Transcript: Thanks Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute podcast. And our guest today is David Gilks from British Columbia, is that right David?
David Gilks: Yeah, yeah, I’m in a little town called Nanaimo. Nanaimo British Columbia.
David Brower: Very nice. David is the owner and developer of the Factor Three Fitness program. He’s a medical exercise specialist. He created the I Am project and he’s also a professional network marketer for Isogenics and he has one of the top 100 businesses in the world. Beyond that, you don’t have a lot going on.
David Gilks: Yeah, yeah, my days are pretty open.
David Brower: Well and you’ve had an amazing experience up to this point too, yoga, Olympic weightlifting, martial arts. Did you get inspired or have an epiphany about all this important fitness stuff at a young age? Or how did you get motivated into this?
David Gilks: You know I was on a 15 year bender.
David Brower: I remember those days.
David Gilks: It was ugly. Actually I was 28 years old. I was living in the south of Portugal, I was the assistant director of catering for a tennis resort. Which basically meant I was an alcoholic because I cheesed all the bars, all the restaurants and I remember sitting up there again, not 28 years old, never finished school, really been bounced around the planet for years and I had this I don’t know where it came from but maybe the universe was speaking to me but I had this feeling that I could die tomorrow, nobody would know ’cause I was so far off the grid. Nobody would care and I remember a quote that said, “If your life doesn’t make an impact your absence won’t make a difference.”
David Brower: Wow.
David Gilks: It’s actually a really sickening feeling. And it kind of freaked me out. I guess a moment of sobriety but I stopped partying in I stopped pretending that this was the absolute life. Though by all as the outside observer looking in, I’m living in tropical country I guess the life looks good.
David Brower: You’re the man living life, having fun.
David Gilks: Yeah. It was a pretty selfish life overall I think.
David Brower: Gotcha. Amazing. And so all of sudden you have this great epiphany. That quote is absolutely amazing. And you started working out. Where did you go? How did you start turning your life around I guess?
David Gilks: I had a conversation with my father who I was kind of estranged from for many years. And he said, “Listen, if you want, if you’re interested in charting a new course in your life,” he said, my father owned a natural health clinic. He said, “I can’t afford to pay you but I can give you room and board but I can educate you.” So I swallowed my pride, think about 28 years old moving into your parent’s basement. It sounds like a bad sitcom. So I came back to Canada and I started studying with him. And I studied with him for about three and a half years. And of course dramatically changed my health because I became a chartered herbalist. I started jin shin accupressure, reflexology, biokinesiology. I became a bit of recluse instead of the partier I went the exact opposite and I immersed myself into full-time study and full-time work. For almost three and a half years.
David Brower: Wow.
David Gilks: Yeah, and I was very fortunate to have that opportunity to really step off the grid. For a lot of people if you got family and you try to make this change or if you got careers and try to make this change, it’s quite a bit more difficult but I had the opportunity to just step out of reality for a while and focus on my health and my education.
David Brower: What’s fascinating about that to me, there’s a lot of us guys that have had estranged relationships with our fathers, guilty here. And so to have the opportunity to train and work and study with your dad and change your life around. He’s got to be so proud of you and you guys have to be closer than you certainly were back in the day.
David Gilks: Yeah. Well credit a different relationship because we didn’t meet eye to eye as parent to child but we were able to meet eye to eye as more like man to man. More as an adult relationship and it wasn’t much water under the bridge. We just realized that part is done. Somebody, and I can’t remember, I’m sure I’ve heard it, read it in a book or heard it in a conversation. They said that, “It’s people do the best they can with the resources they have.” And we simply have to accept that. Once I got past that part of it rather than trying to negotiate for a better childhood.
David Brower: Yeah, true story. Absolutely.
David Gilks: Long since gone, I realized maybe this was an opportunity for me to really reclaim my life because it’s I felt that 28 years old that my life was already half over in my mind. No money, no education, no health, no nothing. I couldn’t even get a bank account when I came back into the country because they didn’t know who I was. I was so far off the grid for so many years.
David Brower: How fascinating. So you become this chartered herbalist, you’re a biokinesiologist, you’re working through this family clinic in Canada, strength and conditioning coach comes next I assume. Is that?
David Gilks: Yeah. Well I realized that being a chartered herbalist as fascinating as it is, one thing about natural healthcare is that people really will often use natural healthcare in the same way they use pharmaceuticals. They don’t necessarily want to change their life, they just want something to make them better. So people were coming in for herbal blends so we’d do wild crafting. We’d take saliva sample and we’d create blends of herbs based on their particular signature.
But strength training was something that had always fascinated me and I played with it off and on through the years. But it was the only thing that really kind of was calling to me and ’cause my early childhood heroes were Bruce Lee and Lou Ferrigno and the Incredible Hulk. Used to come home after school, watch that on TV. So I started getting involved more in taking courses on fitness. On personal training and I realized that once I got all the garbage out of my system and I got the drugs out of my head, I had a very unique brain. And I had an incredible memory for data. And not your birthday, I’d forget your birthday, name, forget your name. But for information. Just for raw data my brain was a sponge.
I found when I got involved in the fitness industry there was at one point I started running the training center for the first facility I worked at and there was six trainers and I did 50% of all the work. Simply because how I was so, I was wired so differently. I guess key thing that people couldn’t see which is really strange at times because I kind of felt kind of weird because I’d be observing something and my Achille’s heel is that the fact that I never finished high school. And that’s my emotional Achille’s heel.
David Brower: Understood.
David Gilks: So it’s not the reality, some of my best friends are PhDs and we had these incredible conversations but in the back of my mind, my ego still reminds occasionally, hey moron, you remember you never finished school. You were out smoking dope when you should have been taking a class.
David Brower: Were we like twin brothers in another life? Having these flashbacks that are just terrifying. Thanks for sharing. Well and then to get into that place, I can’t imagine how this works or how this felt rather, but to get into that place where you spent all this time, this energy, this education, the study, your brain being a sponge to be the chartered herbalist and do all of these things and then all of a sudden, okay, here comes the strength and conditioning back into my life. Now you got this crazy balance of health and strength going on.
David Gilks: Well and it became a really interesting exploration because the one key attribute that I have in abundance is I’m observant. I see things that really a lot of people would escape their knowledge. The more I got into it the more I got into strength and training, it became a giant petri dish. The whole world. If you were a client, I was more interested in the mechanics of who you are than who you are. I was fascinated in how you worked and how you functioned and more fascinated by dysfunction. Coming through my own mental, if you go through your own mental dysfunction. You go from an absolutely zero health quotient. Your lungs are tapping out. Your liver’s tapping out. We’re pretty much done. And then to rebuild it. I was fascinated by what was happening under the skin. And almost happening psychologically in that transition.
And I became very curious about my own journey because if I could really understand how I went from somebody used to say you go from zero to hero. How did I go from being off the grid to actually having a good degree of understanding. Had a good client base. Building a career. How did all this stuff transpire? So I started observing, sort of actually dissecting my past and trying to figure out how the journey was unfolding because if I understood how I did it I could actually teach that to somebody else.
David Brower: Fascinating. I have to believe that with your ability to observe, take in information, study people, that people had to be drawn to you. There had to be a connection there where people are going, “Oh I need to be with that guy. I need to work out with that guy.”
David Gilks: Well you know the interesting piece is that it’s we often hear that most communication is nonverbal.
David Brower: Correct.
David Gilks: And I think the fact that I was willing to explore my history in depth. Like so many of us if you’ve got a birth certificate, somebody screwed with your life. That’s the reality of it. But instead of actually and I wasn’t verbalizing some of my life chaos, I wasn’t talking about it and beating on a drum about it but because I was aware of it and I was a bit aware of what my experiences in life and I was also vigilant about what I was doing currently, people did feel that I was connected to some of my challenges. And I also believe that you can judge another person or you can know another person by the scars that they bear but it’s nonverbal. And if you know somebody’s had some challenges and is in a different place I think people can almost energetically feel that and they go, “Okay I can trust you.”
David Brower: Couldn’t agree more.
David Gilks: Yeah, I don’t have to say anything especially with males. Males are of course very nonverbal. And people would open up to me, women mainly but people would open up to me and tell me the most horrific things about some of their life. We would go in for a lock and just general talking. And me coming to realize that this was my path. I wouldn’t be able to do this work if I hadn’t had all those experiences, because I’d have no way to relate.
David Brower: Absolutely. Is that where the I Am project came in?
David Gilks: Yeah. I opened a private facility about 19 years ago and lot of my clients, my private clients were medical professionals and lawyers and business owners so these were people that were intelligent and successful by all means. But I was always fascinated by the reasons or by the path that we take between knowing better and doing better. We have something in this world called personal development fatigue. With this personal development fatigue we take all these courses, it’s like dieting. I tried that diet. Or I’ve tried that workout. It doesn’t work. So I was kind of curious about so why is it that so many intelligent people, so many deserving people are simply not getting what they want? And the more I started exploring it, I start looking into the full process of neuro linguistic programming. Of course Tony Robbins made it famous to the world but it actually came from John Grinder and Richard Bandler many years ago in the 50s.
So I became fascinated by the mechanics of thought. And then I realized that if I’m actually helping somebody, I helping somebody rebuild, let’s say rebuild a shoulder after a rotator cuff injury, a big part of the problem is neurological. Meaning a big part of the problem to the injury is not just the tissue, it’s in the brain. It’s what the brain does when the muscles get injured and how the brain stores the trauma of the injury so it changes the whole mapping. It changes the whole thought process around using that shoulder. And then neuro linguistic programming also states the same thing. Of course when we are challenged throughout our life and we hold things, we declare things as a trauma, mentally, emotionally, we also change the way we view that part of our world and it becomes a neurological part.
And so the same skillset that it took to actually rehab his shoulder was almost identical other than the verbage was the same way I was to actual move people forward in more their philosophical life.
David Brower: Fascinating. So you’re focusing on thought sequencing and which allows thoughts to be anchored to a specific philosophy, set of values. You’re putting things into their head for lack of a better term, that’s really going to help them, their injury improve, their health improve, their attitude about life improve. It’s gotta be touching a lot of facets of somebody’s life.
David Gilks: It’s actually it’s pretty extraordinary because we, Einstein had this great quote that said, “If you can’t make something, if you can’t say something and make it simple you don’t know it well enough.” So you don’t know your topic. And so when I look at the I Am project, so fundamentally if you’re a client of mine before I start working on your injured shoulder I would actually check your core strength and your core stability and then I would go in there, we may spend six weeks just building core strength. Getting your core muscles to fire. By getting you to think, feel and do so we create again that thought process that precedes action.
David Brower: Yeah, yeah.
David Gilks: But it’s the same thing when it comes to our philosophy. In North America we’re so chaotic. We got so much stuff going on.
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
David Gilks: We got so many belief systems. There’s a 1,000 books coming out every other day on three steps to your best this and five steps to the shiniest that. So people have a 100 books and they only get through the first two or three chapters once the novelty of the information wears off. But I have an expression I’m sure I’ll get, it’ll come back to haunt me but I tell people, “Listen, be a Catholic or be a Jew.” You gotta pick a philosophy. You gotta know what you stand for and actually pick like an author. Let’s say Jack Canfield is your guy. Rockstar of personal development. If he’s your guy then read everything he’s got. Don’t read nine authors at the same time you’ll just make yourself mental.
David Brower: Well it’s like anything else in life. You take the shotgun approach and you accomplish absolutely nothing.
David Gilks: Yeah. So you’re getting a bunch of people out there just getting so frustrated that they’re doing all this work, they think they’re doing all this work but really they’re just kind of dancing around the fringes of reality and they’re not really making a decision at all. They’re just basically they’re getting philosophically high every now and again when they feel a little bit down.
David Brower: One of the quotes I really like on your website, on the I Am project wisdom of Confucius, life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. How true is that?
David Gilks: Yeah. It gives this place a rationalization. We can rationalize the crappy place in life that we’re at. Simply due to well it’s not my fault. Look at the challenges I have. I had the opportunity to take my son to Nicaragua for three months last year. And we’re in the jungle. There’s no paved roads and there’s just shacks, not a lot of homes out there. Just to give my son that awareness of what the world really looks like beyond our iPhones and our Starbucks on every corner. There’s a real world. 75% of the world lives in struggle. So just to give him that perspective so when he came back, he came back to Canada, came back to North America, he’d have a bit of a different understanding of really how simple life can be. And what the most notable thing and we hear this all the time, you go to the country where people have these challenges, these economic challenges and you hear laughter and you see families hanging out.
David Brower: Absolutely.
David Gilks: And you see kids smiling. And here people are losing their mind because the guy at Starbucks screwed up their order and they go ballistic on the poor guy.
David Brower: Absolutely right. Oh my gosh that is so true. And we never, I think most of us don’t take, certainly don’t take the time to do that let alone be open to even hearing about it sometimes. Just try to find little nuance ways to simplify our life is really tough with that immediate gratification mindset.
David Gilks: And probably I find the easiest way to look at it and this is kind of my mantra. The quality of life exists between knowing better and doing better. And you would never be unhappy, you would have no happiness in your life if you didn’t know better. Because ignorance is bliss. I didn’t know. It’s I didn’t know. I died of cancer from smoking, I didn’t know it caused cancer, nobody told me. But we get into this frustration in life because we’re in that contrast between the act of actually willfully whether we believe it or not, willfully not doing or acting on the things that would change the quality of your life. So we’re not even willing to explore it. We just kind of brush it off and we try to distract ourselves. My whole life has been since returning back to North America has has been exploring the uncomfortable parts of that piece so I know better why am I not doing better? And then I’ll close the exploration.
David Brower: Well and when you’re exploring the difficult pieces of your life that helps you help others explore the difficult pieces in their life, right?
That’s part one of our great interview with David Gilks.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found including I Heart Radio, the Spotify mobile app and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.