Coach Connection with Eric Bedell

The conversation this week is all about connection to ourselves, others, and how to be of service with the time you've been given, and lending his perspective is strength coach turned personal development coach, Eric Bedell.

The conversation took us through topics of disordered eating and body image, to the importance of goals, accountability, and all the odd jobs along the way. From his punk rock roots to his casual candor - we have to say this conversation with Eric left us smiling and ready to take on whatever is next!

Connect with Eric 👇




Eric's Band - Timeshares!

Conversation with Eric Bedell:

*Text has been edited for clarity

Calla: We're big on connection and quality of life. And I know that you are too. We believe that kind of pushes us all towards a greater good, right? When we operate out of good, good connections and quality of life. So what is it about connection that you're drawn to? I'm curious, and how did it lead you kind of here today?

Eric Bedell: Yeah. Well, I mean, there's like 100 layers and 10 million different ways I can approach that, but yeah, connection central to, it's central to my life, it's central to my work. It's what has brought me to becoming a full-time, personal and professional development coach, it's what brought me to become a trainer. Leanne, I know you're a NASM trainer, I'm an ace certified trainer. And yeah, so I know, we share like that sort of, at least, you know, in our own ways, we share those things. And I think just connecting let's see, I'll try to do my best to summarize here. Connection became very central to me from a very young age. I was the middle kid, older and younger sister, the only boy in the family.

Leanne: Sorry.

Calla: Like, that's a challenge in itself.

Leanne: I was the only girl so I understand.

Eric Bedell: Huge challenge, I give you a lot of credit. But I think just like growing up I had, I would deal with a lot of childhood bullying, I dealt with childhood obesity, took matters into my own hands, battled a bout of anorexia for about two years when I was a kid. And that's actually what like, pushed me into health and wellness. I didn't realize it was very, very unconscious, very subconscious at that time. But it led me down this path of learning that actually the most meaningful thing I could do with my life was learn how to connect with people on a level that's far beneath surface. Because my, my like origin story is this, like very surface-level outer exterior thing. And so that's sort of the pathway that I got set on. And I bounced around all over the place in search of really like what satisfied that and I find myself here now. But I think what's interesting is that through the process of it, I learned the greater importance of connecting is learning to connect more deeply with yourself. Because if you if you're unable to do that, a lot of those external or like secondary connections become less important, less meaningful, and less honest. So yeah, I don't know. Hopefully, it's a decent summer.

Calla: This is gonna be fun. No, I'm excited. I'm like, Okay, we're gonna go there today. I like it.

Eric Bedell: Oh yeah.

Leanne: I love how open you are about your eating disorder and how it did affect you. It's, it's actually crazy. You say that because I have a very similar story.

Eric Bedell: Really?

Leanne: Yeah, I dealt with an eating disorder. Starting like 1312 13 Being a swimmer didn't help. But uh, so I think I subconsciously found myself drifting towards the personal training profession. And I hated to admit this to myself, but I think it was a very selfish drive to make sure I'm in the gym. And I'm always focused on fitness. And I'm always talking about weight loss and nutrition. And it really was the deep connections that you get one on one when you're working with people, and the psychology behind it, that kept me like, alive in this profession. Like, I don't love writing strength workouts for people, I love meeting them and talking about how their day is going and why they ended up where they are and what's holding them back. And I know that you got a degree in psychology, which is super interesting. So we have a lot in common. A lot.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, I mean, your story is really, I mean, I feel for you like and what a testament to like, what's possible for you to also have gone through that and, and have like, converted that pain into something that's useful for other people. Regardless of the intention initially, if it's selfish, I would also make the argument that like it, it probably always should start from a selfish place because if we're not for not taking care of this thing, it's very difficult. Everything else becomes very trite. But anyway, that's this whole but really interesting to hear.

Leanne: It makes me thankful for it, you know, like because I don't think I would have gravitated as much into the fitness industry. If it weren't for my obsession, you know, within myself, even though it was very unhealthy. I can't really see myself doing anything else. I mean, other than this, you know, and this is all about mental health. So you know, it all runs together.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, definitely. Definitely

Calla: I'd love to hear more about kind of your struggle with anorexia. I've never really talked to a man that's gone through that. And so I would love to kind of hear how that developed for you and how you navigated it.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, absolutely. And like, Leanne what you were saying, like, you know, that it's, I'm so out open with it is for that reason. Body image issues, even still, I think people understand that men are challenged by them. But even still in 2022, it's, I think it's way more under the, under the rug for guys. And so I, I think part of my responsibility is to, like, bring to light the fact that, yes, there are, there are these like, you know, masculine traits that, that like, are part of this culturalframework, but every human is still human, and has their sensitivities and vulnerabilities

Leanne: And almost as men, it's like, you're not supposed to show those.

Eric Bedell: Yeah. Right. And the irony is that, you know, I mainly work with men in my coaching practice, and men are attracted to men that are willing to speak honestly about themselves and tell their dark secrets. And so it's really interesting that we have this like, cultural thing about like, not revealing things and not talking about that stuff. And yet, we crave it. Like men, we crave it. And so it's really so interesting. So I like I love to, like, bring that up. So anyway, I guess to answer your question. Yeah, like, you know, I dealt with a lot of bullying was like, kicked off sports teams like team sports, because parents were afraid I was too heavy. I was gonna injure their kids in contact football. I changed my bus route.

Calla: WHOA! That's a lot just to even unpack!

Leanne: At the time, you knew other parents were talking that way?

Eric Bedell: Yeah. But I don't think I was more focused on the real thing right in front of me, which is like, I can't play sports with my friends. I didn't really like to think about the multiple levels of how insanely screwed up it was. But that was one of the bigger things that happened. I changed my bus route a bunch of times. I often I would get off on the bus further away from home than when I got on the bus leaving school because of like, where the bully sat on the bus and my exit from it and just things like that. And they accumulated and I, you know, in your limited level also share a similar like, timeline with you Leanne

Leanne: Really?

Eric Bedell: Yeah, I was 12. And so when you're like limited level of logic and reasoning, and you're like, Okay, heavy bad thing. Good. I won't be the butt of jokes and I won't be

Calla: Survive.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, yeah, literally. Yeah, it wasn't about thriving. It was just about like, How can I be unnoticed? Which is like, right, took a long a long time to, like, work through that to the other side of like, being, you know, being proud of who you are. Despite and in spite, like, because of all of those difficulties. But so yeah.

Calla: I'm still trying to figure that out and I'm 36! I still am trying to work through some of that, for sure.

Eric Bedell: Same. And honestly, I think anyone that tells you that they figured it out. Is full of shit. They're full of shiiiiiit. Hopefully, we can swear I said, like,

Leanne: Yeah, you're fine. I'm just glad I'm not the first one.

Eric Bedell: I was looking through the details of like, okay, this is what's the language sort of

Calla: Come as you are. That's our vibe you're good. You're good. So you work through some of that stuff. But you said it was around the age 12 That, that your eating disorder really started to kind of just run away from you a little bit.

Eric Bedell: Yeah. And I had no like, breakdown of what I was doing. I had no plan. I had no words for it. I didn't call it an eating disorder. I, you know, I just I ate the meals with my family that I had to so no one would raise an eyebrow. And I didn't eat any other time. And I started dropping weight like rapidly. And finally, you know, my parents caught on and stepped in and got me the help that I needed to level out at that point. And then it was like all of the rest of high school was just really focused on maintaining thinness. You know, at all costs. I ran, like, ran so much that because like that was what I, you know, that was what I could like, get my head around. I played soccer, I played football. I played baseball. So I was a sports guy. So like, sign up for more sports. How active can I be? This seems to maintain his thinness. And the really difficult part is on the thing that I thought would happen actually did, which was like, I became more popular. People liked me. I got my first girlfriend. I like this stuff started to happen. So it cemented this like very this distorted approach to like,

Calla: Worth really? That's what it sounds like to me.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So it was really wasn't until college that I discovered weight training. And that's really where I was like, Whoa, here's this whole and it was resistant to it.

Leanne: So they didn't have you doing weight training in the sports that you were in high school?

Eric Bedell: No, We weren't like the best sports teams.

Calla: Were all there. We showed up a collective thing.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, we did. You know, we had good seasons. All right. Coach DiJacimo! Shout out Coach DiJacimo if you are listening man. Loved my time there.

Calla: All it takes is one good coach.

Eric Bedell: There were some weight room prescriptions on there. But they were minimal and it was like, you know, played all running sports. It wasn't about upper body strength. And so like, it was just learning how to squat and lunge and jump. And so yeah, but yeah. College, I discovered that it was really clicked, I was like, wow, this is something I can do to manage my, my physical health in a way that seems like it's actually just benefiting me. Like, it's actually it's improving everything. It's not sabotaging. And so that's really took off. In college, I went to school for music industry. And when I was there, like, two months in, I was like, What the hell is this? Like, I've been booking shows for like five years in high school, I need to do something that like, feels more fulfilling, and like it's going to, so I became dual psychology, sociology major, and everything just started to sort of like, integrate, at that point.

Leanne: Where did your interest in psychology come from?

Eric Bedell: I think just like you said earlier, like, I'm grateful that I went through that, that sort of bout of I mean, you know, body image struggle, and food and disordered eating because it made me search for something beneath that, because then I got thin, and it will I didn't have the thing that I thought I had to, I had the things, but I didn't have what I really thought I was after. So I was always thinking about the mind. And I was always reading. I was always really interested in like, very philosophical movies and books and yeah, just I don't know exactly where it came from. But

Calla: It got you there.

Eric Bedell: I got there!

Leanne: got there. Yeah. Was it the waitlisting that kind of transitioned your, your thoughts around food, like to feel your body? Or like, how did you gain a healthy relationship with food?

Eric Bedell: That's a really good place to explore. No, it was years after that. Because simultaneously, right, like, I think, I think a lot of people go through these sort of like, college being- I was already very, very counterculture. I grew up. Also part of the story that's really important because it's parallel the whole time is like, I grew up in punk rock and hardcore.

Leanne: We heard.

Eric Bedell: It was like, super important to me. And and I found that community as a place that like, Come as you are, we accept you, you know, it doesn't matter your weight doesn't matter. It was in a very inclusive sort of environment. And so I like, like, poured myself into it. You know, I started playing drums. I like I did everything. So I was already very counterculture. I was like, against sort of mainstream culture, even throughout high school but then college

Calla: We would have been friends!

Leanne: Calla would have been at your shows.

Calla: Yeah, we would have been really good friends.

Eric Bedell: There's still time.

Calla: We're friends now.

Eric Bedell: Yeah. I don't even know where I was going.

Calla: So you sought the community and then-

Eric Bedell: Yeah, I was going to answer Leanne's question I was just gonna say that was context. Normally, for most people, their first exposure to like, really figuring things out and testing limits is college. I had already been doing that, but it went into high gear. And I went vegan. I was vegan for six years, you know, in like, in like very political punk, like Morrissey fashion like very, you know, it wasn't about health. I was like, but then I discovered, you know, so I thought at that time for myself, I was like, oh, and it's a better way to control my weight.

Leanne: Yeah. And there's always that in the back of your mind when

Calla: Interesting! I wouldn't have even thought of that.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, fewer calories. You know, like, a lot of the items I was eating were like, way less dense. And so yeah, like, I didn't really, it took me a while to figure out what I was doing. But I did it. I was vegan for six years. So it was only after that, that I started to go like, well, I don't feel good as a vegan, I just don't feel good. I was getting sick all the time was taking supplements, I worked in the supplement department. So I had access to everything. I was like eating like, oh man, it was crazy. It still didn't work. So I started reintroducing like eggs and some fish and things like that and just started paying better attention to my body. And that's where it started happening. When I started really listening to how I felt. So like, honestly, like the mid to late 20s is the first period where I was like, Wow, alright, I think I'm starting to like, get the hang of how I should eat.

Leanne: That's so empowering too.

Calla: Yeah, that's such a lesson and a gift to kind of give yourself when you get to that point where like, you've tried all these things and you think you're doing the right thing. And then all of a sudden, you're just like, I'm still not reaching that that feeling that I'm chasing you know, and to be able to add stuff in was that hard for you? Especially being from like that counterculture. And then to be like, Oh, shit, I was wrong. To something different, like I've dealt with that in my life and it sucks.

Eric Bedell: Oh man, Yeah, cuz it sinks down, right? It goes from goes from behavioral, like "I eat vegan" to like identity. I'm a vegan. And once it enters the identity level, you're like, Yeah, I was, you know, I was betraying this thing, too, you know? But after a while, I was just like, You know what, I have to, something has to bend and I just want to feel better. And the irony is now and I say this to like my clients that are our veggie or vegan, or like, I'm, I'm like, probably as close to animal-based, like, pure like I eat very few. I eat a small assortment of vegetables at this point fruits, mainly meat, and that I've just arrived here through listening to myself and going to the doctor and listening to my body. And so yeah, really interesting how it can take you all over the place.

Leanne: Literally, yeah, vegan to animal base. And I do want to talk about that. But I wanted to ask for our listeners, but also just so we have a full understanding. How would you define like a holistic personal development coach? How do you define what you do for people?

Eric Bedell: Yeah. I think the hardest thing in the world is as a coach to say, what a coach does. I try to like I say, like, well, you know, do these things sound like you? If so, like, let's have a two-hour conversation. And then you'll know. Then you'll experience it and then it's not words on a page.

Calla: That's so punk rock! I get it.

Leanne: You're speaking her language. We just need some bass in the background.

Eric Bedell: Oh, yeah. I could break out the drum pad. I can't fit a drum set in Brooklyn, but -

Leanne: She's not saying no.

Calla: Open to it all.

Eric Bedell: Yeah. Um, but yeah, um, let's see. Remind where we - I lost my track ready?

Calla: Because I keep interrupting, I'm sorry. I feel seen that's what it is.

Leanne: Calla's just like praise hands!

Calla: We were talking about trying to explain what you do to help people and how it really it's like, you know, you have to get in know their story and see if you can help them essentially is what I took from from your answer.

Eric Bedell: Yeah, no, I think it's, well, that's great. Because that means that like how I'm trying to speak about is what's landing. At least here. Okay to not be like a smartass. And to instead answer it as honestly as I can. I mean, I just I treat the whole person, a coach the whole person, and people often present challenges that they think are their challenges. But number one, I've learned that boldly, I never believe them. Because it's never the challenge that presents, there's always right, that's a symptom. And there's always something deeper. And so we get there, and we explore how, you know, what really is at the bottom of the challenge? Like? How is that interconnected with all the other parts of your life? And if you were to improve this actual dark area, difficulty, what would that do to the rest of your life? So I'd really try to work with people in a very, like, that's what I why I use holistic, I try to treat all aspects that are relevant to the individual. That's why I always go like, let's have a conversation. And that's also I mean, it's funny. That's why I was attracted to the podcast is because I mean, really,

Leanne: that sounds familiar? I've heard that one before.

Eric Bedell: that's where you hit like, the the, like the cool like bell button or something and an ad rolls in?

Leanne: Don't give here ideas!

Calla: I've got to calm down on my down on my use of technology. I don't need any more things to do.

Eric Bedell: It's so good, though. I mean, but in all seriousness, I was attracted to having the conversation with you both, because that's why I really got into coaching work is because I, I believe that, that the planet can be made a much more meaningful place, one conversation at a time. I really believe that because conversation, I mean, it goes back as far as like, like, like ancient Greek culture, and like, just the importance of having dialogue, where like dialogue is where we figure out the world, we test our ideas, we see how other people interpret them. We can either, reaffirm our belief in something, or have it shifted. It's a very vital thing. And I'm a little weary that like, as I'm sure you've noticed this in your own ways, but like our American culture, right now, it feels like so polarized in so many areas that it's hard to have the conversation and having the conversations actually, is the solution to all of the polarization all of those challenges. Sorry, I took it like very macro,

Leanne: Very philosophical.

Calla: I like it. I like it. I can relate to that. That's why it started. So when you went from coaching, like strength to personal development, was that a seamless transition? Do you still do both? Or how did that kind of segue into one another?

Eric Bedell: Um, yeah, it was definitely not seamless. It was very bumpy. I had the vision that I wanted to combine them from the get go when I started the business. But I mean, I'll be honest, I was just not as confident in my coaching skills. And so I really doubled down on my, on my training, because I've been a trainer at that point for 11 years. So I was like, Okay, I'm just gonna get clients and just train my ass off and be in the gym. Right? Yeah. And I did that. And I tried to like, in my intakes, in all my conversations, and all my interactions, I tried to like, integrate some coaching stuff. Yeah, like you were saying because it's all connected. And you see that like having a conversation? Like, oh, I can't just do the reps today. What's under that? Yeah, I had a fight with my mom. Okay. Right. And having a fight with your mom makes you feel like and there's like levels of, oh, we come back to training. And now, hitting 20 reps is hilarious. I can do 100. And so I started to do that. But it was challenging with my clients that I signed on to just personal training.

Leanne: Yes, they're like, Who's this guy? Why do you want to know about my mom?

Calla: Do you deal with that Leanne?

Leanne: Honestly, I'm, I'm so I guess curious. Curious would be the best way to describe it. I have always started with...

Calla: You just go there.

Leanne: Yeah, I do. I can't help it. And so they're all used to it. If they've stuck with me, they know they're going to be talking about their problems. And I'm going to be talking about mine. Right back. It's therapy both ways.

Eric Bedell: It's a good relationship. It's smart. And they get to know they like everything's much more real.

Leanne: Yes. And how far can you take them into making a sustainable change? Unless you know those things?

Eric Bedell: That's so true.

Leanne: Anyone can change up their entire diet and workout regimen for three months? And then it's like, Ah, I don't have the bandwidth. Well, why like, why don't you have it anymore? It never goes past that, you know?

Eric Bedell: I mean, just like a little add on there is like, you know, as a trainer and as someone who and that's why I think people are more open now to getting personal training into fitness they understand because it's something that like keeps them an arm's length from like the real deal. But we know, right, like, you can't just treat a final resulting behavior and expect, like sometimes, right, you get someone on a nutrition plan on a training program. And then over time, the back end that had them like not hitting their goals in the beginning starts to be replaced organically, but I think that's way more that's much rarer than working with someone to be like, Well, why is it so hard for you to stick to the foods that you know, are best for you? Like, I think you gotta like go back?

Leanne: You do because what brought you here? It's probably your last five to ten years of experiences and thoughts like, where are they doing you wrong? And how can we replace them? Like you just said.

Eric Bedell: Yeah.

Leanne: Does fitness play into your coaching now at all with your clients?

Eric Bedell: It does. I emphasize it way less. I encourage all my clients like, I have some clients, just one client that works at Google that like every time we have a coaching call. So he did it once as like an experiment. And now he has to do our calls while he's walking.

Calla: Oh, I like that.

Eric Bedell: Yeah. And well, there's a lot of like, really nerdy neuroscience for like, why actually, that's so powerful. Right, like Dr. Andrew Huberman, if you're familiar with him super interesting. I mean, obviously, he's a neuroscientist, but he does a lot of work around the eyes. Because right there is an extension, the optic nerve is actually part of the brain. It's really fascinating. You can really think about like your eyes or your brain on the outside of your body. It's kind of weird.

Calla: Oooh that creeps me out!

Leanne: Oh, yeah, I know what Calla's next drawings gonna be!

Calla: Yeah, that gives me an idea.

Eric Bedell: I love that. But yeah, so when you're moving forward, the tracking patterns that your AI makes, actually generates greater self-belief, greater resourcefulness. Like physiological. And so it's really fascinating to pair that with coaching work, which is physically moving forward. The way your eyes track. And the way they shift from focus generates a physiological effect in terms of like, a hormonal release. It dials up, I'm gonna say the wrong hormones. So please don't do a check. Check me,

Leanne: We're not scientists here.

Eric Bedell: Go to Andrew Huberman, and he'll tell you the real deal. But yeah, basically just puts you in much more resourceful state as like as humans, right? We're like, designed to find solutions, by walking to them, like by getting by navigating, by locomoting, right and like, so when you do that, and you're trying to solve a problem, you're way more effective, way more creative, way more resourceful, way more self-assured. It's really fascinating. So I that like happened with my client. And now I encourage all my clients like, Hey, have you like moved around to like, please take the if we're gonna take do a remote one, take the call, you don't have to look at me. We don't need video. We could do everything with audio, just take a walk in the neighborhood. So like, that's like the short-hand way of how I incorporate physical activity into my coaching work. But I also do, I still do training programming for some clients that like really want the extra assistance, more or less, I just encourage all them to like, create some type of movement plan, some type of nutrition plan that's going to benefit them because it just keep coming back to that. It's all hand in hand.

Leanne: Yeah. Do you think that would work on a treadmill as well? Just I'm just curious.

Eric Bedell: I've tried that. It's a little. It. I don't think it totally recreates how your eyes work, I think it would still generate some neuro-chemicals for moving as I'm experimenting here. Yeah. It might work. Yeah. Yeah.

Leanne: I don't know. Like, oh, crap. I've been doing it wrong.

Calla: No, I think it does. I think it does. I run on the treadmill a lot. And I feel like that's been that I do like my ideas and I can I can Go there like I would on a walk.

Eric Bedell: What do you do when you are on treadmill? What do you what do you notice?

Calla: A lot, I mean, it's just creative downloads constantly, that's I just see big picture things of how we can get to certain places by doing things, essentially, that's kind of a superpower that I possess.

Leanne: Truly

Calla: But it's also a curse, because they come out of everywhere. What are we gonna focus on? But yeah, I do think that for most, I never put two and two together that we are constantly in motion to get to a solution or to an end result or whatever. But I do think that the treadmill kind of can, can get you there.

Leanne: I have heard like a moving body can create like a calmer mind, like if your bodies and you're just sitting there and then your mind can be going a million miles an hour. And so I have heard it that way. But I haven't heard about forward motion and eye movement. That's so interesting to me.

Calla: Yeah, that was really, really cool.

Eric Bedell: I bet you could probably achieve the eye movement part. It doesn't I don't think it necessarily has to be like a walk or a jog. This is a good reason to go back and dig into the research a little more, because maybe it's just pure physical movement and it doesn't have to be directional, you know,

Calla: Just fall off the treadmill and have a headache.

Leanne: The treadmill at the gym that I go to are on the second level and I just sit there people watch the whole time. So my eyes are definitely moving. I mean,

Eric Bedell: Watching who's coming in,

Leanne: Yeah, who's doing the you know, the leg press wrong, etc.

Calla: So who are some of your typical clients? I'm always so curious, you said that you help a lot of men, what are some of the things that they're coming to you for?