Justin has 15+ years as an S&C coach in the NCAA and NHL and is an expert in sports science, sports performance, nutrition, and recovery. Justin is now the Founder and CEO of Own It, a company dedicated to helping elite athletes and teams improve health and performance through the use of physiological data, behavioural science, and expert coaching. He’s also an author of 3 books.

Highlights of the episode:

  • How to develop buy-in for HRV
  • Duration for passive read of HRV for developing athletes
  • Leading HRV brands he trust for accurate readings
  • How to integrate HRV to a club and how to process the data from HRV

People mentioned:

  • Carl Mcfee
  • Tina Murray
  • Joel Jamison
  • Steve Carter
  • Todd Durham
  • Tony Robbins
  • Dan Osulivan
  • Mike Fitzgerald
  • David Goggins

#justinroethlingshoefer #preparelikeapro #plplivechats #podcast #melbournestrengthcoach

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Listen: iTunes | Spotify

Interview Transcript

Jack: Welcome back to the ‘Prepare Like A Pro’ live chat show. My name is Jack McLean. I’m the host and tonight my guest is Justin Roethlingshoefer, founder of Own It. Justin has 15 years of experience as a strength & conditioning coach. He is the founder and CEO of Own It, a company dedicated to helping elite athletes and teams improve health and performance through the use of physiological data, behavioral science, and expert coaching. And he’s a publisher of three books. Really looking forward to tonight’s episode.

For those new to the podcast, our mission here at ‘Prepare Like A Pro’ is to empower aspiring athletes and staff with practical knowledge from some of the industry’s most inspiring individuals. If you like the show, please show support by following us on Instagram and subscribing to the podcast. We are on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

Welcome, Justin. Thanks for jumping on, mate.

Justin: I appreciate you.

Jack: Let’s get into the start of your career. At what age did you discover you had a passion for high performance and working with athletes? 

Justin: It’s a story I tell often. Like most kids growing up in Canada, I had a massive affinity for hockey. That was my come-to-Jesus moment, I think. I was 13 years old, 12 or 13, and I was playing with 16 year olds. My dad said to me, ‘Son, talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid.’ And from that moment on, I was really trying to be the most consistent version of myself.

Like what does consistency mean? How do I garner consistency? How do I get there? And the more and more that you hear, you get into the personal development ranks today, or you talk about the personal development ranks, and you hear all of these people talk: it’s what you do consistently that creates your outcomes, what you do consistently that creates who you are, what you do consistently that creates your results.

And I learned that at a very young age. And so, for me, it became like what can I control? Controlling the controllables. And at 13–14, as I continued to dive into this stuff, I was reading medical journals and understood the glycemic index and understood the Krebs cycle and how sleep was the key to recovery and how different brain waves would operate.

I would read everything I could get my hands on, when everybody else was just reading comic books or playing outside. And that really fueled me and it, quite frankly, became an obsession of mine. Like, how can I take what I’m doing, what I’m looking at, and create a massive change in my life to get to be the most consistent version of myself?

And I think that was the pivotal moment that I knew right away that I had a massive interest in health and performance. I had a real obsession for it. It was something that you didn’t have to ask me to do. It was something that burned deep inside of me that became a massive, like I said, just a massive passion that I was really, really brought to and that I wanted to know more about all the time. And it led to my educational career. It had a big impact on my playing career and, obviously, has shaped my entrepreneurial career as well. 

Jack: Awesome, mate. Thanks for sharing that. And it gives us a good insight to your mindset. Pretty inspired. It started at such a young age. Apart from your father, who were some other strong influences in your career, as you were developing up the ranks?

Justin: There was a lot. My first internship was actually with Rajesh Patel at Quinnipiac. And he continued to fuel that fire, continued to instill those values and that need for education and need for wanting more. I remember, leaving there, going just like, ‘I need more. I want to figure out how I can be better and understand how to apply this at the greater level.’

One of my strength coaches that I had when I was 16, Carl McPhee back in Edmonton, again was one of those people that was more than a strength coach. He was somebody who was able to understand and really take health as something that lay underneath performance. And really shaped my mindset today that comes back to, and I say this all the time, is peak performance can’t be realized until health is optimized.

And knowing that health optimization is actually the key or prerequisite to peak performance. And so often we’re striving for this, this outcome of peak performance. We talk about this, it’s a buzzword. High performance, peak performance, the strength and performance, you name it. What is performance? And really, we can’t reach that unless our health is optimized, unless we’re truly healthy.

Bring in somebody who has the best long jump, can squat, is the fastest of the line, has the agility of a rabbit and put them in a game with a stomach ache, or put them in a game with three hour sleep, or put them in a game with food poisoning. They’re no longer at peak performance, even though you’ve trained them to be there. Health always underlines peak performance. And so, that was a big one as well.

And then Teena Murray at the University of Louisville. 2011 was when I was introduced to her and worked with her for just to shy four years. And it really changed my trajectory in terms of utilizing data and understanding data and its impact of health and health and performance, and learning how to create an integrated system, an integrated model where there’s your entire sports performance team is integrated and they’re working together, and allowed me to do that.

Like I said, at a young age, but almost 13 years ago, 12–13 years ago. And so, that was really what opened my eyes to that and was able to foster a lot of my own thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and use them in a practical setting.

Jack: On that topic of health and how impactful it is. And all it takes is as a reminder of, like you mentioned, if you are sick, you recognize pretty quickly how important health is when it’s taken away from you.

But when an athlete is feeling healthy, typically they’re at a younger age and they’re maybe in form and they’re feeling really good, but maybe you’re seeing some objective markers or you’re starting to hear things that they’re mentioning and that you can see signs that their health is starting to deteriorate, but they are still performing well at this point.

For the strength & conditioning coaches listening in, what are some tools that you’ve used in the past to develop buy-in from athletes that might be only focusing on those things that you’re talking about, the shiny performance side of things, and maybe disregarding their health?

Justin: It’s a great question. And anytime you can take something subjective and turn it more objective, it’s a big win, because that’s going to help with the whole buy-in factor. But the first thing it starts with is education. It starts with being able to have communication and conversations with your athletes about why health matters. And it’s not just giving stats. It’s not just regurgitating data. It’s being able to give practical and applied suggestions and information. Just like I just did.

Have an athlete recall a time that they had the flu, or recall a time that they had food poisoning, or recall a time that they were sleep deprived and they definitely were not performing at their best. And they were probably searching for like, ‘What is going on? Why can’t I..? Man, I feel terrible.’ No matter how well they prepared for that game or that practice or that tournament or whatever it was, they definitely don’t feel like they’re at their best. And when you can take that and turn it over into data, that’s where things really start to change.

And I did my postgraduate work in heart rate variability, sleep and recovery science, did a lot of work in the lab and then from the lab to practical application in real life settings at Miami. And then in Anaheim and San Diego. And being able to utilize heart rate variability as a metric of understanding how your body’s adapting to stress and strain is a great indicator of health optimization.

HRV is probably if not one of the most misunderstood metrics that we’re tracking in current day, in current, I guess, you can call it strength & conditioning or health monitoring. But when you look at it, at its core HRV is simply a language. It’s the language in which your body is communicating to you how it is adapting to stress and strain. That’s it.

It’s not a good metric. It’s not a bad metric. It’s not: my HRV is high, so that’s good; my HRV’s low, so that’s bad. It’s not a measure. It’s not heart rate. It is truly just a measure of how your body is adapting to stress and strain. And which part of your nervous system, the central or the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system, is being leaned on more.

And when we can understand that, we can lean back and go, ‘Oh, the body doesn’t know the difference between mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional stress.’ And since it doesn’t know that, we can now take an action step when we know what is actually working against us and how we can now start to create a little bit more change in that.

So, if we back up and we say, ‘Hey, I now have a metric that I can look at to understand how my health is being optimized. I know if I need to lean in a little harder, I need to know if I need to create a behavior change, I know if I need to create a different framework.’ That gives empowerment to our athletes and the moment you can empower them to make changes…

And it’s not just coach Justin or coach whoever, telling me that I have to go to sleep earlier, or I have to drink a certain amount of water, or I have to create a certain meditation or breathwork protocol, or I have to manage my stress in a better way, or I have to do anything that’s focused on that health optimization and for the health space, why should I buy in if I don’t understand why I’m doing it?

And yes, I understand that it’s quote, unquote “good for me”, but is there a way in which it can now be brought more to life? Something that I can actually feel, something I can actually see, something more quantifiable? And that’s heart rate variability. Because, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this is like the big connection point.

HRV is the language that our body communicates with us how our body’s managing stress and strain. Our body doesn’t know the difference between mental, physical, spiritual, emotional stress. And so, it brings awareness to us if we’re being honest with ourselves about where that stress and strain is coming from and what changes we truly have to make. Because awareness is the first thing to creating change.

And change requires choosing different. It requires making a different choice. And unless we are aware of what that choice is, we can’t make change. Otherwise, we’re just blindly going through and choosing something that somebody told us, rather than something we’re aware of. And so, awareness is such a big thing, that education and showing the correlation between heart rate variability and those metrics and stress and strain can truly create. 

Jack: I love it, mate. I experimentally visited HRV company a couple years ago and bought one of their devices, the finger pulse, and definitely played around with it. It was quite interesting, actually, during the pandemic, because, like you mentioned, mental stress can have a huge effect on your HRV.

And at that time I’d lost my role, so there was a fair bit of mental stress going on with finding a new job. So, it was a good time to try and measure that compared to a stable six months prior to it. And sure enough, your sleep changes and because of that tool, you do have a gift of awareness. Where maybe if you don’t measure it, you don’t realize as much that day-to-day changes that can be going on.

With the athletes that are wearing that, have you used it with a large scale of group athletes and how have you found it from a practical point of view in terms of time and reliability? 

Justin: Yeah. It’s something that we do with, oh God, close to 60 different NCAA programs now. And again, the big thing that it starts with is education. Because you don’t want to be like Big Brother. For forever we’ve invested in your GPS monitors, your heart rate monitors, your force plate data, your velocity based training metrics.

And what I call that is your in-facility testing, your power tracking, your internal-external loading metrics, whatever you want to call them, but it’s really only looking at how you are performing or how you’re measuring stress in facility. And you might be there for an hour, two, three tops a day.

What’s happening the other 21, 22, 23 hours of the day? Because that’s where the recovery happens. And your athletes are not overtrained 95% of the time. I’d even bet to say 99% of the time your athletes are not overtrained, they’re underrecovered. And we have to be able to understand what is actually happening outside of that.

Are they not getting the quality of sleep that they need? Is there a lot of emotional stress, mental stress that’s being tacked onto the physical stress that we’re putting them under, and that’s pushing them over the edge, that is not allowing the recovery to happen? Are they not getting the shutdown time or the relaxed time that they need throughout the day, because they’re continuing on the go?

And so, being able to have a way to track and monitor what’s happening the other times of the day. That’s again, not this Big Brother effect, but more so an educational tool for the athlete to make those conclusions themselves. That’s where the change happens. That’s where the buy-in happens. That’s where the true mental, emotional, and physical change occurs.

Because it’s not your coach continually saying, ‘Hey, I see this is happening. This is what I need you to do.’ It’s the athlete saying, ‘Oh, I notice this change is happening again. This is what I need to do.’

Jack: And you mentioned the power of storytelling and athletes having an experience. So, would you have an athlete that had a negative experience due to being sick or run down due to poor sleep, whatever it might be, and then you marry that up with the objective data, and then going forward, they can start to see science before they get to that point where they’re run down? Is that the goal for athletes to be able to be proactive? 

Justin: Definitely. So, if you look at it from a couple of things. So, number one is when you’re looking at your power tracking. You’re looking at your GPS changes, you’re looking at your speed changes, you’re looking at your heart rate changes. Anything that you’re doing from, again, just let’s call it the power tracking protocol that you’re following. HRV and health changes will always proceed that by about two to seven days. So, if you’re seeing a downward trend in HRV, you’re probably not going to see a power tracking change through two to seven days outside of that.

And if our goal is to prevent physiological changes, why would we not want to look at something that, ultimately, is a cause and effect of that physiological change? So we can catch it right when it starts rather than seven days in, to having some type of physiological change where it hasn’t been yet expressed physically.

But now all of a sudden we haven’t been tracking anything. We haven’t been looking at anything and we start to see maybe a content loading change on our force plate jobs, or a drop in eccentric load availability. We know, if we’ve got all of a sudden an eccentric load availability drop, and we’re talking about a soccer player, the incidents of an ACL non-contact injury goes up. Well, that’s not preventing anything.

It’s just looking at data and saying, ‘Oh, interesting.’ And then that athlete tears their ACL. You look back at that and go, ‘Yep. There it was. We saw the drop.’ Okay, great. You just proved your own theory. We just proved what’s needed to be there rather than being proactive and preventative in this by creating sustainable base level habit change and buy-in. And the way that we do that is by looking at, again, heart rate variability and understanding habits that are occurring within an athlete’s life.

And, let’s face it, when they come to school, when they come to campus, when they are 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 years old, they are children. They are children, and a lot of these kids are living on their own for the very first time. They don’t understand how to create their own bed routine. They don’t know how to create their own environmental changes. They don’t know how to structure a schedule. They don’t know how to allow themselves a release of the pressure that’s there.

And because they don’t know how to do that they tend to go down very dark roads. And this is where a lot of the mental health component comes in because they feel pressures that they can’t escape from. And the only place that is providing structure for them is their sport that they’re playing. Whether it’s a football team, basketball team, the soccer team, the track and field team, whatever it is, that’s the only structure that they get in their day.

And so, that’s what they yield on. But because they yield on that, they don’t know who they are outside of their sport. And so, it continues to come back to this level of identities, that it’s, ‘Hey, I’m Justin and I’m a hockey player.’ Well, no, I’m Justin and I’m a human being first. And let’s figure out who that human being is, so that we have an identity, a purpose, a mission, a vision, a passion outside of hockey, outside of whatever that sport is. So that when things aren’t going well there, you have another pressure release to eliminate the stress, mental, emotional, and spiritually. So that, ultimately, what happens, we can create the balance that needs to occur within the stress and strain that’s being applied to you.

And we can see that through heart rate variability. We can identify that. So, when you talk about these issues that are coming up with the mental health of athletes, when you talk about being able to look at the base level health optimization of athletes, heart rate variability is the key. Heart rate variability is your first step in education, it is what makes it long term.

It’s not enough to just start tracking HRV and say, ‘Yeah, this is that and we know it.’ It’s all about education. It’s all about education of your athlete, of what you’re looking at. And two, it’s all about education of your coaching staff and your administration to know how to create relationship, to know how to create rapport, to know how to create buy-in, to know how to communicate with these athletes.

Because I’m not going to come up to you and say, ‘Jack, this is what I see in your data. And we’re going to have to create a change.’ No, it’s coming up and saying, ‘Jack, how are you today? How’s everything going? Tell me about school. How’s school going? Tell me about what you’re doing in your house. How’s your family?’ Like asking questions. And when we use data to ask better questions, we ultimately get better answers that get us better results.

And if we’re expecting data to give us the answers, we’re far mistaken. Because we will never be able to get context from data. Context can only be yielded by human beings, and human beings can only ever get that context through communication. But by using data to help us ask better questions of those around us, allow us then to get a greater understanding of what’s actually going on, make better conclusions and thus get better results. 

Jack: You mentioned your research on HRV and consulting professional clubs. For athletes that are listening in, that are pretty invested, maybe it’s the first time they’ve heard of HRV, what would be a protocol that you would introduce with the developing athletes? Is it a daily morning readiness? Is it three times a week? What do you think’s a good place to start?

Justin: Anything you have, we’ll go back full circle, you’ve got to be consistent with it. So, every single morning trying to get the same time reading. Ultimately, you’re doing it passively. 

Jack: What would be your favorite duration, do you think? Doesn’t necessarily have to be optimal. 

Justin: When I say a passive reading, it would be a device that’s already pulling it and collecting it for you. So, you shouldn’t have to lay down and collect it actively. So, there shouldn’t be a 3, 5, 10 minute protocol. Whoop grabs HRV in a passive way, while you’re sleeping. You wake up, you’ve got your HRV score there. Oura does the same thing. Quite frankly, Apple Watch does the same thing. A lot of your wearable devices, I mean, Polar, Garmin, Biostrap, they all measure HRV over the course of the night.

But you want to get your HRV ideally during that last sleep stage, before you wake up. As that’s where you’re going to be most parasympathetic, you’re going to be most relaxed in that state. And so, it’s going to give us a really good indication of how our body’s adapting to the stress and strain that we’ve been under for the last 24 to 48 hours.

And the big thing to come back to here, and I stress this often, is there is no good or bad here. Your HRV could be down, no big deal. Your HRV could be up, no big deal. It is in a trend line. We do want to see it trending in the upward direction, but we have to understand that this is just our body’s way of communicating.

That’s what I mean by it’s not good, it’s not bad. Even though the goal is to be higher, it is not a good or bad thing. It is just simply communication that we can then take action off of. Now, what is not great is if we see a downward trend and we don’t make any changes. But if we see a downward trend, it’s no big deal, as long as we do make changes, so that we can see the changes that manifest in a positive way.

The other thing I come back to all the time is HRV is not a performance indicator. You can wake up with a low HRV and have the best game of your life that night. Just because you’ve got low HRV doesn’t mean that you’re going to perform poorly. What it is is it’s a way for us to understand: do I need to focus a little bit more on my recovery today? Do I need to focus a little bit more on getting a little bit more parasympathetic today? Do I need to come around and focus a little bit more on myself today? Eliminate some of the stressors that are there that otherwise I might not be thinking about?

And so it brings, again, things to the forefront. It brings awareness points forward, so that we can start thinking about these in a more practical, tactical and applicable way that is going to create real change.

Jack: And of the different stresses that you mentioned, do you find that it’s quite individual on what stress will be the dominant one to have a negative impact on a player’s recovery? For example, someone that generally has poor sleep hygiene or maybe sleep is their main one that affects them, when you do ask them, ‘Oh, what’s going on? How are you feeling?’, and they say their HRV was down. And then when you get to more investigating, there’s a bit of a trend where it seems to be sleep, where others might be nutrition, others it might be mental stress. Is there trends or is it more just humans, we’re all the same and all the things are important?

Justin: I’ve got eight controlables that we often talk about. The eight controlables that impact HRV. Think about them as eight levers. The eight controllables are exercise, sleep, hydration, nutrition, immune function, environment, self-care and mindset.

And when you look at those eight controllables, each one controls or impacts HRV on a very high level. And so, you can use that as a checks and balances. If you see your HRV dropping, you can come back to a controllable and under each controllable there’s about 30 habits that are fundamental and baseline to everybody that they should have engaged.

Everything from sleep, you’ve got like a three to one roll. No food three hours before bed. No heavy work or decision making two hours before bed. No blue light one hour before bed. And then activating your parasympathetic buffet or your night routine during that last hour block. Hydration — half your body weight in ounces throughout the day. Environment — seeing the sunlight first thing upon waking up and then watching the sunset at night. And then being aware of the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and auditory, in the environment that you’re exposed to.

So, all of these have habits that are underneath them. And the reason that there’s habits and there’s these eight controllables is that every single morning when you wake up and you look: ‘Am I trending upwards or downwards over the last week to 10 days? What of my eight controllables have I been focused on and made priority, and which ones have I not?’ And immediately when you start to recognize that and understand that, you’ll be able to go through, it’s almost like a checklist.

Yep, exercise was great. Yep, nutrition’s on point. Yep, hydration’s there. Yep, immune function. Yep. Yep. Yep. And then you get to the end and you’re like, ‘Man, self-care. I’ve done nothing for myself the last week. No wonder, I’m trending downwards. Because stress management is off the chart. I haven’t given myself time for breathwork. I haven’t done meditation. I haven’t even given myself some reflection time or quiet time just to shut my brain off. I’ve just been go, go, go, go, go.

You know what? Today I should focus on at least two 20-minute blocks of self-care. I’m going to go sit in the sauna for 20 minutes. Do some breathwork, some meditation, sit in front of red light. And then this afternoon in between class and practice, I’m just going to go for a walk on campus, or I’m just going to go sit in a hammock and take a nap or listen to music, or lay in the athlete lounge and just get some shut-eye or something like that.’

Like that becomes actionable and practical. You can actually do something about that and you can know it. And that’s how this system, or that’s how this process allows us to now have some type of action step attached to the data that’s there. That’s not coach Justin telling you what to do. It’s not coach Jack telling you what to do. It’s you as an athlete saying, ‘I want to own this. I want to take this behavior on because I understand the impact and implication that it’s going to have on my performance, and more importantly, my health, not just today, but long term.’

Jack: And you mentioned the different tools. Pretty much majority of people listening would have a Garmin Watch, or an Apple Watch, or maybe they’ve invested in a Whoop. It’s pretty accessible technology, it’s not all that expensive these days. Are there ones that you prefer when you’re consulting with teams and athletes over others, like from a reliability point of view? Or are they all generally speaking pretty good these days? 

Justin: When it comes back to HRV, there’s two companies that are leading the way, that do a great job. One is Whoop and the other is Oura, on grabbing passive heart rate variability. Now, the other thing becomes, as an athlete, do you want to be wearing a ring or do you want to be wearing a wrist strap? That’s pretty much your personal preference at that point. But both of those are leading the way in terms of data collection, in terms of accuracy, in terms of reliability. All the things that you want controlled in a research-based environment, they’re doing it. They’re definitely leading the way.

Jack: And for the coaches listening in that are interested to get their athletes, or maybe present at a club about investing in some technology in this space, from a practical point of view, are you looking at it at a certain time in a day because you’re getting all the athletes do it in the morning? So, 10AM every day you’re checking in over it. Or is it more something that you’re looking at more thoroughly on a monthly point of view, weekly point of view, for trends of that athlete? Like what’s your way of processing the data?

Justin: It’s a really great question. So, within Own It, actually, that’s how we consult and work with a lot of our teams, is that one, we provide education to their coaching staff. We’ve actually got a full curriculum that they go through. 

Educate them on how do we communicate? How do we create a more integrated system through athletic training, nutrition, strength & conditioning, your sport coach, your administration? How do we create that integrated model that everybody now has a base level of communication, a common language that everybody can lean on? And then, ultimately, what are you looking at when you’re looking at the data? How do you create these changes? How do you use the eight controllables and heart rate variability to ultimately set up your program for success and do things differently?

Second, we’ve got a team of 38 HRV (heart rate variability) specialists, people that have been at the NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball, NCAA, US military level. And we attach that person as a consultant for you that helps guide this. And then the dashboard and framework that we have is being able to not only recommend certain habits and controllables to athletes based upon their data. So, it’s, again, curated for them.

But the dashboard on the coache’s side is able to now see, ‘Hey, where’s the athlete A trending? Are we trending down over the last three or four days? Or are we trending up over the last three or four days? What controllables does this athlete have on? And what’s the habit adherence to these controllables and habits? Are we actually seeing positive changes in behavior change? Or are we seeing negative changes in behavior change?

Are we seeing a downward trend and we’re going to have to go have a conversation with that athlete?’ And, like I said, say, ‘Hey, how’s everything going from a family side? How’s everything going from a personal life side?’ And again, show them that you care because the moment that you’re able to lean in and really build this trust with the athlete, that’s where everything changes.

And so, that’s the best way to do it. Looking at HRV on a day-to-day basis can be very confusing, very difficult, because it’s a very variable metric. It can go high, it can go low. But what you’re worried about is the trend. Are we trending upwards? Are we trending downwards? For three days, five days, 10 days, two weeks, a month. We want to know where that trend is going.

Because again, we have to realize stress is necessary. We have to stress our bodies mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, in order to grow. The issue becomes when we’re stressing mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally all at once. And so, we’re stress stacking, which can break the system. Or when we’re stressing chronically, meaning chronic physical stress over the course of a month; chronic mental stress over the course of two weeks, three weeks, four weeks; chronic emotional stress over the course of a long period of time. That’s what causes the systems to break.

And so, when we’re starting to see these trend lines… And again, I’ve given this example. I’m somebody who’s struggled with mental health thing for a long time. My entire life, really. I talk about it in a couple of my books and where I’ve gone from. I’m usually this happy-go-lucky, life-of-the-party type of guy, but behind closed doors was dealing with deep, deep depression, suicidal thoughts through some of my younger years. And it’s not something that you ever get rid of. It’s something that you cope with, something that you understand better.

And in my life just recently, in the last month, actually, I had to step back in and create a focus point on my mental health. I was under a lot of stress chronically: through the business, through getting married, through my traveling, through the family. Like there was just a lot of things going on. And if you looked at my HRV trend, typically I’m up around 105–106 average, and for about two and a half weeks averaged about 47.

And again, nothing changed physically. I felt great, was training the same way, was still being able to output the same, wasn’t traveling any more or any less. But if I was to be honest, over the course of those two and a half weeks, I got a couple more coaches that I had to work with on the mental game, I went to see my therapist a couple more times, just was having difficulty coping with a few things.

And I had to take a step back from some of the things that were causing that stressor. And it all stemmed from for me that two and a half weeks was a hard mental health push. And by being able to recognize that, by knowing that I’m not broken, knowing that I’m not a bad person. It’s me being able to take data, be able to look at it, be able to understand it. And then be able to take action and, ultimately, put me in a much better place, a much greater operating place. And thus, was better for not only myself, but everybody else that I was serving. And, ultimately, that was closest to me.

Jack: Thanks for sharing. It’s great insight and the fact that we’re all on this journey, and it never ends, so you’re continually going to push the limits. And, obviously, we’re all growing, like you mentioned, in all these different facets, but you’re going to hit that ceiling. And then, once you’ve got this objective measure and that awareness through experiencing and growing as a human, you’re able to pull back before you really crash and burn, and get support around you. Like you mentioned, having a good team of coaching and then a therapist and expert to lean on.

Developing the tools, is that something that Own It works on with the coaches? You mentioned, consulting with clubs and working with the coaches. But is there workshops that people are doing to, once they’ve got the data and they’ve seen trends that they’re helping athletes, you mentioned how important education is on what to do with that data, so they can make decisions on that day and actually start actioning straight away?

Justin: Yeah, exactly. And this is something that we’ve been really trailblazing, is creating this new level of education, providing new education for not only the staffs, but then for the athletes. And it’s unique, it’s a little bit different.

So, with the staff, we’re focusing on understanding what the data is saying, understanding what HRV is, understanding how to communicate, how to create integrated teams. And then understanding what to do with the information once you have it. And how to build that integrated system and integrated team from your different coaches, how to have those conversations, how to make sure there’s a therapist team there.

So, like, how does the nutritionist, how does the athletic trainer, how does the strength coach, how does the sport coach, how does the administrator, and how does the mental health therapy team all work together, so that it’s not, ‘Oh, go see the therapist.’ It’s like, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t need to go see a therapist. Let me work through this first and understand that when I choose to go talk to somebody, it’s there.’

If we were all to put ourselves back in an 18, 19, 20-year-old’s shoes and somebody was to tell you, ‘Hey, you need to go see a therapist.’ What’s the first thing you would say?

Jack: Yeah. You’d be like, ‘Oh, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.’ 

Justin: ‘Absolutely not. I don’t need to talk to anybody.’ And at no point was I mature enough, I don’t know if anybody else would agree, but at no point was I mature enough to go put my hand up and say, ‘Oh, I need to go talk to somebody.’

I just wanted to talk to somebody that I trusted. I wanted to talk to somebody that I had a relationship with. I wanted to talk to somebody about these things. Just talking. We know it gets a lot of the stress and pressure off. It’s like you’ve got a pressure cooker and it’s like you’re keeping it inside. And it’s just building and building, and building, and building, and building, and building. But the moment you release that pressure valve, everything goes away.

And it doesn’t solve it. It doesn’t create the solution you’re looking for. But by just being able to talk to somebody and get a lot of this stuff off your chest and be able to trust that person, which can be any one of those people in that space: your support coach, your athletic trainer, your strength coach, your nutritionist, your administration, whoever it is in that space that you’ve created a good solid relationship with, that can help lead and be the catalyst to going and speaking to that therapist and can be that guide. And so, that’s where we teach and educate the staff with.

And then, from the athlete side, it’s really unique because we focus more on human development, more on personal development, more on who you are, what your passion is, what your identity is. So, knowing yourself beyond the athlete, that your worth is beyond that athletic gift that you have. What’s your passion? What are you excited about? What do you truly want to do?

It was amazing. We were chatting with an athlete the other day. I see this nine times out ot ten. And I was sitting on the other side and I was like, ‘So, Jack, who are you?’ And the athlete would go, ‘Well, I’m a basketball player. And I work really hard and I’m a great teammate. Yeah, I’m a basketball player.’ And they went on for about five or six minutes very similar to that: talking all about their basketball skills, talking about all the things they do from the sense of a basketball team and a basketball player and a basketball court.

And at the end, I was like, ‘That’s amazing. You just told me so much about what you do. But I want to know who are you?’ And he could not answer the question. And it happens nine times out of ten. And that’s where a lot of this goes awry. Because imagine now that athlete gets hurt. Or imagine now it’s senior year and there’s no NBA draft for this player. All of a sudden basketball’s gone. Or three years into their academic career, they still don’t know who they are.

Thus they’re being asked all the time. They’re being asked the wrong question. It’s like, ‘What are you taking in school? What do you want to do?’ Well, how can I figure out what I want to do when I still don’t know who I am? I still don’t know what makes me tick. I still don’t know what my passion is. I still don’t know what any of these things are.

And by doing this and by educating the athlete on who they are, their identity, a lot of personal development, and then understanding base level habits and educating them on how to create this healthy environment for themselves, these healthy baseline habits, you are going to help them be a better human being. And it goes back to what I said: when you have great health, that’s the precursor to great performance; when you know who you are, and you’re a great human being, it’s a precursor to great performance. So, focusing on these things, all of a sudden creates a greater outcome.

Another example, like real life that manifested a week ago, was Oklahoma University, their softball team. Their coach, who has been trailblazing this, created a change in what their focus was. And it was a low pressure environment that focused on human development, focused on helping people identify who they were. And she actually made their starting shortstop the queen of softball. We’re talking like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa type stats from this individual, she’s national team player for softball.

She made her step away from the game of softball last year for three weeks to figure out who she was, to understand who she was outside of softball. She did a lot of internal work, a lot of struggle. It was hard, hardest work she’ll ever do, but most rewarding work she’ll ever do. Because she stepped away from the game. She figured that out. She had support. She had people there helping her. And when she came back, she was not only a better teammate, but a better player, mentally more aware, mentally more healthy, felt so much better.

And they just won the national championship. They’re the best team in college softball. And the reason I tell that story is you don’t have to choose human and health development over athletic success. They’re one and the same. And quite frankly, if you go down the health and human development side, you’re probably going to get a better athlete, a better team.

Jack: More sustainable, isn’t that? Sustainable success. 

Justin: At the end of the day, a hundred percent. Because it’s a true culture shift.

Jack: And going back to your career journey for a second there as well. So, you spent over a decade in elite sport yourself. For the strength & conditioning coaches that are tuning in, what are some of your favorite ways to develop your own knowledge and not only from a science point of view, but also practical communication skills and programming application?

Justin: To be honest with you, a lot of the communication that I have is with my colleagues, with my mentors, speaking with people like Joel Jameson and Teena Murray on a regular basis that you can continue to keep checks and balances in that space.

But all my continuing education, all of my continuing development has all been, to be quite honest with you, and this might catch people by surprise, but it’s been getting out of strength & conditioning. Getting out of these little silos that we live in and understanding the personal development side. Going down and understanding the work of Steven Coulter and the way in which our bodies work, the way in which our minds work, the way in which we get into the zone.

Reading a lot of Dan Sullivan’s work on leadership and how to build organizations, how to build structure, how to build self-development. Getting deep into Tony’s work, Tony Robbins’s work, and Dean Graziosi and Dan Martell, and all of these guys that have found success. This is where I’ve been able to develop myself.

And people ask me all the time, like my priority of hierarchy. And it took me a long time to figure this out, but making sure that my priorities are: my faith — number one, myself — number two, my marriage — number three, my family — number four, my business — number five. And the key here is that priorities are not time.

By far I spend the most time on my business. But when I talk about priority, it’s I never miss date night. I’ll never miss a dinner with my wife. I’ll never miss reaching out and FaceTiming with my family on a special occasion or birthday. I’ll never miss the Sunday afternoon, our Zoom call with my mom. That’s a priority. Those are things that I do not negotiate with. I never miss my morning and prayer session and leaning on my faith at all times. Faith always wins.

By doing that and creating that structure has allowed me to make sure that I can develop myself in the best way possible, so that I can continue to serve, continue to create, continue to show up as the best version of me. And when I do that, I’m able to continually help develop people around me. And it goes right back to that understanding of self-development, human development, knowing who you are at the end of the day is the ultimate performance enhancer, health is the ultimate performance enhancer.

And if we can do that and we can educate on that, we can speak to that and we can talk to that, we are experiencing that our selves becomes true. It becomes realized, and it becomes real. And we talk all about living in alignment with what we’re preaching, what we’re talking about, what we’re educating on and how we’re guiding. It’s not just about eating the right things, getting the protein shakes in and training the right way and having our athletes see that.

But it’s like, no, are we valuing our sleep? Are we valuing our families? Are we showing up the right way for ourselves? Are we showing up the right way for our spouses, for our kids? Are we living life aligned with high values? Like, are we doing all these things?

And when we can say yes, wow, does that take a load of mental and emotional stress off of you, the coach, the practitioner. But also what an amazing role model, what an amazing coach, what an amazing mentor that you are able to be for those people that you’re wanting to coach and guide along the way.

Jack: And for the entrepreneurs or small business owners, those that have created their own startups, you founded Own It. I imagine you didn’t have 38 employees at the start. How did you go about juggling all the different hats of the current business owner in terms of online digital marketing, obviously, bringing new leads in, getting building, your sales experience and then also, obviously, a great product and a great service? So, at what point did you start delegating and bringing in a team around you? But for the early days, how did you go about managing all the different hats that you need? 

Justin: That’s a great question. It’s one of those things that, again, a lot of people are not going to like the answers, but it comes back to patience. It comes back to being willing to sit in it, be so convicted in what you’re doing that you are willing to have patience. Because you know that you’re going to win at the end of the day, because what you’re doing is so needed, is so purposeful, is so intentional.

But if I was to create organization with my thoughts of what I’m trying to say here, is number one — focus on service. Make sure that what you are doing is providing massive value and focus on how you are serving your end customer. If there’s value there, if you’re truly providing value and a high-end service, you’re going to win at the end of the day. It’s just going to take a little bit of time.

Number two is make sure that it comes down to who and not how. You don’t have to understand how you’re going to get there. Understand who is in that seat, who does that better than you. To be honest with you, I don’t do a lot day-to-day within the business anymore, because there’s people that do it better than I do.

I create the vision. I create the strategy. I create the energy behind it. I have the master plan that I communicate with my team to, and everybody else helps to implement, everybody else helps to direct it. Everybody helps to do it because they do it better than me. That’s just straight up, the way that it happens. And when you know that, it takes a big load off.

The other thing is making sure that, you have to develop yourself, you have to develop the patience and willingness to stay in it. And you do not have to be better than the competition, you have to be different. I’ll say that once again: you do not have to be better than the competition, you have to be different.

I read a book. It was right when I was starting Own It. And first probably six–seven months, I was like: how can I stand out? Like, I know that we are doing things differently, but I don’t know how to break out from what we’re doing if that is truly being different. And when I read this book, it said two things are the keys to marketing.

One — you are first. So, you’re first in a category, like you are Starbucks. Starbucks was one of the first that did coffee that way. Well, Starbucks wasn’t the only coffee place. So, somebody else came after them. They didn’t make better coffee, they did it differently. And so, if you can do things different and you can show that you’re different, that’s where people are going to align to you and you’re providing massive service, you’re providing massive value.

And then changing your mindset on how long it’s going to take is another one. If I said to you, ‘Jack, you know what? You’re going to be successful. You’re going to win. But you’re going to have to fail 50 times before you get to where you want to be.’ What would you do when you got your first failure?

Jack: Keep going, so you get to the second.

Justin: Exactly. You’d want to fail faster. ‘Yes. All right, first one. All right, where’s my second one?’ You’re going to try something else. Somebody’s going to say no to you. ‘Amazing. Yes. Thank you. High five. You’re my second one. I’ve got 48 more.’

You go down, you talk to more people. You’re going to start creating more. You’re going to start doing more. You’re going to start taking more action. You’re going to start failing faster. You’re going to start having faith forward. I call it ‘faithing forward’, where you just have so much faith and belief in what you’re doing, that you’re going to win at the end of the day, because you are just consistent.

It goes back to what my dad said, ‘Talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid.’ I don’t care what that payment is. If it’s personal fulfillment, if it’s financial, if it’s getting that spouse you’ve always looked for, I don’t care what it is. But being consistent will always get you to where you want to be.

And that’s the unique part about this is you stay in it long enough, you continue to do things day in and day out that lead to that championship mentality, and you are going to win. 

Jack: That’s awesome. It’s a great framework. Thank you for sharing that. And in terms of highlights, going first with biggest challenge that you’ve had since being a business owner and what did you learn from it, and then we’ll go into highlights in terms of things that you’re proud of. But what’s been the biggest challenge so far in your career?

Justin: To be honest with you, it was this, a bit vulnerable here, but being able to have what I just talked about, have the patience to step back. I’m not a patient person by nature. I want everything yesterday.

Going right back to my athletic career, I wanted to make that AAA team. I made it, great. I wanted to be on that junior team. I made it, great. I wanted to get that scholarship. I got it. I want to play pro. Then all of a sudden going to my educational career. I want that undergrad degree. I want that Master’s degree. I want that certification. I want my massage therapy license. I want that nutrition certification. I want my doctoral research.

I always want to be five steps ahead of where I am. I’m a graduate assistant. I want to be a head strength coach. I want to be a director. I want to be in the NCAA. I want to be in the NHL. It was always like, ‘Okay, step forward, step forward, step forward.’ And never enjoying the journey, never enjoying the process.

And in one of my books, I talk about getting to the NHL was my ultimate failure, because I continued to have success with no fulfillment and I was not fulfilled in what I was doing. I wasn’t happy in what I was doing. I was successful on the outside. Looking in, everything was great. But because I wasn’t enjoying the process, I wasn’t there on the journey.

Jack: Always chasing your next step.

Justin: Yeah. The passion that I had for it dwindled because of that. And that, I think, is the hardest part for me. And I still battle with it every single day. To stay on the path, to be where your feet are. And, ultimately, when you do that, you can back up and understand that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. And that the whole excitement about everything is the process. The whole fulfilling part of it is the process.

It’s not exciting long term, when you sell your company for $10 million. It’s not exciting when you all of a sudden sign that NHL contract. It’s cool. It’s a milestone, but guess what? You’re going to wake up the next day the exact same person that you went to bed the night before. And you’re going to wake up in the morning and there’s going to be something new that you’re going to be looking for.

And it’s the journey that you’re on. It’s the process. It’s showing up and falling in love with the process that’s going to allow you to be successful long term. But more importantly, allow you to be fulfilled while on that journey to success. And you will never peek out. You’ll never reach the summit of your mountain. 

The summit of your mountain ends when you die. Up until that point, you’re on a continual climb. And if you love that climb, if you love that journey, if you fall in love with that, and you continue to be consistent with your day-to-day pieces that you need to do, man, life will give back to you 100 hours.

Jack: I love that. And what about on the flip side, some highlights that you look back on fondly?

Justin: To be honest with you, the mentors and relationships that I’ve built along the way. If I did anything really, really well, that’s just a God-given talent, is building quality relationships. And I can’t replace those with anything. So, that’s probably number one.

And then number one B, I guess you could say, is now being able to run a company, run a business that’s global, that impacts millions of people, but doing it with my wife, who’s my best friend. And so, I think that’s a big aha moment, a big fulfilling moment. And something that is just really impactful and powerful. 

Jack: And it would be remiss of me not to ask, how is it working with your wife? For those that are listening in, that might have the same dynamic where they’re working with their loved one. I imagine it has its fair sets of challenges, but also its rewards.

Justin: You’re a hundred percent correct. It was a learning curve. It took time to understand how to do it. Because, especially over the course of COVID, where you live together, you work together, you cohabitate together, you’re quarantined together, you’re isolated together. So, you really don’t escape anything.

But, to be honest with you, it’s amazing, because our lives are so intertwined. We’re invested in each other’s lives. It’s not, ‘Oh, how was your day? How was work?’ ‘Oh, it was good.’ ‘Okay, cool.’ No, like we know everything, so in depth about one another, it’s incredibly rewarding.

What we did have to do always create specific boundaries. And what I mean by that is making sure that once a week we have date night. Once a week and it’s non-negotiable, we have date night, it’s Thursday night. Whether we have friends in town, whether we have family in town, whether it’s a holiday, whatever, non-negotiable. Date night happens Thursday night. And it’s something that we don’t bring the dog with us. We don’t talk about work. It’s just about us and our relationship and the intimacy that’s there.

Once a quarter we have a staycation. So, I plan two a year, she plans two a year, where we have a completely work-free weekend. Saturday and Sunday. It usually starts around 10:00 AM noon on Saturday and goes until Sunday afternoon, evening. And so, it’s just, again, focusing on our relationship, focusing on us. And then twice a year we have a technology-free weekend, where we just focus on, again, each other, technology’s away.

And, if you see the pattern, it just gets a little bit deeper, a little bit more intimate, a little bit more focused on one another to be able to put these things in place. And during one of those tech-free ones, we set up our schedule for the following year, really, when it comes to our relationship. So, what did we accomplish this past year? How are we feeling? Where do we want to go? We do this for our business. So, why would we not do this for our relationship?

And that’s what’s kept it not just functionable or functioning, I guess you could say, at a very high level, but also what’s allowed it to thrive. And when I talk about it, it’s our relationship. Because it would be very easy for it to get lost in the business and lost in everything else that we’re doing. And that’s where I go back to what I talked about in terms of priority, it’s not about time spent.

If we talked about where we spend our most time, it’s on our business. We spend a lot of time on our business. But these priorities, these things, these weekly non-negotiables of having dinner together every night and having a date night every single Thursday, and these quarterly weekends and two weekends a year that we shut off completely and then plan for the following year, that shows that I value and cherish her, she values and cherishes me, and that this relationship is something that we want to keep on fire.

Now, was it perfect? Not by any means. But the reason that we have these frameworks is that we can go back to something when things get tough or things get hard, or we are not as consistent with saying the things that the other person needs. And it holds us accountable. 

Jack: And from a leader’s point of view, managing a team, how often would you catch up with all your employees? I imagine it would have to be remote. If that’s the case, how often would you see everyone every year face-to-face? Talk us through meetings and how you guys stay connected.

Justin: Yeah, really good. So, creating culture in the company was something that we were really focused on, it was a high priority for us. Because again, the culture is what breeds everything.

And so, we do a weekly touchpoint every Monday morning with our entire team. It’s about 15 minutes long. Get everybody on the Zoom call, see how everybody’s weekend was. And it has nothing to do with business, actually. Everyone goes around, says one thing they’re grateful for, one highlight, and one thing they need help with. And we do that every Monday.

And then we’ve got a Slack channel that everybody’s communicating with on a regular basis. And then once a month we do an all-hands. And this one’s all business focused, making sure that we know what’s going on, we know where we’re going, we know where the growth is, we know where the opportunities are.

And then twice a year we will meet in person. And we usually do one around Christmas time. People will come either down to Miami and we’ll bring everybody in and do a weekend party type of thing, where one day is more fun and enjoyment, the other day is more business and vision. We’ll do that twice a year.

And then we also have two retreats that we hold for clients and customers in different places. We’re doing one in September in Mexico. We just did one in February in Costa Rica. And we opened that up to our employees if they want to come, and our team, if they want to come, they’re more than welcome to. So, another opportunity to see in person.

But the weekly touch base. What are you grateful for? What happened over the weekend that you’re excited about and what do you need help with? And then a monthly all-hands, business focused. And then twice a year in person. And then the option for the retreats.

Oh, the other thing we do is twice a month, every other Tuesday at 10:00 AM, we do a live-streamed workout together. And somebody within the group, within our team leads it. And it’s just fun for us to work out together. We don’t make it at 7:00 AM where you have to get it done before. No, it’s in the middle of the workday, when everybody should be working, but we’re saying, ‘Hey, this every second Tuesday, at 10:00 AM, 10 to 11, this is a break for you to go and work out, and get active, and see each other virtually.’

We all have team jerseys, team uniforms, that we wear that day. And again, it’s just different things that we do for the culture that in a virtual environment you have to be a little bit more creative. 

Jack: Absolutely. That’s great. And great touchpoints and themes. In terms of productivity, you can tell you get a lot done. Like you mentioned, over your career that’s something that you’ve always strived onto the next thing. 

For someone who wants to improve their productivity throughout their day to help their business or performance with sport, whatever it might be, do you have a focus on each day, like maybe a Marketing Monday type of approach? Or do you schedule things throughout your day in your calendar? Do you have an assistant that does that for you in terms of your meetings? Talk us through how you allocate your days.

Justin: If you’re looking to become more productive, just become more consistent. That’s the number one thing is making sure that there’s a massive level of consistency. And when I go back to my hierarchy of faith, myself, my marriage, my family, my business, making sure that you put things on the calendar in that order.

I guess, everybody’s seen the YouTube video of the professor putting the big rocks into the cup first. And when you put the big rocks in first, there’s always room to put the pebbles in around it. And that’s what we end up talking about with the business. There’s always room for business, always. But making sure that there’s room for everything else first. And so, for me, I go back to also who not how, and making sure that the right people are in the right seats.

So, I have a pulse on what’s happening with marketing, but by no means do I spend energy on that. I invest my energy in places where I can really have impact. And that’s in speaking, doing podcasts like this, being exposed to people in garnering the mission, the vision, business development, things like that. That’s really where I spend and invest most of my time and energy. And making sure that the team is valued, feeling that passion and that they’re on the same page.

The unique part about it is that my days are extremely consistent. I’ll wake up every day around 6:15. And I’ll get up immediately. I’ll go spend time in the red lights. I’ll pray. I’ll meditate. I’ll go do a 30-minute zone 2 ride from there. I’ll get my workout in. I’ll go from there into a cold tub and the steam and sauna. I’ll come upstairs, I’ll shower. I’ll get an hour of deep work in. Deep work is a lot of my ideation time, my visioning time. I’ll grab a quick bite of breakfast. 

Jack: Is that like you’re in a journal? The deep work, is that pen and paper?

Justin: No, it’s usually on my computer, but my deep work is planned out. So, I’ve got like a working list that I’ll create at the end of my day of like, ‘Hey, this is something that I want you to do during your deep work.’ It’s like figuring out what a new part of a curriculum might be, or ideating on something I heard in a podcast or one of the books that I read. And it’s like, ‘Hmm, this is great. I want to learn more about this. I want to really dive in and put more of this to work.’ And so, being able to continue to develop and create that space.

And then, to be honest with you, between usually like 10:30 and 5:00 is all used on business development, relationship building and having those types of meetings and conversations. And then at 5:30–6:00, I’m usually shutting everything down. I give myself a 30 minute brain dump window at the end of the day where I write down anything that I want to do in my deep work tomorrow.

Anything that I have like a to-do thing, any ideas that I have going on, so that I can leave them there and park them there. And when I go start making dinner and sitting down with Alyse at about 6:30–7:00, it’s just us at night and it doesn’t boil over and lean into everything else.

Jack: How long did it take you to get to that point of being disciplined?

Justin: To get to that level of structure and organization? 

Jack: Yeah. And sticking to it. Like you talked about the importance of consistency. Like it could be so easy just to turn that 6:00 wind-down to 10:00 PM. 

Justin: Yeah. To be honest with you, it’s always iterating in terms of what I do or what I want to add or change. But I think, to be quite frank, as soon as I made the decision that was aligned with my values of what I wanted to prioritize, it was really an overnight switch.

Because everybody talks about, and again, this is my auntie David Goggins talking, everyone talks about discipline. You’ve got to push beyond and just do it. And it’s like, no, that’s not sustainable. It’s not sustainable to continue to just drive and push willpower and discipline on everybody.

But if you act in accordance to your value system, there’s no decisions left to be made. Because if I say I value my faith, myself, my relationship, my family, and my business in that order, but yet I make my decisions with my business first, how am I living in alignment with what I say I am? And that’s where we run into this problem all the time, that there’s this misalignment of values and actions.

And when there’s misalignment in values and actions, that’s where you get that mental, emotional stress that comes on. That’s where you start to have these conflicts with your spouse. That’s where you start to have these conflicts with your kid. It’s where you have your conflicts with your coworkers and your athletes, and everybody that you’re working with.

Because you’re saying and preaching one thing, but you’re acting in accordance of something else. And when you can act in alignment with those values and you make decisions with that as the main lens, you can put your head on your pillow at night and feel good about it. You can make sure that everything is copacetic in your world.

And it’s not just the discipline factor that comes in. Being consistent all of a sudden becomes very simple in nature because every decision you make goes through that lens of what your values are. That’s why becoming so clear on those values is the first thing that you need to do. For it is the preface, it proceeds everything. 

Jack: And for someone that’s thinking about that now, about prioritizing their values, and maybe it’s an athlete, so for them their whole identity, like you mentioned, the story before is the sport. And there was another athlete that took three weeks out and came back better person, better teammate, and then, obviously, in terms of performance success they won the championship. So, I can imagine a better athlete from the process as well. What would be advice for that young athlete to do? What activities do you need to do to work out your values and your priorities? 

Justin: I’ve got a workbook that actually helps guide people through that. If it’s available on Amazon, it’s just called ‘Own It’. How to master your business and the relationships. 

Jack: We can have the link in the show notes. 

Justin: Yeah, but by simply sitting down and understanding and asking some simple questions. And, to be honest with you, it’s deep work. It is deep, deep work. And the first time I did this, I was 27 years old. And so, like eight years ago. And it wasn’t comfortable. It’s something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

And first time I did it, Mark Fitzgerald, who I worked with in Anaheim, gave it to me and just challenged me to lean in on it. And when I did it, it started to really open up my eyes because I never sat down and never answered the question: what do I value? I had never answered the question: what are the key characteristics that I value? I never sat down and said, ‘Where do I want to be in one year, three years, five years?’

And a lot of it was taken from, again, some other peoples that I’ve done is like Todd Durkin. I’ve learned a lot from Todd and in what he was doing and what he was valuing and how do we make sure that things are in alignment. What gives you energy? What takes energy away? What are your non-negotiables? Where do you see yourself in a family sense, and a relationship sense, and a business sense, and a financial sense? Where do you see yourself in these places and what action steps do you have in place to do this?

So often, especially as athletes, we do this. When we’re coming into an off-season or when we get to school or to our professional team, we set a goal, we get to set certain things, certain frameworks and certain milestones to know that we’re on pace or we’re not. And it’s so easy when we’re going through life that we just all of a sudden pick our head up and we’re like, ‘Man, how did we get here?’ Because we don’t have milestones, we don’t have these step points, we don’t have these value systems that put us in these places.

And again, I was talking with one of my mentors probably, I don’t know, six years ago, and he said something that really hit me in the face and just awoke me to this. It was: ‘If you’re standing in a river and you look down at your feet, all of a sudden you see the water rushing and it’s going fast, it’s going quickly.’ And that’s like, when we have milestones, right? That’s what it looks like when we’re present, when we know where we’re currently at.

But when you look all the way behind you downstream, you don’t even know the water’s moving anymore. When you look upstream far away, you don’t even know that the water’s moving anymore. So, when you’re always looking forward as to where you’re going, what are you doing, and pushing, or you’re looking back as where have I come from, what’s happened, you forget the time is continually moving. It doesn’t stop for anybody.

And being focused on where your feet are allows you to make better decisions, as long as you know what your value system is, as long as you know where you want to go, you can help direct that path.

Jack: Awesome. Well, thank you for everyone that’s stayed with us for the last 90 minutes. And if you tuned in halfway through, highly recommend listening to the very start. This will be for now on our YouTube channel, so you can watch it. And then the podcast recording will be next Tuesday.

Thank you so much, Justin, for jumping on and sharing with us your journey so far in the industry. Obviously, making a huge impact from being published author, over 10 years in elite sport and now running a successful company. So, thanks so much for sharing with us. Success leaves clues. So, not only as a business owner, but also as a person as well. I take a lot from it. And, no doubt, listeners have as well.

What’s on the horizon for you, mate, in terms of 2022? What are you excited about at the moment?

Justin: I’ve loved the direction of our business. We’ve got about six major contracts that are about to close. A lot of our strategic alignments have come into place here. So, from a business sense, continuing to be excited about the impact that we’re making. Going to speak to the National Athletic Directors Association. All 6,500 athletic directors will be in attendance at the end of June. In about a week, to be honest with you, in Vegas. So, by the time this comes out next Tuesday, actually it’s next Tuesday. So, the same day that this comes out, I will be speaking to them. So, really excited about that.

Alyse and I have our honeymoon that we’ve put on the calendar for October. So, going to go to Vietnam and spend two weeks off the grid. We’ve got our team in place to fully be able to operate everything without us for two weeks. So, that feels really good.

We’re just very blessed in where we’re going and the direction that we’re at. Like I said, it’s been an amazing journey and we’re exactly where we need to be. Everything’s exactly as it should be. And have The Big Guy upstairs to thank for that.

Jack: Well said. And for those that want to reach out and connect with you, where’s the best place? 

Justin: Very active through social media. So, Instagram @justinroeth. And that’s actually my handle for everything, whether you’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, on all those platforms. And then Own It app or ownitcoaching.com.

Jack: Okay, awesome. For those that might be driving and listening to the podcast, we’ll add it in the show notes, guys, so you can click those links at the end of your drive. Thanks again, Justin. Really appreciate you coming on, mate.

Justin: Awesome, Jack. I appreciate you.

Jack: Thank you for everyone for tuning in, whether it’d be the YouTube or on podcast. Our next live chat will be with Danny Kennedy, the founder of DK Fitness. That’s at 4:00 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time, on the 1st of July. I’ll see you guys then.

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