AH33 The Strong Coach w/ Mike Bledsoe

On today’s show, I interview the great Mike Bledsoe! Mike and I talk about his mission to heal the fitness industry. We also go into crazy marketing for supplements, and last but certainly not least we talk about his program Strong Coach.

He’s really passionate about helping coaches upgrade their prescription to be better coaches out there. An amazing mission for Mike right now, super excited to see my buddy really focused on doing great things.

Enjoy the show,

Angelo

About Mike

Mike Bledsoe’s personal life mission is to heal the fitness industry. Being attracted to training and eating consciously in his early teens has created a lifelong love affair with tuning the human body into optimal states of health and performance.

As the years wore on, moving from bodybuilding routines, to military special warfare training, to running races, Weightlifting, CrossFit, Powerlifting, and Strongman. Nothing seemed to check the boxes. No matter how much his body transformed the battle was constant. Health and happiness were just on the horizon, yet to be reached.

Throughout Mike’s fitness journey he also trained others along the way professionally. Personal Training became a part of his life in his teen years and transformed into owning his own CrossFit gym starting in 2007 in Memphis, TN. In 2009 that the realities of owning his own business started to set in. This was also the year that his father committed suicide. It was time for Mike to “grow up” at the age of 27 and began studying business alongside learning to be a better coach.

It was at that time that the coaching business started to make sense.

In 2012, Mike, along with some friends, started one of the most popular health and fitness podcasts on the scene, Barbell Shrugged. During that time he created online coaching programs for athletes, and began coaching coaches and gym owners about business. Since then the business and podcast has take many turns with lessons to boot.

In 2018, he and his co-founders, Doug Larson and Anders Varner, launched the Shrugged Collective, a network of health and fitness influencers. The industry is full of varying information. The Collective is creating a place that people can trust that they’re getting the highest quality advice possible.

Simultaneously, Mike launched The Strong Coach program. The first personal and professional development program for trainers and coaches. Students are led through a process to discovering what they really want out of life and aligning their coaching business to impact their client’s lives in the biggest way possible. Graduates have gone on to open gyms, take their business online, and even start their own certifications.

The Strong Coach (thestrongcoach.com)

Social links:  Follow me on Instagram and Facebook

Transcription

Angelo: That’s awesome. Thank you for being on the show and making sometime brother, I really appreciate it.
Mike: Thanks for having me, I’m excited.
Angelo: I’m really excited to have you on the show as well and specifically because a lot of my spiritual growth is in fact due to you and a lot of your assistance and direction. First I want to say thank you. We could argue that Alpha Hippie would have not been created without your help, so thank you.
Mike: My pleasure. It’s been fun hanging out and doing whatever it is that’s helped you out. I’m happy to have been a part of it.
Angelo: Thank you. We met in, was it 2016? Maybe it was real early 2016, I came to The Master Mind in San Diego and that was where we first met and got together, and then I became a part of The Mastermind and we spent a lot more time together.
Nike: Yes, a lot more time. Every 90 days we would get together, it was a lot of fun. It was a fun Mastermind.
Angelo: It really was, it was incredible. Now that I think about it that was a very big year for me on many levels. I came to The Mastermind with a lot of preconceived notions, a lot of nervousness and insecurities too, going too there and not knowing I where I would “stuck up against” other people in our industry and everything like that. It was such an amazing experience to be welcomed and feel like I was a part of it.
Mike: I remember the first time I attended The Mastermind I was super nervous too. I think it’s really common for people when they step into their first experience, something like that. I had the same questions for myself, how I’m I going to stuck up against other people in this world. Sure enough I think everyone has the experience of going, ‘oh, I actually do know something’.
Angelo: Absolutely. It’s funny you say that, I came back from that first Mastermind and that was the first thing that I thought. I was like, man, I’m not too bad at this shit, it’s okay. It’s the first thing I thought of. I was like, man, okay, we are not yet there, we got some things to fix but overall we are going the right way. One thing that you and I talked about offline when we were actually scheduling the show and I thought it would be really interesting because a lot of people ask me and I’m sure they’ve asked you, it’s a lot of buzz about finding your purpose or finding your authentic self.
There is a lot of talk about that and I think a lot of people may know that they want that but the question is how do you even realize, or how do you even start doing that. You were talking about that and I thought this would be a perfect way to just pick up this conversation is, what advice do you give to people when they are wanting to find their purpose or knowing that they want something more and stuff like that?
Mike: One of the things I’ve come to the realization over time has been that being in search of your purpose in the first place is the beginning. If you are having that question or that question is coming up for you then you are already on your path and you are already on the lookout for things that pop up, finding out what really resonates with you and realizing how much of your life does not resonate with what you really want. I think that we live in a world where we are growing up and as kids our mom or dad would say you can be whatever you want, you can do whatever you want, what do you want to be? I’m like, astronaut, firefighter, whatever.
[0:05:00]
But then at the age of five or six you get stuck in that cube with 30 other kids and are actually taught to conform versus do what you really want. I think that we get mixed signals when we are growing up and it can be really, really confusing. I think that that’s why when people start asking that question it can be a really long arduous path to feel complete and whole about that conversation because for most people there is a couple of decades worth of conformist life being lived, and it can be really, really interesting. I find that that conversation is really a struggle between the mind which has been programmed by parents, society, culture and then your soul actually crying out for what it really wants and how it wants to live, and that’s the battle. Being able to differentiate between the two I think for me over the years was one of my biggest challenges.
The other thing I tell people is, I think people get too serious about the purpose of the conversation and we make it really important. The problem with making something really important is that we don’t get to enjoy it, and we are not enjoying it, and it’s going to be hard to find that. I really think about purpose now as more of a process, and instead of finding purpose as if it’s this solid concrete thing, because that’s what we want, we want to go, ‘oh, I know my purpose and it feels good, and I have certainty in my life’. That’s never how it works. If that’s what you are seeking then purpose is the wrong thing to be looking for.
I find that purpose being a process and realizing that my purpose a year ago or two years ago or three years ago is different than it is now and it’s always evolving, and the thing that I really strive for myself is, what we are really looking for is a feeling. We are looking to have the feeling of having purpose or being on purpose. My mission in this world is to heal the fitness industry and you could say that that’s my purpose, but the truth is that my purpose is a lot of different things a lot of different times. There might a Saturday morning where my purpose is to go clean up trash out of the bay, get on a board out there and fill a bucket full of trash that people threw out and I have a sense of purpose.
I’m feeling, I’m experiencing a sense of purpose during that time. That doesn’t mean that my purpose is to clean up the oceans, that is a purpose, that is a purpose I can choose, and I am experiencing a sense of purpose when I’m taking that on. When I’m doing my job and I am educating people about their health or educating coaches on how to show up better for their clients I’m also experiencing a sense of purpose. I really like to put that out there as, it’s the experience, the sensation, it’s the feeling that we are chasing. I think it’s a great thing to chase because when we are in that experience of being on purpose and having that sense of purpose it feels really good and that’s when we do our best work.
Angelo: Let me back this up then, because you said something that I think is pretty interesting, is, your mission is to heal the fitness industry. How did you get to the point where you realized that that was your true mission?
Mike: What’s interesting is, a few months ago I was sitting in a room with a couple other guys and we were developing curriculum, and I realized a few days into the process of developing this new curriculum that the mission of that company, the mission of what we were doing was to heal the fitness industry and I was supper stoked about it. I would say that’s my mission, maybe not my purpose. It feels like my purpose right now. What was exciting about that is it didn’t feel like a new thing, it didn’t feel like—that phrased popped in my head I go, this is our mission statement, this is our internal mission statement.
[0:10:07]
I knew it wasn’t a new phrase for me but I don’t remember when it first came up. I keep journals in chronological order, and I talked to a few people about, hey, this is a really new statement I’m playing with but it doesn’t feel that new. I remember I went back two years, I was having a conversation with a friend and she said, “yeah, remember, you brought your journal to that gathering and you said, ‘oh’”. I had this realization and I had written pages and pages and pages. I went back and I looked at my journal and I found within those pages of my entries two years ago I was writing about healing the fitness industry because when I look at my own personal path in fitness and I looked at how the fitness industry market has a hole, it was a couple of years ago it really began to break my heart. That’s been something that has been in my heart for years but until more recently hasn’t made into a main mission statement for me personally. I don’t remember exactly what you asked but I tend to go off on these things.
Angelo: It’s good. It was just more about how you found out this mission or came to the conclusion about this mission.
Mike: I experienced a lot of my own personal healing around how I was approaching fitness and after experiencing my own healing around it and then finding a whole new level of happiness, contentment, fulfillment—whatever you want to call it, I saw that I could really see how other people did not have what I had. What I have is that experience of the way I approach training, nutrition, my body is completely different now than it used to be. When I look at the marketing in the fitness industry and I especially look at supplements, there are different levels of it, but if you really want to get weird and go look at supplements that are geared towards power lifting and body building.
There is this one ad that I saw recently that said—the tagline of the supplement was “leave humanity behind”. I go, wow, this message speaks to some people. You can imagine that the person who that resonates with is likely unhappy with their life and they are like, ‘yeah, fuck all these people, I’ll leave them behind. I’m going to take this supplement and I’m going to lift all the weights. I’ll be big and scary’. That was me at one point. I valued being feared more than loved at one point. When I look at the fitness industry as a whole people are training because they hate their bodies, not because they love their bodies. I know that your body will be in the best shape of its life if you are approaching it from a place of loving versus hating it.
When someone walks into the gym and they walk up to me and they grab their belly and they go, “how do I get rid of this gut?” I go, if that’s how you are approaching your gut it’s going to be a really big challenge here, and you are going to hate yourself more and more until you get there. But most people will never get there and the people who do will maybe get that 6-pack and will still not really like themselves and it won’t be good enough and they won’t achieve what it is they really setting out to which is being happy with themselves.
Angelo: It’s so interesting you say that about people just being in this industry almost in a loathing practice versus a loving practice and all the things that people are buying and doing all this. How did you make this shift? Because I think that’s probably the most interesting part, it’s people are probably going, yeah, I think this crazy things, and I wanted to hear, how did you make this shift from you training to punish yourself versus loving yourself?
Mike: It was a couple of decades of punishment and then I got hurt. I’ve been hurt many times over the years and had a few surgeries but this last one really did me in. it was four and a half years ago. I had a hernia injury.
[0:15:01]
I ended up with three hernias. I was lifting the most weight I had ever lifted, I was the strongest I have ever been, I was qualified for nationals, and a few weeks before nationals my shoulder was killing me, everything was falling apart. Then a month later I discovered these hernias. I even noticed that my body was talking really hard to one side. When I look at people at the gym now I see it everywhere; I see people’s bodies talking really hard to one side and then they are loading up weight and making it worse and worse and worse.
I had the injury and I go, oh yeah, it will be like my other injuries or my other surgeries. I’ll have a surgery and then four, five, six weeks I’ll be lifting light and then in three months I’ll be back lifting heavy, and that did not happen. I took time off from training. Because it was hernia related I really couldn’t lift any weight. All my injuries up to that point was like, oh, I had a lower body injury so I could train my upper body, or I had a lower body injury so I could train my upper body. But I had a core injury which means I really couldn’t do much of anything except for rest. It caused me to have a lot of time to reflect and I had some realizations that I really was not enjoying and it didn’t fully land. It was one of those things where I started realizing I didn’t really enjoy the training I was putting myself through, and then when I tried to pick it back up it was really difficult to get there.
It was about a year of trying to figure out how to get back. I met a specialist and coaches in the field who were helping me heal my pelvic floor, who were helping me train my core to get back, and I still had it in my head I’m going to get back to lifting and competing. During that time I was invited by some friends to this weekend workshop. It was three days, it was a retreat. It was a three day retreat, and it was pretty hippie dippy. It was way out in the desert, it was about an hour and a half from where I lived and we slept in tents. I actually didn’t sleep in a tent- I slept in a sleeping bag under the stars. We were near an Indian reservation.
There was a series of workshops, people teaching about relationships, people talking about movement but from a perspective I’d never heard of before. There was really cool music. We had a lot of fun. There was this one workshop in particular, not only that. At this retreat they were serving these smoothies in the morning, and they were serving vegan food, there was no meat at this retreat which was new for me. The way I got over not eating meat for three days was like, look, I’ve been eating a shit load of meat for my entire life. At this point I was 33, I go, look I can go for three days without meat I think I’ll be okay. It’s probably a good thing they kept back the protein for a few days. I had read some stuff at that point that made me feel better about it, that was my justification, which I do think is a good idea to come off of meat every once in a while for a day or two. Tim Ferris talks about that, protein fasting.
They are serving these smoothies in the mornings and that plays a role in this whole thing which I will get to. I’m not eating meat, I’m eating all these vegan food, I’m eating all these new stuff that’s super foods and a lot of nutrient density. Then I attend this workshop that my friend Daniel Raphael is putting on. Now I had met this guy Daniel Raphael only once before, and I got invited to this gathering up in Hollywood and I run into this guy. I had done breathe work once before when I was at Burning Man, and I end up in this park in West Hollywood, of all places, with a few people and this guy Daniel Raphael, and he is leading us with this breathe work that is incredible, midnight under this tree.
That was my only experience with Daniel Raphael, and I actually thought he was really weird. I was like, what a fucking weirdo. I saw him at the retreat prior to this and he goes, “oh dude, what’s going on?” he remembered me, and I vaguely I remembered him, and he goes, “come into my workshop”. I said okay.
[0:20:06]
Anyone who knows me well knows that I go all in on something. If I show up I’m there to participate, I don’t like to be a wallflower. Daniel Raphael he does this short talk and he says, does anyone want to volunteer? Anyone have anything they want to work through right now? I go, yeah, I’ve always got stuff I want to work through. I sit up there. There’s about 30 people in this space and this tent structure dome thing, and I’m sitting in this chair across Daniel and he started asking me questions. The thing that I wanted to work through was I noticed that in my company the people in my company were working themselves to the born, I could see it outside of myself, they were working themselves to the born and I was concerned.
I was like, why is the culture on my team to work so much and work so hard to the point where it’s unhealthy? I’m like, we are a company that promotes health and fitness and yet the people on my team are having a hard time getting enough rest, training, all these stuff, they are not really taking care of themselves. I knew enough by then to know that the culture of the company that I’m leading is a reflection of my own self. I go wow, how I’m I showing up with my people, and attracting these kind of people too to make them believe that this is how it’s done? I’m not enjoying this. So that was what I wanted to work through. I said, hey, there is something about the people on my team that I’m concerned about.
I came to find out that is exactly where I was at, that’s why I got injured in the first place, that’s why I had so many injuries, that’s why the type of training I chose was always so arduous: I went in the Navy, I went to birds, I competed in Jujitsu, Muay Thai. If you want to make a list of the hard things you could do with your body I went and checked a lot of boxes. Most people are really proud of that. Having that mentality definitely shaped who I am today, and I am very, very thankful for that. I still choose difficult tasks, I like to run sports, races and stuff but I’m coming at it from a different place these days.
I’m sitting in a chair across from Daniel and he goes, “we need to figure out why it is that you work so hard”, I go, “oh, okay”. Then he takes me through this visualization and breath work in front of everybody, and he takes me back to my childhood to the moment where I had learned to work hard and it was passed down from my father. I don’t really know how long I was in this meditative state probably half an hour, but I remember being in tears because he took me back to being a kid and working with my dad and having that experience. He took me through this process where I was able to let go of working hard and see that I could work easy and see that I actually have a bigger impact in the world and get more done if I played more and worked less and all this.
So he takes me through this process and I felt so good afterwards. I felt so light, I felt amazing. It was the first time where I had that an experience sober, where I was able to access something in myself and have a heal in old wound. It was impacting how I behave today. The rest of the retreat I was really there and enjoying myself and I chose at that retreat, I said you know what, when I get home I’m making a commitment to put more nutritional density in my breakfast than what I normally get in an entire week. What had happened is, through that healing process—here’s the thing about going back to childhood wounds is when you heal something that far back it impacts a hundred things. One of the things it really impacted is, I was taking out a lot of my frustration out on my body.
[0:25:05]
I wasn’t happy with my body, up until that point I had never been happy with my body, it was never good enough, and I was constantly punishing it. That weekend was the first time I really had the opportunity to make a choice and say, hey, I love my body so much I want to treat it really, really well. It wasn’t a conscious thing where I was going, okay, I’m going to love my body now, it was months later that I was able to look back and go, wow, I have completely transformed how I view myself and knowing that my body had transformed months later—I remember my wife stopping me two, three months after the retreat and going, “what the hell? You are so lean; you are the listen you’ve been since I’ve seen you. You look so good”. And I go, you know what, I feel good.
My joints that I thought would hurt me until the day I die they weren’t hurting anymore. I used to get out of bed and had to warm up my ankle for five minutes before it was comfortable enough to walk on. That had bothered me for over a decade, I had that injury when I was in the Navy and I had accepted that I was just going to live with this pain till the day I die, and a couple of months later the pain was gone. What had happened was I didn’t go to the gym so much, I was still hitting the gym but I lowered the weight I was using. I did way more corrective exercise. I did all the exercise that a physical therapist is telling me to do, that when you leave the office and you go, fuck I’m not going to do that, I just want to squat. I actually started doing the things I knew was right for my body and it was easy to do it. It wasn’t a challenge. Everything I knew I was supposed to be doing became easy.
Additionally the smoothies they were making us at the retreat what they were putting in it was—in my opinion that part was magic, still magic, but it was Spirulina, Chlorella, the super enzymes with 10 different medicinal mushrooms and probiotics and all these stuff. It was one of the things when you look at the package you go that’s fucking expensive I’m not going to take that because it’s so expensive. But you know what I did? I stopped taking whey protein, I stopped taking pre-workout, and instead I bought these really high quality nutrient dense foods and that’s what I started making my smoothies with in the morning.
I went from a typical paleo macro perspective on my nutrition to going forget all that- I’m simply going to eat the foods that have the nutrients that are going to really heal my body. Sure enough, I found myself moving more but I was doing more crawling, I was doing more therapeutic exercise. In that summer, because we went to the retreat in June, by the end of August my movement practice I was moving more hours a day that when I was going to the gym, I was feeling better, I was looking better, and that was the beginning of the journey.
A lot of my knowledge up to until that point was focused on how can I perform better or get the result I want in the next 90 days? Everything was about 90-day windows. How can I squat more in 90 days? I can I snatch more in 90 days? I can run a marathon faster in 90 days? When I started really shifting my relationship to my body what I realized is that I’m going to live a long time, I’m going to start training to be 100, and I’m going to be with this body for a long time so I want to treat it really, really well. When I study training, when I study nutrition, when I study recovery and all these things now I’m looking through that lens of I’m training to be 170, that’s my target. I’m training to be 170 years old.
Now the research I look at is different. A lot of the performance research—this is what I have a problem with. Here’s an example of say, people talk about the benefits of something like whey protein and people are dumping a lot of that in their bodies, but all the studies on those supplements in general pre-workouts, it’s like, yes, all these supplements work but you have to consider the studies were done on college students in their early 20s and the studies were done anywhere between 1 day and a 12 week study would be a very long study, it’s hard to keep a participant engaged in a study for 12 weeks.
[0:30:14]
Then knowing that you are only measuring muscle size or muscle strength you are not really looking at what the total load is on the body, the amount of stress that taking these supplements is putting on the body as a whole. So that was the perspective I was coming from, and then I come in the perspective I am now I go, holy shit. I’ve even interviewed scientists in the last couple of years who are like, “it does work”, I’m like, you are right, based on the research that you’ve conducted you are right, but you are not looking at the whole picture. The interesting thing with that is we are in a circuit. I was journaling about this this morning- we are in a circuit with the supplement industry right now. I’m talking a lot about supplements but this is just where my mind is right now.
We are in a circuit with the supplement industry where things like whey protein and high-stimulant pre-workouts are getting a lot of the research attention because supplement companies are paying for the research. They are doing supplements that they know there is a lot of research to back it up so they are producing more of that, that’s what’s making money, so then they do more research. What we are doing is we are building up a shitload of research for this very narrow thing but it’s the same thing over and over again. One day to 12 weeks with 22 year old men on muscle strength and size, we are not actually looking at all the other performance markers  and health markers as well. My personal mission of healing the fitness industry is this is one of many of the issues that I see that is really harming people right now, and I think we can do better.
Angelo: It’s so interesting you say that too though, I know you bring up the supplement industry when you talk about fitness, but when you think about what you look and see mostly on Instagram or from a marketing perspective it is people usually selling some sort of supplement. I would say 8 out of 10 things that you see about fitness on there it has to do with that. What is it about supplements that you think is so appealing to people?
Mike: People want the solution right now, and it requires no work, you can order it, you take the powder, they make it taste good. By the way when first started taking supplements they tasted like total dog shit back in the late 90s, but they make them taste like candy, everything tastes like candy. They do the same thing with breakfast cereals right? What they do is they make the supplements taste like candy then they stimulate the shit out of you. I have heard people say this before: I work out so I can take pre-workout. It’s like they are addicted to the stimulants. The supplements make people feel a certain way and I think that it’s an escape. I took a lot of supplements for a long time where I really couldn’t tell if they were working or not, but because there was so much evidence, there was so much research to say that this supplement works that I kept taking it.
It’s because I didn’t trust my own experience, I wanted to outsource what I really knew to be true to somebody else; all these scientists know better than me, all these coaches know better than me, or this person with the abs on the cover of magazine knows better than me. When in fact what I know to be true now is nobody knows me, my body better than I do. People take supplements because, look at the promises they are making, look at what they are saying in the marketing. What they say in the marketing around supplements is ridiculous. There is something about them that makes people think that they can get the results a lot quicker, and there is not as much emphasis put on training and people aren’t so hard on that.
People don’t even want to wait 8 or 12 weeks for the training to have an effect, they want to feel it now. I know people who take pre-workout- they only want the pre-workouts to have Beta-alanine in them because they make it tingle. I want to feel the tingles now, that means it’s working. Did you know that it takes 6 to 10 weeks for Beta-alanine to get into your system and build up in your system for it to have a positive effect? But the tingling happens immediately. You can also rub tanning shit on you, it’s got Beta-alanine in it and get the tingles that way.
Angelo: For you, you had to go from the other side into a healthier practice; do you feel like it’s possible for people to begin in a healthy practice or do they have to go from that way to appreciate this new one? The way things are right now.
[0:35:16]
Mike: I think people can start with a healthy practice. Everybody is different. A lot of us do it the way people were raised. I know a lot of people and it’s more prominent in some areas than others, but where I live it’s super health-oriented, so a lot of people I would say so far on the other side of the spectrum they are being too careful with their bodies. It’s almost like they are timid, like they are afraid they are going to fuck something up. There is two sides of the spectrum on this, but it’s not because they love themselves too much, it’s just because they are not that connected to their body yet. Because it’s a mental thing, it’s a psycho-emotional issue, it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever trained before or not, once you get to a place of fully accepting and loving your body then that’s the moment you get to access this type of training.
Angelo: For a lot of people do you think it starts with just taking a look at how they perceive their own body and the self-talk or what they are saying to themselves when they look at themselves in the mirror, or how they approach their training? How can we get people that are listening to this show to start realizing that they may be doing things in an unhealthy way?
Mike: Turn off the music and go to your workout. If you do CrossFit—here’s a good example; see if you could do it in silence for one. Breathe only through your nose, breathe only through your nose and do a 20 minute workout with other people in the room and listen to what that voice in your head is saying and go and write everything that that voice was saying, have a journal ready and write down everything that it was saying. That’s how you are talking to yourself 24/7. Another thing you can do is strip down butt naked, go stand in front of the mirror and look at all the parts that you don’t like about yourself. If you find a part of yourself that you don’t like about yourself there is something that can be done.
Angelo: That’s awesome. It’s so crazy you say that: turn down the music and hear the things that you are saying, because you are right, people are probably saying terrible self-defeating things of themselves all the time and not even realizing it.
Mike: There is a script running around in the background all the time. I studied this very extensively. There is the script that you can notice and hear and then there is another script running around that you are probably never going to pick up. There is always something back there running the show. If you are trying to lift more weight because someone else in the gym just lifted more weight that’s another sign.
Angelo: A little bit of removing the ego too would help people.
Mike: I would consider that an over generalized way of saying it. I think that phrase means something different to different people. I don’t like talking about ego too much because I think people have different impressions of what that means. I don’t know if I even know what it means.
Angelo: Sure, absolutely. For you now with this mission to heal the health and fitness industry, you have your ideas, you have your way of thinking about this; how are you going about implementing this mission?
Mike: I have a couple of different ways: one is, we have Shrugged Collective where we are putting out great information all the time and everyone on the team is very careful about how we position things for one. When we are talking, when we are doing the marketing we always like to come from a place where we are empowering people versus trying to prey on their fears or their sense of lack. We are conscious about our own marketing that way. I have The Strong Coach, we are coaching coaches, we are coaching fitness trainers, and we are teaching them how to better connect with their clients, we are teaching them better communication skills, better listening skills, and then also how to market as well in a way that is ethical.
[0:40:09]
We are really hitting this from the coaching perspective. The biggest influencers in the coaching space are the coaches, so it’s very important that I’m working with coaches. Then lastly I’m dropping a new course for athletes. When is the show drop? I don’t know if I can say the name yet or not.
Angelo: We will probably be airing this show mid-December.
Mike: Okay. So I’m dropping a new course which I think you might know what it is, I’m pretty sure somebody told you already, a little birdy.
Angelo: He spilled the beans, but you can go ahead if you want.
Mike: It’s a mindset course. It’s a way of creating more empowerment for the athlete, creating a way for the athlete to organize their mind in a way that’s empowering and going to bring them much better results. That course is called The Way of The Enlifted Athlete, so the brand is Enlifted and we are launching that in December. That’s a 21-day course that is the most powerful thing that I have ever put together before, and I put it together with the team from Procabulary, Adam Chinn and Mark England. Working with those guys to put that mindset course was a real joy. That was the hardest I’ve worked in a very long time, it was putting that course together. I am very. Very proud of it and I’m excited to drop that.
Obviously if you are following me on Instagram you will be able to get it, but thewaypftheenliftedathlete.com or I think we are just doing enliftedathlete.com as well. But we are building all that out right now. That’s the beginning. I am just getting started when it comes to this conversation. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 11 years, but I’ve been in the fitness game since I was 15, so 22 years. I feel like I’m just getting started and five years from now with this particular mission I’m excited to see where things end up.
Angelo: This is incredible, yeah. Mark was visiting me this weekend and so we were talking a little bit about that. Before we go back into Enlifted I want to talk about Strong Coach, because I’ve been seeing a little bit about it on social media. I actually know somebody from my area that actually registered for your course. Tell me as much as you can about Strong Coach and what you are hoping for the outcome for these coaches?
Mike: What I noticed I was traveling around a good bit last year and I was popping into different gyms, and I was working very little, I was working about one day a week for the first six months of last year. The reason I was doing that is because I was really reflecting on what it is I really wanted to do in the world and what I wanted to do with my life. I think it’s good to do that every once in a while, who knows when I’ll take another break, hopefully soon. Not that long though. I was doing a lot of reflecting, I was doing a lot of traveling. I was popping into different gyms and I was interacting with different influencers and coaches, and I was paying attention.
What I recognized is that most coaches think that, look, I will get my certification and I will get a coaching job and then I will love my life, and everything will be cool. But what happens is, trainers get a certification and I’m sure you’ve seen this, trainers get a certification in about 12 to 24 months they become very unhappy, they even get to a point where they are resenting their clients. They are not making the money they thought they were going to make, the clients aren’t coming in as easily as they thought they were going to come in, and now they are providing a subpar service and they are not the coach they thought they were going to be.
That was true for me. I remember opening up my first gym and going, ‘I’m going to be the best coach in the world, I’m dumping everything in this- this is all I want to do’. Then a year into it I’m going, holy shit this is way harder than I thought it was going to be, and my clients suffered because of that. They weren’t getting the best version of me because I didn’t have my own shit in order.
[0:45:02]
What the clients are getting, what the coaches that go to the program are getting, they’ve got to get their own life in order first and then they get to create a coaching business and they get to show up as a coach in the way that they want to show up, and so that their work is actually rejuvenating to them instead of draining. Because most coaches leave work at the end of the day and go, oh fuck man, this is hard. I want coaches to leave work and go, wow, I’ve got so much energy, my clients brought me so much energy, I’m working with the people I want to work with, I’m working the hours I want to work with, I’m living in alignment with what I’m teaching, all these things. So The Strong Coach is designed to do all those things and it requires some work from the coaches. They get in there and when they do work they get the results.
Angelo: That’s incredible. How long is that course?
Mike: It’s really a program, I hate calling it a course. I maybe be saying that but it’s a 12-week program. I like to call it a program because it’s a coaching program, there is a coach. You have access to coaching through a slot channel 24/7 and then also there is weekly meetings where we all meet face to face and there is 10 people in a group. Everyone is getting a lot of individualized attention. There is a curriculum and it’s very, very heavy coaching, because we are training coaches and we need to be the coaches to them, we need to show them we’ve got to be the example of what coaching really looks like, because most coaches, they get the certification and they don’t have anyone showing them what it’s like to show up as a coach.
But when we get on a call with people and we are interacting with people in The Strong Coach program they get to see what that’s like. In fact I have my head coach who he is doing a lot of the coaching within the groups, I get on the calls with him and while he is leading a group I am coaching him. So then people who are being coached by Danny are getting coached by me as well, but they also get to watch me coach Danny. There is a level of humility that he has to bring to that conversation and it’s a really good sign of leadership from him and that he can be coachable.
So he teaches coaches how to be coachable and then they can also watch how I won’t hold back and I’ll hammer him in the middle of something if necessary. Of course I have permission to do that. It’s a very intimate coaching relationship that happens inside The Strong Coach. It only takes two to three weeks for coaches to start getting it and start implementing it in their own tractors.
Angelo: I really love too that Danny—a shout out to him too, that he allows that, to be vulnerable and put himself out there and really show that at every level every coach is getting coached or can be coached.
Mike: Yeah.
Angelo: That’s incredible. Strong Coach is for the coaches and then Enlifted Athlete is going to be for the Athletes.
Mike: That’s right.
Mike: I love it. So it’s 21days—you don’t have to give me all the details or as much as you can, just 21 days for these athletes to do this. It’s so funny that you said this- I was having a conversation with somebody earlier who’s an athlete and they were just going on the subject of it just like, your belief system, how you are talking to yourself no matter how good of a coach or a program you are, when an athlete is 7 minutes into a 15-minute workout they’ve only got one coach and that the one between their ears.
Mike: Yep.
Angelo: So this is going to be absolutely amazing for people and also to Mark being on the show, so I’m sure people could testify to how amazing Mark is. That’s great that you guys have been able to collaborate and put this together.
Mike: Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. One of the things I love about it is, it’s 10 minutes a day for 21 days. It’s easy. There is no excuse to not do it. Everyone has 10 minutes a day.
Angelo: I love it. It’s so amazing Mike, especially for you, you said for 6 months you were sort of in this searching pattern and it was crazy too, and I don’t know if you could testify to this, a lot of people go through those periods where they have a one 6-month period where they feel like they are not on offense, and they think that that’s the end of the world or it’s going to be forever like this. Then look at you, you realign some things, you reconnect to a purpose that you once found and once wrote about, and then now you are putting out things that are really shifting in that direction. It’s incredible.
Mike: It’s happened many times over.
Angelo: Yeah, it’s incredible.
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Just to touch on this because I think this is important too. For you during that 6-month period were you concerned about finding the next thing or did you have faith in it that it would come out? I know a lot of people who maybe listening to this are in that grey area or unsure area and I think that would speak to talk to them.
Mike: I was not looking. The conversation I was having with myself, the idea that I had rolling around in my head is I’m going to take 2018 off, which if you had told me that two, three years ago I would have been like, you are insane there is no way I’m taking a whole year off. I had in my head that I was going to take the whole year off and travel. Literally I sold everything, my wife and I sold everything and we got our expenses down to very, very little. It’s not like, oh, I had so much money that I could just travel the world. I don’t want people to think that, I want people to know that we did things on the cheap and we lowered the cost of living for ourselves, and we lived very simply even though we were traveling a lot. We stayed with friends at least half of the time and then did Airbnb a lot, but I was not looking for the next thing.
It was while I was traveling I had this sense of inspiration come over me that I could not deny. It was only three, four months into the travels that that came. I think that had I been searching it would not have shown up like it did. But I hopped in a float tank in Houston, Texas where I was hanging out at the time, and first five minutes in was strong coach message coming in, just barraging me the entire float. Most of my floats are very peaceful, this particular float I was getting messages the whole time. Then around the same time I was hanging out with Mark England when quite a bit and we were talking about Procabulary and the power of language and mindset and all these things.
A lot of people in my audience thought co-language upgrade from Procabulary when we interviewed Mark England, but not as many as I would have liked. I said, you know what, most people don’t want co-language upgrade, what they want is a solution to a very specific problem. I have access to the fitness market and I know what people’s pain is, I know what people want to get better at, and we can use these tools that you guys have developed and cure them, specifically to athletes. I thought we were putting together a language course for athletes; that’s not what it is, it’s the complete philosophy, it’s a way of being. Once people go through the course they are going to find that life is going to get easier and more enjoyable.
Angelo: I like that. Let me ask you this too, because this is something—I know you mentioned earlier in the conversation that you might have had a struggle with, and I know personally for me too, what would you say to someone that’s actually scared to have an easy life?
Mike: If you would have told me, if you even tried to sell me an easy life five, six years ago I wouldn’t have bought it. But here is the thing: people turn down high leverage tools all the time. It would be like running your business but refusing to use the internet. You want to make running a business really hard? Sure, don’t set up a website, don’t start a Facebook page, and don’t use Instagram. Have at it. Here’s the thing: the easier life is, the bigger of an impact you can have, the easier my life is, the more in shape I can be. The easier life is the more I can have a positive impact on others, the easier life is the better my relationship with my wife is, and guess what, my sex is better, my dancing is more fun, and when I train I enjoy training so much because life is easy.
Angelo: That’s a great way to put it. That internet analogy is incredible. That’s awesome.
Mike: You’d be a moron. You’d be a fucking moron to not want things to be easy.
Angelo: I agree, I agree my man. I know at one time too myself I could have been resistant to that idea even for numerous reasons. I just wanted to ask.
[0:55:01]
Mike: I was there too. I just put the moron thing in there for people- wake them up.
Angelo: I like it. I give every guest a chance to define what alpha hippie means to them, so this is your chance. What does alpha hippie mean to you?
Mike: I like to think about Tibet and monks when I think of alpha hippie. I think the saying is cotton and wrapped in steel. So I have the ability to flow—and it’s the integration of the masculine feminine. I can have creative flow and I can be like water as Bruce Lee said, and if an enemy is approaching I can deflect them but I’m also never going to run away from the fight. If danger presents itself or if somebody needs protection I’m going to be there. So I am who I need to be at any moment, so I can be like water but I can also be like steel. When I hear alpha hippie that’s what comes to me.
Angelo: Great definition Mike, that was awesome. Steel wrapped in cotton.
Mike: Yeah.
Angelo: Thank you, very cool. For you, where could people find you and Strong Coach, Shrugged Collective and now Enlifted Athlete?
Mike: Thestrongcoach.com, shruggedcollective.com, thebledsoeshow.com, follow me on Instagram @mike_bledsoe. I recently started taking Instagram seriously, so you can check all that out, and enliftedathlete.com. You got a lot of websites guys. You got to pull up a lot of windows here. Just do it, you know you want to.
Angelo: You know what too Mike, kudos to you, I’ve noticed in the last maybe 45 days you’ve been dropping some wonderful blog posts.
Mike: Thank you.
Angelo: They are really like very well thought out, like you said, you are taking it more seriously. You could totally tell if you guys have been following Mike, he’s been having some really good intentional posts.
Mike: Yeah, I’m shooting for two intentional posts in a week where I’m really sharing from my heart.
Angelo: I like it man, you could tell they are incredible. Last question for you; if you had one word to be remembered by Mike Bledsoe, what would it be?
Mike: Love.
Angelo: That’s awesome. Perfect. Mike Bledsoe, thank you so much for being on the show my man and sharing your story and everything you’ve evolved into becoming. I’m very excited for you and your next evolution in this mission.
Mike: Thank you Angelo, appreciate you.
Angelo: Appreciate you.

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