Get This Strong to Build a Log Cabin (w/Brian Alsruhe)

Today we’re talking to strongman athlete Brian Alsruhe, who actually joins the BarBend Podcast for a second time. Recently, Brian has been focusing most of his time on building a homestead in the woods, completely by hand and without the use of power tools. We discuss what it means to use strength in a real-world environment, along with how building a log cabin mirrors strongman-style training. This podcast also touches on the human connection with nature, feats of endurance long before electricity, and we even touch on Bigfoot and other topics in cryptozoology. Don’t miss it.

Brian Alsruhe BarBend Podcast

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Brian Alsruhe about:

  • Brian’s transition from in the gym strength to building outdoors with his hands (3:10)
  • How strongman events — like Fingal’s Fingers and farmer’s carries — replicate real-world needs and feats of strength (07:30)
  • Changing the type of content Brian produces for his audience, including Barbells and Bushcraft (11:00)
  • “Risking it” without a safety net (15:00)
  • How to start learning when things seem so overwhelming at first (19:30)
  • Why clearing land is some of the hardest physical labor anyone can do (23:00)
  • Brian’s land, local wildlife, and building new history (29:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

The respect that I have for people who went out west at the beginning and were fighting brutally cold winters and building their own house on minimal food with six kids. I’ve such respect for those people and what they were able to overcome. It makes me feel like a great big wuss, like I don’t know anything about surviving. You cut out the electricity and I’m in trouble.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today I’m talking to strongman athlete Brian Alsruhe, who actually joins the BarBend podcast for a second time. Recently, Brian has been focusing most of his time on building a homestead in the woods completely by hand and without the use of power tools. We’re talking logs that weigh hundreds of pounds here.

 

We discuss what it means to use strength in a real-world environment, along with how building a log cabin mirrors strongman style training. This podcast also touches on the human connection with nature, feats of endurance long before electricity. We even talk about Bigfoot and other topics in cryptozoology. Don’t miss it.

 

Before we get into that, I want to give a quick shout out to today’s episode sponsor, Tempo, the artificial intelligence powered home gym. Tempo combines expert training from its coaches at its pioneering AI technology to provide members with hundreds of classes, many among them focusing on strength and hypertrophy with individualized feedback and progress tracking.

 

Learn more about Tempo, including their expanding line of home strength and fitness tracking equipment at tempo.fit.

 

Hey, Brian, thanks for joining us. It’s your second time on the podcast because…

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Thanks for having me back.

David TaoDavid Tao

Thanks for coming on. We loved you so much the first time. It was actually the year…I think we released it in 2020. The years all bled together. It was one of our most popular podcasts. You have just like a rabid audience. They love you, man. They can’t get enough.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

They’re awesome. Man, I’ll be honest. I don’t know why they like me, but I’m glad they do. [laughs] I really am. It’s been great.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s like the first person you ask out on a date, and they say yes. You’re like, “I don’t know why they said yes, but I’m glad they did.”

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

You want to hang out with this? Like, why would you want to do that? [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing you’ve been really occupying your time with recently and posting a lot about is you’d moved on to some new land and you’re building, man. You’re building structures and homes and stuff from the ground up. Talk a little bit about how you got into that.

 

I’m from rural Kentucky originally, so it’s really interesting for me. I know people grow up who were building log cabins. I haven’t seen that in a while. Talk to us about how you got into that, and then we can talk about the carryover — being a Strongman to, hey, how that’s useful with actually using your hands.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

It’s been huge. It’s been huge. Basically, just about a year ago, I moved onto a piece of land that is 27 acres. It’s a large parcel. It’s almost entirely wilderness. For people who didn’t know, I’m getting over a really bad disease where I was throwing up like 50 times a day. It was a really harsh spot. I was almost dead a couple times.

 

In order to start healing, I moved to this piece of land and kind of tried to slow everything down. You know what I mean? Like try to get back to basics of what’s important in life and what I care about. I grew up in a house where I had a large piece of woods where I was in there building forts, doing things like that all the time.

 

When I moved to this new land, I knew that I wanted to reconnect with that and get more involved with bushcraft. I mean, I hadn’t made a fire without a match or paper or anything like that for years.

 

Especially with the pandemic hitting, it seemed like this is probably some good stuff to have an idea about, you know what I mean? How to get your own food, how to purify water, how to make fire, how to do basic things like that. I started out doing that.

 

I’ve always had a passion for that kind of stuff, but I’ve never really had the means to do it. Now that I have this land, I decided that I would go full in. I’m actually building a log cabin by hand with zero power tools, just an ax and a [indecipherable 4:36] knife and stuff like that. It’s been an experience.

 

I’m learning from books because I don’t have Internet at my new house. I’m actually in my wife’s therapy office right now. She’s a counselor. I took over her office so I could have Internet connection because at my house, I don’t have it. I’m just trying to learn all those things.

 

Man, I tell you what. The respect that I have for people who went out west at the beginning and were fighting brutally cold winters and building their own house on minimal food with six kids. I have such respect for those people and what they were able to overcome. It makes me feel like a great big wuss, like I don’t know anything about surviving. You cut out the electricity and I’m in trouble.

 

I’m trying to reconnect and get back to those things, but it’s been quite a learning experience. It really has.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk a little bit about the carryover from in the gym to real world strength. Look, it’s one thing to pick up 500 pounds off the floor on a barbell that’s calibrated and carefully loaded with clips. Moving a log or felling a tree, and then having to utilize that wood, man, that’s a whole different ball game.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

It is totally brutal. I grew up doing construction because my dad’s a construction worker by trade. He owned his own business. I was always working with his things like that, so I had a manual labor background, which I truly believe helped me a lot in Strongman.

 

When you actually look at the movements of Strongman, you are competing in manual labor. You’re picking up a heavy, cumbersome object trying to run it over there, put it over there. It’s that kind of dumb stuff.

 

That is exactly what I do all the time. I cannot believe how much using something like power tools, like a power saw, like a chainsaw…I love my chainsaw, especially now [laughs] that I’ve had to cut up so many 15-inch diameter logs with a little hand saw.

 

For one particular spot, the very first layer of my log cabin, I needed to saw one of the logs in half, long ways — not cutting it in half, like long ways — it took me six and a half hours for one log, and just constant, all day long, just sawing away, sawing away.

 

You look at those things, and it does incredible things for teaching you patience and one thing after another, because if you look it as a whole, it’s very overwhelming.

 

The Strongman training has prepared me well for it because every single thing is like a pickup and take, carry and load. It’s like a big log are thrown up on your shoulder like you’re Arnold in “Commando,” or whatever the case may be, but it’s all about using really, true functional strength.

 

You’re on uneven ground, you’re swinging an ax, you’re carrying big logs, you’re wrestling things around, and doing things like that. A lot of my actual training now, I don’t even need to do as much Strongman because I’m doing Strongman in life. I haven’t done a Sandbag Carry in almost a year because I make my own fire wood and everything.

 

Every single day there’s some sort of [indecipherable 7:44] weight to carry. Even weird events in Strongman like the Fingal’s Fingers where you have to pick up a long pole and walk it up with your arms, that’s exactly what you’re doing with a log. You’re deadlifting it up, you’re walking it up, get it on your shoulders, and then trying to squat it up and yoke walk it over, basically.

 

I can’t believe how many times I’m doing these things and I put out a video about it, and people are like, “You just basically did Fingal’s Fingers, a Farmer’s Carry, a Sandbag Carry.” It’s all the exact same stuff. It’s just pieces of wood instead of stuff that we actually made in the gym.

David TaoDavid Tao

A lot of people forget that, especially in the sport of Strongman. Look, it’s a sport made for TV, but the inspiration for these events comes from a long lineage of feats of strengths throughout history. Those that are inspired by people having to do real things, having to move logs, having to move rocks.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Stones. You look at the Manhood stones in Scotland. For years, a rite of passage for boys growing up in so many different areas of the world was to pick up a big, heavy rock, and if you could put it on this shelf, then you were considered a man now.

 

Now, we had to create hard work in a gym setting, and things like that. It’s tough to find a rite of passage as a young man now coming up, or a young woman or anything. Just trying to make that transition in to manhood is like, “Oh, I got my license changed, am I a man now? I can legally drink a beer, does that make me a man now?”

 

So many things in so many societies over time have been based of, “Can you physically pull your own weight? If we take down a deer, can you help carry it back to help feed everybody? Are you physically capable of doing these things?”

 

That is definitely something that’s been lost out of our culture that I wish would come back. Even being able to do the deadlift, so many people go to the gym, but they don’t deadlift their squat and things like that. You’re like, “You’re missing out on a whole aspect.”

 

It’s not only the physical benefits, but also the mental benefits of knowing how bad it sucks to do a set of 20 squats when at 12 you want to quit, but you push through, and you keep going.

 

That’s stuff that our ancestors and people who came over here at the beginning…Well, everyone’s ancestors in the past, in order to survive, had to be able to do so many crazy feats of strength. They knew so many random things from how to build a house, how to do this.

 

I can’t even change my own oil. [laughs] There’s so many modern things that we have solutions for that I miss. I wish we could bring them back into our society some. It has helped me become a better man at 40 years old. Spending time in solitude.

 

May is mental health month. The amount of mental health that I get from being away from the Internet and spending time alone in the wilderness reconnecting with things like that, it’s profound. It’s been absolutely amazing. Man, I can’t recommend getting in nature enough for anybody, anybody.

 

I know it’s not easy for a lot of people. If they can, even if you get to a park, and you look at some birds or some water. It does something inside your soul. It calms you down a little bit. Man, I absolutely love this journey.

 

It’s been a whole pivot in my channel. I decided about a year ago, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep making lifting videos. Not that I don’t have more to say or more to do, it’s that I felt I was repeating myself. How much can you say about the squat when you’ve already made 20 squat videos?

 

I was like the last thing that I want to do is become an individual who is repeating the same nonsense so that I can sell more programs or I can continue in this field, or whatever. I was like, “Well, if you’re going to be true to yourself, what do you want to do?” I’m like, “I want to build tree forts in the woods. That’s what I want to do right now.” [laughs]

 

That’s what I started doing. Some people came along, some people didn’t. At the end of the day, I still make plenty of lifting material and things like that. This is a whole another side that I’m trying to help share with people.

 

It’s not for everybody, but for me, the two things…I started a thing called Barbell & Bushcraft. The two are so similarly related. The physical demands, everything like that, except when it comes to bushcraft, you don’t have a choice. You can’t be like, “Well, my set is done.”

 

You’re like, “Well, no. I need to purify water. I need to get food. I need to build this shelter.” It’s been really, really cool. I can’t say enough cool things about it.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ll get back to the conversation in just a moment, but first a quick shout out to our episode sponsor, Tempo. You have more options than ever when it comes to working out at home. With Tempo, you get the power of artificial intelligence combined with expertise from some of the world’s leaders in fitness.

 

The state-of-the-art equipment can track your movements and provide real-time feedback, all from the comfort of your home. Learn more at Tempo.fit.

 

There’s something neat about if you think back…For some people this is a tough thing to do, a tough mental exercise. You think back and you think, “OK. My life now. Would 10-year-old me or 12-year-old me look at adult me and go, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool’?” Be the person you wanted to be when you were 10 or 12.

 

This is an expression of that. This is definitely an expression of that.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

100 percent. 100 percent. I’ve asked myself that question so many times. Would I be proud of the man that I am if I was 10 years old looking at that guy and being like would I want to be like that guy? Would I be like, “Man, there’s a lot of things in that guy’s life that I don’t want”?

 

Believe me, I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life, and a lot of things that I’m not proud of. I think overall, especially when I decided to…My previous job, prior to owning a gym, was counterterrorism. I was never home. I wasn’t ever around and things like that. It was a very hard decision because it was a good, steady paycheck from the federal government. The government is a tough job to quit.

 

It came down to like, “Are you happy?” I was like, “Not anymore. There was a time, maybe, but not anymore, so it’s time to move on.” I moved on and did the gym thing for a while. Then, I’m like, “You know what? Are you still happy?” I’m like, “You’re 40 years old. It’s getting harder to reinvent yourself the older you get,” but then I’m like, “Man, 40 is nothing anymore.”

 

When my dad was 40, it was a much different 40 than I’m at 40. He was a dad at 40. He was older, set in his ways of things. I feel I know nothing. I feel I learn new things every day. I’m morphing. I’m changing all the time. As long as I continue, and humans in general, as long as you continue to adapt and become better.

 

That’s my gym name, everything is based of never say. The idea is never satisfied or never satiated. It doesn’t mean you’re not happy or content, but it means if you can get better physically, then do it. Do everything to the best of your ability. If you can get better mentally, do it, emotionally, everything.

 

It’s about becoming a full human being, and being willing to get outside of your comfort zone and essentially sacrifice everything you are for everything you could become. Man, when you’re looking like a steady paycheck, that’s a hard thing to step through and live with.

 

I’ll say I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but I’m most proud of the things where I was like there’s no safety net. There is no anything, and you chose to risk it. Whether it worked out or didn’t work out, it doesn’t matter because you’re not going to be sitting on your porch 30 years from now going, “I wonder what would have happened if I had started gym.”

 

I wonder what would have happened, you know what I mean? That is probably one of my biggest fears is having those types of regrets later in my life of I just didn’t try. Not even that I failed or whatever, but that I was too afraid to take the steps to try because that is not living. That’s something else that I hope I never do.

David TaoDavid Tao

You mentioned something that’s an important part of this. This is one reason, Brian, I love talking to you. You bring up everything holistically. I’ve noticed you never talk about something that’s in isolation. Humans are complex. We’re complex people. We’re still figuring stuff out about ourselves as we age.

 

Something you mentioned is being able to say, “I know nothing,” or being able to admit there’s a body of knowledge or all these bodies of knowledge that I don’t have. As we get older, it’s harder to admit that because it’s almost saying we didn’t learn anything in the previous course of our lives.

 

It doesn’t mean that. No human can learn everything. What are some things that you do to remind yourself that, in many ways in life and learning new activities, you can be a novice, and you can open yourself up to new bodies of knowledge and ways of doing things.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Absolutely. I try to go into everything with a white belt mentality. I have a big background in martial arts. I still do Jiu Jitsu and stuff like that. I do some MMA and things. The one thing that I learned…Actually when I came out of college, I got a degree that meant nothing to me. I wasn’t ever going to use it. I opened a karate school.

 

I thought, because I was the top guy at that school, that I was a top guy. Then, sure enough, a guy walked in one time. He was literally 35 years old, and he was a Jiu Jitsu guy. I’m a stand-up Muay Thai kick boxer guy and trying to learn some Jiu Jitsu stuff. That was back when UFS was pretty in its infancy and stuff like that.

 

We get on the ground. I know a little bit of Jiu Jitsu. I’m strong, in shape, like 22, ready to go. This guy mops the floor with me to the point that I was literally incapacitated. I couldn’t do anything. It wasn’t even I was putting up a fight. I sucked.

 

I’ve had so many lessons like that in my life for like I judged somebody. I was like, “Man, I got this guy,” and then you don’t. It’s like whether it is looking at a person or a new set of skills, or even the same set of skills, so many people…

 

I’ve been lifting for 25-30 years. Some people would consider me an expert and I’m like, “I’m not an expert at all man.” I know next to nothing about this. All I know is the very basics. The more that I learn, the more that I realize that I really don’t have a broad wealth of knowledge of this.

 

I know what I know. I have seen what worked, and I try to stick with those things, but there is so much to learn in every single field.

 

Something that’s been very exciting for me — I’ve done the same thing as far as fitness and lifestyle thing like that for so long — but when I started doing this bushcraft stuff and started learning a new skill, so many neurons in my brain just started…I started making new neural pathways.

 

It was like the world was so exciting again because, right now, even if you learn a new movement, if you learn a new Strongman movement, or you pick up some CrossFit different exercises and things like that, when you start learning them, it is so much fun to learn a new variation, or a new thing, or new something, even if you suck at it.

 

Your brain just going, “Wow, I’m a sponge again.” I get to mess around with something that I don’t have expectations or the result that I know is coming. What that can do for not only your brain but your just whole life because you get excited about living again because new things excite us.

 

As long as every single time you go into that, you don’t look at it as a big, overwhelming thing. I mentioned earlier, I know absolutely nothing about working on cars or anything like that. The reason why I don’t is because it seems so overwhelming. I popped the hood of a car, and I’m like, “I don’t have the first clue where to start.”

 

That’s how a lot of people feel about weights. That’s how a lot of people feel about bushcraft. That’s how a lot of people feel about everything because everything’s hard at first. Riding a bike was hard at first. As long as you go in humbly, and you just focus on one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

 

You can’t take on more than you should at a time. You’re just taking small goals, small steps, and then just refocusing the next step, and small things add up and become big things very quickly.

 

This is something that I’ve stressed, especially in last year on my YouTube channel, is that if people have been in a rut, especially with the coronavirus and things like that, hitting in.

 

How many people got into a different type of workout, like hiking or body weight stuff or calisthenics, or they started because they had to. The world shifted them into a different place and they had to do something, and then they opened up a whole new world.

 

A lot of people saw a lot of really great gains and progress because of their body responding to new stress and new stimulus for that adaptation.

 

I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to start learning something new. It doesn’t mean that you need to train it like you’re going on to become a world champion, but having a cursory knowledge of many things is so useful later in life. As I get older, the more being able to fix a lawn mower, to carve something, to do whatever, like all those things add up and it all matters. It does.

David TaoDavid Tao

Back to the bush craft. I have to ask a few more specific things that just popped to my head over this interview.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Of course.

David TaoDavid Tao

Sorry about moving around a bunch. Clearing the land, did you have to…Soil is really heavy. If you’ve never built…One of the things I did growing up was I built a lot of trails. In growing up in Kentucky, you’re digging into the side of a hill, building the steps, using old railroad ties to put them in, soil is the heaviest thing.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I know.

David TaoDavid Tao

Tell me a little bit about clearing the land for your cabin. Did you have to move to the rocks? How did you do that manually? If it’s up to me, I’m going to move a Caterpillar in there and I’m just going to clear it out, but if you’re doing it without electricity, it’s a different ball game.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Yep. My land is on a big hill because there’s a large river. If anyone watch my videos, you’ll see there’s a river down there. I’m building the cabin next to the river.

 

The hill that leads down there literally needs switchbacks on the trail because it’s so steep. Literally, if you sprint it up, you’re having a heart attack type of state.

 

Once I got down there, I obviously couldn’t bring in any type of equipment. I first started out using a machete and things like that and just start hacking away at stuff, but the thing about the wilderness, when it’s real wilderness, is it takes over.

 

I’m getting to the point right now where everything’s starting to turn green, and it just slowly closes until it becomes a tunnel. I started hacking with a machete and things like that to clear it, but stuff would just come back.

 

Then I just end up taking deerskin gloves and literally weeding the woods between all the stickers. Deer spread stickers around. All the stickers, all the bushes, everything, literally hand-pulling it all out. It does make it a bit longer, but man, you want to talk about exhaust…

 

I’ve trained hard my life and I’ve done a lot of things. My old job and stuff that were hard. There have been days when I come up from clearing trails, and literally it’s like I overdid it in the gym. Can’t regulate my body temperature, almost like some CNS fatigue type of symptoms. Like in a bad spot, because you worked so hard.

 

Something like clearing trails is you’ll start and you’ll get a little clean spot. Then you’re like, “Well, I got to keep going on that, and I got to keep going on that. Just a little bit more. Just a little bit more.”

 

I’ve had some of the hardest physical manual labor days of my life on this land. A lot of them have been clearing the land to make it feasible for people to be able to access it, especially for me with carrying logs along.

 

You want it as clear as you can because if you can drag them, you’ll drag them. If not, if you’re walking with a log on your shoulder, and some of these logs, literally five, six, seven hundred pounds. If you have something on your shoulder and you misstep, it’s probably not going well. It’s probably not ending well for you.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Yeah, we’re not going to talk about that too much there.

 

Here’s [indecipherable 24:33] , obviously, you put a ton of work, and you still have a lot of work to go. This is a year’s long process to build a homestead. Do you have any dreams for an outdoor gym space? You have the logs, you can get the rocks, you have the implements, is that part of the plan?

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Yeah, I would absolutely love to do that. Everyone wants me to make a Strongman log, and that’s going to be easy. Compared to building a cabin, making a Strongman log is joke. I’m like yes, I’m going to do that. I’m going to have some pull-up bars out there, some big natural stones, some big stones and things like that.

 

It’s going to be cool. I have a couple of my friends that used to all train in my gym together, they’re coming over to do that type of thing. I have a home gym. We’re training in the home gym, and then we’re taken off down to the river. We’re doing a big hike and getting in the water and hopefully going tubing and things like that.

 

I’m trying to combine it all. I remember hearing stories way back in the day about Arnold and Franco, people like that, grabbing weights and carrying them into the wilderness. They all brought a bunch of meat, and they made a campfire. They lifted weights in the middle of the forest, cooked on a campfire and just camped out.

 

I’m like that’d be a pretty ideal day. I’m going to try to set that up. It’d be a good time.

David TaoDavid Tao

What comes into mind for me — you’ve probably seen this on Instagram — the gym in Tulum, by the beach in Mexico, where all the influencers go and they have the wooden weights. It’s cool, but it’s also in a resort town. It is neat. I’m not…Whoever the people who started that gym, it’s a killer idea. It’s amazing.

 

Honestly, anything that gets people active and lifting weights, I’m for it, so it’s not to knock them. This is almost in a way the opposite. That’s almost built for Instagram influencers, but there’s a different thing where you’re in the woods, the lighting is not perfect because you’re in it. It’s like, “Here’s a stump. Pick up the stump. Here’s some rocks.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I tell you that’s how Strongman started. It was a bunch of guys sitting around going, “I bet you can’t pick that up and put it on top of that.” That’s definitely how some of this stuff started. There’s no doubt. Guys are just bored. They’re doing it TV. It’s thousands of years going like, “Hey, see if you can do that. I bet you can’t.”

David TaoDavid Tao

We as humans, there’s something innate about, “I bet you can’t do that.” I don’t care what language it’s in. It’s something that we’re wired for if someone says we can’t do something.

 

The stereotype is that Americans are the worst about that. We’re pretty bad about it, but everyone thinks that. You got to build your own theories of challenges out there. Not that you necessarily would, but you could charge money for a weekend for that. I’d be the first to sign up.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

It would be a blast. It really would. It’s like you could do…My wife and I talking about making a retreat place. I mentioned earlier, she’s a counselor, mental health. She works with a lot of couples and things like that.

 

It’ll be awesome to be able to bring a couple out and have some mental-health sessions, along with physical-health sessions, and getting out in nature. Getting people out of our comfort zone, high ropes types of courses, and things like that. It’d be so cool to have a mixture of climbing plus all of it. It would be great.

 

That is in the future. Right now though, I’ll tell you what, man, I moved on to this land thinking that I would have all this extra time, but land makes you work. It makes you work.

 

I had an idea, but I’ve never lived on 27 acres of land. There’s a lot of stuff, like picking up sticks after a windstorm takes all day long. It’s been great, but man, it’s so much more work than I expected. [laughs] I’m happy a bought it.

David TaoDavid Tao

What kind of wild life are you seeing out there?

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

A lot of deer, foxes. We have coyotes. They say there’s black bears because people have some trail cams up and down the river. I’ve never personally seen a black bear. I did find a print in the snow that I put up on my Instagram, and I put my hand next to it. I’m saying it’s a Sasquatch.

 

Everyone else thinks [indecipherable 28:48] it’s a black bear. It’s pretty big, but a lot of stuff like that. I just saw some turkeys the other day. There’s some eagles, things like that. It’s very basic Northeast type of wildlife stuff.

 

The land that I actually live on, there’s been all kinds of history from train wrecks — there’s a railroad track and rest of it — there was two engines collided. The previous owner was murdered. It’s just got [laughs] so much randomness that it’s been such an interesting ride, man. I love it. It’s the best move I’ve done in my life.

David TaoDavid Tao

Hopefully, you can add your own positive history, put a positive spin on that history there. [laughs]

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I’m trying, man. I’m trying to build the cabin, and I’m trying to make trails. That’s a good thing, but it has had some history.

David TaoDavid Tao

I don’t necessarily believe in Sasquatch. If there is a Sasquatch here, it has to be you.

 

You’ve got to embrace that identity.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I don’t believe in Sasquatch either. I wish there was a Sasquatch. One of my friends who I work with at the gym, he works at the National Zoo with apes. When he first came, I was like, “Hey, man, what is your opinion? You think there are Sasquatch?”

 

He’s like, “I want there to be, but there’s not Sasquatch.” I’m like, “No, man, come on.”

 

David TaoDavid Tao

Give me a little glimmer. Just give me a one percent chance. This stuff is so much fun. It’s like the Loch Ness monster.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I know.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s not a fake.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

It’s so much fun to believe that. It takes you back to being little with Santa Claus, you get excited about stuff that’s bigger than the norm, like the every day.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s why I love interacting with you. Ever had the chance to interact with a microbiologist, or someone who works with fungi, or something like that, because they discover new stuff all the time and they get…

 

Just as if we discovered…As excited as I would be if Sasquatch ended up being real — not a thing. They get that amped if they discover something new that’s microscopic because there’s amazing stuff. People drill down into the Antarctic ice and they discover stuff that lives literally in ice. That’s all so amazing.

 

I got to start hanging out with more microbiologists, people who discovered this impressive stuff that does exist.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I love hanging out with people who believe in the impossible because it makes life seem like it has so much more color. Whenever I hang out with someone who’s just like, “No, that’s not real,” so cut and dry, I’m always like, “Man…”

 

I get it. I understand. I understand the wanting factual basis on everything. I’m like, but man, I don’t want to take the magic out of a lot of stuff. It’s exciting to believe that there’s new species out there. There’s new stuff.

 

If you think about how much we learn about inside the ocean or space, or even inside our own minds right now, what we don’t know so far eclipses what we do know. It’s all the blatant, obvious stuff figured out. Now you have to dig.

David TaoDavid Tao

One story I love is hundreds of years ago, in the early days of European exploration of the Americas in 1500s, 1600s, it wasn’t like there weren’t already people here. The place was settled. There was history here at that point, have been for thousands of years.

 

A lot of European “Scientists of the day,” didn’t believe that moose were real because they saw moose skeletons and they were too big.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

 

Right.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you’re listening to this podcast, I hope you never see a moose in the wild.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I’ve never seen it.

David TaoDavid Tao

I haven’t seen a moose in the wild either. I’ve only seen them at zoos. There’s nothing more terrifying because they’re about twice as big as they have any right to be.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Aren’t they a thousand pounds or more?

David TaoDavid Tao

More, like a bull moose? Oh my God. Moose cause a lot of fatalities because if they hit a car and they fall, they’re so tall that they fall on…They don’t hit a car. The front of your truck does not hit a moose. The front of your tracks hits its legs, and then 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 pounds of moose falls on top of you.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

It’s like Indiana Jones trap.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s the problem. 500 years ago, in a different continent, they didn’t believe moose existed. This is an anecdote I’ve heard. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

They didn’t believe…Someone brought a skeleton back over. In Europe, they were like, “This isn’t real.”

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Right, “You made this up. This isn’t real.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] We look at that today, and it’s like, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen moose at the zoo.” If you ever see them…Avoid seeing a moose in person in the wild. It is, I’ve heard, literally the most terrifying thing you can see.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I can’t imagine. There’s so many things when it comes to nature, we are so far outmatched. Even you look at something like a chimp that’s closely related, the strength difference between a chimp and us is so ridiculous.

 

Then I think about things like, “Oh yeah, I’d fight a grizzly bear.” No, you wouldn’t. You’re talking about nine-inch claws that just…The amount of strength, power, and stuff that is out there right now is so unbelievable, that literally you don’t believe it. You don’t think about it because you almost have to put it out of your mind.

 

You’re like, “Oh, there’s not these monsters everywhere.” [laughs] Just because we’re in these safe little houses, we feel very safe, but man, the amount of stuff…Can you imagine coming across an alligator or crocodile for the first time in nature? You’d be like, “Well, there’s dinosaurs around.”

David TaoDavid Tao

laughs] They’re older than dinosaurs. They’ve been around…They survived when dinosaurs didn’t, which is the messed up part.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

[laughs] Exactly. I know. Life is so incredible though, and it’s right there in front of us. We just don’t look at it.

David TaoDavid Tao

Here’s my favorite fact, birds are dinosaurs.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Yes.

David TaoDavid Tao

They are. If you go to the Wikipedia page for birds, they are the class of dinosaurs that survived. There’s some weird-looking birds out there. Have you ever come across an emu or something, you’re like, “All right, I concede.”

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I’ll give you that one.

David TaoDavid Tao

Fair. You come across a chicken, you’re like, “Eh.” You come across something that you don’t see every day, you don’t eat every day, you’re like, “All right. That makes some sense.”

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

I absolutely love getting to catch up with you. Where’s the best place for people to follow along with you? I know Instagram and YouTube were both big channels for you. How can folks find you there?

 

For YouTube, it’s just my name. It’s Brian Alsruhe, A-L-S-R-U-H-E. Then for Instagram, it is @neversate, N-E-V-E-R-S-A-T-E. I try to put up a bunch of videos for either lifting, building stuff, or just being random, I guess. I’m trying to get some stuff out there for people.

David TaoDavid Tao

Excellent. We cover so much when we talk. We talked about bushcraft, we talked about Strongman, we talked about cryptozoology. I absolutely love that stuff.

 

I really appreciate you coming on. Best of luck to you as you continue to make this land your own. Really appreciate your time.

Brian AlsruheBrian Alsruhe

Thank you. It’s so great talking to you again, man.