.
  • Understanding and managing stress is crucial for improving breathing patterns.
  • Walking is a fundamental exercise that can have a significant impact on overall fitness.
  • Overcoming fear and trauma is possible through breath control and a focused mindset. Prioritize self-care and personal growth to improve overall well-being.
  • Reorder priorities and let go of non-essential tasks to create space for what truly matters.
  • Invest in yourself and overcome codependency to find fulfillment and authenticity.
  • Unplug from distractions and create time for self-reflection and connection with nature.
  • Understand the impact of childhood experiences on adult behavior and work towards healing and growth.
  • Practice mindful breathing and self-awareness to improve physiological and mental health.
  • Embrace the power of walking as a means of exercise and exploration.
  • Recognize the trade-offs of multitasking and hyperconnectivity in today's society.
  • Explore the benefits and misconceptions of heat and cold therapy for physical and mental well-being.
  • Design a training block that balances endurance, strength, and recovery based on individual goals and preferences. Effective communication is crucial for building and maintaining relationships.
  • Building trust and rapport is essential for effective communication.
  • Active listening involves fully engaging with the speaker and understanding their perspective.
  • Non-verbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions, can convey important messages.
  • Conflict resolution requires open and honest communication.
  • Empathy and understanding are key components of effective communication.
  • Cultural sensitivity is important for communicating effectively in diverse environments.

00:00 Introduction and Appreciation

06:00 Starting the Breath Training Journey

11:00 Understanding Breathing and Physiology

16:00 Progression and Improvement

21:00 Changing the Approach to Training

25:00 The Importance of Walking

35:00 The Concept of Being Unscared

38:00 Dealing with Fear and Trauma

45:07 Prioritizing Self-Care and Personal Growth

46:34 Reordering Priorities and Letting Go of Non-Essentials

48:24 Investing in Self and Overcoming Codependency

50:20 Unplugging from Distractions and Finding Space for Self

54:05 Understanding Love and Attachment

55:26 The Dangers of Multitasking and Hyperconnectivity

57:30 The Impact of Childhood Experiences on Adult Behavior

01:00:54 The Importance of Breathing and Self-Reflection

01:05:58 The Power of Walking and Connecting with Nature

01:08:38 The Experience of Working with Tim Ferriss and Laird Hamilton

01:12:14 The Benefits and Misconceptions of Heat and Cold Therapy

01:27:52 Understanding Thermal Loading and Heat Training

01:29:58 Brian's Training Block and Approach to Competitions

Full Transcript

Greg Finch (00:05.963)
Hey Brian, how's it going?

Brian (00:07.758)
Good. Thanks, Greg.

Greg Finch (00:09.914)
Oh yeah, no, not at all. Got to get the dog walk in. Those things are important.

Brian (00:16.09)
especially with a eight month old, 100 pound King Corso Lab Mix.

Greg Finch (00:23.434)
Oh yeah, no, that needs some energy taken out of it a bit, I bet.

Brian (00:29.64)
Yeah, just like his dad.

Greg Finch (00:31.526)
Yeah, just like all of us. Some of us just don't know it.

Brian (00:35.543)
Well, some of us avoid the reality of it Yeah

Greg Finch (00:38.382)
True. Hey, thanks so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it. I know how busy you are and just be able to share your expertise and your experiences. I'm really, really looking forward to it.

Brian (00:49.594)
Oh, you're so welcome. I'm appreciate you. I appreciate what you're doing. Um, and I certainly appreciate Mr. Tim Brown. So I, whenever that guy does, yeah, whenever he tosses anything. Oh really? Yeah. I don't know many people who are in our kind of end of our

Greg Finch (00:59.26)
Oh, yeah. I think almost every- oh my gosh. Almost every episode his name comes up. Ha ha ha. Yeah.

Brian (01:15.262)
sort of the world, like in the, and kind of in the, I guess you could call it like health space that are as kind and as open-minded and as giving as that guy is.

Greg Finch (01:31.662)

Greg Finch (05:54.346)
 Well, let's just get into it. Um, one thing I would love, uh, to, to get from you to start is if you started working with someone that was really on the beginning of their breath training journey, like where would you start with them and what would you prioritize?

Brian (05:58.806)
Let's do it.

Brian (06:11.862)

Brian (06:16.426)
Um, I'm actually just finishing up a small article on this very question. Well, sort of this question. Uh, but the question that, uh, my team's having the answer is can you actually retrain your unconscious breathing patterns? Um, the, where I start is with anything at this stage in my career is, um, what I ask people what they want.

and we get out all the, I try and get them out of the fodder, meaning the stuff that's external, right? Like what do you really want? Are you after health? Are you after being less stressed out? Like what do you want? What do you really want? You want to be content? Like what are these

Brian (07:15.082)
like fixing their breathing. I typically politely explain to them, if we work to change our breathing, but we don't work to change the habits that we've created with how we manage stress, you're probably gonna do more harm than good. And that is unfortunately,

fits into most things. So, you know, the reason for the ease of doing that with breathing is because with breathing, it's most, we all understand basically that unconsciously we're breathing like 20,000 breaths a day, whatever the number is somewhere in that, yes, 20 to 25,000 breaths a day, depending on who you are. So unconsciously, it's just, you're on repeat, but you're on repeat for how your

what's going on inside with all the unconscious activity of what you are. And I, what I mean by that is how you're, how ultimately the biological system of you is operating within physiology and it breathing works, you know, with, uh, metaphor, you know, bioenergetics. So metabolic, um, and metabolic, uh, your nervous system.

um and your sensory system which involves your nervous system um your uh you know basically how you move uh pressure so if you go up

in altitude, you go down in altitude, breathing changes, and it can be affected by oxygen in some capacities, but more importantly, and this is where it really gets into how to really start to look at this, is carbon dioxide, so CO2. CO2 works really fast with our nervous system. And the easiest way to understand it is just hold your breath underwater.

Brian (09:14.338)
Right. Or hold your breath under, get hold your, you know, hold your breath after you crash on, on a wave bigger than you were, uh, you know, really ready to go after. And, um, you know, you find out real quick that CO2 is playing a larger role in, uh, a lot of things, but that CO2 is really set up with our panic switches. And that is all tied up into the breathing, but ultimately this is all playing.

playing a way through an orchestra of physiology that is how we manage stress. And how we manage stress has a direct impact on all of those things I kind of lined out, including the entire, you know, just it has, has an effect on the entire system. And by that, the easiest, a very basic way of explaining that is when I'm stressed out, or I get a little bit more stressed out,

You know, I am, my sympathetic nervous system's getting ramped up. And as my sympathetic nervous system ramps up, my body mobilizes that nervous system mobilizes energy. And in that process, I'm actually, uh, using energy ATP and I'm creating heat. I'm creating, uh,

CO2 and I'm creating water off of that as well. So, you know, we're doing a bunch of stuff, that CO2 comes out through the lungs. And so we look at how somebody can respond to CO2 or how sensitive they are. And that really gives us an idea of how they're really physiologically handling things. And in certain cases, people can be in most people that I've come across are in a hyper arousal state, which means they're overly sensitive to CO2.

Greg Finch (10:56.994)

Brian (11:06.306)
but I have run into a number of, and have seen a number of people who are hypo, where they can actually follow some of the assessments that we give, and I can give you guys these stuff, this stuff, where they actually score really high on these things, but they've never had any sort of training whatsoever.

And that tells me that they're kind of more in this hypo aroused state where they're, uh, they're not depressed, but they're in a, their nervous system is more depressed than they can, they're, they've got excess CO2 in them where they can handle excess CO2. Right. And that's not exactly the right terminology, but it's sort of the, you know, what we're looking at, but when people come and ask, this is the long winded way of saying, you know, how can I change my breathing? It's like, well, how do you.

Are you willing to change how you look at stress? How you look at life? What are you willing to do?

Greg Finch (12:03.114)
And when you when you have that person like that example that you give where they're hypo where they're almost in a constant state of training their co2 tolerance cannot be an asset for them if they start to really focus on some of the underlying physiology or maybe even approach to whether it's fear or the stressors of that, because they have that training, and then we're adding breathing more focused

breathing training onto it. Is that an asset? Or is that idea of kind of being always in that hypostate counterproductive to that?

Brian (12:40.994)
Well, I mean, it's a great question. I wouldn't say, I mean, look, it's not, I don't like to look at these as like good or bad, more like this is what it is. And to really understand physiology, you gotta understand that like so much of us is, so much of what we are.

doesn't require our thinking, right? Like it doesn't require our involvement. It just goes to work, right? And it does its thing, heartbeat, right? Like, you know, cellular respiration, breathing, right? All these things, whatever. In that...

the body is always going to seek balance. Now, when I say that, that doesn't mean we're all gonna land on the same balancing beam. What's gonna happen is, is if I've got somebody who's in a hypo-arousal state or a hyper-arousal state, that's where their system's balanced out at. And their system is keeping them there if we weren't in balance, okay?

Just look at it like this. It's like doing CrossFit 24 seven, right? Like you can't do that. Like it's just not gonna work. You're gonna hit a wall and it's gonna stop and you're probably gonna do some real damage and your body's gonna shut you down, right? Same with hypoxia. You hold your breath, freedivers hold their breath too long. They go lights out. Yep, you're out of balance. You're boom, done.

Right. It'll keep you in balance all up until that point. Right. And so there's all of these compensations that are occurring unconsciously in order to make those things happen. And so that question about, you know, somebody being like, could that be to their advantage? I mean, it's all to your advantage if you want to look at it like that. And that's the way to look at it. Okay. However, being in a hypo arousal state is not an op.

Brian (14:52.786)
I wouldn't, and optimal is a terrible word as well that we like to use a lot. But you're not going to be accomplishing what you are truly capable of accomplishing if that's, if that be the goal, right? It's a, it's the same thing as hyper arousal, except on the other end of the spectrum. So you want to figure out why you're there and how you got there. And largely what I'll do is I'll

order in a number of, you know, ID techniques, methods, et cetera, in order to start to chip away and see what happens with that. Um, and see if we get changes, but I'll also look at people's blood work and then, and, or I then start referring out sometimes where I'm dealing with medical doctors or, uh, endocrinologist, et cetera. Uh, people who

biochemists who will look deeper into this stuff and be like, yo, there's some bigger red flags going on here. So that's pretty important as well.

Greg Finch (15:56.54)

Yeah, yeah. Well, I really like that. With all of those things that you said, one of the core things that came out to me was really this idea, like, I'll frame it in this way. Like when I talk to clients, it's like, begin again every day, like where you are is where you are. And you're only looking to progress in these small incremental positive progressions. And if you learn from the past, absolutely, but don't carry it, let it go and then start again each day to progress. And that's really what it's about. Like you said, like, it's not good or bad.

Brian (16:11.682)
Mm-hmm. Uh-huh.

Brian (16:24.247)

Greg Finch (16:28.662)
You just have to look to improve.

Brian (16:33.886)
Yeah, and I even keep people, you know, I try and I keep people on their toes a lot. Even with the language like improvement, you know, it gets a little dangerous because biology can't be improved, just so we're clear. And unfortunately, the only thing that can lie in this biological system is my mind.

My physiology doesn't lie. My physiology is telling the truth every single time. Your physiology is doing the same thing and my dog's is doing the same thing as well. And most of what we see psychologically from what I've been able to look at over 25 years at this point is most of what's going on psychologically, aside from anomalies, outliers, et cetera, is misunderstood physiology.

Meaning I didn't realize what I was feeling or how hard I was pushing or how much I was doing was having this impact on me. And now that I'm here and my wheels are spinning and I'm in this cycle, like, you know, well, yeah, there was physiology that led to that. And you've got these feelings that are going on where, you know, you take your high performers, right? Like the surf community, right? Like I've worked with a number of professional surfers, some of the top guys that have ever,

been around. Um, and you know, uh, they, they are, a lot of these people are, they, they've pushed limits in ways where they've paid attention to this, to this adrenaline charge, right? Like we've all gotten that rush when a swell's coming, but.

You know, if anybody's seen big wave surfers, that's a whole nother level up. Like where they're, they're literally just going like bouncing around, like anxiety hidden little monkeys, right? Uh, that are looking for, you know, a way to get to where that swell is going to be. Get on a flight, travel 24 hours or however long it's going to go, whatever, you know, and these people that is a, that's a drug, right? Like learning to not control that drug.

Brian (18:54.178)
but to watch it. And that's who the best become, are the people who can actually watch when those things come, when those surges of adrenaline happen, and we go after, and it's not just adrenaline, there's plenty of other stuff going on, but this is just such an easy example of like, we get riled up or we start ramping up towards something, and we get excited, like excitement is a drug. And being...

doing enough work to slow yourself down, to allow that excitement to sit deeper and go, oh, I know what that is. Go, all right, yeah, I know what happens when I get out of control of that too. I start making erratic decisions, right? I start doing other stuff. And sometimes I could be dangerous to myself because I take things personally or whatever, like I get hot, right? Whatever your thing is, it just, you gotta be able to look deep enough at it.

to be able to, and that's where I think breathing really does come in, is how can I get somebody to recognize those situations and slow it down enough to look a little deeper at what that means, and then how can we alter much of what we're doing for training or getting the athlete or the person ready for that, and the foundation of that is breathing.

Um, and the easiest way for me to manipulate training at this point is to introduce fundamentally breath control. And that's how and where I introduce it is it's like, we're going to play with this during training so that you don't jump too fast and lose it.

or do too much that you can't handle because your life is kind of bonkers. You're on your phone half the day. You're, you know, you're doing this and then you're out and you're surfing three or four hours a day. Um, so we need to get you to learn how to, uh, manage this a little bit differently. So, you know, we do slow chip away process, you know, but it gets there something with, with some of these guys, some of these gals.

Greg Finch (21:08.159)
Yeah. What's so interesting about that too is, is obviously that's in your history there. And some of your expertise is, you know, changing this concept approach to training and like, say, high endurance running where you were like, you really kind of added this idea that like, no, I'm going to change this and I'm going to do lower intensity and really look to optimize some of these things. And that was a concept that was

Brian (21:22.209)

Brian (21:31.091)
Thank you.

Greg Finch (21:35.69)
while not brand new, it was still kind of revolutionary. And then like, talk about how that is and familiarity with that, and maybe how that relates to all the other disciplines that you work with.

Brian (21:48.726)
Yeah, I mean, my background was I got involved in triathlon and then ultra running in the early 2000s. You know, like I think I did my first triathlon in 2001 or 2002 and then I did an Ironman at like 2004. And then I stumbled into this thing called ultra running that there was nobody really who knew about it.

And I got into that, but I had, you know, developed, I had gone your traditional route of a lot of long slow distance stuff. And then I got introduced by my mentor to, cause I asked him for some help. I was like, Hey, I want to do these ultra marathons and you know, could you help me train for these? And he goes, yes, are you willing to listen? I was like, okay. Anyway, it got pretty intense. And he introduced me, he reintroduced me to strength and conditioning again. Um,

And so I started doing a lot of, you know, I got back to some of my roots, which began with a little bit of powerlifting when I was much younger. Um, you know, and I started strength training and incorporating that into the training. And so what happened with my training was I ended up having this massive aerobic base, and then I went in and started sharpening the sword with a lot more intensity. Um, and so I was doing really low volume, but

because I was doing ultra running. And I was doing an ultra marathon probably once a month in some capacity, right? Like whether it was a training run or whether it was an actual event. And during an ultra marathon, I'm not elite ultra marathoner. I was a short course sprinter. I'm not a endurance athlete, but I just enjoy the, I enjoy endurance sports. At any rate, there's a lot of walking that's involved.

Right. And so I've spent a considerable amount of time on my feet, um, you know, and walking at low levels and then also doing enough high intensity to understand where that fall off point is. And it's roughly around six weeks or so where you can, you know, you can really sharpen the sword and maybe a little longer for some people, but you can do a lot of intense work for.

Brian (24:13.014)
about six weeks. And then if you don't have basically that low level of, you know, like walking effort, no joke, you're going to start to, it's just like you keep sharpening the sword every day. Eventually that sword's gonna be whittled down to nothing. And I've done that, you know, I've done it because I just love the intensity, I love training hard.

And then it was like, oh, I was like, oh wait, you know, maybe I should start walking again. And I got to the point where I, you know, I had shut down enough stuff with me that where I was like, I was walking. And then I was doing a little bit of strength training there in the week and it literally reversed everything that was going on with me. Right. And, you know, I am the easiest way for me to start with somebody is

if I can get them to buy into like 45 minutes of walking in the morning without their phone, right? Or, or being on their phone. And that means their mouth shut and they're just walking for 45 minutes. And what that is that's, that is metabolic fitness. So anything above that starts to become what I guess we could call cardiovascular fitness. And.

Most people don't have that metabolic side of stuff, including elite level athletes. Now, not all, because there's a lot, there's a number of coaches and people out there in the world who, who get this. Um, and it took me some time because I didn't start doing the walking thing and probably until like, shit. I mean, like investing in walking, um, probably like six or seven years ago, right?

And even then I didn't know what I really had stumbled on to, but it's really this motive. And if walking is a problem because you got something going on or whatever, you know, because this is, you know, the surf community, it's really easy. Go get on a beach cruiser and go cruise around. Done. Like, and go do it for 45 minutes or more. That will start to develop something that most of us don't have.

Greg Finch (26:31.114)

Brian (26:38.558)
Um, now that doesn't mean take away everything else. That means watch what you're doing with everything else. Like how much intensity is involved in everything else you're doing. And really, you know, you don't want to be doing, you know, everything in the orange, right? You want to be doing most of what we're doing with our mouth shut, like 80% of what we're doing with our mouth shut. And.

You can just get into the orange breathing through your nose. If you get really good at breathing through your nose. Um, now this doesn't apply to surfing in the water. Cause you know, a lot of what we're doing is water's coming in. So it's really, you know, your mouth can be the way of, uh, you know, filtering that, however, um, training outside of that, it, you know, in most of what we do, 80% of your day should, should be through that nose. And so this is where that kind of.

evolution of everything came in for me was roughly like, oh shit, like 10, 12 years ago now with the breathing. And that was when I realized with the walking stuff where, you know, a few years later, oh, well, this is where that low level easy development is for anybody and everybody. But I learned pretty quickly when I got.

Greg Finch (27:56.459)

Brian (28:00.626)
when I had invested about four straight weeks of nose only breathing, that it had changed every, it changed so much with my training. And the only way I could look at it, and I was looking at this under metabolic hearts, I was looking under this with blood lactate, was that I was literally developing more of that aerobic side of stuff, right? Now, I was doing it from the cardiovascular side, but then,

Once I started doing it with the metabolic side, which is where we're doing the walking, the low level stuff, it really started to change and enhance a lot of the stuff we were doing. So I wouldn't say a ton has changed other than the fact that I think we, we. Should be walking far more than we think. Um, in fact, at least 90 minutes a day is the bare minimum, um, which is roughly your 10,000 steps a day. Um,

if you want to look at that. But we're very capable of doing 18 to 20,000 every single day steps without any sort of backlash whatsoever.

Greg Finch (29:07.854)
It's also that idea of all the other components that it brings in, the idea of presence, space within how much work you're actually doing to focus more attention on your breath and how I'm doing posturally. It just allows us space. Like you said, with clients that I'm working on that we're surfing, I'm not telling them, again, a nasal diaphragmatic breath as you're paddling out. I mean, it's impossible. But.

Brian (29:17.748)

Greg Finch (29:36.47)
It's also that awareness of getting out, okay, now you're sitting up, you're waiting between sets, like, be aware now, clear your nasal passages and come back to that because like earlier to like what you touched on is that big wave you turned on that maybe a little bigger than you expected something unexpected happens. It's knowing that you've trained out of the water for this unexpected and the three or four minutes before this event happened that

Brian (29:40.915)

Brian (29:59.226)

Greg Finch (30:04.81)
emptied your lungs of that oxygen, you were breathing. So you're fine. It's that familiarity with that. Like I've done this for the last three or four minutes, everything's okay. And it's trying to control that piece of it. But I love the walking part. I really this goes back to Dr. Tim is like, he says like, change your shape. If you feel something, get up, get out of your chair and change your shape. And that's really what walking is all about. Like go out, focus on your breath and just be

Brian (30:29.388)

Greg Finch (30:33.25)
present and do that and you get all of these other benefits as well.

Brian (30:38.439)
I, Tim Brown is a godsend and he's right. It's like, look, man, I had this thing going on with my calf that's been going on for a few days. And I, like I said, you know, I just walked the dog and we did like an hour walk. Within 15 minutes of that walk, that pain went away.

Now, my cat thing is still there. However, I'm not in pain like I was. And that's the thing that we fail miserably at so much is like we get, we get laid out or brought down. We're really the only animal that stays down in a lot of, in many of the instances where we don't, there's no need to be doing that, right?

Um, but you know, it's, uh, it's wild. I mean, you're like, look, you're teaching surfers how to regulate their nervous system. And it's like, the reality is like, how long could, if I just said, you know, if I, like, I'll do it with guys all the time, like, Hey, just hold your breath, go hold your breath right now and I'll run a clock. And I hold their breath and they get like a minute or more. Right. And it's like,

If you just took off on a wave and you got drilled, how long can you hold your breath? You know, you could do it for a minute. So how long is that going to last with that wave? Right now, depending on the size of that wave, right? So do what you've trained for, do what you know, and try not to add any more nervous activity to that by thinking you're not going to survive. Right?

because that requires energy. In fact, mental energy, mental emotional energy requires a ton of ATP. And the only way to get that is to start ramping those cells up and the mitochondria up to start fucking spinning it out.

Greg Finch (32:50.466)
Yeah, it's really is amazing. It's just that part of it. It's just that idea of and for a lot of some of the clients that I work with, we start with like, Okay, well, tell me what you're doing. Tell me what your dry land practices right now. And and for far too many of them, it's like, well, I've been surfing since I was 12. And I'm like, well, that's great. And we're gonna our goal is to keep you surfing for the rest of your life really strong. But what do you do outside to support that?

Brian (33:14.986)

Greg Finch (33:17.634)
Well, you know, and the him and ha and it's like, Okay, well, here, let's start with these very fundamental things that you're gonna do. It doesn't have to take you hours and hours every day, you have a life to live. But let's focus on some of these fundamentals. And walking is definitely one of them for me. It's like, just walk out the door, just put a backpack on if you want to add extra weight, a little bit of strength, just walk out the door. And it's just talking to them. It's like it's serving such a high level activity, that they just feel like, Okay, great. Like,

Brian (33:43.286)

Greg Finch (33:45.67)
I'm keeping myself strong and fit to do this. And then of course life takes over and we have mortgages and kids and suddenly you're surfing 25% of the time that you did when you were younger. It's like, okay, well let's support that and start training some of those things out in addition to your surfing. And it really, it just changes, it drastically changes what they're able to do because they're athletes, but they also have jobs and

Brian (33:56.316)

Greg Finch (34:12.478)
responsibilities and all these things to do. And it's like, okay, well, let's, let's build this new habit for you. Because all you did was surf before. And now you have to really work to prepare for it to keep it in your life.

Brian (34:25.45)
Yeah, it's, uh, what I like to tell clients is like, you know, if things start to get serious, you're going to have to start getting more committed.

And that's unfortunately, you know, how it goes with most adults. As we get so damn serious about what we're doing, that we've got to get really truly committed to the things to take care of ourselves so that as we're getting serious about work and these mortgages that, you know, we remember that life actually isn't about that. It has nothing to do with that.

Greg Finch (35:05.334)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's, it's important only in the sense that it allows us to do the things that we really want to care about, or that are truly important to us, you know, like don't let it distract you. I'd love I'd love to talk like, I'd love to talk to you about so like, we're going to get into some of the specifics of the things that you're doing and you're the nonprofit that you helped develop and all that I want to talk about that. But I really love to talk about some of the work that you've done on that intersection.

Brian (35:17.463)

Greg Finch (35:34.39)
where breath comes into it and fear. So like your company of all these things that you're involved with is Unscared Incorporated. And I love that. Like talk to me more about how understanding fear is so central to optimizing performance and just life in general.

Brian (35:37.484)

Brian (35:52.47)
Yeah. Uh, so a guy, you know, we came up this word unscared because it was about doing stupid in doing really insane workouts. Like we were like, like it was like, Oh my God, I'm going to be so destroyed after doing that, uh, but I'm going to do it anyway. So it was like.

It became this word that we just used for a lot of things. And it really is about the art of dealing with fear. And fear on the surface level is perfectly normal, meaning like don't put your hand on a hot grill. However, fear in our current state and lives is unnecessary at every avenue. And...

I have sat with this for many, many hours, if not days. And it's wild because I cannot find any rationality for any fear of anything, like losing my house or whatever, right? Like there's no rationale to any of it other than me literally betting against myself. And...

just putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying what it is I do and care about. But being unscared is really coming to terms with the reality that it's gonna be harder than hell to break those patterns. And to stop justifying those patterns with a lot of things. And that's where kind of the idea of unscared comes, although unscared's not really forward-facing, even though it's written across my hands.

And it's the name of my company. It's, you know, shift is the company name, but unscared Inc has always been there. Uh, and it was there from the early stages, but it's really about. Teaching people how, how to look at why they're, why the, I mean, the, the only reason we have the problems we have is because we've created them and we've, we've chosen to participate in them. Taxes are not right. Um, and that is it. So.

Brian (38:14.742)
being, getting people to understand that is kind of the goal, so that we can actually go and do the things that we really want to, that we really love to do.

Greg Finch (38:24.654)
Yeah. And all of that through that time and working through that, talk about how that experience and sitting with that and working to understand it came into play when you had your accident that was pretty severe and you didn't really know the course that it was going to take you. How did you click into that training after the immediate trauma of it to move past that? And how did that

support your that path that you're going through.

Brian (38:56.478)
Yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, that was, that's it right there. Like, so I came pretty close to breaking my neck. I compressed my spinal cord at C three, four, playing tag with my nephews on a jungle gym where I ran up a ladder and tried to cross a...

let's just call it a ladder, a horizontal ladder across the top of this jungle gym. But I went head, I went head into a bar up top at about 10 feet up, um, standing on an eight, at about eight feet. And I, I rammed into it, not seeing it. And it just compressed my spine and my, uh, anyway, I almost broke my neck. I literally fell down. I fell right there, did a back flip off of that. I was lights out at that point and I woke up and, um,

I didn't feel anything, but I was on the ground and I looked down, I could look down and I saw my feet were crossed, one of my shoes was off and I was like, oh shit. And I was like, oh my God, I think I just broke my neck. And my nephews were around me, but they thought I was screwing around because I'm like their crazy uncle. So they thought I was just like screwing around and I did a back flip off this ladder, right?

I was like, oh shoot. I'm like, hey, I'm like, hey, I'm like, you're gonna go get your mom right now. She was walking down with my ex-wife at the time, um, down to get me. And I, and, um, in that process, when I asked them to do that.

I, you know, right prior to that, it was really hard for me to breathe, right? And I just was like, oh shit, I got to get my breathing under control. I took a deep breath and I breathed and I noticed I couldn't feel my hands, couldn't feel my legs. I was paralyzed. Like I was like, oh shh, okay. So I broke my neck, most likely.

Brian (40:52.574)
Uh, she'd probably get an adult here real quick. So, and, and I literally was like, I wasn't panicking for some reason. It was really, I was clicking off like this. And then in that moment, after I said, you can get your mom, they ran to go get her. And. You know, a few of them stayed there and my niece and I, in that moment was just like, okay, so there's a bunch of kids around you and your wife at the time was going to show up and your sister is going to show up and they're going to freak out.

And the best thing you can do is not freak out in this moment because this is kind of the stuff that you talk about. And so I just kind of started taking care of my breathing and I was just calming myself down. Even though I had, you know, I must've had a ton of stress hormones going on in the body and.

Greg Finch (41:30.626)

Brian (41:42.366)
ambulance showed up. They got me on a gurney and luckily there was a fire department right down the street and they got me into the into the ambulance and they basically just cut off all my clothes and filled me, put IVs on me, started checking me, all this stuff and you know on the way to the hospital I started getting like neurogenic pain which is extreme pain.

uh in my hands and the guy the EMT was like look I'm not the doctor and I can't Tell you what's gonna happen. But the fact that you're getting that pain right now Is probably a good sign, bro

So just hang in there. And, you know, I, yeah, yeah. And I was like, oh, yeah, like, whatever. I'm like, I got to deal with this. And, you know, I got to the hospital. I was there 30 hours before my legs started coming back. And then, you know, this, I'm sorry. I'm like reliving this whole scenario, but, you know, I, I had to, I was there three days, I think.

Greg Finch (42:27.078)
Yeah, yeah, take that feeling.

Brian (42:52.342)
And I got out of the ER after about 30 or 30 so hours. And then they put me in into an ICU and they kept changing wards. Cause I started improving, improving and they wanted to do emergency surgery on my neck and all this stuff. And I was like, look, man, I've got Stanford medicine. I was living in the Bay area. I had Stanford medicine insurance. I wanted to go to a neurosurgeon from Stanford. Um, and they.

did not want to let me leave. And they were like, look, we can't let you leave until you can actually walk. And so I was just like, oh God. So I was stuck there for like three days, right? And then I finally, I walked around the ward and they're like, okay, we can clear you. So I got cleared out and I ended up getting surgery, but it took me about three weeks to relearn to walk. And then I had the surgery in that period of time. I had the surgery within two weeks. I couldn't do much in leading up to that surgery.

Um, you know, uh, and you know, I, uh, I, it was just basically, you know, it was really odd. It was that moment where I just literally was like, everybody's going to freak out. So your job's not to, and I just, something about it was like, there's a new game. Here's the new game. You get to start from scratch and, and you get to figure out what it's going to be like at the time, at the moment it happened, what it's like.

to be a quadriplegic. And then it was like, oh, maybe you're gonna find out what it's like to be a paraplegic. And then it's like, oh no, you're gonna be able to walk. I just accepted what was going on in those moments. Now I'm not living in that anymore, but I certainly don't ever forget about it. And I mean, look, I just had a hip replacement eight months ago. So I went right back to that moment where I was just like, oh, here we are, like new game.

Get to start over from scratch, get to, you know, see, see what you can do and how you can do it and you can, you know, you can choose to do this one way or a half dozen other ways. And, um, it's always that thing for me at this point. It's, it's just, it's been this way for quite some time where it's like whatever happens and wherever I'm at. I'm just going to be, I'm there. I'm in.

Brian (45:07.818)
I'm in 100% and I don't need to squat 400 pounds from the get go. And I don't need to be able to sprint or run a marathon. Um, however, I'm going to work towards those aren't the goals. Those are never the goals. The goal is just to put one foot in front of the other and see where it goes and remain, you know, the term I'm using is. Chop would carry water with pleasure. And that's, that's my life at this point.

Greg Finch (45:34.35)
Yeah. Isn't it so amazing how traumatic events or just something that's that really alters your day to day reality. So I'll think back like when my daughter was born. And I can still remember these times where like, life is still going on out there. But you're just very, it's not important at all whatever these things that you listed that were just really important that you had to stay on top of just totally melt away. And you

Brian (45:45.754)
Mm. Mm-hmm.

Greg Finch (46:04.502)
you are focused in this time right here and it shows you what is important or like when I broke my collarbone much less traumatic but at the same time you're like okay everything stops I'm like unconscious and I wake up and my mountain bike is over here and you know what's going on I mean strips everything away and it really doesn't you're right this idea of like okay now what I got to do okay I got a I got a call I got to get some help I got to do and then you're on these steps forward to whatever your plan was for that week is totally

Brian (46:11.354)
Mm-hmm. Oh yeah.

That's a bum bro. Yeah.

Greg Finch (46:34.286)
changed. And it's that idea of I mean, it sounds so simple to say presence, but you're right. One foot in front of the other, I need to take care of these things. And just let some of this other baggage just go away. It's not important.

Brian (46:39.918)
Hit it.

Brian (46:47.522)
Yeah, it's interesting that when those things happen, you know, you break a collarbone or whatever, and instantly you can change your schedule. Ha ha ha.

Greg Finch (46:55.378)
Yeah. Yep.

Brian (46:57.91)
Yet, I can't tell you, man. I got a number of clients I work with that, they come to me and their markers are pretty bad. And it's like, yo, how did we get here? And she's like, yeah, I can't say no. It's like, yeah, it's too bad because we're gonna teach you how to do that. And you're gonna see that there's this beautiful thing you've been missing called life.

Greg Finch (47:25.814)
Right? Yeah. And it's right there. You know, it's all around you. It just gets and then goes back to the hyper connected life that we live. And you know, all these ideas of, you know, you say social media, and it's not even to say good or bad. It's just, we have a pie. Our life is a pie, if you put it as simply as that. And whatever you let take pieces of that pie is just less space to do the other things.

Brian (47:28.822)

Brian (47:42.091)


Greg Finch (47:54.474)
And that's how that idea of reordering, you know, and, and reprioritize it's difficult, but man, it's so wonderful when you're able to do that and step back and, and go, Oh, okay, this, these three things are really all that really matters. And I don't have time for the other stuff. It's, it's almost like a, a reorganization of that. Like, how do we trigger those things to do that on a continuing basis to always keep the priorities?

Brian (48:24.466)
Yeah, the wild thing is that it's like, once we start to do this and then we get a hold of this or we make these changes, because those changes are coming. Whether we flow with it and grow with it is entirely up to us. But I mean, I don't know about you, but my work life that was how I was approaching it,

how it was killing me. And I went and changed with it because I started listening to my physiology. My work life has improved tenfold. My creativity has improved tenfold. And when we get caught in the machine, and social media is a perfect example of it, it's not good or bad, it just is.

But if you're on it all day, you're going to get what, what happens as a result of that. There is, it's a trade off. You've made a trade off to be in front of a screen and be scrolling through something that's literally trying to get you to do that all day long. If you want to play that game, you can play that game, but it's going to come. There is a cost and a trade off for that. And there's, it's not good or bad. It's just the trade off.

Greg Finch (49:50.966)
Yeah, absolutely. And you're right. I mean, like, there's literally like, millions and millions and millions of dollars and expert after expert after expert that's doing exactly that. Like, they need to have you on there and they need you to be filling that is literally the business model. So it's not about fighting that or winning or losing. It's just about putting it into the right category. And and you know,

Brian (50:08.458)
Mm hmm. Yep.

Greg Finch (50:20.65)
like unplugging from that to be able to come back into our own process, if you will, and it goes back to the walking part. That's why that's such a simply effective and powerful mechanism for that is it's such a primal thing that we do. And it just it does it gives us that space. I mean, I mean, I'm so fortunate, it's just like just to walk out the door and be able to walk down to the beach. And it's like,

Brian (50:47.176)

Greg Finch (50:47.434)
If I realize, oh, I haven't surfed in a couple days and haven't even walked on the beach in a couple of days, like, I feel like I'm doing that, uh, just an injustice. Like it's right there. Like you need to go do that. And it's just this, whatever this thing is I need to do is not that important. Like it'll get back to it. Talk about that, that change of that creativity. What were those shifts? What did you reprioritize to focus what you were doing professionally?

Brian (50:56.974)

Greg Finch (51:15.742)
to allow that creativity and fulfillment expand.

Brian (51:22.838)
Yeah, I mean, the simple answer is me. That's it. I invested in myself and I stopped, and this is the big thing. Here's the big thing I deal with most people, is we are bleeding heart codependent. And we are literally grooming bleeding heart codependent people.

And we don't know what love is. We, we use the word love for. We don't understand what that word means, but we keep using it. We understand what attachment is. We don't understand what love is. Love is an entirely different thing and it's authentic. Right. And in order to understand that, you know, you really have to get

to understanding yourself and why you're doing what you're doing. And I can't tell you how many people and myself fits into this because I used to be this guy who just wanna help everybody, who just wanna help the vets, who just wanna help people with cancer, who just wanna help whoever, right? You name it, okay? And so they start a business or they start something with that in mind. And then they end up.

investing all their time and energy in that to help other people. And they end up killing themselves by not taking care of themselves to take care of other people. And I was taught a long time ago about this little riddle. And I fell right back into the trap.

And I did it because of the business that I have and what I did. And I felt right back into it. And I was able to catch it again by burning myself out again and smoking myself to the point of like having insomnia.

Brian (53:37.578)
Right. And, um, and, you know, having red flags inside my blood markers and being like, dude, like I'm, you know, I, I shouldn't have this. Shouldn't, shouldn't isn't a word you should be using. Um, the paradox of that statement. Um, anyway, you know, it really came down to me wanting to spend time with myself, but it's like, I start, I really, the amount of people that I know and that I get to work with who.

the language that they're speaking to themselves, the context by which they operate under, their mind, what's going on, is they're not good enough and they need to help everybody else. And so they won't take the time to actually take care of themselves so that they can actually see how powerful they actually are when they're involved with somebody. We think helping people is doing a bunch of different shit for them. Where we're...

You know, we're, we think we're multitasking, which is an impossibility in something that does not exist. Um, however, we confuse that one also with motor control and the ability to do something, meaning like I can walk and talk at the same time, right? Like I set up motor control with my walking a long time ago so that I could actually speak at the same time. However,

being on my phone and text messaging somebody while I'm driving, that's not actually driving, or it's not, and it's not actually really text messaging. It's, we're literally diminishing both of those things. And there is no fix for that, right? But so many people are convinced they're really good at it. And what they're getting really good at is actually lowering their ability to actually see what

their system is communicating to them. That I'm now in an anxious arousal state, but this feels good because I've got adrenaline and this is what makes me drive forward. So it becomes this dope, this little dope that we're living off of, which is like I'm type A, which I am a type A personality.

Greg Finch (55:39.854)

Brian (55:52.982)
But you know, it's like I watched this enough to where it's like, oh like, you know, people don't know how to take care of themselves So what they do is they go and project it on other people and you know, unfortunately most of our mothers are the ones who taught us this That's the that's the sad fact is many too many mothers my mine included Really didn't take

very good care of themselves so that they can do what they thought was taking care of their kids. And not that they didn't, but to neglect oneself is to mirror that onto your child so that they actually repeat that present because kids don't listen very much. What they do, and sort of adults fit into this category as well, we mirror what we get.

Greg Finch (56:22.83)
All right.

Greg Finch (56:39.498)
Yeah, and observe constantly, constantly observing.

Brian (56:40.086)
You don't have the, yeah, yeah. You don't have the ability. You don't have the ability as a child to do anything but to mirror what's going on. And so you get your attachment style, you get, you know, you, and you'll give up your authentic nature of what you're actually feeling. You'll give up what you're feeling in order to get that attachment.

Right? And so you've got a codependent parent, which I've had, and it's, they're not, she's not terrible. My mom, I love her to death. She's an amazing human being. However, she's still codependent as hell. Right? And I, I just don't let her do it with me. I'm like, no, mom, stop. Can't do that. She's like, stop it. Let me do my thing. I'm like, no, I'm not allowing you to do that with me right now because I care about you. And I care about myself.

Greg Finch (57:30.006)
Do you think some of that stems from an overactive, that primal need to connect, whether it's pack safety, the idea of the group as having protection, and then we bring that into our modern life and it becomes this hyperactive, overactive codependence where it's.

misinterpreted that way and then we start taking these actions of thinking that we're increasing bonds and it's really just looking for this primal need of protection. Do you think there's anything in that?

Brian (58:05.498)
I mean, it's not my expertise, but my experience and what I've researched and looking through, a lot of this stuff from research, et cetera, is that although that societal thing exists within us, like the desire for community, et cetera, and that's why human beings have thrived, right?

I think that ultimately comes from the familiar, familial or the, you know, the caregiver, the unit as you were a child. That's basically my experience in understanding this stuff is like how you, what happened as a child with you? And we all had a rough childhood, just to be clear. Everybody did. I have not, I have not come across a single person and I work with some billionaires.

Right? It ain't easy street there, just so we're clear. That's a high functioning family. Nonetheless, it's very interesting because I really think that dynamic stems from the bottom. Right? Like from the get-go, where we were at, and ultimately genetics, because it's been passed on from parent to parent to parent to parent to parent, right? And it's like, well, okay, well, we could go back in history and time all we want, right? But that's just victimizing myself. So...

Do you wanna change this? Or do you just wanna talk about like how bad you had it? And the people who thrive in this world, ain't victims. They are literally the ones who put a stop to it. And I'm not a victim. I'm not gonna be a victim. I don't wanna be a victim. And I've played that game before and I unfortunately, I won't do that with clients as well. I won't let them play victims.

And I'll help catch it for him. But, you know, it's, uh, you, you gotta own who, what you want and who you are. And, um, going about that, I think really, you know, I mean, look, I, I had my own issues that I worked with and I obviously talked about the codependent mom, whatever. Um, I looked at that. I don't, I don't blame my mom for anything. A damn thing. I am the only person. I am the adult here. Right.

Brian (01:00:26.122)
I chose to work through that stuff so that I could set myself free from that bondage of that prison I was living in. And that's the only way it works. Breathing sits at the foundation of this because from a physiological perspective, we could, you know, use, we know breathing changes physiology if we get ahold of it and change it, right? And largely with

the things I'm talking about, it's like most people are pretty ramped up or get pretty ramped up. And it's about getting a hold of it, bringing it down and then being able to look at why I was up, what was going on, how am I responding to that? Why am I willing to sacrifice all this stuff for this feeling of excitement right now? And it's like, is that what you really want? And did you walk today?

Greg Finch (01:01:20.322)
Yeah, right. And it's one of those things that's so powerful is that it's always available. Like to click into that it's always there. You don't need anything. You're always if you click back to it, it will give you the resources, the oxygen and the calm and the focus to be able to then work on whatever you need to work on in that moment. But if you just train that muscle, if you will, to click back to like I do this simple thing with clients like

Brian (01:01:26.05)

Greg Finch (01:01:51.422)
Okay, first breath as you wake, literally all I want you to do tomorrow in the training is your first conscious thought when you open your eyes in the morning is take a deep, big, deep nasal diaphragmatic breath. I just want you to do that. I want you to train yourself to do that as your first thought when you come into the day. And then we're going to build from that. And it's such a simple thing, but it's just trying to get us to get

into ourselves a little bit more from whatever is distracting us at any point in our day. And it's just to go, just to breathe. And then like you said, did you walk today?

Brian (01:02:24.211)
Correct. Yep.

Yeah. And I mean, don't get me wrong. Like I've got plenty of tools with breathing and breath holding and all that stuff that I use with people, you know, that can enhance performance in many, many different ways. But it's also like, you know, that, yeah, that's the fun stuff. But it's also like, yeah, that fun stuff, you can find yourself in things. Because you're going to have to slow it down with some of the stuff I'm going to give people, right?

And, you know, inevitably it's like, oh, wow. Like I just did 20 minutes of breath hold work and like, I just, I feel so clear headed. It's like, yeah, like you just drop down and your HRV went up.

Greg Finch (01:03:12.782)
So going back to like what you talked about just previously right there about, you know, changing professionally what you're focused on. So I'm just going to list some of these things right here. So, Numa Plus, Art of Breath, HHP Foundation, the multiple books you've written, your one on one mentoring, not to mention your public speaking, add to that how gracious you are of coming on the podcast. Like, how do you focus?

necessary to achieve at a high level in all of these different things that you're involved with, and then still prioritize your own training.

Brian (01:03:47.638)
Yeah, that's actually pretty simple. That like all of that stuff was, you know, like, look, that's all chop wood, carry, you know, carry water one foot in front of the other. That all didn't happen overnight. And.

Brian (01:04:06.666)
On occasion, I allow my time to be eaten into. It's my time, right? Not all the time. Not even in my business, can anybody get ahold of me before 10 a.m. I get up between four and six whenever I wake up. I sleep anywhere from

eight to ten and a half hours whatever my body needs. I shut my day down 4 p.m.

So, and I will not see, I will not do more than three phone calls in that time period from 10 to 4. On a rare occasion, it floats, it comes in, right? And I feel it. I feel it. I get ramped up and I'm like, ah, I gotta chill. I gotta go chill. I'm gonna go do some breath. I'm gonna do some apnea work.

Brian (01:05:17.134)
But I've got a walking treadmill on my desk. So when I do videos calls, I just got off of a walk. So I didn't need to continue to walk. And I hike this morning, so I'm like before 10 AM. So at any rate, I take care of it, man, every single day. And when I travel and I go somewhere or somebody brings me somewhere, I set up to where I go learn where I'm at by walking that place and seeing it.

or running and I don't skip a beat when I go places. I rarely skip that beat.

Greg Finch (01:05:58.77)
It's also just a great way to connect with a new place is just literally walking, slowing yourself down, get out of a car, get out of it. Just walk. There's the things that you can find and stumble upon and run into is just, it's amazing. Some of my best memories on my travels are always just like turning a corner and this thing pops up in front of you.

Brian (01:06:04.279)

Brian (01:06:08.62)

Brian (01:06:15.541)

Yeah, I went on a surf trip down to El Salvador with a buddy of mine, um, like a year or so ago and, um, a little more than a year ago. And, uh, it was wild, dude. Like we saw, I, I basically surfed the entire coast of El Salvador, which was wild, we just traveled from one end to the other and I would just wake up, go walk in the morning down the beach, wherever, and I just.

It's just such a wild place. And we got all the way down towards, I think it's Nicaragua that's near. What's tail end of El Salvador? Anyway, you could see it over, you know, through the bay and just through everything and through the jungle that was, you know, it started to appear in Nicaragua because El Salvador is pretty kind of, it's kind of a deserty.

But it was just wild because I was like, you know, not too long ago, wouldn't anybody go in down there. And, uh, you know, that, that civil war ended and now it's cleaned up and it's like, there's hardly anybody down there. And it was just this wild time to get to see and, you know, experience this place. And I walked around and surfed and did all this stuff that, you know, people don't really ever do. They just sit and don't go anywhere.

Greg Finch (01:07:21.11)

Greg Finch (01:07:42.126)
Yeah, yeah. So travel is so great for that. If you focus on prioritizing that way, that's how we like to travel too, is like lose structure, know we're gonna do a couple things and then whatever else happens. Because it gives that space to let the unexpected happen. Otherwise you're just scheduling like you schedule your life.

Brian (01:07:53.528)

Brian (01:07:59.182)

Brian (01:08:02.886)
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I'm not a big schedule person when I travel. No, sir.

Greg Finch (01:08:09.246)
Yeah. Presence again. I was, I was first, my first introduction to you, Brian was in 2015. I think, I think I listened to you. And you were on Tim Ferriss podcast with Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reese. And, and then you went on to work with him, I think on the four hour body book, I'd love to hear like what that experience was like for you to be involved in that.

Brian (01:08:25.066)
Oh yeah.

Brian (01:08:34.883)
With Tim?

Greg Finch (01:08:38.078)
Yeah, just like I don't know what your involvement with the four hour body book was, but I know that I think you did some training and running endurance work within that book. Yeah, yeah. Were you involved in it much or was?

Brian (01:08:40.374)
Yeah. No, he wrote a couple of chapters on me in that. Yep.

Yeah, oh yeah, so Tim... No, that's Tim's book. However, Tim came to...

Greg Finch (01:08:56.522)
No, no, yeah, no, I know it's Tim's book. I just knew I knew you were involved in it.

Brian (01:09:00.354)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. So that happened well before I, uh, I, I met Laird. Um, but, um, I, I had, Tim found me because he was looking to write this book, The Four-Hour Body. And he was working on a buddy, a buddy of mine was working on him at the time. Uh, who was doing some manual therapy and he was looking for, he was going to go talk to, um, another, uh, some endurance athlete, ultra runner.

Um, but he was, this was a high mileage guy, whatever. And then, uh, my buddy was like, Oh, you should talk to Brian. He's basically, he wrote, he basically does everything on low volume, higher intensity, and he's still doing these events and he's got athletes that are doing these, but anyway, so Tim was like, that's interesting. And so he, we ended up getting connected and he ended up coming out and doing one of my seminars at the time, which was called, which was when I was working with CrossFit, which is CrossFit endurance. Um,

And he came out, Tim came out and did my course. And then basically he interviewed me and had me involved in the two chapters that he wrote. I mean, he's, I don't think I've come across anybody who did more homework and had more questions at a seminar than Tim Ferriss. And that speaks volumes as to why he's been so successful with the writing that he's done.

Um, you know, and I mean, the guy went to Princeton for a reason, you know, and, and this was the reason. So, um, you know, it's a, uh, and that doesn't mean, you know, anything other than the fact that he put in heavy effort at where he went and gotten education, but he also put heavy effort into what I was doing. And the minimal, the two chapters that I was involved in, in his book,

Um, I was literally like, wow, this guy really gives, you know, cares about what he is doing. And, um, you know, I appreciated it. So in Tim and I knew each have known each other for years. Um, we don't stay in contact much, um, from time to time, uh, I'll hear from him or I'll ping him. Um, but you know, he was good. And then, you know, I, anyway, I ended up meeting layered through Kai Borg. Um, who, uh, you know, I was on the North shore.

Brian (01:11:22.102)
of Wahoo and he introduced me to Laird and then Laird and I hit it off the first time that we met just because Laird was kind of, Laird was really doing a lot of the things very similar to what I was doing outside of the pool training. But I could make sense, I could make a whole, I could put a lot of scientific explanation around many of the things that he had just.

basically stumbled into and knew was helping drive him or helping keeping him where it was. And then we came into this breathing thing together. And, you know, it just, it took off for both of us. I mean, he's got XBT. I helped them start XBT, you know, get that organized and started it up with them. And then I kept doing my own thing.

Greg Finch (01:12:14.818)
So I would love to get your thoughts on from the start of your training and going into heat exposure training and cold therapy. And now watching it come into more of a of a public consciousness and seeing it in certain places and, and the great things of that people being exposed to this training and the benefits of it.

Brian (01:12:24.258)


Greg Finch (01:12:40.99)
And maybe some of the downsides of it, whether it's misinformation or, or misrepresentation of what it is. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that and your personal experience with those trainings.

Brian (01:12:49.898)
Yeah. Well, I mean, since I just brought up Laird, Laird's the first person who introduced me to the cult. He stuffed me in his fucking ice tub in a cave.

And after he had been sitting in there for like three minutes and I was having a conversation with him, we were talking and he was talking to me very normally. And so I wasn't clueless into the fact of how cold it actually was. And I got in and I was like so overwhelmed. And I mean, this thing was just filled with ice. And anyway, I was like, how long am I staying in here? And he goes, three minutes. And I just.

jumped out and he just started rolling on the ground laughing at me. Like he's just rolling laughing like howling and like, but oh he, oh god, he absolutely loves that. Anyway, that day I ended up getting three minutes. I went into the sauna after that and da da. Laird introduced me to cold exposure probably like 12 years ago, 10 or 10, a decade ago.

Greg Finch (01:13:42.242)
He probably loves that. He probably loves doing that.

Brian (01:14:03.374)
However, on the heat side of things, when I got into ultra-marathoning, I decided for some odd reason to start to look at the most extreme events that were going on. And I was enamored with Badwater and Death Valley just from the sake of being out there, right? So I started going out there pretty early on, like 2005-ish, maybe 2004, no, 2005.

Like 2005-ish. And I would go out in the dead of summer and I would start training and doing things out there. And then I ended up qualifying for what is basically the world series of ultra-marathoning. It's not, it's just like in terms of the event, like they put this thing on, it's like this wild, it's like, it's a massive ultra-running event, but it's called Western States 100. And it's run on...

Greg Finch (01:14:55.318)
Insity. Yeah.

Brian (01:15:02.658)
the month prior to Badwater. And I knew I wasn't gonna actually get into Badwater because I didn't have the credentials quite yet. I got into Western States in 2006 and did it. And then I ended up pacing a guy where I ran about 90 of the miles with him through Badwater a month later. And...

In preparation for that, I learned really quickly for Western States, because Western States ended up being one of the hottest years on record. And meaning we went into some canyons and it was well over 110. And you're in the middle of nowhere. So it's like you better be ready for that. At any rate, I ended up doing a lot of training. I ended up turning my garage in 2005 and 2006 into, it was a small garage, into a sauna itself.

or I had multiple heaters running and I had a treadmill and I would run uphill, I would run downhill. But anyway, I started learning about heat adaptation and thermal loading very, very early on in my career as a coach, right? But not just as an athlete, but as a coach. And so I, I ended up getting a small sauna during that time too. But I also learned that, you know, the sauna only goes so far.

with a lot of the thermal loading that happens. And at any rate, I've screwed around a lot with the heat and I've done enough with the cold and understand the cold enough to where, I really understand that cold. I understand the science, I understand the research that's going on with it. I understand much of the physiology that's happening and with either of these mediums, right?

And so both of these things can be great enhancements to what it is you're doing, but to be clear, both of these, both of these mediums are stressors. They aren't, we use the term recovery, uh, in a way, just like we like to use love. Um, we don't really understand what recovery is, but we, we know it's something that involves resting, right? And, and, uh,

Greg Finch (01:17:17.403)
It sounds good though. It sounds like it's good for us.

Brian (01:17:18.402)
So it sounds good, but you know, if you go jump into freezing cold water, that's a stressor. However, it can have a hormetic effect or it can have a beyond a hormetic effect. It can have even, uh, you know, impacts on your immune system, et cetera. It can compress things in ways and, and freeze layers of things. Um, that'll help with a lot of stuff going on. That said the cold, um, does not require a long time.

to create an adaptation to, right? Like you could probably get cold adapted within a few days of just exposing yourself. However, your mind is probably gonna be playing more tricks with you than your physiology, right? Meaning you're still not gonna really like it and maybe throw little tantrums and wanna get out because it's so cold after three days. However,

There are physiological responses that have happened that are part of that adaptive process. However, that is not necessarily cold training. Meaning if I were to go out into the mountains of Colorado and be, you know, working through the mountains, right?

That's probably not going to be the best way to get cold adapted for something like that. That sort of exposure requires you to actually be out in the cold for longer periods of time and moving. So there's a metabolic component to a lot of this. And this is where the heat stuff comes in as well. Is heat.

Training by sitting in a sauna is a very therapeutic thing and can enhance recovery to a lot and it can create some heat Adaptive things that can help with thermal loading however It is a far cry from actual heat training and real heat training Can do wonders in fact, you know Probably there's a lot of speculation and theory around the fact and I've I sit in this place that

Brian (01:19:24.146)
heat training can boost your VO2 max higher than altitude training could. So it has its benefits. There's a lot of it's very interesting because there's a lot of crossover with heat and altitude training. So you know the heat changes plasma pretty quickly in the blood and you know you'll get dehydrated pretty quickly by being in the heat. It's not just because you're sweating your

Brian (01:19:54.05)
fact, so it's understanding those mechanisms and what's going on. And that if we're continuing, because heat adaptation takes probably about two weeks, not three days, right? Or so it's a much longer period, but when it happens, it's almost like a new engine comes on. And you know, you're, you can experience some pretty special stuff. But there's ways to go about it that most people just really aren't going about.

You know, a lot of people think that going and getting in a sauna on an assault bike and going really hard is Is is a means for that and that's probably is it that's about as ineffective as just sitting in a very hot sauna for real heat adaptation because you're not actually able to Get that core temperature up Enough to meet what that superficial temperature is doing and trying to come out

And I've looked at this with thermal sensors and it's wild that how quickly we shut down in our thermal, like our core temperature hasn't even boosted it like it's barely boosted up. Right. And you can hear about, you know, Ironman triathletes who are winning the Ironman and they're at 105 degree temperature. Right. That is really heat training. And so the importance of this is it only, it just lies here is that.

80% of our energy is lost to heat. So if I've got somebody putting out something like, you know, 200 watts on a bike, that's actually 800 watts of heat energy, like joules. So that's a lot of energy. You just don't even realize you're putting that out, right? So when we get heat adapted,

Greg Finch (01:21:24.482)

Brian (01:21:48.142)
It's not that we're actually making it more possible to handle higher load of heat so that we can push more warp.

Greg Finch (01:21:58.914)
Mm-hmm. Less work towards the heat. By adapting to that, we're raising the efficiency and optimizing our actual energy output, as opposed to losing it towards, like you said, the 80% of the heat. The two to three weeks of adaptation for heat training, are you losing it that quickly, too? Say you pull that heat training away in two to three weeks. Are you losing that?

Brian (01:22:17.047)

Brian (01:22:22.508)

Brian (01:22:26.362)
Uh, yeah. I mean, if you pulled it for two weeks, you'll lose it. Uh, however, if you kept heat, like heat in your life, if you kept working out, you'd be pretty good, right? Like you just have to keep it up at a level where you're pushing that heat level. Right. So as long as you're touching those places a couple of times a week, you're not going to lose it. And that's kind of how altitude works as well.

Greg Finch (01:22:29.878)

Greg Finch (01:22:38.122)

Greg Finch (01:22:50.018)
Gotcha. Yeah, describe, kind of define for those of us that don't know like thermal loading, what's the best way to think of thermal loading?

Brian (01:22:58.558)
Yeah. So if you have a sauna, that's fantastic place to start and use. And if you don't have that, I'll give you another option. But a sauna is a great place to start. And if you can get a bike, you know, here's the bikes you want to get. Something like the old school Airdine, you can get them on eBay. People are still selling them and there's brand new ones still out there. And you can get them relatively cheap. And they're

much more compact than the other bikes and it's a full body so you can get on these things and they're like nuclear bomb proof right so you can get on these old school air dynes in there and you just go at a low effort and you start the sauna at a low burn rate like 140 or 130 degrees and you let it just maybe get up to 150 maybe 160 the first few times you're doing it.

but always start low and then go get in and start to move and allow it to creep up. Right. And so what you're going to want is you're going to want at least 45 minutes, if not 60 minutes inside of that burner. So you're just low level stuff. And what you're going to see at first is your heart rate is going to be like real low, like under a hundred to start.

And then all of a sudden, it's just going to slowly start to rise and you're keeping the same pace and then all of a sudden it's just going to go, woke. And it's going to jump up to like one 30, one 40, and you're not going to barely be doing anything. This is like, that's that sign. When your heart rate starts to creep up into that, you know, higher level, that's time to get out. Your, your, your system is overheating. Right. And it, and the other way to understand that is I'm starting to get a little claustrophobic.

That first sign, that little sign of claustrophobia is that signal. It's time to get out. Don't screw, you don't win anything for overdoing heat training except heat stroke. So it's really important for that. The other option here in the sauna is go work out or go for a long walk, then come back to the sauna and turn it.

Greg Finch (01:25:03.662)

Brian (01:25:18.266)
I don't know, 150, 160, which is a lower range. However, set a timer and every three minutes, do 10 to 15 seconds of pushups or squats in the sauna. And you'll...

You'll start to do the exact same thing that happened with the movement, but you need to get your body moving and getting, getting that, uh, you know, getting that metabolism cranked up, getting that cardiovascular system cranked up so that the internal engines start burning fuel as well so that you can start to meet that now outside of that, you could get a heat suit, heat suits are simply, we've all seen wrestlers and fighters who go put on those.

They look like sweatsuits, but they basically have a layer of plastic or, uh, whatever on the inside and it doesn't let heat escape. Start off nice and easy on a bike or on a walk. And as soon as it starts to get uncomfortable, claustrophobic, where your heart rate starts to get above like one 21 30 time to kill it, but you should be working towards 45 minutes to 60 minutes and you know, it just takes a consistent block.

Greg Finch (01:26:26.413)

Brian (01:26:34.466)
of like two weeks to do that and then you can just enter you know as long as you're intermittently doing that throughout the week like one you know a couple times a week like doing something that's getting your body temperature up you will not lose that.

Greg Finch (01:26:48.426)
Yeah, that's great. And also that slow and slow idea of it also allows that emotional mindset part to adapt as well. Like give it time to start to do it. Like some of the clients I talked to is like, we'll talk about like, hey, just at the end of your shower, just to cold. It's not cold training. But that might be the most difficult thing you do that day is to actually take that action.

Brian (01:26:56.436)
Mm-hmm. You got it.

Brian (01:27:06.294)

Brian (01:27:09.622)
Yeah. Correct. It'll do something that let cold shower will do something. There's a few things it'll do. I mean, it's not going to make you ready for the mountains of Colorado, but you know, it's, uh, you know, which most people don't want, like most people aren't alpine climbers, they could carry less, right? So, you know, it's go ahead and get a cold blunts. I have a cold blunts. I don't do extreme cold training. I do extreme heat training.

Greg Finch (01:27:17.39)
Ha ha ha!

Brian (01:27:36.89)
I found far more benefit with extreme heat. And you will see me three days a week in my sauna on my air dime for about 45 to 60 minutes, just cruising.

Greg Finch (01:27:52.566)
What is the rest of your like last week when we were on scheduling this, you were talking about you're in your training block. Like, what does that training block look like for you? You can get as detailed as you want or just give us like an overview.

Brian (01:27:55.13)
Thanks for watching!

Brian (01:27:59.834)

Brian (01:28:04.962)
Yeah, last week was just a heavy duty endurance week. I was out in the desert and my goal was to really just shut down the strength and conditioning and tense stuff and then get more, like I was doing way more walking, like I was probably doing like closer to eight, maybe 10 miles of walking and then I was doing some high running, some trail running out there in the mountains.

And, uh, and then I had some stuff at the, at the gym where I had a bike and then I would just mobility and stuff like that, but it was long periods of time where I was out kind of just building my endurance up for the week and I made a ramp up, I mean, I could see it in my, my tissue, everything, like I leaned up real quick, um, all of that. Um, but you know, it's, uh, it's not too extreme. It's probably, you know, look, I'm, I'm doing.

roughly three, four hours of moving a day. That includes the walking and or my training. It combines it all. So going out and just doing blocks that were interspersed with just that intended to do where I'm just focused on doing something like that. And then there's weeks where I back off all that stuff and I'll do like a couple of weeks of heavy duty strength training just to get my strength up.

I won't totally neglect the endurance stuff because I do not wanna lose. The endurance stuff is far more important than the resistance training stuff. Although you don't wanna get rid of the resistance training. You can overdo that stuff. That stuff can have, the trade-offs with that can be pretty compound.

Greg Finch (01:29:58.87)
Yeah, so it's so interesting about that, like, idea, like all of the training blocks and the scheduling that you're doing and how you're really trying to optimize for these things. Do you still like to take that and still compete in triathlons or endurance races? Like, do you still like to do that?

Brian (01:30:11.742)
Mm-mm. Nope. Don't like, I am null and void of any sort of competition in my life. I am pure soul. I just want to go out and enjoy it. Like, I, like, I, like, I.

Greg Finch (01:30:21.494)

Brian (01:30:30.926)
I was like, I know the rain's coming. And I'm like, I'm, I'm going off into the hill. I'm going to go up in the mountains and I'm going to go hike for like an hour and a half, two hours this morning. That was my goal. I just wanted to get out and get away from it and go absorb it. And, you know, I'll, I'll get to a point where it's probably like, I'm going to go out into the, you know, the big mountains and probably want to go, you know, 20 miles or so.

Greg Finch (01:30:43.97)

Brian (01:30:57.99)
But I don't have any aspirations of really going and doing hunter-milers, things like that anymore. It's just not my thing. It doesn't mean it's not a worthy thing to go after. It's just not my thing. I've done that stuff. But I just love being able to do whatever I want at any point I want.

That involves surfing, that involves foiling, that involves, you know, that's mountain biking, cycling, hiking, trail running, you name it, I like to do it.

Greg Finch (01:31:34.71)
Yeah. Sounds like a, sounds like a nice week. Hey Brian, I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the surf strong show. I know how busy you are and just like all your expertise and, and how gracious you are of, of really sharing all that information. It's been really wonderful, man. I really appreciate it.

Brian (01:31:38.616)

Brian (01:31:52.914)
Oh, thanks, Greg. I greatly appreciate you having me on and doing what you're doing, man.

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