and other resources mentioned in the podcast
Exercising for Wellbeing
Marcus Smith is a former professional rugby player. Smith retired from the sport in 2010 and now competes in CrossFit, cycling, running and extreme endurance events and challenges. He is also a motivational speaker, fitness coach and entrepreneur, having launched a fitness center called InnerFight , here in Dubai, and Paleo food provider Smith St Paleo.
Sports as stepping stone to wellbeing
Sports as a stepping stone on the way to wellbeing
Mireia Mujika: Hi everyone. Welcome to this new episode of ‘Ways to Grow’ podcast, where every two weeks, I interview experts to help us understand and discern different disciplines that will help us grow, improve our wellbeing, and be better leaders. With this thing, we travel from east to west, from the pure psychological studies to the ancient humans. We'll look at every field, and you will take what interests you. Join me on this journey of learning and discovery. My name is Mireia Mujika. I'm a personal and executive coach. And for this episode, I have invited Marcus Smith to join us. This episode is a special one, as we'll not be talking about a well-known method, as we usually do, but we'll be talking about the sports, the importance of sports in our overall wellbeing, and how Marcus approaches life. Marcus Smith is a former professional rugby player. Smith retired from the sport in 2010, and now competes in CrossFit, cycling, running and extreme endurance events and challenges. He's also motivational speaker, fitness coach and entrepreneur, having launched a fitness company called ‘Inner fight’ here in Dubai, and paleo food provider is mid-street paleo. In February, 2018, Smith was hit by a truck while cycling in Fujaya, which left him fighting for his life. The athlete’s tagline for inner fight, the health and performance company he runs, is ‘show no weakness’, which he says is a metaphor for life, in and out of sport. He believes that your mind is your biggest tool, whether on a hospital bed, or in the midst of a grueling sporting competition. The accident and its aftermath are testament to Smith’s mental endurance. In May, just three months after the crash, he took part in the 42 kilometer trail race on the Volvic volcano in France. A month later, he did 50 kilometers cycle, 50 kilometer run and 50 kilometer swim at Al Qudra in Dubai. In July, he ran 195 kilometers across the island of Corsica, at 13,000 meters above the sea level, in 5 days. And he culminated that year, the same year that he got in the accident, with 30 marathons in 30 days. He has also run the marathon des sable, a 250 kilometer run across the Sahara; the world's toughest foot race. And these are just some of the accomplishments that really need a strong body, but for a strong mind. And that is what we are going to look into, today. Listen, if you want to know what it takes to overcome physical and mental obstacles and beat yourself up, listen to this episode. Listen to this episode also if you're interested in physical and mental well-being, and the importance of sports. But before we start, let me remind you of our website waystogrowpodcast.com, where you will find the details of all our guests, and also the books and resources they recommend. And if you like this podcast, please follow and rate us, so that we can keep growing. And finally, welcome Marcus.
Marcus Smith: Thank you very much.
Mireia Mujika: Thank you very much for being my guest today.
Marcus Smith: Oh, it's nice to be here.
Mireia Mujika: Thank you. Thank you. Well, we're going to go back to 2008, to start this podcast. Not a nice year for you, I guess. Not the start.
Marcus Smith: It was actually, I see it as one of the best years of my life, to be honest. It was crazy because it started with quite a big bang in February, and then some of those things that you reeled off. And then in December, I turned 40. So, it was one of the best years of my life. The more I think about it now, the better it was, if that makes sense.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah, it can make sense.
Marcus Smith: Yeah.
Mireia Mujika: So, that's great. So, when you were in that hospital bed, after being hit by the truck and having broken your ribs, I know you were focusing on your breath. So, is this, you think, that what saves your life, just focusing on that breathing?
Marcus Smith: Yeah. There’s a lot that happens. And in accidents, things happen incredibly fast but incredibly slow. And it's quite a huge contradiction that when I was hit by the truck and I hit a brick wall at 54 kilometers an hour, I was laid on the floor, fully conscious. There’s a lot going on around you, because everyone is in a panic mode, because they can see that you're in trouble. And although I was conscious, they could see I was in a lot of pain and I couldn't breathe. But mentally and visually, I can see what's going on, and there's this big rush. But inside, I was just, it was taking forever to bring oxygen into my lungs. So, every time I wanted to breathe, it was like, imagine the hardest thing you've ever done. You know, I don't know, for sports people, it's like, when you're doing a back squat and it's really heavy, you've got these two seconds where you just think that this bar is going to crush you, and then you're never going to stand up. And I think, the only sport, it's easy for me to give sports examples, so if people don't get that one, I’m really sorry. But every time I wanted to get oxygen, I had to go through this. so, that was what was really slow; you've got the outside world around you, going super-fast, and then inside, I’m going really slow, to try and get oxygen. And the more I think about that as well, and we can go into a little bit later but that's actually what's happening a lot in the world; the world is spinning super-fast. And if we don't take time to slow down inside, then we just end up spinning with the world, really fast, in almost chaos. So, it's quite an interesting comparison. But at that moment, my ribs were broken, my shoulder was broken, and my left lung had collapsed. And that's why I couldn't breathe. And these things take a little bit of time. And where I was, was two hours from the hospital. And when you're conscious, I mean, if I hadn't been conscious, I would have died.
Marcus Smith: So, if I’d have hit my head on the wall or the truck, I would have died because I wouldn't have had the energy and the power to get the breath but breathing for the next, almost for the next four days was very challenging.
Mireia Mujika: Sure.
Marcus Smith: Yeah, because they took me to intensive care and, you know, the lung is trying to, the body is incredible, right, it immediately starts to adapt and starts to heal itself and, you know, if we have to tune the mind in with the body, otherwise we're not working in harmony going forward. So, a lot of the time, I see that people's minds and people's bodies are just, they're going in completely different directions, which is kind of scary because if the mind, like you have to just go, okay my body is trashed, it's broken, you know. I have seven broken ribs, one's coming out. My shoulder is completely bust and this is thick. I can't, in that moment, start to think I’m going to be okay, I’m going to, I’m okay. I’m okay. I know I’m okay but if I start to go away from what the body's doing then I start to create friction between the mind and the body and this picture doesn't, it doesn't work properly. It’s like bringing some workmen together and they're all just doing different things, they're never going to go forward. So, what I realized, I think I knew this before but what I really realized in that situation is the mind has to tune in with the body in this situation, and it has to listen to it. It has to be present with it. And then it just has to, what I’d say is just, it just has to roll with it. If you can breathe well right now then that's awesome. If it's a little bit harder then that's fine too because there's a reason why it's a little bit harder because the lung is split in my case. So, it needs time for the muscle of the lung to come back together and it's not going to be smooth the whole way. So, sometimes, where you're going to be able to breathe and, you know, that's why people sometimes they feel a little bit short of breath and then they start to fight. It's like okay, you just have to create this presence. So, all through this journey, especially for those days in intensive care for about four days, I just tried to be present and to roll with it whilst I went through exactly the same as what everyone goes through. It's like why did this happen to me, you know.
Mireia Mujika: Of course.
Marcus Smith: And I think there's a difference between curiosity and a victim mindset.
Mireia Mujika: Yes, completely.
Marcus Smith: You know what I mean?
Mireia Mujika: Oh, yeah.
Marcus Smith: It's almost like a lot of us, we can, and I don't know if I was adopting a victim mindset because I was like why me, why or I was curious. At that moment, I knew I was being a victim. I knew it.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah, but also that's normal.
Marcus Smith: It's totally normal.
Mireia Mujika: The difference is how much time you want to stay in that victimization process.
Marcus Smith: Correct.
Mireia Mujika: Like how easy you can take a step out of that and go into curiosity and ask –
Marcus Smith: Correct. Yeah, and it's interesting to say that because there was a defining point when I was in intensive care that I went from this victim to okay, like now what can we do? So, more curious and, you know, my wife, Holly was there and I was sort of in and out of sleep, you know, because I’m drugged up with painkillers and intensive care is messed up and, you know, I looked at her and I was just like, you know, why, and she just looked at me with this super, almost like cold face, not much emotion and she's normally very emotionally in touch and she just said it happened and I was like wow. Like the one time I just like a hit in the face, but it was the most beautiful hit in the face I’ve ever had because then I laid there and I looked and I thought and I was like, yeah she's right, you know, she really is right and, you know, that's really what you need in life. You need those people around you that are going to, they're just not being mean to you, like on the face you could say, okay she could have said, oh don't worry, it's just, she just went no this is what happened. And you need those people around you and I woke up and then I just, I was like, you know, completely deflated. I was like she's right, whatever. And I went back to sleep and then I woke up and I woke up with this improved mindset and I looked at her and I started smiling and she looked at me a bit weird. She's like, why are you smiling? Yeah. She's like is the morphine done something else and I said I’ve got an idea and she said, what? And I said I’m going to start training. And she looked at me and she's just like, she's seen this before, right, she lived with me like we're 20 years together so she kind of know we're like 15 years at this stage and she kind of knew. And I just looked down on my body and I was like, okay, well, I’ve got my breathing as you said, like it's tough but it's under control. What can I do? And, you know, I was like and I’m looking around and I just saw my left hand and it was laying in my lap and I hadn't really moved it. The doctors had moved it but every time they moved it, it was super painful. And I look it down on my hand and my hand's been like palm down for the last four days and I was like, I wonder if I can just raise it up and then I could just like rotate it to palm up and I did it. And I was like, wow, that's really cool. Yeah. You know, and because I’m curious and I wanted to get better fast, I was like I wonder if I could go back down and then I was like I can do one, I can do 10. And I did this 10 times and I don't know how long it took but it could have taken two minutes because there was, because when you break your shoulder, there's so much going on sort of in the back and everything's just related. So, just moving your hand is very difficult and I was like, next time I’m going to do that, I’m going to wake up in 10 minutes, I’m going to do it again. And so I started this process of just like looking at these things that I could move because I’d been training at the time to set a world record in ultra-cycling, you know, I’d gone from potentially one of the highest points of my sporting life to essentially down to the lowest but I saw this as a lot more of an interesting challenge and to wake up every day or every time because in hospitals, you don't ever sleep properly. You sleep for like an hour and then they bring you drugs or someone down, you know, I’ve got a guy next to me in intensive care and he's just dying and that's hard in itself as well and, you know, the family are screaming and, you know, and then they move me to another intensive care and this guy's alarm system is going off because he's dying and I’m like, I need to get out of here. You know, and that was quite tough but I’m in this place where I’m like, okay every time I wake up to one of these alarms, I’m going to just get this, try and create this awareness around my body of what's going on. Has anything changed, has anything improved, maybe something's got worse, what can I do now? And I started to develop more of this mindset of, okay what can I do right now to make the situation better, which I’d had for a while before but until you really get into the situation and admit the situation that you're in and out of this state of denial, you can't move forward. So, that conversation with Holly, I was still in denial. It hadn't happened. I was wishing it hadn't happened. You know, and I was tensed and that's what I always said, you know, there's four stages to this. The first is to admit you've got a problem, get out of denial. The second is to reject that that problem is going to stop you from continuing to live your life and create happiness. The third is for relaxation, which is super tough, you know, it's like, okay you've got seven broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a pot lung, how do you relax? You know what I mean? It's the hardest thing to be told. Isn't it? You know, you're freaking out and I’m super relaxed and I’m going, hey, just relax, you're like you just want to kill me literally, especially when it's your husband and wife situation. And the fourth point is, you know, okay what do I do now? What can I do now to make this situation a little bit better and –
Mireia Mujika: What is in my control?
Marcus Smith: Yeah, exactly. And a lot of the time, people want that what can I do right now to be something that they feel that in that situation advances them forward. So, whether it's go for another run, whether it's study something else, you know, sometimes the what can I do right now, you know, if you're facing, and I try and bring this maybe into the work environment, if you're facing a problem, you're sat at your desk, you've been there for hours, one of the best what I can do right now is just to close a laptop, go for a walk. You got it. You know what I mean? And you feel in that situation and this is why the connection between the mind and the body is so important. You feel that that is just not taking you forward. You feel that it's going back because mentally, we're always told we've got to do things all the time exactly to get better and, yeah. And, you know, I think when you have an injury or when you have a setback and I hope no one has a setback, a big setback but they will. These things are going to happen to people listening today, not in a week and hopefully, never, but someone will have a setback. It just happens and it can be small and it could be life-threatening but you have to have this mindset that, okay, not every day you're going to feel like you've gone massively forward but at the same time, if you've gone a little bit laterally and you've just been able to relax about things then your chances of moving forward in tomorrow, the next week are increased. So, yeah. That was kind of, it was an interesting time and I think one of the hardest thing is like pain is interesting but when you have pain and when you have a lack of oxygen because you know that you can only be without oxygen for a certain amount of time, you know, and we've all been young when our brother or sister, they dunk us under the water in the swimming pool, you know, and you literally get to a point where you're really scared, you know. And the pain goes because the focus is on the oxygen. So, yeah, I was in a lot of pain but when you can't breathe, it's absolutely crazy. So, yeah, it was a crazy time.
Mireia Mujika: I see. I’m actually super glad that you bring the connection between the body and the mind here because it's something that we actually talk a lot about. The connection about the body and the mind and how we cannot live without that connection and that sometimes, when we actually don't listen to our bodies, that's when we actually go into burnout.
Marcus Smith: Correct.
Mireia Mujika: We get into depression or whatever it is. We are just not listening to the signs that our body is giving to us.
Marcus Smith: And I think that's one of the biggest things. It's one of the hardest things in performance right now is that we're on it, you're absolutely right. We're able to do it and the first thing, we firstly detach everything so we take the mind away from the body, from the soul or the spirit or the emotion, whatever you want to call it. But tell me how, you know, people that do that, like how is your spirituality, no matter what level it's on and your soul, no matter what level it's on in your emotion, how is that not connected to your mindset? Like it's completely connected and there are times where we have to look at them in isolation but they're one the whole time. They never, we separate them because we're a complex bunch of –
Mireia Mujika: Yes.
Marcus Smith: We separate them but they all live within this thing called the human body. However, and the answers are all within this thing called the human body. However, the problem that I see and this might hopefully give people some something to think about the problem is that a lot of solutions are offered externally now when actually it's all within us.
Mireia Mujika: Yes, a hundred percent.
Marcus Smith: You know, the prompts can come externally but until you're willing to, you know, and go back to that example and until I was willing to listen to Holly. If I’d have counteracted what she said and, you know, she said this is the way it is, oh god, no, this isn't the way it is. Then I’m fighting against it but she just threw that straight into me and I was able to take that inside and not look for someone to blame, not look from someone to the outside but just to go, yeah this is me, I’m inside. You know, I could have blamed like it's ironic, you know, there's so many different points and the last or one of the biggest points was about half an hour before the crash, I was with three other guys and we stopped at this gas station and I was at the back but we stopped at this gas station and normally, we have a coffee and they didn't want to have a coffee that day. So, we didn't take as much time at the gas station so the truck was in the place and we're in the place. So, I could have been like, you know.
Mireia Mujika: Three minutes later.
Marcus Smith: Yeah, even 30 seconds. You know, but I look at it and I go, that wasn't the case. I can't fight it. I’ve got to look inside to figure out how to drive it forward. So, yeah, for folks that are perhaps struggling or just not even, and I think this is the world right now is that everyone, because it's cool to be struggling in a certain way, you know, and yes, it's great that we're talking more about mental health, we're talking more about a load of different stuff, it's less taboo than it was before but just because it's spoken about, it doesn't mean you have to be suffering from it. Like, that's really true. What you have to do is sort of create some awareness around it and spend some time internally to try and figure out, okay, is there a disconnection between my mind, my body, my soul, spirit, emotion, and how can I put it back together? And I think if people spend time doing that and not as much time thinking about ads that they're getting sprayed through social media through various channels then, because those things won't help you. You know, like this seven day detox, that will not take 15 kilos off you.
Mireia Mujika: No.
Marcus Smith: And everyone knows it. Like anyone, like we're all very intelligent.
Mireia Mujika: Some people want to believe in that.
Marcus Smith: They want to believe in it. And, you know, it's a shortcut that they're unable to, I think one of the problems is they don't know how to go within and when they go within, it's very hard. It's very scary and everything that we have within us is a product of our lives and of our history and of our programming habits, subconscious, whatever you will call it. So, the reason that you behave like you do now is because that's the way you were taught to behave when you were younger. If you were given a lot of love when you were younger, you know how to give love now. If you weren't, you don't. And this is one of the biggest things to go and to correct it, takes, you know, I work with a whole load of people on stuff like this from younger, from like 16 to 18 year olds, all the way up to have some clients that are like 40-50 years old to try and not undo but try and understand previous programming to try and release them and allow them to live awake and conscious and free. And it can take months.
Mireia Mujika: Or years.
Marcus Smith: Literally. You know, and it's the same. A lot of it, I do quite a bit of work with addicts and for those guys as well, like when you're so deep in it, you can't see the outcome. You can't see how. I can always see how. Most of the time if I speak to someone for 20 minutes, half an hour and ask a few different questions, I can, and it's not I don't always have the right road map as it were but I can kind of see how we can get them out of it because the beautiful thing is as well is whether you're a drug addict, you're an alcoholic or whether you're addicted to exercise work, it doesn't matter. Whatever, the way out is shopping online, amazon. The way out and the tools that we use are very similar.
Mireia Mujika: Yes, they are. Completely.
Marcus Smith: The whole time but the process like you said, it could take years. And that frightens people as well, whereas the world, the commercial world can do it in a week but it doesn't work and that's frightening. Sorry, there's a lot.
Mireia Mujika: It's awesome. It's also things that we have talked about. One thing that I really like and I would like to bring it here now that you mentioned the addiction. So, there is this writer that I really like, who says that the first thing that we have to ask to an addict is not why the addiction, why the pain, why do you have so much pain? You need something to get out of the life that you're living, right, to get you out of this presence so that you don't suffer.
Marcus Smith: That's an interesting one, yeah.
Mireia Mujika: I really like that.
Marcus Smith: And because a lot of people are, you know what? And this is the thing. What is pain and what is suffering, you know, and how do you define it and I’ve always said this for you and for me, like we could test it, we bring a candle in here and we could test like put our finger in it and see how long it lasts before, you know, how long can you take, you know, and then we can change the stakes we can say, okay, if you keep your finger in that fire for longer than I do then I give you 10 dirhams and it's not interesting and then we got to, you know, more money or something like that but how do you ever explain to me how much it hurts? I can never feel what you're feeling. We can do a test and we can prove that if that was the test that you are better and we can incentivize it with money or with reward but we never know and it's the same for suffering. So, we define it ourselves and I think sometimes, we focus more on the pain and suffering rather than the excitement, happiness or joy. So, instead of asking someone to tell me, okay why are you suffering or what's the pain, like I look at it and go what are you actually excited about, you know.
Mireia Mujika: What makes you happy?
Marcus Smith: What actually makes you happy and you would be absolutely, like if you're listening right now, take a pen and paper write down the three things that you're excited about, like write down two or three things that make you happy. It's hard for a lot of people. It is. And then what makes you happy may actually be the opposite of what you're suffering or what pain you're in but you can't, and this is the hardest thing to go back to that example is we can't compare pain and we can't compare pain and suffering, so there's no metric, you know. And when there's no metric, if we don't have a metric, it's quite hard to manage the situation and it makes it all very confusing for a lot of people. And it might have even got to the station right now that people are listening and they're like, oh my god, these two are just talking completely different language. No, we're not. We're talking a language that you need to start to understand but suddenly, and this is the biggest word I hear from all the people I take care of. Marcus, this is hard.
Mireia Mujika: Of course, it is.
Marcus Smith: Yes, it's very hard if your perception of hard is this, you know. And that's where people switch off. And if you listen to all the number of different gurus and whether they're into whatever level of spirituality should we say they're into, when they start going deep, everyone starts to think that they're just talking nonsense. That's just the way it goes. They're like, he just lost me. Okay, why did he lose you? I’m not saying that, at what point, you know, and I’m not saying that all these gurus are correct but you need to listen to what they're saying, you know.
Mireia Mujika: What helped you, now that we're talking about this, what help you go to get out of that bed? I mean, you said it a little bit but I mean I think, you know, when you're being taken care of in the hospital and stuff but then it gets, you know, like you go to this habit in your house, at your place and day by day, you go, you start, you know, in a normality habits. So, what help you get out there and achieve?
Marcus Smith: I think there's two or three different answers to that. One point I want to pick up on, which is quite generic. You have a crash or you break your leg, you go to the hospital, you fix it. It's painful but you fix it. It's quite exciting, everyone comes, you get rewarded in a way that people bring flowers. They come and see you. In a week or in three days, life has moved. It goes back to almost normal, you're at home, no one messages you. It's not because they don't care.
Mireia Mujika: Everyone is working.
Marcus Smith: Everyone has their own stuff. The fact that they came to see you or sent you a message on that day is almost a blessing and every single person, I always say every single person that came to see me in hospital like I’m so thankful because they helped me. They brought me this energy that no drug can give you. They brought me smiles, they brought me their time and that really lifts you up but a week later, you're sat at home and you're just going, now what? And that is the point. It's really the pivotal point where a lot of people start to, they just lose it. You know, and they can't see what's next. So, one thing that I did, which I don't know if it's a great example but when I was in the hospital bed, I thought to myself. So, when they took me out of intensive care and they put me in the main ward, I thought to myself. I was like cycling is not going to work anymore and I was like, what can I do? And as kind of happens with the friends or the people that I know from time to time, people will just send you a race or a challenge or something like this. They just say, mate, this looks like it’s good for you and I remembered that this one guy sent me a running race or a running route and it was, you mentioned it at the start, it was across the island of Corsica and at that time I was training for cycling. It wasn't interesting so I hadn't actually read it but he said, mate, this is amazing, just keep it and I started to read it in the hospital bed with literally with one hand, left hand is not working, I’m trying to read it and I was like wow this sounds good. And I have some really good friends and I sent it to one of my friends and I said, he was a teacher at the time, he now works with me. It’s ironic how life goes. And I said what day do you finish school for summer? And he said, I don't remember exactly, 28th of June and that was like a Friday and the first or second of July was like a Monday. I said first of July we're going to start this route. And he hadn't been to see me yet but he's like, mate, you're in hospital, I heard you crash, it's pretty bad and this and that, I said yeah, I know. Just keep the date free and he's like yeah, no worries. So, I set this goal in mind and I like big goals. I like to have something. I think we do and we all do in a way but I think a lot of people like the process of finding a goal and locking a goal in a lot more than they like training for a goal and then actually achieving the goal because in goal setting, there's a lot of dopamine being released in the brain, anyway. So, there's a lot of satisfaction around there. Anyway, yeah. So, I quite like having them. They're not for everyone and I don't think contrary to what society has told us, we don't all need big scary goals because some people are incredibly almost fragile that if we give them scary stuff, they will never –
Mireia Mujika: They're not going to try it.
Marcus Smith: They'll never try it. Like they'll get too scared and then they'll just stop completely, you know, and that's what we have, I have a gym and, you know, for some of the people, actually, like I don't even ask them what their goals are because I can see when they come in that they're so, what I’d say almost timid and they're so closed in their body language. Shoulders are completely rotated forward. They just, yeah, they're just, you're doing a great example. They're just so scared that, intimidated, their actual big scary goal right now was waking up this morning.
Mireia Mujika: Put in the gym clothes.
Marcus Smith: You got it. You know, and I think we presume as fitness guys or whatever you'd call us, you presume that everyone just wants to go to the gym. It's the last thing. They feel so uncomfortable. It's literally, and it's something, I don't feel uncomfortable with it but walking in an office building like this, you know, and people are looking at me, I’m wearing shorts, I’ve got veins coming everywhere and people are just like looking, you're the same, you know, and people look like you just don't belong here, like who are you to tell me where I belong? But for those people, like they don't need that is the biggest thing so just because I was laid in that hospital bed and planning to run across Corsica, please that's not going to help everyone, you know. And so I set this big goal and that excited me because I’d come off training for a big goal with a crash obviously, with a big crash bang and so then I set this big goal but I knew from the episode in intensive care rotating the hand that it was going to take a long time and it was going to need a lot of hard work. And when I thought about what it was going to need because this was, so I was released from hospital on about the 17th of February and this was on the first of July, so it's like four or five months away and I was like wow but –
Mireia Mujika: Well, you made it.
Marcus Smith: I did and there was interesting times along the way, you know. And I think I documented a lot of it through my social media but it's again, I think it's like the pain example. Social media is good for a lot of things. It kept me honest, you know, and honestly, 50% of the time, I use my social media just for my own accountability. I don't give a crap if you watch it, like I love everyone that interacts with me. Thank you so much, I appreciate the support and all of that. And I’m not just saying that. I do, you know. Sometimes, I get some messages and they're just beautiful and it's really nice but honestly, it's 50% for me. It's like I know that and some people might say that that's sad, that's okay, like that's your opinion, you know. I just, I love to do it but you can't get a lot of raw, I find it hard to get a lot of really raw stuff through social media and I also try to avoid it. Why? Because sometimes, people that are struggling or people that don't really get where I’m trying to head, if I put some stuff on and talk about like struggles I’ve had, I’ll get a lot of feedback that I don't want to hear.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah, okay.
Marcus Smith: And it's almost like it's very easy to, you know, sit around and a group of friends and, you know, this restaurant's pretty crap and the waitress is, you know, and you judge and you go into this negative dip and okay, so everything is shit. And you spend 15 minutes and then it's like, okay, what have we just achieved? Like I’d much rather ask you. It's not always, you know, as we say in English, rainbows and butterflies. It's not always beautiful but I think if, you know, and I see it, there's a lot of quite controversial people on social media and what they're doing is they're giving other people an avenue to like write and vent their anger, which again if that makes you feel good by agreeing with someone that someone, something then then just do it but I didn't really want to go down that route. So, and that's why I try and keep, I struggle, its hard work. Some days, we're tough, you know.
The first week I remember I told Holly, I said I’ll stay home for the first week and that was quite hard, you know, because sitting is painful, walking is, everything's painful. And then after a week, she was out and I took an uber to the gym and I just went to the gym and I got them to get me a chair because I couldn't lift a chair and they said, where do you want it? And I said, you want it there, and literally in the middle of the gym, a little bit out the way. And I just sat there for like two hours, just watching people working out and just feeling their energy and being in that environment and I remember getting home and she's like what have you been doing? And I was like, I was just sitting there, just getting energy, you know. And I think it's some of the most underrated tools that we've got like how can you change your energy, you know. And we said it before about shutting laptop and going for a walk.
Mireia Mujika: But in that case, you couldn't walk, right?
Marcus Smith: You can't even walk. So, you change your environment, you know, you change where you are. If you're waking up in the morning, you're making your coffee at home and you're just not feeling right and it's happening two or three days in a row, okay. Wake up in the morning, maybe make your coffee and go and walk outside and drink it, like just try and change a little bit what's going on and I think there's not enough awareness about how certain environments make us feel but if we can identify, like who doesn't feel good on a desert island? You know what I mean? Like who doesn't feel good by the beach? And these are things that, I’m like okay and I coach a lot of people running as well and this stuff and when they're having tough times, instead of just not giving them anything to do, I’ll be like okay, get up this morning, sleep in 30 minutes extra. All I want instead of an hour run, just go and walk at the beach for 30 minutes, like we're in a crazy city we've got loads of different environments that we can put people into. So, it's like just don't sit at home because when you're sitting at home, you're just thinking I should be running or I should be training. And again, it just sort of spirals out of control.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly. You're just feeding those negative feelings.
Marcus Smith: Exactly. You're just feeding it and it's a disaster. So, yeah. That's how really that goal came about and the steps along the way were, yeah, it was tough but it was exciting as well, you know. I was excited every day because, you know, I’d never done till that point like one hour to barter without a single break.
Mireia Mujika: Wow, really?
Marcus Smith: Yeah. But, you know, I set up and for folks that don't know, its 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. It's supposed to be eight rounds per exercise then you move to the next. You can do it however you want and I said, I still have it set up on my phone. Its a hundred rounds, I think. And, but it was so simple. So, it was literally, I found a mat which was about an inch tall and one of the exercises was stepping up and down onto that, you know, and then the next exercise was literally moving my hand here, you know.
Mireia Mujika: And it's step by step. Little by little. That's how you build up.
Marcus Smith: That's how you build it and, you know, when it was after about two weeks that I don't think, I should have been driving but I drove myself to the gym and I’d picked the busiest classes and I just found my space in the corner and that was exciting but it was hard, you know, like it's super hard. You see, you know, and of course, you can't trick the mind. There's no tricking it, you know. I look at these guys and three weeks ago, I was doing what they were doing. I was lifting weights and now I’m in the corner yeah with my 20 on, 10 off for one hour and jumping, standing on a box less than two inches, like that's tough. But it's better than I was an hour ago. You know, and these are the things and it comes back to programming the mind with the body, like if your mind is looking over there and thinking 100 kilo back squat but your body is over here and it can't do two inch step up, you're just creating so much friction where we want to make them work together. So, there were really crazy days but, you know, even now I look back and I’m like, I think you learn a lot but I think you reinforce. I want to say for one of a better phrase, I really got to test if my shit works. You know what I mean? And I got to test because these are the same principles that I used on the guy that I took from 197 kilos down to 95 kilos, like it's the same thing. And, you know, I’ve never been overweight so I don't know what that feels like but I know that this is very similar. The temptation, the possible temptation just to sit down and stop, you know, it's still there and you feel it, you know. So, I kind of just, I got to test if my shit works and it kind of did and it still is. So, I’m happy with that.
Mireia Mujika: That's awesome. Well, I was a trainer before at the circuit factory, something similar. And I always remember, you know, these people that were overweight or that they never made us, they never had sports before, right?
Marcus Smith: Yeah.
Mireia Mujika: So, they would come and I was like, don't think that these guys are going through the same thing that you are because I have been doing sports all my life. I practically don't know what it is to be unfit but these guys have never done it. So, a first compassion, and come where they are because if I do it from where I am, it's impossible. So, I have to go to where they are at right now, right? And then take them from there to where they want to be.
Marcus Smith: Absolutely. And I think that's the art of a good coach is to really, you know, a lot of coaches are so busy telling you about what they've done. And honestly, no one cares. You know, I’m flattered about what you've written there, you know, and sometimes or read out there and sometimes I’ll use that stuff as a reference point and hopefully, it motivates and it inspires someone but honestly, we're all so different and heart, pain, progress, life is so different for everyone. The ultimate thing that we can be to each other and it's not just a coach, it's a human to a human, is to try and put ourselves in their shoes without judgment.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly.
Marcus Smith: Without thoughts.
Mireia Mujika: With a lot of curiosity.
Marcus Smith: With a lot of curiosity. Just to think, okay dude, like just tell me about it, how do you feel, you know? And to actually then have, I almost think that most conversations these days should be recorded like this because it levels up our focus and our ability and almost, and I heard this a few months ago. If you want to have two guys have a proper conversation, just put them on a podcast. You know, they'll just go and they'll just let stuff out for the most part but if we can look at people and talk to people with curiosity and without us trying to put something on them or without us trying to inspire them on purpose by stuff that we've done, we would really help people, you know, and we just come in and say like how are you feeling? And then the other person has to loosen up a bit, like be okay with saying no, I’m not good. And I think that's really important as well because I mean talk about the title of the podcast ‘ways to grow’, these are the ways, you know. Like you can't do it with everyone because everyone has trust issues. We all have trust issues, you know, and until you find like really your clan and then you can really but, you know, just don't worry about it. You give and let the person give as well and again, people are probably going like what are these guys talking about now but think about how you react with someone, think about what you put on them when you chat to them, think about how you react, how long it takes you to react. One of the best people to listen to being interviewed is Elon Musk. He'll get asked a question and he'll literally, he doesn't, I don't think he does it on purpose to make the interviewer feel uncomfortable but he'll take like 15 to 20 seconds sometimes to answer.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah.
Marcus Smith: Whereas, we'll just be, you know, how are you, yeah good. How are you? Yeah, good. Like, okay, slow down a little bit, you know, and actually listen. A lot of time, you can, it's actually quite a fun game and this is a little bit my cynical side, you know, I’ll basically just talk absolutely nonsense to people so they'll be like how I’ll be like, yeah, pretty rubbish, thanks. How are you? And then they'll go, yeah, good. Thanks. No, that's good news. And it's like I’ve just told you I’m rubbish, you know, and I always play these sort of little games. But I think that's what, not everyone needs like professional help. We just need human help.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah, listening.
Marcus Smith: Exactly.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah. I think like, there was this article, they were saying why are there so many coaches like personal coaches right now, because we're not good friends, was the answer. Because we are not able to listen. When someone tells us about their pain, we are saying oh, you know what? I had a similar situation, when actually I was also in a lot of pain. Right now, as you said, no one cares about my pain because this person is right now in pain and if I want to be a good friend or a good coach or whatever I want then I just want to listen.
Marcus Smith: You just want to listen.
Mireia Mujika: And also be okay with the silences.
Marcus Smith: Yeah. And be okay with the answers.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah. And don't try to correct or judge or fix anything.
Marcus Smith: Yeah, exactly. And then, I mean there is always a stage because that's a level of compassion as well, isn't it? Like there's a stage. Once you've listened to someone to actually put their arm around and say, it's all good, dude. I’m going through the same, you know, and then because then we're creating a level playing field, you know, someone will come to me and they'll talk about running or about adventure and stuff and they somehow, you know, because of a couple of things I’ve done, they might feel slightly inferior, which sounds a bit silly to say but it happens as well. But, you know, once I can break that down and I’m just the same as you, like what are your secret, like I’m just the same as you. I’ve got two arms, two legs. Yeah, it's so true, mate. But I think what you said is really interesting is because maybe there's not as many forums or it's not as accepted by society these days to talk about stuff then people have moved, which has created a big industry of coaches and, you know, it's actually really hard to be a good coach because if you're a good coach, you start to wear all of the problems of that client or that friend, you know. And I have clients in all different stages of sickness, of health, of addiction and all of this. And sometimes, it's very difficult. And I’ll get home and I’m wearing that problem, you know, so anyone who is a genuine coach out there, like I have ultimate respect that you've decided to go and get involved in that but if you look at what coaching really is for the most part, it's just talking. I do most of my coaching just walking with people, you know, or just talking, and that talking can be on a number of different platforms. It can be letting them talk through an email and then I’m talking back through an email, through a call, through WhatsApp, through a walk, through a run through. What are we actually doing? We're just talking and listening, you know. You send me a long email, I’m listening to it and then I’ll spend the day or I’ll spend two days and that's okay. And I’ll always tell my clients like sometimes, I’ll come back to you in five minutes but sometimes, I need a week.
Mireia Mujika: Of course.
Marcus Smith: Like you've just told me some really deep shit here.
Mireia Mujika: Yes, I need to process it.
Marcus Smith: I need to process it. I need to take what you've given me and I need to serve you in the best way. I need to go somewhere with it, where I have zero distractions. I need to take your email or your problems that you've spoken about or your situation and I need to go and sit on the top of a mountain and think about it and because I think there might be an answer there, or I might be able to put a different spin on it for you and that's really but all it is just having this conversation and giving people the time. That's another great thing about podcast like you sat here on a podcast, it's very difficult to like be checking your phone the whole time, you know. It's an hour, like this is the second show I’ve done today. It's beautiful. I’m sort of like two hours today with absolutely no distractions but it's like that addiction level we have to distraction and, you know, there's a good book I read recently as well, Stolen Focus by Johan Hari. It talks about all the things that because a lot of people are having issues with distraction and with focus and it talks about all the reasons why and it's so super simple.
Mireia Mujika: Listeners, listen to that because that will be in our website waystogrouppodcast.com, you will check that book there.
Marcus Smith: Easy. Yeah, it's a great book. Stolen Focus by Johan Hari. He's a cool guy.
Mireia Mujika: Let me see. So, I will go with this question. So, it's funny because like I had these four questions five questions. You answered them without me asking. That's awesome. They were coming and I was like, yeah.
Marcus Smith: That's very good.
Mireia Mujika: So, on your YouTube channel, there is this one video that is called the power of sports, also Wolfe talks by the way like a big kudos to Wolfe and I love his show. Notice to Joseph also, he's working there with - and I just like, I love that show. I feel like a queen.
Marcus Smith: Amazing.
Mireia Mujika: Anyway, so they're talking about the power of sports, and there are some other people as well. So, what is for you the power of sports?
Marcus Smith: It's a really broad topic but to put it in a way, there's situations in life, in business that if you try and take it into the sport because sport generally is for relaxation, for the most part. Okay? But people traditionally, like why did we start doing sport? We started doing it for relaxation. I believe that for the most part in sport, we have been a lot more relaxed. Now, a lot of people would argue that of the way that sports gone now, you say like Ronaldo, is he relaxed? Okay. Maybe because when he looks at his bank balance, he has loads of money but that maybe makes him look more stressed out. What I’m saying here is my background is busy in sport the whole way through I’ve been playing sport. I always look at a life problem and a business problem and I’m like, okay, do we have it in sport? What does it look like? This is one thing. The second thing is sport brings the most, how can I say, unsuited people together and lets them head towards a common goal a lot of the time. You take 11 people in a football team. Those 11 people probably wouldn't choose to be friends on day one but it brings them together and it gives them, and same in for me in rugby, there was 15 in the team plus seven reserves with 22 people. It pushes these people forward for a common goal, which teaches us insane things. If I can build a sports team in rugby that can put their bodies and their minds through intense amount of pain, training, playing then I learn principles that I can then bring into other areas of life. So, I think that's one of the biggest things and I think, I feel very sad not only on a health level for people that don't play sports but also on a community level, you take it. We're in a city, Dubai, it's huge, millions of people, you come and you've got a job wherever, you know, the people in your office. That's all you know. You're with them the whole day. You can't be with them the whole night and the whole weekend as well. It's not healthy. So, if you don't have sport, then where do you go to? You know, they go to the bar and, you know, and then what happens and so all these things is a convoluted mess, you know, and that's why I think a lot of the time, being a part of a sports team and playing sport in some way, even if you don't play paddle that's, you know, exploding in Dubai at the moment, just get involved in it and you'll meet new people. The power of that community will come stronger and there's so many things that cross over into various areas of life. So, I think everyone, yeah, and then you've got all the health benefits of it as well, you know, which is huge.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly. Marcus, I called Inner Fight a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to train with you. They told me that your classes are at 5:30 in the morning.
Marcus Smith: Yeah.
Mireia Mujika: So, well, I have a little baby who's one year older, I was like okay I can't make this happen now but can you tell me what can we expect to happen in one of your classes?
Marcus Smith: Everything, life. I mean, for one of a better description, we coach CrossFit classes. Functional fitness but, you know, it's not really, 90% of the population, what you do when you get there is irrelevant, whether you do six sets of four or twenty sets of three or, you know, how long you do cardio for, or anything like that. It's completely irrelevant. What we tried to do and what we have successfully done is create an environment that's welcoming. Therefore, we have people that talk to other people, which doesn't happen in a general gym and when we put those two together, when people feel relaxed, feel comfortable because of the community then they're ready to work a lot harder. You can't do good work if you're tensed. So, if we break that down and again, people be like she asked him about a gym, yes, she asked me about gym. You know, if we break that down and we make people comfortable because of the environment that we create from the way that we talk to people from the way that the front desk, you know, on my front desk from day one, I banned any of the staff calling the client's ma’am or sir. If his name is John, call him John. His name is flipping John. There's no hierarchy. We're playing sport. There's no hierarchy. You know, I understand the corporate world. There has to be a certain amount of hierarchy but I still don't believe that there's a place for it. His name is John, when he walks in, hey John, how's your day? How much different is that than looking up from the desk and saying, hey ma'am or hey sir. It creates something different from the start.
Mireia Mujika: It's just the environment, it's the energy.
Marcus Smith: The environment and it brings this energy. And therefore, what we get is we get people that are willing to push themselves. So, our classes are super straightforward. They have 20 minutes strength section and a 20 minute workout and they're a lot of fun. There's loads of noise, I don't care. And this might sound weird to people, there's no dress code. If you want to wear shoes, you wear shoes. If you don't want to wear shoes, I don't care. If you should wear a shirt, CrossFit doesn't wear shirts, generally and I’m good with that, you know, it these things and this was the thing as well like, I’ve had situations where people have come in and they'll be like, oh man, I’ve got to go home. I’m like, you've only just got here. Oh, I forgot my shoes. Like, why should shoes be a barrier for you getting a workout today? You know, or here borrow my shirt, borrow my shorts. I coached one class in my boxer shorts once because the guy wanted my shorts, you know, and I think society says, you know, you should do this and you walk into and we have certain rules, okay? And we have certain values that we think people should follow. Please don't double park in the car park because it's just for idiots and stuff like that, you know, but generally, we're wanting to be relaxed and want you to come in and give people high fives and I know that to some people, this might sound a bit of a, I don't know an Americanized thing but it's just, let's create an environment that's just like think about where you felt completely relaxed, did you do your best work there? Normally, yes. Aside from in the bedroom when you're asleep and you're relaxed but some people do their best work there. Anyway, you know, it's kind of, this is the thing that people are going to gyms, which is supposed to be a good hour of their day, it's supposed to make them better and they're super nervous. Am I doing this right is, you know, form is super important, is my form good? This guy's looking at me weird, like this guy's using the bench. It's a horrible environment.
Mireia Mujika: I’m afraid of getting injured.
Marcus Smith: All of these things. And that's also why we don't let people, all of our, everything is a class or either in a group of sort of 10 to 15 or in one-on-one so it's not just open up so I don't get people coming in with the big headphones and just being idiots. They're quite like that.
Mireia Mujika: Okay. So, relaxing is one of the things that can happen in a class with you.
Marcus Smith: Yeah. Well, to a certain extent.
Mireia Mujika: At a certain extent, right? Yeah, exactly. So, after the relaxing, it starts going. So, who is the benefit, who is the client that would benefit the most from a class with you?
Marcus Smith: There is no – listen, we have from four years old to my mom.
Mireia Mujika: Four years old?
Marcus Smith: Yeah. We have a kids program that starts at four or five years old, you know. For the younger kids, I’m like if your child knows how to behave, it's welcome. He or she is welcome and that's quite a tough one for some parents because they're like, my child knows how to behave. Well, let's see. You know, and we give them, they say, you know, because you get three and a half or a four-year-old who's a little bit more mature than a five-year-old maybe, you know, and I don't think age should be a barrier to exercise. So, we'll change everything. Yeah, the kids program starts at like four or five years old. I was coaching my mom the other day, she's 76.
Mireia Mujika: Wow.
Marcus Smith: You know, it doesn't matter and it doesn't, like the way that the class is structured, although you're in a class, it doesn't matter if you have a weight loss goal, if you're new to fitness, it doesn't matter. Everything is scaled in the way that it suits you whilst also benefiting from the energy of others, which I think is something quite unique. So, you know, Carmen that works for us, she went to the CrossFit games, we have people that want to compete in CrossFit. They'll do a class next to my mom. My mom, I change it a little bit but she's still absolutely smoked. She's pushing really hard. She's so happy at 76 or 76, 77 next week that she's working out with like 18-20 year olds, you know, and also she can work out with my nephews, her grandchildren, you know. So, it's kind of for everyone but it takes a certain mindset. All that we say is just come with a mindset, smile and be ready to have a good time like, you know, whereas a lot of people don't come with that. They're like I don't want to do that because I might get bulky, like you will not get bulky, you know, I could go down all the more scientific routes. It's probably not for this show but it's just like that'll be okay, you know, they're like oh there's not enough cardio. Love cardio is not your problem, the fact that you're eating sandwiches three times a day is your problem, you know, and let's not make it bad on those people.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly. Well, so anyone can benefit from?
Marcus Smith: Everyone.
Mireia Mujika: In a class with you. Well, we have Mike. So, I always put this example in this podcast. Mike is a 30 year old who suffers from burnout at work. So, how could you help him or how can a sports injury help him?
Marcus Smith: Yes, that's a very good question in many ways but he needs to firstly help himself and this is one of the craziest things with this phrase burnout, which covers a lot of different areas. There's a number of people that woke up this morning after only a few hours’ sleep, felt like shit, ate terrible food for breakfast because basically their resistance is low, they got in a car or they left sadly, a husband or wife at home that they don't like, they didn't even kiss them goodbye and they went to a job that they flipping hate. That's why you're burnt out. I can't change any of that. I can't help you, Mike. Yes, I can invite you to my house. You can sleep in my spare room, I’ll give you nice food. If it makes it better, Mike, I’ll kiss you on the way to work but, you know, that's the thing and they're going to do that day after day after day. And that makes me sad, you know, it does make me sad but it also gives me an insane amount of hope that if Mike realizes that, if Mike comes out of denial, he admits that he's not sleeping enough, he's eating like shit, he's married to a lady he doesn't love so therefore, doesn't have any emotional connection and he's in a job that he hates then we can start to change stuff.
Mireia Mujika: So, acceptance first.
Marcus Smith: its acceptance, you know, and it's actually, acceptance is one of the sort of pillars of joy that Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama put together. They put together seven in the book of joy, the book of love, which is an amazing book and, you know, it's acceptance of the situation and yes, a therapist, a coach, a shrink, whatever you want to call it, your five-year-old son or daughter can help you to get there but, you know it, you know because you've woken up and you've gone. You've literally gone another day. And if you've done that, if you've not woken up this morning gone, oh yeah, this is another day I’m excited then you've got a problem. And they're the normal things that I would suggest people checking on, you know, and then if you're sleeping, if you're not sleeping enough, why are you not sleeping enough? You know, where does it all start? And that's where it becomes also very holistic. It's not one thing like a lot of people will, you know, they'll think it's the job but actually, it might be a relationship. They'll think it's a relationship but actually, it’s a job. The job will start to affect the relationship. You imagine, it's a horrible cycle, you know. And people often feel trapped, you know, and that is quite horrible, you know, because you could be in a situation right now where you can't break any of those habits because if you do, your children might go hungry and thankfully, that's not a situation I’ve ever been in but I know that that's a realistic situation. And that's okay, you know. What we then have to do, you've admitted there's a problem so we then have to figure out how do we get you out of this problem.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly. It's step by step.
Marcus Smith: Step by step. And, you know, and also this whole thing, it's going to take hard work. It's going to be like, you know, trying to get oxygen in, where we started. And it might be like this for six months, it might be like this for a year but this is the thing as well, which I think the world and tech right now is making everything quite short-term. We're quite young. We're quite young, right? Like, if I look at it, yesterday my dad turned 75, I’m 43. You know, I’ve got a few, I’ve got 30 years left maybe or maybe more. Maybe more. You know, if things go good, then 30-40. Who knows? I might get hit by another truck tomorrow and I might not be – So, if I’m overweight right now, I could suffer like hell for the next 18 months to get that weight off. It's literally like three percent of my life or I could spend 50 percent of my life feeling like shit every single day.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly.
Marcus Smith: Why are we choosing 50%? You know, it's crazy but it comes down to acceptance. So, if Mike accepts what's going on, then Mike can start to change.
Mireia Mujika: Exactly. And then he can get to the external hub.
Marcus Smith: Exactly.
Mireia Mujika: So, you were mentioning right now, right, like this well, I mean there are many experts that they say like there are five pillars to well-being, exercise, healthy, food, meditation, yoga or any spirituality, mindfulness or whatever it is that helps us calm down that nervous system and sleep, socializing, having those meaningful connections with people, right. So, what are for you, the pillars of our well-being? Exactly those ones or do you have anything else to add?
Marcus Smith: I mean, I can't really reinvent them but I think what's important is more examples of what they are in your life. So, I’ll give you one, it's frightening when you actually dig into this. When I was young, when I was in boarding school but when I was home, we'd sit down as a family every night for dinner and we'd eat dinner. Since I got with Holly in 2003 and we got a home together, every night that she was an air hostess for a long time so but every night that she was home, we'd sit down and have dinner together and we still do it. That is one of the most important parts of my day and literally, when we don't have it, we both feel not normal. Yeah, just a little bit weird. So, I’ll always try and get home at a good time. Sometimes, I teach in the evening or I’ve got stuff in the evening, you know, that's part of life but we create these moments to be with each other and to talk and there's no phones. We don't have Netflix on, we don't have, sometimes we don't even, there's nothing. Like sometimes on the weekend, there's a treat, we'll put music on, you know, it sounds quite basic but we'll sit and we'll talk and we'll sit at the dinner table opposite each other every single day. So, although there are – and then you're like okay, where does that go into? Well, it goes into my spirituality, it also goes into my mental health, my relation. Like, it goes into so many of these different pillars. So, the pillars are good but what's more important to me with people and people that I help is what are we doing, what are the examples for you in your life of that, you know, physical movement. Show me what you're actually doing in that area and, you know, and humanity as well, like what are you doing for the greater good of people? We were talking about it before like listening to each other and talking. How much time are you committing just to talking to people?
Mireia Mujika: Giving back.
Marcus Smith: Giving back a little bit. It's crazy the word giving back is actually a little bit crazy in itself because, it is because it becomes a two-way street. You start to give me your time and you say, Marcus, I’m going to see you every week and we're going to talk about how you feel about whatever. So, you're giving me your time, which I’m so grateful for but in doing so, you're going to start to learn things. So, actually, everything is always two-way. It's only one direction if you see it like that. And I work with a number of young athletes as well, you know, and I’ll talk to them and help them and mentor them and at the same time, I’m giving them all of the skill set that I’ve got but I’m learning how a 16 year old in 2020 thinks.
Mireia Mujika: Yeah.
Marcus Smith: That's pretty cool, you know, and often, I’m getting paid to learn that, you know, and it's absolutely incredible. So, I think we always see what's in this for me, you know, and we want stuff that's really tangible straight away but we just, and if we find, what we have to do is we have to link our activities of daily life with these pillars and then they have meaning and, you know, not everyone wants to sit and hum and listen to bell's chiming and that form of meditation but, you know, everyone should sit for a few minutes a day and just think, you know. And if that's really uncomfortable, you have to ask yourself why. It's actually hard for so many people. We're just going to sit here. And there's no phone, there's no talking, there's no nothing, you're just going to sit, you know, and then you're working two or three minutes, you know, and if you do two today and lose your mind then come back to one and do three, so I think that's the most important thing and then you can kind of see as well if you're progressing in one way versus another way and where life is not super balanced, we know that, like there's a lot of clichés around it but I think we should always be feeling like we're progressing in all areas. We should be getting, our goal and that's what we say in our company, we want to get better at life. Our goal is to live a really good life because we have one life, you know, and I don't know how people think of it but, you know, you die and you're dust, you know, and you could say that a lot of things, I don't know but at the moment –
Mireia Mujika: At the moment when we have is this.
Marcus Smith: Exactly, yeah. Why are we just waiting for that for the next part? It's cool if you are but let's also live now and in all the religious teachings, there was a lot of life that happened. There's a promise of something at the end but there's a lot of life along the way, you know, and I want people and that's one thing I always think of, I sort of go to bed and I’m like, did I actually live today? And I’d like to I always say this to my friends, I’m like can you go to bed with a smile on your face that if you didn't wake up tomorrow, you know that you had a good day that day.
Mireia Mujika: It's quite a question there.
Marcus Smith: it's quite a question and for a lot of people, it's quite deep. They're going, what the fuck? You know, but do you sleep with a smile on your face or do you sleep with the duvet wrapped over your head and people generally do and in the hope they're not going to wake up tomorrow, like its heavy. It happens and I have clients that have told me.
Mireia Mujika: Oh, wow.
Marcus Smith: Yeah, and that's tough, you know. It's really tough but, you know, as well, it's like you're going to sleep, are you smiling because you're so excited about what you're going to do tomorrow? You know, and if not, you're back to Mike. Everything comes back to Mike.
Mireia Mujika: So, one of the things that I know well, that we mentioned already is that you started this company with your wife of Paleo food, so what is the weight on their own, our overall well-being, what is the weight of food?
Marcus Smith: I mean, it's difficult, right, because if I say 30% then, you know, I think it's hard to put it in percentage terms but what I would say is the modern world is encouraging us or helping us eat quite badly and that's the root of a number of our problems. The way that Paleo food works is it goes back to our ancestors, the Paleolithic era and yes, I know we're not living in stone huts and we're not having to kill to live but it's quite a pure way to eat and it doesn't have processed food in it, you know. We're not designed as humans to eat processed food. This is why we have such an issue with illness these days. There are more hospitals in the world right now than there's ever been, which, you know, that's great. It's giving people jobs and all of that but we don't need it. So, all we're trying to do with our food is not just with our paleo food but just with food, healthy food that you eat that just makes you feel good. And the problem is, I mean you could argue that nutrition props the whole thing up, right, if you don't have good nutrition then you won't have mental clarity so you don't have the energy. So, to have these beautiful conversations, yeah, so you could say that actually it's the base of this whole thing.
Mireia Mujika: It's the fuel.
Marcus Smith: It's the fuel, which it is essentially, you know. So, but then is it, that means it's 90 percent, you know, so in percentage terms, it's quite hard. It's really propping it up because it's proven that if you're eating a lot of processed food then you're not going to have as much clarity and if you're not having as much clarity then unable to have really good free-flowing conversations with focus. You’re also not able to focus because the food is causing you to be distracted. So, it's really huge and that's kind of how, that's why we set up that business because we're like okay, we eat like this, we've been eating like this for like 18 years and we're like why don't we share it with people?
Mireia Mujika: Thank you for that.
Marcus Smith: If it works, it works. And if some people - the biggest thing I see these days is that people just get distracted with their food. No one, like I saw people that went vegan five years ago and they're eating whatever they want now and they're fat, you know. So, people, but this is people are unable to stay the course and they're like I’m bored, you know, and I’m like yeah, but on normal life, you can eat pizza once a week but you can't eat this healthy dish once a week. Boredom is not your problem. Like you have deeper problems than just the boredom. So, yeah, it's an interesting one but food is, it's basically propping the whole thing up, you know.
Mireia Mujika: Basic things. This is just that the last question that I had here. You already mentioned one book, I think. Any other books or other resources that you like to share, your podcast, YouTube channel?
Marcus Smith: I think we're in an era of information overload, right? It's difficult. I put all my books on my website, which is mjdsmith.com/books. Everyone's like, what's the best book? And I’m always like if you want the best book, you have a big problem because what they're saying is I want a book that answers all of my questions. Now, if you want a book that answers all of your questions, there's one book called ‘the untethered soul’, which only talks about inward reflection and that will send you into absolute spin and you won't finish it. This is the way it goes. But I think people need to be a little bit picky on their resources. Excuse me. There are a number of podcasts available. I would advise people to dip in and out of podcasts based on the guests and what they think they might get. I also have start doing one thing, probably at start of 2021, which if I’m not enjoying a book, I’ll just stop reading it. I used to be really stubborn. I was like no, if I start this, I’m finishing it.
Mireia Mujika: Yes, I started so I am committed so you have to finish.
Marcus Smith: Exactly. And, you know, I don't think you need to do that anymore. So, I’ve read, I think this year, I’m already up to about eight or ten books, you know, I read. I read a lot and number one hack for reading for me is actually on kindle because it's with you pretty much the whole time. It's very easy to have a number of different books. I’m reading four different books at the moment. You've just got them always with you and if you've got one book and you can't focus on it, you can just flip to another one straight away. I also think that tech detox helps us to absorb more information. That's why often, I’ll only listen to podcasts whilst I’m driving because that's the focal point is just have that on in there and I’ll only read my kindle on my kindle rather than I used to have it a lot on my phone, on devices. I took it off there so I’ll just read it there and just get a little bit undistracted with things but the main point that I want to make on resources is actually action on the resource. . One single podcast or five minutes of a single podcast may change your life.
So, it's a little bit trying to figure out the architecture of your week, of your day, of your life and also because I did this when podcasts sort of first started coming up in about 2005 to 2010, I was really religious with them and I have to listen. Now, if I don't listen to a podcast for two weeks, I’m cool with that because I’ve got this, maybe this awareness and I just like today, I just drove here in the car in pure silence because I knew we were going to be talking, you know, and like I said this morning before I came, I did a podcast then I did some Instagram Q&A and now we're here. So, I can't. My brain needs a rest. I’m not that smart, you know. I need to just, and when I leave here, I will not listen to anything. I’ll just reflect on what we've spoken about, think a little bit about what I’m going to do next in the day. So, yeah, I think people need to be a little bit careful with the amount of information they're trying to take in and how they take that in but if you want to see what I’m reading or what I’ve read mjdsmith.com/books, they're all there.
Mireia Mujika: Listeners, you know, head to that website.
Marcus Smith: There we go.
Mireia Mujika: There you have everything.
Marcus Smith: Exactly.
Mireia Mujika: One question that I always have because I can't, I can't do a sports and listen to a podcast. I just can't. I’m like, it's you can't either. I’m not the only one then.
Marcus Smith: You can't do anything.
Mireia Mujika: If I’m cycling and I start listening to a podcast, my average will go down to 24.
Marcus Smith: Exactly. You can't. Despite what everyone's telling us, we can't multitask. We just can't. We can do two things at once, you know, but even if I now start scratching my leg, I’m thinking about what I’m saying and I’m also having to focus on scratching my leg, my ability, I only have a certain amount of brain power. I only have what they call it in computers, like RAM or something like that. My processor can only go so fast. What happens when you have 20 different apps open on your computer slows down? The same thing is happening in your brain. Now, if you want to go for a run and listen to some music and stuff and some people will do it but if you need ultimate focus for your run, if it's like tough and it needs focus, there's no way that you will run well and also understand or be able to commit to memory and therefore, action what you've listened to in the podcast or audiobook. That's why like if you're doing a hard session and you like to listen to Tiesto, I can get that. But I know as well, like you can do a 30 minute workout listening to music and you'd have listened to eight songs, I doubt that you can name more than three.
Mireia Mujika: Ah, yeah. For sure.
Marcus Smith: We can't multitask. Very simple. Guys and girls, this thing about girls being able to do, it's not true.
Mireia Mujika: I’m not. I’m not. Cool. Marcus, thank you so much for this, for the podcast. I really like our conversation. Listeners do like it as well.
Marcus Smith: That's cool.
Mireia Mujika: I think we talked about so many things that are important for these human beings that we are, right?
Marcus Smith: Yeah, I think so and, you know, it's difficult to get it all in an hour or so and sometimes, some of the stuff I say, people might well but, you know, you enjoyed it, just go back and listen to those bits again. And always say to people as well in a show like don't listen and then just try and action everything that the host or the guest has said, you know, just try and think about things that might help you to live a better life. And I think if you take one thing from the show then your life becomes better then we've all done something good today. So, thank you very much for having me.
Mireia Mujika: Oh, thank you for coming here and being my guest. Thank you. Thank you so much. Listeners, we will see you in two weeks. Thank you very much, bye.
List of Books, Authors and Resources:
Stolen Focus by Johan Hari
The book of joy by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama
The untethered soul