Brad Jenson is the Sober Body Builder and owner of Key Nutrition, which he started five years ago. He is also the Key Nutrition Podcast host with over 200 episodes and approaching a million downloads; it has been wildly successful. For as long as he can remember, Brad felt very uncomfortable and anxious. His friends picked on him for being bigger than them, and it took a toll on him. At the young age of 13, he was offered alcohol for the first time and proceeded to continue to drink to help cope with the anxiety. When he was around fifteen years old, he went to a bookstore with his mother and found a fitness magazine that caught his attention. He decided that he would put all of his focus into fitness, and it quickly became his number one passion. As soon as he got his driver’s license, Brad got a gym membership and dove headfirst into working on his fitness. He went to the gym every day after school and completely transformed his body. He was offered pain pills in his high school years, quickly became addicted, and started selling them. Eventually, Brad stopped taking the drugs and was suffering extreme withdrawals. At that time, he was hanging out with the wrong people and was offered heroin. He chased that feeling, and everything got progressively worse. He was fired from his job as a personal trainer, admitted his problem to his parents, and got into a treatment center. Once he got out of rehab, he started drinking alcohol again and, unfortunately, relapsed on heroin. His parents ultimately decided they could no longer “love him to death” and cut him off. In November of 2012, he hit rock bottom when he did heroin in the back of his mother’s car while driving to his grandfather’s funeral. Following that experience, he had one final arrest, and that is when his life started to change for the better.
When asked how he found the strength to rebuild his life after years of addiction, Brad says, “There was something greater than me guiding me. I had to deploy a lot of mental grit, too.. there’s no doubt about that…but there was a spiritual being guiding me, and relying upon that was huge, and then surrounding myself with like-minded people was so important… I truly believe that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He adds another critical step in recovery and actually creating a successful life was getting back into fitness, reading, gratitude journaling, and a strict morning routine.
Brad discusses what it was like to learn to trust himself again, “People severely lack patience in their life when it comes to their results when it comes to their transformation within themselves, with habit building. I think that patience gets in the way of so much. For whatever reason, I was blessed with some patience this time. It happened kind of slow and gradually, but I probably didn’t start trusting myself fully until I was about four or five years sober.” He continues explaining that he learned a lot in those five years, and to build his self-esteem, he did good things for others. If he has moments where he is at a crossroads, he surrounds himself with the right people to give him good advice and lead him in the right direction. “Your intuition is not in your head; that’s your intellect; your intuition is in your heart and your gut,” he adds.
Brad contributes his success to understanding the importance of gratitude and, specifically, the appreciation he feels when helping others. “This gal looked at me at the end of our call, and she starts crying. She said Brad, you have helped me so much more than you know. My marriage is better because I am feeling better about me, my relationship with food is better, and she’s crying, and I get teary-eyed… I was so happy. It was the feeling I had been chasing in a needle, in a pill bottle, in an alcohol bottle my whole life.” He explains that this was the first time he had ever felt truly grateful, which was the turning point for him. He started to find something to be thankful for or a lesson in every situation, good and bad. Brad is also a believer that taking responsibility for your actions is a fundamental part of growth. “I am so big on responsibility… take responsibility, get shit done, and you’ll have success.”
When asked what goes into maintaining his elite mindset, Brad attributes it to never settling and constantly evolving. “If you’re not evolving, you’re slowly dying.” He always looks for small ways to level up and progress his business and remains open-minded to all ideas to get him there.
“Everything you want is on the other side of hard.”
If you would like to connect with Brad Jensen, you can find him on Instagram at thesoberbodybuilder.