November 14, 2019
[00:00:43] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:16] Guest Introduction
[00:09:02] The “Godfather” Of the Online Fitness Industry Journey
[00:13:39] Changes in The Online Fitness Industry
[00:16:14] Taking a Back Seat in the Business
[00:24:28] The Steps from Debilitating Illness to A Nearly Complete Recovery
[00:29:11] Podcast Sponsors
[00:32:18] cont. The Steps from Debilitating Illness to A Nearly Complete Recovery
[00:37:09] Lifestyle Practices Used to Control Stress
[00:41:22] Reflexology 101
[00:48:46] Other Big Wins Discovered in His Recovery
[00:55:57] Involvement in The Fitness Industry
[00:57:02] The Rewind Bars
[01:02:00] Writing About the Journey
[01:02:36] Closing the Podcast
[01:05:03] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ryan: I got to try before I get on drugs. He's like, “Alright. Well, give it a try, come back and we'll put you on the meds.” I never went back in and I never went on the medication, never missing an event, just being there all the time and doing everything I can to build my business 100% virtual and be home with them. Yeah. Someone can take away from this interview that, “Hey, I could just simplify stuff and reduce the overwhelm, then my job is done.”
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Well, howdy ho. Today's podcast is with special guest, Ryan Lee. You're going to really dig this, dude. We talked a little bit about joint pain, about autoimmunity, and about inflammation in today's show. So, I would be remiss not to let you know about the brand-new supplement I just launched. I've been working behind the scenes in the secret Batman labs at Kion on a brand new version of Kion Flex. So, what we did was we managed to isolate this special part of turmeric that's not curcumin, which you might be familiar with. Instead, what we got are the turmerosaccharides, which are actually far more bioavailable and provides significant joint health benefits. The body of research on this stuff is absolutely staggering when it comes to reducing joint swelling and tenderness.
And then, we blended that with AyuFlex, which comes from this Ayurvedic superfruit called Terminalia, and this one improves joint flexibility. So, it's going to help out with mobility, joint discomfort, joint soreness. And then, we threw in proteolytic enzymes, which are kind of the final icing on the recovery cake. And these things, of course, have been used for a very long time to knock out soreness. But when you combine them with the turmerosaccharides and AyuFlex, I've been popping three of these every night on an empty stomach, they are absolutely mind-blowingly effective for supporting your joints and for helping you to bounce back after a tough workout or when you're injured. So, we just launched this formula. It's called Flex. It's available now at 10% discount to you. You go to getkion.com/flex. That's getK-I-O-N.com/flex. And you can use discount code BGF10 at the checkout to get 10% off.
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Hey, folks. My guest on today's podcast, Ryan Lee, and I go pretty far back. As a matter of fact, not to blow smoke, Ryan, but this guy that you're about to hear me talk to is probably responsible for initially kind of initiating and teaching me just about everything I know in the realm of online marketing and success in the fitness industry. I mean, it was like over a decade ago that I started to delve into Ryan's teachings and website. I think it was like some hokey strength training website with animated GIFs.
Ryan: Oh, yeah.
Ben: And like templates for workouts. And I used to sit there at the gym where the–where was I? The Liberty Lake Athletic Club, one of the first gyms I managed. And I'd use Ryan's systems and teachings and software to systematize a lot of what I was doing. And then, I started to attend Ryan's conference back in the day in Connecticut. I learned how to create information products and eBooks, and virtual coaching programs and all these kinds of profit-generating and information scaling tools that I still utilize quite a bit to this day. But I mean, Ryan is really one of the guys who's responsible for taking me from being a fledgling personal trainer into learning how to scale my knowledge and reach a lot more people. So, you're going to get a chance to learn a lot more about Ryan shortly because he has a great story, and he also has a lot to bring to the table as far as autoimmune disease, which we're going to address in detail today as well.
So, Ryan is an exercise physiologist. He recently founded a bar company called Rewind. He's written a ton of books, particularly in the fitness and the fitness business industry like “The Millionaire Workout” and “Passion to Profits.” He's been featured on the front page of Wall Street Journal. He's been named by Entrepreneur magazine as the world's number one lifestyle entrepreneur. And he also has a very interesting backstory that's occurred over the past few years in terms of his own personal health journey. So, as you listen to Ryan and I chatted up, you can hit the shownotes and leave your own questions or comments or feedback, or delve into anything that we talk about if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. That's L-E-E, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. So, Ryan, welcome to the show, man.
Ryan: Wow. What an intro. I got to say that it's been really, really cool to see your journey. I remember everyone who goes to my events, and I remember you from the beginning, and we hit it off right away. I remember even hanging out at Sam after one of the events just going out. I was always struck by you. I'm like, “Man, this guy is sharp.” Like you got it, and not only did you get it, you always implemented it. So, it's been so cool to see people like you and some of my other clients like Jeff Cavalier from ATHLEAN-X and [00:07:29] ______. And so, many people take this stuff and just go with it and impact so many lives. I'm truly grateful for you then kind of returning the favor and having me on your show today because I know you reach a lot of great people as well, so this is going to be fun. I'm just here to share and to help as many people as I can.
Ben: Well, thanks, man. Thanks. I appreciate your kind words. And I actually remember Sam. You're talking about the one, that conference that you put on at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah?
Ryan: Yeah, Park City.
Ben: Yeah, Yeah. I do recall that. I connected with Garrett Gunderson there, who later went on to become my financial advisor for like seven years. I remember we all went to–actually, my faint memory is that we wound up at a nightclub in Park City afterwards and one of your speakers–I think it was Mike Koenigs wound dancing on stage in a giant dinosaur costume. I believe that was the event.
Ryan: That sounds about right.
Ryan: That sounds about right. But I do remember you. You were one of the guys. Whenever I'd have a product for sale, back in the day, you'd watch the receipts come in. Almost without fail, first one, two or three orders, Ben Greenfield, Ben Greenfield Fitness. I mean, you went to almost all my events. You were there, you were in the front row, you were taking notes. Now we're ready to rock, baby, and it's just really cool seeing what you do. So, now I would dump blowing smoke. Let's get some stuff out there, Ben. Come on.
Ben: I figured we could just blow smoke for an hour and people could sit back and listen in —
Ryan: We could do that, too.
Ben: –completely useless podcast. Alright, sorry. Sorry, you guys. Sorry, our listeners. We'll get into the good stuff now. I think a lot of people perhaps don't realize that you're the godfather of a lot of the online fitness industry, Ryan. And before we delve into what's kind of changed for you recently, from what I understand, you actually got your start as like a personal trainer and strength coach coming from the realm of exercise physiology, but can you give people a background of where you came from as far as going from a fledgling personal trainer into a guy who really made it in the fitness industry?
Ryan: Sure. And actually, my first job, some people don't even realize this, I worked for six years right out of college in the Children's Rehab Hospital. It was called Blythedale Children's Hospital, and I was a recreational therapist. I was a CTRS, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. So, I did adapt aquatic. So, I took the kids in the pool and did exercise there. We did sports games and fitness, even craft projects. I worked from 2:00 pm to 10:00 p.m. So, we would do things like capture the flag at night after all the other therapists had left. So, I spent six years doing that. And on the side, in the mornings when I had free, I was a trainer. I'd go to people's houses, I would go to gyms, I would run speed agility clinics. I would then, during lunch breaks or dinner breaks, when my hour's shifted, I would train young athletes at their house. And that's what I did at night. I put myself through graduate school and got a master's in exercise physiology.
Ben: Wait, wait, wait. I'm just going to stop you for just a second. Are you saying that you did —
Ryan: Yeah. I have a lot of stuff.
Ben: You didn't start off by getting calf implants in an Instagram channel?
Ryan: Well, I was practicing the selfie, whatever the face they do with those lips, the fish lip selfie, I was working on that. So, this goes back to '94. This is when I started at the Children's Hospital. This was obviously really before the internet took off. The way I got into the internet's working at the hospital and it was like mid-1998 and I just got a computer at home, a Compaq something. I don't remember what it was. It was like a Compaq all in one with like a floppy disk. We got the internet dial-up and I said, “You know what, I should have a little website for my sports training company because I was training athletes.” And I used FrontPage 98. I couldn't even get that up, so my neighbor Jonathan, who was 12 years old, I gave him 20 bucks and he helped me get my site up. I mean, that's what happened and I started writing articles about training because this was obviously before YouTube and Facebook and all this other stuff. Back then, Ben, you couldn't have videos online, so it was just articles. Even when I took pictures, they would take five minutes to download. So, it's just mostly articles.
Ben: Yeah. Well, articles and GIFs. I remember when I used to go to a lot of your websites to learn these different strength moves, you had like software where you could put together workouts for people and then send them to them. There were no photos and videos, it was all those animated GIFs.
Ryan: That was it. That was the only thing you could do, and no one obviously had smartphones, so you couldn't check it on the phone. So, it's these little animated GIF files we created to show all the training by way of my athletic background. So, I was a competitive track and field athlete and ran all through college and captain in my college track team. So, that was my training. So, I love doing speed training, but you're right, we couldn't really even do big photos or videos, so we started doing that online and lo and behold, this thing just kept growing. I hired a trainer, and some people might know this guy's name, to help me create training programs so people would pay me like $100 for a sports training program.
Hey, I'm an 18-year-old football player. Running back, can I have a training program? They pay me $100 and I hired a trainer to help me create programs. His name is Craig Valentine. And he's pretty well-known in personal development and fitness now and started [00:12:50] ______. Craig was my first guy I hired back in the late '90s. Then I started selling sports training equipment like medicine balls and bands, and it just really grew from there. That was the beginning of it. I started to become more of a marketer as I started to look at my library of books. It was all fitness and strength and conditioning in NSCA. I was a CSCS and had my ACSM certification. And then, slowly, 10% of my book started to become business, 20%. And then, eventually, it was more business than fitness books. And then, I started teaching. Other trainers like you would say, “Hey, Ryan, if you could do this stuff and sell these programs online and eBooks and training, could you help me?” I said, “Sure. Why not?” And that was where it really began in the early 2000s.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, it is interesting to hear about this because I think I was kind of sort of joking when I talk about calf implants and Instagram. But it really is true that it is much easier nowadays to simply slap up a channel and start putting photos and videos of you working out. And people a lot of times, they'll follow you based on your body or the size of your implants. But there's almost like this lack of folks who are still putting in the hard, hard work. Another guy who's getting a lot of publicity right now is Bret Contreras with his Glute Lab and his new glute book. He's a perfect example of kind of an OG in the fitness industry who's run gyms and trained people's glutes for years and years before there were websites and Instagram.
It's those kind of people that I think that if you're listening in and you're trying to assess whether or not someone's actually real or legit, look into their history, look into how many hundreds of people they've helped boots on the ground in a brick and mortar type of scenario actually watching people move and working with them one on one versus how things have become largely these days where you can go straight from a weekend personal training certification into an Instagram channel into coaching people or having people buy your product with very, very little experience.
Ryan: Zero, less than little experience. And you're right. I mean, I cut my teeth training clients, training athletes. I did an internship at Yale University and I worked with their strength conditioning program. I mean, I was in there. I was doing cleans and jerks with them. I even did a research study when I worked at the hospital and I have a published thing about Osgood-Schlatter like we did a whole scientific thing with–oh, god, it's crazy, the amount of training I did with clients. But you're right, now someone could go look pretty fit, be good looking man or woman and all of a sudden people are paying them money for their programs. It's just generic cookie-cutter stuff.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It's a blessing and a curse though. I mean, at the same time, we don't have to use cartoons anymore to tell people which exercises to do.
Ryan: Nothing wrong with that exercise cartoons [00:15:52] ______.
Ben: There's a little more bandwidth than that.
Ryan: Right, right. And there's absolutely some really good stuff and it's–they're really good fitness professionals and strength and conditioning coaches who know their stuff can now demonstrate it as well. So, there's obviously good and bad with both. And people just have to be a little bit more discerning who they choose to listen to.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Now, in my estimation, I guess it was–I don't know, maybe five or six years ago, I could be wrong, but it seems like you went from putting on a lot of these conferences, training a lot of trainers in the fitness industry, putting out a lot of your books, a lot of your marketing materials, et cetera, and you seem to fall off the map to a certain extent. It was almost like Ryan Lee disappeared. Can you describe exactly what happened to you?
Ryan: It was actually more like nine years ago. Things really started to change. I started a supplement company and I brought on a couple of partners, and we were the backend for a lot of the big online fitness guys. The company was called Prograde Nutrition. Basically, every big trainer was selling our stuff and things were going really, really well. It kind of took a little bit more behind the scenes approach of that. I got out of just strictly working with fitness pros and I started focusing more on just anyone who wants to learn entrepreneurship. So, I got out of specific fitness industry events, started teaching. Little more general entrepreneurship got behind the scenes with the nutrition company. And my wife and I, at that time, we had just had our fourth child, but then things within–I'm telling you, Ben, it's amazing how your life can change within like six–within a few months, our top promoter–basically, Prograde, the way it was run, we were an affiliate company. We only did well when affiliates promoted.
Ben: That was the Prograde Nutrition?
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. So, one of our top affiliates left and started his own company. Okay, cool. What wasn't cool was that all the other top affiliates were friends with this guy and left. So, we had just done a multimillion-dollar blanket order for some ingredients that we now owed and our revenue kind of went off a cliff, almost overnight. It was pretty shocking. Right around that time, my mom, and she was only 63 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer and within three months have passed away. And then, I launched a print magazine. That failed after one issue because–I'm like, “Oh, recurring revenue, right, you could charge monthly.” And I didn't realize the print, you have to put out issues like three months in advance. And I just spent almost $100,000 doing an infomercial. The day I filmed it, I had a double sinus infection, couldn't speak, and we just–tough luck. So, we couldn't air. So, it was like–I thought like I was in a–
Ben: So, you had basically like a ton of stress building up all at once.
Ryan: All at once within months, the fourth child, my mom passing away, the financial stress, all of this hit me and I started eating more, not exercising as well and everything just kind of came to this head where over the course of years, I started getting more joint pain. I was just kind of disappearing from everything. I was just tired of everything and my joints started hurting really badly to the point when I woke up one morning, I could barely walk. And I'm like, “There's something serious going on.” Like I was limping, I could not walk. Like most people, if they have something going on with their body, I went to my MD. He didn't know what it was. I went to every doctor you could imagine. When my feet hurt, I went to a podiatrist. I went to a physical therapist. I went to two different chiropractors.
Finally, I went to a rheumatologist and he looked at me, he saw my toes were swollen, my hands were swollen, was asking me my health history and in about two minutes looked at me and said, “You have an autoimmune. You have psoriatic arthritis.” I'm like, “What?” And he said, “Yup. That's what you got.” I said, “Well, all right. And I have the signs. Well, I know that's inflammation, so what are we going to do? Let's reduce inflammation.” He goes, “No. We got to put you on a methotrexate.” I'm like, “Wait, what? Methotrexate.” He's like, “Well, yeah. It's chemo. So, just make sure you're not around anyone who gets sick.” I said, “Doc, I have four kids.”
Ben: They wanted to give you a chemo drug for autoimmune?
Ben: Is that common?
Ryan: I have no idea. I didn't stick around to find out because I said, “Well, it doesn't sound right.” He's like, “Well, you have all these things.” I don't even remember what he was saying, something about, “Well, your white blood cells are this and you have all this going on. So, what we basically have to do is, we don't know what's causing it, so we just have to kind of kill everything and then rebuild you back up.” He said, “So, you have to come in like every week or two. We'll do blood tests.” And I said, “Well, isn't this dangerous?” He said, “Well, yeah. There are some side effects and it could lead to this and potential cancer.” I'm like, “What?” I said, “But isn't something –” I said, “The autoimmune, it's a symptom. There's something causing it. There's a cause and effect, like there is something causing this inflammation.” I said, “If I clean up my diet, try to reduce my stress, maybe change [00:21:07] _____, can't that help?” He goes, “No.” I said, “What?” He said, “We don't know what causes it.” I said, “Well, I got to try before I get on drugs.” He's like, “Alright. Well, give it a try and then come back and we'll put you on the meds.” And that was, I don't know, five, six years ago, and I never went back in and I never went on the medication.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And by the way, I don't want to gloss over this idea of stress because–I mean, if you now go to PubMed and you do some research on autoimmune disease, there is a direct research linked association, a research-based association between basically the neuroendocrine response to stress, all these hormones that get released in response to some kind of lifestyle incident, whether it'd be a loved one dying or the type of business issues that you went through, or just a whole bunch of bullets from the matrix getting thrown at you at once. And that can lead to a lot of issues that you can find in the literature on a huge release of cytokine production, a big dump of inflammation, hypersensitivity to foods, this thing called cell danger response that Neil Nathan talks about in a really good book, “Toxic.” I mean, you can go from being fine to having some significant–typically, it's like leaky gut issues or some type of gut dysregulation or autoimmune disease that manifests directly in response to the neuroendocrine issues that result from excess stress.
Ryan: Yeah. And I had more stress than I've ever had in my life. I have zero doubt that was a major cause, a huge part of it. So, it was pretty scary though. And basically, looking it up and him saying, “Well, then you're –” I loved running and sprinting and playing tennis. And he basically said I have to get on drugs and I'm probably not going to be able to do that stuff anymore. And now fast forward all these years later, I'm down 35 pounds. I'm the same weight and pant size I was in high school. I'm not going to say I'm 100% pain-free, but I'm probably 95% pain-free. There are some times, maybe if the weather, if there's a thunderstorm I feel at my joints or if I feel extra stressed or the diet is not pretty clean, I'll feel it in my joints, usually in my hands, but mostly, I've never felt better.
Ben: Yeah. I do remember, I guess it was probably like 2013, 2014, something like that, I got an email from you. It was not written directly to me. I think it was to your entire audience about how you weren't going to be sending as many emails because you literally couldn't type, like you couldn't move your fingers to type on the keyboard.
Ryan: Yeah, it was, it was that bad. And I knew I still have a little self-test that I do to know if my joints are in pain or not because it was so bad where I couldn't snap my fingers. It was so painful. I couldn't rub my fingers together [00:24:18] ______ and even now you could hear me. Oh, yeah. That's what I know. I could snap my fingers. I'm good.
Ben: You're snapping, baby.
Ryan: Oh, baby. Yeah. I couldn't type.
Ben: So, this doc wanted to put you on chemo. You said no. You walked out. What'd you do? How did you go from being where you're at now to how debilitated you were in that office? The first thing I did was say, “Okay. Who do I know? Who do I know in kind of the health space and natural space?” The first person I called was my buddy Brian Kurtz, who at that time was running Boardroom and they had a really popular health newsletter. And he had connections to every doctor you could imagine in naturopaths. And I said, “Brian, who's the best naturopath in the area?”
So, Brian connected me with this great naturopath and then we did some tests to see what foods I was most sensitive to. And the ones that came back from me, the biggie was dairy, and then gluten was the other one, and the cane sugar was the third one. So, the first thing I did was, “Okay. Let me go on like elimination diet,” and not just reduced, I eliminated everything, all dairy, all gluten, all sugar from my diet. And almost within like two days, I felt better. Not 100% better, but I was able to actually start walking. And I stuck with that, and I started to lose weight for probably about a month or two strictly, and it just was really, really hard. I mean, that's all I can say. It was really hard to have zero dairy, zero gluten, zero sugar with the kids, with birthday parties, with pizza night, with going–it became harder.
And the naturopath said, “It's okay. You could start to slowly add in some of these things, add in a little bit of gluten once in a while, so sugar, see how you feel.” And I slowly started to add it in and I was feeling okay, and then you know what happens. Over time, you start adding in more, you start adding in more, and start getting worse on the diet. Stress level maintained. We're still going through some ups and downs. But eventually, I slowly started gaining the weight back, started getting a little bit more pain until about two and a half years ago, we went on vacation, my wife and I with our kids, came back. I couldn't put my pants back. I remember trying to put my jeans back on and I said to my wife, “Did you wash them?” She's like, “What are you talking about? I didn't wash your pants. We're on vacation.”
And I went to the doctor. I was sick, I didn't feel well, and he said I have high blood pressure. That scared me more than my autoimmune, the high blood pressure. Oh my god, am I going to have a heart attack? At that time, I was like 45. That was it. You have your kind of–even though [00:27:12] _____, I had my coming to Jesus moment and I was close–I'm only 5'8″. I was close to 200 pounds. And I said, “I got to figure this out.” And I looked back at what worked for me, what didn't work for me, why I fell off my diet, how I started to introduce stress back into my life. And I went on like a simplification. Just deep dive. And I said, “The first thing I want to do is let me focus on my morning routine.”
Not that I was eating a lot of donuts and crap. I didn't have anything consistent. So, I said, “Let me have something in the morning that I know is going to be healthy, that doesn't have the inflammatory stuff.” And I started having bars. And I tried every bar you could imagine. Your bar wasn't out then, I don't think, Ben.
Ben: No. My bar has only been on for like two years.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. It was before your bar. Otherwise, I would have tried your bar.
Ben: Of course. Yeah, I couldn't find–Ben Greenfield, come on. So, I tried different bars. And even though I couldn't find one that I truly loved, at least just having that and having a smaller amount of calories and trying to find things that didn't cause inflammation in the morning, having water, taking supplements, having every day for lunch having a really good salad–you want to hear my special salad, Ben?
Ryan: Let's hear your salad. Alright, my listeners love salad recipes. They love smoothie recipes, so [00:28:35] _____.
Ryan: Okay. Now, everyone, I'd tell my salad recipe today. Some people are like, “Oh, my god, that sounds great.” Most people start dry heaving. This is it. I'll take greens. Now, what I found that the greens that I love, a combination, I'll do half of it is spinach, like baby spinach, the other half is arugula. So, you get that nice mix of two. I love arugula, the little, the [00:28:56] ______ flavor. And then, a can of sardines with packed olive oil. So, I use the olive oil as like the dressing, and I throw in the sardines, and I chop it all up. There you go. That's my salad.
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And not only do they have a whole bunch of brick-and-mortar stores spread out all over the country if you wanted to go try them on, but you can also just go to untuckit.com, untuck, U-N-T-U-C-Kit, untuckit.com, and you can use promo code GREENFIELD. They're going to give you 20% off. So, this is perfect for holiday gifts. It's perfect for a gift for yourself. It lets you craft this smart, relaxed style. It looks really good. And if you're sick of your untucked shirts looking like a complete slob fest, then these are going to be a complete upgrade for you. So, it's untuckit.com and use promo code GREENFIELD.
I dig it. Now, of course, for people who have autoimmune, because I know we're going to get this question, who are concerned about the oxalates in spinach because that can be like a high oxalate food. Another really good substitute that's very low oxalate for a leafy green is actually bok choy. You could do that same thing and use bok choy if you're actually concerned about oxalates or joint issues related to that.
Ryan: Yeah. And whatever greens are going to work for you, great. I've found for me, it's been fine. And I have had bok choy as well and I've had some combination with different bok choy and spinach and kale. I've tried everything. But it's usually greens with sardines and using the olive oil, and I chop it off. That's like my go-to lunch. And then, for dinner, just trying to eat really good, clean healthy foods as much as I can. And what I did was, because I remember last time I fell off because it was too strict, and I get it, and I totally get it, Ben. I know some people are like, “Look, you can never have XYZ. You should never have pie or cookies or pizza.” I totally understand it. For me, it didn't work so I'm–even Rewind, my company, it's kind of like a fun '80s theme.
So, I have my '80s methodology where I try to eat really good clean foods 80% of the time, and 20%, I'll have some fun, especially if we know we're going out tonight and there's going to be a birthday party and my kids–Okay. I'll eat really clean today. I'll have a little piece of cake tonight. And I know some people again are really strict and they'll never deviate at all, no added sugar, no gluten, no dairy. And if you have dietary concerns or allergies, I totally get it. I'm just saying for me, that's worked and I've been able to now maintain this for over two and a half years, no issues, no setbacks, just eating clean 80% of the time.
Ben: You never get any flare-ups or anything like that anymore?
Ryan: The only time I get a flare-up is when I deviate from the 80/20, and I'm like 20/80. So, if I have a tough day or I'll have let's say two slices of pizza, then I–it's so funny because I do feel it the next day. And I'm always tweaking, and I'm always trying different foods to see what works and see what doesn't. And even as we're recording this the past week, or let's say past two weeks, I said, “Let me try to reduce or eliminate meat. Let me see how I feel going more of it like pescatarian.”
Ben: You eliminate meat. Okay. I want to hear out because that's counterintuitive, because a lot of people now, they're like, “Carnivore diet's one of the best things for autoimmune disease because you eliminate all these protein triggers from plant-based foods.”
Ryan: I know, I know. I've been trying it. Last week, I went 10 days in a row, no meat. I did have seafood. So, I had fish. But no red meat, no turkey, no chicken. And I was feeling like the best that I've felt really in a long time, even though I've been feeling good, like I felt even better. A couple days ago, I took one of my kids out after a tennis tournament and we went to–where did we go? Chipotle. I said, “You know what, I'm going to have this and I'm going to have chicken. I'm going to try it.” And I had chicken. The next day, my fingers were swollen.
Ben: Yeah. Big part of it too can be the meat, right? Like if it's like a grain or corn-fed chicken or omega-6 laden meat versus like grass-fed, grass-finished beef or pasture-raised chicken, I think a big part of it can come down to that as well. But basically, the way you went was almost like ultra-simple. That was actually the name of Mark Hyman's book back in the day, like one of the first autoimmune books was “The UltraSimple Diet,” where it was just basically eliminating everything that you eliminated, and that's the key for a lot of people who have these kinds of autoimmune flare-ups that are related to stress. Now, a question for you, because if you're back east. Are you in Connecticut or New York now?
Ben: Okay. Did you ever look into like Lyme or mold, mycotoxin, anything like that?
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Well, when they ran the test for the autoimmune, they did test for Lyme. And I didn't. It came back negative for Lyme.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. What about like heavy metal toxicity? That's another thing that tends to flare up for a lot of people.
Ryan: I don't recall any–of all the blood tests, because I got a lot of blood work, nothing. The only thing that came up was that inflammatory marker, and I forget the–I can't remember the exact —
Ben: Yeah. CRP?
Ryan: CRP, yes, exactly. That was the only thing that came out high yet. Everything they tested for, even the naturopath with heavy metals, nothing came back elevated in that.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Did you wind up incorporating lifestyle practices to control stress? Like, did you take up a meditation practice or yoga or anything like that?
Ryan: Okay. So, for stress and even exercise, I went–again, simplicity binge. So, we talked about nutrition. For stress, the first thing I did was, “Okay. What's causing a lot of stress in my life? What's causing a lot of stress in my business? Even with my relationships, or not even see my kids a lot.” I was traveling a lot. Back when I was teaching business, I was traveling and speaking, not a lot compared to some people, but maybe once a month, and it adds up. That day, I said–and I told my wife, I'm done. Like I am not traveling. I'm not going any events.
And that's why, you even said, it seemed like I disappeared about five, six years ago. That was the thing. I said, “I'm done.” For six years, I didn't attend one event. And I always get asked to speak at events. Not always, but I get asked pretty frequently and I say no to everything. And I just did not travel for five or six years. So, that was one thing. The other thing I did was close down or sell whatever businesses I could that were distracting me. I was opening up too many things, doing too many things at once, and I just focused on one business, one company. We just focused everything we could on the nutrition companies to pay off all the debt and let's just close it. Let's just move on.
So, simplifying my business, getting rid of travel, and just recommitting to my family and, even though they always came first, really being true to my words and making them first and everything and making sure I coach every sport I possibly can, I still do, never missing an event, never missing a sports event, just being there all the time and doing everything I can to build my business, 100% virtual and be home with them.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. That's such a big one to travel because for me, the way my life is right now is it's almost like a cycle. I travel, because I still travel pretty extensively to speak, to attend conferences, to race, to do all these things that I do. And everything from the Wi-Fi, and the solar radiation, and x-ray radiation, all the airports that you travel through, and the subpar food and the hotels and the places you stay that might have mold or mycotoxins or whatever, I'm traveling, I'm doing a bunch of damage to my body even though I try to travel as healthy as possible. And then, I basically come home and reboot my body, and I'm here in a freaking float tank, in the sauna, doing all these electrical treatments in my basement and kind of like fixing everything. I feel amazing. I feel like a million bucks and then I wave goodbye to the family and go travel again, and then come back kind of sort of effed up.
It's a tough cycle. I do, honestly, I question sometimes. I'm like, “Should I just sit at home and write books?” Because that thought has crossed my mind before. I sometimes feel as though I would be doing the world a disservice. It's like–what's that book? I think it's “Principle.” Is it “Principle,” the one by Ray Dalio? I forget the new–I think it's Principle.
Ryan: Oh, “Principles.”
Ben: Yeah, “Principles.” He talks about how you– have to decide where you're going to draw the line between like the maximum amount of impact you can make in the world. And I feel like a lot of times for me, travel is where I make the most impact in the world. But man, it's also just most damaging to your body from a stress standpoint. And yeah, you spend a lot of time cleaning up the mess, huh?
Ryan: Yeah. Oh, yeah. The minute I stopped, I mean, it was like this weight was lifted off my shoulders. Because even at that time, my one is 14 now, she will cry like crazy when I said I was going away for a day. And even now, I'll travel maybe once or twice a year. And even now, you're right, I feel it. Like, I'll be on the airplane for five hours, and I think, “How do people do this all the time?” I just physically mentally feel beat up. But the other thing before I forget in terms of stress, the other part you asked me, the physical stuff. I go to reflexology a lot. Saunas, cold showers. Just time to let my mind just be. And I used to do the Headspace app, the 10-minute meditation. Now. I'll just sit quietly and just breathe, just do deep breathing.
The other thing I did was simplify my fitness because we come from a fitness background and there's so many different workouts we know and programs, and you could do heavy lifting and slough and Olympic lifting and kettlebells and all this stuff. And I said, “What's going to be for me the most efficient way to make sure I do something consistently, I get some cardiovascular health and some strength?” So, I just work out at home. We have a treadmill in our bedroom. I have a kettlebell, a couple of dumbbells, a pull-up bar, and I do–my workout takes 20, maybe 25 minutes max, where I'll crank it on the highest incline on our treadmill about 10% or 12%. And I walk. I walk at about 4.2 miles an hour. I do that for 200 meters. See, I'm a track guy. So, I think in terms of meters, which takes about–at that pace, it takes about two minutes.
Ben: Yeah, 4.2 if I recall, you're only about 5 feet tall, right, Ryan? So, that's pretty fast.
Ryan: Shut your mouth. So, yeah, it's very fast. I'm sprinting. So, it's about two minutes, jump off the treadmill. And I'll do usually a set of 8 to 10 pull-ups, 15 push-ups, 20 different things of core exercise, go back on the treadmill for another two minutes, jump back off, do maybe 20 kettlebell swings, come back on for two minutes. And I do that until I complete a mile. So, that takes about 16 minutes on the treadmill and probably five minutes of transitioning and strength exercise. But in like 20 minutes, 22 minutes, I know I'm going to be done, and I break a sweat and I feel good. And I've been doing that pretty consistently for now two and a half years, and I do it at least five days a week.
Ben: Now, what about the–you mentioned briefly reflexology. For people who aren't familiar with that, what is that and how does it work?
Ryan: So, with that, that's just really strong. They work with like the chakras with your feet, the nerves, the nerve-endings on your feet. So, it's for me, it's just an hour of absolute relaxation. It helps also with the Eastern medicine they talk about, this thing with the lymph node, and this part has your kidneys. I don't know how much of that works or not, but I do know that when I go two or three times a week, it feels incredible and I feel great, and I feel like it does help with circulation and reducing pain. So, it's just for me, I find that there are a couple places that do it. It's an hour, they start off usually like a neck massage, and then they'll do the feet for 45, 50 minutes.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And there's something to that idea of energy fields and in being able to kind of like free up energy to travel through specific areas of the body when you do that type of deep tissue therapy on specific areas. Some people call it Qi in traditional Chinese medicine, but basically, it's kind of like opening up energy fields. And I think there's something to it, this idea, I think the feet would be considered to be the first chakra in Eastern medicine. And many people will feel really good. I even do this with my kids at night, like I have really good essential oils. I always rub essential oil into their feet at night.
And even from just a parenting standpoint, it actually really is kind of cool because it's almost like this little massage that you can give your child. It makes them feel really good for a while. We did it with oil, oregano, and then used fish oil. And now, I actually have this oil. It's called first chakra. It's called root oil. And I'll put that on my feet at night and rub it into my kids' feet, and you just feel really good. It's like this grounding oil. But I really think there is something to the idea of reflexology. There's another book, and I was actually trying to teach myself some of this stuff. A lot of times, it's on airplanes when I'll mess around with this stuff like, whether it's hand grippers or breath devices or these books that teach you how to do self-inflicted acupressure, because I'm like a captive audience. I love to figure out things I can do on sitting around.
And there's this book about Marma points, which are basically like these acupressure points all throughout the body. And I bought this book. I'll look at my bookshelf, and for people listening in, I'll put a link to it in the shownotes. But it basically walks you through all these different Marma points and exactly how you can target them and where you need to press. It actually really is cool. You can get rid of nausea, you can get rid of headaches, you can induce like immediate stress relief just by putting pressure even if it's just you putting pressure and not a therapist on specific areas of your body. So, that one's called “Marma Therapy,” but it's very similar to reflexology.
Ryan: Yeah. There's a lot of stuff we still don't know that we could take from people who've been doing these things for thousands a year. Another thing I do just–because I'm on the laptop a lot. We all tend to lean forward a little bit and get the neck pain at night. You could start with a tennis ball and just laying on the tennis ball and putting it under your neck and under your–like the occipital party or your occipital bone there and just having the gravity of your head lay down on the tennis ball. It feels really, really good just rolling it around. And if you get brave enough, which I've moved up to now a lacrosse ball. I'll do this with my kids and they kind of scream in pain. So, I get a sick pleasure at it. I go back to the tennis ball with them, but it feels really good. So, a lot of these things, doing more joint mobility, just feeling–now that I'm 47, just trying to do things that help me move more and more range of motion, more suppleness as opposed to trying to do bench press, which I don't do anymore.
Ben: Speaking of the occipital bone and that kind of like using a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball, I actually have one of those–have you ever seen those peanut base rollers that are–they're almost like two lacrosse balls kind of taped together?
Ryan: Yup, yup.
Ben: Yeah. So, you can get those. For example, on Amazon, you can give little spikes on them, and you can roll those up and down the vertebra, and if you roll all the way up to your neck and just trap it right underneath your neck and then start to turn your head to the left and the right. I do that when I wake up in the morning and it literally sounds like firecrackers going off. When I hit that thing in the morning, it just pop, pop, pop all the way at the back. And then, when you get to your head, I don't know if it's increasing cerebral spinal fluid to the brain or just the tension relief but it is one of the best feelings in the world when you use one of these spiky balls up and down the back as far as relaxation or just waking yourself up in the morning.
Ryan: I got to try that. I don't have the spiky, but what I did was I jury rigged one where I put two lacrosse balls in a sock. So, I got the two tennis balls, or the two lacrosse balls kind of next to each other in a sock and then I would just roll on that. So, I'd have the two-ball effect, but I didn't have the spiky one.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I'll hunt it down and I'll find it on Amazon. I forget what the manufacture of the one I use —
Ryan: Shownotes, baby, shownotes.
Ben: I'll put it there in the shownotes for you guys. So, any other big wins that you're incorporating from either a lifestyle, or a recovery, or a sleep, or a fitness standpoint that you found to be big wins for you?
Ryan: Well, obviously, you just said a key one there, is sleep, sleep recovery. I mean, I've always been pretty good with it. I've always been pretty good with sleep. But one thing I'm finding a little disturbing on a larger scale is everyone, especially in the entrepreneurial world or you see it online all the time, it's the methodology of you've got hustle, hustle, grind, grind non-stop 24/7. And it's really dangerous.
Ryan: You look at some of the people talking about this. And these are guys that I'm older than and they look now–they've aged 10 years in the past five years. They look 20 years older than me now. They don't look healthy. I think it's like adrenal fatigue. I just think it's a really dangerous thing trying to think that, hey, if I just work harder, I'm going to succeed. You've got to recover. You've got to give your body, your mind, your spirit, whatever. You've got to recover.
Ben: Yeah. I don't think that some of these cats like Jocko Willink putting the photo of him getting up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to hit the gym, or David Goggins, or the rock who will drop into a gym at 1:00 a.m. when he gets the–wherever he's flying in the world. Those guys can be inspiring for people who need to just get their ass off the couch and do the hard thing, or kids who are growing up with a silver spoon mentality, who never have learned how to get up at 5:00 a.m. for a paper route or maybe crush the gym for a little while before school. But for the lion's share of people, I think a lot of that mentality does the more of a disservice than a service because people short themselves on sleep. They think that the only way to get there is to crush the gym at 4:00 a.m.
And I mean, in many cases, that leads to or contributes to, kind of a slippery slope towards what you wound up experiencing six years ago when your body just–your neuroendocrine system just shifted into amping up cytokine production. It's almost like the body will eventually put brakes on you, whether it's autoimmune disease or cancer or Lyme or anything else that you just become susceptible to because your body hits the brakes.
Ryan: Yeah. Your body knows. Your body needs the rest and recovery. So, I know what you're saying though. People do need sometimes like–I think we've gone so far on the other end of the spectrum where we just overcuddle the kids. “Everything's going to be okay, little Benny. Everything's going to be fine. Don't work hard.” We teach our kids hard work, but you need sleep and rest and recovery. That's been a big part of my health journey is really doing that. And not feeling guilty, too, like not feeling guilty about shutting your computer off. And for everyone, everyone's got their downtime stuff where you want to recharge your batteries. Some people like going for a hike, and you love probably doing your triathlon training, and biking, and running, and swimming, whatever crazy stuff you do, for the people who don't do that stuff.
For me, I like at night after I put my kids to bed, sometimes I'll read and I'll read a fiction book like a political thriller. I'll watch some Netflix and not feeling guilty about that. I think if you put in a good day's work and you're really super productive and you focus on the big stuff, you can rest your head knowing, “Okay. I gave it a really good effort today. Now let me have a half an hour, an hour of just unplugging. Shut your phone off.” I don't even have my phone in my room. When I come home, my phone goes off. Even my kids don't have phones. The only one who has a phone is my one who's a junior in high school. All my three other kids don't have any phones. We're not a big screen family.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. See, we have screens. My kids have an iTouch that they use because they have a little podcast and business down. They use the voice app and they record and the photos and the videos to upload. But what we do is I switch everybody's phones, even my wife's, and I taught them how to. If you google this, it's called the iPhone red light trick. And you can program the phone where if you press the home button three times, it sucks all the blue light out of the phone. It makes Instagram and everything else suck because it's all boring and your phone does not keep you up. It's also not that much fun to use and it's way better than the built-in night shift mode. So, we all just switch our phones to that at night and they're kind of like these boring devices that don't make any light and don't have a lot of colors on them. For me, that means if I need to check something before I go to bed, it's not going to suppress melatonin production at all.
Ryan: Oh, I never heard of that.
Ben: Yeah. It works really well. If you google, it's red phone or iPhone red light trick.
Ben: It works really well. Whenever I'm hanging out at a friend's house or I'm out at dinner and people look at my phone, they're like, “How the hell did you do that?” Because it's way different than night shift but it just–it works at night. And plus, you don't have to put on those horrific looking red color, blue light blocking glasses when you're out at a restaurant or whatever.
Ryan: Yeah. Another thing that works well for the electronics and stuff in our house, old school, we have a safe in our bedroom closet, and all the kids' electronics all go in the safe, because they do have an iPad and stuff but–
Ben: What do your kids think about that? Do they dig it or is it kind of a chore form?
Ryan: Well, my two youngest are fine with it. My 14-year-old is like, “Wait, why can't I have a phone?” We're like, “No. You're not having one.” So, we definitely bump up against a little bit of resistance, but we're the parents.
Ben: I have a different parenting philosophy. I actually let my kids spend as much time as they want on their phones, like there's not a rule they'd be taken away. But, basically, mom and I want about nine 9:00, 9:30 rules around, like we're pretty much–we're nose down in books or playing musical instruments. So, our kids, like all they've grown up with is at night time, there isn't really phone time or screen time, not because you're not allowed to, but because we're basically breaking out all these other activities. Actually, board games are third. So, usually, it's books, music or board games. And so, if you come to the Greenfield house, like after 9:00, pretty much everybody's either curled up in bed with a book, sitting on the couch playing a guitar, or we're gathered around the dinner table playing a board game. So, for our kids, we just try to present them with alternatives that make the screen less attractive at night.
Ryan: Yeah. That's great. Like everything in life, if you find something that works for you and for your family, that's great.
Ben: So, you mentioned, I know you're back in the fitness industry now, you're doing some things, it doesn't sound like you're getting around and speaking and traveling as much, but you've got–are you pretty much now just doing this bar company?
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Right now, that's my entire focus is just vegan gluten-free energy bars. It's 95% of my focus. I still write a daily-ish email about business or leadership or things like that. But it's pretty much right now my nutrition company. And that's, again, going back to that philosophy of simple, like what's the one thing I need to focus on? But as you know, Ben, it could be a challenge because if you're an entrepreneur, I mean, how many ideas come to us? It's all day, it's nonstop, and sometimes it's hard to turn off and there's other things that look attractive and you're like, “Oh, man, I could just try this so I could do this. I could do this product.” It is a little bit of a challenge to resist.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, the bar, as far as that goes, you said it's plant-based, gluten-free, anything else special that kind of makes the bar stand out aside from the old school '80s nostalgia and the name Rewind?
Ryan: The thing we're really most proud of is–well, we do a couple things. So, we call them sneaky greens. So, we add kale and spinach into the bars. And we have some fruits for antioxidant power, strawberries, and blueberries. But the big thing is we just focus on the flavor. Going back to flavors that people grew up with that really love that thing because it's got–you know how it is, even with your bars, like they got to taste good. You could have the healthiest bar in the world, but if people don't like the way they taste, they're not going to eat them. So, our newest flavor is cinnamon coffee cake. There's no artificial flavors or sweeteners and it tastes really good
Ben: Yeah. Well, I dig that idea of flavor, but then I think some companies will go the opposite route, and I want to throw these folks under the bus because–Tom and Ron who run this company, they're friends of mine, but like Quest. If you eat a Quest Bar, they've nailed flavors, like birthday cake flavor and–I forget what else, kind of like Bang Energy Drinks. They got the Margarita flavor. But at the same time when you see how that flavors achieve, there's a little bit of chemical action going on there. I'm not a fan of like some–basically, if it tastes like birthday cake, it's tough to get that flavor without bastardizing the product just a little bit as far as the artificial sweeteners and all that jazz go. But yeah, some of these other flavors, I know you guys have like an almond butter and jelly. You mentioned the cinnamon coffee cake, like some of this stuff that's more nuts, cinnamon, coffee, you can actually nail a pretty good ingredient profile and a good flavor profile with that type of combo.
Ryan: Oh, absolutely. And the other one is coconut chocolate chip. And we have a mint chocolate coming. Yeah. We're not going to totally jump the shark and go birthday cake because you're right, it's really hard to do that. But we're still, no matter what we do, we're never going to have anything artificial and use things like sucralose. We're always going to try to have a clean bar, and with yours as well. It's just not easy to do. I just want to put something good out there that tastes good that people like, and I know that people are going to have different bars, they're going to have different products. They'll have yours, they'll try mine one day, and maybe they'll try a Quest Bar, they'll do an RXBAR. Cool. And if you like ours, great. If you want to have it as part of your day, great. And if you find something else that's good for you, that's great too.
Ben: Yeah. And then, of course, the litmus test for the bar though is whether or not you make a bodybuilder, horrific, clear the elevator whey protein fart after you've had the bar. That's for me [00:59:59] _____.
Ryan: Yeah. We have no whey protein, we're dairy-free. We're vegan, so we obviously don't have any dairy or eggs or even honey. But yeah, no whey protein in ours either. No. We don't do it.
Ben: Yeah. It is kind of funny because–yeah. Speaking of like traveling to fitness conferences and stuff, you go to some of these big health expos, especially the ones that are really, really focused on the hardcore fitness crowd, you walk around the expo and there are bars everywhere. And when they're chock-full, the whey protein isolates, the sucralose, [01:00:30] ______ potassium. The two things that I find most notable, especially a lot of these bodybuilding type of conventions is, A, people look pretty good from afar, but then as soon as you get close, you can see like their skins all red and inflamed and there are acne and wrinkles. And a lot of this stuff is related to the oxidizing inflammatory effect of this packaged food that they're eating. And then, B, it's kind of like walking through the airport. There are horrific fart clouds everywhere, and I'm pretty sure it's related to the ingredients of some of those stuff.
Ryan: It's definitely related to the ingredients, yeah. You know how it is, like the bodybuilders, they don't really look healthy and they're soft too, like they'll be big, but they're kind of soft, and they're not athletic. But the way they eat is just–yeah, it's not always the healthiest, right?
Ben: Yeah. I mean, granted you can say the same thing about the other sport you recently brought up like triathlon, like I'd run in the same things a lot of times, Ironman Triathlon, but in that case, it's kind of the opposite. It's like the sugars, fructose, maltodextrin, they're really heavy into the endurance or the sugars on that side and then the nasty proteins and calorie-free sweeteners on the other side. Yeah, the power bars. Well, congratulations on not making a bar that results in multiple fart clouds, Ryan. I'm proud of you.
Ryan: On the packaging, we have fart cloud-free. That's going to be our new tagline, no fart clouds, yeah, yeah. We don't want it.
Ryan: Go get a whey bar.
Ben: Have you blogged about your journey in recovery from autoimmune, written in your articles, contributed any books or anything like that, or do you have any other information out there where people can find out more about your journey?
Ryan: It's funny. I did an article about it. But even as we speak, depending when this goes live, I'm rewriting it and adding a lot more detail. So, I'm going to detail out my exact nutrition program, my exact fitness stuff. So, I'm writing one as we speak. So, if they go to tv.rewindbars.com, by the time this goes live, it'll be up there and we'll have links to it.
Ben: Okay. Cool.
Ben: Cool. Well, I'll link to that for you guys in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. Ryan's got a discount code if you do want to try his bars, 20% off. Use code GREENFIELD. You can try out his bars. There is no birthday cake flavor. I'm sorry, but the cinnamon coffee cake does sound pretty good.
Ryan: It is really [01:02:55] _____.
Ben: Oh, yeah. Send them to me. I'm hopping on a plane to Dubai in about six days to go over there and speak at a few conferences. So, yeah, if you send them out, that'll be my fuel on Emirates will be the–yeah. And then, everything else that we talked about, I'll hunt down that beastie ball roller we talked about, some information on reflexology, some information for you guys on the scientific link between stress, particularly an autoimmune disease, which I think is one of the biggest lessons you can take from Ryan's story is nip the stress in the bud before your body slows you down. I'll link to all that stuff as well at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee.
And in the meantime, Ryan, a couple of things. A, thanks for–I don't know if I ever said this to you before, but just thanks for everything that you did to light the path and lead the way in terms of teaching a lot of us in the fitness industry, how to take our information and scale it, and hopefully, make a lot more impact in the world. And B, thanks for sharing this story with us and for, hopefully, inspiring a few people and teaching a few people about how they can battle autoimmune through just like simplicity with diet, and simplicity with lifestyle, simplicity with travel, simplicity with fitness. I think it's a really, it's really smart approach.
Ryan: Well, I appreciate it. And thanks for your kind words. I'm going to add a C onto the A, B, and C. Just thank you for doing what you're doing and continuing to change lives and for having me on. That's like C, D, and E. But this has been great. And yeah, if someone can take away from this interview that, hey, I could just like simplify stuff and reduce the overwhelm, then my job is done. So, thank you. Thanks for giving me and so many other people a platform here to do this, Ben.
Ben: Awesome. Awesome, Ryan. Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Ryan Lee signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Ryan Lee (my guest on this podcast) and I go way back.
The man is probably responsible for initiating and teaching me just about everything I know in the realm of online marketing and success in the fitness industry.
Over a decade ago, I began to delve into his teachings and websites, and it was through him that I learned how to create information products, e-books, virtual coaching and a host of other profit-generating and information-scaling tools I still utilize to this day.
Ryan himself is an exercise physiologist and the founder of Rewind bars. He’s also the author of The Millionaire Workout, Passion to Profits, was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, and called “the world’s #1 lifestyle entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur.
Several years ago, Ryan was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (psoriatic arthritis), and ignored the advice of his MD to go on chemo, while instead focused on coming up with a psoriatic arthritis diet plan, and simplifying his life, relationships, business, and more. We delve into that story on today's show.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Ryan's journey from fledgling personal trainer to the “godfather” of the online fitness industry [09:15]
- First job (1994): recreational therapist in a children's rehab hospital; was a personal trainer during non-work hours
- Internet marketing career began in 1998; writing articles and GIF's on a website
- Sold training programs to readers — Craig Valentine assisted
- Began selling his knowledge to other health enthusiasts to grow their businesses (including Ben Greenfield)
-How the online fitness industry has changed since Ryan's early days [13:40]
- It's much easier to establish an online presence today… and to claim to be a “fitness coach” with little to no real experience
- Measure an individual by how many people they've helped in real life, not on vanity metrics on social media
- Double-edged sword: “Real Dealers” can help many more people than the old days
-The personal struggle that caused Ryan to take a step back from his business [16:25]
- Had started a supplement company – Pro Grade Nutrition (affiliate based company)
- Top affiliate formed his company, and took his friends with him
- Mother passed; print magazine failed
- Began eating more; exercising less
- Began having severe joint pain; no idea about the cause
- Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan
- Rheumatologist diagnosed an autoimmune disease (psoriatic arthritis); prescribed chemo as treatment
- Excess stress directly contributes to leaky gut, autoimmune issues
-The steps from debilitating illness to a nearly complete recovery [24:35]
- Sought out informed docs who could help; Brian Kurtz
- Psoriatic Arthritis Diet: Naturopathic doctor recommended removing gluten, dairy and cane sugar
- Elimination diet (see above); within 2 days, noticeable results
- Began eating gluten, dairy, sugar slowly; stress levels were erratic; eventually was diagnosed with high blood pressure
- Simplification deep dive:
- Focus on morning routine
- Began eating bars (every bar on the planet)
- Ryan's special salad recipe:
- Fell off the wagon because the psoriatic arthritis diet plan was too strict; eat clean and healthy at least 80% of the time
- Short-term pescatarian diet was very efficacious
- Book: Ultrasimple Diet by Mark Hyman
- Tests for Lyme, mold, mycotoxins came back negative
-Lifestyle practices Ryan used to control stress [37:11]
- Quit traveling to speak at conferences and events
- Reduced business activities; focused on one company
- Recommitting to family
- Simplify fitness
- Sit in silence w/ deep breathing
- Book: Principles by Ray Dalio
-Reflexology 101 [41:23]
- Chakras w/ nerve endings on the feet
- Place tennis ball underneath occipital point in the neck while laying down
- Rumble Roller Beastie Ball
- Book: Marma Therapy by Ernst Schrott
-Other big wins Ryan has discovered in his recovery[48:49]
- Entrepreneurs pride themselves on the hustle and grind, much to their detriment
- Recovery is essential; listen to your body
- Teach kids hard work, but also rest and recovery
- iPhone red light trick
- Safe in the bedroom closet for electronics
-The extent to which Ryan is currently involved in the fitness industry [56:01]
- Focused primarily on the energy bar company
- “Sneaky greens”
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Ryan's book The Millionaire Workout
– Ryan's book Passion to Profits
– Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan
– Book: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio
– Book: Marma Therapy by Ernst Schrott
–Kion Flex: The ultimate recovery formula, Kion Flex is a bioavailable blend to support joint comfort, mobility and flexibility, and bone health. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 10% discount off your entire order at Kion when you use discount code: BGF10.
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