Redefining Problems The Key to Success (Pt.1 Sept. '23) Ep 646



In this wide-ranging discussion, Alex Hormozi shares his insights on fitness, entrepreneurship, and the concept of 'Stoke'. Hormozi emphasizes the importance of targeted exercises for muscle growth, drawing from his extensive experience in fitness and business. The conversation then shifts to branding and the power of associating ideals with tangible products, using 'Stoke' as a central theme. Hormozi also discusses his primary business,, detailing their focus on purchasing brick-and-mortar service businesses with potential for value addition and scalability. He highlights the significance of a founder's character, particularly the impact of ego on business decisions, and the criteria for what makes a company appealing for acquisition. Throughout the conversation, Hormozi's philosophy on life, work, and the pursuit of Stoke is evident, offering a blend of practical business strategy and a passion for maintaining a balanced, enjoyable lifestyle.

Summary Notes

Key Theme: Principles of Training and Exercise

  • To excel in a specific exercise, you must practice that particular exercise.
  • Targeting muscle failure is essential for growth in the desired area.
  • Isolation exercises are recommended to focus on specific muscles or areas.

"If you want to be a great deadlifter, then deadlift. If you want to be a great squatter, then squat. If you want big legs, then you need to take your legs to absolute failure."

This quote emphasizes the importance of specificity in training. To improve in a particular lift or build a certain muscle group, one must engage in exercises that directly target those areas.

Key Theme: Business and Marketing Strategies

  • The podcast discusses strategies for customer acquisition, increasing customer value, and retention.
  • The hosts share their experiences, including failures and lessons learned in business.

"Welcome to the game where we talk about how to get more customers, how to make more per customer, and how to keep them longer. And the many failures and lessons we have learned along the way."

Max introduces the podcast's focus, which is to provide insights on growing a business through customer-related strategies and sharing personal experiences that offer value to listeners.

Key Theme: The Concept of Stoke

  • Stoke is compared to human hope and is seen as a constantly sought-after but never fully attainable ideal.
  • The discussion includes references to cultural figures and the idea of Stoke being an ever-present goal.

"We're chasing Peak Stoke, but Froth can only stay frothy so long the moment you stop frothing it."

Max metaphorically discusses the pursuit of peak excitement or enthusiasm (Stoke) and compares it to the ephemeral nature of froth, emphasizing the transient quality of high energy or enthusiasm.

"We kind of took it from Harvey Milk, because in the movie milk, at least he says you got to give him hope. It's like the last thing that comes out of the box, Pandora. And that's what we think with Stoke is like, you got to give them Stoke."

The quote draws a parallel between the concept of hope, as portrayed by Harvey Milk, and the idea of Stoke, suggesting that giving people Stoke is akin to giving them hope.

Key Theme: Communication Skills and Sales

  • Max attributes his clear communication skills to his extensive experience in sales, where he had to engage with a wide demographic.
  • He highlights the importance of adapting communication to different individuals and situations.

"I had, like, a rocky cutscene of life that was like five years of me taking 20 plus one on one consults a day selling gym memberships."

Max credits his communication abilities to his intensive experience in sales, where he had to interact with many people daily, refining his ability to express ideas effectively.

Key Theme: Understanding and Catering to Customer Needs

  • The importance of understanding what customers want and tailoring services to meet those needs is discussed.
  • Max shares an anecdote about a client who did not want to look like him, highlighting the need to listen to and respect customer preferences.

"I did the stuff that they wanted to do. I didn't train them the way I trained because they didn't want to look like me."

Max explains his approach to personal training, which involved creating workout plans based on his clients' desires rather than his own training preferences, emphasizing customer-centric service.

Key Theme: Entrepreneurship and People Skills

  • Max discusses how his role as fraternity president and his entrepreneurial journey helped him develop people skills.
  • He shares how he managed to motivate a group of peers to engage in activities without any formal authority.

"I got so much life experience from this because I had to get 100 dudes in college to do stuff they didn't want to do with no hard authority."

This quote reflects on Max's experience as a fraternity president, where he learned to influence and lead people effectively without relying on positional power.

Key Theme: Fraternity Leadership and Negotiation

  • Max recounts his experience in fraternity leadership, including dealing with difficult situations and negotiations.
  • He narrates the story of a merger between his fraternity and another, highlighting the complexities involved.

"I negotiated a merger between our fraternity and another fraternity."

Max shares a significant event from his time as fraternity president, where he successfully negotiated a merger, showcasing his leadership and negotiation skills.

"We pull from different girl pools. Like, you pull southern girls. I was like, we pull northern girls. I was like, so there's no overlap."

In this quote, Max explains part of the negotiation strategy used in the fraternity merger, focusing on the benefits of combining resources to create more diverse and successful social events.

Negotiation and Voting Rights

  • Max discusses the negotiation over voting rights during a merger of groups.
  • A compromise was made, similar to historical precedents, to balance the voting power between the larger and smaller groups.
  • Max mentions how peer pressure can outweigh the voting system when the majority wants something different from the minority.

"And so the final term of the negotiation was, how do voting rights work? Because everything gets voted on, and they were like, because you guys have, like, 120 guys and they were, like, 30 guys. So we basically came up with the three fifths compromise, just like back in the day, like the forefathers."

This quote explains the context of the negotiation and the solution they reached, drawing a parallel to historical compromises in voting rights.

"Yeah, but the problem was that influence doesn't work that way. If three quarters of the guys want to do one thing and a quarter of the guys don't, the peer pressure is just insurmountable."

Max reflects on the issue with the voting system, where despite the voting compromise, the majority's influence through peer pressure can still dominate decisions.

Strategic Planning and Decision-Making

  • Max talks about the importance of working backwards from the desired outcome when making decisions.
  • He emphasizes the importance of clarity and identifying the most likely targets to achieve goals.
  • Max also touches on the concept of serving multiple objectives and how it complicates decision-making.

"I take all the plays from the last thing that I want to have happen and try and work backwards."

This quote illustrates Max's approach to strategic planning, starting with the end goal and planning steps in reverse to achieve it.

"Decisions become more complex when you're trying to serve more than one master."

Max highlights the difficulty of decision-making when there are multiple objectives to consider, suggesting a focus on a singular goal for clarity.

Fratonomics and Resourcefulness

  • Max shares anecdotes about his college experiences, including throwing parties and being resourceful with meal credits.
  • He describes a specific technique for getting extra food in the cafeteria, which became known among students as "pulling a hormone."
  • Max also discusses how he and others adapted to circumvent administrative measures to restrict their resourcefulness.

"Yeah, we had a Catalina wine mixer, and I got an ice helicopter on the front yard."

Max recounts a memorable party that demonstrated his group's resourcefulness and the impact it had on their reputation.

"Dude, I just pulled a hormone, really, because he stole a chicken breast."

This quote refers to a tactic Max devised for getting more food with a single meal credit, which became a known strategy among students.

Fitness and Lifestyle Choices

  • Max and the others discuss their approaches to fitness, diet, and lifestyle.
  • They explore the concept of an ideal diet and exercise routine, emphasizing the importance of sustainability and personal preference.
  • Max argues that the best diet or exercise plan is one that an individual can maintain consistently over time.

"If we get everyone to walk ten minutes a day for the rest of their lives, I was like, we won."

Max shares his philosophy on fitness, suggesting that small, sustainable habits are more impactful than intense but short-lived efforts.

"Whatever you stick with."

This concise quote captures Max's view that the most effective diet or workout routine is one that a person can adhere to in the long term.

Training Philosophy and Longevity

  • Max discusses his training philosophy, focusing on exercises that target specific muscles and avoiding those that may not be sustainable over a lifetime.
  • He questions the long-term practicality of certain exercises like barbell squats and advocates for alternatives that can be done safely for longer periods.
  • Max also talks about the importance of taking muscles to failure for growth and selecting exercises that isolate the target muscle.

"You don't see many 80 year olds Barbell squatting."

Max uses this observation to argue for choosing exercises that can be maintained throughout one's life, rather than those that may lead to injury or be unsustainable as one ages.

"If you want big legs, then you need to take your legs to absolute failure."

This quote reflects Max's belief in the necessity of pushing muscles to their limits to achieve growth, while also ensuring that the exercises chosen do not compromise other parts of the body.

Muscle Training and Exercise Selection

  • Max and the others discuss the specifics of muscle training, including rep ranges and exercise selection.
  • They debate the effectiveness of traditional exercises like squats and deadlifts versus alternative methods for building muscle.
  • Max explains his approach to selecting exercises that allow for full range of motion and isolate the muscle being trained.

"I don't squat, but for, like, leg lifts, for sure."

Max indicates his personal exercise preferences and his avoidance of squats, suggesting that there are other ways to train legs effectively.

"If you're squatting, most times when you fail squatting, you fall forward, right? Like if you actually go to failure, you fall forward and it's because your core gives out before your legs do."

This quote explains Max's rationale for preferring exercises that isolate the targeted muscle, as opposed to compound movements where failure might be due to the weakness of supporting muscles rather than the primary muscle group.

Exercise Selection for Longevity in Training

  • Max discusses the importance of choosing exercises that allow high volume without joint damage.
  • He emphasizes sustainability in training, especially after nearly two decades of experience.
  • Max prefers exercises like banded leg press, hack squats, or a Smith press over traditional squats due to volume and joint considerations.
  • He mentions Bulgarian split squats as a preference for isolating glutes.

"And so if I check all those boxes, and that's pretty much how I look at the exercises that I select, they're ones that I know that I can do a ton of volume on without hurting my joints."

This quote encapsulates Max's approach to exercise selection, focusing on sustainability and joint health to maintain high training volume.

"With lunges, I would probably do like a bulgarian split squat if I wanted to isolate glutes."

Max prefers Bulgarian split squats for targeted glute work, highlighting his approach to muscle isolation and joint care.

Compound Lifts and Focus on Specific Muscles

  • Max discusses the use of compound lifts like hack squats for focused muscle training.
  • He acknowledges that compound lifts are multi-joint movements but can be modified for targeted muscle work.
  • Max and the other speaker discuss the limitations of mobility and strength in exercises like squats.
  • They highlight the importance of adapting exercises to individual limitations for effectiveness and safety.

"Like a hack squat is still a compound lift. Like, it's still a multi joint movement."

Max clarifies that despite being a compound exercise, a hack squat can still be focused and sustainable.

"So you have mobility limiters and then you just have strength limiters."

This quote speaks to the individual challenges faced during exercises, such as mobility and strength limitations, which can affect the ability to perform specific movements effectively.

Training Consistency Amid Entrepreneurship

  • Max reveals that he has maintained a consistent lifting routine throughout his entrepreneurial journey.
  • He prefers training with partners but often trains solo ('brolo') for convenience.
  • The conversation touches on the motivational benefits of training with others and the risks of pushing too hard.

"Yeah, I've lifted pretty much the whole time. Yeah."

Max confirms that despite the demands of entrepreneurship, he has managed to maintain his lifting routine.

"I prefer to train with training partners. I just happen to train Brolo for the most part."

Despite preferring to train with others, Max often trains alone, indicating his adaptability and dedication to his fitness routine.

Exercise Selection and Risk Management

  • Max emphasizes the importance of choosing exercises that minimize injury risk, especially when training to failure.
  • He discusses the balance between high-intensity lifts and central nervous fatigue, which can impact overall training volume and intensity.
  • Max and the other speaker discuss the context of lifting heavy, such as in football training, and the associated risks.

"It's really tough to get. I mean, you can get hurt on a hack squat, but it's, like, a lot less likely."

Max points out that while injury is possible with any exercise, certain exercises like hack squats carry a lower risk compared to others, such as barbell squats.

"Everything comes down to just volume times intensity."

This quote summarizes Max's philosophy on hypertrophy, emphasizing the importance of balancing volume and intensity in training for muscle growth.

Fitness Philosophy and Lifestyle

  • Max shares his simplified approach to fitness and nutrition, focusing on fruit, meat, and dessert.
  • He discusses the importance of understanding calorie intake and having a consistent meal pattern.
  • Max highlights the practicality of changing a few key meals to alter one's diet significantly.
  • He also touches on the social and enjoyment aspects of keeping dinners flexible.

"I eat pretty much fruit, meat, and dessert."

Max's dietary approach is straightforward, focusing on key food groups and allowing for indulgence within a structured framework.

"All you have to do is just change what those ten meals are."

By suggesting changes to a limited set of recurring meals, Max provides a strategy for altering dietary habits without overwhelming changes.

Social Aspects and Fitness

  • Max discusses the balance between fitness and social life, including his approach to alcohol consumption and cheat days.
  • He mentions 'cheat life' as a concept of flexible dieting that works for him.
  • The conversation explores the idea of occasional indulgence and its place in a balanced lifestyle.

"I believe in cheat life."

Max's comment on 'cheat life' reflects his belief in a balanced approach to diet that allows for regular enjoyment within a structured nutritional plan.

"I eat whatever. You know what I mean? Basically, I just back in from."

Max explains his strategy of consuming a consistent, protein-rich diet earlier in the day to allow flexibility during social dinners, blending his fitness goals with his social life.

Learning and Information Acquisition

  • Max and the other speakers discuss learning styles and information acquisition, particularly in the context of business.
  • Max shares that he learns mostly through experience rather than reading extensively.
  • He describes a focused approach to learning when entering a new field, involving reading narrowly targeted books and consulting experts.

"Just through doing for the most part, honestly."

Max credits hands-on experience as his primary method of learning about business, emphasizing the practical over the theoretical.

"I read, like, eight books on deal making in a week."

When delving into a new topic, Max adopts an intensive approach to learning, combining reading with expert consultation to develop a comprehensive understanding quickly.

Success and Recognition

  • The importance of actions and achievements that lead to success.
  • The concept that success can be defined by being the subject of books or creating impactful work.
  • The idea that to be remembered, one must either do something noteworthy or produce work that is worth reading.

Sure. I mean, that's like Benjamin Franklin said, to be remembered. You either have to do something that people write books about or write books worth reading.

This quote highlights Benjamin Franklin's perspective on legacy, emphasizing the importance of notable actions or significant written contributions as means to be remembered.

Loss of Thought and Recalibration

  • The speakers experience a moment of confusion and losing their train of thought.
  • They acknowledge the need to take a break, recalibrate, and figure out the next steps.
  • The conversation takes a turn towards a more relaxed and reflective mode.

We had a refraction period that happened.

The quote metaphorically describes a moment of pause and confusion as a "refraction period," suggesting a need to regroup before proceeding.

Branding and Identity

  • Discussion of how branding works and the significance of associating a brand with certain ideals or concepts.
  • The process of branding involves teaching and associating unknown elements with known ones to create a shared understanding.
  • The speakers explore the concept of "Stoke" as a brand and how to define and communicate its essence.

So the Stoke is an ideal, right? And so Nike is victory. It's an ideal that everyone strives towards. And so Stoke is also an ideal.

This quote explains that "Stoke" is an ideal, similar to how Nike represents victory, and that branding is about associating an ideal with tangible things.

Commodification and Authenticity

  • The speakers discuss the potential issues with commodifying ideals and the importance of maintaining authenticity.
  • They explore the challenge of defining a brand without making it too prescriptive or losing its essence.
  • The conversation touches on the delicate balance required in building a brand that resonates with people.

I know, because then I guess I'm wary of commodifying it, but we have to, because I want to have a good think.

The speaker expresses concern about commodifying "Stoke," indicating a desire to maintain the integrity of the concept while also recognizing the need to monetize it.

Brand Associations and Value

  • Branding involves the careful selection of associations that align with the brand's values.
  • The speakers discuss how the meaning and perception of a brand can significantly affect its value.
  • They use metaphors to illustrate the impact of positive and negative associations on a brand's image.

So if you think about what brand is, I'm going to get a little on this. So if you go back to what brand originally was, brand was like, what you seared onto a cattle, right? It was a brand.

This quote traces the origin of the term "brand" back to cattle branding, using it to explain how branding influences perception and behavior.

Company Acquisitions and Value Addition

  • Speaker A discusses their primary business,, which involves buying companies.
  • They highlight the criteria for what makes a company appealing for acquisition, such as the potential for adding value and the company's size and market.
  • The importance of a company's founder and their characteristics is also discussed, with ego being a major disqualifying factor.

We buy companies.

This straightforward quote clarifies the primary function of, which is the purchase of companies.

Selectivity in Branding

  • The conversation emphasizes the importance of being selective and protective of a brand's image.
  • The speakers discuss the need to differentiate what aligns with the brand and what does not.
  • The idea is to create a clear and cohesive brand identity that resonates with the intended audience.

There's way more things that would be not stoke than Stoke.

This quote illustrates the concept of exclusivity in branding, suggesting that not everything can or should be associated with the "Stoke" brand.

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