Greatness, Marriage, Parenthood, & Climbing New Mountains | @ChrisBumstead | EP 423

Greatness, Marriage, Parenthood, & Climbing New Mountains | @ChrisBumstead  | EP 423

Tour update 2024 (00:00:00)

  • Jordan Peterson announces his 2024 tour, starting in February and running through June.
  • The tour will visit 51 cities in the US.
  • Peterson will discuss ideas from his forthcoming book, "We Who Wrestle with God," out in November 2024.

Coming up (00:00:40)

  • Chris Bumstead shares a personal moment of vulnerability and the supportive response from his wife.
  • Despite societal expectations of male stoicism, his wife's understanding and encouragement helped him through a difficult time.

Intro (00:01:10)

  • Chris Bumstead, a five-time consecutive Mr. Olympia Champion, discusses various topics with Jordan Peterson.
  • The conversation covers the pursuit of high goals, balancing personal and professional life, marriage, parenthood, and overcoming obstacles.

Debuting as a professional bodybuilder, the structure and hierarchy of the sport (00:02:59)

  • Chris Bumstead made his professional bodybuilding debut at 22 years old in 2017.
  • In bodybuilding, there's a clear distinction between amateur and professional levels.
  • As an amateur, bodybuilders compete at city, state, and national levels before earning a pro card.
  • Upon becoming a pro, bodybuilders start from scratch and compete against more experienced individuals.
  • Throughout the year, various pro shows around the world serve as qualifiers for the Olympia, the pinnacle event in bodybuilding.
  • Chris Bumstead has won five consecutive Olympia championships.

How the Classic Physique division differs from others, the Arnold years (00:04:52)

  • Chris Bumstead is the current five-time consecutive winner of the Classic Physique division in bodybuilding.
  • The Classic Physique division is meant to bring back the aesthetic of the Arnold Schwarzenegger era, with a weight cap and a focus on aesthetics rather than size.
  • Chris Bumstead's weight fluctuates between 265 lbs in the off-season and 240 lbs on stage.

The dietary regimen of the five-time consecutive Mr. Olympia (00:07:06)

  • Chris Bumstead's diet consists of bulking and cutting phases.
  • During the off-season, he eats around 5,000 calories per day, while during prep, he reduces his intake to 1,500 calories per day.
  • He also increases his cardio during prep to further reduce body fat.
  • Chris Bumstead focuses on protein intake, consuming around 300 grams per day, while reducing carbs and fats as his calories decrease.
  • Bodybuilding is unique compared to other sports as it focuses on aesthetics and appearance rather than solely performance.
  • Balancing aesthetics and performance is crucial, as excessive body fat can hinder performance.
  • Chris Bumstead's bodybuilding career began with local competitions as an amateur.
  • The popularity of bodybuilding has grown significantly.
  • Judging criteria in bodybuilding competitions emphasize muscle size, symmetry, and conditioning.

Starting at 14 and seeing early success (00:09:55)

  • Chris Bumstead started weightlifting at 14 because he was athletic but not skilled in sports.
  • He excelled in the gym and enjoyed the attention and positive feelings that came with building muscle.
  • At 18, his brother-in-law, a bodybuilder, recognized his potential and coached him in bodybuilding.
  • Chris Bumstead started weightlifting at 21 or 22 and gained 35 lbs of muscle in 2 years.
  • He experienced improved posture, coordination, and physical confidence as a result of weightlifting.
  • At 14, Chris was lean and skinny, around 6 feet tall and weighing 170-180 lbs.
  • Weightlifting helped him control his anxiety and introversion, building his confidence.

Building discipline by following passion, finding solace in the gym (00:14:04)

  • Chris Bumstead began working out at 14 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds.
  • He developed discipline by starting small and gradually increasing his efforts over time.
  • Chris overcame initial embarrassment by focusing on his goals and not comparing himself to others.
  • His father encouraged his interest in weightlifting by providing a sand weight set in their basement.
  • Chris joined a gym through a summer program and received support from his parents for his passion for sports and fitness.
  • He discusses topics such as greatness, marriage, parenthood, and setting new goals.
  • Chris emphasizes the importance of a strong support system and surrounding oneself with positive people.
  • He demonstrates his dedication by running in the snow to the gym.

Getting over feeling self-conscious in the gym: “It’s not as judgmental as people think.” (00:18:04)

  • The fitness community is generally encouraging and inclusive.
  • People in the gym are focused on their own workouts and not judging others.
  • It's important to remember that everyone starts as a beginner.
  • Overcoming self-consciousness involves recognizing that others are also working on themselves and likely have been in similar positions.

The precursor to the redeemer is the fool, how to become an honest master at something (00:19:57)

  • To master something, one must first admit their lack of mastery and allow themselves to be the fool.
  • Highly successful people often jump into new things without pretending to know more than they do.
  • Asking stupid questions and humbling oneself are necessary for progress.
  • Incremental progress is more important than starting at the top.
  • Feeling like a fool when trying something new is normal and should not discourage growth.

Chris Bumstead struggled with public speaking—how he got past the fear (00:21:53)

  • Chris Bumstead used to be terrified of public speaking.
  • He realized he needed to put himself in more situations where he had to speak in public to improve.
  • He started planning more events where he had to talk and signed up for more opportunities to speak in front of people.
  • He still embarrasses himself sometimes, but he has also had many successful speaking engagements.
  • Improving his public speaking skills has increased his confidence in all aspects of his life.
  • Chris Bumstead believes that greatness comes from constantly striving to improve and challenging yourself.
  • He is motivated by the desire to be the best version of himself and to leave a positive impact on the world.
  • Chris is also focused on building a strong marriage and family.
  • He believes that having a supportive partner and raising a family are important aspects of a fulfilling life.
  • Chris is excited about the future and the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The radical biological change that happens when you make the conscious choice to improve (00:24:40)

  • Voluntarily confronting your fears is the universal pathway to overcoming anxiety.
  • Facing your fears changes you at every level, including the cellular level.
  • Exposure therapy helps you become braver, not less afraid.
  • Courage is not just an attitude; it changes you at every level of your being.
  • Behavioral changes can change you so profoundly genetically that those changes can be transmitted to your children.

Growing up with a speech impediment, how Chris found his voice and self identity (00:28:22)

  • Chris had a lisp since he was young which worsened when he was nervous.
  • Being teased for his lisp made him quiet, introverted, and reluctant to talk around people.
  • When speaking in front of a large group, he would experience physical symptoms such as a dry mouth and protruding tongue, fearing judgment and ridicule.
  • Chris worked with a therapist to differentiate between his public persona and his true self, allowing himself to be vulnerable and authentic.
  • He reframed his perception of nervousness as an opportunity for growth and embraced the feelings associated with public speaking.
  • Instead of seeking validation and likeability, Chris focused on being himself, leading to increased self-confidence and fulfillment.
  • Despite persistent nervousness, Chris's track record and self-belief have made him braver in facing challenging situations.

If people like the false front you present, that’s all they like about you (00:31:42)

  • When people like the false front you present, it doesn't mean they like the real you.
  • Crafting a false image to avoid failure is not a true victory.
  • Public speaking success comes from being grateful for the opportunity and excited about it.
  • Recognizing that the audience wants you to succeed can help overcome fear and suspicion.
  • Focusing on how people react to what you say can lead to crafting words to please them, which is a false game.

Say what you believe regardless of the consequences (00:34:09)

  • Determine to say what you believe to be true, even if it might get you into trouble.
  • Put your faith in the truth and try to make your thoughts clearer.
  • Trying to make your thoughts clearer for yourself simultaneously does the same for the audience.
  • Focusing on making others comfortable and welcome can help overcome self-consciousness.

Why you feel butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, heightened non-specific arousal (00:36:07)

  • Chris Bumstead reframes his pre-competition nerves and anxiety as excitement, focusing on his hard work and interpreting these emotions positively.
  • Bumstead emphasizes the importance of not avoiding anxiety-provoking situations and highlights that the high level of arousal before an event will decrease once it begins.
  • He differentiates between being judged on stage for his physique and performance versus being judged as a speaker, acknowledging his childhood experiences contribute to his nervousness.
  • Bumstead stresses the significance of having a positive mindset, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and setting realistic expectations for personal growth and success.
  • He encourages viewers to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for learning and improvement, emphasizing the value of taking risks and stepping outside of one's comfort zone.

The difference between nervousness over judgment and expectation (00:41:06)

  • Chris Bumstead differentiates between nervousness on stage when being judged on his physique and nervousness when speaking in public.
  • He feels more confident on stage due to his extensive experience in bodybuilding compared to public speaking.
  • In the past, he felt youthful nervousness as an underdog with no expectations, but now he experiences pressure and expectation to maintain his status as the best in the world.
  • The fear of failure is more prominent when speaking in public compared to bodybuilding.
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  • For $8, one can make a difference between the life or death of a baby.
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  • To donate, dial pound 250 and say the keyword "baby" or visit

Conquering fear is not the absence of fear, there’s nothing brave about security (00:44:21)

  • Conquering fear does not mean the absence of fear.
  • It means getting better at dealing with fear.
  • People often falsify themselves to appear secure, but security does not make one brave.
  • Being brave is about confronting things that one is afraid of.
  • Even successful people continue to face challenges as they progress.
  • One should be happy about confronting genuine threats and challenges.
  • Chris Bumstead has won five Mr. Olympia titles.
  • He continues to push himself forward because he enjoys the process of overcoming challenges.
  • He finds joy in the journey and the pursuit of excellence.
  • He is motivated by the desire to be the best version of himself.
  • He wants to inspire others to reach their full potential.

Why continue after attaining wild success? When to find the next challenge (00:47:40)

  • Chris Bumstead reflects on his bodybuilding journey and the personal growth and self-discovery he has experienced through the sport.
  • He emphasizes the importance of embracing both positive and negative emotions to fully experience joy and success.
  • Bumstead discusses the challenges and lessons of fatherhood and wonders if he needs to find an even greater challenge to continue growing or if a lateral movement might provide value.
  • He suggests finding a balance between upward and lateral movements can be a way to continue personal growth and fulfillment.
  • Bumstead highlights two significant areas in his life where he sees opportunities for growth: fatherhood and marriage, emphasizing the potential for endless improvement in these areas.

The Future Authoring program: Can you imagine yourself five years in the future? (00:55:05)

  • The Future Authoring program at helps individuals envision their future selves and set goals accordingly.
  • The program encourages individuals to imagine themselves as someone they care for and consider what they would want for that person's life.
  • It involves identifying personal flaws and working on self-improvement, as well as pursuing interests and passions.
  • The process involves honest self-dialogue and breaking down life goals into manageable microvisions.

One of Jordan Peterson's greatest personal motivators (00:59:02)

  • Jordan Peterson's personal motivator has been the question, "How much can I do in the shortest possible time?"
  • This mindset extends to all aspects of his life, including his work as a professor and his bodybuilding pursuits.
  • Peterson emphasizes the importance of efficiency in achieving multiple goals and the challenge mindset that arises from seeking opportunities for self-improvement.
  • True mastery is characterized by a playful approach.
  • When you've mastered a discipline, you can approach it more playfully.
  • Playfulness is a sign of mastery.
  • Children love to play and can teach adults about the importance of play.
  • Men can offer a playful spirit to children, which is beneficial for both the child and the parent.
  • Play can lead to a productive and enjoyable relationship with children.

Where Chris is headed: “Bodybuilding was never forever.” (01:00:50)

  • Chris Bumstead plans to retire from bodybuilding at a young age, around 30, to focus on his family and other aspects of his life.
  • Inspired by his father, he wants to be the best husband and father he can be.
  • Chris has discovered the positive impact of sharing his vulnerabilities and emotions, particularly with young boys who relate to his struggles and find courage from his journey.
  • He received a touching letter from a young boy with Tourette's who found strength and courage from Chris's openness about his lisp and personal challenges.
  • Bumstead feels fulfilled and motivated by the positive impact his work has on the community, knowing he's making a difference beyond bodybuilding.
  • He has shifted his focus from solely pursuing personal growth to prioritizing his relationship and preparing for fatherhood.
  • Bumstead finds joy in helping others in the bodybuilding community and wants to dedicate more energy to mentoring and supporting his family.
  • He emphasizes the importance of sharing his bodybuilding journey, including the ups and downs, to inspire and connect with others.

Jocko Willink, self-development and the meaning found in helping others develop (01:07:36)

  • Jocko Willink, a highly disciplined individual, mentioned that he could have easily become a criminal if he had made different choices in his youth.
  • Willink found that being a leader in the military gave him the opportunity to model appropriate behavior for others and help them develop, which he found more meaningful than excitement or adventure.
  • Observing positive effects on others and fostering their development can bring deep and sustainable pleasure.
  • To achieve extreme success, such as being in the top 1%, requires hyperfocus and dedication, often involving 16-hour workdays, 7 days a week.
  • While intense dedication can bring cascading benefits, it can also make it harder to fully commit to other important aspects of life, creating challenges in achieving balance.
  • As one steps back from an obsessive focus on a particular pursuit, opportunities arise for more balanced growth and the development of a comprehensively developed personality.
  • Personal development is a continuous journey with no limits, allowing for constant improvement in various areas such as public speaking and fatherhood.

The vastly undersold advantage of emotional honesty (01:12:16)

  • Chris Bumstead believes that emotional honesty is an advantage that is often overlooked.
  • By admitting his weaknesses and insecurities, he makes himself more relatable to others, especially younger people.
  • Emotional honesty can help people to identify with someone who is successful and realize that they can achieve success despite their own challenges.
  • Bumstead found that speaking the truth, even when he was nervous, helped him to connect with his audience and reduce his anxiety.
  • He realized that many successful athletes do not have long-lasting or happy relationships, and he did not want to sacrifice his own relationships for success.
  • Bumstead's rule of champion mentality is about how he achieves success, not about any specific rules.
  • He believes that younger people who focus on connection and meaningful relationships while pursuing success will be happier in the long term.
  • Bumstead acknowledges that relationships can interfere with bodybuilding due to time constraints.
  • However, he argues that having a strong relationship can actually benefit his bodybuilding career.
  • By avoiding distractions and having a supportive partner, he can focus more effectively on his goals.
  • Bumstead and his wife have worked together to find a way for her to fit into his bodybuilding journey without sacrificing her own goals.

Married life and negotiating commitment toward truth in a relationship (01:16:55)

  • Chris Bumstead and his wife have been together for over five years and married for less than a year.
  • To maintain a healthy relationship, they prioritize open and honest communication, addressing and resolving issues rather than letting them accumulate.
  • Chris's wife holds him accountable for his actions, helping him become the best version of himself.
  • They built trust by showing each other their deepest selves and supporting each other through difficult times.
  • They believe that honestly confronting problems together leads to personal growth and a stronger relationship.
  • Sharing success with a loved one is one of the most meaningful experiences in life.
  • Marriage provides the opportunity to work through problems jointly and enjoy each other's company.
  • A long-term relationship deepens experiences by providing someone to share triumphs and adventures with.

The true reward in triumph isn’t the prize, but those who saw it through alongside you (01:26:27)

  • The true reward in triumph is not the prize, but the people who supported you through the journey.
  • Chris Bumstead's wife saw all the fears and struggles he went through to become Mr. Olympia and was there for him every step of the way.
  • Being able to share the victory with someone who has seen and felt everything you've been through is the most beautiful and meaningful part of the celebration.
  • Chris Bumstead's wife is expecting a baby girl in April.
  • His wife is currently in the last few months of pregnancy.

Chris asks Jordan for advice for new parents (01:28:29)

  • Chris Bumstead initially resisted having a baby due to career demands and lack of experience.
  • During the first six months, the mother plays a crucial role in caring for the baby, while the father should support and take care of the mother.
  • Engaging in this dynamic helps the baby develop a strong attachment to the mother, positively impacting the family.
  • Play is essential for child development, starting with subtle interactions at four months and increasing as the baby grows.
  • Balancing bodybuilding, marriage, and parenthood requires prioritization and communication to avoid resentment and maintain a strong relationship.
  • Involving older children in caring for the new baby can prevent sibling rivalry and jealousy.
  • Establishing a disciplinary structure with your spouse ensures children's behavior doesn't become disruptive.
  • Spending time with young children is a unique and rewarding experience that fosters a strong bond.

Managing jealousy and resentment within a family (01:36:59)

  • Jealousy and resentment can develop within a family when a new baby arrives.
  • The wife may be preoccupied with the baby, leaving the husband feeling left out.
  • Resentment can build towards the wife for not being available and towards the baby for taking the wife's attention.
  • It's important to manage these feelings and prioritize the relationship with the wife.
  • Make a conscious commitment to placing each other first during the months and weeks ahead.
  • Start regular dates with your wife after the initial six-month period when she has the capacity to attend to you.
  • Plan for these dates and start slowly, such as having someone take care of the baby while you have dinner together or watch a movie.
  • Having a plan for prioritizing the relationship will save a lot of misery and grief.

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