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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

Adam Schafer on Self-Reflection, Overcoming Insecurities, & Avoiding Dietary Dogma | DFIO Ep.260




About Today’s Episode:

I’ve got a really great episode for you guys today. Our guest is Adam Schafer from Mind Pump.


I got a ton of really great feedback from you guys when I had Sal on the show, so I wanted to get Adam on here for you guys as well.


We talk about a lot of things in this episode. Adam is a father, so we talk about how to set an example when it comes to health, food, and nutrition for your kids. We talk about Adam’s background and how Mind Pump grew. We talk about how to be educated, but not get stuck in a camp of “I can only eat this way” or “I can only train this way.”


We get into so much and it’s all so good. If you’ve been struggling, I know this is going to be a great episode for you.


Let’s get into it!


TIMESTAMPS

07:13 About Adam

Transcription (click to expand)

About Adam:

Adam was drawn to personal training initially because he thought it would be a good side gig while he studied to be a physical therapist. He worked for a 24 Hour Fitness, where he was incentivized to make sales—an area where he thrived.


Adam was an athlete growing up and his competitive nature enjoyed the heavy sales motivation. He admits that at this point was just an okay trainer, but he excelled at the business side and at helping the other personal trainers build their businesses.


After several years, Adam gained more certifications—and experience—and became a much better personal trainer. Even still, what got him excited about the world of personal training initially was that competitive, sales-driven environment.


Lessons From Clients:

Adam got a lot from training clients that had very different ideologies than he did. He grew up in a religious, conservative environment—but when he moved to the Bay Area, he found himself surrounded by people who were very liberal, atheist, etc. Adam really enjoyed interacting with individuals from all walks of life. It led him to be able to change the way he thought about things—while solidifying some of his own beliefs.


These experiences and interactions helped Adam evolve and change his beliefs surrounding wealth and success. Many of his clients were very successful. One client he had, in particular, was very hard on some of Adam’s business ideas. Her criticisms were something that influenced him heavily and allowed him to change the way he thought about his ideas.


Adam often gets asked if Mind Pump would be successful if it started today, and it’s always a question that makes him think—because timing is everything in business and their show started at a time when there was a need and not as much competition.


Ideologies and Self-Reflection:

When Adam believes strongly in something, he investigates and seeks out the opposing ideas to that belief. He does this because he believes that the most growth happens from the questioning of those beliefs—while there is too little growth in confirming one's own biases over and over again.


Adam enjoys disagreeing with others, debating, and is okay with being wrong and adjusting his beliefs accordingly.



Avoiding Training and Nutritional Dogma:

Jared brings up that the realm of training and nutrition is one area where people often hold on to beliefs about the way it “should be done,” and get married to a certain ideology.


Adam points out that training and nutrition are areas that are so individualized to each person and extremely nuanced—even when something works for a person for a period of time, it may not work for them later.


Adam personally has things that, in the past, worked great for him, but no no longer serve him in regard to his training and nutrition. He often finds that when a person finds something that works well for them, they believe that is the only way for them to be successful.


People also have a desire to latch onto certain “diet or training cults” because we are inherently social creatures.


People don’t realize that it has very little to do with the training program or nutrition program they started and more to do with what they stopped doing previously.


When Adam coached people, he would take them through many different training and diet philosophies and educate them about why those were having a specific impact on them.


For example, he would take someone and have them eat a vegan diet, and then switch them to a Mediterranean diet, then perhaps a keto diet, etc.


At each point, he would explain to them why they were feeling good/bad, and what impact those diets were having—like going from vegan to Mediterranean. The Mediterranean diet would inherently raise their protein intake, allowing them to build more muscle.


He did this to help his clients understand that they didn’t have to live in a rigid world and fall into the traps of a religious diet ideology.


He sees that people tend to want to put themselves in boxes—something that Adam has never gravitated towards.


Jared also finds that people are very eager to put themselves in boxes, when, in reality, you don’t need to pick a camp—you can simply eat how you want to eat.


If you like to eat mostly vegan, but have chicken, eggs, and fish, occasionally, it doesn’t need to be justified.



The Balance between Optimal and Practical:

To Adam, the most optimal place you can get to is intuitive training and intuitive eating.


He notes that there are, of course, times when you will be more dialed in—like if you’ll be stepping on stage or if you are playing a sport and need to get a competitive edge.


As far as what that looks like—and how you get there—you have to learn.


If you have never tracked or never trained, you need to do those things and gain experience and knowledge. There is no blueprint because everyone is different. Different people will feel and respond to different macros and training programs.


By gaining education, learning what works for you, and getting experience tracking, you will be able to work towards eating and training intuitively.


Adam recently had a few weeks where things at home were really hectic. His training was down because of this, so he naturally shifted his eating habits. He is only able to recognize and respond to his needs like that because he tracked for a long time and has trained for a long time.


Adam states that learning to eat and train intuitively is a process that takes years. He believes this is the most balanced a person can get.


He also points out that the other, “darker” side of obsessive tracking—which is often glorified on social media and is very out of balance. People who never miss a workout and always track/weigh their food to the gram may look cool, but they’re not balanced.


There are many areas of life that require dedication and for you to show up—like being a good parent, friend, or business partner. If you are so anal that you never miss a workout, never not weigh your food, etc., it's likely that something else is getting missed. It could be quality time with your loved ones, building your business, and more.


The list of other things that make us healthy and balanced is long, which is why Adam sees intuitive eating and training as the key to being balanced.


He also notes that what comes with that—aside from the education—is having worked through our insecurities.


Adam points out that if you were to think back to what got you to go down to the gym and get a membership in the first place, for 99% of people it would be some kind of insecurity. Many people go into exercise from a bad place—a reflection or comment could be what pushed them into the gym, but at some point, you want to shift away from those insecurities.


If you don’t let go of those insecurities and change those identities, despite all the exercise and training you do to fix those things, you will revert to things that are not healthy in pursuit of an impossible image.


Adam emphasizes that educating yourself around macros, exercising, programming, and working on the insecurity that made you go to the gym, is the healthiest, most balanced place you can be.


Adam admits that the insecurity portion was the last hurdle for him. He was always the skinny kid, he always had small calves.


An example of how he worked on one of his insecurities was that several years ago he challenged himself to go to the gym every day in shorts—no matter what—so his calves would be on full display.


He found that no one said anything about his calves. He realized that nobody gave a fuck about his calves, so why should he?


Even if your insecurity is what got you moving in the right direction, it’s something that ultimately doesn’t serve you—and you have to let it go.


Jared gets lots of questions surrounding “mindfulness” and finds that it is glorified on social media—like, you should just be able to eat and train intuitively without years of education and practice.


However, he points out that someone who binge eats every other day and doesn’t have healthy habits isn’t helped by the advice that “you just know” when it comes to being mindful while they eat.


This was really brought to Adam’s attention when he started competing.


He had assumed that when he started competing he would be around the most knowledgeable minds—because these people had the best physiques.


The reality was that he saw more eating disorders and more insecurities in that small population than in his entire career of training morbidly obese, obese, and regular people.


This highlighted for him that looking a certain way was not the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to living a healthy, fit, and balanced life.


Even though this group of people had figured out how to train and weigh their food, they were still motivated by deep insecurities. These types of people often get put on a pedestal that allows them to be an authority and believe that they should be able to coach someone who has struggled with weight for their entire life.


Unfortunately, they only have a fraction of the whole process down.


This was what led to the foundation of Mind Pump.


They saw that the whole fitness space was losing the majority of regular people because the fitness space was going after other fitness people—being more concerned about what their peers thought and not making information accessible to the average person.


Mind Pump was created to reach the majority and bring them better advice about health and fitness without all the nuance and noise from fitness culture.



Fitness, Health, and Building a Strong Food Foundation with Your Kids:

Adam has not weighed any of his food since the birth of his son. He competed before his son was born and probably wouldn’t want to have him see that extreme level.


Adam believes that the most powerful way you can impact your children is not with what you say, but with what you do.


His son is approaching 4 years old and eats the same foods that he and his wife eat, just a smaller portion. Whether he does or doesn’t finish his food isn’t important. They have also not brought cookies, cake, or ice cream into the house.


If they’re at an event like a birthday party, Adam will let him have cookies, cake, and/or ice cream if he wants some, but they established a normal, healthy diet first. They also do not use candy as a way to bribe him into behaving.


Adam points out that it really starts with the parents.


He feels for the parents out there who realize they made mistakes early on—who are just starting their fitness journey and realizing that there are things they could have done differently.


In that situation, Adam suggests eliminating things like soda, chips, and ice cream from the house and having the kids eat good, whole foods that Mom and Dad eat.


Mom and Dad need to lead by example.


Adam points out that the most powerful way to bring someone to your beliefs and way of thinking is not by telling them about it, but by living it. It’s the same with nutrition.


If you are a parent who made bad decisions surrounding food for 7/8/9 years, you need to start by making good decisions. Eliminate the foods from your house that aren’t nutritious, eat healthily, walk the walk, and allow your kids to see you with more energy, fitter, feeling better, etc.


If your kids go to a friend's house and have ice cream, it’s not a big deal. Your kids will see the differences and they will, at some point, ask you about health and fitness.


You need to show them by the way you move through life.


Jared points out that we unconsciously emulate. He knows when he was a kid it wasn’t “what do Mom and Dad say?” It was “what are they doing?”


Adam states that it’s the same in leadership. He believes that one of the best things you can do is show.


If you do a good job people will ask questions—and if people are not asking questions, then you are not doing a good enough job.


It’s the same with health and nutrition. You need to walk the walk.


What Adam is Fired Up About:

Adam is really proud of the businesses that they have built with Mind Pump.


He is most excited about further building the business while becoming further removed from the image of the business.


He really enjoys the behind-the-scenes aspect— real estate ventures, investments, etc.—even more than being a host on the podcast.


He never feels that he is 100% succeeding in all areas of the business, but he thrives in that environment.



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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media


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