Today I have an outstanding interview with none other than Shomo Das—a champion bodybuilder.
Shomo and I actually know each other from high school. We both went to St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where we weren’t the best or worst of friends.
I’ve since followed his fitness career for years and have always been impressed with the hustle and execution he brings to the table. This guy is the real deal in competitive bodybuilding.
What’s maybe most inspiring is Shomo hasn’t always been the most muscular dude on the block. As you’ll read in the interview below, he started his fitness journey from humble beginnings before he mastered his body and sport.
Let’s get to it. And after the interview, be sure to read my main takeaway from this interview with Shomo Das.
Brian: Who or what inspired you to be a competitive bodybuilder?
Shomo: Believe it or not, I entered high school weighing in at a whopping 85 pounds (no, I’m not kidding in the slightest). It was always rather difficult for me navigating through the social scene of a 1,600 member all boys private Catholic school.
My high school placed great pride upon the school’s elite athletic program, and being the backup for the backup for the backup for the backup of the cornerback for the football team did not exactly give me the chance to shine within this arena! I always remember wishing that I were a bit more muscular so that I could excel in sports.
One day, I was grocery shopping one day with my mom and walked past a section of magazines, where I saw Greg Plitt looking back at me from the front cover of a muscle magazine. I remember thinking to myself, “I want to look like that guy!”. His musculature looked incredible and I remember seeing picture after picture of him next to beautiful girls. This guy was living the life! As I thumbed through the magazine, I encountered guides that promised to help me increase the size of my chest, arms, shoulders, legs, everything! I went back home, scouring the Internet for more information. I was hooked.
The very next day my dad took me to a local gym to sign me up for my very first membership. When touring the free weights section, I remember only being able to curl the ten pound dumbbells. I immediately began following a good training program and a healthy diet. I quickly started to notice my physique changing in front of my eyes. I gained a great deal of confidence and, for the first time, realized that I had full control over my life! A simple hobby evolved into my biggest passion.
What I most loved about fitness was the fact that I had the opportunity to work on myself and improve every single day. So, I knew that, with consistent effort, I could become a competitive bodybuilder and pro fitness model. After 5 years of hard training flew by, and the next thing I knew, I was had won my first NPC bodybuilding show at the age of 19!
Brian: It’s easy for us to make the mistake of seeing your results now and thinking you were always successful. And I hate the words “overnight success” because it’s never true. So please let us in on the how much hard work and commitment it took from when you started in 2007 to today.
Shomo: A lot of the hard work goes on in the background, when nobody is watching. And for this reason, many bodybuilding fans do not get the opportunity to see what a competitive bodybuilder needs to do in order win championships and build a large brand in the industry.
Over the past decade, I have made daily commitment to prep/weigh my meals, train appropriately, travel all over the country for photo shoots, develop valuable content for the fitness community (blogs, posts, etc.), and network within the industry. And what I really want to communicate is that this is not even my full-time job!
When I first entered the bodybuilding scene, I was a student at Duke University, majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomechanics. Since graduation, I have needed to hold all of these commitments while being a technology sales executive.
Has it been easy? Not at all. Has it been worth it? Absolutely. And it’s been a lot of fun too!
Brian: What do you honestly tell yourself (or what do you do) to get to the gym and eat healthy on those days when you don’t feel like it?
Shomo: With regards to going to the gym, the better question would be to ask me how I stay out of the gym on days that I am supposed to take off from weight training! I love lifting, and from the second that I leave the gym after a workout, I find myself already looking forward to the next session!
With regards to the diet, there certainly are more tests. When I’m getting ready for a photoshoot or a contest, my diet consists of meager portions of chicken, rice, almonds, and spinach, so it does take a bit more effort to not join the buddies for pizza and beer night!
But I always stay focused on my long-term objectives. And I certainly understand some of the short-term sacrifices that I must make to get to where I want to be in life.
It’s not a matter of whether it will be easy, sacrifices typically go hand-in-hand with some degree of difficulty, but it’s a matter of whether it will be worth it. And, in the context of my fitness journey, the answer to the latter question is nearly always a resounding “yes”!
Brian: You must share about your collaboration with Nike and how you made history.
Shomo: Being very passionate about the fitness/bodybuilding industry, I have always scoured the Internet, shopping for the best fits of bodybuilding apparel, seeking out the coolest designs, brainstorming ideas of my own.
So naturally, when I teamed up with Nike in 2015, I quickly noticed that the #1 athletic brand in the world did not make bodybuilding-specific gym wear! I pitched a few ideas to a few members of the Nike marketing team and was pleasantly surprised to see an extremely positive response.
Before I knew it, we were collaborating on designs and sending skus out for manufacturing! Bang Bang Athletics Apparel was born. I am very humbled and proud to bring to the fitness community the first ever bodybuilding/gym wear clothing line ever produced off of Nike fabric! The most exciting part is that we are just getting started. Stay tuned.
Brian: What does it mean to you that all your hard work is paying off in a monumental way through winning titles, sponsorships, and major collaborations?
Shomo: It means that I am now in a position to build on my successes to date to pursue bigger goals and dreams. It means that I can now inspire, reach out to, and collaborate with more people than I ever have before. It has added fuel to my fire!
Brian: What’s one piece of advice you have for the average guy or girl, who doesn’t want to go to the extreme of being a competitive bodybuilder, but just wants to get in a consistent habit of eating right and going to the gym?
Shomo: The word habit is key here. First, sit down and figure out what your goals are. Want to lose ten pounds? Want to get 25% stronger? Want to gain 15 pounds of lean mass? These are all great goals to have. But you need to figure out what success actually looks like to you in the context of fitness.
From there, sit down and figure out how much activity level it will take for you to get there. Perhaps it is 10 hours of training per week combined with strict dieting that will require you to cook 30 minutes per day. Perhaps it is 20 hours of training that will require you to follow a less strict diet. Perhaps, it will take far less time, or perhaps it will take much more time!
But level set expectations, and then create healthy habits that will get you closer to your goals. It may be hard to stick to your new program for the first few weeks, but I can promise you that if you stick it out, it will become more natural from that point onwards.
If you want to connect and leverage my expertise in developing your personal plan, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Brian: What is the one book (on any topic, you choose) you suggest to Take Your Success readers? And why?
Shomo: I love reading! I would definitely suggest that Take Your Success readers check out The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
“Oh my gosh! Somebody on a website about success recommended that I read a fictional novel, and not a self-development book! Is the world coming to an end?”
Fortunately, the world is not coming to an end, I am definitely not saying that self-development books are not helpful; I usually read at least one per month. However, I do believe that adults should indulge in fiction more than they currently do.
When we’re young, we are encouraged to use our imaginations. But for some reason, this stops once we grow up. I think that it’s crucial to continue to spark our creativity and imagination while we pursue success, whatever that picture may look like for each of us. It’s more fun that way.
Brian: Lastly, where can this community go to connect with you, buy your gear, and follow you on your journey?
Shomo: The online shop at www.shomoshotime.com contains all of my personalized online training/diet programs as well as Bang Bang Athletics Apparel! In addition, Take Your Success readers can continue to follow my journey on social media:
YouTube: Shomo Shotime Das
Thank you in advance for your support everyone! And if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey, please feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.
After doing this interview, I’m most impressed with Shomo’s intentionality. This guy is the opposite of someone going through the motions with no purpose or direction.
Shomo is a man with a plan. And why I believe this is so crucial to his (and your) success is it’s all but impossible to fall into some great achievement. Heck, it’s still not easy to accomplish something when you have a clear goal.
But with direction, you certainly set yourself up for future success and you can enjoy the process because you know each step is helping you climb that mountain. That’s what makes it easier (but still not easy).
It’s the difference between doing something just because, where effort may fail because your mind isn’t convinced. Or doing something with a strong why behind it that pushes you to do more.
In Shomo’s case, his intentionality produces results in the gym, bodybuilding competition, and the marketplace.
So what’s the why behind what you do? Are you living an intentional life? Do you know what your passion and dreams are, and are you pursuing them?
If you’re not, I’m sorry to say that you’re missing out on one of the pleasures of life. But it’s never too late to start now.
And you don’t have to have all the answers. It comes with time.
So make it a goal to seek and live an intentional life. You’ll be happy about how it turns out.
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.
Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz
Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.
He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.
What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.
You’ll see what I mean in this interview.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.
Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.
Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.
One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.
In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.
But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.
One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.
Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.
So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.
Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?
Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.
For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.
For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.
So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.
Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?
Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.
People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.
The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.
Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.
But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.
So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.
And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.
But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.
So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.
Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?
Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.
But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.
Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.
I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.
Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.
Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?
Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.
Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.
She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.
And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.
Of course I accepted that opportunity.
Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?
Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.
I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.
There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.
Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.
Brian: What’s your life mission?
Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.
Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.
Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.
And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.
What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.
And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.
His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.
I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.
So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.