How can you be a successful business owner while also taking care of your health and nutrition?
Jason Ackerman spends a lot of his time training successful people to take better care of themselves.
Focus on one thing – put all your efforts into it, do your best at it – then move on to the next thing. That key concept is what allows me to maintain my health and fitness at a high level.
Don’t let your own health and fitness get sacrificed – 80% of how you look, feel, and perform is in your nutrition.
Having your priorities straight allows you to focus on the right things.
In this episode, we’re talking with Jason Ackerman about his background, what he helps people with, the concept of filling your cup first, priorities, and how to balance the four pillars of health.
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Jason Ackerman 0:00
As entrepreneurs, your listeners can fully understand that monkey brain, squirrel, and shiny key syndrome. And going back to profits is a very easy business to get into, and no one tells you how to do it right. And you’re just chasing your tail. And something I learned from you was that concept of focus on one thing, but put all of your effort into it, do your best at it, then maybe move on to the next, or maybe you no longer need to.
Doug Holt 0:28
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Powerful Man show. I’m your host, Doug Holt, with my co-host, friend, and special guest, Jason Ackerman. Jason, thanks for being here, brother.
Jason Ackerman 0:42
Do I get co-host billing on this episode?
Doug Holt 0:45
Already, man. I mean, come on, we have known each other for a few years. I’m just going to grant it to you.
Jason Ackerman 0:50
I appreciate that.
Doug Holt 0:52
It sets the bar high, though expectations are there.
Jason Ackerman 0:56
It does. Let me get another sip of that coffee.
Doug Holt 0:59
Exactly. Well, Jason, first and foremost, you’re a husband, a father of a newborn. Congratulations again. And an owner of multiple successful companies. And one of the things amongst many that you’re known for internationally is fitness and nutrition. Tell us a little bit about the guy’s listeners so they can catch up. Because obviously, I know your background, a little bit more about your background and what it is that you help people with.
Jason Ackerman 1:28
International. That adds a whole other pressure.
Doug Holt 1:31
Keep stacking on the expectations.
Jason Ackerman 1:36
Well, I’ve been involved in CrossFit for 15 years now. First, just like many people back in the old school era of CrossFit doing it myself, googling CrossFit, finding the workouts doing them at random Globo gyms or parks. And then ultimately, that led me to open three affiliates. I sold those affiliates and continue to work for CrossFit on their seminar staff, traveling the world hence the International. It’s a little limited these days, mostly a regional base down here in Colorado. But yeah, I spent a lot of time training people to open a business with my wife that you’re familiar with. You can certainly dive into the challenges of owning a business with your significant other. The relationship is still standing as the business is so proud of both of those. And currently, my biggest passion and focus is our company, the best hour of their day. We’re coaching CrossFit affiliates, and it’s one of those unique businesses where it’s not a very hard barrier to entry. It’s not very expensive, you take a weekend course, which is, in my opinion, the best fitness course around, or at least one of the best. But a few $1,000 down, and you own a business, and it turns out, hey, you need to know a little bit before doing that.
Doug Holt 3:08
Yeah, details right. Well, I’ve been there as well. Well, a lot of our listeners are successful business people. Fitness is a passion of theirs. So I’d love to go down both those routes, man. So let’s talk a little bit about being a successful business owner as you are traveling, but also something that you take a lot of. I’ll use the word pride if that’s okay and is taking care of your health and nutrition. I know you had to cheat me on your birthday, I saw, but would you be most people’s nutritious meal.
Jason Ackerman 3:45
And my cheat meals have taken on different forms, and now it’s sushi versus mac and cheese and cake and cookies. But before we go any further, I want to say when there was a time five, six years ago, where I learned a tremendous amount from you and your partner at the time, Eric. And that was a huge impact on my development, not just as a human being but in the business world. So I do want to thank you for that. That was a big learning time for me. And I bring it up because it’s twofold. One of the things you taught me at the time, whether accidental or on purpose, was the concept of essentialism. And I don’t even remember if the book was out at that point. But since I read the book and his second book, effortless, both are great books. If your listeners are interested in new books, I highly recommend them. But breaking up the fitness aspect, I think as entrepreneurs, your listeners can fully understand that monkey brain, that squirrel, the shiny key syndrome, and going back to profits are very easy businesses to get into, and no one tells you how to do it, and you’re just chasing your tail. And something I learned from you was that concept of focus on one thing, but put all of your effort into it, do your best at it, then maybe move on to the next, or maybe you no longer need to. So I bring that up because that concept is what allows me to maintain my health and fitness. I think, for many business owners, we get involved, especially in the CrossFit or fitness industry, it’s like, oh, you’re going to be at the gym all day, you’re going to get in such fantastic shape. And then, when you have free time, the last place you want to spend it is at the gym. So your health and fitness wind up getting sacrificed. And with understanding, hey, not everything is, by definition, only one thing can be a priority. I don’t remember where I heard it. But it was like this idea of priorities. That’s not a real word. It’s A priority. So by having your priorities straight allows you to focus on other things. And for me, as you said, health, health, and fitness and finding that time is the foundation. I’ll say spending time with my daughters is part of that equation. But I will go back to, if I don’t get my exercise or eat right, or feel like I moved today, even that time spent with her isn’t as enjoyable.
Doug Holt 6:23
Yeah, we talked about this a lot through The Powerful Man and the concept of filling your cup first. And so many guys, as men as providers, we get taught or we at least think we are getting stuck in this paradigm that we need to go around taking care of everybody else, let me take care of my wife, make sure she’s happy, make sure that kids are happy. And the guys get run down. And when they get run down, they look around like, Hey, who’s going to take care of me. And they forget, then they go, Well, what happens is they go to their wife, and Jason, I’m sure you’ve seen this, and I know you don’t do it. But then they go to their wife and say, fill my cup. Come on, and they become needy, that needy guys like, oh, I need you to fulfill me make me happy. And the flip side of what works is what you’re talking about. You fill your cup up first, and then it can overflow into others, such as your daughter and spending time with her. So I love that you’re doing that.
Jason Ackerman 7:15
Yeah, and again, I want to credit you guys for that. When I met you guys, I was still having what I call shiny key or squirrel syndrome with the business, and it was like, everything was on fire. And what, and one of the other concepts you taught me, was the Eisenhower matrix of urgent and important, and all those things. And these are all funny when I work with affiliates, in CrossFit gyms, or anyone in a mentorship role. To me, now these concepts are so obvious and simple. And when someone asks you something like, Hey, what do I do for this? I’m like, why are you asked like A; forgetting that you’re the expert? Even at 43 years old, I’m still a child, in my mind. And remember that I didn’t know this at one point. And it’s important to get everybody to understand those concepts. And I agree, it starts by filling your cup first at midnight, in the book, the best hour of their day. That’s my book about owning CrossFit affiliates. One of the chapters is called Fill Your Cup first, because there was a period of time, as a CrossFit owner. I had to put on the jeans that I kept in the back of the closet because I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t filling my cup first. And the truth of the matter is, while I was taking care of others over me, I still had plenty of time. I was just spending it in the wrong places.
Doug Holt 8:48
We can all relate to that. I mean my background and fitness as well, the same thing happened to me. And it’s a similar story. Everybody expects you in the gym, and you’re lecturing, etc. On fitness. But then again, the last thing you want to do is go back to work. When you’re done with work, you don’t want to go back to the office, so to speak, and spend your time there. When we talk about essentialism, for you, in the way that you see it for yourself is traveling. And obviously, when you’re traveling and again, with the pandemic, not as many people are traveling these days, although I just got back from the UK, and the planes were full. How were the essential things that a business leader should consider with their workouts in their nutrition, in your opinion?
Jason Ackerman 9:31
Well, I think it’s most importantly, find the time. And I think many people won’t start because the task seems overwhelming. So maybe you’ve been involved in fitness in the past, and you think to yourself, Well, I can’t. It took so much time, energy, and effort to get there in the past. But you don’t need to get there again, like who you are at 43 doesn’t have to be who you were at 33, and there are so many things where I am like hey, you don’t have five minutes. And I will, of course, have five minutes. Well, okay, well, so can you do burpees? In five minutes? Or can you go for a quick jog? Or, it’s like, I don’t have what’s theirs in the meditation expression if you don’t have five minutes to meditate, you need an hour, it’s the same principle with exercise, like, so when I travel, it’s first and foremost nutrition. 80% of how you look, feel, and perform, maybe even more, is your nutrition. And a concept I talked about a lot is the four pillars of health: sleep, stress, fitness, and nutrition; we need to balance all of those. And in fact, I tell people, hey, if one of those has to go, it’s probably your fitness, your sleep stress, and what you’re eating will dictate your health and your wellness a lot more. So focus on that. I don’t know that everybody needs to do this. I tend to fast most days already. But especially on travel days, it’s just for me that black and white. Of it, it makes it easier. Hey, I’m traveling; I can grab a coffee in the airport, I can chill out in the lounge and drink even more coffee or grab some water there. But I’ll eat when I arrive at my destination. Of course, traveling to the UK or international may be a little long, but opening that window of fasting helps me and then just finding that time it usually has arrived. Put your luggage down and go. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the less likely it is.
Doug Holt 11:34
That is so true. I mean traveling, my trip is an example and to give the listeners who haven’t been on the road for a while. I mean, they’re serving you oreo cookies, crab. It’s nothing nutritious for you on the plane at all. And you’re watching the people around you are just sitting down antsy, just eating sugar.
Jason Ackerman 11:51
Yeah, I flew to Dubai. This was a couple of years ago. And they, I mean, it was amazing. There was pizza, and there were ice cream sundaes. It was like that, but the other thing about that is, you’re not hungry, you’re tired, you’re stressed, and you have nothing else to do. So you’re just like, yeah, pizza sounds amazing right now. But you don’t need it. And I think, again, I love the black and white of many things, but especially nutrition where it’s like if I say hey, I’m fasting, there’s no gray, you’re not eating. If I say currently I’m a carnivore, I’m eating meat. If it’s not meat, I’m not eating. So I like those things. And I think nothing’s easy. I’ve also been talking about recently, and I think I was a big part of the problem with macros. When you’re eating, we’re primarily macro-driven, and protein, carbs, fats, there’s this notion that it’s meant to be easy. Because you see macros, and you’re like, oh, I can eat donuts? Yeah, you absolutely can. You can eat all the donuts, and you can eat unlimited food. You have to track it, and you have to weigh it, you have to measure it. Suppose you’re willing to do all that. Yes, it’s easy. What I like to say it’s simple. Same with carnivore people, see you saw my cheat day; that was perhaps the only time I’ve eaten anything other than strictly me in the last year. And is it easy? No, there’s, of course, I want sushi or cookies, or my wife was pregnant. She was eating ice cream and all sorts of foods. Of course, I want those things. It’s simple, though. This is what you can eat. This is what you shouldn’t be. So I like having that. And I think if you’re doing that with travel, it makes it a whole lot easier.
Doug Holt 13:38
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And for those, I like the current concept of the carnivore diet, and for those listening, just to give them a breakdown because not everybody’s got a background in this carnivore is essential. I’ll let you add into this, Jason, but it’s eating meat. Ideally, it’s not only beef but also chicken’s nose to tail. So you’re eating the liver and everything else for a nutritious meal. And some people will add in cheeses and dairy products from milk by-products or animal by-products there.
Jason Ackerman 14:46
Yeah, I like to look at it. I always tell people it’s like one of those charts where it says, Is it me? Yes, eat it. No, don’t eat it. Yeah, it’s nose to tail. I put out cheese and realized that I was harming my body. And, I think I have some flexibility there; I’ll incorporate some dark chocolate or some almond butter. But again, in my mind, I know where those limits are. And it never opens up to bread or pasta. So it’s you. I like it for that reason. I like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, where they have the same outfit every day. There’s decision fatigue. And I know, and that’s part of why I like fasting too. Like, it’s 9 am my time, I don’t have to worry about food until 5 pm. And at 5 pm, then I’ll start to think about it. But the fewer decisions I have to make, going back to everything that we talked about with essentialism, it’s cool; I don’t have to worry about it. I eat the same foods 90% of the time. And it’s one less decision, you’re not throwing in the same hoodie when I come down to the office every day, and it helps me do the things I need to do, the things I need to put some thought behind better.
Doug Holt 16:02
I think you bring up a great point because decision fatigue is proven scientifically proven. And as business owners, we’re making more decisions in an hour than the average employee. This is an average employee who is making an entire day or week. So to fit decision fatigue sets in quickly. And my experience, I like to hear yours with well, business, nutrition, and fitness. And you’ve learned on this a little bit. These people make it so complicated that they’ll be like, well, I don’t know how many B vitamins I should be getting. So I’m not going to start till I know what supplements I need. Do I need five grams of creatine? Do I need a preload? And they’ll use these as excuses and barriers to doing things?
Jason Ackerman 16:44
Yeah, that’s exactly what I was referring to. It’s like, okay if I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not going to do it at all. And those little things that are typically what’s stopping people from starting are like the 5%, the concept of diminishing returns, if you just focus on what you ate and exercise for 20 minutes a day, you’d be getting 80 or 90% of the results, these other things that are prohibiting you from getting started, are not only meaningless but for most people, absolutely insignificant in their journey. So again, keep it simple, whether it’s your nutrition and by no means is carnivore the only option, but whatever option you’re you’re doing, find something that’s simple, that works for your lifestyle. And same with fitness. I’m a big fan of CrossFit for that reason. It’s pretty short. I mean, most days, especially with the baby, if I get 30 or 40 minutes, that’s great. And I can get into the garage, warm up, hit a workout cooldown all within that time. And the idea of just that minimum effective dose is huge.
Doug Holt 17:54
Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s transition real quick. And what I want to talk about is something you touched on earlier. So your wife, Roz, who’s amazing, you guys own a business together, I owned a business with my wife. It’s a business I owned, and then I got married. And so she came into the business at the time. So we all know any guy listening to this that runs a business with their partners. Considering it, how should I say this? The troubled waters that could be ahead? What are some of the secrets that you found to navigate these?
Jason Ackerman 18:28
I don’t know that I found that a secret. I mean, I think the most important one was realizing you’re in a partnership. Even like you I the nutrition business was pretty much mine; I was running my own. And then when I met Roz, and we got married, we kind of shifted a little bit, but it was the same business that I still felt was mine. So realizing, okay, well, now I have an equal partner, who cares about this business and understanding so long as you select the right partner, which isn’t always the case, even if you do not agree on something, they’re doing it for what they consider in the best interest of the company. Now, that was big, so Okay, I don’t agree with this. But Roz wouldn’t be doing this if she didn’t feel like this would be beneficial. So understanding that and really with everything I’ve been doing in coaching and business, I have made an effort over the last few years. And I was again going back to when we were working together to be empathetic. And, on a recent client, Paul, one of my clients asked me, he’s like, you’re so empathetic, how did you get there? And I, of course, paused and said, Can you repeat that in front of my wife? It’s hard work. And I think that was just a big learning lesson, like realizing. I saw, not to get off-topic, but the country was divided in the whole political landscape during the election almost a year ago. And my partner and I, for my current business, have very different political beliefs. And I’m not huge into politics, but enough to think that we all know where we were going with this with the presidential election, and people were reaching out to me saying, how do you deal with them? How is your partner? Like you guys? How do you work together, etc.? And I said, my response was always because whatever you’re thinking about whichever candidate you support, provided realistically, the other person feels the same way. You might say, they’re crazy, how can you support this person, but they’re thinking the same thing about you. And so long as you’re not pushing your ideals and your agendas are on me, that was really what was very eye-opening to me, I was like, and it was the same in business, I started to realize, okay, that’s their belief, they feel this way. So I need to respect that. And it goes the same with coaching frequently, we see a lot of newer coaches, wanting to give their members like, this is what you need. This is how we do it, etc. And like, but that’s not what they want. And that’s why they’re here. I can tell all of your listeners to hate fasting for 20 hours a day, do the carnivore, do 100 burpees in the morning, and that’s it, but I’m not going to do that. Okay, well, then let’s figure out what’s going to work for you. I know, a long way of saying that there was a lot there with her, and then ultimately, giving her the authority and being like, hey, let’s like you run this and tell me what to do. And that was super helpful for our relationship. I don’t think we were ever at the point where it was like, Hey, we need to shut this business down, or this marriage will fall apart, but it wasn’t helpful. And a couple of other things that we did were making sure we spent one day a week where there was no business talk, there was no work on the important business, not allowing it to creep into like, dinner time, having separate we use slack. And it was like pressure if we were texting each other, it was personal. It was business-related. It was slack. So lots of those things here, separation of church and state.
Doug Holt 22:23
And that’s so critical, right? I learned something similar from my journey later on through the trials and tribulations. Because as a business owner, and everybody listening to this gets this, whether you’re a CEO of a company or you own the business, you don’t turn off. You’re showering. What are you thinking of?
Jason Ackerman 22:41
When people ask me, what’s my favorite part about the baby? It’s that I have to turn it off. So, When people this morning, for example, the baby was up, Rod brings during 630 in the morning, she had been up with her already, and I’m sleeping, and I’m like, Al I guess I can’t do anything until now until I made a quick cup of coffee five minutes before we got on this. But it wasn’t easy. It’s the first time in my life where I don’t feel, oh, man, I’m not doing something. I’m like, I am doing something. And no matter what else is going on, nothing is more important. There’s, who I was talking about last night, we have friends in town. And we’re saying like, whether it’s emails or texts, or you’re constantly on other people’s schedules and other people’s agendas, and the babies the first time I’m like, that to keep this thing alive more importantly, than getting back to a client. The client will be there.
Doug Holt 23:37
100% and those clients that don’t understand aren’t clients you need.
Jason Ackerman 23:41
That’s real. I mean, luckily, we’ve got great clients, but it’s no different than we talked to affiliate owners like you don’t get it. They’re my buddies, and they’re my friends. I can raise the rates and, like, well, if they were your friends, I have no problem paying you what your value is.
Doug Holt 23:56
Yep. Yeah. It’s so true. And babies are by far the best presence indicators in the world, right. The second year, not present. The baby just could feel it. Like it’s amazing.
Jason Ackerman 24:09
It’s insane. Yeah, I mean, I’ll be feeding here and like, Oh, I just checked my texts. And then, all of a sudden, she’s very aware that I’m not, just staring at her. It’s pretty intense.
Doug Holt 24:21
Yeah, great teachers. So Jason was so grateful for your time and gracious, I should say with your time, and I’m very grateful. People who want to find out more about you, your businesses, or just learn more about what’s happening at the Aquaman household. What are the best places for them to go?
Jason Ackerman 24:40
I think, like everyone, it’s just social media. My Instagram is coach case and Ackerman and then our website, best hour of their day. I don’t know if you have any CrossFit affiliate owners that listen, but if you do, that’s our main focus right now. But I’m still happy to take on nutrition clients. Throw in your eating But, realistically, just like we’ve discussed, it’s a matter of just helping people. I think to live a more fulfilled life, no one gets into entrepreneurship because they want to work 24 hours a day and now make a lot of money. I always tell people I’ve had plenty of clients who are like, hey, let’s shut down. Just you love coaching; go coach somewhere. You don’t have to own your own business, who you’re trying to impress with that. So my goal right now is not only to make sure I’m living that, which, a spoiler alert is a day-to-day struggle. I don’t want people to think sometimes people listen to you talk, and you’re like, well, he’s got it all. Do you do it? So well? I’m like, No, I still have to deal with my struggles. But I want to help other people with that as well.
Doug Holt 25:49
Awesome, man. Well, thank you for all the work you’re doing. I know you well enough to know that you’re helping a lot of people out there live their best as well. So thank you. Thank you.