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Newsletter #31

Written on January 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm, by Eric Cressey

We’re back at it with another update at EricCressey.com.  Now that my traveling is essentially done for 2006, I can buckle down and get cracking on some writing projects that have been back-burnered for longer than anticipated.  Let’s get this week’s newsletter started with some great (and impressive) news:

Congratulations, AJ Roberts!

I wanted to send out a quick congratulations to my good friend AJ Roberts, who won the 308-pound weight class at the WPC event at Lake George, NY.  AJ squatted 880, benched 700, and deadlifted 705.  What’s perhaps more impressive is that AJ did all this after pulling his hamstrings three weeks ago; he actually had a lot more in him!  Nice work, buddy.

Also, a huge congratulations goes out to Andy Bolton for becoming the first man in history to deadlift more than 1,000 pounds.  I’ve never met Andy, but it goes without saying that I’m a bit of a deadlift-aholic, so this was very cool news for me.  For those who haven’t seen the video yet, check it out: 1,003 Deadlift.

For those who missed it…

I neglected to mention that I had a new article published at T-Nation last week; check out The Truth About Leg Extensions.

Tip of the Week:  Check the opposite hip and ankle whenever you see shoulder problems.

When we’re discussing functional anatomy, one thing that a ton of people overlook is the effect of fascia on how we move.  Anatomy charts are always nice and neat for us, but anyone who has ever taken gross anatomy or watched a surgery will tell you that there is fascia EVERYWHERE.  This connective tissue both facilitates and restricts movement, and as is the case with muscles, fascial restrictions (adhesions) can negatively affect how we perform.

A common example of this phenomenon that might surprise you involves the spiral line, a fascial “train” Thomas Myers brought to light in his fantastic book, Anatomy Trains.  Essentially, the spiral line links one shoulder girdle to the opposite leg.  If you have restrictions in the spiral line, both “ends” of the train will be negatively affected.  This is one reason why I almost always see poor flexibility in the opposite ankle and hip in anyone who has a shoulder problem that involves tightness of some sort in the shoulder girdle.

Additionally, we know that via the “serape effect,” the latissimus dorsi works intimately with the opposite gluteus maximus during the sprinting motion.  The only way that this “link” is possibly is through the thoracolumbar fascia, a dense section of connective tissue that helps to transfer force.

So what are the take-home points?

1. Don’t overlook the importance of soft-tissue work!  It’s tough to stretch fascia, but modalities like foam rolling, massage, and ART can make a huge difference.

2. Injuries never occur in isolation; as the shoulder-hip-ankle connection verifies, we need to look at the body as a whole.

3. If you spot poor shoulder mobility on one side, as part of your corrective exercise approach, incorporate plenty of mobility exercises and soft-tissue work for the opposite ankle and hip.

The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual: why isn’t it on your bookshelf?

The title says it all, but here’s a testimonial I received this morning from Matt McGorry, an up-and-coming lifter and coach who is already way ahead of most 20 year-olds in this industry:

“I just finished reading the manual…this is some great work!  For any coach or athlete out there, this book is a must-have.  It puts together all of the different training periods throughout the year, teaching the reader how to develop various qualities at the appropriate times.

“The manual really fills in the gaps for those who may have a general knowledge of exercise technique and loading parameters and provides a general frameork of how the metabolic and neural conditioning of an athlete should fit in with their technique perfection and maintenance.

“Thanks again, Eric.  I’ll be referencing this for quite a while.”

Matt McGorry

New York, NY

For more information on the manual, head over to www.UltimateOffSeason.com.  And, to see some more discussion of the manual, check out this thread at T-Nation.

Exclusive Interview: Ryan Lee

It’ll probably come as a surprise to a lot of you, but believe it or not, when I first entered college, I was convinced that I was destined to become an accountant (like four other members of my family).  Heck, I didn’t even take a science course my senior year in high school because I was so dead-set on my plans to go to business school.  Long story short, I spent the first two years of my undergraduate career at Babson College, which has been ranked as the #1 Entrepreneurial school in the country for a lot longer than I’ve been alive.  Anyway, long story short, sometime during my sophomore year, I realized that I was more interested in counting plates on the bar than I was in crunching numbers and staring at the ticker, so I transferred to pursue a career in sports management and exercise science.  And, several years later, here I am writing this newsletter.

However, more applicable to the interview at hand is the fact that in spite of my two years at business school and the fact that one-half of my double major as an undergraduate was sports management, the sad truth was that I was woefully unprepared for the business side of the fitness industry.  In school, they teach us all about glycolysis, the sliding filament theory, runner’s diarrhea, and a bunch of other stuff that’ll will never come up in conversation with an athlete, client, or potential client (actually, I have had that runner’s diarrhea chat with some endurance training clients before, but that’s a whole other crappy newsletter).

So we have all this knowledge, but at what point along the line are we ever taught how to build and maintain a clientele, manage our income, work efficiently, and develop other revenue streams in order to advance as fitness professionals?  If you’re a trainer, ask yourself, “Is the only way that I can make more money or expand my influence is to work longer hours?”  The sad truth is that the answer is “yes” for a lot of fitness professionals – and I’ll admit that I was on the fast track to becoming one of them – until I looked into Ryan Lee’s products.  Ryan has helped countless fitness professionals – myself included – develop their careers so that they can enjoy life more while becoming more educated trainers and coaches.  If you’re a fitness professional who hasn’t checked out Ryan’s stuff yet, you’re missing out on investments that will pay for themselves hundreds of times over.  This week, we’ve got an interview with Ryan that I think will turn a lot of heads and set the record straight on a lot of things.

EC: Hi Ryan; thanks for taking the time to be with us today.  Let’s get the ball rolling with an introduction to those of you who aren’t already familiar with your work.  The floor is yours: how did you get in to the business aspect of fitness?

RL: It was really by accident.  As my personal training business and my online fitness companies became quite successful, I started to receive more and more emails from my fellow fitness professionals about how they could duplicate my successes.  I’ve always known that studying the “business” of fitness is vitally important if you want to have a long-lasting career in this industry.

I’ve heard others say “if you’re a good trainer, you will make money,” and that’s simply NOT true.  It might have been true 15 years ago when there weren’t as many personal trainers, but with the ever-growing competition, in addition to your training skills (which are a MUST) you also have to become smarter with your marketing.  I know many good trainers who had to leave the industry because they didn’t have enough clients to support their family.

I am just as passionate about business as I am about training.  So, it was just natural that I spin-off and teach other fitness professionals how to build a successful long-lasting career in the industry.

EC: Let’s talk a bit about what it is you do.  What does the average personal trainer have to learn from Ryan Lee?

RL: In regards to the “business” of training, my unique area of expertise is teaching them how to transform from a personal trainer into a successful fitness entrepreneur.  I show them that being a “trainer” is just one component of your fitness empire.  There are so many other ways to help more clients reach their goals than just one-on-one training.

I teach them about how to leverage their time, how to create additional passive revenue streams, how to market online, and how to create information products like DVDs, manuals, and more.  Most of the information is available to them through my websites and products.  For instance, Personal Trainer University is an online resource where fitness professionals gather to brainstorm and learn from each other and several experts on how to expand their “empires.”  Additionally, my Sports Training Profits resource teaches fitness professionals how to be profitable and efficient in the implementation of programs with a wide variety of athletes.  And, the Fitness Info Products CD collection educates fitness professionals on how to create, publicize, and sell products to generate passive income and spread their influence.

Note from EC: Fitness Info Products is an insanely good product if you’re serious about becoming a profitable trainer.  It dramatically helped my career.

EC: It goes without saying that once you put your name out as a writer on the internet, you’re going to have your fans and your critics – and some of your critics are pretty relentless.  What’s the deal with these people?  Why do they have such a problem with what you do?

RL: That’s the toughest part to deal with.  I teach my clients that you must have tough skin when dealing with critics and you cannot take it personally.  I am quite sensitive, but I’ve learned to just focus on the positive people that want my help.

It’s really sad that some of these fitness professionals have nothing better to do than focus on me or other successful professionals.  They live in a world of scarcity.  They think there’s a limited amount of clients – when in actuality, we live in a world of abundance.  There is SO MUCH for EVERYONE – but they feel boxed in.

There are also those who are jealous when their peers become successful.  They’re the same people who use terms such as “filthy sticking rich” and the ones who see a guy driving a Porsche and call him a jerk even though they don’t know him.  They’d rather knock people down to make themselves feel better.

I’m often misunderstood and misquoted.  Anyone who has studied under me knows the very first thing I always say is that you MUST be good at training.  Without good, solid information that delivers results, everything will tumble like a deck of cards.  I tell them if they’re in it just for the money and want to put out crappy products, please don’t use my system.  Putting out crappy products serves no one any good: you can hurt your clients – and eventually the market will know it is poor information and that same market will also put you out of business.

Anyone who says that I want every trainer, good or bad, to create products has not listened to me.  All you have to do is ask any of my clients and they’ll tell you the same thing.  You MUST master your craft first!

I also find it interesting when someone says my information doesn’t work.  I would estimate that 99% of these critics have never actually purchased one of my programs.  I’ve sold thousands of my success programs, and it’s the same program that has helped guys like Alwyn Cosgrove and you do really well.  If a skilled trainer follows my advice, I guarantee they will get results – just as you have Eric!

EC: Can’t argue with that.  Maybe I’ll trade in my Huffy bike for a Porsche one of these days!  On a related note, everyone likes success stories.  Obviously, you’ve got yourself – and I’ve certainly grown immeasurably as a businessman since I started with your stuff – but let’s hear a few more.  What can trainers expect to see in terms of returns when they really “get it?”

RL: I have literally over 1,000 success stories from fitness professionals I’ve helped over the years.  It’s amazing how much you can achieve when you have the “greater good” in mind and take action.  Here are some recent success stories…

Alwyn Cosgrove: He’s always been a great trainer, but he didn’t know how to package his information into products.  Now he earns a lot more in passive income helping tens of thousands of people without having to train all day.  In fact, when he was battling cancer, he was able to not train for over six months because of his passive revenue streams.

Brian Grasso: Brian has taken his passion for youth athletics and create the IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association).  This association has built relationships worldwide with coaching associations and has hundreds of trainers certified.  They’ll soon open a chain of facilities that will impact millions of kids.

Susan Hill: Susan started a website that now has over 10,000 members – each paying $200 a year (that’s over $2 million in revenue).  Hired by Michelle Wie’s swing coach to run fitness programs at his academy for elite junior golfers, Susan received over $25 million dollars worth of exposure on television, and gave presentation to the world’s top golfers and coaches in Bogota, Columbia – and all of this in less than one year.

Joe Martin: Joe opened a sports performance training facility in Upstate NY, landed his own local television show, “TheraPTv,” and secured a contract with Radisson setting up Gym Suites in their hotel.  And, the amazing thing is he did this all within one year.

Pat Rigsby: Pat has generated a personal training client base in two locations totaling over 500 (in Kentucky) and a member base of over 1,000 in our 5,700 sq. ft. health club that just celebrated its first anniversary.  Additionally, he created five information products that have generated over $100,000 in sales and helped hundreds of fitness professionals.

David Whitley: In one year, Dave created his first DVD, started a CD of the month project, and conducted local bootcamps and kettlebell workshops across the country. As of August 31st, 2006, he had already earned about 25% more than he did for the entire year of 2005.

Again, I have over 1,000 more stories just like these.  I have provided the information and tools to help them, but they’ve all taken action on my strategies and achieved great successes.

EC: Very impressive.  Let’s talk about things trainers can do TODAY to start improving themselves.  I know I’ve got hundreds of ideas that I’ve applied with great success to get to where I am at age 25, but as Alwyn Cosgrove has said, “Ryan Lee is the master!”  What are a few ideas to get the ball rolling?

RL: The first thing is to change your mindset.  Believe it or not, this is the hardest thing for most trainers.  You have to know it’s okay to make money.  Just because you make a lot of money does not mean other people are going to suffer.  And whatever you do, stay away from the negative people and influences in your life.  If you work in a gym where all the other trainers do is complain, then get away from them or go find another gym.  And, go buy the DVD called The Secret – it’s powerful stuff!

Next, figure out what your true passion is.  Determine your ideal client and find a niche in which you would like to specialize.  With all the increased competition in the fitness industry, it’s tougher to succeed as a “general” personal trainer.  If you love training soccer players, then go hard into that niche, learn everything you can, train as many soccer players as you can, and be the best damn soccer trainer in the world!  It’s all about “micro-niching.”

Once you find your niche, create an action plan.  I like to have my students start with the end in mind.  If your goal is $100,000 a year, start from there and work backwards.  That comes to about $333 a day (working 300 days a year).  Now figure out how to can generate $333 a day.  Maybe it’s doing a bootcamp in the morning, a semi-private in the afternoon, and spend the rest of the day marketing online to sell two of your DVDs.

If you don’t have a specific financial goal, then it’s hard to know where to begin; it’s just like training.  If you train a client, your client has a goal; that’s probably the first thing you ask them.  Maybe it’s to lose 15 pounds or squat 400 pounds. The point is, once the goal is set, then a plan is created to reach that goal.  It’s the same with your fitness business.  Write down your financial goal and make it specific.  Most trainers simply work all year and see what they have left over at the end.

Then, look for ways to leverage your time.  Create a website, and look into creating products such as DVDs and manuals so you can help thousands of clients use your system.  Explore switching from one-on-one training to semi-private and small groups.

EC: Where do you see the fitness industry – including in-person training, online consulting, and information products – going in the years to come?

RL: I see more and more trainers making the switch from personal trainers to full-fledged fitness entrepreneurs.  More of these entrepreneurs will create their own information products – but only the best will begin to rise to the top.

I see less one-on-one training and more semi-private and group training program led by personal trainers.

I see the larger “discount” clubs like Planet Fitness radically changing the face of health clubs.  More mid-size clubs will have to adapt and go after either niche markets or add more services to reach the higher income clients.

I see more people getting away from calling themselves “personal trainers,” instead opting for a more relevant term like “fitness coach.”  I see these fitness coaches offering more services and packages such as “two in-person sessions a week, one phone coaching session, and online training.”

I see a couple of larger companies coming in and buying out some of the smaller online training sites – which will lead to lots of shake-up and consolidation.

I see more and more people getting fit because of the increased competition in the fitness industry (which is healthy!).  After all, the reason why we all come into the fitness industry is to help people!

EC: Well said, Ryan.  Interesting stuff; thank for taking the time.  Where can our readers find out more about you?

RL: My pleasure Eric! I enjoy doing interviews and getting the word out to more fitness professionals about the imortance of being “business-savvy.”

Readers can find out more about the different things I do at my homepage: RyanLee.com.  If they want to learn more about my systems, I uploaded over 2 hours of seminars that teach fitness professionals add to double their income. They can listen to it for FREE at this special link: http://ryanlee.com/freetips.htm.

That’ll do it for this week.  We’ll be back next week with all new content; have a great week, everyone!


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