Episode 166 - Dr Belisa Vranich


A clinical psychologist and a leading expert in mental health and fitness, Dr. Belisa Vranich is the author of Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health (St. Martin’s Press/Hay House). She is the founder of www.thebreathingclass.com.

Dr. Belisa is a regular guest on national television; e.g., CNN, Fox News, the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Inside Edition, and has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Bill O’Reilly, and Nancy Grace. Dr. Oz has recognized her as one of the top US doctors in her field. She has appeared as a guest on Cesar Millan’s show, Cesar 911, and has been a guest on podcasts with hosts Robb Wolfe, Ben Greenfield, Joey Diaz, and Dr. Mercola. In addition, Dr. Belisa has been interviewed as an expert in numerous publications, including Crain’s magazine, GQ, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Time Magazine, and Cosmopolitan.

Dr. Belisa has extensive experience working with first responders: firefighters, military and law enforcement for topics related to endurance, stress reduction, precision, pain reduction, and PTSD. A firm believer in the importance of giving back, she volunteers and supports numerous organizations related to veterans and animal rescue organizations in New York City and Los Angeles. Dr. Belisa is an outspoken advocate of organ donation and dedicated her first book to Liamslife.org

Dr. Belisa was the former Director of Breathing Science at The Ash Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, and has served as an advisor for the Fitness Institute for Gold’s Gym. She was previously the Health and Sex Editor at Men’s Fitness Magazine, an expert for Men’s Health, and Shape magazine, an advice columnist for the New York Daily News, and Foxnews.com. She was the Director of Public Education at the Mental Health Association of NYC; taught at New York University, was a consultant at the National Mental Health Association in Washington, DC; director of an outpatient clinic at Jacobi Hospital Center, Bronx, NY; a school psychologist in the South Bronx; and part of the Brooklyn Aids Task Force supporting parolees and their families.

Dr. Belisa’s book for children The Belly Breath will be available Spring 2019; Breathing for Warriors (St. Martin’s Press) is due out Fall 2019.

Dr Belisa’s website:


Dr Belisa’s Book:

Breathe: The simple, revolutionary 14 day program to improve your mental and physical health.

Dr Belisa’s Ted Talk:


Other Recommended Books:

She Comes First - Ian Kirner

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles - Steven Pressfield

My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Laura Hillenbrand

Short Stories - Roald Dahl

Recommended Movies:

The Florida Project

Fight Club

High Maintenance (HBO TV Show)

Choke: Rickson Gracie Documentary

Episode 165 - Jimmy Santiago Baca


Born in 1952 in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at 13 ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother had placed him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His semiautobiographical novel in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley (1987), received the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 1989. In addition to over a dozen books of poetry, he has published memoirs, essays, stories, and a screenplay, Bound by Honor (1993), which was made into a feature-length film directed by Taylor Hackford.

Baca’s work is concerned with social justice and revolves around the marginalized and disenfranchised, treating themes of addiction, community, and the American Southwest barrios. In a Callaloo interview with John Keene, Baca claims, “I approach language as if it will contain who I am as a person”—a statement that reflects the poet’s interest in the transformative and generative power of language. Immigrants in Our Own Land (1979, 1991) was Baca’s first significant collection, one based on his imprisonment. In the Encyclopedia of American Literature, Catherine Hardy wrote that the poems in the volume “reveal an honest, passionate voice and powerful imagery full of the dark jewels of the American Southwest landscape (llanos, mesas, and chiles) and the chaotic urban landscape (nightclubs, rusty motors, and bricks) woven into a rich lyricism sprinkled with Spanish.”

Baca’s other poetry titles include Healing Earthquakes (2001), C-Train & 13 Mexicans (2002), Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande (2004), and Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande (2007). In addition to the American Book Award, Baca has received a Pushcart Prize and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. His memoir, A Place to Stand (2001), garnered the International Prize. In 2006, Baca was awarded the Cornelius P. Turner Award, which honors GED graduates who have made “outstanding contributions” in areas such as education, justice, and social welfare.

Baca has conducted writing workshops in prisons, libraries, and universities across the country for more than 30 years. In 2004 he launched Cedar Tree, a literary nonprofit designed to provide writing workshops, training, and outreach programs for at-risk youth, prisoners and ex-prisoners, and disadvantaged communities. Baca holds a BA in English and an honorary PhD in literature from the University of New Mexico.

Jimmy’s Website:


Jimmy’s latest book now available:

When I Walk Through That Door, I Am: An Immigrant Mother's Quest

Episode 163 - Dr Dan Pronk


Dr Dan Pronk completed his medical schooling on an Australian Army scholarship and served the majority of his military career with Special Operations Units, including four tours of Afghanistan and over 100 combat missions. Dr Pronk was awarded the Commendation for Distinguished Service for his conduct in action on his second tour of Afghanistan. During his military service Dr Pronk served as an Australian medical liaison to the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, as well as representing Australian Special Operations at the NATO Special Operations Forces Medical Expert Panel.

Dr Pronk holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and is an instructor on the Royal Australian College of Surgeon's Early Management of Severe Trauma Course. Dr Pronk currently works as a Senior Medical Officer in the Emergency Department of a regional hospital and serves as the Medical Director for TacMed Australia, providing tactical medical advice and training to a number of Police Tactical Groups and Other Government Agencies.

TacMed Website:






Dan’s Book:

Average 70kg Dickhead: Motivational Lessons from an Ex-Army Special Forces Doctor

Other Recommended Books:

The Crossroad - Mark Donaldson

Tribe - Sebastian Junger

Knife Edge: Life as a Special Forces Surgeon - Richard N. Villar

Outliers - Malcom Gladwell

Training at the Speed of Life, Volume One: The Definitive Textbook for Military and Reality Based Training - Kenneth R. Murray

Chickenhawk - Robert Mason

My War Gone By, I Miss It So - Anthony Loyd

Recommended Documentary:

Voodoo Medics

Recommended Movie:

Point Break

Episode 161 - Dr David Black


Dr. David Black is the CEO of Cordico, a company that designs customized mobile wellness apps giving first responders 24/7/365 on-demand, confidential access to life-saving wellness tools and professional resources. He leads a team of highly experienced psychologists serving more than 100 public safety agencies and regularly speaks on topics spanning first responder wellness, leadership, peer support, trauma, and mass casualty events.

Dr. Black is a Board Member of the National Sheriffs Association Psychological Services Group, serves as the Chair of Technology, and served on two recent International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) committees designing policy and guidelines for officer-involved shootings and other serious incidents.

Cordico Website:


Firefighter Wellness App:


Law Enforcement Wellness App:


Recommended Book:

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families - Kevin M. Gilmartin

Recommended Movie:

Free Solo

Episode 160 - Mark Ormrod


In the early hours of Christmas Eve 2007, Royal Marines Commando Mark Ormrod was out on a routine foot patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when he stepped on and triggered an Improvised Explosive Device. Thanks to the swift action of the men around him and the intervention of the Medical Emergency Response Team he was airlifted via helicopter to an emergency field hospital in a desperate attempt to try and save his life. An innovative and dangerous procedure carried out onboard a Chinook helicopter en route to the hospital did save his life. He woke up three days later in the UK in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham: Both legs amputated above the knee and his right arm amputated above the elbow. He was the UK’s first triple amputee to survive the Afghanistan conflict.

During his recovery the doctors told him that he’d never walk again and that he should prepare himself for the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Now it would have been understandable for Mark to bitterly withdraw in a state of anger and depression and to resign himself to live life on the sidelines. It would have been easy for him to cash in his disability pension and whittle away the days, forever regretting the decision to join the Marines and to deploy to Afghanistan, but he didn’t. To the contrary he used his set back as a springboard for growth and reinvention.

Today, Mark Ormrod is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, a peak performance coach, and the author of the award winning auto-biography Man Down. He is a source of daily inspiration for the thousands of people who follow him on Social Media. He has three children, a beautiful wife and an insatiable lust for life. He is a relentless charitable fund-raiser and a daredevil who has performed stunts that many able bodied athletes would find daunting. He has not used a wheel chair since June 9th 2009 and he jokes about the fact that children call him Iron-Man because of his high-tech prosthetics legs. As well as a peak performance coach he is a mentor and a role model to other amputees and an ambassador for the Royal Marines Association. His sense of humour is only equalled by his sense of wonder, love for learning and love for life.

Mark Ormrod turned his personal tragedy into an on going story of personal success and he is now committed to helping others who may have suffered setbacks or feel they are not yet achieving their maximum potential to take charge of their lives, unleash their personal power and live a life with#NoLimits

Mark’s Website:


The Royal Marines Charity website:


Mark’s Fundraiser:


Mark’s Book:

Man Down

Other Recommended Books:

Awaken The Giant Within - Tony Robbins

Recommended Movies:


Terminator 2

Recommended Documentary:

I am not your Guru

Episode 159 - Dr Stasha Gominak


Dr. Gominak grew up and attended college in California, moved to Houston for medical school at Baylor College of Medicine, where she received an MD degree in 1983. Her Neurology residency was done at the Harvard affiliated, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She practiced Neurology in the San Francisco Bay area from 1991-2004 then moved with her husband to Tyler, Texas. From 2004 to 2016 she had a busy general neurology practice where she became fascinated with sleep and sleep disorders.

Using her patients’ observations about their sleep she published two pivotal articles about the global struggle with worsening sleep, the possible causes and solutions. In 2016 she retired from her office practice to have more time to teach. She currently divides her time between teaching the public about sleep in virtual coaching sessions and teaching other clinicians the RightSleep® method of sleep repair.

Dr Gominak’s website:


Recommended books:

The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting - Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore

Recommended Television:

Ted Talks

Recommended Documentary:


Episode 157 - Mandi and Brett Thomas


Mandi Thomas was born in Minot, ND but grew up in New Mexico. An Air Force brat turned Army Airborne Interrogator/Russian linguist veteran, Mandi Brett in language school in Monterey, CA. They were married in 2005. They have two daughters, aged 12 and 9. Mandi has been a personal trainer for 11 years and is a Crossfit Level 2 coach. She is currently a probationary firefighter with St Johns County.

Brett was born and raised in Orange Park, Fl. He served in the Marine Corps as a Russian Cryptologic Linguist from 2002-2007. He immediately went to EMT and fire school after leaving the Marine Corps and began working for Gainesville Fire and Rescue in January 2009. Brett also has been a SWAT medic for four years.

Recommended Books:

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Gates of Fire - Steven Pressfield

Bravo Two Zero - Andy McNab

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win - Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The Mission, The Men, and Me - Pete Blaber

It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy - D Michael Abrashoff Captain

Recommended Movies:


Episode 156 - Dr Ben Sessa


Dr Ben Sessa is a consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions, working part-time at Addaction in Weston-Super-Mare and is senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff and Imperial College London Universities, where he is currently taking time of clinical medical practice to study towards a PhD in MDMA Psychotherapy. He has specialist training as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and is interested in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental health disorders. Dr Sessa’s joint interests in psychotherapy, pharmacology and trauma have lead him towards researching the subject of drug-assisted psychotherapy using psychedelic adjuncts.

He is the author of two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and is currently conducting research with Imperial College London and Cardiff universities studying the potential role for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome. Dr Sessa is outspoken on lobbying for change in the current system by which drugs are classified in the UK, believing a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of recreational drug use. He is a co-founder and director of the UK’s Breaking Convention conference.





Dr Sessa’s Book:

The Psychedelic Renaissance

Recommended Documentary:

Magic Medicine

Episode 155 - Royce Gracie


Royce Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is one of nine children, seven of whom are boys. His training in Jiu-Jitsu began at a very early age as a game with his father Helio. He never pushed any of the children to take formal classes until they wanted to do so. However, they often went to the Academy in Rio after school and on weekends.

Royce began competing in tournaments at age eight. He received his blue belt at age 16 and was promoted to black belt in less than two years. Royce moved to the United States at age 18 to live with his brother, Rorion. They began teaching private classes out of their garage, sometimes for more than ten hours a day.  Together they opened the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy 30 years ago in Torrance, California. Although Royce no longer teaches there because of his rigorous travel schedule, it remains one of the largest martial arts schools in the country.

Royce’s reputable career as a fighter began in 1993 after defeating three opponents in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in Denver, Colorado. His brother Rorion came up with this innovative challenge as a way to show Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. Discipline after discipline was defeated by the slight 6’1”, 180 pound Royce Gracie.  The viewers were in awe.

His opponents consistently outweighed him by more than 50 pounds. He went on to win 3 UFC titles and today is the only man in the history of no holds barred matches to successfully defeat four opponents in one night.  After leaving the UFC Royce went on to compete in MMA events in Japan and is a huge icon in this country.

Royce holds the record for the longest MMA match in history: 90 minutes against Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba in PRIDE Grand PRIX 2000. He also showed total domination of the Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida.  His largest opponent was Sumo Grand Champion Akebono, 6′ 8″ 486lbs. Royce vs. Akebono was the main event of K-1 Premium Dynamite New Years Eve show on New Year’s Eve in 2004. Royce defeated the giant in just 2min and 13sec with a shoulder lock.  Royce’s continued success has opened the eyes of many disbelievers to the importance of leverage and technique in grappling.

In November of 2003, Royce Gracie was the first fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame along with fellow UFC veteran Ken Shamrock.  Since then Royce’s face has has been seen on countless martial arts magazines such as Black Belt, Inside MMA and Tapout.  He has also been featured in Men’s Health and Fitness and GQ and continues to give magazine and radio interviews.  His recognition spans the globe to include fans on most every continent.  In 2014 Royce was named one of the 50 Greatest Athletes in the World by Sports Illustrated.

Today Royce is privileged to spread the techniques perfected by his father all over the world. Throughout his busy fighting career Royce has maintained a rigorous travel schedule of seminars and classes.  He currently oversees  more than 55 US and international Royce Gracie Jiu-jitsu Networks.  The techniques of Gracie Jiiu-jitsu have become mainstream in most martial arts dojos.  Fighters everywhere are racing to learn and implement this jiu-jitsu in their training regimen.

His list of students is enormous. Royce has taught many of the big screen greats like Chuck Norris, Ed O’Neal, Guy Ritchie, Jim Carrey, Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Cage. He has also been very active with the CIA, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and many sheriff and police departments.  His G.R.A.C.I.E. course for law enforcement has gained international recognition. Aside from teaching at his Networks across the United States, he regularly visits Canada, England, Scotland, Portugal, Spain, Israel, Australia, UAE and South America.

Royce makes his home in Southern California with his wife, Marianne, three sons, Khonry, Khor and Kheydon and daughter, Kharianna.  He maintains an impressive training regimen, which includes running, weight training, cross training, meditation and countless hours of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He is a full time professional athlete who eagerly awaits his next challenge. Recently he completed a 40 mile run with his long time trainer, James Strom.  In Royce’s own words, “Go ahead, tell me what I can’t do!”

Royce’s Website:


Instagram: @realroyce

Recommended Book:

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford

Recommended Movies:


The Last of the Mohicans

The Godfather

Recommended Documentary:


Episode 154 - Richard Aceves


Richard Aceves has a diverse athletic background that started with powerlifting, which provided him with a solid strength foundation. However, when he discovered his passion for rock climbing and mountaineering, he had to find a new way to train that would complement these sports. Crossfit was it! Richard started Crossfit in 2007 and was immediately addicted to the push that the sport provided while allowing him to maintain most of his strength and still build endurance and stamina necessary for high peaks and long climbs.

In 2009, Richard was hit by a boulder on Pico De Orizaba in Mexico. After four months in bed pondering what to do with his life, he realized that teaching others and pushing them way beyond their limits was what he

was put on this earth to do. Since then, Richard has worked tirelessly in understanding the human body and its mechanics, as well as, working towards becoming an elite powerlifter, professional GRID athlete, and attempting to get his pro card for Strongman. He is adept at identifying the missing link and targeting it, so that athletes can perform better and with less chance of injury. He is adamant that his athletes build a solid foundation and have a clear understanding of the mechanics required to exercise correctly. His number one priority as a coach is making sure his athletes are healthy and safe.

E-mail - richard@strongfit.com

Instagram - @rarebarracuda

StrongFit Website:


Recommended Book:

Ego is the Enemy - Ryan Holiday

Recommended Movie:

Boondock Saints

Recommended Documentary:

180 Degrees

Episode 153 - Jessie Salas


Jessie Salas is a retired seventeen year veteran of the fire service. His career included five years in Orlando FD’s Special Operations team. He now tours the world as a master instructor and program director of Foundation Training.

Foundation Training website:






Recommended Books:

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and what the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves - James Nestor

Natural Born Heroes - Christopher McDougall

Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 - Lieutenant Nicholas Reynolds

Tribe - Sebastian Junger

Episode 151 - Dr Judith Glick-Smith


Judith Glick Smith Ph.D. has been a communication expert, knowledge architect and organizational development consultant since 1983. She is the founder of MentorFactor, Inc., which focuses on helping organizations facilitate flow-based work environments. Judy has been studying flow-based decision making and leadership in the fire service since 2007.

Dr Judy’s Website:


Dr Judy’s email:


Dr Judy’s Book:

Flow Based Leadership.

Other recommended books:

Barn Boss Leadership: Make a Difference - Brian Ward

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone - Brené Brown

Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Leadership Lessons of the U. S. Navy Seals - Jeff Cannon

The Death of Expertise - Tom Nichols

Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger - Dick Couch

Recommended Movies:

Star Trek

Star Wars

Love Actually

City Slickers

Recommended Documentaries:

A Place to Stand


Food Inc

Episode 150 - Chris Bell


Chris Bell is a documentary film maker who wrote and directed the 2008 Sundance hit feature documentary “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”. The film earned him accolades from filmmakers Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, as well as critics Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin.

Also known for his films “Prescription Thugs” and “Trophy Kids”, Chris recently released “A Leaf of Faith”. This full length documentary explores the plant based supplement Kratom, which seemingly provides relief from pain, anxiety, depression, addiction and more.

Uban Ice Organics Website for Kratom. (Use the discount code “aleafoffaith” for 20% off


Recommended Books:

War on Carbs - Mark Bell

Why We Get Fat - Gary Taubes

The point of no returns - Mr Bell Sr

Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World - Robert McKee and Thomas Gerace

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles - Steven Pressfield

Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You - Robb Wolf

The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever - Mark Sisson

Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor - William Davis

Episode 149 - Sgt (Ret) Kirstie Ennis


After being injured in Afghanistan and forced into a medical retirement, Kirstie Ennis needed to figure how she was going to continue serving people.  After recognizing non-profits who needed support raising awareness and fundraising, Kirstie decided to take action. The non-profits are ones that Kirstie proudly stands behind.  In order to legitimize her efforts in fundraising and to fairly distribute the funds behind climbing, The Kirstie Ennis Foundation was incorporated.

In the early stages of her recovery, Kirstie relied heavily to get back to being who she really was. Thanks to the outdoors Kirstie does more now on one leg than she ever even dreamed of doing on two.  Kirstie wants to provide opportunity in the outdoors, and ultimately opportunity for the rest of peoples lives. The possibilities in the outdoors are endless.

Kirstie Ennis Foundation Website:


Recommended Book:

Make Your Bed - William H. McRaven

Recommended Movies:


Charlie Wilson’s War

Episode 148 - Drew Stokes


Drew Stokes, Aviation Enforcement Agent for Air and Marine Operations.  I have just over twenty seven years of government service, veteran of the US Coast Guard.  Grew up in Winston-Salem, NC and currently live in Jacksonville, FL.  Huge fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and any type of Motorsports and I'm completely all-in on the Crossfit lifestyle.  I have a bachelor's degree in Homeland Security and instruct various disciplines within Air and Marine Operations.  I'm married to my wife Amanda and we have three wonderful dogs Craig, Murph, and Gringo.

Contact Drew:


Recommended Books:

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

Extreme Ownership - Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle - Gary Brozek, Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves, and Thomas Howes

Recommended Movie:

Forrest Gump

Recommended Television:


Episode 147 - Ryan Pennington


Ryan Pennington is a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Charleston Fire Department in Charleston West Virginia. He is currently assigned to Station 8 and is part of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. He has over 15 years of combined Fire, Rescue and EMS experience.

Ryan started with a local volunteer department and continued through EMS to spend five years as a Critical Care Paramedic. Ryan transferred to the career fire service in 2003 and has worked for the City of Charleston since 2007. Ryan is currently a WV State Instructor 2, Hazmat Technician, and Certified Fire Officer 2. He is very involved teaching EMS and firefighter safety around the country.

Ryan’s Website:


Recommended Books:

Crushing It! - Gary Vaynerchuk

Recommended Movie:

Heartbreak Ridge

Recommended Documentary:

Sherpa - Trouble on Everest