Rewriting a childhood story, Falling in love with training again, Short breaths can make you fat, The only time getting fat is good for you, and more.
Guest: Mark England
Mark England has professionally coached thousands of clients worldwide using the power of words and stories for over a decade. He holds an BA in business and a Master’s in Education. Mark is the co-founder of Procabulary and is a lifelong personal development enthusiast.
“My mission is to help people create more powerful, more fulfilled lives using the power of better words and stories. Procabulary is the language of getting things done.” — Mark England | Founder, Procabulary
This is Mark’s second time on the show. Check out the first time his was on the show — Mark England: Transform People Through Language #39.
Special Offer: Get $100 OFF Procabulary Core Language Upgrade course
Rewriting a childhood story
Mark England and Mike were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, Daniel Raphael — A healer, shaman, and transformational healing coach that helped Mike transform his life.
At 34 years old, Mike was running himself into the ground. He wasn’t enjoying life and felt stuck and confused on why he’s not succeeding. He was watching his entrepreneur friends, who were in similar situations, making bigger impacts without working as hard, taking longer vacations, and staying more relaxed. He was envious of his peers who were having a better time than him and wanted to find his own peace.
Mike’s life changed course after a 30 minute session with Daniel Raphael, who had him rewrite an important life story from his youth. Raphael helped Mike see a story from his past for what it really was, while performing certain breath work, and he immediately felt lighter. He felt like weight was literally off his shoulders and that lightness stuck for good.
Mike had a deep realization that most of what he had worked on was about living up to what he thought his dad wanted from him. Even after his dad passed, he was putting some stuff into his mind and on his shoulders, that he needs to prove things to people. Later on, he realized he was just trying to prove that to himself.
Finding more joy
Beyond his session with Daniel Raphael, a 3 day retreat in the desert helped Mike change his diet. He started eating more greens and more superfoods — Foods that are more nutritionally dense, which have more vitamins and minerals than the average plant, fungus, or meat.
Mike dropped 5 lbs and felt more comfortable being himself. At 34 he was leaner than he was at 24, and he felt strong, was the most flexible he’s ever been, enjoyed food better, slept better, and even had better sex. His training approach changed too, he was much kinder to his joints, pain disappeared, and he was enjoying training again.
Falling in love with training again
Almost all boys grow up wanting to be big and strong. For Mike, ever since he was 13, he was thinking about how he can get big without getting too fat, and he succeeded in getting big and strong. During his competitive olympic weightlifting days, at 185 lbs, his best numbers were: Snatch: 270 lbs; C&J: 350 lbs; Squat: 500 lbs. But eventually being obsessed about getting big and strong has fired back. Mike had 3 herniated discs and went into surgery.
Once Mike got back to training after post hernia surgery, his recovery was long. He wasn’t able to train like he used to and it got him depressed. He didn’t feel like the person he wanted to be, especially as host of Barbell Shrugged, he wanted to be a big strong guy that has the credibility to teach others how to train. Mike was no longer enjoying training and thought about leaving the fitness industry altogether.
Fortunately, John Wolf (Episode 11) blew Mike’s mind at a Barbell Mastermind event, which helped him find new joy in training. Especially using Onnit’s steel maces and clubs. He suddenly didn’t want to go to the gym, else just play in his yard. He dove into new movements, using new tools, doing tons of bodywork, and tons of breathing.
Mike also figured out how to relax for the first time, learning breath work and downregulating techniques from Brian Mackenzie (Episodes 6 +7) and Jill Miller. He likes to downregulate breathing and rolling on Yoga Tune Up balls. Sometimes up to two hours without even hitting all spots! 😲
Lastly, changing his language was the last big component of his transformation. Mark England was Daniel Raphael’s mentor, and Mike wanted to dive deeper, which is when he took the Core Language Upgrade course, which changed his life once again.
I thought I knew what being relaxed was
There are many byproducts of being relaxed and downregulated, and for Mike some of those were greater self-expression. The ability to say what actually was on his mind, and even just let go and dance. On the weekend after his session with Daniel Raphael, Mike felt free, which made him feel like dancing. Since then, he feels smoother, his body got softer, and people even noticed how his movement pattern has developed.
Usually big, strong guys are stiff and tight because they are not in a downregulated state. Mike believes it mostly has to do with breathing. If your muscles are tight when you don’t squeeze them, then you are in a stressed state. If you don’t have good diaphragmatic breathe, then the core destabilizes, which makes you clench your jaw to help with stability.
You might know some people who use a mouthpiece when they are training. A mouthpiece is good to use every once in a while for a big lift, but you don’t want to train that motor pattern as a regular way of being. If you rely on your jaw, your core muscles will stop firing, and every time you’ll take a breath, you’ll lose stability. Without proper access to your core, your body will stabilize itself using others muscles, which can lead to back pain, knee pain, neck pain, etc.
Short breaths can make you fat
99% of people don’t have awareness to their breath and don’t know how to breathe from the diaphragm. When Mike was competing in weightlifting, his coaches used to tell him to breathe from his belly during resting. But his gut was too tight and he couldn’t get a full breath there, which meant he was only able to take short breaths.
When you breathe short, your body produces cortisol, and cortisol can make you fat if you’re exposed to it too much. There is a vicious cycle, where cortisol creates stress, which causes you to breathe short, which creates more cortisol. When you breathe short for too long, you lose range of motion, and eventually you lose access to your diaphragm. Without proper access to breathing from your diaphragm, you can’t relax, and you won’t even know it.
If you can’t access your diaphragm, you should try taking adaptogenic herbs, a.k.a. adaptogens. Those will help your body downregulate and pull you out of a stressed state. Adaptogens aren’t going to fix you, but will help you relax, which will allow you to practice diaphragmatic breathing. Once you breathe better, you’ll move better, and you’ll have a chance to fix the conversation in your head of what’s happening in your life.
Changing your story
England and Mike had many conversations on language, movement, and breathing that led them to create a workshop called Flow Stated. They both experienced how moving better consciously, breathing better consciously, and thinking and speaking better consciously, made them feel more fluid. Over time, it also became the new norm.
England went through 8 years of working on himself, which helped him listen to himself better, and navigate situations better. He changed his perspective from a mentally tough dude to a softer, centered man. England used to put a lot of weight on his shoulders worrying what people would think about him. He got into martial arts and fighting to prove to himself that he wasn’t scared, which now means to him, that he was actually scared.
“The thing that changed my posture more than anything, was changing the story. I could do all the breathing and the movement, that all helps. That’s necessary. We have to be moving, we have to be breathing to reinforce what’s happening, we have to retrain the physical body to catch up with the emotional body.” — Mike Bledsoe
The only time getting fat is good for you
From ages 13-40, Mark England had a six pack and was very attached to it. As a child, he was chubby and kids called him “pudgy”. That single word really influenced him and forced him to see himself in a certain identity. He grew up thinking hard guys are strong, strong guys is the way, and if a guy is not hard, then he is not a man.
England remembers to this day how proud he was in 11th grade when a girl said his stomach was a hard as a rock after smacking it. Over the years, he started connecting dots on how his body felt, how he was breathing, and realized his stomach more than stiff, it was locked up. England went through a long process of breath work to release his diaphragm. After a while, he started moving differently, which also led to changes in his internal and external dialogue.
England’s life story became clearer to him over time, and he felt like he had owned the vast majority of himself consciously, but on an unconscious level, he didn’t know what else was missing. In October 2016, his long lasting attachment to his six pack became less important to him, and instead, he was focused on resolving what was going on in his stomach. He felt like his body was working around the diaphragmatic blockage, which was causing knee and shoulder pain.
England discovered that when he was pushing his stomach out, it felt like he was stretching it, which felt good. Part of his mind suddenly had the idea that getting fat will get his gut better. England would never advise anyone to get fat, he’s a fitness and health enthusiast. But in this very particular case, it was beneficial to him because it helped let go of troubled emotional attachment.
England stopped working out and started consuming ice cream, beer, and added an extra meal to his diet. Within 3 months he put on 20 lbs, going from 170 lbs to 190 lbs, but it also did what he thought it would. The fat state helped him get over feeling stuck and unconscious, and softened his shoulders, core, and jaw.
The biggest benefit England noticed was his new identity. When he hung out with his dad after his big weight gain, his dad told him he needs to lose weight and that he looks “pudgy”. The one word that used to trigger him and send him in downward spiral was no longer a thing. Even though it came from his dad, THE man in his life. His body and mind had no reaction at all. He felt calm and centered, and said to to his dad with a smile on his face: “Yeah, you’re right.”
Flow Stated Workshop
Flow Stated is a workshop England and Mike created to help people repattern their movement, breath and language. The workshop only takes 8 hours and is not about education, else about an experience that will change your thought process. It’s about increasing awareness and contemplation to language, breathing, and moving, which will change the way you approach training, eating, sleeping, and more. It’s about forming an effortless strategy that will help you live a better and happier for the rest of your life.
England and Mike are taking Flow Stated worldwide in 2018. So far, they have a few workshops in the USA and another 5 booked for Europe: Berlin (two workshops), Switzerland, Latvia, and Scandinavia. Look out for upcoming workshops on the Events page and on FlowStated.com.