Brian Mazza wakes up at 4:30 am every morning looking forward to attacking his intended targets for the day with optimal efficiency. First comes breakfast with his family, including wrestling with his two boys. Though he needs to be on the go for most of the day, the fitness-lifestyle influencer, founder of HPL Training, and serial entrepreneur has found a balance that only comes by eliminating any elements that can throw you off track.
"I remember when I was a kid my dad used to tell me there was always someone working harder than you," Mazza said. "I didn't really understand that as a kid. w I use that as something I can always refer to. I know this could end at any moment now. As morbid as it sounds, this could be life, it could be a career, or it could be a debilitating injury. You have to work as hard as you can to achieve all your goals because either someone takes it from you if you don't want it and tomorrow it could all end.”
Between a training hiatus for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this Sunday, Mazza shared how he overcame his mental hurdles while running and found balance as a husband, father, multi-business owner and embracing new challenges.
Courtesy of Brian Mazza
The process of becoming a runner like Brian Mazza
I was always very scared of running because I found it really difficult. I didn't know how to walk properly. My background is in football - yes it's an endurance sport but I played as a striker upstairs. For me it was a lot of anaerobic work - fast sprints and recovery. It was really discouraging for me as an athlete because I couldn't figure out why I couldn't be successful as a runner. I wasn't prepared for the aerobic side of things because I was only an anaerobic athlete. As I started doing more research, speaking to more coaches, and really delving deeper into how to become a better runner, I became really intrigued by learning the process, and that's who I am as a person. I really enjoy the process more than the finish. I've just started digging deep and learning how to start slow to go fast, different types of tempo runs, distance work, long distance runs and I've really had to grapple with the patience that goes into that as well.
Courtesy of Brian Mazza
Shut down the world for mental clarity
I've found that running has really helped me be more on the mental clarity side of life in general. I don't run to music. I now need running more than my medicine to disconnect from the world and my reality at times. Just being free with nature, alone on long runs, going through the process and trying to become a better person - I think running gave me that.
I'm always online, 24-7. I am a father of two boys - 5 and 3. I am married and have several businesses. If I need to disconnect, I don't want to have to listen to music or an audio book. I need to get into that flow state and think about nothing but running. Granted, I used to run to music, and I think it's fun to motivate yourself and run to music at times, but I've found that I've become a better runner without music. I'm more in tune with my body, in tune with my breath, and I can focus more on the task at hand without actually having to focus on it. I can just be free and let my mind wander and have no pressure to have to focus on an audio book or have to focus on a specific song that might knock you out of your heart rate zone. I just want to be as present as possible during my run.
The half marathon training for me is quite similar to my normal training because now this distance is not too far for me. It's different when you have to train for a marathon or ultramarathon. I still train with my trainer three days a week. I'm still lifting heavy with my legs and getting the volume of 150 miles a month and hitting it consistently. I've found that now that I'm strength training harder and harder with heavier weights, I'm becoming a better runner because my legs can take the hits a little better.
Brian Mazza gets a "MyHi" from every new challenge
When it came to eating, the most important thing for me was that I simply had to eat more calories. How I do this and how I make it more fun for myself by setting challenges where it's like these are the five things I will give up for the next 30 days or these are the five things I will for the next 90 days. Right now I'm not making pizza or pasta or finishing my kids' meals, which is a big deal for the extra bad calories. peanut butter and jelly on rice cakes because I just had another fitness cover and I wanted my body to be a certain way. I'm trying to make it as fun as possible, but I'm human and I have cravings. But I think the task at hand is bigger and more important than the desire, so I always try to convince myself that there are days when you can make mistakes, but let's try to be as precise as possible so that you can Have output and be as efficient as you need it to be. After eliminating the really bad food in my life that honestly tastes the best, I just improved physically, as a runner, and overall in terms of energy. Dialing in on all facets, the sky is the limit for what we want to achieve as a team.
I mainly use MyHi as a recovery tool. It's a really great way for me to wind down at the end of the night and get into a very comfortable state, letting my body and mind relax. It's usually a 24-7 grind and I have to give myself that certain amount of time to relax. Also, when I'm doing a quick recovery yoga session, or going into a sauna, ice bath, or my rmaTec boots, I take a 5mg MyHi stick in a mocktail or one of my recovery protein drinks and it really takes the edge off and allows me to get into a more comfortable state because I always feel like I'm in fight-or-flight mode.
Brian Mazza runs for family and business
First and foremost, family is everything to me. That always takes precedence over anything I have in my life. I don't think there is a balance and I say that positively. i really love what i do. i love my career I love that I get paid to train, race, do marketing with brands and I really love being a dad. I always wanted to be a father and a hands-on father. I feel like I don't need to have the balance because I've eliminated a lot of the negative things in my life before taking on this new responsibility of being a 24-7 guy. I feel like once you do that, balance will become your lifestyle and the lifestyle you want - if it's healthy - can really make your career and personal life go as planned. You don't have to worry about other external factors holding you back.
I think entrepreneurship and fatherhood are very similar. I say that because as an entrepreneur who runs multiple companies, shoots content, invests and all of that stuff – every day is different and curveballs are constantly being thrown at you. I feel like this is directly related to fatherhood because my kids wake up sick, aren't in a good mood, don't wear a specific shirt, don't go to school, or don't want to eat. You keep putting out fires. I wake up at 4:30 am every morning and I mainly do all the morning activities with my kids. I always wanted to be a father who takes her to school every day. Mornings are a really good time for us because we make lunch, have breakfast and wrestle together. I purposely get up earlier than them because I can do a lot of the internal work that I need to do personally and in business.
After dropping her off, I usually go off. I come back and start my day following up on emails I probably handled earlier in the morning. I work with my team on the task of the day and just crank out as much as possible. I train with my trainer for about an hour and come back home. From there, it sees what's on the note with emails and what needs maintenance. I have dinner with my kids every night unless I'm traveling for work. We make a point of having dinner every night as a family like I grew up. This is a typical day in life. It's not that entertaining or fun, but it's more about seeing how efficient you can be at achieving goals while having fun.