Today, I interviewed a good friend of mine, Daniel James.
I wanted to get Dan on the show because he and I are so on the same wavelength when it comes to the inner-game side of transformation, and not a lot of other coaches talk about this stuff. You’ll hear some coaches say things about getting your “mind right,” but it’s often very vague, and not tactical—almost like a buzzword–it’s actually one of my biggest pet peeves. Dan, however, is not one of those.
Again, he and I believe a lot of the same things when it comes to inner-game strategies, so that's what we got into today–how his approaches his clients with this stuff, the strategies surrounding mindset, and how we can make this inner-game easier and simpler.
If you like my usual content, you're going to LOVE this episode!
00:00 – Introduction
00:44 – Our sponsors
05:05 – About today's episode
06:58 – Dan's background
14:16 – Overcoming
22:33 – How Dan approaches mindset
27:52 – Changing your identity
39:08 – Foundations, habits, and routines
49:37 – Jared's outro and how to sign up for coaching
Transcript (click to open)
Catching Up with Dan:
Dan fell into the fitness industry. He went to college in the United States on a soccer scholarship, and got his personal trainer certification, only so he could continue playing soccer in college.
After returning to the UK, he got a job at a large commercial gym and eventually started working as a personal trainer there.
His first personal training appointment was very uncomfortable for him because he realized he had no idea what he was doing, which prompted him to begin studying. He eventually stopped working for other companies and struck out on his own.
Dan built a successful business and he helped clients achieve amazing results. He personally was in great shape, but despite his success, Dan was very depressed. He ended up losing his business and going into debt.
He then decided to buy a Tony Robbins tape with the last of his money (actually borrowing some in the process) and ended up throwing himself into the self-development space. He continued down the path by buying Andy Frisella’s book and from there began to rebuild. Dan then realized that he could apply this mindset approach to his client.
Dan and Jared see clients at their rock bottom and despite the fact that the information to overcome their mental and emotional struggles—and achieve the permanent transformation they desire—is out there, it's not easy to find.
To Dan, a large part of this is because the world we live in promotes mediocrity. He tells his clients that it is not their fault—because they don’t know another way—but with the information and guidance he provides, they can change if they really want to.
Dan and Jared both find that, starting out, clients typically don't have faith in themselves, and so that belief in them comes from the coach until the client starts to believe in themselves.
Jared similarly has this talk with clients, that even though they didn’t know better—and that it’s not their fault—it’s still their responsibility to deal with how they are feeling, their relationship with food, etc.
Dan encourages his clients to take control of their lives and take back their responsibility from these situations in life that have created their poor relationships with food and/or exercise. He tells his clients that taking responsibility, forgiving themselves or others, and not continuing to be a victim empowers them.
Understanding that you may have made decisions surrounding food as a defense mechanism, and letting go of them from a place of self-compassion and honesty can be very emotional, but it ultimately allows you to move forward with who you want to become.
Jared goes through a lot of similar work with his clients. Those defense mechanisms often stem from the inner child. Many people don’t realize that they are holding onto beliefs that helped them survive for a time—and that they need to recognize them and have self-compassion to let those beliefs go.
Dan starts out very simply. For example, he may have someone focus on walking. If they are doing 3,000 steps, he may have them shoot for 5,000, but while they are walking they need to listen to a podcast or audiobook.
Three things his clients have to do are read a nonfiction book, walk, and journal. He has people free-write, starting with something like, “Today I’m feeling….”
They write for 10 or 15 minutes without stopping, allowing their subconscious to come out onto the paper. He also provides them with educational videos along the way.
One example of Dan’s educational videos is a concept he calls the “sausage machine.”
Basically, when you make sausage, what you put in is what you get out—put beef in, you get beef sausage. In our lives, it’s the same thing. Most people in their weight loss journey put in fear, hate, and regret, and they end up with a “shit sausage” that is their life.
He tells people that they have to put in the right ingredients to get the results they want. He educates his clients in nutrition and exercise to empower them so they know why they are doing what they’re doing.
Typically he and his clients don’t come across any problems for the first few weeks, and as problems arise, they deal with those and learn so they can continue to change.
Dan and Jared both believe that part of the inner-game involves changing your identity—the way you see yourself.
If your identity is rooted in, “I am fat,” then even when you lose weight, you will still view yourself as fat, or as a fat person who “got lucky” and lost some weight. This mindset will ultimately lead to you regaining weight because that’s where your anchor is set.
Dan points out that if you have been thinking a certain way for a long time—20/30/40 years of your life—it will take time to change that pattern of thought. It’s not something that can typically be done in a handful of months.
Dan tries to help his clients reframe their identity—you aren’t fat, you HAVE fat. Your physical body does not identify you as a person.
Jared deals with this a lot with clients, where a client will say they are a “binger,” but Jared tells them to approach it as they binge-ate—a verb—something they did. Rather than calling themselves a “binger,”—a noun—which promotes the idea of that as their identity.
Dan notes that as you get rid of these paradigms, you have to replace them. He works with people to help them with who they want to be.
You find out who you want to become and reverse engineer it. Think about what the person you want to be would do, what decisions they would make, and do that.
Both Dan and Jared are teaching their clients life skills but applying it to weight loss.
Jared typically tells clients that if they do this journey right, it will change their life—beyond just losing weight.
The key is becoming who you want through acting in the ways that that person who you want to be would act. It’s thinking about who you have to become to achieve what you want. You can’t continue to have the same habits, same knowledge or lack thereof, and get a different result.
Dan explains to his clients that they have to go through a period of adjustment during their weight loss journey.
If you were to think about your body like a factory—if you haven’t used the machines in years, you have to dust them off and get them up and running again.
The beginning of your weight loss journey will be clunky. You can’t go into a calorie deficit and expect to lose 50lbs in a matter of weeks. It takes time for your body to respond, to get into fat burning, etc.
You have to build a solid foundation through your habits and routines. If you have solid habits and routines, when life throws you a curveball, your habits and routines will keep you on track because of that strong foundation.
Dan has two rules for his clients: pick and choose your battles and don’t eat like a twat.
There are always reasons to eat and drink—holidays, birthdays, etc.—but you need to pick and choose your battles and build awareness around the food decisions you are making.
Dan also says you should never make food the star of the show.
When you make food the star of the show, it’s being put on a pedestal and you cannot make conscious, fully aware decisions with your food when you have exalted something.
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