Hey Bryce! First and foremost, welcome to team myHMB! We’re excited to have you and chat today to get to know you better!
Give us a little background on yourself for those who may not know you.
I am a former professional athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur.
I grew up in Southern California and am the youngest of three. With older siblings, I developed littler brother syndrome at a young age. I always felt that if I could beat my older brother at something, that I could beat anyone. We grew up in a very athletic neighborhood playing all sports in the front yard along with capture the flag, hide in seek, basketball, football, baseball, soccer, biking, skateboarding, and adventuring.
We leaned into basketball, football, and track as we got older. Right around 7th and 8th grade, basketball became a major focus in my life. I began traveling to tournaments to play against some of the best competition in the area, and really exposing myself to a large talent pool to learn, evolve, and seek my edge. I dedicated most of my teenage years to the pursuit of maximizing my basketball potential. This led to an LA City Championship and some performance accolades where I was a standout shooting guard from Taft High School.
After a rollercoaster ride of a recruiting process, I found myself at San Diego State University. I played Division 1 basketball for 3 seasons before landing a professional basketball opportunity in Europe. Europe taught me a lot about myself. It enabled me to explore, dream, discover while pursuing my basketball dreams. My game evolved a lot while playing in Sweden, but more importantly, it taught me some very valuable lessons, skills, and life insights that I do not believe I would have acquired otherwise.
The journey of my basketball pursuits eventually led me back to school where I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and became an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at California State University Northridge. This was an incredible journey where I learned a lot about energy systems, optimal program design and exercise selection. Theoretical as well as practical applications of exercise knowledge, innovation, justification with colleagues, creating buy in with athletes, and most importantly the art of coaching via emotional intelligence along with the implementation of sports psychology.
I know you were originally an EMT and Firefighter, what made you decide to change your career path?
When I found myself a bit lost in my coaching journey, I leaned into the pursuit of firefighting. Serving a community and saving people’s lives seemed intriguing to me at the time. I loved the blend of problem solving, medical implementation in the field, staying active, working as a team, and really needing to think in pressure situations. I loved that every day was a bit different. There were opportunities to grow, evolve, and remain physically, mentally, and emotionally active.
What pushed me out of the field was my love to health, fitness, and mindset. I learned to not love some of the politics associated with firefighting along with the inconsistent sleep schedules, the health risks associated with exposure to dangerous elements, and most importantly the challenges it places on the family dynamic. Every time I worked with the fire department, I could not help but think about coaching and training athletes of all levels to pursue their peak expression and optimize their movement, mindset, and quality of life so they could live life on their terms. A life with no limits where I could help copilot their journey and provide education, support, accountability, guidance, and the tools necessary to meet them where they are at and get just a little better each day.
How did you end up as a coach at Invictus Fitness? And how have you changed as a coach over the last 8 years?
When I decided to leave firefighting, I went all in with my health, fitness, and education. It all began by attending every local certification that I could. Soaking up all the information I could while I was young so that I had the tools in my toolbox to help people in all the arenas. I never wanted my toolbox to not possess tools that I had the opportunity to acquire.
As I was coaching at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), I was also working at 2 local CrossFit gyms, as a physical therapy aid, and at an adaptive therapeutic exercise facility on the CSUN campus. I wanted to not only have the theoretical knowledge from the seminars and classroom, but I wanted practical experience in the field as well so I could learn how to troubleshoot the many challenges that would arise. This helped me learn the power of creating buy in, giving people a why based on their unique story and goal, as well as the power of negotiation which has been popularized by Chris Voss.
In 2014, my mentor and boss at the time who was the head strength and conditioning coach at CSUN suggested I apply for the coaching job at Invictus Fitness. I applied and went through the interview process, and it turned out to be the right fit. Since then I have never looked back and have been pushing the boundaries in the health and fitness industry.
In my 8 years at Invictus, I have learned to go against the grain a bit. I respectfully question everything. Grasping the power of relationships and what those mean in the grand scheme of life. I know now that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. When lost in your life or fitness industry, the foundational principles always apply to help restructure the base and keep us from crashing down.
When I first started as a health and fitness coach, I was very technical with my philosophies and terminology. I was fresh out of school and wanted to show off my terms. Since then, I have learned to be more adaptable, innovate on the fly based on trends, simplify my teaching techniques, consider patterns, look back at history, share vulnerability, or make appropriate audibles that are customizable to the individual.
What started as a step-by-step process has turned in to an art. Using the more recently acquired skills of compassion, empathy, and more developed emotional intelligence, I am better able to meet people where they are at and make better decisions to serve the amazing community that I am fortunate to copilot. Fitness has become the vessel I use to help empower, inspire, and support people in their pursuit of peak expression.
As humans, we are complex creatures having a spiritual human experience. Different things have different meanings to different individuals and my strategy is to account for the human first. I believe that it is a bit naive to believe that fitness…one spoke within the many spokes that make up our wheel of life…is the only spoke to take into account.
I like to connect and build trust with my community so that I can help them thrive and not just survive. Through this process, hopefully we can navigate the human experience with an optimistic, problem-solving eye, designed to enhance one’s operating system. My hopes are to optimize health and performance markers, become more resilient to stressors, build some amazing memories, and have an incredible story to tell when it’s all said and done.
What’s your favorite part of being a coach?
My favorite thing about being a coach is the domino effect. I love being able to help someone with problem solving, or skill acquisition, and then they can share that with someone else, and so on. I love seeing the growth in confidence and independence.
In the beginning, many clients need my services to help copilot their journey and enhance accountability and structure. Although these things possess a lot of value, I really love seeing clients who want to be coached versus needing to be coached. This is a major difference.
Watching this growth curve take place through consistency, discipline, and a nonnegotiable commitment to self-improvement is one of the most magical things to see happen. I learn so much from the art of coaching through the magical implementation of childlike curiosity, seeking to understand, and keeping an open mind. Gratitude is not a strong enough word to express how much I love using fitness and health as a tool to help guide people to their peak expression.
What’s the number one advice you would give someone wanting to start a new fitness and health venture?
AIM LOW! The program that works is the one that you do consistently. All too often, people get hit with a massive dose of motivation. Relying on motivation to achieve your goals is like relying on nitrous oxide to do a cross country road trip. Nitrous oxide will help a car go fast for a really short time.
Motivation is the same way. To actually go places, you need a sustainable source of energy like gas or electric. This is what commitment to your goals does. Commitment is deciding what you want most in the long term and then taking appropriate, sustainable actions to achieve it. Motivation is based on feelings and human emotion which are both fleeting. I don’t rely on motivation for my goals, I am simply committed to the process of pursuing my peak expression and creating a roadmap for others to do the same.
It really comes down to a simple equation:
Achieving your goal = hard work + consistency + learning + tenacity + resilience + skill + luck
Some of those factors I cannot control, but the ones that are in my control do not involve feelings. I don’t recommend allowing your goals to hinge on feelings. There are many days where we don’t feel like training. Days where you do not feel like disciplining your kids. Or days where we don’t feel like reading, studying, or writing. So why do we do these things anyway? Because we have goals that are bigger than our feelings. Our goals are to raise honest, hardworking, productive, and adaptable humans. We strive to increase our knowledge and our courage to apply that knowledge in the appropriate context.
It’s about consistently doing the next right thing and positively impacting more people.
Feelings do not need to be a part of the equation. If you operate solely on your feelings, they will rule your life.
Any goal that is worth it and possesses great value will challenge you to do hard things daily. It will make you do stuff that you don’t feel like doing, but commitment is doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has passed.
Take a moment each day for some deep thought. Decide what is important to you. Decide what goals are non-negotiable. Commit to doing what it takes. Do not rely on motivation as it is fleeting. Instead focus on dialing in consistent habits that are convenient within your life routine so that the hard things have less barrier to entry. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
Before all the coaching you were an athlete starting with basketball. Tell us a little bit about your athletic journey…
Sport has always been a major focal point in my life. It has given me the opportunity to play, learn, problem solve, create, and manifest my ideas into reality. I have always been a major believer in transferable skills, and I have humbly found that play and sport has uniquely transferred into everything that I do within the human experience.
As a young child, I grew up in a close knit cul-de-sac neighborhood where we played every sport you could imagine, and even made up our own on occasion. We innovatively found ways to entertain ourselves and seek our creative edge with some of the main sports as the foundation: basketball, baseball, football, soccer, track, extreme sports, biking, skating, gymnastics elements, swimming, wrestling, and of course arguing once the competitive juices got going.
Towards the end of middle school, I found myself gravitating towards basketball. I was also a track athlete to help support my basketball endeavors where I exceeded expectations in the high jump making the junior Olympics.
Full Steam Ahead
Once I got to high school, I wanted to put my focus on basketball. I had the opportunity to go to a local high school or attend a school to help exceed my basketball and scholastic capabilities. I attended Taft High School in Woodland Hills, California which was a prominent sports school producing lots of high level athletes like Olympic Gold Medalist Quincy Watts, Superbowl Champion wide receiver Steve Smith, Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith, NBA star Jordan Farmar, NFL offensive tackle Darrion Weems, NFL defensive back Paul Pratt, Professional basketball players Spencer Dinwiddie, Larry Drew II, and myself, and a wide array of celebrities like Lisa Kudrow from Friends, Wilmer Valderrama from That 70s show, along with famous rappers/actors Ice Cube and Easy E.
Attending a very notable school like this made me no stranger to cameras, expectations, and the goal being excellence. Being surrounded by so many high-level performers really pushed me to improve my craft on the court and in the classroom. With so many amazing athletes on campus, we were always striving for an edge and after 4 years of 4 conference championships, a city championship, and lots of national attention, our core team and I embarked on taking our talents to the college level.
The college recruiting process was very hard on me and my family. After a few scholarship offers from The Air Force Academy, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, University of San Francisco, UPenn, Harvard, Brown, Columbia, and Yale, I decided to stay in Southern California and attend San Diego State University.
Little did I know how much this decision would come full circle and change the trajectory of my life. This is where I learned a lot about business, life, and relationships. After a year at SDSU, my father became very sick and I decided to transfer to a school closer to my family in the Big West Conference, California State University Northridge where I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science.
To summarize my college basketball experience, it became a lot of over- promising and under-delivering. I knew I needed to mature fast and realize not to take things personally but realize that academic institutions with athletic opportunities were businesses first and that their livelihood depended on my performances as an athlete and student. I learned a lot through this process and am so thankful for all of the hard-fought lessons along the way along with the amazing relationships built.
It has been a very challenging road. My college basketball career did not go as planned and I just kept on grinding to finish my education. I kept adding experiences and tools to my tool box.
Getting an Opportunity
I ended up going to Europe for a while and playing professional basketball in Sweden which is where I refound my love for the game of basketball. Despite there being a transactional element to the opportunity, I felt like a kid again. I was exploring, dreaming, discovering, and embarking on a unique adventure. I found myself expressing my peak expression as I finally had some space to create, produce, and express myself without fear of failure. This was a magical experience that taught me so many lifelong and cultural lessons that I carry with me today.
Once I arrived back in the states, I became a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Health, wellness, and fitness was always the field I wanted to be in, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity.
In 2014, I took a chance and left Los Angeles which had been my comfort zone since that is where I grew up and I joined CJ Martin and the Invictus staff. I immediately appreciated the opportunity to serve, to learn, grow, innovate, and redefine the fitness industry narrative. I also loved being surrounded by people who could push me in many facets of life.
Facing Challenges and Hardships
However, in 2018, I lost my dad to terminal brain cancer and ended an engagement. Both were very traumatic events for me. They left me feeling very hopeless in my life. I turned to friends, family, and clients and doubled down positively serving the world. It took some time for me to manage my grief and use journaling, meditation, writing, speaking, and serving to find clarity after losing my dad.
I managed to make the CrossFit Games in 2018 by making my entire life about gratitude. When you exchange expectation for appreciation, your world changes forever. I learned deeper levels of empathy and compassion and my coaching business took off.
I realized that optimal movement was medicine. How to channel relationship building and life analogies as motivating factors for myself and others. Everyone goes through challenging moments and it’s important to share the vulnerability and know that we aren’t alone. How can we channel some of the hardest moments of our lives into creating a special community bond around growth and support.
In 2018, #smithstrong was born by friends and family. It became a mindset crafted by discipline and doing the right thing even when we don’t want to. It became a way of life. Putting our best foot forward every moment of every day and preparing our minds and bodies for all of life’s challenges while still being there to provide a helping hand for others. If we grow and evolve just for us, it is great. But if we can dig deeper within our why and learn to live for others; now that is where the magic is.
Are your competitive days over or will we see you back on a team or competing as an individual again?
One of my favorite quotes is, “If you stay ready, you never have to get ready.” So I would say that my competitive endeavors are not over, but for the time being, I am really enjoying a more explorative approach.
For almost 30 years, my life was about metrics. How many points I scored, quantifying statistics, loads lifted in competitive CrossFit, times of workout competition. I became so competitive that it narrowed my focus a bit too much. It was like trying so hard to get the top of the mountain. I forgot to look up and enjoy the scenery, the companionship, and the process of chasing edges.
After my father’s passing, my perspective on life shifted a bit. I have become less concerned with metrics and more focused on play, exploration, and curiosity.
Embarking on this Invictus Mindset Podcast journey has been enlightening. I feel so fortunate to connect with so many high performers. Storytelling, sharing experiences, and striving to maximize my potential has reignited my youthful enthusiasm and opened doors that I never thought existed. Connecting with amazing minds and taking part in challenges with a new perspective has unlocked a new level of mindset for myself. I am so excited to continue to share that through the art of movement, coaching, podcasting, storytelling, innovating, and connecting.
Obviously to fuel such high training and all the coaching, you must have a good nutrition plan. What kind of nutrition do you follow?
I am a big advocate for primal living and strive to keep things very simple. I try to think about how cavemen ate before the onset and media manipulation from agriculture and mass production. This is loose advice dependent on one’s lifestyle as there is no one size fits all approach to anything.
Some simple suggestions are:
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
- If it comes out of a bag or box or has a really long shelf life, it’s probably not the best
- Eat protein at every meal
- Try to eat the rainbow for veggies so you diversify your m micronutrients and nutrient density
- Try to vary protein sources each day
- Drink lots of water
- Create convenience around having optimal food around the house so you don’t make poor decisions when in a pinch
- Keep sugars and sweets out of the house.
- If you decide to have a cheat meal, make it exactly that…a meal, not a whole day.
Hold yourself accountable and be honest with what you put in your mouth. Try using a food log or an app where you can track your food for the utmost transparency. I also work with a food prep company to help optimize convenient and health options for my busier days and to save me time going to and from the grocery store.
Below are some simple strategies to help you in your journey:
Simple nutrition habits can serve as a foundation for the rest of your life. Don’t wait. This is in your control and can help dial in habits, discipline, nutrient density, accountability, decreased inflammation, fun, and flavor! Here are some simple nutrition habits that will be foundational pieces for total lifestyle success!
1) Start Small
To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think. Like, for example, instead of focusing on building the whole wall, focusing on laying a brick down perfectly each day.
Hold off on counting macros right off the bat. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Try eating the rainbow. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
3) Make Gradual Changes
Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. The diet that works is the one that you will stick with. Changing everything at once usually leads to overindulging or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to coconut oil when cooking. As your small changes become habits, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet. Think of these as habits rather than a diet. That way they can last longer and become a part of your day-to-day routine.
4) Make Small Changes
Every change you make to improve your diet matters. Celebrate those small wins by sharing with a friend or loved one or doing a little happy dance. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet.
Try not to go from one extreme to the other as the answers typically lie in the world of moderation or in the middle of the spectrum. The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy, decrease inflammation, enhance body composition and performance, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts. A food log could help with accountability as well.
5) HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE
Drink Water. Consider water as one of the central components to your diet. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches.
It is very hard to over hydrate, try keeping a water bottle close to you so it is in sight and in mind. Many of you have asked about strategies to stop snacking when home all day. Hydrating is a great way! In addition, try not to have the snacking foods in your home and stick to the ones that serve you rather than the ones that leave you feeling guilty later. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Try not to give in to what you want NOW for what you truly want forever. Building the discipline with your nutrition habits now will set you up for success later physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Besides a healthy diet, what supplements do you include in your daily regimen?
I truly believe that if you are healthy, you are wealthy. I strive to control all the factors that are in my control and let go of the rest. Some of my favorite mentors always shared to take what you need and leave the rest.
As far as supplementation, I put my trust in the Thorne health products as they are clean, well-researched, and are drug free sport approved. In the past, I have done blood panels to check all of my levels and see where my deficiencies are at and then strive to gap fill those deficiencies based on lifestyle factors and supplements.
Some of my go to supplements are:
- Vitamin D
- fish oil
- b complex
I try to dial in habits as well like morning walks with my dogs and sunlight. Connecting with nature, regular training both cardiovascular and weightlifting, optimal breath work, sauna therapy, ice baths, daily meditation, and journaling are things I value. I do grounding by being barefoot as often as possible, optimize my sleep, gratitude, love, service, and honest contribution to the world. This unique combination of primal living and honestly copying what my dogs do with their natural human behavior keeps my human machine operating at a high capacity to keep doing the things I love. And helps to efficiently serving the world with my best effort and most optimal self.
You’re the host for the Invictus Mindset Podcast… how did you get into that? And was that something you always wanted to do?
I believe that everyone has a story we know nothing about. Very rarely will I tell people what to do, but instead, I will challenge their perspective and nudge them to think.
In 2018 as alluded to previously, I lost my dad to terminal brain cancer. At that time, I realized I knew my father as my dad, but he had a whole life before I ever existed. In between chemo treatments and training in the hospital parking lot, I would converse with him and have special conversations. This was a special time that brought us closer and helped me understand his life, his choices, his frequency, and why and how he operated the way he did.
In a world full of judgment, I seek to understand. I’d like to create a safe space in the messy middle and grey area for healthy and respectful debate. I am on a mission to create a safe space for the world to sing their song and be unapologetically themselves, sharing their truth, and seeking their peak expression.
The podcast is a special way for me to connect with some of the world highest performers and share their story. We get to highlight moments in time that are pivotal to life enhancements, share authenticity and vulnerability. We have interesting conversations with special humans that hopefully give people tools in their toolbox to chase their edge.
What goals or aspirations do you have for the future?
I have so many goals and aspirations, but a big one is to believe in others and create a safe space to allow people to shine their light.
By coaching, training, podcasting, modeling, consulting, and connecting, I hope to challenge traditional societal norms and guide people to optimize their health and live life on their terms. Help others find where their mind and body are operating at such a high frequency that it is never a limitation.
I would like to continue to maintain my discipline in all aspects of life by consistently partaking in challenging things. Holding myself to a high standard based on my consistent effort and pursuit of giving my best effort to the world.
My goals are big, hairy, and audacious. I truly believe that if we can get a large majority of the population integrating optimal sleep, food, movement, sunlight, gratitude, discipline, exercise, breath control, mindset and stress regulation. By consistently doing the right thing when no one is watching that we can help change the narrative in health and healthcare. And hopefully optimize the quality of life people are experiencing within their human experimentation.
What’s a fun fact or something quirky about you that most people don’t know?
A fun fact about me is that I love chocolate milk. Typically, I will integrate it after an awesome squat session to strive to optimize the relationship be the stress hormone cortisol and the bodies’ response to sugar being insulin. This little treat brings so much joy after a hard-earned squat session.
Another fun fact is that although I love coaching, podcasting, connecting, and integrating with the world. But I am a trained extrovert. Some of my favorite moments are my alone time on a run, navigating challenging workouts, narrowing my focus on a walk, in the sauna, or in an ice bath, or listening to nostalgic music.
I love being introspective and making time to reflect on the human experience each day. Then optimizing my understanding of myself and others. This allows me to also read and listen to podcasts to always be learning and upgrading my toolbox for myself and others. I never like to refer to myself as an expert or specialist, but rather a human…navigating this messy thing called life while being a lifelong learner and a professional mistake maker.
Thank you so much for your candid dialogue and for giving us a glimpse into your life. We are excited to see what the future holds.
Build Muscle and Get Stronger with myHMB
Training induces stress on the body and breaks down our muscles. Studies have shown myHMB promotes protein synthesis and decreases protein breakdown. These mechanisms of action allow your body to recover faster, improve strength, and build muscle. Learn more.