The following lines represent the first part of the most recent interview with Elliott Hulse as of May 2017. The interview was conducted by 4yourSELF, a group of 4 young men from Germany who run 4yourSELF as an online coaching business focused on the aspects of holistic health.
This was also the first full length interview where both Elliott Hulse and his wife Colleen Hulse answered questions together.
The questions from 4yourSELF are marked with “4YS:”, Elliott Hulse’s answers with “EH:” and Colleen Hulse’s answers with “CH:”.
Colleen starts answering questions in the second part of the interview which will be released soon.
You can find the full video and audio of the original interview at the bottom of this blog page.
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4YS: Hey guys. Welcome to 4yourSELF.
Today we are in “The Hoxton” hotel and we have the opportunity to interview Elliott Hulse, the famous YouTube star with over 1,6 million subscribers on his channel Strength Camp. He is also an entrepreneur. He´s a speaker. He has an event here in Amsterdam tomorrow and we are going to interview him.
I wish all of you very much fun with the interview. Yeah, guys we´re going to rock it. It´s going to be awesome and thanks to Elliott Hulse for the opportunity.
So Mr. Elliott Hulse. Thank you very very much for giving us the chance to interview you today.
4YS: So great to meet you here in Amsterdam. And the first question we would like to ask you is “How are you?”.
But not in a normal kind of way.
How are you really? How do you really feel?
EH: Mmm.. That´s a good question.
4YS: You are well?
EH: I´m well.
4YS: That´s nice.
So you enjoy yourself?
I love it. I love getting the vibes, you know?
It´s just such a great feeling.
So you are here in Amsterdam because of the grounding camp right?
EH: Well yeah and I´m also taking in this beautiful city, enjoying it with my wife.
And a friend of mine has a business consulting business here and I spoke at his event earlier this week. So that was a lot of fun.
4YS: Oh awesome. What do you plan on doing tomorrow when the grounding camp starts? What is it all about?
EH: Oh, well. It´s about bioenergetics and active meditation. Both of which are ways to access your energy, your psychology, your internal power through the body.
So there will be a lot of breathing and moving and dancing and getting uncomfortable, doing things that we don´t normally like to do, because of our blocks against them.
So it´s really an exploration into our depths through our body.
4YS: That can be quite frightening, right?
EH: Well, if it´s not frightening it´s not worth doing, right? That´s the way I look at it. Life is an adventure, so take as many risks as possible. No risk no reward, right?
So there is a ton of reward when you get uncomfortable.
4YS: Is it something you have to do in a group or can you also do it alone at home?
EH: Well, it is something that we are always doing, whether we are conscious of it or not. It´s most obvious in children.
You know, it doesn´t take much for a child to fully express what´s going on with himself or herself.
If they are angry, you know they are angry.
They are going to scream. They are going to stomp. They are going to act out. When they are happy they bounce and they sing and they yell and they move around.
Children are very expressive. They haven´t really received much of the blocks that we accumulate as we get older.
We develop the holding patterns in our muscular system in order to not express ourselves.
For example, we were talking about laughter the other day and you know, when someone is laughing wholeheartedly and is really expressing the joy that´s associated with it, other people can actually become uncomfortable.
They look and they are like, “What´s going on?”
And that can produce shame in a person that´s expressing joy.
What greater tyranny could we exact on another human being, than to make them feel shameful and guilty for feeling their feelings and expressing them?
4YS: Totally! So when does it start? You just said that kids can express their feelings but when does it start, that we hold the feelings in?
EH: Oh! It depends on the culture.
You guys are from Germany. From what I understand that`s shut down quick!
Shut that baby up.
You know, it really depends on the culture, because you then look at like Latin cultures, you know like Italians, the babies are very celebrated and the children end up to be really expressive people. Italian people like, I got some friends and their whole body is engaged while they´re speaking.
It has everything to do with the honoring of their emotions as being children.
So it really depends.
Many of us experience it when we become socialized in school. School is designed to shut you down a little bit, slow you down a little bit, to put you into that little box, that little corner, in order to help facilitate that process.
You´re given shame. You´re given punishment.
That finger comes out at you. Sit down and be a good boy. That´s usually when it starts accumulating.
If you live in a world where everybody is socialized that way, they are constantly imprisoning you with that judgement and that evaluation of how you are being.
4YS: I felt it before, because when I was coming I was like, ”Oh my god! I didn´t find a parking lot. I´m going to miss Elliott the first time. You idiot! You are going to meet Elliott, the man who inspired your life.
You are the way you are because of him and you are not performing.
You didn´t find a parking lot. You´re an idiot. You´re an idiot. Now you want to cry. You´re a baby for that reason. You´re an idiot.”
What would you say? It´s so hard to be with that, to just feel it. You are always judging. Men don´t cry!
What would you say, when people are seeing that and wondering, “What are they talking about and everything.”?
What would you say, to bring that out or to be with that? How does it work easier?
EH: Yeah! You know, we spoke about being uncomfortable in order to really express ourselves.
When you´re holding back those tears… I am using that in particular.
When you´re holding back that sobbing, that sadness, that remorse, whatever it is that you need to get out. That´s out of fear!
That´s 100 % fear!
To me a man is courageous and what greater courage than to own your own feelings? Right?
So to me a man, especially a big man, one who might be considered very masculine, who is willing to allow himself to sob, is a very courageous man.
It takes courage to do that, especially in front of others. To be vulnerable requires a ton of courage.
4YS: Elliott, you mentioned the ego and also the identification with being who we are, like being Elliott Hulse and being Yo Elliott and all of that stuff, like being the personification of the people who want you to be who you were.
What do you think, regarding the ego identification, on how we can get conscious of that and how can we discover our true being?
EH: Well, the ego is purely a function of this brain and it´s usually operating out of fear.
So if we´re going to try to solve the problem at the level at which the problem was created, meaning let´s conceptualize, let´s rationalize, let´s think about how we are going to change, nothing ever gets done, because you are running on the same treadmill.
You actually have to do the thing in order to have the power.
You want to be more expressive? You got to get up.
You got to express yourself. You got to turn on some music.
You got to shout, scream, move, yell, breathe.
That´s where the power is gained.
Not in, you know… Someone asked, “Elliott should I bring a notebook and pens to the workshop?” And I am like, Noooo!
Bring some towels.
I will be facilitating your problem. That´s the problem completely.
So in order to gain the power we got to do the thing and it´s purely action. It´s in the body. It´s movement. It´s expression.
4YS: And the thing you did with quitting YouTube for quite some time was also doing that step, doing the thing you are afraid to do. Was it that way?
EH: Oh absolutely. I kind of thrive on that adventure. I kind of thrive on danger a little bit.
And it was perhaps the most dangerous thing to do at the moment, because my whole business kind of trickled down from it.
Although that wasn´t my original intention.
It´s what it became.
So what courage to let go of something that is popular, that´s pleasing, that´s resourceful, in order to truly honor what´s happening on the inside, right?
I look at so many people who are…
They continue to live within the prison that they have created for themselves, because the world keeps them in there.
It says, “You belong in there! Who do you think you are? That´s where we met you. That´s where you belong.”
And they may be considered successful, but on the inside I am sure there is a part of them that wants to say, “No I am done with this!”
To me my motto is “fuck it, let`s do it!”
So when the time came I was like fuck it, just do it.
You know, deal with the consequences later.
4YS: I remember reading a blog post in the Elliott
Hulse newsletter and I was like: “Oh oh my god he can’t do it!” And at first it was like: “Why is he doing it?”
That was just my ego and “Elliot you can’t stop making videos!”
What am I supposed to do? I was every noon I was like watching your videos.
Like there was the video I remember “why do bad things happen to good people” and I was watching it a few times.
And it’s just like I was so dependent on your videos to move on and that was also hard for me: And I don’t know how it was for you, I don’t know how it was for you Aaron and Matthias.
When I met you last year on the Grow Stronger Experience, after that I was relieved. So I kind of killed my saint. Didn’t you say that… what did what do you say again about killing a saint when you see him on the street?
EH: Well whatever Saint you’re speaking of is purely a figment of your own imagination. What we think of people, how we carry people in our own consciousness is a reflection of who we are.
What’s going on with us, you know.
So the unfortunate thing is when you’re met with the blood and bones and the flesh of it, it’s better when the saint is dead.
If I was dead you could still carry that beautiful image in your head. But you know when you actually meet the individual and you realize that what was constructed up here and what was displayed on camera…
You see 10 minutes of me. You don’t see me when I take a shit and when there’s a stain in my underwear or…
You know what I mean?
Or when I forget something or just be human, you know. So the saying “If you find the Buddha in the street you kill him” has everything to do with us and our own imagination and ego association to that.
4YS: It’s like all the Instagram fitness models. Everything looks perfect there and you’re like “Oh my god! Why don’t I look that way?” And there’s so many girls out there in the fitness world who are like “They look perfect! I can’t do it!” and they get a depression.
EH: It’s a trap too for them. It’s a trap for the person who has the imagination because you’re going to get disappointed. I’m gonna disappoint you.
Whoever hasn’t met me yet, when you do I’ll probably disappoint you.
But it’s also a trap for the individual and I recognized that right away when I started getting emails and comments from people.
I even made a video shortly after that where I said “Don’t idolize me!” because the reason why I made that video is cuz I quickly realized “Oh shit they’re trapping me!”
They’re holding me in a place that I’m not choosing to be or nor do I want to stay.
I much rather shit, fart, fuck and smoke weed, you know.
I don’t want to be perfect cuz that’s a hard role to play you know what I’m saying?
4YS: And how do you cope with being famous? With being recognized on the street as a normal human being?
EH: I smile and take pictures. It’s just been… it it’s just a part of the deal, you know. I don’t… I can’t think about it because I don’t even know where that person is coming from, you know.
When you broke into tears I see what you’re expressing. I don’t know what’s happening because I don’t know what my words have provided.
I don’t know who I am to you.
I have no idea.
We meet someone and it happens all the time, you know.
I went to a gym recently and a young man stopped me and he really wanted me to understand “You don’t get it! Elliot you saved my life!” and he began to explain how he was on the verge. He said “I was ready to blow my head off and and I watched your videos and the reason why I’m standing here today is because something you said in that video!”
All I can do is say: “That’s pretty cool! Wanna take a picture?” cuz I don’t know what that feels like. I wasn’t there! I wasn’t talking to him, you know.
It’s a big difference between if there was an exchange of energy and he was ready to jump off the bridge and I said stop and then I started talking to him.
And then he gave me some sort of gratitude I would understand like “Yeah good for us! I’m happy I was there too!”
I made a fucking video one day cuz it’s just what I do and it does whatever it does
4YS: It’s funny… it’s the dichotomy between the inner and the outer world.
And when I try to tell you “You made so much! You do you mean so much to me!” I have that picture within me and I try to fit it in the outside world.
So I want you to be inside of me and I want you to be within me because you’ve always been with me, like the picture and everything you said.
But that’s just like all the thoughts I had about that.
I know it’s mine and I am that.
EH: Yes! You are that! It couldn’t have touched you. When I say “I” I don’t even mean “I”.
I mean whatever moved through me and was projected on that camera was purely a reflection of who you are and where you are right now in your life.
So really I can’t take credit nor do I want to take credit.
When they say “Elliot you saved my life!” I say “No you saved your life!”
Because you chose to watch that video.
You chose to hear what was being said.
And you chose to take a particular action.
You’re really to thank yourself!
I have a teacher and she gave me some really good advice a month ago.
And it really helped me out in some challenges I was having.
And I took some particular action because of what she said to me.
And so I came back – we meet once a month – and I came back and I spoke to her the following month.
And I said to her: “Stephanie when you told me XYZ I went and did ABC and it made all the difference in the world! Thank you!”
I’m just thanking. I was like “Thank you so much for saying that!”
And she goes “Well, Elliott… First of all I’ll receive your gratitude. I’ll take it. But you ought to know that you wouldn’t have heard me had you not been listening.”
It sounds so simple but yet it was so profound.
She could have said it but if I wasn’t listening, meaning: I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t open, I wasn’t available, I wasn’t willing to really receive and take action on what she was saying then what she did was useless.
Had everything to do with me.
4YS: It’s a very important point here. You do everything with yourself and you have to take your life into your own hands.
When you started out you just did fitness videos right? You did videos about deadlifts, how to deadlift, how to train to be a better football player.
And then it evolved into telling people your opinion on a situation in their life.
What is your position right now?
What do you feel? Do you still feel like a fitness coach or do you feel like a combination of a fitness coach and a life coach?
What is it you see yourself in?
EH: So that is a great question because it’s one that I wrestled with for a long time but I don’t any longer.
Because that has everything to do with labels and has everything to do with being in a box.
It has everything to do with diminishing the truth of who we are.
Even our name is a trap right? Because when you say “Elliott Hulse”, well there are all these associations with it.
Words are such traps. Even the word “God”. Our ancestors didn’t even use that word a lot. Oftentimes it was unspeakable because they realized the minute you say that word all the associations – be them positive or negative – arrive with it.
So it’s a trap.
I have really kind of given up.
Now when you’re marketing and you’re trying to get your message out there it’s good for people to know what you are. But the truth of the matter is that it’s so much more freeing to say: “I’m just whatever. Who am I to you? Great, that’s what I am! To you? Okay cool! To him? …”
I might meet seven different people and I’m seven different things to them and they’re all right.
I began that search very early on because even racially it’s very easy for you guys to say that you’re white.
It’s very easy for someone who’s clearly black to say “Well, I’m black. I’m African-American.”
Who are you? What are you? As a kid I couldn’t even answer that question in a racially diverse community.
So I never knew what I was and it’s all right.
In fact it’s kind of an advantage because I can shape-shift as much as I want.
The minute I found some people trying to label me “Well Elliott you’re a strength coach” and when I started talking about other things besides strength, people would get upset.
“Elliott who do you think you are?”
Who do you think I am? I don’t know!
That’s the biggest trap so I’m nothing and I’m everything. That’s it.
4YS: I think when I started out developing myself and doing sports and all that stuff… most people who know you as Sebastian or Matthias or Elliott or Colleen… they say: “Wait! What are you doing there? You are not be normal! You’re changing!”
Why do you think it is that way?
EH: Look at the trees outside! These trees are yellow. They weren’t yellow a couple weeks ago I’m sure, right? This one’s still green and shortly they’re going to turn orange and brown…
It’s fucking nature! Nature evolves in these cycles. Nobody looks at the trees and says: these horrible trees were once green but now they’re yellow. And you know judging the tree or being ashamed of the tree or angry at the tree.
No! Because we give the tree room to grow. We give the tree room to go through its cycles. Where and when did we stop appreciating, recognizing and honoring the cycles in our own lives and our ability?
It is not only our ability but our responsibility to grow, to be more than we could possibly be today.
4YS: You started implementing the cycles of your life into your training routine, right? And into the kinds of sports you do?
EH: Well maybe I have attention deficit. Because I kind of get bored being one way, doing one thing, you know. I’ve got friends who are powerlifting from the time they were 14 and you know they’re in their 50s and I’m like “Boy! Don’t you get fucking bored of that?”
So you know if I’m going to try something I’m gonna go to the other extreme, right? I mean I’m a professional strong man… Why not try yoga? It’s on the other end of the spectrum.
Life is too full to be stuck.
4YS: What do you think about the successful path? Like being successful… the ego driven success. All the people like doing online marketing and getting financially free and then you’re gonna go to the Maldives and do nothing for rest of your life or drive big cars.
What’s associated with that in your view of that?
EH: Well it has everything to do once again with where that person is.
You know yesterday a similar question came up with regard to my rise to success, you know. What I did early on in order to achieve a certain level.
And it was fueled 100% by fear.
I got really successful being fueled by fear.
I have a family… I have four children… I had all kinds of responsibilities…
So I kind of honor it you know when I see somebody operating in that particular way and thinking that particular way I no longer judge because it’s where that person is.
It’s what they’re being fueled by and whether or not they’re enjoying it is really the question.
If you really and truly enjoy driving a six-figure car – 200,000 or 250,000 dollar car – because you love cars then that’s the greatest thing ever.
Then please absolutely get more. You’re living a life of love and if that is what gives you pleasure then I guess high fives all around.
To me the thing is we’ve got to be honest with ourselves. So here’s where the trap of the fancy car comes in: Instead of exploring ourselves, our own values or what it is it needs to be successful to us, we look at that guy: “He’s happy. He’s got that $300,000 car. I think I need a $300,000 car!”
Where you know for me just my own values… With three hundred thousand dollars I much rather buy a farm, a little piece of land or something.
Or take my family on a vacation and teach them things around the world or start a new business.
There are just different things I want to do it.
300,000 dollars for a car… To me I’m going to maybe drive it once or twice and be like “Don’t care.”
Just doesn’t do anything for me.
4YS: But it’s cool you mentioned if you love it then fucking do it. Do it.
EH: I’ll spend a lot of money on some things that people yeah look at as frivolous.
I mean food is one of them. I will actually go above and beyond to spend more on food.
For some reason I feel like if I spend fifty dollars on a steak it’s going to nourish me better.
I know I am bullshitting myself but that’s where I’ll spend in my affluent way, you know.
Clothes and cars don’t matter that much. Other things that some people might think are weird I’ll spend more on.
4YS: One thing that I wanted to ask you for a very long time is your take on being a father and having a family.
What happened inside of you when you started your family?
How did you change together with your children?
How did you change when your children grew up?
EH: I don’t think about it. I don’t really know. I mean as far as Colleen and I getting married we’ve been dating since we were very young and it was kind of just normal.
It was natural. I didn’t think about it. It was kind of like: “She’s gonna be my wife because that’s who I love.”
I had four siblings growing up. It was very clear that we wanted to have children.
So when you love someone and the mommy and daddy get together and they love each other and make love to one another the stork comes and drops a baby right?
Yeah man we’re doing it! We’re gonna make babies and so you know we didn’t think about it. We just did it and here they came.
I gotta say that I was probably my most heady with regard to children when the first one came right cuz like… At the first one you’ve never done this before.
I’ve had four now so by the fourth one I was just like: “Let’s get this over with. Here it comes! Good throw him in the back with the rest.”
But when the first one was coming I started reading all these books.
That was of great value to be completely honest.
I began studying natural health and holistic health right about the same time that we got married and started having children.
So I wanted to instill my new values into our family right away.
We started making choices about how we’re going to set the path for what we’re doing.
It began with natural home births. We committed to doing that.
Nursing the children. This is a lot of Colleen. This is a lot of her taking that and being responsible for it in that particular way.
I couldn’t give the kids milk but she decided that and realized that it is the best way to nurture our children.
We also chose the value of keeping her home. I didn’t have any money. We were thousands of dollars in debt. We moved to a new city and state and then we decided that well, we’ll struggle.
I much rather struggle and not have the fancy things that my friends have where both husband and wife work.
Because my values are more important than my material possessions. So we made that value call where she stayed home and cared for the kids while I went out. I guess that would probably be the most resourceful answer for you.
Before the ball started rolling we became very clear about the values by which we wanted to raise our family and we stuck to it in the face of adversity.
4YS: You told us about implementing holistic health into the lifestyle of your family. What does health mean to you right now?
EH: Well health is our natural state. Anything that blocks health is what causes disease.
So I see it as our natural right. I see it as our natural way. To me it’s just a matter of truth. Health is truth.
4YS: Simple answer… I thought health was dogmatic. I thought you have to be vegan to be healthy…
EH: And you know what… If that’s the truth for you… That’s why I can’t really give a specific answer. Because if the truth for you is that you need to eat as a vegan for you to be healthy and you’re happy with that…
And you feel good with it both objectively and subjectively…
Because some people say “Oh yeah! I’m doing great. I’m healthy.”
It’s like: You’re 30 years old and your teeth are brown and your hair is falling out…
I don’t know if that’s really working for you.
So it’s a subjective knowing that I’m healthy but it’s also being very logical and rational about it.
Like: Can you get a boner? And if you haven’t had a steak in six months and you’re 25 years old and you can’t get a boner you’re probably malnourished. So let’s take a look at that.
4YS: A lot of people don’t think about that right? It’s like the video with you and JP Sears and the banana “…this is the only thing that I have to eat.”
EH: Yeah JP is great. He gets it.
4YS: What I wondered about a long time ago was conspiracy theories. People saying “Oh you are saying conspiracy theories! It’s just the truth! You’re being a slave of the system!”
And I see you sharing some things on Facebook like people on the Russian border and all that stuff…
Where’s the balance? Because when we do get involved too much that it’s still fear.
How do you find the truth? How do you see what works for you?
With all these things… the government is fucked up and people want to control us and the matrix and everything…
How do you move through that?
What do you believe?
Or what do you follow internally?
EH: Well I think you just answered the question. It’s a matter of internal following.
I’m an emotional guy and I kind of like fear.
Fear fuels me.
So if I share the thing about how the US and Russia are going head to head over Syria right now, I kind of get like “Yeah shit is about to go down!”
And it might be some strange masochistic gene that I have. But I’m like “If shit is gonna go down I want to know and I want to be a part of it.”
I want to see the thing happen in the same way that we spoke about being courageous enough to go through the challenges that are associated with our personal growth.
I see that as a challenge. I see these conflicts as opportunities that humankind is going through because it’s a part of our evolution we have to have that pain.
We have to have that challenge. We are going to have to have these conflicts.
You have to go through the dark night before the Sun rises.
So to me, I get just as excited about the fearful ideas associated with a dark night because the sun’s coming up right behind it. I don’t see it as a doomsday.
People say like the end of the world. What they’re not really recognizing is that in 2012, you know that with the Mayan calendar and what not…
Yes it’s the end of a particular consciousness.
It’s the end of a particular epoch.
It’s the end of a particular cycle.
And that’s the most exciting thing because with every end comes a brand new beginning. So I kind of thrive on that.
And as far as conspiracy being a theory: It’s no longer a theory. It’s very clear there’s a conspiracy. They say theory because that’s a way to keep you trapped in your ignorance.
It doesn’t take very much to look at our monetary policy and recognize where we’ve been lied to. It doesn’t take very much for us to look into our foreign policy and particularly living as a part of the American Empire to look at where we’ve been lied to.
It doesn’t take very much to look at the manipulation of our people through various programs that really keep us trapped.
You don’t have to look very far. You don’t have to theorize. You just open your eyes. There is a conspiracy. There’s this stuff and the Internet has allowed that to happen on such a greater scale.
For anybody who sounds like they’re speaking nuts just do a quick google search and you’ll see it’s there.
4YS: When you started studying internet marketing and the internet came up and you also mentioned in an interview how it was when you really got the gates opened to the truth.
Because the internet was: Everyone can talk about everything all the time if they have the access to the internet. Now it’s like ninety percent got access to it I believe in Germany and the US.
How was that for you when you discovered the internet?
EH: I took the greatest advantage of the internet when I answered your question with regard to raising our family.
The fear that comes up when you’re a new father and how fear animates you to want to resolve things and take action caused me to do some deep study into natural health.
I was a trainer to begin with but when I realized that I’m going to have a family, I decided to really use the internet as a tool to explore new concepts and ideas.
What we’re doing is: Our generation is creating a new set of values for ourselves based on the information that we have. Our parents didn’t have that opportunity. Our parents took the values that were given to them.
What the Internet has allowed our generation to do is say: “Hmm… Which values do I want to choose?”
I’m a little bit older than you guys so I’m kind of a pioneer in this I realize.
If I’m going to raise a family I’m going to raise them on values I choose and the internet allowed me to explore those options.
4YS: It is pretty valuable but still very frightening right because when you grew up in 1850 and your father was a carpenter you became a carpenter too and right now your father can be a carpenter and you can be like… an astronaut or something.
And especially guys our age or just in general people our age they are very frightened.
Because in school they are just locked in.
So is there a way to figure out what your passion really is? Do you know something?
EH: You’ve got to get into your heart. And that’s where bioenergetics and active meditation come in. It’s about letting go of those walls that have been built up not just in our minds but our body is our mind.[…]
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