Jayel Lewis sits down with Damien Rider and asks AMRAP (As Many Responses As Possible) in 60-seconds or less.
You speak about being an endurance athlete at the age of six and how that was your escape, how do you think your mindset played out into who you are now?
That was the start of building up my resilience to be able to keep going and learning how my body needs to adapt, fuel, rest to sustain skateboarding from sun up to sun down or train baseball long after everyone else had gone home.
You’ve owned your own gyms – what was your favorite and least favorite thing about being a gym owner?
I loved being able to fine-tune my own knowledge and skills by training others in a results-based session and programs. Being able to explore how we are all different in the way we need to train and eat for the results we are looking for. No one-stop-shop.
Getting up early to open up and train people who decide not to tell you they aren’t showing up haha. I think that’s all trainers’ pet peeves, of no show clients.
Sports and fitness played a massive role in your survival from child abuse, and you said it has built you up to become the strongest version of yourself; What would you tell someone who needs to take one single step in order to recover from something tragic, or in order to become a better version of themselves?
Fitness is a great way to take those first steps because you can see measurable results of moving forward towards your goal of being fitter, faster, stronger. It also holds you accountable to have something to aim towards and look forward to achieving. This makes other parts of your life begin to look forward and move away from what’s behind, holding you back.
When did you begin to share your story and what was the catalyst for you being transparent about your past?
After attempting to have the person charged against the crimes against my brother, sister and it going nowhere, I knew it was up to me to either stay negative about it or use the strong energy inside me as to my strength so I could do anything. I began to train harder than ever before and was healing through my ocean sports. I wanted to share it with others of what I was discovering along the journey, of understanding what trauma is and how we can all overcome it.
How do you enable people to see that it’s not just about the physical change but more so about the foundational change that actually makes the difference in someone’s life?
In breaking myself back to my raw foundations, I’ve enabled people to see all the ways I have rebuilt myself including through my vulnerable times, to be strong inside and out. Through my films and challenges, I’ve been able to show how I use my mind and body and how they work together to keep me moving forward.
You were a cross-fitter before that was even a thing, how did you craft your fitness equipment?
When I started training over 27 years ago there weren’t many gyms around like now and if there was they were very expensive so I would flip tires, use sledgehammers on tires, fill buckets of sand, drag logs along the beach, and flip and throw tree stumps – haha. I used to get some looks while training on the beach and in my front yard.
Let’s talk about mental health and the importance of bringing awareness to this on a more consistent basis.
I think there is a lot of awareness out now, we need to focus on the sharing of how to overcome them and not let them be a burden to our lives, to understand what they are and how they are triggered.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
Mindfulness is a natural part of everyone’s life but it’s about understanding the process of how we deal with each situation, our actions, and reactions.
Did you have an a-ha moment where you felt a shift once you began meditating?
It was more of an a-ha moment that what I was doing intuitively was meditating.
What grounds you?
Continually testing and pushing myself, understanding my purpose that’s much bigger than I am. I am grateful for what I am able to achieve and be able to share with others from all walks of life.
Give us a glimpse into your daily wellness routine.
Up early, morning juice, walk with breathwork, breakfast then train. I’ll do a bit of work or give a talk, lunch then afternoon training session, yoga, big dinner with all clean eating getting in all my macros throughout the day.
How do you continue to challenge your own comfort zone?
Pushing my comfort zone is a natural part of my life in every way, from food eating challenges to running further when my legs are saying stop, experiencing new places and discovering new ways to train and sports.
What inspired you to write your new book “One Breath Meditation?”
I always get asked how am I able to keep going when others stop or give up. I never really had an answer as it was just how I was and all done intuitively. Through one of my challenges of skateboarding from Chicago to Santa Monica along Route 66, I gave myself that 56 days to work it out and also put it to the test each day through the tests that were thrown at me along the way.
Where can the people find you next/keep up with you?
Facebook: Damien Rider
Where can we purchase your book?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Test and challenge yourself daily, in big or small ways and have fun with it.