Home Posts tagged "Tim Ferriss"

Random Thoughts on Long-Term Fitness Industry Success – Installment 9

It's been a while since I posted a new installment on this series, so here are two thoughts that have been rattling around my brain on the business side of fitness.

1. It takes time and many exposures to build top of mind awareness and, more importantly, trust.

I had a chat with one of our free agent minor league baseball players a few weeks ago. He moved down from New Jersey a few months ago to train with us all offseason.

Two years ago, his agent encouraged him to check Cressey Sports Performance out. He didn’t act.

Then, he played with one of our guys in independent ball and again heard our name, but didn’t follow up on it.

Later, he heard my name mentioned twice on the Tim Ferriss Podcast. While intrigued, he still didn’t act.

Then, last summer, he read the New York Times article about our work with Noah Syndergaard, and he finally reached out.

 

This #tbt is a video of alternating serratus slides on the @trxtraining suspension trainer, with a great demo from #mets pitcher @nsyndergaard. Some thoughts: 1️⃣One of the things we worked a lot on with Noah this offseason was differentiating between glenohumeral (ball on socket) and scapulothoracic (shoulder blade on rib cage) movement. Most pitchers get too much motion from the upper arm, and not enough from the shoulder blade. Notice how the scapula upwardly rotates around the rib cage - which takes stress off the front of the shoulder. 2️⃣ serratus anterior also helps to drive some thoracic flexion in a throwing population that often presents with a flat/extended thoracic spine (upper back). 3️⃣in a general sense, you could call serratus anterior the “anti-lat.” The latissimus dorsi drives a gross extension pattern and can be heavily overused in throwers; the serratus anterior works in opposition (scapular upward rotation, intimate link with the anterior core, accessory muscle of exhalation). 4️⃣add a full exhale at the “lengthened” position on each rep 5️⃣you could’ve observed the shoulder blades better if he was shirtless, but I figured Thor has already hit his weekly quota for shirtless social media cameos.😜 👍💪#cspfamily

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

Top of mind awareness isn’t enough anymore. People need to know, like, and trust you. And it takes longer than ever to get to that trust point. I recall hearing that the law of repeated exposures used to be seven interactions with a marketing message. Now, it’s probably a lot more.

If you want to be perceived as a go-to expert in your chosen field, it’s not just enough to do a good job. People need to be made aware that you’re doing a good job from a number of different angles; you have to make your expertise easier to perceive.

2. Don’t compare apples and oranges in the fitness industry (or any industry, for that matter).

As you probably know, we have Cressey Sports Performance facilities in both Hudson, MA and Jupiter, FL. The systems and overarching approach to coaching are very comparable – especially because I spend part of the year at both locations – but there are actually many differences between the two facilities.

Our professional baseball clientele comprises a larger portion of our yearly revenues in Florida, whereas Massachusetts derives more from high school athletes (especially because the high school offseason is longer in a warm weather climate).

Our Massachusetts facility is larger because we have to do more throwing and sprinting inside during the winter. Conversely, Florida weather allows us to do more of this work outside.

We have different staff members at each location. They have unique expertise and personalities.

CSP-MA opened in 2007, and CSP-FL opened in 2014. Massachusetts is a more “mature” business, which gives us a better picture of norms that allow us to compare how things are progressing from year to year.

I could go on and on about the difference, but the important takeaway is that if I sometimes struggle to compare two facilities with virtually the same name and training philosophy, why should you ever compare yourself to another gym?

What Mark Fisher Fitness has to pay for rent in New York City far exceeds what a personal trainer with a small studio in Alabama would have to pay.

Ben Bruno can train a lot more celebrities in Hollywood than a trainer can in North Dakota.

Gross revenues for a giant commercial gym in San Francisco are going to be substantially higher than what a semi-private operation in Minnesota can take in. Meanwhile, the owner of the MN facility might actually make more money and sleep better at night than the owner of the big box gym.

The point is to have a filter when you look at all the “success” you see around you in the fitness industry. There are gyms grossing millions of dollars that are scraping to get by, and others that only do a small fraction of that amount while having a huge community impact – and allowing a fitness entrepreneur to live the life he wants.

Just like you would never encourage your clients to compare themselves to other clients, supermodels, or professional athletes, you shouldn’t compare yourself to any other trainer, business, or facility. All that matters is that when you compare yourself to what you were days, weeks, months, and years before, you’ve progressed.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/20/12

Here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

The 4-Hour Chef - Tim Ferriss' book is now available, and it looks to be fantastic.  My wife and I actually had dinner with Tim in San Francisco back in February when he was immersed in the writing process.  We talked at length about how the scope of the book had grown incredibly from a cookbook only all the way up to becoming a book of lessons on how to learn and become highly proficient on any task - with cooking as a medium through which to do so.

I'm actually buying a few copies of this as Christmas presents, including one for my mother, who is a high school principal with a big interest in finding innovative ways to get kids excited about learning - and learning faster.  As a bonus, she likes to cook and eat healthy: win/win! 

The Virtual Squat Seminar - This was a great post from Jim Wendler over at T-Nation.  He covered a lot of what you need to know in order to squat safely and effectively.

All the Hype Behind Kipping Pull-ups - My good friend and business partner, Tony Gentilcore, goes into "dangerous territory" by covering the kipping pull-up, but actually presents a very "neutral" argument that I think anyone can appreciate, regardless of how they feel about Crossfit.

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Why Nobody Except Your Mom Reads Your Fitness Blog

I got an email from Dean Somerset a while back asking if I'd be willing to write up a post for his blog about how I built up a popular fitness blog myself.  I thought it over, and while I like Dean and enjoy reading his blog, I really didn't think I was the right person to write such a piece.  There are folks who are much smarter when it comes to behind-the-scenes stuff that goes in to running a blog - from Wordpress updates, to HTML formatting, to SEO optimization.   And, there are certainly folks out there who have monetized their blog far better than I ever will.

That said, I do feel that there was one incredibly valuable point I should make to the aspiring fitness bloggers out there:

If you don't have good content, your blog won't get consistent traffic.  It's really that simple.

I started this blog in early 2006 with really no idea what I was doing on the technology side of things.  I loved my job and was passionate about teaching - and writing gave me an avenue through which to do it.  Sometimes, I wrote about what I knew well, and sometimes, I wrote about topics where I wanted to improve - and researching them and teaching them to others was the best way to get better in these areas.  Before I ever hired someone to make my site look pretty, I'd built up a solid following of people who knew me purely for my content, enthusiasm, and accessibility to readers.

A trend I see with "rookie" fitness bloggers nowadays is to design a spectacular site from the get-go and devote all their resources to SEO optimization, pop-up ads, Google Adwords, and the like.  Unfortunately, these efforts are sabotaged by these bloggers' poor grammar/spelling and, more significantly, a complete lack of valuable information to offer to readers.

In any industry, you look for commonalities among those who succeed at what we do.  For ease of calculating "success," let's just use Alexa ranking.   You can learn more about it (and download a free toolbar) at www.Alexa.com, but for the sake of brevity, just understand that it is a measure of the popularity of a website.  Get more hits, receive more inbound links from popular sites, and have people spending more time on your site, and your Alexa rank will go down (a lower number is better).  Google is #1, Facebook is #2, Yahoo is #3, and so on.  It’s not a perfect measure by any means, but when you are dealing in the top one million sites or so, it’s generally accepted to be pretty good. I’m lucky to be at around 96,000 right now, and have been as high as 89,000 in the past.

If you’re in the top one million or so, you’re likely doing some very good traffic – and certainly enough to monetize your blog.  My buddy Tim Ferriss’ blog, for instance, currently has an Alexa ranking of 5,953, and he’s an absolute ninja on the entrepreneurial side of things, with two New York Times bestsellers and ownership stakes in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and several other companies.  He’s a success, in part, because every single one of his posts (and books) provides outstanding content that readers not only enjoy – but pass along to their friends.

Translating this message to the fitness industry, look at a guy like Charlie Weingroff.  He might be one of the few guys out there who understands technology less than I do, and there is absolutely nothing flashy about his site.  To be candid, it’s pretty basic.  You know what, though?  Charlie is an extremely bright (and strong) dude with a ton to teach, a passion for teaching it, and a knack for relating complex information in a user-friendly manner.  I don’t think his blog has even been out for 18 months, yet he’s ranked around 827,000.  And, he’s used his blog to make his expertise known, build a loyal following, and launch a successful product (which is outstanding, by the way).

There are several other fitness bloggers who’ve become “top one million” success stories purely with content.  John Berardi dominates with Precision Nutrition (54,000), which has been built with science, integrity, and an ultra-personal touch to great content all along.  My business partner, Tony Gentilcore (321,000) kicks out great content and entertains people like crazy.  My good friend Mike Robertson (125,000) is an awesome teacher and genuinely great guy.  Ben Bruno (314,000) innovates like crazy to build a following, and Chad Waterbury (509,000) only recently created his own web presence and has used content to quickly ascend the ranks.  Nate Green (202,000) is an excellent writer who has carved out a great niche for himself and built a great following at a young age because of his unique content.  Mike Reinold (412,000) has built a great following in a smaller internet segment (physical therapists) with consistent content featuring up-to-date research, attention to many different clinical perspectives, and a specific focus on upper extremity dysfunction.  These guys all offer something others don't.

You know who hasn’t built a big following?

  • The random fitness dudes who send Facebook friend requests to my wife because they have mutual friends – and these guys want to build their lists.  I’ve yet to meet a single one who is in the top 2 million.
  • The “fitness business guru” who emailed me four times, called my office twice, and snail-mailed me once (each of which was ignored) to try to get me to promote his product, which he guaranteed would make personal trainers “rich.”  His website ranked at higher than 6.6 million – which essentially means that he has zero traffic other than himself (and he’s probably just checking in to see if he’s gotten his first hit yet).  Instead of focusing on content (and moving out of his parents’ basement), he’s putting the cart in front of the horse and trying to sell a product on a topic (success) that he doesn’t even understand.
  • The random dude who wants to exchange links with me or be added to my blogroll so that he can improve his rankings without doing a thing, much less providing some value to me (or society in general).

The only thing that's worse than sucking at what you do is sucking at what you do and spending time and money to draw attention to it.

I started out thinking that this would be a short, to-the-point, blog, but as I now realize, that one little point was actually a very big one.  Pretty websites and behind-the-scenes tinkering are undoubtedly important components of taking an online presence to the next level, but the truth is that they don’t matter a bit unless the content that accompanies them is useful and entertaining.

If it’s not, then you’ll have a hard time even getting Mom’s attention.

Looking for more information on how to get your name out there in the writing world?  Check out some great information from three guys - Lou Schuler, Sean Hyson, and John Romaniello - who have been there, done that. They collaborated to create a great product, How to Get Published, that focuses heavily on writing success in the fitness industry.

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17 Reasons I’m Excited for 2011

With the new year upon us, I got to thinking about how excited I am for all that 2011 has in store for me – and thought that it’d make for a good post to kick off the year.  Here’s why I’m excited: 1. Being Married – My wife, Anna, and I got married on October 3, and it was just the tip of the iceberg in a whirlwind year (new job for her, wedding planning, new house, new puppy).  Both of us are pretty excited for a low-key 2011 where we can just hang out and enjoy one another’s company!  And, we left our honeymoon for this year (I couldn’t escape for that long during the baseball off-season), so we’re excited about that.

2. The Continued Growth of EricCressey.com - I really enjoy writing, and each year, this website grows – which means I get to share my passion and interact with some very cool people.  Here were 2011’s year-end statistics for EricCressey.com: 450,791 unique visitors 1,106,748 visits 2,901,970 pages 2,730,922 hits Thanks to everyone who visited the site this year! 3. The book I’m reading now: The 4-Hour Body. Tim Ferriss has become a good friend, and I was fortunate enough to be one of those who received an advanced copy of The 4-Hour Body prior to publication.  With the crazy goings-on at CP as well as the holidays, I’m just now getting a chance to read through it and give it the time it deserves – and I must say that it’s fantastic.  Tim does an awesome job of providing “info-tainment;” his entertaining writing style will keep you reading, and the background research he put in to this book will guarantee that you walk away with some ideas that will immediately benefit you.

4. The book I’m reading next: The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. As with Tim’s book, I got a copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs in advance, but haven’t even had a chance to open it up.  As with any Cosgrove/Schuler collaboration, though, I’m sure it’ll be high quality and a huge hit.  I’m looking forward to checking it out.

5. Cutting Back on Travel – 2010 was a crazy busy year for me personally – from buying a house, to moving, to planning a wedding, to getting married, to getting a puppy.  These “firsts” wouldn’t have been tough to pull off normally, but it seemed like every time my wife and I encountered one of them, I was getting ready to hop on a plane to go do a seminar somewhere.  As such, I’ve started turning down a lot more seminar opportunities not because I don’t enjoy doing them, but simply because the travel wore me out in 2010.  I will, however, still be traveling some – but this year, it’ll be with my wife…and we’ll be traveling for fun! 6. Another Year on the Perform Better Tour – While I may be cutting back on seminar travel, I wouldn’t miss the Perform Better Summits for the world.  I’m still waiting on final confirmation of which cities I’ll get in 2011, but I can say definitively that these are some of the best continuing education opportunities in the fitness business and that I thoroughly enjoy all of them – from the information to the great people I always wind up meeting.  Hopefully, I’ll get to meet some of you in person thanks to Perform Better this year.

7. Continuing on my Postural Restoration Institute Journey – I’ve spoken a bit in the past about the Postural Restoration Institute and how it dramatically impacted the way we evaluate and program for many of our athletes and clients.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it has been some of the best continuing education money I’ve ever spent.  I’ve only gone through two of their seven courses, though, and am excited to learn more.  I’ve covered Myokinematic Restoration and Postural Respiration, and already on the agenda for 2011 is Impingement and Instability. If you’re a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or fitness professional and haven’t seen any of their stuff already, I’d highly encourage you to check it out. 8. The New Cressey Performance – I’ll have pictures of the newly-renovated Cressey Performance soon, but suffice it to say that adding 1,000 square-feet can go a very long way.  I’ve finally got my own office at the facility, which I know will make things a lot easier moving forward, but even beyond that, just getting a bit more space can really change the “flow” of the facility to make it more coaching friendly.  We see all sorts of articles and presentations on how to coach, but nobody ever considers how the set-up of your facility can make your coaching duties remarkably easier or more difficult. On top of that, Cressey Performance is busier than ever, with double digit percentage growth again in 2010.  Thanks to everyone for your continued support! 9. Relishing my Fantasy Football Championship – In the most impressive managerial run in Cressey Performance Fantasy Football history, I crushed the competition this year.  This trophy will reside on my desk for the entire year.  Those of you who visit CP can have your picture taken with it, if you’d like.

10. Doing more charity work – I’ve helped out here and there with various charities since I moved to Boston in 2006, but in 2011, I’m excited to do much more – and I’m in a position to do more now, too.  Nowadays, I can use my exposure and expertise a lot more to help – and thanks to my work with Kevin Youkilis, I can work directly with his great charity, Youk’s Hits for Kids. Along those lines, those of you in New England might be interested to check out his February 3 event at the State Room in Boston.  The CP staff will be there along with a bunch of pro athletes, Tony Gentilcore, actors, Tony Gentilcore, musicians, Tony Gentilcore, comedians, and Tony Gentilcore.  For more information, check out YouksKids.org. 11. The New Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar – Joe Heiler has done a great job the past few years in bringing in great minds to contribute to his Sports Rehab to Sports Performance teleseminar series – and this year is no exception.  I’m really excited about this line-up: 1.  Sue Falsone – PT, Athletes' Performance 2.  Ron Hruska - PT, Postural Restoration Institute 3.  Dr. Mike Leahy - Sports Chiropractor and inventor of ART 4.  Thomas Myers - Anatomy Trains author 5.  Brian Grasso – IYCA Founder 6.  Greg Roskopf - Muscle Activation Technique 7.  Brian Mulligan – PT, Mulligan Technique/Joint Mobilizations with Movement 8.  Dr. Warren Hammer - Chiropractor, Graston Technique Instructor, Fascial Manipulation 9.  Dan John - Strength Coach, author, Never Let Go 10.  Gray Cook - PT, FMS

Click here for more information. 12. New Projects – In 2010, I introduced two products: Optimal Shoulder Performance and Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better. For me, a product every six months is a pretty good “pace,” as I don’t want to become one of those guys who puts out mediocre stuff every single week.  As of right now, the only confirmed project for 2011 is a collaborative one with Mike Reinold and Mike Robertson.  I am thinking, however, that this is the year that I finally create a baseball-specific product in light of the fact that it’s 80-85% of our clientele and what I do all-day, every day!  Only time will tell! 13. Continued Show & Go Feedback – Speaking of Show and Go, it was released in late September, and since it’s a four-month strength and conditioning program, we’re coming up on the point in time where I start getting loads of emails from those who have wrapped up the program and have results to report.  I get a lot of feedback along the way, but it’s awesome to hear where things end up when the entire program is complete.  So, to those of you doing the program, please pass along your results!

14. More Writing at T-Nation – I only published two articles at T-Nation in 2010, and I don’t plan to repeat that poor output!  I’ve already been contacted by them about doing a monthly piece, and while I’m not sure that my schedule will allow me to get one to them every month, I definitely expect to be blowing that 2010 total out of the water.  I’ve already submitted one and have two more in the works.  I owe a lot to the folks at T-Nation and Biotest for the opportunities and exposure they’ve afforded me and hope to continue to return the favor with good content for years to come. 15. Watching Tank grow up – Our puppy, Tank, is about five months old right now, and he’s awesome.  He is pretty much housebroken, and definitely man’s best friend.  As you can tell, he loves hording his toys.

16. The 2011 MLB Season - In addition to the fact that my team (the Red Sox) is looking good, we have quite a few clients who are on the cusp of big league debuts, so I am excited to get out to see them play in the show and enjoy the fruits of their off-season labor.

17. The 2011 MLB Draft - Let's just say that I very well might just stay home and hit refresh on my computer over and over again during the two days in June that make up the MLB draft.  We have a lot of talent athletes - both high school and college - training at Cressey Performance who will be getting calls.

There are quite a few other things that get me excited for 2011, but this is a good start – and probably all that you care to read!  Speaking of YOU, what are YOU looking forward to in 2011?  Got a big goal for the year?  Share it in the comments section. Happy New Year! Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a detailed deadlift technique tutorial!
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What a Stressed Out Bride Can Teach You About Strength Training Program Success

For those of you who don't know, my fiancee, Anna, and I are getting married in Maine in early October - which means that we're in "crunch time" in terms of wedding preparation.  So, much of Labor Day weekend was spent meeting the DJ, visiting the wedding location, and, in my case, smiling and nodding in agreement.  Suffice it to say that Anna is doing most of the planning!

wedding

Daydreamer that I am, during what seemed like a 15-hour meeting with our DJ, I started thinking about how nobody EVER fails in planning a wedding.  Seriously, have you ever been to a wedding where the bride tapped out two weeks before the wedding and declared that she just couldn't fill out another placecard for table #13?  Ask any married woman (and her husband, too), and you'll find that wedding planning was one of the most stressful times of her life - but they pretty much have a 100% success rate.

stressed

Conversely, most people bite the big one when they start a new fitness program.  Last I heard, 50% of people stop exercising within six months of starting.  The success of commercial gyms, in fact, hinges on the fact that a huge percentage of the members that enroll don't actually come after the first few months (if they even make it that far).  Heck, 80% of people who enter the fitness profession leave within one year.  The placecards are kicking people's asses. What's the difference between brides dominating wedding planning, and aspiring exercisers getting whooped in their exercise programs like an American Little League team against a bunch of 25-year-old Cuban "Little Leaguers?" In a word, accountability. If you're a bride, you've got a groom counting on you (and helping you along, hopefully).  And, in our case, you've got about 140 guests expecting to party like rockstars on your dime.  You've got bridesmaids, groomsmen, a minister, an organist, a chauffeur, and an entire host facility - all expecting you to present the complete polar opposite to an epic fail.  You might as well put it on a billboard.

illiterate

The bride has hundreds of people involved in the process to keep her accountable.  Conversely, the upstart fitness consumer usually goes it alone.  I would be very curious to see what the success rate is of people who start exercising with a training partner - and I'll bet all my 2010 paychecks that it is markedly higher.

Coincidentally, I chatted on the phone on Friday with Tim Ferriss, the author of the wildly successful book, The 4-Hour Workweek.

four-hour-work-week-expanded-and-updated1

Here is a guy who has published a #1 New York Times Bestseller as well as one of the most popular blogs on the internet.  Tim's also an entrepreneur with his hands in a lot of successful businesses, and he's learned multiple languages and taken on all sorts of physical endeavors - from martial arts to dancing.  And, most importantly, he's succeeded (thrived, actually) in all of them.  Moreover, he's mentored loads of people on how to do the same for themselves.  In short, he's an expert on getting stuff done.

So, when Tim decided that he was going to go for a 500-pound deadlift in 2010, what did he do?

Made his goals very public.  Anybody who reads his blog knows about them - and that's a lot of people.  It makes him accountable to not only himself, but all of them as well.  And, he's allied himself with resources - from training partners to meathead deadlifters across the country (yours truly) - to help him get to where he needs to be.  He is like a fired up bride who just wants to lift some heavy stuff.

And, what did I do to ensure that I'd have my new product ready in time?  I told you all that it'd be launching on September 21 - and it absolutely, positively will, even if I have to stay up every night until 3AM before that launch to finish it and all the tag-along materials. This is why my biggest recommendation to those starting a fitness program is to find a training partner and get into a solid training environment.  This isn't just for offering hand-offs and spots when you're benching, which, while nice, are the tip of the iceberg.  Rather, on those days when you're tempted to skip an exercise session, it'll make a big difference to know that there is someone waiting for you at the gym who will be disappointed if you don't show up.  They'll be there to push you when you need to be pushed, or to hold you back when you're being stupid and pushing too hard.  And, when you start to get soft and try to skip out on training, they'll be there to remind you of your goals - which you made very public.  You'll do the same for them, too. This is also one reason why I think you're seeing semi-private training and bootcamps absolutely boom in the fitness industry while one-on-one personal training dies a slow death.  In the former two options, you don't just get affordability; you also get increased camaraderie, accountability - and built-in training partners and motivation. So, regardless of your goals, find a few people you can clue in on them - and get those people involved in the process.  Doing so just might keep you from becoming another bride who tapped out on the fitness wedding. Lastly, while I'm speaking of deadlifts and the new product, I'd encourage you to enter your information below to subscribe to my FREE newsletter, and you'll be among the first to know when this new resource is released - and you'll (immediately) receive a detailed deadlift troubleshooting video.

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