“I want you to develop a taste for winning,” says Nick Symmonds, one of a kind athlete, YouTube sensation, and two-time Olympian.
Nick has forged his own interesting path from a modest and unlikely athletic beginning to the very pinnacle of international elite sport, and competed for the United States in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and was the World Championships silver medalist in the 800 meters in 2013, and the second fastest American of all time in 1:42.95. A New York Times feature article described Nick as, “The most outspoken, polarizing, and essential American track and field athlete of the past decade. As a runner, his preferred style was to sit and kick. As an activist for athletes’ marketing rights, as well as an advocate for gay rights and gun control, he operated from the front, a loud, bold provocateur.” One official nicknamed him, “Team USA’s official pain in the butt.”
These days, Nick works as an “athlete-preneur,” utilizing his passion for fitness to inspire clients to become “the kind of athlete that has so many tools in your chest that you can win no matter how the race goes. Whether it’s rainy, sunny, or windy, you always find a way to win.” Still, Nick is careful to not focus too much on the “winning” aspect of the outcome and points out that it is possible to be “too dedicated.” Instead, he emphasizes the importance of keeping your approach to training light-hearted enough that you still enjoy yourself. “For me, it’s less about the competition, and more about just having fun with fitness: staying fit and inspiring others to have fun with their own fitness.”
Nick has also built up an impressive resume in a very short time, in the mountains specifically, and he is currently working on collecting all 50 state high-points! He’s also publicly expressed his desire to climb the 7 Summits, the tallest mountain on each continent. And when he isn’t running or climbing, he can be found working on the business that he co-founded in 2014, Run Gum. Nick’s goal with formulating Run Gum was to have an energy product that you can easily keep in your back pocket for whenever you need it most. He serves as CEO for this fast growing energy company, and in this episode, you’ll learn all about what inspired him to start Run Gum, the clean ingredients it’s made of, and why it’s not just for athletes, but really, for anyone and everyone in need of an easy energy boost. Be sure to check out his awesome YouTube videos here, and enjoy this conversation about the importance of having a balanced perspective in your approach to fitness.
Brad introduces his guest who is a great Olympic runner and promoter of track and field sport. [01:25]
For Nick, a daily workout is kind of the glue that holds everything else together. [04:33]
One commonality that all good coaches have is patience. [07:15]
A coach really sets the culture on a team. [11:54]
Because Nick developed his running in a small community, he built up the confidence of how good he was. This would probably not have happened had he run in stricter competition. [15:06]
His coach told him to develop a taste for winning. [17:17]
Confidence cannot be understated or undervalued. [19:41]
Sometimes you just stop thinking about time and just focus on racing and the time will come. [22:14]
After breaking his PR in the race, he was depressed. [25:59]
Now with racing behind him, Nick is known as the YouTube guy. [28:32]
All three medalists from the 2012 men’s 800 were injured in the 2013 season. [30:56]
The New York Times article quotes that Nick was the USA’s official pain in the butt. Why? He knew where all the money in the sport was going. [31:05]
Why does he think the athletes have not been able to band together as a force and try to advocate for fairness and for better compensation? [33:00]
Maybe a benefit from the COVID is that the whole Olympic movement has been disrupted. [37:22]
How did the Run Gum thing get started? [39:18]
You really have to understand the money part of your business model to have it succeed. [42:39]
Know what you are good at and know what you are not good at. [46:36]
What words of wisdom does Nick have for the young athletes? Have fun but focus on where you want to go in life. [53:53]
What is in the future for Nick? His YouTube videos are growing in popularity. [57:55]
- Brad’s Shopping page
- Nick races Strangers on Venice Beach for 100 bucks
- Nick Symmonds YouTube
- Nick Symmonds
- Nick undergoes a 30 Day Body Transformation
- Symmonds wins 6th title US Championship
- Run Gum
- Eliud Kipchoge
- NY Times feature story about Nick’s athlete advocacy
- 2007 Pre Classic incredible come from behind victory in 800 meters that landed Nick on the world stage of running
- “Become the kind of athlete that has so many tools in your chest that you can win no matter how the race goes. Whether it’s rainy, sunny, or windy, you always find a way to win.”
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Ladies and gentlemen, a very interesting guest, the great Olympic 800 meter runner. Nick Symmonds now known as a YouTube sensation for his crazy funny, goofy videos promoting the business that he started called Run Gum and Nick calls himself an athlete-preneur, a combination of an athlete, an entrepreneur he’s still pursuing these cool athletic challenges after his pro career is over, but they’re varied and broad and off the wall. And he brings in a bunch of youth into his videos. And he’s so motivational and inspirational. I think you’re gonna really enjoy this conversation. Uh, particularly as Nick takes us through his quite unlikely athletic career where he rose from a basic obscurity, he was a low level, small town high school runner. He ran at the division three collegiate level, but he won everything in sight for years and built this competitive mentality, this winning mentality that he took all the way to the very top of the world stage, where in the peak of his career, he won a silver medal at the world championships.
You’ll also learn why Nick was called by track and field officials team USA’s official pain in the butt because he was outspoken and constantly advocating for the athletes rights and their fair share of the economic pie. He’s also going to dispense some great information for young athletes and young runners and the importance of needing a lifestyle and keeping your goals in the proper healthy perspective. A very interesting show with Nick Symmonds and go check this guy out on YouTube. He’s an absolute sensation. His videos are so clever and entertaining. I think you’re going to get hooked and you’ll learn all about the company that he started called Run Gum for a little caffeine boost in gum form fun times. Here we go from Nick Symmonds,.
Nick Symmonds. I am so happy to join. You finally catching up with the, with the Olympian sitting on a couch. It’s amazing. But, and then, you know, the, uh, the YouTube scene, I think you’re busier and working harder than you did when you were running around the track. What do you think?
I’d probably agree with that. I know it’s, it’s a different kind of work when you’re a professional runner. You’re working really hard for like two or three hours a day. And then you’re kind of just laying around eating and watching TV. Um, you know, now I have longer hours, but I never have those like really intense track sessions that make you throw up. So I think I prefer, uh, my work-life balance today than, than I did when I was a pro runner. But yeah, I mean, both are tough jobs for sure.
Well, what’s amazing is that you continue to pursue these challenging goals and it’s fun and neat to see you racing people on the beach on YouTube, but you’re still in awesome shape, man, and running, running a 54 and in Crocs, or going into the CrossFit gym and competing against, you know, uh, the, the, the top girl and all that. You’re, you’re maintaining a lot of competitive edge. And I know you, you coined that term. I think you coined that term athlete-preneur, right?
Yeah, I think I heard it somewhere, but I really wasn’t athlete-preneur as a, uh, you know, as a pro runner. I viewed myself as an entrepreneur first in that athleticism, you know, running around in circles. It was just part of what I did. Now I’m really more an entrepreneur who tries to stay in some kind of shape, you know, and I wouldn’t call myself much of an athlete other than the sense that I love fitness. Um, I don’t train for anything these days. I’m not nearly as competitive as I used to be, but man, I just love working out every day and it’s not any one workout that calls me. I love biking. I love swimming. I love lifting. I love running. And the cool thing about not training for anything in particular is that every single day I get to wake up and say, Oh, okay, what kind of workout do I want to do today? You know, sometimes I get burnt out of CrossFit workouts and I’ll just go bike. Or sometimes, you know, I’m tired of biking or it’s too cold out and I’ll just go, uh, lift or run or, you know, like it’s just, there’s so many wonderful ways to work out. And for me, that workout that daily workout is kind of the glue that holds everything else together. So every single day, 365 days a year, you better believe I’m getting my workout.
Well, I think that is much more healthy and I can relate to from being in the endurance scene for so long and having, you know, all your energy devoted to just going straight ahead and in three sports and triathlon. And, you know, I became fascinated with, uh, developing the, uh, explosive fitness where I’m doing sprinting and high jumping and things that take one second instead of, you know, eight hours. Uh, but I, I wonder how it kind of carries you along into the next phase of life where now you’re working hard, you’re running a business, but you still have that little edge that you can play with. And, and, and then, you know, go, go into YouTube and make it something that’s also promoting your business. It’s amazing.
Well, if you watch my YouTube channel, like I say that, you know, the, the underlying theme is fun with fitness. And I really mean that, like, I want to go out and have fun. I want to inspire others to have fun with their fitness, but, uh, there’s always some kind of competitive or competition angle to it, but I’m not there really as the guy trying to win, you know, the brash young 25 year old that needs to win at all costs. I’m more of the host. I’m there to saying, Hey, let’s have fun. And if you get to kick the crap out of, you know, old has been Olympian well, good for you. But for me, it’s less about the competition and more about just having fun with fitness thing, inspiring others, to find their own set their own fitness goals and have fun with their own fitness.
Yeah. You know, that really comes through on the videos. You’re like a natural coach and you’re so supportive and enthusiastic, the random people and the kid that shows up to all your races and gets a special award at the end. It must be really fun for you. Did you ever think about getting into coaching?
Yeah, I think I’m not a patient enough person for coaching and I, and I say that just with the absolute utmost respect for coaches, and I was blessed with some really good coaches from prep school to college, to my pro years. And the one commonality that all the good coaches had was they were just extremely patient. And I know my, my own skill set, my own limitations. I’m just not a very patient person. And I, I think as I grow, I become more patient. Um, and maybe one day I will have the requisite prerequisite skillset to actually be a coach. But for me, if I was to coach, I wouldn’t do it at the pro level. I probably wouldn’t even get excited doing at the college level. It has to be at the prep school level, nothing. I love more than young people setting goals and then achieving them like when you, when you get into cross-country or track for the first time and you set a goal of, Oh, I want to run my first sub five minute mile, which we all know is, you know, it’s a good running, but it’s not like kind of the equivalent of running a sub four minute mile, but you see that freshmen or sophomore train all year, and then they do it.
They run sub five for the first time, the look on their face, the, the realization of just how hard work can translate into success for them. It’s just it’s. I mean, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. So you’ll see a lot of my videos are interacting with high school kids. It’s my favorite demographic, because they’re just learning how to set goals and how to achieve goals and that huge dopamine hit to the brain when they do it, when they accomplish something that they’ve never accomplished before. That’s my favorite demographic if I was to ever coach would be at the high school level.
So why does the coach, I guess, at the higher levels you might be referring to, why is patience such an attribute?
I think patience is important at all levels, but, you know, as you get, you know, with high school, you’re, you’re herding cats, right? Like the kids who are on all around, you gotta be pretty patient from almost a babysitter standpoint, you know, and then college, I think the patients then translates into how can I be patient with these kids that are being pulled in a dozen different directions? You know, I really loved my college coach, Sam McCray and Jimmy bean, because they knew that I was primarily there to study. Right. I got a degree in biochemistry
In your case, I guess. Yeah. College runners are out there to run. Yeah. We’re definitely going to get into your track, which was so than the usual your fellow Olympians that were there one since freshman year. But go ahead. Yeah,
You gotta remember it’s it’s called a student athlete, not an athlete student. And I think too often we forget that. So I think academics needs to be a priority. I think having some sort of social life should be considered, you know, many of these student athletes or many of the athletes in general need to have a job to help pay for everything. So not every athletes on scholarship, I wasn’t on scholarship. The majority of athletes running at Div 3 aren’t on scholarship. So we have to consider as a college coach, how many directions the athletes being pulled in, in any one moment and most, not most but many college coaches aren’t that patient. And I think they’re not very good coaches for that reason. And at the pro level, you’ve got to be patient with, uh, with, with just the unrelenting drive of some athletes, you know, and, and I mean that at the, at the elite level that it’s, it’s toxic in some ways th that unrelenting drive can actually be, you know, self detrimental.
So on every single level of the game, there’s a different level of focus, a different, different level of, uh, distractions and the good coaches understand that and, uh, and can communicate with an athlete. And again, every athlete is different. So, um, they’re able to communicate with those athletes in an effective way. I was prone to distractions, you know, like I said, I was in a fraternity in college and I, I, you know, love to go out fishing on the weekends as a pro and, and all the coaches were just so patient with me and understanding that for me to be the best athlete I could be on the track. I had to have these other facets to my life to blow off steam, whether that was partying at the fraternity in college or running out and fishing on the weekends, you know, as a pro. They were always very patient with me and, and, and understanding,
I think we’re, we’re still going to have to wait 10 more years to realize that that could be the secret to bringing out the best in, especially the elite performers where they’re, they’re going too hard, they’re doing too much, they’re getting injured and I’m thinking across all sports, but especially in something that’s, you know, so grueling like a track and field event. And so intense. I mean, obviously that was one of your secrets to success that you were out there fishing on the weekend rather than who knows what someone was doing, going and getting injured. Um, so why is that so difficult, uh, to catch on you think it’s, uh, maybe from the coaching side, as well as the being too driven?
I think it’s more often from the coaching side. Um, you know, a coach really sets the culture on a team, you know, and, and to a certain extent, the captains and the leaders of the team, but that’s kind of also also coming down from the coach. At the high school level more often than not. I see a culture of laissez-faire attitudes, probably not focused enough. Right. And that’s fine cause it’s high school. Right. Unless you’re trying to really go get that scholarship. Like the high school athletics should be fun. At the pro level I see the mistake on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. Most pros are too focused. They’re, they’re too dedicated and they just run themselves into the ground. They run themselves constantly injured, or they don’t take time off like they should. And they just burn themselves out super quick. So, you know, and I, I see pro coaches that are really excited about the talent and the dedication they see in their athletes, but they forget that the map that can burn themselves out real fast.
So, um, college you’ll often find kind of that sweet spot. I think it’s one of the reasons why our NCAA system is so phenomenally successful. You’ve kind of taken the, the top tier to high school athletes that actually have the willpower, the determination, the focus, but the college coaches, the good ones understand that these kids are being pulled in a hundred directions and they’re flexible with that. And the kids have this multifaceted life. So if they do get injured, it’s not the end of the world. They go focus on their studies, you know, and that’s, that’s how life should be. The problem is, is when you take the top tier of those athletes that are so hyper driven and you forget that they were so successful in college because they cultivated this diverse set of interests. You know, often times those hyper-focused athletes got to where they were by being hyper focused, but then they burn out. And how many times, how many names, thousands of names I can think of, of really stellar NCAA athletes that fizzled out in that first year or two as a pro? It’s because they forgot that, that they need to continue to cultivate those different facets of their life, those different interests and, and to be a diverse person. .
Yeah. It seems like if the coach has too much ego involved, um, they’re kind of, you know, too far enrolled in results as well, and they’re driving the athletes too hard instead of being patient and getting that nice relationship that you always make, you go to great lengths to, to credit your, your coaching and your team. Uh, that was all part of the big picture to, to nurture your along. And I especially want to talk about your track, which is so unusual because you were kind of, uh, you know, off the, um, off the, uh, the five-star ranking lists out of high school and then went to a division three university. So I don’t know what the stats are like of how many, how many dudes went from division three to, uh, world championship, silver metal. But, uh, tell us how that was to kind of come in through the side door, the back door of track and field.
Yeah. It is unusual. And you, you know, if you look at an Olympic roster, you know, team USA might have one or two division 3 athletes. It’s very unusual, but for me, you know, I grew up in a little state Idaho, so I wasn’t big,
It’s a great state. I love, I mean, I love it
Idaho too, you know, and I go back frequently, my whole family’s there. And I think it was a good place to be a pro athlete because I was able to just kind of like you said, be patient. When I looked left and right. I w I wasn’t, you know, in the state of California or Texas, or Florida, where I was constantly comparing myself, I was winning state titles and, you know, like 157 for 800. And I’m like, I’m awesome. I’m the best runner in Idaho. And I was, you know, but like, I didn’t understand because this was pre-internet. I didn’t really understand where that put me in the national scene. I just knew I was awesome in Boise, and, you know, winning state titles than Idaho. So I was a big fish in a small pond. And I liked that. I recognized that I needed that.
So when I started looking at colleges, the thought of going to, you know, uh, Oregon or Texas or Florida, as much as I love those schools, I kind of recognized that I was just going to be another number on those rosters. And so when I looked at some of the smaller schools, like Willamette, where I ultimately went, you know, I met with the head coach and the head coach at the time Kelly Sullivan said, Nick, I will at university, you’re going to be a student athlete and not the other way around. And he said, if you know, I know you want to study pre-med if you are in labs all day, and I have to come out here at 8:00 PM and turn on the lights, so you can get your workout in, I’ll be there holding that stopwatch. That’s not something any of the A 1 coaches said, right. That’s something that the coach said. And I’m like, yeah, that’s music to my ears, because I had no idea where my career was going to go, but I knew I wanted to keep running. And I knew I wanted to study biochemistry. And it just seemed like it will lamb it, that offered me the best chance to find success in both.
Wow, What a wonderful recruiting pitch right there. I mean, you, you can’t beat that. And I also am thinking now that, you know, being that big fish and winning that state title and building that confidence and being able to compete and excel whereby maybe if you, you know, had developed as a, as a 157 guy in California, you would have been knocked out in, in league or something. Uh, but you know, allowing that confidence to build, I think that’s really important rather than constantly being surrounded by, you know, a competition that was maybe over your head at that time, because the kids grew faster than you when you were 13, 14, and all those weird things have a chance.
So if I was just getting my butt kicked every week and I might’ve stopped running really early on, I’m like, I guess I’m not good at this. But you’re right. I was developing a love for the sport. And you know, another Kelly Sullivanism here. He said, Nick, at Willamette, you know, I know you’re, it’s a small D three school and you’re kicking butt already. I, I won the national, the NCAA title, um, and both the eight and the 15, my freshmen, he goes, this is what I want you to do while you’re here. I want you to develop a taste for winning. I want you to become the kind of athlete that has so many tools in their chest that you can win no matter how the race goes, whether it’s slow, whether it’s fast, whether someone gets tripped, whether it’s rainy or sunny or windy, no matter what the conditions are, you always find a way to win.
And that was like my, my mantra in college, like, there’s nothing you can throw at me that will rattle me or prevent me from winning this race. And I went, I think I won like seven years from my sophomore year of high school to my senior year of college. I never lost an 800. Seven straight years without losing an 800. And now, you know, you can imagine how many different, crazy things were thrown at me during those seven years. But I just, I would always find a way to get to that finish line first, you know, whatever, whatever it took, there was some elbows and there were some panic moments in the last hundred, but I developed a taste for winning. And then when I, when I didn’t win an 800, it was like such a gut check, just a, such a like, and it actually, it happened at the 2006 US championships where I finished second to Davis Robinson.
But you know, which is a great accomplishment, especially for some no-name T3 kid that, you know, that just showed up out of nowhere, but just losing, even at that level, I was like, I have to train harder. I have to refocus. I have to find the best coach as a pro. I have to have the best monster. Cause I knew that I had to rise to the occasion if I wanted to keep winning at that level. And same thing happened when I decided I wanted to be the best in the world or try to be the best in the world. I knew I had to just keep rising to the occasion. I did it from high school to college, from college to pro and then from mid mid tier pro to, you know, top two in the world.
That’s crazy, man. They, they turned you into a winning cyborg. They programmed your brain. That’s the mentality there. There’s going to be a bunch of people trying to copy this now, or they’re going to, they’re going to just sandbag them and put them in races where they, they win for seven years in a row and then step onto the next,
Well, I will say this, you know, winning seven years in a row, that’s a mistake. That’s a coaching mistake, right? That’s that’s me not being introduced to the right competition. And I wouldn’t necessarily blame my high school coach because traveling at the prep level is very hard, especially in a big state like Idaho. Like it just, wasn’t easy to travel from Boise all, all over the United States to chase competition. But my college coach, the head coach after Kelly left, he really messed that one up and I would beg him, please send me to a better race. I need better competition, you know, and he just, I don’t know why he didn’t do it, but, um, you know, I think that, I think that you need good competition. But throwing your kids into the deep end, every single weekend like we do in California, like we do in a lot of these prep states, I don’t know if that’s the right call, you know, you need to help build your athletes confidence and letting them just kick the crap out of some kids on a, you know, a weekend in a dual meet like that, that can be really good for their confidence. And confidence, you know, cannot be under an understated or undervalued when it comes to distance running or mid distance racing, split decisions need to be made right in an 800, you’ll make half a dozen decisions that are going to make a massive difference in whether you win or lose and you have to practice those things just going out in time, trialing every weekend.
It’s not going to teach you how to run in a pack. It’s not going to teach you championship racing. You have to learn those things by doing and, and, you know, being in a time trialing state like California for some kids, that’s just, I don’t think that’s the best way to learn how to race.
Yeah. Interesting. So, um, you know, at a certain point you finally, uh, you know, get out there and realize that you can become a pro and then I guess, thrown, thrown to the wolves and thrown in all these circumstances where it’s not going to be a certain win, uh, for the gamblers in the stands are not going to cash in every single time. Uh, but what’s amazing. And people can watch your YouTube video talking about your time progressions. And this is where it gets kind of interesting because, uh, you know, there’s a lot, like you said, there’s a lot of champions in college that, that hit that certain level, but then you made these ridiculous drops and your 800 meter time that are, you know, beyond description, how difficult it is to go from 151 to 148 and 148 to 146.3 and all that. So when you started getting faster and faster and it got more and more difficult to make these incremental improvements, but you still did and got down into the, you know, as you described at the very elite level of the world, how did that roll out? I mean, that, that’s just, um, you know, it’s hard to describe, you know, how, how, how you can, how you can get that going.
Well, one thing I’ll say is, you know, I think kids are hyper-focused on time these days. Every single time I had a big jump from, you know, 153 to 149 or 149 to a 145 or then 145 down to 144 and 142. Eventually every single time I had a big jump, I, it was not in a time trialing situation. It was always in a championship scenario without rabbits. And I wasn’t even thinking about time. I was literally just thinking I have to win this race. And everybody in that race, thinking that same thought, push each other to those great times, right? So all my big breakthroughs never happened in a time trialing situation. They always happened in just a championship race scenario. So sometimes you just stop thinking about time and just focus on racing and the time will come.
So you’re describing that you’re a gamer man. I mean, there’s no other way to say it.
I would say I’m a short stocky kid from Idaho. My strength is not in my genetic abilities. If there was one strength that I had, it was that I was a gamer when the championship setting was there and the chips were on the table. I always found that extra, you know, two or 3%, I always rose to the occasion. Maybe it’s my adrenal system. Maybe it’s my, my unrelenting ego of never wanting to lose, you know, but when the chips were down in a championship scenario, I rose to the occasion, I think probably best seen in the 2012 Olympic finals, I ran my personal best.
Lifetime best of 142.9. You know, that’s an example where I run almost a full second best in a championship scenario after having already run two rounds. I just wanted that metal so bad, you know, and I recognize that there were 1.5 billion people watching that race. And I, I just wanted to make my country proud and my family proud. And, you know, that’s, that’s what a gamer does when, when it, when that moment, when that do or die moment comes, they find that little bit extra that I could never find in a time trial. And some people are fantastic at time trialing. And I really respect that skill. It just wasn’t my skill, my skill was racing.
Yeah. I imagine you had some setup events on the circuit where there were financial incentives and rabbits, and you were fresh coming off a perfect training block where you predictably would have set a PR. Um, I’m sure you did really well on those too, but, you know, to come through in the Olympic final. And that was, that was broodish and the front, right. So that was the greatest 800 meters ever run. People can go look for that on YouTube also. Um, but you know, the fatigue factor of running the rounds and all that, I guess you, you were able to overcome that with like, yeah, your, your adrenal system. You’re the guy with the gun to his head that it’s going to run a PR when at the very right time.
And that’s what it really felt like. I mean, metaphorically, I felt like there was this gun to my head. Like if I don’t, if I don’t leave it all out there, I know the kind of depression that I’ll sink slink into it because it happened every time I lost. You know, how to major in a major event, if I lost it, haunted me, like, you know, there are people that are like, I hate to lose. No, I would slink into pretty major depressions if I had a bad race or a bad season, especially, you know, and, and I just, the thought of going through those, those depressive moments was just such a, such a motivator to train your ass off. If I trained as hard as I could, and I raced as hard as I could then, even if I lost, at least I could get through it and come out the other end, ready to attack, tackle another season. But those, those there’s a couple of races that are in my mind where I’m like, I probably didn’t approach that. Right. Or didn’t leave it all on a track. Nothing will haunt you more than, than not leaving it all on a track. Right?
I’m going to assume that you were ecstatic at the finish line of that Olympic final.
Speaker 4 (26:04):
I wasn’t, no, I was pissed off.
And this guy, we got to say this guy’s one of a kind, cause I think most people crushing their PR was that second fastest American of all time coming behind the greatest, the greatest run in history of that event. Oh, that’s funny.
Great, true story. I couldn’t watch that race for several years. Like I think I just watched it for the first time, like a couple of years back when someone asked me to kind of like give a play by play and yeah, I know. I mean, it’s a bittersweet moment to this day. Like, yeah. I, I control the variables that I could control and, and I ran the best time I ever possibly ran by almost a full second at the super bowl track and field, but I wanted a medal and I’m still pissed off. I didn’t get a medal, like a 142.9 wins the gold medal at nearly every single Olympic game ever. And it wasn’t good enough for a medal that day, but yeah, I mean, I I’ve come to terms with the accomplishment and I’m proud of the accomplishment, but, uh, that was my shot. That was my shot at winning an Olympic medal. Um, not, not my only shot, but certainly my best shot. And, uh, I’m just still a little pissed off about it. How do you feel? How much? Yeah. That’s how much I just hate, I hate losing, you know,
How about the silver at the world championships, which could be considered the culmination of your career? Are you, are you satisfied? Are you, are you thinking about you’re replaying the race in your mind wishing it was cold or what ?
You know, that, that year I think I only lost, I think that year, uh, um, Mohammed Aman, the guy who beat me, I don’t think he lost a race at the end of the season. He was ranked number one and I was ranked number two and the rankings aren’t based on the world championships loosely, but they’re based on an entire season, you know? So I feel like that one shook out the way it was supposed to shake out. Like he was the best that year. And I was clearly number two, and we went one, two at the world championships. So that one doesn’t really bother me as much. It felt right. And, uh, you know, and I wanted that medal so bad and I got the metal and so funny, it just sits to my sock drawer. Like I don’t even look at it like these things that, that are so freaking important to us when we’re young, like the kind of afterthoughts after awhile. Like, I’m very proud of it. It’s a huge accomplishment, but you know, no one, no one out, I mean, most 99.9% of people out there, even the people that follow my career probably don’t know that I won the silver medal in 2013. Like they know me as the goofy guy that runs around in a turtle suit, you know, on Venice beach from my YouTube videos.
He’s now famous for his YouTube videos instead of his track and field accomplished,
Interestingly enough. So like, if I’m walking down the street and someone says, Hey, you’re Nick Symmonds. If they’re, if they’re my age, you know, I’m 36. If they’re my generation or a little older, I assume they know me for my pro running days. But if they’re, you know, in their twenties or teens, I can almost guarantee they know me from YouTube. And so now more often than not, if someone recognized me, they’re like, you’re the YouTube guy. And I freaking love it. I’m so excited to be known as the YouTube guy, because that’s where I’m at in life like that, that is more important to me right now than the athletic stuff. I’m super glad that I gave everything I got on the track for 12 years as a pro, but, uh, it’s just, you know, different priorities and different focuses. And, and, you know, you, tubing is such a huge passion for me right now that that’s, that’s where I’m throwing all my time and energy. And that’s what I want to be known for.
And Nick wants to win, people. He wants the most views record breaking. So go, go subscribe to his channel. He’s trying really hard. You know, I think you represent a really healthy attitude because, uh, it’s all about the journey. And when you’re focused as an Olympic runner, um, you’re not there to, uh, to take pictures, uh, of the basketball players at the parade. You want to win and, you know, feeling that competitive frustration and that just amazing pouring your heart and soul into it. And then, then, then you’re able to move on. I mean Roger Bannister, uh, the great sub four minute mile, or you said the essence of sport, and he’s talking about running track and field. He said, um, while you’re competing, nothing else matters. And then when it’s over, uh, the best place to put it is somewhere filed away. Somewhere, not very important. And, um, I agree. It’s a tough, it’s a tough line to, um, you know, to balance on, but it sounds like you’ve, you’ve done it pretty well, especially the side where the guy’s pissed that he ran one of the greatest races and didn’t, we didn’t win a medal that that’s just funny, man,
Six months, it literally took me six weeks after that race to be able to, like you say, file it away. And I’ll say this, I was good at, I was good at like pressing the reset button. So, you know, after that race, I came home and for six weeks I didn’t run a step. I drank beer every day. I went fishing every day, but like, it took me a while to put that behind me to put it in context and to ultimately get excited about training for another season.
Yeah. That’s how you, that’s how you regain balance. If you’re, if you’re out running on the circuit, trying to, uh, pick up a new PR based on your fitness, I bet you would have run yourself into an injury
Quite possibly. Yeah. And a lot of people do, you know, all three medalists from the 2012, men’s 800 were injured in the 2013 season. It’s not uncommon for that to happen.
Right, right. Uh, so maybe what the YouTube generation also doesn’t know about you is that you were, and here’s the quote from a great New York Times article team USA’s official pain in the butt, the most outspoken, polarizing and essential American track and field athlete of the past decade. So let’s talk a little bit about, uh, how you waded into the controversy of the, the, uh, the life of an Olympic athlete or professional athlete and how we have to deal with these unsavory forces that are trying to control you.
Yeah. I actually, I love that team USA is official pain in the butt. That was the best like compliment I’d ever been paid because team USA needed a pain in the butt they’d been stealing and they’re still stealing money from the athletes. And I think, you know, as I started, you know, recognizing how money worked and where the money was coming from and how sponsorship dollars worked and how the governing bodies had been set up. And I really just looked around and I’m like, Oh my God, there’s so much money in this sport. You know, and everyone was trying to tell me, Oh, there’s not enough money in track and field. There’s billions with a, B billions and billions of dollars in the sport of running and track and field. It just all goes to other people. The athletes get very little of it and that’s not right.
You know, the fact that Nike pays the USA TF $20 million a year, and a very, very, and that’s, that’s for the right to put the Nike logo on team USA. And yet they, they pay just a small, tiny fraction of that to athletes. I mean, come on Max Segal’s salary, if you dig into the financials of USA TF, it’s just a joke. I mean, I’m, I kinda, I stopped talking about that suddenly affect me anymore, but at the time for 12 years, it affected me in a major, major way and it pissed me off. And the only way I could deal with it was say something about it. And so for the latter half of my career, I talked about it to anyone who wanted to talk about it because I was, you know, understanding where all the money was going and it wasn’t to the athletes.
Why do you think the athletes have not been able to band together as a force and try to advocate for fairness and for better compensation? Because most of the athletes are struggling, even, even athletes on the Olympic team, are working at Home Depot, thanks to home Depot for that Olympic program, but it’s still is not right. And, and you know, the other sports are escalating like crazy,
A couple of things working against you there. First of all, the average lifespan of a pro runner might be two or three years. Right? So you’re cycling so fast. I didn’t even begin to realize how much money was being stolen from me until probably my fifth or sixth year as a pro. You know, so you’re cycling these athletes so fast. They don’t have a time to like realize what’s being done to them. Um, and then if they do actually last long enough, uh, you got a huge diversity on track, which is my favorite part about a track team by the way, is just how diverse it is. But it’s not really a team in the way that a baseball team is a team or a basketball team’s a team, and they train together day in and day out for years at a time. Sometimes, you know, a team USA is thrown together last minute, weeks before championship. And you’ve got people from different states, different socioeconomic backgrounds, just the diversity that makes it so cool and wonderful is also kind of a hindrance when you’re trying to unionize athletes. So it’s not a real cohesive team. And the way that baseball players are, uh, or basketball players are and where people maybe come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds and can, can form these unions. It’s just a real hodgepodge, um, which makes it for a beautiful diverse team, but not necessarily the kind of team that can unite for collective bargaining with the powers that be.
Yeah. I noticed that in the sport of triathlon too, and I thought the biggest problem with trying to organize the athletes was everyone was too busy out there training. And then when push came to shove and we had the similar battles to track and field where they’re giving us uniforms to wear with other logos that are different and all that kind of stuff. And I remember having a, an intense session with a group of athletes that had qualified for the world championships. And one of them stood up and said, I don’t know about you guys, but all I care about is representing my country in this great competition. And there, I noticed with that comment, you know, everything falls apart. If you throw in these you know, these, these sparkly, uh, dreamy things that are not, uh, directly associated with your economic opportunities or your economic wellbeing. And I think part of that’s probably in play too where, um, for some reason they athletes maybe not focused on the economic consequences of their career and they just want to compete and they know they’re never gonna earn that much money. And so they, they, they check out at that part of their profession.
Well, and I think when you, when you’re a young athlete and an Olympic event, it’s track and field, for example, when you can be anything skating, you know, curling, whatever it is, when you start your career at the age of 18 or 22, you’re, you’re there for that for more intrinsic purpose of, I want to become an Olympian. Like that’s why I turned pro at the age of 22. I said, I I’m going to put medical school on the back burner for two years because the 2008 games is only two years away. And I don’t mind sacrificing those years to see if I can make a team. Money meant nothing to me. Like all I needed was enough money to be able to train full time, but the financial gains meant absolutely nothing to me. I just wanted to see if I could become an Olympian you know. And after I, I stamped that ticket and, and added that little, you know, O L Y next to my name and was an Olympian, then it got to me like, Oh, okay.
Like maybe now that I’m signing another four year deal and I can go on and train for the 2012 games, maybe now it’s time for this young professional to try to figure out how to maximize my earnings. And that’s when I really started thinking about the money of the whole thing. Um, and the intrinsic value of making Olympic team that wasn’t going to be the same as when I had made my first. Now it was okay, this is my real pinnacle of my career. How do I maximize the amount of money that I can make, having made all these sacrifices? How do I make money now?
Do you think we have some potential for change in the future? Do you see anything hopeful? I know you’re, you’re out of the game now. And like you said, you’re not, you’re not sticking a thorn in the side of the executives, but have we made some progress since the, since your heyday, when you were, what, what were you doing covering up the tattoos or something
And made me cover up all my logos. You know, it’s just ridiculous what they do, but yes, I would say that there hasn’t been much change. I’m actually, if there’s a silver lining of COVID, it might be a massive total disruption of the Olympic cycle and the Olympic movement, right. For the first time in a century, the Olympic games aren’t taking place when they were supposed to take place, right. Um, we’re now calling Tokyo 20 Tokyo, 2020 plus one, you know, who knows what kind of repercussions that will have. If it even takes place? You know, like the whole system may go bankrupt and we have to start something new. Um, I think that we need to completely demolish USA TF and that particular business model and rebuild something that is, uh, the way I like to describe it is, imagine if U S G A was the only entity running golf, like it would be horrible.
You need the U S you need the U S G A to run the grassroots, you know, youth level type stuff, but then you need the PGA to run the professional side of that sport. So right now we have USDA ETF, which does a good job at the youth level and does a good job, like getting the word out and growing the sport of running, but it’s just phenomenally bad at running professional track and field. And, and they just need to be stripped from that responsibility and professional entity. Like the PGA is to the USGA. We need that entity to lift the sport out of the, you know, the, the 19th century and 20th century.
Yeah, good comparison. Because, and those, those two, the PGA tour and the USGA, butt heads annually open for that to happen. Right. But the PGA tour has become such a powerful force and you know, all the money that’s flowing into the pockets of the professional players, they’ve done a great job.
They have, the PGA has done a wonderful job of enriching the players. Uh, we don’t have that. So instead of an entity enriching the pro track and field runners, you have USDA ETF, which treats them as, as indentured servants essentially.
And that would be a great, uh, path for you to a great challenge for you to tackle. But you’re too busy with this Run Gum thing. So tell me about, uh, I think this was during your career that you started getting nice, these ideas. So I want to hear about the, the preneur part of the, the athlete preneur and how that all started. Yeah.
New Speaker (39:35):
And I, you know, I had, uh, I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And in fact, I had launched, you know, another business with my coach at the time Samuel prey. We did a franchise here in Oregon just to know, kind of cut our teeth a little bit and entrepreneurial business. But ultimately I always knew I wanted to be in an industry called CPG consumer packaged goods. I don’t know anything about tech. I didn’t like franchising. You know, I love the idea of a packaged good that I could hand somebody something. So right now, let me grab this real quick. So, all right. For our listeners who can’t see the screen, I’ve got to pack it or Run Gum. And when people say, Nick, we know what do you do? I’m able to give them this packet around them. I say this little packet of run gum here, it’s just like an energy drink, but it’s in gum form here, take this habit, you know, give it a try.
I love being able to do that. So I had this idea for an energy gum. Um, I, I, when I made the 2012 team, I had several energy companies sending me product. And I fell in love with one in particular, I won’t name names, and I loved their energy blends, but drinking that sugary heavy, acidic liquid, and having that sloshing around in my stomach while I was running. It’s like, it’s the last thing an athlete wants, you know? And they’re also not highly portable. You had to keep refrigerated. It’s just a nightmare going through TSA, they get compensated. I’m like, we need to create a new energy product that bypasses the GI track. And so we were looking at sublingual or absorption, which is five times faster than gastrointestinal absorption. So I’m looking at tinctures, you know, I’m looking at lozenges, and ultimately we decided to go with chewing gum because it’s fun.
It tastes good. It’s easy to manufacture and it’s large enough that it could hold the actives that I wanted in it. So caffeine towering, B vitamins all compressed into this wonderful tasty piece of chewing gum. And you absorb it very quick through stumbling one beautiful absorption. So it’s called Ron gum was designed for bio runners for runners, but in the last five years, we found that anybody out living an active lifestyle loves this product. So you’re running the kids around town, you’re running errands, you’re running into a, or you’re actually out running like Run Gum. Is that boost in your back pocket for when you need it most.
Very nice pitch there. I’ve done it once or twice before. Yeah. We would do the, um, we would smash the caffeine pills and mix them in our water bottle. And then, uh, you know, it was just, it seems like a convenient little market segment that you guys have captured. Uh, but you know, that that’s nice to have a great idea. Uh, I have 17 of them on my pad here. Uh, but then the execution, um, how did that go? I mean, this is, this has been a big deal.
Yeah. I think I, you know, maybe the best move I ever made was I had the idea, but like you said, ideas are a dime, a dozen. I needed somebody that understood how to bring this to market. And I went to my business partner at the time. And again, we were doing franchising here in Oregon and I said, I got this idea for a CPG business, and I just want to run it by you. And I just want to see what your reaction is. And I had a couple of his kids who I think were like, I want to say they were like 16 and 19, so good demographics to test. I said, I just want to take you guys out to dinner and run this idea by you. So I pitched them this idea of an energy chewing gum,
The kids too?
The kids too, and.
Set up. Yeah. They’re like, do you have any, do you have any that I could buy? And I’m like, I don’t have any. And maybe more importantly, my coach and business partner, Sam would pray. He said, not only do I think it’s a great idea. I want in like, how, how can I, how can we be 50 50 on this? You know? So to have, have my business partner light up, have the kids light up. I’m like, this is it. This is the product that I, I really want to bring to market. Okay.
Sam, uh, was he coaching at Willamette still,?
Uh, strength and conditioning and sprints coach that Willamette. And he, and I just got along. Great. So, uh, when I turned pro he kind of came along as a mentor and an assistant with OTC and he, I mean, he and I had been best friends and business partners for 20 years now. Um, but, uh, when, when I, when he, when I said that, when he said, I want in on this, like, I’m not, I’m not just here to mentor you on this, but I like, I want to be your business partner on this. You know, that changed everything because he understood what it was going to take to bring this to market. And, you know, I would say in those early days, um, you know, he was just absolutely essential from, uh, you know, running payroll, hiring employees, uh, finding, uh, real estate for us to build our first HQ.
I mean, everything, he, he knew what needed to be done. And he said, Nick, you know, you’re, you are the face of this. I need you to continue to talk about it. You know, in every interview you can talk about it, get more earned media, run as fast as you can show off the product. So I was really the marketing PR side of things, and he was really the financial operations side of things and, and, uh, hired our, our, our COO Nathan, who was also a co-founder. And that was probably the second best move we did. Um, so it all worked out, but like, like you say, everybody has an idea. It’s all in the execution. And if I’m gonna, you know, kind of put a wet towel on everything, the most important part of that execution is the financial plan, right? If don’t have the money figured out, then how are you going to get this thing?
So make sure before you start a business that you understand how that business is going to run businesses, need money. That is their blood, make sure it has enough blood to live for a certain amount of time to test that idea. And if I’m going to, you know, peel back the curtains on Run Gum. Sam and I came in 50 50, not just on, you know, ownership, but on also cash in. And so as self-funded founders round, we both put in cash. And in our business model, we knew that we had enough cash to run the thing for two years. We, even, if we made $0, we had enough cash to run it for two years. And of course we made money along the way, and he reinvested that money and the rest is history, but, uh, you really, you just have to understand how the money works in your business model, or you are just one of those businesses that never really gets off the ground.
And I guess in, in your guys’ case of bringing in other experts, not thinking that, you know, at all, from, from being a track coach and an Olympic runner, no one knows that a good team assembled. Yeah.
And, and, and, and literally no one knows it on any entrepreneur that’s being handicapped by thinking they don’t have enough knowledge. You don’t need that much knowledge. Like you just, the only knowledge I really think you need to know is what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. If you have that much knowledge, then you can just go hire all the other pieces. Right? So like, I’m really bad with technology and I’m really bad with numbers, but I’m really good at marketing and PR. So we’ve hired, we’ve let me be good at marketing PR. And we hired people to help us out with, with the numbers and the, and the operation.
That’s a smart guy right there telling, telling us what you’re really bad at no joke. Um, I was just doing construction with my, my construction friend, and I don’t know shit about any of it, but are smart enough to know, I don’t know how to work this nail gun. I ain’t touching that until you show me, but, you know, I think most people get, uh, some sort of arrogance or blind, you know, blinders on and plunge into things that they’re not really expert at and, and think that they are just from their huberous or something.
There’s two different sides of that spectrum. Right? On the, on the far side of the hubris side, I know everything. I don’t even need to hire people. Like I’m an expert at everything. That’s a great way to run a business straight into the ground. On the other side is the self doubt, which is one of the most cancerous things in an entrepreneur’s mind is I don’t, I don’t know anything. And I, I need to become an expert at all of these fields before I can get off the ground, right. That person will never, ever launch their business. So you want to be somewhere in the middle. You want to say, I know what I’m good at, and I know what I’m not good at. I don’t need to be perfect to launch this business, but I just need to know, you know, as we scale the pieces that are going to have to be put in place to make this, this machine work
Well said. Yeah. And so, uh, somewhere along the line, you realize that maybe you and the camera were integral parts of, of building this business. That seems like the YouTube, uh, effort is, is a big part. You got these million plus views of the videos, but tell me how that whole program got started. And it’s taken off to the point where it seems like a major effort that you guys are making today. I mean, you have drones, so it’s gotta be amazing.
Yeah. You got a drone, you double your production. Well, you know, I, I will credit our COO Nathan, who is, you know, a lot hipper than I am and, and understands trends. And he’s like, why don’t you have a YouTube video or YouTube channel? I’m like, Oh, I, I, I don’t have funny cat videos to post he’s. Like, that’s not really what YouTube is anymore. You know? And I, wasn’t a consumer of YouTube content, so I didn’t understand the platform. And then when I started, you know, watching and seeing how creators were creating these wonderful channels in, in various niches, I’m like, yeah, maybe I could do this. I have a lot of knowledge from 20 years as a competitive runner. Maybe I can use my YouTube video to one pass some of that knowledge on and two entertain people because I like doing that as well.
And so it started very slow. I think we started off, you know, with a couple of hundred subscribers. And over the course of a year, we got to maybe like 8,000 subscribers. And then I got burnt out and took a little break, but I always knew there was something powerful there and something that I really wanted to be good at. But again, understanding what I’m good at and what I’m bad at. I’m really bad at editing video. Like I’m really good in front of the camera. Like I’m not, I’m not ashamed to say that I I’m, I’m good in front of the camera, but I’m so bad behind the camera. And I’m really bad at editing. So we hired somebody. And as soon as we hired Ryan, our videographer, it just took off like a rocket ship. Now you’ve got the guy in front of the camera, partnered with the guy behind the camera, and they’re both experts at what they do.
And you’ve got a really good video. And, and you know, this time, you know, right before we hired Ryan, I think I was at like 18,000 subscribers, not, it was maybe like 18 months ago, you know, and now we’re closing in on 300,000 subscribers and we have 10, 10 videos over a million views. So again, just understand where your limitations are. I didn’t have to have everything figured out to launch right in the YouTube business. I could start with my cell phone and I movie, and they would be ugly and bad, but I could, I could then scale it. So as we started to scale the channel, Nathan and I looked at each other and said, well, if this cattle is going to go anywhere, we need to invest in a videographer. So it doesn’t have to be perfect to start. But if you want to find success, really recognize, you know, your limitations and then, you know, address that with them.
So you keep in full speed ahead in that direction. And, uh, what else you have going on for the future?
It’s funny, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve got the personality that’s always like, where can we be better? Right. Which is, you know, it’s a great way to be successful. It’s kind of a bad way to be happy to find true happiness. My mom always calls me a malcontent because no matter how much success I have, I’m like, where can we be better? Like where, where can I invest my time and, and energy to be more successful? And it’s true. Like YouTube has been phenomenally successful for us in just the last year. And that’s where I’m really passionate right now. And it’s where I want to double down my efforts at the same time. We’ve got, you know, a multimillion dollar business here with Ron gum that we’ve got to keep running. So trying to just recognize my own limitations there. I wonder how far I can take this company as the CEO.
Speaker 4 (50:33):
And if there is going to come a time in the near future where we need to look to be acquired and possibly be acquired, you know, self controlling interest and let somebody, who’s an expert at scaling a CPG company, take this to its true potential, which I really believe it could be a billion dollar company. I just don’t know if I’m the guy to do that. Um, those are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. It’s kind of a crossroads for any entrepreneur to know when the right time to get out is, I don’t think we’re there yet. I think there’s so much low hanging fruit for us to pick, and I know how to pick that fruit, but, you know, as any entrepreneur that, that you know is found, some success has to ask like how long is this the right place for me?
Yeah. Well said you got to keep thinking about that every single day probably.. Just checking in with your, your vision.
What do you think of the track scene these days? Are you a big fan or you kind of stepped aside and more into your you’re a big fan of YouTube now and you, you consume YouTube hosts instead of, uh, instead of, uh, golden league or what,
Well, I mean, for the most part track and field doesn’t exist at this moment, right?
Like we saw some old records this year, man.
We did, we did. Um, but it wasn’t the same, right? It wasn’t the same as, as an Olympic season. It wasn’t the same as a championship, as soon as it was time trialing. And I, again, as a guy, who’s not a big time trialer. I don’t get excited about that, that much. Like I get excited about championship racing. So we didn’t have that this year, not at the U S level, not at the international level. And so for me, this was kind of just like a holding pattern year and we’re going to hopefully be able to resurrect that, that, uh, side of the sport in 2021. But I still love watching championship races. I can, I’m not going to tune into a diamond league.
I’m not going to tune into, uh, you know, uh, uh, random meet at, at Melbourne. I just don’t, I don’t like time trialing. It’s not fun for me to watch a bunch of people chase times with rabbits. I want to see who periodized they’re season, right? Who can handle the do or die moment of a championship final round. That’s what I want to see. So as soon as that resumed you, I will absolutely be at the Olympic trials if they take place and I’m allowed to go, um, you know, we don’t know if they’re going to have spectators,
They’re gonna, they’re going to block your hat logo.
If they can have spectators due to the pandemic. I still think there is nothing more exciting than a championship track and field race. And, uh, I’ll watch those forever. But yeah, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna waste time watching a time trial because it just doesn’t make me that excited. I didn’t get excited about that 5k world record. I mean, a world record is still a world record, but I would rather see, you know, uh, US championship 5k would get me probably more excited than, than watching that 5k world record.
Yeah. It’s all great entertainment. And I know Kipchoge’s orchestrated effort to run. The one 59 was criticized by a lot of purists, but I’m like, Hey, I like watching a pack kicking in, in a championship marathon, but I also was fascinated. Watch this guy with all this help run a one 59 marathon.
They’re almost two different sports, right? Like it’s like watching, um, doubles in tennis versus singles. Like it’s still tennis. That’s just two different games. So like watching someone time trial, like yKipchoge is hugely inspirational. Watching someone set a world record in a time trial is hugely inspirational, but for a way different reason than when I’m inspired by watching the final of a, of a championship race.
Yeah, no, you got a lot of fans, young fans that are runners, and it sounds like you gave a great tip earlier in the show when you were talking about that balanced lifestyle and being a fraternity guy in college rather than a freaky runner guy, uh, you know, looking over his training logs on Saturday night instead of having fun. So maybe we could part with some, some great words of wisdom for young athletes that are in your sport and looking to excel and continue to improve and also enjoy themselves.
Well, just looking back on my own career and every athlete beats to different drums. So I’m not going to say that what works for me is going to work for somebody else. But if I’m speaking in generalizations, prep athletes need to focus on having fun, you know, period, right? Like if you’re in high school, sport should be fun if you’re not having fun, you know, why are you doing it? Even though there were parts of track and field and cross country that I didn’t like. Overall, I was having a lot of fun, you know,. In college, this is where you’re really going to find out where you’re going to be successful. And so, you know, the fun maybe comes down a little bit as you dial up your focus, there’s still going to be a lot of fun, but this is your chance to really put a lot of time and energy into something, whether it’s your academics or your athletics and find out just how great you can be.
And then as you get kicked out of that safety nest, that is college, you know, you’re going to go out to the real world, you’re going to take whatever, wherever you’ve found your success and then really try to scale it. So I would say me personally, I dialed up my level of focus. Um, and my, my, you know, willingness to invest myself into the sport. Maybe I was 50% focused in high school, 75% focused in college. And, you know, darn near a hundred percent focused as a pro. But throughout it all, even at my highest level of focus as a pro, I still knew when to stop and press the reset button at the end of a season. And, and, you know, not wear myself into a ground. If I leave one thing out there, cause I think there’s a lot of people that will identify with this.
I tell kids at the end of a season, make sure you take some time off, you know, as a pro I would take six weeks off at the end of the season as a high school student, I always recommend, you know, maybe two or three weeks off high school and college. And I get these kids. I’m not going to take any days off because I’m dedicated to my sports. I’m like, if you were really dedicated, you would take time off. It’s not hard to run every day. That’s not hard. The hard thing to do is to listen to your body, to periodize your training. To peak at the right time. That is really, really hard to do. Anyone can just be stubborn enough to lace up their trainers and run every day. It was not hard. The hard thing to do is to peak at a championship race year in and year out. That’s hard.
Yeah. I mean, you can’t reach those highs until you have the balance and the lows, you know, Julio Jones, the NFL wide receiver? I asked him about his off season, uh, training, uh, strategies and things that he does. He says, I don’t do anything, man, except for I eat healthy and take care of my body and rest because you’re coming back pretty soon with an incredibly intense NFL season, getting pounded and pairing and training camp, great stuff.
I always wanted to get to that point. After my, I knew when it was time to start training again. And in some areas, it only took two weeks, some years it took for some years, it took six weeks after a season. I wanted to look down and just be like, Oh man, I’m out of shape. Like I want to go run so bad. Like I dying to go for a run because I miss being fit. And I miss looking down and just, you know, being proud of my body. Like I, once I got to that point where I’m like calling coach, I’m like, can I start training now? Like, that’s when I knew it was time to really start periodizing another season.
That’s beautiful. I love that.
But it doesn’t have one out. And it doesn’t mean I went out and hammered a 14 miler. Like my first couple of runs back might be like a 15 minute jog. Or, you know, maybe a four mile long run to try to slowly start shedding that weight and building momentum back into a long season, which might be a nine month training cycle.
Nick wants to look down and not see his toes. You know, the obesity test. If you stand there in the doctor’s office, you can’t see your toes. You’ve got an issue, man. Yeah. Hey man, I appreciate your time so much. Your story is so inspiring. What’s what’s next on YouTube. You’ve got a crazy athletic goal that you’re, you’re gonna, you’re gonna unleash. pretty soon?
No. Um, because again, like I like, it’s fun with fitness, right? It’s not necessarily like misery, although I did run a hundred miler the other day for a YouTube video, that was pretty fun. My very first a hundred miler. That was really a good accomplishment, but no, I, I drop a video every single week on my channel, Nick Symmonds. Um, sometimes they’re fun. Sometimes they’re educational. Sometimes they’re inspirational. But you’ll get a new video every single week. And, um, you know, I think we’re going to hit about 300,000 subscribers before the end of the year. My big audacious goal for 2021 is to get to a million subscribers and I’m going to have to pull out all the tricks to get it done. But, uh, I think that’s a, it’s a really good goal. It’s a goal I’m really passionate about.
Love it. Keep up the great work. Nick Symmonds, everybody. Thanks for listening.