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8 Tips for How a Pro Athlete Does Self-Improvement in Money, Fitness, Life, and Startups

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4. First off, (can I say this?), talented is overrated when it comes to living a happier life.

A year later after our first workout, my friend Charlie had lost 40 pounds and was posting damn near professional sprint triathlon times. He was whooping my ass in all the weird HIIT training sessions we could come up with, and in return, the teacher (me), had become the student (him).

And I say talent is overrated because there is so much talent out there. There are so many people smarter than me. More athletic than me. Better looking than me. 😉

I see it all the time. At events. I see it at the gym. I see it on NBA TV. I see bodies, minds, and people that have endless potential.

But the difference between success and being stuck is razor thin because for every player or human that becomes free to do what they want, there are another dozen that didn’t.

For every American that becomes self-sustainable, reaches their life’s goals, starts a business, sells a startup, has a thriving marriage, another dozen don’t.

I like to define my success with strict parameters.

  1. Have freedom.
  2. Love my work.
  3. Make passive income off my savings.
  4. Travel like a nomad.
  5. Have meaningful, deep, funny, and thought-provoking friendships and relationships.

My success starts with freedom to choose what I want to do. If I want to learn how to be a beekeeper, than goddamn it, I’m going to do it.





People that don’t challenge their fixed mindset, the status quo of what is possible, usually under achieve in their life — across all domains.

Want to live a more free, happier, less stressed life?

Be less American.

Yes, actually buying more shit, paying off bigger mortgages, car payments, and just working harder isn’t always going to help you save for your next investment, small business (yes, build a tiny home and rent out your house while you live in it, you prude).


Investing money in passive income streams will though help you sprint towards that first rental house. Find that $25 Lending Club loan to hand out. Talk to that unconventional financial advisor. Read Mr. Money Mustache. Invest in your next small lean startup or business with your savings.

And so this idea that growth can’t happen in spurts and sprints across different domains in your life is just ridiculous to me because the way I see it, Americans just keep putting the spoon they’ve been handed into their mouth, eating unhappy corporate jobs, expensing most of their profits away with bigger things to collect, while weird dudes like me live in a state of perpetual freedom trying new ideas and practically living in a utopia of self-made days tending to bee pollen and camel rides.

I love to live unconventionally, which is exactly what HIIT training is:

Unconventional. Challenging. Thought-provoking. Efficient.

5. Anyway, I digress, talent is over-rated, but high-intensity interval training isn’t.

And I’ll tell you why:

Because it’s hard. Really hard. Some things that are hard for you are actually good for you in the long run. And not everyone will enjoy HIIT living or fitness. Not everyone will enjoy suffering, which means that if it were easy, then anyone could achieve high levels of fitness, success, freedom, and that just isn’t how life works.

Winning titles, championships, getting to the top, building a free life, being the best, dominating a field or career is supposed to be hard. If it weren’t, more people would become what they dreamt of becoming.

Yeah, you’d have the six pack and no fat on your body.

You’d have the million dollars of passive income a month.

Your social media game would have 10,000,000 followers.

yoda, you da man.

6. Yoda said it best.

You need to stop trying and start doing.

Don’t try to wake up before school. Just wake up.

Don’t try to lift weights. Show up and lift weights.

Don’t try to do high-intensity interval training workouts three times a week.

Actually, like seriously, just plan them and do them.

7. Martin Gibala, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the kinesiology department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

His research on the physiological and health benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has attracted immense scientific attention and worldwide media coverage.

Your fitness, in my opinion, is always a different levels. These levels are different for everyone based on your genetics, amount of previous training, and ability to work and slide towards either end of your potential.

As a pro point guard, since I wasn’t the fastest, quickest point guard in the world, it meant I had to train differently than my competition. I had to not only train myself for the fastest motor, I also trained to have the longest lasting, highest RPM motor as well.

This was what HIIT did for me.

I studied Steve Nash. John Stockton. Magic Johnson. I watched Serbian and Croatian youth skill development coaches teach their youth. One thing that always stood out: if you play the game at a high intensity for a longer duration than most players, you win.

So this chart kind of outlines what we are wanting from our high intensity interval workouts. You could even say this could be used as a graph of your life. Hour four of intense studying followed by hour five of recovery and eating. Hour six is maybe a run that is broken into Tibata format followed by a office work followed by more recovery.

You get the gist. Break up your day, and workouts with high bouts of short intensity followed by short stints of recovery.


  • 30 seconds to 1:00 minute of high intensity work x 4–10 repeats
  • 4.5 min rest after 4–10 high intensity reps,
  • 3 times/week

Professional basketball training intensity feels like:

  • All out, balls to the wall on a:
  • Creating 500 Watts (on a bike) for 20–30 seconds
  • 20–30 seconds of sprinting on track should get you to around 200 meters/yards
  • 30–60 seconds of hard swimming in a pool should get you
  • 60 seconds of continually sprinting and shooting, (making 10–12 threes) from baseline to baseline

Weekly training time can be as low as 10 minutes of each actual exercise PER session!!!!

8. Don’t have 10 minutes to work intensely in HIIT?

One hour is 4% of your day. If you can’t spend less than 4% of your day on yourself, get real with your self-respect and self-love.

Talk to your partner about this, if you need the time.

Everyone needs to practice self-love for moving their bodies and putting effort into their potential.

Does your lack of discipline mean you lack mastery of yourself or are you destined to be controlled by your monkey mind?

By training in the HIIT style, Gibala talks about how your V02MAX can substantially improve over 6–8 weeks of consistent training, which effectually prolongs your life, your athletic career, and enhances your fitness game.

Gibala says that 100% of conditioned and de-conditioned athletes through proper training protocol, their VO2MAX can definitely be improved. And by the way, V02MAX also correlates to the longevity of your life, just like flossing.

Who knew interval training benefits also helped you live longer?

If you can increase VO2MAX by 20% through training (some increase it by 100% in 6 weeks), depending on your genetics and training, imagine how much better you will start feeling!

Roger Bannister, the first sub-four minute miler only had 30 minutes a day to train during medical school. He used interval training at lunch time. Little did he know, he was practicing what what Giabala has studied scientifically as HIIT.

I enjoy writing, please follow me here and please leave comments, feedback, or editorial advice (since I’m a newbie writer) @ Trevor Huffman !

Ps. Keep pushing! You’ll rest soon enough!

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