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#19 - Mental Toughness, Maintaining The Standard, and Self-Determination w/ Jake Saenz

In this episode, I talk to Jake Saenz. He co-founded Atomic Athlete in 2009.

Prior to founding a gym, he served in the U.S. Army 3rd Ranger Battalion in Ft. Benning, GA where he spent 4 years of his life giving his superiors gray hairs and training new Rangers. He later went on to get a business degree from Texas State University and become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

We discussed business programming, skill to influence, the attitudes you need to learn to be successful in your chosen field(s), and so much more.

Show Notes:

  • (04:29): Business Programming

  • (06:28): How to determine success

  • (11:23): Skill to Influence

  • (17:28): Personal capability

  • (24:06): Jake’s Military background

  • (29:28): Self-determination

  • (36:05): Maintaining the standard

  • (42:12): Physical tests

  • (49:56): What is suffering?

  • (56:18): Attitude you need to possess to be successful

Connect with Jake Saenz:






Email Address: Connect with Athan:





Strive S&C:

Strive Human Optimization:

Tracy's Drive-in Grocery:

Jake 00:00

If you're the biggest fish in your pond and you need to find a new pond because you're not going to grow, you're not gonna be, you're not going to be pushed. I think at any point if you're kind of satisfied with where you're at, and it's like, man, like it's time to be like am I really? Am I as good as I think I am? It's like okay, well, why don't you go find out? Like once you put your money where your mouth is and go see how good you want.

Athan 00:24

The Doing The Work Podcast is brought to you by the Bastrop Fitness Project, Bastrops Hub for health and wellness. Check them out at Alright, welcome to doing the work podcast, I'm here with Jake Saenz, Jake, you have been someone who has absolutely inspired me. While I've been living here in Austin, on military orders, I've gotten the opportunity to work out at your gym. But even before that, I've looked at your brand, I've looked at it. You're the owner of an Atomic Athlete, I've looked at how your gym operates. And it's really just been super inspirational to me. So this is just a great opportunity for me to get to pick your brain a little bit, kind of see what you're all about, and really highlight what you're doing. So thank you for being on the show.

Jake 01:23

I'm glad to be here, man. Appreciate it.

Athan 01:26

So when you introduce yourself, like what you mean, when you tell people what you do for a living, like how do you introduce yourself?

Jake 01:33

It's funny. I mean, you own a gym at some point. So I think when you start a business at first, you're excited. And then you're very eager to talk about it. And then once you've kind of become established, then people now they say like, Oh, what do you do is like I own a gym. And that's kind of just kind of leave it at that. Yeah, and be like, Oh, really like what kind of gym I go to conditioning gym. So I kind of forced them to really dig in if they really wanted to talk about it. Because I think at a certain point, once your business kind of becomes successful, you don't want the business to really define you, you kind of want to, like have the best work. And then like, if you want to know about me ask me personal questions not about my job. Yeah, so oftentimes, like, if I talk to someone, I go, like, Oh, what do you do? Like, oh, I do this? Like, oh, no, no, like, I don't care what you do for money, like, what do you do? What's your thing that's gonna tell me a little more about who you are, then? Oh, in software sales, or whatever? Yeah. doesn't tell me anything about you. side, maybe how much money you make. But I'd much rather find out like, what drives you what pushes you forward?

Athan 02:31

Identity is such a big thing. There was a period of time when I had a lot of pride in being a gym owner, like I kind of like I carried that around, like, kind of like a badge. And similar to you and I have a military background, you were in the Ranger Regiment. And so that identity you kind of carry around a little bit.

Jake 02:56

It equated to like, when you first get your ranger 10, for example. Yeah, you don't want people to know, right? Right. But then here you are 0 years later, they say, Oh, you're in the military is like, how's the military? Like, what did you do? I was infantry. Yeah, like, Oh, really? Where were you stationed at, like Fort Benning. Like you you like you really don't like, it's not like something you're really eager to express and talk about it. Because you've done that in your younger days. And that was a real big accomplishment for you at that time. And now you're just kind of like, I mean, like, both of us are older guys. Now. It's not like we're hard hitting young 20 year olds so definitely not. Yeah, so it's a I think that's how it's kind of an evolution of any business. You know, like, once the business is established and successful, then you just kind of guys usually just give like, yeah, in a gym, like, oh, we like to do I like to go Bo hut, you know, right, and just kind of have more casual conversations than kind of throwing the whole sales pitch right off the bat.

Athan 03:48

Right? Well, one of the things I love about atomic athlete and I've loved one of the reasons why I even came here, I've been a I've been in the industry for like 24 years and I've having the experience that I have I chose to come here largely because of the culture that you guys have have created and in fact when I first started here, you guys sent out an email about culture. When you go to a gym it's not just like a place where people come to work out but it's a community and you guys clearly take that really seriously and have put a lot into the culture aspect of it.

Business Programming

Jake 04:29

Yeah, I think when we send out like a review earlier and I reviewed like a survey about like, Hey, why do you train at the gym? Yeah, and, and programming and both communities we're both kind of the really, really most obvious aspects based on the surveys and why people train here. And I think that programming honestly is lost on a lot of people. Like the complexity of it, you can look at, you can look at our programming because you're a gym owner and experience Yeah, conditioning coach, and understand what's going on. I think the average person just looks at it, and they're gonna base their decision on that train session based on how they feel afterwards. Like how hard was right, right? And if it's extremely hard, they're like, Oh, like that was a great session just because I'm so smoked and, and even my fiance kind of falls in this category right now. Or she likes the ones that really break her. Right? No, it's on, by the definition of traditional strength conditioning programming. It's like, it wasn't a good session, that was just a hard session to write. And so I do think that like community is one of those things that we could probably have pretty shitty programming, and most people probably wouldn't notice. But they'd still, like long as we coached it the same way as long as the community was the same as the gym was the same. I think our experienced athletes who have an athletic background, maybe a background in competitive sports, or something like that would be like, Hey, what are we doing and why. But I think most average Joe come into the gym wanting to know the difference. And it could still be the gym that it is, with that list trained. I was shitty at programming.

Athan 06:02

I like to say that you can have the shit you can have either the shittiest equipment ever, or the best equipment ever. You can have the best programming or the shittiest programming ever. And it really wouldn't have a lot of impact on how successful your gym and your businesses are. Yeah, if you're coaching and your culture is on point.

How to determine success

Jake 06:28

People in CrossFit. But I think that's one of the things right. So the nature of the experience, what you experienced that day has lots of influence the the end user and what they're going to like, they don't look at it from a big picture perspective, like you would invest in or something like that. They're looking at it like that day, that session, how do I feel afterwards? And whatever they're in their mind is going to be equal like, hey, what determines success? In today's training session? Did I move one step closer to my ultimate goal, which will take two or three years, right, that's kind of more of the mindset that we have. A lot of people will come in military guys, especially younger athletes, who can handle high volumes and are really motivated and want to train hard they're hitting that, like, how do I feel right now, at this minute? How hard was that, the harder the better. And that really goes against any of the science that's out there, right? It's like there's a difference between training and assessing. And then I think there's this big muddled, convoluted perspective of mental toughness and training to where people now want to come in. And even if something doesn't feel right, or something hurts, they're like, Well, I'm going to be David Goggins, and no whoever, and I'm going to push through the pain, and they're not listening to their body. And I think if you get too wrapped up in that whole mental toughness game, which is important, it's definitely important. But the mind is a very separate entity from the body. Yeah, you could have, I always use the analogy of a car and driver, you get a really motivated driver, right, but the car, you can, the wheels can start falling off, and then motivated drivers gonna keep driving it really hard. And eventually, the wheels gonna fall off completely, and you can't go anywhere, right. And that happens to a lot of athletes who are really motivated to train, they ignore the pain, they're trying to be mentally tough. And we have to understand that these two systems are separate like our conscious mind, like the driver is very different than the car he's driving. And there are two separate things that should be trained separately, developed individually. And some people are already mentally tough, and they don't need to develop that side, they need to really develop the physiological side, right. And then vice versa. Some people have all the genetics, we've talked about this earlier, you know, good genetics. They have all the raw materials to be extremely successful, but they're mentally weak, right? Like that athlete needs to really work on mental toughness, for example.

Athan 08:41

Yeah, I'm glad you brought up David Goggins because he's more of a popular figure these days. He comes from a similar background as you and I do, and I'm always torn on his, his message is certainly like I said, like, there's, there's a lot to be said about being mentally tough and pushing your limits and, or pushing past your limits. I mean, he has that whole 40% thing where you're, you most of us are only offering about 40% of our full thing but I'm also ree like your average Joe for your person who isn't like trying to accomplish a particular thing like a military aspiration or something like that. I'm always torn about like, how like if his if his message is giving you give it sending his landing appropriately.

Jake 09:34

I think someone like him and like, I mean, I've watched him, he's, to me, he's a little over the top really? No, but I think also I mean, America and media and social media and like all that stuff is little over the top to begin with. The most popular shows are over the top. You know that the news headlines are over the top and I think I think one thing he is doing is he's motivated people to train and so that's a good thing. So people are getting out there. People who I would say are normally probably very weak and not motivated, are getting motivated because of him. That's a good thing I would say, the people who are taking everything to heart and maybe pushing beyond their limits, there's a time in place to push beyond your limits, you know, races, like the Leadville, 100. If you're racing, Kona, you know, the Ironman kind of circuit, like, those are times in places where like, hey, like, you have to lay it on the line, take it to the red, push your limits, military selections, for example, same thing, but I think for like the average person who embarks upon like, how do I be stronger, faster, more resilient. You can watch those videos, take it to heart, and you can go hurt yourself pretty severely, you know, and so I think you have to be mindful, still have a big picture perspective on those kinds of things?

Athan 10:45

I'm 100%. And I think that the science is clear what we were and where the public and we're really taken, like a talented coach, or a not knowledgeable programming or something like that, which I think you guys do an amazing job at is that people think the public is better. I'm going to grind it out, I'm going to push myself to my limits. But the science is pretty clear that you break down while you're training. And you only get better in the recovery slash rest phase. Yes. And, people don't really know that.

Skill to Influence

Jake 11:23

I think so we're in like, I guess a time period of information at any given point, you'd ask me the most strange random question, trivial fact. And I can find the answer probably within 30 seconds on my phone, right? So we have all this information accessible, which is amazing. Like, I mean, if anything pops up, you're like, Well, I can find the answer right now, if I have access to a phone. But then we're also on the other side, because those platforms exist. Now you're have people who can influence you. And these influencers, you know, they may be great athletes, and I've been to seminars before where the athletes were exceptional, but they were also coaches. And then we talked to them how many coaches you had, I mean, athletes do have and they say, Oh, I had like, seven. I'm like, you coach seven people, and you consider yourself qualified enough to teach a seminar on how to coach people how to do these things. It's like, at the time, I was running a small strength conditioning gym, mature athletes, you know? So it was like, Ah, I mean, should I even listen to you? I mean, you're obviously a phenomenal athlete, you're on the competitive, no weightlifting or powerlifting circuits, and you're very strong. But that really doesn't translate to you being a knowledgeable or good coach. Right? Totally different. And so these influencers are whether they look really good, whether they're able to do something amazing online, doesn't mean you should listen to them. Because for every person who has done like a, b, and c and is successful, there's probably 10 That did it and were unsuccessful. You just never hear about it. Right, right. And so you have these few individuals slip through the cracks, become very successful, become very influential. And then people will listen to what they say. And it's like, well, I mean, yeah, you look great. And you can do this, but like, is what you're doing going to work for me? Or for that guy over there? Or for that woman over there?

Athan 13:10

And I think that's the reality. I think that real artists like figuring out what's the base? I think they would in terms of like a rule of engagement, you want the minimum amount of force that's going to get you the result, you don't want to try and jump right to like the maximum amount...

Jake 13:30

I mean, when it comes to the training worlds, it's all a big picture. You look at the world's best endurance coaches, they're like they're looking at their athletes' development over the years. Same thing with weightlifting programs, powerlifting programs they're not looking at what we did today or this week, they're looking at like, Okay, this year, we did this next year, we plan on doing this the year after we plan on doing this. And like that, that's how World Champions along with great genetics, right, are built like really high quality coaching. And then athletes who have exceptional potential. Yeah, playing the long game. Yeah, PLAYING THE LONG GAME. I think I read a book today. I was reading a book, I should say, and finish it. And it was Arthur Lydiard, I believe. And he was in New Zealand running coach and trained Olympians national level, world level, Olympic level. And he said, one of the biggest things that you're doing wrong to youth is making them race in high school and middle school. So I mean, obviously, football in Texas is very competitive. Cross country is competitive track, it's competitive. And he said, all these athletes would do so much better if they didn't race in this time period, and just continue to develop and train and build their base. And then by the time they're 20, they have the prerequisite conditioning to actually still go out and see what they're truly capable of, but because their win win win when from seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade 12th grade, trying to get them into that college slot, that you're actually applying the wrong strategy to develop them as a true athlete. Yeah, short term success that you'll see as a high school coach.

Athan 15:04

That's really interesting. I mean, right, like the competitive battleground can be a place where, where some people thrive, but in particular young people have, when you're when you're beating when they're like, hammering themselves that hard at that young of an age, there's like, there's like a whole thing about, we all know, people like that who like, basically, they were like the high school stud. And then you never heard of them again after that.

Jake 15:34

Which is interesting. It brings, somebody didn't know until recently, that a lot of parents are holding their kids back in school. If they're on that cusp of like, hey, like, should he start kindergarten this year? Next year? If we wait, he's gonna be 10 months ahead of his peers. Oh, interesting. He'll be that much bigger than his peers. He'll do that much better in sports. I mean, just think of what one year of puberty and testosterone does to a young man. Yeah, and seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grade, if I would have been as strong as fastly as in ninth grade and eighth grade, like my experience, we've been totally different, like, probably in life, and definitely in sports. And I didn't know that was the thing. We're like individuals who are into the field sports, you know, baseball, football, basketball. And they're really, really kind of obsessed with how, where their children are doing that. They're actually kind of like, like, Oh, if I can hold him back one more year, then when he goes into kitten garden, he's the older kid. He's the bigger kid. He's the stronger kid and come like middle school in high school. Like, he's one year ahead, like his peers. And so now he's gonna be making varsity as a freshman, you know, versus JV and all these things. And like, I didn't even know this was a thing.

Athan 16:41

That certainly wasn't a thing in my family. I am at school. I choke off topic Exactly. Like I was like, as soon as my mom could send me to school she sent me so I was like four years old and kindergarten. And the way that that turned out was like, I graduated high school when I was 72. And I went to the army.

Jake 16:57

and didn't even sign up for the army.

Athan 17:01

My mom had to sign the paperwork for me. But I was a decent enough athlete, but I was never like, I was like, middle of the pack. Because I was smaller. I was weaker. You know, I'm still working on coordination stuff. And I joke with people all the time. Like, we're not my first year in the army was crazy. Like, I grew like six inches. Yeah, you know, I put on like, like, 35 pounds because I finally became more grown. That was my senior year of high school.

Personal Capability

Jake 17:28

Just think about everything. I mean, think how much like your success in sports, and athleticism. And confidence has to do with how strong you are. Right? And how big you are compared to other males. Like it's such an influential aspect. I was the same way. Right. So it was like, I showed up my freshman year, and it was like, I couldn't go to Driver's Ed. You know, like, I'm not old enough to go Driver's Ed. nd like, you know, you graduate when you're 17, not 18. I just think like, what if I would have shown up as a freshman in a small town in Texas, moving from California, a year later? Like, how different my freshman year experience would have been? Yeah, how much more successful I could have been in social circles and like with females, and then my peer group, and I mean, every year I think I had a great kind of, I would say mentor, but he was a coach. And so I came from California, to small town, Texas, never done any plates and soccer. And so basically all what I would call the Ojo sports or the sports that are less popular in small town, Texas, golf, tennis, soccer, right? They all went to this one class that was called athletic conditioning. And we had the football strength and conditioning coach ran it because basketball, baseball, football had their own period where like, the whole team wouldn't train together. And he ran the class like, that's right, the conditioning program. It was amazing, like day one, you know, like, sprint assessment, mile assessment, one rep maxes, you get a power rating, I remember being like a fresher from California never touched a barbell. And a sophomore cheerleader had a higher power ratings. So of course, some tennis douchebag is making fun of me as a year older than me. And that kind of drove me into like, I want to train and train more consistently. And so like, I think my freshman benchpress was like 95 pounds. Right? And by the time I was a senior after powerlifting, it trained I could benchpress 315 for two. Wow, I can't do that. Now. My shoulders are definitely not there. But like you're talking about a two times body weight, and I was powerless in the 148. And then 150 fives. And so you just look at that spread. That's a huge gap in the four year window. And the question I have is like, what if I would have rolled in as a freshman like, what would I have been capable of?

Athan 19:36

You mentioned identity earlier. And, and this kind of like, brings it so so what is it that said you you had it you went into the military right out of high school? Yeah, right. Yeah. And then you did that but what what brought you back to the strength and conditioning like what about that lifestyle in that profession? Hmm, you know it What drew you in?

Jake 20:01

Like, so I was a typical boy, I was very into transformers GI Joes like watching Rambo Terminator, like I was very into just like, masculine things, you know, I mean, it's 2022. So it's a little different than it was like in 1986 87. Yeah, you're right. Yeah. So I was very into all that stuff. And pretty much I think, like, sometime middle of high school, I was like, I'll want to go the military, and did the military thing. And then I got back and I'll say, Okay, well, hey, now's top of college did that check that box, did some cool stuff, go to college, and then went got a degree in business. But then one thing I recognized very quickly was, when I got out as looking for jobs, like, they all like, all through business school, it was like your presentations were done in slacks and a shirt tucked in Bell, button down tie like, I would show up in you know, two schools, flip flops, shorts and a T shirt and have a garment bag and throw change in the bathroom before I give my presentation. That change right back is hated everything about it. Yeah. So as I was looking for jobs, I recognized that like, okay, hey, well, most of my experience at this point is in service industry, like bar and restaurant, that's what I was doing all through college. And, and it was training. So it's like, well, if if I have to do a career, or pursue a career in something that I've experienced in those, the two things I'm experiencing, and so I kind of just kind of tried it out, started a training group like, reached out some people and thinking about doing this and kind of reverted back. And at that point, it was, there was not much structure, there was not much planning, there is not like, a base in programming, science and knowledge. I just kind of kind of come up with just basically hard workouts to start most of us do if someone throws up and but I was always a guy in the military that asked why a lot which minimize upper enlisted in leadership light, by Spencer asking myself, why, why are we doing this? So I pursued education, seminars, and CSCs. And that's a great book, great certification. But then, I think, ultimately, what it came down to was over the past 1011 years, you get the formal education, but then you also get hands-on experience. And then you see what works and what doesn't work. And it's easy to watch some cool videos online from powerlifters talking about this, this net, but when you get into a normal gym, and you have a bunch of 30 to 33 year olds, and they're all hurting their backs, you're like, Well, maybe that isn't the right thing and so I think there's always a balance of taking with the guys who are really good at something, or preaching, and kind of saying, and then balancing that with actual real world experience. So I think coaching is kinda like the frontline of the industry where, you know, a scientist may say one thing, like, well, let's actually see if that holds true.

Athan 22:52

I say that all the time. It's like, really, what, where the, where this science is really being created and tested, is in places like atomic, people are getting creative. They're, they're adapting things that they learn from the sciences, but trying, you know, and so like that the academics are always going to be a year or two, maybe three, four or five years behind what the actual actual science is pushing.

Jake 23:19

Yes. Again, it just validates what we're already doing. Right? More times than not.

Athan 23:24

Absolutely. Well, so shifting gears a slightly, but this is very, something's very interesting to me that I have leveraged my military career, I took what I learned there, and I got out and I applied it to my civilian life, you know, to basically everything it has, there's a thread of my military background that kind of goes through everything. And I'm curious about that for you. Are there things that you took from your military experience? Are there like, I don't want to lead you at all. But I do have some experience with like, my personal experience. I'm just curious for you. What about your military background still applies today?

Jake’s Military Background

Jake 24:06

I think one thing that really held true for me in the military, especially being like a junior enlisted guy in a special operations unit was there was a lot talk about what you know you should do, but then it was like, Well, I cannot perform for you. You know, it's like, this is very confusing to me how you're saying, like, how do you do this, this, this and that, when it's like, you know, I just outscored you on a physical assessment, you know, and, yes, you may have gone to school before me or whatever it may be. And so like, for me, I think that idea, it was like, this is something I don't want to take forward with me. I don't want to like, kind of rely or rest on my laurels. I think it'd be determined, right? Right. So where it's like, Hey, I did this 20 years ago. And so like, you should respect me because of this or 10 years ago or two years ago, whatever it may be, you know, and so, I mean, to me, it kind of holds me to a higher standard. or even being 41. Now, you know, we were running the other day. And there is, you know, Cody, one of our coaches who's in his 20s. And there's a, you know, a seal officer candidate running as well. And we get to the bottom of the hill, and I literally look at them and say, you know, what, a 41 year old man beat both you too, you know, and so and then it was on, you know, right. So I don't want them to, I don't want to expect respect. Because I own the gym. Yeah, I want, I want to earn that respect every day, you know, by either, you know, doing the work no one wants to do, by putting out the effort no one wants to put out and then by leading from the front, and that's a common, that's common thing you hear a lot in the military example. Yeah, set the example. You know, and, and honestly, like me, and you now are in our 40s. So we're on the decline is like, we're not going to be able to continue to hang and punish 20 year olds for very much longer. So. But you know, what it's like, even if it's five years from now, and there is that stood out there, it's like, I'm gonna make them earn at least a round or two. And I'm going to give them the right effort, the same kind of effort that we expect from our athletes, you know, so yeah, that, to me, is a big thing. Because I saw so many guys. Some guys were amazing. Some guys were amazing leaders, and they led from the front, and they were humble and quiet professionals the entire time. And then other guys were just rely upon what they did at one point, you know, it's like hearing like high school football glory stories from guys who are like, 40 year like, dude, who cares, right? Like, look at you now. And so that's what like, Paul, how has a great model for his training company? It's like selection is a never ending process. Like you're always testing yourself. So I think whatever means you're probably in a very similar mindset where sometimes you wake up and you're like, Dude, I don't want to do that. Yes, zero desire to go out there and do sandbag get ups and this and that, but it's like, if I'm gonna make 300 People do it that day. And I'm not going to do because I don't want to do it. Like, what does that say about me as a leader?

Athan 26:53

I say that a lot. Not only I say that, in regard to, to my athletes, but to my coaches, you know, I will never ask you to do something that I'm not willing to do myself and not like something I have not, not something I have done before. Yes, but meaning like, if you're gonna need to show up and do that today, I'm going to be willing to show up and do it today. Also, and that means and, and, and attacking that with a great attitude, and with the amount of effort that it that that deserves.

Jake 27:24

I mean, I don't want to wake up at 5am and come and go to 6am. I don't have to very often anymore, but it's like, like, hey, like I have, like my athletes doing my programming or coming into my facility. And they're doing it like I can, I can wake up a couple times a week, or a coach is out of town traveling when the newer coaches, no big deal. Yeah, I mean, like, you own the gym, you make your own schedule me your own boss, it's like it's a privilege to wake up and actually get in there and work with those athletes that day. Because it also I mean, like when you own a gym, the senior coaches are typically the best coaches that had the most experience. We have, you know, I'd say, three really senior full time coaches here at this facility, all owner operators, and then other coaches are also pretty experienced at least five years, right or more training, but they don't do it full time. So it's not like, all day, every day, they're thinking of programming, how the gym runs. For them, it's like a kind of a cool organization to be a part of the free membership. They get to train there, they get paid to coach, they enjoy it, but it's not their livelihood in their life. And so it's good to also put those coaches like new experienced coaches back in front of those athletes in those classes that most experienced coaches don't want to coach, right. So they get that kind of treat of like, hey, you know, like, oh, Jordans coaching today, or Todd's coaching today, or Jake is coaching today, given normally they get like the most junior coach, because it's 6am. And although they're great coaches, there is a difference between someone who's coached for a year or two versus coached, you know, 10 11 12 years.

Athan 28:54

I mean, there's just no, there's no replacement for somebody who's kind of just witnessed and observed. So many different situations and so many different scenarios and so many different conditions, you can't learn you can't read that in a book. You can't watch it on a YouTube video. You got to just kind of live it.

Jake 29:15

I guess people always say, Oh, you got issues. And they're like, really? I go I mean, I watch people for a living.

Athan 29:23

I pay attention like feet and hips. Like I know.


Jake 29:28

It's like I go from your feet. And I go to your head, like, Oh, you got a haircut? Yeah, got a beard trim, like, and they're like, how did you notice that? It's like, well, I mean, like, my job is to watch you move, and like, I can be driving down by Town Lake and I can see like, someone's running gait out of the corner of my eye, like, Oh, that's so and so because you watch them run so often. So yeah, it's crazy. It isn't interesting. A professional you know, you own the gym and so you can just watch and it's also you're observing a community as well and like for a lot of people, I think come to the gym, especially right now and post COVID there. A lot of them are working from home. Home. Yeah, right. So like, if they have a wife and kids especially, like coming to the gym is their social interaction, right, you have an eight hour workday by the computer, he got wife, kids to 10, do dinner, household chores, and you come here for that one hour. And that's kind of like your social activity not so much if you're a 27 year old software sales guy, and you're going downtown, the weekends and all that, but for a lot of people, like this is their opportunity to come in, and like socialize and be a part of something that's aside from the family. And, and so you get to see, like, you know, friendships develop relationships develop. I mean, like, we're talking about Tim Otto their day, this is like just the trucks, they say, Oh, my God, and now like you're thrown out. And so it is nice, because I think you mentioned earlier the community idea. And at some point, we kind of me and Todd had kind of talked about the idea of, well, if we change this and make this easier, for more people, it can make more money. But then they want to be funny anymore, we wouldn't be training the kind of people who want to train, we wouldn't have established the community we've established. And you would kind of be catering to the lowest common denominator, like and also you're kind of like, I think in a way you're selling lies, like, come train here, you lose weight. It's like, I can't promise you that. You can train here, I can promise you stronger and faster. If you come four days a week, I can promise that but I can't promise you're going to lose weight. I have no control of what you're doing outside the gym, no control of your lifestyle. So I think like, you know that this fork in the road of like, hey, and that's, that's common. Marketing, right? And you'll find like, I had one guy explain it to me, it was like, find the wound and stick your finger in it. Yeah, it was what he said he was like, Are you tired of being fat and out of shape? You know, it's like, I'm never gonna put that on anything. Right? Right. It's like, it's like, I don't want to work with people who are motivated to train, I want to work with people who are like, hey, I want to go here. Because I don't care what people think the way I look, you know, I was like, I just want to be more capable. Right? Like, to me, that's something that like, like, yeah, like, you come to the right spot. If you email me and say what program is going to give me a six pack or zero interest in working with you right now? I was like, man, like you, you need to seriously do some online research or just read a book or two about how the body works. And then you want to get stronger, faster?

Athan 32:17

Well, that's what I love about atomic is that you guys stay so true to who you are, you know, and I, as a business owner, as a gym owner, I got caught into exactly what you talked about the mistake of wanting to be everything to everybody wanting to be a people pleaser, who, you know, and it wasn't coming from a bad place. It was just really. And then And then what happened to me was that I ended up owning a business that I hated. Yeah, I didn't enjoy going there. The culture, it wasn't an, you know, an extension of who I was. And, and my observation of atomic and one of the reason why one of the reasons why I come in train here is that it's clear to me that, you know, you guys are unapologetically who you are. Yeah. And if you're not down with it, it's cool. No hard feelings. This just isn't your place.

Jake 33:15

I think as a business owner, I mean, like, just the kind of conversations you have to have, right, like, ultimately, a business is designed to make money, right. And there, there are definitely, like proven ways to make money. And I mean, the question is, do you want to own a boutique hamburger store? Or the one of the best burgers round? But it's not that busy? Or do you want to own McDonald's, right, one is going to make clearly more money than the other, you know, and unless you get less, you get that sweet spot, which I think we're starting to kind of get there where it's like, we're kind of now the hamburger boutique spot that is actually profitable and making money and doing really well. Like, I mean, when you first start a gym, when you first start business, like your main goal is to make it right. Yeah. I mean, like, I just need to make any to pay the bills. I mean, hopefully. Yeah. You know, and like, you throw that in the equation, if you like, you know, get some capital. It's like, that's even more stressful. And so I think it's very common at certain juncture to be like, hey, what can I do to make it, you know, and then we had the same conversations, you know, people were like, Oh, you need to do a body transformation challenge. You're like, ah, like, that's just not who we are. Well, and so I think at some point, like, it was easy for us because we were all single guys who had no debt. And we're totally cool living Spartan lifestyles, right? Like, if we weren't married, and we had one or two children, each, it would have been a whole different thing like atomic could have turned out to be completely different. But instead, it's me and Todd, sharing, you know, alternating between efficiency and going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, working for another guy, you know, loading equipment out of a suburban, you know, like that was like the roots of of how it started. And then I think the first time I met you was at one of our first locations. Yeah, like a fundraiser from us. Yeah, she's got that but we were in a position to win where we could postpone success or delay success, it was nothing like there was no ticking time bomb of like, hit my kidneys. My kids need braces, you know, like, I gotta make this much money to cover that house I bought whatever it may be. I mean, we were living in shitty apartments, German shitty cars, right? It was, it was a lot less stressful than some people find themselves in.

Athan 35:20

What are you think? I had a similar situation. So my very the way that I started fortitude was I had this old Land Cruiser that I had all this equipment in the back of the tractor tires, like, yep, tied to the Yeah, you know, and, and, like, at that moment, it was like it when I was doing it, it was I still look back on that time is like I was, I was having so much fun. I loved what I was doing. And you know, that and, you know, now it's like a, like success, you know, quote, unquote, success. I'm still reaching for that feeling again, yes. Loving what I was doing.

Maintaining the Standard

Jake 36:05

I said, we were at one point, the, I think it was before we had a physical location. We were both be bartending on Friday night. Uh, huh. Closing the bar at 2am. Getting home at 4am. We'd meet the track at 8am. So we're going to bed for 430. Right? Waking up at seven, going to the track and one of us would coach and one would train to kind of like set the exam. Sure, yeah. And then at that point, we were obviously younger. So we're like late 20s, early 30s, single and whatnot. And so then it was like, well, let's go to brunch afterwards. So we'd go to brunch afterwards, you know, and you'd have a few drinks. And then we know, we had to go back to the bar Saturday evening. And we'd work again and so like our weekends were like, extremely taxing, like to me like you give me one weekend like that. Now, I'd be like, I'm tapping. But I mean, at that point, like for us, you know, a drinking wasn't that painful the next day? And be we were so into training? Yeah, no, like, I mean, like now at a certain point, it gets to a point where like trainings like brushing your teeth, like, I just need to do it. Yeah, part of my job professionally, I need to lead by example. I need to take care of my body and be healthy. But like, you know, I don't derive the same satisfaction I did 1015 years ago from like, the train process, you know, in other endeavors, yes. In the gym, not as much like shooting, I know, Jordan doesn't do jujitsu, right now, it's kind of like a new change, like you're shifting over a different kind of training, seeing the rapid results of consistent training and really enjoying the progress you make. But yeah, now it's like, you're training in the gym. It's kind of like, Hey, this is who I am, right? I brush my teeth in the mornings, you know, I do A, B and C, and I have to train number of times per week, you know, I have to, like, maintain the standard.

Athan 37:47

What is it? But what I really love learning about people is what are the things that they do habitually as a practice that, that, that basically facilitate their success? You know, what would you are there things that you do that are kind of non negotiable, or you try to fit in as much as possible? Because they make you better?

Jake 38:13

And I'd say, one thing probably would be anytime I don't want to do something, or anytime I'm like, oh, man, this sucks. Or I'm kind of feeling sorry for myself, whatever it may be, doesn't matter how tough you are. You had those are? Absolutely, yeah. And it's like, I'm like, I kind of think about like, like the brand and like the gym you know, in the gyms motto at the gym is kind of changed a little bit like the old model, stronger, faster, harder to kill. And we use that a lot. Now we're kind of more like, hey, this train smart, let's train, let's be disciplined with our training. But ultimately, it's kind of like, like, what I tell my athletes if they came in, like, they're like, oh, just like, I don't want to sandbag get ups. Right. Yeah. You know, it's like, Hey, man, like this is this is what you signed up for. Right? Yeah. Like, if he didn't want to do that, then go to Gold's Gym, you know, and you can do all the arm curls you want and you could, you know, walk on the treadmill and listen to the pop music, you know, it's, so I think, for me, just kind of like, because of the brand that we've created. It holds me accountable on a daily basis, right? You know, where it's like, I got to come in here and train like, it's like I came in. It was Sunday, I taught a class in the morning, I was like, I have to train like I have to do programming because I'm be familiar with it. I need to be proficient in it. And the lifts and I still need to be able to lead from the front. So I think that's one component. Personally, not so much aligned with the gym is I try to just be like, I guess appreciative of like the situation I'm in Yeah, and, and nothing is really that big a deal. You know? If something goes wrong with the gym, like, a lot of times I'll have a conversation with the athlete, they do something that goes against the culture of the gym. And it's like, I don't know, I don't get mad. It doesn't even really bother me that much. But I'll pull them aside and be like, Hey, man, like, this is how we do things. And if you don't like it, I'm more than happy to refund your money, and you can go somewhere else. Yeah, you know. And I think just having that kind of adult mindset and talking to people, like not trying to dress them down. I mean, you had a conversation earlier about, like, no poor leadership, and you know, getting dressed down. But the point is, is, you know, the gym that we have now has very successful people in it. I mean, to pay roughly $200 or more a month, you have to make decent money, you know, and so everyone is good at something. Who comes here? Yeah, I don't know how many Trust Fund kids are out in our gym training. Right now, most people have earned their money and have the discretionary income to pay for a premium service. And so you just have a very honest, upfront conversation with him, like, hey, like, this is, this is how we do things here. And you understand that? And they go like, yes, it's like, okay, so you understand that if you don't want to do things the way we do, then I'm more than happy to like a refund, even if it's, you know, two weeks, or whatever, yeah. And then there's other places that provide a service that may be more appropriate for you. It's not personal. It's just like an honest conversation with someone. And so whenever things pop up like that, I think, to me, it helps like just address it like very upfront, very clear, non emotional, yeah, it's not gonna hurt my feelings. I'm not angry at you, but understand, like, we have to do things a certain way to maintain who we are. And again, I had this conversations with multiple before.

Athan 41:26

I'm assuming that's also your your staff and your coaches. Yeah. Yeah, those conversations to be had, you know, this is like, how we do things. And when you're when you when you're representative of the organization, like, when, when I'm doing development with my coaches, the end, it's the same as yours, because I've trained here, when that coach is in front of the class, they are the entire business. Yes, yeah. You know, they literally represent everything that you stand for, and they are the steward of your mission, your purpose and your vision. And so it's massively important that that they're on point and I can tell by the professionalism, professionalism of your coaches, you guys do a lot of development on the backend.

Physical Test

Jake 42:12

I think, a lot of guys to that coach for us it's like, it's a pride point, because a physical test is very hard for one, yeah, it's like, okay, you're, you're a stud, if you can pass this test. And then they do go through the academic portion and the practical personal lives. So it's not easy to be a coach here. And even if I don't care if you have a dog PhD in kinesiology and, and you can do all these things and sell stuff, it's like, you still have to go through our process. And private, hey, you can run a class, I mean, running a session at 2530 year olds, it's like a kindergarten class, right have to be able to manage people. And you know, the bottom line is a lot of us don't have, you know, very long attention spans just with media life, and all this and, and so you have to manage that group, you have to set expectations, you have to keep the flow going, you have to like, you know, has to be a smooth experience. And one thing business wise, because I think, you know, we talked about business a lot is that we've created something that is very difficult to replicate again, and again, and again. Because it's just really reliant upon certain individuals and a certain skill set. I always go back to this hamburger analogy, right. But it's like, you can train anyone to make a Hopdoddy burger, you know, and you go there for the burger. You don't go for the server. Right? Right. You don't go there for the cook. You don't go there for the bartender, like you're going to eat that burger. And like showing someone how to make that hamburger is not that challenging, right? You know, what's a 30 or 40 minute blocking instruction. I'm showing someone how to properly express the culture of the gym and have a technical background in exercise science and physiology. And then also compose themselves well, and a group of, you know, 20 to 30. Adult professionals who can be doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, senior military personnel, it's like, that's a challenge to replicate those individuals. And that's something that kind of limits to growth as well. Right? Yeah, Gold's Gym or 24 hour, Anytime Fitness. Those are like cookie cutter models that you can reproduce very easily, right. And so like, from a business perspective, it's kind of like hey, like, this is kind of hard to do again, unless one of us completely leaves and tries to go through that whole process.

Athan 44:24

That's the thing where and I still live or die by this as a as a gym owner. But what I always say is the product is the coaching like I know there's some people in every gym does it a little different. Some people will say, well, the product is the programming. Yep. Which I don't disagree with but I've chosen to say the product is the coaching and that creates like what you said it creates a real tenuous situation because if a coach leaves yes, if that coach just gets a shitty attitude all the sudden or like decline, you know, it's it's, it's a creates a variable that's hard. to manage, especially if you have coaches who work certain times, and you lock athletes into certain coaches without, that's their coach, right. And so we always kind of change our schedule up. So like, if you come to our gym, you really don't have a coach, right? And I've known, you know, gym facility gyms in town, who had like, set up a model where it was like you train in so and so's class. All right, and you're locked in, when that coach leaves, they all follow that coaster somewhere else. It works until it doesn't.

Jake 45:28

And luckily for us, we only have three full time coaches, or the owner operators. And then everyone else is like, you know, they have a career and a life outside the gym. And then this is like their little escape place to go and train and hang out and see friends and get paid get to be a coach who knows, like little moonlighting kind of game for the other coaches, and so that that's worked out pretty well for us. Yeah. The hard part is, when you have less control over coaches, then it's harder to develop them, you know, like, even a straight up employee, and like, you're in charge of his week. That's, that's where it's, you can really start to push development and all that, but when you have like the our situation where it's kind of more coaches coming in, it's like, hey, like, you have a wife, you have a kid, you have a career, it's like just trying to get all our staff together, it can be very challenging, right? Just get them in one. Same time. Okay, so and so's here, so and so's here so and so is this like, No, my kids sick? And just like, I just need to get all you guys in one room for like, 30 minutes. And so challenging.

Athan 46:26

I do the same thing. So I'm glad I'm not the only one. The podcasts are what I say, we really talked about on the podcast, are optimal health, deep human connections, and self actualization, those are kind of three tenants of it. What of those three things are kind of like resonating with you like what resonates with you? I'll say it again, optimal health, deep human connection, and self actualization.

Jake 46:56

I'd lean towards deep human connection. Just because I think there's there's always going to be something special that is created through suffering. Yeah. Whether that is back country trip, whether it's a military selection, or whether it's that daily grind of coming in, like you, you now have something you share. Yeah. And it's not so much a coach coach's perspective of connecting with an athlete, it's more of the athletes all sharing that experience on the floor, of like, looking at something that they don't want to do and then being like, well, he's gonna do it. So I'm going to do it as well. And he's working really hard. So I'm going to try to work just as hard. And I think like that really is and it's not going to be like across the gym, you're going to find like one or two people, maybe even three or four that you connect with. And like now they're your training partners, right? You saw in your gym, you finally had I mean, think of. I mean, how many friends do you have? Who you've never done something hard with? I mean, like, all my best friends are training partners. In jujitsu, or in the gym, or hunting partners, or military guys that we've just been like, hammered. Like, we have a shared connection. And I think to me that that shared like, challenge or strenuous event is much deeper than like, we got wasted a few times. A lot of people's friends are just drinking buddies, right? They're drinking buddies to hang out on the weekends, they really don't even know each other. They don't know how they're going to react in an adverse environment. But it's like when I have this crew out here on the gym, in the gym floor. And it's like, I mean, I've seen women that it's like, dude, I'd go to combat with her. Yeah, he's got zero fucking quit. Right? She'll grit her teeth, she'll work through extremely hard things. And I've seen plenty of guys who are special forces, guys who do the same exact thing, you just get broken. It's like, Well, man, this is breaking what's going to happen when it gets real now. And so I'd find that second one probably resonates the most to me. And then also, I think it really helps to my original mentor, he made the comment one time is I think you're too close to athletes, because he was very much like, you know, I'm the college football team coach, and I'm gonna, like talk down to all them, they're gonna do exactly what I say. And I don't agree with that. I feel like I have a really strong connection with a lot of my athletes, especially the ones who train consistently over time and see them work through things and make physical breakthroughs to make aesthetic, you know, breakthroughs by coming in in one way and then two or three years later, they look completely different. Their confidence is different. So yes, that second one probably resonates with me.

Athan 49:38

What is it about suffering? I agree with you. Like, there's that and probably why there's the brotherhood of your brother and sisterhood. Military but what do you what do you think it is about that suffering that really creates those that connection?

What is suffering?

Jake 49:56

I think it's a shared experience. That is challenging. such challenging, you're wasted? Do you sit at a bar and drink? And so like, yes, like you're sharing an experience with someone like partying or going out. But it's not like challenging, like, you didn't have to really earn that last shot of whatever it is, you paid for it, right? Were you didn't even get it yourself you paid someone got it for you, right? Um, but I think having to get out there and like earn that, you know, 70 of sandbag get up or that, you know, 17th mile or whatever, maybe whatever the Endeavor may be that 30th day and you know, mountain phase Ranger School, whatever, maybe, I think that like it, like, you have to really want something to get there. Yeah, and, and I mean, to me, it just kind of like trims the fat, it just removes the bad eggs, it just it shows like, hey, like, although you may like this kind of music or this kind of food, or you might be male, female, wherever you're from, it's like, we have a commonality now, like, you have some grit, right. And it all really comes down to what you respect. You know, some people don't really respect grit. They may respect entrepreneurship, or financial success or your influence on social media, right. It's like social media influencers. Most people don't even know who they are. Right? Like, they never actually met that person. They don't know if that person is even the same person they present on social media, right? And I've known people who are influencers and I'm like, wow, like you are so much less cool in person blows my mind how uncool you are. But on social media, you like provide this image and write Sona that's like, Oh, wow. You know, and so after experience that a few times, I wonder how many of those people actually are, like legit, like hard working amazing people? Or do they just produce content that is entertaining and makes people like them? You know?

Athan 51:52

I think there's something that when we're talking about deep human connection, I think there's something about the the wrongness of or the exposure of being vulnerable, like putting yourself on the line. Yeah, yeah. Gather collectively like risking failure at getting to witness somebody risking failure, making themselves vulnerable, potentially crashing and burning. Yeah. And then getting to do that in somewhat of a public forum that we get to share. Yeah, like you said, that bond is like, Okay, I see you man. Like I see what you're, I see what you're about and you seem to again.

Jake 52:30

They yell they don't break and so that's that's progress as they're moving forward us and become stronger. And I think a lot of people hesitate to put themselves in those positions. I'll use military example. I started shooting USPSA pretty recently. And now it's gone. I know how to shoot a gun, I go my USPSA match. And there's some Baba who probably can't run from the first day to the last day just wrecking me his pistol, you know? And so that's a great example I think a lot of like military guys out there who are like influencers and they say and talk all this stuff, but they won't even go to a local USPSA match because they will get wrecked. Yeah, dentist, a plumber and electrician will be out there you know, and all they do all the weekends is go shoot matches and they will get wrecked, but because they are who they are a Navy Seal and Special Forces guy whatever it may be. They're like, I can't go there. They'll talk smack on it. Right but in reality, they're just scared to put themselves out there and if they did put themselves out there they'd be in a position where they could improve. I mean, just I started shooting in it was like wow, I'm the worst shooter in the squad right? Yeah. Even though I have a special operations background. And then But then you start to see yourself kind of move up the rankings and shoot more proficiently and and that I think seeing that progress is like that is where you want to grow. And we use recently we made an announcement the gym that currency, that the only currency is effort. Yes. Right. And so it's like, I'm not impressed by the guy who was a D one decathlete who comes in and wins work capacity. I'm not it's not as impressed me. Don't you expect that that but then seeing someone show up and get totally destroyed their first day, three months later, they're not the last person. Nine months later, they're middle of the pack a year and a half later than the front of the half from the pack. And then one day they win a work capacity. Like to me like that's that's what I want to see someone who's willing to be vulnerable, get broken off, and then grow from it.

Athan 54:34

I think it's a mark of a successful person is the the willingness and the ability to humble yourself to be the novice Yes, to be the beginner in new things. Which is why I really appreciate things like well, you guys all do like, your jujitsu you know, you go and do my tie. Like it's like okay, yeah, you're a badass strength conditioning coach your your your your Ranger, but are you willing to become the student to be the guy who? The white belt?

Jake 55:07

Let's say analogy is, um, is the biggest fish in your pond? Yeah. Right. So it's like, oh, I'm the big fish in this pond. Like if you're the biggest mission, your pond and you need to find a new pond, right? Because you're not gonna grow, you're not gonna, you know be you're not going to be pushed, you know, I think at any point if you're kind of satisfied with like where you're at, and it's like, man, like it's time to be like, Hey, am I really? Am I as good as I think I am? Yeah, it's like, okay, well, why don't you go find out? Yeah, like, why don't you put your money where your mouth Your mouth is? And then it goes, see how good you are?

Athan 55:39

I think that has it's also a result of what you mentioned, community is something we've mentioned several times in this conversation. And and you've we've all heard the saying is that you're the product of the five people you spend your most time with. Yeah. So like, what are those people telling you? You know, now, what are they encouraging you to do? Or they say, No, you just be comfortable man. Like, yeah, what you do just rest on your laurels? You know, are they telling you? Like, no, fuck that man. Like, you're great at what you do? You need to go do something. You suck at it? Yes. You know, what are the what are those people talking to about? You know, and so I think that's really important, which again, is speaks to the community you've created here.

Attitude you need to possess to be successful

Jake 56:18

I had a conversation with one of my coaches one time he was obviously he's a good athlete. And he did well in the gym. And he was talking down some athletes at one point, and I go, Hey, man, like, You're good at this. This is what you do. You shouldn't be good at it. Right? This is like your chosen profession. You've been doing this, this type of stuff for a long time. You have to understand that that dude over there is really good at what he does. This is just not what he does. Right? So you can like talk down to like, he's like a piece of shit, right? But you have to understand that you stepped into his world, let's finance or real estate or medicine. It's like you would be a complete failure and a complete idiot. Like the laughingstock of the organization and it was like, it's like, man, like, you have to understand that just because they're not good at what you enjoy. Doesn't mean you can talk to them that way. I think that's a really important thing. So I would say there's certain things that universally, people respect martial prowess. Everyone respects somebody who can fight. Yes. They're gonna be like, Ooh, I mean, like the UFC, right? They're gonna respect, intimidate and sighs large muscular men are usually other men are like, financial success is one thing, right? So there's certain things that people just like, respects more than like, I'm the best plumber in Austin. t's like, well, I mean, that's respectable, you know, I mean, or the, the best oral surgeon or whatever, like, those are respectable things that possibly require a whole lot more work than being the best fighter or the best runner or the best. So I think at a certain point, like the nice thing about the military is everyone is in the same. They're all on the same level, right? You basic training, same haircuts, same outfits, no rank. It's kind of same on a gym floor. It's like, doesn't matter who's on the gym floor, if it's a CEO or a barista, that guy's not charge you doesn't matter. He may be like, the biggest guy in his company. But in here, it's all even. I think what happens is individuals who are extremely successful in their individual realms come here, and then they're all of a sudden held accountable by a coach or their peers. You know, no one's gonna hold the CEO accountable, rely make the shareholders At a company's like, whatever he says goes, and if he's got a temper, or we support leader doesn't matter, he says that you can fire you. But he comes in here. He says something all my coaches, my coaches, Hey, dude, you can get the eff out. Right. You know, it's like, he's just not used to being talked like that. And I think after a certain point, a lot of men, they do seek that, you know, accountability by peers, or by people they respect.

Athan 59:09

Absolutely. And I think it's a lost art. One of the things I loved about the units I served in, in the military was the, the willingness of everybody to, to just tell you exactly how it was like you're acting like a piece of shit right now. And I love you but I'm just telling you right now, like, cut that shit out. And it was no hard feelings. Like thanks, man. Like it was you know, some guys would get defensive or whatever. And I miss and I and I would I aspire to be more like this.

Jake 59:44

Because in the civilian world, it's a little harder.

Athan 59:47

I can talk to my coaches like that. I probably lose a bunch of them.

Jake 59:52

But I still desire to be a straight shooter. And to be like, hey, like, you sucked at that. Well, the funny thing about that is a lot of people will, like, they'll ask for constructive criticism. They really don't want it.

Athan 1:00:09

They did this want to hear that they're good. They be patted on the back.

Jake 1:00:14

A couple of times we have done that, where it's like, hey, like, come back with some feedback and each other and this and that. And a lot of times, it was just kind of like, no, come on, and you have to have something, man. And I think finally, we got to a point, I think there's probably some frustration on some individual sports where they actually finally were like, giving feedback. And it was like, oh, like, thank you. Like, that's what I need to hear. And now that you say it, yes, that's true. But a lot of people are like, Oh, I'm open to feedback. They get feedback. They're really defensive. Well, that guy doesn't know this, or you do this. It's like, no, no, no, I mean, like you I'm not saying you're bad at your job. I'm just saying, like you asked for, if you ask for feedback, you should be willing to take it. Yeah, I think a lot of grown men you know, they say they're open to it, but they're not it's just be too defensive. hurts their ego. So does Washington four year old ski down the hill...

Athan 1:01:11

But what's going on around the gym that people should know about anything? You guys got coming up? Or anything you want to make sure the audience hears about

Jake 1:01:20

We try to the gym can the gym is kind of an artificial environment unless you're a competitive exerciser, the gyms nothing really, really tangible and real happens the gym, it's it's a controlled training environment, to do things better whether that's how to deal with your spouse, whether that's a military selection, whether it's climbing a mountain, race, whatever it may be. And so one thing we like to let our athletes kind of know because I remember the first backcountry trip I did outside the military. I went with like to three the most studly men I knew, and like, everyone kind of got broke, you know? And so like, we get the forage every summer. Yeah, like the idea is like, let's get out of the controlled environment. And let's, let's go somewhere and actually kind of test it out to win with a whole different environment, a little more of an uncontrolled environment. Yeah. And so the forage is one thing that every summer we look forward to, it's great to scale Texas, because it's hot. But we get to take people who are all, you know, typically very successful and have a wide array of experiences, and take them and have them do something never done before, which is, sleep in the back country. You know, for four nights, it's been five days doing land navigation. So stuff that me and you have done and love, and I get to share that with people is like really cool. Because oftentimes, when we're in the back country, we're doing something, right. If it's work, or if it's hunting, or whatever it may be, if you're a climber, you're trying to climb a mountain, and like on a certain timeframe, but just getting back there and get to share that and put people in like a whole new experience. And seeing them struggle and succeed is is awesome. So that's something that we get coming up this summer, we got 12 women already locked down, the men's group will get announced pretty soon. And this will be the seventh and eighth trip that we've taken back there.

Athan 1:03:10

I'm definitely waiting for that men's trip because I'm gonna jump on that.

Jake 1:03:14

It's good. It's everything you wanted the military to be? Yeah, is what it is. It's like, oh, you get some great instruction. We're in a beautiful place. But hey, we can drink whiskey by the fire. Yeah, so it's like all those times where you're somewhere really cool. Like, man, this would be really neat was a fire and we have whiskey and we were all laughing. Like that's kind of what the Forge ends up being. Yeah, the hard parts but the fun part.

Athan 1:03:37

For everyone listening who maybe have one follow atomic athlete on Instagram. We'll talk about that in just a second. But they have these awesome like real life like, you know, instructional classes that they give that you wear, it might be self defense, or it might be like, how do you know I recently you guys did a medical one where medical?

Jake 1:04:01

The Vanguard this weekend, which is butchery edge weapons striking, grappling, shooting trauma. And so that's like a six or seven module like weekend kind of it.

Athan 1:04:12

So it's like taking everything like like you said, The gym is like a controlled saying, you know, it's the lab. Yeah. And it takes everything out of the lab. And it puts things into like a more real world environment and applicable of all those physical traits and mental traits that you're developing. So I love the you guys do that.

Jake 1:04:31

We don't we don't teach that like, I mean, I teach certain blocks. Like navigation. Yeah, we set it up. Yeah, we bring in people who are really good at once again, like, we're not gonna rest on our laurels and say I did this and I did that. I can teach this. It's like, yeah, I can teach you how to put a tourniquet on and pack a wound is CLS train. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I have to do all that kind of stuff. But it's like why not bring someone who's got 20 years professional experience and emergency medicine. You know, why not bring up A World Champion in and teach grappling or a competitive fighter, and he's striking, or a full time professional butcher and teach the butcher, you know, these are all things that I can do on my own. I do them every year, whether it's hunting or training or whatever, but it's like, there's just like, you can't have an ego, there's better people out there than me to teach these things.

Athan 1:05:19

That's a full conversation that we may not be able to get into right now. But like, there's a there's really something to be said about, like you said, checking your ego and brand and and letting experts come people who are experts in their field kind of do their thing. You know, rather than you trying to I got in trouble with that with business. In the beginning, I wanted to be center stage, I wanted to look so important and so knowledgeable. And I really just ended up like being mediocre.

Jake 1:05:52

I honestly, I think it at this juncture, it's like, when you run a business, right? Like, the key key personnel typically are going to be the ones who understand it the best that like, if I could just go in the mountains and like have like a pass, pass it on to someone else to like, run, then that would be amazing. Just find the right candidates hard, you know, right. Um, the next time we get close, I think to having someone then it's kind of like their path diverges or something like that. So, because we're all getting older, you know, so it's like, we kind of need that next generation to come in and pick up where we're leaving off of like, okay, you know, him 2829 I'm fit, I'm motivated. I'm interested in this. And then it's like, like, trying to have that, like next generation of coaches come through. Well, you're raising them right now. Yeah, we're trying, yeah, try and we'll see what happens.

Athan 1:06:44

I want to wrap us up with where I started. I'm massively. I'm so grateful for what you guys do. I've deeply appreciated just being a member of your gym while I'm here in Austin. And, you know, I'm on these orders. And I'm just trying to stay fit and healthy myself. You you've you've created a great platform, which I really appreciate and, and I'm just really inspired by what you guys are doing. So I'm just really thankful for you guys.

Jake 1:07:11

We love having you guys. All the guys you brought over. It's great. Yeah, fortitude people. Yeah, they're awesome. They're awesome. It's funny when they first came there. But then like, once, once they like, he just started talking to people talking to coaches, they felt comfortable. It's like, like Ritter they're in a crack is oh, great, man. He's amazing. He's so great. It's like, Hey, you want the instructions for the tie dyed assurance? He goes, Oh, no, I know how to do this. Tell me. Tell me why you know how to do so? Well. Yeah. Yeah. So it's great to get to know all those people.

Athan 1:07:40

Yeah, it's just very mild differences. But I think the good thing is is I think culturally again, because probably because of the military background, but I think a lot of things were very similar for those guys. And so I'm grateful for you guys taking care of my people. And thanks for being on the show. Everybody, this is Jake signs, we will put in the notes, anything, we'll put their Instagram page, we'll put their website. Any if we mentioned any books in here, I'll make sure I put them in the notes. For for so you guys can check them out. You mentioned one book earlier, which I'll go back through the video and talk about it.

Jake 1:08:17

Thanks for having me.

Athan 1:08:18

Thanks for being here. I'm so grateful that you joined us for this episode of doing the work podcast. Providing you with value is why I do this and I hope you got something out of this episode that you can put into action into your life. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please share this episode with your friends and family who are looking to level up in life. Sign up for our email list at To receive special offers and discounts from our sponsors. subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and anywhere podcasts are hosted. Thanks again for joining the doing the word podcast. And we'll see you on the next episode.

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