Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 173 - Justin Roethlingshoefer - Own It Coaching

Actually, eight-year-old Justin wanted to be an NHL player. That’s what Justin wanted to be. And if you ever asked me at that age, it could have been teachers, it could have been parents, it could have been other people. 
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 173 - Justin Roethlingshoefer - Own It Coaching

[00:00:00] Actually, eight-year-old Justin wanted to be an NHL player. That’s what Justin wanted to be. And if you ever asked me at that age, it could have been teachers, it could have been parents, it could have been other people. What I was going to be doing is I was going to play in the NHL and I was going to be my career that was it. And at 13, my father said to me, “son, talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid.” And that statement really changed my life in a multitude of ways because it really put me on the forefront and the thought processing of how do I become the most consistent version of me? What does that look like? How does this —  what habits do I have to start becoming consistent in in order to find that?

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Jesse: [00:01:33] Welcome to Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today has his master’s in sport performance and human biology. Over the years, he’s worked with Stanley Cup champions, NHL MVPs, Super Bowl champions and Olympians among a number of varying entrepreneurs. He is host of the Sport Science and Recovery Podcast, author of numerous books. We could be talking about books for a while, so check it out on Amazon or any place you can get books afterwards. He’s the founder of Own It Coaching. Welcome to the show, Justin Roethlingshoefer.

Justin: [00:02:10] Awesome. I appreciate you, Jesse.

Jesse: [00:02:11] Yeah. Thanks for hanging out. You know, I know listeners, can we say this all the time, but I’m always very grateful that people wanted to spend all the time with me here on Fridays to record and hang out for a minute. It’s kind of those, as you and I were talking about before we got going, with like technological problems, one of the technological upsides being you get to meet people that you wouldn’t necessarily come across otherwise. So just a big thank you for hanging out with me.

Justin: [00:02:41] Oh, you’re very welcome. It’s always awesome to be able to provide a little bit of value to listeners. And then, like I said, just honor to you, because a lot of people forget podcasting is something that you pour into as well. It’s something that you put time and energy into and you’re holding the space. So honor for you or honor to you for continuing to lean into that. And I hope your listeners appreciate all the work that you do.

Jesse: [00:03:08] I appreciate it. So I think the question I like to get off the bat, which is kind of the background question, like how do you find yourself doing what you’re doing? Like unless I’m wrong and I’d love to be wrong, I feel like you don’t see like eight-year-old Justin being like, I’m going to coach, like all these sports performance people as an entrepreneur or like, I don’t think that’s necessarily where you start out as a kid. Unless it must maybe it was for you. So like, how does that […] developed where you get to where you are now?

Justin: [00:03:47] Yeah. So actually, eight-year-old Justin wanted to be an NHL player. That’s what Justin wanted to be. And if you ever asked me at that age, it could have been teachers, it could have been parents, it could have been other people. What I was going to be doing is I was going to play in the NHL and I was going to be my career that was it. And at 13, my father said to me, “son, talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid.”

[00:04:13] And that statement really changed my life in a multitude of ways because it really put me on the forefront and the thought processing of how do I become the most consistent version of me? What does that look like? How does this what what habits do I have to start becoming consistent in in order to find that?

[00:04:33] And at 13 started wearing heart rate monitors, brainwave sensors, pulse oximeters, you name it, to try and get that edge and reading medical journals and studying every nutrition books, sleep book you could that I could get my hands on. And I became obsessed with this space. And as I matured through my playing days, all of a sudden I was fortunate enough to come down to the States on a hockey scholarship, and hockey was going great. I was still on that trajectory and I got just bit by this performance bug.

[00:05:12] Like I wanted to know more. I wanted to continue to lean in as I’ve been diving into this for about six years, 13 to 19 years old, and really just started to love it and knew that all of a sudden when you put effort into something, when you became aware of something, when you change the stimulus, when you were able to adopt a habit, it could impact the outcome and you could see the actual change in your body. The way you felt your energy level, your recovery time, all of these things. I was like, “Wow, you have a lot of control in how you’re actually going to show up and perform day to day.”

[00:05:54] And that whole thing really changed the game for me, I think, in a big way, because it facilitated also a career shift and a career change going through and getting my master’s degree going and doing my postgraduate research in heart rate variability, sleep and recovery science, and ultimately took me to the NHL as a performance coach. And that was I think the unique piece was being able to look at everything that was going on in in the preparatory periods. And I just built a real love and appreciation for what we don’t see on game day. But everything in terms of preparation, in terms of getting to that stage.

Jesse: [00:06:43] A couple of things I want to ask you about. We’re going to jump back a little bit. Excuse me. Part of it is, like you said, like at 13, you’re like trying to do this optimization and figuring these things out. And, you know, I think. I can relate to some of that for sure. But I also think about like. Say, like average Joe or like culturally we don’t necessarily think about like 13-year-olds being like, all right, like it’s optimized performance. I know where I want to go and having that drive. Like, I don’t think we characterize a 13-year-old as that personality trait or that archetype.

[00:07:31] So I wonder about your thoughts on “can you teach desire or are you just born differently?” Like, you know, that kind of like nature versus nurture. Where does that where does desire come from, that kind of situation — either for you personally or in general?

Justin: [00:07:51] It’s a great question. And actually there are companies — my company slogan is own your different. And at the end of the day, everybody’s different. Everybody has something else that motivates them. Everybody has something else that drives them. Everybody has different characteristics that are God given that are going to make them world-class at something.

[00:08:14] And for me, it was this massive love for data, this massive love for information to better myself and I think I learned at a very young age that — because I was bullied as a kid. I was — I called a curse. I was extremely athletic, but also overweight at the same time. And a lot of boys go through this as they kind of go through puberty later in life. And I was left out of a lot of things. I had to prove myself in every situation I was until my athletic ability was seen by a new environment, a new group of people. It was always like, “oh, that’s the fat kid.” Like, you don’t necessarily need or want him. And so I always had this chip on my shoulder and I always had this need to prove myself to my need to fit in.

[00:09:15] And when all of a sudden I was like, “hey, I have an ability and I have a way in which I can now control and harness some of these talents that I have and be able to harness some and ultimately put things back in my hands that can make myself better.” It’s something that I just got super addicted to and really obsessed over. And it took my entire my entire career was then shifted in that direction to be able to now give that to others, to be able to help them understand how they can own their different, how they can lean into areas in their life that ultimately they can optimize and they can lean into because nobody’s the same.

[00:09:54] And I think in this health and wellness space, I’ll call it that right now, health and performance space, whatever, whatever we want to title it. There’s so much that’s just been toiled or made to be seen as a broad brushstroke approach.

[00:10:11] And I’ve got the best product that you need. I’ve got this amazing red light, I’ve got this cold tub, I’ve got this heart rate sensor, I’ve got this HRV sensor, I’ve got this sleep monitor, I’ve got this bed product, all of these products that say, you do this, you’re going to be the best version of you. You’re going to be optimized. You’re going to be like a superhuman.

[00:10:33] And that’s just not the case. It’s not true because all of these things are just tools. And if we’re not utilizing the tool for what our body’s needs are and what helps us own our different or leans into whatever that different is, we’re not actually going to yield and realize the results that we’re looking for, and we’re going to leave a whole bunch of potential on the table.

[00:10:52] And that’s where my passion comes from. That’s where my true desire comes from, is being able to help other people understand themselves at a personal level mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and ultimately then realize that potential in a deep way by utilizing these tools in a powerful way. Because we’ve got amazing technologies now, we’ve got amazing so much more information than I had access to, or even the ease at which I had access to it then. And it can literally change your life. But we don’t know how to use it in an impactful way.

Jesse: [00:11:29] That’s that was my initial thought when I was going to make notes about is just like almost like information overload because we have the ability to get all of this info about ourselves. But then we go like without instruction or history or the knowledge to know what to do with it. We go, Well, now what? Like, I’ve got all this information, but what is it? What does it mean? What do I do with it? And I guess that’s where you come in, right?

Justin: [00:12:00] That’s exactly it. And so the tech side of our company, we call it, we say we are the so what? We’ve got all this information. So what? Now what? What do we do? And it’s not that we have an information problem in our society. We have an application problem. We can’t connect the dots.

[00:12:23] We can’t take all of this information, all of this knowledge that we have and be able to then put it to proper use, whether it’s information that we learn from a podcast, whether it’s information that we learn from a book, whether it’s information that we learn from a TV show or a conference we go to or wherever you’re yielding this information from a wearable device, whatever you’re yielding it from. We need to be able to turn it into practical application, practical, practical, day and day-out habits and strategies and systems. That becomes something that we can actually use.

[00:13:00] And the hardest part about that is that by being in this information overload space, by being in this confused space, we ultimately are not able to learn it in the level in which we truly need to know it. And so when we can help somebody understand it to a really deep level and when I’m saying a really deep level, it’s just practical application, like just a to-do thing. You don’t have to know the science in depth. You have to know the action, step in depth and really feel good about it.

[00:13:28] That increases competence. When competence is increased, it automatically increases confidence, and when confidence increases, it improves consistency. And when consistency improves it, it creates change or improves results.

[00:13:45] And that system and that structure doesn’t even it doesn’t even allow us to get started because competency is so low in a lot of this area, because there’s just, hey, there’s this tool, there’s this tool, there’s this tool, there’s this information, there’s this blood test, there’s this wearable device there.

[00:14:00] All of this information is just being thrown at people and they’re like, I don’t understand it. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. And it stops the competence flow. And so you don’t even allow yourself to go down this journey and you’re like, I just need to be more consistent. Yeah, more consistent with what? More consistent. When? How? Like, you don’t even know what you’re being have to be more consistent at.

[00:14:22] And so when you don’t know what you need to be more consistent that you can’t get the results or the change that you’re looking for because we have to go back two and three steps because you don’t have the confidence in what you’re doing yet. You don’t have the competence of what you’re doing yet.

[00:14:35] And so if we can start there and take the information that exists, create competence around it. Nutrition, hydration, sleep environment, mindset, immune function, hydration, self-care. Those are the eight controllables we work off of. If we can create confidence around what they have to do based off of this depersonalized data and information, it increases their confidence. It best increases the consistency in which they’re going to engage in these actions, and then it creates change no matter what.

Jesse: [00:15:08] You know, one of the things that I think about when I was talking about alluding to information overload and not just the data we can collect, but just like as a kind of a concrete example. There’s an e Commerce Entrepreneur conference I’d like to go to. It doesn’t matter what conference you go to, there’s going to be all kinds of like talks and lectures, and you can learn all these different things.

[00:15:33] And I joke with a friend of mine that also goes to this conference where it’s like, we’re not going to use any of this stuff. And the reason is that there’s so much stuff you can’t possibly follow all of the chains of like, I’m going to do this and this and this and this and like all at once and be consistent in it.

[00:15:54] So I feel like a big stumbling block for change for people, whether it’s from non active or to active or whether it’s like trying to get to the next level, whatever that means for you is how do I focus on one new system and become competent and consistent in it before I try to move on to the next one? You’re talking about like the eight pillars or areas that you work on.

[00:16:23] I assume you’re not like, here’s all eight things at once go. Maybe you do. Maybe you’ve got a way to teach people that. But it seems like you kind of get that like overwhelming thing. And then people shut down because making big changes in like a huge lifestyle change all at once is difficult.

Justin: [00:16:43] Yeah. So it comes back to being able to create systems. And when you don’t have systems or you don’t have a strategy, it all just falls upon you at once and it creates overwhelm. And then because you’re overwhelmed, you don’t take any action. And because you don’t take any action, you don’t see any change. And so you continually feel like you’re in this stuck routine where it’s just like cyclical in nature.

[00:17:06] So and so when we when we look at that and we talk to that, what we need to make sure we’re doing is, number one, we prioritize. And when we create priority, it leads to a level of focus. I’ve fallen into this trap all the time. And and specifically in business where it’s quite frankly, why I’m not the CEO of our business. I’m not — I struggle with focus.

[00:17:35] I struggle with being able to be in one place and have my attention one thing because I’ve got these massive visions for where I want the business to go. But if we didn’t focus on what we were doing, we wouldn’t have the depth of traction and success that we’re having. And so our CEO has a massive understanding of priority and focus, and that’s what we’re able to then lead into. It’s no different than in our lives or in this area of performance. If all of a sudden we try to do everything, we’ll actually end up doing nothing.

[00:18:03] And the for a lot of people leading into this area, we need to have a priority of focus and everything else. Even though it might be a priority, it’s not a priority right now. And it can come as we go down to different iterations in this journey.

[00:18:21] So, for example, you’ve got somebody on a call and they’re like, “These are all the things that are going wrong in my life. I’m overweight, I can’t sleep well, I’m stressed out, I’m not performing at the level I need to”. “Okay, cool. We’re going to look at all this data. We’re going to look at all this information. We’re going to understand the habits that are going on. We’re going to understand their two lowest hanging controls”, meaning maybe it’s nutrition and maybe it’s sleep, cool.

[00:18:48] These are the two that we’re going to focus on. The other six, they’re up here. Continue with what you’re doing. But now let’s identify the habit structures that you currently have in these. What are your typical action points that are drawing you away from these? And we’re going to get two habits structure changes that we’re going to tie to what we call an anchor habit. So something you’re already doing.

[00:19:09] Here’s a perfect example. I wanted to improve my meditation and prayer life. That was just something that I wanted to improve in my in my day to day. Well, my red light and morning zone to cardio. Phenomenal. I don’t miss a day. It’s just what I do. I wake up 20 minutes zone two red light done. That’s an anchor habit. I wanted to improve my self-care controllable by adding on this meditation and prayer time.

[00:19:43] How do I do that? How do I make sure this happens? Well. I never miss red light and I never miss my zone two. So I’m going to meditate and do my prayer work while I’m doing my zone two training in the red light. It’s simple. So all of a sudden, within a week I’ve made this and I’ve made this a habit. I don’t. I don’t miss it anymore. And so two and a half years later, boom, boom. It’s just been dialed in and it’s super easy.

[00:20:15] Same thing. Somebody wants to start drinking more water. Well, the first thing they do is they’ve got the first habit they currently have is they have coffee. Okay. What if we put your water bottle in front of the coffee maker so that when you go and you make your cup of coffee, you fill your water bottle up and you take that first 16 ounces in before you even have your first cup of coffee. How amazing is that that you can now do that. Your second time. Well, it’s a habit that I take my dog for a walk at noon. Perfect.

[00:20:47] It’s easy to say I’m going to drink 100 ounces of water a day. But if you don’t have guidelines to get you there, how are you going to make sure that that happens? Can I take my dog for a walk every day at noon religiously? Perfect. You had 16 ounces of water before you had your cup of coffee. Have another 16 ounces of water when you’re on your walk.

[00:21:07] And then you let’s say you have, I don’t know, something before dinner. You watch a TV show before dinner, you’re going to have another 16 ounces there. Immediately without even talking about any other water that you’re taking in throughout the day. You’re already up to 50 ounces of water and you’ve built this new habit structure into play without having to think about it, because there’s a water bottle in front of your coffeemaker. There’s a water bottle at your dog’s leash, and there’s a water bottle next to the TV remote. Boom. Done.

[00:21:44] No thought, no anything, no forced behavior change therapy, none of these things. It’s something that’s very easily built in. And so that’s the level of focus, is that we wanted to improve hydration, we wanted to improve self-care, and now we’re able to do that. And then you start moving on and then you start, are able to start implementing.

Jesse: [00:22:04] Is the — you remind me of this. I think it’s a book, but I could be mistaken. There’s something my wife talks about. I think the book’s called The Lazy Genius, and it’s basically about building systems. It’s like a set it and forget it kind of thing. Like you. You build your system once and then you’re done. Like you don’t have to continually have to use that motivation because we only have so much kind of like motivation every single day to, to use you burn through it.

[00:22:35] But if you set up your systems, then it’s just is as you mentioned, it just happens like you don’t have to consciously go drink more water, drink more water. It’s just there for you. And it seems like. It’s all in the preparation, right? Like setting yourself up for success and then not spending your day trying to like listen to pump up jams to try to keep you going with whatever new goal you have. It’s like, get it down and then you’re good. That being said, go ahead.

Justin: [00:23:16] I wouldn’t even say separation. I — it all comes back to intentionality because I think there’s a difference between preparation and intentionality. You can prepare as well as you want to, but still you don’t. You become unintentional when you execute and it still doesn’t work. But if you have a strong intentionality about what you’re doing, intentionality obviously has a level of preparation to it because you have an intention to drink more water and you have an intention to put your water bottle in front of these areas and put it where you need to go. Awesome.

[00:23:51] Now the execution is there and you still have to be intentional about picking that bottle up and going outside. When you go for a walk with your dog, you still have to be intentional about drinking while you’re sitting and watching your show for 30 minutes. And so these are the types of things that I love the word intention, because intent is something that is learned. It’s not something that is innate. 

[00:24:15] And after working with all of the people that I’ve worked with, from professional athletes to billionaires to ex-high-level government officials. They all have one thing in common. Well, actually, they have two things in common. Number one is a high level of intentionality. And number two is a high level of ownership. They take ownership for who they are. They take ownership for their actions. And they have a high level of intentionality of what they’re doing from a day-to-day basis.

Jesse: [00:24:52] The thing I want to ask you about that maybe the systems building solves this dilemma, so to speak, dilemma is not quite the right word, but I’ve seen people talk about like it takes X amount of time to build a habit, like you have those kind of anchor habits or whatever. Is this a concept you even deal in, or is it more like the whole thing is intentionality and systems building?

Justin: [00:25:24] Oh, there’s definitely a time clock to take you through this. And what we end up saying in order to build a habit, there’s there’s a few things that have to go through that you have a few stages that you have to go through. So when you create a plan. From a plan. It moves into a routine. From a routine, it turns into a rhythm. And then that rhythm turns into instinct.

[00:25:49] And that once it’s at that instinctual level, it’s built in, it’s ingrained, it’s something that’s there. However, that instinct still takes a level of intentionality. And I’ll give you a perfect example. You wake up in the morning. You’re going to brush your teeth. What you do. You just wake up, you’re all out of bed. You go over, you wash your face, you brush your teeth. Done.

[00:26:13] You go to Europe, you go to somewhere in the U.S. you’re traveling. The same routine happens. The same rhythm happens. The same instinct happens. The same habit is executed on. You roll out of bed, you brush your teeth even though you’re somewhere else. However, it took intention to have your toothbrush with you. It took intention to. You’re in a new setting where my placing it. How am I doing it? It takes intention to how all of this rolls out.

[00:26:45] And so the longer that you’ve been in the instinct phase. The more deep rooted that habit and deep seated that habit is. Perfect example. You’ve got people in who are athletes that were like, “Man, I was in phenomenal shape. I was running five miles a day. I could I could run a marathon in about 2 hours. It was made like I was in great, great shape.” And then what happened? You slowly got out of that instinct of waking up and going for those runs.

[00:27:23] You’re from I went from daily to 3 to 5 days a week and then to every other day and then to twice a week and twice a week. Doesn’t keep you to that level of discipline, intentionality and consistency that was there when it was daily. And so you start to. And the unique thing is you start to see yourself work with these people is that when certain habits start to slip in other areas, they start to slip in other ones, too.

[00:27:54] And it’s not just an isolated thing. It doesn’t you don’t just start eating poorly, but then going to bed on time. You don’t start just not drinking water, but still getting your breath work in you still you don’t miss workouts, but yet, still eat food at the proper timings.

[00:28:21] None of that happens. Like it all typically starts going downhill at once. But there was a — it all started with a small pin being pulled. And that is why details matter. Small details matter. It’s every little decision that you’re making matters.

[00:28:41] And that’s the level of intentionality that I come back to, is that if you’re not intentional about things, if you’re not focused on what it is that you’re going for. You don’t know what decisions to make. Goes back to that competency side. If you don’t have competence, you don’t have confidence to make decisions in a strong way. You don’t have consistency and you won’t yield the change in results you’re looking for.

Jesse: [00:29:05] I mean, it seems like we talked about like consistency across actions that I think the kind of like buzzword or the buzz phrase which makes sense and certainly in this context would be like intentional living. I think about we’re going to run out of time not to get all of these points, but you have some posts and talks about storytelling with data and talking about the story of a person.

[00:29:34] And I saw that and I thought about like the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are and how that informs our actions and kind of vice versa. So I wonder, is that where you go with the storytelling for data to try to enact change with somebody where you’re like, this is this is what the data is telling us about how you are living your life and who you are. And if you want to be intentional about being this other person, then you make these actions or how does that all come together?

Justin: [00:30:07] It’s a great question, and I think that’s why I’m so passionate about it, is because data is simply an avenue to storytell. And when you can storytell, there’s nothing more impactful along the way. That is the true need of data is being able to story tell what’s going on in your body and the better you can story tell the better you have some type of evidence, the better you have. Have some type of ability to validate or bring awareness to what it is you’re doing. The more impactful you can be.

Jesse: [00:30:46] Justin, as we were running out of time. I’m going to ask you the question that I’ve been asking every single person this year since I have a singular question that goes across all guests. And the question for this season of the podcast is how do you celebrate your wins?

Justin: [00:31:04] Oh, that’s a good one. I have to think about this for a second. How do I celebrate my wins? I mean, it would. It would. It’s not with one thing, I don’t think, but it’s with a high degree of intentionality. And I’ll give you an example. We hit a certain revenue mark in our business this year and it was a goal of ours and when it was hit, we took the team out for a meal and we celebrated and it was done in a very intentional way.

[00:31:44] Same thing when I had I had a fitness goal. We were competing in the High Rox games. So it’s an athletic goal, I guess you could say, and won the US championships, went to world championships after that US championship win. We very intentionally set a moment to celebrate. It wasn’t that you just went right back to it. And I think I do that on a daily basis as well with date night with my spouse and gratitude journaling after my morning routines to be able to, “hey,” like “what wins did I have and which ones can I be like super intentional about just being grateful for.”

Jesse: [00:32:29] That’s a great answer. Justin, if people want to get in touch with you. See what you’re up to. Any of that kind of stuff, where can they find you?

Justin: [00:32:36] Yeah, two places. So number one is on Instagram, super active there. So @JustinRoth, Justin Roth and then on the interwebs you can find me at

Jesse: [00:32:52] Justin, thanks for hanging out with me today.

Justin: [00:32:55] I appreciate you, Jesse.

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