You asked. We listened.
For the 100th episode of the Peak Performance Podcast, I answered several of your most pressing questions…
The questions include:
- Which sport is your favorite to work with on game day?
- How do you get a reluctant player to buy in?
- Which aspect of your mission brings you the most fulfillment?
- What is the biggest challenge you have as a peak performance coach?
- Do you ever plan on starting a family?
- and more…
Which sport is your favorite to be with on game day?
Cain: That is a great question. But I don’t really have an answer for that because I don’t have a favorite sport. I don’t look at myself as working in sport. I look at myself as working with people. So whoever the person is that is competing that day, that is my favorite sport – whether it’s equestria, blackjack in Las Vegas (not blackjack but World Series of Poker in Las Vegas) or it’s a UFC fight or it’s a Little League Baseball game or a College Baseball game. They’re all my favorite. I’m a big believer that you’ve got to be where your feet are and just make that the big time. It’s a great book by Frosty Westerling called “Make the Big Time where you are.”
So I get that question a lot of “what is your favorite sport to work with?” I don’t have one. “Who is your favorite athlete to ever work with?” I don’t have one because they are all my favorite. I truly mean that when I say that. If I said what is the most exciting it’s probably a UFC fight because it’s so short and fast and guys train for 8 weeks and a fight lasts maybe max 15-25 minutes if it’s a five round fight. Whereas baseball you play every day. Golf it takes you four hours but you’re only exuding a skill for like 6 minutes so you’ve got all that time to walk around. So every sport is different and they are all unique.
I have a passion for the people not necessarily the sport. I think people sometimes get surprised when I say that I don’t really like the game of baseball. I’m not a huge baseball fan. I am a enormous fan of what baseball can teach you as a young man and can teach you about life because of the failure and the adversity and what it takes to succeed in that game in terms of commitment to the process. So I love what baseball teaches. I’m not a huge fan of any sport per se. I’m a fan of people and competition.
What suggestions would you have for a team that is in their second year using your training materials?
Cain: The second year of using the training materials I’d say stay the course. We are going to go back and we’re probably going to do the same exact process that we did in year one. It’s going to have a little more pace and tempo to it because the foundation has been set. There is going to be a lot more ownership by the returning staff and returning athletes.
My role in year one is the teacher and in year two it’s still teacher but it’s more facilitator. If year one is 90% teacher 10% facilitator year two is probably 50/50 where what I mean by facilitation is I may have a returning pitcher talk about pitching routines while we’re showing his video in year two whereas in year one he doesn’t know what a pitching routine is and I don’t have any video of him so he can’t do that.
In year two I try to get the athletes to own it more. I think a lot of misconception in year two is people going “hey we already did this.” Well guess what, the greatest coach of all time, John Wooden, used to spend time teaching his athletes how to put their socks on so they wouldn’t get blisters the first day of practice every year. I’m a subscriber to that school of thought in that the fundamentals are the fundamentals. You do not rise to the occasion. You sink to your levels of training and habits.
So in year ten with the TCU baseball program we’re still going over the fundamentals that we went over in year one in the same way, the same videos, the same handouts, because the fundamentals are the fundamentals. Usually success is a result of the execution of the fundamentals where failure is a breakdown in the lack of execution of the fundamentals.
How do you get reluctant players to buy in?
Cain: That is a good question I get asked that a lot especially by people young or new to the profession of Peak Performance. I think the answer is the four stages of commitment, the four stages of buy in. I think every athlete – and I was the same way when I first got exposed to sports psychology – thinking “hey I’m not screwed up, I don’t need sports psychology.”
It’s the four stages. Stage one is they say “this is not for me.” Stage two is they say “this is okay for others.” Stage three is they say “well I’ll try it.” Stage four is “I can’t believe I did it any other way.”
An example of that in my life recently was when I moved from a PC to a Mac computer. Everybody has a Mac but I said “man that ain’t for me, I’m good on a PC, I’m good enough, I’ve spent all my time here, blah blah blah.” Then I came to the point where I said “well it’s okay for others, everyone else in the world has a Mac computer except for me but I’m good enough,” and boy was I wrong. When you get to stage three you go “I’ll try it.” I even tried it to the extent where I went and bought one, had it, and brought it back because I didn’t want to take it out of the box because I wasn’t ready yet to move.
Then my PC crashed. I went and bought an Apple and I said “put all the PC software that Windows parallels on there so I can use it like a PC because I’m a PC guy” and about a week later I was like I can’t believe I never did this. I am saving time. I open my computer and it works. I don’t have to sit there and wait wasting life, dying, because my computer is not turning on. So that’s an example of me. But I think when you’re talking about trying to get people to buy into a program you go right through that same process.
So let’s say you’re a college baseball player. I’m going to talk about and show videos of people who are at a level higher than you are. So if you’re a team that is trying to get to Omaha I am going to show videos of teams in Omaha that I’ve worked with. I’m going to show players of the 800 guys that have been drafted that have gone through this system. I’m going to show them playing at the big leagues or them in professional baseball. If you’re a football player often they want to see videos of the NFL and they also want to see guys that are more mentally tough than they are.
I often go to Navy Seals. I go to MMA fighters and show those types of videos because they’ll often get right to stage two, “okay that is okay for others” and I want some of that “I’ll try it.” once they try it most of the time after a year they’ll look back and they’ll say “man I can’t believe I ever did it any other way.
Which aspect of your mission brings you the most fulfillment?
Cain: Hands down teaching. My mission statement is to educate, empower, and energize other people to a lifestyle of excellence and fulfillment and my mission is to do that through onboarding people with the skills that are in the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance. But the biggest piece in that deal is educator.
Growing up my dad was an educator and I think that is one of probably the best gifts that he gave me was the passion for teaching. He always taught us in the backyard whether it was football or baseball but just being a long time educator. I taught one year of high school health and phys-ed which wasn’t my bag but have always wanted to be an educator. I think that is the way that you pass on the gifts.
I look at the people who have had the biggest impact on my life. Dr. Ken Ravizza was my mentor, John Allen, my high school football coach, Dr. Rob Gilbert, they’re all teachers. I think that is the greatest gift is the gift that you can give to someone else because it keeps on going and it keeps on growing.
So I think the piece about empowering other people and energizing other people happens because you’re teaching. I think the energizing piece is I’m so jacked up on life because I get to live my mission every single day in teaching other people that the energy just comes across. If you were to ask me “hey do you have great energy” I would not say “yes.” I mean I don’t intentionally wake up every day and say I have to have great energy. But right now life at this quarter of the year my one word focus is “energy” because I think I needed to have better energy.
I was taking a lot of caffeine and C4 and Red Bull and pre-workout stuff to try to just keep operating and clicking at that pace. But what I’ve found is it took me about 25 days now, 25 days off of doing any kind of caffeine or pre-workout or anything like that just because I felt like it was controlling me more so than I was controlling it. It was probably just a habit of you get in the habit of putting that stuff in your system in the morning when you wake up or whatever, and honestly I’ve got better energy now than I think I ever have and I think it’s because I’m sleeping better, working out better, and eating better. It’s got nothing to do with the caffeine I think. If you’re dependent on caffeine to get your energy level up then some area of your life is breaking down and that breakdown is probably going to be coming in your EMS.
This is new. I’ve never talk about this. This is a new find in some research I’ve done. EMS stands for eat, move, meditate, and sleep. If you’re going to master the fundamentals – we talked earlier on this podcast about the breakdown in the fundamentals – if you’re going to master the fundamentals of optimal performance as a human being or as an athlete you’ve got to make sure you are eating the right way, that you are moving the right way with your body or exercising and keeping yourself in peak shape, you’re meditating and creating some space and some quiet in your mind and you’re getting enough sleep because that is where the magic happens.
Do you and the Bear ever plan to extend the family?
Cain: Oh man. I mean we’ve got the two Frenchies, don’t they count? We’ve got Yori and Cypress. They should count, I think, as an extent of the family. That’s a great question.
When I think of family I’ve always look at family as bigger than just the last name Cain and my wife. I’ve looked at family as the people that are listening to this podcast, the people that came here for a total immersion weekend and just spent 20 hours in the car driving all over the state of Texas, the people that I get a chance to work with and they share their life story when I’m sitting down with them one-on-one. When I think of family my family is extended and it’s huge and it’s beautiful and I love it.
If you’re talking about are we going to have children that is a different question and I don’t know if I have an answer to that. I think so. That is part of the plan god willing. We’ll see if that’s in the cards for us here but probably – I don’t know, 2018, 2019. I like to plan everything out. Ideally it would come right around Thanksgiving because that is my slowest time of year but we’ll see what happens. We’ll take them when we can get them.
Are we currently trying for children? No. Are we practicing? Not as much as I would like to. Can I say that? I can say that. It’s my podcast. I can say that can’t I?
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a Peak Performance coach?
Cain: I think it’s the same challenge anybody has. Consistency. Just getting up and going to get it every day. It’s the challenge of constantly trying to rebrand yourself and constantly trying to get 1% better in all areas. I think that has been evident since I’ve created a team and you guys have been helping out and trying to do everything at a higher level.
Right now we’re using a different microphone than we’ve ever used before. We’ve got different lights in the studio than we’ve ever used before. All of those things are making the machine 1% better. I think the biggest challenge is also the thing that is the most exciting which is continuing to get better at what you do so that you can serve and you can educate and empower and energize other people at a higher level better than you’ve ever been able to do it before. That is probably the most challenging thing.
The other piece is turn it off. I have a really hard time turning it off because it’s not like I have to turn it on. It’s a lifestyle, not an event. Peak Performance is the first thing I think about when I wake up. It’s the last thing I think about before I go to bed. I don’t watch TV. I don’t have any hobbies. To me it’s all a hobby. It’s all a game. I don’t work. I execute mission.
Jim Schlossnagle said it best. “I execute mission.” He is the head baseball coach at TCU and he bought the house right across the street from the baseball stadium. He said “I don’t golf, I don’t hunt, I don’t fish, I coach my baseball team and I love my family and that’s it.” At the time I heard that and I kind of laughed like “oh that’s just Schloss being Schloss” but the older I get and the more focused I get the more that makes total sense to me.
I’ll go swing the clubs once in a while and I love the rip lips as much as anybody in terms of fish. But I’d rather go teach a team than go rip lips. And I love ripping lips, but I love teaching teams more. If I have three days left to live I would go bass fishing on Lake Champlain and I would be teaching and I would go on a stage. That would be my plan.
What are some of the “little things” that you do to be at your best every day?
Cain: I think it starts with the fundamentals of EMS. I’ve really cleaned up my eating and my nutrition thanks to Coach Jason Spector and even have helped take that to another level with my relationship with Thomas Newman, the strength conditioning coach at Yale University who I refer to as the “savage or strength.” He is one of the best in the country.
Those guys have really helped me clean up my nutrition and my macros which is simply knowing your fat carbon protein grams to get you to the body weight that you want to be at. That is something when you’ve been 240 pounds sitting behind a desk all day and your diner is a 6-pack and a pizza and then you’re able to get back into – right now as I’m recording this podcast – the best shape of my life.
But one of the things that I do, I think it’s the eating, the macros has been huge, traveling as much as I do, getting the Yeti cooler (looking for a sponsorship) and bringing that with me and bringing food so I don’t get caught either not eating or eating fast food, things like that – which I love. Man there’s nothing better than a Whopper Jr. with cheese, damn. But I try not to eat those. Or Chick-fil-A’s spicy chicken biscuit. That is really good to. So I think that is one.
Movement is one. I wake up and I I’ve really got that AM routine locked down where I wake up, I use the restroom, I weigh myself, I put my street clothes on. My alarm on my cell phone is on top of my street clothes in the bathroom so that when I go to turn my alarm off I’m actually putting my clothes on before I put my alarm off. I listen to “Kickstart My Heart” to get me go in the morning.
As I put the shoes on I go outside. I smash a two scoop Muscle Pharm protein shake with one scoop of silo greens, I go right into the barn and I’m either on the bike watching a philosopher’s notes or some sort of YouTube video that is education or I’m going out and I’m on a run or I’m getting in a car and I’m going to Orange Theory or I’m going to pilates or I’m going to jiu jitsu or I’m doing whatever to start my exercise first thing in the morning.
Once you get in that office and once you get in your email or once you open up social media it’s done. You are not going to exercise because you are going to get pulled into the rabbit hole. I think that is probably the number one thing is exercise BE – before electronics. Then trying to increase my commitment to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night has been really, really important.
Of all of the tremendous interviews that you’ve had on this podcast who is one of your favorites and why?
Cain: They’ve all been good. The one that sticks out to me the most I think is probably Cat Osterman, the four time All-American pitcher at the University of Texas, because I just haven’t had enough female athletes on here. It’s probably 9-1.
If we’ve done 100 episodes – which this is which blows me away because I’d never thought we’d get to 100 episodes. It’s like Rob Gilbert saying he’s got 9,506 success hotline messages. He started January 22, 1992. Unbelievable. So who knows how many podcast messages we are going to have. I don’t know. But I know I need one for next Wednesday so we’re going to be focusing on that. That is the process. That is the next 200 feet. I’d say if we’ve had 100 episodes maybe we’ve had 10 women on here, which I want to increase the amount of women that we have on the podcast.
But I think Cat Osterman’s interview was so good on so many levels. One just because she is so phenomenal as an athlete, but she’s also a softball coach. She had worked with Ken Ravizza when she was younger. She has won Olympic medals. She might be one of the most recognizable female athletes in the country. And she’s just a phenomenal human being.
When I didn’t know Cat and I watched her compete I’d be like not very sure if she would be very nice to be on a podcast because she just gets it. She flips a switch and she goes. When she competes it looks like she’d rip your face off but when you get to know her she is just a sweetheart. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever been around. Caring, huge smile, huge giver, selfless, but an absolute warrior and master of the mental game. So hers was fantastic.
I think another one that stuck out to me was probably Jim Schlossnagle just because we’ve been together for so long now. He was one of the first coaches I started working with back in 2006 at TCU as the head baseball coach. We did that episode as we went into out 10th season together. So just to see how much he has grown and how much TCU baseball as grown and to have a .0001% of an impact on the growth of that program has been fun to watch and hear him talk about and use the terminology of the mental game is really exciting and it was fun to see that growth.
Does Brian Cain ever sleep?
Cain: Yeah I try. My routine is to try to get in the rack at 9:00 and to try to read. I always have a book right there on my counter. The book that I was going to bring from the office into the bedroom tonight to start reading is called A Philosopher’s Notes by Brian Johnson. I always have a book on there. I probably get about 2-3 pages in and then I’m usually out. I try to sleep about 10:00-6:00. I try to get a half hour variance in there. So I want to get in the rack at the latest by 9:30, sometimes 10:30. In that window.
My goal is 10:00-6:00 which is 8 hours and I try to give myself 30 minutes of flexibility on either side because sometimes I can’t get on a call (if it’s a west coast call) until 10:00 at night. So sometimes you have to be flexible with that. Then once the season starts and you start traveling you just get crushed because you don’t get into places until – just the other night we drove from College Station, Texas. We left there about midnight at got into Lubbock at 7:00 AM. It’s hard to sleep when you’re doing that. But you make up for it. As long as you have the plan 10:00-6:00 you can adapt and adjust based off of that.
I love sleep. I went through a long period of my life undervaluing sleep. I think a lot of our listeners probably undervalue sleep. I’ve developed a relationship with a guy named Dr. James Moss who is a professor at Cornell of Peak Performance and sleep psychology for about 48 years and reading his books Sleep To Win, Sleep For Success, Power Sleep have changed my life because they make me value sleep and have a better understanding of what is going on with sleep and the growth hormone that gets released and the REM cycles and all those things that actually happen, myelin regeneration. If you want to be a peak performer you have to get sleep and you have to value that because that is where the magic happens and it happens usually between hours 6:00-9:00 depending on your age.
So if you’re under sleeping you’re probably under developing and if you’re frustrated with your results it’s probably not because of the work you are putting in. It’s probably because of the recovery you are not getting by not getting the sleep. So get your blue light glasses – which I should be wearing because they are awesome. Get your blue light glasses that if you are going to be looking at screens and things like that will help you to fall asleep. They won’t have as much activity going on in the brain. Get yourself in the rack.
What are you most excited about in this upcoming 2016-2017 school year?
Cain: Hands down what I am most excited about – and it’s probably the most excited I’ve ever been in my life, and I can say that because I say that every day and today it just continues to elevate – is the digital training program for the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance. Hands down. The amount of feedback that I got on the pride program I made years ago has been off the charts and this is 100 times better. This is the new system. This is the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance.
You’re familiar with the 80/20 rule – 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do. Well shit, for the last 15 years what I have been doing is going through and looking at it and saying well what is everything that I’ve taught, well what is it that people really do, what is the 20% that I teach in programs over the last 15 years that has gotten the 80% results, that has gotten the 800 guys drafted into Major League Baseball, that has won five NCAA National Championships, six UFC world titles, what is that 20%? That is the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance.
And now instead of me having to go around the country and be limited in the amount of people that I can impact because there are only so many days in a year, we’ve created the digital training program for the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance that you can access with your team 24 hours a day. It’s world class. It’s the best we’ve ever done. What I’m most excited about is that we’re going to try to onboard close to 100,000 people this year. If I were doing that on my own I couldn’t do 100,000 people in five years. We’re going to be able to onboard and educate over 100,000 people with the digital training program this year and that is significant impact.
This is what gets me super excited. If those people are coaches – think about it, if there are 100,000 coaches and they’ve got 50 athletes that they impact that year that’s a lot. I can’t do that math right now as I‘m sitting here. I would need my iPhone for that. But 50 times 100,000. That is five million I think last time I checked. That‘s a lot of people that we can be having that influence and impact on this year.
I am most excited about the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance digital training program. Second to that is probably the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance storybook series that is coming out. I really get excited when I write those. I kind of do method writing where I get into the characters and I pretend to be those guys and it just kind of flows and comes out.
Which is a super cool way to write, so thank you to John Gordon for inspiring me and educating me kind of on some of that storybook writing process in his podcast, which if you haven’t listened to yet when that one comes out it’s very good.