Connor Gettemy: Director of Sports Performance
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth.
I’m your host Steve Washuta. Co Founder of truly fit and fitness business 101.
On today’s episode, I speak with Conor get me you can find him at Connor that’s o r, not er dot get me g e t t e m y on Instagram. Connor is the Flagler College director of sports performance. He is a strength training coach for athletes. That’s primarily what our conversation surrounds today, what it takes to become a strength coach for athletes at a collegiate level or maybe even higher up, Connor gives great insights into this not only from a, what does it take from a credentials level. But what are the little tricks and tidbits to actually be good at your job.
Because we know as personal trainers, you can have that certification, you can have that degree, that doesn’t mean it translates to you being successful at the job and helping your client or helping your athlete, Connor is as real as it gets in the industry, he doesn’t pull any punches, it’s going to tell you how it is what you have to do to become successful. And we talk about why it’s so important. We have the same ideology insofar as us being me, for me, it’s client first for him, it’s athlete first. And all of the other things that surround it, all of the ideologies in fitness, and in lifting and in strength. And in the sciences behind these things are secondary, we use all of those to help our athletes or help our clients get to the goals.
But we don’t choose that first. So we use the analogy in the conversation in the podcast. As a coach who only has one style, if you’re a football coach, he says I only run the triple option, I don’t care that my quarterback comes in and has the best arm in the entire state, we’re going to run the triple option.
That doesn’t make sense, right? You have to adapt and adjust and make sure that you’re giving your players and your team the best opportunity to win and succeed. We have to adjust as fitness and health professionals and make sure we give our clients our athletes the best opportunity to succeed. And that doesn’t matter which tools and toys and ideologies we use behind those those methods to get them get them to their goals, we just have to think about them first. Then the process of doing it we have of course we have principles, right we have some standard principles that we’re always staying behind. But we’re not so dyed in the wool or you have to do everything the same way.
And that we’re only Olympic lifting and we’re only going through keto or we’re only using plyometrics we can use a bunch of these different toys and tools and ideologies to get our clients or athletes to their next level. It was a fantastic conversation again if you want to find everything about Connor go to Connor c o n n o r dot get me GE TT e m y on Instagram. With no further ado, here’s Connor and Connor. Thanks so much for joining the truly fit podcast. Why don’t you give my listeners in the audience a little background on what it is that you do in the health and fitness industry?
Connor Gettemy: Sure, thanks for having me. So I am currently I’m the Director of Sports Performance at Flagler College is a division two NCAA institution in St. Augustine, Florida. In terms of like, I’ll call myself a strength coach. Just in terms of that’s what I’ve been doing in health and fitness. Like primarily speaking, I’ve worked with college athletes far more than I’ve worked with anybody else.
With that said, I have worked with a large number of sedentary individuals or just people that aren’t on a sports team, but still want to be athletic or still want to look better naked, whatever it is. So by and large, I’m a strength coach, however, Ben and I still do currently like dabble in personal training. Obviously, I work out myself, I am a competitive bodybuilder. So I kind of dip my toe hat or at least have dipped my toe into a number of different things within the industry.
Steve Washuta: And what does it take to become a director of sports performance? As far as like credentials are concerned? You said that you were a strength coach? Is it a is it more than that as you need like a bachelor or master’s in something in particular, tell us about your like credentials to become a director of sports performance.
Connor Gettemy: So there’s like, I’ll kind of explain it in two ways. Like there’s the what you need on paper that will even get your resume looked at but then there’s what it takes to actually be good at your job. Yeah, so on paper, you need a bachelor’s degree in something exercise science related so mine was quite literally exercise science. But exercise phys kinesiology, like, you know, any number of things like that will work just fine. And then obviously, like any, any application that you look at is going to say Master’s preferred. So I have a master’s in organizational leadership and sports management so not particularly relevant.
And like one thing I was told when I was deciding whether I was gonna go to grad school was it’s not so much that they like yes, obviously if you’ve got a master’s in sport nutrition or or kinesiology like obviously So that’s going to look better than mine. But in terms of should you get a master’s or not, it’s unfortunately, the new bachelor’s. So, again, like that sort of an on paper thing of, you just kind of need it. If you want to instantly move your resume your application from the bachelors pile to the Masters pile, you’ll be almost certainly they will want one of a couple certifications. And the ones that almost 99 times out of 100 that you’ll see are CSCS, which is the through the NSCA, you’ll see USA w which is USA weightlifting.
Or you’ll see s CCC, which is through the CSC CA, there’s still a number of different ones that you can get. But that may or may not, you know that a hiring school may or may not take seriously, but those are the ones that I can absolutely guarantee if you say it to a strength coach, like if you’re on the interview, and you say to a strength coach, they’re gonna know what you’re talking about. So on paper, in short ish, that it’s bachelor’s, master’s, and a certification or two or you know, the more the better in terms of like, actually been good at the job. Like, I have strength coach friends that are better coaches than me that are way smarter than me that on paper, I’m quote unquote, better than they are.
So like, I graduated with some really stupid people, and they had the same degree as me. And, and there’s probably some people saying that about me that are way smarter than I am. So like, end of the day, you still need the experience like like, just because you have the piece of paper or the letters after your name doesn’t automatically make you good at your position.
One of the, I suppose, Well, Matt, this is because this is complementary. So I have a friend James, who owns his own business, we worked together for a little while. But his been I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have he finally got his master’s and I think exercise science from like an online program like how you or IUP, or something like that. But for the large majority of the time I knew him his quote unquote, education was religious studies or something to that degree. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that.
But like, it was compute no relevance on paper credentials as far as coaching goes, and that dude will forever be smarter, smarter, and a better coach than I am. So he’s always somebody I use as an example of don’t judge a book by its cover, because, like, I’m a good coach, and I’m confident in what I can do. But he’s always the example I use of you. You can’t look at a resume, just assume someone’s good at their job.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I love how you said that. It’s so important that happens to us as personal trainers in the fitness industry, people come out day one, they get some sort of certification, National Academy sports medicine, ace, and they go, Oh, I’m ready to train. It’s like, well, no, you’re not, because that’s just one small part of the business. And, and you could tell there’s, you know, I divided the business into two different types of people. Typically, ultimately, you want to be a little bit of both, but you have these people who maybe more like you who are anatomical sleuths, they’re really good at the science, right?
They have no problem passing the tests and getting their master’s degree. But then you put them in front of people have them design programs, have them be personable have them, you know, those those sorts of skills take a time to develop, some people have them, some people don’t, you could always develop them down the road. But not everyone is sort of born with that sort of being a what we call like an an extra trainer, like being able to entertain, because that’s also part of what we do.
We’re not just like corrective exercise, we have to put on a show, sometimes for our clients as well. So I’m glad you said that because there is a huge difference between having the credentials to do a job and then being good at a job not just being good on paper. So do you do it real quick, because you touched on something that, like year by year is I think becoming it’s becoming more important to me.
Connor Gettemy: So in my world is becoming more you know, it’s becoming more prevalent, but I’m sure it predates me. But like being an entertainer, I think like a lot of people have gotten so science based and databased. In terms of like, this is the best training practice. This is the most efficient thing. This is the most optimal and like they can be 100% Correct, like and that’s all well and good. But like end of the day, if you’re if wherever your training, just absolutely hates what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter how efficient a leg extension is at building, you know, this particular area, your quadriceps, like if they friggin hate leg extensions, I’m not going to have them do leg extensions.
Yeah. So like a a mediocre program executed with enthusiasm is probably going to yield you better results than the quote unquote perfect program executed with I’m doing this because I have to
Steve Washuta: 100% Right. So adherence and consistency are why people are successful in their programs, right? Adhering to the program. They’re being consistent with the program and they’re not going to do that if they hate it. Gonna make excuses not to come see Connor they’re gonna say I have other shit. to do today, Connor, I don’t feel like coming to see you. It’s because they don’t enjoy the program.
And then also from a coach’s perspective, like, it should be a fun challenge for us, right? So if they go, you know, I hate leg extensions, but we have to find another way to fire my quad and get this going. It’s like, okay, well, that’s, that’s why I went to school, like, I’m going to use my brain and figure out other exercises, where we can still engage and work this muscle and get to your goals without having to do this. Yeah, and like,
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, and like, to that point, like, it’s like, it is fun. I say like, the most rewarding part is whenever like you are on, you know, like, example number four of like, well, they didn’t like this, they didn’t feel this one that this that they can’t do this one because they got a bad, whatever. And then you finally get to it. And like, they get that look on their face. So they have that reaction of like, oh, yeah, like, Yup, I feel, you know, it’s like that immediate, like, Yup, this one works. And there’s just like something satisfying about like, yep, nailed it.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, no, I’m with you. 100%. And if if you’re a trainer out there listening, and you haven’t gotten to that, that’s a problem, right? You should, there should be instances, almost on a daily basis, where you’re having clients say, I don’t really feel this, this isn’t going on, you have that that what I call strategic two way feedback between you and your client. And then you keep adjusting and adapting accordingly until they give you that feedback to say, oh, yeah, this is working. This is going and that’s, you know, not to go on a tangent here.
But I talked a lot about this podcast, what I don’t like, like particular model. So NASA has a model of the op to model and for me, I’m sort of like anti op T model. Because I want my clients, I need to know that my clients are feeling the exercise, I need to know that they are engaging the muscles, and they start from a stabilization level.
And for me, a lot of the stabilization level stuff doesn’t really like sort of like fire in the same way where where they’re creating that feel for the muscle, right? I’d rather put them down on a machine and have them press out and say, do you understand that your pec is firing here? Can you feel that rather than, I don’t know, have them stand on one leg or on a BOSU. Like, to me that just doesn’t make sense.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah. And like that term model, like, is the problem, it’s not problematic. It’s just I don’t like that word problematic. But like, it’s, it has its weaknesses in the same way that periodization has, has its weaknesses. That’s not to say that I never periodized programs, like I don’t just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Like, like, like with this interview, like we have a broad skeleton of what we’re talking about. But we’re not going to say like, we have to do this, this and this.
So like, similarly, I’m going to periodized insofar that like, I want certain, I want to be eliciting certain training adaptations at certain times, and I want the training to trend towards that. But I can’t I can’t make it so regimented, that if I have to make some, like even just a minor change, that I’m throwing my hands up and saying, Well, it’s root, you’re like, like, like, the program is like, if you don’t do this the exact way that this program isn’t gonna work well then like, that’s my fault. That’s not there.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And inevitably, you’re gonna have to make a change, something’s gonna happen, right? Especially if you’re working with someone, let’s say over the course of a year, and you’re working with athletes. So something always happens. There’s an injury, they you know, that something is there was a former injury that’s that’s sneaking up on them. And they’re presenting with some limitations and issues, and you have to adjust accordingly when you work with athletes. Yeah.
Connor Gettemy: And they’re going back to like, you know, do you like this exercise? Or do you not? Like, I specifically, like tell my, all the things that I work with, like, we’ll, we’ll have like four week phases. At the end of the fourth week, like we’ll let’s let’s say it’s a three day program. Three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at the end of the fourth week, on each Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week, like we’ll take 10 minutes to talk about the program and say like, Okay, what did you like, and what did you not like? And for the first like, couple of times I did it.
Everyone just kind of blankly stared at me, like, What are you talking about like this? This is the program like they just like the concept of like offering any criticism whatsoever, like, constructive criticism, or it was difficult enough for them to say like, I liked this, let alone say I didn’t like this.
And it’s ended like Fair enough. It’s hard. It’s hard for an athlete for a 19 year old to look at the person that they were told is in charge and say I don’t like the thing that you did. So like fair enough.
But I’ve I tell them over and over and it’s starting to starting to stick but like I can I can write a good let’s say it’s lacrosse. I can write a good lacrosse program with no feedback from anybody whatsoever. I can write a great lacrosse program or I can write a Flagler lacrosse programs the name of the school. That’s kind of how I describe it is like I can write a flag or lacrosse program if you guys are giving me as much feedback as possible. So like, you know if my philosophy was well, all lacrosse players should squat. Alright, cool.
But if like, let’s say, let’s say about 4040 Girls, and 30 of them say like dude, I freaking hate squats. Like there’s more than one way to skin a cat. So instead of forcing 75% of the team to do something that they’re either not comfortable with, or they don’t think is effective, or for whatever reason just isn’t that isn’t good in their minds, I’m instead gonna go looking for something else that a large majority of them say think, okay, great. This is awesome. This is making me better at lacrosse, I understand why I’m doing this, I feel good. After I’ve done it, I feel good before I do it, rather than sort of dreading like, shit where like, we’ve squats to me.
Steve Washuta: Well, I want to sort of stay on topic here with this, because I think it’s really interesting for personal trainers, creating sports programs. We’re not that familiar with it. But it’s, it’s happening a lot more. So you’ll see personal trainers who, let’s say, are starting to go to their local high schools and say, Hey, can I work with your football team or baseball team or basketball team? But then they go, Oh, shit, I don’t know what to do. I’m used to working one on one with people. How do I design a program? Do you have a methodology?
Or is there a methodology in the industry we’re in? You’re looking at other programs, and you’re just kind of editing them out? Do you have a do have a sit down with the players to see what they like and don’t like? Like, you’ve just said, how exactly do you? Like really just start it from scratch?
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, like you do a, the first thing you’re going to do is perform like a needs analysis of Okay. These are, these are the common joint angles of the sport. These are the common muscle actions of the sport, these are the common energy system demands. And you’re going to determine like, Okay, what athletic characteristics or what, you know, yeah, yeah, what athletic characteristics, does a good athlete that participates in the sport possess, then from there like, already, just with that, that’s where the good program comes from.
Because then you can look at sets, reps, exercise selection, exercise frequency, and like all that other stuff. And still write a good enough program, because if you’ve if you’ve determined, okay, well, they use a lot of their phosphocreatine system, they’re, you know, the heat, here’s the more popular movements, or here’s the more common movements that they make, here’s what they do in the sagittal planes who you can, you can get into the weeds with it as you want to.
So then, once you determine all of that, then it’s alright, well, I have essentially created the program, here’s what I think is best. Now I’m gonna, in the interest of time, usually, the very first one is I’m just going to run them through this and hope that I’ve done as well as I can. But that it becomes a great program over time as you continue to refine.
So if you’re working with, it doesn’t really matter who you’re working with, if you even if you’re working with one person, or you’re working with a team or something in between, like you are going to throughout the day, if you’re doing your job, right, like throughout the course of the program, not even just I’m gonna wait four weeks, and then ask them like day by day, you’re at like, before they even get in, you’re saying like how y’all feel?
So like Monday is, if it’s Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and you know what they did on Monday, you should generally expect like, in your head, think like, Okay, well, by Wednesday, this, I should probably ask about their hamstrings or their or whatever, like, whatever you hit on Monday, you should be asking on Wednesday. Hey, how you guys doing with that? Did that like did you like it? Did you get absolutely rocked Are you just like a little bit sore or whatever.
So just continuing to ask those questions over the over the, over the course of the training phase, or whatever you want to call it, or even just over the course of the workout itself. Just the more that you’re talking to them. And the more the better of a relationship that you can develop with them, the the easier it’s going to be for them to the more comfortable, they’re going to feel giving you feedback. And then you can use that feedback to refine the program.
Steve Washuta: That’s great information. I appreciate that. And I think the other thing is people are just scared to start. But all exercise is good exercise. And you have to start from somewhere. And then you can just adjust the program by getting feedback from from the people like you said, right. So there’s there’s there’s nothing you can do except analyze the sport itself.
And what are they doing in the sport? If you’re training a catcher, you’re probably don’t need to be running long distances with your catchers. Right. So and then, you know, analyze the sport, use your common sense from your training, and then adjust on the fly and just just get started. I know that it is daunting, though, for personal trainers, because again, we’re so used to working one on one, but I want to again, stay on topic here. You just mentioned how you’re going to be training athletes differently based upon their needs.
That is also interest sport, I would believe too, right. So I don’t know a lot about lacrosse. I don’t want to use that analogy. But I do let’s say about football. If I’m training a a center as opposed to a wide receiver. They’re not going to necessarily be using the same program. Am I wrong their GI like, and again, it goes back to you can get as far in the weeds as you want.
Connor Gettemy: So like let’s just pretend that I have a billion dollars and I can hire like let’s use the football team. Like we’ll use the team that I have that I have on campus like let’s say it’s a soccer team. Like And technically, if I wanted to, we’ve got like, Let’s split it up into keepers. But I’ll start even kind of broad What does keepers defenders midfielders and attackers, I can have a strength coach writes a different program, or if it’s just me like, and I just, you know, just shut myself in the room. Like I could write a different program for the keepers, the defenders, the midfielders in the attackers.
But then even further than that, if it’s okay, well, center backs and fullbacks need different programs, but they’re both defenders, well, then you can split it up into that you can have a center back program and a fullback program, a holding midfielder is going to be is going to have different demands than a winger or, you know, a target man is going to have different you know, and you can just go on and on and on, you can get as deep and weeds with it as you want. So it really just becomes, you sort of have to prioritize, you have to prioritize.
You know, I am one of so I have two assistants, I cover five teams and my assistants have their own teams as well. And so all of us as we’re deciding how specific of a program should I write, are going through the same thought process of okay.
Yes, I could get as specific as humanly possible. But is that going to leave me? Like, what is the cost benefit ratio of that? Do I really want to spend three hours Sure, and making the in making the slightest difference between this program that and that program, where as we mentioned earlier, the whole thing could go off the rails anyway. Because coach cancels lift, or, or, you know, we’ve got to change something because the bus got in late and everybody’s totally shot now. So it’s you just kind of have to weigh what you feel is appropriate, given the amount of time and resources that you have?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that makes sense. There’s only so much bandwidth you have? And where are you going to be using that at any given time? Let’s talk about your lifting, I would say our strength coach ideologies, is there, you know, if you were to look at other people in your industry, if let’s say you compare it to some of the friends you just mentioned, and others, do you have a different ideology than them? Do you do more Olympic lifting? Do you do more dynamic things? What exactly is your overall ideology on your strength training programs?
Connor Gettemy: It’s I’m not particularly married to any, I really can’t think of an exercise that I’m like, Okay, I don’t care what athlete I have. Everybody needs to do this. I would say more. So like, so the reason I this is kind of this isn’t exactly going to answer the question, but it’s close enough. Like, this isn’t so much my my training philosophy as it is kind of, like my philosophy in general. But like, my, I think that my purpose in life is strengthen the individual.
So, you know, I did a whole bunch of thinking, and, and you know, decided, okay, how am I going to get fulfilled in life? And, you know, I was doing a whole whole bunch of things over the last couple of years to try to figure out okay, what am I what am I doing, and so I came up with, if I could just if my elevator pitch to myself is strengthened the individual.
What I don’t mean by that is quite literally strengthening somebody as a strength coach, I mean, like, strengthen the character of the individual. Now, it just so happens that the best way that I can go about doing that is using like, the best tool available to me personally, is a weight room, because I’m the most knowledgeable of that thing compared to anything else in my life, I’m most comfortable with it. And I can most I can more easily relate lessons and facts of life to the weight room, but I can’t anything else.
SfI my goal is to strengthen the individual and strengthen their character, then it’s, it’s another way to put it is I don’t make good weight lifters, I make good people that lift weights. I can teach somebody to be consistent, and discipline and have respect for themselves and and have respect for others and work well in a team setting, and then any other number of things that you want to mention, then it doesn’t matter if they’re in a weight room, a classroom or a board room, like they’re going to be successful no matter what, because those are universally applicable.
That, as I said, it doesn’t exactly answer the training philosophy question, but it does guide my, my, my choices in so far that I am the question that I have to answer to myself that I’ve asked myself and answer is, is this helping to strengthen them internally, not just externally?
If you know, is it am I presenting them an opportunity to do something that they’ve never done before? Or to do something that they thought they couldn’t possibly achieve? So like that’s, that’s why I like working with this population like, like 18 to 22 year olds, because quite often a lot of them have have never been in the weight room before or if they have, you know, they haven’t done anything that’s particularly challenging.
And I’m not a huge like max out kind of guy, but The end of the day, like, you’ve got to challenge them with weights at some point. So seeing somebody, like get underneath the bar, squat down, like squat deep and stand back up, and then get out from under it and say, like, holy shit, like, that’s, that’s more than like, that’s more than I weigh, I never thought I could do that in my life like that, to me, is going to be more than it is going to yield more benefits, both on the field and in the classroom and everywhere else and in their personality than if I chose the quote unquote, best exercise for them. And they just executed it. And it was IRA, cool, whatever.
So like, I want to choose exercises and create scenarios in the weight room in which they’re overcoming things that they they’re either achieving things that they didn’t think were possible, or they’re overcoming challenges that they didn’t think that they could overcome.
Steve Washuta: Well, I think that’s a fantastic philosophy and ideology. And in a sense, by having that ideology, you don’t have a traditional strength training ideology, meaning you’re not going to say, hey, everyone has to do this, or that or this, because ultimately, you’re trying to help them become the best people they can, and you are confident enough in your abilities to say, it doesn’t matter. I can use 100 different exercises, these are just toys I’m playing with here in order to get you to be the person you want to be.
Connor Gettemy: And so and I’ll give like, I didn’t mention a single exercise. So I’ll at least give you know, like some, some kind of insight like, I am a 50, like, I love Olympic lifts for myself, and I love Olympic lifts. Like they’re pretty, pretty darn effective whenever they’re done right? Within this, like the sort of the college strength coach community, like a question is always like, should you do a Olympic Olympic lifts or not. And the argument for not is like they’re there. They’re not impossible to teach. And they’re not particularly difficult to teach.
But if you’re teaching 35 people, and you have no interns, and it’s just you in the room, like, you know, how many of them are going to have the mobility even do it to even get their body in the correct position. And then assuming that you got lucky, and everybody has the mobility, which they want, then how many of those people are going to have the are going to be, you know, neurologically for lack of a better term developed enough to nail that? The all the positions that you need to teach in a short enough amount of time, but it’s worth it?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, they’re not professional athletes. They also they also have school, they have other things going on. So if they’re spending an hour learning to how to snatch properly, what else could they be doing in that hour? Is that what you’re saying? Exactly? Yeah, yeah. So
Connor Gettemy: I, but it’s, I’m always constantly like, wondering if that’s a good enough excuse for not so like, I’m, I’m sitting here thinking to myself, like, am I? Did I just develop? Did I just come up with that as a really good excuse to make myself feel better for not teaching cleans? Or am I just or do I really believe it? So and but like, I have used cleans here at Flagler? I do. Like we do dumbbell snatches, we do a lot different Olympic variations.
So like, I’m not opposed to them at all, I do think it comes back to sort of that cost benefit of, if I if I have an hour with these kids, do I want to spend 25 of those 60 minutes, just working on technique, as opposed to grab some dumbbells, do some jump squats, or do a box jump or do some other explosive exercises that like, and then it takes five minutes, and then we’re off and running? So it’s, they’re incredibly useful when done correctly, you just have to decide for yourself based on your own situation and the competency of the individual athletes, whether or not it’s worth using. Yeah, it’s
Steve Washuta: Yeah, it’s funny, because I mean, we’re both smart enough to convince ourselves that in either direction, if you really wanted to record you could also say, well, learning new skills is very important. You know, you’re building those neurological connections, you’re challenging them. So learning how to do a snatch in and of itself is important during that time. It’s not, it’s not not important, right? So and those skills translate somewhat to most sports, right? Being able to move heavyweight quickly and control it and stop it and worry about the eccentric and concentric phases, right?
So you can convince yourself that it’s worthwhile, or you can convince yourself otherwise. What else could I have been doing in that hour? I was working with them on this one particular movement teaching them we could have been doing plyometric movements that maybe are more tied to the sport. If I was working with basketball players, let’s say right, so there is no bad exercise, right? It’s all good, it’s all helping them and it’s just when do you do it? When do you not do it?
Connor Gettemy: Right and then to expand a little bit more on like different exercises that they use, like if you broke it all, but if you try to simplify it as much as possible, then it’s push pull squat hinge carry, but like, that’s not to say that you train everybody like a power lifter, but that doesn’t mean bench squat deadlift. bench is a horizontal press. There’s 10,000 horizontal presses that you can use. Same with, like, I’m not going to bother, you know, repeating that exact same thing for squat and deadlift. But yeah, it’s the same thing.
It’s, you know, what can I, if those are the movement patterns? If I reduce it to a movement pattern as opposed to a specific exercise, then I give myself a lot more freedom of okay, what exercises? Can I choose that they’re actually going to enjoy buy into? And believe it or not, are making them better at their sport?
Steve Washuta: Do you find this? This is a weird question, answer however you need to that working with young athletes, because they you’re talking about probably higher testosterone males to that so many different things work. And that in and of itself could be a difficult kind of barrier to get over when you’re designing programs, because you could have success just using dumbbells and just doing traditional bodybuilding exercises. But then again, if you just did all Plyometrics, and bodyweight you’d likely have success with let’s say, you know, collegiate level soccer players who are already in such great shape and take care of their bodies. Is that does that become a problem?
Connor Gettemy: I wouldn’t say it’s a problem, I’d say probably the opposite is, it’s perhaps like, the only way that it can become a problem is if you’re trying to ascertain like, Okay, how effective is the program I actually wrote? So in that regard, sure. Like it’s, it is a problem in that it’s difficult to determine how much of a difference did the selection of my exercises in the sets and reps and the volume and all that and the intensities? How much of an effect did that actually play, as opposed to I could have given this guy a shake weight, and he still would have, like, made the progress that he did, because he’s never seen a weight in his life, and anything was going to get him stronger?
Yeah, so sure, like to a degree, like, on the one side, it’s like, it’s yeah, it’s difficult to determine how good of a job your program is actually doing on the other. Going back to what we were saying before, because so many of them are either untrained, or, you know, they only have maybe a year or two of lifting experience, because, due to that lack of that lower training age, they as they can make progress with not just about anything, but a lot more things.
So it opens up the options of what we talked about earlier of, well, I don’t like this, alright, fine, we’ll have to do it, like we’ll do something else. So it’s, it’s, it’s, I would say it’s reassuring in a way that you don’t want to lean on it as a crutch of like, I just want to throw anything at them. And, and it’s probably going to work.
So I don’t really have to think about it, like you still want to put do your due diligence and decide, okay, this is what I think is going to make them is going to benefit them the most at their sport, and it’s going to reduce the likelihood of them being injured in their sport. But the odds of you the odds of you choosing something that’s going to be good for them are higher, the lower their training ages. So I don’t see that as a as a negative outside of the, the cloud cloudiness that it provides of how good is how good is my program? Actually?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that was a great answer. And of course, your answer had to do with helping the kids mom was a little bit more, I guess you would say loaded towards the industry professionals who claim that their way is the only way sort of deal you know, and it’s like, Well, look, look, look how successful my 18 year old athlete is. It’s like well, you’re not comparing it to something else. You’re comparing it for him doing nothing and then him doing your thing as opposed to him doing two different things that could both be beneficial. Yeah, like,
Connor Gettemy: like you know, there’s a couple of guys that are like I don’t even follow them but like I see them on my for you page on Instagram. Like these guys that are like training Antonio Brown or they’re training LeBron James, they’re like doing all this like Bosu ball stuff and whatever. Like, I’m not saying it works, and I’m not saying it doesn’t work. Let’s just pretend that like they’re on the same wavelength as we are. And it’s like, this guy’s like, Okay, I need I want LeBron to do some some core work. And he hates planks, and he hates six inch holes and he hates all this standard stuff. So I’m going to come up with some super random bullshit.
That looks really cool that he thinks is like ooh, the secret like delete exercise, and it’s still doing what I need to be done but it’s just dress up and a whole bunch of random bullshit. Yeah, like then fine. Like if it works it works. So yeah, like any anyone saying like, Oh, I you know, in both fitness meaning like exercise and nutrition like anyone that that’s telling you that you have to train this way otherwise you’re not doing the right thing. Like if you’re telling me that you have the perfect program and you haven’t met me yet you’re wrong.
Like you’re full of shit. So anybody’s saying like, Oh, this 60 day this and this, this four week that whatever, if you’re trying to sell me program, and you have you have no idea who I am or what I enjoy or what my response is to training, then you’re a total your total bullshit or you have no idea what you’re talking about.
And I say that as somebody that has programs for sale on my Instagram, the only difference is I just straight up say like, this is a strength program? Yeah, that’s about it. Like this is a strength program. This is how many days it is, this is what you can probably expect from it, do it and see if you like it. And then same thing with hypertrophy. Same thing with endurance, it’s not, this is the best possible program you’re ever going to find. It’s, here’s a program that will probably help you get stronger. Give it a try.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, there’s a lot of charlatans out there, I just got a text from a friend actually, he’s like, I’m seeing this guy like V shred all over my Instagram, I want like, I want to know your thoughts on him and his ideologies. And if I should, like bind to the program, and I like click the video for one second, and the guy’s like, these are the only three things you need. I’m like, Alright, like, I’m done. Like, this is what this guy is, is, is obviously a charlatan, just selling whatever he has to sell. I think, you know, I think overall, hit that guy’s particular ideology.
I don’t wanna get into him, but it’s that, you know, we need to lift more and do less cardio to look better. Okay? That’s, it’s not really, it’s not really a bad ideology. But to say that you can develop a plan, a blanket plan and send it to everybody, based upon whatever their goal is. Seems a little ridiculous. Yeah.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah. And like, same thing with dieting, like the every single diet that you can possibly name like keto Atkins, paleo, carnivore, intermittent fasting, whatever it is, like. Again, there is no perfect diet. So anyone that says, like, everyone should be doing this, or like these, or whatever, like, there’s some universal constants of like, you know, don’t consume X, Y, and Z that you can prop, you at the very least, could probably get pretty close to like, you know, what, I don’t think anybody needs to eat this. Fair enough.
But by and large, like an entire dietary philosophy, some, like if some people just take like low carb versus low fat, like if if person A, is just just absolutely loves crunchy things and doesn’t really care about the savory that much, then they should do low fat, or I shouldn’t even say they should, it would, they would likely have more success with low fat because it enables them to have more carbs, more crunchy stuff and just be more satisfied by the food they’re eating.
As opposed to, if someone’s like, I don’t really care that much about you know, my chips, or my, my, my or whatever. But they’re like, I love my my hard cheeses, or my soft cheeses, my peanut butters, my almond butters, my really savory stuff my steak like, then they should do high fat and low carb, because carbs aren’t that important to them. So it’s the only thing that really, quote unquote, people should do is get enough protein. Everything else in terms of your fat and your carbs can it can be whatever ratio you want it to be, as long as you are seeing the results you want to see, and you can adhere to it. And that doesn’t, I haven’t said anything about micronutrients or, or anything like that.
But if you’re just stressing, if you’re just talking about macros, and like, what, what’s the best fat protein and carb thing, because that’s generally how people sell their diets is it’s low carb, or it’s high this or whatever. It’s high protein for everybody. And then fat and carbs, however the hell you want to do.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, there’s this weird psychological game that people play to is that they’ve, you know, anecdotally it’s worked for them, whatever, let’s say this diet choices, this type. And then they go on these, like, sort of ideology, like rampages, where they, you know, it’s because it’s worked for them. And that’s the thing that they know, they need to sort of let everyone else know that this works. We’re also trying to reconvince themselves that they made the right choice. By this, this is the only thing that would have worked for me when it’s like well, no, I mean, almost all these caloric restriction things would have allowed you to lose weight, you chose this one, it worked for you. And now you’re a dyed in the wool.
And I think that’s also you see that in the fitness industry. I don’t know if that’s in the in your particular like strength training. But you’ll see like, personal trainers who let’s say start with like a kettlebell. That’s all they use. And they develop all these exercises with the kettlebell and like, all you need is the kettlebell all you have to do is kettlebell, we can do design everything around the kettlebell. Then you know, as you get older and and you’ve seen more in the industry, you eventually sort of come back to a more generalized approach, like you have, hey, I’m about the client, I can make the tools work for the client, there are some general concepts that we that we have to all agree upon, right?
You have to have enough protein to build muscle, you have to be doing some sort of strength training to you know, to advance but but there aren’t these like dyed in the wool concepts that that most people think there are.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, like, if you if you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Yeah. So if you lost 50 pounds on the Atkins diet, good for you, that doesn’t mean that the Atkins diet is going to cure this guy’s arthritis. Like, relax.
Steve Washuta: Man see too much of that. That’s actually that’s probably the, the biggest issue I have with the podcast. I have so many people trying to get on here who have these, like, you know, they’re just trying to promote this one weird thing that they believe in, and they’re not always charlatans, but they don’t actually care about the person there. They almost care more about the the individual concept if that makes sense, right? It’d be like if you came on and you were like, all I want to talk about is like, Olympic lifting, and like not not how you help the people but like All important Olympic lifting is in general, it’s like the concept is secondary to the people. So yeah, in
Connor Gettemy: So yeah, in that case, you’re on the wrong podcast, because you can sit like, you can go on some, you know, like, if if Matty Rogers or like Lujiazui, or like, whoever is like hosting a podcast, and it’s like, let’s talk about let’s really, you know, get into the bells and whistles of the clean and jerk and yeah, like, nerd the hell out about it. But like, on a podcast like this, or just want to kind of talk about like, training in general for the for the Normie. Like, yeah, if you’re, whether you’re a coach, strength coach, whether you’re a Sport Coach, a strength coach, or personal trainer, if your first priority isn’t, how am I helping this person get better? Whether it’s at their at the bare minimum at their sport? Or, you know, more importantly, am I? Am I helping them?
Am I increasing the likelihood that they’re going to experience success in their life? If that’s not the first question, you’re asking yourself, or how you’re grading yourself by then you’re, I’m not gonna say you’re instantly a bad coach. But I think you’re capping yourself at how much good you can do.\
Steve Washuta: Yeah, totally. And the sport, you know, the sporting world is the same thing as our world, sort of in the health and fitness realm, wherein you see, there’s some coaches who have an ideology, but the best coaches fit their ideology to the players not always fit their players to their ideology, if that makes sense, right. So if I’m running the option offense, and I’m all about the option offense, and I’m one year I have a quarterback who has a fantastic arm, well, that means I should be throwing the ball more downfield because I have to take advantage of my players and work towards their skill sets.
And I think that’s what we have to do in the fitness and health industry. Also is see, like, where, where does my athlete lack? Or, you know, where does my client lack, In what are they good in and sort of, you know, assess those things and build a program accordingly to that.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, like that. Good example, like with my, with my volleyball girls, my basketball guys. Like obviously, those are some tall, long limbed, you know, have difficulty squatting type of athletes. So like, I’ll still program squats with them. But instead of jamming them under a bar and forcing them to basketball, some of them love basketball. And they’re and some of them are really good at it. So I’ve started not even I’ve started just just literally writing squat on the on the sheet. Where I want them to do that. And then I tell them like you do whatever the hell you want. Like you can do as a searcher if you want to like. As long as you are approaching the end, as long as you are at the intensity. That I expect for the number of reps that I prescribed.
I don’t care if you do a back front Zurcher. Leg press goblet or anything else. Like you’re you’re getting your you are getting the you’re crossing the threshold. Of the amount of benefit I want you to get from that exercise. And that’s good enough for me.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, well, that’s great advice. And I’m glad I’m glad you said that too. Because I think a lot of personal trainers do struggle with that. They think one is they think all of these things have. Like a sort of like a superiority, numbered list. It’s like an all back squats first and then front squat, second, and then this is third. And like you would only goblet squat. If you absolutely couldn’t do any of these.
It’s like, well, I get that. But also there needs to be an enjoyment level to all of these things. And then also, you know, there there are, there’s actual science. And data that says if you’re nervous about doing an exercise. You’re more likely to get injured doing that exercise. Now, I don’t know if that’s an app. Like sort of a chicken before the egg thing like what are you nervous?
Because you already had a high likelihood to get injured or or whatever. But, you know, I have clients who are just nervous about putting weight on their back. They’re older, they’re in their 50s. So I don’t do it. Yeah.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, like I have athletes that I think, like, on the one you don’t want to let the pendulum swing too far in one direction and say like, okay, you know, do literally whatever you want, never be uncomfortable. You don’t have to do anything that you know, like things like that. So I’m not saying do that, however. Like I want, I make it a point to make sure my athletes know. That they’re allowed to come up to me and say. Like, and just straight up telling me like, I’m scared. And that’s and they’ve done so like, I’m proud of them for doing that.
Like, and because the solution is not Oh, okay, we’ll go sit down. And just wait till everyone else is done. It’s let’s find something that you can do. And if so, like I won’t obviously. I’m not gonna say anybody but like, some couple of my athletes. You know, could have came to me before I even started training them and said. Well, I had back issues on my last school or back issues in high school or like. You know, we I didn’t like our training program because they just focused like, you know. A lot of my Olympic athletes like my tennis players. My golfers will say like, you know, like my last school. They just lifted us like football players. And they just like made us just like jam us under a bar and things like that.
So So now like, I hurt my back doing trap bar. Like maxing out on trap bar, deadlifts. And now like I’m really scared to do any lower body stuff. So with that It’s, I like I recognize that you are nervous about this thing. We need to remind you that you are a you as a human with a resilience. Physical being are capable of not only returning to where you were previously. But becoming more capable than that.
And so if that means that we goblet squat for a year. And you go from 30 pounds to 90 pounds. Who the hell cares? If you’ve never touched a barbell like that’s progress to me, then maybe. We never did we never get under a bar, I don’t care. I got somebody that literally only searchers no front squats, no back squats, no nothing. And you better believe she busts her ass on her searchers.
It’s not like she just uses the empty bar. And that’s it. Like she found a way. And this is kind of what I say is like. I’m this is what I’ll tell my athletes like I am looking for a way I’m looking for an exercise. That you’re able to perform at the highest intensity possible with no fear whatsoever of injury. So for her, that’s a serger squat. Because it’s just the way that the weight counterbalance is her she can get deep.
It just it just it’s for her. It’s just way more comfortable than having a bar on her back or a bar on her collarbone. And like I said, she gets the hell after it. Like she busts her ass on Zurcher squats. So if that’s all I’m looking for. Like I don’t, who cares that it wasn’t a bar on her back rub on her collarbone. She pushed a lower body exercise to the point of near failure. That works for me.
Steve Washuta: If there’s a personal trainer who maybe has, let’s say, their Bachelor’s in some sort of sports performance related thing, and maybe they’re thinking about getting a masters, maybe they already do, and they want to work in your career field are ready to sort of move on and move up the ladder, if you will, to become somebody who works in sports performance with a with a college. What other advice do you have outside of the absolute like credentials that they need?
We already discussed that what other advice you have just from a general perspective. As someone who’s been doing it a while for them to become successful? Should they be mentoring somebody? Excuse me? Should they find a mentor like you and be an apprentice? Should they read a particular book? Any advice that you have for them?
Connor Gettemy: That yeah, if if the question is, how do I become a college strength? Coach? Yeah, the answer is get into college weight room as quickly as you can. And like the, I will wax too much about this. But like the pay for, for college strength positions is all over the map. So unfortunate that, you know, my my flybar takes care of me. But I know like I previous places, like I was I was like under the poverty line. So So with that said, like, the assuming one is in college. The best, the best thing that you can do as an 18 to 22 year old is volunteer.
So I’d say the reason I brought up the money stuff. Because there’s an incredibly high likelihood that you’re going to work for free. For longer than you would like, yeah, it just is what it is. It’s it’s not right, but I’m not endorsing it. But you had, if you want to be a strength coach, you currently have no choice. So it’s a whole lot easier to work for free. When mom and dad are still paying most of your bills.
So for 18 to 22 is when you want to like just, whether it’s the school that you’re attending. Just go see if they have, you know. I’m sure I’m sure they have an athletic department. So go see what their strengths staff is like. And I sincerely doubt any strength coach that is even kind of worth their salt. Is gonna get an email saying, Hey, do you mind if I come by and observe? And they’re gonna be like, Nah, now.
At the very least, they’re going to let you come in and look around and ask some questions. At best. They’ll say like, Hey, yeah, we’ll take an intern. So like, if I was gonna, if I was looking at resumes. And I won’t even get the full scenario, and I’m looking at resumes. The first thing I’m looking at is experience. So if you say if you quote unquote, only have a bachelor’s. But you started interning, when you were 16. For you know, and you’re a senior now so you spent six years in a college weight room. As opposed to say, somebody that has a bachelor’s, a masters and a certification.
And they’ve only spent six months in a college weight room. Like I’m picking the first guy or girl like I’m just picking the first person. Because the likelihood that they understand like, the practice of strength and conditioning. Far more so than just the theory of it compared to the second person.
Like I we can work on the theory, you know, like I can come work for me. And I’ll, I’ll learn and we can work on the on the education And, and expanding your toolbox. Improving your knowledge of the human body and things like that. But I can’t teach you experience. I can’t teach you, I can’t give you the experiences that you won’t learn in a book. Unless you just go have them.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, so that’s great. That’s great.
Connor Gettemy: Short answer. So, in a nutshell, the short answer is. Go get as much real world on the. On the floor weight room experience
Steve Washuta: as you possibly can. Yeah. And like you said, typically, if you do find someone who you could intern underneath you. A mentor of some sort someone in your position, they’re going to want to teach you their ways, right? That’s they, they’re gonna, they’re gonna want to bring you along. And show you how they go about doing things. They’re not gonna, they’re not gonna turn you down. I think people are afraid to do it. I wish, I wish this sort of apprenticeship.
You know, model was was more in line in both the personal training industry. And really anything surrounding health and fitness. Where you really learned underneath other successful people in the business and learn their ways. And not just one person, right? Learn under four or five, take things from all of them. Throw some things away, you don’t like, and then you can kind of develop your personality faster. To become more successful.
Connor Gettemy: Yeah, I was really fortunate that every, every single professor or coach, or I should say, every, every professor or strength coach that I’ve worked under has understood the importance of help understood the importance of developing me professionally as a coach like that, no, nobody ever looked at me and said, oh, cool, free help, go sweep the floor, go get me coffee, like they always like made it their responsibility to, okay, we’ve got to make sure that they made it their responsibility to give me responsibility, like, we’ve got to make sure that this guy has some worthwhile stuff to do otherwise, why do we have him here.
So like, whenever I was interning as an undergrad. I was getting class credit for an internship, like, as quickly as soon as I was able to demonstrate. That I was competent, and you know, able to work a room or you know. Able to be comfortable in a room with X number of athletes. Then my, my supervisor at the time would would say. Okay, you take the warm up, or okay, you take the core, or you know what. Like, I’m gonna go do paperwork in my office, like you take the whole session. So once. So then right after that, when I went to grad school. And it was, hey, you’re a grad assistant, but you have nine teams. And you’re writing their programs, and you’re supervising them off you go.
But I was already prepared for it. And the, you know, the grad school thing of like, off you go. I’m not saying that as a negative either like that. That was terrific. Because I, as a 22 year old was given, you know, nine different sports teams. To program for and to supervise and to do everything like that. So then by the time I got a full time assistant position. With fewer teams, I was like, okay, like, I’ve done this already. Yeah. And then, again, furthermore, like, once I got into this position. All of that accumulated experience. I was like, Okay, I’m just doing the same thing here now like this is. There was nothing that I wasn’t prepared for by the previous experience that I have.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. At some point, you have to be a quote, unquote, thrown into the fire. Wouldn’t you rather be thrown into the fire when you’re younger. People expect less of you and you do have a sort of a safety net of these other coaches. Rather than coming out with all of these degrees and certifications. And you look great on your resume. People think, Oh, this guy must know what the fuck he’s doing. And then, but but they don’t actually have experience and then they get put in front of the team. And it’s one of those like, oh shit scenarios where you didn’t you know. You never got thrown into the fire. And you were just passing tests the entire time. Yeah, like
Connor Gettemy: I that two things. One, there’s a way from you know, from time to time, like as a staff. We would like reach out to the other area schools and not here but previously. Like, we’d reach out to the other area schools and be like, hey. String staff, like let’s go get let’s go get wings or something and just like chit chat and talk shop. And this one guy, like spent the entire dinner like bragging. About how much he got his coaches to back off. Or I’m trying to think like, like he was bragging about, how well he was able to assert. His authority in terms of like on the strength coach, I don’t want to hear from you.
Like I’m I’m not going to take Hey, Sport Coach. I’m not going to take anything you say into account like on the professional. Or on the expert, let me do my job. And I was like, it was just whatever but in my head I was like you good for you. Buddy. like have fun on that island. You just put yourself so like when you when something actually does hit the fan. You’re completely screwed. Like nobody is gonna go to bat for you. And like I on the flip side. Like I had people that I I had supervisors that, like, let me make mistakes. And like gave me a safety net. So if I was, I don’t think I ever got close to like doing something that was so bad. That they were like, Yo, stop, like, that’s bad.
But they, they like gave me enough freedom. And enough of a sandbox to do to try a whole bunch of different things. Let it blow up in my face when they knew it was going to. And then at but still sit me down or whatever, and say, like, Hey, here’s how you screwed that up. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again.
But I got better as a coach from there’s a that I know for a fact that like to. To your point about, like, you got to you have that oh, shit moment. Or, you know, like you, you can only be so prepared to share like I had to. I know for a fact there’s at least a couple of dozen athletes that I’ve coached. That probably don’t think very highly of me. Because I managed them the wrong way. And not having to, like I was never a bad coach on the floor. But like, ways that I like tried to motivate them. Or, you know, ways that I spoke to them after they had after they lost or things like that. I tried some stuff that totally didn’t work that like really didn’t work. That like showed up on end of year surveys.
This guy’s an asshole didn’t work. And I saved those because I still needed to. I think it’s good to remember like, you did get the opportunity to workshop all that. And now you you have a much more refined presentation. But don’t forget that you used to screw things up like that all the time.
Steve Washuta: That’s great advice. This has been fantastic honor, I’m going to list all of your information below. But why don’t you also just give the audience a rundown of where they can find you. If they need to reach out to you personally, your IG and anything else. Sure.
Connor Gettemy: My, so I don’t care about like, we have 400 athletes at Flagler and they all have my cell phone number. So I don’t care about giving my cell phone number out. Is 412-580-6271 reason I give it out is if you’re local to St Augustine. Or even like local enough, like Jacksonville is only half an hour away. If you have any interest in interning or even just stopping by and shadowing. Or if you’re across the country and you just want to call and chat. Then you’re more than welcome to shoot me a text introduce yourself and and we can set something up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So see get me at flag with our edu and that’s just again. If you want to reach out please please do so. Instagram is Connor, c o n n o r dot get me g e t t e m y. That’s I’ll call it my professional page. But it’s you know, funny stuff, informational stuff. I do take. As I said, I take personal clients. I take online clients so if you’re interested in training or anything like that. Then that’s where to contact me for for that. But one way or the other, you know, just say hi, because I always I’ll always appreciate it.
Steve Washuta: My guest today has been Connor getting me Connor, thank you so much for joining the truly fit podcast. Thanks for having me.
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