Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 100 - Ryan Ross - HARD TRUTHS

You know, I think as a coach of endurance athletes, unless you’re working with all elite level athletes, you’re always going to be working with people on hearing their weight loss challenges. I mean, it’s part of it.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 100 - Ryan Ross - HARD TRUTHS

RYAN: [00:00:00] You know, I think as a coach of endurance athletes, unless you’re working with all elite level athletes, you’re always going to be working with people on hearing their weight loss challenges. I mean, it’s part of it. Because a lot of people come to the sport as — they view it as part of a way that they can lose weight, and that’s fine and good. So, yeah, it’s something you deal with commonly. But I see the mentality and you read about it all the time, the mentality of well, I just did X number of hours, two days, I can eat whatever. I mean that — I mean, it’s kind of cliche, but man, it is so true. That mindset is really prevalent with age group athletes.

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JESSE: [00:01:28] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. Back here today for Episode 100. We’ve hit a century as he said before we get going. He is a former coach of Paralympic gold medalist Shawn Morelli. Currently, he’s a certified public accountant. He has a host of credentials which he’s let lapse. But as we were talking about, it doesn’t really matter. The knowledge doesn’t disappear just because you didn’t pay your dues to whichever organization is certifying you. And of course, the thing that matters most to me, he is my coach. So, I work with him on a day-to-day basis. Welcome to the show, Ryan Ross.

RYAN: [00:02:06] Thanks, J.F. Appreciate the introduction.

JESSE: [00:02:09] Yeah. Well, I thought it was fair or maybe appropriate to have you back for Episode 100. Like I said you came on for the very first episode when I didn’t know how to talk to people or figure out if I could talk for an hour or any of that. So, it makes it easy to make you a recurring guest when you were there at the very beginning.

RYAN: [00:02:32] This is bigger than when Will scored a hundred in a game.

JESSE: [00:02:36] I don’t know about that. I don’t — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:02:38] I mean, come on. I mean, we’re on a century ride here, century riding.

JESSE: [00:02:42] Yeah. You know, and I haven’t even made a century ride yet, which is fine by me.

RYAN: [00:02:46] You’ve never done a century ride?

JESSE: [00:02:48] No.

RYAN: [00:02:49] Not once?

JESSE: [00:02:50] You’re in charge of my training. You should know.

RYAN: [00:02:53] Well, I know but maybe some time before that. Maybe some time —

JESSE: [00:02:56] No, no. I mean, the longest we were going we were doing those five-hour rides. That was the longest I’d gone. And I’m trying to remember, I was getting up to, let me think about — like 80-85 miles on those. And that was it. I mean I — And well, I mean, in a way, it was almost like a century because I had to come back and go run five miles after I got done with that. Which is kind of like riding another 15.

RYAN: [00:03:22] Yeah, worse probably. Well, I’ll make a note. We’ll put that on the agenda next week. Are you ready for that?

JESSE: [00:03:27] Right. I mean, just break it up over the week, and then maybe I’ll be fine. But changing objectives, obviously, with me coming back this year and trying to go back to running and stop being a heavy triathlete, got to get back to being leaner and all those things that come along with trying to be fast at running. I was just talking about this with another recording from today. And talking to her about — it’s a lady who works at this company called Hydrow. They make rowing machines. It’s like the peloton of rowing basically.

RYAN: [00:04:10] Oh, interesting.

JESSE: [00:04:11] And I was asking her about caloric burn because I did this running video on the YouTube channel. So, if you’re not listening, check out the YouTube channel. I have a show just about running,, S-O-L-P-R-I. I did a video about how long does it take to burn a thousand calories when you’re running. It’s basically, give or take, you burn a hundred calories a mile, so it takes 10 miles.

Doesn’t matter how much you weigh, how fast you’re going, that’s roughly what it’s going to be. So, I was asking her about is there any rule like that with rowing. And I just didn’t think the whole thing through. And it’s kind of like cycling where it’s more about lean mass and how much power you’re producing compared to how much you weigh for caloric production since it’s not weight-bearing like running is.

RYAN: [00:05:08] Yeah. The burn isn’t as intense in cycling or rowing as it will be in running.

JESSE: [00:05:13] Right. Well, she would probably have an argument with the burn versus running. But I didn’t get to ask her about it. I know she disagreed because there was a runner’s rule article about it and she disagreed. But we ran out of time. So, maybe I’ll have to email her about it and ask.

RYAN: [00:05:34] Well, if you do them, you also have to take into account like, if you or I go to row hard for an hour, we’re going to burn more calories than she’s going to burn because she’s way more efficient at what she’s doing.

JESSE: [00:05:46] Right. Well, that’s one of the things she says like, it also depends on how good your rowing form is basically.

RYAN: [00:05:55] Yeah. Yeah, and your experience and your efficiency with it. I mean, it’s kind of like, if you’re not a runner and you start running, and you go run two miles, and at what you perceive as an easy pace well, over time, your heart rate drops when you do that. Thus, your calories you’re burning also drops. So, efficiency comes into play quite a bit as well.

JESSE: [00:06:22] Yeah. I kind of wonder how that plays into that 100 calorie a mile rule?

RYAN: [00:06:28] It can’t be a hard and fast rule. It can’t be. Even though I hear you that —

JESSE: [00:06:33] No, no. It’s not perfect in that it does vary, but it’s like it doesn’t vary enough for it to be, like substantial. Because the big varying part is largely going to be weight. And then incline would be the other variable. So, like if you’re going a mile uphill, it’s going to take more work. It’s a physics equation. Work is — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:07:04] You’ll be out there longer.

JESSE: [00:07:07] Well, no. I’m going to get this wrong. Work as in joules, gotta write this down. Work — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:07:14] Well, hold on a second, if you — [crosstalk] one mile, versus running flat for one mile unless you’re running really hard when you run flat. I mean, your running super, super — I mean, it’s going to take longer to go up the hill than it is to run flat.

JESSE: [00:07:30] Yeah. But it’s not the time — See, we’re so based in time, it’s not the time that we’re concerned with. So, work is epically in joules, but you can convert joules to calories. Work is distance times force. Time’s not a factor. It’s how far you went and how much force was produced. But like, the distance you went is when you’re running is a factor of how much force you’re producing.

So, there’s this kind of tied-together relationship of distance and force, where like, if I can produce more force, I can travel farther in one bound or one leg leap than somebody who can produce less force of the same size, right? [crosstalk] So, our calories burn, the work done is the same. But if you increase the incline, it requires more force to go the same distance. So, that’s when the variable changes.

Otherwise, speed isn’t a factor, it’s just the total distance covered because it requires — So, if it takes, I’ll just say, five, five units of force or to cover a meter, then it takes five units of force to cover a meter. If my foot can produce five units, a force in one stroke, I can cover that meter with one leg swing. If you can only do one, it’s going to take you five leg swings, but it still only took five units of force to cover it. So, that’s the reason that that 100 calories per mile basically holds true.

The biggest variable is weight because it takes more force to move larger bodies. And then incline because it takes more force to work against gravity than if you’re on the flat. So, that’s why I said it’s just a rule of thumb, but that’s why it holds basically true. It’s not intuitive, in the least, but I mean, as I looked into it, I was like, oh, it makes perfect sense.

RYAN: [00:09:41] I would definitely agree it’s going to be very close. But let me ask you this.

JESSE: [00:09:47] I think efficiency is going to obviously play a role too. Like if you’re not as compact, if you’re flailing your arms, clearly, you’re doing more work because you’re doing all this nonsensical movement.

RYAN: [00:09:59] Let me ask you this. Why is the calories we burn important? Is this because we’re thinking as the individual might be thinking about weight loss?

JESSE: [00:10:11] That’s why I think the question came up. I try to base a lot of my videos on questions people are asking. And it was something that I saw specifically a thousand calories because I think people just like, dial in on like a thousands a lot and how much do I have to do to do a thousand? So, I’m like, all right. Well, let’s figure this out. Basically, it’s 10 miles.

RYAN: [00:10:30] Are they as concerned about what they’re eating in their day-to-day diet in their attempt to weight lose weight rather than nailing down how many calories am I burning every single mile? I mean, I think we know what’s more important.

JESSE: [00:10:48] Well, clearly. I mean, I just did — the video just came out today as we’re recording this. No, wait, it’s Friday, no, yesterday, about can running give you six-pack abs? That’s another question that came up. And the answer is kind of, [crosstalk] but you gotta eat right. And I talked about that and how I’ve never had a six-pack. But I had a friend in college on the team I ran on, he always had a six-pack. I was usually faster than him but he looked better than I did and [inaudible 00:11:26] being fast though.

RYAN: [00:11:27] If you look around — if you look at elite-level runners, triathletes, cyclists, you don’t see six-pack abs anywhere — [crosstalk]

JESSE: [00:11:35] not usually. No.

RYAN: [00:11:37] Not really because it’s not important. Now, proper abdominal strength is important, but six-pack abs is not the type of strength that we’re looking for. We’re looking for something much deeper, transverse abdominis. So, yeah, that’s why you don’t see a bunch of runners and triathletes with it. They might be lean, but that’s kind of a waste.

JESSE: [00:12:04] Yeah. It does — I mean, you’ve heard me, I don’t know how many — we’ve been working together a number of years now. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this is the year I’m going to finally have a six-pack. I probably say it every year, has yet to happen. But I don’t know what the, obviously, and I say I say that to say that I’m subject to this too. But I don’t know what the obsession is with it culturally. Like is that the ultimate sign of fitness? Like, it’s the ultimate sign of male virility. Like, I’ve got a six-pack, like I —

RYAN: [00:12:41] To some people it might be. Yeah, I mean, to some people, it definitely might be. But what’s your like — Okay. So, if your goal is I want a six-pack abs, it’s kind of hard to define. I mean, as an endurance athlete you can more objectively define a goal than saying I’m going to get six-pack abs, especially when it’s not important and it’s going to take a lot of time to develop those six-pack abs away from other things. I mean, you know. But your day is coming. I have no doubt. One of these days you’re going to pull up that shirt and I’m going to be like, “Oh my goodness.”

JESSE: [00:13:22] Yeah. I mean, we can only hope. I feel like — I’m trying not to worry too much about it. It’s just like, right now it’s like trying to stay in healthy weight loss. Having the kitchen back helps. So, if you’re just listening you missed out — I did a wrap-up video at the end of the year for last year’s question, the purpose of sport on the YouTube channel, again,

I showed at that time a basically empty kitchen. I can’t remember whether we had the flooring yet. So, we went for like four months of just lots of eating out and barely cooking anything because we were cooking — we had the microwave in the living room and a cooking top like a little burner in the dining room and the fridge in the sunroom just running around the house trying to assemble it.

By we, I mean my lovely fiance was doing most of it and tearing her hair out trying to do her best to feed me. So, you know, [crosstalk] bless her. She works hard to make sure I’m fed because it’s me that is the issue. She would eat just about anything, and I have to be fed because I work out so much. But now we got the kitchen, at least functional, it’s not done, and we can go back to eating relatively regular, which is nice. Would be good for you too because then you don’t have to hear me complain about I can’t lose weight. I can’t lose weight.

RYAN: [00:14:51] Yeah. If you’re eating out a lot it’s hard to lose weight because restaurant food has so many hidden calories. When you think about cooking oils and things like that, that they use. And I mean, I always tell people like one of my golden rules in nutrition is you don’t eat dairy at a restaurant, period, you just don’t because that’s going to be massive amounts of calories as well. Because they’re not obviously choosing skimmed versions of dairy. And I mean, I’m not a dairy eater anyway. But yeah, that — I’m not surprised that you’re going to see a difference.

JESSE: [00:15:26] Yeah. well, that’s what like we noticed this week, it was like, I dropped a couple pounds too quickly ‘cause I’d gone back eating at home. And I just tried to cut out 200 calories from the day, but it was like an unconscious overcorrection without eating out as much. So, for the last couple days, I’ve had to eat all my planned snacks and stuff and kind of gained the weight back to where I should be, instead of taking that like deep plunge where I didn’t — like I couldn’t — This is the danger if you’re listening, if you’re trying to cut weight as an athlete, if you kind of too quickly, then you have no energy. So, this is rest week for me.

And Ryan set me up to do not a tough set in the pool by any means, like tempo to threshold hundreds. And it should have been relatively easy but it was like I just — I had no energy and like I couldn’t even get my heart rate above like — was at 24 for 10. So, it’s like 144 beats a minute was like the highest I could get it going because I had — I was just pooped. I couldn’t — And I could only do that for a couple.

It was like I was sitting at like 130 beats a minute. When normally when I’m fueled, at the end of those, I can crank up to 160-170. Sprints are at 180-185. But that’s where you got to be careful. And yeah. I don’t know, through different athletes you’ve had, you’ve got more strength athletes now, don’t you than endurance people?

RYAN: [00:17:07] I teach some strength training classes. Everyone that I coach is still endurance-oriented. But I, at a local gym that I go to, I teach strength training classes.

JESSE: [00:17:21] Yeah. I just don’t know if you’ve got how many of your athletes are focused on like, I need to be such and such weight. Because I really am not focused on that for a long time. I just eat and it’s whatever.

RYAN: [00:17:34] I mean, I definitely still have people who have weight loss goals and people who need to have weight loss goals. So, yeah, I mean, it’s — You know, I think as a coach of endurance athletes, unless you’re working with all elite level athletes, you’re always going to be working with people on hearing their weight loss challenges. I mean, it’s part of it. Because a lot of people come to the sport as — they view it as part of a way that they can lose weight, and that’s fine and good.

So, yeah, it’s something you deal with commonly. But I see the mentality and you read about it all the time, the mentality of well, I just did X number of hours, two days, I can eat whatever. I mean that — I mean, it’s kind of cliche, but man, it is so true. That mindset is really prevalent with age group athletes. And it kind of leads to you don’t ever see bodies change. I mean, you really — because after a while, as an endurance athlete, after a while your body plateaus and things like that. And what percent of potential weight loss is from nutrition. And it’s like, at least 75% of what you’re doing nutritionally, and the mistakes that are being made with poor diet choices.

JESSE: [00:19:09] Yeah. One of the big I don’t want to say revelations, but maybe that’s the right word, for me was after college, I was working with a nutritionist at the gym. Now, this guy was a bodybuilder, but he was really dialed in on what you need to be eating. I disagreed with him on several counts as he wanted me to weigh too much protein. And by that, I mean like his target for me was like 400 grams of protein a day.

RYAN: Oh, my goodness

JESSE: I was hitting like 250 and hitting a wall and I was like, I just cannot do it anymore. And I feel like some of those things, it’s important to listen to your body going like no, stop it. Stop it. This is insane. But one of the things he did, I think was important was he was like, okay, well, let’s look at your workouts, let’s figure out how many calories you’re burning.

And then that gets averaged over the week. So, it’s not like oh, you’re doing a huge workout on Sundays, so then you can gorge yourself Sunday evening. And then you have a light workout on Monday. So, you barely eat anything, it’s like, it all averages out. Now, I adjusted that a little bit back when we were doing the 70.3 training and I was going out for those five-hour rides and a half-hour runs.

Like I’d eat a little more on Sunday just because you’re out for five hours, I mean, that’s 3,000 calorie ride, you just need a little something. Otherwise, you’re going to be toast for the next day, which was usually my long runs go out for half a marathon the next day.

But that’s the kind of mentality I basically adopted where it’s like, that’s why that hundred calorie mile rule works out nice because I can say, oh, we’re running 40 miles this week, that’s 4,000 calories. Bike and swim, an hour swimming or hour, hour 15, 6-700 calories. Indoor bike, I don’t burn as much so 4-500 calories an hour. Split it up, that’s where I’m at, knock 200 calories a day off of that. And that’s all so that I’m not pooped. But I had an overcorrection on accident. And that’s the different — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:21:29] So, are you saying that you try to match it up day to day and adjust? Or are you staying balanced?

JESSE: [00:21:37] So, I’m trying to basically eat roughly the same amount of calories every single day.

RYAN: [00:21:42] That’s good. Yeah. The other way is not as effective.

JESSE: [00:21:46] Right. The yo, yo method works like you — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:21:49] Yeah. It doesn’t work. Because if you think about it, if you have a 2,000 calorie a day burn, you’re going to end up over 4,000 plus whatever. Your body can’t process that much food appropriately when you try to eat that. It is way better to just say, okay. This is kind of where I need to be. I need to kind of creature of habit myself to be within this eating range. And it’s also I kind of feel it’s easier to balance out what you’re eating as well. As in you can plan carbohydrate, protein, fat, fruit and vegetable and all that kinds of stuff.

JESSE: [00:22:32] Yeah. And like I said, it’s probably unfair of me. But my fiance takes care of pretty much the food planning. And so I know basically, I don’t have to worry about dinner, and often I eat dinner for leftovers for lunch the next day. Breakfast basically doesn’t change, I have a couple pretty standard snacks. So, for me, it was just a matter of take out one of those 200 calorie snacks. And that’s the only adjustment that has to be made. So, yeah. I always feel like it’s a difficult subject.

I do like to talk about it because it is kind of this undercurrent, I think, for a lot of people who have body image issues or come to the sport from that aspect. Where it’s like they think thinner is better. And then there’s the, I think you and I talked about this, obviously, off the air, but that this idea that, well, if you’re a pound lighter than it’s two pounds per second or two seconds per mile faster for running. It’s like, well, okay, but only if you’re talking nonfunctional like weight loss. If you lose two pounds of muscle you’re not going to be — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:23:56] Any faster, right.

JESSE: [00:23:57] Right. That’s not helpful. But because of the problems with how those studies are set up, you can’t really test functional versus nonfunctional fitness. They basically like give them weights to carry around and then take the weights off and see how fast they can go. It’s like, well, duh, it’s completely dead weight.

RYAN: [00:24:21] And you also have, especially with the female athletes, the injury risks that can be associated with hyper weight loss. There’s — I mean, bone density decreases and things like that. I mean, there’s definitely and a large part of it is what the female body goes through. Too much weight loss, they have to be careful. They have to be careful.

JESSE: [00:24:53] And so along the lines of nutrition, I was talking about this the other day when I was talking about, I’m done a video on I think, like the two, I don’t know if I call them superfoods, but like go to foods basically for — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:25:10] Okay. What were they?

JESSE: [00:25:12] Well, the number one was spinach.

RYAN: [00:25:14] Oh, yeah, that’s — [crosstalk]

JESSE: [00:25:16] ‘Cause you can add it to like anything. It doesn’t change the flavor of your dishes very much.

RYAN: [00:25:22] And if you were to Google pretty much any micronutrient, I mean, or it’s hard to Google looking — So if you want to — if you say I want more magnesium. I want more calcium. I want more beta carotene. It’s all there. It’s all you’re going to find it there and a lot and a lot of the good nuts too. It’s like, you see a lot of the good nuts every time. I mean, anytime you try to research getting certain nutrients or amino acids. Yeah. What’s your other one?

JESSE: [00:25:58] Well, the other one is where you come in is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. ‘Cause it’s got so much good stuff in it and it’s so basic. Like, I think we take it for granted. Because it’s like, oh, that’s — it’s for kids. But it’s like, no. And Todd has that — You know, I don’t know if you watch Todd’s episodes of the show.

I can’t remember what — he came back on episode three, and like Episode 29 or something like that. One of Todd’s like go-to snacks or post race meals is PB&J. It tastes good. It’s got carbs, fat, protein, like it’s got so much good stuff in it. And it’s so accessible, which is why I mentioned you and where you come in starting your nonprofit, KC PBJ Project. So, I kind of want to give you a little opportunity to talk more about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it.

RYAN: [00:26:50] I just had one a little while ago. Yeah. I have one probably almost every day. Almost every day.

JESSE: [00:26:59] That’s basically what my breakfast is, is like protein waffles with peanut butter and jelly. It’s pretty much what I eat every day.

RYAN: [00:27:06] That sounds good. Yeah, okay. Yeah. But yeah, I love how you have that as one of your two superfoods. I think that’s pretty — [crosstalk]

JESSE: [00:27:17] Well, I think part of it is being — it’s being accessible. The whole like craze about acai, it’s like, okay, let’s — Nobody’s eating this, but let’s start cramming it into everything. Okay. I mean, that’s fine. Like, I have — [crosstalk]

RYAN: It’s expensive.

JESSE: Well, it is. I’ve had the privilege, I say it is privilege of going to Hawaii and they have a traditional culture. And I think it’s born of Hawaii, but I could be very wrong, of acai bowls. And we’ve had a back here in Kansas City. They’re not like in Hawaii. They’re still good. Not the same. I like acai, but it just — it’s not as accessible. And the one thing I have figured out or concluded is like, you just got to make things dumb, simple. And I don’t mean that people are dumb.

I mean, we only have so much brainpower to devote to things. And if you’ve got to devote like brainpower every single day to like, what am I going to eat? What’s the perfect — It’s like, you’re going to drive yourself nuts, number one, and then you’re not going to get anything done. So, like having these easy go-to things where I know I’m going to get the macros I need in the case of the PB&J and then a ton of micronutrients with the spinach. That’s why they’re my two because they’re accessible and they’re no-brainers.

RYAN: [00:28:45] Yeah. Okay. I like that. I like that a lot. I like the simplicity. It’s hard to say that to triathletes sometimes because triathletes like to make things more challenging than they should be. I’ve always noticed that highly successful athletes oftentimes tend to be ones that just kind of go with the flow, and don’t obsess over every little detail.

And that kind of goes back to what you were the same and keeping that simple because you’re right, I mean, macronutrient standpoint, it’s there. I mean a PBJ, you can — First of all, you can get a lot of variation within that simplicity. It’s kind of like pizza, where you can have super unhealthy pizza, you can make some choices within a PBJ that maybe aren’t real good. But it’s very easy and very accessible to make good choices with the products you’re choosing as well.

JESSE: [00:29:44] So, is that — I mean, is that the idea behind focusing on PB&J for the startup and what — For people that are listening, they probably have no idea what we’re talking about. So, I guess, can you give a brief overview on what your nonprofit is doing and then come back to why you’re doing it.

RYAN: [00:30:07] Yeah. So, the nonprofit is called the KC PBJ Project. And my family started this about a year ago. And we started it kind of in the midst of COVID, when they were talking about — they were showing on TV, like pictures of the food pantries and stuff with the cars lined up for miles and miles and stuff. And I’ve done some food pantry volunteer work myself. And it just — it kind of hit home with me and brought back memories of serving those people working with those people and the challenges that they have, the challenges of the food pantry system, which we were witnessing right there on TV with the lines of cars and stuff.

So, what our nonprofit does is families can apply for assistance through us here in the Kansas City area. And they will receive a once-a-month delivery of enough bread, peanut butter, and jelly to supplement the food in their household for a month. So, we have right now we got about 75 families that we’re serving or households, as I like to call them because some people are just one person households got about 75. And we use a network of volunteers to service most of those.

And then we have a small amount that we service just from in-house that we service through like product donations and cash donations as well. So, it’s a very — again, we’re using this word often, it’s very simple concept because our volunteers just simply call up their families once a month and make that delivery to them. And we’ve had feedback has been tremendous from both the volunteers and the families, what they’re getting out of it. So, it’s been a great thing.

And I would love to be able to — I don’t know how I want to say I want to do it as my full-time job because I’m not sure financially, quite how that would work, or how we can make that work. But we streamline the operations a lot since we started. And it’s basically set up now to where we can scale it. We got 75, we could do 750 as long as we continue to network for volunteers and stuff. So, yeah, it’s been great.

JESSE: [00:32:40] Like I said you and have talked about it, again, off the podcast not recording. So, you were kind of hitting a wall, there for a little while as you were still personally hand-delivering and stuff. And I think, maybe this is an opportunity for you to speak personally. But I think sometimes it’s hard. There’s a lot of, I’ll say hate for like CEOs or people at the top of organizations right now.

And sometimes for good reason. But I think it’s hard sometimes for people to relate to the demands of being the head of an organization that’s in charge of a large mass of people. Be it a fortune 100 company or a nonprofit. So, can you talk about a little bit like, the challenges you’re running into, and the reasons for kind of streamlining operations?

RYAN: [00:33:41] Well, we’re streamlined because I was starting to — So, when we first started out the vision was we’ll collect money and donations, and then we’ll ship or deliver all these products to all these people. Okay. And then I remember the first time we got requests, four requests came in, in one day.

So, I went down to the basement where we had pre-purchase some product from the money from donations, and I packaged them up, and I put shipping labels on them, and I shipped them out and I looked at my watch, and I’m like, we’ve got the capacity to serve about eight households at this rate that we’re going right now. So, I was like, okay, so this is fine right now, but this is going to have to evolve — It’s going to have to change to evolve.

So, I just — one day I just came up — So, many people were telling me they loved the concept and everything, it was great. And one day I just came up with the concept that we need to just get people to adopt these families and deliver on their own and donate — buy the goods on their own because people are wanting to donate and help and in my experience as a volunteer is that when you’re close to the benefactor and you have that personal touch with them, you get a lot more out of your experience, rather than if you just send money somewhere, or with a lot of volunteer opportunities where maybe you don’t have that. If you’re packing backpacks of food at a school for the kids, I mean, you don’t have that personal touch really with who you’re working for, or who you’re donating to.

And so with our concept, I thought we could do a lot of things here. We can service more households, and we can give people an awesome volunteer opportunity. And I’ve had a lot of people come to me and say, they’ve developed personal relationships with the households and how great it is, and how they compare it to other volunteer things they’ve done.

I had a guy like last week tell me he tried to volunteer somewhere, and they were having him fill out all this paperwork, and he’s going to have to do all this training. And I was like, yeah, I mean we keep it simple. And you get a lot out of it because you have that personal relationship with our benefactors. So, we came up with that concept. And that’s really kind of where it started. I was like, okay. Now, this is where we can scale up.

Now, this is where we can basically help an unlimited number of people, by simply developing a network of volunteers to match to the families as we get requests. I would say our biggest challenge right now is probably two things.

One is just getting — actually, getting volunteers is easy. But getting — we need more people, we know there’s more families out, there more households that can use the assistance. So, we need to reach more households. And we’ve got some plans to do that here this spring, for sure, to get numbers up. The other is that just because of my connections and such and because we are out of Olathe, we don’t tend to get a lot of volunteers in other parts of the metropolitan area.

So, if I get a request today from let’s just say Raytown, from a family in Raytown, I don’t have a volunteer in the Raytown area right now to service them. I’d have to go out and social media and try to find one, which is a challenge. But if I had a family request in the Olathe, Overland Park type area, I would have them connected in the same day.

Because we have a waitlist of volunteers right now in those areas. So, developing our volunteers in other parts of our metropolitan area is kind of the second challenge as well. But we’re going to start work on both those aspects now that we’ve kind of grown it to where we got our systems down and everything. So, I’m really comfortable right now working to grow because I’m not doing deliveries anymore. We have delivery volunteers who service the ones that we still service from in-house inventory. So, those are the challenges.

JESSE: [00:38:01] Yeah, I’ll have to — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:38:02] But they’re good challenges. They’re growing pain-type challenges.

JESSE: [00:38:05] Right. I’ll have to keep thinking about that. Because I know that figuring out how to scale is always a challenge for different industries, especially when you’re talking about scaling with people. But it’s like that, to me, it seems like the challenge is getting past your own personal network. Like, how do you reach people that you’ve never spoken to and have them want to get involved and also locally? So, I mean, obviously, we’ve talked about welfare, we’ve talked about like paid ad options and stuff. But there’s got to be some smarter way that I just am not familiar with it.

RYAN: [00:38:48] Yeah. We’re going to do some paid ad stuff on both sides of it. You know, we’re fortunate enough through our donors that we can afford to do that. So, we’re going to do that, we’re going to start working on that as well. Because I’m excited now, because like I said, I mean, our goal was we were like, well, if we can get to 40 that would be awesome. And here we are at almost double that. And then I’m like, we’re in a position now to where, again, we can — the sky’s the limit I mean, pretty much on helping people which is fabulous, you know.

JESSE: [00:39:26] Yeah. Yeah. Okay, coach. I think you got to go get your kids here momentarily. So, as we’re winding down, I’ll ask you this year’s question. You’re the only person to get to answer all three of my questions so far. So, big one. Although you’ve probably, in my workout logs, you’ve probably answered this a number of times over the years. My question this year is how do you stay motivated after failing to reach a goal.

RYAN: [00:40:03] Me personally?

JESSE: [00:40:04] Yeah.

RYAN: [00:40:07] You know, one of the unique things about me I’ve always felt when I compare myself to other athletes is I’ve just never had a problem with motivation. I mean, it’s like, okay, I didn’t reach it. What do — I’m not — I mean, I guess for me, it’s just I just view it as giving up is just, or giving up or giving in has just really not ever been on the table for me. I either go after it again, or I move on to the next thing that was planned. I just — motivation has just never really been a problem for me.

JESSE: [00:40:42] You know, I asked that question to Olympic Rower Aquil Abdullah a while ago, recording, and he touched on earlier in our conversation, but talking about when you fail at something, rather than being so like critical, as he’s gotten older, he’s kind of at this place where he’s like, he approaches it out of a place of curiosity, you know.

Because the follow-up to what you said is basically like, well, how do you determine whether you should try again or move on? And I don’t know what your thought is. But I kind of think it’s — when you come at it from a place of curiosity, then you can determine whether the point of failure is inside or outside your control. And whether that means it’s worth attempting again. Like, he made the mention of sometimes when you get beat in a race, that guy is just better than you.

Like, it just is. There’s nothing you can do about it and it is what it is. But like if you had a flat tire because you’ve been running on the same tires for a thousand miles and you never changed it, well, that’s inside your control, maybe put a new tire on. Like, there’s a clear distinction between some of those things.

RYAN: [00:42:00] Yeah. I played a lot of competitive basketball growing up, and yes, sometimes here we are in March Madness and that’s something you sometimes have to learn how to say is that other guy was just flat better. I mean, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Because it’s hard to be the best in the world. It’s really hard to do. That doesn’t happen very often. So, it’s okay to say that. And I don’t want to bring it up, I don’t want to talk about it, but I know what my biggest failure was as an endurance athlete, I know exactly what it was. And I still, even with that, after recovering from that, my motivation didn’t, you know, I didn’t take up a new hobby-type thing. You know, I was just going to get back at it, maybe something a little bit different. But I’ve just never — I’ve just always been able to move [inaudible 00:43:00]

JESSE: [00:43:03] Think you’re getting text messages.

RYAN: [00:43:05] Say, that again? You cut out on me.

JESSE: [00:43:06] I said I think you’re getting text messages. I think your phone’s like vibrating. It’s coming across.

RYAN: [00:43:10] I think it’s my ring doorbell.

JESSE: [00:43:13] Okay. Somebody’s at the door. I just know it’s vibrating, but that’s okay. We’re here at the end.

RYAN: [00:43:17] [inaudible] the other questions.

JESSE: [00:43:19] What?

RYAN: [00:43:20] The other two questions.

JESSE: [00:43:22] The other two questions?

RYAN: [00:43:23] I think you said there was three?

JESSE: [00:43:25] No, no, no. You answered the other two on your previous airings, [crosstalk] your food and the purpose of sport. As I said, you’re the only one that’s gotten to answer all three for all three seasons.

RYAN: [00:43:37] What were they, remind me again?

JESSE: [00:43:38] The first year was if you only get to choose one recovery food for the rest of your life, what do you choose?

RYAN: [00:43:44] What did I choose?

JESSE: [00:43:45] I’d have to go back and look. Hopefully, PB&J. And then the other one was what — [crosstalk] Go ahead.

RYAN: [00:43:55] My go-to lately has just been — I simplified it. That’s coming up a lot today. One scoop of isolate whey protein powder, and a bunch of fruit mixed with almond milk. That’s it.

JESSE: [00:44:12] There you go.

RYAN: [00:44:13] And then what was one?

JESSE: [00:44:15] The purpose of sport.

RYAN: [00:44:18] Oh, yeah. That’s a deep one.

JESSE: [00:44:22] Yeah. I’ve got a whole — if you’re listening and you’re interested, on the YouTube channel, again, There is a compilation video from season two of everybody answering that, what’s the purpose of sport. And I found the answers varied so much from the succinct to the long-winded but always somehow really well thought out.

So, even if you haven’t listened to every single episode from the second season, it’s only available on the YouTube channel. It’s worth checking out to hear why we are all doing this because not everybody comes from us the same place. So, anyway, I will let you get on with your day. Go pick up your kids, so they’re not like where’s my dad? He left me. And — [crosstalk]

RYAN: [00:45:11] All right, J.F. Thanks, man.

JESSE: [00:45:12] Yeah, thanks for hanging out.

RYAN: [00:45:13] I will see you at 200.

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