093 – What we can learn from the training and struggles of elite performers: a conversation with trainer and former Navy SEAL Jeff Nichols

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The life of a Navy SEAL is undoubtedly one of the most demanding setups we can imagine. From the physical and mental challenges, mortal dangers and ultimately the readjustment to something else upon return from service, the process can take a heavy toll on those who opt-in. Our guest today, Jeff Nichols went through all of this and experienced each and every high and low that you may imagine. Today he is a fitness trainer and life coach, having turned his difficulties into something supportive and helpful for others around him. We start off the conversation on the topic of loss and the funerals of people he knew in the military before transitioning into themes of vulnerability and compassion and how Jeff had to learn the importance of these values later in life.

Jeff believes that now his life revolves around the special people in it, from friends and family to his partner and his son. He talks a bit about the anchors that keep him going and how this has all inspired him to help as many people with a similar experience to him as possible. For this truly inspiring chat with Jeff Nichols, make sure not to miss this episode!

Thank you to our awesome show sponsor, makers of my favorite grassfed collagen and powdered MCT: BUBS, a company making just a few extremely high-quality products and giving back a whopping 10% of their sales to charity. I use their powdered collagen and MCT in my coffee every morning. Use the code INTELLIGENCE for a full 20% off your purchase HERE.


  • Jeff’s experience in the Navy and the number of funerals he attended. [7:09]
  • The place that vulnerability has in Jeff’s life and how he grew into this more recently. [9:48]
  • Jeff’s process he had to go through to reach a compassionate outlook. [14:19]
  • People in Jeff’s life that give it meaning and the centrality of his current partner. [19:04]
  • The anchors in Jeff’s life that allowed him to keep going on his journey of discovery. [24:52]
  • Advice from Jeff for transitioning from one intense lifestyle into something else. [29:06]
  • Finding purpose and bringing in the elements of spirituality and community. [32:22]
  • The place of health, fitness and skills training in Jeff’s work and mission. [36:38]
  • Managing stressors and digestion with sleep; the first steps in Jeff’s process. [43:22]
  • Jeff’s foundational approach to sleep and the two doctors who have influenced him. [48:12]
  • How to get in contact with Jeff and some of his business aspirations for the future. [54:32]

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Ben Pakulski

Ben Pakulski

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About the Podcast

Formerly the Muscle Expert Podcast. The world’s top authority on intelligent muscle building and fat loss gives us a simple to understand deep dive into the complex world of building a body you love, and living your greatness. Weekly interviews with leading experts in a vast number of scientific fields focusing on health optimization (nutrition, sleep, hormones, mindfulness and mind set), strength, (both physical and mental), and muscle hypertrophy. Learn proven strategies for optimum life performance, whether it be in the gym, the board room or the bedroom; this is the blueprint for becoming the upgraded modern man. Ladies, this podcast is for you too. The topics, tips, and life hacks covered are essential for every individual who wants to upgrade themselves mentally and physically.

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