Mike Salemi specializes in human performance and is a sought after international presenter in the field of health and fitness. Mike has a diverse background in strength and conditioning and has competed over the course of 15+ years at an elite level in Powerlifting and Kettlebell Sport. Through his own path of resolving sport-related injuries, Mike understands the importance of integrating the body, mind, and spirit as a means to foster high performance for the long term. His motivation is to help athletes, fitness professionals, and coaches discover their own potential from the inside-out. We talk about his latest program called Kettlebell Lifestyle and more.
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How The Pandemic Affected Mike’s Business
Mike: So we're about six weeks in, so the whole world got flipped upside down. and your one of those coaches that you met, you were doing a lot of stuff in person but also Building online. So this was, that was really a gift for anyone who was even dipping their toes into the waters of being online. And you already had online offerings. It's not like this was new to you, but you had a new thing that you were going to offer. Oh, how did this, how did the last six weeks really impact your business, your launch, all that stuff?
Mike Salemi: Yeah man. No, it's interesting. At first it was a really hard hit. Like I had nine workshops, which was I would say even though I have online stuff, like most of my income comes from live certifications, workshops, all of that stuff. I think it was nine workshops all canceled. The next five months, everything canceled within the first six or seven days. Vanished. Done.
And so is each one's canceling as I'm following up there, just like, all right, this isn't so bad. And then next one is, this is so bad at the next one canceled. Once you get to about eight or even five, you're like, okay, some pivot needs to be made. I've really seen this as a massive opportunity. It hurts in the beginning. Like, that really sucks and as partially scary to be honest to have that much of 70% of maybe my income gone.
Working on Kettlebell Lifestyle
Mike Salemi: I will say working on Kettlebell Lifestyle which is the current online program and also like, to be honest, like I check the news every now and then, but I have not really, like I've been locked in this office, which is putting in work. Like I think I've watched to Netflix movies the entire six to eight weeks we've been in quarantine. I've kept myself so busy with that and just going out all in and it's definitely like I'm really starting to see it payoff as we prepare for the launch in the next few weeks.
Mike Bledsoe: I got a peak inside a Kettlebell Lifestyle, or got more than a peak. I logged in, looked around,went through the surveys, and all that. It’s beautifully made from a user perspective. It shows that you care, that you put a lot of a effort into thatamongst all the other things that are in there. So did you build most of that when we were in quarantine or is it a lot of that built before?
Mike Salemi: No, it was pretty much all in corn team all in the quarantine. So even putting in the work, yeah it's been in once we get this laundry going to definitely take a solid week off for damn sure because we need it. It's been hustling and I've been as good as I can be about taking care of myself cause that's super important too. I feel like I'm back in college. I was telling my friends that I haven't pulled all nighters since college. I had a few of those the nights before the next phase rolls out.
But to be honest, man, like we did our first group coaching call and I'm sure you can relate to this. In the group coaching call, like the testimonials and the results that people are getting legitimately just from the on ramp phase, just from the freaking on-ramp phase about creating your, you're a personalized stretching routine, working in active meditation, rebuilding the body, just those testimonials.
Literally on the first coaching call I started crying. And so the testimonials have been crazy and people's experience and that's what's really been supportive. And so I'm almost at the end. I just launched phase two today, so I got one more phase to input and then it's like that. It's a little pause.
Making The Next Move Despite The Quarantine
Mike Bledsoe: What caused you to be so motivated during this time? So I'm hearing, a few different reactions to, everyone going to a quarantine. A lot of people freaked out and said that they were just going to wait until things ended to see, to make the next move. A lot of people just didn't know what to do next, it didn't do anything. A lot of people did a lot of stuff that didn't need to get done. They just kept themselves busy.
But you seem to and have hit the nail on the head and that not only are you extremely busy but your doing things that matter or is there what, what has motivated you? What would like to pull all nighters the first time since college and things like that. Is it you're like Oh shit I'm going to run out of money or are you excited or what is it?
Mike Salemi: You know what, it's almost a hundred percent like, and I say this humbly like I feel like people like me and people like you for example were like built for this shit. This is like the environment is such that the people who have something good to share and good to help people with. Within three days of going to coven, I told my community, cause everyone's just putting out so much negativity and so much as crap.
Changing The Game
I was like screw this. I'm going to go live for at least 30 days every single day. And the intention was 15 minutes. I ended up being sometimes two hours and it wasn't just workouts, it was a meditation, active meditation, breath, work, training, instruction on every tool, like way more than just workouts. It was such a fulfilling thing to do and it, it really like it was, here's the thing too. The feedback was amazing, but dude, it was honestly as nourishing for me as it was for them.
I don't have any one in the house So, and I just have to give back my dog to my brother. So now I'm really lonely again. But I have a lot of time to reflect and like it was almost, it just felt like a responsibility to do something if I had the opportunity to do something. And then the other thing too is not only just to help the world in this time with what I've learned and what's worked for me. But dude, like I'm so fucking hungry to change the game.
I want to change the game of how personal trainers are viewed today in my opinion. Part like the names you can call me or whatever you want – Strength coach, performance specialist, personal trainer – I really don't really care about the label. But what I will say as a personal training at, at least in my experience, doesn't have like the credibility that it deserves. I want someone who,takes Kettlebell Lifestyle takes any of my stuff that legitimately they have the life experience and the ability to create change at the level of, let's say like a medical doctor or something like that.
I want to change the game of how personal trainers are viewed and completely increase the standard. Because I mean, think about it. You see your doctor once every six months, once every year or whatever. You see your personal trainer multiple times a week, now whether it's virtually probably can see 'em even more. So I'm just hungry just to make a difference and do something special. And, and like the time right now, it's perfect.
Kettlebell Lifestyle Explained
Mike Bledsoe: Let's talk about Kettlebell Lifestyle what, what inspired you to do it? What inspired you to dig into that program? Because you had, you had other programs too.
Mike Salemi: Kettlebell Lifestyle is a complimentary program to my other one called Mastering The Kettlebell, which that one I would say is more for like the trainer. It's got assessments on every single lift, every single comp. There's like 500 vides in the program, every single common air on every lift you can think about program design. That's a really deep resource.
Kettlebell Lifestyle is a very deep but is different. There's, I would say two main inspirations for why I kind of two to three. The first thing was his one, just having been injured so many times in my life, competing at a high level. And it wasn't until I started working with our, with our buddy Paul Chek and I went through a process of working with him for two and a half years working on every single level, even though I went to him to help heal a physical issue or an orthopedic injury in my left arm. There's no way you can coach with Paul and he's not going to look at every other aspect of your being, your relationships, ot how you care for yourself. And so during that process, one of the things that I found was, one, I was way less beat up than I ever was.
I was able to train and compete at a high level and not only just do that, but I was able to recover faster and then reach higher levels. And I was actually, as I was competing more, I was almost feeling better and better and better. And part of the thing, one of the things is one of the tools you would use, one of the many was this thing called Daily Readiness Assessment. So every single morning I'd fill out paperwork. You would have a Google Sheet to it so he could kind of see where I was and heart rate variability was one of the factors, but it's looking at limbic emotional stress. It's looking at hormonal stress, musculoskeletal system stress, but it's all via self checking.
Right. And I got so much value out of that. Like I do like the biofeedback tools and the watches and stuff, but I feel like they can be a crutch. And so Paul was very big about teaching me in an intuitive system of how to care for my body and know how hard to push and how hard not to. So that was the first thing was like wanting to create some type of system that health was as equal as of importance to performance. And it modified.
It taught someone a way to modify their training based off of how their feeling in order for how hard should I go, how hard should I not, should I do active meditation, what to do on each day. Then I had a client of mine, I'm the same guy with the motivation factor. Great dude. He's a black belt in jujitsu, very high level, a bit. He's had like six knee surgeries, I think like seven hip surgeries. And so we were working and he's intense. Like the dude is intense. He trains his kids like the motivation factor and like it's pretty amazing.
One of the biggest things I've had to work with him on is like understanding like the gas pedal can't be floored all the time. And so a lot of times I would ask them like, what are you want out of the program? He's like, dude, Mike I've got an injured so many times, I've had so many surgeries I call you because I tell you what should I do? And then you ask me these questions and then I somehow know the answer. But basically I wanted to give people that experience because the goal for Kettlebell Lifestyle is lifestyle. It is longevity.
Even when I surveyed my list, overwhelming people wanted a workout program with a longevity focus. And then when I thought and I reflected and meditated, it took me three months just to create seven workouts in the program. Like so much thought because for example, on that topic On every workout that you fill out, it takes 20 seconds. The training readiness assessment. So it looks at gut health, sleep motivation level, stress level, it looks over joint soreness and it has questions to ask you and check in with yourself and based off of what you fill in your program modifies.
So there is a level one, a level two option, but on every program, every seven program, there's five levels of modifications based off of how you're feeling. Then there's breath work and active meditation. So again, the big thing is my mission is to build 10,000 balance warriors and change the way trainers are looked at today.