FS Thrive x Exos: Preparing for Draft Day with Brent Callaway

We chat with Brent Callaway from FS Thrive partner Exos to learn how elite athletes combine movement, nutrition, recovery and mindfulness to build a foundation of sustainable high performance and prepare for life’s biggest moments like the NFL Combine and beyond.

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April 28, 2023 | 45 minute read

About this episode

With years of experience coaching and preparing elite athletes for the largest sports stages in the world, Exos Vice President of Performance Brent Callaway shares his strategies on creating a foundation of sustainable high performance and preparing for life’s biggest moments. Together with Director of Client Value Add Programs Ginevra Czech, they discuss what we in the business world can learn from these elite athletes as we look to optimize our own performance. Learn more at www.fsthrive.com and www.teamexos.com.

Transcript excerpt

Ginevra Czech (00:03):

Welcome to FS Thrive, a podcast by FS Investments. I’m Ginevra Czech, the Director of Client Value Add Programs. On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the NFL draft. And no, we are definitely not talking about our predictions for who’s going where or in what order. Instead, we’re going to talk about how these athletes prepared to get where they are today, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. They’re interviewing for the biggest job of their life. So how are they building that sustainable high performance? How are they training? What else are coaches measuring and evaluating outside of those combine scores? What does teamwork and building team culture have to do with the equation and what can we learn from those elite athletes? So, the good news is we have just the right person to lead us through the conversation. I’m joined today by Brent Callaway, who’s the Vice President of Performance at Exos, which is an incredible organization and leader in human performance.

Ginevra Czech (00:59):

We actually partner with EXOS here at our home office. They work not only with corporate partners like us and the military, but more specifically trainee elite athletes. And since 1999, EXOS has actually trained over a thousand athletes for the N F L, including eight, number one overall picks, and four of the last year’s top 10. So, for this year’s combine, I think Brent, you can correct me, 98 of the 319 invitees were preparing with Exos. That’s right. And not only preparing just with Exos, but Brent himself specifically who runs the Exos NFL Combine Prep program, Brent has over 15 years of experience coaching these elite athletes and also does the NFL, MLB, NBA off-season programs and the B pre-draft program among a lot of other things as well. So, Brent, in your words, can you tell us a little bit about what Exos does and what your role is within the organization?

Brent Callaway (01:54):

Yeah, you bet. First off, thank you guys for having me on. This is an awesome opportunity and I really appreciate it. EXOS is a company that gets people ready for the moments that matter most, right? And that’s something that we really take to heart. So regardless of if it’s an athlete, which is the space that I am in, or if it’s an employee or if it’s a parent or recreational athlete, our goal is to make sure that they are prepared for anything that they encounter in their daily lives. So, we really look at human performance in all facets, whether that’s me having to prepare somebody to put their hand on the ground and run a 40-yard dash in front of the world for money, uh, and an opportunity, or if it’s getting somebody ready to pick their kids up from school and take them out and throw a ball with them or, or things of that sort. And the last piece of that is getting ready for big board meetings and being able to be accountable to others and lead successfully. So, there are elements of that in there as well.

Ginevra Czech (02:50):

Awesome. And so how did you get here? What’s your personal experience with high performance and how’d you end up at Exos?

Brent Callaway (02:57):

Great question. So, I’m the son of a coach. Uh, my father was a, a high school football coach in the state of Texas for 30 years. So, I was a locker room kid, right? I was the one who grew up in the locker room at 7, 8, 9, and 10 years old. In the summer, my job was to hang up the laundry bags in the locker room and be the ball boy. So, in that moment, you learn about sporting culture, and I had an unbelievable father who was great at holding others accountable and an amazing communicator and leader. So, I ended up being a collegiate athlete in the track and field space, went to the University of North Carolina, and then from there knew I wanted to coach because I was kind of in the bloodline and ended up going the private performance route. And at that time, human performance was really just in the team setting.

Brent Callaway (03:44):

So, it was collegiate athletics and professional athletics. And if those athletes wanted to improve themselves, they had to go through their own organizations. So right at the 1999, 2000, 2001 mark is when the private performance spectrum started to pop a little bit. And Mark Verstegen, who is our founder, was on the cusp of that in, in creating this space. And so, I got actually on board with another company that had a lot of crossover of personnel with the company that Mark was operating. And then I came into the fold there and, and started coaching directly after and, and ended up working in the space in 2003 and have been there ever since.

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Ginevra Czech

Director, Client Value-Add Programs

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