Cultivating Functional Strength and How to Apply It, with Ryan Ford

Cultivating strength is a huge emphasis here at GMB.

More specifically, we advocate the cultivation of functional strength. In other words, don’t just get stronger for the sake of getting stronger. Get stronger for the purpose of applying it to the aspects and activities of life that matter the most to you.

On this episode of the GMB Show we’re happy to be able to talk again with Ryan Ford, from Apex Movement, a parkour and athletic training center in Denver, Colorado.

Ryan dives into the concepts of cultivating functional strength both physically and mentally, especially from his experiences in Parkour training. He also opens up on how to apply that cultivated strength in all aspects of your life.

Ryan’s a big advocate for cultivating strength of the mind as a catalyst to developing physical strength, and that experiencing discomfort and challenge is necessary for growth in both areas.

Ryan Ford is a parkour practitioner, athlete, trainer, coach, entrepreneur and co-author of Parkour Strength Training: Overcome Obstacles for Fun and Fitness.

Embracing discomfort and challenge is something that everyone should do. – Ryan Ford

Find Ryan:
Apex Movement Parkour and Athletics

You’ll hear:

3:25: Drills that you can perform to improve your mental strength and reduce fear.9:00: What Ryan is doing after having ankle surgery for an injury to regain his strength.12:45: Ryan’s advice for getting back into training.18:00: When to decide that “good is good enough.”23.20: Some ways to get over a plateau or obstacles that make training ineffective or not fun anymore.26:00: How Ryan’s book can help people who are interested in parkour.

Links and Resources:

Parkour Strength Training: Overcome Obstacles for Fun and FitnessThe Talent CodeThe Little Book of TalentBetween a  Rock and a Hard PlaceThe Obstacle Is the Way

Cultivating Functional Strength And How To Apply It

Ryan Hurst: Everybody, welcome to this episode of the GMB Show. Today’s guest is Ryan Ford from APEX Movement out of Denver, Colorado. How are you doing, Ryan?

Ryan Ford: Doing well. How about you?

Ryan Hurst: I’m doing great, man. Some of you probably remember Ryan from an interview that we did last year with him. Just to let you know, Ryan is an athlete coach, author, entrepreneur. He’s been a 2-time competitor on American Ninja Warrior. He opened his first parkour gym, APEX Movement, in 2009. He recently released a book with co-author Ben Musholt, called Parkour Strength Training: Overcome obstacles for Fun and Fitness. I had the pleasure of receiving of receiving an advance copy of that, and it is really cool. Thanks for being on the show again, Ryan.

This time around, I like to talk a little bit about the concept of strength. Obviously in GMB, we have our 3 sections. We talk about strength, we talk about flexibility, and motor control, and how each of those individually is important. Without having those work together, overall, you’re not going to have the control and the physical autonomy that you’re really after. This time around, we’ll delve a bit into strength and really want to get your opinion on it, see how that goes. A lot of people, strength holds a different meaning, depending on who you ask. It could relate to the bench press numbers, how many handstand push-ups you can do, or even how well you can push someone around in the sumo ring. What are some of the first words or phrases that come to mind when you hear the terms strength?

Ryan Ford: Personally, I think of a lot of stuff. Like you said, it’s open to interpretation. Most people probably … The first thing that comes to mind is physical. Coming from a parkour background, another huge area that I think of is mental strength. That’s something that we’re always confronting in parkour I think a little bit more so than most other sports. When you’re standing on the edge of that roof gap or trying to do something new that you’ve never done before, it’s a little bit scary. You got the voice in the back of your head telling you, “Don’t do this. It’s dangerous.” You also have to think about your own training that has prepared you for that.

I think a lot of people see parkour as reckless and jackass type of stunts, but really everything we do is very calculated. There’s a lot of training that leads up to some of this crazy stuff that you see. Mental strength is a huge part of what we do as well. It doesn’t matter how strong you are physically, or how much skill you have, if your mental side of things is always holding you back. The mind can actually block you from expressing the physical strength, the technical strength that you have. That’s, like I said, a huge part of what we do in parkour.

Ryan Hurst: I love to hear this. Actually, I like to delve a bit into some specifics, if you don’t mind. For example, are courses going to be different depending on your particular level? A beginner working on their mental capacity, their strength capacity compared to higher level athlete is going to be different. What are some ways and maybe some drills that we could use in order to better enhance our mental strength?

Ryan Ford: Like I said, parkour is huge on that. It’s something that we’re facing almost every session, if not every session in parkour. If you ever tried any of this stuff, you immediately identify with the fear and you can understand. Even if you’re standing on a low bench or a wall that’s just 2 feet off the ground and you’re looking at another bench that’s 6, 7 feet away, if you’re new to parkour and you’re new to exploring your abilities, you could still potentially get hurt just making that simple jump between 2 benches low to the ground. There is that little voice in the back of your head that’s saying, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t do this.” You have to figure out a way to overcome that.

It might not even be that difficult of a jump. You could get down on the ground right next to these 2 benches, and jump the same gap at ground level. As soon as you’re off the ground a couple of feet, and you know at an extreme level, there’s professional parkour guys doing this 100 feet off the ground, then it becomes inherently more dangerous. Although with your training, it’s not necessarily more risky. Some things that you can do just to work on our mental strength, whether you do parkour or not, is … I think too many of us, nowadays, you can control everything around you. You can put your headphones on if you don’t want to talk to somebody. You can turn on the heat or the AC, make the room temperature perfect.

Everything we do is so controlled that I feel like nobody ever really faces much discomfort. This fear that we conquer in every parkour session or this sense of embracing discomfort or embracing challenge, I think that’s really important for everyone to do, whether it’s through something that looks like parkour or of it’s just, “Hey, take a cold shower someday.” or challenge yourself, make yourself a little bit uncomfortable, don’t tune everyone out. It’s about how do human experience life throughout history when they couldn’t control and tune everything to their own liking. That’s what we’re doing in parkour, is confronting discomfort, facing fear.

I feel like the best way to do that is through exposure. I’ve read a bunch of psychology studies where … Take a fear of heights for example. That’s a very common fear that people have, and that is a common fear that you’re going to have to face if you’re doing parkour. If we’re talking about the best way to overcome that, it really just comes down to exposure. For example, if I’m trying to get somebody to overcome their fear of heights in parkour, at first, we might just be sitting or standing near a drop, a 10-foot drop or something. It could be completely safe, but you just have to stand near it. You’re not putting yourself in any kind of risk. You’re not actually jumping a gap or anything. You are just being around it and becoming exposed to it.

As we start to get over a little bit of that fear through the exposure, then maybe you can sit on the edge. Maybe you can sit on that wall 10 feet off the ground, and let your legs or your feet dangle over the edge. Then maybe as you get better, you stand up, and then you walk along the wall, or something up high. You slowly overcome these things and your mental strength becomes better. Then it’s a very … I think one of the most compelling things about parkour is it’s very easy to compare this thing literally and metaphorically. We are overcoming obstacles physically in parkour, but the skills translate very well to other things in life. If you got to overcome problems in a relationship, or your work life, or school, or whatever it may be, just exposing yourself to discomfort and challenge applies to everything that you do.

Ryan Hurst: Well, that’s so good. I whole heartedly agree with what you’re saying, is facing these fears. Recently … Well, not just recently, but we do see that a lot of people run away from their fears, and it is so easy. Like you said, putting your headphones on, maybe not confronting a person that you want to confront with in person, because it’s so easy to do that now via the internet or what not. A lot of us don’t really look at our fears, because we don’t know how to face them. Using this incremental progression, as you’re mentioning right now, it’s such a good carry over for everything that we’re doing in life.

Bringing it back just a little bit and looking at the physical side of strength. If you don’t mind, before we started recording, we are catching up. You mentioned you just had ankle surgery. A couple of weeks ago, you had ankle surgery. I’m sure that the mental aspect of strength in this has appear and this is something you’re going to have to work through. Regarding the actual strength, once again, this is probably a different kind of strength work that you’re having to do, because you’re having to do rehabilitation for your ankle.

If you could tell us a little bit about what’s going on with your ankle and some of the things. Both mentally and physically that you’re focusing on in order to help you not just rehabilitate your ankle, but also be able to maintain what you’re doing, so that you can get back to parkour and do it safely again.

Ryan Ford: Yeah. I did get ankle surgery about 2 1/2 weeks ago now. It was a minor arthroscopic surgery to essentially clean up some bone spurs and stuff that was impinging my ankle joint. This is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. My background actually started out in soccer. From age 3 to 13 or so, I played soccer. I got into high school, switched over to football and track. Then toward the end of high school and ever since then, for the past 12 years, I’ve done parkour.

I can’t really pin my ankle injury onto anything in particular. Although, I do think that my sporting career in soccer and football kind of set me up to have really poor mobility. I didn’t even realize this for so long, until my late teens and early 20s. I started to realize that I have some pretty stiff ankles. Comparing myself to other people I train with, I realized this was starting to limit me in certain areas. Unfortunately, ankle sprains throughout my 20 years of athletics kind of added up. I got stiffer and stiffer, and ultimately, I tried everything to fix my ankle dorsiflexion, and nothing worked. I found myself finally kind of saying, “Well, what if there’s something in there physically blocking and restricting my mobility?”

I went to the doctor. Sure enough, they took some x-rays. Actually, he pointed at the x-ray and said, that’s basically a spike, a burn spur, growing off of your ankle. That’s why it was really hurting me so bad during high impact stuff. I really had no choice but to get the surgery. Luckily, it’s a minor surgery, 4 to 6-week recovery. I have been 2 1/2 weeks out. I just started weight-bearing a few days ago. Currently, where I’m at is going to physical therapy twice a week, as well as doing a bunch of stuff on my own, mostly just trying to get back some of the range of motion.

I know my strength is going to come back. I’m not worried about that. Like I said, I’ve always struggled with ankle mobility, so that’s my number 1 priority now that I have fixed the physical restriction. The bright side of things is now I get to actually make progress on my ankle mobility because it’s no longer blocked by bone spurs and stuff like that.

Ryan Hurst: Yeah. That’s really good to hear. I’ve gone through a couple of injuries before, a reconstructive surgery on my shoulder and what. I do know when stuff like that happens, you can think it’s the end of the world, but actually it’s good thing to get this checked out and make sure that you’re good and ready to come back and be able to actually … I have a feeling you’re going to be able to do so much more than you’ve been able to up until now, which is pretty impressive considering you’re at such a high level anyway. Looking forward to see how this goes for you.

Ryan Ford: Definitely.

Ryan Hurst: Looking at some other people out there as far as working with parkour and working with even just basic strength training out there, you work with a lot of different kinds of people. You might work with kids and you work with accomplished athletes. What about someone who’s just getting back into training, maybe like a busy mom with children or someone recovering from an injury like yourself? Say, someone comes to you and they say, “Hey, listen, I just had this ankle surgery 2 weeks ago, or what not, and I’d like to get back into the strength training.” What advice would you give them regarding getting back into it?

Ryan Ford: I think a lot of sports, they inherently have very similar training regimen, especially when it comes to strength and mobility. You can’t really reinvent the wheel in those areas. It’s important to build your upper body pushing strength and pulling strength and develop your legs. At the same time, you need to have good mobility, so that you can do these things without getting hurt. All that stuff applies to parkour. I think parkour is one of the most complete full body type disciplines that I know of.

Sometimes I like to describe it as you’re mixing elements of track and field with breakdancing, with rock climbing, with gymnastics, with martial arts. In a sense that is parkour. You’re taking all these things and blending them together. The strength training regimens of what we do is very well-rounded and complete. That person who wants to start doing this, maybe at an older age, we’re going to start with that stuff first. If you start trying to jump off your roof and you can’t squat your body weight, or you have really bad mobility, or you have injuries that you haven’t cleared up, that’s going to make it even worse. It’s going to exponentially lead to more problems.

We got to start people out slow. They’re doing very basic body weight strength training, focusing or starting with the pull up, the dip, and the squat. Those things become more advanced type of things like tuck jumps and muscle ups. In parkour, we do a lot of climb ups, which is essentially a muscle up applied to getting up on a wall, which I think is one of the great innovations or exercises that has spread about parkour, that I think a lot of other people should adopt. Starting out with all those basics. One other problem I have is I think a lot of people focus too much on the physical strength, and they don’t actually do anything with it.

I think that’s a huge gap that parkour fills as well as, “Okay. We’ve taught you how to have better strength and mobility, and squat correctly, do a pull up and dip. Then now let’s do something with this. Let’s challenge you and see if you can climb up over that fence or get up on that well, or get down this 3 to 6-foot thing safely, learning how to land and fall correctly so that you don’t stick an arm behind you when you slip on ice and dislocate your elbow.” These are a lot of technical takeaways from parkour that I think a lot of people are missing. I would like to see more people develop that strength and then do something with it, apply it to sports, apply it to sign up for a Tough Mudder or a Warrior Dash, or some kind of competition. Get out there, play with your kids on the playground, rather than staying at your phone while you sit on the bench as your kids play on the playground.

I think these are all things where parkour can really help people. While we do place a big emphasis on strength development at first, we try not to stop there. We want people to apply it. There is an intent that comes along with parkour, that at its highest level, it’s about getting somewhere, reaching or escaping in emergency situation, or perhaps just taking away some things like learning how to fall better, learning how to get down safely or get up something. I think a lot of us have probably, at some point in our lives, locked ourselves out of an apartment or something, and you have to maybe climb up a little balcony, and get in the unlocked window or door that’s on that balcony. Parkour is developing strength and then hopefully applying it to some kind of real life situation, or training for a real life situation that you may someday find yourself inside of.

Ryan Hurst: I love that. It’s that goal, and you have this … Maybe it’s a broad overview of things, but I see it as a specific goal, and that you’re working towards being able to do something, rather than just doing fitness for the sake of fitness. Let’s be honest. A majority of the fitness stuff out there is simply that. It’s just working out to work out. I love it, your explanation that you just said about working towards something, and being able to use that strength that you have to apply it to the other things that you want to do.

Using this strength, my next question then is, when is good good enough? When do we know that we’re strong enough to go ahead and start working on these other things? In your book, you discussed a bit of this, and give us some wonderful, wonderful exercise. It’s a very detailed book on the strength training. How do we use this stuff? How do we apply this, like I said, as far as when is good enough? I know that we’ll always be continuing to increase our strength and apply it, but do we just want to be working out every single day? How do we want to use this strength? If you could give some examples of some ways that you feel that would be good to incorporate this into parkour or whatever else they want to do with their life.

Ryan Ford: Yes. That is kind of a tough question for me, because I try to refrain from the agenda of saying something like, “Parkour is the best thing ever, and everybody should do it.” I understand that not everybody is going to do it. At least, I don’t think everyone needs to do it as seriously as maybe I do it or some of my professional athletes, but I think there are some small takeaways that everyone should at least consider from parkour, which is we should be strong enough to pull ourselves up and over a wall. We should be strong enough to be able to jump out of a back of a truck and take a 2 or 3 foot drop safely without hurting our legs.

A couple of things like that. I think being able to get down safely, being able to get up effectively are 2 of the most universal applications of parkour that just about anyone could benefit from. Even if you aren’t trying to be the next parkour all-star where you’re doing double black flips, and roof gaps, and that kind of stuff … I get it, that’s not for everybody, but at its core, parkour is about improving upon your own ability to move your body through the environment and navigate obstacles. A 70-year-old could be working on how to step over a small 2-foot wall safely, or maybe duck under a 3-foot rail, and they could be working hard on that, where some 12-year-old kid might be working really hard on his double black flip.

If they both accomplished that goal, and they both get better, and both did a lot of work into it, to get there, then in my eyes that’s all parkour is all about. You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. It’s all a matter of scale just like a good strength training program is scalable. You could have the same person doing jumping pull ups next to a fire breather who’s doing muscle ups, but they’re both doing a similar kind of thing. That’s what we strive for in our parkour teaching as well. We might have somebody jumping a really small gap at ground level next to somebody else who’s more advanced, and they’re jumping between 2 walls 6 feet up the ground. It’s all scalable. It’s just a matter of how far, how high, how precise. Different things like that are how we scale the techniques and the skills on parkour.

Ryan Hurst: Nice. Let’s kind of shift a little bit here. I want to ask you. What do you see as the opposite of strength? It is kind of maybe a loaded question, but if a particular person … we talk about strength and being strong, and you have to be strong or what not. Really in order to better understand strength, maybe taking a look at what might be the opposite of strength in your eyes in order to make sure that we’re working towards the proper goal for us. I’m interested to hear what you think about the opposite of strength is.

Ryan Ford: For some reason, I have been thinking about adaptability. That might be a weird comparison to strength, but I think at least in parkour that is a good comparison. Somebody who is strong in my eyes is also very adaptable, meaning that they can apply their strength and use it in many different ways, in many different challenges. The opposite of that is somebody who is every rigid, and not adaptable, and not able to apply their strength. I guess I keep coming back to that word. You could be strong without being able to apply it to anything. I’ve seen people who can bust out tons of pull ups and maybe even tons of pulls ups on a bar or rings. Then I show them what a climb up is, which is essentially a muscle up on a wall, and they struggle to apply that strength into getting up quickly on top of a wall, which is like your most common real life application of muscle up strength.

There’s certain things like that. I think parkour really does develop a very adaptable athlete. The opposite of that is what a weakness in my eyes. If you are not adaptable, you are week and you are not able to apply that strength in very many ways.

Ryan Hurst: I totally get that. that makes a lot of sense, and it’s said, really. Being in the gym all day long, great, but what can you do with that strength if you need it? Let’s say someone is training, and they happen to hit a wall. I’m not talking literally. I know we’re talking parkour. In the strength training or any training in particular, it doesn’t necessarily just need to be strength or what not, but they’re doing great, they’re having fun, and they spend a lot of time working on their parkour, but they just hit this wall. We’ve all experienced this. What are some ways … You’re talking about adaptability of course, and I think this is very applicable to this conversation because … What happens when we hit these walls? How can we get over this? What are some strategies that we can use to help us get back on track?

Ryan Ford: One of the first things that comes to mind to me is to just change it up, take a step back from what you’ve been doing. If it’s no longer working for you or making any progress, then you need to reevaluate and maybe try something different. One beautiful thing about what you guys do and what we do in parkour and what other similar people to us do in breakdancing, and martial arts, and rock climbing, and all these things are very related to each other. I would encourage somebody who has maybe reached the plateau in their strength training, or in their parkour training, or in their bouldering training.

I would encourage them to try something else that’s similar. For example, just a couple of years ago, I was dealing with a couple of injuries and a little burnt out on parkour I guess. I was looking for something different, and I really developed the love over a 6-month period of bouldering. I started going bouldering 3 to 5 times a week. It was a very cool change up. I instinctively or naturally was doing pretty good just because I already had lots of strength. Parkour is a little bit of climbing, so I got the idea. You walk into a gym full of … I live here in Boulder, Colorado, so there’s a lot of the best climbers in the world all around you. I walk into the bouldering gym 3 to 5 times a week.

I was just constantly being humbled because I thought I was really strong, and then there’s these people who are really unassuming at the climbing gym. They don’t even look like they’re that strong or that athletic or whatever, and they’re just crushing these routes that I can’t even hang on to the very start, let alone complete. it was very humbling. I got really psyched on it, and I got a lot stronger, and a lot better at climbing. Then I was able to come back to parkour a few months later or whenever. I had a new refreshed perspective on it.

If you’re experiencing something similar, I’d say take a step back, try Capoeira, try rock climbing, try parkour, try contemporary dance, movement arts, martial arts. There’s so many things that are very similar. If you pick up one of them, I bet you’ll come back to the sport you were doing before, and it’s going to be even better because of your new found athletic and mental attributes you’ve developed from this other similar thing.

Ryan Hurst: Very cool, man. I love that advice. That’s great. We talked a little bit about your book, but I want to talk just a bit more about that. If you can give us a basic over view of that, I would love to hear. Tell us a little bit about what your book is about and what we get out of it.

Ryan Ford: A lot of stuff that I’ve been going over already … The book is called Parkour Strength Training. If you are expecting or hoping to learn some of the crazy skills that you see in parkour, this book is not for you. I’ll just be straight up about that. It’s about preparing your body. There’s a big focus on the physical strength training of parkour and how to prepare your body to do these things later on. We start off with covering some of the basic general movement, the guidelines, how to control your pelvic tail and your hollow arch, all these kinds of common body shapes and positions, what is good mechanics, what is not, what can maybe hurt you, what is going to make you perform better.

Just a basic understanding of how your body works I think is going to help you a lot when you try to get stronger and try to move better. That’s how we start it off and prepare you. Then we get into our 3 basic strength training exercises for parkour, which as I mentioned before are the dip, the pull up, and the air squat. Then from there, we build onto those 3 movements and on how they can develop your strength. There’s a whole chapter developed to mobility and joint prep, we call our parkour armors, basically preparing your body to be resilient and how to withstand injury. Then we get into a bunch of other different exercises, showing you how to apply them to anywhere outdoors, using benches, and high bars, and tree branches, and walls, and rails.

I think that’s a really compelling thing about this book as well, is we’re not just teaching you how to get stronger and use these movements to develop better athletic attributes, we’re showing you how to go out to a park, or go out to a school, anywhere in the city, or an actual environment, and how to identify shapes and objects, and learn how to apply or use those objects to make yourself a better athlete. I think too many people are stuck and narrow in their view that you got to go to a gym to work out. I don’t think that’s true. Actually, I own a few gyms, and I cringe at the thought of calling them a gym. I think a gym should be less about working out, and more like an educational facility.

In my eyes, I would like to see gyms as a place where you go to learn and you become more knowledgeable about this strength training or this discipline that you’re trying to learn. Then hopefully that place is preparing you to be able to apply those things on your own, whether it’s out at a park, or training with your friends, your family. In that sense, I don’t like that so many people think a gym is just to work out, and that’s only the place you can work out. I think you should go to a gym for knowledge or for community, and then you could theoretically work out anywhere. That’s what this book is teaching you how to do. We call it parkour vision.

When you first see parkour and you start learning about parkour, I guarantee you’re going to start seeing everything differently. Even when I’m driving in my car, I’m constantly driving by buildings. My head turns, and I see a good spot that I could come back to and do parkour at. Rather than seeing your standard walls, and rails, and stuff like that, in parkour, you tend to see a lot of really cool opportunities to go just explore and play and apply your skills to. That’s a couple of thoughts on that idea there.

Ryan Hurst: I love that. That’s really good way of looking at things. It’s full of so much great information. It’s your gym. It’s your learning environment that you can take, and then apply that to things like that, or even in your house, or what not. I really, really suggest to everyone, checking this book out. It’s great. Speaking of books, we want to finish up here with, what book has played a major influence on your life and why?

Ryan Ford: I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading lately. Actually, over the past decade or so, a lot of the reading I do is mostly centered around training and coaching and athletics and that kind of stuff. A real quick shout out to one of my favorite books for those areas, is The Talent Code. There’s also another book that’s an extension of it called The Little Book of Talent or something like that. It’s like the SparkNotes version of the Talent Code. Both of those books, it’s about developing talents. Anyone who wants to get better at anything, hopefully that’s everyone out there, they could find that book useful because it gives you lots of practical tips on how to get better.

Also, to change or shift gears a little bit, I think more impactful in my life is a book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. A lot of you out there probably know this guy as that guy who is out in Utah, climbing around, didn’t tell anyone where he went, and actually slipped or fell in a slot canyon, got his arm trapped and pinned between the rock face and a giant boulder. He spent a couple of day there trying to free himself and figure out what to do. Nobody knew where he was, and he eventually had to cut his own arm off. That made big national news. Not to … He definitely made some big mistakes. This is why you should tell somebody where you’re going, if you’re going backcountry hiking or whatever.

At the same time, I don’t like the people who criticize him as, “Oh, that guy is just an idiot who made some dumb mistakes.” No. You need to look past that. Read the book that he wrote about the experience, because there’s a lot of really cool takeaways. For example, at one point, he’s filming himself on his camera literally like saying good bye to everyone that he ever knew, because he thinks he’s going to die here in this slot canyon. Just some really amazing self-reflection on what is really important in life when it comes down to it, when you think that you’re going to die. I tell people this. I think it’s a twisted view that I have.

I came from a pretty safe upbringing. I didn’t have a whole lot of hardship or adversity in my life, except to what I self-imposed through parkour and through … Another example is what I was talking about as far as embracing challenge. Driving with the wind was down when it’s cold out, or taking a cold shower. I actually lived in my car for 6 months. Even though I could’ve gotten a place, I had the money to rent somewhere, I decided that I was traveling a lot, and I was going to be in and out of my home town, and I didn’t want to get an apartment. I was just going to try living in my car, which is a Honda Element. It’s not a bad car to live in, but I was homeless for 6 months by choice. That’s just to see what it’s like, and I was taking showers in the creek here in Boulder, and doing some pretty funny stuff.

It’s not for everyone. A lot of people might think this sound kind of extreme, but at its core, when it came down to it, to me, that was just my way to test myself a bit, embrace challenge and discomfort, because I haven’t had something crazy like pinning my arm between a rock facing a boulder and having to cut if off. In some weird twisted way, I almost wished something like that would happen to me, because I would learn a lot about myself, and a lot about what’s important in life. That’s pretty extreme. I’m not going to totally say that I hope that happens to me.

Ryan Hurst: I hope it doesn’t.

Ryan Ford: I think it’s a pretty crazy life-changing experience that Aron Ralston went through when he had to do that. I know I came away from that book. There’s also a movie about it with James Franco, and it’s really good. I would check that stuff out. It’s just that it’s eye-opening to hear about people’s stories who have been in that near-death experience kind of thing. That was pretty profound and impactful. Since then, I’ve seen him speak at CU Boulder here, where I went to school. I definitely kind of kept up with him. It’s just a really amazing story. I’d recommend that book.

Ryan Hurst: Well, thank you so much. A lot of great insights in there. This is something to … Actually, one of my favorite books of all time is by Ryan Holiday, called the Obstacle is the Way, and looking at how adversity actually can be a positive thing, and can actually help you to become stronger and more resilient in life. It reminds me of that when you were talking about your book.

Ryan Ford: Absolutely.

Ryan Hurst: Yeah. I want to thank you so much. I always enjoy hearing what you have to say and really, really admire what you’re doing, man. Best of luck with the recovery on the ankle. Looking forward to seeing you make just an incredible come back to your training or what not, and looking forward to having you on the show again. We can talk about some other fun stuff of what you’re doing. Thanks again, man. Appreciate it.

Ryan Ford: Yeah. Thanks a lot for having me. We’ll talk again for sure.

Ryan Hurst: Yeah. Everybody, we’ll make sure that we have the links for Ryan’s book, as well as all the links where you can see what Ryan is up to. In the meantime, everybody can check out his Facebook page just at Ryan Ford. You can also check out APEX Movement, lots of cools stuff up there. Thanks again, Ryan. Talk to you next time.

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