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Simple and Effective Kettlebell Training with Sam Mugavero

Apr 02, 2020



​So here's the question, how do active people in the Atlanta area, stay pain-free and live the active fulfilled life that they deserve at any age. This is the question. And this podcast is the answer. I'm Danny Matta and welcome to the Active Atlanta Podcast.

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What's up guys, Doc Danny, here with the Active Atlanta Podcast and we've got my good friend who had found out how to officially pronounce his last name. Sam dude, I'm gonna, I'm gonna mess it up again. I've been saying Magaro Barrow forever, please. Correct me on this like MacGyver kind of.

Yeah. I've never heard that before in 39 years of living. Well, now that's how everyone is going to remember this because we do these in one take. So I'm definitely not starting it all over again. Mugavero, dude. That's, that's a, Caelian awesome last name. I've been calling you the wrong last name for years, and now we know, but you got one of the best gyms in the City of Atlanta, which is one of the reasons why we're talking today.

Somebody I can sit down and talk shop with about training for literally hours. So this is going to be a very simple, straightforward, 30 to 45 minute conversation where we get a chance to dig into what I think is your very simple but effective approach to strength and conditioning and your background, which is, I think is very, very unique.

So let's start with this man. I wanna kind of read what you guys stand for. Just in one sentence is very, there's only web. Instead, it's a smug fitness believes in the power of wellbeing, wellbeing to change mindsets, ultra physical chemistry, and perceptions, and ultimately improve our lives. And I think that is like spot on.

Now, let's start with this. You have, like I said, a very interesting background. You have a PhD in chemistry, you swing heavy cannonballs around. How did you go from. I'm going to get a chemistry PhD too. I'm going to own a gym. Like what was that transition? Like? I'm sure it's a lengthy, but interesting. 

Yeah, it's, it's likely an interesting, but the bottom line is when I was in grad school for chemistry, I started doing little bit of personal training on the side, just training friends, mostly lab mates, that kind of stuff.

I don't know if you're familiar with chemistry or the folks who typically go into it. They're not exactly what we might call athletes. Right. So, you know, a little bit of an anomaly there. So I played two sports in college and just never really got out of shape. And then when I started training friends and lab mates in college, I realized this was something that I could really get into and enjoy as kind of a side hobby.

So, but still stick with the chemistry. So I got into academia for a few years and taught high school chemistry. I taught a little bit of college chemistry, and while I was there started a wellness program at the school where I was working. And that wellness program is still going 12 years later today.

And through that time, I realized that kind of waking up early and moonlighting and doing my early mornings and late evenings as a coach would have to change once we had kids. And well, so we had a kid and I stopped teaching. Opened a fitness business officially in 2013. But I had started SMUGs back in 2011.

So since 2013, I've been full-time in the fitness business. And so it's just been kind of a natural progression to get where we are now. You know, I went three years training people in a garage. I had a business partner and own two gyms north of the city. Then we had kid number two and driving an hour and a half north of the city every day, just wasn't working.

So we opened up our current location in 2016. Yeah. And if you drive by it, you wouldn't even know like it's, it's you know, it's, it's a small gym. But I appreciate that, you know, and, and when you go in and this is the, you know, what I was used to training in kind of coming out of the military and, and in Hawaii, in particular, in particular, you know, a little garage gym where people are like really doing beneficial things and there's coaching occurring.

I think that's like the biggest determining factor. Whenever I look at a gym like, man, how much, or am I learning or anybody we send there? How much are they going to learn? I think what you guys do a really solid job of is. Teaching movement patterns effectively. So and you're, and you, you have a a very strong background in terms of the, you know, sort of strong first approach.

So if you can give us a little background on strong first, like, and, and, and why, why is that the methodology that, you know, you've sort of gravitated towards. So strong first I first got interested in, in about 2011 or 2012, really? When I had started into fitness as a career full-time career and the methodology, even, you know, RKC strong first, really similar methods.

I gravitated a strong first officially in like 2014 and became an instructor. And since then I'm currently a SFG two and all 10 of our staff is SFG as well. So. The methodology is sound. And I always look for kind of that middle minimal effective dose. And how can we most efficiently get someone healthy?

How can we get them, keep them safe? How can we teach them tools they can use on their own and the strong first methodology really? It crosses over. Anywhere you go. If you're an athlete, you can use a methodology to get better at your sport. If you're a general population, which is most of what we train, we can give people just a few simple tools for the kettlebell and a few simple exercises and then get really fit really fast and stay safe.

And so. If you can transfer that over, kinda into the bar bell. If you started looking into plan strong programs and some of the, the strong first lifter certs I mean, it's, it's really effective. We would get people lifting in that kind of 80% ish range most of the time, and it keeps them healthy and strong and lifting those rep ranges and that and those weight ranges, you, you just get strong really, really fast and really safely.

And you know, and you can, you can train every day. You don't have to, but you know, I press six days a week. Back when I used to train other methodologies, I could press maybe once a week and I'd be coming in to see you for a shoulder. Right. So it's now six days a week. I'm pressing, you know, 32 to 44 kilograms regularly with one arm.

No bang. That's just, it's amazing. Like I'm impressed with the programming personally, you know, Yeah. And I think you know, the variable you're talking about probably more than anything is this intensity. And, you know, I was, in fact, I was talking to a client today that it's coming off a back injury. And we were, we were going over some rowing technique.

That was part of the reason why, you know, he hurt his back. And the, the, the idea of manipulation of intensity, I think. They, they associate feeling like they're going to puke with like benefits, right. And there's a, there's definitely a place for, you know, certain types of exercises that are very high intensity.

But what I think what you're alluding to is when the only variable you're really constantly pushing to the limits is intensity. It can lead to a lot of negative actually training effects as well. So for you to be able to. Press in the same pattern or similar patterns, six days a week.

At what point, if ever, are you turning to actual failure? And the red lining it knit very rarely I'll I'll test. But I'll, I'll I'll program intention. To then take a test week and in the last, maybe nine months of training in this manner with my press, I've tested twice. Right. And in both cases I got better.

So that's great. The, failure is very, very rare. And so the way most of the public looks at intensity is like what you said, right? Training to failure, getting ready to puke, you know, high intensity, always out of breath and was winded. The way I kind of look at intensity is the percentage of my one rep max.

So when I say 80%, that's what I mean on that 80% of my one rep max, for most of my lifts. So even though I'm lifting, you know, I might, I might press 150 reps for arm in a week. But majority of them are 80% and they're sets of two to four reps. So I never really feel sore. I'm never beat down. And this is what we use with our clients too.

Even in our general classes, now we're able to put some of these plans, strong programs into practice recruits, which is super cool. It takes a little bit of manipulation because they may only be coming in three days a week. So I can't have somebody press six days a week or four days a week or whatever.

But it's been working really well for them and keeping them safe and fresh too. So what what variables do you feel like are underappreciated within straining and conditioning and really getting people to a place where. They're healthy, but also not limited to do the activities they liked, I think, or volume and intensity.

Right? Most people look at intensity, in my opinion, not the most effective way they look at it the way we discussed earlier and volume. I don't think anybody, the general population person going to the gym doesn't understand what volume is more how to train it effectively. I mean, you can, you can totally blow yourself up in a healthy way and you can totally blow yourself up with volume in an unhealthy way. 

If your intensity is too high, right? So you can get really strong using effective volume training methods, or you can just bury yourself. Cause you're jacking the intensity up too high and still keeping the volume high.

Right. So we want to have some variability with the two to keep yourself safe. Okay. Well, let's, let's, let's do this. You guys love kettlebells. I love kettlebells. I think they're awesome. I got exposed to them when I was in the army. And you know, I remember thinking misses, what are we doing swinging this thing around?

You know, I thought this is so strange and how, why is it so hard as well as it has got to the first thing I thought of whenever I got exposed to the swing for the first time. So what is it about the kettlebell that you guys liked so much, you know, and, and utilize within your, your approach. I mean, top three things we like about the kettlebell is it's really, really efficient as one it's, it's a, it's a simple tool that people can take everywhere.

Right. And with just a few basic movements, you can build a really nice training. Hmm. Which lines up really well, like you said earlier, we have a very simple but effective way of getting people healthy and, and strong. It really lines up well with us. And the third, the third thing we really like about the kettlebell is that center of mass is so different from anything else you want to.

And if you think about when you're playing a sport or, I mean, even, you know, pulling a bag of mulch out of your car on a Saturday, the center of mass of that mulch is going to be a little weird as you yank it out of your car. Right? So if we can use a training tool that doesn't have a center of mass, like anything else we use, it really prepares us for not just sport, but everyday life.

And you know, really the goal for most of the people we encounter is they just want to be healthy. They want to maybe lose a little weight, but that's oftentimes just a byproduct. They want to gain muscle and they want to do whatever it is. They love as long as they can. And for us, the kettlebell is just the most efficient way that we can get them where they want.

Yeah. Yeah. And I think the other cool part about it that that I really appreciate, like you said, is the mobility of the actual tool. I mean, every time we go on vacation, we bring a kettlebell with us, at least one, you know? And it's just such an easy thing to transfer, which is one of the reasons why the military uses them so much because they don't take up much space.

They're cost efficient. They're very hard to mess up, you know? Right. I, I don't, I I've never broken a kettlebell, so I don't, I don't really know. I'd have to drop it from somewhere really high or flip it in and it would crack or something, but it would be hard to do. Let's put it that way. And especially for somebody that's a busy parents, you know, I know you work with a lot of people that have kids.

We work with up. You'll have kids, just kids central around where we're at Decatur Kirkwood, like tons of little people. Tons of busy people and it's a small footprint at your house. So, you know, for you guys, when you're working with folks, how many of them are training on their own in some capacity as long along with, you know, what you guys do.

So our group class clients, some of them train on their own, but a lot of them will come a couple of days a week and get their dose that way. Most of our one-on-one or small group clients they're training on their own. We'll see them, you know, once a week, twice a week, sometimes once every three or four weeks.

And they're just they're training on their own. We also do remote programming. Right. So we have a lot of clients that just look to us for programming. They've got a kettlebell or a, you know, pull up bar at home and they just go. And we kind of work within the confines of what they have, but we will always recommend getting, you know, 16 kilogram kettlebell at 24 and 32 for most guys depending on their strength and most of our women, you know, an eight, 12 and a 16 is a great way to get them started.

But most of our women are swinging, you know, 20 fours and 30 twos anyway. So once they get training, they get strong. Very fast. 

Yeah. Yeah. What movements do you feel like more people should. It should be doing it as a whole. If you say all right, we'll, we'll let Sam take over for the day. And he's a director of active people in the world. What, what do you have them do? I mean, everybody's learning the get-up right? 

Yeah. Day one right there. They're learning to get up right away. Because think about it. If you can't get up and down off the floor, your life is essentially over at some point, right? Like you have a fall and you can't get up.

What are you going to do? Similarly, if you need help getting up, you've lost your independence. Someone has to come scoop you up out of bed or whatever, and now boring any tragic accident or traumatic injury or something like that. That's different. But if you are a able, healthy person, you can't get up and down off the floor, that's it?

Your quality of life is pretty much over. So a lot of our, we train a pretty good portion of our clients are 55 and up, and we train everybody on the get-up just to make sure that they can always. Right. You know, we, we just had a brand new client start with us. Who's 70. And her goal was to get up and down more comfortably so she can play with the grandkids.

Yeah. Like what do we do the get up? Right. So more people should be doing the getup, but you gotta be doing it correctly. You know? And the, you know, the, the hard style get up that we use. Is a little bit different than some of the other get-ups you see? But bottom line is it will look different depending on the mobility and the skill level of the person doing it.

And we can train it while we'd love to get everybody using a kettlebell. You know, sometimes we'll just put a, you know, a light slammer. But in somebody's arms and have them get up. I mean, the bottom line is you learn that pattern, how to get up safely and efficiently, and then we can start adding in load with a kettlebell or dumbbell or whatever else we want to use or, or a barbell if we really have an advanced person, you know, so get up desktop top priority is getting people up now for floor.

The swing, you know, everybody knows the kettlebell swing at this point, if you've been, you know, paying attention and all the fitness world, but not enough people are doing them safely or well so getting everybody trained on this. That's a fantastic way to get people healthy and strong. And again, like we said earlier, it's so simple.

If you have a kettlebell, you can go get up in the swing and you've got a great program for a healthy life. Yeah. And you know, simple and sinister, right, right from strong. 

Yeah. That's it. That's the first possible so it's tattooing, right? Is that his last name? Who I don't know. Is he credited with bringing the kettlebell to the U S or is one of the first he's he's credited?

I think with formalizing kettlebell training Have any desire to get into who actually brought it back? We don't do that. A lot of layers to that, but so anyway yeah, one of the more kind of well-known people in the, in the kettlebell space he had a program called Simple and Sinister or one of his, the first PR kettlebell program I was ever exposed to, which was literally swings and getting.

I think that's all it is. Yeah. It's just, and it just sort of progressed from there. And, and to, to, to what Sam's talking about as well the getup and, you know, he, and I can kind of understand what this is, but basically it's you being able to lay on your back, roll over onto your side and then get up off of the ground while you hold a weight over your head is the goal eventually.

And you know, to get back. Hey, get back down, right? Yep. And control as well. And it's to your point, I totally agree. Like, could you imagine, you know, 70 years old, if she can even take even the smallest amount of weight, overhead, the amount of mobility single-cell, you know, side control, flexibility and, and single leg strength in particular, to be able to get, you know, up and down out of those positions.

That is a very important thing to do. And. They're really freaking hard. Like, I mean, when you do them, it's, it's, it's not necessarily, I think people they're like, man, I want, I want abs and I want like big biceps or males. Right. And for women, usually they want to be tone and they, they, they want to be, you know, a little bit leaner.

But no one ever talks about, like, what about these muscles? We don't see directly in the mirror and how freaking important they are. And I feel like the program style that you guys have and follow it, trains a ton of muscles that maybe you don't see when you look in the mirror, look out Jack, Diane, but while you're walking away, it's apparent that they are.

Right. Which the, and really we're talking, you know, just post your chain. That's something that I definitely noticed a lot in other cultures when I was in the military I had a chance to train with like the South Korean military. So some people from the Japanese military and the time military, and they were very biased towards your back.

They, they gauge someone's athleticism and strength based on your back. And I had one guy shake my hand and grabbed my. And oh, that was weird. And another guy was like, yeah, he's just feeling how strong you are. And I thought it was very strange, but they didn't care. They were like, you guys focus on everything in the mirror and they focus on everything on the backside.

So how important do you feel like training that poster chain or the back is in conjunction to obviously not forgetting about the other things, but not being as biased. Yeah, I mean, I've, I support that. Definitely posterior chain dominant in my training. I would much rather have a big strong back and big, strong glutes than, than, you know, biceps in the chest.

Right? Like which ones are going to do more for me when I need them, like a strong chest is not going to do nearly as much for me when, when I needed, you know, if I have to climb up and grab something, it's not necessarily those pecks doing the work. It's, it's a strong back, right? Yeah. Biceps calm. If you train your back, you get biceps.

Know, you train your back, you get shoulders, right. And you get a little bit adjusted as you can train the back also. So, I mean, it's, I really find that training that plus your chain is far more effective for general population and for athletics in general. Yeah. I mean, it's just. Sure and useful as well. I, I feel like you know, I feel like the gauge should be, how far can you throw your kid in a pool and and do you get hurt after doing it?

You know, it's definitely somebody, I mean, I've seen people that have had shoulder injuries from literally throwing their kid in the pool. And I'm like, how old is your kid? You know, like for like, dude, shouldn't haven't you told me. We would have a different conversation about why are you throwing your 12 year old?

Maybe that's a, that's a kind of a weird thing, but a four-year-old you should be able to do that. Right. And it's function. I think that's the biggest thing is like there's function and there's appearance. Right. And, and have you seen the the Ronnie Coleman documentary on Netflix? Not yet. It's on the list.

Oh my gosh, man. Like, so this is a perfect example. Function versus aesthetics. Right. And, and and yeah, Ronnie Coleman, eight time Mr. Olympia, like one of the most winningest bodybuilders of all time and a legit powerlifter at that you know, he's basically decrepit at this point, you know, he's in his fifties, he's on crutches, he's on his like 11th surgery.

So we, we look at like, we don't really know what some of the long-term effects of some of this high volume. You know, high intensity training really is. And, and what I look at is like longevity, you know, and I think for you guys, that's the whole, it's a long game, right? I mean, you, you, you are catering to, hey, how can you be doing this stuff when you're 80 and still be in there?

Right. Yeah. I mean, what, you know, what are your two life goals for the end? Like what are you going to be doing on your last day of life? You have any of those goals. So that's like the question, right? Right. I mean that's, and that was the question that was asked to me. How about a strong person structure?

I don't know, maybe four or five years ago. And so when you know what your goals are into your life and you know, one of the. Because I want to shoot my age and golf before I die. Well, you know, my golf game right now, that means I'm winning, right? Like somewhere between like 82 and 88 before that happens seriously, I'm thinking I'm like, man, where's the sweet spot for that.

Right? Right. Or I'm gonna have to get really good at golf really fast. Yeah. I'm only, I'm like halfway there in life right now. So I've got another 40 years you, I can even think about doing that. So I better stay up. Yeah. And the other thing is, you know, you want to be able to get up and down and do everything you need to do on the toilet by yourself.

Right? Like I want to do that. And the day I die, I can wipe my own ass. I, I know I have really good mobility cause that's not an easy thing to do. Right. That's a, that's very true, man. I mean, one of the, one of the main reasons you'd see people have to go to independent living or assisted living is lack of being able to take care of themselves.

Your partner or your spouse like that they don't, you know, maybe they can't help you or you don't really want to do that all the time and you lose your independence. And a lot of it's thoracic mobility, it's shoulder extension, you know, it's, it's hip internal rotation on the opposite side. Totally. Right.

I think that's an easy litmus test how functional you are right now. And everybody has, everybody has to do it. So yeah. That's interesting. What, what's some of the, what's some of the more interesting responses you've gotten. Ray buddy, when you asked him, this is interesting, those answers revolve around their families.

Like I want to be, I want to chase my grandkids around or great grandkids around or whatever. One of the guys who's a wood worker. So he wants to die in his which up. So if he's still doing woodworking accident, 

So, you know, it really depends on the person. You know, the golf one. I've, I've heard that a lot. You know, people want to shoot the range before they die, but most people aren't on that trajectory. You know, other people want to keep playing tennis until the day they die. I mean, you know, there's so many different answers, but the shop one was really interesting.

The guy. Just wanted to be doing woodwork. 40 50 years from now in his shop. And if he died in there, he'd be pretty happy. So that's pretty cool. I think that's amazing though, but I mean for, and this is what I, you know, what you guys do and, and, and just in our profession in general, well, we get to do is help people.

You know, more fulfilled active lives. And I think that like, oftentimes people think, oh, you know, we help people get stronger or whatever. Like, there's like a very superficial element to that. But I mean, how many people have you seen where it's like legitimately their life is different and they'll never look back from there.

They're they're literally, like I took the red pill. I can't unsee this. Like this is my life and it's so much. You know, I wish in some way that we could just, you know, share some of those most people cause we see it all time and then we, you know, it's, it's just, it's just such a cool thing to be a part of.

Right? Yeah. I mean we, so we, again, we train a lot of folks that are 55 and up, right. So they're coming to that age where they're probably thinking about stopping, working, they're going to have to fill their time with something. And they can either fill it with, you know, pills and crossword puzzles, or they can fill it with getting outside and being active and traveling and whatever it is they want to do.

And so that's, that's a really, you know, to see someone at nearing the, the golden years of their life kind of taking control of it so that they can live longer and be more independent. We see that all the time. I mean, I have, everybody's got examples of it, but we have countless number of clients who have come in our doors unable to get up and down off the ground.

In their forties, fifties, sixties, or even seventies. And we're able to help them do that. That is a complete change in their quality of life. And, you know, with this the lady I mentioned earlier, you know, she came in seven years, old, could get up and down, but it was hard. Now she's getting up and down with a six kilogram kettlebell and that's in five weeks.

So like we're making positive change. So five weeks, two to three days a week. Right. And just drilling that, get up, getting some single leg strength and just really helping her better understand how she moves. You know, she still plays tennis. She still plays golf. She's doing a lot of that without a bunch of pain now, too.

So yeah. It's amazing. You just get people moving safely and it translates right over and transfers right over to whatever else they want to do. Yeah. Yeah. No, I love that. They're active too. I think there's, there's sort of two camps, people that hate going to the gym and people that like their hobby is going to the gym.

Right. You know, and, and. I've always viewed an and if your hobby is exercising cool, that's a great, like what a good hobby for you to have for the rest of your life, because it's going to keep you healthy, but I've always looked at it as what can I do here? That helps me do the things outside of the gym.

You know, that, that, that I like so much. And this is one of the reasons why I really biased towards the similar style of training that you guys have, because, you know, I want to keep it simple. I want to be able to do repeatable patterns that are gonna help me with mobility and strength. And I want to be strong side to side, and I think that's probably a huge variable that you guys see coming in that needs to be trained out.

I mean, how, how many people do you see that are significantly stronger on their, you know, whatever dominant side versus non-dominant side. And, and even still, like how long does that typically take for them to be able to resolve a lot of those. Most of the people we interact with here come in with one side, significantly stronger than the other.

So with our training you know, we have to sort of, we don't bias one side over the other unless we really need to there's was just a huge difference. But every time everybody comes in for to, you know, take a press, for example, super simple, right. Most people come in about four kilograms, stronger on one side than the other.

And kettlebell increments are four kilograms. Traditionally we have a couple, two kilogram increments as well, but you know, we got to train that up and, you know, consistently training the press. We'll, we'll even that out over time you know, building in the auxiliary work as well. Right. You know, you gotta, you gotta build in, you know, some posterior chain work and pull aparts rows all in all that backside work to even it out.

But you know, over time, three, four months, we can get most people, even now they're still going to have a favorite side. Right? Of course, when they pick that kettlebell up, they're going to pick it up with whatever their dominant side is all the time. So we have to do a little education there and say, hey, no, you go pick that kettlebell up and walk it over here.

That non-dominant arm. Every time you look at the legs, we see that I'd say the leg discrepancy is, is significantly larger. Right? And it's really easy to see, you know, which side is dominant. We'll just casually walk up behind somebody and give them a gentle nudge. See which foot they catch with. Chances are good.

They're probably walking up the steps with that foot first, you know, it, you know, a lot of times it's their driving foot, so they're hitting the brake and the gas would that foot. And it's just, you know, they're using it more often, so it's more dominant and I'm sure you see the same thing. Yeah, of course.

Right. I kind of see the opposite. I see. Well, I work with a lot of athletes, right. So if they're right dominant on the shoulder, their left leg tends to be. Much more stable. Now they might not be as the standpoint, right. They may not be as coordinated. Their, their other food is more coordinated, but, but there are stability in the left leg.

And then under a barbell, this is where we see so many issues. Like if we end up having to go with the barbell where like there's, you're shifting like crazy. To the, to the left and, you know, they have they have a right dominant kind of body side, but, but the thing is like symmetry is also this sort of thing that you can make a strong statement that, you know, there's no such thing as a hundred percent symmetry ever since we were little kids and we're like, oh, I'm picking this ball up with this hand.

You know, that you're, you're, you've decided cool. This is my dominant side. And you know, I think that to get it close enough to where it doesn't create a problem is incredibly important, but you know, true, true symmetry. I'm not quite sure. Changes much versus, you know, just being like strong enough control.

And this is one of the reasons I liked it, you know, single like strength test, single arm, strength tests, and really see where those are at. Because for a lot of people, they don't even realize how strong, how weak they might be. Or even like, let's say like a mutual client of ours and maybe like it's thrown a football a whole bunch of times.

How can we expect his left shoulder to be as strong as something. Usually like thousands of reps, more really can't but can we narrow that gap? I think that that's really helpful, but it's funny that you see that. And I noticed the same thing. You can almost see it, like anytime somebody leaves with a leg you know, w we'll we'll start to see.

Okay, cool. Where's the problem at, and then we start shrink testing. If they're, if their left leg is strong, they're having a right knee problem because they're just shifting they're, they're, they're trying to you know, use that dominant side, but they probably just can't can't take it. And then we end up with a non-dominant side pain issue.

So anyway, no, I, I agree. I think it's fascinating. We start getting down the rabbit hole and, and for you guys, I know what your scientific approach, I'm sure you have. All kinds of data that you want to see where you're at objectively track it. And that's what I appreciate about you guys is a lot of it is objectively data-driven.

Right, right. Yeah. It's interesting that you came at it from a stability standpoint, you know? Cause, cause we, you know, that is true. I oftentimes will see somebody with much better balances stability on their non-dominant leg. Right. But then when it comes to pure strength, the right side is stronger. The dominant side stronger.

Right. So you came at it from stability. I came at it from more of like a pure strength side. Yeah. And you definitely see those, those differences from side to side, specifically in the legs, the non-dominant is always more stable. Yeah. Yeah. The sport history is interesting too. I always, like, I always tell people I played baseball growing up and I was like, listen, man, it might be one of the worst sports for you.

Long-term I like we do nothing, but just develop. Pattern changes on one, one dominant side and then one hip is like really mobile and the other one's tight, you know, our tennis, tennis to some degree is not quite as significant. I know that's what you played. Right? Played soccer and tennis, soccer and tennis.

Yep. And, but I think you're hitting the ball both directions. And with, with baseball, I mean, you literally specialize unless you're a switch hitter, which a lot of people are not, but the mixture of those two for you probably was really helpful. And so, I mean, that's how I switched to tennis. Until I didn't start playing tennis, I was a junior in high school.

I played baseball. I wrestled with my baseball soccer and a little bit of basketball straight through until, you know, I realized I was gonna play soccer in college for sure. And then, you know, baseball was not helping me play soccer better. Right? Yeah. So I made that really hard decision and I still think like, like, like crushed my father, like I came, I was like, yeah, I'm gonna go play, you know, stop playing baseball, play tennis.

And you can just see him, like what you want to play, what sport tennis was the best thing ever. I picked it up really fast and helped my foot work and helped my hand coordination. Totally. It was fantastic. No. I ended up playing tennis in college too, which I would not have played baseball in college.

Yeah. So I play two sports in college. And even though I'd only been playing the one for two years was very easy to pick up as an athlete. Right. I just didn't have, I didn't have the time on the court. Like some of the better players had, but as far as athletics go, once you learn how to move, you know, more of a desire to play the game too.

I mean, how many youth athletes do we see that are just like. Totally burnt out. I saw a kid this morning. He was a like a national level cyclist. He was going to go cycle over in in Europe. His, his his sister was over there in Italy, who was a pro cyclist. And he totally one day was just like done.

He and I saw him today cause he's gotten into running and he's a terrible runner and he has shin splints and and I'm like, dude, you know, when's the last time you got on a bike and he's like, I haven't gotten, I'm not been on a bike in a year. And before that he wrote almost every single day, but he was so burned out on the on the sport that he didn't want to do it anymore.

You know? And I think that for you, like later in your career, switching to a sport that you're just fascinated, learning more about, you know, like that probably was just as helpful as, as athletic development from soccer. Absolutely. You know, now, you know, there's so much push to specialize anymore, you know, with kids and you know, the three sport athlete like is a, it's like a unicorn.

Now I know when we were growing up, me and everybody played three sports. Yeah. Cause you had to, it was more fun that way. Like, I, I looked for it. I mean, you kinda got tired of football just in time to play basketball and then you kinda got tired of basketball and then baseball season rolled around and then maybe you're swimming over the summer.

You know, you're doing something else, but I agree with you that there's a lot of that. I think it's there's a lot. That is a, we don't have time to unravel that, but that boy bad boy today. Cause there's, there's, there's a lot there. And I think for a lot of it is parents associate. That they need to do this so that, you know, little Timmy can go to the next level.

And what we really see is a lot of youth athletes burn out, you know, around high school, because they've just been doing the same thing over and over again. And after a while they're like, man, that looks fun over there. Like I kind of want to go do that and that's, that should be fun. Right? I think specialization, it was going to happen.

High school is really the time for that to occur. If they're going to specialize, you know, fully at all. But I mean, seeing kids eight years old, Do you know, I'm a soccer specialist. I'm like, you're eight, bro. You're right. Go play. You're going to look like for God's sakes, like right. How can you specialize?

Right. Yeah. That's that's so right. I mean, we train a lot of like high level rock climbers too, that our kids we've got some like, you know, kids that are aged 12 to 16 and all they do is rock climb, which is super cool. They're super strong. You know, you talk about a strong pack, posterior chain. Like these kids are really strong, but then if you ask them to like skip or you know, lateral shuffle. 

Like, I can't happen. You're like fall over. You're just like extremely high level youth athlete and skipping is hard. So like, what did we train? When we work with them? We, we train a lot of unilateral work and, you know, patterns like that. Skipping, crawling things that you'd think they could do because they do it on the wall and you put them on the floor with nothing to grab onto.

And it's, you know, they collapsed, they can't crawl like, but that's what they do. Right. They crawl on the wall and they can't crawl on the floor. So it's, it's crazy to see some of that stuff. No, it's a, the youth athletes. That was fascinating, but I w we, should we, maybe we need to jump on a podcast to talk about that.

Another topic here. I want to end with this man. Before we let you kind of shout out your business and give everybody an idea of where they can find out more about you. What's your, what's your go-to spot in the Kirkwood area to grab something to eat, man. So I most often at The Courtyard Pub, if you we actually have a menu item up there as well, it's called slug routine plate.

Yeah. It's basically so I used to go in there and want to build my own plate, you know, and I could do that because we train the owner. So he kind of let me do that. And he's like, oh, I think some other people might like this, so you can pick any protein, say. Any sides you want and create your own plate.

So, you know, my go-to plate there is I get grilled chicken. I got a little four ounce steak and I'll get abroad and I'll throw like a wedge and some broccoli on it or something, you know, like that's, that's sort of my go-to place. So I get plenty of protein after a workout. I guess something, I love a wedge, right?

Like, which is fantastic. And then a little broccoli to make sure I'm getting a good slice of healthy greens in there. That's amazing. You have your own plate. I didn't even know that that's on the menu logos on there and we've got, you know, we, we go up there quite a lot. So next time I'm there next time.

That's a serious meat plate, dude. I like your style. What's your favorite act outdoor activity in the area? What do you like to do when it's nice? 

You know, I really like to hike. We go out to stone mountain quite a bit and hike the mountain. The kids love it. 

How old are your girls? 

Six and three.

And so the six year old lately, she's been learning to ride a bike and getting pretty good. So we've been spending a lot of time outside riding the bike and that's, you know, I really just, I just wanna be outside with them whenever I have free time. Right. Yeah. And if it's hiking great. If it's, you know, going out to a pool at the Y great.

Whatever it is, I just, I just would rather be outside. 

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. What's a, what's a book that, you know, you've read recently that you think other people would benefit from book I've I've enjoyed the most lately is called destination unstoppable by Maureen Masi. It's it's basically a dive into StrengthFinders, the Clifton strength tests.

And so recently I bought a franchise that we're adding into our business called Sports Site. And it was founded primarily to work with athletes on their eye-hand coordination, reaction time, initiation speed, and kind of give them that, that little bit of an edge. But we're going to be using it with general population and athletes here.

I'm so excited about that. And the StrengthFinders is a way that we can better serve the people we interact with. So I've had my staff take the test. Yup. Wife's going to be taking it as well. So we can better communicate with each other and it just gives you your top 34 strengths and what you're good at.

So you know, like for me, My top strength is being restorative. So it's looking at problems, finding unique ways to solve it, but oftentimes there's simple ways of solving it. So my clients can look to me. If they're having some issues, we can talk it out and ideally I can provide them with some advice it's worthwhile.

My general manager is a relator which means she's really good at building the relationships that we need in the gym for that. And that's my number two. So the two of us, you know, we have one thing in common, out of, out of all the other strengths. So the book kind of breaks down how this is used in the corporate, the corporate space and also with athletes and teams and getting them to find purpose. 

So I found that really fascinating, so much so that, you know, we're taking the deep dive in SMUGs now and offering that as part of our initial assessment as a way to better understand what motivates individuals.

So serve them better and get them to their goals, you know, more efficiently and with less headache.

Yeah. That's great. If people want to work with. Where can they find out more? Our website You can find us on Instagram @smokesfitness. You can find us on Facebook. We have a Smokes Fitness, general page, and then we have an insider's club.

So if once you become a member, you can get on there. And there's recipe shares, there's videos for at home workouts, that kind of stuff that you could find, but that's once you've kind of joined our crew and become a member with us. Well guys, I can't speak highly enough of Sam and his entire staff is awesome.

It's not just him. So anybody there is great. We really enjoy getting a chance to work with them. I've been over there. This is the second podcast we've been on. You were on one of the last episodes of the doc in person. And this is exactly where you're sitting. Pretty close. We rearranged a little bit since maybe that's what it was, but so no Welton knowledge, really high level unicorn of a trainer for the area.

So I appreciate you jumping on the podcast with us and sharing your story, man. That's super cool to learn more about what you guys are doing. I appreciate the time Dan. It was great. Thanks absolutely guys, as always. Thanks for listening. We'll catch you next time.

Hey, thanks so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to find out more about our guests or about Athletes' Potential and how we can help you continue to be active and pain-free in life, head over to to learn more.

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