Nov. 17, 2021

Getting Stronger and More Resilient with The Mad Scientist of Strength, Chris Duffin

Getting Stronger and More Resilient with The Mad Scientist of Strength, Chris Duffin

Our guest is "The Mad Scientist of Strength," Chris Duffin


Whatever has happened to you, it does not have to define you...it is not who you are.

The world may know Chris Duffin as “The Mad Scientist of Strength,” but you wouldn’t have ever guessed that if you saw the scrawny kid skinning rattlesnakes and chasing dragonflies in the early ‘80s.

The story of his unconventional life will take you from gripping tales of murder, trauma, heartbreak, and survival deep in the Pacific Northwest wilderness all the way to an idealization of the self-made man—still flawed, but never broken.

In this episode, you’ll follow one man’s journey into the darkness of his own heart and witness the transformation of alcoholism, pain, and defeat into vision, character, and victory. Through Chris’s powerful self-realization, you’ll see how the human spirit can be either shackled by circumstance or freed from it. Strength and Reinvention: the Eagle and the Dragon. Are you ready to walk through the fire and make your vision a reality? 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to harness motivation to manifest your will
  • The importance of mindset and setting goals when it comes to leadership and motivation.
  • Why introspection is a powerful tool to develop of personal vision
  • Strategies for intentional and effective goal setting
  • How to achieve excellence while balancing extremes

Resources:

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Zach: Thing for a moment about the idea of a human being lifting 1000 pounds. That's an incredible accomplishment. Our guest this week has done it. Chris Duffin is arguably one of the strongest humans in the world. Having been the only person to squat and deadlift over a thousand pounds for reps. And he holds the Guinness world record for the heaviest one rep Sumo deadlift at 1,001 pounds. 

[00:00:25] Jeremy: And just a moment, Chris will join us to share his incredible story of strength and resilience and the lessons you can learn about accomplishing your goals against any odds. 

[00:01:00] Zach: Welcome to the fitness. Thanks for listening while you're doing whatever it is that you're doing right now, Zach, and he's Jeremy and together, we're two vulnerable guys helping you overcome struggles to achieve your mental and physical wellness goals. Jeremy, I can tell you, one of my goals is not lifting a thousand pounds of anything. 

[00:01:18] Jeremy: I can barely lift the laundry this morning, let alone a thousand pounds. The accomplishments that this guy has Christoph and is sustained. Incredible, dude, we'll talk to him just a minute. Not only lifting a thousand pounds, not only starting multiple successful businesses, but this dude grew up in the wilderness homeless among murderers, drug runners, serial killers, skinning rattlesnakes.

[00:01:41] I mean just an incredible. I think it was like, when I think about your childhood, your childhood was a mess compared to mine like mine, pretty standard garden, variety, trauma, yours, next level. His makes us both look like we were raised in Disneyland.

[00:01:55] Zach: Listening to his story. I was like, huh, I didn't have it so bad. It was. It was pretty easy after listening to that, , I mean, the rattlesnakes alone was, was enough. Like I don't, I don't like snakes at all. Like you dealing with rattlesnakes as a, as a child? No. Nope, Nope.

[00:02:12] Fuck that. No way. 

[00:02:13] Jeremy: And one of the things about a story like his, and we'll talk to him about it in a minute is whenever I hear stories of people with incredible accomplishment, it can go one of two ways. For me, I'm either motivated by them and think, oh man, they overcame those odds. That's incredible. I can overcome my nonsense, my depression, my sadness, my, you know, whatever, whatever crap I'm dealing.

[00:02:35] Or I can go, man, how much do I suck that I can't get over my own nonsense to do what I need to do when that guy went through so much worse and did so much better.

[00:02:46] Zach: Yeah. That's I mean, that's the standard glass half full glass, half empty. Right? You can either think of it as like, yeah, he did more than me, but my glass is still half full or you can think of it as, oh man. Look at me. My glass is definitely half empty. There's no value in what's already there. Like it's something we all struggle with for sure.

[00:03:07] I mean, I have it all the time too, but this. Definitely makes me feel like I had a really easy childhood. 

[00:03:15] Jeremy: So if all of his crazy accomplishments and things that he's done, it's as motivation that I find to be just completely incredible. And Zach, I know you go to the gym every morning at like 1:00 AM or whatever, and same time you roll out of bed to go do it.

[00:03:26] I can't get motivated to go. I used to enjoy going. I went one time recently. Hated it. My, my mindset to, to go back is, is even set back further because the one time I went in and I hated it. So where do you find your motivation? Like this? Just going and sitting in a room and lifting heavy things just seems like the most boring monotonous thing I could imagine doing with my time getting out of bed at 4:00 AM or whatever to do it.

[00:03:49] I can't, I can not put my head in that space right now. How do you do it? Yeah.

[00:03:54] Zach: had a conversation with my daughter about it the other day, because she went to a CrossFit kids class and. You know, it really helped me explain to her like why I go, because yeah, it's hard. It's not fun. , it's challenging. And I mean, part of it's my personality. I am competitive and I'm competitive with myself, but I go and I get myself out of bed in the morning because of my why.

[00:04:16] Right. I go lift heavy things so that I can do things in life. Right. I like I've got in my house. I regularly am in the basement and I have to go all the way up to the second floor. So two flights of stairs and back down, I don't want to be winded when I do that, but , I go to the gym to prepare me for life.

[00:04:33] All of the strength that I build at the gym prepares me for things that I need to do. You know, if I ever have to , lift a car off someone, maybe I can do it. I don't know. But what I can tell you is interestingly enough, like I hurt my shoulder at the gym the other day. And man, like when I am not able to do the things I want to do, I get that bug to just stop and not go because then it's no fun for me because I can't do the things that I want to do And a shout out to Kayla.

[00:05:03] I I'm still going. I'm doing. Very very light things, my shoulder and making sure I'm not injuring it? 

[00:05:10] But like the motivation is there for me because I want to be able to live a long, healthy life and I don't want to be 80 and not be able to move. So the more I move now, the better I'm going to be able to move into. 

[00:05:25] Jeremy: I think maybe you just helped me identify what it is. Cause I've always struggled with the concept of starting doing something and not being immediately good at it. Right? Like if I'm going to go skiing, I'm going to get on the ski lift for the first time ever with skis on my feet.

[00:06:26] I'm going to go to the top of the biggest mountain and I'm just going to breeze down and anything. Well, if I fail, if I get too scared, like whatever, never doing it again, hate it. That that's just not for me. The idea of starting on the bunny hill, , and just going down a small hill and not falling on my face.

[00:06:44] That's ridiculous. I'm not going to be that guy. I have to be immediately good at the thing. So when I walk into the gym, a not knowing what I'm doing, following some random guide that I found on the internet. 

[00:06:56] It's, it's hard enough not knowing what I'm doing, but then feeling like I'm not good at it. , and then also, , you go for a week or two, you don't see the results. You don't feel all that much better if, if at all. So then it's just, it's so easy to fall back into. Well, this sucks. What am I doing this.

[00:07:14] Because we, at least me, I know I'm driven by instant gratification. I think most people are, they want results immediately for the effort that they put into whatever the thing is. And so maybe this is it. Maybe that that's, it's simply that because I don't feel like I'm good at it that I immediately put it in the, this sucks.

[00:07:31] And I suck at it category done. Don't need to do it anymore.

[00:07:34] Zach: Well, I will just throw this out there. If you're ever going to get better at anything, you got to get comfortable with that. 

[00:07:41] Jeremy: Right 

[00:07:41] Zach: and

[00:07:41] I'm telling, I'm not just talking about the gym. I mean, pin neat thing. And I have to imagine that you tell your daughters this all the time. 

[00:07:49] Jeremy: oh, totally. Yeah. And, and there are other aspects of my life that, that I do. I throw myself in it feeling like I don't know what I'm doing and I suck at this and this isn't going to work out the way I want it to, and I'm able to push through and maybe it is, there's a different why attached to them.

[00:08:03] Maybe there's a bigger reason, but. I can say yeah, healthier, stronger, better, but that stuff's not tangible. Right. There's there's not a, I'm going to.

[00:08:13] I have X level of success. And to me, , lifting something, that's a thousand pounds. I have no personal attachment to that. I have no, no desire to lift something that's a thousand pounds or 200 pounds or whatever the number is it's meaningless to me. 

[00:08:28] , 

[00:08:28] I've got to find that other meaningful thing to drive me to do this.

[00:08:33] Zach: well,

[00:08:33] let me rephrase it to you this way, because we do talk about this, all this. You're framing. It is. I went to the gym and I sucked at it, but I'm going to argue you are a hundred percent better than you were the day before. Right. Glass, half full. My man, you were better than you were the day before you are now stronger than you were the day before.

[00:08:56] And I'm sure you felt it. And it hurt like hell for two days. But you were stronger and you did better. And the next time you go, you'd be stronger and better. And it's little incremental improvements. And the instant gratification thing is a real problem with the way the society, as a, as, as a general thing. 

[00:09:15] Jeremy: And when I was going to the gym on a regular basis, it was when I was at a job where I used the gym as an escape. So my, my motivation was this gets me out of the office for an hour. This gets me away from those people I have to deal with all day. So it wasn't even about, I'm going to feel better.

[00:09:30] I'm going to look better. I'm going to be healthy. It was just like, I don't have to do that. Like doing this is better than doing that. And what I'm doing now is more fun. So I would rather go walk in the woods or go hike or go sit in a cold lake for two minutes. I go do something that I enjoy because I can rather than because, because the payoffs not immediate going to the gym, isn't this immediate like, oh, got me out of that deal.

[00:09:54] Geez. Thank you.

[00:09:55] Zach: All right. Well, I see, I now see a new use for our Facebook group, the fitness community, which if you haven't joined already, you should go out and enjoy that because we're, we do monthly challenges around yoga, meditation, things like that. And we're just, having good, honest, open communication about it.

[00:10:10] But I think one of the other things that the group is going to be helpful with is accountability. And I think I'm going to turn everyone into the group to be your accountability partner, to get your ass to the. 

[00:10:23] Jeremy: It's going to take a lot of accountability. It's gonna take a lot of motivation to make me what, and there's the dumbest thing. I mean, I mentioned this before. It's like a six minute walk to the gym from my front door. So it's not even an effort to get.

[00:10:34] Zach: , that is my number one biggest struggle in going to the gym is just fucking going to the. Because there's that moment. Every single morning when I sit up and I looked at the clock and I go, I would really like to go back to sleep or I'm going to go to the gym. And it's just that one moment.

[00:10:57] It's the hardest part. And if I get.

[00:10:59] up and turn the alarm off, that's it. Now I'm just on autopilot. And, you know, just making that choice every morning to go to the gym, instead of getting back into bed, it takes resilience. And for me, it's a little bit of resilience for that specific decision, but, , there's things throughout our entire day that take even more resilient. So let's jump into the interview with Chris stuff. Yeah. where he talks about how he used his resilience.

[00:11:25] to become an accomplished athlete, entrepreneur thought leader, despite surviving an abusive and chaotic childhood being homeless in the wilderness. And we started with asking him how he became known as the mad scientist who pushes the development of resilience. 

[00:11:41] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: Most people would say, Hey, I'm known 

[00:11:43] for feats of strength. this big lifter, that's 

[00:11:45] done some amazing things. I'm the only person that's ever squatted and dead lifted a thousand pounds and done. So for reps, there's a Guinness 

[00:11:52] world record sitting there behind me. but I've also do a lot of 

[00:11:56] other things. So I, co-founded several 

[00:11:59] businesses, 

[00:12:00] that 

[00:12:00] bring unique products.

[00:12:03] To the market. So as specialties in biomechanics, kind of gray area returned to return to play physical therapy, speak 

[00:12:10] a lot in those arenas and actually have a pretty extensive engineering 

[00:12:14] background, used to run aerospace and automotive manufacturing companies. , , so I, I play in a lot of different arenas , and that's kind of where my skill set comes in and why I've kind of. Called the mad scientist. I didn't make that up myself. , that's what people started calling. It was just because of this, this crazy kind of ideas or things from so many different disciplines that didn't make sense.

[00:12:37] I would bring, bring out and they'd be like, oh my God, that's, that's wacky. It, it works. It's it's real. And that's what I've tried to do is create tools and methodologies for people to adapt in the right manner, because not all stresses, we are going to be able to adapt in the right ways to other things that we don't recover well from.

[00:12:57] There is too much which we dive into the Eagle and the dragon talks a lot about trauma and things of that nature. 

[00:13:04] Jeremy: You know, I've been all morning, I'm thinking about a human being, lifting a thousand pounds.

[00:13:09] And I thought that was going to be one of the more interesting things I was going to ask you about, but I'm more interested in your motivation. I sort of functioned by necessity. Like as things come up, I have to deal with them. I try and be prepared as much as possible, but as, as things come up, you know, I deal with them, the amount of things that you have accomplished, especially with your, with your background, which we'll get into in a minute.

[00:13:29] How, how do you do it? Where does that drive come from? That's incorrect.

[00:13:34] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: You've got to have a deeper rooted sense of, of self and where you're coming from, what you want to accomplish. Like, let's take the thousand pound, squat and deadlift. That was something I spent five years on and I had very specific goals that I wanted to accomplish out of it.

[00:13:51] That was beyond the lifting of those weights. And then we can. Deeper into that, because then that becomes the story that the Eagle and the dragon, the story behind the book. But, you know, with those three things, like I create content to help people live a better quality of life through development of physical resilience.

[00:14:07] And within that, there's a, a priority system of how I look at the body in both assessment and correction. And it's based on the priorities are based on the largest global impact. And the largest global impact is going to be the ability to control and manage spinal mechanics. Second beyond that is going to be the foot and ankle complex, so with that in mind, I create tons of content around breathing and bracing mechanics and. I believe that you need to be able to walk the walk and demonstrate what you do like, and so what is fundamentally physically, how can I demonstrate coming from a guy like myself, who's had back injury so bad.

[00:14:46] I've had to learn to walk again, by the way that I can do something so phenomenally challenging on this and not make it a specialist. That's why I'm going to do a deadlift and a squat so that, you know, based on your preferences for lifting the ape index and other stuff that comes into play to make somebody a specialist in one or the other.

[00:15:02] That's why I said both because people who've done one and half the other have done the other, but nobody's done both. So when I show fundamentally with two basic human movements, one, the squad. this lift that every able human bodies should be able to do because it's built into our nerves, our nervous system.

[00:15:21] Actually, we actually learned that around the nine month period of time, and in, in a developmental kinesiology, you learn this, but it that where that comes in, as you get into moving from crawl, you know, from rolling to crawling, to getting into the quadrat bed, to getting up into a standing position, and then being able to use the hip hinge, to be able to generate force into a standing position, right?

[00:15:45] The second bank be able to pick something up off the ground, like fundamentally, these are two things. So I wanted to walk the walk and do that, teach what my tools and my education and show just what it is. But I picked a thousand pounds cause it's well, it's a thousand pounds. It's grand. That's why I called it grand goals because the other side of this coin is I want to show people that you can do things. Are unthinkable. Like when I started this quest, I didn't say what I was even going to do. I was, I'd been ranked number one in the world for like eight years straight, all time, world record holder on, you know, the total, the squat. And I, I didn't tell anybody I was going to do because they would've thought I was crazy.

[00:16:25] I just said, first up, I just going to, I'm going to school, I'm going to deadlift a thousand pounds. They're like, that's crazy. Okay. Then I did it. And then I trained again for another three years until I said, I am going to squat a thousand pounds and people like, you're crazy. Then as I got closer, I said, oh yeah, by the way, I'm going to do it for reps.

[00:16:45] Like, cause that's what I'd done with the dead lifting, like, but to show people that you can go so much further than what you think. If you, if you focus on it, if you create, , this desire, this platform, the things that you need to align your life to accomplish something.

[00:16:59] And the last piece was to raise awareness for charities that I believe in along the way. So I did a number of feats of strength, actually leading into this. I squatted eight. I don't need to list them off it'll sound egotist, but I kept doing things that raise money for charities and things that I believe in.

[00:17:17] So a lot of them were local around creating homes and care for homeless mothers for kids that had been victims of trauma and sexual abuse speaking at some of the boys homes that that's happened at or where they're, where they're taking care of. And then actually. As we got closer, did a big one with Alex's lemonade stand.

[00:17:40] So if nobody's heard of this, it's an incredible platform, but my business partners grandson was going through a cancer treatment at the, at that period of time. And so these were the ones, so check those out. And so that was the, the trifecta of like what I was accomplishing. And so it wasn't just like, Hey, to do this thing, to say that I did it.

[00:18:01] I mean, obviously that's a big motivator for me, like understanding my, you know, my route, you know, values of things that I live on, which is one of those being a highly competitive person. Yeah. Seeking recognition. I can say that without ego, I like to be recognized for the things that I've accomplished a bit of creativity and that you could see that in the design of a, this but, the deeper stuff is this.

[00:18:25] Helping people understand that like challenge and strife and the things that come at you in the world. And that's the bigger story. It doesn't tie as much to this one, but is it, it is something of value. It is something there's so many people that speak to it and say, oh, it's you need to turn into it, but not really, really articulating just how much it is.

[00:18:46] So in the fitness environment, we can talk about this from a physiological standpoint. And it's specific adaptation to impose demand. Like if you don't, if you don't train, if you don't use your body, it will begin to atrophy, quit using a limb, break, your arm, do something. It will begin to atrophy and it happens quick, but this is life as a whole.

[00:19:09] This is every living, being the essence is to strive against the environment like. If, if it, if a tree doesn't have the wind hammering against it in the environment going the roots do not grow deep and strong into the ground and root it. And it will grow to a certain height and they will fall over. And this is proven, okay.

[00:19:31] The park, it will literally kill it. So like, I'm not over speaking when I, when I say this, so I don't want to, you know, you know, disregard trauma and things that may have happened to people, but it has happened. And you may as well use if you've, if you've been a victim of that use what you can to become a stronger and better version of become a more resilient, because it can be too much.

[00:19:56] It can be those things that you do. Again, we're on a fitness podcast. Hey, if I go do CrossFit four hours a day, you know, seven days a week, and then another cardio session, you know, after that, I won't work. Hmm. Right. So it's always this balance, but if I go, I need to recover. I'm going to take a de-load week.

[00:20:15] Oh, I was way stronger when I did that felt better. I want to go de-load for the next six months. It's not going to work. Right. I could do a massive, hard workout once every four months and make no progress. Right. So I think I went on a ramp for a little bit.

[00:20:33] Jeremy: That's all right.

[00:20:33] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: stop for a second. But we were talking about the SWOT, what are my motivations?

[00:20:38] Those are some of the motivations, right. So, but those are the big three specific to, to, to that one. And I'm a little passionate about these

[00:20:46] Jeremy: I can tell.

[00:20:47] Zach: Yeah. First the squat. I've actually been coming back from an injury and I think it was five months ago.

[00:20:54] I w I couldn't even squat an empty bar. Like I had a whole bunch of problems with my knees and my, and my hips. It turns out it was all foot mobility issues. And now I'm up to about 2 45, but it's, it's that really, really slow progress and being resilient about it. But, you know, my resiliency is very different, I think, than yours.

[00:21:16] And, you know, based on your book where you tell the story of, you know, how you grew up, how, you know, I'd love to hear you speak about, you know, your childhood and how you grew up and how that ties into, you know, where your resiliency is today. And is it more than say the average person because of that? Or vice versa now.

[00:21:38] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: So, you know, as I talk about my story, it's not about saying, oh, woe is me or, or I'm such a bad-ass I overcame all this. It is, but it is a story that I like to share because it, it, it can articulate how far you can come and it can be just the same thing is what you've done over the last five months, going from a bar to 2 45, you're more resilient.

[00:22:02] Now you're less prone to an injury now than you were five months ago. Right? Because you've developed that and five months from now, you're going to be further along in this process. Right? And so life is the same way and we forget about it. We're always trying to seek comfort. I'm going to just jump into my story.

[00:22:20] Let me get off the ranch. I grew up homeless in the mountain. So my parents, particularly my, my mom had some, she, she chose the life that she chose for a reason. She was going to school to become a chemical engineer. And she said, screw it. I don't want to be part of society. And she had a reasons for doing so.

[00:22:41] And she wanted to make it, make some sort of, you know, a life outside of the norm. And so she ended up up in the mountains north of San Francisco. That was shortly after I was born. And then while we were living in the mountains, my brother came along, my three sisters came along and we lived in very remote areas throughout Northern California through much of my early life.

[00:23:09] And some of these areas are now popular, realized, so understand this is in the late seventies and early eighties. But this was. If you've, there's a documentary around on Netflix called the murder mountain. Okay. I lived 50 miles from there, but deeper and more remote. And so anybody that has watched that and now read my book, you'll understand what I'm talking about, the things that happened to me and our family, real it is when we're talking about police corruption, serial killers, murders, human trafficking, all this stuff that I detail in my book, like that's what we were living amongst.

[00:23:51] And there's times like, you know, six years old, my book starts out like I'm being taught how to capture and handle live rattlesnakes. Not one wrapped around my arm, you know, before I kill it, because that's the environment we lived in, we were, we were living in tree forts at the time. And because there was rattlesnake dens all around, it was so many years, even into high school, there was something.

[00:24:13] You know, heating up jugs of water in the sun on a rock so that I can go dump it over my head to take my bath, right? No, we're during the winter, you know, doing that on a pot, on a wood stove and stepping out back in the snow. So I can not be laughed at as much when I go to school for how I smelled. So this is, this is my upbringing.

[00:24:32] And when I not telling about living around those things, those things happened directly to us. And I, I speak to them in the book. I have really trouble speaking, speaking to like some of those things without, it's, it's still a little challenging. but we were taken by the state for awhile. first time I saved my mom from the serial killer was 1985.

[00:24:54] Human trafficking directly effected the family. And I'll just leave it at that. It's a, it's a wild ride of a story. once the parents got us back from the state care went to central Oregon, they were in the drug trade. That's why we were in that area. And that's how you make just there's a lot of are unsavory people, not doing it for altruistic reasons, uh, in those environments, you know?

[00:25:18] They decided to stay clean when we moved up to Oregon after getting us back. Cause they want to risk losing us again, but quickly fell back into, Hey, we don't want to be part of the world. And so we were up in the mountains, prospecting mining, uh, you know, I'm early age, very physical drop. You know, God I've, I've worked my whole life.

[00:25:38] Jeremy: Yeah, it sounds like it.

[00:25:41] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: Uh, Holland backs the rocks up the side Hills and digging anyway. It's uh, we ended up in that environment by high school got something of a stable living. So ended up in a mobile home. It was not really livable one, but it was add running water and electricity. And so had a stable environment, less the, you know, the, the alcohol and drug abuse that was going on in the household because that was getting worse over time.

[00:26:13] My stepfather. Who raised me continue to downward mental decline into, insanity. And I left to go to college. I was pretty successful as a student is an athlete. And when I went to school, I didn't contact really keep in touch with my family for the first like year and a half, just because it was easier.

[00:26:35] If I called or went home, I had to give them money. you know, it was dealing with all that stuff. And so I was just working and going to school and, and honestly partying a lot to discovered, uh, I had a lot of self-esteem issues and other stuff growing up, you know, when you're in that invite of environment, you have those views of not only yourself, but, you know, comments that people make or how they treat you.

[00:26:58] It's a, it's a real thing. And so when I went to college, I realized, you know, nobody knows me, nobody knows my background. And I started drinking a bit, which kind of opened me up from, you know, some of those insecurities. And I found that I was a fairly likable charismatic person and, and I got, I kind of liked that, you know, like, you know, reality of it But I quickly found out things were not going good at home.

[00:27:27] So somehow I was like a little bit of a stabilizing force. And when I left things got really, really bad at home. And so I ended up taking custody of my three younger siblings and started that my senior year of college, maybe my end of my junior year, somewhere in there, I was basically finished with college.

[00:27:45] Anyway, I was working full time. I was just finishing my senior project and I had all my classes done. And I was working on a dual engineering, second engineering degree. And yeah, anyway, I raised all three of my sisters over the course of chasing my career getting my MBA, doing all these sorts of things and started lifting weights and competing app.

[00:28:05] I started lifting weights by the way in 1988. So just long before junior, early junior high middle school, somewhere in there, but as a physical person before that. And so, uh, And blessed with pretty good, pretty good genetics from my, my, my mom, very athletic. yeah, that's the early part of my

[00:28:22] Jeremy: Yeah. That's just how things got rolling.

[00:28:24] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: yeah. And then after that, I, uh, I advanced in the, in my corporate world, next thing you know, I'm like you know, running companies, doing turnarounds, being sought for, for, for doing this stuff, like growing somebody from a regional to a national, to international like my big one. I did a turnaround on a, an aerospace company.

[00:28:42] I was going to lose its contract with Boeing. Everybody's going to lose their jobs. I came in, turned around to be the best supplier in the world to Boeing, for quality and delivery, and financially solvent got them prepped for sale and walked them through the sale process. And that's fricking this crazy kid from the sticks did that.

[00:29:00] I had a house with a white pig, white picket fence, a very comfortable marriage. Two kids have lots of money owned a gym on the side was competing and ranked number one in the world and, uh, 

[00:29:13] Zach: looked at myself one of the days. And I said, 

[00:29:16] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: why am I so fucking unhappy?

[00:29:19] Jeremy: Yeah.

[00:29:19] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: Like, I'm the kid, this kid from the sticks, the proof like I can live the American dream here it is.

[00:29:26] I did it. I proved, you know, all those people that looked at me and, you know, or maybe they didn't, maybe it was my internal perceptions, but, uh, when I was younger, right. And. And proved them all wrong. Like I beat everybody at everything. That's what I, you know, it doesn't matter where you turn, right.

[00:29:45] You want to be intellectual. I did that. You want to be career? I did that. You want to be athletic? I did like, 

[00:29:50] Jeremy: Do you, do you feel like all of that? I mean, you, you mentioned that you, you realized that you were unhappy. Do you feel like all of that sort of hyperintense pursuit was trying to get to that happiness? Like trying to figure out how do I find peace after an entire early lifetime of, of chaos and instant?

[00:30:09] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: I think a lot was driven by those, those things, you know, in that analysis retrospect posts like, yeah, there are a lot of that I think was driven by my, my desire to prove myself my, to be better than everybody that had judged me. Everything like, and yeah. I mean, I think that that definitely played a role.

[00:30:28] And is that a good place to come from? Probably not. Uh, but what did accomplished in, but what made me unhappy was I was not myself. I was not authentic to who I am. I was living someone else's dream of what they thought, how you should live and what success looked like. And you know what, nobody can tell you what success looks like, or what's going to make you happy.

[00:30:53] So 

[00:30:55] Zach: I quit my job.

[00:30:57] Jeremy: yeah.

[00:30:58] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: I quit competitive lifting. pulled out all my 401k that I don't over the last 20 years, sold my homes, ask my wife for a 

[00:31:10] Zach: divorce and rebuilt my life because I said, 

[00:31:18] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: this is what I want to do. I want to have passionate about everything that I want to do. I want to help people live a better quality of life.

[00:31:24] I want to inspire people and I want to use the tools because I'd actually been gaining a ton of knowledge. I was doing a lot of continuing education on the clinical side and integrating that with my Lyft. I was using that mindset, that engineering mindset or whatever, just how I operate. and I knew what I wanted to do.

[00:31:40] Like I, I was missing some things in my career. Like I was able to inspire people, obviously in the leadership roles, turnarounds are not like some fancy reorg strategy. They're like one person at a time changing that individual, which is challenging. Yeah. But I, I, I lacked the creative side. I lacked the ability to really impact and enact the change that I felt that I could in the world to help people live.

[00:32:04] And so I, I don't own a gym on the side and that's competing as a high level athlete and I was starting to post content. Well, not starting, I'd been posting content online for free for like seven years writing articles and like sharing little, little snippets of my stories and the impact that it was having.

[00:32:20] Like the content that I was producing was like massive getting people out of pain. Like you're five months. How did you feel to go five months ago, mentally and emotionally? Oh, it was horrible. Like fucking horrible. Yeah. You change that for somebody like that's, it's not solving world hunger, but I tell you what it's doing.

[00:32:37] Something really impactful in the world. Right. Start a Kabuki strength around like that vision, that philosophy and started drawing great talent to it created new innovative products that, that help people realize that education started drawing this amazing team. My I drew my wife, my current wife and my one and only discovered love for the first time.

[00:33:03] I thought I was just going to be a single dad and I get 40 years old found this amazing thing in my life that I didn't even realize was a thing like that. It wasn't just in books and movies as some, you know, farce like, wow, holy cow. And I decided to lift on my terms, what I wanted to do. I've competed long enough.

[00:33:24] I've proved myself there. I want to do it in a different fashion and, changed every aspect 

[00:33:29] Zach: of my life.

[00:33:30] Jeremy: there's a lot there that I want to ask about. I think the thing that sticks out to me so much is that I typically react to stories like yours in one of two ways, either one, I go, man, if he could, if this guy out there, whoever he is can overcome this incredible, like struggling childhood, like nothing I've ever heard, this is unbelievable.

[00:33:48] Then what's holding me back from my garden, variety, trauma, bullshit, and really going after the things that I care about and being successful at them, the other way I can go, go, go about it is to feel worse about not overcoming my shit and just being like, God, I suck even more than I thought because you know, my life's been relatively easy by comparison.

[00:34:10] So to the, to the people, having both reactions, what, what message do you have for them to help them sort of figure out, okay, I'm ready. I'm sick of my own bullshit. I want to move on and get, get better at parenting life, health, fitness, whatever.

[00:34:25] Zach: And 

[00:34:25] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: this is, this is where it becomes practice. And this is where the discipline comes in. This is where the references to training come in that I was talking about because as we try to find comfort as human beings, there's some big impetuses things that push us into the things that are scary and cause us to growth and develop resilience, which is like you get to your teenage years and you want to leave home and then kick on your own.

[00:34:50] You want to find a mate, which is going to make you like kind of step over those insecurities and push into like, and then move that relationship to the next level and then have kids. And then, but beyond that, It stops. And that's where we see people kind of stall out. Because from there you actually have to take an active, conscious approach from it.

[00:35:08] Those biological drives are now gone. This is my opinions, but they're gone. And this is where it's easy to fall into the routine, the comfort that we seek it and think that that's the answer. When in fact it is the thing that makes our gut twist going. I want to avoid that hard conversation over there. I want to, you know what there's a difficult challenge.

[00:35:33] I'm going to family relationship. It's a boss, it's a coworker. It's a whatever I'm using a, just a hard conversation. Practice. That's your opportunity, right? It's the move in your life of, I want to take on a new project and your boss says, Hey, anybody that wants to take on this challenge and perhaps disappear in the back of the room, I don't want that.

[00:35:53] I don't know if I can pull that off, or I go back to school start your own business, make a career change. All these are examples of going look at those things that scare you, that little bit of excitement, but mixed with it. And it just cause that twist every time that's your practice to be able, I can't tell you that every one of those is going to turn out to be success, but every one of those is going to develop the resilience.

[00:36:18] Right? And so I had the opportunity of forced into learning this stuff because I was, these things were hitting my whole life and I was either going to fail like everyone around me. Because I had every, nearly every major type of trauma there is happened to me during the course of my life. And you know, that's going to either be a drug addict dead or in prison.

[00:36:39] Right. and so I was forced to make those decisions and didn't have to actively, like, nobody tells you this stuff, like there's no school, you know, class in the high school or college that tells you this stuff, but this is life. And that's the, you have to stay in the practice because you're going to find that place of comfort.

[00:36:59] And you sit back for too long. You need it, like take a vacation, take that week off resettle, re have a great weekend and find your energy, but just like not train them for three months. A de-load week may treat you good, not training for three weeks. You're going a bit, get soft. And so it's not just physical, it's mental and it's emotional.

[00:37:22] So you've got to have those challenges. You got to have the practice, you got to have the workouts. And then if you layer though, it's just like over time, just like, you know, making that as a resilience process from a bar to 2 45 over five months, you're going to, you can still keep stair-stepping and you can keep moving above it, but you have to stay with it.

[00:37:41] Not too much though, because that's just like, you're, you know, doing daily doubles every day to the point of failure. So you've got to have, you know, the balance. And so, so that's, it, it becomes an active, conscious practice. You've got to do it, but ride the line of not burning the candle on both ends, not succumbing to the, the hustle porn, the, the, all the grind, grind, grind, mentality that everybody makes sure that you're, you're chasing the things that truly mean it.

[00:38:11] So that's one side, the other side. Truly understand what you want, because you're going to need deep seated motivation to really move through this stuff year over year, decade over decade, make huge thing. So it can't be, I want money. I want rich, like you gotta freaking peel back the layers and understand these things.

[00:38:29] That really mean something to you. This way of living. And I listed a couple early for me, competition, uh, recognition, creativity, continual learning would be another one since of family. Like it's all going to be different. They're not things that you can ever own or have you never get it, but you're always moving into it.

[00:38:52] It's this, you know, place that you can always take a step. And so then now the thing is now pick a step back and every day, ask yourself once you've created this, like, well, it's just not creating. Let's take, it's always being revised, but like. Am I taking a step today that moves me towards this path that I want, because what will happen is you get caught in the drift of life and you haven't taken a step for six months and then it's six years

[00:39:21] Jeremy: Yep.

[00:39:22] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: and then it's two decades.

[00:39:24] And you're like, where the fuck did life go? And next thing you know, you're on your death bed and you've got all these regrets. And I Garrett go, go walk into a freaking home where people are on their deathbeds and ask them this question, okay. This is where most people end is having those regrets. And we love to fill.

[00:39:44] We love to feel like we're doing stuff and creating these bucket lists and pulling things off, but is it truly aligned? And if you just take this one, one minuscule step every day, doesn't have to be big and it can't be big. It won't be one tiny step that looks like you've moved. No. Do that, and then look back 10 years from now. And you can see that a kid from the sticks can do what I've done like with Kabuki and within a couple of years. So I'm going to launch a brand. I'm going to create products that are going to change. I want to change the face of fitness. I haven't done that yet, but within a couple of years, 29 of 30 major league baseball teams, customers, 90% of the NFL, 90% of the NBA, 600 plus colleges, every major one that you could think about your Canadian, NHL teams, they use our stuff to you know, of course I mentioned the, the, the one MLB holdout is not the Canadian team.

[00:40:48] Uh, um, so, that's pretty massive for a period of time, but it it's, it took decades to get the. For this kid, from the sticks to be able to be positioned, to do those sorts of things. And when you look back, you've got it. You've got to focus on that one step, because if you've got something you want to go someplace and you think about everything, that's, we've got to, you've got to understand the vision.

[00:41:16] The, you may not have it all figured out, but a general nebulous cloud of where I want to kind of be, it's going to be overpowering the, the, the, how unbelievably complex and hard it's going to take to get from where you're at, to where you are there. But you've got to understand the suffering and the, all the work and the, you know, it's not just like, you know, kid going, Hey, I want to be a, an NFL star and I want to be whatever they tell you in school, be a dreamer.

[00:41:46] Like you've got to understand the work, the vision, everything in there, but you've got to focus on just that one little step in front of you today. What's your next workout. What's your next list? I relate everything to either cars or training. They're a great analogy is for me. So, um, I like 

[00:42:08] Zach: that. I am, I am incredibly impressed with, with you as a person with what you, everything you've accomplished and really the, the distance that you've had to travel to accomplish all of those things.

[00:42:22] But we are coming and I would love to talk to you for hours and hours and hours, but we are pretty short on time here. So, you know, I'd love to ask about the book where we can get it and where can we find you online and find out more about you if we want to want to learn 

[00:42:35] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: more 

[00:42:35] about I'll make it super easy.

[00:42:36] So you go to just my personal website, Chris Duffin that's like muffin, but with a D right. Chris duffin.com pretty easy. Or Christopher Duffin, you go there there'll be links to all my social media profiles. There'll be links to Kabuki strength, barefoot athletics, build fast formula. There'll be links to where you can buy my book.

[00:42:55] There'll be linked for a free audible download. If you join up an auto account, get my book and one other book and, or you can just, just straight get my book because you got to sign up for an account. If you do that, you know, it's not technically free, but I'll give you the first half of my book for absolutely free to just sign up for the email list on there.

[00:43:15] And you'll also get the exclusive discounts, the company, a exclusive educational content. Just go there. I want to have please buy my book too, you know, but like, if you don't want to, I get it. I'll give you the first app for free anyway. So that's the easiest place. You can find a social media I'm on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook are the three more prominent, like people like LinkedIn to Twitter or something.

[00:43:39] I don't know. I can't, I can't compensate in 140 characters if you haven't figured that out. And I deal with a lot of professionals and the, in the in the, in the, uh, professional coaching and clinical world. So LinkedIn ends up being great, just type in Christoph and you'll, you'll figure it out.

[00:43:54] Facebook and Instagram. I've got a little blue check next to me. I know you don't memorize the freaking avatar. You guys are smart enough. Um, uh, so

[00:44:02] Jeremy: Yeah. Chris Duffin not muffin. You don't strike me as a guy that eats a lot of muffins,

[00:44:09] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: cookies, that's another

[00:44:10] Jeremy: Oh yeah. Boy. Make room for the cookies. All right. Well, Chris, thank you so much. Incredible, fascinating story inspiring. Thank you so much for your time for the book. And, uh, and for all the work you're doing, it's a very.

[00:44:22] Chris Duffin Interview - USB: Okay, thank you. Appreciate that. You guys, let me talk so much on this show. Hopefully I didn't talk over you, but I, uh, I really want to share my messages and, uh,

[00:44:30] Jeremy: We, we let the, the interesting people do all the talking here, so

[00:44:34] Zach: exactly.

[00:44:36] Jeremy: So much more that we did not get to that. I wish we had more time to spend with Chris Duffin. He's the author of the Eagle and the dragon, a story of strength and reinvention. You can find links to that book and all things related to Chris on our website, in the show notes for this episode@thefitness.com.

[00:44:51] Zach: And while you're there head on over to Facebook where we've got the fitness community group, where we are having lots of good conversations about how we are being more resilient every single day and challenges and being healthier mentally and physically, it's just been really good to connect with people there.

[00:45:08] Jeremy: The link to that is of course, on Facebook and also on the show notes for this episode@thefitness.com where we will be back next Wednesday with a brand new episode. Thanks so much for listening. 

Chris Duffin

Unconventional Executive, Author, Educator, & Inventor

Chris Duffin is an inventor, thought leader, and entrepreneur in Health and Fitness. He has Co-Founded the globally recognized
brand Kabuki Strength, where he serves as Chief Visionary Officer. Chris has invented multiple ‘game-changing’ products improving
human biomechanics under load, as well as systemized approaches to assessing and correcting human movement dysfunctions.
These tools and methods are used by nearly every top professional and collegiate team penetrating over 90% of those markets
alone. Chris is also the author of a powerfully inspiration and motivational Best-Selling book detailing his incredible upbringing,
providing the reader guidance on introspection and goal setting.
Chris is arguably one of the strongest pound-for-pound humans in the world having been the ONLY person to Squat and Deadlift
over 1000lbs for reps holding the Guinness World Record on the Sumo Deadlift. Having been a world record holding powerlifter and
the number one ranked lifter in the world for 8 years straight Chris went on to perform numerous unduplicated feats of strength to
raise money for charities in exhibition events.
In addition to being one of the most respected strength coaches in the industry he has an extensive track record of success in
business. With an MBA and Engineering in his background he spent nearly two decades running or turning around manufacturing
companies in Aerospace, Automotive, Hi-Tech, and Heavy Equipment fields. Now retired from competing, he is known for his
industry-changing innovations and education in the strength and clinical worlds. He’s a leading speaker on topics related to strength,
human movement, rehab, mindset, goal setting, leadership, and motivation.
His best-selling book “The Eagle and the Dragon” became a #1 Amazon Best Seller in 5 categories with hundreds of reviews ranking 5 stars for both the written and audio version. It is a memoir-slash-life philosophy work, the book covers Chris’ harrowing upbringing and self-actualization into one of the strongest people in the world. In it, he discusses his vision in life and challenges the reader into deep and actionable self-reflection while telling the story of growing up homeless in the Pacific Northwest wilderness. He was raised in an abusive and chaotic household where his childhood was composed of skinning rattlesnakes, foraging for food, and protecting his sisters and mother. With stories of dealing with murderers, drug running and abuse, human trafficking, death, a serial killer, extreme poverty and finally taking custody and raising his 3 siblings as he exited that environment.