A real man on the move, LANE EIGHT ambassador Eric Hinman is non-stop from the moment he rises until he hits the hay, with his waking moments split between adventuring outdoors, connecting with like-minded people in the wellness world and working with global fitness brands. But, that’s not all that’s on his plate, Eric also invests in a myriad of brands from a range of industries and co-founded the fitness facility Urban Life Athletics, as well as eateries Original Grain and XO Taco.
It seems there wouldn’t be enough time in the day to manage the workload, but Eric more than handles it and is able to prioritize his freedom to adventure, spending much of his time outdoors in Denver. We managed to catch him for a quick chat and get a glimpse of what it takes to gain and maintain a lifestyle as fast-paced and movement-centric as his.
Growing up, what was your relationship with sports like and how has this influenced how you work with health brands today?
I’ve always been really competitive against myself. In high school I played three sports: basketball, cross-country and I ran track. I really liked the sports (track/cross-country) where the results were directly correlated to the amount of work that I put in. That taught me early on about hard work and how hard work pays off.
In 2011, through the IRONMAN triathlon, I gained a following on social media which led to working with health brands. I like finding out about the latest and greatest, from fitness products to apparel to supplements to nutrition. I think that’s how sports has influenced how I’m working with health and wellness brands today.
What was the motivation to move to Denver and how has that switched up your lifestyle?
The motivation to move to Denver today was very lifestyle based. I was invited to Boulder Colorado in 2017 by a friend and I stayed with him and his family. I just fell in love with the beauty, sun and being outside. The people in Colorado are all so happy and they all want to be here for a reason because most of them like outdoor adventures. That first trip to Boulder, I fell in love with it and when I went back to upstate New York where I’m from, it felt like I left a piece of my heart in Boulder. I love it here, I love the people, I love the access to the outdoor activities and the variety that Colorado offers — with different landscapes and various sports throughout the year.
“Anything is possible, I learned that through IRONMAN. I also learned that daily execution is the key. It’s purposeful practice on a daily basis and then over time you will achieve your goals.”
What was the road to becoming a professional CrossFit athlete, and how does that influence your life now?
I would call myself a professional adventurer, exerciser and content creator in this chapter of my life. With CrossFit, I definitely train high volume and have had some achievements in the sport, but I don’t deem myself as a CrossFit athlete. I enjoy the training but I don’t have any real goals with it other than I just want to feel amazing day in and day out.
I figured out that balance of strength training, metabolic, and aerobic conditioning that I can do every day so that I reach a flow state. I just like the feeling of being on every day, feeling positive and having mental clarity — that’s what I look for in my exercise routine.
Between Olympic lifting, running, mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking, gymnastics and all the other activities that have become a part of your sweat routine, what’s your go-to and why?
I put the most emphasis on CrossFit just because it’s the most demanding. Pretty much every single day I go on some sort of outdoor adventure, whether it’s trail running, mountain biking, road running, or hiking. I enjoy that a ton as well. It’s less demanding on my body so I like doing that as my second session every day. I crave being outside.
I love doing things that keep my mind in the present moment, so mountain biking, for example, not only am I getting an endorphin rush but I’m also training my mind to be in the present moment and there’s such a high from that.
What’s something you’ve learned in the fitness realm that you now apply to business?
Anything is possible, I learned that through IRONMAN. I also learned that daily execution is the key. It’s purposeful practice on a daily basis and then over time you will achieve your goals. In the fitness realm, setting mini goals to achieve a much larger goal through daily execution, I apply that to all my businesses.
You’ve got your hands in a bunch of different honey pots, both investing and building businesses in the fitness and hospitality industries. What’s been the most rewarding project yet?
I love creating companies and I love being involved early on in building brands that are going to feel like someone’s friend. Just like what you guys have done with LANE EIGHT. That’s what I love the most about all the things that I’ve built with the two restaurants I co-own: Original Grain, and XO Taco. It’s just fun watching people come in and seeing the smile on their face when they are experiencing the food, the environment and the energy. Those two businesses are my favorite accomplishments.
“To me, the term ‘everyday athlete’ means moving every single day and I equate this back to our ancestors, the cavemen. They didn’t have rest days. They had to move every single day to source food and they were also faced with extremes.”
You mention that you “retired” in your mid-30s, which seems like a dream for most people. How were you able to do this and what has life been like since “retiring”
What that means is I get to do what I want every single day and I’m so grateful for that. I built an insurance business in my early 20s, that I still own, that gives me a residual income. I hired someone to manage it for me. That was my first education in serial entrepreneurship — delegating, automating, and eliminating tasks so that you can move on to the next venture.
I then focused on building out an athletic facility in Syracuse, New York called Urban Life. Through that, I met my business partner in the two restaurants I co-own: Original Grain and XO Taco. So residual income is the key, making money while you sleep is the key. I’m retired but I’m still taking lots of opportunities. I pretty much work until my head hits the pillow at night but it’s doing what I want to do every single day.
What does a typical day look like for you? Is there even such a thing as a “typical” day for you?
My days are pretty structured. I wake up around 6.30am, I usually have a coffee meeting at 8am at a cafe and it’s usually with a new person — I try to meet 2 or 3 new people every single day. Then I go for CrossFit training at Mountain Strong here in Denver for 2 hours. I’ll have a lunch meeting, again usually with either a new person or a like-minded person. After that, I’ll answer some emails and messages on social media before I go off on an adventure. That could be mountain biking, trail running or hiking.
I get back to Denver around 6pm and then I have a recovery routine that I follow religiously. After that I have dinner out and again, usually with a new person or a like-minded person. I get home around 10pm and spend about 45 minutes answering messages before I hit the hay.
What does the term ‘everyday athlete’ mean to you and how does it resonate with you?
To me, the term ‘everyday athlete’ means moving every single day and I equate this back to our ancestors, the cavemen. They didn’t have rest days. They had to move every single day to source food and they were also faced with extremes. That’s why I also like to sit in cold streams and expose myself to these extreme temperatures. It makes me feel alive and that’s what ‘everyday athlete’ means to me — it’s to feel alive, to move, to be in a flow state day in and day out.
Photos by: Dustin Brooks