The Art Of Coaching w/ James Fitzgerald
James Fitzgerald, founder/director of OPEX Fitness, has over 20+ years of experience when it comes to coaching. This episode is special to me because we talk about the craft itself with a lens that really illuminates what it means to be a coach. I wanted to understand how he organizes his thoughts, views the integration of systems, and structures high-level thinking. If you’re a coach, you do not want to miss this episode. If you’re an athlete, you’ll walk away with a whole new appreciation for the level of depth that goes into coaching.
(6:00) - Before Opex was founded in 1999
(9:12) - Making an impact on fitness
(10:31) - Becoming an original artist
(13:45) - Drive, patience, introversion, execution at the right time
(15:06) - Technician to Craftsman to Master
(18:02) - Becoming knowledgeable about the integration of everything
(21:08) - True depth & influence of coaches
(24:09) - Why do individuals need fitness coaching
(33:07) - How James organizes his mind and views systems
(36:30) - Using writing to organize your thoughts
(37:15) - Thoughts
(42:06) - Note-taking on your phone
(46:35) - Awareness
(48:33) - Relationship between a coach and client
(53:50) - Fitness delivery vs science education
(56:03) - Plus, minus, equal learning theory
(1:00:08) - How does the OPEX model work
(1:02:16) - Business systems
(1:07:26) - Start with why
(1:15:30) - Providing value -- what does it mean?
(1:17:20) - Defining your priorities
(1:21:18) - Inner narrator
(1:23:18) - Intuition
(1:24:18) - Functional bodybuilding
Resources we may have talked about:
Episode w/ CJ Martin
Episode w/ Marcus Filly
Start With Why
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
The Way of The Superior Man
The Values Factor
How you can connect with James:
Hey everyone. This is James and you're listening to the airborne mind show.
Hey guys, Misbah Haque here, thank you so much for joining me today, and welcome back to another episode of the airborne mind show. Before we get started. There are two places that I would love to point you to. Number one is the home base, the airborne mind.com check out some of the free tools and free sample programs, training videos, and things like that. If you're somebody who is struggling with strict, pull-up strict handstand, pushups pistol squats, and things of that nature, check out some of the free resources. And if it's relevant to you, give it a shot and let me know what you think I would love to hear from you. Number two, if you have three minutes and you've been enjoying the episodes that I've been putting out and you would love to hear more of this, it would make my day and mean the world to me.
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And you can get that there along with a list of all the previous books that guests have recommended on the show. So once again, that is airborne, mind.com forward slash reading list. So today my guest is James Fitzgerald, who is the founder of OPEX and James, I don't even know where to begin with this conversation because I was so ecstatic for it because when you look back at the top coaches that you admire, like people who have been on the show like CJ, Martin, Marcus filly, Jared moon, a lot of who they point to and who their influences were, you know, links back to James or an OPEX in some way. So when I'm choosing who to learn from next, I'm somebody who likes to follow the links. And that led me to discover the OPEX CCP level one, which I'm currently a part of and having a great time with I really resonate with, you know, the training philosophy, you know, of OPEX and the education that they're putting out.
It's phenomenal. And so in this episode, we talk about the mastery and the art and the craft of coaching. We talk about providing value, what that means and how to communicate your message. And something interesting to note is that James gets into how he organizes his thoughts and processes information. You know, we talk about providing value. We talk about setting your priorities and touch on such a variety of subjects. I think that if you are a coach, you are absolutely in for a treat. And if you are an athlete, I believe that you're going to walk away with a new level of appreciation for your coach and the level of depth that goes into, you know, the craft of coaching. I mean, so I want to read you, you know, his bio off the OPEC site because I think it sums it up really well, but let me get into it.
The guy that paints the picture, James is the founder of OPEX, formerly opt and the international center of, for fitness when not coaching, he's a full-time husband, father, and fitness athlete who has 20 plus years of experience and service as a strength coach and technician tireless practice on refining energy system work, nutritional and lifestyle balancing techniques and training of other coaches has made OPEX a sought after method of bringing fitness to a higher order. James has found a desire and passion to understanding fitness through assessment, testing, research programming, and more. He has had many years of experience as an athlete from early childhood into adulthood from playing top-level soccer, short and long-distance running to CrossFit where he was crowned the fittest on earth winner of the 2007 CrossFit games, this episode. And this conversation was such an honor and such a pleasure. I had so much fun with it. And so I hope you enjoy this episode. And more importantly, I hope you take something away from it, James, welcome to the show. Hey, it's going to be here. Yeah. I want to start by kind of rewinding a little bit, you know, OPEX formerly known as OTT was founded in 1999. Could you tell me what you are up to before then and what kind of led you up to starting OPEX?
Yeah, for sure. I was a young kid who was an athlete who would look out the window every day is that the teacher was talking about some crap on Canadian geography or social studies and just, just flying by my head, you know and not catching any outfit and just thinking about like playing street hockey or, you know, can't wait till badminton practice or to go for a run for cross country. So my mind was deeply steeped in athleticism and just physical literacy really for my whole life. And then as a young adult, I had to figure out, you know, really what I wanted to specialize in that area. So I got deeply into really soccer and hockey on a deeper level. And I had an injury with soccer which led me to then saying, well, what am I going to do with my life and how am I going to really figure out what I just fell in love with, which was training and conditioning. And so then I just got into university education to study physical literacy and the science behind it and everything about physical education. And right after that, it led me to the 1999 date which is really when I you know, as a business we started, which was just me. Before that period of time, just before it, I was still coaching. And at the university level.
So back then, did you have a vision that, you know, what you have accomplished today would kind of come about, or where you just kind of operating at the level of, you know, we're a gym, we're just doing our thing and then over time, this all kind of came about.
Yeah, I think at the time I had started my journey on fitness or in the education of that really, which was like in 92 in late 92, really. When I started doing some resistance and like really figuring out what the heck's going on here, no, I was just completely unconscious, you know, it was like, I just knew like right now at this period of time I loved fitness. I loved exercising. I loved something about the sporting involvement and the connection to those things. And I didn't see, I think just based upon biology and, you know, we're someone is at that point in their life. I think to look too far ahead, we really just don't have all the capabilities to look that far ahead at that time. So you really are just trying to refine what you're currently doing at the time, you know, which is, you know, a pecking order. Like how, what, what am I doing in this entire thing, you know, and what are the filters me that are dictating what I think I'm supposed to do? You know, I'm surrounded by people that are like, well, you got to finish school, you got to go on to a higher-order education. You got to make something of yourself, you know, you're going to develop a family or you got to have a future. So that's the only thing that I really had in the back of my head at that time.
Now, you know, fast-forwarding to today, when we take a look at everything you guys are up to now, and what you've built, what would you say is kind of the mission right now for OPEX?
Yes. To make an impact on fitness, you know, to really be because of the sign of the times, I guess you could say, you know, if this was 1985, we'd probably have a different mission, you know? But because of 2017 the advent of technology, the investigation into stress response for humans the massive shift in political social situations the overpopulation, the decreased soils, yada yada yada yada, you know, today we really want to make a massive impact on fitness. And my mission is to leave that legacy so that people recognize a shift in the pendulum of what fitness really means and the true definition of it whether it's sporting or whatever your perspective is on that. And the way that I plan to do it is to consumers through education, but through coaches so that I can spread the news around that idea from coaches into people. So that's our, that's our big, big, big-ticket.
Yeah. So I came across you from simply kind of following the links. And I mentioned this before we started CJ Martin was on the show and I had heard that he spent $30,000 on coaching education when he was transitioning from being a lawyer to a coach or gym owner. And so part of that, I was like, how did you spend that? You know, and he definitely mentioned that you were a mentor. He went through the, you know, OPEX, OPEX coaching education then Marcus came on the show and I really resonated with a lot of what Marcus had to talk about. And so I was like, okay, who has Marcus kind of learned from? And he pointed to you as well, he pointed to Mike Lee, then it's like, okay, who has Mike Lee learned from? And that's like, it points back to you. So I'm curious, was, did you, do you have certain influences and people that you learn from, or from day one, w do you consider yourself kind of like an original artist that was shaped through purely experiences?
Yeah. I think probably the latter that as I experienced things in my own world with regards to my own physical performance as to what I wanted to do as an athlete or as a human and just as a human in general. But also as a coach, I think just over time, it was just a natural evolution that I wanted to be really good at my trade. And so the competitive aspect of that was a carryover to fitness. So, you know, I'll go back, but it'll, it'll kind of make sense as an athlete, you know, and everyone's different as to why they do that. But as an athlete, I hated losing. I was the worst loser. I had the worst attitude around that even as a young kid. And I have no regrets on that and I have no judgment on it.
That's just what's just in my bones. I love being right. I love being ahead of things and I love winning. And so that just transitioned into my job. So we might trade in fitness as a coach. I wanted to know all the answers I wanted to know before other people knew the answers. I wanted to do the research and do the time and spend the money to be ahead of, everyone who was in my trade. And so that, that's just my own thing. It wasn't a narcissistic or you know, a self-indulging prophecy that I had in my head. It was just like, that's a competitive instinct for me that I just get really fired upon. And so it, it led into, I think back to your question, it just led into me over time. People started asking questions like, well, how did you do that?
And I was like, well, let me tell you about that. So CCP and educating other coaches and having, you know, great people like the three you had mentioned in CJ, Mike, and Marcus around me. I mean, we were just all attracted because we all wanted that same thing, which was a gaining of knowledge our own you know, leveling in education. And I just, then at that point in time, I was an early adopter to the method of intense fitness. I looked at it, I think deeply that a lot more than a lot of other people may have. And so I asked some really uncomfortable, but powerful questions that attracted these great people to me. So I think it was the latter in your question that it was just an evolutionary aspect of me just filling the gaps in the continuum for everyone because I had, you know, just wanted to be competitive. Really.
That's really funny that you say that because Steve Martin has mentioned something before, where he's talking about following a certain blueprint. Everybody thinks that they're following a blueprint, but along the way, you're going to have little strays here and there. And over time, those little strays are what kind of adds up and makes you that unique, original, or makes you appear unique and original when in reality it was just your kind of questioning things along the way. Like how can I do this better, for example?
Yeah, the I mean, that's a whole, that's a whole other show really on the philosophical aspect of how all those things fall into place. But my, my personal essence, which sits well with me is is words like drive and words like patients you know introversion you know, execution at the right time. You know, those things really are words that sit powerfully with me. And everyone has, like, you just said their own unique way of going about doing stuff. And I think, you know, I think what you just said, those that kind of sits well with me.
And it, usually I ask this in the latter part of the show, but I mean, you have a big bookshelf sitting behind you and then a bunch of books. You must be a voracious reader. I'm curious. Has that been kind of your, you know, the method of learning that's resonated with you the most, or has it been seminars? Has it been, you know, having conversations with people, what seems to be, you know, the way that you learn?
Yeah. Well, you only have time to read when you have time. So you know, based upon points in my career that was always a staple. So this is just a collection for a long period of time that some of my mentors, both in fitness in life in general were well-studied. And it was just a way for me too, you know unload my brain to relax, but also to take in some information to see systems, how all things work together. And so that was, you know, I wouldn't say voracious, I, I'm kind of like a three a month, three books a month kind of person. And that can change based upon intensity, but I'll be honest with you. There were times in my career where, you know, I remember training on 70, 80 hours, you know, personal training bookings and, and schedules for years where, you know, I only picked up a couple of books, but I at the same time would leave on a Saturday night and fly somewhere to listen to this genius on a Sunday to come back Sunday night, to start again at 5:00 AM Monday morning.
So I think it was a combination really of just seeing what was out there at the time, because the mastery of coaching really, you move from this level of, as of a technician into a craftsman, into a master, and people have a connotation that master means expert, and it's the complete opposite of an expert. So masters still know they don't know a whole lot of things, but they really have created this idea on how all those systems work together. So they're an integrated individual, right. And as a coach, but at the time, back in the day, I was truly a technician. You know, I was just taking things in and practicing with these new tools. Right. But then as I became a craftsman, I did less actual reading and courses because I was working, you know, I was in the trenches trying to figure out how all this works together. Like, why did that work for them and not for them? And why is this system effective for these people and what, and so, and then you come spitting out that end and it's like, wow, you know, it, you know, I have some time now to do some more reading, some more research and, and stay on top, but the long answer to, I think it was an ebb and flow of based upon my, as a coach really.
Right. So there's like periods of you, you know, thinking and being, and then there are periods of you, like just doing.
Yeah, for sure.
Yeah. something that I feel like mastery to a lot of people, you know, the way that we view it is like, it's an end goal, right? It's like something that you reach it's a result. And in reality, mastery is almost a bit of a mindset because if it was an end goal, then the, you know, the curiosity aspect wouldn't be there. Right. You'd be, you'd be at this level where you're like, okay, I've mastered this. And I feel like as soon as curiosity dies there, there's no room for growth at that point. So it's more of kind of you know, it's more of a mindset. Could you dig a little bit more into kind of what mastery means to you?
Yeah, for sure. For me it as I've said, I'll say it eloquently may be in a different way, but you really start becoming knowledgeable of the integration of everything. So when, when you get to that level of mastery in whichever you wish to do, you know, a master of the rings, a master of vaulting, a master of weightlifting, a master of personality disorder, research, a master of science, like, you know, you at either of those people, you know, through what I consider to be mastery in all those areas, there's, there is similarity and a parallel amongst all of those individuals for seeing how all things are integrated to that one area that they're a master of. So that, that really, that really just allows you to see that they're, you know, they may not be a master as being a father, you know, or they may not be a mass.
They have mastery of like human experience, but within that area of mastery that's what to me is, is the, is the definition of that. And I find it very threatening actually to try to become a master coach because there's so, but it's a great challenge. As you said, you're only going to grow, on the balance of support and challenge. There's a massive challenge to be a master coach because people, I don't know if people really, until you get in the trenches for a long period of time, you understand just how much we need to have in our toolbox for human behavior, for prescription, for, for connecting all things together for long-term planning, for seeing a decade away, you know, for day to day implementation, how to commute. Like it's, it's in-depth. I mean, I'm sorry, sorry to take you down a road on the coach's perspective, but mastery and coaching unbiased to it. But I think it's one of the most admirable things that a human could do. I, I, and I really do believe that I'm biased in it, but coaching mastery is a very admirable, highly challenging thing for people to do. So for it's a challenge. Like I don't even think I can possibly capture it in time in my life that that's, that's where I believe coaching mastery sits. So that'll give you some kind of ideas too, you know, what I'm doing for the next 40 years or 30 or whatever.
And, and lets you know, let's peel back the layers on that a little bit because it's true. You are around, like, if you're an athlete you're around your coach, more than you are, you know, your Dr. May be certain practitioners and other people. So coaches have a huge influence on your life in a variety of ways. And we've seen many times, especially if you're maybe, you know, a CrossFit coach, you have people who come in who are maybe couch potatoes. And because they've started, you know, implementing, you know, some of your programming, some of your coaching, some of your classes it leads them down. Other rabbit holes, like all of a sudden now they start to care about their nutrition. All of a sudden they start to care about getting to sleep on time. And this puts you in maybe a happier mood and it trickles outwards into all other aspects of life. So you're right. It is very powerful.
Yeah. I mean, a simple example that you just touched on that can give people a little insight into it in case there. I just feel like I need to explain it some more, so people can see the depth of it, but, you know, someone comes in and says they just want to be more fit. And you know, you have to have the tools in place to ask the right kinds of questions. So you don't take nine months to peel the onion, layers away, to make them recognize that they actually don't want to be fit, that they want to be loved and accepted, or they want to have some kind of experience in life that they haven't had, or they want to truly have some mentorship and guidance, or maybe they've never been accepted within a tribe. Like these kinds of things. A coach needs to have, you know, the smell of the ability to smell that out. And now you need to be able to communicate in a language that allows that person to recognize an open space. So it's no judgment, a possibility for a nudge, a possibility for, you know, this opening, you know an aha moment. And that's just, and that's just in, in behavior, right. There are 25 other things. So, you know, a coach is just a wonderful, you know job. That's very admirable in fitness coaching for all the things that we, that we want to help people with.
Yeah. An easy, I think the way to look at it is when you're thinking about nutrition, right? Nutrition is I feel like a beast of a topic and anybody can give out a macro prescription or certain numbers to follow just like a coach could write up a program and give it to you. But there are so many other layers that are involved. Like, as you said, the behavior aspect, like, okay, if you have your meal plans and you have your numbers, why aren't you executing on it? Why aren't you doing it? How do you stick with it? What, what is it that you really, is it the 10 pounds that you want to shave off? Or is it the love of the process and the feeling that you're actually doing something to get to a goal? And I feel like you gotta be kind of artful with the way that you're able to get people to realize that yeah.
Yeah. The prescription is science, but the way you communicate and do it as art, for sure. Yeah.
Yeah. My, so my first experience, right. Being truly coached, I think I Def, I, I, I wrestled for, you know, quite a few years when I was younger, but I wasn't very good. Didn't really have any awareness of my body, no mental toughness. Like I wasn't really developed as an athlete when I was wrestling, but my first experience being truly coached was probably when I was like 16 or 17. I started working with a trainer who was an amateur boxer. He had gone like 49 and O or something like that. And I was just fascinated by the way that he moved. And so he kind of took me under his wing. And for six months, I kind of immersed myself into the process of just showing up, doing the shadow boxing, doing the jump roping, and just hitting the bag, hitting the mitts.
And that was the first moment where I saw the adaptation and the athletic development kind of unraveled because week one, you know, I was awkward. I couldn't get all the combos. Right. I thought I was hitting hard, but it really wasn't hitting hard. But then six to seven weeks later, all of a sudden I'm making noise every time I'm hitting the Mitt. And there's just this flow state that's there. Like my whole body is kind of working as one. So that was the first time. I saw how things kind of really pieced together. And I definitely absorbed some of that as I, you know, went on to become a personal trainer and tried to take some of those concepts. And eventually, I got started in group fitness classes. So I was teaching spinning. I was teaching boot camps and, and you name it.
And this is me reflecting back. I had no idea probably about the difference between being a fitness instructor versus being a coach until I had stepped into you know, the CrossFit gym that I'm at right now for the first time. And I went through that experience and on day one, as soon as I went through that experience of like a coach walking around and not just being like your workout buddy, and essentially screaming at you, which is kind of like what I was doing, right. I was working out with these people, not necessarily going around and coaching them. I knew from day one, that that's kind of what I wanted to do. And then over time then you realize, okay, wow, there is a difference between being a fitness instructor and being a coach. And I know that's something that you have a pretty strong stance on as well. Could you dig into that a little bit?
Yeah, for sure. Well, on a, on a quick aspect of it, I think that we've got to go back to the history of fitness coaching and then it, then it lays the groundwork for an understanding of it. So cause if people it's complicated, but you want to say like, well, you know, you really want to ask the question, why the hell do individuals need guidance on fitness? You know, so if you sit with that, if you sit with that for a couple of seconds, you could really see that fitness coaching is actually a reactive mechanism to human fault. Okay. So think about that for a second. Why do we need to have people prescribing how to reproduce and survive and live long and prosper? You know, what are we, why are we doing that? So if you, if you really sit with it, you could see that it's, it's largely manufacturing of the fitness movement as a reactive situation to a stressed situation of humans.
Okay. So in, in large perspective it, it came about because people saw, you know, especially within the sixties and seventies, the advent of the body beautiful fitness before that period of time was like, well, are you going to war? Okay, well, you're probably gonna have to do these physical pieces in order to fight, okay, all your boxer. Oh, well, you may have to like jump rope and run around and like actually practice, you know, getting in shape, are you a sporting athlete? Well, after your smoke and, and a Coke you, you may need to do some bench press or something, you know? And so that was the aspect of fitness as to, and I don't mean to like layer it low, but that's the complete honesty in terms of what fitness is. And then the body beautiful comes out. And then people start recognizing this idea around the body, beautiful gym, start being promoted of where you go to make your body beautiful.
And at the same time, of course, there's this intersection of the computer and fast track, you know things in technology humans are doing less work, yada yada, yada, yada. So you can see how this all gets to this point in time where people are now, you know, in droves, going up escalators, and going into a fitness facility to be more fit. But it actually is to prevent all they're doing to themselves on a day-to-day basis, which is, you know, yada yada yada poor foods. And I don't mean to paint a picture, but let's be honest as to how we get to this point of fitness instruction. Okay. So along that period of time, you know, people were, well, we should probably investigate this. Like what happens when you do a bicep curl or you get tired on a treadmill, or, you know, you're doing all this fitness.
So science-backed all of it. There's lots of information, certainly to share on resistance and aerobic work. We've connected all of it to medicine really because that's the only way information like that's going to make money in a fitness world. And we really don't have any idea outside of that. What the heck is going on when people do 10 minutes, accountable, swings, rowing, and burpee, we're just fricking guessing on it. So the, you know, this, this idea came to be that, okay, if this is going to be popular and people are going to be, do it, let's get a whole situation behind it. Let's create a system where people can pay to like, quote-unquote, do fitness. And then of course you can see, then it's like, well, there should be experts in this. And if the experts in this, who are we going to choose from?
Well, the initial experts came from people who just look good naked. Those were personal trainers. Those were people that would give fitness advice. Why? Because that's what I was doing overtime. The pendulum swung towards an educational aspect, that education though, the education based upon it, to be honest, is about 50 years old, relative to what it needs to be, to give people adequate fitness quote-unquote fitness for today, because it's still based upon the scientific method of resistance and aerobic training, which is to promote benefits within the medical system, not for fitness and longevity. So any anyone that gets spit out on the back end in main Mo most times today in most schools is going to have, you know, adequate scientific background as the investigation of those things, but they're going to fall flat on their face in most cases when they get in front of you and me, and we want them to be our coach, right?
Because as I told you about what coaching is relative to what fitness is, so we have to know that story. So you understand my biases as to where it sets. Okay. And understanding that story, as you can see how it all propagated to, to today. Well, there's, you know, in the early two-thousands, this massive movement started to happen. People are like, that's not fitness. This is what fitness is, which was a great revolution in terms of what fitness is, right. And me specifically, and maybe you, we all benefit from that. Let's just call it a movement because it was a deeper investigation. The problem with it is that to current time today, anyone is allowed to prescribe it and anyone is allowed to do it. So it's not a right or wrong, but there's no governance on what fitness is the definition, the true definition, how it applies to people day to day, how to instruct it for long-term progression for individuals, how to provide professional instruction as to where it fits in everyone's lifestyle.
It's, it's well researched as to how it applies to the sport because sporting, you know, involvement is a very deep process that people have captured and been experts in a period of time. And it's a specialty, but when it comes to overall fitness, that's why I'm so adamant on pushing towards the governance of knowing why you're prescribing what you are prescribing because honestly, it's just rape and pillage recurrently within the fitness coaching market. So I make statements like that, which is what is a coach versus what a fitness instructor is simply because of what you just mentioned. A fitness coach has massive depth and breadth and care and competency and consistency inside of them. And a fitness instructor is someone who's just instructing fitness. And the, you have to understand the massive differences between the two and why I clearly delineate them.
Were you ever a fitness instructor or would you consider yourself have been a coach the entire time?
Definitely a fitness instructor at an unconscious level, just learning as a technician because I have no concept or ideas to how it's going to apply to the fitness market for the people that were in front of me with, you know, said knowledge and education and, and pieces that would, I would be participating in at the time, which is, you know, the early twenties or late teens.
Gotcha. And you know, when I logged in to the OPEX CCP level one, you know, system or I was getting my walkthrough for the whole, you know, curriculum, I was blown away because I'm looking at this and I'm like, how in the world does James like, organize this information? How did all of this kind of come about? I imagine you getting out of bed in the morning, putting on a robe, you know, sitting in front of a big whiteboard, that is the size of a wall and just writing with a marker until the ink dries. But clearly, you know, there's something behind that. It's probably not exactly what I just said, but how do you look at all of these systems and, and view this information and then give it in a very or deliver it in a very digestible way.
Yeah. it's it, you're, you're correct. It's all the story is correct. Except the robe. I have a CA I have a cab, I had a cabin. I still have a cabin in Northern Alberta that I went to. And for a week, I basically just laid my heart out on paper. To, I just remember back to those times, I kind of just get, you know, taken back by remembering how in-depth it was, it was kind of a John Nash moment of just putting together of all my teachings and alignment of it. But as far as systems I have to, I have to really thank Bernie Nova Koski. He was a mentor of mine. He passed away years ago, but he was a he had a PhD in organizational strategies. And he was a master of teaching others about fundamental systematics.
And he taught me in, you know, from 2001 to 2011 after his, after his passing about systems. So and that's just, it that'll just give you like a base support as to like, why I think about the things I do or how I organize my thoughts and how I orchestrate it and, and order things is because of understanding, if you don't understand what systems are, you can't create systems. So, and if you don't understand how pieces in systems work together in a universal concept, you will never be able to piece things together. So the Mo the biggest challenge that he worked with me on, which was my organization of my thoughts, because it took me years to even practice that what he called higher order thinking. But the whole time, while I was learning that I could pick up a book on fricking plumbing, you know, and see mastery as to how that, to specific principles of what I was giving in fitness.
So you can imagine then everywhere, all things just start to like come together when you understand those systems. So back to the point of coaching and laying on a whiteboard. Yeah. It was just a reflection of all I had done in coaching. When I decided to put together the education program of saying what was successful truly in my own biases, right. Was life coaching, great nutritional prescriptions, assessing someone, giving a great design and having a business to wrap around it. That's what I saw as being like the most important things that I saw were successful. How do I create a system of that was just based upon all of my experiences and saying like, this is what I believe to be the best way to organize and orchestrate that in a manner so that you can see it digest it and be inspired and upgrade your knowledge.
Coach. Wow. Okay. So I want to go down this rabbit hole for a bit, and then we'll climb back out. But how would you say, like, do you still use writing to organize your thoughts?
Yeah. it's, it's everywhere all the time. It's a nonstop aspect of just getting stuff off my brain. I have a whiteboard that I consistently put stuff up on a wipe off. We had, you know, had meeting the other day on the future of fitness, you know, like in 2029, what is fitness and fitness prescription gonna look like? And it was it was a mash of information. We still put program designs up there. So yeah, I do a lot of writing. I keep Evernote files from my own training and my own perspectives on stuff. Yeah. And then that's how I worked.
Some of those things. So you have a way of kind of taking a look at certain thoughts and then releasing it by putting it down on paper. And you know, not everybody has that skill in the very beginning. Some people view thoughts as defining them. Right. Thoughts are you right. If you were to describe to me and we'll keep this super open-ended, whatever comes up for you, if I said, could you go off on the word thoughts? What does that mean to you? Could you dig into that?
Yeah. Well, I think just because you had talked about having it on paper I think that my thoughts do go on paper and I think my thoughts being on paper, or sometimes stuff like your, your group may not even see it, but there's some things that you just won't understand. And I don't even understand, but by, by me actually going pen to paper, it's a release of some things that are, is clouding my movie real. That is not important to the overall picture, but you can imagine if I had done this for 20 something years, you're going to obviously see systems of how my thought process works, because some of it, you know, I'll take this piece of paper and this booklet, and in a couple of months, I'll be like, yeah, that's gone and throw it away. There's nothing on it. That's like groundbreaking that I don't already know, but it does it validates consistency in those principles that I've always seen.
So my thoughts go to paper. And then I, you know, I think about things whenever I think about things that are really deep. I have my phone nearby me all the time, because I have a spot on my phone to keep like really heavy ideas, ideas that are inspirational and provoking and like challenging. You know, I'll be biking up my Hill on the way home and have to stop and be like, Oh my God, you know, mixed modal pieces. If the muscle endurance contraction is going to be this fast, you have to be thinking like, it'll just like, those ideas are coming up and I'm taking those thoughts and ideas, I guess. And they're becoming one. So that's where I go. When you say thoughts is, is, you know, putting it on paper, trying to collect it and create like, what the hell is where's that coming from and why is that the case?
I feel like writing is so underrated, especially as technology has become more and more advanced. Have you ever heard of something called morning pages? No, sir. Okay. So this is something I've been doing probably for maybe nine months now, and pretty much every day, if I've missed a day, it's probably hasn't been missed a day. Like I'll do it later on in the day. But the idea is that you start your day with this, and it's three pages of long handwriting that w uninterrupted. And it has to be long hand, you can't write it on your phone or anything, but what it does is it writing and slowing down, doing it, longhand forces you to think, right. And it has to be uninterrupted. So once you start going, you typically, aren't allowed to lift your pen back up. You just want to let everything out that is kind of on your mind.
So in the very beginning, probably the first month, two months, like you'll write about the weirdest stuff, right? Like you're going to be talking about the coffee that you're drinking. Like just anything to get it down on paper, but over time that gets kind of old. And then you start to address maybe the bigger problems that are more relevant to you right now, whether that comes down to your training, whether that comes down to coaching or systems like you mentioned. And that is truly, I think, where I've realized the value of getting stuff down on paper, because sometimes if there's flaws in the way that you're thinking, I mean, when you look at it on paper essentially, or you say it out loud, you're like, Whoa, that doesn't make sense. And that just forces you to go into, you know, kind of questioning yourself a little bit deeper.
Yeah, no, I love that idea in that process. I don't think I'd initially have the patience, but it'd be a good thing over time to really like, you know, slow people down. I love the idea that for a prescription I'm going to, I'm going to take that one and use it for some folks who, who really do appreciate just trying to create thoughts and put it together in a, in a fashion. I could see it also being super threatening to some people just to get them to slow down, whether that's a good or bad thing. I mean, it's, it's a really good point. Cause I do know you know, a lot of coaches that I work with, they you know, just type their so fast and they're creating thoughts in an Evernote or in a specific way to keep information. But they may not be retaining it at a certain way simply because they're just taking everything, they just learning and repeating it and words on a electronical platform. Whereas you slow down and you write it down, you're really putting in some, you know, slow let's call it deep practice. You know, which, which may lead to, you know, having those thoughts contained at a deeper level.
So would you say that you have a place in your phone? You said you go there to put down heavy ideas, but are they, are they certain problems that you're trying to solve?
Yeah, those are actually, those are like a list of actionable things that I need to, I need to get out. Like I need to speak about, I need to teach. I need to invest the gate. Those are very actionable. Like you better get this checked off over the next couple of days or you're going to go crazy, that kind of thing. So those are the ones where I know I can't allow them to come through my movie reel and let them pass. Right. I have to stop everything because just based upon experience, I know that those are ones that are, that really mean something to me for educating other people or also really just learning on a deeper level about some things or like I had this insight the other day in terms of, but I mean, this will show you the, like the depth of it.
Like you talked about it in longhand, that weird that comes up in your head, like you're looking at your coffee and it's like snakes, like where the hell is from. But like, I, you know, I was I was by cross country biking and I stopped to take a, an Instagram shot of like where I was biking and, and the photo of a cactus. And then I looked at the cactus and just went off for a couple of minutes on this idea around long-term athlete development in terms of the slow approach for the cactus. So if you understand cactus, you know, you can get ideas in terms of their age based upon their arms. So I looked around and saw, you know, the position of the cactus and how long they were able to be sustainable. And you see where your brain goes. It's like all these systems make sense in terms of sustainability, of any organism based upon their environment, how they adapt to stress what's inside of them, what are supporting birds that are on top of them? You know? I mean, like, so I've just given you a weird insight into like, where that goes when you truly want to capture those aha moments or, or ideas in your head, you know?
Yeah, absolutely. And piggy laughed
At the fact that I I explained that, but I'm just being honest. That's where my head was going on.
Oh yeah, absolutely. I think that, so I used to do something called brain dumping, which is kind of what you're talking about. You just release not just on paper, but have an area on my phone where anything I'm thinking about that I don't want to cloud judgment or anything like that, put it down. And the idea is you come back and you deal with it later. But I, I didn't do that. I just would keep repeating the same things as like every 10 days I would start a new brain dump because it was so long to scroll down to the bottom. It got annoying and I'm like, all right, let me start over. But now what I started doing is something called like a problem list. And what you do is you categorize it into, let's say even when you're trying to help certain people, maybe it's a client may be it's a business partner, whatever it might be, you, you put it down there and you revisit the same problem list over and over. So what happens is anytime you have a thought, you might kind of build on top of it and over time without you actually sitting down and making a whole formal process, like I'm going, okay, I'm going to think about this and I'm going to deal with it. It's kind of evolving just by, you know, Uganda go on about your day and slowly adding little pieces to the puzzle.
Yeah. I think what I was doing was the same thing. Cause they were a checklist of problems that I was like, I had to have to solve these now. There's something that comes up for different reasons that and I mean, they'd been bigger picture, which were not, we didn't propose to get into, but you gotta, you gotta, you know, I think about things of, you know, what, what do individuals do that allows these opportunities to happen? You know, so that's a, that's a deeper level of understanding, you know, cause you, and I can talk about the practice of thought organization and structure, but maybe some individuals can't have the consciousness or awareness or the time or the self introspection to actually think about their thoughts. Right. Because all that's all that's going on in the thoughts is just a fast movie real of doing. And so that's that's a secondary conversation or something to think about that. We, I think we've just walk over that and say, Oh, it's very easy to organize your thoughts and just put it down and then you can solve problems like, well, what happens if you're not conscious enough to even think about your thoughts? And so that's, that's what we teach in life coaching is actually that first is that the coach has to really organize their thoughts by B being superior people who notice a lot of things.
Oh yeah. That, that is a huge part of it. And I mean, that's totally relevant, I think to what we're talking about now, how do you, how did you kind of get to that point? Were you always a very aware person or was that developed and honed over time?
I think there was a couple of things, definitely from an environment I was around some people that certainly taught it, you know in terms of you know, I remember my mentors in different languages, you know, saying it's really helpful to be curious, you know, and I was like, wow, that's a powerful, liberating statement because curiosity can sometimes, like you said earlier, lead to nothing, but it's so effective to play right. To play with an idea and thoughts and to pull something out, you know, and be able to do that. But in essence, you know, that injury I talked about when I was a young soccer player and I got injured up to that point in time, I was the athlete. And so when I got hurt, I was like, I'm just a number. You know, I'm not, I'm nothing.
I had an identity crisis at that age. I was very depressed for a couple of years. And it just, you know, wore on me that I had this like, no, I had nothing, you know, that's basically what was going on in my head. Obviously it's different now, but it was a really tough time. But I think because of that switch, I started to recognize, let's just call it, you know, something a little bit bigger than what I was, whatever that is. Everyone has a different version as to what that is, but something bigger than me. And I think it's at that point in time where I became super curious around what is bigger than me and that curiosity led to like asking thousands and thousands of clients about their life and what they're doing and how do they going to get better and prescribing, you know, thousands of prescriptions based upon that.
Yeah. And that's something that I admire about the, you know CCP level one and why I was drawn to it was because you do take a wholesome approach to it. It's not just a deep dive into program design. It's not just a deep dive into nutrition or lifestyle coaching. You, you know, over a year you know, a year long period, you dig into each one of these aspects. How for you at least, how do you view the connection between lifestyle coaching, nutrition, program design and all that kind of coming together?
Yeah. Well, it's about really, it's about you know, your context of a relationship, a relationship between one coach and one client. And within that relationship, all the things you had mentioned happens, the relationship itself is actually a business practice. Right. So how does, how is business involved? Well, you know, we could, we could ask interesting questions on, well, what are you going to do? Are you just going to, you know, talk to people and share information? Okay, great. Well then, you know, how do you put food on your table? How do you pay for shelter? How do you get from point a to point B? So you can see that the relationship in fitness coaching really is the business practice. What happens between those two individuals is really an Alliance where the coach gets to share and educate. And that's their highest values, right.
Is to educate and direct and lead and, and and be someone who's who's there for them in multiple different ways. And the value that the client gets is the sharing of that information and direction for their prescription. So there's a fair trade value what's in between is an assessment it's program design and it's nutrition and it's consulting, right? So the relationship itself contains all of those things. We call program design and nutrition, the tools, and we call consulting the lead into an assessment. So where does life coaching and all those things sit together well on a relationship with someone as a fitness coach and a client, you're going to be developing a relation over all period of time and just using those tools inside of that relationship for that entire period. So that's how I see them all working together. Really, it's a non-stop consulting process of building a deeper, a more in-depth relationship with someone
Now, most people that come to you and, and, you know, embark on this journey and join the CCP level one, what is kind of their background? Like, are they, did they go through the education system and study kinesiology? Did they come from a completely different field? And now they want to do, you know, become a coach. What if you were to kind of summarize and make a sweeping generalization really who is that person that's coming to you?
Yeah, they're a mixed bag of people based upon what our program entails, because our program doesn't entail you know, the specifics of the Krebs cycle and mitochondrial dysfunction with low SPO two levels, right? So we have, we have a very clear guidelines and principles, right? So we say things like, well, if you want to train a robotically, there's some simple things. There's no such thing as a free lunch. This is progression of slow to fast. These are the kinds of things you need to do in that I'm out. So as a human, you could have an engineering background. You could be like CJ Martin and have a law background and have some perspective of fitness, get inside that and go, yeah, that just make sense because I know, I know fitness on a scientific level or, you know let's call it on lab level, but I also note in a real world level and what CCP is, is fitness for a real world level.
And to give coaches enough, enough of consciousness of fitness to move them into feeling confident about their prescriptions. So who do we get that goes into it? I'm telling you it's a mixed bag of folks. I just had one gentlemen finish up. He's, where's he living now? Well, it's beside the, Oh, he moved away from Arizona. He's now in Florida. He's finishing his masters in exercise science and he just finished the CCP. And now he wants to come back and work here at OPEX HQ or do some research, teamed up with me, meaning that I'm not going to do the research, but he wants to do his PhD in a certain area. And whenever I, whenever I know that I love being around those people, because I got a lot of things that I'd like people to like dig into for a couple of years that I'm very passionate about that they could possibly do and be inspired by.
So that's one example of a person. And then there's, there's you know, numbers of other people who just went to CrossFit for a couple of years, did level one, you know, got into fitness and they're like, eh, you know, I just want to see something different. I want to basically figure out fitness on a deeper level. And then we just kind of like, we just show up on Facebook or through word of mouth or something, and then people get ahold of us. So yeah, I hope that gives you a generalized statement as to who's inside. You know, it's a broad array of individuals and my job is to bring it all together, you know, collectively to get 50 of those people in front of me in a room either online or in person and be like, let's all just make sense of this. So when you leave here, when you see any program, when you write any program, you should know why you're doing what you're doing and that's it. And if I sleep well at night, based upon that, if a coach leaves and has that idea, then I feel good
If he had the opportunity to do so, would you take a lot of these concepts from the CCP level one and build them into maybe like a, you know, what is it called, an exercise science specialist degree, right. So something that you're going, you know, a lot of people who are coming out of colleges with that type of degree, feeling that clients are going to flock to them, right. Or they have the, the knowledge and the capability to be able to write prescriptions and things like that. But you soon realize, wow, there's so much more to this. And I need to, you know, I need to kind of find my own way. I need to either learn from the OPEX CCP level one, or go and learn from other people that I resonate with. If you were to kind of toy around with that, is that something that you'd consider?
No. because I've been through it and also remember where our concept is of fitness delivery. So fitness delivery in my mind, we just remember back to the whole concept of why people are doing anything. That's hard work. You gotta, you just gotta really ask that question and then you have to say, well, who's going to guide those people to hard work. Then there's going to be some principles involved that are not that complex in science that people need to understand. I think we're, if you do come out with that, if I was to organize that, which I would not have the depth or ability to be able to do it cause I was inside of it and I have coaches around me who were inside of it, who are very great at those specific areas, but you would need to, I would think get into a very special special area in terms of the understanding of that, that could be in a diseased state, a rehabilitative piece you know, a I'll use the right word, but it's a reactive model to like how things have gone awry. But my vision of what a fitness coach needs to have for a fitness prescription is actually not that complex because it's based upon biology and natural medicine really, which is like, food is powerful. Movement is great. You know, don't negate the basics of the sun and the moon work rest, you know, ratios, yada yada yada it's. It should just, it should just make sense. So yeah, no, I wouldn't go that route if I was the toy.
Okay. and I'm curious, I heard this a theory of learning that I found really interesting. It's called the plus minus equal. And I want to get your thoughts on this. So apparently this was I think Frank Shamrock, the mixed martial artist. And I think now coach is the guy who talked about this, but I heard James Altucher talking about on his show. So he said, you know, to learn something, you need a plus you need a mentor or you need somebody to teach you. Then you need equals someone who is going to challenge you. So your peers who might, you might run ideas by and who you might test them on and so forth. And then you need a minus, you need somebody to teach because not only are you paying it forward, but it forces you to systemize. It forces you to ask the questions that are important right now. So then it solidifies the learning you know, that you've been doing. So I'm curious to hear, I mean, it sounds like a lot of what you're saying fits into that model a little bit, but how do you feel about that?
Yeah, no, I've always been without knowing I was doing it, you know, in my, in my journey as a coach, I've always had mentors and I've always had people that I taught. So I can even remember, you know, and I'll give you a simple example as a young kid. So I can remember being playing street hockey, you know, at 11, 12 years of age. And recognizing that, you know, this new guy on the block, BAME, Wayne Gretzky you know, coming up in the NHL ranks and for those who are hockey fans, you'll you'll know that for a young hockey boy in Canada, he was pretty close to Jesus Christ. So you know, for me, he was a, he didn't even know me, but he was a mentor. So mentor in terms of like physical performance and how he was to play hockey and whatnot.
But, you know, I also remembered on those nights on the street also taking a younger kid underneath my shoulder who was 10 years of age and not as able, even in street hockey and teaching them some things. So I always had this mentor mentee piece inside of me based upon, you know, as long as I can remember. And I was, I didn't recognize it until I got into coaching and recognized, Hey, I do have these mentors that I look up to and learn from, but I'm also teaching my clients and teaching some coaches about it at the same time. And I was trying to learn from a whole ton of people and sharing my ideas. And they were like, no, dude, that's not going to work. You got to try that. So I was being challenged too. And then of course, you know, from Bernie and fundamental system addicts, that's just completely makes sense.
You know, you have to have a mentor and a mentee relationship in that, in that area for growth consistently. And I, over the past number of years, it's been an interesting, you're not asking this question, but it's been an interesting time for me that I've lost some of my actual physical mentors and they've passed away, unfortunately. And and so I've recognized that sometimes for whatever the reason may be this is just a signal at this point in time for me, that I have to, I have to be my own mentor. So I have to rely on me right now. And I also have to have to like, not judge the mentor mentee relationship, but I have a lot of people around me who are coaches and staff and people around me that actually I see as mentors because their ability they're there, they're offering me an ability to see how well I educate how well I communicate and really reflect on.
So they didn't even know that they're being a mentor to me, but that's a mentorship role as a collective that I see as being mentors. And of course all my coaches in CCP and my clients and and whatnot are, are still my mentees. But I just saw that happen over the past little while, because I was asked the question, well, who are your mentors, you know, right now. And I had a hard time, you know, kind of answering that as to what it looked like, but just collectively, there's so much information out there as well as my teaching that my actual students are my mentors right now, because they're allowing me at this point in time in my life to kind of reflect upon how good I am at what I'm doing and if it's effective or
Absolutely. Okay. Now, can we dig into a little bit about how the OPEX model works? So let's say you go through your CCP and you've opened up you've opened up like an OPEX affiliate what sets.
It's a license. It's not an affiliation. It's a license model.
Okay. Yeah. Could you touch on that a little bit? I want to show her it.
Yeah, no. So the well we got to back up and say, you know based upon the CCP, how did it come to be and why are we deciding to do it? The CCP was an opportunity for me to just collectively put all my ideas on paper. Cause I was getting asked questions a lot, like, you know what is it that you're doing and how is that effective as to what you're doing for coaching and the principles around that. So I put it together and it was just a vomiting of information that that I just basically had to get out as columns like that phone, you know, notes that I was taking, I basically just said to the world, like, here's the courses, this is my thoughts on fitness education and blah. And I just did it for years and years.
And then we saw just with the evolution of that, that a lot of people would leave and finish the education program and feel handcuffed in not being able to apply what they had learned in the current fitness market. And so you know, it just, it just had to happen where we had to develop a top down strategy of an end game for these coaches over time. So I could truly feel like they were fulfilled. I felt that they were going to be fulfilled when I first started CCP because I was going to educate them. But if you I've learned that over time, if you only educate without direction of how to use that education, it may fall to the side over time. So we're starting the process of building what's called an OPEX gym model, which means that it's an individual design concept, brick and mortar, a micro gym program in which people apply all the learnings of OPEX and the education within that business system.
Okay. Gotcha. Now we do have, you know, owners, coaches, trainers listening, and, and I think that that part of the audience is definitely growing more and more. And I feel like, what would you say to the person who's thinking, okay, this is great. This is awesome. The connection between nutrition and lifestyle coaching program design. It all makes sense. But now how do I, you know, the magic question, how do I get people in my door? How do I get more clients? How do I have people to deliver this value to, because you also touch on the, some of the business practices throughout the CCP as well, and give some direction with that. What would you say to that person who's listening and asking that question. Okay.
Well, I don't propose to be an expert on marketing, but you actually have to market. And I'll just make a point that if you, if you don't have to market and you have a lot of clients surrounding you you really want to think hard about that. As to how you're being surrounded by them, it's not a right or wrong, but if you're not actively creating a message and telling everyone what you do and then directly orienting them into your seat so you can tell them what your processes are. Then you may have some problems on the back end, or you may not necessarily having people come in knowing what your, what your offerings are. So we teach individuals right from advertising, marketing, into sales, into the consult, into the new client situation, into assessment program, design delivery, and fulfillment of that through our entire gyms.
But it all starts with, you know, if we're using one individual, which is why, what I want to talk about is not a business set up, our, our gyms are set up so that the owner, the coach and the client wins. And that's just our mission based upon what my goal is to create fulfilled coaches. So as a coach, you need to have an idea and a vision as to what you want to do, even if it's like short-term or loose from what your filters are. And what's around you, there's been multiple systems been put in place for fitness delivery now where we can see the pluses and the minuses of all of them. So the coach has to have a vision as to what they want to do. So they want to coach group fitness. Then there's a model and a system, and a way of going about doing that.
If you want to coach bootcamp in the park, on the weekends, there's a system and a method and a process and whatnot to do that. If you want to do individual design in brick and mortar, micro gyms, you know, then OPEX does have a system set up to get people into place on that. So that mission helps you dictate what is the message that I have to throw out to the market to get people at the top of the funnel down the marketing funnel that get closer to you so that they're as best aligned with your process as much as possible, but the way that you have to, you know, figure out what that marketing aspect is, you have to be authentic around what your story is and you really want to do as opposed to just going we just need clients.
Well, you know, you could buy a thousand dollar a month infusion, soft white label system that could get your clients. But what happens if after a year and a half they're unfulfilled and you can't keep them. So now you're just pumping people into your system. They have no idea why you're doing what you're doing. She never told the story yet you have clients, you have clients and they're still coming, right. But after a year, they're out. Why? Because you didn't clearly align them with what your true message is. So that see that's the, that's the power of systems, right? The negative side of systems is that the fishing blanket is not broad. You don't put a marketing campaign out that says, I'm just a coach and I do fitness. What do you think? You know, because they're like, well, I'm not sure, are you giving me blogs?
Are you giving me a kettlebell workout in the park and my online? I mean, you're coaching. Like it's very unknown. So that's, you know, we teach people specifically for the system that we believe in, which is brick and mortar, micro gyms with OPEX, you know, education inside of it. And then of course you can understand the marketing leads people into recognizing like, Holy, that's what I'm actually going to be doing. And this is the service I'm going to get. Totally makes sense. Where do I sign up? And then it just comes down to, you know, a sales consult to determine if they believe it's a good, fair trade value.
So a lot of it, when you think about it, distills down to, you know, authentic and clear communication in a sense, yeah.
Just saying like, this is what I love doing. This is what I'm best at. I want to teach you about it. This is what it's going to look like in our gym. What do you think? Right? No. So then they know the product, they know the expectations, they know the long-term short-term consequences of it. They know what the relationship kind of looks like. Right. It's, it's pretty clear. And should they choose to do it? They choose to do it if they don't. Well that's okay. But at least you've kind of, you know, you've connected to like what we do over here and how I'm going to help you. Right. As opposed to making it loose and then just trying to fit them into around, around hole.
No, absolutely. Yeah, no, this is something I feel like you know, I definitely struggled with for years when I first started personal training and you know, figuring out how I was going to kind of formulate this message. And it really was that there was a disconnect in the way that the narrative was being told, right? Like, like there's something that you have in your head and you know, what you want to do, you know, what you want to give to people. But when it comes to the rhythm of words, the language that you're using and how you're showing up, it's just not coming out effectively. Right.
Most time, sorry to cut you off most times for younger people because I fell prey to it. But I quickly started to realize that after I started to see, you know, retention and poor practices, most times at a younger, you know, state of being let's say, and even at a developmental state of being, which is kind of deeper, but you can think about, you have to really take time. This is where patients you can't fast tracked you. Can't fast track decisions on business and economics. And you have to first recognize that the profession is a, is a business. So when you recognize that you it's even, by saying that in slapping the word on it as a younger person, how I've helped people and rehab them out of that idea that you were just talking about. Cause soon as you start saying, I was like, listen, I've helped a thousand people on this.
Let me tell you what you need to do. You need to be super clear with what truly inspires you of the fitness profession and the delivery of it. What truly inspires you at this point in time? So I don't care if you're 21, 28, 34, 55, at this point in time, you need to say what truly gets me out of bed and inspires me about that process. And then have an unyielding directive towards doing that as fitness delivery. Because a lot of younger people get lost in the madness of the chaos and the, and the that's around them as to how to do it. And they're just not focusing on what they want to do, right? What they believe is effective and what the end, like you said, or earlier you can then be quote, unquote, unique. You can offer something that, you know, you can shout at the mountain tops too.
You know, so many, so many folks are being you know, are blanketing you, right? They're saying, no, you know, you gotta be broad. And, and I'm saying no, like stand up and say, I love helping young female volleyball players. Like I crush that market. Right. And it's because you had an experience or because you know what I'm saying? You know what I'm saying? And you got a triple down, you know, Gary V that, you got a triple down on those people and crush it. Right. And if you're feeling that you're not going to get this expansive knowledge of working with individuals, actually you will be a master of working with thousands of different people. Why? Because you actually get into the trenches and own something and do it really effectively. So I'd like to make that point that you gotta be super clear on what fires you up and you can see trainers in the gym right there.
They're working with this, you know, disabled, toxic over fat female, post-menopausal in the corner and they're just crushing it. The relationship is at such a great level. And then you go speak to them at the coffee shops, like, Hey, who are you? Do you know, what do you do as a personal trainer? And all they want to talk about on authentically is like a rehab and FMS and, and you know, fricking, you know, new diaphragmatic training. I'm like, dude, that's such an authentic message to who you can really make a massive impact on and effect. Right. And I'm just give you a little example, but I mean, just crush it with those folks. It's very admirable, you know? So I see that for a young, young person as being one of the, one of the challenges, there's so much options that they feel they're going to be left out if they don't capitalize on the broad thing of knowing everything and touching all, sorry to go off on that.
No, no, I love it. So there is a lot of what to do, and there's a lot of how to do it, but nobody can tell you the why, right? Like you don't have to actually really figure out why. And this is I read this book, start with why by Simon Sinek. And I must've read this like four times so far on like audible. And every time I listened to it, there's like something new that sparks for me. And it makes sense. You think about like, okay, what does differentiate each trainer, each coach when there's so many people that are doing it and it comes back to the why, like everybody who you admire, it starts with that. Why aspect? Like, why is it important to them? And that is unique. If you can get deeper. Cause everybody wants to say, I want to help people. Right? And that's like a very blanket type of answer. Like you got to keep peeling the layers until you hit something a little bit concrete. And then now all of a sudden you are somewhat unique, even though your what and your, how might be similar to what other people are doing.
You got to own it. That's the word like you got to own yourself. And that's why we teach in CCP or first day really of live courses for a life. Coaching is all, you know, most coaches are like, what the hell? It's all about them figuring out who they are and what they want to do and what are their biases, what filters do they come into it with? Right. Cause you gotta be able to sniff and smell and like feel things out in order for you to actually get into a relationship. So it's the same thing that I would just reiterate. You got to own who you are, what your story is and feel really good about that. And I own that story. That's for me, like, I, I, you know, as a young athlete, I got hurt. I realized fitness potential. I participated in CrossFit.
I learned so much about suffering. You know, I'm a scientist. In general, I wanted to know the why behind things. I'm curious. It kind of makes sense. Right. So I really get, I, then I surround myself with people who know that about me, therefore, you know, I feel really good that we're all in a tribe, you know, talking the same language, but there's 65 other parallel systems of people with different stories than me that are quote unquote, having success in teaching other people about fitness and why, because they're unique in their own story of what they owned and what they said they were going to be good at. So it's a, it's a, it's a, an example again, of what that younger coach can do to really feel okay. And I'll throw the here, I'll throw the Holy water on you and say, you know, yes, go for it. I, I commend you go and do that and crush what you're really good with and be inspired by. And then you'll see some evolution in it over time. So that was for everyone who's in that position.
Okay. So if you were to turn that into an action item, you're saying essentially start with why and how you want to go about that. Write it down. Yeah. Yeah. Sit, you know, sit.
Back, get an open space and really start asking. And I just do the, you can, you know, if you're, if you like the humor behind it, watch Louie [inaudible] YouTube video on why I think it was on a Conan and he goes through this kid scenario where the kid's like, dad, why is the sky blue? Why? And so it's like, you got to do the why scenario, where it's like, so why are you a trainer? Oh, like you said, Oh, I want to help people help fitness. But what, well, you know, I had this one thing happened when I've hurt my leg. Okay. Well, why, so you gotta really go back, back, back, back, back back just to start to recognize that whether it's right or wrong or without judgment, how did this all come to be? Right. How did this all come to be?
And then when you figure that out, which has to happen first, I said with an open space where it's not just like, Oh, let's just take two minutes and jam the out. No, you gotta like sit back and relax and think about that. And if you need other people, you could talk to them about it too. If you, if you can't get outside of your own way, you can just say, well, how do you think my story came about? Do you want me to reflect together with you on that? If it's not, if they're not going to be judgmental about it and just notice things. So that's what I'd ask you to do. And the more you keep asking that and refining the message, you'll figure out the why over time, it'll take time, but you'll, you should keep doing it every three months. And that's what we ask coaches to do anyways, is to look at their overall values and priorities every three months.
Amazing. All right. How would you define value? Right. We hear a lot, give people value, provide value, but what, what is, there are so many definitions out there, but when you think of the word value, what comes to mind?
Yeah. You used it in a different context there. Providing value to me speaks of a fair trade Alliance of the coach giving information and sharing and giving direction, which is what fulfills them to the client obtaining learning and getting directed. And that process is a value that has a high value or low value based upon the relationship. No one can judge the depth of the value or the expense of the value. You know, and, and that just becomes economics really as to what's being offered, willingness to pay and yada, yada, yada, but that's how I view value. Now, values are different than value and you use the, you use the word, you know, provide a value and that's where my brain goes on that.
Okay. so essentially it's almost because when we think providing value, you know, it's not just monetary, it's not, you know, it's not just about money, it's more of a, maybe a feeling or a perception, right. That's kind of happening. Yeah.
Money is just the thing that passes in between that fair trade.
Right. Okay. So this could be, let's take it out of just coach-athlete relationship. This could be in daily life like you're providing value to your kids, you're providing value to your partner. If we take that approach that it's a feeling or perception, right. Okay. Now let's switch gears and talk about the other value right. Values. what comes to mind for you now, when you think about that?
Yeah, we, we had to, cause if you want to read up on it, cause I was one person that has really brought the word to light is John Demartini it's called the values factor. I think his book that he wrote on that you can go down a deeper rabbit hole based upon the definition of the word values, because in social idealisms have too much connections to morals. We use the word priorities. So we, we, we interchange values with priorities. So I'm going to answer the question on values, meaning with actually priorities, so priorities, what you value and priorities are generally the things that dictate all the stuff that you know, are what your behaviors, your behaviors and your actions largely dictate what those values and priorities are. So if I was to watch you for three days very clearly with your behaviors and actions I'd be able to get a pretty darn good indication of best spending 24 seven with you what your values are. So that's what we consider, you know, the highest things that people go towards. They may have voids in their life. They're trying to fill up with these highest priorities, which wherever they sit on their development or biological process.
Okay. So if we were to turn this one cause it certainly maybe should be an action item where you should kind of define what your values are. How do you get to the bottom of that?
Yeah. Great question. We teach people how to ask open-ended questions. We teach coaches that ask that we actually have a list of seven questions that really just allow us to get really great insight. And so those are open-ended and it leaves the, the, the coach at the current point in time of the relationship with the, the priorities that are highest at this point in time at this point in time. And that's a key point. It also allows us to align what their priorities are with what fitness means to those priorities, because in most cases, clients are coming in front of us not to get like, you know, to sell bananas. We're we're coming to give away, well, we kind of indirectly sell them bananas, but we're, they're coming away with a fitness prescription, right. And a lifestyle behavior change and some kind of nutritional pieces.
So we try to look at those overall questions and answers to those questions. You know, what lights you up? What inspires you? What do you talk about? What's your personal space and what's inside of that personal space. You know, how do you spend your day? You can just imagine they're kind of just like, get a full picture. As I said, watch you for three days basically. Then we can get kind of ideas on your actions. And then from those questions were like, well, here's your actions. And these are the things that you are indicating our priorities for you. Is this correct? And then the client's like, yes, no, what you know, it has to how it goes. So it's a review of that. And now we then say, okay, now we'll why are we here? And how does fitness aligned with those priorities? Because fitness has to have an alignment with it. Right. So that's how we get to that. Like what you said, the bottom of that is we just ask those questions to get an alignment of why you're here and why are you doing what you're doing?
Yeah. It's kinda like that.
Takes time. That's not like an initial consult. Hey, let's just rip all the onion layers away. That takes time because, in our scope of practice, we're fitness coaches, and we just want to develop a relationship because of our prescription that we're going to give us fitness. Right. And good behavioral changes and good lifestyle stuff. We're not trying to fix them, you know, fix their six-year-old damage that happened. Emotionally that's not our job, but our job is to say like, okay, let's be honest. Why are you here? Why are we doing this? And now let's align things so we can move forward.
Gotcha. Okay. Now when we look back and if you're reflecting right now, looking back at 1999, all the way to now, right. And you think about, cause I'm sure being athletic all your life and achieving athletic success, shapes your mindset in a certain way. Right. You learn bigger picture values. And I think it's the same thing with coaching as the same thing with business. You know, if you go down your business kind of goes down, right. You have to make sure that you're showing up in the best way possible. So I'm curious when you reflect from 1999 to now, when we think about the inner narrator, right. The voice between your ears, what it was like back in 1999 and what it's like now, what would you say? What kind of comes up for you there?
Oh man, just, a deeper level of consciousness. That's the first thing that, you know, would say, I'm just thinking like, okay. At that point in time, I was 25 years of age. I just starting, I was just starting to get into my long-term relationship. Now and so, you know, I, I just had this idea of, you know, trying to figure out in as an inner narrator, what was going on in my head at the time, you know, like, why am I here? Why, why am I doing this? How do I play a part in this whole thing at a really, you know, smaller level up to this point in time, being a lot more at peace with, you know, why I'm doing what I'm doing why I'm a part of the big picture, less questions on the purpose and the direction and the focus and the alignment. So yeah, those would be two to use your words, sweeping generalizations of the differences in my narrator, in my head at 25 years ago, relative to today, just a massive heightened consciousness.
Gotcha. And how, when we look at maybe your intuition, right, how heavily do you rely on your intuition? Like that gut feeling that you know, something is right. Whether that's in business, life training, whatever that might be, how important is that intuition to you?
Yeah, that, well, to, to me, that is very, very important. It's my essence, as I mentioned earlier, it's just something that, you know, I was, I hated losing, I hated being wrong. And a lot of times I would be stubborn in sticking to what I believed was right. Even though without consciously being aware that it could be wrong. So I I've, I've really trust. And it's, it's always like a litmus for me where if I am not, you know, believing in my gut instinct and like faking it till I make it that's a signal for me that something is off in the overall equilibrium and the balance. So really yeah, I can't explain how, how important that is to me.
Awesome. Okay. Now how are we doing on time so far? We're good. We're good. Okay. I wanted to touch a little bit on functional bodybuilding, right? So we had Marcus on the show, we've talked about it over two episodes and tried to get into a little bit of detail, but he's mentioned that you know, you could go on for ages on any one of the things that we've kind of talked about and, you know, I'm going through his awakened training series program right now, learning a lot as a coach, learning a lot as an athlete. And I feel like when you hear the term functional bodybuilding, you know, you mentioned in that webinar that you did that sometimes it's good to have a name that resonates right then that kind of gets people's attention because we're humans, we have cognitive biases and I think there are two things that happen when you listen to, when you hear the word functional bodybuilding, you're either like, ah, like what the is this? This is a gimmick, it's a buzzword. Or you're like, Whoa, what is this? I want to learn more about it. Right. so tell us a little bit about, you know, your thoughts and I know you went for over an hour in that webinar discussing it, but kind of, you know, where you stand and how you see functional bodybuilding.
Yeah. I think you, well, I'm just going to relay what I think you just said and to be brief on it. It's a, it's a word. So being that it's a word and it's something different that in of itself makes it something. And then combining the two words of traditional methods and ideas around bodybuilding and then breaking those words up, building the body then you can make sense that if you're going to apply, what's called functional work to building the body. Then you're probably trying to build the body through methods that are not just for building the body you're to get more from it than just building the body. You're trying to get some function from it. So the main difference that it is applied is actually just looking at the exercises chosen and saying, instead of, you know, doing lateral raises that lasts 60 seconds in front of a mirror, why don't you just carry a med ball in front of your face and walk across a room for 60 seconds with your arm at the same 90-degree angle as maximal tension at the top of a dumbbell raise.
So what's the difference between the two, well, physiologically, not a lot of the characteristics of the kinds of contractions and what goes on. There are some differences to it, but you have to think about contractions on a much deeper scientific level of, you know, isometric versus concentric versus eccentric contractions and know the dose-response and the difference between all those. But if, but to truly understand that you just have to say, functional bodybuilding looks good naked but having some opportunity to use those things in a real-life environment relative to what your function is. And so it's just, it's just adding, adding something to the aspect of, you know, the old school. I mean, this was like a 1998 argument, you know, that went on for like five years between machines and free weights and we're right back to it again. So I know how to speak to it quite eloquently that basically, we're talking about free weight usage, right?
That's, that's what we're arguing here is like getting off the leg, press and leg extension, and maybe, you know, do some for your lower body that could carry over to you, like lifting some up some stairs. So that's the, that's the man, you know, the bodybuilding aspect of it there's lots of benefits, you know, people, people that, the reason why it's really good, the reason why I like it is because it's making people focus on strict, absolute strength training and what we've seen. So, so many people want to do strength, speed, and, and speed strength and absolute speed activities or fast dynamic contractions without the base support of doing it. So especially if they want to train it, they're like, Oh, I want to do kipping this or touch and go barbell this, or I want to sprint and do this real fast. Well, that's good. I mean, if it's a sport, if you need to do it, but if you want to train for it, you actually need to have a massive base of support to supply the right amount of contraction, power such that you can recover from that work. So that's the reason why I like it is that it puts people into these strict, absolute strength, good time under tension, functional positions. That's going to build a great base of support for muscle endurance.
Yeah. And that's where, you know, I'm looking at the gym that I coach at, and I'm looking, thinking about all the athletes and I'm thinking about how you can go at this rate for a couple of years where you're focusing on what you just mentioned, just moving super fast under time pressure, things of that nature without ever really taking a step back and slowing it down and building your body, building that base of support. So how do you, how do you take some of these concepts? Do you think it's beneficial to take some of these concepts and kind of take a step back and start focus on, you know, motor control, focus on time, under tension, focus on what it's like to hold your chin over the bar, instead of just thinking about, okay, how can I improve my KIPP so that I can get my chin over the bar? Like building that? Absolutely.
Yeah. Well, I think I'm not sure what your question was or do I believe in is like, yeah, I that's all I teach. But it, but it has to come back to what the goal is, you know? So if the person's goal is like, well, I just want to be healthier. Like, let's just let it, let that sit for 10 seconds on comfortably. Right. I want to be healthier. What does health mean? Well, I want to be able to play with my kids. Okay. how about after 10 years? Yeah. I want to see them go off to university. Yeah. Okay. What do you wanna do after that? Well, I probably want to be, you know, so if you start laying that out, that's their goal. What the hell are they ever doing? Dynamic contractions for think about that. How does that carry over to a functional environment?
So don't and you're not going to give it to me, but don't allow the market to say, Oh, I see people doing it. So I deserve to do it. It's like, no, I'm the fitness educator. I'll tell you how, what fitness is going to look like to align that with individuals. So I do, I see it play a big part in a lot of people's fitness and believe in the concept of it. Yeah, for sure. Because it's really slowing people down and making them get control and motor control such that if they do have that as a goal, it's base support to allow them to do it effectively. Back to your point of just seeing people want to do those contractions, it's a very easily measurable concept is just make people do dynamic contractions or mixed work for 12 minutes, and then just watch them scientifically, as every other sport has done for anything that's lasted 12 minutes.
And what are you going to start to see after the first two minutes, you're going to start to see a detriment in power for the entire next 12 minutes. So what are you actually training by doing that? Well, you're not training dynamic contractions under sustainable mode. You are teaching the body how to create compensate or patterns to make you think you're doing dynamic contractions because you're struggling in a fatigued state. So we've taken this concept of like, well, you got to get into fatigue to know fatigue, to push past these areas of threshold when actually no on biological systems, if you don't have the base support to keep that stuff, at least somewhat sustainable, somewhat sustainable for the work period in time, then you're going to create a full compensator effort on that. And so people do dynamic contractions for years. Why? Because we can scale it or, you know, make it look like they are doing them. And then in the end they just get a flat line or a detriment and performance for years after why? Because they didn't spend the time on developing the base to simply make that 12-minute workout a little bit more sustainable in power output.
Gotcha. Okay. Wow. Yeah, that's a lot. I feel like we could go into a whole nother conversation just solely on that topic. Cool. Another time. Yeah, definitely. Let's dig into a couple of rapid fires and then I'll let you go. So let's say that you had a couple of billion dollars, right. And you had a staff of 40 people and you wanted to use that to make some type of change, some type of an impact. What would you do with it?
I would develop my own fitness competition and create all the infrastructure and dynamics and stuff around it to make fitness a sport, the way that I would like to see it. And then create processes based upon that to truly define what fitness is versus what sport is, so that it becomes a club level, a high school level, an NCAA level a social level of sport participation of fitness because I think it possibly could have, you know, parts to play together. If people saw, how was it delivered and if the tests were appropriate, then people would have to train a certain way to get prepared for said, fitness tests. So I think with, you know, just cash, I'd put all my money or lots of it towards building a system at the, at the top aspect of it so that it filters, you know, fitness education for everyone to be a part of it over a period of time.
Okay. you're still a billionaire and you can give two to three books to every person in the country this year. What would they be?
Oh, well, I guess if they're adults I panned out why zebras don't get ulcers? I would hand out
Why are zebras, don't get ulcers? The way of the superior man that may just be for a, a masculine entity, but, you know others could have some fun with it too. And then probably the Demartini the values factor.
Okay, cool. Is there something you feel like you don't get asked enough about something you wish people would ask you more?
Nope. All right. Okay. what should a coach or take away from this podcast? How can they make themselves better today by listening to this?
Just, just wake up and just, just become more conscious, sit back and take some time and really think about why you're doing what you're doing or what you're, why you're prescribing what you're prescribing.
Awesome. and how can we, you know, support your journey? Where can we point people to, how can people learn more about you?
Well, you can support us by doing what I just said. You don't have to ever touch me or feel me or pay me or be a part of our system. It's collectively going to help me if everyone just raises their consciousness of fitness in general and how it should turn into breakfast over time for people and the importance of it. And if, if you are interested in what we do in our story we have a website's OPEX fit.com. And, or you can follow me on Instagram, J Fitz, OPEX, and I'm on Facebook as well now, too. Believe it or not.
Amazing. Well, James, thank you so much for coming on the show and you know, covering so many different topics with us today and hopefully, you know, we can have you back on at some point to dig a little bit deeper into functional bodybuilding.
Yeah, of course. I'd love to do that. I look forward to it.
Awesome. Thanks again. Anything else that you'd love to you'd like to leave people with.
No, that's it, man. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Absolutely. Thank you so much for listening guys. I know you're probably driving right now. You're probably eating, cooking, working out. You're doing something else, but make sure you head over to the airborne mind.com, check out some of the free coaching videos, warmups guides, checklists, all the things that you can use to make the best use out of your training time. If you enjoy this episode, please leave a review on iTunes and let me know what you think I love hearing from you guys. And it would really help me out so I can continue creating awesome stuff for you. And remember the greatest compliment you can give is by sharing it with somebody else who might enjoy it or somewhere on the web. So once again, thank you so much for being a listener and supporting the show until next time.