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ISSA Talk, Episode 8: Online Training Roundtable Discussion

Reading Time: 31 minutes 33 seconds

Edited for clarity.

Erin Mahoney:

Hey all. Thanks for joining us for another ISSA talk. This is our weekly web series created to help fitness professionals through this difficult time of social separation. I'm Erin Mahoney, the VP of product here at ISSA, and I'm really excited to introduce our panel of fitness experts today.

Not just one, but a few. If you've been following your series, you may see some familiar faces. First, we've got Josh Bryant and Josh is the bestselling author of Jailhouse Strong. And he's a world-renowned strength coach. Plus, Josh is also the man responsible for our ISSA bodybuilding course. Thanks so much for joining us, Josh.

Josh Bryant:

Thanks for having me.

Erin Mahoney:

And then next we've also got our Reebok CrossFit-1 lead trainer, Kevin O'Connell. Kevin's been coaching CrossFits since 2011 and has been with Reebok since 2015. Before Reebok, he worked as an occupational therapy. So, he's got some experience working in acute care and subacute care, mental and behavioral health, and substance abuse disorders, as well as movement-based therapy for children and young adults with developmental delays. So, I'm excited to have you here too Kevin, thanks for joining us.

Kevin O'Connell:

Thanks for having me.

Erin Mahoney:

And if you didn't think that those two were enough, we've got a new face for you guys today—Maya McGinnis. Maya is ISSA's resident yoga expert and as a 500-hour certified yoga teacher. Prior to her yoga training, Maya spent 15 years studying ballet and tuning her expertise in movement training. Now a certified health coach, Maya teaches yoga with a holistic approach and helps people live a healthier lifestyle every single day through her practice. Maya welcome aboard.

Maya McGinnis:

Great to be here.

Erin Mahoney:

All right. So today we're going to start picking the brains of our amazing experts living in the quarantine space. Are you all ready to get started?

Kevin O'Connell:

Yep.

Erin Mahoney:

Great. So, for our viewers, what's really unique about the people that we have here today is they all come to it with their own experience. So, kind of to give you an overview, Maya was active in the studios teaching, she was also conducting instructor trainings out there as well in a very physical environment. So, the change for her was very sudden, right Maya?

Maya McGinnis:

Very sudden, it was within 24 hours.

Erin Mahoney:

So, she didn't have a lot of ramp up time. And then we've got Kevin who, similar to Maya, was in the physical space. But Kevin, you also kind of did some like virtual competitions a little bit here and there that was external to the physical space. Do I have that right?

Kevin O'Connell:

Yeah. It was kind of a hybrid. We would promote it and talk about it through virtual means and then also have some stuff in studio.

Erin Mahoney:

Awesome. And then Josh is kind of like a Jack of all trades, but kind of how we said in our bio for him, he is really outstanding behind doing a lot of great workouts with a lot of nothing. So, Josh, you kind of have trained in the physical world, but also a little online and you also do a lot of the presentations globally, right?

Josh Bryant:

Yeah. I mean, so that was the biggest difference right away is I'd just gotten back from Australia doing a seminar when this all happened. So obviously I had to reschedule a number of seminars, so had to come up with some alternatives methods to get things done.

Tips for Transitioning to Online Training

Erin Mahoney:

Yeah. So, it's great to have all three of these people here. They're going to come at it from different perspectives and let's go ahead and get started. So, I'm going to start with ... Let's go ahead and start actually with Kevin. So, Kevin, and I'll ask this to our other experts too. But if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before the gym shutdowns, what would you have told yourself? Let's say 60 days before this whole thing happened?

Kevin O'Connell:

I would have said to get as much lighting equipment, camera equipment, exercise equipment, as you possibly can to shove in your basement or garage and get ready to start doing classes from home.

Erin Mahoney:

Awesome. Josh, do you echo that or are you like nope. What would you say?

Josh Bryant:

I would say that the main thing is regardless of who you are, what your style is, you have to be up to date on the latest technology, whether it's all machines, people have their house or just body weight stuff. You're able to do sessions via Zoom, via Skype, send things out. I mean, just even I had to figure out how to do interviews with people like this for my YouTube channel. And I had to figure out what to use, where if I would have been up to date on that right away, I wouldn't have to figure out how to use them right away. So just being up to date on the latest technology, so you can deliver your message to clients and new potential clients.

Erin Mahoney:

Love it. And then Maya for you and your businesses, you have a lot of equipment around. So, if you could give yourself advice before the shutdowns, what would you have told yourself?

Maya McGinnis:

I would echo all of that just because I think there was a real quick ramp up in terms of the technology needed for a lot of us to move online. I also think I would have reminded myself that teaching online can be just as valuable as teaching in person. And that was something that I was really resistant to for a long time, but it's been a wonderful transition in many ways. So, I maybe would have ramped that up sooner had I known.

Erin Mahoney:

Perfect. So, it's great to hear you all are aligned. We're hearing even when we say things like get as much equipment as you can, be ready to be training out of your basement, we don't really have basements in Arizona, but be ready to be training out of your basement combined with being up to date on technology. I think those are both really strong concepts because if you go a little bit deeper, what it's saying is in terms of the equipment, with our trade, we probably should never again find ourselves in a situation where we're completely reliant on the gym to be able to do our practice. Is that a fair statement?

Josh Bryant:

100%.

Kevin O'Connell:

Mostly.

Embracing Technology

Erin Mahoney:

So similarly with technology is we probably should also make sure that we're not combating that technology and we're not looking at it as the enemy, things like the Peloton and the Mirror, those types of things, instead of we should be embracing it and seeing how those technologies ... And I know you guys didn't mean those specifically, but just in general, it seems like the fitness industry is a little against the technology side of things. So instead, really embracing everything that we have available for us and applying it as much as we can to what we do.

Kevin O'Connell:

To that end Maya, my manager's wife just got a Peloton and he rides it probably three, four times a week. And we change one of our strategies as far as how we're delivering our content so that it matches kind of his interests. Meaning whenever you're go for the bike, he would pick whatever class he's going to be taking based on time first and then style.

So, if he had a half hour before meetings, he would go to a 30-minute section and then from there he would pick his options. So now we're trying to display all of our content time-based so folks know how long it will take to get through whatever it is that we're doing. So that's kind of like the low hanging fruit so to speak.

Erin Mahoney:

That's really cool, that's an interesting concept. I have a yoga app on my phone and I like it because it has that similar thing where you can choose, you can filter it by difficulty level, what you want to focus on or also the time. And I didn't even notice it. So, thank you for bringing that up, but almost how much time do I have to get this in and then I'll select based on that. So that's pretty cool. Any other learning lessons that anybody has come against with technology that they want to share?

Maya McGinnis:

I think one thing that's come up a lot, especially in the yoga world is being graceful when dealing with technical difficulties, because I think there are a lot of things that have been kind of out of people's control, things like bandwidth issues and problems with sound or audio visual. And it's like anything, it's like teaching in a studio. At least for yoga dealing with your mistakes gracefully is really the only way to go about it because your students don't necessarily remember the mistake. They remember how you handle it.

So, it's really learning to navigate some of these technological difficulties in a way that you don't make a huge deal out of it. And I think that's been something that has been a real learning experience for a lot of people who especially in the old world are relatively new to the technology side of this whole situation.

Erin Mahoney:

I love that you brought that up Maya because in a past life I had also been a group fitness instructor. And there's definitely a difference between what an instructor does when like the music fails or the microphone doesn't work and that can totally disrupt an entire class. And so, or versus when technology fails and they just rely on doing nonverbal communication in order to get their point across, which I think actually Kevin talking about he had to lead a session without talking at all right, Kevin?

Kevin O'Connell:

It was one of our training sessions with our staff. We did a whole session where no one could talk to anyone.

Erin Mahoney:

I remember that, I love that. So, I like this conversation too. So, what I'm hearing is that as we can navigate these types of issues and handle it with grace, then we'll be coming across more as professionals. And we've got to understand that we all can't be perfect as much as we'd like to. Believe it, we can't be.

Lessons Learned From Quick Transitions

Erin Mahoney:

I'd love to hear something ... Especially we'll drop, jump over to you, Josh. What is a big lesson that you've learned through all of this? And I don't know that it's impacted your day to day as much. Maybe it's some of these others, but what's a big lesson that you are taking away from this? Either a personal growth or even professional growth.

Josh Bryant:

I think the biggest one is nothing is guaranteed. So you have to be very ... Be rigid in your goals, but very flexible in your approach. So for instance, like with the time that I'm not doing seminars now, I've had two new books come out, eBooks in this time period. And there'll be print. We're seen a little delayed on the print because of all the pandemic, but it's given me more time to do that. So just remaining on the same path, but being flexible in how I'm approaching and take advantage of this new time and doing things that way.

Erin Mahoney:

Congratulations on your book. That's exciting.

Josh Bryant:

Well, thank you.

Erin Mahoney:

So, it allows you to redirect your passion into other areas. What about for you Kevin, any big lessons for you?

Kevin O'Connell:

I think what was helpful for me most is that when I work on site, I also provide some, either guidance or hands on therapy for folks. And a lot of times, it's kind of the same recurring issues we see time and time again. So, it's always been my desire. Oh, well, why don't I just make a quick little video and I can send it to everybody. But again, with the busy schedule, the long commute, it becomes very challenging to do so.

So now it's awesome because having this foundation, we go back to the gym and allow me to free up time so that if it's a quick fix, I can send it to them. So, I guess it's not really necessarily a lesson learned, but it's something that I've always wanted to do that I've been able to have time to do now that will set me up for success down the road so that I can develop other areas and fine tune other skills.

Erin Mahoney:

Fantastic. And then Maya, I was on a call with Maya shortly after all this happened. And then I was on a call with her the next day and she had this beautiful studio in her background and I was like oh my gosh look at what you've done. And she's like man, I just put this together last night. So, Maya in my head it's going to be like flexibility and being able to turn things around pretty quickly. But tell me about your biggest lessons through all this?

Maya McGinnis:

I think one of my biggest lessons has been not to let perfection be the enemy of the good. And I think that has required like a huge amount of flexibility on a lot of our parts. It's I know a lot of people that had a lot of desire to get some content online, even prior to this happening.

And they thought they needed a formal studio setting and really expensive lighting and somebody to dub over the audio for them. But really like Kevin was saying, it's just a matter of taking the time and getting out there and producing some of this content that people really want. And they don't care so much if it's professional, super high-quality content, they just want what you have to share.

Erin Mahoney:

I'm hoping that just all of that has instilled a lot of confidence in trainers, confidence that really people are paying for the outcome. They want the results, they don't care if there is a technology blip, they don't care if your studio's perfect. They care about getting what they're paying for, which is those results.

So, let's talk about ... So, we kind of have been talking about what's happened in the past and what we learned. Let's kind of transition and we'll jump around a little bit, but I'd love to hear about the future of fitness and I'm actually going to start with you Kevin. So, what do you feel like given that we've kind of had all these experiences, we've learned that we need to be prepared for everything, we know that we need to be ready for technology.

Looking Ahead

Erin Mahoney:

How do you think that's going to translate to let's say one year from now, what do you think everything's going to look like?

Kevin O'Connell:

I think for our setting being a little bit unique that we are a gym that primarily is responsible for taking care of the employees of Reebok, but then also to other folks that are in our larger building we occupy space of. We've been looking at this virtual component for a long time. I don't think it's necessarily going to go anywhere. I don't think it's really going to slow down again for what we are providing to the members of our gym.

What I do think it does is it gives us a larger platform. So, if you're coaching one person, you can impact one individual. You coach a small group class, you can impact 10, 20, 30 folks. If you have a virtual platform, then your limit is really your creative design.

So, for us, I think it's how can we create the greatest amount of good for the largest population possible. We have the one-on-one, we have the group classes, we have now virtual component as well. So, it's simply diversifying ourselves so that no matter where you are, no matter what you're interested in, we can hopefully help you get to where you want to go.

Erin Mahoney:

Love it. So, what's interesting with our speakers today is Kevin is in Massachusetts. So, he doesn't really have the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but he's still remaining, extremely positive. Maya's in California. So, kind of the same situation. But Josh on the other hand is in Texas and gyms are just starting to reopen. So, the future is a little bit closer for Josh.

Josh, tell me what you think is going to happen as these gems start opening up? Are we all going to revert back to our old ways or are we going to apply some of these things for the future?

Josh Bryant:

Right now, it appears around here at least it's going to revert back to the old days. I mean people were very excited to get back into the gym and gyms are very excited to open. So, unless something else happens, it appears to a point we'll revert back to our own old ways. I think it's also been important though for people here to learn too about transitioning to doing stuff online is the importance, that could be a lesson we could have talked about too, is like the importance of a couple different things.

One, sort of having a brand or a community however you want to phrase it. So, people are going to stick with you because it's amazing like Jiu Jitsu, the places aren't personal training studios. I've seen Jiu Jitsu places where members are actually paying their full fee and not really getting more than a couple of classes a week, just because they're so connected to that brand and that was huge. And then secondly was the social media part.

I think a lot of people want to transition to going online. So, say you have 30 clients who train in person. Well say 20 of them decide they'll do online or whatever. But how do you get more than that? Because like Kevin was saying the potential is endless, but if you don't have any sort of platform where people can find you, that's not going to happen. So, a lot of being successful online, it's not necessarily competency. It's how large and visible your platform is unfortunately.

So, I think it's been a wakeup call for some people, they need to get on social media and do things like that. You can be the most competent trainer in the world, but if you have no following, it's not going to expand beyond the existing clients you already have in person.

Erin Mahoney:

So, making sure that you can have that ripple effect and it's not just the one person in front of you. So Maya, I'm going to kind of turn the question on you a little bit. So, I hope you're ready for it. Given that you're kind of in the same situation as Kevin where things aren't really opened up yet, would you say that you would rather continue to be in your lockdown and learn to navigate through this? Or would you rather be in more of like Josh's situation where the gyms are open and you could kind of revert back to where it is close as it possibly could be to the olden days?

Maya McGinnis:

I like this question and it's something that I thought a lot about. And I know a lot of my peers are thinking about particularly in the old world because the old world is pretty fragmented, and a lot of teachers in order to make a living have to work for a lot of different studios and have a lot of different private clients.

And especially in a city like Los Angeles, what that implies is that you spend a lot of time in the car every day, navigating traffic and trying to get from place to place. I know a lot of teachers myself included in that are not really looking forward to going back to that way of life again. So, I think for me, it's a combination of the two because I definitely miss being in studio and being in that community.

And there's something so special about being in a community environment and feeling the support of the people around you. But I think there's also something really special in what's happening virtually and what's been happening online because what I found is that you can create a lot of that same community, even though you're physically distanced. But it can be a really great place for people to come together.

And I've heard from a lot of students that they hope that these online offerings continue even after the quarantine period is over because even something like finding parking in Los Angeles can tack on another 30 minutes to your endeavor. So, to the extent that they don't have to navigate parking and traffic and all these things, it's really great for them to be able to connect with their instructors and with their community in an online way.

Erin Mahoney:

That's pretty cool. I can echo that thought. A few weeks back, we did a more of a body weight session talking to Josh and I was telling him at the time. I'm like, man, I'm so excited to do my workout now. And I started looking at everything around me a little bit differently, and even like the speed at which I did some of my exercises, Josh like pushups.

I was sore for so long. We're in Arizona and now that the gyms are opening back up here, I was finding myself like instead of looking around and being like, okay, what am I going to work on? What am I going to make my workout like today? I realized, I guess I could go to the gym. But then I was like, I don't know if I want to.

I liked that I can just change real quick right here. And that really everything I need is right here. So, thank you, Josh. You definitely impacted my perspective on it, but it sounds like that's kind of similar to you and what you're experiencing Maya is that we thought it was terrible, but it's not that bad. So, people don't mind it.

Maya McGinnis:

Yep.

Holding Clients Accountable

Erin Mahoney:

All right. So, let's turn to Kevin for this question. Kevin, how ... So, you had a little bit more of probably a traditional trainer’s point of view before this happened. How have you found that you've been better able to hold your clients accountable to not only the physical recommendations that you give them in terms of what they should be doing for their workout, but also what they should be eating, standing, stretching all that stuff. Tell me about it.

Kevin O'Connell:

Sure. So, I think the important thing is that I'm part of a really diverse team. And so, all of us have kind of our different skillsets, our own like subsets within our larger community of folks that can relate to. So, part of what we were challenged with is communication. So, in this setting, especially since the gym that we operate out of is corporate. So, any emails that come from us also seem like they're coming from colleagues.

So, every once in a while, you can get kind of white noise effect. So, we've taken it upon ourselves to create kind of like subset groups depending on what your interests are and what you come to the gym for. And then from there, different instructors or trainers are responsible for kind of organizing and curating that group. It doesn't mean every day you have to provide workouts and all that kind of stuff although usually we do.

It's more so we're going to have our finger on the pulse and find out what's going on with people, how they're doing and just having daily interactions. That's one component. Another one that we do is weekly challenges we were talking about last time.

So, on Thursday we send out two movement options, body weight so that no one needs equipment for it, and everyone will vote on it in the company. And then whatever one wins, that's the challenge the next week. And then anyone that wants to join is put on two different teams. And at the end of the week, we have a winning team and it allows for some very PC trash talking and things like that, just to have some camaraderie and things that you're might be missing from the gym.

So, we have that as an avenue. And then we also have Zoom classes where you do classes. These are all different ways to try to have some sort of face to face or some kind of interaction. There's also a weekly support group. We do a book club and on Fridays we also do trivia, which is probably the thing that's worked out best for our community. So, we do a Zoom based trivia for any and all of our members that want to join in. And it just three rounds and different trainers take turns hosting.

We have themes for outfits. You get like winning for best Zoom background. And that is our most highly attended class out of the whole week. So, it's trying to get a finger on the pulse, giving people opportunity to voice suggestions, concerns, what they're looking for, what they're missing, or just an opportunity to vent and talk. And then we also have one on one sessions that we do virtually as well.

So, it's kind of, we rather have 100 different options and fail 999 times and at least try and show people that we're out there versus then I think like what Maya was saying before, having a fear of having to be perfect.

So, we try a bunch of stuff and then whatever works we continue to stick with and whatever doesn't, we look at was it our fault for not rolling it out the right way? Or is there a better way we could improve it? And if we try that and still it doesn't work, then we move on to something else. It's a matter of how many different ways can we get ourselves in front of people to give them an opportunity to let us help. And then from there it's just being consistent.

Erin Mahoney:

Great. Two things. Well, one, I love that you captured all of that with how many different ways can we get in front of our people and as frequently as possible because we weren't thinking that way three months ago, you know what I mean? Or at least I don't think a lot of people were in the gym space.

It was, if you see your client come into the gym on an off day, it's like hey you're good. I'm glad you're doing this, but it wasn't in front of our head of all these different things that we could be doing for them. What did you call the most highly attended session that you guys have?

Kevin O'Connell:

Quizzo.

Erin Mahoney:

Quizzo?

Kevin O'Connell:

It's like a pub trivia.

Erin Mahoney:

Gotcha.

Kevin O'Connell:

So, Fridays after work, everyone brings whatever drink you want and everyone comes around and then there's different rounds, different themes, different rules each week, we change it just to keep it fresh. And there's one week where ... One of my friends Carter was hosting it, would tell you what to get in your house. And you had like 20 seconds to find a bottle of ketchup. And whoever got back first, got a bonus point. But as long as you got back within 20 seconds, you got the points for that question.

I mean it could be absolutely random, but it's engaging. People really like it. And they'll get like dressed up, they'll wear suit and tie, a dress, or a costume, or what have you.

Erin Mahoney:

That's interesting. It had nothing to do really with fitness or nutrition. It's just like hey let's be together?

Kevin O'Connell:

Yep.

Erin Mahoney:

That's pretty cool. I like that. I haven't even heard of that. Josh or Maya, are you guys seeing anything like that?

Josh Bryant:

So basically, what I do with clients I've had already is we do a weekly check-in, you're going to send me exactly like exact feedback system, we're going to rate different exercises on difficulty level, send video reviews, all that stuff. So, in a large sense that hasn't changed because that's what we're already doing with online clients. There's absolutely no difference, it's just continuous ... The difference was I had to adjust a lot of people's training because they may not have access to certain equipment.

So that was like the biggest thing is like, you have some elite level power after then now only has access to like a 50-pound kettlebell and one band or something, how are we going to do something with that? So, the actual way to ... They check in and stuff hasn't changed just what they're executing has. So, it hasn't been a very big change on my part. Because I work with people that are really serious, everybody's super serious and motivated. I'm usually the one to tell people to tone it down and stuff. I'm not really motivating people that are unmotivated. I mean, that's just not my niche. I would send that to somebody else.

Erin Mahoney:

Gotcha. And Maya, so do you really have much in the way of accountability that you have to focus on? How does that work in your world?

Maya McGinnis:

I think one thing that has been a real challenge for a lot of people, especially as they've shifted to work from home and are homeschooling their kids and all of these things are really getting in the way of their movement practice. And I think one of the things that I've really been trying to do, especially with my private clients that I'm seeing virtually is really get them to understand and embrace this idea that some movement is better than none.

So even if it means that you're only moving your body for 20 minutes and it's like doing a little workout with your toddler, it's better than not doing anything at all. And that's something that I really tried to instill in my clients through tech support, email support, and every time I'm with them on video is just making sure that they're moving their body in some way every day.

Erin Mahoney:

That's awesome. My Apple watch tells me what I need to be doing every month. They have the unique monthly challenges. And I take that as if, if I do not accomplish it, bad things are going to happen. But what's pretty cool about that is the goals vary. So sometimes, last month it was about averaging X amount of miles a day. And now it's about X minutes per day, but it's good because it forces these different new habits and probably we could even use those types of things in our training in working with our people.

Because you're right, some movement is better than nothing. Whatever you can get in is how it should be. All right. So, let's chat a little bit about ... I love these conversations because they're always so optimistic and positive and fun. Actually Kevin, I was wondering when you were talking, if I brought back a packet of ketch-up, would that count?

Kevin O'Connell:

Yeah. I mean if it's tomato puree or paste, it depends on the judge. If it's me, I would say yes, if it's Connor, it's probably a no. So, it really depends, that why it's awesome.

In-Person VS Online Training

Erin Mahoney:

So, I like all these conversations because everyone brings a different perspective to it. And there's different ways that we're working with clients. And I hear something new every time we have this. But what I'm interested also in hearing is of course we're trying to be positive, but are there any things that you guys think is not going to change no matter what? Like you really have to be physically present in order to have XYZ. I'll start with you Josh. Have you found that there's anything like, man, that is just not going to work in a virtual environment?

Josh Bryant:

I think the best way to teach somebody a complex lifting movement is going to be in person. So, the more complex the movement, the more important is to be in person. So, a lot of what I do online is tweaking techniques. So, if someone's squatting, give them some advice on how to make that squat more efficient, but it would be very difficult to teach somebody like say a snatch or a clean jerk, something. Never done the movement, get them on a Zoom and be like hey, do this.

I think you can tweak technique extremely well online. But I think to get the most out of TG, it needs to be done in person. So, I think no matter what happens, the actual teaching of lifting technique, especially on complex exercises needs to be done in person where we can get some good tweaks online.

Erin Mahoney:

Makes sense. Maya, what about you? I mean, yoga, especially being up close and personal and really seeing what's going on with their bodies, it's going to be really tough to do virtually. So, is there anything that you're finding as much as you love the new environment? Is there anything that you feel like this is just ... We need the old ways in order to get this done.

Maya McGinnis:

I think it is limited in the same way that you described and even what Josh was just saying in that to really get the proper alignment and to see what's going on, so many yoga postures are really more symphonic in nature. Meaning that the various platforms of the body are doing a lot of different things at the same time.

So, to really be able to see what somebody is doing in their body and the muscular actions that they're employing kind of requires that in person approach. I also think yoga has a lot of therapeutic applications that are much better translated in person than they are online.

Erin Mahoney:

Makes sense. What about you, Kevin? Anything that you feel like just can't be done with a computer?

Kevin O'Connell:

I didn't kind of like mirroring the two points here specifically more so like in the assessment phase, just because I know when people that come into CrossFit specifically years ago, it was the diehard fire breeders that loved pain and they were say to us and ask us one of the two usually. You don't worry about their conditioning so far, but now that more people are getting, being aware of it coming in, it's I would rather talk to them ahead of time, be able to see them move and then also have them in different areas. And to do that online, just because of the nature of the different types of movements that we do, will be very challenging. And, also, for the nature of what we do, it requires a lot of different random pieces of equipment at times.

And so, doing that for someone's garage would be tough. If it was just like weightlifting, which I absolutely loved in the door. And I had done that before virtually, and that was great, but to do anything where it's like hey you're going to do a rope climb, go run 200 meters, pick up a sandbag and carry and then jump into this box, to fit all that in one camera angle, it would be asking a lot of somebody.

I do think the facility is a tool. And it doesn't mean it was the only tool, but it's definitely one of the arsenal that I missed. And then also that initial assessment of being able to kind of gauge where someone's going to fall apart before they do and prevent that from happening is a lot easier to do in person. Not only just from looking at what joint is traveling over where, but reading from the space and figuring all that kind of stuff, the unwritten things, those are tough.

Erin Mahoney:

Good points. So, one thing also that just occurred to me is as you all were talking about some of these other movements and these heavier, or these more challenging exercises, there's been like external defendants.

There's been conversations around how companies are finding that employees are actually being more productive and working more out of their homes. And whether that's because they don't have the commute, whether it's because they're happier or whether it's because they're trying to compensate because they're in a virtual environment and trying even harder to demonstrate their worth.

Can that be translated to clients? Are you guys seeing any clients that maybe are accomplishing their goals greater than they normally would? Maya for you any students that maybe are coming to classes more frequently than they used to. Since I stopped with you Maya, maybe you can tell me that. Or do you see anybody that's overcompensating in a great way about making fitness even more part of their life?

Maya McGinnis:

Absolutely. And I think a lot of it does have to do with sort of taking down some of those barriers that maybe existed before we went to quarantine. Things like getting off of work late and not making it to your favorite class time and just having a lot more options online. So that regardless of when you're available to practice every day, you've got options in front of you.

I've also seen people that have really taken on their yoga practice in particular is something that is really helpful for them mentally during this time. So, I think people have become much more devoted to it and really feel the need to do it on a much more regular basis just to deal with everything else that's going on in their lives.

Erin Mahoney:

It's one of those things like stress management is now more important than ever before. So, the ability to take a minute and breathe or to put it out into a workout is one of the few things we all can control right now. So, it seems like it's even more important. Josh, what about you? Anything that you would notice whether clients are going online?

Josh Bryant:

That's thing you guys were with the mental health thing? Because I know that suicide rates and stuff are a lot higher right now. 

Erin Mahoney:

Wow.

Josh Bryant:

So, I think that's really important for people to realize how much you're helping people's mental health too. And absolutely helping people that way because a lot of people are working from home or they have more time to train.

So, it's not like they weren't motivated before, but now it's like, okay, well I don't have to commute two hours every day, this and that. So, I'm recovering better, all this stuff because stress affects the recovery. So, if you eliminate all these different stressors and someone's able to train more, they're definitely overachieving that way.

I think we've got to be careful to look at the whole picture though, because some people are going to be more productive at home right now working. And not may be because we have a 14 to 15% or whatever it is unemployment rates. So, they might just want to really be putting their best foot forward because they're happy they have a job and they don't want to lose that job. So, it'd be interesting to see if as things normalize, if the unemployment rate was 3%, then would they still have the same attitude?

Well, a lot of people I work with would because they're highly motivated people, but I don't know about the public at large. It'd be something to keep looking at. But so, I do think there are a lot of people that have taken it to the next level physically. During this quarantine, I deal with that actually quite a lot. So yeah there's been a lot of people have.

Erin Mahoney:

That's good to see. How about for you, Kevin? What are your clients doing?

Kevin O'Connell:

I think in the same way, it's not necessarily that they're like mastering movements or skills that they hadn't before. But I think what they are doing is setting themselves up for success by getting more sleep or drinking more water or having a better control over their nutrition. So, they're doing all of these things that for instance, they didn't have time for, but they were training like animals.

And now the training has gone down a little bit, but they're doing all this other stuff to help with their recovery, their mood, their affect, all of that kind of stuff. So, when they do come back into the gym, I think that they're going to have a tough couple of days. And then it's going to be a huge upswing as far as progress is concerned.

And trying to remind people that the work they put in isn't gone, you created a strong foundation and now you're just kind of shifting your focus to create that larger base so that you can build a bigger pyramid. If it's a very narrow pyramid, it's not going to get quite as tall.

Erin Mahoney:

Yeah. Awesome. Well guys, so I'm going to ask you all one more question while I'm rambling. I'll give you time to think about it. Is what is the one tip that you could offer similar professionals going forward? Like what's the big takeaway, even if it's just a words of wisdom. And as you guys are thinking about your responses, I'll say it's been fantastic listening to all of you talk.

And what I really enjoyed about this is that it doesn't matter if you're the author of Jailhouse Strong or you're a yoga instructor. There are parallels around ... Or working with employees at Reebok, I didn't mean to leave you out Kevin. But these two, Maya and Josh are totally on opposite ends of the spectrum. So regardless of who you are, we're all kind of experiencing it the same way. And seeing the same things happen to our clients in our profession, which further impresses the fact that we're not alone in this and that we can all kind of come together and learn more collectively.

Advice From The Pros

Erin Mahoney:

So here we go. What's the words of wisdom that you'd like to let our viewers know? Josh, let's start with you.

Josh Bryant:

It's been pretty much a slam dunk for me is to keep, and this will apply to anybody, keep putting out free content. It seems like people I've gotten a lot of new clients in this time. And a lot of it's been like I saw your video on YouTube. I appreciate your Instagram posts, your blogs, things like that. So, by giving, even though it's just nice to help people and things like that, you're actually getting too.

It's not like you're just giving it away. And they're like, no, I don't want to mess with that guy, he gives everything for free. It's like, no, gives the people a chance to see what you're doing? For me, just giving away this free content and stuff, literally my book sales tripled in April. May's not over yet, but it's on the same type of directory. So that's been a huge lesson is I was already doing it, but do it more. Just keep giving away free content and everything else is going to follow whether it's personal training clients, a product you're selling or whatever like that.

Erin Mahoney:

That's awesome, Josh. I love it because I think even in the old worlds, trainers would sometimes be cautious about giving away free workouts or ... But it really is nothing can replace your consistent guidance and the more you give out, you're just going to get back. What about for you, Kevin? What's your words of wisdom that you want to leave us?

Kevin O'Connell:

It's kind of an overarching theme that I've seen even discuss here is being patient with yourself as a trainer, as an instructor and allowing yourself the opportunity to make a mistake, fail what have you, because ultimately that's how you're going learn. If you did it right the first time you probably wouldn't be as good as you could in five years. So, screw up now and get better and get better fast.

Erin Mahoney:

There you go. And Maya, what about you? Did they take yours?

Maya McGinnis:

I know but I'll piggyback on what they said a little bit and it's what you have to offer is valuable. And I know I saw a lot of teachers coming into this who felt like it's so saturated. There's so much content out there. Everybody's going online. And it felt like a real barrier to entry for them, but everybody's unique in what they have to offer and people want those gifts. So, get out there and share.

Erin Mahoney:

Awesome. Well thank you all for joining us today. And I hope we still ... In 30 days from now, we'll have another conversation about where everything is going and how awesome it is. I love talking to every single one of you so thank you. And I'm sure our viewers do also. And to our viewers, if you guys have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below, check out our online coaching course. It's helping a lot of trainers out there and thanks again.

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