Creating Sustainability in Strength and Business with Drew Dillon

Creating Sustainability in Strength and Business with Drew Dillon

In this episode, I'm with Drew Dillon of Project Lift. We talk about his journey before and after The Strong Coach Program, how to build a sustainable weigh-lifting business, and his future plans with Project Lift

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Table Of Contents

What Makes Weight Lifting Unsustainable

Change for Change
Photographer: Kat Yukawa | Source: Unsplash

Mike: Let's talk about sustainable weight lifting. What does unsustainable weight lifting look like?

Drew: That all weight lifting is a charity, done poorly. That weight lifting should be free, that … And it comes out of the same fears we all have, imposter syndrome. It can be how we were coached. I didn't get charged and, if I wouldn't have had that time in my life, I would've been all over the place. These thoughts come out.

So what makes weight lifting unsustainable is when coaches avoid charging for it. And then, here comes the resentment, here comes the frustration, here comes all of these burnout indicators that prevent the coach from delivering truly what they could deliver.

Now, this is in comparison to a true charity. And if you want to create a charity around at-risk use or whatever, need you see out there of, "Hey, we can support these athletes in this way and this is what we're going to do," great. But the one thing I always ask coaches who aspire to do that is go, "Okay. Well, what are you going to pay yourself?" And typically, that's the freezing point. It's like, "Well, what do you mean? It's a charity." And then it's like, "Okay. Well, the people at the Red Cross, do they do it for free? If I'm employed by the Red Cross, they're paying me."

Mike: I think that the nonprofit sector, as a whole, is … I've looked into nonprofits before. It's a business. A nonprofit is a business that there are some tax benefits, but then there's some standards that they're held to that are a pain in the ass, too.

I would much rather just run a for-profit company to service a group of people. And the only thing in nonprofit I see the benefit of it is being able to tell people it's a nonprofit and people feel … for fundraising and things like that. But as far as being an effective model for delivering value, it sucks.

Drew: Especially if you're going to start this and you're going to build it up. Some of those hoops you talked about, some of these standards, having a board in place. Here's the kicker. That board can remove you at any time.

Almost Starting A Non-Profit

Mike: You were going to make a nonprofit. You started telling me this story the other day and I'm glad we're talking about it now. First question, I had no idea this is the direction we were going to go.

Drew: Okay. So we were looking at doing a nonprofit. And Chelsea and I came from training in the sport, being athletes. I paid money when I first started. It was to the YMCA and the program that I was part of was … I had a deal with the YMCA, basically like, "You can live in here for free as long as you provide support to any YMCA member that may like to learn." I said, "Okay, whatever. Cool." But I still paid money and it wasn't a huge amount of money, but I was happy to pay it. There was no, "Err. I have to pay this money. What do you mean?" However, there was always that story, that belief around, well, how … I'm a starving athlete. I need help. Where can I find sponsors? Where can I find help? But there's never any guidance around, if I'm coming to Strongcoach to say, "Hey, guys. Would you want to sponsor me?" What benefit am I going to bring to Strongcoach for you guys to sponsor me? It's not just out of the kindness of your heart. What am I providing to that company? What am I providing to that service?

We come from this and we have friends that are lifters and our athletes have been with us and here's just this culture. So it's like, okay, well, how do we help people? How do we support people? And going down this process of looking into nonprofit, put in a little bit of money, not a huge amount, but going through it, get the paperwork together and meet with the lawyer. And now we're sitting down and she's laying out some additional cost and we're going through it. And thank goodness, she asked me this question. She's like, "Well, why are you doing this? You're going to have to get the board together. They have the right to toss you out. If you're going to do a for-profit nonprofit, that you need to be careful with how money is flowing. The government loves to see money going from a for-profit over to a nonprofit in certain ways, but from a nonprofit to a for-profit, we're getting some red flags pretty quick."

She finally just looked at me and she goes, " let me get this straight. You're going to do all this work and put in all this money and put in all this time to help adults pay for their hobby."

Mike: Well, what did you feel in your body when she said that?

Drew: It took me a second. There was definitely some stress already of looking at all the work involved, trying to figure it out, but then it was just kind of this hit of a mixture of frustration of, "Why am I doing this?" This belief, this fear, "Ugh, we're going to be doing this," and, "Oh. Well, you're not helping out." You're going against that culture. So there was some fear and frustration, but with the stress that I was already having about trying to figure it out, I'd had enough stress to realize, why am I doing this?

I think gym owners and coaches that can have enough stress, suffering, not making money, when it's time to charge a little more, at times it's just a little easier. It may come off in an angry, frustrated way at first, which I'm sure wouldn't help, but there's this, like, "Listen, dude. I can't pay my bills. If you're upset about this price increase, I don't know what to tell you."

Charitable culture in weight lifting

Mike: It's interesting because, if you look at some personal trainers or you look at certain industries, you see people training football players or something like that, it seems like there's less of an issue with charging money. But then you look at the sport of weight lifting and there's this culture of a charitable culture. I think part of it is we were … I wasn't charged by my first coach to lift. Neither were you. And the thing was it's 20/20 and fitness is this new thing. If you look at the history of health and fitness, personal training wasn't a thing until the '80s, really. People weren't hiring personal trainers. I mean, it's only, what, 40 years now, at the most? Pumping iron came out in … was it the '70s?

Drew: I think.

Mike: It was in the '70s, early '80s, somewhere in there. It wasn't a thing. Step aerobics came in, people signed up for classes back in the '80s. This is all very new. And I think, a lot of times, we want to honor where we came from. And I remember, I wasn't charged by my first coach. My old business partner, Doug, I got to spend a lot of time with his old strength coach and he wasn't charged either, but the landscape is different now. It is adults treating it like a hobby. People got into Crossfit and they're doing this now. And I think we should have a lot of appreciation for the people who deliver that to me. My coach was Dr. Brian Schilling. Doug's was Mark Reel. And these guys allowed us and taught us things that now gave us the opportunity to make a living doing these things. And I think that, if they were to see us now … Well, they can't see us now. But they look at us now and they're stoked for us. They're glad we're making money pursuing our passion.

And where they likely helped … I mean, I know my coach, I think he may have coached 20 athletes total. That wasn't his job. I think Doug's coach coached a lot more, but he also had a job doing stuff in the school and things like that and he's a little more involved. Our ability to have athletes is way higher. They're just coming out of everywhere. I mean, I remember, we have over a thousand athletes at one point with Barbell Shrugged going to our programs. That wasn't happening 20 years ago.

Hyper-focused In Business

Mountain lake in camera lens
Photographer: Paul Skorupskas | Source: Unsplash

Mike: Do you have a rock bottom moment in business?

Drew: Emotionally. I wouldn't say it was tied to a financial or even an issue, but happiness, what am I doing? Beliefs around the significance and even how I was viewing coaching. There was. And I kid you not, the very first thing that started to pull me out of it a bit was Andy Frisella's podcast and he reminds me a lot of my high school football coach, who's just going to yell at you. And I respond to that a bit. But the message was, "Listen, motherfucker," it's basically every word out of his mouth, but he's like, "Listen. It takes time." And his story behind First Form and all the other businesses he has, he started off with a supplement store and just him and his best friend sleeping in the store. He has pictures of the mattress laying in the backroom kind of thing. He says he didn't make money for, like, nine years. I always had a second job.

And his story is, around that nine-year point, he finally just hit this point and was like, "Huh. Well, maybe I'm not going to make money at this. So I might as well just enjoy it." And what he really enjoyed was when someone would come in and he'd connect with them and help them see, "Okay. You could use this, this, and get on this plan." And then this guy comes in three months later. He's like, "Do you recognize me?" He's like, "No." And he was like, "I was in here three months before. I just lost 50 pounds. Thank you so much." And Andy was like, "I love that." And he goes, "Maybe I won't make money at this, but I'm just going to do more of that." And he goes, and the second his focus changed to more of that, he started making money.

But his big thing, he goes, "You look and you see these people out there putting on this front that they've got money quickly." He goes, "There's one of two things. They stuck the bat out and hit a home run. Good for them. It happens. Or two, they're fucking lying. It's not as rosy as it looks." And he goes, "And what's pissing them off the most about it is it's making good entrepreneurs." He goes, "Good business people doubt themselves because they're not getting results right away." And he was like, "Relax and just boom.

Having a power list

Drew: And another thing from him that I really like was the power list. And it was taking a task list, but putting it with habit. So you go on your power list, three, five, seven things, up to you. And it's more around a habit that you believe that person you want to be has.

So it's like, okay. And your power list isn't going to change every day. So it's not a to-do list. Right. But he's like, "Say there's three things on your power list." He goes, "The second you hit those three things, you've won the day." And he goes, "If you didn't do anything else that day, you've still won the day." And it was just this very basic seed of building up confidence, of just building up habit.

But then also what I loved about it … And you coaching me have seen this, where I'll just beat myself up … is his perspective was, "Okay, you do your three things. You do your five things. You win that day. You only have to win four days a week to have won the week. Because you're allowed to have bad days." He goes, "You only have to win three weeks out of the month to win the month." He goes, "You've only got to win seven months out of the year to win the year." And he goes, "But if you can just do that, even with five shitty months, you are going to be so much further than you were." And that really resonated. And just taking that pressure off of perfection.

One priority a day

Mike: When I'm in one spot and not doing so many different things and having the normal life type situation, I like to have one priority a day. What's the one thing that's going to move the needle the furthest in the business? What's the one thing today I get to do? And I got that one thing and usually it's before 11 o'clock and I feel like I've won. It's like, "Okay, if nothing else happened today, I made a positive impact on the business." Period. Progress. And of course, I don't do just one thing.

Drew: But if you did that day, you've still moved the needle.

Mike: I experienced success and so on and so forth. And sometimes I hit two or three things in a day and the next day, nothing. But, I'm really in agreement with that. You really don't need to do that much. I think a lot of people come from a nine to five or 40, 45-hour workweeks where they believe that, if you're not logging that amount of time, then you're not making progress and this and that. And it's simply not true. Two hours of my work now equals 20 hours of my work 10 years ago. I'm hyper, hyper-focused for very few hours of the day on business. I would say, a full workday, five or six hours, is hyper-focused on business. I'm grabbing lunch. I might take a call. But, It's not as demanding as we make it out to be, in my experience.

Drew: Oh, it's huge. It's one thing, I imagine, why I gravitated towards you. So we met back in 2015 at the Arnold, trying to get you an interview with Arnold.

Drew Before and After The Strong Coach Program

Mike: So what caused you to join Strong Coach?

Drew: It was fascinating. The messaging I first started to see. So I just keep up with you. I started following you after 2015, like, " what's he up to?" And I'd pull books that you'd recommend, books Doug would recommend, check those out. And always good stuff. And then the messaging started to come across with The Strong Coach that I'd finally sniffed onto. It was once it started talking about how to work on the business and not in the business. And for me, it was like every time I started to put boundaries or, "Okay. Well, I'm going to do more of this," somehow I would find myself back into the business, whether it was discomfort of, "Ugh, I'm not competent at this new thing. I'm really competent at that," so there's that switch, or guilt around, "Oh, Chelsea is doing all this," or, "I should be doing that. I should be able to do it all."

So once I saw that messaging come out, that really piqued my interest. And then, at that point, the messaging at first with The Strong Coach that I saw was, "Become a better coach." And that wasn't my pain. Not saying that I was like, "Oh, man. I'm an awesome coach," but my pain was how do I get this thing sustainable, if we use that word again, without wanting to rip my hair out.

Mike: What's different now? It's been almost a year.

Drew: Yep. There's ease. That's the word I said to Mark England the other day. There's ease. I'm different. That's the biggest thing. I'm happier. I was telling a friend over the weekend who was asking about The Strong Coach program and I was like, "I feel like I have more time than I've ever had." That fear that I've had around time, like what you described as coming from the nine to five and 40-hour workweek. Well, I should have a 40-hour workweek. There were times where I would know, "You're not allowed to leave this computer because you should be doing something from nine to five." We just want to put those hours up. And just torture myself, torture myself, torture myself. In the past year, giving myself what I need has been the biggest change, which has started to create different things. And creativity is coming back. That's one thing that has definitely been muted because I've just been so fried, is bringing that creativity back.

From a business standpoint, there's flow right now. Things are happening. We're getting positions. Understanding our strengths better and being okay with it. Right. Instead of those shoulds … I had a lot of shoulds, like, "I should be able to be the best at the numbers," I just need to understand the numbers. I don't need to be the best.

So who loves the numbers, where … even understanding the awareness of yourself. When I sit down with a spreadsheet to do that, myself, it feels like I'm reaching down for an atlas stone and like, "Okay. Let me get my arms around this sucker. I'm going to go." Whereas, when I'm doing something creative, that just flows. And it happened so neat the other day because we came back from the retreat in Costa Rica and, out there, it just was really relevant to me, like, "Dude, hand off the numbers." And I'd done that a bit, but why hold onto any of it? Be there to support, but you don't have to be equal. Let people play to their strengths. Chelsea lights up with spreadsheets.

A business that people are asking for

Mike: That's nice. So you guys have been running a gym for five years now. It'll be five years in two weeks. And that gym was not a planned business, necessarily.

Drew: Not at all.

Mike: So it was from inception to opening was, what, like 36 hours or something?

Drew: Yes. There was a sense of urgency and it was fascinating. You can reflect back and even say, oh, was this in line with what you really wanted to do? And at that time, I would say, the answer would be no.

You'd just be like, "Well, no." So there was a little bit of this doing something that somebody else wanted, yet over the years, it aligning and understanding the passion. There's portions of coaching that I really enjoy. There's portions of running the business that I really enjoy. There's things I don't. Same for Chels. But, That initial switch, it's almost like Derek Sivers.

He started CD Baby way back in the day, before PayPal, and figured out a way. Well, people, like friends, would come to him and be like, "Hey, could you do this for me?" And he would just help. He'd just be like, " okay." And it finally got to the point, if he kept helping people, he wouldn't be able to make music. So at that point, he was like, "Oh, I should turn this into a business." He literally walks down to the local record store, record stores are still going on, and he pointed out a local artist CD next to the register and he's like, "What's the deal with that? How much do they make? How much do you make?" And the owner was like, "Oh, we just take a dollar on each one." And he goes, "Cool. That's what I do." And he turned it into a $20-million business.

And his message was don't start a business unless you have people asking you to. And why that resonated with me was Project Lift was the first business that I've ever started that had people asking me to.

Mike: That's huge. What Drew just said is huge. What I witness is most people wanting to start a business, they're wanting to achieve some level of freedom or they want to do what they're passionate about and I'm all for that. And you can intentionally create that demand. You're talking about there's the demand that exists and all you've got to do is supply the product or service. That's always the best way to go in business because there's a demand and he's like, "Oh, I'm going to meet the demand." There's instant customers. Most people have a supply. They have their coaching or whatever product they have and they're trying to figure out how they're going to sell it. And you naturally fell into that.

And I've made products and then tried to sell them, and that always sucked. Never worked out as well as I wanted. When I listened to the audience first or listened to potential customers, "What do you want?" And then give them what they want, it's always easy to sell.

Their attention is on the wrong thing

Mike: We were hanging out with this girl last night. Danny picked up a stray at the coffee bar. He sits down to have a coffee at Stoffs and sits down next to this woman. They get chatting. She's like, " I want to start a coaching business." He's like, "Oh, interesting. That's what I do. I coach coaches on how to start a coaching business."

So she comes over to the house. We're all hanging out. She heard almost nothing we told her for advice, but it was funny because she was, "All right. I'm making this course. I'm going to build it." And then she had all these questions for us. But every time I would try to tell her about how to approach it from a … "These are the principles of business. This is how you would market it. You want to create demand for it before you make the product," and all this stuff. And she kept on being like, "So what software do you use? And what's the platform? Oh, I was thinking about using Udemy because they'll sell it for me." I'm like, "No one's selling your product for you. I don't care. They're going to take a percentage, though."

So she was asking all the wrong questions. Anytime I tried to redirect her attention to where it should go, it didn't happen. It was comical. It was really, really comical, but what was cool about having that conversation last night is really witnessing and getting to see where people are coming from. Their attention is on the wrong thing.

Drew: Details, details, details.

Mike: "Oh, what's the software I need? I've got to build out this course before I offer it." I'm like, "Nobody may want that. You're going to work for six months for nothing." And she may need to launch something and be a complete failure at it to learn the lesson she needs to learn because she wasn't being coachable. And it's cool to hear you say this, which is you saw the demand and you just said, "You know what? I'm going to answer it."

I find that when entrepreneurs go that way, it's much better. But the other thing is you can create that demand. I was telling her last night is go on Instagram, start a podcast, YouTube, whatever it is, conversations with your friends. Start asking, "Is this the type of thing I want to provide?" And start giving away free value, free value, free value, and then you go, "Hey, does anyone … What do you want?" It's a conversation. And if you're someone who just wants to start a business and then put something out there and expect people to buy it, it's a one-way street. You're not listening. It's not a transaction, even. It's just you trying to force your thing on people. You naturally hit that.

Unintentional startup

Drew: We had supported people all the time. One interesting thing about the group we were with before, people would come, but they wouldn't receive programming. It was kind of hit or miss. And Chelsea, organically, started to step in because she felt bad. She was like, "Well, here. Let me help you. Okay. Do this, don't do that, do this." The way it was structured, there was never an intention for it to be a business, And so by doing that, by providing support, by giving feedback … There'd be days no coaches would show up. okay, they're in there. And I'd be like, "Hey, what do you think about this?" Or, "Hey, could you help me with that?" It was just supporting people.

And in all honesty, too, Chels had mentioned when she'd talked with you that I was doing clinics and stuff like that. I did a lot of clinics and classes around town. And that built just really good rapport and relationships in the community. And those classes didn't break the bank, but …

Mike: I'm talking about Instagram and YouTube. You were doing it in person.

Drew: I'd walk into a gym and just be like, "Hey, how's your weight lifting program? Do you have one? Would you have any interest?" I'll never forget the very first class I did on my structure of that. And the gym was like, "Oh, we're interested. How about we just do the first round with our coaches?" Cool. So we went through that, five weeks. They had a lot of fun and they're like, " you know what? You try one. [inaudible 00:37:17] green light." I was like, "All right." So started going. And I tell this to coaches when I teach clinics a lot when they ask, "Well, what do I do?" And it's like, "Stick to your guns." People are whining, "Oh, ugh. Feels weird." Of course, it feels weird. If you haven't been moving that way, it's different. Another way we say it is weird.

So hold to your guns, hold to your guns, hold to your guns and it was the third round of a five-week class. So 12 weeks in, there was a firefighter I was working with. Michael Tachi. Oh, man. Just a little, muscle-bound, just power ball. It just clicked. And I mean, weights just started going through the ceiling. I mean … Hits me up on the phone. He goes, "Hey, man." One of the owners of the gym was a firefighter, too. And he goes, "Hey, man. I think Joe is going to want to get in your class." I go, "Why?" He goes, "I just out lifted him for the first time at the firehouse." And sure enough, Joe is blowing me up. He's like, "Hey, when can I come in?"

But, Mike, I had such a waitlist on this class because I wouldn't let more than a certain amount of people that I could service. They were scalping spots. It also speaks to my low price I have. You know? It was a lower price. And it was like, "Hey, I'm not taking this." And then they were like, "Hey, so and so sold their spot for 75 bucks to so and so." I'm like, "Are you kidding me?"

What's Different In Project Lift

Mike: Can you walk us through a quick … We did this on the previous podcast a bit, but your journey as an athlete, a coach, what makes the way that you coach weight lifting different and where is that taking your business?

Drew: Oh, absolutely. So as an athlete, I was very driven, fell in love with it. It was one of those where I saw it and it looked cool. I've always enjoyed lifting. I knew there was something to it. So I was like, "Man, I've got to figure this out." So go and figure it out, fall in love with it, competing. I shaped my life around training. And it's funny, we talk about big goals, vision, 10-year vision. You look at the Grant Cardone 10X rule, 10X goal. Back then, without realizing it, I had set a 10X goal and that was to make an international team. Mike, I just found the sport. All So 10X goal, audacious, one of those you say it out loud and someone who's been lifting eight years wants to cuss you out, one of those.

And what I realized about that 10X goal was, because I had set that goal, all my following decisions were different. So I started to shape my working around training verse training around work. And that was my priority. So training, training, training and everything's climbing up, going well, doing good. Well, in there, about 2013-2014, I hit this hip injury. And I'd had other tweaks and bumps here and there, but this hip injury shut me down. We were heading into American Open. There wasn't even an American Open series back then. So heading into American Open final. Training is going well. And kid you not, a month and a half before, all of a sudden, I'm turning over clean anywhere above 130 in a clean. My right leg would just tuck, uncontrollably. And just pain past parallel, just out of nowhere.

And it wasn't one lift. It kind of built up over a week and then was just there. So trying to save American Open with aggressive treatment. Wasn't really responding. Finally, I had to say, "Okay, shut it down." So at this point, it's like, "Man, okay. Well, let's figure this out." So start seeings docs. I see five doctors, total. I'm a huge fan of second opinions. Four of these doctors, hands down, as they basically described it, open and shut case, labral tear, surgery. One of these doctors was like, "Maybe." And I'm like, "Okay. Well, I'll take maybe."

So I start going down that path. It basically turns into … It was about six weeks of stay out of that range of motion. Did an ibuprofen kind of 10-day inflammation pull, trying to pull down some inflammation in it. Tons of rest. I mean, if you would've seen me reach for something in the bottom of the refrigerator, I would go to the other leg that didn't hurt and almost do a pistol, but in a weird way, kind of sticking my leg out to the back to keep that hip out of hip flexion and just do this weird movement to get into the fridge to stay out of that range out motion. And it was the injury that made it to where that ego couldn't get involved again. There was no getting around it.

So all right. Go through that. At that point, it was like, hey, the treatment seems to be going. I'll never forget it. It was some of the craziest stuff. My glute was so turned off. And you got me Dr. Ulm. He literally twisted me into what felt like a pretzel to the point that, if I were to lean forward, if I were to rock … so I'm sitting on the ground, twisted to pretzel. If I were to reach forward, my glute would have to kick on and it did and it cramped. It was just nuts.

Two choices

Drew: So working with Dr. Ulm, take this time off, now I start this journey of … He basically sits me down, he goes, "Hey, you have two choices." He goes, "I can treat you and you can go and do whatever you're doing with your coach and whatnot and we can hope for the best." Then he goes, "Or I can treat you and I can write your program to match what I'm doing in the clinic." And I'm like … And the neat thing about Rich is strength coach in a past life, high-level competitor in track and field. Okay. I mean, why not?

Start down that path 24 weeks after that and we had gotten an MRI. And it came back two slight labral tears. Slight or small, whatever the word was. And he advised me, "Why don't you reach out to one of the docs," that I'd saw at OSU Sports Medicine and see who they would recommend as a surgeon. And Rich was basically like, "Set an appointment with him and let him be the final decider." And he goes, "We're going to just train to where it's either fixed or you're really in a good position for surgery." And I'm like, "Okay."

So 24 weeks later, I'm around 85% of my best numbers. All symptoms are gone and I go in and see the surgeon. And the surgeon puts me through the paces. Gets an X-ray. I didn't even get an X-ray because I was trying to do it on the cheap. And sits me down and he holds up the big stack of reports and he goes, "This makes no sense." And he points at me and goes, "That's a perfectly fine hip." I go, "Really? What about the MRI? It said two small tears." And he kind of gave me this grimace, like, "What?" So he pulls up the MRI and he's scanning through it. And all of a sudden, he points at this little black line and he goes, "Maybe? Maybe? But Drew, 80% of people have that just walking around." He goes, "Look at this." And he pulls up the X-ray. He goes, "You're not even genetically predispositioned to a hip injury." No cam or pincer for those that have gone through any of that.

And I looked at him and I go, "Let me ask you something. Can we get injured? Can something lifestyle change to where a movement patterns changes?" And I go, "And because I'm going through full range of motions with the weights that I am, inflammation builds off and gives symptoms of labral tear?" And he cackles and gets this huge grin and goes, "Every day." And he goes, "Most people don't spend 24 weeks to fix it. I would not scope your hip." He goes, "Go. Go into the world and do what you want to do. Happens again, you come see me, but it's a perfectly fine hip. Have fun." And I was like, "That's cool." And what hit me was this didn't have to happen. The lesson … I wouldn't have gotten this lesson if it wouldn't have, but this could've been avoided.

Increased performance while decreasing injury

Drew: So I went to Dr. Ulm and I basically said, "What'd you do?" And he led me down the path of different modalities. And I've taken that into my training. I've taken that into our athletes' training to build a foundation that what we found now, over time, breaks through plateaus that would've formed. So it's a plateau buster while keeping athletes healthier. It's fascinating. When you look into the world of rehabilitation, rarely do you find something that can increase performance while decreasing injury. Usually, to decrease injury, you have to lower intensity, but the stuff that we've compiled allows us to increase performance, to increase intensity, because the body is able to hold positions better. These modalities, they include dynamic neuromuscular stability, if you're familiar with that, DNS. There's some PRI, Postural Restoration Institute. There's a tiny bit of McKinsey sprinkled in there.

But here's the thing. We're not doctors. So I'm always looking at what I call the threshold of when an athlete comes in and we're working on something, when does it make sense to, "Yes, we're going to attack this in the gym. I'm going to teach you these movements. I'm going to teach you these things to get out of it," and when is it time to go and see a doc and get worked on? I'm not going to touch drop leg, numbness, tingling, stuff like that. Go see a doctor. But that right there, that experience that I had of open shut case labral tear … And I know a number of weight lifters who have had labral surgeries and then experienced pain later. And it's just that scared the shit out of me. And when I was in the moment was you think going under the knife to have nothing change.

Future Plans For Project Lift

If you have a little bit of time left, how about start writing your own bucket list
Photographer: Glenn Carstens-Peters | Source: Unsplash

Mike: So you have this ability to develop athletes into really good weight lifters. You have the ability to do it safely, sustainably, in a healthy way. And you have your gym operating. What are your plans now? You're in the mastermind. How do we impact more people with something great? And you have something great. What are your plans now? We've been going back and forth. There's different things, different ideas, but what do you like the most right now?

Drew: We want to take this to as many people as we can. I think often … And I told you this before where you were like, "Well, why do you want to do that?" And I literally go, "Because I was that person. And if someone could've just told me …" Bringing this to an online structure to where athletes will have that programming and have that feedback. One thing I don't think I've gotten to show you yet is how we use tools like Coach's Eye and video review to provide feedback to help athletes, who are currently experiencing pain or injury in some form or fashion, to get out of that pain and then to get stronger, overall. How do you get out of pain that's been bugging you forever and get stronger?

Just recently, I mean, in the last few weeks, I've been posting on our YouTube channel, posting on my personal Instagram, a little bit on Project Lift's Instagram, looking for conversations. What are you struggling with out there? And for anybody listening, I'd love to hear from you. What pain, what injury are you struggling with? Some of the fascinating conversations is when you talk with somebody and they're like, "Oh, My shoulder hurts." And so you're like, "Okay. Well, how long have you had that injury?" And they're like, "Well, I'm not injured." And it makes me think of something Dr.Ulm said yesterday. And it's like, "Well, did you change a movement because of it?" And they're like, "Well, " And he's like, "That's an injury." Defining injury as having to alter your program of a movement because you can't put your arm over your head that day, that's an injury. It's not, "Well, I trained around it, so I'm not injured, but it hurts."

60-Day Challenge

Mike: Or you were talking about the biggest challenge is sticking to just the program. You ran a 60-day challenge, is that what it was?

Drew: It was a 60-day challenge back in the day. We'd run a 60-day challenge. And I love the name. We had fun with it. There's a paid version where that money would go into a pot and then the winner would get a portion of that. And there was a free version for anybody that just wanted to learn and follow along. And what I learned was the challenge was not what was written in the program, sets and reps, the challenge was following the instructions. And the instructions were, "This five-day program could be your only program." And how many people that affected, how many people that made just pause or freak out blew my mind and I got to hear stories of, "Well, I just got a muscle up last month. So if I don't do a muscle up every day, I'll lose it." What? But those compile. Do you know what I mean? It's the same as, if my lungs aren't burning four days a week, I'll get fat again.

And it's fascinating. And honestly … I mean, this is a little side note, but this is something that I've learned, working with you guys and through my own personal discoveries, is when you are in the gym to change your body because you hate it, you're coming at it from such a place of negative energy. You're going to have more frustration. Things are going to seem more difficult, like they're fighting against you. And then once you get there, you have fear that just stays with you. And it's like, I want people to come into the gym. I want people to get stronger. I want people to hit their body goals, but to realize in this moment, right now, as you are, you are enough. Changing in the gym is just cherry on top.

Mike: So you're in a research phase. I know we're going back and forth and we want to land on exactly what you're going to offer online. And there's an option. There's an opportunity for athletes and there's an opportunity for coaches.

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