Nigel Asinugo was once 435 lbs, ready to end his life because he felt like he needed to end it. But his support system came through, brought him out of his dark place, and now he’s in the Navy and crushing it.
“Yesterday doesn’t exist. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. All that fucking matters is what you do right now.” ~Nigel Asinugo
[00:00:16.470] – TAMAR:
Hey everybody, I am so excited. I have Nigel Asinugo here. I hope I pronounced that right.
[00:00:22.860] – Nigel Asinugo:
Nigel Asinugo. But I get that all the time. It’s a hard name to pronounce.
[00:00:26.620] – TAMAR:
All right. All right. Maybe we should start over again. Or, you know what, if you get it all the time, we’re going to make it natural. So Nigel Asinugo, there you go, right? [Nigel: Yeah.] Yeah. OK. All right. Just making sure, because you know, yeah, I get I get Tay-mar. I get Tah-mer and I get Tamar sometimes. And that’s supposed to be, that’s how you pronounce it. So just so you know. So Nigel is here from, he’s on the other coast. But it was interesting when we were trying to schedule this, you know, this is noon, and right now it’s noon Eastern, it’s nine a.m. and I’m like, oh yeah, you’re going to join me in your pajamas. And he’s like, no, I’m not going to be at work already. So thanks for joining. Where are you? And talk about that. Tell me a little bit about that.
[00:01:07.740] – Nigel Asinugo:
So right now I’m in the United States Navy. I’m stationed in Coronado, California, just outside of San Diego, at a helicopter squadron. So it’s kind of a combat helicopter squadron. It’s actually called Naval Air Station, North Island or a NASNI for short.
[00:01:23.430] – TAMAR:
Sweet, sweet. And you’re up early, so you told me.
[00:01:26.850] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. So I get up around 3:30 in the morning, I take my supplements, I kind of get like a tiny bit of calories in and then I go out for usually an eight to ten mile run depending on the day and how I’m feeling, training plan and everything. After that I’m usually done about 6:00, maybe 6:30, if it goes on longer, and then I get ready, get to work by about 7:15 and then I start work at 7:30 and don’t get off until about 6:00 pm. So a pretty long day.
[00:01:54.870] – TAMAR:
Yeah, that’s crazy. So I want to talk about that. So we met in the David Goggins Facebook group. I’ve had a few people from the group there, but it was more of a call to action. I said, hey, I know that this is a group where people embody this overcoming adversity and they’re really inspired by David Goggins. You are a little bit different in the sense that you posted this before and after photo. You have this story which you’re going to share it was a lot more inspiring. I’ve had people in this in the podcast in the past. They had no idea what they were doing when they signed up, but it was sort of the opposite. I had the call to action, like, “oh yeah, sure, let me do it.” But they had no idea what they’re doing. And then the opposite. It’s like you’re like, I already have something to share. There have been past podcasts or I have to like coax the storyline out. And I’m like, “oh my God, this is so hard. It’s like pulling teeth.” But [with you], it’s just the opposite. So tell me a little bit about, so David Goggins, for those who know he is a Navy guy, he’s very integrated into that. Does your story parallel that? Was it inspired by him? Give me a little bit about that background without giving into your story of adversity, which we’ll get to soon.
[00:03:01.110] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. So I was kind of already on my “never quit” type of story. I kind of just found David Goggins through, I’m sure, what a lot of people find him through: YouTube or Facebook groups or whatever. I was already kind of starting my journey when I found him. I was looking for all types of motivation, people I could kind of parallel the story I was going through, and somehow I just I found some motivational video that, he wasn’t even the main part of it. He kind of was just a part of this compilation of motivational guys and girls. I’m like, “who the hell is this light skinned guy who kind of looks like [me],” it’s kind of weird, but he almost like looked like me, and, you know, upon further investigation into who he was, I was like, holy, holy, holy crap. This dude damn near did what I’m trying to do right now. So it was a complete shot in the dark stroke of luck type the deal. But yeah, I kind of found him during my journey.
[00:03:58.950] – TAMAR:
Awesome. Awesome. So I guess that is probably a good foray into telling me a little bit more about that and sharing that story.
[00:04:06.630] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. So do you want me to start from the beginning or kind of like where the pivotal moment happened in my life because it honestly started from when I was a kid?
[00:04:15.780] – TAMAR:
Yeah. Yeah. Actually, I learned about David not through YouTube and not through podcasts, like the past guys like, “oh, I listen to him on the Joe Rogan Show” and and I’m like, “yeah, I didn’t.” I read the book and he does talk about, he kind of shows establishes how he was, he’s been through abuse, abusive stuff, and then obviously a pivotal moment became like a massive thing. And that really is the latter. That’s probably 80 percent of the book. But, you know, there is a foundation that comes to to kind of establishing why you need to kind of needed that adversity. It builds up to the adversity, if you will. So, yes, by all means.
[00:04:57.780] – Nigel Asinugo:
So, yeah, when I was a kid, my father, I wouldn’t say he was abusive, he was just a really hard guy. I was always fat as a kid. And when I say fat, I don’t mean like, you know, chubby. I mean, I was like 220 pounds at ten, you know, like one of those kids. No athletic ability, bullied by pretty much everyone at school. I had a very select group of friends and so I kind of became an introvert and kind of just tried to hide behind my size and act like I was a big, tough guy and kind of shielded myself from the world. I was just super insecure and really had no motivation. My dad was in and out of prison and mom was a single mom because of that. They were divorced at a young age at about nine years old. And so throughout my childhood and into middle school and high school, I really didn’t know who to trust or I didn’t really have my dad in my life the way I wanted to and it’s hard for a mother to raise a son to be a man. It just is. There’s different trials in life and everything else. So I always just kind of stuck to myself and kind of moved in silence and didn’t really try to aspire to be anything. I just wanted to be left alone in a way, and going throughout life like that. It was just a very lonely existence. I started developing depression at a young age, and this carried through high school and everything else. I started doing drugs, started out with weed in high school, like most kids do, alcohol here and there, which I didn’t even like because I was already depressed and it’s a depressant, et cetera. So, you know, after graduating high school, I didn’t really have anything going on, just worked job to job. I would get fired because I had this anger and I would argue with all my bosses about nothing. I was just a very defensive, insecure, angry guy. And I didn’t really know how to channel any of that. [TAMAR: Yeah.] I started doing cocaine at a certain point, started doing like acid, MDMA, every psychedelic and every bad hard drug you could pretty much think of I pretty much did at one point or another for several years. And it wasn’t until my brother said, “you know what, dude, I’ll let you live here, but you’re going to have to pay rent. You’re going to have to basically—I don’t know if I’m allowed to cuss on the podcast—[TAMAR: go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.] OK. He basically said you need to get your shit together because I’m not living with a fat loser. I don’t want that around me. My brother kind of had a similar story, but he kind of sacked it up and dealt with his problems in a different way. And I had never seen that before. My brother almost became like a father figure because I didn’t really trust my dad. And so I was like, OK, my brother can help me find a way to overcome everything I’m going through mentally and physically. He helped me lose a lot of weight. He kind of put me on a better path. And then after me and him kind of went our separate ways, he wanted to move into a new place. I said, “you know what? I’m gonna do my own thing.” I thought I had my crap together and I did it. That was the biggest, dumbest thing I ever thought because my brother was pretty much my only reason for being disciplined. Goggins will talk all the time about [how] motivation is crap. It comes and goes. You got to have drive. [TAMAR: Yeah.] And I didn’t have that at all. You know, I was just one of those dudes who, if you were there to make me do it, I’ll do it. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want my brother to tell me, “hey, man, you know, you’re a piece of crap.” So I kind of did it just to appease him. Once we moved out, or once I moved out, once we separated, I went right back to doing drugs again. I went from I think I was 250 pounds at the time. I’m 6’2″ and I was about 250 at the time, in great shape, running every day and lifting weights and all that crap and just did the complete opposite and got all the way back up to about 435 pounds. [TAMAR: Wow] in a matter of about a year and a half, lost all motivation, got into a toxic relationship that lasted very long. I was equally as responsible as she was. We’re just not good. It went into such a dark place mentally that the brain will actually try to forget a lot of the trauma that it’s been put through. And it’s almost hard for you to even recall some of the stuff that’s happened because it’s so traumatic [TAMAR: Yeah] that it’s such a blur. And even now I’m like wracking my brain, trying to put everything together chronologically. But it was a matter of about two and a half years in total from when I moved out from my brother’s to the end of this relationship, terrible relationship I had, that I finally, I was suicidal the entire time during this relationship, I had no motivation. I was a prep cook at a Mexican restaurant. Basically, this all came to a head where one night I was having a panic attack. I had just broken up with my girlfriend at the time. I was sitting on the edge of my bed crying, I don’t know, I can’t breathe. And I’m damn near suffocating. I had this weird hallucination basically where I’m looking around my room and all I can see is clouds all over the ground, and I know that sounds—when I tell people that, they’re like, “dude, like, are you sure you were awake?”
[00:10:26.120] – TAMAR:
No, no, I understand, I kind of hear you.
[00:10:28.640] – Nigel Asinugo:
Unfortunately, you know.
[00:10:30.620] – TAMAR:
Yeah, it’s like seeing stars. I get it. I get it. Totally.
[00:10:34.610] – Nigel Asinugo:
Exactly. So I’m looking around the room and all I could see was clouds on the ground. And I see a light. It was like my room was one hundred feet long, from ten feet to one hundred feet in a matter of seconds. And I see a light and I’m like, I don’t know what the hell is going on. I’m just kind of in the moment. All I could hear was “end it, it’ll be easy” There’s a voice in the back of my head that’s telling me this. At the time, I knew, I’m not a proponent of Christianity like, it’s for me, but I’m not telling everyone else this isn’t some huge Christian endorsement. Right? Well, you know, I felt like Satan was telling me to kill myself. And it was it was this internal dialog, like in the back of my head telling me, “end it. End it. It’ll be easy.” All of the sudden, I started getting messages on Facebook. I started getting phone calls out of nowhere. My mom calls me. It’s 3:00 in the morning. My mom calls me and she says, “Is everything OK? I had this horrible gut feeling” and all these people on Facebook that I haven’t talked to since I was in high school and I was 24 or 25 at the time, rather, all these people started messaging me, asking me if I was OK. That was kind of the moment that I decided to turn everything around.
[00:11:52.420] – TAMAR:
Wow. Wow. I wonder what that was to like have that impact on all these people and just kind of have that concern. Was there anything that precipitated that, did they see? Were you broadcasting in a way? Or they just like knew? [Nigel Asinugo: No.] Wow. Wow.
[00:12:04.330] – Nigel Asinugo:
I was the most introverted. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t take pictures. I didn’t want anyone to know the complete piece of crap that I was at that time. I didn’t want to broadcast my failure to the world. I didn’t want anyone to. There was literally no reason why anyone should have contacted me, to be honest with you.
[00:12:31.270] – TAMAR:
Yeah. So that’s a sign. There you go. Wow. [Nigel Asinugo: Right.] Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny because you think about it in social media, for a lot of people, their absence is never missed. And I was just having this conversation on the podcast that was published just pretty recently. She was talking about her church community and she was like I’ve been in and out of that community, it helped me turn my life around. And I said, I’ve affiliated with religious communities as well, and they’ll notice when you’re gone. But if you’re on an online community in particular, especially because right now, you know, the Goggins community, they’re not going to know because I’m not really part of anything. But there’s a whole bunch of other communities that I’ve kind of embraced, a couple of running and fitness communities outside of the Goggins community, and they wouldn’t know if I’m gone. So the fact that you had that, it’s very, very powerful and evidently, like you seeing that before and after photo that you share, that kind was the impetus for me to ask you to be part of this podcast, which I hope I’m going to be able to share also to the podcast listeners. It’s part of my show notes. That was an extreme 180 degree turn. So talk about what you’ve done to that and how you’ve helped yourself and what you did to bring yourself into a happier and healthier physical and mental state.
[00:13:44.650] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. So it’s 3 am at the time. After I’m getting all these messages and all this, I’m I didn’t really even think about the significance of all these people messaging me. I just kind of said, you know what, it is, what it is. You know, I’m happy all these people are messaging me, but I didn’t understand that something else had to have been a catalyst for all this or caused it. I didn’t even think about it. So my mom calls me and she says, “is everything OK? I felt like something’s wrong. You know, I had this horrible feeling in my stomach.” She forced me to—she wasn’t there with a gun to my head. But she she was six hours away at the time. And she said, “look, I am going to pray with you right now and I need you to say these words with me.” She pretty much saved my life. She made me pray with her for about a minute or two. It wasn’t any of this holy, speaking in tongues crap or any of that. It was just, “God, I trust you. I surrender everything,” that type of deal. So I said, “all right,” you know, I’m not with this religion crap. I was not religious at the time at all, I pretty much hated God for everything in my life. I was like, “man, if there’s a God, he has not been looking out for me.” I was bitter. And she said, you know what? I want you out of that house. I want you out of that area. I’m going to let you live here for six months and we’ll see what you do. But I’m letting you know, right. I burned so many bridges with her. You know, she had given me money and I completely crapped on her. I just treated her like garbage. I treated everyone in my life like they were just disposable. I mean, I was the most ungrateful piece of crap that you could probably ever imagine. Anyone else would have just said, “you know what? Screw this dude, he’s a lost cause” and just kind of hope for the best. Right. But she didn’t. She never gave up on me. She let me come live there about six hours away from where I was. She she picked me up at the time. I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have anything. I had no money. And she drove me back and said, “look, dude, you know, I sympathize for you. I love you. You’re my son, but I’m giving you six months to figure this out or you’re going to be wherever the hell you are the time.” [TAMAR: Yeah.] And I was like, all right, man, well, this is my moment, I have to figure something out. I didn’t want to do anything. I had to give up every drug that I was on at the time, which was coke, weed, I mean, everything. I had to become completely sober. No cigarettes, which I smoked a pack a day at the time. I just started running 10 miles every single day. I might run six and a half in the morning, three and a half in the evening. I started going to local recruiters around my area because I knew that, I had such horrible job history, no one would even want to give me a second look. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity in there in the town that I lived at the time. I’m going to all these different Army recruiters, Navy guys and every recruiter you can imagine in the area. They, honestly, this this is where it resonates with me, with Goggins, because I was a fat dude—I mean, I was still, had really tried to start losing weight. I lost about 90 pounds in, shoot, less than two months. I was completely obsessed with fitness. [TAMAR: That’s amazing.] That’s all I cared about. Wow. I was eating next to nothing. I mean, I was eating about 800 calories a day and running ten miles.
[00:17:12.110] – TAMAR:
Yeah. That’s just for those who know that’s like burning 2000 calories. Or more. Two or three thousand calories. Yeah.
[00:17:20.720] – Nigel Asinugo:
And at that weight.
[00:17:21.920] – TAMAR:
And as a male.
[00:17:23.390] – Nigel Asinugo:
As a male, right. And I was a big dude and at first I started, all right, I’m going to start lifting weights and running and I’m going to do this. I had a Marine buddy of mine who actually took his life. He said, “hey, man.” When all this started, he had contacted me and said, “hey, man, I see you’re doing good things. Let’s go on a run.” And I’m like, “dude, what?” I’m going going to run, no. There’s this hill that’s about a mile near my house. He said, “Hey, man, no let’s go on a run.” I was like, “uh, all right,” because I was doing cardio at the time, but I started slow. I didn’t do hills. So me and him ran up this hill and I was almost dead. I mean my heartrate was like 190.
[00:18:05.090] – TAMAR:
Yeah. I was going to ask you how you first started to run like that, because it’s not easy to do.
[00:18:09.290] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah, I did it. So I jogged, right? This dude’s like, “hey man, let’s go. Keep my pace, don’t stop. So I’m going step by step. I’m like, “oh my God, I’m going to die.” Literally I was like, “my chest hurts.” We get back and you could see in this dude’s face, he was like, “damn, dude, this guy’s got a lot of work to do. Holy shit.” Not more than I think three days after that, he took his own life. [TAMAR: Wow.] I had no idea what he was dealing with at the time. I reached out to him. It was kind of one of those situations where I was like, “oh, great. Somebody is showing me how to do something. As long as they’re there, I’ll do it.” Right? I had that accountability and now this guy is gone.
[00:18:59.420] – TAMAR:
That’s hard. It’s like that’s his last giving moment to the world and he really, he did something to you.
[00:19:04.040] – Nigel Asinugo:
Exactly. Man, him taking his life. I was like, I didn’t want to keep running. I didn’t want to do any of this crap. I was like, “you know what, man? I can figure this out.” What I did was probably some of the dumbest crap. This is why I relate to Goggins. He didn’t know what the hell he was doing. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was put in a situation where I had nothing and I had not a lot of time and I just decided I’m going to do whatever the hell it takes. I don’t care if it’s smart. I don’t care if I get hurt. And so anyways, I started running six and a half miles in the morning at over 300 pounds. I had stress fractures. I had all types of issues where it would take 45 minutes just for my legs to basically to not feel anything anymore. [TAMAR: Right.] It literally felt like I was breaking my damn legs. I would lay around on my bed and I have no energy to even get up. All I would all I would do is drink water, take these B vitamins and say, “you know what? I’ll figure it out and I’ll go on my three and a half at night.” I would have hunger for dinner or I would sleep for dinner or whatever they call that. And yeah, I did that for several months. Went back to the naval recruiter who was the only person who was like, “hey, man, look, you know, we’ll see what we can do. You’re so way overweight. But hopefully if you can keep on losing weight and you can figure this out, then we can get you in. We can rope and choke you. We’ll figure it out.” And so, yeah, essentially, I just stayed on that path. I had a broken leg when I was 19. That was give me a lot of complications on getting in. You know, they had to do this exam and basically see if I was fit because they don’t want you to be a big liability once you get in. [TAMAR: Right. Right.] From running. As much as I was running and not stretching and not wearing compression or any of that crap, I went to the orthopedic and I said, “hey, man, I need a paper from you that says that I’m OK to run and do all these different things that the Navy’s expecting of me,” and the guy said, “all right, man, well, we’ll have to do an x ray. We’ll have to do all the stuff.” And in the x ray, I refractured my right fibula not knowing, you know, I’m just like, “it’s supposed to hurt” whatever. You know, I never ran my entire life. So I’m thinking this is your shin splints. And I’m like, “I’m all good; if I just keep running, I’ll make it in eventually.” The guy said, “Dude, you’re screwed.” I said, “All right, man. Well, all I need your signature.” And I think he saw the passion in my face, like, I’m literally willing to die to get into the military and he wrote that I was fit. He didn’t include the x rays. I never sent the x rays off. And by the skin of my teeth, I went back up to MEPs military entrance processing station, I believe is what the acronym is, two hours from where I lived at the time. I went up several times and kept getting sent back and waivers kept getting sent back and forth and my recruiter’s in contact with them. Basically what happened was the guy, he found out I was Nigerien, the guy who was the the chief, the CMO, the chief medical officer at the time of MEPs said, “all right, man. Well, look, I don’t think you’re clear to go in.” He did all the tests on my ankle and in my leg on dexterity and things like that. He said, “man, I don’t think you’re good.” And then he looks at my name because everyone’s got a nametag and he says, “Oh, Asinugo, OK. Oh, OK.” And all of a sudden he warms up to me, so it’s like a complete stroke of luck that the guy was Nigerian. And he said, all right man, well look, you’re good to go. And that’s how I got into the Navy.
[00:22:41.860] – TAMAR:
Wow, that’s awesome. That’s a great story. You really, I’m seeing, I hear it. If you haven’t spoken to Goggins and had this chat with him, I feel like you guys would be perfect for like some sort of like coffee talk, because you guys, I feel like I’m talking to a mini Goggins here. You have a very similar story: running on stress fractures, getting in, pushing, finding that stroke of luck that puts forth. Then you talked about, how you are like an ultra runner and you’ve done some pretty extreme things.
[00:23:09.000] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. That that kind of came later, and yeah the whole Goggins thing, I genuinely had no freakin clue. It’s almost bizarre, and I’ve met people like in my town, everyone would see me running with this pack on, I’m like drinking no water. The whole peeing blood down his leg, the crazy thing is, I got back from a ten mile run one day and I’m dehydrating myself purposely to make weight and I got back from a run one day and it’s not like his hundred mile story, none of that. I’m not that kind of badass. Yeah. He’s literally a different breed. But, I related to it so much because I’ve peed blood down my leg. I’ve been dehydrated. I’ve had borderline kidney failure and all this different stuff. I’ve had a learning disability where, when I was in school, they were like, “this dude can’t pay attention. He’s a class clown. He getting such bad grades.” They tried to put me in a special ed class. [TAMAR: Right.] So, you know, there’s so many different ways I relate. It was just bizarre.
[00:24:18.840] – TAMAR:
Yeah. I wonder how many people are like that out there. I always thought that he’s got to be crazy to have to write a book about it. You’re telling the story about it. There must be a lot of crazy people out there like that.
[00:24:32.310] – Nigel Asinugo:
One thing that I related to a lot was, he always said scratch became his best friend and that he’s not one of those guys that wants to do what he does. People put a label on him like, “man, this guy’s insane, he’s evil, he’s crazy.” And I’m like, “dude.” People think because of where I came from to get where I am now. They think or, all the people at work, I ran, I did twenty miles this past Wednesday on a workday coming to work. And people were like, “Oh man, I saw your post on Instagram. Oh, dude, you’re you’re nuts” or “you’re crazy.” And I was like, “dude, I don’t think you understand. To me, that shit is the only way that I can get that voice in my own head to shut the hell up.” Yeah. That tells me that I’m going back to what I was. I’m constantly fighting who I was every single day. And it’s not easy. People will kind of think that you’ve got some name, God [?]. It’s like, “nah, bro, I fucking struggle every day just to wake up and shower and eat.” I think depression is a mixture of a lot. I mean, it’s external. It’s internal. It’s a lot of different scenarios that kind of culminate that depressive mindset. But I think I got tougher. I don’t really think my depression necessarily went away, because if my situation changes, I know how to fight that voice now
[00:25:57.450] – TAMAR:
Right? I still think it’s crazy and insane, but it pushes you. It’s your propeller forward.
[00:26:03.610] – Nigel Asinugo:
Right. Exactly. Like what he says, “fighting pain with pain.” I fight the pain I feel every day knowing that I did come from what I came from and that I am where I am now, like the pain of knowing that I could go back to that every moment or the feeling of “man, just give up. Dude, it ain’t that serious. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to push yourself like this.” I fight that voice with “nah, dude.” I tell my brain, shut the hell up. We’re going on this run whether you like it or not. And then eventually he realizes this crazy psychopath is not going to let me quit. [TAMAR: Right]. It is what it is. So it’s a daily struggle for sure.
[00:26:44.490] – TAMAR:
Yeah. It’s like a fight against depression. A lot of what you were saying before, you were at jobs and you were fighting and you had this disposition that was, you created your own drama and you went through all that hell. But at the end of the day, that’s a reflection of the inner turmoil that we have. Being depressed, my friend, would always say to me, you always have so much drama going on in your life. And I was like, “yeah, it’s so cool. I love the drama,” But now that I’m looking past it beyond my depression, I’m like that drama was honestly, it was a frickin, I was a tempest. I was a frickin loose cannon and I was creating drama when I didn’t have to. I could have just been relax and chill and responded to things differently. It’s like if you’re seeing that kind of stuff in your life, it’s because you’re broken. So anybody, and I’m sorry say that for anybody who’s listening, who thinks otherwise, but I mean, I worked remotely. I’m not even around people and I’m having fights with people. And what’s that? Because of the way I responded, my reaction. I also have a, I want to, this is a completely unrelated thing, but I have to throw a disclaimer in here because, you know, David Goggins, I don’t think it was in his book, but I want to make sure kids do not try this at home kind of thing. I have to make sure to add that disclaimer because this is extreme stuff. But at the same time, I don’t know if I could ever push myself to those extremes, but I’m glad that I’m pushing myself to extremes that are within my healthy range. I don’t think I could ever run up a hill it with no practice whatsoever and maintain that and eating 800 calories a day and then burning 6000 calories a day. It doesn’t jive and it’s not something you can do and survive off of. So you and Goggins are absolutely like, you are literally pushing the limits. I’m sure. Like I said, there are people who are like you who are in your posse here who have done this. They’re probably people who have who are in that posse who haven’t made it. So I have to kind of throw that disclaimer out there.
[00:28:39.240] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah, I agree. You know, unless you are kind of putting that into a position where you have to do something like that. No one really knows what they CAN do until they’re in a position where they HAVE to. And it kind of goes back to where that common story of the mother who lifts an entire damn vehicle to save her kids. I’m sure that mom, on a regular day, on a sunny day at the beach, someone put a car in front of her, she ain’t lifting that damn car. But as soon as she sees, oh, shit, my kids are there. I don’t have a choice right now. The body and mind are just unstoppable. That’s something that, like all all of people at work or whoever, it would be like “man, I cannot run this many miles.” I was like, “Really? Because I put a rabid dog behind you. I told your entire family is about to shot in the face, you’re telling me you couldn’t figure it out?” I was like “exactly. You don’t say you can’t. It’s more like “I’m unwilling to.”
[00:29:44.340] – TAMAR:
It’s scary. But that’s the issue. The Goggins philosophy is that your mind and body are not connected. Your mind is telling you that you have to ignore what your body’s saying. [Nigel Asinugo: Right]. That’s scary AF. It’s so scary because you could literally die. Yes. A rabid dog will be behind you. You might have to let the rabid dog fight you because the alternative would be the rabies or death. I get it. I get it. I think it’s amazing and I think it’s super inspiring and I’m not diminishing the power of that. I’ve already had maybe like five or six people on the podcast who have come to that point have done things to an extreme. I think you’re definitely like a mini David Goggins. And they’re all like fanboys. So you have this going on here. There is a difference. But I and talk about it and I’m like, yeah, “he’s crazy, but he’s inspiring. The fact is that he’s telling you that it is possible if you think, if you will it to be possible. But you are kind of sort of still physically constrained. Listen to your body, but don’t listen to your body to the point that the body is stopping you up earlier than you need to be stopped. You just don’t have to push way too much. Push enough that you’re overcoming your limits.
[00:31:01.400] – Nigel Asinugo:
It really is all in your head. I completely agree with you to an extent: you can push your mind any day of the week, but how much is that going to affect your body? It really comes down to “how much am I willing to push my body using my mind?[TAMAR: Right.] What am I getting out of this?” I was I literally was in such a screwed up place mentally my entire life. I’m willing to do things that would hurt my body in order to achieve the mental clarity and the mental fortitude that I get from running stupid amounts. For instance, I had never run a marathon before, and this is kind of ties into the mini Goggins thing. And it’s kind of crazy because I’ve had so many people. “Oh, dude, you’re just like him.” I was like “I ain’t like him, bro,” I’m like way toned down. But I understand his mindset. I’ve never run a marathon before. I’d run a lot of like half marathons and little, 10 miles, 30 and even 50 and I think at one point it is my longest. I can go into a million different stories, but, we’re already about 40 minutes in. I’m one of those dudes who, if I’m not all in, I’m all out. And I’ve gone through a lot of stages like that, even in the military where I’ll gain 30 pounds and lose 30 pounds or 40 or even 50 at certain points. And I’ve lost it all. I’m back and forth all the time on this. One weekend, I wasn’t training at all for running. I had a pretty bad injury, and I said, you know what, I’m going to take a couple of months off. I wasn’t training. I maybe ran like three or four miles, two or three times a week. And I was like, “you know what? Screw it, dude. Tomorrow morning, I’m gonna run a damn ultramarathon.” No training, and I was like, “you know what? I’m gonna just bring a couple Honey Stinger waffles and a CamelBak and see what I can do.” Ran 31 miles the next day, 31.2, which is technically an ultramarathon. It’s the very low end of the spectrum. It goes to show you, like, man, whatever the hell I’m willing to do, if you’re willing to die to achieve your goals to anyone listening, you will be so frickin surprised what you can do in the mind. If you just change your mindset, and sure, your legs might be screwed up. Everything might be screwed up, but that satisfaction is something that’s never going away. [TAMAR: Yeah.] No one can ever say I didn’t run thirty one miles. No one can ever say I didn’t do something that most people can do. So is it stupid at the time? Sure. It screws you up physically, but I mean, it’s hard to even describe like how much pride I have that I’ve done some of the things that I have because I was just simply willing to go there.
[00:33:44.300] – TAMAR:
Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. I will tell you, in November, seeing that everybody is doing the virtual marathon I’m like. “Oh yeah. I could do that.” Mind you, the most I’ve ever run was a 10K. But I ended up, I ended up realizing by like mile eight or nine having run, and I do intervals, so it’s running and walking and running and walking. By mile eight or nine I couldn’t really do the running anymore, so I was pretty much walking. I wasn’t prepared for this. It was just like one day I’m like, “oh yeah, let me do it”. Just like you, I’ve made sure to push for a half. But then I was like, “yeah, that’s it.” And I mean, I couldn’t walk for like three days afterwards. But the fact is, that I can say that I did it. And also, you realize that something people need to realize is, it might be easier to run at that point. It’s not as easy to walk to get your last five miles in, let me tell you that.
[00:34:37.310] – Nigel Asinugo:
Exactly. Just get it the hell over with.
[00:34:39.260] – TAMAR:
Yeah, your body doesn’t want to walk that slow and your legs definitely don’t want to walk that slow. So that’s as much as I’ve ever done. All right. So let me ask you, because you talk about running, is that like your focus, your self-care regimen is on running? What’s what’s your self-care looking like?
[00:34:54.230] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah. So my self-care is kind of more geared towards not having to run. I know that sounds kind of counterintuitive in a way. [TAMAR: No, not really.] But I dealt with depression and so many anxiety and everything for so long that I used running as a crutch. I used it as something that could give me pride. People at the command that I’m at now will tell you when I first got to the command I’m at, where I’m stationed, I was the most angry, sick, I had so many chips on my shoulders and I felt like everyone was a weak bitch if they weren’t doing what I was doing. I was like, man, this is the military, you guys are soft like you guys aren’t doing without doing it. I came to realize that there’s always some bigger, badder human being on the planet. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where the hell you’re at. It doesn’t matter anything. Everyone has their limit. Everyone has their perceived limit. Everyone has physical limits, mental limits. Whatever it is, and my entire mindset now is to lose my ego. Yeah, I do definitely like running. I think it helps push me mentally, but I don’t want to base my entire kind of self-care or my, you know, my mental strength or my sense of self-worth or anything in that, so I kind of now just base it in treating people kindly, trying to understand everyone else’s point of view. To be honest, I don’t really have a self-care routine because I kind of look at my entire life as kind of a self-care routine, just in the way that I treat people. I look at treating other people fairly, not having an ego as a self-care for me, because that helps me get myself in check as well, so it’s kind of a daily, it’s a 24 hour self-care routine, if you will.
[00:36:56.400] – TAMAR:
Yeah. No, I like that. It’s hard for some people to differentiate because I want to wake up and literally that’s everything that they’re doing itself. [Nigel Asinugo: Right.] It’s nice to hear that because like I said, I would say it’s hard for people to live, to conduct themselves in that way. Just seeing how far you’ve come and what you’re doing in the way you’re like communicating about love and hope for so many people, it’s really it’s really empowering and inspiring. I do hope that people come and share their stories with you and come to you for, you could totally you could be the, like I said, I want to say the little David Goggins, you are. But he I don’t know if he’s even in that [Facebook] group. I think everybody is just kind of there; they don’t even know he’s physically present. You could be the one just stands up and kind of does this, but yeah.
[00:37:47.370] – Nigel Asinugo:
Yeah, I try very hard to to be there for anybody in my life where I see they’re struggling. It’s crazy when you’ve gone through a bunch of kind of like hard shit in your life and you meet someone else who has also been through a lot of hard shit, you can almost see it without even having to talk to him. There’s a look in some people’s eyes and we’re very social creatures, so we pick up on it. People in that group, man, I have seen, I mean, you look at their eyes when they’ll post a selfie or something and look past that smile, and you’re like, holy shit, this person has been through it. There’s also some people where you’d never know and they hide behind a perfect smile or you put them in a box. So I’m just trying to live and be in a place where I’m not putting people in a box and where I can share with them and we could share with each other and there’s no judgment or any of that. So that’s kind of just kind of how I’m living my life now is to try to talk to people, even people at work or people I’ve never met. And just fucking talk to them like a regular human being. I think that’s what we’re missing these days, is just treating everyone like they’re who they are and not who we want them to be. So.
[00:39:03.560] – TAMAR:
Yeah, it’s hard. Nd, you know, it’s really sad. I have a good friend who I can tell she’s, I don’t want to see the nerdier side, but it looks like she’s been through a lot, I think she was probably bullied a lot. And literally everything I do in the way I communicate with her is seriously like killing with kindness. But because of the way she was raised, I think, without knowing, without asking, she’s very defensive in her responses, probably because she doesn’t think that there was ever anybody who’s going to be giving of themselves in such a way. It’s almost sad. People don’t expect that. People don’t expect, I know how to potentially get through her head. I know that if she wasn’t thinking about ulterior, like somebody having an ulterior motive, she’ll be completely fine with it. But because it’s like it’s a product, it’s a function of how she’s kind of been brought into the world. And it’s crazy. It’s crazy stories.
[00:40:03.170] – Nigel Asinugo:
And it is. And that’s that’s another thing is, that mental toughness, that’s not just running. There’s all types of athletes in the world and people are busting their ass every day and really putting themselves out there, challenging their bodies and mind and everything else. But sometimes it’s doing what you did. It’s just stepping outside of yourself, even when you might be having a really jacked up day and just walking up to someone and being like, hey, man, are you OK? I’ve had days where I’m feeling like garbage. I had a friend who’s an alcoholic; he’s in rehab right now. He’s he’s a fellow sailor of mine. I go through depression every single day. I wouldn’t even say I’ve overcome depression a hundred percent. I’m just, [TAMAR: yeah], I just kind of walk through my day and I figure it out and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to find whatever light that there is. It is what it is. I think mental strength a lot of times is when you can just step outside yourself and be there for someone else, like your mom or dad or sister, cousin, whoever dies, and at the funeral, you decide, I’m going to be the strongest person here and I’m going to hold everyone together. And just having that presence of mind in everyday situations, I think is just as hard as running one hundred fucking miles for someone who’s not going through anything but they’re like mentally, but like, “hey, I’m a strap on these shoes and go do this,” they might not be going through what you’re going through. So everyone’s overcoming adversity. It’s different for everyone and it doesn’t always have to be physical. Some of the most bad ass human beings I’ve ever met are not runners. [TAMAR: Oh yeah.] They’re not athletic. You know, they’re just some tough SOBs and they figure it out on a daily basis.
[00:41:47.840] – TAMAR:
Yeah, absolutely. I totally get it. I wonder if my mental lack of physical fortitude comes from my mental being beaten. It is really hard to work out and know that I can push myself a little harder. I have a big, big fear that’s preventing me from probably doing some of the busier things, probably because of that. We are a product of our nature and nurture. It really is true.
[00:42:12.190] – Nigel Asinugo:
[00:42:13.310] – TAMAR:
So let me ask you a final question and if you can give Nigel an earlier piece of advice, what would you tell him?
[00:42:21.960] – Nigel Asinugo:
Oh, my God, that is a great question. [TAMAR: Yes.] Man. An earlier piece of advice…
[00:42:30.450] – TAMAR:
An earlier version of yourself, something something that you can give your an earlier version of, yeah.
[00:42:37.660] – Nigel Asinugo:
An earlier piece of advice would be: you are not what other people perceive you as. You are whoever the fuck you want to be.
[00:42:46.190] – TAMAR:
That’s awesome. I love it. I love it. Love it, love it. Cool. So. All right. So let me ask you this other question. Now that you’re going to inspire people to hopefully reach out and talk about your story. Where can they find you?
[00:43:00.530] – Nigel Asinugo:
Oh, man. So I’m on Instagram, @nasinugo. And that’s basically it.
[00:43:19.360] – TAMAR:
Cool. All right. Is there anything else that you think I should?
[00:43:22.840] – Nigel Asinugo:
I think we pretty much covered it. Anyone out there who’s struggling right now just know that no matter how dark your life might seem, yesterday doesn’t exist. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. All that fucking matters is what you do right now. That’s it. So that’s a decision you make, and the decision after that, if you can learn to just live in the movement and not let the future and the past, like the say the future is anxiety and depression is in the past. If you just live in the moment, make one good decision after the other and treat people with respect and treat yourself with respect, there’s literally nothing that you cannot do.
[00:44:01.780] – TAMAR:
I love it. I love it. Awesome. Something happened in your audio in the end, by the way, I have no idea what just happened. You sound like—plug your mic in better maybe. I think it’s partially out.
[00:44:14.810] – Nigel Asinugo:
I’m sorry about that.
[00:44:14.810] – TAMAR:
Push it in.
[00:44:14.810] – Nigel Asinugo:
Can you hear me now?
[00:44:18.330] – TAMAR:
It’s the same. I don’t know, I don’t know, but I’m looking at your Instagram and I love all your Garmin, you’re being super accountable, I love it. I love it.
[00:44:33.510] – Nigel Asinugo:
Okay, that’s all [inaudible] my running stats. That’s about it.
[00:44:33.780] – TAMAR:
Well, no, it’s good. It’s good. OK, cool. So you’re going, when you hear the end of this, it’s going to sound a little funky to everybody else who’s listening, it’s going to be funky. I apologize. So what happens when you get somebody who’s got helicopters overhead. No apologies. This is really fun.
[00:44:49.770] – Nigel Asinugo:
Thank you so much. I appreciate you inviting me on. And yeah, I hope someone can at least be inspired in the way I’m inspired by the posts on Facebook page, so thank you so much. Yeah.
[00:45:01.380] – TAMAR:
Yeah. You’re definitely have inspired. And by the way, your audio is all better now. You’ve got that. [Nigel Asinugo: There we go.]
[00:45:08.040] – TAMAR:
No idea what happened, but you’ll hear it, it’ll be like what? What?
[00:45:12.810] – Nigel Asinugo:
The room I was in, everyone’s kinda running back and forth in a whole bunch of maintenance right now. So I’m trying to be as incognito as I can so.
[00:45:20.550] – TAMAR:
All right. Well, I’ll let you get to it.