Self-Awareness, Self-Auditing, and Patience: Lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk

Here is a list of items I’ve “done” from September 2015 to March 2016 (today):

With respect to work at Cressey Sports Performance…

  • From September 2015 to March 2016, I’ve written 164 exercise programs for athletes at Cressey Sports Performance.
  • I’ve performed assessments on over 29 individual athletes, and an unknown number of informal assessments for staff/friends/family in the meantime.
  • If I ask Pete, I’m sure I can find out how many athletes that have walked into our doors, and I can get a good estimate on the amount of athletes and clients I’ve interacted with and coached.

With respect to my own individual work…

  • September 2015 to March 2016 I’ve written over 30 blog posts. Knowing that I can write a lot, I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that I’ve had at the very least 1000 words in a blog post. The most recent post I’ve had was 2000 words, however.
  • Scratch that – I just went through each post and found the word counts. I had exactly 31,162 words written from September 2015 to March 2016, not including this post. Also, this is not taking into account the sweat equity for the videos I’ve recorded to support these posts, the editing of these videos for better lighting, and the re-takes for videos that weren’t good enough the first time through.
  • 28 of those blog posts have been posted from January through March 2016, and I wrote exactly 21,534 words within that time frame.
  • I’ve recorded over 5 webinars, gave 1 presentation, on top of countless uploads to YouTube videos from an instructional point of view.
  • On my Facebook page Enhance2Dance, I’ve only uploaded 5 individual videos. This is somewhere where I will need to pick up the pace ten-fold.
  • I’ve listened to over 4 days of audiobooks, over 30 podcasts ranging from business to fitness industry related items, along with countless hours on the phone with industry professionals talking about everything and anything whenever I go on road trips.

The funny thing is that I had to look back and count these items out. I don’t usually do this – counting the things that I’m doing. I just do it, and I know that sometimes things will hit and go viral, and other things won’t go viral.

I’ve started to see threads and patterns in all of these things, and expect even more content to A/B test the things I’m writing and providing content for all of you to consume.

It’s funny, and sad at the same time, but my most visited blog post is one I wrote over two years ago about hip internal rotation. I asked one of my strength coach friends to Google Search “Hip Internal Rotation” and let me know what he sees. He told me I’m the number 4 hit, and Dean Somerset is the number 3 hit.

Dean Somerset - Hip Internal Rotation

That hit me hard. I put over 10 hours into that series of blog post (it’s a one-two series on hip internal rotation), creating a flowchart, checking my anatomy, making it easy to consume, creating tables, creating Tweet-able phrases… and I’m not even number one?

Now keep in mind, I love Dean, he puts out great content, and he is a cool guy. It is mind blowing that I bought one of his co-authored products from a set he did with Tony Gentilcore, Jeff Cubos, Rick Kaselj, and here I am complaining that I’m underneath him in a Google Search phrase.

I don’t display this much, but I’m highly competitive.

I want to be the number one hit on that Google Search term.

All of this retrospection has been brought to light by a chance to listen, meet, and talk shop with one of my mentors from afar, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Want to Be An Entrepreneur? This is What You Signed Up For

At the end of the day, this is just my job.

I’m merely quantifying all of this for a few reasons: to audit myself, my time, the work I’ve “put in” in this specific industry, along with understanding that I need to exhibit a little more patience, and respecting that this is a numbers game.

I can complain all I want about how I’m not getting enough exposure, but I’m still young in this game, no matter how you look at it.

I haven’t even opened up a facility like many of my peers in this industry have, nor do I want to. At least not yet. And that is a totally different ball game if and when I do.

On one level, I’m developing a skill set that I will be able to take with me anywhere:

  • Knowledge on anatomy and physiology.
  • The ability to write to multiple audiences.
  • The ability to speak to multiple types of populations based on their goals.
  • Assessing and identifying functional movements in several different populations
  • Providing strategies for increased fitness for various populations
  • Connections, relationships, and bonds with people at the gym.

No one can take those things away from me.

I have also been able to improve upon my skill set as a coach and trainer. I often hear coaches within our field quote an unknown person saying, “If you are doing things the same way 6 months ago as you are today, you’re doing it wrong.” Well, I’m here to mention that I’m doing things a little different every week, let alone 6 months ago.

60% of the Time, It Works 100% of the Time

Having the ability to execute is a largely underrated skillset. In only 3 months, I’ve had one blog post for every day of a given calendar month.

That means in 30 days, I’ve had 30 blog posts. (It is 3 months out however… so I should be doing 120 posts at least).

I said to my close colleagues and co-workers that I was going to push a heck of a lot more content, but I haven’t been pushing as much as I feel I could be pushing.

Allow me to have a lack of hubris in this one moment – I know I’m good. I want you to know how good I am.

I’d like to think I got part of this drive from Gary, but the truth is I’ve always had this drive to become better, and do more. Listening to him has allowed me to know that I’m on the right path, which is ultimately my path… which is going to be different than everyone else’s path.

I can see the goal, it is far away, but I just know that putting the work in is necessary towards the things I want to achieve.

Are Your Actions Matching Your Goals ?

This question is something that makes sense when I ask it to any of my athletes or clients. If you have a goal, you have to have the subsequent actions to reach them.

They always ask “How much until I achieve this six pack? How much until I can deadlift 400lbs or more?”

These are all fair questions. We all want to know when we are closer to the destination.

But when I flip it on myself, and others who want to be where I am, it is enlightening to say the least.

This same question can be posed towards “online trainers” within this industry:

  • Are your actions matching your intentions?
  • How much have you written?
  • How many videos have you put out there of yourself?
  • What are your results (that you helped your clients achieve)?
  • How much have you exposed your own methodology to help others get better?
  • How much have you exposed yourself to difficult subject matters such as anatomy & physiology?
  • How much have you invested in learning to improve your emotional intelligence?

Self-Awareness and Enduring the Pressure & Heat…

Gary Vaynerchuk talks greatly about self-awareness of who you are as an individual. I’ve always resonated with this statement.

Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve known who I was ever since I was a kid, and I’ve always wondered why no one else is like me. I never fit in, despite my many efforts to fit in. So I said fuck it, I’ll stand out.

And thus, I started dancing. I actually had a mohawk at one point in both high school and also in college. I even had a double mohawk in college. Yeah, I was that guy.

Gary gave some very simple, yet sobering advice: Paraphrasing…

“Being at the top is lonely. If you want to be #1, there are things you have to sacrifice, on top of having self-awareness. No one says you have to be #1, to be on the same path that I am taking. You can be #2, #3, #4, and still do well from a lifestyle point of view.”

In the context of being a coach, I know that I’m going to be one of the best out there. I can just tell from conversing with others, and speaking to others, and reading what others write, and seeing how they think, all the way to how they write exercise programs. Sometimes I agree, other times I don’t agree. And that’s okay.

I know I’m good, and I’m going to get better as time passes.

Place enough pressure and heat on a piece of rock, and eventually a diamond will form. It won’t be tomorrow, or the next day, but eventually it will happen.

Diamond in the Rough
This is apparently what an unpolished diamond looks like.

I know I can put more content out, more videos, more interactions online.

I’m not providing “life coaching” – I’m only 27, and expecting life advice in this context is ironic at best. I can however, provide different takes on philosophies with respect to training philosophies, exercising, assessing, and generally looking at things from a different perspective regarding exercise and sports/dance performance.

Put This Into Action

With this in mind, I’d like to challenge you, the reader, a way to become more self-aware with one simple question.

What is that one thing that you haven’t done this year, that you set out to do in the beginning of the year?

It is already March in the year 2016, which means if you are playing the New Year’s Resolution game, you are roughly 19% through this year. It is almost 25% of the year once this month is gone.

  • What haven’t you done this year, that you said you would?
  • If you’ve done a little of that one thing, how deep have you gone into it?
  • Can you do more?
  • If you said you’d start working out, have you gone only once every other week?
  • What is stopping you from coming into the gym every other day this week?

Just how diamonds aren’t formed overnight, change also doesn’t occur over one week or one month of time. Keep the pressure on yourself, and bring the heat, and you can create an amazing change for yourself.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Random Thoughts on Conditioning – 9.17.15

Just in the past few days I’ve encountered the unique scenario of presenting two similar trains of thoughts to two different types of populations.

After finishing an in-service for Merrimack College Strength and Conditioning, and one speaking engagement at Cressey Sports Performance, there are some insights that I’ve come away with that I’m going to share with you today.


Cardio? Should I do it? Should I ignore it?

There are two sides to this question:

  1. People don’t include cardiovascular training for the simple fact that many have attached a negative connotation towards doing cardio at any portion of their programming.
  2. If they do include cardio, there is often an overdoing of cardiovascular training (punishment on one end, or the thought of sweating for sweating sake).

Whether you include or exclude cardio, it is often done to prove a point that: 1) You are doing the right thing by not including cardio (often someone may ditch cardio in favor of strength training, and in doing so, improve muscular hypertrophy and strength at a favorable level), or 2) you are doing the right thing by not including cardio (because cardio may diminish your “gains”).

The reality of this situation is that there are several benefits to the inclusion of cardiovascular training. Improving work capacity, improving resting heart rate levels, along with a slew of physiological benefits can be pointed to – in fact there are several other benefits that improve quality of life, from an epidemiological point of view that not many think about that lead to longevity or in some cases the delay of diseases.

On a personal level, I understand that cardiovascular training is important. As a dancer, you need to be able to last several rounds or several hours of dancing in order to compete.


On an anecdotal level, Louie Simmons, a household name in any powerlifter’s domain, has been vocal about how he has utilized sled drags and pulls in order to improve work capacity – for his athletes that primarily compete in only 9 competition lifts (squat, bench, deadlift with 3 attempts a lift).

This is reason enough (for me, anyway) to include cardiovascular training in my programming for my athletes. However, simplistic conclusions aside, I’d consider the act of including cardiovascular training in a little more intelligent of a manner.

If you haven’t included cardiovascular training in quite some time, give this protocol a try for a few weeks:

Phase 1 – Conditioning

1. Low Box Step Ups:

Week 1 = 2 sets of 10min/leg
Week 2 = 3 sets of 10min/leg
Week 3 = 2 sets of 12min/leg
Week 4 = 3 sets of 12min/leg

or this bodyweight circuit:

A1. Bodyweight Reverse Lunge – 5/side
A2. Push Up – 10 reps
A3. Lateral Lunge – 5/side
A4. TRX Row – 10 reps

  • Stay between heart rate of 120-150bpm for both protocols.
  • Perform 2 sets of 10 minutes for either series, and then rest for 2 minutes in between sets.
  • Adjust from week to week by fluctuating the rest time, or weights used.
  • Perform some low level stretching, or low level corrective exercises to gently remind the body what kinds of positions may need loosening up.

If you have been including cardiovascular training in your programming already, give this a shot:

Phase 2 – Conditioning

1. Shuttle Runs – 30 Yards, with resting to the top of the minute. Repeat for 8-10 sets.

or this density training set.

A1. DB Goblet Squat – 8 reps
A2. DB Floor Press – 8 reps
A3. TRX Row – 8 reps

Perform as many sets of these three exercises in 5 minutes. Rest 2 minutes, and then repeat 2 more times.

These are not definitive plans by any means. They are simply to show that there are multiple avenues to achieve the same physiological benefits that cardiovascular training can provide.

The tools that you choose to use (look above) can drive multiple physiological benefits that do not have any negative connotations attached to them. If you choose to negate these items for an emotional or dogmatic reasoning, well then you are left behind in the dust.

As always,

Keep it funky.