Who’s hijacking the internet?
It started out, you’d pick up a phone and you’d call or text one other person. But now, we’re all in these separate little online groups.
We’re connected but it’s also been co-opted. And it attacks us from so many different directions.
And no matter how much they try to bury us, we can still find each other, we just might need to try a little bit harder.
Well, I’m happy to say that returning to the show today is long-time friend, fellow podcaster, and multi-talented maniac Vinnie Tortorich.
Vinnie is a Celebrity Fitness Trainer, speaker, cancer survivor, bestselling author, and creator of the hit documentary FAT: A Documentary.
And as usual, he holds no punches in today’s interview.
Vinnie is a OG trainer and coach for 30+ years, training Hollywood comedians and celebrities like Howie Mandel, playmates, captains of industry, ultra-athletes, Ironman triathletes, and even pregnant moms.
And on today’s show, we’re chatting about:
- Mass shadowbanning and censorship of leaders in health and fitness
- The mystery of the disappearing Wikipedia pages
- Why you should stop everything you’re doing right now and go watch FAT: A Documentary
- How to stay fit during lockdown
- Why jumping rope isn’t just for little girls
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Vinnie.
Vinnie Tortorich: Fitness Confidential & FAT: A Documentary
Abel: Alright folks, returning to the show today is best-selling author, documentarian, and host of the Fitness Confidential podcast.
Vinnie Tortorich has been a personal trainer for more than three decades working with everyone from at-home moms to Hollywood celebrities, and he is very angry that your good intentions have been stolen.
Vinnie, thanks so much for coming back on the show, man.
Hey. Well, I feel like we’re real friends, man. We’ve been doing this for 8 or 9 years now.
And it’s funny just listening to you give me an introduction is a little strange because when I started this, I was still training people full-time.
That was my job. I didn’t do anything else.
And so that was true, and you could have called me a podcaster, but people laughed at podcasters 8 or 9 years ago.
Abel: They did, yeah.
They all thought we were like Travis Bickle in our mother’s basement, that kind of thing.
You know what I mean?
It was like, “Ma, I’m doing a show down here.” That kind of reproach.
If you said “podcast” to people, they just automatically thought, “What is that? Like a hand operated radio? What is this loser talking about?”
Abel: For sure.
Now, I’ll show up somewhere and somebody goes, “This guy is a podcaster.”
And they’ll go, “Really? What’s it like? How do you guys do it?”
People are interested in it.
I think once they did Google CarPlay in cars and people started buying those cars and they had a few years to find it, we became more popular.
Maybe you have a different view on it, but now I’ll look at it, I go, “Wow, he’s right, I’m a podcaster.”
And that’s actually kind of cool now with the kids.
Abel: Yeah, man. I think it was actually Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel were talking about this way back where they said that what it used to be is ABC, NBC, and CBS, and the rest of them.
And you’d just get a few, and what it’s turning into is more just like people with 30,000 followers, or 10,000 or 100,000, or 1 million or whatever.
And it’s just like, all these little niches and communities doing it together instead of this 1 or 3 people broadcasting to everyone. And I think that’s true.
Yeah, and the world was changed because of it.
I know this isn’t coming out for several weeks, but in light of what’s going on right now we’re on a cross-roads.
We’re at a crossroads of COVID-19 and this Black Lives Matter thing is cropped up because of the murder of this poor black man, and the world is different.
And Serena and I were talking about it and she goes, “Why does it just seem to be such more? Everything seems to be so much more.”
We used to call it the flu, now we call it COVID-19 is going to kill everyone.
And in fact, now looking back on it, “Wait a minute, it didn’t kill everyone.”
And we were supposed to be locked down, but then something bigger happened, so now we’re doing that.
And she goes, “How does it happen so fast?”
And I said, “It’s this little 2 x 4 inch piece of glass that we all have sitting next to us.”
We’re all Walter Cronkite, in our own world now.
Does anyone know who Walter Cronkite is? We’re all people in this way, I don’t know who he is either.
Pick one of the ones that are around today. Don Lemon, I guess, I don’t know. We’re all Don Lemon.
So, that’s where we are now, everybody has their own little media outlet and it’s so damn portable. We could take it anywhere and I like it.
Good things come out of it. Bad things come out of it.
But all in all, I like the process of everyone gets to have a vote type of thing.
I could be completely wrong by the way.
Abel: Well, I like the idea of that. I think the issue is, and this is another thing that we’re actually going to plan on talking about today, is how the internet is hijacked.
How it started out as like you’d pick up a phone and you’d call one other person or you’d text one other person.
Now, there are all these different platforms and intermediaries and feeds, and you’re connected in this group with your friends, but one of them may be shadowbanned, or he’s not allowed to post today.
Someone else might be completely censored, or they just don’t participate in that one platform because they don’t agree with what the founder stands for or whatever, so they’re only on this other platform.
We are in these separate groups, we’re kind of separated.
We’re connected but it’s also co-opted, like the message a lot of times is co-opted by marketing, and I know you have a lot to say about that.
Yeah, look, I saw it in a big way with the movie, the FAT: A Documentary movie.
Abel: Great, by the way, everyone go watch FAT: A Documentary, easy to find, easy to watch, or at least it used to be easy to find.
It is still easy to find, but at the beginning, we got pushed around pretty good.
It first went up on three platforms, I think it’s on 68 different platforms.
And that’s not counting airliners, but no one’s really flying right now.
Still, Steiner International put it on airlines all over the world, people say, “Hey, I was on Emirates airlines and there it was, and I was in India and there it was.”
So when that kind of thing happens, you go, “Wow! The power of the internet.”
But when it was just Amazon, iTunes, and Vimeo, Vimeo put it up correctly and figured out a spot for it.
iTunes put it up under documentaries, which was great.
But Amazon accidentally put a movie called FAT: A Documentary, the word ‘documentary’ is in the title of the movie, they put it into sports and leisure or something like that.
And then, I think it was into comedy for a while, and action-adventure.
Because we sold this thing to a bigger company, to a big distribution, Gravitas, to get off.
And I was on the phone with the president of Gravitas every day, and he was like, “This is the darndest thing. They keep putting it in the wrong category.”
We keep telling them, the movie’s called FAT: A Documentary. It’s in fact a documentary.
And by the way, I was in on every e-mail going to Amazon and they were like, “Oh yeah, our bad,” and then they would put it in another wrong category.
But you see, when a movie like that comes on, people want to watch the movie, enough people went and searched it out and found it, and then Amazon couldn’t deny what was going on.
They went, “Oh wait, this idiot does have an audience and people do care about this, this idea.”
So then, they put us in documentaries, it shot right to the top of documentaries.
And then they put it in Amazon Prime, which is kind of like being on Netflix, if you will, because people really find it there.
But it was a tough row to hoe. It didn’t just happen, which is kind of weird and scary. That goes on.
Abel: And there’s not much we can do about that, and it attacks us from so many different directions.
Amazon, for example, hosts our website and pretty much everyone’s website.
They sell all of the books at this point because they put all the mom-and-pops out of business and the competition.
Now, if the same is true with documentaries and all these other various things. And so, one company controlling all those things, if they, for whatever reason, decide that they don’t like you or you tick them off or that you’re not one of the chosen ones, they can bury you and make you disappear forever.
And that is the scary part, because these platforms are doing that.
Who’s Hijacking the Internet?
And to your point, Vinnie, thankfully, we both, I believe, experienced that from a bunch of different platforms, a bunch of different directions, as have a lot of our friends and peers.
But the work that we’ve done, like you said, we’ve been doing this for a while, you a lot longer than I have, we’ve connected with a lot of people and they don’t forget.
They don’t forget losing 100 pounds and keeping it off, and reframing the way that they think about life and food and whatever.
So, no matter how much they try to bury us, we can still find each other, we just might need to try a little bit harder.
Well, and there’s enough platforms to go around.
There’s a different side of it, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this one yet.
But I, unbeknownst to me years ago, I ended up on Wikipedia. Someone just told me on a tweet one day, “Hey dude, you got a Wikipedia page.”
Abel: Yeah, that happened to me, too.
How does that happen?
And so I went on the Wikipedia and there I was.
I found out what happened and how I ended up with a Wikipedia page.
Most home towns, most towns around America may have a Wikipedia page. And they named famous people from my home town, Donaldsonville.
Now, you don’t have to do anything very famous when you come from a town on the bayou.
Basically, if you cut the longest fart, you could be one of the more famous people in that town. So you don’t actually have to be famous.
And Donaldsonville has a Wikipedia, and they mention famous people, and most of them were football players that either made it to college and or to the pros.
And my home town had a lot of guys that went pro in football, and for a small town that’s kind of heavy, but it’s the Deep South, and everybody plays ball and what have you.
But I wrote a best-selling book, so like I said, I beat the guy who’s farting in town.
So, by definition, you write a best-seller, and by the way, it was my second book, so I was an author of two books.
I wrote a children’s book before.
I guess someone thought, “Hey, Vinnie is one of the more famous people that came from there,” and they put me in that Wikipedia.
Because of that, one of my nephews, I found out later, one of my nephews started my Wikipedia page.
But then, students of mine from Newman School where I taught, the Manning kids, Peyton Manning and all that. Those kids started adding to it.
And then, some other people saw it and started to go, “Oh, he used to train Playmates in Beverly Hills, I was one of the Playmates,” and she added to it.
And then, some of the people went, “Oh yeah, he also trained all these actors.”
And so, my Wikipedia page it also said that I was in a relationship with Serena Scott Thomas, the woman who’s been my partner in life now for 12 years.
Oddly enough, my Wikipedia page was pretty sturdy and they had almost every fact correct.
The only fact that was not correct in my whole Wikipedia, is that they said that I was friends with Michael Chiklis, who I’ve never met.
Don’t ask. Michael Chiklis, the guy who plays the Commish? I don’t know the guy, I’ve never met him.
And so that Wikipedia got added to over the years, and it was pretty robust.
And then one day, somebody on Twitter, because I learned everything from Twitter, said, “Hey man, your Wikipedia page just went away.”
And I was like, “Oh, there you go.”
And then he wrote back, he goes, “As a matter of fact, it went away, and there’s a new page called RationalWiki, and they have a really bad review of you up there.”
I was like, “How did all that happen?”
So I went on and sure enough my Wikipedia page has gone away, and there was something called RationalWiki that pretty much called me a nut in every which way you could call someone a nut.
And so I searched Serena Scott Thomas’ page. It was still up, but I was erased from being in her life, on her page.
Right. They reverted back to her ex-husband as the relationship. Her last relationship.
And I went to the Donaldsonville Wikipedia page, my hometown. Wiped off of that.
So, you tell me what happened.
Abel: I’ll tell you Vinnie, that it happened to me, too.
Sounds like it happened around the same time when I did that TV show on ABC.
Abel: It did really well. Millions of people watched it.
So, some of them made a Wikipedia page for me, and The Wild Diet also did really well that year.
It was #7 in Google Trends. And then a similar thing happened, my Wikipedia page was deleted.
Our traffic going to our website, millions and millions of people, 90% of them disappeared, gone, dried up.
My social media accounts that all had at the time, around 30, 40, 50,000, maybe 100,000 followers. “Buuuk.”
It’s like someone hit the pause button 2 or 3 years ago, and all of my accounts have either stayed the same or lost followers ever since then.
And so, I can’t tell you exactly what happened, Vinnie, but I can tell you it’s happened to me, and it’s happened to a lot of other people we know.
And I was wondering, what is that?
Did somehow someone decide that we are activists instead of health people at some point or something?
And they want to prevent us from saying crazy stuff?
Someone left this comment that came on my blog and said this.
They said, “It’s so funny, Abel, that you’re considered alternative now and a rebel because all these things our grandparents just used to do is common sense.”
And I think that’s what’s also happening.
Yeah, it’s funny because my podcast can generate over a million downloads a month, and I do 5 shows a week.
So you look at that and you go, “Okay, there has to be a couple hundred thousand people paying attention.”
Just like you, my Twitter account seems to stay right at 30-something thousand people.
Abel: Same as John Durant, same as me, Robb Wolf has that.
It’s like somewhere around 20,000 and 30,000, they’re like, “Nope, you stop right here,” and nobody sees you anymore.
I just started the Instagram thing about a year or two ago, and after a couple of days, it went from zero to a couple of thousand and a few more thousand.
Within a few months it was up to 17,000.
You hit a certain number and then all of a sudden it’s like, “Bloop, enough.”
And it all just levels off, and it just stops.
Okay, well, why is everything else doing great, right?
How can I measure these algorithms over here?
My Amazon numbers keep going up based on the number of sales I get through my website. And I see the number of people coming in on the podcast.
Yet everything else stops, and goes in reverse a little bit.
And you sit there and you go, “Okay, I’m not a conspiracy theorist.”
And by the way, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, his Wikipedia apparently went away the same day mine went away.
I’ve had people contact them to say, “Hey, what happened here?”
And they said, “We couldn’t substantiate anything about this guy.”
Abel: That’s what they said about me, too. There was like no proof.
I couldn’t prove that I was me or something.
And it’s like, “Pretty sure I’m me. I’m pretty sure all this stuff happened. Here are all the links on the New York Times, on ABC, on Fox.”
Like, “Here are all the links.” Some of those disappeared, too.
In fact, some of those things, like that list the 100 most influential people in health, those have also disappeared.
Yeah, they just go away. They just magically go away.
So, if you’re trying to tell me it’s a fair game, it’s not. It’s not.
At first they left us alone because they’re like, “Oh, they’ll just tire out. This is just a fad and it’s going to go away.”
But it’s not a fad, and it’s not going away.
And it’s because of people like yourself and me and a bunch of others you just mentioned, we’re pushing this ahead.
It’s like, “Hey, you guys can take your little platforms and go home.”
Guess what? If you guys are going to do that to your platforms, other platforms are going to come and start kicking your ass.
Everything is moving.
And when the next platform comes up, if I see it first, you can better believe I’m going to be calling the Abel Jameses of the world.
And I’m sure if you see the next platform, you’ll be calling the Vinnie Tortoriches of the world, because we were all here 8, 9 years ago.
As I tell people today, I was afraid back then to use the word ketogenic because everyone was, “Oh these people are crazy, that’s ketoacidosis. They’re going to kill you.”
Which, nothing could be further from the truth, but that was a scary word.
When I wrote Fitness Confidential, you have to figure it was written about 10 years ago now, when I was doing the actual writing.
I didn’t want the word “ketogenic” to show up in it.
That was a scary thing.
Abel: Yeah. I still don’t use that word. I rarely use “keto.” Well and I rarely used “paleo“ too, after a time.
When you start to see these things going in wacky directions, words have become hairy.
You’re very great with words, especially someone with comedic talent like you, knows how important it is to be precise with your words, to be accurate when you can.
Also that same word can have many, multiple and sometimes opposite meanings.
And one of the problems I think that’s happened recently is people have different meanings for these words and they’re trying to have conversations over social media, and they’re getting more divided than ever.
And instead of learning something, like we’re supposed to by connecting, we’re just getting pissed and fighting.
Yeah, and it shouldn’t be that way. I’m not sure why it has to be that way.
One guy in the local community, I won’t mention his name because I really don’t have a problem with this guy, but he thought that I had done something to injure him furthering his career.
And I won’t even say what it is because it would give light as to who the guy is.
But he had me on his podcast. And I was just on the podcast promoting the movie, and he tried to hang me out to dry.
Abel: Ah, that sucks.
He caught me in that. Yeah, I was like, “I don’t know.”
First off, you have to understand, he waited ’til the end of the show and he brought the question up and I didn’t know what he was talking about.
So I kind of went, “What? What are you saying now?”
And, “Dude, I have no idea,” and I started stuttering because I had no idea what he was talking about.
It wasn’t that I had some knowledge and I was trying to make up a story, I had zero knowledge of what he was talking about.
So when he brought it up, I was like, “Yeah, I know that guy, but, no. What you’re asking me just didn’t happen.”
No, and I’m still looking at that and I go, “Man, are we starting to eat our own now?”
I was doing this guy’s show because as you know, you and I used to do this all the time.
You do my show. It helps me and it helps you. I do your show. It helps me and it helps you.
It just does. I was doing this guy’s show because I want more people to see my movie, and it would help him to have me on his show. I’m content, right?
But he thought it would be a good idea to make me never want to speak to him again.
That’s insane. That’s just insane.
Abel: Well, people are, like you said, they’ve all got their own little broadcast studios in their pockets now, but they don’t necessarily have the skill set to handle that.
And I think this is also something that we’re seeing. Even in the CrossFit and paleo movements, people have ruined their careers in a tweet or one post, like multiple people, multiple times. Everyone’s kind of doing it now.
And I think one of the reasons is because we’re not really prepared for the consequences of saying one thing, one time and being on the hook for it forever. Because it never used to be like that.
That’s not really fair, necessarily.
And especially when people are taken out of context.
Twitter especially loves to take things out of context, it’s ridiculous.
It makes us all look like idiots, but all the social media platforms do that and it’s really dangerous to everyone because even people who are my friends, sometimes they come at me.
But the only time, as I recall, that’s ever happened is when they misunderstood something that I said or they got something that was only a tiny little piece with zero context, and that’s extremely damaging now.
Also, I want to say that people with the ability just to tweet anything or say anything, be careful with that.
Be very careful with that because, Vinnie, you were on TV. I was on TV.
When you’re on TV, you know you’re on TV. There are 100 people there and all these cameras and lights.
When you’re on your phone and you’re a little drunk or you’re taking a number, or something like that, you want to think that it doesn’t matter, it still matters though and there are major consequences.
Yeah, I’ve gotten hung out to dry a few times on Twitter by clicking “Like” on something.
Abel: Right, me too. Yeah.
As you know, I answer a lot of tweets every day. Almost every one of them that comes in, unless it was completely off-base and I’ll just block them or just pass it by.
Abel: Dude, you’re hilarious on Twitter. I love seeing you interact with people.
Some days I’m there and I want to start drinking and I’m going through really fast.
And if you don’t read all the way through, you might read, “Blah blah blah blah blah blah.”
And then sometimes then I’ll press like and I’ll go to the next one, “But wait. Did I just read that correctly?” And I go back.
Abel: Right, right.
And go, “No, maybe I should take my little heart away from this one because it could go in the wrong direction.”
Abel: Yeah, sometimes I hit that little heart thing, but only because I want to save it for later or keep track of it.
And I learned pretty quick, you’re not supposed to do that.
Because I think it was Richard Nikoley, who’s a friend of mine, but he’s known for dabbling in the edges.
He’s just like, “I can’t believe that Abel agreed with this stupid…”
I can’t even remember what it was, some political thing or whatever. I didn’t even agree with it.
I’m just like, “Oh, look at this crazy stuff that this person just said. Let’s keep that for later.”
“Because I don’t want to lose track of this, but I also don’t want to retweet it, I don’t want to give it any juice, but I don’t want to forget about it.”
And so, that’s another thing, everyone uses these platforms a little bit differently. But we don’t know that.
And people ask me, it was like,”You seem to always handle it really well. How do you do that?”
And usually if someone comes after me, usually it’s the vegans. It’s one of the vegan doctors.
They’ll come at me and they’ll say something, and I’ll just get in their face and go, “F*#k you.”
Just, “F*#k you.”
And you have to fight crazy with crazy.
If you’re going to get in my face, I’m going to get right back in your face.
Now, what are you going to do about it?
You want to keep taking a swim around this lake or, how do you want to handle this?
Because I’ll keep doing laps with you until you run out of gas.
And I’m not fun.
Abel: Yeah, well, there are also different types of people who are interacting with you. And I’ve been—more than ever in the past couple of months, especially as the world burns all around us—engaging with the haters.
They’re either bots who are only there to be a bot army to make you look bad—and so they disappear or they don’t make any sense—or they’re people who are just trying to get you to clarify a little bit.
And most of those people who I’ve engaged with, now they’re the ones getting my back.
When other people misunderstand me, they get my back, even though we started off disagreeing about this stuff.
When you confront crazy with crazy or you kind of meet them where they are on their terms, I’ve been amazed by how many friendships have started that way.
Before I met Paul Saladino and some of the other cool people in the carnivore movement, a bunch of carnivores came at me. I think just because I was talking to a guy who was a dad on my podcast about dad bods.
“But since you’re not a dad, you can’t talk about dad bods.” And they started flaming me and all this stuff.
But then engaging with them, they’re all super cool people, and I’ve really enjoyed making some friends with these different people. It’s very clicky, but you can become parts of these different clicks and there are real people in there.
And people forget that these aren’t just names on Twitter, these are actual people. We cannot forget that, and people are definitely forgetting right now.
Yeah, I think it’s too easy.
I used to say, if you were at the state fair or the football game, and someone got in your face.
Now you got someone in your face. You’re face-to-face.
When we run-in in our cars, now you’re in traffic.
He would have to open his door, you would have to open your door, get out of the car.
So, it was easy just to, “Hey.”
Flip them off and do all this kind of stuff, and everybody’s, “Oh, f*#k you.”
And everybody moves on, right.
You felt better because you flipped him off, he felt better because he flipped you off, and we all got on with our day.
But when you have that extra layer of, “I can’t even see the person.”
And they just come at you, they can add so much more vitriol in there.
I’ll never forget when Twitter went from 140 characters to 240 characters, I said to Serena, “This is a horrible day.”
And she goes, “Why?”
I said, “Because now people have twice the number of letters to show hate towards me.”
It’s just what it is.
Abel: I guess so. Well, yeah, you can’t have it both ways.
You can’t have it just be one-liners, but then you can’t have an actual conversation on that platform. It’s just for one-liners or whatever.
When you start to make it a little bit more and then people started nesting these conversations, but they get out of order, and some of whom are censored or not everyone sees them or stuff.
It’s such a mess, man.
They did this on purpose. They’re trying to get us all riled up and pissed at each other, and break up our movements.
That’s what I’ve decided after taking some time off.
Sometimes I take a year off from social media. I’ve done that a few times, because it’s good for you.
But when I come back, I kind of see it with different eyes.
And I’m like, “Okay, what has this become now?”
It’s a different beast. Every time I come back to these different platforms, they’re completely different.
Now, they’re all copying each other with exactly the same features, but they have their own little thing going, and I hope that someone comes and eats their lunch fast.
Because we deserve better than this.
We deserve to connect with each other and have conversations on our own terms. And be able to go long forum when we need to.
That’s one of the beautiful things about all this. And it’s just such a mess.
I think a lot of us are seeing all the problems that are here. One of the good things that’s happening out of this though, is I have never connected with more people in health, both the people who reading the books and listening to the podcast as well as the leaders in health.
I’ve never connected with so many in such a short a time as now, as in the past month or two.
And that’s going to be really powerful later.
We’re getting work done right now. We don’t know exactly what’s going to come of this, but we’re not going away
No matter what happens, we are not going away.
We’re not giving up.
Creating Fat: A Documentary
No. There is no “give up” here.
After I did the first documentary, people said to me, “Well, why don’t you do another documentary?”
And I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s take a step back here. I’m not a filmmaker, let’s start with that. And I’m certainly not a documentarian.”
But we had a hit documentary by all stretches of the imagination.
Gravitas, the first couple of weeks they called and said, “You have already become the #1 documentary we’ve ever released.”
Now, think about that, Gravitas.
Abel: No way, man. That is so cool, Vinnie.
And then by the end of the first month, we had become the #1 selling movie that they ever sold, across all genres.
Abel: Are you kidding me?
No. And at the time, we were beating “Free Solo” on iTunes. We stayed in that spot, every day it was just…
They had to teach me how to do that thing where you take photos online. How do you do that?
Abel: It’s tricky, yeah. The screenshot. It always turns the screen off.
Yeah, because at first, I had my assistant, “Screenshot that, no one will ever believe it.”
So we were screenshotting us in front of “Free Solo.”
And us in front of that movie and the whole thing, and then we went to #6 or #7 overall on iTunes.
And we came back, “Screenshot that sh*t!”
Like Avengers is below you on that list. It looks like a joke, when you look at those screens.
You just look at and go, “That looks like a joke.”
We’re doing all of this and then people start going, “What’s your next documentary?”
And I’m like, “I’m shocked. Number one, I got one out. ”
Number two, I’m shocked that it’s done what it’s done.” So I’m shocked about all of it.
But COVID… COVID-19, if anything for me, that’s come out of this that’s any good, is that I overshot the film.
When we shot the movie, Peter Pardini… and I overshot it, because we knew what our narrative was going to be.
But when you have the Nina Teicholz and the Gary Taubes and Eric Westman sitting down there, I could go through all the names, and Ivor Cummins and on and on and on, you don’t just ask them the questions you want to ask them for this movie.
You ask them a few of extra 5 or 10 questions.
And these people can expound on those questions forever. So Peter moved on it.
Peter is an actual filmmaker.
But I said, “Peter, I’m going to just start going through this stuff because I have an idea for another movie that’s completely different. It’s going to be like FAT: A Documentary. It’s going to be completely different. And I want it to be more of a long form with the same people talking, with this extra film.”
It turns out that in order to get it within 90 minutes, which is the longest you want a documentary to be, that was FAT, I’m going to have to cut at least 45 minutes out somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes to get it down to that.
And I could be blowing smoke up my own ass here, but I may be doing a better movie than I’ve already put out.
Abel: That’s awesome.
With way more information. And I have ideas of how I’m going to put it out and what I’m going to do, how I’m going to get around the powers that be and make sure that it ends up where it needs to end up.
And on top of that, all the people who donated. Because I’m putting my own money behind this.
Because I didn’t have to go film it, I already have the film.
All the people who donated from the first movie, I’m putting their names in the second movie.
It’s like, “You know what, this is still your film. This is just part two.”
And that’s the way it’s going to be. And when this show comes out in several weeks, we won’t be there yet. It’s still months away.
But it’s time for me to start talking. So you’re kind of the first to hear this.
Abel: Dude, that is so amazing, I’m honored. And when we actually came across your documentary, it was through Amazon.
I don’t think it was on Prime yet, I think we had to pay for it, but it popped up and I was so impressed with the way that it was shot.
I’ve met a lot of the people who were in your documentary in person, and man, watching it, I’m just like, “This is a legit documentary.”
When you know the people, it feels different.
It feels like it shouldn’t be as professional, but sitting down watching you for that fireside chat, the way that it’s shot, was extremely visceral and powerful.
And the way that it was edited was on point.
Everyone who I saw speak looked very professional and I can’t wait to see how you would make the next one for longer form conversations.
Because one of the things I remember working on that ABC TV show, they were filming us for 10 hours a day for 8 weeks straight.
And they could have made 10 or 20 shows out of that footage, of all sorts of different genres—of comedy and drama and tragedy, whatever.
And so I’d be really interested in watching the first documentary and then seeing what you come up with next because that’s an art form in itself.
Yeah, and like I said, I’m going into documentary number two and I’m still… I don’t consider myself a filmmaker or a documentarian, but I am a storyteller.
I proved that with Fitness Confidential, that book.
Abel: You’re a great writer, man.
Abel: That book influenced me so much more than you realize.
I appreciate hearing that. And I know people, when someone gets cancer, they still hand that book out.
The whole thing, because there’s a cancer story in it.
And it was optioned by Sony for a few years, and I pulled the option away and I took the option back.
I can tell a story, I can weave a story.
I grew up on the bayou. People would sit on front porches when I was a kid and just weave these stories.
And I remember as a kid thinking, if someone got in a car accident, the car accident happened that fast. It happens in an instant.
So, let’s say the whole crash takes two seconds.
Well, if you’re sitting on a front porch with someone that had a crash earlier that day, and they’re telling their story down south on the bayou, that story can take a good 90 minutes.
Because they’re going to start with, “I woke up this morning. It was a great day. I poured a cup of coffee. There was a cardinal sitting right on the window sill.”
They’re not going to take you right to the crash, not in Louisiana, not on the Bayou.
And you do songs about that. I’ve listened to Swamp Thing and all those.
It’s a story. And everyone will sit there and listen to a story and weave pieces into the story as that person’s telling the story, other people are weaving in.
“Now John, you know, you never have a third cup of coffee, you start drinking beer before 10 o’clock.”
And they’ll weave in whatever they weave in. And I grew up with that.
So when I wrote Fitness Confidential, I sat there with Dean and said, “What’s the story?”
It’s kind of like the book Forrest Gump. What’s the story? Every chapter is different because the character in Forrest Gump goes and goes and goes.
So, when it was time to do a documentary, I told people, “I would take it to the woodshed.”
I took it to my ammo shed, because, your audience might want to know, I shoot competitively, shotguns and all of it.
And I always take it to the ammo shed. I would go in my little shed and crank out a bunch of ammo because I need that.
And that’s where I sat and wrote.
I had Peter, he was like, “I don’t know about guns. Can these things explode? What’s happening?”
I said, “Peter, there’s no guns in here. It’s just powder and ammunition.”
So, we sat in that shed and I was cranking out ammunition saying, “This is what the story is. This is how I want…” And he saw the vision.
So, I think everyone was shocked that that first movie came out the way it did, because even Gary Taubes, when I called Gary, I said, “Gary, would you be in my movie?”
And he said, “Why would I be?”
And I said, “Because I’m doing a movie about the ketogenic diet, and you’re out there.”
He said, “But what do you know about making a movie?”
And I said, “Gary, you’re absolutely right. But what did I know about writing a book or starting a podcast?”
And without hesitation, he said, “I’m in. I’m in.”
Because he knew that I wasn’t going to put my name on sh*t.
He knew at that moment, “Wait, yeah, this guy doesn’t just plod it out there. Yeah, he tells d!*k jokes on his podcast to get people interested in health.”
Yeah. And that’s what I did. But I’m not going to do d!*k jokes in a serious movie where you have Nina Teicholz and Ian Shelton and Eric Westman showing up. You know?
Abel: Right. Well, it’s a different format. Totally different format.
Abel: And you’re playing to the formats well, from where I’m standing anyway.
So, the second movie is going to be… I think people are going to be shocked at what we’re doing in the second movie because I’m going after some people.
I’m going after some. It’s not going to be as friendly.
I’m not going after actual names. I’m going after groups and we’re going to show the truth.
Abel: It’s about time. Because as some people are getting buried, there are a lot of people who are getting more juice than they might deserve, at least from my perspective, knowing some of the wonderful people out there doing strong work.
And also, while you had the #1 movie out there, did your Twitter followers go up? Did you see any extra traffic?
Yeah, you know, it’s funny because overnight it grew like several thousand people. And then it just stopped.
Someone today on Twitter said, “Hey, it’s because of your movie I’ve lost 50 pounds now.”
Or, “It’s because of your movie I went and looked into this and lost a lot of weight or got healthy or whatever.”
And because of my movie, they’re not just finding me, they’re finding you. They’re finding Robb Wolf.
Abel: That’s a good point.
And they’re finding Ivor Cummins, and they’re finding all of us, because they’ll go, “Let me go look into this low carb thing.”
And they’ll type that in.
And, “Oh, look at the sexy Abel James here with the body,” and the whole thing, and they’ll go look.
But then, yeah, all of a sudden, just like it started growing again, it just stopped again, which is odd.
Abel: It’s odd. I guess we’ve just have to keep doing the work, that’s important.
But I did want to ask you, Vinnie, because I know you’re living in your own AirBnB, right?
So, you don’t have your normal gym, your normal workout equipment, that sort of thing.
I heard you talking about a rowing machine. Did you find one? I’m not sure if I got the whole story there.
Believe it or not, I was telling Serena, “Today is like the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”
A shotgun that I started working on eight months ago with Coles Gunsmithing down in Florida.
Rich Cole is the best gunsmith in the world when it comes to building competition shotguns. And I had to fly down there, and it’s like building a tailored suit to fit you.
You have to get the stock carved and everything. And that gun, because of COVID, got held up.
I was supposed to get it three months ago, COVID started. The gun is finally in my possession. It’s sitting right next to me, right here. It just came now.
So, I’m going to show you my gun. You want to see my gun?
Abel: Yeah, let’s see it.
This is what I’ve been working on. Can you see this? This is what I’ve been working on with Coles Gunsmithing, has a lot of detail lovin’.
Abel: Wow, look at that.
Abel: What kind of wood is that?
This wood is English Walnut.
Abel: It’s beautiful.
Yeah. We had to pick the wood. It was just a big chunk of wood, and we had to carve the wood to fit me, and the whole thing.
Because it’s like a competition in road bike. If everything doesn’t fit correctly, it just doesn’t fit correctly.
So, we got the whole gun to fit and what have you, and then the COVID thing happened.
We had to send it off to Italy so it could be inletted to the gun and all this kind of weird stuff.
So, the gun just got to me. It just showed up today, UPS.
One hour later, “It’s your order…”
And I ran into the other room, I said, “Serena, I feel like a kid and Christmas just happened.”
And I’ve been without a rowing machine for three months and exercise is my life.
I’m tired of doing just the spinner and the bike on rollers, and the whole thing. So I’m getting mine.
Are you on the list? Or where are you with it?
How to Stay Fit During Lockdown
Abel: No, I haven’t tried one of those, but I was going to say that I got one a while back. It was only like, I think 150 bucks, 200 bucks?
I was looking at different rowing machines. This one’s very small.
And it’s not like legit rowing, but it’s more resistance with these little piston things.
It’s right over there, I guess I could bring it over.
But I’ve been so impressed with some of the different workout equipment that’s been pretty cheap and super reliable that we’ve used on the road over the years.
You can’t really beat a kettlebell and you can’t beat free weights. But even those aren’t that useful sometimes.
But if you can throw something in your car.
The thing that’s hardest is getting the pull, because especially if you’re at an Airbnb or a hotel, you don’t get pull-ups, you don’t get rows.
And those are the things, for me anyway, I have kind of a messed up back because I was too small to play football and played for a little while.
And so if I don’t get that back motion and really balance my front and my back, it jacks me up.
So, anyway, I was just going to say, it’s important to get those rows in.
I’m psyched that you finally got that, because I miss it when I don’t have it, for sure.
Yeah, all of my aerobics has been go outside, run up the hill, hike, that kind of thing.
Or I bought some Kreitler Rollers. I just used them, and that’s why I’m still kind of sweating. I just used them before we started recording.
It’s the only reason I put a cap on, I was like all sweaty. I dried up and put a shirt on.
But the Kreitler, I got my rollers and I could just put something on my computer in front of me, and just get on those rollers and spin for an hour.
But you need more… and I’m a fitness guy, and I love my rowing, and the whole thing.
I’m happy I’ll be getting one of those now. Yeah, it’s all good.
Abel: Good for you, man.
Well, I think you’ve worked with so many different people, you could probably speak to the fact that we all need to find our little thing.
Some people love the elliptical, some people love the rowing machine, some people love running outside, but it’s not going to be the same for everybody.
But you have to identify what those things are, and then when you have to move, or you have to sell your gear or you don’t have your gym.
Again, don’t feel bad about maybe buying that thing again, or making sure that you have whatever that thing is that allows you to invest in yourself.
Those new running sneakers, right?
Don’t be ashamed, if you love running, to go and invest in yourself.
I know that for me, maybe it’s just the way I was raised or something, but I’m very shy about buying things for myself sometimes. But it’s so worth it when you’re talking about things like that.
Yeah, fitness is my life.
I don’t know if I’m ever going to go back to a gym.
It’s like, “Wow, I’ve bought all this equipment, and when I end up in a permanent house, it won’t be so much of a jail-house gym.”
I’m going to have a whole bedroom or something I’m going to take for myself and just turn it into a gym.
You’re right, investing in yourself.
Investing in your health, and getting back to what you’re saying about some people like to run, some like to row, some like elliptical.
I’m always asked the question, “What is the best aerobic exercise?”
And my answer is, “It’s the one you will do.”
Abel: Yeah, yeah.
Because you would have to hold a gun to my head to get me on an elliptical machine. I hate those things.
But, they’re a great way to get a good sweat on.
I’ll get on the treadmill, and meanwhile, if there’s a football game on, and that game goes for two and a half hours, I’ll be on that for two and a half hours.
I’m good. I’ve got nowhere else to go. I might as well be doing this, so, it just depends.
And jumping rope, jumping rope is the cheapest thing.
I write about it in Fitness Confidential. It’s the cheapest thing you can do.
Yeah, a rope is zero, if you just go outside and find a piece of rope.
Or if you want to buy an expensive one, well, you can find one for 30 bucks. But you can really get a nice one for $5 to $10 bucks.
A leather rope for $10 bucks, right? And that thing will last a long time.
I’ve worn them out to where they just break in the middle of it.
Oh, in my lifetime, I’ve worn rope after rope out.
I love jumping rope, skipping rope, and it’s interesting…
Abel: What surface do you jump on, Vinnie?
Lately, I’ve been jumping on a… because of COVID, I have a horse mat. It’s a horse stall mat. I bought that. So it’s rubbery, it’s not hard.
But it’s a hard rubber and it’s about half an inch, three quarters of an inch thick.
It’s made for horses to stomp on in the stall. It goes underneath their hay, or their wood chips.
But it’s not my favorite thing to jump on. Given my druthers, and when I get a proper home, I’m going to build a squat, a wooden squat platform.
And that’s going to have even more give. And it will probably have rubber on top of that also.
Abel: Well, I used to jump a little bit, but it’s not something that I do often.
I do run pretty often though. The reason I ask is because when I run on different surfaces, it completely changes the experience.
I almost never run on a hard top, especially anymore. And thankfully, out here running, most of the roads are kind of squishy and sandy, and then I go up even higher in the mountains, and you get that spring instead of that smash, and there’s such a big difference.
Training To Stay In Shape As You Age
The reason I ask you is because you’re one of the people who has kept up with training in a bunch of different modalities and ways over the years.
But like my joints in my 30s do feel different than my joints in my 20s, and so I want to make sure I’m not wearing myself out.
So, what’s the balance there for people who are kind of training maybe in different ways right now, because we’re all making concessions.
But what’s a good way to make sure that you’re not churning through your joints and burning yourself out, or wearing yourself out?
When I run—and Serena is the same way, she does ultras sometimes—and even though some of the races you’re putting a lot of miles in.
Serena’s, she’s 58, she’s going to be 59 this year.
And we like off-road better because the surface is always changing.
You have to watch where you’re stepping, nothing is even, and you have to be on your “toes” a bit more.
So I prefer that over anything else.
Number two, most important is, we mentioned some people can get on the elliptical and go, and go, and go.
Well, when you’re on the same thing, it’s kind of like being on a bicycle. Even cyclists will tell you, you need to change it up a bit because you could get these overuse injuries just by doing the same thing.
And by the way, just like the treadmill for me, a bicycle can become the same problem where I’ll just churn that bad boy out day in and day out.
So, I’m so happy that I’m finally getting a rowing machine here.
Because you have to do something different. You have to change it up.
If I find myself doing the spinner, I’m pointing to it. But if I find myself doing the rollers too many days in a row, I’ll just go up the hill.
There’s a hill a half a mile from my house. It’s a mile long hill, I might do it two or three times, come home.
Or I’ll come home and do the jump rope afterwards.
Just pound my body a little bit, just get a little vibration in those bones because people think of bones as being like steel girders in a building.
Oh, once your bones are done, they’re done.
They can end up with atrophy like any other muscle in your body and you don’t want that to happen. You want to do weight-bearing exercises.
So, a bicycle is not weight-bearing, swimming is not weight-bearing.
So you want to do things, like elliptical is weight-bearing and it’s easy weight-bearing.
So if you’re the type of person who might have bad knees, do more elliptical.
Do some walking, but do more elliptical.
So you have to kind of judge, “Am I doing the same thing all the time? Should I change it up for a minute?” That’s all.
Abel: Cool. So it’s important to be honest about that, too, because it’s easy to fall into that groove like you said, to just keep doing that same thing.
It’s a challenge to actually upset that a little bit.
Guilty as charged.
If it was up to me, I’d be on the bike every day.
Just the bike. And you talk to the greatest cyclists in the world, they’ll say, “Oh, we do plyometrics, we skip rope, we go for runs.”
You have to. You have to, otherwise, your hip bones and everything would just atrophy, it’s just not good.
Where to Find Vinnie Tortorich
Abel: Yeah. Well Vinnie, we’re coming up on time, but before we go, please tell folks—you have so many projects now, but where can they find you?
FAT: A Documentary, let’s start with that and then go for the rest of it.
If you live in some foreign land where you don’t get some of those things, look around because it’s on 60 some-odd other VODs.
So you could find FAT: A Documentary everywhere. If you don’t mind putting a link to something where they can find it.
Abel: Oh yeah, it’ll be in the show notes.
Yeah. You can go to VinnieTortorich.com, and find me there.
The book is still out there, Fitness Confidential.
The podcast is called Fitness Confidential, so go check it all out, it’s out there.
Abel: Anyone who’s watching or listening, please check out Vinnie’s work.
One of the things I like about it is you show up in all these different domains, platforms, places, documentaries, books, and you seem to know how to best utilize each one of them.
Your book is an excellent book, your documentary is an excellent documentary, your podcast same deal, and they’re all so different.
So everyone watching and listening, please check out Vinnie’s work.
And Vinnie, thank you so much for connecting with us. I always love talking with you.
Love being on, brother. Whenever you want to come on my shows, you know where to find me.
Abel: Thanks, man.
Before You Go…
Here’s a quick note that came in from Rich. He says:
Hi Abel! I have listened to your podcast and believe it or not I’ve lost 17 pounds during this pandemic.
It is amazing what happens to you when you eat natural foods, don’t eat out much and exercise!
Thank you for all of your information.
Rich, you hit it on the head right there. That’s amazing.
Pretty simple, right? Eat natural foods, don’t eat out much, and exercise.
If you just do those things, a lot of them are now kind of built into our lifestyles, especially the not eating out part, whether we like it or not.
If you put these simple things into action, even these small little things can add up to big results over the length of a pandemic.
And 17 pounds, Rich, my wife tells me in the show notes here that 17 pounds is about the weight of a 20-inch flat screen TV, almost the size of my monitor here.
I’m not going to pick it up, but I would imagine it’s pretty nice to have that off your frame. So, good on you for putting all of this into action.
Now, if you’re listening and you’d like to get in touch, if you have a question for me, if you just like to connect in any way, shoot me an email.
Another way you can get in touch, probably the easiest way, and we even get you some free meal plans and recipes and goodies if you do, is to sign up for our newsletter.
I’ll send you a 7-day meal plan, a bunch of our favorite recipes and much more.
You’ll also be signed up for exclusive discounts on our courses, our membership, our coaching, as well as Wild Superfoods.
And speaking of Wild Superfoods, if you’re looking for the best supplements out there, the ones that we trust, our family company, the supplements we literally take on a daily basis to optimize our health, Wild Superfoods is where it’s at.
But in particular today, it’s so important that people make sure that their vitamin D levels are topped up.
Now, one way you can do that, one thing that I try to do is get out and get the first rays from the sunshine in the morning. Hopefully, you live in a place where the sun comes out.
I’ve lived in places where the sun rarely comes out. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire, so I get that.
So getting sun, you don’t need that much, 10, 15, 20 minutes a day is all you really need to optimize your health.
Now, one hedge against vitamin D deficiency, which can result in so many different problems down the road is through supplementation.
And we’ve focused not on getting the sexiest, craziest supplements out there and selling them through Wild Superfoods, but instead the foundational supplements, the ones that are very important to take and make sure that you’re not deficient in.
And so Vitamin D Stack, it’s not just vitamin D3, but also a combination of co-factors that we offer from Wild Superfoods.
With each capsule in Vitamin D Stack, you’re not only getting 2000 IUs of vitamin D3, but it’s also balanced with fat-soluble vitamins A, E, K1, and K2.
And if you’d like to pair it with a wild deep-sea fish oil combined with other omegas, check out Mega Omegas.
And you can even get a bundle from Wild Superfoods with different discounts.
If you’re interested in vitamin D in particular, we’ve got a discount running right now, you can go to wildsuperfoods.com/vitmanind, and we’ll set you up with a discount there.
And don’t forget to sign up for our email list and you’ll get access to these discounts, too.
And one more quick note, we’re doing our best to get out there on pretty much every platform, but independent creators, whether we like it or not, are getting buried, and it’s harder to find us than ever.
So to the extent that you can, we would love for you to share this free show and our other work, our books, our programs, our coaching, and all the rest of it.
Not just for me, but also independent creators like Vinnie, and other people I have on this show are surprisingly harder to find than ever. So, don’t forget to click like, share.
Over the years, the biggest way that we have grown is through word of mouth, and from people sharing information with other people.
And that’s what social media was supposed to be all about before it was hijacked, that’s what the internet used to be.
So let’s bring that back and bring some humanity into all of this.
And the independent creators out there, and I speak for a lot of us—gym owners, authors, online creators of every kind—it’s difficult, so if you can support us monetarily, that’s awesome.
But I also understand it’s very difficult times for a lot of people out there, so don’t forget that you can also support us just by forwarding one of our emails, by sharing this show with a friend, by clicking like, subscribe and all the rest of it.
We really appreciate it now more than ever.
What did you think of this show with Vinnie Tortorich? How are you staying fit during lockdown? Drop a comment below!