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Joe DeFranco talks with hellowater® – Part One.

Tom Bushkie CEO/Co-Founder of hellowater® talks with Joe DeFranco, one of the country’s most highly sought-after performance enhancement specialists. This clip is one of an hour-long interview where Tom and Joe discussed the topics of weight loss, nutrition, cardio, aging. As well as his introduction to hellowater®.

In this episode, Tom and Joe discuss: 

  • Joe’s Background
  • His Introduction to hellowater®

Transcript

Tom Bushkie:

Hellowater nation, it’s hellowater® Tom here, and I could not be more excited to present our new guest, Joe DeFranco. Welcome, Joe.

Joe DeFranco:

Thank you for having me, Tom. I’m excited to be here.

Tom Bushkie:

This is going to be great. If you guys don’t know Joe, Joe is a guy who, at a very young age, knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he went out and did it. He started small, and when I’m talking small I’m talking 500 square foot storage closet small. So, it’s going to be a very interesting background to get to know Joe. But, more importantly, he now trains all the top athletes. International athletes come in to train with him. Trainers come in to learn from him. So, at hellowater®, we’re all about inspiring health, but you’re not only inspiring health, you’re inspiring entrepreneurism. You’re trying to make other trainers have a business model so that they can compete and eventually get across your knowledge, your expertise to more people. Because you can’t do it all yourself, let’s be honest.

Joe DeFranco:

100%. I think in, unfortunately, the personal training industry and the fitness industry in general, it’s known for having a lot of egos, and everyone thinks they have to compete against everyone else. But, I learned at a pretty young age… I wasn’t always like this, I won’t lie. I’m very competitive, but I learned real quickly that I can’t train every single person in the world, even if I wanted to. So, I shifted my focus to more helping other trainers and training trainers. I was always very, I guess, generous… I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but be generous with my knowledge. If I learned something, I want to get it right online, on YouTube, and share it with the rest of the world so the personal trainers could help their clients, moms and dads could help their kids. That old saying, “Rising tides rise all ships,” however it goes…

Joe DeFranco:

… I’m a big believer in that. That, we could all get better and we all benefit from it.

Tom Bushkie:

And not only that, but you started your business… I’ll let you give the two to five-minute spiel, but you started your business just because your passion was so incredible with fitness that you just worked for free. You just said, “I will train any athlete right now. I feel like I’m better than everybody else out there. I have something to add to you, that I can make you better.” So, tell us a little bit about how you got started.

Joe DeFranco:

My quick background story is I grew up obsessed with football from the time I could remember, three, four years old, it just was the sport that I gravitated towards. I loved watching it, then I finally started playing at seven, was obsessed. Started training with my dad. I begged my dad to train me at seven, but he said, “You got to wait. We’ll wait until you’re 10, 11 years old.” Then, I started going to the gym with him. I saw how much it improved my performance. So then, I kind of got obsessed with training for football and football. I went to a high school that was ranked in the top five in the country for football. It was just my life. I had a goal of playing in the NFL.

Joe DeFranco:

Unfortunately, summer junior year, going into senior year, I literally woke up one morning… Went to bed feeling normal, woke up with this horrible pain in my back. A nerve pain shooting down my leg. It was during football camp, so I just assumed, “I must have gotten hit weird yesterday or something.” This goes on my full senior year. I’m playing with this pain that will not go away no matter what I do. Stretching, rehab, nothing works. I still play very well, I get some scholarship offers to smaller schools. All the division one schools stopped offering me. I had a couple of scholarships taken away because they could see something was a little off. Turned out I had a tumor growing in my sacrum, inside the bone, so it was misdiagnosed. I went four years misdiagnosed, surgeries, experimental procedures. I went through hell. My parents went through hell for four years. Chronic pain, hooked on pain killers, doctors just prescribing me Percocets and Vicodins because they didn’t know what was going on.

Joe DeFranco:

And then finally, this started at 17, at 21 I was having a procedure done, and they found it was a tumor. Which, scared the hell out of me. Thank god it was benign. I had it removed. But, I was left with a lot of residual pain and issues from all the surgeries and procedures. So, my football career was done. I cried myself to sleep for about two, three months. And then, finally one day I was just like, “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself for the rest of my life.” I was a senior in college at this point, so I’m like, “I got to do something. I need something to occupy my mind and give me that same passion football gave me. What else does that? Training and being in the gym, and training myself by also helping other people does that. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to put all my time and effort, just like I put into football, I’m going to now put that into studying in anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, strength and condition. And, I’m going to become the best damn trainer/coach in the world.” From that day on I made that shift.

Joe DeFranco:

Now, I had some passion and something to look forward to in the morning and each day. That’s what I did. I graduated college with a degree in exercise science. Got an internship. Worked at another gym for five years. Worked my way up as the top guy there, then eventually left. There’s not a ton of money, at least back then there wasn’t, in personal training, so even though I was the “top guy” I didn’t have much money. So, that’s how my story ends up.

Joe DeFranco:

My first gym, as you mentioned, was a literal storage closet in the basement of an existing gym. They had a little room where they stored all their old and broken equipment. It had cobwebs and crap in there. I knew the owner, so I approached him one day and said, “If I clean out that storage closet downstairs, help you get rid of that old equipment, throw a slab of paint in that room, and pay you a rent, would you let me train some people out of that closet?” He gave me the opportunity, and the rest is history. That little 500 storage closet turned into a legendary facility.

Tom Bushkie:

That’s such a great story. That’s what people are willing to do if you’ve got the passion for it, you’ll find a way to get it done.

Joe DeFranco:

100%.

Tom Bushkie:

If any of you out there listening follow Joe DeFranco, you’ll notice that he tries to get four hours of sleep a night, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. But, he still operates pretty well off of three, three and a half, and he just goes.

Joe DeFranco:

Yeah. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

Tom Bushkie:

So, you’ve been at it for how many years now?

Joe DeFranco:

25.

Tom Bushkie:

25 years. You’ve got some of the best athletes in the world that have come to you and the best trainers that are learning from you, so congratulations. I just want to tell everybody how we met. Our marketing team said, “We’d love to sponsor some podcasts, what kind of podcasts would be great for our consumer?” And, we looked at yours and we said, “This seems like a great fit, let’s give it a shot.” And, it’s the most success that we’ve had, from a consumer engagement standpoint, advertising over any of those platforms. And then, if you want to just tell them how we continued it on, because there’s the relationship part of it where, “Hey, thanks for sponsoring my podcast.” Then, there’s also the authenticity part of it where we want to make sure that if you’re going to talk about us on our podcast, we’re sending you product, we want to make sure you try it, we want it to be very genuine. We actually didn’t contract with you until you said, “Guys, I actually love the product,” right?

Joe DeFranco:

That is true. I get contacted by a lot of companies. I’m very grateful that my podcast has a very loyal audience, and because of that I get contacted by a lot of people, get sent a lot of products. I decline more than I accept because I do pride myself on being an authentic guy. It’s no hard feelings, some products just aren’t a good fit. If you listen to episode one of my podcast I said, “I will not have a sponsor on a show unless I use the product and I absolutely love it.” There are some that I love more than others, and yours just happened to be… It was one of those timing things too. Obviously, being in health and fitness I know how important it is, hydration, nutrition, water each day, very important. But, I was always someone… I don’t love the taste of water. I try to drink half of my body weight in ounces. So, I weigh 200 pounds, I try to drink 100 ounces of water a day, which is kind of hard when you don’t love water. So then, this product comes along and I’m like, “Oh my god.”

Joe DeFranco:

I’ve tried other flavored waters before, but yours just tasted a thousand times better. Then, you had the added benefit of the fiber, then you guys came out with the Defense line. It just made something that I was doing anyway so much easier. I’m an Italian guy, I grew up in a family that loves to eat, so I’ve been very transparent also. Being in shape, and lean, and eating healthy doesn’t come easy to me. I do it because I want to live a long, healthy life, but I have a tendency to overeat, especially dinner and nighttime. I noticed when I would drink one or two hellowaters throughout the day, especially one with dinner, it killed my craving for something sweet after dinner. And so, I started getting in better shape, even leaner. People started asking me, “Hey, what are you doing? You look a little bit better?” It was the truth, I said, “I found, or they found me,” I didn’t remember how we hooked up, but I go, “I’m drinking this hellowater® product. I absolutely love it, it tastes great, it’s healthy, and it’s prevented me from wanting to eat cookies, and cereal, and crap at night.” I think that’s where the passion came out. I was truly excited about the product. Now, I can’t live without it.

Tom Bushkie:

I was just going to ask you, how do you incorporate the lines into your daily routine?

Joe DeFranco:

Throughout the day I will have one. I love drinking one, especially the Defense line, I’ve talked about this on my podcast. I have my own gym but I also have a garage gym, and here in New Jersey the garage gets to be 90, 100 plus degrees. So, that Defense line, I truly felt like it would bring me back to life. I would be in the middle of a workout just drenched in sweat, tired, exhausted, and I drink one of the Defense lines during my garage gym workout, which would bring me back to life. And then, one of your, I call them the original line, I would have with dinner. So, generally, I have two a day. Like I said, help me get through my workouts, plus prevent me from wanting dessert or overeating at dinner. That’s my staple, is one while I’m training, one with dinner. Every now and then three or four, but for the most part that’s my main routine.

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