April 07, 2022

#054: As Many Reps As Possible – CrossFit Games Champion & Founder of NCFIT Jason Khalipa

Hosted by Fran Racioppi

What happens when you have no choice but to win. When losing is simply not an option. When winning no matter the challenge means doing whatever it takes.

Jason Khalipa earned the title of World’s Fittest Man when he won the 2008 CrossFit games. In 2009 he won the Spirit of the Games award after collapsing mid-competition then picking himself up and finishing. Jason built his career on never quitting and winning at all costs.

But in 2016 Jason’s daughter Ava was diagnosed with Leukemia; the toughest challenge he would ever face. For this episode, Host Fran Racioppi met with Jason in his flagship gym, NCFit, to discuss his As Many Reps As Possible mentality for winning no matter the challenge.

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About Jason Khalipa

TJP 54 | Aa Many Reps As PossibleJason Khalipa was born in San Jose, California and attended Archbishop Mitty High School where he played for the varsity football team as a nose guard. He also participated in track and field in the shot put event. Jason began his fitness career in high school by working part time as the front desk representative at Milpitas Health and Fitness where he trained for his first CrossFit Games and devoted the rest of his time to his education, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Management.

Khalipa opened his first gym, CrossFit Santa Clara nearly a month after winning the CrossFit Games in 2008. In 2009 he won the Spirit of the Games Award and subsequently placed in the top of his division for the net decade. Jason recently wrote As Many Reps As Possible about his mentality on life and training; as well as how this attitude helped him and his family through his daughter’s battle with Leukemia. He is the founder and CEO of NCFIT, a global gym and workout program.

 

As Many Reps As Possible – CrossFit Games Champion & Founder of NCFIT Jason Khalipa

They say winning is everything. If you’re not first, you’re last. If you’re not going to try to win, then why compete at all? Some people, athletes, and leaders put winning above all else, but what happens when you have no choice but to win when losing simply is not an option, or when winning no matter the challenge means doing whatever it takes mentally, physically, and emotionally to get it done?

Jason Khalipa earned the title of the World’s Fittest Man when he won the 2008 CrossFit Games. He defended his title and competed at the top level of fitness for almost a decade, placing 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in subsequent games. In 2009, he won the Spirit of the Games award after collapsing mid-competition and picking himself up out of the dirt and finishing. Jason built his career as an athlete by never quitting and winning at all costs. In 2016, Jason’s daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with leukemia, giving Jason and his family the toughest challenge they would ever face.

For this episode, I traveled to Campbell, California, right outside San Jose, to meet with Jason and his flagship gym, NCFIT. Jason shared with me As Many Reps As Possible, his mindset for tackling any challenge. No matter what we focus on, Jason showed me that we would succeed if we place our full attention on that task and push ourselves to complete it to the best of our ability. That’s something he applies to both his personal and professional life.

Jason and I discussed the five parts of the AMRAP Mentality and how to apply it in our everyday lives. We talk entrepreneurs, failed great ideas, and differentiation in the fitness industry. Jason explains why he started NCFIT and how he grew it into a global fitness business. We also discuss resiliency and adaptability as Ava, Jason, and his family beat leukemia and now focus on giving back. Plus, I challenged the world’s fittest man to a burpee wall ball showdown with as many reps as possible. Jason crushed it and me.

Jason, welcome to the Jedburgh Podcast.

Thanks for having me.

Thank you so much for your hospitality. We are here in Campbell, California. We’re in the NCFIT gym. It’s an incredible place.

It’s my home away from home. Technically, it’s our headquarters, but because of COVID, we shifted things. We used to have staff that sat up here in this office, but now, everybody’s remote.

We have so much to talk about. This is one of our episodes that we’re doing in partnership with GORUCK for the Sandlot JAX Fitness Event from April 22nd to April 24th, 2022, down in Jacksonville. You’re going to be there. We’re highlighting and profiling a number of health and fitness most elite athletes. We have been so fortunate on this show to have some super-fit people. We had Steven Nyman, an Olympic Downhill three-time world champion in skiing. We had Sarah Apgar, the one I was telling you about from FitFighter. We also had Lisa Jaster. She was the third female to graduate from the US Army Ranger School, but I have to put the stamp on it that you are the number one most fit person we have ever had on the show.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

The other ones were out there, but they got nothing. We’ve got to quantify a little bit. In 2008, you were named the fittest man in the world. You won the CrossFit Games. You subsequently placed 2nd, 3rd, and 5th in other games. You were the Spirit of the Games award winner in 2009. You have gone on to build a global business in NCFIT. You authored As Many Reps As Possible. You’ve raised a family. You’ve battled leukemia with you and your daughter, Ava. We’re going to get to all of these things. Let’s talk about that. In order to kick it off, we got to start with your catchphrase, “We got to go.”

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Jason Khalipa’s As Many Reps As Possible Mentality: Know Your Why, Focus On What You Can Control, Work Hard, Shift Gears & Re-Evaluate.

The tagline of the show is conversations with visionaries, drivers of change, and those dedicated to winning no matter the challenge. There are 53 episodes that have gone out before this one. We have focused on most of those, the first sections of that phrase, visionaries and drivers of change. It’s not that we missed those dedicated to winning no matter the challenge. It’s just that it’s hard to quantify. That’s a subjective phrase. That’s open to interpretation. We underrepresented winning no matter the challenge until I came across you.

Winning sits at the core of so much of what you do and talks about. I read your book on the plane. We were talking about it. Why is winning hard? It’s because embracing the challenge when things get hard is what separates someone from became becoming the fittest man in the world versus the rest of us who are just happy working out and being good at working out. That is a huge differentiation when it comes to mindset.

You said, “It dawned on me that failure simply wasn’t an option. If I wanted to stay true to my why, cultivate my core values, build a life with Ashley, make my parents proud, and prove to myself that I could do it all and more, then there was only one outcome, to win.” Winning starts with mentality and mindset. You developed the As Many Reps As Possible mentality. It’s about achieving goals, big and small, through focus, dedication, and hard work. We’re going to break them down, but I want to start with your definition of that mindset.

You never know when life is going to throw you a curveball. Start working on these things today to build a hedge, so if anything ever does happen, you're in the best position to tackle it. Click To Tweet

The AMRAP mentality is about being present and focused on whatever you’re doing and then reaching your potential there. For a lot of years, I was trying to balance being a husband, a father, a business owner, and a competitive athlete. What I found myself doing was being one foot in and one foot out quite often. In particular, I was on a call with China. We have locations in Asia.

What I would find myself doing more times than not would be to be on the phone on a conference call while concurrently doing intervals of some type of aerobic ability, I would find myself afterward asking myself if I reached my potential in that conversation or was I distracted because I was doing my intervals crappy because I wasn’t putting my best effort in, and I was doing the call crappy because I wasn’t putting my best effort in there.

Eventually, what would happen is I had to have something change because I wasn’t reaching my potential and embracing this idea of AMRAP. AMRAP, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this, is this idea of As Many Reps As Possible. What it means is in fitness spaces, it’s like, “I want you to AMRAP for two minutes of burpees,” so you do as many burpees as you can in two minutes.

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Jason Khalipa: ”I was spending too much time not reaching my potential by being one foot in and one foot out in everything I was doing.”

During that time, you wouldn’t be worried about answering your phone. You wouldn’t be distracted by anything else. You would just be focused on the task at hand, which is to get as many burpees as you can in two minutes. I started to incorporate in my life that mindset primarily because what I found was I was spending too much time not reaching my potential by being one foot in and one foot out in everything I was doing.

You broke it into five parts. The five-part is know your why, focus on what you can control, work hard, shift gears, and reevaluate.

Whatever you want to do, you have to understand the why behind it. Otherwise, when things get hard, which they will, you’ll end up stopping or failing. You got to have a strong why. The shifting gears is a cool analogy. If you want to equate this, it’s like a bike. The bike is a great analogy because you have to be present and focused if you’re riding a bike. If you’re not present or focused, you’re going to tip over. You have to work hard or pedal. You have to switch gears depending on the train, and every now and then, you have to reevaluate.

For me, in my life, it was my family, my fitness, and the business. I need to switch gears throughout the duration of the day and be present and focused on each one of those things. That’s important. Knowing which things build up your day and the why behind each one of them is super critical because life is going to throw you a bunch of curveballs and challenges. If you’re doing something because of money and fame or some superficial reason, when things get tough, you won’t be successful at it.

I like the shifting gears part of this thing and incorporating that into your mentality because we think so much that we’re good multitaskers. Rich Diviney, a former Navy SEAL, wrote a book called The Attributes. We had him on Episode 41. I’m also a member of Talent War Group. He’s one of our partners. Rich Diviney says we all think we’re great multitaskers, but we suck at multitasking. What that means is we do many things not well. What we have to focus on is what he calls task switching. It’s our ability to put an end to something and start another concretely.

You have had to learn this lesson of shifting gears or task switching. In more real terms than almost any one of us, your daughter was diagnosed on January 20th, 2016, with leukemia. That’s any parent’s worst nightmare and most difficult thing to have to endure, but that forced you to evaluate where you were as an athlete, Founder, entrepreneur, father, and husband. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that experience forced you to begin to incorporate this model and put a full stop? An interesting part of your book is where you talk about having to reach out to your CFO immediately and saying, “I can’t run the business. That’s on you. I have to do this.”

That was the reason why I wrote the book. When Ava was diagnosed with leukemia, what I recognized was that I was super grateful because I had embraced this AMRAP mentality years before. We had built a hedge. If any family was going to get this, and not that I wish this on anybody, we were best positioned for it because we had strong relationships because of the presence of what we were doing.

We had a financial hedge because we had worked hard. We had a physical hedge because of all the time we spent in the gym. The motivation for the book was to tell people you never know when life is going to throw you a curveball. You could start working on these things now to build a hedge, so if anything ever does happen, you’re in the best position to tackle it. That was the inspiration.

To back up a little bit, the AMRAP mentality started to kick in somewhere in 2011, 2012, and 2013. I was competing professionally. I was traveling around the world. At the same time, we had expanded globally as a business in particular through corporate wellness sites. My daughter was a newborn at that time, and my son was born in 2014. This one sticks with me. I was walking on the street with my wife, and my daughter was in the stroller.

I remember that at the time, regionals were coming up, which is a qualifying event for the CrossFit Games. It was the way the CrossFit Games events worked, but they’ve shifted over the years. We used to have an open, which is worldwide. It then goes regionally. You go to the games, and then depending on how you perform there, you go represent your country. That’s in a nutshell.

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Jason Khalipa: ”I got to be better. Otherwise I’m not going to have this family. I’m not going to have these things. I have to do better about being present and focused.”

What occurred was I was walking with them, and she asked me a question. At the time, I was thinking about something completely unrelated to that walk. I was thinking about doing a handstand walking at the regional coming up. I was thinking about my training coming up later in the day. She asked me a question, and I remember looking at her saying, “I was not paying attention. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” The look on her face at that moment expressed that I got to be better. Otherwise, I’m not going to have this family. I’m not going to have these things. I have to do better about being present and focused, and that’s when I started embodying this idea of AMRAP.

My workouts are super-efficient because I’m AMRAP-ing them. I’m not stopping in the middle to answer my phone. I’m hitting my workouts. It’s at that level of intensity, so I started asking myself, “How can I take that level of focus and intensity and transition it to other areas of my life?” That started years prior to Ava getting diagnosed, which is why I wrote the book because I was grateful that because I had worked so hard to build a business and find a great team, we were able to pivot that off to them while I focused on home.

Because I’d spent so much time with my wife building a good relationship when this happened, our relationship ended up getting stronger instead of breaking apart. Finally, I didn’t have to worry about my fitness because I’d already built that hedge, although fitness is a strong outlet, and we could talk about that. I didn’t know it then, but all this preparation of this mentality had helped me for that particular moment.

Can you talk about mental attitudes? You and I were talking about it. A positive mental attitude is so important. As a journalist, I appreciated your openness in the book. As a parent, there were parts of you telling that story where it was hard not to become emotional as the reader, so you did a great job with that and portraying that difficulty. When you think about the attitude when you were put in this situation, and that’s something we talk about on a lot of different episodes about how do you show up and be present, you and Ashley, when faced at that night, made a conscious decision to approach it with a certain mindset. Can you talk about that?

I wish this doesn’t happen to anybody. My daughter had been experiencing leg pain, tiredness, and general fatigue. We had gone and pursued many different doctors, but we couldn’t get to the bottom of it. To put it in perspective, it was so bad that we were at my sister’s wedding, where Ava was the flower girl, and she couldn’t walk down the aisle. That’s how much her legs hurt. I remember thinking to myself like, “It’s growing pains,” or even a part of me was like, “She’s just being dramatic.”

After a couple of months, I was like, “There’s something seriously wrong here.” She ended up getting some bruising. That’s when we started to recognize there was an issue. We finally went to the doctor again, and they did blood work. Some would ask why we did blood work with children, and now that we’ve gone through what we’ve gone through. They don’t want to stick needles and take blood if they don’t think there’s a necessity to it.

The ultimate goal from a values perspective is being able to impact as many people as possible through fitness. Click To Tweet

We went in and got blood work done. A couple of hours later, the doctor ended up calling, and he was like, “You got to go to Stanford ER now.” We got up and left. We ended up getting to the hospital. We got in there at 10:00 PM, and by 1:00 AM, they gave us the news that she had leukemia. It was difficult. It was daunting news. At the time, you don’t know much about it. You just hear about cancer and leukemia. You know it’s not good.

Your inclination is to start freaking out.

We were all crying in there. It was tough. It was just Ashley and me, but my father-in-law ended up being nearby, so he came by. Ashley took us out in the hallway and was like, “We’re going to crush this thing.” The mentality was it’s us against the disease, and we’re not going to fall victim. We were going to go and smash this thing. She said that anytime we’re around Ava, there should be no tears around. There should be nothing but positivity, and that made a big difference.

We ended up spending months in the hospital. It’s interesting the way that your demeanor and action can fuel the energy in the room. When people want to come in, I was like, “If you’re not in a mindset where you’re positive, don’t walk in the room. We understand if you’re having a tough day, but if you’re not feeling it, stay outside for a little bit until you feel better.” I felt like that was part of it. For me, exercising played a really big role because I would go to the parking lot and do workouts. I would come back, and that energy would then instill in the rest of the room. That positive self-talk and mindset which we were talking about before, played a major role in that.

You have a set of values, too, that is important to bring into this conversation. You talked about your why. You talked about the number one part of this AMRAP mentality, which is knowing your why. Your why has to be grounded in something, you call it the foundation and the fuel of what drives you and motivates you to do everything else and what you are grounded in for you. It was the values of honesty, self-expression, and a real connection to your community.

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Meet Jason Khalipa: 2008 CrossFit Games Champion, Founder of NCFIT, Author of As Many Reps As Possible

As you tell this story about your daughter and what you went through, those values are manifested so much in what you’re talking about. Can you talk a little bit about defining values? I was having this conversation, and we were saying that people are often struggling like, “Why am I here? What’s the meaning of life? What am I supposed to do?”

You and I were talking about it on our walk back here from a coffee where I said my why is journalism and telling people’s story, but what about those who can’t find their why? What about those who struggle? They wake up every day, and they don’t understand what their values are. How do they find something that grounds them and drives them forward? What do you tell them?

For me, I’m dedicated to our business. We have been for many years trying to spread fitness to help people live freely and fully outside the gym. My ultimate goal from a values perspective is being able to impact as many people as possible through fitness. That’s something I’m not only passionate about but also have expertise in. For anybody who’s looking to ground themselves in terms of value, they need to find out what is important to them in their life. Maybe it’s their family, friends, or relationships, and then finding ways to impact them and raise them up. It’s a theory that I think about all the time. You know the way it goes. When you have a group of friends, not everybody is going to be crushing it all the time. As a community, we need to raise each other up. That’s critical to all of our success.

It’s interesting because when Ava got sick, the only thing that we were focused on was improving her health. That was the why. The why was like, “I need to get my daughter better,” and once she has gotten better, the other why was, “How do I go and help as many families as possible?” We were the best suited for this terrible thing, but now, we need to make an impact on more people.

For me, it’s improving people’s lives through fitness and then allowing people at our company to do what they love for a living. I want to provide for people to do the same thing that I love doing, and then with that big group of people we want to impact, how do we then do good stuff for others? That’s pediatric cancer-focused in particular because of our background.

We forget about that too sometimes that people are at different points at any day in their life or journey. Often, when we see people and watch them on social media, there’s always this idea that their life is so perfect. In mathematical terms, the slope is up to the right at a 45-degree angle, and every day is slightly better than the next, but that’s not reality. How do we come together and help those who aren’t where we are because we all are in need at some point?

That’s important. My daughter was saying something about some girls in our class, and I quoted myself. I was like, “Everybody’s got crap. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care how successful you are. There’s something that you’re trying to work on or some type of insecurity that you have. Some people are better at hiding it than other people.”

It’s that age now where they’re coming home, and they’re like, “So-and-so did this. I was talking to this girl about this other girl.” I immediately put a stop to that stuff. I was like, “We live in a small town, and everybody is in a different place. You will not talk about other kids.” Let’s talk about fitness. A big part of your why is fitness. Why CrossFit? You started working in gyms when you were fifteen years old. You worked not only the front desk, but you also sold memberships to the traditional gym model, and then you jumped into CrossFit.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason KhalipaI was working at a traditional gym. At the time, I felt a little bit that we were selling people a bag of goods where we would tell them, “You’re going to get in the best shape of your life.” We didn’t provide them with the resources and the tools. A lot of that was my immaturity that if I could go back in time, I would have tried to tell them like, “Just because you signed up for this doesn’t mean anything. That’s a financial commitment, but ultimately, you need to come in here and put in the work. Let me help put you in the best position for success by having a coach or a system in place to create a community around it.”

When I found that coach, that system, and that success through CrossFit, that’s what drew me in because I felt like it could make an impact on people. It’s not to say the conventional gym didn’t, but I thought CrossFit was doing a better job because it had the coach that created the community, which ultimately created that shared suffering that people were more drawn to. They felt bad if we didn’t show up, whereas when you go into the traditional gym, it wasn’t necessarily the same way. I was introduced to that in 2006. It was a couple of years from graduating college.

We had Olympic rower Gevvie Stone on here. She came on for the Head of the Charles winning in the women’s champions single and a Head of the Charles Olympic silver medalist in the Rio Games. She says that hard things bond you together more than easy things.

When I found CrossFit, it was different, hard, and something I was bought in. When I graduated from college at the time, I knew I wanted to open a fitness center, but CrossFit provided me the outlet where I was able to do it with a low barrier to entry. I leased out a 1,500 square foot crappy space. I started with $5,000. You couldn’t do that with the traditional gym model. This model allowed me to start it without taking on outside funding and that type of stuff and be about the why, which is impacting people’s lives.

Our business model has always been super important for me. When someone sees a credit card charge from NCFIT, I want them to look at that charge like, “I got great value from that. I’d pay double,” versus, “I got to go cancel that. That sucks.” It’s like if you have a cell phone bill where you hate your carrier, but you’re on a locked-in contract. Every time you see a charge, you’re like, “Dang it.” I don’t want that perspective on our business.

They’re like, “I’m waiting for this thing to end, so I don’t have to pay for it anymore.”

It could also be when you go out to a restaurant and have a mediocre experience. You look at the bill, and you’re like, “Man,” or you can go to the same restaurant but have a phenomenal experience. When you get the bill, you’re like, “I would have paid double because it was exceptional.” That’s what we’re fighting for here.

There is no hack when it comes to fitness. Click To Tweet

The next aspect of the AMRAP mentality is to focus on what you can control. This is a big part of my mantra. I have an entire keynote on doing what I call controlling the uncontrollable. You said, “You invest in what you know and focus on what you can control. You control effort, attitude, time management, and this whole responsibility. You control who you choose to work with and where you choose to sell your product. You control your level of preparation, but most importantly, you control your own actions and reactions.”

In Special Forces, we always said, “You cannot control the weather. You cannot control the food. You cannot control how cold and tired you are. You can’t control what the enemy does, but what you can control is your level of physical preparation, level of training, and then your attitude by which you approach these complex challenges.” The Jedburghs is a perfect example of this. When you define focus on what you can control, why do you feel it’s so important?

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Jason Khalipa: ”I focused on things that were outside my control…By the time I actually had to go out there and perform, I wasn’t able to perform.”

The reason why I feel like it’s so important is that from my competitive career, either it can make or break somebody. I’ve had situations in 2009 and 2010 where I focused on things that were outside my control. It created so much anxiety and energy that by the time I had to go out there and perform, I wasn’t able to perform. It’s something I’ve had to learn over the years as an athlete, which then carried over into real life, which is a cool lesson. This is a good example. In 2010, in particular, I came in as the favorite at the time. I had a 1st and a 5th. I won the CrossFit Games of 2008. I took 5th in 2009. I came in 16th in 2010. I was arguably the favorite or one of the tops.

The event that I competed in was underneath the lights in Tennessee. It was bad-ass and awesome, but because it was underneath the lights, we had to wait until 6:00 or 7:00 PM, or even later. They had the jets fly over. It was amazing. The national anthem was playing. I was fired up, but I made some mistakes early in the day. I drank a red bull, thinking I needed to stay fired up. I worried about what my competitors’ times were. I worried about things that were completely unrelated to my performance. By the time that event came around, I was so mentally and physically exhausted from all of that buildup that I went out there and ended up showing poor performance.

I ended up falling on my face and ended up staying there for an hour on the ground. The long and short of that lesson was I needed to learn how to know what was in my control versus out, primarily because my performance, when I focused on things that were outside my control, suffered because I utilized all that amazing energy on things that didn’t impact my performance in a positive way.

That was the first lesson I learned. It was in 2010. I started seeing a sports psychologist, which started to help. The biggest thing that he had me do was take two circles, put them on a piece of paper, and the things that are in my control was to be put on the left and things that are out of control to be put on the right, and told me to choose to focus on the things that are in my control.

Once you start writing out what’s in versus out of your control in a situation stressing you out, it puts things in perspective. Take that event. The things that were in my control were triple lacing my shoes, as an example, or what’s my pre-warm-up. All these things out of my control have so many other factors, but when I wrote it down, it played a big impact on me and on what I wanted to focus on. I then ended up carrying that into things like Ava’s diagnosis.

Emotional strength is a big part of being able to control the uncontrollable. You call it emotional control in the book. The emotional constraint is how we define it because it’s one of the nine characteristics of performance defined by Special Operations Forces. It’s the ability to bring calm from chaos, keep emotions in check, and think rationally when stressed physically and emotionally.

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Jason Khalipa: “Winners stay calm and channel that stress into productive energy. Losers complain, fly off the handle, and lose their cool. In my experience, this comes down to a fault in focus.”

You referenced emotional strength by saying, “Winners stay calm and channel that stress into productive energy. Losers complain, fly off the handle, and lose control.” In my experience, this comes down to focus. I’m going to use this quote when I work with athletes because this is fundamentally a great quote.

One of the most beautiful things about shared suffering, exercise, or physical activity is that there’s micro adversity that’s built-in. What I referred to as micro adversity is I was in the garage with my daughter. We work out every morning together. She doesn’t want to do ten reps, but she does ten reps, or she doesn’t want to be on the treadmill as long, but she does it. Those are little micro adversities or little moments in time where there’s a struggle, and you got to overcome it.

Those carry over well into real life and in performance in sport. Through these micro adversities, you start building up the mindset of learning how to positive self-talk and learning how to win because you stay calm and collected instead of allowing these adverse moments to impact you so negatively that you end up crumbling. That takes time. It’s a skill to learn.

I agree with that. People forget that. You didn’t just become the CrossFit champion. There’s that road that’s long and hard. All the micro adversity pieces that you talk about play into that third component of this, which is work hard. You bring it up where you said, “Show up on a consistent basis every day for weeks, months, and years on end. When you show up, you show up on time, ready to work, and you work hard. These are non-negotiables. You show up. You’re on time. You work, and you work hard, honestly hard.” That comes back to and highlights these micro adversities because if you can’t force yourself to push through these little things, how do you expect to face a challenge when it’s big?

I work with the Boston University men’s rowing team. One of the things that we talk a lot about is standards. If you come to the boathouse and you walk by trash on the floor or weights and equipment left on the ground, if you don’t tackle those small problems, how do you expect to tackle the big problems when you’re fatigued mentally, emotionally, and physically? If the guys aren’t performing and you’re not performing. Can you then say, “Now, I’m going to work hard,” but you have not trained yourself in the little things to tackle the big things?

That’s a big part of it too. I talk about this idea of perceived versus earned confidence. It’s a cool analogy. I would tell myself that I would wear a wristband every year to the CrossFit Games. This idea of earned relates to business, too, especially coming out of COVID. When you think about earned, it’s like when you’re in Special Forces or on the rowing team at Boston University.

You’ve earned the right to be there because of all the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication you’ve put in. That’s a nice reminder because nothing was given to you. You had to put that work in every single day. I could tell myself I can get in the ring with Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather, but the likelihood of me being able to knock one of them out is slim to none.

You could stand in the ring briefly.

That’s me pumping myself up before I get in, but that’s all perceived bullshit. If you could back up your performance by earned confidence where you’ve earned it day in and day out, you’ve been on that boat. You’ve been doing whatever. You’ve been putting rounds downrange. When you go out there to perform, you have a nice earned confidence to fall back on.

That was always a reminder of me every time I was in the garage, in the gym, or every training session I ever did. It still relates now. Whether I get ready for a jiu-jitsu tournament or a fitness competition, it’s earning that right to feel that confidence, and I try to do that every single day. It’s important in my opinion.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Jason’s Formula for Results: Hard Work + Consistency = Results

You have a formula for it, and anyone who follows the show regularly knows I like two things. I like lists and formulas.

I’m telling everybody that there will be a marketing asset that says hard work plus consistency equals results. It’s that simple. The consistency piece is the key, especially here at the gym. I’ve seen this for a lot of years. I started NCFIT in 2008, and here we are in 2022. We’ve been doing this for many years. Over the years, I’ve had thousands of people come through, and hundreds of them will say, “I’m ready to make a lifelong commitment. I want to get in the best shape of my life. I need to lose 50 pounds. My doctor says I’m almost diabetic. I’m going to come in every single day. I’m going to eat super clean,” but two weeks later, they’re gone.

In performance, in sport, you start building up the mindset of learning how to be positive through micro adversities. Click To Tweet

In the beginning, I would be like, “We need you to get rid of the sugar. We need you to do this. Come in every day. I got your back.” I’ll be texting them, but I forgot that for many years, these people had never done that before, and I needed to meet them where they were. Even though they were saying something, we needed to build up that confidence, so instead of like, “That’s cool,” it’s, “We need you to be consistent for the next two months. You’re going to come in twice a week, and you’re going to remove soda.”

After that, we’ve earned that confidence where you’ve been able to do it twice a week, and then, let’s bump it up to three times a week. Once we started transitioning towards that, we’ve seen lifelong changes in people because it built up this level of consistency was the key instead of fast pace and then burnout.

You don’t have to do it all at once. People start to fear that. It’s like, “I’ve never done this before. I’d been sitting on the couch for two years.” I struggled with that, and I was a Collegiate Division I athlete and in the Special Forces. I haven’t worked out much this winter. Every time I sit there, I go, “I need to work out.” You put it on a pedestal. Once you put working out on a pedestal, all of a sudden, it becomes a fear.

Especially for people who aren’t where they want to be physically, they need to calm down and not put it on a pedestal. Go out for a walk. Start there, then all of a sudden, that walk turns into a jog, and that jog turns into doing a few squats in your garage. Before you know it, you’re starting to develop habits. That’s the key.

There is no hack.

If people aren’t motivated by six-pack abs or better blood work, that’s fine. Most people know the benefits of fitness. It’s pretty common practice. If you eat well, have real food, and exercise, you’re going to be better off, including after what we’re seeing that happened with COVID. We’ve seen who have performed better statistically. Something you should think about with fitness that maybe you haven’t thought about is its ability to be a de-stressor and callous your mind in the words of David Goggins to overcome micro adversity. It’s the ability to allow you to never allow fitness to inhibit the things you want or need to do in life for me and probably for you too.

I never want fitness to inhibit my ability to sit on a couch and get back up again, or if my kids want to go out and go hike a mountain and for me to be like, “Dad’s tired today. I can’t do that.” That’s a bigger why. If you’re not motivated by a six-pack and blood work, then find something else like these things I’m talking about. As you can tell, I’m pretty passionate about fitness.

I mentioned Rich Diviney and The Attributes. He talks about optimal versus peak performance. The differentiation between optimal versus peak performance is peak is being the best you can be. We’re in all perfect conditions or the absolute best we can be. When I work with the rowing team, we talk about what we’re peaking towards. Olympic athletes deal with it too. We’re peaking towards the competition, then finals, and the nationals, so there’s a tape or a structured training plan.

An organization like the military is not really about peak performance. It’s about optimal performance. What’s the best I can do now based on all of this variety of other factors, how much sleep I’ve had, other work that I’m doing, or other stressors in my life? Do I need to operate at my peak? Maybe I do base on what I’m facing, but optimal is what I’m striving for.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Host Fran Racioppi and Jason Khalipa discuss…

You mentioned the 2009 games. When I read that story, I thought about optimal versus peak performance because here’s a situation where you went out to achieve peak performance but were reminded very quickly that it might be about optimal performance, which is the best that you can do regardless of what that result is. I’m wondering if you can tell that story a bit because you ended up winning the Spirit of the Games award, but it took almost dying on the road to be able to do that.

That was another example. It was 100% in my own head. That was a year I came off as a previous champ. It was the first event of the 2009 CrossFit Games with 5 to 7 miles of hill run. This wasn’t your typical, “We’re going to go for a hill run.” It was very aggressive. At one point, you’re on your hands and feet climbing up a mountain because it was so vertical. It was so steep.

Where I went wrong was I went into it, to your perspective, to try and peak. At that point, I knew what the first event was. Typically, I didn’t know what all events were, but I was prepared to peak, meaning you’re tempering a couple of days before or you’re trying to evaluate all these different things that are going to put you in the best position to be successful. I didn’t learn my lesson that year. I learned it the next year, but at that year, I was listening to Eminem, 50 Cent, and all this different stuff on the run with headphones in. I tried to jack myself too much up, but I didn’t need that. The competition itself was already providing a stimulus I needed. I have overstimulated myself.

I was over-anxious and tried to put myself in a position to win that event when what I should’ve been doing was put myself in a position to get through it. That led me to about three-quarters of the way. I was almost done. I was at the last mile. I ended up blacking out. There’s an interesting clip of it on YouTube. If anybody wants to look it up, it’s Jason Khalipa: 2009 CrossFit Games. You’ll see me running down and falling backward.

At that point, my body was so fatigued, and I was so mentally drained that I could not continue. That has never happened to me like that before. I blacked out and fell on the floor. I then wake up, and they tell me, “If you don’t finish this event, your games are over.” At that point, I had to dig deep and say, “I didn’t come here to lose. I came here to see what my potential was.” I got back up and finished the last mile. What’s sad about this event, and I’m not bitter or anything, but I took 72 in that event right out of 73 people. Had I taken 50th, I would have won the games again.

That was a big lesson for me on overcoming adversity. What else was cool about that was it catapulted me for the next couple of years of my life because when my back was up against the wall, and I was blacked out, I made the conscious decision to push through and move forward. That was a cool moment for me because I had a chance to give in, but I chose not to, and that related to the strong why. Had I not had a strong why of why I was there in the first place, I would’ve given up and called it a day.

That comment about quitting is important here. You have defining moments in your life, and you’ve had a couple of them. We’ll talk about some with regard to entrepreneurs in here soon, but when you think about competition, you think about ingraining in yourself this no-quit attitude. I mentioned Lisa Jaster. Lisa Jaster was on Episode 16. We profiled her. She came back when we interviewed General McChrystal and joined me on that episode too. Lisa says you can’t let the quit in. It starts in mind, like, “How am I thinking now about myself?”

You talked about a positive mental attitude and positive self-talk, but I always think about quitting that I may not achieve what I want to in this exercise, competition, or whatever it may be. I may not look back and say, “I’m happy with the result.” I might be upset, and it might live with me as it has for you for a long time. That’s okay, but if you quit, and I tell athletes and people this all the time, you’re always a quitter. You may not quit ever again, but you will always, at that moment, be known to yourself as having quit, and that to me is something that like I can’t live with.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Jason Khalipa: “If I was not mentally prepared to finish the task at hand…then I just wouldn’t even do it.”

I would not even do it. There are so many levels to this. At a high level, if I was not mentally prepared to finish the task at hand or at least go in there and give everything I possibly had, I wouldn’t even do it. When people ask me, “Are you going to go back and compete again?” I’ve competed in other events, but I don’t have that strong why to be there. When it gets tough, which it will, I would want to stop because I don’t have that strong internal drive. I might as well not even do it and pivot that energy in other things that I am excited about.

Nothing is given to you; you have to put that work in every single day. Click To Tweet

I’ve said it a few times, but you profile people in certain psychological profiles. You identified this. I know I am. That’s the evaluation that I’ve gotten every time I’ve taken some of these tests. You’re either in or out. It’s like if you look at a volume dial, there’s a 1 and a 10. Some people live in between. I live at 1 or at 10, so I’m either all in or I’m not going to do it at all.

That’s pretty much where I’m at. It’s interesting. I don’t find myself to be an overly competitive person. My wife is more competitive than I am. I finished 40 days of eating meat and fruit. That’s all in. That was an interesting experience too.

What’s the reason behind that?

We wanted to create a challenge for our GMs and staff. We named it the Effort Over Everything Challenge. It was EOE 40. It was 40 days. We had 500 plus people that ended up signing up for it. We made them pay $10.40. It was not because we were trying to get rich off it, but to give a level of buy-in. Every day, we send them an email to keep them on track, etc. What it was was 40 minutes of movement a day and eating according to a nutrition plan of your choice. That was important.

Make it reasonable but hard. We called it the Clean Sink Club, which meant was to identify something in your life that’s mundane that you don’t do and then do it. For some people, it’s keeping their sink clean. At night, they put a bunch of dirty dishes on there, and when they wake up in the morning, they see it and are like, “That’s the first thing I have to do today.”

For some people, it might be making your bed, or for some people, it might be whatever. For me, my mundane thing was that I would leave my clothes on the floor. It happened to me all the time. The sink wasn’t an issue. It’s part of my kids’ chores. It ended up for me being 40 minutes of movement every single day, waking up 40 minutes earlier than I normally do, workout, then the nutrition, and then the Clean Sink Club for 40 days. For me, it was eating meat and some fruit for 40 days, and then all those other things I talked about.

How do you feel?

I felt great, but now, I feel like shit.

What’s the effect on the body?

It has been weeks. I don’t normally do before and after pictures, but I did in this case. I put a lot of it back on now because I went off the rocker, but I’m going to find my medium now. The reason why I did it was I wanted to reduce inflammation in my joints and see how my gut reacted. I was looking at a bunch of different styles of eating, and I liked the carnivore. I was attracted to it, but it was too much. I want to add a little bit of fruit, so that’s what I tried.

My body reacted well to it. Now, I have to find that blend because I didn’t want to be that guy either. I don’t mind being that guy for 40 days, but I don’t want to be that guy forever where you’re at a restaurant, and you’re ordering with your family, and they order dessert, or you’re at a birthday party, and you’re not eating the cake. I don’t want to be that guy. I’ve been that guy before.

You have to make a lot of sacrifices, especially when you’re competing professionally. There were a lot of times that my family and I made a lot of sacrifices. Anybody who competes at a high level or even an entrepreneur, there’s this idea that you think that you’re the one who’s making the sacrifice, but it’s everybody that’s in. Every year, I would talk to my wife and say, “Are we ready to make the commitment together for these CrossFit Games? If you’re not, then we’re not doing it.” That’s what ended up happening.

Let’s talk about the next component of the AMRAP mentality, which is Reevaluate. Humility is another core, soft characteristic of the performance. It’s the ability to be introspective and to assess ourselves honestly, performance, attitude, state of being, and results in a lot of ways. You said that reevaluation comes down to one simple question, “Could I be better?” Why is that question so important?

You have to understand why you’re doing something in the first place, work hard at it, and switch gears throughout the duration of the day. These switching gears are like micro switches. For example, since you came here, I’ve only been with you, and that’s it. After you guys leave, I’m going to do something else, and it’s going to be completely unrelated to what we’re doing now.

That’s the switching gears, whereas the reevaluation occurs every now and then. It’s a deep reflection on, “Are the things that I’m doing my life what I want to continue to be doing? If not, then I need to do a reevaluation.” In my case, a very extreme example of reevaluation was when Ava was diagnosed. I had to reevaluate what were my priorities and focuses and then match that with what I was doing throughout the duration of the day.

When people think about what they want to spend their time on, they can look at it from a micro perspective or a macro perspective. On a micro-scale, I asked myself every single day, “Am I doing the best I can as a husband, a father, a business owner, and an athlete? Am I doing the best I can today?” If the answer is yes, then great, but sometimes, you might be traveling for work or doing whatever, and maybe you’re not being the best husband or father you can be because you’re out building the business.

For the next week, maybe try and recalculate. What I don’t want to do is wake up one day, six months later and be like, “I’ve been a shitty X, Y, Z.” If you do these micro check-ins, it’s a nice way of building a hedge so you don’t feel that one day you might have that sense of panic that you haven’t done a good job in other areas of your life.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason KhalipaIt’s important. You have to assess yourself constantly. If you don’t, then you go down these roads. You’re right. You don’t want to look back in some period of time later and say, “I never stopped to check where I’m going.”

I have a new sauna and a cold plunge coming in. I used to have a sauna. I loved it, but then we moved houses and donated it. Those are great opportunities, maybe not so much the cold plunge, but the sauna to do a nice daily reflection like, “How was today? What can I do better?” I like thinking about those types of things because it helps me try and reach my potential. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s what I’m seeking.

I’ve done some stuff with CrossFit. On my GORUCK experience, we met in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is up here in Northern California, and it’s pretty cold. We met at the beach at 1:00 AM, and we were in and out of that water doing burpees and all kinds of stuff getting wet and sandy. I’m sure you have seen this training before. I cannot handle cold very well. I’m such a little wimp. I got out of that water, and I was shivering.

There were all these other people around who at the time knew who I was because of my CrossFit background. I felt like they all felt so sorry for me because I was shivering profusely, and I could not stop it. I figured that because I do not like the cold so much. I might as well get a cold plunge and start exposing myself to it because that could be a way that I could improve my breathing and mindset.

I’m the opposite. I went to ranger school in the winter in 2004 and 2005. It was the first year it had snowed in Georgia in five years. It’s the heat where I feel like there’s no escape. I’ve lived in Djibouti for six months. It’s a place between Ethiopia and Somalia. It’s the land where rocks sweat because the humidity is so high. I can’t escape the heat, and that’s where everything starts to close up. Whereas in the cold, I can layer up, get warm, or do some exercise, and it’ll warm my body up.

If you don't have that strong internal drive, you might as well not do something and pivot that energy toward other things that you are really excited about. Click To Tweet

I haven’t spent six months in areas that you have, but my body generally reacts better to heat or to be in the sauna than it does in the cold plunge, which is one of the reasons why I’m going to explore it. I might sing a different tune a couple of months from now. I’ll have to let you know.

Can you push too hard for too long? I ask this question because we’ve had some interesting conversations about performance and mental and physical limits. Chris Frueh has been on a couple of times. He’s been on a long-form jumping where he has the theory of what’s called Operators syndrome where first responders, military, and people who are high-performance professionals like you in fitness where you wake up one day, and you’re like, “I can’t do it anymore. I’ve pushed too far for too long at such a high level, and I’m physically, emotionally, and mentally drained.” You saw it with Simone Biles or Naomi Osaka, who are examples of this. The skier, Mikaela Shiffrin, it’s a similar situation with her.

You talk about injury where’s it’s the balance between pushing yourself so much. I’m a couple of years older than you, but CrossFit came when I was in college and then in the early days in the Army. I know I can attribute one back injury to CrossFit and pushing so hard where you reach that limit. How do you balance that? We talked about Jessie Graff, who joined us and talked to us about the numerous injuries that she has had in her career. What’s the balance?TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

The simple answer is, and it’s not going to be what people want to know, listening to your body matters. Some type of change occurs. Something needs to change in this particular area. Maybe you need soft tissue work, or you’re too fatigued. That’s where CrossFit has had a bad rap in different areas, and that’s one of the reasons why we pivoted and started the brand NCFIT. It was more so taking some of these lessons learned through CrossFit and some of those methodologies, but shifting it a little bit from a programming perspective to be a little bit more translatable to everyday people coming into our gyms based on what we’ve seen over the years.

People need to listen to their bodies. It’s okay not to crush it every single day. One of the struggles with CrossFit is that typically, you would time every single workout. You’d try and set a score every single day of your workout. When you’re doing that, that means you’re putting out your absolute best effort every single day because you want to try and put up the best score possible. That red line mentality can only be done so many times before that needs to be adjusted. People need to red line once or twice a week. When I say red line, go after it because when you red line, it’s where you make the best gains mentally, but if you do that too often, you could beat up your body too much.

Hitting your workouts with good purpose and good effort is great every single day, but every now and then, throttle it up. That’s a good way of training. Red line twice a week to develop in between the ears and push that. Every other day, put in a strong effort but not one that leaves you super wrecked. For me, I go to my garage every morning with my daughter. She will walk, and I’ll ride the bike for fifteen minutes in the morning while watching TV to jumpstart the day. What I like to think about with that is we’re putting points on the scoreboard. From the moment we wake up, we’re already starting with some level of movement, getting that cognitive function and moving.

Whenever we try and do any more than that, it’s not sustainable, meaning a walk or a bike is so basic that it’s a nice way of getting movement. Later in the day, I’ll do some type of session, whether it’s ju-jitsu or one of our classes here at NCFIT. I’ll do that pretty much every day, seven days a week for many years, but that’s what I found is my balance. If in the morning I try and ramp it up like crazy and in the afternoon, I try and ramp it up like crazy, my body will break down too much. That’s why I’ve had to listen to my body and find out what works for it.

We’ve talked a lot about entrepreneurship in different aspects in this conversation. When you decide to open your own gym, can you talk about that shift or process? You had worked for people. You’d been an athlete. You had this defining moment on your interview where you were perceived as a bad suit in financial services. I can identify with this because I was a financial advisor while I was in business school. When I read your story, I was like, “That’s exactly how it goes.” What was it that drove you to say, “I can do this on my own. I got to go out and do it?”

At the time, it was going back to earned confidence. A couple of years before I started the business, I’d meet with the gym owner of our place twice a week and ride the elliptical with him. He helped me understand the business side and made me feel more comfortable taking that leap because I knew he had my back. That was a major piece of it.

Also, nothing seemed like it was working for me. I tried these interviews. I went to these companies, and it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like it was me. I wanted to wear a t-shirt and gym shorts and try and make an impact on people. Looking back on it now, it was a gutsy move only because at the time, CrossFit was super new. We were going through ’08. It wasn’t like the economy was booming. I graduated from a four-year university that was super expensive. Luckily, my mom worked there.

There’s such as big barrier when young adults graduate from college now. There’s a path, and the path is to find a job, and you make $60,000, $70,000, or $80,000. If you do anything else but that path, you’re looked at as abnormal. At the time back in ’08, that was even more prevalent than it is now, but what it was is because these mentors that I had that made me feel more comfortable, and also my parents. Both of my parents were supportive of my decision not to pursue the traditional career. That made a big difference. Had my parents not been, I don’t know if I would have done it.

They gave you the credit card with $5,000 on it, which kicked it off. How do you differentiate yourself? This is a super competitive market. We were talking earlier about Sarah Apgar. We had her on a couple of episodes ago. She is the Founder of FitFighter, was on Shark Tank, and got picked up by the Founder of KIND Snacks, but this is a super competitive space.

Everybody jumps in. There are fads. There are new gimmicks. Everybody’s got a new idea on fitness and health. When you look at the long-term, and you say, “We want to be a brand that grows, scales, and provides value. We want to do it not for today, but for many years to come,” how do you go about building a business in fitness that addresses long-term sustainable health and involvement?

The key is you start with that as your mission or focus. It’s not money because money will come. If you find something you’re passionate about and become the very best at it, whatever that may be, chances are you’re going to be pretty successful financially. I was talking to a group of eighth-graders. That was a piece of advice I gave them. It was like, “Find something you’re bought in on and become the world’s best at it.” Is there anybody that’s the world’s best that isn’t crushing it also financially? They work hand in hand. If you’re mediocre, you’re going to be mediocre, but for us, it’s being authentic to what works.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Jason Khalipa: ”Find something you are really bought in on and become the world’s best at it.”

For example, in our gyms, when we’ve tried things that aren’t authentic to who we are and what we believe in, we’ve failed. This is not a bash on yoga, but it’s not authentic to us. We’ve tried yoga, spin, Pilates, or anything other than what we do, which is functional fitness. We’ve failed because we’re not subject material experts at it nor do we believe in it. We believe in this. I do this every single day to help my life, and that’s where the cornerstone of our businesses is now and where it’s going in the future. It’s being more authentic than less authentic. Anytime we’ve tried to go to anything else, we fail.

I’m looking for some business opportunities and investments. I want to get your opinion on it. I was interested in Batter Blaster, Faded Lifestyles, and some oceanfront property. What’d you learn from those? You got to explain them now.

I lost a lot of money early on. I graduated from high school. At the time, I was working at the front desk. I then started selling gym memberships. I started making good money. I don’t know exactly how much I made when I was a freshman in college, but I was making good money. I invested in several different companies. One of them was called Batter Blaster, which I honestly thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It was an organic waffle mix in a can. Imagine cheese whiz but organic waffle mix in a can. Have you ever made waffles or pancakes? When you make pancakes, the problem is you’re left with all this extra batter. If you wanted one for yourself, you could get the can, put it out, and get your one pancake done. They had a few different flavors. It was amazing. I invested $5,000. Until this day, I still think that was a good investment, but what I learned the hard way was I didn’t know leadership well. I didn’t understand their core values and where they were trying to go.

They got pickup picked up by Costco. If my memory is correct, they had opportunities to exit, but they didn’t want to exit whatever multiple it was. They ended up going out of business, and I lost my share on that because they couldn’t keep up with inventory and demand through Costco. They wouldn’t take on outside funding. That was a good lesson learned just because I thought the product was great. I didn’t know anything about leadership. I had not done my due diligence and lost money because of it.

If you put in the effort, all the rest will fall into place. Click To Tweet

That same thing happened with land that I acquired in Idaho. It was a development. I put money in, and I lost my share on that. I then started a clothing company in college with a few friends called Faded Lifestyles. It was a nightlife clothing company. I learned a lot about partnerships, and we lost all our money on that. Looking at the Faded Lifestyles is a phenomenal example that we tried to start a clothing company when none of us had any expertise in it.

We liked the idea. We thought it was cool, but just because we thought it was cool or we liked the idea, it doesn’t mean we should be doing it. That was a valuable lesson. I lost another $5,000 on that because none of us was uniquely qualified to be successful there. When you look at what we’re doing now, anything that’s outside of our core competency, we shouldn’t be pursuing it. If we do, it could be a distraction.

Richard Branson and Elon Musk have had many failures, and look at them.

They’re smashing it. As entrepreneurship and as my career has developed, there has been a lot of learning experiences. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is growing our staff from 100 to 200. Learning how to manage people and build an organization, there’s a lot to unpack there because you’re not only dealing with the business. You’re dealing with people, and people each want to be managed differently. Learning that has been a big lesson over the years.

Can you define effort over everything?

For me, this rallying cry of NCFIT is the idea of putting in your best effort over everything else. With my kids, when they go and play football or do anything, I don’t care if they win or lose. It’s good to do both, but I care they put in their best effort on whatever they’re doing. That includes their homework or picking up the trash they see on the floor. Putting effort into everything you do is above everything else. If you put in the effort, all the rest will fall into place.

I agree. On this show, we’re going to plug your show. That’s very important. We’ve had a lot of good conversations about podcasts and the journey of building them. What you’re doing is cool, and I love some of the concepts you’re putting together.

Thank you. The podcast is great. We have a variety of verticals and different things through our fitness company, but having core values or a mission statement about helping people and embodying this idea of effort is we never quantified it well enough until the last couple of years. That was a learning lesson for us that we were so reliant on the CrossFit brand that when we rebranded to NCFIT in 2016, we never clearly defined who we were, so we’ve tried to do a better job of that over the last couple of years.

What’s next?

For us, it’s continuing on the mission of trying to impact as many people. That’s through our digital app or our brick and mortars, which you’re at right now. You’re about to see a class. It’s growing that. Now, it’s a critical time for our family and me. That’s it. I’ll try and be the best husband and father I could be, try and grow the business to reach our potential, and try and have our entire team.

What will make me feel good is in 2023, if I could have more of our team come to me and say, “This business is the reason why I’ve been able to go buy a house. I’ve been able to go do this.” I want to watch our team be able to thrive. That’s a very rewarding thing for our company and me. I hope that more of them can continue to thrive. We could pay and support them more. That’s important while concurrently being able to do that for my own family.

As we close out, the Jedburghs in World War II had to do three things as core foundational tasks. They had to be able to shoot, move, and communicate. If they did these three things with the utmost precision, they could focus on their effort or energy. You talked about controlling the uncontrollable, which I love because it ties right into this question that we ask every one of our guests. They could focus on the other things in the more challenging things that came their way, like winning the war at all costs. What are the three things you do every day to be successful in your world?

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Jason Khalipa’s Three Foundations to Success: Workout to focus the mind, set intention for the day, talk to the family about their day.

The number one is fitness. Fitness occurs every single day in my life. It provides me an outlet to then attack the rest of the day with a positive mindset. Working out by itself is the thing that, above all else, sets me up for success every single day because while I’m working out, I’m also hitting multiple other factors, which is de-stressing and then providing myself some time to think about what I want to accomplish for that day.

I work out every day. I set an intention for what that day wants to be and what I am trying to get accomplished with that day. Ultimately, I try every single night trying to have dinner with my family and have a great conversation about how their day went. Those are three things. It’s setting my intention for the day, exercising every single day, and then at night, sitting down and talking to the family about how their day went.

I love all three of those. Those are great.

I’m glad you brought it up. I haven’t thought about them specifically like that, but that’s what I do.

That’s a great foundation that the other thing that we bring up, and we mentioned a few of them here, is the nine characteristics of performance as defined by Special Operations Forces is the drive, resiliency, adaptability, humility, integrity, curiosity, team ability, effective intelligence, and emotional strength. High performers have to display all nine of these. Never will you display all nine of these at any one time. You’ll display portions of them depending on the situation that you’re in. In order to be at the top of your game, you have to exhibit them at some point.

At the end of these episodes, I usually pick one. About the conversation we had, and I apply that to my guest, I have to do something here that I’ve only done a handful of times. It hasn’t happened many, but I can’t pick one for you. This is an interesting one because when I put these conversations together, I do my research, think about it, and often can narrow it down, and through the course of the conversation, I’ll settle on one. This is certainly one of these situations where I can’t. I don’t have one because I think about you, your story, this conversation, where you’ve come from, and what you’ve done.

It’s effort over everything and the drive to constantly be better than you were yesterday. Resiliency is that you and your family faced the utmost parent’s nightmare that we talked about and you had to overcome. Adaptability is what you’ve displayed in various portions of your life, in competitive athletics, building the business, and building your family. Humility is what it takes to wake up every day, assess where you are, and make a conscious decision to do something different because what you’re doing may or may not be working.

Integrity is to do what’s right. You talked about the customers and about building a business founded on honesty, one of your core values. Curiosity is how you push the status quo and how you get better. That lives in everything that you’ve done. You talked about what’s next with the development of an app, “To push it further, what can we do that we’re not doing? Where’s the opportunity?” It’s also about team ability. You talked about your team. It’s how you come to work at a period of time where your team is going to say, “We built this. I’m providing now for my family because of what we built here.”

Effective intelligence is the ability to learn from the past, take what you’ve learned, and apply that to your future decisions. You’ve built that in everything you’ve done in every aspect. Emotional strength, which we talked about at length, is about co-creating and instilling calm from chaos, learning, and not becoming overcome by your emotions. You exhibit all of them. I don’t have one that I can give you.

TJP 54 l As Many Reps As Possible with Jason Khalipa

Host Fran Racioppi presents Jason with a Jedburgh Podcast challenge coin.

We say that the very first step of performance is a choice. You have to choose to perform. You said, “You have to be honest about the work you need to do to go where you want to go. You have every opportunity to change your destiny with every choice you make. Here’s your choice. Start with your very next decision.”

You have motivated me in so many different ways. I’m going to work out after this. I am going to change my attitude and not like it is on January 1st and quit, but I am going to do it. I’m going to make that commitment to you and on this show publicly because it’s important. I’ve had a lot of these conversations, and I’ve told myself that a few times. I’ve sat here with you. You’ve graciously welcomed me into your home, into this gym, and that’s the commitment that I owe. I want to thank you for that.

It’s no problem. It’s all good. It’s part of the bigger plan. The idea is how you become the best for your kids. You want to be 60 or 70 and smash it. I want to be as fit as I can for as long as I can. I’m going to do this for the next day, month, year, 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years. I want to be that guy. Do you know that old-ass grandpa when you’re on the playground that can still do a pull-up? That’s what I’m trying to do.

You got to do it. You can’t talk about it. It’s time to take action. Jason, thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

 

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