Functional Bodybuilding w/ Marcus Filly
Marcus pursued a collegiate soccer career at UC Berkeley, where he discovered his passion for what strength training can truly do. He has competed at the Crossfit Games 3x as an Individual and 3x in the Team division. He is also the captain of Phoenix Rise, the GRID league champions of 2016. Marcus is also the co-owner of Tj’s Gym in Mill Valley and the founder of the supplement company Revive Rx.
In this episode, some things we chat about:
Why functional bodybuilding can help you with much more than just looking good
Stepping outside the conventional movements to train for the unknown and unknowable
What life looks like behind the athleticism and the design behind striving for a balanced lifestyle
(6:36) - Leaving medical school to become a fitness professional
(9:10) - Designing a supportive environment with friends and family
(11:50) - The billion-dollar question -- challenging some basic assumptions of what it means to be healthy
(17:40) - Functional bodybuilding
(24:09) - Different approaches to achieving structural balance
(27:40) - Training balance, coordination, and agility more specifically
(31:55) - Understanding, feeling, and translating body awareness to your workouts
(38:50) - Looking at motor learning as cyclical
(41:15) - Aesthetics as a byproduct
(46:45) - Difference in the environments of a GRID Match vs a CrossFit competition
(49:40) - Morning routine
(50:50) - Supplements and nutrition
(54:22) - One year to live
(56:47) - Recommended reading
(1:00:15) - Peaking behind what shapes the athleticism and what life looks like
(1:04:13) - Investigate what it means to have a diverse Strength background. Can you perform movements that aren't in your conventional sport or program?
Resources and people we may have talked about:
Four Hour Work Week
Four Hour Body
Four Hour Chef
How you can connect with Marcus:
2012-2013 Training Log
Hey, this is Marcus filly, and you're listening to the airborne mind show.
Guys. Ms. Bohol, Kira, thank you so much for joining me today and welcome back to the show. Before we get started head over to the airborne mind.com and sign up for your free movement audit checklist. Remember you get signed up for the athlete, digests real estate updated. You get a nice little training video, and you also get some strength assessments to help you kind of objective the figure out, you know, where to focus your time and energy. When it comes to accessory work. A lot of these assessments are straight from some of the guests that we've had on the show. So you'll see some honorable mentions throughout as well. So make sure you head over to the airborne mind.com and grab your free movement audit checklist. The other thing I'm excited to talk to you about is the mobility through movement program, which drops on January 2nd, 2017.
If you're looking for a time-efficient way to get in some accessory work that is going to help you get better at things like overhead squats, handstand, pushups, muscle ups, or anything that really demands a lot out of the upper body then this might be for you. You can check out more details, see what athletes are email@example.com slash MTM. And if you like it and you want to sign up, you know, you can sign up at the heavily discounted presale price and reserve your spot. So once again, head over to the airborne mind.com/mtm and check out the details today's podcast is brought to you by audible.com. So if I'm not listening to podcasts, I'm probably listening to audio books. And every week we ask each guest, you know, what are your, what are your favorite books, whether it's training life, business, whatever it might be.
And, you know, they usually give some pretty awesome recommendations. So one that I would like to share with you is the way of the peaceful warrior by recommended by Brian McKenzie. And I have listened to it twice now. And so if you're unfamiliar with audio books and you just have a hard time figuring out, you know, finding time to sit down and read audio books are a great way to add that into your daily routine. And audible.com is giving airborne mind, readers and listeners, a free audio book and 30 day free trial. If you go to audible trial.com/the airborne mind show. So once again, that's audible trial.com/the airborne mind show. Today, we get to talk with Marcus filly. He pursued a collegiate soccer career at university of California, Berkeley, where he discovered his passion for what strength training can truly do for performance.
And he has competed at the CrossFit games three times as an individual and three times in the team division. He's also the captain of Phoenix rise. The Gridley champions of 2016, Marcus is also the co-owner of TJ gym in mill Valley and founder of the supplement company revive RX. In this episode, somethings that we get to chat about are why functional bodybuilding can help you with so much more than just looking good. We talk about stepping outside the conventional movements to train for the unknown and unknowable. And we talk about what life looks like behind the athleticism and the design behind striving for a balanced lifestyle. You guys know how pumped I get when we talk about bodybuilding. It's something that you know, I've experimented with, had some success with, and to have someone like Marcus dig deep and talk about it talking about his experience with it and how it has helped him tremendously this year is pretty exciting. So with that being said, please enjoy the show Marcus, welcome to the show, man. Thanks a lot for joining me today. Hey, thank you for having me. Yeah. So, you know, I'm pretty pumped to pick your brain on a lot of different topics. But before we even get started, let's for those who may not know, give us a little bit about your background and the story of how you kind of got to where you are today.
Okay. Yeah, absolutely. I, this question always gets me into trouble cause they usually say too much. I go into too much detail, but I'll try and keep it to the highlights. You know, I, I think the relevant kind of background is that I started I was like, you know collegiate soccer player to university of California, Berkeley, and was a goalkeeper for three seasons where I got introduced to the strength and conditioning through like a typical division one program strength and conditioning program, which really opened my eyes to what training can do for me as an athlete, but also just good training principals could do for me as a, as a person and my wellbeing. I liked fitness prior to that, but I really fell in love with fitness in college. And then shortly thereafter, I, I left playing collegiate soccer and I dove deep into training.
Just purely for the sake of training. I love to train, I didn't, I didn't just go and do bodybuilding workouts to get muscles. I like, I loved to lift more weights to be strong. I wanted to be fast and I wanted to look good. And so that kind of was the next several years of my life post-college and through a series of events with a number of people I've found my way into CrossFit which is a story in itself. And CrossFit then became this thing that just resonated with me so quickly because I love to training for, for, you know, being fit already. And I felt like I was doing that. And I was like, Oh, well, here's a way of, I guess, being measurable about that. And so yeah, I dove into you know, CrossFit as a training methodology.
This is around the time I was applying to and attending medical school and through a series of events, I decided that I wanted to change my life focus and purpose. And I dropped out of medical school and pursued fitness as a coach full-time and coaching fitness. Full-Time led into some competitive opportunities through my local gym which then launched my I guess my athletic career as a CrossFit athlete and then as a grid athlete. And and it has really served as a platform for my, my career as a fitness coach and professional, which is still very, both are still very active to this day.
Awesome. And now, what do you, what do you think really sparked that decision to, you know, change the life focus and, and leave medical school and pursue other things, what was like the, you know the trigger behind that?
Well, it, it's funny the trigger for going to medical school and the trigger for leaving medical school. Really the same thing. I mean, I was I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree and, you know, I had a knack for science and a love and a passion for physiology and health and nutrition. And I knew I wanted to basically be a teacher in some capacity. I wanted to share that knowledge and information with others. And you know, my, I had a family history of doctors from brothers to grandfather, to dad. So, so that was a very familiar area or field to be associated with. And I thought, well, doctors and educating people on health and wellness, there's going to be some overlap there. So for lack of a better option or a better idea, that's the direction I went.
And I kind of had a vision of myself being an MD that was really into health promotion and you know, maybe running a center where we have, you know, health and wellness courses. And and so that's, that's what I did. I went to medical school and, and, and as I got more, well, I didn't get too far into medical school, but I got far enough to recognize that there was something about the Western medical approach to education. That was I felt a little bit of a disconnect from, it was very much how do we understand disease? And then how do we treat, you know, treat the symptoms of disease and I'm generalizing, you know grossly generalizing what the Western medical community is like. But I started to feel like, okay, well, that, that seems to be getting away from my, where I felt like my calling was, which was to really get to understand health and what we can do to promote health and maintain health and live optimally. And, and I guess avoid disease. So, you know, kind of looking at the eight-year education process to to get my, you know, my, my medical license and to be able to practice versus maybe another approach that might allow me to interact with people day to day and teach them about health and wellness, you know, it just became clear to me I needed to take a different direction.
Sure. Now, how does it use mentioned that you know, your your family has a history of, you know, being in that field, how, how does your family and friends kind of react to that decision?
Well, my family and my friends, and I've been blessed with a extremely supportive family. The friends that I've kept close over the years are also extremely supportive, but that's, that's by that's by design. You know, I've kept the people close to me that understand me as a person deep down beyond the fact that I was a medical student or I've, you know, been to the CrossFit games. I mean, they just know me as me. And so I think during my time in medical school, my family and my friends, they saw just a level of unhappiness and, and and depression in me that was just like palpable. It was like, wow, this, this, this guy who's on, you know, on the surface, looks like he's got everything going well for him, he's just unhappy sad. And he's not optimistic about his future in this field.
And it got bad enough to a point where, you know, my family and my friends we're ready to support any decision I made that would move me towards what my real purpose and passion was. And so leaving medical school was, you know, it was a big, a bunch of support from my friends and my close family. And I think there's, you know, some fears with parents for sure. Of like, okay, well, what's, what's my son going to do now, you know, like, how's he gonna turn this thing into something that could support him? And, you know, that's maybe some of the fears that my father had about me leaving, but you know, I, I, I think there was, there was one person in my life at the time when I left medical school it happened to be a classmate of mine who, like, I, I remember telling this person, Hey, I'm, I'm, I'm going to be leaving the S you know, I'm, I'm going to take a leave of absence is what I said.
But, you know, it ultimately went on to be my full exit from medical school. And he was like, immediately, like, no, that's a bad idea. Like, you've actually looked at me. Like, I, I, that that moment, I was like, you are not my friend. Like I realized that I was like, this person is not somebody who I will ever be in touch with beyond this, because in this moment of desperation where I need to make a change for the better person is not supporting me. So yeah, that became kind of a way to know how to keep people close in my life. That really support me for me and support me for you know, my happiness, my, and the true, true person.
Very cool, man. So let's say that, you know, you had a few billion dollars and you had a staff of, let's say, 40 people, and these 40 people are, you know, top performers, great thinkers in whatever it is that you recruited them for. And you wanted to use that to make some sort of change, some sort of impact. What would you do with that? And maybe, you know, maybe this can relate to the medical system or the healthcare system, or just anything beyond that as well, but what kind of comes up for you when you think about that?
Wow, that's a sweet question. I yeah, I don't know. I was actually just listening to some lately I've been listening to a lot of people who, I guess you'd call it motivational speakers or people that help help others to understand how to, how to lay out their life in a way that will lead to prosperity in, in many different ways. And somebody I was just listening to was talking about, like, the ultimate place you can get to in terms of wealth is that you get to a point of wealth in terms of like monetary or whatever that you can actually start to give back and change and impact other people's lives, where you're not so worried about making yourself, you know protected and increasing your own wealth. You can, you know, you got that covered. And so the billion dollar question, that's like, okay, I've reached that part.
I don't have to worry about, you know, my personal finances. I can really just think, okay, what do I, what am I going to do for others? Yeah, so that, by the way, great question. And so to think about that, I I've always thought that something I want to be able to accomplish as a coach and as an athlete is to help or it's to get people, to challenge some of the basic assumptions that the medical community or, you know, mainstream media have assumptions that they have made about what it means to be healthy and what you can accomplish with your, you know, your physical, emotional, and mental health in, in a modern society where there are pressures and stresses of everything that we are hit with on a day-to-day basis. So I know that that's a really broad and, you know, general statement, but I know that that would be kind of what I want, I would want to do.
If I had, you know, people, I was surrounding myself with them, we had a mission in a, in a, in a goal to achieve. It'd be get people to challenge what, you know, what they assume to be healthy, right? Like I think that that's something, you know, even somebody like Greg Glassman has touched on in some of his, his discussions about the health. Well, you know, the sick health, wellness, you know, fitness continuum, it's like, you know, we are in a society where a lot of people assume that health means this, but really you that's that that's undervaluing what people can actually do for themselves and what they can experience in the way of health and wellness. So challenging people's assumptions on that. And also challenging people's assumptions on what you know, living a balanced life can look like and should look like, you know that's from how much physical activity people get in a day.
Like, how can you, you know, go and, you know, create have a career and make an income and support, you know, yourself and your family. Where does the line, you know, where do you cross the line of, you know, you're not taking care of yourself enough and you're taking care of your finances too much, or you're taking care of you're prioritizing other people more. You know, having just said that, I think that that is something that really hits me at the core is that, you know, where do people prioritize others more than themselves? And I think the balanced in, in our society very much has shifted towards people thinking I need to, I need to provide for others. And I needed to take care of others at the expense of my own physical health. Those are the people that ended up becoming my clients often, or where my clients at the gym.
It's like, Hey, I've been working hard to try and make a living so I can support my family. And I'm totally sick and out of shape and unwell. And those are people that end up in the hospital needing, you know, the majority of healthcare dollars in this country. So shifting that to let people know that like taking care of yourself first is not always a selfish thing. You know, actually that can be a very loving, generous, and compassionate thing to do for the people in your life is you're healthy, you're taken care of. Then you can bring your best self to the people around you, and you can do it for 50 years, not just 15 years until you get sick or until you're, you know, you're not present your energy is so low and you're not able to you know, be there for the people that you want to be there for.
So, yeah, that's, that's a, it's a pretty broad concept, I think, but it is, it is how I try to approach my you know, my current coaching, you know, career with clients is teaching that principle. It's how I approach my own fitness is, you know, making room for myself so that I can be my optimal self. And then when it comes time to actually, you know, give for other people and be present for other people, I can do that and do it fully to my, the best of my ability. But yeah, that's, that's a great question. Thanks for sending me down that rabbit hole.
Yeah, no, that's, that's, that's a great answer. And that kinda ties into, I think the next thing we're going to touch on, which is a functional bodybuilding, that's something that you know, you're really known for. And I love that term because I think it really encapsulates a lot of the work that we may need, but don't get enough of, and I also think that, you know, at some point in every CrossFitters journey you know, we went through a phase where we looked at bodybuilding as something a little bit inferior as not functional and you know, after a year or two years, whatever, you start to supplement and play around with different things and you start to realize like, wow, this actually has a place in my regimen, maybe. And so I'm curious. Yeah, let's, let's touch on that. And what is like your definition of functional bodybuilding and you know, how you use it?
Yeah. I, I just, I think it's important for me to first say that you know, if, if I've gotten a reputation in the past several months as you know, doing a lot of this it is like many of the things in my life, it happened by chance sort of you know, I have a coach, somebody that writes my design for me. It's something I'm very public about. And I believe in for a lot of people that coach has, you know, through the interaction and the communication that we have together, we have, you know, we always will align with, this is what my body needs right now to get to where I know I want to be in the future, whether it be competitively or just from a, you know, a life balance standpoint. And after the seasons were over, I'm talking CrossFit and grid, you know, my body needed what I'm doing.
Day-To-Day and I'm sharing on social media, it needed to slow down, it needed to rebuild structure. It needed to have a break from common, you know, repetitive movements that I had been doing for the last year, basically at relatively high intensity. And I needed a chance for my brain and my hormones to align with, you know, something that had been was missing after intensity for as long as I was, I was doing it. So functional bodybuilding was something that I started to use to basically describe what I was doing on a day-to-day basis. And you know, bodybuilding, it, I, I mean, bodybuilding is a sport. Okay. So, you know, it, it is also, I think, you know, people recognize it as a type, they refer to it as a type of training is a type of training where you go and you, you lift weights for the purpose of building an aesthetic.
Okay. But having done that for you for a number of years, having done weight training programs with the one intention of actually getting, you know, better aesthetic this was in the early two thousands. I did stuff like that. And what I know about that is you actually build a amount of you know, you, you train your your creatine phosphate system in a way that can add a tremendous amount of energy to your life balance to your hormones and, and functional strength if done correctly. It is something that I attribute a lot of my success in the sport of fitness and CrossFit too, is prior to CrossFit, I did years of bodybuilding, you know, chin ups, bench, press squats you know, curls, presses, shoulder raises Peck deck. I mean I was fortunate to always appreciate full range of motion back then.
So I didn't cut myself short of that. So I I've built functional range in my joints through my back bodybuilding, but I was strong. I mean, when somebody taught me how to do a kipping pull up, I think the day one, I was able to rattle out 25 butterflies. Right. And that was, that was because I had, I was strong. That was because I had done it chin ups for years. So, you know, functional bodybuilding, I think to me is just a way of basically describing the fact that you know, you can body build the wrong way if you want to develop function and you know, translatable fitness for CrossFit, you can do half range of motion squats. You can do half range of motion curls. You can do, you know bench press that doesn't really put your arms in a you know optimal position for pushing overhead.
You'll get better, bigger muscles for sure, doing that. You know, plenty of people you see at the gym at the global gym who have, who are jacked and they don't do anything full range of motion, but that's what they're trying to get. Right. And that's working yeah. For them. Meanwhile, if I'm in a the sport of fitness or a functional fitness community, where we value, you know, full range of motion, we value being able to do things that help us, you know, feel strong and mobile in our day-to-day life. Then you can take those principles and you can apply them to full range of motion settings. You can apply them to overhead lifting. You can apply them to, you know, horizontal and vertical pushing and pulling, and you can apply them to us, you know, full depth squats and, you know, snap, chin, clean positions.
And that's, and that's really what the last, you know, several months of my training has, has been focused around is, you know, these are the things I do want to be better at. I do want to be able to do more Muslims. I do want to be able to do more handstand pushups. I still want to be able to, you know, clean and jerk 375 pounds one day. But the road to getting there for me, and for many people doesn't have to mean clean jerk every Tuesday and Friday, and it doesn't have to be do muscle-ups two to three days a week, year round. It can actually look like taking a break from that stuff and, and really deconstructing the movements in a sense, and working on that foundational strength, which, you know, for lack of a better way of describing it, I'm just saying it's functional bodybuilder.
Yeah. Now, would you, is it safe to say that we could use this interchangeably with maybe structural balance, although
I think structural balance is a much more, yeah, there's, there's many overlaps, you know, I use the term structural balance when I'm talking about, you know, when I, when I talk to new clients that are looking to come on for, for coaching I say, you know, one of the, one of the priorities is to do is to identify, you know, well, first assess where your body is, sits on a number of, you know, different strength kind of measurements you know, analyzing kind of how your body moves and in different planes of motion and determining if you have imbalances and then imbalances, let's say in your your push and pull or your, a front squat to back squat or your, you know, your, your power clean to bench press you know, there's a number of different ways we can correlate strength to balance strength, numbers, to balance, and then using that information to go ahead and try and develop more balanced through, you know, prioritizing, pressing in your program versus versus squatting.
Now somebody might look at that to somebody's method for developing strength balance might be as simple as, Oh, your bench press is low relative to your power clean. So we're going to bench press a lot. Okay. That's a very simplistic way of looking at it. And I think when I think of functional bodybuilding or this the way you know, the way I've been training, it's, you have to get outside of the common movements that we see most regularly on crossfit.com. And you have to look at, you know, years of strength and conditioning research and programs. You have to look at sources that, you know, are different for, for particularly the, the CrossFit community that maybe people haven't looked up, you know, Paul Chek training methods, or Charles Polycon training methods, or you know, names like Mike Boyle don't don't, they don't mean anything to them, but there's, there's movements, there's training methods, and there's you know, things that fall outside of the scope of what is, you know, seeing every day in a, in a local, in your local box and those movements.
You know, I, it's just, I believe that they, you know, I diversify your, your exercise selection and and diversify have you load those things from, you know, bands to chains, to kettlebells, to dumbbells you know, very your tempos put yourself in situations where your body are under tension for long periods of time, as opposed to, you know, a typical set for a strength program is three to five reps of a movement with that's, that's done in 20 seconds. Yeah, so it's, it's expanding upon that, that same concept of structural balance, or it's a way of approaching structural balance. And it just a more, I'd say a more complex and potentially much more beneficial and an effective way.
Definitely. Now, do you feel like control and coordination balance agility are undervalued when you compare them to the other domains of fitness, like, you know, strength, endurance speed, and power
Underbelly or neglected? I would say that th I th I think that's a good question. I don't, I don't know what most people's, you know, VAT where most people's value lies. I think probably there's a misconception that by doing just the basic movements of, of you know, clean and jerk snatch that you're hitting all those things. Yeah, you might be touching on each of those elements of fitness. But there are ways to really train that stuff even more specifically, and by training those, you know, fitness traits like balance coordination agility through variety of different tools. I think that is a link toward people's wellbeing and maybe just wellness, physical wellness, how they, how they feel. Right. So right there is such, I mean, it's funny the sport of CrossFit and the sport of fitness, I think, is driving a lot of people to do unbalanced training in a way, right.
Because gosh, I'm here, I'm sitting thinking like, okay, I'm making some really big bold statements, but yeah, I, I agree with that. You know, it's like, cause I've done it myself and you know, what, if I'm saying something that I'm generalizing, I'm thinking about myself first. I mean, I'm thinking about training for the CrossFit games. I train for a lot of unknowns and unknowables, but I did so within a pretty defined group of movements for a long time, you know, and I, I did well at the CrossFit games and I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. And as soon as it was over, I was like, Whoa, I gotta, I gotta go balance my stuff out. Right. I got some things missing, you know, and it's been, I have felt my body feel like, feel stronger, better, more balanced through the act of moving away from those types of things and doing the variety of movements that I've been doing lately.
You know, that has started to and, and of, like you said, like, you know, coordination, a lot of the movements that I've done in the past couple of months as, as the foundation of my strength program have required much more coordination than a typical deadlift, right? So you know, single leg dumbbell already with unilateral loading is way, way harder than, you know in terms of coordination and balance and doing you know, a mixed grip, conventional deadlift, right? They're not going to meet there's, it's pretty low likelihood that they're going to, you're going to see a single leg, you know, unilateral dumbbell RDL in, across the competition. And if somebody tried to like put that into a competition setting, whether it was a workout for time with that, I'd say poor, poor selection for exercise selection, but from a true for training it accomplishes a lot of the same, you know, a lot of the same characteristics that a conventional deadlift does and more and by doing a lot of that and single arm pressing and, you know, upside down kettlebell, single arm, half kneeling presses, and you know, L sits or, you know, pike ups on slide boards.
I mean, these are things that have allowed me to feel a sense of, of balance and health and strength that is purely just like a subjective thing right now, because I know how my body feels. I'm very aware. But it feels way different and, and stronger and better than I felt, you know, in August after I had gone through a full season of, you know, training, hard to compete against the best people in the world in CrossFit.
Right. and I wanna know, you know, if you've had a similar experience or if you can articulate this a little better than me, but, you know, when I start first started adding, you know, this functional bodybuilding work in everything started to feel more stable. So things like, you know, catching in the bottom of a snatch, right. I felt solid, like maybe I was doing the same weight. Right. But instead of feeling internally, like I was breaking down and it just felt ridiculous and I didn't feel in control. I felt more stable with muscle ups. I had, I feel like your body awareness is a little bit more enhanced and that's something that, you know, body awareness I've, I've asked Dave Duran, this question, I'm like, do you feel like it's glossed over sometimes or that undervalued? And because a lot of times I feel like, unless you were maybe a gymnast when you were younger, or you did a lot of Olympic weightlifting, or you did certain things to kind of develop that to a point where now you've reached that stage of automaticity, it needs to be trained. I think that body awareness needs to be brought out and I think functional, bodybuilding's a great way to do it using certain, you know, gymnastics practices are a great way to do it, but have you experienced anything like that at all? Or do you see that with your athletes, like things just starting to feel much better?
Yeah, I was I was about to say that we, I have had the good fortune of, I think again, like, you know, the way I came to be in this you know, CrossFit kind of sport I went through a lot of different fitness methods prior to that. And one of the, you know, one of the most influential, you know, windows of time in my fitness past was when I was training with a group of individuals that were check certified exercise coaches I don't know what the actual certification or, or, or term would be to call what they were doing, but you know, their philosophy was based in, in some appall checks, methodologies. And we did a ton of basically core stabilization small muscle group, very you know, foundational core and stability building.
So what you're talking about with, in terms of like the stability of feeling the muscles, being more stable, doing a snatch I started that stuff over 10 years ago, doing that on, on, on a physio balls, on you know, a Bosu ball on you know, things that people are like, Oh, we don't use those things in our gym. But I went through a process with them and they were extremely thoughtful, you know, practitioners, coaches, and, and designing great programs that I did for almost two years. And I went from, you know, feeling disconnected, to feeling connected and feeling like, Oh, I understand how my abdominal muscles work. I understand how to brace my pelvis. I understand how to actually use my hip to my shoulders. And I felt it translate to my golf game at the time. I was a big golfer during those years.
And I was like, this is true. This is amazing how this can impact me. So I known what stability and what feeling more connected and having ability to access muscle groups can feel like when you do it in the right sequence. Okay. So that's how training should go for everybody. You should first learn how to use those muscles. Okay. You should start from stability from understanding body position, getting your scapula and the muscles that surround it to actually function correctly and stabilize before you ever knew, do a push press before you ever, you know, that, that is, that would be the ideal progression for an athlete, right. And too many people jump right into doing the big sexy lifts, and they don't have that kind of core control. They don't have that understanding. So going through a program where you're adding in more unilateral work or stability work, it certainly will impact that for people, whether they're going to be aware of it by the way, and know how to describe it, or know even what is happening, you know, that's, that depends on that person's understanding of their body and their, their self-awareness right.
You know, I I've had that. And so the moment I start to feel that come back or the moment I feel it starts to disappear where I could be strong, I could be hitting PRS, but I'm like, man, my hips are off. Like, I can just feel that my left hip is working more than my right. Like I know that. And I know that every time I train and, and it is what guides, many of my decisions about how I communicate with my coach, tell them what I need and what I don't need. So I wish it's something I could give to every single person who wants to be an athlete in this sport, because it's, it's a foundation of understanding of how your body can work. You know, like, can you go and do a side plank or a side star plank, and actually activate the right groups of muscles to keep yourself controlled.
And if you can't, then let's work on that first. Let's, let's build that. And then, and then I bet anything, if you go back to front squatting, after that, you're going to see some, you're going to see or feel some changes that you may not be able to like measure as numbers of pounds that you lifted, but, you know, I, I, it's this kind of working concept and philosophy of like that is going to impact your ability to perform in a fatigued setting, which is CrossFit big time. And if people you know, if that resonates with anybody that's listening right now, they're like, Oh yeah, that could then, you know, you're, you're right on the money. Like you need to kind of accept that that's an important part of, of this, you know, this training for this sport and training for life.
And you know, when I was coaching and writing programs for group fitness at a gym, I always valued that. I mean, people were coming to my gym and we were a CrossFit gym and they were doing single leg dumbbell, RTLS, and dumbbell bench press and thrusters with a barbell in the same session potentially, you know, and that was to them what cross it was. And they just liked that. I'm just doing, I'm doing you the CrossFit thing. And but they were getting a little bit of you know, non-conventional movements to mix in with the things that we know to produce a tremendous amount of power and be very high intensity and produce great general fitness.
Right. And so now I love how you touched on that. You're pretty much saying like when duty calls in a CrossFit workout, maybe you've just, if we're thinking about the everyday athlete you're able to apply torque intention a little more purposefully. And I think that, you know, when we maybe look at motor learning, you know, you have the associate of stage cognitive, and then you have the autonomous stage. And I think in the earlier parts, it's a good idea for a lot of us to revisit, you know, those fundamentals and really make those connections like, okay, this is what it feels like to squeeze my glutes. This is what it feels like to create tension with my lats. And, you know, I think a lot of coaches may disagree that, you know, when you get to that autonomous stage, you're not thinking you're not consciously thinking about keeping your lats super tight when you're doing a snatch. It more comes, it comes down to really the feeling or that sensation. But if you have no idea what that sensation feels like, there's, there's that disconnect that we were talking about. So,
Yeah. Yeah. You said that really well. You're not going to be focusing on those things when you're doing a complex movement, like a snatch, and when you've already learned the foundations and that th that whole kind of process that you talked about going through those steps, it needs to also be looked at as a cyclical thing where there's time for like, being in that automation state where you're just doing, excuse me, that's not the term you use autonomous, autonomous. Yeah, yeah. Being in that autonomous state, and then coming back to like, you know, basically fundamentals and moving through that. You know, whether it be through a season you know, we're looking at periodization of your training program for a CrossFit season, you know, all my clients after the open, if that's the end of their year. And we go back to some basic fundamental strength movements and that can last for months and they can get tremendous value from that. Even if they've already met, they've already kind of mastered how to coordinate a snatch. Well, we might take a break from that for a while and go backwards. So to speak or in the way I'm saying it more of like a cyclical approach where it's time to hit the other end of the, the wheel.
[Inaudible] Now let's talk aesthetics for a second. How have you seen some of this stuff kind of play out aesthetics wise?
No, I was going to, I was going to say, I'm sure, you know, you also, your nutrition is on point and that has a huge part to do with this as well. But yeah. Has anything, any trends stand out to you from, you know, ever since you've been using this stuff just aesthetics wise?
Yes, let's see. Well, my understanding of and my attention to aesthetics has been there for, you know, many, many years. I was not, you know, I don't, I don't have a like, function like being fit. Like I'm just trying to be the, you know, produce the most fitness in a, in a bed, the definition of, you know work capacity across broad time and modal domains. You know, that, that is, that is not one of the same as building aesthetics, right? So like there's a big misconception that like, Oh, if I, if I get my abs and I look more, you know, ripped, I'm going to be a better CrossFitter. And I think people need to stop thinking that, okay. Cause it's it's, there is no the classic mistake of correlation versus causation. If I go on this great nutrition program that gets me eating 1100 calories a day, I get shredded, I'm going to be great at it doing CrossFit.
And it's like, no, it's not true. You're under-eating big time and you're going to perform like a poop. So but yeah, and then I'm also, but I was into the aesthetic approach of fitness or of weight training. And then of course eating so experimented with all kinds of you know, nutrition programs over the past 15 years to achieve optimal leanness. And then, you know, and then I've experimented with nutrition programs that have developed optimal performance. And then I've kind of found something that feels right for me that you know, I maintain a certain level of leanness that I know helps me perform to my optimal ability. So it's, it's been a delicate balance and I just want to clear that up because I think a lot of people you know, certainly might see the way I train and make some assumptions as to like, okay, well he's training like that.
And he looks like that. Okay. Let's, you know, that's gotta be the way to go. And it's, it's not as simple as that, you know, it's been almost at this point, like half of my lifetime of being conscious of how food and movement and lifestyle interplay to develop a physique or to, to make me look the way I look. And I'm extremely aware of how things change in my body. So your question, have you noticed any changes? Yeah, I've noticed some changes. I'm just really hyper aware, you know, I might ask somebody, you know, who I haven't seen for six months or like, Hey, you still, you look the same, you know? And I'm like, yeah, well, but I did just notice that, you know, the striations, my shoulders, I mean, there are things I can notice. And I would say that finally getting around to answering your question there is a, you know, this is not the time of year where I am as strict and dial about my nutrition.
So my body composition is not maybe as lean as it has been at different times when my training volume is much higher. But from a muscular, you know, change perspective my, you know, my shoulders and my upper back have definitely been have hypertrophy or have you know, gotten denser from the work that I've been doing. And I've also noticed more so than ever before that, you know, my, my glue, my hamstring development is a much more much better than it's been in years past. And I wouldn't attribute that to doing a ton of, you know, unilateral bending lot of single leg, knee flection drills, so split squats and lunging a lot of them and and then a ton of pushing and pulling and w with, you know, upper body strict movements in a lot of different planes at really slow time under tension or sorry, long time on tension sets, which, you know, is, is kind of classic bodybuilding, timeframes lift. You want to, you know, moderate reps at slow tempos, you know, moderate to heavy weights you know, certainly can generate and produce hypertrophy. But all of those things, again, they came out of a need back back when, when I was like, my body needs to change got really into this type of training, stuck with it for, you know, now several months. And I've just started to notice these things were never the goal.
It was just a by-product. Yeah. Right, right. Yeah. Cool. let's talk a little bit about grid. So what has that been like for you? Like when you compare it to, you know, competing in a grid match versus maybe a CrossFit competition, how are those two environments kind of different? How is your prep or your mindset? Like what, yeah. What stands out to you when you think about those two things?
I always tell people they say, Oh, you know, what's harder. And I, I can't say one is harder than the other. What I can say is that my body feels way worse after a grid match than it does CrossFit competition. And that's, you know, within the same year, the same training preparation, you know, this season example the, my least favorite moment of grid is the night after a match, because typically those matches are at 7:00 PM. We get done at nine there's like adrenaline pouring through your body. You know, don't get out of the media things until 10, maybe eat dinner at 10 30 digested done by like, Oh, like 1130, 12, and I'm still buzzing. And like, can't get comfortable. And I basically sleep like two hours and it's the most uncomfortable sleep
Ever, like my hands
Hurt because the knurling on those Eleiko bars is sharp and dangerous. You know, like my hands were throbbing at night are just like, I can't figure out what side to sleep on because it just hurts so much. It's brutal. So there's that, you know, I, I, that's one thing so much goes into a two hour period so much, you know, up and down in terms of like stress and, you know, adrenaline and high speed. And I think what maybe people can't appreciate until they've seen it live or they've actually done it is the speed of movement in a grid match is way faster than anything that we do in, in a CrossFit setting. I can't think of a workout that I ever did in the CrossFit competition where I had to move as fast as I move in the grid.
Okay. And that's just, you know, that's the nature of doing something where it's more individual based versus like on sharing reps with somebody and we're going really fast and we literally only have, you know, 30 seconds worth of work to do so let's just, let's hammer it. Right. And just by changing your speed, that much, it really impacts just the impact and the effect that it has on your body. The soreness, the, I mean, you just, you just can't maintain great positions when you're moving that fast. So, you know, you'll wake up and be like, well, I didn't know I was going to get sore in that area from doing chin-ups really fast or something.
Cool. Yeah, go ahead. Yeah. So I'm going to shoot through a couple of quick questions that I like to touch base with everybody. And I want to start with what's your morning routine look like?
Right now my morning routine has been to get up and I don't have a greens shake with my supplements and a cup of coffee. And I'm usually I'm up well before my wife is up. I might jump on the gram for a minute and just check if anybody's made some comments that I can reply to. That is something that I intend on moving away from I'm going to move that to a different stage of the morning. Cause I think that's why I should be starting my day. But then I usually into the living room and I do 30 to 40 minutes of it gossip you slash stretching you know, body maintenance stuff. And then usually at that time I can start to hear the wife is waking up and so I'll go in and greet her in the morning and then there's breakfast and then it's on with the Workday or training or whatever's next.
Very cool. How about, so supplements wise, are you big on supplements? What are some staples for you?
Yeah, I'm real big on, on supplements because I, the ones that I take are basically, it's basically food. It's like, this is, this is life. This is the stuff we need to have. You know, my morning cocktail of all kinds of pills. I mean, I'd take more pills. My dad laughs and he's like, you take more pills than I do. And he's, you know, he's on a variety of different medications and things like that at 72 years old. But no you know, I'm taking a vitamin D vitamin B taking probiotics every morning, I'm taking different, you know fatty acids in the morning and at night I'm taking magnesium, I'm taking I don't know, lysine. There's so those are like my morning things. I got green supplements. I got fiber supplements that I take.
And then yeah, in terms of and then maybe no, or don't know this, I didn't have a supplement company as well, but a partner in and revival Rex is our company and we sell you know, recover re post-workout recovery and protein whey protein supplements. So those are staples in my day and my training. And yeah, I mean, I think that there, you know, there there's a list in a very defined list that I send to my clients of like, these are things that are general health, like everyday type of things, you know, these are, you know, performance-based supplements that work and then there's all the other stuff that's out there and more than likely you don't need the other stuff and there may be a few exceptions. But yeah, so, so it, I do believe in the supplements and I definitely take a variety of them.
But none of them tan fix poor quality food. And here's a little thing that I want to say to everybody out there, you know, macronutrient prescriptions for your, for your diet can achieve, help you achieve performance and can help you achieve body composition goals that you have. But if you do not follow a quality, you know, nutrition philosophy, meaning eating good quality nutrients, like things that actually have micronutrients. And then that will support you. Things that are real food, whole foods that don't have lots of fillers and stuff in them. If you're not subscribing to that, then your macronutrient approach will not be a long-term of long-term benefit to you. And I can say that from experience because when I got into the aesthetic game, I ate poor quality food in the right amounts. And I got super clean and I got relatively strong at times and my body fell apart. It fell apart and I would just encourage people to take a look at, you know, quality of their food first, then look at the timing of their food second, and then finally start to dive into macronutrient balance and getting the appropriate amounts in there and all of that precedes supplements. So that's the order.
All right. Now if you had, let's say one year to live and you had to start over and you want to get back to where you are now, you know, what are the one or two things that you would really maybe distill down your focus to and and, and hammer down on.
So I'm starting over, I have one year to focus on a few things to get back to where I'm at today. Hmm. Well, I was yeah, I would, I would, I would start with for, for, for physical health and wellness, I would, I would absolutely dive into a basic just call it functional bodybuilding program state. I would stay clear of doing anything high intensity for that year. It would be a foundational building strength year. I would eat nothing that isn't like, you know, of the highest quality I wouldn't, I wouldn't even think about worrying about whether I'm getting the right amount of this so that I would just eat quality foods and to every single thing that I put in my mouth till it's basically liquid and, and sit down and eat it, like I would have perfect food hygiene, so to speak.
And then I would just invest. I would, I would invest a lot into the relationships that I start building. I'd be very careful about who I bring into my life and my circle. And if I choose to, you know, engage in a relationship with somebody I would really be mindful of making it a very mutual give and take and investing as much time into them as they invest into me. I think having, having relationships that have that foundation are, are so valuable and I've, I've learned that over the past several years through my relationship to my wife and she's taught me so much about what it means to be in a, and really you know, really strong and secure relationships with people. So, yeah, building good relationships doing a lot of strength training and eating quality food, chewing a lot
Good stuff. Are you are you a big reader at all? Do you have any recommended reading or favorite books
I'm starting to engage in the act of reading again and by, by, by engaging in reading, I'm actually listening to audio books. Yeah, I I've. Yeah, lately I have I got into I went down the Tim Ferris rabbit hole and I said four hour work week, a couple of times where I listened to it a few times which then led me down the trail of his four hour body and four hour chef and then his podcasts and so forth. And there's a ton of great information in that four hour work workweek that I think could apply to. I think everyone's life. I mean, it's just I think that at the beginning of it, the, just the very philosophy of you know, you know, work for work just are we're out here working for the sake of working.
I think is something that a lot of people do because this is the culture that we've been, I was brought up in and a lot of people I'm sure were brought up in. It's like, yeah, you just gotta go out and work hard. And you know, working smarter and being able to actually live the life that you want to live not just work. So that one day in 50 years you can live the life you wanna live. So that was a great a great read for me. And it is sparked, it sparked something in me that I haven't, I haven't felt in a long time. So that's, that to me is what a quality read is. It's something that even we might learn something from it, but if it, if it inspires you to go out and do some different stuff or to change some patterns in your life for the better, then that's quality. So I've been, I've been telling people all, all my family and friends to read it. And I'm now, now I know what it's like to be that person that is out telling other people to read a book, just read it. And I'm like, somebody people have told me to read books and I'm just like, Oh, I'm not reading that. Like, you know, so anyway, I'll join that, that train of, of recommendations and then maybe being disappointed that people haven't picked up the book.
Right. And I do think, I think that audio books change the game because you can, you know, just like podcasts, like you can listen while you're doing something else. And, you know, if you miss something you can relisten and reread and revisit. And I, especially like it when like the narrator is the author and, and they, ha you know, it's not somebody who's reading it to you. It just, it makes a little bit of a difference. So
I, I, I was doing these morning stretching routines where many of the positions and things I was doing, I was supposed to keep my hands very, you know, static and, and shoulders in good positions. And I was like, I can't look at my phone cause that just puts me in a little hunched, bad position. But if I plug in, I can listen to something, you know, and, and that's what got me just like really diving into some good podcasts and some good audio books. And then to your point about like the person reading, it makes such a difference because I listened to four hour work week on audio and it was this one narrator and he was great. And then we went to, I went to the next one and it was totally different voice. And I was like, Oh God, I can't get into this. Like, he might've been just as good. And had I been listening to him first, I would have connected with that voice, but it's funny how that works.
Yeah. is there something you feel like you don't get asked enough about something you wish people would ask you more?
Yeah, I think it's well, you know, I think most people that want to maybe interview me or get to know me or are interested in kind of, I mean, my thing that I'm sort of become known for is my athleticism and my, my sport performance in CrossFit which, but it's like getting to understand like what shaped that, you know, and, and then really, like, what is, what does life look like? I think that needs to be talked about more for the top athletes in the sport because I don't know. I th I think people would be surprised to see what my day-to-day life really looks like, you know, where I place emphasis of value and priorities because it's not, you know, it's not the glamorous life of a professional athlete yet, at least for most people, I believe most athletes that are in CrossFit or grid you know, I don't just train all day.
I don't just wake up and think, okay, how am I going to go get better physically? You know, I wake up, I think, how are my clients doing? You know, what's, what's, what's happening for my wife today? What does she need from me? She's pregnant? You know, how am I going to you know, what, what are we going to do about, you know, finding the next place to live so that we can have more space for the baby? I got a brief finance might have mortgage it's like, I mean, that's, it's, it's, that's what it's like, you know, it's real, it's real living. And you know, so, but because, and those, and those, many of those things that happen behind the scenes are what make the actual training successful because when it comes time to train, I, I just see it as such a precious thing that I get a chance to do.
And I've made room for in my life amongst a lot amongst the busy schedule. So yeah, I'd love to hear more people diving into what that looks like, because, you know, there are so many people chasing this dream of being, you know, a CrossFit games athlete, or being a grid athlete and making it in a sport. And w w w what else comes along with that? You know, what's that going to like, you know, cause making it to the CrossFit games means that you might make a little bit of money in a year, but not very much. And if, if that's, if that's the goal, then you're going to have to have a lot of other things going on in your life. If you want to be able to you know, live a life of, you know, financial freedom or wealth or positive relationships or where you're not stressed all the time.
And plenty of people I know that are want to be full-time athletes and they're stressed about money and where they're living and the stress of that actually doesn't allow them to perform to their best ability. They're constantly worried about where they're going to live and how they're going to make rent. And, you know, and I'm like, and they're like, but I just want to train. And I'm like, you can't go into the gym and be successful there. If you're worried about that stuff. Now, there are plenty of athletes that, you know, that doesn't stress them out and they can live on very little means and they have great support systems around them. So they don't need to make a lot of money. And I would argue that they've figured out their stress profile to allow them to be successful as athletes. So yeah, that's a topic that I could definitely talk about for hours.
Awesome, man. And, and I want to be respectful of your time and, you know, we'll definitely we gotta have you back on here to continue the conversation, but yeah, my, my last question is, you know, what should a coach or athlete take away from this podcast? How can they make themselves better today from listening to this?
I think, yeah, I think that probably the topic we touched on the most was you know, well, we'll call it functional bodybuilding, but it is, you know, coaches and athletes start to at least investigate what it means to have you know, a diverse strength background. Can you perform movements outside of the conventional lifts that we see in, in the sport? What, and then, you know, how, how can your body and your, you know, your fitness profile kind of benefit from dedicating some time and energy to it. It doesn't have to be, you know, years, it can be a month, it could be two, three weeks but experiment with that and you know, go to, you can go to my Instagram or my Facebook, and you can look at the videos that I posted for the past two months and, you know, people ask, well, what are the sets?
What are the reps that I'm like, don't worry about it. Just, just do the movements, just try. And and if you commit to doing that on a regular basis, you'll, you'll probably experienced something that maybe you weren't expecting. And yeah, I would just really encourage people to, to kind of get out of the you know, the very narrow focus that is, you know, training for the sport of fitness, which it's, it's weird to say it's like we're training for the unknown and the unknowable, but we trained in it within a box, really the movements. So you got to think outside that box. And, and I think the more we think outside the box, we get back to what the true essence of CrossFit was, which is building broad, inclusive fitness which, you know, you should be able to do all this stuff. And if you, if you can't, if you can't balance on one foot and do some of these movements, then I think Greg would say, you're not fit despite how heavier, heavier thruster your Fran time is.
Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome, man. Well, so how can we support your journey? You know, where can we learn more about you? Where can we point people to
Yeah, my and he can follow me on social media. Most of my handles are Marcus Philly or Philly Marcus. I do have a website, Marcus philly.com, where if you're interested, you can go back. And there is a blog on there where I chronicled my entire 2013 CrossFits games, training season. So pretty much every day of training from 2012 August all the way through the games which are it could be boring for some people it's also could be kind of interesting. And then my my supplement company, revive RX at revive-rx.com and go and see, see what we're about, see what kind of message that we have about supplements, food supplements, and what they should what they should include, what they shouldn't include and, and see about our post-workout and our protein product that we have on the market. And and if you're an affiliate and you and you have a, you know, a retail section at your, at your gym, and you're looking to carry something that's authentic from you know, the, from, within the community something that's not, not filled with junk and just has you know, high quality ingredients in it, then go check us out.
Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to do this and you know, I'll get all that stuff linked up in the show notes, but once again, man, thank you so much for being here.
Hey, thank you so much for having me and yeah, I really appreciate anybody that took time to listen to
Everything that we discussed today.
Thank you so much for listening guys. I know you're probably driving right now or doing something else, but don't forget to head over to the airborne mind.com and grab your free movement audit checklist. If you want to check out some of the details behind the mobility through movement program, you can see that either in the show notes firstname.lastname@example.org slash MTM. And if you really enjoyed this episode, remember the best compliment you can give is by sharing it with somebody else who might enjoy it, sharing it somewhere on the web or heading over to iTunes and leaving us a review. That would be phenomenal. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. I always love hearing from you guys. Thank you so much once again for joining me until next time.