Categories super nutrition academy health class
Join me and Lewis Howes as we discuss his journey into greatness and what you can do today to start living a great life too!
Click here to subscribe in iTunes (and download)
Hey, guys, welcome to another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. Yuri Elkaim back with you. I hope you guys are doing great.
Today I’ve got a really special interview; it’s with a man named Lewis Howes. We actually met a couple years ago, connected briefly, and I reached out to him a little while ago because I just stumbled upon his podcast called The School of Greatness on iTunes. It’s awesome. If you’re looking for some really inspirational listening, really awesome, great guests, really good advice in terms of belief system, mind-set, just being a better person. It’s a really cool podcast, and I reached out to him and said, “Hey, I’d love to interview you because—”
What’s interesting is that Lewis actually has a very similar background to myself. Both he and I are former proathletes and kind of transitioned into entrepreneurship. A lot of our experiences have been very similar, and I thought it would be great to get his perspective on what he’s learned through his journey both from a nutrition perspective, health perspective, but also from just being a person perspective. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this interview today. You’re going to enjoy that in just a couple moments.
I think you’ll get a lot of value out of this because even though the SNA Health Class is really about nutrition and health, ultimately, our decisions, our choices, we know generally what to eat, how to behave, but sometimes there are things that hold us back that kind of take us off the right path, and we discuss that in this interview, because it really is about the mind-set and the beliefs and really that inner gain that we all need to work on to become better individuals, better versions of ourselves. I think you’re going to get a lot of value out of today’s interview. Once again, if you have any comments, questions, by all means, jump back over to the blog at SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog.
Without any further ado, we will bring in Mr. Lewis Howes.
Yuri: All right, guys, welcome. I’m here with my good long-lost buddy. We met two and a half years ago. We connected very briefly but I think we’re kindred spirits at some level. His name is Lewis Howes, and I reached out to him about a couple weeks ago.
He has a great podcast on iTunes called The School of Greatness. I told him I don’t even know how I found the podcast, but I’ve listened to every single episode just because it’s so inspiring and full of awesome information and guests and calls to action and different things that help you live a greater life, be it from health or business or personal development. I want to welcome Lewis to the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. Welcome, buddy.
Lewis: Thanks, my man. Appreciate it.
Yuri: Absolutely. You have an interesting story because, like myself, you were actually a former proathletes, and you’ve actually ventured from playing Arena professional football and seeking to get into the NFL and now kind of transitioned that into kind of running your own business and then, at the same time, kind of falling in love with handball and possibly pursuing that at a higher level.
During this journey of yours, what have you learned about your health? What have you learned about how your body works, nutrition, and different things along the way?
Lewis: It’s interesting. I just turned 30 in March this year, and a lot of things have shifted over the last couple of years. I think when I used to play football, it was eating whatever you want just because I’m hungry and I’m constantly beating my body up.
What I realized is that I used to feel tired all the time. In high school and college and playing pro football, I used to yawn a lot in practice. Especially during track and field; I’d always be yawning. I was like, “Why am I yawning? Am I just not getting enough sleep, or am I just tired?”
I think, looking back, now that I’ve definitely created some more education for myself, I definitely don’t know all the nutritional things I need to, but by education myself a little bit, I am almost 100 percent positive it was based off my nutrition. I used to eat just whatever, like a gallon of milk every two days. It’d just be milk all day long, all night long, a huge glass before I go to bed.
I would just eat the worst foods possible. It was like hamburgers, pizza, Hot Pockets, and bratwurst every single day. No fruits, no vegetables…
Yuri: Sounds like me.
Lewis: It was just like, “How much crap can I throw in my body, with as much cheese and everything on there?” I just had really bad eating habits. After practice, football, I’d go have two burritos from Chipotle with double meat in it. That was my nutrition plan every single day: Just throw as much crap in my body as I possibly can.
When I moved to New York City a couple years ago—I’m now in Los Angeles—I watched a couple documentaries. One was Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, on Netflix, I watched that. I was just kind of blown away. It wasn’t even that great of a documentary, but it was just being aware of juicing. I’d never even thought about juicing and what that could do by having those nutrients.
I gave myself a challenge. I said, “I am addicted to sugar and I know it.” I would have candy bars throughout the whole day, and every meal I had to have dessert. I said I’m going to go two weeks without sugar and see what that’s like. It was the hardest thing I could ever possibly do for myself. Every day I was craving it.
I hit two weeks and I said, “Okay, I’m going to go another two weeks; see if we can go a full month.” I eventually went two months with no sugar. I decided to do no gluten as well. After the first day I was like, “How about I just do no gluten?” So, it was no sugar, no gluten for two months.
The first 25 days I lost 25 pounds. I didn’t change anything else up. I was a pretty fit guy, but I was at 250. I remember I never was able to get that big in college. I wanted to be 250 and play tight end, but I was about 220, 225, and I couldn’t put the weight on.
I remember hitting 250 and it was the moment when I saw that my underwear were rolling over top because my gut was kind of—I’m a big guy, so I could fill it out, I looked okay with it, but my underwear rolled over. I think I was a 34 waist until they rolled over, and I was wearing 36, 37 or whatever. I was just like, “Uh, this is sloppy.” That’s when I did the no sugar, no gluten for two months.
It was like, I felt amazing, and I had this energy, this focus and clarity. I was just like, “Wow, what have I been missing out on my entire life? How have I been eating so poorly and been uneducated about it? What can I do moving forward?”
I wondered if I would have had this information when I was in school, if I would have performed better. Maybe I wouldn’t have lost certain games; maybe we would have done better. Who knows?
Yuri: Well, it’s amazing. I think a lot of, you probably can attest to this too. As an athlete, you feel you can get away with murder because it’s just like, “I’m going to burn it off in practice. Everyone thinks I’ve got a fast metabolism.”
Yuri: But as you mentioned, it’s really about the habits. Michael Phelps, for instance, I would be very interested to see if he’s able to switch off from eating pizza and pancakes and all that garbage he eats on a daily basis right now once he retires from swimming. Obviously, as you can attest to, it’s easier said than done.
Lewis: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Yuri: One of the things that I’ve come across with athletes—it’s awesome that you kind of went sugar- and gluten-free for a while—when I suggest to athletes to do a similar thing, they’re like, “Where am I supposed to get my energy from? Where am I supposed to get my carbs from?” because they think it’s all about bread and pasta and stuff.
You talked about having an abundance of energy. Is this something you noticed on and off the field, during training sessions? How did you find your endurance, your strength, different things like that in training, as well as in games?
Lewis: I just felt like I had more focus and clarity throughout the day when I did this a couple years ago. I also implemented a green juice a day because I watched this documentary and was like, “I’m going to try this out.”
I think I just felt like I had super fuel as opposed to regular fuel by taking on this approach, by not throwing crap in my system, and having a green juice every day. I just felt empowered to have more energy. Maybe it was a placebo, but for whatever reason it seemed to feel amazing, in my workouts, I was training harder.
It was like I would show up to these workouts, and it was like I was excited and ready to go throughout the whole thing as opposed to feeling tired and winded after five minutes and pushing and grunting through. That was the real difference, just feeling like I could get through all my workouts with passion toward the end as opposed to barely walking and yawning.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s a huge thing. You’re a big Crossfit fan, right?
Yuri: Nowadays, how do you find your ability to tolerate that kind of intensity of a workout in relation to maybe what you experienced in the past? Have you still been able to maintain a healthy-ish type of diet with where you are now, and has that helped with your workouts with Crossfit or handball or anything else?
Lewis: Yeah, everything in moderation. I’m eating much healthier. I’m not to the extreme, where it’s no sugar, no gluten. I would say I’m gluten-light and less sugar than I used to be.
I’m constantly evolving as an individual and learning every day about what’s good and what’s not good and what works for me and what doesn’t. But I’m also enjoying life at the same time, I guess if you want to call it that, and having foods that I like. I think it’s really just having the awareness. “Okay, I’m going to put this in my body, and it may not give me the best energy.”
But for workouts, I used to…Crossfit’s an amazing workout for me. It’s the best workout that I can get in the shortest amount of time that simulates training for a sport and simulates competition and simulates really achieving your goals and going after your goals. Nothing compares to football in 105-degree humidity with a helmet and shoulder pads and hitting the ground constantly and hitting other guys and smashing your head against people, but it’s definitely a great experience for me right now.
Yuri: Yeah, I bet. I think it attracts a lot of athletes or former athletes because, as you mentioned, it gives them that, as close as possible, that feeling to competition, that kind of goal-oriented workout, which is great. Are you watching the Crossfit Games?
Lewis: Yeah, I went to the Crossfit Games and watched a couple of my buddies compete.
Yuri: Nice, that’s great. How often are you doing Crossfit right now?
Lewis: When I’m in town I try to go three to four times a week. It kind of depends. I’m doing a lot more basketball now and getting my cardio up to train back for handball, just kind of simulate sprinting up and down the court. That’s the one thing that Crossfit lacks, is really the sprints, in my opinion. I’m substituting every other day for basketball, full-court.
Yuri: Awesome, very cool. Let’s shift focus for a second. We’ve talked about some of the nutrition stuff, some of the epiphanies I guess you’ve had over the last couple years.
Now, you, as I mentioned earlier, you have an awesome podcast called The School of Greatness, which is really empowering people to live a greater life from all aspects. I’m going to ask you the question here: What does great mean to you…or being great?
Lewis: Look, you’re turning the tables. For me, it’s really about going after your dreams and constantly evolving to becoming the person you can be. I think if we stick to what we think we know and do the same thing every day and never question where we’re at and pushing ourselves to grow and enhancing what we already have, then we’re slowly dying as opposed to constantly living and growing.
It’s constantly going after your dreams, the things that excite you and scare you at the same time, and living your life by example. For me, that’s greatness.
Yuri: Nice, nice. What is something that scares you on a daily basis? What’s something that you are scared of or were scared of that you were able to face head-on or conquer?
Lewis: I wouldn’t say I’m scared of success or failure, but for me, a big dream is to make the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine as a kid, and I’ve took on this challenge of wanting to make the Olympics in a new sport called team handball.
What I’ve realized is it’s not up to me. I am out of control. I can do everything in my power to make it happen, and I can train and be at the top that I can be, I can work with our coach, we can fund-raise, we can get the team ride around it, but, ultimately, we may lose and not qualify for the Olympics.
Obviously, I’m thinking constantly that it’s going to happen and I’m visualizing it and my head’s in the right place, but it’s like, I could die tonight and not make it. There’re so many elements, factors that can happen that are not in my control. All I can control is where I’m at every moment and what I’m focusing on and my intentions and my training and my preparation.
That’s what I can control, but it may not happen. My goal may not be achieved. The fear, I guess. One fear is like, why even take on a journey if it’s not guaranteed, if you’re not sure, in four years, it’s going to pay off?
But at the other point, it’s like I’m all about the journey, and it’s not as much a destination for me anymore; it’s more about what am I going to learn over these next four years that’s going to fuel my engine for the rest of my life? What are the experiences I’m going to have and the people I’m going to meet and the victories I’m going to go through and the challenges that are going to help me become a better version of myself? For me, that’s what I’m really excited about.
Every day the journey of the dream and pursuing all my dreams; as long as I’m doing that, then I know everything’s going to fall into place. It’s just; you can never control the outcome necessarily.
Yuri: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. It reminds me of a blog post I wrote about two or three weeks ago now. It was called “Why I Don’t Want to Win the Lottery.” It was all about how we’ve heard of people who win the lottery who kind of blow the money because they don’t really have the mind-set to manage money or make it in the first place.
I made that correlation with rapid weight loss or rapid gains in any area of your life. It’s not about losing the weight, it’s not about getting a million dollars, it’s about who you become in the process, in that journey that you go through, because, as you mentioned, that’s the crux of, I think, living; really going through that process, going through those challenges and struggles, overcoming them, becoming a better person in the end.
Yeah, it was very interesting, the response we got from that. A lot of people were agreeing with that, and you’d think that a lot of people would be like, “Oh no, I’d love to win ten million dollars.” It’s interesting to hear people’s perspectives on that.
Lewis: Yeah, for sure.
Yuri: That’s very cool, very cool. What advice do you have for somebody who… obviously this is a nutrition-and-health podcast, but, really, nutrition, weight loss, health, it all boils down to what’s happening between our ears, for the most part; belief systems, mind-set, all that kind of stuff.
I don’t know if you’ve come across people who’ve had food addictions or cravings or they just haven’t been able to reach various goals that they’re after. What advice would you give to somebody like that?
Lewis: It all starts with the mind-set, like you said. I know people that are binge eaters that go on super diets and lose all that weight. Then they achieve their goal and then they just go back to eating and gaining all the weight, and they do that for years. I have a lot of friends close to me who do that. It all starts with discipline and really being disciplined mentally.
That’s what I think athletics and sports gave me a foundation in, how to be disciplined and how to have self-awareness and be able to hold back on things. It’s like a daily practice.
For me, it was so hard to go two weeks without having any sugar. It was like this craving. I felt like an addict because I just wanted to have sugar so bad.
If you’re not strong enough mentally, then you’re never going to be able to do it. It’s about practicing daily. Whether that’s, “Okay, I’m going to try this for two days or three days,” and then see if you can go one day at a time.
And give yourself many goals every single day or every single hour of what to do. Also having a coach or a mentor in any of these things is really going to be helpful at keeping you accountable.
I look at everything in terms of sports-related—business, health, whatever it may be, relationships. If you don’t have a mentor or a coach, then it’s going to be really challenging to keep yourself accountable and have self-control. It’s possible, but it’s much easier to have a coach help you along with everything. And that’s what you guys do with your program; coaching people and supporting them to keep them accountable and stay on track, right?
Yuri: Absolutely. I totally agree. It’s a big thing. I find it is very helpful coming from an athletic background to make the association between sport and business or sport and life because there are so many awesome metaphors and analogies that we can pull from sports to different areas of life, so it’s great.
What about, I’m a big believer in rituals, be it morning or evening rituals, really reducing friction in our lives. I think a lot of times, people, including myself. I’m not perfect by any means. A lot of times we’ll have a busy day. We get home from work, and we’re like, “Oh my God, what do I have for dinner?”
There’s no plan, there’s no preparation in place. I often tell our clients and our followers that planning and preparation are absolutely critical to your success because the less you have to think about things, the easier it is. There’s less friction in your life.
To help with that, I’m a huge believer in morning rituals, evening rituals. What about you? What do you do in the mornings, evenings to kind of set yourself up for an amazing day today, as well as tomorrow?
Lewis: That’s a good question. I think since I travel so much and have different things happening every day, sometimes I get off track on my daily routine and rituals, but one of the things I’ve been doing lately is focusing on not picking up the phone or looking at anything online for the first 30 minutes and really just being there for myself and taking time for myself as opposed to reacting to everyone else, what’s in social media or texts or phone calls, e-mails.
It’s waking up; I put on some calming music. Usually, it’s been Enya lately. I make some tea and I have a balcony that kind of looks over the Hollywood Hills. I sit down on my balcony, have some tea, listen to some music, and just relax and just allow myself to think about the ideas that I have, what I want to accomplish as opposed to reacting to everyone else’s needs first. Really being there for myself first and giving me the attention that I need in order to create what I want that day.
Yuri: That’s great. What about evening time? Do you look back over the day, do little gratitude things or successes?
Lewis: Yeah, I’m always grateful. At the end of the day, whenever I’m around someone, I always ask them what are they most grateful for that day, and then I usually say three things that I’m grateful for as well. I think gratitude’s a huge part of getting what you want and showing appreciation for what you have. I do that but then also, it depends on the night.
Sometimes I’ll…right now it’s been listening to a Spanish-learning app on my iPhone because I really want to learn Spanish. I kind of listen to it for a while and fall asleep to it because it’s a really soothing voice as well. Sometimes it’ll just be to relax, watch a movie and hang out with friends but that’s about it.
Yuri: Awesome, very cool. Before we finish off, the best place to get in touch with you or follow your stuff would be LewisHowes.com. Would that be the best place?
Lewis: That’s correct.
Yuri: You can check out his podcast on iTunes, The School of Greatness. If you want more inspiration, business ideas, personal-growth strategies, just really awesome conversations with really cool people; it’s a really good listen. As I mentioned to Lewis earlier, I listen to it every morning when I’m driving to the airport for my morning flights. It’s a lot of fun.
A final question for you. I know you ask your guests what their definition of greatness is. I’m going to ask you what your definition of health is.
Lewis: Health is awareness of what you put into your body and, most importantly, your mind. If you’re not putting healthy things in your mind, then you’re probably going to continue to mess up your body and your emotions. The most important thing is loving yourself and feeding yourself those positive reinforcements of how powerful of a person you actually are in the world, how your voice matters, how you matter to people.
When I or anyone puts ourselves down constantly or doubts ourselves or tells us we’re not good enough or is guilty or resentful, angry, that is the worst thing you can do for your own personal health. Really being aware of the things you say to yourself internally every single day and focusing on the positive of what you bring to the world, into your family, and into everything. When you do that, you’ll be healthy if you focus on the positive.
But the more you doubt yourself and are resentful and angry, you’re going to be somewhat living unhealthy. It doesn’t matter what you put in your body. That’s health.
Yuri: Well-said. Awesome, buddy. Thank you very much for taking the time. I appreciate it and I appreciate you for putting out all of the inspiration that you do, so keep up the great work. Hopefully, everyone listening has gotten some great nuggets from this former pro athlete, potentially future pro athlete as well. Once again, guys, you can follow Lewis’s stuff at LewisHowes.com and The School of Greatness. Thanks, Lewis.
Lewis: Thanks so much.
Well, there we have it, a great interview with Lewis Howes. Again, a very inspiring individual doing some great things and really getting out of his comfort zone. Moving from professional football and now venturing in to potentially professional handball, which is quite a jump, quite a leap, so it’s awesome. I think there are some really cool lessons that, hopefully, you got out of this brief interview with him that you can take to your life, whether it is pursuing your passion or just eating better, achieving a greater level of health.
Listen to this interview again. There are some golden nuggets in there that I think are very applicable no matter what it is that you’re after.
Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can join me over at the blog at SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog, find Episode 79, with Lewis Howes, and let me know what you thought of the interview. Also, don’t forget to leave a rating and review on iTunes. I highly, highly appreciate and recommend that you do that because, again, we want to get this information out to more people.
I continue to say this. It’s so important that we consume the right information as opposed to watching the news all the time, for instance. We want to get this information to as many people as possible, and we can only do that with your help. Remember, we’re all in this together. I really appreciate you listening to all these episodes.
Again, this is 79 episodes. I’ve got a lot more to come, so I hope you’re ready for them. Once again, thank you so much for joining me, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
About Super Nutrition Academy
Super Nutrition Academy is the ONLY nutrition course that makes it easy for everyday people to understand the complex relationship between nutrition and health. If you're tired of all the conflicting health information out there and want a clear-cut, evidence-based understanding of the nutrition and health topics that matter you, then get started today.