Meet Robert van der Heyden

Cheryl Hargrove Outsider Interviews

This world is full of people pushing themselves, unlearning harmful beliefs and behaviors, following their curiosity, and just trying to do their part to love life and leave the world better than they found it. If they can do it, so can you, so can we. Because we’re all in this together, and we’re tougher than we think.

In this week’s Outsider Interview, we’d like to introduce you to Robert.


It’s your birthday and you get to have anything for dinner you want. What are we eating?
This changes week by week, but right now I’d say sushi omakase (since our kids are not a fan….yet)

Where did you grow up? And where are you now?
I grew up in Indonesia, graduated high school in Taiwan, and now I make Southern California my home.

Are you a Minimalist/Generalist/Enthusiast?
Most days are Minimalist, lowest hanging fruit for a good sweat works with our current lifestyle, but on the odd day I’m working out on my own, I’ll kick it up a notch to Generalist/Enthusiast.

What’s your typical workout environment?
Our two car Garage, some days with one of our cars parked inside, but most of the time it’s in the garage and the street right by our house. As far as environment, half the time we have our three month old out there cheering us on (crying), and the other half of the time we squeeze it in when she’s napping. But every time, our two older girls are out there with us, cheering us on, racing scooters as we do farmer carries, or playing around with the music as we try to get some work done (Moana is on repeat and I don’t know how they find it every time). But we are always together, that’s the most important part.

What’s been your best workout gear investment?
Because we sweat in the garage and we are minimalist, I’d say a good pair of shoes, I’m a fan of both the reebok nanos and the Nike Metcons. Another item that helps is a Concept 2 rower, or Assault Bike. We have a family of little one’s ( seven, three, and three months) and when we workout together we can’t disappear on an 800m run…so jumping on a rower or a bike is a great scaling.

If we took a look at your workout playlist, what songs would we find?
Most days we won’t have music on, but the days we do, it’s usually a Spotify playlist and we just search for the key word “workout”. Then again, if our two older girls are out there, don’t be surprised if Moana or Frozen are on repeat. Talk about building mental fortitude.

What’s your workout routine like?
Monday/Wednesday/Friday we workout at either 10am-12pm or 2pm-4pm (nap times for our youngest). If she’s napping or not, this has been the schedule that works best for us. Tuesday/Thursday we hit up the farmers market and go for a longer hike/walk. As far as rituals I give the tribe a 10 minute warning that fitness is about to go down in the garage and if anyone would like to join me (this is the polite way of saying it’s time to sweat and get your game faces on). I like to video our workouts for a Vlog so as soon as they see the camera set up, the kids are pumped to get outside. We go through an extensive warm up before the countdown clock begins. We do our best to finish the entire workout, but family comes first, so if baby wakes up or if the girls need help with their bikes, we take “active” breaks, but other then that our focus is to spend time together being active.

Which movements make your body smile? And which ones do you wish you could banish from the program forever?
Olympic lifts are my jam, and the only movement I “scale” are thrusters, some old shoulder injuries makes the front rack/press challenging …oh and I don’t like doing them as well.

If you could workout with anyone, who would you choose?
I’m lucky, I already do…my wife Maureen

What’s your biggest obstacle to consistently working out? And how do you overcome it?
It all starts with *sleep, if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I’ll have low energy, and thus the “want” to workout is very rarely there. I also understand with a family of five, “wanting” to workout carries little weight. I know the benefits, and that outweighs how I feel. Once you can flip that switch, you’ll become more consistent. Plus having three children, I want to set a foundation of what living a happier and healthier life can look like.

*Sleep: /slēp/

  1. A condition of body and mind such as that which typically occurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, muscles relaxed.
  2. Something I haven’t gotten for seven years.

We believe fitness is about what we can do with our bodies. What do you want to do with your fitness?
I exercise for my family. I want to be around and chasing my kids around for as long as I can, and when I can’t I’m looking to invest into cyborg parts so that I’ll never lose a game of tag

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
I’ve had challenges for the last decade and a half with stress management and it wasn’t until I took a deep dive into breath work, meditation, and cold exposure that I found tools that work great for me (Wim Hof Method). So much so that I became a WHM instructor.

The second big one is putting my family first. I know we all say this, but I owned a Gym for 11 years and finding balance was harder than teaching someone how to Snatch. So recently with the transition out of gym ownership, I’ve set my priorities to create a work environment around my family, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.

What have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)?
As a gym owner/coach all I did was say yes (one-on-ones, phone calls, at the gym at 4:30am and coming home at 9pm), and sometimes the trade off wasn’t worth it (birthdays, quality time with my kids, etc.)

Tip: Set boundaries; your space (home/work) your time (available/not), and your energy (yes/no). You only have one battery to us a day, don’t waste it.

Now in this chapter of my life and working with clients remotely, it’s nice to have weekly scheduled calls and the rest of the time I can allocate to family or investing in myself.

Tip: Have a schedule for your day (every hour allocated), from work, family, you time, exercise, sleep, and anything else you want to do on a day to day basis, write it out and stick with it.

Now I say yes to things that make me happy and no to anything that will pull me away from developing myself as a husband, father and business owner/coach.

Tip: before saying yes to _____, ask yourself “will this help me with my goals for this week/month?” Now your goals might be to spend X amount of time with friends, it doesn’t have to only be work related.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
When I’ve felt overwhelmed in the past, it usually grew out of lack of boundaries, which lead to me balancing too many plates in the air. So the way I regained clarity and control was to have a clear morning and evening routine, where I check in with myself, my goals, and always ends with a sense of gratitude. I’ve noticed over the years that if certain tanks aren’t filled, I’ll be off (family, business, fitness, mindset), so when I do my evening review and if I find that one of my four tanks aren’t being filled, I’ll allocate time the next couple days to fill it. For example a weekend get away with my family with no phone or tech, is a quick way for me to fill up my family tank.

If you could re-experience a book/movie/tv-show/song/album for the first time, what would it be?
Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, this was the first album I gave a girl in High School.

Best decision I ever made (we’ve been together for 20 years and have three beautiful girls)

We’re all weird. What’s one unusual habit or thing you do?
Hmmmm…where should I start?

I’m a strong introvert, expect when it comes to fitness and wellness. I love coaching and helping people in this arena, but get me outside of this arena and I’d rather stick to myself. Big public social gatherings outside of fitness enthusiasts and I’m Jason Bourne.

Oh, and since I grew up overseas and speak a handful of languages, if I get too ahead of myself I might put a few languages into one sentence during a conversation.

What made you go Outside the Box?
Three kids under the age of seven, and with my time availability shrinking by the day, I didn’t want to get locked into a “class time” or driving to a CrossFit facility.

I was looking for an online program which could support me in this chapter of my life. Smart programing, a sense of community, and place online where I could still be of service. I’ve joined a few programs in the past year, but none that really resonated with my wants or my lifestyle. I’ve known of Pat and Tamaryn for years since I’ve been involved with CrossFit since 2007, they are also a family of five, so it just made sense when they started the program to jump on board.

Where can people find you on the interwebs?
You can find me commenting and sharing videos in the Outsiders Facebook group.

On Facebook and Instagram @askRobertvdh. Facebook is a space I share articles on recovery, exercise, mindset, and post any Wim Hof Method workshops I host. Instagram is a glimpse into my daily life and my vlog IGTV. Soon www.robvdh.com will be up and working as well, and will be the best place to learn about what I do best and how we can work together.

Get to know this community a little bit better by reading through some of our Outsider Interviews. We’re a wolf pack. A band of misfits. Peas in a pod. And we stay gold.

Cheryl Hargrove Administrator
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