“Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions.” – Rowdy Roddy Piper
Things get flipped upside down this week as I let my good buddy, Craig Ballantyne, interview me on my personal development throughout the course of our friendship. I leave no topic untouched as Craig pulls out the stories and thought processes behind my growth over the past two decades.
We dive into the critical factors behind Renegade’s growth, the ways I keep my marriage and friendships healthy, and the strategies I use to maintain balance.
You’ll notice we all go through the same things.
Whether it’s drunken meals at the late night diner, absurd dance moves in NYC night clubs, or inner demons from life’s struggles, this interview will remind you that we Renegades are in this together. Pursuing improvement, pushing our limits, seizing what life has to offer, and enjoying every second.
So tune in for some laughs and lessons in this all-access look at where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.
Today’s Podcast Topics Include:
- 1:32: What’s up with Jay’s dental health?
- 2:49: How Craig first heard about the man, the myth, the legend, Jay Ferruggia
- 5:59: The 2006 Deadlift Challenge and Jay’s favorite training challenges
- 7:47: What is Jay’s best exercise?
- 8:30: What are 3 lessons from Public Enemy?
- 10:48: What does Jay miss about NYC?
- 12:21: The greatest year for hip hop
- 14:06: What was Jay’s vision for himself in the 90s?
- 16:12: Jay’s big break
- 19:54: What happens when you can’t balance focus and fun?
- 22:42: What was the secret to Muscle Gaining Secret’s success?
- 24:11: Late night eating.
- 25:40: Jay’s skills with women.
- 27:16: Crip Walking to Wham?!?!
- 27:55: What triggered Jay to move away from the 90’s tough guy persona?
- 30:45: What’s the foundation for Jay’s storytelling and sense of humor?
- 32:04: How does Jay handle inner demons?
- 38:55: What is Jay’s current daily schedule?
- 45:40: Secrets to a happy wife
- 48:16: What is Jay’s advice to his 21 year-old self
- 54:07: Where will Jay be in 20 years?
- 56:49: How does Jay choose charities?
- 58:48: Celebrity influences
- 1:00:08: What has Arnold taught Jay?
- 1:01:03: What’s the future for Breakthrough?
- 1:02:08: Jay’s top Books
- 1:03:47: Yankees predictions
Listen To The Jay Ferruggia Show
To listen, you can either hit the flash audio player below, or browse the links to find your preferred format …
- Click here to download this episode
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Links From The Show:
- – Take Your Training to the Next Level
- – Total Human Optimization
- – Cal Newport
- – Dale Carnegie
- – Stephen Mitchell
- – Greg McKeown
And, if you liked the show a short review on iTunes would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for listening.
Jason: All right guys, we’re back with another episode of the Jay Ferruggia show. This time we’re going to flip the script, turn the tables with my good friend, Craig Ballantyne. He is actually going to ask me the questions. I’m going to turn it over to my good buddy, Craig and let’s fire away. Let’s see how this goes.
Craig: All right. I’m going to try and ask some questions that I think your readers would love to know. So the first one is, did you pull your oil this morning?
Jason: I did not, no.
Craig: Do you still do that wacky stuff?
Jason: No, not every morning. Now at 40 I don’t really need to, it’s not much.
Craig: No, the oil pulling stuff.
Jason: Oh, I thought you were going with a little uh…
Craig: No, no! I meant, I didn’t mean that thing. I meant like, the oil pulling.
Jason: No, no, huh-uh.
Craig: You tried that, though, right?
Jason: Yeah, no, I haven’t been doing that as much. Do you?
Craig: I’ve done it twice and I’m like, my dental health is really good so why am I doing this? It’s odd.
Jason: Some of those things sound good in theory and then it’s like, oh, this is so time consuming and weird. It’s like, eh, whatever.
Craig: But just think of all the stuff that we’re into now compared to when you started Renegade Hardcore in ’94 could you just imagine where you would end up?
Jason: Oh, not at all, not at all. I would have been actually embarrassed, if you said in 10 or 15-20 years, this is what you’re going to be thinking, doing, letting people see you do in public, I’d have been like, no way! I would be mortified to do that.
How Craig & Jay Met
Craig: So that’s we’re going to try and do. We’re going to cover at least the decade that I’ve known you, not get too much into the 90s, that might be a little, maybe another podcast. But that was before I knew you. I’m going to set the scene for everybody. This is how I came to know Jay Ferruggia. I think it was 2003 or 2004.
Jason: Yeah, I feel like 2003.
Craig: Jay was writing for Elite Fitness and they must have sent an e-mail out, or maybe it was just on your…
Jason: I think it was my personal newsletter.
Craig: I don’t know if it was that, but so the story was that you were at a New Year’s party and, I think it was a New Year’s Party, it might be two stories…
Jason: Oh, I remember this.
Craig: And you were drinking a lot of vodka Red Bulls and then you ended up trying to dunk a basketball and you sprained your ankle and then after that you went back into the party and some cougar was hitting on you, and you were three sheets to the wind. I can’t remember how the climax of that story but as I said in…
Jason: The climax was the climax.
Craig: Yeah, I imagine it was. That e-mail, I read it at night and then my buddy Anthony read it and we came back into the gym the next day and we were like, “Who is this guy? He is hilarious!”
Somehow along the way I think you had e-mailed me about some content on my site and that’s how we got connected. Then what really made us friends was texts about Pearl Jam and Seinfeld. That kept us going for about two years until I think the first time we met was the Ryan Lee event?
Jason: Yeah, that was the first time we met but we hit it off pretty quickly because we started talking about fitness and I guess you were starting to have more success and I was…
Craig: I don’t think we talked about fitness, because I hate talking about fitness.
Jason: So do I but it was just like, that had to be the first reason I e-mailed you, was something and then immediately we just started talking about other stuff so I thought, oh, this guy’s great.
Craig: I don’t know how you got my phone number, because I don’t give that out to hardly anybody, but we texted a lot.
Jason: Yeah, I don’t know either. Yeah, yeah. I remember all through 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 a lot when I was single especially texting you all kinds of wacky stories and what not.
Craig: Yeah, it was always like Saturday morning, I was like, I can hardly wait to open my phone up and see what it is.
Jason: That was why we hit it off, because we had a lot of things in common outside of fitness and I said, oh, this guy’s got a great sense of humor. He’s into all this wacky stuff like me.
Craig: I remember there was, oh, when I saw the Evolution tattoo and I said, oh yeah, that’s a Pearl Jam Evolution tattoo on your calf and you were like, oh my God! You know what that is?
Jason: Right, nobody ever knows that.
Craig: So we met at Ryan Lee’s event and then we went to Lollapalooza the next year after that and we had a good run of a couple of Christmas visits in New York.
Jason: We did, yeah. It was like three years in a row or something like that. We had a great time.
Craig: The weird thing is that we’ve never really spent that much time together.
Jason: What do you mean, like at a consecutive stretch?
Jason: Oh just in general, yeah.
Craig: Yeah, we’ve known each other for 10 years. Definitely the Lollapalooza was an intense weekend. Then that first weekend in 2006 was a pretty entertaining weekend at Ryan Lee’s.
Jason: That was phenomenal. We went out and we saw that guy get his head bashed into the ground, that was not fun. That was when we first met Kenny, who people will know sits in on the podcast quite a bit as well. A lot of people we met for the first time there.
Craig: Yeah, and we had a workout there. We had a workout the first day and we had a dead lift challenge and I remember you beat me like 21 reps to 15. That was the 2006 Dead Lift Challenge. I’m going to ask one training question, and it’s what are your favorite challenges these days that are safe, beneficial and awesome, because I don’t know necessarily if recommending that people go out and dead lift. The dead lifting your brains out challenge is fun, but maybe not the best for everyone.
Jason: These days I just tend to keep it more body weight stuff, just body weight for reps. At our event we did body weight for rep stuff. We did heavy sled pushing. We pushed my truck for time, stuff like that. I don’t really do any weighted stuff. We might do stuff where we take say, a certain percentage of your body weight and one arm row it for high reps to failure or flat dumbbell press it. Stuff like that we’ll do.
Not that it’s ultrasafe but the Sig Klein challenge, we cut it down to 50s, but the Sig Klein challenge is if you can take a pair of 75 pound dumbbells and clean and press them for 12, that meant you were at an elite level status. Things like that. I definitely don’t do heavy power lifts any more for sure. You and I have had a lot of great workouts together. At Lollapalooza, we had that great workout, me, you, Keith, Alvino.
Craig: Oh yeah, we went to that Chicago gym.
Jason: Yeah, the Athletic Club or something?
Craig: I didn’t think the workout was that great, but…
Jason: I just think it’s great whenever we train together.
Craig: Usually, and the 24-hour Fitness here has some really great wacky Hammer Strength stuff.
Jason: Here, where we are right now?
Craig: Yeah, there’s a 24-hour Fitness just around the corner. It’s got the…
Jason: We were using that in Denver, the last time we were hitting Hammer Strength stuff.
Craig: Colorado Athletic Club. Those are always good times. What’s your stupid human trick? And by that, I mean what exercise do you always win the challenge on? Is there anything that Jay Ferruggia stands out on?
Jason: That’s a tough one. Pound for pound I used to be able to do a Kroc row, a one arm row pretty well. I’m trying to think. I used to be pretty good at taking a percentage, a one arm row and a flat dumbbell press with a percentage of your body weight I could do pretty well.
Craig: That’s about as Jersey Shore as you can get.
Jason: Right, right. Nothing that impressive or exciting, really.
Craig: That’s too bad.
Craig: So we had some good Christmas vacations and one time we went to a Public Enemy show.
Jason: Oh, the best.
Craig: It was Chuck D who saw your Public Enemy tattoo, right? And then Flavor Flav…
Jason: The whole night they kept coming over, giving me pounds, fist bumps.
Craig: And then Flav gave you a drumstick, right?
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Lessons From Public Enemy & Life in New York City
Craig: What are the three biggest lessons that you’ve learned from Chuck D and Public Enemy?
Jason: Wow, that’s interesting. Their music has always resonated with me because…
Craig: How many concerts have you gone to?
Jason: Not as many as you’d think. Pearl Jam, I’ve seen probably 50 times but I’ve only seen PE, because they don’t tour anywhere near as much. I’ve probably seen PE only like five times.
Craig: You know what’s interesting is, that entire audience at that Public Enemy show was all 35-year-old guys or older. (Laughter)
Jason: Yeah, pretty standard. Their music reminds me of childhood, my rebelliousness. People always ask that question, like, what song would you come up to bat to if you were a baseball player or come out to if you were a fighter and I always say Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy because even though I’ve evolved and matured so much I’m always going to be rebellious and do things that are not what everyone else is doing.
I do still have that Dennis Rodman in me, where even if it’s something I really like to do, if I see everyone else doing it I’m like, fuck, I gotta start doing something else.
Just always keeping that in mind, that rebelliousness, and then standing up for, you know the Martin Luther King quote is, “our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.” I’ve always been a proponent of speaking up. If I see something that I think is unjust, I’ll always speak up. If someone makes an inappropriate racist joke or an antisemitic joke, I’ll tell them why I’m not getting down with that, that’s wrong.
So standing up for things I believe in, being rebellious and I guess just staying true to who you are and remaining, I mean, Chuck, I don’t understand the music industry fully but I feel like they could have gotten a lot bigger and probably branched out, maybe sold some of their songs to commercials or whatever, but just remaining true to who you are and what you believe in I guess, you know?
Craig: Yeah, awesome. One of the things that I was always jealous about back when we were texting is like, oh yeah, I’m going into the city and just that energy. You know, I’m a big fan of New York City. What do you miss the most about New York City, living out on the West Coast?
Jason: I love where I live so much that I don’t miss a ton. I had so many great times there. It’s funny, last time we spoke you were talking about how when you first discovered you were a morning person, and I am a morning person too now which is odd because I never was. It’s a hard thing for me because I love the nightlife. As much as I love, I’ve evolved and I love to be productive and get shit done, I still like to go out and have fun.
It’s always a struggle for me to kind of find that balance especially now that I’m doing more improv stuff and comedy. You have to be out at night to go to those shows and meet the right people and what not. I miss living in the mix and going out and the friends and the city that never sleeps. Not that I would want to be up until 6:00 in the morning anymore, but I miss that. I miss Yankee Stadium a lot, honestly. If Yankee Stadium was close by, I’d probably go to two or three games a month throughout the whole season without a doubt.
Craig: I’m the same way in that I hate afternoons. I wish there was a way I could figure out how to have a morning…
Jason: Morning and night.
Craig: I guess you’d have to sleep twice for four hours, but I don’t know if that would work. It might work for Kramer. Actually it didn’t work for Kramer, so it probably wouldn’t work for anybody. One or two more questions on New York and rap. Was it ’92 or ’93 and why? Which year was the best year for music?
Jason: ’92 was the best year for music because you had…
Craig: Is that all music or just rap?
Jason: No hip-hop. I just felt there were so many good…
Craig: Oh wait a minute, I call it rap.
Jason: Either way, you’re fine. I just thought there was so much good stuff, so many good albums, a lot of people were at their peak at that time, A Tribe Called Quest, Naughty by Nature, EPMD, Eric B. and Rakim were still big, Black Sheep…
Craig: [Inaudible 12:58]
Jason: I know but [inaudible 12:59] was ’91 actually.
Craig: Oh, okay, so I guess I’d be a ’91 guy. What’s the argument for ’93 and why is ’92 better than ’93? Just because they were at their peak. Did Keith say it was ’93 or was he just screwing with me?
Jason: No, I think it was ’88 and ’92. Because ’88 there were so many good, ’88 was, I could easily be swayed to ’88 because ’88 was It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, greatest album in rap history and Straight Outta Compton, top 10 album and they’re coming out with that documentary, I mean that movie which I can’t wait to see. In ’88 there was also Eric B. and Rakim was even bigger, I’m sure LL had a big album in ’88, EPMD had a huge hit in ’88. But just the first two I name alone makes ’88 one of the greatest years ever.
Craig: It’s almost like there’s that breakthrough year and then there’s that peak year, I suppose.
Jason: Yeah. But ’88 I’d say, I’d say the best years were ’88 to ’93.
Where Did Jay See His Life Going Back in the 90’s?
Craig: Okay. Speaking of NWA, so Dre, Dre is almost a billionaire. Obviously nobody saw that coming. What did you think back then that you would be at this age besides dead. (Laughter) What did you picture yourself as, what road did you think you were going to go down?
Jason: What year?
Craig: I guess I would say like, ’94. Let’s use ’94…
Jason: So like when I’m college when I’m started a business…
Craig: You’ve been Hardcore since ’94, what did you think you were going to be in 2014?
Jason: I guess that’s one of my regrets, is I didn’t have forward thinking and what not like that. I was just kind of living day to day and I guess if you asked me that question at the time I would probably say, well I’ll just be in the trenches, probably still training people in a really cool hardcore gym somewhere training athletes. I never thought that I would want to do anything else. I was so entrenched and so passionate about it which I think is good at the time.
I think a lot of people get into something as a stepping stone which we’ve discussed in the past, I think you have to have that focus on being really successful at that one thing and then you can move on to the other things.
That was me, I didn’t really have a lot of foresight and I didn’t really think about the future. I probably would have thought I would have been arrested or dead or something at that time, the way I was living and my past up until that point, the people I had hung out with, the history I’d had.
If you told me I could make 75 grand a year and train people for 50 bucks an hour I would have thought that was great. I didn’t know how to think big at that time at all.
Craig: I remember one of my professors said that the strength and conditioning coach at Michigan State made 100 grand a year and I just thought that was…
Jason: Right. That would be a huge goal.
Craig: I never really wanted to be a strength coach at a college level but I wanted to be in the NHL where I knew they maybe made like 60 or 70, that was a big deal. When did you see something bigger? When was it that something inside of you changed, that there’s more to this, where I can I take this, where can I make the switch to helping a lot more people?
The Beginning of Jay’s Online Business
Jason: I started writing in 2001 and then started developing more popularity through, it wasn’t called the blog at the time. I remember when the word blog first came out, you and I used to make fun of it and laugh about that, I don’t know if you remember that.
Craig: Well, it’s such a stupid word.
Jason: Yeah. Whatever it was called, I had a website and then I answered Q and As on Elite and I started gaining more popularity. Then I put up my first e-book that I just did myself and it was like 27 pages with no pictures, maybe even less than that and I think I sold it for 10 bucks like you were doing and they did a feature on me in Men’s Fitness, this was like 2003 maybe?
Craig: That early? Maybe a little bit later.
Jason: Maybe 2004 or 2005? They did a feature on me in Men’s Fitness and all of a sudden I went from making maybe 300 bucks a month on that product to 300 bucks a day for six to eight weeks straight when that feature came out because they linked it to the site. I said, oh my God, this crazy! Three hundred bucks a day, that’s over 100 grand a year, I could definitely maintain this and I know once the magazine goes out of circulation that’s going to die down, but what could I do to keep that going again?
I kind of petered along and couldn’t really figure it out, I couldn’t really make it work on my own and that was when you started having success after you had hired a coach in 2006 and I said, help me out here, where can we go with this? You helped me finally turn it into a real business and understand how to market properly and how to monetize it.
It was just that Men’s Fitness issue that was really like a light bulb went off, like wow, okay, I don’t have to just work 90 hours a week forever.
Craig: I just remember what I was going to say before, is another book recommendation based on that really getting in the trenches and really getting good at something and focusing, the book is Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You. That’s a really good book because it reminds people especially in this day and age where they think people are successful really a lot faster than they are. People only see Bedros or you and where you are now but they don’t realize all the stuff that you did to get to where you are.
Jason: Yeah, that’s always the case.
Craig: It’s really important to build those skills and those so important.
Jason: It’s funny, someone actually just said that to me about Kevin Hart the other day. Because it seems like we’ve only heard about Kevin Hart the last few years, but you know the amount of work that has gone into him getting where he’s at now over all the years with the writing.
Craig: Yeah, even when you watch Jerry’s show, they’ll talk about that a lot.
Jason: Yeah, Jerry said to this day he writes for four hours a day or something like that. He actually was on a great podcast with Alec Baldwin and Alec asked him the key to success…
Craig: Alec Baldwin has a podcast?
Jason: Yeah, it’s a fantastic interview, really insightful into Jerry’s success principles, but he says, Alec who do you think are the people who are in show business? The people who want to be in show business. The people who are dedicated to that 100% tunnel vision, singular focus.
Craig: Even like Justin Bieber, the kid really did put a lot of time and effort into, I mean clearly, he got there faster than a lot of people and at a younger age, but he really did seem to have some talent. I know you made fun of him when he played the drums, I think you made fun of him, I think it was somebody, he played the drums on some TV show and I thought, this is actually impressive and somebody else made fun of him. So the kid did have some talent.
Anyway, so 2006 that was a big breakout year for me like you said online and then you started getting it too and I still remember there was a Friday night you sent me an e-mail and you were studying some Bulgarian strength coach system. You were living in the city and you were like, I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m reading this Bulgarian strength coach e-mail. That was the night you still went out and partied and stuff, but that was when you were getting really serious about it but it didn’t take off right away.
Finding the Balance Between Work & Play
Craig: So how do you approach persistence and commitment and obviously relentless, we know with the tattoo and that’s what separates you from other people. So what advice do you give to other people who aren’t as good at persisting?
Jason: This might sound weird but for me when I’ve gotten 100% focused on business or on anything and I guess it’s kind of contradictory to what I said, having that focus on one thing, but I think you should have your focus on your one thing, let’s say business-wise but then you have to have the other stuff.
I’ve gone through those phases in my life where all I do is work and I’m not any more successful, I’m actually less successful. Sometimes my income will come down and I’ll be more depressed and bummed out whereas if I have that balance and I appreciate that you’ve said that in the past, that I’ve been able to kind of find a balance of having a fun social life.
We were out with Bedros the other night and it was a huge compliment to me, he was like how can anyone be with you and not have fun, which that’s the best thing someone could say to me. I like making people have fun and laughing and what not.
I have to have that balance where I have to go super hard having fun, going to concerts, doing all that stuff and then I can block. That makes it easier to focus on your one thing and I’ve learned this from you and Bedros and Tim Ferriss and other guys, is to work in those time blocks.
I need to be like, I’m Jekyll and Hyde, don’t talk to me during that time, I’m not social, I’m not Jay that’s out partying. I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t want anything, let’s just get down to work because the reason for me working is so I can get out and do all that other stuff, so I can go surfing, so I can go to concerts, so I can have fun.
I’m not as dedicated diet-wise as maybe someone like Ben Pakulski or someone. I like to enjoy life so I’ll just get up and train hard the next day to counteract that. I’ll go out and party and drink but I will get up and get my work done so I have to have that balance. I still think it is you have to have your one thing in maybe three different departments. What’s your one thing business-wise, what’s your one thing socially, what is one thing you can do for your relationships, for your mindset, stuff like that.
Craig: Okay, that’s very good, very good. So 2006 you had the, that was Muscle Gaining Secrets came out that year?
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
A Business Breakthrough
Craig: What was it that allowed you to make that work compared to everything else before?
Jason: I definitely was not putting a lot of time and effort into it before and I was kind of scatter brained and all over the place and you just got me dialed in and focused and said, let’s just worry about this, this is the main priority, is getting what you’ve talked about in our past discussions is having a page that’s going to convert, having sales copy, having a site that looks good and is actually selling and getting comfortable with selling because honestly in the past I was never comfortable with selling, either. It was just something that I had resistance to and I thought it would be selling out or whatever, so I didn’t want to do that.
So I had to overcome that and overcome kind of negative attitudes about money that I had where people that I knew that had a lot of money growing up were the kind of people I didn’t want to be. They were scumbags, they were racists, they wouldn’t talk to the waiter, that kind of stuff. I’ve always had that in my mind, you know?
So I had that resistance to selling and that resistance to making a lot of money which I had to overcome and just focus on let’s get this product selling and let’s not worry about anything else, that’s it. I just would lock myself in a room and okay, how are we going to this product to sell and then stop doing a ton of other stuff. I probably even cut down on the frequency on which I was blogging and sending newsletters, because I was like, let’s just get this done and make it work.
Craig: Okay, fantastic. That was another time where it was like, that was when you were still going out in the city and another thing that I was always loving was your post bar food updates. What were some of your favorites that you miss from 2006-2007? I know those were the years of the eggplant parm subs and there was also, I remember you texted me one time, it’s 4:00 in the morning, I’m sitting here eating this slice of pizza or maybe it was a gyro or something like that…
Jason: Well, in the city we would go to the, you and I went to the Empire Diner, right?
Craig: Yeah, that was after Public Enemy we went to it.
Jason: Okay, yeah, so we’d go there and get huge milkshakes and bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and then at the Shore there was obviously always pizzas consumed and then I was vegetarian you and I went out and we had pizza and then the eggplant parm subs, where were those? Down the Shore somewhere? Or was in the city?
Craig: No, the eggplant parm sub was in New York.
Jason: Oh, somewhere in the East Village or something? I don’t even remember.
Craig: Yeah, I have no idea but then we went to the Jersey shore…
Jason: It was that old guy slinging pizzas until 4:00 in the morning…
Craig: Then that was when you started, you ate that salmon for the first time in a long time, remember that?
Jason: Yeah, I hadn’t eaten any animal products in probably two years or something?
Tips For Succeeding With Females
Craig: Right, that would put 10 pounds of muscle on you. I forget who you said, yeah, well this guy said if I ate some animal protein, I’d gain 10 pounds. Jersey Shore question for you. You’ve always had this radar where you knew which chicks were digging you. So tell us about where that radar came, like you’ve always had that, you’ve always had the chicks digging you.
Jason: I mean the thing is and this came up a lot at our last event, was the key I think is always:
When you’re out you always have to look like you have something going on. When guys go out and they stand there like tough guys, you’re dead in the water. Just forget that. Always be smiling, always look like you’re having a good time, don’t take yourself too seriously, be laughing, be talking to people.
If you’re not talking to people you look like a creepy stalker weird dude, so you’re out, you’re smiling. There’s ways that you can adjust your body language to be more approachable and be more fun and if you’re dancing, I mean I would be dancing all the time.
People would look at me and would think, oh that guy’s a tough guy but I do my best to counteract that. If I have a goatee and a shaved head and tattoos and back then I weighed 220, people are going to have a certain image of me so I’d go out of my way to kind of counterbalance that and be smiling and laughing and having fun and then just being super confident and not being desperate because girls are like dogs, they can smell desperation from a mile away. Just being confident, just being chill, talking, smiling, all that stuff goes a long way.
Craig: I remember when we went to the Apartment, remember that bar in Chicago?
Jason: Chicago, yeah.
Craig: So we went there and I totally saw it that night. Then I think it was either that night or the next night, I went home early and you guys went to another bar and something happened, like you did a dance move or something at that next bar, or was it Alvino that did the dance move at the next bar?
Jason: Oh no, I was Crip walking like 15 feet back and forth across the dance floor. It was 4:30, 5:00 in the morning. Keith still loves that story, that’s one of his favorite stories. Oh no, the highlight was, it was to Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go by Wham! And I started Crip walking to that for some reason.
What Was Jay Like in the 90’s & What Forced Him to Change?
Craig: That’s fantastic, oh man. Let’s go back even further. What were you like in the late ’90s and where did you realize you had to change?
Jason: In the late ’90s I was the angry young man. Not that I ever got in a lot of fights and was like some street hoodlum tough guy, but I wanted to be that. I guess I had that image and that thing in my head and I was rebellious, I was resentful, I was angry…
Craig: Resistant to authority…
Jason: Totally, yeah. I felt like I got so far along with that, that people expected me to be that way. That lasted probably until the mid 2000s where people expected me to be a certain way because of the way I looked, so maybe I tried to kind of uphold that image a little bit more and I kind of just wrapped myself. I mean, I was genuinely angry and upset too and I remember just being bummed out and depressed a lot.
I wasn’t the happy guy I am now. I would still laugh and have a lot of fun, but during the day and when I was alone I wasn’t happy and thinking these positive thoughts and sharing gratitude like I am these days. I was bitter and upset. I had a lot of anger from my childhood.
Craig: But once people get inside of your circle, even back then you were very generous to people and loyal, so you’ve always been that way, right?
Jason: Totally, yeah.
The Family Atmosphere of Renegade Gym
Craig: Man, I loved going to your place in [phonetic Waktonomie 29:26] or whatever it was called. That was just a really great environment you had in there.
Jason: In the gym? Yeah, yeah.
Craig: I miss that place and I only went there maybe four or five times, so you must miss it a little bit, huh?
Jason: I do miss having that family atmosphere and creating that third place for people to go between work and home and I totally miss that. I guess it’s like maybe it has to do with the way you grew up and what not and there’s certain things missing from my family life that you could either become that or you could become the exact opposite, so I kind of became the exact opposite in that I wanted to provide that for other people, and that is kind of how I have the relationships with my friends because of that, because of certain things that were missing so I could become what I grew up around or become the total opposite, so I became the total opposite.
Which is why even when I was more angry and resistant to things than I am now, I was always someone who would easily tell my friends I love them, give them hugs, go out of my way for them, because I felt like I was missing that in my life so that was always easy for me.
Craig: Very nice. One of my favorite things about the gym was over the chalk stand you had, you’re not LeBron James, so don’t throw…
Jason: That used to piss me off. There was piles of chalk everywhere.
Craig: Every time I see LeBron James on TV that’s all I think about is in your gym and not being allowed to do his chalk thing. That’s fantastic.
The Origins of Jay’s Storytelling
Craig: Have you always been really, really funny, even in your e-mails? I guess I would have to say so because you’ve always been a great storyteller, right? Has that been something that’s gotten easier for you and especially now that you’re getting into the standing on stage and doing it?
Jason: I’ll say that my mom is one of the funniest people I know. She’s super quick-witted and my grandfather was like that. They’re from Scotland, so anything with a Scottish accent’s always funnier but my grandfather was really quick-witted. He could have hosted the Tonight Show. He was amazing. We grew up always just dying laughing. There was obviously a lot of dark times too, but a lot of laughter all the time. To this day I’ll talk to my mom and both of us won’t be able to say anything for like 30 seconds because we’re just laughing so hard.
Craig: Wow, that’s really great.
Jason: I’m thankful that I grew up around that and I had that, and I think for me nowadays I’m just more confident with myself so it’s easier to bring it out. It’s easier to do it in front of people, at a table full of people, onstage with an audience and of course I’m practicing it more all the time. I’m going to improv and stuff like that so it’s easier to do it.
Craig: You have no filters, either.
Jason: Not so much, no.
Craig: No, you mean no, you have none.
Jason: Right, right, right.
What Happens When Old Habits Rear Their Ugly Head?
Craig: That helps as well. What do you do, and this maybe hasn’t happened in a long time, but what do you do when your dark side wants to drag you back? What operating systems do you have in place to overcome that so that people listening who are in that transition stage between going from whatever negativity they have to becoming a better person, what can they put in their place?
Jason: That’s a great question because when you first said it, I was like hmm, that hasn’t happened in a while, like in forever and then now as I think about it, it has. It happens, it’s still there. It’s still a regular occurrence which I’m sure you could agree with too, that happens. It’s probably only just a couple of weeks ago. I started and I don’t know what it was, maybe I was too focused on something, I think I was too focused on something work-related and like I said earlier all of a sudden everything else started to slip. So my social life wasn’t as good, I noticed I was in a bad mood because I wasn’t paying enough time and attention to my relationships and to my social life and to my hobbies and all that kind of stuff and I just started getting miserable and it was like a three or four-day downward spiral and I caught myself.
I was like, whoa, all right, let’s get this back on track here. Tomorrow I’m taking the day off of work. I’m going to surf, I’m going to write some thank you notes to friends, I’m going to go out, I’m going to go just get drinks with friends, I’m going to put myself back out there.
Not anywhere near to the extent that you are, but I could easily be happy and be fine being alone sometimes but then I’ll downward spiral. It’s weird because my mom will tell stories that as a kid me and my brother were complete opposites where you had to keep him entertained which a lot of kids you have to keep entertained. You could put me in the room and I would play with my Star Wars guys or my wrestling guys for five hours and that you wouldn’t hear a word from me. I would be just calling the match like Mean Gene with Hulk versus the Iron Sheik or something.
I can totally let it slip so I think it’s just being, having that self awareness and those daily rituals of here are the things I’m going to do each day no matter how big, I guess there’s certain things work-wise that will come up that you have to, if you block off these are your four hours a day or six hours a day that you’re going to work, sometimes you’re going to have to put in those 18 hour days. Things are just going to come up. But once it starts a downward spiral and other things are slipping, you have to have that self-awareness of like, oh, snap out of it and let’s do these other things.
I actually am so anal now about it that I have it written down on a sheet of paper that I have laminated that I have to do these things every day and then in my journal I’ll write down, I’ll check off that I did this for my fitness this day, I did this for my business this day, I did this for my relationships and I did this for my mindset.
So I cover those four pillars each day and write down what I did for that and make sure I did it and then when I was slipping like I said a month ago, there was three or four days in a row where there’s nothing checked for the other three, it was just business, you know, that’s when it happens. I guess just having that awareness and just knowing each day you’ve got to pay attention to these things.
The Importance of Doing Things That Make You Happy
Craig: That’s really great, Jay. That was worth the price of admission right there. You found, clearly, like I have, that when you get in bad thoughts in your head that to really focus on doing the opposite, to go out there, like if you’re scarcity minded to go out there and be as generous as possible is the only way out. What are some of the things that, you mentioned the thank you cards and stuff like that. Is there any other stuff that really brings you that pleasure and that might sound totally wacky to 1994 Jay, that you’re doing? What other things, what other habits do you have? The gratitude one’s obvious as well.
Jason: Let’s see, obviously being able to step away from work more and just accepting that I can’t do everything. You talked about asking for help, obviously that’s a huge thing. I wore that as kind of a badge of honor, that I could do everything myself and I could outwork everybody and I could out-hustle anybody and I don’t really care about that as much any more and I gladly outsource and ask for help and that kind of stuff.
It’s weird because you always think, well, if I just work an extra hour I can make, an extra hour a day would make an extra 100 grand a year this year. But then I’m like, well that’s an extra hour that I can’t surf or I can’t do improv stuff.
I went into college in 1992 as a communications major and I wanted to do entertainment stuff, that was what I wanted to get into. Then I put if off for so long and now I’m doing it and there’s still times where I could slip and say, you know what, I’m going to skip the optional Wednesday class because maybe I should just work or something else, where I have to force myself to do it, because I’m like, this is something I really enjoy doing and I’ve noticed how much it’s helped me in all other aspects of life.
It’s helping me enjoy life more, it’s helping me be better at communicating, it’s helping me be better in every aspect of the business. So I set a goal as crazy as it sounds. The one goal that I have is realistic. In two years I’ll be performing in improv shows regularly up on the Sunset Strip and what not, I know I’m going to do that. But I’ve set a goal to be on SNL 50, so 10 years from now…
Jason: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Craig: That’s fantastic.
Jason: I just enjoy it so much and the cool thing is, I did it originally because I was like, oh, it’s just a passion I wanted to do, it’s not going to do anything but it’s going to be fun. But now I’ve seen it transfer into so many other things, that if I never get paid for it, it will actually help my other businesses make more money.
Craig: Just the improv stuff?
Jason: Yeah, totally.
Craig: So, it’s the communication…
Jason: Listening, totally, because it’s all based on listening. We do all listening drills and games all the time. Because you’re on stage, it’s improv obviously, so whatever you say I have to really dial into and come up with something witty to say based on what you said. We don’t know what we’re going to say when we go out there. You’ll take a suggestion from the audience, so it might be relationships. So, they say, how are Craig and Jay related and we’ll say we’re coworkers. If you say hey, did you clean the dog cage, all of a sudden I know we’re working at Petco and that I’ve just got to go with it, you know?
It’s thinking on your feet quicker which that I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten better at the last couple of years and even in improv, I don’t know, I feel like maybe I don’t know if it was from all the wacky stuff I used to eat and the weed or whatever, but I noticed I was slowing down a lot the last couple of years and that was always what made me apprehensive to speak on a podcast like this or speak publicly, was that if you said what’s your favorite Pearl Jam song, I’d be like, um, hold on, let me think. I was like, what’s going on here? Now I’ve noticed that I’m able to think a little quicker too, so that helps a lot.
My Morning Rituals
Craig: Oh man, that’s awesome. All right, daily schedule. I know it constantly evolves for me and probably does for you too. So what is it right now here in April, almost April 2015 so that people can reference it in the future?
Jason: Right now, and again it’s changed recently and it’s going to change shortly because I’m a little bit of a pussy in the winter when it comes to just surfing, I don’t go as much because it’s cold and you’ve got to put on the wetsuit and that’s a whole process.
Craig: What time of year do you not have to wear the wetsuit? Because I hate the wetsuit, too.
Jason: I know, it’s a pain in the ass. Really, July, August and September so you only get about three months. In Cali the water never gets that warm. You could battle through in June and July. But I’m still going to start going out more so now I’ll be surfing earlier. But as of today it is, I get up, first thing is I do my journal and I read my affirmations out loud which I whittled those down, I had too many.
Craig: Yeah, that’s another thing, the mistake you can make, is the checklist is too long, it’s two hours of work on the checklist.
Craig: Some days it’s stressful, it’s like, I just got home…
Jason: Totally, yeah. So I whittled down the journal time and I whittled down the affirmations where now there’s only five or six ones that really make sense and that I can actually feel some emotion and see what’s going on or what is going to happen. I do those two things and then I do read. Originally I was reading for a half-hour in the morning, now I’ll just block off 10 minutes because no matter what, I always end up outside, I consciously spend so much time outside, I do not like being inside at all, so I know that I’m going to read for at least an hour a day at the beach or sitting outside or something so I don’t really have to force myself.
I’ll just do that 10 minutes just to kind of get my brain warmed up and get motivated and I’m making coffee and drinking coffee at that time and then I will do just a little quick mobility circuit. It’s not even really for the results or anything, it’s just kind of like, get the endorphins flowing, you know Tony Robbins has talked about that, just do something. It’s not like I’m looking to get leaner or get stronger, just something to get moving and then I will start, I’m sorry did I say meditation?
I meditate first.
Craig: No you didn’t.
Jason: Yeah, I meditate first then the…
Craig: Very first?
Jason: Very first thing, yeah. Although a couple of…
Craig: Do you use Holosync, still?
Jason: I do, yeah.
Craig: How long do you go?
Jason: What I’ve been doing recently is I’ve only been going 12 to 15 minutes and then what I’ll do is when I’m outside because I always end up outside most days of the month, I realize not everyone is lucky enough to do that, but I’ll be outside for at least an hour so then I’ll throw it on for another 20 minutes when I’m outside so I kind of break it up. Because again I felt like the morning routine was getting too long, you know?
Craig: Well, I don’t know, what’s the difference between me meditating 20 minutes versus 17 minutes? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that it’s difficult for me to not do at least eight minutes because I feel like once I’ve done eight minutes that the breathing has slowed down. It’s like okay, I don’t feel that compression in the chest. For me, that’s how and everybody’s different, but so I would say if I didn’t do 10 minutes it would feel incomplete but I’m not sure what benefit I get if I go for 25.
Jason: Right, yeah, no, I agree. That’s why I started cutting it down a little, because the morning routine was getting too long and then I felt like I was more productive if I could just jump right into work. Your brain works best and you have your best ideas and everything first thing in the morning so I just jump right into work and try to get my most important tasks done, so I would get an hour done on that and then go outside.
I always go outside and walk. I like to walk barefoot on the beach, you know the benefits of grounding and all that kind of stuff, having your feet touch the earth and all that.
Craig: Do you walk backwards on the beach?
Jason: No, but I should…
Craig: Matt Furey was big on that.
Jason: I think about that a lot, I always forget to do that, I’ve got to do that. Some days I’ll walk on the beach and then some days I’ll just walk up and down the hills across the street from where we live just to get varying inclines and what not because there’s benefits to walking uphill, downhill, stuff like that. I do find that A), The earlier I get outside the better I feel mentally, the more productive I am, and the better I sleep. The sooner in the morning I get outside, the better I’ll sleep.
Craig: I think there’s research on that, getting the early morning sunshine.
Jason: That’s where I’m at right now and then I train every day, so it might be three or four strength training workouts. Some days I’ll just go out on the lawn or the beach and just do like wacky movement stuff, where I’ll just roll around, it’s almost just kind of freestyle.
Craig: (Laughter) Really?
Jason: Yeah, I’ll be tumbling, I’ll be crawling, I’ll be throwing in yoga poses, it’s just like a half-hour of freestyle movement.
Craig: Do you ever go out there and spar with little Jerry?
Jason: (Laughter) No, no, I think they banned cockfighting over there. So I’ll do that, but you know, I find that if you’re going to make anything a habit you would do it every day right? You wouldn’t say meditate three days a week or you should only eat healthy three days a week, so years ago I assumed more of that hard gainer mindset where you can only train three days a week for 45 minutes.
Craig: Then you’ve gotta be like, on the couch.
Jason: Yeah, exactly, which I think is ridiculous. I think that’s the worst message possible.
Craig: No, that’s not good for you.
Jason: I think if it’s going to be habitual, it’s something you do every day, so I basically do something every day for at least 30 minutes, it could be 60 to 90, but we’ll go hiking and then surfing I don’t count as training.
Craig: Do you stand up paddle board?
Jason: No, I’ve never done it, but I want to do that.
Jason: Yeah, I want to do that.
Craig: That’s kind of bizarre. You live like right there.
Jason: I’m going to. So every day mornings is when I train…
Craig: Is that a morning thing?
Jason: Yeah, well usually noon. When I’m surfing you have to surf, usually after 11:00 is no good. When I start surfing regularly again that will be around 9:00 or 10:00 each day for an hour. Then I’ve got a couple of hours before I train.
Craig: And you work in the afternoon?
Jason: A little bit, not really. In the afternoon what I’ll tend to do is, because I hate being on the computer a lot, and I hate being inside a lot so I try to spend most of the afternoon outside. So I’ll train outside, even if I go to Gold’s they have that big area in the back outside, so I’ll train outside and then when I work in the afternoon it’s actually writing ideas, just handwritten, old school and then I’m reading which is kind of work. I’ll write workouts so for our membership site I’ll do that and then I’ll shoot those there. But I just write all those old school pen and pad. I probably do go back on the computer for maybe a half-hour to an hour. That’s about it.
Craig: What are your secrets to a happy wife?
Jason: When we first moved to Cali it was challenging because Jen as you know was teaching full time then she was coaching after school then she was going to the gym and helping out…
Craig: In Jersey.
Jason: In Jersey, yeah, so we did not spend inordinate amounts of time together. We spent as much time together as anyone else did. Then all of a sudden we moved here and we didn’t have the gym, she didn’t have a job so we were together 24 hours a day and a couple of months in, I was like, this might spell the end of our relationship, this could be really bad.
No two people can spend this much time together. This is going to drive us insane, this is going to be the end. I remember saying that to a few people, I’ve got to do something or otherwise our relationship’s going to be over. So now we just make a conscious effort to be apart. I’ll work in different places. When I do my second half of the day like you just asked about, I’ll work either outside. When I’m on the computer even too, I’ll bring that to a coffee shop or something like that.
Craig: I remember you said one time, you would just be bouncing from coffee shop to coffee shop, that was something you got from Leo?
Jason: Yeah, I like that too, totally. Because I like to get up and move. I hate sitting still for too long. It’s important that we each have our things. We have things scheduled that are our own solo things that we’re both into. Jen takes certain classes, I do my thing, we try to just schedule more time apart and then when we are together have those boundaries where the phone’s off, we’re not looking at text messages, we’re not replying, the computer’s off…
Craig: And watching the Yankee game.
Jason: Exactly, yeah, yeah. Or you know, scheduling date nights because it’s so easy to let that kind of stuff slip and just take it for granted. I think those are the most important things and then neither of us are argumentative at all, so we don’t really, neither of us start with each other so I think that was just a good thing from the get-go. I saw that in her and I’d been in so many relationships where the girl was super argumentative and I grew up around that and I hated that so that would spell the end of the relationship. Once I saw that I was out the door.
With Jen she’s not really like that, I’m not really like that, so it kind of just works. I think that’s about it really, but again for us I thought we were in trouble there for a while so we have to be conscious because we’re lucky enough that we could spend every hour together, but that’s not healthy.
What Advice Would Jay Give His 21 Year Old Self?
Craig: I’d love to spend every hour with you it’d be a joy. (Laughter) All right, what’s your advice to 21-year-old Jay?
Jason: It would probably be such a long list, but I would say…
Craig: You were 21 in ’94, right? Or 20?
Jason: Yeah, I’m 40 now, yeah. I would say, where would I even begin?
Craig: That’s the answer right there, where would I begin?
Jason: Right. I would say, not take yourself so seriously and to kind of go along with the same thing you did, seek out more help from other people earlier and I would want to look into maybe why I had the resistance and why I had the anger and I just didn’t really think about self improvement or getting better which seems so odd now because it’s at the forefront of my focus all the time.
When I’m out in public I always think about how I look, how my body language is, was I in that conversation? Did I say the person’s name a lot?
I’m always conscious of things. I’m always conscious if I’m in the elevator do I speak to the person? Do I make that person feel important and was it the highlight of their day? But I never had any of that self-awareness back in the day and I never thought about getting better in any way.
I was just like, this is who I am, I’m content, this is who I’ll be tomorrow, this who I’ll be in 10 years, which is so odd to think like that. I wish someone would have sat me down and said, dude, you can get better in an infinite amount of ways. Your communication skills suck, your attitude sucks, there’s so many things you can improve, let’s get going because I really didn’t figure that out for quite a while.
I think that would be the best thing, my number one piece of advice would be to have that self awareness and start on self improvement, start getting better in some small way, at least.
Craig: So now, what’s the advice that you would give to the more introverted, shy, less confident kid who’s out there who really respects you and looks up to you and accepts what you just said, but they accept that would work for you, but for them, they’re not going to say that they’re too scared to do it, but they are too scared to do it. I’m sure you’ve come across those types of people, so what kind of advice do you give to those folks?
Jason: Here’s the thing. Anyone who achieves any level of success that is worth talking about or writing about has to push themselves out of their comfort zone in some way or otherwise you’re just sitting at home all day.
At our Breakthrough Event we had a guy named Chad who’s in his mid to late 20s, I think he’s maybe 26 or 27, I’m super proud of him. That was his thing, super soft spoken, quiet dude, really shy and he struggles with that and throughout the weekend he realized that and I said to him, Chad, that affects how other people perceive you. I’ll be quite honest, if I’m out at a table with five people and that’s how you are, I won’t even talk to you. I won’t go out of my because it comes across as just, I don’t know, maybe you’re conceited, maybe you’re arrogant, maybe you’re disrespectful, you’re just not fun to talk to, quite honestly, so that’s holding you back.
Craig: And it’s taking your energy down the drain.
Jason: Totally, yeah, absolutely. It’s just radiating and it’s affecting the way people perceive you, which ruins your life because you want to be well liked and all that. And he’s saying, but that’s not who I really am, I’m a good person. And I’m like, well then you’ve got to show that to people because right now it is your reality, it is who you really are.
He worked on that and throughout the course of the weekend we talked about it a lot and I just told him how I did it, is I just forced myself. It doesn’t come naturally to me. If you saw me in the ’90s at a family party, I would just be sitting there in the corner, like, please don’t talk to me, I don’t want to talk to anybody and I just forced myself like anything else, like to get up in the morning and swing a baseball bat 1000 times. You don’t want to do it, but you have to do it, and then it becomes second nature where now I don’t even think about it and now I see that in other people.
So anyway, the point with Chad is, that night we took him to an improv show and he worked on getting out of his comfort zone all weekend. I kept saying, dude, you’ve just got to push yourself. It’s no different than adding more weight to the bar or whatever. You just have to push yourself, get uncomfortable and eventually it becomes second nature. The second night after we discussed it for 48 hours, we went to an improv show, I got up onstage and did five minutes and I came off and I said, now, if they ask for a volunteer, which one of you guys is going to go up? Out of 12 people Chad raised his hand, the shyest, quietest guy there and he went up and did it which was amazing, in front of a sold-out comedy club.
It was a huge breakthrough for him, I was super proud of him and now he’s taking improv and just doing things and he said his life has changed dramatically because he sets a goal. I told him, set a goal every day. When you leave the house, you have to make eye contact with and say hello to five people.
It sounds simple but most people don’t even do it. People are looking at their phones, someone comes around, you just look at your phone as a habit, so you avoid conversation. I said, get to know five people and compliment someone because that’s hard to do. The lady in the elevator, tell her you like her earrings or whatever, and those things just become habits and they build up and that was how I did it.
I think it just comes down to just pushing yourself every day and setting those goals. You know you have to write down your goals. It’s no different than saying I’m going to own this, like [inaudible 53:33] I’m going to own the Jets, or something like that.
You write down, I am going to speak to five people today, that’s your goal. At the end of the weekend, Chad said what do you think I should focus on more than, what would make the biggest difference in my life? I said, five people every day. Get to know their first name, talk to them, make eye contact to the point where you’re uncomfortable and then it’s no longer uncomfortable.
Craig: Yeah, because those five people, I mean, that’s what catapults you into so much more.
Craig: That’s really, really good. Another guy who does a lot of that is Neil Strauss. He has this group where he really goes into that sort of stuff. Very fantastic. All right, what would 61-year-old Jay say to Jay today?
What Does The Future Hold?
Craig: So, look into the future my friend. Imagine the evolution into 61-year-old Jay, it’s just going to be wild, really mind blowing.
Jason: Right, right, right.
Craig: Or what would you want 61-year-old Jay to be like? I know you have no idea, especially, all the crazy way the world is and all the amazing technology and stuff, but 61-year-old Jay.
Jason: I would say 61-year-old Jay is still living in Santa Monica because it’s my favorite place, I love it, I’m so happy there. I’m still super athletic and doing, you know, one thing that I didn’t address, was one of my biggest regrets that I would have told 20-year-old Jay, is not to be so insecure and base your whole identity around getting bigger and stronger and lifting heavier weights, because that did, and it’s no exaggeration, ruin my life to a certain extent. There’s totally things I missed out on…
Craig: And ironically it made you smaller in a way.
Jason: Right, oh no, totally 100%. Getting over that obsession would have been huge. I would just continue to you know, what I view fitness as nowadays is completely different. So I would continue to embark on that and be athletic, be mobile, be still doing that every day and leading from the front and I will definitely be performing and doing comedy and improv type of shows and entertaining, being busy with philanthropy as much as possible.
You know, if you asked me this question a year or two ago I probably would have said I would have owned more businesses, but I don’t think so now. I think that was the thing that I wanted to do maybe based on the perception of other people, especially my successful friends, so I would have wanted to look a certain way in your eyes or Bedros’s eyes or Cosgrove’s eyes, like I own five completely unrelated businesses, I am the entrepreneur, but I realized I was doing that for the wrong reason.
I’m happy doing my certain thing and I kind of know what that is now and as I continue to grow and evolve I’m sure I’ll have even more clarity on that. But yeah, just continuing to live my life in the way I do and continuing to get better each day, and kind of I guess eliminate more noise and distractions and just focus on the small few things that do make me happy. I don’t know, I think that’s all I really…
Craig: That’s like your speaking to five people a day thing, basically. It’s that fundamentals that matter and that’s what I mentioned in my interview. How do you make your decisions for philanthropy? There’s so many things that you can contribute to in time and money, how do you choose what you decide to get connected with?
Jason: My thing is the environment first and foremost, because if the planet goes to hell, I think we’re all fucked, so…
Craig: It really doesn’t matter how many people…
Jason: Are starving, yeah, right, right. So I think that’s the most important thing, is saving the planet in whatever way we can, and that’s why I contribute to organizations like Surfrider and Greenpeace and stuff like that. Especially now that I live on the ocean and I’m in the ocean a lot, it is freakish to think about what’s going on and what is in the water, and we’re trying to have kids now, so what I would want for them to, I would want for them not to swim in polluted, radioactive water would be great.
Craig: Yeah, you necessarily can’t control that one, but…
Jason: Yeah, I know, I know. But I mean, we can do things to at least give the money to those organizations and help them do whatever they can.
Craig: Yeah, and then you’re a big fan of charity: water, too, right?
Jason: Yeah, yeah, because there are, charity: water and also Generosity Water because there are close to a billion people with no access to clean water which I just, it’s so almost impossible to really fathom. When you get up in the morning you wash your hands, you go to the bathroom, you brush your teeth, you wash your dishes, you make food with it, you drink it. What would you do if you didn’t have that? It’s unfathomable.
Craig: That’s doesn’t happen to you out in California much, but on the East Coast you get storms that stop you from doing those things for…
Jason: For just a couple of days, yeah.
Craig: Well, even for an afternoon, you’re like, oh my God. How did anybody survive this?
Jason: Right, right, yeah, you would lose your mind if you can’t take a shower or brush your teeth.
Craig: Right, when they come in, like, oh we’re going to turn your water off from 1:00 till 5:00 p.m. today…
Jason: (Laughter) Yeah, you’re freaking out!
Jay’s Biggest Influences
Craig: What am I going to do? I’ve gotta move! (Laughter) Biggest influences, from the famous influences and influences in books and then everyday people, who are the biggest influences on you in different stages of your life that got you to where you are now?
Jason: I have always kind of been a huge fan and looked up to Martin Luther King, Bruce Lee, Bob Marley, Ali, all of the guys who kind of stood up for things they believed in, spoke up against injustice.
Which a lot of people don’t realize that about Bob Marley, they just think he’s about smoking weed and what not on the beach, but no he’s totally the ultimate bad-ass rebel. So those guys.
In terms of fitness it’s been all over the place I guess based on the phases that we all go through. Pilon and I were talking about that, how you go through your, initially it was body building, so it was ’80s body building guys, then the strength phase was really Louie Simmons and Westside and then I guess just coming around to where I am now, where my definition of fitness is completely different, it would be, I don’t know it’s just all a large circle of influence. I like to look at guys like John Hines who are 50+ and able to move, don’t have injuries that kind of stuff.
Craig: I just can’t believe how old he is. Here’s a question for you. You grew up idolizing, well maybe not idolizing Arnold but definitely interested in him, and now I’m sure you never would have imagined that you would know him, so what influence do you take from him now?
Jason: Wow. You can’t argue whether you like Arnold’s politics or how he lives his life, you can’t argue that he’s easily one of the most successful humans ever, to reach the upper echelon of success in body building and then Hollywood and then politics is crazy. What he’s been able to do, what he’s been able to achieve, the impact he’s been able to have on the world and on less fortunate people, I just think it’s so impressive and it’s just that relentless drive that I admire the most and the ability to get so much done. You look at that and you’re like, that’s what he’s gotten done? I’m getting nothing done. So you just set that standard and try to live up to that.
Craig: Where do you want to take the, what do you call them Ferruggia Camps?
Jason: (Laughter) Breakthrough.
Craig: Breakthrough. So where do you want to take Breakthrough?
Jason: This year we’re just going to do four and then eventually I would like to get a group going. I really enjoy doing them, they went better and I enjoyed it more than I even thought which I do really, you know it’s funny when I first started doing more of the comedy and entertainment stuff and there was more opportunities arising I was saying, you know what? Maybe I’ll focus even more on that and not do as much teaching, but I do love to see the impact and I do love teaching, more life stuff, not so much business or marketing but stuff that I have overcome, because then I really know like, dude, I was there. This held me back, that held me back.
Whatever you’re going through, I’ve dealt with it and to see people break through and overcome it is super cool. So we’re going to do four this year and then I can see us getting to the point where I do it eight to ten of those a year and then maybe get it to a thing where we have a group, where it’s kind of a recurring thing, where the group meets up.
Craig: I could only imagine that Chad would want to come back to the next one, regardless.
Jason: Yeah, right, right.
Craig: Then books. Any books that A), People should read, and B), That you re-read.
Jason: I think everybody should read How to Win Friends and Influence People and re-read it once a year. That’s so important, all the skills that he teaches in there. I love the Tao Te Ching, I read that pretty much every day.
Craig: That’s like my Art of Living.
Jason: Yeah. What else? I mentioned The ONE Thing plenty of times, Essentialism I love. I do like reading occasionally, I’ll read a couple a year of autobiographies of super successful people, not as often maybe as I should or I read other stuff. Those are some that come to the top of my head, I’d have to see a list in front of me to think of more. Those ones definitely.
Craig: All right, so we’ve covered a lot and hopefully given people an insight into how you came to be and some of the cool things that you did and how you were and they way you are now. Is there anything in the next, like, what’s your next challenge for you that you’re going to take and grow into and take the lessons that you’ve learned in the last few years and succeed on next?
Jason: Nothing outside of what we already discussed. It’s really my main two things are to continue to grow those live events and that kind of coaching. I don’t like the word life coaching but for lack of a better term, that and my improv and comedy stuff. Those two things, I think that’s a nice balance and so that’s it, that’s all I really am super focused on.
Craig: That’s pretty awesome. Now, how do you think the Yankees are going to do this year?
Jason: Not that great. It’s going to be so bizarre, Jen and I have discussed this…
Craig: That’s what I was going to say, what about Jeter?
Jason: It’s so weird. You know it’s funny, during the off season when she would put on Yankees Network or whatever, I’d say you know what? I can’t even watch this and I would start to get a little sad feeling, a little melancholy. The first time in 20 years, and we’re talking about what would I give advice to myself at 20, I was so different but it’s like that was my whole life. I was growing up 20 years ago, that’s half of my life, that’s my adult life that Jeter’s been there. So it is going to be, I honestly haven’t watched one spring training game yet because I’m still fighting, I don’t want to see them without Jeter there. It’s going to be weird.
Craig: It’s an amazing parallel when you see guys of our era, they’re all done. There’s very few guys that are still around so it definitely changes your mindset on a lot of stuff too.
Jason: Yeah, because he’s the same age as us and we kind of grew up in the same, yeah.
Craig: I liked watching golf and you know, Tiger’s done pretty much and then all the guys in the NHL that I ever played video games with and had them on my team, they’re all done. I just can’t watch sports anymore.
Jay, you’ve taught us a lot here and I really appreciate it and I would have to rank you as in my top three for most helpful people in helping me become a better person, right up there with Bedros and Matt Smith, so I just have to thank you so much for it, my man.
Jason: I appreciate that.
Craig: We are shaking hands across this table here in Costa Mesa, so I’m signing off for the Renegade podcast, I believe it is and in a very short amount of time I will be having my first cup of Renegade Roast coffee, because I will soon be old enough to have one. (Laughter). Thank you, sir.