Getting Personal with Mike Robertson (Q&A)

Today I have a special post: I recently had a chance to talk shop with Mike Robertson of about his newly released product, Physical Preparation 101.


Now, whenever there happens to be a product release by one of the top trainers or coaches in this industry, there is always a flood of posts relating to how awesome their product is – and for good reason. They learn a lot, then they aim to help teach everyone what they’ve learned.

However, one thing I’ve aimed to do in this Q&A is to give more of a background on how successful people in our “industry” manage their time while handling family expectations, competing demands, and tons of projects. I like to learn what makes them tick essentially.

With that being said, Mike and I get personal – we talk what his average week looks like, his favorite podcasts, what books he is on now, and we talk about how to manage expectations now that he has two kids in his life – and still live a life as a strength coach and trainer.

Check it out below. My questions are in bold. His responses are below!

(Note: I do get referral sales if you decide to purchase this product.)

Mike RobertsonThank you Mike for allowing me to ask you a handful of questions. For those that dont know Mike, he is co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, and president of Robertson Training Systems.

Q: Now, Ive been following your work since 2009, and Im always impressed by your ability to communicate normally complex ideas in a very succinct manner. Not only that, but Im also impressed by your ability to walk that mid-line of over-marketingand delivering real value.

How is Physical Preparation 101 any different than your other products?

MR: First off, thanks for having me Miguel – I really appreciate it!

Physical Preparation 101 (or PP101) is different for a few reasons.

First and foremost, it’s the bulk of my training system in one package. In this course I take two days covering the topics of program design and coaching, because those are the foundational things that every coach or trainer needs.

But beyond that, I’ve created a lot of products over the years that were things I wanted to do. Mobility products, single-leg products, knee products, etc. This was the first time I really took a step back to consider what my audience wanted and needed from me.

Quite simply, if they could only purchase one product from me that would making them a better trainer or coach, what would it be?

And the answer to that question is PP101!

Q: Im at that age where all of my friends are having babies, and Im just over here trying to get my own brand and business started. How has your life changed now that you have two children? It would be difficult to work 60, 70, and 80 hour work weeks just to make ends meet as a trainer – and live a life outside of that as well.

MR: Hahaha – the better question is what hasn’t changed!

Everything about life changes when you have kids, and the sooner you get comfortable with that fact, the better.

The biggest thing having kids does is it forces you to sit down and get really clear on what’s important to you. For me, my family is first and foremost, with my career and businesses coming in a close second.

Once you get clear, a lot of things come into focus for you. I’m at a point now where I have this really clear vision of what’s important, what I want to get out of life, and then try to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

You can’t do everything at once, and not everything happens as fast as you want. But you can get a heckuva lot done and achieve most (if not all) of your goals if you stay focused, hustle and continue to work hard.

Q: How can the philosophy that Physical Preparation 101 presents help other trainers and coaches with their logistics as they work?

Ive gone through a handful of continuing education courses along with reading several books to further myself as a coach, and I really enjoyed this article on how to Fill Your Knowledge Gaps.

Filling in Your Knowledge Gaps – Mike Robertson at RTS

If I had understood your R7concept when I first started out, I would have been on a whole other level.

MR: I think the big thing PP101 does is it gives you a system to build from. It’s not just a collection of exercises or programs, but an entire system that you can adopt and then build from.

I always use the example of myself coming up – sure I had a few people I looked up to, but I had to cobble my system together for years until I got it to a point I was comfortable with things.

And during those years, I made a ton of mistakes.

The goal here is to fast-track the coaches and trainers who follow this system. Even if you don’t use it verbatim, use it as a platform to help tweak, refine and improve your own coaching philosophy.

Q: You have quite the training list – elite athletes, post-op rehab clients, and clients who are looking to lose weight and look great. Which is your favorite type of client to work with, and if you love them all, what do you do differently to get them all results? Loaded question, I know.

MR: Very loaded question, but the answer is easy.

Right now, the group I’m most passionate about training are the pro athletes. I can’t help it – I love the idea of big risks, and big rewards. It must be what it’s like to play high-stakes blackjack or poker.

Q: Many coaches and trainers Ive interacted with throughout the past few years have been highly focused on assessments. Does this product go over any of those items? If not, do you have any other resources on beginning assessments as a trainer or coach?

MR: I feel like I’ve done assessments in numerous platforms (Assess and Correct in a DVD, Diagnosis Fitness in a live course, etc.) and wanted to focus more on the programming and coaching side of the equation.

Plus, our assessment process is very intensive and laborious. If I want to cover all of that again, Bill and I will probably do it in the future when we start up our IFAST mentorship program.

Q: Focusing on results for the athletes and clients I work with is priority number one for me. How do you filter these results through Physical Preparation 101?


MR: I think the starting point for results is creating the right program, and choosing the right exercises.

From the programming side (sets, reps, rest periods, etc.) you have to create a program that induces the kind of adaptation you’re looking for.

In other words, you wouldn’t do heavy sets of 5 with 5 minutes rest and expect to lose a ton of body fat. So you have to know all of the variables and how to piece them together to create a synergistic training effect.

On the other hand, there’s the exercise selection piece – which is part programming, and part ocaching. I’m a big believer in putting people in a position to be successful early-on.

I may love the back squat, but is it the best choice for the client or athlete standing in front of me?

And furthermore, is it the best way to learn how to squat?

So results come down to (at a minimum) designing the right program. There’s a ton more (motivation, coaching, adherence, etc.) but without a great program you’ll never achieve the results you want.

Q: Ive followed your blog when you would still write down some of your own training in a training log. What is your training look like now?

MR: Yeah, well let’s just say it’s a lot less impressive now than it used to be!

My programming now is a lot more holistic than in years past. I’ll typically strength training 2-3x/week, and then do conditioning of some form (walking, biking, shooting hoops, etc.) another 2-3x/week.

I’m at that point in life where I absolutely still want to be strong, but I want to be healthy and fit as well. Kids play a role in this, too, as you start to think about the big picture and wanting to be around with them for as long as you can.

Q: What does your typical day to day look like? Monday morning, no crazy holidays to recover from.

MR: First off, there’s no such thing as a “normal” day! However, there are two distinct times of year for me.

The summer is my slowest time for coaching. As such, I’m using this time to revamp my website, create content, update my podcast, and a bunch of other big projects.

My week might look like this:

M: Train, Intern Education, Communcation and weekly catch-up (I don’t e-mail on the weekend, so this has to happen)

T: Writing/Blogging, Indy Eleven training

W: Podcasts, Writing, Etc.

Th: Train, Indy Eleven training, guitar lesson

F: Any final work that needs done, random coaching sessions, and write programs

It may not look like a lot, but trust me, there’s a lot of work getting done in a typical week!

From September-February, the schedule is quite a bit more coaching focused, as all my baseball and soccer guys are in their off-season. It looks more like this:

M-W-F: Train, Intern Education, and Coach Athletes

T-Th: Writing, Podcasting, etc.

Q: What other articles or resources do you think you have available that can help beginner coaches and trainers improve at a massive rate?

MR: You know, I’m not sure there are tons out there – and it’s not just because I’m in love with my product!

Part of the reason I created this is because there isn’t a great go-to resource for young coaches. There are lots of focal products out there (mobility, strength, power, etc.) but not one that shows you how to put all the pieces together into one streamlined program.

Q: Ive been crushing podcasts as of late. I love listening to Tim Ferriss, Coach Ron McKeeferys Iron Game Chalk Talk, and EliteFTS Sports Performance Podcast, to name a few. Do you have any that you listen to when traveling or training?

MR: Tim Ferriss has by far the best podcast in the history of ever. Great guests, great questions, and just a real understanding of how to put a great show together. I actually find myself taking the long way to work to listen to more of it!

As far as fitness shows go, I love the Elite podcast. I’m actually working on re-branding and re-launching my show as well, so stay tuned for that – I think you’ll love where I’m taking it!

Q: Any new books youve been reading and would suggest? Ive started an impromptu book club with co-founder and vice president of Cressey Sports Performance Pete Dupuis (@Pete_Dupuis), and were looking for a new book to start.

MR: I’m a little all over the board with my books these days, as I feel I have a ton of different areas I want to get better at: Training, nutrition, writing, speaking, spirituality, etc.

However, the last training book I read was Alex Viada’s “Hybrid Athlete.” It’s really interesting in the fact that he’s been so successful in two worlds (pure strength and pure endurance) that are totally in opposition to each other.

(Note from Miguel: Alex Viada is coming to Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, MA on June 28th – be there!)

Q: Is there any reason why people shouldnt get this product? Im obviously very bias to your products because Ive been getting your products since probably 2009/10.

MR: If you’ve literally seen or read everything I’ve ever done, then there won’t be a ton of “new” stuff. And in that same vein, if your only goal is to get “new” material, then this won’t be a great fit.

There’s not a ton new here – the beauty in this is that we streamline and systematize everything you’ve probably learned from me over the years. Furthermore, we start with the 30,000 foot view of programming and coaching, and then get more and more focal to dial in on the details.

Q: What is on your continuing education list in the upcoming months/year? More specifically, what books, or other coaches do you look to that help influence the way you coach and do your job?

MR: Like my reading, my continuing education is all over the place these days. Two areas in the training world I’m always interested in getting better at are power and speed, so those are areas I’m constantly addressing.

As far as con ed seminars go, I’ve got our seminar here in November where I’m bringing in Boo Schexnayder for an entire day. If you don’t know anything about Boo, he’s a world class track coach and someone I think we can all learn a ton from.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about you and how you help others?

MR: The best place to find out more about me is my website, There’s close to a decade of free content there, ranging from blogs and articles to podcasts and videos.

Thanks for bringing me on Miguel – I appreciate it!


Pick up Physical Preparation 101 – $100 discount ends on Friday!


As always,

Keep it funky.


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