In this interview, Ben Pakulski and I get into an into an in-depth discussion on the mindset it takes to be world-class and his answers probably aren’t what you would expect which I found both refreshing and very useful in my own personal life and business.
It was an honour and a privilege to interview Ben and I know if you watch even half the show, you will walk away with golden nuggets that you can implement towards being a better you to live your greatest life (to steal Bens catchphrase!)
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Transcript From Ben BPAK Pakulski on the Wolf’s Den with Mark Ottobre
(This transcription may contain errors)
Welcome to the show that educates and entertains. I’m your host Mark Ottobre, and today’s guest is a former IFBB pro body builder. He’s the founder of the MI40 Gym and the MI40 System. He is the body-building yogi. Ladies and gentlemen, Ben Pakulski.
Thanks man. Great to …
Welcome, let’s give him a round of applause. Ben, first off, this isn’t your first time in Australia, but I believe it’s your first time for Australia Day.
I thought I would do my due diligence, and give you an Australia Day toolkit. What we’ve got here is some Weetabix.
Now, have you had Weetabix before?
Very familiar, yes. Oh, and they’re gluten free.
You’ve had them, yeah? They’re gluten free. I’m pretty sure they taste-
When I started body-building, this used to be my breakfast every day.
I would put a protein shake on top.
Wow. Well, I think those are made of sawdust. But apart from that, we’ve also got Vegemite. Have you had Vegemite before?
Yes, yes. Vegemite, who likes Vegemite here? Oh, a couple of people. I think Vegemite is almost this-
I thought it was like everyone in Australia just was like-
I hate Vegemite.
Instead of breast milk, you guys get Vegemite.
Yeah, I hate it. I feel like with Vegemite, it’s almost this polarizing-
what’s the nutritional benefit?
Let me ask you, what’s the nutritional benefit? Because I would assume that everyone in this fitness room would be like, “Oh, that’s good for me. I need to eat it.” Is it really bad? It’s yeast I know, but is there actually a nutritional benefit that you’re aware of?
Well, I don’t know any nutritional benefit.
I think if you put it on food that you don’t like, you’ll probably-
Correct. Will abstain, like you can kind of anchor in bad foods.
There you go.
If there’s a food you always have to eat, say chocolate, you put a bit of that on it, you’ll never want to have chocolate.
Yeah, I tried to convince my kids it was Nutella, but they wouldn’t believe me.
Yeah. I think it’s about as polarizing as Lang Norton’s views on if it fits your macros.
Then we’ve got our Four’n Twenty pies, have you had one of those?
No, what’s this?
These are pies.
If you go to the AFL and you watch any AFL games, this is-
I’ve definitely had a meat pie in Australia before. The first time I was here, I was walking down a road in Melbourne, and somebody said, “Hey man … ” It seemed like on every corner is a meat pie place, so I get some meat pies.
Yeah, I think those ones have [crosstalk 00:02:09].
I think it was Aaron Stern, do you know who Erin Stern is?
I think she was the one who told me I needed to her meat pies. Thanks Erin, for your advice.
Then we have something very special.
If there’s Tim Tams in there, we’re gonna be friends.
Well, it’s this, and this isn’t just any type of bear. Actually what you … Oh, careful with that. You might need to put a stubbie in there, because this beer is so disgusting that you can’t touch it with your hands. It is horrid. Us Australians, we really [crosstalk 00:02:33].
Who’s got a bottle opener?
It will get you pissed as all hell, I’ll tell you that. Then to finish off, oh what we also have here is … Have you ever had this? This stuff is gold. Milo. As a kid, who drank Milo?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We have this in America.
What we did was, you do the whole glass of Milo, and then just a little bit of milk, then you’d eat it out of it.
Just powdered sugar.
It’d be amazing. Then finish your Australia day with the good old Tim Tams.
I knew I would love you man.
Yeah, you gotta bite a little bit, put it in the milk with the Milo and use it as a straw.
Right. Oh yeah, I forgot about the straw.
Then to celebrate Australia, we got to have our … Here you got some. There you go. We’ve got to get our flags out. All right.
Is there a routine we need? Can we sing the National Anthem or something?
We can, but before we do, do you have an Australian nickname?
You don’t have an Australian nickname?
You be the first one.
Okay well, what are we thinking?
I don’t even know where this wants to go.
How do you pronounce your last name?
Pakulski. Well, I think the natural selection of that one would be Packer. But you gotta say it with a bit of … It’s not just Packer, it’s Packer. How you doing Packer? You really gotta …
That sounds Australian.
That’s it, yeah. Ladies and gentleman, Ben Pakulski. Now that we have the important stuff out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff. First question, I can’t help but hearing on the interview that you did, I think recently, you said that you were one of the very few A Type personality’s in body building.
Meaning, I’m a little bit high strung compared to most body builders.
I’ll take that.
Most body builders, if you’ve ever, I’m sure you’ve encountered some, especially the high level ones are, to speak in your language, very GABA dominant, meaning they’re all about the breaks. When they get in the gym, different story, they can get after it, but the rest of their life is very chilled out. That’s not me, right? Prior I had this girlfriend who, the irony of life is the blessing and the curse, she brought me much stress but she also taught me that, “Hey man, if you wanna a girl, you better learn to sit on your but.”
I planned what kind of started my path down understanding these parasympathetic days, which I know run into all my programs. You have a day where it’s not just rest, it’s like
what can I actually do to activate my parasympathetic nervous system?
As soon as I started introducing that, my growth was exponential. I went from 230 pounds to 270 pounds in five months or something. Just introducing these practices around ultimately bringing down sympathetic tone and improving parasympathetic tone.
That almost goes against, in some ways, of what you would imagine a pro body builder to be. Someone who’s obviously not yourself, you think it’s what it’s typical would be, but you’re actually saying with a lot of the guys being GABA dominant, they’re a bit more relaxed [crosstalk 00:05:19].
Chilled out, man. Yeah, well the case and point, what time did I show up today? Like most body builders are going on their own schedule, like, “I gotta eat.” If I even need to eat, unfortunately I’m gonna have to wait. There’s no stress around it. For most guys, for the guys at the top of the sport, most of them you’ll find are very calm, very methodical in their ways rather than being very racy, high strung.
Would you say it’s almost a prerequisite to get to that level or to learn to go into that gear?
Absolutely, absolutely. From the outside perspective, you would assume these guys are very Type A personality, but it’s not. They’re so chilled out. It was very surprising to me to see, once I got there, everyone, most of them, some guys maybe, but most guys are chilled out, go with their own pace, wake up when they wanna wake up, go to bed when they wanna … There’s no stress.
Would you say that’s one of the main differences between the amateurs and the pros, is that approach to things?
I don’t know that it’s a main difference between amateurs and the pros, but I think it would be one of the main differences that if someone wanted to set themself apart from going to an amateur to a pro, that’s one of the first things I address with all clients. It’s like, putting together a chart of parasympathetic and sympathetic inputs, and go write down all your sympathetic inputs today.
What’s a stress for you?
Even if it’s a second dart, meaning something, I stubbed my toe and I go, “Who left that weight there?” That’s the second dart, that’s a sympathetic input. How do I balance those out, at the very least, with parasympathetic inputs, meaning breathe or meditate or get outside in the sunshine or go to the beach. The list goes on. Love somebody, hug somebody. Those are parasympathetic inputs.
How do I learn to balance those things out?
Many people who are aspiring muscle building enthusiasts, are very, very driven. They’re very like, “I wanna build more muscle,” and that sometimes works against them.
Now for the vote, those who might be watching this on YouTube for the first time or hearing about you, how would you describe … ‘Cause I’ve been knee deep in looking at all your work and there’s so much, and there’s so many different elements that you bring to the game.
How would you represent yourself or what would you say? What is your focus?
‘Cause it was body building and it still is in part, but-
Yeah, for 20 years I pursued relentlessly with focus. This idea of being the biggest human being on the planet as far as being muscular. At one point, toward the end of the career it wasn’t the case, but early in my career there was a point where I was probably the biggest body builder on the planet. If you look at 2012, 2011, 12, 13-ish, I made most of the bigger guys. I was bigger than most of the bigger guys. Then once I started to find other aspects of life, like having a family and a business, that was no longer the objective. I learned how to create, and I’ll put this in quotations ’cause it’s a myth, but balance.
Having transcended this desire to accumulate muscle, I started to realize there were a whole bunch of other things that went into ultimately my framing of creating your greatest life, what that means for you. It’s crafting a life, designing a life. I started looking at all the physical aspects, all the things that go into creating your greatest physical body, and then there’s this other piece of all the things that go into creating a resilient mind, right? Or a brilliant mind, I guess. Just kind of trying to dissect all those pieces and creating a framework for people that allows them to take it away and apply it.
If you just go, “Hey man, we’re gonna create a great body. We’re gonna create a brilliant mind.” It’s very abstract, but if you can start creating a framework for people where you give them these pillars like, “Hey, check these boxes,” now all of a sudden it’s attainable for people. My mission over the last, maybe three to five years, has been just first identifying all the pieces and then second, identifying all the people who are expert in each of these pieces, and then helping people … Not because I’m anything special, it’s just because I’m the conduit, right?
I’m the person who has a platform and people listen to me for muscle building. I’m like, “Listen man, you’re trying to build muscle, but you’re barking up the wrong tree. You’re not checking all these boxes.” You can try to build muscle all you want, you can work hard all you want, but if you’re not doing all these other things that are essential, the best programming in the world as you know, is useless, it’s futile. ‘Cause we all know people that work hard that don’t make money. We all know people that work hard that don’t build tremendous amounts of muscle. Realizing all those other things that need to go into being your best.
When you say that there’s other things, what do you classify as these other things?
Just looking out for the others of life? Is it as simple as, you’re pursuing muscle and then, all right well your relationship sucks, work on your relationship. Is that …
Yeah. I’ve created a bit of a framework. I’ve got my six pillars, so anyone looking to build their greatest body needs to look at all of these pillars at some level. At some point, one may be a bigger outlier than others or a bottleneck, meaning just holding you back. You know at every point, everyone will have to address these six things, and training I think is very high on the continuum. You’re training needs to be very high on the continuum, because without proper training, you don’t build a great body.
I think sleep needs to be very high on the totem pole. I think the autonomic nervous system, so stress in the autonomic nervous system management needs to be high on the totem pole. Then I add nutrition in there. I intentionally don’t put it near the top, because I think most people overstate the importance of nutrition. I get in a lot of heat for that, but I think when you learn to balance those other three things that come before it, nutrition is actually, no question it’s important, but I think there’s a little bit of some wiggle room there.
It’s the manifestation of getting the other things right.
Right. Then I’ll finish with my statement, and then the last two mindset, and mental health. That includes relationships, that includes the way you look at life. The final one being your environment. I think people overlook your environment, but ultimately we are just filters of our environment. We’re always sensing our environment. The light, the air, the EMFs. All that stuff is a huge consideration that becomes more and more prevalent the more technologically driven we become. Those are my six pillars of a lean, healthy and muscular physique. I think at every point, we should be looking to check the boxes of each of them.
Yeah, that’s just the way I frame it, and I think it’s been very successful, but getting back to this topic around nutrition, you know as well as anybody, your autonomic nervous system, your sleep and your training, impact what you do with your nutrition. People are like, “Oh, it’s all about macros.” Well, no it’s not. Because if I’m in a stressed state, stress is called the ultimate fight or flight nervous system. The parasympathetic is called rest and digest. If I’m in a stressed state eating a chicken breast and a piece of broccoli compared to being in a parasympathetic state eating a piece of chicken breast and a broccoli, it’s two complete different things. I don’t think nutrition is as black and white as people think it is.
I think there’s a huge consideration there for, what is my current internal state and how can I control that, which then impacts the way my body uses my nutrition. I always say, it’s not about what you eat it’s about how your body uses what you eat, and your cognitive state impacts more than anything. Obviously your GI tract and microbiome impact. Your sleep impacts both of those things, your light exposure impacts those things. The things people aren’t considering that really go deep into determining whether you’re gonna build muscle, whether you’re going to lose fat, whether you’re going to be able to have, ultimately a happy life, which is the absence of stress. Maybe not the absence of stress, but the ability to adapt to stress.
One question is, on your Instagram it says, “Body building yogi.” Now you are actually a yogi, is that correct or not so much? [crosstalk 00:12:59].
No yeah, dude. I do yoga. When I’m at home, I do yoga six days a week. I’ve been on the road for a while now so I don’t do it. It’s kind of funny to see, right? Fun to think about. But one thing that I’m actually quite good at, typically, maybe not right now, I haven’t done it in over a month, but is mobility. I think it’s a big part of muscle building.
When I think yoga or when you think yoga, what do you think about?
Most people think skinny people being very flexible. That is a part of it, but I think for me it’s about not just mobility but stability. Obviously this term that I’ve attached myself to is equanimity, mental equanimity.
When I get into a yoga practice, it’s going inside myself and making myself extremely comfortable being uncomfortable. Like getting into positions that are for a guy that my size, is very uncomfortable or very unstable or very atypical, and being able to get there and stay calm. Most people who get there go like this, and you’re like, “Shit.” Your brain starts racing. How do you get into these really uncomfortable positions or previously uncomfortable positions, and calm yourself and obviously create a serene mind while you’re in these uncomfortable positions, while creating stability.
You’ll know, what’s the biggest bottleneck in building muscle? Stability, right? For it’s a skill.
Do you have the skill of actually doing this thing?
Second thing is stability. If you don’t have stability, your body will down regulate muscular contraction. By adding that component of stability in these end ranges where you typically would be uncomfortable, I think I’ve added to my ability to build and retain muscle with greater join mobility, with greater join integrity, and prevent less injuries. That’s where that came in.
When I left body building in 2016, 2017 maybe, I really shifted into this deep dive into yoga, and understanding yoga and doing it on a really regular basis. It’s just over the last maybe six months, hasn’t been the same seven day practice like it was, but now when I’m home, it’s still at least every other day. I’ve learned to find a balance between my family time, my cardiovascular training, my weight training, and trying to find this balance of what it looks like to be the new me. Which, for 20 years, was very different than it is now.
Let me unpack that a little bit more, ’cause from the outside looking in, and this is for the record, our first conversation that we’ve ever had, and it’s nice that it’s on camera. But one of the things that I see is that, perhaps the Ben of say, 10 maybe 15 years ago, A Type, sees the wall, goes through the wall. Now it’s almost, “There’s the wall there. Oh, no, the obstacle is the way.” This very zen approach to life. First of all, is that a fair-
Yeah. 10, even less than that, like five years ago I probably would’ve saw the wall and put my head through it. I would’ve run through it. That was maybe my blessing and my curse of being a body builder was, I saw that and I took it upon myself to get angry with it and try to use anger as my fuel to propel success, and that’s a terrible place to be. I’ll talk about that if you life. But yeah, now it’s this acknowledgment that, and I talk about this a lot of time on my podcast too, every human being or at least most human beings that I am aware of, have some desire to accumulate things.
We all wanna accumulate money, trinkets, muscle, whatever it happens to be. This is all an external journey, people are trying to get things outside of themselves and bring them in to make them happy. We’re all trying to acquire fulfillment or happiness or whatever you wanna define as your internal satisfaction. We’re all trying to accumulate something outside of ourselves. For me it was muscle. I was like, “Man, when I get that muscle, when I’m Mr. Olympia, I’m gonna be the happiest guy. I’m gonna be so fulfilled, I’m gonna be so self confident.” I got there, I was, like I said, 293 pounds, absolutely shredded.
The day before a contest and I looked at myself and it was the most insecure I’d ever been. I wouldn’t take my shirt off at the gym. I was four percent body fat, absolutely shredded and I was very insecure. You get there and you’re like, “Okay, well, why?” I was just one of these fortunate people who was able to accomplish my dream. It’s like the idea of making 100 million dollars. If you make 100 million dollars, everybody’s like, “Yeah, I would happy.” No you wouldn’t, you would be the same insecure, unhappy person you are now, just with more money. That’s the same with muscle. When I realized that, I looked at myself and it was a very stressful time for me.
I ultimately hated my life. There was aspects of my life that I loved, but I realized I had spent 20 years trying to accumulate this thing that was empty. I literally turned the mirror on myself or turned the light on myself and realized that the journey is within. That’s where this transcendence of external desire to accumulate external things came. There’s still a necessity to have things, like I still like things, I still like to be able to travel with my family and have money, but it’s no longer the driving force. It’s like,
“How do I create this internal sense of well being, this internal sense of happiness, this internal joy that exists perpetually?”
It’s not dependent on something outside of myself. It’s like, how do you create it and let that light that’s already inside you shine, rather than having to go seek it from something outside of yourself. Whether it be a relationship, whether it be money, whether it be muscle, whether it food, whether it be drugs. It’s all bullshit, man. The true journey, true happiness can come from within. You can create it every single day in your mind by waking up every day and creating your mind first before the world creates your mind for you, right? We always talk about, most people go out in the world and they’re living somebody else’s dream.
Somebody else goes, “Hey man, come work for me. You can do this, and this and this for me.” You’re building somebody else’s dream, because you woke up this morning and you didn’t create your dream, you didn’t create your mindset before the world created it for you. Wake up every day, get in that mental state of ultimate meditation, and get clarity on the person you wanna become, ’cause without that, you can’t transcend the life you already live. You’re either gonna let the world create you or you can create it first in your mind. It’s either one or the other.
On that, just as I suppose a summary or to add to, people watching this and I can imagine there’s a lot of people watching this and perhaps even an audience right now, is that they’ve got a goal. Let’s say the goal is, they wanna win the national title of some power lifting or body building show. They become obsessed, and you start coaching them and you say, “Well, the reason why you’re not actually achieving your goal is because of that obsessions.” Is that [crosstalk 00:19:22].
No, I don’t think that’s the case. No.
The reason I … Goal achieving is not the problem. You still wanna achieve goals, but realizing the victory is not in the goal or the achievement of the goal. The victory is in the day to day, subjecting yourself to the day to day challenge. This is why I think muscle building is the most beautiful thing on the planet or maybe strength training, whatever it is. It’s because it’s your daily battle ground to become a better person. When you’re attached to the outcome, there’s no victory, ’cause you’ll win or you not win. Say you win and you get there and you’re like, “Oh, well this isn’t quite what I thought. I haven’t become something different, my life doesn’t change the day I win.”
If you don’t win, now you’re self worth is in the toilet because somebody else outside of you said you’re not good enough. Now you’re placing your self worth on somebody else’s judgment of you. It’s not about the idea of goal attainment being a problem, it’s the idea of overlooking the ascension of a proverbial mountain. I’ve been doing some mountain climbing. You climb the mountain, and you don’t go to the top of the mountain and go, “Wow this is amazing.” Everywhere along the mountain you stop and you go, “Thank you. Wow, this is fucking hard. This is amazing.” Rather than going, “This is hard, I have to do this.” No, I get to do this.
The best example was just a few months ago. I climbed a mountain in California, and it was a nine hour climb or something. We were climbed to 13,000 feet. The first hour I was fucking dreading it. I was like, “Oh my God this is gonna be terrible.” My legs were burning, I was out of breath, I was hot, it was sunny. I was like, “God, this is terrible.” Then I literally had this moment of instinct and realization where I go, “Wait, I’m with my two best friends. I’m outside, it’s the most glorious day. I have my legs, I have my health. This is amazing.” In that instant I smiled, and I was like, “Thank you.”
I swear, the next eight or seven and a half hours, it felt like I was floating up the mountain. I wasn’t in any discomfort, I was in joy the whole time. Just ’cause I made that switch in my brain. This is one of my quotes now that people often borrow from me is, “In the deepest depths of your hardest hour or hardest minute, smile, knowing you’re becoming your greatest self.” That’s the objective.
How do I subject myself to that every single day?
I subject myself to a challenge and I smile. For you guys who train, in the deepest depths of your hardest set, smile, because that’s your greatest opportunity to become better.
That’s your greatest obstacle that you’ve put in front of yourself that’s now like, “Hey man, I’m making myself better.” Don’t get angry, don’t be like, “Oh, I have to do this.” Fuck, you get to man. You’re alive. Again, another tangent, I’m a big fan of a guy named Alan Watts. He has some amazing YouTube videos if you guys wanna watch it. He just makes this statement around perspective. Everyone’s waiting for tomorrow, everyone’s waiting for their life, this amazing life that they’re gonna create, the future. They’re talking about, “What’s next? What’s the afterlife gonna look like? How is this gonna be bliss?” What if right now is bliss?
The likelihood of us being alive, is like one in trillions to one, right? What if right now is heaven, what if right now is bliss? What if you’re waiting your whole life and finally you’re getting this chance, and the sperm meets the egg, and fucking you’re happening, you’re here. Now we’re like, “Oh, but what’s next?” No, this is it man, this is your chance, this is your bliss. Fucking live your bliss, create it. Everyone’s always waiting for what’s next, and that was one of the most amazing opportunities for perspective that I’ve ever had is like, “This is it man, there’s nothing after this.” Bring joy to this place, bring light to this place, and make everybody live a better life, because that’s what it’s about.
You said that that’s not always how you’ve lived. But what was the catalyst to make you go-
There isn’t one catalyst. There’s this transcendence of external … There isn’t one event. It has to be a cumulation of events, ’cause you can’t just have an epiphany. Everyone’s always looking for that one thing.
What’s the one thing that helped you put on 100 kilos of muscle or 100 pounds of muscle?
Nothing, it’s this process of every day having the desire to be a better person, to help people, to live from a place of joy, to live from a place of love. It’s perpetual evolution. Just the realization, it’s not an end destination, it’s already in you, it’s who you are.
Everyone is this amazing light, but for some reason throughout our childhood or throughout our life to this point, we’ve placed meaning on events for safety, to keep us alive, that says you’re inadequate or you’re not what you truly are inside. It makes sense. We’re building walls around us to keep us safe and keep us protected as children. Long term, you need to learn to unwind or peel back the layers of the onion to realize, man, you’re already everything you ever need. It’s already inside you. You are perfect, you are here, you’re present, you’re alive, you’re walking, you’re mind works. Ultimately is already a beautiful gift that you’re given.
I know you’re the quite the student of personal development. I saw that you’ve had John DeMartini, who I’ve been a student of for many years. Alan Watts, Jordan Peterson. You’ve got a lot of different people who you look at. Is there any processes that you either use personally or you use with clients to help create or rewrite your past. Say for example, the Demartini process, it’s about looking at the benefits of these. Someone has a hard childhood …
Is there anything that you look up to and-
Kind of all of them, man. I think it all starts with mindfulness. That sounds like this abstract term that people throw around, but what is mindfulness?
It’s paying attention. Paying attention to the way you speak, paying attention to the words that you use in your mind, paying attention to the words you use with other people. That’s mindfulness for me is like, how do you sit? How do you stand? How do you talk? How do you walk? All those things play into this concept of mindfulness. That starts in meditation.
Can I focus right now on a single thing for anything more than seven seconds? Which is a typical person’s attention span. How do I bring my attention to just how I’m sitting? How do I bring my attention to just how I’m breathing? How do I bring my attention to the person that’s in front of me and not my phone? That’s mindfulness. Looking around and being present, ’cause that’s the only way you can begin to change. Without mindfulness, you can’t even begin to change. That’s why I’ve become such an advocate of meditation and breathing is like, without that, change is impossible, ’cause-
When did you start meditation?
I kind of stuck my big toe in, in 2007, maybe 2006. I was going through a hard time, and ultimately I was prepping for a contest or I shouldn’t say hard time. What I believed at the time to be a hard time. Looking back on it, it was like, “You idiot. This is the greatest time of your life.” That’s always the irony of stuff, is like, we’re always looking for, “I wanna win the show, I wanna do that thing.” Fuck, today’s beautiful. Love this. But yeah, so I was lucky enough and blessed to have this man in my life. Ultimately he was my message therapist, or what I thought he was my message therapist. He was an osteopath.
At the time I was asleep proverbially, and we started talking about stuff, and he was just this guy who had his shit together. Four kids, successful business, really articulate, really great outlook on life. I was like, “Man, just talking to you makes me feel better. I leave his place every day feeling better. I’d ask him, “How?” He goes, “Well, what are you doing to develop your mind?” “Nothing.” “Well what book are you reading right now?” “I’m not.” “Well, why not? Every day that guys by that you’re not developing your mind, you’re ultimately regressing.” He gave me a book, it was a book by Wayne Dyer.
Just getting the idea of becoming present and literally my life in that moment I was like, “This is what I need,” ’cause I was going through so much internal turmoil, how the definition I put on it. It was just like stress over my situation or my inability to mentally be able to cope with my situation. He just said, “Well, sit down and meditate.” I didn’t know what that meant. I was like everybody else, fidgety and uncomfortable and sitting at 300 pounds, like sitting on my legs. I’m like, “Ah, this is terrible.” My back started to hurt. Realized that that’s the meditation, that’s the joy of it.
Sitting in discomfort and pain is meditation, because why? It’s the same idea of my time in my life I was going through this hard time, well that meditation is you’re immediate opportunity to sit through that hard time. It’s like, if you’re legs hurt, if your back hurts, if you wanna scratch that itch, don’t. Find the joy in it. Find the realization that your nervous system is there to keep you alive and keep you safe. Thank you, thank you for this awareness of this position or thank you for the awareness of this discomfort.
Eventually breathing it in, and it goes away. You’re like, “Oh, so what is pain? What is the itch?” It’s just some manifestation of your nervous system. You are in control of your nervous system, right? We have a body, we are not a body. We’re a consciousness. If we can learn to be aware of our body and guide our body, it can be this beautiful experience. Most people aren’t even willing to become mindful enough to be aware of that.
Hey folks, hope you’re enjoying this interview with BPAK, Ben Pakulski. While you’re at it, make sure you subscribe to us if you’re watching this on YouTube, to get more great interviews just like this one, and also leave us a review if you’re listening to this on iTunes. While you’re at it, check out my Wolf Pack Program. It’s for trainers who wanna go from good to great. Giving you everything from training, nutrition and the business practices to really elevate your business to the next quantum realm. That one’s at www.personaltrainermentoring.com. You can download a couple of freebees that I’ve got there, if you just check out the website there. Let’s get back to it. This interview is absolutely a slobber knocker. See you on the other side. Now, when you went to University for kinesiology and you finished as a qualified kinesiologist, did you have a practice as … NO?
No, when I finished school, I got a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and decided that I want to get into good shape so I could look like a stud in my suit. I ultimately just wanted to make money and be with women. I was like, “I gotta get in shape.” I got in shape. “Well, I need a goal to get into shape,” so I set a goal to do a show. I did a show and I won. I did another show tree weeks later and I won. I was like, “Oh, this is kind of cool.” I did another one six months later and I won. Then people started paying me to work out. I was like, “Okay, well let’s move to California and make this a thing.”
I always loved body building, but I didn’t think … You never think your ready. I never thought it was quite ready. I was like, “Oh, just keeping going.” Then at that point I was like, “I’m gonna win no matter what I do.” That’s where the switch happened. That’s where the switch happened. I always loved training, and I talk about this all the time. I never said I was a body builder, ’cause I never thought I was a body builder. I was a dude who liked to work out. Then things happen quick, I started getting paid to work out, and I just loved it. But then when you turn pro, it’s like you go from the top of the amateurs to the bottom of the pros.
I realized, unless I get really good at this stuff, I don’t stand a chance. I was obsessed, like you talked about, I was obsessed. I needed to do everything possible to be the best in the world, and that was my vision. “I will be the best in the world.” That’s where the relentless obsession with accumulating knowledge and accumulating the ability to work. All these things added up to my knowledge base and my desire to figure out my mind. My mind was always my weakest link. My physical ability was probably great, but my ental ability was always hard. I struggled to challenge myself. I hated training, I didn’t like being uncomfortable.
I grew up as an overweight, lazy kid. Family of alcoholics, nobody ever graduated high school, everybody was obese. I didn’t come from motivated people who were army people and driven, and very proper. I was none of that shit. I played video games and ate Doritos. That was my life.
How do you turn that into your greatest asset?
Well it’s because I had pain, man. I sucked, I was lazy, I hated the hard work. But I also hated the fact that I knew I was lazy. That drove me to be like, “No, I will not be lazy. What do I have to do to not be lazy?” That was what drove that chip on my shoulder that ultimately propelled success.
With the kinesiology background, did that paint or change the lens of how you approached your training or anything in terms of nutrition?
Yeah, at 17 years old I took an incredible desire to learn. I just wanted to learn everything I possibly could about building muscle because I loved it so much. That’s why I ended up getting into kinesiology. I’ve always just had this desire to understand the process. I don’t know that the degree itself had any … Obviously it had many positive additions to my life, but I don’t know that it was the greatest catalyst.
It gave me anatomy knowledge, it gave me some physiology knowledge. But for the most part, as many people will now, you almost have to end up unlearning what you learned in school when you actually want to go into the application of it, because you’re learning this rope memorization skill from a textbook, but you’re not learning any application. The anatomy has been beneficial, the physiology is beneficial, but actual application and stuff, it was almost like relearning it all.
Now going into the next, I suppose, part of this interview is, talking about your business and life. I’ve been researching you online, listened to a lot of your podcasts. I’ve noted that you’ve got the MI40 program, you’ve got the MI40 gym, you’ve got the MI40 nation. You’ve got your courses, which you travel all around the world for, you’ve got your muscle camps, you’ve done I think two documentaries that I’ve seen, maybe more that I haven’t.
A wife, three kids, and a lot of this was done, built when you were competing. Here you stand, very centered, very grateful. Whereas it’s very common for other people who’ve built and have these different arms of their businesses, including myself, to get quite overwhelmed and let the river run wild.
Have there been times where you’ve gone off on track and what has brought you back? Is it easy now today? Are the businesses self managed? How is your time?
It’s never easy, man. I don’t think there’s any such thing as going off track. I think it’s all a part of the process. Every step is a step in the right direction for what you need to learn right now. For me, it hasn’t been a straight line, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s always what you prioritize, you become. If I realize my biggest pain in my life is my ability to be present in love, then I need to make that a priority. That’s all it is. When I was an inspiring body builder, I realized my greatest pain came from my inability to control my mind or my laziness, so I made that a strength, just by focusing on it for a long time.
The greater the pain, the greater the focus, ultimately or the greater the motivation. After having left body building, get to the top of the body building world, I realized my biggest pain was no longer my physical body, it was now my mental ability to love life and be present, and be a great parent and be a great husband, just a great human being. Like everything else in life, you just shift your focus there and you go, now I’m gonna spend my time being better at this. When you do something, you do it. You go all in and you go, “Okay, how can I accumulate this knowledge and these skill sets to make this no longer the bottleneck in my life? I wanna be able to push through this.”
You’ll find the thing that most resonates withy you and pulls you, rather than having to push yourself, it will pull you. For me, I feel this desire now to shift away from the physical journey. Although I love the physical journey, I think it’s a huge part of the transcendence of the mental journey, because it’s your daily battle ground.
Where else in life do you get an opportunity in life to put yourself in front of an opportunity for discipline? Discipline is the gateway to progress. Where else in life do you get that?
Whether strength training or weight training, or any type of athletic endeavor, is the opportunity daily to develop your character.
Am I the type of person who says something and does it? Well, yes or no. If you wanna develop that character just … I say this in all of my talks is like, you need three to five daily opportunities for discipline to win the day. If you write them down the night before and you go, “One, two, three, four, five,” check them off, you win the day. Now I’m building self confidence, I’m building self worth, I’m building a belief in myself that I’m the type of person that will get it done. Now all of a sudden, gosh, I’m this supremely confident person. I don’t do it every day, most days I do, but I don’t do it every day.
But I know things get in the way, family gets in the way, kids get in the way. If I’m trying to sit down and write in my journal at 6:00 in the morning, my daughter wakes up, I’m not gonna be like, “Hey baby, go over there. I need to write in my journal.” Shit gets in the way, but you do your best as many times without making excuses. We all make excuses. But you do your best to set yourself up for discipline, and develop the inner character, the inner knowing that I get shit done. I’m the person when I say something, it’s gonna get done. Now you believe in yourself, right? It’s like people who cheat on their diet.
Nobody gives a shit if you cheat on your diet, you give a shit. If I have a client and they don’t want to tell me that they had a cheeseburger, I’m like, “Man, why would I care if you have a cheeseburger?” Nobody cares. The only person that should care is you. Why would you let yourself down like that? If you have a goal, fucking do it, ’cause you’re the only person that cares. When you do it and you follow through and you know inside that I’m the type of person that does it, what happens to your self confidence?
All of a sudden you’re sitting up a little straighter. All of a sudden you’re a little more confident. All of a sudden now I’m willing to go out and make that big dive in that huge goal that nobody is willing to do, ’cause I have the self confidence to know that I’m gonna follow through. I’m gonna set a huge goal, ’cause no matter what, I’m not gonna stop. That’s a character trait that we can all develop, which is that daily little victories, that daily little discipline.
What I’m really getting from you is that, that you have the raging fire of obsession to get shit done, but it’s also tempered by calming yourself down, listening to you. Because life is noisy, right? I can imagine on your end-
It shouldn’t be, man. It’s the idea of reactivity versus responsiveness. If you can calm down your mind … Think of your mind like the gears in your mind. If I’m always in fifth gear and I’m always revving the engine high, things around me are just moving too fast, your brain is going too fast, you can’t pay attention. If I slow myself down every morning when I get up, now all of a sudden things move slowly. I can see things, I can hear things, I can feel things, I can be creative, I can pay attention to stuff.
Now I know which direction I need to go. Rather than just going through life with blinders on going fast, it’s moving with intent, but in a focused way. I can focus on everything now, I can hear people, I can feel things, I can feel myself, and I know which direction to go just intuitively, right? Most people are going through life, ultimately, asleep. They got the radio on all the time, they’re always talking ’cause they don’t wanna hear what’s going on in their mind. They’re always doing something.
If you’re that person, this is what you need to do, you need to slow down. That’s another one of my statements that people like to quote me on is, “If you can’t, therefore you must.” If you can’t do something, “I can’t meditate,” think about it. If you can’t slow down, if you can’t think or you can’t set a goal and achieve it, you better make that your priority. Whatever it is that you can’t do, is the very thing that you must do.
Let’s say for example, you’ve got a student or whoever. They’re caught up in the Instagram world, emails, business, training. The first thing perhaps, I don’t know, would be getting them to slow down and meditate? Is that the first thought you go to or?
No, not even. I think for most people that’s another step down the line, ’cause I think the idea of telling you guys to meditate like, “Yeah, I wanna do it.” They’ll do it for one day and won’t do it again. I think it’s breathing. Everybody right now just whether you’re listening or whether you’re sitting here, take a breath.
How long can you make that breath? How much can you pay attention to what’s actually happening in that breath. The expansion of your rib cage, the contraction of your diaphragm. Can you feel that and where do you feel it? Pay attention to the sensation of sitting. How does it feel to sit?
Feeling your contact with the seat, feeling your posture, feeling the tone in your muscles, feeling the heat in your body, where the air conditioning hits your body. The muscle tone in your face, the muscle tone in your neck and in your body. Just start paying attention to that stuff. That’s step one. Just fucking sit there. If it’s a couple times a day, and you may only have awareness a few times a day, but take that awareness and use it as an opportunity to go … You can do it when you’re driving, you can do it when you’re sitting, you can do it when you’re at the gym.
That’s another reason I love the way that I train now is, it’s literally this opportunity to become mindful, to connect, feel. Don’t do, don’t do, feel. It’s not just about doing, it’s about paying attention to the body and feeling your positions, and feeling the way your muscles contract. Just ultimately becoming present, and then taking that and going, “Now I can take this muscle and I can just hammer it, because I’m so focused on it.”
Rather than just going in the gym, putting your music up as high as possible and fucking working hard. If you’re working hard, you’re turning your brain off. It’s like putting the music up really loud. It’s not a bad thing. Sometimes we like to listen to music and sing, but at the same time, sometimes we just wanna connect with our self and become present in that moment. That I think is the gateway to the first step anyways. Being present and breathing, and can you just pay attention to stuff.
Practically when you’ve grown your businesses to the point they are now, whether it’s the gym or the programs, you’ve brought other people into heads of department, managing these things and they share a similar mindset I would assume?
It’s amazing how when I was really focused on muscle and just what I call the X’s and O’s. Sets and reps and volume and load. I brought very particular people into my life who are really good at that stuff. Now that I’ve started to become aware of all the other things that go into living this great life, such different people. Amazing people who have great hearts and great intention and full of love and sincerity, who make me better. Now my team is not just people who are like good at processes, no way. It’s these incredible human beings that are making me better. Every time I interact with them I feel literally blessed to be like, “Oh my gosh, I just wanna give you a hug ’cause I’m so thankful for the energy you brought to this room today, for the presents you brought.”
It sounds weird, but everyone who’s in my life right now or most people, not all but most, are just adding to my life, rather than taking away. Which is such a beautiful thing. I wake up every morning, and before I even up my eyes, I’m grateful. I start in this little circle, the bullseye, and I expand outward. When I say in the circle, literally my daughter’s laying right beside me, so I start being grateful for her, and then my wife and then my sons. Just building the circle. I’m going, “God, these people impact my life and I’m so blessed to be able to sit here with you guys and talk about all these businesses and talk with you.
Being in Australia and wake up and am grateful for the sun and the air and fuck, people are … It’s such an amazing feeling. If you can create gratitude in your nervous system, bring that to every situation in life. Take a second and just create that circle, and you’re bringing this emotion of gratitude. Then it’s actually real where you can feel it and you can pass it to everybody. You guys can feel it on me. That’s a cool thing to bring to life man, is bringing that emotion and true sense of gratitude, because then people will bring it to you.
You were talking before about how you started as a kid from not a disadvantage, but it was behind the apple so-to-speak, in terms of knowing about business. Fair to say?
You’ve built a successful business, people come to see you, you’ve become a go-to guy in terms of muscle building. I noted one of the stories that you told in one of your interviews was that, the supplement companies came to you, I think it was 2008, and said, “Name a price.” Gave you a contract, and then six months later, they’ve pulled it. I was wondering, was that an instigator for you to go, “Right, I need to get good at this business stuff. I need to protect myself, this can happen in the future.”
Yeah it was. It just gave me an awareness of like, “Okay, so I’m not in control of anything.” No matter how good I am, no matter how well I perform or how much value I think I bring to this company, there’s things outside of their control and my control, that mean at any moment they can take it away from me. When my girlfriend at the time, now wife, got pregnant, that realization was very present in my mind to realize, “Okay, you’re doing okay to support one person, but you’re not doing okay to support four.” I went from one to four, ’cause my wife already had a son. I went from supporting myself and being this body building single guy, to now supporting a family of four.
I was like, “Okay, you can’t depend on that money over there ’cause tomorrow it could be gone. If you want to be a responsible human, you better start learning business more than you’re learning this body thing.” It was built out of necessity. The business was literally started as a necessity. “Okay, I need to take control of this.” But the evolution of it was ultimately just because when I start something typically, I love what I do, and the obsession comes from, okay, now I’m impacting a few thousand people or maybe whatever, but
how do I take it to a million people?
That’s the obsession now that drives me.
I set the goal for this year to read one book a week, and it’s 52 business books, it’s not 52 muscle building books, which may or may not be the right decision, but I just wanna learn. I understand that if you’re gonna impact more people, you have to learn to expand the vision, and you have to expand the culture. Building that culture is such a big part of creating an awesome business, like you have hear. You’ve created a culture where people come here not because of who you are and what you teach them, but because of the energy you bring to it, the belief system you have, the person you are. I think that’s a big part of business, and that’s what I’m learning. It’s like, what are all those facets that go in to building worldwide enterprise.
Yeah, man, I like it. It’s trademark though.
Where did you start? Where did you start your business journey? Was it a book, was it a mentor, did you sign up for a course?
Yeah, it was Vince Lamoni. In 2011, he hired me right before my got pregnant, he hired me to train him for a contest. We went to college together and we knew each other very vaguely in college. In passing we’d be like bar buddies, you know? He calls me and goes, “Hey man, I’m doing the WBBF world championship. I just watched your movie on an airplane,” or something. He goes, “I love what you’re doing, would you teach me?” I was like, “Sure, man.” He had an online business. I trained him for the contest, I don’t know if he didn’t win the show, or maybe he did win the show. I think he won the show. We did a few shows together.
He goes, “Dude, you realize nobody in the world is talking about this stuff. Where did you learn this stuff?” I was like, “I don’t know, man, it’s what I do.” He goes, “You need to teach people this.” It just happened to be at the same time where my wife got pregnant. I was like, “Perfect, tell me what I gotta do.” Vince was really my mentor, and he’s an amazing guy, and comes from this amazing family, has an amazing heart. He was my mentor. In the first two years of business we were partners, and he kind of guided my thought process. I was like, “How did you learn this stuff, man?” He’s like, “Well, this.” I was like, “Okay.”
That was kind of my first business mentor. Then he instilled in me, “If you wanna grow as a person, you agree to invest 10% of your income in yourself.” Invest 10% of your income in business growth or personal development. Every year since it’s at least that much, often more now in books and courses and mentorships, and masterminds. Just ’cause, you got to pay to play. If you wanna become great, you have to be around great people. That’s a big part of my journey now.
It’s really selective. You guys now, picking who you wanna be around. Not just from a knowledge perspective, but from a, “I wanna be like that person perspective.” There’s many people out there making 100s of millions of dollars who are pissed off, unhappy, angry, and would rather trade places with any of you guys. There’s a lot of levels to it, it’s not just about money, it’s about how do we create an awesome business that impacts millions of people, while still being this grounded, level headed, happy, joyful, fulfilled man, ultimately.
Where did BPAK come from, the nickname?
Funny, dude. My nickname growing up was Pak, like people called me Pak. But BPAK is the most ridiculous thing that stuck was, I was in New York in 2010 at the New York Pro. Do you guys know Jose Raymond, the body builder?
He’s a 212 body builder, and it was the first time I met him. His girlfriend at the time, she’s like, “Jose and I are going to the gym.” He calls her on speaker phone and goes, “Hey, I’m at the gym with Ben Pakulski,” and she goes, “What? BPAK?” First time I ever heard it. Forever it stook. I don’t know, that’s the only way. Yep.
One of the things, I mean you’ve accomplished so much, and one of the things I say with achievement, especially people who wanna grow a business is, setting goals and achieving them create an inertia or plateau in achievement goal. Meaning that, let’s say if you have 10 dollars and you get an extra dollar, that’s 10% of your worth. Were you really motivated for that? If you have 10 dollars and someone offers you 1,000 dollars, you’re super motivated.
But he more you achieve and the more money in this metaphor that you make, the less motivated you are to earn a dollar or 10 dollars. If you’ve got a million dollars in the bank, well then 10 dollars isn’t really that valuable to you. I use that as a metaphor to pre frame this question, which is, you’ve achieved so much in body building, you’ve achieved so much in life with your businesses going around. What is the fire there keeping you? I know you said before about gratitude, but is it that simple or is there an X factor?
I guess the question is, and I say this to most people, as a successful business own you can probably relate to this, is who’s your worst critic?
Right. When you say, “Hey man, here’s all the things you’ve accomplished.” It’s in one ear out the other. I’m like, “Well, I’ve done some cool things and I’m super grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish, but I don’t focus on all these things I’ve accomplished, I focus on all the things that I want to accomplish.” It’s always been my blessing and a curse as a body builder, people will be like, “Dude, your legs are great.” I’ll be like, “Yeah, but I …” I walk off stage and some people will go ask the judges, “What can I do better?” I’d be like, “I already know what I gotta do better. I know more than you guys do.”
From the outside it looks like there’s all these great things, but on the inside, my brain just goes to, “Well, that needs to be a little bit better. I can be a little bit better with that. I’d like to be a little bit more scheduled with that.” My big bottleneck right now, like you guys transparent with the world … What will be a strength of mine is scheduling. When you get really busy, sometimes a blessing and curse of entrepreneurialism is, be careful what you wish for, because when it happens, it comes like a dump of water, like a barrel of water. You’re standing in front of a fire hose trying to take a drink.
It’s like, with so many things coming at you, you’re like, “What do I say yes to? What do I say no to?” Then you try to balance family and physicality and business. You’re like, “Okay, I have so many things.” Be careful what you wish for, ’cause when it comes it’s hard. Learning to balance schedule. Create a schedule. You got a schedule everything, and I’m not good at it. I hired somebody recently to do it. I’m like, “Here. When I wake up in the morning I expect an email that says, ‘Do all these things in this order.'” Then you gotta create somebody you trust, ’cause scheduling this stuff, it’s hard.
You end up running into problems like on the way here, which now I’ve got a 3:30 appointment, it’s like okay … So many things that happen that get in the way. If I’m doing it myself, I tend to give my time and attention to every single person I meet, which is maybe my greatest blessing in life or my greatest asset, ’cause people feel my sincerity and wanting to help. But at the same time, now I’ve got an appointment that I just missed 30 minutes ago because I’m giving you too much time and attention. The first person’s happy, second person’s pissed off. You can’t win. You have to learn to just schedule and be ruthless with your scheduling, and be able to say no to the things that aren’t really contributing to your big picture vision.
There’s a great book called The One Thing. It says exactly what that is. It’s like, “Pick that one thing, and so no to everything else.” Because if your one thing in this world is your greatest contribution to humanity, you’re doing a disservice to the world to not focus on that. If you’re focusing on moving your furniture and doing your laundry and making your breakfast, that’s time I’m not investing to your greatest value. You get that DeMartini stuff. It’s like, cut away everything else, you can just focus on this, ’cause this is your greatest contribution to the world. That’s your greatest contribution to humanity. You owe it to yourself and the world to spend all of your time on that, so cut away everything else.
How many staff do you have?
Last year I was as high as 12. I ended up doing some pretty big cut backs. I’ve got eight maybe, eight.
They’re at the gym?
Spread around. I’ve got some that are remote employees, and I’ve got some in the gym as well.
Actually, including the gym there’d be more than eight.
Right. Is it multiple partnerships in the gym or is it just you …
Just myself and my wife.
Switching gears, talking about nutrition, you said something about 23 and Me genetic testing. Not really nutrition, but on the topic of getting into that area. You’ve done it, but you said 15% of the time, the tests are incorrect. I hope I’m not misquoting you.
Yeah, that’s a quote. I don’t know that as a definitive, but from what I’ve seen, even the geneticists say that the sometimes the information isn’t completely accurate or isn’t complete. I’m not an expert, so I don’t know that I could comment.
Okay. But you still used and you find value in it?
Yeah, I think anytime you’re getting an objective value rather than a subjective measure, it makes a lot of sense to go off of it, right? I’ll often try to match them up. I’ll do my DNA test and then I’ll do what … I don’t know if you guys have it over here, where you have like a Nutrivail, which is basically looking at all of your metabolic pathways, and looking if they match up.
Organic acid tests?
Does what it says genetically match what’s actually happening with the organic acid tests? Honestly most of the time, it’s pretty darn close. It’s pretty interesting to see if I’m deficient in one pathway or lack the enzyme for one pathway genetically. 95% of the time, it’s gonna match up with your organic acid test. You learn to compensate nutritionally.
You’re using a lot of labs? If I was a client or a client came to you, what labs would you run?
Just DNA, blood, and organic acid pretty much. Sometimes we’ll do stool if you’ve got some gut stuff, but most people don’t love playing in their stools, so leave it in the toilet. We just do the blood. If some of that’s stress problems, we can do cortisol or we do hair.
I know you speak to a lot of great people on your podcast. What’s new for you in terms of the world of supplementation and nutritional training? What are you playing with now?
Not much, man. Supplementally, I’m really about the basics. The way I frame the business is like, most people live below baseline, meaning they’ve got gaps to fill in. The way I use supplements is just like, fill in the gaps man, bring yourself up to baseline so then you can look at … Once you’re at baseline, then and only then can you start looking at, “Well now I gotta optimize my body. Then I gotta perform, then I gotta build muscle.” It’s this pyramid that we speak of. But as far as supplements go, there are very few things.
I love Alpha GPC was one that I use every day. I think most people should use that. I just use your basic stuff like your magnesium, methylated B vitamins, fish oil, collagen. Those are your five, use these every day. But the big thing that I’m focusing on not supplementally, is the autonomic nervous system, man. If you’re not paying attention to that, you’re not performing. You’re nowhere near your capacity if you’re not paying attention to that. Whether you’re a strength athlete or a body builder or someone just looking to optimize their physique or optimize their mind, if you’re not paying attention to your autonomic balance, you’re not anywhere near your capacity.
That needs to be included in every training plan, regardless of what type of athlete [inaudible 00:56:22] really.
Where does the kinesiology come in? Are you doing any muscle testing with supplementation?
No. Kinesiology in Canada isn’t actually any muscle testing. It’s just really the … I mean it is in the higher levels, but it’s just the exploration of movement, it’s more like biomechanics. That’s where that fits in.
Has your view around nutrition/supplementation, changed in the last two years?
Yeah. Like yourself, and we’re both students of Charles, and Charles is a big advocate of, “If you’ve got this problem, you’ve got to take this supplement.” You realize that sometimes those supplements are causing more harm than good. I’ve just become a minimalist, man. People are like, “What do you travel with?” I was like, “Collagen and fish oil.” Really, that’s it. That’s one of my best learning points for the last few years is like, if you’re taking in a lot of animal protein, you need to replace glycine and collagen as well, ’cause there needs to be a synergy.
There’s a guy named Chris Master John, he’s a brilliant guy, who talks about a one to three ratio of collagen to meat protein, animal protein. He gives specific mechanisms around methionine and why it needs to be balanced that way. That’s something that I’ve added in and it feels so much better. As a heavy training body builder, there’s a lot of wear and tear in your joints and your soft tissues. As soon as I started adding glycine and collagen in those ratios, my body feels great. Yeah, great. Yeah.
Any brands in particular your recommend?
I know I use the collagen from Designs for Health. We get that in, that’s great stuff.
I’m doing my own. Not yet, it’s coming. I actually combine greens and collagen, just ’cause I think it’s a beautiful combination, most people need it. It’s a really simple formula. Greens taste amazing and collagen. I actually add it in my coffee. Everyone’s doing the bullet proof coffee, I’ll put in MCT and collagen and greens in, and it’s lovely.
Speaking of Charles, he would always come here and measure someone’s hamstring and say, “Oh you’re fat.” Australia has the worst [inaudible 00:58:12] issues in the world. Blah, blah, blah. I suppose with that question, what things do you look at? I know you interviewed that guy in [inaudible 00:58:19]. There was a lot of great takeaways from that podcast, which I highly recommend everyone check out. What supplements does … Chris [inaudible 00:58:28] is it these types of things that you …
For removing [inaudible 00:58:33].
Yeah, yeah. Or protection from the-
Sure, yeah. Sulforaphane is usually my go-to. Making sure you’re getting really good quality food, like lots of vegetables. Make sure you’re supporting methylations, the detox pathways. Saunas, I think saunas … It’s just your body’s natural detox mechanism, right? You’ve got urine, stool, and sweat, and that’s it. Support those. Drink more water, take more fiber, and sweat more. That’s exercise and sauna.
Are you talking about infrared or just standard sauna?
I think both of them are useful. Charles talked about it for being better, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen any data on infrared being any better than … Detox pathways, they talk about it, but I’ve never seen-
I spoke to Mark Shalz about this, and he said all the papers are on normal sauna, not infrared. I do understand where people say if you do have breast implants or breast augmentation, don’t use an infrared because that can-
It’s gonna leak.
Is there a supplement you can’t live without?
No, man. That’s funny, I’ve lived my life since the time I was 16 year old with some strange focus on, if there’s anything I can’t live without, I need to live without it. I used to cycle through, sometimes I’d wear a belt, and sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes I’d wear headphones and sometimes I wouldn’t. Because the idea of dependence on anything … Growing up in a family that was dependent on everything outside themselves, I had some strange awareness. Literally as early as seven years old of like, “I don’t want to depend on anything.” I would intentionally not bring my belt or intentionally not bring my headphones or intentionally not bring my supplements.
You don’t need to depend on anything. Will you die if you don’t have multivitamin for a week or greens for a week? No. Cycle through things. We’re meant to live in a cyclical manner. There should always been winter, there should always be spring, there should always be summer, metaphorically and literally, even though we don’t really have it here. But we have seasons right? I mean it is what it is. We have seasons of life and we have seasons of food.
I think that’s the same way I frame my nutrition is, if it’s not sunny outside, I probably don’t eat a lot of fruit. I’ll probably eat a lot of meat and a lot of fats. When it’s sunny outside, I’ll shift into eating more carbohydrates, ’cause the vitamin D is gonna allow your body to use more carbohydrates effectively. There’s tons of interesting research around that. But that just seems to make the most sense to me intuitively. Eat with the seasons, eat with the weather, eat with the sun.
Yeah, not just eat a laboratory-
Well and I did, I did for many years, right? That served it’s purpose, but I realized how dysfunctional I was and how unhealthy I ultimately became because of all those things. Is that what allowed me to become better? Maybe, but could I have done it in more of an intelligent way, had less discomfort, less ultimate dysfunction? For sure, no question. I could’ve been way better. If someone had said, “Hey man, you need to help me,” or, “I’ll help you with this.” It’s funny. I started at 18 years old or 17 at my first University, looking for this one guy who could guide me in all these things.
Like someone who could teach me how to eat, how to think, how to train. I couldn’t find him, and he didn’t exist. I ended up finding Charles and Milos that way, and they’ve both become very good friends. But those are the two guys that I first looked to as being the most intelligent guys in the sport of body building. They kind of became my mentors, people that I looked to for answering those questions. That’s maybe why I’ve tried to model myself after them and to become that guy, so if anyone wants to build their greatest body, they’re like, “You gotta go see that guy.”
Now I know you’ve got so much great information to share, we could speak to you all day, but one of the games that I like to play with all my guests is the one word game, a word association game.
I’m not good at this stuff, but I’ll try.
If I say, “Superhero,” you might say Spider-man for example.
You can tell, I’m not a one word kind of guy.
Well, you can say a few more words, but we’ll try to keep it nice and tight. Favorite Australian city?
Wait, I need to say one word?
Yeah. One/a sentence.
On word [crosstalk 01:02:19].
Favorite body builder?
Body building mags.
Least favorite supplement?
Dr. Jordan Shallow.
Good question. Mentor … Don’t know if I have one right now. I need one. Wayne Dyer.
Do you want a type or just yes or no?
First thing that comes to mind.
Wow. Sydney Crosby.
Hockey player. He’s a hockey player who’s got this incredible work ethic, and this mentality. He’s the best hockey player in the world, but he’s unbelievable.
A food you hate.
Totally agree. We’re at a bar, what are we drinking?
Jack Daniels. Probably water now, but in college it was Jack Daniels.
Favorite exercise? At the moment.
Dead lifts. I could say curling in the squat rack, but …
Least favorite exercise?
A must read book for every fitness professional.
Fitness professional … Anything by Jodas Venza.
A must read book, resource or course for business.
Podcast … Sorry?
He’s got two books, Dot Com Seekers and Expert Secrets.
Podcast you listen to.
Ben Greenfield, Dave Aspberry, Tim Ferris, and then some other obscure ones. I don’t listen to podcasts, I listen to people. If there’s a thing I’m fascinated with right now, I’m gonna go find everything that person’s done. If I’m trying to learn the autonomic nervous system, there’s particular people I’m gonna find. I’m gonna search them on iTunes and listen to everything they’ve done. I don’t usually listen to podcasts. I mean I do, but …
Just the way you select is different. Something you would like to see more of.
Something you’d like to see less of.
Nice. A hobby.
That’s my kids’ favorite movie. Hobby … Reading.
The biggest myth in body building.
Hard work is all that matters.
Never been much of a superhero guy. The hulk.
Number one parenting tip.
They hear nothing of what you say, and see everything you do.
Very good. I think a good place to … Well, we’ll do this and then we’ll get to the other part. But, finish this sentence. I’ll just read them out, and then you can … There’s: I wished, I liked, it’s time for, and shout out to. First one is, complete the sentence, I wished …
I wish or I wished?
I wished … Blank?
It’s not blank, it’s nothing. I realize now in my evolution that it’s all been there for a reason. Every single learning opportunity has been a blessing for me, and everything that will happen will happen, and that should happen will happen. Nothing.
I liked …
I don’t know what I liked. I liked pushing myself further than I thought was psychically possible. That’s one thing I’ve liked in my life.
It’s time for …
Excellence, and upgrading your life one percent every day. Excellence.
Shout out to …
Everybody. Sending everybody love and sending everybody who’s impacted me in any way, I’m so grateful for all my mentors, all my teachers, and everyone literally who impacts my life. If I get to spend five minutes with you, I’m probably taking more away from it than you are, just ’cause I’m grateful for the time and the energy, and the exchange is making me better. We talk about going into a class and me being the teacher, but really it’s just giving me the opportunity to teach, so it allows me to reflect on my ability to learn. Yeah, I’m grateful for everybody, all of you guys. Thank you.
How can people stay in touch and learn more about you?
Instagram seems to be the first place of contact. That’s, bpakfitness. B-P-A-K fitness. I’ve got the Muscle Intelligence Podcast, previously called the Muscle Expert Podcast. Just switched on January 1st. The only reason for the change was, I don’t claim to be a muscle expert and there’s a lot more on the podcast than just muscle. That goes with my business. That’s a great place to find me. You’ve got benpakulski.com, I’ve also got MI40 nation, and probably this we’ll week we’ll be relaunching the website called muscleintelligence.com. That will be out, so lots of different places. Ladies and gentleman, Ben Pakulski. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. Thanks for watching. Remember to subscribe to us on YouTube for more fantastic interviews just like this one. Until next time, train hard, supplement smart, and eat well.