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Apr 19, 2023

Business and Life Lessons from a World Class Athlete and Entrepreneur with Eric Hinman

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Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: This interview was awesome. It was with Eric Hinman. Eric Hinman is an angel investor. He's an influencer, he is an elite level triathlete, and he brings a world of knowledge really through this conversation to the sports PT world. Able to pull lessons on planning out one's day, optimizing for happiness as well as efficiency, and also covering all things high-level training and how to avoid burnout and injury and recovery techniques that have worked for Eric himself. He also provides outstanding tutelage on mentors, how to find them and how to cultivate them, and simply getting people to respond to the emails you send out. So great conversation, really great podcast. I learned a ton, so I hope, I really hope you will too. As always, share your feedback, truesportspt on Instagram, or shoot me an email, I wanna hear what you loved about this conversation with Eric. I wanna hear who you wanna have on, what you loved and maybe what you haven't, and happy to give you guys the audience, whatever it is to make you a better sports PT. Look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Welcome to the True Sports Physical Therapy Podcast. As always, this is Yoni Rosenblatt, and today I'm joined by Mr. Eric Hinman who is unlike any guest we've had so far on the True Sports PT Podcast. Eric, tell our listeners who you are.

Eric Hinman: Hi Yoni, great, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Who I am, wow, well, that's honestly changed over time as I've written different chapters in life. The current chapter in life that I'm writing is athlete, brand builder, angel investor, community builder, connector. But to get to the stage that I'm at now, I kind of back track to growing up in a really small town with 1000 people playing three sports in high school, graduating with 80 kids. Snowmobiling and fishing with my dad. Boating on Lake Ontario. That's how I grew up. So very small town, living in the country, and then went to college at a state school in New York called SUNY Geneseo. And after that, my father gave me an incredible opportunity to build my own insurance agency, property and casualty insurance. So for seven years, I collected suits and ties and pocket squares and cuff links and went door to door selling commercial property and casualty insurance. And over a seven year period, I built up a nice book of business with residual income and built an asset for myself that has really paved the way to the financial freedom that allowed me to start taking some risks.

Eric Hinman: And in my mid to late 20s, I started doing just that. I started a software company with a business partner, Steve Vandyke in Syracuse, New York. And we grew that to a software agency, building mobile applications for clients across the country. We partnered with some college students at Syracuse University over that period of time, it was from 2010-2014, and that was my first forte into failing and then picking the pieces up and then figuring out how to make something of it, and then ultimately, they've gone on to build an incredibly successful business with it, but I exited in 2014 as they were going a different direction than I wanted to go. Opened up a gym in 2013 in Syracuse, New York, co-founded a couple of restaurants, and then started investing in various consumer brands throughout that time period, too. So Ironman ultimately is what led me to Instagram and developing a following on Instagram and leveraging all of those skills of building my own businesses, now brands hire me to help them build their brands. And obviously a lot of that is through social media, creating content for them, but many of the brands I'm working with, helping them build their ambassador programs. I'm seeding product, I'm creating awareness for them. I put on tons of community events, workouts, jumping in cold creeks, Community Ruck events for GORUCK, I love community endeavors.

Eric Hinman: And then I'm helping them raise money, I'm introducing them to other founders of brands, I'm introducing them to distribution channels. So I know having been in business that for someone to pay me to do something, I have to provide ROI. So with everything I do, I think about value. How can I provide value?

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I think that's a great takeaway and lesson, and this is the story and kind of the background that I wanted to bring to our audience. I think, unfortunately, just to give you a little bit of background, I think the PT and the sports PT is bereft of a lot of what you just said. That entrepreneurial go get 'em attitude is so clear in your story, and that's the story and lessons that I wanna bring to this audience. So thank you for sharing that background. What is it that gave you the gumption to start taking risks?

Eric Hinman: Sets and reps, everything in life is sets and reps. So the more risk you take, the more comfortable you're gonna be at taking risks. It's kind of like cold exposure. We all know that cold exposure is uncomfortable in the moment, but the more I've done it, the less I fear doing it. I know how I'm going to feel, I know I'm not gonna die, and I know I'm gonna feel better afterwards. And taking risks in business is the same. It sucks to lose money, you're gonna lose money here and there, but ultimately to succeed, you have to practice taking risk often. And I've also learned through time that you can get to a point where you can start to attract opportunities when you really understand your lane. And I know what my lane is, I know what I enjoy doing, I know what I'm good at, I know what I'm not good at. And I know how to partner with people that are much better at some of the things that are necessary to build a successful business.

Eric Hinman: But again, those things all came from just putting myself out there and taking those risks. And the first few things were super scary, and now it's a hell of a lot easier for me to put money into a company, but I have my barometers too of, okay, I failed doing this, these types of people didn't work for me, these types of opportunities didn't work for me, but it was really just from doing it and being really hands-on. Mentors certainly help. I always tell people that If you wanna get somewhere faster, find someone who's already gotten there and befriend them. Develop a relationship with them. Obviously add some kind of value to them so they'll add value back to you. But I've always surrounded myself with mentors, and I keep a list of 100 people that I wanna interact with on a regular basis that I feel like I have flow state conversations with and they provide me with value and I can provide them with value. So your network is so important, your environment is so important. If you wanna be a tech entrepreneur, go to New York City, go to Austin, go to San Francisco, you're gonna be so much further ahead than being in the country where there aren't other tech entrepreneurs. So environment is crucial, too.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Now, you mentioned your network. How do I get a guy like Eric Hinman if I want Eric Hinman to be my mentor to respond to an email or a phone call to become my mentor?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, really good question. So I like giving really detailed examples with this. I had a gentleman recently reach out to me who has started a ski company. He's managing a brewery right now, and so just had an interesting life. And he messaged me and kinda told me his story, and he said that he had recently seen a podcast I was on where I talked about delegation, automation, and elimination in order to do what you can do and you can do best. And he referenced that and said, "I wanna be delegated, too. I'm looking for that next chapter in life that brings me satisfaction and would love to just jump on a 15-minute call with you. And know that any help that you need right now, I am open to be delegated to, I just want 15 minutes of your time."

Eric Hinman: So add some kinda value when you reach out. Share a personal story, give some background on... Don't just say, "Hey, can I steal 15 minutes of your time?" There's no context behind that. So give some context, I think that's super important. And if there's some kind of value you think that you can add, that's great. And then share your personal story, so I get a little understanding of who you are.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, I love that. I also like that he mentioned a little bit about you, just that he showed that he did some research. If I had a nickel for every time I got an email saying, "Hey, I wanna get into sports PT. Can I have a job?" Tell me that you know who you're emailing, not for my own ego purposes, but because it shows that you give a damn and that you chose to reach out to True Sports, let's say, because you value X and I know you stand for Y. So that's just like another tidbit. Now, you mentioned knowing what you're not good at. What's the best advice to learning that?

Eric Hinman: So over time, I would make lists of times when I was completely present and in the moment and just felt like I was either adding a ton of value or getting a ton of value. And then I did the same for when my mind was wandering, I was doodling, I wished I was somewhere else doing something else, with someone else, and you start to become mindful of when you feel like you are really serving and when you don't feel like you're serving. So that helped a ton for me. And also the things that I'm not good at, I don't like managing people. I don't like customer service per se. I like community events, I like early stage in companies, and I had to do a lot of these other things to realize they weren't for me. And could I develop some skill around it? Probably, but it would be a lot harder than developing the skill of connecting people, which I'm already just, I enjoy and I'm really good at. I love being around people, I'm a type A personality. I'm not the person who wants to sit at the computer isolated and work on spreadsheets. And some love that. And for me, I did it and I realized like, "Damn, I wish I was somewhere else doing something else." So that was my barometer. Am I completely present in this where I feel like I'm adding a lot of value or getting a lot of value or is my mind wandering?

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, but I just heard you say you just took time to evaluate how you felt. It's almost like you were cognizant to take a step out of that rat race and say, "How do I feel? Where do I wanna go?" And to evaluate which direction you wanted to go in, does that sound right?

Eric Hinman: 100%.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How do you learn how to take a step out of that rat race? That's something very honestly is difficult for me.

Eric Hinman: Yeah. I think it requires solitude and it requires stillness in your mind. And through my iron years, I practiced a lot of that. I was training 25 hours a week, running, biking, swimming, almost all of that alone. I had my own training plans, so I wasn't with others. And just being outside with my heart rate elevated with complete solitude, no distractions, I was really able to almost unlock this psychedelic experience of how I wanted my life to look and what I wanted my days to be like. So I think that is important to create that solitude for yourself, whether it's going for a walk in nature or traditional meditation. I think that's how you get there. And again, going back to the sets and reps, you need to practice it in order to get good at it. And I never practiced traditional meditation, but I did practice a lot of solitude and a lot of exercising with no one around me, and that allowed for me to just develop this mindset where I'm not constantly distracted, I can focus on one thing at a time.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: The first time you realized you were being mindful was when?

Eric Hinman: I'm sure there were other instances, but I think the first time that I realized that it was a power I had was during those Ironman years. Just during the run, bikes, swim...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Dude, that's... What I'm worried about is that just sounds so massive. That's hours and hours and hours of training and solitude, etcetera. The first hint, like something much smaller when you're like, "Wait a minute, I don't wanna put the cufflinks on, that's not where I wanna go," or, "I don't wanna put the pocket square in, I need to be more of a... " What was that, the small, the first step to say this ain't right?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, great question. I think it was based around exercise. It wasn't my first Ironman, it was literally lifting some heavy weights and getting my heart rate really high, when I hired a personal trainer in my mid-20s that... Through college, I drank heavily, I partied, I did what a traditional college kid does to have fun, and I thought that was how you meet people, that's how you build community, that's how you show your true colors, is you get really drunk with people. And I did that until my mid-20s, and it wasn't until I hired that personal trainer in my mid-20s, honestly, to get back into aesthetically good-looking shape. I didn't associate a feeling with it until I started doing it, and I'm like, wow, afterwards, I just have this crazy energy and mental clarity, and in a way, I kind of feel like the man like I felt when I was drinking, but I wasn't drinking. I wasn't getting shitty sleep, I wasn't eating poorly because of drinking, I wasn't making bad decisions, and I was like, okay, maybe exercises is this key to being the best me. So that's what it was.

Eric Hinman: It was exercise. And to break that down even more, it was CrossFit type training. He had me doing complex exercises like squatting and dead lifting, thrusters, and then in between sets, I would row or I would run. This is going back to 2006. So before CrossFit was really a thing, I was doing CrossFit type workouts with him. And yeah, that feeling I got afterwards that we all now know is the endorphins and that post-workout high or the runner's high, that was the feeling that I wanted to just replicate day in and day out. And now, honestly, my entire day is built around that feeling.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And it's a crazy schedule you keep and a crazy day. Just tell me if you can still hear me.

Eric Hinman: Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay, 'cause I can't see you. Recording continues smoothly. Everything will return when their internet improves. What's with your internet, Eric Hinman?

Eric Hinman: I'm not sure. It should be good, I'm on Wi-Fi.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Hell yeah you are. Let's see if she pops back in. I can't wait for Shawn to deal with this problem. Better him than me. Okay, can you see...

Eric Hinman: Yeah. I can see and hear you fine, you're not frozen.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So yeah, and I can hear you, so let's just... Let me just keep rolling so I don't have a total lapse in thought process. Okay, let's jump back in. I guess they'll deal with it and I just hope your picture's on there. Okay, so talking about scheduling and really being mindful and cognizant of what you're doing with your time, what brings you joy and the value that you're bringing and vice versa to those around you, I see so much on your Instagram and others as to how you structure your day. Give me some advice how a sports PT at any level, whether it be CEO of a exploding new sports PT practice, or whether it be a staff PT, just trying to provide the absolute best care. What is the best way to structure your day for efficiency, productivity and happiness?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, for me, the brain-body connection is so important. And even though there's this perception of athlete on Instagram and my public profiles, ultimately, I'm doing this to have mental clarity every day, to have energy all day, to not have a lull in the afternoon, to practice presence to just feel like I'm in flow state all day. So all of the exercise and recovery modalities that I do are honestly fueling that for me. They're so much more important than the physical aesthetic or even the physical performance that I get from that, but I just wanna feel my best day in and day out, emotionally and mentally. So I prioritize self-care routines because of that, because I know that I'm gonna function at my best. So the first win for me, big win for me is getting in that morning workout where I train CrossFit five days per week at a CrossFit gym. I train for upwards of two hours.

Eric Hinman: I follow a program, so I know exactly what I'm doing when I get in there. I'm around people that I enjoy being around. I always invite people to come and join into the mix, so I get to meet new people through doing that, and I feel like you develop incredible bonds through others by experiencing discomfort together. And then after that, I eat a healthy meal. Eggs, animal-based products, I eat pretty healthy. Don't get me wrong, if there's dessert in front of me, I'm gonna devour it, but breakfast and lunch are always pretty much the exact same day in and day out. I want them to be nutrient-dense meals that just like exercise, fuel mental clarity, fuel good energy. So I don't eat super heavy, I build my calories throughout the day and eat my largest meal in the evening just because I need the less mental clarity before going to bed. I just... [chuckle]

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Gotcha.

Eric Hinman: And then I do a recovery routine every single night, I generally also do a second session, five to seven days per week of aerobic activity outside always, soaking up sunlight. And I tend to pick skill-based activities where there's some risk associated over non-skill-based activities, with no risk, because again, it just trains your mind to be super present. So I like mountain biking, I like trail running over road running, I'll do anything where there's some skill involved as opposed to a non-skill-based activity. And then every day we just pushed it back an hour, it used to be from 4:00 to 6:00, now 5:00 to 7:00, just 'cause the sun is out a little later. We invite people to pass through our house and do sauna and cold exposure with us. We have two saunas, we have two cold plunges, and there's always four to 10 people that are passing through here every evening, just outside of Denver to do that with us, and that's like a big community building time. I don't watch the news. That's where I feel like I get a lot of information is just from human connection and having conversations with people. So a lot of these things I consider them multi-tasking without multi-tasking. With the benefits I get from sauna and cold, I'm also getting that human connection that we all need.

Eric Hinman: I'm learning from people, I'm able to add value and hopefully others are able to learn from me. I get to meet new people when we're doing that, and opportunities obviously come from that. And I'm creating content all throughout the day, more documenting than creating. Just documenting the workouts and the conversations that I'm having with people in the sauna and cold plunge session for the different brands I work with, and I have two... Basically two to 2 1/2 hour blocks when I take calls or do podcasts and do meetings like this, and they're always scheduled immediately after exercise. I just know that's when my mind is gonna be the most sharp. So 10:30 until about 12:30 or 1:00, I do cognitive tasks, and then again from 3:00 until about 5:00, I'll do cognitive tasks. But phone generally is on airplane mode outside of those times, and I'm just doing my thing.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Dude, what I love about that answer is, I thought I was gonna learn something about how to block scheduling and I'm doing this and this block and that and that block, which you did cover, and that's super important. What I didn't expect to learn and hear from that is, how do we muddy some of that, how do we accomplish two things with one given block? Like you said, I'm multitasking without multi-tasking, here's where that lands for me, I work a ton, I just work a lot of hours and I love my work, but that's my work time, and then outside of my work time is my family time, and then outside of my family time is whatever the hell else I am doing. Maybe I'm going about that a little bit wrong. Maybe sports PTs, if you're talking about professionals, I'll just talk about myself. Maybe I should be getting more of my socialization or more of my energy from others during my work time, that doesn't have to be separate. Maybe I should not think about, hey, I'm not able to do this because I'm working, but wrapping those two together. And I'm already doing that, I just haven't been cognizant of that. So Eric, thanks for teaching me that. That's wildly helpful. You should have led with that.

Eric Hinman: Yeah. So an interesting fact is in Finland, which is known to be the happiest country in the world, where I think there is one sauna for every two people, it might be even more than that, they're doing sauna as a family bonding time, that's where they discuss family matters and political matters, and that's where they have their most important conversations, and that's where they connect with other people. So they learned that sauna goes well beyond the physical benefits of it, that it's this bonding experience that you can do with others. So yeah, when people... There's some glass balls that I don't have that others have and can't drop like family and kids, and I understand that, but I think there are ways to marry the two where you can get in some of these things that seem like they're an additional add-on of time but doing it instead of watching TV at night with your family, like maybe it should be 50-60 minutes of sauna and cold exposure where you can bond with your family and get the physical benefits of that. So yeah, I always look at time as where can I get the most bang for my buck without doing multiple things at the same time, because I've tried that before and that doesn't work for me.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It doesn't work. Yeah, I can imagine. Where did you learn all these things? Where did you learn this time-blocking idea?

Eric Hinman: It goes back to those triathlon years when I was kind of phasing out of my insurance business, but still somewhat involved. I was involved heavily in the software business, going to the office from 9:00 to 5:00 every day. Towards the end of those years, 2013, I had opened the gym up and I had a lot of glass balls I was juggling during that time, and I had to fit in three triathlon workouts every day to get my 25 hours of training in. So when you're forced to juggle all of them and you want all of them to work, you figure out a way, and I figured out a way where I could fit all of that in, but it had to be super structured and there had to be periods of time where I was multi-tasking without multi-tasking.

Eric Hinman: So if you wanna meet with me, let's go for a run, you know, that's where we'll meet and now all of my meetings are in the sauna. I don't go on coffee meetings, I don't do lunch meetings, anyone who reaches out to me, come over to the house, let's sauna, we'll do it then. So you can figure out these little hacks where you can benefit, and I also feel like it benefits others more too. If someone asks to work out with me, like my priority is me getting my good workout in, whereas in the sauna, my priority is my phone is off and I wanna deeply connect with people. So those were learning things along the way too, of like, this is where I connect with people better doing this, and I get my benefit of doing it, so let's combine the two, and it's not multi-tasking. It's just maximizing time.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, super interesting. Now, obviously, big sauna guy, big cold plunge guy, still training predominantly with CrossFit, right? What's one of the things you used to do from an exercise standpoint that you no longer do?

Eric Hinman: Great question. So I'm more balanced with my training now. During those Ironman years, and to be really good at anything, I really feel like you have to take it to an unhealthy level where you're either overdoing it with that discipline or you are constantly riding that fine line of being very fit, being one of the best in the world, and injury. That's just the fact of the matter. So now my training is much more balanced, I rarely do over 90 minutes of endurance work and I rarely am in the gym for more than 90 minutes to two hours, and I know that still sounds like a lot, but I was doing five-hour bike rides and 2 1/2, three-hour runs and sometimes eight, nine hour training days during those triathlon years, and it was all zone 2 cardio, and that can lead to high cortisol levels and low testosterone and losing muscle mass, and also getting some body fat too from not doing anaerobic efforts and not having the same muscle mass that you have when you are lifting weights. So what I don't do anymore is I don't over-train in any one capacity, I try to be much more varied with my training.

Eric Hinman: So I'm strength training, I'm doing anaerobic conditioning, I am doing aerobic work still, but none of them is... I'm not a body builder, I'm not in the gym for five hours, I'm not an elite Ironman athlete doing four to five-hour endurance sessions every single day. I'm kind of this hybrid athlete where I like to do a mix of all of them and then it still makes me pretty good at all of them, but I'm not gonna be the best in the world at any of them, unless I go to a place that's kind of unhealthy from a longevity standpoint.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And we see that a ton with our endurance athletes is we're just begging them to include some piece of strength, just some other piece of that spectrum, because of really what you're describing as perhaps burn-out, but also overuse and the injuries and time away from what they love doing as a result. Did you come across any injuries as you competed at such high levels?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, definitely. So in the Ironman years, honestly, most of the serious injuries were from bike crashes. My finger's stuck like this, I can't bend it from the knuckle down from a bike crash.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Should be worth it.

Eric Hinman: I had some issues here and there with hips and plantar fasciitis and little things that would bother me from here and there, but I never really had a serious injury where I ever had to get surgery outside of bike crashes. When I first got into CrossFit though, I was trying to train the same way I trained as an Ironman athlete, but with CrossFit meaning I was trying to do four and five-hour days of metcons and that just wasn't working, it broke my body down. I tore my MCL just on a routine box jump, but it was so just broken down from doing way too much volume. And to get where I'm at now in CrossFit, I had to back off a lot on the volume. I had to ramp up my strength training which was a lot more rest than I was used to. With Ironman, I just wanted to go. If you told me it was two hours of training, I just wanna get it all done, let's go for two hours, I want my heart rate elevated for two hours. So I had to shift that mindset of CrossFit is very much about building strength and anaerobic capacity, and for both of those, you need enough rest in between sets and you need enough rest after the workouts to be able to hit it hard again two days after.

Eric Hinman: So major lesson learned with CrossFit that it was very different than the Ironman training, where it's just kind of like every day, pound yourself into the ground a little bit, but never really bury yourself, it's just kinda continual fatigue that mounts up over time. CrossFit is more of like you're really pounding yourself into the ground with some of these workouts and you're lifting really heavy weight, and you have to rest long enough in between those sets or those anaerobic efforts to repeat that effort to improve your lactate threshold and to improve your anaerobic capacity, and you have to also reduce the volume a lot in order to get stronger or in order to get more aerobically fit.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Eric, I didn't hear you mention exercise physiology in your education, so where are you getting all this information?

Eric Hinman: I'm a one-man scientist.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Just research.

Eric Hinman: And I think we're all one-man scientists, so some research, some mentors definitely. I had a coach during the triathlon years that taught me that I was going way too fast in all of my workouts to ever become a good Ironman athlete, and he taught me the Maffetone Method of zone 2 heart rate training, and I thought he was crazy I thought that to get faster I had to just go out and keep trying to run faster and keep trying to bike faster, but he's like, "No, you gotta slow down so you can put in more volume and build durability and build an aerobic engine." So he was a mentor that definitely fast tracked my way to success. I probably would have met others along the way that would have been like, "What are you doing? You're training the wrong way." Right now, I follow at Mat Fraser's HWPO programming, arguably the best CrossFit athlete to ever compete in the sport, so I try to find someone who's gotten to where I wanna go and I learn from them and replicate what they've done. So yeah, no, no formal education and exercise scientist, I've always just been a student of the game where I learn from others, and then I try it for myself, and when I find something that works I stick with it for a long time in order to get good at it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I was gonna... I had cued up as a topic that I wanted to cover, why it is you think people tune in to your self-described personal reality TV show. But I think you just answered that. I think that's why, because similarly, I have zero formal education as it pertains to business, but here I am running a business. You have zero formal education as it pertains to running and competing at Ironman, yet there you are. That's what's awesome about having influencers like you, because anyone who's interested at attaining a given level, you're just out there, you're giving away this information, it's just on the person to go out and grab it, right? And those lessons that you just described like that zone 2 concept and your ability, we gotta slow down so that eventually we can speed up appropriately, dude that's gold for sports PTs.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Because I think sports PTs, just like any industry, like how much can I treat? Let me just treat, treat, treat, treat, treat. Wait a minute, we just heard from Hinman that the best thing he ever did was take a step back and assess, where am I going? What do I love? What am I following? Same thing with sports PT. What piece of this career do we love? I happen to find it in that management side, in that business side, and in that elite athlete rehabilitation side, because that's what gets me rolling. I wouldn't have unless I heeded some of your advice, although I didn't know you then, I wish I did, slow the F down so you can speed the hell up. Isn't that what you said?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, it's working on your business versus working in your business. They're two very different things. And yeah, if you wanna go further, sometimes you do have to take a step back and kinda look at the overarching theme to understand what you should be doing in the business, because it is easy to get just trapped by the rat race and just being reactive instead of creating for yourself and you manifesting your destiny.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so let me ask you for just more advice, but a little bit more clinically now, as a sports physical therapist that I am, working with high level athletes of all kinds, I am not an Ironman at all, but if you walk into my clinic as the elite athlete that you are, what is it that I can do to best help you?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, great question. So here's my order of what I do when something is bothering me, and keep in mind, I have that religious recovery routine of sauna and cold exposure every single night, generally two to four rounds of 20-25 minutes in a 200 degree sauna and three to five minutes in 40-ish degree water. So that has helped me tremendously manage inflammation and to manage injuries, but...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Who taught you that? Eric, who taught you that? 'Cause it's all the rage now. But I've a feeling you were there before a lot of people.

Eric Hinman: Yeah, I started doing infrared sauna back in 2013 as a way to acclimate for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, I was simply doing it for the heat exposure, I had no idea the other benefits I was gonna get from it. And after doing it for a few weeks, I realized that the feeling post-sauna was very similar to post-exercise where you just have this incredible endorphin rush, and it also would always de-stress me. I could have the worst day and after that in infrared sauna session, it really improved my mood. And it was also helping with recovery from all of the running, I was kinda constantly sore and achy, and after those sauna sessions, it relieved some of the pain from relieving the inflammation. And then when I moved to Denver 5 1/2, six years ago, I found this place called Denver Sports Recovery that had an infrared sauna, and I specifically was gonna go there for their infrared sauna, and they also had a hot tub and a cold plunge. And the people there, they were doing three rounds, five minutes in the hot tub, five minutes in the cold plunge, and I was intrigued. I had never done cold exposure before, so I started doing 50 minutes in the sauna and then three rounds of five minutes, five minutes, and that was just, everything else I had done before on steroids, the feeling afterwards was so much better, the relieving inflammation, relieving pain. After a year of doing it, all of those aches and pains from those Ironman years went away.

Eric Hinman: And then the most important thing was the stress resilience benefits. I tell people that if you jump in cold water for three minutes, you'll be amazed what it does for your mood, that's the fastest way to a state change and the fastest way to calm your nervous system after a shitty day. So yeah, I feel like that benefited me so much from just a stress resilience standpoint of doing it. And then I graduated to the ice baths and the barrel saunas and everything just got kinda more extreme, just like exercise. Once you get to a certain point, you have to go further or faster to get the same feeling, so now with that stuff, I kinda go a little further to get the same feeling.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Same thing.

Eric Hinman: But yeah, there's just so many compounding benefits from it, and I also started to realize those community benefits too, the people I was meeting, the conversations I was having, I'm like, "Damn, I eventually wanna create this exact environment in my home to be able to entertain in this way and to be able to have these people come to me."

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, that's pretty awesome. Okay, so when you walk into my clinic, right, tell me the best thing that I can do as a sports PT to give you an outstanding session.

Eric Hinman: Yeah, so first ask me, what's going on and how I'm feeling, what's bothering me, what I do, how I wanna perform. Obviously, understanding who I am. I just went to a PT two days ago, and so to go back to where I was going before the recovery thing, obviously is helping me a ton, but my protocols for things that are tweaked, injured, I get a deep tissue massage every other week, I think that helps me tremendously. During those Ironman years, I got a deep tissue massage twice a week, but I didn't have access to the cold exposure then. And then I resorted to cupping, that's next on the list and then dry needling. I just had dry needling done on my right shoulder. After some of those CrossFit open workouts with the ridiculous amounts of pull-ups, the back of my shoulder was starting to bother me a bit, so I went to a PT very recently here in Denver and had that dry needling done. So that's kind of my last resort, if something is still bothering me after having done all of that other stuff, I go to dry needling.

Eric Hinman: So I think it's for you asking people what they do on a regular basis for recovery, what they're comfortable doing, what they have already done in the past that may have worked for them, what they haven't tried yet, and then you assessing what the issue is and what you think will work best. I really think for these chronic pain type things, for me, the dry needling works really, really well, where more surface level stuff, deep tissue massage, soft tissue work, cupping, all of that stuff works really well for me from just preventative measures.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Are you doing any corrective exercises as a piece of your training?

Eric Hinman: I'm really not, no. And not because I don't think it's important. I just... A lot of my mobility I've gained just from doing those Olympic lifts and just from doing pause squats and kinda going through the motions of CrossFit, that helped me tremendously with mobility. I do do a lot of accessory work, but they're more body builder type lifts. And again, that was from realizing that what was limiting me in CrossFit wasn't really my larger muscle strength, that was my smaller muscle strength.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Sure.

Eric Hinman: And you know, technique obviously too is big, but yeah, I mean, doing body-building type stuff where you're isolating your rotator cuff and isolating smaller movements, I certainly do that. After all of my workouts, I have accessory pieces in there that are programmed by Fraser and his HWPO programming. So I guess in a way, yes, I do do it, but they look more like small accessory lifts than they do stretching or corrective exercises.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, I think you're right. I think I would describe those as corrective exercises, like those isolation and figuring out where it is you're weak and maybe where it is Cross-Fitters are standardly weak and just programming prophylactically kind of around that. So you are doing it. Don't say you're not doing it. You are doing it. That's a piece of... Our friend Sean, who put us together for the pod said, "Hinman is great, you're gonna love talking to him, he doesn't do any rehab stuff." I'm like, "What? I bet you he's doing some type of rehab stuff." So little did you know, you are doing rehab stuff, dude. First of all, you can't look the way you do, you can't perform the way you do without doing some of that isolation.

Eric Hinman: Sure. Agreed.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Let's call it corrective therapeutic exercise world. Thank God you agree with that. Otherwise, we'd have major, major issues.

Eric Hinman: Yeah. No, completely agree. No, it's interesting with CrossFit it's just a balancing act constantly of what's holding you back.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah.

Eric Hinman: And for me, I got to a point where what was holding me back wasn't my larger muscles, it wasn't my quad strength, that wasn't my shoulder strength, it was rotator cuff or hamstring, smaller, more isolated muscles that typically don't get hit with some of those CrossFit strength training lifts.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No question. And thank God for that, 'cause that's what keeps us employed. So obviously, you are compensated to influence others as your job role as an influencer, right? Who influences the influencers?

Eric Hinman: For me, I learn a lot, like I said, from conversations that I have with others, I have that list of 100 people that are...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Give me the top five on there. Give me the top two on there, who do I need to start following that I don't already?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, I think most of your listeners and you probably follow Andrew Huberman, I think he's great at breaking down the science behind the feeling, it's always cool to hear him talk about why I feel the way I do when I do cold exposure, sauna or supplements, any of these things. So he's great. I really think it... Ben Greenfeld, I certainly turned into Ben during my Ironman years. Dave Asprey was very popular when I first got into the sport, so I certainly did bulletproof coffee back early in the day. A lot of it for me is like, what chapter in life am I writing and where do I need help with that? Who has gotten to where I wanna get to? And for me right now, it's less on the athleticism side, and it's more in the business building side where I need help. I've just gotten to a place where I can no longer manage all of the tasks I have to run a successful business with what I'm doing and I need to find others that can do some of the things I'm doing right now better than I can, so I had a call with my buddy Adam Greenfeld today, who built the company called Thesis, a nootropic that Andrew Huberman talks about.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Sure.

Eric Hinman: And he's someone who I've watched build multiple consumer brands, and I also know that he is incredible at building teams, and he's incredible about making lists about all of the things that you don't wanna be doing and then finding the people to do that. The list rotates for me, it's really like, "Okay, this is where I'm stuck right now, who on my list of 100 can help me get to where I wanna go without me having to just bang my head against a wall [chuckle] in order to get there?" So yeah, I can't say it's one particular person. Alex Hermozi, I've been tuning into quite a bit on YouTube, I have 30 or 45 minutes in the evening where I'll listen to podcasts or I'll watch interviews on YouTube. So it's been more on the business side lately where I've been trying to learn.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Sure. Yeah, that's really awesome. What's the number one podcast that you go to every day?

Eric Hinman: I don't go to any one podcast every day, but if I'm on a road trip, I'll certainly queue up Huberman conversations. Anyone that Huberman has on, I'm also generally interested in, so like Peter Attia, I think it puts out incredible information. Ben Greenfeld, I still think puts out pretty good information. So yeah, those would be my go-tos, would be Huberman or people that Huberman are having on his podcast. My buddy Aaron Alexander in Austin, Texas, I like his podcast a lot, he has great guests. I certainly turn into Joe Rogan if I wanna listen to something that is more conversational, and I'm interested in a guest that he recently had on...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. That guy's ability to pull truth out of people is incredible, Rogan.

Eric Hinman: Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I mean, it's... When are you going on Rogan? How do I start that petition?

Eric Hinman: Yeah. I mean let's just manifest it in the world. No time has been set, but he certainly is in a pan similar to mine, I have a lot of friends in Austin that are friendly with him.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I bet. I'm surprised I have not seen you on there. Did you listen to Huberman and Galpin, Dr. Andy Galpin?

Eric Hinman: I did. Yeah, Dr. Andy Galpin is a credible as well. Yeah, I listened to that.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So good.

Eric Hinman: I think we just did another with one with him recently, but I listened to the one maybe a month or two ago.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, he did a whole series. And what I loved was, and the more and more that I get just bigger names on a pod like this, I start to realize the super successful are those who simplify the most. And Galpin, he is at the top of the field from a strength and conditioning perspective and a research perspective, his protocols are so simple, they're so unbelievably intelligently basic.

Eric Hinman: Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And it's refreshing, it's like...

Eric Hinman: Yeah, less is more. I just posted that today or yesterday on social media, and it really is. Less is 100% more. That is the key to success. There's just so many distractions and so much information out there that in so many ways that you can go now and so many... Social media is a blessing and a curse because we can be inspired in so many different directions by just looking at our phone and that can side track so many to get them off the one course they were on. And yeah, it's writing one chapter at a time, like live that chapter to the fullest, and if it no longer serves you, move on to the next. And yeah, it's figuring out...

Eric Hinman: I have this list of tiny wins that I live out every single day, and I think that's super important for people to make their list of tiny wins of things that just bring them joy. Another really cool thing that we did last year was we started this gratitude jar where my girlfriend and I, we write in it, and then our friends write in it, and at the end of the year, we read all of those notes, and it was such a cool reminder of the things that matter most in life, reading that gratitude jar, the things that like lit us up. And it's not really the things that you think, you know. It's more of like the little things, the human connection, the conversation, the people that came over to sauna that night, the dinner we had with these people, it's not the buying the Ferrari, it's not these things that the public perception of success tells you what to chase. So that was really cool, and I would highly recommend that gratitude jar. It's cool every day doing it, but the most powerful part was reading it at the end of the year and re-realizing how to design your day.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Super awesome. It sounds like you do some journaling also to get into that gratitude state. My wife always says, just have an attitude of gratitude, and how far that can go is really incredible. One of the things I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for is coffee. And so what I wanna know, Eric Hinman, ready? Why do coffee snobs looked down upon dark roast. Why is that? Just let me enjoy my dark roast. Give me your hot take on dark roast.

Eric Hinman: Yeah. I'm not a coffee snob, I don't do dark roast though, I like medium roast a lot more. I believe medium and light roast, they generally have more caffeine. I like the way they taste better, that's the key for me is I just like the way they taste better. And I make espresso every morning, I very rarely make coffee and I feel like espresso generally comes out better and my machine if I'm doing a light roast or a medium roast. So yeah, I've never read anything into the coffee snob saying that dark roast, I guess probably the process to get that way, maybe they don't like. But for me, it's more of a taste thing, and also the way it pours out of the espresso machine, the light medium tend to pour better.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And your favorite brands?

Eric Hinman: So I have been subscribing lately to Onyx out of Bentonville, Arkansas, one of the coolest cafes have ever been to. They have incredible beans and they just surprise me every other week. We actually just got our shipment today from them and it's... They're always from different regions and their beans are delicious. There's a lot of great coffee shops out there, Heart. I used to subscribe to... I like these newer concepts where they have multiple beans at their shop, so you can try Heart, you can try Onyx, you can try a bunch of different ones and different brewing techniques. I love that coffee is going beyond just the, "Yeah, give me my coffee in the drive-by," 'cause it's such an art, and that's what I enjoy so much about making my own espresso every morning is it's you have the ability to improve every single day as a barista by making your own espresso.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I love that. Yeah. Listen, the way we do anything is the way we do everything, and diving in and understanding the process and that it's all about that process is certainly obvious as you make your espresso every morning in... We were talking machines before we got on here, so the machine you're currently sporting is which?

Eric Hinman: It's a Rocket Appartamento.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And what do you add to that espresso once she comes out? How do you drink it?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, great question. It changes over time, but lately I've been adding one scoop of collagen powder and a little bit of honey. Sometimes I'll do a grass-fed creamer of some kind in it as well. But yeah, the typical one is espresso with collagen and powder and some raw honey.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I knew it would be raw honey. 'Cause what else would you be drinking?

Eric Hinman: Tastes so good.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, it does taste so good. And the health benefits are amazing. So just kind of wind it down for us, Eric, give us the most important thing you wanna share with burgeoning sports PTs across the country.

Eric Hinman: Yeah, I think the most important thing is movement is medicine, that's a tagline I live by, and I think it's so incredible that PTs have such an instrumental effect on people's ability to move and move often and move well. I think we were truly designed to lift heavy things, to be outside, to be moving often. I think sitting is crippling. I always feel my worst when I take a long plane ride. So to me, there must be something internally that's going on from sitting for that long. So yeah, I think my advice would be keep doing what you're doing because you're adding so much value to people's lives by allowing them to move and move often and move well.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, that's super awesome. Thank you for sharing that from a dude who obviously moves a ton, I think that really resonates. Also the list of mentors, how to acquire a mentor, how to develop those relationships is something that I really took away from this conversation. I think our audience is going to absolutely love that. So tell us where that audience can interact with you, how do we best find you?

Eric Hinman: Yeah, best place is on Instagram. That's my primary platform that I use, and I respond to all DMs and comments, so I love engaging with people that are like-minded, and I love adding value and sharing things that have benefited me so much throughout the year. So it's just my name, Eric Hinman.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Awesome. And you've certainly done that for all of us today, really, the knowledge, the wisdom, I love how cross-sectional it is. Business is business, and your ability to rise in a business outside of sports PT doesn't even matter the fact that it's a different field, it's so applicable and so apropos to what it is that us sports PTs go through every day. So Eric, thank you for the knowledge, thank you for the wisdom. I'm sure we'll do it again soon. I'm really looking forward.

Eric Hinman: I would love to. Thanks so much for having me.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Absolutely. See you guys.


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