The Bledsoe Show

The Art Of Coaching & Performing At Your Highest Peak with Drew & Chelsea Dillon Of Project Lift

The Art Of Coaching & Performing At Your Highest Peak with Drew & Chelsea Dillon Of Project Lift

In this episode, we have Drew and Chelsea Dillon from Project Lift and we get into how to perform at the highest level in weight lifting and stay healthy in the process, the art of coaching and the big lessons in growing their coaching business. Enjoy the show.

Table Of Contents

What They Do Differently At Project Lift

What They Do Differently At Project Lift
In this episode, we have Drew and Chelsea Dillon from Project Lift and we get into how to perform at the highest level in weight lifting and stay healthy in the process, the art of coaching and the big lessons in growing their coaching business. Enjoy the show.

Mike: So y'all are… Drew did it first and then Chelsea, you go, "This looks like it's been a good thing, so I'll do it too." Tell us real quick about what you guys do in the world. You got Project Lift.

Chelsea: Magical things in the world. We own and operate Project Lift out of Columbus, Ohio, and we specialize in Olympic weight lifting and functional movement. Clients come to us to get out of pain, to function better in their everyday life, and then the other half of our clients come to us to learn how to deal with Olympic weightlifting and to compete and perform at their highest level.

Mike: Now, one thing that when I was listening to y'all talk at the summit, when I was asking about what you do, you were talking about taking a more modern approach to training than what most weightlifting athletes are taking these days. Can you describe to me what's different about your approach?

Drew: Breaking outside of the classic we need the snatch, clean jerk, squat, snatch, clean jerk, squat, hip hinging, hip hinging, sagittal plane. That's all where we live. Breaking outside of that, looking at seasons. So one thing that hit me years ago was throwing in track and field, very similar to Olympic weightlifting. Where in the world did they get seasons and why don't we? So now you think of those stories that people go through, it's a season almost builds it in of like, "Hey, I'm in season and competitions are coming up and this is what I'm doing now."

Now, in the off-season, can I deregulate? Can I work on weaknesses? Can I build things up? But we found ourselves just in this constant cycle of you're always on because here comes a competition. I mean, shoot even look… Even classic weightlifting right now, what's going on with the world team and Olympic prep. These athletes for the qualification events are going to big events. And we're just sitting back kind of watching going, "Man, what's going on with that nervous system?"

Chelsea: Yeah, it's really because you're also looking at not just the nervous system but they're cutting weight for each event too. And that takes a huge toll on you. And then when do you actually get to work on these things, and get out of that same plane? So we take our athletes, I build seasons for them. If you compete, basically you plan out the year of your competitions and I build seasons around them and that looks very different when they're in season for competition.

We basically come to, okay, what are our big one and two meets this year? And that's the ones that we really kind of go more for the traditional movements. And then we have anywhere from two to four smaller meats that we're just kind of training through. We're still doing some lateral work, we're still doing some other kind of weird crazy things. It's just, it's not the same thing all the time. And we've noticed a huge drop in injury rate and a huge increase in performance and people seem to really also enjoy competing more often. The burnout is less.

Mike: Yeah. It sounds like there's more variety.

Drew & Chelsea's Backstory

Drew: Yep. There's that variety and it all stemmed from Mike. The seed was my hip injury. And I get this hip injury and I was cruising along and it was right before what would have been called American Open Final. It was before there were ever series. And right before that, and it just shut me down. I couldn't even get into the fridge. I had to go one leg hip hinge in a single leg, squat-y type thing.

But you wouldn't have called it a pistol by any means. I'm trying to get into the fridge, it just shut me down. I couldn't lift, couldn't do anything. And I'm a huge fan of multiple opinions. And I went to five different, some chiropractors, some physical therapists, but five different people and four were like, "Oh, open-shut case. Hip surgery. That's the labrum, these signs." And I know one other doctor was like "Maybe." And I was like, "I like maybe."

So we came up with a plan, he goes, "I still want you to go and see a hip surgeon." And he goes, "So get one on the books." And he goes, "But how about this? How about I write your program and treat you in the office and mimic that program to what I'm doing in the office and we'll see what we can do?" And I'm like, "I mean, that sounds like a win-win."

So I was like, "Cool." We talked about the ego and we talk about the ego at times. It was the moment where the ego had no options. I had no options and I was like, "It was this or surgery." And I was like, "Okay, well, I mean let's do this." And we go through this 28-week process and I finally see the hip surgeon. And by the time I saw the hip surgeon, I'm back up to 85% of my best numbers and all the symptoms are gone.

And I go in to see the hip surgeon and they ordered an x-ray. I'd never even got an x-ray because I was trying to do it on the cheap. And I had an MRI, and the MRI showed two small tears. Going to the hip surgeon, he puts me through, he looked like Rain Man, eyes close, yelling out degrees as he's taken my hip around.

And he sits back and he holds up this paperwork and he goes, "This makes no sense." And I go, "What?" And he goes, "That's a perfectly fine hip." I just looked at him and go, "What about the MRI?" And he kind of gave me this look. And he pulls up the MRI and he's scanning through and he stops and he points at it. He's like, "Maybe, maybe." And he goes, "But you got to understand, Drew, 80% of people walking around have this."

He goes, "Baloney". And he goes, "Look at your x-ray." And he pulls it up. And for those familiar with hips, you can develop a cam or a pincer and that growth on the bone can fray the labrum and give you more issues. And he goes, "You're not even genetically predisposition. You have nothing here. This is a great looking hip."

And I asked him, I go, "Okay, can stuff that happened in our life and we fall out of a movement pattern and now I'm in a different movement pattern, and because of the weights I'm lifting in the full range of motion, I'm doing, inflammation, builds up and gives off signs of labral tear." And he got this huge grid and he goes, "Every day." And he goes, "But most people don't take 28 weeks to fix it. And at that point, he was like, "Go, go into the gym, do it you want to do."

And he goes, "If it happens again, come see me." I went back in the gym and started going, here come lifetime PRs. And mind you, the 28 weeks I went through were not traditional weightlifting. At that point I went to the doctor, I go, "What'd you do?" And he took me down this path of dynamic neuromuscular stability and just learning outside that box, learning outside that industry of going like, "Huh, fascinating." And that's really was the seed that planted in and then Chelsea has her own story with her back.

Chelsea: Yeah. 2013, I don't remember being a very good year. I had a lot of health issues that year and training was, I remember rough.

Drew: But it's fascinating. Where was this? Right. And how is it… It hit me, it was this hip injury could have absolutely been avoided. So one of the things as we started changing our programming and working with athletes, it was there's no reason for them to go through this. Injuries happen. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when coaches use nature of the sport to hide laziness from learning. Oh, you're hurting. It's the nature of the sport.

Chelsea: Your back hurts. Oh, that's normal. It's just, it's fine.

Drew: Nature of the sport.

Mike: Yeah. It's one thing when there's coach who's been in for five years saying it. It's another thing when the coach has been in for 30 years and they're saying, I'm going, "Oh shit." And then ignoring everything.

Drew: Everything. And it's funny because I mean, I was that coach that's been coaching five years at one time, and I'll never forget it. I was in a clinic I was doing up in Cleveland, Ohio. And looking back, it wasn't until hindsight. This coach asked me about a pelvic position of an athlete and I knew nothing about pelvic position of an athlete at that point. And I was kind of like, "Yeah, but she's moving. It'll work itself out." And then boom, I continue learning, I continue learning. I go through this myself and I think back to that time and I just go, "Shit, there was a moment I could have learned right there. That coach knew what he was talking about." You know what I mean?

Mike: And you weren't curious enough yet?

Drew: No, it was the ego. And honestly, I was repeating how I was coached. I was repeating what I learned. There is that mixture of it too of going like, "Well, this is what I know."

A Different Approach To Athletes

A Different Approach To Athletes
Photographer: Victor Freitas | Source: Unsplash

Mike: Yeah. So how do you guys approach athletes now?

Chelsea: Completely different. I approach them where they are, meaning we go through a lot of movement assessment. What's the pelvis doing? What's the spine doing? What are feet doing, knees, everything? What are we doing now? And then incorporating that into their development of the lifts. So their startup is designed around just where they are and taking that more individual approach to give them what they need versus, well I just want a snatch, clean jerk.

You can't even hold your spine in the right position. Why do you think you should load this. Let's fix this so you don't end up on the floor in tears a year from now because your back hurts so bad. So taking that approach with them and we do tons of accessory work with them as well that Drew and I have learned from our own development over these last few years and taking it down that path.

Mike: What percentage of the work is accessory work, or accessory worked for the average? I know it's going to vary from athlete to athlete.

Chelsea: Yeah. I would say probably 50/50 at that point because there'll be complete… One of my top athletes, he had a solid six weeks where he didn't touch a barbell and now he's hitting lifetime PRs. He's hitting lifetime PRS four weeks after he put a bar back in his hands. And I do that with a lot of athletes. Newer athletes, probably 30 to 40%. If they're training four days a week, one full day will be accessory stuff. Plus then the last probably… Their last circuit of each lifting day is also accessory work.

Drew: And some new athletes, if they're not in a position to do a lift, it's a hundred percent.

Chelsea: Yep.

Drew: You know what I mean? We got to build you up to the point of being able to do this movement. And they'll have rhythm and timing and they'll have technical things that have pieces of the movement or things that are getting ready for it, potentially that don't really put them in compromised positions. But that's it.

Mike: Yeah. I imagine that a lot of people who listen to this show are CrossFitters who weight lift and so they squat, clean and jerk, snatch and then they do CrossFit wads and maybe they do some like crossover symmetry shit for the shoulders. What are you doing that's actually different?

Chelsea: Definitely a lot of things. And Drew could probably get into some better details. So feel free to chime in. A lot of the DNS that we've learned and incorporated that significantly into there, we have hundreds of different movements for them to do to strengthen that pelvic floor. Foot pressure is a huge one as well that we really dive in deep with people too. You can't load your foot right, you're not going to be able to hold the brace under a dynamic movement or load. Bringing that into then and how we teach the movements of the snatch and clean and jerk, how we teach a squat, how we teach a deadlift, it's a lot of things are going to be probably very foreign to what most people are used to hearing.

So there's a lot of unlearning that goes on with how we train and I definitely take the approach, especially… Not just in the whole grand scheme of things, but especially in the beginning, less is more. I want you to feel like you have stuff left at the end of the day. I want you to not wake up the next day. Like, "Aw man, obliterated." No, I want you to feel like, yeah, I got a great night's sleep and I feel ready to go for another day. I pay attention a lot to how the athletes feel and respond. And if their movements are looking super sluggish or nervous system just looks unresponsive, I'll send them home/ We're done for the day. There's nothing going-

Mike: They're not going to learn anything.

Chelsea: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah. You can tell with the nervous system, I mean, the nervous system has to be fresh to learn new skills. Yeah.

Drew: To put my take to it. Everything Chels said, to break it down you come walking in the door, how are you moving? So I love to teach. So I geek out in helping them see how they're moving and then just showing them different parts that they can achieve in that moment if possible, that are different.

And it makes a couple athletes come to mind who have backgrounds of other things, so they're just not brand new. So there is unlearning. And I had one girl who I said the word lunge and she gave me this look. I go, "What?" She goes, "It hurts so bad when I lunge." And so we started going down this path of any injuries, blah, blah, blah. And I got her in a position to lunge and she went down with no pain. Now, it took a couple of times and we feedback and build in that communication.

But all of a sudden I go, "How'd it feel?" And she goes, "Yeah, there's no pressure there." And I go, "Okay." And then you just see the wheels turning. And then all of a sudden I get a message from her and she's like, "Hey, I took that and applied it to the squats that I already had programmed. And those felt completely different." And it was like, "Okay." So I love the education component to it. So it's helping them understand how they're moving now, where we're taking them and why. And then from there it's looking at different thresholds. So where are they at with a load threshold? Where do they start to break down? Where are they at under exhaustion? And I'm weightlifting. Okay. Yeah, there's the old joke three's cardio.

Mike: I lived by that one for a while.

Drew: So looking at under exhaustion, when do they start to break down? And then speed. And for the speed component, for the individuals listening, it's not necessarily the speed of lifting a bar. But think of it more as why do some athletes pee on a double under? The speed component of the nervous system, there, their pelvic floor can't control and boom. And you see that there. Where it really clicked for me was-

Mike: Speed would be different than load. They might be able to not pee when deadlifting but double underdoes it because of it a speed component, not a load. So, it's a different stimulus to the nervous system?

Drew: Yes, and it's the ability of the nervous system to handle that speed. So another one that clicked for me was non-contact ACL and MCL injuries. Athlete jumps, the athlete comes down and just lands but crumbles. No one's near them. Guaranteed, they could bodyweight squat. Guaranteed. It's not a load issue. The game just started, not an exhaustion issue. So what happened? They're coming down to land, their foot hits, their nervous system can't stabilize the knee quick enough, the knee goes sideways. Pop.

And that just fascinates me. So looking at those thresholds with the athletes and that's how we start to build our plans.

Mike: So you build an athlete that can handle load exhaustion and speed. Sound's well rounded. I want that.

Chelsea: That's what I wanted to. I mean, all of this comes from our own experiences. And I've been in the sport now for over 18 years and have had some really good successes in it and every time I went through, when I went through this huge overhaul of my movement, when I hurt my back for the last time a few years ago, where I really dove into everything, it was just like, "Man, if I would've known this stuff eating five years before." It was insane, what I could imagine I would have been able to achieve even more so. And the coolest part about that too was my dad has been my coach since day one as well.

And as he watched me go through this rehab as well and then watching me compete afterward, he was like, "Same thing." He's like, "Man, if we would've known this five, 10 years ago."

Drew: Talking about coaches who have done it awhile. And so looking at Chelsea's dad, here he comes to a DNS class and he was loving it. And it was fascinating because he was a powerlifter back in the day. And a part of the DNS course, they were just talking just, "Hey, we're wearing a belt, breathing 360 degrees into it, can you breathe pressure into the back of the belt?" And he kind of looked and he was like, "Well, in powerlifting we used to do that." And we kind of looked at him and I was like, "Really? I mean, no one taught me that."

And he was surprised how the information didn't spread out, but it sounded like they were pretty conscious around inter abdominal pressure.

Chelsea: He's like, "But we didn't know why." He's like, "I couldn't tell you why, what that meant, the science behind it." He's like, "We were just told that's what we need to do. And we had good results from that."

Mike: Yeah, that's fascinating. Yeah. It was DNS.

Taking DNS Online

Taking DNS Online
Photographer: Sergey Zolkin | Source: Unsplash

Drew: So DNS is dynamic, neuromuscular stability. And it is a protocol that comes out of the Prague Rehabilitation Institute in the Czech Republic. And it's used in the rehabilitation world. So you get an injury, a clinician can use this stuff to help you re-pattern your motor pattern to what it is most stable. Well, trainers can use it to help athletes bring that motor pattern to not just what's stable, but what's stable is more powerful and more efficient. So that's, in a nutshell, what DNS is.

Mike: In a nutshell.

Drew: In a nutshell. Yeah.

Mike: Every time someone says nutshell, I think about Austin Powers. Can't help it. Yeah. So people can come to your facility to learn about those.

Drew: Yep.

Mike: But you're also taking online.

Drew: Yeah. So with the online, I've dabbled in that world a bit and it's been a lot of fun getting to work with coaches. Talking with coaches recently, one thing I'm hearing quite a bit is needs around programming. Especially when say an athlete's moving well, what do I do now? They turn and look at me. That lift I think looks pretty good. What do I tell them? So that advanced level of programming, as well as getting athletes to be accountable. So the pain that they're feeling around, they're just not taking this seriously. They're not falling through the program. Why am I writing this program?

They're just going to go off and do something silly anyways. These are the conversations I've been having. So we've been working at Project Lift on an advanced programming and coaching program for online that we're really excited about.

Mike: Yeah. When are you going to start that?

Drew: It should be launching in the next couple months.

Mike: Next couple of months.

Drew: Yep.

Mike: How do we find it?

Drew: So you can go to and it'll be backslash advanced coaching.

Mike: Yeah. So a lot of people need that.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: Even when I look at the space-

Mike: Yeah. So a lot of people need that.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: Even when I look at the space, when I look at what's happening, CrossFit, weightlifting, that's the type of information … I wish I had that. We're going to keep saying this. Because I've been putting myself back together now for years. And hearing y'all talk about it, I'm like, "Maybe I should come back to Columbus, train for a week."

Drew: Hey, you should. Think about it.

Mike: Yeah. How long is it going to take me to learn this?

Drew: I'm not sure if you need a whole week.

Mike: I've got a very tight schedule.

Drew: Maybe a long weekend.

Chelsea: It depends how good you want to be at it.

Mike: I should have come out here longer, dammit. How long does it take to walk away with something that's going to be really good? Is it a weekend seminar?

Drew: So this will be a 60-day program.

Mike: Okay, so 60 days.

Drew: Yeah, this will be a 60 day program. It's with me, so I'm going to be on calls with these coaches and building it for them. So I have the components and the components are being put together, but these are going to shift around what we are working on. And I really want to make sure this is set up to hit their needs without just completely guessing or assuming. I've already spoke with a dozen coaches around hearing these pain points and this is what I'm just over and over. So I'm really excited here in the next couple months to start having these calls and guiding them through this program. So yeah, it's going to be built around that. In 60 days, we'll have that implemented.

Mike: Yeah, that's cool. So you're also going to teach them communication and accountability?

Drew: That's going to be huge.

Mike: A lot of people are just focused on the workout. It's like what are the workouts look like, and then basic technique? Or it looks like they moved pretty well, but after they move pretty well, what does the workouts need to look like? That's why it's more advanced. Advanced as like beyond like, okay, someone, it's obvious … They look like they're pretty good when they're moving, but I don't know what to do after that.

Drew: Yeah, what do I do next? This athlete's moving well. The big thing I'm excited is we've got to figure out what, where they want to go. That dictates a lot.

Chelsea: Yeah, have you sat down with them and done goal setting? Have you talked to them around what other stresses they have in their life? Is this a hobby? Do they view it as their job? If it's a younger person, sorry people, do they want to start a family in the next year or so? Knowing these things, too, is a huge factor in where you're going with them.

And if you don't sit down and have these real life conversations with them, then are you really going to be steering them down the path that is best for them or the path that you think that they should be on? And that comes to communication. We demand a lot of this from our coaches and athletes. We're going to talk to you as much as we can, and we're going to continue to shape your goals and keep that programming around what you need.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to step on you on that. I may have gone on a tangent. But yeah, it's a huge component of it, at least from what we take in the brick and mortar.

Drew: So that's the thing. For that program, it's at the beginning and we have that system set up. And as I've spoke with coach after coach, it seems to be void. I'm excited to start having these conversations. It makes me think of one coach I was talking with and they're starting a weight lifting program at the gym. And that's exciting. I love to see the sport grow, and I go, "Okay, tell me about it." And she's telling me about it and I go, "How much are you charging?" And she's like, "We aren't." And I go, "Okay." And I go, "What keeps you up at night about it?" And I go, "What's just on your mind at night?" And she's kind of quiet. And she's like, "That no one will take it seriously." And I go, "Okay." And I go, "That's a pretty good concern."

And then I shared with her a number of gyms I've worked with that have had programs set up in similar fashions from what she was describing. And I go, "Listen, I don't want to put anything in your mind or project, but here's what they've seen. They have some interest at the beginning and things start to trickle out." So what is this beginning process? What is this framing of it that is going to enroll athletes in a process to help them get what they want? And you as the coach are getting to do what you love, right? You're playing with these movements for a reason, because they're fun, and there's some draw.

Someone who likes weightlifting, like truly likes it, when you say, "Hey, how'd you get into it?" There's always this talk about this … and Mike, we've been joking lately about, I'm talking more about feelings. But now, it's this like vomit of them trying to express a feeling of being drawn to it. Like something drew them in and their body's kind of jutting forward at you like they're getting tugged by a string, and I completely get that. It was a feeling like there was this … now, when you're thinking about it, it was like these butterflies in the stomach kind of excited anticipation of the next day. Will it be better? Like sure, I was a temper tantrum thrower by all means as an athlete, but it was still exciting thinking to the next training session.

It's a Business, Not a Charity

Brainstorming sessions can be an excellent way to drive innovation.
Photographer: Thomas Drouault | Source: Unsplash

Mike: What are you thinking about people making it free?

Drew: With going through The Strong Coach, I have a new language around it. I'm curious about the story. I understand it because I was there. It was fascinating as I went through the sport as an athlete and then as a coach, I was more than willing to pay. Now I had a job. Did I have a great job? No. Was I in school? Nope, I was out. I had a job but happy to pay. Like let me pay because I want to learn this and I want these results.

So we were joking about … I think we've started off with BJJ, but it happened in the weightlifting world too, it's like they're late. You said training was at five and the coach pulls in at 5:30? I would be happy to pay because I want to learn said thing. Show up at 5:00.

Mike: Yeah.

Drew: There's a mixture of reasons in the culture. You might've come up in the sport not paying. So now, what's the story behind that? Wanting to help, and that story around service and sacrifice and, "Okay, I want to help you." Is taking money from you hurting you, for a service? And it's just going through that.

Mike: There was something you said earlier too. It's fun.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: I think a lot of times people associate work that they get paid for with something that's miserable. We were watching a video this morning. The Hebrew word for job means persecution, to be persecuted. And so people associate, "If I'm going to do a job that I get paid for, it needs to feel like persecution. But if it feels like fun, there's no way I should be accepting money for this."

Drew: And I'm doing something wrong in a way.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It's like it feels good and I get paid for it? Too good to be true. I've got to run the other way.

Drew: And that's extremely fascinating. And when you look at it of getting the sport of weightlifting to grow, we have to make it sustainable. And for it to be sustainable, there needs to be funds to pay coaching, whether that's you listening or another coach. The facility, like weightlifters would like nice things.

Mike: Well yeah, that's one of the big things that when I was coming up in weightlifting, it was like everything was just kind of piecemeal together. Nothing was really that nice. And every once in a while, I'd be at like one of the big meets and Alako would come in and make everything nice and like, "Oh shit," you know? And now looking back on it, what's so obvious is, well, no shit it was run like that. Nobody was spending any money on it.

And not only that, the coaches couldn't afford to make it their full time job. It was always a side gig. And if you're not paying a coach, if you're being coached by somebody who can't dedicate their life to it, that's what you're going to get. You're going to get subpar coaching. And if someone wants to dedicate their life to it, well, they have to get paid a salary that will allow them to survive well enough to be able to put that attention into their athletes and into their own education. So it's like, yeah, the older I get, the more in touch with reality I become. And less time spent in fantasy, I started realizing, I was like, "Oh yeah, there's that."

Chelsea: It's a business, right? A weightlifting club, a weightlifting gym, it's a business. It's not a charity and it needs to be taken seriously like that.

Mike: Yeah.

Drew: On that point, too, is even if you are set up as a charity … so let's say you're a 501(c)(3). Know what that means. Do you think the CEO of the Red Cross is doing it for free?

Mike: No.

Drew: Do you think the people that are working, like administrators and program developers for the Red Cross, are doing it for free? And it's the first one that came to mind, but I see that a lot. Like, okay, and that's the thing. If you're setting up a program that's-

Mike: I think nonprofits, people who run nonprofits, most nonprofits have very little cashflow. I have some friends that run some. And I think it attracts people with a poor mindset.

Drew: Yeah, it's the language around it. Nonprofit.

Chelsea: Money's bad.

Drew: And then also, growing up, how did you take nonprofit with charity? So charity, well, they're a nonprofit. What does that mean? And typically our interactions with a charity as children, we're getting something. We don't see the stuff behind it. And I'm just saying this because this is how my story was shaped.

Mike: Yeah. So long story short, we should get more friendly with money is what you're saying?

Drew: Yes.

Mike: Yeah. Did y'all have a hard time with money at any point?

Chelsea: Define that.

Seth Godin's Course As The Paradigm Shift Around Money

Mike: Y'all are coaches, you're running a gym, got an online program. Was there a moment where you were running your business and did you have like a wake-up moment where you go, "Oh, I need to shift how I view money so that I can live the life to actually be successful?"

Drew: Yes, like a big one. When we started off, we were lifters in the past. Now we're switching over. A lot of the lifters coming in were friends of ours. So now you have that dynamic going on. And then we were grown-

Mike: I've had that.

Drew: Yeah, we were grown in a weightlifting world of not paying or paying very little. So then it became into this, "Well, I'm your friend and we've never paid before." And then, "What is this worth?" And over the years, it was the story of figuring that out, the fear around money, the fear of talking around money. Seth Godin's course actually was a kick in the butt. That was the paradigm shift for me in a lesson that he gave around pricing, actually.

Mike: What's the course?

Drew: The marketing seminar, Seth Godin's Marketing Seminar. And he basically goes, "Hey, okay, you're a jeweler, you're making jewelry, and you buy a $30,000 diamond." He goes, "It costs you two grand to put it in a necklace. What do you charge for it?" And he gives you a minute and he goes, "Okay. Some people might go down the path of, 'Okay, $32,000 into it, and toss on two, three grand for a little bit of profit.' That's fair, right?" And he goes, "However, it all changes when you realize nobody needs a diamond necklace." And he's just kind of quiet. I'm sitting there going like, you know.

And he's like, "The only difference between a $100,000 necklace and a $30,000 necklace or $35,000 necklace is the person that wants to wear it wants to wear a $100,000 necklace." And it was just this break into this different paradigm around money, and price, and value and the stories we tell ourselves. And that was extremely interesting for me. That's where it really started to shift.

Mike: I forget the book I was reading, but it was talking about luxury markets. The sales that happen in luxury markets are different than commodity markets. So you get into luxury markets, it is like a Rolex. A Rolex is not a watch, it's a piece of jewelry. But most people, if you're buying a watch, don't buy a Rolex. It won't even keep the time right compared to a much cheaper watch. But it's a piece of jewelry. And who buys that? Somebody who wants-

Drew: To own a Rolex.

Mike: Yeah, it's a status thing. It's about status at that point, so it's a completely different conversation. But I think you could apply that to weightlifting. Who needs weightlifting?

Drew: Well, I think you said it important too, is are you a commodity? Is that what you are? What value are you bringing? So it's like not only who needs weightlifting, but who wants one-on-one attention with a coach in this way. Who wants coaching?

Chelsea: And you're not just getting someone that's occasionally sitting in a chair or a tent like, "Oh, that looks good." No.

Mike: I've seen those.

Chelsea: Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a partnership and a team, and we will stand up for you, with you, through all of this. Like we're asking for a commitment, though, because we're committed.

Mike: Yeah. Well coaching, I say who needs it because having a weightlifting coach or a fitness coach, it's a luxury item. That's new, no one had that. This didn't exist 30-40 years ago. This is a new thing. It only exists because we're wealthy, there's an excess of money. I used to get caught up in like, "Oh shit, I can't charge this much." It's like people are coming, they're volunteering to work, they're paying to come into work. Charge what you want to make.

Chelsea: Yeah.

Drew: Yeah, I had another thought. Just-

Chelsea: I was going to say like every time that we went to go make a price increase, it was just gut-wrenching the first couple times we did it. And it was just, at that point, to new people coming in. And it was just like … you're talking like a 10-15 dollar increase, not like 100 dollars or anything like that.

And we didn't really get pushback. And looking back, the only people we did get pushback is probably someone that really wasn't ready to be there yet and to truly commit. And that was probably for the best. And each time it got better. And I'd say I felt better about myself too. Like I'm charging what I'm worth. And that's powerful because your mindset there is better too. It's not like, "Oh man, I'm just like so crazed just trying to make ends meet." It's like I'm fricking present for you. I am there 100% because I get to be not because I have to be.

Drew: And I think as you go through the pain, you said this, I think right before we started talking, it was like if you want me to take on this risk and you want me to take on this workload, well this is what I want for it. And I think when many coaches get into it, they're not looking at that. They haven't experienced it yet. So now here's the workload.

You're right in the program, you're in the training, the emotional workload at times with athletes too. You're building the system and all of a sudden you're fried at the end of the week. And there's many other reasons why they probably got to that point of fried, but then to not have any money on top of it? And then you look and it's like, "Well, I'm doing all of this." And they haven't gotten there yet, to go, "Well, what do I want for it, to go through that?"

Mike: Yeah, make it worth my while. I became a much better coach when I wasn't as worried about money. Like when I had enough, and then my ability to show up to a coaching session when I'm not being distracted with, "Do I have enough money?" So I got to be more present. And Chelsea, you said something about charging what you're worth. I think that coaches have the opportunity to completely throw that idea out altogether. It's like what are you worth? What's your time work? Can you really put a price tag on that? No way.

Chelsea: It's true, we talked about that. We said that before, I think right before we came on. That's absolutely true.

Drew: That's very true.

Chelsea: It's a work in progress, right? Thank you for coaching me on that.

Mike: I went through that stage where I'm like, "Well, what am I worth?" And then I go, "Well, I'm worth X amount of dollars per hour. This is what I want to make per day, this is what I'm worth per day." And then I got to a point where I go, "What do I want to make?", because it's all made up. And I go, "Oh, I can make up whatever number I want."

And there's definitely psychological caps and ceilings for where people are comfortable. Because if it's something that's too outside of your comfort range, you won't believe it enough for other people to buy into it. So letting go of the worthy for me is getting to a place where I go, "I am worthy." And it doesn't matter what I'm worthy of, there's not a number attached to being worthy. Like, what am I worth? No, I am worthy. Oh, I'm worthy of whatever the universe wants to give me. And you know what, I'm just going to put this out there and see what happens.

Chelsea: This is a very conversation right now because I believe this week's topic Strong Coach Class is pricing.

Drew: And then it was finished for maybe two weeks before the summit.

The Couple's Experience Going Through Enlifted

Mike: Yeah. All right, now we got it. We're going to go down a fun, we're going… The last segment of the show, I think. Tell me about your experience with Enlifted. You guys are going through the Enlifted certification right now. I love this cause every time I get in a conversation about Enlifted, people just start smiling like you're smiling right now. I want to just highlight real quick, each of you, what's the highlight of doing the Enlifted certification?

Drew: How the language for me, the story work. Going through your stories and getting tools to go through your stories has been fun. Owning your story. It's funny getting to name your evil inner workout partner. Right? But then okay, over the course of, what, the last eight weeks of… I talk about him like he's one of my children, right. And I don't have children I have cats. But basically just the comfort, the ownership of it. That's been a blast.

Mike: What'd you name your evil inner workout partner? I know what it is, but people… I want people to know.

Drew: Mine is Enrique and he's full of Puerto Rican rage.

Mike: Are you open to sharing?

Drew: I'm trying to think, oh, here's my phone. Pull it up.

Mike: He's like "Oh I don't have my…" And your like your phone's right there.

Drew: Yeah. So Chelsea is like, "Actually." She pulls it out. Well, Chelsea go ahead as I pull it up.

Mike: All right, Chelsea What's been the highlight of Enlifted for you?

Chelsea: Story work has been great, but I honestly, the negation work and one of the last ones I just watched was around the stories around the injuries. And I really enjoyed that component of it too because that's a part of high-level sport, right? Injuries are going to happen.

Mike: I've had a couple of people have gone through the program now and they've gotten hurt. They go, "Oh thank God I have this."

Chelsea: Yeah. And it's like… This is a phenomenal tool. I've always kind of known how I handle injury and how I handle the kind of things like that. But now I have the actual language for it. I didn't have the words for it before and that is extremely powerful. Mixed with the negation work as well.

Drew: Oh I got it.

Chelsea: You get to hear all about Enrique.

Mike: So, Enrique is your evil inner workout partner. Your… This is the part of you that drags you down.

Drew: This is the part of that… Me, that drags me down.

Chelsea: Do we have a balloon for this or anything?

Drew: No, but I will smile the whole time.

Chelsea: Good.

Drew: So Enrique is full of Puerto Rican rage, sabotage his goals and hate sympathy. He confuses kindness with doubt often. He tugs for me not to train for myself, but to focus on the opinions of others. He encourages me not to write goals for myself, but to create them for others because they've always doubted me. "Big goals? Fuck you, drew." He'll speak up. "They're not perfect in us." Enrique has to be the hero and amaze everyone who doubted him. Money is elusive and bad. Fear is his quick, natural state. He is very focused on everything he doesn't want and that causes them to freeze. Perfection causes them to freeze.

Mike: I love it. Every time you read that I just… I do this smile so big.

Chelsea: When he's cussing to that, "Fuck you Drew" it just… It makes me laugh so hard, especially picturing it in that high squeaky voice.

Drew: And what's fascinating about it is when we read those out loud the first time in the group, that was rough, that was tight. And here I'm smiling. I feel open and yeah, I own Enrique.

Mike: Yeah, yeah. That part of you that used to lurk in the shadows and wreak havoc is… You own it now.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah. It's not the other way around.

Drew: Yeah. It's extremely fascinating.

Mike: Yeah. So, Chelsea, do you want to share yours?

Chelsea: I have to find my phone.

Drew: Oh yeah. You hid it in the…

Mike: Conveniently lost

Mike: I want to bring these up because I think it's really good to share these stories because when I started hearing the stories, this is the second time we've done this certification, this is the second round. And when I heard the ones in the first round, I go, "Wow." Because we came up with… This was just an idea that got spitballed during the curriculum development between me and the guys. And we were like "Evil inner workout partner. Yeah. What should we name him?" It's like, "Well mine's Billy."

So, well you guys have seen the videos. And so, it was just something we thought would be funny that would be helpful. And it's become a central theme of the course. And when people submitted their stories and the first time, I go… What's great about people hearing it? I love that you're willing to share them is, there are pieces of your story that people are going to go, "Oh fuck, that's me. I have the same story or something similar."

Drew: Well…

Mike: And If we hear a dozen, everyone's… It's going to resonate with somebody.

Drew: Well that's the thing. Is going through the group, my Billy story expanded or Enrique's story expanded on …somebody else would say something else about their Billy and I would go "Oh, Enrique does that too."

Chelsea: And I like how you said "Enrique does it" and not "Me too."

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah. Create some distance.

Drew: Yes.

Mike: Yeah. There's… The way… That's actually, I think The Samurai, they did that. The way they talked about themselves is they would talk about… It creates distance so it makes it less of emotional experience and being able to have greater awareness around self.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: Y'all are basically Samurai.

Drew: Yes.

Chelsea: I love that. Can I get a sword. So, one of our coaches actually is pretty skilled in a lot of weapons. He owns a lot of these things too and he has a sword and I was like, "Can I play with it?" And he's like, "Ah. I saw how you use that mace. I don't know about that." And I think, "Come on it's fine."

Mike: We care about you.

Chelsea: That's fine. Cool.

Mike: All right, so this is your evil inner workout partner. The part of you that drives you down.

Chelsea: Yeah, her name is Chelsa. Chelsa is full steam ahead, solo goer who uses negative self-talk to beat herself in the overachievement. No level of achievement is ever good enough though. "You can do better. You can do more, work harder" are her common mantras. Chelsa is blind to her fatigue and workload because "It's fine." She wears her ailments like adrenal fatigue, stomach issues and depression like a badge of honor, but as quick to help others and seeing their own flaws in this. "

But I'm the exception." Chelsa is a massive self-sacrificer who will take on her world plus everyone else's around her. She'll be the first to help others but never ask for help herself. "I got it. Need me here? Got it. Need me there? Got it. Need me to rearrange my day for you? Got it. A morning time slot that is more convenient for you even though I don't work mornings? Got it."

Whatever you want from her, you got it. Pouring from a cup drier than the desert after a drought? You got it.

Mike: Yay.

Chelsea: I like… Yeah, I'm expecting claps after this. And I wish everyone could see my hand motions for that.

Mike: So, this was tough for you to share the first day. And now, it sounds like you're floating….

Chelsea: It's fun to share. It's hysterical to share. I have a lot of enjoyment with it now. But yeah, that first day it's just like, "Oh man, kind of want to cry here." And, if I remember, I did tear up, at least welled up. Now it's like…

Mike: A lot of people do.

Chelsea: Yeah. It made me sad to really write it and say it like that. And now it's, yeah, that distance, that space. It's so fun to read.

Mike: What made you sad about it?

Chelsea: Cause I see that in how it had limited me so much in life.

Mike: Yeah. There's… When people go through these processes, a lot of times there's grieving.

Drew: Yeah.

Mike: There's a grieving for the lost opportunities. You start seeing how we limited ourselves in ways that we didn't even realize. But once you recognize that it was limiting, you go, "Oh fuck." The reality in that sense, And then you go "Shit, man." Yeah.

Drew: It's very freeing.

Closing Thoughts

Mike: Yeah. Well, it's the future of coaching is bright. I am thrilled. I was… The conversation that my business partner, Mark England and I have in, around coaches and language is… What's really great about all of this is people in fitness really get this better than anybody because we understand repetition. We understand what it's like to put in the work. We understand that it takes years to develop truly. And, it's… You'll see results quickly and it's very obvious and at the same time we're going to take it really, really far. So thank you all for jumping in, doing The Strong Coach, doing Enlifted.

Drew: Thank you for creating it.

Chelsea: Thank you.

Mike: And any athlete that's working with y'all is getting a fantastic coach. Y'all are not only on the movement side, I mean you've got next level things going on with the movement, with weightlifting, with DNS, with teaching athletes how to do that. But now you have the ability to… When you're running a sound business as well, which means that you're free for your athletes so you can put more energy into them because your cup is full. And you have the language and story work at your disposal.

I mean, shit, we'll find something else to make y'all better, but I don't know what it is yet. But I'm going to figure it out. I'm going to… That's part of my mission. It's like, "Okay, what else can… What other tools is there?" And if y'all run across something that… Let me know. So, always open to more. Thanks for coming on and being so transparent and sharing openly. So where should people go. If they're in Columbus, Ohio.

Drew: Yes.

Mike: Obviously come by the gym.

Chelsea: Yes, obviously.

Drew: 5040 Nike Drive…

Chelsea: Suite B…

Drew: Suite B in Hilliard, Ohio.

Chelsea: Online, I like Instagram the best. That's that. Well shortened version of Project Lift. P-R-O-G-J-C-T underscore lift

Chelsea: On Instagram, YouTube, Facebooks…

Drew: Facebooks.

Chelsea: Facebooks like it's plural.

Drew: All the books.

Chelsea: And then the website for just more information. We have a ton of information on the site as well. And that's a YouTube channel also has a ton of video content on there as well.

Drew: Yeah.

Chelsea: Yeah, you guys have a free download?

Drew: Yes we do. It is The Three Mistakes That Are Holding You Back in Weightlifting or… Yeah, that is the free download.

Mike: Go check that out. If you're a weightlifter or wanting to get into weightlifting, check out… These two are really sharp and those mistakes may likely be something you're completely unaware of and likely something simple you can fix.

So be in contact with them. They're pushing weightlifting to the next level. You want to be on board with anything they're doing. And Drew, you're taking a group through the initial phase of the online… The Advanced Coaching and Program Design.

Drew: The Advanced Coaching… Yep.

Mike: So if you want to take your program design the next level, definitely go to the site, get signed up, check it out. Follow them on Instagram. Love y'all. This has been fun…

Chelsea: Thanks Mike.

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