Brian Keane: How Ultra-Endurance Performance Can Spur Personal Growth

I’m bringing you a lively conversation with Brian Keane today, host of the Brian Keane Podcast, author of two best-selling books, The Fitness Mindset and Rewire Your Mindset, and a former teacher turned one of the top online fitness coaches in Ireland and the UK, who has transformed thousands of lives and physiques in the process. 

In this show, we talk about how our mindset often gets in the way of our best-laid plans and goals, especially to drop excess body fat (Brian’s expertise). You’ll hear about Brian’s amazing journey, which includes some phenomenal endurance performances and a variety of athletic experiences like bodybuilding, CrossFit, and Gaelic football, why Brian decided to become an extreme endurance athlete, a bunch of practical tips to help you get your mindset right, and all the tools and systems you need to succeed with fat reduction. We then end the show with three wonderful tips from Brian to help you get started right away in any area you may have struggled with in the past.

Check out Brian’s podcast (linked below), and his books The Fitness Mindset, which teaches you how to find the foods that work best for you and how to eat to increase energy, lose fat and build lean muscle, and build the body you’ve always wanted, and Rewire Your Mindset, which teaches you how to own your thoughts, control your thoughts, and change your life. 


Brian tells his story of getting involved in sports after realizing he didn’t want to be in the career he had prepared for.  You are not a tree.  You can move wherever you want. [01:36]

His very first event was the Marathon des Sables, probably the world’s toughest race. [07:23]

Brian ran a race to the Arctic Circle.  What was the course and the logistics of the race? It was 230 Km over five days. [15:43]

How did he get his mindset in the right place to take on such a big challenge as the Marathon des Sables? [20:32]

Does Brian think that though he is capable of such high achievements, it makes him more prone to these deep struggles that come even when he’s outwardly successful as opposed to someone who’s just steady going and maybe they have a rough day? [24:19]

For your guide in life, ask yourself: “What would you do for free?” [28:30]

How does one’s mindset influence one’s fitness goals? [30:24]

When you become metabolically flexible, you are less likely to be a slave to food.  [36:17]

Disordered eating makes you feel sometimes like you are handcuffed to food. [38:19]

Brian is sure that his becoming keto-adapted and fat adapted delivered performance benefits in his ultramarathons. Your body cannot digest food if the blood is going to fuel the muscles. [42:22]

Health, wellness, and fitness is a trifecta of nutrition, training and sleep. [47:54]

Sleep tends to get pushed aside a lot.  People just don’t understand how very important it is. [50:58]

Using social media keeps you accountable. You need to be real and authentic.  [56:02]

What are three or four tips one can implement right away to make a dent in their challenge with their body fat reduction? [01:00:44]



Brad (00:00:01):
Welcome to the Return of the Primal Endurance Podcast. This is your host, Brad Kearns, and we are going on a journey to a kinder, gentler, smarter, more fun, more effective way to train for ambitious endurance goals. Visit primal to join the community and enroll in our free video course. Brian Keene from the Brian Keane podcast, of which I was an honor to participate on Ireland’s favorite podcaster and fitness personality. I’m so glad to connect with you, man, and bring you on the B.rad podcast.

Brian (00:00:36):
Brad, it is an absolute honor and a pleasure to be on. I’m really looking forward to chatting.

Brad (00:00:41):
So I had this crazy monologue when I, when I started your show, cuz you asked me, how’d you get into fitness and sports or something? And I went off and told everybody about my college running career and my miserable, uh, job in the, and the high rise and then becoming a triathlete and, and on and on. And you have an incredibly fascinating background story, including the world travels and as well as these unbelievable endurance athletic feats. So maybe I should just turn the mic over to you and, you know. Let’s get to know you and what you’re all about. And of course we’re gonna wind up and get into great details about The Fitness Mindset and Rewire Your Mindset. Those are the titles of your books and also your core offering, which is helping people drop excess body fat, which is such a huge, uh, area of interest. But first, let’s meet Brian Keene and find out what you’ve been up to for the last 15 years or whatever.

Brian (00:01:36):
Oh, I appreciate that Brad. Yeah, so I grew up very similar to you in the sense that I was into sport and I think a lot of fitness people have that as their seeds. Then there’s a potential tree that grows outta that in some areas. And for me it was football, it was our national sport. So Gaelic football for us, which is like a combination between American football, basketball, and rugby. If you merge those, if those three sports had a baby get, that’s basically what Gaelic football is. So that’s what I grew up playing and I didn’t run much. I wasn’t into endurance. It wasn’t an area that I particularly excelled in, although I was quite fast and I did a lot of sprint work and things along those lines when I was playing sport. But over the space of probably the first 18 years of my life, it was all football.

Brian (00:02:21):
That’s, that’s what I lived and breathed for. I wasn’t very good in school. I barely passed high school. I was obsessed with fitness. I was obsessed with the gym, making myself stronger, trying to get in better shape for sport. And that was my life for all intents and purposes until I went to university when I went to college. And then for four years it went another direction. It went towards girls and alcohol and living the life. And I had a nice little balance. It was kind of like putting your feet in the freezer and your head in the oven in terms of, you know, a little bit of balance in the middle in terms of extreme. I would train a lot and try and eat well, but then I was drinking and going out and had all this craziness within it. And I wasn’t in a traditional fitness career.

Brian (00:02:59):
I did an undergraduate degree in business and then I went and did a postgraduate in elementary school teaching. So I was an elementary school teacher for four years. And it was a kind of a funny way how I fell into fitness. I fell into some of the challenges that I do now was I did those four years degree. I walked into my first teaching job in London and I was about half an hour, 30 minutes or so, a little bit shorter than you, I think it was 11 weeks or so into your job. And I thought, oh my God, I don’t wanna be a teacher. What am I doing here? About half an hour into my first, every day of a year, three third grade classroom. And the analogy I’ve used in books is that it felt like I had spent years climbing a ladder only to get to the top and realize I was up against the wrong wall.

Brian (00:03:46):
And for the next four years I thought, oh my God, what am I gonna do? I need to get out of this. And a very long story short, I came home on Christmas and I was having a bit of a pity party for myself, Brad, like a real woe is me. I hate my job. I’m not happy. I’m so unfulfilled. I was counting down the days until Friday and then the weekend would come and I’d be ecstatic. And then Sunday evening would come and I’d be borderline depressed, getting ready to go back to work on Monday. And my mother said two things to me that I’ll never forget. One I’ve quoted probably a thousand times on my podcast at this point. The first thing she said was, well, you’re not a tree. If you don’t like where you are, you can move. And I sat with that and then she asked me one of the most profound questions that I still ask myself to this day.

Brian (00:04:36):
And she said, what would you do for free? And I sat there and I thought that’s, I never really thought about that. I’ve been living this path of go to college, get a job. And that’s what you do when, that’s what success is. Teaching in the UK and Ireland a little bit different to the US it’s considered kind of a high enough status job. The pay is much better, the hours are a little bit less. But it wasn’t something I would do for free. I would only go to work if you paid me. And I sat there and thought I would work at a gym for free. If I was just sweeping the floor in a gym, I would be so happy. And I connected when you were talking on my podcast about delivering pizzas and doing the triathlon during the day. That’s what I felt like with the gym.

Brian (00:05:18):
I thought if I had my gym membership paid and I could just go in and have enough money to live and eat, I would be happy. And it led me down a path of what was first a fitness instructor course and then a one-to-one certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist. And I kind of evolved in terms of accreditations after that. And I thought, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is what I felt a calling for. And I spent two years working as a personal trainer at nighttime and working as an elementary school teacher during the day. And eventually I got to the point where I was making more money as a personal trainer. And I at nighttime. At nighttime, and I couldn’t believe I was getting paid. Every time somebody paid me Brad for personal training sessions, I’m like, I cannot believe I get paid for this.

Brian (00:06:03):
And over the next few years I moved back to the west of Ireland. I moved back in with my mom and dad at the time. I was 26 years of age. My sister gave me her old little Toyota Yaris, one of those cars that when you closed the front door, all four windows would fall down. But I was at the bottom of a ladder, but it was up against the right wall. I had started completely from fresh. People didn’t know who I was, I didn’t have any social media, I didn’t have any books, I didn’t have any podcasts. All I had was two years of experience as a nighttime personal trainer. So I had learned my craft and I was good at what I did. And I moved back and said, if I give myself a six month runway, if I can’t make this work full-time, I’ll go back teaching in September.

Brian (00:06:42):
It would’ve been June at that point. And I’ll go back teaching. But I was so fortunate over the space of six months, I got to the point I was so busy, I had to take on a second trainer. And there was an element of my business where I was hiring trainers underneath me to cover the waiting list. And although I transitioned the business into a different direction, and we moved online in 2015 when my daughter was born because I wanted more time, more freedom. I fell in love at what I’m doing. And up until this day, which is 2023, all the way from 2014 when I started and moved and went full-time into it, I can’t believe I get paid to do the things that I do like at the moment. And in terms of endurance and fitness, I’ve pivoted out of the world of sport.

Brian (00:07:23):
I went into body building for a few years. I competed at quite a decent level in bodybuilding. I was in a the pro fitness model category, which means you could compete for money. I was flying on around the world doing those photo shoots, men’s health, men’s fitness, things along those lines. And once I established kind of my brand and my business online, things were going really well. The podcast took off my first book, The Fitness Mindset came out in 2017. It sold more than a hundred thousand copies to date for me, which is huge in terms of a self-published book that just got it out there to people and connected and helped. And it opened up so many doors and opportunities for me. And I started to pivot into the world of endurance based on needing some actual challenges in my life. I felt like I was getting a little bit soft and my mental resilience wasn’t very good as somebody that would’ve struggled with self-confidence and struggled with self-esteem as a teenager and as a young adult. I felt some of that creeping back up in my thirties, my early thirties. And the first challenge I ever signed up for, and I can run through them quickly, was Marathon des Sables which is, oh boy, six, back to back s the first

Brad (00:08:30):
One. Excuse me, that was your first

Brian (00:08:32):
. That was my first, I’d never ran a marathon. I’d never done an ultra. The first one I ever signed up for was Marathon Daabdes Sables, Brad .

Brad (00:08:39):
And I think it’s the widely regard as the most difficult ultra-marathon on the planet. Um, and for, for you Googling people, it’s SABLES, right? Marathon des Sables for the joker English person. Um, but we’ll put that link in the show notes and it’s just ridiculous what those people face. Amazing.

Brian (00:09:02):
It’s, it was one of the most difficult things up until that point that I’d done in my life. And I think, cause I hadn’t come from a running background, I remember Brad, I signed up, and this is just to kind of go off tangent, how I found out about it. I was at an event, it was actually you quoted Tony Robbins in my podcast. I was at the Tony Robbins Business Mastery in Amsterdam in 2018. And I ran into somebody who’s become a very close and personal friend since his name is Tom Martin. He’s been on my podcast several times, a very highly established ultra runner. And he was telling me about this event and I, my first question was, was what’s an ultramarathon I, cause I wasn’t in that world I was in, I had done CrossFit and body building and sports. I was like, what’s an ultramarathon?

Brian (00:09:42):
So he explained that to me and then he started talking about this race in the desert, that it’s six marathons back to back. It’s self-sufficient. You carry all your food on your back, you have to have a venom pump within arms reach at all times in case you get bitten by a snake. And I missed the entire next speaker at the Tony Robbin’s event. Cause I was on Google searching this race. And I was like, oh my God, that sounds incredible. That’s insane. And then what happened to me happens to a lot of people that are in ultras and in endurance events is you kind of park it and you just leave it and nothing comes of it for a while. And I thought, okay, do you know what Brian, you’re 85 kilograms, which is about 180 pounds. I’m five foot eight, I’m built like a hobbit, I’m quite muscular and it’s short limbed.

Brian (00:10:28):
I’m not built to run long ultras. And I thought, okay, I can’t do that. And then I was sitting about a month later, Brad, about to post on Instagram and I had a decent Instagram following at the time. And it was around that area where quotes were very popular. People were pulling up quote cards and they were trending really well. And I had a quote that was something along the lines of, you know, behind every fear is a person you wanna be. And I sat there hovering over the post publish button thinking You hypocrites . I was like, you’re about to post this on Instagram and you heard about this race a month ago that you are afraid to do. What are you considering even posting this? So I posted it anyways and went home and I signed up for my deposit for Marathondes Sables that action. Ooh.

Brian (00:11:14):
And that was the commitment I made to myself. Now I went to the gym the next day, Brad, and this shows my idiocy when it comes to training as a personal trainer, but clearly someone who focused on body composition versus athletic performance when it comes to training for an ultra. I went into the gym, I did my normal push workouts of chest, shoulders, triceps, and then I hopped on a treadmill and I said, okay, I’m gonna do two kilometers on the treadmill. So I set it up to the maximum speed. It was 17 and a half kilograms per hour, which I didn’t know was fast or slow. I had no reference of what was fast and what was slow. And two kilometers later I came off the treadmill and I nearly got sick. And I sat in the dressing room, Brad thinking, oh my god, six back to back marathons in six days is 250 kilometers.

Brian (00:11:59):
If I added up and I feel sick after two, how am I going to do 248 more of these? And I had a, a bit of a drowning out party for myself. I sat there going just head shaking. And eventually I was able to reframe my mindset to a more positive place. And I thought, okay, well I need to be able to run a marathon. I was like, there’s no point worrying about six if I can’t run one. So I set that pyramid of prioritization. I signed up to the Dubai Marathon, which I ran several months later with a backpack and a hoodie in the heat to prepare. And that was my preparation for Marathon des Sables. I went out there, which is highly regarded, as you mentioned, as the world’s toughest foot race. And I put one foot in front of the other and I finished.

Brian (00:12:44):
I to say I ran would be probably not an accurate description of how I was moving, particularly the last three days I would say I moved six marathons over six days with some running in between. And your feet are blistered. Your I dropped five kilograms while I was away cause I ran out of food and it was such a difficult undertaking. But I came back from the Sahara and I think a lot of endurance people have experienced a version of this where you feel like one person went to the event in the race and another person came back. And that’s, that’s what Marathon des Sables felt for me. I felt like, wow, where else am I having these limitations in my life? Where else am I thinking this story that I can’t do something because I’m built like this or I think like this or I grew up doing this and all these limitations just seemed to like burst open and I got a little bit of an itch for it.

Brian (00:13:40):
The following year I ran 230 kilometers through the Arctic Circle in the tip of Sweden, 86 kilometers. From the end of that I tore my Achilles. So I ran when I moved 86 kilometers with a torn Achilles and I finished it. I completed that race. That was my hardest challenge to this day. Partly because I was in running in snowshoes and it threw off my running gate. So my Achilles was getting under pressure and it was, and gradually it started to tear and then pop, it went oof. And it was excruciating. Like literally Brad, it felt like somebody was hitting me with a cattle prod every time I took a step for 86 kilometers. But I was able to get through that. I got a lot of mental resilience that came from it. Something we talked about on my podcast and I’ll, I’ll wrap up now really shortly cuz I’ve gone super long with what I was talking on.

Brian (00:14:30):
thetan mountain.

New Speaker (00:14:30):
But that cold exposure, something that I still do to this day for my own mental health and physiological benefits, I got from the Arctic. I ran my first a hundred mile ultramarathon right before lockdown in 26 and a half hours. The goal was to do 24 hours. So I do have that set as a target for myself to try and crack 24 hours in a hundred mile ultramarathon. And at the minute now I’m training to run up a, it’s Thetan Mountain in Kazakhstan beside China. So it’s 200 kilometers of el going straight up in elevation at altitude. I’m training for that in July. I’m running that for, it’s researched at the minute for cancer research. It’s something that we struggled with our family. My dad had po prostate cancer last year, hit us very hard, wiped me out for all races and events just cause I wasn’t in a good head place.

Brian (00:15:14):
So now I get to do and train and challenge myself in a physical way. I get to raise money hopefully for a charity that I feel very passionate about at the minute. And it’s something that I’ll continually do. I love the mental resilience element. I love having a goal that I can work towards. I love trying to figure out a problem solve, how do you deal with altitude? How do you deal with the cold? How do you deal with the heat? And all the things that come in between. So that’s a very long-winded way of going from the origin story to here. But that’s where I’m at now.

Brad (00:15:43):
But we got some questions, man. We got some questions. Back, back to Sweden there. Was there a certain finish line that you had to keep going for like the actual arctic circle or, uh, you started in a village and what was the course like?

Brian (00:15:56):
So the course was started, I if you, it was kinda like a horseshoe, if you picture a horseshoe. So you ran up towards, in away from the Arctic Circle line. And then you ran over the Arctic Circle line and then horseshoe back into a village where you finished. So it was 230 kilometers over five days. And you saw life at the beginning. You saw life at the end, and then there’s barely anything in between. There’s the local indigenous Sami tribe who set up TP tents and they’ll heat your water. Cause obviously the water freezes in the Arctic. It goes to it’s minus 38 degrees. I’m not sure the equivalent in Fahrenheit. But you need somebody to boil your water for you because all the water freezes in the Arctic and you can’t stay hydrated. And with the Arctic, people normally ask what was more difficult, the Sahara or the Arctic and the Arctic by a stretch because it’s so unforgiving.

Brian (00:16:50):
Like it feels like you’re fighting Mother Nature in the Arctic because if you go there, there’s a great photo that I have when my Achilles tour initially and I had to try and get to a checkpoint in a TP that when you’re moving so slowly in the Arctic, which I was, I was pulling my leg behind me, especially in the initial phase, my eyelids froze over because of the water in your eyes. So my eyes looked like I was a vampire or a zombie with red eyes because they were bloodshot. Cause I couldn’t blink because of the water. I just frozen everything over. And you’re in this weird Goldilocks zone in the Arctic that if you go too fast, you sweat and your risk of hypothermia goes up. If you go too slow, your frostbite risk goes up. So you’re in this weird Goldilocks zone of trying to stay at a certain pace and keep your core temperature at a certain level.

Brian (00:17:37):
Whereas you don’t have that in the Sahara. The Sahara is just dealing, don’t get dehydrated and don’t get bitten by a snake. If they’re your two things, like they’re two high risk things, don’t do those two, two things, then you’ll probably be okay. Whereas there was a lot more going on in the Arctic now I learned so much from both. I love those extreme challenges. I love who you have to become in order to complete them for me. And the resilience you get from them, the tools you get, the stories you get and the people that you might potentially meet. Like when are you ever going to walk into a reindeer, indigenous Sami tribe? Like they’re not in the west of Ireland, they’re not in California, they’re not in New York. They’re, they’re living in the tip of Sweden and they’re self-sufficient themselves. So it’s great experience that I get to have. But yeah, that’s the, that was the Arctic in terms of how it laid out in the course.

Brad (00:18:23):
So these multi-day events, where do you stay at night? Is it organized where the Sami’s are taking in these, uh, these, these uh, participants and then getting up and doing another route the next day?

Brian (00:18:36):
Yeah, so the, the indigenous tribe, the is the Sami tribe link in with a company in the UK Beyond the Ultimate is the name of the company. And they, they coordinate between each other. So the Sami tribe set up and help with the checkpoints and then we run towards, in the Arctic is slightly different than the Sahara The Sahara Marathon des Sables is is all set up. So they, they basically take the tents, you’re sleeping outside, but you run to the next tent, you run to the next 42.2 kilometers, 36.2 miles, and then you, you basically fall asleep underneath the tent with the Arctic, we were running either towards, um, kind of like TPS yerts or cabins. So in terms of the sleeping situation, it’s quite comfortable. It’s just everything else that’s not

Brad (00:19:23):
. And what happened to your Achilles after the event?

Brian (00:19:27):
Oh, oh, it put me out for about six months and it still flares up slightly on when I start to increase my training volume too quickly. So when I’m training for an ultra, I normally build up very gradually, so very steady 5Ks, 10 kilometer runs, 15 cups very steady. If I jump it too quick that that Achilles can flare up a small bit again. But six months it put me out for like, I couldn’t walk for three. Like I was just, I was hobbling for three now. I was still working out, I was still training like I was in the pool and I had one of those paddles that you can put between your legs so that you just, you, you stop your legs from kicking. I was doing upper body work when it came to chest and shoulders and back and things along those lines, but I couldn’t run and I couldn’t do anything along those lines for a good six months after. And realistically it was closer to a year before it felt comfortable enough to do a race. But, you know, I got fortunate with that. I got 100 mile ultra marathon and then the world shut down with lockdown. Mm-hmm. So it was fine. I had plenty of recovery time off the backend.

Brad (00:20:32):
Interesting. You talked about your motivation or the state you were in when you signed up for Marathon des Sables, and it was coming off this period of seemingly smashing success, but you detected that you were getting a little soft or something, something was going on in your head. You said you were kind of losing your edge even though you were excelling in the business sense.

Brian (00:20:58):
I was. And what I started to, something, I’ve always struggled with Brad. I’ve had a history of mental health issues, all circumstantial stuff. Any depression I’ve ever suffered has always been environmental towards bad things either happening to me or bad decisions that I’ve made. But anxiety is something I think type A personalities can be very prone to anxiety that overthinking. And there are things that at times in my twenties in particular, before I got into endurance, could, could pull me under if I was not hitting targets that I set for myself. And I’m my own biggest critic. A lot of people who are what can be perceived from the outside as high achievers tend to be our own biggest critic. It’s why we actually excel at things. It’s normally driven by an internal, internal turmoil, you know, external success driven by internal turmoil. And I could get really depressed during moments or I would get panic attacks and anxiety attacks just from an inability and an inability to cope with the stress of deadlines or things that were going on in life.

Brian (00:21:58):
We joked on my podcast about, you know, stressors and fighting with girlfriends and things along those lines. But there was times in the past when I would have full blown freakouts and I just felt I wasn’t handling life as well as I could. And I thought it was because my mindset was really soft. And I had historically been low on confidence, low on self-esteem, a lot of things I had to develop over the years. And I think the reason I get so much, and I got so much from transitioning into endurance, more so than sport and CrossFit and body building and just gym specific workouts, is because you really come face to face with the shadow side. When you are out on a, on an ultra or you are in a pool, or you are on a long bike ride, when you are physically exhausted, all these things can pop up into your head and you have to deal with them.

Brian (00:22:47):
And because of that, I, there was a point before I did Marathon des Sables and signed up where I was afraid if that happened, if those demons or that shadow side came up or, or those thoughts came up, I just, I didn’t know what to do with them. I would numb out, I would distract, I would do what a lot of people did, and I was in shape, but I was, you know, a a a a junk food addict where I was just a fit junk food addict because I would use food to numb out and escape. Hmm. I would use sometimes exercise and going to the gym multiple times a day to try and numb out and escape. I would use distraction and binge watch things on TV even before Netflix to just distract my mind and peace myself from my mind or get away from it.

Brian (00:23:29):
And I didn’t wanna live like that anymore. I would look down at my daughter at the time who was two when I signed up for Marathon des Sables going on three. And I thought, oh my God, I I am, I can’t be this weak. I was like, she’s gotta need somebody stronger. Mm. And that planted the seed for me to start seeking out these challenges to try and make myself more resilient, make myself more mentally tough. And thankfully, I know it’s a process and it’s, it’s gonna be a continually journey, but it’s one of those things that I felt that call, I listened to it probably for the first time in my life up to that point. And all the external success with business and books and things along those lines. They weren’t filling that gap for me. They weren’t making me feel any mentally tougher or more resilient. They were just external successes that didn’t actually make me feel any better. So that’s where I had to go and seek it out elsewhere. Whew.

Brad (00:24:20):
Uh, that’s heavy. And I, I appreciate you sharing your struggles with us as well as the amazing successes. And it occurs to me, I’m wondering like, um, those are pretty amazing heights and incredible achievements so far beyond the ordinary. Someone who’s signed up for the London Marathon and ran 26 miles and it was a little warm that day. No, no. This is a whole nother level. But also as you relate those ups and downs that sound pretty severe, do you think that’s part of your entire package where because you are capable of such high achievements, you’re also prone to these deep struggles that come even when you’re outwardly successful as opposed to someone who’s just steady going and maybe they have a rough day, but it’s not, you know, this existential crisis like you’re relating. Because I often wonder that about peak performers where sometimes the, the fallout or the the, the ups and downs are, are so severe, you know, bringing, you know, bringing the potential for these e extreme achievements.

Brian (00:25:23):
That’s a great question. And there’s a quote that always hit me really hard and still does to this day, that says that for your branches to reach up to heaven, your roots need to go down to hell. And that’s exactly how I feel when it comes to these achievements. I feel that running for me, and endurance for me is a vehicle for self-discovery because I’m not a fan of running. I don’t really like it. Like it, it doesn’t, it’s not something I would do by choice, but I get so much from it in terms of the personal development. It feels like, like a mini psychedelic trip. Anytime I go on a long run where stuff is coming up to the forefront of your mind and you’re just too tired to bat it away. And cause when you’re able to sit and reflect with those things, either during or after, you’re able to kind of get to a deeper route of, you know, those issues that you have that were driving you.

Brian (00:26:16):
And I definitely have more peace, peace from mind in now at age 35 than I did at age 30. I have, it’s a hundred x from age 25 when it was probably at its height and at its worse. And I’m looking to the future, to the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 15 years, the next 20 years. And you’re just trying to get that little bit better. You talked about that continuous self-improvement and, and looking towards that. I can’t remember the exact line you gave the process of improvement. That is what I’m looking to do and what I’m looking to get. Like, I don’t compare myself to podium winners, I don’t compare myself to other people that are on the races or on the runs with me. It’s 100% for me and competing against myself and knowing that there’s a deeper reason.

Brian (00:27:03):
And the reason for me to externally achieve, and I’m using inverted quotes here, is to deal with that struggle and the places I can go to if I don’t set myself these challenges. And I don’t want it to sound like, you know, I’m walking around miserable all day. I’m not. I love my life. I’m so grateful. I have the most amazing partner in the world. My daughter is incredible and she’s healthy. Well, my parents are both alive after some struggles in the past year, I have a business that I would do everything I do for free. I’m so grateful for the things I have in my life. And that’s partly the reason why I can seek out these challenges. And it’s so relative because my Marathon des Sables is somebody else’s London marathon. Somebody else’s London marathon is getting up off the couch to 5k. And I’ve worked with a lot of those very overweight, obese individuals, people who struggle with that.

Brian (00:27:53):
And their version of what I got from Marathon des Sables is being able to buy jeans off the rack and not have to order them, especially, or being able to go into a seat. One of my clients years ago, the first time she was able to go onto a plane and buy a single seat because she was so overweight, she had to order two every time that was her Marathon des Sables. And it shows up in different shapes and forms for people. And I think once you are aware that you don’t have to copy me, you don’t copy Brad, you don’t have to copy other people, there’s a version of that out there for you. And on the other side of it is where you want to be. You just have to listen to the call when it comes.

Brad (00:28:30):
Very well said. And appreciate that. And speaking of quotes, we gotta, we gotta bring your mom into the spotlight here. That is the most awesome quote. What would you do for free as a, you know, a guiding purpose in life? I absolutely love that. And it sounds like it had a tremendous impact on you as well. We might have to title the show, Brian Keene, what would you do for free and other , other fun highlights, but that is a real, it sounds like a real turning point.

Brian (00:29:05):
I still use that Brad to this day. Like when I am making decisions, particularly business decisions, what everything, it’s what would I do for free? Because when you’re able to jump outta bed every morning and you’re so excited to do what you do, you end up, and this sounds so counterintuitive because when I put this to business people, and you know, this is a very successful entrepreneur as well, that when you put out what would you do for free, it gives you a competitive advantage because you end up doing things that feel like work to others that don’t feel like work to you. One of my mentors used to always have me try and find the area of business that doesn’t feel like work to you, that feels like work to everybody else. And what would you do for free is my north compass for that, or my North Star for that.

Brian (00:29:48):
My guiding compass for that. And I still come back to it to this day, and it’s something that I’ve mentioned in books, I’ve mentioned it on podcasts, it’s, uh, uh, uh, it, they’re struggling and you’re not sure what you wanna do. And you know, from that career when you felt, this isn’t for me, I would rather be delivering pizzas and trying to make it as a pro triathlete, like, what would you do for, for free can work as a north star and a compass for that. And I think it’s a really profound question to ask now. The answer can always change. That’s the beauty of questions. You can ask the same question every year, every five years, and the answer might change, but that’s the power of the good question.

Brad (00:30:24):
Let’s talk about how mindset influences one’s fitness goals, ability to adhere to a program, ability to adhere to the, the goals they set, because I feel like in the fitness industry there’s so much awesome programming and we have tremendous access to it. Now I just open up my Instagram and see these people doing these great exercises and I push the button that says save it. And now I have a hundred different sprinting drills and yoga mobility open up the hips thing and it’s all there for me. But then, you know, the, uh, the busyness of daily life. And I know so many people that struggle with adhering to the knowledge base that they have and they know what to do and just things get in the way and, and, and layers and layers build up. And so it seems to me that it starts with mindset, but we often put that aside or, you know, assume when you’re training a client that they are completely motivated, focused, driven, ready for your information. But a lot of times, boy, there’s a, there’s a hurdle to clear before you set foot in the gym. Really.

Brian (00:31:31):
Oh, and it’s, it’s so funny you mentioned that, Brad, because the reason I wrote and how I wrote the first book, The Fitness Mindset was 100% based on where my current clients at the time, one-to-one personal training clients when I was, before I moved online in 2015, 2016. It’s where they were struggling with a lot of them knew because I wasn’t working with absolute beginners, a lot of them knew, you know, resistance training, strength training, calorie deficit to a degree, whole nutrient dense foods, more fruits, more vegetables, complete proteins. A lot of them knew this, but it wasn’t where they were struggling. They were struggling with setting a goal and sticking to it. They were struggling with what happens on the days they don’t feel like doing it. They were struggling with actually getting themselves motivated. They were struggling with the approach of anxiety and stress and all these other life impact.

Brian (00:32:24):
I think all these other areas, uh, that can impact quality of life that they never tied to their fitness goal. And all that first book really did was bring awareness to it. The whole first section of the fitness mindset is all about fitness, nutrition, training, sleep, et cetera. The whole second section’s all about mindset. And it’s combining those two things together so that people can get into the shape they want and keep it and stay on track with it. And I was trying to basically address a pain point for the clients I was working with. And I wrote that book purely in the knowledge that, okay, well if it only helps my current clients and any new clients I work with, it’ll be a success. And I think, cause I took that approach with it, it did so well. And it’s helped so many people over the years, again, I know very similar to your books and the, the whole host and multitude of books you have, it’s filling in those gaps that people are struggling with their pain point.

Brian (00:33:17):
And for me, it wasn’t the education, it wasn’t the nutrition, it wasn’t the training, it was their approach and how they were approaching it. And once I brought that awareness, and it’s something I speak a lot about on my platforms because context is so key. When you were on my show, we were speaking about the ketogenic diet and the intermittent fasting and how it’s changed depending on context and age and goals. And that’s so important to know. And that’s what a coach will give you. They’ll tell you that and they’ll explain, this is why you’re doing fasting, this is why you’re running at this speed, this is why you’re doing X, Y, or Z. But people forget that. Well, your mindset and how you approach it is actually the most important thing because if you don’t stick to it, none of that matters. You can have the best coach of the world, but I’ve said to my clients, I will give you everything you need to get body fat down or build muscle.

Brian (00:34:06):
Mm-hmm. or anything, body composition. It’s where I focus my attention. It’s my area of expertise, but I don’t eat any of your meals. I don’t lift any of your weights, I don’t do any of your runs. You have to do that. And that ownership and that responsibility, giving it to people on the front end can help. And if you don’t take that mindset in, you can have, Brad, literally living over you saying, you need to eat this, you need to train here, you need to do X, Y, and Z. But if you don’t do it, then none of it matters. And it’s no point having them.

Brad (00:34:34):
So what are the things that are in the way for many people?

Brian (00:34:41):
Something that I tend to specialize in, and this is down to my own history, is people’s food relationships and kind of disordered eating patterns. And now this is something that is very close to my heart because I had very poor disordered eating patterns. I didn’t have a full-blown eating disorder, but definitely disordered eating patterns when it comes to constantly separating food into good and bad categories. Now there’s definitely an argument for less processed, more whole foods. Like you can’t really make that argument. It’s scientifically backed. It’s what people need versus what they don’t need. But mine was so black and white, Brad, where I would literally go Monday to Friday eating chicken and broccoli and then I would eat nothing but ice cream, chocolate cookies, anything I could get my hands on that had some sort of sugar, fat and carbs and salt into it over a weekend.

Brian (00:35:35):
And I could go up 4, 5, 6 pounds over a weekend just from water retention, from the carbs and the sodium and the sugar. And then the process would start again on Monday. I would restrict massively and then I would fall into these binge and restrict cycles. And a lot of the people I work with are similar. They have versions of that where they’re quite good Monday to Thursday or Monday to Friday, and then they fall off the track of the weekend. Um, I’m not sure if I can swear on the podcast, but I, I call it pressing the button. They go it the weekend and that button gets pressed and then everything’s a write off for the next two days, and then they reset their back on plan on Monday. I think one of the reasons that intermittent fasting, keto can work so well for people is it makes them more metabolically flexible.

Brian (00:36:17):
And it’s not necessarily a direct recommendation. I think diet should be dependent on the person, but when you become more metabolically flexible, you are less of a slave to food. And something that endurance indirectly gave me, because I started to experiment with ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting to prepare for endurance events. But I found that my, I felt like a slave to food at times, meaning that I always had to have my six meals with me and then I’d be wary of the weekend coming up because it would just be floodgate opening and I would feel so horrible. And I wouldn’t wanna see anybody until I lost some of that water weight on a Tuesday and that cycle would just rinse and repeat for years. Hmm. And it gave me a lot of my freedom back. And I had, Robert Sykes on my podcast, the Keto Savage, and he said something very similar that the keto diet indirectly gave him back a lot of his food freedom.

Brian (00:37:06):
Because there’s restriction, obviously the ketogenic diets a very restrictive diet, but ironically, when you have disordered eating patterns, when you’re able to pull yourself out that actually I don’t need a meal. I can fast and I’ll be fine, or the world won’t end if I don’t have breakfast today. And that freedom is very liberating and it, it gave it to me so I indirectly got it through endurance. So on that journey of self-discovery and trying to build up the mental and resilience, I ended up learning about my body in cold exposure and heat exposure to the Sahara and the Arctic and fasting and ketogenic diets in the ketogenic state and how good I felt. And I, I write most of my books in keto because I’m just way more mentally clear. I don’t follow it year round, but I’ll go in and out at ketosis depending on what I’m training for and what I’m working towards.

Brian (00:37:53):
So when you see it as tools that you can potentially apply, it’s, you know, to the whole world, to the man of the hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. You wanna have a whole host of tools that you can use based on the context. And that’s something that a lot of the people I work with struggled with. They didn’t realize that, well, actually nutrition is context dependent. Your approach is important, but you need to have the information and the education and merge those two things together. And that’s what ultimately leads to long-term success.

Brad (00:38:19):
I think that’s an important point that’s not appreciated enough when we talk about disordered eating, is that the addictive nature of heavily processed modern foods is not the entire factor. There are many factors that lead to disordered relationship with food, but it’s a driving factor. When you do have signs of addiction and you are reliant upon a certain number of calories at a certain time of day just to stabilize your mood, energy, focus and all that, it’s really hard to extricate from that. Uh, and you just, for people that didn’t quite fully appreciate that, when you get metabolically flexible, when you get healthy and make healthy choices, you realize that you’re not dependent on food for your energy, for your happiness, for your wellbeing. That you feel good when you skip a meal or you feel good after you eat a meal.

Brad (00:39:14):
And then it kind of has the potential to return to the proper context, which would be making, eating one of the great pleasures of life. Marx Sisson talks a lot about every single bite of food I put in my mouth, I absolutely enjoy, otherwise I won’t eat. So if he’s walking through an airport and seeing only lousy options, you, uh, take the opportunity to engage in intermittent fasting rather than, you know, having to stand in line to buy some crap just because your, you know, your fuel gauges on empty and you can’t keep going. That’s, that’s where you start to go down a slippery troubling slope. I had a podcast guest, Dr. Joan Ifland from Stanford, and she’s an expert in food addiction. And she I listed this on my show listeners, but I think she had 11 signs or 12 signs whether you’re a food addict and if you have more than seven or something, you’re, you’re qualified as an addict.

Brad (00:40:10):
She goes, uh, guess what, FYI everyone starts with five yeses. And, uh, the nature of the questions are such that, you know, with food, it’s not like, uh, you know, a recreational drug where you know, you better stop, uh, snorting cocaine if you want to beat that addiction with food. We have to eat anyway. So we’re always like battling this potentially adverse psychological relationship with food. But when that processed food comes into play, that’s when you can really, you know, really struggle. And then as you describe your awakening from making good choices and, and kicking into gear tools like ketogenic diet,

Brian (00:40:49):
And I found it by accident, that’s what makes it kind of a, an unintentional success story because when I, I fell into ketogenic diets, I fell into intermittent fasting to try and see what they support me for these races. And as a result I saw that my food relationship was healing and that I wasn’t necessarily feeling that stress around, oh my God, what happens when I walked down the ice cream? Like Ben and Jerry’s. I still don’t eat, Ben and Jerry’s for this day because I have portion control issues with it. But I still would stroke when I’d walked out the aisle. I could not pick it up knowing that, okay, I won’t actually eat this till the weekend, but I could eat seven tubs over the space of a weekend comfortably. Comfortably. And that’s on top of the other food I was eating.

Brian (00:41:34):
And that, that you feel like you’re handcuffed to food and that’s a horrible place to be as somebody that unintentionally fell out of it and is very grateful for it. And a little bit of education around, as you mentioned, processed foods because the of the addictive nature of salt, sugar, fat particularly combined together. And the alternative elements of, well if you just try to get into keto for a week or two or for a month and experiment with it or try intermittent fasting, you know, for a short period and see how you feel with that. And if it only works as a, a stop gate between you and the food and feeling like you need it, it serves its purpose.

Brad (00:42:22):
Do you think that your quest to become keto-adapted, fat adapted did deliver a performance benefit in those ultramarathons?

Brian (00:42:33):
Oh yeah, a hundred percent. Literally Brad, I was, I can’t remember if we’ve gone through, I haven’t touched on this when it came to the a hundred mile ultramarathon. I think I might have touched on it when you were on my podcast cause we’re doing this quite close together. But when I ran my first a hundred mile ultramarathon, I got a stomach discomfort about 15 miles in. Now I won’t get into the T m i, anyone that’s ran an ultra knows what I’m talking about when it comes to stomach discomfort and what that represents. But for 50 miles after I couldn’t eat and one of my fueling strategies at the time, now I was quite metabolically flexible, but because it was a 2.2 mile loop, hundred mile electro ultramar, it was just a loop. 48 times or so, I was able to have carbohydrate food.

Brian (00:43:19):
It wasn’t gonna be a problem. I wasn’t, it wasn’t like the Sahara, the Arctic where I was carrying it on my back and, but I couldn’t eat. But because I was metabolically flexible and I was fat adapted, I was able to move at a decent pace without any food in my system. And then after another 50 miles or so, I was able to eat again and it, it kind of settled out and the performance increased. Now you’re not as fast. I wouldn’t do a keto diet for a marathon. For me, I would always do a care based for American cause I’m faster, like with glucose and with carbohydrates, my times tend to be quicker obviously it, it’s, it’s, it’s systemic or it’s, um, you’re getting the energy straight away. You can have gut discomfort and all the issues that come with the gels, et cetera.

Brian (00:44:02):
But I use mostly food. I use oats that I use, um, chia seed gels and things along those lines even when I’m out doing marathons. But for the longer distance, I would never do it any other way. Ketogenic diet and fat adoption is the way for me because in the Sahara the last day, I think I told you this earlier, I ran out of food. And when you run out of food and you are a carb-based athlete, you are gone, you are done. Your, your petrol tank, gas tank, diesel tank zero, you can’t keep going. Whereas if you’re fat adapted, you can, it’s like running on solar power and that becomes such a performance enhancing benefit if you are that metabolically flexible that you can use both. Like I always wanna be able to use both, like, because it’s very easy to get care-based, like one two meals can knock you straight back in and you’re fine, particularly if you’re, if you’ve been very structurally and strategically going keto. But I also wanna be able to drop out of that fast if I have to run 50 miles or 40 miles on an empty stomach because I can’t eat. So in terms of performance enhancing benefit, I think it’s one of the ultimate tools that an endurance athletes can adopt into their strategy.

Brad (00:45:14):
Yeah, I guess the obvious one is relieving the stomach distress caused by trying to ingest a bunch of calories while you’re performing. Cuz the digestive system is simply not capable of, you know, working well when the bloods in your extremities running 150 miles, you know, in the Arctic Circle or in the Sahara Desert.

Brian (00:45:36):
Oh, a hundred percent like that, that alone, and I think we forget this because I didn’t understand the science and even just something as simple as what you mentioned, the blood needing to be in your muscles when you’re running an ultra or doing an ultra and you’re trying to use some of that energy to digest food. And the disconnect there until I experienced that firsthand where I’d be on a run and I would eat food and then 20 minutes later I’d be throwing the food up. Oof. I’m like, okay, well I was like, this is, I was like, what, what’s happening here? And it, it becomes the mother being the necessity and necessity being the mother of invention. You end up looking for alternative routes and even the peace of mind going into a race knowing that if something happens, digestively or I run out of food, I’m going to be fine from a psychological standpoint, gives me a lot of confidence. And bringing that into a race is helpful.

Brad (00:46:30):
I mean there’s also the element of when your body temperature elevates during sustained exercise, you literally develop leaky gut temporarily because your gut becomes permeable to dissipate heat. And that in, that’s including just about every time you’re out there exercising, maybe except for in minus uh, temperatures in the Arctic circle. But even on a day where the temperature is ambient, you know, 72 or something, your body temperature’s gonna heat up, your gut’s gonna open up and it’s a really difficult ask to put calories in there and, and process them. So I think we have seen some amazing, uh, outlying performances by people who have become super fat adapted. What was his name? Michael? Uh, Michael Morrison or Michael Morton ran 20, uh, ran a hundred miles in 18 hours with no calories. He just had amino acids in water. And so just the fact that that’s potential and Zach Bitter talks a lot about that on human performance, performance, outliers, podcasts, about, you know, tapping into that, those adaptations for endurance performance. But you make a good point that in general life you use these as tools and maybe we can transition into how diet interventions as well as fitness, putting that magical formula together to help people buy one airplane seat instead of two.

Brian (00:47:54):
Yeah, I think, I always think of health, wellness, fitness as nearly a trifecta. You need to have your nutrition in your training, in your sleep. I think they’re the, the pillars at which anybody can achieve a physical, and I won’t even say transformation because I think that’s been destroyed through social media and people would perform and after pictures and transformations. But when I say transformation, I don’t necessarily just mean physical transformation. I mean the mental and emotional transformation that can come with somebody losing a profound amount of weight that impacts their life quality in a positive way. And you look at your nutrition, you look at your training, you look at your sleep, those three things need to be lined up together for somebody to achieve a goal with body composition. So training, I have a preference, strength training, resistance training with some form of cardiovascular activity.

Brian (00:48:43):
Things like step counts, nothing too drastic, nothing too crazy, and nutrition calorie controlled, mostly whole foods, like I think there’s a time and a place where some people need that process element built into their plan. It’s not optimal, but adherence when it comes to chloric restriction and body composition is the ultimate goal. And if I’m working with somebody trying to lose weight, it’s not necessarily about peak performance for those people, it’s about dietary adherence. So the tool that I use tends to be different. You, you, if you’re talking to me or a you who’s an outlier, we’re like, okay, give us the plan for peak performance. Give us the ancestral leading, let’s minimize and get rid of all the food that doesn’t serve us. And we can stick to that. People that have body composition goals from my experience, tend to not have that same extreme outlook.

Brian (00:49:30):
And as a result, they need a little bit more of a balanced approach. So I tend to take an 80 20 rule. 80% of your food is all whole grains, whole food, fruits, vegetables, complete protein sources, essential fatty acids, complex carbs where needed, et cetera. And then 20% is gonna be a bit more processed if that’s what they need to adhere and stick to their diet. And then their sleep is gonna be down to the quality of sleep. I’ve had Nicolas on the podcast used to be Christiana Ronaldo’s sleep coach and he speaks about the quality of sleep versus the quantity of sleep. I know Dr. Matthew Walker out of Harvard is very similar on this that the quality of sleep is so important. So getting those six or seven hours uninterrupted versus nine hours of broken sleep and finding where your sweet spot is, you know this, Brad, like sleep isn’t always gonna be the same.

Brian (00:50:13):
Sometimes you need seven hours, sometimes you need eight, sometimes you need nine, 10 hours plus, depending on your trading regimen, depending on stress levels, depending on age, depending on a whole host of things. So they tend to vary and they can change. But once you’re looking at your nutrition as a whole, you’re looking at your fitness and you’re following some form of resistance and training program, I always tell my clients that if you look at strength and resistance training, when you’re looking for body composition, it, you’re burning calories while you’re sleeping. It’s the metabolic equivalent of making money while you sleep. You burn more calories while you’re resting, when you’re doing strength and resistance training. So once you control for your calories in some degree, shape or form, you’re gonna be able to get body fat down. And then once you’re sleeping and recovering and feeling good and energy levels are good, you’re gonna be able to sustain that out, push continuously.

Brad (00:50:58):
Do you have to get into it with clients to make sure that they, uh, prioritize sleep? Because everyone talks about it, it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Everyone starts the conversation. It always starts with sleep. And we all nod our heads and then we go back to the slippery slope of, and I do mean slippery when I’m talking about Netflix, where it says the next episode will start in 9, 8, 7, 6. And I usually like jump up and try to get the remote because we know when we start the next episode, we’re gonna get drawn in. And sometimes I look at my wife and I say, how about like five minutes, five to 10 minutes, we’ll see what happens and then we’ll turn it off. And that’s where, you know, you have these values, these belief systems, the knowledge base that sleep is so important. And then, you know, you come back with your scorecard 30 days later and you say, well, yeah, I was, you know, doing some late night phone calls, this or that happened. And it tends to get pushed aside a lot.

Brian (00:51:56):
I normally try and make it a non-negotiable for the clients that struggle with sleep. Now some people that I’ve worked with in the past are, the head hits the pillow at nighttime and they’re out for the count, regardless of what they’ve consumed that day, whether they’ve drank coffee or not, whether they’ve been stressed or not, their head hits the pillow and they fall asleep. I tend to not focus it too much with those people because it’s not really a pain point or a problem for those who do struggle with it, though I try and make it a non-negotiable because I think to hit a fitness goal, whether that’s body composition, training for a race or anything in between, just being more healthy and energized, et cetera, you need to build in some form of non-negotiables in there. For me, I don’t eat junk food from fast food.

Brian (00:52:40):
I don’t. It’s just, it’s not, I don’t eat it. It’s, it’s a non-negotiable. I would rather starve than eat McDonald’s. And so that’s a non-negotiable for me. There’s nothing that can make me change my opinion on that. And it makes me feel better. I obviously have in better shape because of it. So it’s a non-negotiable. For other people, they might have a McDonald’s once a week and I don’t do it and I wouldn’t recommend people do it. But for weight loss and dietary adherence, for some people, that’s the thing that keeps them on plan. Especially if they’ve gone from eating McDonald’s five or six days a week, once a week. Like the danger is gonna be in the dose. And the ultimate goal would always be to try and wean them off it completely, particularly for overall health and longevity. And with sleep, some people have to make it a non-negotiable.

Brian (00:53:27):
It normally looks like a non-negotiable bedtime. It’s normally going to bed that people struggle with because it’s funny. At the start of a new fitness program, people tend to be very highly motivated, especially when I’m working with them and any coaches working with a new client. So if you say, get up at 5:00 AM or 6:00 AM they’ll set an alarm and they’ll get up and go, they’re motivated. Would you tell ’em to set an alarm to go to bed at 10 o’clock that they, there can be a bit of resistance on that and a bit of pushback on that. So I try and focus on, well have a bedtime regardless of what it is. If it’s 11:30 PM but it’s a non-negotiable 11:30 PM and that’s, you go to bed every night at that, and then you can course correct as you go. But the thing is, if you’re getting up at 6:00 AM to maybe do a workout before you go to work, you’re eventually gonna want to go to bed earlier than 1130 cause you’re gonna be exhausted. So it, it ends up course correcting itself and fixing itself. But I think it has to be a non-negotiable for people, because otherwise, if you don’t have a reason, you know, I think it’s Victor Franklin said, you know, you can suffer any, any how, if you have a why, like if you know why you’re doing it, you won’t get pulled into that 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 on Netflix and you’ll hold off and watch the episode the next day.

Brad (00:54:36):
Nice. And I think just the mere fact that someone is engaging with you as an expert and committing to a program sets them up for success. So I think listeners who’ve struggled with dropping excess body fat doing it on your own, uh, I’ve even, you know, brought in more experts into my life in recent years, like a business peak performance coach, and people that I, I’d typically as a rebel personality think I don’t need any help. I know what to do, which is sort of true. But to have that accountability factor and just discuss things and meet you at the gym and go through the workout that the client probably already knows how to do themselves just fine. But it has so much value and richness to have that, you know, that that interpersonal connection with an expert and just, you know, someone to talk to, to say, I went to bed at out of 10:15 last night, you’d be proud of me, Brian. I mean, those things have, you know, tremendous value and importance.

Brian (00:55:32):
I think accountability, like one of the reasons Brad, I post the races I do on social media is because it forces me to be accountable. And part of the reason the most recent race I’m doing is raising money for charity is because I have to do it. Because if I don’t, I look foolish raising money for a charity that’s really close to me. So they’re all in inbuilt accountability measures for me. And sometimes you set them up in your own life and sometimes they’re external with another person. But I think you need accountability to achieve in any area of your life, regardless of what it looks like.

Brad (00:56:02):
Love that man. I love that. My good friend Christopher Smith, speed golf legend, PGA teaching professional, and he’s a real cynic about social media. And you can look at his postings where he’s, you know, catching us and checking us about, are you, what are you doing out there? Are you just feeding your ego? And he makes some really important points. Are we all pretty much aware of the, you know, the, the inherent narcissism in social media? But when I think about my relationship with my own social media account, of course I’m trying to provide value with every single post that it’s not just me showing off my new car, it’s also, I realize a way to keep myself accountable and, you know, it’s, it’s my, uh, creative outlet like an art form. And that might sound, uh, silly to people, but I benefit a lot from contributing my own content to my own social media.

Brad (00:56:54):
And then, you know, looking at it once in a while and keeping myself in check. So selfishly, whether you wanna look at my, uh, my, my postings or not, I enjoy doing it for, for that aspect of it. Thereby, I don’t qualify for the, uh, the ego narcissism category, but you know, even if it is a picture of me and a picture of me again, um, it’s still, you know, I’m doing it for a reason. But I do want to think about the, you know, what, what’s in it for the, the audience and how I can provide something of value.

Brian (00:57:27):
It serves an inspirational purpose as well, because you have people like your cold plunge video, I think you put up there yesterday, today I was like, oh, I need to go and do my ice bath tomorrow. I was like, Brad’s, after doing his, I was like, I, I need to go get in it and just suck it up and get it done. So it ends up in an unintentionally or intentionally inspiring people when they see what you’re doing. And I think once you see social media like that, because I don’t think social media is good or bad, it’s your relationship to it that’s important. You can use it to binge and, and lose time and go down rabbit holes and comparison syndromes and all of those things are keeping up with the Joneses. Or you can use it and have a very strict, like, I have digital detox, like don’t go on it for the first two hours in the morning, last two hours at night.

Brian (00:58:08):
And I’m not on social media weekends, I just non-negotiable. I don’t work towards that. And if I do negotiate on it, I split the day. So I don’t want it on Friday, and I go on it on Saturday because I’ve got an event or something I have to promote. And once you use it to lift yourself up and inspire, and you’re following pages like yours, Brad, and you’re following people who are inspiring you and giving you ideas and education and maybe inspiration, if you use it like that, you’ll have a much better relationship to it. But I think you gotta be really careful because it’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole.

Brad (00:58:38):
Oh, I think you also, bring up an important point that you gotta be really careful being open, honest and authentic and not bullshitting. And I think this controversy came about with the Liver King scandal. And I did some podcasts on that and some posts, and I realized like reviewing my past 400 episodes of the podcast and my thousand of Instagram posts or whatever, that I’ve not embellished anything. And I told the audience in the previous podcast, look, this is, you know, 100% honest and authentic, and I’m not going to tell you that I jump in my cold tub every morning at 6:00 AM which I don’t, I’m sleeping as long as possible and sometimes struggling to get up by 7:45 going, come on, get outta bed, man. It’s been nine hours already. But I think it’s really important for everyone to be real and share the whole story. And so I compliment you on this interview because you talked about these amazing athletic performances, which are highly laudable, but also the ups and downs and the full story behind. You know, what compelled you to sign up for the race and getting, getting deep inside the psyche and realizing that, for example, in your case, even with business success and you know, kicking butt, you still notice yourself slipping from your ideal self and you did something about it. And, and sharing that with everybody makes a big difference.

Brian (00:59:58):
Oh man, I really appreciate that, Brad. I, again, love the work you’re doing. I’m so glad I got to come on here and share and, and hopefully it helps in some way, shape, or form. I never know what I’m talking because it goes off in tangents and side notes and, and different areas, but hopefully there’s something there for people.

Brad (01:00:13):
Yeah. Okay. So since you put me on the spot, man, at the end of your show, you asked me the, oh, you asked me to, to encapsulate in one sentence, what I’m all about or what I have to share with the audience. So maybe I’ll ask you, put you on the spot here that if someone is struggling with trying to reduce excess body fat, well-intentioned well-meaning and really wants to make it happen, maybe you could give us like three or four tips that come to mind out of the gate that we can implement right away to, to make a dent in this big challenge.

Brian (01:00:44):
I’ll start with the most unsexiest of them, and that consistency is better than intensity. I think with weight loss, fat loss, body composition change, the temptation is to go intense, make a lot of changes very quickly as opposed to consistency. Because it’s funny, you tell a marathon runner, there’s nobody who’s gonna go out and never run and go, right, I’m gonna go do 26.2 miles tomorrow. Like, people are like, I’ll build up to it. But when it comes to weight loss and body fat reduction, they’ll think, okay, I’ll go from eating processed foods several times a day to salad for every single meal. And people do it all the time, January, it happens every January with hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people. So consistency over intensity is the most important thing, first and foremost, unsexy, but true. The second you have to experiment and find what works for you.

Brian (01:01:37):
And with nutrition, and this is what I struggled so much, and I’m a certified nutritionist, more so towards sports and peak performance, but general nutrition when it comes to people that struggle, I would love to say do this and this one diet fixes everything. And there’s ones I have preferences for. As I mentioned, I like a whole food nutrition approach. I’m a big fan personally of intermittent fasting. I use keto particularly for performance going in and out of it. But that not, might not work for you, particularly with caloric restriction for nutrition and trying to get weight down, because with keto, I actually, it’s so funny, and I know this is so in your wheelhouse, but keto is so extreme for someone that struggles with food behavior, it can be difficult to stick to initially. And it’s so amazing for somebody trying to improve peak performance or if you’re an endurance athlete.

Brian (01:02:35):
And sometimes people will do this unfair comparison of, well, they’re able to stick to the keto and I can’t do it. What’s wrong with me? And that ends up becoming this negative feedback loop of, well, that’s just one more diet that I failed with. And if somebody’s listening to this who wants to lose weight and wants to use keto, maybe you need to modify it slightly. Maybe you need to adjust this slightly and not go keto off the bat. You, you might need to do gradual changes and slightly make yourself more fat adapted and do it over a period of time, particularly if you’ve fallen off diets over and over and over again. So I think that’s important knowing that yes, these diets are brilliant and nutritional protocols are brilliant, but you may need to adapt it to make it work to your life circumstances and situation.

Brian (01:03:21):
I think that’s important. And then the last thing is don’t overestimate training, but don’t underestimate training. Hmm. You can’t out-train a bad diet, which is very true. But there’s also so many other benefits from training, whether that’s running, whether that’s cycling, swimming, resistance training, going to the gym, doing classes. There’s so many benefits. The endorphin release and the how much better you’ll feel can help with your sleep, it can help with your food choices, it can help with your personal relationships, which can help with stress reduction. You can also get the metabolic benefits that I mentioned earlier, particularly with resistance training where you’re burning calories while you’re resting. And those things, people can sometimes say, well, what’s the best training program to follow? And that’s not necessarily the right question. The right question is, well, what do you enjoy doing? If your weight loss is your goal, what do you enjoy doing?

Brian (01:04:15):
Like if you wanna go out and do five a side basketball or you want to go for a run or a cycle, that’s the thing you should probably be doing. Now if you wanna do a triathlon, you need to swim, cycle and run. You wanna run an ultramarathon, you need to run. There’s no two ways around it, but for weight loss and body composition, there are optimal ways to do it. But ultimately, if you can find my, I mentioned earlier with business, and I’ll bring it full circle here, that my mentor used to tell me that if you can find a business, what you find easy is that other people find difficult. Mm-hmm. You’ll be a success in fitness. If you can find a quote unquote fitness that is fitness and gets you fitter that doesn’t feel like you’re doing fitness, you will have massive success. That might be hiking, that might be running or jogging, that might be doing classes or yoga or Pilates. It might be something completely different. It might be playing pickleball. It might be just being out and about. If you can find something that keeps you active and is fitness without feeling like fitness, especially if you have a history of falling off plans, you’ll be okay and you’ll have a lot of success with it.

Brad (01:05:14):
Very nice. Brian Keane, bringing the heat all the way from Ireland. Thank you so much for joining and sharing. Uh, we’re gonna go to Amazon and find the great books, the Fitness Mindset and Rewire Your Mindset and tell us how else we can connect with you. Of course, the podcast, easy to find. The Brian Keane podcast. Start with my interview. We had a great time and a lot of other great content there. And how else can we connect and do those online courses for getting help with weight loss?

Brian (01:05:43):
Oh, amazing. Thank you so much, Brad. Yeah, I’m Frankie Fitness and everything. I’m on everything. YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, the podcast, the books are on Amazon. The websites bray, very similar to you. You put my name into Google, it all comes up. So whatever way you like to consume information, I I would definitely check out the podcast. First and foremost. That’s my baby. It’s the thing I love more than anything. We had an amazing chat when you were on, and that’s where I would send people if I had the choice. But again, I’m on everything, so it really just depends on where people like to consume their content.

Brad (01:06:11):
Okay, people, thanks for listening. Great show Brian Keane. I hope you enjoy this episode and encourage you to check out the Primal Endurance Mastery course at This is the ultimate online educational experience where you can learn from the world’s great coaches and trainers, diet, peak performance and recovery experts, as well as lengthy one-on-one interviews from several of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, not published anywhere else. It’s a major educational experience with hundreds of videos, but you can get free access to a mini course with an ebook summary of the Primal Endurance approach and nine step-by-step videos on how to become a primal endurance athlete. This mini course will help you develop a strong, basic understanding of this all-encompassing approach to endurance training that includes primal aligned eating to escape carbohydrate dependency and enhanced fat metabolism, building an aerobic base with comfortably paced workouts, strategically introducing high intensity strength and sprint workouts, emphasizing rest, recovery, and annual periodization. And finally, cultivating an intuitive approach to training. Instead of the usual robotic approach of fixed weekly workout schedules, just head over to Primal and learn all about the course and how we can help you go faster and preserve your health while you’re at it.

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