• Misbah Haque

Functional Bodybuilding, Aerobic Development, and Individual Design w/ Marcus Filly

Marcus Filly is back for his 5th appearance on the show! The last time we chatted was when I was about to start ATS 2.0. Since then, I've been really intrigued by the intricacies that go into building an engine, pacing, and learning your gears.

For some of us, it's that time of year. For others, we just want to not die on the Assault Bike (yours truly). Using myself as a case study, we talk about what breathing progressions might look like for long-term development.

Due to heightened interest, we keep the dialogue going around functional bodybuilding and the evolution we've seen over the last 6 months since the birth of the Awaken Training Series.

I measure time in podcast episodes. So this was also a surreal reflection for me from our first episode ever (EP17). Always a fulfilling conversation with this guy. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Show Notes:

  • (9:00) - Awakening beyond fitness gains

  • (18:45) - Learning more about these training principles

  • (23:15) - Aerobic development

  • (39:00) - Testing work capacity

  • (46:45) - Breathing progressions

  • (52:00) - Pacing and learning your gears

  • (56:40) - Individualization

  • (1:13:40) - ATS Educational Experience

  • (1:22:00) - Silence exercise

Resources we may have talked about:

  • #47 – Functional Bodybuilding: Principles Of Training w/ Marcus Filly

  • #34 – Functional Bodybuilding Part Two w/ Marcus Filly

  • #26 – Gut Health, Supplementation, and Nutrient Absorption w/ Marcus Filly

  • #17 – Functional Bodybuilding w/ Marcus Filly

  • Awaken Training Series 1.0

  • Awaken Training Series: Educational Experience

  • Remote Individual Coaching

How you can connect with Marcus:

  • https://revival-strength.com

  • Instagram: @marcusfilly


Hey, this is Marcus filly and you're listening to the airborne mind show.


Hello everyone. This is Ms. [inaudible]. Thank you so much for joining me today and welcome back to the show, whether this is your first, second, 10th, or 30th episode. I appreciate you tuning in your time, your energy, your attention, and your ears mean the world. To me, without you listening, this show would not be where it is today. So once again, thank you. Before we get started, the biggest compliment that you can give is by leaving a review on iTunes, you have no idea how much that helps in terms of rankings, bringing more awareness to the show, and bringing on more interesting guests. So if you could take two or three minutes, not while you're driving, but take two or three minutes, go ahead, leave a review. It would be greatly appreciated. Also be sure to head over to the airborne Mind.Com, where you can check out some free resources and the full show notes there as well.


Today's podcast episode is brought to you by audible.com. If you enjoy books and you are looking for something new to read something that is relevant to problems that you're trying to solve, I made a list for you@theairbornemind.com for slash reading list. You can see a compilation compile. Did I say that right? Compilation of all the books that previous guests have recommended on the show, and if you decide you want to go for it, you can grab a free audiobook and 30-day free trial there as well. Once again, that is the airborne mind.com forward slash reading list. Today, my guest is Marcus filly. This is his fifth appearance on the show. The last time he was on was episode 47, right before I was about to start awakened training series 2.0. And you know, since then, I've been really intrigued about the intricacies that go into building an engine.


For some of us it's that time of year, you know, for preparing for the open it's creeping up on us for others. We just want to not die on the assault bike. And that's exactly me. So using myself as a case study, we talk about breathing progressions and what that might look like for my case and for long-term development. And due to heightened interest, we keep the dialogue going around functional bodybuilding and the evolution that we've seen over the last six months since the birth of the awakened training series. You know, I always measure time and podcast episodes. Like I can think back to what I was doing and what was going on. So this was a very surreal reflection for me. When I think about our first episode ever episode number 17, I'm still finding my groove. I was in Pennsylvania you know, doing the podcast in my room and, you know, episode 60. Now over here, we got to do this in person and so much has happened, you know, in between. So, you know, always a fulfilling conversation with this guy and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. And more importantly, hope you do something with it.


Marcus, welcome back to the show MSPBA. Thanks for having me back, man. So last time we chatted was episode 47 and I've said this before I measure time and podcast episodes. Like I can, I can think back to that episode and be like, wow, you know, all the different things that were going on for me around that time, you know, I was here to visit last time. We were just about, I was just about to start up ATS 2.0, so, and a lot of I'm sure on your end has happened since then as well.


Oh my gosh. So much has happened. What episode is this going to be? Or what episode are you at roughly now in the process?


Well, this one is going to be episode 60. Oh, right. Okay. and for anybody listening, if you haven't listened to Marcus's previous ones, like the first one you were on was episode 17.


Yeah. That was a while back. Yeah. I remember last time we were talking I think in the middle of our conversation, I said something like, well, yeah, this is my third time on the show. You're like, no, this is your fourth time on the show.


Gosh, just flying by


Time is flying by. Yeah.


Yeah. So let's dig into, what you looking back about 12, 13 weeks ago in the second round of ATS was about to kind of start-up what was kind of going on for you at that point. And what's happened since then?


Let's see. 12, 13 weeks ago. Our daughter, I think was just, no, I don't think she was sleeping through the night yet. So that was a big deal for us at the time. You know, we were in like the fourth month, she was like almost waking up every 15 minutes a night and it was just unbearable. And we were really kind of, it's hard to even remember back to how much of a struggle that was. But you know, our daughter turned seven months a couple of weeks ago and she's been sleeping pretty soundly knock on wood. And it's really changed my life and my wife's life and our life together. And it's made her a happier little baby. So that's been huge. All you parents out there know exactly what I'm talking about either because you haven't experienced it or you have experienced it from a training perspective or like coaching perspective.


You know, we were arriving at end of, so when we spoke last, it was the end of the first cycle of wakened training series that had ever been released. You know, we had a pretty good turnout the first time and I was just starting to get the sense that my gosh, you know, people know about what we're doing with functional bodybuilding through revival strengthen. And then this program, this awakened training series program I had just come back, I think from like regionals the California regional competition in San Diego. And it was the first time I'd been out really out of the house since, you know, Noah was born and people were coming up to me and saying things like man, the program has been great and, you know, thanks for putting out the content. And it was a bit of a shock to me that there was really that much interest and awareness in the community about what was happening and what we were doing. So it kind of, I kind of knew there was like swelling of interest at the time and I was excited to see kind of what the 2.0 series would bring what new participants would join in to start their 1.0 journey at that time. And since then it's so many things have changed, which I'm sure we'll get into, but yeah, that was where we were at, then that was crazy a while back.


Yeah. And I remember, you know, starting up 2.0 at that point, thinking like, Oh, what, you know, what is this going to bring? What's going to be a little bit different about this. So for me to these episodes have been like a great marker because it gives me a chance to think back to like the entire experience and especially the I'm really glad I did the before and after pictures you know, before 1.0, after 1.0, and now I'm excited to use, you know, we did an InBody scan and I got the caliper testing done the other day too. And the one thing I've noticed is, definitely, my nutrition has been cleaned up even more since the 1.0. Which I think makes a difference. Like, I feel like I've put on a little bit more muscle. But we all see it, man. I see myself every day. So I'm like, I don't really feel a difference, but people have like, even on Instagram have noticed where they're like, dude, you look jacked out of nowhere and I'm like.


There's that? And you got your shorts as T tailored back a little bit. So you're showing more quad now. So the combination of some more muscle and more quad showing it really sends people on Instagram. It makes it go crazy.


I'm really happy. I feel like I've been on my Instagram game lately. Cause I, you know what I got, I got a comment the other day that was like, it made it real for me and what it was, it was like, the guy was like, dude, what shoes are you wearing? I was like, literally, that's what, you know, you made it, that's a question Mark is, gets on every single post, like three times it's, it's a, it's been cool to document this entire process. You know, I just, I'm fascinated to have like a body of work to look back and be like, like, I don't know. It just reminds me just like these podcasts, what was going on in that period. Yeah.


You've been you know, I don't want to give an award for best student, but if I had


You, maybe you would get that


Award, the awakened training series award. But what to me really stands out is that you know, when we first started, when I first thought, okay, let's put out a program for people to follow that isn't individualized, it's a group program. You know, I, I knew going into it. There was some doubt, there are some drawbacks to a group program. That part of me felt reluctant to kind of dive into because I want people to have a great experience. And I know that if we can't individualize it for everybody, there might be some holes or gaps in the training that don't fit perfectly for each individual. But I also hoped, Hey, I'm going to put something out there that will expose people to principals and make them just look at things a little bit differently with their training, you know maybe look at things differently in their life and their recovery and how they eat to fuel themselves how they think about fitness.


And, you know, since we met prior to ATSC 1.0, and we did our first podcast together and watching, you know, you over the past seven months, I mean, there've been so many things that have changed. I've seen a change in your life, things that you have you know, truly awaken to whether it be a core belief in how you want to coach other people, a core belief and how you want to feed yourself and eat and nourish yourself you know, a core philosophy around training and how you wanna basically train individuals in fitness and the questions that you're asking on your podcast. And to me, that's like, you know, the most profound change that I could hope to see in a participant is things that extend way beyond just the, you know, the muscle mass gain that you got or the strength gains that you got.


Cause those are temporary. You know, like if you don't keep working on that, they'll, they'll go away. You know you can have a great 12-week program get super, you know, bulked up or leaned out or strong. And if you don't change the way you're living and you don't change, you know, you don't change make lasting change, you'll say goodbye to that. And that was my experience when I was younger and all the training programs I did, you know, through my twenties and early twenties and you know for now I'm feeling like, Hey, the real benefit is going to be to, you know, give people, like I said, lasting change. And, and it's great to see that happened through awakened training series.


My question is, how did you do that? Because I see with individual design, how that's even more possible because there are so much connection and contact between coach and client. You know, we, we take the time to develop that relationship, stay in communication, but it's not just me. I think you've been able to do this for other participants as well. And I'm curious, like, do you think it's the training principles and the actual, like through doing the training, this has happened for people or does it extend beyond that? And like, did you have certain intentions on kind of helping people think beyond the box through some other way?


That's a good question. I mean, I think it's con it's something that I'm constantly trying to evolve as a coach is my ability to you know, beyond just the program design, how do we impact clients? How do we impact people and fitness? I think a big part of it is through social media. I think it's through the message that we put out on my own personal Instagram page on revival. Strength's Instagram page on functional bodybuilding's Instagram page. You know, it's the educational content that's there. It's seeing how the training is being blended into real life. It's seeing the community that we're building at revival strength around, you know, a core and common belief shared amongst a bunch of great coaches and great individuals on how to live a healthy, happy life and achieve our goals. And then, yeah, I think specifically there are things within the program design, especially, you know notes that you know, I may add in for clients or in awaken training series in the, in the group program on mentality around how to approach a training day.


So you might be, you know, weight training squat specific training day, and the added notes from the coach or from me are too, you know, leave some room in the tank at the end of your five sets of three today. Meaning don't go to a maximum, no, that in two, in the next two to three weeks, you're going to be building off of this. So the emphasis today is on quality. So that right there, you know, is, is a cue from a coach that a client can read and, and maybe it goes over their head, they don't pay attention to it while another client reads it. It's like, okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna leave a little bit, you know, on the table today. But by the end of the session, I'm going to stay under my like max percentages. And they walk away from the training session and they have an opportunity to think about, okay, what did that do for me?


Like, Oh, it made me feel you know like I got quality in, it helped me build confidence because I didn't fail a rep today. I made sure I stayed under my maxes. And when they come back in the next week, they have confidence that they can go up in their loads or they can progress yeah. Progress in weights. So small little like actual coaching cues and then kind of the bigger picture message that gets put out on social media for, for clients. And non-clients as people that are watching from afar see like, okay, this is how that gets done. And this is how it's put together in a group of people at revival, strength.


Yeah. I think those little messages along the way are huge because even on rest days, you know, you're explaining, for example, the flow sessions where it's, you know, sustainable aerobic work just to get blood moving. And you're kind of giving people ways to be more creative with those flow sessions, you know, you're like, Oh, Hey, here's a way that you can do it, but feel free to be creative and, you know, work on some of your individual weaknesses using this. Then on Sundays, you've got notes along like, Hey, what should the focus around my rest day today be even though they may seem kind of small, but it, it shifts something for people when they're coming from a background where maybe only program design sets and reps were like emphasize. And now that there's something a little bit different, a little addition to that it goes a long way.


Yeah. I totally agree. I mean, from the beginning, you know, and continued through the evolution of 1.0 2.0 into 3.0, you know, I keep thinking about what are ways that we can, you know, share pieces of knowledge like that, that could impact people's, you know, health and fitness outside of just the sets and reps. And we're going to continue that into 3.0, and in this release, you know, we're taking it a step to actually collaborate with a strength conditioning coach. He's also a doctor of physical therapy at strength coach therapy on Instagram. His name is Teddy and he's got a ton of knowledge and, you know, just a super informative you know, Instagram page, and I've been following him and we've been collaborating you know, just on ideas or, you know, kind of developing a relationship. And I was like, man, why don't you put together some content that we can add to awaken training series for our, you know, our clients or participants to learn from, and to again, like bring a new awareness to how they might approach training, they might approach recovery, they might approach their active recovery days.


So that's something that we're like bringing to the table this next time, which I don't even think we've talked about, but it's really exciting to think, okay, there are other professionals out there that see the value in what we're doing and want collaborate with us too, again, extend that, you know, training education health and fitness education model that we're showing to a lot of people.


That's been something that's coming up more and more is like people who are participating within ATS are realizing that they want to learn more. And they're following your, you know, Marcus filly page, functional bodybuilding page. And you're putting out, you know, a dosage of content and education around like, Hey, here's the why behind why we're doing this? And it's teaching people that way, but there is like this craving to learn more about, like, I want to know more about what I'm doing and as they're going through it, it's cool to see people making connections on their own and having that desire to go out and seek out that type of, you know, knowledge in a sense. So I mean, I'm sure that's something you've noticed, but what are some of your thoughts around that, like other professionals that are reaching out, or maybe just enthusiasts who are like, I want to know more about these training principles.


Yeah, it's happened. That's probably been like the highlight of the past 12 weeks is that I've had a lot of people reach out to me. I've had, you know, video call conferences and calls with and messages and emails back and forth with coaches from around the world who are, you know, interested to learn more, like you're saying, I'm drawn to something about what, you know, what we're S what we stand for. And you know, and to me, that's exactly what has kind of led me down my fitness, you know, education path is, you know, seeing somebody or something out there that I resonated with and then, you know, seeking knowledge or information from that person and kind of following, falling along and then taking that information, putting it into my own life in the way that fits for me, you know, I don't, I don't, I don't pretend to think that this is like, this is the way you got to do training and eat and live for the rest of your life.


And this is the, you know, you got to live and breathe like awakened training series forever. I hope it's like I said, it's its tools that people can take into their life. And, and we're, we're learning, I'm continuing to learn from the people around me, from the participants, from the clients from my mentors. And then it's all kind of just, this is, this is our, this is my outlet to express what I'm learning. And I don't intend to stop learning anytime soon. So I do want to continue to have outlets for that. And I want to be able to share that with other, you know, individuals that want to upgrade their own experience, or they want to, you know, upgrade their client's experience. And they want to learn a little bit more about what we stand for and you know, at some of the exciting kind of planning and brainstorming and creativity that I'm going to be bringing to the next several months and really the next year is okay, what's, what's beyond awaken training series.


You know, how can we reach people and get our hands on participants? You know, are we going to host some awakened training experience where people can come into our revival, strength facility and be with us and spend several days learning and practicing, you know, with our coaches and with me, and, you know, that's exciting to me. And you know, having outlets for people to dive deeper than just the program, but get into the why behind was, what we're prescribing and what we're putting into our programs through like a, you know, awakened training series, like mentorship thing, where people can get a little deeper.


Yeah. you know what, we'll definitely bookmark that for a second, because what comes up for me is going through ATSC 1.0, and then 2.0, I've definitely learned some tools that I feel like are, you know, necessary to kind of pass along to other clients I'm working with. But at the same time, I've learned a lot about my individual weaknesses through just going through this program. And I don't know if there's there probably is some bias there because I'm involved with the individualized design and I'm doing it for other people. And so I make those connections in my brain. That's like, Oh, I see how this piece for me would be, you know, this is a little bit above my level. So you know, the other day, like this learning experience is something that's going to continue to evolve for, not just me, for you, for every participant that's there.


And you've been pretty open about that with like, Hey, like this is a group program and there are limitations when we do these group programs. And that transparency is key, I think. But something that comes up for me is like, I was doing, you know, one of the breathing pieces a couple of weeks ago. And, you know, whenever that assault Blake is there and it's like above like 12 calories, I, you know, I die on that thing if there's, you know, I think it was like row 250 meters do like this bar complex you know, like chest to bar toes to bar pull-ups, then it was like an assault bike, 21 calories. And then you like muscle-ups, right? So for me, the muscle-ups and the chest to bar and all that, it was totally fine. Like.


Do you look like a pro flying? I was there and then five minutes later on the assault, but it starts off like, you know, Oh, wow.


I feel great. Feel great. And then all of a sudden I just crash and burn. And I, I realized that for me looking back, like, okay, I had this experience with competitive weightlifting and work. Wasn't a huge part of that. And it was something that even after that, I didn't pursue solely, like I did group fitness for a while and there wasn't a, you know, development around you know, energy systems really. And that's something that's been recent for me is like really seeing like, Whoa, there's a way to test your work capacity. And there's a way to develop it. There are progressions for it. Exactly. Like there is for strength training for the functional bodybuilding accessory work that yeah. We're using it's just as organizing, I mean, you know.


Yeah. Ask it, ask any track and field coach who's taught, you know coached runners. It's like, there's a, there's a formula C somewhat for each person that's going to help them progress in that, in their sport, you know, or in their specific time domain that they want to develop. Right. So, yeah, you're, you're what you're talking about is like, there's a, you know, w with program design for individuals, it's about dose and response, you know, one dose is going to get you a response. And the response that we're looking for is, you know, blank, whatever it is that you're trying to develop in that client. Well, I got, let's say a hundred participants ATS, and there's one dose for a hundred different people. There's going to be probably a hundred different responses, you know, and as much as we may try and control how, you know, the, you know, what that response looks like, you can't do that when there are too many people, you can get close-ish for some, and you know, you can provide people some insight and you can give notes, like what we talked about.


Like, Hey, this should feel like this to help guide them on that. But you know, back to the example, you just said, it's like, well, Ms. But you're not, you know, I like I'm writing, you know, these sets and 21 counseling assault bike, like maybe I have 195 pounds, you know, a male athlete in mind thinking about that who's five foot 10. Okay. So 21 calories for that body size and, you know, bodyweight you know, is going to feel a lot different than for you, you know, probably 50 pounds lighter than that person. So you know, the dose, there was probably too high for you to achieve may be the response that we were looking for in that 21 cows, you know, if you're my individual design client, that's probably not going to be the prescription for what we were trying to achieve in that particular set.


So, you know, that's where I, I, you know like you said, transparent about the limitations of, you know, one group design is that we can't, I can't control all the variables. And you know, that's something that people get to make a choice about once they become aware, like, okay, if I really want to control more variables, if I really want to have a program designed and tailored for me, then maybe I seek out an individual coach. You know, if I'm not sure yet what I'm doing, and I just want to kind of experience some different training principles and philosophies, then we provide the information, like the notes about how things are supposed to feel. We give people real opportunities to compare and contrast different aspects of their fitness. And then, as you said, you had this, this year a little bias because you have some knowledge around individual coaching and design.


And, you know, you're exploring that on a daily basis with your clients, but even if you didn't have that, I think that after 24 weeks of doing this, you could really have some clear distinction between like, wow, I'm, I feel a lot more comfortable in this aspect of my training. I feel a lot more like a LA I feel a lot more lost in this other area. I'm not as fluent when it comes to, you know, let's just call it breathing work or sustainable aerobic efforts. You know, I don't have as much ability to kind of bounce between movements or I can't. I do. Okay. If it's a roller, but on a bike, I'm not doing okay. So versus weight training, you're like clean snatch jerk, like whatever this complex is, are like, you can handle it pretty well. So boom, it lights up this you know, the light bulb in your head.


That's like, yeah, maybe the only way I'm truly going, gonna learn that is if I get into the specifics, just like doing the weight training progressions, I need to get into the specifics of breathing progressions. And that is, you know, that's the awareness that I think a balanced, you know, I'm putting the quotes up, but a balanced group program can, can offer people. And that was my experience actually in 2000. And I want to say 10, I was following group programming at the time from James Fitzgerald. And, you know, I was having success in 80 plus percent of the stuff. And then there were like, you know, days where I would just be like, what is happening? I don't even know how to do this. And it just, that, that, that 20% of the time just really got highlighted for me. And that was when I was like, okay, James, you're my coach. Like I got to do this one one-to-one thing and that's really how I'm going to grow. So yeah, that, that's, that's good. That's a good point. You bring up in something that, you know, I think people hopefully over time, we'll have an opportunity to see and feel, and then make an informed decision about with their training going forward. Yeah.


A couple of different directions. I want to go with that. One is the dose and the response that if the dose is too high for somebody like that, the 21 calories for me was like death. And I'm doing it four times. It was like, Oh my gosh, this is never going to end like that. Be counterproductive to that, you know, development in that energy system. Right.


Maybe yeah. Counterproductive and, or just unproductive, right? It's like, I want to go get really good at swimming and you show up and there's just a mountain there. You're like, well, that's not where you're near, you're walking up a mountain. That's actually not a good idea. If you want to improve your swimming. Right. You know, if you want to improve sustainable aerobic efforts and you give somebody something that is like, you know, far too difficult for them to ever do sustainably, then they never even get experienced doing it. So it's, it might be non-productive or in the way you phrase it counterproductive. If you give too high a dose, and as a result, you get this like a high-intensity response, maybe a lactic acid response, or, you know, as a high-stress response, it ends up maybe, you know, messing somebody up more than, than the intent was.


And so they're re they're, they're going to take longer to recover from a training session where they pushed way too hard because of the wrong prescription. Not only did they not even touch the training zone that they were supposed to be in, but they went really hard. And then their training session the next day, or the next day, or the next week is impacted negatively. So yeah, it can be both, but definitely the that's a fine line, you know, and then it goes the other way too, you know, under prescribed, like not enough of a dose which I think some people experience in group design as well. And, and even, you know, any kind of design it's like, man, this isn't really enough for me. Like I need more, you know, or they're thirsty for more. And, you know, somebody wants to hold them back too much.


Now, a sustainable aerobic effort and pacing those two things for me, as we touched on a little bit last time and I'm like, it's foreign for me, but I'm realizing what the clients I'm dealing with too. That it's not just me. There's a lot of people that this stuff is really foreign to because they only know one gear. And you said last time it was like hanging out in that like lactic endurance type of, you know, bath. I think he said it was like a lactic bag. Yeah. Like if that's all, you know, I mean, you'll, that's just one energy system, right? Yeah.