Building Your Fitness Routine, Staying Motivated, and Avoiding Burnout, with Jason Khalipa

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Introduction and background of Jason Khalipa
  • Earning progress and Jason’s current fitness goals
  • Juggling kids, business, and training
  • Exercise programming and Train Hard
  • Sustainable changes and goals
  • Preventing and overcoming burnout
  • Pediatric cancer and shifting perspective

Show notes:

Hey, everyone, Chris Kresser here. Welcome to another episode of Revolution Health Radio. This week I’m really excited to welcome Jason Khalipa as my guest. He’s the founder and CEO of NCFIT gyms and Train Hard online training. He’s a CrossFit Games champion and a three-time Team USA CrossFit member. He’s also [been] a pediatric cancer advocate [since] his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016, [is the] host of the Jason Khalipa Podcast, author of As Many Reps As Possible, and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. This was a fascinating conversation. We covered everything from how Jason got started in training, [to] how his training has evolved over time as his goals have shifted, how he juggles being a dad and husband and business owner during intense training times as a professional athlete, how he approaches programming for others both in his in person gym and with his training app, tips for newcomers [or] people who are just starting fitness routines, and tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout. I really enjoyed the conversation. I hope you do too. Let’s dive in.

Chris Kresser:  Jason, pleasure to have you on the show. I’ve been really looking forward to this.

Jason Khalipa:  Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Chris Kresser:  I always love to start with people’s background. You’ve had some pretty remarkable accomplishments in your life– CrossFit Games champion, three-time Team USA CrossFit member, and building an incredible business helping people train and become a better version of themselves. But how did you get here? How did this all start for you?

Jason Khalipa:  I was introduced to fitness at a really young age. [When] I was 15, I started work[ing] at the front desk of a health club. Then when I graduated high school and got into college, I was really inspired at that time about making money. So I was introduced to sales and  I started selling gym memberships when I was a freshman in college, whatever that made me– 17, 18 years old. I sold gym memberships throughout my entire college career. And at the time, I knew I wanted to open up a gym. It was just like I was destined for it. I had been meeting with the owner of the gym [and] I had been learning a lot about business and sales. Then I found CrossFit when I was maybe a junior in college. I really fell in love with the idea of a coach, a community, and complexity like learning new skills. So I opened up a CrossFit gym right out of college [and] I ended up winning the CrossFit Games. And for a long time, from 2008 for about 10 years, I competed professionally in the sport of CrossFit. I also taught seminars for CrossFit. I opened gyms globally with our business, NCFIT, at the time. And then in 2016, I pivoted away from the sport. My daughter got sick, so I decided to stop competing professionally and I found jiu-jitsu. So since then I’ve been exploring jiu-jitsu [and] running the business. I have two children. And about four months ago, we launched an online program we’ve really been passionate about which kind of brings together everything I’ve learned in the fitness space underneath the Train Hard umbrella. So that’s kind of the synopsis.

Chris Kresser:  Great.

Jason Khalipa:  Yeah, I’m just a fitness guy who cares about his kids and family.

Chris Kresser:  Nice. Yeah, we’ll come back to Train Hard. I want to ask you a little bit more about that. But I want to dive in a little bit more [on your background]. You went from discover[ing] CrossFit in college to [winning] the CrossFit Games. I imagine there’s a lot of work between those two milestones. It’s a competitive sport at this point. So I’m just curious what was instrumental for you in taking you from being new to CrossFit to winning the CrossFit Games? What were the things that made the biggest difference for you in your training, your regimen, your mindset, whatever it was that you attribute most to achieving that goal?

Jason Khalipa:  I mean, I’d say back then it was just luck. It was 45 minutes away from my house [and] it was the first original CrossFit Games. I had great coaches and I was just ahead of the game at that time. Competing for the next 10 years, I watched the sport blow up and grow, and I was very fortunate to be at the top of the sport for a long time. And [during] that [time], you started working with mindset coaches, exploring new coaches, and spending hours and hours and hours [per] day training. But in the beginning, it wasn’t like that. In the beginning, it was very raw. And I attribute a lot of that early success to just being in the right place at the right time, and putting in hard work and having [the] mental grit to get through it. But as the years went on and the competitors got smarter, and the competition got greater, you had to level up. And a lot of that happened between the ears. But a lot of that also just happened physically. Breaking up your sessions into morning, afternoon, evening sessions, [and] really being aware of your recovery. All of those things became really important to me.

Earning Progress and Jason’s Current Fitness Goals

Chris Kresser:  So now that you’re on the other side of it, coaching and programming, what are some of the basic things that are most important to you when you’re working with someone who’s starting out and wants to get into CrossFit? And maybe [you] can also share some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making when they’re training.

Jason Khalipa:  I mean, going too hard too quick[ly] [is] the biggest mistake I’ve seen. I’ve seen [it] since I was 16 years old at the health club– at New Years we’d see the parking lot just packed, and by March it would be empty. And it’s because people come in and they don’t realize they need time to develop these new habits and to make it a part of the[ir] routine. They come in, and they want to go zero to 100. Five days a week, eating paleo, all this stuff. They’re gung ho for a couple of weeks, and [then] they burn out. So the initial recommendation I’d have is [to] earn your confidence. Start off and say, “Hey, this week I’m going to do two times. I’m going to go out for a walk.” Then the next week, try and do a little bit more. And then say, “Okay, for the next month, I’m going to try and do three training sessions a week.” And if I earn the right to do that, if after a month I’m doing three days a week consistently, then I’ve earned the right to unlock a fourth day, as an example. But what isn’t the right way to do it is not earning it and just say[ing], “I’m going to do it.” The problem is your mind and your body aren’t connected. Your mind is saying, let’s go do it. But all of a sudden your body gets fatigued, [and] you start realizing you don’t prioritize as much. Instead, just prioritize it twice a week and then start building on that. I think that’s my biggest takeaway for new people coming in. Now, from a training modality perspective, my training [has] really changed from trying to be the fittest on Earth to trying to train hard so I [can] protect and provide for my family. Those are really important key pillars for me. I don’t necessarily care about winning the CrossFit Games. I mean, there’s no “necessarily”– I just don’t care at this point. It’s not a goal of mine. My goal is to be able to run, jump, climb, lift, do whatever I need to physically to protect myself [and] my family, including, if I need to, self-defense and other means. But the cornerstone of that is being able to breathe and have the fitness. If you don’t have that, you’re screwed. The second piece I’m really inspired by, and I think everybody should think about this one, is providing. A lot of times when you think about providing, it’s financially. And I think there’s definitely something to that for sure. But I think about providing experiences. My son’s going to get home from school today. He’s going to say, “Dad, let’s go do this, this, this, this, this.” I don’t know, do you have children?

Chris Kresser:  I do, yeah, [a] daughter.

Jason Khalipa:  Do they do the same thing?

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, [she’s] very active.

Jason Khalipa:  Now, imagine if your daughter came in and was like, “Hey dad, let’s go play volleyball.” And you’re like, “Man, I’m so tired, I can’t do it.” I always want to be able to provide [experiences] for my children, whatever [that] might be. So my fitness goals have evolved to reflect that, meaning I need to train hard so I [can] protect and always be able to provide experiences and never be in a situation where my fitness inhibits my ability to do so.

Chris Kresser:  I love that. I’ve heard the term “functional fitness” used sometimes, which to me has a similar connotation. Your fitness is to achieve some kind of function, whether that’s protecting, like you said, providing for your family, [or] being able to play with your kids or grandkids or great-grandkids as you get older. Being a fully functional human being, rather than, in your case, at this point at least, competing in CrossFit Games or something like that. And I would imagine that’s probably the goal of most people who come to the gym or come to see you. Only a small percentage of people are going to get to the point where they’re competing at a high level and want to do that. So how has that changed your training and your approach to programming? What did your training look like before? [And] what does it look like now, given the shift in your goals?

Jason Khalipa:  I’d say before, obviously, your goal is to be the fittest on Earth. You start thinking about, “Okay, well, what’s going to be incorporated?” Long events, short events, heavy events, this event, and you have to train across those modalities, right? You have to train at volumes that are conducive to you hitting a week’s worth of events. And you’re talking [about] 20 events in a week. You [have] to make sure that you’re not so fatigued [that] you can’t come back and do another event later in the day. So volume becomes a really big factor in recovery. Nowadays, my training is not three times a day. Nowadays, my training is more revolved around what I [can] do in the morning to set myself up to feel the way I want to feel. That’s something I think about– what can I do this morning to do the things I know I need to do to feel the way I want to feel? That could be sauna, cold plunge, cardio, whatever. Do something, go for a walk. Then later in the day, I get my training in. I just finished a really hard workout right before I recorded with you. I like doing that because it gives me good mental clarity, especially when I’m talking to someone right after. Then later today, I’ll go do jiu-jitsu. That’s typically what my day looks like. I follow our Train Hard app probably five, six days a week. I go for long rucks one day a week, and then I train [in] jiu-jitsu three days a week in addition, too.

Juggling Kids, Business, and Training

Chris Kresser:  Nice. It sounds like a full training routine, and I know you mentioned you’re a father to kids, you’ve got a business, you’re doing a lot. What works for you, in terms of juggling all those different commitments?

Jason Khalipa:  Well, one thing’s for sure, I have to admit I have an advantage over most people listening [because] this is what I do as a profession. Right now I’m in one of our gyms. I have a full blown gym [in] my garage, [and] that definitely benefits me in terms of time constraints, for sure. So I want to acknowledge that. But I prioritize my fitness. I know [that] for me to show up the best I can for my kids and my wife, I have to get after it. So if that means waking up at five when I’m traveling and on vacation with my family, that’s what I do. Because I know I’m a better dad [and] a better husband if I train. Let’s just say that’s your vantage point. My philosophy is that I know I show up best after I’ve worked out. Well then, that changes the way I look at everything when it comes to my family, in that I know that I need to prioritize my fitness first, not only so I can be healthy and all that kind of stuff, but also just mentally clear and in a positive state of mind. So that’s the cornerstone of how I look at my training. I know I’m best when I do it. That means if my kids have events, like my son had baseball yesterday on Sunday at 8am, or the day before, I knew that I had to wake up at 5:30 on a Sunday to make sure I trained, so [that] I showed up the best I could for him and my family, because I knew there wouldn’t be time [otherwise]. So that’s the way I look at it now, versus before [when] my training would take priority. Now my training takes priority as long as it doesn’t impact my family. I need to work around them.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, that’s largely how I look at it too. We’re similar in the sense that it’s kind of a non-negotiable. I have to be active. If I’m not, like you said, [I’m] not going to be the parent that I want to be, [or] the husband, the friend, the person at work that I want to be. So I just have to find ways. I mean, there’s a lot of other things I cut out of my life in order to make time for those priorities. I’m just curious, what are some of those things for you, that you’ve let go of or cut out of your life in order to be disciplined about that commitment?

Jason Khalipa:  Well, you[‘ve] got to figure [that] my wife and I met when we were 14 [and] I’ve been in the gym since I was 16, so this has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. That being said, you have to cut out, for lack of a better term, the bullshit. I’ll give you an example. I host men’s club events every weekend. On Saturday or Sunday, I get 40, 50, 60 guys to just go do hard stuff outside. That’s what we do. And it’s free. It’s available to any guy in the Bay Area. I just want to be able to try and make an impact on them. Well, if that’s my mindset, I know that yesterday, for example, we did a workout at 6:30 on Sunday. This was early, before all the baseball stuff happened. And I know that if I planned on getting all these guys out there, I can’t go out and drink that much on Saturday night. So what it does [is] it starts prioritizing my overall health and wellness. Because typically we do this on Saturdays, and when you’re going out on Friday night, you’re thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to get to bed by 10 [or] 11 o’clock, because I know I need to get up at five or whatever to get ready to bring the sandbags [and] to do these different things.” So that’s what I’ve cut out. I’ve cut out the super long nights [and] the excessive drinking. I definitely drink, I definitely go out, [and] I definitely try to have balance in my life, but it’s not the excessive side that some people [might] have.  

Dive into a world of fitness transformation with Jason Khalipa on Revolution Health Radio 🏋️‍♂️💪. We’re talking about building routines, staying motivated, and avoiding burnout to achieve your goals. Jason’s insights are game-changers! #FitnessGoals #TrainHard #ChrisKresser

Exercise Programming and Train Hard

Chris Kresser:  I got into this work that I’m doing now because I had a very serious chronic illness that I recovered from, and that really shaped who I am personally and professionally. I believe, like you said, [that] when we face adversity, we don’t have control over [it], but we do have control over how we respond to it. That’s the only thing, actually, that we have control over. So I’d love to chat [a little bit about your daughter’s experience, or your experience with that, if you’re open to it]. But [first] I want to hear a little bit more about Train Hard and how you approach programming. I know you have an in-person gym, and then you have Train Hard, with multiple programming. So tell me a little bit more about your approach to programming at this point, both with your in-person gym and with Train Hard.

Jason Khalipa:  Well, at the in-person gym, because we have coaches, it’s a little bit different. We [can] have more complex skills like snatching and rope climbing and muscle-upping. But for our Train Hard online program, for people in their garages and for people that [just] want to train, protect, [and] provide, a lot of those people don’t need to be doing heavy snatching and rope climbing and muscle-upping. So my philosophy on programming has shifted over the years. In the gyms we still provide the complexity for those people that want it, because we have coaches who are there to support them if they want that. But online, we have three programs– one that’s called Force, which is just really good strength conditioning, like pull, push, squat, plus MetCons. We have one called Flex, which is more functional bodybuilding. And we have one called EMOM, which is just 20, 30 minutes a day, every minute on the minute programming and it’s badass. So that’s what we have for the end user. In the gym it’s more traditional CrossFit because we have the coaches available. And I think where I’ve evolved is [that] I first got inspired by the complexity. I wanted to learn a muscle up, I wanted to learn a handstand push up. I wanted to learn these skills. Those skills, if you desire them, are very valuable. But if you just want them purely from a fitness perspective, I think you could do a lot of different things that [would] impact your fitness [just] as much. If you desire to do a muscle up, that’s great. If you don’t desire to, then all you need to be working on is strength and conditioning. Pull, push, squat, get your heart rate elevated, and hit 12- to 20-minute workouts. And that’s really what Train Hard is about. We leave out some of the complexity. You can get that through other areas or finding a coach in a gym.

Chris Kresser:  Right. That makes sense. And what kind of equipment does somebody need for each of those different levels of the program?

Jason Khalipa:  I mean, obviously I have a full garage gym. If you just want the dumbbell program, we have a dumbbell EMOM program that’s just dumbbells, and that’s great. I’d say that if someone was at home, I’d start off with dumbbells. From there I’d probably try and invest in a rack with a pull up bar if you can to get that pulling position. And then I start getting a barbell with some bumper plates or weights in general. So you load it up. And then I’d probably start diving into some type of cardio tool, but in the beginning you could just run. So for us, we have, you would need a rack, a barbell, a set of dumbbells, and some type of cardio. If you could just run, that’s great. But if you can get an air bike, I think that’s a really good option.

Chris Kresser:  What are your favorite air bikes at this point?

Jason Khalipa:  Man, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of different bikes available out there.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, it seems like there’s a ton of brands now. It was just a few before.

Jason Khalipa:  I’d say bang for the buck, Rogue has one now for like $890 bucks, the Echo bike. I think it’s built tough and it’s the cheapest, although I like the Assault bikes a lot. I love the Assault bikes. I also really love the C2 bike, but that’s a different stimulus than an Echo bike. I’d start off with an Echo or Assault bike, and then later on invest in a C2 bike.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, I’ve got a Rogue rack and gym in my garage as well. I love their stuff. And the Echo bike seems like a good, happy medium for most people.

Jason Khalipa:  For sure. For sure.

Chris Kresser:  Talk a little bit more about the difference between the programs, like who might choose what program based on what their goals are and what their background is– if they’re relatively new, versus someone who’s been training a little bit more.

Jason Khalipa:  Well, I think that if you’re in the Bay Area, you should stop by one of our gyms under the NCFIT umbrella. But if you’re not, the Train Hard app has the Force program, which is really designed for someone [who] wants to act the part, like fundamental strength conditioning. And you need a decent amount of gear, a little bit, right? But it’s designed to help you run, jump, climb, lift, be fit, just show up. Whereas Flex is really designed to help you look the part. It’s more linear progressions, it’s more functional, [and] it’s definitely more bodybuilding style versus Force. And if you are brand new to the game, I would just do the EMOM, every minute on the minute. That’s probably my favorite way to train. It gives you a minute by minute goal that you [can] shoot towards. Especially if you just do a dumbbell program, it’s a piece of cake. It’s low gear, highly impactful, and will give you a great stimulus.

Chris Kresser:  That sounds great. And it sounds like people can progress easily through the levels. If you start with EMOM, then you can move to Force.

Jason Khalipa:  Yes. Or if you have limited time, just hit EMOM. Our whole model is [to] never let momentum get to zero. You never want to take a day that’s zero. You need to always get something. If that’s your EMOM, great. If it’s something else, go for it.

Chris Kresser:  Right. So is it [the] sort of thing where you could sign up for Train Hard and you can move between the programs? Or do you sign up for one program at a time?

Jason Khalipa:  No, no, no. I mean, they’re designed to be on their own tracks. But for me, I look at a workout, get inspired, [get] fired up, [and] I hit it. And that’s a little bit more intuitive for me. That’s the way I like to do it. But for other people they can stick with the program.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, that makes sense. What about people who are relatively new and tips for staying motivated? We mentioned before that one of the biggest mistakes people make is over committing, and that generally leads to burnout and stopping. [They think that they’re] going to hit it super hard, [and] they do it for three days, five days, two weeks, whatever, and then that’s it. You mentioned the phenomenon of the full parking lot in January and empty parking lot in March [at] the gyms, which is well known. So what’s a better approach for someone who’s starting out, to increase the chances that they’ll still be at this six, nine, 12 months later?

Sustainable Changes and Goals

Jason Khalipa:  I was trying to think of a good analogy, but I think for anyone listening who’s interested in changing their life, fitness-wise, they have to at the cornerstone [and] rely on a “why”. Why do they want to make this change in the first place? Why does it matter to you? And let’s just say it’s like, “Well, I want six pack abs.” Okay, well, that’s not going to come quick and it’s not going to come easy. So you have to have a strong why, first and foremost. I want to be able to be there for my kids, I want to be able to be there for my grandkids, or whatever that is. You should write that on a piece of paper, put it on your mirror, whatever you [have] to do. You have to remind yourself on a daily basis why it’s important for you to change your habits, because these habits have been a part of your lifestyle for decades, maybe. You’ve been drinking soda, eating like shit, and not training for 30 years. You’re not going to just switch tomorrow, and that’s okay. It’s actually a good thing if you don’t switch tomorrow. So what you should do is just pick something simple. Let’s say it’s removing soda out of your diet– something simple– and switching it out for carbonated water. Or start off by saying, “Hey, every day, I’m going to walk for 10 minutes a day.” But whoever is listening to this right now [and] has not been training hard for many years, pick something you feel like is a no brainer, piece of cake. Ten times out of 10, you’re going to get it. And then from there, start building on that and stacking habits. And everybody’s going to be different, right? For someone who’s [been] working out twice a week consistently for the last 20 years but wants to ramp it up, that’s different [from] the person that’s been sedentary who wants to ramp it up. Each person needs to pick something they feel is going to be a little bit better than where they’re at today, but that they know they [can] do, [and] then do that for a month. Then you now have that new thing. We say, “Okay, well, I’ve already been doing it two days a week. I can easily ramp up to three days.” And then you go from there. That’d be my recommendation. You want to get wins, and you want to get wins early. The problem with fitness, especially if it’s aesthetic looks, especially for women, men have a little bit easier [time] to lean out or get to whatever they want to do, but for women and men, I should say, it’s hard to see results immediately. But [the immediate result] you can see is [that] you made a commitment to walk every day, and you’re doing it.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah. I think it’s important to set realistic goals and know what you can expect during that initial period of time. Like you said, if you experience wins, that’s going to build momentum. And then that leads to more wins, [and] you build more momentum. That’s kind of a basic coaching principle. We train health coaches and that’s one of the biggest things– shrink the change. Big changes are a series of many small changes along the way.

Jason Khalipa:  Exactly.

Chris Kresser:  And just helping people to understand that.

Like what you’re reading? Get my free newsletter, recipes, eBooks, product recommendations, and more!

Preventing and Overcoming Burnout

Chris Kresser: What about burnout?

Jason Khalipa:  Well, if you had asked when I was 21 and I started the business, or 22, I didn’t really understand that. But now as I’ve matured, I’ve gotten older, I’ve met with thousands and thousands of people in person and online, [and] I’ve realized I’m doing them a disservice by trying to go too hard too fast. Shame on me for allowing them to do that. Because I’ve just witnessed [them failing] countless times. As a health provider, as a fitness provider, we need to recognize that our duty is to change lives. Our duty is to make an impact. You’re not doing anything if you allow them to go too hard too fast, because the likelihood of them burning out is like 95 percent.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Speaking of burnout, what happens when someone does reach burnout? Maybe, for any number of reasons, they just hit a brick wall and they’ve lost motivation. Maybe that’s happened to you at some point. What’s the best way for helping people to get refocused in that situation?

Jason Khalipa:  This can sound super lame, but it’s reflecting back on your “why”. When you’re competing at the CrossFit Games, it’s super challenging and the events are grueling. And if your why is, “Oh, I want to make an extra 100 grand, 200 grand, 500 grand. I want to make money. I want to be famous,” when things get really hard, and they will, you’re going to fold. You have to have a stronger why when you’re competing, but you also have to have a stronger why when you’re looking at your fitness and health goals. And when you do burnout, [take] a deep breath and [say], “What am I doing this for in the first place?” Maybe I need to level set my expectations. If my goal is to be a super fit grandpa, maybe I don’t need to train seven days a week for two hours a day. Maybe I just need to train five days a week for 45 minutes a day. I’m still going to be fitter than 99 percent of the grandpas out there. So, recalibrating your goals and aligning that with your training, that’s the key, in my opinion, to avoiding burnout. And here’s another thing too. I was talking about this the other day with, I don’t know if you know who Thomas DeLauer is, but I was talking to him the other day, and we were talking about this roller coaster effect. When you are new into fitness, it’s like a roller coaster climbing up. It’s like, tick, tick, tick. It’s hard. You’re building strength, you’re building conditioning. It’s hard work. Maybe you got into it in your 20s, 30s whatever. But once you hit a certain point, you [can] kind of coast a little bit and still maintain a lot of the muscle and conditioning you have if you put in all that hard work. So motivate yourself today when you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s to build up that hedge because it’s going to be a lot easier to maintain that on that roller coaster, [to] just kind of keep cruising than it would be to try and climb back up again. [That’s] the theory.

Pediatric Cancer and Shifting Perspective

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, I like that. That makes sense. Earlier on you mentioned your daughter was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2016. For any parent, that’s a monumental change in life. How did that impact you as a person, your focus, and how you live your life at this point?

Jason Khalipa:  Oh man, I mean that changed my life. It changed all of our lives, and it still is affecting us today. She’s still going through some tough stuff today, especially with mental health and what’s going on. And it just changed my perspective on a lot of things. Like I said, it still does today. I think it helped me, and still does, to learn to be more compassionate, learn to be more understanding, learn that just when you think you’re convinced of something, be careful how convinced you are of something because you need to stay open-minded. I can’t tell you the amount of things that I was convinced on five years ago [but] now I’m not quite so sure about. I think that’s important as you get older, to have perspective. And when you see sick kids, it definitely shifts your perspective. So those are things I think [were] good about it. It taught me a lot about family, about building my fitness and financial hedge so I could be there for my family. Taught me about what it means to have good relationships, because you need them. And it also taught me about what it means to build a great team at work, so that when or if you ever need to be prioritizing something else, you have other people that [have] your back to take care of things.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, it can be really a transformative experience. And it sounds like you’ve really allowed it to impact you in some meaningful ways. I know you’re also a pediatric cancer advocate. It sounds like you’ve put some energy into giving back and helping others who are going through the same type of experience. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Jason Khalipa:  Yeah, I mean, my family and I, I’d like to think that we’re pretty blessed in the sense [that] when our daughter got sick, we had been embracing a work ethic where we had built a financial hedge, we had built a fitness hedge, and we had built a hedge in our relationships. And that played huge dividends for us. Soon after Ava got diagnosed, we said, “Hey, look, we need to be able to make an impact on other people.” So my wife started a foundation called Ava’s Kitchen. We just hosted our seventh annual Ava’s Kitchen [benefit], and she’s been killing it. I think we have raised $3.2 million at this point. And the goal of that is to put smiles on kids’ faces. We donate the money through an organization called Never, Ever Give Up. And really, for me, it’s reinstated this idea of why I want to go build a successful business, why I want to be successful. The more I make, the more we give, the more we do, the better we [can] show up for others. I think that when you frame it that way, you can’t be generous to others if you don’t have anything. So go out and bust your ass so you [can] do really cool things for the people that you care about. That’s my theory.

Chris Kresser:  Yeah, I think that’s a great way to approach it. We were chatting a little bit before offline [about how] we don’t always have control over what happens to us, but the one thing we can control is how we respond to what happens to us. And it sounds like you’ve chosen to do that in a way that will not only benefit your family, but also your community and other people who are struggling with the same thing. Jason, it’s been a fascinating conversation. Tell people where they can learn a little bit more about Train Hard, particularly those who are not in the Bay Area. And then [for] those who are in the Bay Area, where they can find some of the NCFIT gyms?

Jason Khalipa:  Yeah, Mountain View and Campbell. We also have a location in Presidio if you’re up in that area, but really, it’s Mountain View and Campbell in the Bay Area. And [for] Train Hard, visit TH.Fit. Go check out the programs on [there]. I think if you’re looking to stay super fit, we have great programs for you. And we have a really cool group of people that can help advise you. So message us, [and] check us out on Instagram @TrainHard.Fit. You can also check out @JasonKhalipa on Instagram. We have a really cool newsletter every week [that] keeps people fired up and inspired to train hard.

Chris Kresser:  Great. Well, I really enjoyed [this] conversation, Jason. Good luck to you. And [to] all the listeners, keep sending your questions to We’ll see you next time.  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *