I just interviewed Tim Grover about his book, “Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable.”
You can grab a copy of it by clicking here.
All I have to say is… read his book.
Tai: Hello, everybody. Welcome to today’s Book of the Day Show. I have an amazing guest, everyone’s going to be excited by this one. I’ve got Tim Grover here. If you’ve been following my stuff recently, I’ve been talking a lot about Tim and his book, Relentless. He’s written multiple books. He has multiple claims to fame, too, but I don’t think you could get any better one than on the back of his book, Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, says, “I consider Tim Grover to be second to none in his knowledge of sports training, and he was an invaluable part of my training program.”
Now, if any of you know anything about Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan is not a big complimenter. So, if you get a compliment from Michael Jordan, it’s straight up legit. And then you got Kobe Bryant on the front of the book saying, “Tim Grover knows more about the mental side of sports, knows more than anyone.” So, Tim, thanks for being here.
Tim: Oh, thanks for having me. It’s an honor.
Tai: Well, the honor’s all mine. And since 1989, he’s been the CEO of his company, Attack Athletics, and he’s trained over 300 pro athletes. In this book, I’d like to just jump right into the best part, eat the dessert first, so to speak. Quick question here – this is just for fun – top three pro basketball players of all time, in your opinion? Obviously, this is open for…who’s the greatest of all time?
Tim: Oh, Michael Jordan’s the greatest of all time.
Tai: Is anyone even close?
Tim: No. This is why I always tell people. He six for six in championship series and never needed a game seven.
Tim: He always elevated his game when needed and walked away from the game for a year and a half, two years, came back and still showed you that he was the best at what he did.
Tai: Who’s number two?
Tim: How many individuals do you know that walk away from something for that long period of time and come back and return at the top?
Tai: Yeah, he is…nobody. Nobody’s like Jordan. Who’s the next closest, if you had to name somebody? Who’s number two?
Tim: Well, see, I also…you know what? When we talk about…you’re talking about basketball players at basketball. I also look to see what they’ve done after basketball, but they’re still involved in the sport. My number two guy would probably be Larry Bird.
Tai: Okay, Larry Bird. Why Larry Bird?
Tim: Larry Bird won multiple championships, has been extremely successful as a coach, extremely successful as a general manager. His personality and Michael’s personality were a lot alike.
Tim: You know, we talk again about this in the book, and this is one of my favorite things. Both of them, everyone…Michael called Larry the biggest trash talker out there, and Larry called Michael the biggest trash talker out there, but the one thing they both did is when they talked trash, they talked trash not to elevate the other individual’s game; they talked trash to elevate their own game.
Tim: Because if they said they were going to do something to you, now it’s like “Okay, now I have to go out of…I put more pressure on myself.” Because remember, pressure is a privilege. Not every individual in life gets to be put into a pressure situation. Most people run from it. If you get that opportunity, and this is a lesson for everybody out there, if you’re chosen to be put in a pressure situation, it’s one of the biggest compliments anybody can ever give you. Don’t let that person down, because you may never get a chance to be put in that situation again if you’re not successful the first time.
Tai: So, who’s the number three? Do we have a number three?
Tim: Number three. Well, you know, I’m kind of going with the same…you know, I’m going with my generation individuals. I mean, you know, obviously, what Will Chamberlain did and rebounding and scoring, rebounds and scoring and all these different things, but he only got the piece of the promised land, I think, one time.
Tim: The other individual I would have to say…and you know, when you talk about team sports, you have to have individuals that not only they’re successful individually but they’ve brought success to their team. So, my third one would probably be Magic Johnson.
Tim: You know, again, Ervin Johnson, multiple championships with the Lakers, MVP, obviously went through one of the most well-known health issues and has now taken his entrepreneur skills where he owns the WNBA’s…I think it’s the LA Sparks. Excuse me if I got that wrong.
Tai: And the Dodgers.
Tim: He’s the owner of the Dodgers. He’s got multiple ventures going off outside of basketball, and all that stems from the success that he had on the court. Nowadays, you have individuals that are so worried about building their brand, okay? You don’t have a brand to build.
Tim: These people, Magic, Larry, Michael, they concentrated on basketball; their brand was basketball. Once they built that basketball brand, all the other stuff took care of itself. Michael would have never sold shoes and sold sportswear the way he’s selling it if he didn’t perform the way he did on the basketball court. Larry Bird would have never been asked to coach a basketball team if individuals didn’t know how he could raise the talent level physically and mentally of the people around him and how he can identify talent.
Magic, the people in different sports want him in their sporting venues because he showed that he could elevate teams, take them to the championship level over and over again. So, those are different traits that were all shown in basketball that allowed them to build their brand outside of basketball. You need to take care of number one priorities first before you can worry about “building a brand.”
Tai: You know, the concept that you talk about is that there’s different levels that people have, whether it’s pro athletes or you see this in business people and people. Can you just give your quick synopsis of what these three levels are and what somebody like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant was?
Tim: Everyone tries to figure out how to put people in different categories. Everyone always thinks that they’re always on the top or they’re in the elite group, but there’s a lot of other people that are below them that function in different ways, that try to make things happen. What we did was we broke it up into three c’s, I like to call them, which is a cooler, a closer, and a cleaner. No matter where you are, whether you’re in sports, work, whatever you do, there’s these three different individuals that are in a company that make things run the way they’re supposed to run.
A cooler’s an individual who you give an assignment or a job to do and they’re going to deliver the end result that you asked for. They’re not going to give you anything exceptional. They’re not going to give you anything extraordinary. If you tell them to do something, they’re going to deliver you exactly what you tell them to do. You know what their limitations are, you know what they’re capable of doing, you know what they’re not capable of doing. The next level is what we have is closers. Closers are individuals who can get you that end result as long as there’s not that many variables thrown at them.
So, you give them a job to do, you don’t have to give them a whole lot of instruction, and as long as they have a plan to follow and not too many variables are thrown at them, they’re going to be able to deliver you that end result that you desire, whether it’s finishing a project, closing a deal, or so forth. But to me, when I was training Michael and working with him, I said, “There’s always another level above a closer.” Everyone else kept calling him a closer, and I was like “No, he’s more than a closer.” Because no matter what was thrown at him, what variable, what roadblock, he always delivered that end result. So, to me, I had to come up with a term for that, and I came up with a term as a cleaner.
A cleaner is an individual that, no matter what’s thrown at them, whether you give them a script, you don’t give them a script, you just tell them “this is the end result I need,” they go out and get you that end result almost every single time. A lot of times, you can ask them how they got it and they’ll tell you “Don’t ask, but I got you the result that you’re looking for.” They are so in tune with their instincts and the ability not to think.
People always tell individuals, “Well, you’re thinking too much,” when the problem is, most people don’t have the ability not to think because they’ve not been trained not to be able to do that. You have to be so well-trained in your work, in your job, in your craft, in your skill, that it’s no longer a reaction; it becomes a reflex. When you can do things without thinking about them and handle certain situations, that’s when the reaction becomes a reflex and that’s when you become a cleaner.
Tai: So, Michael Jordan is at this highest level. He’s a cleaner, he was a cleaner, is a cleaner, and it was…what you’re saying is, there’s people…and I see this as a business person. You hire somebody new. You’ve got somebody who always does a decent job. They do their job, they come in at nine, they leave at 6:01 at the end of the day. And they never make a lot of money working for you; they make a decent wage and they go about their lives without…they don’t have a ton of passion. Then you’re…
Tim: Exactly. And they’re very happy with that. For most people, there’s nothing wrong with that. They don’t want to deal with the added stress. They’re very comfortable being comfortable.
Tai: Yeah, and then that next level, you say Lebron James, at least at some point in his career, was more of a closer, meaning…but it’s interesting, I was…I recommend people buy the book, but also, you’re book is available, I was listening to it today as an audio book. I bought it on iTunes and listened in audible, and you were talking about how, in some ways, being a closer is not a compliment, because what you’re saying to somebody without meaning to insult them is, “You only perform when it’s needed at the very end.” And what Michael Jordan did is, he lived high-level performance at the first minute of the game, right after half time, and at the end of the fourth quarter. And that’s the ultimate, is to live in that zone.
Now, question, because this is an interesting book. Your book, what I liked about it, it’s not full of cliches. If you’re going out and buying this book, you will notice that it’s a little controversial, which I like. I’m a controversial guy for whatever reason. You say that all cleaners, the people at the highest level, have a dark side, and you encourage them to embrace the dark side as long as it’s legal and ethical and stuff like that. But you said you’ve never met a high-level person cleaner that doesn’t have a dark side. Can you talk about this dark side?
Tim: Everybody has, everybody I know, every person that’s successful who’s ultra competitive, or even an individual who’s not that successful, they have to deal with what I call the dark side. Everyone knows the story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, okay? Dr. Jekyll lived in the light; Mr. Hyde was a gentlemen that was in the dark. Then you have your Clark Kent. You have Superman. There’s Batman. All these individuals are people that are related to what I call the dark side. The dark side is not a bad thing; it’s not about vampires and Frankenstein and stuff like that. The dark side is something about, that only you can touch and only you can feel, and it’s about yourself. You see individuals who, a lot of times, they tap into their dark side and it gets out of control, and that’s when bad things start to happen.
But if you can harness that energy and you can harness that force where it’s about you, it’s a driving power inside you that only you can control and you know how to unleash it and how to hold back on it, those are the individuals that continue to strive and continue to improve. It’s what takes you to the next level and beyond and continue. It’s what makes you never satisfied with that end result, always craving more. It’s that black hole inside of you that can never be filled no matter what you’ve accomplished. You could do a job so well, but in the back of your mind, you’re always thinking “I could’ve done it better,” or as soon as that job is done, you’re already thinking about what’s next. It’s that ultimate desire and craving that you have that cannot be satisfied.
Tai: Yeah, you talk about that for different people it’s different things. You see these scandals. Tiger Woods, it was multiple women that he was dating while he was married. Michael Jordan had his fair share of allegations about gambling. Charles Barkley, who’s one of the people that you trained, you have that great story. Here’s a funny part of your book, good funny, where you say, “I don’t know that I liked Tiger Woods publicly apologizing. It was between him and his wife. He could have apologized to his wife and left it at that.”
And you talk about when Charles Barkley went to court because he threw a man through a plate glass window because the guy threw a drink on him. He went to court and the judge found him innocent. And the judge said, “Is there anything you learned from this?” And Charles Barkley said “Yeah, I should’ve dragged him up to the third floor and thrown him out the third floor window and finished the job,” and you were like “I like that.” That’s that dark side.
From a scientific standpoint, I say that guys like Dr. David Buss, who’s an evolutionary psychologist that I love, his work, he says, “If you look at the things that motivate people,” I’ve summarized them as the four m’s. So, the first m is material things. There’s people motivated by making a ton of money. Mating is the second one, so that’s that sexual drive that people have. The third one is this mastery/status. People want to be known as the greatest in what they do, and that’s intrinsic in most people.
Then lastly, it’s momentum. People get bored, so they’re always pushing for…Stephen Schwarzman, who’s one of the richest men in the world and the co-founder of Black Stone, the large private equity company, somebody asked him what’s the purpose of his life and he said, “Well, I’m kind of like a bird that’s going up against a glass window. Every time I hit the glass window, I get a little rush, so I’ve got to keep doing new things.” And he said, “Hopefully I can do things that are good for society but also give me that personal rush.”
I think, personally, and I want to get your opinion on this, that the way I looked at my life – and I really liked reading this – is that I live 50% of my life for the world and the good of mankind but 50% I think it’s okay to have selfish motivations, these four m’s. What’s your take on that?
Tim: I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Everyone’s always talking about, “You need to do for others. You need to give back. You need to do this.” Well, here’s my issue with that. If you can’t take care of yourself, and you can’t do for yourself, you can’t do stuff for others. You’ve got to be able to take care of yourself, make some time for you. You’ve got to be a little bit selfish. You’ve got to be a little bit greedy. You have to take it to the point where it’s not hurting individuals, but you’ve got to be able to take care of yourself first if you want to be able to take care of others.
If you spend all of your time taking care of others, you’re never going to be able to fully enjoy what you’ve been put on this earth for. And there’s no reset here. You’ve got one life, you can only live it once. As far as I know, you’re not coming back to try it again, so you have to take care…part of it has to be about self. It’s about you, it’s about what you enjoy, what you want, and if you can satisfy those things, then it gives you the ability to take what you have and what you’ve earned and what you decide. And if you decide it gives you the ability to share that with other individuals, whether you want it to be known publicly, privately, that becomes your decision. And that’s the key word in that – it becomes your decision, what you want to do with that.
Tai: Yeah. You see the dark side. And it’s funny how humans are. I’m not very religious, but one of the great lessons I’ve learned from the…there’s the story of Jesus Christ, where he was brought out to a crowd and they were about to stone a woman, and they said to Jesus, all the religious leaders…he said, “Why are you going to throw stones and kill this woman?” And they said, “Well, we caught her in adultery, and the Jewish law says a woman caught in adultery should be killed, stoned. What do you think we should do?” That’s what they asked Jesus. And Jesus said, “Well,” and I’m paraphrasing, “I think the one person here who has no sin,” you could replace the word dark side, “in their life, you throw the stone first.” And nobody could throw, because we all have a dark side.
You see people make allegations to Bill Gates. He was a hyper-competitive person. Paul Allen, who was the business partner and co-founder of Microsoft said, “He’s only met two people that are ultimate competitors in his life – Michael Jordan and Bill Gates.” Warren Buffet, he had a little controversy with his wife. He had two women that he dated and he admits. And so my thing to people is, if you’re looking for saints to be mentors, even Mother Theresa has all these allegations. There was a book written by Christopher Hitchins about how she wasn’t perfect. I’m like, is this a revelation? Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., of course. What are you looking for? You’re never going to find role models – and I think your book gives this insight – because role models become role models because they have drive from this dark side.
Now, let’s switch for a second. Some practical stuff. Not only are you an amazing mental coach, but you also understand the physical body. That’s how you got in the door, I think, with Michael Jordan. For somebody watching this who’s not a pro athlete, you say some very interesting things that are applicable to everybody. But one of them is this kind of – I don’t want to put words in your mouth – hatred of sugar. You put people on zero sugar diets where you say they get almost heroine responses, where they’re getting drawbacks. Tell us about your take on sugar and how it affects not only pro athletes but everyday people.
Tim: Well, you know what? They’ve done a lot of studies out there about how the brain, when people are high on sugar, when they’re high on other kinds of chemicals, drugs and the effects, the effect is almost the same. But what happens is, what sugar does…think about it. I always like to relate everything to sports and to fitness, so let’s say you eat something or you drink something with a lot of sugar. What it does, it spikes your levels; it goes up real high and then you come crashing down. You eat more sugar, spike this level up, it comes crashing down.
If you’re a player on a team and you had to coach that individual, how would you feel about an individual who, for five minutes of the game played extremely well, then for the next five minutes he was terrible? The other five minutes he was great. You wouldn’t know how to deal with him. You’d be like “Okay, I don’t know when he’s coming or what’s going on.” Same thing in the business side. If you had a guy come in one day and he was on the top of his game, the other day he was off his game, then the next day he was off his game, the other day he’s gone, that becomes very chaotic.
It makes it very difficult to live that way. And when you take a lot of sugar into the body, that’s what it does to your body. It creates chaotic stuff inside of you. What we do is, when we get an individual, what we want to do is, we want to basically clear them out of all sugar that’s possible. I give an example of people always take a glass and say, “Okay, is this glass half empty, or is this glass half full?” My thing is, listen, if there’s something in the glass and if you like it, add more to it. If you don’t like what’s in the glass, pour it out and start over. Most of the individuals we get, we want them to pour it out; we start all over. That’s what we do. We take all the sugar out of their body. There’s a lot of things that people just don’t think about. I mean, there’s sugar in bread. There’s sugar in pasta. There’s a lot of sugar in fruit. There’s sugar in alcohol.
Tai: You said even carrots.
Tim: So, it’s covered, in a lot of ways…
Tai: You said even in carrots.
Tim: Yes, even carrots. A lot of terms. Companies have done a great job of using different terms for sugar. What we try to do is, we try to clarify and get that out of everybody’s system so they know how good they can actually feel without having all the toxicity inside of them.
Tai: So, you take these pro athletes, you cut the sugar. I know you have a secret list that everybody wants, so we won’t talk about that here publicly. But what are some of the things…what are your takes on the Lakers now? They’ve switched to a paleo diet where they’re eating grass-fed meats and things. I once read Michael Jordan said he had to eat a big steak to sustain his energy. There’s other people that are more leaning towards vegetarian and things. What is your take, in 20, 30 years of experience here, with high-performance people? Is there a perfect diet? Is it different for everybody? Are we omnivores? What’s your opinion?
Tim: You just said it. I can tell you’ve done so much reading on this part, because you just said a key statement that a lot of people don’t get: it’s different for each individual. There’s no set formula for this. You have to make adjustments accordingly. Some people work extremely well on just plant-based protein. Other people, it’s not good for them. Again, there are fine lines where you don’t want to eat excessive amounts of red meat, but you have to be able to get all your nutrients and your vitamins from a different rainbow of stuff. What I always try to tell people, a good general guideline is try to get all the different sources at least in once a week. Try to consume some kind of seafood once a week. Try to consume some kind of poultry once a week. Try to consume some type of red meat once a week, and I don’t recommend it more than that.
Again, the plate has to have a lot of different colors in there. The food cannot always be the same color. You have to have different color of starches, different types of protein. And it works different for each individual. One thing I’ve found out is, for some of my highest performing athletes…and a lot of them won’t admit to this. Floyd Mayweather, who’s not a client of mine, but he’s a big advocate. When he comes out, he goes “Listen, I’m a pizza, burger, sugar kind of guy.” And for the one fight that he did not follow his normal regiment that he’s done over the last, I don’t know how many years he’s been champion – I can’t even remember now. I can’t remember if it’s 17, 18 years now – after one fight, he didn’t feel up to his normal self. So, again, it changes from person to person and you got to try these different things to find out what works for yourself.
Everyone’s searching for the answer. At some point, you have to stop searching for the answer and you have to start doing it and start applying these different methods and see what works for you.
Tai: Awesome. Now, let’s talk about physical training. I think Jordan was drafted in ’84, Barkley drafted in ’84. That was a great year for professional basketball. He comes in, he breaks his foot after a year or two. And back then – I was just watching an old basketball game, 1983, the Sixers versus the Lakers with Moses Malone – these guys were not that muscular, because people believed weight training wasn’t as important. As now, you see guys hitting…Jordan went from, I think, 180, 190 – I think that was working with you – went up to 215 pounds at one point, of just nice lean muscle. How important, for both men and women, is lifting weights? And how often do you think, not just pro athletes, obviously, but somebody listening, what do you think is the minimum you need to hit the weights?
Tim: You know, resistance training for both men and women is extremely, extremely important. It’s what allow you to have balance. And when I mean balance, I’m not talking about balancing your life. I’m talking about balance as you get older, balance from being able to walk on and off a sidewalk, the strength that allows you to stand up and sit down in a chair with just using your legs, not having to use your hands and your legs. It allows you to perform daily activities of taking stuff in and out of your car. You know, women have a tendency to stay…they like to stay away from weight training, because they’re always like, “Oh, I don’t want to get too big.” Trust me, you’re not going to get too big. There’s men that have tried for years, who have five times the testosterone that women have, and they can’t get as big as they want to.
When you start lifting, you feel that pump, so a lot of women have a tendency to get afraid from that, but you have to do some kind of resistance training. I would recommend it at least two times a week. Now, with resistance training, resistance doesn’t mean it has to be a dumbbell, a barbell. It could be your own body weight. It could be rubber bands. But there has to be some mechanism to overload the muscles in order to keep you healthy. Let’s face it, as much as people love to go work out and we talk about keeping your cholesterol down, keeping your blood pressure under control, keeping your heart beating at a nice comfortable pace, people love to look good. And if you want to look as good as you possibly can, part of your training regiment has to include some form of resistance training.
Tai: Now, you’re a big pioneer of this, I’m not sure if you’d call it plyometric…you know, you took Michael Jordan and, from what I’ve read, of course you can correct me, you said “Look, I can show you how to not get hurt.” And it’s a testament to your skill that Michael Jordan really never got hurt. Even though he was beat up by the Detroit Pistons and everybody, he didn’t really get hurt until he was in his 40s maybe, when he played for the Wizards. So you pioneered not just hitting regular weights, but doing things where you’re on these balls where you have to balance and do squats and things. Can you talk a little bit about how flexibility needs to be put in, not just rote bench press and squats, but this kind of balance? Literally balancing out your knees so that you don’t tear your ACL or you don’t tear your labrum and things like that. Can you speak on how you pioneered that?
Tim: Well, that was funny. We see all these different methodologies coming out over these last 10 years, where people are doing stuff on a balance ball or a motion ball or an unstable trampoline. I was using those methods back in the ’80s, because if you watch an athlete and you watch an everyday individual, not only are there ups and downs in your life, but there’s ups and downs in movement. When was the last time when you needed to go from point A to point B, where you were able to walk a perfectly straight line? You had to step off a sidewalk, you had to go around people. You may have to go under something. You may have to duck under things. You have to step back onto the sidewalk. All those are different change of directions. All those things require different types of movement and different types of preparation on your muscles, your tendons, and your ligaments.
When you watch a pro athlete move, no matter what sport it is, their ability to change direction and to go from a full speed to a full stop, backwards, side to side, determines how successful they can move and how well they can perform their job. When we’re doing this type of training, we’re incorporating all the stability movements. We’re incorporating all the instability movements. We’re creating change of direction with resistance, without resistance. One thing that happens, and it’s very prevalent in athletes, and it’s also very prevalent among everyday people but we just don’t see it, everyone has the ability to move forward, but not everyone has the ability to stop.
You’ll see people that, when they’re walking, if they trip, the ones that have proper training, have a pretty good work out regiment, they’re the ones that have the ability to catch themselves and stand back up. The ones that don’t, have a tendency to tumble over and hit the ground. It’s the same thing with an athlete. We spend so much time now preparing an athlete to be stronger, faster. Well, if you’re bigger, stronger, and faster, if you can do those three things, you’re able to create more force. Well, guess what? Your body has to be able to be trained and shown how to stop that force, and if it doesn’t, that’s where the injuries are going to come in.
Tai: Now, you have an awesome book, another book that I bought of yours, an older book that you wrote called Jump Attack. And it’s just a training…and what’s a great story that I did not know, is that Michael Jordan came into the league, when you started work with him, had something like a 30 inch vertical, which is pretty insane. The average person…I played basketball at a pretty big school, at one of the biggest schools in the U.S. in high school, won a couple of state championships in North Carolina at Enloe. So I played around guys that end up in the NBA. John Wall was in the league after me and things. And an average person’s vertical, let’s say, is under 20 inches. Jordan had 38.
Tai: So, he was already superb. You started him out, he went to something like 42 inches on your training, but then you finally, at his peak, before he went and played baseball, had him at 48 inches, which is, literally, that means, stiff legged, he could jump over a four foot tall person. And then, of course, if you lift your legs up, you’re looking like five, six feet. And let’s talk about jumping, because when you look at a jogger’s body, it’s okay.
When you look at a sprinter’s body, that’s the body everybody wants in the Olympics. But if you look at somebody who can jump, it’s always…Usain Bolt, the Olympic runner, I saw him playing basketball. I mean, the man can dunk like you’ve never seen. For someone listening, women all want to have a better butt, and men all want to be able to leap. What are some quick tips on how you got Jordan 10 inches? I read the highest vertical ever is this Cuban guy who’s not very tall but he can jump almost 60 inches.
Tai: What’s some of the secrets? And of course, somebody can go out and get your book Jump Attack. It’s a cool book. One of my guys that worked for me, he’s a chief scientist, so he sits a lot. So I was doing your workout, and he was basically dead after one set. And there was like 20 sets, and I was like “Man, you better get in shape here.” What’s some things people can do to increase – for a woman, get your butt better, for dudes, get that power that comes from leaping ability?
Tim: You know what? Remember, there’s two types of fibers in the body. There’s slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers. When you see marathon runners, those are predominantly slow-twitch fiber individuals. Their muscles are built for doing an activity for a very, very long period of time. Then you have the fast-twitch fibers, which we were just talking about, like a Usain Bolt, who can get from point A to point B extremely fast. Those are fast-twitch fibers. A majority of the individuals have a combination of both. The percentages vary among person to person, so if you could know what you predominantly have, whether it’s fast-twitch or slow-twitch…and it’s not that difficult to find out. You don’t need to go have a muscle biopsy or anything.
You can do either a quick jumping test to see how high you can jump, or how fast you can run a 100-meter dash will kind of tell you whether you’re predominantly one or the other. Once you know that, then you can figure out how to set your training program around it. What happens is, when you want to increase your vertical, when you want to jump higher, just think of your body as an accordion. Everything is connected. The lower body and your upper body is connected together. It’s just like a spring. When you can unload the spring, the farther you can pull the spring apart and let go of it, the more force it’s going to snap with.
What you have to do is, you have to train the body, all the different joints, to be able to put force into the ground, jump off, and be able to land and be able to create that force again. You have to have a program that’s not only training your ankles, that’s training your thighs, that’s training your butt, your hips, and your core muscles. What I always have a tendency to tell people, everyone when you talk about core, they always point to their abdominal muscles. Technically, your core is all your muscles from below your chest to above your knees, front and back. That’s what’s classified as the core. When you talk about core, it’s strong abdominal, it’s strong obliques, it’s strong back muscles, it’s strong thigh muscles, it’s strong hamstring muscles, it’s strong glute muscles.
Now, what happens is, when you get all those muscles working together and working simultaneously and knowing how to fire in the correct order, that’s when you get that extraordinary leaping ability. To add the second part about your question about the girls always want to have a firm and tight…well, you have to go in there and you have to…the butt muscles are extremely difficult muscles to isolate, because when you work them, you have a tendency to work other muscles that surround that area first. The way I like to pay attention to those is what I like to call pre-exhaustion. You go and you pre-exhaust those muscles by doing some isolated movement, and then go to your compound movements, whether it be your lunges or your squats or your plyo jumps. This way, it causes the fibers in your butt muscles to activate and fire even more, and that’ll help the women get their results much quicker.
Tai: So, what’s some pre-exhaustion stuff, like, jumping rope or something?
Tim: No, pre-exhaustion is like doing different types of movements that isolate the butt area. You can lie down on your side and do a leg raise. You can do what we call are fire hydrants. Fire hydrants are extremely…it’s an exercise you do on all fours, where you have a tendency to rotate the hip from side to side and rotate them in both directions. You can do stuff using a resistance band. We actually have a band that we offer called a PTP band that allows you to work those particular areas. If you know what you’re doing and you know how to do it, then you can get those end results.
I always try to use the formula as…you look at a can of Coke, and if you look at the can of Coca Cola or Pepsi or whatever it may be, they have all the ingredients that are in there, but you’re not going to be able to go to a grocery store and you can buy all the ingredients and say “Okay, now I want to make Coke.” You may have all the ingredients, but you don’t have the formula.
Tim: If you know what the formula is and you know the formula for getting these results in the gym, then you can get that end result.
Tai: Now, let’s talk about things like cardio and working out in general. We all know that most people in America, 70% of people, are either classed as fat or obese or morbidly obese. Excluding people that don’t work out at all, a lot of my listeners, they’re in shape. Let’s just go through a couple quick, rough ratios. You mentioned two times minimum a week working out with weights, resistance. How much cardio should people be doing, do you recommend? Not necessarily a pro athlete, because obviously they’re doing three hours, six hours a day. Do you just follow what the government recommends? Twenty minutes a day, or are you saying, “Get out there, jog, run, play basketball, do it an hour a day.” What’s a quick rule of thumb for people listening?
Tim: The quick rule of thumb for individuals is you got to move. That’s what people don’t do, is you’ve got to move. People say you’ve got to get cardio, or running is the best thing to do. Well, if you don’t like running, you’re not going to run. If you want to go for a bike ride, you want to play a game of basketball, but you actually have to go out and make the conscious effort to do it, and you’ve got to exert yourself.
You see so many people, when they go to a gym, they spend more time testing or trying to find the right music on their phone than they’re actually doing the activity. You have all these monitors that people come in and they measure your distance of how much you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned. Now listen, I’m still a little bit old school. If you walked into a gym and your clothes are dry and after you get done working out they’re wet from a workout, not from you spilling water on them, you’ve had a pretty successful day in the gym or wherever it may be.
Here’s the problem. Everyone, again, tries to follow guidelines. If you haven’t worked out in six months, you’re not going to go to the gym and say “I’m going to work out four days a week.” If it takes you to get in there one day a week, and during that week, you only get in there for an hour, stay on that plan for two weeks. Then on the third week, add that second day, and stay on that plan for another two, three weeks. Then on that fifth, sixth week, try to add another third day. If that’s too much, then you need to cut back and continue on the two day a week program.
But those two days have to be extremely intense. It’s not the amount of time you spend in the gym or the time you spend working out, it’s what you do in that period of time. There’s so many people that try to do resistance training, spend time with resistance training, spend time with stretching, spend time doing cardiovascular, and you end up being in the gym for too long of a period of time that doesn’t fit in everybody’s busy lifestyle.
You can literally get everything you need and get it done, and get it done correctly, in 45 minutes to an hour, but again, your focus has to be on that task at hand. It can’t be on your emails, it can’t be on your cellphone. You can’t be worrying about this program on Netflix. You have to go in, focus in on that end result, which is to come in the gym where I’m doing my workout. This is where I am for the next 45 minutes or I’m there for the next hour. You see extremely busy CEOs of company’s that they’ll have a schedule and the first thing, when something changes, they’ll cross out their workout and move something into that time.
If that’s in your schedule, that becomes part of your schedule. If you’re going to move it from your schedule, you have to move it to a time and not move it to the next day. People work so hard to be successful, where they can enjoy the finer things in life, enjoy whatever they want to do. But you’ve worked so hard you haven’t taken care of yourself health wise, you’re not around to enjoy it. Somebody else is enjoying all the hard work and the time that you put in, or you’re at a place and stage in your life now where you’re not healthy enough to enjoy all the different things that you worked so hard for when you were much younger.
Tai: Yeah, there’s that old saying, it goes something like, “When men are young, they lose their health to get wealth. And then when they’re old, they use their wealth to regain their health.” You might as well just keep healthy the whole time. And it reminded me, you were talking about this consistency, Bruce Lee said “I don’t fear the man who practices a thousand kicks; I fear the man who practices one kick a day for a thousand days.” So it’s just that consistent level.
Now, let’s talk about the greats, that you, one of the few people who have been literally in there with them in championships, and you know that real stories. What are the stories that illustrate, or some of the ones – I know some are private; you can’t share – you can share but maybe you haven’t shared too often, a great story about a Michael Jordan, a Kobe Bryant, a Charles Barkley, a Dwayne Wade, that shows you “This guy was a cleaner”? There’s these three levels that you talk about, and the lowest level, the mid level, but this high level cleaner, the guy who is just always in the championship mode. What practical story that you were like “Wow, Jordan epitomizes” or “Kobe epitomizes this”? Can you think of any?
Tim: Oh, sure, you know what? It’s funny, most athletes or most individuals, they don’t start thinking of work or their job until they get there. The people that are these cleaners that are in the zone, they start thinking about it and they start to prepare the minute they get up. When Michael, when he got up that morning, he was already in game mode. He was already in the zone for whatever competitor he had to face later on that afternoon or later on into that evening, so his preparation started then.
It may be not his physical preparation; it was the mental preparation, blocking all the other distractions out. Being like that, obviously, is difficult on the individuals around you, but in order to be as successful, to be that great, that unstoppable at something, that’s the mindset that you have to have. And things around you do have a tendency to suffer or have a tendency, oftentimes, to get pushed to the side.
It’s that ability to come in ready as soon as you get out of bed and you don’t exhale until the moment is over. And then when you do exhale, it’s strictly just for one breath, because the next thing is coming. That’s what all these special individuals have. I mean, you look at Michael, he would always say “Listen, I’m not coming down to your level. Everyone else has to come up to my level.” That doesn’t mean you’re all going to play basketball like Michael Jordan. There’s professional players that are never going to play at that level, and they’re on the elite elite. But everybody has the ability to raise their game, elevate their mental process.
If you can elevate your mental process, you’ll elevate your physical process. It was funny, he would walk into the opponent’s locker room just so they would…it’s like an intimidation factor. There’s certain kinds of music that people listen to. I mean, you can see these videos on YouTube. You’ll see a lot of times when players are walking into an arena or down a hallway, they’ll have a mascot that’s just standing off to the side in the corner, and they’ll jump up to try to scare the athletes. You could find so many videos where this has happened with Kobe Bryant, and Kobe doesn’t even flinch. He’s so into what he has to do and the moment that’s about to come in front of him, and the moment that’s past him, and the moment he’s in right now, that he’s totally unaware of what’s going around him.
I talked about this earlier, about the zone. We’ve all gone into different types of meetings, different types of events, and you go out and you end up closing this huge deal or you end up coming out with this result and somebody will ask you “How’d you do it?” And you’ll go, “I don’t know.” You really don’t know, because you were in such a zone where for that small opportunity where you were actually controlling time, where things were moving so slow, everything was around you, everybody else sees it moving so fast, but you saw everything moving so slow. You saw every detail that was going on, and that’s what these greats do.
When we say pay attention to the small details, for the closers and the coolers, they have to pay attention to the small details. For the cleaners, there’s no such thing as the small details; it’s all the same. Whether it’s a large detail or it’s a small detail, it’s all the details that fit into that puzzle to get that outcome that they desire.
Tai: What’s the craziest thing Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, Charles Barkley, craziest thing they ever said to you, that just caught you off guard when they said it?
Tim: What was the craziest…
Tai: It could be dark side.
Tim: You know, it was funny. Michael always said, since my background was more in science and physiology, that I would always mess up counting the reps. He would be at six and I would be at three, and I always used to tell him, “Well, whoever is at the lowest number on the reps, they’re the one’s that’s got the right count.” And I told Michael, I said, “Michael, you know what?” I said, “Let’s try this.” I said, “Let’s go, let’s count one, two, three.” He goes “No, I don’t count one, two, three.” I said “You don’t count one, two, three?” He goes “No, I count one million, two million, three million, four million.” He goes “That’s how I count.” And after that, I really couldn’t say anything after that.
With Kobe, Kobe really didn’t say a whole lot when he was working out. He wanted to know what the detailed plan was for that particular day. He wanted to know what each movement was for and why we were doing that particular movement. When it was done, it was pretty much done. It’s funny, when he’s focused in on his work, when he’s focused in on his training, he’s not a very talkative or humorous individual. When he’s relaxed a little bit on his own, you get to see a little bit of his joyful side. But even with his joyful side, there’s a big point that comes with it, that if you’re not focused in on what his goals are, you don’t need to be involved in this conversation.
Tai: What’s the darkest thing you ever saw, without betraying their confidence, things that just struck you as “Wow, Jordan has a dark side,” “Kobe has a dark side,” “Barkley has one,” “Dwayne…”?
Tim: Each one, each individual has had moments in their lives that had to deal with a very big traction in their family off the court and off the field. And the way they were able to elevate and continue to perform at a higher, if not even highest level during that time, is a credit to their mental toughness and ability. All these individuals, they knew that no matter what distractions that came onto them, whether it be personal, business, financial, off the playing area, they still had a responsibility to themselves, to the team, to the organization, to the owners, to their sponsors, and mostly, to their fans, to go out and perform as though nothing else matters at that particular moment. They know sometimes that this may be the only opportunity a fan may ever get a chance to see them perform, so they don’t want to let those individuals down.
If you notice, Michael…these days, players are sitting out games because the team is telling them they’re tired or they’ve done some kind of measurement system that said “Hey, you need to sit out this game.” You got individuals with the old school mentality that “We still have an obligation to the fans to perform at an extremely high level, and we’re not going to sit out.” It’s the old adage that if you’re not working on your craft, somebody else is, and they’re going to pass the up. They feel like if they’re not being sharp and out there performing for themselves, for their fans, that there’s another individual that is out there that’s going to steal that thunder from them. And that is an upside of these individuals.
That’s the dark side of these individuals to always want to one up, to be better, to be able to show no matter what’s thrown at them, I can still perform at the highest, highest level, and then once I step off the basketball court or step off the football field, whatever it may be, I can deal with these personal issues, because they know every individual has to deal with their personal issues. These players, as athletes, at least get a chance to step away from it for about three to four hours out of that day during a particular day. Most individuals don’t get the opportunity to do that. They have to go to work and they have to go home, so there’s not an outlet for them to do, to take them away, for this particular amount of time.
Tai: You know, it’s Michael Jordan’s competitive side. When Michael Jordan was still…he was playing for the Bulls but wasn’t quite as famous as he ended up becoming. I think it was Charles Oakley or one of his teammates, beat him at ping pong. Michael Jordan had a townhouse. He never believed in spending money before he had it, so he just had a nice townhouse, and in the basement, he put a ping pong table. And one of the other Bulls players beat Jordan, and they said, “That is a huge mistake,” because Jordan then bought his own ping pong table and practiced ’til nobody could beat him. So he had that “beat you at everything.”
But one of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard in sports of not the dark side of Jordan, but this amazing side off the court – he didn’t sign many autographs, he didn’t want to be distracted before games – he would make time for people with special needs, handicapped. One of the Bulls said that a kid came in before the game and the kid’s father was an abusive drunk and had set his own kid on fire. So this kid, basically, his face had almost melted off. And he said Jordan just took him in and just was like “Hey, man,” and just became the nicest guy there. And then he took him out and he said “Okay, the game’s starting. You can come sit out here on the bench.”
And so the kid comes out there. Of course, when you look at this kid, it was very traumatic to see what had happened to him, so all the Bulls players were just looking at him like “I don’t know if you’re allowed to do this,” but they said some of them were in tears that Jordan was so nice to this kid. Sat him down there in the game, and when he was playing, running back and forth, he would look at the kid after he scored and said “That one was for you.” And after a little bit, one of the refs came and said “You cannot have a kid like this on the bench. It’s distracting.” And Jordan looked at the ref, he said “If you do anything to that kid, I will get you thrown out of the league, and I will walk off this court right now.” And everybody shut up.
Jordan, for all these dark sides that people have. Bill Gates, competitive, did all kinds of stuff, maybe anti-trust, I mean, controversial, but look at the man who’s changing the world, getting rid of malaria. I tell people, don’t be too quick to judge until you can show me in your life the amazing things that you’re doing. Let’s switch here for a sec. Let’s talk. You are somebody…
Tim: Let me just add one point to that. Before every game, pre-season, in season, playoff, throughout his whole career, basketball and in baseball, Michael saw, home or away, a special needs individual either before or after the game.
Tim: Every single game.
Tai: Yeah. I mean, your book is really…I’m a little bit like Jordan, I don’t give out too many compliments, but it’s just a powerful book on this dark side, light side that we all…Mark Twain said “Every person is like the moon – we have our dark side.” But I saw this recent video of Jordan that just cracked me up. He’s older now, got a little bit of a pot belly. He’s playing basketball at a…I forget which football player’s house on just a…
Tim: Tom Brady.
Tai: Yeah, Tom Brady. One of the guys was talking crap to him, and Jordan just said “Whose shoes are you wearing?” The guy said “Jordan’s.” He’s like “You can’t talk trash to a man when you’re wearing another man’s clothing.” I thought that was the best line to shut anybody up. Well, Tim, this has been amazing. I hope we can meet up soon. For everyone listening, make sure you go out, you grab a copy of Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable. Look at Tim’s other book; Jump Attack is a great one with practical exercises you can do. Relentless is a mental exercise book. You could say it’s personal training for your brain. Tim, it’s been an honor. I know you’ve trained the greats, and thank you for training everybody listening. You couldn’t have gotten everybody here more of an icon when it comes to training and peak performance. Thanks so much, Tim.
Tim: Thank you very much for taking time out of your day. I really appreciate it. Continued success to you and everybody.
Tai: What’s the best way if people want to follow your stuff? Obviously, they can get your book on Amazon. You’ve got, is it attackathletics.com?
Tim: The website is attackathletics.com, our Twitter and Instagram is @attackathletics. The book is available at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. It’s available everywhere.
Tai: Well, thanks.
Tim: Pick up the book, it will definitely give you a different perspective on how you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. A lot of the things that we talk about, it’s already inside of you. The person that’s holding you back usually is yourself. You’re the person that builds that wall, so you’re the only person that gets [inaudible 01:05:45].
Tai: Awesome. Thanks so much, Tim.
Tim: Take care.