Home Posts tagged "Pete Dupuis"

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/26/20

Here's a little recommended reading and listening from around the 'Net:

How to Talk to Your Clients About the Latest Netflix Nutrition Documentary - Julia Malacoff wrote up this excellent article for Precision Nutrition. It's a topic that has come up quite a bit around our facility of late, so I was glad to see PN cover it in great detail.

3 Reasons Why I Choose to Treat PT Clients in the Midst of a Busy Gym - This was a guest post from Andrew Millett, who works as a physical therapist at our Massachusetts facility.

Physical Preparation Podcast with Radley Haddad - Radley Haddad is the Major League Coaching Assistant and Bullpen Catcher for the New York Yankees, and a retired CSP athlete who also trained with Mike at IFAST. I especially liked his insights on the transition from playing to coaching, and the importance of using data not just to help athletes learn how they can better, but verify why they performed successfully.

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Now that it’s official, let me start by saying that I’m really excited for this opportunity with the Yankees as part of their sports medicine/performance team. It’s an honor to work for such a storied franchise. I should note: I’ll remain heavily involved at @cresseysportsperformance. This role does not limit me or CSP in our work with professional players. I’m especially grateful to my wife, @annacressey, for her patience with me taking on new challenges with a young family at home. I’m also thankful for my CSP business partners and our great staff, as their hard work has been integral to me receiving opportunities like this. And, I’m ecstatic to work with the excellent professionals also listed in this announcement. We are already hard at work in chasing championship #28 for Yankees fans. Thanks to everyone for the kind words, emails, posts, and texts over the past few weeks.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 12/16/19

We skipped a week of recommended reading/listening, but the good news is that it gave me some time to stockpile some good stuff for you!

Trusting the New Coach: A Challenging Conversation with Clients - This might be my favorite article my business partner, Pete Dupuis, has ever written. That's because it's one of the biggest challenges our business has faced over the past 12 years, and he's navigated it masterfully. If you own or manage a training facility, this is a must-read.

Keith Baar on the Physical Preparation Podcast - Mike Robertson's interview with Keith was fascinating, as he's done some great research on tendon function and adaptation.

Adam Grant: The Man Who Does Everything - This was an outstanding podcast from Tim Ferriss with Adam Grant on the topic of time management. Regardless of your industry, you'll take away some great nuggets.

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7 Small Business Saturday Sentiments

Every year at this time, as a way to celebrate entrepreneurs fighting the good fight in a retail world of corporate giants, "Small Business Saturday" is sandwiched right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I love the concept, as I've been around small businesses my entire life. My father owned one, my in-laws had one, my brother owns one, my wife owns one, and I'm part of three separate LLCs myself.

I've always been fascinated by looking at what differentiates the ones that thrive from the ones that don't. This chart from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is pretty sobering.

Having co-owned gyms for over 12 years now, I'm particularly intrigued about what makes small businesses successful in the fitness industry. Here are a few quick observations on fitness businesses that have "made it."

1. They prioritized systems early.

A lot of people get in to the gym business because they enjoy working out and think it'd be fun to run a fitness facility. The problem is that when you're just exercising, you fail to see all the behind the scenes that takes place to keep the trains running on time. The best businesses I've seen set up sustainable systems early so that they can handle growth without having to overhaul their operations.

2. They have a strong owner presence, especially early on.

I know the owner of a restaurant that opened in our town about nine months ago. It's a spot where we'll pick up a healthy dinner to go for the family about once a week, and I ate takeout from there pretty much non-stop when our daughter was born in March. Every time I've gone in - regardless of time of day - he's behind the counter. He interacts with customers, mentors employees, keeps an eye on the cleanliness of the place. It's a huge time investment, but it's the right thing to do to ensure quality control early on, and that systems and expectations of acceptable are established early on.

For some reason, the opposite of this commonly happens in the fitness industry. Many gym start-up owners think fitness businesses are far more "turn key" than they really are, so they take a lot more time away from the operation sooner in its existence. I know it was well over two years in business before my business partner, Pete, and I were both away from Cressey Sports Performance on the same day.

This number might be a bit extreme, but this statement isn't: a strong owner presence drives success on many fronts in any business, but particularly the fitness industry.

3. They compete on offering, not price.

Ask any mom-and-pop pharmacy that got crushed by Walmart in the past few decades how competing on price has worked out, and you'll understand where this is going. Just remember that in many small communities with five different bootcamp-style workout options, competing on price is the quickest way to the bottom. You're always better off differentiating yourself based on offering.

4. They drive business via marketable, differentiated skills - not just passion.

I've written extensively (here and here) on why I don't think passion for fitness alone is a good reason for starting a gym. The most successful fitness businesses out there have other things they do really well; passion just helps to deliver these benefits more consistently and with a better culture. Over the long term, it's hard to "out-passion" a terrible business model or poor training, though.

5. How they do one thing is how they do everything.

Any time I go into a new gym to train while I'm traveling, I take note of whether the person at the front desk (if there even is one), asks me to sign a waiver and health history. To me, it's kind of like a tripwire that alerts me to whether or not they have attention to detail in everything from equipment maintenance, to cleanliness, to staff education. If you're totally cool with overlooking something that important, you're probably missing a lot of other "big rocks."

6. They're authentic.

The staff at CSP and Mark Fisher Fitness have a host of awesome, decade-long friendships even though our client demographics are nothing alike: baseball players and Broadway performers, respectively. MFF's staff does a phenomenal job engaging their clients with crazy outfits, risqué jokes, and bright facility color schemes. These initiatives perform incredibly well for them, but would fail miserably for us with our baseball guys. Conversely, their clients aren't going to nerd out about fastball spin axis, scapular upward rotation, and positional breathing the way our baseball clients do. Both businesses are authentic to what they do well, but that doesn't mean our models are universally applicable across the industry. 

7. They're consistent.

Our landlord once said, "Your clients hire and fire you every day." It's a phrase that's really stuck with me. The best fitness businesses I've seen are the ones that don't have lulls in the client experience, facility look, or quality of training even though over time, all these things tend to "slide" if you let them. Earlier this week, I had my first sick day in 12 years of business, and it made me realize that it had less to do with an impressive immunity strategy, and more to do with the fact that I never want to miss an opportunity for us to get better. The attendance might be excessive, but the lesson can't possibly be overstated.

In wrapping up, I should mention that this small business is having some sales this weekend. Head HERE to learn more about our ongoing 25% off sale on many of my products; it wraps up Monday at midnight. Thanks for your support!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/9/19

I hope you had a great weekend. Here's a little reading and listening material to kick off your week!

EC on the Inspiring Lives Podcast - I joined the crew at Athletic Greens on their podcast to talk coaching and business.

10 Assumptions You Should Stop Making About Your Clients - This might be my favorite blog post my business partner, Pete Dupuis, has ever written, as he covers a lot of common misconceptions of gym ownership.

Training the Hypermobile Client - I've features multiple articles about training hypermobile individuals on this site over the years, and Dean Somerset puts out some good information to complement those materials (you can find them here and here, if interested).

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One of the first things some individuals notice when they come to observe at @cresseysportsperformance is that we often pair “big bang” strength and power movements with lower intensity drills that might train mobility, balance, or arm care. As an example, we might pair a prone trap raise with a deadlift, or a hip mobility drill with a bench press. We call these low-intensity inclusions “fillers.” Truthfully, though, I’m not sure that this name does them justice, as “filler” seems to imply a lack of importance. In reality, I think these drills have a profound impact on improving each client/athlete’s session. Here are five reasons why.👊 . . What are some fillers you like to use and why? Please share your comments below!

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 10/28/19

I hope you had a great weekend. It's that time of the week again! Here's a little recommended reading and listening to kick off your week:

Optimizing Adaptation and Performance -This is a new resource from Mike Potenza (San Jose Sharks), Kevin Neeld (Boston Bruins), and James LaValle (authority in nutrition and supplementation) that provided some excellent insights for any health and human performance professional. I was fortunate to receive advanced access, and it's been fascinating. It's on sale for $50 off this week as an introductory discount.

EC on the Complete Sports Performance Podcast - Lee Taft interviewed me to learn more about how I got into the baseball niche, and what important considerations are present with this population.

Is Authenticity Overrated? - Pete Dupuis is my business partner at CSP-MA, and he's got a keen eye for culture in light of how ours has developed over the years. This writeup on authenticity fits right into that world.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 9/24/19

I hope you had a great weekend. We were super busy with the fall seminar at our MA location, and yesterday (Monday) was our business mentorship. While I didn't have time to pull together new content, I did curate some content from around the 'net for you.

Even More Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint - Dean Somerset and Tony Gentilcore's new product is on sale at a great price. The first installment had some really good nuggets, and I'm working my wife through the second one now; it's definitely living up to the hype as well. It's on sale for $70 off this week and comes with CEUs.

Lee Taft on the Biggest Coaching Mistakes in Speed Training - Lee Taft was a guest on Mike Robertson's podcast and he went through a ton of the most common challenges coaches face when teaching movement skills.

Tackling the Cranky Local Football Coach Conundrum - I spent all day yesterday hearing Pete Dupuis talk during our business mentorship, so you'd think that I'd be tired of him by now. Nope! This content is that important to coaches in the private sector.

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*PROGRESSION PRINCIPLES* 👇 Here are some principles to guide your strength training progressions. Keep in mind that there might be times when you might utilize more than one of these strategies at a time. Here are some examples of each: 1. Increase the resistance: pick heavier stuff up. 2. Increase the range-of-motion: progress from a a regular split squat to a split squat from a deficit 3. Make the base of support smaller: go from a bilateral to unilateral exercise 4. Raise the center of mass: switch from dumbbell lunges to barbell lunges. 5. Move the resistance further away from the axis of motion: switch from a trap bar deadlift to a conventional deadlift. 6. Add dynamic changes to the base of support: switch from a split squat to a lunge 7. Reduce the number of points of stability: switch from regular push-ups to 1-leg push-ups 8. Use an unstable surface: do ankle rehab balance drills on an unstable surface instead of the flat ground 9. Apply destabilizing torques to the system: do a 1-arm farmer's walk instead of a two-armed version 10. Increase the speed of movement/deceleration demands: move the bar faster concentrically, or switch from reverse lunges to forward lunges (more deceleration) 💪 Have another approach that you think should be included? Drop a comment below! 👍 Find this useful? Tag a friend, colleague, or lifting partner who could also benefit. 👊

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/19/19

I hope you had a great weekend. Before I get to the good stuff, just a friendly reminder that this Friday is the last day to get the early-bird discount on our fall seminar (9/21-9/22) at Cressey Sports Performance - MA. This 1.5 day event offers 10 CEU hours through the NSCA and features some awesome presentations. You can learn more HERE. Additionally, CSP co-founder Pete Dupuis and I have our business mentorship on Monday the 23rd, and we only have three spots remaining. Business mentorship attendees attend the fall seminar at no additional charge; you can grab one of the remaining spots HERE.

Now, on to the recommended reading and listening for the week:

The Thin Line Between Loyalty and Defection - Speaking of Pete, this is an excellent post he wrote up on last week on the business side of fitness.

Chris Chase on the Evolution of Basketball Strength and Conditioning - This is the second time Mike Robertson has had Chris Chase (Memphis Grizzlies) on his podcast, and given how excellent the first interview was, listening this time around was a no-brainer. It didn't disappoint.

Recency Bias and Long-Term Training Success - Given the volatility of the stock market in recent weeks, it seemed like a good time to reincarnate this article I wrote a few years ago. The concept of recency bias can be applied to your training programs just like it can be to investing.

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Once you’ve mastered the basics of anti-rotation core work with chops and lifts, a great progression strategy is to start adding range of motion to the system. Remember, we’re preparing folks for a multiplanar world where they’ll have to move around a stable core, not just stay motionless in the sagittal plane while resisting destabilizing torques. They need to throw, swing, asymmetrically pick things up, change directions, start lawnmowers, etc. 👇 The two best places to start are challenging the joints above and below the lumbar spine - the hips and thoracic spine - through more motion in various planes of motion. Here are a few of my favorites.👊👍 #cspfamily #corestability

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 8/6/19

Today, I've got a list of recommended reading to get you through the week. Before we get to it, though, just a quick heads-up that we're doing a pre-sale on Cressey Sports Performance bucket hats. If you're interested in buying one, you can do so at THIS LINK. They'll be available for shipment in early-mid September.

As for the reading recommendations, check out the following:

Is It Really "Biceps Tendonitis?" - In light of a recent Instagram post I made on a related topic, this video blog deserves a reincarnation this week.

10 Habits that are Just as Important as Tracking KPI - My business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote this article that examines some of the overlooked areas in which you can evaluate fitness business success.

Professional and Amateur Pitchers' Perspective on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury Risk - This was an interesting study on a number of fronts. It was surprising to see how many pro guys think UCL injuries are unavoidable, but not at all surprising to hear that 55% of those who have UCL injuries in pro ball had a previous history of elbow injury in their youth baseball days. The biggest risk factor for an injury is...shocker...a previous injury.

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Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 12

It's time for a new edition of my thoughts on the business of fitness. With Cressey Sports Performance turning 12 last week, it seemed timely. Before I get to it, just a friendly reminder that Pete Dupuis and I are hosting our fourth-ever CSP Business Building Mentorship on September, 23 2019 at our Hudson, MA facility on the day after our annual fall seminar. You can learn more HERE.

Now on to some business concepts...

1. Bigger isn't better; better is better.

There's a great segment in this comprehensive podcast with Naval Ravikant (founder of AngelList and accomplished angel investor) where he talks about the mistake people make when they chase status over wealth.

There are many examples of this in the fitness industry:

a. Gym owners want huge facilities so that they can take nice pictures and boast about the size of it - even though they're secretly frustrated that they can't possibly fill it with enough clients, and it feels quiet even when the gym is "busy."

b. Gym owners seek to get as many members as they can - and ultimately wind up lowering their price points to build that membership. In many cases, the membership goal just leads to a bunch of low-pricepoint tire kickers who devalue services, disrespect the facility/equipment, and magnify variable costs to the point that profitability is a big challenge. Remember: there is generally an inverse relationship between price point and complaints. The less people pay, the more problems they find; it's because they don't appreciate your value (which is a perception, not a calculation).

c. Gym owners look to grow a huge staff to position themselves as the cutting-edge leader of an empire. Behind the scenes, they're frustrated with all the staff headaches that come with leading a large team.

d. Folks chase giant social media followings (in many cases by buying followers) to build status - even though they might not actually deliver enough revenue to justify the time commitment to "cater to" that following. Doesn't it say a lot that Naval - who is an investor at Twitter - even comments on this?

You'll get varying opinions on this, but personally, I think you're better off taking home 50% of a $500,000/year fitness business than net 5% on a $5 million/year one. Gyms don't sell as well down the road as giant technology companies do, and most gym owners aren't as savvy at building long-term business value as they think they are. I think most folks in this industry are better off embracing shorter-term profitability and minimizing headaches ("better") than they are chasing massive growth and risk ("bigger").

If you need a real-life example that we reflect on often, it's the concept of franchising. We get daily inquiries about franchising Cressey Sports Performance to new locations around the country, and are steadfast in our resistance to do so. Franchises can be high reward if you open enough of them and put in a ton of leg work to establish systems, but the thought of having 25-30 locations around the country just isn't appealing to Pete and me at this point in time. Doing so would be chasing big, when the truth is that we have better ideas on how we'll chase "better" with a most sustainable strategy for building the CSP brand that's more in line with our quality of life.

In short, don't be big for the sake of being big. Be big because it fits with your lifestyle and it builds actual wealth - or just be happy staying smaller.

2. Embrace seasonality.

I used to hate our quiet season. It drove me bonkers to have a facility that was really quiet during the baseball season. And, I hated the uncertainty that came with wondering whether all our baseball players would actually return to training when the season settled down. Now, 12 years after we first opened our doors, I've come to recognize that seasonality can actually be a blessing to one's business.

First, quiet time provides invaluable opportunities for long-term planning. This can range from facility improvements to staff continuing education.

Second, quiet periods often give you an opportunity to connect with clients in different environments. For us, that means sending our staff out to cheer on our athletes at games. We support them, meet/see their families, and continue to build top of mind awareness in the community; it's win/win for everyone involved. And, our staff gets out for some fresh air while on the clock.

Third, I've found that there is a staff bonding that occurs around crazy hours. It's not uncommon to see our staff members hanging out in the office together after long days on the floor during our busiest times. As I think back on some of my favorite CSP memories over the years, they often relate to the business, most hectic times we've been through together. We often joke about working overnight - and tearing up our hands as we moved flooring - in moving CSP 1.0 to CSP 2.0 back in 2008.

Don't resent the really busy or really quiet times. They're making memories and giving you opportunities to develop your business and relationships in different ways.

Wrap-up

If you've found value in these insights, I think you might enjoy the upcoming Business Building Mentorship Pete Dupuis and I will be hosting on Monday, September 23 . It's a tax deductible expense if you're a fitness business owner, and we'd guarantee that the lessons learned will more than pay for the cost of attendance. You can learn more HERE. - and registration includes free admission to the fall seminar.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/15/19

I've finally gotten this feature back on an early-in-the-week publication schedule! Here's some good stuff from around the 'Net of late:

Complete Speed and Agility Coach Certification - I've commented on numerous occasions how much I like this resource and accompanying certification from Lee Taft. It's on sale for $150 off this week and definitely worth the investment.

It Took Me Ten years to Become an Overnight Success - A recent conversation reminded me of this article my business partner, Pete Dupuis, wrote a few years ago. It's an important one for the up-and-comers in our field.

The Value of Self-Doubt - I enjoyed this podcast from Brett Bartholomew at The Art of Coaching. It's a great listen for both novice and more experienced coaches. I loved him arguing FOR imposter syndrome in an era where everyone is positioned as an expert.

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Tall athletes have much less wiggle room with their setup than shorter athletes do, as long levers can make weights feel heavier, and more range-of-motion equates to more opportunity for things to go wrong. This is especially true when it comes to pulling from the ground. On the left, you'll see @joerock___ (who is 6-7) round over and try to use the bar to pull himself into a good starting position - but he doesn't quite get to where he needs to go. On the right, we reach the arms out in front as a counterbalance, and have him descend to the bar without ever giving up an optional torso posture. The best way to firm up good positions is to never allow bad positions to take place. Swipe left for the actual set (good work, Joe!). . . . #cspfamily #deadlift #trapbar

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