Brian Keane is a Reps qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Sports Nutritionist. He has gone from working full time as a primary school teacher to one of Ireland’s leading thought leaders on all things health, fitness, and nutrition. On top of his ever-growing social media platforms, Kearn also hosts one of Ireland and the UK’s top health podcast, the BKF Podcast, which is regularly featured #1 on the iTunes Health Charts.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Galway in the Irish countryside. My childhood consisted of playing sport and running around a lot. I wasn’t allowed to get a weight set until I was 16 so I used to make weights with blocks and old junk from the farm. On reflection, that probably had a huge impact on my love for fitness and the ability to do a workout anytime and anywhere.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
That everyone has an opinion on what you’re going to do, whether they have a right to or not. I wish I was able to identify whose criticism was valid and constructive and whose were from my own insecurity that was projected on to me.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Anything that suggests “one size fits all”. There is no single best diet plan or training program. If there was, everyone would just do that, and everything else would be obsolete. You have to try things out to see what’s a good fit for you. A size 8 shoe fits a size 8 foot brilliantly; but it’s a terrible fit if your foot is a size 6 or 12. Training programs and diets are like shoe sizes, you have to try a few on to see what fits best for you.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I went broke three times trying to get my personal training business off the ground. The last time, I had to go through the back of my couch to find the money for the bus so I could go to the bank to get a loan to pay that month’s rent. Looking at an overdrawn bank account with no source of income was and still is my biggest professional low. 99% of the financial knowledge I acquired over the years is down to that moment and never want to relive it.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Disconnecting from the opinion of others and learning to separate constructive criticism from destructive criticism. That has allowed me to fail often, fail fast and fail forward. Once I stopped caring what others thought, creating content, courses, programs, books or anything become much easier.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 5 am, listen to a podcast for an hour, workout at 6 am for 1-2 hours. At 7 am or 8 am I listen to an audiobook for an hour then start my workday around 9 am.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Joining the 5 am club. I get up every weekday at 5 am. This allows to get a jump start on my team and the world in general. This one habit has reduces my anxiety and stress levels one hundredfold.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I batch produce all my content.
I automate, eliminate or delegate any task that I don’t have to do.
I spend 80% of my time thinking about what I should do and 20% executing on it.
I outsource anything I don’t enjoy.
I’m consistent and do what I have to do regardless of how I feel.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Of all the books I’ve read, these are probably the three that had the biggest impact on my life. A man’s search for meaning is probably the only book I could recommend to any person on the planet as the message is applicate to everyone. “He who has a why can suffer any what”.
Lost Connections made me reevaluate my life goals and who I wanted to be around and where I wanted to live (I moved to the Irish countryside shortly after reading that book).
Rich Dad, Poor Dad gave me the courage to leave my full-time job as a primary school teacher to start my own business
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Build good habits and become a slave to them” – Seneca (I think)
“Know thyself” – Socrates.
The first two are pretty self-explanatory. Stop comparing yourself to others and the importance of daily habits. The Socrates quote is the one I use most often. When making a decision, I picture the worst and best case scenario of any given outcome and then based on my knowledge of myself, I ask if the figurative juice is worth the squeeze. In 99 out of 100 cases, it’s not.