The Burn with Ben Newman: Episode 4 with Sal Frisella

Sal Frisella The Burn Keynote Speaker 1st Phorm Supplement Super Stores

Sal Frisella, President of 1st Phorm opens up about how he taps into his internal BURN that drives his success.

“If the line at my funeral is not from here to China, I didn’t do it well enough.”

About Sal Frisella

Sal has been with 1st Phorm for more than a decade and has done everything from packing boxes, sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms and every other thing that needs to be done in order to help their team win.

What’s extremely evident is Sal’s passion to help others identify their “best self” and for those of you who don’t know him, he clearly leads by example.

We’re excited to continue watching Sal lead the organization as President and the great things to come with 1st Phorm.

Full Interview with Sal Frisella and Ben Newman

Ben Newman: This one I’m excited about, and I’m going to tell you why, because what everybody would want to hear is stories about 1st Phorm and money and all that.  We’re not going there.  I want to go back 10 years.  I walk into Supplement Superstore, and your ass comes walking over with that same grin, and neither of us had any clue we’d be sitting here having a conversation like this.

I think about the energy we had that day.  Even though my relationship, I’ve always felt with you, it’s one of those guys every time I see you, we pick up where we left off.  The times we’ve actually spent together, really not that much time, but I would do anything for you.  It was that energy.  It was that passion.  I could tell you loved what you did.  After that, we always had this great connection.

Now, I want to fast forward to our first Summer Smash ever.  You and I are doing that damn mud run.  Neither of us was in the shape that we’re in right now.  We’re literally pulling each other up.  We had a team, if you remember, it was Raquel, and we’re recruiting people, “How are we doing?  Finishing this thing?”  People were getting the tips of their fingers cut off, and we’re just like, “But we gotta go.”

Sal Frisella: That’s right.

Ben Newman: And I’m literally in this water, I’m like, “What in the world?”, and I know you were thinking the same thing.  So, I think of those types of moments, and I think of your career decisions.  I think of how much you love your family, because I pay attention to your Instagram stories.

Sal’s a big old dude.  Sal’s a former professional baseball player, Cardinals, minor leagues, all that stuff.  But when we strip all that away, what I think is most important and why we have this show, it’s the BURN.  So, what caused you to be sitting here today after 10 years?  I know this has been painful.  I know leaving a job like J&J, where you were one of the top guys in the entire country, fighting through it, now doing Ironmans.  All I want to know, because I’ve never asked you, what is that BURN for you?  What causes you to fight the way that you fight?

Sal Frisella: Well, I think it’s transitional.  I think as you get older, you start really figuring out why you’re here.  The reason we have the relationship we have, the mud run’s actually a great analogy, because we’d help each other no matter what, through thick and thin, through bullshit or not.

But for me personally, what gives me that fire?  I realize that 10 years, you talk about it, 10 years happens like that.  It’s fast.  It’s super fast.  You’re going to have a story that’s told about you through life.  You’re going to have your life, but some of our stories are better or more fulfilled than others.

For me personally, my dad was in business, and there’s still times when I’ll go into Home Depot with my son, Enzo, and a guy — who I have no idea who this guy is — will walk up and be like, “Hey, you’re Sal.  Your daddy put me in business.  Your daddy loaned me 20,000 dollars back in 1977.  I now have 100 guys that work for me.  Without your dad, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.”  I think about how much that means to me, because it’s like, here’s my dad.  I know what type of human he is, and these stories are going to live on, and he’s able to tell it to me, his son.  He sacrificed a lot of time with us when we were kids, and in front of his grandson, and I know how important that is to me, because for me personally, I made that leap of faith to get into what I love to do, which is help people.

I absolutely love looking into the eyeballs of somebody who’s struggling physically and letting them know, “I can help you.”  It’s not about selling supplements; it’s about teaching them and giving them an education on how they can change their life.  I can help you be a better dad, be a better mother, be a better brother, a leader, a father, whatever it needs to be.  You gotta give me the work, but I’ll give you this.  I have that in me.  I’m a fat guy at heart.  I know the effort it’s going to take.  I know the journey you’re going to go through.  When I look them in the eyeballs, I can speak to them, and I know that struggle is real, because I’ve struggled with it as well.

So, what I used to do is I was good at sales.  I loved the sales aspect.  I didn’t love what I did every day.  I think about the bigger picture, and fast forward 10 years, I try to make my life so that when I die, that same interaction can happen with my kids and my grandkids, the people that I’ve positively impacted their life.  Maybe I’ve helped them lose 20, 30, 40, 50 pounds, but greater than that, I’ve given them their life back because I’ve taught them how to gain control of their physical self, and they can go out and be happy with their life and be fulfilled with their life.

You watch these people transition and change, and that’s what makes me tick.  That’s what makes me BURN.  Then, you start to see the compounding effects on that in their life.  You’ve been speaking about legacy for a long-ass time.  It’s funny, because I talk about legacy as well, and now you’re seeing everybody on the Internet start to talk about legacy.  There’s a fake way to talk about legacy, and there’s what comes from the soul.

I believe when I die, if the line to see me at my funeral is not from here to China, I didn’t do it well enough, because we’re gifted with the ability of social media and the Internet and things like this to go out and show thousands of people to try to help them change and transform their lives.  But when I die, my kids will be there, hopefully, and I want that line to be really long, and I want those stories to be really fucking big.  So, it’s kind of an ego thing maybe from that standpoint, but I think if that line’s really long, that means that I found my calling to do what I do best, which is help people change their life.  That’s my BURN.

Ben Newman: This hits deep.  You’re on the verge of tears over there.  You’re going to make me cry.  We’re two of those guys.  We can admit it.

Sal Frisella: I’m cool with it.

Ben Newman: I’ve done marathons, half marathons, quarter Ironmans.  The BURN, how do you tap into it?  I think we can talk about it.  People can get fired up about it, what lights them up inside.  For you, if you could leave us with how do you tap that BURN.  When you wake up and you’re like, “Man, I want no part of this,” because I think people think just because we lead, we coach, we do these things, we wake up every day and it’s like, “Let’s go get ‘em.”  It’s just not that way.  So, how do you tap it?

Sal Frisella: Not only is it not that way, sometimes because you live that progressive mentality like that, sometimes it’s harder.  Maybe that’s the “poor me” attitude that comes out of you, but you tap into it because you realize you have a gift every single day, every single day.  It’s weird because I talk about death a lot.  I’m cool with it, that’s why.  A lot of people, it’s kind of like heebeejeebee land for them.  For me, it’s like, you’re going to die.

We support an organization in Haiti, and I look at the gift that we have every single day.  Clean water, I have the opportunity to eat healthy food, make great decisions.  I have an opportunity to do that.  So, whenever I get into my weird, dark zone, I think about the example again that I’m going to leave my kids, and I think about how blessed I am to be and have the opportunity of who I am.  I can play the “poor me” card in my brain, or I can wash them out and keep moving.

I always call it “right foot, left foot”.  Whenever I get into that “I want to quit” zone, or “I’m fucking stupid for doing this”, or “Why the fuck did I do this?”, I talk back to myself and I say, “Remember, this is your duty.  You have a gift.  This is part of that journey, and this is an opportunity that you have.”  Most people don’t have the opportunity to do what I do every day.  So, for me to tap out of that, I think, is, one, it’s weak.  Two, I like being in that place, man.  That place is fun for me because I battle with myself, and that’s the toughest battle.  The toughest battle you’ll ever fight in your entire life is the person that looks back at you in the mirror, because you’re the first person to quit on yourself.

That’s what I realized is I’ve got to find a purpose that’s bigger than me, which is my kids.  It was my original ‘why’ on why my fitness journey really made sense to me.  Finding kids of Haiti and other kids around the world, they aren’t blessed with the same opportunities that I have.  So, I could complain about this temporary pain that I’m choosing to put myself through, or I could swallow it and keep fucking moving.  So, I always think, “Real pain is those kids in Haiti who have to walk three or four miles just to get clean drinking water.  My little water stop is only another mile ahead.  I’ll be just fine.”  That’s how I get through that pain.

Ben Newman: Well, I can’t thank you enough for you continuing to be you.  I’ll tell you, you’re the same dude when I walked in.  It’s the same, and the fire, the energy in your eyes and in your smile, it’s still there.  And I appreciate you taking the time to share that BURN, because I think what this does, it helps people realize how important it is to tap into that for them.

Sal Frisella: Of course.  It’s your obligation to yourself and to your future self to live the very best life that you can.  As I’ve gotten older, to have a “no regret” mentality — and I’m not saying go jump off buildings and do stupid shit — I’m saying, to live the best life that you possibly can is something that, looking back when I made that leap of faith — because that’s what it is, right?  You’re believing in yourself that you can go make that happen.  It’s scary.  It’s fucking scary.  But I’m going to tell you, you’re going to learn a lot about yourself, and the person that comes out on the other end is a much better version of you than the one that you’re looking at right now.  So, jump, man.  Go for it, and don’t ever forget who you are.

I’m just as likely to shake your hand and punch you in the mouth, and I’m going to drink beer with you.  That’s me.  I’m a Hoosier from South County.  I wear cowboy boots and drive a pickup truck.  That’s always going to be me.

Ben Newman: Thank you, brother.

Sal Frisella:    Thank you, man.



Follow Sal Frisella, President 1st Phorm

  1. LinkedIn: Sal Frisella
  2. Instagram: @mrfrisella

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