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Relentless Podcast

Tony Federico 2: How to Eat the Elephant and Make Your Idea a Reality

It’s time for episode 18 of the Relentless: Real People, Real Results, Real World podcast!

In this episode I welcome back Tony Federico, personal trainer and fitness manager, Paleo Grilling author, Paleo Magazine Radio podcast host, Paleo Fitness Magazine editor, avid blogger and Instagramer.

Part one of our discussion can be found here, and this time around Tony and I dig into topics on the business and entrepreneurial side of the coin.



  • How to maximize your personal productivity.
  • Being the director of a fitness center and managing his own clients along with employees, customers, and facility demands.
  • Constructing an experimental multi-media e-book presenting recipes in a fresh manner.
  • Tracking everything with Google Calendar.
  • Dividing a day between “maker” and “manager” activities and crediting the 4-Hour Workweek and 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. “I do want security, I do want a steady paycheck, I do want a base, a foundation – that really comprises my managerial functions and my salary job – but I also want to have something that’s moving my life in a new direction creatively. That keeps the manager stuff fresh. The two feed each other.”
  • “It might sound like that guy is interested in being busy for busy’s sake, but that’s not the case. It’s enriching to have these activities because it keeps me growing.”
  • Acknowledging an early phase as a bad employee and improving by asking the question: “What happens if I really apply myself?”
  • Embracing responsibility and looking for new opportunities within his fitness profession.
  • Learning how to manage: “First and foremost I had to learn how to be a good employee.”
  • Balancing two forces – employees feeding information up with big bosses feeding information down – as well as having customers on either side.
  • Simple rule for success: “At least do one thing each day that’s moving the ball forward rather than get caught up in patching holes.”
  • Step-by-step to manager: First improve as an employee, second embrace new opportunities to get your feet wet, third when you become a manager understand that you’re starting from scratch.
  • The importance of remembering what it’s like to be an employee: “You have to keep your empathy muscles strong…as long as you can remember that you’re always dealing with people and it’s really just about relationships…you have to have compassion.”
  • Defining empathy: “A willingness to step into someone else’s shoes and to understand their reasons even if they’re not my reasons.”
  • Dealing with tough employee situations and respecting the individual to generate positive results.
  • Being a strong leader by empowering others.
  • Introducing Powerful Personal Trainer, a co-production, idea, and product to help other personal trainers.
  • “I learned 90% of what I use each and every day on the job.” [not in college or in a certification program]
  • Providing people a condensed version of our collective experience. “It’s a much more personal project than almost anything else that I’ve done because my day-to-day life is training.”
  • Idea phase vs. production phase: “It’s easy to have ideas…everybody has world-changing, million-dollar ideas…the hard thing is to take that idea and turn it into a physical reality.”
  • Match your idea to your preferred lifestyle.
  • “Your idea is a vehicle, and it’s going to take you somewhere. If you see it through do you like where it’s taking you?”
  • Expanding on the process of creating Paleo Grilling – writing, promotion, review copies, radio, tv, podcast, and blog appearances. The writing process doesn’t end when you put your pen down.
  • Breaking down your overwhelming list of 20-30 things into simply this: what is your single next step? “Do a manageable bite at a time and trust that enough bites will eventually eat the elephant.”
  • Key components of a podcast: sound (mic), recording program (I use Evaer to record Skype conversations), editing program (I use Audacity), and publishing platform (I use Libsyn).
  • Key components of a book: concept, outline, draft, rewrites and edits (sometimes keeping space constraints in mind), refinement, (possibly) photographer, layout, and (possibly) printing.
  • Two broad options for a book idea: “Is it your personal passion or is it looking for an audience to speak to their needs? It’s a your needs or their needs proposition.”
  • Why books are often a team effort.
  • Why published books don’t usually make you rich: “By the time it actually gets done, the author is just one small piece in the overall picture.”
  • The hidden benefits of having a book: credibility, pay negotiation, speaking engagements, etc. “It’s a powerful thing to put on your resume.”

“There’s something that you can do today that you can take advantage of to learn and to grow from. I challenge you to do that thing today. That’s what it’s all about. It’s getting enough of those under your belt. You’re going to look back 10 years from now and you’re going to say ‘Wow, I’ve accomplished a lot just by doing a little each and every time the opportunity presents itself.’


If you like what you hear on these episodes, please subscribe to, rate, and/or review the podcast on iTunes.  Thanks for your support!

Relentless Podcast

Chris Plentus: Crush Crossfit, Travel the World, and Endure 26.2 Hours in a Diner

*QUICK NOTE: There was an issue with iTunes audio (now fixed). If you downloaded the episode early, delete it, and grab the new version. Thanks all!*

It’s time for episode three of the Relentless: Real People, Real Results, Real World podcast!  (Scroll to the bottom for all listening options.)

Podcast Description:

A deep dive into how real people get real results in the real world. Relentless mixes stories to provide context and the actions you can take right now in both short-format episodes and long-format interviews. Get ready to tackle anything from your morning cup of coffee to your exercise and nutrition regimens to building a million dollar business.

Chris Plentus: Crush Crossfit, Travel the World, and Endure 26.2 Hours in a Diner

In this episode I welcome in Chris Plentus, one of only five Level 3 Crossfit coaches in Pennsylvania, international traveler, blogger, passionate photographer, soon-to-be-father, and coffee lover. Here’s the rundown:

  • Drawing inspiration from athletes overperforming in workouts.
  • Breakfast: Breakfast tacos – 3 corn tortillas, bacon, over easy eggs, and salsa.
  • Coffee: Americano with 2 long shots drawn from a Pixie plus equal parts water.
  • Workout: Bench press and pistol squat strength plus metabolic conditioning – back rack lunges, double unders, and ring muscle-ups.
  • Snap Out of a Funk: Go for a drive to get the juices flowing.
  • Coming face-to-face with a lion, overcoming the moment, and snapping a legendary photo
  • Business Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Top Takeaway: Experiencing empathy and knowing people’s names.
  • Relaxation: Nic Cage movies.
  • Being born in South Korea and coming over to the US at 3 months.
  • Using public transportation and commuting over an 1:20 each way to a high school in NYC.
  • First following what he “was good at” and engineering in college.
  • Then realizing that he wanted to work directly with people and switching majors.
  • Leveraging a summer internship to learn what he didn’t want to do. “I can’t do something that I don’t like for very long.”
  • How the Myers-Briggs Personality Test made all the difference.
  • “I don’t know if I necessarily believe in destiny, but it happened for a reason, and I had to pay attention to it.”
  • The macro theme of most jobs having unseen day-to-day stressors. “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. You don’t really know what someone else is going through until you actually try it.”
  • Following an out-of-the-blue career opportunity and transitioning into becoming an education consultant, traveling internationally, and doing professional development with teachers.
  • Being equipped for the modern world and a more transitory professional landscape.
  • The new educational revolution – the Khan Academy being an example – and accessing anything from anywhere.
  • “So you have these kids that are spending 8 hours in high school but they’re learning more on this 20 minute video because he explains it succinctly in a visual way. Obviously teachers are amazing, and they deal with so much – total respect for them. But we’re definitely seeing the market move in a different direction.”
  • Ordering a black eye and getting weird looks.
  • Nespresso vs. Keurig machines.
  • Transitioning from a military bodyweight fitness routine and diving into Crossfit via recommendations from his now father-in-law plus inspiration from the movie 300.
  • “Anytime I started a gym routine I would do it for a couple weeks and then stop because I was bored. It wasn’t holding my interest.”
  • “I went to and stalked the website for a month. I didn’t do a thing because I was petrified. What are these things? What are these movements? Why don’t they run? Why are these workouts 10 minutes long?”
  • Retaining the ability to think like a new client.
  • The WTF moment of first hearing that someone didn’t eat bread or pasta.
  • “No matter what you’re looking to do, we can start at ground zero and work our way up. There’s always a step to be taken. You don’t have to do the crazy stuff you see online and on ESPN2 Crossfit Games. You do you and take it one step at a time.”
  • Committing 3 months to 1 year upfront due to the body needing time to adapt.
  • A call to action to share your opinions via podcasting, blogging, etc.
  • “Even if it’s one person that you can reach out to and touch in some way or change their life, good. It was totally worth it.”
  • “I grew up wanting to do things. I’m very restless. Some people – and this is fine because people are different – can have the 9-to-5, go to work, come home, sit on the couch, watch TV, go to bed, wake up. I can’t do that.”
  • The importance and inspiration of international travel and immersing yourself in foreign cultures.
  • Not waiting until you are retired to travel and embracing your youth and physical fitness. Pulling a Tim Ferriss and taking mini-retirements.
  • Why travel? “I’ve never met anyone who has traveled to another country and also is a hateful person – and by that I mean prejudiced or closed minded. Whether that’s a correlation or a causation, I don’t know, but I imagine it’s more of a causation.”
  • “I realize that traveling costs money, but make it work.”
  • Best starter trip: Iceland.
  • Sitting in a New Jersey diner for 26.2 hours and having over 200 people visit throughout.
  • Embracing life bucket list items – seeing the 7 wonders of the world and cage diving with Great White Sharks.
  • Becoming Crossfit Level 3 certified and continuing to pursue education with the end goal of helping people.
  • Being a big picture guy and focusing on health. “The only thing we have at the end of our lives is our health. The idea of not being healthy at the end of my life is not a fun thing to think about.”
  • Preferring live clinics and seminars as a means to learn. “The ability to adapt and go with the flow and see what the crowd – whether it’s 5 people or 50 people – is there for an to understand their interests is a good skill to have.”
  • The community of Crossfit.
  • Visiting 30+ Crossfit boxes and distilling 11 Tips for Box Owners and Visitors.
  • Recommendations: know the basic movements before you drop in, be humble, introduce yourself, and get to know other people.
  • Pushing himself extra hard due to external motivation.
  • “None of us know everything, and we can always improve upon something…the better you get at it, the more you realize you don’t know.”
  • Shout-out to Robb Wolf for having a humble voice, presenting sound information, and admitting when new information presents itself.
  • Having a bad memory and embracing photography as a means to capture events.
  • Going from in-gym photography to family and wedding portraits. “If I can help someone smile and create memories, that’s a cool thing.”
  • Heading towards fitness being his #1 career focus.
  • Having 100 different possible directions and crystallizing ideas into action.
  • “Very few people actually invent the wheel. You’re doing the same thing that other people have done, but you’re doing it slightly different or at a different time.”
  • Self actualization, the book Flow, and seeking more of that professionally.
  • Ignorance is bliss. “Sometimes I wish that I could do a boring job and be content in doing a mediocre job…but it’s not who I am, and I have to acknowledge that.”
  • Chris and Kristin expecting their first child in the Fall.
  • Owing everything to Kristin – from Crossfit to traveling more to keeping him in line.
  • On the impending baby: “It puts things in perspective. You become more selfless. You have to think of other people if you haven’t already.”
  • Preferred vice: Cabernet wine…but choosing ice cream over it every time if given the choice.
  • Going on a mass gain and housing ice cream and rice all summer (but not together). “It was a very uncomfortable summer.”
  • Avoiding the input of mindless television.
  • Receiving the question “How do you do all of this?” and answering “It’s more about not doing things that waste time.”

CHRIS’S Relentless Action:  “Serve other people. We’re not here for ourselves.” Draw inspiration from the book The Other Wes Moore and remember this quote: “Hell is meeting the person you could have become.”

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A Favor: If you like what you hear on these first few episodes, please help me out by subscribing to, rating, and/or reviewing the podcast on iTunes.  Thanks for your support!