In this episode of the show, Dr. Greg is interviewing Mike Walerius. Mike is the owner and trainer at Opex St. Louis Central. They’re located in Maplewood at 3235 Sutton Blvd. Mike is a very dynamic trainer and really connects with his members. He is a born problem-solver, and it’s clear he is driven to help his clients.
Mike has been a Fitness Coach for 10 years, and just recently became aligned with OPEX and its message of Living an Inspired Life. His purpose is to connect people to fitness to help them achieve greater not only inside the gym but also and most importantly outside the gym.
Mike's website: www.opexstlcentral.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OPEXSTLCentral
Offer to the listeners: Limited Time Offer for NEW Clients - Start Your OPEX Body Assessment for 37.00 dollars
Speaker 1: (00:03)
Hello and welcome to STL Active; St Louis' premier health and wellness podcast. STL Active aims to give listeners in the St Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to you by stlouispt.com and hosted by Doctor of physical therapy, Greg Judice.Hey guys, it's Dr. Greg Judice, owner and physical therapist at Judice Sports and Rehab.
On this episode of the show, I'm interviewing Doug Schlenk. Doug is the owner at evolve personal fitness in sunset Hills. He has been certified by the national Academy of sports medicine and the Titlest performance Institute. In addition to his credentials as a trainer, he is also a published author, business coach, life coach, and an overall standup guy. Without further ado, let's get into the interview with Doug. Well, Doug, welcome to the show. Welcome to STL active very much Shah. I appreciate you being here.
Speaker 3: (01:04)
Thank you. I appreciate the invite. I uh, I look forward to contributing and hopefully giving some, uh, some good, uh, good knowledge that people can take and, uh, and use going forward.
Speaker 2: (01:15)
Awesome. Let's get started. Why don't you tell everybody about your background, kind of how you got into fitness, maybe your sports background, just tell us about you.
Speaker 3: (01:24)
Sure. So, um, right now I currently own evolve personal fitness in sunset Hills here in st Louis. Uh, we've been in our location now and evolve has been in existence for a little over 10 years. Uh, prior to that I've worked at a couple of different, uh, you know, large membership box gyms, uh, doing personal training and training directing. But, uh, prior to that I was actually a corporate tax consultant. Makes sense. Did not know that. Yeah. So I was in the, uh, the, the finance and accounting world and learned pretty quickly that, uh, that wasn't going to work well for me. I, uh, not that I don't take direction well, but, uh, the, the direction of, uh, corporate America, at least the way I saw it when I was in it was if you, uh, didn't have your nose up the right person's, but you weren't going to go very far.
Speaker 3: (02:14)
So I was, I'm always a big fan of if I can't be, uh, if I can't be recognized for my good work, then I'm not going to get very far. So I, I tried to let my work speak for me so I had to do something else or knew I needed to make a transition. And as it turns out, uh, at the time I was actually coaching, um, a select baseball team and I really enjoy that aspect of coaching. Uh, the kids were right around that 11, 12, 13 year old range. And, um, coming from a background of playing baseball in college and high school and all growing up, and that was my thing, baseball, it was, it was really great to give back because I didn't have a lot of high level coaching when I was that age. So it was, it was great to be able to bring some of the things I learned at a higher level, uh, to kids that age.
Speaker 3: (03:04)
And you know, the ones who could pick up great. The ones that couldn't, we, we still tried to teach in and get them better. So I thought, well, maybe I could go into the world of coaching baseball and I don't know if you know this or not, but, um, there's no money in coaching. No, not at all. I had coached one year in my entire life and, uh, there were some kids that I enjoyed, but some that you don't, and then obviously it's a volunteer, right. As a youth baseball coach is definitely a volunteer. Right, exactly. It's the, the landscape's changed a little bit. There are paid coaches out there, but nonetheless, back then, um, if you want to make money in coaching, you really had to get to the college level or to the professional ranks of Saint Joe at some level. And, uh, that, that wasn't in the cards for sure at the time.
Speaker 3: (03:53)
So I thought, well, how could I, you know, coaching high school baseball, be fun, but I didn't want to go back and be a teacher or be in that realm or be a part time, work another job and be a part time coach that, that wasn't going to pay my mortgage. So I, uh, was finishing up some work at home one morning and kind of delaying going into the office. I was trying to find other things to do. Uh, at the time, work was slow. It was, we were kind of in between projects. So there wasn't a whole lot going on. There was no necessary time. I had to be in at the office. And I realized, uh, as I'm sitting my, in my home office and I'm checking my email, there's nothing going on and it's like nine o'clock at this point. And I sit back and I've got a bookshelf next to my desk and I look at it and at the top of the bookshelf with a bunch of dust on it were a bunch of finance and accounting books that I hadn't touched since I put him there three years prior, probably when I moved into the house.
Speaker 3: (04:48)
And then the rest of the shelves were filled with, uh, nutrition and training and old magazines and just articles I'd cut out and things I'd saved. And I started wondering, I'm like, you know, there's people I help now, like family and friends. And I help them kind of design some programming, kind of what they should be doing to help with, you know, what they told me they want to accomplish and I've been helping people with nutrition and trying to get a better habits there. Um, I wonder if there's any money to be made. Now, mind you, this was 2001 early 2002 when this thought came to mind and the only people did it personal training back then were celebrities, athletes and it was a very, very small market. There wasn't a whole lot going on. So I knew one personal trainer at the gym that I worked out at.
Speaker 3: (05:37)
So I approached him and just kind of asked him questions and then I hired him cause I wanted to see how he operated. You hired him as a trainer? I was a trainer to train me. Gotcha. Yeah. For a couple months you became a client of his. Yes, correct. And I figured I better at least find out what he does and how he does it and see if I'm even capable of doing this. See what it's all about. Yeah, absolutely. Because there again wasn't a whole lot going on. And also dating myself, the internet was pretty young still. So there wasn't, there weren't the amount of resources there are now. So, uh, after working with him I'd like, you know, this is kind of cool. And I actually told him, I go, Hey, I'm just kinda thinking about going in this direction. Maybe it's part time, maybe it's on the side.
Speaker 3: (06:18)
And he encouraged me and said he thought it'd be great at it. He, you know, he's seen me work out before I was a client of his. He knows I have a good work ethic and personality wise, uh, I guess he thought I was nice, so that's good. I've probably changed a little bit. I'm a little less nice now as I've gotten older and more grizzly. Um, so, uh, I found out what it took to, to become certified and I started studying, uh, got certified and then, uh, started building a clientele, uh, to train a few people before I went into work in the mornings with my corporate job and then after at night. So I was essentially, it was, you know, 4:00 AM till about 10:00 PM. And, but at the time it was fine because I wasn't married, no kids, uh, had a dog in a house.
Speaker 3: (07:03)
That was my only the only responsibilities I really had. And, uh, I saved up enough money to pay my mortgage and feed myself and all my bills and live very meagerly off tuna rice protein shakes really. And I said, I got enough money for six months, see if I can do this, make this personal training thing work. If not, I'm not going to forget everything I knew about my other job. I should, I could probably get my same job back as they, you know, at the time that the market was desperate for people skilled in that, in, in that, in the tax profession. So I quit, quit my corporate job and that was, uh, June of 2003. And really what gave me that big, uh, boost was my mom had always been, uh, a sole proprietor and I talk, came to her and talk to her about what I was thinking about doing.
Speaker 3: (07:54)
And she without hesitation said I should do it. Absolutely. 100%. You should do this. Probably again now as a parent myself, we know things about our kids that they don't know about themselves. She probably knew, I probably wasn't the employee that corporate American needed right now. We weren't as happy as you could be. Right. I'd be better off working for myself and putting in the time myself. So that was it. So that was, uh, yeah, June of 2003 and uh, that's nearly 17 years now and uh, really haven't looked back. Great. One of the, you know, the best decision I've ever made. Uh, by four months into it I was starting to get a little scary, but, uh, positioned myself, had a good relationship with the gym owner, uh, that where I just worked out at [inaudible] where I was training and um, he caught wind that I was doing training and uh, it was certified and so forth.
Speaker 3: (08:51)
And he offered me the training director job at that gym. A, but you have a training department that didn't exist. There you go. So I started the training department. I was directing myself but then started hiring trainers and building that department. Awesome. Yeah. So that's how I got into the fitness world. Um, you know, prior to that really grown up play baseball. I started working out, probably not as 12, 13 years old. Um, because I was smaller. I was kind of a late bloomer. I didn't really grow til about between my sophomore and junior high school. Um, so I just, I was always undersized. You just had to work harder than everybody else. Had to work a little bit harder to get noticed cause I wasn't very tall. I was pretty thin. But a lot of the fundamentals I had down and I had a good work ethic, you know, put forth through my, my parents.
Speaker 3: (09:37)
Um, my dad was military, um, work. I saw him work numerous jobs, you know, raising five kids and you know, he even with five kids, he would go out and run, he would do pushups, he would do sit ups, uh, the stuff, you know, you do in the military for, you know, calisthenics type, that type of stuff. And I always thought that was really cool. And then we tried to join in where I could. And uh, that kind of built a, I guess a love for being active in fitness and you know, what can the boat's the body actually capable of? And you're building some of those good habits. Yeah. Without a doubt. Um, you know, I, but at the time I didn't know as habits there's numerous, this is what we do, right. That was just part of our life. And those are the best types of habits have, you don't have to think about it.
Speaker 3: (10:20)
You don't have to think about and you don't have to make yourself do them. Right. Definitely. So how did evolve come to be? So the, the gym I was working at as a training director of, I was there for about five years and realized, uh, the gym was going in a different direction that I was comfortable with. The atmosphere was changing. It was becoming very aggressive, uh, with the clientele. Not like people were getting fights, but it was very much the, Oh, what everybody hates and why planet fitness exist. It was the intimidation factor. A lot of bros got it. A lot of slamming weights, grunting and slamming with the, the, a lot of grunting, slamming weights. Uh, the place was getting dirtier and I had no intention of, you know, starting my own business. I was pretty happy. I was making good money. Um, I did my best to bring my clients away from that atmosphere within that gym gives us a big facility.
Speaker 3: (11:21)
And, um, one day, uh, there's a small group of women that I trained and they approached me and said, Hey, um, during one of our workouts, like, have you ever thought about opening your own place? And in my mind at that time, like, uh, no, I'm making more money I've ever made in my life. Right? Um, I've got zero, you know, responsibility here and you're doing my show up. I keep, keep performing, I keep getting paid. What, why, why change? This is great. I've got a lot of flexibility with my schedule. Um, and I'm like, no, not really. Like, well, we've been thinking about going somewhere else because we really don't like this place anymore. So that was kind of a, it was a, it was a shock. And I'm like, well, I get it. I'm trying to talk them off the ledge so to speak.
Speaker 3: (12:04)
And I smooth it over for the time being for the moment. But then when the exact same conversation happened about a half a dozen more times, and now I'm looking at my book of business, I'm like, okay, well this is a big chunk that could be going away and the current clientele is not who these people are. It's going to be tough to pull new clientele out of who's coming into this gym now. So, um, all of a sudden I start developing a business plan. Okay. So then I better, let's see what it will take to actually do this. So that was in 2008. And um, if anybody's listening can remember 2008 and what the market was doing at the time, it was awesome. You know, there were banks just waiting to hand money over people with no business experience. They couldn't wait to give me money, which is not true.
Speaker 3: (12:54)
I'm pretty much the opposite. Right, right. Yeah, it was, things were tightened up bad. But what I had going for me was I had bought a home and, well the reason the market was so bad because of the housing crisis, but I had a home that I got before the prices of the market. The housing market went high, so I got a pretty cheap and I had a lot of equity in the house. So, um, they're more than willing to give a home equity loan. So I financed the start of the business with a home equity loan and then from a couple of other personal realm loans. And next thing you know, I'm picking out equipment and uh, making a very sizeable down payment on equipment but had no place to put it. Okay. So that you want to talk about writing a check for about $35,000 and you have no place to put it.
Speaker 3: (13:46)
But the reason he had to do it, again, market related, um, there wasn't enough steel being produced in the U S okay. So there was a six to eight week lead time. So it's either, you know, I'm looking in 2008, like late summer, early fall, and devising this plan and talking to an equipment rep and he's like, um, well when do you plan an open? I'm like, well, I'm looking at early next year. He goes, we need to order now and pay now. I'm like, what do you mean? And he told me the whole Dean, you know, the steel and the production times and uh, you know, it's six to eight weeks before they'd even start producing what I would order. And then it would take six to eight weeks from there to have it pre production and then shipped. So you're looking at three to four months out. So if I waited till January I wouldn't be able to open til, you know, may.
Speaker 3: (14:35)
Right. So yeah, wrote a big check. That was fun. I'm probably not the biggest check you've written to date, but it was probably the scariest. Yeah. Well it might still be the biggest check you had to write today. Quite honestly. Um, cause I didn't write a check for my house, but uh, it's pretty, it's pretty close. Pretty close. Um, so, you know, you won't talk about burning the boats and there's no going back. Things had to escalate pretty quick. So, um, final location, uh, I got a lease worked out, let's talk about the build out and didn't have equipment and, uh, it actually worked out pretty well. She timed it pretty well. They equipment actually became available about three days prior to the buildup being done. Okay. So it's not bad timing. It had worked out great. So I also decided after opening the gym that I should probably get married six weeks after that.
Speaker 3: (15:28)
So that's not stressful. Not at all. And not only that, we'll get married outside of the country. So yeah, even better. So fitness is block brought me a lot, you know, my, like I said, you know, didn't mention before I met my wife through the fitness industry was not a client. Never did that. It was never that. Never, never, never. And that trainer, um, she actually worked at the first gym I worked at for a few months before I got the training directing job. And, um, we did not date, but we met there. Uh, once I left, then we started dating. Gotcha. So find that's, you've heard that before. Don't, uh, you know, don't mix business with pleasure and, uh, let's just say I learned that the hard way younger days in life. So I, I, I, I vowed never to do that again,
Speaker 2: (16:11)
so. Gotcha. Well, awesome. So you've been open 10 years. Yep. So tell us a little bit about how evolve works. Like how, how do you get your clients, how do they typically work with you guys? So
Speaker 3: (16:27)
we really do go against the grade of what's going on in fitness in a lot of ways. Um, you know, we started as a kind of a one-on-one personal training and some semi-private. So maybe two, three clients to a trainer and I was a one man shop for a little while, had a couple other trainers and kind of, you know, finding the right personality and hiring the right people for what we, what I want to do. What I foresee when, you know, the vision I had, uh, for the business, it took a little while. Uh, but I've got a great group of guys right now and, um, very knowledgeable. Um, I thank them all the time, how great they are and the job they do. And, uh,
Speaker 2: (17:08)
I think that's just growing pains with any business though. Your first hires are, you've got to figure it out now it gets different. You are hiring for the position to fill rather than hiring for the person. Right. And you know, I've met your other trainers and there they're great. All of you guys are great. Yeah, thanks. And so I think that definitely builds the trust, right. For your clients to trust you guys with their health. Right.
Speaker 3: (17:32)
Right. And that was a thing, you know, hiring trainers for a box gym is different than hiring a trainer for a high end personal training studios. Sure. Um, and that was where I made mistake. I thought I'll just keep kind of hire the way I've been hiring. And that was a train wreck on a few occasions, but that's okay. Again, you learn, don't lose, you just learn it. So with evolve when it, you know, when it comes to like, uh, gaining new clientele, not big fans of, Hey, here's this challenge and kind of baiting people with the eight weeks, six week, um, I don't wanna I don't want to swim in those waters because I'm not looking for people who are looking just to jump ship. I'm looking for people who are serious about making lifestyle changes. Right? But everybody says I want to make a lifestyle change.
Speaker 3: (18:17)
But people that have already gone through some of those 30 day challenges and six, eight week challenges other places [inaudible] and they're still shopping around so to speak because they haven't really found anything that, that makes sense to them. Um, a lot of the people we have that, that we work with or just they're, they're busy moms and dads and professionals and they just want to be guided in every aspect of their fitness, not just, Hey, come in here. We're going to get you sweating and your heart rates up. Great. Check your heart rate on the heart rate monitor. Not that I'm poking fun at any certain gyms, but uh, but I am, um, and Greg did a great job, but then there's strokes for different folks. Right, right. No, I'm fine with, I'll take the heat. I'm cool with it. Um, but there's no change and they don't understand why.
Speaker 3: (19:14)
And the people that are instructing them don't know why either they're just going with, again, a corporate model of we'll just keep doing this or doing what they know rather than treating the whole person. Right. And I say treating because of my background. Sure. But treating as in helping people in multiple aspects, like you were saying. Right. So the, the thing that I get across, tried to get across to my coaches and we, we try to convey to our clientele is that there's so much more than coming in here and working out that if we can't address the focus aspect outside the gym, if we can't address our habits outside the gym, if we can focus on managing our stress levels, which is nearly everyone's problem, it's not, they don't need to work out more. They need to just find a way to manage their stress.
Speaker 3: (20:06)
And yes, working out is a great way to manage stress. But unfortunately it took me a while to learn this because in learning through my own mistakes, but I would work out to relieve stress, but my workouts, I would punish myself in my workouts, which would then injure myself via working out, which then I can't work out. And then when you have a minimal stress relief then, right. So we're a very big fan of when everybody comes in and they don't even know we're doing this, but we ask, Hey, how's it going today? How are you feeling? And they think it's just small talk, but we're actually trying to get a read on where they are with their stress levels and how hard the, you know, the people walking in the door.
Speaker 2: (20:48)
Right? So you're able to quickly gauge it. First of all, how are they, how are they presenting today? Are they, are they kind of down in the dumps compared to where they were last time or what? And also listening to what their answer is so much. There's more to it than just the answer. But how is the answer? Sure. How has he answered? Given,
Speaker 3: (21:06)
um, body language says a ton and thing I'm really proud of with both my coaches is they've, they, I've gotten across to them that don't just take the first answer. If you don't think it's true from a client, you know, ask them how they're doing, fine. Doing great, fine. And you can hear that pitch in their voice that they don't want to address it. There's trying to avoid it and they just want to get in and just crank through and, and grind into the workout that they're okay and comfortable with asking. You know, maybe they'll pull him aside away from the group or whatever, but say, Hey, you know, seriously what's, what's up you good work ed family. You know, what, what's going on. Because you know, they may know that the work that's kits coming, it might be, it might be, you know, tough, like really tough.
Speaker 3: (21:57)
If somebody's not in the right mindset to, to handle that, we're not helping them. Right. We're beating them into the ground and making them worse than when they first came in. Right. And our goal, every time a client leaves as they are better than when they first came in from the first day they came in until in each time they come in, when they work out that they are mentally in a better place, they're physically in a better place. They're not just ground up and spitting into the often to the ground that they are walking out with their head held high and shoulders back with good body language and they just feel like they're, they can take on it. Whatever's going on in their life after that. Good, bad or indifferent. Got it. So,
Speaker 2: (22:40)
and you know, it's, I'm going to say, you know, I've, I've heard that fine is one of the worst four letter words that you should hear because it doesn't tell you anything. It's just a mask. And you know that, that's one of the biggest things that we both deal with, with our clients is really getting to that deeper level. Right. And once they trust you enough to correct, to open up and tell you what's really going on, you can help them so much easier, so much better. And that, that second level rather than just we're going to make you sweat. Right. And you have to, you have to take that next level just like I have to take that next level past. It's sore today. Well, yeah, I get that. But what's, what's beyond that? Why is it sore today? Why are you bummed that it's sore today? Right. There's always a why behind. Sure. That answer,
Speaker 3: (23:30)
right? Yeah. I mean people answered fine. Are good. Um, yeah, it's, it's probably the biggest lie going, but we've been, we've been taught growing up too from someone from some aspect that nobody wants to hear our problems. Nobody wants to hear you bitch and complain. So just go ahead and hold that in, push it down and just deal with it. I mean, you hear that a lot. Just deal with it. Yeah. Everybody deals with it, but it feels so much better for everyone. I mean myself included. When you can actually talk it out, explain it. Whether that becomes an emotional explanation or just a venting, that's cool, that's fine. But pushing it down and everything's fine. That's good. It's fine. You know, I really want, you know, I understand that, you know, people are so busy with work and most people don't work 40 hours a week.
Speaker 3: (24:23)
They work more than that. And you know, we don't spend as much time with our kids as we'd like due to our jobs, do the lifestyles we're trying to maintain. So when someone is willing to give me not only their, their investment to come train with us, but giving up more time away from their family to come train, even though they're, you know, they're doing it for themselves and they get that. Um, I just feel it's our duty. They get more out of it than a workout that just getting tired, that they're getting better. Not, again, not just physically, but you know, with their overall emotional IQ as well, and helping them, giving them things to, you know, refocus and trying to change the mindset of constantly when something would, you know, does it go their way? They feel like every, the world's piling on them as opposed to, you know, we're trying to change that mindset of, okay, Hey, this is a roadblock.
Speaker 3: (25:22)
What's my, what's my, what's my option? What can I do instead of, sure. We tell you that all the time. People come in, they might be banged up, you know, we can warriors, everybody's got them in their, in their facilities, um, or old injuries, whatever the case may be. And things aren't working the way we don't focus on up. That doesn't work today. No. What can you do? Cool. We'll just do that. Let's make the change and what's, that's our option for today. Hmm. But you're able to make the adjustment. And I think that's the biggest thing, right? There are a lot of places you hear of just no matter what you got going, we're going to keep going. Yeah. And we're just going to keep pounding until you sweat, until you burn certain number of calories until you'd done a certain number of reps.
Speaker 3: (26:00)
and that's, I think it takes for everybody. I think it takes a well seasoned and very talented coach and I say coach and not trainer because I really feel a trainer. Anybody can be a trainer and make somebody tired. Coaches make people better. And that phrase is all over the internet and there's memes about it. But I think it takes a, a true talent to be like identify when people are trying to get out of stuff because they don't feel like working hard that day or it's just not in their mindset because they're just not mentally strong enough yet. And when they're actually hurt and they're in there, they're, they're not in a good place. I, that's not easy and I don't see many. I definitely could not have done it when I first started, by no means, when did I actually acquire that skill set? I'm not sure. Somewhere around the 20 30,000 session Mark probably.
Speaker 2: (26:51)
Right. A lot of experience. Right, right. So I want to go back just a little bit. You had mentioned that, uh, you know, some people will suppress those emotions, right? And, um, I think I'm kinda leading you here, but there's a very specific group of people that are taught early on to suppress those emotions. And I would say that that is men, right? Right. Little boys are oftentimes, you know, suck it up, suck it up. Right. Push through, rub some dirt on it, rub some dirt on it. Exactly. And keep going. So, um, I know you've got kind of a side thing, but it's also part of evolve, right? Tell us about fit dad Academy. Yeah. So, so,
Speaker 3: (27:29)
um, I never, by the way, I never understood. I remember as a kid being told to rub dirt on it. I never understood what that meant. It took me a while to actually understand like, what am I going to rub dirt on? The fact I just ripped my knee open, but that's neither here nor there. I just took me a while to get that. But I got it as I got older. Yeah. But when I was like four or five and rub some dirt on it, like why, why would I do that? Does that fix it? So anyway, um, yeah, so a long my own growth as a man, as a business owner, as a husband, as a father, um, I really started, it took this personal growth journey, uh, to heart probably 2012 ish. Um, business had been open for about three years. Uh, I had a young, my son was young at the time, he was about a year old and I believe we were pregnant with my daughter and I just had this overwhelming feeling of just almost like I was drowning.
Speaker 3: (28:32)
Um, days were very long. Um, business was great. Uh, doing really well, growing every, every year. It seemed like every quarter really. Uh, I'd hired a business coach specifically for fitness, the fitness industry and follow what they were teaching me. And it was working to the T exactly how they said it would and, but I was getting home in the evenings to maybe give my son's last feeding and change a diaper, rock him, sleep, put him down, I'd go back to my computer, do some work, go to bed, you know, lather, rinse, repeat. I was missing out on a lot of stuff and I didn't know how to pull back. Uh, I kept thinking in my mind, I kept thinking, well, when I reached this income level, then there'll be enough money. I can stop working so much. Um, well I, I'd always get there. I get to that income level, but I was again, still the reason we got to the income levels because of me.
Speaker 3: (29:33)
I didn't know how to delegate. I was terrible at it. Um, and I'm sure my employees and my wife would still say I'm not that great at it, but I'm definitely better than what I was because I do have a much better schedule and a lot more balance in my life when there's no perfect either. No, no, there's not, growth is not an end game. Two years from now it's always getting better and better. But again, I started with the business. I started growing the business as opposed to myself because we're taught as either, you know, through watching TV or through our parents or through just watching other individuals, you know, money makes the world go around. We got to keep driving it, keep growing and grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. It's what it's all about. Um, and then the other stuff will take care of itself.
Speaker 3: (30:16)
Well, I was finding myself having anxiety attacks for no particular reason, just having them. Um, well there was a particular reason, but there was no trigger. It was just all of a sudden they'd be happening. Fortunately, never actually happened during the session. It always happened during, um, you know, sitting down and looking at numbers. I was a former numbers guy, right? So I had an opportunity, was actually approached by, uh, you know, on a, one of our weekly calls, uh, with the, the mastermind group I was a part of for my business. And the guy who was leading it, we had noticed all of us in the group had noticed there was a change in his personality. It was just a difference. And he was no longer asking, Hey, you know, what was your, was your, what was your EFT? What your sales last month? What do you got going on?
Speaker 3: (31:03)
What pro? What, you know, what, what deals you gotta go? What do you know? What are you doing? What you expect to make? Blah, blah, blah, blah, and, you know, all money-driven type conversations, which is how it had been for the first year or so. Then I was part of this mastermind. Uh, it was different. It was more of, Hey, when do you, uh, take your wife on a date? Uh, what are you doing with your kids this weekend? You know, asking the whole group and everybody's kinda like, what is it? Why don't we talk about the numbers here. We're here for the numbers. We're going to grow, we're trying to grow. And after one of the calls, cause there's both men and women in this group, um, once he asked all the men to stay on and he said, Hey guys, I'm running this. What do you guys know?
Speaker 3: (31:41)
I went through this program, um, just transformational kind of self-development and uh, and he had gone through that and a year or so earlier and he'd really started to live it. Everything he was taught, he goes, I got this program. I want to take some of you guys through and this and that. I ask zero questions. All I heard was to help balance your life. That is the only thing that I heard. I, everything else was like the peanuts teacher, Charlie Brown's teacher. I, I nothing, I didn't even hear how much it costs. I just said I'm in, cause you knew something wasn't right. I had to, something had to change. Right. Because at that point, now we fast forward a little bit from when you started, you know, I guess, you know, my daughter had been born, no, I'll take that back. I actually was in a bad car accident, uh, which some of the reasons why I came to see you.
Speaker 3: (32:37)
Um, in late 2012, I was hit by a drunk driver on my way to work in the morning and, uh, got banged up pretty bad and had a pretty bad head trauma. And I remember sitting and my wife asking me a question and from the concussion that I had, which this was, you know, one of those suck it up situation. When you're a kid, you get your bell rung, you know that term bell rung. I don't know how many times I had my bell rung playing sports growing up, but this concussion for whatever the case may be at, um, 35 years old sent me in a bad spiral. I was, I was, I could not get over that concussion and the pain from the, in the symptoms and the nausea, it was like nearly two months. And, uh, I remember sitting in my wife asking me a question and I'm looking at her, but I'm looking through her because I can't get my mind straight.
Speaker 3: (33:33)
The amount of stress I have with work. Um, being the provider, you know, so forth and so enough, nothing. My wife didn't work, but you know, in my mind I was told I'm supposed to be the provider, I'm supposed to be the strong one. And she asked me a question and again, her mouth moving, but I don't hear anything. I'm looking through her and she begins to cry. And that snapped me out of whatever days I was in from, you know, my, my trauma, my head not, not working that day. I'm like, what's wrong? She goes, is this how you're going to be forever? I'm terrified. So I knew something had to change. So when this opportunity was in front of me and I coach presented, all I heard was balance and stress relief. Really. I'm like, I, I'm in whatever. So, uh, went up to San Diego, spent a week out in San Diego, got my butt beat physically.
Speaker 3: (34:20)
But it was the whole point was it was a build, break you down to build you up. And by the end of that week it was like the blinders were off. I could really see the error in my ways and I took to heart everything that I was taught and I lived it for nearly two years before I started to be able to see the problems I was having in other individuals that I was working with. And the problems meaning missing out on stuff with family and the stress that causes it. And I knew what that looked like. Um, the conversations of, you know, the venting, but as the venting is coming to me, I'm like, I have a fix for this. I know how to fix this cause I had the same problem. You've lived it, you've trained it, you lived it. I, I fixed it, I know what to do.
Speaker 3: (35:08)
I know how to address it when it starts to rear its ugly head and I hear it coming in my mind. And how to keep the panic attacks away, how to keep the anxiety down, how to manage the stress. Cause there's always going to be stress. Nobody's ever going to get rid of stress. And that's not the point. It's just not the point. The point is to be able to move ahead, quote unquote, suck it up, get through it, but do it with a level mind and not your, your stress levels going through the roof and leading to other destructive behavior of whether it be binge eating, binge drinking drugs, um, you know, smoking, just sedating away from the problems. Cause what I was seeing in other men, uh, my peers, uh, you know, between friends and clients was the sedation wanting to avoid as much as possible.
Speaker 3: (35:58)
Some did it through fitness. So that's where fit data Academy started to, to kinda think, you know, I've, I owe it to these people to give them more than just a good workout. And specifically these dads because I can completely empathize with everything they're going through and the pain they're feeling. And I started delivering fit data in a, in a live format. At first did that for about nine months live and realize that that's not working. It's taking time away from my family again. I need to find a better way. So started develop how to deliver that via an online coaching program. And I realized that, uh, I was building, building, building, but never releasing, releasing, releasing. Cause I had this, this fear that what if I can't deliver the same results via online did I do in person? And it really took, again, surrounding myself with good people, people that I knew that I could trust, get honest opinions from who really pushed me and said, you've just got to do it.
Speaker 3: (37:07)
There's no reason why you can't. There's nothing. There's nothing to lose, you know. So, um, nearly a, gosh, what are we about a year and a half in, I've been delivering it in an online fashion and um, now we know the impact guys all over the country. Sure. Um, not just here in st Louis and it works. That's awesome. Able to deliver a, a very quality product, maybe even better, uh, on an online to some extent. And uh, absolutely love it. It's, it's, it's, there's a, there's an accountability factor with any type of one-line programming. It's being able to have each person stay accountable right. With the group. Right. Right. Cause it's never a one on one thing, I would assume. Right. That's a little bit of both. A little bit about that. Okay. It's a little bit of both. I do both. Um, I'll run specific start times for groups and I'll do individual quite often.
Speaker 3: (38:02)
Yeah. And that honestly probably makes up a bulk of my time business-wise right now. Really [inaudible] but not of guests that yes, but that's exciting. It is. It is because I'm extremely passionate about it and um, it's, there's a, I've got a lot of new things coming with that down the pipeline. Just uh, wrapping up a membership site. Um, other pieces. Uh, we were just mentioning a, I have enough pages for a book and now it's just a matter of editing and putting it together, uh, for that whole realm of what I teach, which is fitness focus, family. Nice. Yup. And in that order because what I've learned is we do the other things. We have actually bring the finance aspect into play, men do, fathers do. And we put all of our energy into our, into our finance, in our jobs or businesses. And we come home with enough, just enough, a lot of times to give to our families. And there's not much left the capacity to handle the lives. Our lives. It's, it's, it's very imbalanced. We have a very small cup that runs over on a daily basis. So my job is to create a structure for each individual man that they can start building a bigger cup. Cause there's always going to be issues that have to happen. The university's always going to throw stuff at us that we're not expecting, but we have to have the capabilities to Hain lip. That's awesome. Yeah. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (39:30)
Yeah, for sure. So obviously we want to get back to talking a little bit more about evolve, but why don't you give some of the guys on here some information about fit dad, how they can get connected with you for that?
Speaker 3: (39:44)
Yeah, a pretty simple, I mean, if I'm on the social media is probably the easiest way, either via Facebook or Instagram. Uh, there's a fit data Academy, a Facebook page or a fit dad, uh, underscore Doug on Instagram. Uh, I give a lot of content, a lot of insights there. And then, uh, through the Facebook page there's, there's a link there to learn more, get more information, and they can, that's how they get in contact with me. Awesome. Get a lot of products. She ain't even say products. A lot of free content giveaways that I have. Again, it kinda help dads kind of give them a starting place that, you know, I don't charge for just a good structure to whether it be good morning routine, um, to help kind of start their day on fire. Uh, whether it be kind of a, I have an ebook I wrote called giving your kids everything without breaking that, breaking the bank. Uh, so that's some good insights on that as well. So very cool. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (40:40)
And so, you know, I want to just briefly conclude with the fit dad version there. You know, I think the biggest thing is the, like we had mentioned the accountability factor that these dads have to each other, right? Because they're, yes, they may get some of that one on one time, but they're still going to be accountable to each other in that online forum right after the fact. Right. The calls are not all day long, every day. Right. So I'm sure that they're staying in touch in some capacity, right. To make sure that they're following through and, and doing the things that make them the fit dad.
Speaker 3: (41:13)
Yeah. Yeah. That's the interesting part. I like, I like when people ask me what does fit dad, cause everybody automatically thinks, well, it's just about dads getting fit, but there's so much more to it. There's, it's, it's really being fit mind.
Speaker 2: (41:25)
And I think that's what's so fascinating about it. Right. You know, the name is just the tip of the iceberg.
Speaker 3: (41:30)
[inaudible] yup. It's just, it's, it's the, it's catalyst for everything else. You know, the fitness aspect and how we feel when our bodies feel, feel strong and, and, um, and feel good. We're not in pain. Um, it's my watch and nice, but, um, you know, being able to, you know, you got to back to the accountability part. What I found is that most guys at some point were a part of a team, whether it was a high level sports or not, but everybody for the most part played on a team. And what does, what do you not want to do when you're part of the team is let the team down. And I think once we become adults and then we're in the workforce a lot of times, and then especially if you're a business owner and you're really feel like you're on an Island, um, you know, we get away from teams, you get away from people relying on you in a, in a, an aspect outside of work. So guys really flourish when they're a part of a team and a group of men with like kind, you know, goals in mind and that's being a better husband and a better father and understanding the balance that they're, that they're missing out on. So I love it. [inaudible]
Speaker 2: (42:51)
so let's jump back to talking about evolve. Yeah. So,
Speaker 4: (42:56)
Speaker 2: (42:56)
obviously you have very specific group of clients for fit dad. But tell me about some of your best clients. Like who, who is the ideal person that you're looking for at evolve? Obviously you want someone like you had mentioned that's, that wants the best, right? But kind of a little bit more details on that.
Speaker 3: (43:15)
The, the people that we have found that have succeeded the fastest are the ones who are willing to just listen and try to learn for themselves. What I mean for themselves is when we give information, um, whether it be nutritionally, whether that be, you know, with within their size that they learn it for themselves. They actually take ownership of trying to understand what we're teaching them, if that makes sense. Um, I'm not going to say that the people that, the, the easy ways to say was the people just do as I say, I mean really the green smoothies that people are coming to you and coming to me because we're professionals in our industry. The people who question, well, why are we doing this? And I don't really like doing this. I heard a trainer telling me one time, well I read, those are the people that fail every time. They fail every time.
Speaker 2: (44:09)
But there's a fine line. There's a fine line there. Yes. They need to listen to you and trust you. They need to quit. They have to be how to make it better. Exactly why it works for them. They have to be an active participant, not completely passive participant. Because if they just listen without understanding, right, they're going to fail. Correct all the time with me. Cause they're not gonna know why. And that was, we talked about that earlier. The why behind is
Speaker 3: (44:32)
so important. Everything around our programming that we do has a why. And we explain why this exercise is important because not because it's gonna make you stronger. Your lift is going to get better. It's a byproduct. What's gonna make it better is because then when you're playing with your kids, you're not going to throw your back out. Or when you're cleaning out the garage or you're doing this and that, you're not going to hurt yourself. You're not going to lose your balance off, falling off a ladder
Speaker 2: (44:56)
or you're going to be able to get up and down off the floor in 10 years. Right? There's always a reason why I'm stairs, go down the stairs,
Speaker 3: (45:01)
whatever the case may be. Um, there's more to it than, and I want people to know the ask the why, the people that, those are the people that do well when they really start to fully understand behind what we're, we're, we're doing. Because you know, um, we're designing for a lot of people with a lot of different demographics, a lot of different backgrounds and abilities, but the end result is always the same. We want people to move better, get stronger, grand scheme, get leaner. It usually happens most. Most people want lose body fat, but just be happier.
Speaker 3: (45:39)
And the ones that are constantly, or the, I should say the ones, cause we really don't have any now because they, they don't like us because we will continue to tell them, you need to learn this. You need to understand why we're doing this. Stop questioning every little thing we're telling you because you read in a magazine or you were at curves one day, whatever the case may be, it's wrong for a reason, right? If you don't believe us, if you don't believe us, then you should probably go back to that person. Right. Go somewhere else. Right. So
Speaker 2: (46:09)
a healthy amount of questioning is fine. Right. But when it gets to be excessive and they obviously don't trust everything that you're saying, then
Speaker 3: (46:15)
w w when the questioning becomes challenging, they're challenging our authority. I, I don't really have time for that cause I've got a handful of other people that are standing in the room who want to get better and you just want to challenge everything. Right? Yeah. I I see that too, for sure. So those are the people that fail. So those are any of those people listening know that you're, you've, you're probably in the same place you've been for a long time cause you keep challenging everything. Right. As opposed to just giving it a shot and sticking to it and being consistent. That's the other big thing. Then the very next step to that, to your question of who are the best clients, the ones who are consistent and find a way to get it done. I mean you hear that all the time, but it's simple, simple wins every single time. Complex, complex programming, there's a time and a place for it. The general population probably don't need complex programming. Right. They need general consistency with their health. Getting to the gym, moving every day
Speaker 2: (47:15)
and showing up is half the battle in that
Speaker 3: (47:17)
sometimes. Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. Definitely. So one of my things, my favorite
Speaker 2: (47:23)
things about evolve, I've, I've done a few events there. Um, obviously met with you several times outside of gym hours, but I think my favorite thing about evolve is the community that you've got there. Thanks. So one of my questions for you is, is that community something that you attract by the people that you have and the trainers and coaches that you have? Or is it something that you create? How and how do you get to that sense of community that you guys have? Cause it's, it's really impressive.
Speaker 3: (47:53)
Thank you. Um, you know, um, I have an accounting background, which means I'm very black and white. Okay. Some would say boring at times. I'm very much a, you know, horse in front of the cart. This is how it goes type of thing. And I really try to be more creative and I try to be fancy and fun, but it's, I've just, my mind doesn't work that well that way. I know a lot of gyms, other places are very successful with that, with the certain, you know, gatherings and things they do. I really think the community we've developed really stems from because we don't, we don't boast about our community so much, but it's probably the proudest thing that I've accomplished within that gym for, to me it is, um, because the way that people pull for each other and care about each other that are just gym friends, so to speak, but they, and they're so welcoming of everybody new that comes in and they want to get to know him and they want to help them out.
Speaker 3: (48