Russ Yeager is one of the top Body and Business Coaches. He owns two personal training studios in Dunwoody and Johns Creek, GA named Fitness Together and is a Peak Performance Coach To Business Owners and Executives around the world. Russ has helped tens of thousands of people get the body, health, and energy they desire through his Body Transformation University Coaching Program and Personal Training Studios. His mission is to help millions of people do the same thing so they can achieve their mission and live their ultimate lives.
Russ’s specialty is helping male entrepreneurs and business owners make more money, grow their business, and reignite the passion in their relationships, by first taking control of their physical, mental, and emotional health. Russ owns two private personal training studios in Atlanta, GA, is the author of “Live Longer, Feel Better, and Look Great Naked”, has spoken on Grant Cardone’s 10X GrowthCon stage and Virtual Bootcamp Stage both in 2020, and has appeared in numerous fitness publications.
Russ is described as “the most positive and inspirational person they have ever met”, which is refreshing in a world of too much negativity and cynicism.
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Russ Yeager Shares His Transformational Underdog Story
Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of Underdog. Today, I have an awesome guest here with me, Russ. Russ, how you doing?
Hi, Pamela, I’m doing amazing. How are you?
I’m doing lovely, my friend. You are radiating today. So I want to thank you so much for being here today. You are such a rock star and I can’t wait to hear about your journey and all the amazing things that you’re doing today. And what you’re going to do in the future in the fitness world and the mindset world and all these amazing things that you’re up to. So opening question for you, my friend. What led you to your journey to where you are today and in a nutshell.
Definitely Pamela and I appreciate again you having me on. I love connecting with successful positive entrepreneurs and just people in general like yourself. So when I’m talking to clients, they come to me to help transform their bodies typically first. Or they maybe want help with their business and life coaching. But typically, I start with the body and health first. Because I believe that, if you don’t have your health and your body maximised. Then you can’t be your best at your business. You can’t be your most confident, your most energetic for your spouse and for your kids. So I typically start there and I tell them, I’m 46 years old and run three businesses. I have three kids, four and under and I keep six pack abs 365 days a year and run circles around guys half my age.
And then, they might kind of think I’m being cocky or arrogant and I’m like, I’m not, I’m not saying that to brag. I’m saying it for inspiration. Because it’s not easy for me. I grew up a chubby kid, I love to eat. Then I overate, I still overeat. I’m totally transparent about that. We’ll still binge eat from time to time, although I have learned how to control it. But I remember early on , when I was 11 years old, I had to go back to school shopping. I had to get the Husky pants, I hated it.
And it was, I hated that word too. But I remember specifically a moment where my dad had gotten a new VHS camera. You know, one of the old ones as big as the room. And he’s taking home movies and he says Russ, introduce yourself. I say my name is Russ, I like soccer, I like basketball, I love my dog, Rudy. Then I looked down and Paul’s. I said, No, I’m fat and then my parents both looked at each other and didn’t know what to say, an awkward moment.
And finally my mom said seven words that just like lit a fire said Russ. You’re not fat, you’re just Husky and she said that because of the Husky pants. My mom was pretty aggressive and pretty smart. She was maybe trying to come from me. But I think more so trying to like that fire and it did. I decided, you know, I loved wrestling. Because it was entertaining and fun, but I also like these guys. Those were just muscular ripped hard body guys that wanted to be that. I started running because that’s all I need to do. My dad ran and he was in pretty good shape and again. I’m eating too much, I didn’t really understand the difference between cardio and strength training and how to transform your body. And I guess I got healthier, but I didn’t look any different.
Got introduced to lifting weights in late teens, early 20s and really liked it. I like the muscles. Again. I’m a young guy, I want to have muscles to attract the ladies at that time. Got my undergrad Master’s in accounting. So I’m a CPA by trade. Did that for about seven years, one of the big firms and so I’m working out pretty consistently. I’m learning some things doing okay on my own. But I’m in my 20s, so I’m drinking and partying with my friends and co-workers, I’m in the accounting world we’re working late nights. You know, client business dinners and all that stuff. So finally Pamela, 27 years old, I said, I’m going to get this part of my life taken care of. I hired an online coach.
Entering one of those before and after contests. Well, week deals kind of put a couple of lessons in there like if you want to change. This fascinates me, like if anybody wants to make any kind of transformation in their life. Number one, you’ve got to make a decision. But more importantly commitment and then, if you’ve got that and it’s real. You’re gonna find a way to succeed, but two things that can really help you is to get help. Get a mentor or a coach and then, have some accountability. When you know, you’ve got to take these pictures and you’ve got it. You got to take your ending pictures. That’s accountability.
So I did everything my coach said in 12 weeks, I took my body fat percentage from over 25% to under 5%. Won the contest, got sponsored by a supplement company. Got to be a sponsored athlete at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic. Started writing for some of the bodybuilding fitness magazines. And then, people that work and I knew, like, this is what I was putting on our to do. I was scared to leave my full time job. But long story short, I ended up doing that. And for the past 15 years now, full time. Then helping my team and I, I’ve helped tens of thousands of people transform their lives to healthier, happier lives. But starting with that, getting control of their bodies in their health.
I love that, Russ. You mentioned so many amazing things throughout the journey. So thank you for putting that whole timeline together., so when you’re a kid, though. What did you want to be when you grew up? What was the inspiration at that time?
Two things and it’s funny. So number one was a pancake cooker. Saturday morning, me and my dad would make pancakes and I was good at it. And I liked it again and again. I’m the chubby kid that loves to eat. I still like pancakes, I still eat them. By the way, if you’re wondering if I’m one of those guys. That says you can never eat the not so healthy, but delicious foods, you can. You just need to figure out how to fit it into an overall plan. And number two was a rock star for whatever reason I loved. Me and my buddies would practice.
Pretend we were rock stars. We’d video ourselves and dress up and all these stuffs. So funny enough, I’m not obviously not a pancake cook or not a rock star. But I am obviously involved in food as a huge part of my life. And then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak on some pretty big stages. I spoke on Grant Cardones’ 10x Growth on stage last year and that was, I got to come out to them. It was really like a dream come true. Because it’s like, you’re coming out with the smoke and you’re mute your theme music. It’s almost like being a rock star and a wrestler. Which is really, I guess, probably the third thing I told you, I like the wrestlers. So I’m not exactly what I wanted to be, but I’m getting to fulfil those goals. Those needs in another way.
I love that. That’s awesome. Somehow that childhood dream tied into what you’re doing.
Right. Never really. I love that you asked that question. Because I’ve never really thought about it, how it all kind of came together like that.
Always does. Life is crazy, man. It always comes full circle and that’s the beautiful thing you know. And so when you shifted and when you decided. When your mom said no, you’re not fat, you’re just husky. So the hardest thing and we all know. This is to get yourself into a habit of working out like it is so dreaded, so what were the steps that you took to be like, Alright. I’m going to better myself, I don’t want to be a husky anymore.
Like, how did you create that discipline to just say, Okay. I’m doing it because that is like the hardest part for anybody that I talked to. And it was for me too, just like getting in the routine. It feels like such a mental block. But it’s really not. Because once you start working out, it’s like, okay, you know. Once you get to the gym or once you get. To where you’re going to be working out. You just do it, but like getting there. How do you break that?
100%. I mean, for me, and I think, I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years, I think I’ve seen again. You see different patterns. But what I’ve seen is people get to a point, like I said earlier. Where they have to change, they make a commitment. Tony Robbins, one of my mentors talks about the two motivating factors, you’ve got pleasure and pain. Pleasure pulls you, pain pushes you and pain is typically a stronger motivating factor for people. So sometimes, I can’t remember what I did 10 minutes ago. But I can remember exactly at 10 years old that conversation, I can see it, I can feel it.
So if there’s enough emotion, enough pain to make a change, that’s huge. It’s still not enough, it may be enough to make you start. But to actually follow through consistently. Which is obviously key, It’s not enough. So I believe having that pain or that reason to change having that reason. Why connect to that reason why, but then I mean getting help. Having accountability in the beginning is so huge, so having someone. Whether it’s a coach or a mentor. Or a trainer or just a friend, so telling someone, I’m going to do this. I just shared with my team our financial business growth goals for this year and they’re huge. They’re a little scary, but I put it out there now, so we got to go do it.
Awesome. Hey, now you’re manifesting it into the world if you do that, right. You’ve got to write it down and you got to, because otherwise. How it’s gonna happen, right?
100%. It’s the first step and then the follow-through again. I’m a big believer in having help to keep you accountable in the beginning. I’ve used coaches since I hired that coach to win that contest at 27, I’ve used coaches my whole life when you know. In terms of business marketing, sales, finance, personal development. I still use fitness and health coaches and I don’t need at this point. The discipline, it’s just a habit and that’s one thing I’ll tell people like. Stick with it long enough to see and feel results. Because when you start a workout program, it’s not pleasant. You know, you’re sore, it’s hard. You’re either getting up earlier typically. Or you’re going to bed later and you’re making sacrifices that are hard. You’re trying to eat better and what’s the problem is in the first few weeks, you’re so sore.
And if you’re extremely toxic, you know. Your body will be detoxing, so you feel really bad. But if you can just stick with it, I tell people three, you know. Typically around three or four weeks, you start feeling really, really good, that initial soreness is gone. You start getting more energy, you start feeling good. If you’re being diligent with your eating and your workouts, you can actually feel and see somebody changes and then. It’s still not guaranteed, you’re going to stick with it, but at least now you’re reaping the benefits. I think too many people start and stop because they don’t go long enough to see the benefits. And if you’re not seeing or feeling some kind of benefit in at least a couple of months. Then you need to reevaluate the plan that you’re doing.
Right. Number one thing is basically accountability and to start getting yourself on a schedule, too. I feel like that’s the one thing that helped me. If I wrote it down and it’s like. Okay, I’m gonna work out during these times. What would be some practical tips to get somebody over that workout hump? Aside from things like grabbing a coach, saving somebody. Especially during COVID, at home, trying to do some things on YouTube can’t go to the gym.
Because, for example, in Boston, where I’m based. All the gyms are closed right now, which is crazy. It’s crazy, It’s been proven that the gym really doesn’t transmit if you’re doing it. If everybody’s sanitizing and cleaning up for some reason, they still shut it down. I know, personally, a lot of people who are struggling. Because they’re like, I need that accountability. When I go in, I show up, I’m with my class, we do this. So it’s like now. How do you transition to it when you’re at home?
It’s hard. I mean, it’s been a challenge for everybody. And, I own personal training studios, we were shut down. We’re open, praise the Lord right for now. You know, doing well. We switch to zoom training, so for our clients. But for somebody, let’s say they don’t have one again. If they’re going to the gym, they’ve got their classes. I know a lot of the gyms are doing online classes. So it’s just showing up, it’s adapting, it gets back to that commitment. Because there are always reasons not to do something. And I’ve seen it with my clients and with certain people. If you’ve heard the quarantine 15, and that’s, that’s happened to a lot of people.
But there’s also some people that have gotten in the best shape of their lives, So it’s all about using it, but I say I’m a huge believer, I know you are in your mindset and your thoughts. But I believe the fastest way and the best way. Especially in terms of working out is just to friggin force yourself to move. When you don’t feel like it. Because if you’re out of shape, you’re tired, you’re depressed, you’re at home. You’ve maybe had a pay cut or lost your job, doing affirmations or telling yourself. I’m gonna go get fit, I can do it, that’s hard. It’s easier to move.
I tell my clients don’t wait to get motivated to move. Move to get motivated. Just force yourself to get outside and take a few steps or do a couple of push ups or do some stretches. And then, once you move, you start feeling better and that increases the motivation. So that’s probably the biggest thing. If you wait until you feel like it, you may be waiting forever. But if you just force yourself to move. Then you get some good momentum going.
That’s awesome, right? Just start moving and then, eventually you’ll get started with the beginner workout. Go for a walk, then run, and I always use this model. I’m like, first you crawl, then you walk, then you run, right? So it’s like, you got to take it step by step. Some people were like on these workouts just seem crazy. Like, yeah. Just go for a walk first at your pace, right? Because I’m sure that you’ve dealt with a lot of beginner’s level and they’re like, gosh, Russ. How do I get to these abs, man kind of thing? You know, what’s the biggest hurdle that you see with clients from day one? Who really aren’t used to working out or having this workout schedule or exercising?
Yeah, it’s making a habit and it’s fitting into their schedule. Because again, when I started this as a younger man, it was all about being shredded. Having the ABS and all that. And I still want to look good, I’m proud of that. But as I’m 46 now, I have three kids, I have three businesses, for me, I want to look good, but I want to feel good. I want to have good energy, I want my confidence. For me, it’s not just physical, it’s mental, emotional, and physical health all together. I work with a lot of business owners and executives. So I helped them, I listened to what their goals were.
And what I found is most people, just want to feel better and they want to look better. People typically hear weight loss first. But then, when I really talk to them, they’re like, Yeah. That would be nice, but I really just want to feel better and then I help them. Especially like the entrepreneurs, executives, business owners, like you are your company’s biggest asset. Like hands down. If you’re broken down and can’t do anything, your company could be in big trouble. Unless you’ve got amazing systems and people. But even so, if you’re not operating at 100% if you’re only operating at 40 or 50%. There’s no way you’re going to maximize your business and so helping them. See that making those connections.
One other thing, I get a lot of people, oh. How do you get the abs, but I help people to realize it’s easy to think, well. I can never do that and I’m not. Until I have a six-pack, I haven’t achieved anything. Which is crap, so you got to learn to love yourself and be okay with that. Here’s why I am, I’m the perfect version of me right now. I know I want to improve, and I’m going to take those steps to improve.
But if we set those unrealistic expectations until I get to my ultimate body. Whatever that I’m not going to feel good about myself. Then that can be a self-defeating thought. So helping people to be okay with where they are and actually enjoy the goal. Work towards the goal and take measurements, but actually be okay with every step of the process.
I love that, I love that Russ. So you’re in accounting before, so what sort of inspired that journey? Because it just seems like polar opposites. What inspired that journey for you?
Polar opposites. I went to school, I went to Auburn University. Because my parents went there and I grew up going to the football games. My buddies were going there, I played basketball in high school, I was good, I got recruited by some smaller schools. But not,
good enough to get recruited by a huge school. So I went to Auburn, went into business, because that sounded good. I went into accounting, because some of my buddies were doing it. Took my first class, it clicked for me. Everybody’s like, you either get accounting or you don’t and I just, I got it.
And then, everybody said, hey, you’ll have, that’s a great career. You have a great job, you know. They had job fairs and that’s how I picked my career. And I’m grateful for it, for what I learned about numbers and the experiences I had. But I mean, I picked my career based on it seemed like a good career and I could do it. Which now to me seems crazy and this is one of the things. I’m most passionate about it because I know, so many people pick their job based on those things. Can I make money, am I good at it, or they just kind of fall into it.
And so as passionate as I am about helping people transform their bodies in their health. I am about like, we get one chance on this earth and you know that, to me, like being I’ve taken some risks. I’ve had a lot of failures, a lot of challenges. But like, I remember when I quit my job because I was climbing the corporate ladder. Making good money and I opened my first studio and I got interviewed by a local newspaper. And she was like, were you scared to leave that safe paying job. To take this risk and I said. Of course, I was. But I was way more scared of being 85 and have done something my whole life. Just to do it, I didn’t love that. What I wasn’t put on earth for and having regret.
You just touched on something that’s very near and dear to my heart. Which is regret is far worse than fear, that’s one of my biggest mantras. It’s like I could never accept the fact looking back, 85 years old, like he said, and be like, I wish I did.
100%. Then again, as I get older, I think differently before it was all about me and what I can accomplish and pursuing my dreams. And I still have that in me, trust me, I want to be super successful. But it’s like if I had just been an accountant. I would have never fulfilled my God-given gift of being able to transform lives. That would be a huge waste, so it’s much bigger than you know. I think especially now everybody’s stressed out and has these extra burdens and stress. It’s easy to get consumed with yourself and just surviving. But I believe we’re a much bigger part, we’re all unified, and that we each have a purpose. God has put us on earth for and that it’s our obligation and duty to go fulfill that. And a lot of people don’t.
Right. To me, it always terrifies me how often people can settle and how easily they can write. Because if you think about it, so you go to school, you go to high school, then you’re transitioned into college and then, from college. You’re expected to get a nine to five job and then, from there, you’re expected to get married, have kids. And then it’s throughout that process. By the time you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you’re having a family.
When do you have time to process. What do you actually want to do? Because you’re rushed into the next phase so quickly like it’s almost pre-planned for you. So I tell people, you have to break that mold. And that’s the hardest part is breaking. But like you said, creating those habits are like a thought process that’s like. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Like, if you really sit down and think about it, why am I doing this? What reason.
It is hard, Pamela. So we were speaking before we went on the air. I told you I have three young kids and I had kids you know later in life and when I quit my accounting job, I had, I quit my job with no clients, no real business plan. No, nothing, I just knew, I was doing it. But I could, I had some savings, I could do that. I could live off of almost nothing, but someone who’s has three kids, has a mortgage and cars to pay for, and these things expenses. You probably can’t just instantly pursue your dream. But, what you can do is maybe wake up one hour earlier or spend one hour at night.
Every single day, I’ve got a buddy that one hour entrepreneur and he talks about this. You just put that one hour in consistently towards building something of your own. While you’re still focused on your job that you have to do, you can still eventually get there. So you know, I’m not going to tell people that have a bunch of responsibilities and have kids. Just quit your job and be foolish, but you can at least get a game plan to go do that. But to your point, a lot of people don’t know they want something more. They’re meant for more different, but they don’t know what that is. And so I think a couple of things. I think number one is being excellent at what you’re doing now.
And I was pretty good at this with my accounting jobs. Even though I knew it wasn’t meant for it, I still gave my best effort. Because a lot of people think, well. Once I get doing what I really love, then I’ll turn it on and I’ll be great. But no, if you can. You’ve got to become the person that is worthy of having that opportunity by being great at what you are. And then the other thing, I’d say is taking some time to get out of your normal environment. Like my wife, and I make a point to go on vacations with our kids once a year and just us, once a year.
When I’m on vacation out of my environment, and I can relax a little, I have the best thoughts. Because you’re in a rat race every day and you can’t even think. You’re just going, It’s like you’re climbing the mountain. But am I even climbing the right mountain? Am I in the first place? And so to just be able to sit and think and reflect and I think a lot of people feel like. I’ve got to find my true purpose. You will be patient and don’t feel like it has to be this huge epiphany. Just be great at what you are. Take some time to think for yourself and just keep being open to ideas. Listen to clues, and you’ll find it and then it may change over time in what you do.
Right. And I love that you mentioned that one hour, the one-hour entrepreneur. Because some think, for me to start a business, it has to be this big elaborate. I have to quit my job, I have to do this and I had to stop a friend of mine who was like, Pam. I’m gonna quit my job and do this and jump right in. I was like, hold on a second, I was like, build it on the side first. Everyone can commit to an hour a day. Build it slowly and what I always suggest is because you mentioned the responsibilities and stuff like that. When you build that and are able to replace your income. Then make the switch. Make the jump, but do it slowly, side hustle.
You know, if you’ve got all these responsibilities, you’ve got all these Institute’s side hustle, just like you said. So I thought that was beautiful and then also taking the time for self-care. To really come back and reflect that thought was awesome. What you were mentioning, same here. My best ideas come, when I’m not in my usual madness and craziness on construction sites and this and that.
That’s my world, right. But when I’m pulled out of it, it’s like, I can think I can reflect. I can do this and think about this and all that. So I think that’s awesome and you also mentioned something. That you’ve had a lot of challenges. Because a lot of people look at you now, you’ve been on Grant Cardones’ stages, you’re killing it. Six pack abs, awesome family. What have been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced throughout your journey? And how do you overcome them?
Yeah, I appreciate you asking that. Because when you see people that are successful, and I know we’re near my new potential. But when you see people say, I feel good the say, man, they got it, they’re lucky. And then if you actually go talk to that person, or even just study them and hear their story, they’ve all been through challenges. It’s never a straight road up. So I took it. I told you I won the contest. I’m on top of the world. This is what I’m meant to do with my life. And I go out to this event with this company that I want to contest with.
We do this whole training thing and I come back and my right arm, it started getting really big and swollen and ultra muscular. Which was cool at first, but then it started getting blue. And I knew something was wrong. And I ended up having a blood clot in my arm, which is extremely rare. And it was a combination of a lot of different things genetics and the way I had done the contest and I flew into Denver with their altitude different. Did some extreme training there. And then just the way I’m built. So I got a blood clot I was in the hospital for four days, on blood thinners to make sure it didn’t go to my heart and kill me.
Number one, which I was concerned about, but I was more concerned when the doctor said you can’t lift anything for upper body for three months. And you can’t do any workouts for at least eight weeks or you could die. And to me, that was a death sentence because again, I just won this contest. This was like, this is what I was meant to do. And I thought I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m devastated. But you know, I’ve waited my 12 weeks. I came back and And I came back bigger and better. Right after I quit my job and decided to open my own studio. I ended up first wife left me and that was a big challenge there.
And my dad who was my best friend, biggest supporter, and who actually really inspired me to go for it. Because I remember when I told my parents, I’m quitting my job, and I go open the studios and be this fitness guy. And my mom was like, Oh, my gosh, like, you know, are you sure you know, and it was against mom trying to protect me, you know, these things come and go. And I remember my dad, who was super conservative, he worked for the phone company for Bell South for 40 years. And I obviously love respected my dad.
And I remember he said, you know, Russ, when my dad, he goes, I regret that I never took more risk. And he said, but I remember when my dad was asking me what are you going to do with your life. And he said, I don’t know, but I’m going to be successful. I know you’re going to be successful. And that really just, like, filled me up to give me the confidence to go do it. So I quit my job, I’m going through divorce. And then a few months later, my dad gets sick, suddenly, 60 years old and perfect health dies in seven weeks. And so I just felt like I was getting friggin punched in the face over and over. And then I’ll give you one more. I had plenty. One more challenge is it about 30 years old.
Again, I’m a fitness guy, this is my life. I’m having some major pain in my hip, left hip, get an X-ray have early bone on bone arthritis. But I’m too young to get a hip replacement. And so I just gutted it out for 11 years, did chiropractic all the natural stuff, but bone on bone, it hurts. And finally, at 41 years old, I decided to have a hip replacement because it was really hurting. You know, I did my research and talk to people and everybody I talked to was like greatest thing ever did, you’re gonna feel amazing. And so I had the surgery. Went well, eight days after surgery. Ironically enough, I’m making protein pancakes, drops them on the ground. And I’m like, probably shouldn’t pick this up. But I’ll just do it.
So I thought I was getting in a stable position. Ended up, I knew dislocation was a possibility but it was like a 1% chance, especially because I went in from the front anterior, dislocates. Worst pain imaginable. I mean, literally, fall to the ground. Thank God, I had my phone, call my wife, paramedics come, they’re pumping me full of drugs, not helping with the pain at all. Get to the hospital, I’m there for like four hours to mate. And then they get to X-ray to make sure it’s dislocate. I’m like I’m sure it’s dislocated. And I thought they had to do surgery again. But that the way they do it is they like shotgun your leg out.
Pull it in and out. They gave me laughing gas and said to relax. I was wide awake and I’m a 220 pounds 6’6″ guys. So they’re giving me the standard dosage. And they tried to do it and I just scream the whole hospital heard it. So then they finally gave me real jugs got my hip in. But I’m telling you, Pam, this is just four years ago. No five years ago now. I’ve been focused on personal development mindset. I have the mindset I can overcome anything.
But I went to a dark place I was like this is over. I started doing the worst thing I’m googling hip dislocations and hearing about people were dislocated three times, four times, 10 times for the rest of your life. I’m like, I’m this gimp, my career’s over, I’ve got these young son at that time, I’m not gonna be able to be a dad. It was a very tough time. But I got myself together. Five weeks later, I started going back to the gym doing super light, upper body with machines.
And it’s been a long road for me, I don’t know if it’s because of the dislocation. But just last year, my hips been feeling really good. I mean, it took four years, and I was having all kinds of issues, even after the surgery. The right one is arthritic. Now, it’s painful, but I’m working with some experts. And overall, I feel pretty good. So my life’s not perfect, I can’t do everything. I used to be able to do with working out. But I can do a lot.
So I mean, I can tell you, anybody that people look at me is perfect fitness health. They would never guess that I’ve been through, that I have these major hip issues. And so I tell them, or if they see me limping, if it’s a bad day, and number two that I have been and still can be a massive overeater or binge eater at times. And I like to be transparent about those things because I think that’s one of the challenges people see somebody that’s say, great health, great fitness. I could never do that or somebody super-rich or successful, I could never do that. It’s easy for them. And I like to be totally transparent about the challenges that I’ve overcome and continue to overcome.
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I appreciate it because I know, it’s not easy to think about the challenges, but it’s so important. Cuz you just never know like, who’s listening in that might be going through the same thing. And needs this support and like I’d risk it too like, Russ is so successful like and I love that. You’re so transparent and honest because it provides reality in a way.
Because sometimes, stereotypes come into play right now. I look at somebody awesome like you and I’m like. He’s got six-packs, he’s got it all together, he’s super successful. You know what I mean? This is reason why I started this podcast, because I’m like, guys, there’s so much realness. And there’s a process to everybody because you’re facing trials and tribulations like, this is normal. It’s okay and everyone paints a facade out there. And who wants to share their struggles and the outside world, right? Oh, nobody does.
But we’re all human right at the end of the day. So I want to thank you so much for sharing that. And during your challenges. What was it that inspired you throughout the process? Was there a mantra or something or somebody who influenced you? That kind of kept you going throughout those times? Like, what got you over the hump?
Working out I mean, again. Going through that divorce, going through my dad dying. The hardest thing was the hip thing because I couldn’t work out the hip and the blood clot. I’ve forgotten about that one because it’s so long ago. That was the hardest because it took away the one thing I knew that, I could control that makes me feel good. It makes me feel, it can control how my body looks, my physical strength. But just it can make, I mean, everybody knows that. Who’s ever even if you’ve worked out once, right? You hate going, but you never regret that you did it, you always just feel better, you get those endorphins going and you feel better mentally, physically. So that’s the biggest thing this got me through.
The other thing is mentors, whether it’s personal coaches. Or whether it’s just listening to podcast like yours and following people like Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins. Just staying inspired and that’s another thing, I think a lot of people don’t realize. Lot of people tell me, you’re the most positive guy I’ve ever met in my life. And I love that, I can tell you, I’ve worked just as hard on that as I do on my body. It’s not natural. I can be as negative or pessimistic or depressed as anybody and just like working out. It’s ongoing, It’s not like you go to one event or read one book and now your life changes. You’re super mister and miss positive at least not for me. Like I have to feed my mind and my emotions. Something positive and inspiring every single day.
Russ Mantra In Life
Right. What would be like your mantra in a nutshell, if you will?
Hmm. I didn’t think you’re gonna stop me, I don’t know if I have a mantra. I’ll see, if I come up with a better one and I don’t have one like I’ve written down or anything. I mean, I have exercised your right to be awesome on my website. Which goes back to kind of what we were talking about. But really just like and again. You see this in pretty much every person who achieves their goals like, I never quit. If I’m committed to something, I’m going to achieve it. One of my top key employees and how are we going to reach this goal in business? I said, Well, here’s the business plan. But the real answer is I’m going to keep going until we do it.
That’s awesome. So now in contrast, with the challenges and all of these things that you’ve experienced. What have been some of your biggest aha moments or just the best experiences that you’ve had transformational. Whether it be with your clients or personally?
The first one was, for me personally the first was at that 10-year-old, 11-year-old kid, where I decided. I’m gonna do this even though it took me a long time. At 27, winning that contest was huge. Quitting my job, making this my career, I’m in business, going to these events. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to do some public speaking. And I never really took any. Maybe I took a class but not really, but people always say, Wow, like, you’re a great speaker and it’s like. We have these talents and sometimes we don’t see them or we don’t utilize them. So we’re sitting at a Grant Cardone’s growth con three. A guy named Pete Vargas speaks and he does his whole thing. On how to speak from stage and grow your business.
And before he spoke, I was literally telling my wife like, man, if I could imagine if I could get up on that stage. I bet I can inspire people, I can make a deal with Grant. And then, Pete talks about their program where they teach you how to speak on stage and they said. One person is going to win the opportunity to speak at the growth con next year. My wife’s like, you got to do this for us and this is a great lesson too. I was like, I felt it in my heart. This is the right thing to do, this is for me, but then that negative voice Yeah. But you don’t really have time.
You gotta do what you want to spend the money. And then luckily for me, I had my wife. Russ, go sign up. So I signed up that had a chatbox, literally that says include me in the opportunity to speak on the 10x stage. I crossed it out and wrote I will speak on the 10x stage and do your point, I put it in the universe. And then I went to work, I showed up to every class I learned, I started, doing stages. I won and spoke on stage in February. And then he had a virtual event just a few months ago. And they had his first-ever pitch off which similar like a shark tank, and I said. Well, I should do this too, I think I’ll win that too and ended up winning that as well.
So making a decision, making a commitment is so so key. But then you got to do the work to follow through. You got to do the work to follow through and be consistent. That’s know those would be some of the I mean, those would be some of the biggest ones. I mean, my kids being born, obviously getting married to my wife. Now you’re making me think about all my biggest days. And I think, too, it’s realizing. You have these big events, but one thing I’m constantly working on myself. Because you could probably read or maybe you’re better at me than this.
But as entrepreneurs, we’re always going for the next thing and the next goal. And that’s great, you need to have that. But it’s easy to overlook and not enjoy. I just found out yesterday, somebody I went to high school with passed away my age. And then, if you hear something like that, it just makes you realize, like, I get it appreciate like, I’m alive today. It’s sunny, I get to talk to you, I go home. I’ve got food in there, I want it, I got water, I’ve got great friends and just appreciating all the little things.
Absolutely, and you said something really important. As entrepreneurs, we’re always looking to the next thing and I find myself in that, right like all the time, you kind of can’t. You forget to realize how far you’ve come because you’re so, like, committed to the next level. But you said something that was really important. So it’s important to just be present, right? Because when you hear a news like that one, somebody passes and you’re like, Oh my God. That could have been me and it just kind of rocks you realize, you got to be present. That’s why they call the present is the gift, right?
I love it, something I’m working really, really hard on especially having kids. Everybody says they grow up fast and I believe that sometimes I wish they grew up faster. But I know my daughter is hugging me the way she does and playing little games. Like that’s not going to be. There’s only maybe another year of this particular stage. And then I know there’ll be other great stages.
That’s so amazing. And now here’s the question that I asked everybody and I always love asking. What piece of advice, would your older self give your younger self based on what you know, now?
Wow, I’ve got so many. Pursue your dream sooner, don’t just fall into the normal pattern. Don’t spend so much time partying and wasting money and time and drinking. I mean, again, I’m transparent, I was one of the guys who still drinks in my life. And I like to have a couple glasses of wine, I like Margarita. But when I was in my 20s, I was one of the guys that looked great but was getting wasted every Friday and Saturday. Whereas, I’m at a certain point of success in my life. If I had gotten serious sooner, I’d be way further, which gets into finances.
I had some good advice for my dad, I made some good choices financially. But I realize now if I had been serious when I was in my teenage years. Or even at least in my early 20s, I would probably be completely financially free now. And that’s something we’re working towards. I learned that from Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, like get to a point now getting Grant Cardone. Get to a point where you never have to work again. Where your passive income is paying for your expenses and it doesn’t mean you won’t work. But there’s a big difference in working. Because you want to and because you have to pay the bills. So those would be the things, I would tell my younger self and to appreciate every single angle, every single day. All the little things that we talked about.
I love it and what would be some workout tips or mindset tips. Practical advice that somebody could utilize in their day-to-day.
Yeah, let me give you a couple of specific things people could take away. So something is better than nothing. But in terms of transforming your body in terms of losing body fat, keeping it off permanently. One of the most important things is. You have to include some type of strength training. I tell people your exercise plan should be something you enjoy or at least don’t hate. So if you like biking or running or walking or swimming or sports. You should do those. But in order to have the most success and losing body fat and keeping it off, you need to do some kind of strength training. The reason is strength training is the only type of exercise that is going to increase lean muscle.
And why that’s important as lean muscle increases the number of calories. You burn every day, so you’ve got something called your basal metabolic rate. So that’s the number of calories it takes just to maintain your body every day, so let’s say it’s 2000 calories. That means you could theoretically lay in bed all day. Eat 2000 calories, you’re not gonna gain weight, you’re not gonna lose weight. And this is why most diets fail as do most people. They go into a calorie deficit, they go into too big of a deficit and they’re not doing strength training. So let’s say they lose 50 pounds, they’re going to lose first of all if they go. Especially if they do a low-carb diet or keto.
Every gram of carbohydrates holds two to three grams of water. So if you cut out carbs completely, that’s why you lose seven to 10 pounds or whatever, in the first week, it’s just water. It’s not bad, but it’s not that you’re nothing to change with your body. You’re going to lose some fat, so that’s a good thing. But inevitably, you’re going to lose muscle, which is a huge problem. Because muscle is what drives that basal metabolic rate. So let’s say somebody loses that 50 pounds, they’ve lost 10 or 15 pounds of muscle. Their base metabolic rates are not 2000 anymore, it’s only say 1700 or 1600. They’re starving because they probably put their calories too low. Now they go eat with they’re like, forget this, I’m starving and they go start eating how they used to.
And now they’re actually gaining more weight because their basal metabolic rates are lower than before. They would have been better off if they never did the diet. Then they get motivated again and do another drastic diet. So most people are driving that base metabolic rate lower and lower and lower. And so on the flip side it works opposite, so strength training, every pound of lean muscle you add burns an extra 10 to 40 calories a day. For example, my male clients add between 10 and 20 pounds of muscle. The first year working with me was female, adding between five and 10 pounds.
And that’s the other thing I don’t want to skip. I say muscle a lot of people sometimes ladies get fearful. I’m gonna be this big bulky person, no five to 10 pounds of muscle spread out will not make you big. It’ll make you know, nice toned, lean. But let’s say you add 10 pounds of muscle now you’re burning even at 20 calories per pound. And everybody’s genetics are different. But this is just to estimate your burn an extra 200 calories a day. So now you’ve turned yourself at 2200, you’ve turned yourself into a fat burning machine. That’s why my clients are shocked.
So here’s a success story for you, Paul. I’ve been working with the two years. He lost over 80 pounds in the first year, he was a pudgy guy, sub 10% body fat. You know the abs looking great and now he’s hitting like 4000 calories a day. And he’s building muscle, he’s getting stronger and he’s staying around 10-11% body fat and people don’t get that and people see how much I eat like. How can you eat that? Well, it’s because I understand you know, the understanding of metabolism includes some kind of strength. Training at least two times a week, three to four is optimal, anything more than that unless you’re a bodybuilder you know. Fitness competitors you just like working out more than that three to four times a week is great. I’m going to give one more nutrition tip.
Hey yeah, absolutely
Perfect. On nutrition I think a lot you know, I get a lot of people say hey. I want to lose weight and I want to be healthier. And the thing is, eating healthy and eating to you know lose weight or let’s say get a good body. They’re not the same thing and here’s proof so you know, eating healthy is things we know like avoiding you know a bunch of sugar processed foods. You know, drinking alcohol. All that kind of stuff you know getting your fruits and vegetables all that. But you may know somebody you can probably get somebody they eat tonnes of fruits and vegetables.
Maybe they’re vegan, they don’t do any alcohol, no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no nothing. But they’re overweight or they’re skinny fat. You are familiar with that term, but eating healthy is important because it’s important for our insides. Eating to look good all comes down to your calories and your macro nutrition. Which is your calories, protein, carbs, and fat micronutrition, which is the vitamins and minerals that do play a role in how you look. But again, I’ve tested this because you can look great, and he is all junk food. You know, but that’s not a good answer. Because now you’re unhealthy on the inside.
So my philosophy and what I teach my clients, is what I do myself and I finally feel like I figured it out. How you can have great body health energy and it’s sustainable forever. Because you can get in a calorie deficit and lose weight and look good. You know getting rid of carbs and I know a lot of people love the keto diet. But to me, it’s not realistic to never eat a carbohydrate again. So in that sense, it’s a temporary thing. And so what I do, what I teach my clients is 80% of the time eat healthy foods, because we care about our health, right? Fruits, vegetables, you know, grains, nuts. All that kind of stuff. 20% of the time eat. Whatever the heck you want.
Because it’s unrealistic to never eat unhealthy food and hear me. It’s better to do it 100% of the time and eat all healthy foods, but who’s gonna do that? Nobody. People so 20% of time without guilt without saying, Oh, this is bad food. Oh, I’m cheating. Now eat what you want. But 100% of the time, get the right amount of calories for yourself and the right amount of protein, carbs and fat and then I like to make that simpler by saying get your calories right. Get your protein right. Carbs and fat, let them fall where they fall. Because if you get your calories right and your protein right, and the reason proteins are important. Protein is the only macronutrient that builds lean muscle. And we talked about earlier, you build lean muscle, it increases your calorie burning.
The other cool thing about protein is every food has a thermic, if there’s something called the thermic effect of food. It takes a certain amount of calories, just to digest that food. So if you eat 100 calories of carbs or fat, it takes about 5%, so about five calories to digest that. You’re really only netting so to speak, 95 calories. Thermic effect of food proteins about 20%. So if you had 100 calories of protein, you’re only netting you’re using 20 calories to digest it. Sometimes with clients, if they hit a sticking point in their fat loss, I may not even decrease their calories. But I’ll just take carbs or fat down a little bit, usually carbs, increase their protein and they’ll start moving again.
Because of that thermic effect of food and because it helps them increase their lean muscle. Which increases your metabolism and fat burning. So I found and then a lot of people asked me, how many meals a day should I intermittently fasting this and that. I grew up in old school bodybuilding. You know, eating every two hours, you know, eating six, eight meals a day, works great. Now that I have three kids and run three businesses, I don’t have time for that. I tried intermittent fasting A few years ago, I love it, I get to eat two big meals a day, I only have to think about eating until noon. So it’s more efficient. But it’s not for everybody, so how many meals a day you eat, I’ve realised does not matter that much better a little bit.
For most people who just want to feel good and look good. 80% healthy stuff, 20% the stuff you enjoy. Get your calories, protein, right and eat his meat. If you want to eat three meals a day, great if you want to eat six, great if you want to eat one, great. But get those factors right and that’s something that can make you top 5% if not top 1% of looking good, feeling good. And that’s where you can actually enjoy life and do it for the rest of your life versus some kind of quick fix.
I love that. Russ, thank you so much for those tips. And what’s next in your world?
Yeah, so I’ve got some, some big goals. I decided for this year at 46, I want to get out this every year, I want to get in the best shape of my life, so I want to build. I’m focused on building some muscle and strength. I’ve stayed pretty lean, but it’s fun for me to kind of go through phases. So getting muscular and strong. The biggest thing for me though, is getting pain free, is being able to feel great. And I’m pretty close again, I struggle with my hips for so long. I get used to just being in pain all the time. So it’s pretty cool to have a day. Where I used to have a day, where it was like either I’m in some pain or tons of pain.
And now it’s like I either have a little bit or none and that’s a pretty cool thing. So I want to continue working on my mobility, flexibility, health and then business wise. I mentioned I’ve got some big goals, I want to grow my company, within my studios and really expand our online footprint. I’m already working with people in seven countries. So I told you I’ve helped 10s of 1000s of people. I want to help 1 million people, become the best version of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally, so they can fulfil what they were put on earth. To do, to the best of their ability and in order to do that we have to get big.
Absolutely. Now you got to let everybody know where to find you.
Absolutely so they can find me at russyaeger.com and it’s a Yaeger is Y-a-e-g-e-r. There’s a couple of ways to spell it. And then I’m on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and under my name Russ Yaeger.
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The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also Forbes Real Estate Council. To know more about Pam, check out the following: