The Big Signs You’re In Toxic Relationships & How To Set Boundaries w/ Nedra Tawwab Glover EP 1400

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Steve Cook

Beyond the Body: What Makes a Real Man

Bro week continued after Steve Weatherford left last week on The School of Greatness.

How do you achieve greatness? 

You may be thinking, “I can’t achieve greatness because I don’t like myself. I don’t like the way I look or the way I eat.” If that’s you, don’t beat yourself up  — there is always room for improvement, and while there’s nothing wrong with mediocrity, you should always be trying to live your best life. 

Health is the key to unlocking wealth and prosperity. If you can enjoy being fit, you can enjoy everyday life much more! Your work becomes more productive, and you can do more physically because you’re stronger mentally as well. 

My guest today knows the power of fitness and how it can transform your life. I’m honored to welcome Steve Cook to The School of Greatness to discuss what makes a real man, what vulnerability means to him, and how to build self-confidence.

Steve Cook knows how to achieve greatness. With over a million people following him on social media, he knows what his audience wants from him — the secrets to bodybuilding and being a real man. 

“Being masculine is really putting others first, and … to me, putting others first [is] the ultimate sacrifice.” – Steve Cook 

My interview with Steve Cook was eye-opening about the world of masculinity and fitness, and how we often confuse them with one another. This interview will change your perception of masculinity from one of the top fitness gurus in the country, so let’s get started! 

Who Is Steve Cook? 

Steve Cook is one of the most recognizable people in the fitness industry. He’s a part of the IFBB pro men’s physique, and he’s a competitor as well as a spokesmodel. 

Steve Cook has over a million followers on Instagram, Facebook, and half a million on YouTube. His online presence has continued to develop over the years ever since he started his fitness journey in his home state of Idaho. 

Recently, Steve transitioned from full-time fitness to entrepreneurship, currently teaching people how to navigate their full-time business while balancing multiple online platforms. But he’s not finished with the fitness world — he currently has a fitness program for men and women. Some of the programs include Swole, Lean, Power, Athlete, and more! He also has a line of clothing products for men and women as well as fitness equipment that he sells on his website

Steve Cook currently resides in Utah where he operates his fitness business, helping people achieve a fitness mindset, health, wealth, and happiness. 

I loved getting to interview Steve and talk about what real masculinity means! Masculinity is a topic that’s very important to me, and so I was excited to hear his insights on how we can begin to repair what masculinity truly means. 

Understanding the Role of Masculinity in Fitness

In my interview with Steve Cook, we talked about the role of masculinity and how it’s played a part in his life, growing up in elementary school and playing sports. 

“Society tells us certain things on how to be a man. [It] tells us to be big and strong, not to cry, not to show emotions — don’t be the worst. … And I think it affects us. At least it affected me.” – Steve Cook

I think there’s a lot of misperception of masculinity, and Steve Cook did a perfect job of addressing it. He recognized that society was giving him a false perception of masculinity, and so he slowly started to discover masculinity for himself. 

Men are often afraid to talk about their feelings. We think we have to be bottled up and not share our emotions and experiences because if we do, people will think we’re weak. The truth is, when we’re vulnerable, we’re actually courageous.  

In order to break the stigma around masculinity and vulnerability, Steve Cook created a video series called “22 Things” that talk about fitness, masculinity, and how to become a happier person. 

“It’s about being positive, and it’s about surrounding yourself with good people. And it’s about … a different way of looking at things. And I think that … it’s good because there’s more and more …  acceptance about whoever you are out there.” – Steve Cook

Masculinity is about serving others and finding acceptance of who you are. When you put your wants second and focus on helping others and expressing yourself fully, you can begin to discover what masculinity truly means. Masculinity is not about body type and what you can achieve physically. Men shouldn’t feel less masculine because they can’t lift as much weight or because they aren’t incredibly muscular. Masculinity is really about helping others. 

“There [are] sacrifices that you have to be made. But again, at the end of the day, you feel like you’re doing what you want to do. You feel like you’re giving value to people around you. And that’s huge, like for me, I’m like, ‘Oh, this feels good. So I was doing it, you know, for myself as well.’” – Steve Cook

Serving others does as much for you as it does for them! By giving your time to the people you love, you create stronger relationships and get to see the positive impact you have on them! Rather than trying to be better than everyone else, men should realize that true masculinity lies in service — not domination. 

"Being masculine is really putting others first."  

Accept Your Imperfections

In our interview, Steve Cook also explained how miserable you can be if you keep focusing on your imperfections. Macro and micro imperfections can make you focus more on yourself instead of others and not realize your own potential! 

There’s a natural tendency for some people to want to do more until they achieve perfection. Steve explained that many athletes always want to overperform because they want to be the best. 

“So I think for people, anybody really being better to be better as an athlete, you know, … you can always improve. … The only way really to get better and better and better [is] you almost have to be perfect. …  You have to be exhausted. … It’s crazy how much time and effort goes into that.” – Steve Cook

This pursuit of perfection creates an imbalance. As a result, Steve explained that this pursuit of perfection leads to struggles in other areas of their life. Perfectionists often don’t know how to socialize with ease, and they struggle to accept imperfection from themselves or others because they’ve trained their minds for so long to be the best at something. 

Steve continued by mentioning how masculinity is often defined outwardly by body type, which means that the inward parts of a person are ignored. We often focus on our outward imperfections and what we look like instead of focusing on helping others. We should focus on helping others achieve their goals inwardly and outwardly. 

“People get this idea is [that] I have to be better than this person. I have to be perfect.” Steve Cook

Friends, you don’t have to be perfect. Perfection is impossible. What matters is that you accept your imperfections and always move forward toward greatness!

How to Overcome Your Fears

Maybe you want to pursue a healthy sense of masculinity, but there are fears lingering in the back of your mind. 

For example, you may have a fear of getting older, similar to Steve’s fear. You’re afraid that you might not have someone to share your life with. We all have a fear of something that holds us back. For a long time, I was afraid that my dyslexia would hold me back from greatness.

We all share some sort of fear in our lives that holds us back from pursuing our dreams. But in order to succeed at life, we have to address our own need to conquer our fears sufficiently. 

If you want to overcome your fears, you have to look to help other people. You have to pursue relationships that give you the emotional support you need. You have to take of your needs to conquer your fears and achieve health and wellness. 

“So my day, the reason when I started getting unorganized and feeling anxiety in my life, it’s because I’m sacrificing things that really matter to me and that other people need my time. So I’m going to sacrifice something I really want and need to do. Whether it’s meditating, working out, preparing meals, getting enough sleep, going to church, traveling less, whatever it is.” – Steve Cook

Are you feeling disorganized? Do you feel anxious and overwhelmed? 

It could be that you feel helpless. You feel out of control, and you’re trying so hard to regain that control. Sometimes it requires taking a step back and waking up with a renewed mindset. You have to create habits that are going to be better for you in the long run for your mental and physical health. 

“And at the end of the day, it’s like, how do I better myself and, in turn, better my brand and grow. And that usually happens when you’re in your creative mindset early on in the morning. So meditating right now [and] making sure I’m working out … [is]such a large part of my brand.” – Steve Cook

Creating balance in your life starts with knowing what you want to do each day. It’s a balance between making sure your needs are met while going out of your way to help others. 

Feeling Accepted and Focusing on the Positives

The final part of my interview with Steve Cook was about the feeling of acceptance. Steve has come to realize that there’s always going to be someone who’s better. There’s always someone better looking and better at something than he is. 

But the goal isn’t to be better than everyone — your life goal shouldn’t be to one-up someone else. 

Instead, you should realize that you are enough! You have enough to be happy. Gratitude and acceptance are where happiness begins. 

“If you’re not happy now, you’ll never be happy. … I’m talking about enjoying that daily struggle. If you don’t find things in your life to be positive about today, then you will never find those things.” – Steve Cook

There will always be challenges in life, but that’s why you have to find the positives as Steve Cook pointed out. You have to focus on your relationships and what they bring you.

Similar to Steve and his challenges, I have also learned to overcome feeling dumb, lonely, and being bullied because I was in a special needs class. I learned to overcome my fears of not knowing if my dad was going to make it after being an accident. I started finding people who could help me achieve my goals because I knew I couldn’t do it alone. By focusing on the positives and allowing myself to feel accepted, I was able to push past those barriers and came out the other side as a stronger, wiser person.

Why You Should Listen to This Steve Cook Podcast Episode Right Now…

Everyone, this post is just the tip of the iceberg! There are so many gold nuggets in this interview that will forever change your life and redefine what masculinity truly means! Listen to the full episode to learn more, and don’t forget to share this episode with someone who needs to hear it — you could change someone’s life too! 

To find out more about Steve Cook, you can follow his Instagram page. You can also check out one of the many fitness programs he has for men and women on his website. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to let us know on Instagram! Tag Steve @stevecook, and me, @lewishowes, with a screenshot of the episode and your great takeaways!

I want to give a shoutout to Steve Cook and his incredible story. He shared his positive advice and what it means to achieve success, how to maintain self-care, and how to build courage. He continues to make a change in the world with everything he’s doing, especially when it comes to following your dream and passion! I loved his definition of greatness: 

“I think my definition of greatness would be doing something that other people might not agree with all the time but believing in it and then ultimately succeeding at it. And that to me is true greatness. [It’s doing] something you shouldn’t necessarily succeed at, but through perseverance, through just hard work and believing and passion, you, you do that and overcome those trials.” – Steve Cook

Friends, join me on Episode 359 to learn about finding your life purpose, real masculinity, and overcoming your fears with the wonderful Steve Cook! You won’t regret it! 


To Greatness, 

Lewis Howes - Signature

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What are the goals of the guys who follow you on social media? (14:22)
  • How do you stay grounded while posting so many selfies everyday? (16:13)
  • What was your biggest insecurity after your divorce? And now? (17:21)
  • What is your definition of masculinity and do you thinking working in this industry has helped or hurt that? (25:25)
  • Do you feel like you have to live up to an ideal that you’ve created in the fitness industry? (28:02)
  • What is your advice to men who want to become better men? (34:21)
  • How have you built such a huge social media following that also doesn’t run your life? (48:44)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why Steve loves eating at Chick-fil-A right now (3:40)
  • What brings people to the gym when they’re going through a hard time (15:20)
  • Why balancing where you build your following is so important (18:01)
  • What Steve is looking for in a girlfriend (and why he won’t go on the Bachelor) (21:05)
  • Whether or not you have to have a built physique to be considered masculine (29:00)
  • Why it’s important to say no to some things (30:21)
  • The dark side of perfectionism (31:50)
  • How to course correct when you feel anxiety and overwhelm (41:28)
  • Plus much more…

Connect with
Steve Cook

Transcript of this Episode

Music Credits:

Music Credit: Upheaval by Fandalf

Comment below

let us know your thoughts

join thousands of
greatness subscribers
on your favorite platform