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Steve Maxwell – Strength Training, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Travel, Minimalism And Breathwork (#40)

Strength training for life

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Steve Maxwell - Strength Training, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Travel, Minimalism And Breathwork | The Black Country Buddhas Podcast | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Steve Maxwell is a world-renowned fitness coach, physical educator, and professor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He was named one of the top 100 trainers in the United States by Men’s Journal and has a long history of competitive grappling, being the first North American to earn a black belt from Relson Gracie and the first certified instructor of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the USA.

He now holds a 6th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His BJJ competition record includes five Pan American and three World Championship gold medals.

He holds a degree in Health & Physical Education from West Chester State University and was the first person to teach group kettlebell classes in the United States (which he no longer recommends – discussed during the show).

When it comes to physical training, Steve has been there and done it. He has extensive knowledge in strength & conditioning, MMA, wrestling, kettlebells, bodyweight workouts, mobility, mixed-modality training, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

He has worked with a whole range of US Government agencies, including… DEA, Secret Service Counter Assault Team (CAT), Philadelphia FBI SWAT team, US Marine Corp, US Army, US Park Service, Security, SEPTA police… and has trained many professional athletes in a wide variety of sports, including NFL, NHL, boxing, judo, submission wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA.

Steve has been published and featured in books and magazines including: Men’s Health, Muscle Media, Hard Style, Martial Arts and Training, The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, The Naked Warrior, Beyond Bodybuilding and The Four-Hour Body.

Away from his impressive CV, he is also an extremely interesting and humble guy. He lived in a camper van for three years and later travelled internationally as a nomad for thirteen years, carrying everything he owned in a 45 litre Tom Bihn Aeronaut bag. He now lives in a tiny home in Washington State.

If you’re interested in strength, conditioning, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, breathwork, health, fitness, minimalism or travel, there will be something in this podcast for you.

Contacting Steve:


Facebook: @stevemaxwellsc

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

All strength training systems work, either pick the safest and more efficient, or the one that is integral to your identity.

Look after your joints!

You need to give your body a reason to hold on to what muscle you have.

You don’t have an unlimited capacity to get bigger and stronger, there is a limit set by your genetics.

“If I couldn’t move in 20 minutes or I had more stuff than I could fit in my car, I had too much stuff!” – The 20 minute rule.

The best way we can influence what is going on in the world is by being the best version of ourselves. Send out as much love and positive energy as you can, and help as many people as you can in your own way. That will have a ripple effect across the world.

“Weight and resistance is not the same thing.” – when discussing strength training.

Question of the day:

How would you factor strength training into your weekly routine for someone who is practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a couple of times per week? – The answer can relate to anyone who is trying to supplement strength training with other forms of physical practice.

Questions from listeners:

When is Steve going back to Ireland?

What would Steve recommend for knee and hip rehab?

Links to podcast sites:

Listen on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Overcast

The full podcast:

Related episode:

Our mutual friend David Toney commented during the Facebook Live with Steve to say hello. David has an extensive knowledge of breathwork and is an 8th dan in Traditional Ju-Jitsu. He has hosted Steve several times at his base in Ireland. If you like the topics Steve discusses in this podcast, you will also like our podcast with David Toney.

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Show notes:

  • 1:00 – The start of Steve’s life, his father and weightlifting culture in America.
  • 05:22 – Steve’s introduction to wrestling.
  • 06:04 – Steve’s early training protocols to improve his sporting performance.
  • 18:00 – Steve’s move into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, self defense and a history of Judo, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
  • 24:00 – Steve’s findings from a lifetime of strength training and his recommendations.
  • 37:00 – Strength training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • 45:53 – Breathwork in the context of strength training and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • 50:44 – Relaxation in the body in order to take a strike and how Russian Systema compliments Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • 53:59 – Training Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu into your older years.
  • 59:32 – Steve’s training with the Gracie’s in his younger days and being taught a lesson by Royce Gracie.
  • 01:04:22 – Steve’s involvement in fight challenges (i.e. Gracie challenges) and the toughest fighting styles (including self defence).
  • 01:17:08 – Steve’s life as a homeowner, minimalist, traveller and returning to the USA.
  • 01:29:59 – Steve’s most and least favourite places.
  • 01:35:20 – Steve’s message for being better people – “the love vibe”.
  • 01:36:51 – City living vs. rural living – does it impact on your health?
  • 01:41:38 – Steve’s final examination to obtain his black belt under Relson Gracie.
  • 01:42:27 – What a normal day looks like for Steve now and more tips on training.
  • 01:47:34 – How to train if you have high blood pressure.
  • 01:50:50 – More strength training tips for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.
  • 01:52:04 – How to train if you have other health problems including joint and spine problems.
  • 01:53:11 – The importance of the diet for fat loss, the purpose of strength training during a fat loss programme and the unnecessary need for cardio workouts.
  • 01:56:53 – Steve’s mentors and his recommended resources?
  • 02:00:24 – Breathwork techniques Steve uses and why.
  • 02:02:25 – Steve’s recommendations for hip and knee rehab.
  • 02:04:22 – Gaz’s and Steve’s final words.

People and resources mentioned:

In order of first mention:

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