079. Sparking the Inner Fight to Make Change with Marcus Smith

By on December 10, 2019

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The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

Entrepreneur, motivational speaker, extreme athlete and coach Marcus Smith is the founder of InnerFight. While building a career in the corporate world, Marcus realized his real passion was “making people better at life” and in 2008, he founded InnerFight to do just that.

Today along with running InnerFight and Smith St Paleo, Marcus teaches many of the Innerfight classes, coaches a number of endurance athletes, mentors both youths and adults and continues his extreme challenges which took him to 30 marathons in 30 days in 2018.

We get into his backstory, and why he has this approach to going after huge goals that most people would look at, shudder, and walk away from. There’s this undying approach in him to follow the advice he got as a kid whenever there was something he wasn’t interested in to, “just try it.” He’s used that to spark not just his own achievement, but help inspire a path to achieving in others.

Key Points from the Episode with Marcus Smith:

  • Marcus is a former pro-rugby player, ultra-endurance athlete, gym owner and coach based in Dubai.
  • We got right into talking about this event he did to promote fitness for kids called the “30-30” where he ran 30 marathons in 30 days in partnership with the government of Dubai for their efforts to fight juvenile obesity and drive physical activity as a regular part of life for children.
  • Marcus sees his abilities and platform as a unique opportunity to help others make lasting change in their lives
  • He describes the human body as a crazy jigsaw puzzle with so many moving parts – this motivates his interest in figuring out what we can achieve.
  • When we recorded, he said he felt Eliud Kipchoge would break the 2-hour marathon barrier…not long after we recorded, it happened.
  • In human nature, we have rewired ourselves to think everything is very difficult and barriers seem insurmountable. It leads us to give up so easily.
  • Marcus loves how we can actually find a path to getting through almost everything given the information at our fingertips.
  • Actually, he sees the simple advice we got as kids being the key – just try it.
  • Rather than just seeing roadblocks, what if we just tried it? If we fail, we’re no worse off. If we don’t like, we don’t have to do it again. But we can at least try.
  • Marcus’s school career was rocky, simply because he wasn’t challenged or interested, so he was disruptive.
  • When he went to university, he was able to study something he actually cared about, and focused on sport management.
  • One thing he did do well in high school was sports, and particularly running.
  • As a result, the school allowed him to go for early morning runs, which he did alone in the forest around the school, which set the tone for his days.
  • As he got older, he grew into his body, and became good at rugby, which he played professionally starting in university.
  • As he got to the end of his rugby career at 30, a friend asked him if he’d run the Dubai marathon with him, which was in less than four weeks (vs. typical training plans of 16 weeks).
  • He immediately said, “Yes,” which means he was totally committed in the moment regardless of any hurdles. It’s just part of who he is.
  • He set a goal of running sub-4-hours, and he ran in 4:01. You can see his face in the finish line picture, where it looks like everything was ripped out of him. He was totally emotionless. He decided he’d never run a marathon again.
  • A friend soon sent him a write up of the Marathon du Sable, a 250km ultramarathon, and Marcus was completely taken, and knew that was what he should do.
  • He became addicted to ultra running, and hasn’t looked back since.
  • Running really speaks to Marcus because it’s something almost anyone can do without any special training. Even if you can only He’s run a short distance, you still can.
  • He’s now run across all sorts of amazing places and settings in the world, like the jungle in Sri Lanka, the desert, the bush, cities and more.
  • Humans are meant to be in nature. Being in the midst of that gives us such energy and inspiration, and many of us have forgotten what that’s like.
  • Marcus shared a Nike ad that talked about how, if we’ve forgotten about this unknown and risk, it’s no wonder we’re so overcome by negativity.
  • Wonder, exploration and taking in the world around us reconnects us in an epic, powerful way.
  • We talked about consumption and minimalism. He’s not a minimalist, but he does recognize that we may be buying things because we are trying to fill some hole.
  • What this is about is our comfort with different levels of suffering. Endurance sports has helped him get more comfortable with some levels of suffering.
  • We talked about our past experiences and backgrounds, and Marcus agrees that much of what we think and do is tied to this.
  • He also feels many of us are not willing to free ourselves of these past experiences. Ultra-endurance helped him see how we must release ourselves from that past, or we won’t get through what we face right now.
  • Life is played in the right now, so we need to free ourselves from the past and not being weighed down by tomorrow. (Yes, he’s hitting on the idea of Do a Day)
  • We got into the worst case scenario of running as a bit of advice for the path forward. You can just revert to walking a bit. Even Marcus hits this in some extreme events.
  • We tell ourselves that we can’t do something and we build up these stories. Much of what we face, we actually don’t face worst case scenarios that are as terrible as we assume they will be.

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