Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – Dan Go – HPP 113
In today’s episode, we are joined by fitness expert Dan Go as he discusses his healing journey and how it led to him becoming the #1 body transformation coach for entrepreneurs. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress while improving cognitive function, self-esteem and overall mental wellness. Listen in as we dive deep into the topic of fitness, mental health, and how they fit together to improve our quality of life.
Physical Gains & Psychological Gains – 08:13
And it wasn’t until I looked back two years. And I was just like, wow, like, look at all this change that I’ve made, and the little gains that I’ve made inside the gym, or gains I was making outside of the gym. And that I would have to say that going to the gym was one of the critical moments of my entire life.
Taking Tiny Steps – 9:50
it’s all about just like the little tiny steps and the seemingly insignificant compound movements that you’re making towards this. It’s not even a goal. You’re just doing it because you can. And really like about the last two years, I’ve really grown my business, my brand. And the only two things that really showed up in my mind as I was doing this was show up, do the work, show up, do the work and just make small, tiny, incremental improvements.
Burn or Fuel Yourself? – 13:17
Long story short, mom passed away. And that was the most crushing blow I’ve ever experienced in my life. And as with anyone that loses a mother, I was pretty depressed, pretty distraught. And one of the things that I was asking myself or actually in my mind about when this whole thing was going on, there was a voice that came on to my mind, I was just like, this thing can either burn you up or you can either use it to fuel yourself. So which one are you going to choose?
The Power of Psychedelic Therapy – 27: 21
And while I was going through this whole thing, there were a number of things that came up for me. So one of them was letting go of my mom, I had still held on to her. You know, I was still almost wanting to hold on to her and wanting to hold on to just the fact that I just want to be with her. And I remember going through this session and having, and literally going through like a process where I was just letting my mom just float away.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – 56:48
Just get in shape, dude, like if you actually take the time to, say fix your diet, to eat nutrient dense foods, to drink water, filtered water, to get exercise. You would not believe the amount of mental health issues that you can solve as a result of getting yourself healthy and doing just healthy things and being a healthy human being. And this is not to say that you’re going to have the need to supersede, you know, therapy or anything like that. But I mean, the mind dictates or the body dictates the mind to a very large degree. So if you just did healthy things, then your mind would actually be healthy as a result.
Dan Go, Dr. Will Van Derveer
Dan Go 00:00
Integrating the child that’s within us. And the child that’s in us had to do things in certain ways to protect us. But those ways don’t necessarily work anymore as we’re adults, and me coming from a background of being physically and emotionally abused, I had to do certain things, maybe like smoking marijuana every single day, or whatever it is to protect me, and to numb the way I was feeling.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 00:35
Thank you for joining us for the Higher Practice Podcast. I’m Dr. Will Van Derveer, with Keith Kurlander, and this is the Podcast where we explore what it takes to achieve optimal mental health. Keith and I are trying out some different formats, interviewing people individually, and some other ideas. And today’s episode is one of those experiments where I’m here without Keith. And I am delighted to introduce our guest today, Dan Go. Dan is a fitness coach who focuses his coaching efforts on business leaders and founders. I met him a while back at a business conference and we hit it off immediately. I invited him onto the show because I wanted him to share his incredibly inspiring personal healing story, which touches on both mental health and physical health. And here on the higher practice podcast, we don’t often connect with people involved in physical fitness and physical health but it’s such an important part of mental health of course. Dan grew up in Canada with parents who immigrated from the Philippines, and has a very interesting story of growing up in Canada. And he’s going to talk about that in a few minutes here. In this episode, Dan and I get into a very open and vulnerable conversation about how he got well, and the tools he used. We talked about Dan’s journey through seeking out psychedelic assisted therapy and what he wanted to heal and what got healed, which turned out to be two different things. I see him as a great example of how people who heal deep wounds can become leaders and healers to others and make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons. Let’s welcome Dan Go to the podcast. Welcome to the show Dan Go. So glad to have you here.
Dan Go 02:41
Thanks for having me, brother. I really appreciate it.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 02:44
Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for a long time for a number of reasons. And we’ve had some contact and connection over the last couple years. But when I walk away from a conversation with you, there’s always a desire to have a little deeper time with you so excited for that?
Dan Go 03:00
Yeah, same here. I had you on my podcast as well. I love the conversation that we had there. I hope I surprised you a little bit too. Actually over the past six months, you and I have gotten pretty close to each other. So yeah, man, I’ve gotten to know you as a new person and I really appreciate that.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 03:17
Thanks, Dan. Let’s jump right in to where I think some of our listeners would be really interested to hear about your journey. I just want to introduce you as an expert in fitness and also not just an expert in fitness, but someone who really sees the way fitness fits. It’s funny how fitness and like fit is the beginning of fitness. I didn’t even think about that, like how it fits into the puzzle of our lives and wellness in general. And so tell us a little bit about how that came to be a big value for you in your life. How did that fall for you?
Dan Go 03:55
A hundred percent. So, my entire life, well not my entire life. I’ll say for my childhood up until the time I was about 20 years old, I was told that I was stupid, lazy, and everything else that falls into that umbrella. And up until that point, I had proven people right based on those assumptions about me. This is both friends and family. And I was pretty much headed nowhere. I dropped out of high school. And I was completely out of shape. And one of the things that actually was a signal to me to get back into shape was when I played this game of basketball. One of my friends invited me to this game of basketball and I was like you know what, I’m going to try to get back into shape. I’m gonna try to get back into playing shape at least and at that time I’ve been smoking cigarettes too so running up and down the court was just like, just horrible. It was one of the worst things ever. And then as I was running up and down the court, I started to notice a little bit of a jiggle inside of my chest. And I was like, and first I thought it was a health problem. I was like, Okay, this is weird. I’ve never felt this before in my life. Afterwards, I went back home, took off my shirt and then I realized that my chest had started to exhibit the thing that we call manboobs.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 05:20
Dan Go 05:20
So, yeah, it was actually a shocker to me, and quite dissatisfied with where I let my body go, and didn’t really think much about it. At that time, I was partying as well, partying a lot, drinking a lot, doing a lot of drugs. And I remember, there’s this one time I came home, and I came home at like 6am in the morning, and I opened the door. I’m in this like, drunken eyes dilated stupor and I see my dad right when I walk in the door at 6am. And he looks at me, he’s just like, got this disappointed look in his face. He’s like, god damn. And I asked him where he was going. And he just said, Hey. He didn’t say, Hey. He just said I’m going to the gym. And then off he went. And for the next two years after that, I started to see him go to the gym, every single morning, no fail, never said anything to me. I saw him get his body healthy. Again, never told us to eat a certain way. He just did it for himself. And lo and behold, fate comes and my dad ends up because he’s like the star gym goer, he gave him a two month pass to the gym. And he actually gives it to my brother. And my brother was just like everything up until that point, you know, my brother handed me down my clothes and then afterwards like, I’m not going to use this. So he actually handed me the two month pass. And when I got the two month pass to the gym. I said to myself, I was like, you know what, you know what’s the worst that can happen? At this point I’m just like playing video games all day, just eating a bag of potato chips on the couch. I’m literally doing nothing. What is the worst that can happen for me going to the gym, I’ll probably see some attractive women. Pretty awesome, right? So I ended up going to the gym and doing everything horribly inside the gym. And I do that for about two weeks straight. It was literally like this thing to do. I looked at it as if I’m not doing anything. So here’s the thing to do. And I’m in the change room one day, and I’m putting on my belt. Now my belt buckles back in and I remember distinctly, so vivid, I go about two notches past my belt line. And I’m just like, what, wait, what the heck, right? I didn’t even change the way I was dieting. I wasn’t even doing anything like running or anything like that. I was just doing weight training. And it was at that time where I realized that holy crap, this stuff is pretty awesome. And it wasn’t until later on in life. I would say about two years of going to the gym, where I started to realize the changes that I was making to my brain into my psychology and just the way that I was thinking about myself. I was actually being active. And it wasn’t until I looked back two years. And I was just like, wow, like, look at all this change that I’ve made, and the little gains that I’ve made inside the gym, or gains I was making outside of the gym. And that I would have to say that going to the gym was one of the critical moments of my entire life.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 08:33
Wow, that’s beautiful, thank you for sharing that and I’m struck by the kind of the metaphor that comes up a lot when I think about training as the psychological gains of across the board just showing up, setting goals, very patient day by day getting there over time. I mean, these are things that apply to so many areas of growth. Yeah.
Dan Go 08:57
Well, I agree. And just the metaphor of the gym itself. Like, I can’t connect the dots looking back. But just the metaphor of the gym itself, which is like, go to the gym, you show up. That’s number one, like the biggest one is actually just crossing the line and showing up. And then all you do is make small, incremental improvements to the things that you’re doing. Just that little metaphor right there is kind of like something that I’ve carried with me. It’s almost like a mantra for my entire life.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 09:28
Yeah, the way that we often go about trying to make changes in our life is so dramatic and frantic and disorganized and set up to fail, because we’re not taking that kind of more determined, methodical, slow approach.
Dan Go 09:47
Yeah, we want an all or nothing when the reality is, it’s all about just like the little tiny steps and the seemingly insignificant compound movements that you’re making towards this. It’s not even a goal. You’re just doing it because you can. And really like about the last two years, I’ve really grown my business, my brand. And the only two things that really showed up in my mind as I was doing this was show up, do the work, show up, do the work and just make small, tiny, incremental improvements. And, you know, it is cliche to say, but it’s like all those little incremental improvements, they turned into, like 100% growth after like, maybe 300 days. It’s ridiculous.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 10:31
Right? Exactly. You don’t have or most of us, I think most of the time, including myself, of course, if we don’t hold that longer view. It’s over the horizon of our vision. And then we don’t get where we could have gone if we just made 1% changes over.
Dan Go 10:47
Dr. Will Van Derveer 10:48
So let’s back up a minute. You mentioned, you’ve grown your brand a lot in the last couple of years, your work and you weren’t always doing things the way you do it now. And you work with entrepreneurs, founders, people who are oftentimes really crushing it on the business side, or getting crushed by the operation of a business, or did you own a gym at one point?
Dan Go 11:11
Yes, I own the gym up until 2018. I owned it for about 11 years. And let’s back up just a little bit before that because before I owned the gym, I was actually working in the corporation. And it was almost like the pinnacle of my life at that point of working in this corporation because I was like, okay, cool. I have a steady paycheck, and my parents are happy. And it was something that I completely hated with my soul. And I couldn’t even tell people what I was doing. Like literally, I couldn’t because what I was doing for us was like collections, which is fine, and then moved up, quote, unquote, moved up to selling high interest loans, or selling high interest loans to people who really just didn’t need them. And it felt so Sharky and it just felt like I was just making their lives worse, to be honest. And I felt like I was stuck in that corporate, I guess you could say that corporate structure for the rest of my life. And that was like, in this life where I felt like I was going to settle for something where I didn’t feel like I would be even passionate about what I would do. And it wasn’t necessarily until my mom actually got really sick all of a sudden, and dad called us on the phone. And he’s like, hey, you guys got to come to Niagara Falls, because they’re on the date over there. And then we realized that she’s fighting for her life. And we didn’t even know what happened. And we get her airlifted to a different hospital because they have dialysis treatments there. And we go through a six-month ordeal where we are just going through different treatments, she’s in the ICU. And they actually thought that the sky was opening up, and that she was actually going to get better. So they actually sent her down to a lower unit. And during that time she was in the lower unit, she got pneumonia. And she ends up not having enough blood to her brain during that entire time because they weren’t necessarily looking after her or keeping an eye on her at that time. So long story short, mom passed away. And that was the most crushing blow I’ve ever experienced in my life. And as with anyone that loses a mother, I was pretty depressed, pretty distraught. And one of the things that I was asking myself or actually in my mind about when this whole thing was going on, there was a voice that came on to my mind, I was just like, this thing can either burn you up or you can either use it to fuel yourself. So which one are you going to choose? And it was at that point, I decided to really pursue something that I was extremely passionate about, which was fitness, you know, ironically. And I pursued that I quit my corporate job. I went through being a personal trainer, went through the wringer in that and then after I became the one of the top trainers at that gym, I ended up owning a gym. And I did that for about 11 years. And then afterwards, I sold my gym in about December 2018. And then that’s where I am right now. I’m helping entrepreneurs, founders, high achievers, to not only transform their lives, not only transform their bodies, but also transform their lives through the aspect of fitness and getting their bodies in shape.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 14:37
Yeah, beautiful. And thanks for sharing that journey with your mom. It sounds really tender and painful for your family. And, wow. And so, at some point, you were working with people, you own your own gym, you’re working with people in the gym. What was your thought process of deciding to focus on founders and entrepreneurs, what was appealing about that to you?
Dan Go 15:03
Well, after working in the fitness industry for about 17 years and dealing with all walks of people, all people of like every single area of life that I could think of, professional athletes, stay at home moms, entrepreneurs obviously, I ask myself. Okay, number one, who are the people I enjoy working with the most? And you and I are actually a part of this particular group of just incredible men, incredible entrepreneurs. And one of the things that I realized when I went to one of these events, I was flabbergasted at how many entrepreneurs let their bodies go. As a result of their business, I felt like entrepreneurs are like superheroes. And these guys who are just like world crushers, and they feel and believe that they can have it all. And then when I walked into this conference, I realized that holy crap, there are some ceilings that some of these guys are dealing with when it comes to their health. They feel like they have to sacrifice their health, in order to build a business or in order to get more success in their business. And that was one of the things that just didn’t sit with me. And when I asked myself, who do I want to work with entrepreneurs was number one, two, and three. And I was also like, I don’t ever want to see my friends get out of shape. And at this point, I would say like, 90% of my friends are entrepreneurs. And for me when I transform their lives, and when I actually get them in shape, I know for a fact that number one, the brain is going to be working better, they’re going to live longer lives, which means that it can impact their ability to make more money. And also, they’re just being more confident versions of themselves, their wives like it, it’s literally like this meta effect on their entire life. And for me, I feel like if I can help entrepreneurs transform their bodies, then we get better stuff, we actually get better services, we get better products, because their brains are just working at such a high level, because we cannot deny the brain and body connection. And the fact that if you don’t have a healthy body, it’s going to affect the way that you think. It’s going to affect the way you make decisions. So that’s the reason why I chose entrepreneurs.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 17:18
Nice. Yeah. Makes sense. As I was listening to you talk about entrepreneurs, I was thinking about and reflecting on my own experience. I spend a lot of time in a chair, and I look at a screen like I’m doing right now with you for hours a day, six to eight hours a day. And so for people in the audience who might be thinking, well, geez, I don’t have time for this, or I have to XYZ or I can’t commit to an hour or two in the gym every day. What would you say to someone who is kind of in the mindset that their livelihood, their business requires them to sit in a chair and be sedentary and eat snacks they can readily get to and where do you start with people? In psychotherapy, we have this thing called motivational interviewing where you’re inviting the question in your mind as a practitioner is this person ready for change? And where are they on the spectrum of that?
Dan Go 18:19
Before working with people that is actually something that we do, which is to make sure that they are ready for change first. I think a lot of people get pushed into something before they’re ready by outside forces. And for me, like when someone comes in and works with us, they literally have to want it. And they have to know that this is an area of their lives that needs tending. Now, where do we start with them, where do they want to go? What do they struggle with right now? What do they feel like they need in order to get themselves from where they are, to where they need to be? And a couple of other things that we do is, you know, we work on, okay, what kind of beliefs do you actually have about yourself when it comes to physical activity, and even your body in general? What kind of conversations are going on in your brain? When it comes to this physical aspect, your body, when it comes to your health. What limiting beliefs are you actually holding on to? And one of the things that we want to do is we actually want to create new beliefs. Our main thing is that as the body goes, the mind goes, as the mind goes, the body goes. It’s like a cyclical thing. It is not the chicken and egg scenario. Both of these things work together. And from our perspective, the mind is a goal seeking mechanism. But it’s also a goal seeking mechanism for anti goals as well. So if you’re directing the mind towards the things that you don’t want, the beliefs that you carry with yourself, are the self limiting beliefs that you have. Those actually need to change in order for you to make the changes in your health in your body. So it is a cyclical thing and then afterwards we get into the nitty gritty of Like, okay, so how much should you be eating? What did your food schedule look like? What kind of exercises should we be doing? What exactly do you want your body to look like? And I look kind of like the process of body transformation as especially from the mental aspect of things like this trifecta. So you have your conscious brain, you have your subconscious brain, and then you have your self image, the way in which you see yourself. And one of the things that we want to do is we want to actually see exactly what’s happening with the conscious brain. So we can actually direct our subconscious brain and create a new self image where we actually have a new way in which we see ourselves. And then that is where I feel the sustainable change comes from. And I would say like, that’s pretty much like a long view of where we start, but everything’s done kind of like step by step, bit by bit. So it’s not even a perfect process, we actually start where we feel like we need to start with the most, I guess you could say,
Dr. Will Van Derveer 20:51
Right? Or the person is suffering the most or, yeah, that makes sense. The interface between the mind and the body is obviously a really big part of what we do over here, IPI and looking at that bidirectional communication between the two, not only kind of like goal seeking, but also meaning making. And so storytelling, what does it mean? What does it mean? Was it me? And I’m always asking, unconsciously, What does it mean, unconsciously? And so I appreciate, I really appreciate how you frame that of the trifecta, and how important it is to pay attention to the stories that we’re telling ourselves.
Dan Go 21:25
Yeah, definitely, we do have this perception. And we are ruled by our perceptions, both of ourselves and of the external world. And one of the biggest, most powerful things that we can do is control our perceptions of ourselves and control our perceptions of the world around us. That’s one of the first ways that you actually get back your power when it comes to your health and your body. And just in general, for your own worldview in general. So if we can control those perceptions, we can actually change if we can actually mold our beliefs, not necessarily change them, but mold them towards what we want, then we’re actually doing the hard work. And so when we have to do the nitty gritty stuff, then that’s what already happens, because who you are as a person is in line with your beliefs of who you are. Right? Yeah, exactly. Not fighting upstream against the flow of negative beliefs or thought patterns, perceptions.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 22:20
Well, speaking of unconscious mind, I’m excited to talk to you also about some of these advanced tools that we have raved about on your podcast and in our conversations and if we think about advanced tools. I’m talking about psychedelics and psychedelic healing, and I’m really curious, would you be willing to share a little bit more about what led you to go seeking psychedelic sessions for healing for yourself?
Dan Go 22:45
A hundred percent. So, I actually have posted this many times. And it’s a very, I call it a pretty unpopular opinion, in the sense that drugs have actually changed my life for the better. And when people hear that, they’re like, Oh, my God, especially if you like been born in our era, where you have like Nancy Reagan, and like the home or the tiara campaigns, but I started off recreationally with psychedelics and taking magic mushrooms, or psilocybin that is, and doing these and actually doing MDMA, I like raves when I was partying like crazy. So I didn’t come in with this, like fear around psychedelics, when I was approached with the idea of therapy. And when I was approached with it, I actually heard of a couple of my friends doing psychedelic therapy with drugs that I’ve used before in the past. I’m like, Dude, that actually sounds pretty freaking cool. And I remember one of my friends told me that it was as if you are doing seven years of therapy in like six hours, and I’m, like, sold, and it’s like, but I actually went through the process, I was really interested. And when I first went through the process, I was like, Okay, let’s do psychedelic therapy, so I can be more successful at business. That was like my first thought outcome focused. And I ended up going through the preliminary sessions, like, you just don’t like jumping on a couch. They got me through, I think it was like three sessions with a psychiatrist, I believe. And the very first few sessions on like, we ended up unveiling things about my past that I had never really talked to anyone about before. These were things about the situations that were happening with my family, brother, my father, and the ways in which I perceive those interactions. And then I ended up going into it thinking I’m going to be like, oh, so successful at business. And I’m going to use this to supercharge me when the reality was like, I was holding on to some deep seated resentment towards the way that I was raised. Because I came from a family of I was a latch Key kid, my family were immigrants. And they worked their asses off, they worked 12 to 24 hour days, they owned a printing shop. We were raised, or I was raised by my second oldest brother. And he’s just two years older than me. And you know what, like, brothers who are two years older than you probably don’t know how to raise you as a child.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 25:24
Or even if they do know.
Dan Go 25:28
They’ll probably need therapy or something. I don’t know. But yeah, so the way in which I was raised, let’s just say by my brother, I carried in the harbored some deep seated resentment towards him, because obviously, he’s not a parent, but you know, he would get his way, in the ways in which he felt were the ways he could get his way. If that makes sense. That makes sense. And that would be I’ll put it out there, like I was bullied now, as a kid, both physically and emotionally by my brother. And I remember going into these sessions and talking about these things. And I’m like, I really did not realize that I had the shit and me in the first place. Because you know, when you grow up, you see your brother and your, your dad, you’re like hunky dory, and everything is normal. But the reality is, is that, and this is actually one of the reasons I was addicted to marijuana, most likely, because I needed a way to numb the way I was feeling. And those types of situations. So I ended up going through the process of doing these sessions and like, going into the actual therapy session. And it turned out to be like, one of the most vivid experiences of my entire life.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 26:47
What in medicine were you working with?
Dan Go 26:50
Dr. Will Van Derveer 26:51
Dan Go 26:53
MDMA. And I remember going into that session. And literally, I was taking myself through the entire session. It’s literally like, the therapists were just sitting there. And I was taking myself through this entire journey. And I remember just listening to me narrating this journey after I had done this. And it was just surreal. And while I was going through this whole thing, there were a number of things that came up for me. So one of them was letting go of my mom, I had still held on to her. You know, I was still almost wanting to hold on to her and wanting to hold on to just the fact that I just want to be with her. And I remember going through this session and having, and literally going through like a process where I was just letting my mom just float away. Hey, and allow that to happen. And there’s also something else that oh, sorry, go ahead.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 28:04
So I was just wondering about that moment of watching your mother float away this session, what was the feeling that you were experiencing there?
Dan Go 28:12
To let her go.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 28:15
So like, acceptance.
Dan Go 28:17
Acceptance, and to let her go, and to just accept the fact that she’s gone.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 28:27
There wasn’t like a struggle or a fight in you of trying to hold on as she was floating away?
Dan Go 28:32
I think when you’re well, when I look back to that, I mean, there’s no struggle of me wanting to keep her there. There was zero struggle. But it was more so like, do I have to? Do I really have to?
Dr. Will Van Derveer 28:50
Dan Go 28:51
And then it was like this conversation between the both of us to allow her to go off into the light, so to speak. Yeah.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 29:02
Dan Go 29:04
Yeah. I remember some other lessons that came up during that time. I feel like the process of MDMA is very compassionate. It’s very forgiving. And it also lets you see the side of, it lets you see the other side of things as well. So the things that I came up with, in regards to my dad and my brother, you know, was the fact that, you know, they, they did the best with what they had, with what they had learned.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 29:33
You could see that. We get the support of the MDMA.
Dan Go 29:36
Yeah, like my dad taught my brother. And my brother had those tools. Those are the only tools he had. The tools that I have right now are not the tools that my dad had. And when he came to Canada, he had $0 in his bank account, he had to like hustle. He wanted us to survive.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 29:56
Dan Go 29:56
Right. And he did all he could. So You know, it’s just coming to terms with that and seeing it from the other angle of things, which allowed me to kind of release a little bit, or a lot of like, resentment I had towards how I was raised. The best part was so weird, man, I’m gonna tell you this right now. It’s just so weird. So there was this. So there was a male and a female therapist in the session. And then during that entire session, I ended up seeing this. I think it was like a five or seven year old version of me. I was just like, wounded inside of this cocoon. I don’t even know how to explain it. And then, thankfully, I mean, the female therapist was kind of like leading me through this as I was narrating it. And it was like, Hey, so what do you want to do with this guy? And I was just like, Ah, just want to hug him? And tell him it’s going to be okay, if we’re going to do this together, don’t worry. It was one of the most poignant moments that I remember from not only that session, but just is very vivid in my mind, even to this day, where I ended up, she’s like, well, two more than like, you know, bring him in. And I was like, Yeah, sure. I ended up trying to bring him in. And he was just like, No, no, don’t want to do this right now. Don’t want to do this. And then we ended up kind of just like, giving him a pep talk, and just like, hey, don’t worry, we’re gonna be okay. Right? I promise you. And then it’s like, I took him into my soul or my heart. And after that, I don’t know exactly what happened. And then I actually had to like Google that like, literally after the session, I was like, What the heck?
Dr. Will Van Derveer 31:51
What just happened?
Dan Go 31:52
Yeah, I was like, what was that?
Dr. Will Van Derveer 31:54
What did the Google Search show you there, or what just happened?
Dan Go 31:58
So there was this thing called inner child therapy that I found on Google. And there was like, integrating the child that’s within us. And the child that’s in us, had to do things in certain ways to protect us. But those ways don’t necessarily work anymore as we’re adults, and me coming from a background of, like, being physically and emotionally abused, I had to do certain things maybe like smoking marijuana every single day or whatever it is to protect me. And to numb the way I was feeling. I really think like, even like smoking marijuana every day, like, you know this, again, like, I think that kind of saved me a little bit because I don’t know if I would have gone crazy, I don’t know. But again, it just helped me numb the way that I was feeling. And then it’s just the ways in which we protect ourselves, not necessarily the ways that we need to protect ourselves now, we have to actually incorporate these emotions, we have to deal with them, you have to face them with their face our fears, and we have to face the things that we’re trying to stay away from in order to surpass them or in order to integrate them into who we are as people. So after that whole Google search, I ended up listening to my recording of like six hours for like three times taking like all these, like copious notes and integrating. I am trying to do as much integration as possible after the session.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 33:24
Yeah, thank you. Thanks for sharing all that. It’s really very profound. The way you describe this kind of encounter between you that you think of as you, right? Like the you in the present, and the you in the past with the inner child, and healing that connection between the two of you. That process reminds me of certain experiences as an MDMA therapist that I’ve had over the years and seeing people do really deep healing.
Dan Go 33:52
Can I just mention one thing? It’s like the therapists that I was doing this with, one of the things that struck me was like, he was crying. And I’m just like, why are you crying? And he was like, this is heavy work, man. This is heavy work. And that was something that just struck me, I was just like, wow, like this guy, actually, like, he takes it in this way which was powerful for me to see.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 34:25
How did that impact you?
Dan Go 34:26
Because no one has ever cried at me telling my story. Like people I would tell this story to, I wouldn’t necessarily and even if I did or said something about it be like, you know, just man up and stop being a little whatever about it. Right? And for someone to actually listen to what I say, to feel the pain that I felt or to have actually liked, just listened enough to know what I was going through. And to have had that affect them that way, I was genuinely surprised. And it touched me to a large extent. Yeah.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 35:06
Yeah. The people I know, in MDMA therapy, who mentored me and trained me and who’ve been in the work for, for decades, talk about how there’s a field of MDMA that the therapists also can feel. And even though they’re not taking the MDMA, and it’s like this, it’s like this very open, compassionate, receptive perception that a therapist who is experienced with holding space with MDMA therapy can actually feel in themselves. And it’s interesting that over years and decades, when I’ve been in the room with people who are extremely experienced, you can see people actually still, and maybe this is obvious, but it wasn’t to me that people still get very impacted emotionally by what’s happening for the client. It’s like everyone is healing in the room. And there’s something incredibly inspiring and healing for the witness to see someone doing that deep healing work. And knowing on some level, deep down what that’s going to mean about that person’s life and how they’re going to bloom and end up having so much more capacity to give their gifts to the world. Because these currents have been the current of trauma has been smoothed out in a way.
Dan Go 36:25
To me, it signifies that they take their stuff seriously, they take their work seriously. They know the impact that it’s having on the people that they’re doing it for no matter how many sessions that they do, they still feel that way. Sometimes you can take change for granted. Even when I change people’s bodies and like to get them in shape. It’s like, you’ve done it so many times, you could just take it for granted that you’re actually making this like significant change in their lives. So for me to see the therapist share my pain and to have to shed a tear for me that I literally remember I was like, dude, why are you crying man, like, it was like, so surprising to me. And then when I thought about it longer, I was just like, wow, he takes his work seriously. And he knows what he’s doing.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 37:10
Beautiful. And so this was some years ago, that you underwent this kind of healing. And I mean, just watching your face and how you’re describing your experience, it looks like the insights and the, if you want to call them benefits are the results are still pretty fresh.
Dan Go 37:27
Yeah, I believe that this was the point of time in my life, where I went from looking at these drugs as something to do recreationally. And looking at them as something that could actually be done to make me better to be used in a therapeutic sense. Like, I don’t use them recreationally anymore, I just like having no desire whatsoever. And I don’t even do it often. But when I do do it, I mean, it’s with intention, it’s being open to the experience and allowing anything that comes forth as a result of that. And to use them as like literal tools to see them as like a hammer, or like a wrench or just whatever it is, is to actually use it to make my life better. And just to make sure that don’t get too like, sucked into the whole, I guess you could say like the psycho not experience and to give myself time to like, literally, I call it integrate, but just to like, marinate, or to kind of like just like, be with the things that I’ve learned during the times that I’ve taken these tools.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 38:40
Yeah, there’s not enough emphasis on integration. And digestion is another one for me. Because ripening is a marination. Same idea, like, the margin of benefit that can be gained, in some ways is even bigger than the actual six hours that you’re describing. I think a lot of people really miss that opportunity.
Dan Go 39:02
Yeah, for me, it’s like, I have seen my own friends kind of go through this and one of the things that I’ve always been wary about is just like going from one like thing to another without giving it time, you know, without giving yourself enough time to just like like you said that just and I think like sometimes like these things can be used as escapes.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 39:29
Yeah, for sure. The cycle is not the kind of metaphor you’re talking about of going from one peak experience to another one and psychedelic experience to another. I knew I had friends when I was really deep in my healing work with Ayahuasca and I was guilty of it myself of going back for more and more and more ceremony and, and then I would actually get a message from Ayahuasca after a while of, hey, what are you doing here? You’re not even respecting what I gave you the last time you were here. What are you doing here, like, get out of here, go digest what I gave you before.
Dan Go 40:05
That’s the hardest work actually, like, that’s what I would consider to be the hard work. I think the easy part is going underneath and going through that journey. The hard part is like taking out your journal, and like sitting with yourself for the next couple of days, next couple of months, next couple, even like, whatever it is, and like getting deep, deeper, just through your own sober experience.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 40:31
Yeah, exactly. It’s like, I don’t know if other cultures are different. But I think that the culture that we know, that we’re in, you know, Western culture, North American culture, kind of dominant culture, we have so much like, and maybe this is also just like human nature, I don’t know but we’re so focused on content. We’re so focused on what the blips of things are in the space, that we don’t even recognize the field or like what the background is. And we’re constantly feeding on consuming more and more content, and, like, gorging ourselves on content, and then there’s no digestion going on.
Dan Go 41:11
I had heard this term, which is infobesity.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 41:16
Nice. That’s the first one for me.
Dan Go 41:19
Yeah. And I love it. Because I mean, we have turned into this information society. And even when I talk to, like entrepreneurs, and they want to get in shape, like, they want to, like all the like blood type tests, and they want to do this and want to do that. And whatever it is, I’m like, bro, you’re not even like sleeping eight hours right now, let’s work on that.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 41:39
Dan Go 41:40
Let’s look at the basics first, and the thing is, is that like, because of like, we have such free access to information. It’s almost like this, I guess you could say it’s a talent, or maybe it’s skill, to know which information to take in, and to sit with it, and to apply it and to apply it until it doesn’t serve you anymore. And then to go on to the next thing, because it’s so easy for us to like, read a book, then go on to the next book, then go on to the next book, without necessarily even digesting the information that we’ve learned.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 42:14
Yeah, we get bored really fast, okay. And I remember, one time, my daughter came to me when she was, I don’t know, 11 or 12. And she said, Dad, I’m so bored. And I said, Well, I want a full report on boredom, I want you to go explore that. Get in there, understand it, feel it, vibe it out. And come back and report back to me like what I want you to get in there and see, you know, bring that back.
Dan Go 42:43
We have this weird relationship with boredom that people will go to the lengths of taking drugs or eating foods in order to, in order to mask the boredom when the fact is, that being in that space of boredom, it is like you, and it is sitting with you. And that is actually the space of awareness and the space of creativity. And I found that so I have a friend who goes on walks and he goes on hour-long walks, and he always brings a podcast with them. And that’s all it was like, Dude, don’t bring the podcast with you do it without your phone. Okay, you will actually be 10 times 100 times more creative as a result of just walking through the forest and not even listening to anything but just listening to yourself. And if we can just get back that feeling of sitting with ourselves to be able to be bored, that alone will help us know ourselves. But also I think it’s going to come up with some amazing creativity for businesses, for our lives, for our families.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 43:41
A hundred percent. Yeah, a hundred percent. Man, there’s so many different directions to go in this conversation.
Dan Go 43:49
I’m on a tangent there. I’m loving this though.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 43:53
Me too. I’m reminded of, I’m just gonna go off and follow this rabbit down this hole here. Years ago, I was a pretty devout Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. And I spent about eight years after I met my teacher and fell in love with my teacher and started going on retreats. And I probably spent over an eight year period. I spent about a year total conglomerate and retreat, solitary and group and one time I was in solitary retreat in this tiny cabin. And I had one book with me and it was from my teacher’s teacher. There’s a chapter in his book called The Myth of Freedom by Chögyam Trungpa. And there’s this chapter where he talks about the different kinds of boredom, there’s hot boredom, and there’s cold boredom, there’s all these different kinds of boredom. And I was just thinking like, wow, like, how attentive you have to be and how much you have to respect the experience of boredom to actually categorize the different styles of boredom, the different nuances you know what, okay, so it was an example of like hot boredom and cold boredom. My memory was that cold boredom is like this, almost like sleep? He, like it’s not interesting. Boredom. And then hot boredom is more of this like angst, like angry, like irritated. Like I’m actually having an emotional reaction to my boredom. Like it’s uncomfortable. And I think that kind of boredom. He called it a doorway or a gateway into what you’re talking about, like a bigger experience, like your mind opens up if you’re willing to stay with it, you know, so there’s instructions, just, you know, stay with it. And see what happens next.
Dan Go 45:30
Yeah, there was this Veritasium YouTube video. And then he was just like, they did some studies where you just allow yourself to like, do nothing and not like try to numb your board and not with anything. They actually found that people were more intelligent and people were more creative and that sense. And when you think about the hot and cold boredom, the hot boredom to me sounds like anxious energy a little bit. The cold boredom seems like okay, well, when I could laying there and sitting there and doing nothing seems like almost like torture to a lot of people. It’s like, I’m not going to have my phone on me. I’m not going to be able to watch YouTube videos. But there is something to it. It’s like even I forgot what the writer was. Maybe it was like Row who did Walden. I forgot the row. Yeah, Henry Thoreau, where he just lays on like a fricken, like a rowboat. And yeah, like does nothing and just just lays there. I think we need to get back there. It’s really hard for us right now in the world that we’re living in. Because obviously we have this access to like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the secrets of the universe. And it’s honestly like, we want to find out we’re curious. But there is something to be said about just letting yourself sit and just doing absolutely nothing with that. To see how long you could do it. That’s actually why I love meditation, too.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 46:47
Yeah, building a muscle of attention in patients. Yeah.
Dan Go 46:54
Dr. Will Van Derveer 46:55
So now we’re coming kind of full circle here into not just fitness, not just psychedelics, not just the body, not just the mind, but the two together. And I want to ask you a few specifics, I want to put you on spot. One thing that I think would be really interesting for people to know is what your routines are, for your own health as an expert in fitness, and an expert, who I would say from my perspective is more of an integrative approach to fitness, talking about sleep and diet and not just workouts.
Dan Go 47:30
Gotcha, I’ll probably take you through the whole entire day.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 47:33
Dan Go 47:34
So you know, wake up around 6:00, 6:30. That’s really what a perfect day looks like. And then, you know, obviously, like, I’m not perfect. We all have imperfect days, we always get this stuff done. But what a great day looks like to me is I wake up, I sit on my bed, I turn on the timer for 20 minutes. I sit there and I’m just watching my thoughts. And I’m just you could call it meditating. For me. It’s like taking out the emails in my brain of what I’m actually thinking about and what I’m actually holding on to and just trying to watch whatever’s going on in my mind. Then after the 20 minutes are done, sometimes I do 10, sometimes do 15, but most of the time it’s about 20 I go out, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush. I bring a toothbrush into the shower and I take a morning shower, and within that morning shower, I’m not even thinking about anything. I feel like a morning shower is like one of those things that just resets you for the entire day. And I don’t do cold showers. I don’t do any of that stuff. I love warm showers and that don’t feel like I have to like over optimize myself to torture myself with cold showers. I respect Wim Hof. But yeah, all respect sometimes in the shower, I’ll actually sit down and I like to visualize my future. I like to visualize where I want to be or where I’m going to be. And I like to actually keep the picture in my mind of where I’m headed to. And then afterwards, I completely forget that I put on my clothes, but on my deodorant, all that kind of stuff I usually like goes down and then I wake up most of the time before my wife and my daughter so I go down and I make a pot of coffee. And then I also make a protein shake for myself with greens but I don’t drink the coffee and that doesn’t take the greens I drink water first and I take my supplements. So the supplements I’m taking are omega threes, vitamin D, obviously I’m taking a greens powder, athletic greens with my shakes, doing ashwagandha right now I’m doing NAC and also Turmeric with like black pepper in it. So I’m doing those right now, at least in the morning. And I take about half a liter to a liter of water first thing in the morning. Then afterwards, what I do is actually put on this this thing called shad homesteaders self talk program. So one of these things that I’ve been really like focusing on is just like my own self talk the way in which I speak to myself. And this is one of these things that kind of like, I guess you could say like I live Listen to it or don’t listen to it. And just like programs, the way in which I maneuver the conversations I have in my brain, and I play that for about like, 33 minutes as I’m getting all this stuff ready once like 720 hits the dot, I go out, my family has not woken up yet. I will go out and I’ll wake up my family because my wife doesn’t want her to sleep for too long. And then I’ll wake them up, and then I will play with my daughter, I’ll change her diaper, give my wife a kiss, obviously, sometimes laying the bed with them, while they’re like just like laying themselves get up. Now play with my daughter, and I’ll do all that kind of stuff until 8am. And then at I sit down, and I work, I mean, like for me, I’ll say like one of the biggest changes to my life that this thing has brought, which is like, I’ve grown a social media following I’ve grown on Twitter, one of the things that I’ve actually loved to do as a process of growing this stuff is actually right. So writing for Twitter, and writing for my captions on Instagram and all that kind of stuff, I write out the stuff that I’m creating and putting out there into the world. And they do that from like eight tonight. And after 9am. But let’s just say like 9am to about 3pm or even 4pm. That’s my workday. And then today, I’ve actually started to incorporate something new, which is actually doing a post workday meditation, because I find that when I go from work to being with family, right afterwards, I still have the work in me. Yeah. And it’s hard for me to really just like, be there. And to just sit there, I can’t just turn it on and off like that. So I need some sort of buffer zone. And I don’t want to drink like alcohol or I don’t want to do anything like drugs. So I’m gonna go and meditate and meditate for about 10 to 15 minutes just to like, get myself and reset, go back and then chill with my family. We have dinner, all that kind of stuff, put the baby to bed at around like 738 One of the things I love to do just to like turn myself off is literally play like a game of like one video game, just like one, maybe half hour, 45 minutes, like video game, I’d rather do that and scroll on social media or scroll on the internet or go on like Netflix. That’s just something I love to do. Right now I’m playing this fighter jet game, because I just watched Top Gun Maverick. And it was like the best frickin movie ever. And I was just like, oh, this is so amazing. And then my sleep routine is actually before that happens, I put on my blue light blockers around, I would say like 737 o’clock, and my sleep routine is I drink camel milk tea and take magnesium glycinate and l theanine around 830. And then by the time it’s like 930, I’m actually going to do a little bit of actually putting glycine in there now too, which is something I’m testing out. And then around 930, I’m gonna do about 10 milligrams of melatonin. I’m taking off all screens, I’m not looking at screens anymore. I’m spending some time with my wife. And then by 10, at 10pm. I’m just hitting the hay and getting ready or just like going to bed, essentially. And obviously like within that day, there’s like workouts. Yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. So basically workout every single day, like I do four days of weight training. But the rest of the days I take a walk or I’ve been doing Hill sprints right now since it’s been a little bit warmer. And there’s like a hill right beside me that we’re living at right now. So pretty much like on the off days I do like let’s just say quote unquote, cardio, but really like my cardio is just like walking in nature. And actually, like one of the times I was walking in nature, I know, like I said, like, don’t bring a podcast with you. But I was doing research for our interview with each other. And then that was like listening to that entire podcast, it was like, Ah, it’s kind of going through, you know, I listened to this story that you had another guy who had a celiac. And then he ended up getting rid of his mental problems because he just got off a balloon. I thought that was super cool. But yeah, like I take a walk in pretty much like this. There’s this like a ravine and the forest. And I’ve really gotten into this concept of forest bathing. So to me, it is like forest bathing is like one of the coolest things ever. And if you’re listening to this, you’re like, What the heck is forest bathing, it’s literally just going into a forest and being as like, being as aware of like, everything that you’re seeing inside of that forest. And just walking in nature is literally just like walking in nature. And that just has this crazy, like reset effect for your body for your brain increases creativity. And they do that on the off days. On other days. I just like to workout and lift weights and do all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, so that’s kind of like what the routine is right there.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 54:26
And speaking of forest bathing, something that comes up for me, sort of in connection with that is grounding. Or what do people call that? Earthing where you know, maybe you’re walking barefoot or maybe you aren’t wearing rubber shoes. Is that something you got into as a part of your kind of like, nature reset, or no?
Dan Go 54:47
I don’t think I do that right at this very moment. But when I was living in Mexico, which was just like a couple of months ago, it was like bare feet everywhere. And I had this thing. It’s like I think shoes are great, but to a certain degree, they kind of reduce the friction that our feet are supposed to feel on the ground. So yeah, I mean, I remember I was earthing or grounding. And this is actually something I do if I’m switching time zones. So if I’m going to like mountain time, then that’s going to be something where I’m just like digging my feet into the ground into the grass and doing that for about like, 25 to 30 minutes, just like acclimating myself to the timezone of which I am in. So yeah, it’s not something that I necessarily do, but I do try to spend as much time barefoot as humanly possible.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 55:33
Yeah, yeah. Thanks for walking us through your day and in the routines, and it’s um, yeah, it’s really helpful to hear how you do it.
Dan Go 55:43
Yeah, definitely not perfect, for sure. But what I would say is, it’s just like, damn, I realized like, it’s so cool just to fall in love with like, the boring consistency of like, doing all that kind of stuff. I used to think this was boring when I was like a younger kid. Yeah. And I was like, living like a grandpa I’m like, dude living like a grandpa’s the best. Yeah, there’s something really sexy about being born.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 56:07
Yeah. Yeah. The routines set you free. For sure.
Dan Go 56:12
Dr. Will Van Derveer 56:12
Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Well, we always end our podcasts with I say we because usually Keith is here with me, we always ask the same question every time, which is, if you could put a statement on a billboard that everyone would see once in their lifetime, what would you want to say to folks?
Dan Go 56:29
Did I ask you this too?
Dr. Will Van Derveer 56:31
I think you did. Yeah, I think you did.
Dan Go 56:33
Damn it, I put you on the spot. If I were to put anything on the billboard for everyone to see, what would I put there? Only thing that comes to mind is just getting your body in shape. That’s it. Just get in shape, dude, like if you actually take the time to, say fix your diet, to eat nutrient dense foods, to drink water, filtered water, to get exercise. You would not believe the amount of mental health issues that you can solve as a result of getting yourself healthy and doing just healthy things and being a healthy human being. And this is not to say that you’re going to have the need to supersede, you know, therapy or anything like that. But I mean, the mind dictates or the body dictates the mind to a very large degree. So if you just did healthy things, then your mind would actually be healthy as a result. So yeah man.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 57:35
Yeah. Yeah. I can’t hear that message enough. And the fundamentals, it goes back to what you and I were talking about a few minutes ago, of like trying to skip the fundamentals, you know. And I remember back in the day when I was just beginning my journey as a psychiatrist, I had medications and therapy to give people and as I mentioned on your podcast, I got an hour of nutrition and meds for one hour.
Dan Go 58:02
I literally posted that today. I literally posted that today. Dude, I was just like, that’s nuts. That is nuts.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 58:10
Dan Go 58:11
Dr. Will Van Derveer 58:12
And so I remember people coming to my office and really suffering, you know, depression, anxiety, whatever, bipolar, and probably needing medication for a period of time. But no one ever had really talked to most of them about the fundamentals like you can’t. Weird. I wonder if that’s an interesting timing. Let me turn that off. That’s my alarm for snacks.
Dan Go 58:35
That sounded, Oh, yeah.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 58:37
Remember to eat.
Dan Go 58:38
I love that. That sounded like the house that you’re living in. I remember we were having a conversation.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 58:46
The sound of crickets? Yeah, exactly. I think it can’t be said enough. You know, the fundamentals are critical. Like you can’t skip that you can’t think you’re going to be well, without sleep, good amounts of water, the right nutrition, the right amount of activity. I also want to just thank you. I was on this path. Just want to share this with the listeners that, you know, you really helped me break through a kind of blinders on in my own health journey. And like thinking that manipulating my diet without working out the right way, I was working out the wrong way. And that’s a really important piece of information too, like we think about personalized medicine, we think about the right prescription for the right person. So when we talk about fundamentals, we’re also talking about a personalized prescription.
Dan Go 59:38
Oh yeah. When we first started working together, I really do feel that tiny levers can actually lead to the biggest differences. And a lot of times like we do things to our bodies, because other people tell us to do them because other people are doing them. And I remember when we were starting to work together, actually One of the things that we did was change up your meal timing. Yeah, that’s like the most basic thing, right? So no one thinks about it, no one thinks about it, because they’re like, I gotta do fasting or I gotta, like, eat keto, or whatever it is. But like, the thing is, is that like, even something simple, like timing is one of those things that people don’t necessarily put into consideration. And when we think about timing, let’s just say like timing, I was like, looking at you holistically, how much stress were you going through and what was happening when you’re going back home, right? And it’s just like little customizations that you do here and there to optimize you as a human being and make sure it works with your life. Those things can go a long way, and they can change your life. I know that for a fact.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 1:00:42
Yeah, well, I’m proof of that. So thank you. Well, Dan, thanks. It’s been a real pleasure having you on the show. I really appreciate you.
Dan Go 1:00:51
Dude this is a pleasure. Thanks for having me on. And thanks for this amazing conversation. I really do appreciate the conversations that we’ve just had and the conversations that we have in general. Yeah, they’re fucking awesome stuff.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 1:01:03
Thanks. If people want to learn more about your work or follow you, where should they go?
Dan Go 1:01:08
Yeah, go to my Twitter accounts. It’s at FIT founder. Go to my Instagram account. It’s at Dan founder, and if you want to work with me, you can go to highperformancefounder.com. Yeah, those are the places you can reach me.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 1:01:22
Dan Go 1:01:23
Alright, Thanks, brother. I appreciate it.
Dr. Will Van Derveer 1:01:29
Thank you for listening to the higher practice podcast. We look forward to connecting with you again on our next episode, where we explore what it takes to achieve optimal mental health.