Bridging The Gap Between the Virtual & the Real

Welcome to Elements of Community!

I am your host, Lucas Root, and in this episode, we are going to talk about how to bridge the gap between the virtual & the real in a community. Joining me in this episode is Robb Wolf.

Robb Wolf is a former research biochemist and 2X New York Times/Wall Street Journal Best-selling author of The Paleo Solution and Wired To Eat. Along with Diana Rodgers, he co-authored the book, Sacred Cow, which explains why well-raised meat is good for us and good for the planet.

Robb has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world via his top-ranked iTunes podcast, books, and seminars. He also co-founded the 1st and 4th CrossFit affiliate gyms in the world, The Healthy Rebellion community platform, and is the co-founder of DrinkLMNT Electrolytes.

Here’s just a taste of our talking points this week:

What Makes a Good Community Leader?

Robb is not sure about the specific characteristics of a good community leader, but in Healthy Rebellion, there’s certainly a willingness to share and a ton of emotional intelligence. It’s not that the people would uniformly roll over during conflict, but they have people that immediately stoke the fires of conflict and get that thing going.

The members of his community are good at acknowledging what’s going on, like, if somebody needs a little bit of tough love, they get some tough love, but it’s done in a way that’s not judgmental, but it’s honest.

An Element of Community that Shows up in Healthy Rebellion

One of the elements of the community that makes Healthy Rebellion stronger is the common language. Robb raises the idea of the military, which is one of the places people can wrap their heads around when it comes to common language.

In Healthy Rebellion there was this big catch-up process between people that had this resilience mindset that they were able to foster. The processing was super quick and that’s because everybody knows they had support and is using a common language around that.

Other subjects we covered on the show:

  • Does each and every member of a community have at least two roles?
  • How does Healthy Rebellion help a member of their community that is in need?
  • How else do people notice they come together through a trial?
  • More about Robb’s product which is LMNT.

If you want to know more about Robb Wolf, you may reach out to him at:


[00:00:00] Lucas Root: Welcome to Elements of Community Podcast about discovering and exploring the elements of community. I am Lucas Root and each week we talk with a community leader about what makes their community thrive and bring value to both the leaders and the members. Join me as we unpack the magic of the Elements of Community.

[00:00:34] All right. Robb Wolf, thank you so much for being here. I'm really excited to have you on the show and to talk about community with you. Would you like to tell our audience a little bit about yourself.

[00:00:46] Robb Wolf: Yeah, yeah. I'll try to keep it brief. But I was a research biochemist in my past, past life had a really significant health crisis.

[00:00:54] I developed a flavor of ulcerative colitis bad enough that I was facing bowel resection, auto immunosuppressant drugs. I'm five nine, a hundred sixty five pounds. At the time that this was going on, I was still five foot nine, but I got down to a low web of 120 530 pounds. So if you could imagine 30 pounds less of me, you know, I'm not a big guy.

[00:01:18] So, I was in pretty, pretty rough condition and it's a long story how I came to this idea of ancestral eating, potentially being a route to fixing this, but I was sick enough and desperate enough that no idea seemed too crazy to give it a shot. And so this was 23 years ago, and I embarked on what most people now would call kind of a lower carb, paleo type diet.

[00:01:44] For me, it's saved my life. And it's been, you know, 23 years since then of iterating on that process continuing to tinker with it. I've consistently been the most difficult person that I've ever worked with. And so I think that that's what has kept me in the fight. And large part is still trying to improve my health and, feel as as good as I can.

[00:02:10] Although, we are gonna be talking a lot about community, I think also a big part of what has kept me relevant in this story is helping some folks to maybe look at the world through this kind of evolutionary biology lens. And then when they go out and start consuming material that's out in the interweb, social media, books, podcasts, and whatnot, when they come back and ask me questions like, it's kind of like having several thousand research assistance because no one person can stay on top of everything.

[00:02:41] But if you have some really smart people that trust you and you trust them, and they're earnestly trying to figure out the world, like you'll have people find some things like, Hey Rob, you were talking about things in this term, and so now I've see someone talking about this way.

[00:02:57] What are your thoughts on that? And so, I think I've been able to stay reasonably relevant over the course of time. And although that thread of ancestral. You know, health has been kind of the main continuity in my career over the past 23 years. You know, I've been able to grow and adapt and change.

[00:03:17] I went on to co-found the first and fourth CrossFit affiliate gyms in the world. So, you know, was literally right at the ground floor of CrossFit growing and emerging, the paleo diet concept growing, emerging, and whatnot. So I've definitely been at the beginning of a lot of these social changes that have occurred, especially in the health and wellness space. More recently writing and talking about regenerative agriculture, trying to look at the health, environmental and ethical considerations of a meat inclusive food system. That's the the book and film Sacred Cow that I worked on most recently.

[00:03:57] Lucas Root: A book which I bought. The audience doesn't know this, but I actually in fact, until this instant, you don't know this. I owe you some degree of thanks for the idea of community. Cuz I was an early follower of paleo as well and the ancestral approach has changed the way that I think about what the human grouping structure should look like and should feel like, and how that interaction might be changed different in modern society or civilization and how it might look differently if we really had a clear understanding of what that sort of ancestral human grouping could be.

[00:04:36] And so, thank you very much for that cuz you've created that thought process within me in our early interactions. One way communication, you know, you publishing a book and me reading it.

[00:04:50] Robb Wolf: Right. Wow. Awesome. That's amazing. There's never something more gratifying than to hear that one's work has benefited someone, or in particular been a seed crystal for causing more creative expansion in an area. So that's awesome to hear.

[00:05:07] Lucas Root: Yeah, so thank you. And in addition to that, of course, this is the first time my audience is hearing directly, but I also am paleo. I eat an ancestral diet or at least as reasonably close as can be done with our modern society and modern food. We're going a little bit off on a tangent, which is okay cuz this is a conversation.

[00:05:29] I had a conversation with my father 30 years ago where we were talking about cows and, you know, at the time it hadn't sort of settled in, in terms of what this means and, how this plays out in the world. But he said the cow that you know, doesn't exist in nature. And in fact, there isn't really a relative of the cow in nature.

[00:05:52] It's completely gone. That animal has gone extinct. The only version of that animal that exists in the world is a version that we have cultivated throughout our history with that animal. And it's a symbiotic relationship, and perhaps that animal would've survived without humanity, but perhaps not.

[00:06:13] Robb Wolf: Interesting observation. A lot of the domestic animals are like that.

[00:06:19] Lucas Root: Yeah. Chickens. Another one, a piece of this thought process about the way that humans exist in the world as an animal and what our sort of optimal grouping structure kind of looks like, and the interactions of that.

[00:06:34] I spent a lot of time thinking about what an optimal farm looks like and why did we arrive at the farm that we did. And it's interesting that each and every animal has at least two roles. So now that makes me wonder back to community. Does each and every member of a community have at least two roles?

[00:06:53] And this is a rhetorical question, I haven't even spent much time thinking about this.

[00:07:00] Robb Wolf: And I spent no time thinking about that. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:04] Lucas Root: Not at all. Yeah. But would you like to tell us a little bit about the community that we wanna talk about today?

[00:07:10] Robb Wolf: Yeah. You know, and you've mentioned that we could talk about a couple different angles on this, but it actually, you may find this I interesting because you detailed like a list of five characteristics of what constitutes a community.

[00:07:25] And so it, we have this Healthy Rebellion community, which is an online kind of interaction. It's like an old style where people meet online. It's like an old style forum. Had a not great baby with a blog in Facebook. You know, the user interface is okay, but not great. But it allows us to do the things that we do.

[00:07:47] And an interesting feature of that is you had mentioned that If there's a one way exchange, you know, people paying into that, that it's not really a community. And it's interesting, I'm actually throwing this out there for you to maybe noodle on or comment. For the last two years, this has been a paid community and literally as of.

[00:08:08] We haven't even announced this yet. It broadly to that group. I won't call it a community yet, but it's not going to be paid going forward. It's actually going to be a free book closed bubble where people who want to be added to it will be basically they need to be sponsored in. Somebody needs to know them and needs to kind of say, hey, this is why I think this person would be a good fit for this scene and whatnot.

[00:08:37] And there's a whole host of reasons that went into wanting to do this, but some of it is, I think it had a great self organizational element to it thus far where I kind of provided some initial stewardship, but then people have gone on to really help grow and, develop the dynamicism there. And I've kind of wanted more of that is one of the pieces for this change.

[00:09:04] But it's interesting. Maybe we do now, this is functioning now is that folks need to be sponsored in and, almost kind of an application type format. Because if there was one good element that we noticed with the paid subscription model, it really introduced a good amount of civility.

[00:09:23] Like if people were even paying a very nominal amount, just the we didn't really allow anonymity, but there was a civility there and a commitment to actually being kind and considerate. And we've had some, you know, especially over the last two years with Covid and all kinds of different things.

[00:09:38] We've had some very spicy debates and, you know, different feelings on a host of topics.

[00:09:44] Lucas Root: I do love a spicy debate.

[00:09:47] Robb Wolf: Yeah, yeah. But the civility has generally been there. Like, I think we only had to warn and then ultimately remove two people in the span of two years, which I think is amazing.

[00:10:01] You know, just absolutely amazing. So I thought that you might find that interesting, because we have historically been calling this thing a community, but for a host of reasons, just in my gut, I felt like this paid model I wanted to modify it. And change it so that it basically, everybody, including myself, will now be chipping in this super nominal feed just to keep the lights on, you know, for the ability for us to meet in this virtual place.

[00:10:27] But then people are getting together in real life doing events ranging from like hunting trips to learning how to can to you know, beginning doing Brazilian juujitsu. So this has played an interesting role as a hub. I know I'm jabbering kind of in namely here, but historically I've seen social media being somewhat too real community what junk food is to real food. It kind of satisfies you, but not really. And maybe what we've been doing hasn't been quite junk food, but maybe it's like doomsday bunker rations or something like, it keeps you fed and alive.

[00:11:07] But, you know but is interesting that in many, many circumstances, the virtual meeting has gone on to facilitating people meeting in real life and, having some pretty significant interaction. So I'm curious to know what your thoughts are on that. Like, ho does that fit within your thoughts around community and whatnot?

[00:11:30] Lucas Root: That's amazing. So what springs to mind are a couple of different things. People have asked me a bunch of different times whether or not platform itself needs to be an element. And so far, I continue to say, no, I don't believe that platform needs to be an element. Here's an example of why the hacker group that calls itself anonymous from the outside without spending really serious time thinking about it.

[00:11:57] I think that they are a good example of a community. They clearly have an internal unique common language. They have a purpose to expose things that people are trying to hide that should be visible to the world, right? They do engage in projects. They do things together. They go hack companies, they go hack governments like they do engage in projects.

[00:12:20] There seems to be value, right? The value of being a member of that hacker group. And then there's the value that they provide to the world. There seems to be value. And last I checked, not very many of them have been unasked. So it seems to me like that common heart, the filo temo actually is in place.

[00:12:42] The people consider that the honor within the group is a very important piece of that. I think that they're a great example. The Hacker Group Anonymous are a great example of a community that exists completely, virtually, and they actually are a community, I think from the outside.

[00:13:01] Robb Wolf: Interesting. Yeah.

[00:13:03] Lucas Root: So I think I continue to maintain, and of course I am absolutely open to being chalenged on this and, welcome it. I continue to maintain that platform does not need to be an element. So there are online communities that are true communities. There are in person communities that are true communities.

[00:13:23] It sounds to me like the healthy rebellion could be a true community. It sounds like there are projects people are engaging in really deep passion and spirited debates. I have a coach and my coach likes to say it's a story of his, he likes to say the season doesn't start until someone gets into a fight.

[00:13:46] It's an old high school metaphor, if you haven't gotten into a fight, people aren't passionate. People aren't real, They're not in it. And I look at that and I say that, it sounds to me like that's actually a kickoff project. Like that's a piece of the kickoff project people, someone getting into a fight.

[00:14:07] Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not glorifying or advocating for a fight. But that's when you know people are really getting passionate about what they're doing and the passion of the community coming together is starting to be real. And if that's happening inside the Healthy Rebellion, I think that may be a real community.

[00:14:28] Robb Wolf: Well, it's interesting and again, we've historically called it a community and I found it really interesting, you know, the kind of the financial caveat that you had on that, that if it's a one way road that maybe it's not a community. And so, I just find it interesting that I feel like for the health of whatever it is that that thing is, whether it's community or other, that this unpaid but still a high barrier of entry to be part of it. It seemed like a healthy evolution for it to go into. Yeah.

[00:15:01] Lucas Root: Yeah. I support you. A community could be paid, the question is whether or not the member on my right and the member on my left are getting benefit from me showing up. Not just the leader of the community, but the member on my right and my left.

[00:15:19] Are they getting benefit? This is the filo temo. Are they getting benefit from me showing up? Do they notice when I'm not there And do they care? They actually care when I'm not there.

[00:15:30] Robb Wolf: Well, that is interesting because we routinely, so we would have group chats just kind of randomly, but at least one a week.

[00:15:40] And inevitably, we would hit a point where it's like, hey, so where are the MIA folks? And it's like, Oh, boom, boom, boom. We'd have a list, Okay, who's gonna reach out to them and find out what's going on? And not infrequently we would find out somebody had a heart attack, somebody's family member, you know, was ill and they were kind of off grid and, stuff like that.

[00:16:01] And so, that was another self-organized piece to this thing. And you also have a lot of piece, this is a fascinating thing also. Like you have people like my wife who she never interacts with anybody on anything. She's a lurker, but she definitely gets. I think benefit from it because you know, she learns things and she'll, oh, this thing was funny or this was interesting, or whatever.

[00:16:25] But also she's not really contributing. So, this is a fascinating piece with that where I don't know that she is directly, or people like her directly benefiting the other people there, but she's certainly seems to benefit from it like she chooses. And these folks choose to allocate time to this thing and keep coming back and have continued to pay subscription and, you know, stuff like that. So it's really fascinating.

[00:16:50] Lucas Root: Yeah, amazing. I love it. Just outta curiosity, when somebody reaches out and they find out that there was a family member or something, did the group get together, maybe the community, did the community get together and you know, send over some casserole or a greeting card or something like that.

[00:17:13] Robb Wolf: So a couple of times when we actually had people within a reasonable, because we have people literally all over the world.

[00:17:20] So like we have a couple of people in Bahrain, like most of us are not sending them a casserole, but we have organized you know, flowers to be sent. Sometimes a little bit of money. Like we heard about a gal who her husband lost his job because he was diagnosed with this like stage four cancer, and right on the heels of that, she discovered she was pregnant.

[00:17:44] And she was in nursing school and we were like, Holy shit, you know? And and interesting. So we actually pulled some money and sent them some money, got them some help, had a night shift nurse hooked up for the first week after her daughter was born, and kind of miraculously like her husband, you know, very dire situation.

[00:18:05] He pulled through and it seems to be doing well. And so, which is a great happy ending, you know, so far, happy ending to that story. But yeah, absolutely. Like people have definitely bridged that gap between the virtual and the real. And again, very self-organized on that thing. You know, it's like, well, I wanna do this, and somebody would spearhead it, and then anybody that could, would, you know, rally some resources around it.

[00:18:31] And it's been particularly during the covid time where we didn't, you know, depending on where you were, you might be, you know, really sequestered away from people. Very minimal legit human interaction. It was quite a lifeline for a lot of folks. And a lot of our Canadian folks were really like, this place is the anchor of my sanity because they had such comparatively you know, stringent standards that they had to adhere to with travel, with interacting with family and stuff like that.

[00:19:04] Lucas Root: That sounds like real community to me. What a gift. What a gift. Amazing.

[00:19:13] Robb Wolf: Yeah. It's been cool. It's been very gratifying. Yeah.

[00:19:16] Lucas Root: Now, you are a natural community leader. You've done it a number of times, but it sounds to me like some people inside the community have emerged as temporary leaders from time to time.

[00:19:27] Can you tell me what is it that makes a good community leader and, especially when it's a temporary leader, that's really exciting. Somebody who rises.

[00:19:38] Robb Wolf: You know, I mean, yeah, usually these folks have some degree of kind of subject matter expertise. You know, they're able to comment on many, or at least some topics that are interesting.

[00:19:53] You know, in our situation, it's sleep and nutrition, physical training. And then we have this whole kind of resiliency section where people talk about homesteading and solar power and wind and, you know, getting off grid. And so because of the breadth and depth of what is offered there, you know, gardening Kind of subject matter leaders have been able to emerge.

[00:20:17] You know, people will ask a question or people will proactively say, hey, I read this article on this thing. Or maybe they write their original content on something. And so, again, in this very organic and, you know self definitely not top down, like grassroots. These leaders just kind of emerge.

[00:20:38] And then we will usually do something like, hey you're not getting paid. There's no extra bonuses, but we'd like to make you a moderator so you have even more you know, responsibility around whatever it is that you're already doing. And people are like, Yeah, and they will step up and, take that additional responsibility.

[00:20:58] So I'm not sure what the specific characteristics are there, but certainly a willingness to share. And then a ton of emotional intelligence. And it's not that these people are uniformly like a folks that would roll over during conflict, but whereas we have some other folks that they will stoke the fires of conflict immediately.

[00:21:21] And just get that thing going. And I don't know, maybe that's within gain theoretics, there's probably some need for a certain number of people to be like that. I think if yet too many of them, the whole thing burns down. But these other folks just have a remarkable degree of, isn't it? You know, I mean, you need just enough disruptive shit going on there to not let things ossify and get too Pollyanna-ish or something, you know?

[00:21:48] But these other folks are, they're good at like acknowledging what's going on and maybe if somebody needs a little bit of tough love, they get some tough love, but it's done in a way that's not judgemental, but it's honest.

[00:21:59] It's like, hey, if you're fucking up, then, if you wanna change, then you gotta change, you know, whether it's nutrition or your health so you can be a better parent or, whatever. There's ways of acknowledging that, yeah, this is a hard situation you're in, but you gotta change it like you're saying you wanna change, so what can we do to help you change?

[00:22:19] We have these resets, we have this, we have that. What else can we we do to support you there? But that is different than just kind of burning people down or just ignoring them entirely. So definitely a willingness to put themselves out there. Some deep emotional intelligence within that emotional intelligence is this interesting combination of being able to acknowledge where folks are that maybe things are difficult, but also like, you know, If change needs to happen, then let's do it.

[00:22:52] Let's figure out what the impediments are and, let's get through this and get you to a better spot. Yeah. So it's not just co-dependency, facilitating the continuation of bad behavior, you know, that it is not that for sure.

[00:23:06] Lucas Root: I'm glad you put that in there. So I'm hearing one awesome that leaders are emerging in that you're encouraging that.

[00:23:17] I think that's probably an element of community maybe, maybe I'm gonna have to play with that. I like it. I'm hearing that a leader needs to have some relevant subject matter expertise to a project. I'm hearing that they have to be willing and able to be a spearhead for that project.

[00:23:42] And that doesn't necessarily mean that they're capable of doing project management. What it means is that they're capable of and, interested in continuing to drive that project forward. So let's move forward. What's holding us back? Let's move forward. What's stopping us? Let's move forward. How do we get over the next hump?

[00:24:01] Let's move forward. Because I care. Right. I'm also hearing really strong common heart, Filo Temo, that fifth element. That they care about every single person that's there. And so when they're giving criticism, right, critical feedback an an opportunity for that person to grow, they're giving it to them from the perspective of I care, not just I care because I'm a leader, but I actually care.

[00:24:34] Robb Wolf: Yeah, yeah, for sure, for sure.

[00:24:36] Lucas Root: Oh, that's cool. I'm gonna have fun thinking about the idea of leadership emerging as a core to community. And not even necessarily permanent leadership. Just temporary leadership. A project needs to happen and somebody instigates it. Right? So you were talking about people who are instigators and somebody chooses to be a leader and self elects and, you know, maybe the group makes other decisions afterwards, but there has to be someone who kicks that off and self elects into it. Cool.

[00:25:12] Robb Wolf: And I've throw this out to you. I've wondered about the scale of stuff like this. Like when we launched this thing, I was kind of wondering if we would hit like a Dunbar's number type of thing, you know, 150 people, Is that where this thing is stable? What we've noticed is about 1100 people, a thousand, 1100.

[00:25:35] If it gets much larger than that, then you see this just dramatic increase in churn. You know, like people are in, they're out. I think that they become anonymized. So that's an interesting thing because it is largely virtual. You would think, well, this thing could scale infinitely. You know, I mean, Facebook has however many billion, you know people in it.

[00:25:57] But to really tick that box of community, this thing feels much more like a small town than any type of city. And I'm not sure, like my reach is okay. My podcast is still reasonably popular and stuff like that. It is not Joe Rogan level by any means. But I doubt that we could do the things that we do.

[00:26:20] If it was even 5,000 or 10,000 members, and I could be wrong. Like there might be some other communities out there that maybe they just have some other self organizing elements to it. So it keeps people type, but it, I actually, we ended up capping enrollment, added about 1100 people.

[00:26:40] Because the churn just started going. And I'm like, what are we doing here? Like, how is this really helping things if it's just kicking people out the back end even faster. I'd rather have 800 people that are here for the long haul and just call it good. And we all are able to go deep on this thing.

[00:26:57] So no answers on that. Just actually a lot of questions around like, what what does scale mean in a kind of 98% virtual, 2% in real life community. Like what we have there.

[00:27:14] Lucas Root: I have some thoughts. But like you, they're just thoughts. The average person is capable of really knowing 150 people.

[00:27:25] The average tribe size tribe being different from the number of people you know, tribe being the people that you can count on to step up on your shoulder, pick up a spear, and go to war with you because they trust you, right? The average tribe size is really five to 10. So if we look at five to 10 and 150 somewhere in that range, that kind of makes sense.

[00:27:47] That 800 to 1100 is the magic number where you can sort of wrap your mind around that, my seven tribe people, they each have 150 people that's a thousand.

[00:28:04] Robb Wolf: Yeah. Yeah. And it just, I have nothing pure gut deal. But when CrossFit was growing, I remember, well, I was there when there was one gym because I was in the first gym and then I was in the fourth, you know, affiliate gym.

[00:28:21] So I saw it all grow, and when it was about 1200 to 2000 gyms, it was awesome, awesome because we would get together for these affiliate gatherings and it was big enough that it was really interesting and vibrant and oh, just amazing, interesting people. Always somebody new to meet, always something new to learn.

[00:28:42] But then when it started getting to 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, it lost the intimacy there, you know? It was cool. Okay, this is great. I'm part of this big thing, but I had oftentimes look. Not lamented, but commented that this thing could have potentially been a really nice caring capacity at like 2000 gyms.

[00:29:06] There would've always been enough newness that you'd have somebody new speaker, new perspective, you know, and it could have been a really fascinating thing to see where it is. And now that CrossFit has kind of done, its, you know, kind of contraction. It'll be interesting to see where it contracts to where it's carrying capacity is.

[00:29:27] And it would be super interesting if over the long haul, it's like 2000 gyms in the US, 2000 in Europe, Asia, you know, something like that.

[00:29:35] Lucas Root: That would be super interesting.

[00:29:38] Robb Wolf: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:41] Lucas Root: Very cool. What a fun idea. And again, like you, I have no idea, but it's fun to think about the idea of Dunbar's number plus tribe equals 1,015 hundred, maybe.

[00:29:53] Robb Wolf: Right, Right, right. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:57] Lucas Root: Interesting. Very cool. Is there one specific of the elements of community that you'd like to talk about how it particularly shows up in your community? The Healthy Rebellion, how it makes you stronger, how it really grows and creates a life of its own?

[00:30:16] Robb Wolf: You know, I was super fortunate to be part of this thing that was an outgrowth of Naval Special Warfare, and this was back around 2008 through about 2014 and I was on the Naval Special Warfare Resiliency Committee.

[00:30:35] And so they're trying to build resiliency within the SEAL teams, the special boat teams that support the seals, and then in particular the families of these folks that have these incredibly demanding jobs. You know, I mean, they could be deployed six to nine months out of the year, the three to six months that these guys are home.

[00:30:55] They're training most of the time and very, very stressful on the families. And so I remember, and I might have one of the guides around here. I'll grab it if we pause here in a second. But the front end of this thing, it had the physics equation for resilience, and it's all these integrals and it's rather complex, but resilience is this thing that if you stress a system, It comes back stronger as a consequence.

[00:31:24] It's not just a rock. It's not just an armored personnel carrier. You know, those things are strong, but they aren't necessarily made better from stress and challenge. Whereas, you know, economies are made better. Communities ostensibly are made better with that. And so this idea of resilience was something that I tried to weave into.

[00:31:49] Early into the Healthy Rebellion. And you know, and again, we launched that about six months before Covid. And one thing that was interesting about as like Covid kinda started ramping up is we sat down and were like, okay, what are some of the things that could happen here? We could have some economic problems.

[00:32:09] We could have supply chain issues, like we're actually pretty prescient about some stuff. Maybe you get some food on hand. Maybe you do this, maybe you do that. But most importantly, we need to just psychologically recognize that the world is going to change period. Like full stop. We don't know what that means.

[00:32:26] So it could be really good, could be really bad. It'll probably, you know, be a mix of of both.

[00:32:30] Lucas Root: That's stupid. The world is both change.

[00:32:34] Robb Wolf: And you know, what people reported was, and what we kind of noticed was that, this is an interesting thing is that the folks in that community were adaptable in a way that the folks around them were not, and it almost made them stand out in a way.

[00:32:58] And you could see them kind of try to throw a lifeline sometimes to friends, family, but they didn't get it because they hadn't been part of this thing. And maybe they didn't have the acculturation of the language like that common language and all that type of stuff.

[00:33:17] But Just knowing that things were up in the air, that things were gonna change when they did change. There wasn't that paralysis that I noticed among folks that didn't have something like this, that didn't have that kind of resiliency mindset where it's like, Okay, yeah, I know that there could be supply chain issues.

[00:33:35] And so, if I have a business that's depended on legitimate stuff, like maybe I should stockpile a year of, you know, my important stuff that goes into my particular supply chain and, things like that. And folks really navigated that the last couple of years comparatively well, I think because of that resilience mindset, that idea that like, I'm gonna take this stress that I'm experiencing today.

[00:34:04] I'm gonna figure out a way to turn that into a growth proposition, and then I'm gonna come back stronger as a consequence of it versus getting caught flat footed and being in that, you know, the stages of grief, you know, anger, which would oftentimes seem to take people down at the kneecaps and they might be weeks or months later.

[00:34:25] That they would finally be like, Okay, I've got my head screwed back on, and I recognize that the world has changed. But there was this big catch up process versus people that had this resilience mindset that we were able to foster in the Healthy rebellion. The processing was super quick. And I think that that's because everybody was kind of, you had support, you had people using a common language around this stuff.

[00:34:48] They cared about each other, so you knew that somebody had your back and some capacity. But just being aware that there was that potential that things could really spin on a diamond change. Like, I would say that that's probably been the most profound piece to the community and, what people have reported being.

[00:35:06] The biggest benefit and takeaway that they've had is that they've just been able to roll with the punches in a way that, that folks outside of that community, they just watch them and I'm like, God, they're really suffering. And they're like, I'm suffering. Don't get me wrong, like, I'm suffering, but the people around me are really suffering. In a degree that was just a stark contrast between, in that group and outside the group.

[00:35:30] Lucas Root: Wow. That's amazing. Yeah. So community, one of the benefits of true community is resilience. I love it. Three things. It's funny that you raise the idea of the military. Cuz when I talk about common language, one of the places that I go that people can really wrap their head around common language is the military that In order for me to be efficient and effective when I'm a group of six or eight and we're attacking a specific thing, you need to understand that when one person goes like this and like that, it has a very specific meaning, and then we go like this and we go like that.

[00:36:12] And it has like, that is a language, it's a common language. It's a unique language that works because of that group, because of that community. So that's one is that I'm glad you went to military cuz it's one of the places I like to go when I talk about language. Two and this is sort of top of mind for me because it came up today.

[00:36:34] The idea of resilience is, it's a really powerful one. They're this is sort of two and three combined. Somebody said to me, and we've all heard it, blood is thicker than water. And I'd like to point out to those of you who don't know this, the phrase blood is thicker than water is actually a 100% misinterpretation.

[00:36:55] When you say that you're probably using it wrong. It's a shortened phrase from the quote, the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, which literally means when we as a group are tried, when we are tried by battle, when we are tried by the tribulations that come to us as a group, and it creates a community inside our tribe.

[00:37:18] When we are tried, we come together stronger than if we were born together. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water.

[00:37:26] Robb Wolf: It is literally the opposite of the way it's used.

[00:37:28] Lucas Root: It is, yeah. It's actually the opposite of how it's used. And it's very cool because then you look at the other version of this.

[00:37:35] How else do people notice that they come together through trial? And one of the ways that I really like to think about this is some of the few really powerful surviving practices of indigenous people. One of the ones that I really find valuable is doing saunas. And the way that they do their sweat tents, it is a trial. It is very powerfully challenging. And what you find is that when you do that together as a group, you go in as a group, you come out as a community, you are tight, you are the blood of the covenant on the other side of that, because you've gone through a really, really powerful challenge.

[00:38:18] You wanna add to that?

[00:38:21] Robb Wolf: Yeah. No, no, no. I don't think I could add too much to it. I mean Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit noticed this, that the trial's, a very hard physical activity brought people together in this really rapid fashion. And it's again, you know the beginning of becoming a seal.

[00:38:41] You have this buds and hell week, which is this one week of virtually no sleep. Very, very minimal sleep, and constant physical and psychological harassment being doused and cold water and rolled in sand and every manner of discomfort you could imagine. And a cup of coffee and a warm food right up the hill.

[00:39:02] You just gotta ring a bell. And all is all is good. And they virtually beg and encourage you to do that, you know, And they have a shockingly high attrition rate at this point, every spot. It's something like 200% less likely that you will get a Navy steel spot than you will a professional football spot.

[00:39:26] Which, you know, historically has been one of these like super elite kind of things. But the notoriety of these seals has increased the application pool to such a degree that it's the average applicant is a master's degree engineering from an Ivy League school. Not all, but they have some that are not, but like the the quality of people applying, you know, like division one wrestler, on and on and on and on, you know, just to get their foot in the front door.

[00:39:55] And most of them don't make it still. It's really amazing. But when they come out that next side of that crucible, it's really remarkable the camaraderie they have. And this is an interesting thing when folks are done with the teams. And things like that, they often find that the rest of their life is pretty blase

[00:40:14] They never have that degree of having the five people that would literally have your back at at any circumstance. Folks love their families. They're invested in their community and everything, but the intimacy that they had in that, that becoming these elite war fighters, there's nothing else that ever spins the dopamine wheel quite the same way that they did in that scenario.

[00:40:42] The same degree of trust, the same degree of commitment. It's really interesting and I know I'm jabbering like an idiot, but there was some analysis of seals lafter thier.

[00:40:50] Lucas Root: Certainly not an idiot.

[00:40:53] Robb Wolf: Jabbering like something. But I do think it is interesting, there's this disproportionate success that former seals have. And again, it is because they were just kind of born this way? Is it because they were born this way and they got honed through this process? But the net worth of these seals, there's some astronomical percentage of them that are worth more than 200 million.

[00:41:19] But then there's this. There's this non-trivial cross section of them that have just fallen off the map effectively homeless or like, you know, have just gone out of the, you know, they're no longer really participating in the normal society that you and I are, are partaking in. There's very few that just go back and live just an average normal life.

[00:41:45] You know, so, that's a whole, again, no answers, but just questions. You know, it's like is the hyperfilthy of a particular type of community is that so powerful that then the rest of life just becomes so boring and blase that you're not even really sure how to deal with it afterwards. That's a whole interesting thing.

[00:42:10] Lucas Root: But you don't lose your brothers and sisters. Like, you don't lose your tribe when you leave. They're still your tribe, they'll show up.

[00:42:22] Robb Wolf: Well, and you know what a lot of these folks end up doing is starting businesses together and stuff like that, and that is a lot of what they end up doing in like the next iteration of their life is they're like, Well, I'm not just gonna go get a standard job or, you know, work for corporate America.

[00:42:36] I'm gonna do something different. And that is a lot of what they do.

[00:42:41] Lucas Root: And how much more powerful can a business be when you know, you don't have to question, it's a hundred percent core knowledge that the person in the other room is acting as you would, the person in that other room is acting as you would.

[00:42:57] How much more powerful is it? You've got six or seven people that are independently hive mined.

[00:43:05] Robb Wolf: Right, Right, right. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:43:08] Lucas Root: I get the 200 millionaire thing like that I get and on the other side, you know, homestead and I get that too.

[00:43:21] Robb Wolf: Yep. Yep.

[00:43:23] Lucas Root: Very cool. Robb, thank you so much. This has been a lot more fun for me than maybe was obvious. I don't think that what you were doing was jabbering. Before I ask you where people can find you, I'm gonna tell them a little bit about my experience of you. I've purchased every one of the books that you've written, so to call me a super fan is appropriate.

[00:43:45] I've experienced LMNT. I am not paid to say this. I paid to say this. I have experienced LMNT, your product, your current product. When I first consumed water with LMNT in it, it felt to me like somebody was turning my brain on. It was, it was absolutely extraordinary.

[00:44:07] Again, I'm not a plant. You have not paid me for this. It felt to me like I'd been missing something in my life and drinking that water with LMNT in it fulfilled what was missing. It created it turned on the synapses. It created more capacity for me to be me. It was it was stunning that salt, I mean, what you provide isn't just salt, but it was stunning to me that somebody who pays attention to their diet and their body and has been in the paleo community for so long, me putting the right electrolytes into my water could make that much of a difference to me.

[00:44:47] It absolutely knocked my socks off, truly. So thank you for that. Would you like to tell,

[00:44:54] Robb Wolf: Me too.

[00:44:56] Lucas Root: You too. Really?

[00:44:59] Robb Wolf: I mean, it maybe this is probably where you're leading a little bit of the genesis story, but I had been mucking around with this, you know, ancestral eating. Never afraid of salt, like would salt my food vigorously, like it had reviewed the literature on like hypertension and stuff.

[00:45:15] I'm like, oh, salts, sodium isn't a problem. Hypertension is driven from insulin resistance and all this stuff. But I didn't appreciate just particularly with the activity level that I had, how much electrolytes and sodium that I really needed. And I found some folks that were really operating in a high level with the stuff.

[00:45:35] I had them review what I was doing. And they were like, your protein, carbs, fat are great, but you probably need more salt. And it took me a long time to really listen to them. And then they did something crazy. They're like, why don't you weigh and measure everything that you're consuming? Like put it in chronometer.

[00:45:53] This app for documenting your food and we'd like to see you at like five grams of sodium per day. And I was at less than two grams of sodium per day. And they're like, Oh, okay, we'll check this out. Go get some pickle juice. Do you like pickle juice? I'm like, Yeah, I love pickle juice. We're like, Okay, get like six ounces of pickle juice.

[00:46:09] Shoot that down. That's gonna be about two grams of sodium. And do that 20 minutes before workout and I did it, and it was just crazy. I'm like, I had a pump for like the first time in like 10 years eating low carb. It's kind of hard to get a pump when you're doing physical training.

[00:46:27] And have historically kind of dragged ass at jujitsu and stuff like that. And so I was like, guys like this electrolyte thing is huge. And they're like, Yeah, we've been doing this for a long time. You know, these folks were really good at the coaching of this stuff. So we developed a free downloadable guide to make your own home brew.

[00:46:47] It was like this much table salt, this much no salt, which is potassium chloride, some magnesium citrate, lemon juice, stevia, water, shake it up and go. And when I looked at the community that I serve, the group of people that I serve, I was like, 95% of the problems people have is probably insufficient sodium and electrolytes.

[00:47:08] I was just mind blown. So we posted this free downloadable guide. It wasn't a lead magnet. You didn't need to give us an email. It was just like, take this thing and within like six months we had a half million downloads of this thing between my community and, the other folks that I was working with.

[00:47:28] And what we started hearing was very much what you reported. This was like the missing piece to what I've been doing. My energy levels were better. My recovery from exercise was better. My heart rate variability scores dramatically improved. My sleep improved. But the one downside is that when you mix it at home, when you're traveling, the TSA doesn't like the three bags of white powder.

[00:47:54] And so would you guys consider making like some sort of a convenience thing? And so we had no designs on like starting LMNT. It was completely this freemium thing that I was just like, Oh my God, I've failed people for 20 years, not properly emphasizing salt in in sodium and electrolytes, and so I've gotta fix that as quickly as I can.

[00:48:15] And then it was the community that told us, hey, we need something simpler and easier and more direct. Then this home brew gig. And so that was the whole genesis of LMNT. And we still, to this day, one of our primary landing pages is like, if you don't wanna buy it, at least make it. And here's exactly the ratio for how to do it.

[00:48:36] So you get something that is virtually identical to what we sell you. And it's been really cool because, again, this was a relationship that drove this whole thing. It was my recognition that like, Oh my God, I haven't been properly serving these folks and I've gotta fix this. And then I did a good job fixing it with that free downloadable guidance.

[00:48:58] Like, please for the love of God, like do this, try this pickle juice. You know, this thing, whatever. And then when people started fixing stuff, the feedback loop is so quick when you are electrolyte deficient, that if you're feeling kind of off and you drink some, like five minutes later, you feel better.

[00:49:17] It's very quick, how quickly the electrolytes go in. And so then that just built trust. And then part of that trust was like, well, I'm gonna tell you that I want a convenient product. You know, and if you guys did it, I would buy it. And people have, I think LMNT is like the first or second fastest growing company in like the wellness space right now.

[00:49:39] Like, it has just gone like crazy. And I told our co-founders that this thing would probably either be like a plane into a mountainside or would go to a moon. It wouldn't be anywhere in between because it really is addressing a need, and I think we addressed it in a way that historically hasn't been done because it really wasn't afraid of the sodium and, understood the physiology in a way that it's like, No, we really need to lean into that.

[00:50:04] And have a nutrient dense whole food diet in the background. You can't just supplement your way to good health. And the whole thing has been really remarkably successful and a ton of fun. And like I just still, when I hear stories like you relate, like I grin so hard in my head nearly falls off the back of my head because it's just like, man, that's really awesome because it is such a simple thing, but yet such an overlook thing in where we are with everything.

[00:50:33] Lucas Root: Amazing. Thank you. Thank you for bringing that to the market. And I travel a lot and you're a hundred percent right. Little baggies of white powder probably would not go over well, but the little individual packets that you send out, nobody even blinks an eye on that.

[00:50:49] Robb Wolf: Right. Right. That's awesome. That's awesome.

[00:50:52] Lucas Root: Yeah, I'm in Seattle right now. Some of my listeners know one of my clients is the Pokemon company. I'm here in Seattle at the Pokemon Company. I had to travel here with with LMNT and nobody blinked an eye. I passed right through security. Not an issue. I didn't even have to check that bag.

[00:51:10] Robb Wolf: Nice . Nice.

[00:51:13] Lucas Root: Yep. So yeah. Thank you. Where can people find you? Those who don't already know?

[00:51:18] Robb Wolf: is kind of the main spot. I have a very poorly updated subs stack RobWolf. I haven't done anything in a couple of months, but I have like three pretty good articles that I've been working on over the past couple of weeks and folks should see that popping up.

[00:51:37] And then I do a lot of writing over at LMNT and we have a very active blog and kind of scientific resource over there. But that's where pretty much everything that I do, if it sees the light of day, it's on one or all of those locations.

[00:51:53] Lucas Root: Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. Elements of Community audience, go check out, that's LMNT

[00:52:05] Thank you, Rob. And we are signing off.

[00:52:09] Thank you for joining us this week on Elements of Community. Make sure to visit our website,, or, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or via RSS, so you'll never miss a show. If you found value in this show, we'd appreciate a rating on iTunes or if you'd simply tell a friend about the show, that would help us out too.

[00:52:34] If you like the show, you might wanna check out our EOC Inner Circle where we deep dive with each guest on the inner workings of their community. We cover things like community model. Profitability and engagement strategies.

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