Human transformation is a science and a step-by-step process. In this episode, Angelo Poli, founder of MetPro, joins Adam Markel for the second time to dive deeper into Angelo’s experience and fascination with human transformation; a mission that eventually translated into his work in nutrition and the founding of his company. Angelo talks about the severe injury that introduced him to neuromuscular reeducation and his experience doing a TEDx Talk. Adam and Angelo dive into the science that MetPro is developing to advance metabolic profiling, which could one day make human transformation easier. Learn how AI technology is transforming MetPro by using science to create the most effective steps to help anyone transform.
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A Physical Pivot: Finding An Algorithm For Human Transformation
I’m jazzed up as I’m getting ready for this show. It’s going to be part two. It’s a rare thing for us that we have a guest and feel like we extracted the juice, but it was more juice to extract. That’s part two with Angelo Poli. I’ll dive right in here and share a little bit about him. We’ll dig in. In part two, we’ll cover some new things. Maybe we’ll even continue some of the threads that we had in part one. If you don’t know what part one was, you’ve got to go back and read it because it was a killer episode.
Angelo Poli is an internationally recognized expert in fitness and nutrition. He’s the Founder of MetPro, an evaluation-based health coaching program specializing in transformations using a process called Metabolic Profiling. MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides an individualized approach to obtaining your health goals. Angelo has spent much of his career as a motivational speaker. He was featured at TEDx Chico where he discussed his own achievement in overcoming obstacles after recovering from a crippling injury himself. Angelo brought to light a whole new way of thinking about health, fitness, and weight loss. Angelo, it’s great to have you back on the show.
Thanks for having me, Adam. I’ve been looking forward. This is going to be great.
I think about the feeling I had when I was getting ready to do my first TED Talk and how squeezed on the inside I felt because I’d been speaking publicly for a number of years. Before that, I was standing up in court as a lawyer. I was familiar with being in front of a hostile audience. Before that, I was a middle school English teacher so I knew what it’s like to be in front of a hostile audience, yet the TED event was not hostile at all. It’s one of the most loving audiences you could ever imagine. Standing on that little red circle in a room where the whole energy of TED is different. It’s a different public speaking gig than I had before. Let’s go back to you. I want to focus and understand what inspired you to want to give a TEDx Talk and what were the nerves like for you? What was the prep like? Did you feel squeezed?
Yet another thing we have in common. I remember clearly that day. It’s going back little ways. It isn’t like anything else. I’ve done live videos, podcast-type stuff, but that’s a little different. You rehearse. You get ready. You have a message. Three, two, one, go, you have three different cameras pointed at you and there’s your resume online for the rest of your life, that’s it. You’re speaking resume. There’s that little added pressure. I’m getting up and I’m talking about this novel, rare field of health and wellness. You’re going to go up on a TED Talk or TEDx is what I did. You better have something interesting to say because everything in health and wellness is that’s such a chewed through topics.
What’s a unique angle? What’s the slant? I wanted to make sure I could grab people. The areas that have always fascinated me are everything related to human transformation. As I’ve gotten older, that word has grown to encompass more to me. At that point in my life transformation, I was referring more to the physical, to the aesthetic, but all elements of human transformation and the science thereof. How does a small person get bigger? How does a big person get smaller? How does somebody change their shape? How does somebody change their performance?
Going down that path led to nutrition, MetPro, and all the coaching that we do there. One of the side tangents that it took was a process called neuromuscular reeducation. It’s something that I wouldn’t have remain blissfully unaware of had I not experience severe injury in my early twenties. It left me walking with a cane for almost a decade. A lot of people don’t know that or forgot that because that’s a little while ago, but I was that guy. In town here, people knew me as the trainer with the limp, the trainer with the cane.
It’s an indelible image when you think about that, a trainer with a cane. What a beautiful, inspiring image that must have been for a lot of people? Clearly who you are that you take a situation that might knock other people down and out for a long time. You began to use it to your benefit so I got that. What was it that created the injury?
It’s young stupidity, that’s what created it. That old thing, thinking I was young and immortal and not listening. I didn’t have any one incident. It was a series of ignoring obvious signs and pushing my body. That’s one of the major things that I talk about, injury prevention, working out in a way that’s sustainable, all those things are so important. Treating your body like you’re going to live there forever. That’s important. You’ve got to take care of your body.It is important to treat your body like you're going to live there forever. Click To Tweet
You want your body to take care of you. Otherwise, you go, “Why is my body not being kind to me?” You look back and go, “I don’t know how kind I’ve been to my body.” This is a question for all of us to ask. I was asking this because for the last good while we moved out to California several years ago and our consciousness around our health, our food in particular and in other things relative to our mental set, they began to shift and more along the lines of what I would say would be that my mind, my body would later on go, thank you. These are lagging indicators. Eating a McDonald’s burger or a Whopper or In-N-Out or anything.
You might feel good at the moment, but your body is not going to thank you.
The body might not even reject it a day later. You stack all that up, all the burgers I ate. I’m not throwing the burger industry under the bus. It’s all the fast food and junk and stuff that I ate in my twenties. It’s not like I felt it in my twenties. I wasn’t like I turned 30 years old and my body went, “You suck. What were you doing to me?” No, it turns up like when you’re 40 or some other point. You had been depleted or not taking care of yourself. You ended up in that state.
I was ignoring the warning signals and thinking, “I can live off of the caffeine. I can get up early. I can work late. I can do strenuous physical labor spotting people, handing people dumbbells, 10, sometimes 12 hours a day.” I was 22, 23 at the time. At that point, you think you’re indestructible, but circling back to the TED Talk and a neat personal experience that I had. First of all, I still have a relationship with some of the other speakers on the same night as me even all these years later. It’s such a welcoming community and such a powerful experience.
When did you decide you had a message that you had to share from that experience of coming through walking with a cane for a dozen years and going, “There’s something I’ve learned here I have to share?” Bring us to the point where you go, “I’m going to do this TED Talk thing. I’m going to try. I’m going to make sure I’m going to give it my best to get on a stage,” etc. Walk us from there forward.
You’re going to make me dig deep here. It was an emotional time for me. It was a rough spot. I remember one experience that I had was super painful because it wasn’t about enduring the physical pain I was in at the time. Having to watch my wife endure watching me be in pain and it broke my heart. I didn’t know if I could stay in the industry. I didn’t know if I could stay in fitness or wellness. There was a point where I almost threw in the towel, but I decided this is what I’m passionate about. This is what I feel like I’m knowledgeable about. I hope there’s still something that I can offer. I’m going to see it through. I’m at least going to give it my all.
After that point, I decided to do the TED Talk. I ended up deciding to continue expanding my strategy side of coaching. I wasn’t handing people physically dumbbells, but I was still coaching them, giving them the nutritional strategy, challenging them, the overall game plan. I ended up with a cool reward for that. One of my professional highlights, one of the funnest times in my life professionally, I had my back surgery. I was 3, 4 months out from that. I’m still recovering. I was to the point where some days I’d walk with a cane, some days I wouldn’t. I ended up getting an incredible honor. I got the call from one of the pro athletes that I got to work with Aaron Rodgers.
He reached out to me, scheduled a time to come and meet with me. It was that week that I said, “I think I’m done with the cane.” When I reentered doing some of the physical work, I have the reward of getting to work with him. Talk about a talented athlete and to be able to work with him, it was a blast. I tossed out the cane. I came back, decided I’m still going to move forward in this path. What an experience getting to work with someone of his caliber, both personally and professionally. That was all the same time period that I did the TEDx and a bunch of speaking engagements.
What was the message of the TEDx Talk because I’m sure people are going to check it out as well?
The message of that was when we coach people, I’m going to sign people the exercise routine they should do or give them strategy around it. When I go into that, I may not be standing in front of you, but there are a few assumptions I can already make about you. That is your body is lopsided. The reason I know that is because the year is 2020, then it was 2014, 2013, technology abounds. We live in our devices here. This is the position we’re all in. Kids, teenagers, we grow up with it. We’re hunched over. We spend multiple hours a day in the seated position. Our physiology dictates that our postural muscles shorten, anterior delts, pectorals, biceps, we round forward.
Our phasic muscle groups that relate to how they’re innervated weakened or lengthened. That’s the muscles of your upper back. What happens is our center of gravity shifts. Not necessarily for the reason you’d think either. We shift related to proprioception and balance. No matter what’s going on with your muscular symmetry, your body will always adapt to keep your eyes level on the horizon. Your body has this built-in mechanic where it’s designed to prioritize vision because that’s your equilibrium. You’ll never see a little elderly man walking down the street hunched backward, or if they’re crooked sideways, they’ll always have their head tilted to bring their eyes back to level. If we work backward from that understanding, we can see how quite a number of postural imbalances take place to bring ourselves back to that equilibrium for vision. How our body adapts around being in the seated position, the hunched position, the shoulders forward, and the effects that have all the way down to our feet.
It’s compensation one after another.
Fast forward into what we do now, we coach people. We help people with nutrition. By the way, we tell people how to exercise, which means I’m going to be picking your exercises. What do people do for exercise? They do the same thing that our grandparents did and their grandparents and that was loosely based on the exercises as you would think of and like a bootcamp model. We do pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks. Our grandparents and their parents, they were not lopsided. They were balanced. Going into those exercises from the standpoint of starting in a balanced position made sense. When Johnny comes into me and already his head is forward, his shoulders are forward. His upper body back is rounding. His feet are rotating externally. His hips are forward, his center of gravity, what’s the first thing I do? Twenty pushups, that’s only going to accentuate that imbalance, maybe a great exercise. Don’t go home and say, “Pushups are bad.” That’s not what I mean. I love pushups. I always try and take a sustainable approach to exercise. There are some warmups school does postural moves that we can do to recondition, to fight back against those postural deviations that develop based on living.
At MetPro, all of our coaches have those adjustable desks so they can stand whenever they want. A lot of these coaches are big into fitness when they come to us. I have to have the talk with them. I said, “You’re a fitness coach. You’re a nutrition coach and this is a desk job.” The nice thing is we’re always doing activities. It’s inside of one of our gyms. There’s always access to physical activity. Day in and day out, we’re talking with our clients from all over the world. We’ve got clients in six different countries and we’re on the phone with them. We’re doing exactly what you and I are doing. That’s at a computer. That’s with a headset and a microphone. It takes its toll. If you’re one of the millions and millions, you have a desk job. Get that standup desk.
There’s a cool thing that we used to do at the beach. I was a lifeguard for a bunch of years and a lot of the more profound lessons in my business life and in personal life even have come from that. Looking back at when I was nineteen years old and for seven summers, when I wasn’t teaching or in law school, I was on the beach, in the ocean dozens and dozens of times every day, certainly on a Saturday, Sunday, making rescues or preventing rescues. One of the things that we’d work an hour in the stand and then we’d be an hour out of the stand.
The hour we’re in a stand, you’ve got to be eagle eyes all the time. Your focus has to be acute. Your tension, you have to be present because there are a million things happening behind you. The stand is up near the water. You’ve got several hundred people in your section of the ocean. We typically had 3 or 4 lifeguard stands out to the west and 3 or 4 to the east. You’ve got two guards in each stand and hundreds of people in your section of water and thousands of people behind you. You have 100,000 people on that beach.
There would be fights going on. Guys would get drunk. We’d always have some heat exhaustion situation, people had heart attacks, all kinds of things. We never lost anybody in the water. The intensity and the focus with all that distraction, as well as Mother Nature’s distractions, you got rip currents. The ocean is constantly changing. The sun is in a different place. The wind is different. We were communicating via whistles. It was intense. That level of intensity, intense focus, and high performance were optimal in small increments. Sometimes this is called the Pomodoro Method or Pomodoro Technique.
I call it toggling. I toggle back and forth during the day to this day, between intense focus, like what we’re doing. I feel like you and me, this is what’s great about what we’ve been able to do together is be present and enjoy each other’s company and also allow for things to flow through us. That’s not something you can do when you’re tired or you won’t do it as well when you’re tired. You won’t do it when you’re multitasking. It won’t come off the same way, but I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t do eight straight hours of this conversation with you or anybody else. I don’t think you could either, but to do an hour and then have a break. Change my focus and do something else.Inspiration and motivation is an art. Click To Tweet
I’ll go and take a twenty-minute walk after this. I’ve got another thing I’m going to do with somebody else. That’s a completely different use of my brain and different creative muscles going to be exercise. I’ll come back 90 minutes from when we finish it and I’ll do one more show for the day. It’s this toggling, this changing of focus from one thing to another and taking breaks in between. It’s what we did on the beach to enable us to get back in that stand fresh as though we’re starting the day. On those down hours, we’d go back to the lifeguard check. We’d lift weights, eat our lunch, look at girls, go for a run or we’d go surf. These were the things we would do on our down hours. When we were up, we were there to be nothing but gold medals. Otherwise, in that environment, if you were a bronze medal winner, it meant maybe somebody went down.
You are somebody I know that is a major leader in this conversation. On a global level, which is incredible, what’s the most state-of-the-art thing that you are up to? I finished a book on disruption and there’s no question that AI, AR, VR, robotics, blockchain, and many different things are out there, disrupting the marketplace and we only call it disruption. We worked with one of the cofounders of Airbnb many years ago as he was incubating that idea. Disruption is only disruption because we didn’t think of it.
Everyone’s got to know who listens. We go all over the place. There was no way to script this. I didn’t ask you, “Could you bring this up?” Adam, let me tell you. I got some stuff, AI. I’m going to try and consolidate this as much as possible. My company, MetPro, we are passionate about transformation. All the way from the MVP football players, to mom and pops, to the celebrities who are getting ready for a specific show, we drill down on the exact science that we end up landing on the most effective steps to help somebody transform. It has long been my belief that it is essentially a series of if this, then that.
It is a mathematical equation, a very complex one so much so that a lot of people in the physique sports industry view it more of an art than a mathematical equation, two decades in the industry. It’s my belief that while the inspiration and motivation is an art. While there is a flavor for individuality, it’s a mathematical equation. There is a science to transform. What we did years ago was we built an algorithm. One of our employees used that algorithm when years ago he was a friend of a friend who said, “I’ll try this algorithm out.” He lost 60 pounds. He followed the algorithm that told him when to increase his intake, when to decrease intake, the whole nine yards.
It was incredible. It was awesome. That algorithm is still running and part of our technology tools that our coaches use when they’re monitoring their clients and suggesting when and how to adjust their diet. It has long been my belief that this algorithm can be turned into an applicable tool for anyone to use. I have been chasing it for years, Adam. There’s a hard problem to solve. I’ll whisper this because I don’t want to say it too loud. It will all come crashing down, but I’ve solved it. It’s a hard problem.
What’s the problem first of all?
Here’s what the problem is. If you tell me, “Here’s what I weigh. Here’s my performance level. Here’s what I eat and here’s my goal,” I can mathematically give you by odds probabilities what is your most likely best next step and what you should and shouldn’t do. I can do that. How old are you, Adam?
I am 54.
Adam is in rock star shape. You could tell me, “Here’s what I’m eating.” When we work with somebody, we go through a process called baseline testing. With the baseline test, I would be putting you, Adam, on a meal plan that I know the calories. I know the macronutrient breakdown. I know the meal timing, the glycemic load. I know everything about this meal plan. I know it well because I’ve had thousands of other fit guys in their 50s follow the exact same meal plan. I can give you a statistical data point. On this meal plan, the average person loses exactly this much weight or gains exactly this much weight or whatever the case is given this much time. I’m going to put you on it and compare how your body responds. That gives me not theoretical, not opinions but actual hard data. In other words, there’s no debate.
Here’s what happened, Adam, you went on this intake level, this macronutrient breakdown and you lost 1.6 pounds in five days. There’s the data. Based on that, I can tell you how I can predict with reasonable accuracy, how you’re going to react to this, that, or the other change to your meal plan. Here’s the problem. I say, “Go change this. Come back to me in a week.” The first question I’m going to ask you when we sit down, you go, “Angelo, I love this meal plan. It’s working well.” I’m going to say, “Adam, how well did you stick to the meal plan?” You’re going to say to me?
It’s reasonably well.
I have no clue. That’s what I’ve learned. I’ve no idea what that means, which makes building an AI, an algorithm around nutrition exceptionally difficult.
The variations are infinite in that case.
The variations are not infinite but they’re huge.
If you change one aspect because I haven’t gone to law school and my favorite course was logic. I don’t even know why. It didn’t make any sense to me, but the whole, if this, then that stuff I got it. I still love it because there’s reliability in something that’s logical. I’m not saying it’s passionate. I’m not saying it’s exciting or whatever, but there’s a certain predictability to it. That’s what you want. You want an algorithm to be optimized for the predictability. Otherwise, if it’s random, it’s of no use. Taking the randomness out of the equation means that old expression, “Good data in, good data out. Bad data in, bad data comes out.”
There in has lied the challenge that we have been working at collectively for years, but drilling in on this. We’ve been able to layer our algorithm with a way of valuing data. Now when we give you a meal plan, you check off which behaviors you followed and which you didn’t. Each behavior and each stat is weight-based on years of experience and thousands and thousands of clients. We’re waiting for things reasonably well. We are able to throw out the incomplete data. Somebody follows the program and has this outcome. What it’s going to do is look at your inputs and say, “That data may not be 100%, but it’s enough quality that MetPro’s AI is able to say based on how you’ve responded, here’s the recommendation.” If it can’t, it will tell you exactly how far off and how much more data it needs in order to have a baseline, to make the recommendation from and give you that next step. We’ve been working hard at it. It’s in beta, which means it’s not ready to go. We have testers. It has been thrilling. It’s the thing that is in this world, I am the most passionate now.
You get a chunk of your time, your energy. I’m guessing some money behind this future. It’s true that the algorithm is something that has transformed many businesses and is transforming every business. Where you are in the curve of that, that’s a question for business owners to be asking themselves.
There’s a problem to be solved here. It’s not what diet is best because there is no answer to that. I’ve seen every diet. I’ve seen every workout program. I’ve been around since people were using the sweatbands, the Jazzercise too, the CrossFit movement, the physique sports, and everything in between. I have seen every single genre, every single paleo, keto, plant-based, cyclical fat, and every version work. It’s a matter of knowing what is going to work best for you right now with where your body is at. The problem is you can go to ten different doctors and you could explain, “Here are my symptoms.” With reasonable reliability, all ten doctors are going to say, “It’s clear you have this, that, and the other. You’re sick. You have this.” You go to ten different doctors and you say, “How do I lose 50 pounds?” You will get ten different answers.There's a science to transform. Click To Tweet
You go to ten different fitness trainers and say, “How do I lose 50 pounds?” You will get ten different answers. There has to be some standard. The standard needs to be at least starting with, give me a tool that will parse, calculate my approximate metabolic rate. You can go and you can breathe in the O2 stats. People call me up all the time and say, “I went to the doctor. I used one of their expensive machines and it gave me my metabolic rating.” I said, “That’s great. I could have saved you the $2,000 and told you your metabolism was slow.” That’s like saying, “I’m going to try and learn how to tango. I’m going to try and learn how to waltz.” What I did was I went to a bunch of great dancers and I took Polaroid pictures of them dancing to learn how. It’s a snapshot. What you need is a tool that shows you day by day, week by week what your metabolism is doing overtime because we all know it’s a moving equation. That’s what we’re trying to solve and we’re trying to create at MetPro.
It’s a methodology for tracking. It’s important because at different points in our lives, the same thing wouldn’t work. The diet I had, if we could call it a diet in my twenties was what I used to refer to as the Neanderthal diet. All that meant was I’ll eat anything as long as I can incinerate it. I could incinerate it. The fire was stoked at that point that physically I would burn off anything. That was my whole routine. I would hear people even then that were like, “I should eat this. I can’t eat that.” I didn’t get any of that. I said, “You can eat anything.” I don’t mean to the extreme because I also had a philosophy that everything in moderation is okay. I don’t know that I believe that now anyway, but not at this point. If I could burn it off, I felt like the burgers I was eating, not that I’m going to promote them.
I remember those days, I waved at them as they went by.
That’s not the case now. In this decade of my life, to take my body for granted in that way, or to pile on with stuff that I know it doesn’t want, or it doesn’t need or it’s not in its best interest to do that to my body. To force it, I’ll run a couple of extra miles. I’ll swim an extra couple of miles in the pool or whatever it is. That’s a recipe for lack of health or my body not being at ease.
I’m still going back to, you said you love the if this, then that. Let me take you through one. This may take a left turn. It may be applicable. It may not, but at least you’ll get a sampling of how metabolic profiling takes that approach for nutrition and training. Next steps, if this, then that, because if you were to strip out all the art and all the nuance at its core, what I do in helping people transform is if this and that. It starts with a goal and a goal has to be what we’re not going to put our effort into. That’s what a goal is about. Figuring out I know what everyone wants to accomplish.
They want to get leaner. They want to get stronger. They want more energy. They want to feel better. Of all of those, which are you willing to wait for tomorrow? Which one are we doing? Let’s check it off the list and move on to the next. It starts with a goal. Based on your genetics, your history, if this, then that. Give me a goal, Adam. What would you like to achieve physically? Maybe throw out one performance goal, one aesthetic goal so we catch the range.
I’ll tell you what I’m working on, which is my gut. What I want to have is better gut health. Since I can’t see into my gut and I can’t have a conversation with my gut, the idea that I can return it to a more optimal state. That’s one thing. The other has to do with physically how that gut looks. For example, I had a little beer belly that showed up when I started to be around 50. My wife loved it. She’s like, “Finally, after all these years, I’ve got something I can hold on to.” She’s loving it. I’m loving the fact that she’s loving it. I’m going, “I’ll have a little bit of that.”
A few years later and I’m going, “This thing has only gotten a little bit bigger.” My weight morphed from where I could have on any given day weighed in somewhere between about 163 and 165. I was 175 pounds. I said, “This is not going in the right direction. I don’t want a gut. That’s not where I’m coming from. I’m on stages. I’m traveling around the world. I coach people to speak. I’ve got a model that I talk about. If I’m talking about resilience as an example, all that involves, I have to be more resilient myself. I’ve got to be truer to the message.”
I got back in the pool. I started swimming a few months ago to regain my six-pack, start with six before you get to eight. Get rid of this gut and improve my gut health through green drink and bringing myself to a more alkaline state, apple cider vinegar, probiotics, all that stuff. Here I am several weeks later, my gut looks different, but it still has that bulge. My weight on a good day when I weigh in right after swimming, I’m still at about 172 pounds. I’m thinking to myself, it’s like a 1% change. I could tell that things are moving in the right direction, but I don’t know whether I’m ever going to see the underside of 170 pounds.
Do you want to?
I don’t know whether I need to. I don’t know whether my body is meant to.
You can if you want to. That said, what you’re alluding to there. You would not be what I would consider a weight-loss client. You would be a body comp. If you called me out of the blue and said, “Angelo, I want to get to the next level. I’m in my 50s.” What you brought up were two goals. You gave me a health goal and an aesthetic goal. Let’s put the health goal aside. That’s your gut suffice to say, it’s great stuff that you’re doing. That’s a goal unto itself. Let’s talk about the aesthetic goal. The point I want to make about it is don’t confuse them. They are two different things.
I wish it weren’t so, but I’ve dieted 20,000 people. I’ve been doing this for two decades. Healthy is a goal unto itself and has enough value and enough virtue to aim for it and sacrifice for it all by itself even if those two aren’t linked. The reality is for everyone, you can say, “You got healthy. You also got the body you want. Yes, they’re related, but they can be uncoupled because I can show you lots of nineteen-year-olds coming out of the McDonald’s drive-through with six-pack abs that are putting nothing but junk into their body.
I’ve trained bodybuilders and physique models for years. Some of them are all organic and clean. Some of them put synthetic garbage into their system all the time. They have a stunning physique, but they’re not necessarily putting in their body what I would consider clean and natural food. I want to make the comment that what you have is macronutrient calorie, metabolism, and health. They’re two different things. They’re both good. They’re both important. We’ll slide the gut health and the health to the side and say we always want to do things in a natural way to aim for that.
That’s my first priority. To me, it’s the garbage in, garbage out thing. When I know I’m taking good care of myself, even if my physical body was lagging, there is such a thing as age. I hate to admit it, but the fact of the matter is we’re going to be different when we’re 80 or 110. We’re going to be a little different than when we’re 30. That’s the reality of it.
I lie to people and say, “It doesn’t matter,” because everyone says to me, “Angelo, I want to hit this goal. Do you think the fact that I’m in my 50s matter?” I said, “No.” They said, “Are you lying?” “Yes.” If you can’t control it, then it means the things you can control become that much more important. I have people in their 50s, 60s, and even in their 70s that are telling me that they are now in the best shape of their life if you can believe that. I’m not saying that’s a daily occurrence, but I have people who have told me. We had a gal. She was in her 70s and ran her first marathon.
That’s less about aesthetics. I didn’t make that point well enough. I appreciate you said what you did. I was in the pool and I’m swimming. This is one of these surreal moments. I’m swimming next to a high school team. La Costa Canyon High School team practices at the same place that I swim at. It’s an Olympic-sized pool, beautiful and had zillion lanes. I’m next to their team. There are two kids that are crushing it. When I get out of the hot tub, I read in the hot tub, then I loosen up a little more and I do my workout. I’m watching these two kids battling each other in this lane next to where I’m going to swim. I’m watching them for ten minutes because I’m in awe of the speed and longevity. It’s speed and endurance. They’re crushing it. They’re doing sets of 200s, which is 8 lengths of a 25-yard pool.
They’re doing these and I’m going, “I can’t believe this. I’ve got to swim next to these guys now.” I’m tired. It’s 5:00. I worked all day. I exercise my brain. I want to get in there, do a workout, and get out. Now it’s like the gauntlet got thrown down. I’m going to get next to these two young bucks. I am not going to knuckle the fuck under to them. No chance. I got in and let me tell you something, I pushed myself and I swam. I went lickety-split. My ego got triggered.Healthy is a goal unto itself and has enough value and virtue to aim and sacrifice for it all by itself. Click To Tweet
At MetPro, we classify people and put them into categories. These are broad strokes and I’m not a psychologist. These people are way more intelligent than me about this stuff. I get people that say, “I’m so proud of you. We talked about what you’re going to eat for lunch and you ate it today. I want you to do it tomorrow. Keep going. You’re doing such a good job.” That’s Person A. That’s the person that likes a good support system in their life. Person B is, “Remember that lunch we talked about, remember you asked me those questions on why I asked you to eat specifically this, let me go into the breakdown of behind why I’m having you eat this and not that.” That’s the type of person who needs to know the why behind it. There’s the third type. It’s, “Adam, I ate this for my lunch. See if you can do better.” Some people need a challenge to reach their best.
This is the moment that was funny for me. I’m swimming next to these guys and I’m going, “I’m 40 years older than these kids.” I’m doing math. I’m thinking to myself, “I could be right next to them. I could be another high school knucklehead in about a second. I could swim under the landline, sneak into the group, and let the coach dress me down for dog in it or whatever other things that I would do back then.” It happened a second ago because it is a second ago. That’s the truth of it. A snap in time and all that. I go, “Forty years later, will these kids be able to do what I’m doing right now?” That was the question I asked myself, “Statistically, knowing what we know about obesity in this country and in all the other stuff that’s going on with people dealing with, what are the odds that either or both of those two kids would be doing what I’m doing 40 years from now?” Regardless of the answer because that didn’t matter to me, I felt good about myself. It was less about the look of my gut. It was less about aesthetics. More about the fact that I was doing something that was good for myself, that made me feel good about myself and was overall, like you said, in that first category of health, I felt healthy.
That is an awesome story. You’re right on the same wavelength as me. That feeling of satisfaction, knowing that you’re taking care of your body, knowing that you’re taking care of your mind and feeling able. There are people that come from a place and I walked with a cane and that was not something I was in control at that point in my life. I had to deal with, but whatever your circumstance is, I didn’t want to get morbid on us. Number one reason people end up in assisted-living facilities is not what we would think. It’s not the heart attack, the stroke or cancer. It’s mobility. It’s a simple matter of their knee started hurting.
Because their knee started hurting, they stopped getting up. Because they didn’t get up and go for a walk, they gained weight. Because they gained weight, it was harder to walk. They walked less. Their body aged faster to the point where now it’s a mobility issue and they can’t do the things they used to. That’s why they ended up in the circumstance. Much of that is preventable. It’s a difficult thing when you have an injury, when you’re dealing with something, but it’s worth working around it sometimes depending on the circumstance working through. It depends on what you’re dealing with, but don’t ever stop. Don’t stop moving.
The young tree when it’s a little sapling, it’s soft and it’s flexible. The old tree is hard, rigid. The wind comes along, breaks the branches off, uproots the tree. Us as newborns, we’re so flexible. We’re soft. We’re pliable. Us later on in life, we’re stiff, nearer to the end, stiffer. It’s something important. It’s obvious that we overlook how important it is that we keep moving our bodies and maintain that softness, that suppleness, the flexibility. Whether it’s yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong or walking twenty minutes. You hit on something that is profoundly important. A lot of us are at our desks for hours and hours. Back to what we said, you can take an hour of intense whatever it is. Get up and walk, move your body, stretch, do some yoga, go outside for 10, 20 minutes, or something. As we wrap things up, I want to find out about something that you do for yourself on a regular basis, whether it’s a specific exercise or it’s something you eat, or it’s a particular thought pattern that you create. I want to dig into Angelo’s world.
Here’s my secret, I garden. I love it. I never thought I would be that guy. It’s my stress reliever.
Tell us about gardening.
I love what I get to do because I feel blessed. I get an opportunity like you do it because you’re in the same industry, line of work, where we are talking with people and getting to know them from many different walks of life and so many different backgrounds. I’m on the phone with one guy, helping him with his nutrition or his exercise, but he’s a big rancher, into equestrian and horses. That was something that as I was growing up, I was never exposed to that world. I know a little bit about it. I’m on the phone with another guy. He builds submarines. He’s telling me all about this and he’s going down. There are the seven highest peaks in the world, the mountains. There’s like seven depths. I’m not an expert on this but I know more than I did. I’m always talking with people.
At the end of my day, I come home and it’s all sinking in. I meditate. I need physical activity, but not an exhausting activity. I plant trees. I have this little plot. My backyard is horrible and with rocky ground. It’s like the worst place you’d ever want to plant a garden. It’s a good challenge because it’s such a transformation when you get stuff growing. I come home. People are going to tease me, my smooth jazz because I don’t want words. I want something in the background. I dig my holes. I plant my trees. I run my water lines. I love it. That revitalizes me.
You and I are simpatico in many ways. This being one of them, but I love putting my hands in the soil. Randi and I, we made ourselves a little planning project. We’re parents. This is another parenting nurturing type of activity. Whether it’s your pets or it’s your pet plants. Putting something that’s alive in the ground and then nurturing it, making sure that it’s taken care of, watering it, and all the rest that’s involved in that kind of thing. It’s what we’re built to do. As human beings, we’re made for this. It’s a wonderful way to finish out a day where you’ve been interacting with other humans to interact with something that can’t talk back to you. Not that you can hear it anyway. That plant is going, “Why are you rough? Can’t you be a little bit gentler with me?”
We live way out in the country. My wife comes downstairs, opens the back door, and yells at me. She always says the same thing. She usually says, “Put some pants on.”
The part that I want people to know is that there’s a lot of information about MetPro and about Angelo, his company, the work they’re doing. You can find out more, google MetPro and find out about them instantaneously. Let us know what you thought about this episode. Any questions that you might have for Angelo, for myself about this and your comments are welcome. Angelo, your TED Talk too, I want people to check out the TEDx Chico talk that you gave some years ago. It’s one of those things that can be a catalyst for many. I don’t know where that talk was in the sequence of this business evolving. I don’t know whether it was on the front end of that or was it when you were already incubating the idea or you were a startup at that point. Where was it in the sequence timeline-wise?
I had a personal training company for years. I was starting to branch into remote coaching thinking, “These methodologies that we’re using could be used around the world with anyone anywhere.” We were in that transition where it was going from a gym to an actual company. It was an interesting time for me.
There are a lot of people that are in their own minds trying to curate the next thing. Regardless of where you are in your own business model, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What business will I be in five years?” For many people, knowing that they might be pivoting in some way, getting clarity on what that pivot would look like is very special. That’s what I love about TEDx events because it requires you to get intensely clear about one particular thing. Whereas it’s usually the sea of ideas, a sea of thoughts and a sea of messages. People can’t formulate one clear through-line to save their life. That’s what you have to do to succeed on a TED stage.
That’s what we do. We work with people to help them to get those done, get on those TED stages, etc. If you have an interest in that, please let us know as well. I will conclude here with the same advice or the same reminder that I love this for myself as well as for other people, which is that we get a choice the moment we wake up in the morning. It’s like a great plussing of your end of a day practice, which is to put your hands in the soil, get into nature and garden. For us, the tilling of that soil starts the moment we start consciously thinking in the morning. What are the seeds that you want to plant in the ground at the beginning of a brand new day? Every day stands completely on its own.
You go, “Tomorrow morning, I get to wake up. What’s the first seed I want to plant? Is it a seed of gratitude or is it a seed of worry, doubt, or something else?” I know how it is to start the day thinking about my to-do’s or thinking about the things I didn’t do, or whatever. Those thoughts that take you off in a place where you go, “Do I want to see the fruits of what I’m planting? Do I want to see what those fruits look like? Those fruits are gnarly.” Whereas you could plant a different fruit. What’s one thing Angelo, when you wake up that you’d love to sit as that first seed of the day thought-wise?
It’s an appreciation for the awesome people that I have around me. It’s easy to take that for granted. I do it. Everyone does it at different times. There are some phenomenal people that come into your life. If you are caught up in the day-to-day and what’s going on, you’re going to miss how great these people around you are. Get to know the people around you that you’re with day-to-day and tell those that are important to you. That’s huge.
Mine is I will keep the habit and the ritual of saying these four words out loud when I wake up, “I love my life.” I am reminded at this moment how much I love my life. Angelo, thank you for being on the show.
- Angelo Poli
- Part one – Finding Your Fitness Strategy with Angelo Poli
- TEDx Chico by Angelo Poli
About Angelo Poli
Angelo Poli is an internationally recognized expert in the field of body transformations. Poli pioneered the evaluation-based approach to weight management that has been hailed as “… a foolproof diet plan.” He is the Author of MetPro: The Science to Transform, which outlines his philosophy and workout system. Poli is also a serial entrepreneur. He is the Founder of MetPro, the world’s first algorithm based weight loss engine, which is fueled by the data you feed into it every day. In addition, Poli is the Founder of Whole Body Fitness, which provides weight loss, health and fitness training programs for all ages and fitness levels. By using a combination of the latest nutrition, conditioning sciences and evaluation based methods; Poli and his team are able to create complete short and long-term fitness strategies that maximize people’s weight loss process.