Brent Yates was living the high life as a serial entrepreneur and the owner of a multi-million-dollar company before life had other plans, sending him into a mental and physical spiral that threatened his very existence.
Now 61, Brent Yates is back, and he’s feeling stronger than ever thanks to the lessons learned through trial and error during his recovery. Muscle & Fitness sat down with the philanthropist to find out where it went wrong, and more importantly, how it eventually came right. As many of us struggle with our own personal and physical challenges while dealing with the randomness of life, Yates shares a few tips to bring us back up.
“My inspiration and mentor, my father Gene died in 2005, but things really started to take a turn in 2007,” recalls Yates. “In the heat of the financial crisis, my first wife and I divorced and found our family incredibly fractured. At the same time, I had a lawsuit filed that was one step away from federal courts. All this began to take a toll on my body. I was going through convulsions, and I had MRSA in my ears and my forehead and it went undiagnosed for way too long. I lost 50 pounds, was walking with a cane, and was confident that I wouldn’t make it another year. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure if I’d even make it through the day. My definite rock bottom moment came when I contemplated taking my own life. As I was standing in that water at my lowest point, I was faced with the ultimate decision to live or die, and as you can likely tell, I chose life.” In his memoir; “The Gravity Up – Unlocking Your Potential So No One Can Hold You Down,” Yates gives a touching, and despite his status as a high roller, relatable account of being knocked down, and coming back stronger. Here are 5 tips that he discusses in greater deal in the book, and they could be just what you need to read right now.
It Ain’t Over Till Brent Yates Says It’s Over
If you are suffering with low confidence, feelings of self-sabotage, or a lack of motivation to make physical changes, Yates makes the point that there is always a tomorrow, and always hope. “We have to realize that we have the opportunity to grow and evolve for the better every day we’re on this Earth,” he tells M&F. “Until we die, you are able to climb that next mountain and reach that next height. You have to focus on tomorrow and know that the sky is the limit. How much better can you be? How much higher can we go? Yes it’s intimidating to think of the unlimited potential all of us have each and every day, but it should motivate all of us to truly be the change that we wish to see in the world.
Your Mind and Body Must Work as a Tag-Team
“For me, connecting my mind with my body has been the difference maker,” says Yates. “Nike says to ‘Just Do It,’ and that was my mentality. I would just push through any obstacle despite the damage it was doing to my body in an attempt to be the best, as fast as I possibly could be. But. especially as you age, I say that you really need to slow down and listen to your body and mind in tandem. Does your knee need a break? If so, focus on the upper body and don’t just move through the pain. Honor that feeling. Do you need to take some personal time to get your mental health back in order? That’s going to be essential in reaching your full mental and physical potential, so prioritize that mind and body connection for yourself.”
Stop Counting Yourself Out
“I think all of us have feelings of worthlessness and vulnerabilities at different times,” says Yates. “The self-sabotage creeps into my life, even now, but probably only around once a week. There’s a lot to get hung up on. Am I strong enough? Am I clever enough? Am I good looking enough? Do I look my age?” In order to tackle the insecurities that we all face, the author says that being confident requires us to think carefully about the television shows that we watch and other negative forces that seek to undermine us. “If you’re not feeding your mind and providing yourself with all the necessary tools to thrive, it will truly take you down in the end.”
Yates has found that positive daily self-confirmations are a great way to feed the mind with constructive voices. He has hired a life coach, and while that might not be possible for everyone, he feels strongly that people should make a conscious effort to look at the media that they consume, and the friends that they hang out with, and ask themselves if they are in a fulfilling environment.
Brent Yates Focuses On the Tasks at Hand
“I’ve always aimed to find something that I was really good at, and push forward to thrive and become really successful in it,” says the successful businessman, who was originally from Linton, Indiana, but now takes up residence in Tennessee, Arizona, and Ohio. “You can’t leverage what you don’t have. I dropped out of football and baseball at a young age because I realistically couldn’t see any potential for me as an elite athlete, but I stayed with golf and basketball because I was confident I could be successful if I played both in college. Today, I train in the gym because I know I can rise to that occasion, not just for my age but for any age, knowing that one day I might have to cut back should my body or mind require it. So, I’ve sacrificed a bit of my golfing time in recent years to prioritize time to keep lift. Trying to take on too much at once can be counterproductive in the end as we find ourselves stretched way too thin. You’ll find much more success by putting your full efforts into a handful of commitments or activities that you’re really successful in, rather than half-heartedly attempting one hundred things at once. This is true for both business and life.”
Brent Yates Strives Toward Gratitude
“My daily discipline and mental health routine starts with the idea of ‘The Gravity of Up,’ says Yates. “And that means programming my body, through my mind, with positivity and gratefulness. That’s not every so often or every other day, that’s every single day without fail! I have to breathe, oxygenate my blood, and calm my body down to where my brain is not spinning and I’m able to focus on feeling gratitude for the things in my life that I should be grateful for. It takes practice, repetition, and years of training. But this gratitude meditation prepares me for the day, and I always feel as though I’m putting my ‘shield’ on to brave the day ahead as my best possible self. I’m gracious for the beauties of life as they come to me and also for the excitement of the hurdles that God places in my path.”
Place Workouts at Your Core
“My favorite way to train is called ‘fit function,’” says Yates. “I always focus primarily on the core. It’s the lifeblood of everything we do. Our core is the nucleus of our bodies. Basically, I want people to get the heart rate going from their first five minutes in the gym. Next is the more ‘functional’ steps, but we’re still moving and using cable machines, rowing machines, whatever you can do for your core that you maybe don’t have access to at home. I’m typically using lots of cables, bodyweight, and those types of functional movements. All in all, I’ve found my physical training regimen to be an integral component in my journey Up, but it’s not complete without the mental and spiritual components, as well. You have to be ‘fit’ in your mind, body, and soul to truly understand the ‘The Gravity of Up.’”
Follow Brent Yates on Instagram @brent__yates.