Do you ever feel crunched for time at the gym? Well, that was a trick question because we all have busy lives, (unless you are a poor college student or retired), and it’s important to grasp the key variables that go into creating a successful path that you can follow and, more importantly, stay consistent on. So, who better to bring on the show than the great and powerful (and extremely busy), Don Saladino.
I was really excited to pick Don’s brain because his experience is genuinely some of the best in the industry. From training super stars into superhero roles, high-level athletes, and everything in between, Don brings a ton of under the bar training expertise to the table.
A big piece of our discussion revolves around maximizing your time in the gym for better results, so listen in to learn what it is you need to be focusing on and controlling day in and day out so you can experience maximal results in record time.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- [06:02] Training actors compared to training everyday athletes
- [07:57] What tends to happen when coaches come in with a mindful approach and high level of execution
- [12:09] The “must be nice” mentality
- [15:09] Becoming more methodical with your calorie intake
- [17:48] One of the biggest values of having a coach
- [19:23] Knowing when something is and isn’t working
- [22:18] The “entertainment effect approach”
- [26:00] Our responsibility to weed out the BS in the industry
- [30:14] The importance of adapting as a coach
- [33:29] Understanding fitness is a necessity, not a luxury
James Cerbie: Some very serious goals right there. Yeah, we’re going to do that out here in Knoxville that was already moved out here. We’re going to go find 1015 acres somewhere, build a big barn gym, kind of move in that direction. So we’re going to definitely get some inspiration off of this background I’m seeing right now because it is fantastic.
Don Saladino: It’s about I can’t show you all of it, but I mean, we’ve got a nice probably about 2000ft between upstairs and downstairs.
James Cerbie: Love it. It’s pretty sick downstairs.
Don Saladino: Full patch down to training right now. So showers and it’s like a commercial gym in your backyard. It’s fun.
James Cerbie: That’s perfect. I love it. Well, let’s knock out my least favorite part of your podcast ever. Real quick for people listening. You don’t know who you are. Can you give them just a really quick two cents on who Don Saladino is, and we’ll jump in and start talking about training, picking things up, putting them down.
Don Saladino: Yeah. My name is Don Saladino. I’ve been a fitness professional for 25 years. I’ve been a coach and fitness entrepreneur as well. Owned several gyms in New York City, have owned several digital platforms. I’m a brand partner with over ten different companies. And hey, man, business is fun. Work is fun. We’re having a great time over here. I’m located in Long Island, New York now and just loving what I’m doing.
James Cerbie: Amazing. My dad’s actually from Long Island. I guess if you take Long Island, just pick right back in the middle of it. That’s where he’s at.
Don Saladino: That’s out of me. I’m probably about 50 plus minutes from the city. Yeah, it was interesting. I’ve been working in the city for about 23 years. I kind of got my claim to Fame by getting a lot of these superheroes. First with my first gym, I really focused a lot on golf performance and then kind of ventured. It sounds funny, but I ventured a little bit more into the superhero role where I was preparing a lot of these A-listers for the big screen. So I probably prepared more A-listers than almost anyone on the planet. So that’s kind of what got me really into the digital space. Launched my first company with Dwayne Wade, Adrian Peterson and Ernie Yells about back in 2010, 2011 and learned a lot from that. So I’m really kind of a guy that’s worn several different hats. When it comes down to the coaching element, I mean, I’m proud to say I probably coached over 40,000 1 hour sessions in my life. And being a fitness entrepreneur and really diving into the digital space allowed me to really have a really awesome, fun career with a lot of learning curves.
Right. Not always that’s trajectory, but I know with a lot of my public speaking now, I’m educating a lot of these young professionals on things to think about and things that I did wrong that they can probably approach their careers a bit differently.
James Cerbie: I love it. That’s fantastic for heroes and that whole gambit here at some point in time, what I would love to talk about with that because I think that there’s potentially a small misnomer that exists out there. That population is a good example. And then you can also like very high level athletes. And I think normal people sit down and look at it. They must be doing things that are just, like, so incredibly advanced and semestral and outside the box to be able to get the results they’re getting. And it’s like at the end of the day, there’ll be some things that come into training, but it’s more cake. Right. Those outcomes and results are probably more a reflection of the fact that they consistently execute the basics at an incredibly high level, and then maybe we get more advanced. But the core of what’s happening to those people.
Training Actors Compared to Training Everyday Athletes
Don Saladino: I wouldn’t even think so. I wouldn’t even think it’s like getting more advanced because someone’s a professional athlete or training for a superhero role. I mean, everyone’s at a different level, even professional athletes. If you look at them, they might be professional on the field of battle, but it doesn’t mean they’re professional with their training or in the weight room. Right. And I think that’s the misconception. I mean, first off, I got to go on record to say and I’ve said this several times where people are like, oh, well, training actors must be easier. And I’m like, no, it’s way more difficult. I’ve worked with both. There’s not even a comparison like an athlete. You know their schedule in advance. Right. You know how many games Tom Brady’s playing? People are like, well, Tom Brady is going to get hurt. I’m like, well, you think Ryan Reynolds isn’t doing his own stunts? I’ve seen Ryan break his neck ten times. So why does it become more difficult for an actor? Because their sets are a little bit longer than a game. A game might last anywhere from an hour to 4 hours, depending on the sport or whatever you’re watching.
If it’s a golfer, 5 hours. But these movie sets can go 17, 18 hours. Sometimes you take an actor who’s been away from their family. They’re four kids for six months in a different time zone, and they’re dealing with these struggles of their schedule and climate changes and this celebrity getting sick. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on set or I’ve been talking to an actor where another main lead character, their mom dies, and the next thing you know, they’re in limbo or during Covid, they’re all on lockdown. They can’t even see anyone. Their family can’t even come in to see them. So it’s not even a comparison. And I’m the one who can say that because I probably am the person that’s worked with the most of both combined. But it’s not even a comparison. Not all these actors have the funds or the means to be able to hire a chef. They’re having all their food prepared. It’s all bullshit and they’re great at what they do. These athletes are great at what they do, but it doesn’t mean that they’re training the way that Pat Davidson or Tyler training in the background here as they smile, actually got paid to smile.
James Cerbie: There we go.
Don Saladino: As you can see him over there, 22 pounds up in the last 22 weeks.
James Cerbie: Not too shabby.
Don Saladino: No, not too shabby. About a pound a week he’s on right now, so he’s looking and feeling pretty good, right?
James Cerbie: Probably all in his neck.
What Tends to Happen When Coaches Come in with a Mindful Approach and High Level of Execution
Don Saladino: We were laughing earlier because we were starting with, just really light and watching this clean and he’s catching it under his chin now. It’s like you’re starting to see it sit a little differently. But then his goal this month, I mean, was to do exactly what he set out to do and he did it. So it’s fun to see coaches come in with a very mindful approach and a high level of execution. And I think probably in our industry, that’s the one thing that you see the biggest mistake with is people are just taking good movements and they’re just throwing them up in the air and it’s like this frivolous approach. A lot of these actors, they don’t know. It’s not what they do, it’s this frivolous approach. These professional athletes, I’ve seen NFL MVPs who’ve gone in and they don’t know how to even execute proper technique on simple lifts that they’re trying to execute. So, I mean, that’s just. We can’t confuse the fact that just because someone’s great on the field doesn’t necessarily mean that that carries over to their training. They’re very athletic, but they may not have had the coaching or the experience to be able to execute those movements at a high level.
James Cerbie: I tell people all the time, I think that they would be amazed at what high level athletes usually look like in the gym. There’s usually more going on than the person that walks in on the street, right. So you take them through an assessment, look at a table, you see what’s going on. They’ve created ways to be incredibly successful on the field. But then once you actually get them in the weight room, we’re actually progressing and doing very low level things because I’m just trying to get this person to move well and to feel good and perform so they’re not going to actually get trashed along the process.
Don Saladino: And along the way, it was incredible. I did a collaboration years ago with an NFL MVP. No one’s going to even. It never really came to fruition. We just shot a lot of content and everyone knows who this person is. All I can say, absolute beast, just incredible physique on this guy. One of the best athletes I’ve ever seen. He went into the weight room to go perform some movements. And I’ve never seen execution at such a poor level. But I’ll never forget he went up to two pairs of 100 pound bumper plates and he pinch grabbed them with two fingers, you know, the slick ones. And he picked them up and he walked probably about 50 or 60 yards with it. I couldn’t even grab it with my hand. That’s how it was. And it was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen out of an athlete. Yet you ask him about his training offset. He’s training 6 hours a day, starting with Muay Thai, going into his strength work, going into his track work. I mean, everything was asked backwards. Way too much volume, starting to complain about shoulder pain, abdominal pain.
There were things at a young age that started to kind of click negatively on him. And it’s just an example. It’s just because you see someone doing something the right way on the field doesn’t mean that it’s carrying over. Doesn’t mean you should be listening to fitness instruction. I can’t tell you how many professional athletes have tried to go that route. Right. You might see an ex NFL player now and he’s trying to be a coach and he’s trying to I commend them for doing that, for trying to pivot into a career. But I think 99% of them are just an absolute joke. And I’m not saying that to be negative, but it’s just the reality. Just because you see that someone was a pro Bowler doesn’t mean you should be taking their fitness advice. Right? I would sure as hell rather listen to the two guys behind me right now. So I just think that it’s perception. It’s what the general public wants to see. It’s like when someone calls me up and they’re like, I want Ryan’s program. And I’m like, well, you may not need Ryan’s program. And it’s funny, too. You listen to all of these people critique the actors I’ve worked with.
I don’t put their programs out there. I might have done a few for charities. But when you hear John Smith coach talking about how Ryan Reynolds prepped and he’s like, you see pictures of me in the background, they don’t know we don’t put the real stuff out there. I don’t do it. That’s his private business. And if I do do it, it’s because we’re tying it into a charity and we’re trying to do something constructive with it. But these people are just making up this garbage. And unfortunately, the general public’s listening to it.
The “Must be Nice” Mentality
James Cerbie: Yeah. Some things that people will say in this realm that always kind of irks me a little bit is this must be nice mentality. This must be a nice mindset, right? They see the outcomes and results that people are getting. I was like, oh, it must be nice. It’s like they’re making an excuse to even get in to start doing the work because they convince themselves that the only reason that person is able to do what they’re doing is because it’s like, oh, well, they’re celebrating their athletes and someone’s holding their hand. And yeah, they have more resources on those lines. But at the end of the day, when we actually cut it down to it, like, the work they’re doing, they got to go show up and do the work. It’s not really any different than you having to show up and do the work. And so I hate when people are like, oh, it must be nice. You see that success. And you say, it must be nice. You’re like, psyching yourself out before you even get into it. And you’re telling people, I can never achieve that because of XYZ reasons.
Don Saladino: They’ve already failed.
James Cerbie : Right.
Don Saladino: Most people aren’t going to want to do the prep that I do to get ready for the cover of muscle and fitness. Right. They don’t have the discipline to be able to go out at night and avoid that cocktail or say no to someone or if they’re around their kids eating the pizza. Suddenly it’s an excuse like, well, I’ve got to be a parent. And I’m like, well, great, be a parent. And I’m not telling you that’s a bad thing. Don’t complain to me that you don’t look cover ready because you’re doing that three times a week. There’s always an excuse. And you can tell, like, I’ve gotten to the point in my career where I don’t take anyone on. I really don’t. I work with maybe three or four actors who have been like family to me, who have given me more in my career than I could have ever wished for, and I love them, and otherwise, I focus on my business. But if someone comes in, I can pick out within the next two to three minutes who they are, what their approach is going to be like, what their mindset is.
Becoming More Methodical with Your Calorie Intake
It’s like, all right, man, you’re already stopped talking about high school. It’s not high school anymore. You’re 25 years old. Congratulations. You made all counties and moved across. You are a great athlete. We don’t have to keep going back there right now. Yes. Your body is going to respond a bit differently to your nutrition now. Yes. You’ve got kids. This stuff is different. Like, when you see someone who puts a goal in front of them and you see what they have to do to get there. And I keep reverting to the guy behind me right now. He has a goal in mind, and it was a funny line. He’s like, It’s just math, right? If I go in and I train the way I need to train and I keep my calories where I need to keep them, and I bump them up very methodically, then I should get to where I need to be. And it’s fun to see. It’s just a reminder because a lot of people don’t put that in there. They figure out their macros, they do what they need to do to hit those macros. Every day. Everyone’s thinking about, well, when can I have a cheap meal?
Because I’m uncomfortable and I’m like, yeah, man, I get it. It can be a lot easier than most people lead on to be. But again, I eat a lot of food. I’m trying to put signs on. And I’m like, yeah, you ate a big breakfast and because of that, you ate too much at breakfast and because of that, now you can’t eat for 6 hours and now you’re actually not getting the amount of calories that you need to be getting in where if you were a little bit more methodical and you laid everything out at each meal and you knew what time you were having it at and it became somewhat like a job, then yes, you should see the scale move. And if it’s not moving, then maybe we have to increase those calories more. It’s not that hard of an approach, but people get into their head when they want to get into their head and that’s how they shoot themselves in the foot. So I think it’s a lot easier than most people lead on to. They just don’t want to think outside the box.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I think that the plan itself, coming up with the plan is not all that hard. Like what we do is not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.
Don Saladino: Right.
James Cerbie: This isn’t complex physics, it’s not complex chemistry, complex math. Like you need to know what you’re doing. But coming up with the plan is not really the hard part. It’s just being able to consistently, violently execute that plan day in and day out.
Don Saladino: Right.
James Cerbie: But people don’t like to hear that, right? People don’t want to hear, oh well, I just need to show up for the next twelve weeks.
Don Saladino: No, you’re 100% right. But it’s almost comical. Like when I read them, listen, I get asked weekly on what is so and so do or write this program and you give it to the publications because it’s what they want and you’re trying to supply content, at least get people moving off the couch. But if you’re looking at Ronnie Coleman’s program and he’s saying four sets of 15 on the dumbbell press, well, what does that mean? What does that mean? Are we putting that down with three to five reps in reserve, or is Ronnie going into each set like someone’s holding a gun to his child’s head and he’s literally pushing every rep to the point where he is literally almost going to die if he doesn’t get that additional rep, he’s imagining that someone’s going to shoot his kid. There is a different approach here, and I’m not saying one is better than the other because I think there’s a time and place for each. But this is the question that people aren’t really asking. It’s like, all right, I’m looking at this on paper. What does that actually mean? What does intensity actually mean?
Are we taking every step of failure? Are we taking the reps in reserve? How often are we going to fail? There’s all these variables. Oh, my God, my nutrition better be in the right place because I’m training so intensely right now that I might not be recovering. And what if I start getting weaker in the next couple of weeks? There’s all these things that people aren’t asking. They just think that three sets of ten is enough and it’s just not.
One of the Biggest Values of Having a Coach
James Cerbie: Yeah. This is where I think the actual, the biggest value of having a coach comes in for people because things will go awry. The likelihood that you’re just going to have a perfect 812 or 16 weeks is almost impossible nowadays. Right? You’re going to get sick. You’re going to need to travel. Something’s going to come up my shoulders starting to hurt, my knees starting to hurt. You have a question about the program? This isn’t working.
Don Saladino: What should I do?
James Cerbie: And it’s like, those are the instances where everyone who wants to try to do this themselves, they just end up off track. They hop on the next program and they repeat this really vicious cycle every like two to four weeks. That’s where if you can get into a situation where you have a resource, you have a coach, you have some places you can at least turn to with questions to keep you from just getting off the rate, just keep you on the path.
Don Saladino: Like anything else. The proof is in the pudding. Like, how many programs have you written or have I written or the guys behind me written to where it worked? Right. I’m not going to tell you 25 years of writing programs. I can’t tell you how many programs I’ve written that have worked great. Part of it is that some people need to be entertained. There are certain people I know that can go in and do the same sets or the same exercise every single week and just increase this level of volume. And I think that takes a specific person to go and follow that. It’s like, well, if I’m seeing progress, that’s all the variability that I need. I don’t need any more of an entertainment effect. And you have other people who are like, every week, it’s kind of like this Chinese menu selection of movements thrown everywhere. I think if someone’s getting off the couch and they’re moving, I think that’s step one. But I think then we got to ask, are you seeing progress and how’s your body feeling? Your body is continuing to feel like shit, and you’re just feeling worse and worse.
Knowing When Something is and isn’t Working
I don’t care what the community is like. It’s like, this isn’t working. If someone lost all this weight and that was their goal, and then they put it right back on. Two weeks later, it’s not working. If you’re doing the keto diet, you lost £22 and then two months later you put that weight back on. The keto diet didn’t work. It’s just my opinion if something’s going to work, if it sticks, or if you make a decision at one point, no, it’s time to put weight on or it’s time to lose weight, then that’s when I think you’re really good at what you do. But Unfortunately, I think a lot of us are focusing too much on that Steel Charlie Wangroff’s line, the entertainment effect of training. Am I okay with that? Yeah, I’m okay with that. But don’t complain to me about not finding this level of excellence. You have to take ownership over what it is that you’re doing and how you’re approaching things. Yeah.
James Cerbie: I mean, at the end of the day, I think that where people shoot themselves in the foot more than anything is. And I was talking about this with somebody the other day. They’re making good progress or on track. Things are working. And then for some God forsaken reason, they’re like, I think I can do this other thing. And I bet it’s just going to go faster than I’m currently doing.
Don Saladino: It drives me insane.
James Cerbie: Like, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If it’s moving in the right direction, just keep doing it right. Stop making progress. When you stop making progress, that’s like, hey, red flag, we got to switch something up. But the number of people I see who are moving in the right direction, everything is going great. And they’re like, oh, shiny objects. And it’s like, run over to go chase this thing I read about deadlift.
Don Saladino: Can I start throwing that in?
James Cerbie: And you’re like, yeah.
Don Saladino: You know, my answer is you could do whatever you want. It really is that you can do whatever you want. And do I honestly know how you’re going to respond to that? No, I don’t. None of us do. Right. But don’t complain to me when things start going wrong. And honestly, nine out of ten times is what I see. The example that I give. Not to sound like I’m jumping off, but let’s say this. Let’s say we take 20 of your favorite ingredients, right? You love cinnamon, you love garlic, you love Cayenne pepper, and you start taking all these ingredients on a table. These are ingredients that you might use or they might be in your food all in the next week to two weeks, right. If you take all those ingredients and throw them into one bowl and mix them up and make a batter, probably ain’t going to taste too good, right? So it’s just we can take all this great stuff, and even if we keep adding it, you can have all these great ingredients to make the best cookies that you’ve ever had. And suddenly you say, oh, my God, I love Cayenne pepper.
The “Entertainment Effect Approach”
And you start dumping Cayenne pepper in your cookies, you probably just ruined the entire batter. That’s my analogy of how I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people who are on the right track that just start overreaching with this whole entertainment effect approach. I see. So and so doing this exercise, I need to do it. And I’m just going to throw that in now. And then out of nowhere, a week later, they’re like, my hips killing me. I’m like, yeah, man, you put yourself into so much extension and look at your ribs. And we got to the back office right now. They’re like, well, I should be able to do this. I’m like, no, not really. You just keep adding stress, stress, stress. You’re not going to have this life here. It tastes great here. Probably tastes like shit.
James Cerbie: Yeah. The ship conversation is an interesting one because we get a decent number of people that transfer over from the CrossFit world because we do more of a very well rounded, total package type approach. We’re strong, get you jacked, get you powerful, get you all conditions give you a little bit of everything, right? But we’re not doing the Olympic gymnastics thing that crossed us, right? I bring these people in like, man, my shoulder shirt is so bad. And we start making great progress. They’re like, hey, I really want to start doing some of the stuff that I was doing in the process. Can I start doing butterfly stuff again? I’m like, no, you may not. Right shoulder collection. You can get to your nose. So are you just going to magically reclaim, like, the last 30 degrees of shoulder flexion when I put you under load at high reps and high velocities?
Don Saladino: Yeah, I agree. No, I totally agree.
James Cerbie: It’s funny.
Our Responsibility to Weed Out the BS in the Industry
Don Saladino: People always for years it was that CrossFit question. Do you like CrossFit? I’m like the dumb question. Why is it a dumb question that’s like asking me, do I like restaurants? Yeah, I like good restaurants. I’ve actually gone into a couple of CrossFit boxes where they were friends of mine running, and they had an assessment, and they actually were methodical, methodical. They were calling lateralization to certain lifts. They were looking at maybe how much T spine extension someone has or external rotation in the shoulders. And they were like, yes, no. And they were put into different boxes. And I’m like, wow, that’s really nice. That’s refreshing to see. I think the problem was that 90% of them just weren’t doing that. And most people are looking at it like a business model. It’s like the group training concept, right? Like, you go into an Orange Theory and people are like, oh, I love this, and I love the music and I love the sweat. I’m like, great, but you’re moving worse and you’re in more pain. And like, who’s running that facility? And suddenly here it’s like some finance person that bought a franchise or whatever it is.
I’m using Orange Theory as an example, and I’m not saying it was them exactly. But yeah, I think it all starts from the top, right? Like if you have a goofball running the facility and they don’t really know how to hire and they don’t really know how to bring in the team, then you have to expect that everything beneath that’s going to look and smell like shit. So unfortunately, in our industry right now, I think with restaurants, it’s easy because the proof is in the pudding. When you go in, the food tastes good. All right, what’s the food quality? Some people don’t even care about the food quality. Right. If you go in, you know, the food quality is good and the food tastes good, you’re going back. But unfortunately, when people go in and they take a class or they go work with a coach, it’s not their job to know they don’t have that type of background to be able to determine whether that’s good or not. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just a little too late. And that’s where this industry has to go. That’s the one area of this industry I want to see improved.
How am I going to put this? I’m not up at night thinking about this because I am obviously consumed with my business and my family and my life. But I think if there was one thing I’d like to see improve in the industry, don’t take a coach who’s got a great body with his shirt off and put them next to Mike Boyle and have someone say, pick which one you want to work with. And Boyle is a good friend of mine. We used to joke around, he’s like, if you see me on the beach, you’re going to Miller Light. People are going to go to that guy. And it’s like, think about that, right? You turn around, you get some bodybuilders incredible physique. And it’s like, no. Boyle is like, the baby is the strength and conditioning. You want to create an athlete. He’s probably a pretty good guy to go to. I think all of us will actually agree with that. So I think it’s that misconception of who we should be looking towards. And that’s the area of the industry I’d like to see cleaned up, because then I think we’re offering a better product.
I think less people are going to get injured. I think more people are going to develop confidence. More people are going to get healthy. More people are going to want to move. I think if you start taking someone who’s 45, 50 who just feels like their life is declining and you actually allow them to turn around and move the way they did when they were 25, 30, they’re going to make better decisions. Their life is going to get better. They’re going to perform better at work. Our world will honestly, it sounds corny. It will become a better place. So I think there is somewhat of a responsibility for all of us to kind of help clear the path. And even with social media, how do you know if someone knows what they’re talking about, where they were born with ads? We don’t know that stuff. So that’s the one area I’d like to see cleaned up. But I’m not going to lose too much sleep over it.
James Cerbie: No, the unfortunate aspect of the satisfaction industry still allows it to be a hobby business. You can just enjoy working out and enjoy going to the gym, and you can look good with your clothes off and you can just go to a weekend certification. And now I have letters after my name, and now I’m qualified to train people. It’s like every other profession. There’s a little bit of a longer runway to get there. You don’t know any chemistry, you don’t know any physics. You don’t know any anatomy. You don’t know any biomechanics. You don’t know any physiology. Right. I think my standard for what it would take to actually become a coach is very different from what the industry standard is. In my mind, this will never happen because the finances and the money behind it don’t ever play out well enough for the coach in this conversation. But realistically, your education up to the point of where a doctor goes to medical school, that’s where you should split. You should have the same basic education right up to that point. And then it’s like you go learn to train people. They’re going to go learn way more detailed farm or surgery, whatever it is, should be identical.
Don Saladino: It should not be where someone just gets a quick weekend course and then they’re all, no, I totally agree with that. And I think that there should be. I went to college, I graduated from Sacred Heart University, and that’s a financial commitment. Someone’s going to school. There’s a financial commitment there. I also believe that training may be offered in school. There should be this curriculum given and there should be. Or if you don’t go and study that and you find out later on, there should be a specific process that you follow. And when someone would come in to get a job at one of my gyms and we put them through the interviewing process, I didn’t care about the CSCS and that I didn’t give a shit. There were so many things. Well, did you take a mentorship program or internship program? I went and studied with the ball’s example. I went and took an internship program with him for the first summer or for two years. I’m like, oh, that’s interesting. What else have you done? Well, I’ve taken this and I’ve taken that. And suddenly you’re seeing that they’re not the kettlebell guy and they’re getting RKC tattooed on their arm, which is disgusting, by the way.
But I think it’s more where is your thought process? Why did you take that course? I wanted to learn about tension techniques. I wanted to learn about hard style. Do you only use that? No, it’s a tool. In my toolbox, these are terms that I like to hear. I never like to hear when someone’s like, oh, beating on their chest. This is the be all and end all. Because as a coach, you’ve got to adapt. It’s just going to happen. I worked with probably one of the biggest names on the planet. I’m not going to mention this person’s name, probably the most globally recognized name on the planet. Every single country has heard of this name, all right? And I’ll never forget this guy coming into me and saying, listen, I’ve worked with a lot of coaches, all right? They’re all going to come in and they try to do the exact same stuff. Like, it’s this movement screening, and they want to focus 50 minutes on breathing and mobility. And if you pull that shit on me, I’m going to leave. And I said, listen, man, I said, I’m going to make a deal with you.
Get in a few minutes early, do some specific stretches and some rolling that I want you to do. Give me ten to 15 minutes at every workout, and then we’ll work on making you look pretty. But I’m going to choose movements that are going to keep you out of a position that’s going to cause more harm. Right? Like, there’s just certain things we’re going to stay away from. Do we have a deal? And we had a great training career for about three years until we moved. Right? And that to me, is if I went in there with this attitude of, well, I took the FMS. The FMS told me that I have to focus on this, and I’m going to sit down and I’m going to have this guy breathe for 50 minutes because I need his rib cage to expand. And all this stuff like, come on, man. There’s a way you can give your clients a lot of what they want while you’re giving them what you want. Awesome. There can be a compromise here. And I think that’s what coaching is called. I think there’s a difference between being a good trainer and a good coach.
The Importance of Adapting as a Coach
The trainer goes, and they get that education. The coach understands. I always say the coach is the person I want to go have a beer with. The coach is the person that’s going to see the client walk in that day. And within 5 seconds, that was probably one of my gifts. Within 5 seconds, I could see the client walking in. I’d be like, oh, no, here we go. And then it was immediately I knew how to adapt to that person. And that was probably the one thing I could say. I’m as good, if not better, than anyone on the planet. I just knew how to adapt to that personality, that person. Within that hour, I would change their mood and I would have them leave there feeling successful. To me, that’s what coaching is, right? And that’s something I think a lot of young coaches are only going to gain through experience and through going and being mentored by people who know what they’re doing and learning to relax. Don’t worry about what you’re getting paid for for the session. I got paid more than almost any coach on the planet per session. I won’t even take an hour.
Understanding Fitness is a Necessity, Not a Luxury
I’m not saying that to sound like an evil maniac here, but it’s supply and demand. It’s like there’s only so much of me to go around. And if people are demanding you, you can drive that price up. But out of all those sessions I’ve done, do you know how many free sessions I give it in my life? Do you know how many people like, out of ten sessions, if I gave ten free sessions and I had two to three people to stick with me, I think that ratio is pretty good. But that’s seven people now who are like, oh, you’re too expensive or, oh, this is a luxury. No, my job is to show you that this is really a necessity, not a luxury. When you can do that as a coach, then that ratio of three out of ten starts becoming nine out of ten. Suddenly the reason why you’re not taking people on is because you just don’t have time for it. And then you start delegating as a coach who you want to take on. That’s when you get good in this business.
James Cerbie: 100%. Well done. This has been fantastic. I feel like we had a handful of big things here for people. I think the biggest takeaway for me here is just again. And if people listen, if you’re trying to hear about it, I’m sorry. We’re going to kind of keep beating you in the head with this every couple of weeks. There’s not a magic pill, there’s not a unicorn program. At the end of the day, it’s like you need to find someone who is qualified and good. Don’t find the gym bro who doesn’t actually understand what he’s doing. Find someone who’s good at what they do, who can coach, who understands the rhythm and flow of this process, and someone that you can trust in the long haul to stay consistent with and you will be really successful. That’s what it comes down to. At the end of the day, I think that’s my biggest takeaway.
Don Saladino: Love that. I love your attitude. I love what you’re doing over there. The reason why I jumped on is you got a great reputation and Pat and everyone I know, some other friends who know you well, spoke very highly of you. So just keep learning by example. You’re one of those guys who are making this industry better. That’s why I’ll jump on with anyone who’s leading by example and just trying to find a way. We were joking around earlier, the guys in the background, we were saying the word more right, like, what do we want out of this industry? We want more, we want more muscle, we want more education. We want better workouts. We want our nutrition to be better. We just want to feel better. We want more. We want to be successful. More, more. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting more. But I think along that path we got to make sure that most importantly we’re treating people the right way. And I think if we do that, we’re going to lead by example and I think all the other people are going to either drop or follow. So listen man, thanks for having me on and would love to do this again.
If you’re ever in New York, hit me up and we’ll get a session in.
James Cerbie: Let’s do it, man. I love it. Thank you so much.
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