On today’s show, I have my dear friend, brother, amazing coach, Ryan Bucciantini from OPEX North San Diego with me. Ryan and I have been on an amazing two year journey where I actually met him in a retreat in Southern California where I had a major breakthrough for myself personally and Ryan also had one there, so we shared that moment, and from there being gym owners and people that are trying to do better things with their lives for ourselves personally and for others, we’ve just been working together nonstop since, whether it be in business or just on personal and self-development.
Ryan had lots of amazing things to share and a lot of amazing insight. It was just great to have him talk and really hear what he feels is important for people and for himself to really develop and stay on track.
Enjoy the show and as always, thank you for listening.
Ryan Bucciantini is the owner, founder, and visionary here at OPEX San Diego North. He founded OPEX San Diego North with a simple (but important) goal – to help people move better while living a more purpose-filled life. He was active duty in the US Coast Guard for 14 years and now leads OPEX full-time, pursuing his passion helping people improve their health and fitness.
Angelo: Ryan Bucciantini, no stopping, flowed right with the last name, how are you?
Ryan: I’m great, I’m great. Thanks for having me.
Angelo: It’s my pleasure. I’ve known Ryan, is it two years, about two years September of 2016. Ryan’s got a wonderful story, and I want to just start with how we met, and I think a lot of your youth and different things about you are just going to creep up through this, just starting where we met instead of you giving me the ‘I was born on a cold winter’s morning’, and all that kind of stuff. Is that cool with you?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s cool with me.
Angelo: Alright Ryan, I’ll let you tell the listeners; where did we meet?
Ryan: We met at—I guess you could call it a retreat. We both linked up with the same person [inaudible 00:02:16] and we were both going through our own bullshit, so it was the two of us and the gym owner. We met at this Airbnb, at least I have no idea what we were talking about, and we kind of started to unfold whatever bullshit we had going on and I think it blossomed into a pretty good relationship.
Angelo: I did. Let’s just stop there; what did you think was going to happen that weekend?
Ryan: Oh man, what did I think was going to happen? I had no idea. I was so angry the first day we just showed up because everybody was late. I was just like, I’m done with it the first hour we were there.
Angelo: Who was late, when I was late or you were late?
Ryan: All you guys were late.
Angelo: Oh yeah, and I had to pick me up.
Ryan: Yeah, and we got there and I was relatively new to California at that point so I was like, man we are going to do some weird hippie shit. I fully expected to take some drugs and see where it was going to go, but I had no idea we were going to be jumping up and down eyes closed hollering at each other and talking affirmations.
Angelo: I got to tell you. I love the fact that there wasn’t any drugs there.
Ryan: I think it made the whole experience a lot better. I don’t think I was ready for that at that point. I had too much baggage at that point.
Angelo: Why did you sign up for that retreat?
Ryan: I met her at some entrepreneurial breakfast with Bledsoe and the rest of the Barbell Shrugged crew. She had one of her other clients there and she was talking about bowel movements or something. Like this chick hadn’t shit in like 12 days or something. I was like, this is the most interesting conversation. So breakfast went on and I approached her and just introduced myself, and she kind of told me a little bit about what she did. She sent me her sign up link and I think I signed up an hour later. I was like, I have no idea what this is but this sounds like it’s something really healthy for me and I’m going to take a chance on it.
Angelo: I’m just puzzled at how you thought talking about a woman not shitting for 12 days while you were eating breakfast was interesting.
Ryan: That’s an interesting crew that stuff there, looking back on it that’s a pretty valid point.
She was just talking about expressing yourself and the emotional connection, and how the things you developed as a child how that turned you into the person you are today. It was something I have never heard before, at least when I grew up that is not something that was around me at that point in time. I was like, well, I don’t really have any friends or anything out here so this will kind of be a cool experience, let’s do it.
Angelo: For me I was just really excited about looking into my family, because I knew that there was so many untouched—I don’t want to call the wounds, but just experiences that for some reason I wasn’t thinking about or didn’t even know how to confront them. So when she was saying that we were going to be able to do that I thought that was just so powerful because I think the majority of what “people would call baggage or bad habits” is from your parents, and it’s not because they may have directly said, ‘yeah, I’m going to give this to you’, it could have been a byproduct of what you heard one day when you were six and you took it the wrong way. I’m not saying that it all comes from them, but in a lot of it your youth is the majority of your life you spent with your parents, so a lot of the things that you grow and develop are literally just from them.
Ryan: Totally, 100%. Having gone through even more work since then I really saw the person I was becoming based on who my mom and dad were for good and bad. You know better than anybody this had been a major point of contention in my life, a major [inaudible 00:06:51].
Angelo: When you left there, if you had to say what an outcome was from that weekend, what do you think was it?
Ryan: Emotion. I was so cold, at that point I was still enlisted, I was still in the Coast Guard, and I just felt emotionless. I was such an asshole to people around me at that point in my life. That was just the person I thought I had to be and I remember this very vividly driving home after it and hearing this totally ridiculous song come on the radio, I have no idea what it was, and just sobbing the entire way home. Just like ugly cry the entire drive. I was like, goddamn, this feels so good and so unexpected, it just happened.
Angelo: You don’t remember the song; it wasn’t like Arms of an Angel or any of that, right?
Ryan: It was like some Macklemore song or something, something about love or whatever. Even just telling someone that I love them was an uncomfortable thing back then, I’m like, oh my god. Even I hear it come on now and I still get a little teary eyed, just like going back to that time.
Angelo: That’s awesome. It was way far out of my comfort zone. Like you said too, I don’t remember crying so, that has been the hardest adult cry of my life. The thought of crying in front of other people, let alone other men that I didn’t know, besides that being the biggest cry in my life, that is probably the biggest, definitely opening up and even being able to let myself experience that was just crazy. It was just like being on drugs.
Ryan: Seeing you cry into a pillow…
Angelo: Oh god.
Ryan: Having not met you before, I was like, damn, who is this guy? I feel like there were three relatively alpha people in that room and as soon as I walked in was like, who is this guy? What’s his deal? I think you were the first one, and we are screaming in pillows, crying all over ourselves and I was like, damn, I kind of have a new respect for this guy.
Angelo: It’s not easy being the biggest pussy buddy. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s just some big shoes to fill. I just felt like, fuck, I paid all this fucking money, I’m fucking in the middle of nowhere with these motherfucking strangers, if I’m not going to go all in right now when the fuck will you?
Who the fuck are these people? That’s what I thought the whole time. I was like, I am not leaving here feeling like there should have been something else, I’m just going to try to do everything as hard as we can.
Ryan: I think we did. We broke some furniture, we started going pretty hard.
Angelo: That was awesome. When you got back, what were some of the changes that you have from that. I would say for both of us, I don’t know if it was the birth but definitely a milestone in our spiritual growth side of us. What would you say from that experience was some of your biggest takeaways, the things that stick with you today? That’s another thing I think is really important is; you could go to a weekend thing and you could do all these retreats, but what is the thing that is going to stick with you for years? That’s the thing that really matters the most.
Ryan: Really, if I had to thank [inaudible 00:11:01] for anything, it would have to be my new marriage at this point. She was hands down the person that got me through my bullshit to be comfortable. I don’t mean being comfortable in the construct of like, oh I’m scared to get married or anything like that, but I had so much emotional baggage that I couldn’t tell the person that I love the most that I genuinely wanted to spend the rest of my life with here. That was so scary to me. I think that’s really what I took away from that weekend. It was just being able to express that feeling or emotion to her.
For a while we went through some pretty rough times. Good for her, she is like the strongest person I know, I was such an asshole to her on so many levels; on an emotional level, I never beat her or anything like that. It was basically an emotional beat down. Looking back on it that’s what I view it as, and the fact that she stood by me knowing that I was trying to work through all that stuff, I can’t thank her enough for being like that.
Angelo: What does that make you feel? I think that’s important too because I think some people may not understand the magnitude of what that feels like for you, because to me if you knew how good this felt, if you really could wrap your head around it other men would explore this. What do you feel now being able to do all this? What does that add to your life?
Ryan: This is a whole new level of freedom, gratitude. I think gratitude is really the best way to describe it, because I appreciate her so much more than the physical things she does now. We got married this year July. She is an amazing person; she cooks me dinner, she cooks food and all these other things, things that it may seem like I don’t appreciate but now truly, truly understanding how invested she is, I could never envision her being in my life or someone else for that matter. Any guy that has the opportunity to get past those emotional barriers is going to find a relationship that is so much more fulfilling and so much more fun. I don’t think it took us all that much to knock down the big walls.
Ryan: You just got to be okay with getting a little uncomfortable.
Angelo: Do you think there’s enough people in the world pushing this kind of message? Like who is? Let’s start there.
Ryan: To be honest I don’t know if people need to push it anymore, I think we need to be more genuine human beings. As a whole we need to hold more doors for each other, we need to say thank you, we need to, like you would say, not get pissed off if somebody cuts in front of you with a blinker, or throw somebody a wave or something like that. I think we need to start at that, and when guys can start doing little thankful gestures like that, they’ve started their journey.
But until we get over this idea of I have to size every guy up that walks in front of me, I think their future relationships may not be doomed, but may not reach their full potential.
Angelo: That’s nice. I like that. You and I come home and I sent Rocio who is not even my girlfriend at the time to the next one, and you sent Christina to the next one, how crazy that turn of events.
Angelo: I think that that’s so important in a crazy way is; if you have one partner that’s really trying to explore these things, and the other partner—I don’t necessarily think they have to be really into it, I think that really helps, but if they are not ultra-supportive and understanding of it or knowing enough of it I think that just makes the relationship so hard to be in.
Ryan: I think they almost become resentful. In our world we see it when two people are in a relationship and one decides to get physically healthier, like they buy a gym membership and they get really obsessed with going to the gym and creating a healthier version of themselves, at least from what I’ve seen, the whole thing tends to implode if the other person doesn’t support them in that endeavor.
Angelo: Yeah. You just can’t be able to support without putting in the work to figure out what they are trying to do anyway. That’s the thing; it’s like no matter what, you could say you are “into it”, but either way you need to put in effort into figuring out what they are doing and why they are doing it to support it.
Ryan: I think my question really to flip flop it, is, at least when Christina and I did it she supported me but she didn’t dig into my shit, and she realized that, hey, ‘I need to be a shoulder for you when you need a shoulder’, but it wasn’t her job to dig. She just needed to be there when I needed it and then she needed to find her own journey and work through her own stuff. If the other person feels like they need to be your guide I think that also makes it a little bit more challenging.
Angelo: Yeah, that’s a good point, because then you are not growing into yourself, you are growing into what that other person is making you.
Ryan: Yeah, and I think it’s really hard for a partner to hold that mirror up for you, because that’s ultimately what it is; they are not really guiding you, they need to just hold up the mirror so you can really see how you are acting or responding or being so you can see it first hand and then you deal with it. It’s not them being like, ‘no, no, no, that wasn’t right’, that’s never going to work.
Angelo: Yeah, absolutely. We got done with the retreat, when did we start working together on KDA?
Ryan: I think it was a couple of weeks after that.
Angelo: Maybe a month after?
Ryan: Yeah. You launched Logic in Business with that group and I joined up as part of the consulting side.
Angelo: Yea sir.
Ryan: You kind of coached me through all of that and here we are now a year later.
Angelo: One of the things I really applaud you for over the last maybe year and a half was you were once a CrossFit affiliate and then you moved into an OPEX model. I want you to share as much as you can about your frustrations and your why behind that because I think a lot of people may not even realize it that that is what they probably really prefer, they just don’t even realize that that’s an option or how they got there.
Ryan: Totally. I was the CrossFit affiliate for over four years and I enjoyed it. I got my start, the grounding pound with the military, that’s what they liked to do, and that’s what got me into fitness, but I got started in it for that reason. That’s what I thought people wanted, like they just wanted to suffer. That’s when I feel like I was, for lack of a better term, emotionally dumb. I was able to write good workouts and a good program, but I had no real emotional connection with people.
It was more of a revolving door, like people come in they do the workout, nobody really hang around and they would just go. I think that’s what bothered me most about that model. As I saw myself developing I was like I really, really want to learn who these people are, that’s the cool thing about being a gym owner. Owning a gym is cool, but seeing so many different people walk through your doors from so many backgrounds, that to me is the biggest benefit of owning a gym.
So I never really had any fulfillment behind any of that. People would just come in, there were pleasantries and things like that, and then I was like, okay, I need to level up my coaching. So I found OPEX, went through their coaching program. We had talked about things like program design and the life style component; it was what really drew me to it. So, every month we’d sit down and we’d really kind of harsh out what your goals are. I was like, oh man, what is this? I feel like this is the next wave of what exercise should be.
The more I dug the more I talked to people. I was like, this is what I’m looking for; this is the relationship that I really want to cultivate with people. We pulled the band aid off pretty quick. We moved locations, we moved models, and we jumped into it headfast and I haven’t looked back since. To wrap that whole thing up; what I was lacking in relationships with the old gym I found in OPEX I think that was the biggest differentiator in me making the change.
Angelo: Do you think you would have made this change without your own personal change in your growth?
Ryan: No. I was self-medicating with exercise.
Angelo: Explain this because I think this is a very good thing that you are getting to. Explain this.
Ryan: I had a lot of emotional stuff going on, both within my family and the people around me. I was just very unhappy. I didn’t know how to express myself verbally, so I would go the gym and I would just pound away on my body for 60 minutes at a time, or really until I felt good. I would just do the most grueling workout I could find until I beat myself into submission and basically leave the gym feeling okay or like I accomplished something. Basically it’s like a physical expression of anger; it’s essentially what it was.
Angelo: How common do you think that is?
Ryan: I think that is every model right now. It’s the quick fix; it’s how fast can I get into the gym, get my pump on and get out the door and go on with my day? Everybody is selling a quick fix for a few different reasons, but everything is high intensity, it’s go as hard as you can. If you are not leaving lying on the ground you haven’t worked hard enough.
Angelo: Why do you think that’s so gratifying for people though? That’s another thing too, it’s that there’s people selling it, but also too there’s people buying it. What does that feeling give you or give people?
Ryan: From the chemical rush I did it because it felt like I was on a drug. You feel so good after that until the day after, until you feel that again. Fitness is a drug. When you are treating it as an emotional retreat you have to get your fix, and if you don’t do it you start acting out in other ways, like you start acting out to other humans and you are just being a dick to them. You are like, man, I just need to go to the gym, I had a shitty day at work, I’ve got to go to CrossFit and beat myself down. CrossFit to me is just an easy one to pick on.
I think there are a lot of people that are doing it really, really well, but it’s the people that haven’t put in the time and haven’t put in the reps, and they are not actually focused on getting healthy, they are getting focused on releasing this emotional energy when there is healthier ways to do it if you will just find somebody that will help direct you.
Does that make sense?
Angelo: Yeah. How would someone know if they struggle with this? What are signs that someone struggles with this?
Ryan: Like I said, if you feel like you have to go to the gym every day and you feel drained at work, if you truly just don’t like most of the things that are going on in your life, I would say there is some form of an emotional release that needs to happen. If you are just like, ‘I’m unhappy at home, I hate my job, I hate waking up, I eat a shitty diet, blah, blah, blah, I just have to go to the gym’, there is probably an issue there.
Angelo: How would even someone begging to even deconstruct this? How would you work with someone on not having to be this way?
Ryan: I’m doing a horrible job at selling gyms right now. I think you need to find a confidant. You don’t need to go find some guru that specializes in this per se, unless you feel like that would help you. I think everyone truly needs some form of a confidant; somebody you can just go to and be like look, this is really bothering me, and just get it off your chest, or like we did, scream it into a fucking pillow, some form of an outlet that you can get that stuff out of you before you continue on through your day.
All we do is we absorb, we absorb this perfection through society and social media and all these things, and we see all this perfectness, and then we look at ourselves with all this negative bullshit that’s going on, but we, because I feel like we suck at communicating as humans, have no way to express that, other than physically. That’s a whole another conversation. Physically it can be a lot of different things, and how you are a loving your partner. That’s a whole another rabbit hole.
Angelo: If you were coaching me and I would get a confidant, how do you change all that paradigm in their head? How does that work?
Ryan: You have to have a real conversation with someone, and as awkward as it is it’s my job to start peeling the layers away, and like I said, it’s showing you that mirror. What I really like to do is we take whatever your goal is, usually it’s a physical one if they are coming into the gym, and the first thing we talk about is the bigger purpose behind it like; do you actually want to lose weight or are you upset that you are single? Or are you upset that you were in a long-term relationship that broke off and now you want to look really good because of that to make your partner feel like shit, or something like that?
Start to peel those layers away. Those are still very surface layer and then it’s just, peel the layer off, peel the layer off, and really, really find what it is they need in their life. From a habit standpoint we as humans for the most part really suck at changing our habits, so if it’s just a superficial goal of wanting to lose weight, the likelihood of you accomplishing that or retaining it is probably pretty low. I would really start to dive a little bit deeper in there. We do this thing called lifestyle mapping essentially. We start with the goal, we start with the bigger purpose behind it, and then what are you truly willing to give up; are you willing to sacrifice A for the goal or you are not willing? Then are you actually able to sacrifice those things?
Like you may want to be a super fit individual, but do you actually have 2, 3 hours a day to dedicate in the gym? I feel like we have to identify those things, and then from there you don’t go into exercise there, you starting looking at the lifestyle factors, and those lifestyle factors ultimately align with what your goal is and your purpose. I think that’s what’s not happening in the market, and that’s why people are struggling.
Angelo: Why not? Why don’t you think people do it?
Ryan: People are scared.
Angelo: Who, the seller or the consumer?
Ryan: I think both. On the seller side it takes some time because you have to deal with your own bullshit. So if you haven’t dealt with your stuff how can you truly and effectively help someone else see what their true potential is? [Glitch 00:31:08] I’m a gym that doesn’t really sell exercise, I sell lifestyle development really. At this point I feel like I’m more of a life coach than I am an actual exercise coach.
Angelo: Is that by choice, or do you think that you just evolved into it and that’s the way it is?
Ryan: I think it ultimately evolved into it. The goal was ultimately to have deeper relationships with people and that’s exactly what I got. If I didn’t level up and continue to work on myself and be able to have these conversations with people and kind of guide them into the direction they wanted to go this model would fail. We’ve been doing this now for 9 months. I think after the first 3 or so months when you start having regular sit downs with people the conversations get really, really deep, and you are not talking about what their program looks like, or movement and things like that. You are talking about like, ‘hey, I had a really shitty month because of so and so’, or ‘I switched jobs’, or ‘I’m really unhappy in my job and it’s affecting the things that are happening within the gym’.
So you start peeling the layers away and by the end of it you are nowhere near exercise, we are like work, your lifestyle and what can we flip flop or reframe to make you a little bit happier? Now we are playing with the emotional response to something and how that turns into a physical response. So it may not actually be their diet, it could be what’s happening on some emotional level with that, some situation that’s going on.
Angelo: Absolutely. You mentioned this a few minutes ago when you were talking about the coaches that part of them is that they have to do the work and that’s maybe the reason why some people haven’t gotten into this for whatever reason, for you this year, what are some things that you’ve evolved into or some things that you’ve been able to discover about yourself? Like in this year alone, what are some milestones for you?
Ryan: I’ve made some big milestones. My big hung up has always been my father passing prematurely. That was something I never really wanted to come to grips with. This year was a really big outlet for that. He passed away in 2013, this was the first year that I actually grieved over that, the first time I cried, this physical expression based on that. What else? I think getting married was probably the biggest one in all reality. My god, I was with Christina for 5 years, it took me that long to get comfortable seeing her in that light. I knew this was the girl I wanted to spend my life with, but I thought I was too emotionally shallow to actually be able to provide for her. We spent a lot of time deconstructing that, and that’s probably really the biggest win of this year. Once I got that everything else has really started to fall into place.
Angelo: How did you know that you were ready to marry Christina, or been able to provide to her emotionally? How did you know when that moment came?
Ryan: Looking back on all the work that I had done and really looking at her unwavering support I think was the biggest, not selling point because that sounds horrible, but the biggest thing that I looked at, like this girl is a ride or die. We run a gym, switched models, switched locations, through a deployment, all of these things and she never once batted an eye. She’s just always been by my side, always been supportive. I am grateful for that because I gave none of [glitch 00:36:15] Looking back on it, it’s so sad how I never thanked her for just being there through me with all of this.
Angelo: Do you think you just weren’t emotionally available to thank her for it, or did you take that as a sign of weakness? What was the reason for the holding back on that?
Ryan: I used to view any form of emotion as a sign of weakness. I thought I would be less of a man if I cried, if I didn’t come with full testosterone and anger like a raging bull I felt like I was less of a man.
Angelo: Where did you learn that?
Ryan: Really I think it just came from the military. I struggled in high school. I was a quiet kid, we moved when I was in middle school, and I definitely got picked on growing up. I joined the military. I advanced really quick and I put myself in a position where I was the person in charge and it was my way and it was no other way. When people would fuck up there was zero nurturing or being like, ‘hey this is a life lesson let’s try to learn from this’, it was, ‘I need to hammer you into the ground until you figure it out that this isn’t acceptable’. If any of those guys ever listen I am like really sorry for that. I think I held a lot of people back because they were scared to approach me about the people that they wanted to become.
Angelo: Do you think that you treated yourself that way too?
Ryan: Like beat myself down?
Angelo: Yeah, like if you fucked up.
Ryan: Oh yeah, totally. Well yeah, because I would just go to the gym. I would just go hammer myself until I was so emotionally drained and then after that I’d be like, okay, now I need to go figure this out. Or I would just sit in my office and I would disconnect from everyone, and I wouldn’t want to talk to anybody, I wouldn’t want to listen to anything anybody had to say, and I would just go my own way and figure it out. I think that’s probably one of my biggest faults; has been me not allowing anyone to help me. It’s always been me versus the world situation in everything.
Angelo: What were some of the things that came up for you besides Christina that allowed you to change or even see that there was room to change, or you were able to change? What did you run up against so many fucking times that you were like, man, I need to change?
Ryan: Well, it was the same door. From a business standpoint, I feel like I got in front of a lot of really cool people throughout all of this, like some really awesome people, and I was just like, why can’t I become friends with these people? Why don’t these people want to be around me? I would put myself out there and introduce myself and things like this, and I honestly think people can smell it.
The people that have done the work can smell it out, and some are a little bit more willing to help than others based on what they have going on. But I think I self-sabotaged myself from really growing the gym early on because people just didn’t want to be around me. I was burning both ends of the candle, so I was doing the coach card thing and running the gym. A lot of the relationships that I think I wanted I actually burned because I was so spent. I had no time to work on myself, so anything I probably could have built in the old gym I fucked that up for sure, no doubt. To answer your question; it was really a revolving door business wise, like it was the same problems, we’d find a band aid for it and then something else would popup the next month. It’s been that way for [glitch 00:41:18] to actually ever ask for help.
Angelo: How long has it been?
Ryan: It had to have been at least two or three years. I’ve been going through this revolving door where retention would be bad or we didn’t sign up enough people this month, whatever. It really took me looking at myself and how I presented myself around people that I think was the biggest shift to everyone. It was a shitty culture because of me, not because of anything that my coaches were doing. As much as I blew up on them for the most mundane things, it was me not being genuine or authentic to myself that ultimately drove people away.
Angelo: For people like Christina that stayed with you, and I’m sure there’s some other people, why do you think these people stuck around for you?
Ryan: I don’t think I’m a train wreck all the time. I feel like I do have my moments that I can be relatively insightful. I’ve noticed now that I have an inner circle. If you are on that circle I can be very open, and I’m willing to be vulnerable and out that stuff out there. I think that overtime my coaches and whatnot got pulled into that circle, so they got to see what was authentically me, and who I actually was as a person, not this façade I was trying to put on because I felt like I needed to be Johnny badass.
Angelo: Isn’t it like the craziest thing? Even for me just as a leader; the more real you get the more your people love you. I don’t know where I got this from, but this idea of being almost so perfect was I thought for many years you just had to be, you had to just never fuck up or have a misstep because that was it. It’s so crazy, I don’t really even know where it came from, but it’s so unbelievable that I thought the same thing for forever.
Ryan: What’s really amazing in the team construct is; my coaches they are on their own journeys at this point, like they are all working through their own stuff and it’s amazing to watch. The first time that we really had a real sit down, not like boss and coaching things like that, but just like two dudes just talking about what’s going on in their lives, and I was like, ‘hey, I really fucked up here’. I’m like, ‘this was not right, I shouldn’t have done this’. That’s when the relationship truly gets built, and they see you for who you really are, and that’s what a team needs to be.
Angelo: Who are you?
Ryan: Saying that you just messed up is a huge step, I feel like for a lot of guys.
Angelo: I’m sure, but when you say who you really are, who would you say you really are?
Ryan: Now I think I am a very genuine loving person. I am past this idea of having to be the best or having to lead people into the fire and things like that. I really do want to lead my people, but I want to lead my people into better versions of themselves, and if I’m remembered for anything that’s what I want it to be for. I could care less about putting 30 pounds on someone’s deadlift because nobody is going to remember that. 20 years down the line nobody is going to remember that, but if I had a really good relationship with someone that helped them through some form of trying time I feel like that’s the stuff that they’ll remember.
Angelo: No doubt.
Ryan: And hopefully that is a waterfall effect and they turn around and do that for someone else. Coming back to the beginning that’s where it truly starts. Some person has to start it and then we just keep going. When people are comfortable enough and we just keep going and really let people offload the garbage that they have [glitch 00:46:24].
Angelo: That’s awesome. What are you focused on now? We are recording this right around New Years, what are you focused on for you now? What’s your aim for 2019 for you as a man? Anything you want to share.
Ryan: My aim right now is ultimately my happiness. I’ve been grinded now for going on six years with the gym, and I think I’ve missed a lot. I’m really focused on building the strongest bond I possibly can with Christina and making sure that we are taking time to develop that area of my life, that relationship. I think this is going to be my new direction, this idea of guiding people and building something that allows people to offload their baggage, and we do exercise on the side.
Angelo: That’s so interesting how so many people think that they just want hard exercise, but in reality there are so many other layers behind it. The truth is this is the stuff that gets fucking messy too, so I could understand why people would be hesitant to do. It’s much easier to go fucking do rowing intervals; it really is than have to face any of those things. It’s so crazy how much we run from emotional discomfort but run into physical discomfort to hide it. It’s so crazy, isn’t it?
Ryan: Yeah. I think it’s important to bring to light. A lot of these walls that people have, I think they view as these massive brick walls, like they have to meditate and they have to journal, and you need a breathing exercise, and you need 50 different things to get through these wall. Those hands down are helpful tools when you use it properly but it doesn’t have to be that. Like if you are more tied up on someone telling you that you should breathe or meditate you probably have a more superficial thing tied to that stuff that you have to get past before you can really dive a little bit deeper into your emotional stuff.
Angelo: What do you mean, like it’s weird or something?
Ryan: Yeah. I feel like people sometimes get hung up on this woo-woo, this hippie stuff, and they want to stay hung up on that because they are afraid to take that deeper dive into what they actually have going on. So they are like, ‘no I can’t do that, I can’t meditate’, that’s crazy.
Angelo: How much do you think of changing your environment or changing your normal flow matters for people to make changes like this? I was talking with somebody the other day and it was like, the catalysts of very many big, whether you want to call them awakenings or evolutions or conclusions of myself have happened in not being at home or in a place where I’m really comfortable or something, it’s very similar to me.
Do you feel like there is truth to that? And do you feel like a lot of people just are not able to change because they are not in the same song every day?
Ryan: Yeah. I think that’s really step 1. Your physical environment like your house—we are so routine based, and if you are just going to the same places and you are interacting with the same people, you are a product of your environment. If you are not setting the things up—you have to set up your environment for the person that you ultimately want to be. If you have all these negative things, or if you are trying to lose weight and you are filled with garbage, or you are an unhappy person at work, what things can you do at work that may shift the needle a little bit in the other direction? I don’t think that takes all that much, it just takes you just looking around, just being aware. Stop being a fucking zombie.
Angelo: What do you do to change your environment? What are some tangible things that people could understand that you do or have done to get you out of that routine?
Ryan: I think the easiest thing that I think is going to help push the needle is honestly walking. People need more walking and less snatching. Going outside, getting some vitamin D, no sunglasses, no headphones, and just look around your neighborhood. That was something I really realized, it’s I’ve been in San Diego now for 5 years and there is so much that I haven’t done. I haven’t gone and walked- there is a local garden around here, and just go around and get away from all the noise from TV, from your phone and all of that, and just walk around and just sit on a bench. Honestly think about what you have going on; and are you the limiting factor or are those things actually the limiting factor? I feel like 9 out of 10 times you may not be able to change all of it, but there is probably something small you could change that would make you a little bit happier.
Angelo: Why don’t you think people do this?
Ryan: Routine, because misery loves comforting. Most are very unhappy. I was that person; I used to like yelling at someone, I felt really good. I felt like I was the fucking man when homeboy cut in front of me, give him the finger and whatever, and that was my emotional release. I think people may be unaware of it, but they actually like being miserable. That’s just where their baseline is right now because they don’t know how good it feels to actually be happy, because they haven’t been happy in so long.
Angelo: Yeah. I think it’s not always in these big ways where people realize it, like where you are motherfucking someone on traffic, I feel like a lot of people don’t realize this but—and I like to joke with people and stuff like that, but it’s also too you could get to a point where that’s your only vocabulary, and you don’t realize it that you are just spewing venom in a “way that you think is funny”.
Ryan: Totally. Who doesn’t feel like they are the boss? So many of us never really get to feel that way; we are all just walking around in our own little world acting like the boss and just being a dick to the local barrister because they are the barrister.
Angelo: I’ve gotten like that too. I still get like that, I’m not going to lie like I’m some totally enlightened motherfucker, but it’s at my worst moments. At least I know now that it’s at my worst moments when that happens to me. I think that’s the most important thing that I would love people to know; it’s that, I’m always trying to handle my shit as best as I handle my life, because it’s not like that just disappears because you lay down on the floor and breathe.
Ryan: But that’s what makes you special I feel like. No matter what I think there is always going to be an intensity to you, that’s just who you are. It’s not good or bad. I feel like a more evolved person is you can say I’m sorry. You can just be like, ‘you know what, I am really sorry I acted like that’. That’s a huge thing for people. Just think about the amount of emotional energy that just comes down when you take five deep breathes and you are like, ‘that was a really dick move’. Everything changes.
Angelo: For sure. I hate feeling bad. I get high school feel bad. I’ll try to do anything for the person to finally forgive me. It’s the absolute worst, but it’s true.
Ryan: But you do it.
Angelo: No doubt I do it. I can’t even wait for the world to be back to normal so I could go on with my day. That’s how caught up in it I get. I think it’s just so important. Like you said, this idea of saying sorry, I love hard and I make mistakes hard, so apologies are necessary.
Ryan: Yeah, at the end of the day we are all human. Like let’s [glitch 00:56:29] this concept of enlightenment, like we are all on our own journey, we are all doing our own thing trying to figure it out. Some people are a few steps ahead of others, but just start at whatever your baseline is.
Angelo: That is true, this whole thing. It’s kind of funny; when you are a kid there’s certain parts of your life that you can envision as an adult, this was never something when I was a kid I ever aspired to be or even knew it could be. So I think that there’s a lot of people—I don’t think you grew up thinking, man, I’m going to be a fucking more enlightened mother. Nobody ever thought of that, nobody even thought it was cool. I think that’s the thing that makes us, not difficult, but really something you have to latch onto because I wasn’t taught, and I’m betting millions and millions of people weren’t either. This is just a new concept we are picking up right now.
Ryan: It’s funny that you talk about that. It’s just something I have thought a lot about. Think about if you were that child, how your parents would have reacted to that. I know how mine would have reacted to it, and I think something that our generation is doing really, really well is it’s bringing it to a massive audience. There were always people in our parent’s generations that talked about this stuff and mindfulness, and going that direction, but I think it was a much smaller populace. That’s one plus side to, I think social media, so many of us have a voice to put this stuff out there and more people are becoming aware of it. We have to make it a bigger change within society for it to really take effect. It’s cool if a couple of people are doing it, but what if everybody just offloaded their shit?
Angelo: Yeah, that’s a really good point. It’s so amazing though, the stuff about social media and stuff like that. All the time it’s the devil and then we just put something on to praise it, and I think that’s really how everything is in life. It’s that some people have a light to them and some things have a shadow to them, and as long as you know what both of them are and accept both of them and understand when you are in one and the other it’s not a bad thing at all.
Ryan: Yeah, I think you just have to look at how are you using it? Are you using it as self-serving, or are you using it to serve a bigger purpose, a helpful bigger purpose? Or are you just putting stuff out there to grow your monitory return?
Angelo: In a weird way too though, if you are going to Instagram or social media to find answers and things like that, I guess in the very beginning of your journey it will be self-serving. Like you said in your point earlier, it’s in the hopes that once you get more developed like your clients that they pass it on to someone else.
Ryan: Yeah. I’ve seen it firsthand. It really is a waterfall effect; when you knock the first couple of walls down. Like I see some of my clients having deeper relationships with their significant others and they are just like, ‘look, this really bothered me, and I want to make you aware of it’. That is really, really important to highlight. Talking to your significant other or being vulnerable to your significant other can be the scariest thing for a lot of guys. We highlight guys specifically because we can be emotionally shallow most of the time. I guess I have some women too that they are breaking down serious boundaries within their relationship, and then they are crashing it in the gym after that. You need to see it; like the blanket gets pulled off of them, and they are so much happier.
Angelo: Do you feel like if people spent less time worrying about building gigantic businesses and doing all that, and spent a little more time in this emotional side everything would work itself out anyway?
Ryan: I do. How many businesses are cultivated on relationships?
Angelo: Hold on, say that again, I lost you for a second.
Ryan: How many businesses these days are really cultivated on relationships?
Angelo: Isn’t it just about every fucking business?
Ryan: Do you really feel that way? Look at how people shop like with Amazon and whatnot. The way we have purchase power now I feel like is so detrimental to the greater good of how we develop relationships. We just don’t have to talk to people anymore.
Angelo: Okay, I could hear that.
Ryan: Think about it. Growing up, Christmas shopping or stuff like that you have to get everybody together and you go to the mall, and you are walking around and you are still having face to face time. It’s hard for a lot of people to carry on a conversation longer than 30 seconds now. It’s like, ‘hey how are you? What are you doing?’ and then radio silence.
Angelo: Sort of like I just did. That is interesting. Also too though, at the same time because of social media and what it could do for a business or to a business is detriment, or an entrepreneur’s detriment. As business owners we still need to find a way to try our best to develop a relationship.
Ryan: Totally. It really is; it’s a double edged sword. I guess what I would say to that is continuity between the message; just being upfront with it all. This is something that we are playing with and putting who we really are, being as authentic as we can be on social media and be like, look we are going to talk about some of these stuff, we are not just a gym and I’m not just going to give you exercise, we are going to talk about what your deeper purpose is, and we are going to try to help put you in a position that you can find that, or at least get on a path to head in that direction. That has been the most challenging thing for us because I think it’s a hard message to put into words sometimes, and it needs to be spoken. Because when people hear it I think they resonate a little bit more with it than just a quote card.
Angelo: That was my question; do you say it differently than how most people get their messages delivered like quote cards or some woman’s half her ass sticking out on Instagram? How do you get your message across in a world where most people are getting stuck looking at that.
Ryan: When I figure that out I’ll tell you.
I am still trying to refine it and how I approach it, and how I deliver it. It truly is an art when you talk to people. You have to find your door to help bring their guard down. That’s one thing. It’s such an interesting world now in the world of fitness. I feel like it’s definitely a buyer’s market and people always think that you are trying to just take their money. When I’m trying to sell this that’s a really challenging thing to sell, at least to put that out there, as our face has a potential to bring in a lot of judgment.
Angelo: It’s crazy too because at the same time there’s people in the industry that have made people feel that. It’s not like it’s undeserved, maybe not for you particularly, but people have done shitty things.
Ryan: It’s way easier to bash someone than it is to praise someone for trying to go out and do something different and try to push the market in another direction. That’s CrossFit 2006, just in a different construct [glitch 1:06:40] what fitness was, put their own message on it and it rattled things.
Angelo: Let me ask you this then; what before CrossFit do you feel like was that?
Ryan: Oh man, pre-CrossFit, we are talking about dance fitness I think at that point, who’s that? Billy Blanks.
Angelo: Like Tae Bo?
Ryan: Yeah. I feel like they were probably a kick start for a lot of the higher intensity stuff, or bringing that into a group construct, and then I think people saw through it. It got results but at the end of the day I think that’s what people really need to see; what’s your ultimate goal? If you are looking for a few months turn around then that stuff may work for you, but as humans I think we are always truly striving for deeper relationships. That’s what I think those models brought; they brought a group of people together that were interested in one thing and people were like, ‘oh my god, this is the coolest thing ever’. Like ‘we are all into this, why not do it all together?’
Then there is this idea of community really started to evolve, we are all searching for a tribe. Everybody wants to have their tribe. They gym culture community really turned into this thing, and I think it’s fallen off the band wagon at this point. So many gyms try to sell their community and I think it died a little bit. Now people are like, ‘while I still like this idea of community but I still like this idea of having a relationship with someone’. That’s what I think this idea of an individually designed program is important for people because it gives them the best of both worlds; it gives them a tribe, and then it gives them a real one-on-one relationship with someone.
Angelo: What do you say to the people that say that there is less energy from being in the same room with people but not doing the same workout?
Ryan: I don’t actually think that’s wrong. I think that’s a very close-minded view of it and it comes down to the culture ultimately. That is one thing that I believe comes from the very top. That has to come from the ownership that has to come from the coaches, and as long as they have an understanding of what the culture needs to be and truly what their values are you can 100% have that community within an individual model.
But I don’t think you just sign up and get it, if you sign up to own that style of gym you don’t just walk into that, that’s something you have to develop, that is continuity and the conversations that you are having with people. I think you have to, not necessarily project your values onto people, but people need to know what you value from an ownership standpoint.
Angelo: How many people do you think have really sat down and identified all these values and things like that? I’ll be the first to say this man, when I opened the gym 8 years ago I didn’t have any of this shit written out.
Ryan: Neither did I. I think now it’s a little bit more on the forefront of people’s minds. From a mentorship standpoint, the amount of fitness business mentors are in the 100s, and I would hope that they are talking to their people about building clear core values or corporate values, things like that. I don’t have a really good answer for that. I think it’s what drives you; are you driven by money, or are you driven by relationships that in turn bring money?
Angelo: Do you think people would be scared to admit that it’s the money?
Ryan: Yeah, but don’t be. Why? That’s step 1; just admit it, and then be like, yeah, we all want fucking money, everybody wants money, now what do you really want? If you had it, if you had that one thing what would make you so jazzed to go to work? It’s probably not money. Betty Sue who was depressed on antidepressants and all these other drugs working through some lifestyle things and then turning into this beautiful human who is crashing it, that’s why I want to walk into the gym. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by fucking happy people all the time, other than unhappy people?
Angelo: Yeah, pissed off people, they probably don’t. It’s such an interesting thing about us as humans, and I think so many people just don’t believe they deserve to be happy for whatever reason, and it’s the craziest thing to wrap my head around because I believed it and I’m sure millions of people do.
Ryan: The idea of the hustle is such bullshit, everybody is like, I got to hustle, I got to grime, I got to suffer, and that’s the only way I can see success. That’s our culture on so many different levels. What if you just did you, did it well, and were authentic, and just saw what came of that? And truly took care of yourself; actually practice what you preach. How many gym owners do you know that give themselves zero time to go to the gym or eat garbage and shit like that, yet they are turning around and life coaching people, telling them ‘you are not eating enough vegetables’ and things like that?
Angelo: That’s one of my top 5 things that could piss me off about a gym owner. That could turn the inner bully inside of me on 100% and I fucking can’t handle it. I get so offended, so emotionally like personally offended, like when somebody laughs and they are like, ‘lucky I get like two sessions’, and I’m like, ‘well, good luck selling a 2 session of fucking month program to all the people that go to your fucking gym’.
Ryan: It’s amazing to have conversations like that with really high level people that are balancing all these different things and a gym owner than can’t write an SOP to clean the bathroom.
Angelo: It’s crazy.
Ryan: But then they are going to tell them how they can optimize their life.
Angelo: So basically we just got to get out shit straight and then everything else works out.
Ryan: Yeah, I think so. I think we are the catalyst for sure.
Angelo: People always ask me this stuff, what are your hacks? What are some of your practices and things that you do to keep you on this path? I know you said finding a confidant and doing that, but what are some of the things like a daily in and out sort of thing that you have in place to keep you on this path of enlightenment?
Ryan: I’ve tried a lot of it and I found that journaling works best for me; seeing it physically written down and having an opportunity to just write down however aggressive I want it to be, or whatever words come to my mind I just let that out. That’s probably been the most helpful, but I stopped doing it in a very structured manner. I used to do it at the same time every morning and I felt like it turned into being the same sort of thing day after day after day, of what was being written. Then I changed it to, I always have it around me. Then when something comes up, I’ve been trying to express more of my anger, or fear into the journal instead of just being like, ‘oh it’s time for this, or what would make today great?’ Things like that. I don’t think those things are wrong, but I know what my temper is and if I can unleash my temper on a book versus a person it’s better for everyone.
Angelo: Overtime, has your temper been less volatile, or does it come up less amount of times, or is it not as aggressive as it once were. Doing these things, what has happened to your temper overtime, or has it just stayed the fucking same?
Ryan: I think it stayed the same. It stayed the same but the end result is a complete 180. I am not going to be the person to be like you shouldn’t get angry at somebody or you can’t have any form of an emotional outburst. That’s a lie. I have it, it happens, whatever comes up comes up, but what I’ve learned to do is correct it quicker. Christina and I would fight and we would go 4 days without talking, and there would be slamming dishes, whatever, just being an asshole. Now I think we both just kind of have this unwritten practice now where if things happen the next time we come back in front of each other, honestly we just hug each other, and there’s a moment, we have our little moment together. We both take a deep breath and then we either talk about it or we kind of just go on with our day. That’s been huge.
Angelo: What would you say to someone that heard what you said and said you are just a fucking pussy?
Ryan: What would I say to that?
Angelo: Yeah, what would you say to that?
Ryan: Oh man.
Angelo: I think it’s a very interesting question because it could go a lot of different places. What would you say if somebody said, ‘you just sit there and stare at your wife and you hug her, you apologize?’ What would you say to that?
Ryan: Oh man. I think I would be like, “bro, do you just want to hug? Are you just upset that you can’t express yourself?” Honestly I really don’t know how I would react to that. I like to think I know how I’d react to that but I don’t think at this point I would have some crazy emotional outburst, I would really genuinely be like, ‘why would you say something like that?’ And try to just peel it out of them, and just be like, “why does that bother you?” I think that’s a great question for anyone to ask themselves. It’s like get angry at something and just be like, why does this bother me?
That will open up a lot of doors for you, and you’ll realize maybe it wasn’t that person, that’s my own bullshit that I’m holding on to.
Angelo: That’s awesome. I like that, why is it bothering me?
Ryan: Not to deflect your question, but, I really think that’s how I would go about that. Then at the end of the day, why do I even owe anyone an answer to that? If she is my wife, if she is happy, why do I really care how you feel about it?
Ryan: She is the one that’s going to be with me down the line in 70 years.
Angelo: Jeeze, you are really overshooting your life expectancy.
Ryan: No man.
Angelo: You know something, you give me a good 75 years and I’m out of here.
Ryan: I can appreciate that though. If you go out in a blaze of glory I respect it.
Angelo: That’s 100 years old, I don’t know dude. My grandmother just died this year 98, and I love her and she is amazing and all these, I miss her so much, but that last decade…
Ryan: I get it.
Angelo: I guess it all depends on—maybe this is a silly thing, and I bet you when I’m 75 I’m going to be wishing for that next fucking decade. If you listened to that part delete it.
Ryan: Only time will tell.
Angelo: Sure. Alright Ryan, here we go: what does alpha hippie mean to you? You are a guest; you get to define it for everyone.
Ryan: Alright, what does the alpha hippie mean to me?
Ryan: I want to answer it who I think an alpha hippie is if I can.
Angelo: Of course.
Ryan: Alright. I think an alpha hippie is someone who is able to handle their shit in a very constructive manner. I feel like we all get wrapped around, ‘oh I have to handle my business and what not, this is on me I have to handle it’. It’s when you can turn it around and make the people around you better, like when you can elevate the people around you I believe you are an alpha hippie.
Angelo: That’s a great answer.
Ryan: Yeah, I think so too.
Angelo: Did you have that rehearsed, or did you just come up with that now? Don’t lie.
Ryan: No, I didn’t know that question was coming. I think that’s just the path that I’ve been on. I’ve been looking at myself of how I can improve myself, and if my people are doing better I feel like I’m doing better.
Angelo: That’s solid. Where could people find you Ryan, your gym you, everything that you have grown in?
Ryan: The gym is in San Diego. We are in Sorrento Valley in San Diego. You can find me on Instagram, just ryanbucciantini. You can find the gym opexsdnorth on Instagram and Facebook.
Angelo: Awesome. Alright, final question Ryan.
Angelo: If you had one word to define you, what would it be?
Ryan: One word- after this last year, I would say resilient.
Angelo: Nice, it’s a great choice.
Ryan: Yeah, I think resilient is the way to go.
Angelo: I love it. Ryan thank you so much for being on the show but also too, thank you for letting me mispronounce your last name wrong for two years. I really appreciate you not fucking slamming me for it. Those of you that are listening, I said Bu-cca-ntini, I thought it sounded pretty fucking cool too. In all seriousness, thank you for being on the show and thank you for being my friend and my brother. This has been amazing to actually be able to get on the show and talk about a lot of these things and hear your insights on them. I really appreciate it.
Ryan: Yeah, this has been great. Thanks for the time.
You’ve been listening to the Alpha Hippie Podcast.
Angelo: Thanks for listening to The Alpha Hippie Podcast everyone. Again, if you are enjoying the show please subscribe and give us a rating on iTunes, my guest and I really appreciate the feedback. And if you are on Instagram follow us at @thealphahippie to see what’s going on in our world, upcoming shows, and all our news. See you next time.
1:25:17 End of show.