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050: How to Adapt and Evolve with Tom Terwilliger

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To be successful in any part of our lives we must learn how to adapt and evolve, like our guest for today’s show. Tom Terwilliger is the master of adapting, evolving and reinvention. He went from winning Mr. America and competing in Mr. Olympia twice to being a personal development guru working with T. Harv Eker and writing best-selling books. Today we talk about what he’s learned on his amazing journey including how he built his own mental toughness and the power in making a choice.

A great example is when he was competing in a Mr. Colorado competition 25 years ago. He met his now-wife Dawn, and he fell in love with her and with Colorado almost instantly. After the competition he went home to New York, sold his gyms and uprooted his entire life to Colorado. He loved the Colorado lifestyle and took up mountain biking, not long after he broke his arm, his clavicle and a few ribs.

At the time he was on the fence about what to do for the next phase of his life, and when he broke so many bones it was his subconscious way of making the decision for him! There was almost no chance of coming back from his injuries and competing again.

By this time he was already speaking and touring and writing guest blog posts about his bodybuilding experiences so it wasn’t a stretch for him to step into the motivational world, which is exactly what he did. He and his wife listened to T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of The Millionaire Mind and also read it, before going to a seminar by Eker’s company. The event and the book both had a strong impact on him and he signed up to become a Peak Potentials trainer, Eker’s success training organization.

On this episode of Awesome Health Podcast, Tom describes the auditioning process including just how tough it really was and how his life changed as a Peak Potentials trainer. You’ll hear Tom’s take on those topics plus the power and necessity of taking a leap of faith and why now is the perfect time to create a plan of action. He is a brilliant, passionate and wise man with much to share so join us on this edition of Awesome Health Podcast!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart on the Awesome Health Podcast from BiOptimizers. And I'm excited today, I'm super excited today because we have a special guest, a blast from the past that's doing some really cool things in the current world. Our guest today is Tom Terwilliger. Did I say that right? I'm always conscious of how I pronounce things, but here's the really interesting part. I first got exposed to Tom when I was a young bodybuilder. Tom of course, kind of built a name for himself as a Mr America, Mr Olympia competitor, which is kind of like the Superbowl of bodybuilding. He then transferred that into a career as a trainer and coach, like a whole lot of people, we gonna talk about some of the famous people that he dealt with.

Wade Lightheart: And then he went on and transformed himself into working with T. Harv Eker, which I've had exposure to. And now at an age where a lot of people are kind of winding down and falling apart, looking for the exit out of life or trying to squeeze the last few years, you are not only a physical specimen, you look fantastic as you have throughout your whole life, it's amazing! You live this crazy life, reinvented yourself several different times and now you're talking about your new program, your new book called "The seven steps COMEBACK plan." Tom, welcome to the show!

Tom Terwilliger: I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to be here man. The first time we met, we met at a Traffic and Conversion, and you know, I was so impressed with your product line - I mean that's the first thing because number one, it was really just starting to emerge this whole gut health and the micro biome health and you guys have really challenged yourselves to step up in terms of the product line, in terms of what you're doing, how you disseminate the information and you're certainly at the forefront of this. So having met you at a Traffic and Conversion and then ultimately putting the pieces together in terms of where we have some relationship in the bodybuilding world was a delight for me. And so I was equally as delighted to have you invite me on as a guest and I really appreciate it.

Wade Lightheart: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming here as well and it's so much fun as the more I dive into it like the history, but for those who don't know Tom or haven't heard of Tom, maybe you can give a synopsis of the early years. How did you get into the sport of bodybuilding? What was that like? You know, coming up and becoming a professional - I don't think a lot of people really can comprehend how much self discipline and determination that it takes to become a good bodybuilder, a national level bodybuilder, let alone a professional bodybuilder and someone who's competed with literally the very, very elitist best in the world, one in a billion type bodies. What does that like? How did you end up in this crate? I always say it's the craziest sport ever. How did you end up and what drove you to that? How did that happen?

Tom Terwilliger: It is a crazy sport, by the way. When you say those things, it's just like "who is this guy he's talking about?" It's interesting how we live our lives and we evolve in certain ways. We don't necessarily recognize it as an evolution or a pivot or a change in any way, shape or form or reinvention. It's just our lives to a degree. Right? And if you start out with any level of or develop, any level of ambition, a desire and belief in yourself, you continue to evolve.

Tom Terwilliger: And you had mentioned, you know, I'm at an age 61 where most people are pretty much winding down. And I think that's a mistake. I'm asked frequently, how old are you man? And my answer is "my age is none of my business". I don't care to know. You know what I mean? I just want to know what I can and can't do at this point. And I'll find that out through the process of trying. So yeah, it's a very good question. How did I get involved in this, I guess what most people would consider a crazy sport. In fact, my parents when I first got involved in bodybuilding, thought it was a little crazy, you know, even though my older brother Raymond was working out, he was a New York city police officer and he got all the looks and stature.

Tom Terwilliger: He was 6 foot 2, big kind of muscular guy, great guy. And he was working out, but he wasn't bodybuilding per se. He didn't have any interest in the sport per se, you know. So when I first introduced the idea to my parents, they were dumbfounded because they'd never heard of such a thing. It's like "why, what?" But then as they began to see what it required, what it was taking, how it was pulling me away from a not so good path and what it was doing for my self esteem and my discipline, then they began to really support it. They said "Hey, this really is a sport. This really is a good activity for a young man, for a young teenager". But I got into it sort of almost inadvertently, and it started my story actually in fourth grade because I had dyslexia, I had hyperactivity, they call this.

Tom Terwilliger: Then now it would be, you know, called attention deficit of course. And it was pretty severe for the most part. And I was acting out. I was either the comic, or fighting constantly. So I was put into the special education class. And as you can imagine, you know, someone putting into the special ed class, it becomes a bit of a stigma. They might say it's almost a black mark for the rest of your life in many respects, you know? But certainly then, in the fourth, fifth, sixth grade or so, you become an outcast. You're not really one of the regular kids anymore. You even have a special bus that you go back and forth from school. Then, you know, it's really weird, that segregation isn't it, I look at that and go - wow, that's really weird.

Tom Terwilliger: I don't know if it's still happening in that respect. I'm sure to some degree it is. But again, you know, when kids don't understand something or they see something that's different with someone different than them, they tend to get defensive inside and rebel out and poke fun at or tease or even bully for the most part. So that's what I was part of early on. And I rebelled against it. You might say not necessarily being there and being part of that tribe, but rebelled against what was happening outside in terms of the bullying and my brother and I at that time were already studying. We started early on about eight years old studying Chinese Kung Fu. So we were pretty tough already, you know, we got into this thing where we're just like " no one's going to bully us and no one's going to bully us in our class."

Tom Terwilliger: So we became the bully killers, you might say. And we rounded up a couple of other kids and we came to this little gang, the Savage skulls. We were pretty tough guys. I mean, you know you're with Savage skulls when you're walking down the street, you got one of the other side of the street man. We were never bullied again. Our objective was to prevent bullying. We unconsciously didn't state it, it wasn't part of our mission statement, you know, at 10 years old or whatever it was, it was just part of what we did is - we didn't need any other excuse to fight except to protect others that were being bullied, that were in the special ed class. So all that being said, what I was learning, you know, evolved into my first Bruce Lee movie.

Tom Terwilliger: It was in Chinatown in Manhattan, I think it was called The Big Boss. It was still in Chinese. Subtitles didn't match in the least it, right. But I'm telling you - the impact that had not only on my Kung Fu practices, but this desire to get more muscles. My brother and I were really skinny kids. We were just, you know, toothpicks, and so this desire to get like Bruce Lee with the lats and the abs. And so it's started when my brother started teaching us how to work out, one thing led to another. I joined a gym. I guess I was about 14 years old when I first joined a gym in Massapequa Long Island where I grew up. And then I heard about this other gym that was down the street, and this other gym.

Tom Terwilliger: In fact, I've been told about FutureMan - only been open for about a year or so. But you don't want to go there. Those guys will treat you up and spit you out. You do not want to go in there. So I remember one day I went there and it was like late in the evening I rode my bicycle up to FutureMan in Amityville. The Amityville hall was the original Amityville horror. It's crazy. So I ride my bicycle there and I remember I had to wipe the windows to steam. There was so much steam on the window. I was trying to look in. I must've been out there for about an hour and a half before I could get the guts right through that door. Cause you could hear it in there.

Tom Terwilliger: You could hear that. You could hear that weight clanging and the people coaching and the whole thing going on. I was like "Oh my God, I'm this skinny 14 year old kid", you know? So I opened the door, I walk in and the first thing that hits me like a ton of bricks, it's like a wall was the pungent smell of the place, right? It was a combination between sweat, vomit and bengay. And this day if I catch anything that's remotely that aroma, I'm drawn to it. I'm like, where's that coming from? So one thing leads to another. I see a guy, Steve Mihalick, working out in there, and he was Mr America training for the Mr Universe competition. I couldn't even comprehend what I was seeing.

Tom Terwilliger: I couldn't comprehend it, you know, it was it. How could a human being look that way? How could they create that? And you know that wave, what's interesting is that when I look back at that understanding, the power of that question in itself, it can't be underestimated. I didn't run out of the gym, go back to the other gym and do my five pound curls. I didn't say that's impossible and route. Right? Had I gone in there 20-30 years later, I might've would have not even given me the opportunity to see if it was possible or not. But to ask myself "how?", and that's the key. And that's one of the mindset keys that I took into the bodybuilding world and take into what I'm doing today - is always asking "how", having a beginner's mindset, you might say.

Tom Terwilliger: So that question set me up for the answer. I took all my money. Penny in my jar, my piggybank, all this stuff. You know what I mean? My allowance - I went there and I joined up. I had enough for about one month, right? Barely. I mean the guys counting pennies on membership and then he says "you're short on cash", and I'm saying "I have enough, I'm fine, I'm fine, no, no, no, no - you let me in." And I had just enough for the month and I started training there and that really turned into my love because they're not only going to see Mihalik, put off all these guys that were really great bodybuilders at the time. It was the East coast Mecca. I didn't know that at the time, but I came to learn that it was the East coast Mecca where everybody and anybody who was good, wanted to be good, was training a FutureMan gym. And so it was a great place to get my start and to really fall in love with the sport you might say. And the people, especially at that time, were engaged in it.
Wade Lightheart: That's a beautiful story. And it's so funny when you talk about the smell of the place. I can think of a couple of the great gyms that I train in now that I live in Venice. Of course, during lockdown, I'm over here in Arizona.

Wade Lightheart: But even today when you walk into Gold's Gym, to me it's the throwback to what the gyms used to be like. It's changed a lot now, but there's still people walking around it. And the one thing I miss the most, you know what I miss the most about the gyms? Clang of the iron plates - they now all coated, but there was this a guy doing a set of squats and that djing and djing, it was kind of like a jingle. It's a totally unique sound.
Speaker 3: No one put clamps on the bar rattling around.

Wade Lightheart: I heard Tom Platz talking about that as well.

Tom Terwilliger: I'll tell you what, jump off there, because that first day when I've worked in the FutureMan gym, I told you there was a guy, was standing there like frozen. I mean the machines, the smell, the sound, the skinniest guy in the gym intimidated me. I mean it was like I was intimidated and over in the corner I remember turning my head roughly because there was a ruckus going on over in the corner, what they call that and then I discovered was the leg area, you know the leg extends in spots like breath and just putting back on, somebody screaming at him, he's screaming, puts it back on right about 500-550 pounds. Exactly what you're talking about. Those big old iron plates with about three inches thick. And they just like rattling cause they're all a little bit loose racks up is 500 pounds and there is, that comes out from under that bar and I was like, Oh my God. But the sound, it will always be there, you're absolutely right. The plastic, rubber-coated weights, you can't recapture that experience. You can't. Really, really powerful.

Wade Lightheart: And those friends. How did you go from there to being a professional bodybuilder? I have so much respect for that because, you know, when I had the opportunity to compete at the Mr Universe contest and when I went there, I remember being in the room, a hundred different languages. And I was good enough to be in the room, but not good enough, I'd say to get out of the room.

Tom Terwilliger: Not the way you want it to.

Wade Lightheart: So the beauty of that was, as I got to understand what world-class looks like, and when you get to world-class, your drive, your discipline, you do need the genetics in order to get to a certain space. That's for certain. But I remember getting there and going "I earned my spot to be in this room." And there was an instant respect because I thought for me it took me 16 years to get there. How many people I knew, everybody in that gym had really gone through to get there and I had just mad levels of respect. You went beyond that a couple of notches, to the Superbowl of Mr Olympia. What was that journey like and what did you learn along the way?

Tom Terwilliger: There were so many lessons, but you know, like you Wade in many respects and getting through the universities, this is no small feat man. Earning your stripes to get into that room, that pump up room and be one of the competitors at the Mr Universe competition is pretty darn extraordinary. I would say it really rivals anything that I did. With all respect, you don't have to win. Cause I felt the same way when I got to the Mr Olympia competition as you call it, the Super bowl. And it truly is, I felt in many respects my first time I got to compete there twice, didn't make the top 10, which was not necessarily, I wasn't disappointed the first time. I was little disappointed the second time. But the first time competing there, I felt like I had earned my stripes.

Tom Terwilliger: I had earned my right to be there. It was a part of who I was. I certainly felt like I could compete. I never had an illusion at that moment of winning it. But I also had this strong, overwhelming, incredibly invigorating feeling. Like I was still that 15 year old kid walking into FutureMan, seeing this guy for the first time and now suddenly that guy is me and I'm looking around. You've had Albert Beckles, you got Robby Robinson, you've got Lee Haney, you've got Rich Gaspari, you've got Mike Christian, you got all these guys I either came up with or admired coming up that I'm in the room with, and I literally can remember a very distinct moment where I just stopped and took it in. And this is a powerful lesson.

Tom Terwilliger: It was a powerful lesson for me. And I think for anyone and anyone who regardless of whether your attempt at something, if you give everything you've got and your balls to the walls, and you hold nothing back, and you wind up there where you want it to be, whether it's in business or relationship, and maybe it doesn't work out the way we want it, maybe you don't place in the top five, maybe you don't win, maybe you're dead last. But there has to be a time and a moment of anchoring the experience of being there and knowing what you did, what you had to do, what you had to overcome. And the challenge as you stepped up to me just to get there. And I remember for me that distinct moment at the Mr Olympia competition backstage during that pump up process. You know, and I think it was - I pump it up, but I was using one of the mirrors and I'm going to tan and all of a sudden Robby Robinson standing next to me. I literally was like "Holy crap."

Tom Terwilliger: And I anchored it. I anchored it as something, and again, I'm telling you the power of anchoring, that kind of experience, whatever that experience is for you, anchoring that experience so that you can call upon it later on because there'll be more to do, more to accomplish. This is why today at 61 years old, I'm still looking to do more, wanting to do more, serving more in many respects because I had that anchor and I want to continue to experience those new things. Then those things that vibrate at such a high frequency. So anchor, no matter what, and I tell you - it saddens me in many respects when I see competitors no matter where. I mean, I remember Ronda Rousey when she lost her fight at the UFC and was a distraught about it, whined about it. It was just like Ronda - "you are not doing yourself any kind of service in terms of winning that next battle."

Tom Terwilliger: You've got another battle coming up. You don't anchor that loss in so deep. So emotionally that you can't let go of it. That every punchy broke. That's where it's coming from. You got to anchor the experience of being there and saying "okay, what did I do right? What did I do wrong? What can we do better next time?" Debriefing in that way. So for me way that experience of being at the Olympia like you with the Universe, I was still that 16 year old kid, I earned my right but I was still a 16 year old kid, a 15 year old kid and it was just like "wow, I'm here". I made it. The story that the process of getting there was undulating to say the least, you know and again like yourself, it took me about 15-16 years to get to that level. You know?

Wade Lightheart: Funny you should say that. Cause I can remember standing backstage at the Mr Universe and they were calling out the names of the countries and it took me to pumping iron cause we all watched pumping iron when they're calling out. You know, Brazil, and then Canada, Canada, where's Canada? And it sounded, I swear to God, it was the same guy that was doing it in - pumping iron that was doing it when I went there 25 years later or whatever. I was like, is this for real? It felt like I stepped into the movie for a moment. The visualization. And it's cool that you've taken the time to anchor it, which leads me to where we're going to go there in a second, cause I think there's a lot of NLP stuff - I've studied NLP.

Wade Lightheart: I know you've done a lot of NLP, but that undulating journey, I think that any road to success in any discipline or any sport, just to put things in perspective for our listeners, I think there's been, what, 15 guys who have won the Mr Olympia since its inception in 1965. That's how exclusive that club is. It might be the most exclusive sports club in the world could vape. When you talk about that undulating road, that you have a dream, you have a goal, you have a vision for yourself and you invariably come up against obstacles. And those obstacles can be external, those obstacles can be internal. What were some of the obstacles that you came up with and then how did you find it within yourself to overcome it? Because most times when people hit an obstacle, that's it. They cave, they fold, they don't come back. They don't know what to do because oftentimes when you're in one of those, you really don't know what to do. It's really like when it's an obstacle, I'm not talking about "Hey, things didn't work out this week." It's a financial, it's physical, it's emotional, it's a relationship - bad things happen to good people of all sorts. What were some of those for you and then where did you find the strength?

Tom Terwilliger: Well, I'll tell you, it was a very good question by the way, and a great observation because that's exactly how it is. It's not always, you know, the foreseen or even the unforeseen - we might come up against something that we maybe can't handle on our own. Maybe we can't change on our own. This is why no man is a rock. No man is an island. We all have to be able to reach out for those resources. You know, I think personally that the greatest obstacle any one of us can run into along the way is our own self doubt, our own insecurities. In many respects. They're the ones that would place those obstacles on our path. And in many, in many respects, that's what happened to me along the way.

Tom Terwilliger: One of the reasons I retired, and I'll share that story in a bit because my unconscious mind somewhere, either a doubt or an uncertainty along the way, created a physical manifestation that literally took me out of the sport and we'll talk about that. But for me, having built a foundation early on, and I was very, very fortunate that I had a mentor early on. I had two mentors, Tony Pandolfo, the guy who owned the FutureMan gym, who was also a great champion bodybuilder himself when he about 5'5. But oh my God, everybody's wide. And just one of the most decent, greatest human beings I've ever met. And another guy who was coaching a lot of young bodybuilders, teenagers at the time - Bob Gruskin. And Bob Gruskin had more, he mentored and coached more champions, more Mr Americas than anyone. He may be the greatest coach in any sport that ever lived because no one has ever had that many champions from a different backgrounds, ok, I got this one guy -

Tom Terwilliger: He wins the Olympia seven times. No, I've got 10, 15, 20 guys and 75% of them go on and win the Mr America. Well, the Mr Universe, I mean it's just, it's extraordinary. So I was very fortunate that Bob Gruskin was in my corner in that respect. And he taught me a lesson very early on because as a teenager I was doing pretty well when the teenager, metropolitan, the colonial America - I might've been getting a little cocky even as possible. You wouldn't recognize it in yourself per se, but I'm sure he did. And so he talked me into going to a contest in Connecticut. It was already below what I'd been competing in. That's it. You're ready. You need to go. You need to go. It's just not going to anybody there. You just look, let's go, you know?

Tom Terwilliger: Yeah, I'm going after the photograph. Once you enter we can get some good photographs, right? I said, okay. So I get there and I'd get my ass handed to me. I mean, it was one of the most humiliating competition experiences I've ever had. Cause I wasn't tan enough, my hair was too long. I just wasn't in shape and I got crushed and I didn't want to go back because for those who aren't familiar with bodybuilding, this is what's called the pre-judging, which is the judges get together, they line everybody up in particular way. Classes are high classes, and then they judge them and separate them and compare them several times. It's quite process and it's exhausting as you know. Wade, it's killer. It's, if people don't realize how tough that really is - it's tough because even when you're not being called out and done doing this, you're still standing in the back, you're holding your body the whole time, you know?

Tom Terwilliger: And I remember I didn't get called out once for the prejudging. And so I did not want to go back for the night show, which is the presentation part of the show. And Bob and my dad who was there, talked me into going back and I'll tell you what it was - I still get a little emotional about it because it was such a powerful lesson in sportsmanship. You signed up for it. You came here, you did the prejudging. You don't get, you don't go. You don't quit halfway through. You go home, you've got your go. You get up there, you suck it up. If you lost a match, you lost the match. You don't quit. So they said, and it wasn't even that way. They made it my choice, but they framed it in such a way that I had no choice.

Tom Terwilliger: I had to go back. And it was such a powerful lesson that it helped me later on because I think Bob knew, and I certainly learned along the way that if you haven't lost, you don't know how to lose. If you don't know how to lose and come back from it, pick yourself back up again. There's very slim chance that you'll ever become a champion in whatever you want to do. Whatever it is that you want to achieve in your life. You have to be knocked down, kicked around a little bit, and then come back. And then you've got the wherewithal if you come back to be able to achieve what you wanted to achieve. So that lesson was one of those things. And certainly it was, you know, I didn't want to go back into the gym. I didn't want to train. It didn't take long though. You know, after that competition, it took about a month, month and a half or so to be like, okay, let's go time to pick myself up and get back in there.

Wade Lightheart: You bring up such a good point. I remember talking to my old coach, you know, I try to do it my own way for 10 years and got my first one after 10 years. But it was stupid. I should have got coaching much sooner cause my career accelerated. And my coach Scott Abel, he coached hundreds of champions, really great guy. And he's got a master's in sociology, which is very interesting - very bright person. He was a member and was giving a discussion or something back in the day. And he said one of the most important things, or one of the most important observational points of champions in all sports is - the most successful champions are people who have a devastating loss. They go to the Superbowl and lose, they go to the Stanley cup finals and lose, they'd go to the event and they lose.

Wade Lightheart: And like you said, they learn the emotional, the physiological and the mental consequences. And of course we live in a world where we don't want losers. Everybody got participation. And we know that the psychology is all in it. It actually damages people's self worth because there's no benchmark, there's no standards, there's nothing to compare ourselves to. And of course the Olympic path is that I salute my competitor essentially. I'm paraphrasing here because it's the desire to beat that competitor that pushes me past what I think is possible for me. In other words, it's kind of a weird way of leveraging our own ego to get to a point of truly the extraordinary. And once you get there, well, you know, the contest, there's no comebacks. I say in bodybuilding, like the show goes up, it's over, it's done, right. It's, you know, all your work is done before that. And I think all of your work between anything is oftentimes done in the preparation. So I appreciate the insight about that. So talking about that, what was the action steps that you took and then where do you think that loss led you later on in your career?

Tom Terwilliger: I think it was instrumental in everything moving forward. But it is fascinating because I think I competed one more time after that just to kind of prove myself. And it was the teenage Southern USA and I got flown and I got sponsored. And flown down there and it was the first time I had competed outside like this, you know what I mean? New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, that whole thing. And so that was the down in Louisiana. It was the first time my degree. Before I'd never flown anywhere, and say go down to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where I couldn't understand a darn word of English they were speaking down there. I mean it was so thick. I was like "what?" But then I also had the opportunity to meet Frank Zane while I was down there because that's posing and I never forget, I was out on the beach on Lake Charles, Louisiana, and I'm out there just getting a little bit of sun.

Tom Terwilliger: I was there a couple of days in advance and here comes this guy, and I see him walking up, and I'm like "this guy got a pretty good physique", you know, and sure enough, it's Frank Zane. Cause I loved Frank, I was a big fan. For those of you listening - Frank Zane was a 3 time Mr Olympia, one of that, you know, elite group you might say. And one of the things that was distinctive about Frank Zane was that he wasn't a mass monster. He wasn't a giant, he wasn't an honest Schwarzenegger, even up big, thick Franco Columbu. I don't think he ever competed at over 185 pounds, even though he was about 5'8, but was very lean and shapely. He was the master of aesthetics.

Tom Terwilliger: And so even early on I recognized that I'm never going to be, honestly, Schwarzenegger, I'm never going to be that big. I'm not 6'2. So Frank's name became sort of the idol that I wanted to be like. So meeting him in person and recognize that the guy was so friendly and so helpful and so smart - I could tell just right off the bat, you know what I mean? It was just echoes. I'm a kid. But that experience really enlightened me further. And then winning the Southern USA- it was a great honor. I came back home a champion and decided to take a couple of months off. Those couple of months led to getting my first Harley Davidson. I was a junior in high school and it was a chopper and I was the only one in high school with a Harley.

Tom Terwilliger: And so I started riding around Manhattan anywhere. I saw bikes parked out in front of some bar. I would pull in, hang out. I wasn't even old enough to drink and I would hang out and ultimately I connected with I guess what most people, certainly my parents would consider, "the wrong crowd". And so that two month break or even that one month break I thought I was going to take, wound up being about five years. Yeah, it was five years. I took off and got into a lot of trouble, drank a lot of alcohol, did a lot of drugs. I mean, I embraced the outlaw lifestyle, the clothing, the language, the bikes, the alcohol, the drugs, you name it. You know, I was part of it. The only thing I didn't do was full patch into this particular club that I was riding with.

Tom Terwilliger: But somewhere along the way, the mentoring, the faith in God, my bodybuilding background began to override that old disempowering belief. And one of the reasons why, and you would probably recognize that right at the top, is one of the reasons I wound up down that path is because, I recognize it today, is that I was starting to go back to the beginning of our conversation where I was put in a special ed class and you begin to create these self doubts about yourself. You're not smart. You're dumb. You don't belong in normal society. You're not one of them. Right? So all that, all that stuff, I started to dismissal that a little bit as I got into bodybuilding. It was a saving grace for a while. But then as I started to become a champion and I took that loss and came back from it and won the Southern USA - something happened.

Tom Terwilliger: It was almost like I butted up against the ceiling and said, wait a second, you're not a champion. You're not that guy. You don't belong in magazines. You're that guy. You're that stupid, dumb retard that I got called several times at that age. You're that guy. And so boom, I hit that ceiling and I began to manifest that. And as you can imagine, you know, in the special ed class, you feel a little rejected, right? And so I felt pretty much at home with the rest of the rejects on those Holy days, a hundred percent what I felt like I belonged. And I felt comfortable there for awhile. But then something else started to bubble up. About four or five years into it, I started to wrestle with this idea that maybe I've got more, I do have more, I'm better than this and I can achieve more.

Tom Terwilliger: And the other thing that started to change - I began to see what the whole outlaw biker thing was about. It wasn't about the brotherhood, the connection or even the power. It's organized crime and that wasn't who I was. And so as that began to manifest the course, I had to try and find the guts and the cards to get out. And I couldn't until ultimately I had to take a leap of faith that ultimately got me out of that situation. And the first place I went was back to the gym. Start rebuilding the body, start rebuilding my own self esteem. And within two years or so I was back to competition with an entirely new mindset and a new belief system along the way. So that was, for me, the greatest challenge as it was - getting pulled back into that disempowering belief system, however it manifested in terms of that motorcycle club and then ultimately being able to break free of that was extraordinary powerful.

Tom Terwilliger: That's super, super powerful for people to understand that might be going through a major challenge, whether that's a health crisis, a financial crisis, a personal crisis or relationship crisis.

Wade Lightheart: So from there you kind of went on and was it a straight up run after that into the pro ranks?

Tom Terwilliger: Well yeah, actually it was the three greatest years of my bodybuilding career, training for the national championship. Cause I think, you know, as a young kid coming up in the bodybuilding, and I've spoken to several of my contemporaries, John defenders and Juris Delisa and all these other guys, you know, the goal is the time was to win Mr America. We wanted to become Mr America and it was like there was something like this, Mr Canada, I get it. I totally get where Mr Canada - that's how you get the championship.

Tom Terwilliger: You got to win national, you win the Canada. Is that how you got to do out to Universe?

Wade Lightheart: Yeah, that's how, I won. That's how I got, I get it.

Tom Terwilliger: You're the Canadian version of Mr America. I mean, it's an extraordinary accomplishment, but when you're coming up, that's the goal, right? You gotta be done. And so I say get your pro card. You gotta get your pro card after that. Honestly, I never thought about the pro card. I started thinking about the last I had to - I had to compete in the national championship three times before I won. And that was the three years that was the best journey of my life, right? The bodybuilding career. But I never really gave much thought to the pro card thing.

Tom Terwilliger: I never really get my split to becoming a pro. I never really gave my stuff to becoming Mr Olympia or even competing in the Olympia. My sights were set on the national championship, winning the Mr America. And in hindsight that it got me where I got to be. But it may have also been a bit of a mistake. There may have also been a limiting mindset because after winning the national championship, it's not like I took it easy. You're backed off. I mean, I trained harder and I knew this was. Hey, I'm going up against the best, and I gotta be at my best. And I trained hard and I improved. I improved substantially. But it was funny because it was like unconsciously, it wasn't the objective. It was never really to a degree - I limited myself by shooting for a lesser star, you know, might say, you know what I mean?

Tom Terwilliger: There's more, there's more. This morning I shopped for that. There's something also to be said, there's what I call the leap continuum, climb to the highest summit. Take the leap and only from there can you see what the next summit is. And only from there. Can you see the next? So there's that as well. But to go back to the idea - was it a straight journey? It was a fairly tough journey because the first year at the nationals winning, going to the Mr America, took extraordinarily encouraging. I almost died in the process. I was so dehydrated. Oh my God. When I tell you, I was sitting in Louisiana again, a different area that we said it was in new Orleans. And it was an outdoor amphitheater and it was about 110 degrees.

Tom Terwilliger: And you know, we're already dehydrated and not drinking enough water or getting enough potassium or anything else. So I remember sitting in the stands and I was all alone because I was, you know, the guys that were helping me out, I was pissed at because they just, and again, nobody's a victim, it was my responsibility, but they had me doing some diuretics that I probably shouldn't have. And it really messed me up that morning of the show. I didn't want to get out of bed. It was horrible. It was just terrible. And so I had to blame someone. I blamed them. So I'm sitting in the stands and I'm just like, you know, you're flexing. You know what I mean? You know, this is what we do. We feel our body, we're training.

Tom Terwilliger: Do we have a pump? Can we get pumped? Do we feel flat? Is the muscle there? Is it not there? And every time I would flex up and it's just like, ah. It was so crazy. I couldn't even open my hands. My bicep would lock up, just everything was cramping. And so when they said light heavies time to go backstage and start preparing, I stand up the minute, my quadricep completely cramped and locks up, so I bend my leg to try and alleviate it and then the hamstring locks up and then the other leg does exactly the same thing. I go tumbling down four flights of stairs. So these guys were supposed to be helping me come running over. They literally picked me up, carry me backstage, I'm seeing everybody else pumping up, and they're all pumping up and getting ready.

Tom Terwilliger: And I'm like on a stretcher, cracking a move. I laid down, I grabbed the guy by the collar who was helping me out. I said "go get me a hotdog and a beer". So got me a hot dog and a beer and bam, I down. That quickly. Didn't even have time to put oil, rush out on stage and managed to get past some of the cramps to take 3rd, but it would almost kill me. It literally almost killed me.

Wade Lightheart: Yeah, I can relate to that. I think a lot of people really don't know how close to the edge bodybuilders actually push themselves in this competition. Of course we've heard all kinds of horror stories of people that went over the edge and look healthy, but where we are the last thing from healthy and strong at that moment, it really in many respects, the sport at its peak, especially for someone who's not doing it right and is sort of following somebody else's game plan.

Tom Terwilliger: Correct. It can be. It could cost you your life. So you go on from there, you eventually come back, you win the shows, you go onto a pro career which you're very successful and I would say go out there and make a living. But then how a lot of people don't realize it's not like football or baseball or hockey. There's not a whole lot of money in the sport, but somehow you springboard at that journey. Yeah, it was of that range from there to kind of the next level and then beyond. It is interesting because you don't want to look at people that have made those jumps, those leaps, you might say. It's always fascinating - what do they do? What was the process? Was the mindset going on?

Tom Terwilliger: You know? And so for me going back to next year, taking second, finally winning the championship the third year, I knew that I was going to turn pro and I also wanted if I'm going to be pro, I wanted an environment that can really support that. At the same time, I want an environment that supports me financially as well. So it was like a natural spring of plus. I always loved gyms, we talked about those early experiences. So I began building my own gym. I built a gym in Lynbrook long Island called Maximum Health and Fitness. And that was the year. Literally, that was the same year of winning the national championship. And so we built that one. And then a year later I we bought a building.

Tom Terwilliger: Which was a mistake. It was an old scuba diving school. So to construction, we should've just tore the building down and started from scratch. It would have been cheaper. The construction to build this athletic club was enormous, but it turned out to be a fantastic place, great home for my training. And we really developed a community there that I still get Facebook messages "I remember I trained at your gym and you encouraged me", so for me, in many respects, it was great having that environment, building something that provided me a livelihood in an environment that I loved and would want it to be at any way, you know? And of course, as you know, as a business owner yourself, an entrepreneur yourself, you know, there's a big difference between wanting to own a gym and being a professional athlete and actually being a good enough business person to thrive in.

Tom Terwilliger: Right? So that was one of my greatest lessons along the way. Thank God. We opened the first one, which was smaller and the overhead was lower because we had some real powerful lessons to learn. It was the only reason, the only way I was able to - I have the courage, wherewithal and the resources to be able to open the second one, which was much, much bigger. But man, it was some powerful lessons in entrepreneurship and business, every bit as powerful and challenging as there were in bodybuilding for sure. So that was sort of the process from there. So that's how I got into being an entrepreneur and I developed a bunch of other things, almost always in the fitness and bodybuilding realm. I had something I called 'My trainer'. We were pretty successful with, what were they called?

Tom Terwilliger: Walkmans! You know, they put the cassette in. I developed a product called 'My trainer', and you would get a tape, an audio tape every month mailed to you. We advertised in Muscle and fitness Flex" and all the top magazines and you would get it, you know, me personally walking you through a workout, not just telling you about the workout, but literally, okay, let's go three more, five more. Okay, good. Now you're gonna take 30 seconds to take a quick break. If you need to adjust the weight, let's get doing that right now. Grab a quick hit of water, cause then you've got now 20 seconds to get back in to do your next set. Are you ready? Let's go. So we created that long before, you know, any of these audios were around, it was on a cassette. So that was reasonably successful for awhile. And then I did a bunch of other entrepreneurial things and one thing led to another. And so that was the entrepreneurial path and how it evolved from the bodybuilding.

Wade Lightheart: You know, there's something I like your opinion on. I think I probably know the answer, but you know, that's one thing I noticed with the advent of personal stereo systems when it started with the Walkmans, which were kind of cumbersome and not a lot of people train with them too much. But now it's the iPods and you go into the gyms and you know, I remember when the music was playing in the gym and we'd all kind of fight to see what they're going to play on, what kind of tunes they're going to play on the music system in the gym. But there was a comradery inside of that environment. Like everybody knew each other and, you know, had all the friendships and the rivalries and the competitors and all that sorta stuff. But there was a whole subculture that was going on at that time that I don't see happening today. Gyms, most people are coming in, they've got their headphones on, they're doing their workout, they got their little iPad or whatever, and that's it. Like there's that culture has seemed to be stripped out of that. Maybe it's online. I don't know, what's your take on that?

Tom Terwilliger: I absolutely agree. A hundred percent. I don't know if we'll ever recapture that again because it was indeed, I mean, every gym that I trained at early on, whether it was Future Man, it was another one called Ultimate Gym, and in my gym, Maximum Health and Fitness - there was always that cultural tribe type environment. Again, you said there were friendships that were rivalries, there were cliques, you know, but it was always a connection in some way, shape or form. When you worked out at 6:00 AM or 8:00 PM at night, it didn't matter. It was always the same guys the same day. And you encourage each other, you spot each other. And it was also easy to find a good training partner because at 6:00 AM there's another 5, 6, 10 guys. So you'd jump in once in a while, somebody else, they jump in with you and all of a sudden it sparks this "Hey, you know what?

Tom Terwilliger: You're at 6, let's do it. Let's train again tomorrow." And all of a sudden you had great training partners. You can't do that today. There's just no way. I think there's a cultural loss. And again, with every loss is also a benefit. Whatever door closes is a window and maybe in some way, shape or form, there's some benefit to all this, you know, personalization in terms of the headsets and disconnecting from everyone else within that particular community. But I'd be stretched to try and find what that benefit is because there was such a camaraderie that was happening in those days. And again, the noise, you know, you could hear, you might've been a little pissed that they were playing certain music. He didn't like country music or maybe want a classic rock or maybe something like that.
Tom Terwilliger: You know what I mean? I remember Future Man, it was always just the advent really of sort of not hip hop but R&B and Tony used to play a lot of R&B. So I've got like Earth, Wind and Fire, and all those like that is anchored every day that music was playing. And I was a rock guy, man. I worked at all the rock clubs. I was a bouncer, you know, and all that stuff. To this day, my wife's not a big fan of Earth, Wind and Fire. I have to love it because it's anchored to Future Man. And so you're right, I think we were losing that cultural aspect and the ability to connect. Nobody in gyms today smile at each other as much anymore. We don't say Hello as much anymore. We don't ask somebody. You gotta wait 10 minutes cause somebody got their heads in and ask for a spot if need it. You know what I mean? Somebody could be over in a corner crushed under a bench and nobody, nobody would know. Nobody would know. Loss.

Wade Lightheart: You built an entrepreneurial career and then your pro career happened and then when did you decide that's enough of that you're going to translate into, you know, the next phase of your life?

Tom Terwilliger: Great question. Because while I was evolving in the entrepreneurial world, I was also competing as the pro at this point. My first competition was The Night of the Champions.

Wade Lightheart: That's a great, I mean, what an event, The Night of the Champions!

Tom Terwilliger: It was so cool because I'd been to The Night of the Champions as a kid, you know what I mean? I saw Robby Robinson and was it Danny Padilla, Mike Mentzer, Dennis Tinerino, all those guys competing on stage in the Beacon theater in Manhattan. That's where it traditionally was always held, always held at the Beacon theater. So my first year as a pro - not only did I get to compete, unfortunately, I was sixth in the competition, but still really good in that show cause that's a tough topic. Mike Ashley was second who I'd beat the year before the national championship, but the biggest chick I got out of being a number one, it was my audience, New York. I already had the gym and everything, so there was a ton of crowds there.

Tom Terwilliger: I didn't win, but hey listen, it is what it is. I had a chance for that. Competition was like a Wild West town. They had this whole Wild West village built like the old, you know, like storefronts and stuff on stage. And they had everyone at the very beginning had cowboy hats on and stuff. You don't ever do the posing thing and not individually, but as a group, you know what I mean? When the curtains open, nearly walk. And here I come riding out on a horse wearing a full native American headdress. You know, and I just got my palsy trucks. I'm on the only guy in the history of bodybuilding. I have a ride out on stage with a native American headdress on a horse.

Tom Terwilliger: There's a couple of distinctions in the bodybuilding career and that's certainly one of them that I'm most proud of. It didn't matter that I didn't play. I could've went home right then and there, you know? So that didn't pan out. I was hoping you know, but I made some of the classic mistakes that bodybuilders and young athletes make on the way. It was like when I won the national championships, I worried about 192 pounds. The light heavyweight division went up to 198. So I gave away a little bit of weight and I could have competed as a pro at probably 198, 200 successfully hard, lean, dry and ready. Instead, I had to get on that stage at 215. And as a result I was off, I thought, you know what I mean, the pros, I gotta be big, I gotta be freaking big.

Tom Terwilliger: So trying to be big, I gave up my strength - see the aesthetics, the lines, the separations, you know. So it was a classic mistake and I certainly didn't want to make it again. So it was the next year I decided to compete in a show up in Niagara falls again, another New York show. And it was a pro show and it was a Mr Olympia qualifier. And so I took the drive up with my training partner, Ronnie Starrantino, who was one of the best training partners I've ever had, great friends at this day. And we took the drive up and sure enough, there's some great guys up there, Sonny Schmidt, there was a bunch of others. And I got to look at the guy who would ultimately win the show. His name was Albert Beckles. You and I have talked about Albert Beckles before, but Beckles even at the time was about 55 years old.
Tom Terwilliger: He was one of the legends in bodybuilding. He had competed with Arnold and won the Mr universe, Mr World. He was from Barbados or somewhere, but man, the guy was freaking good. And I looked at it, I was like "Holy crap, this is going to be a battle." And sure enough, it was. Albert Beckles took first Sonny Schmidt who was a great, Samoan bodybuilder, passed away a couple of years ago. He was a bare knuckle fighter as well. Let me tell you, I did the grand Prix tour in Europe with Sonny and all those other guys. And Sonny - he was a trip man. I'll tell you a story about Sonny. He was a blast, man. So I got to know him there that night of the champions, which by the way, he spoke English but you can never understand a word he said other than fuck.

Tom Terwilliger: I mean it was like fuck fuck. You know, you never understand but you, but you pretend like you did cause he was so big, you had to pretend you understood what he was saying. He was laughing. So Sonny was second and I was third and that qualified me for the Mr Olympia competition. And again, that was my main goal - going into the thing I knew it was up against tough competition. I know I'm not the biggest, but I recaptured the aesthetics, drop my weight back down, tightened it up really good and came in looking exactly as good as I could possibly look. And so that got me a third qualified for the Mr Olympia, which was in Rimini, Italy. Very exciting. And that was only a few months later. I had to hold that condition and try and repeat again, which is never easy to do.

Tom Terwilliger: But when you're pro, you got to do competition. At the competition it's a much more grueling process, not as enjoyable as the amateur ranks. I don't believe I had much more fun. And it was just much more memorable experience, training for those national championships than it was for the Mr Olympia. So Rimini, Italy - I've never even been to Europe, so it was really quite the experience. And that was that one. I think you and I talked about it earlier where I got by that stage or even backstage in the pump room and I felt like that 16 year old kid - I'm looking around at all these incredible competitors, I'm at the Mr Olympia, the pinnacle. I'm in the Super bowl, you know, and man, although I felt like I deserved to be there and I earned my stripes, it was an incredible experience being there as that 16 year old kid, that was amazing. That's super amazing. Needless to say, unfortunately I didn't win that competition, but it was a powerful lesson. And then I did what's called the Grand Prix tour. You're familiar with the Grand Prix tour?

Wade Lightheart: That was all these shows back to back across Europe - I cannot comprehend doing shows back to back to back to back every week!

Tom Terwilliger: It was grueling. And the reason I really wanted to go, number one, the press, you know, the magazines and all this stuff - you need that as a pro and you need it to help you make your living. And it would help my booster, my bolster, my gym as well. But I really wanted to test my metal, cause I felt exactly the same way you did. I'm like seven contests in 2,5 weeks traveling from this country, this country, this country, this country, this country by bus. I got to test my metal on this thing, man, this is going to be something. And sure enough, it really was, it was a test of one's metal and it was tough. Sleeping was tough. You're on the 4 hours. They don't want to stop to let you go to the bathroom.

Tom Terwilliger: It was, but it was also one of those experiences Wade where you bond, you bond with guys and not every guy, I mean, you bond with every guy, but you develop friendships. So it was me on this tour, Sonny Schmidt and Miloš, you know who Miloš Šarčev is. Of course we kind of connected. We kind of hung out, you know, and so we were best buds - we sat together, we went out to eat, we did all stuff together and Sonny was doing great. Sonny was a second place to Vince Taylor, who was another great poser, Vince. So he was second for four competitions and then, you know, we were in Spain and Sonny got a hold of some elicit something or other that he was smoking.

Tom Terwilliger: And he dropped from second to 5th, to 6th, to 8th, to last. And the last - whatever he was doing and you want to be eating and drinking too much water and and stuff. It's just like it just came on. But it was unexperienced. And let me share one quick story with you Wade. The competition, we were in Italy in some little village, half these contests, I don't even know how they brought all these bodybuilders. This is just like these small little villages, you know. So we're in this little village, I have no idea what the name of it was, but it was in Italy and I remember it. There was no place to train. We hadn't trained in two days, you know, and it was just like, ah, we're all sitting around in this big conference room and I'm going to like "Hey, you know what?

Tom Terwilliger: Let's go for a power walk. Let's do something right." It was nice. That was beautiful. So all of us, every single one in tank tops or no shirt, shorts, you know what I mean? So we get out and we're like, wow, we're power walking. And we're like on these back cobblestone streets, there's no one around, no one around. So I'll never forget that. And again, you could imagine all these Mr Olympia competitors, right? It's crazy. All of a sudden we're walking and all of a sudden it's like this group of kids, Italian kids, they're all sitting, they got their feet up on the phone and they're smoking a cigarette. So all of a sudden they, and I'm watching them, watch us go by. And it must've been like they just saw something from another planet and you know, I'm muscular and they were just like dumb fat.

Tom Terwilliger: So once you drop a cigarette, I'll never forget that - I'm one of those people. I like to observe other people and human nature and see how they respond to environments and stuff. So it's always a kick for me to be able to watch that. And it was always fun to watch that one because I realized bodybuilders look like to the average person because I still had that image in my mind for Future Man. When I saw Steve Maholick, and I was like "How this is possible?" So that was it. It was a great experience. And it definitely tested my metal. I was fortunate that I improved every competition. I got a little bit better and I started placing a little bit higher each time. But it was still quite the challenge, man.

Tom Terwilliger: But I'm so glad I did it. It was a great experience.

Wade Lightheart: You know, you did another Olympia and stuff, but at what point did you decide to say that - it's time to move on?

Tom Terwilliger: Well that's a great question and it's really pertinent to how our unconscious mind in many respects can ultimately lead us to where we need to go. Whether we want to go or not, and sometimes leads us where we don't want to go, you know, unless we direct it. It was after the second Mr Olympia competition, which is also a great experience. I did another grand Prix tour that year. It was after that that I took a little bit time off, not much, but I decided to move to Colorado. I'd been doing a television show for Fox Sports net at the time and we were traveling all over the country covering competitions and doing interviews and stuff.

Tom Terwilliger: And I wound up in Colorado for the Mr Colorado competition and just fell in love with Colorado. Absolutely fell in love with it. Not to mention that I met the woman that was going to be my wife, at that competition. Her name was Dawn. And to this day we've been together for well over 25 years now. So there was no turning back. I love Colorado. I fell in love almost overnight and went back to New York, sold my gyms and moved to Colorado and there's my dog barking. I'm, keep it going. So long story short, I just thought "Oh, I'm in Colorado. I'm taking a little break from competition. I got to do some of the stuff that other people do, especially here in Colorado." People ski in Colorado, they mountain climb, the mountain bike, they do these things and it's like - I've been bodybuilding, that's it. So I decided to get out mountain bike and you know, I got the best mountain bike, the Cannondale, some shock carbon fiber and the whole deal. And we're out for a ride coming down a hill. And I literally go over the bars and compound fracture my arm, break the clavicle, a couple of ribs.

Tom Terwilliger: And the reason I bring that up is, and tie it into how our mind, our unconscious mind can lead us down the road. We should be going to want to go or been vacillating on, cause I've been vacillating on after the second Olympia not making the top 10 doing well in the Grand Prix, but not making this up to any Olympia. I had to come to a realization, I had to say "Hey, you know what? What is it going to take to make the the top 10, how much further do I have to push my body? How much more calories, how much more workouts, how much more of the supplements?", All that stuff began to weight heavy. And I started to come to the realization and you know, even if I put on 20 pounds of muscle, I may or may not make the top 10, I'm not going to win this thing and so, but I didn't like being in the biker community and the club and all that stuff.

Tom Terwilliger: I'd love to say I had the courage to make the decision myself to get out. But again, it took a leap of faith and it was my unconscious mind that led me down that path. I've been vacillating it with it for a while since I moved to Colorado. And so when I went over those bars and broke the body, completely shattered it, it was the message from my unconscious mind saying "Hey, you know what? If you're not going to make the decision, you know you need to make to move on with your life and to move on to what's next, the next chapter, I'm going to make it for you." And it did. And as a result of that, there was very little chance of coming back. I thought about it, I reminisced about it. I even visualized it. But then I saw Dorian Yates and as you know, Dorian Yates had won the Olympia and went on to be one of the greatest Mr Olympia's ever. I saw him guest pose because I was still doing a television show. So I was doing commentary and I saw him guest pose at a competition. And this was a few months after my arm broke and I had lost 30 pounds and I see Dorian and I was like "Oh my God" - he put on 25 or 30 pounds in that year.

Wade Lightheart: I remember they did the posters and Flex magazine was like "Here he is last year", and then they did the black and white photo and "Here he is at the top of the sport." That just unbelievable. Wasn't it? What happened?

Tom Terwilliger: That's exactly what I asked myself. What happened? How did it actually changed in that moment? Because we went away from the cuts, the separation that what I call the classical physique and it kind of ushered in the mass monsters. And you know, everybody felt that they needed to add 20-30-40 pounds to their physique. And although they did, they added it, a lot of guys added it, the quality of the physique went down. In a lot of ways it was at a cost. There's no question about it. It was probably no disrespect to Dorian.

Wade Lightheart: I mean, he's an amazing individual, an incredible athlete, mentally, a very tough and focused. I love Doren and to this day he's still a great athlete. He's totally changed his mindset around all that. He's much thinner. You can't even believe looking at him he's the same guy, you know? I know it sounded kind of interesting. He's doing the circuit now and he said some amazing breakthroughs in his own life, right? I was never that big. So it's not that dramatic. You know what I mean? It's not that dramatic, but for him it was dramatic, you know?

Tom Terwilliger: But he did usher in that whole mass monster or process, that whole change, that evolution that took place. But one of the things that Dorian able to avoid to a great degree was what happened along the way, which was the distention of the abdomen. A lot of bodybuilders began distending and the abdomen started become so thick, the muscles so thick that it just distended. And there was some things going on internally in some of the organs as well. And that became the new signature of the mass monster bodybuilders, this distended belly. And he didn't have that. But everyone who followed sort of like that's what was being represented in many respects. So for me, I knew number one it's going to be tough putting in 30 pounds already. I'm going to put another 30 pounds on.

Tom Terwilliger: So that facilitated the ultimate, not just the unconscious, but the conscious decision to retire and move on to the next chapter, you know, but I, watched bodybuilding evolve along the way and it's interesting cause I've been asked "what do you think? Are you disappointed? How would you change it?" Like the sport has to evolve. It's got to evolve. I don't necessarily like the direction it's going, but what other direction is it going to go? I don't know. I think something we need to pull the reigns a little bit, but at the same time it's just always been about size. It's never not going to be about size. I mean, when I was training, even though I wasn't the biggest guy, my motto was 'Bury me massive.' I mean it's just like I had to get big, I had to give me, if you weren't training to get big, then where are you fricking training? You know what I mean? So how are we going to change that mindset? That is that there's turn these guys who were 5'3, 300 pounds and say "Hey, you know what? You need to taper down a little bit."

Wade Lightheart: So you left the career and I think this is a really good segue because I know there's a lot of people right now that are in the current economic and health crisis happening globally. A lot of people's livelihoods, what they thought or how things were going to play out in their lives or the next two, three, four, five, ten years, has now been radically disrupted. And somehow you found an opportunity in what someone would say it was a chaotic event. You crashed. And you know, essentially ending your career and causing that kind of rethink. And I think a lot of people are going through a rethink right now. How are you able to make that transition into your new career?

Tom Terwilliger: I was already speaking, you know, as a pro bodybuilder, I was touring occasionally, frequently actually, doing seminars and guest postings and I wasn't always in great shape to do a guest posing, so I wouldn't do them, but I would do the seminars, you know, and seminars were always just about disseminating information, mindset, training, the training itself, the diet and all that stuff and whatever questions the audience would have. So I felt relatively proficient at disseminating information in front of groups and audiences. So I began doing more motivational stuff. The body building became part of that foundation, new experiences, the story. But it was really more a different context. It was about motivating, incentivizing and leading other people who want to be leaders and entrepreneurs and business owners for the most part. So I had already started doing that and it was going pretty well, pretty successful at it.

Tom Terwilliger: And then I got recruited by a big company called Peak Potentials, maybe you've heard of it, created by a guy T Harv Eker. And he wrote the "Secrets of the millionaire mind", which is interesting because I had read it actually, I listened to it first. And I listened to it, my, my wife and I listened to it a couple of times and it all made perfect sense. And it began to shed light on the mindset and the belief system around wealth and around money and around poverty and around, you know, being worthy of any and know all of that. And so it had an impact. And it wasn't long after that, we went to one of the events here in Denver, Colorado. And they were looking for trainers because they were starting to go globally and they were looking for trainers.

Tom Terwilliger: I said, you know what, let me give this a go. So it was a process obviously being accepted by Peak Potentials, and it was quite the process. I mean it was probably as nerve wracking a grueling as preparing for a competition because you know, I had to go more or less audition and give talks and trainings in front of their trainers and their groups and Harv himself and it was like every time I went down to Arizona to do that, it was like two or three times I was sick. I had the flu or something. I remember sitting in the back of the room and I'm just like hiding cause I couldn't sleep the whole night is about 50 people that are auditioning. I'm trying out.

Tom Terwilliger: And I remember I fell asleep in the back of the room because I hadn't slept the night before, I had the flu, I was on Parahflu and all this stuff. All of a sudden I hear my name, I'm like, what? Then I was like, okay, now I've got to get up on the stage and do my thing. And I was like my God, I'm dying, I'm sweating. And Harv did not make it easy on me, man. He beat me up. It was unbelievable cause I guess maybe like Bob Gruskin, he saw some potential that was in there. Hey, we got a possibility here, you know, and so I would do something and he'd say stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, do that again - but this time I want you to do this.

Tom Terwilliger: Or don't ask a question, give a directive. It went on for like an hour. I was dying, man. I was fricking dying. But I got through to the next round, like getting through the national championship. I was tested and got through the next round and ultimately they brought on four guys to become lead trainers. And the next process was a year of training with them. And I had great mentors.

Tom Terwilliger: Well a great training. I'm telling you, take that training, the train the trainer expanded over the over a year with, with like intensive experience in all of that. And that's what I went through for the next year. Training to be a lead trainer for peak potentials. You know, cause everything they teach and train the trainer is what they use in their process. Correct. Yet people into the room to, to hold the energy of the room, how to keep people engaged for three, four, five days while they're going through this process. So everything they teach is what they actually utilize, which is really cool. So I went through that two year process of learning that stuff until ultimately I was a lead trainer and actually taught alongside robbery of Pell. Um, train the trainer in, in uh, Singapore. The first year they had it there, which was wow, that's it.

Tom Terwilliger: That's it. That's a really small world. I can't believe all the connections here. It's crazy, man. So that, so that took the speaking and training that I'd already been doing to a whole nother level and open up the doors opened up my mind. Um, it was while I was weeping potentials, I began writing my first book, the seven rules of achievement and why smart goals may be dumb and launched that into my own speaking career, training tree and coaching career and sort of that's where I am today, you know, in, in that respects and, and, uh, and in hopes of still serving people on that level in many respects.

Wade Lightheart: One quick question, I think, um, I'm curious because I felt this, but I'm curious on you. Do you feel that your, um, career as a bodybuilder and being on stage and in the most unforgiving lights, uh, you know, standing, as I say, standing, standing in a marble bag in front of the most critical audience on the planet,

Tom Terwilliger: a marble bag. I love it. Right?

Wade Lightheart: you know, being there. Do you feel though that, that being able to present yourself without any form of communication, not allowed to open your mouth or talk or sing or anything else as a bodybuilder, you're just, it's all physical presence. Do you feel that physical presence really helped you as a communicator on stage?

Tom Terwilliger: That's a great question and a great observation because the fact is absolutely, there's no question about it. And, um, that ability to be able to communicate energetically. I mean, if you think about a mime for example, you know, to be able to communicate your message, your, your emotion, the context, whatever it might be or the content, um, without being able to say anything, you know, to be able to express it with your body. Um, you have to be able to do that as a speaker as well. And I'm a very HAMP this like I got to keep, I make sure I don't hit my mic and my water bottle.

Tom Terwilliger: Uh, greatest invention on stage was the, the wire for your hall. I hate the mix. Give me that wire. I'm the same way because as a bodybuilder, you're opening up, you're doing these things right, but you're, you know, and so and, and if you're not, if you're not used to holding a mic, you start, you're still talking, you're out here like this. I'm like, wait a minute. Oh, those headsets were the best, the best. So yeah, to answer your question, no question about it. Just having that again, familiarity in front of an audience is it helps eliminate some of that fear. We know that it's one of the things, I still get butterflies, I still get nervous. I've thrown up a couple of times before speaking, so you still get that. But it eliminates a lot of familiarity been there. I've done this before. I can do it again and it just, because the context has changed a little bit, it's still the same emotion in many respects.

Tom Terwilliger: And it also helps because I'm on and you see some speakers and, and, and I understand, I mean, Brian Tracy for example, if you see Brian Tracy speak, Brian doesn't move on the stage. Yeah. He doesn't move. He stands like OnStar and doesn't move from the spot he's on, you know, and he's still somehow managed to have impact. By the way. We heard him curse one time on stage. We were dumbfounded like what Brian Tracy cursed on stage, whatever happens. But I'm, you know, because I was used to being on the stage, moving around, doing routines, communicating a story and a message. I communicate that same way on stage, pause, move. Not a nervous back and forth, but a very deliberate sharing of the stage, utilizing the stage and that. So all that has helped as well. That doesn't mean someone who hasn't had that experience can't be absolutely masterful on the stage, but it does take practice.

Tom Terwilliger: It does. And that's one of the things, one of the things that I learned from peak potentials as well, because I got, you know, when I was in that training, and I would have, what they would do is they would assign certain pieces. Here's the piece, here's this piece. You're going to do this piece today and you're going to do this. B, you gotta memorize it. You gotta use your own language a little bit, you gotta make it your own, but you're going to deliver this piece. And it was always critiquing going on. You know what I mean? It's just like, that piece shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. Why did it take 45 minutes? Or you, it was too long in this or you're inflicted on that. You know what I mean? So, or you stood on this side of the stage was already anchored to the negative.

Tom Terwilliger: You should have been over here on the positive side of the stage where to anchor to the positive, you know? So it's like this constant feedback. So the reason I bring that up is because even if someone doesn't have an athletic or bodybuilding background where they're used to uncomfortable being on the stage, it still requires, if you want to be matched to fill out, it's still requires practice understanding the psychology of your audience and what the message is you're trying to deliver and how to utilize the stage. Or you could just do a pre Brian Tracy does cause he manages to do it pretty successfully. You make a great point. So tell me about your career as it is from now, from that point for like what are you doing today and what's got you jazzed out? Cause you're, you're obviously, you've got a lot of PA and a lot of vitality.

Tom Terwilliger: Um, what's, what's, what's going on for Tom these days? Well, really what I'm immersed in is my coaching process. And I have a, I do several masterminds a year, basically about three. You know, they can be anywhere between three months and six months depending on the group that I'm working with. And it's never more than 10 people. So I have this group and it's really sort of a hybrid between a mastermind, which is generally in many respects has facilitator. But a lot of times it's led by the group itself in many respects. Right. Um, and of course masterminds have some great components as well. And then a coaching, which is led by an individual or a mentor and lead you through particular processes or your own processes, keep you accountable. So I've created a bit of a hybrid in that respect where we have leadership through the group itself cause there's so many lessons and taking leadership range yourself is lessons in following.

Tom Terwilliger: Um, but I've combined the two in many respects. As I step in, I do a lot of coaching, a lot of mentoring. I take them through a specific process. I call experience the leap. And they experienced the leap process. Interestingly enough, it was something that I like to, I like to take credit for developing it. And ultimately I did develop it, but it was something that was revealed to me. My wife and my partner Aaron, I mentioned Aaron Hughie earlier. He was also a master trainer and still is with peak potentials. And we, we ventured off on a process, on our own venture, on our own. And we, and we decided, okay, we said, well what do we want to do? What creates change in people's lives? And what was your greatest change in your experience? And, and almost every time we said this is the leap of faith involved, there's always a leap of faith involved.

Tom Terwilliger: Okay. So what's the process? If there's legal faith, it has to be a process, right? So it was revealed to us when we began to open ourselves up to what is the process of taking a leap of faith. So in matter of facts, that's what I teach the process along the way and as a four step process. Um, so I teach all those different processes, but then I let the group in many respects, lead themselves through that process. We provide feedback right through a feedback loop and coaching along the way. And over the course of six months, they master this experience, leap process. So then they can put that into place, put into action in whatever it is they want to change in their life, whatever it is they want to manifest in their lives. So I'm really immersed in that. That's, that's what I do.

Tom Terwilliger: That's what I love to do. And like I said, we're going to take out about 10 people every six months or so to do this. And, uh, and, and along with that, I'm still writing. I still do a lot of, uh, um, social media. I've just written the book that I just wrote, interestingly enough that I launched on social media just the other day. The seven step come back process is slated for publishing later this year and Slater for publishing later this year might mean next year or even the year after. Right. With the current situation how it works, right? Yep. So I, I recognize, I said, Hey, there's, there's, there's some tools, rules and strategies in this thing that needs to be out there today, not tomorrow, not next year. So I had a little bit of a battle with my publisher on this, but we changed the name, contextualized it a little bit, tightened it up a little bit, lost some of the stories that went from 250 pages to 50 pages so that it's very direct and it's very action oriented and we were able to get it out there immediately and start giving it away to people so that they can use this.

Tom Terwilliger: As you mentioned, this has been a disruption for all of us. Uh, you know, for my wife and I, the biggest hit was financially. In many respects, people are pulling back from doing mastermind, from doing coaching right now because they're uncertain, they're insecure, they're, uh, they're, they're feeling a lot of stress right now because of those things. And you and I both know the fastest way to get out of feeling a sense of doubt, uncertainty, fear, you know, stress is to create a plan and to begin taking action on that plan because it's no different than stepping on stage in front of a group of people or you know, with the marble hammock, you know what I mean? Whatever, you were naked to the world that if that's all you've got and you're just throwing it out there, it's pretty freaking scary, man. And there's a lot of doubt and uncertainty around it.

Tom Terwilliger: But if you've created a plan, if you know exactly what this step looks like, and you begin taking action with the ability to pivot along the way, change a little bit if you have to. But having that plan eliminates that fear, that doubt and that uncertainty. And that's my goal. That's my objective - to help people do that right now and to help them get out of those negative states and back into action so that they can start creating whatever the comeback is that they want or whatever the change that they want as they move forward. Instead of, you know, saying "be ready for what's next", I like to say "Why don't you decide what's next?" Very powerful statement.

Wade Lightheart: I think right now a lot of us are experiencing this, virtually nonstop plethora of, I would say, conflicting information. Is this a bio weapon? Is this a hoax? Is this a liberal plot? Is it a conservative plot? Is it fake? Is it real? Is it going to hit me, stay with us forever? Is it going to pass? I've never seen a bigger mass of information on my Facebook page, cause I've been saying "Hey, here's a perspective." I'd like to see what people go. And you get it, you get all, you know, everything and everything's constructed. But there's an old saying about, you know, analysis paralysis.

Wade Lightheart: And I think a lot of people haven't yet embraced the opportunity of the moment. So crisis and opportunity are always written together. And in the script from Asia, which is a culture that's been around for at least 6,000 years, or danger and opportunity, and these are dangerous times or their crisis times. And as everybody faces in life, whether it's this or something else, they're going to have that crisis moment. You know, that that moment when what they're currently doing, they know is no longer serving them or can't serve them or isn't going to work because of some life change. How do you take a person from that analysis paralysis? I don't know what to do. I'm feeling the fear of things. How do you jump them into that process? Like you say, okay, well you make a plan, execute the plan. Well that sounds great. You know, Mike Tyson says, well, everybody's got a plan till someone punches you in the face.


Wade Lightheart: Obviously, because you're offering coaching here through this process, you know, it's not as simple as writing down a plan and executing - what are the things that you've observed that keeps people stuck without making a decision?

Tom Terwilliger: Yes, it is absolutely right. But the key is really the first step. And this is where most people either decide not to or can't or don't have the direction or prefer to stay confused or you know, in a fog in many respect because it means not having to act. And there's a lot of people out there that just would rather float with whatever the particular tide is, you know? So the first step, and this is indeed part of the seven step process, but the first step, and I'll give you an example before I even shar - when my wife and I, cause at first we were at the same thing, we were all confused. This is the plot. What's going on, what's really going on? But we had to come to the realization and as soon as we came to the realization of the impact, this was not only going to happen, but is having on our business.

Tom Terwilliger: I mean almost 90% of our income just went away. Can we survive it for the moment? Sure. But we had to come to the realization that if this goes on any longer, we might lose our business. We might even lose our homes. We might have to start over. We had to start looking at that possibility. So the decision we made, and this is where a lot of people vacillate because they don't necessarily want to make a decision because the decision is empowering, but it also gives you an action. Once you make a decision, you've got to take some action on this and you got to stop vacillating. So the decision we made was number one - this will not break us. Number two - we will thrive because we knew there were opportunities. The problem is initially, because all we could see was the problem.

Tom Terwilliger: We were focused on the problem. We were focused on the challenge. We were focused on the disruption. We were blind to the opportunities, absolutely blinde. We in fact, were even at some point, and this is stuff we teach, but we refuse to believe that, we're barely holding. We're bailing on to survive this thing. That's the mindset to keep people from seeing the opportunities. So as soon as we made that empowering decision, number one - this will not break us. Even if we lose our business, we lose our home. We have to start all over. So what - it will not break us. We can survive. This is not a problem. And then we said we will thrive. So it was in many respects, what motivates us on a human level, right? Which is the away from the pain.

Tom Terwilliger: It will not destroy us. We're avoiding pain. We will thrive in this environment. We will see the opportunities and we will take advantage of those opportunities. So the first step is to make a decision. I think a lot of people are still on the fence. They're vacillating. What's my district? What am I going to do around this thing? I don't know what to do. I didn't know what to do. And you can even tell - people, make a decision, just make a freaking decision. Are you going to be taken down or are you a victim by this thing? Or are you going to survive and thrive? Make a decision. There's just no matter what, there's still going to be people that just complain -  but how do I know? How do I not focus on this threat? And some of the worst advice I ever gave somebody in my coaching process years and years and years ago, we turned it around.

Tom Terwilliger: She became very, a very successful internet marketer. But when some of the worst advice I ever gave someone was, "listen, if you keep focusing on the possible detrimental outcomes or what could go wrong, you're liable to create that. You're liable to manifest that in your life." That's worst advice - you can't tell someone who's in crisis, how bad crisis being in crisis is for you. Instead, what we did was we finally realized that and we started to focus on the outcome we wanted. So if you're still focused on the uncertainty, the doubt and all the fears and you don't want to make a decision about how you're going to ultimately respond to this thing, then that's what you're going to focus on. That's where what you tend to focus on, the only way to change that is to give yourself something else to focus on.

Tom Terwilliger: When I realized what was happening and how this was going to impact our business, I saw the opportunity. Once we made that decision, I saw the opportunity, I said "Hey, you know what? We've got this  here. This outlines a strategy for achieving something, for creating a plan. No matter what it is." And I couldn't write a strategic plan for every person out there. Everyone's got their in the grade, but the principles are universally so you can use that. So we then shifted the focus from how are we going to survive this thing, right to "it will not break us and we will thrive." Suddenly the opportunity appeared and it was just like - let's convert what we have in terms of this book, that's going to be published. Let's turn it into something we can get out of here immediately.

Tom Terwilliger: Number one - we can benefit by putting it, we can help others benefit from it as well. So to answer your question directly - it's a decision you have to make, a decision. You know, the worst thing you can do is sit on a fence. "I don't know if I should do this. I don't know if I should do that. Maybe I should. Maybe I should wait for my job to reappear or maybe I should start thinking about another career." I didn't want to write that book, but what if I had to go back to work tomorrow? It's all this uncertainty around the decision. Make a freaking decision. If you decide you're going to write your book and the thing that's going to interrupt that ever happening - it's going back to work for the same company you worked for yesterday. Don't go back to work. Find another way. There's always another way. But if you make that decision, it is empowering. Next - you need the plan, but you got to make that decision first. 

Wade Lightheart: It's almost like your brain doesn't get activated onto the plan until you actually commit to it.

Tom Terwilliger: That's exactly it. 

Wade Lightheart: Because you're kind of hanging, it's like your psychology is still running the numbers on the old plan.

Tom Terwilliger: Yes, yes.

Wade Lightheart: And so you don't have your full capacities to kind of go for what the new plan or what the possibility is because people are playing defense. And I think it's very easily to get stuck into this defensive mode right now. But the opportunities are in the offense of what can I do given the circumstances. And the other piece is - what am I willing to let go of?

Tom Terwilliger: Yeah. 

Wade Lightheart: So when you're going to the planning stage or whatever, and I don't want to give away all the book ideas or whatever, but what comes next in this sequence for people?

Tom Terwilliger: Well, actually it's the big picture decision because it is difficult and you can relate to this. It's difficult in times of disruption and uncertainty. Now, is there going to be uncertainty associated with moving forward? Absolutely. Even though you've made a decision, there's still gonna be some uncertainty, some doubt, and maybe some lingering fear. We haven't gotten far enough into the process yet to eliminate all those things completely. Soin that state, in that mindset, it's difficult to be specific with your outcome. Right? At the end of this year, and by December 30, I'm going to have 2.5 million in the bank. It's a very specific outcome. Could you create that? Is that we're listing for some people? Absolutely. No question about it. You may be close already, but getting that specific is difficult. There's parts of our brains that will block that in many respects.

Tom Terwilliger: So what we need to do is just get a grasp on the big picture. And for most people, certainly understanding, recognizing and knowing what they don't want is a great roundabout way to figure out what they do want. Right? I don'twant to feel lonely anymore. I don't want to feel disempowered anymore. I don't want to feel fat anymore. Whatever it might be that can help us get some clarity. Okay, so what's the opposite? What? What as a result, if you don't wanna be fat, what do you want to be? I want to be lean and sexy. I don't want to be broke. I want to feel a sense of abundance. I want to feel secure in my finances. Okay, good. So maybe that begins the foundation of the big picture. The big picture might look like, you know, by the end of this year, in six months, I live in a wonderful home.

Tom Terwilliger: I feel a sense of abundance in my finances. I'm living with a great mate who loves me and I love back. I'm in physically fit shape again. Each one of those things can be broken down in the specific terms of what is being physically fit and in good shape look like. How would we measure that? That could be done, but the big picture is one of, or all of those things. So that's really the next step, the decision and then getting a grasp of the big picture. We're all in this mindset. Like you said, we're playing defense right now. So playing defense gives us a pretty good idea of what we don't want. You know? I mean, we've got an idea - I don't want to be fricking broke. I don't want to have to worry, I don't want to have to worry about this happening again. And me losing my home or losing my livelihood and not being able to feed my family is a great defensive position. So what's the opposite of that? And that gives you a better grasp of the big picture from there. So that would really be the next step.

Wade Lightheart: And then you can go really quick cause I'm gonna encourage everybody to get this book. This is amazing. And then from there you can talk about accountability, and I guess there was a process of probably revisiting that big picture over and over again as your course adjusted, because you get into the weeds if you're not re-anchoring that vision again, you can get lost.

Tom Terwilliger: Yeah. Along the way during this process, what happens is you continue to anchor it. You begin to create, because there are so many times in the seven step process, there are so many exercises. This isn't just about me philosophizing or sharing a strategy or even telling you something you may already know intuitively and maybe even used intuitively before, or even consciously. But rather there are steps along the way that require contemplation, thought, reflection, even evaluation of where you are in the moment compared to where you are a few short months ago, or even a few short weeks ago. So as you go through this process, you begin to clarify, hone the vision. The big picture starts to become maybe even a little bit more narrow in many respects in terms of how you define that, because you're going to discover that along the way.

Tom Terwilliger: And ultimately at the very end you're going to create a clear image of exactly what that looks like, and then you're gonna take action on it every step of the way. So you're absolutely right. The big picture is one thing, but it's a big picture that helps you create at least something to program that internal success mechanism as  Maxwell Maltzand and Psycho-Cybernetics would have called it "the internal navigation", the cybernetic system to start you moving. It's the only way, the big picture, the only way to begin that and the decision to begin taking your focus off. Quite frankly, I've had enough with the commercials around it. I've had enough with the mass, I've had enough with all of it, and it's like we're constantly fricking inundated with it. And as it's just like fear and uncertainty being shoved down our throats, man, how do we not pay attention to that unless we've got something else to pay attention to? And the big picture, the broad picture right now is what we should start paying attention to, that and the commitment to our decision, the process along the way of creating that plan further and further along solidifies that image and even starts to bring it into focus, you might say, along the way. 

Wade Lightheart: Yeah, totally, a hundred percent. And then of course there needs to be accountability and adjustments as you go around. Cause you start out with the plan and then you have to re-tweak the plan, right? Cause nobody can actually just say "Oh, I'm going to do this." And know specifically what those steps are going to come up with. All ignorance essentially, which is, you know, not a bad thing. So how do you manage staying moving towards your goal even though you're going to have to make these course corrections along the way?

Tom Terwilliger: Well, being prepared, number one, knowing in advance that this is going to happen. I mean, my plan for 15 years was to become Mr America, ultimately compete as a pro bodybuilder. And I ran up against the disruption in the form of a 30 mile an hour crash off a mountain bike. I mean, it's completely disrupted my world. And at first I was shocked. Like many of us were a little dumbfounded. We're a little confused. We're a little uncertain. We don't know. If I'm not just 250 pound bodybuilder, who am I? What am I going to do? I was shocked by, and so part of that process, and again it's knowing that even with a plan you have to know that you're going to have to pivot, you're going to have to adjust your costs a little bit along the way. And one of the things, one of the components in the planning process is knowing what resources you have and what resources you'll ultimately need.

Tom Terwilliger: Cause we all have resources, internal and external, right? Intrinsic and extrinsic. We have resources. When I was going back to the bodybuilding, my third year competing in that national championship, and you know this Wade, three times - you could either strike three times, you're either out, or you can create tremendous momentum. And it was like I was budding up against, 12 weeks out from the contest. I felt confused, lost. I couldn't pull it together, man. I just mentally and emotionally, physically was working out, but it just wasn't happening, you know, and I remembered that I hadn't spoken to in over a year, maybe more. And that was 20 pound off of the guy who owned that first gym.

Tom Terwilliger: It was one of my early mentors and I remember calling him, I remember at the peak of my frustration, why can't I get this freaking together? This is the year I either win or that's it. I lose my momentum. And so I called him out of the blue because I recognized him as a resource and I said, Tony, you know my situation. It's either now or maybe never. I said, what am I going to do? And he said, be in the gym at 6:00 AM tomorrow and be ready. That was it. That gave birth to some incredibly painful, memorable workouts, but it also gave birth to winning a national bodybuilding championship. So what I had to do is recognize number one - I needed help, number two - to be able to provide that help. What's the resource?

Tom Terwilliger: Is there something I can draw from inside? There's an experience. We talked about anchoring. I hope you've anchored some of your successes along the way because now you can draw from them and possibly help you through this thing to pivot and shift and do whatever's necessary. Or maybe you have to connect with someone. Maybe you'd have to look at your resources outside yourself, who's there, and many times reaching out to a resource that you haven't utilized. If it's an individual, for example, reach out and ask how you can help them. You'd be surprised at how much help you'll receive in return. So maybe you're feeling stuck or maybe you're feeling frustrated or you know what the plan is and coming together exactly as I anticipated it, what all the resources. So I have you do this in advance as far as an exercise as far as, okay, let's anticipate 3, 6,12 months down the road.

Tom Terwilliger: What are some of the obstacles we know you're going to run into? We know it. Okay, so you've decided you're not going go back to your job. You want to become a personal trainer instead. Fantastic, great career. You can really impact people's lives. You can make some money and you can really do something that matters, you know? So what are you gonna need along the way? Can just jump in, become a personal trainer. You're probably going to need a certification to do that. What are you going to need? So we start to look at the details of that in terms of what resources will you need? Do you know someone who's been a personal trainer, what was their experience with, gain some information from them and interview them, get some knowledge, reach out to those people, to your outside resources.

Tom Terwilliger: I have people go through the exercise where we make a list of what resources you know you're going to need along the way and what resources might you need along the way and then what resources do you have internally and externally? And this helps along the way. When we run into those challenges, those hurdles, those obstacles, those landmines that we may or may not expect. Sometimes you can expect them, but even if you don't, you've got resources that you can reach out to internally or externally that you now know no matter what you can get in peak potentials we used to say over, under, around or through whatever it takes, you will get through so you can always find a resource to help you do that. Hope that answers that question. 

Wade Lightheart: That was really beautiful and I think one caveat is when you go back to that gym kind of metaphor, you showed up in and handled the things that you could control and were willing to go through. As you said, the pain, the transformation, the metamorphosis, because you're breaking a pattern. Essentially you're breaking away like 95% of thoughts. The same are habitual patterns or habitual routines and our habitual stuff kind of create our life. And when that's all been disrupted, there's this area that everybody's been disrupted. We're in this "what do I do with myself?" How I interact with my partner, it's different. How I interact with my job, it'ss different. I can't go to the gym anymore. I can't do anything. Soo being able to pivot in that moment and then embrace this as a new challenge, I think is, you know, kind of the recipe for success, okay, let's hold this thing in mind. Let's go. 

Tom Terwilliger: You're right down. I want to touch base on that because again, being able to understand and embracing this new challenge is a key. And it all begins with mindset. And you can cultivate the mindset you need to be able to be successful in almost anything. I believe in it, we can call it the growth mindset. And I believe the growth mindset is almost like it's basically three different mindsets working in conjunction with each other. And the first of course is the beginner's mindset. And the beginner's mindset is the mindset I had when I walked into Future Man gym. And I asked myself how was that possible? Right? I never doubted that it was possible that the public's beginner's mindset embraces new things. And comes from not knowing, well I was this and I know that.

Tom Terwilliger: You know what I mean? Now we're here, now this is a new challenge. Let's take it on like a beginner would because a beginner would approach this thing, okay, how, what do I need to do? Wouldn't be like "I'm this or that." Or some comes in with kind of fixed mindset that would actually block them from accepting that this is a new challenge. This is something I've got to, you know, accept and take on. So that's one of the mindset is that beginner's mindset. The second is a focus directed mindset, the mindset of being lost and confused, "is not going to cut it. It's just not." And so you have to direct your on focus. We talked about this earlier. So it's the directed focused mindset that we have to cultivate and create.

Tom Terwilliger: And the third is the flexible mindset. We've got to be flexible. And this is such a key right now, that in NLP and you've studied NLP, we touched base on it just briefly in the way. There's a, what do we call it, the presupposition? The law of requisite variety and the law of requisite requisite variety is basically the most flexible rules. The roost that if you've got flexibility in the system or in the body or in your mindset, and you're able to go with the flow, bend with what's happening and accept that there are changes taking place, you've got a much greater likelihood of not only surviving but thriving in that environment. The most rigid mindsets along the way can bend and flex of rigid mindset in these circumstances might be someone, and this is just one example of no one was offended, but original mindset in this particular circumstance might be, "you know, you know what?

Tom Terwilliger: The medical community knows what they're doing. They have all the answers. If they tell us not to go out, they tell us to wear masks. This is what we need to do. We can't question that." Yes, that's a rigid mindset that keeps you from exploring other options. Other ways. They may or may not have all the answers, but if you're rigid in that respect that they have all the answers, you're not going to be flexible enough to be able to see or experience any other alternatives or possible remedies to whatever your situation might be. So those three things are key.

Wade Lightheart: Deference to an outside authority who can't possibly know all the parameters. And this is a great example, no disrespect to anybody in the medical community, but they are approaching this situation from a medical construct of what they think is best. These people are not economist. They don't understand the impact. That's going back. And I think to Charles Darwin, who I believe is one of the most misquoted people ever, and it's not survival of the fittest. It was survival of the most adaptable, optimal. So we assumed that fittest was adaptability, that somehow that got mixed up in that mean propagated around the world. The species that have thrived in throughout natures are those species that adapt to the ever changing conditions of life on this planet. And I encourage people to say, recognize we didn't go back to normal after 9/11.

Wade Lightheart: We're not going back to normal after this. The question is - how are you going to adapt? What are the decisions that you're going to make? What are the resources you're going to pull from? What are the opportunities that  have coming out from this moment, this time that we're living in? And then how are you going to help people? Where,  who are you going to contact or what are you going to contact or who are you going to reach out to that's going to help you get past the monkey mind of living in the past or trying to get back to the past as opposed to accepting radical acceptance. This is the new world. A lot of people are going to die. Economies are going to be wiped out. Your career might be over, your business might be over, your job might be over.

Wade Lightheart: Is that the end of the world? No. Is that the end of how your world was? Yes. So what kind of world are you going to make from this? Except the worst case scenario. It's all going to be done. Right? 

Tom Terwilliger: I like that. You're absolutely right about that. We have to be able to accept that things change, accept it, what's next? And then decide what's next. Then again, you know, be prepared but also make a decision around it. And then I will also like to invite people to go back in time to some major crises in life that you thought were absolutely terrible, absolutely devastating. And then how two, three, four, five years later you looked at that and go, wow, you know what? That was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Wade Lightheart: And I know, I recognize that from my bodybuilding career. I recognize it from my business career, that some of the biggest tragedies and the biggest failures and the biggest letdowns on the most horrific things happen was the universe kind of pushing me in a new direction, in a new way that invited an undreamed possibility. And you know, I think about my own journey. Here we are. I remember when I was a kid looking at magazines and there you were, posing on stage, and I was going, well, you know, I would love to look like that. I'd like to be like that. It could be that way. And now decades later we're sitting using digital technology that didn't exist. Having a conversation about how you've presented the book for people, a pathway, a coaching opportunity where they can learn.

Wade Lightheart: They can find out about it and say "Hey, look, it's time for the comeback". It's time to make a change in your life. It's to put some principles into your life that is someone who's achieved at a very high level in different areas of your life. And help other people do this, to come forward and say "Hey, guess what? I got the strategy. I got the plan. This is how you go about it." These are the questions you ask and what a great service. So how do people find out about it? Where did they get the downloa of the book? We want to put the links in here. I want to connect. You've been so gracious with your time. We've been on here for two hours. It's flown by. It's amazing. I can spend another 10 and trade stories with you, but man, but the bottom line is - how do they get ahold of you? How to get ahold of this book and any last words that you'd like to get in? Please share how to get ahold of you, what you do. The floor is yours. I'm going to shut off and have at it.

Tom Terwilliger: Well, first I need to say that it's been such a pleasure, Wade. I mean, it really, it's just so enjoyable to chat with someone with your level of knowledge, experience, mindset, with a bodybuilding background to share. And to be able to tie that in. One of the things that I love about, you know, having this camaraderie with fellow athletes and bodybuilders is that especially now at this age and with our experience behind us, we can start to really put it together and think about how that served us in many aspects, how it serves others, the mindsets, and the things that we learned from the sport that have carried us forward and then made us successful in other areas of our life. And I love to see that. So thank you so much for sharing this opportunity with me and giving me an opportunity to share what I've experienced and what I've learned along the way,

Tom Terwilliger: the rules and the strategies and the tools  with your listeners and your audience as well. So I'm honored by that and have really, truly, I can't believe it's two hours. And like I said, I could go on for quite a bit longer. I just finished my coffee. So the caffeine is going to wear off pretty soon. But so with that said, you can find the book  very simple - thecomebackplan.com. In fact, we're doing a webinar. There's a free webinar as well. We're going to talk more about the strategies specifically and expand upon them in many aspects. But I would just download the book, read the book first, but more than anything else, you guys don't just read the book - go through the exercises. This is one of the things Wade and I both learned along the way.

Tom Terwilliger: I can't tell you how many books I read that never did the exercise. I learned a few things. I was able to quote a couple of things that were cool but never really embodied it. It never really changed my mindset in many aspects. It alerted me changes that needed or were required, but it never really happened. The exercises or how it happens along the way. So do the exercises, go through the process of doing that and then join us on the webinars so we can take it to the next level. The last thing I want to say is that, you know, no matter what anyone has accomplished - Wade, myself, anyone, the highest level that you admire, respect, and look up to - you can achieve every bit as much. You have the potential. And I would, again, we talked about opportunities here.

Tom Terwilliger: The opportunity here is to not necessarily  go back, you know, if you're looking just to go back to life the way it was, the way it was before and back to normal then were things you weren't happy with about in your life. There were things that you could have achieved, more things that you wanted to do. This is the opportunity to do that - to write that book, to create that music, to create a following on Facebook, to do a blog, whatever it might be for you. This is the opportunity to do that. We'd been disrupted. We've had the cage rattled, you might say. And once that cage has been rattled, you can't go back because even if life goes back completely, you will never be the same. You'll always want more. It's been rattled and you'll be disappointed.

Tom Terwilliger: You'll be frustrated. You'll be angry with yourself if you don't take this opportunity. And it starts with making that first decision. What does this mean to you and how will you follow forward with it? And number two, get a big picture in your mind. Take your focus off the negativity. Stop focusing on something as positive and the things that will begin to change your life along the way. And then six months from now you'll be able to pat yourself on the back and say, I freaking did that. And not only survived it, but I thrived. I created something and I served someone along the way. I'm here to serve you as well. I hope you'll download that book. And maybe, maybe if you and I are lucky, we'll connect on a higher level and maybe even go through some coaching together. But for now that's enough. And God bless you. Be safe, be healthy, and put your faith in yourself and God and maybe your surroundings, but not necessarily in the rest of the world. Have faith.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said. Tom, you've been such a great guest. You're such an inspiration. Thank you so much. I hope we get to connect again soon, as soon as this lockdown, craziness, gets over. Folks, that's it. This is the Awesome Health Podcast. It's been a barn burner, bodybuilding to the Corona crisis, but more importantly, how you turn this current situation into the comeback of your life. Thank you, Tom, for joining us today, presenting this incredible opportunity. And I do hope we get to connect again really soon. Thanks everybody for listening. It's the Awesome Health Podcast and Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers. We'll see you next time. Take care.
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