What is the meaning of self-improvement and how does it apply to health and fitness? What do you need to achieve your goals? We explore whether struggle is necessary for progress and success, and what role confidence plays in our fitness journey. How do you find your purpose? What is the importance of self-love, emotion, and vulnerability in self-improvement? We also dive into the significance of emotional intelligence and self-awareness in self-improvement and whether fear can be a positive tool.
My guest today is Kevin Palmieri, the founder and co-host of the Next Level University podcast and Podcast Growth University.
Early in his life, Kevin found “success”, but after a brush with suicide he realized he wasn’t living a life he truly wanted. He became passionate about self-improvement and decided to make it his purpose in life to impact as many people as possible by becoming a role model podcaster and speaker.
His podcast is now one of the top 100 with over 1000 episodes and listened in over 125 countries, and he’s taken his life to the next level and achieved both personal and professional success.
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Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast, where we discuss getting strong and healthy with strength training and sustainable nutrition. I'm your host, Philip Pape. And in each episode, we examine strategies to help you achieve physical self mastery through a healthy skepticism of the fitness industry, and a commitment to consistent nutrition and training for sustainable results. Welcome to another episode of Wits & Weights. My guest today Kevin Palmieri is the founder and co host of the next level University podcast, make sure to subscribe. Early in his life, Kevin found, quote unquote, success. But after a brush was suicide, he realized he wasn't living a life he truly wanted. He became passionate about self improvement, and decided to make it his purpose in life to impact as many people as possible by becoming a role model podcaster and speaker, his podcast is now one of the top 100 With get this over 1100 episodes and counting, listened to in over 125 countries. And He's taken his life to the next level and achieved both personal and professional success. And that's why we have him on the show today. Kevin, thank you for coming on. I appreciate you having me. Thank you for the wonderful introduction, my goal is always to at least meet that expectation. So that'll be my goal today. And likewise, and I want to meet your level of energy. So let's just jump right and how you how you got here today. Tell us about your journey from early success to rock bottom to what you now call your no BS approach to holistic self improvement. I always start at the very beginning, because I think context is important. And oftentimes the message is only as important as the understanding of the messenger. So I was raised in a single parent household, I was raised by my mom and my grandmother. And I didn't know my dad, and I didn't meet my dad until I was 27. And I think in many ways that transformed me and molded me into who I am today. But it definitely altered my childhood in the way I showed up as a child. I know this, Phil, I don't know much. But I do know that when I was young, I didn't want to do what everybody else wanted to do. So I remember even in grade school, knowing that I didn't want to go to college, I didn't want to do what everybody else was going to do. For some reason, I have always been trying to take a different path. So my childhood was fairly normal. I used to ride my bike around with my friends, I played baseball, we'd go watch the little league games, under the lights it was it was fairly normal. But after high school, that's when things started to get a little bit different because all my friends went away to college. But I stayed back in the town that I was raised in and I was pumping gas at the local gas station. And I did that for a few years, I ended up being a personal trainer for a time, I drove a truck and a forklift. I worked in construction, I joined the Volunteer Fire Academy, I did many, many, many different things, never had any clue what I wanted to do. So I eventually got this unique opportunity in an industry called weatherization. All that means is we go into buildings, and we make them more energy efficient. So just imagine me and your school, your teacher, I come in, and we're working on the windows, the doors, the attic, above the ceiling, stuff like that. Beautiful part of that is since I was working on state owned buildings, I was getting paid anywhere from 60 to $120 an hour, which for me, no college degree, I have made it this is it, I found my thing. I'm gonna do this forever. So if you were to look at me when I was 25, you would see a young man who had just won a bodybuilding show. So I was quite literally in the best shape of my life. My girlfriend was a model, I had a sports car, I had a high paying job, new apartment, all the trappings of success. But I was very unfulfilled. I was very insecure. I was not passionate about much. I didn't understand purpose. I just wasn't excited for life. That's that's in a nutshell. One day, my girlfriend came to me. And she was excited for life. And she knew her purpose. And she knew her mission. And she told me she wanted to move across the country from New Hampshire to California and chase her dreams. And in my scarcity and insecurity. I gave her every reason in the world why she shouldn't do it. And you can imagine how that conversation went. She ended up leaving me as she should have. And she chased her dreams and she moved across the country, which is truly truly wonderful for her. But I remember, I had to look in the mirror and say what is going on here? I just, I don't know. I feel like I just lost everything. I feel like the cloak of perception has been removed. And now I get to figure all this out. I started dipping my toe into self improvement but for some reason, and I'm sure we'll dig into it. But for some reason I said you know what, I gotta I gotta go make more money that's going to fix this is self improvement things great, but I need more money, more money, less problems. That's what I need. That's what I'm going to do more money, more money, less problems. So that next year, I said I'm going to makeKevin Palmieri:
Thanks, I'm gonna make $100,000 This year, I don't care what it takes, I'm going to do it. So I got a promotion at my company and I became a foreman, we got more contracts that year than we ever had. And most of them were on the road. So we worked a lot in New Jersey, which was like six hours from where I lived. So if you fast forward to the end of that year, I had been on the road for 10 months out of the 12 months, and every single week, working in a different state, sleeping in a different hotel, working out at a different gym, I was very consistent with my fitness back, even with the travel, which was great. But I was just burning the candle at both ends. But it didn't matter because I was making money. So we get to the end of the year, I have my final pay stub in hand, I opened it up, I made $100,000 at 26 with no college degree, awesome for all of five minutes. And then I have that moment of oh no, that didn't fix anything. The bank account looks good, that's awesome. There's definitely some financial certainty there, which I value, that's awesome. But all of the internal voids I had none of them went away. And honestly, some of them actually got worse, because I assumed that would fix all my problems. I realized in that moment that for most of my life, I lived unconsciously, the opposite of unconscious is hyper conscious. So I started a podcast called The Hyper conscious podcast. And I quite literally fell in love with podcasting. As I was falling out of love with my job, I reached the pinnacle, right, I made it to the top of the mountain, I'm not willing to climb another mountain here, I don't want to do this anymore. So I start calling out of my my place of work, I start showing up late, leaving the job site early. And I just want to do this podcasting thing, I've got the bug. And eventually it got to the point where I would have to be in New Jersey, which was six hours from where I lived 7am, Monday morning to start a job, I would sleep in my bed in Massachusetts from 9pm. Until midnight, I would get up drive six hours to the job site, I'd work an eight hour day on three hours of sleep. And then I would go to the gym after and it was just like, I don't care, I need to do this. I'm so home saying I can't be away any more than I have to be. And eventually it just got to the point where I just felt just past go stuck, trapped. I woke up in a hotel room in New Jersey at 550. In the morning, my alarm clock went off, I sat up, I slid to the edge of the bed, lacing up my work boots. And that morning, it was like there was 10 televisions on in my head at the same time. And every single one was on a different station. One is saying you're stuck here forever. I know you want to leave, but you will never get an opportunity as good as this one. If you do leave, what are your friends gonna think you make more money than any of your friends. If you do leave, what's your family going to think your family looks up to you and they're proud of you. You make more money than anybody in your family? And if you do leave, do you really think this podcast thing is going to be the train, we ride off into the sunset? And no, I did not think that was going to happen. And in that moment, I felt that if I was to take my life, I would take my problems with me. And that was what I was sitting with. I was sitting in this hotel room having that thought of, I don't think I want to do this anymore. And not just the job. I don't do any of this. Luckily, I have a very high quality circle. And great people around me I'm very, very blessed to have the people that I do. And I reached out to one of them who was just my friend at the time. He was now my business partner and the CEO of our company. And I explained what was going on. And I said hey, I'm having these feelings. I'm having these thoughts. I'm having these emotions. I don't know what to do, man, what do I do? And he said, Kev over the last couple of years, your awareness has changed a ton. Your habits have changed a ton. So much has changed about you but your environments have remained the same. I think it's time for you to change your environment. So I left that job three or four months later. And then I began the journey of being a very broke entrepreneur trying to figure out business and podcasting and speaking and coaching and all that. And I think that was probably, I think five years ago now. And here we are. Well. Okay.Philip Pape:
So yeah, so that was that was five years ago. Wow. So you know that this, this, this is a health and fitness podcast. But a lot of what you touched on are principles applicable to anything, right? You touched on self improvement. But the last thing you ended with with your personal story was changing your environment. You said, you know, everything else has been going. I don't wanna say well, right, because you obviously ended up in a very heavy, dark place. But I guess you knew you could make that kind of change and it took someone else, someone in your support structure. In fact, the person you weren't necessarily being to the girl who left you right at the time. You think of it that way to kind of snap you out of it and make you realize you have control the situation just took that level of I guess, support and accountability. I mean, maybe expand on that piece. I have a bunch of questions prepared, but I always go off on tangents. Expand on that piece about the support structure, both both sides of it both the importance of surrounding ourselves with that and the importance of us being that for other people. Yeah, it's I always say that. Imagine if I reached out to somebody who said Kev, nobody likes their job. Of course you're gonna not like your job.Kevin Palmieri:
I mean, that's par for the course, nobody really likes it. Give it the weekend, I'm sure Monday things will feel better. Like imagine if that's the advice I got, I don't know what would have happened, right. So I think with anything, and I know whether it's fitness, whether it's a dream, whether it's relationship, whether it's a business, whether it's posting on social media, whether you know it or not, the people around you are either accelerating your growth or slowing your growth down, they are either creating new opportunities for you, or they are holding you back from opportunities. And like I did with my girlfriend, I, my ex girlfriend, I gave her every reason in the world not to succeed. And she said, You know what, I will choose success over you. And she ended up going and she's doing her thing. I've been the anchor, and I've been the engine. So I very much understand and empathize with both ends. I think this is the important understanding. People do not give you advice based on your level of capabilities, they give you advice based on their level of capabilities, their limiting beliefs, their fears, their you know, whatever they're afraid to be judged by. And a lot of us take those and run and they assume it's our story, when in reality, it just isn't. So if you're the person, somebody reaches out to you, you got to pour into them. You got to, you have to want what's the best for somebody, regardless of yourself. But you also have to understand that when you're fielding advice from others, you might not be getting that you might be getting the scarce Don't leave me behind advice. Again, I've given that. So I understand very much. It's very important that you sit with the advice you're you're getting, because not not everybody is capable of pouring into your cup at the rate and at the level that you wish they were. And not everybody is capable, or as capable as you are. And that comes through time. And that comes through practice. Yeah. And that also brings to mind the I think you mentioned scarcity there. The abundance mentality, right? Through a growth mindset, the idea that it's not as the world's not a zero sum game, is it there's enough to go around. And in fact, if you surround yourself with people that are more skilled, more experienced, have been around more been through the struggles and kind of let them pour into that vessel you just mentioned, as opposed to saying, you know, I have mine, and I'm gonna keep it and I can't, you know, I can't surround myself with people better than me I need to be. It sounds like you're kind of tying into that same concept. Yeah, I think it's, it's so important to understand that just because somebody wins doesn't mean you can't, right. If I lift Philip and Philip wins, it doesn't mean I can't win. Right? And also, if you do win, I'll be more fulfilled if I helped you. But that's another thing, too, is like, how do you define success? And that's, that's, that's a deeper conversation. But yeah, yeah. So let's get into that a little bit, maybe in the context of physical self mastery, right, and self improvement, which are in your real wheelhouse. So you have this success early in life, maybe it wasn't the right kind of success. So and you alluded to self improvement, what exactly is that? Like? We maybe get philosophical here, but what is self improvement? And how does it then apply to health and fitness? Yeah, self improvement at the end of the day is you pouring into becoming a more evolved more, or with more potential human being, I think that's it. At the end of the day, it's investing in self. If you're, there's a show with Tim Allen and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, I think called Home Improvement, Home Improvement, what is Home Improvement, it's when you improve the value of your home. Self improvement is the same thing when you improve the value and quality and capability of self. Here's the interesting thing. When you pour into yourself, and you become more competent, and you raise your personal development setpoint, you also raise other things like your ability to practice self discipline, like your ability to become a more consistent human being. Your ability to not run from judgment is much your ability to do the hard but necessary things that you know, you will be grateful that you did in the future. And honestly, that's where the health fitness, whether it's the gym, or whatever it is you're doing. That's where that comes in. It's not easy, right? It's not it's not, it's not easy to get in better shape. It's not easy to be healthier, necessarily. And just because it's not easy does not mean it's not possible. But it's very hard to level up one area of your life if you haven't leveled up yourself first. So there's a lot of people out there that want to make a million dollars, but they don't have that million dollar mindset yet. Totally, that's fine. There's a lot of people who want to have a six pack of the body, but they don't have a six pack of the mind. And when you elevate yourself improvement, you elevate your competency. And the more competent you are, the higher likelihood you will succeed at different ventures. So when it comes to self improvement, you're just pouring into yourself, and that transfers over to you becoming more confident. And when you become more confident you try new things. It helps you with your self esteem your self worth, and then you'll double down and triple down on the stuff that makes you feel good. Oftentimes the stuff that the stuff that makes you feel good for the day doesn't feel good in the moment. And I think understand Earning self improvement and studying self improvement that also helps you understand that there is no short term, anything really a value in the long run.Philip Pape:
Yeah, this reminds me a conversation I had with somebody recently about, you know, how we overcomplicate things. And sometimes we strip it down to the essence and focus on building some foundation, whatever it might be, it might be strength, for example, you build a foundation of strength, you find that you can run faster now, and you can go up the stairs more easily. And you can, you know, have more energy half the day, and it kind of cascades on itself. And what you're saying, is that concept of, you know, building pillars, I guess, in your life that spiraled themselves exponentially. And consistency, you touched on consistency, right? So I'm always hammering that message home. It's very important as a nutrition coach myself that clients embrace that kind of philosophy with small changes in Hey, behavior, and the concept of living as if you're your future self right? Self improvement, you know, thinking of the six pack having a six pack mind or the the other thing you mentioned, and falling in love with the process, right, not just the end goal. So what are what are some of your thoughts about consistency, specifically, why it's important, how we get it, and so on?Kevin Palmieri:
Yeah, I so we did a 10 pound in 10 week challenge recently, my business partner and I, because we were like, honestly, we've been we've been bulking for a bit here, we should probably lock it in and figure it out. So we said, What's the best way to do this? Accountability? We will say it on the podcast. And we'll do if it's if it gets said on the podcast, we'll do it. The interesting thing and the valuable thing and the best story for consistency is the first two days I gained weight and gain weight. When I started dieting. Imagine if I said, Nope, something's broken metabolisms off. This isn't for me, it's not possible. And then I stopped. The beautiful thing about consistency is it tells the truth eventually. And it's it takes the emotion out of things, right. When you do something consistently, when you do something on repeat, when you do it repeatedly, you start to see the different intricacies. And you start to see oh, okay, that's what happens when I do it this way. Let me try a little bit different the next day. Oh, that's what happens when I do it this way. So the importance of consistency is honestly, at the end of the day, if you can't do something for a month, you're most likely not going to get the results that you want. Right, and podcasting and business and whatever it may be. So I think a lot of us know that now. And we have that understanding, how can you be more consistent, number one, break things into sustainable bite sized things to start, one of the best habits you can have is the one that you actually do. One of the best diets there is for you is the one that's sustainable for you. Right, there's a reason we don't sign up to a gym, that's an hour away, it's not sustainable to get to, we'll sign up to one that's five minutes away, that's 24 hours, boom, we can do that consistently. So create some sort of Bite Size habit to start simple, sustainable, find some sort of accountability. So I think there was a study recently. So this is a fine line. But I think there was a study recently that said, people who said something with public accountability that they planned on accomplishing, they actually were less successful because they got the dopamine hit, right. So maybe that's not it for you. For me, that works really well. If I say on the podcast, I have to do it. It's just, that's just what it is at this point. But maybe for you, it's having a peak performance partner, maybe for you, it's having a coach, maybe for you, it's having some sort of agreement, I have $100 bill on my desk at all times. And it's what I call my $100 habit. I told my wife, I said, here's $100 bill, if I don't go to the gym everyday, this week, I want you to rip this up in front of me. I am a money driven human being I operate well, when there's skin in the game that helps me so we have to figure out what is the level of necessity that you're willing to take on? It should be an uncomfortable level of necessity. Because if it's not an uncomfortable level of necessity, you're not going to do what's uncomfortable to get your goals. You're not sure right? There's no point. So I would say number one, let's focus on what's sustainable for you. What's sustainable, and what's ideal are two different things, especially in the beginning, right, especially the beginning. Number two, what kind of necessity Can we can we bring in? What kind of accountability can we bring in? And then just speaking to the $100 habit, what kind of commitment device can we bring in for you? And again, that's just more necessity.Philip Pape:
Okay, yep. Just taking notes. Now, this is good. You're speaking my language. Totally speaking. We talking about this stuff all the time. And I want to unpack some of the things you mentioned. So specifically on your weight challenge. That's pretty cool. Right? So a pound a week is totally reasonable. And I like the fact that you use that specific example, because I get questions all the time about what why do I like my clients to weigh themselves every day? It's a kind of a controversial thing for some people to say, Oh, you shouldn't weigh yourself every day. And they list all sorts of excuses, right? And they say, You know what, because weight changes so much. It's meaningless in the short term. And if you have a data point every day now after three weeks So that was just kind of the sweet spot, you actually have information on what's going on. Without it. There's a big gap there. Right? So it's kind of thinking that logically, I love the way you put that. And then the accountability. I heard that same study a couple years back. But I think there's a twist on it that you just suggested. And that is, it's not just the announcing of the goal, right? It's continuing to put it out there after you announce it, which I think is probably what gets you that ultimate accountability, kind of like a challenge, right? We do challenges and we say, Okay, everybody posted in your Facebook group every day, people are watching and people are there to help you. Yeah. Yeah. So so that's good stuff. So you talked about things not being easy, right? Is that the same as struggling? Right? There's a lot of people that have these weak crucibles in their life. And there's this thought that it's those people that have all the success that they had to overcome. And you even told us about one yourself is, do people have to struggle? Or can someone can see cause succeed. Without that,Kevin Palmieri:
I always my thought on this is you will struggle in direct correlation to the size of your goals. So for me to lose five pounds will be less of a struggle than for me to lose 25 pounds. And that's just the law of the universe. And that's just a law of nature. And that's, that's the way it'll work for most of us. What I think happens is we've fallen into the trap of what gets clicked on what gets purchased. What gets influenced is usually the stuff that's quote unquote, the easiest, it's like, this is the secret that you need to get the result you want. There aren't that many everything you've heard before. It's wrong. It's you're 45 years old, you've been learning wrong for 45 years. It's like no, no, necessarily. Maybe you just haven't done the right thing yet. So I think that for most of us, we want to believe that there is an easier way to do it. And we're holding out for that easier way to come. Like, I'll do it when this comes out. Or when this comes out, when in reality, the results you want are hidden in the work you don't. And so from my perspective, no, I don't think you can really succeed without struggle. Because I think, whatever your version of successes, and it's completely personal, and I want to make sure I put that out there will most likely require conflict. And by definition, conflict is challenging. So I do not think you can now here's the, I guess the detour that you'll hear a lot of people say, well, it's only struggling if you choose, it's only a struggle, if you decide it's a struggle. Sure, I understand that as somebody who has a very strong mindset. And I like to think I'm pretty philosophical at this point in my life, many of us are not going to get to that point where we can choose whether or not we want to struggle, or when you know, if we don't want to suffer, I think it's disempowering to assume that you don't have to, I just I really do. And I think there's a couple of different kinds of people. There's the person who takes they take pride and how easy it was. And there's somebody who takes pride and how hard it was, you got to figure out who you are and who you want to be. And then kind of adjust there and then honestly figure out who to take advice from based on that as well.Philip Pape:
Now taking pride in how easy something was, would that apply to someone who is really good at making systems that and shortcuts and hacks and automating things, you know, somebody who makes the thing easy by by spending the hard effort first, you know what I mean? Like, where, where's because I'm kind of that guy I want. I want the long term process to be smooth and easy and frictionless. But I take the time upfront to make it that way. Yeah,Kevin Palmieri:
I agree. We did an episode recently. There is no such thing as smart work until you do hard work first, because without hard work, you can't figure out what's smart or not. Right. So I think that's great, I think, but the fact that you admit Well, in the beginning, it kind of sucks. And then it gets smoother and smoother and smoother as we go. I think that's, I think that's great. I do think a lot of people are trying to avoid that first part. And that's what we get sold, right? It's like, yeah, of course, how many of the same diet supplements, ab crunch board twists, things. You know, it's the same stuff over and over, that takes advantage of people's lack of awareness.Philip Pape:
Yeah. Hey, this is Philip Pape. And if you feel like you've put in effort to improve your health and fitness, but aren't getting results, I invite you to apply for one on one coaching to make real progress and get the body you desire. We'll work together to figure out what's missing so you can look better, perform better and feel better. Just go to wits & weights.com/coaching, to learn about my program and apply today. Now back to the episode. Yeah, I was thinking about I have a client in her 60s And you know, she she goes to the gym and does her squats, you know, once a week or twice a week. And for those 15 Hard minutes, she's able to go to her patriots season tickets games every week and no longer struggle going up the stairs. And you're like that's the kind of trade off I think we're looking for is that that little bit of hard investment for the real results. Okay, so a lot of my clients, you know, come in and they want to lose weight. They want to improve their body composition. In reality, there's something deeper usually there's something deeper like self confidence and I know that some Can you talk about a lot you've mentioned already. And I know personally from my personal journeys, both fitness and also public speaking. I mean, I would never have done a podcast even five years ago, if I hadn't spent time on the skill of speaking. That that was important to me. So given that you help people improve, Kevin, what is confidence, right? And how can someone become more confident?Kevin Palmieri:
Confidence is your ability to show up and figure it out? Confidence is your ability to believe that you are capable of achieving some level of result in your life and then and then showing up for it. I think, honestly, it is one of the biggest issues on the planet lack of belief. I really do. And again, I resonate with it, because I still have it. I might seem like a very confident human being, I am confident in this microphone, because I've done this so many times. But it doesn't mean I'm confident in life, it doesn't mean that I have level 10 belief in everything I do. I still have limiting beliefs, I still have doubts, I still have, at times a fixed mindset. So that's been a lifelong journey. For me, I think the best way to build it is to figure out, okay, on a scale of one to 10, what is something that scares me at a level five, because a level 10 Fear is something that will stop you from even starting a level one fear is something that's in your comfort zone. So if you think about it from a comfort zone, the next zone out is the learning zone. And then you have the anxiety zone, most of our fears are in the anxiety zone. Most of our comforts are in the comfort zone, the sweet spot and the potential for growth is in the Learning Zone. So I had a young lady reach out to me, she said I want to be a speaker. Cool. Love that. Are you doing any speaking? And she said No, not yet. Alright, cool. On a scale of and I said let's get you speaking on a scale of one to 10 how outside of your comfort zone is it for you to do a Facebook Live? And she said 12 out of 10? That ain't it? Alright, let's not do that. On a scale of one to 10. How outside of your comfort zone? Is it for you to record a video and show nobody? She said that? It's like a zero. Okay, that's not it on a scale of one to 10 how outside of your comfort zone is it for you to record a video and send it to me only? And I won't show anybody I promise. And she said probably a five or six cool do that. Because you shouldn't be speaking on stage in front of 1000s of people. That's not where we start. You don't start? You know, your baseball career by getting up in front of a 95 mile an hour fastball. Of course, you're gonna be afraid. Right? That's That's natural. Yeah. What is the next available opportunity for growth? It doesn't have to be the biggest it doesn't have to be the most audacious. The one of the things you hear often, Philip, and I'm sure you hear this is what's your big, hairy, audacious goal, like what is the goal that's going to change the world for you? If you're out there, and that doesn't resonate with you, it's because you don't believe you're capable of that yet. Totally fine. It's totally fine. What is the next available opportunity for growth, that's where I would start something simple. When you're walking down the aisle at the supermarket, try to hold eye contact, very uncomfortable, but it takes confidence, it raises your confidence, say I am intentionally going to have a conversation with a person at the checkout counter. And I'm going to hold my own and I'm going to be brave. And I'm just going to say Hey, how was How was your day, how's your weekend, you have any plans for this weekend, just getting outside of your comfort zone little by little by little by little is the way to become more confident, you do not have to do it all at once you do not have to reach the peak of the mountain today. The ultimate goal is to get to the next summit so you can see what's possible for you at the next level the next level. So I think that's kind of a theme for us today is sustainability, sustainability and starting small.Philip Pape:
Yeah, that that spectrum you just listed, I'm gonna I'm gonna steal that with my clients, because I haven't exactly heard it put that way. I love that the comfort learning and anxiety phases of the spectrum, because it can apply to you know, let's say you just don't get enough sleep, right? You get four or five hours of sleep. I'm not gonna say go start getting eight hours of sleep. I'm gonna say what can you do? Right? That's easy. I asked what can you do? What can we but even the way you put it to get a little more specific of finding the average, you know, kind of between the spectrum is is a great is great advice. It also reminds me the stress recovery adaptation cycle of fitness, right? The idea that you push your self just enough, you push your muscles just enough so they recover and adapt. You don't go so far that you're just you're just trash and can't even go to the gym for three days. And you don't go so low that you didn't feel like you got any work and you lift the same weights for three years. Yeah, great. So related to this, I guess. I think it's important for people trying to do what you do to ask them why they're doing this. Right. Like what what is the deeper purpose? What is the big why in their life? How does someone find that so then they know what to go attack and bring in, in applying this confidence scale?Kevin Palmieri:
Yeah, it's a challenge. It's anytime we're talking about purpose. Why mission? Passion. I think a lot of us and I, I definitely did this. A lot of us say okay, I'm going to figure this I'm gonna go searching for it like, what is my why? When I think for many of us are why is already happened? Right? So even if we just say like purpose from it, what's the purpose of doing this? A lot of us go out and say, Alright, let me search. Let me try this, let me try this, let me try this, I think that's important because trying things gives you a new awareness. But for many of us, I think our purpose or why our passion is buried in our past, and it usually comes from a place of pain. To your point, why does that client want to get in better shape, it's not necessarily so that client can look better on the beach, it's not necessarily so that client can run a marathon, it's so that client can go watch your favorite sports team, from the stands at maybe the season tickets that she's had for 25 years. That's a deep, deep, deep why? Or maybe because this person has a fear that they're not going to be around for their grandchildren in 25 years, if they don't turn their life around. Maybe that's why a lot of it comes from pain. Unfortunately, many of our wives and our purposes and our passions come from our deepest pain, because we don't want to see that deep pain happen again, we don't want to see it happen to somebody else. And we want to be or at least feel like we're in control of it. So I would say take a look into your past. And what are the things that scare you the most? What are the things that have hurt you the most in the past? What are the things that you know, at a very, very deep level that you think the world should be focused on more? That's a great question when it comes to purpose or passion or why. But at the deepest level, I think it's you sitting with your thoughts and saying, Alright, let me be real with myself. Is it because I want to be more physically capable? Or is it because I want to look better in a bikini or my board shorts? The answer is personal. But the more specific you are with why the more real you are with yourself. I love giving back. And I love adding value. And I love our community and I love podcasting. But I also am more driven by money than my business partner. I just am for a long time. I didn't want to admit that. Because I thought it made me look bad or I'd look selfish. That's just the truth. I am a more money driven human being than him. Let me use that to run this better. When you're aware of something you admit it, you're probably more likely to get the results anyway because at least you're doing it for the right reasons. And you know, the right reasons.Philip Pape:
Yeah, that's, that's a really great point to end that answer on. Because there's there's no shame people have to understand there's no shame in your personal reason for doing something which can change, it can change daily, weekly, monthly. It can be there can be multiple reasons and you know, use that use that as fuel to drive you don't even have to admit it to people, if you don't want just use it. So I think that's that's awesome. Looking to your past. It's so true people. Again, people that come to me, it's there's always something that they dealt with in the past that didn't work, right. It's not like they come to me because everything's hunky dory. And now they just have this magical goal out in the future. So that's a really good one. Where does, where does the vulnerability play into this word is I don't know self love, you talked about limiting beliefs, but like, accepting yourself or emotion vulnerability play into self improvement.Kevin Palmieri:
Vulnerability is living in the truth. At the at the end of the day, right? When we think of vulnerability, it's admitting what's real, regardless of the fear around it. And there's a million reasons, if you want your relationships to improve, you've got to lean into vulnerability. I mean, you have to because you're living the truth, if you want necessity to increase, you have to be vulnerable with yourself. My business partner has this, this habit that he does, it's called the naked truth. He literally stands in front of his full size mirror with no clothes on to assess where he's at physically. And he says, yep, not as good as I thought, or, wow, it's better than I thought. It's that it's literally him being vulnerable with himself and saying, Alright, let me get the truth here. Let me get the truth, let me get what's real. So I can make changes according accordingly. Any relationship, I believe the level of the relationship is based on the level of vulnerability. So that's one point, why vulnerability is so important. But if you're going to facilitate change within yourself, you have to be first vulnerable enough to admit where you are. If you don't know where you are, you're not going to understand or be able to contextualize how to get where you're going. And it just is the truth. Vulnerability is the truth.Philip Pape:
And how do you do that without, without going into some despair, or, you know, despair, depression or negative thinking about it?Kevin Palmieri:
If that's the hard part, because there's a lot of different ways to do it. But I can't, I can't really say you won't feel despair, or you won't feel negativity. Because what's going to happen? One of two things is going to happen. So let's just say you're vulnerable. And you look back to a Facebook post from two years ago, almost exclusively, one of two things is going to happen. You're going to say, wow, I've come a long way. Wow, I haven't made any progress at all, and I look I don't look as good as I had hoped. Your trauma response to either of those is going to be personal and up to you. But you have to understand that at least the awareness is a potential opportunity. I think that's, that's all I can really speak to on that Philip is, yes, awareness is painful. Yes, you can definitely get too much too much awareness at once. But you also can live your life with not nearly enough awareness, which won't help you make change. So hopefully, you can at least take the awareness and say, Alright, yeah, this sucks. And this is uncomfortable. Wow, that's a lot of truth at once. All right, well, at least now I can operate accordingly. And now I know where I actually am. I'm done kidding myself. I know what's real. Logically, I understand where I'm actually at the emotional side of things has gone away a little bit.Philip Pape:
Yeah. And that sounds like one of the first steps. You know, years ago, I learned about emotional intelligence, right? Self awareness is number one. And you just said, you know, maybe you can have too much, but generally people don't have enough. And you can use that to your advantage. So. So speaking of emotions, there's this very important quote by a fictional character who said, Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. What is your biggest fear? I wanted to ask you that? What's your biggest fear? Is Yoda Correct? Or can fear be a positive tool actually, or change?Kevin Palmieri:
I think fear is a, a very positive tool. As long as it's bottled effectively, I think of it as it's almost like gasoline, if you use it in the right direction, it's great. But you can also really overuse it and it can create an inferno in your life for sure. For me, it's not being good enough. My greatest fear is my fear of failure. My fear of being left behind my fear of judgment, my fear of not not being good enough, my fear of appearing arrogant. That's a big one. For me, I've had a couple moments, we were talking about self awareness, where I'm thinking it's like, I don't know if anybody's gonna like me after this, like I think, um, because it's, this is an intense, it's, this is more intense than sometimes I am. So it's weird. But that that's a big one for me. I'm terrified of not being liked, which makes it super challenging to do what we do. But you know, you can't necessarily let that run you. When we're talking about like real world stuff, planes and sharks, talk to him flying over the ocean, I'm losing my mind.Philip Pape:
That's because I worked in the aerospace industry for years, I can tell you the one of the safest thing on the planet. Yeah, no, it doesn't matter. logic isn't good enough. That's so funny. So you mentioned being afraid of how people are going to perceive you. And I'm sure a lot of us face that, whether you call it impostor syndrome, or whatever. But now you've done by the time this episode comes out, you would have done probably more than 1200 podcast episodes. Would you say that experience has changed that fear in any way mitigated? It? Is it? Is it a therapy to deal with the fear? What would you say? Yeah, it's,Kevin Palmieri:
I don't know, it's hard, because in a way, that fear only gets tested when it gets touched on. So I've had, believe it or not, and again, I'm not inviting this. I don't want this to happen. But I think I've only had three or four people ever reach out and like talk genuine trash, which is good. Like, I'm really happy about that. What I will say is my response to that has improved over the years, which means I think my fear is running me less. Do I want to physically have a hand to hand scrap? Yes, initially I do. I'll be honest, but then it's usually okay. What is there to learn from this? So I would say it has definitely gotten better. And I think one of the reasons it's gotten better is the awareness around a lot of times people are, they're not judging you. They're judging themselves based on what you reveal to them. That's been an unlock for me, understanding that. Look, you you may have said something wrong, but you probably didn't. You probably said something that somebody has never heard in that way from somebody like you, whatever that means. And it's triggering them in some way, shape or form. Maybe they're not ready to face that mirror yet. So they're going to villainize you. I've done it. So I empathize with it. So I would say it's gotten better, but it still scares the poop out of me.Philip Pape:
That's serious stuff. Yeah. Serious. Definitely. We podcasters you know, we try to tread that line. So it's yeah,Kevin Palmieri:
it's a challenge.Philip Pape:
It's a challenge. It's a challenge. All right. Well, here's the here's the penultimate question I like to ask all guests for the listener is what one what one question Did you wish I had asked and what is your answer?Kevin Palmieri:
Hmm. What is one? I wish since we're on a fitness podcast, you asked what it was like to be a full scale bodybuilder.Philip Pape:
I should have done that. Yeah, I really should have. So tell us about your whole bodybuilding journey because we could do a whole episode just about that.Kevin Palmieri:
It was it was the worst. It was the genuine worst. I was in the gym. One day somebody came up to me and as all good stories start, and they said, Hey, you should be a bodybuilder. And I was like, okay, cool. What does that look like? And They're like, reach out to this coach, and they'll help you. And I was like, All right, I love the gym. Cool this How hard can this be? That coach didn't workout. I ended up connecting with another coach. And I'm grateful I had a wonderful coach. He's an IFBB pro. He is like he is awesome. First question he asked me, enhanced or natural, natural, cool, no stress. I was like, Alright, cool. We're good. He's like, yep, don't worry about it. You're good. Natural. He said, If you are willing to suffer more than anybody else, you will win. And it was like, Oh, no. Oh, no. What did I get myself into? Completely natural or not compete? Okay, no, no, no, I would have got smoked Yeah, that's I was gonna say yeah, no competing competing in. I don't even remember. I don't remember what organization it was. OCB OCB was the organization and I had a great relationship with this coach. He was awesome. He was a really good person. So I ended up doing a show I do I do this prep for I think it was eight weeks, while working a job while traveling. I'm bringing my hot plate on the road cooking in hotels literally got to the point where I was blowing out the breakers in my part of the hotel because my my crock pot and all that was too powerful was a whole thing. But I ended up doing this doing this show and I I won my division and I think I placed third or fourth in the open or whatever it is. And it was one of those things where I was very grateful I did it. But I I realized that took a piece of me that I'll never get back there. Just the levels and the links I went to to get as lean as I did. I was really, really, really lean. And I definitely messed up my metabolism. I missed your hormones, my sex drive, I messed up everything doing that. You had to get to what four or 5% or so. I never I never got tested but I I couldn't have been any higher thanPhilip Pape:
seven. Yeah, people need to understand that who are listening because it's like even if you want to be lifestyle lean. There's a big difference too. Yeah. And bodybuilding show. Yeah,Kevin Palmieri:
I couldn't walk up the stairs. I struggled. I literally struggled to walk up the stairs. I used to fall asleep on the ladders at work, because I was just so I mean, I'm doing an hour of cardio a day and lifting. And I'm probably eating 1600 calories. It's just, it's brutal. But I tell tell tell some of my clients 1600 Oh, I would love to eat 60Philip Pape:
Some of the smaller you know, female. Yeah.Kevin Palmieri:
And understandable. Understandable. Yeah, for me at you know, somebody who's working out big guy, a lot of muscles and so on. Yeah, doing like heavy legs and all that cardio. So I ended up winning that show. I'm never gonna do this. Again. This is the worst thing I've ever done. I sign up for another show. For some reason. I don't know why. But I ended up getting a cheat meal. And it was like steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli or something and a half a pint of Ben and Jerry's. And I was like, Alright, I can I can live like this. I'm getting ready for bed that night. I couldn't sleep. And I literally said screw it. I'm done. I went downstairs finished the other rest of the Pines texted my coach and said, Hey, I'm not doing this. And then that was it. That was the end of my bodybuilding journey.Philip Pape:
That's awesome. Ya know, it's a really good thing. We don't talk a lot about stage bodybuilding, mainly because I've not been through it. I listen to a lot about it. And I think it's a fascinating. It's a fascinating study into what the human body's capable of. But it's Yeah, yeah. Takes a lot out of you. Yeah, exactly. I mean, we talked about just the beginning phases of metabolic adaptation that people experienced during dieting, let alone if you went to that level to that extreme. Awesome. So where Kevin, can people learn more about you and your work?Kevin Palmieri:
I always just say, if you like what we talked about today, this was a unique flavor of it, but very similar to what we talked about. We're on all the podcast platforms were on YouTube, just search next level University. And if you have any questions for me, specifically, Kevin Palmieri on LinkedIn and Facebook and then at never quit kid on Instagram, I'm happy to to answer anything you got.Philip Pape:
All right. I'm gonna include all those links in the show notes so the listener can find you and Kevin, thank you again. This was an awesome conversation. A lot of fun. Thank you for coming on the show.Kevin Palmieri:
Thank you, my friend. My pleasure.Philip Pape:
Thanks for listening to the show. Before you go, I have a quick favorite ask. If you enjoy the podcast, let me know by leaving a five star review in Apple podcasts and telling others about the show. Thanks again for joining me Philip Pape in this episode of Wits & Weights. I'll see you next time and stay strong.