Cover star Brian Mazza has curated a success strategy in all aspects of his life that’s founded on high level athletic performance. Here’s why you should listen to his inspirational words of wisdom.
It’s rare to meet someone who radiates an infectious energy. Their sense of gratitude, humility and positivity have a way of rubbing off, even days after you’ve parted ways. Brian Mazza is one such exceptional human who exudes love for his family, fitness, food and fashion – four life pillars that have formed him into an inspiring individual. To look at him, it’s easy to see much of this started with his dedication to training. “You never know when opportunities will come, and you’ll need to jump on it,” explains Mazza when asked about his ruthless passion for exercise. “This is my business. It would hurt me to get out of shape. Luckily, I love working out. It’s not a job. I love it.” Keep reading to find out how you can tap into his drive so you can bring out the best in your life.
Adapt and thrive
What is a hybrid athlete? Someone who can do everything and never limits their capacity. Brian explains his motivations and journey to this can-do lifestyle. “Growing up, I played soccer at a high level but as I got older, I wanted to be a 360 athlete, built to do it all,” he says. “Lift heavy. Run a marathon. Crush an anaerobic workout. I didn’t want to be a skinny marathoner or a meathead. My goal has always been to be ready to excel in every sport thanks to being a well-rounded human who operates at a high level. This has led me to become an ultra-marathoner who logs 130 -150 miles a month while lifting heavy four times per week.” Despite being an exercise professional who founded High Performance Lifestyle Training (hpltraining.com), he hasn’t achieved these feats alone.
You don’t get to be your best without getting a second opinion. “Finding weak points is my trigger,” says Mazza. “To find them, four days a week I work with one of the best high-performance coaches in America: Jacob Zemer. He’s not a friend and lets me know it. He tells me where I’m weak and shows me how to fix it. Jacob is hired for results, and that’s the bottom line. For me, it’s my mobility and flexibility thanks to old injuries that stop me performing at an elite level. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with so I’m constantly seeking the best people in their fields and hire them to educate me. I need someone to reverse engineer my performance to tell me how to be better. You can believe you know it all, but that’s a bad thing.” If you’ve hit a plateau in your improvements, investing in a trainer or nutritionist will give you an objective assessment of areas where you’re leaving opportunities to improve on the table.
It’s tempting to imagine Brian’s always-improve mentality is something you’re born with. Instead, it’s something that can be cultivated. “When I played soccer, my dad was always even keeled and told me there was always someone who will be faster, smarter or stronger. Don’t be complacent, he’d say. It took me until I was 28 years old to redirect that advice to exercise and business. Today, I’m doing it for my family because when I’m continuing to grow, everyone else in my family will do well and benefit.” Even if you don’t have a family, this advice holds true because a rising tide lifts all ships. Strive to be better, not just for yourself, but for everyone in your circle.
What we gained in the fire
It’s easy to read Mazza’s words and imagine a charmed life, but that’s far from the truth.
“Before the pandemic hit, we had a fire that destroyed my entire house,” he says. “I was exhausted after having put the kids to bed and my wife told me to check on them again because she said the house felt smoky. I heard my son coughing, opened his door and found his room filled with smoke. This is why you need to always be prepared. Although I couldn’t see, I got him out then rescued my other son. Smoke had filled our house because of a compromised fireplace. We lost our whole home, which we’d just rebuilt. It was sad and the lowest point in my life, but also the best point because nobody got hurt. We decided to have two minutes where we screamed and let out our emotions, then we pulled together and made adversity our best friend. Things happen, but we’ll be better for it. It’s a constant rebuild. Then Covid hit and my businesses got shut down. Ever since 2020 there’s been nothing but change. That’s what being a hybrid athlete teaches you, that you’re able to adapt.”
Finding your spark
It’s difficult to know when you need a sea change, but Mazza offers advice on what to look for. “You’ll know when you need to change something,” he says. “When things aren’t working. You can’t lie to yourself. It’s you versus you. You know what you need to do. Sometimes it takes a negative event, or even something positive to those around you, to give you that lightbulb moment that helps you excel. When this happens, start small and slow. Stack those little wins because they’ll accumulate a bigger victory down the line. Be patient because this takes effort, commitment and consistency. Aim to be just 1% better than you were the day before.” That’s all it takes and soon you’ll upgrade to the point where you scarcely recognise your former self.
Running the mind
Many people feel they were born to run, but fitness is someone you can find. “I never enjoyed running until three years ago,’’ explains Mazza. “Today, I need to do it daily, or I feel naked. I don’t run with music or any tech, bar my watch that tells me distance. Running alone without distractions helps get me into a flow state. It clears my thoughts and is when I’m most grateful to be alive. It’s a chance to think about things I can’t give attention to during the day because of distractions. I’ve come to love running outside even on cold days because it feels amazing to be alone in nature with my ideas and emotions. It’s a chance to feel it all. Happiness. Sadness. It helps everyone feel so clear that when I come back it feels like a therapy session. I can vent and talk about my flaws. I recommend running without music. You’ll find different things about yourself. It’s been a positive impact that’s transformed my life and mind.”
Do we need balance?
So, what’s the secret to a high-performance life and physique? According to Brian it’s taking your foot off the brakes. “I don’t believe in balance,” he smiles. “When you take care of your mental health, physical health, and emotional health, you do not need to worry about balance because you are doing everything around you to make your situation healthier. When you’re not taking care of your pillars correctly that’s when you need balance. I go all in. There is no balance to this equation. I block off time to get everything done. I have a venture capital firm that invests in healthy companies. I have summits and get the best speakers and inspire our members to inspire them to be better. I have a marketing company that works with incredible brands. These companies work together and have a need for one another. I have a lot more to give in all areas in my life. I’m not satisfied with where I am professionally or personally. I don’t beat myself up. I realise I can do more. People put a cap on their growth. That’s wrong. You’re capable of more and giving more. Adversity is your best friend. Take adversity and put your arm around it. You’ll do more than you ever thought possible”
Looking the part
Brian stands apart from the pack because he’s not always sweating it out in running shoes. “I started a custom suit company under one of my New York bars,” he says. “Initially, I was getting my suits done by a tailor in Harlem, but I realised I could do it as my own business, so I started to do it myself. I love men’s wear, so I can’t always be in tights and shorts. I need to wear something that represents who I am. I love fitted suits. I love recovery wear. I love athletic wear. I like wearing stuff that lets the world know this is how I feel comfortable and represents who I am.” Brian is an example worth following because you should always dress one level above what the occasion calls for. It will help you stand out from the crowd.
Advice to you
Change is daunting, but one of Brian’s mantras is Nothing Change If Nothing Changes. His advice on how to achieve this is easier than might imagine. “If you’re building a business or a brand, it’s the good, bad or ugly all the time. No matter what the day brings, know that the sun will rise tomorrow. Even on the worst day, tomorrow will still come so you can only compete with the person you were yesterday. Too many people compare themselves to their neighbour, the dad with the nice car or people on Instagram. The only person to compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. Curate micro wins. Be just 1% better than you were yesterday, and the wins will start to stack up.” Whether it’s one less beer or one extra serving of spinach, all of these will create systemic improvements over time.
Here are his go-to brands that add to his life:
FAMILY – Recovery gear that recharges body and mind
Holistik Wellness (holistikwellness.com)
Kane Footwear (kanefootwear.com)
FITNESS – High performance fitness tech for optimum results
COROS VERTIX 2 GPS Watch (coros.com)
SMRTFT Dumbbells (smrtft.com)
Vital Performance (vitalproteins.com)
Ten Thousand (tenthousand.cc)
FASHION – Look your best with clothing that reflects your passions
Maserati.com & White Plains Maserati (maseratiofwhiteplains.com)
Eleventy Milano (eleventymilano.com)
SaksWorks & SaksFifth Avenue
FOOD – Fuel and refuel the healthiest way possible
Daily Dose Meals (dailydoselife.com)
Athletic Brewing Company (athleticbrewing.com)
Ruby & Bellas
Words: Ray Klerck