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high achievement

Relentless Podcast

Roger Dickerman: Being Relentless, Slowly Climbing Mount Everest, and Walking a Tightrope

It’s time for episode 21 of the Relentless: Real People, Real Results, Real World podcast:

In this episode I welcome in…myself? Yes, we flipped the script. Relentless Riss takes over the hosting microphone and puts me on the hot seat!



  • Snapping out of an uninspired funk with a Brian Dawkins hit compilation.
  • Being inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Hard Work and Patience” video.
  • To relax consider removing inputs instead of constantly adding them: “Leaving and being comfortable with dead space is a huge deal.”
  • On real world experience: “For anyone going through the formal education system you need real life internships…otherwise you come out unprepared.”
  • On what prompted a career change: “Sometimes you are on a path and you are not connecting to it…I started to become detached…I need to throw myself into something, and I was losing that. I felt the detachment.”
  • On losing something important: “I hadn’t read anything for about 3 years, and that was a rude awakening for me.”
  • Crediting The Count of Monte Cristo and The 4-Hour Workweek as a formative literary cocktail.
  • Launching a fantasy football program
  • Winning the Endless Summer contest via author Tim Ferriss and traveling to Japan.
  • Drawing inspiration from Rolf Potts’s Vagabonding and deciding to keep the travel unstructured.
  • A first journal entry from Japan: “This is a strange and negative experience.” Thereafter? The experience of a lifetime.
  • On a 4-6 month period of dreaming: “I would take a stack of books, walk to a coffee shop, drink multiple red eyes, read and write. I filled journals up…I needed to try a few things and not get anywhere with them.”
  • Health and fitness roots: “I grew up unsatisfied with my body and unaware that I could change it.”
  • On a career awakening: “All of a sudden you realize you can do more about this than you ever thought possible…I backed into my passion.”
  • Why Relentless Fitness? “I always knew I wanted to do my own thing and that was very important to me. I wanted to drive the bus. I saw some things about the big gym that I didn’t like, and that was the first seed of thought.”
  • Why the word Relentless? “The word is really important to me. Relentless represents the mindset that with the appropriate plan and effort and focus that anything is possible over time.”
  • What is Relentless about? “It’s about the people. Specifically it’s about the experience for those people.”
  • On flexibility: “I don’t think rigidity and black and white gets you long-term success.”
  • Having a big picture view: “If something doesn’t go right in the short-term, it’s ok – as long as you are staying true to yourself, you are making moves that represent who you are, and acting on behalf of your people. It’s ok to take a step back to take ten steps forward down the road.”
  • On client goals: “The goal is not to single-mindedly retain a client. The goal is to make the client better, to give them tools, and to set them on the right course. If they’re doing that somewhere else I’m happy…I no longer say ‘did we gain or did we lose?’ It’s about ‘is this person in a better position?'”
  • Marketing the Transformation program: “I’m willing to not over-market something and lose consumers. If you promise the moon that’s how you sell, and that’s unfortunate. It’s a mainstream versus a niche decision. I’m not willing to sell out the marketing phase just to get a million people in the door.
  • “It’s easy to get fired up about short-term goals, but we always have to complement that with a long-term goal. We don’t want to do something on behalf of ourselves today that we wouldn’t do on behalf of ourselves tomorrow. If we act too aggressively we end up losing those long-term results; it’s like climbing Mount Everest and falling off the other side. If I showed you 12 weeks and said you could be on top of Mount Everest but in 24 weeks you’re going to tumble or you could act a little slower, a little smarter, and a little more sustainably, and in a year’s time you’ll be 3 steps away from the top of Mount Everest and on the path to sustain that – I think most everyone would choose the latter. It’s very hard to have that thought process in the moment, but I take that responsibility on as a coach and a trainer to try to instill that process while motivating and inspiring in the short-term.”

Q & A Section

Huge thanks to Chris Plentus, Keith Norris, Tony Federico, Steven Doherty, Kristie Matevish, Cathy Pellegrino, and Steve Liberati (in order of appearance) for their awesome and challenging questions!

Q: Give us a sense of your morning and/or evening routines.

“No matter how early I train at the studio, I always leave myself 45-minutes or more of calm in a reading chair.”

“No matter how late it is, I always turn on a reading lamp and read a few pages of fiction before closing the eyes.”

Q: What forms of media can you consume over and over again?

Books: Meditations of Marcus Arelius, The War of Art, The Authentic Swing

Video: Arnold Schwarzenegger 30 for 30 short film

Q: How do you think other people perceive you and does it jive with how you perceive yourself?

Q: Who do you admire and why?

“If someone has been a guest on this show they inspire me beyond words.”

Q: What’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

Q: Would you rather have fingers as long as your legs or legs as long as your fingers?

Q: Discuss what kind of guts it takes to leave your former cushy gig to dive into the wild, wild West of entrepreneurship.

“Many of the people who make decisions like this are compelled to by something unspeakable. It’s like a magnet. It’s unavoidable.”

Q: How do you maintain work/life balance when you own a business with your fiance?

Q: How do you think it’s best to deal with clients/friends/family that claim they want to make a positive change in their lives but you question their methods and dedication to that change?

“Be a human being not a coach. It’s understanding that not everyone is in the same place and not everyone is in the same mental state of readiness for change. It’s planting a seed and not forcing it to blossom because you can’t…You cannot do something for someone, period.”

Q: In your experience what quality do you see in your clients that enables them to make the most dramatic changes in their lives or what qualities are most helpful to ensure success in meeting goals?

Rock bottom is an unfortunate precursor to success.

Q: Even though it is illegal do you think it is possible for a person to safely use TRT/steroids/performance enhancing drugs and not have them prescribed by a doctor?

Q: Would you use TRT/steroids/performance enhancing drugs?

Q: In a fight to the death who would win – The Mountain from Game of Thrones and Dutch from Predator?

Q: What is the most overlooked quality for performing at a high level?

Intelligence, planning, and drive. “Being able to see the long-game that’s in front of you and by definition that high achievement does not come overnight.”

“If someone is incredibly driven to that 1% or .01% outcome, there’s a reason why 100% of the population doesn’t go there. You need to persist through low moments and trust the process.”

Q: How difficult is it to properly follow a ketogenic diet and how harmful can it be to incorrectly follow one?

Q: What is the most exciting thing you see happening right now in the physical fitness industry?

“Individualization is becoming a movement. Personal training is becoming a movement…People are becoming willing to gather teams of experts on behalf of their health…There are more and more services on all of the health platforms. There are more and more choices, and people are starting to see the value in allocating resources – time and money – to these avenues to better other avenues.”

“I believe that health is the great enabler and your health deserves resources. If you allocate resources there and your health becomes better, every other facet of your life is improved.”

Q: How much do you bench, bruh?

Q: What is your endgame? When is the empire built?

“The short answer is never. It’s a way of life. To me humanity is growth. It is growing. If I ever stop growing, then put me out to pasture. It’s over.”

Q: When you’re an old man sitting in your rocking chair, what will be the most proud thing that you tell your grandkids about yourself?

“You have your stories and you have your memories at that point. Those stories and those memories revolve around the people that you assisted in some way shape or form, people thriving based on what we’ve been able to do. That’s where it will all end.”


Go through this thought process:

Are you doing anything for yourself today that you wouldn’t do for yourself tomorrow?

  • If yes, is there a good reason why you are doing this today?
  • If no, are you trying hard enough?

“The line is very fine and it’s very hard to tightrope walk – it’s like a living, breathing Man on Wire. You’ll always fall to either side. You’ll need periods of striving hard and you’ll need periods of relaxation. As you get better and better, you’ll stay tighter to that line. You’ll stop blowing yourself out so much and doing the college all-nighters. You’ll stop swaying so hard to relaxation where you go on a holiday binge where you really let it get away from you. You’ll have less less of the extremes, and you’ll stay tighter to your line.”


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