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Next Level Guy

Apr 1, 2022

Today’s guest is Adam Hill. 

It was never part of Adam Hill's life ambition or his genetic constitution to wear a Speedo in public, let alone compete in a triathlon. For the first three decades of life, he was the poster child for non-athleticism, obsessively unhealthy habits, and an intense fear of...well...everything.

Yet at the age of thirty-three, with a physique that could only be described as "Sasquatch with a Dad Bod," he put aside his insecurities and took his first step toward an outrageous dream: to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

It was a dream shared by nearly every other triathlete in the world, reserved for the top 1 percent of all athletes in the sport—a sport in which Adam had exactly zero experience.

In Shifting Gears, Adam shares his harrowing, inspiring, and sometimes-clumsy story of transformation, from the origins of a debilitating
anxiety disorder to his battle with alcoholism to his rise to the top of the triathlon world stage.

Adam Hill is an elite amateur triathlete with multiple podium finishes and has earned the distinctions of USA Triathlon All-American and Ironman All World Athlete. He was featured in the NBC Sports series Ironman: Quest for Kona (2017), which chronicled his successful attempt to qualify for the Ironman World Championship.

Today, Adam is a business executive, coach, speaker, and author. Through his triathlon platform, Extra Life Fitness, he provides coaching, guidance, and resources to triathletes of all levels. You’ll often find him speaking about personal transformation and overcoming anxiety at company events, on podcasts, and in other media—usually because they invited him.

In this interview, we discuss:

  • Anxiety, panic attacks and alcohol.
  • How he went from the addict mindset to the athletes way of life.
  • How he learned how to use his anxiety as a superpower in his life.
  • And so much more.

Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • Everyone needs a challenge in our life, just because something is not on your radar when you younger doesn't stop you from doing it later in life. Make a challenge from it, push it and see where it takes you. 
  • Men are taught to be strong, quiet about their problems and do everything ourselves, but this is BS, it is OK to ask for help, to speak to doctors etc about your mental health. It is OK not to be OK and speak to someone and get the help you need.
  • Using alcohol as a social lubricant to help nerves or deal with stress is never a good idea as it rarely deals with the issue and just numbs the symptoms for a while. 
  • When we don#t live to our true values, we will find life and the universe will send us warning signs, be it stress anxiety or panic or push back from life, and it will try and force you to address and revise. 
  • You can use shameful actions or bad events as a way of knowing you need to make a change and make a hard turn about in your life. 
  • It is very hard to notice you have a problem when you are going through it, but when you notice you depend on the vice to cope, it is time to speak to a medical professional. 
  • You are not selfish for trying to get help and support for your medical and mental health needs. It is an act of strength to ask for help.
  • There are a number of successful programs that you can use to deal with alcohol dependency, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 Steps program etc. You can find a method and style that works best for you. Find a group that has a method and approach that works for you. The community of the group you work with can be the biggest factor in changing or not.   
  • The best apology to others for your behavior is changed behavior. 
  • You will make mistakes on your journey back but look at them as learning experiences, you are not perfect you are just human. Learn from the mistake and don't do it again. You only fail when you give up and fall back to the bad habits. 
  • Top performers know they cannot control everything, they will aim to control the controllable, and let the uncontrollable happen and just adapt to it. 
  • Make treating your addiction as your top priority, put your treatment as first priority in your life. It is not selfish to take time for yourself and get healthy. You owe it to yourself as much as you do to friends and family. 
  • As you change your life and remove the bad habits, find a challenge or focus that you can put your attention into so you keep focused and driven away from the old channels of behavior. 
  • Anxiety rarely goes, you will always feel fear, but you can learn to accept it, learn from it and use it to grow and help yourself. 
  • Everyone struggles with something, we all deserve to have validation to our feelings and be empowered to help us change our life.  
  • Interview your therapist, find someone that you click with. Build a relationship with the therapist and really be open to what they say and try.
  • Adam found being open and honest about his story was a great motivation to keep accountable and sober - what transformation could doing the same do for you?  
  • If you want to get healthy, start small and short. Go for a walk, try a stationary bike. You don't need to live in the gym and there is a lot of information online that can guide you on how to change and build up your fitness skills and enjoy the journey as you go. There are hundreds of ways to work out, do a sport, keep healthy, play around and find the thing that appeals to you and that you can do. 
  • There will always be dicks who criticise and joke about you but remember only people who are terrified of your potential will comment, people in the gym, bike shop etc will be glad to see you start, encourage you and be glad you are now part of the community. People who are working on bettering themselves see it and appreciate it in others and will help you on your journey. They will welcome beginners as we have all started from somewhere.