The Power Of Storytelling with Sam Pogue

The Power Of Storytelling with Sam Pogue

In this episode, I'm with Sam Pogue. He's the VP of brand at TrueCoach. He oversees everything that's organic content for TrueCoach, which is a platform for personal trainers to individualized programming scaled. TrueCoach is a software as a service that you would subscribe to and it's everything from a blog, to social media, to email campaigns, to video content, and getting to deliver a marketing message to coaches that they provide a service that helps them improve.

Table of Contents

Who Is Sam Pogue?

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. All right. So for the audience, tell them, where are you right now? Where are we sitting? And then also, where did you come from?

Sam Pogue: My name is Sam Pogue. I am the VP of brand here at TrueCoach. I oversee everything that's organic content for TrueCoach, which is a platform for personal trainers to individualized programming scaled. So it's a software as a service that you would subscribe to and it's everything from a blog, to social media, to email campaigns, to video content, and getting to deliver a marketing message to coaches that we provide a service that helps them improve. Prior to being here, I was in Austin, Texas where I worked for a company called Onnit, for those of you who don't know, which was founded by Aubrey Marcus and Joe Rogan.

Aubrey just stepped down yesterday, which is really exciting for him to step into his own thing and really push on fully and let Onnit really run. And I think that you can probably attest to this as much as anybody, that when you're a visionary and you create something, it's easy for us to get caught up in what we're doing because no one else has ever done it. And this thing is driven by our crazy ideas that that might work. And then it soon becomes into where it's like, "Okay, now we need some people to run the ship while we go be crazy." And Onnit was, I was employee number 42 at Onnit.

I moved to Austin, Texas from Portland, Oregon in 2014 to get out of the fitness industry, to find myself as the very first member of the Onnit Gym when it opened up in 2014 only because I was a big Joe DeFranco fan when I was a trainer in my young career. And when I moved down there at the time, Joe had just announced that, "I'm moving to Austin to merge my company with this company called Onnit." And I'm like, "I don't even know what Onnit is, but I want to be a part of it." And then you meet the amazing John Wolf, and then next thing I'm overseeing the education system at Onnit, I'm traveling, flying 68 times in a year, building partnerships with EXOS, Equinox, Gold's gym, UCLA, teaching workshops all over the world.

And then I train a lot of professional athletes, most notably Jake Arrieta, who's a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and won a World Series and a Cy Young for the Cubs back in '17. So quite a crazy journey to find myself here.

Meeting Casey Jenks

Sam Pogue: So Casey, the CEO of TrueCoach, and I met at the Shrugged Mastermind in 2016 in San Diego.

Mike Bledsoe: You never know what's going to happen when you play the game.

Sam Pogue: And it shows the power of meeting good people. You just never know who you're going to meet and to stay in touch and to always provide value because four years later, it was an email from Casey in a polite way that was like, "Hey man, we're looking for someone that knows marketing, that knows business, travels. and has a huge network." And it's like, "Well, that's my shtick in the industry. This is what you're asking." And to now step into this environment to, "Hey, let's build you a media room for you to shoot the content in. Let's make it look like a gym and to have the freedom to do it." And then to build out this marketing idea, excuse me, that allowed us to reach coaches. We grew by 82% last year.

We installed a blog. We have this amazing customer success team that really helps every customer that calls in. We have an awesome engineering team. And so between all of it, it was able to grow a massive amount, which is really fricking exciting. And to step into the world of tech, which is where fitness is really going, you look at wearables that you look at the data, you look at analytics. So it was really exciting to look at like how all these things came up because I went to college at the University of Portland to study startups and evaluate your startups are worthy you're getting money to. So it was really interesting to look at like, "Oh wow, I fell into fitness and now I'm in tech."

Mike Bledsoe: What's interesting is, with your background you had, you could say that you had one of the most fortunate upbringings in fitness. You were surrounded by some of the best coaches, you were presented the best network. You were placed places where there were professional athletes, and it was just things lined up and yet you're not coaching. So how do you feel about that?

Sam Pogue: I love it. I do love coaching and it's something I really get to do. I actually just came back from Austin where I spent a month and I worked remote for TrueCoach and I trained Jake for a month before he left for Spring Training.

Mike Bledsoe: Oh cool. So you're still doing it?

Sam Pogue: I still coach, it's just not an everyday setting, and it allows me… And it's funny that as you know, getting your coaching shops back up and going for a second takes you a second. Like, "Oh, I haven't coached someone in a minute, let me get going again." But it's something, I think once you're a coach, you're always a coach. You can never not want to be that role. I think now it just allows me to say like, "Well… " There's kids who get in this industry that love coaching, they go to school for it, they digest everything. And as much as I would like to say that I am, I'm not that person.

Sam Pogue: I love coaching. I go to a certification every month or some con ed thing every month. And I love it. And I want to make sure that I earn my spot to what I get to do. I want to make sure that kid who loves coaching more than anything, learns the business in the soft skills side, skills that he can be empowered to be a great coach in this industry because we lose too many of those.

The Power of Storytelling

Now I can read in the dark.
Photographer: Nong Vang | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. We're in the same business, we're attacking it from different angles and I'm curious about, what do you see from coaches? They may have a lot of knowledge around movement, program design, nutrition, whatever it is, but they still can't seem to find success. What's the number thing that pops into mind when you hear that? What's the thing that most coaches are missing that's keeping them from enjoying success?

Sam Pogue: Well, I think it loops back to how we started the conversation, and I teach this workshop around the idea of storytelling. And I teach it in the sense of, as coaches, we have to look at if we're trying to help these people change the relationship with their health and wellness of their bodies, well, who are we to help that person? And it's one thing when we come from the science side where we were like, "Oh yeah, we just hear it. We install stress here, we manage recovery here, we put this variable in here." It all makes sense from that top level. We forget that we have to translate, "We need to improve your adduction in your hip with internal rotation and somehow give you… That makes your low back not feel bad, or that you can go run that marathon that you want.

Coaches don't know how to translate the story from science to how to connect with someone because they haven't come to terms with their own story that connects them to why they do it. And I'm going to use an example of, if you're someone who maybe has struggled with the relationship with the psychology of food in your own body, you're going to recognize that in someone way faster than you and I will. Even though you and I have coached 10,000 people, and we know it, when we see someone, we know someone might be struggling with that, but you and I can't walk up to that person say, "Hey, I think you're probably going through this," because that's not who we are.

Versus someone who's been through that journey, that's also a coach, they're going to pick up on a sign way quicker than we ever would and know when it's okay to go talk to them, and they can grab them. And so I think it's so important for us as coaches, we got to look at like, "Hey, what unique perspective have I fricking gone through in the world that teaches me how I'm going to be someone that helps you?" Now, we can look at that story that's changed. If we look at the story of your career, early on it was effort, it was intensity, but it was still connection. It was like, "Hey, I'm here to build this thing."

And the people that found you, loved that energy. But as your journey in fitness has changed, so has the desire for you to lift a certain way and look a certain way, be a certain way, and now that message is now going to change. The people that you're interested in coaching and sharing your journey with are probably not going to resonate with you if they want to hear, "Go hard, go heavy or go home," unless they respected you from your past. Whereas now, you're like, "Hey, that's great. If you want to do it, awesome," but now you can touch a whole different person because now that 38-year-old, 40-year-old burnt out CEO who's like, "Man, the shit I used to do when I was 24 is not the shit I can do to be healthy."

And they're going to look at you as like, "Oh, you've ran multimillion dollar companies. Oh, you've beat your body into the ground. Oh, you've already been that guy. Oh, you're the guy that's going to take me to the promised land." Because let's be honest, when every person is looking at their own fitness, everyone, we are a special case. Our scenario is different, no one else has ever seen it. But we also work in an industry where it's, we're in the industry of people who don't like the way their body looks and feels. So Mr. Olympia, where you just came back from, essentially is coming off stage being like, "I could've done this better," as he grabs a piece of skin. But that person's arguably the best physiqued person in the world, and they think they can do better.

So if we already know that everybody wants to see changes and we know that everybody thinks that they're special and that their scenario is special, how do we tell that person that we're the one that can help them? And I think that only comes from our ability, because let's be honest, you and I both know coaches who know crap about coaching or even fitness or science that have great businesses, and we have ones who are the smartest people in the world that couldn't sell shit for anything if that was their environment. Let's put Andy Galpin in 24 Hour Fitness. Andy's a super smart dude, but we're like, "Okay, you got to go be Mr. sales guy and sell this to Grandma Betty.

I'm not saying Andy couldn't do it, but it would probably not be the realm that he prefers to be in.

Imposter Syndrome

Full Red
Photographer: sebastiaan stam | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: What do you tell somebody who may be experiencing imposter syndrome?

Sam Pogue: I feel like there's at least, on the double-edged sword, I think our guts are more accurate a lot of the times than we want to give them credit for. So if your gut in turn thinks that like, "Okay, I'm worried about imposter syndrome," I think there's a very big clear delineation between, "I am worried about putting myself out there and failing," and, "I in my heart know that I haven't done it yet." To where you and I both know, if someone says something to us and our ego reacts to it, it's because we both know that inside they're right. That's our ego being like, "Oh shit."

If someone's qualifying it, it's like, "Okay, you might be someone that might be a great person to help them, but have you even gone to get a certification? Have you coached anybody before?" I first want to look at someone and say, "Hey, have you gone through the merits that you personally feel you've earned it?" And I think like you do need to go put those reps in.

Mike Bledsoe: Well, I think that could be one of those things where like… It's one of the first questions we ask coaches, "What results have you gotten your clients or yourself?" You can only sell the results you've previously gotten, really.

And I think for some people, they haven't gotten enough results. They've gotten results, but they haven't gotten so like, "Oh, I lost 30 pounds, but I really want to lose 35 pounds." But I want to point out that sometimes you just need to go, "I've lost enough." And go, "I lost 30 pounds and I'm going to be very upfront about where I'm at in my journey and realistic, and not fudge it." That's where that inauthenticity might be coming in. Be authentic, and go, "Look, yeah, I'm a weight loss person and I'm still on my journey." Possibly.

Sam Pogue: Well, the reason why I teach the storytelling method is because one of my biggest fears growing up was getting pigeonholed as the sales guy because I've always been this person that just talks and can talk your ear off. My mom was a youth minister, so I grew up around a lot of people. Grandpa was on city council, so I was shaking hands and kissing babies from a really young age. So for me, I've had the gift of gab my entire life. I really have had to do it this way all the time because I just talk.

It's unfair to give someone and ask them to build a system around something they don't know how to build. So it turns into like, "Well, if that's what you've got, if you're not the go chat it up with everybody and have great smalltalk skills, you better have something in your arsenal." But let's look at the kid who's 21 years old that loves fitness because he loves training and got his first NASM, then it turns into, "Let's be the authentic kid." So instead of selling a weight loss journey, you didn't have to go through one and you're helping plenty of overweight people in Memphis back then.

So it turns into like, yeah, you may not be that person, but you have to connect with them on a different level, you have to show empathy in a different way, or you're giving them a character that they aspire to be. One of the two. So you've got to choose which one is right. And the imposter syndrome is only up to you, because at the end of it you've got to go and say, "Hey, I'm ready to help people." And if you don't want to help people, then this may be is just not the game, maybe you need to step behind and maybe write a blog or something. But for you, most people are ready in that, if they really want to help people, they're ready to do it, they just have to own their story and be, "Hey, I'm new. I just want to help people. I'm trying to learn as much as possible."

Mike Bledsoe: The one thing I'm hearing you say is, "Help people. Help people." One of things I've noticed with the imposter syndrome is, the focus is on themselves. They're not actually focused on solving their potential client's problem, they're so worried about how they're going to look. If you're experiencing imposter syndrome, there's something to look at yourself for sure, and if you're experiencing that, it's because your attention is a self centered perspective.

Sam Pogue: Yes. 100%. At the end of the day, I think everybody gets into it for that. Sure, there is the get-rich-quick crew and every industry has it. But what other industry in the world will you work a server job part time at this other gas station so that way you can try to build a personal training business full of clients because you just love helping people? Yeah, people, actors do that, but that's centered around them getting to be the star. Training's not a selfish job inherently, you're there to serve and help someone else. What other industry has that where you're willing to beat your crap out of yourself to have a job to help people?

Mike Bledsoe: That's true, man. And I've never seen so many people… This is one of the few industries where people are doing so many nonprofits and are not taking real pay.

Sam Pogue: Right. For years. For their entire lives.

Mike Bledsoe: This is an industry where its very passion driven, very, very passionate driven.

Sam Pogue: And so that's usually, if someone's going to the imposter syndrome, I want to come at him quick and be like, "Hey, what is it? Do you need this skill to know that you're going to be okay and go tell this story? Or is it like, do you need to go validate yourself more personally?" But either way, if you're not into it for the right reasons of helping people, then you're going to weed yourself out quick anyway." Because you've seen it now, you came into CrossFit in the beginning when it was like, it was easy to have an ego thing. When somebody was just good at moving and like there was no other competition. You didn't have to know how to run a business, you didn't have to run a gym. If you could just snatch more than most people and then you could run real fast for a long period of time, you're going to have a gym.

Mike Bledsoe: I got, I got away with a lot, I remind people that. People start asking… Same thing with Barbell Shrugged. I got away with a lot in the gym. The first or second CrossFit in all of Tennessee. Of course, if someone heard of CrossFit, they're walking through our door, so we got away with a lot of bad business, and then I had to learn it over time. And actually one of the benefits… That's a skill in businesses, is being there first, identifying trends. And being their first doesn't mean you're going to be the most successful. But it will give you this space to make mistakes and to establish yourself.

And the same thing with Barbell Shrugged. We were the first strength and conditioning podcasts that I could find. We started it because I couldn't find a strength and conditioning podcast. And we were posting on YouTube in a way that other people weren't posting on YouTube. So again, a lot of times people go, "Well, what did Barbell Shrugged do in the beginning?" I go, "It doesn't matter because that strategy doesn't work anymore. It's gone. It's gone." So I am blessed at identifying trends early on and go, "Oh, this is a trend. Oh, this is a trend." The online coaching business is an emerging… Online program design has emerging for a while, we've been watching it.

I started doing online program design for groups in 2013, and a lot of companies were doing individualized program design, and this is the majority of your clients are these coaches. So I guess about since 2013, but in the functional fitness space and the CrossFit, we were the first ones that I know of. There were a few people do an individualized program design, but we were doing the group program online. But since then, the trend I'm watching right now is that movement, program design and knowing how to give someone macros is a commodity, which means that if that's the only thing you're offering, then it's a race to the bottom. it's a race to see who can be cheapest.

Walmart sells commodity items, not value. And so as a coach, if you want to make it a career, you have to create value outside of those three things. Those three things are features that you can offer, but there are other things to be done that you have to do to stand out.

What Sets Other Coaches Apart

Photographer: Victor Freitas | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: What are some things that you've seen the best coaches have done to set themselves apart?

Sam Pogue: I think with a lot of coaches is that you have to realize you're always learning two games. As a coach I want to go nerd out about the shoulder and everything else that scapula does when I'm overhead and how it affects my baseball pitchers. But that knowledge doesn't get me one client because… Pitchers aren't hiring me because I can name all the muscles in the shoulder, they're hiring me because I can make the shoulder's sounds so easy to understand for them to take that information and digest it. So I think the biggest skill amongst the great coaches is they figured out like, "Okay, there's a game. I got to keep learning the game to keep relevant in the market," because there's a thing to that.

But then it also turns into like, "What skill do I not have that I need to learn? Is it, I need to learn how to be on camera? Do I need to learn how to write content? Do I need to learn how to articulate my message in a broader sense to where I don't have the interpersonal connection where I can tap you on the leg and like, 'Hey, do you feel that?'" Because the in-person experience is a very different environment from a semiprivate group fitness instruction, to a seminar setting. The coaches who realize the communication pieces that are needed to be effective in what they do, the quicker they realize what ones they're lacking are the ones who become most successful quickest.

Because it's not about how much about science. I get to teach workshop; I teach kettlebell workshops for the NSCA and I don't have a CSCS or an NSCA certification or bachelor's in biology or exercise science. And I teach master's degree students and PhD students and physical therapy students. I automatically out and say like, "I don't have to be the best at name of the muscles. If y'all want to play that game, y'all beat me. Plus, you're in school, you're going to know more than that ever. But a lot of you want to know how to be able to interact with athletes and know how to be able to get your message across. Because as you know, working with high level athletes is not a game of knowing the most science, it's being good at negotiating."

"All right, we're going to do 10 snatches on the minute every minute." "How about seven?" This is week one." "Okay, so we're going to do eight snatches." "Great." You just put up with it because they're already great at what they do. So then it turns into like, "Well, actually, my ability to know anything about the shoulder today did nothing for me, my ability to connect with them as a human was key." The question I ask every athlete I work with is, "Hey, what makes you feel the most athletic playing your sport?" That's the first question I ask them. And they're all like, "Whoa, no one's ever asked me that," because speed ladders, let's use for example, don't do shit for your overall top end speed. Are there values other places? For sure.

But like if my defensive back comes up to me and says, "Yes, speed ladder is making me feel like I'm a shutdown corner and I can knock anybody's ass down." Well, you sure as shit we doing some speed ladders in the off season because if I send them into season doing nothing of the thing that he feels the most athletic about, even though it doesn't yield any result, then what am I doing? That's not empowering him to be the best person.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. Well, the other thing is, it may actually yield a result for them. Well, there's one, there's the… What's it called? The effect, whatever, I'm taking sugar pills.

Sam Pogue: Yeah. Placebo effect.

Mike Bledsoe: Placebo effect. There's a placebo effect. There's nothing more effective than a placebo. Nope, not at all, research has shown that. And then there's outliers. There may be a lot of research to say the speed ladders really don't do that much thing, but there's probably somewhere in the research where it did with one person out of 20, and they threw it out. So all research has outliers, they get thrown out. Most research has outliers, they throw out. There are things that are not within the bell curve, they just don't mention in research, so maybe it does work for that person.

Sam Pogue: Yep. But all that matters to me is they feel good for me. So it's learning that connection piece. And I think that any point in time, if you're working with someone who's struggling with their diet, that's needing really help staying on track and not emotionally eating at the end of the day or learning how to cook things, that takes a granular empathetic skill sets to learn how to connect with that person. It doesn't take berating and blasting them for not knowing. And now it came from like, whoa, I still do need my exercise science and nutrition skills, they're the foundation for what this is, but I need to learn to connect with it. And then it turns into like, "Okay, what am I good at and how do I learn how to tell that story?"

You're a great storyteller, that's why the podcast works so well for you. If it was you doing exercise demos, not that it may not have been okay, it would've been good, I don't know if it would have had the same yield as you dig into someone, and having this amazing crew when it was on video to where it's like, "I've never seen this kind of thing before." And it opened up this door, but it was like, wow, that's because you're such a freaking inquisitive guy where you're like, "Man, if I want to learn something, I want to learn everything." And then it's like you're 19 rabbit holes deep by the time you're done with the conversation and you're like, "Yeah, I've already got the course pulled up and I've already signed up." And you're like, "Oh yeah." But that's you, but most people aren't that person and we have to handhold them more.

So it really takes a lot of understanding the communication piece, and I think the soft skillset stuff, I think as you learn too is the piece that most coaches aren't blessed with. And a lot of coaches who come in doing things really well at the gate is because they were good at those and learned coaching on the back end. So if I could do anything, it's mostly learning how to listen and learning how to connect with people in person. I say those are the two most important things that coach can learn from a communication standpoint.

How To Improve Yourself

Upwards arrows
Photographer: Jungwoo Hong | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: You're naturally suited for this as you have said growing up, but in your coaching career, were there pivotal moments and communication and empathy where you go, "Oh, I missed the boat on this, I'm going to improve in this, and what did you do to improve?

Sam Pogue: Well, so I started out my career as a sales guy at 24 Hour Fitness, and I'm very much… I came up in the world like you too where I like getting coached from the leg burrito, like, "Tell me I haven't stuck, that's fine." And we can still go have a beer afterwards because that doesn't bother me, that's how I have always been coached. But I remember blatantly, I took a nutrition class in college and I put my textbook on my membership sales desk and someone would come in like, "I'm just trying to get toned." And I would straight up be like, "There's no such thing as getting toned up, how stupid are you? Why would you even see that thing in front of me? Do you not see my new shirt?" You know that kind of attitude?

And it was like, that wasn't the thing, that person just didn't know the right word, that wasn't necessarily the… Who cares if they use the word tone? Let them use the word tone, but as a young man, as a 21-year-old, I only knew that you had to fit into my box. If you didn't fit into my box, you were fucking wrong. And so for me, it was learning how to… Because I will always come out at people, I'm a hyper confident, loud, I'm going to be in your face, I'm boisterous to where I'm okay with the fact that I'm not for everybody. I know that certain people are just going to like, "He's not for me." And that's cool because I'm going to do me unapologetically.

But I still had to learn to curtail my sales presentation because growing up in the church with my mom, I was helping the special needs community, running a Christmas play, and then I was running a Bible camp and then I was helping the elderly run the food thing. So I would go from talking grandma Betty to little kids to this and it was like, I knew how to change my conversation type based on who I was with, but when it was in a sales environment where my revenue was on the line, I instantly went to what the F, why don't you know this? What is going on?

Mike Bledsoe: You went through a more like a survival experience, they're stress. There was nothing online before. Now it's a roof over my head, food on the table. Survival mode comes in which goes into more basic instinct, which is more like an F.U. is what can happen.

Sam Pogue: Yeah. I have to sell you, if I don't sell you, then I'm not going to pay rent this month. And it's like, "I can't make you understand that eating broccoli is going to help you, so I might as well make you at least then get the point across."

The a-ha moment

Mike Bledsoe: What did you do to shift that? What was the aha moment?

Sam Pogue: It was watching someone else who was not as good as I was inner personally, be successful. And it wasn't because they were good, it was because they just knew how to listen better. And for me it was like, "Okay, I'm great at the output, I need to learn to take a step back." And this is also well-timed because I was very angry when I took my membership sales job. I went to college, I went to a boujee private Catholic college and I came out of school in 2008 and there were no jobs, and so I had to take a job selling memberships with a kid who's 19 years old, three years younger than me, no college education, telling me how the world works.

I'm like, "This isn't right." So it wasn't until I also chose that fitness was something that I needed to at least put some effort into, I had to say like, "I can't have a crappy attitude anymore, if I'm here, I need to at least learn something." So that's what got me into power lifting, Olympic lifting. So I think there was a dual thing where I was more open to hearing the message, I had to go through some other perspective change. And for me it was like, "Well, you can be pissed that you don't like this outcome, but at the end of the day, you don't have another job lined up, so what lesson or what can you get out of this experience? Well, you can go learn how to lift and you can probably get better at this experience."

And to be honest, then it turned into, by the time I became a trainer, year and a half later from the membership experience, I had a 40-hour week schedule in three months. I was like, "Oh yeah, I know how to do this game. I already went through this crappy reps." Plus the sales game as a membership guy is hard because you don't actually work with the person, you're literally taking a walk in from the gym to like, "You want to buy 30 sessions? Do you want to do the thing?" Because it didn't have the same field, like a small boxing gym like you had, it wasn't you coaching the classes, it was me dumping you off into the ecosystem. So it was really hard to build that personal connection.

So for me it was a lot of, I think looking within and realizing that there is, I can say this now obviously, that there was issues with the way where I was at and that anger was coming out in a different way that was causing me to fight and flight as you bring up to where it's like, "Do I just got to pay rent, fuck, let's go." Like, "If this person's going to listen to me, I might as well make him feel like a piece of shit for it," Was my attitude. And on to the next one. So I think it was also just what was the next step for me to get better, it was like, "I got to get better at this skill, I'm not good at it." So either way, whatever, here we are, like, "I don't want to be bad at this."

Mike Bledsoe: Was there a moment though there that struck you and it would make a change or was it more gradual for you? People are different, some people, it's a gradual shift. I'm the type of person where it's like, "Aha, I got struck like a bolt lightning and now my whole life changes."

Sam Pogue: Well, I wasn't quite ready for change, I didn't know what change was back then. Everything was so new and I was so young, dumb and full of everything, but when I met John Wolf and he checked me really hard, it was like, "Oh shit, okay. Yup, this is a whole different ball game."

Mike Bledsoe: Well, I'm sure other people tried to check you before that, but John, you respect the guy. The dude is really, he's got wisdom, he knows training better than most, he moves well, he's strong and he's super fucking nice. You can't hate John, you can't hate John. So when a guy, a mentor like that comes in and checks you, yeah.

Sam Pogue: And I didn't have a mentor back then, I did. So Tony Gracia who owns Industrial Strength Gym up in Portland was my closest mentor, but he got me into lifting and he played the friend role. He was like, "Hey, try this. This is dead lifting, this is squatting, this is pressing." And it was me playing curious to learning more, it wasn't him berating me over the head with it. So I think fitness works out really well for me because I had to come do it, I had to make an active choice to say, "Hey, I'm hearing this membership counselor spot where I really hate life, I need to change my outcome." Well, I always played sports, I always liked fitness, it just turned into like, I'm in a spot where I'm here with trainers and I can learn.

And I'm very blessed now to look at my first lens of experience was mechanical stress, linear periodization, because that's the big game. So it allowed me to come into all of these things versus if you're a brand-new coach trying to sell me the mace when I'm a mechanical stress guy. I'd be like, "That's done. Which is what it was to me at first, which is why John checked me so hard, but it was this game to where it gave me validity. I had to have self-worth, I had to have a knowledge base to where I felt good about it going forward. And I did go through some reps, so I just don't think I was in a spot where I was ready to hear lessons yet at 21.

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Mike Bledsoe: That's right. So we did cover a little bit of what you're up to now, but for people listening, what should they know about TrueCoach?

Sam Pogue: Man, we have a free two-week trial for people to test the software out and just to get a feel for it, there's no credit card required. The really cool thing that I really like people to know is like, yeah I come from a fitness background and I would love that the software has volume trackers and all these things. And there's some things that we're not quite 100% there with all the features, but our engineers built a kick ass platform that's easy for humans to learn how to use. So when you're learning, the big fear with software is like learning another new thing, and that the nice thing with TrueCoach is it's not clunky, it makes a lot of sense.

Sam Pogue: So the thing I would employ you, and if it's not TrueCoach, that's okay if something else fits your needs, but try it, don't be afraid to try the software to get a feel for it because it can be such a great tool. I love it for my in-person clients, I love it to be able to store programs, so I have them ready to go. I can distribute them to people if I need to, if I want to train someone just quickly for a little bit, but the nice thing was, because I didn't use TrueCoach before working here, and it was like to jump in and learn it on the fly while I'm learning the company, was like, "This thing's really easy to use."

My biggest excitement for people is to learn, okay, don't be scared of new software, click around and try it, if you don't like it, come back to it later, but right now, just click around and try. So, a free trial, and then if you want to sign up, it's based on how many clients that you have and that can be scaled. And we have a blog that I've been writing and having a number of other blog contributors contribute too about how to help your business. So I'm writing a lot of articles on like, Five Ways To Get More Clients That's Not Social Media, and Eight Ways To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills, and things that I feel are my zone because I don't really care to talk about the shoulder, you can go to Eric Cressey's blog for that.

We want to provide you tools, and TrueCoach for me, coming from on it, I really want to build this amazing community of meetups, I want to be doing meetups around the country at different facilities and teaching either business, telling your story, telling workshops or kettlebell workshops, and they're going to be free, and the game is just to bring people together in a digital age to connect and learn and grow. And so that's what you can be on the lookout from TrueCoach, the blog, I'm going to bring it in, maybe the biggest resource of different fitness professionals into one hub. And then we're going to be doing some kick-ass events all around the country.

So such a pleasure to be able to connect with you, and it's really special every time I get to sit down with you each time and that we're always in different spots in our journey, but I wouldn't have gotten this job had I not gone to the Shrugged Mastermind and started the podcast, which showed I can make content and then step into a role where my job is to make content. So now to sit in the room with you when you're in town is like, it's very full circle and the rapid… We came from conversations and meeting people and building that second and third layer of communication to where it's like, "Yeah, Mike and I don't have to talk every day for us to have this great relationship and to pop in and do stuff together and to consistently add value to each other's lives." Because even if it's not today, that we can do something together, it doesn't mean that we won't do something together six months from now, or that we can help support each other with the people that we know.

Mike Bledsoe: And there's been so many relationships where it's four or five years later, it's like, "Oh, well now this makes sense." And I can feel that at times when I'm talking, sometimes I'll go, "Oh, this relationship will come to fruition, it's going to be a few years." And that's okay, it's awesome.

Sam Pogue: And that's the best part, man. So thank you very much for stopping by and getting to share this. It was awesome to share with you, and I'm pumped just to hang out anytime we can.

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