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Podcast No. 89: Jackson "Bajheera" Bliton, Professional Video Game Player & Bodybuilder
Jackson Bilton sits down with WHOOP CTO and Co-Founder John Capodilupo to discuss how he turned his passions into an unorthodox but successful career.
There probably aren't too many professional video game players who are also professional bodybuilders, but Jackson Bliton is one of them. He sits down with WHOOP CTO and Co-Founder John Capodilupo to discuss how he turned his passions into an unorthodox but successful career. Jackson is one of the most popular video game streamers on the planet and is better known as "Bajheera" in the gaming world. Each day, thousands of people watch Jackson play World of Warcraft, while thousands more tune in to watch him broadcast his workouts. Jackson discusses why he decided to quit his day job to pursue video game streaming full-time, how his fitness regimen makes him an elite gamer, and how he uses WHOOP to optimize performance in the gym, in the virtual world, and in the real world.
Jackson "Bajheera" Bliton Podcast Show Notes:
2:20 - What is World of Warcraft? “It’s a game that’s been around for a long, long time. It’s a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which means that tons of people can log in and make a character and participate in a persistent world where you can do all kinds of stuff. You go into dungeons and go on raids with teammates and battle against varieties of monsters trying to destroy the world. When you’re successful in your adventures you get items that make your character more powerful and you can take on more challenges.” 4:04 - A Community of Gamers. “One of the coolest parts of World of Warcraft is the community part. It’s massively multiplayer and online, it’s not a single-person game where you can best everything, you really do need to coordinate and work well with large groups of people to accomplish what you want to accomplish in the game. That’s what keeps it so fun and you form really strong relationships with these people,” John says. 5:23 - Streaming. Jackson talks about how he got into streaming his game playing and how he grew his community of followers. 8:01 - A Dream Job. “Saying you play video games for a living is a really fun thing to say.” 10:24 - Finding a Different Path. “I went back to school at Vanderbilt and I was putting a ton of effort in, but I felt like there was something else that I should be doing. I felt like the creativity that I had wasn’t being put to use in the way that I wanted it to be.” 11:00 - Convincing Mom and Dad. Jackson shares how his parents supported his dream of becoming a professional video game streamer, despite their hesitations about his chosen career path. “The one thing that my parents said was, ‘You can’t quit your day job [as a lifeguard] because you need money to survive.’ I said, ‘Okay, Mom and Dad.’ As soon as they left, I put in my two weeks notice.” 12:23 - Starting WHOOP. John shares his story of dropping out of college to pursue his dream. “I can’t explain it, but it felt like the right thing to do. Just have belief in yourself and the people around you.” 13:38 - Support at Home. “It’s really easy to support your kid doing these things that are on the path. ‘Going to school? Great, we support that. Playing sports? Great, we support that. But quitting school and quitting your job to play video games? I’m not so sure about that one.’ But they believed in me and I told them, ‘I’m actually working on something here. I’m not just wasting my time. Watch.’” 14:53 - Getting into Training and Weightlifting. Jackson details how his dad got him into training and weightlifting when he was 11. “My dad is somebody who has always gone to the gym. He would take me to the gym with him. … He was always a big inspiration.” 18:38 - Finding Bodybuilding. Jackson talks about how he transitioned from basketball and endurance running to bodybuilding. “I love lifting and I love working out and the way that I train was already a bodybuilding style, focusing on volume, and I said, ‘Maybe I’ll just compete in bodybuilding.’” 20:11 - Early Success. Jackson shares how he turned pro in the bodybuilding world by winning the Muscle Mania competition in California in 2018. 21:29 - Good for the Body and Soul. “WHOOP might tell me otherwise, but there is significantly more mental and emotional strain with not getting a workout in for the day than there is physical strain for [working out].” 22:06 - A Lifelong Goal. “I’m 30 now, I’ve been in the gym since I was 12, so that’s 18 years, and I want to be the guy that’s 130 years old and just slaying it in the gym.” 24:00 - Gaming as a Recovery Tool. “If you wake up in the morning and get your training in, I feel like gaming is a fantastic way to recover. Just sit back in your chair!” 24:33 - How Fitness Helps With Gaming. “Knocking down your mental energy level a little bit [helps you] dial in and be focused. Because your physical body has gotten the intense activity that it needs so that’s not contributing to the noise in your brain. Your body is good and ready to lock in and that allows your mental focus to take over.” 26:09 - Streaming Workouts. Jackson also streams his workouts on Twitch. “People have been really receptive [to the workout content]. … It’s super cool that I can share that stuff. The gym streams are fun for me because I get to chat with my [followers] while I’m working out, it’s always fun to do that. But it also seems to make a big difference for people because we’re talking a ton about the fundamentals of diet and training.” 29:27 - What Jackson Has Learned From WHOOP. “Optimizing your effort and recovery is huge. The more that you’ve got on your plate the more important it is to give each element of your day your best effort but also find a way to make that sustainable so you don’t burn out.” 30:45 - Sleep and Parenthood. Jackson has a 15-month-old baby and he has embraced the challenge of making sure he gets enough sleep as a new dad. “It has been so much fun to track [sleep performance with WHOOP] … I feel like being able to track it and be mindful of it has elevated its performance for me. It’s been a priority that I’ve been putting more of my effort towards.” 32:53 - Training Philosophy. “I say I train like a granny so I don’t have to worry about getting hurt. I don’t generally train super power-lifter heavy. … I think that my focus is on moderate weight, moderate reps. I think I train fairly conservatively and that helps me avoid injury.” 35:12 - Why Bodybuilding? “I love to train, so I do it a lot. If I spend a lot of time training I may as well try and get better at it. If I’m going to try and get better at it I may as well put my efforts up against other peoples’. It’s really fun.” 35:48 - The First Step to Improving Your Fitness. “It’s much less important where you start and way more important that you start at all. … Building the habit and easing into it is fine, but there is undeniably the element of making a decision with your own self, an honest decision with your own self, to do what needs to be done and not make excuses.” 39:48 - Overcoming Poor Recoveries. “You’re not going to nail it every day. The results aren’t necessarily going to be what you want, but I feel like the effort is what you have control over. If you put in your effort every day with your diet, with your training, with your recovery, with your work, with your relationships, whatever. Put in that effort, that’s going to be the best thing you can do.” 40:16 - Connect with Jackson: twitch.tv/bajeera, YouTube: BajheeraWoW, Twitter: BajheeraWoW, Instagram: BajheeraWoW