Eric Leija: How the Primal Swoledier Makes His Workouts

Eric Leija is a master Onnit trainer who’s better known online as the Primal Swoledier. Every day, Eric posts innovative kettlebell and bodyweight flows that have helped him build a massive following; his workouts are a bit unlike anything else you’ll find in the space. We catch up with Eric to talk about how he creates and programs workouts, the most overrated kettlebell movement, and lessons learned from an intense bulk-and-cut transformation he underwent just a couple years ago.

In this episode of the BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Eric Leija about:

  • How Eric came up with the “Primal Swoledier” nickname (2:14)
  • The initial inspiration behind Eric’s first kettlebell flows (4:16)
  • Growing his following through easy-to-follow workouts (7:20)
  • What kettlebell flows are best as accessory work (9:01)
  • A typical week of Eric’s training (10:15)
  • The secret to Eric’s trademark “sheen” during his workouts (13:50)
  • Myths and misconceptions about Eric’s style of training (14:46)
  • The most overrated kettlebell movements (17:00)
  • “Walking the walk” as a coach and example of his own training efficacy (19:44)
  • Eric’s insane 50-pound bulk (22:00)
  • Cutting down after an extended bulking period (26:15)
  • Where Eric looks to expand his own knowledge base (28:50)

Relevant links and further reading:


Eric LeijaEric Leija


 …kind of thinking, “Oh, you only need a bar…you can only get maximally strong with a barbell,” which is true. When it comes to, if you’re trying to get really strong at a deadlift and a back squat, if those are your goals that’s what it’s going to take, but you can definitely use kettlebells to help you maximize your gains in everything else.

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

oday I’m talking to Eric Leija, better known online as the Primal Swoledier. Eric is a master trainer for Onnit and specializes in kettlebell, bodyweight, and compound movements to build strength and conditioning.

He’s made big waves online for his Primal Swoledier flows, which combine the above methodologies into metabolically taxing circuits he posts almost daily on his Instagram account.

I’ve tried a number of Eric’s flows before. I’ll be the first to admit they’re usually a lot harder than they look. I caught up with Eric to learn the method to his madness. We also covered a lot about Eric’s own fitness journey, including lessons learned the hard way when it comes to bulking and cutting cycles.

Fun fact. Eric underwent a 50-pound bulk and then significant cut in the year before we recorded this podcast. Also, I do want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to the BarBend podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the podcast in your app of choice. Now, let’s get to it.

Today, I’m talking to Primal Swoledier, Eric Leija. He’s one of, I think, the Internet’s coolest fitness personalities. A man perhaps best known for his kettlebell flows, but someone who’s doing a lot of cool stuff in fitness across the board. Eric, thanks so much for joining us today.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Thanks for having me, Dave. Love your stuff. You’re killing it.

David TaoDavid Tao


[laughs] The first question I got to ask. Primal Swoledier, it’s a name you’re famous for. How did that come about? How’d you come up with that one?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Man, honestly, I came up with it when I became one of the first trainers at Onnit Gym in Austin, Texas. It was my first time getting on social media. We had a cool marketing team that was like, “You guys need to promote yourselves, and you guys need to use social media to help bring business.”


I was like, “Man, I hate social media. I hate taking selfies. I hate posting on Facebook and Instagram.” I was totally against the idea of starting a new channel. I was like, “Man, what’s the dumbest thing I can think of? What’s the silliest name that I can come up with?”


At the time, we were selling primal gear, primal kettlebells, gorilla face kettlebells. I was like, “Oh, that sounds cool. I’ll stick in line with our brand with Primal.” That’s how I came up with Primal.


Then I was like also, “I want to sound like, militant and like, tough, like a soldier.” I was like, “Oh, that kind of sounds like swole.” Like, “I want to get swole.”


That’s how I came up with Primal Swoledier, the silliest name I could think of. The marketing team loved it. They actually made fun of me. They thought it was dumb, but that’s how it was supposed to be. Stupid name. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

It was so silly, it worked, man.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

People dig it.

David TaoDavid Tao

You post a lot of awesome workouts. Full disclosure, I use your workouts, especially when I’m on the road. We actually have a new video coming out. As of this recording, we’re kind of finalizing it for Barb Edward. A lot of our editors try your workouts.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

They’re so hard. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

When you first started posting… [laughs] They’re deceptively hard but what was the evolution of that posting style?


You’re very known for having these carousel Instagram images, where you post the different movements. You put together these flows people can do with a few kettlebells or even one kettlebell and their body weight.


How did that evolve and what are some things you tried to see what people really wanted from you, workout-wise?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Honestly, it just…I was on the big kettlebell train a few years ago. I guess it’s still going strong. We started selling kettlebells at Onnit. We’re a supplement company and we started selling these kettlebells.


I was actually working in the warehouse, packing kettlebells all day. We were working some long hours and before we got a company gym, I was like, “I don’t have time to make it to the gym. I’m just going to grab a couple kettlebells here and just squeeze in a workout after work.”


I got experience pretty quick with some basic kettlebells movements, and after they asked me to become one of the first coaches, I got certified in kettlebell training. I got formally introduced to all the movements, like the swings, the snatches and jerks.


After a while, being a coach, training people in fundamental movements, with barbells and dumbbells, I got bored of doing the same thing over and over again in my own training. I was like, “Man, I kind of want to mix it up.”


Same idea, trying to squeeze in sessions in between clients. I was like, “I can get a tough workout with a couple of kettlebells or just one.” I started mixing up the movements, borrowing from some of my martial arts training.


I used to do jujitsu, Muay Thai. I tried to mix up some like multiplanar movements and Turkish get-ups, combining some presses and swings in between just to get a full-body calorie-torching workout in a short amount of time. Just having fun.


After I was posting them up, people dug them. It was like, “There was skills.” I guess it was new to people, complex movements, very complex movements that people were able to put these different moves together. It became something flashy that people dug and they’re still into it now, I guess.


It’s been fun, man. Teaching people the foundation has been my priority these last few years that the training has been picking up steam. People want to learn how to do all these fancy kettlebell flows, but to get there I like to make sure everybody has a strong foundation so that they don’t hurt themselves.

David TaoDavid Tao

Especially when you’re doing these under fatigue, a lot of your movements and a lot of your flows involve movements and a lot of different planes of motion. They involve switching between movements. It can be pretty complex.


What kind of level do you need people to be at or how do you assess that they’re at the right level to move to some of these more complex, multifaceted, multi-movement flows?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

onestly, man, it takes advanced lifter or athlete to be able to do all the fun and crazy stuff. With a lot of my beginner clients, we hardly ever do anything as crazy or flashy you might see on some of my most crazy videos.


I like to keep it pretty simple too, especially lately I’ve been trying to push out more content that’s not too flashy, super simple and effective routines that most people can do. That’s why my page is becoming more popular.


It’s just all these care. Not only do I provide multiple videos that people can follow along with, but they’re also pretty simple movements that anybody can pick up. There’s kettlebell flows that even beginners can do.


If people want to do all the fancy stuff, I made sure that they at least take a certification or one of my workshops or one of my online courses to make sure that they’re getting the prerequisite knowledge to do some of these fancier flows.


When it comes to doing any of these movements, we can borrow from any beginner movements that anybody can touch upon and have a fun workout.

David TaoDavid Tao

So I was doing one of your flows. It was a, it was a single kettlebell and bodyweight flow that you posted recently with a friend. They made the interesting observation.


They said, “Wow, I know all these movements exist, but the real value here is someone is pushing out content where they are getting creative for you because it can take a lot of brainpower to come up with a good workout and programming a workout for yourself.


“It’s always difficult because you tend to program the things you’re good at and you’re not really attacking your weaknesses necessarily.” What is your process for coming up with these workouts?


My guess is you’re not just coming up with them all off the cuff. There’s a little bit more planning than I think a lot of people might think behind these, or at least that’s my guess.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Some days I like to do free-flow. If I’m doing like an active recovery day and there’s no goal for the day, I’m just trying to get my body moving and that’s when I’ll do a low-intensity, lightweight, kettlebell flow, mix it up completely.


If I’m focusing on legs, for example, or upper body day, I’m doing push-pull and my main lift is a barbell back squat or split squat or deadlift, I’ll make sure to throw in some secondary work sets in there or a finisher where I target the legs using the kettlebells just to mix it up.


Get my accessory work using kettlebells with some flows and they’ll all program, and design flows based on the main movements that I hit that day just to go back and get a flush, and get a sick pump towards the end of the workout after the main lift.

David TaoDavid Tao

Interesting. You’re treating these flows as your accessory movements after your primaries. I had never even thought about that. What is a normal week of training look like for you these days?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

These days, I’m pretty happy where I’m at. I like to just focus on staying as strong, and as mobile, and as conditioned as I can, and staying as balanced as I can in all the different energy systems. I’ll do heavy day, whether it’s barbell back squat deadlift, or I like to do floor press.


I don’t do a lot of bench presses because I have shoulder problems. I actually tore my pec last year, earlier in the year, so I have been rehabbing that and building backups. I do a lot of heavy floor press and overhead press.


Those are my main barbell lifts and I’ll do that two to three times a week. Every other day from feeling strong, I’ll do a barbell lift with some type of high-intensity circuit or some hypertrophy training with dumbbells, and kettlebells, just to get my volume in and try to keep my size.


For example, Monday, I’ll do heavy deadlifts for about 30 minutes, taking plenty of time between sets so I can breathe in, really hit it hard, and then I’ll finish out the last half of the workout with some kettlebell circuit with some jump rope or some bodyweight movements like animal flow stuff, and a kettlebell flow.


Then on Tuesday, I’ll lower the intensity and I’ll do just kettlebells and body weight. Depending on how I’m feeling, I like to sometimes double up on if I did legs on Monday, I’ll do legs with kettlebells on Tuesday, just to increase that training effect of the day before.


It’s not a tactic I use all the time, but it’s something that I to do to cross the legs, but it also helps me actively recover because I’m not going so hard the next day.


Wednesday, I’ll take a day off just do decompression mobility. Then I’ll just cycle through again on Thursday and just go along that cycle. So heavy, high-intensity day, moderate, and then really low intensity. That’s pretty much the cycle that I’m on, but I definitely like to balance out barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells all types of training. I like to mix it up.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I’ve noticed is you’ve been releasing a lot more videos where you’re performing a flow or one of your workouts and posting on Instagram, and you have you know a fitness influencer or friend or someone else in the community working out with you.


It’s surprising, maybe not surprising, but I know if those folks are keeping up with you, they’ve got to be legit because your workouts are tough. Even as I’ve been doing functional fitness style training for years. They’re really challenging and you can really, really push yourself depending on the time domains number of rounds.


Do you have to kind of warn people when you’re deciding to film some content with them and give them a heads up for like, “Hey, I’m going to really put you through the wringer here?” Or are you more staging those to look like the full workouts but really just demonstrate the movements?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

We usually do like a full workout before and we show each other different ideas. It’s never an actual workout-workouts. It’s like we’re trying things together and practicing different moves teaching it to each other and stuff.


Because we come from very different backgrounds. I end up having to teach them how to do a proper kettlebell clean, and they teach me how to do a proper body clean.


For example, if I’m working out with Jay Maryniak — that guy, JTM Fit on Instagram — he’s super explosive and so he’ll spend 10 minutes teaching me how to do a badass Superman push up. I’ll teach him how to do a badass kettlebell rotational snatch and then we’ll team up and try to come up with some cool moves together and some dope routines that we like to do.


When I’m doing them for the prescribed rounds and then pick the best round up to videotape and we’ll video most of it, most of the rounds, and then we’ll pick out the best looking one to post up on Instagram.

David TaoDavid Tao


The best-looking ones got to be one where you’re both looking really sweaty and you’re in it. Because that’s definitely your brand. You’re going in completely dry. You got a nice sheen going on. Everyone looks like they’ve been putting in work.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Yeah, man, for sure. Coconut oil helps. I moisturize using coconut oil. Good for the skin.

David TaoDavid Tao


What are some of the more surprising misconceptions you’ve come across, be it online, or be it in person, or seminars, or working with your clients, when it comes to this style of training?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

A lot of people think that you can’t get strong using kettlebells. They’re just a weight with a handle on them. You can do whatever you want with them as long as you have the programming tailored to what you’re trying to do. That’s one misconception that a lot of people have been thinking. “You can only get maximally strong with a barbell.”


Which is true. If you’re trying to get really strong and a deadlift, and back squat, those are your goals, that’s what it’s going to take. But you can definitely use kettlebells to help you maximize your gains and everything else.


Because, you’ll be able to add loads of different positions and different grips and ready position so you can strengthen the overall movement patterns from different angles, so it’ll help with your other lifts.


That’s one way I’ve been able to incorporate kettlebells into my training routines and have been the strongest I’ve ever been when it comes to deadlifting, and squatting, and bench pressing before I got hurt.


I was able to maximize and become the most well-rounded I’ve ever been by not being afraid to use new unconventional tools, which is not to say…that’s another misconception. People think, all I trained with is kettlebells, and steel maces, and body weight.


I like to mix it up because there’s no one tool or method that’s going to make you good at a lot of things. I like to run. I love running outside, I love using kettlebells, I like to do kickboxing classes, jujitsu. I like to mix it up.


It helps me stay engaged and in the best shape of my life just because I get bored if I do the same routines over and over again. Keeping my body engaged and continuously switching it up helps me keep getting better.

David TaoDavid Tao


Those are good lessons for all of us. What is a kettlebell movement that you think is maybe overrated or alternatively used incorrectly by a lot of people who are doing kettlebell training?

Eric LeijaEric Leija


One kettlebell movement I see a lot is the American kettlebell swing. You know which I’m talking about?

David TaoDavid Tao


Yeah. It’s what you’ll see in a lot of prescribed CrossFit workouts, etc.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Yeah, exactly. It’s not a bad movement. It’s just with a lot of people’s mobility, it’s just not a movement that I like to program for a lot of people.


Because a lot of us already have poor shoulder mobility and having somebody explosively throw a kettlebell overhead like that can be dangerous, especially with both of your hands are attached to the kettlebell. I like to use a snatch instead, a single-arm snatch, to go overhead, for me is a little bit safer for most people, and I’m able to also use the hinge movement a lot more effectively to get it overhead.


Instead of, in the American swing you see more of a squat pattern, as people kind of sit their hips down to try to swing the kettlebell straight overhead. I find that’s not a bad movement, it’s just not the best movement for a lot of people and I see a lot of people doing it that shouldn’t be doing it.

David TaoDavid Tao


If you could be known for maybe popularizing, or making more popular one move that you think is underutilized, what would that be?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

I just want to keep preaching how awesome the kettlebell swing is. The kettlebell swing is, honestly, the most traditional kettlebell movement you’ll see. It’s also, for me, the one that I use the most.


Almost every workout I do, I’m doing some type of kettlebell swing variation because it lights up my posterior. All the way from my glutes, up to my lower back, middle back, and lats, gets everything nice and juicy in between sets, before a warm up, or as a finisher.


It just really jacks up my heart rate, and it keeps me pumped up. It can have a really therapeutic effect on people’s posterior, which…A lot of people are pretty deficient in activating their posterior because we sit around all day, and we drive in cars, sitting in traffic, work at a desk job.


Being able to do a kettlebell swing can be a really powerful tool to help people become stronger and healthier.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, when it comes to fitness, I like to remind people sometimes, and this is something that when folks have asked me, “Oh, what do you think makes a good coach?” I am a firm believer that the best athlete is not always the best coach. It’s not a one-to-one equivalency.

Eric LeijaEric Leija


Oh yeah, definitely.

David TaoDavid Tao

There is something to be said for, especially for people who are just starting out, or are looking to maybe look fitter, improve aesthetics, they look to people who’ve already accomplished that for advice.


It’s just human nature, right? You want to emulate someone. You see they’ve done it. You see they’ve gotten that six-pack, those washboard abs. They can help you do it.


One thing that I know you’ve done in the past couple of years is you did a pretty significant body recomp in the past, maybe call it a year. It’s something you’ve been very open about on social media, right? Utilizing your workouts and your style of training to improve your own physique and to reach these physique goals that a lot of people probably have in mind.


Talk a little about what it means to walk the walk when it comes to proving that your methodologies can produce those aesthetic results.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Yeah, man. I think it’s definitely important to look the part and, you said, “Walk the walk.” Like you said also, it’s really hard for some athletes, even though they’re really good at something, to be able to teach that to somebody else is a totally different ball game.


Being able to be a coach that can do all of it is pretty awesome. It’s a challenging role because I’m still a young coach and I’m still learning new things all the time. It’s all about reps and getting more clients. Dealing with different bodies. Teaching different workshops. Taking different workshops with other coaches and getting a different perspective.


Seeing different movers, so that you can keep stepping your game up. You’re not always going to have the same client come into the gym and you’re not going to be able to use the same cues. Not everybody’s going to understand and listen to the same tips that you got and not everything’s going to work for everybody.


It’s constantly staying on your toes. Learning new things is what helped me keep getting better and keep helping me stepping my game up. That’s why I feel like I’ve been in the best shape I’ve ever been. I’ve even been able to really test myself and try a crazy bulk that I did last fall.


After Thanksgiving, I gained 50 pounds. I went from being 170 pounds or I was 167. I was super lean. I was probably four percent body fat. Super shredded. I shot a ton of videos so I can advertise the programs that I was building up for those workouts that I was doing.


I built up this huge vault of videos that I was going to use to promote while I bulked up. I’d never bulked up the way I did last year. I’d always been super shredded for the last five years, since I was really into this whole fitness thing.


I was like, “Man, I want to get bigger.” I had actually worked out with Jay. I was like, “This guy is so swole. I want to get like him when I’m older. I want to get bigger.”


That’s why I decided, “You know what? I’m just going for it. I’m going to take three to four months and try to get as big as I possibly can.”


I also wanted to catch up to my older brother, Juan. He’s one of the other [inaudible 23:06] that’s on it. He usually weighs around 250 pounds. So I was like, “Man, I got to catch him. I’m going to try to catch him.” I ended up gaining 50 pounds in, it was about three months.

David TaoDavid Tao


Holy cow. What was your nutritional regimen to gain weight that quickly?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

I was eating anything and everything. I was going to the Indian buffet down the street from the gym at least every other day. Not only because I was trying to get weight because it was delicious. I grew up a fat kid. I grew up a chubby fat kid until I was 12 years old.


I finally had enough started working out, got in shape, did martial arts, whatever. Whereas it’s history. Before then, I was a fat ass. I like to eat nacho, cheese, Chalupas from Taco Bell, curly fries from Jack in the Box. I still love food. Even nowadays, I’ll look at food and I gain weight. That’s why [laughs] I have to stay on my fitness, stay in shape, work out all the time.


For me, it was pretty easy to gain weight because I like to eat and I put on weight pretty easily when I try and I lift and increase the rep ranges, get extra sleep. I got a ton of extra sleep. I was trying to take as many naps as I could throughout the days as well.


I gained 50 pounds from Thanksgiving, the end of November to…I stopped bulking February 1st. I think it was before if I started cutting it down when I gained 50 pounds. I got it to 220 pounds. [laughs] Not all of it was muscle. I definitely got fat.

David TaoDavid Tao

 What was that like if you’ve never been that heavy before?


As an adult, you’ve been pretty lean.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

It was hard. I remember the last trip that we went on before I started cutting down, I was at my heaviest. I was 217 pounds. We flew from Austin to Colorado to go teach a workshop and the elevation change and the traveling, my feet were hurting. I could barely breathe.


[inaudible 25:05] it’s something to do with elevation, but my feet hurt. My joints were just in pain. That’s why also I tore my peck because I got strong really fast. I ended up trying too much weight and just overdid it on the amount of volume I was doing that day. I finally got on my 10th set of three reps at 275 for me on the bench press.


For me, that was a lot because I’d never even done 275 pounds on bench press before. That day I was just feeling, I was like, “Oh, I’m feeling strong. I’m 210 pounds right now. I can do. This is in January. I can do it.” I was doing it and I ended up tearing my pec, I think. My tendons hadn’t caught up to the amount of weight that I had gained and I was trying to push.

David TaoDavid Tao


You just increased your body weight by 30 percent.

Eric LeijaEric Leija


My attendance hadn’t caught up yet, but my muscles were feeling strong. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing what I did. I did it too fast. I didn’t take my time to build up slowly and let my body catch up.

David TaoDavid Tao


How long did that cut take after you reach your heaviest?

Eric LeijaEric Leija


I got to a pretty good level around May or June, I think it was. I forgot when it was.

David TaoDavid Tao


So it’s a three-and-a-half, four-month-cut?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

Yeah, dude. It was a long time. It felt like the longest I’ve ever done because I’ve usually been able to cut 10, 15 pounds in two to four weeks like nothing, super easy, but cutting 30 or 40 pounds is a whole different ballgame. It wasn’t worth it.


[laughs] I don’t think I’ll ever do that kind of bulk ever again. I’ll try to take my time next time and just do a clean bulk and just increase the calories little by little.

David TaoDavid Tao


Where are you sitting right now as far as body weight?

Eric LeijaEric Leija


Right now I’m at 190 to 195.

David TaoDavid Tao


Oh, so you did keep a good bit of weight on after that?

Eric LeijaEric Leija


A good amount of it, but at my leanness, I like to be around 185. The holidays took their toll on me.

David TaoDavid Tao


You’re not the only one who’s experienced that. That’s OK.

Eric LeijaEric Leija


These next couple of weeks I’m going to try to get back down and wait, and try to be as strict as I can. Shoot some more cool videos. I got a couple of programs that I want to shoot coming up. I’m going to be releasing a kettlebell flows program. I’m doing that right now to try to cut weight and then I’m putting it together.

David TaoDavid Tao


 Who in the fitness space have you not collaborated with who you’d most like to collaborate with, be it on workout videos or just shooting some cool content?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

 I really like that guy Paul Scar, Schlar. I don’t know how to say his name. He’s an older gentleman. They post him up a lot on “Men’s Health.” He’s super jacked. I think he’s over 40 years old. He’s a super jacked guy. I’ve contacted him before, but our schedules haven’t lined up. I look forward to collaborating with him.


There’s this younger guy. His name’s Fraser Wilson. He’s one of the Gymshark guys. He’s super cool. I love his content. I’ve been in contact with him. I’m looking forward to collaborating with him as well.

David TaoDavid Tao


You’re someone who definitely is big on expanding your own knowledge pool. That’s clear from your career in fitness. You’re always learning, always trying to add another weapon to your arsenal, so to speak. Where are some places that you go at this point in your career to expand your knowledge to learn more and to broaden your horizons?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

I still learn a lot from the workshops that I teach myself. I teach kettlebell certifications for Onnit and my own kettlebell workshops. I know the curriculum obviously, because I’m teaching it, but when you meet all these new people, they’re coaches in their own right. They have their own experience.


Most of them have more experience than I do. Anytime they come in to take our certifications, they teach me all about what they do as well. That’s a great learning experience for me. Every time I teach a certification, I always learn something new about how people move and working with different clients.


There’s all kinds of systems out there that I want to go get certified as well. There’s always somebody else doing something different. They have their own perspective on these different movements. One that I really like…It’s pronounced Suples. You ever heard of them?


They’re the ones that hand-make the Bulgarian bags. Suples was developed by this guy. He was a former wrestler, or a wrestling coach maybe in Russia. I don’t know if you’ve seen me play around with these bands. They’re called Suples bands, where I’m doing all these weird almost fiber-like motions. Have you seen those videos that I posted up?

David TaoDavid Tao


I can’t recall one off the top of my head, which is a little embarrassing because I follow your stuff pretty closely.

Eric LeijaEric Leija

It’s only been a couple of times that I posted them up. They’re having some workshops I’m going to have to check. I know they’re doing some new ones this year. I definitely want to go get certified on how to use those Suples bands.


They’re really fun. I’ve been incorporating them into my kettlebell routines. I’ll do a kettlebell flow, then I’ll jump on the bands and do these therapeutic rotational work with the bands. That’s super fun. The way the bands are made, they’re super elastic. They have enough resistance where it’s challenging.


It has enough give on it where you can turn your body and do all these different functional movements that carry over well to the kettlebells that I like to do as well.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing I did want to touch on before we finish recording, this is something I didn’t know about you until very recently. Not only are you creative when it comes to designing workouts, you’re pretty creative when it comes to drawing and quite the talented visual artist.


Is that something that we’re going to see more of a crossover between you, the artist, and you, the coach or athlete?

Eric LeijaEric Leija

ell yeah, man. I’m trying to make that a thing this year, to try to focus back on drawing again and creating art just because it’s so fun. It takes a lot of the stress away from my daily stuff.


It’s challenging in its own right, creating a piece of art, drawing and trying to make it look dope and make it to where it satisfies. I’m a perfectionist too sometimes. When I’m drawing, I want to make these things look how they do in my mind. Sometimes you mess it up, and it turns into something that you weren’t expecting.


Sometimes that’s a good thing. Most of the time, it’s a good thing. It takes you for a ride instead of trying to be super controlling and put your mind on paper exactly how you envisioned it. You got to roll with the punches and create something that you weren’t expecting. That’s always a cool little treat at the end.


See something you weren’t expecting, and it brings out…It makes me a happier person, drawing these things and problem-solving. It has a huge carryover into my everyday life. I’ve been seeing the positive effects it’s been having on my work and my relationships.


It helps me stay in a positive headspace, keeps me out of trouble, too. I like to go out. I like to party with my friends. I’m starting to realize that I need to do less and less of that and more of soul-searching and go back to what really makes me happy.


Don’t get me wrong. Hanging out with my friends makes me happy, but creating things also makes me happy. I’ve got to balance it up. It’s fun. I like reading comic books. I like playing video games. I like going to the movies, doing all the things that influenced my creativity. I can not just make cool workouts but also be mentally stimulated to do other things as well.

David TaoDavid Tao

Balanced body, balanced mind. We’ve touched on it a little bit but, Eric, where are the best places for people to…We’ll have this in the show notes obviously on BarBend, but where are the best places for people to keep up to date with the work you’re doing, courses you’re teaching, things like that?

Eric LeijaEric Leija


You can go to my website. It’s You can find that link in my Instagram bio. It’s primal.soldier.

f you’re not already following me, check out my profile. You might find some cool workout ideas or some cool art. I’m thinking back into that.


Check me out at

David TaoDavid Tao


Excellent. Eric, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Eric LeijaEric Leija


Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate it. It was fun.