#62: Robert Sikes – Founder & CEO of Keto Savage
Robert Sikes Podcast Transcript
Robert Sikes: And we are live. Neil, how are you, sir?
Neil Dudley: I’m good, Robert, man. I’m savage, feeling savage.
Robert Sikes: You’re savage, man, I like hearing that for sure. I like hearing that. The last time I saw you was at Keto Con. And always a pleasure seeing you, man. I’m always lucky because your booth isn’t too terribly far from our booth, so I just get the smells of bacon wafting our direction all day long. Can’t beat it.
Neil Dudley: That’s the secret. It’s like I don’t care if you’re selling Kleenex, you ought to be cooking bacon in your booth. It’s just this magic thing that draws people over.
Robert Sikes: You can’t go wrong with bacon, man. So in case anybody has not figured it out, you are the brains behind the bacon. You are the man behind Pederson’s Farms. Shoot, man, give us a little backstory on that. I think I’ve- Have I had you on the podcast before?
Neil Dudley: No, never been on the podcast before. Though, I’ve paid attention to you. You’ve been kind of my mentor, and you didn’t even know it. I’m just paying attention. You were into podcasting when I first woke up to it, like Keto Savage was one of the podcasts I would listen to and just try to take lessons from it. How could I do it? How could we do something, when I say we, I mean Pederson’s, the company, the brand, do something to add value? One super exciting thing about this conversation is you’ve allowed me to share it, or you’re going to allow me to share it with the Pederson’s audience as well. Quick story, Pederson’s, really the president of that company is my best friend since kindergarten. He got hired, real short story, in a year’s time, was promoted to president. At that time, I was rodeoing and working back on the ranch with my dad. He called me and said, “Hey, you want to come work over here at this bacon company?” Which was totally news to me. I mean, I was like, when did you even start working there? Because we weren’t really in touch throughout that time. And he is like, “Oh, about a year ago. And I’m now president. I was thinking I just call somebody I could trust.” So that’s 20 years ago now. It’s really kind of crazy how sometimes your career happens when you’re not even watching.
Robert Sikes: And you’ve been in ever since then, right?
Neil Dudley: That’s right. Yep.
Robert Sikes: You’re doing the rodeoing anymore?
Neil Dudley: I think it’s a pretty fun truth that like, day one, he told me, alright, when you show up, know what HASSAP is. I mean, I had no clue. I didn’t even know what an acronym was. I just kind of got online and studied that. And so, he started me out as a QA tech. So I was kind of in charge of making sure our quality was on point, which I think was really insightful on his part, to understand how important that is really later on in your career, to understand that basic building block of making safe quality food.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, that’s super key, man. I mean, with food products in general, I’ve got a food product company, you’ve got a food product company, it’s like you have to have good quality products, you have to have something that’s safe to eat first and foremost. A lot of companies start cutting corners, but when people are ingesting it, you can’t really get away with doing that for too long.
Neil Dudley: It’s kind of surprising to me how much Americans take it for granted that their food’s safe. Generally, in most every circumstance, you just pick up whatever you see at the grocery store, and you’re totally confident it’s going to be good for you. Maybe not good for you but safe to eat. I mean, this good for you debate is raging in the world today and is super important. But it’ll be safe. It shouldn’t make you sick. It shouldn’t cause you some hospital visit or something. Where a lot of places in the world, that’s not true. It’s kind of sketchy. You got to be pretty hungry to eat some of that stuff.
Robert Sikes: So that’s what you started doing with the company. What was the progression like from there?
Neil Dudley: Then moves up to working in the production, working on the production floor within the production team, helping everything from packaged bacon to de-boned hams to tumble raw bellies to grind sausage. Like every little piece of the business, I’ve worked there and done it. So has Cody. And then you kind of move into a shipping and receiving and inventory control position. And the whole time, it’s just a little company that’s barely even going. We’re just trying to keep- there’s about eight to ten people working there. Cody is off driving the truck to deliver the product and on his way home stopping at grocery stores, seeing if they’d try it. And just like kind of overtime and continually grinding it out, somebody’d pick it up. Well then there’s one more case or two you get to put on that order and deliver to those people or those customers. And so, after I do some shipping, receiving and inventory stuff, I kind of start general managing the place. And then I move into sales, which turns out to be mostly my wheelhouse. And then into podcasting and talking on this show. I mean, that is kind of a very short synopsis of it, but it’s kind of about the timeline or about the structure of progression.
Robert Sikes: I love it, man. I feel like- are you in sales now predominantly? Or is it more- so like when you think of sales, like doing the podcast and doing the outreach and the organic growth and communication is definitely sales oriented. But a lot of companies don’t have the insight to realize that. So they just kind of branch that off as some separate marketing tactic altogether. So are you still like technically in sales predominantly, or are you-?
Neil Dudley: I mean, look, you’re in sales. If you’re listening to this, you’re in sales. Everybody is in sales. You don’t have to love it. There’s no rule that says you have to be good at it or love it. But you need to understand, you’re in sales. You’re selling your own skill set, you’re selling a product, you’re selling an idea, you’re selling religion, whatever it might be that you’re passionate about, there’s some sales within that. So, I would say yes, I’m most definitely in sales. I was titled The VP of Sales. I’ve recently transitioned to VP of Business Development, which is a more kind of umbrella for getting a little older, let’s let somebody else move up in the company, take over a role. Britney Hayes is the gal that moved into VP of Sales. She’s been with the company for a long time. She’s super, super sharp, capable, all those things. And I was into the podcast. I’m into marketing. Kind of as my career progresses, I’m more interested, I’ve been speaking now, doing speaking engagements. I did a little bit of that at KetoCon with a little entrepreneur panel. I’ve gone to a couple other places. And one of those topics I talk about is how sales and marketing is actually no longer- it really should come in the same breath anymore. Because of websites, because the way people shop and make buying decisions has totally changed from what it was even five years ago. The pandemic escalated the speed of movement from in person selling to online selling to shopping online. So, if you’re not super good as a brand or a product about getting your story out there, you’re going to be behind the other guys and gals.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, I totally agree. I feel like especially in a new industry, I feel like a lot of- it’s been exciting for me to see all these food product companies, specifically like agriculture and ranching based, like Pederson’s Farms, Certified Piedmontese, US Wellness Meats, all these companies that provide a quality food and animal based food product, how they’ve tackled the whole marketing and staying ahead of the curve, because a lot of- in that space, I would assume – correct me if I’m wrong, you’re going to know much better than me – but I would assume a lot of the people in that industry are very traditionalist when it comes to marketing. So, the concept of jumping on a podcast or going to a conference, having an Instagram account is kind of like just in their mind beneath him. Like they don’t do it that way. They’ve never done it that way. Let’s just not even dip our toe into that water. But I feel like the companies that have gone that route in that sector have just made leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Neil Dudley: You nailed it. I mean, let’s take my dad, for example. He’s been a rancher his whole life. Like he knows animals, agriculture, like selling animals to other people who buy them. We do a mainly cow calf operation, so selling those purebred bulls to other commercial operators who are raising commercial beef that go into the system, man, he knows that really good. And he’s been on my podcast a time or two actually. And I do a couple of them. So, I do the Cowboy Perspective podcast, which is me kind of more on a personal level, just talking about how I was raised and the cowboy perspective that turned out to be super valuable for me in business. I was like, man, I’m cheating. I know all this stuff already because that’s how we lived. It was like hard work, digging postholes. One of the guys I talked to said, you put me into Silicon Valley, I already had them all beat because most of them didn’t understand that most of my life, I never even had a vacation. I didn’t know what vacation meant. Those animals, that farm needed attention all the time. But the facts are telling dad to start an Instagram account, man, that wasn’t going to happen.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, it’s tough to get people in that generation to see the benefit of it. Like my uncle, whom I’ve learned a ton about business entrepreneurship from, he’s just of that age group where he doesn’t want to do social media, he doesn’t see the value in it, or maybe he sees the value in it, but he just like doesn’t want to take the time to learn it. But for me and for future generations that get into business, I can’t imagine- I can’t imagine having a brick and mortar store on the side of the road with a billboard and that be my only sole source of marketing.
Neil Dudley: You just got to hope somebody drives by. It is wild. This platform is really great. I think consumers want more and more trust. They want to build more and more trust or brands need to build more and more trust. I think consumers want to have trust in the things they are buying. Anyway, you can get transparent, honest, open, real, in a way and on a platform that people can digest on their own time is just super valuable. This is the way of the future. It is the way people are going to make decisions.
Robert Sikes: I agree. I especially think podcasting as more of a longer format medium is really good because with Instagram, TikTok, as good as that is at kind of showing some behind the scenes, like it just shows the highlight reel. With a podcast, if you’re talking to somebody for more than 30 minutes, you can really kind of figure out their true nature of the character, or at least have a glimpse of it and really kind of figure out what they’re about, as opposed to a 15 second clip on Instagram or something where you can’t really gauge somebody’s personality. But the longer form mediums like the podcasting, I’m a huge fan of. It is just a great way to network and meet people too. I mean, I’ve had the option to podcast that people have to pay $1,000 to go see for five minutes. And I’ve just sat there and talked to them candidly for an hour and half. That to me is good for both parties. It gives them more exposure, it gives me some more knowledge. And nobody really says no to podcast. I mean, there’s not really any downside to it apart from the time but the potential upside usually far outweighs that.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, it is the number- if you don’t have a podcast, and you think you want to start one, I would highly encourage it. I bet Robert would too. For that one reason – pretty much anybody you ask to come on will say yes. And right there, I ask every person that I want to sell bacon to if they want to come on the podcast, every person that I’d like to talk to for five minutes to come on the podcast, and I end up getting 30 minutes or an hour. And it’s real relationship building. It’s all of those. So just that interaction you and I are having right here, if nobody listens to this ever, we’ve had- we’ve built a relationship a little bit stronger, batting around things that we both feel passionate about. I think that’s worth a lot right there.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, 100%, man. So for people that do not know Pederson’s Farms, are not familiar with it, y’all predominantly do pork based products, right? Do y’all do any ruminant red meat?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, we do a little bit but not like we do pork. We raise pigs, we make bacon, we sell it, and every step in between. We do not have ranches. And I can be a conundrum because I was raised on a ranch, and I talk a lot about cattle and horses and those kinds of things. But that was kind of prior to the Pederson’s I guess career. And we sell some ground beef and we sell some turkey bacon and we do a little bit of chicken, this and that, but mainly pork.
Robert Sikes: And y’all’s whole operation’s pretty much in house, right?
Neil Dudley: Yes, we have two farrowing farms, which farrowing is a word that can be confusing. It really just means where sows have piglets. They call it farrowing instead of calving or whatever else they might say in another industry. We’ve got two farrowing farms. We contract a lot of finishers in the pig industry, they’ll have the babies, you raise them for 28 days on the mama, then they move to what’s called a nursery for a little while. Then they move to a finisher. Then, once they’ve got up to about 300 pounds, they’ll go to harvest. We’ll get those parts and pieces we need for our further processing. We sell loins and butts and picnics and all these other cuts to other customers we’ve built over the years. One of our biggest is Whole Foods. You can buy our pork in a lot of their full service cases. But yeah, we own every step. So, we feel the pain and the love in every aspect of it.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, that’s near and dear to my heart though, man. In fact, there’s just so much more to be had when you have everything in house. Like you just have a deeper appreciation for the entire product journey. It just makes- I don’t know, some people prefer to outsource everything, but I like keeping as much in house as possible because I just feel like I’ve got a better pulse on everything. When it comes to pigs, a lot of people, pigs are monogastric like chickens, as opposed to like cows and lambs and deer that are- the ruminants have the multi chambered stomachs. When it comes to pigs, y’all’s pigs specifically, what does a lifecycle look like for the piglet? Like what are they eating? How is that kind of laid out for someone that’s eaten y’all’s bacon? Like what’s that lifestyle look like for the pig?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, well, one way you can know is look up Global Animal Partnership. Like you could go to that website and that’s going to tell you a lot about the environment and handling expectations we adhere to. So there’s just a nugget for you, Global Animal Partnership, you can learn a lot about what I might not even mention here around the humane treatment of the animals, etc. But really, the piglet’s born, it drinks milk from its mama. Or a gestation crate is a buzzword everybody wants to stay away from. If you don’t know what a gestation crate is, it’s like a dog kennel with a 300 pound sow in there, 500 pound at times. So, they can’t turn around. Stand up, lay down, eat, that’s all they could do. And gestation is the time in which they’re growing the babies in their stomach. So, they’ve been bred, they got pregnant. Now gestation is just waiting on those piglets to be born. That’s pretty tough, thinking that they live in these gestation crates. Our system eliminates those. We do all of the gestation in pens where they have these big pens where they just move around, play in hay, go eat when they want to. Pigs are pretty cool too. Like they’ll eat in the kitchen, they go to the bathroom in the bathroom, and they kind of sleep and lay around in the bedroom, which is a little different from ruminant animals. Like if you’ve ever been around cows, they just poop everywhere they go. I mean, they don’t care. Pigs are really clean in that way. So, we get rid of the gestation crates. They’re eating a ration that is designed by a nutritionist, like an animal nutritionist. Typically, they’re veterinarians. And it consists of all vegetarian items. So, we’re not feeding them bone meal or fish meal or any of these kind of byproducts of harvesting of those animals just as a precaution to avoid the transmission of whatever may be in those other animals. So, corn, soy, barley, all kinds of grains is what this feed typically is made of, along with minerals, vitamins, etc. Just a full, I don’t know how to say it other than it’s like the most well developed perfectly formulated nutrition for these pigs to grow and to be healthy. The worst thing in any farming operation is sick animals. Nobody wants that. So, we’re developing the nutrition in that way. And we also never administer antibiotics if it can be avoided. If there’s a sick pig, we give them an antibiotic if that’s the only way to get them over it. And the vet will do that quickly. We don’t want them suffering. But they also get earmarked, or they get a little tag in their ear that says this pig has had antibiotics. So, when they go to harvest, we know they have to be sold through a different market.
Robert Sikes: Gotcha. Because that’s one of the big selling points for people, especially who is shopping the Whole Foods getting a lot of y’all’s pork, they want to get something that is raised without hormones or antibiotics.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s been our niche for 20 years now. No antibiotics ever. And this is crazy. I mean, everybody starts playing with the words. Antibiotic free. Well, is that no antibiotics ever, or is that no sub therapeutic antibiotics? When I say sub therapeutic, I mean, it’s just antibiotics fed in the feed just as a preventative thing. In a lot of people’s minds, and I’m not spending every day studying these things, some of it I just leave to logic, it just feels like yeah, that kind of makes sense. I mean, I’m trying to go on some common sense here. If you’re just feeding animals that don’t need antibiotics antibiotics, then the bugs get resistant to the antibiotics. And then potentially, those same bugs come into a human, I don’t know what I want to say, strain or something. So now we’ve kind of given this strain of disease life through constantly feeding antibiotics to animals. So we’re kind of like let’s don’t do that. I think logically, let’s give them an antibiotic if they need it. If they don’t, don’t do it.
Robert Sikes: It makes sense to me. What did you say the gestation period is on these pigs?
Neil Dudley: They’ll have 2.2 litters a year. So let’s say five and a half months or five months around is how long they’re in the mama’s belly.
Robert Sikes: And when the piglet’s born, how long typically before they’re slaughtered?
Neil Dudley: Okay, that’d be, I think that’s another five to six months, depending on time of year and location, etc. Some of that North- the reason to kind of do it up in the Midwest is cooler climate. They grow better, they’re happier, etc.
Robert Sikes: And how much are they weighing typically at slaughter?
Neil Dudley: Yeah. 300, right at 300 pounds.
Robert Sikes: So they put on 300 pounds in a matter of five to six months. That’s crazy.
Neil Dudley: That is crazy. And I mean, that sounds like, man, kind of you hear about these chickens that grow so fast they can’t walk. And I think that’s part of the industry’s job to be honest about those things. We’re trying to balance a lot of truth. How do you grow an animal to a harvest weight, that produces a super enjoyable, high quality eating experience, as well as a high degree of comfort in their life? I think it’s the most sad thing to me that a lot of Americans don’t have the real experience of living on a farm or ranch or growing animals. It’s hard for me because I have to tell myself a lot of times, they don’t understand farming and ranching like I don’t understand, I don’t know, scuba diving or something I don’t do. Like I don’t really have a point of reference. I’ve never done it. I’m not super well versed in all the details of it. Where I am when it comes to farming and ranching. So, I just like to share that perspective so everybody has a chance to think, okay cool, so yeah, they are trying- this is a financial business, it needs to be able to survive the economics of America or even the world.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I feel like honestly, just there’s a lot of ignorance when it comes to farming and ranching. I mean, I think viewing this as a renewable resource makes a ton of sense. I mean, I feel like you’ve got to do it in an ethical way, you’ve got to do it in a way that’s best for the animals, but also best for the human consumption. And I feel like if you’re doing it- Nobody likes to see the pigs that are in the gestation crates. Nobody likes to see the chickens that can’t walk in little bitty crates, like on the back of the Tyson trucks. Nobody likes to see that. I don’t think that is optimal. I don’t think anybody is promoting that, maybe I guess there’s some people promoting it. But that’s certainly not what I’m advocating for. But I feel like to turn a blind eye to the fact that animals are renewable resources that feed the population is also equally as ignorant and blind. And I think you have to look at it through that lens as well. I’m an avid hunter, so I have no problem killing animals ethically to fuel my own body and that of my family. So, I feel like if you look at it through that lens, I mean, going about it the best, most humane way possible is just the goal. That’s the key.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. And have I done that every single time in my whole life? No. I had to mature. I had to learn. I had to realize some things. It’s kind of like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So somebody finds out one time, Neil gut shot a deer, and it died this horrible death. And that would be true. But it wouldn’t mean that’s what I wanted or that I should never try to kill another deer or that the whole system is broken. It means there was a failure that one time. Now let’s learn, let’s do better. I think about animals, that renewable resource word, I’ve never really used that, but it makes a lot of sense to me. I just think I’m accountable for the food I eat, the animal protein I consume, I’m accountable to that life of that animal to now be a good person, try to get better, do things that add value to our society. And I think when you kind of start thinking about it like that, it makes the whole system make a lot more sense. And I don’t think there’s any shame in ignorance. I mean, you just don’t know, you just don’t have any experience. If your only experience is that pet puppy or pet kitty cat or pet gerbil, I can- I’ve cried over my dog dying, I’ve cried over cattle that I love and got really close to dying and horses too. So, I know I have those feelings, too. So, I think a lot of times it turns into these feelings that I completely understand.
Robert Sikes: I think there’s just a massive disconnect, man. And I feel like you grew up farming and ranching, I grew up hunting, we got a farm too. We had cattle at one point. When you are raised in that environment, you just look at life and death as it is. Like it’s all just part of the circle of life. Like, it’s just going to happen. Death is just a reality that we all must face. And there’s a lot of ignorance around that, like people just simply don’t know, they go to the grocery store, they walk down the meat aisle, they get their drumsticks, their pork loins, or their ribeye steaks in a nicely wrapped cellophane package, they don’t assume that there was ever a living animal on the other side of it. They know it, but they like to not think about it. So, they have that disconnection there. So that’s a huge issue. And then, for the people that are advocating for a completely plant-based diet that assume that eating only plants is going to cause no death in the animal population at all is also equally ignorant because all the monocropping that involves, all the monocropping required for their soy products, all of the death and destruction that comes with removing that habitat from the wildlife, to have those monocrop fields, I mean, there’s a ton of death in that regard, too. So, to assume that anybody is going to mitigate and remove death of animals, it’s just not being realistic. So, the matter then becomes how does one make that death as humane, as sustainable and realistic and ethically sound as possible. When you look at it through that lens, hunting makes a lot of sense, quality hunting, putting in the work to make sure that you’re putting a well placed shot on an animal makes sense. And then doing and supporting companies that do regenerative agriculture and then have a certain moral code of ethics with regard to how they treat their livestock. I mean, all that just simply makes sense when you actually start pulling the curtain back and diving into it.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sometimes I feel like we’re preaching to the choir, because most of the time, people listening to this conversation on our platforms are going to be mostly in agreeance. They’re going to kind of already have all this research done. What we did, one fun thing that has happened is Pederson’s does a monthly live stream Q&A, where we’re going live on a Zoom webinar and putting really thought leaders of the industry right here in front of whoever comes and they can ask questions in the chat. They can just- you can’t get that close to these people without a conduit. And that’s what Pederson’s is trying to be in this situation. And we’ll have some vegan participants. And I mean, I kind of get sad when anybody labels somebody some extreme thing because I know a lot of just really sensible, logical vegan people. That’s their choice. Their life has played out in a way that they believe the best thing for them to do is eat that way, to think that way, to live that way. I’m not here to stop them. I think I do- As much as they want me to hear their thought process, I want them to hear my thought process, and I’m not going to die on this hill of animal protein. If I learn something that is totally new information that really wakes me up to a new reality, I’m going to say, look, I was wrong. This is actually all bad. I’ll be very surprised if that happens. But I’m not opposed to allowing it. And I think that’s where we get in big trouble as a society politically, in every way is getting on this hill we’re going to die on because we’re right. The older I get, the more I realize, I don’t know anything. I’m doing the very best I can. I think I can add value. Most of the time I talk to anybody, they’re like, oh, that was kind of enjoyable. Oh, that was good. I felt good about that. That was time well spent. So this, I don’t know-
Robert Sikes: That is key, man. I think having that open mind perspective, and then intentionally bringing on people that you know that you’re probably in disagreement with so you can hear their side and do so with an open mind is paramount. I brought on several vegans to the podcast knowing that I disagree with their philosophies, but I like to hear where they come from. Because I feel like if your intention is to sway somebody one way or the other, but you don’t even know their argument, you don’t even know or understand or respect their viewpoints, then your ability to sway them away from those is going to be significantly diminished, because both parties are just bashing their head against the wall. So, I’ll intentionally try and learn what their reasoning is. And then from there, I can either agree with them or disagree with them but do so in an educated way as opposed to just totally blinded. And like you said, that’s been the issue with us as a society when it comes to nutrition and politics and everything in between. There’s just so much closed minded, dogmatic echo chamber thinking, and that just plagues our ability to grow and advance as a species. So, I think doing what you’re saying, having an open mind, not having the hill you are dying on, I mean, having a stance on things for sure, being rooted in your beliefs, absolutely, but not so much so that you become just blind to other possibilities.
Neil Dudley: Yeah. I mean, I listened to a guy give a speech on how the change he made in his lifestyle to vegan saved his life. And at the end of it, I was about ready to go vegan. I mean, he was doing such a good job of convincing me that was successful for him. And then I woke up and I was like, oh, I’m Neil. That’s Joe. We’re different people. We live different truths. That’s totally fine. I still love him. He can love me too. And we just- there’ll be some people that will just never agree that killing an animal is okay. I’ll probably never agree that it’s not, that it is something that we shouldn’t have the right to do, that it’s not the way God built it. It’s not a lot of these kind of base things that are just like breathing to me. That’s how it is. And I think that’s kind of beautiful, too, that we don’t all have to comply to some specific set of rationale or rules.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, it’d be pretty boring if we all thought the same thing.
Neil Dudley: I mean, you’ve got a great- you got to give me a little bit of what it’s like because I mean, you say it in your branding, everything you are, Keto Savage, Keto Bricks. And keto is a space that gets a lot of this kind of chatter around it, like it’s not sustainable. You can’t build muscle. I don’t even know. You know better than I do. But you’re kind of like a walking billboard that debunks all of those things.
Robert Sikes: Well for me, it’s funny, man, because there’s been a bunch of people that jumped into the Keto space when it got really popular, and now they’re jumping ship, and I got into the space. I made the brand Keto Savage long before keto was popular. And a lot of people have asked me hey, with all the things that have grown in popularity and hype, like metabolic flexibility, carnivore, things of that nature, do you see yourself rebranding and going a different direction? And at the end the day for me, it’s like living a ketogenic lifestyle is what gave me my solid foundation and firm footing. So I don’t really need to deviate from that. There’s so much experimentation to be done within the realm of a ketogenic diet that I don’t feel- like I could experiment every single day, and I still wouldn’t reach the full potential of it all. At the end of the day, carnivore is pretty much a subset of keto. If you are adopting a ketogenic diet, you’re by default metabolically flexible and more often, in most cases. So, I mean, there’s just always this grass is greener on the other side philosophy with people. And I’ve just tried to double down on what I know to be very effective for me and then just continue to polish and optimize that. And at the end of the day, a ketogenic diet is not some fad diet. It’s a metabolic state in which your body is using and running on ketones. So, to assume that it’s some fad diet that will be here today gone tomorrow is just honestly also rooted in ignorance. It may get a bad rap at times, it may have a lot of overly done hype, but at its core, it is a legitimate diet. It’s a legitimate lifestyle. I’ve been doing it for seven plus years without failing and deviation. So has my wife Crystal. Her health’s been improved, my health has been improved. I don’t really see a need to rebrand or deviate from that.
Neil Dudley: And everywhere you go, I guarantee people walking around see you, see your wife, they think wow, I want to look like them. I want to be like them. I think you’re a great ambassador for health. Whether it’s ketogenic-ly accomplished or not might be debatable. For you, it’s been really good. Like, I want to take all those competitors- Have you ever seen the TV show Alone? Are you familiar with that survival show? I think we ought to run a ketone monitor blood test on them. I guarantee everyone of them is in ketosis and they don’t survive on lettuce. They’re out there eating mice, porcupines, fish. That’s how- We are so well off, like America, really the world, in most cases. Now this is, here you go, somebody’s going to hate on us for this because I’m generalizing. But in most cases, we’re all doing pretty darn good. We don’t have to worry where our food’s coming from the next day, the next minute. You go on that show Alone, you’re focused on like two things, shelter and food. That’s it. And I just think it’s a great illustration of it’s hard to know, unless you’re in that situation, that that’s where it all- that’s where the real nutrition lives. You want to win that show, you got to have animal protein and fat.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, that show, I haven’t really watched any of them. But I know the premise of it. I listened to podcast with one of the guys that won it. And there’s been a lot of debate around what we consumed as a species, evolutionarily like what did we eat? Did we evolve because we ate a bunch of plants? Did we evolve because we ate a bunch of animal based products, higher fat, higher protein, etc., etc. and Mickey Byndoor, I had him on the podcast, and he looks at our consumption through the lens of an energy demand. Like if you look at the food we consume as like a currency almost, like what is going to bring you the most bang for your buck? What are you going to consume that is going to provide the most energy consumption at the least expense of your energy. And when you’re surviving in the wild, especially in a cold environment, under harsh conditions, that’s what it all boils down to, like how can you bring in the most energy with expending the least energy? And if you’re running around miles on end searching for edible plant matter, that’s probably not going to yield much of a caloric load and require quite a bit of caloric expenditure. That doesn’t make a ton of sense from an energy demand standpoint. But if you were to harvest a fatty grizzly bear or a lot of fatty fish or an elk or something like that, yeah, you may have to expend a bunch of energy in that acute instance to bring it down. But then you’re pretty much set for days, if not months, certainly weeks. And I feel like that makes a lot of sense. Like, if I’m doing the show Alone, I’m damn sure going after some bigger animal, not mice and leaves.
Neil Dudley: I mean, but even then, sometimes a mouse or a squirrel is like almost the most exciting thing in their life. Like, holy shit, I just killed a mouse. I’m eating tonight. Where we just- I’ve never starved. Like I just never have. Now I have fasted. I know kind of what it feels like to go on a long fast and how hunger dissipates at some point. Like you start kind of forgetting that you’re hungry. And all those things are so interesting that a lot of people don’t try fasting, and maybe a lot of people do. I just perceive people don’t get it. But that whole experience of surviving, not knowing where the next meal is coming from, I think just paints a seriously interesting picture to consider around just what kind of food you eat and what you’re made to consume.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, definitely I think it gives people a lot of perspective, people that have this abundance mindset and have never wanted for anything, never been hungry, it kind of paints a picture to them of what’s possible, what are some of the populations out there going through on a day to day basis? I think having that perspective is key. You mentioned earlier in this recording that you were raised with this set of cowboy principles. You said the other podcast that you have is called what?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, the Cowboy Perspective.
Robert Sikes: The Cowboy Perspective, I like that. So when you think of that, you’ve probably got the same book, but I’ve got a book, it’s one of those like coffee stand books. It’s called Cowboy Ethics. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I don’t know if I know the book, but I could probably guess what’s in it.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, you could probably write the book yourself. But I was raised pretty much on the same tenants, man, like hard work, honesty, all that stuff. We didn’t go on vacations either. I was just constantly working on the property. And I feel very blessed for that. Like a lot of kids, a lot of peers and stuff, they look at me and would be like, Man, you didn’t go on family vacations. You didn’t go on these trips. You didn’t go to the beach. But they oftentimes have no work ethic. They don’t know what a good hard day’s work is. They have these smooth hands because they never had to build any calluses up. And I’ve just developed life skills in doing things that seem like it would really be life oriented, but you go out in the woods with heavy equipment that is dangerous, and you start using that, like tractors, chainsaws, things like that, you gain perspective doing that you wouldn’t do anywhere else. So when you think of how you were raised, and you said you’ve got three kids now, right, I think you said it before we started recording.
Neil Dudley: Yep, three daughters.
Robert Sikes: Three daughters. So, what are some core tenants, core philosophies, core ideologies that you want to instill in them to set them up for success? And this is interesting, too, because I feel like when we look at how we were raised, our folks were probably pretty hard on us. We want to make it easier for our kids. But at the same time, it’s like we don’t make it too easy because then they’re not going to have these underlying philosophies in the first place. So how do you kind of tow that line? Or what do you plan on doing for those three daughters of yours?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I would say it’s absolutely unfair to them if you don’t put them through the ringer. I call it do hard things. Like, you have to know how to deal with pain. You do it. I think it’s partially how you’re successful at bodybuilding. Like, you know that there’s another- like, okay, I really don’t want to do this today. But you still go do it. Wow, I really don’t want to do another set of this exercise, whatever it is. You built- Like it’s just kind of innate, automatic for you to just push through. That’s what I want for my girls. And how to do that, I don’t know. It’s like all of these conversations give me a little tool in my brain. And I’m not really aware of it always. It’s just there. It’s like a lot of the stuff I learned as a kid, I can’t list it for you. It just comes to me when I need it. Like, there’s no manual for being on a horse in 1000 acre pasture and being lost. There’s no manual that I can read that solves that for me. I had to kind of figure it out and think, okay, I’m scared. Oh, I’m about to cry. No, calm down. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to panic. What are some options? And then I just come up with those options because I don’t have a manual. Okay, well, I find a fence line. I know a fence line will eventually end up at a gate. Or I find a cattle trail. I’ll follow that and know that’ll eventually end up at water. I mean, so you just kind of start, oh, holy moly, I have a whole wealth of ideas in my head I can tap into when I have to. You’re doing the same thing. I want my girls to be able to do that. So, I don’t tell them like, “Girls, open the gate.” “Well, how?” “I don’t know. See if you can figure it out.” That’s what people did for me. That’s what I’m trying to do for my kids. I don’t do it perfectly. I spoil them in a lot of ways. Athletics is one way that I’m making them do hard things. Basically, every day they get out of the car, I say go do something you fail at today. Go fail, go be uncomfortable. That is what I expect of you. I don’t expect all As. I don’t expect perfection in any way. But I want to know you know how to be embarrassed, to fail, and to recover and keep going.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, it’s so important, man. And they are not going to like push back on you crazy hard and become rampant vegans, are they?
Neil Dudley: They could. My middle daughter is not a huge fan of meat. I mean, it’s something, either texture or just the idea of eating that cow she sees out in the pasture. It doesn’t- It just bothers her. I don’t know if bothers is the right word. But it causes- like she’s just not a big meat eater, where the other two, they’ll just eat. Like, I’ll make a pan of bacon, they eat it all. They don’t even think about it. So that’s another crazy thing. When you have another kid, if you do, now then they’re very different in personality. So I’ve got three, all very different in personality. So, my parenting style has to change. And I have one personality. I mean, it doesn’t mesh with each one of those personalities perfectly well. So, I have to try to- parenting is a great kind of hot plate of education too. I mean, it’s good. It makes you better at everything – working with other people. It makes you more empathetic to other parents. It makes you more empathetic to your own parents. So, you’ll never be ready for it. But go be a parent. It will help you in everything that you do.
Robert Sikes: How old are your three daughters?
Neil Dudley: Let’s see, 12, 11 and 8.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy, man. Like I look at- I’ve been diving into parenting a lot now that I am a parent. And Rigel’s still super young, like he’s not speaking or anything yet. But it’s like you want to be proactive in how you’re going to go about raising them, like these ideas that you want to instill upon them. And it’s crazy, man. I’ve got a lot of respect for my folks. I feel like being a parent, definitely, you start to see things through others’ lenses, you’re able to be more empathetic, and I can understand why my folks did some of the things that they did, some of the things I have no freaking clue why they did it the way they did, maybe I’ll never know.
Neil Dudley: And probably because they didn’t know. I mean, my parents were just doing the best they can. And my mom, she’ll kind of feel bad that I didn’t do something or I didn’t have success in some way and under some metric that the world says, and she thinks that’s on her. I’m like, no, Mom, it’s not on you. You were showing up every day, doing the very best you could, while also dealing with your own life, your own happiness. I think that’s my- we’ve just gone off into lots of philosophy here. But I love this kind of stuff. That would be my challenge or my desire for everybody, that they could prioritize their own happiness, maybe not happiness, but own mental health and physical health. Those two things are so closely tied, you’ve got to pay attention to that. Nutrition is the basic building block that both of those two things come from. Prioritize that because when you’re on that, when like you’re on top of that, you’ll be a great parent, you’ll be a great business owner, you’ll be a great friend, you’ll be a good Christian, all these things work so much better, so much more kind of easily when you have a good building block of nutrition and mental and physical health.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, 1,000% agree man. I feel like some people sacrifice their health for some other endeavor, whether that’s money, career, relationships, etc., etc. But I mean, if you have that dialed in, like if you are simply healthy, if you have a healthy weight, healthy composition, you feel good, you look good, you’re confident in how you perform, like your ability to function at a higher rate with every other aspect of your life is going to be exponentially amplified. Whereas if you sacrifice that, it becomes so much harder to regain that functional baseline, that oftentimes people just give up and say it’s not even worth trying. And then they wind up pissing away their life and living with regret. So, I think having that is something that you never really deviate too far from in the first place and just continue to build to, build on, rather, is absolutely key.
Neil Dudley: I mean, they probably heard that same thing on your podcast a million times, but a million and one won’t hurt, like, because there’s somebody- I’ve lived this truth. My wife told me to do this. My dad told me to do this. Robert Sikes told me to do this. Then one day, Joe Bob said do it. And I decided to do it. Like Joe Bob was the camel- or the straw that broke the camel’s back and made me do a good idea, made me actually act. So I like saying this, even if you’ve heard it before, you should hear it again. Maybe it will inspire you to tell a friend to do something. I mean, who knows? But this is all just really good life stuff that you can’t go wrong with. And what kind of life is it if you haven’t felt good and enjoyed it? I mean, okay, multibillionaire, I don’t even know what people chase in the world. I want money. I don’t think money is bad. I think money is a great resource. But it’s not what makes me feel good. It’s not what, when I die, I’m going to have flashed through my mind as greatness. There’s no U Haul behind the hearse.
Robert Sikes: That’s true. 100%, man. Powerful words of wisdom right there. Well, I think anything, any tangible thing people can do to improve their health is key and eating Pederson Farms bacon has got to be pretty high on that list, right?
Neil Dudley: Oh, yeah. Like you can’t have bad bacon. So look, if you’re eating bacon, it’s going to be good. But you want great bacon. You got to give Pederson’s a try.
Robert Sikes: 100%, man. Where are you based out of again? I forget.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, our plant where we make the bacon is in Hamilton, Texas.
Robert Sikes: You are in Texas too, right?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s where I was born and raised, little town just west of Hamilton. And our product is sold in Whole Foods. And it’s under a Nature’s Rancher brand. And when Amazon bought Whole Foods, they were thinking about getting rid of national brands. Pederson’s at the time, we were sold in lots of retailers all over the country. So as kind of a, I don’t know, good or bad business decision, we bought a brand to make exclusive for Whole Foods. So then now we don’t have a nationally competitive brand. And we were kind of able to stay in that position as a vendor for them. Turns out some of those philosophies didn’t ever come to fruition and a little bit, but okay, I can whine or cry and think, oh, that didn’t work out just the way I wanted it to. But it is what it is. We’re still in business. We’re here to fight another day. We just keep moving forward. But for anybody-
Robert Sikes: Anytime I shop at Whole Foods, I pick up a pack and some kielbasa sausages. It’s on my grocery list every time.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s right. And we were just at a show and I was kind of interviewing everybody, like giving them a taste of our product. To me, that’s the number one very best fun thing to do is somehow get an audience with the people, let them try our product. And they just say stuff like, that reminds me of my childhood. Wow, that tastes super clean. Man, that was super flavorful. That’s the kind of stuff that people just say. And occasionally, they spit it out and say, I hate it. You can’t make everybody happy, it will not happen. And we don’t strive to do that. We just try to make really trustworthy, quality product. And then, so far, we stayed in business, and we’re going to try to always do that. If people start spitting it out more often than they eat it, we got to do something different.
Robert Sikes: I don’t think that’s going to happen man. Y’all are rockin and rollin. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried from y’all, so I can’t complain at all. I’m going to have to go out there and check out the plant some time. You’ll have to give me the grand tour.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, you’re welcome. And we’ll go hunt some pigs or deer or dove. That’s kind of one fun thing about being out here in the middle of nowhere, Texas. I mean, it takes you a while to get here but once you’re here, the world is your oyster, man. It is just do whatever you want.
Robert Sikes: Random question, totally strange way to end this podcast, but it’s on my mind to ask. So we’ve got a farm in southwest Arkansas, Texarkana area. And we are just run over by wild hogs, man. We’ve got them everywhere. Big ol’ feral hogs. I mean, they’re just everywhere. I bring a trip down there every single year. We go deer hunting, we go hog hunting. And a lot of the concern with those wild hogs is trichinosis and pseudo rabies, but that is something that’s pretty much carried by- like trichinosis is pretty much in all pigs anyways, right?
Neil Dudley: Now, that’s a great debate. I don’t even know if it’s a debate. In the commercial hog population, there hasn’t been a case of trichinosis since the 70s. Although that’s why everybody cooks pork till it’s burned. Like most people think a pork chop sucks as an eating experience because they overcook them, they dry them out because years ago, you had to to make sure you didn’t get trichinosis. Now that is- now I’d have to research this wild pig population and see before I just say something that’s totally a lie. I don’t know 100% about these wild boars and stuff, whether or not we need to be worried about them or not. I feel like we wouldn’t be. If that was a truth, then every commercial pig operation in the country would be worried to death about it, that these wild boars are going to somehow, especially the outdoor access pigs, etc., somehow get in that herd, start this whole trichinosis problem all over again. Anyways, you’ve asked a good question there. I’ve got to check that out a little more. I’m going to take a note on that.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, probably should just get some sample or something, like next time I’m down there, get a sample of one or something. I’m sure there’re probably labs where I can have that tested.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, and there’s probably already tons of research done on it. What did you say the other one is? Pseudorabies.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, pseudorabies.
Neil Dudley: I’m not very familiar on that one either. So that’s a couple of good questions.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, I might have to do some digging on that.
Neil Dudley: Damn it. I didn’t help. I didn’t add any value for anybody in that regard.
Robert Sikes: The rest of the podcast is pure value, man. It’s always fun chatting with you. I like your vibe. I like your demeanor. I always like seeing you at conferences, man, following the smells of bacon around. What’s the next conference you’re going to be going to?
Neil Dudley: Next week, I’m actually going to a conference called Grocery Shop. It is one of the most valuable conferences I go to annually because it just gives me a look behind the curtain, I want to say, it is probably not even behind the curtain. It just gives me insight into the technology that is out there and being developed daily about last mile delivery for refrigerated and frozen goods. That’s been just a huge problem the market is trying to solve. Amazon’s doing a pretty good job of it. But it’s still, Amazon’s making so much money on everything else, their last mile delivery costs for their refrigerated stuff, they’re losing money on it, but they just do it because they know they’re solving a problem for the consumer that the consumer really wants. But nobody’s figured it out really to be a sustainable business model from a profitability standpoint.
Robert Sikes: What’s the name of that conference again? Grocery what?
Neil Dudley: Grocery Shop. It’s in Vegas. They got all kinds of really cool speakers, educational sessions, presentations, expo where they’ve got companies kind of- you can go walk around. A lot of it’s data, like data analysis, helping you decide how your products are really performing. Anyways, it’s just really good. Any one specific thing coming from there, I couldn’t tell you. It’s just like kind of this atmosphere of innovation and education. And I always get a lot from that.
Robert Sikes: It’s exciting stuff, man, cutting edge. What’s the next keto conference you’re going to be in?
Neil Dudley: I don’t even know, maybe Keto Con next year. See, that’s where you’re plugged into them. I think there’s probably a Keto conference every week. Like if you wanted to go to one, I bet there’s one every week, Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California. I am going to Fit Expo in January sometime. That’s out in LA. I found these fitness conferences are a really good place for us to go be because typically there’s not a lot of meat. There’s not a lot of just like bacon, meat kind of products there. So, you get a little bit of kind of attention without the competition. So, all my competitors, be listening. Come be competitive. I think competition is good too. I’m not trying to keep any secret here. But as of today, right now, the fitness expos have been really good for us.
Robert Sikes: It makes sense, man. I feel like there’s a lot of these conferences you go to, and there’s just a bunch of products that are processed foods. I mean, the Keto brings a processed food, like I’m not even going to deny that. It’s definitely one of the cleaner ends. But when I go to these conferences, I’m intentionally avoiding most of these other foods. Like I’m looking for Pederson Farms bacon, I’m looking for the carnivore snacks. You’ve had the carnivore snacks?
Neil Dudley: I haven’t had them, but I mean, I’m really impressed with those products. Well, there’s a couple of them, so carnivore snacks. I don’t know, there’s a couple of these, maybe this dried liver.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, carnivore snacks is like- The whole taste and texture of carnivore snacks is different than a lot of the other dehydrated products. I mean, it just like melts in your mouth, man. So definitely try them. But yeah, having like an option for meat, just plain simple meat, meat and salt, that’s- if I’m at a conference, that’s pretty much where I spend all my time, going to those booths.
Neil Dudley: Well, I mean, before we call it quits, I mean, I need some- I need the Pederson’s faithful to hear a little bit about keto brick and what you do and what’s that brand, what’s that product all about?
Robert Sikes: Yeah, so for your listeners, I’m Robert Sikes, Keto Savage, been natural bodybuilding for, shoot, man, I guess about 14 years now, half of which has been in a ketogenic state, got my pro card in 2017, competing with a ketogenic protocol, developed the Keto Brick during my 2017 prep as a way to make a quality nutrient dense ketogenic meal replacement bar. Each one’s 1000 calories, high end fats, most of which is coming from raw organic cacao butter, which is the highest source of Stearic Acid out there. And just really easy from a macro standpoint of getting your macros in, hitting the fat source, not really causing any digestive issues whatsoever. I mean, just providing a lot of clean quality energy. So that’s pretty much my business. We keep it all in house as well. So that’s kind of why I’m resonating with everything you’re saying about keeping production in house. We’ve got employees, we’ve got our kitchen here on site, we do all of our production, all of our formulation. We’ve got several new flavors on the horizon. And we’re just taking it one day at a time and loving every single minute of it.
Neil Dudley: I mean, I’m not a bodybuilder. I mean, almost anybody can look at me and figure that out pretty quick. But I would stand Robert on the stage and say, listen to this guy. I mean, it’s obvious he solved his own problem with his product. He has these values that are super important and super aligned with what I value. So Keto Brick is just a really safe place to go vote with your dollars. I think Pederson’s wants to feel safe for somebody to vote with their dollars on our products. And it sounds like the Keto Brick commercial, maybe the Pederson’s commercial. It’s also sales. I mean, these things are true about us. And I’m not ashamed to say it for Robert because he might not want to say it, and he’s not ashamed to say it for Pederson’s because I might not want to say it. It doesn’t have the same value. But Keto Brick is totally trustworthy- I’m curious also, you’re like- just your booth, there’s a lot of marketing flair in that. Is that something you’re kind of thinking up, coming up with when you’re printing the shirts on site and doing some of the stuff y’all do? Or do you have somebody on your team? What I’m really trying to needle at is do you have the marketing brain? Is that your wife? Where does that come from?
Robert Sikes: That’s pretty much all me, man. Like I’ve got an amazing team. And Bryson who’s been with us the longest, he’s the one that’s printing all the shirts and he’s taken that under his wing. He’s freaking rocked it, super proud of him. I’ve got a media guy, like from a marketing standpoint, when it comes to creating digital content, Chip, I mean, that’s him. He’s the wizard behind the computer when it comes to editing photos and videos and whatnot. But when it comes to like what I want to accomplish, what do I want to do as a business, as a brand, like that’s pretty much all me, and I’ll obviously talk to Crystal and we’ll shoot ideas back and forth. But with the shirts, I just love the idea of making things. I want to have a creative outlet. And making- I mean, we all wear shirts. So instead of outsourcing that production and getting like a lower quality shirt, I’m like, well screw it, I’ll just learn how to print shirts. And we will do all that in house too. That’s exactly what we did. And we got these portable screen printing presses that we can take to these conferences. So we have the Keto bricks there for samples and for sale at the conference booth, and plus, we’ve got shirts we are printing on site. We’re printing a lot of these shirts for the venue or for the conference itself. Like we printed Keto Con shirts, we printed Hard to Kill Summit shirts in Omaha. And then we’ve got our own brand, which is actually launching- I’m not sure when this podcast is going to go live, but it’s launching this weekend. So yeah, we’re just rocking and rolling with the shirts from a creative outlet standpoint.
Neil Dudley: Man, that’s so cool. Now then I’m just curious. You’re highly sought after as an expert on stages at these keto conferences. How did that happen? Did you ever- I feel like I’m having to beg people to let me talk. Was it like that for you? Or were people just kind of saying, man, look at Robert, let’s get him up here, we know he knows something?
Robert Sikes: Well, I just did something very unique. I mean, there’s not a whole lot of bodybuilders that are leveraging a ketogenic diet. And not that, I mean, most of my clients are not bodybuilders. They’re just people that are wanting to lose body fat and build muscle. But there’s just been this dogma within the health and fitness nutrition space for so long that you have to have carbs. So when I came to the space and I was eating a lot more fats, no carbs, and much lower protein than a lot of my competitive peers were, and I was winning, it really garnered a lot of attention from people that were wanting a different protocol. And my messaging just kind of resonated with those people. And I’ve been able to replicate my success with my client base. And then I like speaking. Public speaking is not something I ever went to school for. It wasn’t something that I inherently practiced a lot. But I feel like it’s an opportunity for me to challenge myself. And it’s an opportunity for me to get better with something. At the end the day my goal is to simply- At end of the day, the ketogenic diet and lifestyle, this brand, this business, everything it stands for, has totally transformed my health and well being and my wife Crystal’s health and well being, and I’m really passionate about just sharing it with people. So being able to be a good speaker that is able to get that message across in a way that people appreciate, learn from, and are able to absorb is one of my highest priorities. So anytime I have an opportunity to speak at a conference, I just jump on it.
Neil Dudley: Yeah. Well, cool. I appreciate that. I also want people to hear a little bit how you nerd out on certain pieces of it, like the macros and how you get a product built that just kind of solves all those problems. And a lot of this stuff I’m totally oblivious to. I just don’t have the- I’m ignorant about it. But there’ll be some of the Pederson’s listeners who are really up to that speed. I know you like to build things, you like to make things. What gives you that I guess passion for the detail?
Robert Sikes: I don’t know man. I feel like how you do anything is how you do everything. And it’s really easy in the world we live in to just be mediocre, be the standard status quo, and I don’t ever want to be normal. Like my biggest fear in life, if I was to have a fear and finger point, it would be to be normal. That scares the hell out of me. I don’t want to be like everybody else. I want to go to the nth degree. I want to optimize. I want to get things dialed in on a whole nother level. And I feel like with nutrition, with the ketogenic diet, with my bodybuilding endeavors, with my endeavors as a businessman, there’s so many opportunities for me to take things to the next degree and level up. And my life is just a constant pursuit of figuring out what those steppingstones are, how to get to the next tier, how to get to the next level, and then constantly surrounding myself with people that have gotten to the next level so I can benefit from them. And then hopefully, I can find a way to also offer value to them in return.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I love that. There’s no finish line. Like there’s no finish line. There’s only run the race as hard as you can each and every day.
Robert Sikes: 100%, man, no finish line at all.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, well, man, I just kind of echo what you say. It’s fun talking to you. It’s fun being in the space with you. Like I would say somebody who’s curious about keto or even the culture, the community, it has been my experience it’s a real friendly bunch. It is a very good group of people to just be around, that’ll make you better and try to lift you up. A rising tide raises all ships, and that’s how it feels to me in the space.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, I totally agree, man. I feel like there’s just, I mean, there are definitely some bad apples. But that’s the case with every industry, every niche. I feel like all in all, the Keto community as a whole is incredibly welcoming. They’re all incredibly passionate about helping others, sharing what they’ve learned, and just being a part of this as a family. So yeah, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the community as well.
Neil Dudley: Yep. What’s your next big project? You got anything brewing you hadn’t told anybody else about yet?
Robert Sikes: Yeah, I got a couple of things brewing. Well, the book that I published in January, I’m building out a companion course that accompanies that book. That is going to be a beast of a course, like 200 plus videos. And I’m hoping to launch that early in the year, but it’s going to be the next several months of my life are going to be consumed by just working on that, chipping away.
Neil Dudley: I remember what I wanted to ask. Where can people buy Keto Bricks? Like, how can you get your hands on them?
Robert Sikes: Yeah, so ketobrick.com. We just do direct to consumer. We’re starting to get into some shops and stores and whatnot. But yeah, mostly just go to the website, ketobrick.com. We’ll fix you up.
Neil Dudley: Cool. What platform are you building this training on?
Robert Sikes: As far as the website builder?
Neil Dudley: Well, you’re talking about 200 videos of this training that goes along with the book. How are you delivering that to people? Is that through kind of a website? I’m sure you’re going to make some money from it.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, it’ll be its own website. I’m playing around with a couple different website builders. Right now, I’m using Kajabi. So I might do that.
Neil Dudley: Have you ever heard of Lightspeed?
Robert Sikes: I have not, but I’ll check it out.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, you should check out Lightspeed and you should just listen to this guy’s podcast. You ever heard of Dropping Bombs with Brad Lea? He lives out in Vegas. I listen to his stuff a lot. He’s almost- have you ever heard of Andy Frisella? So I mean, he’s kind of an Andy Frisella type, but maybe not quite as mobster, and he kind of seems like- but he’s brash, but I like his stuff. And he built that LightSpeed VT. It is a training platform. He talks about Kajabi a lot and how his solution’s a lot better. I think I would almost tell you check out Lightspeed. If you liked it, use it. He’ll put you on his podcast. You’ll have an audience that would be really cool to have to hear about Robert Sikes and Keto Savage, and I guarantee Brad Lea would be like, hell, yeah, man, let’s do it.
Robert Sikes: Heck yeah, I will 100% check that out. Appreciate the insight.
Neil Dudley: What do you think about 75 Hard?
Robert Sikes: I’ve never done it, but I’ve got a lot of clients that do it. Yeah, I think if you need something like that that’s more rigid structure with some non negotiables, that’s a really good segue for a lot of people. I love the concept of having non negotiables. So that is laid out very well with the 75 Hard program. Pretty much everything he prescribes the stuff that I’m doing on a day to day basis anyways, so I’m not technically doing 75 Hard, but those are all things that I can totally get behind.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sure. I mean, I ask because I have found, I’ll say 75 Hard to fitness professionals, and at least a couple of them have been kind of surprising to me not big fans or kind of offended by it, or seemed offended by it. And I’m trying to figure out why because I’m not in fitness, like that’s not my livelihood. I’m just curious, where does that feeling come from? Like, okay, I make my livelihood from this and this guy’s just throwing out some 75 Hard thing that everybody’s doing, and then they just stop. I’m wondering, where is that- What is the rub there?
Robert Sikes: Probably because a lot of these people that are in the fitness space and that’s where their livelihood comes from, they like to have this new hot take or something that is top secret that only they know the secret sauce to and they try and sell that to you. Whereas Andy Frisella is like, look, drink water, read a book, workout twice a day, one of which outside, and I don’t remember, like take progress pictures, something like that. So all just really good habits that people are going to benefit from. You don’t need to overcomplicate things. So yeah, I feel like that’s probably why people are rubbed wrong because people are no longer leaning into as heavily their secret sauce because it’s not really necessary.
Neil Dudley: I did a 75 Hard, and partly it is kind of like you said, you just want to optimize, you just want to be- you’re kind of always- I’m not sure I do that as well as you. I’m not kind of as good at that. So sometimes I like to just take on a kind of extreme thing like that and say, okay, cool, I’m going to do it. And I really enjoyed it. Like afterwards, I’m like, bring on the lion, baby. I’m good. Nobody can touch me. You live in that mindset probably a lot more than I do. But that 75 Hard made me feel like that. So to me, it was super valuable. I want everybody to do it. You should do it. Because the lion’s share of Americans are not waking up feeling like that. And I wish they could because it’s a good way to feel.
Robert Sikes: Yeah, I feel like becoming more resilient is always a positive. Becoming harder to kill, as the saying goes, is always worthwhile.
Neil Dudley: Okay, brother, thank you for the time. Thanks for having me on, letting me ramble on about the things that I think are so important and enjoy so much.
Robert Sikes: Man, always a pleasure, always a pleasure. Where do people go to find out more about you and order some bacon?
Neil Dudley: Pedersonsfarms.com. And listen to the Pederson’s podcast. That’s a place that you can learn a lot.
Robert Sikes: And the Cowboy Perspective.
Neil Dudley: And The Cowboy Perspective. And what has turned out to be crazy or a surprise to me is our YouTube channel. I don’t have many subscribers, but it’s doing really well. Like I think YouTube may have turned into or already is the largest search engine in the world above Google. So it makes for a really good place to go learn stuff.
Robert Sikes: Heck yeah, man, it’s awesome. I’ll definitely link out to everything, make it easy for people to find you. Neil, always a pleasure, brother. If there’s anything I can do for you, man, you just let me know.
Neil Dudley: I will. See, I’m not going to hesitate because I feel the same way. You need something I can help with, let me know. I love to help.
Robert Sikes: Amen. It goes both ways, brother.
In this episode, the creator of Keto Savage, Robert Sikes, joins host Neil Dudley for a discussion about running businesses, transparency for consumers, and the importance of breaking out of the status quo in everything from nutrition to business practices. Robert has been a natural bodybuilder for fourteen years, half of which have been in a ketogenic state. Listen to hear more about his story and a “behind the scenes” chat about both businesses.
(1:06) – Carnivore Snacks & Robert’s Keto Brick
(3:21) – Robert’s Marketing secrets
(5:03) – How Robert became a sought-after speaker
(6:48) – How to not be mediocre
(9:29) – What’s next for Robert
(11:48) – 75 hard
(14:45) – Introducing Neil & his career with Pederson’s
(22:04) – Staying ahead of the curve with marketing, social media & podcasting
(27:27) – Pederson’s Products
(28:13) – The life cycle for a Pederson’s raised Pig
(36:59) – Ethically raising & killing animals
(47:01) – Robert on becoming KetoSavage
(53:05) – The Cowboy Perspective & What Neil wants to instill in his children
(1:03:01) – You can’t have bad bacon!
(1:06:02) – Trickinosis and Pseudorabies in Hogs
(1:08:19)- The Grocery Shop Conference
(1:12:25) – Wrap up