My very first Podcast Interview!

What’s up y’all!

Obviously I don’t post much, but when I do, you know it’s something you SHOULD read.

Well today, there’s not much to read. However, there’s plenty to listen to.

Recently I was interviewed on the A News You Can Use Podcast that “highlights black-owned businesses, events, services, music, and products.”

I talk about how I came to be as a business owner and Personal Trainer. We discuss how to monetize your business and a bunch of other knowledge bombs that can help move you forward. This is a syndicated Podcast that will reach across the country and overseas.

 

I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Give it a listen for over 2 1/2 hours of great digestible content. Perfect for a plane ride or commute to work!

https://anchor.fm/news-you-can-use/episodes/Positive-Flow-With-Our-Business-Spotlight-The-Southside-Don-Donovan-Muldrow-e7kpf3

You’re Not Fat

Right off the bat, this article is inspired by the latest Dave Chappelle standup on Netflix. At the end of his show, he talks about getting advice from his dad. Growing up he didn’t have a lot of money as a child and therefore he didn’t have a lot of things other kids have (things haven’t changed much these days, eh?). 

 

One day he got frustrated and told his dad, “I hate being poor!” His dad slammed down the newspaper he had and walked over to him with a stern look on his face. He said calmly, “Oh Dave. We’re not poor. 

 

You see, poor is a state of mind…you, my son…..are broke.”

 

It was hilarious. You have to see it. Though of course, I see things differently and are always thinking critically. For some reason, this got me thinking about some of what I hear quite a bit from clients and other people when they say:

 

“I’m Fat.” 

 

Saying, “I’m” means that you’ve taken ownership of some sort of behavior/personality/identity.

 

Here’s the deal. You’re not fat. You HAVE fat. There’s a difference.

 

And if what you HAVE defines who you are, when we’re all in a lot of trouble.

 

It’s like when people say they’re rich, yet they don’t have a lot of money.                       

 

Whatever you say you are, you’re correct.” -Henry Ford

 

Saying “I’m fat” is just as much of a mindset as saying “I’m poor”. It’s not reality. The reality is you can improve your body as much as you can improve what you think and say about yourself. 

 

To show how powerful a mindset is, there are people who have gone from clinically obese to being physically healthy. 

 

These individuals still own the idea that they’re “fat.” 

 

Yes, you may have excess body fat or bodyweight that you want to get rid of and that’s okay. It means you know you can do better. Be better. That’s way healthier than believing you can’t do anything about it and will just accept it. 

 

Again, what you have is not who you are. It’s simple and easy to say, yet it’s upon you to believe it or not. So, be careful about what you say moving forward. It can have an effect on not just you, but those around you. 

 

You are not your fucking khakis.” -Tyler Durden

Looking The Part ABSOLUTELY Matters

Anyone who tells you different hasn’t been in the industry long, at all or is just ignorant to human nature. As people we gravitate to the things that relate to us. Whether it is a goal that we have set for ourselves to how we choose the people we hang out with or the job we have that supports the kind of lifestyle we want to have.

 

In the fitness field looking the part matters. Reading this there might be some scrunched up eyebrows and frowns, but in truth that’s a very very general statement.

 

Way back when, I had a coworker who was a tall guy. Built like a lineman who no longer played football. Because. He was.

 

Smart as hell too. At the time he was getting his masters in Exercise Science, had 2 kids and worked part time as a trainer with a full-time job elsewhere. Sure he didn’t workout much, but did what he could given he also had bad knees from his old glory days as a starting lineman.

 

A member at the gym sheepishly says to me close by “I wouldn’t want him as a trainer. He doesn’t even look like a trainer!”

 

Was it a bit of a rude statement? Yes.

 

Were they right? Yes.

 

Because to them, he was not an example of someone who would understand HOW to get to where they wanted to be.

 

If you’re an aspiring Powerlifter, you’re naturally going to want to seek out someone who is proficient in coaching Powerlifting. More than that, you’ll likely want someone who has been/currently is a Powerlifter. Same thing with a wrestling coach or a perhaps a golf coach.

 

In the world of Personal Training, the general population want to look and feel better. They want to hire people that has experience doing this. It seems like it’d be that simple

 

Though we have to be real about this fact: In a lineup of fitness coaches, if you were to choose one based off of how a coach looked, from how they dressed to level of their physical fitness, you’d choose the one the looks the MOST “fit”. By that I mean they pass the eye test; with no regard for whether or not you think they’d be a total asshole or has a PH.D. in BroScience.

 

         This is a real thing, folks

 

Again, we tend to gravitate towards the people whom we can relate to whether or not we can currently fit in or want to be associated with them so we can eventually fit in. Remember back in high school when you sat at the same table with friends who were just like you? You probably see this at work too.

You probably get along with coworkers who have kids because you have kids.

Or dogs.

Or a Siamese fighting fish.

 

                       Majestic, aren’t they??

 

As a trainer, when you begin to understand this it becomes all the more important to work on yourself as a marketing tool. More important than that, you’ll need to know WHO you want to market to.

 

Because being physically FIT doesn’t mean you’re going to get all the clients you can handle. In my experience watching the evolution of the fitness industry, more and more people are wanting to work with people that either look like them or look similar to where they want to be. I know it doesn’t sound any different from what I’ve been saying so I’ll explain further.

 

My coworker, the former football player, had a good amount of clients who were built like HIM. Today we call his body type “the dad bod”; a bit softer, not too muscular, beer belly, relatively small legs in comparison to the rest of the body. You get the idea.

 

These guys gravitate towards him because that’s where he was at the time. So his clients felt like he UNDERSTOOD them where they were at. Which is the underlying key here:

 

Empathy.

 

Lot’s of coaches and trainers think they can get by with their “looks” but the fact of the matter is if you have no personality or show that you care about your clients they’ll eventually leave because of that. It’s that simple.

 

I had a client who told me to my face that my “body was made of granite” and that I “looked like a superhero”…while standing next to his wife.

 

Was he scared? No. Was I physically intimidating? Sure.

 

And yet we spent to years training together because I knew how to connect with him other than me standing there looking pretty.

 

I know people who have changed their lives through fitness and very soon became a fit pro themselves because they felt compelled to help others once they had a breakthrough. It didn’t matter whether or not they were actual good movement coaches or that they looked like they lost a lot of body fat.

 

The basic level of training they got was good enough for their clients right away because there were people who knew their history of struggle. These trainers could have been 20, 30, 40lbs overweight. To their demographic, they were the perfect coach. They wanted someone who didn’t make them feel like they were being “judged”.

 

Now there are plenty of coaches who look physically “fit” and have clients who don’t look like them and have great success. This happens because once the trainer got to know who their client is as a person, a human being, they didn’t pose as a threat.

 

As a coach, if you’re seen as a threat, you won’t be approached by someone who could benefit from your resources and knowledge. So, “looking the part” is more than wearing clothing that makes you look like a greek god or being able to lift massive amounts of weight.

 

In the 21st Century, you must have a digital look or image that is favorable to your audience. What you do, what you say, who you support. This all factors in how you look to people. Like training, consistency is key.

 

End of the day, knowing yourself. Being true to yourself and being able to connect with whoever you’re coaching is what makes a successful coach. So don’t just rest your  “looking the part” idea to get ahead in the fitness business.

 

Focus on BEING the part.

How To Ace Your Internship

2016 showed there roughly 300k “trainers and aerobic instructors “in the U.S. alone, with a projected 30k increase in 10 years. That’s a lot. Needless to say, the market is spread thin thus allows for a better opportunity for someone to pick just about any trainer they want. Which leads me to make this very important statement:

We as trainers should be grateful to have clients. They don’t HAVE to work with you. They can easily decide to work with someone else.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The moment you let up or decide to become less invested in your own professional development is reason number 300,000 and 1 for them to move on.

If you’re reading this and looking to get a great start in the fitness biz, you’re already ahead of the curve. The best way to start your training career is to follow those before you and forge your own path standing on the shoulders of giants.

For me, I was fortunate enough to be thrown in the wolves; crawled through 500 yards of crap and come out on the other side squeaky clean (Shawshank Redemption anyone?). But I didn’t do it alone.

Back in 2007, I heard of guys like Mike Robertson, Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey & Tony Gentilcore (The CSP version). I trained a lot of women so I began learning a lot from women in the field as well as Molly Galbraith and the badass ladies at Girls Gone Strong. I was a sponge that soaked everything I read and watched and I’m glad I did.

One thing I could have benefited from was having an internship. For me, I knew I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t put in the hours training real people. Who knows how better I’d be if I had an internship at a world-class facility like CSP, Defranco’s Gym or Results Fitness.

Sometimes when you’re applying for an internship at different gyms you don’t always know what is expected of you. So I wanted to get some insight from some of the best for all the noobs of what some of the best gyms around are expecting of YOU.

 

Tony Gentilcore (CORE), Mike Robertson (RTS & I-FAST) and Chad Hobbs (Crossfit Bloomington-Normal & The Bloomington-Normal Athlete Factory) weigh-in.

 

What Are The Benefits of an Internship?


Tony GentilcoreHow else is one going to figure out if this industry is right for them? I liken an internship to an “ooch,” which is a phrase I learned when I read the book Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath. An ooch is an experiment or a way to test a hypothesis.

– Do I really like working with a wide variety of people?

– Can I see myself training/coaching people on the gym floor as a career and not just a hobby?

– Am I cool with wearing sweatpants or shorts to work everyday?

An internship allows for a brief period of getting one’s toes wet and helps them figure out if this is really something they enjoy doing? I mean, if you accept a job out of the gate and two weeks in you’d rather be jumping into a live volcano that sucks.

Imagine one, five, ten, or an entire adult lifespan of feeling that way towards your job.

An internship, hopefully, will prevent that from happening.

 

Mike Robertson– “Probably the biggest benefit of an internship is having the ability to take what you’ve learned over the course of your collegiate career and really get mentored in the process of coaching. It’s different when you have to go in and teach somebody. It’s an art and a science to what we do; trying to get people to do what you want whether it’s coaching and cueing of an exercise or what they need to do outside the gym.”

 

Chad Hobbs– The benefits of an internship are endless given the intern applies themselves and emerges themselves into learning as much as possible (both good and bad) with their time at a facility. Questions are paramount, usually, if an intern is eager to truly learn no question will ever go unanswered.

 

What do Gyms Expect of the Interns as they start?


TG- When I was at Cressey Sports Performance we tried very hard not to put too much weight into someone’s resume.

A piece of paper doesn’t speak to someone’s work ethic, willingness to learn, openness to new ideas and ways of doing things, ability to follow direction and take constructive criticism, initiative, or whether or not they’re just an uppity jerk who thinks they know it all already.

We gravitated towards people who wanted to learn, showed up on time, and could be a team player.

It’s as simple as that.

I think most gyms are looking for that.

 

MR- As far as expectations go, it’s basic stuff. We want somebody that wants to be a pro; show up early, dress appropriately, ask great questions which is such a huge portion. Having the curiosity. We want people that are curious and ask questions respectfully.

So on one side, it’s about being professional, to asking great questions and constantly learning more about what it is we’re doing.

 

CH- This varies. It is up to the gym to lay out their guidelines for the intern to follow. A clear understanding of conduct, punctuality, and standards should be followed.

 

Where and how do you look for interns; what makes them stand out?


TG- Recommendations help. If another colleague of ours reached out to us and said “so and so is an amazing human being and would make an awesome intern” and then personally vouched for him or her, that would almost be a guarantee we’d take them on as an intern.

Outside of that, at CSP, 95% of the interns were/are taken on via the internship application process.

First and foremost, the first “layer” or “test” is whether or not people can FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

– Do they send in all the requested material by the end date?

– Do they send in all the requested material period?

– Can they write well? When you have dozens if not hundreds of applicants, first impressions matter. If you misspell someone’s name, write in the wrong facility on your application, can’t differentiate between you’re/your, and/or it’s readily apparent there was zero effort put into the cover letter, then it doesn’t matter if you graduated Magna Cum Laude, have every certification under the sun or read Supertraining to orphaned kittens on a weekly basis, you’re likely not going to be considered.

As far as what makes interns standout?

The ability to make connections with people. Knowing the x’s and o’s of program design and how to break down deadlift technique are splendid skills to have. However, the ability to connect to people, talk, and develop relationships is often what separates the masses.

 

MR- As far as finding them, the biggest thing is to find them through the internet. We have a fairly decent presence, but reaching out to local colleges; can you be on site. It comes back to meet the expectations. If they can’t they’ll probably stand out in a negative way.

 

CH– Interns apply through their universities most of the time. Resumes are great but I look for the in-person interview as the standard if someone will be joining us. They have to be personable without that you are not fit to coach at this facility.

 

What should interns do to get the most out of their internship?


TG – Show up, smile, ask questions, train with the staff, fail, fail again, be open.

 

MR- I would say to strive to constantly not only meet but exceed expectations. It’s not enough to just show up. Ask questions about things that aren’t clear to you. You need to constantly be a sponge; constantly taking notes after every session as to what you saw that day, which drives the next round of questions. Constantly evaluating yourself as a coach, as a practitioner to see what’s working. The failures are what drives us. Going through those with either your mentor or on your own is what makes us better as coaches.

 

CH- Ask Questions

 

How did you develop the process at your facility and has it changed?


TG- Well, in terms of CSP all I can speak to are to the years I was there (2007-2015). We kinda winged it to be honest. Our first intern was Brian St. Pierre (of Precision Nutrition fame), who just kinda showed up one day to say hi and it turned into him interning for us.

He was then eventually hired.

As our notoriety grew, so did the interest in people wanting to intern with us and learn.

When I left we had more or less three intern classes per year (four months) that entailed a pretty detailed onboarding process (rules, expectations, etc), weekly staff meeting, and consistent one-on-one “check-ins” with staff to discuss strengths/weaknesses/favorite He-Man characters.

I believe now there’s an even more extensive curriculum – exercise library required reading the material, in addition to weekly in-services, interpretive dance-offs, etc.

I think the establishments that do internships well are constantly evolving the process…tweaking this, changing that, it’s never a set thing and there’s a consistent pattern of honing the systems involved. And while I was kidding, I think interpretive dance-offs should become a staple…;o)

 

MR- When it started, it was just Bill and I. You used to just come in and chat with us. Now, we’re not the only people here so we have a way for you to come and speak to our interns and bring up topics for you to talk about and then teach us those topics you bring up. The changes are constant. We have a document of things you need to go through which spans across 16 pages now that came out of necessity. For instance, we had a kid who swore he didn’t smell after he worked out and didn’t shower. We said ‘no, you need to go home and shower before you get back on the floor.’  

We had another kid that would show up at start time and would proceed to go into the bathroom and comb his hair for 30 minutes. So all these things are now expectations that we weren’t clear enough on. We have documented these expectations so that way we have a clear understanding and therefore making our business consistent and smooth, and I feel like that is what has helped us evolve over the years.

 

CH- It is in the process of changing. We need a comprehensive online “packet” to feed to the interns that cover all expectations, standards and coaching ed. This is a current project.  


What’s great about interviewing these pros I have a profound respect for, is seeing the similarities in their answers. Here are the key takeaways from the write up:

  • Be a professional- this is about showing up on time [read: early], dressing appropriately and not coming to work smelling like a wet dog.
  • Be coachable- are you the type of person that can follow directions well? Great gyms have their brand and own way of doing things. You as an intern are going to be an extension of their gym. Learning how they do things and following their direction is a really great way to solidify your spot on their roster.
  • Always ask questions- gym owners love an inquisitive mind. If you can show that you care about what’s going on around you by asking questions and taking notes, you’ll stand out amongst the group of others trying to get a job.
  • Immerse yourself in the process of learning- learning is indeed a process: Learn under a mentor. Go home and read. Come back with what you learned. Discuss. Repeat

 

If you’re new to the game, go straight to the top and learn from the best. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. The more you know, the better you become to help serve your clients and give them the results they need and deserve. Best of luck. Go get em, rookie.

USPA Raw Drug Tested National Championships 2018 Review

Here’s my first USPA National Championships performance from June 23, 2018. I wanted to give you all a more in-depth experience to my meet for those of you who watched it live. I did my best to keep it relatively short.

This is also probably the longest video I’ve ever done at around 12 minutes.

Key Take-aways:

1.) Get a handler- someone to look/listen out for your name/heat you’re lifting in. It’s not worth the headache and stress. There was another kid name Donovan there competing and I freaked out thinking I wasn’t going until later. So I ended up warming up too early and therefore got even more tired…yeah. Wouldn’t recommend going at these meets alone.

2.) Weigh-in a full day in advance. You’ll have all day to eat, re hydrate and rest. It’s worth the extra night in the hotel.

You can check out my entire meet prep on YouTube here.

Hope you enjoy it!

My First Magazine Published Article!!!

Yes. It’s finally happened. I’m a published writer! I started this website so I can get used to writing more. My one of my mentors,  Tony Gentilcore, has been saying for years “in order to get better at writing, you have to…write. A lot.” Over the years I’ve used my social media to get used to writing content every week for the last 10 years.

You might ask how I did I get this gig? You might not like the answer. Long story short, I emailed and called the owner. We had a chat at the gym. And I asked her to be in her magazine and she agreed. I swear that was it.

I sent her the piece I had pre-written. Kept it clean and simple to keep the barrier of entry low so most reading would get it. Sure enough it made the cut (with no edits by the way which was low-key amazing). Anyways, here’s the article below with the link embedded at the bottom. Enjoy!

What is the Best Program You Should Follow? Written by Donovan Muldrow, ACE-CPT

“The best program is the one you’re not on.”

Most definitely a quote to live by and probably one of the least sexiest answers to a very common question. That means whatever you’re currently doing will eventually stagnate, and you’ll need to move on to the next best thing. Often times, thanks to the over-saturation of programs and plans out there, it’s real easy to get impatient when results don’t come around “fast enough” and jump to into a class that one of your girlfriends joined recently and can’t stop talking about it. Of course, if things are heading in the wrong direction completely (injuries, loss of energy, increase in body fat, etc.), we need to scrap that plan and find one that works. More often than not, you have to wait until that plan has ended in completion. It’s the only way to know if the plan worked or not. So, how do we know the plan isn’t working? Well there are some dead giveaways:

 

If the program doesn’t peak your interest: It doesn’t make sense to be on a plan you don’t want to be on. This is life. You should go about it in a way that you can enjoy which keeps you coming back for more. It promotes consistency, and consistency is the X-factor to get you results.

 

If you feel more tired than energized from the program: You should feel better not worse after your workout. Going hard for 45 minutes plus is not effective. There are other implications to consider, like lack of nutrition or sleep. Outside of that, if you’re too whipped from the body bar class you just took to do other things that need to get done, that’ll become a problem. You don’t have to go hardcore to get a good training effect in. You should leave the session energized and ready to do anything and everything you need to continue your day.

 

So, make sure to be honest with yourself or your coach/instructor. If nothing is going right — strength, weight management, body composition — there needs to be an exploration on both sides about what to do moving forward. Make a change. Implement that change. Trust the process. Focus on the positives, and navigate through the challenges. Move forward. Always.

http://www.pastellemagazine.com/13-health/1347-what-is-the-best-program-you-should-follow