Mental toughness isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you learn and practice and develop over time. And Andy Frisella is living proof of that.
The Founder of 1st Phorm, the “Real AF podcast host”, 75Hard program creator, and all-around badass Andy Frisella knows discipline and mindset and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
It’s no secret that Foundr is a huge fan of Frisella’s work with developing mental toughness and discipline (in fact, most of our team has completed his 75Hard challenge!) and after listening to this interview, you’ll be a fan too.
Frisella is raw, real, and straight to the point with everything he believes in with mental health, building a brand, company values, and aspiring to become the best version of yourself possible.
Nathan: Andy, thanks so much for taking the time, man.
Andy: I’m happy to have some human interaction here is limited as can be. Thanks for having me on Nathan, appreciate it brother.
Nathan: You’re welcome. So I was just saying, I was just about to say offline, it’s so great to connect, the stuff that you’ve done with the 75 Hard Challenge is incredible. This is a true legacy that you’re building, one of my coaches and advisors, who’s built a very, very large business, he’s doing it right now. We’ve got hardcore lockdowns here in Melbourne. And he said to me, “Nathan, this is one of the most life-changing things I’ve ever done.” Charlie’s, he’s behind the camera, he’s on day, I think 25 or 30, 25. I’m going to do it… But before we get into that, what you’re doing there with the challenge is just incredible. I saw you and we’ve gone up and back over Instagram very, very long time ago, maybe four or five years ago. So look, thanks so much for coming on man. Because you have an incredible story.
Andy: Thank you.
Nathan: So the first question I ask everyone that comes on, is how did you get your job?
Andy: Oh, man. Well, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. Even when I was a kid, I was the kid that was always trying to have a little hustle to try to figure out how to make some money. I did all the things kids do, baseball cards, sold lemonade and snow cones, I sold light bulbs door to door. I always try to figure out how to get something going. And I didn’t do well in school because I always knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be a business owner and I knew I could recognise information that was relevant to that and what it wasn’t. So it wasn’t that I wasn’t a smart kid, it was just that I knew what I was interested in and I didn’t pay attention to anything that I wasn’t.
So it was almost like I was just hyper-focused. I went through school, I struggled, I was a good athlete. And then when I got out of high school, I went to college like you’re supposed to. And my first year of college, I realised very quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. And so I quit and I started a small company in 1999 called Supplement Superstores, which is a retail chain, vitamins and sport performance supplements and health supplements. And I did that with my business partner Chris, who’s still my partner today. And we started with $12,000 and we got the $12,000 by paying the parking lot stripes, the parking spaces. And we did that and we were able to accumulate a little bit of startup money and we got the business off the ground.
That first 10 years were very hard. That first day we sold seven bucks. The second day we sold zero, the third day we sold $22. We didn’t have a day over $200 for eight months. Our second store took us six years. It was very slow. The first three years of business, I made $0. I had to work other jobs the whole entire time to even keep the store open. And then we got to a point where in 2010, we had some things going, we had six stores at that time and we decided to… We had just got 1st Phorm started, we had one product and we weren’t rich after 10 years basically. And we had to have a conversation, a reality where it was, “Well, do we want to keep doing this or do we want to do other things?” Because Chris and I were only making $695 a month, 10 years into the business. So we could have literally made more money working at McDonald’s or working anywhere.
And so we had to get real with where we were in life. We were both nearly 30 years old, but there was one thing about what we did that we enjoyed, which was, in our business, when you help someone learn about nutrition and exercise and how to eat and how to train, incredible transformations happen. We would have these people that would come in after six, seven months of training after talking to us and they’d be unrecognisable, they’d have tears in their eyes, they’re super happy. And we love that part of the business. That was a part of the business that we really enjoyed.
And so we got to a point where we’re like, “Well, we don’t really want to do anything else, but we know we’re not going to be wealthy doing this. So let’s just try to replicate that result with people, the best that we can.” And when that happened, everything changed for us. We grew a hundred percent, five years in a row. And everything started to click because we took the focus off of what we could get and put it on what we could give. And so fast forward another 10 years, 11 years, and here I am. So that’s how I got the job.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow. That’s interesting. So, crazy stories. I know you always talk more often of the hard times, the stuff that people don’t talk about. You’re not a fan of the glitz and the glamour and the Lamborghinis and all that kind of stuff that get rich quick kind of rubbish that’s out there. I’m curious around, just for clarity for the audience, for those that aren’t familiar with how big 1st Phorm is now and what you’ve done with the 75 Hard Challenge. Can you give a bit of an idea of scale with 1st Phorm now?
Andy: Oh yeah. We should hit 500 million in sales this year. So we’re big for a couple of guys that have no clue what we’re doing, we’re doing okay. So, that’s definitely important to know. And the last three or four years, we’ve had about a 80% growth rate every single year. So we’ve been doing very well, staying on the throttle. Our goal is, we want to be the next Nike level, Under Armour level, Adidas level brand for people out there that doesn’t just have a apparel, but also performance such as Gatorade. So we’re trying to combine those two worlds into one super company. It’s going to be a lifelong project for us, for sure.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow. And everything that you’re doing, are you extremely active in the company, or you’ve taken a little bit of a step back?
Andy: No, I’m here every day just like normal, and I do what a normal CEO would do. I handle all the different departments, I meet with everybody once a week. I haven’t removed myself from that in regards to 1st Phorm. Now, a few of the other companies that we own, yeah we do have guys that act as a CEO, things like that. My brother helps me out with running 1st Phorm a lot. He’s the president of 1st Phorm. So him and I handle the CEO duties together. Trust me man, I wish I could back myself out of it, but we have so far to go, I feel like it won’t happen unless I’m still in it.
So Nathan for me, a lot of people will say, “Oh, congratulations on success and this and that.” But for me, the last 20 years have been just so that we can get into that bigger game. So now we’re in a situation where we can actually compete at a bigger scale and it’s almost like having a brand new business because everything changes and that’s really exciting as well. You’ve talked to thousands and thousands and thousands of guys, the guys that get to this level where we’re at, we’re built for this man, it’s in our blood and I can’t get out of it even if I wanted to. And I could, I could do whatever I want.
If I wanted to buy a ranch up in Montana and disappear and never post again on the internet, never do another podcast, I could do that today and I personally, would be fine. But I take the responsibility of having employees and being responsible for their development and their livelihoods very serious. I have a lot of guys who have been with me for 10, 12, 15 years, who started out at seven bucks an hour that are now making considerable income. And my goal is to create the opportunity for them to have a life that they want just how they’ve done that for me, if that makes sense.
So I feel a real serious obligation to my people. And that’s why I haven’t backed out, and that’s why I haven’t sold, and that’s why I haven’t taken money off the table, and I’ve just kept in because they were there for me and I’m going to be there for them. And that’s how it works. And everybody asks, “How do you guys have the relationship? How do you have the culture that you have?” It’s because of what I’m talking about right now. They know that I’m there for them, Sal’s there for them, our leadership is there for them and they’re there in return for us. So it’s a total cohesive team effort in this building. You know what I mean?
Nathan: Yeah, no, I really respect that. I have heard a lot about your culture and how intentional it is and how you’ve built it strategically. Even one of my senior leaders, our head of marketing Dave, massive fan of yours, a lot of people at Foundr team’s massive fan of yours. So everyone was really pumped when we were interviewing you. And I’d love to hear, that intention. Can you tell us about your company values and what would onboarding look for a new team member in the first couple of weeks? I’d love to hear.
Andy: Yeah, for sure, man. So I think part of the problem when it comes to culture and business owners is that most business owners and most people think that culture is an accident. They think that when you go into your favourite restaurant or your favourite store, and it has that feeling and you just happen to like it, we tend to think that that’s just an accident. And a lot of times it is happenstance, or it is just an alignment that happens to be by chance. But if you take that a step further and you start to understand that that can be created, that’s where the doors of growth start to open for true entrepreneurs to grow their brand.
Like you said, a lot of the guys that are out there right now, they’re not committed to building a brand, they’re committed to building a stream of income and it’s important to delineate the difference. So I do love the Lamborghinis and Ferraris and all that stuff, I just know that it’s appropriate at a certain time. So if we’re talking about building a brand and not an income stream, we’re talking about two different things. So when you build a brand, you have to decide what it is you want your brand to feel like, taste like, smell like and be to your consumers and your employees. And not a lot of people do that.
And what tends to happen is, a lot of people, their brand automatically takes on the persona of whoever the CEO is. So the brand is whoever the CEO is, but then what happens when the CEO dies or he moves on, or he sells the company? Everything changes. So that’s a big liability to a brand because you should be able to replace leadership and maintain the same field. So how do you do that? Well, you have to design it intentionally. And so that’s where the idea of having a certain set of values that guide your brand come into place.
So when you set your values up, and this is how I would recommend it to all the young entrepreneurs listening, when you set your values up, you have to really ask yourself on the inside, what do I stand for? What do I want my company to stand for? And what are the good things about me personally, that I want our customers and our employees to represent and know? And this is important, it has to be true. Because if it’s fake, you won’t live the values and your customers and your employees will see it. And it will create a sense of deception, of a fake culture that actually pushes people away.
So it’s very important that whenever you decide what it is that you’re going to represent, that it’s something that you can literally stand on as a human. So what I recommend for younger people to do, is to outline six to 10 values that would represent who they are. And then you have to make them known. You have to teach people what they mean and what they stand for. And then here’s the hard part. You have to live those, yourself and your company.
So, when we talk about… I speak to people all over the world like you do as well. When we talk to people who are not familiar with what culture really is, this is really confusing because terms like value and terms like culture, they’re thrown around. If you go watch any of the video by any guru, they talk about value and they talk about providing value and they talk about culture. None of them really ever elaborate on that, it’s just a 60 second clip. And you’re sitting there like, “Well, what the hell are they talking about?”
So what they’re talking about is how to intentionally create that feeling where your customer can pick up whatever it is, the shirt, the bottle, the cell phone case, whatever. And they get that feeling about what it is that you want your brand to stand for. And that 100% requires an intentional effort. And that’s why there’s so few companies that have a loyalty or a following that some of the most famous companies in the world do, like Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson guys usually aren’t riding Yamahas. And it really doesn’t matter if Yamaha gives them a bike, they’re still gonna ride a Harley, they’re going to pay to ride a Harley. Because the culture is a part of who they are and who they identify with.
And so moving from just a… These are the two extremes, we’ve got the entrepreneur who has a product, he’s got a cell phone case. And then we have on the other end of the scale, the entrepreneur whose cell phone case is so popular and so good and so desired that people won’t use another one, even if they get it for free. And those are the two ends of the spectrum. And the one you want to be on is the one where people are so loyal to your product, that they won’t use anybody else’s product, because the market is so competitive now that anybody could come in and compete on price, and anybody could come in and compete on service, and anybody could come in and compete on how fast they get you your product. So what are we really competing for? We’re competing for a consumer’s loyalty, we’re competing for their identity, we’re competing to be a part of their life.
And that’s where a lot of entrepreneurs are missing the ticket and they can’t get any market share because this process, unfortunately, is a slow one. It’s not something that you can do in three weeks, become a millionaire in 21 days. You just can’t do it, it takes time and it takes commitment. And it also takes real honesty amongst the leaders of the company. We have to assess ourselves daily and say, “Okay one of our core values here is, accept responsibility.” Very simple things, these aren’t crazy things. But am I accepting responsibility for any of the issues that we have? Because ultimately, I’m the CEO. If there’s a problem in shipping with a guy who doesn’t want to do the work, that’s actually my fault. And the reason it’s my fault is because I didn’t put in place enough of a system or teach enough to where that would be eliminated as a problem.
It’s like what Jocko talks about with extreme ownership. You have to own all of your problems and you have to be the person who is always… And a lot of times, even the guys who make the core values, the CEO who decides on the core values, they drift away from the core values. So the core values that you set for your company should be something that you measure yourself against, you measure your product against, you measure your employees against. And then the big key here is, not only do you measure them, but you correct and reward in those areas as well.
So for example, if I were to go out and talk to this person in the warehouse who’s having a bad time or a difficult time, I would talk to him, I wouldn’t go out there and I wouldn’t say, “Hey, Joe, you’re really screwing up. You’re doing a terrible job.” That’s not what I would do. What I would do is, I would say, “Hey, Joe, I heard that you’re having some issues with this.” And on the wall in the warehouse, are the core values, they’re real big. And I would say, “Here, let me help you. You’re struggling with this, what core value does that correlate to up there on the wall?” And I would have a conversation with them about what that… And he’d probably say, “Well I don’t know, I guess I’m just being lazy.” And I say, “Okay, good. Where does that fit in?” And he’s going to say, “Be disciplined.” Because that’s another core value. And I’m going to say, “That’s right.” And so basically we have a teaching moment. And we might do that three or four or 10 times, as long as they’re continuing to progress.
Now, if you go out and coach this person or correct this person on this system, and they don’t make the adjustment on their own, you know what happens, we have to move on. So we have to weed people out then. That’s just a real simple example of how you would thin the herd to make sure that culture people are first. And a lot of people reward on sales and they reward on very easily measurable metrics. But what the problem with that is that’s not truly what builds great culture. Because what happens is, we end up with this almost killer shark mentality, where it’s all about the sale and it’s never about the customer, and that ruins the customer experience.
So what we do, is we actually reward peer review rewards based on our core values consistently. And what that does is, that helps people strive towards the values, which produce the business. So we are a culture first company and sales second if that… And bro, this is like a six hour conversation. I could go on and on about this, but hopefully that paints a picture of how we have to tie it together intentionally.
Nathan: Yeah, it does make sense. And is that how the awards comes into it? Do you have an annual awards?
Andy: Yes. So we have monthly awards where our whole company will get together and celebrate together once a month. And then we have yearly awards that are basically the year version of those awards for the whole year. So for example, every month we give away an award called Go the Extra Mile. Go the Extra Mile is exactly what it sounds like. It’s for the person who went the extra mile the best way for somebody outside of our immediate network.
So the example that I talk about a lot, one of my guys here, Drew, who started out as a $7 an hour guy, he won Go the Extra Mile award. One time, we had a customer come in shopping at our retail store, the customer’s battery went dead. Drew went to the AutoZone, the store we have here, he bought them a battery and installed it in their car and then got them back on the road as a nutrition store employee. So this person came in, and then they left and their experience is going to be legendary from now on. What’s that person saying about the company, forever? So we reward Drew with a monetary bonus for creating those experiences. And when you start to reward people for creating those kind of experiences, you can imagine what it does for your sales.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that’s really smart. So I’d love to switch gears and talk a little bit more about this movement that you’re building with 75 Hard and also 1st Phorm. So obviously you’re very, very talented at community building, building insane lifelong advocates that are promoting your personal brand, your company’s brands. How do you do that? What is the method behind that? What is the intention? What is the strategy behind that?
Andy: Bro, I wish I could tell you, man. I ask these guys all the time, why do people listen to me? I think what it is brother honestly, is that I’m a regular guy. And I think if you put a camera on me, I’m not polished, I’m going to say what I want to say, and I’m going to tell the truth. And I think just that truthfulness has gotten me a long way with that. And so with the 75 Hard programme, that’s the truth, that’s what I’ve used myself to build what everybody sees. And I use it, I’m very open.
For the last 20 years I’ve suffered with very severe depression on and off. I use the 75 Hard programme to help me some of the most difficult times through my life. And I use bits and pieces of it. And it wasn’t until last year, 2019 that I decided, I’m like, “Okay, we’re just going to call this something and we’re going to put it out there so people can use it too.” And that’s what happened. And I explained what to do and people started doing it and it worked for them and when things work and you have a good product, they spread.
So when it comes to growing an audience like that, I wish I had some more strategy, but the truth is bro, I just tell the truth, man. And I try to be honest with people and I try to let people know. And I think this is the biggest part of it, is that dude, I struggle too, I have a hard time too. People see the success and they see cars and houses and planes and buildings and all this cool shit. But fuck man, that’s stuff’s not easy, it’s hard. And a lot of entrepreneurs out there, they like to use their success to build their character into this superhero type person. And we all know that’s bullshit.
And the dangerous part about that to me, is that… Because I’ve lived this man, I’ve been that guy who was 19, 20 years old, all the way up until I was 30, that felt like, “Fuck, I don’t know if I have what it takes to do this. This is hard. I’m not winning, I’m making $0.” And I’m looking around at all these other guys and I’m like, “Why are all these guys winning so big, but I’m hurting?” And so what I started to think was, “Well fuck Andy, you might just be a terrible entrepreneur.” And I remember feeling like that for 10 years.
So it’s very important to me… I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, you know that. But it’s because I just tell the truth, bro. And I don’t have a problem with my ego saying, “Hey, I’m a regular dude.” In fact, I would rather put that message out there for people because I remember what it was like being the younger guy, trying to make it and feeling I wasn’t good enough. And the truth is, I was good enough, I just hadn’t done it long enough. And I hadn’t learned the lessons and I hadn’t acquired the skills to be great at it. And eventually, even if you’re not very smart, if you do something for a long time, you’re going to get good at it.
And so that’s really the story with me, bro. I wish… When it comes to building a culture inside a building and outside a building, I understand how to do that. But the truth is, to run that culture, it takes realness, it takes honesty, it takes transparency. And a lot of people can’t wrap their brain around that. They still want to play the part, so to speak. And I think that’s for their own ego. I think a lot of guys out there, they want to be a big deal. And I think that when you want to become a big deal at such a… Your desire to become so strong to be a big deal over your obligation to show people that they can do things that they’re capable of.
I think the obligation there, is to tell the truth and say, “Hey I’m not that great and you have more skills than me.” I tell DJ this all the time. DJ is my security guy, he’s 25 years old. I’m like, “Bro, you’re a hundred steps ahead of where I was at 25.” And he’s… You know what I’m saying? So I feel an obligation to really show people that they can fucking do it, man. And that’s really what it comes down to. And I really think, because I have this conversation all the time man, I’ll be in the pool with my wife and we’re talking and I’m like, “What is it? Why do people care?” But I think they care because I care. I think that’s the truth. So that’s my best guess at least, I don’t know.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s that authenticity. You’re an extremely authentic guy. And I think people really resonate with that, and you’re very open, you’re very honest. It’s no bullshit. And you show vulnerability as well, which I think people can really connect with. And you talk about the hard times and you definitely shop on the hot times more than most. I’m also curious at the level you’re playing at right now, you talk about how you used to compare yourself to others. Do you compare yourself to others right now at the level you’re playing at?
Andy: Yeah, but it’s not who you would think. A lot of people ask me that and I compare myself to guys like Phil Knight. I compare myself to guys like Steve jobs, I compare myself to guys like Bezos. I don’t compare myself to… And I know that sounds ridiculous because I’m a speck of dust compared to what those guys have accomplished, but that’s the standard that I try to hold myself to. And I tell myself, “Okay, those are lifelong guys. Those are guys who gave their whole life to what they have.” And I’m 40 years old, I haven’t given my whole life to that yet.
So in a lot of ways, my mentality is probably the same as a lot of the younger guys now when they look at me. And so I’m really in the same boat, it’s just at a different level. I don’t want that to sound arrogant like, “Oh, I think I’m like that.” No, that’s where I aspire to go because I realise also, that when we build a company to that level, we can do a lot better job than I think any of those companies, actually building our economy locally, making a good difference in the world, as opposed to just…
There’s a lot of good that can be done with a company that size and I don’t see any of the big companies doing it. I see a lot of big companies pretending to do it. But we see with, let’s say Nike right now, where they’re making products in China and they’re not even paying their workers. That’s not okay. I would not be okay with making money that way. So I feel like we have an obligation to get to that level so that we could show the world what it looks like to do it the right way and not just go all in on corporate greed.
Nathan: Yeah. No, I agree. So I’m curious as well. Who do you learn from to play at the level you’re playing right now and to aspire to build a multi-billion dollar brand?
Andy: Well, that’s interesting brother because I find myself right now without anybody to talk to. Just like a lot of entrepreneurs who are at the beginning, they feel alone but they have podcasts to listen to from guys like you, guys like me, guys like Ed Mylett, guys who have done things to get coached upon. There’s lots of other guys, Dan Fleyshman’s a guy. I told you, he’s my friend, he’s right here. I haven’t built those relationships yet to be honest.
So I’m sort of in that no man’s land, is where I call it. What you’re going to go through a number of times through the phases of entrepreneurship, where you’re in-between friend groups and phases. And so right now, I pick up what I can pick up from books about guys, but I don’t have the relationships on a level yet where I’m calling up Phil Knight and say, “Hey, Phil, what the fuck do I do bro?” You know what I’m saying? So I’m learning as I go right now on that level, to be honest. I try to… Go ahead.
Nathan: No, sorry, please go on.
Andy: No, I just try to watch. I talk to Gary Vee, Gary is a good buddy of mine. I talk to Gary but Gary and I are playing the same game. So we kind of, “I’ll let you know man, but I’m sure I’m going to fuck it up somehow, but I’m doing the best I can.” I see you have Seth Godin on your morning… I think Seth Godin is the most brilliant entrepreneur mind that’s existed, ever. Guys like that is where I try to learn, you know what I mean?
Nathan: I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I’m curious as well. It sounds like you feel like no matter what journey you’re on, wherever you’re at, you do need to learn from others. How do you plan to approach that? Finding people that are a couple of steps ahead of you, networking and going out there at the level you’re playing at and the level you want to play at? How do you plan to attack that?
Andy: Well, what’s cool… So Ed Mylett and I started this group called Arete Syndicate, which is a entrepreneur group. It’s a group that you have to qualify to be into, you have to fill out an application and everything. But what’s cool about that group is there’s actually people in that group that are more successful than both of us. So we’re able to connect with people through that group and it benefits us as well in that way.
But yeah man, the bigger you get the less available people are, because there’s just not that many people out there. How many people out there own a $5 billion company? There’s just not a lot of people. So what I try to do bro, is I try to look at what other companies that I admire do, and I try to watch their moves and deduct their reasoning and their thought process and basically this is kind of what I did with the supplement industry back when I couldn’t afford to be in the supplement industry.
So when I had my one retail store, we didn’t have very many customers, so Chris and I had a lot of time to watch all the other brands do everything. And through watching, we were able to figure out what their game plan was and then see how it worked and observe and learn without actually having the contact with them. And I think if you could teach yourself to do that, you really remove the necessary of having someone that you have to call or text or e-mail or coach. Really, the best way to learn, in my opinion is to pay attention and watch every single move of what people do and how they do it, and then see if you could figure out why they’re doing it and then paying attention if it works or not. You get a free lesson right there, it’s free.
So that’s sort of what I’ve always done, man. I’ve never paid, and this is not saying that you shouldn’t, I’m a big believer, but I’ve just never paid to have a consultant or a mentor or anything like that. I’ve just figured it out as I go. And that’s how I do it, is I look at everybody else and then I take their moves and I make them, was it good? Was it bad? How to work out? What were they thinking it was going to work like? And from what you could see in the public, it’s pretty easy to do that it seems like. Not on a daily basis, but you have to pay attention to somebody over the course of time. You know what I mean?
Nathan: Yeah, no. Look, Tony Robbins talks about success leaves clues, and he’s a big fan of modelling and you can look at companies just like I do, like many others do and you can study what they’re doing, you can watch what they’re doing. You can see the moves that they’re making and you can work out what’s going on in the mechanics behind it.
Andy: Yeah. Tony Robbins, that’s a guy I’ve always loved his content. When I was 17 years old, I listened to Personal Power, one of his programmes. It was amazing. It was the first time I’d ever really heard someone talk about a lot of the things that everybody talks about now. And so he’s definitely a guy that has shaped ethic… As in anybody who’s in the entrepreneur space as a guru right now, if they say that Tony Robins didn’t shape them, I think they’re full of shit. That guy’s done a lot of good for a lot of people.
Nathan: Yeah, no, I agree. So I’m curious, I’d love to talk to you about mindset. That’s one thing that you are known for. You have this rock solid mindset and I’m a big believer in around the idea that if you want to do something, whatever it is, whatever your goals are, whatever you want to accomplish in life, if you truly believe that you can do it, that is half the battle. What is your take there? And how do you cultivate having this discipline that you have, having and yes you fault up, we all do, but what are you doing to fuel your mindset, to have a really solid mindset, to be fearless?
Andy: Yeah. I think the main thing that I always tell myself is what if I don’t do it? What if I don’t? What if I don’t? What if I don’t do everything I can? What am I going to feel like at the end of my life? What am I going to feel like in 10 years? What am I going to feel like in two years? And that took a while to really… It takes getting a little older to have that really lock in. And it took me until I was about 35 years old to really have that make sense. And at that time I was making a tonne of money but I was very, very unhealthy, very fat, very lazy when it came to… And I own nutrition companies, which made no sense. But like you said, a lot of… Guys, I’m going to let you in a little secret, a lot of the shit that I say that you guys love, I’m talking to myself, man.
So really what you’re hearing when you hear me get intense and say, “Hey, you need to do this, this, this, this, this,” really what you’re hearing is me telling me what I need to do. And so if you were with me 24 hours a day like DJ is here most of the time, you would understand. Dude, I have weak moments, I have struggles. This shit, what we see online, even for me, or even a guy like Goggins who’s… I know Goggins, he’s a stud. But Goggins has to tell himself sometimes, “Hey, quit being a bitch.” And so what we’re hearing is, what you guys are getting to experience is internal dialogue. And so I think… How did I get to have that mentality? I think one, I realised that we have a finite amount of time to accomplish what it is we want to accomplish. And that took me a long time to figure out.
When I was in my 20s and my first half of my 30s, like most people, you think you’re going to live forever, but then things start happening. Maybe you get hurt, or maybe a friend gets killed in an accident or gets sick, or maybe you get sick and you start to have this understanding that you have a time limit here. And when that really sunk in with me is when my life changed in terms of my mindset. I started to realise, “Okay, this is real, this isn’t a rehearsal, this is my real life. And if I’m going to be what I really want to be, I’m going to have to do things very focused and very intentional and be a machine of productivity in all areas of my life.”
And so I think that happens at different points in life for different people. Some people it never happens and they’re okay living less than where they thought they wanted to be. I’m just not one of those people. I’m a very literal person. If I say, “Hey, I want to be a hundred billion dollar company.” That doesn’t mean I want to be a $1 billion company, it means a hundred. And so I just realised, man, this is the truth. I’m not that smart, I’m not that skilled. And for me to compete with some of these dudes that are, I have to give it everything I have. And so that was really the mindset flip for me when it came to developing discipline and mental toughness and the things I needed.
And now I’m so far into it that I’m scared to death of going back, but I don’t know if I actually could, because I just see things so different now. Bro, when you and I first met, I was 350 pounds, you know what I’m saying? It was quite a bit different back then. All the stuff that got me on the map, the fiery rants and the shit that no one really was talking about. That was just me telling me, dude, “You need to quit being a lazy piece of shit.” And people resonate with it I guess. It’s just internal dialogue brother. And I have a very strong ambition and I have a very strong, what I call bitch voice.
So everybody has a boss voice and a bitch voice, that’s what I call them. And we want to listen, we want to train ourselves to listen to that voice that tells us, “Hey dude it’s time to go for a run. You haven’t done shit today. You laid on the couch all day, you ate like shit. Get off your fat ass and go for a run.” That’s our boss voice. Now that boss voice doesn’t sound very good, it sounds painful.
And our bitch voice is the one that says, “No dude. Look, tomorrow’s fine. You already messed up this day. We’ll start again tomorrow. It’s all good.” And that is the voice that controls most people. Most people make all of their decisions based around comfort, based around that what I call the bitch voice in their lives. And that’s why they feel all the time, out of control. That’s why they feel powerless. It’s why they have anxiety, it’s why a lot of people get depression episodes. And it’s also why they never meet the person they want to meet. They never make the money they want to make. They never look the way they want to look. It’s really the downfall of their entire existence as they listen to this one voice in their head.
And to really change your life, all you have to do is train yourself to listen to the other one. But nobody wants to talk about that because right now in society, what’s popular? Self-love, be nice to yourself. Well, dude, I’m going to be honest. If I got DJ sitting here and I care about DJ, I’m going to tell DJ, “Hey bro, you got 50 pounds to lose.” That’s what love is. I’m loving that dude. Because I’m telling him the truth and I’m giving him the opportunity to change it. And that’s just how I see things. So, I don’t know. At one point in time, I figured out, “I need to start listening to that guy that sounds real mean in my brain,” and my life got a lot better when I did.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that’s fascinating. So did you ever experience any adversity for this big change? Something that just… Was it a snap?
Andy: Oh, well, yeah dude. I got tired of people call me fat on the internet to be honest. That was the first thing. I will put out these great videos telling people about business and how to make money and do all these things. And the thing I would get back is “Bro, you’re fucking fat.” And I got tired of hearing that. Oh dude, every single video that you ever saw mine, every single one, people saying that. And dude, eventually, you just get tired of hearing it. And for me, I’m the kind of guy that I want to shove it down your throat.
So I think I just got enough of that and I was finally like, “You know what? Fuck all of you. I’ll show you what the fuck I can do.” And I just went hard in that direction and I stuck there. And now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m making the most money I’ve ever made. It’s really the best it’s ever been for me. All because I got pissed off and I said, “Dude, I’m done with this.” And obviously I had logical conversations in my brain where I was, “Okay, well, they’re actually doing you a favour by telling you the truth.” And so all those people that used to call me fat, I actually really appreciate those people now because it made me change that, it made me move towards that switch at some point. I wouldn’t say there was a moment in time, but I can remember one moment, I had pneumonia and it was 2014 I think, or ’15. And I remember I was laid on the couch watching that movie Pacific Rim, you’ve seen Pacific Rim?
Nathan: Oh, yeah.
Andy: Yeah. So I’m a sucker for those kind of movies that are real bad. But I watched Resident Evil, if Resident Evil’s on, I watch it all the time, even though it’s terrible, I don’t know why. But so I watched Pacific Rim laying at home and dude, I had pneumonia, I couldn’t go to work. So I watched that movie every day, but I kept checking my phone for our sales, sales went up, they went up, they went up. I’m like, “Fuck dude, I’m killing it. I’m making all this money.” And I’m laying there 350 pounds watching TV. I actually just told you about this today. And I’m like, “This is not what life’s about. This is not what it is.”
And I realised what a lot of wealthy people say. Money is a good thing, but it will not make you happy. And so I wasn’t happy and I was making a lot of money. And I knew that the first thing for me to be happy was to start getting that weight off of me so that I could experience normal things. Because dude, when you’re that big, you don’t go to pool parties, you don’t go to picnics. You don’t go anywhere because you’re embarrassed of how big you are. When I was getting on the plane, the flight attendants were asking me if I need a seatbelt extender. And I’m like, “What the fuck are you talking about? I’m a fucking athlete.” Because I was always an athlete growing up. But I had lost touch of where I was and I almost did need a seatbelt extender.
God, I can remember I was flying private dude and the fucking pilot asked me if I need a seatbelt extension, man. I almost fucking killed him. I was so fucking mad and my wife was with me and she’s like, “I can’t believe he asked you that.” And now I’m like, “You know exactly why he asked me that, because I fucking probably needed one.” So I don’t know, bro. I think I just got enough of what I didn’t want that I just didn’t want it anymore. You know what I mean? And it just flipped. So now I try to show other people how to do the same thing.
Nathan: Hmm. Yeah. And do you get stuck throughout this journey where you’ve had this mindset shift and what appears to be an extremely disciplined person? Your core values, discipline and ownership, do you get stuck? What do you do when you’re stuck?
Andy: You mean burned out?
Nathan: Yeah, burned out. Yeah.
Andy: I just keep going, man. I got what I think might be a broken rib right now. And I could barely breathe and barely move and we were down… DJ trains with me and we were down training legs yesterday and I could tell he wanted to ask me, “Hey bro, you want to stop?” How many times did you want to ask me? 10 times?
DJ: I did, I wanted to stop you.
Andy: Yeah. So he’s my security guy, he’s right here. But he asked me five times if I wanted to stop. And I’m like, “No, I’m not stopping.” And even though it was physically hurting so bad I could barely move, I was getting my energy from the fact that I know that 98% of people would say, “Yeah, dude, I’m going to quit today.” And so dude, I really thrive on that dark energy and that dark side of taking negativity and turning it into productive action. And I went home last night. I even texted him and I’m like, “I don’t know what I did today, bro. But this is the best I’ve felt in months, even though I’m physically hurt.”
And so I think what works for me when I’m stuck, is just to keep moving man. And sometimes you just have to let your systems pull you through the problem. So right now with what you guys are going through there and what’s going on in the world, what you guys are going through is ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous everywhere if you ask me. I, like everybody else, I have anxiety and I’m worried and I’m like, “Fuck, this is bullshit. I’m pissed off.” But I committed right at the beginning of the lockdowns to doing 75 Hard, really, almost the whole time. And I told everybody, I’m like, “I’m going to do this until this shit’s over.” Because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the mental bullshit that’s come along with all this stuff if I wasn’t focused.
And so right now, there’s been plenty of days where I’ve woke up and I’m like, “I’m not doing it today.” But somehow I find myself to work through it. And maybe I didn’t get the best workout, maybe it wasn’t the best day, but I let my system carry me through. And whatever your system is, is your system. And everybody can have their system. 75 Hard is just a default system for people to use. And what’s happening now, is even on my days that I’m really stuck and I’m really not feeling like doing it, I’m still doing it and it’s pulling me through.
So the actual structure is pulling me through the hard times. So that way, when all this stuff goes away, I can look around and say, “Man, my life is so much better and I’m in a better spot just because I let the system pull me through even though I didn’t feel like it.” You see what I’m saying? So I removed the ability for myself to make decisions based around how I feel. And I make decisions based around what I know has to be done instead. And that just makes all the difference.
Nathan: Yeah. No, that makes sense. So you’ve been doing a variation of the 75 Hard programme your whole life.
Andy: Different habits. So the way that I came up with the programme was, I was always interested because I was very mentally weak. In high school I was a great athlete, but I was very soft mentally. I didn’t work hard, I was lazy. I had natural talent, I just didn’t utilise it. And I always was fascinated by the people like let’s just use somebody everybody knows, Michael Jordan, the relentless work ethic that he had and that he’s famous for. He’s more famous for his work ethic than he is the results he produced. And so I was always fascinated with how does someone like that get there mentally?
And then I see people like, let’s just say David Goggins because I love Goggins, I think Goggins is awesome right now. How do you train yourself to run 200 miles? That’s fascinating to me. And so what I did was, I started to deconstruct different areas of discipline and I looked around for programmes. There’s programmes to lose weight, there’s programmes to build relationships, there’s programmes to do anything you want to do, but there was no programmes on how to be mentally tough. And so I started to try to figure out why that was and why most people, they think you’re either born with mental toughness or you’re not. And if you didn’t get it, you’re fucked.
And I’m here to tell you, that’s not true. You can develop it just like you develop a muscle, just like you develop your knowledge, you can develop mental toughness. It just takes a certain level of exercising the discipline to become more disciplined. Just like if we wanted to build our arms, we’d have to train our arms for them to get bigger. So to build discipline, you have to exercise discipline, to build patience, you’ve got to exercise patience. One of my favourite quotes of all time was from a guy I took guitar lessons from. He said, “Bro, you need to be more patient. You know how you get more patient?” And I said, “No,” and he said, “By doing things that require patience.” And I thought about that, I’m like, “Fuck, that’s some gold man.” And that made sense with me on the discipline front.
So I just take the word patience and insert discipline. And so that’s when I started to tie it all together. And so where 75 Hard came from is, eventually in 2016 I figured out what this puzzle looked like for me. And then I did it and I lost almost a hundred pounds and I did it for years. And then off the spur of a bet last year, I had a $250,000 bet with some guys in my Arete group that I was going to get below 10% body fat. And it happened to be 75 days. So I just said, “All right dude, now you guys are going to see how this works. You’re going to see what you could do in 75 days.” And I went from untrained, basically sloppy fat to completely ripped in 75 days. And a lot of people just jumped in and did it with me and that’s how the whole movement got started.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow, that’s crazy. Well, look, man, I’m mindful of your time. You’ve been extremely giving with your time. We have to work towards wrapping up, but what’s exciting for you during this crazy time? What’s exciting for you with the 75 Hard movement, everything going on with 1st Phorm, all the other companies you have going on? What’s most exciting for you?
Andy: I think what’s most exciting for me is, because we have so many people doing 75 Hard right now. What’s so exciting for me is knowing that there’s literally tens of thousands of people that as a result of a programme that I developed, they’re going to take a time that was arguably one of the most difficult times in human history ever, and they’re going to look back and say, “That was the time that made me,” that makes me feel good. That’s what I’m excited about. Making money, business, all these things, that’s great and I love it, and I’m excited about that too. But knowing that there’s people that wouldn’t have otherwise even survived this mentally, that are going to look back and say, “That was the fucking time that made my life.” That’s exciting to me.
Nathan: Yeah, no, that’s true legacy and that’s what you’re building. And I have a lot of respect for that.
Andy: Thank you brother. I appreciate it.
Nathan: Well look, thank you.
Andy: I really appreciate you having me on the show too, man. Really, really cool.
Nathan: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you so much.
Andy: You guys are doing great work. Yeah.
Nathan: Thank you. That means a lot, man. So look, last question is, where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself, the 75 Hard programme and your work?
Andy: Yeah, just on my website, andyfrisella.com. And then I’m active on my podcast which is on iTunes. It’s called Real AF. We’re in the business category. It used to be called the MFCEO Project, but the MFCEO feed is still in there. So if you want to go back and listen to the old episodes, you can do that. But mainly on social, I’m active on Instagram stories. I don’t really even static posts, but I do stories every day and that’s really all I can do right now. I’m a big believer in doing my social media myself. It’s really the only thing I could commit to doing, but I do it every day and that’s how I communicate with everybody.
So do you want to learn more about 75 Hard? You go on andyfrisella.com, there’s a section for it there. It’s a free programme, you don’t have to pay to join. There’s no financial obligation whatsoever. And follow me on Instagram and then follow the podcast. And that’ll keep you up to date with everything I got going on.
Nathan: Amazing. Well look, thank you so much for your time, man. We’ll wrap there, but yeah, congratulations on everything you’re doing and thank you so much.
Andy: Thank you brother. I really appreciate you having me on. You guys are doing a great job and I’ve been a big fan of what you guys are doing for a long time as well. So really cool to be on the show.