Founder of Quest Nutrition Tom Bilyeu knows a lot about what it means to optimize your mind and body for maximum creativity. After overcoming obesity, he started his mission-based food company to help people be healthier, which grew by 57,000 percent in its three years, landing the number spot on the 2014 Inc. 500 list. Today, he’s recently launched a new venture, Impact Theory, an online talk show of sorts that ignites human potential through original interviews with some of the world’s greatest, most inspiring content creators, creatives and entrepreneurs. We asked Bilyeu to let us in on some of the tools and techniques he uses to achieve a healthy, fulfilling career as a creative. Here’s what he had to say.
Strengthen your body
I hate working out, but I’m absolutely obsessed with optimizing my brain. Several studies have come out showing the reciprocal link between the body and the brain. If you truly want to supercharge your mind, you’re going to have to supercharge your body first. Also, the gym helps you earn credibility with yourself by being disciplined and pushing through pain to reach a goal you’ve set. Additionally, it’s the easiest way to prove to yourself that the body will develop and grow in response to hard work and a powerful reminder that we all have latent potential within us.
Amplify your mind
Ideas In = Ideas Out. Fitness is as much about the mind as it is the body. They say that genius is a young person’s game, but I think the truth is anyone can have a brilliant idea, but you have to work to keep your perspective fresh. Reading is the best way to do that, and when it comes to money, Audible is the best way to read.
Reinvent your identity
Identity and values drive behavior. As such, your success at implementing new habits and routines in your life will be entirely dependent on your ability to change your identity. If you’re really going to follow through with your goals, you’re going to have to make changes to you who you are.
Don’t be alarmed
With only the rarest of exceptions, I haven’t woken up to an alarm in roughly 14 years. The name of the game is cognitive optimization, and that requires sleep. Get it. Go to bed as early as you have to. Drop things from your schedule, but try never to cut sleep.
Maintain healthy eating habits
I’m a big believer in cycling your eating habits. I switch between a high protein diet and a high fat diet every week, spending four days on high protein and three days on a full-blown ketogenic diet (high fat, moderate protein, virtually no carbs). On top of that I routinely do 16 hour fasts, and roughly once a year I do a full three day fast. The benefit of intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet in general is that it profoundly changes your relationship to hunger. The most impactful benefit for me has been that when in a ketogenic state, I don’t experience fatigue after lunch time nor any cognitive decline between meals—even when I’m really busy and starving.
Consume more whole foods
Thought I was going to say eat more Quest products? Truth is, you should eat whole food whenever possible. Only eat Quest Bars, Chips and Powders when you need something that tastes like dessert, but is super clean and healthy. I say that partly because I’m one of the co-founders, but also because I believe in the products and eat them daily, truly seven days a week. It’s how I avoid cheating on my diet.
Live by “Bright lines”
Bright lines are my secret weapon for discipline. The concept is simple: implement very strict rules in your life. The easiest ones for me are around diet and exercise. My first meal of the day is never before 7 a.m. My second is never before 11:30, so on and so forth. Also, my meals for the day are predetermined. No matter how hungry I get I never eat before the allotted time or eat more than I’ve planned. Those hard and fast rules are my bright lines. I do that because it’s easy to live in a yes or no world. It’s hard to deal in maybes, especially when you’re hungry and tired.
I hope these tools serve you as well as they have me. If you want to ask me any questions about the above, hit me up on any social platform at @TomBilyeu. Until then, be legendary, my friends.
This story was originally published in “The Fitness Issue” of Resource Magazine. Visit the Resource Shop to pick up a copy.