Podcast Episode 5: Pete Cohen

Learn How To Use Emotional Mind Hacks In Order To Become A Better Trainer, With Pete Cohen

It can be argued that the fitness industry only goes skin deep. That is, the industry only focuses on body image and the aesthetics of staying physically fit and healthy. The mental side of personal fitness is largely ignored. This can lead to trainers feeling like they are unable to relate to clients properly. This can also cause problems for people in their personal lives. How can trainers improve the way they think about themselves and the way they view fitness?

“The best way to understand the human condition is to speak to people” – Pete Cohen

About Pete Cohen

Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading keynote speakers on the subject of psychology. He has worked with high-profile clients, including the Arsenal football team during the time that they won the Premier League title whilst going unbeaten as “The Invincibles”, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan and runner Roger Black. He has also worked closely with BUPA in delivering training to fitness coaches about how they can deliver more effective weight-loss programmes.

Currently, he is running the Fitness Mindset Academy. This programme aims to equip trainers will the mental tools they need to get the best results with their clients. Pete believes that the current focus on physicality and outward appearance in the fitness industry could actually be harming personal trainers’ chances of feeling fulfilled in themselves and delivering the best service they can to their clients.


  • Pete talks about his success with previous clients, including the Arsenal football team
  • How the fitness industry has an over-reliance on physical results and neglects the mental strategies that trainers need to have a balanced outlook on fitness
  • How personal trainers can focus on their mindset in order to deliver a better service to their clients
  • How personal and financial freedom can be achieved by using these mind hacks


“The majority of people in our industry, they don’t really go anywhere and many of them fall by the wayside and maybe a lot of that has to do with the simple fact that they don’t have a strong vision of where they are going”

Connect with Pete Cohen

Website: https://petecohen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655155931&fref=ts

Email: pete@petecohen.com


Interview Transcript

JH: Hi my name is Joe Hanney, I’m the founder and host of The Fit Man Collective. As always, thank you for being here and listening to my show. As you know by now this show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man.

In my previous episodes we spoke about The Untold, the untold truth about personal trainers and the state of the fitness industry. In this new series, we’re going to turn our attention to freedom. Freedom of what you might ask? Well this could be different for everyone – my guest and I talk about a number of things that, when implemented, can create tremendous freedom in your business. This can bring about greater results for your client and also your personal life


VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it. Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world. Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition.

Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mindset hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant. Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment. With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.


JH: Welcome back. Today I’m speaking to Pete Cohen. Pete has been in the fitness industry since 1989. He studied psychology, is fascinated by human behaviour, and has created something pretty amazing for his trainers to get access to.

What you’ll learn in today’s episode is: why the mind frame might be the most important thing to address before we consider exercise and nutrition, how there are many people who don’t aspire for greatness – personal trainers included.

We discuss how trainers can put on their very own “be able to change” workshops for their clients. How being told by our parents “don’t talk to strangers” and “money doesn’t grow on trees” and “don’t copy others” could well be limiting our potential, if we don’t understand the effects of these comments, and more important, how to use them to your advantage, plus so much more.

Hello Pete welcome to the show.


PC: Hey Joe good to be here.


JH: Good, excellent, I’m very excited about this show in particular. Just for the purpose of the audience can you introduce yourself? I know there is a huge background story to yourself. If you can do the best you can in keeping it short and sweet.


PC: Of course. My name is obviously Pete Cohen. I’ve been in the health and fitness industry since 1989. I’m qualified as a fitness instructor and aerobics instructor. I worked from the gym floor for many years then I went back to university. I studied psychology specializing in sports psychology.

I have worked with many athletes and worked with many companies. I’m fascinated with human behaviour and helping people be the best they can be. So yeah I just like to help people, that’s what I feel my role in life is.


JH: I love the fact that you’re very into the behavioural side of things, because a large proportion of it is mainly nutritional and physical wouldn’t you agree?

And you’re coming for the angle of a behavioural change for personal trainers and their clients.


PC: It’s one of those areas that we don’t really talk about and we’re not taught about it in school. Even when you study psychology there’s only a certain kind of level that you go to, to understand the human condition.

The best way to understand the human condition is to speak to people. Even though I can talk – I could probably get in the Great Britain Talking team – I’ve realized that you can learn so much by just listening to people.  When you start to listen, you see some really familiar patterns and habits that people have.

I see myself as a little bit of a scientist if you like, and I’ve been working for the last 20 odd years really helping people distill what’s going on inside their own minds. Then I support them going through a process of change. Now I suppose more than ever I really like helping other people, other trainers, and other coaches to do the same thing.


JH: At that’s your Fitness Mindset Academy certification that you’re currently educating trainers on.


PC: Yeah it was an idea that had been going around for a long time in my own mind. I was very hesitant to do it for some reason, I’m not sure why. However, I really decided to do it and really put things into a plan, into a process that trainers could start to understand. Things like willpower, confidence, self-esteem, motivation.

I want trainers to understand them and firstly apply them to their own lives. Afterwards I want people to apply them to their clients. making them more effective at what they do. The biggest muscle we need to address is our brain.


JH: You say you’ve been doing this for a very long time. You have worked the likes of really famous sports stars that people will know, like Sally Gunnell, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Roger Black. I believe that you even worked with the Arsenal football team when they were known as the “Invincibles” is that right?


PC: Yeah I worked with them for 2 years. I was kind of lucky, it was the right place at the right time. I learned a lot about management,  I learned a lot about leadership and I learned about who wants to do what was really necessary.

I must admit that so many athletes – I was quite astounded – were just happy to go with the flow, rather really striving for greatness. It’s just easy to be like everyone else, even if you are really really good at what you do, But do you want to be the best like a Ronaldo or Messi? Then you really really have to kind of leave no stone unturned and have to work that much harder than everybody else.


JH: You did a lot of work for TV. Just doing my brief research you were the resident life coach for GMTV – this is helping the general public. We’re not just talking sport or athletes or top professionals, we’re talking the general public on a grand scale. Did you see that there are similarities? I suppose there is because we’re humans at the end of the day. From your point of view, your perspective, what was the thing that really popped out to you?


PC: Yeah I think one of the most common things is how most of us have a common past. That when people get together they will talk about what’s wrong, what’s missing, what’s not happening, so we have a very common past and that’s what people like to talk about.

I realized quite quickly that a lot of people don’t have a common future, a lot of us aren’t aspiring towards greatness and going “right, this is exactly what I want”. I remember reading Think And Grow Rich years ago. Napoleon Hill said it’s only about 2% of the people in the world who have a burning desire to be very clear as to what they are doing with their life and where they are going.

Once you can help people evoke the part of the brain that could connect with themselves. There was a study that I was reading about where they put these people into an FMRI machine. They got people to think about themselves first and foremost, and then they would observe what part of the brain lit up.

Then they would observe the part of the brain that lit up when they thought of a stranger. They would see that for most people it was a slightly different part of the brain.

Afterwards, they got people to think about themselves in the future, 5, 10, 15 years in the future. What’s interesting is that for some people, the part of the brain that lit up when they thought about a stranger, the same part lit up that identified themselves in the future.

But so many people don’t see themselves better, healthier and happier in the future or more successful. They don’t really act in accordance with the person that they want to be.


JH: That’s very interesting, and just touching on a moment ago when you spoke about how your hope is to give trainers the tools to help not only themselves, but also their clients, with the skills and strategies that you’re looking to teach them in this Mindset Academy.

How people can’t see their future selves, could we categorise the trainers in that, right, themselves?


PC: Yeah of course, we work in an industry where about 2% of people are successful and manage to carve out a career for themselves. The majority of people in our industry, they don’t really go anywhere and many of them fall by the wayside. A lot of that has to do with the simple fact that they don’t have a strong vision of where they are going.   


JH: This is exactly what your course is hoping to do with these trainers. How come it took so long to deliver this to the industry? I know that you’ve been doing this for a very long time so I’m putting you on the spot right now.


PC: Well I had a weight-loss programme that was very successful, it was bought by BUPA in 2003. It made me a lot of money. I never felt comfortable with this happening right in the beginning because when I found out what they wanted to do with it, it didn’t sit right with me.

Basically, we had trained people to deliver an 8-week weight loss programme, and of course it focused around behaviour change and nutrition. The behavioural change part of it was what BUPA picked up because they really realized that we really have to help people change the way they think.

It was brilliant because we had lots of trainers who this really helped them become much more skilful in the way that they delivered. Most trainers are OK getting up in front of a few, some with getting up in front of a lot, but the way we were training them was they were almost becoming entertainers.

How to take the subject of weight loss, fitness, health, and talk about it in such a way that it inspired people and make them go “you know what? I’ve never thought of it like that before. That’s amazing, I could do that”.

Having a group of like-minded people over the course of it, we were just getting incredible results. We’ve started this again. We’ve started teaching people how to deliver behavioural change. We’ve put together a 6-week programme where trainers could start delivering behavioural change workshops to people, in conjunction with maybe doing some form of exercise as well. I know how passionate you are, I know about your success and what you’ve done is incredible.

I should interview you, because your mindset is a mindset that a lot of trainers could really do with developing. My goal is to help lots of trainers have a business that isn’t just about fitness – it’s about life, well-being, happiness and joy. That’s what we’re doing.


JH: I’m very fascinated by the subject. We are only really ever taught a personal trainer certificate around exercise. Even to talk about nutrition on the course is very rare right now. But if it’s just exercise and nutrition that we focus on, we’re missing a major piece of the puzzle here, which is the mindset.


PC: It’s the same as doctors. How much time do doctors actually spend looking at nutrition? Apparently, it’s virtually nothing and even the nutrition they are looking at is probably the Dark Ages of being told eat lots of carbs and cut fat out of your diet.

It’s not just our industry, it’s many industries and mainly one of the most important ones which is medicine.


JH: Yeah, it’s a tremendous business model.


PC: Absolutely, it’s based on drugs and the repeatability of drugs, so it’s a brilliant industry. You know I’m not a massive fan of it but you know, hey ho.


JH: Talking of this conversation I suppose what you’re really saying is to focus on the preventative side of it.

To throw exercise and diet strategies continually at the same client who has probably experienced that – we could be talking of someone who has been obese – they’ve usually been overweight for more than several years. It’s not something that just happened overnight. Just to throw extra nutrition and exercise strategies at them is not the greatest thing to do.

We are not focusing on their mindset to help them shift those limiting beliefs, those patterns that are not serving them very well. I suppose for a trainer to become better and establish themselves in the industry, then learning to do this themselves at the Fitness Mindset Academy is going to put them in a good position for the future.

I hear or read that just by 2020, another 24% of trainers are going to enter this industry. And I think I read on your website that there’s around 14,000 trainers in the UK alone.

If they really want to stand out or survive in this industry then it’s imperative that they take on this idea of “if  I really want to change the client it has to come from a preventative angle”.

They have to get to the roots, the causes that started the challenge with this client. Would you agree with that? Could you add to that?    


PC: It’s an industry that is so easy to get into. You can literally pay a few hundred pounds to start the process.And before you know it you could be a Level 2, a Level 3. What is it that you can actually do? Years ago my coach once said to me “When I interview people I ask them what can you do? And then they start telling me what they’ve done. And I say ‘listen I’m not asking you what you did, I’m asking what can you do?’”

I think that’s something that trainers should really start to process their heads around. They might know stuff about how the body works, but what actually can they do? They’ve all got to get into the business of being results-focused.

I often say this to someone “look, If I wanted you to build me a house, I wouldn’t say, can you start building it? I want to see what houses you built before. Show me what you’ve done, show me some of your clients”.

That’s where any trainer that listens to this will say “well look, do you want to be good or do you want to be great, or do you want to be exceptional?” Because the enemy of exceptional is great, the enemy of great is good. If you just settle for, it’s the easiest thing to do.

To be the best means going the extra mile and doing what the others aren’t doing. This is something that I learnt from one of my mentors. He said “observe the masses and do the opposite”. If you do what the masses are doing in this industry, then good luck, see you later, because you won’t be around for very long.


JH: I suppose that a lot of them don’t want to be any different. They may have this limiting belief going on within themselves internally, right? So I just see this whole movement, this Fitness Mindset Academy as helping the personal trainer.

Once they’ve experienced it and had that perspective, then it’s only going to be even more powerful for when they come to teach it to their clients. I suppose this is what I like about this is the congruence.

The fact that if personal trainers took out coaching or investment in themselves to then pay it forward to their clients. I know that you can fully appreciate the power of having a coach. Do you think that personal trainers could take a leaf out of your book and hire personal coaches themselves to really appreciate the power of what coaching can do? Because I don’t see many personal trainers taking it upon themselves to have that coach.Which to me is quite hypocritical.,      


PC: There are 3 things that we are all told in life: we’re told, don’t talk to strangers, money doesn’t grow on trees and don’t copy.

If you want to be successful, you need to get over all of those things because, first thing’s first, you need to talk to people, especially if you don’t have enough clients.

You’ve got to believe that there’s a lot of money out there and you’re worthy of money and money will come to you. Then the third thing that is just as important, is to copy.

Why re-invent the wheel? Why not just copy success, why not copy someone like you Joe? As far as coaching is concerned, the word “coach” literally comes from coach and horses. Taking someone from where they are to where they want to go.

It’s difficult to go on your own. I believe that there are two aspects to this: one is getting coached, which I think is someone holding you to account for what you say you’re going to do. And then the other level is getting yourself around like minded people. Napoleon Hill talks about that being the Mastermind Alliance. If we work together, what we could achieve in 1 year is what we could probably achieve on our own in 10 years.  


JH: I completely agree. I certainly can vouch for that, having coaches for myself. I attempted to do it alone for 5, 10 probably 12 years. It wasn’t until I got one coach to really work with me that he got me to execute on certain goals and targets that I’d set. That really made the difference. I probably learned more and achieved more in that 1 year than in the previous 10. I can completely vouch for that.


PC: Well I think it is so easy just to get sidetracked, There’s so much distraction. However, if you work with someone that person, it can be so helpful in making you manifest and say “you know, I never thought of it like that”.

I think there’s a frailty to everyone, and even great people, there’s frailty. It’s amazing when you get together and just work with someone. You can work on frailties and you can manage them because nobody’s perfect. I haven’t met that person yet.


JH: Very agreeable with what you’ve said then.I want to flip this slightly, just for the trainers who are listening in, to see how powerful this can potentially be. Talking of willpower and goal-setting and limiting beliefs.

Let’s take goal-setting because I’m not sure if a whole lot of this goes on with trainers and clients. Could you provide an example where trainers are not doing the goal-setting or they don’t quite understand the willpower? What effect could that have on clients or maybe later on themselves?


PC: We ran our first course and then we challenged everyone to take some decisive action in setting up a group, telling the people they know “look, I’m starting a six-week course, and it’s just the first one I’m doing, it’s going to be run at a cheaper price”.

They had to set something up on click-funnels they had to get payment made through Stripe. It’s amazing, only a handful of them did it, because immediately they were being put on the spot of “come on let’s do it”.

The best way to learn is to teach. You really see the ones who are prepared to do something and are prepared to get uncomfortable. I’m curious what you think with trainers  – that a lot of people come into the industry because it’s about them. It’s about their chests, their biceps, it’s nothing to do with anybody else.

It’s about how they look, it was for me. I was massively insecure when I was a trainer – I did like people but it was my insecurity. As I got older I realized, wow, it’s not about me, it’s about you.

I really looked to find out “what is it that my clients need, how can I help them?” Because I am absolutely determined to be the best that I can be.

I think that most people are not motivated to be the best that they can be. They are just happy to go with the flow. The biggest reason that people fail is self-sabotage, they just sabotage their efforts: “I can’t do that, it’s not going to work, I’m going to fail, no-one’s going to like me”.

A lot of these people need a kick up the arse, not the nice and soft approach. People need to wake up because you are not going to be able to create the life you want by possibly doing what you’re doing – you’re going to have to do something else.

You’re going to have to be a better personal trainer, otherwise you fall into the bracket where you’re just like so many others.


JH: That’s a great point and they just become very similar to everyone else, so they don’t quite stand out.

That makes it even more confusing for them, and harder for a client to seek them out. Before you know it, trainers tend to step away from the industry. However, if they really took a step back and looked at it from the point of view of what you’re saying – if you can become the best you possibly can be – then there’s a massive opportunity for them.

To bring the question back in as well – you’re right that I turned to the industry for different reasons that were ever known to me. But it wasn’t until I started to see a trend. I was getting results in the fitness and exercise strategies but it wasn’t anything to be shouting about.

I remember seeing “after” pictures where they are still in that kind of shape. I wanted to approach it not just from an exercise point of view, but also get into their minds. When I started studying the mindset of the clients, it was then that I found out in myself.

I thought “maybe I’m not setting goals for myself and maybe I don’t have confidence in certain areas of my life”. That’s when I started to do work on myself and it was kind of a win-win situation.

I was putting my clients first in order to help them, and it kind of reversed and switched back onto me. That’s when I started to question my congruency and barriers – that if I’m not really helping myself to become the best person I can be, then who am I to give that piece of advice to my clients?


PC: I think that’s what a lot of coaches, trainers, therapists do – it can be avoidance. It can be to get everyone to think that I’m good.

The fact is that I would encourage every personal trainer to go to work on yourself, however you choose to do that. Fitness is a big part of that, but go to work on yourself and realize that what you have to offer people is priceless.

You’re brilliant because you care and you’re brilliant because you want to make a difference. You might not have all the results you want, you might not have the house and the car you want, I wouldn’t let it affect you too much. Just allocate time each week to develop yourself.      


JH: Talking of developing yourself, I know you are a big believer in this. I know you don’t ever tell people what to do because that isn’t your way of coaching.

I suppose by going on the course and investing in the Fitness Mindset Academy, you teach the trainers a better way of coaching to empower their clients to come to those decisions. Then the clients feel empowered themselves. Is that right?


PC: When we talk about becoming a better coach, this is something I learned from Dr Rakowski, one of the top nutritionists in the world.

He just said to me, whenever you meet someone, how best can I help this person? Because if you come from that mindset, people do business with people that they like.

If you really show that you really care, people remember that. And they might not end up being your client but they might just end up telling people. I’ve heard people say “wow you really understand me” and I didn’t say anything! I just listened, I really listened with every part of my being and that’s the best way to coach.  


JH: I’ve been in that moment a few times when I’ve had a conversation with yourself. I’ve experienced how you’ve listened to what I’ve got to say. Whether it’s a challenge or whether it’s an idea it tends to just dissolve naturally on its own without you having to battle it internally. It can be really empowering.


PC: It’s fascinating. It really doesn’t take much to be the elite, it really doesn’t. It starts off with that decision.

One of the things that we teach people is around self-talk. What is it that you are saying to yourself? Because often what we say to ourselves massively affects our lives.

This is something that I learned many years ago: there are 4 levels to self-talk. The first one is “I’m not good enough, I can’t do that, it’s too difficult, it’s not going to work, they don’t like me” It’s negative, it’s the sort of conversation that no-one would ever really want to listen to.

The next level is “I could, I might, that sounds like a good idea you know”. The third level is “that’s it, that’s it! Enough is enough! I’m not doing it” The straw that broke the camel’s back.

And the fourth level is where you say to yourself “you know what? I’m going to do this, I’m in control, I’ve got the power, I’m better than this!”

Then there’s another level which people often don’t talk about. This is when people can choose to operate from this model of reality: which is that we’re all connected. Everything happens for a reason. I hear people say it, but when you apply it, it’s magical. You can really start to operate out of that model of the world then you think “OK, this has happened for a reason, what do I learn from this? How do I move on? How can I get better?”

But there’s lots of little things, and everyone needs help. When people get to work with people like you and I, what they’re really learning from is our experience.    


JH: I think that’s priceless within itself: experience. You can do all the qualifications, but I think the difference is by somebody having that experience.

With me and my coach, it felt like they had dealt with my issues already, and they knew me more than I knew myself. They were guiding me. They weren’t telling me what to do, but they were just guiding me. Then it lead me to make that choice, which came from that place you already mentioned. I was creating acceptance and that possibility of peace, which made me feel even more confident in myself.

Talking of the things that you spoke about. Just for any of the trainers who are listening, is there any kind of really common thoughts that may go on in the trainer’s head? I’m just trying to think of it off the top of my head right now.


PC: Well, I suppose approaching people.We’ve all got people that “oh I’m not going to approach that person, no one talks to that person”.

Well no, get out of your own way, that’s what the issue is for most people. Get out of your own way. Decide that you are going to grow your own network, no matter what. If you’re going to grow your network, then go crazy in getting to know people.

Understand that it might be a bit of time before someone comes round and wants to start working with you. Sometimes it might take 5 to 12 exposures before someone goes “I really like you, I want to work with you, you really listen to me”.

I suppose the other side of it is with your own existing clients, really start to work on getting results more than ever.


JH: We put our focus on something that we don’t like and turn our attention to, rather than just entertaining the idea that clients come to us because they want an exercise specialist. It’s more about when you are able to listen better, and improve on the results that you already have. What do you see is the biggest problem in the industry or the major opportunity?


PC: The world is just full of people who are just crying out to get results and be healthy. We have an ageing population and a lot of young people who are in some kind of fitness modelling thing.

I would encourage trainers to start specialising and maybe coming up with their own way of working. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as new ideas. Look at other people and learn from other people.

Come up with your own 6-week or 12-week transformation programme, or 6 and 12-week health and wellbeing programme. There’s probably never been a better time to get into the industry. Become an entrepreneur within the industry and carve out a career for yourself.

I don’t know about you but I left school with 1 GCSE, I didn’t learn to read until I was 13. If I can do it and sell a business for 2.4 million then what could you do? Well, I know what you can do because I’m aware of what you’ve done, but I’m talking about everyone else.   


JH: I think it’s an important point there that it’s hard work re-inventing the wheel. That even goes with the ability of the trainer who is listening to this podcast. The best learning I ever had was with trainers because I’ve never even seen it as competition  

There’s so many people out there that someone might just prefer my style and my mannerisms, how I approach life. It doesn’t mean that I’m better than them, It’s just that person prefers to work with me.


PC: Everyone’s different and this is a big thing that I would encourage everyone to do – not to compare themselves to others, and be a better version of themselves.

You’re on a hiding to nothing if you are comparing yourself to others. But if you want more, you can be more: get yourself a coach and get yourself around some like-minded people.

Set yourself some big goals, really big goals, you know goals that scare you, and go and be amazing.


JH: Just to finish this and summarize on this whole conversation Pete. Comparing yourself to somebody, if those trainers have a problem with that – obviously this is one of the top 5 problems that your clients are having challenges with right now – if you don’t come to an understanding of yourself and learn how to manage this, how are you going to help that client manage that same challenge?  That’s what’s going to help in the long run in terms of getting tremendous results.    


PC: It’s amazing the results that you can get. What I’ve observed especially over the past few years is this. Whenever I’ve decided to change, and once my belief levels went up, the results I got were starting to be so much better.


JH: Absorbing. I’m fascinated by what you do Pete, just for those who are listening in please share how they can find out more about you, because I know you’ve got a tonne of stuff going on right now.  


PC: I broadcast every day in the UK at 7 am. Facebook, it’s absolutely free. It’s 10 minutes a week, every day with a different theme. I would encourage people to see what I’m doing.

I don’t care if people take what I’m doing and you can copy it and change it. And then learn from someone who has been doing this for a long, long time.

For any fitness professionals, I would encourage them to check out what we are doing with the Fitness Mindset Academy. If they just go to Fitnessmindset.academy. And if they go and see that we’ll send them some emails where we can explain a little bit about it.

They can also see a video that we made with some of the people that came on the first programme that we did and we can speak to people if they want to find out about it you know?


JH: Excellent, well Pete I just want to say thank you for your time.


PC: It’s a pleasure.  


JH: I know that the audience is going to take a lot from this.


PC: Thank you. I would just add to that. You’re someone who I would encourage everyone who’s in the fitness industry, especially who want to have their own business, to really look at what you did.

Because I’ve seen what you did and I’ve been to your facility and I’ve seen what goes on there and it’s amazing, it’s remarkable, so you’re someone I’d definitely look to follow if I was looking to upskill myself and copy success.


JH: I appreciate that Pete, thank you very much sir.


PC: Yes take care, bye bye, see you soon.


JH: That’s episode 5 in total but episode 1 in this new series Freedom done. You can find more about Pete and Fitness Mindset Academy at www.fitnessmindset.academy/academy.

Next up, we have Tim McCavitt, who has a vast amount of experience when teaching the Sedona method. The Sedona method is a process that allows you to change yourself from the inside out by showing how to eliminate the unconscious blocks that hold you back from having, being and doing whatever you choose. Talk about a show that epitomises freedom this is one of them.

Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show the head over to the Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we’ll be having deeper conversations about this and many other shows. It is also a confidential place where we’ll be helping each other become better personal trainers by becoming better men.

To get the show notes and links then head over to www.thefitmancollective.com.

Podcast Episode 4: Ryan Michler

How A Better Understanding Of Masculinity Can Make You A Better Man, With Ryan Michler

In the Western world we have lost some sense of what it means to be masculine. If we look back at the generations that our fathers and grandfathers grew up in, the expectations placed on them as men were different to many of the expectations in the modern era. For example, our grandfathers were likely expected to serve in the armed forces or take up a labour-intensive job at a very young age. What has changed? And can having a better understanding of the historical expectations of what it meant to be “masculine” make us better men today?

“If you are doing things that are in conflict with the way that you view life or the things that are valuable to you – you need to make a change” – Ryan Michler

About Ryan Michler

Ryan is a personal coach who founded The Order Of Man collective to help people understand what it means to be masculine and what it takes to be a man. His aim is for men to use this information to improve their lives in order to become better sons, husbands, fathers and business people. Ultimately, he wants men to reclaim their sense of self-mastery.

He grew up without a permanent father figure. One of his stepdads was abusive, whilst the other one was an alcoholic who was not always present for Ryan. This shaped his view that when he grew up, he would be there for his loved ones and his community.

A few years ago, his preoccupation with work and his inability to deal with anger issues almost lead to the collapse of his marriage. After a period of introspection, he was able to realize that he had to take responsibility for his own sense of self-mastery and to truly become the man that he thought he was. This meant that he had to become a better father to his children and a better husband to his wife.

This lead him to create the Order Of Man Collective, which aims to create discourse around everything related to masculinity and manhood. Whether it is related to money, relationships or fatherhood, Ryan is determined to share his experience with others who may be searching for answers.


  • Ryan discusses how his upbringing shaped his view of masculinity and his responsibilities as a man.
  • He speculates how his life would have differed if he had a male role model in his life.
  • How many men feel disconnected because they are unsure of what is means to be masculine.
  • How discussing problems in an open way can allow men to develop and define their own sense of masculinity.
  • Why a coach can help men make sense of what it means to be truly masculine.


“Creating margins in your life is really going to help you improve before it gets to a situation that’s out of your hands”

Connect with Ryan Michler

Website: http://www.orderofman.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/orderofman

Email: ryan@orderofman.com


Interview Transcript

JH: This is the final episode in this four-part series. And what an episode I have for you. Today I’m speaking to Ryan Michler, founder of The Order Of Man.

Ryan started the Order Of Man to give men a community, a resource, to become better. Better at what you ask? All facets of life: from self-mastery to family, from money to contribution and everything in between.

Here are just a few other things that Ryan and I discuss: we discuss that by the time he was 3 years old, his dad was out of the picture. And he had a couple of stepfathers come into his life, where one was an alcoholic and the other was verbally and emotionally abusive.

We discuss how his wife almost called it quits on their marriage and how he then went on a journey of self-discovery. We ask ourselves, could turning our focus to just one area – in this case, fitness – cause further problems?

We share our experiences of how a coach can help you see things that you can’t see for yourself. How role models are very important, and how not being congruent can create inconsistency and inefficiency across all areas of your life. Stay tuned to the very end, when Ryan shares how learning about fitness and losing weight, were in fact very valuable business lessons as well. Could fitness be the foundation to having it all?


VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it.

Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world. Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition. Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mindset hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant.

Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment. With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.

JH: Fit pros, what’s up? My name is Joe Hanney, the host and founder of the Fit Man Collective. As always, thank you for being here and listening to my podcast show. As you know by now this show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man.

I ask the all-important questions that as men, we feel that we can’t ask. Especially if we build up this illusion that we are busy, comfortable, and like robots almost. Selling the image of fitness, our bodies and our health are exhausted.

It’s often done at the expense of the other areas of our lives. Family, love, connection, intimacy, freedom, self-mastery, financial security to list a few. These are the blind spots that I hope this show will help you to explore. Before I introduce you to my guest today, I just want to let you know that you can get all the show notes, links and everything we talk about at www.thefitmancollective.com.

And second, make sure if you haven’t done so already that you join our Facebook group the Fit Man Collective at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective.

Now I want to take a moment to introduce you to my guest. Most of his childhood was spent without a permanent father figure in his life. He was never taught how to work on his car, he never had a chance to rough house it with his dad and he didn’t even learn how to throw a baseball correctly until he was a freshman in high school.

Looking back on his life, he wonders how it would have been different if he had that permanent male influence in his life. He often asks “what would the world look like if there were more men in it?”

He’s not just talking about males, he’s talking about men. There is a difference. Now Ryan has sons of his own, he’s committed to being the dad that he never had.

Ryan strongly believes that as guys, we’re losing the meaning of manhood. We’ve gone away from being strong, rugged and independent and tough, to a collection of wimpy, dependent whiners. Something has got to be done, and that is why Ryan started The Order Of Man.

That is why I have him on the show today. Let’s just see how we can make men out of the personal trainers amongst us.  OK, talking of all things masculinity, and manliness, I can’t think of a better man than the man himself Ryan Michler, founder of The Order Of Man and The Iron Council.

Hey Ryan, welcome to the show!


RM: How’re you doing? Thanks for having me on I’m looking forward to our conversation today.


JH: Now I’m very excited and really appreciate that you’re taking time out to talk to speak to the audience today. II know the personal trainers and fitness professionals are going to take a lot away from this.


RM: Well good, that’s what we like and we’ll do our best.


JH: Yes, yes. So Ryan, just for the audience please tell the audience, what do you do today? What is the essence of your work and what’s your day-to-day stuff now?


RM: We run Order Of Man, which you mentioned, but at the end of the day our goal is to help men become better men.

So we want them to be better leaders, better fathers, better business owners, brothers, you name it – we want guys to be better guys.

We do that through a blog, we do that through a podcast. We’ve got a Facebook group, we’ve got some Masterminds. Next week we’ve got a live event that we’re doing. The goal is to give these guys all the tools and the strategies and the resources.

We’re having a lot of conversations with high-achievers and high performers to give them everything that they need to improve their lives and take their lives to the next level. That is a 30,000-foot view, we can delve into that a little deeper, but that’s an overview of what we are doing.   


JH: How did that come about? Because I know you have a very interesting story. So how did The Order Of Man come about? Share your story if you don’t mind.


RM: It actually starts when I was 3 years old. I can do this fairly quickly, so don’t get too concerned with that. My dad, unfortunately, was out of the picture for the most part. By the time I was 3 years old, I had a stepfather come into my life.

I remember glimpses of him being a good father – we worked on a pinewood derby car together and we would go to the sprint car races. Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic. He was never abusive, he just wasn’t present as a father.

I had another stepfather come into my life who was verbally and emotionally abusive. So I never really knew what it was like to be a good man, I didn’t have anyone to model. I didn’t know what a good husband did or how he behaved.

I didn’t know how a real man takes care of his kids. I didn’t really start to understand this fully until I started getting into my marriage, and I started having children of my own. There came a point in time where my wife and I decided to call it quits, which was mostly her.

Looking back on it now, I think she was absolutely right in being concerned about our marriage: I wasn’t there, I wasn’t there in the present. When I was I was really angry, with not only her but just the world in general.

I didn’t know how to deal with any of this stuff, so I went on this self-discovery mission to figure out what I needed to do. I thought about who I needed to become, what I needed to change and what information I needed to learn.

Throughout the journey of that over the past 7 years, plus some of other work that I’m doing, I came to realise what it means to be a man and how a man behaves. I learned how a man acts, and how a man leads his family and his neighbourhood and his community.

I don’t have it all figured out and I’m still learning along the way. Through the things I’ve learned and the conversations I’ve had with guys, they’re still in the mix of pain, discomfort and misery.

They are feeling like there’s got to be more to life – not really understanding what it is. As I help these guys step more fully into their role as men and really reclaim that masculine side, they’re able to take control of their fitness, health, businesses, money, relationships and their overall life.

It’s been a really fascinating journey. We’ve only been going for about a year and a half now, but we’ve really taken off because our message is really resonating with men across the planet. So it’s exciting to see.


JH: That’s such an awesome story. I resonate a lot with that because I think that the challenge for fitness professionals is that they are not self-aware of this stuff going on.

I know with you it took very severe pain in terms of your marriage breaking down. Were there any kind of blind spots? Is there any way that we can help the trainer identify very early on before it gets too late, or does it take going to that very severe, painful spot to really make that change?


RM: I don’t think it takes getting to that position, I certainly hope not. I mean we can learn from other people and what other people have experienced; guys can learn from me.

That’s going to be more valuable than having to learn it themselves. Not only is it less expensive but it’s less time-consuming with less resources. It’s less heartache and pain. I do think that it takes being very aware.

I think that this is something that we as a society are not good at. We’re not good at being aware because we don’t give ourselves margins. What I mean by that is we pack our schedules so tight with our clients and our family and our business obligations – maybe we have some community obligations, maybe there are some spiritual or faith-based obligations that we have – and we pack our schedules to the brim. We give ourselves no chance to consider what’s actually happening.

What activities are we performing on a daily basis? Are these things that we should be doing? Are these things that are not effective? If they are effective, how can we make them more effective? If they’re not effective, how do we get rid of them?

Being able to think and clear your head, and to identify what it is you’re actually doing by creating margin in your life is really going to help you improve.

This is before it gets to a situation that’s out of your hands, like it was in the relationship that I had with my wife at the time.


JH: That’s very interesting, and there are some great points that you raised there. I believe with fitness professionals, they turn to the gym because they don’t have any margins. The gym more or less takes up their life. It’s something they turn. It’s kind of covering up, like a band-aid to pain in their lives. Would you say that’s true of most men?


RM: Of course, I mean we all have that. The problem with the fitness industry as a whole is that on the surface it’s a very healthy activity, right? Hence the nutrition. So, it’s really easy to say “I’m taking care of myself, I’m doing the things that I need to be doing”.

But if you as a man, or a woman, are so one-dimensional that you can’t think about anything else, that’s going to create serious problems in your life.

If you’re using fitness, nutritional and the gym as ways to enhance other areas of your life then you’re not getting healthy just for the sake of being healthy. In fact you’re getting healthy to live a more fulfilled life.

This is to have a deeper connection with your family and your friends, to have the energy to pursue your passions and the things that you are excited about, to use energy to create more wealth so you can have more experiences.

Health is not the end result, it just allows you to have more of what you want. And if you become so consumed with health and fitness, or anything for that matter, it’s a hindrance to the other objectives that you have in your life.


JH: I believe that by looking at the wider perspective there, it’s also going to filter down and their clients are going to experience the impact of that as well.

That leads onto my next question – at the point that you sought out coaching and help yourself, how important was that in terms of your journey? Did it accelerate the process of you getting to where you are today?


RM: Yeah so here’s the deal: I’ve been a financial advisor for just about 9 years now and the problem that I see when people make financial decisions – and also in the coaching practice that I have with Order Of Man – is that you are emotionally connected to the decisions that you are making on a daily basis.

Those emotions can serve you very well in certain circumstances, like finding love for example. I can’t really describe specifically why I love my wife. I know she’s attractive, she engages me, she keeps me curious and anxious, and I get butterflies in my stomach.

Those are all emotional-based things, I can’t quantify that. But when it comes to other areas of our lives, emotions sometimes work against us.

This is our mind, this is that lizard brain. This is the first evolution of the brain which is basically telling you to stay alive, not really thrive and be fulfilled, but just stay alive.

We’ve developed other parts of our brain that, now, have helped us thrive. We’ve gone above and beyond what we need, but the reality is that we always revert back to that lizard, or amphibian brain.

What a coach will help you do, is a coach will help you see things that you cannot see on your own.

If you block that out you have a closed set of circumstances or things that your parents and your friends are telling you that you’ve now accepted as truth and reality – a coach is willing to shake that up a little bit.

And because they shake that up, and show you something different that you can’t see on your own, you’re going to get a new perspective, which is going to accelerate your learning in any area of life.


JH: I totally agree with that. And just to skip forward slightly, you said that you didn’t really have a father figure around. This is something that I’m seeing as more common in the fitness industry, and it was very true for myself.  Most of the men that you work with, do you find that they have very similar challenges to what you had in terms of no male figure around?


RM: It’s actually more common than I thought. And I think it’s actually becoming worse and worse. There’s a lot of children born out of wedlock, there’s a lot of problems in relationships before they decide to bring kids into the world.

It’s actually really frustrating because I don’t see a lot of fathers, or mothers, that are actually engaged and are being involved.

I’m starting to coach my son’s football teams and I have some amazing, amazing men who help me coach these teams. These guys are very active, they’re very engaged, and they’re very willing to participate in their children’s learning and extracurricular activities.

But there’s a greater percentage of men who don’t get involved and are so consumed with what they are doing that they use the excuse of “I don’t have enough time” in order to not make these kids a priority,

Because they’re not making these kids a priority, they’re growing up without a role model. They’re growing up without an example of what it’s like to function as a self-reliant, independent, strong-willed adult. It is a problem, and it’s becoming more and more of a problem as this cycle perpetuates.


JH: Yeah I agree with that. I see that with many male fitness professionals, personal trainers. And the key word you used there was “present”. If you don’t mind sharing, what did you do differently to become very present in your relationship and also your family?


RM: Yeah I think the biggest thing you’ve got to do is establish boundaries. This is one area that I see men and women do as well. They don’t create boundaries for themselves, so they allow everyone to railroad them, and allow other people to dictate how they spend their time and their energy and their resources.

Before you know it you look up and you realise “man, I’m not even living my life, I’m not doing the things that I want to do, I’m not fulfilled, I’m not satisfied and I’m not enjoying it”.

We wake up when the alarm goes off – not because that’s what we set the alarm for but that’s when we need to get up, just with enough time to get ready and get into work.

We drive to work the same way and we get into our companies. From the minute we walk in, someone is dictating everything that we need to be doing. We get done with that, and we come home, and our spouses are barking at us to accomplish certain things in the house.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I’m just saying that again someone is giving you instructions on how to live your life.

Then we go to sleep, and wake up, and do the whole thing over again. We’re not left with any time or resources for ourselves. And this creates major problems that we just aren’t able to do the things that we want, because we’re letting other people run and dictate our lives.


JH: There’s so many things to a man’s life that he has to consider. I’m in complete admiration for what you have achieved and what you are doing. How do you keep that balance across those areas? Health, business, relationships.


RM: I think that this is a matter of congruity. This is a question that I get asked all the time. “How do balance between family and business and everything else?”

We hear about the hats we all wear, right? And I think the bottom line is creating clear and established boundaries between what you’re doing at work and what you’re doing at home, and the margins you create for your life.

But I think there’s another element to this, which is congruency. I don’t subscribe to the theory that we all wear different hats. There’s only one hat in our life.

If you’re a different person at home than you are at business, and you’re a different person at business than you are with your friends, then you’re doing something contradictory. This can create inconsistencies and inefficiencies in your life.

So if you really want to balance, and I’m using air quotations, if you really want to balance – which is a myth in itself, we can talk about that – you’re going to have to find congruence.

This means you’re going to have to be the same exact person at work as you are at home. And here’s the bottom line – this is something that a lot of people don’t want to hear – if you’re doing something that is in conflict with the way that you view life or the things that are valuable to you – you need to make a change. You’re never going to be fulfilled, you’re never going to be satisfied and you’re never going to be happy.

There’s always going to be this part of your brain that says “there’s got to be something more, I just can’t figure out what it is”.

I’m telling you right now that you are not doing what you were meant to do. My kids, for example, know that I run Order Of Man. They know exactly what Order Of Man is. They know that because I’m working hard down here – I say down here because I’m in the basement of my house – I’m becoming a better father. And because I’m becoming a better father, I can be a better coach. Because I’m a better coach, I could be a better business owner. And because I’m a better business owner I can be a better husband. So all of these things are overlapping for me, which makes balance a lot more manageable.


JH: I like how you put that, especially using the word congruency. That’s very true in that if you don’t have those very high standards in one area of your life, it tends to bleed into the others.

I see that a lot and I really like how you put that together in terms of the congruency. If you don’t mind to share your beliefs around balance, because I know you want to mention it.


RM: The most important thing for me is my family. My wife and my kids, and that stems all the way back to my childhood. I really have to be present and available for my children.

So what I do is, I can measure every decision, every opportunity, everything that comes up. I can measure this and say “does this help me be a better father? Does this help me be a better husband?” If the answer is yes, then I pursue that interest.

If the answer is no, then it’s very easy for me to say “no, I’m not going to do that”. Because what I do when I say yes to some opportunity that isn’t in line with my goals, then it really detracts from what I want. Again, we end up looking up, and so many people are guilty of this.

Then we blame everyone else, when it was really our fault for letting time slip through our fingers. Just giving it up voluntarily and not placing any value on our time, just letting other people dictate how we spend it.


JH: Yeah and I’ve certainly fallen into that trap more times than I would like to admit. Was that always the case for you of putting family first? Or was there a point when you made that change?


RM: The trap is that it’s really easy to say “my family comes first” and so if you’re asking “has it always been that way?” then I have always said that’s the case but my actions spoke differently.

I consumed my time with work and my own personal interests, plus everything else, at the expense of my family. So that was the problem. I looked at it and said “I’m being noble, I’m doing what a man needs to be doing, because I’m working and I’m providing”. And at the end of the day, those were lies. Those were the excuses that I was coming up with to take the easy route.

It’s definitely harder to be a good father, it’s definitely harder to be a good husband than it is to slack off in those areas. And showing up at work or showing up at the gym is easier for you. The answer to your question is “no it hasn’t always been that way”. I gotta say, that right now in my life I’m probably the most fulfilled I’ve ever been. I’ve been on this planet for 35 years and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. The reason why I’m the happiest I’ve ever been is because the values that I’ve held dear, and I view as important, I’m actually living those now.

That’s the biggest source of frustration and contention for people. They have this idea and this vision that they subscribe to – yet their actions aren’t in line with the way that they view life, how they view how the world works, and how they want to be in their own life.

When you can marry the action with the idea, that’s where fulfilment happens.


JH: I’m really pleased that you validated a point there, which I’ll come back to in a moment. I think the challenge most people have is identifying what their true values are. Is that true?


RM: Yeah, I’m sure that’s pretty difficult.


JH: They either copy or replicate someone else’s and then take that onto themselves. They always find it hard to fulfil anyway.


RM: Either they find it hard or they are not really engaged with it easily, and they just revert back to their old patterns.


JH: And talking of when you feel absolutely fulfilled now, it seems that once your love and the relationship with your family and wife became that important then you organised everything around it.

This is something that I have identified within the fitness industry, that personal trainers don’t really have that down: that love and connection, that intimacy with a partner.

They don’t really have that and there’s many reasons for that. But I do personally believe that if they got to work on that then it would make them a better person and they would become a lot more fulfilled.

That would help them to become a better trainer, coach. Is that the same with many men that you’ve worked with?


RM: I don’t think the issue is that when you identify it, things improve, I really don’t. I know there’s a lot of talk about getting your mind right and “you’ve got to think about this stuff first, and whatever you think about you become”.

Which is true to a degree, but the rubber doesn’t meet the road until you start taking action. And that’s the point that I want to illustrate more than anything. It’s relatively easy to identify what’s important to you.

But if I were to look at your bank statement every single month, I would be able to tell what’s exactly important to you. And that would probably be, in my experience, completely at odds with what you say is important.

So, I think identification and sitting down, creating space and margins, and space in your life every single morning and every single night – I’m talking every single morning and night without fail – that stuff’s all great and it’s critical you do. But unless you’re acting on that, you’re not going to be happy. It’s the pursuit, it’s the drive, and it’s the potential that I think is motivating, it is for me.

We just bought an old ’76 International Scout. When I see this thing, a lot of people would say “here’s this rusty bucket of metal that just happens to move”. I look at this and I see what I’m going to do with it, I see what it’s going to become.

I’m going to paint it, I’m going to put wheels on it, I’m going to fix the engine up, I’m going to scrape all that rust off, I’m going to put new panels where the new panels need to go, and I see the potential in it.

I think a lot of fitness trainers see this as well. They see someone coming in who has literally wrecked their body over the last decade with eating food, and drinking and not being in the gym. And they don’t see this fat person who has no potential, they see the person that this individual can become.

So I think it is the pursuit of what it is you’re trying to accomplish, is more exciting than anything else, because here’s what happens: let’s say that you have a goal – and I’m going to talk about fitness for a minute – let’s say you have a goal of losing 20 pounds, hypothetically. You go on this mission, you start eating better and you start exercising and you go through this whole regimen. And then you lose 20 pounds.

Well anyone who’s done that, then what do they do? They create a new goal, because the goal isn’t important, it’s the pursuit. That’s what we need to focus on more than the goals, it’s the activities that match what it is that we are trying to accomplish. That’s really long-winded, I’m sorry but I get excited about this kind of stuff.


JH: That is a great point. It’s the difference between the knowledge and the identification, than actual work. And committing to a certain standard, what you say you’re going to do and follow through with that. Do you have trainers amongst the groups and communities that you have? If there are any points that we can take away today, from working with those trainers, in particular.


RM: Do I have any fitness trainers in our audience, is that what you’re asking?


JH: Yeah.


RM: You know, I’m sure we do, as large as our audience has grown I’m sure we do. I haven’t talked to them specifically, I know that there’s been a few on the podcast and things like that. Are you asking what they can specifically do to enhance one area of their life? Because I’m willing to give ideas, maybe you could be a little bit more specific?


JH: What impact, do you think, this type of coaching would have on a personal trainer?


RM: Oh, OK I see what you’re saying. At the end of the day it’s really a matter of what they’re trying to accomplish: if they’re trying to grow their clientele, if they’re trying to connect deeper with the relationships that they have, if they’re trying to learn to be better communicators.

These are all things that are going to help. But here’s the bottom line: it’s impossible for us to make decisions in a vacuum, so the way we approach our work, or the way we approach our relationships will naturally progress into every area of life.

I’ll share with you a story that’s helped me. And I know that a lot of people who follow me have heard this story before, but I think it’s perfect for your audience.

Three years ago I weighed 50 pounds more than what I weigh today. I was tired, I didn’t have any energy, I was negative, I was down on my life and where I was. And I decided I had to do something. So I remember about this time 3 years ago someone dropped off a flyer for a Cross Fit gym.

Now, I’m not going to get into this, it could get heated, especially with fitness trainers. The point is that I’m making here, is that I went on this fitness journey and over the course of 6 months to a year I lost 50 pounds.

I’ve managed to keep it off, I participate in endurance events, I did a 60-hour endurance event several months ago. And what’s interesting is a friend – he’s actually a colleague of mine – said “Ryan, how’s the fitness journey going?” This was about a year, year half into it. I said “you know what Greg? This is the best business decision I ever could have made”. And he said “what do you mean?”

So the concepts and the things that I’m learning about fitness are the same skills that are required for you to be a better communicator. They’re the same skills that are required for you to have more meaningful relationships. They’re the same skills that are required for you to grow your business and make more money and provide value. So as you’re striving in one area of life, it’s naturally going to transfer over to other areas.


JH: I think that’s so true and I think that’s why when a trainer does decide for himself that he does want to get to work on figuring out those challenges or those blind spots, relationships and business. He’s already got his health down, so what he’s learnt in those areas of his life seems like a very easy crossover once he decides to work on those other areas.

Because it’s so conditioned, it’s about crossing it over and becoming so self-aware about those other two areas. That’s so true actually. Talking of your journey with your fitness, I know that you do a lot of physical challenges within the groups of men that you have.

I’ve seen the article, and the podcast you did with the Navy SEALs is something that I’m very interested in at the moment. Is it one area that men could do better at do you think in terms of their physical health?


RM: Well, I think the number one thing is just carving out the time to do it. We fall back on the excuse of being busy. There are things that we want to be busy with, like work and providing for our family and doing things in the community.

So we fall back on that and say “well this is good stuff, I can’t get rid of this”. I think that’s foremost, so carve out some time in your day.

Be very disciplined and be very committed: create a system and create a process that will allow you to exercise when it works for you.

I personally like mornings, if that doesn’t work for you then it doesn’t matter. The best workout, the best exercise is the thing that you’ll actually do. So that’s first and foremost.

Next, I think there’s a lot of basics that people are missing. It’s really interesting – and you guys can correct me if I’m wrong because your audience knows a lot more about this than I do – but it’s really interesting when people ask about specific diets, or specific supplements or these special and unique workouts that only work for elite athletes.

My thought is “how much sugar are you eating on a daily basis? How much water are you drinking on a daily basis? When was the last time you went for a jog?”

And people say “well, I don’t do that stuff” then I think “well, don’t worry about this high-level stuff, do the basics first”. It’s funny to me, someone was talking about bullet-proof coffee. They asked if bullet-proof coffee is healthy for you, and were considering switching from regular coffee to bullet-proof coffee.

I’m like “dude, just drink more water!” Bullet-proof coffee, OK, that’s good. But if you’re really wanting to be healthy, then just drink a tonne of water. Too many people are trying to game the system.

Just focus on some basics which are: move a little bit more, eat a little bit less, drink a lot of water, get the proper sleep. It’s not rocket science, it’s just having the discipline to do these things, these seemingly mundane ordinary tasks that are going to yield big, big results for you.


JH: So true. Just stick to the basics before you start adding or trying to get too excited with things.


RM: True, you’re not going to go from the couch to qualifying for the Olympics, so don’t worry about it. Just get off the couch and go for a run, and we can worry about the Olympics down the road.


JH: Exactly, it’s important that you brought that up because I’ve been looking at the other end of the spectrum as well. Often trainers are pretty obsessive with their bodies and their health.

This is just talking from personal experience – when they bring on these other responsibilities, to themselves, families and honing their business skills, It’s very difficult for them to transition. This is a change from being an absolutely dedicated, shall we say, “gym freak” to “actually I can step back a little bit, it doesn’t have to be so full on”.It’s just trying to give some insight to prepare the trainer for when they are presented with that crossroads.

There will be a moment of uncertainty in the future, where fitness and exercise won’t be the be all and end all. You can adapt, and as you’ve said you can find that congruency across all areas of life.


RM: Can I say one other thing to that as well? The aesthetics of looking good when you are fit are great. I don’t want to downplay the importance of that, but if it’s not helping you live a more enriched life, then it really doesn’t matter.

If you’re not taking time for yourself, then you are going to be less productive. You might look like a million dollars, but you won’t be performing at your full capacity. This is because you’re going to become burnt out, and jaded, and you’re going to become frustrated with the industry that you love so much.

So you do have to recharge, you do have to step back. Life is about being a well-balanced person, not just a great trainer or a great coach. Even as a great father, we do all of this through balancing our activities and our energies.


JH: Great point and it’s more or less the perfect point to bring this show to a wrap. For those who are listening and would like to find more about you. Where could we send them?


RM: So the best place to find what we’re doing is orderofman.com. That’s our headquarters, so we’ve got all of our blogs and all of our podcasts, we’ve got all of that over there.

The other resource that I might share is that we’ve got a closed Facebook group. It is only available for men, we’ve got over 7000 men in there and we’ve got serious discussions about what means to be a man, how to be a better father, a better leader.

So anybody who’s listening to this who’s a man would definitely gain value from this is they were to: 1. Join and then 2. Ask some really good questions so that they can improve their lives. Those are the two resources that I would give you.


JH: I can personally vouch for the Facebook group, it’s such an inspiration to see other men on the same journey, and the pleasure of seeking out questions and answers. You’re very active in those groups yourself, aren’t you?   


RM: I try to be. The last thing that I wanted to create was just some place where guys go but they never hear from me. I don’t necessarily want to be the face of the company. But I do want to be engaged, this is work that I love and I want to be involved.

The men of our audience deserve as much interaction that I can give them. I know at times it’s limited because I’ve got other things going on – just like everyone else. But I do try to be as engaged, active and available as I possibly can.


JH: And the URL for the Facebook group? People can just search Order Of Man?


RM: That’s a little tricky because we’ve got a page too. But if you go to Facebook.com/groups/orderofman it will take you right to it, and then you just request access. We’ll get you approved in there.


JH: Perfect, there you go guys. I have to thank you again. Thank you for your time. I know that the audience is going to see tremendous value in this conversation we’ve just had. I look forward to hearing great things, and hopefully personal trainers will be in touch will you soon.


RM: Awesome, Joe. I appreciate it.


JH: That’s a wrap. Episode 4 in this series of Untold done. Thanks once again to Ryan Michler, and if you’d like to find out more about Ryan, head on over to www.orderofman.com.

Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show the head over to the Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we’ll be having deeper conversations about this. It is also a confidential place where we’ll be helping each other become better personal trainers by becoming better men.

Finally, make sure that you check back and subscribe to this channel. Series 2 is in the making. The main topic of discussion will be around freedom, and as always how you can implement that back into your personal training business as well as your personal life. Stay tuned for this.

Podcast Episode 3: Erik Rokeach

How To Reduce Your Workload And Achieve Life Balance, With Fitness Entrepreneur Erik Rokeach

We all strive to train as hard as possible, whether that is in the gym or in the local jujitsu dojo. These habits can be hard to break, and the amount of time that we are spending in the gym could mean that other areas of our lives are taking a back seat. This also applies to entrepreneurs who are working around the clock in order to help their businesses grow. But instead of training or working longer, what if we started to train and work smarter? This requires an approach that takes care of the mind as well as the body.

“Find exactly what you are looking for and feel great about the process” – Erik Rokeach

About Erik Rokeach


Erik Rokeach is an entrepreneurial coach and trainer. After spending many years working tirelessly to build several businesses, Erik found that the workload and stress that he had exposed himself to was taking a massive toll on his mental and physical wellbeing. He followed the advice of business coaches and yet he wasn’t making the money he wanted or expanding his client base in a way that was satisfactory.

He had sacrificed personal relationships in order to dedicate 18 hours a day to establishing himself as an entrepreneur, and yet he had very little to show for it. This attitude to his work ended with Erik lying in a hospital bed on the brink of a catastrophe.

He realized he had to change his methods and reduce his workload in order to work smarter and escape the entrepreneurial rat race. He moved into coaching other entrepreneurs, sharing his negative experiences and positive insights with others. This has seen him go from strength to strength.



  • How working obsessively for 18 hours a day nearly killed Erik, and how he decided to turn things around
  • How breaking an obsessive working or training schedule can have a positive impact on the other areas of our lives
  • Why he believes that coaching might what many trainers need to manage themselves better and to achieve greater success


“If personal trainers can help us get in shape, why don’t we have someone who is trained in helping the mind?”

Connect with Erik Rokeach

Website: http://erikrokeach.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erikrokeach

Email: http://erikrokeach.com/contact/


Interview Transcript

JH: The Untold. It’s the untold truth about personal trainers and the state of the fitness industry. This is now episode three in this four part series. Today I’m speaking to Erik Rokeach.

In this episode we discuss how you don’t have to be a workaholic, an insane hustler, grinder, or to be constantly busy, to be successful in your business and life. You just have to be you.

Myself and Erik are here today to help you get rid of the false beliefs of what you really need to be successful and happy. Here are just a few other things that myself and Erik share with you: he shares his personal story on how he worked 16-18 hour days and he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted, despite implementing everything that business coaches and mentors had taught him.

This lead to an all-important question that he asked himself: Why? Why am I not feeling right? We dive deep into a question of how the personal trainers’ obsessive nature with the gym may be an act of avoidance from the other important areas of their lives.

We also share that coaching might just be the thing that personal trainers need. If any of those trainers that are listening in amongst us are thinking “I don’t need coaching, I’m ok”, in all honesty you may need it most. Plus, much more. Stay tuned.   


VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it. Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world.

Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition. Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mindset hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant. Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment.

With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.


JH: Gentlemen, my name is Joe Hanney and I am your host, founder of the Fit Man Collective. As always, thank you for listening to my podcast show. As you know by now this show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man.

I ask the all-important question that if men feel that we can’t ask especially if we build this illusion that we’re comfortable, busy and are almost like robots almost.

Selling the image of fitness, our bodies and health are exhausted and is often done at the expense of the other important areas of our lives. Family, love, intimacy, connection, freedom, self-mastery, financial security just to name a few. These are the blind spots in which I hope this show will help you to explore.

Before I introduce you to my guest today, I just want to let you know that you can get all the show notes, links and everything we talk about at www.thefitmancollective.com . And second, make sure if you haven’t done so already that you join our Facebook group The Fit Man Collective at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective.

Now I want to take a moment to introduce you to my next guest. For most of his adult life he was unhappy and lost, jumping from one business to another and from one job to another.

This was all in search of trying to figure out who he was, what made him happy and what made him money.

No matter how much or how little money he made it didn’t matter. He was still lost and unhappy. He had come to believe that he needed to keep hustling and grinding because that is what everyone else said it took to be successful and be happy.

So his focus was always on more money, more leads, more sales and more clients. What it lead to was not something that he had expected. It left Erik lying in a hospital bed with about a day left to live, and he now lives with a chronic disease.

It was all because he was so stressed out, unhappy and lost. He describes to me how in such bad shape, that even after he survived through this incident, he continued to live the same way.

The beliefs were so deeply ingrained that he didn’t believe that the life he was living – which was influenced by the people and values in society around him – was causing the problem. Eventually he had a wake-up call. He was destroying multiple relationships, friendships, losing business partners, businesses and more until he finally realised that something needed to change.

That change has lead him to this point where he is fortunate enough now to help others who are in a similar situation and help guide them to a happier, more well-rounded place. This is so that they can achieve whatever they want in life.

Hold tight because Erik is here with me right now, ready to rock the next episode of Untold: How Personal Trainers Can Become Better By Becoming Better Men

OK, super excited to introduce you to our next guest on the show and that’s Erik. Erik and I go back some time when I asked him to help me with some testimonial videos, which turned out to be really powerful for my business U Fit Studio.

I know Erik since then and myself included have gone on this massive, massive personal journey and growth. I’m very interested to hear what he has to say today, so Erik welcome to the show.


ER: Joe thanks for having me, man. I’m super, super excited to be here and I really, really appreciate it.


JH: Good, just so the audience know who you are and what you’re doing right now, because I know that things have changed. Tell the audience about yourself and the work that you do today, if you don’t mind.


ER: Sure. I still do the testimonial videos – there was a while where I backed off and did a couple of other things – and as you mentioned there was a journey and a little bit of a process.

I do a bunch of things, I do coaching, I work with a bunch of different people in trying to get from Point A to Point B in your life and in your business. I do some business consulting as well, plus testimonial videos. As you mentioned there was a period of time where I was going through these things and growing the businesses that I started to realise that there were certain aspects where they weren’t where I wanted to be.

I just wasn’t feeling right and the feeling was off, so that to me to the point where I was always looking at self-development. I thought I needed to work harder and look a little bit deeper. So that’s kind of the stage where things had lead up to that point. Now it’s doing more and helping people go through the journey, assembling the videos and coaching and all the other things in between.   


JH: Yes because you have a vast amount of experience of not only talking to entrepreneurs but people from the fitness industry, personal trainers, studio and gym owners.

know that this concept of coaching from the inside out is something that you have developed and worked on yourself alot, which I’d like to go into more later on in the show. You briefly mentioned in your story that you just didn’t feel quite right and something wasn’t quite fulfilled.

Can you recall the moment when you felt that, or was it something that was ongoing in the background?


ER: It was a combination. Obviously, it had built up over time and a lot of it was attributed to was, we are all taught as entrepreneurs to grow and succeed and if you don’t have those pieces and if you want to go faster, you need to search and look for help.

So I was constantly learning, and studying and mentoring. They always pushed me – I always allowed them to push me in certain directions and I always jumped into it with a focus on the business instead of “is this who I actually am or is this right for me?”

So, for years I was in that mode, it was always just business first and kind of putting everything last and in the background.

Most of the things happening, because I put the business first, weren’t necessarily who I was. I do remember many years ago, back in a November. I was working like a crazy person for 16, 17, 18 hours a day.

That’s recordable work, not sitting on Facebook, but that’s actual work. I was burned out and I was not really seeing the results that I wanted.

I was like “What’s going on? Why am I working all these crazy hours? Why am I beating myself up?” I’d already had health issues, why was I making my health stuff even worse?

Everything that I’m doing is just not doing what I want, it’s not making me feel the way that I want. I remember it was just a moment where I was like “Really? What if I just stop working that hard? What if I just let it go?”

I was really worried about it. Somehow, I don’t know how but I was just able to stop working that hard. I had all those feelings that a lot of entrepreneurs have.

When I wasn’t working I felt guilty, I felt bad that I wasn’t pushing to reach those goals. All the extra time I had spent working on the business, I dove into myself even more. That’s kind of a long-winded answer, but it’s that combination of leading up to it and that one point in November that I remember.


JH: Very interesting how your focus was so much on business, which we can all fall into the trap of. It wasn’t until you took a step back and said “no, no more business”.

That must have been a moment of real uncertainty, as you mentioned. What kind of sprung to mind? How did you know that it was other areas to do with yourself, that something internally was going on there? Was it to do with relationships, was it to do with your health?  Was it at that point that you realised there’s more to this than just business? Because we always talk about it, but it’s not until you actually feel it  – which I imagine you did at that moment.  


ER: You actually touched on something right there, the health issues. However, I had very major, good relationships with these people, multiples of them over the years. I destroyed all of them.

There are two sides to every story, and both people have to contribute in order for things to not work out, but I was the lead cause of it for each one.

That was another thing that kind of lead up, I was dealing with a lot of feeling with that. The other thing too was all the stuff in business that I was dealing with. I don’t want to say that it wasn’t working the way I wanted, but at the same time it wasn’t.

Everything they were teaching me, I was applying at work, but it just wasn’t at the same time. So every time that I jumped to a new programme or a new coach, or mastermind, it didn’t feel right.

I knew that I kept jumping to all the business stuff that had lead me to where I didn’t want to be, I knew that it had to be something different. I knew that it was internal and I knew after looking at those relationships that it was an internal thing.

Then I needed to shift and focus, but I had no idea that it was going to lead me on the journey that it did and put me in the direction of where it did. But, I’m very happy for it.


JH: There’s a few things that I picked out from your answer there that I’ll remind myself to bring up later.

One thing did strike me, and obviously you speak from great experience with this from working with so many personal trainers, how you turn to business. Is that kind of what you see with the personal trainers, who get so obsessed with looking good, getting their body in shape, spending a massive amount of time in the gym? If it’s not thinking about what their next workout is, it’s what to eat next.

On the outside of things, we can see that they possibly are neglecting those key areas which are actually going to make them more fulfilled. Plus there is a trap of thinking that the gym is going to make them fulfilled. Do you see that a lot with trainers?


ER: I see that in any element where there’s sides that can have extremes to it. What I found working with the majority of these people and also with myself, is you go to the gym and get the personal trainer, in order to look good.

Obviously, there’s a psychologically extreme element with that. What it really boils down to is the avoiding. You’re using this as an excuse to avoid what is really going on inside. That’s something that you may need to work on.

Most people I’ve talked to are like “ah, I don’t know about that”. And I’ll ask them “well, OK you went to the gym 3 times today and you did this, this and this. Why?”  “Well it makes me feel good”. If you’re constantly searching for that thing to make you feel good and you’re always at the gym, why hasn’t it got you that yet? Don’t you think that it’s something going on inside?

By going to the gym you’re searching but also using it to avoid some other issue that’s going on. They kind of get quiet after that and say “oh I never looked at it that way”. So there’s an avoidance issue.    


JH: I suppose it’s not entirely their fault. It’s who you’re buying into possibly. Not many coaches out there get you to look on the inside, do they?


ER: Not many. That’s why it doesn’t sell. I mean it does but it’s not sexy. People want easy, quick, fast. You know as well as I do that the internal journey is generally not easy quick and fast.

Especially if you’ve been going at it the ways that you have. It’s an unlayering process. So it’s a little scary.


JH: Yeah, I can especially vouch for that because a lot of it does involve going back to childhood. It involves reminding yourself of your experiences, habits and patterns, plus the way that we have been programmed. It looks at certain values that we took on from people as we were growing up.

One of the things that I know that you are really talking about at the moment is the identity of ourselves.

Talking of coaches, when I was looking out there for additional help, it was difficult to find that coach in the fitness industry to help we with the inside stuff. How much of a benefit and an impact would this have – I’m going to bring this back to the fitness industry – if they did get this type of coaching and if they could then give this to their clients.


ER: It would help everybody, because generally I think that people who think they don’t need it are the people who need it the most. Maybe they haven’t been aware of self-actualisation they need to have about themselves.

Think about it, right. As a personal trainer with clients you’re constantly working on people and trying to get them in better shape, lose weight, feel better and all those different things. People hire those coaches because of the physical side of things but it doesn’t work for the mental.

Why don’t you have a coach who works on the side of things that controls all of that about your mind? It’s funny to me that people don’t view the mind, that controls all of it, as important as it is – just the physical appearance.

It’s really important and it will benefit anyone, including a personal trainer. Even if you don’t think that you are affected, I guarantee you that a coach can help to pull a lot of that stuff out. They can make you aware of certain things that you have never seen before. Even if that coaching doesn’t guarantee a massive change in your life with great results, just the fact of being aware is worth it. It’s worth it to have a coach, and that was a big eye-opener for me. A coach will help everybody, me as well. I will help everybody, guaranteed.     


JH: I suppose it’s that objectivity and that perspective that a coach brings. How important was a coach for you? I know that like myself, you’ve been on many courses and have had many mentors in more or less a group environment. The biggest change for me was when I worked with someone on a very individual basis.

It got me very focused and it really had the greatest impact.  Not to say that the other courses or mentors didn’t have an impact at all, and helped me take a step closer to what success meant to me at the time. But then I had that coach who helped me really identify the blindspots and that perspective that I had never had before.

The objectivity of which that I didn’t quite get with friends and family members – there was a personal emotion attached to it. How important was a coach for you?


ER: I agree with what you’re saying about the one-on-one stuff is really important to us. Now, gurus and marketers say “do group coaching”. I’m great with that business wise, because it’s very important to do that – it’s much easier to scale.

Also when we start diving into all those elements of identity and mindset it’s very private and we’re already scared enough to have others think “oh my god, there’s something wrong with this guy”. That’s why we don’t open up.

When you have someone who you can sit down with one-on-one, and you trust them, you tend to open up a little bit more.

You’re never going to get to where you want to be unless you’re 100% completely honest with yourself and with other people.

If people want to make that shift, and there’s a lot of group coaching, then sure you can do that. But you have to be 100% comfortable with being open with everybody there.

One-on-one coaching makes that a little bit easier because you know that it isn’t going anywhere else. So having that one-on-one was key, and honestly I still have that.

It’s because it’s that important – there’s group work that I have developed over time, but I can honestly say that in the one-on-one, I’m more open in the one-on-one stuff than I am in the group stuff.


JH: Yeah, I can probably agree with that. We touched on it briefly, but I was wondering if you could expand on it. Are there any similarities between the personal trainers? I want to steer this towards the male.

We talked about how this is such a vulnerable and sensitive topic, and being in the fitness industry is quite masculine. We couldn’t have this conversation on the gym floor with another trainer. So are there any traps that personal trainers have fallen into or have you seen any commonalities?


ER: Honestly, a lot of people listening can already identify with it just by what we are talking about. Based on the way that they’re feeling about things. Everybody’s different, commonalities are sometimes a little bit different.

They can be difficult to point out. You know, if it comes back down to you doing all these things. If you feel something, there’s probably something going on. And I think that one of the issues is the social media trap makes things worse for us, because of the comparison aspect.

For a personal trainer, it’s like “oh my god, this guy looks this way” or “this guy has got this many clients”. When you start focusing on it and leaning towards that scene, you start saying “how can I get more of that?”

You start comparing more, and you start looking for anything that will get you there. You don’t stop and ask yourself “is that actually me? Is this actually right for me?” That gets blindsided.

The comparison element, and looking at what everyone else is doing on social media, is a common thread that I see with every personal trainer who’s not only trying to get in shape themselves, but also looking for clients. That is a definite big one.


JH: And talking of that, one thing to create that uncontested market space for themselves is to go after that coaching for themselves. So they come across a lot more and can add value to their clientele.

It will help them understand more about their clientele. I don’t see many personal trainers who were ever overweight themselves. And most of the clients they work with want to lose weight. We are advised to relate to the client as much as possible, but it’s not really unless you start to profile them and start to dig down into their feelings and emotions that you can really understand.

You’ve never been overweight yourself, but the emotions are very similar. We want to chase more money because we think that is going to give us confidence. It’s the same feeling as the lady who wants to lose weight because she feels that might give her confidence. In both situations, the lady loses weight and doesn’t feel any different. We gain more money, but still don’t feel any different in that confidence.

It creates that empathetic marketplace for the coach and the personal trainer, because it is such an aggressive and overcrowded market.

How did you identify the person to help you? How do you go about looking for this coach?


ER: I’ll be honest and tell you that it started out with professional help and therapy. Because most of them who are looking for a coach, the ones that you see, are very vocal, they’re very big and good at spreading their message.

I’m a little bit more of a reserved guy and I didn’t want some guy who was really boisterous. I knew that. I wanted someone I could get a little bit deep with and wasn’t so surface level. It’s very hard to find that, especially in our industry – a coach who is a little bit more reserved.

If they are reserved, usually their marketing is not as good, so it makes it harder to find them. I’d been searching for a while and thought maybe it’s time to turn to a professional, someone in psychology, because they already have that. That’s how I found someone in that helpful line.

I unlayered a lot of the stuff that I was going through. I would start looking in a certain direction and I would see more opportunities to it. You have to be patient. But you’ve got to look for someone who doesn’t just resonate with you on a business level, you’ve got to find someone that you can trust and that you can actually be open with.

Those are the people that you want to look for and that’s how I did it. I’m very happy that I found the coaching in that way rather than the ways that I was going.


JH: That was very important for me to know that someone had walked into my shoes. Mine was looking for that father figure, or that older brother. I didn’t really have that as a child. So I knew that they needed to understand me on that level. I’m similar to you in that I’m quite reserved and introverted.

It’s a sensitive topic so I didn’t want the discussion to be out there. There were things I searched for in a coach: have they been in my steps, can they relate to me, and can they offer the insight and the perspective that I probably wouldn’t gain anywhere else?

Thank you for being so open about that.


ER: I mentioned the professional help side of things. I was originally at that point where I thought if I sought out that kind of help then there must be something wrong with me.

There’s a stigma to that where a lot of people think “I’m screwed up and there’s something wrong with me, people will find out about me”.

But what I kept coming back to was “If personal trainers can help us get in shape, why don’t I have someone who is trained in helping the mind? What’s wrong with that? That is more important”.

That’s how I got comfortable with sharing, because there’s nothing wrong with me. I knew that was an avenue to go down once I realised that it was important to have someone who could help me in the mind.

Once I understood that, I knew that’s when the other coaches can come in. That’s one of the elements as well: if someone is having a tough time and they need a coach who deals with this, then there’s nothing wrong with going to see a professional guy with a PHD, or something along those lines.


JH: That’s very important as well. I suppose we come to save people many years of this. For me it was the age of 30 or 31 when I came to that realisation. Someone who is listening who is 24 or 25, they’re probably not open to this. What advice would you have for them? Or is kind of that they need to experience this journey for themselves? Can people identify this before it gets to that place?


ER: That is a tough question to answer, I think that they can and I believe that they can.

But you’re right, they’re that age where it’s hard to focus and they are into this gung-ho stuff. But I believe they can. The reason I believe that is I had a client who was 22 or 23 and we did work a lot on this stuff.

He had been on this journey for a number of years. He was also in the health and fitness industry, and he realised how much work he had to do to help his clients with emotional identity and mindset.

He saw the power of that and we started working with that at a very young age. He’s got that but there’s such a big media and marketing push for the other side of that. You have to start young. I was fortunate in that I was coaching a lot of young athletes, in the middle school, high school, prep years where they would do some of this work and they would carry this over. It comes down to the awareness of the individual. As time goes on, we are still scratching the surface when it comes to this area. I think that as time goes on and it is acceptable to talk about these things, it will become easier and easier.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started to notice a massive shift in the right direction. People are more accepting now: one of the signs is how much everyone meditates now. If you did that 5 years ago, you would be openly laughed at.

It’s going to be an acceptance culturally and society wise, where people really understand how important this stuff actually is at a young age:


JH: Now that’s a great answer. It’s a very nice way to summarise this whole show. This is becoming more widespread and people are searching for this advice at a younger age. I know that if I had this back then, I would be a whole lot more fulfilled. I wouldn’t have had to go through the painful experiences that I did.

Just for those who are listening, Erik, because I know that you have a lot going on right now. Where’s the best place that people could find out about you? I know that you have a brand new book out – which is on my wish list to read. If you could give people an insight on that and also where to find you, that would be great.


ER: Yeah simple, you can just go to my site which is erikrokeach.com. I don’t know if you have shownotes but I will spell it out for people who don’t know just in case they are listening.

It’s Erik with a K. E-R-I-K. R-O-K-E-A-C-H.com. A lot of the stuff we are talking about people can read about. It goes through the brutal, honest truth about what it is like to live your life as an entrepreneur, fitness pro or a personal trainer.

Part of my goal is to shift people in the direction that we have been talking about, because when it comes down to it, all we want is to be happy. If you’re unhappy with what you’re doing then it’s probably an internal thing and you need to make some changes.

So that site is there to make some changes with that. It’s something that I’m very proud of and excited to be able to do.


JH: Great Erik, I just want to say that I appreciate it, and I appreciate you. Everything that you’ve said on this podcast is going to be very valuable for the people listening. So I appreciate you, sir.


ER: Thank you and I appreciate you being open and talking about this because it is something that needs to be said. I give you a lot of credit for delving down this avenue because it’s scary for a lot of people. I give you a lot of credit so thank you.


JH: There you have it then, Erik Rokeach sharing a glimpse of his new model for entrepreneurial success and happiness.


Again you can find out more about Erik at www.erikrokeach.com.  Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show the head over to the Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we’ll be having deeper conversations about this.

It is also a confidential place where we’ll be helping each other become better personal trainers by becoming better men.

Finally, make sure that you check back and subscribe to this channel so that you don’t miss part 4 in this series of Untold. Next up we talk to Ryan Michler, founder of The Order Of Man Mind.

Ryan has vast experience in showing you what it means to be a man, and how masculinity can help this. So if you’re ready to live up to your full potential in your relationships, business and community, then you won’t want to miss this episode.        

Podcast Episode 2: Skip La Cour

Stop Celebrating Your Problems And Make A Change, With Former Drug-Free Bodybuilding Champ Skip LaCour

The dedication required in personal training and bodybuilding can sometimes mean that we neglect other areas of our lives. This could be anything from being present in our relationships to striving for financial success. We can get locked into thinking that all we need to do to be content is to dedicate ourselves to punishing gym sessions and obsessive calorie counting. However, is it worth neglecting other areas of our lives in pursuit of greater muscle mass and perfectly sculpted abs?

“Many of us in the fitness industry who live it and teach it, don’t really realize how much focus, energy and willpower it consumes” Skip LaCour

About Skip LaCour

Skip LaCour is a six-time drug-free bodybuilding champion, with over 30 years of experience in the personal development and fitness industry. He worked with Tony Robbins and appeared on infomercials seen by millions of people throughout America.

He specialises in helping men get their lives back on track, allowing them to face up to their challenges and overcome obstacles. He focuses on attitudes towards training, and how people can change their perceptions of how to lead a healthy and balanced life.

He runs the massively successful Manformation audio seminar course, allowing thousands of men to build their confidence and their leadership skills. He also provides nutritional information and supplements through his company Mass Machine Nutrition.

Also an author, his book Confessions Of A Recovering Bodybuilder will be out soon.


  • Why Skip turned to fitness in the first place
  • How he changed his outlook once he realized fitness was having a detrimental effect on other parts of his life
  • How Skip grew and developed his many business ventures, and what he has learned along the way.
  • Why he thinks that the fitness industry spends more time celebrating problems than trying to provide solutions and how this can be changed

“I love fitness, I live it and I breathe it. I understand a lot more why I went down this route and I am starting to understand some similarities between all of us”

Connect with Skip LaCour

Website: http://skiplacourcoaching.com/skip-la-cour/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manformationpage/

Email: skip@skiplacour.com


Interview Transcript

JH: The Untold. It’s the untold truth about personal trainers and the state of the fitness industry. This is a four part series. We began with episode 1 last week with Kenny D’Cruz: The Man Whisperer. The feedback has been phenomenal about this show, so thank you guys for your support. Today I’d like to introduce you to my second guest, which is episode 2 in this Untold series. He goes by the name of Skip La Cour. Skip is a six-times national drug-free bodybuilding champion, as well as being a previous personal coach of mine for well over 18 months.

In this show we talk about alot. We talk about the lessons that Skip has learned from life and why he turned to the fitness industry in the first place. This opened up a conversation, a tin of worms. It raised several questions which I feel are going to be most valuable to the male personal trainer who is listening.

For example, are we as personal trainers celebrating our problems? Is the personal trainer less healthy than his client, despite being in great shape?  Why is fitness so important to us? Are we addicted to fitness? If so, are we ever really going to have it all: more money, better relationships, freedom plus much more?

Skip and I take a look at Skip’s life way before he got into bodybuilding at the late age of 27. Then after having a very successful career finishing around the age of 41, fast-forward a few more years to greater experience, perspective, objectivity and insight. Looking back, what would Skip tell his former 27 year-old self if he could do it all over again?


VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it. Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world. Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition. Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mind set hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant. Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment. With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.


JH: Hello Fit Pros, what’s up? My name is Joe Hanney and I am your host and founder of the Fit Man Collective. As always, thank you for listening to my podcast show.

As you know by now this show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man. I ask the all-important question that if men feel that we can’t ask. Especially if we build this illusion that we’re comfortable, we’re busy, we’re robots almost and we know what we’re talking about.

Selling the image of fitness, our bodies and health are exhausted and this is often done at the expense of the other important areas of our lives: family, love, intimacy, connection, freedom, self-mastery and financial security, just to name a few. These are the blind spots in which I hope this show will help you to explore.

Today we are going to expose the truth about the confessions of a recovering bodybuilder. Before we get into this, I just want to let you know that you can get all the show notes, links and everything we talk about at www.thefitmancollective.com.

And second, make sure if you haven’t done so already that you join our Facebook group The Fit Man Collective at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective.

Now I want to take a moment to introduce you to my guest today. His name is Skip La Cour. Skip La Cour is an accomplished peak performance and change specialist, speaker and author, with over 25 years in the personal development and motivation field.

The one on one coaching, group coaching programmes and live seminars that he conducts around the world help men break through their challenges, help them reach their true potential, transform their lives and achieve their dreams.

Skip helps successful people become even more successful. He operates several businesses, including the manformation.com website. The massively successful Manformation, the mindset and actions of a powerful male leader, audio seminar course has helped thousands of men learn strategies that build confidence and leadership skills.

Acknowledged for his personal accomplishments, Skip appeared on Anthony Robbins’ personal development infomercial, that was televised all around the world for over 3 years.


JH: I’m super excited to introduce you to my next guest. There’s a lot I can say about this man. Put simply he was my coach and mentor and my male role model – a father figure, if you like. His name is Skip La Cour, Skip helps ambitious people reach their goals in life with more clarity and confidence. And without further ado, as I said I’m super excited to have this guy on the show.

Skip, Welcome to the show.


SL: Well thank you so much Joe I am so happy to be here.


JH: Skip, just for the audience and for the purpose of them knowing you, or not knowing you, please just share the essence of your work today.


SL: Okay well the essence of my work is based on my personal story, basically, and the lessons that I have learned in life. I would say If I would put it in a nutshell, I’ve done a lot of things.

A lot of people will be listening to this podcast are personal trainers who love fitness, it’s part of their identity. They love sharing their knowledge and helping other people and it’s all wrapped up in this great exciting package.

I certainly know what that feels like. It’s 27 years later for me. I love fitness, I live it and I breathe it. I understand a lot more why I went down this route and I am starting to understand some similarities between all of us.

My mission is how I visualize it in my mind. I know, Joe, when you talk about helping people you talk about finding your niche, what you’re passionate about. When I think about that one targeted person, It’s someone who loves fitness like I do.

When I was 22, 25 and 27 this person has evolved, grown and succeeded with the stuff that people want. I help people all over the world, I have information, products all with fitness. I’m a six-time drug-free bodybuilding champion, so I did it my way.  

All of that from the vantage point where I am 27 years later, What would I have told Skip, the guy who needed mentorship, who didn’t have a father figure? He was trying to do it all alone.

For a lot of reasons, I kind of understand why that might have been now. What would I have told him, that he could live his passion and feel great about fitness and share his life with others and maybe see the bigger picture?

Maybe how he could have had more things in life like relationships, business, and strategies on setting himself up more financially and business-wise? Because you know that you leave a lot of it on the floor when you’re training, and it takes lots of energy and lots of passion.

Many of us in the fitness industry who live it and teach it, don’t think we really realize how much focus, energy and willpower it consumes, And I don’t think that we realize that we don’t have an unlimited supply. We think that we’re really strong and the people admire us – we admire us!

It takes away from “cracking the code”, as I say, in other areas of life. We all want to have a long fulfilling career doing what we love to do, But what’s on the other end of it?  How could we have gone forward? Would I have told Skip to get it all and go for your passion? It would have been more well-rounded later on.

So that’s the person that I’m talking to, as a mature man who has won and succeeded. There’s a lot of people telling you on how to live a balanced life, and they never really achieved much in fitness. This is coming from someone who achieved it, really picked up a lot of skills outside fitness, and still had to work his butt off in order to round this all out.

There’s a better way to do this and I want to be that guy, to have that influence on those people who are like us  – who love fitness and love helping out other people. That’s what my mission is all about, so I can tell you this.

The people who really are hearing this are the people who have been doing it 10, 15, 20 years and then they are in a bad spot worrying about the future. You know the 22-year-old who says “ old man but that’s not going to happen to me”? oh that’s nice

I know it’s not their time yet, I maybe want to take this person 10, 20 years into the fitness journey. He may be wondering how he has to put it all together so that he doesn’t have to eat cat food when he is 60 years old. I also want to take that 22-year-old who loves it. He thinks he’s infallible. I want to give him everything he needs: the strategies the leadership skills, everything. I want him to get the most out of it like I did, and to plant the seeds. To make it an “and” situation and not an “or” situation. Many of us realize that we are making the fitness gig an “or” situation.


JH:  Yeah it’s interesting that you said that, Skip, and to touch on that you are very obsessive about this. You were six-time national bodybuilding champion.

This may only be heard by people who have been in the fitness industry for 20 to 30 years. At what point in your career did you realize that bodybuilding wasn’t everything, there was more to this. Was there a painful moment? Because that’s what it usually takes. Or can people be a little bit more self-aware and identify this sooner than you did or I did, should we say?


SL: Yeah that’s an excellent question and I find that the challenge that I went through is the challenge that I see many people go through.

I kind of alluded to it: “hey cool story bro, but that’s not happening to me, hey you may be bitter but I have my life balance”. So I thought I was that way too. I thought I was smarter than everyone else. I was drug-free, so I didn’t have to take drugs in my body. I didn’t try to be a top elite pro, so I didn’t feel like I was totally going for it.

Again it’s all relative. I made decent money doing what I love to do. I was creating,  I was writing articles for the muscle magazines, I had DVDs, and Ebooks before there was such a thing as Ebooks.

But the fact of the matter is that enough money is when you just love the journey to fitness and it’s your passion. In our community, money doesn’t matter and that kind of sinks into your brain. So whatever I thought was enough. A lot of people think that they’re balanced. They think that If you just love fitness, if you’re all in, if you love helping people. They think it’s easy to have a balanced life because you don’t want other things.

You don’t want the big house on the hill – you might say it – but you’re not working towards it. Or the car. Or having kids one day so that they have the option to go to private school. All the stuff I’m facing up to now, and making up for it, they don’t think about that. They don’t want that, it’s not important and that’s where they are now.

You don’t know when you’re 25 what it’s like to be 35 or 45. You don’t know that after 15 years of tremendous focus you don’t just stop and then just focus somewhere else. It’s like that body took 15 years to build and if you’re not focusing on relationships, you’re just showing up right? It’s like some people just show up to the gym. That’s not mastery, it’s just showing up.

Making money, saying it’s not important, or saying that relationships are not important is a mistake. When you do wake up 10 or 15 years later, you’re not going to just start at the person who’s the same age.

If you did it from 25 to 35 you’re going to be way behind. You’re going to have to be patient and the people who have been busting their tail to start their business and get up on the corporate ladder, they feel as though they are behind the game and feel that sense of urgency.

Well, if you take yourself off the radar for 10 years or more it’s even more stacked up. It takes a skill-set and patience. I thank God that I am the most gritty and resourceful person in the world.

Because I know the type of person and so do you – the guys who are 50 years old, he’s a fit person, he’s a leathery old fit person who wears tank tops from the 90s – we’ve all seen that guy, right?


JH: Very valid points Skip. Just for those who are listening, I know for myself it was when I was looking for a coach, it lead me to you. I was looking for confidence on this journey. I felt that for whatever reason my confidence was lacking.

For those who are listening, at what point in your life did you say to yourself “I need to work on that”? Whether it was a relationship or trust or security issues. When was it for you? So that someone who is actually listening can say “yeah, that’s where I am”.


SL: I want to go back because you did ask a great question – what was that moment where I felt ultimate pain and I had to do something? Because we’re not going to change unless we hit that moment.

I can’t actually say I had a rock-solid moment but the key moment for me was – because I never saw myself as that Meathead bodybuilder and I have lots of references that show otherwise – when I was done with bodybuilding.

I have to say this because it’s a big part of the story – I was obsessed I fell in love with personal development for a good six years from age 21. I started bodybuilding at age 27. When I started bodybuilding, I was all in and it’s been all go since.

For reasons I see now, why that was a perfect time to go in, was not what I was thinking at the time. I spent six years in personal development, trying to be the best person that I could be.

I saw that in that six years I was searching for something to be great at, that I would be a natural and make an impact on the world.

To me, that 6 years of personal development was to find bodybuilding training and become all of this. That’s the way I saw it. I’m glad I had six years before I got into this obsession. You know what type of people want it. Fitness people take obsession as a badge of honour and they think that everyone else has the problem, right?

Afterwards I used a lot of my winning skills and I had a lot of things that were applicable to have a great life in the real world. It wasn’t a bad life, I wasn’t suffering in some dark hole on the streets or anything like that.

A lot of fitness people do this. They go “well I can demonstrate this and I can do this” and that’s true. However, it doesn’t just bleed over into other areas of your life – you have to be tenacious.

The way you never miss a workout, you have to have the same attitude towards your tenacity when it comes to business or relationships.

How many fitness people believe that because they’re so disciplined with their workouts, that this is going to bleed up? The truth of the matter is that when they don’t make money it’s because “oh, money doesn’t matter” and they go to that default.

In relationships with people, they fold like a house of cards. They’ve got to use that discipline or nothing ever happens: “Oh I’ve got a personal record, nothing’s going to get in the way of me eating my Macros”.

They’re too tenacious but they’re not even close in the other parts of their life, that’s the wrap. So I went outside to the world, and I was really tired of bodybuilding, the whole attitude.

I wasn’t a kid when I retired, I was 41-years-old, I had a long career. Another thing about fitness is the people say “oh you look so young”, say five years, ten years. That is not a good thing because If you don’t have a sense of urgency, you’re going to squander your time.

It’s better that if you’re 40 you look 40, rather than “oh you look so young” Because that makes us squander our time and our opportunities.

You are 35, you are 45, you are 55, and that’s X amount of time before you don’t even have any earning power anymore. So who cares? Do you really look 25 when you are actually 35? I can’t tell you how many fitness people say “people tell me I look 25 when I’m 35”. Well, yeah, don’t act like you’re 25 because that’s 10 earning years.

You could provide for your future family or hold your future family. Don’t act like you’re 25. So I went on the road with this motivational speaker and we were talking about him, we think we’re smarter than the average person. He was a great guy, and the conversation kind of changed me. He was a multi-millionaire who was sitting in this Mansion. His backyard was the Pacific Ocean in California.

He was drinking a $500 bottle of wine, he was into his wine. We’re not talking about a loser here and he said to me “so do you think you’re addicted to fitness?” And I, at that stage, we talked about the obsession and all that stuff.

That was the first time at 42 or 43. The way he said it just sunk into my head and for the first time I thought “this might be…”

I still had my desire to work out, but I didn’t understand then what I understand now. That it’s my passion and that I want to share it with people. I was going around saying “I want to be a millionaire” I was smart, I was willing to do the work, and I had the connections. But I never missed a workout, I never missed a meal – that limit in focus was still going on there.

That was the first time that I considered there were any negative connotations to the lifestyle I was leading. The very first time. I know there is a 25 year old listening saying “cool story bro that’s not me”. I get it I get it. That was the moment that I first started thinking because he was so eloquent. He deals with people and he’s a motivational speaker all over the world.

So the journey started from that. I can also think of other moments. I had a very smart, successful girlfriend. I didn’t date her for very long but I learned so much, because I was making my growth and learning why fitness was so important to me.

She was very successful in business, but there were so many things about trust and childhood – I get it. She had every opportunity in the world and her stuff got in the way. I wanted to be in the relationship – she was smart, beautiful, professional. It was like looking at myself in one of those circus mirrors: because there was so much of me in that and I was pushing everything away.

I was on my journey, and from then on it’s been nothing but up. So it’s not one moment but a series of moments that led up to it.


JH: That reminds me of some of the coaching calls that we have had, and you’ve set me up for that crossroads that was going to occur.

It’s so true that working on yourself, you do start to see it in other people. Which is like that mirror, it’s a great lesson that affirms the journey that you are going on.

But there’s something that I want to pick up on, Skip, that you mentioned. It took for your coach to say at the time, whatever age you were, “are you addicted to fitness?”

Why do you think people turn to the fitness industry in the first place? Is there a blind spot that they could come to realize?


SL: Let me just tell you, Joe, that I will be the foremost authority in the world. I’m writing a book right now. I’m glad because my journey – like you said, you don’t just stop on a dime or just stop lifetime behaviours – It’s called “Matter Of Trust: Confessions Of A Recovering Bodybuilder”. I threw out so many excerpts – and the impact –  so many people said “that’s me that’s me that’s me”.

Since that time I’ve done so much coaching, and I’ve dealt with so many people. I really do believe that my 30 plus years in personal development, I’ve always been interested beyond fitness and why we do the things that we do.

I’m not formally educated, but people run in patterns. You pick up on those patterns. I have to tell you that this is a highly ineffective way of bringing this up, again, because I’ve dealt with people. I’m just going to say it. The people who are listening, I’m speaking right to their heart: they’re probably in pain, they’re just about to give up. They don’t know what to do. That group of people will hear me and this will be very helpful.

There will be people who are so embedded in their thinking, that they think this is how they are going out. It’s too late to change and it’s too hard to change. Maybe if they’re willing to admit that some of the things I am talking about, it’s too late, It’s better for them to keep on going, to block it out, it’s too painful, even if it never worked and it just wasn’t meant to be.

The majority of people will be just like me, I thought I was smarter than everyone else and I didn’t  understand. They are not going to understand.

This is for people who have a question rattling around in their head. Maybe what I share in the next couple of minutes will solidify that question and even answer it. That’s someone helping, and that’s you.They have enough pain, but they’re not in despair. The don’t see the problem of the pain and they don’t realize the pain, but they’re so much pain they feel that there’s nothing that they can do. 

It’s a sweet spot I’m talking to and I really do believe that it’s man and it’s woman. I really do believe that it comes down to that childhood. It does not matter how you look at your childhood as an adult: “Well, my parents did they best job they could, and they’re fine and I forgive them”.

It just doesn’t matter if you are a  parent and you’re under these conditions that you look at your childhood differently. It’s easy to do all that. It doesn’t matter if they’re talking about all the feelings and emotions that are ingrained in their head when they are a little kid who doesn’t understand the world.

It doesn’t matter because as humans our brains are uncertain. I mean I live in California, and I know that on the other side of the pond, if the ground rattled, people would be freaking out for weeks.

“Is it going to swallow me in?” Well, you kind of get used to it in California, But for the first few hours you’re wondering “I’m in a 3 storey building, am I going to die?”

If your dad had a problem with alcohol – not even if there’s alcoholism – but your dad was inconsistent. Maybe he had a real job. I mean intellectually, you know that he did the best job that he could.

Maybe he travelled, so he went in and out, or maybe it was just inconsistency. Not when you’re an adult looking back,  but as a child you didn’t know any certainty. Again: alcoholism, drug addiction, abandonment, separation, divorce.

.A lot of people have eating disorders, and they have fitness addiction. It’s not about food. There’s a whole group of personal trainers who just think if they count their Macros differently.

Eating disorders have nothing to do with food. They can control that, we can control our actions with fitness. There are people who love us, and we think that they are the problem. We have to do our cardio all the time and eat our meals. We say“they don’t love us what’s wrong with them?” Them, them, them.

What is this obsession with superstructure and fitness? The first time that top ab showed, you were way beyond healthy then. More muscle? Deeper edged abs? That’s not going to make you healthy. Some people might argue that it’s going to make you less healthy. Don’t give me the superstructure and the super dedication will make you healthy.

That was a long time ago, you can mix in a pizza every once in awhile. You will still be just as healthy. So that’s not it. Another characteristic is that you need to go black or white, All or Nothing. We reward ourselves and we praise ourselves for being either in or out completely.  

That’s not a very mentally or emotionally flexible world to live in: they’re either In or they are Out. They’re either in or out with relationships too. That’s the name of my book “It’s a Matter of Trust”.

I never really understood my trust issues because I see it all the time. Joe, you can post under this video or on any fitness-related website, or on social media that “man, you can’t trust anybody, they’ll always let you down”.

Then you’re going to get to your friends saying “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah”. The biggest thing that controls your lifestyle is Me vs Me and that’s what we like about it. We feel let down and we don’t want to interact with people if we don’t want to. Fitness is a magnet for those of us.


JH: So true.


SL: We lack control. Maybe we don’t know why, but we love it. The best things in life are not you versus you. To get the most productivity out of your efforts are not you versus you. It’s about incorporating people and that takes mental and emotional flexibility.

Looking at the world in grey when it needs to be looked at differently, we’re not really good at that. It serves us to a certain point especially when we get rewarded. Because of our abs we think we’re so disciplined, but we cry on our pillows Joe.

When the rest of the world thinks we’re so awesome, we cry on our pillow and I don’t care if you are 25, 35 or 45. You know exactly what I’m talking about.


JH: I know exactly what you are talking about.


SL: This is something that’s going to turn around, and I’m bringing it out. All of us quit celebrating our problems, and our discipline, and whatever we are distracting ourselves with: counting Macros or fighting over the best form.

We are obsessing over these smaller problems because there are bigger issues that we are not dealing with. We think that we are so together. I mean, Joe, how many times have you seen this in the fitness industry? “The people are just scumballs, they lack integrity and they are totally messed up”.

How many times have you read that on social media? All the time right? Why do you think you’re with us? Why are you hanging around a bunch of scumballs? What do you have in common with those scumballs? You don’t have to take steroids or have tattoos, but you have something in common if you’re going down the same path.

I really think it’s a step there, I know that it’s themselves that they are really talking about.


JH: That’s a great answer. I know we can talk all day about that and I’m conscious of the time. I’d really like to get some more questions and if you don’t mind.

You touched on it in one of your answers about personal development and the route that you went on. How important do you think that is to the personal trainer? Coming from the angle of a personal trainer, we preach so much about how clients should hire us.

I’ve seen that 99% of them don’t actually ever coach themselves. How much do you think personal development will help them? And more importantly, a coach that has been in their shoes.


SL: I’ll follow you through on the other part because I really think there is a big difference in personal development.

There are lots of personal trainers whose lives are, I don’t know what you’re ready to admit at this point – maybe you’re just into your passion and your fitness, and it will all work itself out. I don’t know where a person is, but you can tell by their means and all their motivations. Like to eat your meal on time, and not be bad, and what’s your excuse?

I guess that’s motivation in a very specific area. Not that they persist and are tenacious with other areas of their life. Taking on the role of a mindset coach – as a coach, it is just all funnelled in one area of life.

I don’t know how effective that is, I don’t know how much they are walking the walk in fitness. I really think that the body could be the starting point. However, If you think that it is everything then you are going to have a challenge.

A lot of us think that we are motivational speakers. I think that’s the worst thing about personal development and reading a lot of motivational material. Because self-improvement is all about the body, we give ourselves a lot of credit about knowing about life and discipline.

But motivation for me Joe, helps you to understand people and to give you an understanding of yourself. I am not so Pro-motivational speak but I think it helps. We all have blind spots where we can’t see ourselves, I don’t care what anybody says.

The more you know about personal development in a general sense and not how it applies to you: you post all the quotes and you see all the quotes and you think you’re doing it. We all have blindspots.

Motivation can be the worst thing for you because you think you are smarter than everyone else and you can’t see your blind spot. I think it’s helpful, but if I could do it all over again – I spent a lot of money on myself – I would invest that money with a one-on-one coach who could tell me how this applies to my situation.

There are questions going on in your head and you don’t know If something is amiss. A coach can help you identify those questions and can put you on the way to getting those answers. It could be 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades before you know what is really going wrong.

I think for some people who are listening to what I’ve said, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard this: “what the hell??” You know what I’m saying? You might even resist it but you know you’re having a visceral reaction listening to this and there’s a reason why.

When something offends us, there’s a reason why. Maybe it will take 3 months, 3 years or 3 decades for you to find out. But why? We don’t know. Like I said I was a smart guy. I did it drug-free, look how articulate I am. Look at all the DVDs that I have produced. I didn’t get someone else to do it, and I sent them off in 63 countries.

I made a living doing my passion, I was sponsored by four supplement companies. But even then, I began to wonder about fitness. I was 41 years old and I was sitting with a guy, a coach. It’s great how you position that question because I can’t manufacture it now.

That is because I am explaining the importance of coaching and of someone who can help you look at your situation objectively. Remember in the beginning how gentle he was? He didn’t tell me that I had an addiction. He was just a great coach who made me ask myself the important questions – that’s what’s effective.

That’s why I said at the beginning that this can be ineffective, because there may be someone who really needs this but they put up a wall.

This doesn’t apply to them. The only people who are going to get this right now are the people who are really hurting. Some people might look back to this conversation in 10 years time when they are really hurting.

But Joe, we can’t worry about that. You know the benefit of coaching and how it changed every aspect of your life. You know the fitness and the business are just a by-product for the feelings and emotions you were able to unlock yourself with.

One-on-one coaching with a great coach will be massively beneficial to everyone. Everybody needs a coach, everybody needs objectivity and perspective. So much so that you continue to get coaching.

I’ll give you an example: people can Google me and look at my accomplishments, but that lacks objectivity. The question is, how badly do I want to get to the next level. Let’s just fast-forward through my accomplishments: I just paid a coach a lot of money to tell me what I already knew!

I didn’t have the objectivity, but I’ve got a whole bunch in the skill set. We all lack objectivity for our strengths and our weaknesses. The coach can help you recognise your weaknesses and move forward. You can count them all.

But in a nutshell, he had to get really clear on my niche. You know what it’s like in the fitness industry, we get a little scared about locking in on a niche, because we think that we are going to eliminate potential clients. But the reason why I can talk about this with such passion is because a coach taught me to eliminate who I am not talking to. I don’t care if I’m not talking to you.

Everything that I have done, from the bodybuilding to the training and the supplement company, I assessed it and said that I can see myself differently. It’s a matter of trust, the confessions of a recovering bodybuilder and it’s  an information programme.

I was kind of like “damn, I kinda went three-quarters on both of those. I kind of held myself back, and now I have gone bigger”. I’ll tell you this as a freebie – that cleared me up to the next level and now I’m ready to do anything.

That’s what coaching is: quit trying to figure it out for yourself, if you want it that bad, keep on what you’re doing and hoping that things change.

The best way to do that is to just cut through all that with a qualified coach.

Here’s the thing that people need to understand about coaching: “They don’t understand me, they can’t tell me how to live my life. Is their life perfect?” That’s a life coach, right?.

We have these wired in emotions that make us who we are  which help us to face challenges. Whether that is in a relationship with a client, with a business decision whether to start a studio or not, or to put ourselves out there on the internet with a video, or to send one more email on the chance that we get a response.

Those ingrained things that you may not be aware of are affecting every decision that you are making. You’ll generally pick the same set of decisions under every set of circumstances. Especially the higher the emotional, the more scared you are.

If you were taught to be conservative and not take risks, the higher the risk and the higher the emotion – you are just going to take the conservative decision all the time. You are going to choose two or three options when it comes to the tough decisions, and you might always go for the same one.

It seems so natural and takes you on the same path. If you’re happy, then awesome, but if you’re unhappy this is where a coach comes in. You might say “I’ve got one, two or three options”.

Let me tell you, if you think that you have just one option then you have no choice, there is only one thing that you can do.

If you think it’s between this and this, black and white, then those are not choices. That’s a dilemma. The truth of the matter is there’s probably eighteen choices, but you’re emotionally locked into the same pattern. This is where you just come to the same one or two conclusions that are the same things!  

You’re limiting yourself because we all have blind spots based on our experiences and our emotions. The coach can let you talk it out. Maybe there are 17 options and 5 of them might get you there faster with less money spent and a bigger reward. You just never thought of it.

What a coach can do is help you pick from 17 options instead of 1 or 2 or maybe 3. You might never know that they are there. You can still pick the one or two, a life coach can’t tell you what to do.

Even if they told you that “option number 15 is the best, I’ve seen it before, it’s tried and true”. If you don’t believe in it, you’re not going to get the best out of it. So it’s not the best because you didn’t believe in it. You ultimately need to make your decisions, and put the force to make it work.

A coach can help you come up with more options before you start to make your own decisions.


JH: That’s such a great point in terms of the options. For the trainers, once they get to work on themselves and identify the coach that can help them, this is only going to help them to develop and grow.

This is going to put them in a different place in the fitness industry, an uncontested marketplace. That is because they’ve had to work on themselves and they have this experience and this perspective, more than any other trainer who doesn’t go down this journey of self-growth.

They can pass this onto their clients, which I’m all for. If I can work on myself have this perspective and add more tools to the toolbox when I’m helping clients.

This is something that you briefly touched on. We can niche down and we can probably value ourselves a whole lot more. That is because of all this awkward and hidden stuff that has been going on in the background that is worked on by our coach.

This allows you to become a better coach all around, and I think it’s such a great point to finish on and bring this whole episode to a wrap.

I know that we are going to be hearing more about you in future episodes. I know for myself that I was so absorbed in what you have to say.

Just to bring this to a wrap Skip, please tell the guys how they can find out more about you? I know that you mentioned about the book that’s on hand. I’m very excited to hear when that comes out. Please, if people wanted to learn more about you or hear more about you, where can they?


SL: I’ll tell you, right now I’m putting myself to the test because I believe that this will change the fitness world. One thing that Joe said: you either get on this trend or you’re going to be left out.

If you’re going to just stick to your training strategy, and you think that you’re so much more superior or your diet is, then first of all you should know that it isn’t true: there are many ways to get from point A to point B.

You can get on this train that we are talking about or be left behind. You can be cutting edge – there’s too many people, they have access to too many people.

You’d better get on this now or you’re going to be left out. You’re going to be a dinosaur. I don’t care if you are 25 years old, you need to get on.

I’m not necessarily benefitting, am I right? I’m just creating more competition for myself. It’s happening, so you might as well join in, you’re just going to make me better at what I do.

I was the leader in the drug-free movement, maybe I’ll be the leader in this movement? You can go to www.skiplacour.com and that can bleed you over. But you want to go to my Facebook page: Facebook.com/skiplacourpage. That’s my official page so there are half a million people there. I’m stepping this up because I am perfecting this and I’m doing 3 live broadcasts a day on Facebook.

I’m doing an article and you’ll see how I’m all wrapping this together. We’re doing a challenge and we just finished day 18. If you just go to massmachinechallenge.com you’ll see what I’m doing: the schedule, all the different subcategory of events.

If you have listened to this podcast you will have learned about my Big Picture. As I have said, I have a mission to help people. You know people with my level of success. There’s a lot of people who say the whole fitness thing, and they get the hell out of it. You never hear from them again.

We think that the people who train or buy products are the really dedicated ones and they are superfit. But then they quit.

You think “what happened to them? What a sorry human being” You know what? Maybe those people are smart, and they realise that this may not take them to the promised land. My point is that no one is coming back with my qualifications: 30 years in personal development.

Tony Robbins thinks enough of me, he had me on a commercial. Tony Robbins, the OG, the godfather of this all, who knows people. He picked me to represent his product on infomercials. So I’ve got 30 years in personal development, 27 as a bodybuilding champ. I didn’t use steroids, I did it drug-free and I made my impact on that little niche.

And I did a business on the side. I was successful, I had a long career, I am not sour grapes. I’m coming back in power and there’s nobody else. Maybe there are people who went on and understood all this and went on to have a great balanced life, but they ain’t coming back here and helping all of us. I’m that guy.   


JH: Skip, thankyou very much sir and I know what you just said is so true. Hence why I reached out to you over 18 months back. I’ll put all the show notes and the links at the bottom of the page where this podcast will go.


SL: But you’ve got to have that Joe, and you touched on it. When they work out why they got into fitness, they will understand their clients.

They may be 10 years, 5 years an expert personal trainer, that person coming to you is coming for the exact same reasons that you came.


JH: Exactly and also I think that is why it’s an opportunity to…


SL: You can figure it out before they do. You can realise that the sets and reps are just a by-product of the feelings and emotions that they want. You will be getting a premium for what you do because you will be giving them what they need. You’re not just giving them sets and reps because that is what they are guessing will help them to deal with the feelings and emotions. You’ll be able to get them straight and give them what they want.

But you need to figure out what you really want first. It starts with you.


JH: And I know that inviting you on the show in the future, I know that we can talk about not just having that development and that self-awareness but also the framework to allow you to deliver that to your client.   


SL: Right, step by step and I know we like structure, and I work with those emotions and that mindset as I deliver these strategies too.


JH: Thank you Skip, thank you sir.


SL: Alright Joe, thank you so much. As you can probably tell I could talk about this for 5 or 10 hours too.


JH: Tremendous value. Thank you very much.


SL: Alright brother.  


JH: There you have it then. Skip LaCour has been my personal coach for just under 2 years, sharing his experience of working with personal trainers and men just like you.

Again, you can find out more about Skip at www.skiplacour.com. Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show the head over to the Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we’ll be having deeper conversations about this. It is also a confidential place where we’ll be helping each other become better personal trainers by becoming better men.

Finally, make sure that you check back and subscribe to this channel so that you don’t miss part 3 in this series of Untold: The New Personal Trainer Model. Next up we have a gentleman, who for most of his adult life was unhappy and lost. He is the best-selling author, heart-centred entrepreneur and identity specialist in helping entrepreneurs find their success and the happiness that they really want.

Along with helping entrepreneurs to find happiness, he is dedicated to unlocking their potential by discovering their core beliefs and what society has taught them about how to achieve success and happiness. He also has a vast amount of experience working with personal trainers just like you.

This is one show that’s not to be missed.  


Podcast Episode 1: Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz

A Lesson In Becoming Self Aware, With The Man Whisperer Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz


Because training and  personal fitness is intensely physical, we can often lose sight of the need to be self-aware in order to help ourselves and our clients. This understanding of our emotions allows us to know ourselves on a much more intimate level. This benefits everyone: the trainer will be able to feel better in themselves and they will become more effective at dealing with the root causes of why their client has turned to them for help in the first place. This can lead to greater and greater success.

I ask the right questions and help things authentically fall together. Then the pennies drop and you become your own authentic man” – Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz

About Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz

As a child, personal development coach Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz was forced to flee from Uganda to England with his mother after Idi Amin came to power.

He turned to extreme sports and worked on tight deadlines in order to distract himself from the pain and emptiness that he felt within himself. He realised that he had to change his mind set, so he went inward, and through a period of intense self-inspection was able to fully come to terms with his past.

From there, worked in development in Fiji, ran a health centre in Australia and collaborated with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries Of Charity Organisation.

He was also responsible for rebranding the sports supplement company Maximuscle, now known as MaxiNutrition. Currently, he is a coach and consultant, dubbed “The Man Whisperer” by Newsweek. His aim is to help men reach their ultimate personal goals through one-on-one sessions and group training.


  • How many people get into the fitness industry as a means of coping with their childhoods
  • How inhibiting patterns of behaviour can be changed
  • How a trainer can gain a deeper understanding of their own self-perception in order to help themselves and their client
  • How more and more men are seeking help in order to become self-aware


“I turn surviving boys into self-aware men”

Connect with Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz

Website: http://www.kennydcruz.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KennyTheManWhisperer

Email: kenny@kennydcruz.com


Interview Transcript

JOE HANNEY: The Untold: It is the untold truth about ourselves and the state of the fitness industry. This is a four-part series, each offering the wisdom and insight for four great coaches. We kick it off with my first guest, Kenny D’Cruz – The Man Whisper. We discuss how many personal trainers got into fitness in order to survive their childhoods. This could be in order to survive being bullied or whatever it is they thought they were lacking. They know that people would approve of them.

We also discuss how having the body and the muscles is, in fact, making the client feel worse about themselves, so neither the client or the trainer ever grows. We also discuss how, in particular, the male personal trainer can have old inhibiting patterns running on.

Generally, the issue is that they don’t have any space in their own lives. They don’t know who they are, and they certainly don’t know what they want. Something that resonates with me most is a lot of these male personal trainers – with these type of challenges going on – have lacked a real male role model in their lives.


VOICEOVER: Become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man. Become a better man by applying knowledge from others who have walked across the fire, and have a thing or two to say about it. Listen to Joe as he delves into some of the greatest minds of the best coaches in the world. Who bring inspiring stories and powerful insights to share about the human condition.

Hear about how the fitness industry goes only muscle-deep and how a new breed of trainers are using emotional and mind set hacks to improve as men, evolve their game and make the competition irrelevant. Trigger your pathway to greater fulfilment. With us, stand in the face of fitness. Welcome to the Fit Man Collective.


JH: Fit pros, what’s up? My name is Joe Hanney and I am your host and founder of the Fit Man Collective. I’m glad that you are here with us today and I appreciate your attention. This show is about becoming a better personal trainer by becoming a better man, a fit man.

I ask the all-important question that if men feel that we can’t ask; especially if we build this illusion that we’re comfortable, we’re busy, we’re robots, and we know what we’re talking about. Selling the image of fitness, our bodies and health are exhausted.

This is often done at the expense of the other important areas of our lives: family, love, intimacy, connection, freedom, self-mastery, financial security. These are the blind spots in which I hope this show will help you to explore. Today we are going to be talking about you, and all things related to men, with the one and only Man Whisperer Kenny D’Cruz.

But before we do I just want to let you know that you can get all the show notes, links and everything that we talk about for this show at www.thefitmancollective.com. If you haven’t already joined our Facebook group then head over to www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we have deeper conversations about these shows.

Now I want to introduce you to my guest today – his name is Kenny D’Cruz and he’s a coach, consultant and guru all things men.

He came from dramatic beginnings: death threats, refugee camps, paternal abandonment, mental health issues and racism. He moved to London and became a high-flying adrenaline junkie. He needed tight deadlines and extreme sports to distract him from the pain and emptiness he held deep within. He realized that in order to help himself he had to own his shadows, and release the depressed pause buttons from the past that kept him stuck in the same old story. So he sat down with his shadows and learned his limiting stories, turning addictive adrenaline into an endorphin buzz that he now calmly shares with clients.

Previously he’s worked in development in Fiji, co-ran a natural healing centre in Sydney and worked with Mother Teresa whilst adventuring the world. He was also responsible for the rebranding of the supplement company Maximuscle.

So I’m absolutely excited to have an incredible guest with us today. Kenny D’Cruz has been described as the coach, consultant and guru to all things men, as described by the Daily Express. He’s also known as the Man Whisperer. I think Newsweek honoured him with that title. So Kenny, welcome to the show.


KD: Thank you, very chuffed to be here.


JH: Good, excellent so were just going to dive straight into this today. So for those who don’t know you in the audience, could you just tell the audience what you do?


KD: What I do in a nutshell – especially with men – is get them from surviving boys into self-aware men. I get them from second-guessing – the whole anxiety of life and competing unconsciously – into consciously being present, so they can take part in life.

It gets them out of the same old story repeating, such as the same old relationships and the same old outcomes. Once they’re conscious and they know what it’s all about, they can write their own script.


JH: Excellent. I know that you are renowned for saying “once people own their stories, their stories don’t own them anymore”. I’m interested to hear about your story and what lead you down this path to help men in particular.


KD: To jump in the middle of the story, I’ve had a busy life mainly in marketing and publicity launching lots of businesses and products for clients. Then came the self-awareness stuff, natural health and turning people on in one way or another.

I remember that I was living in my house in Muswell Hill in London and everything was going very, very well. I was in the media a lot, I had lots of clients, and suddenly I got spooked. It was quite a familiar spooking. Things were going so well that I recognised that I was getting scared.

Ordinarily, when I would feel like this I would run away: I would change career, change home, change country.

But things were going well and there was a need to run. And then I realised that behind that I have a fear of the bogeyman getting me. We were doing very well when I was a child in Africa. I’m a refugee from Uganda. Life was great with my family, the community, the weather and the mangos.

Things were wonderful, and then suddenly Idi Amin took over and my father was on the death list. The work my mother was doing meant she was in danger, so we went into hiding and we had to run for our lives.

And we came here. I was 7 and I was pretty much suddenly the head of the family. My father was left in Africa and he was supposed to be killed. We didn’t see him for 9 months, we lived in refugee camps and we moved to a small town in Wales. The key to this story is that on one hand, there is the drama of it. It’s quite glamorous in a way to look at it from the outside, when it was just quite simply my experience.

It could be easy to get addicted to that story – “this is my story and therefore I’m cool and therefore I’m special, haven’t I done well?” It isn’t about the story, I don’t need my story to own me. It’s about me owning the story so I don’t repeat it. It’s also about living my life, showing up to life, and seeing how it wants to move me forward.

That’s where opportunities and things fall out the air. The best people and the best opportunities of my life have all 100% shown up when I’m out of control, not when I’m in control and surviving. If I’m in control and surviving, I’m demanding that the same thing happens.

So to go back to my house in Muswell Hill, I realised that I kept moving. I’ve lived in Australia and Fiji, I’ve been in the music business, publishing newspapers, design PR. I kept moving because as soon as it went well, or as soon as it nearly hit the big time to settle. Well, what comes after settling? That’s when we get threatened, that’s when we lose it all. Will I have it in me to make it again? I avoided losing.

Most people will have similar patterns: maybe with women, girlfriends, business partners, best friends or work. I find that something always keeps happening. I am always left to clear after the relationship splits, or after she betrays me. I do all the work in the business, and my business partner takes all the money. However, I’m not left with voting rights to make something of this. Whatever it is that keeps repeating needs to be changed.

When I realised this, I thought that “I can’t have this and I can’t keep running for the rest of my life”. I love the work that I’ve done, the different chapters and the places I lived. However, it wasn’t about the outside life, how much fun it was and my friends – it was about the way I felt inside.

I needed to feel calm and safe, to feel joy and freedom and I needed to take part. I was over self-preservation, second-guessing, fear and paranoia. So, I needed to turn it around and I learnt how to do it. That’s what I do with my clients, I help them turn that around.

A lot of them have pretty much everything crossed off the list: loads of money, a dream job, dream home and a dream wife. Surely they should be happy because that what they chose? But generally, that’s when they realise that it’s not going to happen from the outside. It needs to happen from the inside. They realise they want passion, they want to be present and they want a sense of purpose. They want a personal power rather than having a blank personality that just survives and is popular.


JH: A tremendous story. There was one question that I was going to ask – I think that you just answered it: When did you become self-aware that something that just wasn’t feeling right, even though you were having this success?

Many people you’ve described, the clients you work with, are tremendously successful with money, business or relationships. When do people usually recognise this? Do people have that much self-awareness, or is it something that you have to really help them understand?


KD: When? Unfortunately it used to be when men were in pain: when someone died, when someone left them or if they got a health condition. It happened when the chips were down, they had to do something about it and they could no longer hold it together. It’s changed over the last 5-10 years where now there is a big movement of men who want to be men, not just flash boys.

They want to be self-aware men with purpose, with a good head on them and with good health. People Googled and they somehow came across me. I’ve run men’s groups for about 14 years now, and I’m very well known for them. I’ve been running them internationally online and in London. I’m now training people how to run them. That’s a tool to pass it on.

I find that a lot of men – especially the more masculine men – don’t like to go to therapy. They want to understand it and know what to do. One of the differences between men and women is that men think “there’s something up, I’ll fix it. What do you want me to do?”  

Women, and the feminine side, are a lot more to do with being present and feeling intuition. Obviously it’s a mixture of the two, and it’s not about the masculine or the feminine. This is something that saves so many relationships.

I know that when my wife starts talking, I remember right in the middle of the conversation to ask “are you telling me these things because you want me to fix it, or do you want me to quietly listen so you can debrief me?”

Most men will want to instinctively jump in and fix it. That’s where the whole row of “you’re not listening to me” happens. The bloke is thinking “you’re in pain. I don’t want you to be in pain. Obviously that’s why you’re telling me because you want me to fix it”. That’s where it goes wrong very often.


JH: That’s a great point, because allowing someone to speak out loud tends to dissolve what is going on.


KD: Absolutely. It puts it in a certain order that can be seen. Then it isn’t a huge frenzy of emotions that don’t make sense and are out of control. That’s a big tip. With men, or the masculine side, it’s very easy for me to work with them. I can be very clear about their life script so far, what the patterns are and what their belief system is behind it.

A man has the tools to keep it that way, or to keep adjusting. I imagine that it’s the same with physical training: it’s all about adjusting, where you learn the techniques and the form. Every time you do it you keep adjusting. It’s the same with the mind and it’s the same with the emotions: rather than second-guessing and surviving, it’s “what is going on right now?”. Rather than reacting it’s “how can I respond? How can I adjust?”. This is instead of “I need to fix it and I need to save it”. It’s “I need to choose how to respond”.

It’s almost a change from “am I?” to “I am”. “Am I?” is about getting reassurance from the outside: “am I popular, am I safe?” “I am” is acceptance and an extension to the present.


JH: I keep going back to this self-awareness. There’s almost a gap there, especially in the fitness industry. We’re talking about masculinity and the male personal trainer. I’m not sure that they have that self-awareness. It’s almost as if they have masked it by going to the gym, which is their identity. You mentioned briefly how “you can own your story, or you can let it own you”.

When we sit there and listen to our clients, we could actually listen to ourselves a little bit better. How does a trainer identify that within themselves? I know from my own personal journey that I had the success, the cars and the watches but I didn’t feel that I was right within myself. My question here is, could a male in particular pick this up for themselves before it gets to that extreme, or do they have to reach that point when they are in pain?


KD: No, absolutely not. These days people are looking to get out of the piece of pain. Most people can do it these days. In the past the awareness wasn’t there, the resources weren’t there and the space wasn’t there. It wasn’t normal. People are choosing to be powerful and creative in their own lives, rather than just surviving.

The general pattern that I have noticed with men is that they don’t have enough space in their lives. They don’t know who they are, and they don’t know what they want. They know what other people want. They know how to keep money coming in,  how to keep relationships going and maintain popularity.

This happens even if they have to sell out on themselves and go against their own values. However, people are turning it around far, far earlier. I guess most of the men I work with are 30s and 40s, but I’ve got enough 20s and I’ve even got them into their 60s and 70s and 80s.

It’s not about their age, it’s all about the stage that they’re at. They either think “I’m stuffed and I need to do something now” or they think “I’m over this and I want my life back. I need to live my life”. They might think that “I’m going to have a kid, I’m going to get married, or I’m going to commit to something”.

It’s very rare that I have men who say “I need to make sure this stays and I need the tools to make sure this keeps going, because I don’t want to lose it”. That’s great. It’s asking for the tools to manage, change and grow.


JH: You mentioned something that more and more men are seeking you out at an early age. In the industry, men do start off at a young age. That’s one of the things that attracted me to bringing you onto the show, because I know that you’ve worked with personal trainers. What’s your experience with personal trainers? Are there any commonalities? Are they any different to any other male?

Is there something which you can really identify with trainers? It would help them to understand. Do you have any tips or advice?


KD: This is something that is like walking on thin ice for me. I have worked with a lot of personal trainers because I was the marketing manager for the rebrand of Maximuscle. I knew that industry very well.

To be absolutely frank, I would say that 80% of the personal trainers that I have known got into fitness and training in order to survive their childhood, in order to survive being bullied, being short, or whatever they think they were lacking.

Very often they compensated or overcompensated with physicality. That’s just a starting point. Body dysmorphic disorder is getting a lot of press these days, especially in men. It is about getting obsessed about how a man looks and their size. It’s all about looks, it’s about getting a sense of self. However it’s not only through looks, that’s the “I am” part. The “am I?” part happens when men ask themselves “where am I in the pecking order? Am I being feared? Am I being respected? If I just need to show up and be pretty, I can cover up the fact that I think that I’m really thick”.

JH: That’s a great point. So you feel that trainers in particular get in good shape and get obsessed as a way of…


KD: Compensating.


JH: It’s proven to people that they’re worthy and they’re good enough.


KD: Yeah, I’d say that’s how it starts. What I love is that generally I find that a lot of these guys grow up and they calm down. They get into a greater sense of self-acceptance and they think “well maybe there is something to this body dysmorphia thing”.

They get to know how they body works and they get to know their bodies. And they get into health issues rather than just pretty stuff.

They get into the depth of it and they really get something that they can offer and share with their clients. Then they need to deal with the BDD in their clients. I’m sure as most personal trainers know, a client with BDD is regular business.

It’s a fine line. This is something that I’ve had to deal in my line of work, big time. A lot of men irrespective of their age want someone to tell them what to do, to hand their power over and to be accepted and liked. They also want to lead. For me, it’s about empowering my client so that they don’t need me. With some of the personal trainers I’ve worked with, it’s about letting people know about their bodies and giving them things to do. They have the choice of coming or they don’t have to come.

So many men have wanted me to be their teacher, guru, big brother or best friend. I will take that in the beginning to establish safety, and so that we can really start with the work – but then the power needs to go back to my client and they need to be self-sufficient.

I find that the personal trainers who play clean have better healthier lives and businesses – they get recommended and they get interesting clients who really grow into their bodies. Some might stay and some might go, but the good ones really have a sense of self-worth and what they need to pass on.

I’m thinking of someone in particular here. He had huge issues with his height, weight and intelligence. Bullying was a factor – maybe not directly at him – but the culture he was brought up in was where everyone bullies everyone. Relationships are expressed by bullying and being bullied.

He started to get fit and get into his personal training to compensate for that. Then he really got to know about food and nutrition, so he really got to fine-tune his art. Nowadays I can say he’s not thinking “I’m the short guy who’s having to compensate”. Instead, he’s thinking that “I know about bodies and I can make a difference here”. This is a huge change of perspective and a huge stress off his shoulders because he is living a life that is contributing. He is doing a lot of good, rather than concentrating on what is lacking. So being a personal trainer is a very powerful position to be in because it’s dealing with people’s fear of intimacy and it’s also being regularly there for someone.

A lot of people don’t have a friend that they would see once or twice a week, or once a fortnight. So it’s a very regular, trusting relationship. I would say that it’s very simple for personal trainers to pick up some very basic tools of how to communicate, because a lot of trainers – like hairdressers – can be treated like therapists. They can be treated like the best friend that the client hasn’t got. If they take on female or gay clients, then very often there might be a projection that also needs to be worked with.

It’s really important to hand the power back to the client. As soon as the client says “there’s this and this, what should I do?” I would generally ask “what are your options and what outcome do you want?”

Teach them how to work backwards and take responsibility rather than jumping into the drama and feeding it in the way that most people would.


JH: There were many key points there. What I took from that was firstly, the power that a trainer could have if they admit to their own challenges and that they can overcome those and become self-aware.

That would have a knock-on effect for the sort of coach that you would become when you are with these clients. This would attract a clientele who really do want to change, for the reasons that we have just mentioned. They really come to trainers for something more than just “show me a new exercise”. There’s a whole lot more to it now.


KD: Exactly, and the good ones I’ve worked with allow the raw material in their new client to say “this is what I want”. As they start the journey with the client, it’s about meeting them where they are and walking them through it. Trainers need to remember to tell clients about adjustments and the feelings they are going through. They shouldn’t just push people and cause some damage. They need to make sure that clients are aware of what they are doing and how the body is responding. Then the training really starts, so the client and trainer can go into a different depth with a mission. This is better than  “I need to lose my belly fat and have biceps”.


JH: That’s a very valid point. I suppose that personal trainers, particularly male trainers, can’t have these conversations on the gym floor. I briefed you on this before I got into the interview today. Would you say that more and more trainers are coming to you at an earlier age, they’re not shy of having this conversation?

KD: Totally. People want to talk and men want to talk. They just need to know where, how and who with.

JH: That’s a great point. When I sought coaching in the fitness industry, there was no one for this level of coaching. I had to look outside the industry and I still think that’s true today.


KD: Yeah, I’m getting more and more of them. What I love about the ones that I work with is that they see how their clients reflect what they love about themselves more often than what they hate about themselves. Then they think about how much they’ll overcharge the client or undercharge them. Then they will think about whether the client will underperform or overperform. Finally, they will think whether the client will hate them and bitch about them behind their back, or be jealous about them.

Everyone and everything that crosses my path, is as far as I’m concerned, a clue. I have a feeling and I get a response in my body.

It’s not all work, to be honest. It’s just the greatest fun because I spend my life thinking about Colombo and living like Colombo –  it’s just the best TV show.

They get to see where their client is and how to own that issue and move on. That is the gift that someone might bring. It can allow them to be like their clients if it’s someone that they want to be like. Everyone gets to grow.

I remember having a batch of personal trainers where I realised that all the men I was working with were all big and muscly – all the clients that they had wanted to be like them and to be in their company.

They got to strut around and feel good about themselves. Meanwhile most of them had minor depression issues, and it wasn’t working with a client and growing. It was more wanting to be a show-off, the leader, saying the old-old and wanting to feel good about themselves. They carried on attracting clients but neither of them grew. Clients continued to feel crap about themselves and trainers continued to compensate.


JH: I can only assume that this leads to further problems for the trainer down the line, if they don’t make a change.


KD: Yes, absolutely. But then to be fair there are those that just continue and continue playing that game for years. They get more depressed and they need to have more and more of the compensation for the depression: whether it’s food or drink or drugs or BDD. So it can take over and gets more and more toxic. People feel alone, getting deeper and deeper down the hole.

This is until they get older when they think “I’m too old to change what I do, I don’t know anything else”. That’s what I mean by men having no space in their lives. It’s like “now I’ve got this choice and this choice in order to survive”. That’s not good because it means they have no space to themselves.

But, as I say “it’s not about age, it’s all about the stage”. I have every age saying “this is where I am, and I need to change something. I can see where this is going and I don’t like it”. Or “I’ve got all my boxes ticked and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life”.


JH: Very interesting. You mentioned that you identify the similarities with trainers and men. Would you say that a lot of them do have broken families at a young age?


KD: That’s a strange one. As you mention it, the ones who fly through my mind actually have. A lot of the men I’ve worked with have lacked a male role model. Whether they come from a broken home or they were from a wealthy family and were sent off to boarding school, there’s still this lack of a male role model for protection and cherishing.

Thank god that some of them go to personal training, because some will go to whatever club won’t reject them; which is very often the drink club, the drug club, the victim club. Once you join any of those clubs then it is definitely not easy to leave. Finally there is a community and people think “I have acceptance, I have a place”. The addicts, including the addicts that I have worked with, don’t necessarily go back to the drugs but they tend to go back to their people.

They have a sense of belonging with the people that they know they love. They take the drink and the drugs and they get into the panic/survival stuff in order to have company. Or, quite simply, they know how to be in those relationships and it’s too lonely and too scary to let go of control by allowing something else to happen.

By far the most courageous thing they all do, generally with support, is that go from surviving and being out of control to gaining control. It could quite simply be the first day in school, or it could be the mother or the father leaving the family, or someone dying – but they gain control at the time of real pain, fear, broken spirit, or the first devastation. The automatic pilot control in the background is thankfully put in place at that stage because then they are able to survive their lives for decades.

However, it then it gets to that stage when that control is a limitation. That control is actually killing them, the thing that has helped them to survive and protect them. They’ve outgrown it. That’s where Colombo and returning to the scene of the crime happens with me. We accept it, we own it and we move on. That’s where the story is owned by the individual, rather than the story owning the individual.

I’ve worked with a lot of people who have done a lot of crazy, stupid things that stuffed their lives up because that’s what their peers were doing or that’s what they needed to do in order to belong. It’s a huge thing for males to allow themselves to be accepted by others and belong. I’d say the two things that have run most males that I’ve worked with is fear of abandonment and fear of humiliation.


JH: I can match a lot of what you just said. There have been challenges in my upbringing and having a broken family as well, but not as much. My father always was around but not present, should I say. This is what lead me to seeking out coaching for myself. That kind of leads me on to the next question –


KD: Can I just say, that is exactly how it works. If it wasn’t for that childhood and you unlearning it and undoing it, and taking care of yourself, you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing now.


JH: True, very true.


KD: That’s what it’s all about – I want to know with everyone “why? Why did this happen? What’s life trying to tell this person? Why does this keep repeating?” Ten times out of ten, when people unlearn their crap, they then learn the tools and discover their pathway. They get to know who they are. Things fall into place.


JH: One big thing that I heard on another podcast was how love kind of set you free. It gave you some kind of freedom. That resonated with me the most. We don’t have a lot of time but if you could quickly run over that.


KD: Love – I don’t remember that, but I can tell you what’s on my mind now. I believe that there are two ways of being, and that’s coming from my love or coming from my fear. It’s a simple adjustment from one to the other. Sometimes it’s not going to happen straight away; I’m working with someone who has just split up with their girlfriend after a long time and there is so much of the old stuff coming up. Silly little techniques are not going to work and they are not helpful. This is the time to go down into where it stinks and come out the other end.

Very often, when I need to adjust from fear into love, from disconnected and absent to connected and present, I will catch myself thinking fearful thoughts or second guessing. Trying to control or generally worrying about something – this is the downward spiral in my mind. When I catch myself in that fear, I will catch myself mid-sentence and not think it through anymore.

I take a deep breath and I say to myself “thank you for reminding me who I used to be”. I was, in the past, just a ball of panic. Like most people at some stage used to be. And as I breathe out I take stock of what’s in front of me. In my younger days I would attract girlfriends and friends where they would play my shadow part.

They would be the anger, they would be the rebellion, they would be all sorts of things that I wouldn’t own.  I would continue attracting these relationships with narcissists, and I saw the pattern. I thought “I’m not going to spend the rest of my life with that, I know how to survive it.  know how to do it because that’s all I have”.

It came to the time where I basically wanted to meet the woman of my dreams and settle down – well, not settle down – and live happily ever after. I wrote a very tight, specific list – not only about her – but also about my lifestyle. This was about what I feel and about what I do with my day. It was down to detail. I thought that this is what I want. And, quite simply, I’ve given energy to what I want to grow. If I give energy to where I want to grow, then obviously I’m going to grow it.

I had this to focus on and I went out into the Happy Hunting Grounds and attracted women – some absolutely amazing women. Perfect and unbelievable “first reserve” women.


JH: I resonate with that because I have had similar experiences to you. These women had high standards. I compartmentalised it as them having low standards, but it was probably me who had the low standards. I can identify with a lot of what you just said, with women complementing your lifestyle.


KD: Yeah exactly, and with a lot of people it’s “what status will I have if I’m with this woman, or how will my life change?” I remember looking at my list and realised that there are things that I need to be myself, rather than have her be for me.

I need to own my own anchor, I need to own my own sense of self-worth, rather than the woman on my arm gives me a sense of worth. Whatever it was on that list, I had to be. I kept adjusting myself, going out and thinking and feeling differently.

I attracted different women and it was absolutely amazing. I thought “my god, why didn’t I learn this trick in my teens?” It was amazing. I guess because I was brought up a mummy’s boy, I was responsible for my mother’s and all the women’s emotions. I was used to attracting women. It wasn’t an issue, whereas a lot of men have different belief systems about women. They’re brought up differently, and they don’t attract women or they don’t know how to. It’s the stuff that needs to be undone to allow this to take place.

I attracted by being me, rather than being a good actor, or being a great proposition, or some cheap razzmatazz. I became the best of me and I felt like I became so much bigger. It’s more vulnerable, but the vulnerability actually brought me alive. Out of control is vulnerability, but my relationship to vulnerability has totally changed. it’s now the most honest, powerful and clearest place to come from.

That’s what I need, I’m at the foot of magic there. So I went back out into the Happy Hunting Grounds and I really did attract the woman of my dreams. We’ve been together for the last 13 or 14 years. She’s ex-Catholic so neither of us are into marriage. However, out of the blue she asked me to marry her. Leap year, 29th February. It’s the day that women ask men. I so didn’t see it coming – I was like “oh my god is this how it feels for a woman when the man asks, how do I have to behave?”


JH: I don’t know how I would react to that.


KD: Oh god, you know, that did my head in, and we got married just over two years ago. What makes the relationship work is that I am on my path and she is on her path. We can walk beside each other, we can walk in front of each other, we can skip, whatever we want to do.

But we’re not in a mess – she’s not a replacement for my old dramas, she’s not a vehicle for my fears and emotions. We are two adults having a good life, a really good life, which is better than I have ever seen or imagined.

I’ve done all kinds of dangerous things from shark feeding in Fiji, bungee jumping, skydiving and working with dying people through Mother Teresa. It was all quite scary. That’s not as scary as being in love and opening up, and opening up more of me and allowing myself to come alive. Love is where the fear is.


JH: I really want to continue this conversation because I relate to what you’ve just said. There were things that I had to get to work on, and I presented it differently. This woman, what would I have to do for her to be attracted to me? That made me get to work on what I had to work on.

You brought up relationships, and just to round off this interview, coming to understand the relationship as a personal trainer, whether it’s love or with your clients. I believe that many personal trainers don’t get into the industry with a weight problem, they are more or less in shape, should we say. It’s not too difficult for them to get in shape, so it’s very hard to relate to that clientele. That’s because a large proportion of them want to lose weight.


KD: That’s so true.  


JH: Learning about themselves and connecting that issue with their clients, so that means getting to work on themselves as well.


KD: Yeah, and those are the ones that I didn’t mention. The ones who are naturally good at sports but didn’t fit as one of the boys etc. There are loads of them and they naturally do what they are good at. So they come to me when they are beginning to grow older. If they are younger, they tend to think about older age as “OK, I don’t think I want to do this all my life, who else am I? What else am I? What else might I want to do? And what do I want to do when I retire?”

A lot of them stop their personal training in their 30s and 40s and 50s. There are the majority of blokes who are good in the playground and good on the sports field. How could they not do this?


JH: I think it is OK for them to admit that they don’t want to continue as well.


KD: To relate to the body of someone else like that, is huge.


JH: I personally think that would create an uncontested marketplace for the trainer. So, Kenny, just to wrap up the show for the personal trainers listening in, how can people find out more about you? Particularly in the men’s group. Please share where people could find you.


KD: Newsweek wrote the Man Whisperer article about me in a book. So my website is www.themanwhisperer.co.uk and the best thing to do is to check out my website.

Sign up to the newsletter, and that’s where there will always be updates of groups coming up and workshops coming up. Also, stuff that I’ve been on: podcasts like this one, or TV, or Huffington. So, sign up to the newsletter and lots of goodies are coming your way. Online groups as well.

With some clients it can be quite simple email questions. A lot of people, especially men, think “when I do this” or “when I find the next workshop that is going to change my life”. For me, the key is now. It’s right now. It’s not necessarily “take action now” because sometimes it’s time to sit with things rather than take action. Step number 1 is always acceptance, and then response. Bond in the moment and make it now, rather than “when this, when that”. It’s now, there is only really now.


JH: Yeah, and that’s a very important point. There’s a huge difference, and this is kind of a frustration of mine with the industry. We constantly tell our clients to seek us out as a personal trainer to them, but these personal trainers don’t ever coach themselves. They don’t really experience how powerful coaching is until they do actually get coaching for themselves. They do something for you, they do help you grow. There’s nothing like getting yourself a coach on that intimate level that offers perspective and insight.


KD: It’s so important to do this. After seeing a certain number of clients, I will go to see my therapist, who’s a supervisor. I can debrief whatever I want to debrief. I can even say “this client pissed me off” or “this client is just great and I want to be just like them, what’s that about?” So, keep clean, and if I can be clean for me then I can be clean for my clients.


JH: Excellent Kenny, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. I took great insight from it. I’m sure that many people who listened did as well. Thank you.


KD: Absolute pleasure, good to hang out.


JH: There you have it, Mr Kenny D’Cruz sharing his personal experiences of working with personal trainers like you.

Again you can find more about Kenny over at www.themanwhisperer.co.uk. Now in the meantime, if you have any questions about this show, then head over to The Fit Man Collective Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/thefitmancollective, where we will have deeper conversations about this.

It is a confidential place where we will be helping each other become better personal trainers and become better men. Finally be sure to check back and subscribe to this channel so that you don’t miss Part 2 in this series of Untold: The New Personal Trainer Model. Next up, we have six-time natural bodybuilding champion, and my personal coach, speaking about what it takes to become a better personal trainer by becoming a better man.