Subscribe To Podcast | More Episodes
Listen To Podcast Episode #72
Podcast Episode 72 – Hannah Eden: “Fitness is Not About Winning, It’s About Moving.” From extremely rebellious kid to extremely fit rebel, Hannah Eden has always approached fitness on her terms. With fiery red hair to match her smoldering intensity and burning desire to work hard, this badass fitness coach has a badass approach to fitness. From live performances in Times Square to biking 868 miles around the coast of Iceland, Eden proves that when you find your reason, anything is possible.
Original Publish Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Behind The Scenes Photo:
Ep. isode 72 Transcript ▼
Nick Collias: Hey, everyone. Welcome to The Bodybuilding.com Podcast, live from the middle of BFE. You know that saying Hannah Eden, BFE?
Hannah Eden: Uh, “bum fuck elsewhere?”
Hannah Eden: Ah, there we go, Egypt.
Nick: I’m the host up here. I’m Nick Collias for the last 60, 70 episodes and her, she’s Heather Eastman, she’s our co-host, ever-stalwart personal trainer, physique coach and judge. And our guest is somebody we’ve wanted to have for a really long time, it’s Hannah Eden.
Hannah Eden: Well, thank you guys so much for having me.
Nick: Absolutely. And if you’re listening to this podcast, it’s Hannah with the red hair. Oh, the one with the red hair, of course. If you’re watching, then you’re thinking like what is this futuristic game show that we’ve landed in the middle of. And it’s actually the set of FYR 2.0, the sequel, the sort of level up from Hannah’s FYR, which she did for us about what, three years ago?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, I think it will be two years, two years.
Nick: So, yeah, welcome. It’s great to have you.
Hannah Eden: Thank you so much. It’s good to be back. And we’ve definitely leveled up, that’s for sure.
Nick: Yeah, I mean the production is fantastic. This is so cool.
Hannah Eden: Yeah.
Nick: It’s pretty special for us to get to do this from here. Now there’s a lot I want to talk about with you. But one thing that I feel like I’ve heard that it is worth starting out with is talking to people who’ve done FYR, they have this view of you. They’re like, “Hannah’s like the living embodiment of fitness.” I’ve described you to people as like a super soldier from the future.
Hannah Eden: Wow. I’m going to fall off my chair.
Nick: You can kind of seem you’re born with a kettlebell in your hand. You fit so naturally in this sort of setting. But that’s totally, you weren’t born to do this, right?
Hannah Eden: Not at all, not at all.
Nick: It was a long and bumpy road to fitness for you.
Hannah Eden: Absolutely.
Nick: And I wanted you to tell us a little bit about like who you were as a kid and a teenager before all of this.
Hannah Eden: Aw, all right, here we go. So, yeah, fitness is definitely something that kind of fell into my lap rather than, it was not destined for me to be this way. And I’m so glad that you asked that question, because a lot of people’s perception of what’s really going on is not reality. Right?
So, I kind of fell into fitness in 2012 but before getting into that story, as a kid, I was crazy. A hyperactive kid that was obsessed with doing stuff.
Nick: Just anything?
Hannah Eden: Anything. My dad worked in the toy industry. So, as a kid, you’d think that I’d want all the dolls and everything. He would bring the toys home. I’m like, “Nope, thank you. I want to go outside and make mud and throw mud against the wall and play with the boys.” And I was such a tomboy.
Nick: Feral kid, I like it.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, such a rebellious, hyperactive kid that my parents tried to control. Which they did a great job of it. I was really active into dance and I loved sports as a young kid. And then I went to a private school. And after a private school, I kind of changed my perspective on things and I left a private school and ended up going in, we call it senior school.
And whenever you go into senior school you kind of go same, similar to here in the UK, this is not in the U.S. You go to a school depending on where you live, right in the area that you’re at. So, I went to an all-girls public school, which was a very different world than what I had been exposed to before. And I guess that’s kind of like going into high school in the U.S., right?
So, it was a different group of friends, it wasn’t the kids that you grew up with. And I fell into a place where I stood out and I didn’t really like standing out, because I had a funny accent because I was raised in a… my parents are incredible. I was very fortunate that my dad had worked extremely hard throughout his life. And kind of had nothing, but built his future and built a great future for us and provided us with everything that he didn’t get growing up. So, I was very fortunate as a child. And so, I went to a school where a lot of people weren’t so much.
So, I kind of fell into this crowd of I don’t want people to know that my parents are madly in love and like I have a nice home. I was embarrassed of that, because I was in a place where a lot of the people that I was going to school with lived in council housing, which is government funded housing. And their parents and their home life wasn’t easy. And I tried to blend in with that versus the other way. So, I became an extremely rebellious kid that, I have no explanation as to why.
I just had this really dark side of me that wanted to do bad things and hang out with bad kids and like be this rebel child that I’m not sure why. And I still to this day question why I made certain decisions and why I did certain things.
To cut a really long story short, I was in with an extremely bad crowd of kids and I did a lot of bad things. And treated people not very nicely and also I got treated bad, as well. So, understood this whole idea of bullying, right? Of like whether I was the bully or whether I was bullied myself. It was like this dark, dark stage in my life.
And now looking back on it, years go by I was in a really dark place. I was dating a felon while I was extremely young, and my parents were just wrecked. And they were like, “What do we do?” And in their mind they did everything right. And I was an extremely intelligent kid that had so much potential in sports and in dance that I was talking about before.
And then I got to this senior school, I was like, “Fuck this, I want to be a cool kid. And dance isn’t cool. Sports isn’t cool. Skipping school and hang outside and smoking cigarettes at 12—that’s the cool thing to do.” And found like this is not good side.
Long story short, my dad got a job offer here in the U.S. and I’m sure from a parent’s point of view at that time they were like, “Thank fuck, get this kid out of here. Let’s go.”
Nick: Anything, anything.
Hannah Eden: Anything, you know, because it wasn’t looking good for me. And so we did. And we moved over to the U.S. when I was 16 which at that time was like the whole world was pulled from beneath me. Had never moved house before and I was this stubborn child. And now all of a sudden, I’ve got to move to the U.S, I’ve got to go to this new place where everyone, I definitely stand out now. Right? Like I’ve got this really strange accent and like, I’m so ghetto, I used to gel my hair down to my head, like didn’t fit in at all.
Nick: Bright red hair.
Hannah Eden: Exactly. Exactly. Born with red hair. No, I just stood out. So, I came over here and it was such a brat. Horrible child. Gave my parents one hell of a time for making me do that. And have probably hurt them so much, which I try and make up for, too, now.
Nick: Do you just call and apologize every once in a while?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, every day. I try and repay… Ugh, I was the worst child. So, I had a choice. Right. Which was you go to school, I had to finish, which was devastating because in England you finish at 16 so I thought I was like on top of the world and I came back here and it’s like if you want to go to college, you’ve got to go back to high school.
Nick: Two more years, right.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, two more years. So, I did and something happened. Something happened, whether it was, I had a couple of teachers at this new school that told me that they believed in me and told me that I had potential. And like those words meant a lot and I got back into sports again. I started doing the things that I knew without that distraction of wherever I went when I went in England.
And that was when things changed. I had this perspective, a switch in perspective of rather than blaming my parents, it was like I was out of this dark cloud now. Like, “Thank fuck we moved here. Thank you so much for this second opportunity to start again!” And I did and I switched my GPA around, ended up graduating with a 4.0, got best portfolio in high school. I did really good.
Then I was like, “Okay, parents, I’m out. I’m going to go to Florida. I want to be far away.” And I did. So, I came down to, well went down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I’ve been there ever since.
Nick: Hmm. What was it about Florida that that appealed to you?
Hannah Eden: Anything to get away from Massachusetts, because it was so cold. It was so cold.
Nick: I did see you shivering on set here yesterday.
Hannah Eden: Yeah. I’m still like-
Nick: You don’t like the cold?
Hannah Eden: No. Especially now I’m in Florida, I’ve become… such a warm climate, accustomed to that. But yeah, I came down to Florida and it’s been great ever since.
Nick: What did you imagine your future was at that point? Like obviously you sort of, the clouds cleared and you’re like, “Okay, maybe I’m not just going to be a cool kid. Maybe there’s something for me.” What did you see?
Hannah Eden: I loved art. I went back to school and in high school I was taking AP photography. So, I was in the dark room getting to process all my own photos and do something that was an outlet, right? Creative outlet in some way that didn’t necessarily, which didn’t include me sitting down. I can’t sit down like I’m extremely hyperactive and if… I’ve always been that way and I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and kind of went down that whole route, as well. Which we can get into that if you’d like to, or not.
But I found a way to channel the energy into something that is great rather than being always told to, “Sit still and stop doing this. Stop doing that.” It’s like a lot of people are seeing that’s really bad.
Nick: I had some of that, too. And I feel like now that I’m a dad, I’m constantly telling my kids to sit still. It’s hard to get that message out of your mind like, “Jesus Christ, will you sit still already?”
Hannah Eden: Right. I feel like if we’re all kind of, or have kids that have this, I wouldn’t say it’s a problem at all. Like this incredible energy that needs to be let out somewhere and it’s always frowned upon. But I think that if you kind of guide it in the right direction, you can channel that energy into something great, which is exactly what I do now.
Nick: Right. Yeah. And that’s what I try to do with my kids, as well, because they’re eager to do it. But I wonder at all through this time in your life what you viewed fitness and exercise as? Were they like just some bizarre thing that other people did?
Hannah Eden: Yeah.
Nick: Or were you even curious about it?
Hannah Eden: Honestly, not really. Like I was saying before, I was good at it when I was younger. And I remember always my teachers saying like you, “You could do really well in track and field.” Then when I went to the U.S. and went back to school, I joined the ski team and the track team. But the track team and the school I went to was on a whole different level. I was not even close enough to even try and get into that world. They’d been there for so long.
But the skiing, it was like this adrenaline rush. I was not good at it, but, man, ripping down those mountains at 8:00 PM when it’s so cold and you’re wearing nothing but like this tiny little thing and you’ll just shredding through the snow. And there was something about that that was like, “I like this.” And I liked that team sport and I liked, I guess feeling part of something, right. And so, fitness was… kind of filled that for me in a way that I wasn’t really aware of until I then came to Florida.
I had nothing to do with fitness when I came to Fort Lauderdale, I actually fell into this really dark world, that was incredible. And I say this to this day, I have zero regrets. But I can say that probably because I got out of that black vortex healthy. But in South Florida, it’s a different world. It’s like the entire world revolves around going out and partying and this bar scene, and it’s like… nightlife. And that was what I became obsessed with. And something that has kind of carried over from childhood. When I was, before I went to my rebellious stage, I was obsessed with working. Like I think I got my first job at 12 years old at a horse stable again, adrenaline junkie.
Nick: Shoveling shit.
Hannah Eden: Shoveling shit.
Nick: What other job is there at a horse stable?
Hannah Eden: I would love to do that. I would wake up at like four o’clock in the morning with my mom. And I wanted to go to the stables before school, shovel shit, ride a couple of horses.
Nick: Then smoke cigarettes all afternoon?
Hannah Eden: Yeah. Smoke cigarettes on afternoon and then go straight back.
Nick: You’re just a farmer.
Hannah Eden: Exactly.
Nick: That’s all you are.
Hannah Eden: But it was this burning desire to work. I’ve always had it in me. So, when I moved to Florida, I wanted to get my first job. And my first job was in a bar. Then I worked in the bar at night. I worked in the bar during the day. And then next thing you know I’m working day and night, I’m working all night. And then it was this very, like I was making a lot of money, so I thought I’m good, I’m good, this is great. But it’s extremely unhealthy. I got into a lot of bad things. I love to rave and party and have a good time. But there’s this dark side of me that’s always been there that it could have gone either way it was very close to just not really coming back. But I managed to pull myself out of it because of fitness. And I think it’s just the addictive personality that has been embedded into my DNA and that’s just who I am.
Hannah Eden: Whether that was with cigarettes, whether that was with the job, whether that was doing bad things, it was like I’m extremist, right? Whatever I do, I just do. So, I kind of stumbled across CrossFit by accident. A friend of mine that I worked with in the bar said, “I just bought like part of this CrossFit gym.” This is in 2011, “You want to come check it out?”
I’m like, “What the fuck is CrossFit? I don’t even know what this is.”
Nick: It’s a big space, you could have a rave in there if you really wanted to.
Hannah Eden: Yup. He’s like, “There’s a class at 6:00 AM.” I’m like laughing at that. “There’s a 9:45.”
I’m like, “I don’t wake up until like noon.” Because that was my life then. And so I did, that was my time, it was noon at 12:00 PM I would go to this CrossFit class. And I started doing it a couple times and then I’m like, hang on, “I like this.” I wasn’t great but I felt wrecked at the end of it. It was like I just found this release and it was destroying me every day. But I wanted to get back up and do it again and then do it again.
And then I started noticing, “Oh, I’m not going to go out afterwards tonight ’cause I want to go to CrossFit tomorrow.” Or, “I’m not going to do this tonight ’cause I want to do this tomorrow.” And then it started becoming this like, “All right, I’m actually getting good at this and now I don’t have to try so hard. This is something that I’m enjoying. I’m fitting in, I’m with all the dudes, which is all I’ve ever done. I can get down and dirty and I feel this feeling that going out and partying all night or getting high and doing all these crazy things, it’s not the same thing. This is something different, right? Because it’s this huge level of output physically but I’m emotionally feeling something so good. Like maybe this is what I need to hone into rather than the dark side of things. Right?
Heather Eastman: It’s interesting because you talk about that dark time in Florida and that partying. And a lot of that is kind of connected to covering up or pushing down pain.
Hannah Eden: Absolutely.
Heather: And then watching you when you work out, it’s almost as if to kind of piggyback on his “super soldier from the future” idea.
Nick: Which I think we need to pursue that.
Hannah Eden: Yes.
Nick: It’s almost as if you don’t feel pain or you’re immune to pain. And when you watch the workout, so when you go through them, like you are doing these things, the guys behind you are dying, it’s visible on camera. And yet you are just completely pushing through. When did you discover that exercise could replace those dark things and be kind of a tool to blunt pain?
Hannah Eden: Right. That’s a really, really good way of viewing things. And for the record, I do feel pain. I do feel it, I’ve just become really fucking good at showing the world that I don’t.
Hannah Eden: But I do feel it. And I think we all have demons and we will have these dark parts of ourselves, which I’m more than happy to admit that I 100% have this dark streak in me. Like I was saying to you guys before, I’m not sure why and I’m still going through this journey of trying to figure out where that came from. I had an incredible upbringing. I have two parents that love me so much that are happily married and have been for 30 years. It’s not like I come from an abusive background or have like this dark past that would give me a reason to need this release or this dark side, right? It’s just who I am. And I’ve figured that out.
And as a kid, I was super aggressive and I had so much energy and I had an attitude problem. I was very angry. I would always externally react to things rather than process them. I never would think before I speak. That’s just who I am, which is not a good thing. Right?
But I realized as I’m trying to find myself as a human, and as a woman. Which I’ve gratefully, I guess, but also it’s been a challenging time that I’ve been on social media. Since at a very pivotal point in my life of trying to find out who I am, which I’m still continuing to do. Which is why I love the fact that social media is so powerful, that I can share my experiences with people that are going through it, too. And I’m very happy with where I’m at in my life and kind of who I have in my life. So, I don’t really give a fuck about what anyone thinks.
Nick: But is can take a while to get there.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, it absolutely can. And I think my whole life I was fighting for that. Right? It’s like I always try and figure these things out. And to your point, Heather, which is why do I enjoy this extreme feeling? Why am I trying to release this? Fitness is an outlet, but what am I trying to do here? Right.
And I think that over time I’ve started to realize that it’s just, I don’t know, I still haven’t figured it out entirely. But it’s just a process of understanding that we’ve all got good and bad things about us. But I’ve finally found a way for me to like release this dark side of me that the rest of my life I feel really good at. And it’s a release.
Any of those demons. Yes. I look like an absolute psycho, an absolute crazy person in the middle of my workout. But we all hold onto so much dark and bad energy that it’s my one hour of my day that I 100% own. There’s a lot of things going on in my life. I’m being pulled in every direction. I’m having to switch from state of mind to state of mind every 20 seconds. It’s the one time that I can literally just stop, close my eyes and go, “Let’s just think about what’s… be present in this moment. Nothing else matters. I own every single second of this. This is for me. This is my way of releasing those demons. Let it all out. And then as soon as we’re done here, we can just put a smile on our face and continue with our day.”
And this is what I’ve been able to do. And this is what I think that a lot of people need to do. And this is how I don’t continue to move through life as a drug addict. This is my way of replacing this hole and filling it with something that you release this, you exert so much for something great. Whether it means for my state of mind or to inspire people around the world that this is it, man.
This is a lifestyle. This is not because I want to look good. This is because I need this for my mental health. I need this as a way to be exactly who I know that I’m able to be, if I can let go of this dark streak that exists. Right?
Nick: No, I think that’s a good point. And not to get all Joe Rogan-y about it, but people talk about psychedelic drugs now as like, “Oh, it’s this great way of changing the brain where it cuts through the stories we tell ourselves. And it cuts through the compulsive behavior.” And I hear… having watched all of the workouts in FYR 1 and some of what’s going on in FYR 2, there is that ecstatic sort of experience in there where at the end you’re laying on the ground. All the adrenaline, all of the emotion just pushed through you in a really intense experience. It’s almost like a religious experience having, I’ve watched a ton of people at Bodybuilding.com just do FYR 1 over and over again because they at the end they said, “There’s just, there’s no feeling that I’ve experienced like it.”
Hannah Eden: And this is something that was so crazy for me and the feedback of re-reading the people that have gone through FYR 1.0. I know that I’ve always felt like this and like I said, I have been grateful… fortunate enough to be able to experience this in through social media. So, other people that have been watching it, too. And in my mind, I’m embarrassed about the fact that I have all this dark side of me. And I was like never wanted to talk anyone. I’m like, “Fine everything is good here. I just like to work out because I want to win.” At that point, I was an athlete and then as I started to realize I would have these opportunities to create programs with companies like Bodybuilding.com, where you were exposed to so many people that other people that are kind of ashamed of that.
And it’s like, no guys, like we’re all, we’re all human here. Life fucking sucks and it throws shit at us all the time. And if we’re supposed to react and deal with those in our regular basis when we’re surrounded by our children or by your family or by your friends or people in your business, it’s going to come out some way, right? We’ve all got it. We’ve all got stress and whether it means that you have a dark side or you’ve just got life stress, like we all need somewhere to be able to let that go.
And to not be in the gym for the wrong reasons. Like the purpose of the program was to provide an incredible protocol that will change your body. That was the goal, right? With me setting out to it. But the feedback since then is, “Yeah, the workout’s great. We were all working out, but it is so much more than that.” The response rate, “It’s so emotional like you don’t understand. I cry after workouts. I have, you’ve changed my life. You’ve changed the way that I view fitness. But you’ve allowed me to accept that I have this side of me and like that there is now that this opportunity to release. I don’t have to be ashamed of it.”
It’s like whoa, this took a whole different turn. And finding a reason is our logo and our slogan for what my brand stands for. It’s like the reasons come and go, right? That reasons, goals or whatever they are that you’re working towards.
But my biggest reason is me, right, is so that I can be who I need to be. And I kind of thought that was kind of selfish along the way, but now I’m exposed to so many people. Other people need to know that, too. You know that your reason should always be you. And a lot of times it’s, “I feel so bad I’m taking away from my children because I’m choosing my workout over them. Or I don’t have time.”
It’s like, “Get your ass up and release because I can guarantee you’re going to be a better mother, a better wife, a better sister, brother, husband, whatever. If you do this for you. So, you let all of that negative shit out. And then you’d be exactly who you supposed to be for the rest of the world.”
Nick: I like that word release.
Hannah Eden: Yeah.
Nick: That’s a good word. So, I want to ask you a little bit more about how you landed on the style of training that we see you doing in FYR, though. Because CrossFit is one thing and yes, there’s a ton of that intensity, ton of that release in CrossFit it seems like. But at the same time, it seems like you’ve taken from there, taken from other places and kind of found your own voice. And found your own style and blend with different time signatures, different styles, all blended together. How did you start to navigate that and realize like, “Hey, I might have some pretty unique recipe that I can pursue”?
Hannah Eden: Yeah. So, I began my kind of, like, fitness career in CrossFit as an athlete, tried to make a name for myself as an athlete.
Nick: So, you did some competitive CrossFit.
Hannah Eden: Competitive, yeah, we did really well. I was on a team and we finished, this is when CrossFit used to take 15 teams to regionals and we finished in 16th place, which was like, kill me.
But we did really well. I got a lot of top 100 finishes in the world and it was like a really cool thing for me. And that was I think a big shift as well which was like, I realized that I was good at something. And I think from my whole life I was trying to find out what that was. We all want approval, right? Or we all want praise in some way. And I figured, “Oh shit, I’m good at this.” So, I like honed in on it and became obsessed with CrossFit.
And I said to myself, January 2013, “You’re going to commit to being across the athlete.” I had graduated from school, kept getting all these emails about being a photographer and doing this. I would land these jobs that I dreamt about doing, but get there and be like, “I need to move and do more than sit in front of a computer screen or take pictures. I need to do more than this.”
And so, when I got into CrossFit, I got really good, really quick, which was my own fault. I didn’t have the best coach at that time and I didn’t know anything. All I knew was I was good and I wanted to win. So, my mentality behind training was really dumb. I got as strong as I could as fast as I could. Didn’t focus on any form, didn’t focus on any threshold training, by any means. I didn’t focus on like progressively getting stronger. I got really strong within a year, and way too quickly. So, much so that I suffered from injuries. So, my muscles grew, but my skeletal system and my ligaments just couldn’t handle what I had done.
Nick: Right, the support system, right.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, in such a short amount of time. So, unfortunately, I now still do have three degenerated disks in my spine just from bad form for so many years. And so, I said I had a fallout. I think this is actually a really important part that people hear this part of the story, too.
So, PumpFit. That is the gym that I have now began in the old gym that I was a CrossFit coach at. So, I began as an athlete, got my certification to become a coach and was coaching CrossFit. Loved it. And then the owner of the gym said, “Hey, we’ve got this 7:30 PM class that we can’t fill, so take it, do something different with it that’s not CrossFit, but will fit with what we’re doing here.”
So, I’m like, all right, let’s about this. I’ve got a lot of friends still because they’re still in the bar industry at that point that will not give CrossFit a chance. They think that it’s like going to kill them, and that they’re going to die. And that they’re going to get so manly, it’s so bad.
So, I’m like, “You know what, let’s break that mentality. So, let’s eliminate the barbell. So, this opens up the door to so many more people now.” There’s no worse feeling that I get to see then someone finishing a CrossFit workout and having to go on the board and write DNF, did not finish. Like way to show everyone that you just failed. Right?
Nick: It’s junior high all over again.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, it’s not cool. So, I’m like, “I don’t want to make it rep-based, because 15 reps for you could be so much different than 15 reps to me. And I want to make sure that everyone that leaves here feels like they gave everything that they could in the time given.” So, that’s where we kind of separated reps and went for time. Now we’ve got every level of fitness in the same room. We’re going for as much as you can, 30 seconds—if you get one, good for you, give you a high five. If I get 50, good for you, you get a high five but everyone is in it. They’ve given it their all, and they’re feeling great. Right? So, people got addicted to this feeling.
And so I did, I tried this class, and we started. And I remember it was on this old… It’s so good to see it right, and the memories of how where PumpFit began. And it started to get good and people started to like it. And then I’m like, “Wow, okay, I’m onto something.” Then people were driving like 45 minutes at 7:30 PM on a Wednesday night, because there was only one class in the day. And then we’ve got 40 people in the room and then it’s just like, “Whoa, hang on. There’s no one in the CrossFit classes. Everyone is in this. Everything was doing great.”
But I was young, I was super young and super eager. I was making so much money through the bar industry that I was able to work for free in fitness Monday through Thursday. And then work for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday-
Nick: That’s a lot of work.
Hannah Eden: … to pay my bills, right? So, I did, I was doing it for free and we had this great thing and then we came up with this agreement. And then I stopped and was like, “You know what? Why am I working so hard to build someone else’s business that doesn’t really appreciate me that much, is not seeing how much value is here.”
And then we got into a slight altercation and he said some words that burned me, and that like really hurt me. And I don’t think we’ve ever exchanged a conversation since, which was, “Don’t ever fucking forget who made you.”
And I’m like, “Okay, I’m just going to bite my tongue, walk away and not retaliate. And I’m going to let my success and my…” At that time was the worst motivation, but that, “My success will be my revenge.” Right. This like… roar.
So, I did, I went home, I was like, “Paulo,” who is obviously my husband, that is the background talent of FYR and I said, “Listen, fuck this, dude. Like I’m building someone else’s business and he has no idea.”
And I remember always feeling like the girl in the room that could never have an opinion. Or, if I was going to say how I felt—because it was an all-guys business—it would be like, “Pfft.”
And I’m like, “I’m sick of feeling like that. I know I’m onto something and this class itself is proving this to me right now.” So, we Googled “how to open a business.” And drove around town.
Nick: Straight up Googled it.
Hannah Eden: Straight up. “How do I open a business?” Like 20 years old, 19, 20 years old, no idea what I was doing. And we did. We made it happen. I was driving around town trying to find this place, calling landlords, figure out, signed a lease. And then next thing you know, long story short, there was no setup, like there was no, “Here’s how you run a business Hannah. And you go for it.”
It was, “No, I have a really, this is passion. I’m doing this for free. I know it works. I can fucking do this.” And we did. And it was a shit show for the first year and a half. But we’ve been open now for over three years and we’re killing it. And that’s just something that I think that people need to know. I know this is diverting off the question that you asked, but that’s so important to see that anyone can do anything that they set their mind to if you just refuse to quit. And do what you need to do to make it happen.
Nick: And focus on getting better.
Hannah Eden: Yes.
Nick: Like that shit show you’re talking about like, yeah, it’s a shit show you could have, “All right, this is not working. We’ve got to stop it. “But instead you like, “No, let’s lean into it.”
Hannah Eden: Yep.
Nick: Let’s just actually try to make it a little bit better.
Hannah Eden: Yep. And now to answer and come back to your question about how the style of training is similar to CrossFit. So, whenever we opened up the new space, we got really flexible. And really like, “Why are we staying with one modality?” Paulo had just discovered Animal Flow at that time, which was no one really was doing that at all.
Nick: Right. Still pretty early for Animal Flow.
Hannah Eden: Super early, like three and a half years ago. And we were like, “All right, let’s do it.” So, Paulo got certified and we started playing with it and putting it in the programming. And then we realized that people loved it. And then we were trying other things and be like, “Why are we saying inside of this box of like only doing these things? No one owns fitness. No one owns the rights to anything.”
You make fitness whatever you want. And with my ADD mind, I don’t want to be doing the same things all the time, because I’m going to get bored, my body’s going to get bored. Let’s keep this fun. Let’s keep this exciting. Let’s continuously change things up. Let’s not ever, ever allow ourselves to stay inside of a box. And if we do, we’ve got to get out. And just start making other people feel uncomfortable, trying these new things.
And then the different kinds of people that walk into our gym is just mind blowing. What you see on Instagram seems super extreme, because of course I’m going to post the most extreme version of every move we have. But F.Y.R. and FYR can show you that beginners also do it. We have a 74-year-old guy that comes to the gym four days a week. Is he doing sprinter burpees? Of course not, but there’s always something for it for everyone.
Nick: I like that Animal Flow element in it, too. Animal Flow, it’s a specific organization, but uses a lot of different movements. Kind of a little bit of yoga sort of stuff but really stitched together and a little bit more of a fitness sort of style. But kind of like what you’re talking about with doing timed rather than rep-based protocols. It lends itself so well, like you can do it fast, you can do it slow, you can do it totally at a one level, you can do a completely crazy other level. It seems like it’s kind of the glue that really on the ground sort of movement is a lot of the glue in what I see in FYR.
Hannah Eden: Absolutely.
Heather: We do this and then mix some weights in. Yeah, well it feels like with FYR and with the way that you train, you’ve taken out the elements of fitness that I’ve personally railed against, which is the aesthetics. I get really tired of clients bashing themselves because they don’t look the way that they think they should, or they haven’t gained the muscle or they haven’t lost the fat. And then you’ve also taken out the competitive aspect that you talked about with CrossFit. And CrossFit’s amazing.
Hannah Eden: Right.
Heather: It took something in and got a lot of people excited about big movements and Olympic lifts, but it’s competitive. And …
Nick: And not just with yourself.
Heather: Not just with yourself, with everyone else. And in some ways, that can be as detrimental as the aesthetics part where you’re constantly bashing yourself, did not finish, not good enough. My PR is the same. And you seem to have taken both of those out and your program and FYR is all about the movement. And it’s all about do it fast, do it slow. Do as many as you can, do as few as you can. You’ve taken the bad elements of fitness and just put back in the joy and I don’t have a question, I just wanted to talk about that.
Hannah Eden: No, it’s great. And it’s so cool that you guys can see that because I think that this is what it’s all about is just movement. It’s not about winning. I came from that mentality because that’s where I began in this whole world was winning. I want to win. And that was my mentality, but I did so much damage and forgot about integrity to my own self as well as the people that surrounded me, because I wanted to win.
And that’s the wrong state of mind to have. Redefine winning. You know, winning doesn’t mean number one. Winning means that I’m going to move and I’m going to give my all and know that I’m winning just alone, just doing that. So, to see the reaction of people or to be aware and listen to the feedback that people are giving us, especially when we’re opening up the gym and it’s like, this isn’t about first place. And something that was a really emotional, holy shit moment for me was, whenever we opened up the gym, and to the point of Find Your Reason, this is where Find Your Reason was born.
I noticed that in CrossFit, myself included, your ego is a huge part of that. You never talk about pain, you never talk about anything. You just talk about fucking lifting heavy shit and winning. And that was so wrong. And I remember saying to Paulo, “What do you think these people want? Why are they driving here for 45 minutes to do a class that they could’ve gone to Orange Theory that’s right next to their house? Why?” And I didn’t know what I was doing, which a lot of the things that have happened in my career, I have been so naive to, and then I’ve had an “Oh, shit” moment like, “Whoa, that’s cool that we’re able to do this.” I thought that I was the only one that felt like that.
And I said to Paulo, “What do they want? What do they want?” So, we said, “Please anonymously write on a piece of paper what you want. What do you want through fitness?” And I did, and everyone submitted them and I just cried my eyes out. I still have those pieces of paper to this day, because yeah, you got the ones that are like, “I want to win. I want to run a half marathon, I want to look good in my wedding dress, I want to jump a 24-inch box.” But then I’m going through and it’s like, oh my goodness. It’s like, “I want to love my inner self. I want my partner to see me.” That one just stabs me in the heart every time. “I want to be happy. I want to be the best version of myself. I want to inspire others. I want to be healthy. I want to live to play with my kids.”
Whoa, this is something that I had no idea that we were doing here. This is why people are driving 45 minutes, because this is a feeling that they’re getting. Not I’m winning or if I’m losing, they’re feeling something that is breaking down barriers. I would see it. People will come in and they’re wearing baggy tee shirts and no makeup, their hair is just in a messy bun and then a month goes by, two months goes by and something’s happening that’s got nothing to do with me. I’m coaching you, but you’re releasing that feeling of confidence or love, a little bit more self-respect or self-love, and having this aura about yourself. Now you’ve just got your hair done or, girl I see you in the shorts for the first time, you’ve got Lulu pants on now you’ve got a sports bra with this tight shirt. Shit, Paulo, we’re onto something here that is so much greater than we set out for it to be.
So, we listen and we’re aware and we see that and that’s exactly what we adopted and brought over to PumpFit, when we opened up our new space. The entire wall is that, “I want.” We painted, “What you want.” And that was like find your reason. What is the reason you do this? We all have our own and they are goals. Some of them are short-term goals and some of them are lifelong goals that you’ll never quit on yourself. I want to see this through. I want to never quit.
These are things that, okay, these go far deeper than the surface. This is shit that … You want this forever. This isn’t something that happens in a month. This is a lifelong goal and you’re never going to quit on that. You’re never going to quit on yourself. And that was a huge turning point for me, for Paulo, and for everyone. And now it’s so evident that, yeah, we’re here to sweat, we get a crazy-ass workout, but it is so much more than that.
Nick: So, the only part of that that I disagree with, is you said, “It has nothing to do with me.” I feel like this approach, it does demand somebody to help orient you, and your personality is a major part of this it seems like, as well. So, tell me a little bit about how you came into your own as a teacher and as a coach out there working with people in this style. The first time you were getting ready to teach a class in your own space were you like, “I belong here.” Or were you like, “I’m not ready for this. I do not belong here.”
Hannah Eden: I did not feel like I belonged there at all. I had a couple of moments that were like, what do you do? Fight or flight. So, a lot of things is timing as well. And I kind of discovered my ability to help others by accident. It wasn’t like, I have a quest in life to change lives through fitness. It wasn’t like that at all. I loved CrossFit and I loved teaching and I realized I had a way of connecting with someone and not seem like I’m just trying to tell them what to do. But I’m a practitioner, I do this, too. I practice what I preach, I know what I do.
And one of the best things that I ever was told, which was actually, I would never bring up names, but the guy that burned me was one of the best coaches ever. And he taught me a lot of what I know. So, I know you know who you are. Thank you for that, motherfucker.
But he taught me a lot, and that was that I move well, so go up there and tell them what you do. And if you don’t do something well, don’t try and teach it. And so, I would. I’m like, all right, well I know how it feels. I know what I’m doing, so I’m just going to explain what I’m doing and try and connect with them rather than, “Okay, we’re gonna keep our feet, and we’re going to go for a triple extension.” And you know, talking in terms that is like…
Hannah Eden: Textbook. It just words walking towards you. No, imagine jumping through the ceiling. I don’t know, this is probably not making sense, but I have a different way of coaching that helps people understand on a human level because we’re not all robots. We’re not all professionals.
And it was evident that people kind of liked my style of coaching as a CrossFit coach and that gave me a lot of confidence that I had an opportunity when I opened up the gym and I was becoming this… sorry. Before I opened up the gym and it was becoming a CrossFit athlete, I applied for a contest which was from one of my best friends that is still my best friend to this day, which is a huge part of why I do this for my career because, he forced me to start into the competition. I’m like, “No.” And he’s like, “Do it or I’m doing it for you.” I’m like, “Okay, fine.” So, I entered and I made it to the finals of Reebok to be the face of Reebok One, right? So, that was a huge part of my success in my career.
But along the way, he was like my mentor and he was not necessarily any big name in fitness, but he introduced me to CrossFit, the same guy that bought the gym. And he pushed me and believed in me and saw potential as an athlete and as a coach and he said, “Hannah, some people have it, some people don’t. You have it. You can just communicate with people, you can have control of a room and people are actually genuinely interested in what you have to say because you practice what you preach. You’re not just sitting here saying, ‘Do this, do this.’ Or yell at this.” I care. I scream when people get PRs or I jump up and down and people are going because I genuinely give a shit.
I think that’s the difference in training is just caring and relating to someone and understanding that not everyone gets things one way and just keep going and keep going with practice and trial and error that you can help anyone. And that kind of helped me as a coach and kind of helped me help others, if that makes sense.
Nick: Sure. Do you remember, was there a certain class where you’re like, “I think I get it now. This really is working for me. I’m here.”
Hannah Eden: Yeah. I remember one of the first times I had to ask Paulo to help me. And again, this is something that I felt with… I’m so busy moving forward that I never really stop and see what I’m doing. Or to your point about, it’s got nothing to do with me. And maybe that’s why I’m humble in a way that I’m never satisfied and I know that I have so much more to give and so much more to achieve, which is a weird thing to think about, right?
But I had to ask Paulo to help me because the class was so big. And then that night he took me home and was like, “Do you understand what you’re doing?” I’m like, “No.” And he’s always great at doing that. It’s like, stop and just look at what you’re doing. And to this day, maybe it’s a good thing, because I feel like if I ever sit there and go, “All right, I’m so good that my job is done now.” Fuck that. That’s when people just lose themselves. No, there’s no point where you can stop learning or being better. Every coach should be coached, every coach needs a coach and every coach can be a better coach. So, yeah, it was a turning point that night, for sure. And then, I mean, I had a turning point, which was an “Oh, shit!” moment for Good Morning America.
I was doing a live workout in Times Square as background talent for BJ Gaddour. We were on this show and whatever, and he said, “Maybe you need to step in for me.” And I didn’t think much of it. I’m like, “Yeah, cool.” There’s no way. And then, all of a sudden, we’re live on TV and my face was on this huge billboard in Times Square. And he’s like, “Hey, Hannah, they need me. Can you be the backup trainer real quick?” And I’m like, shit. “Yep. I got this.”
And I remember my whole body is shaking, I’m wearing white shorts. Most definitely had a camel toe on live television. Hannah, you have two choices right now. You can either throw up and pee your pants in the corner, run off, or you fucking fake it till you make it, girl. And I gave myself a quick pep talk. I’m like, “All right, we’re going to do this.” And I did. And I made it through that and that was like, “Okay, I did it. It wasn’t so bad.” And they all believed me, like I wasn’t faking anything. This is real. Hannah, you have the potential to do this. And all these little things gave me a little bit more confidence, a little bit more confidence. And then, I don’t know man. It’s been an ongoing thing.
Nick: I love that. That’s a great story.
Heather: What you just said, that’s a perfect summary of who you are, which is, you’re not faking anything.
Hannah Eden: No.
Heather: And this is my first time meeting you. I didn’t get to meet you and you were filming FYR 1, and so I had this idea of who you were. And all of our athletes, whenever they come to town, they end up being just warm, lovely, wonderful people. But you are truly the most different from what I thought you would be to what you actually are in person.
Hannah Eden: I would love to know what you thought I would be like. You can say it all.
Nick: Be careful.
Hannah Eden: No, don’t. Be real.
Heather: Well, again, we’ve already mentioned the super soldier from the future. I was like, this woman feels no pain. She’s super intense. And I’d heard stories about, you would be pushing these guys through three or four workouts a day and she is just an animal and a machine.
So, I had this vision of like an animal or a machine or someone who would be just so laser-focused, and yet, I come in and meet you for the very first time and “Oh, hi Heather, how are you?” And you give me a hug. And I’m just like, okay, I don’t know you, but I love that you hug.
Hannah Eden: That’s awesome. Yeah.
Heather: And that’s the one thing that I want people who are listening to this, watching this, to know is that Hannah’s not faking any of it. She’s 100% there with you. She cares about who you are. She wants to get to know you. It’s not about, I created this amazing workout. It’s, I’m doing this workout for you and I’m doing this. So, what you just said, “I’m not faking any of it.” And then in your workouts, you talk about how that builds confidence. I mean, you can fake it till you make it, but going through the motions is how you build up that confidence to where you no longer have to fake it.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, and I think being real with people, I feel very grateful for the opportunity of social media in my career because it’s a love and a hate thing, right? It’s an incredible platform to be able to reach so many people. And with that being said, I think it’s so imperative to understand the power of that. And I am extremely grounded at home. I have a really cool group of friends. Nothing’s changed from day one, from when I had no Instagram to whatever happens now. And it still blows me away that there’s so many people that we’re able to reach around the world. But that’s so important to me to be real, because unfortunately with social media has grown this world of bullshit, which is so bad. And I just need people to know that it’s bullshit and that anyone can do what I’ve done.
And it’s important that people know my back story. I don’t have a degree in business at all. It’s a matter of, of course I know what I’m doing now, but when I began I had no fucking clue what I was doing. I just knew that I loved what I did and that I could succeed if I refused to quit. And people need to know that, and people need to know that you’re not going to get anywhere trying to be someone that you’re not. And if you do, it won’t be for long, because people will smell that shit. Whether that’s a year, two years, three years, five years, it doesn’t matter.
This is me, this is who I am, take it or leave it and you’re going to start to love yourself a lot more when you can adopt that kind of mentality, than being so concerned about what other people think.
I am very grateful to have my husband that is the rock in this whole thing, that keeps me grounded, calls me on my shit and kind of puts me in check if I ever need it. But yeah, there is no magic pill. There is no magic secret sauce to anything other than hard work. And you can see out anything that you put your mind to. And I think it’s important that people know that and being real will get you a lot closer to that than faking it.
Nick: So, there’s this one part of your backstory that we haven’t talked about yet. That’s the hair.
Hannah Eden: Yes.
Nick: And I’m sure you’ve told this story many times, but it’s not one that I have encountered yet. Tell me, about that decision. Did you just go home to Paulo one night like, “Guess what I’m doing tomorrow?”
Hannah Eden: Yeah, and that was a turning point as well. When I began as a CrossFit athlete, I was trying to make a name for myself on Instagram and as an athlete. I put a schedule together, and again it didn’t fall in my lap. I worked extremely hard on the social media thing and had this timetable every day of the week, there would be three posts at certain times and I had a plan. But I always cared a lot.
Even at that point. I was posting things maybe because I thought that I was supposed to post them, such as all right now I’m like getting a better physique, I should probably do a photo shoot like with lingerie, because that’s what all the other girls are doing. And if I post pictures in lingerie then I’m going to get followers and this is what I need to do.
And I still had that mentality of, I want to call it an old mentality of Hannah, which was, I did care about what people were thinking, I did want to win and I wanted to have success for revenge. It was this very different mentality. It was a very angry mentality still.
And then I had this turning point, I had a dream that I had red hair, which is why I dyed my hair red. But I had this realization that everything I always do is to try and impress other people. Why am I doing this? Or, I remember comments that my friends would say as I started to get into CrossFit, and they would really upset me. Like, “Oh, your traps getting really big. Don’t you think that you should probably stop doing CrossFit? It’s not very lady like.” And all these things.
And it would destroy me. I was always internalizing everything. And then when I had, I don’t remember what the dream was, but I just know that in the dream I had red hair and then I woke up the next day, I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to fucking dye my hair red and this is going to be a point of me saying I don’t give a fuck. I’m so sick and tired of caring so much about what people think.” I’m so self-conscious about… I had horrible skin at that point, horrible skin wouldn’t leave the house without makeup on, which would make it worse. I was just so concerned about being judged. And then I just had this thing, I was like, “I’m done with this. I’m done caring.” And it was a moment.
And I did, I threw that out. I stopped giving a shit. I went home and had this really long conversation with Paulo. I was like, “Why do we keep trying to do things to impress other people? Why do we keep trying to do things?” And it was around the same time as the gym, “Why do we keep trying to build things for other people?” This is our life. We’ve got each other. We’ve been together awhile. At that time, it was nothing. But now we’ve been together forever. Why don’t we just try and build our own empire? And if it doesn’t work, we’ll go back to flipping burgers. I’ll go back to slinging drinks and we’ll make shit happen. We’ll find a career at some other point. So, it’s been a wild ride, but it’s been crazy.
Nick: So, why red?
Hannah Eden: Why red? I don’t know.
Nick: Just it was in the dream.
Hannah Eden: I asked my girlfriend and I was like, “Hey, I want to have fire truck red hair.” And she was like, “No.” So, it took us about six months to get here. We tried it without bleaching and now it’ll be seven years this year of having red hair.
Nick: And are you totally married to this color now?
Hannah Eden: Honestly? Well, that would be definitely a question to ask Paulo, you should see our house. Our bed sheets that used to be white are now pink. We’ve got a white leather futon with a red patch right where Hannah sits. It’s quite a job. The maintenance is high. I hate it because I am so low maintenance. I hate getting my hair done, hate having to take care of it. But it is a part of the brand, you know? But yeah, I am excited for the day that I have black hair again, but this is a great thing, as well. Right?
Does it define me? I’ll be honest with you guys, this is why I still have red hair and this is so you guys can see that we all struggle with certain things. In my mind I’m like, my red hair has a huge part to do with my career. If I don’t have red hair anymore, am I still going to …
Nick: “No one will know who I am!”
Hannah Eden: …does anyone want me? You start to question these things. So, I think it’s a huge part of the brand right now and I don’t think it would be smart at this point to change it. But, at some point, I’d love to have black hair and not worry about it anymore.
Nick: I’m going to put something out there.
Heather: That’s your new goal, is to outgrow your own brand.
Hannah Eden: Yeah.
Nick: I’m going to put something out there. So, when we were talking about really organizing the basics of FYR 2.0, I remember saying, “Can we have her dye her hair green? Because then we put it in front of a green screen, we can make it a different color for every single workout.” Just a thought.
Hannah Eden: Yes, I should do that.
Nick: Green is freedom but then you’ll have green shit all over your house.
Hannah Eden: That’s true. Maybe, I don’t know. I think I like that though. You can make it anything you want or we just shave it off and we wear wigs.
Nick: There is that, there are plenty of people doing that.
Hannah Eden: It’s true.
Nick: So, I want to talk to you a little bit about carryover from your style of training. Physical and mental, because I’ve been reading a lot about specificity in training versus variety in training recently, just because of the things that I’m training toward. And really, there are two tracks that people take. Here it is, here’s the thing you want to do, just go right into it. Or there’s the train around it, train around it, lots of variety. And anybody who’s familiar with the videos that you’ve done for us, knows there’s a lot of variety in what you do. And I was wondering, first of all, physically, before we get to mentally, how you find that carries over to other activities. For example, you rode around the Ring Road in Iceland, which, it’s a pretty simple task. You’re on a bike, you’re on the ground. How did everything that you’ve done carry over and prepare you for that?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, I think whenever I left the mentality of being an athlete, which was, I was a sponsored athlete, you’re getting paid to win in that sport, which means I had tunnel vision and all I wanted to do was succeed in this one world, in my lane, per se. And then whenever I decided to stop competing, I was like, “You know what, I’m going to put the same energy into business and see where this goes.” But then when I switched from, all right, I don’t really want to do CrossFit. And then the whole idea of why are we staying inside of a box? Let’s stay outside of the box and bring everything in. Then it was okay. The physical side of things is exactly why I am where I am. The fitness, the mental state of mind, this mindfulness, it all was born in fitness because it didn’t exist before.
Trust me, I was not who I am now before I started that one year in 2012 when I committed to for the full year and within that year, it kind of built discipline. It built determination. If you set a plan, which was my training program at that point, and you follow the necessary steps, nine times out of 10 you would hit the one rep max that you’re going for, or in life you would hit the goal that you’re trying to achieve. And if you didn’t, you don’t quit. You just go a few steps back and you continue to move forward. So, when I realized this mindset that fitness had built for me, I realized, “Oh shit, this is way more than physical.” The physical side of things have created something mental, which for me I call it my mental game or my mental strength. Excuse me. It’s very cold out here.
Nick: I know, I’m shivering over here.
Hannah Eden: I know, it is cold. And the whole aspect of being able to do anything that you can and now training for life, not for something in particular. I want to be able to put anything inside of a hat and pull it out and be able to be good at it. And I think that if you have the right body, which I try and keep my body healthy and mobilize and push the potential to the furthest point that it’s only going to help my mental game.
So, to your point about Iceland, I was not a runner or a cyclist whatsoever, ever. I don’t think I’d ran… It’s funny because I joined Ashley Horner with her …
Nick: I was going to say, you’ve done some adventuring with her.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, which was around Haiti for 230 miles. But it wasn’t my mission. So, it was very different. You know, I was more of a pacer. I’d jump in here and there, but before that I had not run more than three miles. And then when she asked me, yeah, when she had asked me, I was like, oh shit, this is in a couple of weeks. I’m really fit, but I don’t know if I could run distance, I should probably see if I can do more than three miles. So, I ran a half marathon, got a stress fracture and projectile-puked as I ran over the finish line. I’m like, all right, well this great because in two weeks …
Nick: Good place to start from.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, in two weeks I’m about to be running around a third-world country for four days straight. Definitely got this in the bag. But that trip showed me my mental game was there. My mental game was so strong that I had no idea that my body was breaking down because I didn’t train for it. Which pissed me off because I’m like, I’m not even getting into that point up here because my body won’t let me. I physically can’t go any further because I’m not adapted to this new modality.
The reason why I did Iceland, which is a whole other deep, dark story is because of a friend of mine that was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And Ashley and I, after Haiti, had joked, when we went back to the orphanage, it was like, all right, what’s next? And then it was a joke that said, all right, let’s run 400 miles through Iceland.
And then whenever my friend got sick, I immediately called Ashley and was like, “Hey, remember that joke that we made? I need to do something. I ran those miles with you for kids, we did something for such a great cause. But I didn’t know those kids. I didn’t know what I was doing until the day that I met them on the finish line. This is my best friend, dude. She’s dying and she has a kid. If I can do this for strangers, I have to do something for Jess” at that point.
So, then I thought, you know what? This is going to be my mission and there’s no fucking way that my body is going to be the reason why I quit, because I’m gonna do this shit. And I went home, the 400 miles then turned into the Ring Road, which was 828.6 miles. And I’m like, all right, well I can’t run that, so I’m going to include a bike and make this doable. So, I did and she was diagnosed in November. I got my coach December and then I started training from December until July.
And I did. And I committed to the training program in a modality that I have no experience in. I am not a runner. I am for sure not a cyclist, but I’m going to fucking do this because my mind is strong enough and I know it is. Now, I just need to make sure that I do everything in my power to get my body to cooperate with my mind. And so, I did. I committed to the training. I started from the beginning with a 20-minute run, and build our way up until they were five hour runs or you’ve got to run for three hours, get on the bike for an hour and a half, get off, run another three hours and then it was six, seven hours of training a day and it consumed me. But what I realized is with the preparation of the physical for the training, and my mind was the strongest it has ever been because of the pain that I was enduring watching my friend die, that I did it.
That is where it shows you that the body is an incredible thing if you give it the opportunity to train and give it an opportunity to adapt and build to something new. If your mind believes it, your body will follow. And I’m convinced by that, and that is something that I need people to understand that, yes, we’re doing this to look good and to get a six pack and to have clothes that fit great. But this is so much more than that. Where can you go? What else can I fucking do? I’ve tested my body now. Now I need to test my mind. What else can you possibly do? I want to tap into these crazy places that most people won’t. Call me crazy. Like I said, I finally found this way to channel this crazy part of me into something great. I did those 828 miles. I can check that off my list of feeling accomplished. We raised over $ 50,000 and we did something so good.
It was opportunity for me to release pain that I was feeling at that point to mourn and let go of all of that shit. How do you deal with your best friend dying and in the public eye? Do you just delete Instagram and crumble up in this ball and cry? Because that crossed my mind every day. Or do you put it out there and be like, “Fuck, dude, no matter who you are or what you’re doing, shit happens. Someone’s handing some cards from somewhere here and you’ve got just dealt the worst hand possible. What the fuck do you do? How are you going to play this one?”
So, I tried to do something good with something so bad, and I think we managed to do it. And now I’m still not satisfied. Now every night I’m thinking, what the fuck is next? And that’s the biggest question is, all right, now you’ve done that, what are you going to do next? I don’t know. I’m excited, and all I know is there’ll be something and it’ll be better than what we did last time and it’s going to do something good. And maybe 2020 will be the year.
Nick: No, I like it. So, you still keep those tests sort of, this is all preparing you for, all right, when I know, it I’ll see it, and then I can just go after it fearlessly. Is that …
Hannah Eden: Yeah. I think that, and excuse my French on this, and everyone can have their own perspective. And I know I’m an extreme and I know I’m an extremely intense person. I’m very aware of that. But if I’m physically strong, I feel like I’m strong in life and maybe that’s a guard that I have, which may not be the best thing to do. And if that’s the case I’ll figure that out along the way, too. But when I don’t train hard, I feel like a pussy. I’m sorry to say that, but I do, I truly believe my mental game of being able to hold on for that extra rep, being able to do a wall sit where my body is shaking, because my mind is still there but my body is not responding. And they say, there’s the 60% rule.
Your mind will quit when you get to 60%. You’ve got far more to go on you. And, I’m like, no way. I want to see, I want to see. And I mean if I can do those 828.6 miles, there are so many people in this world that can do so much more than they’re allowing themselves to do. I know it’s an extreme way of showing that to the world, but you guys, everyone needs to tap into their potential because we’re so obsessed with moving in this one way. It’s like a line of ants just plodding along life like we’re supposed to go… be raised, and eating certain things, you’re supposed to go to school, we’re supposed to do well in school, after school was supposed to go to college, and after college we’re supposed to get this job.
Do we want to live that life? There’s so much more out there. And it doesn’t mean that you have to have the best grades since, I’m sorry parents for this, but it doesn’t mean you have to go to an Ivy league school and have so much pressure to do these things where …
Nick: Checking boxes.
Hannah Eden: Right, checking boxes. Where’s happiness or where’s un-comfort in this? Because fuck comfortable man, life is so boring like that. And maybe this is because I witnessed and was so close to death and was looking at it so closely, it sounds so morbid but we’re all going to die, and more people need to be reminded of that. What kind of life do you want to live? I want to literally be on my death bed and know that I did some crazy shit, man. And I have stories to tell. Not, I wish I did more. I wish I didn’t work for the same company for 25 years and hate and live paycheck to paycheck.
No, I roughed it out. We had nothing. We had no money. We left the bartending world, which gave us all the money in the world to take 20 steps back in our bank account so that we could jump 50 miles further, not really knowing if we were gonna make it or not, but fuck, we did it. And it’s taking that risk. Is the risk worth the reward? Yeah. If you don’t quit. It’s just a whole different way of living. This wasn’t meant for me, and other people need to see that. Don’t be someone that you think you’re supposed to be, be who you want to be and be any one you want to be.
Nick: One thing you said in there that I really loved was you said, not only, “Where’s happiness?” A lot of people, they look that list of boxes, they’re checking it, where is happiness on there? You’re like, where is happiness and where is discomfort? The two almost seem like they’re …
Hannah Eden: I know.
Nick: They’re not even sides of the same coin. They’re kind of the same expression for you. And yeah, I want to explore that a little bit more, that idea of discomfort and happiness and discomfort versus pain because really, it consumes a lot of the dialog that happens during routines in FYR. We’re talking about, all right, we’re going to talk through this pain. I’m going to express the word that you are shouting at the TV right now. How does that factor into the way you imagine somebody going through this journey with you?
Hannah Eden: I think that we, and before I go over this, from professional point of view, there is a huge difference between pain and injury. Sorry, discomfort and pain. Pain would lead to injury, discomfort just doesn’t feel good.
Nick: You know both.
Hannah Eden: I know both, big time. The whole, “this isn’t pain, this is discomfort” thing was when I was so close to watching someone go through pain. If you really zoom out, I can tell you about pain, and it is not what we’re enduring inside of the gym. No, no fucking way. Not even remotely close to it. I’ve seen that firsthand.
What we’re doing is we’re experiencing something uncomfortable that will lead to something greater than that, and it’s like, we’re so shied away from this feeling of discomfort, and to the point of checking the boxes off. It’s like you’re happy on the outside if your kids at Ivy League schools and the dad’s a lawyer and mum’s at home that doesn’t need to work, while behind closed doors, mums chugging her martinis every night, kid’s probably blowing lines in the back room that you don’t know about. It’s all this bullshit of perfection of what that’s supposed to be, right?
And so, inside of the gym, when we feel this discomfort, or I can relate to this on a lot of ways when training clients, there’s a lot of people that will be terrified of the feeling of exhaustion. They think that they’re dying if their muscles start to burn or they start to get a little bit gassed and they’re freaked out by these feelings, because they’re so used to feeling comfortable. Well, when you put yourself through that feeling, then it gets a little bit better, right? Now you’re not so out of breath. Now those muscles don’t hurt so much anymore. Now you’ve got a stronger body. Now you’re feeling a little bit more confidence.
So, all these discomfort, all that pain, led to something that is so much better than what you think, and so I try and put that through. Pain is what you would endure if you kept it inside, right? So, when I say exhale the pain, when something’s burning, a physical feeling, I’m exhaling something emotional. Does that make sense? I remember having to leave the hospital and going to get a workout in. I needed to because if I didn’t, I have no idea what I would’ve done. That was my way of having flashbacks of seeing things firsthand, but physically releasing that.
Now hopefully I don’t get caught up on what I’ve seen before, because I’ve released the pain from that situation, that now I can continue to move forward and not have nightmares about what I’ve seen or what I’ve felt or what I’ve gone through, or whatever it may be for someone in their comparison to pain or whatever they’ve been a witness to, or even a victim of whatever you want to say.
So, there is a big difference between pain and discomfort, and that came about after last year. But yeah, I think that we can all use fitness as a way to release negative, whether it means pain or anger, or whatever it means, but something negative, and put it into something that will, at some point, may not be in that moment, will be great.
Nick: Sure. Well, and …
Hannah Eden: Thanks.
Nick: Exactly, one thing that I love about your approach, and I know plenty of other people do as well, is it’s not like the standard old VHS video tape where you plug it in. Yeah, it’s hard and the teacher says, “Good job, everyone. Great set, everyone.” There’s a little bit different approach, it’s like …
Hannah Eden: There’s a rawness to it. Fuck!
Nick: Ah, fuck. I remember the first time we watched a bunch of FYR 1 footage, we were like, “Okay, there’s a lot of swearing in here. There’s a lot of really raw emotion and raw language in here.” How comfortable are we with us? We’re like, “Jesus, we feel pretty good. It’s awesome, it’s a great experience.” Did you feel like you needed to hold back ever? Or is this always been like, “This is just who I am, I got to do it my way.”
Hannah Eden: Yeah. Anyone that knows me, I am getting better with age. I do have a really disgusting potty mouth, which maybe that’s an English thing, I’m not sure, but I’m just saying what everyone wants to say, man. Maybe this is a fault, like you said, there is no faking it with me, which I’m very blunt, I’m very direct, but one thing that is great I guess is that you know that you’re never going to get bullshit. If you ever want an honest opinion, I’m your girl, I guess.
But yeah, I just say what people want to say. I feel what you feel. I’m feeling the same thing. It’s not like you get to a certain physique or a stage in your game that now all of a sudden this is easy for me. No, the second that it feels easy, we’re going to make it harder. There’s always room to grow, right? There’s always room to improve and get stronger and get fitter or whatever it may be, but I’m just being real, I’m saying what most people want to say.
A lot of times, of course, we need to button our mouth and not curse, but it works, and we discovered that at PumpFit. We have a no-kid rule because we say “fuck” so often.
Nick: I was going to say, is it just popping up out of the air?
Hannah Eden: Oh, yeah. It comes out of the speakers when we’re not there. No, but we are, and we realized it at work, because people just get in the zone, and I’m glad we brought this up about how it looks, like the cyborg.
I’m so glad that I have the opportunity for stuff like podcasts and Instagram stories now, because if you go to my page, I do look like this really tough, crazy bitch that you don’t want to fuck with, because she might hurt you. I’m the biggest idiot that can’t say anything serious, but that one hour is when things get serious.
But before the workout, everyone’s laughing, joking, but as soon as we say three, two, one, everyone adopts that mentality in our facility. It’s the same thing here. Other places, people are on their phone, they’re talking about where they’re going to get lunch the next day. They’re not there getting what people get when they do FYR. This is, yeah, it’s physical, but it’s something else that will keep you in it, and the results will be better, physically, and the results, mentally, you’re going to tap into new places that you didn’t know exist.
Nick: Sure. You told me about one great comment in response to FYR 1 yesterday, where somebody was like, “Hannah’s such a bitch, I love her.”
Hannah Eden: Yeah, yeah, it’s true. And they’ll be like, “I know that I don’t know you, but I’ve never cursed so much at someone in my whole life.” It’s okay.
Nick: So, let’s talk about FYR 2 a little bit. Tell me about what the feedback to FYR 1 was where you said, “Oh, I started to have this vision of, all right, here’s what I want to do if I’m going to do another one of these.” What experience did you want to give? And what vision do you have for this?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, so with FYR 1.0, the response was insane, like we said, right? Which, to the point of someone doing it so many times, I can’t believe it, that there was only so many workouts within the program, but yet people repeated it eleven times. That was my highest one. Eleven times, okay? I just can’t even get over that.
Nick: That’s an intense year.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, it is. Which means back-to-back to back-to-back of these same workouts. I’m like, “Oh, man, they need more.” Everyone kept saying, “Is there going to be another one? Is there going to be another one?” And then whenever we connected with Bodybuilding.com and we were like, “Okay, let’s make this happen.” It was like, shit, the pressure’s on. FYR 1.0 was so good, how do we top that?
But my mentality, as an athlete, has changed a lot since a couple of years ago. And so, I think that being able to evolve from where we began is huge. So, FYR 1.0 was a great way for people to get exposed to my style of training, right?
A lot of people have never done this kind of thing before. No matter who you are or where you’re at in your game, it will challenge you. It doesn’t mean that you can’t get good at it, but it’s different. High intensity interval training has always been fashionably this super intense cardio and burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn, burn. But I love weightlifting, I love kettlebells, I love Animal Flow, I love bodybuilding. Let’s put it all together and see how this goes.
So, to combine both worlds together is not easy, and it’s a different monster, if you’d like, right? So FYR was a great introduction to these moves. Everything was about moving fast, crushing shit, and just going for it, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Now I think that, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced in your fitness game, you should follow those three stages. Or even if you’re fit, and this is your first time with FYR, you should still go beginner, intermediate, advanced, and be able to return to the program and get something more from it.
Nick: So, when you say that, you mean follow somebody different?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, so follow Tanner for beginner, followed Paulo for intermediate, and then come back and follow me for advanced. Why? Because if you jumped straight to advanced, it’s probably a lot in there that you’re not feeling because you’re just moving through it to be advanced rather than actually connecting with it and getting through it.
So, I had this big change in mentality after my training for Iceland and after these extreme things that I’ve been doing, which is let’s just stop moving from Point A to Point B.
If we want to be doing this for a long time, we need to protect our body and understand longevity, so let’s connect our mind to our muscle and actually understand what we’re doing. And what I realized along the way is oh, shit, and the results just to happen to be really good because the muscle, what we’re doing to the muscle is it’s responding more because it’s actually engaging and talking to me directly rather than, than just knowing I need to be here to here. Is this working with you, my mind?
Heather: Well, you look at the exercises and it’s not that you’re working chest one day and back one day and legs one day. You’re working everything every day, and it needs, when you talk about the Animal Flows, these flows that look really odd and if you’ve never done them before, they feel very, very awkward. You even mentioned that in one of the workouts that the first time I tried it, it looks like I was knitting with my legs.
But when you start kind of connecting all the pieces of your body together, they do feel like a normal flow and it feels like how your body is meant to work. So, it does absolutely feel like it’s flexibility, it’s strength, it’s endurance, it’s intensity, it’s power, it’s all of it kind of together. And again, not about the outcome, but more about the movement itself, which if you focus on the movement will lead to the outcome.
Hannah Eden: And that’s the whole mentality behind the programming, too, right? We can all do the same thing. If we squat, we’re all squatting, but I can control and connect my mind to my body, and I can squat and you can just squat. We’re both spending the same amount of time in the gym. My results are going to be ten times better than yours because I’ve been able to connect. So, that’s my whole point with my mentality and behind fitness and then life. We can all move through certain things, but if you really connect to your body, what else can you do? And that’s that same mentality with FYR 2.0. So, in FYR (original), we had a lot of the Animal Flow, but we’re just moving and FYR 2.0 we have, we’re playing with dynamic. We’re playing with pace, so making things dynamic, we’re making things tempo.
Now, if you really try and slow things down, they get really, really hard and we’ve always been accustomed to. If you’re fit, that means you’re moving fast, you’re moving heavy, and you’re moving like right now. Nah, you are fit that way, but I’m looking for strength. I’m not trying to win anymore. I want to be healthy, but I’m not trying to get first place. I’m trying to get the most out of what I can.
Obviously, we’re doing it for aesthetics, but I’m trying to see what I can do. I’ll see how much pain I can endure. So, how slow can I do this? And there’s a great quote that you’re going to hear a lot throughout the program, which is “Slow is strong, and strong can be fast.” Think about a bicep curl or press. If you have twenty pounds and your hands, we can all move twenty pounds from here to here if we get momentum.
But if you really slow it down, like you’re stuck in slow motion, who can do that? Not many people. And then we relate the physical to life, right? And we say this a lot. Stop trying to hide behind momentum. Face you, face reality. It may look like you’re strong, but when you really slow things down, are you as strong as you seem? And that’s the whole mentality of my mental game that went into Iceland. My mental game that I compare from my mental game in life and fitness. And I really think we’ve done a good job of bringing that over to FYR. We can, and then I talk about it, too. There’s obviously there’s still a beginner, intermediate and advanced. We’ve also added five more bonus workouts because the core fifteen workouts are around thirty minutes, but they are all full body-focused.
But the bonus workouts are goal and body specific, so whether it means upper body, lower body, or cardio blast, core blast. They’re very short, ten-minute time crunch workouts that you can stack on top, and you’ll see that you will. So, our feedback from FYR 1.0 is that people would just keep doing it without even being told. So, we decided with FYR 2.0 to create some kind of protocol that these guys could get the ultimate experience from this one program. So, we have three phases and throughout the phases, you start to progress. The first one you only have certain ten workouts. Phase two you’ll have your fifteen workouts with a few bonuses. And then phase three, you have it all. Fifteen workouts, five bonuses, and you just crush it. And it’s a really good way to kind of like a build on top of one program, be able to revisit it and get something new and never get bored.
Nick: And now one other thing that happens when you slow things down is you might add a little bit more muscle, right? Like that tension is going to give a little bit more of a hypertrophic sort of response. And that’s something that we see in a lot of CrossFit athletes now, too, is they’re doing a lot more bodybuilding. It’s like they realize like, “Hey, muscle is actually kind of life for athletes.” And I was wondering how your view on muscle has changed over time and how that influences this particular program.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, I lost a lot of muscle after Iceland. I laugh and say that I ran my legs and my ass and left them there, which is true. So, whenever I came back, my mentality on slowing things down as always been there but not quite as much. But time under tension work will grow, will make you grow and it’s important. I love learning new things and teaching this as well. Your bodies respond to, your muscles respond to stress, so they don’t necessarily know the number that you’re lifting. Your muscles just know that it’s fucking heavy or that you’ve been holding on for a long time. So, the mentality of having to lift a heavy number, I’ve dropped since CrossFit, right? I don’t think I’ve, I don’t lift over a hundred pounds ever unless I decide to go back in and dabble in that sport.
But it’s switching it up and now forcing your body to exert more energy and more control over a lighter weight because it’s an unstable environment. So, in FYR 1.0, you see a lot of single kettlebell work, in FYR 2.0 you see a lot of double kettlebell work because your body is forced to engage and stabilize this unstable environment that it has. It’s not used to. So, now you’re using every single piece of your body when you’re focusing on an upper body movement, so you’re connecting your mind to body. Understanding that time under tension will give you muscle. Also build your mental game through that pain threshold but also give you more results. It’s what I like now, and I feel like I’ve been able to show that in this program.
Nick: Do you have any fear that people will be like, “Oh, but you know, I lost so much weight. I had this great transformation experience with FYR.” They still have that fear of muscle.
Hannah Eden: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so at all because of the fact of the cardio acceleration. Cardio acceleration is a huge thing for Jim Stoppani, as well? You combine intense cardio with resistance work to get better results, so you won’t, you will shed fat, you can build muscle if you’d want to, but you also won’t lose the muscle that you’re building because of the way that we’ve programmed the workouts. With the interval training, short bursts of rest with a lot of high intensity or slow and time under tension work.
Nick: And it also seems like since the time when your career started, it’s getting more and more okay all the time for men and women both to be like, all right, I want some muscle.
Hannah Eden: Fuck, yeah.
Nick: More and more, we’re moving in that direction just health-wise as a society. Like yeah, muscle’s a good thing. So, I want to ask you what you feel like the ideal way to experience these two programs is for somebody who maybe they did FYR not eleven times, but ten times or one time and it was a year or two ago and they’re like, all right, I’m thinking of doing it again before I do FYR 2. Or I want to do FYR 2, and then I’ll go back to FYR 1. What’s the Hannah-approved progression here?
Hannah Eden: Ok. Well, a lot of people, whenever we announced that we were doing FYR 2.0 were like, “Fuck, yeah! I’m going to go back and do FYR 1.0 so I can get ready for when 2.0 comes out.” Which is a great opportunity and a great option for a lot of you, especially if you’ve never done my style of training before because there are so many weird and wonderful things.
With that being said, if you have the time and the mental game to commit, I would do FYR 1.0 and start with the beginner even if you’re extremely fit because there are a lot of weird and wonderful moves that we’re doing that are new to anyone. I wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to go in there and crush it. It might be a good round one but round two round three it’s a whole different animal. So, understanding the movements are huge.
So, I would suggest going back to 1.0 whether you repeat it more than once, it’s up to you. Now with FYR 2.0, I try to make it clear in the programming. And I hope that this can get across too, which is even if you’re the fittest in your game, start with beginner because it’s still really hard, but it’s a different approach on how we’re doing it. So, and I’d rather you, and then also, I guess it’s up to the individual. So, that’s a question they need to ask themselves. Are you trying to lose weight or are you trying to gain muscle? Because if you’re trying to lose weight, there’s a lot of things. And just for an example, going for optimal output with every movement. So, if you’re holding a kettlebell in front rack position, it’s still in front rack if it’s here or if it’s here.
But if you’re resting on your chest, your lats and your upper body aren’t working as hard, then if you’d be holding it.
Nick: But it’s easier.
Hannah Eden: It’s a lot easier. It’s a lot easier. You’re still doing the same movements.
Heather: That’s where the discomfort comes in.
Hannah Eden: Right. And then I would say depending on where you’re at, from your coach’s point of view, I would rather that you guys be able to go unbroken for thirty seconds with beginner, than do one rep and at intermediate and advanced and have to break your thirty seconds. So, it’s, again, Paulo says all the time, check your own ego, because we’re not going for weight. We’re not going for reps. I’m going for optimal output with every single move. The slower you go, the more of a badass you are because the slower you go, the heavier that shit is. It is strict strength, no momentum behind any movement. And that’s where the real good stuff happens.
Nick: It makes light weight incredibly heavy.
Hannah Eden: Oh, yeah. Extremely heavy.
Heather: Yeah. That’s where the repeatability comes in is there’s no trophy at the end except that you just did the program.
Nick: Except for that hypertrophy.
Heather: Ha! And now you can go back and do it again and you can always find something in it.
Hannah Eden: Absolutely.
Heather: You can even go beginner, intermediate, advanced, and you can still go through that cycle over and over and over again.
Hannah Eden: Oh, yeah, every time. And something that people say, and this isn’t to offend anyone, but everyone would be like, “How can I make … or, this is too easy.” Fuck off. Is this too easy? All right, let’s just get something straight. I can show you these moves. I can give you the time, I can tell you what kettlebells to use. But one thing I can’t control is your integrity or your intention behind every movement.
Manual resistance. I can make myself cry and get jacked right now with not one weight in my hand by squeezing and engaging my mind to all right, engage your bicep, flood with as much blood as possible. Make it as hard as you can. I can’t do that. That’s up to you. You want to make it harder and this is too easy for you? Well, you’re not pushing hard enough. I can turn that right back around. So, it’s, there’s no ceiling with these styles of training. There’s not a ceiling at any point, so whoever you are, wherever you’re at, if this is too easy for you, come down to Florida, and we’ll make this shit happen. I can guarantee you, I’ll leave you crying.
Nick: See, a little bit of what you’re saying there reminds me of Kris Gethin because he’s another person who God, he’ll slop his way through a giant weight sometimes, but he’ll also slow things down. So, you want to make it tough? We can make it really tough. And I’m wondering being involved with Bodybuilding.com and really having a toe in that world of bodybuilding, how that’s brought some of some different personalities and different influences into the way you do things.
Hannah Eden: Say that again.
Nick: I was just wondering how being exposed to the world of bodybuilding and Bodybuilding.com how that’s changed how you do things and if you ever really imagined like, “Oh my God, I’d be hanging out with these gigantic jacked people sometimes.”
Hannah Eden: No, I didn’t actually, and it’s funny because Bodybuilding.com … before I was involved with you guys, I always thought like strong, big, jacked people, meat heads until I realized that it’s …
Nick: Kinda like us?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, just like you guys actually, and then I realized that it’s not about that. Bodybuilding.com is not about literal size. It’s about building your body, right? In any way or aspect of that may be. But being exposed to these guys and watching them move definitely has inspired certain things that I do and being close enough to Kris Gethin and being able to see what Jim Stoppani does and growing up and looking at Bodybuilding.com as I got into this as a career.
That definitely has an influence. I just keep my eyes open and keep everything open because I’m just always looking for new things to switch things up and to make things harder. And don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is need for the bro reps where you’re just jolting every weight just to feel that way, but just not in this style. And then there’s no rules. No one owns fitness, so we just make it anything that we can.
Nick: So, alright, now that we’ve got this wrapped up here, what are you going to do next? How do you, what do you do after a two-week production like this, and what goals do you have on the horizon for yourself?
Hannah Eden: Yeah, I mean there’s a lot of things that are going on right now. Back home, I just opened up another studio, which will be a film studio where I’ll be filming some follow-along workouts. Yeah, I actually start filming on Monday. So, we go straight. This whole month is going to be rough. I can’t wait. But we’ve got a lot of really cool things going on. I’ve got a fitness retreat going on in Costa Rica in May, next month. We’ve got the gym in Fort Lauderdale, and the biggest question that everyone keeps asking me is what’s next after Iceland?
I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. And I would love some suggestions and who knows if you guys want to come with me and experience that. That was an incredible journey of so much failure that led to success, and I really want to show that again to the world and other ways that every day in Iceland I’d managed to do it. The goal was eight days. I did it in nine days, but every single day there was multiple breakdowns, but I didn’t quit. And with just the right support group and having the right people around me and understanding my reason as to why I was doing it was so powerful that I could continue and keep pushing through and that anyone else can do that, too.
Nick: I mean, if you’re looking for something like for me the ultimate test of fitness has always been the mountains. Not necessarily like, “Oh, I’m going to go climb Mount Everest or one of those truly, not like, I’m going to put this, but epic hike across a mountain range or climbing a mountain. It doesn’t have to be technical. That to me it just always remains out there. I’m like, all right, I’m going to see how well everything I’m doing actually translates. The mountains are the ultimate test, so I’ll just put that word out there.
Hannah Eden: I like that. My brother is actually a climber, and he’s like, we’re looking at like the Grand Tetons and really go in to see that, and I want to do something that’s extreme, that is impossible because I want to prove that it’s possible because what I did shouldn’t have been possible, but my mind game was there. And you just mentioned something that I think is so important, which is the ultimate strength. And to me, over time, it began as the ultimate strength is how much, how many pounds can you lift on a bar? And then it came into the ultimate strength. It’s like what can you do with your life? And now my mentality is the ultimate strength is intangible. And it has been my biggest weakness my entire life, which is controlling emotions, which is something that you can’t physically see.
It’s like that is the ultimate strength is being able to own and control your emotions and deal with it inside of your mind before you externally react to something. So, I think going to the mountains and being put in these extreme conditions where it’s out of your control that tests your ultimate strength. And that’s what I realized in Iceland, you know, I mean, so many factors came into play that were out of my control. And control is a huge thing for me. Clearly a weakness. Or exercising has helped me exercise control in a manner. And I talk about owning every inch of your movement and having control over everything that you do.
When I’m put in a situation where the wind is working against you, the tire, the bike is broken down or it’s raining and you can’t see your hand in front of your face, what do you do then? Do you crumble? Which I did. And then have to figure out a way to emotionally and mentally build yourself back up inside so that you can externally perform. I mean that’s where I’m at now. It’s like that’s the next test in me. I want to be put through shit that most people would quit and just see physically, I know my body can handle it, but can my mind?
Nick: I like that. Yeah. Do people think are you going to crumble, or are you going to keep going? But what I hear is yes, you crumble, and yes you keep going.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, absolutely.
Nick: That’s the great thing about a journey that is it’s totally beyond all the little pleasant platitudes and all the bumper sticker shit that we tell ourselves. It’s like, yeah, I’m going to suck. I am going to have a complete breakdown here, and then, we’ll get up and keep going.
Hannah Eden: And that was something that happened daily. And you know, we say this all the time, it’s like the hardest part is starting. Yeah, it is. Every day was fucking excruciating trying to stand up and walk. I could barely even touch my legs. My joints felt like they would just snapping every time I put my foot on the floor, but it wasn’t about that. It was so much greater than that, and we sat down every morning with these stories, and I wasn’t doing 828.6 miles for Hannah. It was for everyone that has had to face cancer in any way, for everyone that has gone through any pain, like all of that is pain. What I’m feeling is just a slight understanding of what discomfort could be in comparison to people that have died for and survived or that have lost people to cancer. So, every morning we’d have a binder of stories that I’d asked people to write me an email and tell me I want to dedicate miles to someone.
So, who am I doing this for? And every morning it was like a good punch in the throat was like, fuck off, Hannah. Stop complaining. You’re alive, you’re breathing. You can walk, get the fuck up and finish the miles that you said that you would do because it’s for whoever you’re reading about. And then every morning, that’s all I needed was an emotional switch to understand that this isn’t about you. You’re going to heal, you’re going to survive, and you’re going to be okay. Get up and move forward.
And every day it was the same thing and we did it every single day and it was just such an eye-opening experience because of the switch in mentality from day one—for the rest of the days, as well—was I put these hardline rules and expectations on myself to bike fifty miles, run twenty-five, bike fifty miles.
I knew I had a certain amount that I had to complete throughout the day and I tried that day one. But again, all of those things that were out of my control, the wind was working against us. I naively and foolishly refused to check the elevation because I didn’t want to know because I’m doing it.
Nick: The world is flat. That thing, that’s the vertical stuff. It’s all in your head, man.
Heather: You seen that yet?
Nick: Vert is not real.
Hannah Eden: Someone said to me. They go, “Hey, so is that, is it hilly?” I’m like, no, it’s Iceland’s flat. I lied to myself because I had been there a month before in a van and then realized that every time we were driving, I was asleep, and every time we were driving there’s a climb like this. Thank God I didn’t know that beforehand, but day one it was like this twelve mile-an-hour winds coming against me, rain, the cars are trying to kill me. It was nuts, and I had a mental breakdown because I’m like, I will not stop until I hit my hundred and twelve miles and it destroyed me.
And the goal was to work for twelve hours rest at twelve hours, but because I was so stubborn and had all these hard expectations of myself, I failed. We were working till three o’clock in the morning. That was day one. I’m like, how the fuck am I going to wake up at seven and do this all over again? Like it’s not sustainable. So, I had to check my ego and have a really serious talk of myself alone and be like, all right Hannah, you know that you have twelve and twelve and that’s the only way that your body is gonna be able to sustain doing this.
You need to recover in between because it’s just not humanly possible to go unbroken. You need sleep. It’s the most important part of recovery. So, I switched my mentality and just stop putting so much fucking pressure on myself. I’m like, you know what? We’re going to work for twelve hours and we’re going to rest for twelve hours. What you do in those twelve hours is up to you. You have a good day, fucking ride the highs. If a low day, we’ll push through it.
Nick: It’s like Ross Edgley … had the same approach, basically.
Hannah Eden: There we go. Yeah.
Nick: You break it up. You can’t meet a mileage thing. You can only do the time.
Hannah Eden: And I did it.
Nick: That’s FYR.
Hannah Eden: And every day, we hit every single distance because of that. You know, some days we overdid it, some days we underdid it. But guess what? We did it. And it doesn’t matter how it was done. Everyone’s got their own way of doing things. As long as the end of the mission was complete, that’s all that matters.
Nick: So, Hannah, thank you so much again for talking to us. We really appreciate it.
Hannah Eden: Thank you guys so much for having me. I’m sorry if I talk too much.
Nick: Ah, no, no, no. This is the norm on this podcast. So, tell us where people can find you online.
Hannah Eden: Yeah, social media is a huge part of what I do. Instagram, it’s @HannahEden_Fitness. Also got a website, HannahEdenFitness.com where all my programs are available. And our gym in Fort Lauderdale, PumpFitClub.com.
Nick: There’s two of them you said?
Hannah Eden: There’s one, and then the other one will be a private closed gym. Yeah.
Nick: Fantastic. All right. Yeah. And FYR 2 is either out now, depending on when this comes out, or coming out soon—so stay tuned for it. All right, Hannah Eden.
Hannah Eden: And enjoy it.
Nick Collias: Again, thank you so much.
Heather Eastman: Thank you.
Hannah Eden: Thank you guys, so much.
FYR 2.0: Hannah Eden’s 8-Week Muscle-Building Fat-Loss Plan
This is what you’ve told us you were waiting for. Hannah Eden’s original FYR program for Bodybuilding.com was a fitness revelation. FYR 2.0 is a full revolution! In this follow-along fitness plan, you’ll get just the right amount of intensity, sweat, and struggle to reach a new level of fitness.
Downloadable PDF Transcript
Subscribe To Podcast | More Episodes