Humberto Kauffmann started weight lifting at the age of 17 with a desire to increase muscle mass and strength. He quickly became interested in the art of Bodybuilding and realized that it was much more than just lifting weights and that if he wanted to progress, the nutrition aspect needed to be solidified.

A few years into the lifestyle Humberto decided to do his first competition and although it didn’t go as desired, it became clear that this takes time and patience. He persisted through the years and in 2016 he won his class at the MABBA Provincial Championship, obtaining the title of Mr. Mabitoba. A year later he switched to Classic Physique, obtaining the 2017 Provincial Overall Title as well.

Throughout the years, his passion for Bodybuilding led me to become a Personal Trainer and share the knowledge he had acquired with others that wanted to improve their quality of life and set and reach goals, competitive or non-competitive!

Find out more about Humberto Kauffmann at:

Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show were we interview people who’ve achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anyone who has achieved mastery and examined what it took to get there.
Today on the show I have a friend of mine, Humberto Kaufman. I have been admiring him from afar for a long time. We’ve been friends on social media. Humberto is Mr. Manitoba for the bodybuilding competition twice. He’s a national coach. He coaches some of my friends actually in getting their body right. Very excited to have you on the show today, Humberto. Welcome to the show. Respect the Grind. Thank you for joining me.

Humberto Kauffmann: It’s a pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.

Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Now, Humberto, for the people at home who don’t know you, tell people in your own words a bit about yourself and what’s Humberto’s claim to fame.

Humberto Kauffmann: Yeah, so I was born and raised in Cancun, Mexico. I moved to Winnipeg when I was 19 to go to the Asper School of Business here in Winnipeg. I graduated in marketing in 2011, but I realized before then that I have a passion for bodybuilding and fitness.
I’ve been training for 15 years, competing for almost a decade. I obtained the title of Mr. Manitoba in bodybuilding in 2016, becoming the athlete with the most awards in a single competition in the province.

Stefan Aarnio: Wow.

Humberto Kauffmann: Yeah, so a year after I obtained the equivalent title but in a different category called Classic Physique. I’m currently working towards becoming a pro and at the same time sharing my passion and knowledge with my clients, trying to make them become the best versions of themselves.

Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I love it. I love the personal development, the best version of yourself. Now, Humberto, I have to ask. I was in the car with my dad yesterday and we’re driving around Winnipeg. My dad was talking about … He’s a limo driver and he drives businessmen from the States up to Winnipeg. I guess they’re driving around Winnipeg and they wanted to open some Mexican restaurants. One of the guys said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Canadians, they eat more Asian food. They don’t eat as much Mexican food ’cause there’s not a lot of Mexicans in Winnipeg.”
Now, you’re from Cancun, man. Winnipeggers fly down to Cancun for vacation. It’s nice. It’s hot. It’s warm. What the heck are you doing up here in Winnipeg in all places. You know, Winnipeg has a Filipino population. We’ve got East Indian, Chinese. We don’t have a Mexican population, so what are you doing up here in Winnipeg of all places, especially coming from beautiful Cancun?

Humberto Kauffmann: Very fair question. When I was 17, I went on an exchange year. I was an exchange student. I lived in Wisconsin in the States and I loved-

Stefan Aarnio: Boy.

Humberto Kauffmann: … my mother [inaudible 00:03:03] where’s Wisconsin either.

Stefan Aarnio: That’s the other Winnipeg.

Humberto Kauffmann: But, I loved just the experience, being away, experiencing different cultures and expanding my mind to outside of what it was Mexican culture and Mexican style things. I know there’s a lot out there, so I want to explore and I loved it. I loved being away from home. As much as I love my culture, my country, and my family, I wanted to just explore a little bit.
After that I came back to Cancun to finish high school. Then, I decided I wanted to do it again, so I started looking into universities. I didn’t necessarily want to go back to the States. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but I wanted to see what else was out there. Then a friend of mine mentioned that there was a friend of his that was living and studying in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I hadn’t even heard of that city at that point, but I looked into it and I don’t know.
I say, you know what? I think I kind of took that as a sign and I’m like, you know what? I’m going to do it. I’m going to go for it. That’s the only person I knew. That was my only contact in Canada, but I’m like, you know what? Screw it. I’m gonna do it. I’m going to go for it. I looked into the University of Manitoba Asper School of Business and yeah, I went to school there. I got my bachelor’s degree and once I graduated I just decided I wanted to stay.
Yes, it’s very, very cold and the temperature varies from plus 30 to minus 50. That’s like an 80 degree difference, but people are very kind. Besides the cold, I’m not necessarily too big into big cities, so this is like the sweet middle, like a medium-sized city that I think fits really well with me.

Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, well I’m the same. I travel all over the world. In fact, I haven’t been home so long my doorman thought I was dead here. People always say, man, why do you live in Winnipeg? I was just in L.A. I was in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was over in London, England last fall. I’m all over the place. People say, why Winnipeg? Well, Winnipeg to me is actually a pretty good place the to live. Is it an A-class city? No, but it’s a pretty good medium-sized city.
Now, Humberto, I have to ask, out of all the things somebody could get into, what attracted you to the sport of bodybuilding of all sports? We live in Canada. Hockey’s a big thing. I’m sure there’s lots of sports in Mexico. I’m sure soccer or something else. There’s all sorts of sports. Why did you choice bodybuilding?

Humberto Kauffmann: Right. So, growing up I was always into sports. I tried soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball, track and field, TaeKwonDo, many different things. Primarily, I stuck to basketball and I realized that I wasn’t really into the whole idea of … Just to give you an example, let’s say we’re winning a game and I’m doing my best and then, because of someone else’s mistake we can lose the game. I didn’t … I don’t like losing.
Just realizing that, at that point, it wasn’t entirely up to me whether we were going to win or lose, I decided to try more of an individual sport approach. I did track and field for a couple years and I really, really liked it.
Growing up I was always very on the skinny side. So, come to think of it, the whole bodybuilding started by just wanting to develop a more muscular physique. I was, just to give you an idea, about 125 pounds. At 5’8″, pretty, pretty, pretty small in the bodybuilding world. So, I started to weight lift. Actually, I started when I went to the States. I knew there was quite a bit of knowledge over there and the gyms were amazing. So, I decided to start there.
And then along the way, I realized that this was a lot more than just lifting weights. It was a lot more than just wanting to get bigger and stronger, and I started to realize the beauty and the challenge that it represented. You know, me being … You have to put yourself in a lot of discomfort in order for you to succeed in whether you want to get big or whether you want to lose weight, really anything in life.
That’s what I liked about bodybuilding because it can be translated into a lot of aspects in life. It toughens you up quite a bit. You abuse your body for hours, months, years, and it’s very, very uncomfortable, but you need to give your body a reason to change. In order for that to happen, you need to get out of that comfort zone.
I’m sure it’s the same way in business with you. You can’t expect to get greater results if you’re doing the exact same thing. You have to evolve. You have to change your approach. You have to revise your concepts of hard work, training, whatever it is. You need to continue to evolve because to me, the essence of life really is growth, not only physically, but also mentally and in relationships and every single aspect of life. That’s something that it’s definitely ingrained in my brain and I’m very aware of it. I try every single day to strive towards a higher level of whether it’s any aspect of my life.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that. Now, some people might look at bodybuilders, they might look at athletes and say, “Those guys are meat heads. They’re boneheads. Those guys are stupid,” because obviously they’re jealous of a well-sculpted body or they’re jealous of the results. Everybody wants the result. Nobody wants to pay for it. I mean, it’s the same with anything.
Now, the reason why I’m excited to talk to you Humberto is ’cause I wanna know about the champion mentality. I wanna know about the mental and the psychology that you have to go through to push yourself to those limits, because you know it’s not luck. It’s not luck that you’re Mr. Manitoba twice, and you’re a national coach and training guys. I mean, consistently you’re hitting it. What kind of mentality and what kind of psychology did you practice on yourself to be a consistent champion?

Humberto Kauffmann: I think that this example I can provide in this particular case is the transition that I went from 2015 to 2016. So basically in 2015, I was training for the Provincial championships. That was my third time doing that competition. I’d done it before, and I had obtained a third place and a first place in my category. But really, Manitoba, the prestigious placing and title is winning the big time show, the Mr. Manitoba title.
In order for that to happen, in bodybuilding, the different categories are by weight. So every 11 pounds or five kilograms are a weight class. At the provincials, every first place of each weight category goes against each other, in what’s called the overall. Whoever wins first of first places gets the title of Mr. Manitoba. So that’s basically how it works. So I had won my class previously, but you know, I wanted more. So in 2015, I started my pre-competition training. I was 16 weeks away from the competition. So normally an athlete, depending on where they are in the off season, meaning body fat percentage, they would make the decision to start either somewhere between 20 weeks away or 12 weeks away. So I started at 16 weeks. The first eight weeks went really, really well.
Mind you, I was in a relationship, I had been with that person for about two and a half years living together. At that point I thought she was the one. Halfway through my prep, we break up. So, it didn’t effect me right away, but then sometimes there’s triggers that you’re not expecting and they just catch you by surprise, right? So I was really focused, you know, I was really in to the training. And somewhere about three weeks away, I realized that I was becoming an emotional eater. I couldn’t stop eating.

Stefan Aarnio: Whoa.

Humberto Kauffmann: So you know, I’m going from being very, very focused to just everything starts going downhill. So I’m … and the mind is a very interesting thing, because … and not only in the sport, or whether you’re a competitor or not. I think people find justification. We’re amazing at justifying things that we know deep inside we shouldn’t do. But we will still do it. We find a reason to justify doing whatever it is that we shouldn’t be doing. So you know, my mindset would be somewhere along the lines of, oh, well I really trained really hard today, so I’m just going to have that slice of pizza or whatever. Mind you, it was more than that.

Stefan Aarnio: More than a slice, oh boy.

Humberto Kauffmann: I went from probably about five percent body fat to probably 10. Which is not bad in the general scope of things, but on stage that looks terrible. Long story short, I bombed the last weeks of my prep, and I showed up looking my absolute worst, getting a fourth place out of five. After that, people asked me what I thought, I go you know what? My answer was every single time the same, I deserved what I got. So I knew it was on to me. This is body building. You can’t blame anyone else. It’s what you do when no one’s looking that actually shines on stage, or you know, it’s evident.
So, the entire year I made the decision to just shut up, not say anything, don’t post anything. Stop talking and just do the work. So, you know, I realized I knew what I needed to do, and I took the entire year to just work as hard as I could, and fast forward a year after, I was able to transform my fourth place into four awards. So I got first place in my weight category, I got the best pose award, I got the overall win, and then there’s a special award I guess the judges provide to the athlete that they consider has made the most improvement in one year. So I got that one as well. So to me, that’s really where I started to realize how important it was to be in the right state of mind in order for you to achieve what you’re trying to do.
The environment is super important. Which is another reason why I wanted to get outside of Mexico. Because Mexico is a beautiful country, it’s very diverse, people are amazing, but we’re a little bit oppressed. Or, the situation is not as optimal as it could be in a country such as Canada. Right? So I also wanted to see what a Mexican could do abroad. Whether … you know, some people are not really aware of how much an environment can change someone’s success. Whether it’s you associating with the type of people that you want to become, again, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room. You don’t want to be there. You want to go … you want to be going towards where you want to go, right?
So yeah, that was basically where I started to realize how important it was to just do the work and just stop talking about it. I see this very, very, very, very often in social media and in people. They say there are going to do this, they say they are going to do that, and it really doesn’t really matter. Just let your work speak for itself. There’s no better example than body building. Because you could say, you could post oh, I’m doing my cardio at five a.m. I keep posting I’m training so hard. [inaudible 00:14:35] But none of that matters until you’re on stage, and that’s when we’ll see whether you were doing what you said you were doing or not. So that’s another thing that I love about body building.

Stefan Aarnio: I love it. And how important, Humberto, is that ability to take … you had a, I guess, a bad personal break up. You thought she was the one. And actually this is how we connected on Instagram, I was posting some like … I had a girl, I was chasing this girl for three years man, I was totally in with her. And she had a boyfriend the whole time, like that was nasty. I was the other guy. How did you turn your brain from a negative brain or from woe is me, or victim mentality to the champion mentality? Because everybody gets kicked off the horse. I’m always training sales people, and sales people are the same. They’re great, they have great mentality, and then they have a break up, or they start emotional eating, or too much rejection and you’ve got to flip them around. So how did Humberto flip from victim mentality to ownership mentality and reclaim the champion?

Humberto Kauffmann: I love that you asked that question, because even in that prep of 2016 in which it ended up with a great outcome, things started not to go my way again. So I was almost reliving the same nightmare. Probably at around four, three weeks … same mark. Three weeks out from show from 2015 and three weeks out from the show in 2016, I started [inaudible 00:16:06] a little bit and I started to fall again. It’s almost like, it was a very, very important part, not only in this prep but also in my life because I realized that I had to make the decision of whether I was going to relive the same situation or not.
Three weeks out, you know, I would … just to give you an example, I would do my training and by then I was doing two, three hour sessions a day plus cardio. So this is about … somewhere between six to eight hours of training between the lifting and between the cardio a day. So that’s a lot of exertion. But even then you have to have your nutritional point. Mind you, body building can be considered an extreme sport. You need to go beyond what you know the general nutrition parameters are in order for you to achieve the look that needs to happen in order for you to win.
So even, again, justification happened. It started go in my mind. I’m like, well, I’m training really hard, I’m probably over exerting myself. I’m probably this, probably that. So I started to you know, add calories here, add calories there that I knew I shouldn’t have. So the same thing started to happen, and I remember this one time I train, and then there’s a little convenience store by my gym, and I went and I just grabbed a box of Oreos. And I started eating them. They didn’t know what I started doing it, they didn’t really care. And then I remember, I was so ashamed of that. To the point that in reality, no one was going to see me, but I still picked a spot that no one can see me to go and binge on those Oreos, right?
And I was so disappointed in myself, it became at that point, so clear that so much hard work for so long, it’s not worth throwing it out the window for a five minute little binge because you were a victim of your emotions. Or that little, little fix, right? So I was so disappointed that honestly I started crying. Not like bawling out but I started to tear up because I was very, very disappointed. I took a picture of that spot right there, and I put it as the wallpaper on my phone. Because I knew that’s a reminder for future reference that what I felt. I didn’t want to feel like that ever again. And I wanted to turn that into pride.
So you know what? I went home and I made the decision. Whether I win or lose, at that point it didn’t really matter to me. I just wanted to become a better person than I was before. And another thing that I think is important to mention is that a lot of people are scared of failing. And I hadn’t failed then, I just didn’t want to fall and get that fail again. The problem is that failure, sometimes it’s … not fear of failure. Sometimes something that hasn’t even happened is our worst absolute enemy. We’re too scared of what other people may say. We’re too scared of what other people … whether it’s our friends or close relatives, parents, brothers, sister. And in reality, we’re doing this for ourselves. So whether you fail, whether you succeed, you’re the one who’s going to have to live with that. So honestly screw everyone else’s thinking, what everyone else …
You know, if it’s a good … I’m not saying don’t take advice, but you know, listen with an open mind and take it for what it is. If it’s something helpful, use it. If it’s something not helpful, then disregard it, because at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to live with your failures or successes.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that story, Humberto, you getting the Oreos and going into a dark place by yourself, because you know, I’m an eater myself. I’ve got two additions, I love food, I love women. Two problems, I got rid of women this year. But food, man, food is the hardest one because it just makes you feel good. I always tell myself, oh, I need some comfort. This is my comfort and I’m going to do this. Now I’m not a body builder, but food and addictions live in the dark. And that’s what I love about what you’re saying. Like man, I went to this dark place, I went and I did that, and I love how you owned it.
Because Jim Rome, I don’t know if you know Jim Rome, he’s Tony Robins’ original mentor. He always says the first step to change is disgust. And you reached that point of disgust and you said I’m not coming back here. And that’s fantastic. Now, Humberto, do you believe that success is more hard work, or do you think it’s more talent?

Humberto Kauffmann: This is the way I see it. And again, I do not apply this to body building as well. There are people that are gifted with amazing genetics. Like they would, in reality, they could do half of the work that some of us have to do in order to achieve their physiques. Now, when you have these people who are genetically gifted, and they go to their 85 percent potential because they don’t get to that 100 percent. When someone comes along that might not or has not been as gifted with genetics as them, but they go 100 percent. I do believe that’s when these people can actually overcome, or beat these other people. So the response to that question would be hard work, in my opinion.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that, I love that. You know, hard work to me, you know I’m training sales people, training real estate investors all the time. It’s always the guy who puts in the work, I always say pays the most. Success is painful. You pay the most, you get the most. Now let me ask you this, Humberto. You’ve got Humberto the champion and then we’ve got the Humberto before. Did success change you, or did you have to change to become successful?

Humberto Kauffmann: I had to change, a hundred percent. You know what, it’s very interesting because now in social media, we’re bombarded with phrases, quotes and information that is so useful, but you know, nine times out of 10 it goes in one ear, it goes out the other. But thinking back, I try to really thinking about everything that is on my way, because in reality, everyone can be a teacher. A five year old kid can be a teacher. You just have to pay attention and be aware of what’s happening. And I always make the point of evolving, whether it was every month, or every year in some sort of aspect in my mentality. I would always come back and revise my concept of for example [inaudible 00:23:11].
So I would be training in whatever my considered my absolute hardest ever training session. I knew that in order for my to become better than that, I would have to go past that. So, even if I thought of that moment, that point I couldn’t do a single rep. I was in so much pain that I was going to either pass out, throw up, bleed, whatever. In order for me … the truth remains the same. You need to go past that point, so you need to adapt. That’s … us as human beings, we have that amazing ability of adaptation. Not only to our surroundings, but also our bodies. And that’s where body building, you know, that’s just part of body building. In order for you to continue to evolve, you need to do something different, either more extreme, more aggressive, more intelligent. Something needs to change in order for you to go past the point where you are.
A lot of people, they love comfort, and that’s fine. But if you’re one of those people you better be ready to be 75 years old, 85 years old, and then look back on your life, and you’re not happy with it. You’re in trouble. You’re gonna be in a lot of trouble because that’s it. You’re done. You didn’t do what you could have done, and I think you know, it’s very important to, yes have future goals, but also live the present. Make every day count. Be very intentional. Every single hour for 24 hours a day. And this is what I hear a lot, this is where the excuses come and I’m sure it’s the same with people that you sometimes deal with.
Oh, you know, I have this type of job, or I have kids. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. In my case, it’s I can’t make it to the gym or I couldn’t train today because I worked a double shift or I only slept three hours, or whatever, this or that. That sounds the best to the person that’s saying it. I hear all the time, I’m going from just being straight up to I just listen and I just tune it out, because I’ve heard it so many times that it’s just … there’s certain types of people that, in order for people to change, they need to make the decision first. If they are not ready to change, I can give a person the absolute best possible advice when it comes to either building muscle or losing weight. Whatever. Pre-competition advice. But if the person is not ready to take it, it’s just a waste of my time and my breath. It’s not going to go anywhere. They say oh, man, that makes sense, thank you very much. But when it comes to actually … they’re not going to do it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone do something wrong at the gym and I’m like, you know what, I’m gonna help them out. I’m like, hey, listen. You should probably do it this way. Oh, thank you very much. The next day, they’re doing the exact same thing they were doing the day before. So I’m like, I stopped bothering because I learned to recognize that some people need to be ready for that [inaudible 00:26:08] to accept that information.

Stefan Aarnio: Right, and they have to make the investment in themselves. You know, I was talking to a lady today and she says oh, I want to make a hundred grand in real estate, and I said, well, here’s the program. It’s going to cost you 30, 40 grand to make a hundred. That’s what the training costs. And she goes, oh, well … Everybody wants the hundred, but nobody wants to put in what it takes to get to the hundred. You know? Give me the free hundred grand. Give me the free six pack abs, give me the free sexy body. Everybody wants it for free. Now Humberto I have to ask, you’re a champion, you’re the guy I see on social media. You’re winning. How are you taking the winning and the champion-ness of what you’re doing, and how are you turning that into a brand and a business? Are you using this to jump to the next thing? What’s next for you?

Humberto Kauffmann: Well, I’m currently training for a competition in later this year. And it’s very interesting, because it’s almost like … to be quite honest, it’s like I almost forget that I have those titles. I know what they mean, but when someone goes hey, man, you’re Mr. Manitoba, you won it last year. I’m like, oh yeah, that’s right. I’m only thinking about the future. To me, that’s new point zero. Wherever that success was, that’s my starting point from this point forward. Like now I’m thinking national level, now I’m thinking professional level. And that’s what I try to instill in my clients as well. And I think it’s very important for a coach to, at the very least, have gone through quite a bit of training themselves, and experience both as an athlete and as a coach, because you need to know what you’re expecting if your athletes.
Like if you don’t literally walk the walk, it’s really hard for you to sell them the intensity and what needs to be done. Like that’s one reason why I continue to compete as well. Because I believe in leading by example, right? And it almost like if you went to the gym and a pretty chubby guy comes to you and says hey, man. Do you need a trainer? I’m a personal trainer you want to sign up? I mean you see the guy, it doesn’t exactly yell out motivation or I wanna look like that guy, right? So I try to really be the athlete, continue to be the athlete so I can continue to learn as well, but also continue to provide that psychological factor is very, very important for my athletes as well.
I need to know what they’re going through, I need to remember what it would feel like, why is he perhaps doing it like this? You know, is this a little bit too much, can he push harder? So it’s very important that you have experience as an athlete as well, in order for you to know what needs to be done when it comes to your clients.

Stefan Aarnio: Right, you gotta walk the walk. You know it’s same with me. I’m training guys in real estate all the time. My team, we’re tying up real estate every week, we’re doing deals every week. And everybody thinks when you’re the trainer all of a sudden you don’t do it anymore, but you gotta always do it, lead by example. Because that’s how you earn respect. Now let me ask you this, Humberto. What’s your obsession? Everybody I have talked to on this show, whether they’re successful at business, athletics, art, whatever it is. They’re obsessed with something. What are you obsessed with?

Humberto Kauffmann: I must have been maybe 17 when I started lifting. And I can’t remember what exactly was the trigger, but I realized … I mean you hear this all the time, but only for a few people it really sinks in. Really you only have one life, and it’s up to you to make the most out of it. So my obsession is to not only live this life to the fullest, you know, to the fullest being my own definition of it, but also leave a mark behind. I don’t want to just cease to exist, I want to leave a mark behind. Which is why I’m very passionate about leaving a positive impact of the industry. This industry unfortunately … I’m sure there’s other industries with the same problem, but there’s a lot of negativity, and there’s a lot of fake people, and there’s a lot of bullshit in this fitness and body building industry.
So two things that I’m trying to do is first of all, try to make people steer away from the mentality that body builders are meatheads as you mentioned. By providing a good example, whether it’s social media etiquette, whether it’s how you express yourself, how you go about communicating, but also just being real and honest. I love the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s era of body building. ‘Cause then it was simple, it was true, it was just solid. It was just hard work, there was no social media, no one was concerned with followers, no one was concerned about posting pictures on social media to get awareness, attention whatever it was. You would just train your ass for a year and then show up. And whoever was the hardest training guy would win.
Now, this generation is very different, and there’s very positive aspects to this generation, but there’s also very weak and negative aspects of it. I feel like this generation … it has no fight in it. A lot of people are very entitled, they think that by just existing they deserve things. Like no, greatness and respect needs to be earned. No one owes you anything, you need to go take it. You can’t live your lift expecting things to just come to you.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that, man. I’m a millennial, born in ’86, and I’m so against the entitlement mentality that we have nowadays. Everybody thinks, oh man, I should just be a rockstar, I should be a movie star. I should just win. Give me a trophy for losing. Talk to me more about this weakness that you see Humberto, because I see it myself. I get people calling me all the time, hey, I want to be a millionaire, make me rich, make me rich. It’s like sorry, bro. It’s going to take you five years.

Humberto Kauffmann: Absolutely and that’s no exception in body building and in fitness. A lot of people actually do things for the wrong reasons. They see, perhaps, a big guy … and actually it’s the same way when someone sees a millionaire driving like an amazing car. They see this person, they say oh he’s lucky, he’s got money. They don’t see the countless hours of really perfecting their craft and perhaps not stressed, dead, suffering, everything leading up to that. So it’s the same way with body building. They see someone with an amazing physique, and what do they say? Nine times out of 10, especially in this industry, they say oh! They yell out steroids. That’s what he does. He doesn’t even train, he just juices up.
So I think that goes in hand also with the mentality that when you see someone that has something that you don’t have or is in your perception perhaps, either a threat or better than you. It makes you feel better to completely discredit their efforts. So you just hide under that blanket of you know, criticizing the other person or just basically yelling out whatever it is, whatever sounds good to you. So you can go to bed that night and sleep well.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that.

Stefan Aarnio: Man, there’s so many haters online, and you’re in the aesthetic business. You’re selling physique, you’re selling an image. Tell me, how do you deal with the haters, Humberto? Because I’m sure … I’ve just started now. I’ve got a national Facebook campaign, I’m going international now. I get haters every day now. I didn’t get haters, before I had some haters, but now I have daily haters. How do you deal with your haters? Because when you start being successful, when you’re up there on the podium, the winner’s podium with the first place, second place, third place, everybody’s jealous. How do you deal with that?

Humberto Kauffmann: Yeah, that’s very interesting, because over the last year or so, I started getting a little bit more of that. Like I, you know, I would get a negative comment here and there, but nothing too aggressive. But over the last year I started getting a series of very slandering posts on a certain website. And I’m not going to lie, first time I read them it was very, very shocking. It was stressful to be quite honest. I had never experienced something like that. But then I started … I started really thinking, okay, why might this person be doing this? And to be quite honest, nobody wants to hate around nobody. That’s just how it is. Like if you are getting this type of attention, whether it’s positive or negative, I think that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re doing something right.
At first I was so angry, I was so frustrated. But then looking back into it, I think it can turn everything into a positive thing. And at that point it was very negative. The more I processed it, the more I analyzed it, I started to realize that one of the things about myself that I knew was at that point … before that, I was somewhat concerned of what other people may think about me. And these posts range from such a wide variety of topics that, it basically left no negative thing that you could say about me that wasn’t already posted. So that kind of just demolished that fear that I had about anyone. What would people say? Well, there’s nothing worse that could be said about me at that point. And I just became numb to it.
Another post, a month after, another post, a month after, negative comments or whatever. And I’m like, you know what? This is getting old. And I truly believe it made me a stronger person. It made me realize that, screw what people think of you. It’s really made me realize that sometimes no matter what you do, they’re going to be hating on you. So might as well do what you love, might as well live your life on your terms.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that. And you know, my haters, I just leave ’em, ’cause they boost all my posts. They just keep posting, just kicks me up there. I say hey haters, come on man, free promotion. Free advertising. So Humberto, under it all, underneath all this, what motivates you to be a champion?

Humberto Kauffmann: Well, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t love that moment of just getting your hand raised or just raising your hand with that trophy. And that’s one thing about amateur body building. Because a lot of people ask me, so what did you win? Did you get some money? Well, in reality, amateur body building, there’s not that much money in it. But that’s not why I’m doing it, that’s not why I did it in the first place, that’s not why I will ever do it. It’s that … it is a three dollar trophy, but it’s not about how much that trophy costs. It’s about what it represents. It could be a figure, I don’t care. It’s what it represents of hours, months, years of hard working. And that’s the embodiment of everything that provides you something that is priceless.
No amount of money in my opinion can provide me that feeling that I get or that I got in 2016 and in 2017. When I became the best bodybuilder in the province. It’s that feeling, that satisfaction, that just warmth in my heart that you know, makes me want to do it again. And along with the personal satisfaction, I do believe that the inspiration that it could provide, even if it’s to only person, then I’ve done my job. If I inspire one person, this story inspired someone. Even if it’s one person, to just change their mentality and just go for it, lose, drop that fear that they had of perhaps failing. I’ve failed. I didn’t win any shows until my sixth show. And that’s the conversation I have sometimes with my clients.
Obviously we all want to win, we really want to win. The other guy wants to win, too. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and that’s okay. It’s what … the beauty of it is what you do with that feeling. Do you give up? Or do you continue to push? And even if you fail again, you try again and do it again. I didn’t win until my sixth show. So my first show was like, I don’t even have pictures, I deleted them because I looked so terrible. But that’s fine, like I don’t … at the end of the day, it’s what you do with those hurdles that makes you the man or woman, that you will end up being.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that, I love that. There’s that one moment of champion, and you put all that time, you put all that effort, all that energy for that one moment. But the thing I love more
about that, Humberto is, you know, what you do, you can’t fake it. You can’t fake it, you can’t buy it, you can’t cut the line, you have to do every single rep. You have to do every single day, what time do you show up? Five a.m., four a.m., I don’t know. But you gotta do that, and nobody can take that away from you, nobody can cheat you, nobody like … it’s a very honest sport. You know, there’s no way that somebody can just cut. You can’t cut the line, you literally have to respect the grind.
Let me ask you this, Humberto. What’s one moment where you’d thought you’d failed, and this was all going to be over?

Humberto Kauffmann: I would have to say 2015. At that point … and this was prior to me actually getting that place prior to the show. And it was probably, maybe a week before in which, at that point I didn’t think I had it in me to continue to do this, because again, that was my rock bottom in my body building career. You know, I realized everything was going downhill, and the result just confirmed that. And then I think I went home that night, and I started really thinking, okay, so this is pretty bad. What am I going to do about this? Am I just going to stop, or am I going to continue and why? And I realized that I just loved, more than the trophy or the result, I loved the journey. And I loved what it had made me up to that point. And I’m going to actually say that.
My absolutely favorite award was that fourth place in that year, because a lot happened after that. I think the problem with some people that just start off by winning is that they’re just so used to it. In the moment, often cases the moment they lose, that’s where you actually see what they’re made of. Again, that’s … they’re talented, you know? But they can only go so far you know? There’s a lot of people that I know that do their first show, they win. Second show, they win. Third show, win. Awesome. The moment they don’t, they get so disappointed or just confused, they don’t know what to do with themselves, and all of a sudden you see them disappear. What happened to that person? Well, he gave up.
But yeah, they are a little bit too soft in that regard. So we need to harden up. You know, not only in sports but also in life. You’ll fail, and that’s okay. You need to fail. Because you will never be as strong as you can be if everything just comes easy.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that, I love that. Now, what do you think causes the average person to fail, Humberto? What’s the biggest cause of failure in most people?

Humberto Kauffmann: Well, I’m going to say it’s either lack of information … let me think for a second. That’s definitely one. I know the second one … you either don’t have the information … yeah, that’s about it. Because I mean, once you fail, everyone should fail I think. Every single person should fail in their lives. But often times … and I can speak for the sport of body building. A lot of people fail … when they’re a little bit too entitled and they think they know everything. They don’t go about things with an open mind. They’re too close minded or too stubborn, this is a never ending … not only you know, in sports, but also in life. It’s a never ending learning experience. So being close-minded and stubborn is definitely going to lead you to failure.
You need to realize that you don’t know anything. There’s so much to learn in this life. So it’s either that or a lack of knowledge. When people just kind of cheap out on services. Being a coach, or being a mentor, and they go about doing things … if it’s your first time, chances are you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. So you need to invest in someone, a professional that knows what they’re doing. So that’s another thing, definitely.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that. So how important in the sport of body building or maybe even in life, it is to have a coach? Somebody bringing you through the path and keeping you on the path. How important is a coach?

Humberto Kauffmann: It’s definitely very important. However, it’s also very important that you know what you’re looking for in a coach. Because there’s different types of coaches in body building. And I’m sure in other sports as well, but in body building, you have coaches that, they’re very honest, they’re very straightforward, they have no patience for bullshit. So if you’re a softy, you should probably not hire this person because you’re going to get mad at them, you’re going to create excuses, it was their fault, they didn’t do things [inaudible 00:45:16] you know, soft. There’s also coaches that shouldn’t be coaches, because they either don’t have the experience nor the knowledge.
So it’s really important that you know what you’re looking for in a coach. Things to look for are, if their experience and success as an athlete is important that’s one thing. If their experience and success as only a coach, that’s what you’re looking for, that’s another thing. Because there’s guys that, they don’t look the part but they have clients that look amazing. That’s fine. There’s also guys that look amazing, but they have no experience, or they’re not really coaches. They’re just athletes with knowledge. Coaching is an art, it’s very, very psychological and it goes beyond just telling you what to do.
It’s a lot more than telling you do this at the gym, or just eat this. It’s a psychological aspect, it’s making the right calls. In body building, your physique can change a lot in the last 24 hours. So if you’re not making the right calls when it comes to food intake, you can screw 15, 20 weeks of prep within the last 24 hours. So that’s very important as well. One has to be careful with who they hire. Do your research, and if you find someone that you believe is worth your money, don’t cheap out. Because you’re going to learn the hard way when you go through the hardships, the suffering, the hard work and everything and then you come short of what you could have been because you didn’t invest what you should have invested.

Stefan Aarnio: I love that. I love that, you know you get what you pay for in everything. There’s no way to pay less and get more. It just don’t work like that. Humberto, if you could go back to yourself, let’s say your young self. Maybe 12, 13, 14, 15, what’s a piece of advice you give yourself? The young Humberto?
Humberto Kauffmann: Care less about what others think.

Stefan Aarnio: Tell me more about that. Care less about what others think. Why?

Humberto Kauffmann: I think we all through a stage of, especially through puberty, right? You know in high school, there’s a little bit of bullying, there’s a little bit of this. A lot of insecurities, you’re still finding yourself. And I think looking back, I probably paid a lot more attention, or didn’t do certain things because of what you may look like. Whether I didn’t you know, step up to the plate to defend a friend, or speak up, or just … I gave silent approval of something that I didn’t think was in line with my code of ethics or whatever it be. Because I didn’t want to either disappoint someone, or I was too concerned with what they may think of me. Because I wanted to be likable. And I’m not by any means saying just be rude to people or just don’t care about anyone or anything like that. But I think you’ll find happiness in freedom once you realize that fear is one of your worst enemies.
You just gotta sign away whatever works in your mind, whatever you have to tell yourself, whichever psychological path you need to go to, to free yourself of that fear. And from that point forward, you’ll become the person you want to become.

Stefan Aarnio: Love it. Humberto what are three books that have changed your life? Everyone I meet on this show has some books that changed their life. Top three for you.

Humberto Kauffmann: Oh, boy. I don’t really read that much per se, I’m going to go ahead and say that to be completely honest. But I love … there’s this book called The Horse of Troy. But it’s not the story that you think. It’s a book in Spanish that basically talks about … it’s more of a religion type of book, but I just love the story behind it. Let me think for a second. Another book … I love actually, i started reading your book, the Ten Commandments of Negotiation. I haven’t finished that book but so far, I love that book.

Stefan Aarnio: Thank you.

Humberto Kauffmann: Those are, I would say, the books that kind of come to mind.

Stefan Aarnio: Have you read, did you read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall?

Humberto Kauffmann: I haven’t yet, no. Have you?

Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, man. You gotta read that. It’s fantastic. He goes through the body building days, he goes through … every single part of his life. And he starts out, he’s a body building champion and he goes into real estate, he’s a champion. Then he goes into movies, the champion. Then he goes into politics, he’s a champion. It’s just, that’s going to be a good one for you. Go check out Total Recall. So a couple more questions here Humberto, what’s one thing that young people need to succeed these days?

Humberto Kauffmann: Ability, resilience I would say. Resilience. Very important to spring back from disappointment and failure again. Going back to that topic. It’s very easy to just give up. And going back to the whole idea of, you only have one life. So you really think about that. Don’t only listen to it once. Really think about what that means, because it’s … it’s so amazing being right here on this earth, and being … in this era, too. There’s so much information floating out there. There’s so much … there’s no excuse not to do things. We have access … back then, you know, 50’s, if you wanted to know something you had to get your ass to the library. And really do your research. And right here, it’s on your fingers. You can just type whatever information you need to answer the questions that you have.
So it’s very important that you get the most out of your time, out of your life. Because you know, it goes pretty quickly. I think you know, now I’m 31. And I’m realizing that from this point I feel like life is just going by a lot quicker, right? I’m making the most out of every year from this point forward, not that I haven’t before from it. But it’s more and more evident that I need to make the most out of every single day. You know, we all have 24 hours, and there’s people that can do a lot with those 24 hours, so be one of them.

Stefan Aarnio: Love it. How can somebody get in touch with Humberto if they want to, you know, talk to you, learn more, get connected? How can people find you?

Humberto Kauffmann: Absolutely. You can find us on Instagram at Atlas Body Building. Also on our website, W-W-W dot Atlas Body Building dot com. Or you can email me at Humberto at Atlas Body Building dot com.

Stefan Aarnio: Love it, thanks so much for being on the show Humberto. Respect the grind, you’re a champion, really appreciate you.

Humberto Kauffmann: Thank you very much for having me, it was a pleasure.

Stefan Aarnio: Hi, it’s Stefan Aarnio and thank you so much for listening to my podcast, Respect the Grind. If you enjoyed this podcast, I want you to get a copy of my original book, Money, People, Deal. Money, People, Deal has been the key for me for raising millions and millions of dollars at real estate and has helped people all over Canada and the United States raise money for their real estate deals. You can get a copy at for a special offer just for podcast listeners. Once again, go to to get your special offer. We’ll see you on the next episode of Respect the Grind.