In Part 1 of 2, we sit down with personal trainers Maurice Buchanan and Daleco James of WURK Gym in Minnetonka, MN, to discuss what it means to be a "professional chameleon" and what to watch out for when working with a personal trainer.
Like what you heard from Maurice and Daleco? Visit their web site at WURK GYM.
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Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis...
Maurice: So, for us, workouts here are my own workout. Personally, I've stuck with I know what works, that has stood the test of time. I'm saying, hey, we'll continue to work. There's no reason to change it up — change it up as far as maybe the order, maybe the rep count, things like that. Because my addiction to this, as far as the human body, which I'm obsessed with, is the result.
I don't care about the task to get it done. I don't care what the tool you use. If you're telling me, "This one barbell can shape my entire body," I'm good with that. I don't care if that gets 10 likes instead of getting 50,000. We're not going to lie to people. There's a lot of lying and misinformation and pulling the wool over people's eyes. People are draining a lot of their money because of the image of what people think works because of the number at the top of people's profiles.
Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches, as we share our life experiences — both the good and the bad — in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host Billy. And as always, I'm joined by my good friend, Brian on the Bass. Brian, how are you doing over there, man?
Brian: I'm effervescent today.
Billy: I love it. I have a T-shirt idea. Here's our T-shirt idea.
Brian: Lay it on me.
Billy: So, I think we should get a T-shirt where it says, "How are you doing today, Brian?" Then it's a picture of you giving the Buddy Christ pose from Dogma.
Brian: I like it, so far.
Billy: Then on the back, it has all of your responses.
Brian: Are we going to date them, like on which day I said it?
Billy: Oh, that could take it to another level right there. I like it. Because then people will be like, "What's the shirt all about?" It’s about the Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Brian: I assume it's supposed to be like a tour shirt. You know what I mean?
Billy: Yeah, that's an awesome idea.
Brian: Thank you.
Billy: Once again, you just take it to another level.
Brian: That's my job, man. You build the level, and I just take it to another one.
Billy: Speaking of taking it to another level, this week, you guys have the distinct honor of getting an opportunity to listen to the interview that we had with Daleco James and Maurice Buchanan from WURK Gym in Minnetonka, Minnesota. We got to interview them inside their boxing ring that they have in their gym. How awesome was that?
Brian: Two incredible people. I just got to say, all it did is make me super excited for more guests. Because I'm like, there are millions of fascinating people out there.
Billy: They're fantastic. Talking to these two guys is like driving a Ferrari on the Autobahn. You just put the pedal down, and let them do their thing because these guys are just high-performance machines. The two of them shared their wealth of knowledge on health, fitness, business, and community.
We had so much fun talking to them, that we actually ended up interviewing them for over two hours. It was all gold. It was so good. Everything they had to say was fantastic. So, we don't want to sell you, the listeners, short from anything that they had to say. So, what we're going to do is we're going to break up that interview into two parts.
So, we'll release part one on Wednesday — like we always do — just to get you through the midweek hump. Then we'll release part two on Saturday to get you pumped up for the weekend. So, with that, here is our interview with Maurice Buchanan and Daleco James from WURK Gym. Enjoy the show!
Billy: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Coming to you live from the boxing ring at WURK Gym in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where the bone-chilling negative six-degree weather outside is no match for the amount of hard work and sweat that has been poured out in this space by today's guests.
Behind the red mic, standing six feet, four inches tall, weighing in at approximately 208 pounds, originally from Louisville, Kentucky. This proud graduate of Hopkins High School has his Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota. With 13 years of experience as a personal fitness trainer and entrepreneur, this former Minnesota Golden Gopher football player has worked to bring fitness and support to people of all abilities and skill levels. He has also worked with professional athletes as an operations intern with the Minnesota Vikings, collegiate athletes, cancer survivors, expecting mothers, children and adults with physical disabilities. Ladies and gentlemen, Maurice Buchanan.
And behind the green mic, standing not quite six feet, four inches tall but with lightning-fast hands that will rearrange your face for you, a passionate boxer since the age of 12, who holds a master's in kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and has 15 years of experience as a fitness trainer, boxing coach, and striking coach for both boxers and MMA fighters. He brings a breadth and depth of knowledge, of strength, conditioning and weight loss to his clients. Outside of the ring, he has been an elite gymnastics coach and stuntman with Team Open Air. He not only focuses on overall physical fitness, but he also has a vast experience in rehabilitation, as well as experience working with clients of varying physical capabilities and persons with developmental disabilities. Ladies and gentlemen, Chicago's own, Daleco James.
I am your host, Billy. And as always, I'm joined by my good friend Brian on the Bass. Brian, let's get ready to podcast. There you go. How about that for an intro?
Brian: That was good.
Billy: Alright. Brian, how are you doing today, man?
Brian: I am remarkable.
Billy: Yes, I'm so excited. We are in the middle of a boxing ring at WURK Gym in Minnetonka, Minnesota, coming to you live. You're probably going to hear people working out behind us. It's pretty sweet. Two big time guests today — Maurice Buchanan, Daleco James. Thank you, guys, for being with us today.
Maurice: Thank you for having us.
Daleco: Thank you for having me.
Brian: It couldn't be bigger. This is our first location shoot. Thank you for having us, guys. We really do appreciate it. This is pretty exciting for us.
Billy: One thing that we like to do on the podcast, in order for our guests introduce themselves, is just to talk about what roles they play in their lives. If you guys want to introduce yourselves a little bit by just telling us what are some roles that you guys play in your own lives?
Maurice: Me and Daleco discussed together, and we came up with a combination of things. Some of those roles I'll mention now. It will be something that'll apply to him, some that'll apply to me. But overall, collectively, all together. The 10 we came up with was: father, son, brother, entrepreneur, business owner idea, professional chameleon, partner, lane changer, and coaches. Those are our 10.
Billy: Fantastic. Then what are three roles that the two of you are looking most forward to in the second half of your life?
Maurice: For me, definitely father. Not a father now. Daleco is a father with two kids. Hopefully, in that second half, that'll be I will take on. The other ones are definitely lane changer, and then the other one would be more of the professional chameleon. I have my definition of what that is.
Brian: Yeah, can you explain a little bit what professional chameleon means?
Maurice: Well, we've been doing this job for about — I've been in this career for about 15 years. When you're involved with anatomy and the human body and things of that nature, it almost felt like if you want to be professional in this industry, you had to be in a shirt and tie, button-up, and dress shoes. You got to be a certain way. That didn't really appeal to me. That was the dress code for this field. When I was at the University of Minnesota and we were getting our degrees, it was all physical therapy. It was all doctors. It was all rehab assistance, things like that. Then when you look at that idea, everyone was always in dressers and tie. It was always like business-related. I'm like, there's got to be a different way that you can do this.
When I say professional chameleon, I'm saying professional but with just a different color. So, we feel like that we are just as professional as a person in a shirt and tie in a rehab facility. We're here, and we listen to hip hop music. We wear Jordan’s. We're going to blacked out boxing gym. We have just as much knowledge and experience as someone as a doctor or like a rehab assistant or a physical therapist in their office building. We also want to make sure that you can have those different levels of being professional, even though they all look different.
One of my favorite chiropractors is tattooed from the neck down, from the neck all the way to the wrist. If anybody wants to talk to her or anything like that, she's just as good as anybody else who might be a little bit more buttoned up, a little bit more casual. But it's just that, you're still justice as professional even though you might not look like the traditional part of what they call professional.
Billy: I love that. When we met with Sarah Rudell Beach, we appreciated her authenticity. Again, it sounds like you guys, this is your thing. You want to be authentic, and this is who you are. If you were to be dressed in suits and ties and that sort of thing, you wouldn't feel as comfortable on that as you are here in this gym. When you take a look at your credentials, you've got your Bachelor's in Kinesiology, and you've got your master's in kinesiology. You guys probably know what you're talking about when you're working with your clients. So, that's amazing. Then you also said — did you say you're a game changer or a lane changer?
Maurice: Lane changer
Billy: Yeah, can you talk a little bit more about that?
Maurice: I thought about that one, just because when you think about gym, especially a gym like that, the idea is that you have to stay in one lane. You can only do one thing. All you can do is lift, and all you can do is just do workouts. As we're moving forward, as being entrepreneurs, we're looking at other different things, other venues to where it's not just being in the gym and just working out, not just putting a gym that looks like this in just one space.
When me and Daleco first got this place, we were like, "We have a building now, so we can do anything we want in here." If we want to have a concert, we can do that. If we want the kids to come in and show off their art design, we can do that here. It doesn't have to just be, "Hey, you're at the gym. You guys do fitness. You can only stay in this lane." We're like, "We can actually bounce around to whatever lane we want to now." Because, one, we have the expertise. We have the experience. We have the knowledge. We've also had the connections to do and branch this gym out to whatever it is and not just fitness.
As we go forward into the second half of this, looking at different lanes to jump into it and maybe traditionally gyms weren't allowed to jump into or not as often you see. I was like, "We can definitely do that."
Brian: That's amazing. What you're talking about is business diversification. You can't do one thing. Because if the market happens to fall out in that particular area, you don't have anything else to fall back on. But if your business is diversified, you've got several streams of income. It's brilliant. Yeah, absolutely.
Billy: I'm just thinking. We're recording this, like we said, in the middle of the boxing ring here. I don't know if there's another gym in the Twin Cities — maybe there are, but we're not there. We don't want to be there. We want to be here. I don't know a lot of gyms that have a boxing ring. When we were talking about before, Daleco was working with one of his clients, preparing them for a fight — or they just had a fight here, you said, not too long ago.
Daleco: Yeah, we had a fight. We just showed off some skills, always trying to get better. So, work is never done. We always try to, again, add some more skills.
Billy: When we walked in, we were talking to Maurice. We were talking about some of the equipment that you have here. You have a jammer, and you have — what's that squat machine that is attached to the jammer?
Maurice: It's the belt squat. It's with the 50Cal trolley, the two handles that swing out on the back end of it.
Billy: I asked you what's the advantage to having this as opposed to a squat machine. You gave a remarkable answer. Can you explain why you have that belt squat machine?
Maurice: Yeah, traditionally, when you get athletes, you get athletes who get into the mindset. They are trying to be weightlifters, what they're trying to explain to me. You're not a weightlifter, so I don't really care about you trying to squat 400, 500 pounds. That's not relative to your sport.
In the teachings of trying to teach someone how to do a squat, it's like, "Well, can we spend less time trying to teach this very specific skill set of learning how to squat, and just get a belt squat where we can still train your legs. There's not too much form and technique. It's pretty quick and focused more on your actual sports. Because we just need to strengthen your legs. I don't need you to be the best squatter in the world. You're not trying to compete in the Olympics, in Olympic squatting."
So, we have that because it takes the pressure off some of the athletes here, especially boxers, in protecting their shoulders and arms. When I played football at the University of Minnesota, a lot of times, halfway through the season, guys' shoulders were banged up. So, we're trying to do a barbell squat, trying to reach behind your back. Week six, and your shoulders are all mangled just from playing on Saturday and just getting banged up. Then the guys were having a tough time trying to train their legs just because we were traditionally like just Olympic lifting type of gym. We had leg press here and there. But when guys couldn't reach behind them, it made it a little bit more difficult to train their legs. Because that was one of the only modalities, we have for training legs.
When we did this, Daleco has a large experience dealing with rehab people and working in rehab facilities more than I have. So, when we were getting equipment, we were like, "Well, how do we train injured athletes or injured people?" On top of that, that one serves that benefit. It also serves the benefit for like we can train your legs. We don't have to teach you this very, very specific. Because most people can't squat. Most people shouldn't squat. It's not good for their backs, shoulders, whatever you want to say for it. So, that's a safer way to do it. You can load it up without worrying about injury. Because that's really the main point. It's making sure with strength training, is that there's injury prevention in it.
Too many athletes are doing things in the gym where they're getting hurt in their training, because they're lifting too heavy, or they try to do something that has nothing to do with their skill set. So, we want to take that component out, make things safer and focus more in the actual sport they're doing.
Daleco: Yeah, I don't let any of the fighters do back squats, whatsoever. I guess, people get this misconception that we got to build power from this. It's not how you build power. Just working on your skill can develop that power. Plus, that's not training at the speed of your sport. So, you always have to train at the speed of your sport.
You always want to be on your toes. If I'm going to a back squat, the better option will probably be half, like five-pound weights behind your heels and squatting like that. That's a better option. I wouldn't do that, but that's a better option. Doing the zercher squat, having the weight in front of you as opposed to having it on your back. I wouldn't have. None of the athletes do back squats. That wasn't my thing. A goblet squat is a better option. But other than that — plus the pause, too. You do back squat. Boom, you pause.
Billy: In boxing, there's not a lot of pause.
Daleco: No, not a lot of pause. You're always down low anyway. Because you're bobbing and weaving, and you have to use your legs. So, I wouldn't do any back squats on that. Plus, you're pushing it from the heels, but you all got to be on your toes. That's actually, again, you train it slower than the speed of the sport.
Billy: Counterintuitive to how you want to be in your sport. Excellent. So, we heard from Maurice about the three that he's looking forward to in the second half of his life. How about for you, Daleco? What are you looking forward to in the second half of your life?
Daleco: Continue learning my craft, being a good dad, being a good person, being a good businessman, basically.
Billy: How many kids you have?
Billy: Two kids. How old are they?
Daleco: 14, high school freshmen, and a five-year-old.
Billy: And a five-year-old. Got you.
Daleco: A girl and a boy.
Billy: Okay. Brian has three boys in his house.
Daleco: Oh, there you go.
Brian: 11, 9, and 4. It’s crazy, man. It’s crazy. A tornado goes through my house every single evening. Everything is just trashed. We clean it up. You spend an hour and a half cleaning things up after they go to bed. I'm sure even with one, you know what it's like.
Daleco: Yeah, a five-year-old. Yeah, she goes there. Yeah, she has some energy.
Brian: The energy, that's the best way to describe it.
Maurice: She's fine though.
Billy: Are you sure you want to go down that road?
Maurice: I think so. It sounds good. I watched him. It looks like a lot of work, but it looks enjoyable.
Daleco: It's fun. You know what I mean? But sometimes you get those days with the noise.
Billy: Do you like to bring him into the ring?
Daleco: I have, yeah. But they are getting me. So, that's all good.
Billy: Alright, so here's what we're going to do. We're going to take a break. Then when we come back, we will talk a little bit more with Daleco James and Maurice Buchanan. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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Billy: Can you guys talk a little bit more about your fitness expertise. You've talked about it a little bit. But can you talk about the path that you started on maybe 15 years ago, or however long ago it was when you're like, "Hey, I think this is what I want to do for the rest of my life"?
Daleco: For me, it made sense, especially, being a stunt man and learning how the body works in school.
Brian: I got to hear about this.
Billy: How did that start?
Daleco: I used to be a gymnast back in the day, and a martial artist. At the same time, doing boxing. I was trying to do these tournaments, trying to win prize money. I joined a team. I met some guys on the tournament. We joined a team. We formed it. Then we just did a few jobs here and there doing stunts and practicing. It just fell into my lap.
Brian: For those of us who don't know how this work, is that usually what you do when you're a stunt man? You just put together some people and approach movie studios?
Daleco: Yeah, we would do all these little fight scenes. Then our head guy, he would send them out. "Hey, we can do this, we can do that." We actually did a local movie called Opposite Blood. You can look it up if you want to.
Billy: Well, I'm going to.
Brian: Seriously? I'm going to, so get it out there.
Billy: When should we look for you?
Daleco: I'm there the whole movie. In some scenes, you will see me twice. You'd be like, "Okay. He's a bad guy. Oh, he's not bad." It was a fun experience. Then I did another movie called Final Weapon. That was a big deal. I was in and out of that same thing. So, we did the fight scene with the stunt team for that movie, with their performances for bodybuilding show. It was back in the day. It was fun. We did some commercial stuff. Fun.
Billy: Then somewhere along the line, you earned your masters in kinesiology?
Daleco: Yeah, that was 2010, 2011.
Billy: So, you're doing this stunt work. Then you decide, "I'm going to go back to school." How does that—
Daleco: I just always want to keep learning. Like now, I still want to learn.
Billy: Did you think to yourself, okay, when I'm done with here, did I want to work at a gym? So, it sounds like you did some work at a rehab.
Daleco: I worked down town Minneapolis. I did some rehab work there. I was on the rehab team when I was in St. Joseph. I did some rehab things at some gyms and small gyms that calls down. It was internship at the edge back in the day.
Billy: Got you. You're talking physical rehab?
Daleco: Yeah, I was in a rehab team. It'd be like a physical therapist and then some strength guys. I was part of the strength team as well. I'm working with the physical therapist and everything like that.
Billy: Got you. Thank you. Mo, what was your path to where we are?
Maurice: Well, I went into UOM on a football scholarship. I played there. My original major was going to be computer graphic design. I was into drawing and art and stuff like that. Then in my freshman year, I ended up hurting my back. What happens is, if you're a redshirt freshman and you're going into a bowl game, then you're not going to play. They'll take the younger players in trauma at different positions and see how they work out.
I went into college as a defensive end. Then during ball practice, I think that you'll be played Arkansas. I became a defensive attacker. So, I was in space, but that wasn't that big. I was only probably like 240 or so. But they try you out. They liked how I had with speed. I ended up in one. A private has got hit in the back. When I got hit in the back, my whole right side shut down. My right leg, I couldn't get anything. I thought I was almost like I was like dragging dead weight. But I stayed quiet about it and just the mentality like are you hurt, injured, I can play through it, even though I knew something was wrong. It was probably like my first major injury as a football player.
Then when the season got over, I went back home during the break and try to do a barbell back squat. I'm just warming up with just the bar, and I couldn't do it. I tried to squat, and I could not get my right leg. I could not get my butt. I couldn't get anything to fire. There was so much pain. Something was wrong. Then I ended up, I went back when school started back up, I went to the training facility doing a lot of rehab, a lot a physical therapy. Nothing was working. It came down to the point that they want to give me a shot in my spine. I'm only 18 or 19 years old. That wasn't something I wanted to deal with.
Then, just running out of ideas, this gentleman came in. They brought him off the street. I don't know who he was, but he looked disheveled. He did not look like he was a person that was a doctor. But he was really good at looking at people's bodies and understanding what was going on. He took one look at me. Because we were focusing everything on my lower right side where the pain was coming from. He did a couple exercises. He looked at me. He goes, "Your problem is up top." He's like, "Where did you get hit?" I was like, "I got hit up here at the top."
He said something's going on up there. We did a few exercises. Then like that, everything starts to cut back on. I'm like, I just thought that was so fascinating. We had seen all these people. I have seen doctors. I have seen physical therapists. We went over to a physician where they deal with like car accident patient. No one could figure this thing out. Then there's this gentleman that came in who looked like he was homeless. That's just how he dressed. It also came back to this, "He's a professional. He's not buttoned up." That was that spark. I switched majors that year to kinesiology, because that was just so fascinating. For someone to look at the body, there was this puzzle. All these people looked at — he knew exactly what was wrong when he saw it. He did something. That's where I wanted to start it from.
Once I graduated, I did my internship with the Wagners. That was more operations intern, but it still was around the strength conditioning part. I saw professional athletes training, the performance thing like that. I just got involved with it, and then just have been doing it since — I graduated in 2006 I believe. I've been doing training ever since. I've been everywhere — from private, non-private gyms, big corporate gyms. I've worked in the physical therapy place for about a year. I've dealt with people who have been in car accidents and just exploring space. I'd like to explore this so much. Because just that moment where someone just looked at something, so many people could not figure that out, that was so fascinating to me to look at. I want to know how this thing that we all walk around works. That's how everything started off for me. I've been doing it ever since.
Brian: I had the same experience with a kinesthesiologist. I had a knot in my back because I dislocated my shoulder. This side was nodding up trying to compensate for it. I walked in the guy's office and he goes, "Okay. Stand there." He looks at me. He goes, "Now stand on one foot." He does all these balance tests. Then he goes, "Okay. I got it. Lay down." Five minutes later, I'm walking away. Can you explain to me, Daleco, what the difference is, or Maurice, between a kinesthesiologist and more chiropractic? Where's the line between those two?
Daleco: Chiropractors, they focus on the spine, I guess.
Brian: Just solely on the spine?
Daleco: I mean, that's what I get from it. My knowledge about chiropractors is pretty low. Kinesiology is the study of movement. We got to learn how the muscles work, learn how they connect.
Brian: In my experience, that's a lot more effective than traditional chiropractic because they take a more holistic approach towards the body. You look at the whole thing and how it relates to the other pieces. That seems, to me, to be a more effective strategy in making your body well.
Billy: When you guys have clients first come to the gym, what are their habits? Is there a standard of a first-timer that comes to your gym or that sort of thing? I'm just curious why do people come here? What is it about this gym that stands out as opposed to, say, one of the mega gyms, that kind of thing? Why would they come here? Why would they work with you guys?
Maurice: I would say it's a lot more personable. We've both worked in those settings before. I know Daleco, as I have, that was the big piece when we were getting involved with it. Especially, my first idea was I want to be an entrepreneur. I got to at least learn the industry. I got to learn what's going on. Because my first setting was I was in a very small, private-owned gym where it was just like one on one. It was a very specific training modality, which was the old-school, like overload principle, high-intensity training where it was like one set to failure. Arthur Jones, novelist, that whole concept. I did that for six years. Then I ended up leaving there.
When I said, "Hey, I want to do this, but I had been in a setting we'd had one frame of mind of how to train, I was like, there's got to be other ways to do this. But there's also got to be different. How does this all work? Not even just from the physical side, but the business side.
Then you find out when you go to some of these clubs, what they do is, some of it is extremely sad how they treat people. Usually, again, some of the bigger gyms, you have a sales team, and you have a personal training team. Those two teams do not talk. What happens is, you have a sales team. They sell the training to the client, and then they'll sell it to a trainer. The trainer is like, now this is your client. Now the client has a trainer. They're working, but the longevity of jobs in the training world is not very long. There were times when I would get a person, and they were like, "You're my sixth trainer." I'm your sixth trainer? What happened? What happens is, the sales team has already made their commission. So, you don't get your money back. That's done. They already paid the sales team, so you have these people who are like they're locked in for a year-long contract. They can't get out of it unless they pay either half or a little bit more of what's left. They keep going with six different trainers, who all have different mindsets, different educations.
Also, on top of that, what me and Daleco pride ourself is our education. We both have degrees in this. This industry is screwing itself badly, especially people. Because anybody that looks good, naked, or with no shirt on, all of a sudden now is a trainer. That's a problem. So, that's one of the big thing that stands out here, that stands out from a lot of other gyms — our education.
Also, a lot of these trainers that hold certifications, you have these people take 48-hour certifications, and then do Saturday and Sunday, or Monday or now can somehow work what they learned yesterday on a clientele full-blown and charge a full price. I know me and Daleco have talked before. We went through probably three or four years of our degree before we even came in close to contact. Because we always had someone looking over us. There was someone who knew more than we did, who mentored us like, "Hey, don't do it like this. Do it like that." Because it's not just learning the anatomy. It's also, how do you talk to people? What's your conversation? What are your coaching point? Do it like this. Do it like that. What if someone's having a bad day, and they're just not paying attention? You only get that by experience. By doing that, us being like, "We're dinosaurs in this. 15 plus years."
But you have a lot of other gyms where they throw trainers in there, and they just showed up. They have no credentials. They have no education. They have no experience. At the top of the list, that's the big thing that makes us stand out. Just our expertise in this, our experience in it, and our craft as far as taking this job seriously, and not being like, "Hey, we look good when we don't have our shirts. Now I know more than you, which is not true. Usually, you get that attitude from someone who's like, "You're 22. Your genetics are phenomenal." Of course, you look great. It doesn't mean you know anything at all. So, you have that piece.
On top of that, I was talking about the sales team part. We're more personable. I know everybody that comes in here. We know what everyone's doing. We know what they're working on. They talked to us. We've sat down and had just that personal experience. It's weird. It's called personal training, and you go into the bigger settings and that piece is completely taken out at its turn. You find that it's all about sales and money. You're person 1-A or B. No one knows who you are. You're seeing your sixth trainer over the last six months. Your goals now keep switching back and forth. You were learning a technique. Now you got to learn a different technique. You have that getting up. That's what's happening.
When we meet people who come from a place of like, at least you know my name. Every time you come in, it's just something like it. You know my name. Even Daleco's clients, I know what they're working on. He knows my people, too. We all know each other. Because sometimes Daleco signs up somebody for membership. I sign up somebody for membership. Me and him communicate with each other. Because it's just us two workers. There's no front desk. But we were you check it, it's just us to the worker, there's no front effort, we run the whole show us two together. Just by having that personableness here with people, when people come into this gym, if everyone needs any assistance, I know what his person is working on. I know what my person's working on. We don't step on each other's toes. Well, Daleco is teaching this. Then I'm going to keep going with that training because he's already made the connection with it. I'm not about like, no, no, no, don't do it this way. It's like, Daleco has been doing this way. It's like that. But just being able to have that connection with people and work with people on a personal level. That's the biggest standout for us to have it. It's a really big thing to have in this industry when everything else is becoming less personal as this industry keeps growing.
Billy: We're going to talk about the role that social media is playing in fitness a little bit later. I just wanted to say that, as someone who is now a NASM certified personal trainer, with very little experience, thank you for making me feel inadequate.
Brian: So, I came up with the gym slogan. WURK “Making personal training personally."
Billy: I like it.
Brian: That's a brilliant answer. It is.
Maurice: It's one of those things where it's like safety is first. When you're experienced, you're working with people, you're not looking at a robot, you're not looking at a model. People have personal things going on. They have emotional things going on. When you're trying to coach things, some people respond to aggression. Some people respond to you being a little tougher. Some people respond to just you pulling back so they can hear you. You only get that with experience. You can only learn that.
I think so many people just go from textbook, and then think they can jump right into training people. It just doesn't work that way. Because that's not how people respond to things. It'd be costly, because now you become liable. The amount of people because when I first started, CrossFit wasn't even heard of. Then it slowly start to make its way up and to start to become a lot more popular.
Daleco: It was known as caveman training back in the day. I remember that.
Maurice: Right. Then all of a sudden, you have all these trainers trying to teach CrossFit to Steve from a county who's never moved his body before. Now Steve on his first day is trying to snatch it. Steve is like, "What the fuck is going on? Is that what am I supposed to do?"
The trainer's like, "Well, this is my certification. This is what I paid for. I'm not going to teach you anything else. I spent a lot of money on it. The gym hires you because now CrossFit is popular. Now it's a brand-new name. It's like CrossFit's in, let's bring in CrossFit trainers. You find out, in the very beginning, a lot of these CrossFit trainers have had no experience training people. They went through the class. They trained other CrossFit enthusiast, and then they put them in a non-CrossFit gym, trying to train non-CrossFit or CrossFit. You watch the injuries start to pile up just from how they coached it. This is not picking on CrossFit. This is just everything. Just the level of experience, in knowing how to talk to people is so important in this industry. It just flies by the wayside. They will probably talk about it later. Just the social media thing and how entertaining this is.
When I see things, I guarantee you, this person could not coach this to somebody. You're jumping off the couch. You're spinning in the air. You're doing handstands. You'd like try my $99 workouts? What? Who in the world is going to do this? How in the world are you going to coach someone how to do these things?
What if their shoulders don't work? What if their knees don't work? You don't get those components until you actually sit down with people. Hey, let me see how things are working. It's just communication. That communication piece is so huge in personal training. A lot of trainers who are first starting out are better communicator. You should be. You haven't done it. You don't know how to talk to people. Because you'd be surprised when you show up the first day. Like, oh, I read this in a textbook. Okay. What we're going to do is we're going to start like this. They take their first step and everything falls apart. You're like, "Okay. How do I tell them what they did without insulting them, without making them feel bad?" How do I make them say, oh, I thought you could at least do this? Now you can't. My textbook said this is step one. You realize step one is actually step 10. But you don't get that until you get experience and understand. Okay. Now how do I teach this from back this up? What do I start? In my text, this is step one. Where do I go? Where do I go from a practice standpoint and application standpoint? But where do I go from a communication standpoint? How do I talk this person into not quitting? Because my expectation, was at least, I thought you could take it. At least, I thought you could do a lunge. That’s not fair.
So, they're looking at you like you're the professional. "Tell me what I'm supposed to do." You're like, "I thought that was the first step." You're like okay. You watch trainers like a deer in the headlight. Now what? You don't get that. But me and Daleco spent years with somebody else with a higher expertise, watching us for years when we did something, when we quote something. No, don't do it like that. Say this, instead of that. Just little tweaks like that gets this people hear it differently. Then when you say something different.
What I say is, if someone comes in here and they need to lose weight, me calling them a fat ass is not going to work out. If I want you to get on the bike, I want you to go workout, me saying "Hey, you're fat." You might be fat not from the inside because you're carrying more excess body weight on your body. But I can say something different to and still get the same goal done. But saying it differently without making you feel bad about yourself. Again, you don't get that until you get experience. You have to get experience in this industry. That, for some reason, has been thrown out the window.
Daleco: They think it's all about killing somebody, to. Oh man, there's a new person. I'm going to kill. I'm going to run to the ground. This is what I'm going to do as a beginner. So, they destroyed this person, discouraged them. They're not going to come back. Because they sore and even throwing up like crazy. It's something you don't want to do.
Maurice: That used to be like, oh, I met this person super sore.
Daleco: I've seen before.
Maurice: It's like you might have fucked them up real bad, not in a good way. That used to be a badge of honor for young people. You see it all the time on social media like, "Oh, I crawled out of the gym," or, "I threw up free time," just like. That sounds horrible. That sounds like a bad idea. Why would you do that? Some people found that appealing, but most people who need this more than anybody, that's not a thing you want to — even with the fighters who are tough, our goal is not to get you to throw up. Our goal is not to have you be sore or hurt to where you can't do your actual sport. If I leave you so sore that you can't do sparring the next day, or you can't do grappling the next day, I fucked up. I'm over here cheering like, Look how sore he is." The young trainers with no experience don't get that, don't take a tough guy. Because they're experienced and because they're capable of doing a lot more than the general population, they'll try to put them through the wringer to do all kinds of crazy, goofy shit. All of a sudden, they can't do their actual sports for the next three or four days. An experienced trainer knows like, "Hey, we're going to pull this back a little bit. We're going to get the same thing accomplished." But leave you enough that you can actually do what you're supposed to do, what you came in here for. This is supposed to be a supplement to your actual sport. It's not supposed to take over your sport. But you only get that by doing it over repetition, repetition, and learning that thing just through the ranks of just over the years and learning how to talk and apply these things to people.
Billy: It reminds me, I've been in education for over 20 years. When I was in college, I didn't go right into the classroom. I did my student teaching. Before I even student taught, I watched the teacher teach for a couple of weeks, and then I got up. The teacher was in the room for at least a couple of weeks and said, "Yeah, this looks good. This doesn't look so good." Then he would hand me the reins for six weeks. I'll tell you that even in my first year of teaching, I wasn't ready at all. So, that's with minds. We're talking about bodies. So, I relate to that in such a way where it's like —
For me, even though I'm a certified personal trainer, I would say that I'm a little nervous sometimes when I'm working with people, because I don't have that — when you were talking about the lunges, step one. If they can't do a lunge, where do we back up from there? Well, that's a great question. That's a great question, where I imagine someone who just has the certification wouldn't be able to answer that question. But someone like the two of you, who has education and 15 years, can answer that question and keep people moving in the right direction.
Brian: One thing that I didn't think about, which is amazing, is your almost part psychiatrist while you're doing the physical aspect of it, too.
Brian: You were saying what's going to motivate these people individually. You have to figure that out. That's pretty amazing.
Daleco: Plus, we're making them feel comfortable, too. That's another thing — making them feel comfortable. It would be cool. We'd joke around, but the work is always going to get done at the same time. You don't be one of the trends just trying to sell to them. I'm pretty laid back when I try to joke around with them a little bit. Other than that, we get to work.
Brian: It does seem like you guys have a genuine interest in your clients, which frankly in the big gyms is just not there.
Daleco: It's a team thing. Plus, I take no credit in their hard work. They're doing the work. I'm more of I guide them. Even like when I'm posting videos, I make sure I don't take the credit. They're doing the work. Some trainers, they may celebrate. "Look what I did for this client. I did this. They got this result because of me." I don't want to talk about it, too. Because I've noticed on your social media feeds that you celebrate your clients over yourselves.
Billy: So, how has your approach to being a personal trainer changed over the last 15 years? Then how has your approach towards your own physical fitness changed over that time? Because I don't know. Do you live the same way you did when you were in college as a football player?
Maurice: No, not at all. My back issue, I still have a little bit of that. I separated my shoulder as well. I also had some knee issues, too, when I played in college. There's been a lot of adjustment towards training and taken my ego out of it. It's still there a little bit. That keeps me going, where you train in a way where you're like I want to still press what I used to press a long time ago. But I'm 36 now, so training is a lot different. Especially now, we know with running a business and running a gym full-time, you can only fit in so much. What you find out for us is everyone keeps trying. Everyone keeps coming up with new ways to train, because now it's becoming more entertainment now. This new trainer can't say, "Hey, you can't have 15 trainers do push-ups." Because how do you sell that? If I say do push-ups, these guys say, I got to do a push up with a clap. I got to do a push up with a spin. I got to do a push up. So, you have these people who are now trying to break down it's very basic movement because now it's about money.
A general push up will workout just fine. Again, like what we talked about before, because you don't need any experience or education to get in this industry, you have thousands of people who join in this field now. Everyone's trying to make money off of this. Everyone is trying to make their program. What we've done is, we've stayed with the basics. We've seen the benefits. We don't feel that hype to now. Okay. Is this the new thing that's going on Let's do that. The big thing that happened is a beneficial exercise. But the hip thrusting exercise where you're on the bench, you got a barbell across your lap, and you're shooting your hips up, and you're squeezing your glute to the top. Beneficial exercise. But there's also other ways to do it.
But when we watch people online, you watch how they do it wrong. They have too much weight on it. Their hips don't go up. But because it's such a popular exercise — for whatever reason, busts are really popular.
Billy: You got something against butts?
Maurice: People act like butts just showed up 10 years ago. Butts have been around for a very long time. You can still train your butt the same way people did a long time ago. Those same exercises still work. But because this is a marketing thing and it's an industry of what's new, people will take things that have worked well in the past and throw it out, and say, "Well, we got to do all these new different things that you don't." We see all the young trainers try to come up with this list of nonsense, because I need to get more followers. I need to get more followers, so I can get a supplementation deal, so I can get sponsored.
You find out a lot of trainers are not really in it for the client. That's a catalyst to the next step of whatever you want to do — your YouTube channel, or your supplement thing, or whatever you want to do. People are using clients like guinea pigs to get to their next thing. Even though their programs are trash, but it's popular right now on social media. So, you have a lot of trainers who are doing that.
For us, we've never fallen into that hype. You're lunging here. You'll do push-ups. You'll do pull ups, because they still work. There's no reason for us to change that at all. If I can change it, as far as maybe the intensity of it, the repetition, the rest in between.
Because the body, when you start to learn, it'll adapt pretty quickly to things. One rep here, five more pounds, less rest time. Your body can switch gears and be like, okay, I now have to adapt to this. You don't have to reinvent the wheel over and over and over again. But people do it because you need to make money. It's a business. You can't have 10,000 people say do lunges. I mean, you can. The human body doesn't care whatever we're doing.
Society is like, old lunges don't work. Yes, they do. Yes, they do. I can guarantee you, you cannot lunge all the weight in the world. There's plenty of weights you can't lunge. Until you hit that point, it's still a beneficial exercise. But nobody wants to see 10,000 pages of people just doing lunges. You want to see butts, and you want to see butts at angles where people are doing exercises, where the butt looks nice on camera. But it's not a glute exercise. There are so many of those things where people are doing abducting motions for their gluteus medius and minimus. It's not for the maximus. But you face the camera the right way. The butt looks humongous. All of a sudden, I was like, "I'm going to do that exercise." Your butt is not going to look anything different. It just isn't. It's going to look exact. Because you're doing the wrong exercise, and you're doing the wrong workout. If the area you're trying to train is your gluteus maximus, you're not doing the exercise for that. Just because it looks great on camera, just from that angle, does not mean it's a glute exercise. But that is being pushed for it.
We've looked at so many different programs, and people will bring them in. This is all medius and minimus work. There's no gluteus maximus here whatsoever. But the Instagram person with 400,000 followers, I don't give a shit. Anatomy is anatomy. The function is function. Those don't work. I don't care what that looks like. That person's had that butt since the third grade. So, your butt is being flat for every year. Your mom's butt is flat. Your dad's butt is flat. Your grandma's butt is flat.
Daleco: It's genetics, man.
Maurice: Genetically, you got a flat butt family. There's nothing wrong here. I don't care what you do.
Daleco: You may get some type of benefit, a little bit. But people got to keep it real. I've seen people use a reverse hybrid machine wrong. They think that's a glute exercise. It's for your lower back I've seen people use bands with it.
Maurice: The right angle, boy.
Daleco: Yeah, the right angle.
Maurice: Oh man, look something special. You're like, "Oh, this is for the butt, right?" I guess bicep curls are for your butt. But you see people do bicep curls filling themselves from the back.
Daleco: From the back, doing bicep curls. Yes, I've seen it.
Maurice: Does that work? I'm like, hey, does this work your butt? They show me the video. It's someone doing bicep curls. You're like, "What's going on here?" With the angle, that's just the camera. It's got nothing to do with the actual movement. So, you hear this nonsense all the time. But it's happening so fast in such a quick speed. The algorithms they got going on, if you have a million followers, that just picks up speed. You realize people are just falling. They're looking at the number at the top and not looking at what's actually being performed and what's done.
So, for us, workouts here are my own workout. Personally, I've stuck with I know what works, that has stood the test of time. I'm saying, hey, we'll continue to work. There's no reason to change it up — change it up as far as maybe the order, maybe the rep count, things like that. Because my addiction to this, as far as the human body, which I'm obsessed with, is the result.
I don't care about the task to get it done. I don't care what the tool you use. If you're telling me, "This one barbell can shape my entire body," I'm good with that. I don't care if that gets 10 likes instead of getting 50,000. We're not going to lie to people. There's a lot of lying and misinformation and pulling the wool over people's eyes. People are draining a lot of their money because of the image of what people think works because of the number at the top of people's profiles.
Billy: Do you guys ever engage with people who would disagree with what you said?
Daleco: They try to.
Maurice: They try.
Daleco: Good luck. They try to say a few things here and there, but I think they stop. Because they know better. People will know better. When I shoot videos, my few people that I train, I've got a few DMs saying that they appreciate my videos for not sexualizing the video, from showing the glutes, from showing them from behind so much. I actually show a good workout. I got, again, a few DMs. I really appreciate your videos. It gets me motivated. Plus, I like the music. You're not really focusing on one part of the female body. You're actually showing them doing hard work. That's what it's about. That's what I like to show.
Billy: What has your workout been like this week? What did you do today, or what did you do yesterday? Just curious what your bare bones workout is. The one thing that I'm working with, I'm teaching the class down the road here, it's just a week. I call it strength foundations. We do a squat or a lunge exercise. We do a hip hinge exercise. We do a push. We do a pull. We do a rotation, and we do a carry. So, we just do six exercises. Just your standard, like we'll do a lunge. Then we'll do the hex bar deadlift. We do a chest press, or we do a shoulder press for a push, and then a row or a lat pulldown for a pole, that sort of thing, and then some twisting ab work for a rotation. Then grab some dumbbells. We're just going to walk around and carry those. I tried to simplify it. So, I'm curious, is that your approach for your own personal workouts? What do you guys do?
Daleco: In my personal work out, I just hold this for the time being. I mean, I have a little disk injury that I have to work on, that I am going to be working on. But I get more cardio doing that and getting beat up by the fighters. That's my cardio.
Billy: Got you. So, you're doing exercises that address that disc issue?
Daleco: Yeah, and that's something I have to do living on the reverse hyper. I'm doing a lot of ab work, strengthening my glute, things like that.
Brian: Is that something somebody could come to you guys for? Say, if a person has an injury that they need to work around, but they still want to train around that injury, is that something you guys specialize in?
Daleco: Yeah, that's what we can do. But I would like to communicate with their physical therapists as well. That's one thing. I don't want to communicate with a chiropractor. Know this, to the chiropractors out there, I'm just saying. I'd rather communicate with physical therapists who have the knowledge in those types of injuries.
Billy: What do you do for your workouts, Mo?
Maurice: Mine are simple. Like yesterday, I did bench press and push up as a superset, and then I did pull ups at the end. That was the whole thing. That was it. Then Sunday, I did lunges. Then I did like a gallop. Not a gallop but like a kettle bell squat where the bell is underneath me. So, we have farmer's carry handles. I just loaded that up as it was a kettle bell and I squatted with that. So, that was my whole workout. I usually show those on Instagram just to show people that if your goal is to being in shape — I've said this so many times. So many people keep getting caught. Are you trying to be famous on social media? Is that what you're trying to do? Are you trying to be strong? If you're trying to be strong, it's beyond simple. The work ethic that's involved and the consistency is the hard part. The actual prescription of the exercise is not that complicated at all.
Billy: The stuff that Michael Jordan do.
Maurice: The stuff that Michael Jordan is doing, the most basic. You find out a lot of these world class athletes, your hall of famers, had the most basic workout and could perform like out of one by doing these kinds of principal things and these basic things. They kept themselves safe. They kept their bodies from being injured.
A lot of these people who are trying to do all these weird, goofy workouts end up getting injured. Because, one, it's too complex for them to do. It's not serving a purpose for what they're trying to get done. You're doing it more for entertainment than overall strengthening and developing stability in your body. When you get down to that, when you get down, what's your purpose for doing it? That's one of the concepts. We both have a concept. What are you trying to do? Because people will come in here with like, "I want to do this." Why do you want to do this? "Well, I saw so and so do this." Are you getting paid to do this? Is this your career? You have a nine-to-five job with three kids. You're not going to do this. What are you talking about? You can't. This person gets paid to do this. They get to stay home and work out in the comfort of their home. You got to actually go to the office before COVID happen. You have to actually go to the office, and you have to drive home. You're not going to do this.
One, you have to genetics. One, you don't have the time to do it when you have the equipment to do it. This workout is about two hours long. What is your plan here? How are you going to consistently do this throughout the week?
So, what I like to show people, you can pick three exercises, two exercises. If you do them as hard as you can, as safely as you can, you will get results as long as you're not eating like an asshole. On top of that, you'll be fine. But that message, you can't — it's not as marketable and it's not as sales. It's not as sexy as someone hanging upside down or someone standing on like a physio ball while doing squats. You're like, man, their health premium just went through the roof when they fall off that damn thing. You're like, why are you doing that? Why wouldn't you squat on a flat surface where you're more stable, where you can push more weight, where you have more control, where you're going to engage more muscle? If you're going to do that, it's not going to be as entertaining as the ball thing. One, you're not going to die off that thing. Two, you're going to get stronger. I like to show those things.
As popular as all these other things keep flying around, they're nowhere near as beneficial for as the basics. Then nowhere it's more beneficial for whatever you're trying to accomplish. So, I keep my work out a pretty simple one. I'm over there. It keeps me safe. I can still be pretty strong and still be effective with what I'm trying to do.
Billy: Not just in exercise, but just in life, I struggle with paralysis by analysis. And so, there have been times when I'm like, "Okay. I've got this buffet of exercises in front of me." I was like, "Will I do this one, this one?" I'll hit the lap. But that doesn't really hit the mid back. So, I better pull this row in right here. You know what? I'm not really getting the traps on that one. Okay. Now I've done three exercises. That's just the back. Oh, come on. I got to make sure I get my single leg work in here, too. Okay, I get my single leg work in here. I would just load up on exercises. I would burn myself out.
Now I'm just like, okay, I'm going to do these four exercises on Saturday. I'm going to do these four or five on Sunday. I'll do five because these are five exercises that I like doing. I actually found a kettle bell program that is very straightforward. It doesn't have you do all the loopy de loops and all that that you need, technical ability to be able to do. So, that's what's been my workout, which has been a challenge during COVID times. Because, one, the gyms would shut down. Two, in Minnesota, you guys keep posting out like that 70 something year-old-woman who keeps coming to the gym when it's negative 13 degrees. Good on you, young lady, because I'm not getting outside.
So, I started working out in my living room because I — forget that. During the week, I have not gone outside because it's -6 here today. Listen, lady, you are an inspiration to me, but not a big enough inspiration to take my ass outside and go to the gym. I will do the workout at home.
You guys really do feature your clients on your social media pages. You've talked a little bit about that. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Because I follow a lot of people that I consider, I guess, worthy in my eyes, like legitimate fitness Instagrammers. Of course, I follow you guys on there. Most of them featured themselves. You guys feature your clients. You've talked a little bit about that. Can you talk a little bit more about why that's important to you?
Guests: I just want to show the work, show them that they're doing their work. I just want to show my clients. I just want to show what they're doing. They're putting in this work. I don't need the credit. They get the credit. They came into the gym. It's all about them. That's what I like to do.
Billy: And you guys got an amazing facility, so why not show your followers what they're doing and how they're using that equipment? Because if you go over to that jammer and that belt squat, that can be intimidating. But if you show somebody, like just average Joe or Jill, anybody else, hey, you can come in and learn how to use that, too.
Daleco: Again, other than that, I just like to show them most of the time, show what they're working on and show their improvements. This person is really improving on their thing. Again, the workouts may not look as sexy, but great music.
Billy: You guys do have a solid soundtrack.
Daleco: Other than that, again, I just want to show the work, show them they have good form, and show their improvements. I don't need the credit. It's for them. It's about them.
Billy: Alright. So, here's what we're going to do. We're going to take a break. Then when we come back, we will talk a little bit more with Daleco James and Maurice Buchanan. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact us or if you have suggestions about what you'd like us to discuss, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Oh, and don't forget to show yourself some love every now and then, too. And now, back to the show.
Billy: Welcome back to the Mindful Midlife Crisis. Hopefully, you guys are as pumped up as we are from listening to that conversation. Have you ever heard anyone describe themselves a professional chameleon?
Brian: No, I love their very unique perspectives.
Billy: Their 10 words were far and away. Those are so creative. We asked all our guests. We're going to ask all our guests to give us their 10 words. I'm going to put a challenge out there now to all of our future guests to be as creative as these two guys were with their 10 words. It was really, really fantastic to see what they came up with. I love the idea that to them, it's not just a gym. But they also want to do art shows because that's something that's a passion that Maurice had. He dabbles in art, and that he had a passion for graphic design, that sort of thing. They're so inspirational. They're so motivating. They're so badass, that I cannot wait for everybody to hear part two.
Brian: Lots of fascinating stuff.
Billy: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. So, with that, we cannot wait to share part two with you guys later on this week. For Brian, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care friends.
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