Joe Holder: Founder, The Ocho System

My NativeAdVantage:


Joe Holder is the founder of The Ocho System (OS), a philosophy that was formulated during his time at the University of Pennsylvania. The idea was born out of a balancing act, as he held responsibilities as a student of Sociology of Health and Medicine and Consumer Psychology with the intense schedule of a football player on a 3-time Ivy League Champion team. Joe has been named on of the most influential individuals in the world of fitness and sport and currently lives in NYC where he is a health and wellness consultant working with brands such as Nike and S10 Training while also providing personal training services for individuals.

What do you do best?

Turn information into knowledge. As odd as it sounds, most people forget that there is a large difference between information and knowledge. We live in such an information dense age--data is constantly being created around us, which we have to balance with access to wisdom from the past. However, we often don’t take the time to delve into this abundance of information. Many times we hear or read something that may sound valuable in theory, but we don’t necessarily apply it to our everyday life.

Once you take information and transform it appropriately in a relevant and objective way to see if it can cause substantial (and hopefully positive) changes to areas in your life, only then can this information be deemed knowledge. While it may sound like semantics, this active application is imperative to instituting long lasting change.

What makes you the best?

Laughs--That I think I’m not the best. Those that think they are best often possess subpar proficiency in the areas they consider themselves experts (See Dunning-Kruger Effect). I just want to be able to reasonably critique my skills/talent and continue to improve.

However, the most important quality that has gotten me to where I am today is my genuine commitment to service. Health is a service oriented industry that should be about helping others, not glorifying yourself. That’s not to say that I have not dealt with the fruitless pursuit of glory. I’ve had my moments of exaltation but have realized that personal accolades and hedonism have never led me to true satisfaction. For me, happiness is trying to stay in constant “flow”. Meaning that I am always actively finding ways to make others better, working right outside of my comfort zone, and being open to feedback. This culminates in palpable joy of others that comes from their improvement and accomplishments--which ultimately affects me.

What are your aspirations?

My personal and business goal is one in the same: exalt service and altruism as the ultimate values.

Biggest Success?

Made it past birth, ha. I was a premature baby with some early health concerns.

To be real I don’t see much value in reflecting on success as that is the result of hard work but shouldn’t be the immediate goal. Reflecting on failure is much more powerful in my opinion.

Most Challenging Moment?

My most challenging moment was definitely dealing with an ankle injury in college. It was the first major injury that I experienced--which also happened during my athletic peak. My body wouldn’t heal--and mentally, I was devastated. No one could tell me what was wrong or why exactly my body wasn’t responding appropriately. Some doctors even said I wouldn’t be able to play again, while others thought I was faking my injury and just needed to “toughen up”.

This was a lot to take for someone at such a relatively young age who was also dealing with the harsh academic environment that an Ivy League institution is notorious for (UPenn). One night though, everything kind of came crashing down and I had a complete moment of clarity: if I was going to heal, I needed to reevaluate everything from a holistic perspective: recovery was not physical, but also mental and emotional too. Once I came to this realization, my ankle finally healed. This was the start of my path to self-discovery that continues to fuel me to this day and that continually inspires me to improve both myself and my clients.


“The only time you are selfish is in your pursuit of selflessness.”

“Don’t be average. Average is just the best of the worst and the worst of the best.”

“Stay humble, hopeful, and hungry”

Favorite People/Role Models?

1.    Jesse Itzler

2.    Gary Vaynerychuk

3.    Marion Nestle

4.    My Dad: Dr. Kevin Holder

5.    Any of my friends that are doing quality work. I love to pick their brains and see how to apply their unique vantage point to do well in their profession. This always generates interesting conversation and leaves everyone inspired.

Favorite Places/Destinations?

For travel:

1.    Los Angeles

2.    Austin

3.    Paris

But really--anywhere that offers seclusion and a bit of time to recharge.

However, there are so many places in New York though that I frequent to regenerate, recharge and re-energize.

1.    Regenerate: Spa 88 + Higher Dose

2.    Recharge:

a.    Eat: Jack’s Wife Freda, Hundred Acres, Spring Natural, Souen

b.    Yoga: Sky Ting for private session with Krissy Jones + Classes at Y7 Studio

3.    Re-energize: S10 Training + East River Track/McCarren Park

Favorite Products/Objects?

1.    Foam Roller/Lacrosse Ball for mobility tools

2.    Tiger Balm  

3.    Supplement- B12. Fixing my deficiency has totally changed my energy/mood.

4.    Apple Watch Nike +

Current Passions?

Cooking and reading.  

Food fascinates me as it is a “creative” science of sorts. It is so amazing to me that you can transform raw materials into nourishment for your body and enact changes.

I spend a lot of time with people during day and reading provides an escape where I can still recharge, but not be totally idle. I’m a systems guy (which I get from my Dad) so I love when I’m able to make improvements and have “eureka” moments via reading texts--especially those that may not have an inherent link with each other. In fact, most of the books that inspire me the most don’t have anything to do with the fitness/wellness space. Delving into other industries provide me with a unique way of thinking that I couldn’t have found by confining myself to a single subject.