Today is my 31st birthday and instead of just posting the typical “31 Lessons in 31 Years” I wanted to give some love to those who’ve helped shape my success in the fitness industry.
Below are the 31 people who over the last 5 years have really had a lasting impact on my success this industry. I should mention, you won’t find the names of everyone in my mastermind group, but each deserves a big thank you for always having been there for me.
These people are in no particular order, and this list could easily be expanded to well over 100, but each of these 31 deserves a thank you for attributing to my fitness success.
BJ Gaddour – To many BJ, is the crazy guy who basically put Boot Camps on the map. BJ has not only become an inspiration and mentor, but a friend. He’s become ultra successful with his Speed Shred series with Men’s Health and I can’t help but think shaped the way I developed my training system from day one.
David Jack – There aren’t many people in the fitness industry, let alone in this world, as genuine as David Jack. From the first time he and I talked shop, to his first visit to TEF, we’ve remained friends and his words of wisdom, life, success, faith and happiness resonate strong today.
Dave Gleason – If it weren’t for Dave Gleason, I’m not really certain I would have developed the level of passion I have for developing the youth of tomorrow. There isn’t a coach in our industry better than Dave at connecting with kids, especially those between the ages of 6-13. Outside of coaching, Dave consistently, more than anyone in my network, outside of Pat Rigsby and Ryan Ketchum, reaches out and checks in on me. I’m always motivated by Dave’s words to me: “The world needs you.”
Pat Rigsby and Nick Berry – I could probably write an entire book on what Pat and Nick have done for me in such a short time. Most people hear me talk about my relationship with Pat and Nick, as my business mentors, what you don’t know is how they’ve been there for me, during all the madness since I began my journey. Pat particularly isn’t afraid to tell me what sometimes I don’t want to hear. It’s this level of support and advice that have helped me get where I am today. Their mentorship, advice and ultimate friendship have gone far beyond I ever expected.
Ryan Ketchum and Wil Fleming – Ryan and Wil have always pushed me to continue to better what I’ve created at TEF. As owners of Force Fitness and Performance in Bloomington, Indiana, they can associate with so many of the ins and outs and ups and downs that I battle as a fitness business owner. More than anything is their continued support and friendship. For Wil, it’s been seeing him grow as an expert in his field and expand his writing, in an industry that needs more doers like Wil. For Ryan, he’s been my voice of reason and support. If I need to talk shop, bounce ideas or just voice my mind, Ryan is always there.
Craig Ballantyne – Many people know about Craig and his Turbulence Training. For me, it was many of Craig’s first fitness business products that helped me get started back in 2008. What impresses me even more about Craig is his ability to give so much quality information away, before he asks for anything in return. Something he’s continued to do even as he’s become more and more successful. It was Craig who first sent me the book The Go-Giver, which should speak volumes about his character.
Eric Cressey – If you don’t know Eric Cressey and you are a strength coach, then you’ve been living under a rock. Eric rose to the top of the fitness industry at such a young age and has continued to educate pro’s like myself, with his amazing understanding of the overhead athlete and shoulder health. In a world where the majority of my clientele can be categorized as general population and recreational athletes, a healthy shoulder makes for a happy client. His facility Cressey Performance is one of a kind and it’s been an honor to present at the Elite Training Workshops and contribute to the Elite Training Mentorship, along side Eric.
Mike Robertson – Mike changed my views on helping people move better and feel better. His approach to corrective exercise is more about helping you gain strength, than treating a client like a fragile piece of china. This has allowed me to keep my clients healthy and gaining strength. Just like EC, presenting and contributing alongside Mike as part of ETM has been very surreal.
Pam MacElree and Jason C. Brown – In an industry that will forever continue to be torn, especially with the use of tools like the kettlebell, it’s reassuring to have tightened my kettlebell skills with help from these two. I’ve had the honor of gaining my Kettlebell Athletics Level 1 and Level II certifications because of Pam and Jason, while gaining two friends in the process. Pam and I have continued to develop our business relationship as she’s since joined my mastermind group, a great addition I might add, and not to mention she can perform a Turkish get-up with a heavier kettlebell then every man I know.
Zach Even-esh – To quote Zach, “Lead from the front.” It was Zach who opened his doors to me back in 2009 and has remained the same since. Zach’s drive and work ethic are inspiring to say the least. He’s one of the most passionate strength coaches in this industry and I’m honored to call him a mentor and friend.
Tom Venuto – Unlike how most people find Tom, I started following Tom because of his love for natural bodybuilding, but quickly discovered he and I had more in common than I originally knew. We are both in the world of transforming physiques, both bodybuilders and everyday men and women. By chance, when Zach Even-esh invited me to speak at his mastermind group meeting, I got to meet Tom. We’ve been in contact since and he’s been a motivating factor in many of my upcoming projects.
Dr. Joe Klemczewski – When I began natural bodybuilding, I never thought I’d reach the levels I’ve since achieved. Being considered a “top pro natural bodybuilder” has a lot to do with my work along side Joe. It was Dr. Joe who changed my approach to bodybuilding contest preparation and peak week. Without his knowledge, education and coaching I wouldn’t be where I am today, in the sport of natural bodybuilding. Joe’s outlook on helping fight the obesity epidemic is why I brought the Diet Doc to Connecticut as part of TEFS.
Jason Ferruggia – The Renegade as many know him, has become much more to me than an inspiration and mentor in the strength game. Jason has become a trusted colleague and friend. Plus, how can you not like a guy who shares an affinity for Pearl Jam and Public Enemy? His wife Jen is pretty amazing too and I’m positive that she’s the one that sends me all his new t-shirts! Thanks Jen! (and Jay!)
Coach Robert Dos Remedios – Coach Dos helped me shape my approach to Metabolic Training. His book Cardio Strength Training remains a must read for any young strength coach who comes into my network or for those looking to impact people’s lives through movement. Not to mention, the dude loves beer, how do you not get along with a guy who not only like beer but uses it as an outlet to raise money for dogs in need => HELP THE DOGS!
Dave Tate – Dave, to most is known as a well-known powerlifter and the founder of EliteFTS, but to me he’s been much more than this. Dave deserves a ton of respect for bringing the powerlifting and bodybuilding worlds together. It was many of Dave’s articles and ebooks that allowed my training to reach new levels of strength and muscle growth. For me personally, Dave showed me that bodybuilders can still be strong and look good. Something I strive for every time I step in the gym.
Lou Schuler – I first met Lou Schuler back in 2008 when I was a health club personal trainer, what I didn’t realize at the time, was his “speed coaching” session would continue to drive me to this day. Lou’s is, in my opinion, the most established writer and author in the fitness industry and someone who I continue to follow. He’s published more books and written more articles than he probably remembers. That’s why I was unbelievably honored to have been recently interviewed by Lou INTERVIEW CLICK HERE
Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove – Alwyn and Rachel since my early years in the industry have inspired my outlook on metabolic training and running a successful fitness business. It was Alwyn’s take on group training that has helped my team and I deliver a top-notch level of programming and coaching at TEF. Rachel’s ability to rise to the top as a strength coach, in a male dominated industry, along with her passion for running a fitness facility are only some of the components that have helped make Results Fitness the industry leader it is and allowed me to strive for achieving just half of the Cosgrove’s success.
Eric Beard – Eric was the first “outside” fitness professional I met when I originally got NASM-CPT certified back in 2005. It was Eric’s understanding of human movement, anatomy and biomechanics that inspired me to educate myself even greater. I can associate my love for self-myofascial release, recovery and regeneration, to my education through Eric. The man is a hidden gem in this industry and someone I continue to follow and look up to.
Joe Defranco – I began following Joe thanks to Zach Even-esh and it was Joe’s take on training that really allowed me to transform my own hybrid approach to building muscle. To this day, I personally, don’t only train like a meathead and I have Joe’s outlook on training to thank for this. Much like many of the people on this list, he’s an even greater guy in person. Having only met once, at a UFC fan expo, where I displayed my 37 and a half-inches vertical at the Defranco and G.I. Nutrition booth (I had to throw that in). Joe is someone every aspiring strength coach needs to study.
Chris McCombs – Chris was the first person who showed me the power of the Internet for a personal trainer and how it can impact your fitness business. Since then, Chris has continued to help fitness professionals make more of their role in this industry, while being true to who he is. Thank you to Chris for always being real with this industry and myself.
Louie Simmons and AJ Roberts – If it weren’t for my friendship with AJ Roberts, I never would have been able to meet Louie Simmons nor spend a morning training at the world renowned Westside Barbell. To quote AJ, “don’t tell Lou you are a bodybuilder.” Whoops! My fault. Because to quote Louie (when he found out), “Oh I’ve got some shit for you.” But I survived and to this day study the mad methods of Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell, so thank you AJ Roberts for that and inspiring the knowledge I’ve collected from powerlifting.
Todd Durkin – This man is the essence of passion. If you’ve ever seen him present, then you understand exactly what I’m saying. It’s an honor to be associated with guys like Todd, Dave Jack and BJ Gaddour within Men’s Health. His training facility Fitness Quest 10 is tops in our industry and one that every facility owner should take notice of. Todd truly brings it day in and day out, something I’ve aspired to do everyday of my life.
Dr. John Berardi – Dr. Berardi’s sensible approach to general nutrition, fat loss and sports nutrition have allowed me to continue to develop my nutritional knowledge, while allowing my clients to achieve greater results. Any fitness professional that hasn’t studied Precision Nutrition and Dr. Berardi, is doing their clients a disservice.
Dave Schmitz – “The Band Man” revolutionized the way we train with resistance bands and has made a lasting impact on how my clients use bands. As I always say and will continue to say, “When I’m 50 I want to be Dave Schmitz.” The man is full of energy and passion that I’m convinced only increases every time you meet him.
Nancy Andrews – If it weren’t for Nancy, I probably wouldn’t have become the bodybuilder I am today. It was her advice that took me to my second competition, competition that I hadn’t planned on competing in, I’ve since competed in 20 natural bodybuilding competitions. I’m honored to call Nancy a friend and someone that has allowed me to create such lasting impact in the lives of many other aspiring natural bodybuilders.
Nick Nanton – I owe Nick for getting me back into writing and fulfilling a long-time dream of mine, to become an author. Thanks to Nick, I was able to co-author two International Best-Selling books with many of my respected colleagues. Nick has continued to deliver amazing content on maximizing your personal brand and remained someone who I admire and respect as he’s continued to value my personal growth and success as an author.
Bob Burg and John David Mann (The Go-Giver) – The Go-Giver is the first book I read that made a lasting impact in my life. Thanks to this story, I continue to operate my business by mirroring the message in The Go-Giver.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Arnold lead me into the gym at a young age and continued to inspire my love for bodybuilding, even in an age of functional training. It’s been great to see Arnold come back to the fitness industry while continuing his support for the sport that got me started. You can’t help but mention Arnold, when you talk about bodybuilding and that is something I’ll never forget.
Brian Grasso – I owe a lot to Brian Grasso and my involvement with Men’s Health. It was his recommendation that put me on the Rodale’s radar. I’ll never forget that BG, thank you for always showing others to be themselves, in an era where too many clones take shape.
Bill Phillips – Every fitness professional who runs any type of transformation challenge with our clients, owes a great deal of gratitude to Bill for paving the way with his Body-for-Life Challenge. I haven’t forgotten this and can only thank the man for laying the foundation for the 49-Day Challenges I’ve continued run with great success.
Greg Glassman – Yes, the founder of Crossfit deserves our attention and respect. Over the past 5 years I’ve continued to grow my business and my training system, in an era where most people associate all high intensity exercise, as Crossfit. You can’t ignore that Crossfit has required all fitness business owners to raise the bar, not only the coaching, but the client experience. Look there are bad personal training programs everywhere, bad gyms, bad fitness boot camps and bad CF boxes. It all boils down to programming and coaching. The elite level CF owners and coaches have picked up the slack, by providing smart programming. Just look to guys like Kelly Starrett and his book Becoming a Supple Leopard for proof. The true understanding of what Crossfit is, may be clouded, but you can’t deny it’s helped, at the very least, put the Sport of Fitness on the map and inspired people to start moving with vigor.
Work Hard, Train Hard, Get Better,
Tyler English Z