Ep. 004: TRAINING YOUNG ATHLETES & HOW TO SHOW UP EVERYDAY – JOHN CORTESE

Have you ever wondered how young athletes should be training? Should you start your kids off in a specific sport at a young age? How do you come back after an injury? And how do you show up and give your best everyday?

I grew up playing sports my entire life. Well, jumping from sport to sport is a better way to describe my journey. I would routinely get injured and it wasn’t until much later that I realized I never started with a solid strength base that would have prevented many of these injuries.

In the episode, I was fortunate enough to be able to pick John Cortese’s brain regarding training, daily routines, why young athletes should be generalizing before getting into a sport, and how to get fit and show up everyday. I am super excited to share this one with you.

Learn everything you wanted to know about showing up and giving your best, on Episode 004.

"I think parents all have the best of intentions because they want what's best for their kids, but I think we need to take a step back and understand they're still kids."

John Cortese is the definition of consistently showing up giving your best each and every day. As a Father of two kids, I was blown away at how much he is able to fit into his schedule, how many people he helps day in and day out, all while still keeping his fitness in check.

If you haven’t heard of John Cortese, he is the Owner of CTS Strength and Conditioning. A functional gym in Napa California that specializes in getting people into the best shape of their lives. We were also joined by Kane Elliott. Kane is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at CTS and is one incredibly strong athlete.

I felt so fortunate to sit down with both of them and have them tell me everything the know about young athletes, training, discipline, and what it takes to best the best version of yourself.

Discover all of that and much more, on Episode 004.

 

A Few Questions I Ask:

  • How do you stay motivated? (22:10)
  • How do you train younger athletes for competition? (34:37)
  • Should you use caffeine for your workouts? (1:11:20)
  • And much more..

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How to allocate decisions in your business (11:35)
  • Why the old gym model doesn’t work (14:35)
  • How to make sure you’re investing in yourself (21:36)
  • What to teach your younger athletes (35:00)
  • Why kids should have fun with sports (54:45)
  • And much more..
Click here to read full transcript of episode

Sean: Hey John Cortese.

John: Hello.

Sean: Welcome to the show sir.

John: Thank you. Thanks.

Sean: Where are we right now?

John: We’re at CTS Fitness and Performance in Napa.

Sean: This place is pretty incredible man.

John: Thank you.

Sean: It’s a lot different than when I met you guys years and years ago. I don’t know how long ago that was.

John: Well we met in San Luis Obispo first. I think you probably showed up at the spot in 2012 maybe, 2013. It’s been a few years.

Sean: I think you just had single stall at that point.

John: That must have been that first spot then.

Sean: Single stall, yeah. One stall, just shotgun.

John: That was probably in 2011 then, right after I left San Luis Obispo.

Sean: Yeah, and I don’t know if you had platforms in the ground.

John: We had elevated platforms.

Sean: Yeah, you did.

John: They just took up too much space here. We had two or three I think. No, we had two in the old spot.

Sean: Two elevated platforms?

John: Two elevated platforms and one little tiny strip of turf, little strip.

Sean: Nice.

John: For pushing one sled. That’s it.

Kane: It’s like as big as the whole sled.

John: Yeah.

Sean: Did you know you wanted that when you were at Poly? How did you …

John: Yeah, I did.

Sean: [crosstalk 00:01:09] business owner?

John: I don’t know, I just always had that in my sights. I was training at Athlon, and you did the internship there too right?

Sean: Yeah, it was great. I learned a lot.

John: That’s why I started working there. I had the opportunity, once I was getting closer to graduating, I could stay here, work with and for Ryan or move back up to Napa and take a shot at it and see what happens.

Sean: Nice.

John: If it works, cool. If not, I can figure something else out.

Sean: I think Athlon’s where I learned that I didn’t want to be a PT.

John: A physical therapist?

Sean: It’s just really slow.

John: Yeah, that gym was kind of unique. You remember the setting, but it was like the gym was in the big San Luis Sports Therapy building, and Athlon at the time was in a little tiny room. That was such a small little gym. Remember the actual …

Sean: Yeah, we had to do most of the workouts outside or inside/outside.

John: Right, they had outside stuff.

Kane: Yeah, I remember seeing [crosstalk 00:02:13].

John: You go outside and do sprints on the sidewalk and like tire drags and stuff.

Sean: We pulled tires and stuff like that out there.

John: Right. Then the other part of the building was like an open physical therapy clinic, and then that’s where a lot of I think the clients of Athlon were. They were coming from the PT clinic. I think it was like hand in hand. Yeah, that’s kind of where I learned from hands on work was from there.

Sean: Nice.

John: Obviously most of it was textbook stuff, and then once you obviously get it on the floor, it’s much different.

Sean: Right.

John: It’s completely different from a textbook.

Sean: What’s your background man? Where do you come from?

Kane: I grew up here. I actually started training in the old spot, I think the one right after you saw. Started training with John for some college football, kind of moved around a little bit and things didn’t really work in my favor. While I was going to school and working and all that, he actually offered me an internship.

Sean: Nice.

Kane: Then always had intention to open up my own facility and fell in love with study and strength conditioning. The one thing led to another and now I’m here and I get to yell at John all the time. It’s great.

Sean: Nice.

John: Kane’s the director of training now. Kane basically manages basically the entire training aspect of the gym with all the programs. Then my role is a little different now, whereas three or four years ago I was coaching a lot of the sessions, and now to the point where obviously in order for this to expand and grow, which I’m not trying to turn this into some mega facility, I don’t really want that.

Sean: Globo Gym.

John: My vision is like you got to know your role within a team, and I look at it as you have the owner of a team, you have the head coach of a team and you have your skill coach, as a football analogy, right?

Sean: Yeah.

John: The owner of the team doesn’t ever, “Excuse me, let me … ” It’s impossible. It could be done, but it’s not effective. You got to let your coaches coach. That’s where I know my role and I have their roles, and they do their thing and I just help kind of manage and oversee and guide them. Then Kane obviously has his thing, what he does with the other coaches and overseeing the program and the aspect with the clients and more interacting with them as the face. He sees them more than I do obviously. It’s good to have someone in place that you can basically entrust the programming and the relationship building with.

Sean: Is that a hard transition?

John: It was a little bit, yeah.

Sean: That’s something that I should ask you. Was it easier [crosstalk 00:04:44]?

John: It’s hard for me to let go of things, but that’s how I started. You have to start somewhere and you have to start training. I started training, so that’s what I got into this was I wanted to train people. I still have to coach, but I also understand I can’t do everything. That’s impossible.

Kane: You got enough responsibility.

John: There’s no way that I could do everything, nor do I think it’s fair to them either. I feel like if we just divide and conquer, things will be much easier, things will go better. The experience is better here now than its ever been, now that we have clear cut roles. We’re always improving, it’s not perfect, but I’m always trying to improve as the leader. I’m not perfect by any means either. I didn’t get into this to say I wanted to be … I never thought in a million years, if you would have asked me 10 years ago, do you see yourself being the owner and leader type, and I would have been like, “No, I want to just be the one coach and coach all the sessions and stuff,” but obviously things change. You have to adapt and things have to just … now with the lifestyle, I have two kids. Things have to change as well. I can’t be here all the time.

John: I can’t be here from 5 AM to 9 PM every day. You could do it, but the chances of burnout are very real in this industry, especially with kids. Especially with their time too, they can’t be here 50 hours a week. They could do it, but …

Sean: [crosstalk 00:06:06].

John: … in my opinion, that’s why there is such a higher rate of turnover in this industry with trainers and coaches because it’s like the burnout is so real. If you don’t schedule in rest time or you don’t schedule in decent hours, you’re not going to have a perfect schedule right away.

Kane: Yeah, you’re working around other peoples schedules.

John: Yeah, but it’s like with them too, they have other obligations as well in addition to this. It’s like we have to balance, manage schedules, manage peoples times.

Sean: Makes sense.

John: It’s a never ending thing, but we’re trying our best.

Sean: Nice.

John: We’re trying our best.

Kane: Joey just sent me this little thing yesterday, it was like, “As coaches, your first job is to take care of yourself mentally. If you burn out and quit, the world loses a coach who cares, and you do not have that right.”

John: Yeah. You got to just …

Kane: Just sent me that.

John: That’s why I’m a big believer in taking care of myself with my fitness and stuff too. I’ve let it slip numerous times. We all do I think. Every now and then it happens. Life happens.

Sean: Sure being a dad doesn’t allow you to squat benching [crosstalk 00:07:03] every single day.

John: I try my best too. I try to make the time for it. If I have to …

Kane: Yeah, you get it done.

John: … miss two days and I have to come in on a Saturday night or a Sunday morning, then I’ll do it. Ricki, my wife, is cool. She knows it’s important to me. We just say now with two kids, “Hey, I’m going to the gym, I’ll be back in like an hour” or something. We make sure that she gets her time or I’ll go home midday and help out with the kids so she can get some stuff done. It’s got to be a give and take. I feel like as running a business and stuff, you have to take care of yourself and being a family, or having a family I should say, you can’t let your fitness slip, in my opinion. If I feel like shit all the time, I’m not going to be effective as the leader of husband or father. It’s impossible.

Sean: That makes sense. I just revisited that book, the eMyth, I don’t know if you guys ever read that?

John: Yeah, it’s a good book.

Sean: The intern, the manager and the entrepreneur, or the technician. The technician would be like the person who bakes the pies and loves to bake pies, and all their friends go, “You know what, you should open up a bakery.” They’re like, “Great.” Then that baker bakes those pies for 10 hours a day and then tries to do the business in the other 14 hours left and ends up just burning out as a baker. It’s like making those transitions from technician to manager to entrepreneur to look at the big picture, it was challenging, but it kind of has to be done.

John: It’s very challenging. You guys got to make, eventually you have to make those calls where you got to allocate other things to people. If you’re not willing to do that, then … My thing is what does success look like for each person? It’s not going to be the same for every single person. Another person who might be similar to us, maybe they just want to coach clients and that’s it, but they want no part of the process of opening and starting and running a business and managing it, or managing people. That can be nightmare for some people. Managing a big staff, I don’t really want 20 employees. I don’t know. Who knows? Maybe it might change. I don’t think I ever really want that.

Sean: If it’s not your personality, then you’d almost have to bring a manager in order to manage people.

John: There’s bigger gyms that have multiple locations. People have asked. I’m like, “I don’t think I really want multiple locations.” As of right now, I don’t think I want it, but it could change. For right now, I think we’re good with one spot.

Sean: Just keep blowing out these walls.

John: My thing is maximize the space you’re in before you try to open a second spot because it makes no sense to try to open location two if everything here is not tight. Everything here is good but we could do better. That’s why I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet on number two because we’re not there yet.

Kane: A big thing here, you’ll hear everyone say it here is the community and how they feel like every session’s like family, and I feel like if you do that too fast, you lose that inner relationship with other people and I feel like that’s what we really have going for us.

John: Yeah, I never wanted people to think we’re just looking for numbers. Which obviously it’s important. You got to have your numbers in place. You got to know your numbers, but every person is not just another dollar sign, right?

Kane: Yeah, especially in this industry.

John: Yeah, you got to take care of people. I am the type of person where I don’t want to be the absentee owner, and I don’t want to be the guy that’s never here. Some people are, they don’t want to do that and that’s cool and that’s their thing. If that’s what they like, that’s great. Me personally, I still want coaching sessions and I still want to see people and go on the floor and talk to people and stuff and make sure everyone sees me every now and then. I can’t see everybody all the time, but I don’t want to be like, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in like three months. Good to see you. What’s your name again?” I feel like that’s not personal. This is a personal type gym.

Kane: For sure.

John: If it was like a Globo Gym and there was 10,000 members, different story.

Sean: Well that’s the point of that business model.

John: Different model. It’s like the owner could never really be there and it wouldn’t matter because the people that are going to Globo Gym, they don’t care about that. They just want to go in and go out, and that’s it.

Sean: Well that business model is like 3,500, or 5,000 members. We pray to god they don’t show up there. We do not have the space for them.

John: What is it? They’re expecting like 20% of their members to use …

Sean: I think it’s less than that.

John: … the gym.

Kane: [crosstalk 00:11:12]

Sean: In a given day, it’s got to be like maybe less than 10 from like 5 to 7 PM.

John: There’s no way they could handle that.

Sean: They had 30%, there’s no way.

John: That’s that model. They know for a fact that people are not going to show up. It’s just a fact. People are going to buy a gym membership just to have one, to say they have one, but they’re not going to use it. It happens in here all the time. Not all the time as much because we’ll actually try to make the effort to, “Good job Bobby.” We’re trying to make the effort to make sure people show up here because it’s like we want you here. You got to say, “Do you want the gym where they could care less if you show up not,” which is true in my opinion or do you want to go somewhere where you might have to pay a little more but it’s because we’re going to take care of you. You’re going to get results. You’re going to be held accountable and we’re actually going to talk to you and know who you are.

Kane: So many different factors come into play.

Sean: Some days like that aren’t terrible. Some days I want to put in my headphones and go not talk to anybody. It’s really appealing for maybe a day or two, and then it starts to get old real quick. You’re like, “Oh this is great. I’m by myself. I can squat. Nobody talks to me. This is fantastic.” A couple days of that and you’re like, “Man, there’s something missing. I don’t know what it is, but this isn’t all that it could be.”

John: I don’t miss that scene, the commercial gym scenes. It’s different. It’s not for everybody. A lot of people like it, but I look at it is people that go to those gyms, you’re renting access to equipment is what the membership entitles you to. That’s the base level of membership, and then if you want anything else, you might have to pay extra, which who knows. Then you don’t know what you’re going to get as far as …

Sean: Quality.

John: … quality.

Kane: Very low standards commercially.

John: In my opinion, the lower the price points, are you getting quality from that? That model is like what’s to say there’s a gym that’s like $10 a month, $9 a month, whatever the gym is.

Sean: Might be purple.

John: What are you going to get out of that? That’s basically saying you don’t have to commit to anything. It’s only $10. You may show up, you may not. It’s whatever. People are going to all of a sudden, a year goes by and they’ve just blown, it’s not that much money, but still it’s like the fact that you have a membership and are not using it, in my opinion, it’s like go somewhere where at least maybe you’ll feel that a little bit more. Then maybe you’ll want to show up a little bit.

Sean: My mom jokingly calls that a fat tax.

Kane: Fat tax?

Sean: I paid my fat tax this month. I’m like, “Ah.”

John: That’s a good thing. I never heard that.

Sean: I’ll ask my mom, “Hey, have you been this month or whatever?” I’ll help her with outdoor workouts and stuff that she can do around the lake and things like that, that she actually enjoys. Be like, “Hey, have you been to the place that you’re paying for?” She’s like, “Not in the last 30 days.” She paid the fat tax.

Kane: Fat tax.

John: It’s pretty common. People will come in here from other gyms, gyms like the bigger Globo type gyms. They’re just like, “I’ve had a membership there for like a year, and I’ve probably gone maybe 10 times.” That’s pretty sad that you’re using the place that you’re paying for, but it sucks because there’s no accountability. They’re not going to call each person. It’s impossible. They can’t.

Kane: I used to go to Planet Fitness. I’m just going to say it out loud. I used to go to Planet Fitness when I was a sophomore in high school.

Sean: Don’t be mad. I still have a 24 Hour Fitness membership just because, I mean what is it, like $9 …

Kane: Yeah, $20 bucks a month.

Sean: … or something from when I was in high school. If I’m traveling out in the middle of nowhere, sometimes that’s all it is.

Kane: Yeah, you’re still good.

Sean: If I’m traveling and I need to use the bathroom, it’s great. You just enter your code, you head into the 24 Hour, you got your only little nice place. It’s fantastic.

Kane: A little shower.

John: They’re good to have. If you know you can hold yourself accountable and you can work out solo, we can all do that, no problem, but the average gym goer probably is not going to be like that.

Sean: Even for us that gets old.

John: Right.

Kane: Oh yeah.

Sean: You were saying you had Planet …

Kane: Oh so basically I went four years later because I had a herniated disc in my back and I needed just some weight extension machines and stuff. I went four years later and they told me I never canceled it, and they said that I owed six hundred and something dollars. I was like, “All right, so you can either say that I don’t owe this and then I get a membership, or I’m just never going to call you back and not pay this.” They were like, “Oh you have to pay it.” I’m never stepping foot in a Planet Fitness again, but that’s okay. 24 Hour Fitness, there we go. We can go there.

Sean: Planet you can do their pizza night I think.

Kane: Oh pizza night.

Sean: You see those pictures?

John: Pizza and bagel night, and tootsie roll day too. [inaudible 00:15:26] thing, from what I’ve heard.

Kane: $10 bucks a month is worth pizza.

John: Yeah.

Sean: That’s a real thing then right?

John: Yeah. That’s a real thing.

Sean: I’ve seen pictures of that.

Kane: Yeah, they have tootsie rolls in there like every day in a bowl. It’s great.

John: That’s awesome.

Kane: Why don’t we have that here?

John: That would probably keep retention up.

Kane: Yeah. Give them free business for that.

Sean: I think that’s something too that’s interesting, when you go to an awesome gym like this where you guys have a community and people haven’t experienced that, it’s interesting. There’s a few questions I like to ask them first. “Hey, if you do go to a Globo-type gym, have you ever had a trainer?” Yeah, it was so great, but it was expensive. That’s the big thing right there. Because they’ll pay $70, in the city sometimes $120, $150 an hour for a trainer.

Kane: About same here.

Sean: It’s like you come here and you’re like and you’re like, “Look, we have personal training sessions.” We also have probably group classes and things like that where it is like you’re being trained personally or at least in a group. That value, somebody goes one time and their eyes are like, “Oh my god.” The value there is huge.

John: Yeah. I agree. You just got to get people. I think it’s hard for people to justify sometimes the cost of a program like this. I hate to say the word cost, because it sounds like negative. I try to say investment. It’s like let’s just not say cost because you’re going to get a return out of this. A cost in my opinion, there’s money gone. It’s bye. There’s no return back to you. It’s like you’re making just general bill pay or something, versus yeah, you’re going to pay a little bit extra but it’s like you’re going to get a return on your investment because your health is going to improve, you’re going to feel better about yourself. You’re going to get results that you have been wanting for years that you haven’t gotten solo. Maybe they don’t need personal training. Maybe they just want being part of a group and being part of something where they can make friends and go somewhere they know they’ll show and they can have the same repeatable experience every time. I think that’s valuable in itself.

Sean: It’s not even a cost. It’s just it’s value, right?

John: Right.

Sean: It is an investment. For every $1 or minute that you spend in here, you know you’re getting it back ten-fold. It’s not like, I mean I’ve definitely wasted time in a Globo Gym before. For every $1 I’ve spent in there, I wasn’t getting anything from whatever I was doing that day.

John: No.

Kane: I might be a little bias, but I feel like we have the program in Napa by far.

John: I would say, yeah.

Kane: I think cost-wise, it’s absolutely just worth the accountability. If you know you’re going to show up because you have people that know and love you and care for you, you know you’re going to show up four times a week compared to four times in four months to another gym, the accountability alone is worth the investment.

John: Right.

Sean: Not just that, but we were talking about FuBarbell earlier, and the accountability of having a good time with friends but also getting one or two or three texts when you told people you were going to be there at 6, and it’s like 6:05, 6:10. It’s like, “Hey man. What’s going on?” Ugh.

John: We’ll do that too. Obviously we have this conversation all the time, where most of our clients are adults, but we still have the kids program too. It’s completely different. If a kid doesn’t show up, we know they probably got sports or whatever, but we still want to hold them accountable as well. It’s like your parents are paying for you to come here. It’s their job to get you here obviously, but we want the parents to also know hey, they need to invest in this and take this seriously, just like any other sport practice. You can’t just not show up. Then same thing with our adult clients. They’re adults. We’re not going to scold them or hold their hand. At the same time, it’s like, “Where you been? It’s been a month.” A week or two, we get it. Life happens. Get back on the wagon, let’s go, but you’ve been out a month. Where you been?

John: We want you to be here. If you don’t want to come in, maybe let’s put your thing on pause or let’s maybe just cancel it. Maybe it’s not the right time. I’d rather somebody not waste money and not be here and we’ll just cancel it out than me just continue to bill somebody and then not show up.

Kane: Which is big. I think people see that and they’re like, “Oh, he realizes I’ve been gone. He asked me to pause it. This dude is more invested in me than he is about my payment every month.”

Sean: How do those conversations take place? Are you trying to get to the “why” of an adult?

John: It happens.

Sean: Why they’re here?

John: Yeah. We try to get them to go back to that all the time. It’s like why’d you come here in the first place? Something caused you to finally raise your hand and say, “Okay, I’m ready to come to a place like this.” It can be a little intimidating, but it’s like let’s not forget why you started, because I think people do. Eventually the motivation, it always drops for everybody. In fact, we have that sign over there, “Discipline Over Motivation” from Jim Wendler. Eventually your motivation becomes regardless of why you’re here now. You don’t need to be motivated to go to the gym. You need to be disciplined because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to move your body. It’s just part of your life now. If you invest it, and you made the choice, then let’s do it. Let’s just not fall off and let’s be adults and let’s just work this into your daily routine, just like you do your doctor appointment, your dentist appointment, your car repairs.

John: You make appointments, you make them, you go. It should be the same way, and for some reason people just, it happens. I understand. Life happens, but we try to say, obviously, if you don’t want to be here, let’s just maybe just not waste money, and then maybe when it’s the right time. I like to have a conversation first and hopefully talk them back before they decide to stop or whatever, but it is what it is.

Sean: I think motivation, it’s kind of bullshit, right? It’s like a gut feeling. You get angry and then that goes away. You get anxious and then that goes away. Motivation’s kind of like that too. It’s fleeting.

John: It is.

Sean: You’ll be motivated, “Oh this is great,” and then it goes away. Then you wake up and it’s there when you don’t want it and it’s not there when you need it. It’s like, “Ah.”

John: I have periods of high motivation too. They come and go. There’s some days where I don’t want to work out or there’s some days where I’ll be sitting there and I’ve been on a computer for two hours, and I’m like, “I don’t want to … ” I’ve been procrastinating on my website with that guy that I referred you to. Matt right?

Sean: Yeah.

John: Matt’s his name, yeah.

Sean: He’s been fantastic.

John: Okay, cool. I still have to update the rest of it and I haven’t done it. How long has it been since I told you about him?

Sean: A few months.

John: Yeah. I’m halfway done, and I just keep seeing it on my freaking to-do list and I’m like, “I still have to write two more pages of freaking ad copy and I don’t want to do it,” but I have to do it. It’s just one of those things where it’s like I need to have the discipline just to freaking get it done. The other morning I woke up, I didn’t have to do it, but I woke up at 5:00 because I knew I had to get stuff done because once the kids get up, all chaos begins. I know if it’s quiet and nothing else is going on, I can get a lot done, which I did that morning. I’m like, “I just got to do this more now.” We’re usually up by 6:30 anyways, but at least it gave me an hour and a half to … I was hitting my coffee cup on the table. Gave me an hour and a half to get some stuff done.

John: You’ve got to just make it happen and figure out what’s important to you.

Sean: If I only worked out when I felt good and when I was motivated, I’d be super out of shape.

John: Yeah, I told somebody the other day I was like, you know this, it happens all the time, like, “Ugh, that workout,” they just hit a personal record, but they came in, they’re like, “I’m just here. I don’t know.” I’m just like, “I hope I have a good workout.”

Kane: The last 20 PRs.

John: I have no idea. I don’t know what’s going to happen. They’re like, “I am so tired. I didn’t sleep last night.” I don’t know, you just got to do it. Life happens. You’re not going to have a perfect workout every single time, the starts aren’t going to align all the time. You’re not going to get eight hours of sleep. You’re not going to have your best nutrition probably every single day. You can try. Stuff happens. Just got to do it.

Sean: Yeah, you just went nine for nine in the last meet you were saying?

Kane: Yeah.

Sean: It felt great after, right?

Kane: Yeah.

Sean: If you look back on that week or that meeting leading up to it …

John: [crosstalk 00:23:13]. Were you like kind of worried a little bit?

Kane: Well I mean I had a busted up shoulder, and then my buddy actually, who he just had my godson, he had his first son, who used to train with me, my old training partner, his wife was pregnant. She was still pregnant at that point, yeah. Ricki was pregnant with the second kid, so both my training partners were out of the mix for the time being. My shoulder was all busted up, so I trained by myself and it was terrible, and I hated every second of it, but I was motivated maybe one day a month. I set a meet and I set a date, and I had to be disciplined. It was like he was saying, it was an appointment. It was like a business meeting. I had to prep for it.

Kane: It sucked, and by then I went in and I crushed some pretty good weights at 178 pounds. It was good. It went better than I planned just because I was disciplined.

John: Especially when you’re training for a competition. I think that’s a lot harder, in my opinion. You’re pushing yourself hard and obviously training for a competition is much more intense than just training normally, because the weights go up, joints start to hurt a little bit probably.

Kane: Absolutely.

John: That’s power lifting and weight lifting. That’s just part of the game. I forget who said this, but it’s always like, “No one ever said competing was supposed to make you feel good.” Training for athletics, a lot of professional athletes don’t feel good all the time.

Kane: There’s another one that was, “If you want to be healthy, don’t compete.”

John: Yeah. I think it was [inaudible 00:24:44] said that. “If you want to be healthy don’t compete.

Kane: So true.

John: That’s true. It’s like most people don’t need to train with 90% weights all the time. They don’t have to do that anymore. It’s like what’s the point? Unless you’re training for a competition, then do it, but it starts to get hard.

Sean: That can be anything. That could be a competition with strength or if you see somebody running a 100 miler or something like that.

John: It’s hard.

Sean: Recently I did a body building show, and people were like …

John: Yeah, I remember that.

Sean: … “Oh, how’d you feel?” I’m like, “I felt terrible. What are you talking about? We’re not supposed to be at that body fat percentage.”

John: I respect that. The body builders on the stage, they all feel terrible.

Sean: Yeah.

John: No one’s supposed to be that lead.

Sean: No.

Kane: Just depleted beyond belief.

John: You cannot be that lean on your own, it’s impossible. It takes an immense amount of effort and dedication. Your social life was probably none.

Sean: Yeah, it’s for a very short time. Very short time.

John: It’s proof you can get very lean in a quick amount of time, but you have to be super strict and everything has to be counted, everything has to be accounted for. You can’t let anything slip through the cracks. Your sleep, your nutrition, your workouts.

Sean: That’s what started to falter for me a little bit I think was the leaner I got, the worse my sleep would get.

John: Makes sense.

Sean: It’s like dang, how do I take some melatonin or how do I do something to where I’m still recovering? It was interesting.

John: Makes total sense, for sure.

Sean: The minute that we went out that night, got some steak or some good food …

John: You felt really good, huh? I bet. I bet you felt amazing.

Sean: I had half a beer and I was toast.

John: Nice.

Kane: Super hammered.

John: Your body’s ready to suck up any nutrients it could at that point.

Sean: I think I was probably about 30 pounds lighter than I was right now. I’m dehydrated and depleted and stuff, so maybe only like 20 and then another 10 with water.

Kane: 10 water cut, yeah.

Sean: It was interesting.

Kane: That sounds awful.

Sean: The best part of the actual stage day was all the candy and Reese’s and everything that everybody was eating …

Kane: Sugar pump.

Sean: … just to get some sugar to get yourself on stage.

John: Oh my god. I can’t imagine.

Sean: It was interesting. I did it more for an experiment to be like, “Hey, I always kind of made fun of this. It was interesting.” It was cool to look at, but what would this feel like? It was …

Kane: Terrible.

Sean: I think they held us, because all of the pre-judging is done before everybody gets there. The first, second, third place for a physique body building show is done. The nighttime stuff is just for fun. It’s almost like if we lifted at a meet and went nine when nobody was here, and then just kind of did like a back offsets.

John: [crosstalk 00:27:11].

Sean: Yeah. The night of, that’s kind of what it’s like, but for pre-judging, they held us up there for like 14 minutes or something like that.

John: It’s like, “Please god. Please.”

Sean: Yeah, right bicep, right here.

John: I am done.

Sean: We got off stage, I went to my hands and my knees, I was crushed.

Kane: I’m sure.

Sean: It was way harder than I thought it was going to be.

John: I don’t think I could do it man. I don’t think I could do it.

Sean: The best part was anything facing the judges, gut sucked in, everything’s tight, this is good. Then as soon as we turned around for let’s say it’s like a rear double bi or something, you hear all the guys like, “Ugh.” Guts are out. All I needed to do is flex my back and my butt right now. Abs are not showing.

John: That’s a whole different ballgame of training.

Kane: Just a beast of a sport.

John: With strength sports, obviously you got to take into account your performance more so. Physique doesn’t matter in strength sports.

Kane: There’s pros and cons to both for sure.

John: Yeah, there’s pros and cons. I just feel like body building’s such an extreme, and there’s no way it’s sustainable. You can’t do that all the time. Unless you’re a professional body builder, that’s your job.

Kane: You figure it out.

Sean: You get paid to do that.

Kane: True.

John: You get paid to do it, but even then those guys have off seasons. They’re walking around like, “Who’s that guy?” All of a sudden, you can seem them on stage, you’re like, “Is that the same person?” It’s like, yeah, he was 50 pounds heavier in the off season.

Sean: Oh yeah, we talk about pros too. They start, if you’re allowed to be on gear, then it’s like a whole different ballgame.

John: Oh yeah, then it’s completely different from there.

Sean: That’s a whole different ballgame.

John: That’s a different area altogether, but natural body building is way harder I’m sure.

Sean: It’s got to be interesting, because you can’t rely on anything.

John: Harder in different ways I should say.

Sean: Yeah.

John: Obviously the hormones do help a ton.

Sean: Yeah, I’m sure.

John: I think with gear and stuff.

Sean: Yeah, I’m sure, being the open class.

John: With recovery from workouts and all that kind of stuff.

Sean: Yeah.

Kane: Even with that, it’s like your relationship with food has just got to be terrible.

Sean: I think the only way I went into it and not had that problem was being a [Kinese 00:29:14] major understanding exercise phys and kind of understanding food as fuel but still, it started to get me a little bit. Oh this is weird, I can’t eat this. This is bad, this is good. Bad/good started to have a weird, especially as I got closer and closer. Then peak week, I couldn’t even think. My head was just gone.

John: That’s tough.

Sean: It’s an interesting sport, but it’s not like, I don’t know if you can take that and then say, “Well I’m going to be strong but later on too.” With strength in my opinion, if you can at some point squat 500, 600, get to that point, when you’re older, you’re going to be able to get off the toilet longer. You’re going to be able to understand how to keep yourself strong. Even if it’s just slight air squat work and stuff when you’re older.

John: I feel like it’s more useful to. Obviously we’re not really there, obviously our number one job as a person is not to have the best physique, but it could be everyone’s goal, but the number one priority in my opinion should be function and health for everybody.

Kane: Yeah, longevity.

John: Longevity in your life.

Kane: Quality of life.

John: Quality of life, yeah. Obviously if you have a good physique, it’s a byproduct of your training and your nutrition, and that’s just what happens. Obviously, having some single digit body fat is not realistic for most people. Is it the healthiest thing either? Maybe, maybe not.

Sean: If you’re genetically gifted and you’re there.

John: Right, there’s nothing wrong with being lean.

Sean: That’s awesome.

John: You just got to sacrifice some things to be lean. You do. It takes an immense level of commitment and dedication doing it. Not only to get there, but stay there.

Sean: There’s two ways. Some of those guys, I did it more on like a macro approach. If I wanted a beer or a pizza, I had it. I just fit it in. I showed up that day and there was a couple kids that they’re like, “I haven’t had a beer in like four months.” I’m like, “What? How did you do that?”

John: Have a freaking beer dude.

Sean: Just add it in, you’ll be all right.

John: Have it maybe after your workout or something. You don’t feel as guilty for having a beer.

Sean: Yeah. Competition. Speaking of competition, you do a lot of younger athletes here too, right?

John: Yeah, we have a kids program. We have middle school/high school as a separate training program. Little bit more individualized. Little bit more into account as far as performance based. We incorporate the Olympics lifts. We feel like we’re obviously a believer in using them for athletics. I just feel like nothing can replace them.

Sean: Yeah.

Kane: No.

John: I feel like you can still incorporate other tools like medicine balls and jumps.

Kane: [inaudible 00:31:50].

John: I feel like nothing is mutually exclusive though. For example, there’s a big argument all the time as far as like, “Weight lifting’s a waste of time for athletes.” It’s like well not really because I feel like …

Kane: In what context?

John: … if you know how to teach it, and it might take a little time, but I think it’s worth the time. I feel like it’s such a good benefit from them with the teaching someone how to accelerate and then absorb force with a bar. It’s like very useful to contact sports especially to absorb force. I just feel like there’s just something different with doing a clean versus just a medicine ball throw. I feel like medicine balls are great, don’t get me wrong. We have a ton of them over there, but I feel like you can still teach a power clean and a power snatch. They should be able to do them. Most colleges are doing them, if they’re going to play college sports, so you might as well learn how to do them right.

Sean: I think a big component too other than just strength and speed and acceleration and stuff is when you have a barbell and you’re starting to get under it with let’s say a power clean, you have to also understand your body in relation to space. You have to understand you have to be able to balance.

John: What was that thing you said yesterday to the young kids about moving their bodies and the bar?

Kane: It was just like pretty simple cue. I was just saying it’s much easier to move your body around the bar than it is the bar around your body. That was one of the biggest things where you’re standing, when I started learning about inner muscular coordination. To a certain extent, you figured out with med ball throws and plyometrics, but knowing what position to be in and what needs to fire at what time, that’s like the same kind of deal when a young athlete’s playing football and puts his foot in the ground and needs to go that way. It’s something that you should take the time to invest in yourself to know how to teach them.

Sean: Makes sense.

John: It’s just such good training too. Every muscle is working together at the same time as hard as possible to do the job that you want it to do. It’s fast and it’s explosive. Don’t we want that for sports? It’s the same thing. It’s good for any sport in my opinion, or it’s good for just life in general too. The qualities, as you age, start to go. Speed and power are the first to go. If you don’t retain that somehow, even if you just do a freaking box jump before you squat, like 10 or 20 reps, you’re doing something powerful in your life. Don’t lose at quality. That’s important I feel like. As we age, the muscle fibers start to slow down and stuff, but you can minimize that. Obviously we can’t reverse the aging process right now at least or stop it altogether.

Sean: Eventually there’s some crisper [crosstalk 00:34:16].

John: We’ll see. You can at least slow that process down and still be youthful to an extent. I just feel like kids should know how to do that I feel. It’s just my opinion, and I think that’s good. Not only that, but everyone’s always like, “My kid is so inflexible.” I’m like well if you put him under a bar and it drives him to the floor and they’re clinging, they’re going to have some good flexibility. People I don’t think understand sitting in a full squat with an upright posture is incredibly good flexibility.

Sean: We’re all gifted that.

John: An overhead squat is the best in my opinion. With a snatch, full snatch is the best test flexibility.

Kane: Flexibility, mobility, stability.

John: It’s just everything.

Sean: You have two little ones. It’s not like we’re not born with that. I’ve seen tons of pictures of toddlers going to grab something, and you’re like, “Oh my god, knees are tracking.”

Kane: That is the perfect squat.

Sean: Thoracic spine is beautiful. How is this possible? Then we learn to not learn that. You know what I mean?

John: Yeah.

Sean: We learn to get out of those shapes.

John: It’s just natural movement. I don’t know, we’re at this like don’t squat below X degrees or whatever. It’s like do what your body’s designed to do.

Sean: Look at a toddler. What are you talking about?

John: Obviously if somebody has flexibility limitations, then obviously you work around it.

Sean: Of course.

John: You try to improve it over time, and then some people obviously, we’ve seen it, they come in and they just can’t do it no matter what you do. You don’t force it though.

Kane: This is John sub-tweeting at me.

John: Just do what you can do. When he first started snatching, he couldn’t snatch.

Kane: I literally split snatched in a meet when I was 18.

Sean: Nice.

John: He [crosstalk 00:35:39] the bar. The bar over at squatting is impossible.

Sean: Too much.

John: His ankles were too stiff. His shoulders are jacked up, his elbows jacked up.

Kane: My thoracic spine was …

John: Hips were too tight. He was so used to block squatting and not doing anything overhead. It took us a while, but he got to that point.

Sean: It’s just inflexibility you think from sports specific or is this just how your body works?

Kane: I think a little bit of both. Always as a kid I wasn’t super flexible or mobile. I would crush everything on presidential physical fitness, then sit and reach I’d have to cheat when my teacher was looking away or something.

Sean: Sit and reach is one of the best tests of fitness though.

Kane: Yeah, it was terrible.

John: It’s very good.

Kane: Yeah, I think a combination of that, naturally I’m like a tight spring. Always call me the rusty coil.

John: That’s what [Aber 00:36:25].

Kane: Yeah. Kyle.

John: Aber nicknamed him the rusty coil.

Kane: Rusty Coil.

Sean: Nice.

John: He’s like, “I just want to push you down.” It’s like, “As soon as we let you go, it’s like bing.” He’s very explosive. He can jump like, what is your, 37 inch verticals?

Kane: 37 and a half.

Sean: Dang. Okay.

John: He can spring. Naturally fast, very explosive person. You see that though. They have stiff tendons. That’s kind of good to an extent.

Kane: Gives you a little pop.

John: You want to be able to, he can move, but you got to have a balance too.

Kane: Kind of.

John: He moves well, but obviously … and then there’s also at the other end of the spectrum is too much mobility and flexibility a bad thing either?

Sean: I’ve seen that tool.

John: It is. It can be. Then all the sudden, you get too loose, too relaxed.

Kane: Compromise positions.

John: We have a girl in here, she’s a middle schooler, but she’s always been a cheerleader and dancer or competitive cheer, whatever you want to call it, but she’s very flexible, almost too much to an extent. It’s almost detrimental because she’s got a little bit of lax in her shoulders and she’s getting better, but you can just tell she had enough flexibility. In my opinion, probably doesn’t need to stretch much anymore. She can still maintain that, but it’s like how much more do you need? She can literally sit against the wall in a split and just be like …

Kane: Just chills there.

John: … put her arm, and she’s like reading a book or something. She’s got enough flexibility, more than she needs.

Sean: Especially when you go joint by joint, right?

John: Right.

Sean: I want my ankles flexible, I want my knees stable. I want my hips flexible, I want my low back stable. I want thoracic spine flexible, I want my … You know what I mean? I love doing yoga and it’s great, but when they’re like, “Oh we’re going to get your low back as flexible as we can,” it’s like, “Should it be?”

John: You see the effects of not being flexible at all your whole life have as you get older with our adult clients. A lot of them are so stiff from years of not stretching.

Sean: Or just sitting.

John: Or just sitting. Then they’re like always something hurts all the time. It’s like, is it the joint that’s hurting or what’s the cause of the joint paint? If you haven’t stretched, like my stepdad, I hate to put him on the pot here. Larry I love you, but he’s never been a gym guy, never really stretched much and he’s got stuff that hurts. He’s doing a great job though. He’s lost some weight here and much better than he ever has and is feeling good and stuff, but when he first started his back hurt a lot and his knees hurt a lot and his shoulders are very inflexible because he was hunched over like this.

Sean: [inaudible 00:38:51].

John: It’s taken time, but that’s just an example. He’s not the only one in here. It happens all the time. Then we have the dental hygienist clients that come in with their backs are a wreck because they’re always bent over a chair and leaning to the side and their necks and their backs are a wreck.

Kane: We just had one of our clients on Monday or Tuesday, she sits for work all day long. She’d tell me how her shoulder feels all jacked up from being hunched over, and Tuesday we finished out little strength training session with hunter band pull aparts or hunter face pulls with the band. She was just like, “What did we do to fix my shoulder?”

John: Who’s that?

Kane: [Chey 00:39:28].

John: Oh nice.

Kane: Yeah, she was like, “My shoulder feels 10 times better than when I came in.”

John: Nice.

Sean: Bringing these out?

Kane: We were just doing face pulls or pull aparts. It’s like, “Well your body’s probably just been in a shitty position, shitty posture for way too long.”

John: This feels terrible just holding your shoulders like this. This feels so bad. Having your shoulders rotated forward and hunched. When you pull them back and get a little blood back there, it feels so much better.

Sean: Yeah. I’m in a car all day, and it’s interesting when you see let’s just say like a front seat of a car, it’s flat where your thoracic is and then it rounds over and you’re like, “No. Why did you make it like that? We need to make something that goes the other way.”

Kane: Forces your shoulders forward.

Sean: I used to have a lot of anterior pain, and then when I realized, “Oh interesting, I’m going to walk on this and stuff,” and then I started to work on band pull aparts, face pulls and things like that. I’m like, “Oh it’s getting better.”

John: I try to do them almost every workout. Whether it’s in a warmup or part of the workout, it just felt good to do. You can’t really get too sore from them. What’s the problem with having a stronger upper back. There’s no downside to it.

Kane: I was listening to a podcast with [inaudible 00:40:37]. I’m sure you know who [inaudible 00:40:38] is.

Sean: Yeah, of course.

Kane: He was just going through how before every workout. Obviously this applies to the general pop too, but how he would do back extensions with the barbell on his back and then he would do 100 face pulls, 100 pull aparts. It’s like the typical person is sitting, like the upper back is the biggest issue, the biggest crutch for everyone because our shoulders, our tight is super tight, our shoulders are internally rotated. He was saying he worked his upper back every single day before every workout.

Sean: Makes sense.

John: The stronger your scapula muscles are, the better spill you’re going to have overhead. You just feel like they lock in place when you have stuff overhead. You don’t get that winging in the back where you can see the shoulders poking out and stuff. I just feel like being able to retract them comfortably and be able to actually feel the muscles working back there, how many kids come in they can’t retract their shoulder blades? They can’t do it.

Sean: That’s crazy. They don’t know that.

John: I put the finger in between there, I’m like, “Pinch my fingers,” and they just can’t do it. They don’t know. We program for almost I think every kid does pull aparts, face pulls.

Sean: Good.

John: Every workout we do some sort of upper back.

Kane: Every person here.

John: Every person does it every day.

Sean: That’s one of my questions. That was something I’ve been pondering too, something to be said. We got a rusty spring, whether it’s genetic or some sports stuff. It’s like let’s say you see that kid that’s got a ton of power and it’s like great, whatever age he is. The tendency for that parent is to be like, “All right, this is your sport.” When does that become, how specialized in your opinion, do you think you should be when you’re …

John: This is my favorite.

Kane: We’re going to start this.

Sean: You’re three years old. The tendency, let’s say I’m a parent. My kid’s really good at this and he enjoys doing it. Boom, this is what you’re doing for the next 20 years, whether it’s going to wreck you or not, right? That’s the tendency versus, “Hey, let’s get some general strength going on and then see how you develop as an athlete.” How do you have those conversations?

John: It’s hard. It’s hard because this is the way it is now. You can’t say don’t do this because this is how United States sports are with the youth kids. This is how it is. We have to do our best to just be like, okay, here’s what we recommend. If you don’t agree, that’s fine, but here are the ramifications of specializing early, and it’s proof. I’m not making it up. It’s not biased. It’s true.

Sean: Surgery.

John: I’m just trying to basically educate people with what could possibly happen. There’s not a guarantee that says, “If you specialize, you’re going to rupture your ulnar ligament, or whatever this is called.” The ulnar collateral ligament. There’s a chance if you pitch at an early age and that’s all you do is pitch, it could happen, and it’s very common. The same thing, this is more common than ever, how many girls have we seen that have ruptured their ACLs in high school playing basketball.

Sean: Basketball, yeah.

John: Or soccer. Just jumping and landing or running on the court and all of a sudden they cut and pop, there it goes. It’s not that sudden incident. It’s the chronic over time, no strength training. Zero. None. All they do is play sports, all they do is play basketball all year, for example. There’s a downside to that.

Sean: They’re already pre-dispositioned. When you look at the female pelvis generally versus a male, it’s a little bit more turned in.

John: Yeah. That’s why I try to tell parents too, it’s like, “Your daughter has a higher chance of ACL injury because of her anatomy and the facts are here. It’s true.”

Kane: There’s research for that. It’s not just making up some bullshit.

John: I don’t use that as a scare tactic. I just like to say when people come in and maybe they’re inquiring and they bring their daughter in or something, I just try to say, “All right, your daughter needs this, for sure. You don’t have to sign up for the program, but I feel like if you want to have longevity, and if anything you want to have an enjoyable experience in sports, maybe you don’t want to play college sports, that’s fine, but let’s keep her healthy and moving and just feel confident and good about yourself.”

Sean: At least through high school.

John: The chances of injury go way down when you start doing some strength training. It’s true. I say this all the time, and I feel like people think maybe I’m biased or something because we have a gym, but I’m just trying to report the facts and say this is what happens when you strengthen your body. You’re becoming more resilient to injury. Obviously you can’t prevent every single injury, that’s impossible, but you can prevent a lot of non-contact injuries, I feel. If you know how to land like from a jump, it’s amazing how many kids don’t know how to land or they don’t know how to jump properly.

Sean: Or even walk. You see ankles and you’re like, “Hmm.” You can start to see different …

John: One of the common things that when parents come in is like “I want my kid to get faster.” We understand. I know. They’re running all over the place. They’re running like this and their arms are flailing. I’m like they need a little bit of strength in their posture to hold that. Otherwise, I can show them how to run but they’re not going to be able to hold position. That’s impossible.

Kane: Not going to put any force on the ground, the whole equation.

John: No, their legs, their core and their back aren’t strong enough to hold the position, so what good is technique work going to do with nothing behind that? I’m not saying you have to lift a ton of weights as a young kid, but some sort of calisthenics or something to get them strong a little bit in relation to their body, relatively strong we’re saying, is relative. At the minimum staying upright, if anything being able to do a proper squat and a proper sit-up and a proper push-up and a lunge.

Sean: Even just a proper air squat, unweighted.

John: Something.

Sean: Stand here and let me see how you go down and go back up.

John: I just feel very strongly that strength is not the end all of everything. We’re not training kids to be power lifters, but it is important for them to have that in their toolbox and part of their training should be over time as they get older, it’s just got to be a part of your routine. European athletes do it. Every athlete in the world, it’s part of their routine. Gymnastics.

Kane: It’s the foundation for everything.

John: Gymnastics, swimming, track and field, they’re the foundational movements for kids, in my opinion. You can swim, you can jump, you can throw, you can crawl, you can climb. Then you get that base under you, then yeah, pick a sport when you’re 13, 14 if you like it and you enjoy it, but make sure that they want to do it. It’s not what I want. What [Kensley 00:46:57] and [Kalin 00:46:58] decide to do when they’re older, I could care less, as long as they’re enjoying it and they feel good about themselves. Obviously in a perfect world, I’d be like, “Yeah, you’re a weight lifter. I want you to be gold medalists and stuff.” I could care less. I would encourage them and I hope being around a gym they’ll enjoy it, but I’m not going to push it on them either.

Sean: I’m sure you’ve even see that coming here super small and they want to copy.

John: Oh they do it all the time.

Sean: They see a group of people doing burpees.

John: They do all the time.

Sean: It’s amazing to see little kids see 10 people let’s say doing burpees …

John: They copy it all the time.

Sean: … and the first thing they do is go down to their stomach and then go back up and kind of jump. You’re like, “Whoa.”

John: They just think it’s fun. They’re just laughing about it. It’s just a game, which I should try to make it fun for them. I have this conversation with Ricki all the time, like if she’s old enough, if she wants to come in and start training, then that’s cool, but I’m never going to be like, “We’re going. Let’s go.” You got to have the right approach. Obviously on the other side of the spectrum too, I would never be like, if she just wanted to sit around and do nothing, I would be like, “No, you got to do something obviously.” We’re not that type of parents that let them just be idle and stuff. It’s tough man. It’s tough because, again, it’s the nature of youth sports these days. Every parent wants their kid to be the best, I understand, but let’s just be cool about it and not be so psychotic about the thing, because it’s not going to be fun for them anymore.

John: You see kids quit all the time. They get to college, they quit. You know why? Because mom and dad aren’t there anymore. It’s not fun for me. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done.

Sean: I didn’t want to do it maybe to begin with, or I didn’t realize that until now maybe too.

John: This happens all the time. How many kids go to college because they think they want to play college sports because that’s what they’ve been told their whole life? You got to go to college. You get your college paid for. It happens all the time. Kids, they get there and it’s like it’s not that fun anymore. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s hard. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen it.

Sean: I played water polo all through college, and it was every day it was either morning weight room or going up on runs.

John: It’s hard man. It’s hard.

Sean: Then it was three hours in the water before and after college.

John: You get to college, and it’s like it gets four or five years, depending on how long you go to school for. It’s like, it goes by fast. I think kids see that. They’re like, “This is a time where I could really have fun and go to school and do my thing and have freedom finally.”

Kane: Not wake up at 4:00 in the morning.

John: And have flexibility to do what I want. Maybe they see that and they’re like, “Nope, I’m done.” Which is happens, and it’s fine. If they don’t want to do that, it’s cool, but they need to be very honest and open and realistic often. Not too young though. I feel like that conversation shouldn’t be taking place in nine and ten year olds.

Sean: What sport do you want to do the rest of your … Yeah.

John: “The recruiter’s here. We’re going to go to a combine.” It’s like come on man. It’s a little ridiculous at that age. Come on dude.

Kane: That was how softball can recruit, there was like a whole thing where they were communicating with eighth graders.

Sean: Whoa.

John: I think they changed that now didn’t they?

Kane: They actually just changed it. I saw I think until their sophomore year, September of their sophomore or junior year.

John: Which is good.

Kane: Which is freaking awesome.

John: I feel like it’s good.

Sean: Like, “Hey man, here’s a cool skateboard.”

Kane: Eighth graders have no idea what they want to do.

Sean: No.

John: No. I mean come on man. No eighth grader knows what they want to do, and if they make a decision at that age, it’s going to change probably.

Sean: Sure.

Kane: Oh absolutely.

Sean: If it’s their decision to make, then it’s okay for them to change it. You know what I mean?

Kane: Yeah.

John: We have a girl that trains here who, she’s a very good athlete, exceptional athlete. She’s one of our best weight lifters too. She plays softball. She’s already verbally committed to the University of Michigan and she’s only a sophomore.

Kane: As a freshman, she was, right?

John: She committed as a freshman. That’s a very unique, rare thing.

Sean: It’s great that she’s in here getting strength for it.

John: She’s in here too. I think she understands this is going to help her, and it has helped her. She’s a great athlete, but that’s an example of they recruit very early, which to me, there’s more cons than pros to that. Now it’s like everyone is trying to keep up with the next person. Then you got girls starting younger and younger to start getting the advantage on their next competitor. It’s like everyone let’s just calm down. Take a deep breath. Let’s just all become better athletes and that’ll enhance your skill.

Sean: It’s the same, when I did water polo, that’s pretty specific in certain ways. I only threw left. We threw really hard and I was put utility right so that I would throw left really hard. I remember it was like halfway between sophomore year in college I was going to the training room without the trainer knowing, popping a few NSAIDs, getting some Ibuprofen or something down, taking an icepack and icing my elbow and then being like, “Okay, it’s numb. Let’s go back in the water.” I would just say, I told coach I had to go to the bathroom or something like that. 15 minutes later back in the water, everything was good. I got caught by the trainer about a month into doing that. He was like, “What are you doing?”

Kane: Please stop this.

Sean: I was like, “My elbow really hurts.” He’s like, “Yeah, then we need to figure something else out. Masking it and numbing it is not going to make it any better.”

Kane: For sure. That whole thing with softball you were talking about, it’s like you think about the mental health and mental longevity of girls. When you’re 13 years old and you’re committed to the number one softball school in the nation, think of that pressure that that brings. You’re always under a microscope. You always feel like you have to fulfill something. You can’t do that. Like I said, more cons than pros I think.

John: I don’t know, there’s ups and downs. I know it’s like everyone’s competitive and they want to be the best, which is great. I think parents all have the best of intentions because they want what’s best for their kids, but I think if we just take a step back and understand these are kids. They’re still kids. Even when they’re 15 years old or 10 or whatever the age is, when we’re trying to be the best athlete, let’s just understand, sports is supposed to be fun first. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. It’s not supposed to be so serious. They’re not professional athletes. They’re not college athletes. Let’s not treat them like that. Let’s treat them like they’re a kid still. Let’s just develop the foundation, make sure they’re having fun and teach them about winning and losing and all the right things that they need to learn and character building and respect for your teammates and your coaches and all that kind of stuff.

Sean: I’m 32 man, I’m still a kid. You know what I mean? We’re all still little infants, we don’t know exactly what we’re doing, but we know to an extent.

John: Right. I just think there’s ups and downs obviously to that.

Sean: That’s an interesting question too then, age with competition. I know having just fun for a little while is great, but then at what age do you start to be like, no. I grew up winning and losing. Winning was fantastic. When you lose, you don’t lose, you just learn what not to do and you get better. I think that’s still important.

John: I think you have to learn how to win and lose early.

Sean: Of course.

John: That’s a very important skill. There can’t be winners for everything. Not everybody can win. I don’t agree with the participation thing.

Kane: Oh god, let’s not get started on that.

Sean: Maybe to like three. I don’t know what the age is.

John: I feel like obviously …

Sean: Five?

John: … the kids don’t understand when they’re toddlers. They don’t grasp that concept yet.

Sean: Yeah, they don’t get it.

John: Then they’re going to throw a fit. I feel like once they’re old enough to play an organized sport or something, there’s a clearcut winner and a loser. Obviously if they’re a little bit younger and they’re not as mature, they’re going to get upset. You got to teach them. This is what happens. There’s a winner and a loser. Let’s not get so upset. Let’s not give everybody a ribbon. I don’t feel like that’s the right message. They’re going to grow up thinking that they’re entitled to everything and that everyone’s a winner.

Sean: Or they’re going to go off …

John: Or they’re going to get out of school.

Sean: … or they’re going to be in school, like in college and they’re going to realize, “Wait, what’s this losing thing? I’ve never experienced this before.”

John: They’re going to get out of school and freak out when all the sudden they go apply for a job or something and then they get declined, how are you going to handle that? How do you feel about that?

Kane: I’ve done a good job of not swearing so far. I’m trying. I don’t know, you think about athletics.

Sean: Swear away sir.

Kane: You think about athletics in competition and how like, I think probably the main thing that it should teach is lessons about life and prep you for being an adult and figuring shit out. When you don’t have that and you win or lose and you don’t have to feel the bad feeling of losing, it loses the authenticity and the sweetness of winning. Then they go off into their adult life and he talked about entitlement and made me want to punch the microphone. I’m 23, so that’s my generation too. Entitlement’s a big thing. Thinking that something is yours, with or without earning it, not earning shit is just, it makes me want to just go ham.

John: Yeah, you got to earn everything.

Sean: You know when you didn’t earn something and you got it, you feel okay, but you don’t feel great. You don’t feel as good as you could.

John: There’s more gratification when you know you put the work and you know, yeah, I did this, I gave everything I had, worked hard for it, and yeah, I feel great because now I know that I did it and no one just gave it to me. I don’t know man. I don’t know.

Kane: Losing is awesome. Sorry for swearing, but there are fucking losers. It makes winning amazing. If you don’t lose, you don’t know what winning is like.

John: You have to learn how to take a loss. It’s okay to take a loss.

Kane: Yeah, the character building and everything.

John: What happened, and how do you respond is the key. Are you going to freaking freak out and dwell on that your whole life, or are you going to move on and get better from it?

Sean: That’s the mindset that you go into it, I think I saw a quote the other day. It was like, “There’s winning and losing, but if you look at it as winning and learning, you’ll be fine.” You either won or you learned something to do. Winning never feels … If you just won all the time, it would get old.

Kane: Yeah, it loses its density.

Sean: We’ve all been there when Bay area opens up and it’s down pouring for three days and we’re all miserable and soaking wet and the gym’s wet and everybody’s wet. Then there’s the day …

Kane: It’s sunny.

Sean: … that it gets sunny and we’re like, “Oh this is really nice.”

Kane: It’s the best thing ever.

Sean: I feel, this is amazing. We take for granted every sunny day before the rain. It’s kind of the same thing.

John: You just got to just be able to, I don’t know man. I just feel like as a parent or a coach, it’s your job to make it very clear of what happens in life. This is life lessons. Sports are great for life lessons. It’s exactly what happens in life. Not every day is going to be … Every day I wake up, I don’t expect every day to be the best day ever. Some days are going to be the worst and some days are going to be great.

Sean: Sometimes you eat bad eggs.

John: Yeah. I don’t know man, I just feel like …

Kane: [crosstalk 00:58:03].

John: … you went to Santa Rosa, didn’t you?

Sean: No, I was at Roosevelt Kids.

John: That’s right.

Sean: Then I went down.

John: We met at Questa.

Sean: Yeah.

John: That’s right. My football coach at Santa Rosa, Keith Simons, his whole thing was like, “how are you guys going to handle adversity” was his big thing. We won a lot I think because we were so good at holding each other accountable and making sure if we had a bad practice, he would hold us to it and be like, “You guys had a bad practice, we’re not going to dwell on it, but how you going to handle it and how are we going to get better?” Another thing I liked with him is he did not accept mediocrity at all. Zero. We are not this team. Everyone’s performance went up because of it, and everyone was kind of scared of him too because he demanded excellence. It wasn’t like you were scared of him, like he’s this mean guy. It’s just like you respected him. He was a little intimidating, which I think is valuable as a college coach. You got to have that.

Kane: For sure.

Sean: He was asking something of you that was unknown, right?

John: He held the standard very high.

Sean: Yeah. Excellence is an unknown for human beings. That’s a scary thing because mediocrity’s a known. I know how to be mediocre.

John: One thing which was super cool to me, which I don’t think I’ve ever met a football coach with this mentality, is he never punted. Never. It’s fourth down we’re going for it, and if we don’t convert, we don’t convert.

Kane: I love that.

John: He would always say, “We don’t punt here at Santa Rosa.” I’m like, “Why don’t we have a punter?” He’s like, “I don’t know, but we don’t punt.”

Sean: We have to have him on the staff.

Kane: That’s the best job ever.

John: I think we punted … I don’t honest remember if we ever even did. When we did, it was always a fake.

Sean: Nice.

John: We always converted the fake.

Sean: People knew that you were faking, they’re like, “All right.”

John: He was great because he’s like, “You know it’s coming, what are you going to do about it?” It’d be like fourth and 20 and we hardly ever ran the ball. He’s like, “You know we’re passing. Stop it. Go ahead.” We’d always convert. It’s like, I just feel like it’s very valuable and we won a lot of games. We won most of our games. We hardly ever lost.

Sean: You learned an important skill in life, right, like go for it?

John: Yeah.

Sean: Just start. People ask me, “Well when should I start?” Just start now. Start now and go for it. If you fail, if you go for a fake punt and you don’t get it, great. You learned how to do it better the next time.

John: I feel like another cool thing that I got from that was go bigger than you think. You may not hit it, but when you do it’s very rewarding. If you don’t convert the fourth down, whatever, but when we do convert fourth and 25, big reward.

Sean: If you never tried, you would never have those things.

John: We would throw the ball all the time. It’s like most teams don’t throw the ball 95% of the time. We always threw the ball. That was the offense that he ran, and it worked very well. I don’t know. I just feel like just kids now is like the ability to handle tough things when they don’t go their way, they freak out. They get frustrated easier. They don’t know how to handle negative things going wrong. Parents, let your kids learn how to just … it’s okay to let them have bad things happen to them. In other words, it’s okay to let them fail a little bit or lose in a sport or maybe have discipline or ramifications if they don’t behave accordingly. You got to hold them accountable and hold the standard.

Sean: Of course.

John: I feel like kids just don’t know how to … not everybody, but it’s just more common nowadays I see it.

Sean: That’s something you need to learn for life. I’m 32 and I still have a bad feeling and be like, “oh that’s a bad feeling.” Oh, it’s okay to have those. They’ll be on both sides of it.

John: Another example is if someone’s not getting enough playing time on a team, you going to quit? You going to quit the team? Is it your coach’s fault? Don’t blame the coach. You hear this all the time, “My teacher hates me.” I’m like, “Stop with that.”

Kane: Oh that’s the worst.

John: Stop. Your teacher doesn’t hate you. I understand there is definitely coaching bias in some sports. It happens.

Sean: Sure. Of course.

John: At some levels.

Sean: Happens at jobs, happens in life, happens in businesses.

John: There’s always biases. There’s going to be people you learn towards more. Sorry. Not everyone is going to be a starter. Not everyone’s going to be the go-to person on every team. That’s just how it happens.

Kane: We’ve seen it. As a society or as a generation, we’ve lost the whole adapt and overcome mindset. That’s not really a thing anymore. Instead of adapt and overcome, it’s like, “Oh I’m not good enough to start. Let me go play for the school across town or across the street.”

John: Yeah. Kids keep transferring in colleges, that happens a lot.

Sean: Even when we were in high schools, that was a big thing, switching zip codes. “Oh man, why did my friend switch zip code to go to a different thing?” I didn’t know. I was like, “Oh that’s interesting.”

John: You see this now. I feel like maybe it’s just more publicized, but so and so transfers to other university because they’re not playing at the school, so they quit and they transfer. Which it’s whatever. Maybe it wasn’t a good fit, which is good if they leave, and it wasn’t a good fit then that’s great. If it’s because they weren’t playing or they’re not the starter now, it’s like that happens sometimes man. You got to find obviously the best fit for you, but at the same time it’s like who are we if all we ever do is just if things don’t go our way we just quit? I hate that. I hate quitting. I hate quitting.

Kane: It’s the same winning and losing characteristic.

Sean: Because all you’ve learned is to quit. If you’re not the starter anymore in college football on your team but you still keep trying and trying and trying, then guess what, when football’s over you still have that same inner drive to keep trying and trying and trying. Now you’ll be the starter at your job or you’ll be the starter at the business that you run because you’ve never lost.

John: It sends the wrong message.

Sean: You’ve never lost that gear.

John: If we’re letting our kids quit when things get hard, it’s like what are you telling them? You’re going to let your kids quit everything. If they quit this now, they’re going to be quitters for life. You don’t want to start that process because it’s very hard to get out of that mindset. Once they’re older, they’re 16, 17 years old, if all they’ve ever been is a quitter, it’s going to be hard to break. It’s like finish something you start. Just finish everything you start. Come on. That’s a rare thing too I feel. Just freaking, if you start something, finish it. You know what I mean?

Sean: Resistance, that’s a big thing. I’m sure you don’t feel good every morning and stuff like that.

John: No.

Sean: I’m sure you don’t feel good every morning trying to lift and stuff.

John: No, I don’t feel great all the time.

Sean: I kind of label that as resistance. There’s always going to be resistance. Do you have any daily rituals or things that you do to, if you wake up and today’s not amazing, today’s a “Damn, this day’s going to suck” day kind of feeling, do you have anything that you go to to break out of that, whether it’s a workout or a run?

John: I know I have to work out. If I know I’m supposed to work out and I don’t do it, I just mentally don’t feel right.

Sean: AM or PM?

John: Mornings. Well I try to do it when I can.

Sean: Yeah, two kids now.

John: Ideally I prefer to do it between now and like 2:00 is my ideal time. Some days I have to do it later, but I just say if I need to work out today and I can’t do it on my time, a great example is some days I have to wait until the kids are down for their nap and then I’m like, “I’m going to go work out. Kids are sleeping. I’ll be right back.” That’s so be it, and that’s fine. I’ve had to do it at like 11:00 at night sometimes, but I need to work out. That’s my thing. I just feel good when I do it. I know I’ve punched a clock, I just feel good about myself. I feel like I’m not a slob. I don’t know. For me personally, I just feel lazy if I don’t do something. I don’t move.

Sean: Of course.

John: That and I’ve been paying more attention to what I’m eating, and just now especially that I have two kids, I want to be healthy and stuff. Performance is great for me. I want to perform well in the gym and be able to squat X amount of weight or whatever, but I feel like my health is more important than anything. I want to feel good first. Looking good is cool too obviously.

Sean: Everybody likes to look good naked man.

John: There’s nothing wrong with having biceps and being able to look good in a tee shirt, look like you work out a little bit.

Kane: You look great John.

John: Thanks. Thank you.

Sean: You look amazing. Filling out that zip-up baby.

John: I also want to be able to perform well as an example for our members and my peers. I want to feel like I’m not just talking. I want to be able to walk the walk. I feel like it’s very important to me. Leading by example is very important. I don’t want to be the strongest guy in the room because I’m not, but I feel like I want to be able to at least demonstrate what I’m talking about and just saying, “We’re making you guys deadlift and squat heavy. I do too. I push the sled too. Don’t worry. You’re not the only one. I know exactly how it feels.”

Sean: That’s a big one with an absentee owner, you’re not. People see you leading by example, and your why has changed I’m guessing over the years. Your why changes.

John: Right. I don’t want to be the out of shape gym person either, which happens all the time and I understand why. It’s because it gets hard.

Kane: I get it.

John: Business comes first sometimes, but I don’t want to ever be in that mindset where it’s like, I’m not going to sacrifice my own health for the business. You know what I mean?

Sean: Yeah.

John: I feel like, if you’re going to do that, your priorities are backwards I feel like. I feel like time management can be better spent. You can get a workout in and still run a business. If you have to get up at 4:00 in the morning and work out, do it.

Sean: Do 50 kettlebell swings, right?

John: Yeah.

Kane: Yeah, exactly.

Sean: 50 kettlebell swings.

Kane: Every single day.

Sean: I started doing that in the morning and …

John: Do two 10 minute workouts a day.

Sean: … I don’t always feel like I want to do that, but then inevitably, 48, 49, 50, I’m like …

Kane: Dude.

Sean: … all right, let’s go.

Kane: It feels so good.

John: If anything, just go for a freaking walk. Get outside and move.

Sean: Just move.

John: If anything, there’s some days where I don’t feel like working out, I’m like, “Just go warm up. Do something.” Then it steamrolls and snowballs, and then all of a sudden you’re into your workout and then you’re like, “Well I’m already halfway through, let’s just finish.”

Sean: Yeah, and you go nine for nine.

Kane: That works.

John: Some days, I’ve just done squats and I just go home. At least I did something.

Sean: Morning rituals? Anything that you got?

Kane: It used to be when I was adapting to working late/working early, it used to be just slamming as much caffeine as possible. Aside from not being healthy, I think that led me, I feel like I was becoming mentally weak, reliant on that. I’d make myself go on three month breaks from caffeine.

Sean: I’m 10 days right now, my friend.

John: Are you?

Sean: Yeah.

Kane: It’s super fun. I’m on my third month.

John: How’s it feel?

Sean: It feels like I’m not an addict to something anymore.

Kane: Yeah, it feels good.

Sean: When somebody would be like, “Oh that’s crazy. I can’t have my cup of coffee,” I’m like, “I don’t think you realize, I wasn’t like oh have a cup of coffee to wake up kind of kid.” I abused the shit out of caffeine for the longest amount of time.

John: I was at that point. I was at that point too.

Sean: Right. Yeah, cup of coffee to wake up, sure, but I don’t feel wired enough, so now I need some more espresso.

Kane: Yeah, snowballs.

Sean: It’s like well I got a big meeting coming up at 10:00 AM, so I’m going to slam this Five Hour Energy. It was like I feel tired from the Five Hour Energy a couple hours later, let’s go get some coffee. Well I got to work out later on, so I might as well have some pre …

Kane: Right. It’s C4 in there.

Sean: You start to get to the 1,000 milligram mark a day. That’s different than I need a cup of coffee to wake up.

John: I think with that too, obviously you can’t always get perfect sleep, but there is, I know for a fact for me it was my lack of going to bed early enough and that’s why I was so freaking tired all the time. I was at that point too where I would wake up, I would need coffee. I’m getting better for sure. I’m forcing myself to scale back a lot. I feel good. I don’t need it for workouts anymore. This is my only coffee I’m going to have today I think, the little grande or whatever. I was like to a point where I would need the biggest one from Starbucks. What is that, like a Trenta? With a shot in it of espresso.

Kane: I just call it a large. I don’t use the words.

John: Large [Farva 01:09:52]

Sean: Just a big large one.

Kane: Big large.

Sean: Big large [Farva 01:09:54].

John: I would get one of those, and then I would have like pre-workout, I’d have that in the morning.

Sean: Yeah, liter of coffee.

Kane: Liter of Cola.

John: Then it would be like morning caffeine and then we would come back for afternoon sessions and I would do more. That was like that, and it was getting bad, to the point where I didn’t really feel anything from caffeine, and this is a problem.

Sean: I think I noticed a problem, I didn’t just use it as a caffeine, I started to use it as that unknown crutch. Going into an important business meeting, really nervous about it, don’t know what the outcome is, I’m going to lean on caffeine as a crutch to make me feel better about this outcome.

Kane: Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Sean: It was like, oh work out, we’re going for like a heavy clean and jerk. Let’s say a heavy snatch. I don’t know what I can hit, and that’s a scary feeling, but what makes that feeling go away, a little bit of caffeine.

Kane: Yeah, slam some caffeine.

Sean: Starting to use that for the wrong reasons, I was like, “Whoa. That’s a little weird.”

John: I feel like there was a movement there per se, a few years ago when weight lifting started to get really popular and everyone was like, “C4, get jacked.” Everyone was just crushing pre-workouts.

Kane: At Johnathan North.

Sean: That’s true.

John: It was fun. I just feel like people start to get way too reliant on them.

Sean: Dude, yeah.

John: They cannot perform without them. That’s a problem.

Sean: It goes from abuse to dependence. Now we’re talking that’s like alcoholic stuff, you know what I mean?

John: [crosstalk 01:11:14] to work out and have a good workout without the need of something. You shouldn’t be like, “I can’t work out because I don’t have my freaking pre-workout today.” I was at that point too though. I was.

Sean: That’s so scary. I remember feeling scared to not have that though. You know what I mean?

Kane: Yeah. We hear it all the time. I didn’t have my pre-workout today, I can’t work out. Are you dying? What does that mean?

John: There’s nothing wrong with a little caffeine prior to workout. There are benefits to it.

Sean: Tons of studies too.

John: Cognitive alertness and function improves and focus and all that stuff, for sure. Anything of too much is bad. Too much of anything is like, okay. Is a gram of caffeine … Now you’re over the threshold of what’s healthy.

Sean: A gram. When you start weighing out your caffeine on scales.

John: Like a gallon of milk is bad for you. You’re going to probably be in the bathroom.

Sean: Yeah. I did that in college. I was like 160 playing water polo and we started to play against Southern California teams. Those guys were 225 pound Croatian men with like beards and long hair. I was like, “Well I need to gain weight.”

Kane: [crosstalk 01:12:24] milk baby.

Sean: You guys remember that GOMAD thing, Gallon of Milk a Day.

John: Yeah.

Kane: I did that in high school. Jar of peanut butter a day.

John: You do what you got to do.

Sean: That was rough.

John: That was a good example of too much, of anything. Too much exercise is detrimental.

Sean: Sure.

John: That’s another thing I always say to people in here when they first start, some of our adults for example is a great example. Our workouts are 45 minutes start to finish. They’re here from 5:30 AM to 6:15 for example, and a lot of them are like, “That’s it?” I’m like why do you need to be in the gym for three hours if you can get the same amount of work done in 45 minutes? Then you can have time to do other things. Look at it like that. You’ve now saved yourself time and you’re being more efficient versus why do you have to be in the gym for three hours? Tell me. Why? More is not always better. Sometimes two days are not always good for everybody. Is that going to help you or is that going to make it worse? Is this going to compound the problem that now your knees hurt all the time because now you’re squatting twice a day? Can you get the same results on three days a week of squatting, which is squatting every day? That’s just a great example.

Sean: It’s pretty amazing, a little metcon or something after a strength piece. You just pair like a nice little functional couplet or triplet together in a 10 minute circuit, and you just kind of go. It’s amazing how crappy y you’ll feel in five minutes, eight minutes, ten minutes.

John: It’s just about being efficient and not wasting time. I don’t know. I just feel like you don’t need to overdo everything in life. If X is good, let’s just do double it. I don’t think that’s the right mindset. More is not always better.

Sean: True.

Kane: All the time.

Sean: I think we cut you off on morning rituals and things like that.

John: Oh yeah, sorry.

Kane: No, you’re all good. Other than that, cut the caffeine for some mental toughness. I know that if I wake up and I feel like crap, and that was the question, right? I know that I have to go do something. Typically, I’ll get in my car and I don’t really like being around people a lot other when I’m working. I’m kind of introverted, but I’ll make myself go to a coffee shop and work on something. Just that feeling of being productive and going out and doing something is kind of rejuvenating. Then I’ll make myself work out. Sometimes I’m pretty bad about it, sometimes. Going to be productive, I think that’s one of my big things. If I sit around and doing nothing, I’m going to feel much worse than if I go out and finish writing something or reaching out to people, whatever it may be.

Sean: I’m in the same boat man. Been slowing starting to realize I’m more on the introverted spectrum, it’s a big spectrum.

John: I’m the same way.

Kane: For sure.

Sean: I’ll get around for people for a long time, it’s fantastic, but then I need to be by myself to recharge my batteries. That’s how I figure it out. That also keeps me, like I work from home. Which is great, but I’ve noticed that going to where other people are, like a coffee shop and doing some writing, instead of writing at home, is fantastic.

Kane: Yeah, for sure.

Sean: It’s just getting you out in the world that day.

John: [crosstalk 01:15:30].

Sean: Yeah. Very cool. All right guys, well I think we have to shut this down pretty soon if you’re going to get some squats and pulls in today.

John: Yeah. Cool.

Sean: One thing I did notice in this gym was no mirrors though.

John: No mirrors. I tried to think of where we would put them. If anything over the dumbbells, because I think people like to see themselves do curls and stuff.

Kane: Strictly for curls.

John: I don’t like mirrors when people are squatting.

Sean: I just brought that up because I think I noticed you posted something the other day that said, “Mirrors or no mirrors? Thoughts. Go.”

John: Yeah, I know. Mirrors in front of where you’re squatting, especially weight lifting, I don’t think it’s good because you need to develop awareness of where your body’s at in space. It just throws me off. Every time I’ve gone to a gym if I’m traveling and I’m squatting, there’s always a mirror in front of the squat rack, and I throws me off. I just turn around.

Sean: Yeah, I turn around. People look at me super weird.

John: I cannot look at myself when I’m lifting. It just throws me off man. I’m just so used to being in gyms like this where there’s no mirrors, I just feel better. You don’t need to see yourself doing the movement. I think that’s why it’s valuable to have a coach who can see you and give you that feedback because you don’t need to see yourself looking to the side, is my form right? You should feel what it’s like because not every gym’s going to have mirrors.

Kane: I was just going to say that, yeah.

John: You’re beginning to feel what it’s supposed to feel like.

Sean: It goes back to that prioprioception …

John: Right, that’s just awareness.

Sean: … in like kids right?

John: That improves your athleticism.

Sean: Knowing where your body is in space, and it doesn’t have to be gymnastics, but even with a barbell or anything or let’s say they’re grabbing a backpack and they need to throw, knowing where you are without having a cue from seeing yourself, it’s super important.

John: That’s very important to have that for athleticism.

Sean: I’ve even noticed gyms where the mirror is extremely close to a squat rack, and to see themselves, people will crank their neck up to where it doesn’t need to be …

Kane: Out of position.

Sean: … because they need to look in the mirror. It’s like whoa.

John: I think mirrors are cool because if anything, they your place look bigger. It helps with perception of, oh what’s that over there? It just makes the place look bigger, but I don’t feel like as far as a function standpoint, I don’t feel like people need to see themselves during an exercise. They don’t need to look over and do form checks all the time. You can film yourself and look back. I think that’s cool, I guess with a phone or something, which is great.

Sean: It’s got to be for the Gram.

John: You can post on Instagram and stuff.

Sean: It’s got to be good.

John: I don’t feel like that’s necessary. I feel like it make sit worse, especially with weight lifting. You don’t need to see yourself. You’re not going to see yourself in a competition. There’s no mirrors in a weight lifting meet, if you end up competing.

Sean: If you’re relying on a visual, you’re not going to feel where that bar is overhead.

Kane: My buddy Nolan, he was following a Jim Wendler program, kind of into power lifting. He came and trained here. He trains every time he’s home from school. He’s like, “Oh I need a mirror to see if I hit depth. I don’t know if my hip crease is getting right below me.”

John: He should feel it.

Kane: I’m like, “All right, seriously you need to watch yourself squat all the time. You’ll know when the bottom of your hamstring’s on the top of your calve. You do it enough, you’ll feel the movement.”

John: Yeah, that’s very common. It’s like, “Did I squat low enough?” I’m like, “Um, I mean yes, but didn’t you feel it? You should feel what this feels like.” You don’t need, for example, when people squat to a string or something. It’s like don’t rely on external feedback like that.

Sean: Oh to touch the screen?

John: Yeah, touch the string and stand up. That can be different from everybody. Be able to feel what things are supposed to feel like. It’s very important in life.

Sean: And only go to what you’re mobile and stable enough to hit, maybe even that day.

John: Right. I think that awareness is good. That’s why we don’t have mirrors.

Kane: Yeah, it’s good. I was lifting yesterday, and I closed my eyes during a couple of my sets. It’s kind of weird, but I liked not being able to focus on seeing anything and just …

John: Just feeling what you’re doing.

Kane: Yeah.

Sean: I’ve started messing around maces, and I was like, “Oh this is kind of interesting,” and then the guy that was training me was like, “All right, this time we do a few swings, close your eyes,” and I was like can’t do it. It was so [crosstalk 01:19:41].

John: It’s weird.

Kane: Super crazy.

John: We’ll do that every now and then in the warm-ups with the kids. Like close your eyes and we’ll do jumping exercises.

Sean: Oh cool.

John: Where they close their eyes, we have them jump and land a 180.

Kane: Yeah, turn 180.

John: It’s great for awareness. They’re like, “Whoa,” freaking out, but it’s cool because you’re developing great spacial awareness and control and function and stuff, and I think it’s cool to do that.

Sean: Very cool. All right guys, well before we get a lift in, what are you working? Where can people find you on the Googles, online?

John: Instagram at CTS Gym. Cortese_John is my personal Instagram, and then what’s yours?

Kane: I Am Kane. I Am K-A-N-E, yay.

Sean: We’ll link that out in the show notes.

John: On my Instagram, and the CTS Fitness and Performance on Facebook. That’s pretty much our main social media. We have a Twitter, but I just usually read posts.

Sean: CTSFitness.com?

John: CTSGym.com is the website. Our next thing is our weight lifting meet coming up in about a month.

Sean: Yeah, plug that, when that’s coming.

John: You’re one of the sponsors.

Sean: I am sir.

John: That’ll be May 19th here. It’s a USAW meet, fully sanctioned. Should be a good time.

Sean: How do people sign up for that?

John: They can go to the PacificWeightLiftingAssociation.com. That’s the website. You have to be a member of USAW, and then you can sign up for the meet there. Just click on meet schedule and you’ll see the Wine Country Classic, is the name of the meet. They can register. There’s still space. You have until May 4th to sign up.

Sean: Perfect. Very cool. Awesome guys.

Kane: Been a good time.

Sean: Thank you sir.

John: Thank you.

Kane: Thank you for having us.

John: Yeah, for sure. 

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