Fabion Foote’s Focused Mindset Drive Him to Success in the CFL

Clance: Fabian Foote! Silver Buck!

Fabian: That’s Wayne’s name.

Clance: Silver buck! You what I was going to say, there’s two silver bucks. There’s two gorillas. My man, pleasure to have you on Dominate Discussions.

Fabian: Finally, it’s long overdue.

Clance: Saved the best for last.

Fabian: I appreciate it.

Clance: So, man, what I want to do is just talk about you. Just let people know who you are, what you do.

Fabian: Yeah. I’ve been playing football in the CFL for three to four years. One year got taken away due to COVID. Hopefully, to get back on the field this year, but we’ll see what happens. Growing up, I grew up in Jamaica, I came to Canada when I was about 11. I moved here with my mom. It was just me and my mom. My mom came up first. Then I came up two years after. Then my mom had my sister years later. I grew up in Janan French then I moved to Rexdale. Two pretty tough areas, but when you live in Jamaica, that’s nothing to you, you know? So it don’t really matter.

I moved away and then I went to university in Hamilton at McMaster University. I got drafted to play football in the CFL in 2017 for the Montreal Alouettes. After three years with Alouettes, I got picked up by the Toronto Argonauts.

Clance: Nice. Nice. How was the journey? Because you’ve started football late.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: Right. And from my perspective watching you, you’re a pretty quick learner, right? How was that, you know, picking up football at such a late age and started playing? How was that?

Fabian: It was pretty easy because growing up, I always played a lot of sports in Jamaica. People won’t believe me. I used to actually run track in Jamaica at a young age and I was actually very good. I played soccer here as well. I played a little bit of basketball, but I did, I ran track when I was a kid and then I played cricket as well. I stopped playing cricket when I got up here cause nobody up here is playing cricket like that.

But in terms of learning football, it wasn’t that difficult because once I discovered the sport, I was pretty obsessed with it. And once I’m obsessed with something then it becomes second nature for me. So I would legit wake up, thought about football, come train, watch film, go to football practice after practice, watch the practice film. And then watch guys that I look up to, compare myself to them and just, you know, that’s just why it was much easier for me to learn and adapt to the game because I was so intrigued by it. And I wanted to know every single thing about it.

Clance: I really want to dive into that a little bit cause that’s very important because you said, you know, you’re obsessed with it. I don’t know if you used the word obsessed, but intrigued and because you were intrigued, you start to apply yourself, basically consume yourself every day. You train, you lift weights.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: You watch film. You found those people who you looked up to. You started to, correct me if I’m wrong, kind of emulate that more.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: Learn what they did. Bring that into your arsenal and then make it your own.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: Right. So basically what you’ve doing every day on top of your studies and day-to-day thing, you basically football consumed your life.

Fabian: Yeah. I always make the joke when people ask me what I went to university for, people like ask for my degree, but my degree was football to be real with you. From my gut on campus, my very first day we did testing and my testing numbers were very good for somebody that just came on campus. I was doing stuff that guys that have been at the school doing for four years, I did it on my first day. And I just believe in life. If you want to be really good at something, you have to be obsessed with it. You can’t be in and out, you can’t be wishy-washy, you have to commit yourself and dedicate yourself. Even if the people around you don’t believe in you, it’s all about you. You know? So it’s really like fuck everybody else mentality.

Clance: You got me something!

Fabian: You told me to be selfish one year and I made sure I was selfish to every damn person that walked by. But yeah, man, I just feel like if you want to be really good at something, you have to be obsessed with it because you’re not going to excel at something by just being, you know, just say, Oh, I’m going to turn it on this day. I’m just gonna relax today. You kind of always have to be on goal in order to be at a top 1% of what you’re doing.

Clance: One of the quotes that really works for me and that I feel encompasses how you apply yourself is Champions are made in the dark.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: When I see you here for an hour, two hours, that’s the only a miniscule part of your grind. You know what I mean? And to let you know what really impressed me about you, when I first met you, you train for the season and off-season.

Next year we had a meeting, you know, you had your notes, you had your plan laid out, like from a to Z. But that was super impressive to me. Season after season, okay. Clance. And we bought heads a lot because you know, when you’re, you’re an intelligent guy and you may feel certain ways and I feel certain ways and we gotta figure it out. Right?

Fabian: Definitely.

Clance: But that was super impressive to me. I always that to me, put you on another level in terms of, okay, this kid is going to be something cause he’s not just what I say, living off his morals. And he’s actually applying himself. Pen to paper is underestimated.

Fabian: Yeah, definitely. I agree.

Clance: Because when you put that plan down, it’s a plan, it’s on paper and then you start the executing. That was impressive.

On that note. Talk to me about your experience in the CFL so far.

Fabian: I experience in CFL has been good. My first year was a learning curve. I’m going to be real with you, I started playing football late so the opportunity that I had to go to university wasn’t as open as I would want it to have been. Because if I started playing football a bit earlier in high school, maybe I could have got a Done scholarship. You know what I mean? I had no recognition. I played at a school was, which was like tier three, right. We just started a football program. I had just started playing football late, but I was always super strong, super athletic. So I made it work. You know what I mean? But my biggest thing is I know if I were to go to Done rod, I would have been playing football in the NFL today, straight up, because there’s not many guys as strong as I am and smart football-wise.

I know the playbook very good and my football IQ is very high. I’m very fast, explosive and whatnot. So when I got to the CFL that had to do a lot of learning because America is just so much more advanced in terms of football. You know what I mean? When I go down there to train, I started training with guys. I play in the NFL, I’ve trained one of my teammates, Ryan Brown. I train with Ryan. I train with, what’s his name? He brought me to his trainer, Brandon Jordan. So Brandon trained us and we play with NFL, trained with NFL players, and they all say to me like, Oh man, you look like you’ve been in a league for a while. Like stuff like that, because just my build and my athletic ability-

Clance: What training is that?

Fabian: It’s not just us the training. I’m just talking about football drills, like-

Clance: Like technique.

Fabian: Technique and stuff like that.

Clance: The reason I say that cause people mix up training as training. Like I’m not a skills coach.

Fabian: Yeah. No, I’m just talking about football training specifically. Right? And guys down there, they’re hitting the weight room religiously, right? Not a lot of guys up here in the weight room that religiously guys up here stretch and do yoga.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. It’s good to stretch and do yoga, but you still need to be strong, right. To be playing this physical type of game. So when I got to the CFL back to that, it’s just, I had to do a lot of learning the techniques. The universities here aren’t as advanced, I won’t lie to you, some university coaches here are high school teachers and principals, or some of them have second jobs. If you look at American universities, those guys have been playing football from their four years old, they play professionally then they go coach a college and they coach a university, they go to the NFL. Sometimes they get NFL jobs, go back to college and you’re getting NFL coaching from your in high school in the state sometimes. Right?

Clance: Okay. So my point is what I’m really trying to draw out is this, you study the lay of the land, you understood that Okay. I’m strong. I’m powerful. I’m quick and fast. Okay. But I need to up my football IQ, my skill work. So you went and trained with other players in the states to address that.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: That is highly important. That’s what it’s about, taking that step, understand your weaknesses and leveling that up.

Fabian: Definitely, yeah.

Clance: Right? So that’s what I applaud you. That’s what I want people to understand like, I don’t want people to think, oh, you just went over to lift weights. No, you went over there to learn, to assimilate yourself with the environment of other pro athletes and get your skill up to par with that.

Fabian: Definitely. You want to go train with the best. You want to train with the top bugs. To be honest, like being a top dog in Canada is nothing being a top dog in America because that’s where the best players are. So you want to play with the best, right? As a football player, as a competitor, you want to play with the best. You don’t want to just dominate where you’re dominating. You should always want to go to the highest level. And when you’re at the highest level, you want to dominate that too.

Clance: Part-time athlete, part-time results.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: You got to do what, I understand like why I’m really drilling down on that because I hear a lot of like I’m not getting any chances, I’m not getting any breaks, I’m not doing this and everyone knows that hockey is king here. This is hockey country.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: If you want to learn the subtleties of football, the fine points of football, you have to travel, you have to go or you have to associate yourself with people who know that and deal with that cause I don’t care how strong you are, how powerful, how fast you are. You got to learn how to play football.

Fabian: Exactly.

Clance: Right? So that to me, that’s massive. So tell me your experience, you know, when you first came to LPS and how did LPS play a part in your life?

Fabian: When I first came to LPS, I think it was 2015. My friend, Wayne, has been going here before me and he told me to come through one day and then I came. And then the day I got here, I squatted 500 pounds. So I started, actually started working out and my first year of university, to be honest with you, I never did any work at all before that. I just, it was just never a thing. And that’s also the difference between Canadian and American schools. America, these guys are in the weight room from their middle school in Canada. The weight room was a little bit of dumbbells on the side, some resistant bands, and stuff like that. You know, you weren’t really lifting weights. So when I got to LPS after like my first year at McMaster, I came in here squatting around 500 pounds.

So I was squatting 500 when I got here. And then my first workout here, it was pretty intense. I remember it mainly because my back was real sore after and I didn’t really like the feeling. But after the workout, I’m like, Yeah, this is the place for me. You know what I’m saying? The atmosphere, it was nice and this is when it was downtown and we’re in the downtown location, it was a very compact space. So the bars were always moving. It used to be six to eight people to two platforms so it would be split up. Once Gordon goes, I gotta go. Once Wayne goes, then I have to go after Wayne. And then my back was toast. I used to always make the joke with Wayne, Yow, I’m like your fan, my back is toast right now. I can’t even walk. And then when other people got into way, like it was personal, but because it was like, beef was like, Yo, I’m grinding right now like move out of my way because of space was that small.

Clance: I just sit back and watch and then if I don’t hear the bar going, I’m like, how come I don’t hear the bar going?

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: And then people would respond to that. It was a hard pace, push pace, and people don’t want to get in the way of you and Wayne, and so-and-so forth. If you step in there, you gotta work.

Fabian: Yeah. Definitely.

Clance: So it kinda just, it just ran by itself.

Fabian: Yeah. Yeah. It didn’t really need much work. I love this new gym, to be honest. It’s nice, spacious. There’s a lot to do, but I do feel like some people around here now are a little bit more pampered or more baby, and with your older age and now you’re a lot nicer.

You know what they say? When you get old, somebody has to step in. So sometimes I step in and let people know they got to pick the pace up there, cut the slack, but you know, when I do that, sometimes people are like, Oh, why are you so mean? Why are you, why is your face always so serious? I’m like, then I have to put them, pull them aside and let them know, I’m like, Listen, it’s not the fact that I’m, my face is always serious or I’m not a mean person. Once you get to know me, you know, I’m always here for the jokes to last. And I’m a happy guy, I like to have fun and make jokes and have a good time with my peers. But when it’s time to work out, then it’s time to work out. And when I get in here like that’s me, that’s the training version of me, you know.

I turn up the notch. I don’t have time for the bullshit. If you see me just walk by me, don’t dap me up. I don’t want to dap you. Like, I’m here to work out, I’m training right now. I’m gonna pick up this weight, I’m gonna smash the weight on the ground, and I’m gonna do it again and again and again and again until my workout is done. And then I’ll smile at you, but for now leave me the fuck alone. That’s how I apply it and that’s how I do it. That’s how I do it in and out of the gym in regular life. If I have a goal, I’m going to meet it. I don’t have time for people who do stuff half-ass like if they’re not applying what you say you’re going to do like to be a real with you I didn’t even want to do this interview because I’m at a place in my life right now. I’m very serious and focused on achieving the stuff that I want to achieve. And I don’t want to be talking about it. I don’t want to be like, you know, gossiping, a buddy, you know, a lot of people say things, but they-

Clance: Yo, yo, yo, yo. You’re about that life.

Fabian: I don’t have time. I don’t have time to be, you know, doing all this, talking with people, you know, I’m just focused on doing what I gotta do. And once I’m done, then I could take it easy and have a little bit of fun with you. Talk to you, have a good time, but for now, if I’m in a work mode, then understand that I’m in work mode and we can chat later. You know, that’s how I look at it.

Some of the young guys come to the gym. They tell me that I’m a scary guy. I’m intimidating. I’m like, well, you need to apply that to your game. Because if playing sports, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Like I’m not, I’m not going to save you. If a man tackles you and does this to you, like, you need to be a man. you need to get up, pick yourself up and brush it off. And don’t take shit from nobody, you know, in football or in any competitive sport, really, you have to be a top dog. Like you can’t be on nicey-nice and expect everybody to be nice to you. Like, I’m trying to rip your head off. I’m trying to kill you. I’m trying to hurt you. It’s that simple.

Clance: And you know, as I get older, I understand how you were trying to communicate to me, but I’m hard-headed and you’re hard-headed, but you have your way of letting me know certain things and you’re telling me, you know. And not only you, a lot of guys were telling me, Clance, you’re getting too soft. Because it’s, we’re at a bigger gym. I know they joke about it, but you weren’t joking about it.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: Right? And I’m trying to accommodate. Just different. We’re in a different time. Social media is different. Kids and like just different personalities.

Fabian: Yeah.

Clance: One summer we really got into a lot, but it means the next summer it made me just sit down and think and made me address what I needed to address. And let me understand that, Yo Fabian is right on certain points. You know, I sat down and talked to Wayne, you know what I mean? Me and Wayne chat up a lot and say, Clance, man, this is what, this is why people come to you to train. Don’t change that. Because I’m human. I feel sometimes I’m too, I scare people just like how you scare people. And then they feel like I’m a nice guy. I’m a really nice guy. I ride for my clients. I want my clients to win.

Fabian: Yeah, definitely.

Clance: I want, that’s the thing that people don’t understand. I want you to win. So I want you to win so hard that sometimes I can’t control myself.

Fabian: Yeah. And you make our passion your passion. You make our goals your goals. And that’s what a good coach does. Right? And that’s very important, but it’s also, you brought up a good point about being too nice. And I feel like a lot of people let other people affect their perspective on things. For example, like, we’ve had a lot of issues in this gym bob music, right? And then I’m a Jamaican guy and I listened to my dance all the time, you know, that gets me going. But sometimes other people in the gym won’t necessarily understand the language or what’s being said in the music, and sometimes you’re telling me, yeah, just change this because you know this and this person. One day I said to him like, look, why do I have to accommodate everybody else? Like I need to accommodate what I’m doing.

I get here at nine o’clock. Sometimes eight o’clock before everybody else. If I hop on the music, I’m gonna play my songs. That gets me going and vice versa. If somebody gets here before me, they hop on the music and they play their music and they’re happy with it then that’s done. But me saying all of that is just to say, like you telling me, I should change the music to accommodate everybody else cause I feel like everybody needs to learn how to work under different pressures. If the music is not giving them the fuel and the energy they need for their workout, then you’re not always gonna have that like, say you’re playing a football game and then you bust up your ankle in the game, and then you have to find another energy source to put you through the game to finish the game.

I kind of apply that into here. Right? Because not every workout is gonna go to where you want it. You’re not always going to get your max every week and you always say, Oh, if you’re in PR-ing every week, you’re cheating yourself. So I kind of view that in the same sense, right? Like if you’re not in a comfy environment, then that’s when you get better. If you’re always getting what you want, if you’re always spoonfed, if things are always easy, you’re not getting any better. Like for me, like when life gives me a lot of challenges, that’s when I know I’m getting better.

Clance: And you know what, Fabian, you hit the nail on the head, man. Cause as a coach, as a business owner, I got to generate revenue, got to pay the bills and all that so I got all these different agonists and type of things getting each other. So I had to look at like, who am I, like actually sitting through COVID just made me take a deep look and say, who am I? You know when you guys are like in here eating weight and just moving and just working, whether you’re failing or whatever, that just my, it’s hard to explain. I love that vibe. I love that energy. I’m not an internet coach. I’m not a whatever. I like to be on the gym floor. I like to taste that, I could smell it. That’s what gets me going.

So when you said to me that, you know, we had to talk about the music because coming from even downtown, we used to do it and I remember one time downtown, we’re playing some music and he was like an executive dude came into gym and this is an athlete time. The dog time, basically. The only certain dogs train at that time, it was packed nda the pro athletes, PK, you guys. And there was a song going over and over and I remember that and somehow the guy turned around and he goes, Fuck man, you guys have to play this over and over! Yo, if I was in there, Wayne’s eyes just went cross, Mark Friedman, it was like, dude-

Fabian: This isn’t your time.

Clance: It’s not your time, bro. You gotta be careful how you step in. And you know what, that’s my type of gym because that’s, you to build that certain type of culture. That’s the real world. If you want to make a team, just like you say, you got to take it. So when you said to me, you know, Yo, people have to adapt and why do we have to adapt to them or through different people, make everybody feel comfortable? When the weight stops moving or whatever and you know, and people connect with you, they know you’re a nice guy. They know I’m a nice guy. They know that these here are nice people. We have a good culture. And that to me made me switch it up and say, all right-

Fabian: Definitely, man. Cause it’s always about pushing yourself. Sometimes I walk in the gym, then I see someone doing a weight that I know within my heart that they could do, and they’re just like, oh and squeezing. I’m like, what the fuck are you doing? Like, I know that you could do that. It’s all about what’s in your head. If you’re not sure of yourself, if you’re not confident in yourself, if you don’t know within yourself that you could overcome, then that way there’s always just going to crumble back down on your chest. Why? Because you don’t believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re not going to be able to do it. It’s that simple. Me, I believe I could do any fucking thing that I want to like, there’s nothing I don’t think I can’t do. I legit think I could do everything and that’s all about your mentality. Right?

Some days I see Gordon doing a weight that I know he could do. Sometimes I see Malcolm doing shit that I know he could do. Yeah. He’s building his confidence now. Right? Before it wasn’t as good as it is now, but it’s a journey. Right? And I just, some people really, people in general just got to understand like, Yo, if you believe in yourself, that’s all you need. Like as long as you believe in you, you put the work in, then the results will come, right? You can’t just be complete and just say, Oh, I’m going to the gym, but I’m just going to go 70%. Nah, you got to go a hundred every fucking day of your life.

Clance: You got to go hard.

Fabian: So you won’t achieve what you set out to achieve.

Clance: You got to go hard. Right?

Fabian: So when I see somebody doing something light that I know they can add a few extra pounds to the belt or the bar, whatever or whatever in the gym, then I say, Yo, what are you doing? You got to pick the weight up. You know what I’m saying? And sometimes I know, even for you, sometimes you think, Oh yeah, Fabian has no competition around here. So he become-

Clance: So I try to make life miserable for you.

Fabian: Yeah. Or you could probably try to say it, you know, that I’ll be complacent. But now, because to me, your battles is between yourself, you and yourself. It’s me against me. I don’t care about what anyone else is doing. As long as I stay in my lane and I do stuff to accelerate myself every day, then what other people are doing doesn’t matter to me, you know what I’m saying? And I feel like if everybody has that mindset, that it’s you versus yourself and you just have to continuously get better every day, and by just brick by brick, just allowing yourself to get better, and then there is nothing you can’t achieve. You just have to look in the mirror at all times.

Clance: I’m just giving you from my perspective, you’re living a dominant, you know, you’re living and dominating life. You know, what you say, you’re looking in the mirror, you’re trying to dominate that complacency. You know what I mean? You’re putting in that work ethic. You put in that grind. To me, that’s what dominate mindset. But in your words, what does it mean to you?

Fabian: To me? I don’t know. It has a lot of different meanings to me personally, but I think because being dominant is just giving it a hundred percent at all times and I genuinely feel like when you give everything your all, then you’re going to dominate whatever the fuck you’re doing. I could be anything in life.

Clance: Facts.

Fabian: Yeah. That’s the simplest way I could put it, you know? But I think everyone should be dominant. Not everybody is, but I think it’s important to always believe in yourself and trusting yourself and going after what you believe in and just dominate whatever goals you have, right? Like you talked about goal setting like me, like that’s a big thing. Like I have stuff written on my wall. You would think I’m a scientist if you come to my place and see everything that I have written and everything that I have outlined cause without planning, you’re not going to be successful.

Clance: You think, people think I’m crazy. I do the same thing because those are motivated, I write things here so I can see it. That’s why I like things on the wall. Even though it sort of athletes is for me, like dominate, compete, and not every day is gonna be a dominant day or I’m going to have that motivation. When I look at those things in levels me up like, okay, yo Clance, you got to get it or get something.

Fabian: Yeah. It’s important to be hungry, man. You know, especially when you don’t really come from much, right? Sometimes when you’re the only person in your family doing certain things, the road is very less traveled and you just have to adapt and do the work and put the work in, and then you could reap the benefits later. Even though if you don’t see the finish line today, you just stay running the course, you run the track, and then you’ll get to the finish line.

Clance: Struggles. The struggles are real, baby. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Yo.

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