Blending Sports, Science, and Business with Dr. Leon Brudy

Blending Sports, Science, and Business with Dr. Leon Brudy

Dr. Leon Brudy shares his journey from being a competitive soccer player to becoming a business development manager at Garmin Health and co-authoring 'The Daily Athlete.' He also emphasizes the importance of making health and fitness science accessible through daily routine tips and motivations, using his book as a powerful tool.

Dec 20, 2023
By The Labfront Team
Leon brudy headshotLeon brudy headshot
Leon brudy headshot
Blending Sports, Science, and Business with Dr. Leon Brudy

Blending Sports, Science, and Business with Dr. Leon Brudy

Dr. Leon Brudy shares his journey from being a competitive soccer player to becoming a business development manager at Garmin Health and co-authoring 'The Daily Athlete.' He also emphasizes the importance of making health and fitness science accessible through daily routine tips and motivations, using his book as a powerful tool.

Episode Highlights

(01:25) Discussing Leon's Background, Interests and Journey

(09:05) The Creation of 'The Daily Athlete'

(12:48) The Structure and Purpose of 'The Daily Athlete'

(20:06) Career at Garmin Health

(24:16) The Role of Data in Health and Fitness

(30:07) Conclusion and Contact Information


The Daily Athlete

Connect with Leon


Last medically reviewed on
Dec 21, 2023
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Leon: Whether it's in training or in competition, or when you're recovering from a loss or dealing with an injury, you're always looking for some sort of outside inspiration to, continue on and go forward and, so, we, had quite a collection, and I think, I think everybody has that a little bit, a collection of, whether it's quotes or sayings or just some things that help you along the way and we really found, like, hey, this, this kind of book that just has a kind of a calendar format for, for athletes with all these quotes that we have and that we come across

So also there's a practical component and a call to action to actually do something with what you read throughout the book.

John: Welcome to Human Science, a podcast exploring the human element behind the science that shapes our everyday lives. We're powered by Labfront, the go to tool trusted by researchers looking to automate their studies and transform real world data into health insights.

In today's episode, we're joined by Dr. Leon Brudy, business development manager at Garmin Health and co author of The Daily Athlete. We discussed his journey from athlete to health science expert, his work making data driven health and fitness accessible, and the intention behind his book.

Discussing the Podcast and Guest Background

John: So everyone, please welcome Dr. Leon Brudy. Hey, Leon.

Leon: Hey, John.

John: Thank you so much for making some time. We are, doing these podcasts. It's been pretty fun. I'm in Asia right now. You're in Germany. And Just getting the chance to speak to you and, and share a bit about your journey, your background, your, your writing process and all the cool work you're doing in athletics and health.

Wow. It's, it's really cool. So I can't wait to, to dive in today.

Leon: Yes, I'm excited too. Let's make it an interesting one.

John: Awesome.

Understanding Leon's Interests and Journey

John: So, Leon, I was hoping we could start with kind of a high level of who is the man, the myth, the legend. Mr. Leon.

Leon: I like that introduction. but, yeah, that's a difficult question to answer, I think, especially in a, in a short and concise way. I'm someone who's genuinely interested in things. Whether that's, you know, coming from a science background, or from an athletics background, or then with the writing, or my, my general job,

Yeah, that's, I know that's pretty broad, but I think that's how I would summarize myself.

John: It was actually beautifully concise. I love it. The curious life of Leon Brudy. It's going to be a future feature film.

Leon: A good, good, biography title if there ever happens to be one.

John: I love it.

John: Well, maybe we can start then in the sense of switching a bit from academia into Industry, as I think that's been a really big focus of your life and the writing you've done with, with your book, but let's, let's backtrack for a second. So I believe you double majored in economics and political science.

That, to me, sounds like you're going to be, you know, working maybe at it, either become a politician, you're going to be working in an investment firm, you're going to be doing some type of data analytics. And here we are talking about how much we love quotes and motivation and mental well being. So let's start there.

Leon's Inspiration and Journey from Economics to Athletics

John: What, what's, what's the inspiration for economics and political science to where you are now?

Leon: That's actually pretty, pretty pragmatic, pretty straightforward. I, I grew up in Germany and, and did my high school and everything in Germany and then decided to move to the U. S. to do my, do my undergrad, there in the U. S. while playing collegiate soccer. So my, my sole motivation for this move was, continuing to play soccer at a high level, or football as my European friends would call it. And yeah, that was the reasoning behind why I wanted to go to the States. In Germany it's not really possible to combine soccer at a high level while at the same time going to university and studying. So you have to kind of make a decision for either or that I didn't want to make.

I found the opportunity of, playing with a athletic scholarship in the U. S. and made that move. Then I thought, okay, if I now also study something like exercise science or sports science, this might be a little bit too one sided.

And it took the first year just taking some general classes and ended up really liking political science and economics.

John: I love that. rings kind of true to me in the sense of just being able to Follow your curiosity at that moment. It sounds like, as you said, I think first year you didn't have to make a commitment to the major, so you were able to take maybe a wide variety of different classes and, and that just struck you.

John: And it's so cool too, because playing collegiate soccer is, that's a full time job.

Leon: Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's a tough schedule. So, yeah, there's not much time.

It's really also awesome because you, you really get to do full time and under really professional conditions, what you love or what I love and,

I really enjoyed that. And the system in the States makes it easy to combine the two, playing soccer or doing athletics in college and going to university, because professors are mindful of it and everything. So, it's two full time jobs more or less, but it's a lot of fun.

John: And so it's so cool.

Leon's Decision to Pursue Education over Professional Soccer

John: Did you have aspirations to try to go play professionally from that? Or was the mindset, Hey, can I use this scholarship, go to the U S have a great time, and then maybe get into professional soccer back in Europe.

Leon: so growing up, that definitely was a dream and a big goal. I mean, my childhood and then when I was a teenager was really laid out for that. I, lived for that dream, more or less, and I made it quite far. in the end, I mean, as with any professional sports, there's only a tiny percentage of the very, very skilled that make it.

But that was also alright, becauseI always felt like, hey, there's, there's something beyond just soccer, so I, I always wanted to continue with school.

And slowly, shifted that to, to it being still a big part of my life, but not in as competitive as a sense anymore, but more of something that I enjoy doing with friends and I enjoy doing because of the, of the camaraderie and, and just for the sake of playing soccer without having to get somewhere.

John: I love that, yeah, you, you got to kind of bring it full circle of, you know, playing when you were maybe a kid back with your, your mates and just enjoying the game.

John: And so thinking then as the collegiate time ended, you, you graduated from the U S did you have in mind to then go back to Germany?

Leon: So, yeah, I mean, once year four comes around at a college in the U. S., you kind of have to decide what you wanted to do. again, it was a little bit of soccer that I wanted to go, that played a role here again, but also just, just, I didn't see myself continuing in the States. I mean, four years was a great time, but then I also felt like, hey, it's time for a new experience.

So I decided to, to move back to Germany. Also, I wanted to continue playing soccer at a club level, which in the States is not possible, beyond college. So that was also a little bit of the motivation.

And wanted to go back into what I love, sports science, health science, exercise science, and found a cool master's program at the Technical University Munich there.

some doors opened up to do, also my, my doctorate at the, at the same institution.

So, it was a good decision to move back even though I didn't necessarily plan it in this much detail.

John: It's very, very cool. And I'm so happy you got to make that transition back to really the health science of it all, because for me, that's almost the little thread that you were able to kind of pull throughout your life that you were Obviously, we'll, you know, we'll talk about some work you're doing with Garmin, but really the, the core of what I love what you're doing is you've become an author.

And it's, it's really a beautiful book it's using quotes in a way that we all love, you know, you might be scrolling social media, you might be seeing some friends say something, but you go then in depth into breaking down what that quote might mean in context to how you can apply that to your life as an athlete or as just a, you know, an everyday healthy mindset, whether that's you're just trying to train for a marathon, or you just want to get in shape for your kids.

The Creation of 'The Daily Athlete'

John: And so do you mind maybe taking us through a little bit of this book, The Daily Athlete, and your journey, I believe it started in German, and now you are translating it fully into English, which is already a feat in itself.

Leon: Yes, yeah, I'm happy to go into that a little bit. So, I think you summarized the book quite well. I mean, Quotes are everywhere. We see them in social media, we see them on menus, on random places, on house walls. For me, and I wrote that book with a good friend together, his name is Max. for both of us, quotes always played a big role in our athletic lives.

I mean, I mentioned I was a soccer player, he was a very good tennis player. And so, whether it's in training or in competition, or when you're recovering from a loss or dealing with an injury, you're always looking for some sort of outside inspiration to, continue on and go forward and, so, we, we had quite a collection, and I think, I think everybody has that a little bit, a collection of, of whether it's quotes or sayings or just some things that help you along the way as you, I mean, in our case, it was our athletic journey or as you're navigating life and,Max and myself, both of us also really like, like reading and, really found, like, hey, this, this kind of book that just has a kind of a calendar format for, for athletes with all these quotes that we have and that we come across.

That would be kind of cool, right? We should try to do this, because no one has done that before.

So about three years ago, we, talked to these publishing houses, one really liked it, and said like, hey, let's, that's cool, let's do it, can you deliver it in, five months, and, kind of, I guess, a positive, kind of, In a positive way, being naive, we said, yeah, let's do it.

That kicked off a journey that was, that was super fun, that was quite eventful. And, where we really got into writing an entire book, from August till December. A cool experience, a fun experience, a very demanding experience, but I think we really came to, came to a cool book in the end.

And really, really love that we were able to publish that with someone in a German publishing house. And then, has been a cool inspiration for a lot of people, over the last year and a half or two years. And then we always thought like, hey, the, the, the daily athlete in German, that's, that's a really cool, cool thing.

But both of us have lots of English speaking friends, lots of, a big background in the English speaking world. So we always had in the back of our head, This should be in English. And we decided to go the way of self publishing it, and did that over the last half a year or so.

So it's not just a translation of it. Wrote about a third of the book completely new to, to tailor it and to, make it more interesting to an English speaking audience. And, very excited to, to have it published soon.

John: Congratulations. Yeah, it's such a such an endeavor, such a feat. to really be able to publish that two times in two languages. So I'm loving that. And thinking a little bit, you know, it just feels like you're really making health science accessible through this book and you're doing it in a way that. is trying to kind of take, it's, it's taking quotes throughout history, but it's also then trying to apply them to how this could relate to that mom who has three kids or that collegiate athlete or that high school athlete, and trying to give more of the background and the mindset too. Do you remember, some of the, the core messages, some, some of the, like, the reasoning behind the way you structured this book?

The Structure and Purpose of 'The Daily Athlete'

John: It's a daily quote and then it's broken down, but it's, it's only a few paragraphs, almost a page per day. And I was curious about the structure of that.

Leon: Yeah, and I think the remark you made at the beginning is, is a good, is actually good. I never thought about it this way, making health science accessible to, to an everyday person. I like that. but yeah, the structure of the book, it's, it's, it's really simple to set up.

John: I'll charge a consulting fee at the end of this.

Leon: The structure is, is, is super simple. I mean, we, we have 365 or with Leap Day, 366 days in a year. So, naturally, every day of the year has its own page in the book, and every page is set up the same way. So the page starts with, with a quote on top, then a few lines about the person who spoke these, inspiring words.

From, ancient Stoics to, Henry Ford, a car manufacturer, to Marilyn Monroe, and then obviously the, the, the superstars of athletics and sports that inspire us, like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods.

All different kinds of people who said something throughout history that we thought would be relatable to, the more broader athlete, an athlete really in a sense of one quote that is kind of the, the overarching theme of the book, by Bill Bowerman, an American, track and field coach and the co founder of Nike, "If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

So really anyone who considers himself an athlete is kind of the target audience for this book. And then the rest of the pages are just thoughts from, from Max and myself about how to apply this to our athletic journey.

And then really the athletic journey in the sense of sometimes I need motivation and inspiration to get something started. Sometimes I need the right thoughts for actually delivering in a competition. Then after the competition I have, we have to deal with, with wins or losses. So there's some pages are addressing that.

And then. Also, another theme is, quotes and thoughts addressing something like a little bit beyond just our everyday athletic lives. So this is really the kind of four core themes that we try to, try to base these quotes around. and then to also not make it too theoretical, I mean, we wanted something that is, is really easy to consume.

You can have it on your nightstand. You can have it. in your kitchen, next to your coffee machine, something to easily consume, At the beginning, at the end of the day, throughout the day, a quick three, four minute read. But to not make it just too theoretical, we also included three monthly challenges throughout the book.

So every month has monthly challenges, has three monthly challenges One for the body, one for the mind, and one for kind of the social interaction with others. So also there's a practical component and a call to action to actually do something with what you read throughout the book.

John: Yeah, I love that end. I'm very grateful that you've sent me a bit of an excerpt from all of this and something that made me connect so much to it was, as you said, it's this mind challenge, it's a body challenge, and then it's some type of like interaction challenge. You take care of your mind you take care of your body and you take care of your community And it just feels like that's what you're trying to do. And it's it's such an accessible, approachable style of writing that you and Max have done So I just love that so much. Is there any way that the communities can interact with you and Max through this book?

Leon: Um, we have a few different ideas and plans. We are considering something around a daily podcast, but not necessarily in a lengthy term, but in the same way this, this, this book is, so meaning quick three, four minute episode.

That would be kind of the audio version of this book. Because, some people just really like reading something in a quiet, a few quiet minutes, and others prefer, an, an audio intake, and so, you know. You get to listen to a daily quote and some thoughts around it on a daily basis.

John: It's very cool. Do you have any favorite quotes that you can share with our audience here?

Leon: I guess I have about 400 of them, otherwise I would not have written a book on it. There's one thing, one that always comes to mind when I get asked this question, so if you write a book about quotes, you get asked this question quite a bit. And it's, it's a quote by an, I think it's an American philosopher, his name is Will Durant, and he, he phrased it, but it goes back to, to the, the Greek, philosopher Aristotle, and it, it's along the lines of we are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.

And, I think it's a, it's a cool way of, of, yeah, kind of summing up what I think is the key and, and whether that's achieving something in athletics, in your job, in your education or something like that. It's really, it's, it's consistency. It's very rarely a, you know, you have one big moment or you have one big breakthrough or something like that.

That's usually when it's visible to others, but what. What happens in the background and what leads to success usually is the consistency of something. Every day, an hour or half an hour is much more worth than at the end of the week squeezing in three or four hours of something. That's how we, that's also how we wrote this book.

I mean, both of us were working and are working other jobs and have friends and family and sports obligations. So it was while writing that book or while doing my master's or doing my doctorate later on. Really was consistency that I felt make the difference for me when I'm, when I'm consistent with something, then the, the outcome is much more positive in the end than, as opposed to, you know, there's one big block of doing something and then you have a big breakthrough and that, that leads to success .

That, that really doesn't happen, at least for me. So, that quote always resonated with me.

John: I love that. Yeah, consistency right there is key and the persistence of the, you know, one step in front of the other each day, day by day.

Leon: It's so easy to say though, and very difficult to implement. I'm very mindful of that.

John: I, I've found over , I've found over my years that my journaling of my action has been extremely beneficial to my consistency. And it's just an act of kind of like reminding myself, Hey, what action did I take today? And that's been something that's been really beneficial to me over the years.

Leon: It's daily anchors or, or regular anchors that nudge you back into good behavior.

John: Hmm. Well said. Yeah.

Leon's Career at Garmin Health

John: The anchors, I love that if, if thinking then. Back now, as your, your career as an athlete, your career as an author, your career at Garmin Health, it's, it's really too about kind of figuring out,what are the applications of science that we can bring to health?

So, can you share a bit about your journey in, in the health and fitness side at Garmin?

Leon: Yeah, sure. I mean, I can, I can start off with a little bit where we left off earlier. I mean, I moved back to Germany, went to grad school, did my master's, did my doctorate degree, and, really enjoyed that. I worked with, with patients with congenital heart defects, so patients who were born with a heart defect, and, and we looked at their physical activity at their, quality of life and the cardiovascular risk.

And I really enjoyed that part of, of research. And also, I mean, probably doesn't come as a surprise. I also enjoyed the academic writing part. so, so really enjoyed the whole research process of my doctorate. What I didn't enjoy as much was the prospect of what comes after that.

I mean, throughout grad school, you have a very defined goal. You get your master's, or if you continue on, you can get a doctorate degree. And then beyond that, I just didn't see myself in the academic system. It just didn't feel like that was a good, good fit to what I enjoy doing

So, very early on throughout grad school, it was quite clear to me that I wanted to transition outside of a, outside of a university system. and yeah, I thought a little bit, okay, what, what have I done so far? I mean, I'm very interested in health science and exercise science.

So, I thought, hey, something around prevention, something where I can use my, my educational background. I've lived in the States for a few years. I really, love working internationally. I mean, throughout soccer, I've played with, with people from all over the world.

And then It becomes quite narrow if you want to stay in the health field, if you want to, work outside of, academia and in the industry, but it should be international and it should be something that I can identify myself with.

yeah, I mean, Garmin has always been a brand that I, that I enjoyed as a customer. And, I thought, hey, this is where I can, I can make a difference.

It was in the end a good fit and I think a little bit of luck involved that there was a cool opening at Garmin Health, taking care of data driven partnerships, in research and clinical trials. for Garmin Health, so in the end really taking care of the area that I just transitioned out of.

John: It's, yeah, it's really interesting, I think, about your journey. Two of kind of like knowing, Hey, maybe I won't be a professional soccer player. I don't think I want to be a, maybe a professor of health and, or in academia. And you seem to always have that vision, that insight of like, okay, I should start thinking what's next.

Leon: Yeah, it sounds like that, doesn't it?

John: I always try to kind of zoom out of like, how did this work for Leon?

Leon: Yeah, I mean, in retrospect, obviously, the story is easy to tell. I mean, it wasn't always that clear. it's, it's, and, and, yeah, I think that's also part of the daily athlete a little bit. It's always easy to make sense of something in, in, in retrospect. And that's, I think, what's also important looking forward.

I mean, the things you consider now are the decisions you have to struggle with now. In the end, it will all work out. So that's kind of the mindset I've always had with these things. And so far, I was quite fortunate with that.

John: I love it. It's such a growth mindset that you've applied, whether actively or just, yeah, where did that come from? We'll save that for episode two, but. But thinking then about the work with Garmin in the sense of that's how we've connected through Labfront, has there been any interesting trends or anything that you've seen kind of more on the data side that you can share?

The Role of Data in Health and Fitness

John: Any, any ways that people can really apply data metrics to their health, you know, using your book? Is there any way that, you know, like we said, the, the everyday athlete, the daily athlete can learn? To understand themselves, their bodies, maybe their, their sports better.

Leon: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot to unpack there. I mean, as a scientist, I'm always very interested in data. So when I was, a competitive athlete, the opportunities weren't there as much as it is today, but I actually remember, I was probably 16, 17 years old, just checking my resting heart rate and my overnight heart rate variability the first five minutes right after waking up with a chest strap.

So there's been quite a few advancements since then, so that a lot of people can, take advantage of nowadays was just a device on their wrist. And I think it really goes back to the preventative idea of whether it's through data, whether it's through quotes, or whether it's through anything other than that, whether it's the coaching, really empowering people to give them the tools to take care of what that they need to take care of .

For some people it's It's exercise. For some people, it's physical activity. For others, it's sleep. For them, it's stress. And then for others, it's just, even though I'm not necessarily a big fan of the word, it's the mindset. for a change to happen in all these different areas, I think it's about giving people the tools and empowering to do that.

Because from the outside, and where you're coaching, whether you're teaching, or anything like that, There is only so much input that you could provide. In the end, that decision needs to be happening in someone inside to make a change, if he or she is looking to make a change. And, I think that's what's what I think is, is one of the trends I see and one of the trends also going forward is providing more tools, whether it's digital, whether it's in the form of a book or something like that, to people to make informed decisions that are good for them and for what they want to achieve.

John: Yeah, it's a, it's a great kind of, summary there of, of using data, using science, but also using the, the everyday inputs you have. Like, how do I feel today? You know, the, the personal inputs to make those decisions. Thinking maybe Leon, as we begin to wrap up here, looking forward, you've, you are still an athlete, probably an everyday athlete, you're an author, you're an incredible health and business director, I believe. What's the official title at Garmin?

Leon: It's a business development manager. So in that role, I take care of, yeah, pretty much any, any research or research related collaboration or, or, partnership throughout Garmin Health in our region.

John: Yeah, beautiful. And so kind of taking all of those roles that you play in your life. Are there any future horizons that you look forward to? What are you most excited about moving forward?

Leon: That's a good question. I would say definitely, I mean, I really I found that when writing the German version and now rewriting the the English version of the Daily Athlete, I really enjoyed that that creative process of writing something or just creating something that, comes out of my experience, but then also is accessible to a broader audience.

So, there's, there's definitely going to be more book projects or audiobook projects like that in the future. that's on, on a personal level, definitely that, and while I'm not in, in a competitive athlete sense anymore, yeah, now the goal is more to, to stay active and stay healthy through exercise through sports that I love.

So a big part of, of, of looking forward is also exploring new sports. I mean, soccer was kind of the, the sport of the past two decades. So, looking forward to exploring a few new sports. and then also with, with, with my work at Garmin Health, making. these tools that, that we have as accessible to, in my case, researchers as possible.

So really helping them then to do the projects and do the research they want to do, which in the end also has generally a benefit for, for people because, we're, we're taking devices and we're using physiological measurements from these devices to solve some sort of questions in many different areas.

So being involved in these is, is something I'm very much looking forward to and extending also over the foreseeable future. I mean, it's always difficult to, to look too far ahead because when looking back, say, always a year or two before I made a different switch or a different move, I didn't necessarily anticipate that.

So I'm also interested to see how I surprise myself going forward.

John: I wanted so badly to say, “These are beautiful goallllls”, as a little pun for your soccer goal. Oh man, it was so bad, I was so excited to say it.

Leon: That's my kind of humor.

John: Got some great goals there. You were scoring goals on the soccer pitch, now scoring goals for Garmin and for readers everywhere.

Leon: Yes.

John: Awesome, Leon. Well, thank you so much for your time today. Where can people find more about you online?

Conclusion and Contact Information

John: Maybe where can they check out the book and all the work that you're doing?

Leon: Yes, I mean, easiest way to connect with me is, is through LinkedIn, if you just type in my name, Leon Brudy, or on my website, there's a little bit of information on, on me as well,, and the book is, is available on Amazon.It’s a very cool, piece of work that I'm very proud of, so if anyone feels like, hey, this, this could be a cool inspiration, I'd love for anyone to check it out.

John: Awesome. Well, Leon, thank you so much for joining us on Human Science, and we'll talk to you next time.

Leon: Thanks for having me.

John: Thanks for listening to Human Science. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others or rate and review it. All the show notes and links can be found over at

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