Tattooed Crossfitter To Bearded Monk: How Mushrooms Rewire Your Brain, Yoga Tune-Up Balls & More With Mike Bledsoe

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

The first time I met Mike Bledsoe three years ago, he was hunched over in the corner of a busy porch at the PaleoFX convention meditating with a “Headspace” app.

I took one look at this bearded, tattooed Crossfitter and judged him to be yet another exercise and fitness junkie meathead.

I was dead wrong.

Mike is profound, interesting, chock full of knowledge on everything from plant-based medicine to the fitness business to meditation and breathwork, and (like me) was homeschooled K-12.

He is one of the founders and owners of Faction Strength & Conditioning Home of CrossFit Memphis. He has a degree in Exercise & Sport Science as well as a long list of meaningless certifications that might awe some people but not most and definitely not the people who are probably on this website.

At 19 years of age, Mike thought he should donate his body and mind to the service of his country in the US Navy. It was there that he discovered that he didn’t like taking orders. He did extremely well and had a good time, but being part of a system was not his ideal (and he’s one idealistic dude). Getting out was scary, but made the entire world available to him.

At the ripe old age of 24, he began college at the University of Memphis in the business department but before the first semester could end he changed his major to Health & Human Performance. It was there that he was first introduced to Olympic Weightlifting, by Dr. Brian Schilling.

While in school he regularly donated his body and parts of it to research in the name of science. It was during his senior year that he and a guy named Rob Conner started CrossFit Memphis. Dropping out of school after the first semester of grad school, Mike devoted his time to growing the business and becoming a better coach.

Mike “Matraca” Bledsoe (matraca means chatterbox in portuguese) is most well known for his ability to not shut up, and you'll understand why during our discussion in today's podcast, in which you'll discover:

-Why Mike was so confused the first time he saw a PVC pipe in a gym….

-The strange story of Mike and Ben's meeting at Joe DeSena's farm in Vermont…

-What Mike discovered by going on his first magic mushroom trip in a dog park…

-How psilocybin and ayahuasca rewire neurons in your brain…

-How to find a good shaman if you decide you want to do ayahuasca…

-Mike's one-two combo for morning breathwork and deep tissue work…

-Mike's evening routine, and what he completely avoids for 90 minutes before bed…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Ben's podcast on mushrooms

Jill Miller's yoga tune-up balls

Wim Hof

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Mike Bledsoe or I? Leave your thoughts below and one of use will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

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9 thoughts on “Tattooed Crossfitter To Bearded Monk: How Mushrooms Rewire Your Brain, Yoga Tune-Up Balls & More With Mike Bledsoe

  1. Jon says:

    Guys you were entertaining to the max.

    Could either of you recommend or advise on good colonic tools to assist massage please.

  2. Hannah says:

    This was really interesting and this guy has so much fascinating information to share. I’ll admit I don’t know much about this kind of stuff at all, so I liked how easily this stuff was broken down. I’ve personally never tried herbal or plant medicines before, but I love how it’s so natural and surely must be healthier for your body than medication. I don’t think this means medication should be replaced fully by plant medicine, but I think it’s a good avenue to take to start.

  3. Francisco Moreno says:

    Ben / Mike, thanks for all your insight. Do you have any contact for a reliable shaman in Ontarion to source ayahuasca or mushroom rituals?

    And yes Ben , look into Carlos Castaneda that will send you down a big rabbit hole.

  4. Levi Cardinal says:

    Hi Ben & Mike,

    Glad to hear the 2 of you get together for a podcast. I have to give Mike and the Barbell Shrugged crew props for getting back into the gym after an embarrassingly long delay (about 5 years) and far too many excuses in between. Love the show and topics, people, etc. Thanks for the show and inspiration. No more excuses now :) And Ben, have been listening to your show for the last year or so now and am so appreciative for the range and depth of topics you cover. I am now hooked on OCR and especially the training for it.

    My question is about how I can convince my wife to let me give plant medicines a try. I will try not to bore you with too many details, but I think a little bit of context may help with an answer.

    I have been sober for 6 1/2 years now and addiction runs in my genes. Prior to sobriety, alcohol induced blackouts were becoming more and more frequent and it was very apparent that it was all or nothing for me. Meanwhile, my saint of a wife, by some miracle, stayed with me through it.

    I am at a very different point in my life now, especially mentally, and know that plant based medicine would have a tremendous impact for the best. I have listened to and read several podcasts and articles, research, etc., but have no idea how to approach my wife about embarking on this journey with the emotional scars that have been left. How in the world can I convince her that my intentions are for the good and effecting our lives for the better and address my prior addiction issues that will inevitably come up? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and I completely understand if you do not wish to comment.

    Much Respect,


    P.S. I live in Austin and will certainly be going to Paleo FX in the years going forward. I look forward to having the opportunity to meet you guys.

  5. All Rigsby says:

    Love the show! First time I have ever posted a comment would love to see you get Dr. Fred Bisci on here. He is almost 90 yrs old and has been a raw vegan for 50 years now. Does a lot of juicing and fasting and believes in eating foods in certain orders.

  6. Kevin says:

    as far as cannabis, what did mike bledsoe mean when he said portable? like can you travel with cannabis now?

  7. Mark FrankDC says:

    HI Ben

    Love the show and with your new interest in “Plant Medicine” wonder if you have ever read the “Teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda. Awesome work from the 70’s on traditional shamans and plant medicine.



    1. I'll check it out!

  8. Benjamin Buchl says:

    Dear Ben and Mike,

    I really enjoyed your recent podcast. I have been a long time listener and reader of Ben’s work. I will now utilize Mike’s materials as I have long looked into investing into a gym. People like you inspire individuals who look to maximize their health physically, mentally, and spiritually. What I loved most about the podcast was how you two have found ways to inspire and help others in the world. Mike’s story about mushrooms and learning to listen to others really hit home. For the longest time I was so focused on my own health and despite becoming a better athlete never felt fulfilled. Striving to listen better to others and helping others in much more fulfilling than simply working on yourself.

    I have worked as an Oncology Nurse at the Mayo Clinic for four years and am currently in a Nurse Practitioner program to specialize in palliative care which is something I truly believe you guys already do. Palliative care has evolved from symptom management at the end of life to symptom management throughout life. As you guys know diet, exercise, stress management, and spiritual health affects people greatly. Unfortunately I have seen how poor lifestyle choices lead to chronic issues (diabetes, cancer, etc.) and I want to inspire others to utilize some of the tools you have given me.

    I am a type A person to the fullest with many ideas that include starting a gym and later on in life starting a private practice as a practitioner to help people holistically. I am far from perfect having struggled with adrenal fatigue from over-training and daily stress. I continue to learn everyday for my own health and with goals of helping others. Having experimented with a variety of physical tests (crossfit, endurance races, obstacle courses, NCAA football, etc.) and diets (strict paleo, ketogenic, primal) I have learned that what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. All that said, what you guys do has inspired many people and I will continue to utilize you guys as resources. Now I will wind down with a little sci fi book of my own with my the lights dimmed before bed.

    Thank you guys for what you do,

    Ben Buchl

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