DIPLO WILL TRY anything once. Like, say, running a marathon on LSD. The DJ, born Thomas Wesley Pentz, made headlines when he admitted to ingesting the psychedelic for fun at the starting line of the 2023 Los Angeles Marathon earlier this year.

He forgoed a training schedule for his first go at a 26.2—only reaching 15 miles in practice—but he had Olympian Alexi Pappas by his side the day of the race as a pacesetter to compensate for his lack of experience. He crossed the finish line with an impressive time of under four hours. However, pounding the Los Angeles pavement still took a toll on the 44-year-old, leaving him to waddle “like a penguin” for four days.

“Human beings, that energy—you feel love when you’re at something like the marathon,” he tells Men’s Health. “Maybe I was high on LSD [during that first marathon], but [I] felt love.”

Most know Diplo as a genre-blending, music-producing powerhouse, and not as someone with a strong passion for the fitness world. Sure, he’s guilty of posting an occasional thirst trap for his 6.2M Instagram followers, but that’s because he’s proud of the body he has with no plans to let it go to waste.

“I want to challenge myself,” he says. “I want to use my body. The older I get, the more goal-setting makes me feel good. The marathon was a goal. I did that. You just try to find things you want to do, and then you do it, and you never have to do it again.”

2023 los angeles marathon

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But he made an exception this year. It’s Diplo’s second time participating in the Malibu Triathlon: a classic test of endurance where competitors cycle, run, and swim in timed trials along the California coast. He blamed his 2022 triathlon flop, and subsequent disqualification, on an uncharged bike—as well as huge waves and “fucking monsters” out in front during the water portion—but his attempt this month told a different story. He crushed all three sections in one hour and 25 minutes without any excuses, any legitimate training, or any drugs.

When he’s not seeking medals, Diplo still likes to remain active through surfing, sparring with a trainer, or—most surprisingly—downward dogging in a yoga class. And while a hectic travel schedule often means he’s forced to break a sweat alone, he’d actually prefer to exercise with a crowd size similar to that of his sold-out performances. It leaves him feeling “so much more powerful” compared to working out solo.

After finishing a workout in the Men’s Health gym, Diplo sat down with us to discuss authenticity in the music business and in life, talking shit on the internet, and being the best role model possible for his kids.

Men’s Health: Who guided you on the path to success when it comes to music and producing?

Diplo: I don’t think anybody did actually. If anything, I applied a lot of my father’s knowledge to discipline into what I was doing, which is music. He really instilled in me that if you want to be successful, just make sure you do it. Get things done. I managed myself in the beginning [of my career]. I booked my own shows. I put my own parties on together. I bought the liquor. I knew how it all worked.

When you’re behind the booth, what percentage of being a DJ is feeling it in your soul versus knowing the right buttons to press?

To actually apply it, to release it properly, and to become a brand, it’s very difficult to make that step. The creative side was always the beauty of it, but it’s tainted when you have to do the business side of it. It’s hard to find that balance, and I have to step back sometimes because if I get too into the business, I don’t like music anymore. You have to find that balance and that’s the hardest part.

2023 governors ball music festival

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Your music reaches all different parts of the globe, but you’ve also gotten the world’s attention by saying pretty much whatever you want. Do you have no fear of backlash?

I think I’ve always had a careless abandon of social media. I was one of the first DJs on Twitter, so I was just reckless. I was making fun of everybody there. I remember I had a fight with Flo Rida, I had a fight with Sean Paul on there. Taylor Swift, I had beef with her once. That was probably one of the biggest career mistakes I ever [made]. It took me a year to get [past] that. But I just didn’t think that it was real. It was like when the medium came out it was just people, and your thoughts are like mine.

Now it’s mainly Instagram for you—and the occasional podcast.

It’s like my journal. I like to write stories and give captions, talk about real, meaningful things, not just like what’s my cool outfit or this is how many people I DJ’ed for today. That’s tired. I do that sometimes to promote my music, but I like it because it’s a place to live. And yeah, podcasts, I just talk shit. Sometimes I just don’t care. I’m a real person. If you just add up my soundbites, you might find the sweet ones or I might be a sarcastic asshole or I might be gay. You say something that’s careless or funny or weird, and you got to work with that. That’s the format we live in.

You mentioned turning parts of social media into a journal. Do you show the health and wellness aspects of your life intentionally to contrast the galavanting around?

I do show like, ‘Hey, I woke up early today even though I DJ’ed till 5 o’clock in the morning.’ Or like, ‘Hey, I have a layover. I’m working out.’ I just show people it’s possible to do it. But it can be lonely. When we’re on the road, two weeks you’re on the road 10 of the 14 days, you’re just married to your tour manager and your assistants. So there are upsides and downsides. I get to see the world, but you have to find some pace that you’re going to have time for yourself as well.

As a proud father to three young boys, how often are you thinking about the moves you make and how your choices will influence them as they get older?

My kids are really offline. They’re confused sometimes because they’ll go to a big rave or they’ll go to my race or they’ll go down to see my family in Florida and it’s like they only get little snippets of my life. I think one day they’re going to get a flood of like, ‘Wow, your dad’s actually a psychopath for wanting to do this shit.’ But for now, I just want them to think that I’m their dad and I want them to feel like they’re great kids and I love them, so I’m not trying to show off.

A very fair approach to have at this stage of their lives.

I also don’t want my kids to have some complex where they feel like they have to compete with me or something. I can think of a lot of famous or successful people’s kids who have this. They have a complex that’s difficult for them to beat, and you can’t really beat it. You just got to tell your kids that whatever they do is going to be awesome and make them feel that way.

What words of wisdom do you have for someone looking to lead this no-holds, no-boundaries lifestyle like yours?

It’s easy to say, ‘Make sure you’re comfortable with who you are,’ but that’s a really hard thing to do. The main thing is to have people around you that are really fucking honest with you, real with you, and can support you. And if they know you, you don’t really need anybody else. You can be on the internet and people talk to you all day long, but if your real friends know who you are and they give you the right information, the right, ‘You can do better at this,’ or they love you and show you love, you just need that. You need the right community.

And some people don’t find it. It’s really easy to get lost and not find real people to be your supporters. It’s important to find people that love you. Whatever path you take, they’re going to be like, ‘That’s cool.’ If you can find those people that really care about you like that, then you can be free as fuck.

This interview has been condensed for length and clarity.

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Sean Abrams is the Senior Editor, Growth and Engagement at Men’s Health. He’s a former hip hop dancer who likes long walks on the beach and large glasses of tequila. You can find his previous work at Maxim, Elite Daily, and AskMen.