Dynamic Balance: Co-Author Andy Chan
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Guest: Andy Chan
Release Date: 8/22/2022
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Steve Washuta: Welcome to Trulyfit. Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host Steve Washuta, co founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s episode I interview Andy Chan but before that quick housekeeping here, our sponsor today is skip wish and on skip wishes behalf, I’m going to be sending free T-shirts out yes free Trulyfit T-shirts out.
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So sign up for free for a skip wash account, build your list, reach out to me social at truly fit that up with your address and your T shirt size. And I will send you a free truly fit t shirt on skip wishes behalf. Our guest today is Andy Chan and like I said who is Andy Chan? Well, he is the co author of dynamic balance, which is a book that he describes integrates both Western and Eastern perspectives when looking at exercise science and health. Andy is currently located in Hong Kong, but he has lived in the United States.
And he’s done personal training in both Hong Kong and the United States. So he has a very unique perspective on fitness. He’s a master trainer for a lot of big companies. He’s a presenter, and he gives great tips on how to become a presenter and how to be a good presenter how to communicate effectively as a trainer and as a presenter. We get into nutrition and we get into golf, fitness, and a host of other things around fitness and health.
You can find everything about Andy via his Instagram account, which I will also list in the show notes. It’s Tsz ch IU Andy with no further ado, here’s Andy Chan. Andy, thanks so much for joining the Trulyfit podcast, why don’t you quickly give the audience a little background on you who you are, what you do, and health and fitness.
Andy Chan: Everyone, my name is Andy Chen. And right now if you look on the internet, there is a plethora of health information out there. Much so that perhaps it is overwhelming. With a master’s degree in Exercise Science, my job as a coach, as an educator, is to help people navigate through the sea of information so that people don’t have to waste time doing things that ultimately hurt the performance, but actually incorporate practices that get them to optimum health and human performance. I do personal training, I do group training, I do corporate workshops. And now I do webinars Well,
Steve Washuta: what do you enjoy the most if you could only do one of those things, if someone said, Hey, Andy, we have to take something away from your personal training or group training, or doing these like conference speaking, if you had to, if you could only pick one of them, what would you stick with?
Andy Chan: Wow, I would do personal training, because then it gives me the maximum chance to influence someone’s lifestyle, because you get to walk with them, you know, on a weekly basis. And for me, that’s the most rewarding job of our that’s the most rewarding part of our job. And that is to see changes occurring after a few sessions. Yeah,
Steve Washuta: without a doubt. And I think part of that, and we’ll talk about that I’m sure. Either accidentally, or we can we can hit on it right now. But as a personal trainer, when you’re young people don’t talk about it enough. But there’s a personal side. So we’re not just working with the body, we’re working with the mind.
We’re getting to understand our clients and getting to understand what makes them tick and how to get into get sort of like get into their brain. I think that’s a very important part. You wrote a book. Do you cover any of that in your book about, you know, working with your clients from a mental perspective?
Andy Chan: Yeah, well, in my book, I come at it from an interesting perspective, because a little bit of my my background, so I I’m from Hong Kong, and I was born here. Then I went to the US for 10 years for school. I like to think of a mixture of both Eastern and Western way of thinking. A few years ago, I came across Michael Phelps and his picture with the cupping marks on his back, right.
Andy Chan: And I think that’s kind of when the fringe community blew up because they all of a sudden, they were interested in all these oriental recovery methods like cupping, guasha, or scraping and acupuncture. And I can tell you from a person growing up in Hong Kong in Chinese medicine was kind of this alternative and mystical philosophy, because you know, whenever you would ask a Chinese medicine practitioner, oh, okay, so all these herbs, why are we drinking it?
Andy Chan: And what’s the tangible benefits of me consuming all these herbal tea other than the fact that it was disgusting and bitter, right? And, and usually there’ll be like, Oh, this is good for you just don’t ask and, and I find that that was the way it was. It was for Chinese medicine. And certainly, even when Michael Phelps came, there were two perspectives and one on the actual science part, so people looked at soft tissue. And then the other perspective was the Chinese medicine perspective.
Andy Chan: I saw an opportunity there because I realized that a lot of people when it comes to friends, community, they’re misinformed about Chinese medicine. And so I decided to team up with a Chinese medicine practitioner to explore strength and conditioning and recovery in details from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine.
Andy Chan: And when we say in the book is, so now coming back to the topic of coaching our mental side of things, we explored a connection between our diet, our emotions and our training, because what we say is, is that as a person who’s striving for for better athletic performance or human performance overall, we cannot neglect the fact that everything is intricately linked. And yet, that’s what we are currently doing. Are most of us, many of us anyways, in the fitness industry. So yeah, there’ll be a central message. And that is the mental side, and training are intricately linked, which is also influenced by our diet.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I mean, couldn’t agree more. It’s all interconnected, I think the difficult part is, is that, let’s say, I’m 21 years old, I become a national academy, sports medicine certified personal trainer, I might have a background in the body, let’s say from a Kinesiology standpoint, but if I haven’t worked with people, yet, I don’t understand that mental side. And maybe I don’t have a nutrition background.
So I’m not really always able to integrate those things. So you have to sort of learn on the job and start working with people before you get all of those things. I think another big part of it I talked about this a lot too, is networking within the personal training community, right?
Having a registered dietician, or a chiropractor, or a, you know, Chinese medicine specialist, and all these different people who are interconnected in the community, who know those things better than us, so you can learn from them, and then help your client with those little tidbits of information. Did you have people that you learned underneath from some of those other things?
Andy Chan: Yeah, I think in the beginning, what is important is yes, definitely the network, because you always want to refer out if necessary, when something’s definitely beyond your scope. But but for me, I like to grab coffee with different people. And you know, sometimes I think it’s more of an ego thing, right? Where we’re afraid to just reach out to a physical therapist and be like, Hey, let’s grab coffee.
Andy Chan: But for me, I have no shame. So how would you reach out and say, agree, record, grab coffee? And what you’ll find is people love sharing their expertise. And so you know, for me, I grabbed coffee. Just two months ago, I was having coffee with a dietitian, and I asked her some questions. And, and so I would say, yes, I, I won’t say I learned from anyone specifically, because I do meet so many people.
Andy Chan: But to anyone listening, definitely. First of all, when you take the NASM courses, as someone without or with background, extra science, there’s a lot of information in that course. And it is only through taking more courses, that you can begin to even start to understand human body more, right. So. And then after that you want to network with different people. So you learn different insights, because everyone has a different way to go about it. That’s that’s what I learned.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, totally. And this is a question I ask everybody who’s interconnected in our field who comes on this podcast? So I’m not putting you on the spot. Ask everybody this. Okay. Well, how do you feel about people giving out nutritional information in sort of the new landscape of the online world? Because, you know, let me unpack that a little bit.
If from a National Academy of Sports Medicine standpoint, originally, you know, they say you’re not supposed to as a personal trainer, you know, you should be registered dietitian or certified nutrition specialist, somebody who has those certifications, degrees. But now, the National Academy of Sports Medicine gives out, like, you know, weight loss specialist, and certified nutrition degrees, but like specialties and all these different certifications, because they see the money in it, and they know where it is.
And you look on everybody’s Instagram, they’re all giving out this information. So it’s, it’s it’s tricky to me. I know. It’s very nuanced. But how do you feel about it? Do you give out specific information to clients about nutrition?
Andy Chan: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. Great, great observation. And for that reason, I try to stay away from social media as much as possible, because what I find is, you know, on the connection between mental side and body, we know that when we’re in this pathetic state, or when we’re in that fight or flight, it kind of stiffens up the body. So if I’m just on social media the whole day, you know, I get so aggravated that it just defends me up.
Andy Chan: And but on the topic of diet, for me, it’s a matter of principles. I think it is totally fine if we share our general principles. And and what you’ll find is, I believe that general principles go a long way when it comes to diet, because, you know, we’ve been eating for 1000s of years, and there has been dietary practices that has lasted this long. So for me, it’s principles and I’m against giving specific device specific advice, especially in the US, right? It’s so tightly regulated, if we’re in Hong Kong, for example, it is not as tightly regulated, and so people can give all the dietary advice they want without getting into legal trouble.
Andy Chan: But I think in the US, there’s got a good they have a good system set up and that is only qualified professionals can give relevant advice. And yet of course, in a linguistics society, people always have ways to get around that by by having a few disclaimer so for me, you I think that when ever, you’re giving advice that you’re not an expert on, you’re ultimately harming others rather than actually benefiting them. So just keep that in mind whenever you want to give them advice that you’re not an expert on.
Steve Washuta: I think it’s great information. And it’s the same thing that I echo to all the like young personal trainers that I’ve talked to. Because nowadays, they really want to delve into the nutrition side. That’s what gets a lot of the personal trainers into it, actually, you find them actually gravitating towards nutrition, but maybe they don’t have the money or the time or the maybe they just don’t think they can pass the classes to become a registered dietician.
So instead, they become a personal trainer, but then they try to handle people’s diets more than the personal training side. But eventually, you have to really leave those things like you said to the Registered Dieticians of the certified nutrition specialist, because for all you know, your client could have some sort of issue that is well beyond your paygrade. And like you said, you could be giving them bad information that’s a disservice long term to their, their health and wellness.
But let’s talk about some of those principles, like the law of thermodynamics, right? We understand that right? Obviously, calories in calories out those things you can pass on to clients, and I’m sure you do things like that. And then overall quality of food, right, we explain the differences in quality of food. And I think that’s okay, as a personal trainer. Do you agree? I definitely agree.
Andy Chan: I mean, if you look at human history, I would say that if we’re fresh and organic food, we’re going to be okay, because all the modern health problems, I’d say it’s it comes down to sugar, and sugar and sugar, sugar and lack of exercise. So if we just eat less processed foods, which means if you consume organic food, there’s only so much sugar in the in the food, right? So I think if we stick to just organic food, and stay away from all the fried food as well, I think it will go a long way. As you said,
Steve Washuta: Tell me a little bit about the health and fitness scene in Hong Kong, in China in areas surrounding there. What is the big differences or a bunch of major differences that you can see from sort of the American eyes culture of fitness and health? Or is there non Is there is there an overlap between the two?
Andy Chan: I think there’s a big overlap. Because, obviously, the fitness industry in America, it’s the gold gold standard. And it’s the benchmark for the rest of the world to see. But I will say the fundamental difference is the way people the perspective that people have on health and fitness. So if I can elaborate, let’s say if I’m working with a female, so in the US, people are all about having nicer physique, right? Maybe a tone, maybe better looking glutes, for the beach, or something right? Or more curvy, or just something a nicer body as like, aesthetically speaking.
Andy Chan: But in Hong Kong, people are afraid of that, because they think that by doing you know two sets of squats didn’t become like a Hulk. And I am sure there’s this demographic as well in the US, especially when it comes to female clientele. But I’ll say this is definitely more prominent in Hong Kong, right? I used to teach like group classes, sometimes eight classes in a row. And I, when I first became my fitness career, I worked at a law firm or woman or nine person, woman fitness center.
Andy Chan: So majority of the concern is, oh, if I do this exercise, is that going to make my hips super big? And I don’t want that. So I would say the beauty standard is a bit different. And the same with the guys. I think people don’t really want to be that jacked per se and ready. They want to be lean and have some muscles but not too over bulky, if that makes sense. So I think the overall it comes down to beauty standards and the way that people perceive what’s good looking?
Steve Washuta: Sure, no, I mean, that makes sense. from different cultures, you’re going to sort of appreciate different things, or tend to gravitate towards certain looks and aesthetics. But yeah, you’re like you said, there is certainly a portion of the demographic. I think it’s fading. I think, you know, there was a lot of women who originally thought I’m going to get too big if I if I left, right, and I’m going to bulk up, but I think the education is just there.
Now people know that that’s not the case, that there are guys who have been training their entire lives to get big and gain 20 pounds of muscle and they still can’t, so you’re not going to pick up a weight in two days and be able to do that. But what about from less of a vanity perspective? Let’s talk more about a health perspective. Are you dealing with people specifically you as a, as a personal trainer, who are older and aging? Do the people in the 50s and 60s and 70s? Where you are gravitate towards exercise? Or is this a new trend where you’re talking only about people in their 20s and 30s and 40s?
Andy Chan: While Steve, that is a great question. Yeah. I’d say that the spectrum is quite wide, certainly in my clientele up until I would say two years ago, most of my clients are under 49%. But over these past few years, as I as I’m growing in my reputation, I realized that the spectrum has gotten wider as more people is interested in working with me.
Andy Chan: But I would say the other spectrum was whites and everybody’s training, which is a good sign. But there’s definitely room for improvement in what to do. Because I think that that part is still lacking as a lot of people are still gravitating towards maybe bodybuilding type workouts and certainly we know that the fitness career or the fitness industry has has evolved into to different methodologies and different trains of thoughts.
Steve Washuta: Well, now that we’re here, he brought it up. Let’s talk about it a little bit, because I believe, before I even hear your answer that we’re gonna totally agree on this. I talked about this a lot in the podcast, there was sort of the 70s 80s 90s bodybuilding prescription of exercise, let’s do 1210, eight, six repetitions. Let’s keep increasing the loads all about hypertrophy, sort of moving in one plane of motion building muscle.
But now we know that ultimately, for long term health and wellness, it’s more about mobility. It’s about moving your body when you transverse plane, we need frontal plane we need we need to do more things to make sure that our shoulders and our hips are moving in all directions, right there ball and socket. And people like you, I think are are pushing that am I correct? This is what you believe in?
Andy Chan: Are you absolutely spot on. So in terms of the clientele that I work with in Hong Kong, currently, I 90% of my clients are golfers. And I know that that is a unique niche niche to get into, like I answered about three, four years ago and people would come in. And in the beginning, when I first started being in this niche, because I worked at declarable. We’re at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, one of the top clubs in Asia as a fitness instructor.
Andy Chan: And one of the concerns was that, oh, if I build a muscle, is that going to make my swing slow? Or is that going to slow and slow down my swing speed, or is that going to limit the range of motion that I have, because you know, bulky guys, they tend to not move very well. And usually I’ll tell them an illustration. And that is the fact that when you train your body to go slow, your body will go slow. When you train body go fast, obviously, you will go fast.
Andy Chan: In traditional bodybuilding workouts, you have to make the movements more inefficient, because it is too inefficient movements, that you can target specific muscles, they can make it grow. Yet, you know, if you look at the latest trends in exercise science in the way the fitness community is evolving, we’ll know that we have to train our bodies to move better.
Andy Chan: Because when it comes to a golf swing, if you’ve done any biomechanical courses, then you will know that the golf swing or any sport in that matter is all about utilizing the ground, right, I can move my body all I want. But ultimately, it’s all about how I interact with the ground. And inside the gym, if I want to do something that could translate to better performance, I better do something that one helps me move better, and to help me utilize the ground better.
Andy Chan: And usually, whenever I say this, they’re sold, because they’re like, Well, I’ve never heard of is, you know, whatever you do, just just get me start doing it. But the point remains, right, you know, people, they could work on the hips, and certainly for my golfers or for people who play baseball or tennis, they might be on the cable machine doing all these funky types of rotation.
Andy Chan: But Dr. Klein, so biomechanics, from tech school University, he will tell you, sometimes we get so focused into how our hips are moving, that we forgot that the hips is just an indicator of how we’re interacting with the ground. So the next time we look at a baseball swing, we look at a golf swing it other people tried to change the way they rotate. But ultimately, it’s how they’re using their legs. So that’s that’s what I tried to get across to the clients. It’s all about movement and how we utilize the crowd.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s great information, and to talk a little bit about that golf niche, and then work backwards and talk about the biomechanics. I think it’s one of the best niches to go into number one, golfers usually have a lot of money, and they’re willing to be and they’re willing to do whatever they can to, to spend. And when I say golfers I mean, I mean, the, you’re talking to your corporate types, right?
So your guys who are, you know, CEOs, or maybe they’re retired now, and all they do is play golf. So they’re spending 1000s of dollars on golf a year easily, right? They’re there. They’re members of all these high level clubs, they’re buying expensive equipment, they’re getting lessons and sort of the last moving piece and that is their fitness, right? You pitch that to them, say,
Hey, you have all these other things down. All you need to do to get a little bit better start working on your on the fitness portion and the biomechanical portion. So I think it’s a it’s a great niche to go into for a lot of reasons. And were you a golfer prior to going into this? Or did you sort of see it, how I saw it and say like, this is a great group of people to like, grab a hold of?
Andy Chan: Yeah, well, for about four or five years ago, I was. So, I used to I used to play a lot of soccer, I almost became a professional soccer player here in Hong Kong. Actually, that’s what led me to training. I realized this thing style I was doing inside the gym, was not translating to better performance because I was doing bodybuilding tech training and it slowed me down.
Andy Chan: And after I was done with that I didn’t get a contract. I was like, oh, I need to pick a new sport to get into. And at the time I had about one or two golfing clients. And you know, I was like I think we all know people who play golf. They’re crazy about golf. They’re like hooked and are addicted. And you know what, when I’m in Hong Kong, I’ll go on the subway and true story.
Andy Chan: Sometimes you just see these random people that are out there practicing they’re they’re swinging motion while waiting for the bus or the subway, and only people who play golf can relate and people who don’t play golf will think that he’s people are nuts and so on. was like What better way to understand it, than to actually take some lessons. So I took 20 lessons with a golf coach. Unfortunately, he wasn’t PGA certified. So I had, I still have bad fundamentals.
Andy Chan: So again, the important valuable lesson is, whenever you take lessons doesn’t matter the sport or fitness, I do it with a qualified professional, because I was led astray by fundamentals. But in a way, it’s good, because now I understand what bad fundamentals do for you, right. And ever since playing that, I love the sport. And then I wrote an email to clear away Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, telling them my qualifications, and they’re like, oh, yeah, definitely be left out. We’d love to have you on the team, worked there for three years. And now I’m working at another club.
Steve Washuta: That’s awesome. So tell me a little bit about your clients that are just general population. So somebody who is not a golfer, maybe they’re a weekend golfer, but they’re just coming to you for overall long term health and wellness and fitness and to lose a few pounds? Are you still doing a lot of these sorts of movement based exercises with them and sort of staying away from heavy weights? And talk a little bit about what you would do with someone in general population?
Andy Chan: Yeah, I remember once reading Mike Boyles book, and he talks about the 80 20% 8020 principle, and that is, you know, people always talk about all the specific exercises for sports, but in fact, 80% of people will do the same thing. So it’s just the 20% that is specific to the sport. And certainly, I think that’s the case for my clients, I think 80% of people will do the same move on base training.
Andy Chan: And sometimes that can be heavy that could be like, because, you know, heavier light is just a load that they have on. But I will say if, if, let’s say if I’m working with a client who is here for fat loss, and perhaps we’ll add in a view into for trainings as well, just to get a heart rate up, because I still think the heart rate is an objective, and it’s easy to measure our progress and the workload that we’ve placed on the body.
Andy Chan: So overall, yep, it’s still based on based training, but even then, I still do the big three and the Olympic lifts and, and you’ll be surprised, even my, even my 50 year old six year olds, we we tried to get them to do some holistic and some variations of Olympic movements. So
Steve Washuta: you know, I like how you hit on load. And you said, you know, well, sometimes I’ll you know, that’s a light load or heavy load. And I think, you know, what that gets to is that, going through all of the motions is the most important thing, the load is secondary, right? So push pull, hinge lunge, rotate, plank, when all these movements we have to get our body into whether you load that movement up or not, is client dependent, right?
It’s, it’s their specific anatomic, since their goals, it’s, it’s where they’re at in their sort of fitness, like, career, for lack of a better term, right, that’s when we decide the load we’re going to use. But the load should be secondary to making sure us as fitness professionals, get them moving in all directions.
Andy Chan: You’re absolutely spot on. And I think that’s also a misconception, especially when we work with an older clientele. Cuz let’s say if it’s just, let’s say, if I’m working with a golfer, again, because there were so many golfers and we just spend an hour doing rotational exercises, and we don’t even do something heavy, it might just be a rotation plus a punch on a cable, for example.
Andy Chan: And, and they’re what I’m in the back of my mind, I’m trying to teach them to generate force on legs. So they have to push off the ground transfer force through the core and then use their arms at the end. And obviously, I don’t tell them all these because it’s too overwhelming for us if we’re gonna claim to know, but then they’ll question Oh, why are we doing such lightweight?
Andy Chan: But I can tell you 10 out of 10 times after four or five weeks when the other patient comes in, there’ll be like, Oh, I’m actually moving better. And when they move better, they get better results. Inside the gym and on certainly on the golf course. So I think yet load is secondary. For me it is always can they mastered movement
Steve Washuta: first. Yeah. I mean, it’s efficiency of the motion, right? I’m I can promise you, I’m stronger than Floyd Mayweather, because I’ve weigh a lot more than him right away, I’m six foot I weigh 185 pounds. He is five, seven, and he weighs 140 pounds. But I can’t punch harder than Floyd Mayweather, although I do kickbox. Why? Because he’s way more efficient at the motion than I am.
He’s done. He’s thrown 3 million jabs before in his life. And it’s not because he’s stronger. It’s because of sort of the neural patterns and the connectivity. Of course, their strength involved in that right. He’s probably stronger for his size than the average person for his size. But I think that’s that’s a good way. I tried to describe what you just said to my clients is that. You know, smaller guys can punch harder.
And it’s not because they’re necessarily stronger. They don’t benchpress more. They’re using sort of the anatomical of their body. The neural connections that they’ve built up through 10s and 10s, of 1000s of repetitions.
Andy Chan: Yeah, and to kind of piggyback on that, one thing that I talked about in my book time of balance is that if you look at human movement, if you look at if you look across all sports, right, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, LeBron James, when, when they’re producing a lot of power, it’s almost like their movements are graceful because it is always in sync and in coordination and It’s always so elegant, and elegant, perhaps it’s not the word to describe a punch.
Andy Chan: But if you look at the way they generate force, it is beauty. And in that way, I would say that a clear a, an important and emphasis. I definitely put on movement is you have to be in the flow. You have to be elegant in the way you do things. Because if you just kind of choppy and chunky, then we’ll know that you’re not utilizing. Or you’re not maximizing what you’re supposed to do.
Steve Washuta: Totally, yeah, fluid is the word that I use. And when they’re nice and fluid. You can see that. I actually think, you know, as a as a trainer, it’s gotten me a lot of clients. What I mean by that is when I’m in the gym. I’m working out there are movements that I am very fluid at. I’ve done them whatever, you know, 3040 50,000 times. People can recognize that they just they know it, they see something there they see that movement. I’ve seen other people do that.
But that guy does that movement way better. There’s some there’s something about that movement that we just recognize in those patterns. And I don’t know what that is. I don’t know if it is a sort of an adaptation from an evolutionary perspective. But it is funny how, like you said, you just notice. When you know when Federer hits that surf. LeBron goes up for that dunk, or whoever it is Floyd Mayweather throws that punch. It just looks different.
Andy Chan: Yeah, and, and so I think when it comes to whatever sport you’re doing, even in Olympic weightlifting movements, right, people think that Oh, I might be doing clean and jerk with 200 200 kilograms over my head. But even when you look at them. They would say that the movements were poetic, because it’s all about me being in the flow being connected to the barbell and frosting it up.
Steve Washuta: So tell me a little bit about speaking and conferences and things like this. How did you get into this? I know you said that, you’ll just ask anybody out for a cup of coffee to learn anything. That there’s nothing you’re afraid of? I’m sure that’s, that helps being on stage. But did you were you asked to speak your first time? Did you kind of reach out to somebody? How did this all get started?
Andy Chan: Yeah, this all got started. When I was teaching group classes, so I actually work for the distributor in Hong Kong. And the distributor, they distribute NASM courses, powerplay, TRX, triggerpoint. Fibers, you name all the basically all the major fitness companies and auto form studio, the boss, the company that I work for, I still do.
Andy Chan: They, they’re the distributor for that. And at the time, one of the educators, she had to leave for health reasons. And, and so there was an open spot, there was a vacancy. But back then I was only two or three years into the industry. So I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t think that this would be the route that I would go. Because it is quite different to be teaching versus talking. Because it’s actually you know, being to being an educator, your job is to talk and communicate. And that’s never easy.
Andy Chan: So but then Kevin Rushton my boss, he asked me if I would like to attend a PowerPoint Master Trainer conference. And this happened in Bangkok, Thailand. And, well, you know, although you don’t really want to go in it. If someone offers you the opportunity, you’re not going to say no, that’s, that’s, that’s always been my philosophy, why not just give it a try. Because the worst thing I could do is fail and even failure, you know, there’s no big deal around it. And so I went to Bangkok. And I met these guys from power plate, and then different trainers from different countries.
Andy Chan: And I learned so much, and I had so much inspiration. And those were number one. Those trainers that powerplay sent, you know, they were educated, they were good presenters. And so they’re, they’re both knowledgeable trainers, and good presenters. That’s kind of where I have my inspirations on. I realized that some of the courses that I’ve taken press here in Hong Kong, these guys might be good trainers, but they’re terrible communicators.
Andy Chan: Because, you know, you sit there, you’re like, What am I learning, I’m falling asleep, and they’re just bragging about themselves. And and so I had a clear direction. Ever since then, in different courses that I teach, I do try to work on my communication so that it is more interactive. And I don’t become the very guy that I hate it.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I, I’ve been to so many of these certification courses. I’m also power plate certified. I have like every direct certification you can imagine. And the ones that stick with me aren’t the movements I’ve learned. It’s the presenters that were dynamic. That’s the certifications. I remember, it was one or two special ones. One was a TRX certification. And one was actually like an aqua class certification.
And I just remember how dynamic the instructors were teaching it. It’s not about the sort of anatomical things that I can read. It’s not about like, the positions, they’re telling me about their bodies. I can look at that stuff on YouTube. But you steal so many things from the presenters about not only how I can be better at presenting, but at being a fitness professional, because ultimately if you’re teaching group fitness, you’re always presenting, right because you have to be on and you everyone’s looking at you and it’s it’s important to to really hold the attention of everybody in the class. Yeah,
Andy Chan: and I can be honest here and sharing, you know, for a while after going to so of the company’s Tregs, powerplay triggerpoint national economy assessments on the MAS trainer for that company in for those companies in Hong Kong and for a while I still struggled I struggled with my identity.
Andy Chan: Because in the fitness industry certainly when I go out the street, I’m not the best looking guy I am not that big and and and sometimes you question whether there’s a place for me in the fitness industry. And and also you go on to the fitness community, and you see so many high energy innovative individuals, right? They might be like, so that the energy is just spot on. You know, for why to consider what’s what’s good for me.
Andy Chan: And certainly over the past four, five years, I find that on the coaching side, I know on the technical side, my niche is golf fitness, right. But on the coaching side, I really found that being a good listener. Just a good communicator, it really gets me a long way. So, you know, sometimes I had this two years ago, right? One of my, one of my colleagues, Anna, Jim, she, she was straightforward. She’s like, Oh, Andy, when I look at you, you’re not the most energetic guy. You’re not the best looking guy, how can we get so many opportunities?
Andy Chan: And, you know, at the moment, I didn’t appreciate the bluntness, because it’s like, I mean, he didn’t have to hurt me like that. But it seems like it’s, it’s good. Maybe she was genuinely interested in what she could do. But she just was just too much ego, essentially. And so I told her, Well, first of all, we talk too much. And I know that our job as a group, instructor is to talk a lot. But we also have to be prospective, perceptive to the environment, right? You have to gauge what do the participants want from me. And two, you have to make a connection with everyone.
Andy Chan: And even though I taught six, seven group classes a day, I try my best to remember people’s names and their habit. And we know that our minds work in association. So if I see Steve, now I parents keep up with golf. So even if I see you in five years, I’ll be like, how’s your golf? Just this one simple practice. We develop a connection, because then Now Steve, you know, I care, because I remember that you play golf. If you could do that, with every single client, this is a great. It’s a great starter, because then you develop that connection. And over over time, that connection turns into trust, and with trust, you can do a lot.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and it just again, piggyback on that point. I couldn’t agree more, I echo those thoughts. But you know, some of us are maybe not meant to do both. I think they’re not the same be striped personal training, and group fitness are a little bit different. So to have the skill sets, you Andy are obviously somebody who always tries to challenge yourself, right? You’re doing a lot in the fitness industry. You’re you’re trying to grow, you’re trying to be, you know, you’re a presenter on top of this, you obviously want to get better.
But for some people, they may have to just stick to one area or the other. When I say this is, I’m sure you’ve met these people before, who are just absolute geniuses, they can look at the body and say, I see knee valgus, I see your shoulders going forward, your pecs are too tight, right, you have cervical column issues, your neck is sticking forward, they’re almost like a physical therapist, but there’s something off in the sort of the personality realm, right, they just don’t have it. They’re not going to be great in group fitness, they’re not gonna be able to walk into a TRX class with 20 people and put on good music and get everything going.
That’s fine, because they can do assessments and they can be a corrective exercise specialist, right, there’s a route for them. Other people might just not have that brain where they can do all those things I just talked about, well, then group fitness may be more for you, if you don’t have that sort of corrective exercise mindset. You know, luckily for you, Andy, you seem like you have both, which is great.
And I think you found out though, sort of the hard way you put yourself in these situations and pushed yourself and I think that’s the only way for people to do it is to say, I have to do a little bit of everything. Let me do some group fitness, let me do some personal training. Let me go through these things and find out can I do all these? If not, let me go to towards the route where my skill sets are better served for long term success.
Andy Chan: I agree with you. And but I think we also have to know, we also have to pay more respect to the the outer fields, right meaning sometimes when when you’re in a commercial gym, you have the personal trainers, and you have to groom instructors, and sometimes they like to bash on each other by personal trainers, they think that oh, grooming standards, they’re just these energetical Yeah, five reps.
Andy Chan: And that’s, that’s the class. Well, the there’s so much skill set and art in motivating class. And on the other hands, the personal trainers tend to be more detail oriented tend to be more focused, more technical, and more scientific in a way. And so I think we’re instructors also have to recognize that it takes a lot of skills for a good personal trainer to develop, to deliver his or her session. So I would say that if there is more respect, there’ll be better than currently because people have this mindset of thinking, Oh, I’m just going to be a personal trainer, or I’m just going to be a group class instructor.
Andy Chan: But if we’re going to learn a bit more from both sides, if we can be more dynamic as an instructor, I think opportunities will come. And you’ll be surprised at what do you actually good at because, you know, I know I’m going off a tangent here, but on this topic of niche, people ask me all the time since I’m the educator, they’ll come out and be like, Oh, Indeed, should I pick my niche early on? Or what should I do? How can I? How should I go about picking my niche? I always refer them back to the book range by David Epstein.
Steve Washuta: I have it on my bookshelf love it. Yeah. Love it.
Andy Chan: It’s all about generalist, right? You look at all these athletes are these famous athletes. A lot of times you have to explore. Certainly in my personal story, I didn’t pick my niche until two, three years ago, which is five years into the industry. You don’t really know who walks into your door.
Andy Chan: And, like, for me, it just so happens that I’ve never had a bodybuilding client, which is absurd in a way, because, you know, it’s kind of weird. It’s, it’s uncommon in the fitness industry, for someone to not have some to not have clients with bodybuilding goals, but I just I haven’t had any yet. So what I suggest is those niche will come, but it’s only from you learning different things. At first, I didn’t want to be a group class instructor. But once you become a group, class instructor, you sort of learn of the formula, if you will. But that’s trial and error.
Andy Chan: That’s a lot of courses again, more money, but but then I’d say the returns are great, because you can be dynamic, and you won’t be bored as well. Because let’s say you’re a personal trainer today, and you are delivering like eight sessions a day, and you’re working six days a week. And at some point, you also want a different challenge. So yes, I would say that we’re naturally built for one or the other, depending on our personality, because personality has has a big thing has a big influence on what we do. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to try something new, because you’d be surprised by what you get.
Steve Washuta: Totally Yeah, you know, I have 25,000 hours of one on one personal training experience, and more if we’re including group classes. And I’ve never worked with someone in Olympic lifting. Why because I don’t really Olympic lifts. So when someone came to me who wanted those things, I sent them to someone else who was going to be better at teaching the SNATCH and things of that nature, right? Because they’re they’re not exercises that I do on a regular basis, I work with majority of my clients are seniors, I do work with a lot of golfers, but seniors are not the people are going to be doing Olympic lifting, right.
So anyway, so just to sort of add to your point where there’s going to be things that that we don’t do right away, it is good to do a little bit of everything, and then find your and find your niche. And and I think I know that sounds corny, but your your niche will find you. Because if you’re in the industry long enough, and you’re doing the right things, you’re eventually going to bump into the thing like you did that either fits you perfectly or it’s a time thing to it’s not just what do I love,
It also has to be a time thing because you can love something, but it might not be the best for your niece, because let’s go ahead and say You’re surrounded on an island where everyone’s golfing right, and your your niche is teaching ballet, you want to teach ballet, but you’re a National Academy of Sports Medicine, certified personal trainer, right? You also want to help ballet people, but there’s nobody in that area who does ballet? Well, you know, that’s, that’s not going to get you any money, unfortunately.
So sometimes it’s a timing thing. And then also, nobody regulated anybody to one niche. So you can start as a generalist, and then you could pick a path. But if that path doesn’t work out for you, it’s fine, right? You just go on and you choose another path down the road. And it’s been done many of times by many of people, and it’s no one’s gonna call you out that you changed your niche at some point.
Andy Chan: You’re right. And and I also want to encourage people to read more business books, because essentially, if we are offense instructor, yes, I know that we are meant to be health and fitness professionals. But at the same time, if we are trying to grow our brand as a fitness instructor, then all of his business and, and, and I think one of the common pitfalls that people fall into is this idea of stubbornness.
Andy Chan: Right? Let’s say if they have, let’s say, if they’re generalists, and they’ve picked a niche, like you just said, Steve, and, and they go into that niche, and they decide to teach ballet and the golfing Island. And the stubborn one will keep doing it, because they think that’s their niche, and that’s their identity.
Andy Chan: But the smart ones, you know, after giving it sufficient time, obviously, you have to try first, they will say this isn’t working out, they drop their ego, and they’ll say I’ll work on something else. So and, and I think this is more of a business sense than it is anything else. So I would encourage anyone to read more business books if they’re into developing their career, because I think it’s it’s invaluable.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And part of that, and this is a business technique is, let’s say you’re going to work in a particular place, right? I’m going to I’m just going to call it Bob’s gym, do some investigation on the front end, and see what they’re missing. And if it happens to also be something you like, well, then you can present that to them.
So for example, if you go in and you go, I see that you guys have no women only classes here at this place. Well guess what? I this is what I do. I teach women only classes that are directed towards women in their 40s. You know, and it’s like, okay, well, that’s the new sheepish. I think it’s important to investigate where you could potentially be working. And that’s from other perspectives too.
So you know, I’ve had people I used to interview people who would come in, and they would be like a different certification that everyone else had, let’s say everyone had NASA they would have ace or something. and they were sort of worried about that. They were like, oh, like, I’m sorry, like, I have a different, it’s like no, no, use that to your advantage.
Say, I bring a different perspective. I’ve learned different things and all these other trainers. So I can bring something new to the company, right? It’s all about finding a way to pitch yourself in a better light. It’s not You’re not lying, you’re not making this stuff up. You’re sort of manipulating what the situation is going on to be advantageous for you, which ultimately is going to help build your business.
Andy Chan: Oh, absolutely. Spot on, Steve, I think we try so much we try so hard to fit in. But again, if you fit in, you’re not gonna differentiate yourself from the others, right? So, you know, it’s like a lot of finishing doctors. They take the social media, they do all these generic ads and all these generic videos. But it turns out to be the same as everyone else. Why would they come to you? And definitely do the research.
Andy Chan: And if you can bring something to the table, that’s when you shine, and you just bring the same food to the table that everyone else already has. And no one’s going to, you know, want to eat it with you or eat your food.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. So let’s let’s talk about the books a little bit. I wrote a book called fitness business. More than once, right behind me, you have you have one book or two books. You have a book.
So tell me about the process and starting to write this book? Did you find it to be different than you originally thought it was going to be? Did you get stuck in some sort of like stalemates and periods? And have to continue? How long? Did it take just anything that comes to mind when writing this book? Yeah,
Andy Chan: time bonds took three years to write. Part of it, I think, was because I’ll have a busy schedule schedule. Because I have to work with a co author. If you have worked with anyone before. Then you know that working with with people in general is quite hard because of communication.
Andy Chan: And and I’ll say that the toughest part is that I work with a Chinese medicine practitioner who has a PhD in Chinese medicine. So she was very academically focused. Sometimes both of us when we’re writing will kind of, because because we’re so accustomed to the idea of school, so whenever we write will be like, Oh, how many pages or what do you want, but you know, when you’re writing a book, that just doesn’t apply, because you have to write as long as you can, as long as people understand.
Andy Chan: Right? So that could be two sentences, that could be two paragraphs, that could be 20 pages. So I think that was definitely a big, big challenge. One the length and two, because our book centers around Chinese medicine. So there are a lot of translation issues. And as a result, because of that, we take more of a cultural dive into the language of Chinese. Because we always think. Well, you know, for example, let’s say we use the word chi, right. It I think people are familiar with this word, but only the word because we don’t really understand the concept.
Andy Chan: And then people will take you to this whole, like, abstract concept of what she is. And so our job in the book is to just say. Well, actually, every word in Chinese medicine has two contexts. Or two, two meanings one a functional meaning two, philosophical meaning. So when it comes to chi, it is the energy currency, similar to ATP. But because people in China did not have lab equipment. That could have had to help them look at ATP, or blood sugar level, etc.
Andy Chan: So they use the word chi, on the philosophical side, there was more of a philosophy, because we’re talking about energy that sustains the body. So it is through this lens that we try to unpack all these concepts Because let’s say, if people are to buy coming, or to use cutting techniques, or if they’re to do acupuncture, if they’re to do any soft tissue work that is of Oriental origin. If they can only understand a Western perspective, I think they’re not getting the complete picture. And for me, the best health and fitness professionals are the ones who has a comprehensive understanding of different perspectives. So that’s, that’s what we tried to do.
Andy Chan: And but of course, to do this requires a lot of hard work than we previously imagined. Because then you end up explaining so many things. And well, let me tell you. When we first give the proposal to three publishers, they all say that our proposal was bad saying the word count was just not enough for a publication. But then, a year down the line, when we work with a developmental editor. Our book was twice as long as it should be.
Andy Chan: So it will be too volume, because we had too many too many words. So we had to cut it down. So you know, all that to say, I think, explaining another philosophy is super tough because of the translation. But at the same time, because we’re trying to educate the western audience into something that most people are not familiar with. Is rewarding, especially not hearing the feedback that people give.
Steve Washuta: That’s really interesting. So every Chinese medicine and health related word has two definitions. A philosophical one, sort of a more sort of like, direct practical one. Is that what you said?
Andy Chan: That is right. I mean, if you think about the Yang side. I mean, I always use that as an example being a sign that could be seen in you know, The most obscure places in America. And yet, you know, functionally just means the forces of opposite yet complementary, right? When we apply to training, it could just be a strenuous workout versus a recovery session, ying and yang.
Andy Chan: And those two are important. You can’t just say I’m going out sharing his workouts every day without no recovery. Because then your body would not be able to adapt. But yet it is also philosophical concept, because you talked about complementary, yet contradictory forces. So you know, you think of it that way. Then you find out Okay, so there’s both a practical meaning, and more of a poetic meaning.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, it has to be really difficult. Obviously, the book is targeted, you correct me if I’m wrong for, for Americans, right? And for for the West. Now, when you’re writing this, when you’re sitting down, are the editors looking at this? Like, are they are they like American editors who are looking at this. Saying, hey, we read through this book, we’re a little bit confused. Maybe you should change things? Or are these editors? Were they Hong Kong based?
Andy Chan: Yep. So a publisher is Greenleaf book group. They’re based in Texas, and we had four editors for our book. And none of them play sports. None of them have fitness backgrounds, which is great. Because not only are we explaining Chinese medicine concept to Americans. We’re explaining to Americans without fitness background, so you know.
Andy Chan: If they can understand our concepts, then then we’re confident that anyone could, because we’re able to explain to people who didn’t know what anatomy is, like, I remember, we would use some terms like quadriceps and there’ll be like, why using quadriceps is to expert level, this is to event? And we’re like, no, no, no. I can guarantee your quadriceps, it’s fine.
Steve Washuta: Oh, that’s fine. Yeah, I mean, I can only imagine what a trip that must have been going down there. Going down that path. But like you said, it’s all worth it. In the end, if you’re having good reviews. People are coming back to you and telling you how much they appreciate it.
And I’m sure you’ve learned along the process, too. Obviously, you’re working with a PhD in Chinese medicine, I’m sure. She taught you things that you didn’t think you were going to know. And your perspective probably helped her in ways that she didn’t know,
Andy Chan: that was spot on. And then I also want to encourage anyone listening to try out new stuff, right? I think a lot of times we’re frightened by the idea to write a book. And I know, Steve, you can attest to this as well. It’s not that hard once you put in the work.
Andy Chan: I mean, it is difficult. But of course you learn so much from it. That the experience in itself, regardless of sales, I mean, it might be great if they’re sales with it, but even without the sales vary, learn so much that that could carry over to everyday life. So, you know, if you’re listening, just don’t be afraid to try new stuff.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s a it’s a big issue, the trying new stuff, and then also sort of the imposter syndrome thing where people will get halfway there. And then they’ll stop because they’re afraid that, you know, that’s, it’s just not them, or it doesn’t look right.
You need to have the mentality that Andy has and say. I don’t really care if I’m just going to do it, I’m going to ask that person to go get a cup of coffee with me. And if they say no, they say no. And I’ll ask the next physical therapists. Because this is, this is just life and you only live once and try it if it doesn’t work out doesn’t work out.
Andy Chan: Yeah. And I always think we’re, we’re always one email away from the next big thing. And And certainly, if you want something, just send them an email, obviously, you want to you want to strategize, right? Like, for example, when I was asking for the endorsements for my book, so I was able to get a five time Olympian in writing endorsement for the book.
Andy Chan: And people be like, Whoa, that’s amazing. Did you know More personally, I said, No, it was just a cold email. And people, most people will be afraid to cold email someone asking for something because they think that oh, I’m asking for a favor. But if you just believe in yourself, believe in your product and just be a bit thick skinned and shatta Gize. The way you write that email opportunities will definitely come your way.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s sort of a story in The Four Hour Workweek. The Tim Ferriss book, I don’t know if you’ve read that. But he talks about how they he had some basically professor in one of his one of his Ivy League classes that said, there’s only one assignment for the year, you have to get the most famous person you can on the phone, and like record the message or something or get an email from them something like that, but you have to be so like, the whole class had to compete.
I think the grades were like, commensurate with how famous the person was. If you got you know, Oprah Winfrey, you you got an A and if you got some C level actress, you got a D. I forget, like, he got like Bill Clinton or somebody on the phone that like, you know, the American president. And it was one of those things where it’s like, you’d be surprised you know, a few emails in one direction you find a secretary or something or or like a friend of a friend who kind of knows them and then they put the right word in and before you know it, you get that phone call.
It’s no one else is trying and that’s the thing. The other thing and sort of the both the the high level sort of speaking world. Which your looks like you’re entering into, nobody’s trying to do that. Most people are afraid to speak. Or most people don’t want to do it. So you can get speaking gigs. very easily. Because it’s people aren’t trying to do this, especially if you’re not trying to charge for them, right?
If you’re like, Hey, I’m willing to come there. I’m going to put on this show and speak a little bit for your crowd. These are my credentials. And then you sort of build your portfolio. Like as an intern, and then before you know what you’ll get paid to speak. So,
Andy Chan: Yeah, and definitely don’t rush it. Right. When in the beginning, people often get so caught up on the pay. Like they think it’s professional to ask for, what’s the pay, let me see my availability. But you know, if you think about, if you’re on the other hand of the phone call. If you’re asking for an opportunity to give a speaking gig. You’re going to show that you enthusiast and you actually want to be there. So don’t get so caught up on the money. I always think that it will come eventually, if you do the right things.
Steve Washuta: What does Andy’s career look like over the next 510 1520 years? If you have it your way? Where do you think you’ll be? Are you going to continue training golfers? Do you want to do three or four different things? It looks like you’re a guy who likes to do a little group fitness. A little personal training, a little speaking. But you’re going to sort of narrow down and pigeonhole into one specific thing and health and fitness. Yeah, so
Andy Chan: I haven’t told anyone this, but I guess I’ll tell you, Steve, on the podcast, well, I guess anyone anyone could know now. So I’m looking into working with the former Hong Kong themed golf coach in delivering some strength conditioning programs. Because we’re looking to help high school athletes and getting scholarships for golf. And that’s on the table currently.
Andy Chan: So that’s why I’ve been doing all these golf biomechanics course, because I needed to kind of deepen my understanding a little bit more on the technical aspects of the swing. And that’s, that’s a project I’m actively working on. And personal training wise, I guess it’ll just be the same. I’ll probably do less group classes. Because I felt like, I feel like as H comes, you know, I have, I just don’t have the energy or as much energy to do it, especially to the standard that I would like to do, given that I’m not the most extroverted person on earth already.
Andy Chan: So, and also, I have a 16 month kid, so I do want to, oh, thank you, thank you. And so I do want to do my personal training and, and stuff. So definitely, that personal training. And five years later. Hopefully, I’ll have another course on coaching, because that’s, that’s my next passion that I want to provide a book to a course on. Because I think that there are not enough good communicators in the fitness industry. If we can train up better communicators, then I think the industry will progress forward. Ultimately, that’s what my passion is. That’s what I tried to bring to the table.
Steve Washuta: That’s fantastic. Andy, let my audience know where they can find everything about you. From websites to IG to anywhere else that’s best to find you and your book.
Andy Chan: Sure, so my book direct bounce is available. Everywhere books are sold. Amazon, Barnes and Noble Hudson, I see that’s even in target now. target.com. That’s good if you have a target reward card, and my Instagram is teach you, Andy. My first name to Z CHR, you and Andy. And then my website is youtube.com. So after reading. I bounce or if you have any questions in regards to the way I train or just career development, feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you.
Steve Washuta: I’ll have the links to the book, as well as the website and the IG and everything else that Andy just mentioned. I guess today has been Andy, thanks so much for joining the podcast.
Andy Chan: They rang me, Steve. Thanks for
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.
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