The Warrior Mindset: How to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Success | Rudy Reyes
An American conservationist, writer, actor, producer, motivational speaker, and former Force Reconnaissance Marine. He is best known for portraying himself in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. He can also be seen in Apocalypse Man, UK channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, and the Fox series Special Forces: World's Toughest Test. He has also contributed to the multiple BAFTA nominated documentary series once upon a time in Iraq and as the character ”Reyes" in the video game call of duty: modern warfare.
In this episode we discuss:
– Finding inspiration and mental strength in dark places.
– How small steps and daily rituals can create greatness.
– Building a sustainable fitness routine.
– How to inspire others and leave a positive legacy for future generations.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:00:01]
Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show where I believe a healthy world is based on transparent conversations. In this episode of The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show, I sit down with the legendary Rudy Reyes, writer, actor, producer, motivational speaker, and former force reconnaissance Marine.He may be best known for portraying himself in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill.In this episode, we talk about a lot of things. We talk about finding strength in dark places. We also talk about how small steps and small rituals create greatness and the positive legacy that you can leave on the world. Please be advised that this episode is very graphic and may not be suitable for children or individuals with trauma. Please keep that in mind.As always, my goal is to educate and inspire and have very transparent conversations. Please take a moment to share this episode, rate, review, and I’ll see you on the other side.
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Rudy Reyes, I am so happy to have you here. When I told my husband and a bunch of my military friends, they were like, Rudy, I cannot believe he’s coming on the show. They were just really impressed with you. I have to say, again, this is typically a medical podcast, and we talk about health and wellness. But another portion of this show is all about what is it to be just a well-developed, humanly strong individual mentally, spiritually, like a true hero.That’s how I see you.
Rudy Reyes [0:04:38]
Thank you. It’s a massive honor to be here. Doctor, I’ve been following you and as a fan of your work and your presence, as we talked earlier, your delivery. When we think about medicineand health doctors, we see old crusty folks in a white coat and prescribing pills or surgery. You’re the kind of doctor that is important for human health and for us toshift fires into a state of wellnessusing skill, education, passion for the real medicine, which is your physical fitness and wellness that comes from inside.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:05:22]
That is beautifully said and really, you have embodied that.From a very young age, you’ve been so physically fit andto some of my audience are going to be new. I’m so excited for them to get to know you and learn about you because you are such a force. You’re a former reconnaissance Marinespecial forces. I won’t hold that against you.
Rudy Reyes [0:05:46]
The name is the only thing,Marine Corps, Vietnam, Guadalcanal,freaking World War II,John Basilone, the machine gun on his forearm melting through his skin and still fighting the Japanese. It’s these legends that we live for, I guess, right?So yeah, but thank you.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:06:04]
Also a martial artist, a conservationist, you’re all of these things.
Rudy Reyes [0:06:08]
I was looking through some of the questions, andJadeand I work together as a team, my wife, Jade and warrioror conservationist or we’re both. I look back and first I’ll tell you, the audience out there, my nature is not to be cruel. My nature is not to be cold and violent. I had to learn to become these things to do my work and to accomplish my missions. The reason why I took on the responsibility of joining the Marine Corps and becoming a recon Marine is to go fight in Kosovo—I saw a documentary about orphans. All the adults on both sides to the ethnic cleansing, there was only the kids who were small enough to run away and hide. So there was an orphanage happening in the middle of the Serbs and the Croatians fighting. That is what made me want to join the Marine Corps because President Clinton said we’re going to put boots on the ground.
I was a vegetarian, Chinese Kung Fu and Sanda kickboxer.Igrew up in harsh environments of the streets. I have gang members that have been in my family. I’ve witnessed murder and killing and destruction on the streets.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:07:36]
How old were you?
Rudy Reyes [0:07:37]
Betweenseven and 11, probably even more like three and 11. Intermittently, I moved around many different places, different relatives, foster care and then Omaha Home for Boys. The power of weapons always made me feel really sad about the state of humanity, that there could be so much power and take lives way. So I was never joining the military to just be a tough guy kickingin doors and killing people. I saw a documentary. I saw kids were in danger, and I saw other men are going to fight. I must do my duty and do my sacrifice, too.That’s why I did all this stuff. I had to be conditioned and learned to become a recon Marine and a Scout sniper.The military, especially in our Special Operations communities, they very systematically and intelligently programmed us slash conditioned so that we can best do our work. Because without that,all is lost.There is no coming back from PTSD because you don’t have PTSD because you’re dead on the battlefield.I don’t think of myself as suffering and a victim of PTSD. In some ways, I am honored to have PTSD. Once I got through the hardest parts of it, which took about 10 years, now it empowers me to better understand the world and each other.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:09:16]
You mentioned that your upbringing was pretty challenging. Again, we are a military family here, andit takes a very special human to be able to become a special operator. That is not done lightly. I am curious as to how it was growing up and how thatforged you as a human and as ultimately as a hero.You are really looked up to in the community.There’s a lot of responsibility there.
Rudy Reyes [0:09:53]
Yes. First, I’m very thankful and honored, and I don’t take it lightly.I learned this little term—I watched Pumping Iron way back, I was maybe 11 or 12. I remember Arnold– and by the way, I’m not really an Arnold fan. I’m a Stallone fan, better physique too.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:10:18]
You just wanted to set the record straight.
Rudy Reyes [0:10:21]
Yeah, I’m just not that much of a fan. But I respect him, but I like Stallone more.Ed Corney, I believe, this Latino brother’s under maybe 600 pounds on the squat. He’s cranking out some squats, and they’re barefoot. They’re in the mecca, Venice.Schwarzeneggersays, “Come on, Ed.Get serious.Get serious.” I take things seriously in my life. I take myself very seriously, sometimes it works against me. ButI take it very seriously. I take my impact seriously. I take my words and actions seriously. When I was in my hardest of struggles, and it’s only recentlythat these things I’ve been able to unpack and really look at them. I was so upset and angry at the disillusionment of my worldview. Aftercountless battles and wars, and my last one coming out right out of some horrible fighting inFallujah every day and every night and Ramadi for seven months straight, day and night, huntingand fighting and killing, collecting bodies or seeing men in pieces every day and night, and this is after an invasion, after Kandahar in Afghanistan, and after so many of my men died just in training. My first funeralI went to, 23 of my brothers were killed doing VBSS because the nature of our training, you mentioned about what it takes to be a special operations professional, what it takes to be this thing. It takes something because it’s serious.Even training is life and death. It has to be somesacred gravitas to how you engage with life if you want this kind of life. It ain’t for everybody.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:12:41]
Do you think it chose you?
Rudy Reyes [0:12:42]
Yeah, I think maybe it was meant to be.First of all, I never thought I was good enough to do it because for instance, I’m a super great land animal, awesome kickboxer, wrestler, naturally strong and fast and great endurance. But because of my background and coming up from poverty, I never really learned to swim.As you know, in the special operationscommunity, swimming is paramount. Why?Because special operations throughout time, even from the Greek era, utilize oceans, waterways, rivers.So I was just going to be a bullet sponge infantryman. I was an open contract infantryman. I was just good enough to make it through the indoctrination because I was so dominant on the running in the land and the obstacle course.
I had 30 minutes before I had to get into the pool because everybody else was so far behind me. I still barely made it.So on my off time, instead of going and drinking on the weekends,I went to the main site pool. I trained with recon Marines and SEALs. I did that for two months before I went to my classbecause I took it seriously. Training was so difficult and so intense, and it never stops.This is back in the ‘90s, we’re using M-16s, and we’re always in and out of rivers and oceansand patrolling, and in the pool training,and they’re always rusting. They’re rusting all the time, so you’re barely able to stay awake months into this thing, and you’re in the bus, and you wish you really want to just shut your eyes and go to sleep. Butyou know you got to clean those weapons because you’re going to have an inspection at any time.
That was my introduction to how serious this stuff is.You’re right; you’vegot to really want it and want to possess it more than anything else in life.When I was given the opportunity to be more than I thought I could be, damn straight, I went into it.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:14:45]
I love that.You went into the Marines,and by the time you were going into special forces, you were faster and stronger than your peers.Was that because you had to protect yourself? Was that out of necessity that you became, in essence, a human weapon
Rudy Reyes [0:15:05]
You know that nature and nurture, and then there’s that God component, like the destiny part, too? I think it’s all three of those. I was naturally always the bravest kid that loved to swing off the rope swings and do stuff up at heights, even when I was little.Even though I couldn’t swim very well, I always, at six years old, went up to the high dive and jumped off and just doggy paddled my ass on over tothe side.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:15:37]
You were never a fearful child, regardless of the poverty and some of the real major struggles.
Rudy Reyes [0:15:44]
No, that was my nature. I had a great life till about six or seven years old, relatively stable.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:15:52]
And then what happened?
Rudy Reyes [0:15:55]
My grandmother died, who was a nurse, and she’s Mexican.She’s from the valley, broke out in the late ‘50sand ‘60s and divorced my super abusive grandfather, got her education, worked withmen coming back from Vietnam.Because of her stability, my motherbroke up with her relationship.My mother was victimized horribly as a kid and was never able to progress past that. I lived a great life till second grade,fantastic life. I had a nice school, went to the Sears and got our school clothes, had a haircut, had a bicycle. I always did all the sports. I was the fastest runner, always into everything.I was naturally that kid.Then when the life fell apart, I knew the laws of the jungle and the rules of the streets is I must be as strong and as powerful and as tough and as dangerous as I can, and as fast as I can if I’ve got to runbecause there’s nobody else coming for me. I’ve got two little brothers only a year apart each. No one is going to be able to protect them, and no one’s coming for me.
I started training when I was very small. Seven or eight years old, I was already doing push-ups, pull-ups, dips. I found a park with parallel bars. I would be inspired by watching Rocky Balboa or First Blood and whatever I saw Stallone and Bruce Lee doing, I was doing.It served me well. My brothers and I, we were very sick. We were very poor.I think this is what I still struggle with sometimes,why I still have a bad relationship with my mom, or what I’m saying is, I’ve just let herback into my life. When she says certain things, I freaking flash. I’m a much more measured person, but for some reason, I flash.It’s because when I was a kid, all of us, no one ever stepped in and said, Rudy,Michael, Caeser, this is messed up. We should be here looking out for you. I’m sorry that you don’t have electricity. I’m sorry you all have lice. Instead of getting medicine, we’re going to shave your head. Sorry, you’re getting humiliated and picked on at school because you got lice and ringworm. I’m sorry.No, that never happened.
So I just poured in heavier into going to the park and working out. I had hepatitis. My teeth were rotting out. I felt sick to my stomach every day. I didn’t know that’s what it was is the hepatitis. I smelled garbage every day. I just thought that was the house we lived in.We were living in a shack with rats that would run over my brother’s eye and roaches inside the little transistor radio.The rat’s crawling over us at night, and we’d have to hide in this closet.It’s hard living, third world living, right close to the border here in Texas and Mexico. Still, I would train. In some way, I could be somebody when I’m training, and that’s never changed.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:19:30]
So young and so wise.
Rudy Reyes [0:19:33]
I think my body knew I needed it. My psyche knew, everything knew, this is life or death, Rudy because if you succumb here, gangs or maybe just lose the will to live or fall into drugs. I was physically abused. I’d already been sexually abused. Nobody’s looking out for you. This is what happens to kids.My DNA said, these are grave situations, you’re going to fight. You’re going to find a way to fight, so that’s what I did.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:20:05]
You’ve just totally changed the trajectory of your life. I would say a lot of people don’t ever make it out of that situation, they don’t have the fortitude. They don’t have that nature, that will. When did things begin to change for you?
Rudy Reyes [0:20:23]
First of all, I wonder too, Doctor, another advantage I had wasMichael and Caeser, my two little brothers,ithelped me not implode into victimhood.Instead, even in a young person’s mind, I was heartbroken about what I was going through. But that idea of them having to go through that too alone, I instead fought to protect them.That, in a sense, put away, put aside my pain and put me into a creative positive space. I just stuck with it, and I stuck with it, and I stuck with it.
In gym class when you do modules through the whole year, first you do gymnastics, or then you do track and field or what have you. We were doing track, and the football players and all the studs,they’re alreadyspitting game to girls, and they’re already being traditional 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds or whatever, and I was young, I was 11.But I was in the same gym class with all these kids and maybe I was in sixth grade. I remember the black kids had their picks in their hairbecause it was all black and Latino where I went to school. The Latinos werebeing cool and tough, and they had theparachute pants. Of course,I was in rags, shoes that were two sizes too big I got from a cousin. I never smiled back then because these teeth are all bridge, these are all fake. They were rotten, so I was embarrassed. I never smiled, and I was quiet and the shabbiest looking kid, that kind of shabby kid that’s so shabby, and you know just by the look in their eye that they go home to a really bad place. That was me.Nobody wants to look at those kids.
We were doing track and field, and we were going to do the mile, and shoes two sizes too big and all the stud freaking eighth grade football players and track people there, nobody even looking at me. I ran that mile so hard, and I paced myself behind the fastest guy there, and I just let them weed out every 440and on the third 440, I’m just right behind the fastest kid, the star football player guy. I can feel him and hear his breathing. He’s breaking down, his feet are starting to slap.On the last 440, I just blow by him, and I come across that freaking finish line.My lips are blue. I’m so happy. I’m screaming to myself.Everyone’s horrified.Not me.I’ve never been so freaking proud of myself.
Everybody talking shit; I might even had gotten pushed, too. I go back to the changing room, to the locker room, and all my clothes are in the toilet,piss and shit on my clothes. I’m there my stinky gym clothes, but I’m like, I won.I really won, didn’t I?The guys are really upset because I really won.With pride, I went to the principal and got some lost and found clothes and walked home. That turns something on inside of me. I recognized that competition is a key critical element for transformation and overcoming, to transmute situations and go beyond situations.Whatever obstacle or whatever struggleor pain or trauma, you can quantum leap it, but you got to embrace competition, and competition is scary.You might lose. You got to be willing to lose. This is really adult stuff when you’re considering a child. I’m looking back now, remember,I got no mother or father. I got nothing around. When we look at our kids that are playing sports now, they got a whole community around them. In a sense, they are just playing sports. I was in a fight for my life, but that taught me that competition is the way through. Competent comes from competition. Once I learned that lesson,I never looked back.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:25:17]
Is that one of the pieces of advice that you would depart on the listener?
Rudy Reyes [0:25:23]
Yes. Find a way to compete first. I mean, look at all the work that you’re doing with health, physical fitness, wellness, getting people leaner body mass, getting people healthy so that they’re not carrying extra weight that’s going to hurt their joints when they get older. I’m 51 years old. Trust me, it’s common for everybody. Nobody’s getting out of here alive. How are you respecting and taking care of this freaking beautiful vehicle that we’ve been blessed and gifted by God?We were gifted.It’s not like you and I got to go through a little checklist about all the cool genes we want and we came out, hey, we’re going to be freaking strong, handsome, smart, good muscle fibers, strong tendons.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:26:04]
I didn’t tell you, I did that to my kids. Just kidding.
Rudy Reyes [0:26:08]
In a sense, you’re kind of doing that with you and your husband being so awesome.We get this gift. If we don’t take care of it, then it’ll become a prison instead of the most beautiful vehicle for transcendence.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:26:23]
I love that. Do you feel that in today’s society that people are either imprisoning themselves or moving away from competition?
Rudy Reyes [0:26:32]
Yes. What I’m seeing is a whole lot of opinionsand very little observations. When you compete, you either win or lose. It is completely binary.You get more out of losing because it is the proving ground for your method. Was your method legit or not? Was your attitude and mindsetcorrect? Where was your nutrition, your tri-phasic training, your recovery? Or let’s say it’s for a profession, like you’re going for work stuff. Did you truly prepare? Did you rehearse? Do you know the material? If you failed,then no, you don’t.It gives you an opportunity to reassess and reengage.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:27:27]
I love that, and you don’t mind failing, do you?
Rudy Reyes [0:27:29]
No, it comes with the territory. I guess, because I failed so much in the beginning, I just wasn’t afraid of it. When I became quasi-successful into my first journey into entertainment—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:27:48]
When was that?
That was after Generation Kill. That’s when I became afraid.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:27:53]
What year was that roughly?
Rudy Reyes [0:27:57]
2009, 2010. I had fear because now I actually looked back at my body of work of all my life and maybe because I was looking in the past at the body of work and then looking at the bravery of that kid and the bravery of that warriorand the intelligence of that battlefield commander, and seeing where I’m at now in a world that culturally, spiritually, and ethically is the antithesis of what got me there in the first place, I was truly lost. So all the audience out there that feels lost, too, I understand that. I was lost, too.It wasn’t until I started getting serious and taking it seriously, first, getting off drugsbecause I got heavy into hardcore drugs. I never even touched alcohol till 35 years old, even in the Marine Corps as a recon Marine.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:29:08]
This was after. This was when you started to garner–
Rudy Reyes [0:29:11]
PTSD and success.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:29:15]
Yeah, I was going to saythis is success because either–
Rudy Reyes [0:29:16]
It was so-called success, but it was so freaking empty. I have no real brothers and sisters. Some of my men are still fighting or dead. I was in one empty woman relationship after another because I didn’t even really know what a family or relationship is anyway except in combat.I only trusted men.So when I was around my other brothers, then we became contractors too, working for DOD or state or what have you, that’s not the same either.Now we have all been blooded and done such heavy-duty life and death, extreme clinical violence and also this glorious beautiful heroism and sacrifice and then the family’s falling apart andthen us still freaking somehow trying to stand proud, we’ve all been there. But instead of being able to help each other at that time, I remember we’re fighting two wars in two different fronts.It’s 2011 or 2012, and a lot of us are contracting now, so it’s more money, drugs, broken relationships, women, motorcycles, whatever trappings you’re talking about. I don’t know if enough of the special operations guys out there talk about it, I’m not afraid to talk about it.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:30:43]
They don’t, and what you’re talking about is the dark side of what I think there’s a lot of glory to, but the front-facing. I’m a physicianand married to a team guy. I take care of a large part of my practice is special operations. There’s a front facing side.Then there’s a dark side that you’re talking about. I do think that your brothers need to know and hear exactly, in my opinion, what you’re saying and to say it from your voice.
Rudy Reyes [0:31:20]
They went through it.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:31:21]
But your voice as the person or as a person, I think, is really critical. How do you begin to reconcile all of the darkness withjust these multi dimensions ofwhat you’re doing?You’re putting so much good out there, but I’m sure there’s a lot of reconciliation.
Rudy Reyes [0:31:43]
There were so many baby steps and graces from God.Still, that competitive spirit, I kept taking on challengeseven though sometimes they were much bigger than I thought I was capable of, but I kept showing up.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:32:05]
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Rudy Reyes [0:34:41]
But before that, it’s a very strange thing when recon Marine Rudy Reyes from nothing, and then I was somebody in Kansas City. I becamean international champion kickboxer, vegetarian, clean and sober.Probably this is why I’ve aged so well because I never even drank tillI was 35. I was a hometown hero even before the military.But the cost of that extremity and the cost of that freaking intensity and the cost of the glory to be somebody that maybe will be in a history book, the cost is it destroys everything close to you. Everything that you love, it does destroy it. You don’t realize that.How about this? How do we realize those freaking warriors,those gunfighters,those commandos, how do we realize what our loved ones or brothers or children or wife, what they go through? We don’t.We can’t think about it. It doesn’t compute.We are focused on what it takes to do this thing.
On my second war going to invade Iraq, we were stood up, stood down, stood up, and this is way before anybody in America knew that we were going to invade Iraq. We were in Kuwait for months beforehand doing probing missions and such.Before we went to Kuwait, we’re waiting and waiting. My ex-wife, my wife at the time, she’d been through hell with my career.Now I was faithful. Already, I’m way up there. I’m already on another caliber.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:36:30]
Yeah, you already won.
Rudy Reyes [0:36:32]
However, I thought, well, I’m freaking handsome, meaning I’m a stud, dual cool, freaking jump dive, freaking demo scout sniper, war hero back from Afghanistan, she should be happy I sent all my money home. Jump dive, danger, demo pay, what more could she want? I used to work at a restaurant and construction, now I’m doing great. No, there’s a lot more to relationships than that, and I had no idea because my real relationship was with my team and my platoon.
Getting ready for the word to go to Iraq, I get the word. A senior brother by the name of Cranek comes and picks me up, a Croat, tough guy,amazing. He’s now a helicopter pilot. Of course, all of us guys such underachievers, right? He’s now a freaking Blackhawk pilot. He comes to pick me up.On the drive, boy, we had flip phones back then, this was 2003, and we thought we were high speed, right? We get the word that we’re stood down, and we’re going to go the next day. So he turns around and comes back to my house out in Carlsbad. My wife had gone to work. I came home. I guess my wife, this human being, had been going through all this with me. Remember, when we’re doing these ops, especially in the early days, 2001 to 2005, we didn’t call home or talk about anything back here. Stuff was very protected, and it was life and death every day.
I get home, and I’m waiting. Then strangely, I see my ex-wife drive back. What’s she doing here? I looked through the window, and she’s in the front of the car on the steering wheelsobbing,crying. I guess they sent her home from work because she was a wreck. Yet, I really hadn’t thought about this for 15, 20 years.I really hadn’t thought about it because actually what’s on my mind at the time? God, I can’t wait to go. Oh, my God, we’re right there.I’m ready to go. I remember just being confused. Why is she crying? Why is she home? Anyway, everything it takes to be like us, everybody that loves us, they will suffer for it.If we were responsible men and we love our country and our families, and we rededicate ourselves to purpose, then we will spend some time to repair those things. That’s what I’ve done, and that’s why I’m here now.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:39:22]
You’ve done a lot to really, I think, reconcile, and you’re a pretty spiritual guy from what I understand and somewhat religious.How has thatmoved the needle for you in your life?
Rudy Reyes [0:39:36]
Well, I’ve always been so emotionally and spiritually driven because I believe that good can champion evil.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:39:47]
You certainly demonstrated that.
Rudy Reyes [0:39:51]
Thank you. It’s Biblical. It’s essential. It’sfrom the times of the Odysseus.We fight for the good, and after the war, we must make the long journey home.Holy smokes, I did those first two wars were completely expeditionary, and on the invasion of Iraq, Saddam had chemical agents. We had to fight with gas masks and MOPP suits, like your biological chemical suits. It’s incredibly hot. It’s incredibly difficult.We got dysentery, vomiting, and diarrhea through our suits because you can’t take them off. We lived in these and fought in these things for three weeks.Before we went off in that line of departure, we had the priests freaking given us all last ritesbecause recon, we were 30 kilometers ahead of every other unit. So if we were hit with a chemical agent, we had our freaking drugs to slam in so we could finish the fight and kill the enemy there, but we were dead.
None of us batted an eye. This is what youth and purpose to one’s mission and culture of exceptionalism,this is what can empower young men to do. But boy, itsets the bar high. Here I am, fighting for God, I mean, this is heavy. I mean, here we are almost in a crusade, bringing rule of law and Christian values to a Muslim extremist regime. It’s not lost on me that it was the super powered freaking X-MenAvenger commando overlords from the US that went in there and wrecked house and ultimately all fell apart. So after that, I said, I’m done with God. I’m angry. Why do you do this? Why? I helped families over there.They believed in us, and I gave them my word.I gave a family my word.
This family, I would meet with them in the cover of darkness. This village outside of Fallujah by Al-Karmah, they had a water tower that was about five stories up.They had a generator, and they had a little store.They were the one house that had power, the electricity for the whole rest of the village came to their pumps through water and their water tower and their generator.They would meet with me in the cover of darkness.We’d be cammied up through canals, my team blending out from the freaking night and the reeds and the freddies.The mother, I remember she had these tattoos on her chin, and her husband, he was probably 10 years younger than me, but he looked 80 years old.He had one cloudy cataract guy and shocked white hair.They were so happy to be siding with us because of what was happening with IEDs and the al Qaeda operatorscompletely destabilizing the region because now it’s Sunnis versus Shiites.Everybody hates Americans. At the time, there was a lot of money going to a lot of people if they will help us and give us information. So I usedtheir water tower as a sniper freaking position and a call support and I brought up my rappel rope in case shit got heavy. We’re going to come down. But still, we were incredibly exposed, and we did that for a month.
They never sold us out.So I asked him, what do you need? Do you need money? What do you need? They said, our kids get really sick from all the dust of the dirt roads. Do you think you could pave the road? That’s all they wanted. It’s stuff that we take here in America for granted. It’s stuff that we say horrible things about our country.We say horrible things about how tough it is to be here and stuff we take for granted.These people risking their lives for me to have a paved road, and I left them after two of their kids were killed and half of their home was blown up. I was so tired because it was my last week there. I’m reaching backto the ROC, recon operation center, and I’m talking to the command, we need to get these people out of here. Reyes, it’s not your problem. Return to base.Return to it, over. I was so close to taking off my kit and leaving my weapon, walking back there by myself and just waiting with them for the death squads that night. They were all eventually killed, of course. But the moral injury I got from that made me turn my back on God, made me turn my back on everything.
I think the success was just an occlusive bandage to a massive sucking chest wound of how my heart is broken about how freaking real this world is, how real the world is. It’s complex. It’s dangerous, it’s dirty. In lieu of super strong, righteous people, it will be run by tyrants, and there is no in between.That took me 10 years to get over.Because Jade is heavy Christian, and by the way, I didn’t want to hear anything about it. I didn’t want to hear anything about forgiveness. I didn’t want to forgive myselffor what I did with my family, my ex-wife,what I did to them. I kidnapped a lot of people inIraq,especially, and of course, we were in Pakistan and Afghanistan, too. I kidnapped a lot of people and took them to Abu Ghraib to get tortured. We find out that many of them were not our enemy. They were just the information given to us by dumbasses in Washington, DC that sided with one tribe or another.
All this, I didn’t want anything to do with God, and I didn’t want anything to do with forgiveness.Not for me, and I didn’t care if I drink and do cocaine every freaking day and night for three or four days straight. I didn’t care if I didn’t eat for a week at a time. I didn’t deserve any forgiveness. I wasn’t interested in it. But the pride of this somehow kept me going just enough.When I created a Force Blue, I started getting my pride back and my honor of doing something that’s special and an exception.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:47:03]
That was on your shirt.
Rudy Reyes [0:47:04]
Yeah, this is my unit, recon battalion. But that was my triage for about five years of homelessness, strung out, street fights. I was in a mental institution for a year, a veterans mental institution, and there was onlythree men that had even been in combat. None of them had done anything. I was the only freaking real warrior there; everybody else in and out of prison, drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes. I’m there for a year. I have two children, and I lost my ability to see them. I was a reallyhurt man.That’s about nine years ago. I mean, it doesn’t get much lower. I started Force Blue when I created somethingbecause I was driven to protect the undersea world, because I went there for a therapy dive because they were afraid I was going to commit suicide, and I was close. I started diving not as a combat diver, but in the daytimewhere I could see the animals.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:48:16]
How did you get out of this? Spending a year in a psych ward,that is extremely heavy. How do you even get out of that situation?
Rudy Reyes [0:48:32]
Oh, my gosh. You know what? It just reminds me. Jade, she was laughing today because she said, baby, you smoked. I said yeah, I forgot. I started smoking when I was in the Veterans Village of San Diego. You’re going crazy. You just chain-smoked in between therapy sessions, and lots of people are on psycho drugs, so I worked out all the time and smoked and tried to work on my therapy.I had a great therapist and it was slow going, but I worked on it. I tried.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:49:12]
How did you get out? Were you voluntarily in there?
Rudy Reyes [0:49:15]
I eventually completed the program. I was sane enough to be let out. I had to stay in, and I wanted to run away every day. I wanted to escape every day.Sometimes my brothers, my recon brothers and SEAL brothers, would come visit me there.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:49:27]
They didn’t have the same experience or at least not outwardly.
Rudy Reyes [0:49:32]
It happened to them later. Quite a few ended up there. Special operations guys ended up there, and then we would find in the next 10 years, we’ve struggled with things.We’ve all struggled with things, and some of us maybe fell– I never thought suicide. Okay, when I was first goingthrough these things, I thought it was just me. I thought man, maybe it’s just because I’m not hard enough. I’m not freaking hard enough. Why don’t you get harder? Then I recognized over the years,holy smokes, even in the special operations community, we’re having suicide.This is why I’m so passionate about Force Blue.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:50:18]
When was Force Blue started?
Rudy Reyes [0:50:20]
I started the idea eight years ago.We started our first class seven years ago.The gestalt of Force Blue is betterment, buoyancy, and belonging for us warriors, commandos, from all special operations units. We’ve got pararescue, recon,SEALs, CCT, Green Berets, CAG.We’ve got SAS.We’ve got Royal Marine commandos. All these warrior combat divers, I bring them to class with the finest reef scientists and biologists in the world. We learn to do hydrographic surveys and flora, fauna identifications to collect information for reefs that are in need of our help. We then grow coral in undersea estuaries and then plant them at depth. We rebuild reefs also after massive hurricanes. We now save turtles and do full on blood workups on them and get them to hospital if we need to. We work with undersea mammals as well.
What I’m most proud of now in seven years, we are sponsored by the NFL. We’re sponsored by Pepsi. I’ve never been to college. I’m a freaking boys home commando from Omaha Home for Boys. If I can do this, listen, all you veterans brothers and sisters out there, you can do things too. You really have the power to do it. Look, brush off your old uniform and be proud of yourself. Look at your photographs. Look at your medals. Call your bros and sisters from the unit. Be proud of yourself. Take advantage of the VA.
With Force Blue originally, it’s only us combat divers, commandos.Well, there’s a lot of brothers and sisters that need help. I’ve been in Washington DC for years now to change legislation. Now any veteran can use their vocrehab, their benefits, for serving this country.They will pay you to do your advanced open water scuba, then you come to us.Force Blue will fly you to us, train you for a week, and then you are given the dominus ominus, an assistant scientific diver for Force Blue. After you’ve spent time doing that, you become an official force blue diver.My men and women—we have a few women, EOD—they get paid for their time. We billet each other on barracks.We work out in the morning, plan our dive, dive our plan, talk mess afterwards and laugh.It’s just incredible.Now we have a children’s program for Gold Star families, children of the Fallen, of our brothers. We train their kids in underwater conservation and in scuba diving, and they deploy with us, too.Pretty rad, huh?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:53:08]
That’s pretty amazing. Do you feel like it’s really played a role in healing you?
Rudy Reyes [0:53:13]
For sure.It’s what led me to Jade. I wouldn’t have been together enough when I met Jade to be able to say or to have confidence to say, all right, I’m getting a place for us, and we’re going to make it work. It was those two years of baby steps and underwater healing and being with my boys that actually reminded me that I’m worth something.Then Jade, of course, when you have a relationship, a love, when you have a love, it inspires the best out of you. Also, it’s really easy to see your critical vulnerabilities.If you’re a warrior, those critical vulnerabilities are an opportunity to improve.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:53:54]
Rudy Reyes [0:53:57]
Yeah, anybody can.If I can do it, anyone can do it.You know what I’m saying? Because I’m stubborn, and I’m hard headed. Trust me, when I was first with Jade, I still wanted to go drink with the boys, and they want to take me to the strip joints and sometimes chop up some cocaine. I can do whatever I want.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:54:17]
Then the voice of reason comes in.
Rudy Reyes [0:54:20]
Yeah, I thought, well, if it endangers my love, if I go to jail because I’m street fighting, if my health falls apart, what about her and what about a life that we’re building?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:54:34]
How long have you guys been together?
Rudy Reyes [0:54:36]
Five years. Itfeels like yesterday. I mean, we’re still in love like kids. You’ll meet her shortly after this.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:54:42]
I can’t wait.
Rudy Reyes [0:54:43]
Yeah.When you really love something, it reflects back and you start loving yourself. I’m not going to endanger myself and risk something for me that’s not worth it for my family.Now even in my entertainment, the entertainment stuff I do is dangerous. We’re still doing military work in extreme environments, and I’m 51 now. I’m not 31. I’m not 21. But I’m paid well, so the juice is worth the squeeze.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:55:12]
Well, I happen to know a good doctor that I think is going to step in and take care of you. I got that piece covered. You have a book,and it’s called Hero Living:Seven Strides to Awaken Your Infinite Power. I would love for you to touch on that. I’ve heard you talk a lot about competition and a lot about love and the importance of relationship and the importance of reconciliation of the past into the future. I want to know what’s in the seven strides.
Rudy Reyes [0:55:44]
First of all, they’re strides because life is action oriented. Even our recovery and rest periods are sleep.We sleep, right?Holy smokes, we transport time and space and dimension through dreaming. Our bodies are in a state of play and movement, atoms, electron shields zooming around. I thought if I’m writing a book to help people and why I chose to write a book to help people is because I knew I needed help. I wrote it for me; maybe subconsciouslyI knew I needed help. I just so-called got success, book deal, I was the first one. Remember, I’m the first one of my generation that got into books, media, all this stuff.I was the first one.There was no real blueprint for it. I was positioned by Penguin to write a book. Of course, they wanted the warexploits.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:56:48]
This was after Generation Kill.For those people who don’t know what that is, it’s a real story, right?
Rudy Reyes [0:56:56]
Yes, it’s a mini-series.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:56:57]
You played yourself, which is crazy. As a recon Marine, all of a sudden, you’rethrust into acting and doing all of this.
Rudy Reyes [0:57:05]
Which is harderthan you’d imagine. Well, you are in production so you can understand this. Imagine someone’s writing a script with your words, and they give you to be you, and they will camera and action be you.You’re like, it feels so manufactured and how do I find my way through this?It was challenging. It’s an art form and a skill set just like everything else. It’s a skill set, and I have to train it. I do train it still, how to present, how to connect and present. At the time, very challenging, but I was also the military advisor in training all the actors in combat skills and fitness to keep them looking sharp. The next thing I know, I’m on the red carpet with Patricia Arquette and Ridley Scott, and we’re talking about Black Hawk Down.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:57:59]
How was that?
Rudy Reyes [0:58:01]
It’s freaking rad.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:58:03]
How is that transition?
Rudy Reyes [0:58:05]
You know what I’m saying. I’m in my freaking super sharp dress blues while I freaking do a cool stack of metals with valor with freaking valor device on them and proud of my unit, proud of my brothers,and the world’s getting to see our story.By the way, it was not really well received at the time.It was so realistic. It was not received well.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:58:25]
I have to ask you.Again, people really respect and love you, and I don’t know if it was always that way because usually the first one through the gate gets pretty bloody.
Rudy Reyes [0:58:38]
Well of course,there was nobody else. It was just me.Everything was scrutinized. That’s something else. Leadership, you will be scrutinized.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:58:50]
How do you deal with that? How do you suggest the listener deals with that?
Rudy Reyes [0:58:53]
How I’ve dealt with it negatively, combative, angry, overbearing, leaning on my strengths, overbearing into my strengths, and that’s how I dealt with it badly.How I deal with it now is lean into vulnerabilities.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:59:20]
Give me an example.
Rudy Reyes [0:59:22]
When I’m criticized, for instance, on my television program now.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:59:30]
What is that called?
Rudy Reyes [0:59:33]
I have SAS: Who Dares Wins in the UK and in Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test on Fox here.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:59:38]
With our mutual friend, Remi Adeleke.
Rudy Reyes [0:59:42]
Oh, the beautiful. Rudy, you’re a sellout. You’re pretending and utilizing this to be a character, and you’re manufacturing warriorness.Rudy, you’re too old, and you’re stale.When your fitness is gone, you’re not going to work anymore because really, the only thing people care about is your looks. These are the critiques I get. First of all, I accept that maybe some of those things are true. If they’re true, very well. Well then what am I going to do about it? Entertainment doesn’t last forever.Often,it can change like that. So I said, well, if it doesn’t last forever, I’ll make my own company, and I have. I will create my own productions andwritings and my own stories and programs that I pitch.So we are new war productions, and it’s allGreen Beret,Marine Corps officer, me, Jade.
When my age and my looks are gone, my vitality is not what it is right now, I think I got another 10 years as an action hero. I’m 51 now. I think ofYul Brynner. I think of who has the same birthday as me, freaking Charlie Bronson, Charles Bronson, December 3rd, just like mine. Hewas a stud. Look at photos of him.Even at 55, he did Hard Times, stud. So I got 10 more years. Well, I’m thinking about my ranch with horses and a couple of dogs and when I raise a child with Jade. I am saving some money and working on a business. So I’m going to listen to you all out there critiquing. Also I remember that maybe you’re hurting way worse than me because in the world I come from, we congratulate each other, and we support each other.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:01:57]
I love that. Yes, I do.
Rudy Reyes [1:01:59]
So that’swhere I’m at with that.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:02:01]
I love that. You listen to the critique, open up to the possibility of any of these vulnerabilities, and then take massive action to do something about it. Tell me about this book. What are the seven, andit’s available now, yeah?
Rudy Reyes [1:02:16]
Yes, it’s available now. Like I said, the strides, and by the way, it was positioned to me to do my combat stuff.I’m like, man, some of my guys are still fighting. I don’t want to think about some of it because actually, I’m still wounded. I had to clean up my buddy’s arms and flesh out of the freaking Humvee after I dragged it out of kill zone. I have things that I’ve not even thought about or want to think about because it hurts. I’m angry, and I’m upset.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:02:45]
Do you use those feelings now?
Rudy Reyes [1:02:47]
I do. Absolutely.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:02:48]
Do you think you want to forget some of that stuff, or you keep it so that you have it for juice?
Rudy Reyes [1:02:52]
Yes. Do you remembermy favorite war movie in the world is Michael Mann’s Heat, and Michael Mann is getting older, but I want to work with him before he passes. He’s my favorite writer, director, favorite artist that captures humans who live on the edge. That’s why Heat with De Niro and Pacino is so powerful because their flip sides of the same coin. His wife is angry at Pacino, and Pacino is Vincent Hanna, right,Detective Hanna. She says, you’re never present. You just walk through the battlefield and search for signs of passing, sift through the detritus, and you freaking move on, and you have so much hate.And he says something like, because I like it, because it keeps me sharp. It keeps me on the edge where I need to be. Nowthat’s what I use it for him. I am not obsessed to the level that I used to be. I am now open to family, future, and also, I think about my own death a lot.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:04:03]
What do you think happens after?
Rudy Reyes [1:04:05]
I’m giving everything I’ve got to really receive God so that I’d go to heaven.If not, I know I’ve given it my best. Do you know what I’m saying?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:04:13]
Yes, I do.
Rudy Reyes [1:04:15]
It’s so interesting.I am very aware that there’s no time to waste.So back to the book, I made strides, breaking, forging. One of the strides is imagining the cage that you’re in, whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual. You’ve been abused or neglected, or you’re overweight. Or you’re being left behind professionally, and you desperately need to provide for family, whatever cage you’re in. Visualize one of those bars of the cage. That means getting really serious about what your prison is. Dismantle it.First, what are the elements? Where does it exist? Why are you there? Why are you stuck? And physically, spiritually, psycho-spiritually,imagine those bars, you turning a few of those bars into weapons and/or keys to unlock that cage; a lot of inner work. I’ve been influenced by Joseph Campbell. I’ve been influenced by Jung, of course.Then I’ve read Nietzsche. I grew up on Marvel Comics, especially the X-Men, because they’re the world’s superheroes that nobody even knows exist.We’ve been fighting for our country, so I know what heroes are. I wanted to create a book to help people be more than they think they can be and to heal things that they think will never heal. That’s why I wrote Hero Living.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:05:55]
Well, I suggest everybody take a look at it. You are a true hero. You’re truly a renaissance man that is open for exposure. I don’t just mean in the public eye, but you really expose your heart and your experiences, and that is so transformative for people listening.
Rudy Reyes [1:06:17]
I hope so.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:06:19]
It is because everybody on some level has varying degrees of struggle.
Rudy Reyes [1:06:24]
Isn’tthat the truth? I would say it makes me almost cry thinking about is the truth. Most everybody out there has been through a lot.This modern world moves so fast. Technically and economically, it moves so freaking fast. People just cover up. They just cover up or mask it or what have you.People do hurt. Jade and I have been through a lot, not together, but what we’ve been through before we were together and us untangling those freaking wires and getting ourselves out of those bear traps and draglines called life that we’ve been through. She’s a beautiful woman, and she was young. She grew up in Hollywood. She started in the entertainment business, and the business I’m in is a very dangerous business, especially if you’re a young woman or a young man, or especially if you’re physically vulnerable because you’re small, and you’re young. The entertainment business chews young women up almost like meat. She found a way out by coming to me. She gave me a reason to fight and be the best. After we got out of the kill zone, we both looked at each other–
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:07:54]
The kill zone of Hollywood?
Rudy Reyes [1:07:56]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[[1:07:58]
I mean, it is.It’s very superficial.As you are young and growing up, the onus is placed not on who you becomebut on what you look like and what is external.That would lead to drugs and leave an individual open to vulnerabilities for exploitation. You said it perfectly.
Rudy Reyes [[1:08:18]
I think she gave me a chance to show up for me. I got to show up for Rudy and Michael and Caeser in Robstown, Texas. I got to show up for Rudy, Michael, and Caeser on the streets of KC or at the farm in the Omaha Home for Boys. I got to show up but now as a powerful man, and by saving her and protecting her, opened me up to start being loved and healed because she has done so much for me inside. She truly is my guiding light.We’re very romantic. She’s an artist, too.She’s one of the finest shooters in the world.She trained all the John Wick actors, and she’s really trained hard Halle Berry.She’s the youngest 3-gun champ in the country at 19.She’s so rad.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:09:20]
I had no idea. Jade, you’re coming on here next.
Rudy Reyes [1:09:21]
You’re going to love her. Oh, she’s special. We are very romantic with our songs and everything. That song by Creedence Clearwater Revival, CCR,Put ACandle in the Window, it’s about that traveling man.Sometimes it’s her because she travels for work, too, but me, especially, that forward-deployed man that’s a road warrior only because what he will gain, he brings back home. And on those lonely nights and weeks, and when the road seems like that it’s going on forever and I can’t carry it anymore, honey, if I know there’s a candle in that window as long as I can see the light,I’m coming back.It’s held true from the first time we met, and it’ll hold true forever for us. Put a candle in the window.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:10:17]
You’re an artist, too. What kind of art do you do?
Rudy Reyes [1:10:21]
Well, I’m an illustrator. I was a pro illustrator.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:10:25]
Maybe astronaut, maybe you’ll become an astronaut. I don’t know.
Rudy Reyes [1:10:29]
Yeah, no, kidding. Well, a lot of our SEAL brothers are super awesomeoverachiever SEALs. I got a couple of brothers that are really close to me in the community, Kaj Larsen, Jeff Gum who does my Sunga Life. Isn’t that rad? This seal brother, Jeff Gum, brought me on to be his baddest ass Sunga model with his silkies and everything, and then I brought him on to Force Blue.I got Kaj, that’s another great man, andGeoff Reeves, movie star good looks, six foot three,looks like a young Pierce Brosnan James Bond. Of course, he’s a racecar driver, a SEAL commander, amazing. My SEAL brothers are very tight with me, especially because of Force Blue. We’ve brought us all together, and we’ve learned from each other. They’ve helped me understand how to set up a business. I now have a team, an accountant and an entertainment lawyer.
Remember, kids who grew up like me don’t have that education. I had no idea. I’ve been working class, lucky to be working class my whole life. Now, finally with the tools, especially from my brothers from the SEALs—Remy also, absolutely—they have really mentored me into this next chapter of my life. One of the things aside from construction demolition, I used to install underground sprinkler systemsand then work in restaurants, first starting as a dishwasher, busboy, and then eventually waiting tables. I worked these really hard construction jobs and service jobs because they allowed me flexibility to go travel to kickbox and to compete.I was in love with martial artbecause of its transcendence.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:12:13]
You did that from a very young age, right?
Rudy Reyes [1:12:16]
Yes, and once I hit adulthood, once I was 18 years old, I started training with a Shaolin Kung Fu man.Again, it just kept my brothers and I engaged, kept us from drugs and alcohol, kept us from fighting in the streets. We were always doing our superhero project. It’s like a little superhero art project.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:12:33]
That’s the personal superhero project.
Rudy Reyes [1:12:37]
Yes, little superhero art project. I had been painting and drawing my whole life. It’s another constant that I could do. When I was hurting in fifth and sixth grade, I was absorbed with my comics because this is how I saw the very first relationships of a family. This is how I witnessed what a relationship is with a heroic man and a heroic woman.When Daredevil and Elektra, with Jean Grey and the X-Men; Wolverine loved her but couldn’t be with her because she was with Scott, and Wolverine possess too much rage and anger to really be what she needed. But I saw these archetypes, and this is the only family I ever knew. So I started drawing.I was always the best artist since I was that big. It’s something in my brain. I always drewsuperheroes, cars, jets, Godzilla and the monsters. Then there was a girl named Tammy in third grade, and she drew horses.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:13:48]
Tammy, if you’re listening to this–
Rudy Reyes [1:13:50]
Yeah, Tammy. I remember you and your strawberry blonde hair.I think you had gaps in your teeth, too. But I hope you’re doing well right now, by the way, hope you’re doing great. But you drew horses, and I’m like, you know what, man, I don’t want to draw animals; I draw freaking boy stuff. But I recognize she was great at it. So I watched her, and then I saw some books that she learned from. So I really started working on my art also as a way of escaping my hard circumstances. By the time I was in high school, I was renowned as the best painter. Now I had an incredible art teacher who was an athlete, artist-athlete, scholar warrior, and I ran cross country just to be with him. I was in search of a father. I was always pursuing manhood my entire life. He was the best art teacher in the universe, and he was a cross-country coach. I got put into a scholarship program to the Kansas City Art Institute, which is a super prestigious private art collegeon par with Parsons and with Chicago, on scholarship through strength of portfolio alone.I did figurative work, classical painting, mixed media,graphites.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:15:11]
Well, you know what? You don’t freaking party, and you’re too awkward and nerdy to be into chicks. You could do this stuff, right? I’m so glad I was a late bloomer.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:15:23]
It turned outpretty well.
Rudy Reyes [1:15:27]
It worked outall right for me. But I forewent my scholarship because I couldn’t take Michael and Caeser with me to live with me in the barracks.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:15:37]
Are you guys still close?
Rudy Reyes [1:15:39]
Yes. I’ve repaired the relationship. My youngest, who I was just here on Idol, he said, Rudy, you’re not my brother anymore. Because remember, I became horrible, fighting in the streets,messing people up, freaking hard drugs, rage, went out with different chick every freaking other week. Not me,but it was like the dark Rudy.It was like the over man. He thought I’d never come back. I was angry at him for being so sensitive, andwhy is he crying? Why are you crying?Why are you crying? Because I’m hard now. You know what the world is like? I couldn’t say it with words. I didn’t understand what I was living with this,doctor. Listen, all of you. Do you know what the world is like, the real world?No wonder I’ve got to be like this.Do you understand? But I was falling apart. My brother Caeser who spent a lot of time in prison, he was the one that was there for me to help me because he knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what solitary confinement is. He knows what being on edge is and ready to fight all the time is.And now, we’ve all held each other’s hands for about the last 10 years, and now, Mikey, Caeser, and I are doing amazing.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:17:15]
That’s incredible, really just really incredible. Now you are extremely physically fit.
Rudy Reyes [1:17:24]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:17:25]
Nah, come on,I mean, really fit.For you guys that are just listening to this, please find him on YouTube or Instagram, but definitely you should check out this video. He is a beast.By the way, I think we’re going to train after this. Matthew, our videographer, you know you’re getting involved in these deadlifts,buddy.
Rudy Reyes [1:17:43]
Oh, so you guys doing–
Rudy Reyes [1:17:45]
No, I have no idea what we’re doing.
Rudy Reyes [1:17:47]
I love doing Tabatas when we’re doing a lot of traveling. We’ll have fun. We’ll pick it up.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:17:52]
We’ll have fun. I’m only teasing about the deadlifts. I was thinking I would go crawl in a hole now and make Matthew do it.
Rudy Reyes [1:17:58]
We’ll have fun. We’re going to get better. We’re going to laugh.We’re going to sweat.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:18:02]
It’s going to be great. It’s going to be so fun. In all seriousness, 51 years old, you look like you are 31.
Rudy Reyes [1:18:12]
Not too bad, huh?
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:18:13]
I mean, I know that people want to know what you’re doing.
Rudy Reyes [1:18:17]
Some of it happened naturally. When you’re aligned with purpose and you have ethics, morals, character,when you’re developing character, you’re always assessing yourself.Are you really with the righteous, or are you taking it easy instead of serious?If you’re taking it easy, you slide over into the darknesseventually.You start making excuses for yourself, for other people around you, for what your body looks like.You know what, I don’t care if people say to me—and they do sometimes, people that don’t know me—man, this guy must be so vain and conceited. They have no idea.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:19:01]
Why would they say that?Because you take pride in your body, you’re taking care of yourself?
Rudy Reyes [1:19:05]
Yes, or maybe becausetruly, they’re just jealous. They have no idea what it took to craft my agency and my self-respect at 11 years old.There were no protein powders. All these cats on the social media, there’s no anabolics, protein powders, and spray tans. I was fighting for my life. I learned how to harness my self-esteem through physical fitness and competition, and it’s never let me down. Iprobably drink a lot more water than most people do, not ever have an air conditioning and living in Kansas City and Nebraska. We have, like Texas, intense summers, brutal cold winters. I wrote a 10-speed to my demo job in 1996 with a Carhartt coverall in the inner city with the snow and the wind blasting. I look like the Marshmallow Man with that freaking huge Carhartt with some Bolle racquetball goggles because my eyelashes kept freezing, because this is the only job there was. I lived for 12 hours on one power bagel I got from Einstein Bagels, and I still made time to train. So what you see here is not crafted in the gym. What you see here is no shell. It’s from a lifetime of pushing oneself andgetting spiritual with it, I mean, getting truly spiritual with it.If I do not get to a space of flow and all things and nothing in my training, well, the truth is, I would never know because I’ve been in that spaceevery single session and every single workout and every single competition for the last 40 years.
Jadewill tell you when you talk to her, some days I’m tired or I’m injured or whatever. She’s been with me for five years. I only got a gym recently. I’ve been working out in my living room, two heavy dumbbells, my rings, gymnastic platforms, socks, because I freaking get my hands on those dumbbells, and I run Tabata mountain climbers with sliding-in feet, and then next right into Tabata push-up, and then next, Tabata push-up knee tuck, and then muscle up. I’ve never done a– what does it mean when you’re just manicured and taken care of? I’ve never done any kind of training that’s not everything I got. I disrespect what God gave me, disrespect everything I’ve been through, disrespect the gift that I have at 51 that I’m still able to do these things if I phone it in. I don’t phone it in. I give everything I got.
You know as well as I do with athletics, there’s so many rad people in our space. I can’t wait to get you involved with Sorinex and my people in the family of strength. Sorinex builds all the cages and all the systems for all pro athletes and all commandos and UFC around the world.They’re in South Carolina, and their country and geniuses, their country geniuses. We all get our muscle heads together. We love it, we live it, we live training. You can effectively train out there with 30 minutes a day if you’re willing to go into the ionosphere.
I useTabatas. I use my boxing timer. In lieu of the best piece of equipment you can get, which is a training partner, the best piece of equipment you can get in the world is a training partner. If you don’t have that, your training partner becomes your playlist and your boxing timer. You can do intervals, and you put on your playlist and every freaking song on there. My standard is this: if it is not spiritually, emotionally charged in lyrics at a very high level, I don’t care how cool the beat is, it’s not good enough for me. It’s got to be somereflection of the human experience. So I listen to heavy songs of human experience on a timer. I know I’ve got three minutes to go. I’m going three minutes all the way. I get on that VersaClimber out of this gym, which I just love, and crank it on. So three minutes on, one minute, shoes come off, jump rope, three minutes. Last three minutes, dip station, three minutes dips, go. Is it 100 reps?Is it 200? Then I do that circuit 15 times.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:24:11]
That’s amazing. Basically, what I’m hearing you say is there’s absolutely no excuse for anybody out there listening that it doesn’t have to be a perfectly manicured workout.It doesn’t have to be squats, deadlifts.Granted, you have cultivated and trained your body for decades.
Rudy Reyes [1:24:27]
You can use bodyweight and bands. I use bands and bodyweight.When I’m out on task—I just got back from two months in New Zealand and before that, I was in Vietnam. I did freaking two seasons in the jungles of Vietnam. Cobras everywhere, 100-degree heat, 100% humidity, flooding, eight days straight.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:24:52]
Rudy Reyes [1:24:53]
Oh, holy smokes, and you know what? I still made time to train just with bodyweight and rings or something to pull and dip on.What you need is your attitude.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:25:07]
How arewe going to convince people? 50% of Americans don’t train. 24% of Americans are meeting their need for exercise or meeting the daily requirement. What are we going to do? I mean, obviously, you’re inspiring people to get stronger and better.
Rudy Reyes [1:25:20]
I’m going to keep doing that. I think it’s going to have to start with the younger generation. But actually, no, we shouldn’t give up on the old people either.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:25:27]
I agree with you.
Rudy Reyes [1:25:28]
We shouldn’t give up on the old people, too.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:25:30]
What about this statement, this idea that something is better than nothing? No, I don’t want to hear that. It’s not something is better than nothing. It’s you have to dial in and execute.
Rudy Reyes [1:25:43]
There’s no exchange for excellence. There’s no substitute for excellence. The human being shown us, there’s potential for excellence. Look, we’re related to the Spartans. We have Conquistador blood. We have Zulu blood. I fought in Kenyaand Uganda, and I was friends with the Maasai, who fought freaking lions with spears. We all come from these genes. We have potential for excellence. We must embrace it. It blows my mind, and my people out there, please understand where this is coming from. I am really overwhelmed. I traveled throughout the country and the world, but I am so overwhelmed and shocked about how obese everybody in our country is.Listen to this, imagine how it feels when I’m– I work mostly for a European production company, British and UK. You know how they make fun of us? They do. They really do. They say you guys are a bunch of fat asses. Why do you keep eating? It blows me away. I think it’s because we are so privileged and wealthy here, we’ve forgotten the toils of World War II and the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression and when our ancestors came across in wagons. We’ve forgotten what we’ve done to create the infrastructure for the greatest country to ever exist.And now we just medicate ourselves and pleasure ourselves with food.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:27:30]
But that’s changing.
Good. Thanks to you, thanks to me.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:27:35]
You are definitely changing the perception of what it means to be 50 and fit, 30 and fit. I mean, there’s ways that we can change the world.
Rudy Reyes [1:27:45]
Absolutely.We, of course, are training heads. We love to freaking train.There’s something about athleticism that inspires and deeply freaking connects to us. But the habits that go along with it, the water, you with the focus on enzyme-rich protein. I mean, enzymes are the building block of life. Rebuilding, I mean, try phasic training. You’vegot to break it down, new neuromuscular pathways, microtrauma means you got to get spiritual with your training to go beyond what you think you can do to create adaptation,and then let your body adapt, meaning the rest and the right food.
Do you know what’s wild,doctor? I’ve never been really scientifically driven with that. Even though I’m totally into science and history, as you can tell, my body’s always told me what I need to do. I’ve never overate maybe also because of combat.If you eat too much, you fall asleep, and if you fall asleep, you might wake up with your throat cut.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:28:53]
That’s not a good plan.
Rudy Reyes [1:28:54]
Yeah, you see, and when you’re training hard in triathlon, martial art sport, if you’re always eating and overeating, especially in portion, it is not efficient for digestion and the breakdown of nutrients.It slows down metabolism. Oftentimes, if you’re eating poor food, you can get mucus in the colon and get all kinds of sideeffects from all the chemicals of the food that you’re eating. Metabolism drops, mood drops. Self-concept falls apart, worldview goes into the toilet. I’m serious
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:29:34]
I agree with you.
Rudy Reyes [1:29:37]
So you people out there with maybe not a whole lot of means, you can first start by smaller portions on your food and understand and do your research about what quality protein is.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:29:48]
What isyour nutrition?
Rudy Reyes [1:29:49]
Just eat beef, fish, eggs.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:29:51]
I mean, you’re pretty lean.
Rudy Reyes [1:29:54]
I eat potatoes and rice.I eat salad.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:29:58]
You sound very balanced.
Rudy Reyes [1:30:01]
I just do.When I was younger, I didn’t have to diet at all for a photoshoot, because I do fitness modeling and stuff. I never had to diet for a photoshoot. I was always about 3% or 4% naturally. But I was killing myself with training. I was addicted to being on the edge because I didn’t want to see what was behind. I didn’t want to feel what I was really feeling. I didn’t want to really feel what I was feeling, so I just hid out. I was hiding out in training about 10 years ago. But now that I’m a little older, yeah, I’m enjoying the good life with Jadebecause when I’m out on task, it’s fully immersed in the field for months at a time, no alcohol, about 20-hour days, and I have to lead all these evolutions and do these evolutions, so I come back lean.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:30:51]
Is it for the show?
Rudy Reyes [1:30:56]
Yes, this is for the show. Yeah, 20-hour days at our age, 50s and 60s.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:30:59]
Are there other participants in the show?
Rudy Reyes [1:31:02]
They’re young. The recruits are young, but it has to feel seamless to them. We make it all look magic. We do all the demonstrations.When I’m the red man, I fight every single recruit, make it look easy, freaking dump them, choke them, whatever, and it’s just me. There’s only four of us instructors.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:31:20]
This is your show that you’ve done. This is the UK show.
Rudy Reyes [1:31:24]
Yeah, and USA. I do USA the same. Both of them have the same production;one is for the UK,one is for the USA.I’m freaking worldwide, baby. I’m worldwide, baby. Right? Are you ready?I do back-to-back. I do USA right into UK. Me and the brothers run too much straight, come back mean, freaking hard, warrior mindset.Then Jade and I’m like, let’s get some mashed potatoes and some peach pie.Give me about three bottles of wine.Then I balance out. I’m balanced now. I do notice as I’ve gotten older, the mindfulness of exactly what you eat, it shows up. When you’re young,did you notice, we just eat whatever.Smaller meals,enzyme-rich protein, I really love lean cuts of fish.Get a reputable sushi place or freaking make some salmon sear, good quality cuts of beef. Be mindful about free-range chicken, too.I also like the egg pumps too, though.You can just put the egg pump. They just got the organic egg white bucket with a pump.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:32:40]
I have no idea. I’ll have to look into that.
Rudy Reyes [1:32:43]
You just put some into your glass with a little bit of ice and stir it up, delicious. Get fiber and trace minerals and such from yourvegetables and leafy greens for your digestion, and then have some kind of energy source, whether some people go crazy with the fat or the carbohydrate. What works for me—
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:33:03]
You’re a lower-fat person, right?
Rudy Reyes [1:33:04]
Yeah, it just works better for me to have rice, potatoes, or something like that. When I have that sugar store since my training—I don’t do really aerobics. I do mostly anaerobic—I use that sugar to burn. If you all don’t know this, and you’re doing interval training, and you’re getting into that hyperdrive, you’re burning the sugar, and you get that pump, the off gas.The off gas is what happens after you burn sugar, and you’re getting that glycogen burn and then the pump. That’s why they get so big. But that’s not how you stay looking. But this is the benefit. You’re not burning fat per se during your 30, 40, 50 minutes or two hours. You’re not necessarily burning fat, you’re burning glycogen and sugar.But the ramp of metabolism and the micro trauma, and then the gene expression with HGH and test starts going through the roof because your body feels like you’re just bought five lines, and you got to climb acliff.That should be your mission. If you get there, your body’s going to just start showing it. Your skin looks younger and everything. That’s my advice.That’s what’s worked for me.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:34:18]
You look amazing.One more question. I mean, I have lots. You are amazing. You are an incredible storyteller,just an incredible human and again, the first one through the doors in just all these domains.How do you maintain daily rituals and balance you’re a hard driver. You’re probably always doing the next thing. You’re running multiple businesses. You have multiple requests, you have a family, there’s all kinds of things. How are you managing cognitively? How does this all look for you?
Rudy Reyes [1:35:06]
That’s a great point about the requests because I make it a point to be available for especially my veteran community. Men and women all around the world that have been through service or have been through struggles or maybe struggling with depression, which can lead to addiction or suicide, what have you, I make it a point to be there. Sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes, it feels almost too much, and it takes a toll sometimes on Jade. I have a term, me and my brothers have Sorinex, my family and strength, we were hanging in and hunting deer and cooking and had a can of paint onand lifting some weights. I talked about thin air living. When you climb a mountain up at the top, air is very thin and only very robust people can live in that thin air. Those that can hang with you and get up there with you, there’s only a few of you. If you look around on the other mountains, you’ll see a few there.Those are the people that thin air. I found a way to both physiologically and geographically create my home space with the mindset of thin air, so not everybody has a real easy direct access to get to me, because it is in my nature to give. It is in my nature.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:36:35]
That is what I’ve heard from everybody. They say that veterans have reached out, and you’ve been there or said hey, how can I help? That’s a lot over time.
Rudy Reyes [1:36:51]
It can be.Sometimes it gives me pain when I can’t solve a problem. I’ve got a great incredible brother of mine who was a student and then became a legend force recon brother. I ended up working for him, an incredible counterterrorism expert, ran Uganda.He fought for his life. Somebody broke in his car, he killed the man, and now he’s in prison.Because where we’ve been at politically, it’s been very hard. I struggle not being able to help everybody that I love so much. So when I wake up in the morning, I always scream the song. I will sing instead of Kings of Leon’s,“Your sex is on fire,” I say it this way. I go,“Rudy’s on fire.”
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:37:51]
I guarantee you, Jade has definitely thrown a pillow at your head, for sure.
Rudy Reyes [1:37:55]
Yeah, every day I do that, and I pace to the coffee, drink my coffee. I graduated from the most delicious substance in the universe called Copenhagen. I no longer use Copenhagen; I miss it so much. But I do get a little ZYN, get my ZYN, my coffee right outside into the sunshine. I stay for half an hour in the sunshine listening to Jordan Peterson, either his biblical passages from Genesis and deconstructing Moses, or I’ll listen to George Carlin, which is an incredible historian, receive son with the dogs, two cats playing around half an hour, now into the house, right to the dishes. My missus, lovely woman she is, she always makes great dinner. I say, honey, you don’t do the dishes. I do them in the morning. You relax for making this great food for me. Boom, I go into the dishes. That becomes my meditation. Now I’m listening to economics and current events on different platforms. I am always very informed and want to be informed with what’s happening globally, because what’s happening globally is also happening locally and vice versa. I manicure those dishes as I manicure myself and my attention. The next thing, honey, it’s time to train. Okay, what are we doing? Okay, let’s get creative. What are we thinking? And then that is three hours.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:39:27]
Three hours? Ialready got tired.
Rudy Reyes [1:39:29]
Well, half hour to get there, 10 or 15 minutes of just– I paced the whole gym just thinking, what are we doing today? Jade always does her same warmup for 10 or 15 minutes. Then we get into the meat of it for an hour, hour and 15.Then I now do 30 minutes of yoga and meditation afterwards. I think that has been helping me so much because I didn’t used to give myself that time.Then when we come home, we’re thinking about what we’re going to cook.In between that, calls from UK, calls from the agent, calls from this and that, I catch that on the drive there, catch that on the drive back, get home, figure out what we’re going to do for food, then take some calls.Then after we make our food, which is really dinner, we eat the dinner in two parts: our recovery meal dinner, and then two or three hours later, we have the leftovers of that dinner.Then at midnight, I normally raid the refrigerator for turkey or beef jerky.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:40:38]
Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?
Rudy Reyes [1:40:39]
Yeah, but I always wake up because when I’ve got to go pee, I’ve gotto go eat.I have a handful of wasabi peanuts, handful of cranberries for some fiber and sweetness, and this beef jerky or turkey.That’s what I do.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:40:55]
That is amazing.I’m sure everyone is taking notes. Rudy Reyes, it is such a privilege to have you on. You’re truly extraordinary. Where can people find you? What are you working on? What do you want to share? We will link everything.
Rudy Reyes [1:41:11]
Great. First and foremost, forceblueteam.org, that is our betterment, buoyancy, and belonging mission of special operations and now veterans at largecoming together to do ocean conservation. We’re healing the planet, and we’re healing ourselves. All donations are absolutely welcome. More importantly, share the message and put it out on your socials.Get people interested and involved in protecting this beautiful planet so that our kids and grandkids will inherit such a beautiful place as we did.It’s no secret that warriors and heroes, we fight the good fight. There’s no better fight than leaving something for the generations ahead, so that’s what we’re doing.
I have a website rudyreyes.com. It’s got my basic information, a couple of photos of me when I was a little kidbecause there’s not many when you don’t grow up with parents. But it’s got some of my accolades and a little bit of a resume. But I have an Instagram too, and that’s @realrudyreyes.It’s got workout stuff. It’s got my family stuff. It’s got veteran stuff. But most people right now know me for– oh, we forgot about Call of Duty. I had no idea how big that thing was. I did a modeling job for them three, four years ago. Holy smokes,my character is so popular.Now they have a snack skin.Skin is I guess what you get for the different gear and stuff. This snack skin is me freaking shirtless with just a plate carrier, my long flowing hair, and incredibly popular.Anyway, it’s pandemonium in the ring. Call of Duty, I’m a character on there,and now, I’m even on the mobile platform.
But Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, that’s on Fox and Hulu. We’re in the second season. First season, best numbers Fox had ever done in unscripted. Number one show of Fox all-time, unscripted.It’s SAS SBS SEALs recon, and now we’re on season two. You freaking hold on to your gizzards. I mean, it’s a white-knuckle thrill ride.Then I do the UK version,SAS: Who Dares Wins.That’s on Channel Four, which is like their Fox channel. Those two big pieces of entertainment, I’ve got some other stuff coming out, too both scripted and unscripted. I’m going to be doing some talks. So in between it all, just basically saving the freaking world.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:43:45]
I mean, it’s no small task.
Rudy Reyes [1:43:47]
We’re bringing this all together to do it.This is part of that by being here, doctor. This is part of assembling that X-Men crew.We are a family in strength, so thank you for having me on.
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [1:43:59]
Thank you so much.
Rudy Reyes [1:44:00]
Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[1:44:02]
The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon podcast and YouTube are for general information purposes only and do not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice. No patient-doctor relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast, YouTube, or materials linked from the podcast or YouTube is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professional for any such conditions. This is purely for entertainment and educational purposes only.