Skip to content

135: 6 Powerful Methods to Reach Sustainable Happiness – with Joe DiStefano


subscribe to the awesome health course on itunes

He’s a fitness coach and lifestyle coach with over 22 years of experience. 

Our host Wade T. Lightheart was excited to get another interview with Joe DiStefano – a true winner who overcame a traumatic brain injury years ago that astounded his doctors. His unique personal story gets covered in episode 99 of the Awesome Health Podcast (link below). 

After recovering, Joe built a successful health and wellness business called RUNGA – an experiential lifestyle brand that includes a robust online community of healthy-minded people. RUNGA has adapted to recent changes brought on by Covid and is still thriving today. Joe loves empowering individuals to live highly effective and sustainable lives that fuel health, wellness, and performance. 

Through the course of Joe’s career journey as a fitness trainer, he has put together a unique method for sustainable happiness that is the primary focus of this episode. Listen in and discover Joe’s six life-changing methods that are so simple, anyone can do them. When done consistently, Joe’s clients achieve a reliably steady level of overall wellbeing

Joe is also the host of the STACKED podcast, where he interviews compelling guests on topics related to health and wellness. Wade is one of those exciting guests. (Link to Wade’s interview on STACKED below.) 

In this podcast, we cover:

  • Why you cannot rely on the government to keep you healthy
  • Joe’s six powerful methods for living life with sustainable happiness (one is intermittent fasting)
  • The type of people reaching out to Joe and what they’re looking for
  • How Joe defines the differences between fitness and health
  • How Joe coaches former athletes who are aging and need to make adjustments in their fitness routines and goals
  • Why kettlebell workouts help you sustain happiness
  • The health benefits of cold immersion (another of the six methods to lasting happiness)
  •  The urgency to take responsibility for your wellness in 2021

People contact RUNGA to find THIS

Wade asks Joe at one point: what does a typical client of RUNGA look like, and what are their needs? 

Joe describes his customer base as a spectrum of avatars. Some are like Wade – they know their stuff and want to find a community of like-minded people. Another avatar consists of fitness buffs who have not achieved their fitness goals for whatever reason – it could be a trauma or some emotional barrier or a negative relationship with food. 

Joe and his team carry out a careful application process. Every person that wants to come in is personally spoken to – and heard. 

Through that application process, RUNGA then curates a group of people that Joe and his team believe will work well together. This group grows close during the RUNGA four-day events. Sometimes a group that is dealing with the same issue gets curated together. 

On the outside, these clients might appear quite different. However, they all need to find a sense of stillness. They need to quiet the mental chatter, addiction to the latest and greatest, new diet, new things, etc. 

RUNGA brings people back to the basics. Joe’s clients have a profound interest in health and wellness, but they know something is missing, something isn’t right. They might look like Mr. Universe but still suffer health issues (like Wade did years ago.) 

How to get back to daily exercise when life takes you off course for a while

During the interview, Wade asks Joe how a person can get their fitness back on track after letting themselves go during the pandemic. (People in the U.S. have gained an average of 29 pounds since the lockdowns began in 2020.) 

Joe’s response: “As long as you make space for (exercise), and you understand that that happens automatically, and you don’t try to force anything, it’ll happen and take you on this journey. I think we’re so used to being in control. We are used to forcing everything and working for it. We can’t let go enough.”

“That’s one thing I can help people with – that understanding. I just had a call with a woman who had some surgery, and now she’s saying, ‘I gotta get back to the gym. I gotta do this.’ You know, she just had her neck cut open. She’s got a big wound there. So I’m like, “Hey, right now, be a little easy on yourself. If I told you right now to do a thousand burpees in your garage, that’s not going to be good for you. What would be good for you is to walk into your garage and peddle a few times on your bike. Pick up a kettlebell a couple of times, and leave. Because we’re trying to anchor that habit of getting into the garage, but we’re not judging what happens in the garage right now.”

“All we’re doing is maintaining that habit so that the wheels don’t fall off. Then, when you’re ready to crush it again, you don’t have to start at zero because the routine of going into the garage at 10:00 a.m. never leaves.” 

As the pandemic fizzles out, now is the perfect time to get back to living a more fit and healthy lifestyle. If you are tired of working out alone in your basement and are yearning to find a community of health-minded people who want to achieve a more consistent, steady level of happiness and contentment, tune in to this episode. Joe explains the six methods to feeling great every day. You just have to “anchor the habit” because the government can’t do it for you! They don’t even know how, obviously! 

Listen to Joe – practice these six simple things and get ready for more energy and bliss! 

Episode Resources:

Use code AWESOME for 25% off Runga Mobility balls (
Stacked Podcast 
Runga Life on Instagram @rungalife
Joe Distefano on Instagram @coachjoedi
Runga Life on Facebook @RUNGALIFE
Runga YouTube Channel
Joe DisStefano on Twitter: @coachjoedi
Joe Distefano LinkedIn Profile
Awesome Health Podcast Episode 99: Overcoming Obstacles and Finding a Tribe with Joe DiStefano
STACKED Podcast Episode 63: How To Reverse Magnesium Deficiency & Optimize Your Biology with Wade Lightheart

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning. Good afternoon. And good evening. It's Wade T. Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the awesome health podcast. And we have a return guest coming back here today is we were talking about this, the pronunciation of Italian words, and some people would say, it's Joe DeStefano, but he likes DeStefano. And he runs a really interesting business. He's a fitness expert, a lifestyle coach, nearly two decades of coaching experience had a traumatic brain injury. So people who have suffered from brain injuries, this is something you want to listen to, or if you know somebody he's and he's dedicated his life to restoring his health and vitality, a journey that resulted in Joe's highly unique method to sustainable happiness. A lot of people struggling with that right now, combining breathwork and mindfulness, cold immersion, intermittent fasting, sleep optimization, and kettlebell training. Joe has developed a reliable program to foster the highest levels of wellbeing in his clients. Joe is the host of Stacked and is the founder of Runga and experimental or excuse me, experiential lifestyle and online community brand that empowers individuals to highly effective and sustainable practice that fuel health, wellness, and performance. Joe, welcome back to the show.

 Joe DiStefano: Hey Wade. Hey, glad to be here.

 Wade Lightheart: Well, you're, you know, you're one of the, you're one of the unusual characters in the last time we've talked that you were literally living on my street for like the first early on. Then you were in Europe and now you are in beautiful Austin, Texas. One of the great seems to be one of the great meccas of the world now during, since the whole COVID thing started where we have all sorts of people now have descended on Austin. A lot of I would say California refugees, how has things in Austin these days?

 Joe DiStefano: It it's, it's awesome. You know, and, and it is, it's so interesting. The number of people that live here that used to live literally up the street from us when we lived right, where you live now in Venice you know, it's it's pretty cool. It's pretty refreshing. And like you said, with the, you know, just the, the convergence on Austin, right. Because, you know, it's a very, it's always been, you know, over the last decade, a real hotspot for wellness, you know, and a lot of wellness brands have been founded here and live here. And and so it's kind of, I think always been like number two or three behind LA, but, you know, with all the COVID stuff, anybody that was, you know, thinking about Austin in any capacity, pretty much jumped shipped in that. Now they're here. So it's been cool and it's been great to kind of have community again, you know, I think that was something that was missing from all of our 2020. And so especially now we have a one-year-old boy and, you know, having community with young kids and that think the same way about the you know, things that are going on in the world right now and are able to have conversations around health and wellness and, and kind of a safe place to be. So yeah, no, we're digging it, man.

 Wade Lightheart: Now you just we're just chatting before we got talking here and you just had an event recently and you want to talk about what like what you're doing right now. And of course it was one of the first events in a long time, or you're actually doing things with people kind of empowering all the things that, you know, you want to talk about that particular. Cause I think that there's a lot of people out there and the reason why I want to couch, this is probably a lot of people out there. You know, I think the average weight gains now, 30 pounds on since the lockdowns started, that's, that's what the researchers, we know that the comorbidities around COVID,u78% of the people it's obesity. So we kept McDonald's and burger King open. We closed down,ugyms and,uyou know, a lot of stores and restaurants, a mom and pop shops where you get more healthier stuff. And then we went all through these big box stores. So it seems like the strategy was somewhat flawed as far as a health perspective, but you're on the cutting edge of incrporating a lifestyle. Can you talk about your events in particular in the one maybe that you just ran? How was that? What was it about and, and what were the type of people that were coming to that? Yeah.

 Joe DiStefano: Great question. Wait, and, and no, and, and the stats you just rifled off it, it's really unbelievable. The, the approach, the fact that there was really no health and wellness guidance, no nutritional mentions no therapeutic, you know, interventions, or

 Wade Lightheart: Can I, can I interject on that for a minute? Because this is a point that I need to make to listeners. The government is not capable of mandating what you need to do for your health. Your doctor is not capable of outlining a program for your health. Your education system in your schooling is not capable of providing us. And it's about time that the population stop relying on large centralized institutions for their health, their wellness and their education advice, because it's quite obvious that they are controlled by special interest groups in fighting and political organizations inefficiency due to lack accountability, the lack of evolutionary component and a laundry list of ideas. And it is impossible for any institution, be it government or on a local state national level to address these issues. And if there's one thing that we can take away from this one thing, this is me and my rant box folks today.

 Wade Lightheart: There's one thing that we can take away from this whole thing is how poorly equipped our authoritarian institutions are to address the basic needs of health and wellness. And that's why people like you are so critical because if we continue to do the same thing over and over again, and expect the same result, that is the definition of insanity. And it's obvious to me, and this is not a political statement because it doesn't matter which political group is in. It doesn't matter which education board, it doesn't matter what new theory they're implementing into the school system. It doesn't address health. It just doesn't. In fact, if you follow their mandates, there's one thing that we will guarantee that you'll get that is you're going to get fat. You're going to get sick, and you're going to suffer from a debilitating condition by the time you're 60 years old.

 Wade Lightheart: And that you're going to spend the last 10, 15, 20 years of your life. If you're lucky in some compromised state, that's coming out of the new England journal of medicine and professor Oshinsky things. So you're dealing with this directly, like you're putting one of the first events. People are screwed up, they've been depressed, they've been locked in their houses. They've been terrorized with the media of both the current situations they've gained weight. They may not be thing. What was that like? What did you do? And how did that go? So sorry to interrupt. But I just, I I'm just on a, I'm just on a it's like we've got us, we got to stop turning over our authorities to these institutional ideas that are completely compromising in capable of directing our goals to achieve wellness.

 Joe DiStefano: You hit the nail on the head, Wade and, and, you know, just in the past month, as an example, to what you're saying, I've had two phone calls and meetings with people who have had their life insurance canceled, or their spouse had their life insurance canceled after receiving a clean bill of health from their doctor and their life insurance basically diagnosed them with COVID because the life insurance has something to lose. And they're looking at the blood work much more meticulously, much more. They're looking at it through the lens of somebody with something to lose, but the doc, the shirt, the white jacket, the degree they've got nothing to lose. So if you go get cancer next year, your doctor doesn't really care. It doesn't seem, but the insurance company, that's going to insure you for a couple of million bucks. Like, they're going to say, Hey, like, look at this PSA, look at this, you know, look at what's going on here.

 Joe DiStefano: That could be this type of trend. So anyways, that kind of told me everything I needed to know. And it illustrates what you're saying. Exactly. so in Austin, you know, we've, we've done events in Napa for the last bunch of years. That's pretty much where we've focused, but obviously California's just not friendly to us right now. And, and it's not a place that a lot of people want to go, but guess what, Texas is open for business. And we have been, like you said, we have not had a live event since late 2019 because our events, you know, first of all, we were, we were pregnant when COVID hit and the whole thing. So we had kind of this little gap in our schedule. And then when things were supposed to ramp back up, guess what they didn't. So we've been itching because this is how we live.

 Joe DiStefano: This is our life. This is how we, this is our purpose here on this planet is to meet with people, connect people with modalities, therapies, interventions, exercises, and so they can take their health into their own hands, which is exactly what you're saying. And so we were super fortunate for this group to come in. It wasn't a public event. Our next public event is in October, but private stuff, corporate stuff, you know, rolls in as it will. And, and this one started as a, as a eight person corporate event. But by the time the event rolled around, we had 30 people that were family members, friends, and corporate partners for this, for this, you know, the person that brought us in who essentially he had come through a public event in 2018. And he knows the, the state of the world right now. And he knows what our events are capable of.

 Joe DiStefano: So he brought everybody that he knows and everyone in his circle who he wants to see, make change in their life and change their diets, change their exercise, et cetera. So when people came in, we had this group of 30 for a whole week. And when they came in, most of them had never eaten like this before they had never eaten. They had never intermittent fasting. They had really never focused on a hundred percent organic diets. They had never really exercised properly. And so the really interesting thing is, you know, our events are normally three nights, four days. This one was a full week. We saw massive change. And now just about every guest I'm sending them, I made a landing page just for their group. Here's all the supplements you took. Here's, here's the exercise programs we did. Here's what you need to do next.

 Joe DiStefano: So we're going to kind of keep the guardrails on for these folks, but essentially Wade, when people come into our event you know, when, first of all, we're big on hugs. We're big on really sharing all. We have creating an extremely safe environment. And I mean that in the pre COVID emotional sense of the word, because when you're either learning new exercises or eating a new way, you know, your digestion's impacted by your feelings of safety. And if you're in a new place, surrounded by new people, you know, so that's why things like our welcome circle and the different things that we do along the way to make sure everyone feels maximally safe, helps the upload of everything else we're going to do. But in a nutshell, across this week, every bite of food, these people had was chef prepared, regenerative, organic, et cetera.

 Joe DiStefano: We combined yoga meditation, soundbath kettlebell training with daily, PEMF hyperbaric oxygen, manual therapy and nutrient IVs. And you bring someone in and that's what they do for a week. Postures are different. Energies are different. Whites of eyes are different, everything different, right? And that's why I say, like after a run go experience, whether it's four days or a week, you've got basically three to six months of momentum before the job, the kids, the diet starts slipping again, because the, the impact or the experience is so great. And you, you actually, it's kind of like you know, it's self fulfilling because when all the boxes are checked, all the boxes also work better. So you're getting more out of the hyperbaric oxygen when you had all your minerals and your Mac you're maximally hydrated. You just had a, you know, a, an I V of NAD and whatever else.

 Joe DiStefano: And then you go into the hyperbaric, you're going to feel after four or five hours in that thing across a week, you're going to start to really feel it. So everything acts as a multiplier to everything else. And that's why people can really feel, wow, this created a lot of change. And of course you know, when people leave, you know, maybe they don't have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in their house, or, you know, PEMF, but we give them things that they can sustain, whether it's, you know, breath work, whether it's the idea of grounding outside getting daily sun. And so there are ways, even though we can give you the latest modern technology and the way that we're going to get you, you know, 10 hours of grounding or earthing and 45 minutes on this, on this PEMF device, you know, you still get the idea of what's what your body's capable of and how you can feel in a matter of days or a week.

 Joe DiStefano: So that's what we did. And we you know, we spared no hugs, everyone that joined was on the same exact page. So it was, it was like it was late 2019. You know, it felt just like that. And honestly, I couldn't be happier about that. It was so refreshing. The last thing I'll tack on weight is every single member of my team worked over a hundred hours in six days. And every single member of my team had more energy at the end than when we walked in the door, because this is what we live for. This is what we do. And it was, and by the way, it's so funny, you know, it's so funny. Cause I told my wife, I'm going to take this week off. You know, because you know, we're just so you know, we worked so much. And so she's laughing because today, as an example is my day off, I've had three podcasts, three coaching calls, and I've got a live workout on zoom when we're through. It's just like, you know, you don't know how to turn it off, but Hey, that's that's it, that's hopefully what you're, when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing. That's how the world works.

 Wade Lightheart: What is the major challenge that people are dealing with when, when they're coming to see you? Like what, what is kind of like who is the type of person that reaches out to your organization? What are their requirements and what are they hoping to get?

 Joe DiStefano: Great question. Well, a lot of people that come in and there's of course the spectrum, you know, we get folks like yourself, like I could see you at an event, someone that just knows this stuff inside and out and wants a community of people that think that way. And so we've got, we get those types of people. We also get people that have whatever it is that's been kind of in the way of them achieving progress or achieving their goals or whatever. So a lot of times there's some sort of trauma, there's some sort of emotional barrier, there's some sort of relationship with food. And so that's where, you know, when we, when we look at the people that come in and our public events, we have an application process and we actually speak to every single person that wants to come through. And we actually curate a group of people that we think are gonna work really well together.

 Joe DiStefano: Cause those three to four day events, they're highly curated. The group kind of gets really close and really stays together. It's a really amazing experience. And so when we, when we look at that, a lot of times we'll bring people that are dealing with similar issues and they might be, you know, the world away from each other, but at their core, they all need to kind of get in touch with the power inside of them. They all need to kind of still, they need to find some stillness. They need to quiet, quiet the mental chatter or the addiction to the latest and greatest, you know, a novel idea in health and wellness or diet. They need to kind of get down to the basics. And so one thing we do is we bring people back to the basics, but we, we demonstrate and instruct the basics in a way that, that tends to stick with people. So I will say that everyone that comes through as a profound interest in health and wellness, many of them are like recovering iron Ironman, you know, people that have just like put their body through the ringer and they suspect that health and fitness might be different things. And so, right.

 Speaker 3: I want to go there for a second. I'm sorry to cut you off. Do you want to finish that thought? Go for it. Yeah. So this is something that I discovered, I believe in my first in 2003, when I went to the Mr. Universe after preparing for 16 years and I was extremely fit, my VOT with max was great. My body fat was in the low single digits. I'm at the aesthetic ideals of the Mr. Universe. And so from all intense purposes, I was extremely fit and people would think, well, that's, they equate that with health. And then that set me up for my biggest health crisis of my life, where I gained 42 pounds of fat and water after the contest. And then that led to the discovery of digestive wellness and, and rebuilding myself six months later, it took, which took six months and was the precursor to the foundation of BiOptimizers. And what we're into, from your perspective, what do you, how do you define the difference between fitness and health?

 Joe DiStefano: Great question. Wait, and I'm adjusting in my chair here cause I can't sit still for very long. But so, so here's the thing, you know, health, or I should say wellness to me is what's happening kind of behind your eyes in between your ears, right? So when everything else falls away is that, is that energy inside there, one of happiness and I guess it's kind of the Einstein is the world of friendly place. Like the number one question. And so I guess that's that's wellness. And I think one of the interesting things is when we look at health, fitness and wellness is as different things. Everyone knows that, you know, that dying cancer patient that still has a positive impact that everyone on everyone that walks the room. So your wellness is more the impact you have on others and the ability you have, the electrons you have to give.

 Speaker 3: That's cool. That's very cool. Dash and wellness is like, how do you make people feel when they're in your presence? That's a very unique definition. I like that. Yeah.

 Joe DiStefano: Yeah, you can, you can be falling apart. You can be on your death bed and you can still have that positive impact on others. And that, that goes to show kind of what's happening in your own body and in your own mind and in your own conscious health, I would say, you know, is, is more your ability to kind of do what you want to do and live how you want to live and not be medicated and, and eat food without, without problems. And so I guess it's more of a, you know, kind of more conventional definition of health and then fitness is, can you do the things you aspire to do? You know, can, can you achieve something that the average person can't. And so that's kinda, that's kinda how I look at them. And I think that there's a certain, there's a certain amount of overflow, but you can absolutely be fit as hell and sick as a dog. And you can be very, very, very healthy, but not very fit and not very well. You can, these things are all mutually exclusive.

 Speaker 3: Where do you see specifically that crossover when fitness say, or the pursuit of fitness is compromising one's health? What, what, w w w what, what's the earmarks of that that you've noticed with people?

 Joe DiStefano: Yeah, well, you know, I think it's, I think when more workouts leave, you tired, then build your energy. That's kind of when you're on the path, right? And then there's this, this sort of mature this like maturity to take, to know how to kind of balance that training program. But basically if you think about the average person should probably have about five workouts a week are more, do you leave more of those workouts with more energy than you walked in with? Or do you leave those workouts with less energy than you walked in with? Because when more of your workouts are leaving, you tired, that means you're maximizing in that area. So in other words, when you maximize in a single area, you're inevitably taking from other areas, right? So if you want to become maximally successful in your business, then maybe not you because you're in the health space, but the average person let's take a wall street guy who wants to be maximally successful on wall street.

 Joe DiStefano: Chances are he'll achieve his goal of being a millionaire by 30 or whatever his goal is, but he's probably been to the fat, divorced and sick when he gets there. Right? So that's like a, that's a maximization strategy. And having coached a lot of professional endurance athletes, I've seen a lot of this stuff where the fitter somebody gets, you know, as a, as an example, a lot of female endurance athletes lose their period. They stop menstruating, they stop having their cycle. Well, that is a massive sign that our health is sinking as our fitness is climbing. Right. So that's an extreme example, but I would say that at the point where your training is interfering with your daily life or your primary role on this planet, like for me, is being a dad. If I was spending five hours a day in the gym, and that's five hours, I'm not with my son.

 Joe DiStefano: And when I'm with my son, I'm tired, I'm maximizing in the area of fitness at the expense of my, my role as a parent or as a dad. Right. Right. So I think that's kind of how you, how, you know, and then, you know, if you just kind of Intuit, like, you know, are, are you, are you doing these things for the right reason? And I think that this is where kind of periodization comes in and having a goal, whether it's climbing a mountain, whether it is a kettlebell event, whether it's a running race, whatever it might be. I think fitness also has to come in waves, you know, like the best fighters in the world. They're not ready to fight today, but give them 12 weeks and they're in shape. And so I think when we treat our fitness that way, and maybe we have two 12 week blocks a year where we really chase it and we maximize in that area. And then the rest of the year, we dial back and we focus on our health. Maybe we focus on our family. So we kind of period, eyes all of the different roles and responsibilities that we have kind of more responsibly. But I think arbitrarily chasing maximal fitness without really accounting for where that time, energy and resources coming from is, is a slippery slope. Would you,

 Wade Lightheart: You say that a lot of people that are coming to you are looking to, they kind of know that they're out of balance and one of those areas, and they're trying to get a better and a new adjustment. And I think, and I know that you have a a young baby in your house now. And I think for a lot of people, when they become a parent, per se, there's a massive shift in lifestyle. And there's a couple of things. There's a couple of things that I think are shifters, and we can kind of break these down. There is the one, you know, getting involved in a relationship which changes, dynamics, number two, adding a family member, number three, having maybe a sick family member, another one be change a career. And then another one would be aging. If I could think of five major components, how do you approach that as a coach where people are coming in and they realize, okay, we've not had make an adjustment. So let's start with, you can pick anyone that you like and how you would address that, or what, what you see with people when they're looking to make that retuning. Okay.

 Joe DiStefano: And I, and I think Wade, I think what you're saying here, and I would add, you know, losing a loved one or losing a family member. So for me, you know, it was interesting because I lost my dad in the few years prior to becoming a dad. So for me, that was an interesting, you know Berta Buschnell, who's based near you. You know, she describes it as like the clock, you know, the, the hand on the clock, I went from somebody's son, and then the clock started to shift. And now all of a sudden I'm dad and I'm, I'm less somebody's son than I, than I used to be. So my whole role on this planet has changed. The clock has actually struck. And I think the interesting that if you make space for that, and you allow for that, your body's pretty darn smart.

 Joe DiStefano: So in other words, like prior to having a kid, if I missed a few hours of sleep, I was miserable the next day wouldn't couldn't function or anything else. Once you have a kid, like you might miss a whole night of sleep and you feel fine the next day, you're just, you know, rocking and rolling, you know, what you need to do. So it's almost like your physiology and your biology just completely shift when those hands on the clock change. And as long as you make space for that, and you kind of understand that that happens automatically, and you don't try to force anything, it'll, it'll kind of happen and take you on this journey. But I think we're so used to being in such control. And we were so used to forcing everything and really working for it. You know, that we, we can't let go enough.

 Joe DiStefano: And I think that if there's one thing that I kind of help people with it's that it's that understanding. And I just had a call right before this with a woman who just had some surgery you know, and she's just like, you know, I gotta get back to the gym. I, I got to do this. And, you know, she just had her neck cut open. She's got a big, you know, thing right here. And I'm like, Hey, like right now, be a little easy on yourself. But remember that right now, even if I told you to go do a thousand burpees in your garage, like, that's not, what's going to be good for you, but what's going to be good for you. Is walking into the garage, peddling a few times on your bike, picking up a kettlebell a couple of times and leaving, because we're just trying to anchor that habit of getting into the garage, but we're not judging what happens in the garage right now.

 Joe DiStefano: All we're doing is maintaining that habit so that the wheels don't fall off. And when you are ready to go crush it again, you don't have to start at zero because the routine of going into the garage at 10:00 AM never left. Right? So, so I think one of the things that we've been conditioned, there's this like, and we're seeing this in other places now, too, there's just, we're conditioned to like really shame ourselves when we don't exercise hard enough for when we eat poorly. And that creates this incredibly negative cascade of emotions that has unknown consequences, right? So I think that getting away from all that is, is a big part of the journey and a big part of getting the most out of whatever it is. You do, whatever kettlebell, you, swaying, whatever Peloton you cycle, with whatever, if your energy and your attitude in terms of what you're doing and how you're doing it is on point. You're going to get more out of that activity. But when you're shaming yourself and using willpower to get on the bike, the results aren't going to be there waiting for

 Speaker 4: You.

 Speaker 3: It's a great, I think that's a great component. Cause there's so many people both in the unfit and the fit candidate category that are leveraging guilt or an externalized version of their value in the world, as opposed to their internalized version. And, and of course in a perfect world, everybody would be fit healthy, happy, and living their best life on purpose and on point. But you know, the reality is, is life is dynamic. And to a certain point, there's a certain amount of degeneration that starts to happen. And speaking to that, what, how do you address people for example, who maybe had extremely high levels of fitness for, you know, the, the college athletes or maybe even professional athletes or people who identified as a quote unquote super fit person. And then they start to age or they start to go through life things. And all of a sudden they can't do the things and it's, it's, it's, it's causing a bit of an identity crisis or things like that. I'd have to make readjustments to how they look in their life. And what's that like for you and for those individuals, how do you go and approach that?

 Joe DiStefano: Well, it's kind of interesting, right? Because I think, you know, the universe sends you people that are ready for your message, right? So most of those types of people that come to my door have broken themselves so many times that they're ready to kind of do this new, this new program. Right? So in other words, people that people that are in that camp in terms of my clientele, they've, they've tried the thing that looked sexy or that Instagram told them was going to work or the quick fix or the powerlifting meet. And it didn't work. They either broke themselves or they weren't happy with the result or they hurt themselves or they you know, something else, some other, you know, wheel fell off. And so fortunately the people that come to me are pretty open and maybe it's because I've got a hundred and some odd hours of podcasts out there and everything else.

 Joe DiStefano: So it's interesting that my methods is it's a real back to basics approach. I use, you know, a lot of kettlebells in the, and the cornerstone of it is really making an integrated body, right? So, and this is, has to do with my own journey, kind of putting my own pieces back together. You know, that's why the podcast is called stacked because our posture, our body is a stack of joints, right? And so a lot of our compensations injuries and everything else you know, it has to do with, with problems in our posture. And so when you look at the types of strength, exercises, and programs, I write it's really to add a lot of integrity and durability to the body. So most of those people, the college football player whatever it might be, they say they want to achieve what they achieved at 18, but really they just want to feel how they felt at 18.

 Speaker 3: That's a very good distinction, I think.

 Joe DiStefano: And once they start to feel like they can get out of bed in the morning without pain, they don't really care that their bench, isn't what it used to be. You know, their back squat, ultimately their goal. Wasn't what they thought it was. So there's this like giving people what they need disguised as what they want. And and assuming that it's gonna work and it pretty much does, if you find your way to my door, then you're, then you're ready to, to jump on the the trade with the way that I program. You made a really good distinction here. And that

 Wade Lightheart: Is kind of like the internal representation as opposed to what the external association is. And so oftentimes we think of it and you said something I haven't heard before, which is, it's not necessarily, they want to achieve that. Okay. I've got a 500 pound squat and a 400 pound bench press and, you know, 600 pound deadlift. You know, I remember those days too far behind me. And, but it's it's, but but, and when you refer to it as like, you want to feel like you did back then, like, it's okay if you're only benching 150 or something, but you want to feel like you did when you were at that point. And I think that is a key distinction about the value of being quote unquote healthy is that you're both, you know, you you're you're fit, but you've, you're feeling good in your fitness, not feeling I'm fit, but dying towards it. Yeah. Talk to me a little bit about kettlebells and why you like to use kettlebells. What's different about them say than other forms of exercise and things like that. So talk to me about your, why you expose people to kettlebells.

 Joe DiStefano: Yeah. And you know, a big, a big part of it is like, you know, getting into adding durability, you're adding function to your stack, to your posture. There's no better, there's no better tool. Right? So in other words, when you look back like a hundred years ago, and you look at Sandown like pressing, you know, a bench with three people sitting on it as an example, like these old school, strong men from August crazy. So that guy could never, ever shoulder press a bench with three people sitting on it, but he could bench press a bench with three people sitting on it. So what it is, if you look at just as an example, like the bench press, you're actually pushing the weight away from you and getting yourself beneath the weight, to the point where you can lock your elbow and then use your stack to support the weight.

 Joe DiStefano: So in some respects, there's this idea that kettlebells, they create a scenario where every exercise is a total body exercise. If you're doing a shoulder press or a military process, we'd call it. If you're doing a one-arm military press, basically every muscle in your body is tight except your shoulder. Whereas if you look at like the conventional, you know dumbbell press, there's just max tension and tone in the trap and then the shoulder. And we're just like pumping it up. But if you think about in terms of kettlebells, and by the way, a kettlebell military press is more like an Arnold press. If you're using dumbbells, right? Because you're coming down from the full rack position and this really full range of motion and going all the way to a full lockout. But when I say every muscle is tight, the feet are literally grabbing the ground.

 Joe DiStefano: The quads are tight, the glutes are tight. The abs are tight, the lats are tight. And all of a sudden that arm, you're just basically pushing this rock, this, this tight structure away from the bell. And so there's this amazing. It's the closest, the closest comparison is actually rock climbing. So if you've ever done like indoor bouldering, when you first go, and it's your first time, you know, you're a strong guy. So you'd probably, if you've, I don't know if you've ever done this, but like, if you've ever bolded, you're a strong guy. So you're going to get like super white knuckled. And you're going to be holding onto these like pigeons that flew into the wall. And you're gonna be holding on for dear life and trying to do this. And you're, but what you're going to learn is the more force you can put into that little, little hold at the bottom with your big toe, the more pressure you can put into that, the less you actually have to grip this little one up top.

 Joe DiStefano: So the easier it is, and all of a sudden, the further you can reach. So there's this integration in kettlebells. And for me, I was trying to retrain my body to work maximally well, after getting my neck is still, you know, it's funny. Cause like my coaches and spiritual teachers would never say, never say your head's messed up. Never say your neck is messed up. Never say never, never put it out in the universe like that, but I'll do it just for the show like today. Like if you scan my neck, it isn't all that great. There's not a ton of integrity in there because I get, I got smashed in the side of the head. But when I was retraining my body to be integrated and durable, there was no better place to stop than the kettlebell because the entire body is involved in every single move.

 Joe DiStefano: And the last thing I'll tack on, I'm sure you're familiar with the homonculus, which is basically the sensory system. And if you look, it's like a big cartoon guy, he's got massive hands, massive feet and a massive tongue. Well that's because those, the areas of the body where we have the most sensory nerves, right? And so if you think about, if I'm doing a kettlebell press, my feet are on barefoot. As I always am. Your feet are grabbing the ground. So you're getting that sensory input. That's running up the legs. Your core is tight. Your glutes are tight, your quads are tight and you're also gripping the kettlebell. Like you're trying to crush it. And in fact, if you're going maximally heavy, you might even have something like a stress ball in your other hand that you can crush as you're pressing this up. So that homonculus is essentially at work and you're feeding the system. And again, you're feeding the entire body for every move and that's why it tends to work so well and tends to carry over so well into sports, which is why smart people like Dan, John call it a fat burning athlete builder because it is this amazing physiological experience. And the body takes it real seriously.

 Speaker 3: Super cool. And maybe one of the best definitions I've ever heard of someone explaining, lifting with cattle bells and it's difference between lifting. What are some of the other things that you feel is unique about the programs that you run for people to kind of get them into their kind of best, best self? I don't know what the word I would use on that, but I think it seems about right.

 Joe DiStefano: Well, there's, there's two kinds of cornerstones, right? And, and I love Dr. Mark, Cucuzzella his definition of health and his definition of health is can you burn your own fat for fuel? It's like, Oh, like, you know, that's a, that's a fantastic definition of health. And I agree with that. So I would say that is a big part of it. How do we get people's bodies more likely to burn fat for fuel? And number two, how do we improve? Which is basically the same thing. How do we improve their relationship with oxygen and CO2? Because a lot of people walking around right now, you know, they're walking around with, without an ideal respiratory system, which skews their ability to burn fat. It increases their reliance on glucose increases, lactic acid production during exercise, and basically makes you feel like you're running a marathon. If you're only walking around the block, the less efficient you are.

 Joe DiStefano: Right? So when you look at, you know, the programs I write on the kettlebell side, there's this massive focus on, you know, and it depends on what pays the training. But if someone's new, the first block of training is very focused on integrating their body through what I just described with kettlebells during that same phase, how do we increase their body's use of oxygen? Well, number one is nasal breathing. I've been talking about this for a long time. Nasal breathing is a, is a massively important piece, especially during exercise. And, you know, Patrick McKewan taught me, especially during sleep because those are the two periods of time. Sleep is just the easiest time because you're not conscious. Anyway, you might as well tape your mouth shut and breathe through your nose. You get eight hours of practice that you can hopefully carry over into the day.

 Joe DiStefano: Whereas most people might try to practice some breath work during the day and hope it carries them through the night. And chances are your mouth is going to pop open during the night. And you're going to rehearse the negative pattern. But anyways, so nasal breathing is maximally important. I do this a lot with all of our training, but we also do breath holds. And so with our rung events, as an example, I drop bikes and skier. You know, we have all sorts of aerobic equipment. We also do kettlebell caries with breath holds. So what we'll do as an example is we might have everybody peddling a an assault bike, or a fan bike at 45 or 50 RPM. And every minute on the minute, we'll exhale our air and maintain our intensity. Now we'll start with three seconds. We'll build the five seconds, seven seconds, nine seconds.

 Joe DiStefano: If you're Ben Greenfield or someone, you'll get to 12 seconds, 15 seconds. And we'll do that every minute on the minute. So what happens when you do that? The really interesting thing about exercise Wade, and I know I'm preaching to the choir, but the really interesting about exercise and fitness in particular fitness, isn't, adoptation, that's responding to what's happening at the muscles, right? So even aerobically, we think we have to sprint and lose our breath and mess up our respiration to work hard, but we're only doing that to work our legs hard enough. So they adapt well, when you exhale your air and maintain speed, and you can do this running, you can even do this walking, you can do this on a bike, you can do it on a rower. You're creating the deficit of oxygen and nutrients at the muscles just as you would, if you were at a heart rate of 180 instead of 125, and the longer you hold your breath, the more you're depriving the body of the, of the nutrients and oxygen it needs.

 Joe DiStefano: And therefore making them more susceptible to those nutrients and oxygen when they become available again. So you're actually doing the same thing, and that's why you can a improve fitness dramatically very quickly. And B why you can do this type of training every single day, because you're not building the same lactic acid or muscle damage. You're not destroying yourself. You're not, you're not fatiguing your central nervous system with massive sprints. All you're doing is every minute on the minute, exhaling your air. And we'll do that with kettlebell carries as well. I've got this, you know, I call it death by caries and this is a fantastic workout. I would love you to do it. You should do it right on your street there wave to my old house. So you carry a kettlebell overhead in your weak arm, right? Or you can call it your strong arm.

 Joe DiStefano: So you, you carry it overhead. As long as you can on your strong side, when you lose integrity, you start to shift over, drop it to the rack position, walk as far as you can, until you lose integrity. When you lose integrity, you drop to the suitcase position, then you switch sides and you go to your stronger side. So it's funny sometimes like people like Dan, John, they call it the strong side and the stronger side instead of the weak side and the strong side. But then you do the same thing over here. And we'll repeat that for 15 to 20 minutes, just going overhead rack, suitcase, other side, overhead rack suitcase. And while you're doing that, we'll incorporate excalation holds every minute on the minute for three to five seconds. And so you're integrating posture, strength, breath, respiration. It's a, it's a magical exercise.

 Joe DiStefano: And you'll see again, posture change immediately because a lot of especially guys that have spent a lot of time under the bar, they've got the round shoulders, maybe some trap tightness, their pecs are really dominating everything they do, but a lot of that chicken or the egg with the breath. And when you start playing with your breath, while there's a weight over your head, you can't chest breathe. You can't upper trap breathe. So you start to actually use the diaphragm. So you'll see massive change in posture. Honestly, in this week, I just had all these guys in one week. Posture has changed pretty significantly just from retraining this stuff. So that's kind of like a, I guess, a, a pretty decent teaser. Some of the stuff that we work on, that's probably unique to, to run those programs compared to some others.

 Wade Lightheart: That's great. So maybe you can share with people a little bit more about how they can get involved, where they can get checked out, how they can go about getting involved with your, your courses when the next ones are coming up, how they reach you, all this sort of stuff. Cause I think this is a very unique and cool way to look at restarting someone's program or making that adjustment because of one of those life things. Can you kind of outline that for us?

 Joe DiStefano: Yeah. A hundred percent Wade. So you know, Runga is That's our website. All of our events are there. Of course now we've got an event in October, but most of the stuff we're doing right now is public or excuse me as private. Because that's just the way the world works right now. So you call us up, we'll shack an event up. We can, you know, ship our bag of tricks anywhere in the country. So we we've been operating on this container system now. So if there's a state where that's going to be friendly to us, or you've got you own the whole property, give us a call, we'll drop it. There, we'll drop all of our equipment. So that's rung in terms of my distance training programs, that's under my personal just coachjoedi, I, which is dot com.

 Joe DiStefano: And if someone is, you know, dealing with any of these kind of massive life changes, you know, that's kinda what I do. So it's, it's there's, there's every case is, is very unique, but most of these people, they need to focus on breathing and exercises that more or less rehearse what they're trying to teach their bodies. And I think that that's the big thing is understanding that everything is related and everything feeds each other. There's no changing just one thing. And I think the more there's a trauma or a life change, the more they think it's just the diet that needs to change because they're, they're burying what they're dealing with over here. It's just the diet. It's my diet that's really fallen off. Well, your diet is jacking up your emotional system and your emotional system is not feeling too great. So understanding that interconnectedness is, is is a massively important piece of, of those people's situation. So but yeah, it's coach Joe DEI on all platforms, YouTube, Instagram,, and then run is Runga R U N GA And on Instagram, it's just Rungalife as well.

 Wade Lightheart: Joe, any anything you'd like to say to our audience words of inspiration or ideas or things that they might want to consider before we sign off?

 Joe DiStefano: Yeah, sure. Wait you know, I'm just, you know, I'm grateful for you having me, you know, this is our second show together and I appreciate the time and energy and sharing. You know, what I have to share with your audience, I'm honored and excited to share. And in terms of the audience, you know, I hope that maybe you took something new from this. And I think that this time we're in right now, it's this, you know, it's this big reboot, you know, it's this time, if there was ever a time and like Wade said, you know, no one's doing it for there's no, you know, we'll spend 50 grand per household on God knows what, but we're not going to send vitamin C and vitamin D to every house in America. So there's no one that's gonna do it for you. And as Wade said, in fact, they might even be paddling in the opposite direction, right?

 Joe DiStefano: So it is kind of this, every man for themselves, no, one's going to take responsibility. It's not, you know, your neighbor's fault that, you know, you're sick. It's our fault. It's our responsibility to do what we need to do to be the best, most productive human being on the planet. And that means eating how you should eat eating, how we've evolved to eat, eating in a way that's responsible. I was just, you know, I just recorded a show just a solo show for my podcast. It's going to go live tomorrow. It's like with all these signs, all of this marketing to push people in the direction that the mainstream wants them to go. Imagine if we were combating the obesity crisis with this level of propaganda, right? Or, or pushing away sugar, you know, imagine if you know, every, every candy bar bar said, Hey, this is what's actually a danger to you and your neighbor, you know, and if you buy apples, then you say, Hey, that's a, that's a, you know, imagine a one to five scale.

 Joe DiStefano: Every food you buy, this is an irresponsible food to be consuming during this COVID crisis. This is a highly responsible food. And it's crazy when you look at the very clear sort of or the amount of effort and resource that's gone into to pushing us into these, into this way of thinking or into these interventions, when we should be pushing people to improving their own health and becoming more empowered. And I'll tack one thing on, there was a strange shift over the last, we'll say, 80 years, when you look at the, what I'll call propaganda inside the United States, during world war II, it was telling people to start their own gardens, victory gardens grow your own food. The most patriotic thing you can do is stay fit, stay healthy. You had Jack Lalaine on TV talking about, you know, not sitting too much and consuming fish oil.

 Joe DiStefano: Like the guy was brilliant, but somewhere along the way, we went from this, this relationship with our government and society where we had each other's back and government was very much a partner in our individual decision-making right. Grow your own food, et cetera, to a, to the relationship today, which can only be described as strict parenting. And, you know, if there's, if there's one thing I learned at college, it's the kids with the strictest parents go the craziest and get involved with the most bad decisions and the most drug use and the, the worst relationships with alcohol. And it's the kids that, that are empowered to make their own decisions in high school and in their adolescents that know how to carry themselves when their parents aren't around. And so this, this highly parental relationship seeing right now is I'm nervous just about what happens when we all go to college and we're faced with, you know, face to face decision-making. And so we shall see, but I guess my sign-off is like, you're responsible for yourself. Take responsibility for your own health, your own body and your own longevity. And that's how we'll get through this whole thing,

 Wade Lightheart: Joe, thanks for joining us so much today. And for all our listeners, make sure you check out Joe site with all of the links that are in the show notes. And of course, if you're looking for a reboot getting started again, getting back at it, there's no better place to go than to go see Joe and his team, or have his team come to you. Thanks so much for joining us today. We'll see you again on the next episode of the awesome health podcast. I'm WadeT Lightheart from BiOptimizers take your health into your hands
Posted in

Leave a Comment