CC 029: How Conscious Effort Yields Lasting Change with Brian DeCosta
How can we go from daily monotony to a life we truly love? Is it even possible to escape societal norms and the security they bring to pursue our passion and make a living out of it? Brian DeCosta did just that; from accountant to thriving fitness entrepreneur in just a couple short years. How did he do it? Through conscious, consistent effort that has yielded him lasting change in both his physical and emotional state of being.
Follow Brian: @briandecosta
Follow Joseph: @josephsheehey
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Joe: [02:50] Brian, thanks for joining me on the Cured Collective Podcast. Super stoked to have you here, man. It’s been a couple years since we’ve now been in each other’s lives and friends. How long has it been now? A year? Something like that – two years maybe?
Brian: [03:02] Yeah. Lots of shifts. Lots of changes. It’s been cool. It’s been cool, man, to obviously be connected with you, see your growth, see the business’s growth. We can get into it, but I remember some conversations we had from when you were first starting Cured, just the rough patches and whatnot, and it’s been cool, man.
Joe: [03:22] Yeah, I was just thinking about that. We were at… an event of our girlfriend’s at the time, there in L.A., and… I can’t remember what we were talking about but it was in the very beginning when I was walking around the Olympia, handing out little baggies of CBD spices, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing. I just quit my job and basically just jumped off a cliff and was ready to build something on the way down, which is similar to what you’ve done as well. I know that you were an accountant for a while, and then you took a leap as well. How long were you in the corporate world?
Brian: [03:56] So I was in the corporate world, I started my accounting profession, technically, my senior year of undergrad in college. My senior year I was working and finishing the degree, and then after officially graduating, I was at it for another 4 years, so basically, like 5 years.
Joe: [04:16] It’s a safe place for a while, but it’s not a very expansive place.
Brian: [04:22] I don’t know about you, Joe, I’m sure you can probably agree to some extent, but it’s like we’re shuttled in to the conveyor belt of life from pre-school, and then we get through college and we get to the job and our first 6 months is down, and our year is down, and then it’s just like… ok, what’s next? Is this it? And it’s like, well you’re up for promotion in like 2 years, and then after that, another 3 years, and then by late 30s, you can maybe be a senior something or a director, and you’re basically going to be doing around the same thing but just making a little more money. So, sit back and just enjoy the ride.
Joe: [05:02] For me, it’s was like, that’s just what I’m supposed to do. That was my mindset the whole time. I had the parents that were saying go to college to get the degree, to get the safe-paying job, to get the benefits, to live in the system. It was just like, I don’t even remember consciously making that choice myself. I think it was kind of made for me and I was put into that avenue.
Brian: [05:26] I agree. Joe, honestly, I agree, man. It’s very interesting to see the shift in mind state when you move into the entrepreneurship space. After two, three, four years, we’re just probably beyond our first two years in this. And just in the first two years how I can look at that situation from being removed from it, like the traditional 9-5, and just see how crazy it is, but when you’re actually in it, like you said, having these thoughts of I want to build my own life, having these thoughts of hey, this isn’t for me, I would look around and be like am I crazy for thinking this because literally everyone that I’m around is just accepting what is happening for what it is. And then I’m thinking – am I asking too much of my life? Who am I to want more? Do these other people want more? Are they just settling? It’s a mindfuck, man. It’s scary. It’s quite frankly scary.
Joe: [06:32] Yeah. So, I know that there’s a lot that’s really driven you to where you are today. If people take a look at you on Instagram right now, your account’s been growing like crazy over the last several months. It’s heavily focused on bodybuilding, training, working out. You’re a couple of weeks out from a competition, I know that. So, fitness and this bodybuilding world is… it’s one of the main aspects of your life. Has it always been like that? What started to get you interested into this world that you’re in now? What did it look like when you’re growing up in your younger years?
Brian: [07:09] It was… honestly, Joe, like… fitness has always been a big aspect of life. I was in sports, I was a soccer player, I was a cross-country runner, I was a track runner; but even younger – like elementary school, middle school – my dad has us doing pretty much every sport except football because my mom wouldn’t let us play. Anyway, shuttled through high school, it was running, soccer. I was a skinny kid – graduated high school under 150lbs – and found the weight room my senior year of high school, just kind of by accident. I had – senior year of high school, sometimes you just need to fill classes just to fill your time – and there was a fitness and conditioning elective that I saw, just like on the course availability; and I was like, ok, I’ll take fitness and conditioning, why not. Well, it was actually a class really designed for the football players and basketball players to stay in shape in the off-season, like in the weight room, really, doing weight training. And up until that point, I literally had just done curls in the basement with my dad’s rusty weights. I’d never squatted before, I’d never deadlifted, never any of these things, so it was kind of like trial by fire. I’m like, I’m in a weight room with a bunch of huge black kids that are frickin’ 250lbs and I’m this frickin’ soccer player, like just a nerd out of place. But I started to fall in love with it and I started to get positive feedback from the other guys in that elective. You can put on muscle pretty quickly and you’re an athlete – and I was an athlete – I had great cardiovascular endurance, so…then through college, the love with weight training just grew.
Joe: [08:58] Yeah, for sure. So I know that you were saying you were like 145-155lb, skinny teenager there, and you talked pretty openly about what you’ve eluded to as an eating disorder, as bulimia, and that experience. Was that right around the same time? Prior to that? And what was that like and how has that process and the process of growing through that really shaped who you are, or affected you in any way?
Brian: [09:32] Dude, that’s a great question, and that’s something that I really was not ok with sharing for… thank god, the last bout I’ve had with, I feel, disordered eating was around my senior year of college; so, age 21. At this point, it’s been 6 years. But for 4 years there, 4 or 5 years, I did struggle with – first it was binge eating; then it kind of manifested after a year into bulimia, and it’s kind of stayed that way, on and off, for 3 or 4 years. Honestly, Joe, if I can really trace it back, and I didn’t have this conscious awareness at the time, but really reflecting, I’ve realized that… weight training, because I started to see great feedback from it, and I derived a lot of confidence from my physical ability in sports – I was going to play collegiate soccer. I was an athlete – I kind of identified with that, and then the fact that I was able to grow muscle pretty quickly. I feel, as like teenagers, when we’re kind of shaky with what we want to do with our lives, we can kind of grasp on to things because we’re good at it or we get positive feedback from others. So, fitness and physical expression was that flagpole in the wind for me, so to speak, where it’s like – I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life; I don’t know what I want to do for my career; but I have this consistent thing that makes me feel good. It’s fitness, so I’m driving my confidence from this, I’m going to go all in. So, I’m a naturally all-in type guy, so, well, how can I build the best physique that I can? And then you start researching, and you start looking at YouTube videos and forums, and reading up on things, and those who come before you. It was all you want to be shredded? Eat in a caloric deficit. That’s what we hear, basic online coaches these days – it’s the caloric deficit. So that’s what I adopted. It’s essentially restriction. And I had no basis for what my macronutrients or my caloric intake should be as a growing 18 year old, 19 year old. To make a long story short, Joe – thanks for bearing with me – I really was undereating a lot, coupled with my physical activity, and I would restrict. I’d have high protein and low carb. I wouldn’t eat a lot because I want to grow muscle but I also wanted to be shredded. I wanted a 6-pack. This is towards the end of senior year of high school into freshman year of college. I remember this one specific time, I was visiting a girl that I was dating at the time in the town over, and that whole day I hadn’t eaten anything, barely anything; and I got home and I was super low energy, super low mood; and I remember opening up the cupboard at my parents’ house and I just grabbed a cereal box of Honey Bunches of Oats and poured a big bowl of cereal and ate it, and then I poured another one and I ate it. And then I poured another one. I finished the box in like 10 minutes. That was the first time that I did that, and I was so confused; I was like why did I do that? I was so angry at myself for doing that. I was unconscious; I wasn’t aware. Well, now, I’m like “hey doofus, you’re not nourishing your body. You’re not loving yourself and your body is like screaming at you like give me nutrition, give me balance.” And then that manifested in the coming year then into then purging, getting rid of the food. Getting sick, bulimia.
Joe: [13:23] Yeah, man. I appreciate you sharing it because it’s something that I don’t personally see males talking a lot about. I competed for almost 4 years and after…
Brian: [13:38] And your physique was freakin’ insane.
Joe: [13:42 I was looking at pictures today, actually, and I was like, damn. But that’s exactly what I was going to allude to is how disordered I became with everything I was doing. Like us, as males, don’t necessarily talk about it that much because we’re supposed to be the stoic ones. We’re supposed to be the ones that don’t struggle. We’re supposed to hold it all together. And let’s be real, we’re human beings, no different than females are, and we struggle with the same exact things. But we’re also really, really good at just binding it up, putting it away, and covering it up; and that leads to some type of a rupture. Whether it be going there and eating a whole box of cereal, whatever it may be – other mental health problems, anxiety, depression – and we gotta talk about that shit. So, thank you for sharing that because it’s real and it goes on a lot more than I think a lot of people understand.
Brian: [14:37] I appreciate that, Joe; and honestly, I’m committed to keeping that as a story that I share often, and as a pivotal part of my messaging online, and just with my life because… it’s ironic, and I’m sure you can agree how from the outside looking in, the fitness industry can be like it’s the epitome of health, and that physique on the magazine cover, and the guy in the article; and he’s so healthy, and he’s so like… has the perfect energy and probably gets all the girls. It’s like, what if you knew that the guy that you’re looking at in that magazine, that 2 or 3 days prior, he ate nothing. He didn’t go out at all, he slaved away doing cardio, he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s not making a lot of money, he’s searching for fitness shoots to pay the rent. Like I see a lot of issues with the fitness space quite honestly; as I get into it, then I just think… as a human, like instead of acting like they’re not there, they need to be addressed because why are we going to put someone on a pedestal and try to be like them when that person themselves is a house of cards?
Joe: [15:54] Yeah. It’s important, man. I think that that’s something that I wanted to commend you on is the transparency and just the educational platform through Instagram. You, as having a community and a lot of other people that you’re friends with, that I’m friends with, that have built communities of people that are watching their every single day, if we’re not being – we, them – are not being fully transparent, we’re doing a disservice to the world, and the mental health ramifications that can be caused by somebody comparing their life to somebody else’s façade, it’s a really, really dangerous place to be living in; and so, there’s a huge responsibility for those people that are building these platforms to just be fucking real, man. Like, I don’t… I was in the bodybuilding world for a while; I posted a lot of pictures and I for some time was finding some type of external validation from it. And then I had to re-evaluate what was going on there, what’s behind the message. Even the other day, I just posted, you know, I’ve been going to therapy a lot the last 6 months, and I’ve actually been in and out of depression. And look at me. I’ve got a business that’s operating really well; I just got engaged; I have all of these things in my life that should make me happy, but yet I’m still working on other things that are really just my internal self; and I’m going to be real about that, and I don’t want somebody to say, oh, I want to be like that person when in fact there’s actually some struggle in the background. And I think it’s really important that we’re all doing that because what are we doing for younger generations, generations to come, people that look to you, people that look to me and say, oh, I just wish I had that. And of course, people should – we want to build people up and inspire people, but we gotta be real; we gotta be fully transparent.
Brian: [17:56] I couldn’t agree more, and I think, you know, for those listening here who admire Joe’s work or perhaps admire my work, please understand that any of the individuals that you follow that are #killingit all the time, I can almost guarantee that they’re not, and I do guarantee you that they’re not because they are human. They have probably some insecurity within themselves as to why they feel they need be this #killingit all the time. As you did share, I do think there’s a huge responsibility, Joe, to just be open and transparent about things. That’s something with this competition prep, I actually made a post yesterday somewhere – one of the platforms that we’re on – this contest prep requires you to be a bit selfish or requires you to be a bit narcissistic because it’s a game of image. And for that, you’ve got to be looking in the mirror more often; you gotta be paying attention to bloating and water and what’s the scale saying, and making adjustments in my diet, in my supplementation, in my, my, my. When you take on this journey to get shredded and gain muscle, if you’re going to do and do it well and be committed, it’s a requirement to kind of really put yourself first, even more so than you do at other times.
Joe: [19:21] It’s true, man; and it’s also ok. I think that’s something that we also need to say as well is there are going to be times in life where you want something and you gotta give it to yourself. I’ve been a people pleaser; I don’t know if you’ve ever been a people pleaser; kind of falling into that role, it doesn’t get you anywhere.
Brian: [19:45] No, you’re right; and I… actually, this is kind of funny how social media we work. I noticed just today I tried to make a post and Instagram’s down. It’s not working or something, but really the caption – it’s so ironic you say that – the caption literally that I wrote out is about this idea of balance and how it’s different for everybody, and how life moves in seasons; and how there are times in life where balance is going to be prioritizing relationship way more than business or friends. There’s going to be times where you’ve been pulling all-nighters for a couple of weeks and you’re gassed out, you’re feeling empty, you haven’t talked to your friends; well, now it’s time to prioritize friendship and you’ve got to be ok with that. You’ve got to be ok with your specific season and giving that to yourself.
Joe: [20:39] Coming more and more into the presence and just living. I know that. I’ve struggled with just… the other day, I was like, just fucking look around, man. Look around. What’s going on? Are you good? You’re good. And just having that constant reminder is something that I have to practice sometimes.
Brian: [20:56] Something that, really quickly, like – I just noticed this this morning – and I think it’s an issue that I definitely want to share on more is, because life moves in seasons, and it’s different for everyone based on what we’re working on at a given time. Like this month, Cured may have a couple of products releasing – you’re like, all-in, balls deep on that. And you should be. You should be prioritizing work more if that’s the truth. Well, then we get on social and we’re scrolling and we see one of our mentors that we really like make a quote post that says if you’re hustling all the time in your business, it’s not a business, it’s a hustle. I’m sure you’ve seen that one, like spend more time. And then you’re like, shit, I’ve been working too much; I should not be working as much. And then you kind of feel guilty. Oh, ok. And then a month later, you shift and you haven’t been working as much on the business, rightfully so, because you had a big last month launching those products. Then you get on social and you see one of these online gurus or a mentor that you look up to sharing it’s 24/7 entrepreneurship, it’s not 9-5. Not everyone makes it, 50% of businesses fail in the first year. And you’re like, shit, I need to be working now. So, depending on when the messages come to us, no matter what, we can feel like we’re out of balance even though we’re not.
Joe: [22:22] Yeah, it’s trusting in your process, in my process every single day and not letting – taking information but not letting everything influence you.
Brian: [22:32] Yes!
Joe: [22:33] Having an opinion and trusting yourself in that, for sure. Dude, so I’m curious, how long before you took the leap out of corporate America were you thinking about doing it, and what was that process like? What was the self-talk like? Bring me into that. You started doing YouTube before you left corporate America, right?
Brian: [22:56] I did. This is… so, long story short, I’ve always been a fan of fitness, fitness industry, fan of YouTube, and learning on YouTube. I think YouTube’s probably the most powerful platform online. We can learn how to frickin’ do surgeries on YouTube, it’s crazy. So, I learned so much from YouTube around fitness. And one day specifically at the office, working as an accountant, sitting in my cube, I stumbled upon… I already knew of Steve Cook, but I think Steve Cook did a video with Christian Guzman, and I was like who’s this Christian guy? He kind of looks like me; he’s my age. I started watching his channel and I’m like holy crap, this dude’s amazing! He’s a couple years younger than me, he vlogs and shows his life down in Houston, and he’s making a killing with his clothing company, and all he’s doing is showing up authentically himself, and he’s into fitness. Then, one of his best buddies, Maxx Chewning, I stumbled on his channel and started watching his channel. And in one of his videos, Maxx’s, I saw my apartment building in the background of the video. I was like, this guy LIVES in my neighborhood, what the eff?! I really started paying attention to them in the coming couple months, and I was like, whoa, ok, these guys are making a living doing their passion and they’re just like me. They’re not god’s gift to the world – and they don’t think they are. They just show up themselves. So, that gave me permission. That showed me what’s possible, and then, I literally remember one video Maxx talked about that point and shoot camera he used. I ordered it on Amazon, got it the next day; literally within the next couple of days, I posted my first YouTube video. I was sitting in my car on my lunch break as an accountant, and I was like, “Hey guys, I’m just going to start sharing fitness content and how to balance the 9-5 work with fitness,” because that was my truth at the time. Literally, like a month later, I connected with Amanda Bucci, who’s my ex-partner, and she, at the time – and still does – has a big, engaged, awesome audience on YouTube and Instagram. And we started dating, like within a couple weeks. She flew out to meet me in D.C., so this is me, within a month of buying this camera, trying this fitness thing, I’m now dating this girl that’s really big in fitness.
Joe: [25:32] Yeah.
Brian: [25:33] The audience starts to find me, all these girls, these guys like “who’s this guy,”
Joe: [25:41] Who’s this guy [inaudible] in?
Brian: [25:42] Yeah, like “who’s this guy?” And it’s crazy, Joe, because at that time, I had no Instagram followers, I had less than 100 YouTube subscribers. I was no one in social media status, right? But because she has 100s of thousands, I started to grow, and that really was trial by fire, again, of what’s possible in the fitness space. So, to answer your question, I started just with helpful content. It wasn’t my intention to necessarily quit my job, that wasn’t even in my stratosphere of possibility. But the way that things transpired in my first 3-6 months of doing the fitness thing, it very quickly became a possibility for it to become a full time thing. And then all the internal struggles came with ‘is it possible?’
Joe: [26:37] Yeah. How do you deal with that self-doubt? ‘Cause I’m sure it still comes up.
Brian: [26:42] Oh, massively. I think it never goes away, I will say that much. So, anyone who’s considering to take the leap, understand it’s going to be something you’ll face and you’ll continually face. For me personally, what struck me the hardest was the imposter syndrome because technically on paper, to become a fitness coach, you don’t need any necessarily credentials. You don’t need to be a Certified Personal Trainer, you don’t need to be a nutritionist/dietician, and I didn’t have that. I had an accounting degree and I had a finance degree, and I knew Excel, and I knew how to report numbers and a P&L statement and things. So, it was very… while I was able to talk the talk with basics of nutrition and training, I wasn’t super buttoned up or knew all my shit, like don’t have an exercise science degree or anything. That was a big thing I had to work through and reconcile in my mind, the fact that, “Hey, Brian, you know, stepping into entrepreneurship and providing a service to someone – what matters most is the fact that your customer is happy at the end of the engagement and they’ve gotten the result that they’re looking for, or at least not the result necessarily, but the service and their pleasure.” That’s what matters. It’s not, who are you. I had to really – and still do – really work through that in the first year, like “hey, it’s ok to put yourself out there and say that you’re a coach. It’s ok to put yourself out there and help people because you know.” I was very confident that I could. I knew that I could help people lose fat, gain muscle, from my struggles prior in life with my relationships with food, with learning how to train over the years. I knew that that was a thing, but it was more so like am I allowed to do this? Will society let me do this? And at the time, I was looking for permission from someone who wasn’t there.
Joe: [28:42] I mean, it’s kind of like… that was how we started the podcast, was talking about you get the degree to get the job to do the thing. So, I have this piece of paper, I went to school, and now people are going to entrust in me, but watch what I can actually do. You don’t need to have a background. You just need to try. You also need to know that you might fail. But in those failures you’re actually going to learn more than just succeeding that first time or getting something because you have a piece of paper or some type of a credential. There’s a lot more done down in the trenches than actually trying something and failing.
Brian: [29:20] And here’s the thing, man. I think something that it a truth is – if I was being honest with myself, and being brutally honest – I was not a good accountant. Now, I got a promotion, I got good marks with my performance reviews, but for myself and my capability as a human performing, I knew I wasn’t doing nearly my best. I would honestly rate myself as a C- at best. In a given work day, 9-5, of true, actual hard work, I was probably only doing like 2 hours, maybe 3. And the rest was kind of like puttering in the kitchen, we had a foosball table, taking a longer lunch, leaving right on time, not staying later. Why? Well, it’s because I didn’t know of anything better before I found fitness, but I knew that I just didn’t like it. I wasn’t fucking passionate about it, and for that, I wasn’t performing well, life was kind of just gray. Thinking back at the time, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wasn’t happy. I was living for the weekend. I was living frickin’ paycheck to paycheck. I was spending my money. What I realized is jumping into something that you truly enjoy and you fucking love, and you can talk about all day, you find your flow state and… just this last two weeks, I had this conversation two nights ago with a guy I live with, I’ve worked like 12 hours a day consistently. I’m not saying that to be like look how hard I grind; I just genuinely… I’ll just lose track of time. Literally 3 hours will go by and I’ll be like, oh, it’s 3AM; I should probably go to bed. When you find that thing that you’re truly passionate about and you do give yourself permission to go all-in on it, yes, it’ll always be work and hard at times, but you’ll just do it. I can genuinely say, Joe, I don’t feel like since I left my job that I’ve worked. And I don’t feel like I’ve truly worked just ‘cause I’m leading from where I know I should be. I’m on my path. That’s something for you guys listening here, there is something out there that you want; there’s something out there that you really like; and just follow that deep whisper in your heart of what you think it may be, because once you take action on that, that seed will start to grow. And that passion that got muted over years of society burying it will just keep growing, keep growing, keep growing, and you’ll be like, thank god I listened to that voice in my head 2 years ago. I promise you.
Joe: [32:03] Yeah, and I really want to touch on a word you keep saying, and that’s permission; because so much of us are just waiting for somebody on the outside to give us that permission when in fact, we really just need to give it to ourselves. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard my story around that word, but when I went to quit my job, I was actually depressed. So, I’ve gone through bouts of depression my entire life, but I was really depressed at the time. I was starting the idea around Cured. I had moved to San Diego, had relationships fall apart. I was by myself in a new city and was really like, should I just go home to Colorado – just getting into a really dark place. I started seeing a therapist there, and he gave me a card. He wrote something on the back of it, it was a business card. He said, “I’m going to reach in my desk. I’m going to write something. I’m going to give this to you, and you’re never going to come back to me. I’m no longer going to have a client, but you need to give this to yourself.” He gave it to me, and on the backside of the business card it just said “permission.” He’s like, “ok,” and I looked at it like… wow. You’re right. That’s what’s been holding me back this entire time. I haven’t given myself permission. And I gave myself permission that day. I turned in my letter. That night, I went to my office literally at 9PM, said I’m not coming back. It was a shitstorm after that of just diving all-in, but that’s all it was, man. It’s permission. I got it on a business card from a therapist.
Brian: [33:42] Oh my god, dude. I hate to keep referencing back to this, but I wrote – and I’m passionate about captions and writing on social – I literally wrote a caption about this, I think earlier this week, and I said, “Everyone was born with a permission slip. If you’re waiting for it to come, it’s not coming. So, let this be your sign.” Everyone has a permission slip to do what they want, but society’s not going to tell you that it’s there. Society’s not going to tell you that it’s in your fucking pocket, so sometimes we need someone, like the therapist that you had, to just… you know, he gave you a permission slip, but that wasn’t his. He was just reminding you like, hey, you have this.
Joe: [34:28] Right. You’ve always had it.
Brian: [34:30] You’ve always had it. My permission was seeing others live their life because they gave themselves permission. I’m thinking like, at first, who are they to do this, or who is he to not do a corporate 9-5 job? It’s like, well, he doesn’t need to. These people you see living their life doing something you may want to do, they’re not special. They just understand that nothing’s holding them back.
Joe: [34:57] Yeah, and I guess even getting back to the social media aspect that we were talking about before, yes, there are some people that aren’t putting their whole truth out there, but there are a lot of people that are putting their whole truth out there every single day and that are truly, genuinely fulfilled and happy with where they’re at in their life and in their process; and that’s because they show up every single day and they give that to themselves and they live just truly authentically in themselves, but then they don’t try to – even tying in the imposter syndrome thing – they don’t look at what other people are doing and judge them for their happiness and say, well I’m doing this, I should feel a certain way. They show up everyday and they cheer every single other person on. And just like the other day, yesterday, you posted something on Instagram congratulating me and Lo. It was so random, it was out of the blue, but you’re cheering somebody on. You’re saying, hey, you just had an amazing time, you just had an amazing, really, just big timestamp in your life happen; I haven’t talked to you in a while, I’m going to say congratulations over Instagram. You’re going to see somebody else succeed, and you’re just going to say congratulations to them, even if it’s not verbally and direct, like you just sit there and say congratulations. I think that that’s something that more and more people need to do, is root other people on as they succeed.
Brian: [36:20] I agree. No, I couldn’t agree more, man. I’m happy for you and Lo, man. I hope you know, I’m looking to you guys as goals for me. Not to put any like, stigma, or pressure on you guys. The fact that you guys are willing to do the work and be imperfect for each other is something I notice and I just want to acknowledge it.
Joe: [36:48] I appreciate that, man. I appreciate it. It goes a long way. It’s uncomfortable, but it goes a really long way. And I think – I’m going to say right now – that that true freedom that we’re fighting for, we’re still not there, but I see it. I see it coming. I see every single day a little bit lighter, a brick comes out of my backpack, taking off a load; feeling more and more of my true self because I’m showing up in my relationship and I’m saying, “I’m feeling a little insecure about this,” or I’m feeling whatever it may be, and I’ve never been able to do that in the past, whether it be a intimate relationship or just a friendship, to get really down into the deep, dark shit and not be afraid to talk about it. It’s uncomfortable, but on the other side, it feels so much better.
Brian: [37:36] That’s something… that I’m taking a page out of your book, man, because that’s something I’ve fought in relationships in the past too is the vulnerability and the willingness to say I’m not ok or, you know, the fact that you were with this guy or in this situation – even if it’s irrational when you say it out loud – just like, putting it out there and just being honest and say “I’m not attacking you; I would just like to share with you where I’m coming from,” because what’s the alternate? We keep it inside, we’re not communicative, and it manifests as us being quieter, us not being as connected, and then… we realize over time that it’s the only path.
Joe: [38:19] It is the only path. It is! I’ve had times where I’ve said, “You know, Lo, I actually felt really insecure when we were sitting there with that other guy and the way that you guys were connecting with each other and talking to each other.” Now, was that rational? No, because actually, the same day I was actually working through something myself. I was telling myself a completely absurd story in my head and I wasn’t really looking at what was going on in front of me. I let it come out of my mouth later in the day, and she goes, “Oh. I’m sorry that you felt that way. This is actually what was going on, and I want you to know that. And I also wanted you to know that I don’t love you any differently or any less for you feeling insecure; and even if you reacted in a way that, you know, wasn’t perfect for the situation, you being vulnerable and actually just conveying what was going on in your head and the story that you were telling yourself helps me understand what was going on. So, I can look at you, and I can say, ‘hey, that’s not true that that was going on, but I understand that’s how you felt, and I love you the same and thank you for sharing that.’”
Brian: [39:25] Dude, this stuff is so powerful, man. I could have this conversation for hours.
Joe: [39:31] It is. It is, dude; it really is. And I think that that’s like… I think that that’s something that – and I know that you talk about this a lot, and you talk about coaching a lot – I think it’s important to dive in to say that we all need to ask for help from other people, and we need to not be scared for that. We need to not think that that means we’re anything less than what we believe we should be or are trying to be. Whether it be in fitness, going for a coach, whether it be in business, whether it be in relationships, like, your relationship’s not broken because you have a coach; your relationship’s actually stronger because you have a coach. Other people kind of need to understand all of that. Some people won’t, but-
Brian: [40:21] There’s a stigma, I think, in society too, like “Oh, you’re seeing a psychologist? It’s because you’re broken. You’re working with a coach because you’re not capable.” I actually think the opposite is true now. I think you’re broken because you don’t have a psychologist, and “broken” because you don’t have a coach. You know, 100s of thousands of people follow me on social for fitness advice, but I’ve had many fitness coaches in the last couple years. I have had many business mentors, many business coaches. Dude, I don’t think I’m like very… honestly, I don’t think I’m very smart. [inaudible] I don’t think I’m the smartest – I’m definitely not the smartest businessman, entrepreneur, or even fucking remotely close to it. I acknowledge that. I know where my strengths are, I know where I’m not good. I had such a belief of what weakness it would portray on me if I would share with my audience that I was working with a fitness coach, because I would think that I’d just get feedback like, you don’t know shit; you’re coaching people, but you have a coach. That’s the story that I would tell myself, and then I would feel weird about seeking guidance. It’s so ass backwards the way that certain people think. It’s so unfortunate, it’s crazy. Like, you’re giving business mentorship, but you have a business coach? Who are you? What?!
Joe: [42:02] The thing that we didn’t know when we stepped into this world is that Tony Robbins has a coach. That’s the thing, that’s how – and I know that you see this now, and I see this now too – but I didn’t know that it really existed, is like there’s… everybody has somebody that they ask for help or for guidance. Whether it be Tony Robbins or whether it be your fitness coach, they have somebody that they ask questions because you can only get so far. I saw this, it was actually probably a long time ago, but you can only get so far only searching things on Google. You can get questions answered, but it goes a lot further to actually sit down with somebody and say hey, I’m struggling with this, I have this limiting belief because of this, and like, what do you think? And they’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been there before in the entrepreneurial world.” We’re all in kind of different businesses, but at the basis, the stories are mostly the same.
Brian: [43:02] Anyone listening here who may not be convinced yet, ask yourself do you think of Michael Jordan any less as a basketball player because he had a coach? Because he had a mindset coach, he had a physical fitness coach, he had a specific basketball coach. What about Bill Clinton? Bill Clinton, during his tenure of presidency, guess who his coach was, his mindset coach? It was Tony Robbins. Tony Robins was Bill Gates mindset coach. So, Tony Robbins had a coach, but then Tony Robbins was coaching the President. So, do you think any less of Bill Clinton becoming President, because let’s play this one out on a grand scale.
Joe: [43:37] It all comes down to just saying it’s ok to ask for help. Ask for help. It’s not going to mean you’re anything less.
Brian: [43:56] Please, please do.
Joe: [43:59] So I want to spend a little bit of time on talking about what it is you do, and how you have built a business around what you said started as a lunch break YouTube “here’s my life” recording.
Brian: [44:13] Yeah, dude, honestly it manifested like this: I got an email after 4 or 5 months of posting content for free online. And when I say for free, it wasn’t this plan like I’m going post content for free then start a business; it literally was just like I’m leading from my heart and intuition. I’m just sharing stuff that helps people, and I was getting positive feedback because my audience was starting to grow. So, I was like ok, I’m doing something right. So, guy emails me; his name is Johnny Leyva. I was living in Washington D.C. at the time. Johnny was ex-Marine – well, current Marine not in service – he served in Afghanistan and he became very overweight once he came back to the States; wasn’t in a good place; emailed me and said, “Brian, I watch your YouTube videos. I’m from the area that you’re from. I don’t know if you do coaching, you haven’t really shared on it, but I would love to work with you if you’re taking on clients.” I’d never worked with anyone at all. I was going to say no, I don’t. At the time, I’d been dating Amanda for a couple months, and I shared with her that I received the email and she was more or less like “you idiot, if you don’t take him on… like, what are you doing?!” Literally, opportunity is knocking at your door and because of imposter syndrome, not feeling good enough, whatever, you’re going to push it away. Like, snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Or what is it? Is that the quote? Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I think.
Joe: [45:44] Yeah, it is.
Brian: [45:46] Either way, I was going to self-sabotage. So, I signed him on as a client; didn’t have anything planned; and then started delivering for him. Got a little confidence there, brought on my 3rd client, my 5th, and then got 20 clients after 6 months. Then, I was like, ok, this is a business. At that point, I’m matching my income from my accounting job – and this is obviously a very sped up version – and then, took the leap to move to California to continue the fitness growth, to be closer to Amanda, and hired my first mentor. As soon as I got out here, I learned how to actually turn it into a business, not just a hustle, send me a Venmo for me to coach you. Then, that started to grow, and brought on my first assistant coach, get my 4th assistant coach, get my 5th assistant coach, and that naturally gravitated into “Hey, Brian,” – and this is the beautiful thing of documenting your story – for those of you who are just starting out, fearing posting yourself and showing how beginner you are, so many people reaching out to me for business mentorship and advice now because they followed my path from when I was an accountant to now having this growing, thriving fitness coaching brand and side that they now want to learn how to do the same thing. So, now it’s naturally the transition’s been do both – mentorship for those who are looking to grow their online fitness coaching business and nurturing the fitness coaching business. So, that’s where I really exist right now, those two buckets.
Joe: [47:25] Yeah, and it was just showing up consistently day after day. You didn’t really know where it was going but you just kept showing up.
Brian: [47:31] No idea, and I don’t know where it is going.
Joe: [47:35] Well, I know you got something exciting coming, so let’s talk about that for a minute before we wrap things up.
Brian: [47:40] Dude, thank you. I appreciate that. So, we are… we’re moving the fitness coaching business to shift slightly, just due to – full transparency – our business model is not optimized right now, dare I say a little bit broken; whereas currently, we-
Joe: [48:02] You’re not allowed to be broken!
Brian: [48:04] Not allowed to be! Yeah, this model’s been broken for a little bit in the sense that currently, our coaching side only really offers more of a high-ticket, one-on-one coaching service, which is [inaudible] with the client, but it’s at a premium price, for the commitment for them and for our time. The challenge in the last 6 months is how can we help more people and set people up to win, providing great service but with less of our direct time, where they’re going to have great service. So, long story short, we’re launching a new, brand new, called Shredded for Life, where we’re teaching body fat reduction, creating the body of your dreams but having it be sustainable, and sustainable for life. In the face of all these popular current keto diets and intermittent fasting, and in my heart of hearts, I’ve always leaded from intuition. This is needed now more than ever. Now, Shredded for Life is a bit of a – it’s definitely a little markety, because it’s not the most sustainable to stay shredded-shredded, but the term is have a low body fat, healthy body fat percentage for life. So, launching a new coaching program there, here coming shortly. If you’re listening to the podcast right now, it’s available. If you go ahead and check it out, that’s a 12-week coaching program that will serve people massively, just get clear on their fitness goals for 90 days, and then also along with that is the daily shred, which is a monthly membership where we have daily content dripping out, like similar to my Instagram if you check that out. Daily workouts, daily nutrition advice, daily instructional videos from mobility, mindsets, you name it.
Joe: [49:54] That’s really cool, man. You touched on it there for second when you were kind of just talking about keto, paleo, intermittent fasting, all that type of stuff. How do you help people weed through all that stuff?
Brian: [50:06] When someone will reach out and asks me about a certain diet protocol, that’s when I’ll start to address it. I don’t… on an individual client basis, I won’t come out and say these diets are bad, you shouldn’t do them necessarily, but if someone asks, and inevitably it comes up 99% of the time, “Brian, I’ve tried keto,” or “Brian, should I do keto?” That’s when I’ll say, ok, are you prepared to not eat bread for the next 5 years or so? Are you prepared to not have ice cream for the next 5 years or so? I’ll just ask the questions that would be true if they were to implement that, and the answer’s always, “well, no.” Then I’m like, ok, well, what else would you like to know? I’m sorry, I think the cat’s out of the bag at this point that a 30-day, no carb challenge is idiotic, and the fact that we cut out these carbs and introduce them again 30 days later, we gain the weight back and then some, we’re depressed, our weight’s higher, our hormones are messed up; and I just challenge what’s the drive behind wanting to do this diet, because the allure of fad diets and popular diets is the fact that it’s almost a turnkey, turn your brain off and do it, and you’ll lose the weight. That’s the allure. It’s like, ok, well, people have something for nothing disease. Like always. It’s going to happen until the end of time. They want something for nothing. Well, if you want lasting change, it’s gotta be a conscious, consistent effort, as you know. You’ve got to understand these things, like macronutrients, micronutrients, fiber, meal-timing, shit that you listening right now might be like, ew, I don’t want to learn about that. Well, I’m sorry, you’ve got to understand how your body works. It’s really shifting people’s mindset from do you want the short-term fix or do you want to – I always say, I can give you a fish and feed you for a day, or I can teach you how to fish and feed you for a lifetime. If I tell all clients I just got off a potential client call, I say, if you’re with me for longer than a year, it’s because you want a friend. I’m setting you up to win, I’m leading from education, and if you want to continue working with each other for accountability or whatever, or just because you like our work, fine; but understand at the end of our time with each other, you’re going to have everything you need to be able to do this on your own forever.
Joe: [52:32] That’s awesome. That’s cool, man. And maybe you have to try a bunch of things and figure out what really works for you, and I think that that’s something that I’ve watched you do really well. I remember, I can’t remember how long ago it was, but you fasted for several days, didn’t you? And I was like, holy shit, he’s just trying it; but that’s what it takes. You have to try.
Brian: [52:51] Last year, January, February, March, April, I was vegan. I tried the vegan thing, cut out meat, cut out dairy. Earlier this year, about 3 months ago, I did a 72 hour water and Himalayan sea salt and lemon fast. Yeah, man, I think… I just want to know for myself. I just want to know for myself will it work. Well, I don’t know; I can project and try to guess. Well, why don’t I just do it?
Joe: [53:25] You’re going to be able to better educate and better fend questions and just help people better.
Brian: [53:29] Yeah. Plus we – Joe, we like this stuff – we’re passionate about it. In a weird, kind of twisted way, it is kind of fun just to see what’ll happen.
Joe: [53:38] What can we do.
Brian: [53:39] You’re like… oh, there’s a lot of THC in this strand. Oh, well let’s see what happens.
Joe: [53:48] We do in-house testing on products for sure. The Rise product, we were actually talking about that earlier today. I took 6 of those one day and I had a splitting headache for about 5-6 hours. I couldn’t even function. I was like, ok, maybe we won’t do 6; maybe we’ll do 3. But you’ve got to try it.
Brian: [54:07] I’ll say that I took 3 to get on this podcast. I’m feeling great right now.
Joe: [54:12] There you go, man. Well, cool brother. I appreciate you hopping on this podcast, and just to wrap things up, if people haven’t already found you on Instagram, YouTube, all the places, how can they find you?
Brian: [54:25] Thanks, man. Really simple guys, just @BrianDeCosta every platform – the Facebook, the YouTube, the Instagram. You can just pop over there, shoot me a message, say what’s up, say you listened. I’ve been a big fan of Joe and his work for a long time, so anyone who’s a friend of Cured is a friend of mine, so thank you. I appreciate it.
Joe: [54:49] Appreciate you as well, brother. It was fun having you on the podcast and looking forward to seeing us both just continue to try. Just give ourselves permission to try.
Brian: [54:58] Try, and ask for help.
Joe: [55:00] Yeah, exactly! Thanks, brother.