Author Archives: Luke Scott

Alexa Towersey – A real life super hero

Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to the RevoPT high performance podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. RevoPT is a personal training, strength and conditioning and functional fitness gym in South Melbourne. And our goal is to inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Every week here on the podcast we’re going to have a different episode for you and we cover all things health and fitness. From training, to nutrition, to mindset, to recovery, to training after having a baby, to training just to feel great. This is your hub for all things health and fitness and we really hope that you like the show.

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the RevoPT high performance podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher, your host. You’re probably getting sick of my voice by now, but I’m here, I’m still here and today I’m super excited because a really, really good friend of mine and my absolute mentor … I was about to say actionalexa but you do actually have a name apart from that.

Alexa: No actually I don’t, it’s just that.

Jane Erbacher: Okay. So she’s known on Instagram as actionalexa. Quite well known as actionalexa, but her real name is actually Alexa Towersey. So …

Alexa: Oh my God, you got it right, I was gonna … I actually thought you were going to prompt me for what is your last name. ‘Cause I am so glad you introduced yourself because I have no idea how to pronounce yours.

Jane Erbacher: Oh that’s so funny. Well now we can be friends forever because I know how to pronounce both your name and my name. But welcome. Welcome to Melbourne first.

Alexa: Thanks.

Jane Erbacher: And I know that you have no idea where you are right now.

Alexa: Oh no.

Jane Erbacher: But I’ve switched the lights on so things are less creepy. But I usually like to start each podcast with a little bit of a quote and Alexa actually wrote one today, and I feel like this absolutely sums her up. And after you listen to today’s podcast you’ll understand how and why.

So this is what Alexa wrote today, she wrote “you will make mistakes, you will fail, you will be uncomfortable, you will cry, you will learn, you will grow. You will do many things on your road to greatness, but quitting is not one of them.” And I absolutely love that. So without further ado I just wanna ask, I’m not gonna give you an intro, I prefer people to give their own intro, so Alexa can you just tell me who you are please.

Alexa: Well I’m actionalexa clearly. I could give you my horoscopes and stuff. I am a personal trainer, nutritional lifestyle coach, I work out of 98 Riley street in Sydney for the most part, but I am doing more and more work down here in Melbourne at the moment. And I guess I work primarily in the business of empowering women.

Most often in the weights room and then, you know, it’s just very rewarding for me, but when you see their attitude in the weights room change, it affects the rest of their life, so that’s my gig.

Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome. Okay, so now I’m going to buff that out a little bit, because I knew that you’d be modest, so as Alexa …

Jane Erbacher: I know yeah. But I love … I absolutely love what you’ve just said now and I’ve had experience working with you so I understand that what you actually do, the core of it is you empower women because I’ve felt that from you.

So Alexa, as she said works as a personal trainer out of 98 Riley street, up in Sydney, and she’s also a nutrition and lifestyle coach and the founder of the Creating Curves programme, so Alexa’s an incredibly strong woman and a lot of clients of hers have actually referred to her as Superwoman, so I want to talk about your …

Alexa: Where are they …

Jane Erbacher: I know …

Alexa: Pay them.

Jane Erbacher: I know. You left them out there. So I want to talk about your Creating Curves programme. What is it?

Alexa: Essentially I teach the fundamentals of lifting weights to women. I teach them how to be comfortable in the weights room so that any time, anywhere they can walk into what is normally regarded as the male domain and feel really comfortable knowing what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it.

It’s interesting for me because before being in Australia, I actually, I was in Hong Kong for 7 and a half years and I was working in a mixed martial arts gym, and I trained men and I was regarded, like I was voted one of the top five toughest trainers in Asia, and that was my gig, I really enjoy flogging people. And I never expected to come to Australia and actually end up in the female space. I was in Hong Kong, I was sort of, very intimidating for women, I’ve always been really athletically built. A lot of women was like your muscles are…

Jane Erbacher: I think it’s also your attitude, it’s not even what you actually look like, it’s this whole thing is quitting is not an option, so if you want it work for it [inaudible 00:04:34] that kind of thing. It’s like that … it’s not at all a masculine thing, but a lot of women will shy from that, but what we’re realising now, is that women want that. Like we want to be a part of that as well, so it’s good that you are working with women.

Alexa: Yeah look I love it and I think like now is a really exciting time to be a female, like not only just a female, but also in the personal training industry. Last year was such an amazing year for strong women role models. You’ve got Ronda Rousey, you’ve got Holly Holm, you know like, they really brought strong women to the forefront and I think even as much as I don’t … I hate … I don’t harp on about crossfit, one of the things I do love about it, is the fact that it’s really made lifting weights accessible and sexy to women. Women are embracing being athletic and strong I think it’s fucking awesome.

Jane Erbacher: I think what I really like about what you’re doing is that crossfit has definitely revolutionised a lot of things to do with training and a lot of physique stuff. But what I like is that you’re a completely different body to a crossfit woman’s body, but you’re demonstrating that strong is hot, and it’s great because there’s a demand out there. You know, girls see these crossfit girls and they’re like “they’re really, really strong, you know, I don’t necessarily want to do crossfit, my body isn’t like that, what can I do?”. And then there’s this because it’s what you really do is you embrace the female shape and enhance it.

The whole idea of what your programme is, is to enhance it so I really, really like that, so okay and what about … Is there anything else you want to talk about professionally right now that’s going on for you? What else is happening?

Alexa: Well with the Creating Curves stuff I mean originally it was founded because I started working with females here and I did, I wanted to provide … like I wanted to bridge the market. There is such a need for weight training for women who don’t necessarily want to gain unwanted mass. And to be honest, I used to be one of those trainers who, a woman would come into them and they’d be like “I don’t want to get big” and be like “oh my God, seriously, I have this conversation again”. I think it’s really negligent because if you are a woman and you’re coming into a weights gym and you’ve never done it, even if you have done it before, and you don’t know how to engage the right muscles, how to switch the right muscles off, how to eat properly for your objective, how to train for your body time, you can and you will get big.

Jane Erbacher: Yep.

Alexa: And I think it’s the mis-education right, it’s the whole misinformation around the whole topic that leads to that, but women just blame weights …

Jane Erbacher: Completely.

Alexa: Because that’s where it starts.

Jane Erbacher: But it becomes the entire lifestyle …

Alexa: 100%.

Jane Erbacher: It’s like “oh protein powder’s sold in my gym, I better have that if I’m doing weights”.

Alexa: Absolutely and women justify it, especially like the whole eating thing plays into it. You don’t get to eat whatever you want just because you’re training in the weights room.

Jane Erbacher: No, exactly, it’d be nice if you did.

Alexa: Oh absolutely.

Jane Erbacher: Okay, so I actually I wanted to give a little bit of a brief intro about how I came across you last year. Everybody knows Luke, who’s the owner of RevoPT. Last year Luke met Alexa and was like … thought she was just amazing.

Alexa: Well I am so.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, see I know. Those of you who haven’t met her yet, Alexa is amazing.

Alexa: And funny, and smart and with great hair.

Jane Erbacher: Endorsed by … and so funny, great hair, clean hair, Alexa just washed her hair for the podcast, I’m gonna say it’s for the podcast. But Luke basically was having a bit of a war with poor Alexa on Twitter because I was going over to America to do my Gym Jones training, and Alexa has the world record at Gym Jones for the women’s 2k row time, and Luke and I decided that I could break her record. So we had a little bit of banter going on, and then I started to actually follow her and I was like “this woman is amazing, this is who I wanna” … at the time I was like “this is who I wanna be”, I now understand that I want to be me, I just wanna be the best version of me, but I really, really, really, really look up to you and I went over to Gym Jones and I gave it my absolute best shot and fell nearly twenty seconds short.

Alexa: Thank God for that because I did not want to do that again.

Jane Erbacher: So a substantial amount. Yeah, I know. It was really hard, so we definitely come from a similar sort of work ethic I think, the two of us, I think that’s why I identify with you so much, but I really wanna ask you something that I think about a lot and I ask nearly everybody who bothers to have a conversation with me. Why do you feel like you’re here? Like what do you feel is your purpose in life?

Alexa: Okay, so when I went to school I was bullied at school for being too skinny so my nickname was Alexa Anorexa, so seriously I’ve never actually had a name.

Jane Erbacher: I know, actionalexa’s way better than that, you can just like …

Alexa: Yeah, yeah, so I was, I was a skinny girl, buck teeth, I had long, long, long blond hair that I used to be able to sit on, my legs were the size of my forearms, and I was teased. And I started going to the gym because I was on a mission for muscles, and I was just really fortunate that I went to a gym where people were so passionate about what they did and it was the first place I ever truly felt like at home and supported, and strong, and it’s really where I began to change both physically and mentally.

And that’s kind of what I always come back to is for me, that was my safe haven, and I want to give other women that. I wanna make other women feel just as empowered as I did.

Jane Erbacher: Yep, and that’s the amazing thing I just wrote down just then, training is so empowering. That’s one of the things that I am constantly harping on people, I’m like “what you do in the gym is a microcosm for the rest of your life, it’s symbolic to you. It’s not just that you’re prioritising you in that time, but the movements are really, really empowering”, so that’s great. I’m really impressed with your answer there, sorry I’m just like … I go off on like a little tangent yeah.

Okay, so what I want to talk to you about now is sort of … anybody who’s seen you, whether in person or in pictures, would definitely agree that you have one of the most … I’m not even gonna look at you when I say this, because I feel like a creep, but one of the most incredible bodies going around, definitely, like, not just that you’re strong and fit and healthy, but your face also looks vibrant and radiant and healthy. So I feel that whatever you’re doing is definitely working so I think you look great and I really want to talk to you a little bit about what it is you do day-to-day.

So what it is you eat, like how much you sleep, and what training, so let’s focus first on nutrition maybe, like, there’s so many trends, are you following … do you follow a paleo or macro diet or, I don’t really know any of the others, or is you just clean eating, or how do you eat?

Alexa: I eat as stress free as possible and I try not to worry about it too much. Look I went through my whole twenties where like my first ever coach when I started lifting weights, his partner was Miss Olympia, and that’s how he trained me. So hence like I don’t really touched weights, and everyone’s going to be really shocked at this, for my upper body, but my back is really developed and it has been since I was 23 years old because I put a lot of time and effort into it, and now for me it’s just maintenance.

When I was in my twenties, I did … I played gridiron, I wrestled, I did a lot of high intensity stuff.

Jane Erbacher: You boxed. Did you box? You fought yeah.

Alexa: I boxed, I wrestled, I just, I played pretty much every sport known to man, most of them to do with hitting other people. And a lot of them cardio based, and a lot of them were a lot of high volume, high intensity work and my body at that point in time responded really well to it, until I over trained, and I guess we’ll get back to that at some point.

Jane Erbacher: Yep.

Alexa: But my training now is so much more relaxed and the same goes for my nutrition because now, as your hormones change, especially being female, you notice it more, when you hit certain ages it becomes more difficult to maintain your goal weight or your goal the way you want your body to look. And I’ve found now that stress management is far more important to me than high volume and training, so for me, I actually do, I do probably three weight sessions a week that are all from my Creating Curves programme because I’m all about the booty.

Jane Erbacher: Yep.

Alexa: Yep. And then I do a couple of hot yoga sessions, a couple of Pilates sessions and I power walk. And I really … I eat when I’m hungry, I eat until I’m almost full. I try to eat clean foods as much as possible, I had a food intolerance test done, I think that’s a biggy. Healthy gut, happy everything else.

Jane Erbacher: Definitely.

Alexa: And that’s always my go to and I do infrared saunas. So like, it’s just about being as stress free as you can possibly make it, like, the problem with all these fads and trends, it doesn’t matter if it’s training, it doesn’t matter if it’s nutrition. You need to create a lifestyle that works for you and only you. And that’s the only way it is ever going to be sustainable.

Jane Erbacher: Yep.

Alexa: And when you find that balance everything else falls into place.

Jane Erbacher: I absolutely love everything you’ve just said. I think that a lot of people are looking for some sort of a quick fix. A lot of people would love to hear you saying carbs are the enemy, don’t eat carbs, you know, if you eliminate all the carbs you’re gonna have the perfect body, but it’s not about that, it’s an entire … it’s a complete picture.

Alexa: My body responds really well to carbs, so I eat them. If I eat high protein, my body doesn’t like it.

Jane Erbacher: Yep.

Alexa: So for me, I can eat cream eggs if I want on a daily basis, doesn’t mean…

Jane Erbacher: I’m like “what’s a cream egg?”. We’re talking about chocolate. I know, sorry we call them Cadbury cream eggs in Melbourne.

Alexa: Oh yeah, okay, that’s just [crosstalk 00:13:48]. So if anyone wants to take me on a date they just need to buy me a cream egg.

Jane Erbacher: Oh great, I’ll keep that in mind.

Alexa: My birthday’s coming up by the way.

Jane Erbacher: Happy birthday. I’m gonna post you some Cadbury cream eggs.

So if I was working with you and … how would we go about deciding what I was gonna eat?

Alexa: So normally I get clients to do first off is fill in a lifestyle diary for five to seven days because people forget that it’s not just the stuff they do in the gym that matters. Like lifestyle choices and really underestimated, or poor lifestyle choices. So you’d fill it in for a week. I would have a look at your go to habits on a daily basis. When you go to sleep, how much water you drink, when you train, what you do to relax, how often you go to the bathroom. I know that’s a really weird question.

Jane Erbacher: It’s important.

Alexa: And then … it basically … it helps to identify all the potential limiting factors that are outside of the gym that could be hindering you. From there I normally recommend a food intolerance test because it doesn’t matter how good your nutrition plan is, or what macros you have, if you are eating foods that are causing an inflammatory reaction in your body, whether intolerance is a cause genetically or whether you develop them over a period of time because you’re eating the same foods over and over and over again, if your body doesn’t like specific foods, it’s not going to give you the results you want.

I had five PGs of water weight at one point that I couldn’t seem to shift and I couldn’t understand what it was, cause I was eating clean, I was training properly, I was doing everything I should have been doing, I’d started drinking coconut water. Now I went and got my food intolerancy test, turns out I was intolerant to coconut water, cucumber, cayenne pepper, celery, raspberries.

Jane Erbacher: Oh my God.

Alexa: Now all of these things in their own way, like quinoa, kale, they’re all superfoods.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Alexa: But they’re not superfoods for me. So if I eat them, I have a really shitty reaction, literally so …

Jane Erbacher: Yep. And five kilos of water.

Alexa: 100%. So the minute I cut out all of those things, my body just dropped the weight naturally. We need to learn to listen to our body, because it’s really freaking clever. It will tell you when it doesn’t like something. So if a food makes you feel bad, why are you eating it?

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Yeah, I think that it’s such a modern thing that we do not listen to our bodies. We completely, like …

Alexa: Because we wanna do whatever she’s doing.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Alexa: To get that body, she’s hot.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, but it’s not about that at all.

Alexa: 100%.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, so interesting. Okay. So we’ve talked about your training, so I wanna talk about over training now, and stress management, just hone in on that.

Alexa: Yeah, look. I’m always saying to my client, recovery is just as important, if not more important than training itself. And I liken it … my common analogy is the bank balance. So every training session that you do it’s like you’re withdrawing money out of your bank. Every recovery session that you do, whether it be foam rolling, infrared sauna, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, power walking, ice baths, whatever you wanna do, is like a deposit.

Now if you’re always withdrawing money out of your bank account, and you never making any deposits, eventually you’re going to end up overdrawn, thus injured.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Alexa: You know, and I had a conversation with a guy in the gym the other day, when I was foam rolling because it’s like a game changer for me, I have to do it every day for my hips and my lower back. And he was like, “I don’t have time to do this”. And I was like “well I don’t have time to be injured, so whatever floats your boat.”

Jane Erbacher: You choose. And I think that what a lot of people don’t realise is the withdrawals can also be in the form of everyday stress of life. So just because an elite athlete can train three times a day and whatever, I was gonna say ten times a day, but however much they train, that is what their entire life is set up to do, they’re doing all these recovery methods, they don’t have to go to a nine to five job where they’re stressed out of their brains. They don’t come home to screaming children or whatever after a full day at work.

Alexa: No, and that’s what people forget about the crossfit athletes as well. Like you go into a normal box if you’re like a Gina Pop, and you’re doing these hardcore workouts. But you’re forgetting that these crossfit athletes, they spend hours on mobility specific training. They spend hours on recovery, they had their [crosstalk 00:17:38] planned out.

Jane Erbacher: Their entire life is, yeah.

Alexa: Like they don’t just come into the gym, do an hour, then go sit at their desk for twelve hours and tighten up.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, exactly, yeah, hunched over.

Alexa: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Okay, so what’s next for Alexa? So what are you like … where do you see yourself in 12 months time?

Alexa: Well at the moment, so my Creating Curves programme I’m now sort of starting to tour around Australia, so I’ve got my first one in Melbourne on April 10th, which is exciting.

Jane Erbacher: Woo, this is a complete coincidence by the way.

Alexa: I’m also teaming up with Lorna Jane so I’m doing another active living room workshop on the Saturday before with the aim of also getting their clientele who have been more sort of yoga or Pilates based in the past, more into educated in the weights room.

Jane Erbacher: Awesome, so is that the second of …

Alexa: That is the ninth of April and then the workshop is on the 10th April.

Jane Erbacher: Great, okay.

Alexa: And then we’ve got Perth and Gold Coast lined up and then hopefully in 12 months it will be international.

Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome, that is so, so exciting.

Alexa: That’s the plan.

Jane Erbacher: And if I wanted to work with you one-on-one, how could I do this?

Alexa: So you could either DM me on Instagram, which I’m sure by now you would have got is actionalexa.

Jane Erbacher: I was about to say it again, yeah.

Alexa: Or you can go to my website, which is AlexaTowersey.com.au.

Jane Erbacher: Awesome, okay, and yeah, everybody who’s listening I have actually worked with Alexa, I was gonna say actionalexa again, I’m good at that. I’m definitely not doing myself any favours. And she is amazing.

Alexa: Seriously gonna get married with that name.

Jane Erbacher: Oh you will, for sure. I really hope you marry someone with the surname Action as well.

Jane Erbacher: But thank you so, so much for your time today. I absolutely love hanging out with you and I really love chatting to you and I love that now it’s in history, recorded.

Thanks guys, talk to you next week, have a great week. Bye.

Alex Viada – The Hybrid Athlete, learning, growth and the constant cycle of improvement

Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to the RevoPT High Performance Podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. RevoPT is a personal training, strength and conditioning, and functional fitness gym in South Melbourne and our goal is to inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Every week here on the podcast, we’re going to have a different episode for you and we cover all things health and fitness. From training to nutrition, to mindset, to recovery, to training after having a baby, to training just to feel right. This is your hub for all things health and fitness.And we really hope that you like the show.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the RevoPT High Performance podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. I hope you guys have had a great week since last time. I hope you got to listen to last week’s episode with Lisa talking all things training after having a baby.

Today we have something completely different, which makes me really, really excited. I’m actually talking to somebody who I really, really admire and I have learned so much off. His name’s Alex Viada. Hi Alex.

Alex Viada: Hi! Thanks for having me.

Jane Erbacher: Thank you. Thank you so much for coming. He’s come all the way from North Carolina. So I absolutely love America and I’m going to do my best not to talk all things America and actually talk content. But before we launch into exactly who you are and what you’re about, I really wanted to start the episode off with a thought, which I usually like to do. The kind of thing that I’m thinking about a lot at the moment is, create your own story. So, I like to think of every day as an opportunity to create our own story, whether that’s in, you know, your health, or whether it’s in business, or whether it’s in love, or it’s family. Every single day, you have a choice on what your reality is and what your story is. So I really want you guys to think about that through today. I actually think it’s very relevant to the discussion I’m about to have with Alex, because he’s had a pretty interesting life. And he’s definitely created many stories, I think, for his life. And I think that you guys are going to enjoy listening to that.

So, without further ado, I introduce to you, Alex Viada and I’d really like you, Alex, to give us a little intro on who you are.

Alex Viada: Yeah. So, again, my name is Alex. You know, again, thanks for having me on. You know, it’s funny I like that quote especially because you know, I think about the last couple years, and actually you know, kind of what I did personally and you know I spent a lot of years just kind of working, working a job that was, you know working jobs that were, I think very draining. And you know, a couple years ago really had the thought that maybe it was time to do something different. And you know, got into coaching and got into kind of trying to pass on a little bit of what I know because you know, I decided that it was time to make a change. It was time to do something different. Time to pursue something I actually enjoyed that made me feel good. Made me feel like I was building something. Made me feel like I was helping other people and influencing their lives.

And when I started this company a couple years ago, it was really just a kind of thing where I realised that I was spending my free time learning and trying to pass on information when it came to fitness, when it came to health. That’s what I did in my free time. And this company, the whole idea behind Complete Human Performance was “Hey, you know, I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself. I really had fun learning from other people who are very passionate about what they did. Maybe it’s time to kind of give some of that back.”

So, and over the last couple years, that’s a lot of what we’ve been doing. We’ve … I’ve had the opportunity to learn from great coaches. I’ve has the opportunity to pick their brains about everything. And in the process, have really learned a lot that I feel like I’ve been able to pass on. A lot about strength training. A lot about endurance training. And a lot about just kind of, I guess, go against conventional wisdom a little bit. And it’s been tremendously gratifying. It’s been a lot of fun for the last couple years.

Jane Erbacher: And I can see that about you. Like, your passion just like oozes out of you. Like it’s really great and it’s quite easy to then engage with you because you believe so wholeheartedly in what you’re saying. And you clearly live it. So I want people to know exactly what it is you do. Like what’s Complete Human Performance? What do you do?

Alex Viada: Yeah. So we’re a coaching company. We train a whole bunch of different athletes at this point. Our whole idea is that the human body is capable I think so much more than people give it credit for. I came from a background that said,”Oh well you know, strength training, if you want to do that, that’s all you can do and cardio is a bad word.” And I realised looking at a lot of athletes that I admired in multiple sports, they were so all around exceptional. And they didn’t know that they weren’t supposed to be able to do what they could do.And thinking about it a little more and thinking about even, you know …God, you know, I have a family history of heart disease. And thinking about just living for health and living for enjoyment and pushing the limits of what you can do.

The Company trains people who want to do unconventional combinations of sports. We have 300 lb strong men competitors who are running 10Ks and you know, we have ultra-marathoners who decided they want to do power lifting meets and just being able to show people that you can pursue whatever passion you want, you can do things that are different. You can engage in multiple different sports and it doesn’t mean you have to compromise what you love. That’s really been what we’re about and finding an intelligent way to do all this, that it’s not terribly complicated. It’s not … You don’t have to live an unrealistic lifestyle to make it happen. It can just … It can all work together.

Jane Erbacher: And that’s why I actually am really drawn to you and your, like, your process, because I’m one of those people that actually just likes doing everything.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Like I played every single sport growing up. I want to be involved in everything. I love absolutely pushing myself to the limits-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: In all different things and so it’s really great because when you have somebody like that, they can be quite misdirected. Misdirected? Undirected? I don’t know, in that they will end up doing too much volume and not actually going anywhere with it.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: So, which is exactly what I end up doing even though I have a lot of knowledge in the area with my own training. I definitely just end up doing too much. And so, I’ve just spent the last two days doing a workshop with you and learning so much and what you actually managed to do for me, which I saw was, you simplified the process-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Like we just went through how we could take somebody to an Olympic distance triathlon and they could be a really great weight lifter and really good at Olympic lifting and it was a process.Like we probably spent, I don’t know, an hour programming-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: For them.

Alex Viada: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jane Erbacher: And you know we recruited proper weight lifting coaches and-

Alex Viada: Right.

Jane Erbacher: Olympic lifting coaches and triathlon coaches, but it was actually a simplified process.

Alex Viada: Right.

Jane Erbacher: And that I think is one of the most valuable things that you actually do, is to actually simplify it and make it realistic.

Alex Viada: Right.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. And not just from a participation point of view, but from a performance point of view. It’s not just that

this person is going to now go and do these things. They’re going to go and do them well-

Alex Viada: Right.

Jane Erbacher: And they’re going to do them injury free and for like a sustainable amount of time.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: So I really like that. So what I want to know is, what, like …you talked about how you were in another job a few years ago…Like what actually led to this point in time with you? Like, I want to know, training wise, I want to know work wise, I want to know sort of education wise, what led you to this?

Alex Viada: Sure. Yeah. So, my background going through school, I went to Duke University. My background was, at first it was actually Political Science, but then it converted to Biology. I wanted to do BioChemistry. I wanted to go into medicine. That never happened. I ended up going into Pharmaceuticals. What was interesting about that it gave me the ability to really look at clinical trials and look at study… look at studies, look at clinical data and really understand what was relevant and what wasn’t. And the limitations of clinical trials.

One of the interesting thing coming from clinical trails is you look for every thousand new compounds that people think of. They think,”Okay, well this medication pathway will have this effect on people.” There could be a thousand promising compounds and of those, only ten will make it through the last round of trials. And only one will actually be useful. With exercise, with exercise science, with fitness, there are so many good ideas and so many … You know, whether it’s supplements, or training ideas, or anything else, and of those thousands and thousands there are only a handful that really stand the test of time. And being able to make things simple, but not simplistic-

Jane Erbacher: Yes.

Alex Viada: I think has been the goal.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And coming from that background, and having the opportunity to, you know, a little bit like you said, try a million things and discovery what I’m really bad at-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: I think it’s forced you to really say, “Okay, you know, I can do a million things at once, but what are the tried and true principles that are actually useful? What are the things that I can actually sink my teeth into and devote myself to and be aware that that is what really matters?”

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: You know, for me the biggest thing, if I talk to somebody and they say,”Wow, that was so easy.” My goal is to convey the sense that a good coach doesn’t tell you what the 100 variables are that you need to follow. A good coach says,”Here are 100 variables. Here are the only three that matter.”

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Alex Viada: And I think that’s kind of what my background has done. And what my own training has done more than anything is said, there are a couple things I always come back to…A couple variables I always come back to as being the most important. It doesn’t matter what your sport is. It doesn’t matter what your goal is. These are the things you should focus on, no matter what your background is-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And I think that’s probably been the most valuable lesson I’ve learned through both professional career and then going into this sort of training has been is, focus on what’s important.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Cool. And …Sorry. I just like heard something. I thought it was a UFO in the room. I’m very easily distracted. But yeah. Okay. So now what I want to know is, I want to know what sports and like, actual events you’ve done and stuff like that and what you’ve tried to balance, because one of the key things that we talked about today was strength training for endurance athletes and endurance training for strength athletes.

Alex Viada: Sure. I started out doing power lifting. Actually, just started out doing meathead lifting.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: Really got into power lifting briefly. You know, lifted a little bit at the local meets and really, just trying to be as strong as possible. Got into running my first 5K from there. Went and became a terrible marathon runner-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: Then decided I wanted to branch out. Since then, I’ve done a couple Iron Mans. I’ve done a couple 50 Mile Ultras.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: I’ve done a few 50Ks. Let’s see. What else have I done at this point? Bike rides. Century rides. Metric Century Rides. Power lifting meets doing a strongman competition. My goal has been to continuously [to 00:10:59] find things that I am really bad at.-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And I think what’s so fun about being bad at things is, teaches you your weaknesses more than anything else.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And being able to look critically at something that I’m just not very good at and think,”Okay. I think I’m a good athlete. But here’s something I’m terrible at. Why am I terrible at it?”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: “What have I not been doing so far? What are those holes in my fitness that are letting, that are really, really kicking my butt here?”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And that process of learning … It’s fun. It’s problem solving. It’s a way to progress really quickly. And every time I go out and try something new, I come back and I’m better for it.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And…

Jane Erbacher: It’s great for your mindset then too as well, like, to achieve something that you were previously like bad at-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Is amazing. It shows you that you can actually do anything.

Alex Viada: Yeah. And that’s been the thing is like, my Iron mans were never fantastic-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: But you know, I … Between the two Iron Mans that I did year to year I improved by an hour and 45 minutes. So, I got the chance to say,”Look. You know I was never a long distance swimmer, but you know, I did my 2.4 mile swim and I did significantly better the second time around.”

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: “You know, I was never a great cyclist, but suddenly, I’m good at cycling.”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: I never enjoyed running but I just did a couple 50 mile Ultras, so it’s the kind of thing where it says, you know, here’s …take something that, you know, you’ve never been fantastic at and be able to show improvement.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And be able to show that here’s a problem. I solved it and I took something I was bad at but now I actually, I can see the appeal of it. And every time you go into it, you meet a new group of people-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: You meet a new group of athletes. You find people who have thrown themselves into these things and you learn something from every one of them. You can learn so much about the looking at long term, and just about the Zen mentality from Ultra runners-

Jane Erbacher: Oh. They’re amazing.

Alex Viada: Oh they are! But you can learn so much about the importance of precision from cyclists-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And you know, focus and technique from Olympic weight lifters-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: So from every kind of athlete you work with you learn something new that just you bring back and it all becomes … It makes you a better individual.

Jane Erbacher: And that’s what makes you such a great coach is your willingness to a) Put yourself into a position where you’re not the best-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And learn from all those people because then you can really relate to anybody that comes … That walks through your door.

Alex Viada: Absolutely.

Jane Erbacher: Or contacts you, because you’re like, “I know how you feel.” And something that I really want to talk to you about is if people haven’t seen you, definitely Google Alex Viada…Is that how you say it? Did I say it right?

Alex Viada: It’s Viada, but-

Jane Erbacher: Viada. Okay yeah.

Alex Viada: Everybody says it …

Jane Erbacher: Damn. I always pride myself on like, pronouncing those names right. But, okay. So Alex is jacked. Like he is … Like what do you weigh?

Alex Viada: 234 lbs. I don’t know what that is in kilos …108?

Jane Erbacher: Okay, so that’s probably like …I don’t know. 110 maybe?

Alex Viada: 110 something-

Jane Erbacher: 105 and you’re very low body fat.

Alex Viada: Well yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Maybe what? Like 12%?

Alex Viada: Yeah. Probably.

Jane Erbacher: Okay. And I’m all over these estimations. But what I love about this is that you are like a big, strong man, and you do endurance stuff-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And I really like that because there’s definitely this idea, and I’m going to generalise before is that like jacked guys can’t do cardio.

Alex Viada: Right.

Jane Erbacher: And you’ve kind of exposed that as-

Alex Viada: Yeah and-

Jane Erbacher: Not the truth.

Alex Viada: It’s not and you know, you look at …I think the thing is, people don’t like doing cardio because it’s hard–

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. I agree.

Alex Viada: It is.

Jane Erbacher: It’s uncomfortable.

Alex Viada: It’s uncomfortable.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And it’s not fun.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: You know, generally big, strong people don’t like being absolutely …I don’t want to say humiliated-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: Because that’s not the case, but they don’t like having that, you know, getting the pants beaten of them by somebody half their size.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: But, you know it’s the kind of thing is precisely it. It’s a challenge.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: But Cardio is good for you. It makes you feel good.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: It’s humbling and we all need to be humbled.

Jane Erbacher: Definitely.

Alex Viada: And you know, I think it’s about developing a healthy respect for people who are good at things other than what you’re good at.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And you know, it’s so fun because I work with a lot of different athletes and you know, there will be … Especially because we do a lot of online training and online coaching and you know, we have one client who’s a super heavyweight power lifter and [he 00:15:07] can, you know, [she 00:15:09] can deadlift 800, close to 900 lbs.

Jane Erbacher: That’s weird.

Alex Viada: You’ll have the Ultra runners looking at him and saying,”You are inhuman. That’s amazing!”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And then he’ll turn around and look at the Ultra runners and say,”Well yeah, but I can’t imagine running 100 kilometres.”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And so there’s this mutual level of respect and you start to appreciate it. And I hate that this sounds cheesy but, you start to appreciate diversity.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And you start to appreciate what people have to offer, even if you look them and on the surface you say,”Ah, there’s nothing I can learn from them.” You appreciate the dedication that they put into their craft. And you suddenly understand what makes them tick and that gives you so much more. It gives you a new appreciation for different disciplines and for different types of athletes and the world that that opens up to you as far as training goes, is just massive.

Jane Erbacher: Agree and I think that the fact that you actually, you don’t even just appreciate it from the sidelines. You appreciate it by becoming immersed in it-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Which then means that what you are then telling people, like has so much more value.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Sorry. It’s really interesting. I did a trail run on Friday. It’s called the Buffalo Stampede for people from Australia and it was like, it was actually thing physically I’ve ever done.-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Having just done it, I …like in the whole humility thing, like there was a point where I was climbing this mountain on hands and knees, and I just stopped and I just sat down and I just cried.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And this woman who could have been my mum-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Like fought up this mountain, like just an absolute weapon. She sat down with me. Gave me some sugar and stuff and just kind of like pep talked me up. Anyway, she was off after that. And she was flying and I could have looked at it like,”Oh my God. Someone that could be my mum just absolutely annihilated me.” Or I could have looked at it like,”Wow. Like, she’s amazing. Like, I have so much to learn about this.” And yeah, I didn’t finish it feeling embarrassed.I finished it feeling proud-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Because it was really out of my comfort zone. It was really out what I’d been training for recently and it was great. And I loved that I did that on Friday and what? I’ve just spent two days with you learning that it’s great to balance that with strength trainings.

Alex Viada: Yeah. Yes it is.

Jane Erbacher: So, I’m definitely on the right track.

Alex Viada: It gives you so much to come back with-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: Because you know suddenly you’re capable of so much more than you thought you were.

Jane Erbacher: Oh my God, I know.

Alex Viada: And that was, you said, you know, I hit the lowest point-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: Where I was on my hands and knees-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And almost in tears-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And I still fought back from it.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And what that gives you, moving forward, you start to think,”Wow, you know, there’s no …Nothing can… I haven’t seen anything that’s brought me lower than that”-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: “But I fought through it.”

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Alex Viada: “And you know, I crossed the finish line and there were other people around who fought through the same thing I did.”

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: “And that’s a shared experience and I overcame that. And I never thought that would be something I did, but I did it.”

Jane Erbacher: Exactly. And having done that on Friday and then, like spending this weekend now, I’m thinking to myself,”What’s my next goal? Like, what crazy, you know, two different sports, or events, or challenges, could I combine as my next thing?”

Alex Viada: Yes.

Jane Erbacher: And it’s like this whole context has made me realise it’s possible. So I want to talk to you …Sorry, I want to work with you. I’m thinking that what I want to improve is I really want to improve my rowing.

Alex Viada: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jane Erbacher: I like rowing.I’m definitely like kind of built for it.And I also think I might want to get into like, obstacle racing-

Alex Viada: Oh yeah!

Jane Erbacher: Like yeah. I’ve done a couple and I’m definitely not built for it. So I think that, that would be really fun to try and balance the two.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: I don’t expect you to write me an entire programme right now, but if I wanted to work with you and those were my goals, how would I go about doing this?

Alex Viada: Well, go to my website! No. But, well, here’s something that might even explain a little bit of how we do this. So for example, with those two goals, we actually have a rowing coach.

Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Alex Viada: And we actually have a coach who’s done multiple obstacle course races.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And so what we typically do and a little bit of what we did in the clinic, speaking to those two individuals, you say,”What are the critical components of rowing and notes here that you can combine? What are the specific stresses going to be on your body?” So what we do is, we look at where you are now, and we say,”What are your strengths?”

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: You know.”What are your weaknesses? What are the things we need to work on?” So, for OCR, what’s important would be of course, you know that burst speed and running and depending on the distance of the race, running 800 metre repeats. Mile repeats. Being able to operate while fatigued in those. The other thing with OCR is being able to cross obstacles and engage in tactical movements while fatigued.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. True.

Alex Viada: And combining that with running. Er. Sorry. Combining that with rowing what does rowing involve? Rowing involves short hard intervals and things like that so you start to look at the commonalities in those two programmes and you start to look at,”What’s my rowing training going to involve? How can I combine that with my OCR training. They both involve grip strength and back strength. So I need to work on …” You know obviously, you need to do some run repeats. You need to work on your aerobic base a little bit to be able to get through those long workouts. Your lifting then needs to be focused around, you know, your upper back, your grip, things like rope climbs, which also help your rowing.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And things like that, so when you break down the programme and start to think about it like that, you start to look for overlaps and you say,”Okay, what muscles am I using? What are the specific weaknesses in my game right here? And when I’m constructing this programme and putting it all together, what are the potential pitfalls? What’s going to fatigue first? If I had to think what would an overuse injury be from this, what’s it going to be?” You know, knees, ankles, things like that. And you sort of think,”How am I going to avoid those? What sort of preventative lifts should I do to prevent that?” It’s all very much that process we talked a little bit about, disintegration and breaking down the challenges of each sport, and then putting it together and finding common threads between each one and doing those workouts together.

Jane Erbacher: And even just talking about it, it’s so interesting, because it’s like there are so many commonalities between the two-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: But you don’t actually … You almost don’t even consider it.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Because we’ve definitely narrowed ourselves to be like,”Oh yeah. I’m going to do this one challenge. I’m not going to worry about the other things.”

Alex Viada: Yup.

Jane Erbacher: But like, to be all round, to demonstrate what the human body is capable of, we need to challenge it in all different ways.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: We can’t just continually do the exact same thing. So I just love this about, like everything to do with your programme. I really like that. So what does your training look like right now? What are you doing?

Alex Viada: Oh gosh. So right now I’m training for my first ever Strong Man Competition-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And by training for it I mean that I decided to take about a total of two and a half weeks worth of time off training before it, so it’s not going so well-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: But so I’m doing strongman, which is something I’ve never done before-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: All entirely new movements.

Jane Erbacher: I feel like you’re going to be good at this. Like this is your thing. Yeah.

Alex Viada: That’s the thing. Like, I don’t know.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: I’m not going to know until I get there.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: I can show up and do horribly.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: And you know what? That’s just going to teach me. It’s going to teach me, “Well what[crosstalk 00:21:43]”

Jane Erbacher: You’ll like it even more then.

Alex Viada: Yeah. Hey, I can only get better from there.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Totally.

Alex Viada: And you know what? In the process, I’m going to meet a lot of people who are very good at it. I’m going to have the chance to learn from them.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And it’s going to teach me something new that I can pass on, so it’s going to make me a better coach, so it’s can’t lose.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: So I’m training for that. I’m training probably for a couple cycling events. My company just did a fundraiser with a couple of our athletes a couple weeks ago that was essentially 10 hours of riding on the trainer.

Jane Erbacher: Oh.

Alex Viada: It was horrible. It was about 150 miles-

Jane Erbacher: What was the fundraiser for?

Alex Viada: Basically, there were two foundations that we were raising money for-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: It was through the company called the Suckerfest, which is actually based in, I think, New Zealand.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And the two causes we raised money for, the first was Oxfam.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And the second was a company called Puppies Behind Bars.

Jane Erbacher: Ah.

Alex Viada: I think that was it.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Are they-

Alex Viada: Basically what they do is … I think it was Puppies Behind Bars. I’m trying to remember the name. But basically what they do is they take dogs that are going to be used as service dogs-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: And they actually give them to prisoners and actually have the prisoners raise them-

Jane Erbacher: I’ve heard about this. This is amazing.

Alex Viada: Yeah, they get the rehabilitation-

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: They get to actually work with these dogs. It’s great for them-

Jane Erbacher: Unconditional love as well.

Alex Viada: Unconditional love?

Jane Erbacher: People who probably don’t have that much of that anymore in their lives.

Alex Viada: And a lot of them are non-violent offenders.

Jane Erbacher: yeah

Alex Viada: If you look in the US, a lot of these people are put aside for like, you know, drug related issues-

Jane Erbacher: Exactly.

Alex Viada: Things like that.

Jane Erbacher: Yup.

Alex Viada: Having something like that and not only that but then the dogs go to great cause. They’re used for either service, or you know, treating soldiers with PTSD. Things like that.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Alex Viada: So those were the two foundations and we actually did pretty well. We only had a couple people do it and I think we raised about $3000.

Jane Erbacher: That’s great.

Alex Viada: So it was a lot of fun and I spent a lot of time on the bike.

Jane Erbacher: And again, something like that, like I just love the kind of community then that gathers around for something like that-

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And it’s really good. I feel like a big focus of yours is actually community.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And engaging with all different communities.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: So one of my favourite questions to ask people and I ask all my friends and anybody I meet, I really like to know what people feel their purpose in life is? Like, why you were put on this Earth?

Alex Viada: You know, I love to teach. My goal though… I think I realise more than anything is …You know I come from a family history. We have a lot … There’s heart disease in the family. I have a deep seated love for strength sports. You know, I love the spectacle of strength sports. I think it’s a lot of fun. But I also realise how inherently the lifestyle can be and how unhealthy it’s become. My goal is to… And I think my purpose more than anything else, is to help people enjoy the satisfaction of the sports and past times they love, but be able to balance that with their health and not have to sacrifice their health to do great things.And to be able to push themselves and achieve ridiculous goals they never thought they would be able to do, but do so in such a way that’s not going to shorten their lives. It’s not going to have them confined to a wheelchair, or taking heart medications by the time they’re 40. So I think that’s it. Help people do what they love, but help them do so… Understand that moderation is sometimes necessary to do something that’s a little bit extreme.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. I feel like you’re doing that very well right now, so keep doing exactly-

Alex Viada: Wow. I appreciate it.

Jane Erbacher: What you’re doing.

Alex Viada: I really appreciate it.

Jane Erbacher: Something else, just right before we finish is, how long are you in Australia for?

Alex Viada: Here until next …I think leaving Friday morning.

Jane Erbacher: Awesome. And are you going to do anything while you’re here?

Alex Viada: We’re actually hopping in the car and driving up the coast. Actually heading to Sydney. Just taking three or four days.

Jane Erbacher: You’ll love it.

Alex Viada: Just kind of taking the tour.

Jane Erbacher: You’ll love it. You’ll absolutely love it. And thank you so, so much for today. I really appreciate it.

Alex Viada: No, thank you so much.

Jane Erbacher: And thank you for the weekend.

Alex Viada: Thank you for having us.Really.

Jane Erbacher: And I’m definitely going to jump on, and so it’s Complete Human Performance-

Alex Viada: Yup.

Jane Erbacher: Is the website.

Alex Viada: Yes it is.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah and so, I definitely encourage you guys to jump on and have a look at this and have a rave about Alex. I think you’ll find it really, really interesting. And obviously, there’s clues there on how to work with him and his whole team of coaches.

Alex Viada: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: So. Yeah. I just want to go back to what we started with which was, you have the opportunity every day to create your own story. So it’s really exciting to speak to somebody like Alex who’s so vibrant and so alive and so enthusiastic and on such an amazing mission to make this world better. So I want you guys to take that with you today. Take that energy with you and go out there and sort of …I know it’s so cliched, but just live your best life. So thank you Alex.

Alex Viada: Thank you so much.

Jane Erbacher: Bye.

Sam Loch: Lots of Watts

Sam Loch is a two-time Olympic Rower, having represented Australia at the Beijing and London Olympics. Since his Olympic days he’s focused on something you all know I’m familiar with: the Concept2 indoor rower.
Sam has the 24 hour tandem record, the 1000m record, the max-metres-in-a-minute record and held the 1000m record on the skierg, just for fun.
Often we think that people as successful as Sam are just born that way, that there’s something preordained in their genes. But the reality is that Sam is NOT suited for rowing, and was told his whole career that he would never make the Olympics.
Through nothing more complicated than dedication and effort, Sam proved everyone very, very wrong.
“If you say something’s important to you, it can’t just be important to you when you feel good about it”.
People say they want to achieve something, like losing weight, moving better or feeling better. Yet day in, day out, their actions demonstrate that they really want the opposite.
“You’re not getting up early because you like it, it’s because of your goal. You can take that and apply it to why you’re eating what you’re eating, to why you’re doing the stretching and the yoga, to why you’re saying ‘no’ to something … it’s the bit of you that decides something is important.”
Tune in to today’s Your Revolution podcast to hear Sam’s incredible story: what he really thinks about elite sport, his thesis on body image (did I mention he went to Princeton?), and the simple attitude it takes to succeed.

Jane Erbacher: Hi everybody. Before we dive into today’s episode with Sam Loch, which I am so excited about. Obviously, I’m so excited about it. But I wanted to talk about something that is running at Revo this Saturday and it’s going to be really really great and we only have a couple of tickets left. So a lot of you have probably been listening to the podcast over the last couple months but I featured Kevin Toonen on the podcast earlier this year and I actually did a repeat post of it because it was such a successful episode but I went up to Sydney and met him a few months ago and I was absolutely and completely blow away by his approach to training and movement.

But more than just the training side of things, I was absolutely so impressed by his attitude and his message. In just the couple of hours that I actually spent training with him and talking with him and spending time with him, I learned so much about both my movement capabilities, my imbalances and also a lot about the attitude I have when I approach both training and life. He’s absolutely on the same page as me, in his understanding and his real passion for the transferability of training for the rest of your life. He talks a lot about how training and the approach that you have to your training is what makes you a better human, a better dad, a better wife, a better husband, a better workmate, a better everything. Comes from the approach that you have to your training and also the outcomes that come from your trainings.

So, I’m super excited at Revo to be hosting him this Saturday in his only workshop in Melbourne, which is going to be awesome. It’s called “Be Hard to Kill”, which I think is really awesome. Little line there but it’s this Saturday at Revo. So you can sign up by jumping across to Revo.pt/be-hard-to-kill or you can jump on our Instagram and follow the link there. Then you don’t to be able to spell anything. So it’s this Saturday Revo PT in South Melbourne 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s going to be workouts as well as learning. It’s going to be fantastic. I hope to see you there.

Hello and welcome to the Your Revolution podcast. The Your Revolution podcast is a collaboration between revolution personal and performance training in Melbourne and the Me Project. The purpose of the Your Revolution podcast is to inspire you on your mission of betterment. Each week on the podcast, you’ll meet game changers who have created extraordinary lives and you’ll listen to stories and lessons to empower you to make the changes necessary to your life. The Your Revolution podcast is committed to fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, community, education, empowerment, and betterment. And we hope that you can take what you learn here and acquire it to your very own revolution.

Now first a word from the Your Revolution podcast sponsor. LALOTactical.com.

Jane got me into a pair of LALO athletics. I had been wearing a pair of pumps that ended up so bad they were starting to run by themselves. I figured it doesn’t really matter what you wear on your feet. Shoes are only there to keep them clean. Man, was I wrong. I cannot believe how stable the LALO athletics feel when I’m dead lifting, squatting and jumping. Yet so light and responsive enough that I can feel everything through my toes. I feel so much more confident now in dynamic movements especially in clean and jerks and snatching. I don’t need to put on special lifters anymore because my LALO Athletics check all the boxes.

Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution podcast. My name is Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. I’m so excited. So, so, so beyond excited because I’m sitting here next to somebody who’s recently become my friend. But who has been who I’ve really really really looked up to for a few years now. I would probably say. I have no idea what the start date of my fangirl of you has been but it was. But here is Sam Loch. Hi Sam.

Sam Loch: Hi

Jane Erbacher: In his house. In his gym, in his house. Which is-

Sam Loch: Right here.

Jane Erbacher: The coolest. I know right? And what did I just do like a minute ago?

Sam Loch: You sullied my ergs.

Jane Erbacher: I stepped on his rower. Right here. Which is between the camera and us and I feel so bad. I am so sorry.

Sam Loch: It’s okay. It’s a minor infraction.

Jane Erbacher: I’m in trouble now.

Sam Loch: Just don’t ever do it again.

Jane Erbacher: I will never. I’m like successfully walking around everything now.

Sam Loch: Yeah. Just don’t touch anything at all and we’ll be fine.

Jane Erbacher: So this is Sam Loch. He is incredible. Anybody who has not heard of him, jump online, jump on Instagram, jump on something and Google him because he is an absolute game changer. Not just in the world of rowing but in the world of being just great at anything.

Sam Loch: Ha ha.

Jane Erbacher: Really. I call you the Row King. You’re the Row King in my head. And I think our friend, Haymish, also calls you the Row King. So-

Sam Loch: Well it could be worse.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah totally. But he’s an absolute game changer and I wanted you on the podcast for quite a while now and I only met you for the very first time last week. The reason I really wanted you on the podcast is I talked to people all the time who listen to the podcast about how everybody I have on the podcast is amazing and they’ve done great things with their life and their, you know, they’ve got such purpose with their life. I want you on here because everything that you have created in your life, every success you’ve ever had has come from your hard work. You weren’t born with any super power or special power and what you do every single day of your life, which is so aligned with a purpose that you have, is something that I admire so much. I want people who listen to understand that they can do something great with their life as well. And it just takes commitment and hard work and some passion. And so that’s why I wanted you on here.

Sam Loch: Sounds good.

Jane Erbacher:

[00:06:22] Sounds good. And I can tell you I talk too much so I’m sorry. Everybody who’s listening, I am very nervous because Sam is, he’s like a huge mentor of mine; A mentor, hero, I’m not sure. laughing[inaudible 00:06:23]

Sam Loch: No I really, I was just listening to what you were saying and I was thinking like what I am doing. It’s not curing cancer and I don’t think of it as great. It’s really not. It’s a niche activity and I’m steering towards something that I’m good at now but most of the attributes that I’ve developed in order to be able to achieve the goals that I have. They are not God given. I’ve got above average talent but what I’ve tried to be able to do is exploit my potential as much as possible.

I’m doing it in a certain realm that I’d like to encourage people that if that’s something they’re interested in. They don’t necessarily have to aim to be the best in the world but, I think they have a lot of undiscovered potential. You don’t really know what you’re capable of until you do your absolute best for a period of time. And trying to figure out what your best actually is takes a bit of time. To most people feel like their 40 percent is their 100 percent so they just … You know you can press a little bit more. But within the context of a training session, itself, be that on the rower or otherwise or just in the day to day life.

Jane Erbacher: I think its really interesting because I agree with you. You’re not curing cancer, you’re not doing things like that. But I think it’s important not to underestimate the influence and impact you have on ordinary peoples’ lives just by requiring more of yourself than what’s normal. And we had a really great conversation last week about how we’re both really interested in making other peoples’ lives better. And how you do a lot of coaching and it’s not just with people who, you know, want performance goals; who want to get world records or be the actual best. It’s with normal people who want to be better and I think its really important that, in this field, that we recognise that any impact on somebody’s life, that makes it better, is something to be proud of. And you do that by, a lot of the time, by just requiring a lot of yourself and so I agree with you. There are some people out there that are absolutely making the world an incredible place on a macro scale but I think you are as well.

Sam Loch: Yeah it was never or- my intention was selfish basically. That’s the thing I want to do. Try to figure a way out to do it and then attempt to do it. Whatever that goal, that’s changed over time and probably just the proliferation of social media. There’s that access to people and broadcast what you’re doing a little bit more and it seems as though what I’m doing has some traction with some people. A bunch of weirdos.

[00:09:11]

Jane Erbacher:

laughing I’m one of them.

Sam Loch: They’re my sort of weirdos. So I follow other people with, you know, hoping to learn a thing or two. To gain some, I don’t really get my motivation from that but I do like seeing people kick ass because they’re pursuing their own goal with their own resources.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. So let’s talk about exactly what you do and where you come from. So we met last week and I heard a lot about your life up until this point. I love people to know kind of your past. You’ve been to the Olympics; you’ve got a pretty interesting past. I’d love to let people know kind of what’s led you to now.

Sam Loch: Sure. I mean, there’s a long version and a short version and probably many in between. I guess my relative history is that I went to high school in Sydney, the King’s School, which is where I started rowing on the water. We hadn’t had a lot of recent success but the sport at King’s is pretty important. It was the certain environment that it was encouraged of you to like- it seems to be with anyone in the schools first. I came in as a young kid trying to find his way. That’s what I aspired to do and was originally interested in rugby but rowing became the sport to practise in the summer because it was the best for fitness and for toughness.

There’s attributes that you’re looking for as 14 year old and it was easy because although I was obsessed with basketball, we were terrible at that so, didn’t win a single game of basketball for two years. Starting rowing as soon as I could because they don’t let you start at the start of high school. Because they worry about your back so that’s sort of the case you made to rowing in high school sports.

So I waited a couple of years. Terrible summer sports experiences in a winning front and then when we started rowing, my very first race, I remember the stylist saying “Attention Go” do a couple of strokes and all I could see was just puddles on the side because all the crews had just rowed off from us. And I was like, “How are they so far ahead so quickly?”, we had decent resources but we just didn’t have a cultured winning at that stage. I followed a few more seasons of not winning a single race and I was going to throw in the towel in my last year because I was like, “I could really go to Rugby school. I could throw the shot put, lift weights and train for rugby.” This would be way easier and more fun and my mom said “Oh maybe you should keep rowing.” And so I did and with the same guys, same coach, same resources, we trained our asses off and we won maybe 28 races in a row.

That sort of made the idea of rowing in the future, more enticing because, my God, winning is fun. Winning races is fun and I was fortunate enough to be able to extend my rowing and academia by going to Princeton University in the U.S. and I was there for four years and we won way more races than we lost and I rowed with some awesome guys both people and athletes; really high standard. The academic environment was incomparable to anything I was going to otherwise have access to and it did help develop me from a rowing perspective to be able to pursue some future goals.

So I came back in 2006 and that’s when I graduated and I wanted to … in 2004 watching the Athens Olympics online and I saw the U.S. Men’s Eight win the gold medal and I knew a lot of those guys and they were just regular people, you know big guys, guys around my size and it was just very tangible and I thought I could do that. Then, that’s like. I remember in 2004 that schedule was just, from the henceforth it was just making that happen. Like there is an expectation when you graduate from college, like “Okay go do something with your life”, and I was like this is what I’m doing; whatever it takes.

Anything other- any other goal is only to amplify that goal. So I was able to get down to the AIS in Cambria at the end of 2006 and then was selected for the Men’s Eight for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. I kept rowing for the next four years to London also in the Men’s Eight and also the same result, which is six players, both times, which is … I’m at peace with it. But, it’s given the performance side of the Olympic experience is so important to me. The people, if they hear you’re an Olympian, they’re like, “Well, that’s amazing.”, and it is and I’m so thankful for it. But for me it’s kind of tainted because I don’t really think we performed to our capabilities and I’m all about performing to our capabilities and I accept my responsibilities in that for whatever it was.

It’s not as though we didn’t have potential. We had some good years in the meantime so .. Won a bronze medal in 2010, and in 2011, we had a lot of good guys but I don’t think we were- Anyway, everyone has- not everyone can have an entirely positive experience with the Olympic games because, in any event, there’s only one gold medal. Then everyone after that is going to be some version of disappointed. It was on balance terrific and just to be given the chance to do that.

I think the longer I get away from it, the more I hope to steer towards that as opposed to being angry about not performing. Since then, I’ve basically just been bashing up and down; lifting some heavy weights. Being in a team for a few years and especially in an Eight and feeling just a little bit like you didn’t have any control in any part of the training or preparation or calendar or what boat you were going to be in or necessarily who you’re going to be rowing with. Most of my goals have been selfish, but also within my control so I can, if I don’t achieve my targets, well then I’m entirely responsible and I’m happy to accept when I don’t hit the mark. You know I’m happy to feel good about myself if I do.

Jane Erbacher: So what are you working towards right now?

Sam Loch: Well I’m still … The short version is I’m developing some attributes that will help me allow to pursue future goals. I think no matter what your goals are, it’s probably a good idea to be stronger and healthier. Whether the goal is for a distance that’s longer or shorter, it might be worth developing more aerobic components, more explosive qualities. So I’m focusing on attributes that don’t come to me. Basically my weaknesses. I focus on the weaknesses and then the performances come.

Jane Erbacher: I think what’s really interesting about what you do, as well, is it’s absolute like you said before you take entire responsibility. You from every aspect of your training to the plan that you follow, your recovery method, your nutrition, your rest, everything. You completely programme yourself. What do you find is challenging about that? Like do you find some days you don’t want to do it or-

Sam Loch: No, if it’s, I mean. The thing I find difficult is this most recent goal is for the 500 metre world record. It’s a really tough standard.

Jane Erbacher: It’s like 20 years old that standard.

Sam Loch: 26

Jane Erbacher: Yeah

Sam Loch: Or thereabouts

Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Sam Loch: And but that’s good. That means it’s going to be a real test of what I can bring to the table or whoever else attempts it. I fell short of the second fastest time ever, .9 away from the current world record, .9 of a second, which is short but it’s kind of long given the shortness of the duration so it was just a what most measures an out-and-out failure. So people are like, “Why didn’t it happen?”. I don’t necessarily know. There’s not a short answer. What it is, is a combination of things that I think I could do better and then that’s what I try and do.

Here’s what I learned from that preparation. Here’s where I think I could of done things differently. Here’s where I made some mistakes. Here’s where I emphasised something too much or something else too little. And then I try again or I use that information and apply it to some other goal. I don’t like the uncertainty of not being out of the pattern of being accountable is that it all resides with you. If you perform, if you under perform and so accepting responsibility is like, yeah if I didn’t then there is no one to blame here. It’s so objective. That’s fine, but there’s not necessarily a definitive answers. You just have to live in that space where it gets. It’s problem solving basically.

Jane Erbacher: What did you think so, what exactly is the record and what exactly did you get?

Sam Loch: Yeah

Jane Erbacher: Like what’s your fastest time?

Sam Loch: Yeah so the record is 1:10.5 and I went 1:11.4.

Jane Erbacher: So for everybody listening, so I talk about you at all my Project Row workshops and based from Australia as I described you a-

Sam Loch: Yeah just a really cool guy.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah pretty much and I talk about you. I knew it was around the 1:11 mark. I’m sorry. We- Sam and I laughed ever since meeting about how opposite we are. Anyways, I don’t have great memory of numbers. I think you’re quite good with that.

Sam Loch: It just goes and goes. Not numbers in general.

Jane Erbacher: You remembered some of mine that I posted.

Sam Loch: I read one time. There’s so many things I can-

Jane Erbacher: Remember.

Sam Loch: Yeah. I think it’s a matter of wiring and attentiveness.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah

Sam Loch: I don’t. I mean that is probably an innate strength.

Jane Erbacher: Definitely.

Sam Loch: I don’t try to do that.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: And my memory on average, is not good so I can’t explain it.

Jane Erbacher: Just a numbers.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: But it’s interesting because I talk about you a lot and I explain to people because what they see on the screen is their pace per 500 metres and it’s something that I’m explaining a lot; is what the screen is actually telling you. For Sam to do a 1:11.4 which means he has to hold a pace that about 1:11 for a minute and 11 seconds or what he’s got to aim is for a minute and 10 seconds; which is incredible. So what did you find in your problem solving of not obtaining that goal? Like what did you go back to the drawing board about?

Sam Loch: Specifically, I feel as though I dropped out the weight lifting portion of my, sort of backed off in a way that wasn’t helpful. Lifting heavy as possible is not necessarily ideal and so it has to be somewhat sub maximum just because create too much fatigue. Too little intensity is not going to provide any stimulus so you kind of half to walk that line. I did too little too soon because my tendency is to do too much for too long. I kind of … that was just a zig when I should have zagged and I thought I lost a little bit of my capacity to row distance per stroke. I should have done some more lower stroke rate, higher power. Just to make sure from catch to finish that I was able to produce peak output. The qualities that I did develop, Lactate tolerance. There is a lot of stuff there that was working, but the margin for error is small. I kind of rely on these overwhelming qualities to make it happen, I have to push all the right buttons.

Jane Erbacher: The tiny little percentages.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: What about like in terms of mental resilience? Like what does it take? Because you attempted it twice or three times within a week.

Sam Loch: Three times.

Jane Erbacher: What does it take to come back from a disappointment mentally, like you’re very good at problem solving. Like kind of the physicality of it but like what happens to you in your mind like during the training or during the execution?

Sam Loch: Yeah. It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit before for other athletes. Like how they do that. So if you have someone who is in a pool stage of the competition, and they get their asses kicked, and then they take like an NBA team and they just worked their way through the season and then how do they stay “Hang tough”.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: When you’re in the experience you’re just dealing with it. Like what’s the next step. I imagine that’s all anyone’s ever tried to do. Like okay, let’s get on with it, let’s reflect on what didn’t work, what did work. Stay pretty pragmatic. I remember like having a sense of, I would have preferred if I had done this already. Like if-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah I hear yeah.

Sam Loch: [inaudible 00:23:33] and could move on with my life. I was obligating myself to that goal and I had a … There was a finite time frame because I was flying overseas, my last attempt was the day before flying to the U.S. It was just, you know, make the best of it with the time that I have. Which I think is all that anyone’s ever trying to do. It’s just a little bit more acute at that point in time.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, and how do you think you stay accountable to you? Because a conversation I have with people so often is that they need someone to stay accountable to. But you’re entirely accountable to yourself. How do you sustain that?

Sam Loch: I’ve got this, and its nothing new to me, I’ve got friends like this as well. That you have a certain, I’m vigilant against feats like soft. My own softness because I think of myself as when I was young. I could have been a total pussy and I had to learn how to be tough. I think it’s a little quality and so I remain weary of not cowering to like the inner coward.

That might be just trying to get you not do the thing that you’re supposed to on any given day. Because the feeling of, add coward to that is worse than- I mean it’s, to me, that’s the worse thing imaginable. If I didn’t do a training session just because I didn’t want to. I just, no. It would take me a long time to get over that. Because my whole value system is based around it. Like this is not mandatory, you’re into this or not. If you say that something is important to you then it can’t just be important to you when you feel good about it. It has to be important to you all day. And every day and it doesn’t mean that every day has been to be smashing your head against a wall but when it’s time to show up, you have to because it’s your whole goal.

Jane Erbacher: 100 percent. In your coaching, of other people. You do online coaching.

Sam Loch: Yep.

Jane Erbacher: And what kind of people do you work with? What kind of things do you address with them?

Sam Loch: I work with all sorts of people so whoever gets in contact with me, we have a little bit of back and forth and I try to be selective about the people that I work with. But it’s not selective in terms of their need to be aiming to go sub-six minutes for a 2K. It’s more like they need to be sufficiently motivated about whatever their goal is. Because with the online coaching, I’m not there to- I’m not that sort of coach anyway to pretty much hand holding. If I’m not even in the same country and I’m sending you this prescribed workload and you don’t have enough energy to be able to do that, then it’s not going to work. I can’t provide the motivation. But I’m trying to provide the framework so that their effort can be expanded in the right direction. It’s based entirely around what their goals are. That’s the starting point. Like, what do you want to do? And then I’m like, “Can I help this person do that? Is it an interesting goal”, and then we are working together to help achieve that goal.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, and they’re going to help themselves. Exactly.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: It’s interesting that you said that; I just tried to write down. Sorry I should have said at start, I take notes when interesting people talk. So I’m taking notes here. I’m not just writing a shopping list over here. I think something you said just before, which was when something is that important to you, you show up. You do it. I think it’s interesting when you talk to a lot of people, I talk to people all the time that have this “I want to do better” in this area or this area and it’s like day in and day out, their actions demonstrate the opposite. You said that it’s just an innate part of you. Do you-

Sam Loch: It’s not innate. That’s what I’m weary of … It just gives you leverage because that’s what your goal is. You have to workout before you go to work or school. Like so, you have to get up early in the morning. I don’t know about you but I don’t like getting up early in the morning. I have real issues with getting up before the sun does. But I have plenty of times, because my reasons to do so were good.

Jane Erbacher: Outweigh the= yep.

Sam Loch: Because if you don’t have good reasons, you’re not getting up early because you like to. You’re doing it because you have this goal and then you can apply that template to the reason you’re eating the thing or doing the stretching or doing the session or saying no to whatever that you need to. It’s not because in that moment that’s what you want to do. The bigger you, the side that’s telling you it’s important. And you’re allowed to … Your goals are up to you and they don’t have to stay fixed. Like if my passion for the 500 was gone, then I would have no qualms with not pursuing it and that’s okay. You have to want to do it otherwise you’re not really going to be out to fight for energy. If you say I’m going to do something then you have to go ahead and do it.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: And give it your best and learn something from the experience that you can apply to future goals. Be they in the same realm, like if it’s go fast, run a rowing machine, or whatever else that people are interested in.

Jane Erbacher: Totally and I just wrote down process versus content. Its like a lot of people get stuck in what the content is of what you’re doing here. And it’s that you’re pursuing this 500 metre right now. But I think that what you have developed over the entire course of your life is the process of working towards a goal; the process of success. I was really interested last week when we talked about the people that you coach and it’s less about them hoping sub-six minute 2K people, to more about the people who want more for their life. Who are actually willing to put in work and the process that you’re developing with achieving your goal, working towards your goal can be picked up and put onto any other area of your life. It’s just-

Sam Loch: Yeah, that’s what I try and teach. Especially to the high school rowers that I coach because most of them aren’t going to be rowing after school. The sport has a high rate of attrition because it’s hard and you got to be into it. So to them and to their parents, and I mean this, it’s a vehicle to develop some skills. I just haven’t moved on with my life. I feel, it feels silly to me, me talking about it because that’s very well when you stay with completely the same thing. But that won’t always be the case, part of the reason I write a book about indoor rowing is because it occurs to me that at any moment I could be like ah, Forrest Gump, I might be like “I might go home now”.

Jane Erbacher: Yes. I’m done now.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. I think it’s interesting. I’m obsessed with the transferability of the skills that you learn in a training environment to the rest of your life. So different things, like following a plan seems to be one of my biggest challenges, is following a plan of any description.

Sam Loch: But it’s just for fear of training right? If you follow a plan?

Jane Erbacher: I’m quite good at following my own plans. I’m not great at following other people’s plans. So it’s like, I’m extremely driven in whatever area it is. But I like to follow my own rules. I don’t like somebody else writing rules for me.

Sam Loch: Yeah but if you have a plan, you follow that?

Jane Erbacher: Yes.

Sam Loch: Okay.

Jane Erbacher: If I am going to the effort of it.

Sam Loch: So your issue is not following a plan, it’s following someone else’s plan?

Jane Erbacher: Totally yeah. It’s funny. Sam and I were talking last-

Sam Loch: Me too.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. There’s one of our similarities. It was amazing. We were chatting and all of a sudden it got turned around as to what my training looks like right now. I was like sitting there answering questions like, “I’m being coached right now”. How do I work with you? I was immediately like, “I need you”, like this is great.

Sam Loch: Always selling-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Not at all. And that became the next conversation

Sam Loch: No it is what I’m. If I notice someone is training-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: I want to know what they are doing. [inaudible 00:32:23] It’s where I end up asking people.

Jane Erbacher: But it’s the best and for those of you who are watching this face, say “I’m going to work with Sam.” That’s what’s going to happen moving forward because I respect you so much. I’m just not great at, I’ve- actually gotten a lot better at following people’s plan. But it’s got to be somebody that I respect a lot and I do respect you. But I don’t know how I just got on to that conversation. I was talking about transferability of training for the rest of your life and I think it’s great that you’re working with teenagers. Like coaching and stuff. I think that the skills that you’ve learned in here and in training environment have created the resilience that you have in all the areas of your life. I have no idea where I was going with that.

Sam Loch: That’s alright. I was just thinking that a lot of what I have to say is informed by making mistakes.

Jane Erbacher: Yes

Sam Loch: Especially when I’m coaching young guys. If they’re keen on it and they want to get faster than maybe I can help them in some of the same areas that I did. Because I would go head first into, like this is a good idea and most of the time it was. Most of the time, if it wasn’t I could work around it, with just effort but it wasn’t the most efficient means.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: And there’s definitely things, like oh that was a stupid thing to do for two years.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: But you only know that from having done-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Right.

Sam Loch: We should be gradually increasing your understanding of performance. And what I have observed and my personal experience combined with what I’ve researched. That’s what I’m trying to distribute as much as possible. That’s the relatively selfless portion of what I’m trying to do.

Jane Erbacher: And you’re writing a book right now, which you’ve almost finished. It’s your first book. It’s called “Lots of Watts”.

Sam Loch: It is.

Jane Erbacher: And I did have … I was very impressed by the name. I love it. I feel like you have row at Lots of Watts and what’s.

Sam Loch: Yeah. That’s really really creative.

Jane Erbacher: Buts it’s basically for 45 thousands words.

Sam Loch: Yeah that’s where it is at the moment. I don’t know if that sounds like a lot.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: Because a tweet is like 140, so.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah totally. I actually didn’t like talking terms of letters.

Sam Loch: Yeah I just wished I could just only use 100 characters.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah characters, yeah.

Sam Loch: It’s longer either way. It’s the longest anything I’ve written ever. Yeah. I mean the last thing that I wrote longer than a blog post was in college, which was 11 years ago.

Jane Erbacher: Your thesis, right?

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Do you remember? Because we were talking about this last week and I found it extremely interesting. It was about now body image. Wasn’t it?

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. Can we talk about that for a second? And then your “Lots of Watts”.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: So what was the topic of it?

Sam Loch: It was the fluctuating ideology of the male physique in the 20th century in western society.

Jane Erbacher: I was going to ask you about your body now but can you just give us a very brief rundown of what you did in college? What did you learn in the end of that and what were you trying to say through your thesis?

Sam Loch: I don’t know.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: I don’t know because it was a long time ago. And if invariably when I talk about my thesis, I will say that I wanted it to be called “Why Boobs are Good”.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: And that’s what I was going to write about. Well they’re good. Let’s get to the bottom of that.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah totally.

Sam Loch: And then my thesis was, oh great but it’s already been done. So let’s check out blogs and then I’m writing this thing and then anyone would say “What’s your thesis? How is it going? What’s it about?” I would be like this and they would be like of course it is.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: Well I’m not interested in the body image, male and female and just the modulation of the human form and how it refracts society. Which is what it was, is how basically there are societal indicators influenced ideal body types at various times in the 20th century.

Jane Erbacher: So I only asked you that question, not because I’m not interested; I’m extremely interested. We talked about it last week. I really wanted people to realise how intelligent you are. And you have had a very interesting- you’ve got a very interesting perspective on a lot of issues that are going on. We’re sitting in front of this because you are very pro-equality in all people.

Sam Loch: I’m just loving the gays. You know.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: It just seems so obvious to me.

Jane Erbacher: It’s been going on for a long time. You put this up-

Sam Loch: Yeah this is just doing the bid for the debate in this country. I don’t understand the counterpoint. Is it the same as the denial of equal rights? It seemed obvious to me that if what you’re doing doesn’t infringe on someone else’s ability to do what they’re trying to do then- and if that is a problem with you then I just can’t help you.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Yeah, and I wanted people to know that you are more than rowing and training. And I know that, I don’t want that to come across the wrong way, but I think that people are very quick to use social media to determine somebody’s entire world.

Sam Loch: Oh, yeah, they’re worried that I might be a meathead. Don’t worry, I’m worried as well.

Jane Erbacher: That’s the best.

Sam Loch: Well, I know what I look like. I kind of get away from that.

Jane Erbacher: So let’s talk about your body cause we-

Sam Loch: Let’s.

Jane Erbacher: Covering all your favourite topics now. So you are huge, like, you are a big guy. You weren’t always. You got to 81 kilos or something? We talked about last week?

Sam Loch: Yeah, I mean, yeah. So, when I was rowing most of the time of my [inaudible 00:38:21] I was about 91 to 95 kilos, which is just below my natural set point so I was dieting for most of that time for performance purposes. I think if I did it again I’d be a bit heavier but that’s a other discussion.

Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Loch: After London Olympics and same as in Beijing as well I just ate my face off and had been dieting for four years and so- but in within a week I had gone from low-mid 90’s to 102 in a week. So that, and then a trip to the States, and so my levels of general disgust were just enough that I thought it would be prudent to get lean and I think that everyone should get really shredded at least once. My girlfriend at the time was a lightweight roller so I thought, “Okay I want to understand for her in general”, like that experience in weight cutting so I dieted down from 102 to 86 and then sweated down to 82. As I said to you last week I wish I had gone to 79 just for shits. But I didn’t and then more or less since then I’ve just been gradually putting it back on, not linearly, up and down, big or heavy, just generally what I’m trying to do is put on mass, which usually comes as [inaudible 00:39:54] and get me put on more mass and so I’ve been doing that for …

You know I couldn’t get this big when I was rowing. It’s not optimal for performance in the boat. So now it’s my body, my choice. But it’s modulated. This is effective for me. I’m interested in the ability of people to get small or bigger, stronger, jump higher.

Jane Erbacher: And use their body to support what their goal is at the time.

Sam Loch: Yeah and whatever, your goal might just be to look cool at the beach and if that provides enough meaning and leverage for you then that’s your goal. Or it’s yoga or dancing or it’s Tae Kwon Do. Like, people are into different stuff.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. I think you said something so great just before and it’s like, I mean it wasn’t profound but “my body, my choice”, which was such an interesting term cause you having been a professional athlete when you were on a team someone else was determining what you should weigh, what you should do, what you should eat, is that right?

Sam Loch: At least having a- I mean, there were at least conversations about it.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Which is such an interesting place to come from cause I guess [crosstalk 00:41:08]

Sam Loch: And I do that as a coach now.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: I tell my athletes they need to gain or lose weight. I’m not insensitive about it but nor am I on tippy toes either because it’s pragmatic.

Jane Erbacher: And it’s part of the sport.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: And it’s really important. Like, I totally agree with that. It’s just interesting because a lot of conversations I have on a daily basis are with people who almost forget that their body completely belongs to them. Like, a lot of people think that they’re out of control with how their body can look and what it can do. And I think that it’s so important to be constantly reminded that’s it like, you choose what food goes into your mouth and you choose what movement you actually do. It’s your choice unless you’re in a context where you can’t.

Sam Loch: Yeah, I can’t remember where I originally read or saw that but it’s definitely an appropriated term and I’ll use it universally like if someone says, “Oh, I’ll have an ice cream or something”, like your body, your choice. Likely could be anything and I feel like dancing. [crosstalk 00:42:02] It’s a cute way of saying it’s up to you.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, and I think-

Sam Loch: And like good or bad, you know? You wanna fuck off on your diet like that’s up to you. You don’t … You’re at a social event and you don’t want to eat whatever the finger food is because your goals supersede the need of the nuts that are there. Well, that’s your body, your choice.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, and it’s such a funny thing, because it’s like, it’s a constant source of conversation amongst people. Everyone comments on everyone’s body and I wonder if people comment on your body a lot.

Sam Loch: Not to me.

Jane Erbacher: No?

Sam Loch: No, and it’s not been my experience … Like, most of the people I hang out with are my friends and they tend to be big guys as is and if they’ve known me, it’s very familiar. I would imagine if a bunch of rugby league players were together they’re not necessarily- like it’s normal, so yeah.

Jane Erbacher: Okay I want to talk about “Lots of Watts”. When is it coming out?

Sam Loch: Hopefully by Christmas. I mean, by Christmas.

Jane Erbacher: And what’s it about?

Sam Loch: It’s about how to get fast on a rowing machine.

Jane Erbacher: Great.

Sam Loch: Yeah, I know I wish it would be like okay you know, you gotta do A, B, and C, and great. But I don’t have much of an ability to be succinct so I’m thinking, “Okay what sort of subjects do we need to discuss?” And nutrition is [inaudible 00:43:34] to performance. The riding machine, okay, we need to talk about that. Need to at least talk about it from a theoretical perspective and then also how I look at it and also how it’s worked for me at various times. If I’m talking about [inaudible 00:43:48] I need to also not talk about not [inaudible 00:43:51] because I also do a fair amount of that and the benefits of that and how can you incorporate that and it goes on and on. The writing doesn’t seem to happen quickly so I’m just working my way through.

Jane Erbacher: I cannot wait. I actually really want to read it because I spend a lot of my time talking about rowing and a lot of my time answering questions about the rowing machine. The number one question I get asked about is the drag factor.

Sam Loch: Yeah.

Jane Erbacher: I find that’s probably the point of most contention in a lot of people. Do you want to talk about it at all?

Sam Loch: Yeah. I’ll steer into that. I think most people from a non-rowing background it’s easy to think that heavier- that ten is higher, is heavier, is better and the sensation- it feels like you’re working harder. So, that’s most people that are on the rowing machine in the first place. They’re wanting to work hard. That’s not the place you go to take it easy or not the place where you’re sent to take it easy. So you’re on there doing work, okay, let’s do more work but it’s not necessarily how you should frame what you’re trying to do when you’re rowing. The drag factor should be to allow you the most proficiently produce your target output at a specific rate for a target distance, which isn’t to say that the drag shouldn’t be appropriate for what you’re trying to do. That can be shorter or longer, and you can be bigger or smaller and all that plays a part. That doesn’t mean necessarily always rowing with the same drag factor but modulating the drag for different set like that’s the next avenue I think people want but I’m trying to work it out.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: No definitive answers as yet. Just that, you know, to seem to go fast, try the specific drag that doing higher and lower helps your ability to high drag you can feel the loading the sequencing cause the drag phase is extended when it’s lower you have to find that connection earlier and quicker and be more relaxed more agile and those allow you to go faster to a certain drag.

Jane Erbacher: I think as well … Thank you for that answer. It’s such an interesting thing because it is actually quite complex and I do love the mechanics of the machine. Like, I am a little bit of a geek in most ways but I really like learning about how the machine is designed and it’s exactly as you said thouigh. For different activities a different drag actually works well. So, I don’t understand why people think that there’s kind of a one answer, because there’s not.

Sam Loch: Ah yeah, it’s not and that’s … I wish that were the case even for girls of the same age, of the same weight, might not necessarily utili- in terms of optimising performance. If you’re approaching a squad I put everyone on the same drag factor because they’re loading in the boat is going to be the same and the machine is a means to an end. But if you’re going to tailor it to an individual then over your time you’re trying to shift your- it’s better to be able to handle a high drag but it’s really about finding idle rhythm to sustain your target split for the target distance and whatever drag accompanies that.

Jane Erbacher: It’s so funny when people ask me the question, I’m like, it’s a very in depth answer and [inaudible 00:47:30] and just getting into it.

Sam Loch: There’s so many questions that I wish I could [crosstalk 00:47:39]

Jane Erbacher: But it’s not and I think that’s why both of us are drawn to it as a sport though is that there is so much complexity to it and it’s like, if we look at what you’re so much of the goal of your life right now surrounds this and it’s like, that’s what determines your training plan, your rest, what you eat, what you don’t eat, what you, you know, all of your recovery methods, everything is this and if it was simple it wouldn’t be that.

Sam Loch: You know there’s a lot of it that is simple it’s just the minutiae. But it should be anything you know, kind of nuanced. Do you want it to be. I feel like the most part is sort of entertain all the complexities but then try to make the processes as simple as possible.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. What don’t people know about you that you want them to know?

Sam Loch: That’s an impossible question for me to answer. [crosstalk 00:48:31]

Jane Erbacher: Do you want me to answer it? [crosstalk 00:48:33]

Sam Loch: I really don’t know.

Jane Erbacher: We were chatting before and I said to Sam right before we started because we have absolutely no problem with conversation. We’re just [inaudible 00:48:48] to all different areas of interest. [inaudible 00:48:52] But I said to Sam, “You are so likeable. Do people say that to you all the time?”, and he’s like, “That’s something that no one’s ever said to me before” or something like that and he said that’s the last thing I try to be and it was interesting because I’m actually fascinated by likeability because if you look around at the people that you meet who are the most likeable they are the ones that are so disinterested in being likeable and that’s what makes them likeable because they’re- that’s not a role or priority for you at all like it’s not that you walk down the street and you’re like, “I hope everybody likes me today.” You just do your own thing.

Sam Loch: It would feel like I’d be dishonest.

Jane Erbacher: It’s not likeable.

Sam Loch: No to be-

Jane Erbacher: Trying-

Sam Loch: To be anything other than just to be.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly and I think that was what struck me and I think this is something that people don’t realise if they do follow you on Instagram is what your personality is actually like. You’re extremely relateable, you’re extremely honest, you’re just exactly as you are. You’re not thinking of things before you say them, you’re just saying them as they come into your head and that’s what makes you likeable.

Sam Loch: Well, what about, Jane, if they’ve been listening to this the entire time and they’re like, “Nah, he’s definitely not likeable.” There’s also that possibility. I just think that I’m an acquired taste.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: I am, and hey, no judgement  like, you like what you like, I like what I like, I’m … You know some people are going to be in my stuff and some people probably really dislike me and that’s fine.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Exactly.

Sam Loch: Doesn’t make any difference to me.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly, but well, okay, I’m going to talk about it from my perspective. I think that you’re likeable so I don’t really care what everybody else thinks. So that probably makes me really likeable too.

Sam Loch: Well, you’re likeable. I, you know, I just assume you’re this nice to everyone and this, like, forthcoming with the [inaudible 00:50:39] I don’t know.

Jane Erbacher: No I just tell the truth. This is something that i learned a long time ago, I have no ability to not say what I’m thinking, it just comes out so I might as well just own it. And I think that too many things go unsaid. I’ve had experiences in my life where I didn’t say exactly what I thought and then that was my last opportunity and so it’s like now it’s like if I think something, whether it’s constructive or it’s complimentary, I just say it and so that’s exactly how I roll.

Sam Loch: That’s the same thing as going from training is that you’re like, okay I did a thing in a situation cause I thought that was the good option at the time and either it didn’t work or it didn’t make me feel good and so you course correct and I think that’s what we’re trying to do.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly.

Sam Loch: And I cringe at some of the personal interactions or some thought processes when I was younger and when I’m coaching the teenagers I try to mention to them at least one point during the season just to remind them how stupid they are and it’s totally fine because I was way more stupid at their age than they were and so I get it. That’s why we have to do things the way we do it. It’s because your brains not working properly. Apparently where the brain’s not fully developed heading towards 25 is the pre-frontal cortex that I think [inaudible 00:52:19].

Jane Erbacher: And it’s true. It’s not anybody’s [inaudible 00:52:25] or their fault.

Sam Loch: No there’s still accountability but we’re constantly talking about trying to make a right decisions and know this from being in a position of not making the right decisions.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, you’ve got no idea. It’s the teenagers. I’m really quite glad I’m not a teenager anymore. That was like- I’m glad that I’m not a teenager.

Sam Loch: I’m glad I just don’t have to go to school. We had training in the morning and then get in the uniforms and go to class and like, have fun with that. School’s great but I don’t miss that part of it.

Jane Erbacher: Same, I agree. I have one more question for you. This is my favourite question to ask everybody. I want to know if you feel like you have a purpose in your life and what it is.

Sam Loch: Well it’s amazing because I could talk all about purpose. I just try to do whatever I do with integrity and as well as possible and to invest into the stuff that’s meaningful to me. I’ve played around with the big picture, existential like what are we doing here and like, is it about being completely selfless and helping other people or is it showing a path by investing in yourself and your own interests and it’s probably going to be different for different people so I’m just trying to do the stuff that I’m interested in as well as possible. I said before that I work within realms that I’m good at. I think that most people do. I’m trying to do it in a way that’s … Integrity, I think integrity’s the word although I’ve not thought about it. I’m thinking about this for the first time.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah.

Sam Loch: I’m probably talking about it out loud for the first time. But I think I’m just trying to be me.

Jane Erbacher: You’re doing pretty well. It’s awesome.

Sam Loch: It’s about evolving. Better now than a year ago and hopefully better now than ten years ago.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, and even better next year.

Sam Loch: Yeah, until I get old.

Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome. How can people work with you if they can?

Sam Loch: You can either go to thewattfarm.com or you can hit me up in the dams @samloch on Instagram you know, if you want to fire me, you can fire me. I can’t help you if you can’t-

Jane Erbacher: Hide very well. You’re pretty recognisable.

Sam Loch: [crosstalk 00:55:01] But people, you figure it out.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Sam Loch: My name will be attached to this little thing.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah it will.

Sam Loch: Yep, so Google if not.

Jane Erbacher: And “Lots of Watts”.

Sam Loch: Yeah, and “Lots of Watts”, eventually.

Jane Erbacher: Yes. I can’t wait. Thank you so much.

Sam Loch: It’s, you know, it’s dense. I sent it to my friend, one chapter, and my friend, Matt Ryan, he’s not like he’s completely uninitiated, he’s an Olympic silver medalist. I’m like, “Can you just read me and just report back to me?” And he just sent me a text saying something like, “Oh when did you get so smart?”, but he hasn’t read it, like, hasn’t been more than the first page. I don’t know, I’m still waiting for the feedback that … He did have a kid in the meantime and break a world record-

Jane Erbacher: Yes he did; that crazy one, hundred K’s tandem and that was amazing.

Sam Loch: It was, absolutely.

Jane Erbacher: Thank you so much.

Sam Loch: You’re welcome.

 

This stuff is supposed to be fun, and most people act like it’s a chore!

Matt Owen is a rarity. At just 30 years old, he’s just celebrated his business’s 10 year anniversary. Hockey, Track and Field, Olympic Lifting and Gym Jones – for over a decade, Matt has developed an enormous wealth of experience in both training and the business of training. 

“This stuff is supposed to be fun, and most people act like it’s a chore!”

Whether he’s talking about his wife Emily, his business or his cars, his philosophy to live with optimistic aggression has served him well.

Read on below or hit play to hear Matt’s story.

Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to the Your Revolution podcast. The Your Revolution podcast is a collaboration between Revolution Personal and Performance Training in Melbourne and The Me Project. The purpose of the Your Revolution podcast is to inspire you on your mission of betterment. Each week on the podcast you’ll meet game changers who have created extraordinary lives and you’ll listen to stories and lessons to empower you to make the changes necessary to your life. The Your Revolution podcast is committed to fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, community, education, empowerment and betterment, and we hope that you can take what you learn here and apply it to your very own revolution.

Lifting, jumping and running, these movements define the modern functional athlete. The foundation of all of these movements are our feet, which means what we wear on our feet matters. The kind of training we do requires our shoes to have both stability and mobility. And let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’re in your active wear all the day. And that means staying your trainers all day too. Lalo Athletic are the first shoes I’ve found that truly tick all the boxes. Stability for deadlifts, cushioning for running, lightweight and flexible for jumping and agile movements. So what does this mean for you? Well for Your Revolution listeners, Lalo have an offer. Buy any athletic shoe on the Lalo website at 30% off by using the promo code BEBETTER30 at the checkout.

Are you trying to make an impact on people’s lives but you’re too busy stuck in a hamster wheel barely making ends meet without the energy to do anything about it? And no idea where to start even if you did? Six months I started working with entrepreneur and systems coach Jake Lunniss and the advice he gave me changed the way I do business and turned my life upside down.

Jake Lunniss: The reason I chose the fitness industry is that a coach saved my life. Since 2014, I started what became a very successful business and unfortunately the better my business did the worst my health became. I gained 35 kilogrammes, was on a fast track to dead at 50. My chance meeting with a coach called Matt Murphy turned that around and sent my life on a totally different path. Unfortunately, fitness is a hard business to be in. It means early starts and late finishes, it means sacrificing your personal time for the time of others, it means constantly giving away your energy for other people and too often it means struggling to make ends meet, prioritising others over yourself and constantly chasing your tail but never getting anywhere. My way of giving back is to take everything I’ve learned over the years in business and use it to save the lives of fitness professionals, to give you your time back and to let you live your life on your own terms and to make the money that you deserve.

Jane Erbacher: If you’re trying to make an impact but can’t get out of your own way, visit www.fitbusinessimpact.com and see how a systems coach can give you more time to do the things that you love.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. I’m back in Salt Lake City, I’m bloody obsessed with this place. This is the sixth time I’ve been here and I’ve just got to bite the bullet and move here I think. I just love it so much, but I don’t think I could. I couldn’t leave my little dog [Poppy 00:04:14]. But I’m so excited because today I’m standing with easily the most polite man I have ever met. I know you weren’t expecting that. You’ll like say I’m really jacked or something. But he’s easily one of the nicest men in the whole world and you’re also a very big strong man so, I don’t know if men want to be called nice. I’m standing here with the owner for Project Deliverance, Matt Owen. Hi Matt.

Matt Owen: Hey how are you Jane?

Jane Erbacher: I’m good and I want to tell everybody how I … the very first time I met you, you won’t even remember this. And we were put in the same team for a ski relay here at Gym Jones and it was you, were on my team and you were so polite and you said, “Yes ma’am” to me and I was like, “Is he talking to me?” I remember looking around thinking where’s the lady in the room? Like who’s he talking to? And then I was like, “Wait. No this is how he speaks to all women. This is amazing.”

And then I still remember the moment the workout ended, we kind of high-fived each other it was all good and next minute I turn around and you’re like mopping the floor. You’re like [inaudible 00:05:13] and you are cleaning the room and I was like who is this guy? I have never met a man like you before. So I’m not sure if that’s how you expected to be introduced, probably not.

Matt Owen: Oh man you are too kind. You know, not exactly how I expected to be introduced but I will take it.

Jane Erbacher: But you are such a great man, and you’re having such a great impact on the world and as I said, you own and run Project Deliverance and you’re going to talk a lot about that today. And you’re also actually the longest serving fully certified Gym Jones instructor.

Matt Owen: Yes, yes indeed. And you know that’s been such a big part of me and my professional career. I can’t thank the people here at Gym Jones enough, Bobby Maximus, Lisa Boshard, Jake Hutchinson  for everything that they’ve done in supporting me and Project Deliverance over the years.

Jane Erbacher: And how long has it actually been?

Matt Owen: So we started Project Deliverance back in my parents’ garage back in 2007, in May of 2007. And it’s run basically off and on until 2010, still running though. And then I took it you know as my job after college all the way up until now. So ten years.

Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome, absolutely love it. I want to hear about what your path has been. So are you thirty? Is that-

Matt Owen: I am thirty years old. Yes.

Jane Erbacher: Thirty years old okay. And you’re from St. Louis.

Matt Owen: I’m from St. Louis, Missouri yes.

Jane Erbacher: I was about to say which is Missouri. I’m getting so much better at U.S. geography since this trip because before I was kind of like I couldn’t figure out where everything was and now I feel like I’m a U.S. expert.

Matt Owen: Well it can be confusing as to where everything is because it’s …

Jane Erbacher: And is Missouri south? Would it be …

Matt Owen: Missouri is right in the heart of the mid-west, so right smack dab in the middle of the country.

Jane Erbacher: Right so not a lot of fishing there.

Matt Owen: There actually is.

Jane Erbacher: There is?

Matt Owen: You know you go down to the Ozarks area and there’s great fishing down there. There’s a lot of these lakes that are around that have great fishing as well. So it’s just you know that’s kind of a thing in Missouri, there’s just a whole lot to do there from a nature standpoint.

Jane Erbacher: I love it. Well thank you so much for being on the show.

Matt Owen: You bet.

Jane Erbacher: And the podcast, the show, sometimes I refer to it as a show. I guess it is a show, but I really want to know your path. And the reason that I want you on the podcast, is the last couple of weeks I’ve really been talking about business and passion and how we have this idea these days that if we’re here to serve or we’re here to help people then business is almost like a dirty word. You put it into words really well yesterday when we were chatting and it was how to turn passion into success. And I think that that’s kind of my intention for today’s podcast. I want to hear how someone who’s been doing this for ten years and is only thirty years old had managed to stay so passionate about what they’re doing and also be a really great success. And you’re constantly evolving, you’re constantly growing, you’re one of those people that is not at all, you don’t stand still, but it’s like you’re not at all complacent in any capacity and I want to know how we can learn from you.

Matt Owen: Okay.

Jane Erbacher: So that’s today.

Matt Owen: That sounds great.

Jane Erbacher: I know it’s exciting.

Matt Owen: It sounds good.

Jane Erbacher: But I’m thinking if you can just give us a little bit of an intro on what’s led you to now, what it is you do and like what you’ve learnt over the last few years.

Matt Owen: Okay. So I basically started in athletics when I was in high school, I played football for a lot of years. I ran track for a lot of years. It became a part of me, the training became a part of me. And when I left high school you know the culture was a lot different from a job standpoint here like I had no idea that I could work out and own a gym and train people and make a living. So, really at that point I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, you know if I was going to go into some kind of business or finance or something. It honestly just scared the hell out of me because I didn’t want to sit behind a desk for my entire life. So in my mind it was either become a pro athlete and make money or you’re done. So, the pressure was on and I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

And when I was a freshman in college, I had just finished playing football and making the transition to track full time and that’s when I first discovered Gym Jones. And, you know, this was right when Bobby Maximus had started working for the gym and coming hot off of the 300 project with Mark Twight and all those guys. And basically, Gym Jones showed me a path where I could use what I know from a strength and conditioning standpoint, from a sports standpoint, and use that to make a living. And that was the path that I was shown basically through Gym Jones and going into college. So that changed my whole outlook. Anything is possible you just got to really find what you love to do because if you do what you love to do, you’re not going to work a day in your life.

Jane Erbacher: But it’s so interesting because I did, I was talking to somebody about this the other day and I think I may have even posted on Instagram. How do you balance like, you want to do it all the time because you love it, and it’s like but you’re also never feeling like you’re working. I think it’s a really interesting concept that’s happened that really evolved in our era because we do have the freedom to work in the area that we love that much. So are you one of those people that ends up then working all the time?

Matt Owen: Yeah, that’s an interesting question and it’s important to set some time apart for yourself outside of doing the training and training other people and programming and taking some time. Like me for example, if you look at my personal Instagram, horsepowerandbarbells, I will detach from training and go work on my cars.

Jane Erbacher: Yes you love that.

Matt Owen: I got a Corvette and a Camaro that I work on and that’s a good way for me to get my mind away and it will recharge me. I’ll spend like a day working on either car or I’ll you know just go and do car-related things with my dad and I’m ready on Monday to come back and get my head back in the training. So it is important to kind of step away a little bit because if you don’t you’re going to get stale.

Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Totally. What is your philosophy when it comes to training and what kind of people do you train and work with? And is it all just face to face at Project Deliverance? Or do you do online, remote, how do you do that?

Matt Owen: So we do offer remote training at Project Deliverance. The meat of our training is done on site, it’s one on one. I’ve got two of the best coaches you could ask for. C.J. Jung, who trains high level hockey players, high school players, all these guys. He’s got some general fitness people. He’s just an excellent guy. And Mike Sobol who just started with us. He and I competed against each other in high school and just developed this huge respect for each other even though we were rivals in high school.

It’s just so cool to have this guy with me now that shares the same passion that I do for helping people improve. And his path from a motivational standpoint and from a vocational standpoint is very similar to mine because training is all he knows. And same thing for C.J., training is all we knew back in you know sport. We didn’t want to basically give that up and give up that connection to the sport to go and you know basically work a job that we hated and just live out your life you know kind of rotting away not being connected to the sport and to the training. So you know that sort of where we’re coming from, from a training standpoint. A lot of our training is done and it’s individualised for the clients and we work with a lot of military, a lot of athletes, but we also have a lot of people that come in the door that just want to make their lives better. So that’s the path that we’ve taken for years and so far it’s worked pretty well because we’re you know ten years later we are still hanging around.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Matt Owen: Yup.

Jane Erbacher: And I know that there’s two girls here at Gym Jones Advanced that you’ve been doing online remote coaching with and one’s from Australia, one’s from Colorado. What kind of stuff have you been working on with those girls?

Matt Owen: So Connie runs the Alpine Training Centre in Boulder. It’s a fantastic gym they had me out a couple of weeks ago to train with them. I was really impressed with the culture and the support system at that gym. She is an endurance athlete so basically, the path that we took with her is we need to get you stronger and we need to increase your power endurance for some of the primary test to become certified, which she is more than deserving of being certified because she’s run this gym for a lot of years as well and she’s been so successful. We just need to get her a little bit heavier now so she can hit those standards because she’s just so light being an endurance athlete. She’s so lean we need to put some muscle mass on her. And [Mithi 00:13:55] out of Australia, I’ve mainly been training her for a lot of weight lifting stuff, a lot of snatch and clean and jerk.

Jane Erbacher: Which is your main thing [crosstalk 00:14:04].

Matt Owen: Now that I’ve kind of stepped away from …

Jane Erbacher: Your face just lit up.

Matt Owen: Now that I’ve stepped away from track and field so to speak, you know I still do it recreationally and I still do a meet here and there as I’m invited. You know training her and getting her ready for competition and also to attain the standard she needs to hit to become certified here as well.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Matt Owen: So that’s been our main focus and that’s my goal is to help them attain that certification goal here at Gym Jones and use that to basically help them promote themselves professionally and make them better and make their gyms bigger. You know make it so they also don’t really have to work a day in their lives.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Something I love about you is, and I’ve seen it this week really firsthand, is how engaged you are as a coach with everybody. And in this space you’re extremely professional, like you take it very seriously that when people move well, that people are encouraged to do well and you genuinely do really believe in helping people. And so what I want to know is from that point of view, you’ve got the really really proficient training understanding in a broad area, and your really really important techniques, really important movement everything, you connect with people really well, is there an area of the business that you run that you do find difficult or that you’ve had to work on more?

Matt Owen: So, you know I am a guy that wants to be in the gym, wants to be hands on, wants to be doing that stuff. The business planning is something that my wife Emily, she’s fantastic. She’s basically the reason that I’m here today. She is taking ownership of a lot of the business side, the financial side. That’s something that I can do but it’s not something I really like to do. I just want to come in and make people better and I want to train, I want to throw a heavy weight over my head and I want to really connect with people and help them really just enhance their lives throughout you know using training as a vehicle for that.

Jane Erbacher: Totally, I love that because a lot of people the mistake that they make in this kind of area is they don’t ask for help. They try and do it themselves and then they struggle with it but you’re so good in those other areas, why would you be spending your time in areas that you don’t like when you can ask somebody who’s better at it?

Matt Owen: And that’s why you have professionals, you have business coaches, you have accountants. Go and seek those people out because those are the people that are going to, you know, that’s their area of expertise. Just like training is my area, you know, get them on board, let them help you, they’ll simplify things they’ll make things more efficient for you and it makes your life a lot easier.

Jane Erbacher: 100%. you might be wasting your time.

Matt Owen: Right.

Jane Erbacher: I love it. What do you feel is your purpose in life? I feel like you’ve answered it but I want you to say it absolutely point blank.

Matt Owen: So, my purpose in life is to live with optimistic aggression and to come in and attack the gym, help people improve, engage with them. I feel like if I can help anyone make their life better then if I was to die tomorrow, then everything would have been worth it. So that’s how I view my life purpose as you will.

Jane Erbacher: And it’s really interesting because when you talk to somebody like you it’s so easy to see that you’re living with that. It like oozes out of you.

Matt Owen: Oh thank you.

Jane Erbacher: No it’s true. This morning we did a … it was upper body mass gain and you were there and you were like so there. You were so focused and I think that that’s such a great way to be and if you have this life’s purpose that you’re living out each day, is there anything that you feel like somebody’s out there and they want to start their own gym. Okay, they’re a personal trainer, they’re working somewhere else and they really passionate about it. What kind of advice would you give that person?

Matt Owen: So my advice would be to start small. You do not want to take on a big gym. You don’t want to take a lot of overhead. You don’t want to go into debt and buy thousands of dollars of equipment and not have a client base to support that. Try and find a little small place to start, that’s what I did out of my parents’ garage. We moved up to a little thousand square foot spot. We stayed there for a couple years and really grew the culture and then we’re now expanded into our four thousand square foot space. We’ll be there for about another year and it’s time for the next phase.

You know in addition to that, I would say just make sure that you’re transparent and you’re real with people. Make sure that you’re up front with them, don’t try and do stuff behind people’s backs. One of the things that I learned at a young age is that you want to always say positive things about people when they’re not around, because that’s a testament to your integrity. There were some individuals I was involved with years ago that all they do is talk behind other people’s backs and talk negatively about them. So anytime I’m tempted to kind of engage in that, I think I do not want to be like them. That is something that does not define me, I want to be helping people I don’t want to be tearing them down.

Jane Erbacher: Totally agree with you. And when you put energy into that, even if it is fighting back, you’re taking energy away from what it is you’re here to do.

Matt Owen: Right. Exactly. And just you doing what you do and loving what you do, if there’s people that don’t like you that’s the best way to get at them. It’s not taking an aggressive stance and going after them or trying to troll them down, you just need to be you and forget them. Let them be and you know, those are people that, from a temperament standpoint, they’re literally sick and they need to recover so just get away from them and hopefully they do recover on a long enough time line.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. What’s next for you?

Matt Owen: What’s next for me. I’ve recently been added to the Gym Jones seminar staff here. So I’m really excited about the opportunity to travel around with the guys from Varsity House, Dan Goodman and Joe Riggio, and I think Jared [Sullivan 00:20:06] and I will working probably the closest together out of that whole group. So we’re going to have the opportunity to travel around to teach some people, to really hone in on our craft of being able to teach seminars, and really reach out and help people improve in their fitness and in their day to day lives and their mental outlook of training.

Jane Erbacher: Great. And I if I want to work with you and I live in Australia, how do I get in touch with you? And how can you help me?

Matt Owen: I would, simply just drop me an email at matt@gymjones.com or you can follow me on Instagram @pdeliverance for the gym, and @horsepowerandbarbells. Feel free to drop me a comment, a message, it’s all linked together I think it’ll all end up in the same place anyway. I’d be more than happy to work with people remotely, programming. I know C.J. Jung and Mike Sobol are also looking for remote clients. They’re two very fine coaches. We oversee all that within the confines of the gym so if you’re looking to train with us we would be more than happy to have you guys join.

Jane Erbacher: Love it. Thank you so much for today.

Matt Owen: You betcha. Thank you Jane.

Jane Erbacher: And keep it up you’re really great leader.

Matt Owen: Alright thank you.

Jane Erbacher: Thanks everyone for listening. Bye.

What does it take to look like Wonder Woman?

What does it take to look like Wonder Woman?

“Wonder Woman was incredible for a different reason. It was the first time in Hollywood that we were going to put a group of women on screen that had that physical prowess, together, in an amazing new kind of vision of femininity.”

In today’s Your Revolution Podcast, we meet Pieter Vodden: cast trainer for Wonder Woman and the Justice League, among many others. And now part-owner and founder of one of the coolest and most progressive gyms in the world – Pharos.

Originally from the UK, I met with Pieter as he was setting up his new facility – PHAROS – in Los Angeles. We talked all things fitness, business, movies, motivation and how he feels about the new feminist wave he’s found himself involved in.

Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to the Your Revolution Podcast. Your Revolution Podcast is a collaboration between Revolution Personal and Performance Training in Melbourne and the Me Project. The purpose of the Your Revolution Podcast is to inspire you on your mission of betterment. Each week, on the podcast, you’ll meet game changers who have created extraordinary lives, and you’ll listen to stories and lessons to empower you to make the changes necessary to your life. The Your Revolution Podcast is committed to fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, community, education, empowerment, and betterment, and we hope that you can take what you learned here and apply it to your very own revolution.

  Lifting, jumping, and running, these movements define the modern functional athlete. The foundation of all of these movements are our feet, which means what we wear on our feet matters. The kind of training we do requires our shoes to have both stability and mobility, and let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’re in your active wear all day, and that means staying in your trainers all day, too. LALO Athletic are the first shoes I found that truly tick all the boxes. Stability for deadlifts, cushioning for running, lightweight and flexible for jumping and agile movements. So, what does this mean for you? Well, for Your Revolution listeners, LALO have an offer. Buy any athletic shoe on the LALO website at 30% off by using the promo code BeBetter30 at the checkout. As well as this, LALO and I would love to give away some shoes. Simply share the podcast, any episode that you like, on social media and tag me in it @jane.erbacher, then you’ll go into the draw to win a pair. You have until September 22nd to enter.

  Are you trying to make an impact on people’s lives, but you’re too busy, stuck in the hamster wheel, barely making ends meet, without the energy to do anything about it, and no idea where to start even if you did? Six months ago I started working with entrepreneur and systems coach Jake Linus, and the advice he gave me changed the way I do business, and turned my life upside down.

Jake Linus: The reason I chose the fitness industry is that a coach saved my life, and since 2014 I’ve started what became a very successful business, and, unfortunately, the better my business did, the worst my health became. I gained 35 kilogrammes, and was on the fast track to death at 50. My chance meeting with a coach called Matt Murphy turned that around, and set my life on a totally different path. Unfortunately, fitness is a hard business to be in. It means early starts and late finishes, it means sacrificing your personal time for the time of others, it means you’re constantly giving away your energy for other people, and, too often, it means struggling to make ends meet, prioritising others over yourself, and constantly chasing your tail but never getting anywhere. My way of giving back is to take everything that I’ve learned over the years in business, and use it to save the lives of fitness professionals. To give you your time back, and to let you live your life on your own terms, and to make the money that you deserve.

Jane Erbacher: If you’re trying to make an impact but can’t get out of your own way, visit www.fitbusinessimpact.com, and see how a systems coach can give you more time to do the things that you love.

  Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution Podcast. My name’s Jane Erbacher, and I’m your host. I am so excited, it is the last day of my US tour, and I am in LA. I’m actually in Echo Park, which is a really cool area.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, it’s amazing.

Jane Erbacher: It’s very up and coming, and I really like it. I found my favourite coffee place around the corner. But, I am sitting here with Pieter Vodden, and I only met Pieter a month ago, but I’ve been following him for, probably, a couple of years. I came across him through Gym Jones, and he is just so great, and I met him a month ago, because I came to his new gym that he’s opening in the next week, or two, Pharos, and it is amazing. The first thing that strikes me about this place is it’s such a beautiful space. It’s like a, I’m going to say it’s an old barn. Is it a barn? Or like a stable?

Pieter Vodden: You know, it was originally an old window factory, and then, we’re not quite sure what it was. It may have been a brothel, at some point.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. It has story and heart to it. There’s exposed brick, there’s, what do you call these things?

Pieter Vodden: Beams?

Jane Erbacher: Beams, yes. I know I’m not understanding mechanics of anything, but it is amazing.

Pieter Vodden: It’s beautiful. I mean the main thing that really appealed to us when we first walked in was the light. You have so much natural light beaming through, and that was a huge appeal for us, because I’ve worked in spaces before that were either underground, like in the UK I worked in gyms that were underground that were dark, and that, after a while, that kind of space becomes very oppressive.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. It’s not somewhere you want to go.

Pieter Vodden: It’s not somewhere you want to go, so the idea for us was we wanted to build a space that people would think of as an, “Oh my God, I want to go there. It’s light, it gives me energy.” This is somewhere if I’m working till 6 PM, and I’m trying to motivate myself to go to the gym, I don’t want to go somewhere dark and dingy, I want to go somewhere filled with light, and that’s going to give me energy, and I’m going to have a better experience. When we were looking for spaces, that was one of our main thoughts, and then when we saw this space, it was like, “Oh my God, this is perfect.”

Jane Erbacher: It’s actually perfect, I love it. And, the funny part about it, is it’s the kind of space I actually don’t want to leave. I’m looking around at the equipment, and how many different things there are, and I’m like, “I could spend all day here.”

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. And that was really … Another thing was, we’ve talked about this before, but in LA you had situation where people were going to different spots for different things. So, I’d go to one spot for my indoor cycling, I’d go to another spot for my yoga, I’d go to another spot for my crossfit, another spot for my boot camp style class, whatever. They were going to all these different spots, paying a different premium for every different space, and paying for the travel in between. To us it was just, “This doesn’t make any sense.” Why not build a space that can house all of these things, coach them all to a really high level, and build somewhere that people want to come and they want to stay all day. We have a club lounge, where people can just sit, and work, and chill out, and have juices, and drink coffee, and that kind of thing. Then they can attend a yoga class, then they can attend a strength conditioning class, or an indoor cycling class. You have all these different variations available to you, all within the same space, without any additional cost.

  So, immediately … We’re not a cheap gym by any means. If you look at the cost of the gym, we’re relatively expensive, but we’re certainly cheaper than going to all these different spaces for these independent disciplines.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly, and what you’ve captured is the most important element, I think, in fitness is the community side, and that’s one of my favourite things about you, is that this is so deeply ingrained in you, in having an impact on people’s lives. What I noticed, running in Urban Heartbeat to California is there isn’t any one place you can go to that you can get a membership. Everywhere that we were going really reflects a non committal consumer of fitness. So it’s like you buy a five pack, or you buy a ten pack, and you do your spin here, and you do your yoga here, and you do your strength here, and there’s nobody checking up if you’re coming, and there’s nobody that misses you, and there’s no way for you to just stay and spend time with the people that-

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, which is strange, because America is kind of built on the search for community, just by nature. I think LA’s kind of evolved that way, because it is such a transient place. People come here for a reason, and, once that reason expires, they leave, so it can be a very come and go kind of place. But I think there’s a real demand, need, for something like this that rebuilds that community. I have seen it in some gyms around, to be fair. I think one of the biggest gifts the crossfit community has had to the world of fitness is that rebuilding of the community. Something that was lost in the Globo Gym era has resurfaced, regrown, and our train of thought was always to take the best things that we’ve seen over the years, and put them all into one space. Because, no matter what your loves or your criticisms of gyms, or spaces, or anything that you’ve been to, whether it be a boot camp style class, or whether it be a spin class, or even a Globo Gym, there are good things to take from all those spaces, and if you can just draw on that goodness, and forget about the stuff you don’t like, draw on the goodness, and put it in one space, and just do it as well as it can possibly can be done, then you’re going to have a winning formula.

Jane Erbacher: 100%.

Pieter Vodden: I think people tend to be very negative about things. “This is bad, because of these reasons, this is bad because of these reasons,” without thinking about the positives. Okay, yeah, you can say that these things aren’t correct, or you don’t agree with the principles of this space, but, if it’s successful, and people are enjoying it, then there’s something good to be learnt from that.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: And, often, it goes back to what you’re talking about. It goes back to people having a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a good feeling. It’s one of the primary things of business, is it’s about how you make somebody feel.

Jane Erbacher: 100%

Pieter Vodden: And if those spaces are making somebody feel good, then they’re on to something. So, if we can do that, if we can make people feel good, if we can give them that sensation, and we can give them correct training protocols, and we can grow them in the right way, and we can give them the right information, and empower them with that knowledge, then you have something very special, which is what we’re trying to do here.

Jane Erbacher: I absolutely love it. You’ve touched on everything that drives me in my life, and one of my favourite things to discuss with people is the human element of everything, and I think that we’ve come out of the digital technology age, and people are really craving human connection.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, for sure.

Jane Erbacher: And you’ve recognised that in even how the space is set up, in the product delivery, but how the absolute foundation and the core of what you’re doing is to make people feel valued.

Pieter Vodden: Exactly. Exactly, and put the emphasis back on them. I think a lot of the time, people get caught up in the sport, or the challenge-

Jane Erbacher: Performance.

Pieter Vodden: Or the performance. And it isn’t really about that, it’s about, like you said, making people feel valued, making people feel like they belong, making people happy on a daily basis.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: We don’t get up every morning, go to work, have an amazing day, go home, go to bed. We all have our troubles, we all have our woes, we all have our problems, but if you can build somewhere that feels somewhat of a sanctuary, like it gives them pleasure, it gives them happiness, it gives them joy, it gives them community, it gives them successful interactions they don’t necessarily get in their daily lives. Some people, they might not necessarily get on with their work associates, or their family, or their time at home might, currently, not be the best, but if you can be a light in someone’s light, if you can be a light in someone’s day, and make them smile about something, make them feel like they’ve achieved something, give them that sense of joy, then you’ve changed someone’s day. What’s better than that?

Jane Erbacher: And you don’t know what, exactly what you’re saying, you don’t know what people have come from to come into this space, and I think that there’s this movement in the fitness industry where we focus on our programming as if it’s an art or a craft, and people just have to follow it blindly, and what you’re recognising is that someone’s coming in here and this is, potentially, the best hour of their day. And results will come from the application. The results will come from them showing up every day, not necessarily it being the most perfect programme. But that’s not saying that the programming is neglected.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. I think motivation is such a big thing, and that’s why we wanted to offer a multiplicity here, or like a hybrid gym. We want to offer these different disciplines because different people enjoy different things, and, as much as you believe in something, if you try to force it down someone’s throat who’s not into it, then they’re going to give up pretty quickly. But if you can give them different avenues, and say, “This might not be right for you, but this might be right for you,” and then that lessens the barrier of entry, it gives them a way in, and then, once they experience that, it might lead them to experience something else, then experience something else, and, as that confidence builds, they start to grow as a person, and they start to have that more ambitious, more adventurous spirit, which might lead them to different places.

  A lot of what we talked about when we first conceived the project was, how do we reduce the barrier to entry, how do we make people feel more comfortable from the moment they walk in the door? If you’ve been in a gym your entire life, which I have, and I don’t really suffer from intimidation when I walk into a gym just because of my experiences, you have to remember many people do feel that way. They do feel intimidated. If they walk into a space and, immediately, there’s a million barbells flying around, and people are grunting and shouting, and that kind of thing, then it can be a daunting prospect, but if you can reduce the barrier to entry, if you can give them a way in, and then, once you’ve given them a way in, you can show them these different things that helps them just, step by step, grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, and then, eventually, they’ll become something completely different from the person who walked in the door in the first place. You have to give them those avenues. You can’t throw them in with the meatheads at the end of gym, because it’s not going to work for them in that way.

  That whole thing of motivation becomes one of the most significant things in programming. Like you just said, you could write the best scientific programme in the world with all the right percentages, and all the right movements, and all of those stuff, which is, of course, as coaches what we will try and do, but the most important thing, and what’s going to give someone the biggest result, is consistency and motivation. If you can get someone to come to the gym consistently, and you can motivate them daily, then you’re going to have a much bigger chance of success. And that’s what we’re all about, really.

Jane Erbacher: 100%, I love it. And, it was so funny, because, before we started, I was saying how I really love when conversations just go in a direction. And they just go, and it’s funny, because, usually, I would give my guest on a podcast a proper introduction, but I didn’t. We just jumped straight into it, which is kind of what we did when we first met a month ago, because we’re in total agreeance in what we do, and so we get really excited and both of us just keep talking the whole time. But you have a really interesting past, and you have a really interesting story that has led you to Pharos, and I think that that adds even more value to what you’re doing here. You have been training on a bunch of movies, and the most recent one is Wonder Woman. And you’ve also done Suicide Squad and prep for Justice League. What did you learn from those experiences?

Pieter Vodden: You know, I learnt a lot. It was … I’ll backtrack a little bit to how it all started. I originally was working in London for a long time. I lived in London for 14 years. I became a trainer kind of out of … Originally it was my B job. I was an unsuccessful actor in London for about six years, and I’d always trained. I grew up in gyms. I grew up with sport. It was always my passion. It was actually a girlfriend at the time said, “Why don’t you become a personal trainer? Why don’t you go down that road just as a way to supplement your income?” And that’s what I did, and, me being me, when I decide to do something, I throw myself into it completely. Once I did my … In the UK you get what’s called a diploma in personal training, so I had to go to school for the best part of a year. It’s a different system these days, but, then, this was the system. I got a diploma in personal training, and then I just kept studying. I did a lot of stuff with Charles Poliquin, I read all the class texts like Zatsiorsky’s The Science and Practise of Strength Training, Mel Siff’s Supertraining. I was throwing myself into all these incredible old school texts that paved the way for training now. I was always interested in gaining more knowledge.

  I started working at a gym called Gymbox in London, which, at the time, was one of the pioneers of the modern gym, in that it was the first kind of hybrid facility, in that it was originally a boxing and regular gym gym, and then they started introducing more functional cross fit type stuff as they grew, and that became the trend. I saw that evolving, and I remember a friend of what became a friend of mine, Darren Brown, came in for an interview, because I’d build myself up to be the head of personal training at Gymbox, and I would interview different trainers to come and work there. And this guy, Darren Brown came in and I asked him about his background, what he was studying, and that kind of thing, and he mentioned this company, Gym Jones, and I said, “Who are Gym Jones?” And he said, “They’re the guys who trained the actors for The 300.” Now, I’d seen The 300, and a lot of people’s reaction to that movie was, “God, I’d love to be a Spartan warrior,” all that kind of shit.

Jane Erbacher: Every guy I know, yeah.

Pieter Vodden: My reaction to it was, “Oh my God, wouldn’t it be great to train those actors for a movie like that? Wouldn’t it be amazing to be involved in that project?” And that fascinated me, just the process of transformation of taking a bunch of people, changing them, transforming them, and then having this immortal thing on screen that no-one could ever take away from you. Like, you did that. You made that happen, and it’s immortalised on screen. It was an amazing thought for me, at that moment. I remember, straight away, I booked a seminar in London. It was the first time Mark and Rob had come to London. I went to that seminar, and that was the start of my journey with those guys. I just fostered that relationship over a number of years, became the first certified instructor in Europe, and continued to work with them, and, eventually, I’d trained a few actors here and there, while they were in London for various projects for the second 300 movie, and a couple of others, and then the opportunity came up to work on Suicide Squad. I just got a phone call from Mark one day, and I was in Florida, and I was about to go and work on a different project. I’d been hired to open a strength conditioning gym in Kuwait.

  I was always excited by travel. It was a very exciting, daunting, completely different opportunity for me, and I’d accepted it, and I was gearing up for it, and I think I was about three weeks out from moving to Kuwait, pretty much permanently, and I remember I was in Florida, and I get the phone call from Mark Twight, and he’s like, “Look, we’ve got this project coming up, would you be interested?” I’m like, “Oh my god.”

Jane Erbacher: This is what I’ve wanted.

Pieter Vodden: This is what I’d always dreamed would happen with that relationship, and, of course, I accepted. I turned the Kuwait thing down, and, before I knew it, I was training the principal actress, initially in London, then in Australia, then, ultimately, in the States and Toronto. It just was an incredible journey, and it started out just working with one actress, then another actress, then another actor, and then a whole group of actors, and then I ended up training the whole cast and crew who were on the project. We talked a bit earlier about building a community, it was the first time for me … I mean, I’d kind of done it before in Gymbox, I’d build little communities through classes, and group training, and that kind of thing, but it was the first time I really took a project, and was able to build my own team community thing successfully in a space. It wasn’t people who had signed up to a gym. It wasn’t people who’d suddenly thought, “I want to transform into a fitness person,” it was people who were working on a project that it wasn’t their job to train, they didn’t have to train, it was people that just wanted to feel better.

  Usually when you do a film project, you start the film off, and, gradually, you get worse and worse and worse as the project goes on, because you tend to eat worse and worse food, you tend to sleep less and less, you get fatigued, you miss your family. All those different things come in that deteriorate your experience. What we managed to do during Suicide Squad was reverse that process, so people actually got fitter, healthier, stronger throughout the filming process, just by turning up every day and doing something good for themselves, as opposed to turning up every day and doing bad things for themselves, so we managed to reverse that process. That was just this huge sign, to me, of what’s really achievable when you get consistency, when you get good feeling, when you get good people who genuinely just turn up because they want to learn, and they want to improve, and they want to grow. They don’t have to be there. They’re not being forced to be there, they’re just doing it out of the need to feel good.

Jane Erbacher: And you don’t have to do it, either. This is the better part about this story, is you actually did it because you wanted to make everybody’s day better. That sounds so Mary Poppins rainbows, but you genuinely cared enough about people to invite them in on that.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, because, like anybody, I need motivation, and that motivates me. Having an impact on other people’s lives motivates me as a coach. On a movie project, sometimes, if you’re just seeing the principal artist one or two hours of the day, the rest of the day can be a little empty, unless you fill it with good stuff. My whole thing was “Let’s fill it with good stuff. Let’s open the doors, and give all these other people a journey.” When people think of movies, they think of the people on the screen, and the heroes, and the principal, but, really, there’s all these other people behind the scenes. The stunt people, the producers, the make-up artists, the costume people, everybody involved in that project is on their own journey, and so why not give them a positive experience, as well? So that was that experience, and we went on this incredible journey together. It really was like a family. I felt very emotionally close to those people, and, when the project ends, you’re kind of torn because you got to close to this group. It became such a meaningful thing, on so many levels, that when it ended you’re a little bit empty.

  But, in the back of my mind, I knew the Wonder Woman project was coming up, so I was just treading water until that kicked off. I’d had the Suicide Squad experience, and the positivity of that, so I went into the Wonder Woman project guns blazing. The Wonder Woman thing was incredible for a different reason, because it was the first time, really, in Hollywood, that you were going to put a bunch of women on screen that had that physical prowess together in an amazing new vision of femininity. When I got there and we first started talking to people who we thought would form the Amazons, which they eventually did, we were trying to communicate this sense of, “You are involved in something special. This is the first time this has happened.”

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, it’s really redefined [inaudible 00:25:16].

Pieter Vodden: “Let’s redefine the vision of femininity in Hollywood.” Previously, women had this thing in Hollywood they had to be thin and skinny, and they had to live up to that old stereotype, and this wanted to rewrite the rules, you know, “Screw that, let’s present a different vision. Let’s have strong, powerful women on screen who are going to show the generation of tomorrow that, you know-

Jane Erbacher: What women can be.

Pieter Vodden: “What women can be, what they can really present themselves like, and how strong they can be, how powerful they can be.” When you’re communicating that to this group of women, they’re suddenly filled with this, “Oh my God, this is amazing,” and then you’re all on that journey. As hard as training was for them, and it was very, very hard. We did an eight week boot camp in the beginning, it was full on, and every day they were with us four hours a day of solid training, and then, on top of that, they’d have stunt training, and prescribed diet, and all that sort of stuff, and it was very, very hard on them, but, in the back of their minds, they knew they were involved with something very special. And so all the hardship goes away, because you know you’re involved in something special. As that project grew, and grew, and grew, the same kind of feeling of being involved with something that is building a community, that is building that deeper human connection, that same kind of spirit of change, and transformation, and adventure, and strength just grew, and grew, and grew. We started in London, and then we were in Italy for a period of time. Again, it was just an amazing, amazing group of people, who really came together, and enjoyed this incredible experience.

  You knew you were involved in something that was going to be groundbreaking, just from the way it was being done, the way that Patty was, the way that the women were performing, it was just a very, very special experience. Something that changed me, and I’ll never forget it. Both of those projects, in different ways, revealed to me, again, the power of the human spirit. I know it sounds kind of hippyish, but it did.

Jane Erbacher: No, I love it.

Pieter Vodden: The power of the group dynamic. When you have people that come together on a similar journey, and throw their passion into these workouts, it’s a very special thing to observe and to be a part of. Especially when you’ve had … A lot of these women came from either a dance background, or a gymnastics background, not necessarily the kind of stuff we were doing. A lot of the stuff that we did was new to them, it wasn’t like they were familiar with them. They had to learn, and once they’d learnt they had to actually do it, and see it through. It was all a very positive energy that was created just through this learning process, this educational process, this practise process, and I think we all learnt a lot, both about ourselves and about each other. It was amazing to be a part of. The Suicide Squad thing was great because it was my first time building something, and then the Wonder Woman thing was just an extension of that. I knew what was possible, and then being able to really enhance upon that and create this whole new thing, was an amazing thing to be a part of.

Jane Erbacher: I love it. One of my favourite things about everything you’ve said is one of the cores of what you do is to create connection between you and a person, and them and what they’re doing, which is such a powerful gift to give somebody, and I’d be really interested to know have you stayed in touch with people from Suicide Squad that were more on the crew side of things-

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. For sure.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, and have they continued what you started with them?

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. It’s amazing. Actually one of the producers on the Suicide Squad movie, Sabine, Sabine Graham, she came to me, and she wasn’t particularly happy, the way her training was going, the way she was feeling. Both from a performance standpoint, but also, to a degree, from an aesthetic perspective, as well, and, when I was there, she went through this amazing transformation, this amazing journey, not just in terms of the way she changed physically, but the way that she changed mentally, and what was the most incredible thing, was the effect she started to have on other people. It was like a pay it forward kind of thing. She went through this transformation. Once she’d gone through this transformation, she wrote to me a year later, telling me about the effect she’d had on her children, her friends, all this stuff. She’s now doing all these different Spartan races, and running events in Canada, and affecting other people, and encouraging other people to go on a fitness journey. It was this great … When you have someone like that, who takes it, and just runs with it, and …

Jane Erbacher: Totally. If you’re somebody who’s here that’s driven and motivated by having an impact on others, what better reward for having an impact on others that other people are then having a better life?

Pieter Vodden: Exactly, exactly.

Jane Erbacher: And that’s what it’s all about, which is so great. I always ask everybody that’s on the podcast, at the very end, usually, what they feel their purpose in life is, but, because we’re, kind of, on this tangent right now, I want you to articulate to us, the best you can, what you feel like you’re here to do.

Pieter Vodden: First and foremost as a coach. I love coaching. But, really, I want to build these communities. This Pharos project is going to be the first project, and then we want to continue to grow it. So, really, it’s to affect as many people as possible in this positive way, give them the tools to give themselves a better life, and a better experience, and keep affecting as many people as possible. Then, hopefully, in turn, they will pay it forward, and they will pay it forward, and they will pay it forward, and this whole thing keeps growing.

Jane Erbacher: Where do you think this came from? What has driven you to have this mission, do you feel, or is it just something you think you’ve just always had?

Pieter Vodden: I think I had a very good mother and father, I had a very good family, growing up. My dad instilled this hard work ethic in me. I’ve always been very hardworking, and that comes from him. He was a very hard worker. He was an engineer. My mom, same kind of thing, she worked every day when we were kids, they provided the best life possible for us, so I had really good role models. I just remember, from a very young age, I liked helping people. I remember kids in the playground that were bullied, that were the unpopular kids, I’d side with them, try and protect them, that kind of thing. I always wanted to be this protector and guide, and I don’t really know where it comes from, but I did. Then I think that’s probably what drew me to become a coach and a trainer. Not necessarily because I love fitness, but also because I was always able to build connections with people. I was always able to find a common ground and communicate with people, and find something tangible that you could work with. I think that helped me build connections, and those connections have helped me build a career, essentially.

  Two people do the same course, and one person excels, and one person doesn’t excel, I think a lot of the time it comes down to communication, friendships, and the way that you relate to people. For me, I think I’ve always had that skill of like I could find a common ground with someone. Even if you come from different walks of life and different places, if you can find just one piece of common ground that makes you relatable to them, and they can see something of themselves in you, and like you, then vice versa, then you’ve got something to go froward with. I think I’ve always had that, and I continue to be inspired by that. The ambition of making, or the ideal of making someone else’s life just that little bit better, is enough to keep you going, and keep you wanting to build, and keep you driven. It’s an incredible rewarding thing.

Jane Erbacher: It’s the best.

Pieter Vodden: Like we said before, what’s better than giving someone’s day that little bit of happiness, that they may not otherwise have had? And yeah, I think, to a degree, as well, the performance side of things still fascinates me. I’m still fascinated by performance, and strength conditioning as a discipline, so I want to continue to improve as a coach. I know a lot, but I don’t know everything, and I want to continue to learn, and learning still fascinates me. We actually are, currently, working on an educational programme, so, as well as Pharos being a gym, we’re also working on an educational programme to go forward with. Because, essentially, what we have here with me and my business partners, Emy and Jeff, we have this mechanic strength conditioning protocol. Everything is built on a foundation of mechanics, right? So I’m only ever going to be as strong as my mechanics are. My wife, Emylee, is a mechanics specialist. Her whole thing is integration, so how my mobility, and how my mechanical structure can enhance my sports performance. You can take old school yoga, and stretching, and that kind of thing as a basis of it, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s how can I prime my body for the movements that I’m about to do?

  At Pharos, we have this repair and prepare kind of system where we prepare people for the work they’re about to do with these sequences, and then we repair from them. And we are only ever going to be as strong as our structure allows. I know from my own staff, my one [inaudible 00:35:36] aren’t necessarily where they need to be. Not because I’m not strong enough, not because of my central nervous system, but because my mechanics aren’t strong enough, and that just comes from years of neglect. Whereas, if I’d have gone through this mechanical correction a lot earlier, my ability would have been a lot better.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. And you can start that now, as in it’s-

Pieter Vodden: And I can start that now. It’s never too late to work on that stuff. We have this mechanical foundation, and then we have an emphasis on strength, because we should all be getting stronger as human beings. That doesn’t have to be in the sense of everybody want to lift a car, but more in the sense of everybody wants to be stronger, because, if you’re stronger, you’re going to have a better life, you’re going to have a longer life. If you have a good degree of muscle mass, if you have strong tissue, you’d have strong ligaments, strong tendons.

Jane Erbacher: And it reduces the risk of injury, like in normal life.

Pieter Vodden: Exactly. Yeah, reduces the risk of injury, healthier, all that stuff with comes with lifting, and performing well, and taking your body through those movements, and being more functional, or whatever term you want to use. Then the conditioning side of it, we also believe in a good deal of conditioning. I think a lot of the time, gyms tend to focus on one or the other. You have those gyms that just focus on strength, which is great. Then you have gyms that are more conditioning biassed. We like to think, again, of ourselves as a hybrid, so we value conditioning hugely, which is why we’ve invested so much money in the SKILLMILLS that we have here from Technogym, the SkiErgs which we love and you love, and the rowers, and the bikes, and all that kind of thing, and we do a lot of running outside.

Jane Erbacher: Those SKILLMILLS are awesome, too.

Pieter Vodden: They are amazing, yeah. So we have a high value on conditioning, as well. We’re currently building this educational programme based on those foundations. We’re going to educate people in mechanics, education people in strength, education people in conditioning, and then education people in how to tie it up altogether, and build this better athlete through those foundations. At the beginning it will start with how we build and train our coaches, and then it will extend into the greater community. But, yeah, that’s an exciting thing for us, because we’re all very, I hate to use the word teachers, but we are all teachers, we love education, and if we find education apparent for us, we know it can be apparent for others. The gym shouldn’t be somewhere you just come, do some shit, and go home.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly, and just do what you’re told.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, it’s somewhere you come and you learn, and through that learning you can then …

Jane Erbacher: Totally. And people get so excited about that, and that’s something I’ve really noticed in the last few months running my Project Row and my Project Ski, is that people want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing. It’s funny, because I think that it just comes out of laziness, that people aren’t educating, because we care enough to know, and the people that come in the door care enough to know, and that’s what’s going to keep them coming, as well, because then they want to keep getting better, too.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I’ve seen it so many times, and I know you have, the empowerment people get from just that little bit of knowledge, and realising that it isn’t rocket science. It’s just a few pointers here and there, like, “This is what you’re doing, and this is why you’re doing it.” The why is important, right?

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, it’s my favourite.

Pieter Vodden: Because a lot of people forget the why. It’s just like, “This is what we’re doing today,” and nobody knows why. But if you can tell them … Me and Jeff sit down to do our programming every week, and our whole thing is, “Okay, what’s our purpose? Why are we doing this? What’s the point of it? What’s the purpose?”

Jane Erbacher: Speaking my language.

Pieter Vodden: Because if we don’t know what the purpose is, then we can’t expect them to know what the purpose is.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: So we talk about that, and we make sure that the workout fits in with that purpose, and that definition. So, yeah, that’s big part of what we do and what we’re interested in doing. The other thing is with this community, Pharos is … We don’t want fitness to exist in a vacuum. We want it to be part of someone’s life, and how it ties into their other aspirations, so we have this club house at the front where we will have music nights, and film nights, and that kind of thing, so people stop thinking of fitness as a completely separate thing, it’s part of their experience. Just as if they’re an artist, if they’re a painter, if they’re a film buff, if they’re a media guru, whatever they are, it’s all part of the same experience, and it all ties in. I think that’s the beauty of my fasciation with film and training, is it’s all tied in. The art of creating a movie is the same as the art of creating a character. My whole thing with training actors was always … Film is the world of make believe, but if we can build these people in the gym that believe they are strong, and believe they are powerful, and believe they are warriors, or whatever they’re meant to be, then that persona on screen is going to be all the more believable.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: If you just build … if just put someone in a gym who can’t really do the stuff, and can’t really move, and doesn’t really believe in themselves, then the character on screen is less believable, but if you can give someone that empowerment that when they get on screen they’re going to feel like a million dollars, then they’re going to be all the more believable. Sometimes people get it, and some people don’t. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But that should be the ambition, to make people believe in themselves to a degree that they’re just …

Jane Erbacher: Because why can’t they be?

Pieter Vodden: Because why can’t they be? There’s no reason why they can’t be.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly. It’s amazing your passion oozes out of you, I absolutely love it, but one of my favourite things about you, is that you’re so genuine. You genuinely care so much about whoever it is in front of you, and it’s just amazing, I think it really shouldn’t feel so revolutionary, but it really does, meeting somebody like you, and it’s amazing. Just a tiny bit longer.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, no worries.

Jane Erbacher: One of the interesting things I’ve picked up on, is you said you were an unsuccessful actor, and you came into this career from that, and I think it’s so interesting, like the name of the podcast is Your Revolution, and I talk a lot about people’s turning point in their life, and how you can use a turning point, or a challenge, as a real pre-cursor to success, or failure, and I think it’s amazing that that didn’t work, because part of the reason it probably didn’t work is because your mission in life, and it’s come from a place that you can’t even really define, is to have a positive impact on people.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. I think, for me, there’s been a couple of big, big moments in my life. The first was that transition where I had reached a very unhappy place in my life with all the acting stuff. I was working at a job that I hated, I felt very insecure, I didn’t really know where I was going to go from there, and then the training thing kind of happened, as I said, on somebody else’s suggestion, and, as soon as I went down that road, it was right. Then there was another point in my life where I had to really dig deep and do a lot of soul searching, and embark on what, I now know, is a growth mindset. But, at that time, those definitions weren’t apparent to me, but a growth mindset was everything that happens to you, you can learn from. Whether good or bad, you can learn from it, and grow from it.

  From that point, I’ve always had that growth mindset of, “Whatever happens to me, I’m going to take what I can from it, and learn, and grow, and improve.” And that can be really, really hard at times, and it can be very scary, it can be very daunting, it can fill us with insecurities and all these ugly things that exist inside of us, but I kind of reached a point of resilience of … And we’ve all had it at times in our life, when we think everything’s against us, the world’s against us, someone doesn’t-

Jane Erbacher: Why’s it so hard?

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. People don’t want us to succeed, or so and so’s against me, or-

Jane Erbacher: It’s because of them.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. Someone’s trying to ruin my career, or whatever it is, we’ve all been at that point, and we can either sink or we can swim. The whole growth mindset is, “I’m going to be a swimmer.”

Jane Erbacher: Yes.

Pieter Vodden: “There’s no way that this is going to destroy me. There’s no way that this is going to pull me back. I’m going to just take it and grow.” And that’s what I try to do, and, to this point, fingers crossed, it’s going pretty well. But yeah, we’re super excited about the Pharos project. Funny, we’ve kind of touched on this a bit, but I had an interview with a journalist the other day, and she said, “How long have you guys been working on Pharos?” And it’s like, “I think it’s been 10 years.”

Jane Erbacher: Yes.

Pieter Vodden: Because it really is the culmination of all these experiences. Whether it was in Gymbox, back in the UK, whether it was on Suicide Squad, whether it was on Wonder Woman, whether it was everything between, whether it was Emylee’s experiences, whether it was Jeff’s experiences, it’s really everything we’ve learnt in the last 10 years, is going into this space to create this hybrid facility that takes into account people’s needs, people’s feelings, people’s motivation, what people really need to get them engaged in a gym, and to give them an experience that’s fulfilling, meaningful, transformative, all of those positive things. When we started on this project, we all listened to three podcasts a day. Whether it be a business podcast, or whether it be an athletic education podcast, we all went in with-

Jane Erbacher: Covering all bases.

Pieter Vodden: … with our lights switched on, because we need to know this stuff.

Jane Erbacher: 100%

Pieter Vodden: I think, often, the mistake is when you’re a coach, or you’re a trainer, you think it’s all about the training, but it isn’t. If you’re running a business, you’re running a business, and the business has to be successful, and I think a lot of businesses have failed because they thought it was all about the training, and they didn’t consider the business side of things.

Jane Erbacher: And if they just had the best equipment, and they had the best … Yeah.

Pieter Vodden: Exactly, so for us, it was like, “Let’s go in with our eyes open. Let’s really understand the process. Let’s educate ourselves on the business side of things, because we know we can do the training side of things.” But the business side of things needs attention, and it needs to be understood, because, on one side of the equation, you have your principals, and you have what you believe about training, and your ideal facility, and what should happen. Then, the other side of the equation, it’s like, “This has to make money.”

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: LA is an expensive place. This is a big building. If the numbers-

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. A lot of competition of all different things.

Pieter Vodden: A lot of competition. If the numbers don’t add up, the business fails, and you’ve helped nobody.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Exactly.

Pieter Vodden: In order to continue to help people, you have to consider both sides of the story. Yes, it has to be in line with your principals, your core values, everything you believe in as a coach you have to bring in here. But you also have to realise that, on a daily basis, it has to make money, so you have to do your sums. So, the membership, you have to look at how much will a membership cost? What is the value of that membership? And our thing was, if we … We’re making the membership relatively expensive, but our thing is, let’s just put a shit tonne of value into that membership, because the more value I can add to the membership, the less it feels like a hardship, right.

Jane Erbacher: 100%, yeah. And what’s the price someone’s willing to pay to change their life? This is the thing, this is what I’m always thinking.

Pieter Vodden: It’s relatively … It’s funny, because you go out in LA, and you can spend easy $100 on a meal. Easy, in one night.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. $50 for parking.

Pieter Vodden: Exactly. For sure. So the cost of a gym membership is relatively low for the experience that you get, and the effect it has on your life. Because how much effect did that one meal have on your life? Not much.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly. And alcohol, or-

Pieter Vodden: How much effect can the gym have?

Jane Erbacher: Yeah, exactly.

Pieter Vodden: Or alcohol, or any of it?

Jane Erbacher: It is only a dollar to park near here, I’ve found.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, Echo Park’s cheap to park in.

Jane Erbacher: It’s perfect.

Pieter Vodden: It’s true. What is the cost relative to the value it adds to your life? And I guarantee, it isn’t much. And it can be, especially if people aren’t used it, they walk into a gym for the first time, and they don’t really understand what it is, or what it can do for you. They just think it’s going to give me some abs, or something, that kind of thing, then yeah, it seems expensive, but if you consider what it genuinely does for you on a daily basis, and how it positively impacts your life, and what that can lead to in your own life, your own journey, then it’s relatively cheap.

Jane Erbacher: And Pharos is a culmination, like you just said, of yours, and Emylee, and Jeff’s learning experiences your entire life. You said the last 10 years, but it’s like what price is that? That’s who you’re training with, that’s who has created this community.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. I mean, neither of us went on a weekend course then opened a gym.

Jane Erbacher: Exactly.

Pieter Vodden: This has been a, like we said, a lifelong enterprise of education, experience, and, like I said, we have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from other people’s excellence. Whether it be across a cross fit gym, whether it be Gym Jones, whether it be a Globo Gym, a lot of these people have done things very well, and done things right, and we’ve had the privilege and the fortune of learning from them.

Jane Erbacher: But you’ve opened your eyes up to learning from them, you’re not too proud to.

Pieter Vodden: Exactly, I’m not too proud to, and, like I said before, people can be very dismissive of other people’s projects, or other people’s values, or the way that people do things.

Jane Erbacher: But it’s worked for a reason.

Pieter Vodden: But it’s worked for a reason, and it has value, and you have to draw value from what they’ve done. A lot of positives can be drawn from those projects that have come before us, and we’re very lucky to have seen that, to have witnessed that, and have experiences in that.

Jane Erbacher: It’s so exciting, because I am like, “I have to move to LA and train here.” I’m so excited by you, and I’m so excited being in this space with everything that you are doing, and I cannot wait. We were talking right before the podcast about what you want to be doing in six months, and 12 months, and everything with Pharos, and I think it’s really great, because so many people I talk to that are in the process of, or have just opened, a gym, they open their gym and then they go, “Haa, it’s done,” and you’d find it perfectly with a growth mindset. You’re like, “How is everything that I’m doing going to help me grow, even more?”

Pieter Vodden: Yeah, for sure. “How can I continue to learn from this process? How can I continue to grow as a person?” I think we’re all in that mindset. Our ambition isn’t just to open a gym, it never was. It’s a brand, but it’s not just the brand that’s sits on its hind legs, it’s a brand that wants to continue to educate itself, to grow, to improve, to help, and that’s the way we’ll move forward. Always growing, learning, educating, helping, just always seeking, always moving forward. The whole Pharos thing came from … It was the first lighthouse. Pharos Island in ancient Egyptian times, and when we first opened the gym, everyone was like, “Oh, pharaohs. Pharaohs.” It’s like, “No, no it’s not pharaohs. [inaudible 00:50:53] pharaohs. It’s Pharos, it’s the Pharos island, it’s the lighthouse.” Because we had this image of the lighthouse, in our heads, of being in that kind of guide. That guide is either helping people on their journey, or helping people come back. So, that was our thing, we wanted to be that lighthouse. And then, as you’ll see, the way that we’ll present social media and the website, and all that thing, going forward, you’ll see more and more imagery of this lighthouse thing. The light that comes with the natural light with the building.

Jane Erbacher: Yeah. It’s perfect.

Pieter Vodden: Because there’s this huge analogy, for us, with light, and knowledge, and experience, and we want it to be that influence in people’s life, the lightness coming through. It’s funny that whole Pharos, pharaohs, Pharos, and we were like, “Oh my God,” to the point where we almost changed it, because we’re just tired of people seeing pharaohs.

Jane Erbacher: Didn’t want any confusion.

Pieter Vodden: But it’s Pharos, it’ll stay Pharos now. I think, like with anything, as you grow as a company, and you become more and more well known and successful, it will become Pharos, and people will know it’s Pharos.

Jane Erbacher: Totally.

Pieter Vodden: In the beginning, you feel like you have to re-educate people all the time, [crosstalk 00:52:03].

Jane Erbacher: Totally, and you don’t always want to be explaining things, but, do you know what? What a cool story it actually is. Even in a correction of pronunciation, you get to talk about what your mission is, which opens it up. Whereas, if it was a word that people knew exactly the meaning and everything, you wouldn’t have that conversation.

Pieter Vodden: For sure. It’s a powerful image for me, because I grew up on an island. The Isle of Wight, in the UK, and one of the main images of the island is the lighthouse, because an island has lighthouses all around it to protect the ships coming in and out, so, growing up, it was always paramount in my mind, and then, when I was on the island a few years ago, it came back into my consciousness, and when it came back into my consciousness, I started this blog in the UK, called The Lighthouse, and it reached a connection with Jeff, who said, “What about this whole lighthouse thing?” And then we found Pharos, he found Pharos, and we then we were like, “Okay, it’s Pharos,” and that was that. Pharos was the first lighthouse, this is the first gym, this is the first Pharos.

Jane Erbacher: I love it. It is so great. It is so incredible to meet you. I love hearing everything that you had to see, and I’m so excited to see what you do.

Pieter Vodden: Thank you. Well, you too, I’m so thrilled to see everything that you’re doing, and it’s very inspirational to see other coaches doing these amazing things, and travelling so much, and I think, from what I see of your projects, it’s the same kind of thing. You’re travelling the world to help people, and I think that’s incredible. Like I said, it inspires me to continue to learn, and to continue to get better. I’m somewhat envious of your travelling, because I used to travel all the time, and, now I have this space, I can’t travel as much, anymore.

Jane Erbacher: Don’t worry, I’m envious of this, so we can do a little trade for a few months.

Pieter Vodden: We’ll trade at some point.

Jane Erbacher: It’s so great. Thank you so much.

Pieter Vodden: Pleasure. Anytime.

Jane Erbacher: Thank you, everyone, for listening. Oh, one more thing, I want to know how people can work with you. Tell us where Pharos is, and tell us if there’s any capacity that people have to work with you if they’re not in LA, or if they can just drop in when they’re visiting, because I know a lot of people visit.

Pieter Vodden: Sure. Yeah, we love people dropping in, we love to see you here. We are in Echo Park, in Los Angeles. We’re at 1316 Glendale. You can check us out on Instagram at @pharosechopark. Or you can check out my personal Instagram @pvtlighthouse. You can check out our website, www.jointhepac.fit. Just hit us up. We’d love to see you. We’d love you to drop in at Echo Park, or reach us online if you’re interested in remote prep programming, or need any help with anything. We’re always happy to help.

Jane Erbacher: And one of the first things that struck me is, when I walked in the door, how welcoming everybody here was. Everybody came up, introduced themself, there was … By no means was I an imposition, and I did go into Equinox this morning, because it was right next door to my hotel, and I did not stay long, because it was very interesting, because the people there were just like I was an annoyance to them. And we’ve talked it before in terms of how intimidating a fitness space is, and whether you’re intimidated or not, I still get extremely intimidated going into fitness space, even though I’ve worked in the industry for, probably, 15 years now, and this was not like that.

Pieter Vodden: Yeah. For sure. I mean we said from the outset … I mean in the beginning it’s, obviously me, Jeff, and Emylee are pretty much here all the time, and it’s kind of our baby, so we’re very upbeat about it, obviously, but, in conservations we have about potential employees, we’re always like, “We would rather hire good people, than excellent, really well qualified coaches,” because, to us, it starts with a good person, because a good person you can teach stuff to, you know that they’ll grow, you know that, like you said, when someone walks in the door they’re going to be nice, they’re going to be friendly, and you can really work with that good person, and educate them, and improve them. Whereas, if someone comes in, they’re the best coach in the world but they’ve got a terrible attitude, it’s very hard to change that.

Jane Erbacher: Totally. Don’t care about people. I hear what you’re saying.

Pieter Vodden: Very hard to change that. Our whole thing is hire good people, who are good on the inside, and then help them grow.

Jane Erbacher: Educate them. I love it. You’re the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you everyone for listening.