Interview: Sam Spinelli, Citizen Athletics [Tips + Entrepreneurship]


Get the Basics…

  • Importance of formal education and practical experience
  • Lineage of mentorship in sports performance training
  • Training hockey players vs. Training soccer players
  • Enactive Approach applied to strength training
  • Engaging clients through social media and custom app

Background

Schimri Yoyo: It is Schimri Yoyo with exercise.com continuing our series with fitness experts. And today we have Sam Spinelli, The Strength Therapist, who is also co-owner of Citizen Athletics with us. Well Sam, thanks again for agreeing to interview with us.

Sam Spinelli:  Absolutely.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, so we want to jump right into it with your background. You have a doctorate in physical therapy, so what parts of your formal education do you feel you most utilize today in your practice?

Sam Spinelli: Okay. I guess the challenging part is how you define my practice and also my formal education. I do have a doctorate of physical therapy. I also have a bachelors degree, a state equivalent of a kinesiologist degree in the US. And in my daily practice right now, previously about a month ago, I worked in California, where I was working as a physical therapist in a pretty much every setting that a physical therapist can, from acute care to outpatients, working around like 80 to 100 hours a week.

doctorate-physical-therapy

And then, in addition [to that], {i was] operating an online business between Citizen Athletics and also the additional work that I do online. So, from a traditional standpoint, my education has been beneficial in giving me a baseline of information to practice with. But a majority of what I’ve practiced with on a daily basis, such as my practice as a strength conditioning coach, has come through the additional further readings I’ve done far beyond the average, typical physical therapy schooling.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Well, that’s a good answer. Now, have you ever used the services of a strength and conditioning coach or a personal trainer as a client?

Sam Spinelli: I’ve actually never had a coach, a formal one. I’ve had numerous people do one-off assessments and things like that with me. But yeah, I’ve never had a coach long-term.

Schimri Yoyo: Where did you or from whom did you seek counsel when you were first entering into the sports performance industry?

Sam Spinelli: I was pretty fortunate that I started off my career actually taking a personal training course when I was 17 from a guy named Dean Somerset who is pretty well known in the industry. And just happened to walk into the right course at the right time, fall into the hands of a great person who was very—

dean-somerset-trainer

Schimri Yoyo: Legend.

Sam Spinelli: Yeah, he’s really nice and let me follow him around and shadow him and bother him with all my questions. And yeah, [I was] very lucky from early on. And from there through Dean, I started meeting other guys like Tony Gentilcore, who then allowed me to do some of the things with them and just continued that trend.

tony-gentilcore-online

And, very fortunately, I met a guy named Barry Butt in Edmonton who is a well-known strength conditioning coach there. He owns one of the largest strength conditioning businesses in Edmonton, Alberta. And he allowed me to come on as a coach while I was still in university. Everyone else there had like a Master’s degree in Coaching, and he let me keep working my way up, and five years afterward, I was a right-hand man for the gym and overseeing 120 professional hockey players every offseason.

Schimri Yoyo: And so you not only have the prerequisite formal education, but you have a pretty strong heritage and tutelage of mentorship coming into the sports performance industry. So that’s awesome.

Sam Spinelli: Oh yeah. Yup. I’ve been very fortunate.

Beliefs

Schimri Yoyo: Now, if you could describe your training philosophy and methodology in one word, what would it be?

Sam Spinelli: One word is a tricky one. Like, you know, if you had asked me-

Schimri Yoyo: Well, you can elaborate.

Sam Spinelli: If you had asked me this question probably a year ago, the top word I probably would have picked would have been resilience and it’s still a very strong word that embodies much of what my goal is in the average practice of strength and conditioning. I think that helping someone gain greater resiliency, whether it be from a physical, mental, or all these different standpoints is incredibly important and beneficial.

If I were to answer the question in my current setting, I would say that I’ve probably updated the way that I function in something that would be more of what I call an enactive approach. Not inactive, but enactive, so E-N.

And it’s a newer model of thinking and approach that is gaining awareness from other fields such as mathematics and philosophy. And it’s to more encompass and understand both the things that we would consider before of like physiology, anatomy, biomechanics—all these different properties—but in addition, taking consideration of the first-person experience of the person, the emotional aspects of the person’s societal constructs, and all these other things. It also can impact how the person goes through training and what they experience from it.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. So is that more of a holistic view of training?

Sam Spinelli: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. That’s great. Sounds great. Now, what would you say is the relationship between strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and rehabilitation?

Sam Spinelli: So, I guess the working model that I utilize is that they are more of a spectrum. When I look at strength and conditioning and rehab, I see them not such a strict dichotomy, as many people would view them as, but that along a point someone is going to sustain some form of injury and they will be unable to practice whatever activity it is that they desire and until they are able to give back the desired activity, I would classify that roughly as rehab.

And along that journey, we will likely do many things that look just like strengthening and conditioning, but it’s just going to be scaled intelligently to accommodate their needs. And the part where I often struggle is that’s pretty much what we do in strength conditioning anyways. It’s just that in rehab, I have a lot more considerations for things and it’s basically the best answer I could give you.

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Schimri Yoyo: That’s actually probably the best and most well-thought-out answer to that question that I’ve received so far. So that was actually very, very helpful.

Sam Spinelli: Okay, good.

Schimri Yoyo: How do you help athletes to be proactive in training and in their recovery? Because obviously you want them to be able to maximize their potential physically, but also you don’t want them to burn out.

Sam Spinelli: I think that’s an important mandate that you have to get someone to buy into the process. And that is a key factor of my enactive approach that I was discussing. Under the enactive approach, there are like five different E’s that function within it. And two of them that are really important, they are the embedded and the emotive aspects.

And so even the emotive one, you have to consider how the person individually has the emotions related to what they do. And that’s something where measuring a person’s exertional levels or RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) are beneficial, but also understanding the person’s emotive drives. For one person, [he or she] might be a very gung ho, “I want to do everything possible; you let me at it, and I will crush it,” and I might need to pull that person back more often.

On the flip side, I could have another athlete who is very high skilled as well, but that person may not have the drive, the internal drive, as other ones, [and that’s] where I may need to encourage [him or her] to do more things and push [that person] to a further degree or give it a higher RPE rating because I know [he or she is] going to maybe sandbag it a little bit.

Additionally, in the embedded aspect of coaching, there a lot of times when you come into a different social setting, and you have [to encounter] a different social context. So, if you compare how you would coach someone in hockey versus how you would coach someone in soccer—two very different sports settings that have different prior belief systems—[it’s completely different].

When you look at how hockey players often train, it’s very challenging. They are ready to work and they grunt aggressively, and they are ready to be beaten to the abysmal level possible. They will take everything that you can throw at them, basically, and rarely complain about it.

Whereas, a lot of soccer players are not used to that type of training, and it’s really a less challenging level of training, which is the lesser volume. Usually, they are more accustomed to higher volume running, things like that. Whereas, if you throw a lot of weights at them or a lot of high-effort conditioning [that is] non-running, they usually don’t tolerate that well because they don’t do it [often] in that setting.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Oh, that’s very perceptive. So it seems like in this enactive approach, you definitely have to know your clientele very personally, more than just a surface level, to be able to know when to pull back or when to push forward a little bit more.

So how do you then measure progress and success for your clients and for yourself?

Sam Spinelli: So it can be a very tricky one. I don’t love the “It depends” answer in interviews, but it kind of does depend. In that, when I’m working primarily more as a rehabilitation professional—in the setting—it’s often looking at this person has x goal or is dealing with x issue, and so we will create some sort of agreeable goal based off of a few identifying factors that we will try to achieve.

Whether that be that a person needs to acquire a certain level of strength on a back squat before they return to x level of activity, something like that. Or, I might be using some form of an outcome measure tests, a standardized outcome measure that’s been assessed and shown validity.

And I’ll use that for consistency and have the person fill out forms or do some sort of measuring tests where I’m as far removed as possible or possibly, I might be doing something from—I don’t love the term injury prevention—but maybe if we’re doing an injury risk reduction work.

Right now, I’m working with different team sport athletes here in [my current city], and I’m actually working with soccer players. And one of the goals [that I’m working on with them] is trying to reduce the risk of hamstring strains, adductor strains, and hip flexor strains. And so I’m doing testing with like an isokinetic dynamometer. I’m testing their hamstring strength, and I’m testing their hip flexor strength, and I’m testing their adductor strength to then do a comparison after we’ve done 12 weeks of training to hopefully demonstrate that we’ve reduced the risk of injury and other factors. So from those standpoints, it’s pretty easy to justify that.

biodex-isokinetic-dynometer

When it comes to performance, if it’s for someone that’s a barbell sport athlete, it’s pretty easy to add more weight onto the bar. If it’s for an in-sport athlete, it’s so hard to be able to identify improved performance. I can use different tests of things like, you know, broad jump, bench press, anything that’s standardly done. But honestly, when we look at a lot of performance measures that actually showed [progress] transferred to sports, most of that [stuff] just washes away and is actually not really supported.

Schimri Yoyo: [The measures of progress] seem to vary, but the common thread seems to be that it’s all goal-based and data-driven. Now, for you personally, how do you measure yourself? How are you getting better professionally?

Sam Spinelli: Professionally? That is a tricky one. I would say that I’m very fortunate that I have a lot of peers who I would put at the highest level of the profession for both rehab, performance coaching, and these different areas that I delve into. And I regularly have discussions with them.

Like, obviously, Teddy Willsey is one of my business partners, so I talk to him on an essentially a daily basis and we share papers, we share ideas, and share discussions to continue to move forward and to question one another. And I’ve got other friends that are employed by different organizations, and it’s the same sort of thing where, honestly, I don’t really do a lot of that [networking] side of this profession. I pretty much just spend all day either discussing papers, working on writing papers, working on programming, or trying to analyze if I’m actually reaching these [goals] and how I can change them.

teddy-willsey-strength-coach-therapy

I think an important thing is to reflect on a regular basis and it’s difficult to reflect if you don’t actually track things or look at things on a regular basis.

Like I mentioned with the outcome measures. I was very fortunate in my last job, when I was in California, that the outcome measures were built into our software. It was basically mandatory to be used by all staff on a weekly basis. So I could regularly go back and look at the assessments that were being done by assistants or aides or anyone else that worked with me, or even other therapists if they were to step in while I was away. And I could look at all of the data to go around the plans that I had created and [to gauge if clients and patients] were actually making improvements with desired goals. So, I like to sit down and reflect on a fairly regular basis.

At least once a month I try to sit down and look at the current populations that I work with and if I’m fulfilling them to the highest degree. And then on a weekly basis, I do research review where I try to read at least seven papers a week, so essentially like one a day, and I try to stay up to date as possible in the current publications. So I’ll check out different journals and attempt to challenge myself in different areas that, maybe, I’m not as strong [as I’d like to be], and continue to pursue.

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah, that was good. Now you got a little professional development, you got some peer evaluation, and also self-reflection to help you kind of measure yourself along the way. So that’s it. Now, how do you juggle your time between being a physical therapist and an entrepreneur and a strength coach? How do you juggle your time wearing all those different hats?

Sam Spinelli: Yeah, you know, I would say that talking to a lot of friends who are in similar positions as I am, there’s a similar feeling that we are basically constantly failing at what we do.

And that’s probably a significant driving force because, at any moment, I feel like I could do better than I currently am. And I’m always trying to drive to be able to fulfill the services that I provide to every single person, every single agency to a higher degree.

And so like right now, I would say I’m actually working less than I used to, and I [still] wake up around 5:00 AM every day and pretty much every single day of the week I start work 5:30 to 6:00, and I will work essentially 14 to 16 hours a day. And just keep trying to move between the different jobs and roles that I have.

I try to assign blocks of my day to be devoted to either in-person coaching or to have online coaching or to have self-development time or to have writing time or to have filming time. Because if I allow it to be the scattered nature of, you know, “I’ll read for 10 minutes, then I’ll film for three minutes in between or something,” I’ve just been not nearly as productive.

Whereas, if I set blocked time, I’ll take intermittent breaks. I’ll probably have a six-hour time block, maybe set aside for writing, but it’ll be in 30-minute, little increments and I’ll take a few minutes in there to do something [else]. And that’s pretty much it, man. Wish I had a better answer.

Schimri Yoyo: No, that’s good. I mean-

Sam Spinelli: A lot of people don’t love the “I just work nonstop” answer.

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Schimri Yoyo: No, it’s honest so I appreciate that. I mean you seem like you are devoted to your work. You like working there for the people, you just have a strong work ethic. My dad was like that. He just, he didn’t know what to do. He did a lot of different things, but he just loved to work and he was a guy who only needed four hours of sleep and he was usually pretty good to operate. So, I understand that aspect of it.

Obviously, you love to work and keep busy, but how do you keep yourself from burning out? How do you keep yourself refreshed within your work, while still being passionate about your work?

Sam Spinelli: Honestly, actually, the number one thing would be my wife and then those friends that I have. My friends, being able to interact with them, and the friends that I have within the field and being able to regularly discuss things and being challenged and poking and prodding on different areas of it allows me to stay pretty interested.

If I were going to completely devote myself to just one aspect of like rehab, “Let’s do tendinopathy,” where I feel like I’ve got a pretty strong grasp of the literature on, if I were to only focus on that, all of my working time, I would definitely feel burned out.

But because I  intermittently come to it, review all the information I currently have available, and try to find new information on it, and then go away from it for a little while and then go try to learn more about other aspects, it keeps things fresher and more interesting for me.

Additionally, my wife is an amazing woman and really pulls me back and she has made me take at least like an hour a day—pretty much every day—off and enjoy life a bit more. And it is refreshing. I do feel more revived to be able to function.

Business

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Friends and family are good to have to keep you refreshed and keep you focused on what’s important. It seems like the variety within the field, it helps to keep you refreshed, so you’re not just focusing on one specific niche, but you’re able to kind of balance between being a writer, being a student, being a trainer and all those things. And even though you’re still working, it gives you different aspects of the work so you’re not just bogged down with one particular thing. So that’s a great piece of advice.

Now, specifically, let’s talk about Citizens Athletics. You guys have two main training groups, the Foundational Strength and the Sustainable Strength. Can you just give a brief description of the two programs and how one can determine which program is the right fit?

Sam Spinelli: Sure. So both programs, the goal is to help the individual improve strength, physique, performance across as many avenues as we can. It’s a very generalized program. It is not specifically designed for any one sport. It is designed for general life and that allows for a higher level of performance in many avenues.

It’s as a program that Teddy and I take a lot of time to create every month and try to be as diligent as we can in planning out blocks of training to address different physiological properties and improve bio-motor capacities across a wide range of things. And we try to have each block build upon another, help individuals progress through exercise variations, and develop greater control and greater movement capacity.

But at the end of the day, we’re trying to get people stronger, feeling better, moving better. And the two programs are very similar in nature, but they have a few distinct differences in that Foundational Strength does not use a barbell.

Teddy and I started this company after we both had fairly large social media followings. We both did a little bit of online coaching, but we both found ourselves not being able to fulfill the requests of people that we had.

And we wanted to have something that we could offer at a more reduced rate that would still be very beneficial for the masses and this company kind of formed out of it.

And in order to do that, we had a lot of people that were saying, “Hey, I want to get stronger. I want to be more able to handle stress in life. I want to be able to go and mess [things] up, but I don’t have a gym that I go to. I train at home, I don’t have a barbell. I’m intimidated by barbells,” and all these kinds of things.

And so we said, “Okay, we’ll create two programs.” One is Sustainable Strength, which is how Teddy and I trained. We both did a discussion of our main principles and things that we like to do ourselves, and, in essence, developed a program that would accommodate that and it reflects how intensely we train.

Then, we created Foundational Strength as an in-between of where we would want someone to start, where someone would be able to go to for training, but it doesn’t [require access to] a barbell. It’s slightly shorter in length and it has less volume and a bit less intensity.

So, Sustainable Strength is four to five days a week. You’re looking at between 55 to an hour and 20 minutes roughly. And it’ll have a barbell almost every day of the week. And it’s going to work on developing power, strength, hypertrophy, and some endurance work periodically.

And Foundational Strength will do many of the same things, but it will be more on the timeline of 40 to 60 minutes. It will have a bit less inherent volume, and it will also not have any barbell lists. So those are basically the main distinct differences.

citizen-athletics-app-log

Schimri Yoyo: And then you mentioned it before that you and your partner Teddy had a pretty large social media followings before you teamed up. So, how do you now use social media to promote your business and other technology?

Sam Spinelli: Well, Teddy and I, we both are actually not the best individuals in this area. We are by no means marketing experts. We both just produce a lot of content that we try to think would be beneficial for the audience when we’re creating things.

The goal is to create a product that will benefit the people that we would want to see this, that should help improve people’s lives, that will provide a service to them. And just by doing that, it has just happened to be enjoyed by a lot of people and we are not experts in any way at marketing.

We have regular discussions about our limitations in this area because—yeah—I don’t know Instagram algorithm at all. I don’t know Facebook, I don’t know Facebook ads. I have only paid for one ad in my whole life, and it’s probably an area that I need to learn more about or hire someone for.

But you know, I liked Gary Vaynerchuck’s idea of you create a lot of content, share a lot of free things, and you’ll get rewarded. And that’s basically how I have functioned so far.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, well that’s good. And so you guys have a custom branded app, the Citizen Athletics app. How do you use that to incorporate it with your clients and to keep engaging with the clients?

citizen-athletics-app-dashboard

Sam Spinelli: Right now, we have our app that provides our training services. So, Teddy and I don’t really take on much in that regard, [when it comes] to individualized training. We don’t really do [that] much individualized coaching at the moment for online. That’s pretty much just something that we each do in-person. Instead, we almost exclusively do the group training that’s done through our Citizen Athletics app.

And we try to also add additional things to the app, you know, in the resources tab where—we spend time creating products that we think would be beneficial to the members and we put it in there for them to use at their [convenience].

So whether it’s explaining how to use RPE or how to measure hydration status, we create different things like that. So the app has been very beneficial for us to create these resources and have them maintained for members to use at any moment.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. So do you feel that it’s helping you with your client engagement and also to deliver workouts more efficiently?

Sam Spinelli: Absolutely. Yeah, for sure.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, alright, lastly Sam, what do you say is next for you and Teddy and your business? Where do you guys see yourself in the next maybe three to five years out?

Sam Spinelli: Well, we are currently working on expanding in a few different avenues, which I’ll keep on the DL for now.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Awesome. Don’t want to give out proprietary secrets. I get it.

Sam Spinelli: You and the other exercise.com staff will hear about it soon enough. But to give the public a glimpse, we have a lot of questions and needs beyond just training and we want to be able to offer that. We also have a lot of questions in regards to things for individualized coaching. We have a lot of requests for that, but between Teddy and I, we are unable to fulfill that and we’re trying to find an avenue to do so, and that will hopefully be getting discussed in the next few months.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright, well thank you again for your time, Sam. Wishing you and Teddy, much continued success and hope to hear back from you once you have that new product or the new services ready to launch. I look forward to hearing back from you again.

Sam Spinelli: Awesome.





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Benefits of Arugula: Superfood│The Leaf Nutrisystem Blog

Benefits of Arugula: Superfood│The Leaf Nutrisystem Blog


Leafy greens of all kinds are like the league of superheroes for your healthy diet. They pack a punch of powerful nutrients and always protect you from excess calories and fats. Among those champions of eating well, arugula might be considered the Master of Zing for its zesty flavor that can rescue a salad or wrap from the grip of dull blandness. Arugula (say it, “ah-RUE-gah-lah”) has a lot in common with other leafy greens, but it comes with its own unique powers, too, that make it a superfood you can rely on to lift up your everyday meals to the next level. So not only is this superfood filled with flavor, the benefits of arugula make this green powerhouse a must-have.

Superfood Saturday: Salmon the Great

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Read all about the many benefits of arugula :

Nutrition Highlights

arugula benefits

Like all leafy greens, arugula is a nutrient-dense food, meaning it is high in nutrients and low in calories and fats. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a single cup of raw arugula has just five calories and almost no fats. It is a non-starchy vegetable, so you can eat as much of it as you want while staying on track with your Nutrisystem weight loss plan.

In each cup of arugula you get 475 IU of vitamin A, a nutrient that is essential for your immune system, heart and vision. Antioxidants such as vitamin A help remove damaged cells from your body, helping to protect you from cancer and other diseases.  According to Healthline, a cup of arugula also provides you with 74 milligrams of potassium, the nutrient that supports healthy blood pressure, and 32 milligrams of calcium, which makes it a good vegetable source of the mineral that plays a key role in regulating your metabolism as well as helping to build and maintain healthy bones. Arugula also nourishes you with small but valuable amounts of iron, magnesium and folate.

Health Powers

arugula benefits

The ancient Romans believed that arugula was a potent aphrodisiac. No modern research has confirmed this power for arugula, but there is still plenty to love about it.  Arugula looks similar to and is used much like lettuce, but it actually is a cruciferous vegetable, so nutritionally it is more akin to broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Like them, arugula contains compounds called “glucosinolates,” which give it the peppery flavor. A wide range of studies have linked regularly eating glucosinolates to reduced risk of lung, breast, prostate, stomach, colon and other kinds of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Arugula also is loaded with flavonoids, other compounds found in minute amounts in fresh green vegetables. “The growing body of scientific evidence indicates that flavonoids play a beneficial role in disease prevention,” says a report in the medical journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. Eating arugula and other foods high in flavonoids reduce your risk of heart disease, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and more.

Even with all of the nutrients in arugula, it is still composed of 90 percent water. That makes it a good food for keeping you hydrated and even cool on the hot days of summer.

Superfood Saturday: Get Creative with Cashews

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Buyer’s Guide

arugula benefits

Another one of the many benefits of arugula? It’s available just about year-round in most grocery stores, but you can get it at its freshest at farmer’s markets and from other local sources in spring and fall. If you really love it, you can grow your own arugula in a garden bed or pot. It sprouts easily from seed and you can begin harvesting a few leaves within a month or so planting it.

When shopping for arugula, look for firm, dark green leaves and avoid any bunches with leaves that are yellow or have dried tips. When you get arugula home, keep it dry and wash only as much as you can use—if it stays wet, arugula will rot quickly. Store it in the lowest humidity section of your refrigerator and place a dry paper towel in the plastic bag to absorb moisture.

Fresh Ideas

arugula benefits

Fresh arugula’s peppery taste perks up bowls of fresh vegetables and fruit, such as our Arugula Pomegranate Salad > and Arugula Beet Salad with Orange Slices >  Layer a few arugula leaves onto a sandwich or wrap to give it a jolt of zesty flavor. If you like smoothies with a little kick, toss in a handful of arugula leaves along with sweet berries for a nutrient-packed drink that can help fuel your day.

Do you love spicy Italian food? Try arugula instead of some or all of the parsley in homemade pesto. Or, use arugula for extra flavor on our Thick Crust Pizza (this video shows you how >).

Arugula loses its shape and texture when cooked, but you can add it to omelets, soups and stews and still enjoy its flavor and superfood nutritional powers.





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Interview: Eric Mahanke, Carr Elite Football [Tips]


Get the Basics…

  • Having fun in fitness
  • Training professional athletes versus training amateur
  • Importance of interpersonal skills and relationship building
  • Leveraging technology to maximize results
  • Importance of sleep and proper eating

Background Information

Schimri Yoyo: I am Schimri Yoyo. I’m with exercise.com and we’re continuing our series with exercise and fitness experts. Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Eric Mahanke from Carr Elite Football. Eric, thank you again for agreeing to participate in our interview today.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Well, we’re going to start off by asking you about your background. When did you start playing football and why did you fall in love with the sport?

Eric Mahanke: I started playing football in sixth grade and I actually started off as a center. Fast-forward later, I ended up playing wide receiver professionally and in college, but I’ve always liked that story because I get to tell kids now who are in football, you know, like, “Hey man, doesn’t really matter what you’re doing at the time. It’s kind of where you end up and everything’s going to help you on the way.”

I fell in love with the games just because, honestly, I was able to play baseball and basketball and all these things at a very young age and I wasn’t able to play football really until I got a little older. Kind of fell in love with it that way.

Schimri Yoyo: How did you get involved with the Carr brothers [David Carr and Derek Carr]? When did you meet them?

Eric Mahanke: I ended up going to Fresno State and playing wide receiver there and this young chubby kid, David Carr, came in and I remember thinking, “Man, this kid is good.” I was a junior and he was a freshman and he ended up being really, really good. We just ended up being friends right away and we started hanging out from the get-go. Then eventually after many years of kind of doing what we do, we would have little talks about what we’re going to do later on in life. One of the things that we definitely talked about was putting together a place like Carr Elite where we could train athletes and help people out.

Schimri Yoyo: I can tell from your social media that you have a good sense of humor in your training. You use that a lot with your guys. How do you make use of humor and how do you incorporate it into your training?

Eric Mahanke: We do definitely like to have a good time, and I think one of the biggest things is this, man—it’s like when you’re playing sports, especially, [you should be having fun].

I try to ask parents and youth athletes, “Why are you playing sports?” The number one reason should be to have fun.

We try to keep that instilled in all of our guys, even if they’re professional athletes. When it really comes down to it, if you’re a professional athlete, it’s a business and it’s tough. Training can become arduous and we like to kind of lighten that load and have some fun with our training. Also, Dave and Derek are kind of like brothers to me—and so is Darren—and we just like to have fun and do dumb videos and make people laugh.

Schimri Yoyo: Why is it important that you keep that spirit of levity while you train?

Eric Mahanke: Because realistically I think training is more than 50 percent recovery, food, sleep, and that kind of stuff. Then, the brain is such a huge [instrument] for training. If you can have a good mindset and if you can be in a good mood, then it’s been proven that you will have a better outcome. My job, it doesn’t matter how I do it, but my job is to get you to become a better athlete, whatever it is, or a better person. Each day when you come in, if I’m making you laugh and having a good time as part of that work, then that’s what we’re going to do every day.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. Who would you say is the biggest practical joker out of all of you guys? Out of you and the Carr brothers?

Eric Mahanke: I would definitely say me, but I don’t know. Derek is a close second. He’s a close second for sure. But yeah, I would say I probably me mostly, for sure.

Beliefs and Methodology

Schimri Yoyo: What one word, if you could boil it down to one word, would describe your philosophy of training or how you work?

Eric Mahanke: I would say results. That’s kind of what I think every strength coach should really base all their work on, right? I think sometimes we can get too wrapped up in like the process, but I like kind of what Boyle says. I like to ask “Why?” so that I can get the best result possible.

If there are things along the way that I don’t think really help with the result, then I can go another direction. Honestly, it’s results, man. I want people to be healthy and I want people to be on the field or on the court and I want them to, in the offseason, [to] get better, [to] set goals, and then [to] reach those goals.

Schimri Yoyo: How do you keep your clients and students motivated to get those results?

Eric Mahanke: What we do a lot of the times is, one, keep it interesting. Our training, especially like right now I have a guy who actually is a baseball player at UCLA and I’ll always ask him—I love to hear what’s new and what they’re doing that might be kind of groundbreaking. It was really funny cause my guy that came up, Sean Nolan, he was telling me that a lot of the training, especially in the football team down at UCLA, they do like—they play chess prior to working out or they do something to stimulate the brain.

ucla-chess-prodigy

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, isn’t that cool? For us right now, one of our big things is to get the brain stimulated. I’m always trying to throw in some type of competition, but not just competition physically, but being able to use your brain and being able to make quick decisions before we actually go into our actual workout routine. The staple of it is [to make sure we’re] keeping it fresh and fun, but at the same time keeping it routine enough to where you know you’re getting better at that exercise or that routine.

Schimri Yoyo: What does a normal day look like for you, if there is such a thing?

Eric Mahanke: Okay, so I’m older now, I’m going on 42 for a strength coach. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. It’s changed a lot. When I first started, it was 5:00 AM until 8:00 PM with a little break in between, but now that I’m getting older, I’m getting more established.

A typical day for me is I’d go in and—actually, believe it or not, and I know a lot of other places are the same way, but I have a good foundation of fitness clients that I see every day and they’re kind of the foundation of what Carr Elite has going daily. The athletes are very seasonal and we have those every day as well. The typical day for me is I’m going in at 7:00 AM and I’m working with some fitness clients. Then I’m moving to the athletes.

Okay, the athletes, we want them to sleep in a little longer, so their typical workout time to start is probably about 9:30. Then, I have a couple of advanced groups right there at 9:30 and 10:30, and then I go into some one-on-ones during the middle of the day with a lunch break going, [and then] right back into the after-work, after-school, group training as well. That’s with small and large.

Then, after 5:00 is when you get all your working class coming in trying to get their workout in. I’m usually there until about 7:00 and we close usually around 8:00, 8:30. That’s a typical day for me pretty much every day.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say is the biggest misconception about sports performance training?

Eric Mahanke: Good question.

I would say the biggest misconception is the [term] “sports specific training.” I think there’s such a high percentage of athletes that really aren’t even close to training for their specific sport, but more along the lines should be trained based on their specific body function.

I think there’s a misconception there. I think there’s a misconception that speed training is done like on the grass. I think the majority of work or success is going to be done in the weight room. I think it’s going to be done after a really good evaluation of how that person moves and how that person functions. Then, focusing on those malfunctions so that they can improve. But I think, as parents of young athletes and even college athletes, if we really focus more on the training—because I mean you look at all these sports, you look at baseball, basketball, even football now, and volleyball—there’s so much skill being done.

It’s an overload of skill. They’re always on the field. They’re playing more than ever. The strength part, it’s kind of getting neglected, and so I think if we can focus more on the strength part and getting kids into the weight room and doing that kind of thing, then I think that would probably be best to fix that misconception.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What tool would you say is your most valuable tool as a trainer? What tool can’t you live without?

Eric Mahanke: I would say it would be personal relationships and being able to grow those. When I’m hiring trainers, I’m looking, obviously, for knowledge, right? Of the weight room and of the body, but I’m mostly looking for someone who can communicate with another human being correctly.

I’m looking for someone who can motivate and there are not many people out there, not many coaches out there, that really can motivate an entire group. I think that is the key. That is the major key: that interpersonal relationship with your clients and being able to read each person and know what motivates them individually.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a unique and a refreshing answer.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Well, I mean, there are other things too that are pretty obvious, but that’s definitely one thing I noticed when I hire.

Business Management

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you keep track of all the different things you have to do as a trainer and as a CEO of a business or running your business?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, so what’s ironic is exercise.com is coming out with all these new updates. We’re actually in the process of kind of like moving our whole business into the exercise.com [platform]. You know, what you guys have organized on the website so that we can schedule everything on the same website. We can bill [clients] on the same system because we use different things like QuickBooks and different software programs like that, but we’re actually going to transition into where every trainer can all be on the same page with exercise.com on these new updates. I think that’s kind of where we’re all heading when it comes to [managing the business]

carr-elite-app-store

Schimri Yoyo: That’s exciting. Does that mean everyone’s going to be using the custom branded apps and all that to keep track of everything?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Every trainer has [access to] iPads for when they come in and [start] putting in information straight into our training.carrelite.com through exercise.com. And then everything down to the evaluation and putting the evaluation statistics in and then scheduling clients. We’re not quite brave enough to let the clients schedule, but we are [heading in that direction] along the lines there.

Because as of right now we started off in Dave’s garage and I was just using an iPhone. Now we’re going to spread to a couple of different locations. Now we’re actually going to have to really lock down on that part.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What are some of the challenges of using software and technology and what are some of the benefits? Now, obviously you mentioned a little bit of the benefits, but I’m sure there’re some challenges as far as making sure that your staff is trained on how to use the technology and things like that. Speak to that of how incorporating or integrating technology into the business side of things can be both a challenge and a benefit.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, man. A big challenge is getting clients that aren’t used to using their phone and not used to using technology like that to be able to get on there and trust that they can put a credit card number in and it’ll all work smoothly without something happening wrong. That’s definitely a big one. Then another one is just being able to transfer what you’ve been doing to this.

carr-elite-app-log

That’s always like a con, right? But the pros far outweigh the cons because the pros is time. When you’re able to schedule right there on your phone right then and there without having to go through a middle person, like a receptionist and having to contact them and then have them schedule the person, it eliminates one more step of air. It just gives us more time and it’s easier to track. I think the pros are just great for us.

Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. It seems like it’s increased your ease of doing business and also provide you a lot more efficient time management. That’s great.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. I mean, especially in this field, you’re always looking to what you can continue to do and do better. We want to grow.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. What one exercise should athletes stop doing immediately? Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of “fitness warriors” or “experts” on social media. What would you say is one exercise they should just completely get out of their repertoire?

Eric Mahanke: Gosh, I mean, do you have an hour? No. Honestly, there’s quite a few. The burpee comes to mind.

Schimri Yoyo: Amen, brother. Amen.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I have a hard time with the burpee, definitely. There are so many things you can do differently, right? I always tell coaches when I meet with them that—say you’re a football coach—you definitely never want to punish with an exercise that you would actually want your kids to do to get better.

I never understood like running as a punishment because I want them to sprint and I want them to run and feel good about it and get better.

The burpee has always been an exercise that just never made sense to me and it’s a great punishment. Yeah, I actually use the burpee as a really dumb punishment that a football coach can use that I would never use in my gym. I guess I’ll go with the burpee.

Schimri Yoyo: Great answer. Great answer. I wholeheartedly support it.

Eric Mahanke: Okay, good. Yes, I think a lot of people would.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, obviously you work with professional athletes, the Carr brothers being two of them, and you have trained a lot of them. But is there anyone that has ever left you awestruck with their natural ability while they’re training? Just like, “Man, that’s a physical specimen”?

Eric Mahanke: Well, training-wise, I would say, Tyrone Crawford. Derek’s going to get mad at me. Derek Carr obviously is the most freakish athlete ever. No, I’m just kidding. But I would have to say, Tyrone Crawford. I’ve been training him since he just got out of high school and in college, and he’s the D End (Defensive end) for Dallas Cowboys.

Schimri Yoyo: He’s a freak of nature.

Eric Mahanke: He is a freak of nature. I’m talking if you’re playing knockout, you’re going to get dunked on in knockout. And the dude’s like 285 pounds. He’s big. He probably is the most freakish athlete [that I’ve trained] lately. I know a lot of people might get mad at me because I didn’t mention them.

But I got to say, too—not that I’ve worked with him a lot, but I actually played a lot of pool basketball with Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack is definitely—he dunked with me and Dave on his back, out of the water—in person, he’s kind of freakish as well. I would say he’s an impressive athlete as well.

Schimri Yoyo: Those are great answers.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, they are both really, really, really talented individuals.

Schimri Yoyo: What are some recommendations for athletes to stay healthy and fresh, what are some activities that they can do? Because obviously recovery is a big part of training as well. How can they stay fresh?

Eric Mahanke: I put a big emphasis on sleep and food and you know that Stanford Sleep Study, 10-hour sleep study is really big as well.

I think we really can’t overlook sleep. Man, it’s like natural HGH, so [sleep] and food.

I really stress getting in at least like six to 10 vegetable servings a day, not a month. I really emphasize getting the right amount of protein. Water. I’m not a huge supplement fan. I just love what God has given us and just eat a lot of it. But yeah, I definitely would say probably get as much sleep as you can and eat right.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, there are a lot of trainers out there, young trainers, people getting in the business who want to be able to work with a lot of different people but also have as a goal of theirs to work with pro athletes. What would be one tip that you would give to a trainer who is aspiring to work with pro athletes?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I would say that every day trainer who is working with a pro athlete is also working with a whole lot of non-pro athletes. I would say that you definitely have to get your clientele base up. The pro athlete is actually really fun to work with, but at the same time that’s kind of like just icing on the cake. I think it’s the athletes that aren’t pros are where a lot of your enjoyment comes from. When going into that [relationship], I think, you really can’t hold anything back with a pro athlete, can’t be afraid to hurt them, that kind of thing. You just have to be very smart with your programming and just make sure that you’re programming the less risky exercises.

I think making sure that you know their whole injury history and making sure that they understand where you’re trying to go goal-wise because they’re just like everyone else, right? They want to get better and they have injuries and you have to make sure that you don’t hurt them, but you need to train them, not train them scared, which is kind of a hard thing to do with a pro athlete.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes a lot of sense and that’s good advice.

Eric Mahanke: It’s tricky.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Couple more questions left here, Eric.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say, what are the differences for you in building a program for an in-person client and then building a program that’s going to be distributed online or through your apps to the masses?

Eric Mahanke: When you’re in person, it can be a lot more detailed and it can change. In the middle of the workout you can change something. The one thing online is you’re going to get a very, very similar workout. You’re not going to have as much change within weeks. Where I might be in-person [with a client], and I might be able to change a workout weekly and, maybe, even switch something up during the week. Online, I’m going to keep you more consistent, and you’re going to be doing the same thing for a little bit longer. I think that’s really the only difference.

carr-elite-app-tutorial

Obviously, I’m not there and I’m not able to like tweak you at the time. When you’re online it’s got to be a lot more basic when it comes to ballistic or explosive movements. I don’t know what someone might have available to them when I want them to do banded assisted split jumps. I don’t know if they have a rack or two bands. I always have to give an alternative. Yeah, it’s just more basic when you do it online, but still same results. It’s just you’re going to have to make sure you understand mentally that I’m going to be doing the same thing, maybe, for like three or four weeks.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, so online’s a little less variation, little less customization, but overall it’s going to be the same, focused exercise.

Eric Mahanke: Right. I mean, you can do a similar workout four weeks in a row. It’s not going to do anything to really hurt your result, in my opinion. I think changing it just kind of helps the brain, kind of helps you show up every day when you change it more often, but that’s kind of my opinion right there.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. Alright. Then lastly, how do you unwind as a trainer? I mean, obviously, you’re helping your athletes to ramp up and then wind down after a workout. How do you personally unwind after a long day?

Eric Mahanke: That’s a great question. I don’t know if I do, but it’s the same thing. I make sure I get a lot of sleep. I still work out with some of my advanced athletes and so I try to keep in shape there. And so, I try to recover like them, too. I definitely try to make sure I eat exactly like I’m telling my clients. I’m not saying that every trainer has to, but that’s kind of what I choose to do. I try to get 10 hours sleep, you know? It’s really hard.

You know, owning a business and running a business, it’s really hard to do that. But that’s my goal. I know they’re busy too. If I got a guy at UCLA, I know he’s taking 21 units, I know he has study hall and practice, and so I kind of do that, maybe, to feel their pain. I don’t know, but I do that.

Another thing is I want to make sure that I take time off. It’s hard for a lot of trainers and strength coaches to actually get away because you have so much invested. I’ve kind of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of figured out like I have to leave it for a little while, maybe a week, and then go back to it. I’m a better trainer for it when I get back.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. I lied. I’ll give you one more question.

Eric Mahanke: Okay. Alright.

Schimri Yoyo: Are there any books or podcasts or any other external resources that you would recommend for exercise enthusiasts?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, obviously strengthcoach.com and stuff by Boyle. I really like him and I’m always making sure that I keep up there. There is a long line of guys like [Eric] Cressey that I follow on social media. Or I will read a book or even see recommendations, but that’s kind of the route I’ve been going lately, I would say. Yeah, in fact, the last certification I did was through Michael Boyle as a certified functional strength coach and he gives great recommendations on books as well in that.

Schimri Yoyo: Again, thanks, Eric, for your time. This was great to catch up with you and hear about your methodology.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, absolutely.

Schimri Yoyo: Good luck with your business and enjoy your little downtime that’s coming up.

Eric Mahanke: Alright. Thank you.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. I love chess.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, isn’t that cool? For us right now, one of our big things is to get the brain stimulated. I’m always trying to throw in some type of competition, but not just competition physically, but being able to use your brain and being able to make quick decisions before we actually go into our actual workout routine. The staple of it is [to make sure we’re] keeping it fresh and fun, but at the same time keeping it routine enough to where you know you’re getting better at that exercise or that routine.

Schimri Yoyo: What does a normal day look like for you, if there is such a thing?

Eric Mahanke: Okay, so I’m older now, I’m going on 42 for a strength coach. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. It’s changed a lot. When I first started, it was 5:00 AM until 8:00 PM with a little break in between, but now that I’m getting older, I’m getting more established.

A typical day for me is I’d go in and—actually, believe it or not, and I know a lot of other places are the same way, but I have a good foundation of fitness clients that I see every day and they’re kind of the foundation of what Carr Elite has going daily. The athletes are very seasonal and we have those every day as well. The typical day for me is I’m going in at 7:00 AM and I’m working with some fitness clients. Then I’m moving to the athletes.

Okay, the athletes, we want them to sleep in a little longer, so their typical workout time to start is probably about 9:30. Then, I have a couple of advanced groups right there at 9:30 and 10:30, and then I go into some one-on-ones during the middle of the day with a lunch break going, [and then] right back into the after-work, after-school, group training as well. That’s with small and large.

Then, after 5:00 is when you get all your working class coming in trying to get their workout in. I’m usually there until about 7:00 and we close usually around 8:00, 8:30. That’s a typical day for me pretty much every day.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say is the biggest misconception about sports performance training?

Eric Mahanke: Good question.

I would say the biggest misconception is that is the word sports specific training.

I think there’s such a high percentage of athletes that really aren’t even close to training for their specific sport, but more along the lines should be trained based on their specific body function. I think there’s a misconception there.

There’s a misconception that speed training is done like on the grass. The majority of work or success is going to be done in the weight room. I think it’s going to be done after a really good evaluation of how that person moves and how that person functions.

Then focusing on those malfunctions so that they can improve but I think, as parents of young athletes and even like college athletes, if we really focus more on the training, because I mean you look at all these sports, you look at baseball, basketball, even football now, and volleyball, there’s so much skill being done.

It’s an overload of skill. They’re always on the field. They’re playing more than ever. The strength part, it’s kind of getting neglected and so I think if we can focus more on the strength part and getting kids into the weight room and doing that kind of thing, then I think that would probably be best to fit that misconception.

Schimri Yoyo: Awesome. Now, what tool would you say is your most valuable tool as a trainer? What tool can’t you live without?

Eric Mahanke: I would say it would be personal relationships and being able to grow those. I think like when I’m hiring trainers I’m looking obviously for knowledge, right? Of the weight room and of the body, but I’m mostly looking for someone who can communicate with another human being correctly.

I’m looking for someone who can motivate and there’s not many people out there, not many coaches out there, that really can motivate an entire group. I think that is the key. That is the major key is that interpersonal relationship with your clients and being able to read each person and know what motivates them individually.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s a unique and a refreshing answer.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. Well, I mean, there’re other things too that are pretty obvious, but that’s definitely one thing I noticed when I hire.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you keep track of all the different things you have to do as a trainer and as a CEO of a business or running your business?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, so what’s ironic is exercise.com is coming out with all these new updates. We’re actually in the process of kind of like moving our whole business into the exercise.com kind of, you know, what you guys have organized on the website so that we can schedule everything on the same website. We can build on the same because we use different things like QuickBooks and different software programs like that, but we’re actually going to transition into where every trainer can all be on the same page with exercise.com on these new updates. I think that’s kind of where we’re all heading when it comes to [crosstalk] …

Schimri Yoyo: That’s exciting. Does that mean everyone’s going to be using the custom branded apps and all that to keep track of everything?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. iPads for when they come in and putting in information straight into our training.carrelite.com through exercise.com. AThen everything down to the evaluation and putting the evaluation statistics in and then scheduling clients. We’re not quite brave enough to let the clients schedule, but we are along the lines there. Because as of right now we started off in Dave’s garage and I was just using an iPhone. Now we’re going to spread to a couple of different locations. Now we’re actually going to have to really lock down on that part.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. What are some of the challenges of using software and technology and what are some of the benefits? Now, obviously you mentioned a little bit of the benefits, but I’m sure there’re some challenges as far as making sure that your staff is trained on how to use the technology and things like that. Speak to that of how incorporating or integrating technology into the business side of things can be both a challenge and a benefit.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, man. A big challenge is getting clients that aren’t used to using their phone and not used to using technology like that to be able to get on there and trust that they can put a credit card number in and it’ll all work smoothly without something happening wrong. That’s definitely a big one. Then another one is just being able to transfer what you’ve been doing to this. That’s always like a con, right?

But the pros far outweigh the cons because the pros is time. When you’re able to schedule right there on your phone right then and there without having to go through a middle person, like a receptionist and having to contact them and then have them schedule the person, it eliminates one more step of air. It just gives us more time and it’s easier to track. I think the pros are just great for us.

Let the team at Exercise.com show you how to grow and manage your fitness business better!

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. It seems like it’s increased your ease of doing business and also provide you a lot more efficient time management. That’s great.

Eric Mahanke: Absolutely. I mean, especially in this field, you’re always looking to what you can continue to do and do better. We want to grow.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. What one exercise should athletes stop doing immediately? Because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of fitness warriors or quote/unquote experts on social and things like that. What would you say is one exercise they should just completely get out of their repertoire?

Eric Mahanke: Gosh, I mean, do you have an hour? No. Honestly, there’s quite a few. The burpee comes to mind.

Schimri Yoyo: Amen, brother. Amen.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah. I have a hard time with the burpee, definitely. There’s so many things you can do different, right? I always tell coaches when I meet with them that, say you’re a football coach, you definitely never want to punish with an exercise that you would actually want your kids to do to get better.

I never understood like running as a punishment because I want them to sprint and I want them to run and feel good about it and get better. The burpee has always been an exercise that just never made sense to me and it’s a great punishment. Yeah, I actually use the burpee as a really dumb punishment that a football coach can use that I would never use in my gym. I guess I’ll go with the burpee.

Schimri Yoyo: Great answer. Great answer. I wholeheartedly support it.

Eric Mahanke: Okay, good. Yes, I think a lot of people would.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, obviously you work with professional athletes, the Carr brothers being two of them, and you trained a lot of them. But is there anyone that has ever left you awestruck with their natural ability while you’ve been working when they’re training? Just like, “Man, new level training.”

Eric Mahanke: Well, training wise, I would ask say, Tyrone Crawford. Derek’s going to get mad at me. Derek Carr obviously is the most freakish athlete ever. No, I’m just kidding. But I would have to say, Tyrone Crawford. I’ve been training him since he just got out of high school, like in college and he’s the deal, I mean, for Dallas Cowboys. Yeah, I remember him.

Schimri Yoyo: He’s a freaking H’er.

Eric Mahanke: He’s a freaking H. I’m talking like you’re playing knockout, like you’re going to get knocked down on a knockout and the dude’s like 285 pounds. He’s big. He probably is probably the most freakish athlete kind of lately. I know a lot of people might get mad at me because I didn’t mention them, but I got to say, too, not that I’ve worked with him a lot, but I actually played a lot of pool basketball with Khalil Mack. Khalil Mack is a definitely … He dunked with me and Dave on his back, out of the water. In person, he’s kind of freakish as well. I would say.

Schimri Yoyo: Those great answers.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, those are both really, really, really talented individuals.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Now, how do you recommend athletes, for them to stay healthy and fresh, what are some activities that they can do? Because obviously recovery is a big part of training as well. How can they stay fresh?

Eric Mahanke: I put a big emphasis on sleep and food and you know that Stanford Sleep Study of 10-hour sleep study is really big as well. I think we really can’t overlook sleep, man. It’s like natural HGH, so that and food. I really stress getting in at least like six to 10 vegetable servings a day, not a month. I really emphasize getting the right amount of protein. Water. I’m not a huge supplement fan. I just love what God has given us and just eat a lot of it. But yeah, I definitely would say probably get as much sleep as you can and eat right.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, there are a lot of trainers out there, young trainers, people getting in the business who want to be able to work with a lot of different peoples but also have a goal of theirs to work with pro athletes. What would be one tip that you would give to a trainer who is aspiring to work with pro athletes an actionable aspect?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I would say that every day trainer who is working with a pro athlete is also working with a whole lot of non pro athletes. I would say that you definitely have to get your clientele base up. The pro athlete is actually really fun to work with, but at the same time that’s kind of like just icing on the cake.

It’s the athletes that aren’t pros are where a lot of your enjoyment comes from. When going into that, I think you really can’t hold anything back with a pro athlete, like maybe afraid to hurt them, that kind of thing. Just to be very smart with your programming and just make sure that your programming the less risky exercises.

I think making sure that you know their whole injury history and making sure that they understand where you’re trying to go goal wise lies because they’re just like everyone else, right? They want to get better and they have injuries and you got to make sure that you don’t hurt them, but you need to train them, not train them scared, which is kind of a hard thing to do for a pro athlete.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes a lot of sense and that’s good advice.

Eric Mahanke: It’s tricky.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. Couple more questions left here, Eric.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah.

Schimri Yoyo: What would you say, what are the differences for you in building a program for an in person client and then building a program that’s going to be distributed online or through your apps to the masses?

Eric Mahanke: When you’re in person it can be a lot more detailed and it can change. In the middle of the workout you can change something. The one thing online is you’re going to get a very, very similar workout. You’re not going to have as much change within weeks. Where I might be in person, I might be able to change a workout weekly and maybe even, like switch something up during the week. Online I’m going to keep you more consistent and you’re going to be doing the same thing for a little bit longer. I think that’s really the only difference.

Obviously, I’m not there and I’m not able to like tweak you at the time. When you’re online it’s got to be a lot more basic when it comes to ballistic or explosive movements. I don’t know what someone might have available to them when I want them to do banded assisted split jumps. I don’t know if they have a rack or two bands. I always have to give an alternative. Yeah, it’s just more basic when you do it online, but still same results. It’s just you’re going to have to make sure you understand mentally that I’m going to be doing the same thing maybe for like three or four weeks.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay, so online’s a little less variation, little less customization, but overall it’s going to be the same.

Eric Mahanke: Right.

Schimri Yoyo: Let’s focus. Exercise.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, I mean, you can do a similar workout four weeks in a row. It’s not going to do anything to really hurt your result, in my opinion. I think changing it just kind of helps the brain kind of helps you show up every day when you change it more often, but that’s kind of my opinion right there.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s good. All right. Then lastly, how do you unwind as a trainer? I mean, obviously, you’re helping your athletes to ramp up and then wind down after a workout. How do you personally unwind after a long day?

Eric Mahanke: That’s a great question. I don’t know if I do, but it’s the same thing. I make sure I get a lot of sleep. I still work out with some of my advanced athletes and so I try to keep in shape there. And so, I try to recover like them, too. I definitely try to make sure I eat exactly like I’m telling my clients. I’m not saying that every trainer has to, but that’s kind of what I choose to do. I try to get 10 hours sleep, you know? It’s really hard.

You know, owning a business and running a business, it’s really hard to do that. But that’s my goal. I know they’re busy too. If I got a guy at UCLA, I know he’s taking 21 units, I know he has study hall and practice, and so I kind of do that maybe to feel their pain, I don’t know, but I do that.

Another thing is I want to make sure that I take time off. It’s hard for a lot of trainers and strength coaches to actually get away because you have so much invested. I’ve kind of, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of figured out like I have to leave it for a little while, maybe a week, and then go back to it. I’m a better trainer for it when I get back.

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, that’s good. I lied. I’ll give you one more question.

Eric Mahanke: Okay. All right.

Schimri Yoyo: Are there any books or podcasts or any other external resources that you would recommend for exercise enthusiasts?

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, obviouslystrengthcoach.com and stuff by Boyle I really like and I’m always making sure that I keep up there. There is a long line of guys like Cressey that I follow on social media or I will read a book or even see recommendations, but that’s kind of the route I’ve been going lately, I would say. Yeah, in fact the last certification I did was through Michael Boyle as a certified functional strength coach and he gives a great recommendations on books as well in that.

Schimri Yoyo: All right, awesome. Well, again, thanks again, Eric, for your time. This was great to catch up with you and hear about your methodology.

Eric Mahanke: Yeah, absolutely.

Schimri Yoyo: Good luck with you and enjoy your little downtime that’s coming up.

Eric Mahanke: Alright. Thank you.





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