Marcus Filly

Marcus Filly
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Kelly: [0:00:04] Hey everyone, I’m Dr. Kelly Starrett.

Juliet: [0:00:06] And I’m Juliet Starrett.

Kelly: [0:00:08] And you’re listening to The Ready State Podcast.


Juliet: [0:00:16] This episode of The Ready State Podcast is brought to you by

Kelly: [00:00:20] Can we talk about torpor?

Juliet: [00:00:22] I mean maybe you’re going to have to define that, but yes, I’d love to talk about torpor.

Kelly: [00:00:25] What I mean is one of the great things… There’s two things I want to talk about today around using’s technology to modulate temperature in bed. First of all is that my favorite way to wake up now of all time is to crank the heat up in my bed. And all of a sudden, I go from sleepy bear–torpor, right? I’m an animal just moving slowly and then I actually warm up and feel good. And then the first step of the day, I actually feel great. I don’t feel stiff.

Juliet: [00:00:50] Well, I think the other thing too is that our bedroom is actually unusually cold in the winter for a variety of reasons.

Kelly: [00:00:56] Mid-Century modern house. You’re welcome.

Juliet: [00:00:58] Lots of air coming in. It’s always cold. So being able to crank up the heat first thing in the morning and being able to make our bed match our environment has been really awesome.

Kelly: [00:01:08] Or mismatch the environment.

Juliet: [00:01:09] Or mismatch.

Kelly: [00:01:10] One of the cool things about using this technology is that your ideal sleep temperature may shift during the year based on how hot it is outside or how cold it is outside. I’m running about 10 degrees warmer on my Dock Pro-

Juliet: [00:01:23] Yeah, same.

Kelly: [00:01:24] Than I normally do in the summer, which means I still get those great sleep but I don’t have to suffer on one extreme or the other so I really feel like being able to individualize the mattress to match the season has been a game changer for my sleep. 

Juliet: [00:01:37] Yeah. And we’ve been sleeping great lately at our warmer temperature.

Kelly: [00:01:39] Even my Oura Ring, 90s baby. I’m a 90s child.

Juliet: [00:01:43] Head over to to learn more and save off the purchase of any new Cube, OOLER, or Dock Pro Sleep System. Go to to take advantage of our exclusive discount and wake up refreshed every day, like us.

Juliet: [00:02:00] Before we get started today on this episode with Marcus Filly, which I think you’re going to enjoy, we just want to take a minute to remind you about something we are super proud of and really looking forward to, which is the launch of our next book, Built to Move, on April 4, so just in a few weeks.

Kelly: [00:02:14] I think you described it best recently as a prequel to everything we’ve ever done, except we had to get through the canon, the trilogy, the epic, before we could even go back and write the prequel. This book solves so many problems for people about what is it I need to do day to day that isn’t training, isn’t some fat burning Keto diet, and it shows people how they can feel better in their bodies even if they don’t love diet and exercise. 

Juliet: [00:02:40] Yeah. And this book was really 10 or 15 years in the making and highlights the things that you and I actually do every single day, day in, day out, consistently. And I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud of, is it’s a look into what we do every day that actually works for us.

Kelly: [00:02:56] We have created 10 physical and behavioral vital signs that are objective. You know above and below and you can see how as we’ve gotten more mature and maybe as dare say a little older, we realize we just don’t have infinite free time. We’ve got to figure out ways to help people engage in better, more healthy, durable behaviors in ways that make sense to them on the day to day.

Juliet: [00:03:18] So if you want to learn more about our book, head over to and you can preorder a copy at your local bookstore or any online retailer.

Kelly: [00:03:27] On this episode of The Ready State Podcast, we bring you the Functional Bodybuilding founder Marcus Filly. After leaving med school, Marcus turned instead to health and fitness to help people more directly with training and nutrition in their day to day lives. Drawing on an extensive training background in soccer and his competitive CrossFit career, Marcus owned a CrossFit affiliate for years before changing methodologies to help athletes better succeed through  more individualized coaching. After the 2016 CrossFit Games, Marcus was burned out and broken and about to become a first-time father. Functional Bodybuilding was born out of a need to train more for longevity and sustainability while still looking good and moving well.

Juliet: [00:04:05] So one of the things that I really loved about our conversation with Marcus was being reminded actually how long we’ve known Marcus and having him remind us that we actually were his first introduction to CrossFit at San Francisco back in the dawn of time. So it was fun to reminisce about the good old days of CrossFit and just be reminded how long we’ve been in the same community with him.

Kelly: [00:04:27] One of the things that is great to see with Marcus is how he’s been able to take the tenants of good modern training, which really samples from so many populations, and he synthesized a new thing out of it, new and sort of a need to hey, I still want to feel good, but I don’t want to give up the kinds of training that I like to do.

Juliet: [00:04:50] Yeah, and what I love about it is it’s sort of like the anti-training dogmatic approach in that he’s saying, hey, I just want to do what works and I’m not going to get so focused on training a certain way and saying this is best. He’s going to do whatever works, and turns out that’s really a mix of some CrossFit like training and some more bodybuilding type training, and that that’s been really effective for him and his clients, and he just doesn’t have to die on the vine saying he’s x or y.

Kelly: [00:05:15] It is a reminder to everyone if you think you know what bodybuilding is, Marcus may redefine it for you. So I think, again, you bring up the right point, that it’s easy to fall into these camps and say I don’t do that instead of saying what’s essential and how can I make the sort of pinnacles or tenants of that school better serve me.

Juliet: [00:05:35] I think you’re really going to enjoy this conversation with our old friend, Marcus Filly.

Kelly: [00:05:39] Enjoy.

Juliet: [00:05:40] Marcus, welcome to The Ready State Podcast. It’s so fun to actually have you here in person in our studio.

Marcus Filly: [00:05:45] I know. It’s great to be here in person. And for the fact that we live in the same county and we don’t get in person that frequently, it’s always a pleasure.

Juliet: [00:05:52] Yeah. It’s really fun to see you.

Kelly: [00:05:54] What is remarkable is that we have known each other over a decade, probably close to 15 years, and your life, our lives, very parallel in so many ways, and yet we see each other as drive by friends. People are like do you know Marcus Filly? I’m like I’ve heard about him on the internet. But it really is like a testament to the fact that if you have kids and a business, you’re hustling.

Marcus Filly: [00:06:16] Yeah, and then if you choose to do a competitive sport for seven years that takes all your time, that also kind of cuts in.

Juliet: [00:06:23] That also cuts into your free time. 

Marcus Filly: [00:06:24] Actually, that was when I saw you the most. I used to come to your gym and train. That was like-

Juliet: [00:06:27] Yeah, that was awesome.

Marcus Filly: [00:06:27] An excuse to see you guys.

Juliet: [00:06:30] I want to just go back. We started talking about this before we pressed play on this recording. But before you got into the physical pursuits of CrossFit and functional bodybuilding and athletics, I know you were an athlete as a kid, but you actually applied to, got into, and went to medical school, but then decided that that wasn’t your path. So could you tell us that story a little bit? What happened there?

Marcus Filly: [00:06:53] Yeah. Well, when you say it like that, I wonder what the statistic on people that have applied to, got accepted to, went to medical school, and then left after their first year. I’ve got to be in a small group of people.

Juliet: [00:07:04] Do you think because I feel like you maybe have to be in a large group.

Kelly: [00:07:07] A subset I think of realizing I don’t think I’ve made the right choice versus I’m getting crushed on all the skills. I have maybe made the wrong choice. That’s amazing.

Marcus Filly: [00:07:16] It’s so amazing to say; it’s amazing now, but at the time, it was like-

Juliet: [00:07:21] Devastating?

Marcus Filly: [00:07:21] Yeah, it was like I am letting down the world, my parents are going to be so disappointed.

Kelly: [00:07:28] Don’t worry mom and dad, I’m going to make content around exercise.

Juliet: [00:07:32] Don’t worry mom and dad, I’m going to start squatting.

Marcus Filly: [00:07:33] Dad’s question is, “So you’re going to be a trainer, is that what you’re going to do?” It’s like we just went from radiologist to trainer. I’m not sure that’s going to roll off the tongue on the golf course with my buddies. Yeah, so all that’s true. I went to medical school, was on the I’m going to pursue higher level education. College was never going to be the end point. It was go get a degree in something else because that was the model that I had with my dad and my brother. And because I was a high performer in school, it was almost like the expectation. You get good grades, you’re good at school, so why wouldn’t you go and get all the school so that you could position yourself to have a good job. And I don’t know, I was not critically thinking about any of this. I was just like, yeah, that’s what I’m going to do.

Juliet: [00:08:20] Right. You were just following the path. You’re like this is my path. I’m good at school, so this is my path. But then you weren’t even able to step back and be like is this what I actually want to be doing with my life.

Marcus Filly: [00:08:29] Right. And I don’t know – our kids are so young that I’m not thinking about that now, you’re thinking about it more, but the defined path in 2002 was very much that. Maybe in 2023 the conversation’s starting to be different. It’s like you don’t just have to go to college and you don’t have to do the thing; you don’t have to play the same script over and over again. But that was what I was in. I was on that train and on that path. And because I was good at something and because I had an interest. I mean I wasn’t like I don’t know anything about this medicine, it doesn’t seem cool to me. No, I was interested in health, disease, the intersection between the two, movement, nutrition, all the stuff. I met the both of you when I was just out of college. I hadn’t gone to medical school yet.

Juliet: [00:09:13] Was it like 2005 or something? Didn’t we meet early?

Marcus Filly: [00:09:16] Yeah, 2006. I graduated from college and I remember saying… You had just gotten out of PT school and maybe you were still finishing, and I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to be starting medical school soon”.

Kelly: [00:09:28] Did I give you a hug, like sorry?

Marcus Filly: [00:09:30] Yeah, you had some words, like, “Wow, well, it’s good that you’re getting this movement thing all situated now because it’s going to get really tough.” But yeah, I went into medical school with the intention essentially so that I could get a medical degree to practice a medicine that wasn’t being practiced.

Kelly: [00:09:47] Didn’t even exist yet.

Marcus Filly: [00:09:48] Yeah. I was like- 

Kelly: [00:09:49] Not really.

Marcus Filly: [00:09:50] It didn’t exist. It wasn’t being called medicine. It was being called training people and not in a formal education type of way.

Kelly: [00:09:59] Did you have a glimpse of this life then because I remember having moved to the city, I was out surfing at Ocean Beach, and I had a moment of satori, and I was like, oh, I’ve got to go to PT school so I can open a training center. I kind of saw all of this in this moment. I didn’t think of all the details like how rad my wife would be, right, I would have to work with Lisa. Not all the details were so manifest, but did you get a glimpse to some alternative reality to where you thought you’d go with your life?

Marcus Filly: [00:10:26] I think the alternative reality started to surface when I was in medical school, not before. It was like I’m going to go to medical school, this is a leap of faith, I have this sort of like faint vision of how I want to bring discipline and healthcare together, nutrition, coaching, strength, conditioning, medical doctors.

Kelly: [00:10:44] Psychology.

Marcus Filly: [00:10:45] All in the same room. Because I had been exposed to all this. I had gone to doctors, I was in therapy, I had been through the pharmacological interventions of mental health, I was also a high performing athlete, I had done all the diets. I was like, okay, these all make sense in the same world. And you write these personal statements to graduate programs or even college, but personal statement to medical school, I kind of outlined this thing. And when I interviewed for school-

Kelly: [00:11:13] Can we find that?

Marcus Filly: [00:11:14] I’ve got to find it because when I interviewed for school these physicians that sit on the admissions board, they look at me and they’re like you’re out of your mind. What are you thinking?

Kelly: [00:11:26] Who’s going to pay for that?

Marcus Filly: [00:11:26] It was authentic to me but it was definitely not like this is my best way to get in.

Juliet: [00:11:30] It was out there in like 2005.

Marcus Filly: [00:11:32] Yeah, I wrote my way right out of my admissions to UCSF. They were like, you’re dreaming, bro.

Kelly: [00:11:39] We opened a gym and I got pulled into the dean’s office with my advisor and they were like, “We’re worried about you.”

Marcus Filly: [00:11:47] Right. Precisely.

Juliet: [00:11:48] I mean I just have to say though, I know what you mean because I obviously went to law school. I was still working as a lawyer when I met you. And I’m very similar path. Good at school. When I was young, even though I had gone off and I hadn’t followed the normal path, I ended college and I actually was like a professional athlete and river guide, so I didn’t immediately follow the standard path.

Kelly: [00:12:09] Gap years.

Juliet: [00:12:19] But I always just assumed my default would be to go back to going to law school or medical school or something. I didn’t even have the creative mind or permission or whatever it is you want to call it to be like I actually don’t have to go down that path, there’s other options for me. I ended up becoming a lawyer and practicing law for seven years before I was like I don’t think this is my path.

Kelly: [00:12:31] Not only that, but one of my favorite things that we laugh around the house is that there was an article written about Juliet and it quoted her-

Juliet: [00:12:39] This would be like your parents would die-

Kelly: [00:12:40] Lawyer turned personal trainer, Juliet. And I was like, is that what you did?

Juliet: [00:12:42] Wow.

Kelly: [00:12:44] CEO, bestselling author, lawyer.

Juliet: [00:12:48] Lawyer turned personal trainer.

Marcus Filly: [00:12:50] I’m sorry. This is recent?

Juliet: [0:12:51] No, I mean maybe that article was written in 2012 or something. But I was like wow, that makes me sound so boring.

Kelly: [00:13:00] Let me pivot. You have this experience where-

Marcus Filly: [00:13:04] You’re anything but boring.

Kelly: [00:13:06] You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get there, right? There is MCAT, all of the… You’ve told everyone I’m going to be a doctor, I’m in med school. That’s the place where you’re like, whoo, I don’t have to tell anyone what I’m going to be for like four years. what do you do? I’m in med school. 

Marcus Filly: [00:13:24] It had a nice ring to it.

Kelly: [00:13:25] It does for a second. You reject that. Does that open some consciousness towards there’s a lot of things where I can see because your current career, which we’ll definitely get into, it doesn’t exist, it’s not a thing, you’re stitching together ideologies and synthesizing and you’re coaching people, teaching people, but that’s not even a thing. But does that rejection of this original model open the door enough just to be able to see that there is, I can make other choices that don’t exist or seem radical or dangerous to my family? Because we left good paying job at a physical therapy office and they’re like, “You’re going to open a container, like an office shipping container and that’s what you’re going to do?”

Juliet: [00:14:10] Yeah and the big managing partner at my law firm, this woman who was like-

Kelly: [00:14:15] “You’ll be back.”

Juliet: [00:14:15] Yeah, she was like, “You’ll be back.” And I’m also super competitive so I’m like-

Marcus Filly: [00:14:21] Tomorrow, there’s a guy named John Bonnett who was a classmate of mine in medical school. I’ve maybe seen him twice since I left. He’s coming tomorrow. He was the guy of all my friends. He’s like, “You’re making a mistake; this is not a good idea. You shouldn’t leave.” I was like, what? This is the time to be supportive. You see I’m going through a hard time. And that’s just funny that that’s my reality tomorrow. I’m going to see him. I hadn’t thought about that until just now. Like John, do you think I made a bad decision now?

Juliet: [00:14:51] Dude, what was the bad decision?

Kelly: [00:14:53] Where’s the line where we feel like that story of med school because it’s not a direct line to your current coaching notoriety self-experience, it’s not a straight line. There’s definitely some other lives in there.

Juliet: [00:15:06] Well, I’ve got a question. So you decide to leave med school, which I assume was sort of a traumatizing decision on a variety of levels. But when you left, did you already have this vision in mind that you were going to become a coach or a trainer or did you just come back to California and you’re like, well, I’m going to hope for the best? And second question, is that the time when you discovered and found CrossFit and started coaching CrossFit? What was that transition like and how did you make the decision to become a coach?

Marcus Filly: [00:15:33] It’s so funny. You guys are asking these questions, I want to ask them to you in a similar way because owning CrossFit gyms for as long as you did and I did for a period of time, we saw a lot of people make some pretty interesting life decisions based on CrossFit. I’m going to leave this marriage, I’m going to quit my job, and I’m going to do this and do this. And they were questionable in some instances. But then I’m like, well, I kind of did a lot of the same. I mean that’s what got me started, was that I was in medical school, I had already been introduced to CrossFit via you, and then just went down the rabbit hole of what was there available via media then, which was the journal and I saw from 2006 to 2007, 2008 the community of CrossFit really exploded. That was when the gyms went from there’s 50 gyms worldwide to hundreds. It was exponential. So I started to see what it looked like to have a collection of people in a room interested in learning how to do CrossFit for whatever reason. But they were like we’re talking about movement, we’re talking about movement, we’re talking about healthy lifestyle, we’re talking about all these things. I’m like that’s what I want to be talking to people about. That’s over there and I’m in this library on the fourth floor.

Kelly: [00:16:51] And kids, there’s no Gmail, there’s no Twitter, there’s no YouTube yet, just so we’re clear.

Marcus Filly: [00:16:54] Yeah, there was

Kelly: [00:16:58] And Facebook.

Juliet: [00:16:59] There was Facebook. 

Marcus Filly: [00:17:00] And blogs. I had a good blog going on. But yeah, so instead though seeing all that happen, I’m over here at the library at Ohio State. At the basement level of the library is a, wait for it, a Wendy’s, and across the breezeway-

Juliet: [00:17:19] In the medical school library?

Marcus Filly: [00:17:20] That’s our food, right? And then the breezeway to get to the Hem-Onc Ward is 30 people smoking. So I’ve got to walk through that to get to my class. And I was freezing cold, truly freezing for the first time in my life. I never spent any time in winter anywhere. I lived here my whole life. 

Juliet: [00:17:40] Dark and freezing and your only food choice is Wendy’s and you’re studying in a basement? I’m like no wonder you left.

Marcus Filly: [00:17:46] And I’m smelling secondhand smoke. I’m like, okay, I’ve got to get into that community. So it informed my decision a little bit but I think the thing that allowed it to your question is what opened the door to even seeing possibly? Was it rejecting this and that’s what opened the door? It was making the shift from I’m going to do this because society, the exception or the accepted path is this, this is what people value, and saying I’m going to reject that because it doesn’t actually feel valuable to me, it doesn’t feel like my calling, I’m not drawn to it. I reject going down this path just because other people think it’s good. And once I did that and I was like what makes me feel really energized and connected to some vocation? I don’t know. What am I going to wake up and be like I’m pumped to go do this thing? And I was pumped to wake up and go teach the 5 a.m. class at T.J.’s gym. I was pumped to do that. And I was pumped to have a person come in and I needed to teach them in three sessions how to do the nine fundamental movements of CrossFit. That pumped me up so much. And then the 10-minute whiteboard session I had with them at the end of the protocol where I said, “And this is the nutrition spiel,” that lit me up. And I was like I’m going to do this every day. That’s all that matters. I wasn’t running spreadsheets like how much money am I going to make, is this going to get me anywhere. I’m living at home, I’m living with my parents, I’m living above the garage and this is a good life. 

Kelly: [00:19:19] Living the dream.

Marcus Filly: [00:19:19] I’m stoked every day, plus I get to start to heal my body and my mind through movement, through practicing, which I wasn’t doing when I was following the path that everyone was telling me was a good path. I wasn’t in bad shape. I never got into bad shape. But man, being in medical school, I was just miserable. The stress and the emotional unwellness that I was feeling manifested in my body. I had all these injuries, my digestion was broken, as broken as it could be. And I was like what is wrong with me, I’m breaking apart and I’m 25 years old.

Kelly: [00:19:55] Can you hear the universe say don’t do it?

Marcus Filly: [00:19:58] Yes.

Juliet: [00:19:59] I mean so it’s so interesting to hear, you come home and by some societal accounts, like oh, you failed at this other thing and now you’re doing this other thing and you’re living in your parents garage or upstairs from their garage or upstairs garage and you’re working as a coach by then but it sounds like you just got lit up. Did you notice an immediate change in actually how you felt physically? Actually doing something that lit you up, that you were excited for, that you felt like you were making a difference, you actually were being given an opportunity to train and eat, did you notice an immediate transformation in how you felt and experienced the world?

Marcus Filly: [00:20:33] Yes. I mean one thing I know about myself is that for as long as I can remember I’ve pushed my physical threshold. I’ll do as much work and as much physical as I could with whatever resources I had. So in medical school my resources were like… and I’m like man, I’m doing the .com workout. I’ll do it three days on, five days off because I’m so broken, I’m so messed up. Come back, I’m energized by life, I feel like I’m purpose driven, I feel like I’ve got… not just feel, I’ve got a community around me, I had people supporting me. I had people that cared about me and they saw my value and so all of a sudden I’m training like two hours a day. I’m still crushed by two hours a day of training because that’s what I would do; I would just push myself super hard. But I could feel that, wow, I have so much more to give. I can train a lot; I can lift heavy weights.

Kelly: [00:21:25] Okay, you two. There’s a lot of kids at the table. When your kids come to you and they’re like, “I’ve dropped out of med school, I’m moving into the garage and I’m coaching, and it lights me up,” how will you react? Because I had to do the same thing to my parents. I was a kayaker. I think they were so thrilled that I met Juliet who’s going to law school. They could be like, “Well, my son’s girlfriend’s going to law school,” at least. And then when I got into grad school, they were so relieved. I think that relief, one is status generation is different and these things didn’t even exist for them. But second, it’s a real fear that there’s no play out of this.

Juliet: [00:22:02] Yeah, I mean I think at some root level you really want your kid to be able to take care of themselves and know that they’re going to be able to take care of themselves when you’re gone. Well, here’s what I will say though, remember when I left my law practice, I wondered if my parents were going to be bummed because I literally was leaving my law practice to go run a parking lot gym.

Kelly: [00:22:20] With student loan debt.

Juliet: [00:22:21] As you’ll remember, with like a container. We had started Mobility Wod at that point but it was very nascent. It was like 2009, I think. 

Marcus Filly: [00:22:27] You really didn’t have a shiny object to be like, “Look we have this awesome gym.”

Juliet: [00:22:31] Yeah. Come get your warm towel. 

Marcus Filly: [00:22:33] Don’t worry. I have this awesome gym container.

Juliet: [00:22:36] I’m leaving a very high paying job, very high paying, and I’m going to go run a parking lot gym in a dirty corner, you were there. But I will say that my parents were both totally weirdly supportive of it. I was actually afraid to tell them. But I think that they both were so supportive which I think helped me get over that mental hurdle of being able to just do it.

Kelly: [00:22:57] They knew you at that point.

Juliet: [00:22:58] They knew me.

Kelly: [00:22:59] Your parents knew you and your drive.

Juliet: [00:23:02] Well, and I also think too is what they realized is go try this thing and if it doesn’t work out, default back to being a lawyer. Do whatever. When it doesn’t work out. They’re like this whole thing’s cute. I’m going to teach people CrossFit in Mill Valley.

Kelly: [00:23:12] And what is CrossFit by the way.

Marcus Filly: [00:23:18] Yeah, I think there’s a lot of that. I can hear that voice, mostly from my dad a little bit more, what are you going to do, and then the sigh of relief when it looks like it’s working out. I think you’re going to be okay. The sign of it working out for me or for my brother when he was doing his journey, it looks different. When my brother finally got a degree, finally finished something, got into graduate school, it’s like, whoo, Chris is going to be okay. And I’m like for me, oddly enough, my dad seeing me at a CrossFit event do well and he’s like, oh, you qualify for the word champion, this thing’s working out. We’re not really getting paid for any of this but at least that kind of checked the box. Whatever that feeling, I think his worry and what my worry would be if one of my daughters came to me with something similar is what’s guiding the decisions here. If you’re being guided just by fear, fear of something that could be hard, I don’t want that to be the guiding light for you. I want you to feel confident in yourself to take on a challenge, if that presents itself at some point in your life, to get to what you want. I think that was a fear of my dad. He’s like, “Hey, medical school’s hard for everybody. My first year was dreadful. I can see a lot of the similarities. But then I got through that.”

Juliet: [00:24:40] Yeah, he persevered. 

Marcus Filly: [00:24:42] Well, it was more like but I’m thankful I got through that because I’ve had this really fantastic career. It was something that he was deeply passionate about. I think once he disconnected, he’s like, oh, this isn’t just a fear thing, Marcus is ready to do hard stuff and he’s capable of it and he’s driven and he’s aligned to something that really is going to allow him to pay the bills and have a family.

Kelly: [00:25:08] I’ll show you dad, I’m going to quit this cushy med school thing and I’m going to go easier and be lazy and work for myself and start a business. Your dad’s like, “Take it easy, go back to med school, it’ll be easier.” Okay, I want to bookend for people, I want the story of how you come to be doing what you’re doing and what you’re talking… Tell us, everyone who doesn’t know, what your day-to-day work is and what your thing is. Tell us about Marcus Filly today. 

Juliet: [00:25:38] 2023.

Marcus Filly: [00:25:40] Yeah, well, 2023 Marcus is running a company called Functional Bodybuilding that has approximately 15 employees and we are delivering our fitness method, which I’m calling Functional Bodybuilding, which we’ll break down more, to people all over the world through an online training platform. So we have online training programs and personal coaching services, different levels of coaching services. But really for people who are like, I want to look good and move well. That’s our tagline. Look good and move well. 

Kelly: [00:26:12] Wait, wait, those things aren’t mutually exclusive?

Marcus Filly: [00:26:15] No. Isn’t that incredible? But no, that was the genesis of that, was I go to the gym to look good. Well, I’m going to go there to move well, I’m going to perform. It’s like y’all get pissed because you don’t look good and y’all get pissed because you don’t perform well and you don’t move well. So why don’t we figure out how to do it all together? And that’s what I’ve been trying to model for years. And on the day to day, I write training programs, I educate through what seems like endless content – podcasts, YouTube, short form, long form, all the things. And then we try and put ourselves in the best position to deliver the best product possible, which is making constant updates and improvements to our software platform and partnering with new companies, which I’d love to talk about at some point today, that is now delivering a better software product for us that people can engage with their training, solving the problem of I’m a fitness consumer, I want to do fitness, and my chosen platform is the online virtual setting, we’re going to figure out the best way to deliver that.

Kelly: [00:27:25] That is so amazing and brave because I’ll tell you that while we traffic in something a little easier, recovery and pain, just not complicated at all, mobility, we haven’t touched fitness with a 10 foot pole. We’ve always said, oh, we have all these other friends and we’re going to be agnostic about the way you train because that’s a really personal decision. And you have waded right into that soiree. What is it about functional bodybuilding—what does that mean?

Juliet: [00:27:52] Well, what is functional? What is that? What does that mean to someone who’s never heard of it?

Kelly: [00:27:58] I think of functional fitness as a defining term. I’m never fit enough. I’m never strong enough. I’m prepping for some zombie apocalypse, right? That’s what functional fitness really is, right? I need to do more wall balls and more burpees in less time because that will get me something.

Marcus Filly: [00:28:14] How would you define bodybuilding then?

Kelly: [00:28:15] Exactly right. Traditionally, bodybuilding was aesthetic and physique and I’ll tell you, the number one reason I think people get into training—this is my personal thing—they either are confronted with their mortality and they can’t move or do something—I can’t play with my kids, I’m afraid I can’t do something—It’s not about the gym. I don’t think… very few people actually care about how well they perform at the gym. But a lot of times, people are saying my body composition has to change. I don’t feel like I look the way I want to look. And that’s not shredded. I’m not afraid to take my shirt off and be embarrassed. I think that’s what people are starting to feel. When I think of bodybuilding, am I going in the right direction, that we have this collection of behaviors sort of driven towards feeling better and looking better?

Marcus Filly: [00:29:00] Yeah. I think how you described both functional fitness and bodybuilding is how most people generally think about those two things. That’s the perception of the public. And I think that maybe, again, I drew that example of they’re in different camps, these are separate camps. I think a lot of people think about it like that. I could go and get on a plan and train to look better or I can go and be more functional. But they don’t necessarily go together. To your point though, I like how you broke it down. There’s two main reasons why people come to the gym. They’re faced with their mortality: I can’t do the things that I need to do in my day-to-day life and this is starting to really create pain or-

Kelly: [00:29:42] I can’t ski, I can’t run. Something’s got to change.

Marcus Filly: [00:29:45] I would say probably the majority of people are saying I don’t like the way I look, I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror. And those things go together often. Your body composition, I’m in the overweight, maybe obese category and that is combined with you just haven’t moved much over the past two decades and therefore you don’t have functional capacity and carry too much body fat. So we’re trying to solve the same problem for a lot of people.

Kelly: [00:30:17] You and I came out of a coaching culture that really took some of the best ideas out of so many disciplines. When people ask me what CrossFit is, I’m like, well, we have these essential skills that as a coach I can draw from to then mix and match to say, “Hey, here are your goals.” Because we all quickly took CrossFit, like this is a great idea, let’s shape it to meet our needs of our communities, right? We totally started to mold it and shape it. And one of the things that we picked up out of bodybuilding was that no one did a better job of transformation of physique, regularly, on the regular, where I see physique competitors go from puffy and-

Marcus Filly: [00:30:54]] I’ve had people say, “I don’t understand weight loss; I don’t understand how to lose body fat.” And I’m like, “Well, there’s this whole sport over here that is a science. They don’t miss the mark, it just happens. But there are important things that are present in your life, you don’t have, you haven’t committed to an end result where it’s like I’m going to step on stage. It’s not even will, it’s you don’t connect to that purpose and therefore you’re not willing to go through all of the different steps and stages that are required to get very lean.” And so how do we learn from this and then help people navigate the actual habits and the things that they need to do in their actual day to day life? Gen pop to eating a caloric deficit to incorporating more resistance training in their life, add protein to their plate. We do those three things, you’ll start to lose body fat, it just happens. But it’s not easy. It’s just the script is there. We know what to do. It’s how do we make it actually happen.

Kelly: [00:31:49] The other piece I just want to give, homage I want to give to all my bodybuilding friends, and bodybuilding techniques, is that we have really strong tendons and a lot of volume that makes really resilient tissues. I think a lot of what ends up happening with some of the Olympic lifting powerlifting is that some of the people who are dilatants, I’m a middle aged guy, I like to be strong, I come in, I am not doing enough volume to take care of my tissues or take care of my connective tissues. And some of those pumps, some of those routines, some of those quarter squats, where I’m just staying under tension working, those protocols really help people feel better. Not like I’m on an isolation machine doing more bicep curls. But it turns out some of the people only snatching and only clean and jerking really missed a lot of opportunity to put on some armor. Am I wrong in that way?

Marcus Filly: [00:32:39] No, not at all. I mean I’m sure you recall the very controversial statement that James FitzGerald made one day, which was, Dave Castro said, “Well, what would be the best way to get prepared for the CrossFit? Who would make the best CrossFitter?” It’s like, “Well, go do bodybuilding for 10 years and then come and do it.” And it was like, no, that’s crazy. It’s like, no, it’s actually not. The bodybuilding protocol and lifting like that, putting in as much volume, you build a tremendous base of strength, connective tissue strength. And that I think was something that I experienced in the sport, competing in CrossFit at a very high level, was, man, I hurt really bad because I’m throttling up on intensity at heavy loads under a fatigued state, I don’t have the time to put in the requisite base building work, which I have experience with it doing bodybuilding protocols. I want to bring that back into my life because I want to keep doing this stuff for a long time. I want to do it well past I’m competing in the sport. I didn’t retire from CrossFit and say, yeah, I don’t need to do that again. I was like, no, I want to keep doing this and I want to continue it in the smartest, most logical way for me and other people. And that’s where I was like, okay, we’re going to marry some of these principles together. And over time, it became clear that more of this functional fitness CrossFit audience was like, whoa, we all feel that too. We were  just a couple years behind you because we weren’t pushing ourselves to the limits like you were for as many years, but I was in the first 10 year wave of the sport, and then it was like, okay, every three or four or five years there’s a new wave of people that are like, whoa, I want to slow down a little bit about half the time in my training and do some things that “look a little bit more bodybuilding.”

Juliet: [00:34:27] If you like what you’re hearing, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show. 

Juliet: [00:34:33] Hey guys, we just wanted to take a little break in this podcast episode to actually tell you about one of our own products and that’s our Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach.

Kelly: [0:34:41] Yeah, the app literally is the first place you should go if you’re trying to feel better, if you’re trying to solve an old movement related problem, if you’re just trying to just not be as sore from your workout.

Juliet: [0:34:53] There is so much going on in this app. We have a mobility test that is comprehensive and designed by Kelly Starrett himself.

Kelly: [0:35:01] It’s pretty good. 

Juliet: [0:35:02] So you can figure out what your biggest limitations are and start to work on that. There are sports specific mobilizations if you want to try to lift more or run faster. There is a pain area. And we even have a ton of bonus content. You can do challenges around squat and ankle and a bunch of other specific body parts. So you can just generally get more supple and awesome.

Kelly: [0:35:22] JStar, you’re killing it. You should talk about this app more often. We started the original mobility project back in 2010 trying to help people solve problems for themselves. We think that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves and we want you to be able to engage in self-care in a really reasonable, responsible way. One of our favorite parts of it, daily mobility. You have a 10, 20, 30-minute follow along with me. If you just have a ball and a roller and think you want to feel better, move better, play along. I mean we really feel like that’s the base camp practice and you can add in what you need.

Juliet: [0:35:54] We’re really proud of this and what we’ve created here and we think you should give it a try. Head on over to and use code Pod 20 for 20 percent off your first month. And just FYI, including your two-week free trial, that’s literally six weeks for $11.99. You can’t beat that. There’s so much amazing content to help you feel better and move better for $11.99.

Kelly: [0:36:19] In the words of our podcast producer: bananas.

Juliet: [00:36:24] One thing I want to tell you is that what I’ve always noticed is take it or leave it if you like the bodybuilder physique when they’re in their… Right? That’s totally subjective whether that looks weird to people or cool.

Kelly: [00:36:35] Hang on. Wait for the punchline.

Juliet: [00:36:36] But the punchline is if you look at like a 75-year-old dude who’s a former bodybuilder, those guys are the best looking 75-year-old dudes, right? Because no matter what, we’re on a downhill trajectory of losing muscle mass at a certain point in our life, right?

Kelly: [00:36:51] No.

Juliet: [00:36:51] So those guys are going to go from being super jacked to maybe have a physique that a lot of us wouldn’t want to have, like very, very jacked, and very, very lean, to having just a really awesome physique at an old age when muscle mass is at a premium. So I see it just from that reason alone just because it’s so hard to put on muscle mass, we’re all at some point going to be going downhill and no matter what we do it’s going to be like maintain, but we’re still going to lose, and it’s like, man, I just feel like it’s like money in the bank, having muscle mass, and it’s like your 401k for health.

Kelly: [00:37:22] We should be looking at who’s the best in the world for putting muscle mass on people, lean mass, and especially as you’re 40 and 50 and beyond.

Juliet: [00:37:31] Yeah, because we’re like obsessed with this concept of durability. 

Kelly: [00:37:34] Try to lose body fat, let’s try to put on some muscle. We’ll come back to that.

Juliet: [00:37:38] I was just going to say we’re obsessed. We don’t love the word longevity because we really don’t care if we live to be 102. What we want to do is live to be whatever we live to be but feel good and be able to do the things we want to do the whole time that we’re alive. And so that’s why we prefer the word durability. But to me, a cornerstone of durability is having muscle mass on your body. 

Marcus Filly: [00:37:59] Gosh, completely, yeah. I mean in my early 20s when I was like this was like my primetime of life to put on muscle, I got kind of like sent down the rabbit hole of lean is good, I want to be shredded. I kind of wish, and it was a seed that was planted by a comment by the wrong person at the wrong time, that just got in my head and I’m like, okay, I’m going to try the dieting thing and didn’t know what I was doing. I was like, well, I got abs, this is cool, I want to keep those abs forever, I never want to see those go. And then but it’s like, well, how do I bulk up and put on some muscle mass? Oh, I’ve got to get rid of the abs. Nah, I’m not into that. But the point being is that I kind of wish that if I could go back and rewrite some part of my history it’s like maybe not get so attached to that at an early age where it’s like all I should have been thinking about from 20 to 30 was just how do I get as beefy and muscular as possible because that’s going to be what my foundation looks like for the rest of my life or a big portion of my life. And yeah, this obsession with should I get cut, should I shred down, should I lean out, should I lose a bunch of body fat, let’s really look at this. Where are you at? Are you in the very overweight, obese category? Then let’s bring you back to a healthy body fat percentage where you can function the way you want to function, you can actually start to put on muscle mass  now because you’re not having hormone disruptions from excess adipose tissue, yada yada. But for a lot of people, it’s like let’s not just go on a cutting diet right now, let’s go to the gym, let’s improve your food quality, but let’s start training. Let’s start lifting some weights. Let’s start to put on and build whatever muscle tissue we can at this stage of your life, whether it’s 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. If you’ve never trained before and you come in at 50, guess what? You can still build a ton of muscle.

Juliet: [00:39:41] And I’m going to interrupt Kelly really fast because he has an actual question but I think what we’ve learned over the years is, I am sure this is true for your clientele, most people actually don’t want to get shredded, I mean not in my age group at all. People don’t care about that. They want to figure out this kind of balance where it’s like they want to go out to dinner with their friends, they don’t want to be a weirdo and bring their own chicken in a Ziploc bag. They want to be able to go out and enjoy dinner with their friends. But they want to feel good and be durable.

Kelly: [00:40:06] When we actually confront them with that choice. 

Juliet: [00:40:06] Yeah, when you confront them with that choice.

Kelly: [00:40:08] Because they’re like, okay, maybe you’re right-

Juliet: [00:40:08] I think maybe they sometimes fantasize about being super shredded, but the vast majority of people want to feel good, be healthy, have some energy, eat some whole foods. The shredded thing is like a side thing.

Marcus Filly: [00:40:19] Yeah, and I need to choose better, a different language. I think there’s a different language because even those people that don’t want to get shredded, there’s still a culture of here I am, I’m going to try and do this, just the shrinking concept. And the shrinking concept to look better and feel better is they believe it’s all connected. The shrinking concept that most people, the protocol that they put to that is eat less and kind of do less. Definitely don’t lift weights because that’s going to make me bulky. I’ve got to eat less and I’ve got to just run more. And that doesn’t really get at the thing which I think we all agree, is no, no, let’s resistance train, let’s stress our bodies in a sensible but very productive way, but let’s fuel with good food, and at the end of that you’re going to be so much happier that you have a metabolism intact because you have lean tissue.

Kelly: [00:41:14] You haven’t dieted and started starving.

Marcus Filly: [00:41:17] Yeah. And you can move really well or better than if you were just sort of like on the treadmill train. And I think the mental and emotional benefits that are going to come from that approach of I’m going to feed myself and move myself versus starve myself and limit myself, you can lose weight and change your body composition both ways. One’s going to make you immensely happier.

Kelly: [00:41:37] One of the things that I think is a hallmark of your training is that I don’t see a lot of machines in your life. I think when a lot of people think about bodybuilding and they go into Globo gyms, they’re seeing people with leather gloves and belts and sitting doing peck decks. That certainly has been proven under certain conditions to develop a lot of mass. We’ve seen people get very big, but less useful, less functional, less skilled. Is it a hallmark? Because I still see you doing a lot of things that look like squatting and pressing and actual barbell movements. Where do you think that message got lost because that’s not our strength culture where we’re all on machines? That was sort of a side effect or a side detour. All of our strength athletes, all of our performance athletes from 1900s on, strong men, strong women, they all lifted weights. And I think one of the hallmarks for your program is you’re still advocating for a lot of classic weight training that looks like weight training but just done in a different way. Am I getting that right?

Marcus Filly: [00:42:37] Yeah. One of the missions that I think I’ve been on with Functional Bodybuilding is really evaluate and look at where are the barriers, where are the walls that divide these camps and make people believe I’m either doing this or I’m doing that. And one of those things is the machines versus the free weights. We do machines, we do free weights. That’s also not really a good line to draw in the sand. I don’t want to be part of that. I want to be somebody because I definitely through my CrossFit training and through my sports performing training, this was very much a free weight compound lift culture where even doing an isolation movement like a dumbo curl or certainly getting onto a leg press or doing any of these things was like I’m going to slap your hand, we don’t do that here. We don’t even talk about that.

Kelly: [00:43:25] I used to make everyone do curls with a barbell.

Juliet: [00:43:29] Kelly would always end workouts with a barbell curl.

Kelly: [00:43:30] And people are like, “What are you doing?” And I’d be like, “Elbow health.”

Juliet: [00:43:34] Just repackage. It’s marketing. It’s marketing.

Marcus Filly: [00:43:35] Totally. Today is an example. I trained at the gym with a couple of the coaches and I have a Smith Machine in the gym now and it’s an attachment to the rig and it’s amazing. I have a pivot press from Atlantis Strength. We did leg press today. I have a seated calf machine. I’ve got a hip thrust machine. Can I do all these things with free weights? Can I replicate these movement patterns in another way? Absolutely. But I was like this is an intention. I want to put these pieces in our facility because I want people to see the same guy that’s going to snatch off the blocks, going to do a jerk, going to do a pistol holding onto a dumbbell is going to burpee over a box and is going to leg press all in the same week. Everything that I just mentioned was in training this week and the idea of machines are bad for all these reasons, well, they’re good for all these reasons; they might be misplaced in these settings. Just bringing more honest conversation to that.

Kelly: [00:44:34] I appreciate that because one of the things that Brian MacKenzie and I used to kid around a lot, we’re like this is what we call high physiology, low skill. And what you get with leg press and some of these things is-

Marcus Filly: [00:44:46] Exactly.

Kelly: [00:44:46] You don’t need to stabilize.

Marcus Filly: [00:44:47] Totally.

Kelly: [00:44:48] We’re going to get high physiology, we’re going to get those tissues engorged with blood. And I hope that some of the blood flow restriction training that’s come into the world a little bit is simplifying that for people. Your brain doesn’t necessarily need 100 percent skill all the time. Your ligaments feel good when they get a pump.

Marcus Filly: [00:45:06] Totally.

Kelly: [00:45:07] And how you decide to load that and how you want to spare your spine or have ranges of motion or safety and what tools are available to you, those are all good, valid questions. 

Juliet: [00:45:16] Well, I was going to say, I wanted to tell you a funny story about our kids related to machines. 

Kelly: [00:45:20] Oh yes.

Juliet: [00:45:21] So right before Christmas we stopped by to say hi to Mark Bell at Super Training Gym. And he’s got everything in there. I know you’ve been there. He’s got all the machines. Everything, it’s a playground of gym equipment. And it was really funny to watch our daughters go in the door because we were doing some stuff with Mark and so they were just using the gym like a playground. And they’ve grown up in CrossFit gyms so they don’t care about rings and ropes and free weights, whatever. They were like whatever on that stuff. I mean they spent like two hours doing every single machine. It was like a field day for them.

Kelly: [00:45:52] Hips, leg press, hips, leg press.

Juliet: [00:00:00] Hips, leg press. Mark has all these weird machines. They had the best time.

Marcus Filly: [00:45:58] That’s awesome.

Juliet: [00:45:59] It was just such a good reminder for me that, you’re right, I think one thing that I see that’s happening that’s really positive, there’s some of us that are doing it but I think it’s starting to be a trend in the fitness business overall, is this rejection of extreme thinking in any direction, that the answer is always it depends, and it doesn’t have to be you can only do free weights and never a machine. That you’ve been able to figure out this lovely way to include all of those things in a really well-rounded training program.

Kelly: [00:46:29] And I still see you front squat, so just so we’re clear.

Marcus Filly: [00:46:30] No, yeah, I definitely still front squat, I still back squat, I still do these things. And I kind of define the ultimate expression of me that I’m hanging onto my CrossFit days is that I still snatch and clean and jerk. If there was anything I could check off my list, that could be it. But I’m like no, I’m committed to that, even though it’s a high skill movement that maybe most people don’t need to learn, something that I worked hard for years to learn.

Juliet: [00:46:54] You’re really good at it.

Marcus Filly: [00:46:55] Yeah and I appreciate that I can get a good dose from that with low risk relative to what maybe most people can do. And that’s kind of it. We need people to get into the gym and be able to push themselves intensely. What’s the environment and what’s the training tool and what’s the implement that’s going to allow them to do that most safely? And a leg press does that great for certain people. Now with that said, I really don’t believe that people should learn movement on the machines. I think they should learn how to move and develop good motor control and learn how to squat, learn how to swing a bell. But I’m 20 something years into this whole thing.

Kelly: [00:47:31] You just take it for granted that you’re good at it.

Marcus Filly: [00:47:32] I can go and back squat pretty heavy today. That’s going to fry a lot of things and I’m going to have a lot of low back fatigue from that and I could get on a leg press and get a similar dose or maybe even a more intense dose if I want intensity on a given day.

Kelly: [00:47:46] One of our mutual friends, Sean Pastuch of Active Life RX, had a great post recently. He said, “How many PRs have you had in the gym in the last year and how have those PRs made your life better?” And I love that because I was like, well, if I had any PRs in the gym… And I haven’t had any PRs in the gym.

Juliet: [00:48:06] We haven’t had any PRs in like 20 years, baby.

Kelly: [00:48:08] In the gym in at least a year.

Marcus Filly: [00:48:11] PR leg press.

Kelly: [00:48:13] PR. Everyone is a PR. Every two and a half is a PR. I’ll just be like take those little gains. But what’s interesting is that my physical self has never been more fun, more fit, more expression riding my bike, paddling, skiing, doing all the things I want to do. And it has very little now with what my expression of performance is in the gym. Have you had that similar experience? Are you still like I’m chasing PRs, one rep max?

Marcus Filly: [00:48:42] Well, no, I like this thought process. I like the question because when I stopped competing in 2016, I mean I was at the pinnacle of my own performance fitness. I mean I could snatch 285, I clean and jerked 355, I back squatted 455, I could dead lift 560.

Kelly: [00:49:02] And you’re not-

Marcus Filly: [00:49:04] No, I was 195 pounds. And I could do all that with as big an aerobic engine I could ever built. I was like this is it. And the moment I stopped chasing that goal of being the be best CrossFitter I could be then the stimulus and the motivation or the drive that is required to maintain those types of numbers and to keep building upon that was gone. I don’t believe I’m the type of person that could just be like, well, I’m not trying to keep in the CrossFit Games but I’m going to still get that 600-pound deadlift, I’m still going to keep all… So it became this sort of slow decline for my peak strength numbers. And basically, from 2017 or 2018 until now, I was okay with that, I kind of accepted that. I’m like, well, look, I’m at a different, it’s a different season of life. Those numbers, I’m never going to be able to hit those old numbers and that’s okay.

Kelly: [00:49:54] You think that’s the same thing as not being able to fit into the jeans you owned from college?

Marcus Filly: [00:49:58] My jeans in college

Kelly: [00:49:58] Keeping it real, people.

Juliet: [00:49:59] Well, I have to tell you, so I follow a CrossFit kind of program and I work out with some other older ladies like myself and we always laugh because sometimes a workout says 85 percent of your one rep max, which is to us now a meaningless thing because the last time I tried to do any of the major lifts for a one rep max is probably 10 years ago. I just don’t care. And especially not the complicated movements like a snatch and jerk.

Kelly: [00:50:26] I did a PR when 60 Minutes was at the gym

Juliet: [00:50:26] Yeah. I PRd my clean and jerk on 60 Minutes and then that was and as you know, I PRd my muscle upping at the CrossFit Games and then that also ended. But you know it’s interesting, because we don’t care anymore about doing those one rep maxes.

Kelly: [00:50:43] But I still deadlift every 10 days or so heavy.

Juliet: [00:50:44] So even 85 percent of it doesn’t matter to us.

Marcus Filly: [00:50:46] The thing that I’m connected to now is if I accept that I’m not going to ever PR based upon my peak at 31 years old or whatever, then does that set me up for accepting a little bit less and a little bit less and a little bit less forever. And does it change the way I approach training? And it did for a number of years where I didn’t actually progressively overload. I was not somebody who actually came to the gym. I don’t care, I believe this is really essential for a lot of people who want to train. It is for a segment of time, whether it’s four weeks, six weeks, three months, choose something that you’re going to decide to do hard and then do it harder and do it harder and do it harder within the limit of safety and within the limit of it doesn’t ruin the rest of your life.

Kelly: [00:51:39] That’s the really important part. Doesn’t blow out the rest of your physical being, psycho-emotional self. 

Juliet: [00:51:43] Yeah and you do want to see progress; you’ll see progress.

Marcus Filly: [00:51:46] There’s something about progress but there’s also something about you have to demand a little bit more of yourself than you did the previous week. It’s like, well, I just deadlifted heavy today. It’s like, well, it was heavy. This was it was a little less heavy, next week… I think there is tremendous value in this week I’m not having the best week but I committed to something and I’m going to do it and it’s hard and it’s physical but I’m going to do it a little bit harder than last time. And this is something that we pushed on people a lot in CrossFit to their detriment at times because it was every day for five years you’ve got to beat the whiteboard from yesterday. And I’m not talking about let’s beat the whiteboard every day for five years in a row. I’m talking about pick your day. Tuesdays. Tuesday you’re going to come in and you’re going to leg press, whatever the movement is, but do five pounds more than last week.  Do five pounds more than last week.

Kelly: [00:52:39] But then what I want people to understand, what I hear you saying is we need people to actually progressively overload. It’d be no difference if you were running and you ran the same three miles, you would stop adapting to the same three miles. Your body would start going into what we call third wave adaptation where you start to see efficiency and all of the gains that you got from running three miles and activity stop. So you could do that by running a little faster, you could do that by doing some intervals, you could do that by running further. There’s a lot of ways to change your intensity, not necessarily two and a half pounds because I’ll put harder aerobic pieces between my lifting. But you’re saying though is a big mistake people make is they don’t challenge or progress these little blocks because what you’re describing is actually the exact way I train.

Marcus Filly: [00:53:21] I think you just nailed it. It’s that there’s this misunderstanding that maybe people can get themselves into, which is I have a movement practice, I move, and I move in this way, and I check the box, I’m doing it, that’s great.

Kelly: [00:53:33] My body doesn’t change.

Marcus Filly: [00:53:34] Doesn’t change. Or it’s good now and I’m doing the movement practice but it’s getting worse every few years. Why is it getting worse? Because you called it third wave adaptation, I call it just you’re just getting older and you’re not doing anything hard.

Kelly: [00:53:50] I have old cat syndrome. That’s different.

Marcus Filly: [00:53:52] But then it’s like pick one thing that you’re going to call training. How are you going to check the training bucket and have your movement bucket? I want my mom doing the same three, four mile loop that she walks five days a week forever. But I also want her to push herself, train herself, in this way a couple days a week.

Kelly: [00:54:12] You could add another set of kettlebell swings, that could be another set, it could be a heavier kettlebell, it could be less rest. Hear what Marcus is saying here, because the bottom line though is I really like what you’re saying for a chunk of time, and what do you think is a minimum chunk of time for people, for a skill like that?

Marcus Filly: [00:54:28] I mean I fall into the minimum chunk of time, which is like four weeks, and then I’m like I’m tapped out. If I push it another week, that’s when my lifestyle’s going to start to dip. I’m going to start taking midday naps, which I don’t need to be doing, from a heavy set of back squats. 

Kelly: [00:54:40] Let me give everyone an example of what we’re talking about in a way that maybe people who don’t lift weights could listen to: I’m training to go for this crazy eight day backcountry ski trip and one of the things that I’ve decided on is that I put the damper at 10 and the magnet at 10, then I do brutal standing one minute on intervals, one minute on, one minute off. And the first thing I did was come to a decent wattage at 10 rounds, and then I went to 15 rounds, I went to 20 rounds. And then I started adding wattage on top of that. So now I’m not at 330 watts, I need to be at 360 watts every single one of those… So that’s kind of what you’re saying.

Marcus Filly: [00:55:16] Yeah, exactly.

Kelly: [00:55:16] By the time this thing will be done, I will not get on and do a minute on, minute off brutal watt set for weeks afterwards because I’ll be like, done, I want to do something else. So am I getting you right there?

Marcus Filly: [00:55:26] Yeah, I think it’s just create a new target for yourself that you’re going to push towards for four to eight to twelve weeks and then switch. And that’s sort of what’s been a guiding light for me with Functional Bodybuilding, is like at least for the training community, people that want to go into the gym, that were maybe doing the program that had five different metrics that they followed, it’s like, well, if you just keep pushing those five things over and over and over again, you’re going to eventually cap out at how much you can keep progressively overloading with those three things, five things. I mean the example of the powerlifter that’s got to get their bench squat deadlift better, that’s a brutal sport because you’re just constantly trying to build upon the same three things. Whereas in functional bodybuilding, it’s like I’m going to give you 50 to 100 different targets and we’re just going to keep moving around. And this month we’re going to hit these three targets and next month we’re going to do those three. That way, we can actually see progress, they can see consistency, repetition, put a little bit more effort in than last time, and then let’s put that aside. And guess what, we don’t need to touch that for a while so that you don’t need to feel like, man, every week I got to get better at this bench press thing.

Kelly: [00:56:34] I was just thinking about this in prep for this call.

Juliet: [00:56:36] We’re not on a call. 

Kelly: [00:56:38] Good call. Good point. I heard Dan John one time say, “If you’re not getting better at your bench press, what are you doing?” I remember thinking, I have to progress my bench press forever? Which leads me to asking do you think there are metrics where someone is strong enough? Is Juliet strong enough? Is there a place where I’m strong enough in my life? Am I better served? Do I need… I deadlifted 605, do I need to deadlift 610 and 620? Does that make my life better? How do I wrap my head around that aspect as a person who’s-

Juliet: [00:57:07] It’s okay. Just say no.

Kelly: [00:57:10] Turning 50. Please say no. Turning 50 and wants to feel better and not end up looking like a melted candle. More like a melted candle.

Marcus Filly: [00:57:21] Well, let me just be clear: I was this strong, now I’m this strong. My intentionality around intensity in training is not to try and bring that number back up to where it was before, it’s to simply create that stress adaptation cycle that’s happening in these little windows of time. And I think that that’s really important because I do believe that you are strong enough if you can do everything you need to do in your life. If you daily had to lift a 650 pound object, I’d be like, no, you’re not strong enough.

Kelly: [00:57:51] That’s called carrying this relationship. Carrying our whole family on my back.

Juliet: [00:57:57] I’m really still stuck on this whole melted candle thing. I can’t… I’m struggling to move beyond that visual in my mind.

Kelly: [00:58:03] I’ve got to ask you because-

Juliet: [00:58:05] After you said that, I didn’t hear anything Marcus said. I blacked out.

Kelly: [00:58:08] You are a business owner, you have a lot of people that work with you, you have a partner, you have a couple children, you’re one of the phenomenon that we see as parents that have older kids, is that as people have children, it gets more and more difficult for them to find time for fitness and health. And it seems a standard trajectory. And again, no shade on anyone, is that people in kindergarten look a certain way, and by the time their kids get into high school, they look another way. Have you noticed that phenomenon?

Juliet: [00:58:40] No, because his kid is only in kindergarten. He’s just at the front end of that. He will notice it. 

Kelly: [00:58:45] Either planting that seed but have you noticed that, that there’s an aggregation, and what is the limiting factor, that we don’t have time, we’re not prioritizing feeling better, we can’t lift in our garage because that’s a revolution, right? Or it’s wine and sneaking in too many extra bagels. Is it all of those things? Because we definitely see that parents are struggling to change their body composition and feel better.

Marcus Filly: [00:59:10] Yeah. Back to the bodybuilding.

Kelly: [00:59:12] Asking for a friend.

Marcus Filly: [00:59:13] Asking for a friend. Back to the bodybuilding conversation we had before, when bodybuilders prep for shows and their coaches give them this is the plan, this is what you do, it works and if they follow it, it works.

Kelly: [00:59:23] It works every time.

Marcus Filly: [00:59:24] Every time, right? And people will say this is one of the most selfish sports, you have to be all about yourself, you’ve got to protect your environment, you’ve got to focus on your food. You have to have a lot of space in your life to do something like that. And you enter into parenting and it’s like what is the thing that I long for sometimes, is just a couple days where I could be selfish and not have all this stuff to do, right? It’s gone. And it evaporates even more and more through a certain phase of life. I think we’re in it, for sure, and I know it’s going to continue for a long time, where I don’t have as much time to think about myself, to prep my meals, to even have the emotional and physical bandwidth to be like, yeah, I really want to make this decision, I want to have this discipline. All of those resources are just drained from you: time, emotional, mental, physical, energy. It’s all being kind of pulled at. And those are the things that make the bodybuilding plan successful 100 percent of the time. You’ve got all of those resources available to you. You’re in your 20s and 30s, all of the stuff is taken care of.

Kelly: [01:00:38] You cut your arm off and it grows back the next day.

Marcus Filly: [01:00:40] I mean that’s it. It’s that in order to have success in the body composition game, you have to have the space to bring so much awareness to it.

Kelly: [01:00:50] Being a business owner, having kids, has that given you a different perspective and empathy with the people you’re working with?

Marcus Filly: [01:00:56] Yeah, for sure. I mean I look back at my 25-year-old self that was coaching at the CrossFit gym and hearing the moms and dads come in and be like, agh, this and that. I’m like, “Dude, just freaking Paleo it up. You’ve got this.”

Juliet: [01:01:06] Just spend your Sunday doing your meal prep. Yeah. 

Kelly: [01:01:09] You don’t know until you know.

Marcus Filly: [01:01:12] You don’t know until you know. But I also believe that there’s still a path to teaching anybody at any point that process of building self-awareness around what the inputs and the outputs of your life have to look like in order for you to maintain a healthy body weight that feels good to you. And I think that-

Kelly: [01:01:34] You can’t have it all.

Marcus Filly: [01:01:34] Yeah, you can’t and I think people are trying. But I think there’s a process. You have to learn about this balance. You have to understand, well, this is why it works over here and these are the reasons why it might not work for you right now and that’s okay. So where can we find this middle ground where you are going to be a little selfish because it’s going to give you back more mobility, it’s going to give you back better body composition, it’s going to give you back more energy, all the things. It’s going to give you that functional capacity that you lack right now. You’re going to have to say no to this in order to get there and once you have reclaimed that, then maybe you can say yes to all of it and still maintain it. That’s the process that’s reeducating or educating maybe for the first time.

Juliet: [01:02:20] We’ve already basically used up all of our time, but I would like to just ask a couple more questions on the business side of Functional Bodybuilding. And so you have like 15 employees and you’re doing all this digital stuff. I know you still have I think a brick and mortar gym where some people come and then you’re working with a bunch of partners. So did I encompass the universe of what you have going on, what are those things, what partnerships do you have? Tell us a little bit more about what’s going on, on the business side.

Marcus Filly: [01:02:49] Yeah, the business is all virtual and online. We still have a gym here in San Rafael that we used to have open to customers and clients before the pandemic. We shut that down.

Kelly: [01:03:00] Good job. 

Marcus Filly: [01:03:01] Didn’t work for us. Do you guys know anything about that?

Juliet: [01:03:04] Yeah, yeah. We may know a little something about that.

Marcus Filly: [01:03:07] But we still have the space and we still have a few local clients that still come in and use it and it’s a beautiful training facility and I’d love to have you there anytime if you want to come and get on a couple machines. Actually, send your daughters if they really love to play on machines, we’ve got a great-

 Juliet: [01:03:20] They do.

Marcus Filly: [01:03:21] Yeah. Send them.

Kelly: [01:03:22] Simultaneously, Georgia, who is applying to school, downgraded a couple schools because it was only machines and there was no open racks and kettlebells. And she’s like, “The rowing machine’s really far away from the kettlebells. I don’t understand.”

Marcus Filly: [01:03:37] Who’s laying this out? Can we consult?

Kelly: [01:03:38] So there’s balance in there.

Marcus Filly: [01:03:39] So actually all of our business is delivered online through and the recent partnership that we made was with our friends that owned RPM Fitness. So Shane and Josh Rogers-

Juliet: [01:03:54] Love those guys.

Marcus Filly: [01:03:55] Started a software company called ATOM, which is a training software. 

Juliet: [01:04:03] It’s really awesome.

Marcus Filly: [01:04:03] It’s been great. They have their own GPD program that they offer through there but we’re the first creatives that they’ve brought in to develop program and deliver it through their web based app.

Kelly: [01:04:11] That’s great.

Marcus Filly: [01:04:13] It is. I mean it’s a big shift for us. We’re still in the first month of transitioning thousands and thousands of customers from this old platform to this new platform. So there is always challenges to that. But people ask why’d you do this, what was the motivation. And I said it earlier, we want to make the training for the end consumer as easy, as enjoyable, as exciting, as we can possibly make it. I want you to open up whatever it is that you look at Functional Bodybuilding through, whatever app that is, I want it to make you excited and be easy to start because when people… You probably said this too, the hardest decision you’re going to make with CrossFit is just showing up. Once you’re here, we got you, right? And I want that to be the case for somebody when they open up their app. I open up my app and I’m like, cool, I’m in. There’s a video of Marcus, he’s talking to me, he’s smiling, oh man, got some cool music. Everything reads really nicely. It’s smooth. Oh this is my workout, this is how I get my equipment. It just happens. And we had a partner, our former software solution just didn’t give us options and ATOM, Josh and Shane, they’re building something that they really want to be a collaboration where within the first month we’ve pushed out probably 10 new features of the app already to our customers, which is super excited for us because we were with our former company for six years and we got zero new features pushed out.

Kelly: [01:05:42] Yeah, their platform is gorgeous. Shoutout because Lisa, Megs and I are all doing the 10,000 jump challenge right now. 

Marcus Filly: [01:05:49] There you go. Yeah.

Juliet: [01:05:51] Not so much in that they’re really nice people. That really matters. They’re nice humans trying to do the right thing. 

Kelly: [01:05:59] Their software platform is awesome. That’s amazing. And I actually didn’t know that they had figured out how to repurpose it for other people. That’s really smart.

Marcus Filly: [01:06:06] Yes. I think their vision was always to have this collective of creators that complemented one another and you could come to their platform and get these different types of training programs. They approached me almost two years ago when they first were building it in the pandemic and they were like, hey, would you be interested in this, and I was like, I don’t know that that’s the direction that we’re going right now but we have had a good relationship and we came back to it maybe six, seven, eight months ago.

Kelly: [01:06:35] I just got queasy thinking about changing your text deck. It’s not even mine. It’s yours, Juliet. I just make stretching videos.

Juliet: [01:06:40] Well, congratulations. And you just launched that on January 2, right?

Marcus Filly: [01:06:45] Thank you. Yeah. 

Juliet: [01:06:45] Not even been a month. That’s a huge deal. That must feel really good.

Marcus Filly: [01:06:48] It does. It feels really good. And it’s also the thing that feels the best about it is I felt a little stuck and stagnant in what I could do creatively with our training and now I’m like, oh, we have lots of possibilities and we could really potentially open up to different audiences and there’s just so much possibility potential at this stage. It gets me excited for the next five years.

Kelly: [01:07:12] Normally we ask you what ae you living for, what’s exciting, but you just nailed it.

Juliet: [01:07:16] Sound like that’s it. okay, so were going to have to invite you back which is very easy since we’re neighbors. There were probably 100 questions I wanted to ask you but we didn’t have time for but where can people find you on the socials and our company on the internet? We’ll of course link to all those in the show notes.

Marcus Filly: [01:07:32] Yeah. I would direct people to our newsletter at That’s the real content. All the social media is all real content. But that’s the content that I put energy into every single week, multiple times a week, to just keep people educated in all aspects of what Functional Bodybuilding means, which as we’ve discussed today, covers a lot of stuff. 

Juliet: [01:07:56] Very vast.

Marcus Filly: [01:07:56] And then that’s it. Marcus Filly on all the other platforms. Check out YouTube. Long form is my game. I like that. The shortform stuff just drives me a bit crazy.

Juliet: [01:08:04] You’re really good at it through. You’re really good at it.

Kelly: [01:08:06] Oh Lisa, did you see that? Someone else is hurt by shortform too. Thanks, TikTok. 

Juliet: [01:08;10] Well, Marcus, thank you so much for being here in person.

Kelly: [01:08:11] Great to see you.

Marcus Filly: [01:08:13] Thank you for having me. Thank you so much. 


Kelly: [01:08:21] Thank you for listening to The Ready State Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, check out all our episodes here or at And be sure to subscribe or leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show. 

Juliet: [01:08:32] Check us out and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thereadystate.

Kelly: [01:08:37] Until next time, cheers everyone. 

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