How Can a Vegan Compete in the NFL with David Carter

How does someone become a 300-pound vegan playing professional football in the NFL? This seems impossible. David Carter joins us today to explain what drove him to change his diet, and how the vegan lifestyle is doable even for athletes.  

Highlights:

{00:17} David Carter’s background 

{07:54} The impact of micro-needling 

{11:50} What makes David Carter a Titan?

{14:09} The negative fuel to propelled David 

{18:49} When sport is a huge part of your identity, then it is gone.

{25:25} When you’re stuck on the hamster wheel 

{31:47} What is preventing you from knowing your true purpose? 

{37:26} When traditional education leaves you feeling alone, and suicidal.

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David Carter Bio

David Carter a.k.a. the 300 Pound Vegan. Born in Los Angeles, CA, David began his success on the football field by playing college football at his alma mater UCLA, and ultimately the National Football League. David played for major teams including the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and Dallas Cowboys. During his professional football career, David discovered the other side of pro sports; injuries, prescription medication, and excessive eating to maintain 300 pounds on his 6’ 6” frame. One fateful evening, watching the documentary Forks Over Knives changed his personal and professional life. David abandoned meat and dairy and embraced a vegan lifestyle.

David has used his NFL connections to spread the word about his mission to build awareness and educate the masses living in “food deserts” globally. “Food deserts” are defined as areas deprived of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. David spoke of “Oppression in the food system” at many universities around the world including Harvard, Penn State, NYU, UCLA, and more. David is also a film producer and participant in leading NETFLIX documentaries Game Changers (including James Cameron, Bill Clinton, etc.) and What The Health

Connect with David:

https://www.topathletelife.com

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Full Transcript

All right, everybody, so welcome to the show. I’m Carol Carpenter, and this is my co-host, Travis Johnson, and we have a guest today on our podcast, as you can see it is David Carter. Hi, David.

Hey, everybody. Hey, Carol. Hey, Travis.

And I’m going to give a little background on you. David began his success playing football at his alma mater, UCLA, and ultimately the National Football League. He played for the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, and Dallas Cowboys, and he soon discovered the dark side of pro sports with injuries, prescription meds, and excessive eating to maintain his 300-plus pounds on his 6-foot 6-inch frame. After watching forks over knives, he changed his personal and professional life, abandoning meat and dairy for a vegan lifestyle.

Using his NFL connections, he now spreads the word about his mission to build awareness and educate the masses about eating healthy, speaking about the oppression in the food system at universities including Harvard, Penn State, NYU, UCLA, and many more. David is a film producer and participated in the leading Netflix documentary Game Changers with James Cameron and Bill Clinton, and what the hell?

He has also launched “Top Athlete Life” with his long-time friend Reggie Walker to help others achieve the best versions of themselves, both professionally and in their lives. Does that pretty much sum it up for you, David?

Yeah, yeah. And then also, changed when I went plant-based while I was in the league, but I lost weight. I got down to 260 and then I put the weight back on as plant-based and played as a 320-pound plant-based tackle. How did you?

I mean, usually, when you do something like that, it’s got its meat base.

Well, it’s well, you look at the largest animals in the world, like elephants, and you know, even the cows that you eat, even the biggest dinosaurs, they’re all plant-based. So, it’s been the gorillas’ strongest animals. They don’t eat meat, so it’s just doing the same thing that they did and, you know, getting a lot of resales to a bunch of dietitians. And I talked to nutritionists, doctors, bodybuilders, and just sort of gathered as much information as I could and planned for myself and moved forward with that So yeah, that’s how I did that. But it was interesting because there was a lot. Of the players, like They didn’t know that I didn’t eat meat, right? They just found out when they saw me eating something.

And they’re like, “Well, where’s their food at Where’s the meat at? Like, where’s your protein? And I’m just like, oh, it’s here, it’s you just, you know, it’s just different than what you’re used to. And they started asking me for help because they were having, you know, the coaches were like, “You should tone up. I told them to lose some weight, or if they had high blood pressure, or if they were having problems because their weight was over, you know, it was bad, and they would come to me for help.

It was interesting that they would come to be in before the nutritionist, and the team would

So yeah, it was funny.

I tell you, this weekend we were talking about you, and we were talking about, like, the movie Game Changers. And of course, being in a room of mostly men, the only thing that came up was that experiment that you guys did about erections.

Yeah, yeah.

Game Changers and I can’t believe that we’re having You know, I’m sitting here going This is out. This is the whole film, but this is what we’re discussing.

But you know, if you’re talking to a bunch of dudes, like, and you’re telling them they’re like, “top man,” he didn’t meet us for, I mean, he didn’t eat with us, or, you know, they’re soft, or this, that, and whatever.

And I’m like, “OK bro, like you’re eating meat for me?” But you’re the soft one, bro. “

Yes, literally.

Yeah, how much do you have to eat plant-based? To put that much weight on them, I just picture you with a bale of hay, and I know that’s not true, right?

This is my first thought. How much do you have to take in every day? How many meals do you sit down and do to have that kind of weight maintained?

Uhm, well, I mean, it’s not that much, bro It’s just the same as I was Well, let’s keep it real. I was doing some crazy stuff. I called it “operation weight gain” right where I was doing it. I would eat, uh, a gram of protein per pound. So, it was £300. So, I was eating 300 grams of protein a day or trying to, and then I was eating 8,000 calories.

I did, but that’s because I was trying to get from 260 to 300, and then I got there, and then I just ate regularly and maintained whenever I was hungry and just tried to get my three or four meals in a day. So yeah, but, and even now, like, I’m like 240 or 230 right now. And I eat twice a day, once a day. You know, and like small snacks in between.

But I don’t think you don’t have to do it too much. You still gain weight from plants, from vegetables, beans, rice, everything vegetable. You even season all your meat with vegetables.

Yeah, that’s just hard to fathom, like when you think about vegetarians, right? Yeah, it’s hard to fathom getting that much protein from just vegetables, and I think that might be a misconception.

Yeah, most definitely. Uh, you know, you even look now like Mike Tyson is pretty much plant-based, right? He’s even opening up plant-based, you know? Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing all kinds of stuff. He had two heart attacks and had his chest cracked open twice. He’s plant-based, and he’s still swollen, right? So, he’s not entirely plant-based, but he’s at least 90% or 80%, which is significant, and if you look at the food pyramid, it’s all wrong because of marketing.

and lobbying to buy the meat and dairy industries. Their industries have a marketing segment as well, marketing, you know, a portion of their business as well, and you know, like, for example, milk does a body good, right?

The milk industry got sued because milk doesn’t do a body good. It’s been deemed as one of the most toxic. Things you can put into your body, according to the FDA. So now, like you, you realize you haven’t ever heard it. That’s no longer the case. You don’t hear the milk industry or the dairy industry saying that milk is good for your bones. Build strong bones. That was their main thing when I was there One-up, you know, they had a commercial to do. He was like, “Oh, look at this strong man. He’s lifting this wheelbarrow and then his arms get ripped off like he should have drunk milk. Don’t see None of them are visible.

It’s true. It’s true. Yeah, well, it was really interesting too, because even in Game Changers, there was like the segment where they were taking blood from the guys and then sending it. It was put through a centrifuge to separate the plasma, and then the plasma was either cloudy or clear.

So, something that I do is make people think I’m a vampire, but please don’t call me a vampire after this, but they would take blood from me and do the same thing, and they would use the plasma. And in micro-needling, you know, it’s just a bunch of like traumas that you put on your face and then they would spread the plasma onto your face, but when they were doing the separation. They would always say to me, “Yours is super clear and gold,” and I never understood the significance of it until I watched the game changers. And it was like, “Oh, OK, so. People that eat me, there’s this cloudier, it’s not as clear. And maybe that’s because, you know, micro-needling has such a much greater impact. The result is that I have an unhealthy body.

Yeah, it’s a quality. You have quality plasma and you’re not a buyer of our quality plasma. That’s what athletes do. It’s called PRP. Or they take your plasma and inject it into your joints. We’re part of your body or whatever to help with the healing process.

That is interesting. I didn’t know they did that. So, what we use on a cosmetic level, you guys use as athletes. That’s phenomenal. I didn’t know that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it just goes to show that it goes to show you Even like you just said, it changes the way your body can heal itself. Is this the way you’re able to go throughout your day like you look younger? It just helps. You know it. It simply alters everything. Because you are what you eat, right?

You can drink, uh, alcohol You get drunk. If you drink and eat dead things, you’re going to make your body age faster. You’re going to have a lot of extra stuff in your body that you don’t need, right?

And people like, oh, why am I, you know, trying to eat healthily or I’m cutting the fat off of the meat and everything and, you know, but there’s still fat marbled in the meat and you’re, you’re eating animal fat, right? And you’re complaining as to why you can’t lose the fat that you have on your body when you’re putting fat on your body. It just doesn’t make sense.

Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s a different perspective for most individuals because we were raised on this is the way to eat and this is the way to eat healthily. And the whole time, I don’t think we were well educated in that no, we weren’t.

We weren’t.

And it goes to even looking like the doctors, right? And they’re supposed to be our health professionals, but when you go to medical school, you only take an hour or two, one to four hours of nutrition studies, because doctors’ jobs are not to help you with nutrition. Their job is to push, you know, medical whatever new technology is out or whatever pharmaceutical is out to you and the hospitals because hospitals only make money when people are sick. If people eat healthily and live healthy lives, they will have fewer health complications, which means they will live longer.

That’s money, right? That’s why if you look at the health industry today or if you look at the medical industry and or cancer, for example, cancer treatment, there are only legal forms of cancer treatment in America: chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

And if you try to treat it with food, there is a doctor, Garrison, who did it in the 50s. He had 500 patients that he cured. But they were terminally ill cancer patients, cured 498 of them, right? And the other two died. But 498 cancer patients were treated with food, and there’s a documentary on that. You could watch it. And now after that, because he was marketing it, and everything was in the newspapers.

When they were arrested, he was banned from that. They sent him out. They banned and made it illegal to treat cancer with anything other than chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

which has a 97%, with like a crazy failure rate. Chemotherapy and radiation kill more people than cancer.

Well, what’s crazy is he just showed you. He was 98% effective. And yet, what are we doing? Right, that’s insane. I know. I’m looking at Travis, and I know he’s dying to ask you the question that we asked. All of our guests, so we’re going to throw it to him.

What’s up, bro? I know you’re going to say something crazy. Where are you going?

It’s not crazy. If you’ve listened to our show, which is not yet published, there’s no way you can know what I’m going to ask you. But you know, Carol listed out the conglomerate of all the things that you’ve done and accomplished. That makes you a Titan, which is why we brought you on the show. Well, I want to ask you. What is it about you, not the things that you’ve done, but about you, that makes you that Titan?

Man, bro, I just like to help people I don’t know. That’s a really good question. Nobody ever asked me that question before.

Helping people didn’t get you into the NFL, right? You had to be able to perform.

Right. Right, I could.

Get up every day in practice and all that stuff. What is it about you that makes you a Titan?

Man, I’m just determined. I’m determined, right? And it’s just like And I find something, and I know it’s right and it’s what I want to do, and I’ll just get up and I’ll just, you know, block everything else out and just go full speed ahead and just try to do my best to get it done. And that’s just me broken. People tell me people would like to tell you. Everything it doesn’t. No matter who you are, what you do, or who you are, they will always tell you, “You can’t do this. You can’t do that”.

People have always told me I can’t. You can’t, you’re not going to make it to the NFL. And I made it to the NFL, right? My coach told me I wasn’t going to make it to the NFL, and I made it to the NFL. “You’re going to be a camp body,” they said when I first arrived with the Cardinal, and I ended up starting at camp during my rookie year. The body is you’re here for the starting guys to practice against so we can get a feel for the team, and I ended up starting over a second-round draft pick as an undersized nose in my rookie year. You know, they told me I wasn’t going to Oh, you don’t do the film production thing. You don’t know what you’re doing. I went to school and started producing.

When it started doing stuff like that, it’s like, I guess just people telling you can’t do it or it’s like, man, you don’t even know me. I’m so determined. I’m very creative. I’m very resourceful. Watch me do me.

There are a lot of talks out there that are positive and reaffirmed, and I’m a fan of what you described. I’m a fan of using my haters’ tears as the fuel in my ******* jetpack. back because I struggle with positive feedback. You know, Travis, you’re doing a great job. Do you want to see me fall on my face? Go ahead and give me a compliment about the stuff that I’m doing, but if you see Travis, you’re too short, you’re fat, you’re old, you’re too young, or too whatever.

There’s no way you can do this. Watch me and it sounds like you use that same kind of negative fuel to propel you through. All the things that you did.

Yeah, especially. And I know I’m right. You know, I don’t. I don’t mind being wrong. I don’t mind being wrong, but I know I’m right. Watch me. I’m going to show you. And you know, I’m not trying to prove anything to anybody, but I’m going to prove to myself, you know, like, you know, like I’ve got this.

No, I love that about you. And I got to meet you and Reggie Walker in Saint Louis, which is just a fabulous weekend there for those listening to the show if you haven’t already heard our interview with Reggie Walker, David Carter, and partner. They do all sorts of business together. They took on the Cardinals together. Go ahead and check out that interview, but like, it was fantastic meeting you in Saint Louis. So down to Earth. You are just a cool dude, and I enjoyed spending that time with you that weekend.

Yeah man, you’re cool, bro. One of the funniest guys I’ve met in a while, bro, so it’s been a pleasure. The Broken Man loves it when you read it, bro. Like Greg was like, you’re saying you’re going to love being on this show. I was on there, cussing and everything.

I just told Reggie. Be yourself. Be yourself. It’s all good.

But that’s the thing, right? We pull these restrictions out about who we are, right? I don’t want to talk about what you’ve done, right, because what you’ve done stands for itself, but the real point of the show is to talk about who you are as a person, without any of the titles, without even that stuff stripped down.

You mentioned that your determination is what drives you as a person. All the things that you’ve done were an outcome of that determination that you’ve had, but I know it couldn’t have always been easy. What were some of the struggles? What were some of the things that you had to go through to get to where you are? There are tons of stuff getting into the NFL. It’s like, what, less than 1% of people that play high school football ever make it to the NFL?

Well, yeah. 014 Is this a small percentage? So, I grew up in South Central, which isn’t always the best neighborhood. I had a gun pulled on me when I was in there.

In the 4th grade, I was at my school bus stop waiting for my mom to come to pick me up, and so they had bullet holes in my house in the street sign. Nobody in my house is getting affiliated. My mom. Working for the Police Department So getting out of that and then going through school and all that, I guess I didn’t have a lot of real mentors. I was just kind of figuring it out on my own. I had both my parents there, but I just still didn’t have any direction and didn’t understand what my purpose was or what, you know, drove me. And that was like the biggest I feel like that was the biggest thing. And being in football didn’t help. It was like a fake purpose, right? It was like, “Oh, I’m playing football. I’m good at it, you know.

And to be honest with you, I didn’t really like football. I like football. I love it. I like to play games. But I just wasn’t like, like, I wasn’t one of those guys who knew Reggie.

Reggie knows all the players, right? I don’t care if he knows this, that, and the other and has combined their stats and everything else. I don’t watch football now like I used to watch football. I watch the film for the sake of getting better at my craft, you know, getting better at my opponent and breaking him down. You know, it wasn’t something that I felt was my purpose in life and it was like, “Football is Life.” You know, I live and breathe football, but it was just a bit.

It consumed so much of my time that I didn’t get to do the stuff that I wanted to do, and then after football, I was like trying to find myself after football. I think the hardest thing for me was finding myself after football and finding myself after football. I felt like that was probably the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life, even harder than getting to the NFL.

You lost that major identity piece, right?

Yeah, bro, it is the Super identity change, yeah.

Yeah, I know, I know. We’ve spoken about that a little bit with Carol later in life, you know, shifting out of a marriage and being single and finding herself in her 40s. If I’ve been through it, leaving the military after 22 years, and you’ve been through a major life change, leaving the NFL, then you’re no longer. That guy, you know, all that stuff is gone. I’ve got uniforms hanging up.

I can go get a flight suit on and put it on, but like, I can’t go fly an airplane for the Navy right now. Do you know what I mean? You can go grab the jersey out of the closet, but that doesn’t mean you can go get nose to nose with these people. And as soon as the ball reaches you, start staring after the quarterback. You know, you don’t get to do that anymore and it’s a huge part of your identity.

So, who would you consider It was like a big mentor that kind of catapulted you into finding yourself. Well, I did a lot of therapy the right way.

I also went through a divorce shortly after that, which gave me a lot of alone time, so you could say I became my mentor in a way. I started diving into things and, well, you know, building a team, building teams around me. Through those experiences, I started producing music events, right? That was one of the first things I did. So, I created a festival in New York called Truth Health Culture. It was food-focused and it was free to the community. We had music performers, so it was like a full-on concert. So, we had Erykah Badu perform, so a couple had a couple of those. The majority of the def was performed by Anderson Paak and Talib Qali. We had a bunch of people there.

So, I started picking up mentors through that, and I started meeting politicians and all that, and I just started trying to figure out what I was falling in love with, right? It’s just that I had to invent my version of it. And I realized that I just needed to become an entrepreneur and create my own thing. And I didn’t want to become someone, you know, work for someone else because I already worked for the NFL.

Well, there it’s politics.

Is there so much politics? So, I started surrounding myself with entrepreneurial mentors and, you know, consultants and people in different spaces and things like that because that’s what I wanted it to be and that’s the lane that I wanted to drive in. I was learning how to use the tools that I had obtained through those mentors. Being in the NFL, understanding the politics in the NFL, the business side of the NFL, and understanding how to network and utilize the network that I’ve already accumulated and things of that nature. You know, you guys all know Dan and Chase, and they were really big for me in that, you know, and then also within the movie scene and with directing, I got mentors through him and spending time with them and learning from them.

And it just helped me to understand when somebody else is like, “Man, these mentors gather these mentors. And learning from them was better than anything I learned. You know, it’s better than a college degree. Damn, I wasted my time. I should have just started building mentors, right? I’m right in high school.

It’s the best education you could ever receive.

It’s the best education, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t learn. I sort of had mentors in college and the league, but I didn’t learn. That’s the thing, too. That’s the big thing. I didn’t learn how to operate with a mentor. Right. All right, mentor, this is what I want to do This is my vision.

They’re not psychic like you can’t. You’ve got to understand how to use yourself and how they can help you, right? How can they utilize you? And that’s what I didn’t understand until after the league and, you know, well, not after the league but more towards the end of the league, and I’m not ashamed of it. There are a lot of older people who don’t know how to use mentors or have never had a mentor in their life. And so, it’s just like, you just get to know.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, whether you’re younger or older, whatever it is, it’s when you are. Get in touch with them because you can have a vision but if you don’t have an idea of where you want to go,

They can’t help you with your vision.

They can’t help you. They’re not psychic. It’s like you got them to show them how they can help you and how you can help them. And it’s like they’re not going to have you around for anything; you’ve got to be able to produce, you’ve got to do something.

Do you mean they’re not going to hang out for *** and giggle and say, hey, you’re a cool dude, I want to hang out with you?

No, that’s not good.

Everybody gets something out of somebody, and even if they learn from you, you know it.

Right. Right.

It is a learning process all the way around for everybody because everybody has something special to offer.

Yeah, so some of it is what to do and some of it is what not to do.

Exactly, and that’s probably most of it. This is what not to do because you can just screw it. It’s easy to make a mistake. It’s a lot easier to screw things up than it is to fix them. Even in communication, the right communication or team. Meetings or how? You operate with your teams and all that. There are a lot of ways to mess it up. And mentors, they give you those. Read between the lines: the tools, the things that you

You know, the unwritten rules of business and all that, that you know, the shortcuts and yeah, so mentors everyone.

There are a lot of business coaches out there. I think Jim Rohn was the first to say that you’re average. Of the five closest people to you, hang out with them, and that’s true You know, you move into a new place. And everyone’s got a hot rod, so you’re going to be finding yourself something to, you know, control the streets with you. Find out that the pipe people you’re hanging around with, everyone goes to the gym. You’re going to find yourself in the gym if you get around. These five people are going to help you build your life, build your business, build your family, whatever it is. 

Oh my goodness. Get out Get out of the way. That person is on a real rocket ship. path to the top of whatever industry. They’re doing whatever they’re doing, and you’ll have some people that hang around, some families and whatever, some naysayers. Turn down the conversations with those people and turn up the conversations with the people that are going to take you to the next level.

The people that are interested in your future, that have already done it, have already been there, can show you the way we talk about mentors. It’s not just that person that gets assigned to you, whatever organization you’re in. Who is that person? The next level is up or two levels down. And you’re like, you cultivate that relationship with them. You work on whatever the thing is. You hold up that mirror and take that self-examination. I’m doing some good things for the nation, but I’m hurting myself here, here, and here. I’m putting my foot in my mouth here, and I’m going home and eating meat. That’s the worst. Eating meat, I’m wondering why I feel terrible when you guys are talking about your healthy diets.

I just had a cheeseburger for lunch, you know. But if you don’t have those people around you that are helping hold you accountable and pushing you towards those things that you say that you want, I mean, what are you doing? You are just on the hamster wheel of what? Wondering why? Your life is so terrible. When everyone else is, it’s so.

Right.

Then what you were just saying, though, fellow travelers, is just like being rude to yourselves. They’re going to hold you accountable, but you have to also hold yourself accountable, right? You can’t let your ego get in the way and just be like, “I’m good, I’m doing it. It’s like now I’m really like you said, I’m **** here. I need to get better here. I need to do this. One of the things that they’re one of the most important things, especially if you’re trying to get a mentor.

It’s like, yeah, you’ve got to be real with yourself. You must be honest with yourself to grow. Understanding your weaknesses is a strength, right? That’s one of the best strengths you can have because then you can move in a way that you just get stronger. Immediately, because you need to know what spaces you can work in the best.

And then what you need to work on, and then your mentors come and help you learn how to work on those things and get stronger. Then you immediately gain strength. But, a lot of people, the hardest thing that they have problems with is being accountable, and they’re just in their way because they’re just afraid. I’m not sure, just act human as if you’re here.

I think they spread themselves too thin too because everybody wants to believe, “Oh, I’m a jack of all trades. Well, the truth is, stay in your lane Each of us has something that we’re good at.

And we can’t be good at everything. But recognizing that allows you to stay in your lane and, you know, surround yourself. The people that fill in what I like to call the blind spots are crucial.

Because I’m not good at everything, but I am good at certain things, and I have people that fill in my blind spots and they protect me, so if they see me going down in Ave.

Oh, have you thought? About this, this, and this Um, no, because I was thinking about the end goal. If you have those people there, they will kind of ring. in and go OK. These things need to be in place before you can move forward because if you move forward without these in place, you’re going to deal with legalities in the end. You know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s just that you can stay in your lane and understand that then. It’s good for everybody.

And that’s where staying in your lane, like even the guys who end up playing the most minutes, comes in handy.

Well, you or, you know, yeah, you got guys who can You who? Or how about who? I played multiple positions and all that. That’s great, but they’re guys who are just good at one thing. A specialist in special operations He’s fast and he can, you know, he’s a runner. He’s going to get down to the field, and he could do that consistently, every day, every game. He’ll play for 10 years in that one position. I won’t be doing anything else. He’ll be playing in the league for 10 years, and as you said, if you just do that and allow your team to work around you and you can vent on them, then that person is going to do what they’re good at, they’re going to stay in their lane, and then they’re going to allow us to work and do our best. In our lane, that’s a wonderful person to have on your team because you can count on it, and then it just makes it easier for you because you just have to worry.

Think about what’s in your lane. Is it true that you can get better at what you want to get better at as you go along? Just stay in your lane and do what you’ve got to do.

It sounds like an easy task. But all of us want to be that jack of all trades. Right, like, oh, I’m good at everything.

That’s the track, because it’s just like, like you said, just spread so thin you’re spending all these plates. Just do one thing and then, you know, our brains are not designed for multitasking. Like, focus on the one thing that you need to focus on and then create your environment or whatever. It is your journey. As I said, you have to set that up for yourself, right? You have to paint your picture, have to lay your framework, and position yourself in a way that you’re not spread out all over the place.

Oh, another thing is this too, because people are going to try to put you here and put you there. It’s like you need to figure out what you’re good at. Don’t let other people make decisions for you. It’s your life. It’s for your well-being. Right, figure out what you’re going to do and don’t allow other people to be like, “You should do this, you should do that because. I experienced that after, you know, with football.

People are always going to be throwing things So what are you going to do?

Because this is real life on your journey.

I’m five months post-retirement from the Navy, and when I look at the things that I’ve done in the Navy, the qualifications I’ve got, and the different things I’m able to do when I stack all these things up, I mean, there is a whole world of things that I’m able to do, but I have the capacity, the ability, and the qualifications to go out and do all these things.

But then the question is, what am I good at? What gets me excited and what do I want to do? Where do I want to put my effort now that I have the time and ability to do this? And you know, over the summer and the last few months, I’ve been racking my brain and working with

Some quality mentors help me; they’re helping me refine what it is that I want to do and whom I want to be Like, who is Travis 3.0? I’m not Travis the kid, not Travis the military guy, but Travis the military retiree It sounds crazy to say at 40 that I’m a retiree of something. You know, football players retire in their 20s and 30s at various ages.

I’m retired from the NFL, and you’re like, “We were tired. You’re 20. Me too. I know what happens, but this process is something that everyone experiences in whatever phase of life they happen to be in. Where do they want to put their time, talent, and treasure? Where do they want to put those things that they’ve built up?

And what do they want to do with their lives in terms of lane, thing, industry, or thing?

And it’s not an easy thing to figure out. You mentioned the ego earlier, and the ego is there. We talk about it as bravado a lot, but really, any go with what the ego is trying to do is try to keep you safe. As it’s doing that, it’s telling you that you don’t have to examine yourself because you’re good where you’re at It’s telling you that you don’t have to go try the new thing because you’re already good at whatever The thing is, it tells you that, oh, this other person doesn’t know what they’re talking about because who knows you better than you?

And it makes you feel all warm and safe inside, but it prevents you from growing and figuring out what your true purpose is. is making the colossal impact that you’re trying to make on the world.

Self-sabotage and now and then, I like to say this is like, you know, you have to figure out what your premium package product is, right? You know, you or the premium package product, right? right? right? Right? What does that look like, right? What kind of tools do you have? I’m not this like, OK, I’ve done, I’ve done production, I have these contacts in sports or, you know, OK, I have. I understand the culture, I understand teamwork and things like that. So, you’re an entrepreneur with business knowledge, right?

So how do I take all of that list that lists these things? OK, what do I do with myself, right? Where am I going? What lane am I going to go down? What can’t work if I put myself here? How will I be able to track and grow in that space? And is this what I want to do? Am I going to fall in love with this? Right, because I’m going to love what I’m doing. So, I’m not working, you know, I’m just, you know, you know this. This is exactly what it is. What do you like, you know?

You’re living life.

You’re right. And so, you have to understand what your premium package product is. So, when you pitch yourself as an expert in this space, or even when you’re talking to yourself and saying, “This is what I do because I know this is what I do and I’m confident in it because,” these are the tools that I have. This is the knowledge base that I’ve ever required along my journey, and this is how I’m presenting it to you. I present this premium package product to you as you know it.

I mean, like, look at you, Travis, your service, and everything in your knowledge of, you know, you’re a great public speaker, you’re great, you’re a comedian. You should be if not all of these things. And it’s like how you packaged yourself into what you’re doing now.

The same thing with you, you know? Carol, I mean, **** motorcycles and all this stuff, it’s just crazy. And you practiced yourself so much that you created a whole bar. And it’s easy for me to sell you, you know, and you to Travis, because it’s like, I understand what your payment, your premium package product is, and it’s premium. And I just, I’d be like, you should check this person out You should check this person out because you guys understand what your premium package product is. You know, it’s easy for you to sell yourself, and it’s easier for other people to sell you as well.

I agree. I 100% agree. So now we’re talking about premium packages. What’s your premium package? These days because you’ve done a lot.

Oh yeah, where me and Reggie, we’re talking, yeah, we’ve got top athlete life and mass more in the corporate wellness space for us, but we’re also, we’re athletes, right? Right, both of us. And we got the game within the game. Which is, uh, it’s a college-accredited course through Forbes Business School and Knowledge Innovation Center, and we’ve got it in some universities already across the country. And it’s available for high school students, right? So, our demographic ranges from 10th grade to college, and at any level within your college. But it’s for student-athletes to help them understand what their premium package product is, right? And giving them the tools to understand, such as their strengths and weaknesses, and accompanying them on this journey to understand their strengths and weaknesses, right? right? Right? How to understand how to interact with their teammates, how to learn and grow with their teammates, right?

Building team chemistry is that. That’s why you need a formula for building your team chemistry.

And you know, even at the pro level, a lot of guys don’t know how coaches don’t know how to do that. And you understand why, right? Why do you do this? Why do you get up in the morning? And Buster practices every day, and there’s the gym, right? What is the driving force behind that?

Not only for what you’re driving for, but what’s your teammates’ driving force, right? When you understand that about your teammate, then their teammate is not just your teammate anymore; they’re your friend, right? You guys can work together. You guys work out together.

You know, if they’re having a bad day, you know how to pick them back up because you need them because their heads are not in the game. And you know, then you’re, you’ve got, that’s your weak link, and then I could lose the game for you, right? And it’s the same thing in business between these two because you need to know who your coach is.

You need to know that your coaches or coats, they’re not your father figure or your, you know, your mother figure, sister, or brother. You know, they’re your coaches. If you don’t produce, they’re going to bench you. You need to understand these things and moving forward and having this information is like pre-care. For student-athletes, preventative care. Because if you don’t have this information, you don’t have a framework to guide you down this journey, it’s going to be problematic.

You know, we, I’ve seen a lot of students that are on Suicide Watch. Some of their teammates commit suicide, go down, go down, to a bad place because it’s a stressful environment. You’re essentially taking on two full-time jobs: school and sports, right?

But don’t you think it’s because they’re so individualized? Like, education teaches you that this is your education, so it only focuses on you as an individual versus what you’re discussing in your curriculum, which includes everybody. It is done collectively. You’re playing a team sport, not just an individual sport, and we’re not taught that in school. We’re taught in school, right? right? Right? Get an education, get a degree, and then go get a job, right? And what you’re training in your curriculum is, hey, you’re not alone, and maybe that’s part of the reason why we have these issues with suicide. Because everybody feels alone based on this traditional education.

Right.

Uh, you know, the sports mindset, the sports culture, and the coaching, you know, it’s antiquated, right? It’s extremely antiquated and the culture needs to be developed. It’s very important because a lot of students are dealing with this like there’s a lot of stuff. It’s going on at the pro level right where the coaches are kicking players and yelling at players and it? It’s extremely antiquated and the culture needs to be developed. It’s very important because a lot of students are dealing with this like there’s a lot of stuff. It’s going on at the pro level right now where the coaches are kicking players and yelling at players, and it’s just crazy, right? It’s like, these are grown, men. You need to treat it like this, man. like a grown man. like This isn’t the, you know, what I’m saying is it’s

It’s just crazy, and so is the lack of mental health. Support at the pro level is insane; just imagine it. You know, going to college is not better; it’s worse. Because they have less money to put towards those things, they have more athletes. So, and then also, you know, at the high school level, you can only imagine what it is like there. You know, the mental health and all of that, the coaches.

They’re not as experienced, you know, as the staff that the schools can only provide so much when it comes to therapy and all that So just imagine what these students are dealing with, and then yeah, it’s just that it just hasn’t been changed and it just needs to be, it needs to evolve And this is our, I suppose, approach to  I love that picture, Travis. This is our stance, this is our approach to dealing with it, correct? That’s how we address that. You have to empower the individuals.

Right.

We can’t expect the system to change because the system is what it is. It’s just the system and, you know, the bureaucracy and all that stuff. We have to make a change. Changes, where the shifters are rolling downhill, are rolling down on the students and the players. So, let’s empower those students to be stronger and to build a stronger foundation for themselves so they can make those changes themselves, right?

Yeah, they need to feel like they have resources.

And you have more resources, and you can get college credits. So, it’s great. And so, we’re doing well with that, and that’s just taking off well, and we’re just, it feels like every week, we’re just on the phone with schools, so I’m not complaining.

So, is this where you envisioned you would be? Eventually, I mean, with all the stuff that you were, you know, planning for your, quote UN quote, life.

Man, that’s the crazy thing about life, man. You just don’t know what the plan is. God laughs at plants, and this is not at all what I thought. This is not at all what I thought it was going to be like to work in education, and I didn’t think, you know, like, well, I guess because I was doing public speaking, but you know, it wasn’t in this capacity, and you know, I’m very happy that it is, you know.

Yeah, you can touch a lot of people with what you do.

Yeah, I’m glad you’re talking about the mental health piece. That’s a big deal. That’s one of the reasons that I share my story so often as part of my speaking and what I do. It permits people to share their stories and lets them know they’re not alone in their own stories. I think we talked earlier about cancer here. Like, we don’t have a health care system in this country. We have a sick care system. The only thing in this country that’s considered health care is dentistry, where we do preventative things.

As part of the culture of the system, everything else is sick care. We need to give the doctor, even if it’s the doctor in six years. Why do you come in because I don’t feel well? It’s like you go in because you’re sick, not because the health care system is a thing. It’s not medical. I love that you didn’t say health care, that you said medical services because it’s not health care.

That’s not where it is. We need to understand this as people. The emotions that we experience are based on the traumas of life, and everyone has them. Some of them are capital T trauma, some of them are lower case T trauma, but they’re still trauma. We have to understand that everyone goes through these things and that everyone struggles with them. I’m overjoyed that you mentioned going to therapy.

I know I have it. I know Carol has It’s one of the many tools. available, but again, that’s more aftercare than preventative care. We need to understand that everyone goes through things; that people, no matter what age they are, can tell you what’s wrong, and then you have to believe them. And then you. I have to help them work through it. And most of us didn’t have the tools to do so. I know when my kids came in with problems, I wasn’t fully healed from all the stuff that happened to me when I was a kid. I barely know how to take care of my own life now. I’ve got other people that depend on me, and I’m not well enough to take care of them. What does that look like?

I’m sure they’re damaged. I’m sure that happens to every family out there and perpetuates in some way, shape, or form. So, I love that you guys put together the game within a game. You and Reggie are helping push that around the country to give kids a better look at what it’s like in some of these avenues and what they can do to get the help that they need.

Right. Because you need community, and the community helps with mental health, right? We’re all siloed, like you were saying, in our issues, and really, no one’s talking about it because they don’t know how.

And in sports, you know, it’s like, are you hurt or are you injured, right? They teach you and they drill it into you, just like in the Marines’ military. You must be tough. You must be tough. You must be tough. But it’s also, it’s like I said, it’s antiquated and it’s killing people because they’re trapped in all that stuff and they don’t know how to talk about it.

And then they just sort of like, “Forget it, I’m done with it, I’m going to kill myself,” and that’s what a lot of times it turns out to be. And you look at, you know, even the sunsuit art of war. The easiest way to kill your enemy is to isolate him.

You know, people are isolated in their feelings and isolated in their issues, as you said. They don’t realize that. You know, this is pretty commonplace, but we just never had the language to speak of it. You look at the mental health industry, right, that the term mental health didn’t become a real conversation until the 2000s, right, 2005, whatever. You know, they’re just now addressing it in college sports.

Not because they want to, but because they’re being forced to by the students who are coming out and talking about it because they don’t have it. You know, they got us.

They’ve got to say something. They’re trying to stop all the rest of the kids from going through what they did. Coming through and then, I think it’s fantastic that we’re becoming more comfortable talking about these things as a nation and as a world. And it’s the time, you know, we just had COVID and all this other stuff.

And whenever there’s a huge disaster or something like the Great Depression, mental health is always one of the main topics that come up, and it’s a good time for us right now because we have these, so we can start to pivot and grow as a people and as a community.

It’s funny because I think we aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, right? People see that as a weakness and seeking therapy can be seen as a weakness. But in reality, how do you get stronger if you don’t? Face those issues. And if you’re not better, how can you better your children? How can you provide the advice they need? You know, and even ask them to, like, possibly go see a therapist as well to deal with the other issues that I’m sure they know. I helped my children get through my issues growing up too.

Because you only know what you know. And we can’t help but repeat those patterns. To break those patterns, we have to change them.

So that’s the ticket, right? If you listen to this, you have permission to get and seek help. We’ve all done it. Everyone here, we’ve got a motorcycle race team owner, a former military pilot. We’ve got a former NFL player. You have permission to go seek help for your million and then be authentic, real, and vulnerable. This does not make you weak. We even talked about this with Juanita last week.

I love her. She’s amazing.

The big mistake she made was not asking for help when she was homeless. That was her mistake That was the problem.

She is bad as well! Oh yeah. God, I love that woman. Yeah, she is amazing. And then it’s like, “That goes to what I was telling you. Because she’s military too, right? She was military, right? Am I getting that right? And she’s tough as, like, tough as nails. as tough as nails. But it’s just that it does good things for her. But it could also be your weakness, right? Then you’ve got to be able to, and if you can’t see that, it becomes like poison. It just kills you. But also, you know, you have to give yourself permission to take a step away from the fire and observe yourself, right?

You have to do it, you have to take it, you know, count for like, who am I? Where am I? Where do I want to go? Right. In which direction am I heading? I’m seeing myself going this way, but that’s not right. Where do I want to go? And then you go see it and write it down, even on the grease board, so you can make it a visual; you know what you want to do, and then you can just sort of map it out.

So, it maps out your journey and it’s not going to be perfect. You can start making changes in your life. It just takes a step away from the fire and a look at it from a different perspective.

It would be preferable if you stood up and came. because you’re always doing something. I mean, Jesus Christ, every time I talk to Red just like, “Oh, we’re doing this, we’re doing this,” I’m like, “**** Do you guys ever sleep?

When you go, you don’t need to sleep if you run at full speed.

Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to sleep. Sleep is overrated. Yeah, well, we’re working hard on this and getting it into all these schools. Like I said, every day we’re on the phone with another school and, you know, we’re really on a mission to make this like a mandatory curriculum for all student-athletes, and it’s going well. But, you know, if there are any, you know, Secretary of Education, you’re listening to this show when it comes out. We want to do it, but Uhm, yeah, we’re going into speaking now and, you know, to speak about this mission with the game within the game and look into it.

You know, just change the sports culture, right? because. It needs to be changed because people’s lives are hanging in the balance, you know, like me and the red set you register all the time. I said some people I’ve been on; we’ve seen suicide watch kickers on suicide watch because they miss a kick in the game or the big game and you know, they’re getting booed.

by the entire school or when they walk into class.

So, they got a brick in their windshield when they got out of the stadium from the game. You know, there’s just so much stuff going on So it’s deep, it’s extremely layered, like an onion, and there’s just a lot of things that players need and if they just have a framework, we just have a goal to just change the sports culture and just really provide as much support for student-athletes as possible, so they don’t have to deal with the same things that we dealt with.

They came up so that they could embrace the haters, you know, kind of aspect of it and its ups and downs. You know, we’ve talked about it many times, right where even with us, you’re nobody until you get a shit ton of haters, you know?

You put that quote on a T-shirt and you start selling it. That’s how you make your first million.

Right.

Yeah, you’re picking on the haters.

But we all know that we take things very personally because we care. We care about what we are doing, our mission, our goals, and how we are positively affecting people. So, when you see somebody that doesn’t like you, you know, I think our goal is to make them like us, but at the end of the day, we can’t get everybody. So, you know, I thought that was a pretty dumb move and it made me change. My perspective on it was, you know, you can’t make everybody happy, so if you’ve got haters, that means you’re doing something right.

Yeah, I’m sure a lot of guys hate you because you’d be whipping ***** on their motorcycles. making them look bad. I think about that all the time. You’re probably talking to yourself, and then you just stop. Yeah, it’s weird.

You just do all kinds of crazy stuff on the bikes. Oh, I’m coming out and I’m going to stay for like 2 weeks and you’re going to train me? I’m going to get the seat hours or bike hours. And get it in because I’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle, but I’m staring straight up. I’m afraid I’ll just do it in the safety of your facility and then work my way out. This’s the last time. I don’t know if I told you the first time I got on a motorcycle, the first time I burned myself on the exhaust. Right, that was. When I was a kid, I had this huge burn on my leg, and then the second time I got on a motorcycle, I was trying to heal it.

It was a dirt bike, right? I drew the throttle back too far, grabbed the handle on the handle, and the bike flew from beneath my legs to right under my head. And I held on to it and then, like, I was big, I was like 270. I was in high school Tuesday.

Why would you let go?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I didn’t even know what the bike was going to take. I held on to it, and I ended up saving the bike. And, well, I didn’t die. I didn’t get hurt. But it was just an interesting experience to have the motorcycle over my head.

Your whiskey throttled the crap out of your bike, yes.

Yeah, yeah.

Well, dirt bikes are just a little bit different too, but we can’t, we can’t hurt David on that But hey, Dave, we’re getting ready to wrap up here. Where is the one place you would like people to connect you to for a game within a game? 

What advice would you give to anyone listening to the show after that? They may be struggling with something, right?

So, you can link me with them on LinkedIn and with David Carter on LinkedIn, but then it’s a game within a game. You can go to the game on thegame.com and you’ll have all the information about me and Reggie and what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. You can also purchase the course. There you have the college-accredited version. That’s available there through Forbes Business School, as well as the certificate version for parents because parents need this information too, right?

You know, as I said, both my brother and I played in the NFL. We got drafted on the same day, and they were like, “Yeah, we made it to the league because, you know, I and my brother just worked hard. We have, like my family, a military background, and my mom is a police officer, but they had us very disciplined.

But there was a lot of stuff that my parents didn’t know and a lot of mistakes they made. If they had had the information that we’re providing within the game, within the game, it would have made all the difference. But I mean, we still got there, so thanks, Mom and Dad. You know, it’s just parents. It would just help because you’re the one that they need your help with.

You’re their parent, right? Their parents

How about a top athlete’s life?

You can go to topathletelife.com and it’s more corporate wellness for understanding teamwork within you and understanding who you are, and then also understanding how to operate within a team within the corporate space for like, you know, especially like research and development teams, sales teams, and C suites you need to understand. You must understand all of this, as well as how not to be a team player in that environment.

It’s really easy to be a team individual in the corporate space and that could ruin deals; that ruins, you know, the innovation process, the creative process, all of that. So, we teach all that top athlete life and then come to the last question: don’t be afraid to be human. Take a step back and evaluate yourself. Understanding your strengths and understanding your weaknesses is a huge strength. So you know how to move properly and you can start. You start taking strides and you know baby steps first and quickly start making huge strides because you understand how to move now. And that was one of the biggest things that helped me in my journey, understanding that, like, all right, I want to be all this.

You know, listening to my ego. I can do this. I can do that. I could do this, that, and the other. Now, bro, sit your ***** down. This is what you’re good at. You’re not good at that. And when you understand that it allows you to move and be more useful in whatever environment you’re in, whatever team you’re on, and whatever your journey and your vision are, you will see it a lot clearer because you don’t have a lot of time, you’re going to hit fewer obstacles that way.

And then this is another thing. Never give up, bro Just always pivot. You learn how to pivot right if you hit a wall. You know, if somebody says no, that doesn’t mean no to everything. Maybe that’s the better option, as someone else will say. You know, they have better resources. You can work with them and JB whatever, right?

No doesn’t mean no, no, no just means no from them, and it might just mean no right now, you know? I don’t mean “no later, right? Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board, right? That’s the same thing as what I’m saying. Don’t be afraid to evaluate your project. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and figure it out. You know, list your resources. List where you’re at, what your position is, and list your resources. Do a match, you know, like a detective board, and try to match. And see if you can figure out what goes where. When you understand how to move and how to reel, it’s like when you’re playing the game of chess with your life. You need to know how to use the pieces around you, right? Not use them, but work with them, right? And you do that. It makes a difference because a lot of people are stuck because they don’t know where to move next.

Or how to move. You have to figure it out for yourself. It is necessary, to be honest with yourself, and it is also acceptable, to be honest with others. You know, it’s scary. But when you get to the other side, you’ll be like, “Man, I’m really glad I did this.” I mean, I am. I’m more in touch with myself. Your anxiety goes away, all kinds of stuff, so you understand that you can go a long way in life.

I appreciate great words from both our guest, David Carter, and myself. Thank you so much for listening today.