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Category: Spotlight

Book Spotlight: The Primal Kitchen Cookbook: Eat Like Your Life Depends On It! By Mark Sisson

Friend of the XPT Family, Mark Sisson is a bestselling author, award-winning blogger, and founder of PRIMAL KITCHEN – a company that has set out to make the world’s best-tasting, health-enhancing, real-food pantry staples. The company boasts nothing processed or artificial, no added sugars, partially hydrogenated or trans fats, soybean or canola oils, no more artificial flavors, colors, dyes, waxes or chemical preservatives – just real food.

“I have known Mark for 15 years and admire his dedication and curiosity towards eating and moving healthfully.  Having said that and after using his cookbook for the past year I love him even more for not sacrificing taste for health. Lets face it we all want to eat well, maintain high levels of energy and at the end of the day enjoy our food. I find the recipes delicious, easy to mimic, and fall within reality of the amount of time I want and have to cook. Always the balance between, taste, nutrients, time and cost.                                                                                                     – XPT Co-Founder, Gabby Reece

Sisson has been a staple of the XPT Experience as of late, guest lecturing at two of our recent events in Malibu. He recently gave an informative and rousing lecture to our August event attendees about Developing Metabolic Flexibility for Health, Performance and Longevity.

“While we are all wired at birth to derive most of our energy from fat, most of us lose that ability early in our lives and become dependent on a regular supply of carbohydrates (glucose) to fuel us throughout our day,” Sission said. “I’ll be exploring ways in which we can all regain metabolic flexibility and become more metabolically efficient as well. The end result is more energy all day long, a trend toward ideal body composition, better performance in the gym, a reduction in inflammation and possibly a longer life.”

Along with his food product business ventures, Sisson is a master writer, blogger and has a plethora of award winning books published. His most recent work is titled The Primal Kitchen Cookbook: Eat Like Your Life Depends On It!

In the book, Sisson teams up with over 50 leading icons in the primal community to collaborate on 130 super delicious, health conscious recipes in this ultimate paleo recipe collection.

All of the recipes in the book feature uncompromisingly delicious, high quality, nutrient dense sauces and dressings you can easily create at home to pack healthy fats, phytonutrients, and superfoods into every meal.

Recipe contributors include Melissa Hartwig, Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Sarah Fragoso, Pete Evans, Tony Horton, Laird Hamilton, Cassy Joy Garcia, George Bryant, and many more. The PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Cookbook makes cooking with your favorite paleo personalities right in your own primal kitchen a reality!

The PRIMAL KITCHEN Cookbook includes:

  • The 5 signature PRIMAL KITCHEN recipes – Classic Mayo, Chipotle Lime Mayo, Greek Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, and Wild Ranch dressing
  • Nutrient-dense lunches and salads to prep ahead or whip up in minutes, like Spicy Poke Bowls and 10-Minute Pad Thai Zoodles
  • Inspired starters and small bites to please a crowd (or just yourself), including Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Hummus and Baked Bison Meatballs
  • Savory sides, from Creamy Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup to Dill Pickle and Bacon Potato Salad
  • Main dishes that will certainly become staples in your kitchen, like Hazlenut Crusted Halibut and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Short Ribs
  • Guilt-free treats such as Coconut Cashew Bonbons and Avocado Oil Ice Cream

Get a copy of Sisson’s book today. We highly recommend it!

Link to buy:

*Sources for article: &

XPT Spotlight: Certified Coach Mark Roberts

Quick Stats

Age: 34

Birthplace: Greenwich

Current Hometown: Westlake Village, Ca

Gym Name: Proactive Sports Performance

Social Handles: Instagram @markrobertsfitness


 XPT Certified Coach, Mark Roberts hails from Belfast in Northern Ireland. He’s been studying the science of sport and exercise since he was 15yrs old. Before he took on a full-time fitness coaching career, Mark played rugby at both professional and national levels, but now dedicates his life to human performance and his family. He’s been a performance coach for ten years with the last five years being spent as a post rehab specialist in Chicago. He currently resides in California working with professional athletes and general population alike implementing all pillars of XPT.

As a valuable asset to the XPT Team, Mark lives very close to co-founders Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton and spends a lot of time training with the duo as well as assisting with XPT Experiences and other events held at their Malibu home. “Mark is a living example of the XPT lifestyle,” said Gabby Reece of Roberts.  “He dedicates himself to learning, improving and experimenting with new training modality and nutritional concepts.”

When asked about Mark’s coaching style, specifically when it comes to his work coaching XPT Experience and event participants, Gabby added, “Mark is an expert in his field but what I appreciate is that he is always expanding his platform to be the best guide possible. He is tough and loving. Mark’s good nature along with expertise and capabilities is an enhancement to any Experience. I always look forward to seeing and working with Mark personally and professionally. His lack of ego and fluidity as a professional is a rare commodity.”

XPT Performance Director also had many positive things to say about Mark as the person who trained him through the XPT Certification course. “Mark’s years of experience competing as an elite athlete (Professional Rugby) along with his experience training clients at the highest levels of performance allow him to excel in implementing the XPT methodology across a vast clientele demographic. Mark is an exceptional communicator and does a great job breaking down the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of XPT into digestible pieces so anybody can understand.”

We recently sat down with Mark to ask him some questions about his background and specifically about his knowledge and implementation of XPT into his coaching practice. Get to know Mark by reading this exclusive XPT Q&A.

XPT: How did you get connected with XPT and what drew you to want to become associated with the brand?

Mark Roberts: Having been fortunate enough to work with Gabby over the last few years, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with XPT. I’m a true believer in what it stands for and what XPT training has done for me personally.

XPT: What has it been like to work with and learn from people like Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, PJ Nestler, etc.? Any key lessons or stories you can share that have been impactful to you?

Mark Roberts: Working with Laird & Gabby has been a truly life altering experience. They provide an environment that is so inviting, impactful, and inspiring that I can’t help but want to keep improving and educating myself in optimal human performance.

Paired with PJ and his incredible thirst for knowledge and the way he presents our material really keeps me on my toes when it comes to studying material and mastering the components of XPT. Not to mention, he’s a pretty sound bloke.

Key Lesson would be always be a student.

XPT: Do you have a favorite XPT methodology or pillar that you resonate with the most? Maybe one you’re good at, or one you need the most work on or spend the most time doing/coaching, etc?

Mark Roberts: From a coaching standpoint, breathing is my go-to XPT pillar. I’ve had the greatest impact on clients with simple breathing protocols. While breathing is one of the most natural things we do, for most its very dysfunctional and has a huge impact on physical and mental health. With the implementation of XPT’s breathing protocols, we are reversing those dysfunctions both mentally and physically.

From a personal standpoint, it has to be the water. It gives me such an ability to focus everything on one task. It provides me with such a sense of accomplishment every time I hit a breakthrough. Confronting the stress of being underwater with weight and zero oxygen left, yet pushing on has such a knock-on effect to my day to day life.

XPT: What are some of your coaching philosophies when it comes to XPT with such a vast group of clientele?

 Mark Roberts: First and foremost, it starts and ends with breath work. Everybody needs breath work just like everybody needs mobility. Yes, we have a vast array of clientele from professional athletes to everyday people wanting to step out of their comfort zone, but we are all humans and everything is relative. One man’s 10 pounds down is another man’s super bowl. I really keep to simple human performance but regress it and progress it where necessary depending on who it is I am working with.

XPT: As a former professional athlete, how do you think the XPT philosophy and techniques resonate with athletes like yourself? Same question for average/everyday people?

Mark Roberts: For athletes, I think it’s the most underutilized performance hack that isn’t getting the attention it deserves because it’s so simple. Dealing with the stresses and emotions that come with being a professional athlete, XPT’s breath work is king. Creating simple protocols that can help calm your nervous system. Which creates tolerance to CO2 and that can help you recover faster. It’s a no brainer.

Pool work, and its great ability to be so ballistic yet so easy on the joints provides a great environment for athletes to really push the boundaries of plyo work all the while working in an intermittent hypoxic state.  Heat and ice also provide an addition to both recovery and when protocoled right; additional stress adaptation.

For the everyday person it all provides a great way to really stress the body into adaptation without a) taking up too much time and b) providing a very low impact environment with little to no risk of injury c) really forces you out of your comfort zone.

XPT: What are some of the successes you’ve seen in implementing XPT Breathing, Pool Training, Recovery methods, etc with your athletes?

 Mark Roberts: When it comes to the breath work, it is mostly their ability to push further into their conditioning with nose only breathing. Therefore, providing them with more gears during competition and improving athletic endurance. It also has been proven to be a big help post practice and competition to help calm the system into a parasympathetic where the body is in its rest digest state

Working with basketball players in the pool has substantially helped maintain heavy plyo work, all the while saving the joints from the landing impacts that are normally associated with land-based work.

Ice has best been seen to help my athletes concur the breathing protocols under stress. Their ability to deal with the very cold water (as a stressor) attaching thought to the breath work to calm the system inside 30s, therefore allowing the body to reap the benefits of cold water immersion from a calm and controlled mind

XPT: What would be your quick advice to someone out there who is considering XPT as a client or becoming a certified coach, but isn’t sure if it’s for him/her?

 Mark Roberts: For a prospective client, I would say let your experience guide you, XPT has such a profound effect on the body and mind in such a short amount of time you will leave thinking only of how to plug this into your daily life.

As a prospective coach, I’d say the same thing.  Let your experience guide you. Get involved with an Experience or a Workshop and see for yourself the profound effects XPT has. As a coach you should be thinking of how to implement it into your daily training protocols. Simple: Get certified!

XPT: Can you leave us with perhaps your favorite XPT memory or story to date?

Mark Roberts: My favorite memory is of my first experience and the breath work we did on the beach with Laird.  After 45 minutes exploring the breath with a vast range of cadences. We finished on a max hypoxic breath hold. Where over the course of the 4 minutes I held my breath. I was able to truly let go for the first time I can remember in my life and see very, very deep into myself and I experienced something so profound that it left me emotional for around 20 minutes after the fact. It was also from that moment on that I made the decision that XPT was what I was going to live and breathe. It started my journey to move here to California and to work with the most amazing human beings I have ever had the privilege of being around.

XPT Coach of the Week: Tom Molloy

Tom Molloy is based in Noosa, Queensland, Australia. He was previously a Corporate Banker and Company Director and he is now a dedicated human performance specialist at ActivateBody. Tom has over a decade of experience helping adults and children discover their inner athlete.
After years of struggling with arthritic knees and shoulder pain Tom discovered a performance lifestyle rooted in the most basic yet powerful human trait: the ability to adapt.

He challenges himself and his clients with leading fitness methods incorporating Breath, Movement, and Recovery exercises designed to stimulate growth in all aspects of human performance through exposure to a variety of natural elements and environments.

Tom’s train, adapt and perform approach empowers the individual to strengthen and elevate the quality of both everyday life and athletic pursuits.

His passion for adventure and commitment to excellence has driven him to become a leader in movement and recovery performance training that is applied to a progressive training philosophy.

Tom is also interested in the role of diet, exercise and breathing in stimulating mental and physical energy and stronger social connections with family, friends and community.

Tom also has a keen interest in Australian Rules Football and running, having performed at School and representative levels, and he is a passionate waterman (SUP, Surf Lifesaving, Surfing, Swimming, SCUBA, and Sailing) who coaches junior lifesaving and football with his 3 children.

Tom is very excited to be hosting the first Australian XPT Workshop in Noosa later this year.

XPT Coach of the Week: Kyler Ishisaki

Name: Kyler Ishisaki

Age: 27

Hometown: Fremont, CA

Business/Gym Name: PerformanceGaines

Social Media Handles: @Coach_ky90


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Kyler Ishisaki: I am a performance coach.  I have worked extensively with athletes for most of my career.  I have more recently been working with corporate wellness – onsite at Facebook’s campus. I have applied all of my experience coaching athletes and combined that with the XPT to provide for all of my clients. Outside of coaching I enjoy the outdoors – more specifically snowboarding in the winters, fishing and surfing (when I can) in the spring and summer as well as photography throughout the year.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients?

KI: I really enjoy incorporating the breath work into all of my programs with my clients. Especially because it is overlooked and under-utilized in both training and life.  Giving them exposure to something so simple, yet so rewarding is awesome to see when become more aware and in-tune with their body.

 XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

KI: XPT has been an awesome tool for me to use as a coach and a client.  It is something that I have been able to apply for myself and everyone that work with. It has added value to everything that I do, it has changed the way that I coach, program and think.

XPT: What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings into your training following your XPT Certification course?

KI: The first thing I applied and emphasized to everyone has been the recovery breathing post-workout and during high-stress situations.  Most of my current clients work in a very fast paced, high stress environment. So giving them tools to be able to calm down and down-regulate has been huge in their performance.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us? A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life? 

KI: One of my favorite moments from a client has been when she made the connection with the quote: “the way you breathe effects the way you move, and the way she move effects the way you breathe”.  After taking her through some exploration breathing and chambered breathing she realized how difficult it was to control where her breath has been coming from and how much of a dysfunction she had with breathing.  She then went to see a physical therapist about some shoulder pain that she has been having, and they too brought up that her breathing was affecting her shoulder, causing her pain.  She then reached out to me with a “Eureka!” moment as she made the connection between breath and movement.

XPT Coach of the Week: Meghan Newcomer

Name: Meghan Newcomer

Age: 37

Hometown: New York, NY 

Business/Gym Name: bEncouraged by Meghan


Social Media Handles: @bebymeghan 


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Meghan Newcomer: Meghan has been coaching athletes ages 5-75 for nearly two decades. She excels at providing personalized, precise training to help athletes optimize their potential physically and mentally. With a background in competitive swimming and triathlon, she is at home in aquatic environments. She enjoys working with novice athletes, individuals with a focus on improving their health and athletes who wish to take their racing to the next level.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc) to teach your clients?

MN: I embrace Breath. Move. Recover equally. However, I offer a unique ability to teach the in water strength component of XPT.

XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

MN: XPT has added a new dimension to my physical and mental training. I used the principals when preparing for the World Marathon Challenge and came in second place to the World Record holder. I have started integrating the principles into my athletes’ practice sessions. The swimmers and triathletes are thriving. Prior land-based strength athletes who have previously stayed clear of the pool are starting to dive in too.

XPT: What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings into your training following your XPT Certification course? 

MN: I was able to incorporate BOLT scores and cadence breathing patterns into a run workout the day after my certification. The thermal challenges and water based strength training took more time and planning, but have been well worth the effort.

XPT: A Mastery Experience by Nick Knutzen

Originally posted on

In what ways are you “playing the edge?”:  to walk the fine line between endless, goalless practice and those alluring goals that appear along the way.  To take risks in order to learn and grow?

A little over a week ago, I returned home from an awesome XPT experience in Miami.  Rejuvenated physically, mind clear, soul polished. It’s kind of a neat story of how I ended up there.  Basically, I won an Instagram giveaway by sharing a photo and a recipe on how I fuel up. Please refer to the picture of my beautiful girlfriend (Julia) my pup (Cooper) and myself all sharing a poké bowl dressed to the nines in our Kauai Spirit outfits for the winning photo.  You never know for sure in entering these kinds of contests if you will win or not, but I had a feeling, deep down, that I was going to win. Low and behold, and I still can’t quite believe it, I was invited to join the XPT Crew in Miami.

“It was my opportunity to dive deeper than I ever have before, on a journey I started seven years ago, where in discovering my body, I discovered my soul.

For those unfamiliar, XPT is a breath, move, recover curriculum designed to stimulate growth in human experience.  The brainchild of Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton, XPT welcomes any and all fitness levels and backgrounds (you will be humbled, trust me) and invites you at every step of the experience, to “play your edge.”  By adhering to the XPT principles, don’t be surprised if you find yourself breathing almost constantly through your nose, as you sprint up and down the beach. You might even find yourself at the bottom of a pool, carrying dumbbells in each hand, trying to walk as far as you can down the length of the pool while holding in a relaxed breath.  There is even a chance for you to go ice-bathing in their signature heat/ice recovery practice. I remember Laird saying, “If you want to cure depression, have them take an ice-bath every day.” He might be right.

In my view, XPT was the ultimate journey of mastery.  It was also a personal calling, to me, in that I was meant to be there, to surrender, practice and play my edge in all of the physical and mental activities I experienced.

Maybe most importantly, I was called to meet the wonderful people that shared in this journey. It was my opportunity to dive deeper than I ever have before, on a journey I started seven years ago, where in discovering my body, I discovered my soul.

“In order to step into my power, to step into the practice of “I am,” my mantra for this experience was “I belong.”

The infamous ice bath with my coach, Gabby Reece, timing my 3 minutes.

So how exactly was XPT the ultimate journey of mastery?  To start, let me tell you the five keys of mastery:



The first step in mastery is to find a guide.  There are many people on the XPT team and staff that helped make this experience an awesome one.  For the sake of explaining this first key of mastery, I will focus on Gabby Reece. It was Gabby’s patience and empathy for the beginner that really highlighted the XPT team’s focus on instruction.  Gabby stuck by my side the entire ice-bath journey and, without her guidance and encouragement, I don’t think I would have achieved the recommended three-minutes in the ice bath.  She paid attention to the “slowest person on the mat.” And that is a sign of first-rate instruction. Thank you, Gabby!


Practice, in the context of mastery, is not something that you do, but something that you are.  For me, XPT was both a physical journey, and equally a mental and spiritual one.  I was quite nervous to attend, knowing I would be surrounded by elite athletes and very smart and successful business people.  


The word surrender brings up many emotions and thoughts about what it exactly means.  On the path of mastery, courage is measured by one’s willingness to surrender. To surrender to your teacher and demands of the discipline.  It’s also about openness and willingness to unlearn, in order to learn and grow more.

“Love what you do” is another way to think about surrender.

Everyone in attendance, teachers and students, showed up to learn, grow and celebrate the human experience, physically, mentally, spiritually.


Vision, short-term and long-term,  is the fuel of the master’s journey.  Call it what you will: character, willpower, mental toughness, attitude.  Holding a vision to the flame is essential on the path of mastery.

There was somewhat of a low point in my experience, where I became unwound and lost my connection to my mantra of “I belong.”  I doubted myself, second-guessed my being there and honestly, compared my current state to everyones’ perceived successes and accomplishments.  I retreated to my room and called my girlfriend who reminded me of my reason for being there. Two supportive texts also came in from personal guides of mine back home – the power of having guides behind you shows up sometimes when you least expect but most need it!

It isn’t always easy to execute perfectly in living out your intention.  I’m imperfect. But having people who you love and support you in your life (and vision) is essential.


Taking risks to grow and learn.

I believe at the heart of the vision of XPT is to play your edge of human performance.

To push yourself far enough out of your comfort zone in order to gain a new perspective of self, purpose and connection.  The breathwork, the pool workouts and even the ice-bath therapy are all portals where we were able to play our physical and mental edge.

The edge is all about learning something about yourself and to accomplish something you never thought you could do, and as a result, grow in the practice of “I am.”

In summary, mastery is a life long pursuit, requiring an honest, open and willing commitment to the journey itself.  There are no experts, only students.  There is no destination, just the journey itself.  I don’t believe there are many experiences where it highlights the mastery experience with such precision, joy and connection, like it did with XPT.  The real work of the mastery happens upon the return home, where we return to the practices that got us to the edge of an experience in the first place.  Exploring always, what’s next and loving the plateau.

If you too are interested in walking the path of mastery, and are interested to learn more about how Wyld Joy can support you in playing your own growth edges, book a 20-minute Assessment Call with me, Nick Knutzen, and I’ll give you some initial prompts to start your journey.

-Nick Knutzen

XPT Coach of the Week: Taylor Somerville

Name: Taylor Somerville      

Age: 39

Hometown: Memphis, TN (originally from Montgomery, AL)

Business/Gym Name: Symmetry

Website: My blog is

Social Media Handles: @tsomerv


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Taylor Somerville: I previously worked in the investment business industry for over 15 years. Last year I decided to transition my career to focus full time on health and fitness to help others become the best version of themselves.  I believe that fitness is a lifestyle and should play a role in developing the whole person.   I enjoy competing in endurance events and completed the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour race around Lake Las Vegas in November 2017.  I enjoy learning all I can regarding mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and write about this in my blog and weekly newsletter, The Long Game.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, or activity to teach your clients?

TS: I love using breath work and contrast therapy with clients.  The breath is low hanging fruit for improving performance in fitness and in life.  I really enjoy watching their reactions after our first exploratory breath session when they realize how powerful the breath can be.  When you add in the ice baths, the breath has the ability to show people that they are in control of their response to stress.  Clients learn that they have the choice of responding or reacting to any stressful situation in life.  Teaching people that they are in charge of their life and can control their responses to everything that life throws at them is one of my favorite parts of XPT.

XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

TS: XPT completely changed my life. I attended my first experience in Malibu in 2017, which helped me get to a point in my life when I was able to take a leap of faith and quit my career.  The XPT community is like no other.  Everyone is trying to better themselves but they leave their egos at the door.  Laird and Gabby are incredible coaches and know how to get the best out of everyone. You don’t have to be an elite athlete but you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone.  I’ll never forget my first pool workout, breath session or ice bath.  I dabbled with it on my own for a few years but there was nothing comparable to doing it in a group setting with such a positive vibe.  Through XPT, you learn that you are capable of much more than you ever thought and I enjoy passing that message and feeling along to my clients.

XPT: What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings into your training following your XPT Certification course?

TS: As mentioned earlier, the breath work and heat/ice sessions were the two ways I was immediately able to implement the XPT methods and began offering them back in Memphis to several friends and clients.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us?  A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life?

TS: At my first experience, Laird said, “We create our own limitations. No one can do you, better than you!” This statement really stuck with me.  As humans, we should be able to move through life and not be afraid to try new things, live life to our fullest, and not worry about what other people think. This statement, along with XPT’s breathe, move, recover ethos nudged me to start living my life to the fullest and in the way that I want to live.

XPT Coach of the Week: Addison Bain

Name: Addison Bain

Age: 28

Hometown: Ottumwa, Iowa

Business/Gym Name: Farmhouse Performance Lab and Farmhouse CrossFit


Social Media Handles: Instagram: @addison.bain & @farmhousecrossfit


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Addison Bain: I grew up on a in Southern Minnesota on a farm, finding a passion for riding a bike at a very young age.  Years of riding lead me to school in Durango, Colorado at Fort Lewis and later transferring to help start and ride for the Lindenwood University Cycling Team in St Louis, Missouri. I spent the 2010 season racing for Fuji Geox Test Team in Belgium. Upon returning home I was involved in a bike/car accident, fracturing my leg,  that led me to the the training and fitness industry. For the last eight years I have been working with clients of all disciplines and levels throughout the US. In July of 2014 I chose to build my own brand, Farmhouse Performance Lab and Farmhouse CrossFit, and for the last four years I have been owning and operating that, specializing in functional movement training and CrossFit.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline or activity to teach your clients?

AB: One cloudy Malibu day sitting in the sauna… Laird shared with me, “Keep training as close to nature as possible.”

This one hits close to home, as he was directing talking about heat and cold exposure and why use dry sauna and ice bath versus other methods, but for me as I have always pursued the outdoors- grandpa taught us to run barefoot and go for a bike ride,through learning that, I have always tried to share that with my clients, go for a run outside (in the woods), go swim in the (open) water, leave your cellphone in your car and enjoy the world. I have pursued the effort of connecting that with the people who want to be in the gym and move functionally but making sure we get outside as much as possible, and I believe XPT shares the same beliefs.

XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

AB: I believe I answered that above in a way. But would like to add…… we regularly warm up and cool down with breathing techniques

XPT: What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings into your training following your XPT Certification course?

Absolutely; breath work, movement, and water have always been a stable in my training techniques. But after spending more time with the XPT Crew, I felt there was a great need to apply these techniques I learned into a larger group setting.

XPT Coach of the Week: Bryce Bertoli

Name: Bryce Bertoli

Age: 26

Hometown: Monterey, California

Business/Gym Name: Pebble Beach


Social Media Handles: @brycebertoli


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Bryce Bertoli: I am a fitness trainer in Central California specializing in human performance and movement. In college, I was a swimmer at the University of Hawaii and graduated with a business degree.

Throughout my early business career, I noticed how disconnected our culture has become from nature and the basic building blocks of health. From this observation, I decided to commit my life to helping people reconnect with nature, each other, and themselves and discover that the ultimate wealth is in health.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc to teach your clients?

BB: Kindness, gratitude, and community. I absolutely love teaching the fitness practices XPT has to offer, but most of all I love the XPT people and what they stand for as a community.

From the XPT experiences, articles, and weekly challenges, I have found a common theme of inclusiveness and kindness that sets XPT apart. I love sharing this with my clients, because it brings meaning into the pursuit of optimal performance and health.

Practicing kindness and gratitude on a daily basis is in my opinion the greatest thing we as humans can do for our health and the health of our community. I use and teach the XPT lifestyle because it allows me to show up better for the people I care about in my life… which is everyone 🙂

 XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

BB: For clients and myself, I have found that XPT has enhanced our mental clarity and expanded our horizons of what is possible. It has allowed us to grow and achieve beyond our previous limitations.

I like using the analogy of a broken down Ferrari to explain this to others. Most of us come into life as a well-functioning highly-efficient Ferrari, and throughout our lifetime this Ferrari can breakdown and stop working if we don’t care for it properly. The XPT lifestyle provides techniques to maintenance and repair our bodies and get them up and running at full potential again. We can use this gained performance to power our careers, relationships, health, and life.

XPT is an evolving science of performance, and performance is a tool we can intentionally apply to any facet of our lives. I have experienced the performance benefits of XPT first hand in my own life and in the lives of my clients.

XPT: What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings into your training following your XPT Certification course?

BB: I was able to integrate the breathing and movement practices immediately into my training protocols. I now add breathing practices before, during, and after workouts to enhance performance and recovery. The science of breathing has also been an incredible tool to share with clients because it is so easily applied to everyday living.

I quickly infused the XPT movement principles into workouts. The XPT philosophy also inspired me to take more workouts into nature, which has been a huge success. I have applied the movement screening and mobility protocols to increase performance during these workouts.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us?  A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life? 

I have been truly blessed to meet some incredible people through XPT. Laird and Gabby have inspired me to achieve new levels of performance and integrate my family into that pursuit. PJ has been extremely influential because of his authenticity and character. As a coach, PJ exemplifies everything I aspire to be. As an individual, PJ inspires me to be a better person by giving back to others and making the world a better place.

And perhaps most notably, I encourage everyone to attend an XPT Experience to meet a fellow named James (Williams). James is without doubt one of the most inspiring, positive, and happy people I have ever met. All the fitness benefits of XPT are amazing, and in addition to them people like James show you how powerful a smile and good heart can transform the world. I try and follow James’s example every day and spread that happiness and joy into the lives of everyone I touch.

Hollywood’s Most Sought-After Stuntwoman Heidi Moneymaker Talks Work, Fitness and XPT

XPT: Introduction – Please give us a brief introduction.

HM: My name is Heidi Moneymaker and I have been an athlete my whole life.  I was a very serious gymnast from the age of 5 until I retired at the age of 22 and began my stunt career.  I have been a stunt woman and actress for over 16 years and have been the stunt double for Scarlett Johansson since 2009.  Having been an athlete and stunt performer for most of my life has definitely taken a bit of a toll on me physically and staying in shape and injury free is my constant focus.  I am always looking for effective modes of body recovery and low impact training to supplement my demanding career, which is how I found XPT.

XPT: Who is your favorite actress you’ve doubled for and your favorite project you’ve worked on, and why?

HM: I have been very lucky to work with some of the most talented and wonderful actresses in Hollywood.  It is hard to pick a favorite, but I will say that doubling Scarlett Johansson and helping to create the Black Widow character has been pretty amazing.  She is as down to earth as she is beautiful and has given me a lot of freedom to help create the action style of the character.

XPT:  Can you talk about the importance of a healthy fitness lifestyle in the profession of stunt acting?

HM:  My job is demanding, challenging, and usually dangerous.  Being physically and emotional fit is just the beginning.  We generally work anywhere from 8-14 hour days.  I am fighting, flipping, falling, getting hit by things, and basically performing like a professional athlete, but often without some of the necessities that go along with performing at your best.  For example, often there is not time for a proper warm up before performing a fight scene, or along with kicking, punching, and flipping, I am also getting slammed by some object and blasted into a wall over and over.   Not only do I need to be physically fit to perform for hours at a time at a very high level of performance, but I need to be mentally strong as well.  Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and being hydrated are three things I cannot avoid if I want to make it through my days.

XPT: What would you say was the most physically demanding project you’ve worked on to date and how did your fitness play a role in preparing for it?

HM:  It is hard to pick one film, as they all are demanding, however, in 2009, I did Iron Man 2 and Sucker Punch back to back which meant I worked for 13 months straight.  That was the most physically demanding year I have had.

XPT:  How did you get introduced to and involved in XPT?

HM:   I found XPT online while looking for new ways of low impact or rehab training.  It was a big bonus that the next experience was in Kauai.

XPT: Speaking of Kauai, you recently attended an XPT Experience there. Can you recall any key takeaways or lessons from Gabby, Laird, PJ and the gang you’d like to share that really resonated with you?

HM:  The Kauai experience was pretty amazing.  The ice bath was something I really enjoyed mentally and physically conquering.  I do believe in the benefits of the ice-sauna treatment and I believe it will help me in my career.  I have turned down jobs in the past that involve extreme cold because I can’t control my body temperature and get too cold too fast causing a pause in filming. 

XPT: How have you applied what you’ve learned from XPT into your work?

HM:  I have always had an issue breathing properly while doing high intensity training.  I think the breath work we did had the biggest impact on me and has helped me increase my endurance.

XPT: Like you said, your body takes a beating after a long day of stunt work, can you touch on the importance of recovery in your profession? And how have you integrated XPT specific recovery methods into your routine?

HM:  Recovery is one of the most important things in my line of work.  One thing I have really benefited from is the cool down breathe work.  That is something new for me and I find that I feel much better overall using this technique after training.

XPT: You’re trained in several different fighting styles as well as gymnastics and many other forms of fitness.  How have you found XPT practices to interweave into all forms of these fitness?

HM: As I said above, I have really benefited from the breathing techniques, but I have also integrated some pool training with weights into my routine on days when my body feels it can’t handle high impact practices.

XPT: How do you plan on incorporating the XPT principals on your future work?

HM:   Part of my job is to fight train my actors and actresses.  I am constantly pushing them to their limits.  Recovery and longevity is key for them and is one of the reasons I attended the XPT experience.  I will definitely be incorporating some of these practices into the actor regimen.

XPT: Speaking of future work, what’s up next for you we can be on the lookout for?

HM:  I am working here in town on a few different projects, although, I am not sure if I am able to say which, however, it is very likely you will see me in Avengers 4.

XPT Coach of the Week: Fabian Kuttner

Name: Fabian Kuttner           

Age: 43

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Business/Gym Name: The Whole Man


Social Media Handles:


 Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Fabian Kuttner is a Life Coach based in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He holds a Masters degree in Somatic Psychology with training in Traumatic Resolution.  Fabian utilizes his varied expertise in business relations, conflict resolution, athletic training, and Buddhist philosophy/meditation in his coaching practice and facilitation of mens’ groups.

In addition to his coaching practice,  Fabian can be found skiing mountains, piloting his tandem paraglider, parenting his children, and leading a weekly Ice/Heat ritual with his hand built Mobile Exposure Unit at his family’s farm. Fabian became a certified XPT coach in March 2018.

My work is in supporting people in finding out how incredible they are; pushing their boundaries; physically, cognitively and emotionally. I’ve done so many things in life and relate to so many different experiences, it’s a joy to relate to others. I strive to find the fulcrum of change for people, that point where they see themselves and can readily accept the transformation they have been building themselves up to have. Creativity and change are much easier when you know what you want and see how stagnation once served you; its awesome how the discomfort of change tips and not changing is the greatest agony. Change is easy, its getting to the point that you actually want change that’s challenging. I love this life, the growth and challenges we get to transform through as humans.

 What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc) to teach your clients?

I’ve been breathing my whole life. Learning to control breathing, understanding the nuances of breathing and blood gases has made a huge impact on people. That we have so much more in us as it relates to oxygenation is truly transformative for folks.

How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

The greatest impact is in seeing a community of people who in a calm, sustainable way are pushing themselves, expanding their limits. There is so much self-aggression in elite fitness, to see a community that is both pushing the boundary while maintaining a healthy, self-caring, love for their being is superb. It’s inspiring to be challenged and expand the horizon of what one can do while maintaining kindness towards oneself. Wakefulness, extreme athleticism AND recovery are rare at the forefront of a fitness philosophy.

 What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learning into your training following your XPT Certification course?

Most immediately was the apnea work. Understanding how the body functions with respect to breathing, and the breath holds under water really made a huge shift in training. Also the notion that we can relax SO FAST after HIIT training has turned into an awesome resource for people.

Anything else you want to tell us?  A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life? 

I’m really learning this one myself, and to a new level:

“Don’t talk about it, BE about it” –P.J. Nestler

The training was the MOST info I have ever absorbed in such a short time. It took all my Fitness know-how, Somatic Psychology Education and Life Coaching to the next level.

I love the face on athletes when they get my download on CO2 tolerance, and then when they implement the knowledge.

XPT Coach of the Week: Kimmy Moss

Name: Kimmy Moss

Age: 29

Hometown: South Riding, VA

Business Name: Briar Woods High School and Loudoun Soccer


Social Media Handle: @kimmy.moss

Introduction: Tell us about yourself (5 sentences or less)

I am a coach, a teacher, a lifelong learner, and an athlete who loves to play, compete and connect with others.  I am enthusiastic about life!!  I find tremendous beauty and fulfillment in embracing challenge and continually pursuing optimization – not just as an athlete, but as a human being.  I played NCAA Division I college soccer and ran track for George Mason University, where I earned my BA & MA in Communication, and was a Communication professor for 4 years.  I am passionate about helping others actualize their best life.

What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients?

At this time, definitely the breath work because of its accessibility anywhere and everywhere.  It has been really cool to see how empowering better breathing mechanics and consciousness of breath has impacted my athletes, my friends and my family.  As helpful as it’s been for my high school soccer players, it’s been equally – if not more! – exciting to see how much it has reduced anxiety and improved performance for my 9 and 10 year old soccer players.  It’s as if basic breath work has granted them superpowers!

How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients?

XPT completely opened up my perspective to the infinite ways in which we can all strive to live a greater life.  For a long time I was biased to the physical pursuit of excellence.  I now know that it’s not just the physical, or the mental, or the spiritual pursuit to be better; it is a culmination of all of these things, and ultimately a balance of drive and compassion.  I now understand that the depth to which we can FEEL and expand in one compartment, can and will lend itself to greater expansion in all other compartments.  This perspective also taught me the power of community, and has touched every way in which I navigate my life, and the lives of those that I teach and coach.

What were the ways you were immediately able to implement XPT learnings  into your training following your XPT certification course?

Immediately following the XPT certification course, I started implementing breath work on a daily basis.  It has been transformational.  But beyond breath work, I was inspired to explore movement and my connection to nature on a much deeper level.  Even though I regularly attend CrossFit classes, hike, and walk/run, I started embracing all the different expressions of movement that I feel intuitively and spontaneously drawn to (i.e. headstands, monkey bars, balancing, allowing moments of flow, etc!).  I have found tremendous joy and freedom in this exploration, and it’s just been really fun.  I feel like I can now access movement in a way that energizes me instead of drains me, and that has truly been transcending to the rest of my life.

Anything else you want to tell us? A quote you remember from certifications? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to your XPT life? Etc.

Oh gosh!  It’s so hard to articulate JUST how profoundly Laird and Gabby’s influence has been on me.  I could easily share 50, but here are two simple expressions that really moved me from this past experience in Miami.  The first would be Laird telling me to repeatedly say, “This is my house” while in the ice bath.  And the second would be every time during pool training when Gabby would remind me, “You’re okay.”  There is something so ethereal about the way in which Laird and Gabby guide you in the moment.  Their ability to help you own any particular moment for what it is and where you are, while simultaneously encouraging you to push past your threshold, is something that I appreciate and admire so much about them.  This goes without saying… the trust embedded in the culture of the XPT community is so intensely present, it’s almost effortless to continually push yourself to be better.

XPT Coach of the Week: Amy Shenk Morrison

Name: Amy Shenk Morrison

Age: 28

Hometown: Denver Co. but originally from Houston, Tx

Business/Gym Name: True Core Health 


Social Media Handles: @truecorehealth


XPT: Introduction – Tell us about yourself:

Amy: I am a holistic health specialist! I am proud to now combine my background in mental health with my coaching certificate from XPT. I utilize information from my counseling background and XPT coaching background to best serve my clients and students.  I love to coach others to become their best selves and I relax and restore myself through spending time outdoors, traveling, or through reading and writing in a local coffee shop.

XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients?

Amy: I love utilizing breath work with my clients. So many people are unfamiliar with improving their breathing so I love seeing the look on their faces when they actually get how important it is.

XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

Amy: XPT has completely changed the way I think about human growth and potential. I am continually challenged to become a better version of myself through the connections I have made with XPT. The XPT community is unlike anything I have experienced, I am encouraged to better myself because of the passion for excellence that is emphasized throughout the company. This emphasis trickles down to my own clients and they are better because I am always working to improve myself.

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us?  A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life? Etc.

Amy: My favorite quote from training is one that is emphasized by PJ, it is a quote from Laird and it is so simple, yet so powerful: “Don’t be a liability”. I am inspired to train myself mentally, spiritually, and physically through this quote.

XPT Coach of the Week: Lindsay Ashmun

Name: Lindsay Ashmun

Age: 40

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Business/Gym Name: groundcontrolnyc

Social Media Handles: @groundcontrolnyc


XPT: Tell us about yourself: 

Lindsay: I own a personal training business called groundcontrol in New York City through which I specialize in strength conditioning and mobility for clients using the modalities of pilates, yoga, primal movement and various somatic movement approaches. I am a lifelong athlete and I toured around the world as a professional modern dancer for many years.  I grew up on a farm in Virginia eating the food my family raised. I went to a Buddhist university in Colorado where I made a lot of performance art and learned how to meditate.  I abhor the smell of Patchouli.  I prefer to drive a manual transmission.  I am a proud single mom of my awesome 8 year old son, Jackson.


XPT: What's your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc to teach your clients?

Lindsay: I require steady focus and presence from my clients during physically demanding sessions. My goal with every client is to help develop more embodiment and ownership of one’s physical expression and fitness goals by building clearer interoceptive and proprioceptive awareness.  Sometimes this comes from powerful exertion of energy in movement, or the opposite: stilling the body to study the BREATH.  XPT illuminates and seamlessly weaves breath awareness throughout the whole landscape of the sessions.  Breathwork is integral to optimum performance and optimum recovery.  By staying conscious of the breath and spine as the foundation of all movement, we always know where we are, where we came from and keep a steady sense of progression towards our goals.


XPT: How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients? 

Lindsay: As a trainer, my aim is to help my clients re-pattern movement and breathing habits in a way that fortifies their lives with more strength, support, range, and adaptability.   XPT has systemized a lifestyle that does not separate performance from recovery, but loops them together so that there is a fluid interdependency between the two.  In a time when health and fitness is fractured by an excess of options and locations on what to do and where to do it, XPT gives us a clear map, one which shows we have everything we need to thrive and live a vibrant life within our reach.


XPT: Anything else you want to tell us?  A quote you remember from Certifications? A cool client story?  A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life?

Lindsay: Laird’s quote: “Don’t be a Liability”.  PJ Nestler shared this with us in the training and I think I could say this to myself and my clients multiple times a day.  It is a reminder to respect our bodies as the living, growing, changing organism that it is… to reconsider the stress that we choose to put upon ourselves and ask if it is ‘constructive’ or ‘destructive’.  Life constantly delivers stressful circumstances that are out of our control, so it is imperative to train in a way that prepares us for anything. Train to develop tolerance, strength and deep inner calm, and be rewarded by more ease and good sustainable energy.

XPT Experience Reflections from Ken Eichner

An XPT Spotlight on Ken Eichner, age 62, from Denver, CO. 

Ken is a father, husband, and high-profile criminal defense attorney. He has owned his own law firm for twenty-years ( He loves cycling, yoga, body-building, hiking and surfing.


XPT: What was the most important takeaway(s) from your XPT Experience?

Ken: The takeaways are endless, but to name a few: how fitness can mitigate stress, the magic of working out in a group setting with like-minded people and how breathing is the essence of life.

XPT: How has what you learned at the XPT Experience been applicable to someone with a stressful job like yourself?

Ken: I find myself more tuned into my posture, my breath, my balance. I’m pushing it harder but recovering quicker.  XPT gave me a variety of new tools to mitigate stress, and reminded me that we need certain challenges to push us forward.

XPT: Can you comment on the sense of bonding you witnessed or felt during your XPT Experience?

Ken: I found everyone in the group to be a great hang. The leaders Gabby, Laird, Brian McKenzie, and Kelly Starrett were fabulous as well as the participants. There was a real sense of Tribe.


XPT: Did the XPT Experience challenge you to do things you thought you couldn’t or that were out of your comfort zone?

Ken: I never dreamed I would like an ice bath, much less get into a tub of thirty-three degree water. It was also counter-intuitive to think I would get into the deep end of a pool with heavy weights but it was great training.  I was pushed out of my comfort zone but had plenty of support.

XPT: Was there a discipline or activity that you enjoyed learning about the most and why?

Ken: I found the session on balance taught by Kelly Starrett to be absolutely fascinating and changed the way I exercise. Also, paddle boarding in Kauai was epic.

XPT: Is there a quote or moment you remember specifically from your XPT Experience you can share?

Ken: Gabby Reece really embodies the notion of how important it is to be the first to be curious, the first to smile, the first to be friendly, the first to lean-in to the moment. It’s contagious.


XPT: Would you recommend an XPT Experience to others and if so, why?

Ken: There’s an old expression about life: “You will never remember what you bought and you will never forget what you did.” This adventure lit a bonfire in me and I highly recommend it.



Additionally, learn more about Ken and his law practice by clicking on the links below:

The Eichner Law Firm:

Flourish in the Face of a Criminal Charge:

XPT Coach of the Week: Joshua Warren

Name: Joshua Warren

Age: 23

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Business: ATB Performance


Social Media: Instagram – @joshua.warren_


XPT: Tell us about yourself:

Joshua Warren: I completed my Bachelor’s degree at Maryville College in Physical Education where I played college football and coached Strength & Conditioning for softball in one season. Afterwards, I relocated to Southern California to pursue a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Strength & Conditioning at California State University, Fullerton. I have since competed in CrossFit and Weightlifting and have been coaching for three years in both CrossFit settings and Weightlifting Clubs. I use my experiences as an athlete, coach, and student to serve others and bring a holistic, evidence-based approach to building a lifestyle that facilitates the highest performance possible.


XPT: What’s your favorite XPT related tip, discipline, activity, etc. to teach your clients?

​Joshua Warren: My favorite XPT related discipline to teach my clients is movement. Movement is a practice that I can teach immediately, regardless of where I’m working, who I’m working with, or what equipment I have available. Movement is fundamental to health because the opposite is what leads to an insurmountable amount of complications. Many people have heard “if you don’t move it, you lose it.” I really enjoy teaching clients different ways to move, challenging them in various ways, and showing them what is truly possible with their body.

How has XPT impacted you and/or your clients?

​Joshua Warren: XPT has impacted many of my clients. Breath work has been huge for my clients, and XPT has impacted my ability to coach them safely and effectively through these sessions. I have had multiple clients tell me how drastically the breathing that we practice has carried over into their regular day-to-day work in their office. They tell me about how they are learning to manage their stress and control their responses to the unexpected. I have also had a few clients report that they have felt a huge improvement in their performance in their endurance races that they compete in, and we’ve only worked together for one month!

XPT: Anything else you want to tell us? A quote you remember from the Certification? A cool client story? A personal story as it pertains to XPT in your life?

​Joshua Warren: My favorite quote from the XPT Coach Certification was “Don’t be a liability.” The word liability must be defined to fully explain why I love this quote. Liability is defined as: a person or thing whose presence or behavior is likely to cause embarrassment or put one at a disadvantage. This has a two-fold implication. As a coach, I cannot be a liability to any of my clients. I work my hardest to ensure that I am not putting any of my clients at a disadvantage or hindering their life or performance at all. As an athlete, or healthy human being, I cannot have a hole in my health and fitness. If I have a disadvantage in my health and fitness as an athlete, my performance will show that and when I compete, it’s a straight forward implication. If I have a hindrance in my health and fitness as a healthy human being, this is where the implications are often foggy. A liability in my health and fitness could put me on the couch when I would want to be outside hiking with friends. A liability could put me in the hospital instead of being able to take care of all my responsibilities. A liability could give me a constantly sluggish state of living to where I grow accustomed to it and am unaware how I’m treating others because of it. A liability can show up in several ways as an athlete or a healthy human being. Liabilities are what I am here to highlight, assist with, and work out as a coach.


XPT SPOTLIGHT: Kauai Farmacy

Multiple times a year, the XPT Team and it's guests ascend upon the beautiful Hawaiian Islands for our coveted XPT Experience.  And while the majority of the week is spent going through a gamit of exercises, movement and mobility training, ice and heat recovery training and more, healthy eating and lifestyles are always a focus of the coaches and participants.  With that in mind, a visit to Kauai Farmacy is always on the docket while in Kauai.


Kauai Farmacy is an organically-farmed oasis located in beautiful Kīlauea on the Garden Island of Kaua’i founded by Doug and Genna Wolkon in 2010 where they specialize in tea leaves and other organically grown healthy, nutritious products.  In our latest XPT Spotlight, you'll get to know Doug and the Kauai Farmacy by reading an exclusive Q&A with the Founder himself.

BONUS: Doug and his Kauai Farmacy Team have generously offered any XPT reader a 10% discount off products on their website ( by using the promo code XPT10 at checkout.  Thanks guys!

Q&A with Doug Wolkon, Co-Founder of Kauai Farmacy

XPT: How did the Kauai Farmacy get started?

Doug: Kauai Farmacy was inspired by our personal healing journeys. After moving to Kauai, now almost 10 years ago, we were introduced to the healing powers of plants. At the time, my wife and I were losing ground in our personal health. We began making freshly-harvested teas from Kauai-grown Mint, Lemon Balm, Noni and Sage; and drinking them throughout the day. Our centers literally came alive after years of dormancy; as I lost an initial 20 pounds in 6 months. We couldn’t help but dream of ways in which we could bring this new-found health and wellness to our community.


XPT: Why did you choose to move to Kauai specifically and set up shop there?

Doug: We grew up in the suburbs of Boston and NYC, and spent our twenties as a financier and designer, respectively. Our highly-driven NYC career paths were clear for a moment; but after some invaluable insights from traveling abroad and personal health struggles, we decided in our early 30’s to veer off, questioning everything that we thought we knew. We were looking for a new way, freer thinkers, authentic healers, and more wild nature. We didn’t really know it at the time, but we had a lot of healing to do; and the healing jungles of Kauai, proved to be the ultimate setting.

XPT: What is the overall mission of Kauai Farmacy?

Doug: To grow the world’s finest herbal medicine; to practice sustainable, organic, closed-loop farming; and to educate people on how to use wholistic plant medicine for optimal balance in their lifestyle.


XPT: What sets Kauai Farmacy apart from other farms?

Doug: We grow our herbs in mineral-rich volcanic Kauai soil. We feed our plants 100% organic matter in almost an entirely, close-loop, bio-dynamic, garden environment. This is in steep contrast to how most commercially-grown herbs and spices are seeded; typically, mono-cropped in rows and rows of a single plant (i.e. global trade of cinnamon and cacao) for thousands of acres; stripping the same vitamins and minerals out of the soil; and in most cases, inevitably requiring the toxic spraying of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Crafting true herbal medicine requires a clear intention of healing from seed to cup.

XPT: What crops do you specialize in and why?

Doug: We grow over 70 varieties of medicinal herbs and spices. We grow these herbs, like cinnamon, allspice, turmeric, ashwagandha, gotu kola and cacao, because we use them in our daily lifestyle. These plants promote endurance, longevity and vitality.  


XPT: What special measures do you take to be eco-friendly and creating organic, pure crops? 

Doug: We are a 100% closed-loop, bio-dynamic, fed system. What that means is that everything that we feed our plants and our gardens is derived from our 4-acre farm, with the exception of organic, big tree mulch, that is brought to us from local Kauai tree trimmers (think coconut mulch). We use no machines in our gardens and do everything by hand, including harvesting, digging, feeding, planting, and culling.   


XPT: What are some of the health/wellness benefits of tea and tea from some of your specific crops? 

Doug: Our teas, superfoods, and salves are grown and designed to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, boost the immune system, and provide essential amino acids to keep the body nourished and pure. 

More specifically, we have over 300 pounds of Turmeric and 100 pounds of ginger on the farm. Both powerful root medicines are found in almost all our teas and superfoods. Ashwagandha root (aka Indian Ginseng), which is in our Love Potion tea and Endurance superfood, is reknown for increasing endurance, boosting libido and providing calm energy. Noni leaf is the Polynesian super herb that tonifies the body – found in our Vitalitea, Wellness Tea and Puritea. And comfrey, aka knit-bone, is the miracle plant known to regenerate bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles; which we use to craft our Comfrey salve.


XPT: How do these benefits help those who are very conscious of remaining physically fit (XPT participants)?

Doug: These herbs are the foundation of an alkaline system; and therefor a foundation of one’s health. They promote a balanced system of optimal hydration, rest and nutrition. Those that are very conscious of remaining physically fit will most appreciate the real-life practice of longevity from the plants.  

XPT: How did you get connected with Gabby, Laird, & XPT?

Doug: We used to watch Gabby playing volleyball down in Hanalei when we first moved to Kauai. Honestly, superstars don’t really impress us. But Gabby’s aura was nothing short of awe-inspiring. More specifically, our oldest boy is the same age as their youngest girl. They eventually connected at age 3 through mutual friends and shared baby-sitters. Since that time, we have been friends. We are grateful for their support of the farm from the very beginning. 


XPT: What does it mean to you to have the XPT Experience crew spend time on your farm while in Kauai?

Doug: The farm was built for unique gatherings like the The XPT Experience crew. To bring the crew directly to the source of these herbal supplements, many of which they have been using their entire life, is a dream come true. The crew will forever be able to identify and connect with these plants, as well as understand how they are grown and crafted into functional healing products.


XPT Spotlight: Bryan Diaz

As a professional athlete with a fever for numbers, Bryan Diaz, always finds the balance.  Learn what makes him tick and what brought him here as he sits down to answer our questions…

XPT: Tell us about your background.

Bryan Diaz: I am a Texas native. I’ve always been involved in sports, primarily football and running since I was little. Growing up in the Texas system, you tend to get really inundated with football. So I went through high school and college playing football for the University of Texas at San Antonio. I received my undergraduate at Trinity University in business administration with a concentration in finance and kinesiology.


XPT:  Did you always know what you wanted to do?

BD: It all came together organically.  I’ve always been a math guy. I’ve enjoyed logic, math, and problem solving since I was a kid.  And I’ve always loved sports. So those two things really created the realm of my educational experience without me even knowing. Looking and reflecting back, the things that mattered the most and the things that I excelled at, I was suddenly capable of merging together not only with education but also in my work environment.

I was always intrigued with optimal performance, whether it was in the work setting or at the gym.  After college, I went into banking for about 5 years, and at night I went back to school for my masters in business administration with a focus in finance.  During that time, I also stayed relevant within the fitness scene, as that was a deeper passion of mine. There were companies with gym programs, such as Crossfit, that I eventually associated with while I was in banking, and it just kind of accelerated my passion and drive for working with individuals on a one-off basis.  I was still kind of going on the realms of understanding optimal performance and really getting back into the actual movement, mechanics and lifestyle and wellness applications of optimization. I had a clearer path with banking in terms of optimal performance from a business perspective, so I kind of pushed the wellness and lifestyle perspective to the side for awhile. But then it started coming back and it was just a natural process where I was able to get myself in front of people that wanted lifestyle changes. They just wanted to feel stronger and empowered in their lives through movement, and that reinvigorated me. So I switched jobs moving from banking taking a role as in the finance department of a health care company that primarily focused on helping people rehabilitate from any form of straining condition back to wellness, and it really hit the value systems that I believe in.

All the while, I was still involved in the Crossfit scene, and still working on the performance side of my passion. And about that time my wife, then girlfriend, started chiropractic school, and that realm is what linked us together as we had very similar passions. So we decided to move out to Southern California to really get inside of the more smaller business entrepreneurial side, where I could truly sum up the whole process of my prior 10-11 years of my career. I had always desired to bring the two facets together, and what I really cared about was helping people from a physical standpoint.  So being in small business, I jumped over and I helped operate a business that really functioned in that realm. I worked on content development, helping folks improve on their mechanics, as well as helping within the business infrastructure of the small, core business.

I’ve worked with people with sports goal programming, people wanting to run marathons and people wanting to get stronger, people having issues or conditions with lack of strength in certain areas, and just for overall general wellness, to get past rehabilitation and overcome recurring injuries or issues with people lacking strength they face on a day-to-day basis. I was able to do that while at the same time helping that same businesses develop and be safe-guarded on the finance and operational side.

Eventually that led me to working with XPT and understanding from a broader deeper mindset that people across all spans of life from professional athletes, to the highly performing professional, to the everyday mom and dad, are just seeking an overall lifestyle shift. And at XPT, there are these different paradigms that I’ve been able to explore from working in the water settings and understanding less work and other things that scaled beyond just moving like having a very holistic wellness approach and that kind of thing is really what I desired. So now I continue to move forward and to help kind of accelerate the values there.


XPT: What’s your favorite aspect of training XPT?

BD: There are a lot of different benefits and a lot of different experiences that each individual is going to partake in at an XPT Experience. Typically what happens, is there’s an overwhelming aspect to one or two of these newer styles of activity that folks aren’t privy to, which they may even find overwhelming. I like calling those “the extreme environments” that folks aren’t used to, such as the ice and heat therapy. One of the things I really appreciate about XPT is the way we interact with these folks. So as they maneuver through them, we get them to understand how and what they are about to experience, how they are supposed to feel, how this is all normal, and how we can drive into the aspects of wellness and the benefits of it all.  Understanding the benefits is massive, and having the experience of going from physiology to mentality to even just combating stress, that’s what I really appreciate about XPT training. To interact with these folks on the ice-heat paradigm when they are extremely overwhelmed, they kind of use that experience no matter how they perceive their personalized performance. In the end, they look and feel more empowered, they have a different demeanor about themselves when leaving these Experiences, especially encountering those environmental extremes.  And those extremes include working in water.  If people aren’t accustomed to being in an oxygen-deprived state, whether it’s underneath water or handling ice and heat exposure, or even just getting into a gym setting or getting into a setting where people are too busy in life where they can’t take a step back and learn about their own bodies and their mechanics and that’s also empowering. Everything here revolves around the ability to empower your mindset and to understand that you have more not control per se, but you have more of an opportunity to improve your lifestyle and happiness through these varying activities.  And they all work together. At XPT, I like that you can find ways that you can do activates that may be stressful or actually maybe even really fun but still promote the overall wellness and adaptation that you need from your own bodies perspective, all the while empowering your mindset. I appreciate that about the whole training protocol.


XPT: Let’s talk about that mental aspect a little bit, specifically pertaining to ice baths. You talk about letting go and getting into a meditative state particularly through the ice, tell us about the specifics of coaching someone new who is intimidated by the ice.  What do you say to them?

BD: When I help lead somebody into the ice setting we talk about these experiences we try and get them to understand what is going to happen.  At the XPT Experience, typically you’re going to go into tub a full of ice and water and your also going to go into a sauna that’s going to be a high temperature, so you’re really talking about two environmental extremes. People are typically more comfortable in saunas as they are used to sweating and being hot and typically everyone’s attention diverts directly to the cold element and there’s some anxiety surrounding that.  This really goes back to that mentality aspect. There’s a fear-based mechanism that occurs when you get two environmental extremes. So my approach whenever we lead them into this experience its really to get them to understand what is going to happen and to talk through our intentions and our reactions first. Often there is going to be a fight or flight mechanism that occurs in everybody that is all natural, so telling them that it’s ok to feel the way our are feeling in that situation. Once they understand that and talk it through they gain the first mind set when they are about to go in knowing that it’s ok–I’m going to go in and I’m going to grit it out or I’m going to go in and I’m going to feel like I want to jump out. So those are two kind of fight or flight based responses that occur to people when they exposed to ice. But both are areas where you just stay in a stressed state. We try to empower folks to say let’s empower your actions beyond the fight or flight response.  We let them know that that’s a natural occurrence to feel that way and that once you get in that it’s your decisions to not react so quickly and respond to those feelings.  We encourage them to take a general scope of what’s occurring and to allow themselves to try and relax and shift from that stress state to more of a parasympathetic state to where they are going into a meditative process.  They may focus on their breath or on closing their eyes and really not trying to study these temps. So we encourage people to empower themselves not to act upon those reactions and how they can make these decisions and to consciously take a step back. Your body is giving millions of signals occurring at one time including all this poetic extreme, so you allow your body and mind to process all of this.

There are the large or vast amounts of benefits that are occurring when you get into ice and heat from physiology stand point. There are hormone productions that can increase or that can normalize by being in extreme environments. These hormones that get produced inside of your body don’t serve just one purpose they serve a magnitude of purposes. Hormones created to help support those extreme elements when you’re in hot or cold elements also serve with other processes in your body, so by allowing your body to accelerate those hormones is going to create an overall better physical or physiological you.

Then we go beyond that from there, so after we go first the feeling your about to feel something and then we go to your actions and how you’ll feel you have to react and how that action is crucial and so you have to be in control of that.  Then typically I try to get people who are new to the ice to say, “hey, once you get in if you want to jump out I want you to take five breaths before you get out and then at that point in time if you still feel the need to get out you can.”

There’s this thermogenic effect that happens when you allow your body to regulate itself. The human body is very resilient.  If I’m in a very hot environment, what does it do, it starts sweating, our body’s natural state of cooling itself. We all know how we get acclimated to the thermogenic effect–our body starts working by cooling itself.  But how often are we in an environment that we have to focus on heating ourselves? By the time you get from warm and you get to extremely cold, people typically just shiver. But there are other areas you can truly focus on that allow your body to heat itself. By getting into extremes you allow your body to learn it’s process on heating and cooling. So, we empower our reactions and upon reactions know about your body and know the benefits and it’s multi-faceted and then once you’re beyond all four of those things, your reaction the action to the reaction the physiological benefits that two primary ones.   When you add those things into your tool kit then overall you’ve become more empowered not only from a psychological stand point but from your ability to handle stress, because to destress your environment is actually empowering you from not only that experience but from future experiences that are not relative to hot and cold. When you feel like your body is capable to mitigate stress in a better manner you learn how to take some breaths versus get tight and tense up. So in fighting this need to escape you learn to fight stress in other environments. Let’s say you’re going into a meeting that’s highly volatile – I really don’t want to be there. I want to get out a fast as possible. You’ve empowered yourself by using your breath, focusing and getting into that meditative state that you can utilize in all facets of life. By empowering people to stay in the moment and not be aggressive and/or tense in that moment they learn how to come down meditate or be relaxed. It definitely shifts an overall lifestyle that can be applied to all things stressful, and that really excites me about all of this. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF XPT ICE RECOVERY GO HERE


XPT: What does your personal training regimen look like?

BD: I have played sports my whole life, and my personal goals have always been sports driven in terms of what’s going to get me better on the field versus off the field. From a very young age all the way through from a my mid to late twenties I had about an 80/20 performance to lifestyle focus for my personal training for my individualized training. As I shifted into my thirties I still do compete but I’ve really transitioned that thought process into the first couple years it was a 50/50 split now between performance and lifestyle. I have a variety of experiences and tools in my bag that I know I can pull from on the performance spectrum but now primarily my focus with training revolves closer to like a 75/25 wellness or lifestyle to performance or sports-specific goals. That includes things like rest and recovery, really focuses on movement orientation and less of the extreme demands of training for sports, such as move as fast as possible, and move as heavy as possible. Sometimes the primary focus is on moving dynamically and moving fluidly. I definitely do have a lot of emphasis behind my recovery days, primarily two times a week if not three. Those days often involve a longer session of ice and heat. Then there may be a third or fourth day where I am only doing a heat recovery protocol that would revolve around being inside of a sauna or things of that nature.  Then I train inside the gym about 4-5 times a week. I also have metrics of different breathing routines that I run every single day, whether that’s breathing a stress-free environment, breathing after training, breathing before I go into a work out.  I also try to breathe before it’s time for bed. Performance breathing is a big focus and I have a variety of different ways that I focus there.  GET FOCUSED. FUEL UP. CALM DOWN.  CLICK HERE FOR XPT PERFORMANCE BREATHING ROUTINES & ARTICLES.

Then when it comes back to the actual training mechanisms those 4-5 days out of the week, there are still some routine areas that I’m focused on.  Even after 20 years of squatting and some generalized strength exercises, I still feel like there are some mechanical advantages that I can improve on. And that’s what I truly love about training. It’s a life long journey to strive for perfection, knowing that you’re never going to get there. While certain aspects of training may feel like it’s redundant, it’s an opportunity to actually learn about your mechanics and movement orientation with given systematic exercises like a squat, for example. How do you do it on two legs? How do you look doing it on one leg?  So going from bipedal to a singular, one-legged exercise to be able to assess what’s going on with your stability, for example. And we are incorporating that into our daily training with all the programs that will soon be available here at XPT. And that’s really what I do now with my own training.

Coming from a football background, I’m more explosive. I have those tools in my kit, so learning how to be more aerobic, learning how to just move for a longer period of time, learning how to feel stable, how to feel like my movement is being best optimized–those are really kind of the key areas that I try to focus on. These tools are relevant for all of us to use in everyday life.  If I’m squatting down or I’m dead lifting that just means for the everyday person I need to learn to sit down on something and get up out of a seated position. Or if I need to learn how to pick things up such as my kids, grandkids, a heavy bag at the grocery store.  These are all areas that really teach the true definition of what wellness and lifestyle should be about-strengthening and empowering and mindset and body.  I also frequently do the XPT Pool Training exercises that Laird has constructed for XPT.  Growing up in Texas, you’re not really privy to oceans or water that much, so swimming is not my strength traditionally, but that hasn’t deterred me from learning.  I get into the pool just to get acclimated with those exercises and that’s been a good experience for me. It helps with recovery, it helps you learn to manage your breath cycle, and then it helps your body learn how to deal with oxygen and carbon dioxide. XPT Pool Training allows you to focus on strength development while giving your joints an opportunity to recover. When you’re in a water-based environment, there’s not much stress impacting the joints, yet you can still move in full range. The water allows a little more buoyancy, yet gravity is not impacting you as significantly in the water, so you don’t bear the load as much.

If we truly look at the construct of what the XPT Daily Training protocol is being inside of the gym, learning how to get stronger inside the gym, being outside in your true environment, being outdoors doing activities outside, learning how to do some things outdoors or indoors, getting comfortable in environmental extremes such as ice, heat and water and implementing the breath.


XPT: You’ve consistently performed well on the global stage for the CrossFit Games.  Are you still competing there?

BD: I started with CrossFit in 2007, and I’ve always been competing. I’ve made it to the Regionals on several occasions, which is the last step before making it to the Finals. And in 2012, I made it to the Finals, where they invite about 45-50 people to compete in the official CrossFit Games.


I still compete in the CrossFit team-based competitions for fun, but it’s less of a focus for me now. I’ve been working on a team with my wife (Dr. Donna Diaz).  Donna is a high-caliber athlete who played college softball as a pitcher and then went on to pitch professionally for the Chicago Bandits. She’s now a chiropractor. So we have a really fun co-ed CrossFit Team that we compete in together and that does still have me geared towards the performance training metrics. I’m 34 right now and a lot of my teammates are in their mid to late 20’s and I look at this as an opportunity to have fun and to mentor. Not unlike XPT, these competitions fall into the same realm in terms of the mindset-where everything can be achieved with appropriate mindset and being empowered to move well, to appreciate all facets of training, including rest and recovery, and to really enjoy life. And that’s really important.  Because enjoyment is equally as important as the training and equally as important as the rest and recovery. At the end of the day, if you’re not enjoying something and you have this anxiety to just get through it, then you’re missing out.  So whenever I’m competing now with my teammates, I really try to get them to see beyond the exercise, to see beyond the workouts and see beyond the competition. Then we kind of wrap all of this into one big experience and they all do ice and heat with me as often as they can. They are all athletes so they all have some experience with the ice. But it’s mostly, “Oh, hey, I’m going to dip my leg or the lower half of my body from my hips down into an ice bath.” But it was maybe 60-degree water and again, they were only in from the hips down.  But they were game and they jumped into sub forty degree ice with me for a shorter stint of time, obviously, but in their experience they have to learn how to handle this style of stress.

And I do think it has helped improve their overall mindset on an individual basis. I love being able to share what I’ve learned, especially from meeting people on the XPT team like Laird and Gabby and PJ and just working with a variety of different great like-minded people. I’m able to pass along lots of that information that I’m experiencing to the folks in my community and my teammates.  And that is really what keeps me going.


XPT’s Assistant Performance Director Bryan Diaz is an expert in human performance and in finance for businesses large and small.  He grew up in San Antonio, Texas playing football and eventually was named an All Conference Safety on San Antonio’s Trinity University Football Team. As a professional coach and finance director for the last 15 years, Bryan has been balancing his two passions for business operations (primarily in the fitness and wellness space) and physical performance.

In 2007, he started his journey with CrossFit and is part owner of the CrossFit gym in San Antonio, where members have cheered him on as he represented them as a CrossFit athlete on the regional and national stage. Bryan has competed in CrossFit’s Team Events, competed in the highly competitive CrossFit South Central Regionals 5 times and won it in 2012. His win in 2012 earned him a ticket to the CrossFit Games, where he earned a reputation for explosive lifting and strong mental focus.

He has an MBA from the University of Texas in San Antonio in finance and enjoys spending time with his wife Dr. Donna Diaz and their two dogs.

Meet PJ Nestler, XPT’s new Director of Performance

Meet Coach PJ Nestler, a human performance specialist with over a decade of experience preparing top athletes for competition. His life mission is to help athletes and coaches realize their true potential. With a passion for sports and a commitment to excellence, PJ has become a leader in sports performance training. He has trained dozens of athletes from the NFL, NHL and MLB and has worked extensively with over 100 fighters, including multiple Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champions and Top 10 ranked UFC fighters. Through the application of his progressive training philosophy and unique approach to every situation, Coach PJ continues to raise the bar for fitness professionals. He has emerged as a sought-after expert in human performance and trainer education and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on the XPT team as the new Director of Performance.


XPT: How did you get into this business?

I’ve been into fitness since I was in middle school. I played sports, started lifting weights and got really into body building work when I was younger. I became obsessed with fitness magazines and strength and conditioning books for sports, particularly football. Fitness was always a passion of mine and how I spent my free time after school. Eventually, I went to college for business because I didn’t think I could make a career out of my fitness interests. I played college football and worked with the school’s strength and conditioning coach and that’s really when I was opened up to the path of working with athletes and where it all started to come together for me.

XPT: What’s your personal approach to fitness?

My current fitness approach is to be active in areas I am not comfortable with, always switching up my routine and constantly pushing my body to re-adapt. This is why I align so well with XPT, the program is rooted in dynamic stressors and human adaptation. Being able to maintain a well-balanced body and mind allows me endless opportunity. For example, if I want to go stand up paddle boarding and I have never done it before, I can quickly learn, adapt and jump right in. This idea fits in alignment with what Laird says, “don’t be a liability,” be flexible enough to be able to jump into any new activity presented to you and forget any limitations or negative construct holding you back. That being said, my personal regimen now is really a lot of XPT. Twice a week I do the XPT pool training, once or twice a week I do ice-heat therapy in the sauna and ice bath, and then I do gym training two to three times a week.  FOR XPT DAILY BREATHE-MOVE-RECOVER TRAININGS GO HERE.


XPT: Tell us about new your role with XPT and the plans you’re developing?

My job with XPT is to take all of the great concepts and methods that we are exposing people to at the XPT Experiences and put them into an easy to understand system for coaches and trainers to apply on a local level. This system not only educates, but provides reasoning behind our methods so that they can effectively communicate and teach their clients.

We want to bring these theories and methodologies to a broader audience so that we can create a massive impact on not only the people who get to come to the Experiences, but to others as well. By certifying and teaching trainers and coaches, they can then influence the hundreds or thousands of people they end up training or being in contact with. It’s exciting!

We receive messages from people at all fitness levels telling us how much this system has benefitted them and that inspires me every day. From athletes performing at the highest levels to the more general fitness types, these individuals send messages sharing that what we did with them changed their outlook on life and now they are able to be active and move in ways they never did. Over the course of 11 years, those personal messages really kept me going and that’s what led me to start my own education program and get involved with XPT, so that we can make the same impact on coaches and trainers and change their lives.

XPT: What are the challenges with coaching other coaches? Is there a particular message you try to drive home with them when it comes to certifying XPT trainers?

One of the biggest challenges with certifying coaches is providing something that is unique enough and new to them without challenging too much of what they already believe. At XPT, we don’t believe in only taking one stance or method with performance training. XPT is more of an evolving lifestyle system, which is one of the biggest benefits of XPT. It’s also a unique and exciting challenge to structure a system out of something where the entire premise behind it is constantly evolving and changing. That makes XPT so unique and beneficial for trainers of so many different levels and specialties. If we were developing a system that was geared toward vertical jump training only, for example, the coaches who train athletes who are looking at improving their vertical jump are only going to care about our offering.  However, XPT is based on a holistic lifestyle program that’s applicable for high performance athletes, all the way down through general weight loss or people who just want to have fun, be fit and healthy, so it’s so applicable across the whole spectrum.  

XPT:  How do you prepare your athletes mentally for competing and how does ego come into play?

One of the most important components in being a successful athlete is mental training. I will incorporate mental training into my client’s regimen, which includes specific breathing techniques to help re-center and get their mind off of distractions. It’s not a separate practice, but its an understanding of where their focus is throughout different times. Then in training, I like to apply different elements of chaos or stress. Whether that’s physical stress or mental stress, I try to throw them off their game, which helps them to develop a resilience that enables them to control their emotions, control their thoughts and focus on the task at hand.  

Because I work exclusively with fighters at this point my career, the mindset side of the sport is arguably by far the most important component. Ego can be a great driver, especially for fighters to help with their confidence. You know you’re going to get in the cage and fight another trained fighter so you need to have the ego and the confidence to think that you are the best fighter in the world and then there is no way you are going to lose.  When it comes to the training side it really comes down to having an athlete who can check their ego at the door and understand how to be humble so that they can be coachable. They need to be able to quiet down their ego and listen to their bodies to avoid getting hurt. It’s about them knowing and understanding when to turn that on and when to turn that off; being able to turn it on when you step into the cage and have to go fight another person, but being able to turn it off when you’re in the training room. They have to realize that we don’t need to win the fight today in the gym and get hurt in doing so, but that we need to win on fight night.

XPT pool training is another activity that helps develop a mindset of resilience. Even if you’re the best MMA fighter in the world, the pool is a new environment. You will need to be humbled as a beginner, accept it and not let it stress you out or drive you further down a path of anxiety. The same is true for all XPT participants.

XPT: How do you use performance breathing with your athletes?

We use XPT Performance Breathing™ in pretty much everything we do in life; I teach it from day one with my athletes.  Every client that I work with learns performance breathing from day one and then we incorporate it from there on. The first thing they do when they arrive is breathing, so we use the breathing to oxygenate and warm up the respiratory muscles to get everything ready for the work we are about to do.  Then we work to reset the breathing patterns because a lot times people come in and they are running late, they got stuck in traffic, they are stressed out and they are hyperventilating. So, we channel that anxiety and take two minutes to reset that breathing pattern, calm everything back down bringing your focus back into the training session. This is something that they can take with them to combat stress.

We also use specific breathing protocols during our training, whether its breathing that’s designed to challenge them in different ways during the training itself, or if its breathing that’s designed to help them recover in between exercises. There’s breathing that’s specific to an actual exercise or circuit where I’ll give them specific instructions, for example, “we’re going to do this circuit: nose breathing only or I want you to breathe through your nose on this one but when we finish each round you can breathe in the nose and out the mouth to recover your heart rate”. I will give them specific points to bring awareness to in their breathing so that they understand where they are and the overall goal.  

We have gotten to a point now where a lot of my athletes are conscious of their breathing. The next goal is to make it an unconscious action so that they don’t have to be focused on it and are breathing optimally without controlling it. If they’re in a fight, I don’t want them thinking about their breathing. I want their breathing to be happening subconsciously at an optimum level so that they can focus on everything else that is going on. Then we’ll use a specific breathing pattern at the end of every session to bring them back down so that by the time they walk out of the gym they’re already recovering and they are not in the heightened state of arousal.

There is so much great research and data on performance breathing.  There is a wide variety of benefits you can create by controlling your breath and using breathing practices. In the past 5 years, breathing has become a more popular topic in the world of strength and conditioning due partly to the fact that we are searching for these other pieces.  We are starting to get to a certain level of understanding of physiology, the human body, and biomechanics. The top coaches were looking for these other pieces.  Breathing is something we do every day, it’s something that requires no equipment, requires nothing but a little bit of time and focus and can have such a massive benefit across such a large scale of people. Before the science came out, it was really hard for people to buy into it from a performance coaching standpoint.  We’re looking for the data, we want to see a performance increase and it’s hard to correlate performance increase when it comes to breathing without a laboratory or something to test out those variables. However, when an athlete at a high level who is very in-tune with their body can feel the difference in their energy, their performance, their focus and their recovery, then that’s when it’s something that’s worth looking into. In the next 5-10 years it’s going to be a common place in every high level performance team and athletic facility.  Advanced performance athletes and facilities who are training at the highest level are now just starting to incorporate it or have been for the past couple years and I think it will continue to evolve.  That’s really our hope with XPT, to give some of these people a system so that they’re not just hearing people talk about how important breathing is then trying to implement with their athletes on an uneducated level. Our goal is to provide them with a well-developed system supported with education on why it is so important, the various methods they can use, when to implement and why, just like we do with exercise. There’s not a one size fits all approach to breathing, just like there isn’t a one size fits all approach to any other physiology. (FOR MORE ON XPT PERFORMANCE BREATHING™ GO HERE)

PJ is not afraid of being the guinea pig for science.  In this recent Instagram post, he shared how he had taped his mouth shut at night while he slept for an entire week (after learning from world-renowned breathing instructor Patrick McKeown about the benefits of nose breathing).  He’d been recommending this to clients with dysfunctional breathing patterns during sleep and figured if he was telling others to do it that he should try it himself.

XPT:  Why is the XPT approach so successful?

Anyone who makes successful changes in their life whether its lifestyle change, nutrition change and/or behavioral habit change, it comes from changing all of the underlying foundations of what you believe in and that’s one of the biggest things I think with XPT.  People will ask me what Laird Hamilton is like and how he’s been so successful. It’s his outlook on everything. People always look at high performers and athletes. They want to know their habits, their routines or what are the things that they do, but it’s not the habit itself that creates success for that person, it’s the reason that habit started in the first place. It’s the thought process behind it. When I’m working with people who are working on losing weight, they will say, “Well it’s tough, I have this big vacation coming up in two weeks.”  But it’s not because there’s no reason you should gain 10 pounds on a vacation or during the holidays.  The only way you will have success long term in any type of diet or lifestyle is when it becomes a lifestyle. Going on vacation is not a challenge for someone who has that type of lifestyle, because they know they have flexibility. You can’t be on a strict diet plan where you can only eat X, Y and Z, so you have to have some flexibility to be able to choose different food or different things that you want using that diet example.  And the same thing goes for the holidays. There are people who have no trouble with holiday weight gain and there’s the people who are habitually overweight where the holidays are a death wish for them because they are going to a few holiday parties and that means twenty cocktails and a bunch of desserts and they haven’t fixed the underlying lifestyle issue.  Then come January 1st, they are just looking at these little methods and quick sudden fixes rather than focusing on making changes in the foundations of what they believe in, how they view food, workouts, opportunities and activities. When you decide to make a long-term change, it then doesn’t matter what the obstacle becomes, because whatever the issue is that presents itself–whether it’s a holiday party, a vacation or a work meeting—you know that you’ll be able to overcome that because of that foundation.  


Fighting Gravity With John McGinley

John McGinley is best known for the rich characters he creates in films such as Platoon, Office Space, The Rock and, of course, as Dr. Perry Cox on Scrubs.  However, to XPT, he is just a part of the family. 

“John is one of the hardest working, straight forward, loving, honest humans on the planet. Someone truly to be respected.”

-Gabby Reece


A 20-year friend of Gabby and Laird’s, John is known for his muscles and determination in the pool as he is on the silver screen. As an early adopter of the XPT lifestyle, you never know when John may pop in to teach a course or join the Experience right alongside you. We had the privilege of speaking with John about his involvement and perspective regarding the XPT Experience.

XPT:  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

JM: I’m very comfortable talking about XPT.  It’s easy talking about something you really believe in.

XPT: How did you first meet Gabby and Laird?

JM: I met Gabby 20 years ago in the produce section at Ralph’s supermarket.  My ex wife and I were three weeks from welcoming our son Max into the world, and now he’s 20. I introduced myself and we became acquaintances. When she brought Laird into the mix, we started to visit them in Maui, before they were in Kauai and spent Thanksgivings together. Then they bought their house in California and became Malibu-ites.

A year or two after meeting Gabby, Laird started a pool regime that I got involved with along with Darin Olien and Hutch Parker, spawning what we call, ‘The Core Four’. While Laird and Gabby are in Hawaii, November through May, Darin (Olien), we use the facilities at their Malibu home to keep up our regimen in the gym and pool. We’re there five days a week, unless someone’s out of town on a gig, but most of us are there six days a week, with Sunday being the off day.  God, when you say that out loud it sounds a little crazy but that is how we start our day. I was there every morning this week and I’ll be there every morning next week. I schedule other things around all of us being there in the morning.


John shows us how it’s done in the pool

XPT: What do those mornings look like?

JM: We congregate at 8:00am and are underway by 8:10am and unless someone is playing games in the pool, you’re done in an hour. We’ll do a 20-minute section then hit the hot house (sauna) and then go in the ice; totaling 10 min in the hot house and 5 minutes in the ice. Two sections at 35 minutes and you’re toast. Unless there’s goofing off, everyone should be out of there by 9:30am.

“John’s a constant, if you were to ever be in a fox hole this is the guy you want with you. He is an incredible combination of compassion and strength.”

-Laird Hamilton

XPT: Muscle and Fitness rated you in the top 10 Most Under-rated Celebrity Bodies Ever. Do Laird or any of your other friends give you a lot of crap for that?

JM:  (He laughs) That’s funny!  No, no – at 58, I’m glad to be in any conversation. My father had my favorite saying of all time. He was a two-time, All American football player at the University of Pennsylvania. He was this big Irish-American guy and they used to always ask him, ‘Jerry, how y’doing?’ and he’d say, ‘Fightin’ gravity. All day, every day, Fightin’ gravity.’ and he meant it!  I only heard that about ten thousand times. He meant it. He was telling his truth. I know what he means now. ‘Fightin’ gravity.’ But in the pool, it feels like you’re fighting oxygen.

XPT: Film and TV sets have such long days and early mornings, how do you fit in a workout when you’re filming?

JM:  If you’re doing 16-hour days you’re not working out. I do push-ups in my trailer or I’ll bring one of those big blue workout balls and a couple of twenty-fives to try and get exercises in. For that concentrated 8 weeks that I’m on set, it just has to come in second place; there’s just no time. If I go through a workout and have to go through make-up and hair again, it’s just not worth it. I stack up going into a gig and then the verb changes to ‘maintain’ which is a passive verb when you’re working out, but that has to be okay, just to maintain. I grab a workout when I can; I cram what I can in on Saturday and Sunday and then I’m back at it again with a 5AM Monday morning call time. When I get back at night, I’m not working out; I’m going to get food, look at tomorrow’s work, look at the changes in the script and hopefully I’m horizontal by 10 o’clock. I can reconcile with all of that, no problem. I’m going to lose a little muscle mass over 8 weeks, but not that much. However, as long as I stack it up going in, it’s going to be fine.  (Click here to watch cast members making fun of John for flexing his big muscles in scene from Scrubs).

XPT: What’s your approach to nutrition?

JM: It’s pretty boring, actually. I’m a smoothie in the morning guy. I’ll do a salad and some chicken at lunch and by dinnertime, I’m starving. So, whatever my wife, Nichole is making, I’m ready. Nichole is an upper-echelon Ashtanga yoga teacher and nutritionist so we get to eat super clean around here. My biggest challenge is portion control at dinner. That’s what I struggle with the most. If I eat a zillion pounds of rice and a zillion pounds of fish at dinner, it’s nutritious, but too much food; so portion control is my biggest issue.

XPT: Have you ever had to bulk up for a role? Or slim down for a role?

JM: Yeah, I bulked up for The Rock. I put on about 20-pounds. I took off 60 pounds to do a film called Highway and I had dreads sewn in. That was a mistake because the film stunk. Physicality and the roles I play usually go hand in hand. Usually for for men on camera, it’s about getting your chest and shoulders jacked up because that’s what’s going to read. You put that into the protocol and it works. The camera picks that up. When you effectively change the physique of the character it means you have to talk less because a lot of the story telling is done visually. That’s what I like, anything to tell the story visually works for me.

XPT: After all the years that you, Laird and the guys have been working out, what do you think about the life that the XPT brand has taken on?

JM: Well, Laird’s let me come and teach at a few XPT Experiences and what’s interesting is how quickly the men and women who come check their ego at the door. Because it’s clear that during these 3-day events, that this 96 hours is going to be different than anything you’ve done before. Unless you check your ego at the door and open up your listening channels and your capacity to assimilate and adapt, you’ll get into trouble. It’s great to see a lot of these young men and women, a lot of whom are very successful, show up and engage and really, really want to learn because it’s really hard. The learning curve is hard. I think it’s been amazing to see the effect that XPT has on people in this incredibly condensed time period. It’s very demanding and you see people breaking down, which is great. Then they assimilate the input and they excel, flourish and feel fantastic. Even if you’ve been there, done it, seen it all, which is unfortunately pervasive on the work-out landscape, you damn sure haven’t been there, done it, seen it XPT. You just have not. If you have the spine to show up and participate and really give it a go, it’s thrilling. I see these people and their faces and they are thrilled!  It’s exciting to witness.


John coaching at the XPT Experience in Malibu with Outside TV

XPT: What do you think is the highlight for most people?

JM: I’ve participated more in pool work with participants. I had two young, vibrant, stout athletes who were really struggling at first. The water is a profound equalizer. When people can move through that horrible, horrible feeling of failing underwater and get to where there’s baby steps towards executing these different drills, you watch them learn that there’s a whole unlimited resource that they’ve tapped into in themselves. What a prenominal thing with which to provide someone. For a glimpse into XPT Water Training Click Here.

XPT: How do you think fear plays into that?

JM: What I try to share with the different people that I’ve worked with is, and they can’t process this until the second or third time, but what I try to impress upon them is that this is not about holding your breath. When I say this, they look at me sideways. What this is about is you going and getting the air.  Just like when I have actors and they are struggling in scenes, I try to get them to find aggressive verbs to get them through the scene. What are they doing? They aren’t allowed to use the word ‘try.’ I don’t care what you’re trying to do but what are you doing? When I can get people to stop holding their breath, which means your shoulders are going to be up around your ears and your burning all of this oxygen holding your breath, I want you to go and get the air and it will liberate a lot of things in the way your machine is working. It will free up all of these tension pockets that are devouring your oxygen. You’re holding your breath in your shoulders that are up around your ears, you’re sequencing your face; all of these things are real, they aren’t affectations, you’re scared and you’re holding your breath. What is this anyway? Go get the air! Go get it! It’s right up there. Seven feet above your head, just go get it. Now we are doing something. It gives people who are objective-oriented an objective because ‘to hold’ is a counter-productive verb underwater. It’s a little esoteric but it’s true, and as soon as people can wrap their brains around that they can go through the exercises with more ease and less tension. Tension just devours oxygen like Lady Pacman – Waka-waka-waka. In your brain you’ve failed. It feels horrible. Nobody comes to XPT to fail.

XPT: Let’s shift a bit to long-term wellness and fitness. What do you think are the most important things to focus on as you evolve and grow older? Do you find it to be a bigger challenge when you get older or is it routine because you’ve always incorporated into your life?

JM: Routine because I’ve always fanatically incorporated it into my life. There are people who bust my chops but I don’t really care.  I mean, I’ve got a bad ankle but I’m stronger now than I was in high school, and I was really strong in high school. That feels good! It feels really good to leap from role to role, from film to film and be able to adapt. It isn’t easy, but I have a tool kit: I can adapt and change. That process is not arduous because I don’t let myself get out of shape. Getting into shape is a pain in the tail when you’re out of shape, so for me, it’s better to stay in shape.

XPT: Do your kids share your enthusiasm for health and wellness? How do you work out as a family?

JM: I think it trickles down from Nicole being the biggest impact in their life.  All three of them are terrific athletes. My oldest, Max is 20, was born with Down Syndrome. He’s very active in the surf and in the water and that feels good on his joints.  My 9 year-old Billy does ariel work, she’s a ripped up piece of steal and Kate, who is the 8 year-old is Miss Soccer, she’s a female Huck Finn. They don’t workout as much as they play.


The McGinley Family

Max will come to the pool with me; he loves being around Laird. He’s known Gabby since he was zero.  He swims around.  He doesn’t do all the monkey business that we are doing, but loves being there.

What’s so interesting about XPT and our group is that it is a collection of alphas. Everybody is an alpha in his or her particular thing. Hutch is an alpha on a movie set, Darin is arguably one of the most alpha nutritionists on the whole planet, Laird is the alpha waterman and I’m an alpha actor. Everyone up there is an alpha, but you got to check that at the door. That is not the way this is going down. This is not going to be who can be the biggest alpha.  Laird is on top of the pyramid and everybody else can fill in; that’s very liberating for a lot of people. Why are you going to compete with Laird? That’s pointless. I think, being able to lay your burden down in that sense and check your ego, it’s liberating for a lot of guys.

John’s new show Stan Against Evil has won critical acclaim and starts up again on November 1st.  Check it out on IFC. We think it’s hilarious.  And to support the Global Down Syndrome Foundation click here.


The legendary Jeff Sweet takes us out of our comfort zone and tells us why he thinks Laird Hamilton is a masochist.


There are two basic things to know about Jeff Sweet: One, he tells great stories, so be prepared to laugh. A lot. And two, the man does more in one day than most of us do in a month. As an early pioneer of stand up paddle boarding with Laird, Jeff is a legend in the field.  We spoke with him while he was driving down PCH to give a surf lesson.

XPT: What’s a typical day in the life of Jeff Sweet?

JS: It’s impossible to tell you what a day in the life of Jeff Sweet is like. Impossible. You don’t have time!

XPT: We’re all ears.

JS:  Well, I have a day job. I’ve been a Deputy Sheriff for Los Angeles County for twenty-seven years.  Typically, I’ll be at work at 5:30 in the morning and then head to the beach after work and give lessons. Some days it can be three or four lessons. Paddle surfing as well as distance paddling. Then I run to one of my three children’s water polo games that I don’t miss. I just fit it all in. Let’s take this past Saturday to Sunday, for example. Saturday started with a surf lesson for a family in Ventura. From Ventura, I shot back down to Malibu for three surf lessons in the afternoon. Sunday I worked a private celebrity party until 1:30PM then I flew down to Cardiff to meet Chuck Glenn where I returned from my four-year hiatus from foil boarding.

XPT: Why was there a hiatus?

JS: Because Laird broke my leg in thirteen places – and you can print that! It was all his fault. But that’s a story for another time.

XPT: I’m not letting you off the hook so easily on that one. We’ll come back to it.  But let’s start from the beginning. How did you and Laird first meet?

JS: I met Gabby first.  I was working for Kobe Bryant and Gabby attended an event and brought Laird.  Their friend Nancy also showed up with a surfboard in the back of her truck.  I just took it upon myself to walk out there and take her board and put it away.  Otherwise, that board would’ve disappeared. And because of that, Laird and I had a conversation and he invited me to go for a surf the next day, and the rest is history. This was about 1998 or 1999.

jeff3Don Wildman, Jake Chelios, Chris Chelios, Laird Hamilton, Jeff Sweet, Nate Heydari circa 1999

XPT:  How did surfing together evolve into paddling?  When did that first come into the picture?

Laird and I surfed together for a while. He had a big tandem board made by his dad, Billy Hamilton.  We took an old kayak paddle, cut the end off it, put a t-handle on it and taped it all together. I actually still have that paddle.  I think it’s probably the first stand-up paddle that was ever made. We made it right there on the beach at Don Wildman’s place.

So, Laird would paddle up to Little Dune (in Malibu) and I would paddle on my stomach. It’s a long paddle to the Point.  We made another paddle and I started paddling over with him.  At first it was just who could make it to the Pier without falling off. It only took a few shots until we could actually make it. We were paddling these giant twelve-foot, big, heavy boards at the time.  Gerry Lopez turned Laird on to Ron House who shaped our first boards down in San Clemente.  So, I drove down to San Clemente and picked up the very first batch of stand up paddleboards.  All twelve feet.  Six of them stacked in the back of my truck, all with a Gerry Lopez logo.

For about five years, it was pretty much just Laird and myself and Sam George out at the Point stand up paddling. Nobody else was paddling.  For the longest time it was just our group of friends. Nate Heydari and Todd Thompson. And (NHL hall of famer) Chris Chelios, too.  To this day, Chris has evolved into a surfer. He still surfs the same as he did ten or twelve years ago. I love surfing with Chris. He totally cracks me up.  He’s the most stoked Hall of Fame professional athlete on the planet to surf.  There’s nobody else who surfs like this guy. Nobody.

XPT: So, that’s how it all started?

JS: That’s it. The beginning of stand-up paddling.  Then, gradually, we would go places, like San Onofre, with Ron House and there’d be maybe one other guy stand up paddling.

XPT: How did it evolve from there? 

JS: Slowly. We’d be out there every day at Don Wildman’s and then on the weekends other friends would show up and they’d try to paddle. It was really born right there at the beach at Wildman’s place.

At the beginning, we kept breaking paddles. Of course, nobody was making a stand-up specific paddle then. It took years of trial and error to develop them.

XPT: I saw that Laird gave you a nice shout out in Stand Up Paddle magazine last month…

JS: I was honored to be mentioned in the last sentence of a four-page interview! That’s the props I get for the shit that I do.  (Laughs)

XPT: So, when people go to an XPT Experience the team that’s there is incredible. Tell me about that.

JS: Yeah, it’s an insane group. There’s so much talent in the team that I assemble for XPT.  People are paddling all over the world and unfortunately we see them with sub-par instruction. If you’re going to come to an XPT Experience you should have the very best instruction. All the guys that we bring are at the very top of the sport.  Gene Smith has been paddling since the beginning, he even opened his own shop down in Redondo Beach. He’s such a great ambassador for the sport. Obviously, Chuck Glenn, who is one of the top paddlers in the world. I call him Inspector Gadget. That guy can fix anything. At the XPT Experience in Punta Mita, Mexico, Fernando Stalha, who is also a top world-class paddler, took the lead. I’m stoked for him to be involved. He’s a great asset.


Chuck Glenn, Steve Crane, Gene Smith & Jeff Sweet ready XPT Experience participants for the SUP session

Most people who come to XPT have never paddled. Paddling is only a part of the whole XPT Experience but I think it’s the most fun part. People come from all over the world and some of them are afraid of the ocean. We get them comfortable and get them past their fears.

I was out the other day with a student of mine, and two grey whales passed within five feet. She said it was the most amazing experience of her lifetime. To me, that’s pretty cool. I’ve had people paddling with me when we’ve been surrounded by a pod of dolphins. One of the women just sat down on her board and started crying. She’d never seen anything like it.  Another student had tried to surf for a couple of years. Traditional lay down, prone surfing but it just wasn’t clicking. He came to me and said, ‘Surfing isn’t working I want to try stand up paddling. I see guys catching waves and I really want to try.’ Immediately, he’s catching waves. Immediately. And he’s hooked.  Now he is a surfer. This is a guy has spent most his life at country clubs playing golf and never really stepped out into action sports and he travels with me every year to Fiji to paddle surf. He sent me an email and he said in the last line, ‘You’ve changed my life.’ To me, that’s enough. I’m not setting out to do that, but if that happens it’s pretty cool.

XPT: While we’re talking Hawaii, talk to us about that time you biked and paddled across the entire state? How do you get ready for something like that in terms of training?

JS: If you ask Laird, he’d say you don’t get ready for something like that. I’d say shouldn’t we go on a bike ride? And he says we’re going to bike plenty on that ride so no. But he forgets that not everybody’s super human like he is so I’d go and bike secretly on the side.

We did the Paddle and Pedal Across Hawaii in 2007 to raise money for our friend Don King and his documentary titled “A Beautiful Son” about autism awareness. We started on the south end of the Big Island and we pedaled 116 miles and then paddled from the Big Island to Maui across the Alenuihaha Channel, it’s one of the most dangerous in the world, for forty-three miles.

From there, we biked across Maui to the North side, which is about fifty-miles and then paddled to Molokai. That’s about eleven miles.  Then pedaled Molokai (30 miles).


 Jeff & Laird heading out in Malibu, CA

XPT: In one day?

JS: In one day. Paddling across to Molokai was the only paddle-leg during the whole trip when the wind did help us. Don Shear was filming us from a helicopter.  A mile out, Laird makes a right hand turn and then I lost him. He just disappeared. I see Dave Kalama who was paddling with us. So, I just kept paddling and our friend Brett Lickle jet skiied out and told me that Laird had to go film something and that I should keep paddling straight across. So, there I was paddling completely by myself.  This fishing boat comes along with these three big Hawaiians.  They stopped and ask if I was okay and if I needed anything.  I said I was fine and then they handed me a McDonald’s cheeseburger and left.

Laird is a masochist.  I’m telling you, Laird is not human.

About dusk he finally arrives on Molokai and I thought we were done for the day but he wanted to keep going.  In that one day, we pedaled the Big Island, paddled to Maui, peddled across Maui, paddled to Molokai and then pedaled across Molokai.  It was nuts.

XPT: How many miles is that?

JS: Too many. We arrived at our meeting point at about ten o’clock at night and we’re starving. So, so hungry. Have you ever eaten around Laird? Food is like an Olympic sport to him. We can all put it away but he can eat mounds. So, we get to the end of our ride on Molokai and there’s nothing to eat. No food. They weren’t expecting us until the next morning. So, I take one of cars from the team and go looking for something to eat. If you have ever been to Molokai then you know that there’s a lot of nothing and what is there is closed. But I finally come across this mom and pop Italian place. There are fifteen of us: Laird, myself, the rest of the guys and the film crew. I need food to go for fifteen people. The guy looks at me and with a totally straight face, tells me he only has enough for four people. I couldn’t believe it.  He had no more food. By the time the night was over I think I had a meatball and three stands of spaghetti. I swear.

The next morning we went to a hotel for a huge breakfast. Someone brought us all of these breakfast burritos to put on the boat for the paddle across to Oahu, which is thirty-two miles. Everybody heads out. We take off, paddled away and somebody left all the food on the beach. Another food disaster.

So, we get to Oahu and we spend the night. The next morning we head out to Kaena Point pedaling from Sandy Beach fifty-something miles across and we’re ahead of schedule. So, we need to wait a whole day for the full moon. When we get to dinner, Laird is quiet. I see the wheels turning in his head. I know something is coming. Everyone is eating tons of food, steak, everything and one of the guys asks when we’ll be leaving the next day. Laird looks up and says, ‘We’re leaving now. Lets go.’  And before I know it, it’s 10pm and we’re paddling out of the harbor into a fifteen-foot open ocean swell. That’s Laird.

We paddled into the wind and in the rain to Kauai. We arrived there as it was getting dark the next day. It took twenty-two hours to paddle from Oahu to Kauai.  The next morning we pedaled to the Kilauea lighthouse and we were done. That was it.

XPT: And you guys did the Race Across America some time after that?

JS: Yes. In 2009. I was the chief of a crew of four guys. Laird didn’t think biking across America was enough and he wanted to add a paddling leg. So, we paddled from Don Wildman’s house in Malibu all the way to Oceanside (120 miles). We left at 8AM and arrived in Oceanside harbor about four in the morning. We started with ten guys. By about midnight there were four of us left–Laird, myself, Chuck Glenn and Gene Smith. Then we started the Ride Across America. Sadly, we only made it to Herman, Missouri. One of our riders got run over by a support vehicle. Jason Wynn.  It’s a small town. You couldn’t get into a traffic accident if you tried. Laird and I were riding in our support vehicle and another team pulled around us and hit Jason.  The good thing that came from that story is that Laird and Gabby’s nanny Jess felt badly for Jason, and while he was recuperating he fell for her and now they’re married with three kids.

XPT: What’s your regular training like?

JS: I circuit train. I mountain bike. Unfortunately, in the last four years I’ve broken my leg twice. Once on Kauai with Laird.

XPT: Lets hear it.

JS: We went out to foil surf. I had been foiling for about ten years so I’m pretty experienced. But the board wasn’t set up for me. It was nobody’s fault but mine. I had a bad fall and broke my leg in thirteen places.

The guys take me back to Laird’s dock and I’m sitting there on the dock and with four guys looking at me wondering if they should take the boot off (you use a snowboarding boot for foiling).

I guess I was in shock because the pain hadn’t really kicked in yet. Laird immediately switches gears. He’s great in an emergency situation.  With what we do, we have to be. You never know what’s going to happen. He’s thinking miles and miles down the road. He says, take the boot off and we have to get you into dry clothes because you’re going to be sitting in the hospital in wet clothes. They take my clothes off and I’m lying there naked and then they put on a pair of shorts and t-shirt. Even being in shock, it was still funny as hell.  But I lost my favorite board shorts that day. Never saw them again.

They put me in Laird’s truck and off we go. Then the pain kicked in.  And it’s bad. I’m in a lot of pain. I have no control of my leg. Every time Laird hits the breaks my leg falls to the other side. We’re in front of the hospital and instead of turning into the hospital; he turns in the opposite direction. And I’m yelling, ‘WHERE ARE YOU GOING, WE’RE HERE?!?’ And he says he wants to get some food for me because we’ll be in the emergency room for a while and there’s no food.  We finally get to the hospital and I’m being wheeled in with my plate lunch on my lap.

fullsizerender-12They x-ray my leg. The emergency room doctor comes in and looks at the x-ray. He can’t even tell what he’s looking at. That’s how bad it was. Laird spent the rest of the afternoon with me in hospital.

XPT: Talk to us about XPT.

JS: I love seeing people get out of their comfort zone and being vulnerable to change, and that happens at an Experience. Most people have their gym routine or their cycling routine or whatever their routine may be. They come to XPT and they’re getting into the pool and they’re not always comfortable with that. They’re doing exercises underwater that they are really not comfortable with and then they are getting in the ice tub – it’s just a whole other realm for most people.  When it’s over, they can’t believe all that they’ve accomplished.

Like Chris and Paula Murphy. They are awesome. They are such cool people. They moved out here from Chicago and they cycled, did Pilates and yoga but because of XPT they’ve become surfers. I mean, real surfers. I see them out there at least three times a week. XPT exposed them to things they never really considered. They are textbook people that went through the XPT Experience and it really changed parts of their lives. Now their kids are surfing, too.

And then there’s (Director/TV Producer) Gary Fleder who told me how much he loved XPT.  He said, ‘I’m in the ice tub, I go under and then come up and there’s Laird Hamilton. I mean, he’s right there! Right in front of me, coaching me. It was so inspiring!’  And that’s it for me. Breaking people out of their routines and getting them out of their comfort zones. You never know where it might lead.

Want to paddle with the legendary Jeff Sweet? Come and get out of your own comfort zone. Join us for a transformative journey at the XPT Experience.  For the full list of upcoming Experiences click here.


Spotlight on Kelly Chapman Meyer: Warrior, Surfer, Yogi & Friend

Kelly Chapman Meyer starts her day before the sun rises. She hops on her surfboard and paddles out beyond the crashing waves to witness the glow of the sun rising above the horizon. Her love of the ocean and nature’s peace and beauty are a source of motivation, fuelling her many endeavors as a champion of the environment, a champion for nutrition and a champion for women. We caught up with her in between to talk about her journey with XPT and her success as co-founder of The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.

XPT: You are a champion for the ocean and you seem to love to connect with nature by working out in nature. That’s also something that is a big part of XPT! What does your daily fitness regimen look like and is working out in nature a part of that?

KCM: Surfing is my connection to nature. It is my connection to the water. I always thought, until recently, I’m surfing to keep up with the gang, like, “Hey, hey I’m still here!” But the truth is, I hurt my toe the other day to the extent where I was going to be down for a bit and my first thought was, “Oh no, I’m not going to be able to surf!” and I realized just how much I loved it! The minute something was getting in the way besides bad conditions or no surf, I realized surfing is such an important part of my life! I would be so much less fulfilled without being able to surf, Stand Up Paddle or swim in the ocean. It really is my connection to nature which fills me up! I like gym workouts too though, especially doing it in a group with Gabby and all our friends. I appreciate how much 45 minutes in the gym with a good HIGHX does for me. The HIGHX workout inside allows you to have more fun outside – you can feel the extra “juice” when you are playing in nature. It’s interesting because I’ve increased my fun and intensity in both arenas.


Even if I’m doing something laborious like stairs, which is like a prison sentence, it’s great because you’re outside and you’re still “making a deposit”, like working at the bar before you get to dance the ballet. When you are outside it goes so much faster! I’ll listen to Gabby’s podcast or music to overcome the monotony of “just do your 10, just do 10” it’s so much easier, feels so much better outside! I swim in the ocean with a 92 year old woman who’s fantastic! That’s really one of my favorite things to do – she’s the perfect example of how beneficial working out in nature can be. I also do yoga at sunrise. Even though I’m indoors, its very nature oriented. During my practice the world goes from dark to light so it feels very connected to the outdoors. I also like to dance which is a gym thing but I just mix it up as much as I can!

XPT: How did you first connect with Gabby and Laird?

KCM: Gabby and Laird are legendary in Malibu. (and everywhere) Gabby and I had a mutual friend/masseuse that introduced us. I just adore Gabby and appreciate her all she does –I am in awe. Originally she introduced me to these sand workouts. We had a lot of talks on the Sand Hill, a lot of walking up and down. And now we’re doing XPT workouts! I met Laird during that time, it’s a funny story – I think I reached out to him for a gift! I thought Laird should actually teach my “kook” friend how to surf after seeing him on the cover of National Geographic. Because wouldn’t you expect someone to teach your friend to surf after seeing them on the cover of NatGeo?! (Laughs) I think I had less fear back then…

XPT: Talk to us about the Teaching Garden. How did it develop and what is its overall mission?

KCM: As an environmentalist, I used to be able to clear the room talking endlessly about climate change – people would run away from me with ears bleeding! So at some point it hit me to talk to people about the environment through gardens. At the time I was reading these statistics about our children being obese and all the food issues they are facing. So I went at it from that perspective and I started planting gardens in schools – in extremely vulnerable urban and rural areas where kids, even if they were in a city or in the middle of the country, didn’t have a connection to whole food or understand what that was all about. That was my mission – to connect kids to whole food and help reduce the obesity epidemic in any way that I could. It was my small way of participating in society, helping to prevent kids having a life sentence of obesity because of bad food and poor nutrition. When you realize what we have done to them, it’s unforgiveable…it’s really, really shameful that we have marketed all this crappy food to our children. So, I put gardens in schools to try and connect kids to whole food and it’s beautiful! People did not run out of rooms anymore, instead they ran into rooms to help me. Gabby and Laird were two of them. They have both been amazing and they’ve helped me from the very beginning. They are a very big part of its success and I’m grateful to them.


They would go to the gardens and talk to the kids about health. We had a cooking, a physical fitness and an environmental education component – all those things centered around the garden. Gabby and Laird would come as celebrity health experts and kids loved it, it was great! They were really helpful. My garden program was adopted by the American Heart Association. The AHA used the Teaching Gardens as a platform to talk about prevention in an authentic way.


The AHA is a scientifically based organization so I think the gardens have been a great form of communication for them – because they are super touchy feely. All the experiences and pre and post surveys and anecdotal evidence from the gardens really help them shape, from an authentic place, food policy and lunchroom guidelines. We’re just trying to say, “Hey, Cheetos are not really food!” (Laughs). You’ve got to start somewhere. It’s really been wonderful and I’m grateful to everybody, it’s now a huge team of people in 35 states working together to help kids get healthy. It has been a lovely, lovely experience! Kids love the garden, they totally engage and it’s been a really satisfying, gratifying experience!


This photo is during a sunrise full moon setting SUP paddle. It’s very peaceful and calm in this photo but even on days like this morning when…. “ my friend and I were probably in the worst conditions (laughs) we’ve ever experienced, literally, we were like…. ‘oh my gosh, it’s cold, there are no waves, and if there are they are super bumpy, it’s windy and the tide is way too low…’ It didn’t matter because the sunrise was so gorgeous, it was so amazing, it was orange and pink and it did this amazing “sunny – glowy” thing that made it look like there were pink beehives on the horizon, I don’t know it was crazy.” The point is – there is always a gift out in nature – keep looking.

XPT: Talk to us about your journey with XPT in terms of the actual Experiences. Do you have any advice to others who are considering attending and what has been your favorite part about the Experiences themselves?

KCM: I’m really lucky in that I saw the progression early on after Gab and Laird finished their pool where they do the underwater workouts. Since then they have taken it to a whole other level. It used to be a few “usual suspects” now you can see 30 people in there swimming, jumping, flipping and turning, it’s so beautiful to watch underwater. I love it! Early on you could see them formulating the XPT pool training. Laird realized from the beginning how great it is for your joints and how you could really work out hard and not put the usual wear and tear on the body – the water gives you support to go hard without getting injured. The pool also provides an amazing place to rehab – after an hamstring injury I was able to continue working out and be healing all at the same time. It was amazing because you are getting blood, oxygen and movement to the injury – pain free. And it’s just so beautiful and so peaceful! That element of working out in water is other worldly but it’s also very challenging. During the workout you are getting an entire body massage from moving through the water. This flushes your lymphatic system. These are benefits that Laird obviously knew and understood because of his relationship to water and it’s healing properties. The sauna and the ice – it is all very life affirming and life changing! (FOR MORE ON XPT RECOVERY METHODS CLICK HERE)

I remember one day, I did a pool workout and then the sauna and ice and then Laird made me one of his coffees, which I’d never had before. (Click here for more info on Laird’s Superfood coffee products) I drank that coffee and I drove home and it felt like I was in a fourth dimension. Everything was so clear and my body, mind and soul were ticking like a Swiss watch! I think the combination of all these things is really powerful. That’s what people are going to get to feel at the XPT Experience. And what’s great is they can bring it back and incorporate it into their lives. They are going to understand just how powerful the combination of all those things are that make up The XPT Experience.

No matter what the skill level , XPT attracts people that are interested in growing on a physical and spiritual plane – that vibration takes them outside with the masters!! It’s really extraordinary because you get to see this amazing world that Laird and Gabby have created – up at the pool, down at the beach, on the stand up – they are sharing something that they’ve been cultivating and curating for years. The XPT Experience allows you to download a lifetime of two world class athletes search for information, knowledge and wisdom. This rare experience allows one to hook into the vibration of these transformative people. I think that’s what people sign up for – being able to garner the knowledge from people who’ve spent their lives figuring it out, how to be healthier, increase longevity and improve the quality of life – all those things that we’re working toward. It’s amazing to see people really light up during the XPT Experieince!


Kelly & Laird at the Peace Paddle Out Fundraiser for the world’s oceans

XPT: Let’s talk about your many efforts for the environment, large and small. What are some daily changes you make in your life each day in an effort to limit your personal environmental impact that you might suggest others adopt in order to preserve our world?

KCM: I could give you a 100 things that would help you to reduce your carbon foot print but I think it has become more then that…I think that we have lost touch with the rhythms of the earth and all those things that nature provides us – it informs us about life and death, it creates joy and happiness. I really think that it is now more then ever a spiritual awakening that needs to occur to bend the arc towards a healthier planet and healthier people. Now more than ever it’s really important for people to put those devices down and get outside. Time spent in nature – it’s going to tell you what you need to do and it’s going to tell you which way to go. I had this amazing discussion with this young friend of mine, Jessica, whose point of view about these crazy times really struck a chord with me. We’re all out there marching and trying to figure out what to do, wearing pink hats and all that stuff. She said and I agree, “Ultimately respect for women is really parallel to respect for Mother Nature”. The two compelling issues of our times can be viewed through a single lens, they are inextricably linked. “What is this about really, how do we navigate these waters?” Let’s not be angry, let’s not be militant, let’s use our power as women to protect mother nature and it’s creations.  For more on Kelly click here.


XPT co-founder James Williams talks rugby, running and feeling like gravity doesn’t exist

On a sunny March afternoon in LA, we caught up with the British-born, co-founder of Ivy Venture Partners.  James Williams has partnered with or advises Floyd Mayweather, Beyoncé and a number of NBA, NFL and NHL athletes on their respective business endeavors.  And in his spare time you might find him kite surfing with Richard Branson.

“James embodies what XPT is-he has the ability to work hard, and live a high quality of life,” says XPT’s Gabby Reece.  “He is bright, fun and kind.”

As a co-founder of XPT, James walks us through the genesis of the founding team and explains that if you think an XPT Experience isn’t for you, you’re probably wrong.

XPT:  How did you first get involved with the whole XPT crew?

JW: Two of my great friends, Alice Bamford and Anne Eysenring, have an amazing ranch in Malibu called One Gun Ranch.  Several years ago, Laird and Gabby visited it to talk to them about potential opportunities they could all do together; and I was part of the meeting. Through that conversation, Laird and I started talking about other business opportunities; and I became involved with Laird Apparel.  I started working with the co-CEO’s, William Cawley and Tim Garrett, to help develop the business plan, raise money and launch the company. Over time, I started spending more and more time up at Laird and Gabby’s pool, talking through business ideas and training. Naturally, I became more involved with everything they were doing with the underwater workouts and ice and heat recovery.  Together with Brian, Gabby and Laird, we started talking through the opportunities to grow what they had created with XPT into a real, scalable business.  So, it evolved from those friends and then through Laird Apparel and then pool training; and ultimately Brian, Laird, Gabby and Jenn had this business vision in mind; and we started working together to build it out in a bigger way.


“James is the perfect fit for Laird, Gabby, Brian and I,” says XPT co-founder Jenn Meredith.  “He is courageous, adventurous, funny, serious, able to laugh at himself, ballsy, and smart as all hell.  He is a key piece of the puzzle for us and he will help guide XPT to the next level.”

JW: Coincidentally, I had spoken with Laird briefly back in 2010. I was kite surfing from England to France for Richard Branson’s 60th birthday.  We actually never ended up making it, as we got turned back by the English Coast Guard because of some heavy swell in the channel (despite RB putting in a call to Nicolas Sarkozy to get us permission!). But Richard actually did it a few years later with a few of his friends.  We wanted Laird to be part of that original team.  A friend of mine, Gene Smith, knew Laird and put us in touch.  Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work with his schedule, but that was my very first interaction with him.


XPT:  Now I know why Brian and Laird call you the Most Interesting Man in the World.  Is that true?

JW: (laughs) There are definitely a lot more interesting people out there – and I think if they call me that it’s most likely because of my overly self-indulgent Instagram posts!  I like to travel a bunch and find fun adventures and activities and things like wild animal interactions while I’m doing it. Although I have no doubt that more often than not Laird has a somewhat less complimentary term for it than “most interesting man!”


Laird & Brian have fun imitating James on Instagram.


The Most Interesting Man in the World, courtesy of his Instagram account

XPT:  You’re a former college rugby player. Has fitness always been a big part of your life?

JW:  Yes, for sure. I played rugby for a long time but nowhere near the level of our boys Danny (Cipriani), Max (Evans) and Thom (Evans), who come to XPT.  But I love the sport and have always played it.


James with his rugby team at Wharton School of Business, where he recieved his MBA

I’ve always tried to keep fit, but I think it changed a lot with being introduced to Laird, Gabby and Brian, in that I was quite old school in my modalities. It was plain running, hitting the gym, lifting weights and doing outdoor activities. Being in and amongst the XPT environment with true pioneers and innovators in health and fitness has changed the way that I think of everything that I do. Right from the way that I breathe and the food and energy that goes into my body, the way that I move while working out, my recovery and mental preparation: all of it has been adapted and improved through learning from Brian, Laird and Gabby and our XPT advisors.

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.

XPT: What does your daily fitness regimen consist of now?

JW: Well, we joke about this now.  But the first thing I do every morning is get up and run.  I do a 20-minute, two mile run around the Hollywood Hills before eating anything. Then I have my Postmates fruit smoothie, waiting for me on return. For lunch, I have my fish or chicken with vegetables; and then a couple more protein shakes throughout the day.  I basically have two seasons now — I have the when-Laird-and-Gabby-are-in-Malibu season and I have the when-they-are-in-Kauai season.  When they’re in Kauai, I miss my pool training, which means I have to make up for it with running some of the canyons in LA with buddies; or joining Laird’s great friend, Don Wildman on one of his bike rides or other workouts.  In the evenings, I lift weights, typically fairly late, around 10 or 11pm. I have a gym in the office so whenever I can get an hour off I’ll head down.

But then in the summertime, with the Laird and Gabby Malibu schedule, I will do pool training three times a week, getting stuck into the awesome XPT regime, with underwater weights, ice bath and sauna with our Malibu crew.  In Laird’s words, it ‘feels like gravity doesn’t exist’ and allows you to go to another dimension, which is both an incredible way to work out and an amazing place to have as an alternate reality.

I’ve done pool training for the last two or three years now; and I can feel the difference when it’s followed by the ice and heat recovery.  I haven’t gotten myself set-up with the ice and heat recovery facilities in my house yet, but I will.  I can really feel the difference from the summertime when I have that as part of my routine and in the winter when I don’t. (For more articles on XPT Ice & Heat Recovery Click here)


James Williams on the rocks

XPT: You also travel a lot. How do you stay fit when you’re on the road?

JW: It’s definitely tougher. I’m lucky that I go to relatively fun places: New York, London, Vegas, etc.; and Hawaii for XPT, obviously. I’m diligent in getting those morning runs in; and I use it as an opportunity to see the cities or towns that I’m in.  So, I use those morning runs as a sightseeing tour of wherever I am.  Then it’s either banging out push-ups in the hotel room or if the hotel has a decent enough gym, getting exercise in there.

Don Wildman gave me one piece of advice. Consistency.  Stay consistent. Since he told me that, I have a target of 10 workouts per week. No matter what, I’ll make sure I hit that target.  Even if every one isn’t a massively tough workout (e.g. a quick run or push ups), I’ll always make sure I get my 10 in per week.

XPT:  Are you going to be hitting all the XPT Experiences this year? Is there one in particular that you’re looking forward to?

JW: Hopefully, I’ll be at all of them. (Laughs)  If I can sell it to my partners that it’s ‘work’. It’s certainly the most fun ‘work’ I’ve ever done.  I love them all.  Kauai and Malibu are always my favorites because Kauai is such a magical place and I’m so lucky to have Gabby, Laird,  Reece, Brody, Kenna, Keradin, etc. as my hosts there.  .  They make me feel like family and just show me the most incredible time.

And then Malibu is amazing because we have a bunch of our friends and advisors who are in the area come along. Navy SEALs, pro athletes, Malibu friends who’ve been part of XPT since before it was even XPT all come by to help and support.  Having all of these familiar faces there within the broader setting of a full XPT Experience is amazing.

XPT: What’s the most important thing for XPT Experience participants to bring with them?

JW:  Well, I don’t know how cheesy this is going to sound but – an open mind and a willingness and excitement to learn. I think, almost without exception, pretty much every single person who has come to an Experience has come with that; and it serves them so well.  It’s been an incredible set of people, who all come with exactly that mentality, which makes each Experience so valuable not only for them but for us as well.

I think the biggest piece of advice I’d offer is for people who are looking at an XPT Experience who might have an initial reservation that you have to be an elite athlete. We have so many amazing athletes who come through; and it’s truly incredible to have them at the tip of the spear, as it were.  But XPT is a modality that can be applied to any level.  It’s potentially even more beneficial to those people who don’t train so much.  The people that we’ve had come through so far have ranged from the elite athletes and special forces guys, to the guys who used to be super active but haven’t trained in many years – all the way to people who feel like they are completely out of shape or they don’t eat right and feel like they’re stuck in a rut.  It’s such a personal experience in the way that each participant immerses themselves in all of the things that XPT has to offer. So, it isn’t an elite athlete modality or platform.  It’s a workout program that’s been so carefully thought out and developed to benefit everyone in their own unique way.  And it’s not just in fitness, but in overall health and the way they manage their own lives and bodies and ways of dealing with everyday issues.  I think that’s what’s really special about what you get out of an XPT Experience.


XPT: Is there a particular highlight out of the Experiences that has inspired you?

JW:  Doing the breathing with Brian and Laird is a complete game-changer for me.  The first time I ever did it I was hooked; and it’s only gotten better since then.  And now seeing how all the participants respond to it and how good it makes them feel is incredible.  We have so many people now who have finished an Experience and come up to one or all of us and say that their time with Gabby Laird and Brian has genuinely been life-changing.  That, for me, is a highlight every time.

To learn more about James, check out his profile here.


To find out about 2017 upcoming XPT Experiences, click here.

Spotlight on XPT Advisor Dr. Andy Galpin


Our friend and advisor Dr. Andy Galpin is a Professor at the Center for Sport Performance at California State University, Fullerton and the Director of the Biochemistry and Molecular Exercise Physiology Laboratory. He took time out of his busy teaching and research schedule to talk muscles, the collision of science and exercise, and why some fitness programs just work better than others.

XPT:  You bring the science into fitness.  How are things changing there and how do you communicate that to the mainstream when so many people are accustomed to doing things the way they are doing them?

AG:  The biggest difficulty in the intersection between science and fitness is a mismatch of knowledge creation to knowledge dissemination. That’s a fancy way of saying because science creates knowledge so fast right now, and that rate is increasing exponentially, there is no good way to relay that info to the people that matches the rate of knowledge creation.  So that’s a real challenge and it leaves people, unfortunately, in this position of going , “Okay, well, there’s no way I can keep on track or up to date with what is happening.”. And more importantly, it dilutes the quality of every individual study, because us scientists are trying to get information out as fast as possible.  We’ve hit terminal velocity in the field itself. So, the technology gets faster and the software we have to just keep track of our own references can save me dozens if not hundreds of hours in writing of a single paper.  So we can get these studies done so much faster than before, and so now our jobs are determined by how many papers we publish, and not always the quality of them.  That’s not what most scientists will tell you, but that’s the reality.  If I publish 50 papers and you publish 12, then I’m getting promoted and you’re  probably not. So if you are a normal person you’re trying to do the diligent thing, the responsible thing and pay attention to science it’s impossible, it’s completely impossible.  I can’t even keep up with it.  So I think the solution there is that we need scientists to take the time to say “ok for every scientific paper I publish, I’m going to take equal time disseminating that to the people in a platform THEY actually understand and can interpret.”

This is why I want to be involved with XPT, because it provides me with a platform for people starving for quality scientific information. There’s a bunch of ways one can do this, such as social media. I’m one of the few scientists that share all my findings on my social media, most don’t, not because they are trying to hide it but because it takes a lot of time to do that and to interact.  I try to do these interviews and podcasts to get my research out there but it’s interesting because most of my scientific cohorts look down upon me for doing that.  They’re like “oh, you’re just trying to be famous and tooting your own horn.” My point of view is the shocking reality that on average, only ~7 people actually read any given published scientific paper. So I say to them, “what are you doing, if you’re not sharing it, then what differences are you really making in people’s lives?” So I go directly to the people and share.

XPT:  So is that what drives you to do what you do?

AG:  Absolutely!

XPT: How did you first discover XPT?

AG:  Brian brought me on board about as soon as they started coming up with the idea.  I first met Brian through his supplement company 3FU3L.  I came across the product and I was like, this is fantastic, this is great!  I found out who was making it and around the same time he had just gone on my friend’s podcast–Barbell Shrugged. I listened to it and thought, wow this guy is really sharp and is really understanding things at a different level than most people…and then somehow we connected through mutual friends.

XPT: Talk to us about your own personal fitness regimen and what do you do on a regular basis to stay fit and healthy and how does your research drive that? 

AG:   One of the mistakes that I made earlier in my life with my fitness was not being well-rounded enough. I think if you could put one individual stamp on what my research has shown it’s that the human body is not evolved or designed, however you want to look at it, to do anything but adapt.  That is the optimal nature – is constant adaptation.  There is no optimal diet, there is no one way to live, to train, to sleep, to eat.  The optimal is constant change.  For a long time I was far too structured and linear with my training approach, so I would do one type of training and that alone for years at a time.

XPT:  Are you talking about when you were a college football player?

AG:  Well, then it was a little bit different because I had a very specific thing I was competing for so for that one I needed to be very specific in my training.  But I’m talking post-college.  I was competing in multiple different sports at a time but I was still training in a very unilateral fashion.

Now I try to break up the weeks and the individual days so that I have as much exposure to as many of the different tasks that I believe a human should be able to do physically. This has expanded what I do for training far beyond just strength training and cardio and intervals, which is just a small subset of what your body is capable of doing.

XPT: Why are some fitness programs more effective than others? 


AG:  I would say that it comes down to the appropriate application of that important balance between intensity or stress or probably the most appropriate term is overload, and recovery.  So, the more overload you get the more adaptation occurs.  But that also puts you at a higher risk of injury, so you constantly to have to balance maximizing overload with maximizing recovery so that you get adaptation without injury.  And the technique and form and position and movement is all the underlying foundation to all of that.  If you don’t have optimal movement, you won’t actually be able to optimally overload yourself because you’ll be limited by your movement deficiency.  On the other hand, if you have poor movement patterns it’s going to put you closer to that injury thing.  The overarching thing of all of that is one thing that has become extremely clear with my own personal training, my working with all the athletes I’ve trained as well as my research is that the more variety you introduce into your training, the more overload you can do and with less injury.  It’s not a number or a repetition or a mileage that “hey this is a safe number don’t cross it”, because that number changes when you add variety.  That’s what I love about XPT. It’s just so different and so varied and they’re trying to get you thinking beyond just the weight room and the pavement.  Our Unique XPT Daily Trainings can be found here.

XPT:  What’s the current focus of your study?


AG:  Well, I’ve actually got about 15 or more going right now!  But one of the things that we’re looking at right now is called Epigenetics. There’s no getting around the genes or the DNA you inherited from your parents.  But, what we now know is the way those genes are expressed is a direct result of your lifestyle.  And that can actually influence the DNA that is inherited by your offspring.  So your decision to smoke cigarettes, your decision to be obese, your decision to be sedentary not only screws with your physiology because it changes how your DNA is prepped but it also changes what’s expressed in the DNA in your sperm or egg that you pass on to your children.  So one of the studies we’re doing right now is looking at how your genes change in response to a single bout of exercise and how that is different in people that are sedentary vs. people who are regularly exercising.

Another thing we are particularly interested in studying is examining the muscle quality and molecular characteristics of female muscles.  We know a decent amount about male muscles but we just know almost nothing about the female and so I have a post-op researcher, Irene Tobias, in my lab right now and we’re going hard into this question.  We want to answer some of the questions about exercise and intervals and strength training and what happens at the molecular and cellular level in the females. We just don’t know anything about it and females are the ones that are particularly influenced by drugs. Even something like birth control could have a real effect on performance and muscle health.  So, we’re trying to answer questions like that – do they need a different style of training?  Do women need more volume?  Do they need less volume?  Do they need more strength?  What other stuff do they need?  Or is it not true?  Should they just be programmed into the exact same type of workout as men do or should it be a little bit different?  We just don’t know because we haven’t taken the time to really ask really good quality in-depth questions about the female muscle because it’s hard and it’s expensive.

XPT: Who do you think would most benefit from attending an XPT Experience?

AG:  I’ve seen a lot of people at these XPT’s from different walks of life.  I’ve seen very high level athletes learn a lot and I’ve seen people who maybe had a good fitness background decades ago but they really haven’t made it a priority lately.  And I even see people who are kind of in the middle, they work out, but they don’t really know what they are doing and they’re maybe bored with it and they’re looking for variation.  I’ve seen people from all walks of life have real success and learn a lot and enjoy an XPT Experience so it’s a difficult question because I’ve seen so many different people enjoy it.  Brian and Laird and Gabby have done a very nice job of designing a program that challenges everyone exactly how much they need to be challenged but not more.  So, you’re going to be challenged there but people don’t need to be intimidated and be like “oh my gosh I can’t do this, I’m so unfit” because it’s very clever the way they’ve designed it so that everyone is able to do it. You should be a little bit intimidated going but only that perfect amount of intimidated not that like “oh my gosh I don’t want to go there, I’m going to be embarrassed, I’ll be way out of my league, I’m can’t hold my breath, they’re all going to laugh at me…”  It’s actually very well designed so that it won’t do that and, in addition, if you think you’re bullet proof and you’ve got it all figured out, I’ve seen professional athletes there and they can quickly find a hole in their physiology and be like, “Wow, I didn’t realize I sucked at that, I’ve really got to shine that up”.  I think it’s beautiful that way.

And the ice isn’t that bad.  So don’t let that stop you from doing it. In fact, if you’re thinking you don’t want to do XPT because of the ice that’s exactly why you need to go.


I have also noticed that universally from all the different participants, that everyone – from the lowest fitness person to the highest – everyone is surprised about how much more they can do than what they thought coming in.  People really underestimate their physiology and I’ve seen every single person there find something that they’re like “wow I thought I was going to fail or this was going to be horrible but I had a lot more ability than I had anticipated.”

You can join Dr. Andy at the next XPT Experience in Sayulita, Mexico in April as he will be guest advising with Laird, Brian, and Gabby…(insert link with more info)

For more information on Dr. Andy Galpin you can view his bio here or go to his website at (check spelling of website) or his podcast at

Darin Olien Dishes on Laird, Hydration & Superfood Hunting

XPT Advisor Darin Olien is like the Super Hero of Super Foods, travelling the world in search of new nutritional powerhouses of deliciousness to benefit our bodies.  We sat down with Darin to talk botanicals, hydration and the inside scoop on the XPT Malibu Crew.  Here’s what he had to say…


XPT: How did you first meet Gabby and Laird?

DARIN OLIEN: I first met Gabby when I was working out at Malibu Gym.  I would see her there working out every day.  I was doing formulation stuff, playing around with different foods and super foods and I starting throwing Gabby some formulas. I made this super food bar years ago maybe 2003-2004, she said it was the best bar she ever had. (She still says that to this day). Laird was doing this extreme endurance thing and I threw him a couple bars for the event before I actually met him.  Then one day Gabby said that Laird and a couple guys were starting to do some workouts every day and said I should check it out and see if I liked it. So, about 10 years ago I kind of showed up, and we all just started working out and we have been working out ever since.

XPT: When you’re home and Gabby and Laird are in Hawaii, you’re the one leading the workouts with the Malibu Crew.  What’s that like and who’s a part of that group?

DO:  We keep the vibe going, part of the time we will show up just to Laird and Gabby’s. It’s kind of nice and keeps the energy there, so we will do that a couple times a week.  It’s usually Hutch Parker, John McGinley, Dave Anawalt, and Neil Strauss. We are the Fab 5, and then you have Randy Wallace coming in and out again and Kenny Chesney also comes in and out when he’s in town. (Insert pic of Malibu pack)


All of the principles essentials we keep going, and we tweak it up a little bit.  I personally use this time as kind of strength builder. It’s the winter and so sometimes we will do huge amounts of reps with very little break or we will do a lot of strength stuff and high functional type of high intensity workouts. It’s always the same philosophy, but we will change it up all the time to challenge ourselves. We will set timers to it, for us the flow, and then we shift from the pool workouts and typically go down to Don’s (XPT Advisor Don Wildman) beach house where we will be pulling the log and doing beach workouts or doing the functional strength training.


What I really, really enjoy right now is taking them through the breathing work at the end of workout. You can really see the recovery aspect of them getting highly oxygenated.  If you do one round of breathing and you can’t even hardly hold your breath even having gone through some of the breath, because you are so taxed from the workout, but then you do 2 or 3 more rounds of that and you can exponentially hold your breath again. So you immediately feel how you recover, just in laying down and doing the breath work. But, of course, if the surf is up everything gets thrown out.  (For More About XPT Performance Breathing Click here)

XPT: Talk to us about super food hunting and how you stay fit while you are out on the road.

DO: Yeah, great question. Super food hunting, it’s kind of the word people use and it has stuck. I travel around finding herbs, nuts, fruits, botanicals, beneficial compounds that essentially, at the end of the day, help us thrive, help us heal, help us restore, help us recover, help us perform.  And all of those angles are what gets me excited. It could be a food, it could be an herb, it could be a botanical, and it could be a flower.  So I will go that 17,000 feet in Tibetan China and I will be in jungles and in Amazons in the Cerrado in Brazil, or you know, wherever, different continents, 40 different countries.


I would say, especially in the circle of people understanding Laird, that that’s my big wave, that’s what pulls me, I love to show up and meet the people, learn about the indigenous understanding of the plant and the people and cultivate the relationships with them to create a fair traded product and ultimately discover something great to bring back and making sure there is no compromise in that whole thing. That’s it, in a nutshell what I do and kind of the thread of all of what I do in terms of nutritional stuff.

And it’s very tricky staying in shape when you’re kind of set the context of that kind of travel.  It’s pretty gnarly–it’s days and days in cars and trains and planes and hiking and just to get to certain areas where some of these botanicals are. But I do short very intense workouts.  Typically, I am just working out in my room, so I will do body weight stuff and always the breathing. After flying I will always do breathing because of the airlines and the lack of oxygen and just the recovery aspect of getting oxygenated while the intense travel, but then you are also in great places.  If I’ll be in the jungle, I will go outside and have shorts on and see what I can hang from, see what I can throw, and just make up a little circuit and just—boom—in 20 minutes I kick it out.  Then I feel good. I always get up early, so if we are leaving at an ungodly hour I always wake up 2-3 hours before we go anywhere so I keep my morning routine solid. I drink my morning elixirs, I take in my supplements, I do my breathing, I do my meditation, I do my workout.  And I keep all of that consistent. It might be a lot more condensed but I keep all of that consistent. And, in terms of eating, too, I always prepare food, I always have salad and things and for me, I’ll have soaked or germinated nuts. I stuff bags and bags with dried fruits and meal replacement stuff like Shakeology like I’ve formulated, and other kind of greens and powders and stuff like that. The other important thing is, of course, that I want to keep eating as best as I can, but I want to keep my immune system up, because you are getting exposed to a whole different type of stress. You are getting exposed to different environments and you’re getting there very rapidly, so, you know, jumping off a plane doesn’t allow your body to adjust. So I make a very solid point of eating high-nutrient, dense antioxidants and probiotics. I don’t want to be comprised when I am there.  (Check out Darin’s recipe for Chaga Tea here)

XPT: Talk to us about the 5 Life Forces.

DO: So, the 5 Life Forces are simply kind of the idea that these pillars, as we call them “life forces,” that are these foundational principles that largely people want to overlook. I nurture these life forces with every conversation I have with somebody.  They are nutrition, hydration, alkalization, oxygenation, and detoxification.

First, nutritionally, what are people eating? Are they eating mostly plants high in quality? You know, I’m a vegan, but are other people eating high quality eggs and meats and all that other stuff but keeping that on a smaller scale and keeping plants very high?  So, Life Force One is nutritional–that nutritional basis of whole food eating. You can call it Paleo, you can call it all that other stuff, and add it in with the meat stuff, but I make a strong argument of eating more plants. Eating more nutrient-dense plants.

And then two is hydration. Hydration is extremely important. Our water is sensitive, it’s exposed to toxins, exposed to the environment, it’s exposed to many things and it changes based on what its exposed to.  So, our water isn’t the free-flowing, naked water–the uncontaminated water flowing down the mountain. In nature the water is being influenced by the sun, the light frequencies increasing the energy and activity of the PH and the (-) hydrogen and oxygen, plus it is getting chelated minerals and electrolytes off the stones. You need to look at how nature really intended it, and then you have to kind of deconstruct the water coming out of our taps to most closely match it. So, I get into the problems of chronic dehydration and how to really hydrate again because most people are running around dehydrated and they don’t know it because it’s a very primal thing of the body to shut off the mechanism so that you can focus on finding water. The problem is that it’s so shut off that in our modern day we are not finding enough good quality water. 7% of all Americans don’t drink an ounce of water a day, like that’s just their common practice.  They don’t drink water, they reach for their coffee and then the stats go exponentially worse, and you are perpetually dehydrated, and that influences every process of your body. It influences your energy levels, your brain chemistry, your digestion, your skin and eczema, how you process and digest food and on and on.

Alkalization is this idea of eating fresh, whole foods, and at the end of its metabolism of your body breaking it down, it’s got this neutral pH ash that isn’t making your body acidic, unlike processed food and diets high in meat consumption and dairy, which all leave acidic forming ash in your body. So, do the math, if you’re eating a high amount of processed food and meat and all of these things, you will create acidification in the body.  And that’s a whole list of issues that then degenerate your whole body in a way that supports you having chronic problems later.   So, I really start to create the argument that, from a nutritional side, you want to support your alkalinity by having whole foods that keep your very intimate body balances in check.

The next very important life force in the body is oxygenation. Before I did Wim Hof Breathing and XPT Performance Breathing, I would talk about oxygen. And oxygen is extremely important in terms of learning how to breathe again, using the diaphragm, and challenging your aerobic system.  Not necessarily jumping on a bike and challenging it, of course that’s good, but learning to breathe. So, the most important thing is having the foundation in place: the alkalization, the hydration and the nutrition intimately create an environment for you to receive more oxygen as well.  If you have acidic condition in your body, you can’t actually receive as much oxygen, even if you are taking it in.  So there is this intimate connection between all of the life forces.

And then the last one is detoxification. This is really the end result, allowing your body to naturally “take the garbage out” like it was designed to do. Plus, if you take care of all of the other life forces, you naturally will detoxify yourself exponentially better than not exercising the other life force principles.

So that in a nutshell is the life forces and then I sneak in this other life force that largely might be the most important. It’s the secret 6th one and it is attitude.  Your attitude, your outlook on life, how you deal with diversity. Are you optimist? Are you half empty or half full? If you have a negative outlook on things it increases cortisol levels and increases all these other negative things, and they will support this in the blue zones, areas of the world where people live longer. Dan Beuttner wrote a great book on the Blue Zones.  He traveled around the world and figured out what the centurions of the world, these cultures of people that are living healthy and long, what are they doing.  Many of the life forces that I just talked about were being exercised, but the attitude, the positive outlook, is also huge.  (For more on the Five Life Forces, pick up a copy of Darin’s book here)


XPT: You’ve shared a lot of great lectures with the participants of the XPT Experiences.  Do you have any one story of an Experience that sticks out for you?

DO: I love the intimacy of XPT. I’ve talked in front of 25,000 people and its fun, but to have 15 to 20 people sit there, allows us to be able to speak and engage in a way that can maybe fit them. So, we can dig a little deeper and, in that way, XPT has been good for me, as opposed to blasting them with information and just touching on it. So, we zeroed in on hydration, for example, as something that people really gravitate towards.  We talk about what water is and what it needs to be and I have little devices where I would show the measurements of water right in front of them and you can actually see the numbers.  Here is the PH, here is the ORP here is the total dissolved solids, this is the shit you are drinking. And when you see the bell go off, you can see that it’s almost like “I knew there was something but I just didn’t have the information to explain it, and now you gave me information to support what I was feeling and this will help me to change by putting more pieces of the puzzle together” and that, to me, is the greatest gift. When you know very confidently that these guys are not going back anymore to the old way of doing things, even if its one change, that they are taking that change. I love that; the intimacy of XPT has created that stuff. I like to see all of the people but when you see the metamorphosis from day one as opposed to the end of day three it’s cool, it’s very cool to see the opening of someone.


XPT: Can you tell us a secret about Laird and Gabby that no one else knows?  We promise not to tell…

(Laughs) Oh wow…without getting in trouble? Well, I think maybe first more directed at Laird, the thing people don’t understand about Laird is he’s dedicated to what he’s dedicated to and everyone knows that a wave will take precedent. However, there’s this seeker and his desire to learn.  He’s innovative but he’s also got very high satiability for learning new things. They see this guy who is dedicated to surfing, I don’t think most people understand.  They see that he’s innovative and thinks of other stuff but he learns on a deeper level; he’s not necessarily just learning how to do a squat. That said, many of us regular workout guys kind of loosely have a book club. So if we all find a good book then we’ll all start reading it around the same time and we will lightly talk about it.  It’s nothing formal. It’s everything from Deep Survival to Natural Born Heroes. All of these things are about being a better person and being more aware.

And then the second part of that is both Laird and Gabby are inclusive obviously and most of the relationships and people: it’s a straight up real connection.  It’s kind of like if a tiger wants to let you pet him then he lets you pet him, if he doesn’t then he rips your arm off. With Laird and Gabby there is not a lot of bullshit there, there is other ways of saying that, I would say largely many people around us don’t have bullshit and if there is, then it just kind of gets rifled out of the group pretty quickly. It’s not about talking about your careers when you come to the workouts, it’s really about talking about life and being better!

Laird and Gabby have a depth that you may or may not see right away, but there is a tremendous amount of depth there.  To be able to talk on many subjects with both of them, makes XPT a community of birds of a feather that flock together, and we all are kind of bringing this depth to one another, supporting each other to be better humans.  And it’s good for the soul.

Feed your soul.  For the list of 2017 XPT Experiences click here.


XPT talks breathing, competition and brotherly love, with the one and only Max Evans

Max Evans XPT Kauai (Full Edit) from XPT LIFE on Vimeo.

When Scottish pro-rugby player Max Evans joined us for his first XPT Experience in Malibu last August, everyone was inspired and we couldn’t wait to have him back.  In December, he returned for the XPT Experience in Kauai, he brought along his brother Thom and together they learned to breathe, move and recover, and, of course, have some fun.  We sat down with Max to talk about his journey with XPT so far, how he applies it on and off the field and what it was like growing up with Thom.  Here’s what happened…

XPT: How did you first learn about XPT?

Max Evans:  I’m very good friends with (professional English rugby player) Danny Cipriani who I’ve known since we were school kids, and we actually played against each other for England vs. Scotland.  We use the same sprint coach, a lady called Margot Wells, who was very instrumental in all our careers.  I saw on Danny’s Instagram that he’d been spending time with Laird and Gabby at their place in Malibu.  I just saw him doing some really cool pool training and weights underwater which I’d never seen before, and so I got in touch with him.  He couldn’t speak more highly of Laird and Gabby, the kind of training he was doing with them and their whole ethos.  So, I checked them out and found XPT and saw the XPT Experience was happening in August, so I had to sign up for it.

XPT: How do the XPT philosophies and trainings differ from your regular fitness regimen, in-season and in the off season?

ME: We have a fairly intense season for rugby training, and there’s very little off season.  Unlike the NFL or NBA guys, we only get four weeks and then we’re straight back in to a preseason, which spans just under two months. Some guys, like Danny, like to spend their offseason keeping up a certain level of fitness, so that when you get back to the preseason it’s not as grueling.  Other guys just completely let loose and then it’s obviously a lot harder.  Our preseason is a lot of strength work, a lot of aerobic stuff and is focused on your physicality rather than a skill thing.  And then as the season starts, the training is more about rugby organization and skills.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Max Evans of Scotland holds off the challenge of Mike Ross of Ireland during the RBS 6 Nations Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield on February 27, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Max Evans of Scotland holds off the challenge of Mike Ross of Ireland during the RBS 6 Nations Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield on February 27, 2011 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

For rugby, we have to condition ourselves to a pretty high level.  We don’t wear any pads, so they like a lot of muscle and protection for the kind of impacts we sustain.  So you’re always in the gym, you’re always doing weights, you’re always doing speed work.  But what’s interesting is that a lot of the stuff I did during XPT, even having been an athlete for 10 plus years professionally, was stuff that I’d never done before that was really exciting to me.

XPT:  What were some of the highlights of this?

ME: Well, the breathing stood out straight away.  I really can’t speak highly enough of this and how transformative it was for me.  Throughout my whole rugby career I’ve never taken a breathing class or had anyone pay attention to how I was breathing at certain points of the game or how I could improve my breathing to help recovery.  There was a lot of focus on helping with recovery.  And had I known what I know now from learning it at XPT with Laird and Brian and Gabby? Well, I’d loved to have known that at the beginning of my career at some point.  It was actually a bit frustrating to experience it knowing that it was toward the end of my career.  But it’s also enlightening to know it now, and to be able to tell other people– my teammates or young players, and to introduce it to players who are at the college level. To learn more about XPT Performance Breathing click here.

And then the pool training was really great.  I’d never done anything like that with the weights under water and focusing on that link with the breathing under water and learning to have trust in how much more oxygen you have, and to push yourself to levels where you can really challenge yourself under water.  I’ve sustained a lot of injuries in my career, especially with my knees.  I had 5 knee surgeries before I was 27.  So, with a lot of the training I did, post those operations, I would always have a bit of swelling and stiffness and achiness, whereas while I was doing the XPT pool training and even afterward, I didn’t feel any restrictions because you’re always supported by the water, and the impact on your joints from doing it is minimal, so you’re able to push yourself even more and get bigger gains.  It’s really huge and I’ve continued to do it since leaving XPT.

dscn0730XPT Waterman Training at the Experience in Malibu

I had already done the ice baths contrasting with heat and had experienced the benefits of those before but still really enjoyed doing it in the XPT world and it was great to see other people’s excitement from doing it for the first time.  For more on XPT recovery methods click here.

But a lot of what I experienced with XPT was new to me.  And I just loved that you have people from all different walks of life with the same goal, same search for self improvement or more fitness awareness.  I was great for like-minded people working together and challenging and pushing each other.  There wasn’t any competition, you’re competing with yourself.  And I was taking myself to places that I wanted to challenge myself.  It may have encouraged someone else but you’re really just competing with yourself and I loved that.  In professional sports there’s a huge focus on competition with your team mates and some times that can have a bit of a negative impact.

XPT:  What about competition from you and your brother Thom?  Any funny stories you can share with us?

ME: It’s just the two of us as brothers.  We’re very close, just 18 months apart.  We have similar likes and athleticism and we’re both very competitive, but we’re not as competitive with each other these days.  We went through a period where we were almost crazy competitive–quite badly where we used to have terrible fights and do stupid stuff, like who was in control for the remote control for the TV.


We were once having a game of tennis and we got into a dispute over a line call.  And we got physical over this line call on our court and the two gentlemen on the court next to us, who were complete strangers, had to actually stop their game and break us up because we were trying to kill each other over a line call.

But what was great was that we ended up playing both club rugby and international rugby together, so we were on the same team, fighting for the same thing.  They will always be some of my most special moments in rugby.  We were in different positions.  I was in the position of being more of a creator and he was the finisher.  So, I would create stuff and he would finish it off, which worked really well for the team.

Scotland's Thom Evans (2nd L) passes the ball through the Italy players to his brother Max during their Six Nations Championship rugby union match at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland February 28, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN)Scotland’s Max Evans (2nd L) passes the ball through the Italy players to his brother Thom during their Six Nations Championship rugby union match at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland February 28, 2009. Photo: REUTERS/David Moir 

XPT: Did you find that you and Thom experienced a different level of communication as brothers in terms of being able to anticipate one another’s moves and did they place you on the teams together intentionally because of that?

ME: We only played together at school in my final year and his second to last year so that was just a natural placing and, yes, that worked really well because we do know each other inside out and can read each other.  In a game like rugby and you have a good relationship and it becomes a kind of sixth sense feeling, so yes, being on the same team was huge.  We played club rugby together for the Glasgow Warriors and because we were in different positions we were well-suited—I’m very quick off the mark and agile, whereas Thom has got that kind of out and out speed like a track runner.  So, I would beat him in sprint at 30 meters but at 40 or 50 I would burn out and he would be like, “See you later!”  So, in a game, I would be able to get ahead and give the ball to him and he would finish it off and score.  When you play for your country in Europe for both soccer and rugby it’s called a “cap.”  He got his first cap before I did, so he played for Scotland before me.  And around that time, we played in a club game together where and we were both the standout players of the game.  He scored two tries (I’ll call them “touchdowns,” so it’s easier for you to understand in the U.S.) and then I scored a touchdown and I also got Man of the Match and we just shined together. And that was just before this big international tournament, and that was definitely the reason that we got selected to play together for Scotland.  So then we stayed together, playing together for Scotland, until Thom tragically broke his neck in an international game and that finished his rugby career.

Being brothers and being on the same team was definitely a huge benefit for the team.  And it’s a great achievement and a great honor to just play for your country individually but even more so to play with your brother.  You’d think it’s quite rare but we learned that we were the 22nd pair of brothers to play for Scotland, so there’d been a few before us over the many years of Scottish rugby.  You sing your national anthem before the game and we’d always stand together.  So, that was pretty special for our family to watch, as well, to kind of see us standing there, side by side.


XPT: What was it like going to the XPT Experience with your brother?

ME: As soon as I did XPT Malibu in August I couldn’t wait to get Thom to come with me for the next one.  I was excited about doing the Experience with him but also about going to Kauai and experiencing it there in the place where Laird grew up and in his home. And it didn’t disappoint, it was what I hoped it would be.  Although Thom and I are similar, we do have some differences.  I’m quite flexible and he’s not as flexible.  One moment that really stood out during the Experience was when he got picked out during one of the mobility sessions with Kelly Starrett.  You look at someone like Thom, and he’s strong and fit but less flexible than you’d expect him to be.  So it was great for him to work with Kelly and I think had an interesting impact for the other XPT participants, who might look at someone like Thom and realize that he too could improve his overall mobility, as well.

img_0182Mobility session with XPT Advisor Kelly Starrett at the XPT Experience Kauai 

We really had so much fun together and with other people.  But you can’t NOT have fun at an XPT Experience, with like-minded people, all wanting to push themselves to where they want to go.  It’s awesome.

sup-xpt-3Max gets cheeky with Brian & Laird at the XPT Experience in Malibu.

XPT: What would you say to young athletes who are aspiring to perform at your level?

ME: I would say, just leave your egos at home and just be open to learning as much as you can, knowing that you can always get better.  I see a lot of guys coming through who get to a certain level and think that they need to give off a certain kind of arrogance or cockiness, which to some degree you do need in order to be able to handle yourself under pressure, but all the people who get to a certain level and think that that’s it and that’s all they need to do.  And that’s one of the things that I loved about the XPT Experience is that you’ve got Laird, who is a legend in surfing, and you’ve got Gabby, who is a legend in Volleyball, and you’ve got Brian, who’s a legend in his field of training elite athletes and runners and all kinds of people, and although they’re the ones that are leading this, they’ve got no egos, they’re completely open, and completely selfless. They have all this information that they’re willing to give even to someone that’s been training only, say, amateur Crossfit, and everyone is there to improve themselves.  They are all constantly trying to improve and that’s really inspiring.

xpt-exp-gallery-2Max Evans (far left) with the crew at XPT Kauai in December.  (Thom Evans far right).

ME: So, to younger athletes, I say, always keep trying to improve, trying to better yourself.  In rugby, let’s say I’d have a good game and maybe make Man of the Match and it would be a great feeling.  But I want to do it better and keep doing it.  I love that XPT creates that kind of atmosphere and environment.


Join us and experience it for yourself.  For a list of dates and locations for the 2017 XPT Experiences, click here.

For more XPT Spotlight articles click here.  And to follow along LIVE as we post the details from the next XPT Experience, follow us on social media on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Aging, Revolution vs. Evolution & XPT:  The Unstoppable Doc Hickey Answers Our Questions

Dr. Brian Hickey is a competitive athlete, a coach and Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Management at Florida A&M, who personally holds an incredible 30 National Championships worth of hardware.  We caught up with Doc to discuss the Myth of New Year’s Resolutions, what he’s focusing on now, and what he thinks about us.  Here’s how it all shook down…


Doc Hickey fuelling up with friends at the XPT Experience in Malibu

XPT:  It’s the end of January.  Talk to us about New Years Resolutions.

DOC:  The quick fix doesn’t work.  It’s a shame and, in my professional opinion, almost fraudulent for the fitness industry to perpetuate that.  “New Year, New You.” The truth is that by Valentine’s Day, the majority of people who signed up for the gym memberships and bought personal training sessions in advance have moved on to other things.  And then they’ve left the industry and as consumers and they’re left with a bad taste in their mouth so they’re less likely to return.  We need to try to have an evolution not a revolution.  XPT, to me, represents an athletic evolution.  XPT allows you to have an appreciation for balance with other life responsibilities.  I look at Gabby and Laird and they are entrepreneurs, they are CEOs of themselves.  And then they have so many other responsibilities with their kids, and yet they’re able to put an importance on getting the physical dimension of health and make it work.  And that’s one of the things you learn at the XPT Experience, is that no matter how busy you are, you can figure out a way to get movement into your life.  Everyday.  No matter what.  So with this paradigm you can meet you family and professional responsibilities within the context of training and physical exercise.

XPT:  As a strength and conditioning professor what appeals to you most about the XPT Methodology?

DOC:  First, it’s got a realistic approach.  It incorporates the high intensity/low volume protocol but it makes it realistic and accessibly to everybody.  These are workouts that everybody can do. 

When I got back from XPT, I went from California to New York to my parents house in New York and within a couple of days we were in the pool doing scaled workouts that we did at XPT, and my parents are 82.  They’ll pass for 62 on any given day.  So the universal scalability is phenomenal. 

fullsizerender-8            Doc Hickey at the pool with his parents, Fred & Terry Hickey

The next thing is just the whole concept of breathe, move and recover.  And that’s one of the things that I stress with everybody, with the people that I train and with my students, is that every day you have to have some sort of movement.  I really like that the XPT philosophy has the emphasis on movement.  Some days we’ll move more than others, some days we’ll move heavier things than other days, but every day there’s going to be some kind of movement.   For XPT Daily Trainings Click Here.

XPT:  Let’s talk about recovery.

In terms of recovery, and from a coaching standpoint, it’s not how much work you can do, it’s how much work you can recover from and the whole principle of individual response and that’s another thing I like about XPT.  Everyone has a certain tolerance for work and we all have our own recovery timeline.  Just because one person or one athlete can do XYZ it doesn’t mean every athlete can do XYZ.  We tend to run into problems with that in group fitness classes and with teams.  One of the groups I’ve worked with in the past is hockey strength coaches.  One of the big differences between working with college students versus working with the NHL is that in the NHL you’re going to have 18 year-old kids flying up and down the ice, and they’re going to be on the same team as guys who are 27 or 28.   Or if you’re working with the Florida Panthers, you’ve got Jaromir Jagr—he’s about 44 and wants to beat Gordie Howe’s record.  And, in terms of individual response, the key is the recovery and everyone’s got his or her own timeline there.  I like that XPT embraces that.

XPT, to me, represents an athletic evolution.  It’s the next step. Your number one enemy is your birth certificate. In 2004, I did the Olympic Trials in bike racing and time is undefeated.  I’m going to be 50 in 14 months, so my days of doing the Olympic Trials have come and gone.  But what the XPT philosophy allows me to do is to stay active and in terms of fitness it allows me to pursue another batch of fitness goals, and the whole concept of breathe-move-recover every day.

I’ve been playing a lot of Lacrosse lately.  This winter I was playing box lacrosse–which is indoor lacrosse–in Charlotte, on my way back to New York for Christmas.  And we were doing 2-on-1 drills and I’m on offense and there are two guys on defense and the guys D-ing me up, their ages together were still less than my total age and I was holding my own.   One of my friends, he was All American 2014, Syracuse Team Captain, and he was one of the guys I was playing against.  And we got off the field and he said, “Doc, you held your own today, man.”  And that’s what the XPT philosophy allows me to do…to mix it up with the young guys and even stick it to ‘em once in awhile.


Head Coach Doc Hickey with the Florida A&M Lacrosse team, a program he helped to launch

XPT: While you were playing did you use some of the breathing methodology?

DOC: One of the things I’m working on right now in terms of research and practice is using breathing to engage the parasympathetic system.  You get that heart rate to drop when I’ve got the ball in the stick.  One of my best friends, Dr. Jim Kellogg, (renowned sports medicine researcher, clinician and practitioner, who died in March 2014) and I had a lab together.  He did his master’s work at Bowling Green University and one of the things he studied was hockey players.  He was one of the first guys to put heart rate monitors on hockey players.  And in studying their heart rate, he found that in every instance within the game, that he’d set an upper bound and a lower bound and learned that their heart rate was within that upper and lower bound, whether they were skating, whether they were fighting or on the bench or in the penalty box—whatever it was—except every once in awhile when he would see about a six-second spike.  And when he went back and correlated that spike with the game film, the only time that there was a heart rate spike that couldn’t be accounted for within the film was when they had the puck on the stick.  And that’s when they’re making the play, all eyes are on them and they would get that sympathetic rush.  This was back in 2005.  And in looking at it now, with the breathing, the key for me when I’m playing and when I do my shooting drills, I’ll pick up a ground ball and take a deep belly breath and imagine that I’m breathing through my navel and engaging that parasympathetic system and slowing the heart rate down, and letting whatever move come to me or letting the game come to me.  And then the other thing that was really big when I was playing these guys was leaning on my fitness.  And then as soon as we would switch from offense to defense, if we were playing three-minute periods, is taking that really deep breath and slowing everything down and clearing out the mind.  When you’re going crazy anaerobic you’re in that fight or flight and your judgment is going to get clouded.  So the longer you can stay aerobic, the longer you can keep some parasympathetic tone, the better you’re going to play. For XPT Performance Breathing exercises & articles click here.

XPT:  What do you find that most successful athletes have that others lack?

DOC: Successful athletes are willing to do what others won’t.  Period.  In terms of racing, for me, and in terms of still competing, I got 30 national championships and I earned the last one last year when I won the Powerman Short Course Dual National Championship last year for my age group.  I’m 48.  And I got in all of my bike training while I was commuting.  I am a full time professor at Florida A&M and I teach part time at Tallahassee Community College.  So Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will ride my bike from my house to TCC, which is about a half an hour ride, then I’ll ride from TCC to FAM and then I’ll ride home, so I’ll get in about 80 minutes of cycling.  Then, if it’s an interval day on the bike, I’ll just set my trainer up in the kitchen and bang out my interval workout after that, while I’m still warm.  If it’s a lifting day, I’ll go downstairs where I’ve got my kettle bells and I’m ready to go, and then I’ll cool down with some lacrosse and some mobility stuff.  Or if it’s a run day, I jump off my bike and put my shoes on and run in my neighborhood right there.  And that’s the stuff that most 48-49 year olds aren’t doing. Your fighting days aren’t behind you.


XPT:  As a coach and athlete, what you say to athletes after a loss?

DOC: What I do is I say, “Next.”  My current Lacrosse goalie, Jared, just started playing Lacrosse in September.  By early November he wants to play goalie.  He’s new, so we’ll stay after practice for two hours shooting and every time he misses, I’ll say, “Next.”  Your NEXT game is your most important game.  What’s done is done.  You need to look ahead.  If you spend too much time licking your wounds then you’ll not be prepared for the race ahead.  If it goes well, enjoy it for two hours.  And then move on.  If it goes badly then sulk for two hours and then move on.  There’s nothing that so good that it’s going to keep the sun from rising the next day and there’s nothing that’s so bad that it’s going to keep the sun from setting that day. 

Also, be critical.  Be a scientist.  Look at what you did right.  Look at what you did wrong.  Look at the game film, even if it’s in your head.  The stuff you did right, repeat it.  The stuff you did wrong, lose it.  And that goes for winning and losing.   How am I going to make it better tomorrow?  There’s no such thing as perfection, it’s just striving for perfection.  There’s always going to be something that you can improve upon.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-4-52-54-pmDoc on the podium after winning the Powerman National Championship in 2015.

XPT:  Any additional thoughts for people who are thinking about attending an XPT Experience?

DOC: Do it and have an open mind.  Those are the two main things.  If you want to go then go, but when you do take all your preconceived notions and go in with a blank slate.  Because you’re going to be filled with a lot of different ideas.

2016-06-29-15-00-26Doc talks adrenaline at XPT Experience in Malibu, with some unexpected friends…

And take time to meet one on one with the various  advisors that are there.  There were a couple of people last summer who would seek me out every day.  So make sure you are getting that ROI, that return on your investment.  And then keep a journal to write down the stuff you like, the stuff you don’t like and what you think you’re going to take back to remember in your own life.  And then remember evolution, not revolution.  Move the needle a little bit at a time.  Maybe you learn a little bit about stress management.  Try it and give it 70 days because it takes 70 days for a behavior change to really take hold.  So give it 70 days and then put something else in and then put something else in after that.  And then in a year you’ve made five changes and that’s pretty good.   Learn more about XPT Advisor Dr. Brian Hickey and his incredible racing career.

For more XPT Spotlight Articles featuring professional athletes and advisors click here.

XPT chats with MLB Star Pitcher Clay Hensley on competition, winning the World Series & taking chances

Clay Hensley came to the Experience not knowing anything about XPT or what he was about to get himself into. He was invited to blend in with regular people for three days, and check out our methods. He brought along his brother Mike and together they unplugged and focused, learning our ways to breathe, move, eat well and to recover.  We sat down with Clay after the fact to catch up a bit on his career, what motivates him and what he thought about the whole thing.  2016-10-14-14-31-46-1

CH:  Playing baseball was a dream come true.  Since I was a kid, all I really wanted to do was play ball.  I was a really good center fielder coming out of high school but I was kind of a runt. I didn’t have any offers to play college baseball, so I ended up giving up on the game.  Then my senior year in college, my roommate wanted to walk on to the team.  It was one of those things he wanted to check off on his to-do list in life, and he was begging me to walk on with him and I was like, “That ship has sailed.”  He ended up talking me into it and I ended up walking on my senior year of college, made the team and they gave me a full ride scholarship, and then I ended up getting drafted that year.  So it was kind of nuts, it was very unexpected.  I knew I loved the game and had a passion for it, but to have been out of the game for three years and to walk on my senior year and have never really been a pitcher, I’d always been an outfielder.  But I made the team as a pitcher and ended up getting drafted that spring and then the rest is history with baseball.  I ended up playing for twelve years. clay-volleyball

XPT:  Why XPT?

I think a lot of the workout stuff with XPT, with my kind of make up, coming out of school and being a little bit of a runt, I felt like I always had to work harder to keep up with everyone else to kind of catch up with them a bit.  I’m 5’10” and traditionally in Major League Baseball pitchers are usually 6’3” or 6’4” so working out has always been a big part of my life just in general.  And it’s been pretty cool because a lot of the techniques that they talk up at XPT, a lot of the breathing techniques and a lot of that stuff is the stuff that we use when we’re pitching.  Being able to slow yourself down, gather yourself, focus on keeping yourself calm and being able to get through some of the exercises and workouts—playing baseball, being able to get through the stresses of the game and stay in peak condition at the same time.  So, there’s a lot of similarities and it works together, which is kind of interesting for me. clay-breathing

XPT:  What was the most exciting moment of your MLB career?

Winning the World Series, that was definitely a highlight of my career.  It’s funny because you don’t really realize how special it is to win a World Series, much less do it.  When you start seeing some of these guys play that have been playing for 15-20 years, All Stars, and they never get a shot at the dance.  So career wise, that was a highlight.

Then, in 2006, being in the top 10 of Major Leagues for ERA (earned run average) was a personal highlight.  But overall, just getting the opportunity to play was awesome to me, I always felt like I was playing on borrowed time as it was, somewhat being a midget out there compared to these other guys, but I took pride in that, too.  It’s kind of an underdog mentality that I’ve had throughout my life and my career in sports.  And I try and take that now into the business world.  I own a software company and an oil and gas company.  For me, I try and do things that are kind of special and kind of outside the box, and I guess it’s one of those things that if you tell me that it’s not able to get done then it’s Challenge Accepted.  And to kind of relate some of that stuff to XPT, is that’s one of the things I like about the program is that it does push you to challenge yourself.  When I was down in Malibu with the whole crew if you would have told me that I would be swimming in 20 feet of water with two 40 pound dumb bells, I would have asked you what I did wrong and who was trying to kill me.clay-xpt-water


It was pretty impressive some of the things that they were able to get me to do in such a short period of time, not having trained for it.  I’ve never done a lot of the breathing exercises that they were doing.  And you can tell that Laird has mastered that stuff, especially surfing the way that he surfs, you’ve got to be able to hold your breath for some period of time and also have the mind wherewithal not to panic in certain situations, especially when he’s surfing, I imagine.  So being able to do that and do a lot of the underwater stuff that I was able to do in just a short period of time was very impressive to me.  And that was more or less when I really bought in to the whole program.

XPT:  Is there an element from the Experience that you’ve taken with you into your regular training regimen?

I really like the breathing.  It’s funny, if you lose the ego and not worry about what you look or sound like while you’re doing this stuff and you really concentrate.  The first time I was doing the performance breathing, I was like, what are we doing (making huffing sounds, laughing)?  Ten minutes later I was able to walk forever under water with 40-pound dumb bells. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do that without those breathing exercises.  So I like that a lot.  I enjoy running and doing some endurance stuff.  And the breathing part, to me, just opens you up so quickly and you’re able to do so much and able to take so much oxygen in.  We don’t really think about being able to work out your lung capacity.  But you can stretch it out and get prepared.  If I would have known a lot of this prior to retiring from baseball, I just think, endurance wise, being able to go deeper in games and doing these breathing exercises between innings, would have been pretty beneficial and led to a little more success out there on the mound.  Click here for our XPT Daily Trainings, including breathing demo videos.

XPT:  What would you say to others who want to check out the XPT program?

Well, it’s really for everyone.  It was pretty cool, there were several participants who were in their 50s or 60s and you could tell that they weren’t always working out. They were there to challenge themselves.  And the things that they were able to accomplish was pretty exciting.  It doesn’t take a professional athlete.   An every day person can achieve immediate results with the breathing and with all that stuff.  One of the guys that was with us had never been on a paddleboard and he was concerned about being able to paddle out as far as we did—we went out for a couple of miles.  And when we got back to shore, he felt great.  It was cool to share his excitement.  So you can see this having an impact on not just the professional athletes of the world, but with youth and with older people.  
And a lot of the breathing exercises and being able to get to know your body a bit more and its capabilities at any age can help a lot of the challenges that older people are experiencing when they’re fatigued.  When you’re young a lot of this can happen pretty quickly and be pretty second nature because you’re still young and you’re still flexible and agile and still able to do these things.  But I liked the fact that this was able to make an impact with people whose daily lives don’t consist of working out all day.  So the impact on the overall well-being and health benefits for an older class as well as a younger class is pretty limitless, just depending on how hard they want to work and push themselves and that’s what XPT will allow people to do.  And I think when you see the immediate results and seeing the satisfaction that they have just creates more drive, it makes you want to go a little bit harder and challenge yourself a little bit more.clay-highx-1

XPT: What would you say to young aspiring athletes?

I know it’s a bit cliché and you hear all this stuff when you’re growing up about how if you put your mind to things that it can happen and if you put in the work that you can be anything you want to be.  And it sounds so cliché but I feel like I’m living proof of that and I firmly believe in that.  Whether it’s in sports or in education or in business as you’re moving on with life, be outside the box.  The problem is that everyone says that you can’t do it it’s because they’re too scared to try…too scared to fail.  And failure is a part of success, you don’t just get there winning the entire time.  You’ve got to fail and learn from the failures.  The biggest piece I see at the major league level and in business is that everybody’s afraid to fail and afraid of what people will think and letting their peers see them fail, but the fact is in order to achieve success in all walks of life you have to achieve failures and be able to pick yourself back up off the ground, learn from them and just keep striving forward.  I really love the saying that if someone says you can’t do something then challenge accepted.  And I live that motto throughout life.  From a kids perspective you can do special things, you can do things that people say you can’t do if you really work at it and you stay focused on it.clay-gym-workout

XPT:  Will you join us again for an Experience?

I can’t wait to go back.  I’m going to train a little bit for it beforehand so I can kick some more ass.

XPT:  Sounds like a challenge.

Gabby said, “Well you can’t tell that you’re competitive at all.”  She would say, “Alright we need to do this or do this,” and I would practically drown myself trying to do it the first time, but that’s just part of being an athlete, I guess.  Competitive, but in a friendly sort of way.  

XPT:  Challenge accepted.


Our goal is to reach anyone and everyone with XPT. Moving, breathing and eating well benefits all walks of life. To join us or learn more about the next XPT Experience click here. 


XPT Spotlight on NFL Alumni & Former CBS Survivor Castaway: Meet Steve Wright

Former NFL offensive tough guy Steve Wright played for the Colts, Cowboys and the Raiders, retiring from professional football in 1994 after an impressive 12 years in the game. He has been an XPT Experience and Hamilton pool regular since discovering XPT, and has brought his new knowledge of the training into his regular fitness regimen. We sat down with Steve to talk ice, breathing, Mike Ditka and starving in the jungles of Nicaragua for reality TV. Here’s how it all shook down.

Steve, how did you first hear about XPT?

My wife Liz and I first heard about XPT online. We respected and followed Laird and Gabby’s activities through Instagram. Laird and Gabby’s experience and passion for what they teach inspires you to dig a little deeper, focus a little more, and to raise your belief in yourself and hold it to a higher standard. And we needed a vacation and the XPT Experience delivered.

What’s your current fitness regimen and how does XPT training enhance that?

I’ve been doing beach workouts since 1987 when I moved out here. I became more aware of my weight–250 lbs–and 280 lbs when I was playing—and that working out on any man made surfaces—pavement or cement—running, stairs, climbing hills just beats your knees and your joints up so much.


I still do hills, there’s a Sand Dune park near me that I like. It’s brutal but it’s so forgiving on your knees and joints and it works your legs and thighs and your hams and everything but you don’t feel any of it in your joints. And it’s the same thing out on the beach, so I’ll do interval runs, walking and speed skater lunges where I jump back and forth like a speed skater down the beach.

My favorite element of XPT is really the pool work. Laird and Gabby emphasize how to focus while relaxing the mind and body, all while holding your breath and working through a sequence of dumbbell movements. It helps to workout in a pool with the weightlessness. You just feel really good, your joints and everything, so it’s just a remarkable difference than having gravity and the weights as you’re jumping up and down, because a lot of the pool work with XPT is jumps. And if you did that up in gravity with 20 pound weights in each hand, you’d be able to jump maybe a foot and after maybe 20 of them your knees and back would start hurting. So it’s amazing how the water just cushions and eases and works with you.


People do have different experiences with the performance breathing when they first start out. What was your experience early on and how are you finding it now that you’ve been at it for awhile?

I try to do at least 30 minutes of breath work 3-4 times a week. I really enjoy the calming benefits I get from it, as well as the stretching and centering myself. It’s an awesome feeling before doing hill work or going to the gym or just attacking the day. Air is paramount and knowing how to use it…building a relationship with it is key. The breath work and expanding your limits in the pool can be very profound. I always leave the sessions higher and in a better place for the rest of the day.

I also do the breathing at home, I sit on a mat or lay on a mat and do 20-30 minutes. Once you get started it’s easy to keep flowing. It really relaxes you, gets your mind off of everything. I like to put on some meditation music, some monks chanting or something and it just puts you in another place. You really can just feel it relax you internally. The program is super easy to do, there’s really no really right way or wrong way, you can get benefits from exhausting yourself, from exhaling as hard as you can, just clearing out all of your CO2, which the free divers do. My thing that I enjoy doing is just working on being able to hold my breath longer. After three weeks of breathing sessions, I went from being able to hold my breath for 2 minutes to 4 minutes. It’s so important and it’s amazing how I’ve never been exposed to it after 12 years of professional football and high school sports and college. No one ever talked about breathing and it’s just so bizarre because it has so many benefits. (For more on the benefits of XPT Performance Breathing click here)


Talk to us about recovery when you were in the NFL and post-training recovery now. What goes through your head when you’re in the ice bath?

As a former pro-football player, I’ve experienced more ice than the average Joe, and it’s always mind over matter: Clear the mind and focus. Once you experience the positive benefits from the ice and the daily consistency of the baths, it gets easier.

In the NFL, it was a game a week over 16 weeks. We used to do ice for 15 minutes, I think there was only a few inches of ice at the top of the bath, it wasn’t packed like XPT—they really pack the ice in there, which makes it a little bit colder—we used to sit in there for 15 minutes on Monday, the game was on Sunday, and we’d come in and break our lactic acid down by running and getting a sweat going and then lift weights and then go in and get your wounds and everything tended to. But it was voluntary, you weren’t told to sit in the ice bath, and everyone would fight over it, especially early, because the later you got into it, the dirtier the water would get. Now the teams have big ice baths that a lot of guys can get in all at once but this was just a little tub, but we’d climb in there for at least 15 minutes. And then Tuesday was our day off and it was amazing how I’d almost feel like I didn’t even play. It would revive your legs so much. If I didn’t do that, there was so much lactic acid and soreness and tightness and everything else. But when you sit in that ice bath then your body’s working triple overtime to get fresh fluids and blood in there and get the lactic acids and the bruises and everything just to get the circulation going again. (For an article on the benefits of heat and ice click here)

What’s it like going through each XPT Experience with a new group and how does this play into the journey?

At the XPT Experience you just feel the immediate sense that “we’re all in this together.” No egos, no belittling, just supporting one another. We’re together roughly 8AM-8PM for a solid three days of work, education, eating, resting and being together…relationships are quickly made. We all just look out for one another and egos are left at the door.

And I love Laird and Gabby. They are so helpful and giving to everyone else. They’ve got that X Factor of good, positive, loving, helping energy.

You talked a lot about team work on Survivor. How did being on CBS’s Survivor change your life? How did it change your body? What did you do after being on the show to get back into shape?

I’ve learned that when people say to me, “Hey, let’s go to dinner, I’m starving.” I think, no, I promise you’re not. I lost 33 pounds in 31 days. It was so unhealthy–not eating, except thousands of termites and little handfuls of rice. But it changed me, allowed me to really appreciate those that have less, who go to bed hungry every night. You learn to deal with it but it’s not a great way to go.

To get my health back, for one, I had to go through a whole parasite protocol. A ton of different herbs over the course of 6 months, I went to see a naturalist, my system was really screwed up. I got a really bad tooth infection. There was actually a little plant growing underneath my molar. My dentist said he’d never seen anything like it. You know, you don’t brush your teeth for over a month. It was bad.

When I got voted out then I was on a jury for about 4-5 days. We were contained at this place, a really nice little boutique hotel with probably 10 rooms on this cliff in Corona del Sur in the southwest corner of Nicaragua. I remember waking up the first morning after getting voted out and they were making eggs and pancakes and hash browns and everything else, and while they were doing that, I had the biggest bowl of ice cream, three different kinds of ice cream with chocolate sauce and M&Ms. It was raining and I was on this balcony looking down at the water and it was beautiful. I thought I was in heaven. Totally guilt-free. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but it was fun.

Do you think XPT can help current professional athletes?

During time outs and during the games when everyone else is just jumping around, to just sit on the bench for a few minutes and just deep breathe, basically fill up your lungs before you need it. You’re not just filling up your lungs, you’re trying to completely oxygenate your system. There are so many different drills you can do, but for sports, just filling up before the race or the competition. And it’s not just for athletes—filling up before you go into a board meeting, or a company meeting, or something you need to really focus on. Because when you’re tired, you’re yawning because your body is trying to fill up with more oxygen. So if you’re tired or if you’re driving home late, you can just take a couple of deep breaths it just wakes you up. Your brain needs it. Your system needs it.

imgres-4So, for sports teams, just load up when they need it. Pat Riley (President, Miami Heat) was up with us at the (Hamilton) pool and said he can’t wait to bring this back to the team. When I was with the Raiders, we’d just be standing out there in the field during a time out, maybe watching fights in the stands or talking. If they were to focus instead on doing some deep breathing, then when the game goes back on there’s nothing better. (Click here for more info on XPT Performance Breathing)

What advice would you give to young athletes who are dreaming of one day going pro?

Ya know, Mike Ditka pulled me aside one time and put his arm around me and saw that I was frustrated. He said that everyone here has the physical tools, everybody’s pretty much on the same page, everybody’s on the same level. There’s not an amazing standout and it really comes down to the shoulders up—your head. You’re gonna get beat. Learn fast. Be the smartest guy. There’s no reason not to learn all the plays in basketball or football or hockey or soccer, or anything else, don’t be caught off guard, all the information is there. And then learn how to deal with adversity, be a team mate. It comes down to everything above your shoulders. Because if you think you’ve got the talent then you may. You may have the physique and the athletic skills, pretty much a good chunk of the rest of the guys you’re playing with do, too. So it comes down to being mentally strong. Deal with getting your ass beat. Because it will happen. And you’d see guys that would point fingers and make up excuses or be lazy and just…do that little bit extra. Go in there ready to go.

Join us for the next XPT Experience. Make some new friends, take your training to a deeper level and make an investment in yourself. Click here to learn more.

-Team XPT

XPT’s 5 Questions with Kerri Walsh Jennings


Three-time Olympic Gold medalist and one-time Olympic Bronze medalist – the most decorated Pro Beach Volleyball Player ever – and arguably one of the best female athletes in the World, Mrs. Kerri Walsh Jennings, spent three days with us at the XPT Experience in Malibu this past October.   Afterward, we had some questions for her.  Here’s what she had to say…

  1. What does your typical daily fitness regimen consist of and did you learn anything new you can incorporate in your training from the XPT Experience?

KW:  My typical regimen over the past 15 years has included weight training, Pilates, a lot of beach volleyball training—obviously, I’m a fan—I do cardio and agility work, either on the beach or on the track, I do brain training, with or without my sports psychologist to work on my neuro-agility, I do rehab for whichever body part needs rehab, I have been working with a thoracic mobility specialist, so those have been my staples for a long time.  The thoracic mobility specialist is somewhat new over the past two years. 

My husband and I went to XPT a) because we love Gabby & Laird and b) because we’re always so curious to see what the leading edge people are doing and we just have so much respect for Gabby and Laird and Brian and their whole team, so we were so excited to go and learn from them.  It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite from the week because it was all just so amazing, truly, and I don’t say that lightly.  What I do plan on taking away from it and adding to my regimen was the breathing; it was just game changing for me.  It was just so powerful in so many different ways, for my brain, for my body, just for my entire being through and through.  The breathing training was really special.  Click here to learn more about XPT Performance Breathing…

And then the pool workout—Gabby’s been trying to get me into the pool for so long and I never made it work.  It was such a humbling experience but it was also so empowering and just makes so much sense for my goals in life, really, are just for sustained excellence and to keep improving.  I can’t keep beating up my body and so this is such a great way to minimize the impact on my body since you’re in water and it’s just better in that way, but you’re also able to workout dynamically and efficiently and very, very actively. 

One of my favorites of the weekend was a Gabby’s HIGHX workout.  It was on the last day for us.  It was ridiculous and I’ve been following her online but to experience it—it was so fun and so challenging but doable and the music was insane.  And Gabby is so inspiring so it was awesome to do that.

  1. How do you stay motivated and keep up your busy schedule with so much energy?

KW:  I love what I do, I love doing what I do and I love feeling good.  So, feeling good to me is being fit, being healthy, being active, being around people I love and chasing my dreams, alongside people I love.  So that’s kind of my life in a nutshell.  I don’t need any external motivation; it’s all very internally driven because I’m really fulfilled by doing what I do.
kerri-walsh-xpt Gabby Reece, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Casey Jennings and Coach Marcio Sicoli.

  1. Any packing suggestion for participants in the XPT Experience? What would be 3 things you’d recommend they take?

KW:  A bathing suit, a good open-minded attitude, mostly to allow yourself to be uncomfortable, because you’re going to be uncomfortable but it will take you to wonderful places.  I mean, literally, you need to just show up with a good attitude and a bathing suit and you’re set.  They take care of everything.  I guess maybe a pair of workout shorts.

It’s just such a special experience.  I really recommend the whole weekend to everybody.  Like, I don’t care if you’re 90 pounds overweight and you feel like you’re stuck and you want inspiration.  Or if you’re a young kid who is curious about what the experts are doing, or if you just want something fun to do—or whatever you’re looking for in life, this is a well-worthwhile commitment and an investment in yourself, because it’s just a game changer.

  1. Talk to us about sharks.  You were a little apprehensive about getting in the ocean for the SUP sessions with Laird.  What changed your mind and what was that like?

KW:  I grew up in Northern California in Santa Cruz doing lifeguards and it just crushed me, I watched Jaws too many times and it was really big fear of mine my whole life.  I’ve been talking to my sports psychologist about it for about 5 years and he’d say that you’re not ready yet for so many years, and a couple of months before XPT he’s like, “This is ridiculous, you need to confront this.”  So, a week before XPT I went out into the open water with him.  It scared the hell out of me, but I feel like I made progress. 

Kerri and Gabby chatting before she paddled out. Kerri and Gabby chatting before she paddled out.

It was just something that I told myself I had to do to a) experience the experience of being out in the water with Laird and the group and b) just to keep forward momentum.  And it was just extremely comforting being out there (in Malibu) with my husband who was right there by my side for the most part, and then I’m paddling 15 feet behind Laird.  And everyone was checking in on me the whole time, so I was never alone.   Gabby promised me I’d be in good hands and I never doubted that.  So I just couldn’t not do it. 

Kerri on her way into the ocean.

I’ll do it again.  My husband loves surfing and I really want to be able to enjoy these things with him.  And my kids, I don’t want to give them my fear so I just need to get over it and I just need to keep doing it and that’s how I’ll get over it.  So it’s wonderful.  The Malibu paddling was just ten times more intensive than I’d done a week before with my sports psychologist, so I feel if I just keep going out there that I’ll just keep getting better.

  1. Gabby has spoken out a lot on body image, especially with young girls, and as a fellow strong, tall woman, what advice would you give to young girls who are facing these issues, especially in the teen years?

KW:  This is such a tricky subject, because we all want to look good and feel good, but I think the biggest problem is that we compare ourselves to others.  I learned that too late in life, to stop comparing myself to others, but it was very liberating when I stopped doing that.  So, I would encourage all young girls to embrace what they have and not compare themselves to others.  I think that’s the trick to happiness in life, for yourself personally, when you’re on the job, when you’re inspiring to do great things, to just kind of look to yourself and make the most of what you have.  Complaining about something nonstop you can address it yourself but don’t wish you had something else because what you have is beautiful.

Want to join us for an XPT Experience and have your own personal transformation?  Here’s how 

-Team XPT

6 Questions with Deuce Gym’s Dynamic Strongman, Mr. Logan Gelbrich

Mermaids, Magic and the Benefits of Breathing:  6 Questions with Deuce’s Gym’s Dynamic Strongman, Mr. Logan Gelbrich

By Team XPT

1.  How did you hear about XPT? 


I’ve been fortunate enough to train with Gabby and Laird at their home in Malibu during the past two summers. I’ve known Brian Mackenzie for nearly a decade. When they asked me to speak to the Malibu experience group about implementing strongman for general fitness and lead a strength and conditioning evolution, I was blown away. During the Malibu Experience, I was able to participate alongside everyone else to get a grasp for what the XPT Experience is all about. 


2.  Before attending, what were your expectations and what did you hope to get out of it?  


While I had plenty experience with these guys in the pool, in the ice, and in the heat, I was anxious to dive into the breathing techniques. I was particularly interested in three full days of immersion. What Gabby, Laird, and Brian bring to the table is infectious to be around, so I was expecting a healthy dose of inspiration, too. 


3.  How did your expectations differ from what you experienced there?


Throughout my life, I’ve been continually amazed by the experiences that show me, not just things I don’t know, but the things I couldn’t have known I don’t know. There’s a difference. While I had plenty of insights and specific expectations about this experience, XPT surpassed it all. I couldn’t have known how powerful the group was going to be. The breathing alone was a spiritual experience worth the price of admission. I still keep in touch with the other participants!


4. Is there a particular element that stands out for you in terms of what best enhances your performance? 


While I was most specifically at XPT because I was a fitness person, it’s worth mentioning that I’m much more of an over-worked-scattered-business-minded person, like many people. The meditative clarity of the XPT experience transcended any in-gym performance hacks. That wasn’t it for me. I was just seven miles from my house the entire time and I felt like I was on another planet. 


5.  Anything you will regularly incorporate into your regular training regimen? 


As long as I am welcome, I will continue to take every opportunity to train along side these people. When I’m away from them, I’m incorporating breath work. Part of it is for physical benefit, but mostly for me the habits that are foundational to XPT are so rooted in lifestyle that it makes me a better writer, a better leader, and a more dynamic communicator. 


6.  What was the highlight of the week (could be a funny story, could be a breakthrough or an obstacle you faced, etc.) 


There was a moment during a stand-up paddle where I found myself in an unrecognizable scenario. Like I said, I’m from Los Angeles, I’ve spent time in Malibu, and even many of the faces at the XPT were familar to me. Nonetheless, there I was on a paddle, in Paradise cove wondering where I was. I mean you can look into the water and see kelp that looked like an underwater pre-historic tree as tall as any tree I’d seen on land. To my right, a woman form outside our group dives under the water and catching her long fins out of the corner of my eye made me feel like I was seeing things. “Mermaid?!” All of this comes, of course, on top of an inspirational day of constant activity and blissful mindset practice. It felt unreal. Just writing this is funny because as I read it, it still seems like fiction.


7.  Would you recommend this for just anyone? 


Anyone. Everyone. Period. 


Logan Gelbrich, CCFT, is the owner of DEUCE Gym in Venice Beach, California and ORIGINAL Nutritionals, a CleanAthlete sports nutrition company. He's a four-year alum of the nationally acclaimed University of San Diego baseball program, as well as an ex-pro with the San Diego Padres as a catcher. In addition, as a national level strongman competitor, he currently travels the world coaching the CrossFit Strongman Seminar. You can find his writing in various magazines, including Muscle and Performance Magazine and The Box Magazine. 

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