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Bedros Keulian on Learning how to “Man Up”

By February 11, 2021 March 11th, 2021 3 Comments

Today Mark is talking to Bedros Keuilian, (@bedroskeuilian) entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, and in this wide-ranging conversation, they talk about business, mental health, therapy and learning how to become a man. Most recently, Bedros wrote the book “Man Up: How to Cut the Bullshit and Kick Ass in Business (and in Life),” about how he survived and escaped communist Armenia and an abusive relationship with his father.

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Hey folks. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today. Super appreciate it.

As you know, I do not take it lightly, because your time is valuable. So, we’re going to get right into it.

I’m here with my good friend Bedros Coolio… (laughing)

Bedros: Keuilian man! (laughing) Bedros Keuilian. I knew this was going to happen. Do not edit this out.

Mark: Bedros Keuilian. Who’s now named Coolio…

Bedros: Right, like the rapper…

Mark: Right. He’s awesome. I’m at his headquarters at Fit Body Boot Camp…

Bedros: Yes sir…

Mark: You rock…

Bedros: Thanks for coming out man.

Mark: I love you. You’re awesome. Also, I was on his podcast “Empire Show…” it’s a great podcast – check it out. I’m sure you know about Bedros especially if you read the show notes – Bedros is the founder Fit Body Boot Camp – one of the fastest growing fitness businesses and kind of revolutionized fitness in a large extent. So, we’re going to talk about that.

We’re going to talk about business. We’re going to talk about Armenia and growing up in fucked up childhoods like both of us did… depends on how much time we really want to go… we could probably spend hours, and hours, and hours chatting about interesting things.

And also, like how he pivoted and got through the pandemic… everyone’s dealing with that kind of stuff, but thanks so much for joining me today. Or letting me join you. I’m in your studio.

Bedros: Thank you for coming out, man. Really appreciate you.

Mark: Yeah. So, I first met Bedros – and he told his version of this story a little while ago – when my friend Shane – who was a Navy SEAL – who trained with me… Shane was one of our SEALFIT athletes…

Bedros: He told me that. That’s right.

Mark: He was trained at the SEALFIT training center… back in the day, when I had the SEALFIT training center – downtown Encinitas – we had eight to ten SEAL trainees, candidates – who either lived with us, or they were local. And they would come every day to train all day long.

Every one of them made it into the seals over the years…

Bedros: What a head start that gave them…

Mark: Huge. Great guy. So, he introduced us. You reached out… was able to help you out with an issue that you had.

And then I’m sitting there one day – and I got this cryptic text from you like three weeks earlier – “look out for some package.”

(laughing) and I was like “oh god, did I do something wrong?

Bedros: (laughing) tick-tick-tick.

Mark: (laughing) this guy’s Armenian. What do they do over there?

But I packed that away. I didn’t think too much about it. And then one day this box shows up and it’s all these steaks – these wagyu steaks and I didn’t even know what a wagyu steak was. I’m literally buried so deeply in my own work yeah that I don’t…

Bedros: You really didn’t know what a wagyu steak was?

Mark: I did not know what a wagyu steak… I’ve heard of Kobe steak… I’d never heard, actually… (laughing) it’s a freaking box of wagyu steaks. And I’m like “oh interesting. That’s a really nice gift.”

And so, I texted Bedros and I said “hey, do you want me to bring them up here to eat or do you want to come down and join me?”

Bedros: That was such a cool approach, man. Really – I told you – like, I’ve sent steaks to like 600 people – no one has been like “hey, you want to eat this together?”

Mark: Really?

Bedros: Yeah, you were the first one.

Mark: Seemed like the natural thing to do. I wanted to share with you.

Anyways, I know this isn’t that interesting to you, but it’s funny… (laughing) so we come up and have the steak. Had a phenomenal time… Bedros, your family is amazing.

Bedros: Thank you, sir.

Mark: Really, so cool. And sandy and I – my wife – we just had a blast. And I got home and the steak was unreal. Like it was otherworldly.

And so, I get home and I go on the website of Debragga – and Debragga – if you’re listening, you need to sponsor these podcasts. And I’m like “I’m going to order some more of that wagyu steak.” Mind you Bedros sent me like 10 of them or something like that.

And I get on there and I’m like “oh my god. They’re like 120 dollars a piece. That was like…

Bedros: I wonder if they’re just overpriced…

Mark: Of course they are. It’s marketing.

Anyway, so that was my introduction to Bedros. What a great guy you are and what an interesting life. So, you were born…

Bedros: Just laughing, because this whole episode for your show is going to be a shit-show cause I’m just laughing and crying like we did at dinner…

Mark: (laughing) let’s just hope that we actually can say some funny things so people can laugh with us….

So, speaking of laughing, you had me in absolute stitches when I was up here at your place telling me about your father – the Armenian guy.

So, tell us about your childhood. What were the crazy things… experiences that you had…that shaped you? We know about some of the… we all had our negative experiences. But what were some of the really cool, crazy things that helped shape who you are?

Bedros: Well, for one to have a father who was a member of the communist party.

Mark: Yeah, that doesn’t happen for too many…

Bedros: No, no. And one of the coolest things that would happen in Armenia… so we lived there until I was six years old… and then in 1980 when I was six, we escaped the Soviet Union and the story was that we’re going on a little vacation to Italy…

Mark: And because he was a communist party member, he could do that right?

Bedros: Yes, because Italy was a communist party sympathizer. So, it made sense that we would go to Italy, because if he says like “hey, we’re going on vacation to the United States… “

Mark: No. Red flag, right?

Bedros: Yeah, and of course we did go to Italy, and from there we beelined it right to the American consult my dad said “hey, I’m a political refugee. I’m defecting from the Soviet Union. I’m a member of the communist party. I have information, I’ll give you whatever you need.”

“so long as you let us enter the united states.” Ten days later we were in the US.

Mark: No kidding.

Bedros: Yeah, flew into JFK and I do know now why… I did wonder as a kid like why are we going to California. But Armenia is specifically very cold and, my dad didn’t want to see any more snow… so he’s like “southern California it is.” That’s how we ended up here.

Mark: We’re going to go to freedom, and we’re going to go to warmth.

Bedros: Right, exactly.

Mark: Smart guy.

Bedros: But so, imagine this he was a member of the communist party – but he wore Jordache jeans, he wore Nikes, he wore ray-ban sunglasses and he would listen to the Beach Boys and Elvis…

Like he was the most Americanized communist on the planet, right? And so, in Armenia or Soviet Union, all the passports are red. He had a really, really dark red one that he would keep in a drawer. He would never use.

That passport was a sign that he’s a member of the communist party. So, he could walk into any store and do an inspection and do whatever he needs to do in support of the communist party – if they feel that the person working at that store is stealing – taking money under the table…

Mark: Just being a member of the communist party gave you that kind of control over the populace

Bedros: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: And so, I’m curious like of the total population of Armenia how many people were in the communist party?

Bedros: 16 percent.

Mark: And did you have to be invited or do you get to join? I mean can you pay your way in, like…? (laughing) go to the website?

Bedros: (laughing) apply like the PPP program these days? Yeah, no.

Dude, that’s a great story because then we come to the united states… once you live here for five years, you can apply to become a citizen, right?

Mark: Right.

Bedros: And so, being a minor – I needed my mom and dad to both become citizens and automatically I become one… my dad failed the citizenship three times, passed on the fourth time because they were like “well, why were you a member of the communist party?”

He’s like, “look I didn’t have a choice.”

They’re like “no, you actually did have a choice.”

He’s like “well, I did have a choice, but if I said no…” so they ask you “hey, Mark, you’ve worked your way up into loyalty. Would you like to be a member of the communist party?”

And if you say no, you’re being shipped off to Siberia, man. And never to be seen again, right?

Mark: They disappear you.

Bedros: Yeah. And so, your response needs to be “what an honor. Wow. I’m speechless. Yes, please how can I serve mother Russia?”

And so, you do. And so that’s how he became a member of the communist party. And then he takes his little dark red passport and he throws it in the drawer. And my brother who’s 14 years older than me so imagine he’s 18 – he takes my dad’s passport and he uses it to take girls on a date.

So, he gets free food, free taxi rides, because you show that to anyone in town and they know exactly who you are. And they’re going to treat you like royalty.

And so many times like other party members – because he would literally go into other parts of the community. So maybe the cops know you in your town, but you go to a neighboring town and the cops like drag you back. Like, “hey, you know this guy’s doing stupid stuff?”

So, my dad would just slap his ass around left and right. We were definitely raised by the hand – he called it the five brothers…

Mark: The five brothers?

Bedros: Yeah, he goes “you want the five brothers?”

“No, I don’t!” It didn’t matter. Why are you asking anyway? You’re gonna hit me, right? And so anyway, he’s a gentle man now…

Mark: But I imagine – okay, so I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole too long – but I’ve been pretty open on this podcast about my father having his own five finger plan. And he actually had a five-finger extended into the belt – he loved the belt. So that was fairly effective.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And my brother and I – my brother actually took the brunt of it, to be honest. We shared a room… two quick stories might bring spark some memories right we shared a room and my brother’s bed -unfortunate for him – was closest to the door.

And so, we’d be doing our thing and of course, because we knew that making a lot of noise would piss my dad off and trigger him – we did it. Because we just wanted to piss him off and trigger him.

The next thing you know he’s running up the stairs – and we had this big winding staircase. We could imagine the belt coming off in our minds… it’s like, “there’s the belt, it’s coming off. And he’s got it raised above his head.

And the door would fly open and he’s like “wham, wham, wham.” Hit brad. And like maybe fifty percent of the time, he would blow his steam on Brad, and look at me and go “same to you, shithead.”

Bedros: (laughing) so you would just create more noise…

Mark: (laughing) and then brad’s like “not fair.”

Bedros: (laughing) did he ever try and switch beds with you?

Mark: (laughing) he did actually. I was like, “no way, dude.”

And then the other story – like, these are crazy memories. We can laugh now, because I’ve done a lot of work, right?

Bedros: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: That’s violence. That’s aggression, and it’s abuse. What you went through was abuse. You have to unwind that stuff later in life or else it stays with you…

Bedros: Yeah, it messes you up…

Mark: But one really fond memory I have – and this again is at my dad’s expense – this is at an earlier house than this other one, but my brother’s still in this bedroom – and it’s an attic room. And the door to get in, you have to step up and duck down if you’re a tall guy.

But for us kids, we just jump over…

Bedros: And you’re ready…

Mark: So, we’re doing our thing – “rah, rah, rah.”

“Shut up!”

It takes like three “shut ups” and finally here it comes. Oh shit. He’s running up the stairs, his belt’s coming off, he’s running down the hall… and we’re cowering, all we hear is like “boom.”

Bedros: Oh shoot. He hit his head.

Mark: (laughing) knocked himself completely out. We’re just like hovering over him…

Bedros: That reminds me of a great story…

Mark: I knew it would trigger something…

Bedros: It did. So, imagine being a foreigner in any country the first words you learn are usually the foul words, right?

And so, we come to the United States, we’re living in section 8 housing – which is government assisted housing – for those of you who don’t know – and it’s not always the best housing. And my dad’s got a paper route – so 2 AM, he’s delivering papers. And then he goes and pumps gas at a gas station after that. And then after that shift is over, he works at a pizzeria as a busboy washing dishes.

Mark: Wow. How old is he now?

Bedros: So, 47 years old.

Mark: That’s what you are…

Bedros: Yeah, exactly. And so, he’s 47 years old and my older brother’s working, my older sister’s working – I’m the baby of the family – six years old, at home with mom.

So, in the apartment complex, I learned the f-word and when you learn the f-word – everything’s like “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” Just “fuck”-ing everything, right? Because it was the f-word, man.

Mark: (laughing) of course. It’s a big discovery at that age.

Bedros: (laughing) and apparently my mom knew so I come into the house and I’m just like f-bombing everything and my mom’s like – in Armenian – you better stop this. Otherwise, your dad’s gonna give you a whipping when he gets home.

I’m not gonna stop it. Like, it’s a lovely beautiful word that I just learned. So, he gets home, she tells him, and there’s this window that’s got a couch in front of it. And just like this wall here, there’s like a little bit of room – not this much room – there’s a little bit of room to get behind the couch.

And so, my dad’s like “come here.”

I’m like “nope.” And I don’t know where he gathered all… dude, he had about 80 keys on two key rings clipped together. I don’t know…

Mark: Probably most of them for Armenian…

Bedros: Probably. Like he wasn’t that important of a man when you’re like delivering newspapers and working…

Mark: He just didn’t want to throw anything away. Which is probably the culture…

Bedros: I think that was it. Yeah, and so I’ve got myself between that that window and the couch… I’m like “I’m not getting out.”

And he’s trying to… we’re playing the cat and mouse game. So, he goes “get over here or else.” And he’s going to throw the keys at me. And so, he does and I duck and he smashes the window. And he gave me a beating of a lifetime, because now the apartment complex is going to charge him for it. And man, I got a beating so bad from him, that my mom had to literally dive in like in the MMA fights at UFC yeah. Where the guys just gone berserk, and the other guy’s gone limp. And so, the ref have to jump in and just grab…

My mom had to jump in, and just hold him and hold me and separate us. And as soon as I got free, I beelined it to the restroom – lock the door…

I can laugh about this shit now, and I know people watching are like “how can you guys laugh about this?” Because I’ve done the work. You’ve done the work. We’ve processed through it and I realized that anger, that rage came from just a lifetime of abuse that he had gone through…

Mark: That’s right. You know, interestingly enough, what I’ve also learned is that there’s positives come out of that stuff. Like it drives me crazy when someone’s like all victim because of abuse.

And then they get stuck. They get locked in the victim. They don’t see the positive that came out of it.

Like for me, I wouldn’t have been a Navy SEAL if my dad hadn’t been who he was. When I went to SEAL training, you couldn’t hurt me. There wasn’t a damn thing that instructor could do to hurt me.

Because they had nothing on my dad. You know what I’m talking about?

Bedros: Oh, yeah. You knew how to check out. Disassociation…

Mark: Right. I was a great warrior – in fact, I’m willing to bet a good percentage of special ops guys had abuse. And the smart ones deal with the negative side of it, or else it does creep up on you. And it causes you to make decisions that you’re not aware of where they’re coming from.

They call that the shadow, right? And so, your shadow creeps up on you. It can show up as an addiction, pts…

In fact, I was talking about this with my wife the other day and with some really senior seals how we’re noticing now that military vets are showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress before they go to combat. And I said “I know why. The reason is they already have trauma.”

“and what we see in severe cases of post-traumatic stress, is that that the combat magnifies that trauma tenfold – 100-fold.” But the trauma pre-existed combat. And so just the stress of going to combat is already starting to trigger the trauma.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: I have a friend Josh Mantz who says “trauma doesn’t discriminate.” And everybody has trauma at some level, right? Even if you don’t have an abusive family or father – which I don’t know what percentage of people do or don’t – but I know it’s not uncommon. Especially our generation.

But everyone’s going to experience some trauma, because… they say the first five years of life will determine the next 95. And even with loving parents, there’s times where you’re left alone… there’s times where things happen…

And the undifferentiated mind of a child that doesn’t have any ego separation is traumatized…

Bedros: Right. And until that mind is able to process what it’s gone through, that trauma will show up in the marriage, in the business, in that person’s just personal health. Mental health.

And then when you think about as a warrior – as you guys are training for combat – of course it’s gonna get triggered.

Mark: It’s going to get triggered.

Bedros: Why wouldn’t it? I realized that arguments with my wife when we first got married – I would react and only looking back I can admit that she was right.

Mark: (laughing) that’s a big one. Took some therapy for you to say that…

Bedros: (laughing) actually, took 16 months of therapy. But only in hindsight.

Should would go, “look dude. You’re giving me a level 10 reaction, to a level 3 fight that we’re having.”

But I realize now, looking back – through the help of Kevin Downing – who I told you earlier was my therapist, who I worked with for 16 months – that our argument would trigger a traumatic event for me that took place as a kid.

Mark: And you transferred all that into the argument.

Bedros: Right. I’m literally fighting that battle from 20 some odd years ago, and she’s just like “all I did was leave the damn light on,” right? And it has to get processed, and if we don’t process the trauma it does show up in the darkness places, man. It really does.

Mark: Yeah.

Emotional Work


Mark: So, this is an interesting thing… I want to stay on that track, but I want to bring it back to the positive, right? So, like the positives from my childhood was really successful Navy SEAL leader. And enough business savvy – because my family was in business – to then become an entrepreneur and then fumble-fail my way forward to some success.

But I never really experienced the true success that I knew I was capable of, until I started the emotional work. And went deep.

And I wondered if your experience was similar. Because you’ve started a number of businesses, and now So, Fit Body Boot Camp is really… over the past five years now… what happened during the pandemic is a little hiccup…

Bedros: Yeah, a little hiccup. (laughing) losing over a hundred locations was a little hiccup…

But even that I can sit here and laugh about.

Mark: If you didn’t do the emotional work, it would be hard to laugh about that.

Bedros: Right, it would be very hard to laugh about it. But I’ve done the emotional work, and I’ve got the confidence and I can tell you here… like, as sure as I’m going to take my next breath, that Fit Body Boot Camp will have twice the locations by the end of 2022 that it did going into the pandemic.

And it’s simply because – like a rubber band – the pandemic just pulled us and stretched us – tested us… and now I feel like we just let go the rubber band and we just launch – like I’m doing two and three zoom calls a day now. And the zoom call is the last thing that I do when we award a new franchise to someone. So, when our sales team qualifies them, makes sure they share the same core values…

So, I do a zoom call, making sure that “hey look, we’re gonna be business partners… here’s what I expect of you. Here’s what you can expect of us.” Blah-blah-blah.

And off we go. And during the 10, 11 months of the pandemic, we had brought on five locations. And just this month alone, we’re set to bring on four.

Mark: And you lost a lot of locations?

Bedros: Yeah, we lost over 100 locations out of 600 locations that we had.

Mark: Crazy. But how many years ago did you start?

Bedros: 2012 is when we franchised…

Mark: And I guess where I was going with this is like starting a business – and there’s a lot of entrepreneurs and business people listening to this podcast – I used to talk about it when I started the Coronado Brewing Company – like I launched a beautiful business and Coronado Brewing Company brews like 40,000 barrels a year today. And it’s really successful.

But I’m not involved anymore. Because of the emotional piece.

It’s easy to do the nuts and bolts. It’s easy to be task focused and like, man, you know? If you’re a smart guy, you’re strong – or woman – and you can just drive forward. And this is the model for American businesses – like go-go-go, do-do-do… get the strategy. Get the tactics. You know, go-go-go.

But there’s real limitations – especially in this world that we call the VUCA world – with that approach. And what’s missing is the deep awareness from the emotional development, intuitive development, spiritual strength…

And so, I’m curious how that side of you played into the decisions… especially once you started and you realized that this is hard work…

Bedros: Well, for me I learned very quickly – and again I’m a slow learner so I literally learned, because I thought I was having a heart attack….

In fact, we’ve got my book sitting up here – the first chapter is titled “the morning of my heart attack” because – I’m 46 years old now – at 37 years old I thought I was having a heart attack, because I experienced my first panic attack. I experienced my first panic attack, because I hadn’t done the deep work. And I was just white knuckling – following process… marketing funnels, building a team, having a product, making sure we have sales squared away…

All those processes. Like I said, any trained monkey can follow that. But your growth in business is literally – there’s a glass ceiling on it. And that glass ceiling is determined by the level of development…

Emotional development, mental development, relationship development…

Mark: You have to be the person that’s worthy of taking it to the next level…

Bedros: Bingo. And so, I would hit up against that glass ceiling, Mark. And I would find myself going back to bad habits of taking excessive amounts of Vicodin to quiet my brain at night. In the morning I’d – through a string of friends that I had – found my way to Adderall. And so, Vicodin and NyQuil – overuse of NyQuil – I’m not talking about the little cap. The cap gets thrown out. You drink half the bottle. Chase it with a few Vicodin.

And then you fall asleep to quiet the mind. Only to wake up and have coffee pre-workout and a few Adderall pills just to get started. So, I found that every time I would hit up against this glass ceiling, I would go back to the vices. I would go back to emotional eating. And I would just start suffering in silence.

Which means me and my wife became these passing ships in the night. And it wasn’t until that panic attack that I had – which I really did think was a heart attack – that I started this self-work.

And even then, I always tried to take the easy way – I told you earlier on the empire show – I went to the doctor and I said “can you give me some medicine? Can you give them pills for this?”

I knew what I had to do, but I wanted Xanax instead.

Mark: (laughing) pill for emotional development…

Bedros: Right, right.

Mark: We don’t really have that yet…

Bedros: (laughing) not yet. But I felt limitless… and he just took a pill, right?

So, anyway after three weeks of seeing the Xanax isn’t gonna work, because it just killed all creativity and I was drooling out the side of my mouth – I started working with a therapist. And it was a 16-month experience, working with a therapist where the deep work started and continues.

Mark: And could you track changes in your decision-making and the growth in the business to that work?

Bedros: My decision-making, my level of communication, the growth of the business – even with this pandemic… if this pandemic happened pre-deep work it would have probably caused a divorce, or it would have led me down to some addictive vice that would have been the end of me. Because my mind would have gone down a toilet bowl.

I’m just like “all right, we’ll just figure out how else we can make money while gyms aren’t making money.” I get it.

Like we were on the Inc 500 list three years in a row, entrepreneur magazine’s 150 fastest growing franchises – and I was so proud of that. And that had become my identity.

And all of a sudden, the pandemic comes and gyms are shutting down left and right. And I’m the CEO of a fitness franchise, and gyms are shutting down left and right.

My identity back then would have been tied to this and it would have been a direct attack on who I am… and I’m not capable… and how dare they…? And of course, the emotional reaction.

Now I respond to a situation. Back then I used to emotionally react to things. And of course, when there was tension, I was passive aggressive and then I would blow up. There was no like slow buildup.

It was just passive aggressive, passive aggressive, passive aggressive and then blow up at someone. And this pandemic was just like, “oh, cool. Guess what? The world’s gonna go back to normal, we don’t know how long. Let’s not think that it’s gonna be a couple months. So, we’re gonna shift our business to online coaching and we’re gonna grow our supplement company instead.”

And so, we put our supplement company… it literally went from 400,000 a month in revenue to 1.5 million a month in revenue two months into the pandemic. Because I just changed my focus, and I said “my identity is not tied to the franchise. My identity is tied to being a good husband, being a role model father, being a good servant to society.”

And I could continue to serve, and be a good husband, and be a good father… and mentor my team through the pandemic. And that’s what we did.

But the old me would have completely panicked, freaked-out, hit the glass ceiling and shattered.

Mark: That’s awesome. And I love… there’s so many ways we could take this, because this idea of identity or story is so critical for people to understand – that we’re all living a story and if you do not do this type of work… and the work of self-awareness, it can you can have an entry point…

Most people, frankly, will have an entry point through an emotional breakdown, like you’re talking about.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: That’s the most common. It wasn’t mine – mine was through meditation, but then it led me to uncover stuff – so I never had a major breakdown, but I did have the midlife crisis we talked about – where I was like desperately terrified because I was heading down the wrong path fast.

Bedros: But to be so self-aware at 21 years old, like I wish I had that gift… you know, looking back I wish I had a lot of things…

But yeah, your entry point was through meditation…

Mark: I was lucky to stumble upon that…

Bedros: But again, at the end of the day we all have to do what? The work.

Mark: Got to do the work…

Bedros: Because to stumble upon it and go “okay, I see there’s something really gross and ugly that needs to be addressed.” How many people know that in their life and their marriage and their health? And their relationship with their kids? In their business and then never do anything about it?

Mark: They don’t do it. Because it’s hard.

Bedros: It is. It’s not fun. It’s not sexy.

Mark: And we have so many distractions. And it’s so easy to just “oh well, Sunday’s the super bowl. I’ll deal with this next week.”

And next week never comes because you keep kicking the can down the road. And then that leads to that mid-life crisis. Or a serious health breakdown – mentally, physically and emotionally.

So, you’ve got to work on your being, while you work on your doing. It’s kind of like the saying a lot of business coaches will say – you got to work in the business while you work on the business.

And I say that’s true. But you also got to work on yourself while you work in the business and on the business.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And your business can stupid only grow to the level of your own development.

Bedros: Yeah. I forget who the author was of “21 Laws of Leadership” – and he talks about how leadership is the lid. And that’s so true.

And leadership – as we talked about again earlier – well how do you become a great leader? You have to do the self-work, process through the traumas that you had, become a better decision maker, learn to communicate, understand there’s many different personalities. Know when you need to lead and when you need to follow.

And all those things only happen when you become self-aware, do the work, kind of lean into authenticity or vulnerability.

And if we don’t, then we want to just bully our way through things. And that’s when you have high turnover in business, that’s when you have lots of lawsuits, that’s when you have a chaotic relationship with your kids – with your spouse.

And I got to tell you, since I’ve lived both lives it’s so much easier running a bigger, more complex organization now – as I’m whole – than a smaller less complex business that I felt like I was white knuckling, holding on because I wasn’t whole. I hadn’t done the work.

Mark: Yeah, totally get that. And so, being whole to me means, like, first of all there’s no there there, right? We’re always becoming whole, we’re always becoming more, we’re always becoming… I guess, finding our real truth.

And then what that leads to is that first and foremost of importance is the service. Health – service to your own health and your spiritual side, right? God, if you will.

Service to your family, service to the community, service to the world… that’s first and foremost.

How you serve then is the doing part. Yeah, and so in your current form, it’s Fit Body Boot Camp, but you know someone might come along and buy it from you in two years.

Then guess what? You got to find a new doing way to serve people.

Bedros: And in fact, a dear friend of mine – Sharran Srivatsaa – he bought a real estate company – Kingston Lane – he bought a real estate company he bought into a real estate company, came on board as a CEO, and they gave him lots of equity – he bought into it.

And he knew that the real estate industry was like cyclical – every five years or so he built this company from doing 300 million dollars in sales to 3 billion in sales and they sold it. In that five-year period, he had become the company. His identity was it.

When I met him, it was post-sale… he had a massive exit… massive exit… I met him on a private jet and I was going to be flying to Arizona to speak at an event and a mutual friend of myself and Sharran reaches out and says “hey, Sharran’s going to be at that event, and he wants to know if you would join him on a private jet, since he’s going to Scottsdale anyway?”

Well sure. I was going to fly commercial… sure, I’ll fly private…

So, we’re literally sitting kneecap to kneecap across from each other – and I’m like “hey man, I really appreciate this opportunity. And is there anything I can do for you?”

He’s like, “actually, the reason I wanted you on this plane with me is so I can have 45 minutes of your undivided time, because I’m lost, I’m depressed, I have no idea who I am.” And it was literally a byproduct…

Which got me thinking, what happens when I sell Fit Body Boot Camp? Because we’re actually entertaining selling 80% of our equity right now. And what happens when I sell Fit Body Boot Camp? What’s next?

And I’ve always thought that my identity was going to be tied into what I’m doing, until that anxiety attack happened. And I met with Sharran, and I worked with my therapist – and I realized I got to always have what’s next.

You see this happen with NFL athletes. They just live and breathe for that sport. And then they retire and die.

Mark: I see it with Navy seals.

Bedros: Navy seals, yeah. Anybody high performing…

Mark: Yeah, any higher performer or anybody who is overly identified with the doing side with their accomplishments. That’s their ego. Their ego is saying “that’s me.”

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And the mistake is that the ego is not them. We had this conversation earlier, about the difference between your thoughts and emotions and who you really are. Who you really are is like the being work. Like, find that out and you recognize that that’s all you need.

It’s like that saying “you can’t take anything with you, but you can die trying.” There’s nobody on their deathbed who says man I am so happy that I built Fit Body Boot Camp and sold it for a billion dollars.

No, they’re saying “man, I got beautiful kids and I was a good dad,” right?

Bedros: Yeah. So, I’m happy – I’m grateful that that anxiety attack happened to me. That I invested the time – and it wasn’t easy, man. Calling up a therapist – because I always thought therapists are for broken people, you know?

Mark: You know what? Here’s the thing – for all you guys listening, therapy is important.

Bedros: Game changer.

Mark: Call it mental or emotional coaching if you will. Do whatever you need – little tricks in your brain to make it okay. Because it’s a game changer.

Bedros: It’s funny, the little mental games you’re talking about, I had to do that. Because, obviously, being a fitness franchisor – the story of becoming a fitness franchisor was that I was a personal trainer. And so, I was a coach. I coach people in their fitness and fat loss…

Mark: (laughing) and you’re not supposed to have any problems…

Bedros: Right, exactly. Yet I didn’t believe in the value of having a mental coach. An emotional coach. “that’s for other people. They’re broken. Bad things happened to them.”

Well, guess what? Bad things have happened to me. If you get to a certain place in life like no one escapes trauma. Whether it’s verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse…

And I was very open. And I shared earlier about my sexual abuse as a kid… between the ages of four and six, I was abused sexually by two older boys. On a consistent basis. In Armenia.

Mark: Can I just pause and say you know what they’re learning? Like how prevalent that shit is?

Bedros: Oh my god…

Mark: Sexual abuse in the military – especially among women – but obviously it’s both sexes.

Bedros: One out of every four people have had some form of sexual abuse.

Mark: Incredible.

Bedros: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: That’s globally? Or is it in this culture?

Bedros: Globally. And that was from the book “The Body Keeps the Score.” Amazing book, yeah.

Dude, for 37 years I kept that to myself. I kept that to myself, until I worked with a therapist. Because my wife couldn’t…

Mark: Shame, guilt…

Bedros: Yep. Confusion, rage. Nobody could know and yet that governed it was almost like if my brain is the operating system – the operating system had a virus on it that would cause me to self-sabotage. Because I felt shame, rage, confusion, unworthy, broken, unlovable…

Mark: Such a great metaphor… it is kind of like a virus. It infects your being…

Bedros: It infects your being. It literally puts – the way I described it to Kevin – I said, “Kevin, right now, you’re a threat to me.” Kevin was my therapist. I said “right now, you’re a threat to me.”

He goes “how come?”

I go “cause I don’t know you. And I don’t know what your intentions are. Like logically I do, but fight or flight is saying ‘don’t trust this guy.’”

And so, thank god he took four weeks to work with me on my anxiety and panic attacks instead of coming out the gate and saying “hey what happened to you as a kid?” In those four weeks we built a rapport. I felt safe when he asked me “how was your childhood.”

I felt safe with him to say “this is what happened to me.” Like the man is just a brilliant dude. Again, I should be sponsored by Kevin and Debragga’s steak. (laughing)

Mark: By the way, you bring up a really interesting memory of mine – because with our clients we work on multi-dimensional development – we call it the five mountains. And you mentioned earlier – you got to do the physical work, gotta do the mental work, gotta do the emotional work, gotta do the spiritual work…

And, in our view, we do those all together. And when you do them together, then it unlocks a lot of growth. And then you get this accelerated growth where you become more whole and you get greater perspectives on the world and yourself. And life takes on a different meaning. And the meaning is not about what I accomplish in the world, it’s about who I am and how I show up.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: At any rate, so with clients – like high-end clients – we’re like okay how are we doing? You got to get some emotional coaching, go get a therapist and often what will happen is after a couple months a client will be like “yeah, yeah. I’m done.”

Or I had one client say “yeah, my therapist fired me.”

And I’m like “oh why?”

She goes “because she said that I was done. I didn’t have any more work to do.”

Bedros: Oh, c’mon…

Mark: And I was just like chuckling to myself and like, “I’m sure that’s exactly what she said.”

Bedros: Right, right…

Mark: What she really meant was “you’re not willing to go to the next level.”

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: She doesn’t want to take your money until you are.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: So emotional work, you got to look at it like an onion… there’s the top layer and most people don’t even want to go there. But they go there and they think “oh yeah, I got it!”

Whether it’s four weeks, or four months, or whatever… “I got this.” You know, check.

Uncheck. There’s another layer. And there’s another layer and like for me I’m waiting for another layer. And I’m like “okay…”

Bedros: Isn’t all of life the process of peeling back the layers?

Mark: I think so…

Bedros: We’ll never get to that nucleus or that center of that onion…

Mark: I think the center is your spirit. Like, that’s your raw spirit. And you gotta go in, in order to bring it out into the world.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And one layer, it’s good – better than nothing. But it’s not enough.

Bedros: So much of it has to do – well, although, I can’t really say this because at 21 you had the wherewithal -but you are not the norm, and I think you know that. Where that’s concerned.

You had the wherewithal to do some internal checking in with yourself.

Mark: I got lucky…

Bedros: Even at 16 when you were just like “hey, I’m gonna go for 12, 13, 14, 15 hours into the woods – into the mountains – and you’re like “I think I feel something. I feel something from within,” right?

Like, I don’t remember experiencing that. And so that’s awesome that you had that.

But most of us… I think part of it is wisdom… as you grow older and you’ve had some experiences, you’re like “you know what? Fuck it. Maybe people aren’t going to judge me after all. And if they do, I don’t really care.”

Mark: That’s right.

Bedros: So, I do have a therapist. I have been molested… I’ll just start listening off the laundry… like, I don’t even want to talk about my successes anymore… I want to talk about all the ways I’m fucked up and broken.

Mark: That’s how people learn, too. I mean, your successes are interesting, but the learning is things that people can connect with…

Bedros: Yes, yes… and so there comes a time I think especially in a man’s life I think men probably – and you’ll know this better than I do – exercise or see the world through ego, more than women. I think women can be a little more vulnerable.

Mark: Yeah.

Bedros: Whereas men… we’re fists up with everything.

But I’ve learned, man, when we sell Fit Body Boot Camp – the work of service continues. It’s just how I’ll be serving humanity will be different, and I have an idea – obviously, I’ve got two more books I plan on writing.

I’m now creating this thing called the modern-day knight project, helping men build themselves up in faith, family, fitness and finance to have a greater sense of fulfillment.

Mark: Sounds a lot like this guy who came through SEAL fit named Garrett White – created a program called “Wake Up Warrior.”

Bedros: “Wake Up Warrior,” yep.

Mark: And he had a similar idea – men overcome business struggles by becoming a different person. Waking up to their potential.

Bedros: Exactly. Becoming a better man – a man of service. And not having your identity tied to money – and there’s nothing wrong with… I love money. I love money. I love the experiences it gives me. I love the steaks that I can buy for my friends. I love money.

Money is a vehicle to freedom, and I could donate to charities and causes.

Mark: And the more money, the more you can serve…

Bedros: Yes.

Mark: But the money is flowing. It’s an energy source.

Bedros: Bingo.

Mark: Not meant to be hoarded…

Bedros: Not meant to be a chevron on my arm of my value, or worth, or status… but it used to be. It’s almost like I’ve got two lives, man – pre-anxiety attack, post anxiety attack. Because money then…

Mark: That was your wake-up call.

Bedros: Yeah, I needed that.

Mark: There’s a leadership author Zeleznik – and he almost used a like a biblical term for this. He said real leaders are twice born.

Bedros: Oh, that’s profound…

Mark: Isn’t that cool? Twice born. So, you had a rebirth as a leader… first as a human, but then of course you were a leader in terms of every man is. Yeah, every woman is too, but every man is a leader of their family hopefully – leader of something, right? And that’s why we’re put on this planet – the man’s role. And the twice born leader is the one who’s woken up to their ego, to the falsity of that story and then they begin to live on a different path.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mornings and Purpose


Bedros: Do you know just through your experience is there an average age or season of life that people come to that awakening?

Mark: It’s typically right around when you had it. Now of course, it’s changing, right? Our world is changing because of what we’re doing right here. What we’re doing is helping others have insight to this issue. Whereas they might not have had insight to this issue, and they might be able to look at that and be like “holy shit, I need to get a therapist.” And they might be 30 or 28, right?

Whereas when we grew up or when I grew up you know of course this iPhone sitting next to me with a little clock running, that certainly didn’t exist, we had three tv channels on the tv. And that helped me with my meditation, because my brain was able to concentrate more, I didn’t have all that distraction…

I hadn’t been trained in that distraction. But I think still there’s also way more to it than just those things – the availability of information – and I think it really is more of a spiritual concept. It’s your karmic path, right? Like, we have this reason that we’re on this planet…

And when we’re living the false story, then you’re not living in alignment with the reason. Be a great title of the book, right? You’re calling, right? The reason you’re here.

And so, the more you live that false story, the further and further you get away from the reason, the more painful it gets…

Bedros: More friction in your life…

Mark: And so, the more you then drown out that cry of your spirit through more distraction, more alcohol, more sex, more drugs… more Xanax… then the more you barrel towards some breakdown. And depending upon either when that’s supposed to happen or depending upon how physically strong you are and you’re just gutting through it, that breakdown’s gonna happen. There’s only so long that the human being can deal with that dichotomy. Right?

And some people, man, they can deal with it their entire life. And then they’re on their deathbed and they’re just absolutely in despair. But then they can find peace, right? They can find peace in a moment or in a few days before their death. And that’s great.

Others find it really early, like I did… but I think the average is in their 40s…

Bedros: So, it happened to me at 37, happened to a friend of mine at 38, happened to another friend of mine at 38 – and I started seeing this pattern – I did see a pattern… and I don’t know if just kind of life culminates for the average guy right around then, or something happens where we’re not able to just white knuckle through anymore.

But that was a very pivotal moment for me and it’s neat to hear the way you said it… you said somebody we enter – how did you describe that – you said we enter… there’s a there’s an entrance or there’s a pathway to self-development or doing that self-work…

And for me it came by way of that anxiety attack, but where I was trying to go with this is, I do remember rationalizing it and saying “well, I’m having panic attacks and anxiety attacks, because our franchise is growing.”

Like, I remember actually saying this to my wife… like “look, this is happening because our franchise is growing and we need more employees. And I don’t know much about franchising yet, so I’m gonna learn about it. Really this is all happening, not because I need to do the self-work, but because of this exterior outside thing taking place.”

And my wife is very well in tune with the universe, and she’s like “hey, do you think that there’s maybe some issues that you need to talk through and work through with someone? Because bringing back up the fact that you will get into an argument over something small, that’s a three on the Richter scale and you show up as a nine or a 10.”

And that for the first time I was like “yeah, maybe there is. Maybe there is.” But it was such a neat thing to be able to do that do that work.

Mark: What does your like daily practice consist of right now?

Bedros: For the last nine years, I developed a morning routine that I believe sets me up to win the day. Now, being an entrepreneur, you might walk into a situation where somebody – HR walks up to you and says “hey, we have to deal with a lawsuit.”

There will always be ambushes throughout my day. But that said, I’ll wake up at 5:30 every day and I even have this goofy little routine… I’m a big believer that if you hit the snooze button you are already breaking the first promise to yourself that you set the night before, right? And you’re telling your subconscious mind that “I’ll take 10 more minutes of interrupted sleep over waking up and living my path and my purpose.”

And so, I’ll set the alarm for 5:30, but the rule – I operate by rules because if I don’t have rules, I’ll go off the hinges… that’s me, like more is always better for me… so a little bit of cocaine is good – a lot must be better. Right?

Same with pizza – one slice is good – five boxes…

Mark: (laughing) I’m with you on the pizza part, I’m not sure about the cocaine.

Bedros: I’ve only done cocaine once, and thankfully my addictive habit kicked me into doing it a lot and it was such a bad experience that I never did it again.

But anyways, having said that – I lost my train of thought – where are we going?

Mark: Morning ritual.

Bedros: Oh, morning ritual. And so, I wake up at 5:30… and so I know that I’m human, that I’m going to be tempted to hit the snooze button and I always look at life… life is all about stacking either w’s or l’s, wins or losses, and so if I hit the snooze button, my first act of the day is an l. Telling my subconscious mind to start stacking more l’s.

So, since I’m human, I’ve turned off the actual snooze feature. You can turn that feature off. Where when your alarm goes off all you can do is turn it off. If you want more sleep you have to go and reset your alarm.

Yeah, so I’ve turned off the snooze feature, because I’m human and the snooze button is tempting. Wake up at 5:30 or sooner if my eyes open between that 30-minute window 5 and 5:30 I’ll just get up. 30 ounces of water immediately – and I learned that through Shawn Stevenson – who wrote the books “Sleep Smarter” and “Eat Smarter.” Great books.

30 ounces of water immediately. Shower. Go downstairs and send out three gratitude text messages to three people I’m thankful and grateful for first thing in the morning.

And that is also a selfish thing. Because no matter how shitty my day gets after that…

Mark: Makes you feel good…

Bedros: I feel good and sometime throughout the day those three people are going to respond, and they always go “thank you so much. That meant so much to me. I really needed to hear that.”

So, it’s like three people patted me on the back…

Mark: You get back where you give out…

Bedros: That’s it, and so after I send…

Mark: And they get back twice. Because you leave a carbon copy on you when you do that nice act, and then it also comes back to you. So, you get a twofer.

Bedros: Yep, yep. And so, it’ll be a little bit of journaling after that. 10, 15 minutes of just putting thoughts to paper. And then the night before I made my what I call my GSD list – “get shit done” list in the notes section. It’s usually three to five things that I call the needle movers. They move the needle of either meaning or money…

Those are the two things that I am currently after in life, because I use a lot of my money to donate to Shriners Children’s Hospital, and Compassion International – I have a soft spot for those two organizations. For the last decade, we’ve been donating to them.

And so, money and meaning and so it might be a phone call to a friend “hey, I’m gonna need your help in donating money.” Or, “in this thing we can do together to raise money.” So, I’ll go to my GSD list.

By this point it’s 9 a.m. I’ll have a protein shake and off to the gym I go. Go and work out, come here to HQ, shower up and I’m ready to take on the day with my team.

But my real deep work happens between 7 and 9 am on my business, and then of course from the time I woke up 5:30 to 7 am just that gratitude text messages and some journaling, playing with cookie – you met cookie, our dog – she requires the ball being kicked 12 times. She’s got me well trained.

Yeah, but the biggest thing is stack that first w.

Mark: Yeah.

Bedros: Get that first w and you’ll have more w’s throughout the day. And then what I realized is – what’s the secret to becoming a multi-millionaire? There is no one secret. Just stack little wins and those little wins make today a win. And seven of those, and now you have a week that you won. Do four of those you have a month that you won. Do 12 of those, you won a year. Do 10 of those, you’ve won a decade.

Mark: That’s right.

Bedros: Like that’s just how I do it.

Mark: Daisy chain it.

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And then the only thing to add to that is to make sure you’re clear about where you want that decade to go.

Bedros: Yes, yes…

Mark: You don’t have to have a perfect idea of what the end point is, because you don’t want to try to define that, because then you lose the magic and the mystery. And you’re going to be let down.

But you want to know where you’re going. Like where’s your true north? Or what’s the vision?

Bedros: Yeah.

Mark: And that also probably happens in that 5 to 7:30 time period, right? That’s when you work on the vision. That’s when you get the ideas with your journaling. That’s the same thing with my time, right?

Bedros: Yep. Well, you ask yourself – and these days people ask on social media – how do I find my purpose? And I used to be that guy asking myself “how do I find my purpose?”

Mark: It’s not like you have to do a treasure hunt out here…

Bedros: Right. It’s not to be found. It’s not lost in the first place.

You develop your purpose. Like, what really feels meaningful and fulfilling to me and significant – serving people. Like I realized that.

I used to wake up at 4:00 am to train my first client at 5:00 am at the diamond bar la fitness – she was a very angry police detective – LAPD, angry, bitter at life – but man, I could put a smile on her face first thing in the morning.

And I used to love waking up and doing that. And first thing in the morning people have morning breath, and sometimes they’re not too pleasant, and sometimes when you’re stretching them out, they fart.

And Mark, I don’t care – like, this is the down and dirty part about personal training that people don’t tell you. I got a friend who’s a dentist – his name is Mark Costas – he goes “you know, every day people walk in and go ‘I hate dentists, I hate dentists.’” he was “all day long I heard people telling me they hate dentists.”

And then he goes “what they didn’t tell me in dental school is that when you’re in people’s mouths, you get their blood, you get their pus, you get their spit all over you.”

I’m like, “shoot, Mark, I never thought of that. Like I always thought dentists are like these stand up…”

He’s like “I like hate my life.” Interestingly enough, he sold his four practices, and now he’s like a real estate investor and enjoying life.

But there’s things that you about every industry that you don’t know, right? And one of them – in personal training – is the morning breath…

Mark: Nor do you want to know…

Bedros: Nor do you want to know. But I was like “okay, what do I enjoy?” I didn’t enjoy necessarily working at a restaurant, as a fry cook. When I was a fry cook at Disneyland. But I certainly enjoy serving people and just helping them, developing them…

Well, what other areas could I help develop them? From fitness it led to their mindset, from mindset it led to that I’ve got this gift of entrepreneurship and now I coach and consult entrepreneurs. And I like that.

And then from there it’s like “well, I coach and consult male and female entrepreneurs.” And I like working with male entrepreneurs more, simply because I understand them more and more of them show up all messed up like I am. And I realize they need to do the self-work so I go “hey, I’m going to teach you how to make money.”

And they go “yeah, I’ll take that.” And once they give me that fifty thousand dollars for the year of coaching, I wrap that making money thing up with self-development and the self-work.

And let me introduce you to Kevin. I’ve referred 27 of my coaching clients now to Kevin…

Mark: You sell them what they want, and give them what they need…

Bedros: Yes, yes. And I realized how much I like that, and so my purpose – as my seasons of life go on – my purpose just keeps developing into now this thing that called The Project. And I don’t know what’s next, but I can tell you it’ll be serving humanity in some capacity to help them elevate to their higher self.

And in the process, I become a better version of me.

Mark: You become better, right.

You’re working with teens for helping with the rites of passage, which is a huge issue in our culture. Tell us about that, and then I know we got to wrap up pretty soon.

Bedros: Yeah, so actually through the project – so the project is a 75-hour men’s development thing where actually one of your peers – ray cash care – former Navy SEAL – he runs the program for me and he’s the head instructor for the project. I teach the business and mindset development – we have some subject matter experts…

75 hours and these men go through this experience. And every one of them who go through it are usually married, have kids and are business owners. And they go “man, I wish I had this when I was a kid.”

I go “man, I wish I had this as a kid too.” And when my wife was pregnant with Andrew – her uncle, uncle john – who’s our CPA – full circle there, with the CPA stuff – uncle john gave me this book called “Raising a Modern-Day Knight,” I forget the author’s name. Great book.

And it was talking about how there were exactly what you described on the show earlier – which was these tribes, these communities would send their young you know 13, 14-year-olds out into the into the forests and you stay out there for a period of time. And you survive and you come back… we will now accept you as a man as a leader… you have a seat at the table as Joseph Campbell says…

Well, that all stopped. That rite of passage. Young girls, like my daughter Chloe, she started to sprout boobs, she had a very physical thing that happened… she had a menstrual cycle, a very physical thing…

What happens to a young man that says you are now a man? Nothing. Nothing. Yet we have this like internal drive, but we’re taught to suppress it. And so, nothing physical happens and so that rite of passage was needed.

So, after reading “Raising a Modern-Day Knight,” and after creating that rite of passage experience for my son, a friend of mine owns a shoot house in Boise, Idaho… he’s a former SWAT operator. And his name is matt, I said “matt, would you mind if I fly Andrew out here to your place along with nine other men that I really look up to? And we can just put Andrew through a really tough day of just like stress and overwhelm…?”

Because it’s clearing rooms and all that stuff. “but we’re not going to use, obviously, real ammunition. Like you use the simulation stuff that you have.”

And he set this whole experience up. And at the end of the day, we formed a circle around my son and I asked each of these men who I respect and look up to, to pour into Andrew and give one piece of advice that they wish they had when they were 13. And you know these were guys like former rangers and the swat guy and a green beret, and entrepreneur friends of mine and all of us were crying. Just crying saying like we wish we had someone do this to us.

And all of that was learned from that book “Raising a Modern-Day Knight,” and so I was like “man, okay these guys are asking about it. I did it with Andrew. Maybe I need to create this experience where fathers and their sons who are 13 to 15 years old can come out for a day to our compound here and we can put them through this experience. And at the end build that circle around them.”

So, it’s a very physical experience. No one can quit – it’s not like ringing a bell and quit. Fathers and sons together. And then we peel the fathers off, peel them away, because your protector is now gone.

Just like back in the old days, the men in the tribe would put on masks and they would come into the house and they would peel that young boy away from the mom. From the mom’s arms.

And it would start off by then they would start fighting that boy, intentionally losing the fight. And the idea was you’re no longer mom’s boy, you are now fighting the masks, or you’re fighting the gods if you will. And by beating the gods…

Then they would take the mask off and they’d slap it on the boy’s face and they would say now you’re one of us. And now go into the forest, and when you come out, you’ll be a man. And we’re gonna start giving you a seat at the table and forging you into a man.

That doesn’t exist. And we need that… we need protectors, we need providers, we need savage servants and one of my favorite quotes – I hope I don’t slaughter this – is strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create bad times, bad times create strong men.

Mark: That’s awesome… we’re in that. Weak men create bad times.

Bedros: We’re in it. Jiminy Christmas we’re in it.

So anyway, that’s what the school so we call it the squire program. We peel the fathers away halfway through the squire programs – the 14-hour experience – about 6 hours we peel the fathers away… and we bring him here to HQ. And then myself, Ray and this guy Aaron who works with us… we mentor those kids and put them through hardship, and really like, “hey, dad’s not here to support you anymore. Like, start making decisions…”

Mark: How old are these kids?

Bedros: 13 to 15. And the four things we teach them during that time is you’re going to lead, you’re going to problem solve, you’re going to communicate, you’re going to ask for help… teamwork. And we constantly create scenarios for them over that six-hour period for them to have that experience. And we give them direct feedback, and we are harsh with them.

And as the dads come, they literally every single dad goes “holy shit, this is a different young man. There’s a different young man.”

At the end we have a great dinner together, graduation etcetera. And it’s something I wish I had…

Mark: Yeah. No kidding. Me too…

Bedros: So that I would do for free for the rest of my life if I could. And who knows? I might, once we sell the franchise, right?

Mark: Wow, well we could talk forever, but we’re not going to, okay?

Bedros: (laughing) well, we need conversation for the next steak dinner.

Mark: (laughing) right. We’re going to save something for that next wagyu dinner.

Bedros: That’s right.

Mark: “Man Up.” This is about your life and your lessons…

Bedros: Yes sir.

Mark: Yeah, I’m going to read it.

Bedros: (laughing) thank you.

Mark: Normally I try to read these before I do the interview…

Bedros: (laughing) don’t bother…

Mark: But I think it’s pretty Coolio.

Bedros: And by the way, I’ve been a big fan for many years and so to me it is very surreal not only to be sitting here and talking to you, but having you at my house for dinner and to be able to interview you for my show.

So, it’s just crazy how hard work does pay off. And the people that you look up to and you’ve learned from, you could sit at… like, I had a seat at the table with you. That’s a pretty fucking cool thing, man. So, I appreciate that opportunity as well.

Mark: Yeah likewise. Yeah, thanks for your time today. Where do we find out about the project and squire – because I know people can google Fit Body Boot Camp. You can go to amazon and buy this awesome book. We can look for your future books.

But man, this work you’re doing with the project and the squire is really valuable.

Bedros: Yeah, so the best place for that is just to find me on Instagram at Bedros Keuilian and to send me a dm. And it’s one of those things we do it organically…

Mark: You don’t have a website or anything like that…?

Bedros: We literally don’t have a website for it. And what I do is I take the people and I put them on the phone with Ray or Steve – the SEAL or the marine – and they explain to them what it is, and how it works and how much it is. And say do you want to do it?

And if the answer is yes, great you can do it. Or they can just go to and you know fill out a form there, but there’s no like committed website yet. We will have one soon…

Mark: Yeah. What’s the Instagram handle again?

Bedros: @bedroskeuilian.

Mark: Awesome. Bedros, thanks so much for your time today.

Bedros: Thank you, Mark. Appreciate you, man.

Mark: That’s it, folks. Thanks for joining us. Go check out Bedros and his work and if you got a boy, send them to Instagram or you go to Instagram – or dm… is that what they call it?

Bedros: Yes sir. (laughing) look at you – you’re so hip, man.

Mark: Getting there. And until next time stay focused and be Coolio…


Divine out.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Rodney says:

    Very good one.
    Thank you Mark!

  • Matt S. says:

    Mark’s conversation here with Bedros Keuilian proves yet again to be the best episode yet! From the 50 minutes they engage here at the razor’s edge with each other I learned a ton from them. What really feels meaningful and fulfilling to me and significant?

    “Raising a modern day knight.” (book) Keulian speaks to this. The rite of passage…

    “Strong men create good times,
    Good times create weak men,
    Weak men create bad times,
    Bad times create strong men.”
    We’re in it.

    Keuilian at the beginning describes his own father (a card-carrying member of the Communist Party) and his family defecting from the Soviet block to the US. What an incredible story to learn from — thanks Mark for opening that box of steaks and choosing to share with us this episode. Hooyah!

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