The Secret to a Healthy Lifestyle For People Who Can’t Stick to Diets and Exercise Routines

Neil StraussPodcast

I wasn’t going to do it.

Everyone’s been asking me to do a podcast, from readers to friends to companies, and I’ve told them I’m too busy.

But then the right person asked me.

And so I decided to do it: Not for any other reason than it’s a way to spend more time talking with a good friend.

Here’s what happened:

Two years ago, I had an epiphany about health that changed my life.

I used to go to the gym to work out. Then after about six months, I’d think, “Why am I wasting an hour a day indoors under incandescent lights moving pieces of metal up and down?”

And I’d stop.

Same with eating better: I thought of it as: Avoiding foods that I enjoy in order to supposedly be healthier.

So of course this never lasted: because not doing things you enjoy while doing things that you don’t enjoy is not a recipe for success. It’s a recipe for failure.

Everything changed when my friend Rick brought me to an underwater workout he was doing at the outdoor pool of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton and pro volleyball player Gabby Reece.

Laird had invented a workout that combined jumping, carrying, and swimming with weights underwater with lung power-training.

We exercised outdoors in the sun. We did something new every day. There was a great group of people there that became like family. And every day, we pushed each other to new feats of breath-holding and pool-training.

When we were finished, we’d pile into Laird and Gabby’s barrel sauna, which was set to 220 degrees. And we’d alternate roasting in the sauna for 15 minutes with sitting in a cold ice-filled metal bath outside for three minutes.

In the heat of that sauna, we had conversations that were as intense as the workouts. The intimacy and heat of the sauna would just sweat the truth out. With our bodies in survival mode, we’d get to the point very quickly.

I found myself constantly looking forward to going to the pool and sauna. It became one of the highlights of those days. And suddenly, rather than dreading to go workout, I was regretting any days when I didn’t.

From the people there, and from the relationships I formed with the speakers at the Society biohacking conference last year, I began learning about how my body works on a cellular level, and starting to really understand the effect processed foods, sugars, and various additives had on the body that I was enjoying pushing to its limit so much.

So those guilty pleasure foods that used to taste so good: Suddenly, they tasted like poison.

From a health perspective, I actually learned the same lesson I did about relationships in The Truth: If you want to change on a deep level, don’t focus on your behavior – change your beliefs.

One morning, without having any actual goal for my fitness and health, I woke up and saw that my small pot belly, which Ingrid used to tease me about, was gone. It was flat and there was actually an ab there.

So what does this accidental ab have to do with a podcast?

Well, I enjoyed myself so much at the pool and sauna with this new group of healthy friends that when Gabby Reece asked me if I wanted to do a podcast together, I said, “Yes, but on one condition.”

The condition: That we do it in the sauna where we’ve had so many intense conversations.

So I’m writing to officially announce the launch of The Truth Barrel, in which Gabby and I bring the most interesting people in the world into that 220-degree barrel sauna and sweat the truth out of them:

The first episode above just went live. In this episode, we discuss:

*How to move toward things you are afraid of (instead of away from them).

*How to survive shark attacks.

*Step-by-step techniques for extreme breath-holding (up to six minutes – do not try this without professional supervision).

*How bullying can become motivation for excellence later in life.

*Pain as motivation.

*What it takes to make anything happen in life.

*And we get into a vigorous debate on whether your biology or childhood experiences created the person you are today.

Our guest is extreme waterman Mark Healey, a rider of sharks, big-wave surfing champ, Spearfishing World Cup winner, free-diver, movie stuntman, rodeo clown, and much more.

The first weeks of a podcast are very important, so three things you can do to help make sure we continue doing this are:

Download the episode

Subscribe to the podcast.

Review the podcast on iTunes.

You’ll definitely want to hear next week’s episode too, in which we talk to two people who survived near-death experiences – and what we can learn from them for our own lives.

You’ll be shocked by what Larry Miller, the comedian and actor, claims that he heard directly from the mouth of God when he “died.”

In the meantime, if you’re having any trouble sticking to a health, fitness, or diet plan, find the things you enjoy doing, not the things you have to do.

Change your beliefs and sacrifice nothing.

So the moral of the story: Why did I hold out so long on doing a podcast, and why am I doing this one now?

Because it’s fun. No other reason.

Move toward what you enjoy.