Outdoor Training, Starting a Fitness App, and Tips with Trainer: Dan Elwood
Guest: Dan Elwood
Podcast Release Date: 2/10/2021
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the truly fit podcast. I’m your host, Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and ultra Fitness Business 101 on today’s podcast, we had Dan Elwood, who is the co-founder of the momentum strength and wellness app, which is affiliated with fit calm. He’s going to describe all of that for you and much more.
Dan was a collegiate football player and has been involved in fitness his entire life, he’s going to give us the 411 on what’s going on in fitness in his area in California, as well as again, an overview of his app momentum, strength, and wellness. with no further ado, here’s Dan. Okay, we have Dan, thanks for being with us here. Let’s give us a quick bio on you first, personally, not your business, but how you got into fitness and where you’re from and things of that nature.
Dan Elwood: Okay, well, first, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it. But yeah, so I grew up on the east coast. And so start there, I grew up outside of Boston. And my introduction to fitness would be through athletics. So this is kind of a normal story that you’ve heard before.
But you know, probably somewhere around the time, but actually starting to go back to like being like eight or nine I was that kid doing like doing push-ups every night before bed, I was, you know, kind of obsessed with performance.
And also like everything, probably from that point through college was, you know, performance-based, bigger, stronger, faster, but kind of got obsessed with fitness in general.
So, I’ve been training myself pretty consistently, since I was like 14, and after like, you know, years of messing around, and just like in, you know, push-ups and curls, started getting into like trying to really put on weight as a football player played football in college at Northeastern Boston. And then, I guess, as my football career ended, fitness stayed a part of my life, obviously, and it was, you know, kind of slowly transitioning toward longevity, and, you know, feeling better moving better.
And then cast slowly realized along the way, that is what I wanted to be doing professionally as well, not just for myself.
So when from, you know, giving a few friends here and there fitness tips to deciding I definitely want to be working in this field moved out to Elisa and my girlfriend, who she’ll definitely come up during the conversation. But the two of us moved out from Boston to San Francisco, about six years ago.
And when I got there, it was definitely the perfect time for a new start. And that was, you know, when I started when I got certified as a personal trainer, I started doing it professionally. That’s where I’m at, we’re down in LA now.
So after about a year and a half, we moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but the fitness thing didn’t change. So that’s sort of been an obsession throughout my life. And you know, it’s a big part of who I am and what I do.
Steve Washuta: Nice man. Yeah, I tell a lot of young trainers who I mentor, that, you know, just by the way in the means of athletics, whether you know, you’re somebody like you who is who had College Athletic experience, or if you’re somebody who just, you know, as you know, stopped after high school.
You already have a lot of the experience and skillsets, maybe even unknowingly, to have a personal training business you understand, you know, dedication to your body, you understand sort of obviously like stretching and Kinesiology and nutrition or you’re going through all of that in sports on a regular basis.
It’s the term I use is if you have like a jar, and every time you have an experience related to like health or nutrition, you’ve you put one marble in that jar, your jar is already half full just from being involved in athletics.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, I think that’s a great point is saying and I think a lot of people don’t realize that they made grown-up playing sports and don’t realize that they were putting marbles in their jar just as a health and wellness you know, longevity. Just like a healthy way of being like they have the basis their foundation is there.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, they’re not I think that’s the scariest thing if you’re like career transitioning is you think you’re starting over. And in some instances in other careers, you are like if I if today I wanted to become an artist, I would be starting over because I have no experience with art whatsoever.
But I think for a lot of people who want to career transition into becoming a trainer or yoga instructor or something to that extent or you know, some sort of group fitness. If you have been a lifelong athlete. You’re already halfway there. You have some of the skill sets in order to transition that way.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, absolutely.
Steve Washuta: So that’s cool. You played football at Northeastern, I have a lot of buddies who played football. They’re there. They’re a little bit older. Actually, I shouldn’t say buddies. They were coaches of mine when I was in high school. So now they’re in their, their late 40s. But yeah, they played there. And then, you know, I had friends who played I guess you would say in that in that same division, so you know, against Northeastern.
Dan Elwood: Oh, cool.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. Okay, so let’s go into obviously, the pandemic and everything that’s going on, you’re out there in California now. And do you do outdoor training as we speak? What’s going on? Is that is that the only training going on?
Dan Elwood: Yeah, that’s it. Like, once gyms were shut down in March, that’s pretty much been what had to happen. So there’s definitely kind of stay on the balls of your feet adapt and then adapt again when the rules change. But for the most part, it’s been either you know, private training in people’s homes and training people in parks and you know, finding a leg so definitely, you need to be a little bit more creative.
You don’t have access to all the all equipment they have to find ways to make the weight seem heavier, make the workout seem like it. Like it’s doing the job. But yeah, mostly the in-person stuff I’ve been doing has been, you know, in parks and in people’s driveways. And in people’s living rooms, that kind of stuff is a little bit over like online training.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and then you got to get creative. I’m with you. I’m doing a lot of the same. And I’m in Oklahoma City, the rules aren’t as stringent but I, I just prefer when I’m working one on one to be working with these people in garages and outdoors, and things of that nature, just easier safety-wise and yeah, absolutely. not having to worry about the, you know, the extra regulations of GM.
I know a lot of the facilities out here the trainer’s workout, have, you have to almost like save your space and like rent time. And that’s, that’s an issue. So if a client, who you typically work with at four o’clock says, You know what, I’m going to be running late and we do 4:30 you’re like, Well, no, we can’t because I reserved four to five.
Dan Elwood: Exactly. Yes. Going into the park gives you a little bit more. A little more freedom in that aspect. Yeah, yeah. That’s for sure. Yeah. So it’s been great to get people done.
Steve Washuta: Do you see Do you have your own weights? Are you traveling to these locations with like, a car full of fitness toys?
Dan Elwood: Yes. Yeah, that has become my life. So now it’s a trunk full of, you know, dumbbells and steel bases. And you know, got a Bulgarian bag, sandbag, and just a band. So I just have an assortment of things in my trunk. And I’m like a traveling gym now. Yeah, I don’t know if it’s been working.
Steve Washuta: I don’t know if you found this out that way. But here, the weights have almost become like their own currency. Because this is just my kind of vague assumption. I’m not I haven’t looked into it. But I think because of the pandemic, a lot of the weights were made in China, and then production got stopped and so did shipping. So they’re like weights coming over here.
We’re not coming quickly, right? So they were not only bought out on Amazon because people couldn’t go to set gyms or facilities but then they weren’t getting sent over here.
So there was like a big stop-gap in between, like when people had bought all the weights and like when we were getting the next shipment we being united states so I was looking for weights like on you know, Facebook marketplace and like all these different apps and they were like three or four times the amount used weights of what they usually are.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely there’s definitely some scavenging for whatever you can find and you know, and luckily, unfortunately, a bunch of gems went out of business around here.
So that was able to have like almost like yard sales for some fitness equipment and buy dumbbells you know secondhand for way too much money but you do it you have to do and you evolve and get everything together so you can keep your clients happy and keep getting the results.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, no, that’s right. I’m with you. There it’s been a wild ride and I’m sure you much like me, and almost every other trainer now has to have some sort of dual business model whether you’re already fully built out to be online or you’re thinking about going online or you just dip your toe in the water everyone’s doing it it’s the way of the future.
I don’t know if there will ever be another way to not have a piece of your business online. I know you’re one of your businesses at least is a momentum strength wellness. Can you tell us about that and then how that’s tied to online fitness.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, so so momentum, strength, and wellness are This is myself and Elise, who’s my girlfriend of 15 years now. So we ended up, I was saying before like fitness is just such a part of our lives, that it is just kind of became natural to that we both want to get into that field and help people not make the mistakes that we made, and you know.
Try to help people show the way a little bit and we started momentum strengthened wellness a few years ago, and then we launched our app at the start of the year, last year, so we were, we had the app L and it was kind of it was there.
When the pandemic hit when the gyms closed, so we were kind of established a little bit, but there’s definitely been all of a sudden, we need to rush and get a lot more, a lot more content on there a lot more programs. But through our app, we have.
I think right now there are about 15 programs that you can choose from so there’s, you know, something for everyone, it can be like a bodyweight beginner program or something you could do in a full gym, there are programs with kettlebells.
There are also some breathwork exercises, there are guided meditations. So we really want it to be you know, everything like basically, they say like having a personal trainer in your pocket. So you can just take out your phone, pull up either a random workout or follow the program that you’re on.
There’ll be something there for you, you know, whatever you need, whatever your goals are, whatever your fitness level is, there’s something for you.
And we want it to be sort of as seamless, as you know, it would be like working with us.
So we do. So we have the app program, the app as part of our business. And we also do, you know, one on one online coaching, at least as a nutritionist, so we also do online nutrition coaching.
And then like I was saying before there is if you are in the Hollywood, Los Angeles area we do in-person coaching, both in nutrition and fitness.
Steve Washuta: Wow, that’s really cool. And yeah, I think that’s great that you have that, you know, all-encompassing approach, because it obviously is important, it’s tougher. For me, as you know, as a personal trainer, sometimes not having the ability to help my clients, while of course, I can refer them out to people, but not having the direct ability to help them with things like nutrition, because it’s sort of a No, no.
And amongst my certification or No, I am not, you know, well-schooled and, and some of the other things that surround it like, like meditation. So it’s, you have this more like holistic approach.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, holistic is a great way to put it, that’s very much you know, who we are with the lifestyle that we live the lifestyle that we’re trying to share. And so I say all the time like everything is everything, you can just learning how to breathe better is going to help with your digestion, it’s going to help with your workout, it’s going to help with lowering stress, sleeping better.
And then every one of those things touches everything else that you’re doing. So kind of the more, the more you can bring everything together, the better. And that’s been our goal through the app and through our coaching.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that makes sense. Can you give me some more insight into the app? As far as like, did you are this app affiliated with other programs? Did you have this app designed from the bottom up? How exactly does that work from a technology side?
Dan Elwood: So we worked, we partnered with a company called fit calm that they took, I guess, to back up a little bit, at least and neither of us has really any ability when it comes to programming or writing code or the computer, I can barely use my phone.
So we found this company fit calm that we’re a partner with, they have the platform ready to build apps for trainers. And then what we did, we uploaded hundreds of videos of like workout demonstrations. So we have our own library of exercises that we want to use.
And then with those exercises, able to plug them into workouts and then plug those workouts into programs. So it’s all me like all of the exercises are me demonstrating. So I know that you know it’s not close to what I want, it’s exactly what I want. And then I was able to put together workouts in the way that I would train somebody and the way that I think people should be moving so I’m making sure you know everybody’s using, you know, the whole body rotating, they’re using your back it’s not all just bench pressing curls.
So trying to do really good quality programs, where every exercise has the demonstration right in front of you so you can do it well. You know, as close to me being there with you as I can do. But they made it fit calm. The company made it very easy and I’m really happy with the app and with the quality. It’s subscription-based, so it’s 9.99 a month and I know that if you get that subscription, you’re getting way more value than the cost?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, yeah, that seems it seems like it’s, it’s a fantastic value for all that’s provided, I can tell you as somebody who has done his own workout builder programs that they are very time-consuming. And yeah, so So to give that to somebody, the ability to see all of that is, is well worth it. I know, at first for our platform and application I had subbed it out and had somebody else do a workout builder.
And that was a mistake because much like you said, there, there’s a lot of things in fitness that are objective, and there’s some that are subjective. So there are different movements in which I just don’t agree with the form and the way in which they demonstrate said movement. And again, we all can, we can argue to the end of time on certain things. But it’s just important that you have your way and that you believe in your way for your clients and to have someone else demonstrate in another manner is not helpful.
Dan Elwood: But Exactly. It’s not, it’s not the energy we want to bring to us, I don’t want to put out a program that I don’t have 100% faith in. Because I want to share that faith with people too. I want people to know, know that they can trust me if they’re doing a program that I wrote, it’s going to be good. And that’s sort of what I want. That’s what I want people to take away from it. So when really stand up if it’s just so true, like somebody else’s program that I’m just sort of like I do this. So is everything through the app is very much us in our beliefs in our practices.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, so going back to the training on-site now, when you go to these parks in these areas, and they just like crowded with people, do you is it? Do you feel like other trainers are also kind of mirroring the same thing? They’re just doing outdoor training right now?
Dan Elwood: Yeah, it’s definitely I would say there’s a there’s like a community of people that are all working out. So I think a lot of people use the pandemic and the gym closing as an excuse to not have to train. And then you can see very clearly that people that didn’t, and it’s it makes for a really nice community like it, I wouldn’t call it crowded, but there’s a lot of people around.
But I like I think it’s good for everybody to be in. Be in a crowd of people that are not necessarily I don’t want to say like-minded because it’s good to have different thoughts, but it’s being surrounded by people who want to do better, and want to be healthier, is good for everybody. And I think it does make for a really nice atmosphere where there’s a good amount of people working hard and training hard in the parks. So yeah, I do think it is. There’s a lot of people, a lot of people that have sort of transitioning out of the gym and more into training outside training in open spaces. And I think that’s a good thing. And I think it’s better, it’s better for the community. It’s better for everybody.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I’m with you. And I personally, I miss being around other trainers, not just, you know, clients I’m still working with but having the unfortunate, you know, lack of connection with other trainers right now due to everyone kind of training off on their own. Yeah, I miss that dynamic about, you know, bouncing off just ideas with other trainers, or obviously, it’s, you know, it’s always important to, like steal movements from or, or even just, you know, as you get older to teach other trainers what to do and what not to do and having that camaraderie amongst the profession. It’s, it’s tough not to have that fully right now.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, we all do better. When we all do better. It’s simple. So it’s like, the more you can help each other, the more we can learn from each other. The growth just keeps going in the right direction. I think even like, having clients bringing clients into that atmosphere is good for them, too. So it’s better, it’s better than going to someone’s house necessarily if they can come and see that. Yeah, every other people are working too and, and you can learn from people and be inspired by other people. Because along the way,
Steve Washuta: have you had any issues with online training? Something? Anything from you knows, visual issues to people not taking it seriously? Or maybe, maybe some positive things you weren’t expecting when you started the online fitness journey?
Dan Elwood: Um, yeah, I mean, there’s definitely I think anytime you’re transitioning into something new or changing the way you do things, there’s definitely a learning curve. So I would say it did take me a little while to figure out the best way to train people, you know, in their living room over like a zoom call. It makes it a little bit, it’s a little more complicated. I look like I really like to demonstrate things but also like sort of getting in there. It’s like it’s good to be able to just move somebody or you know, if somebody is doing bent-over rows, for example, and they’re not really feeling it, you can just sort of touch Somebody’s lap might press on a little bit.
So you should feel this here. And then they can get that mind-muscle connection immediately from the touch. And then you kind of take away the ability to touch the ability to move somebody, and it has to be more descriptive language and demonstrating from afar, it makes it a little trickier. But it’s, it’s also at the same time, it’s like learning a new skill set and getting better, it’s like 360 degrees of growth, you can always get better at something else. So I think in the long run, it’s made me a better trainer.
And I can and there are things I can take to my, in-person clients that I picked up, you know, from, as a language standpoint, that helps. But it’s it is, you know, it’s never really, it’s never the same as being there with somebody one on one and the atmosphere. Like, it’s a lot harder to bring energy to a session when you’re just, you know, on your iPad. But it’s, it’s, it’s worked out, and I feel like people, I see clients getting great workouts and even, you know, with limited equipment, and, you know, online, it’s working.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and I think even if it’s unknowingly having the sports background helps with the queueing variables and having more ways to cue things because it’s just innate In sports, the coaches have to do it, the players have to do it, you have to find ways to describe things and use kind of analogies. In describing positions, even in football, if you’re a DN you, you know, you have to use rip moves and swim moves, you know, right, that’s describing an arm position in another sport that you’re trying that you’re moving into this sport. Right. So I think that’s the cream rises to the top, eventually, these trainers have to find ways to, to train online and do it properly. And, and verbal cueing is certainly a way, to get that going.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, absolutely.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. So I wanted to give you some, just a 411. Because I don’t think I have about our platform truly fit. So truly fit essentially, is I wouldn’t say like a mind-body. But people have compared it to that where you can host your classes, our business on it from like an enterprise level, there’s a point of sale system and things of that nature. But it’s more catered towards individual professionals, where if you’re an individual professional, you can jump on, make a bio, host your schedule, and then people can sign on, you know, virtually, to your classes, or they can sign up for your onsite classes, right. It’s just a way to host your schedule.
And, and, and sort of like, I guess you would say some people when they first asked like, Okay, well, like, why would I just do that on my Instagram page? Like, why would I? Why do I need your site to host the stuff? And the reason is, is because the number one complaint about personal trainers is like, I don’t know how to get clients, especially for new personal trainers, like, where do I get clients. And the whole purpose is that we drive clients to the site, we handle all the payments, right? They sort of were like the third party payment system, they come on, they pay us. Like, let’s say that they pay $100 that gets them 10 credits.
And maybe Dan is a dynamic stretch class that he charges two credits for, which is $20, right? But you have 100 people sign up for that class for that 8:30 am, you know, half-hour class, it’s like, okay, I want a half hour I just made, you know, $2,000 or something. So, now, that that would that’s obviously not, not for everybody, not everyone’s gonna be able to do that right away. But it gives you the scalability aspect that some other online training doesn’t have.
And ultimately, the goal is just to help personal trainers. So it’s not really in competition, necessarily with anyone else, because we’re free, and you host your schedule on there. And if people sign up and you want to teach that virtual class, great, and if for some reason, you know, you work on other platforms, if you work on momentum, strength, and wellness, you work somewhere else, like that’s also fun, you know?
Dan Elwood: So, yeah, that seems really cool. I think it’s, it’s, it’s a concept that I think is, you know, has to happen right now we’re giving people a platform where they can keep, keep working, keep helping people and then giving clients a platform where they can come find sessions that aren’t necessarily available where they are, it’s hard, it’s hard to find a good class or it’s hard to find a good trainer. When gyms are closed, and people don’t really have that connection that they were having. So it’s, it sounds awesome. Sounds like a great program.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And you know, there’s, as you know, trying to solve a bunch of problems all in one is just important like you tried to solve you’re solving, like a whole fitness in a holistic approach, right? People don’t have one place to get their meditation and another place to get some nutritional advice and another place to get some cool kettlebell workouts, they can get them all, you know, through your app.
And that’s, and that’s, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do in another sense for like a trainers business standpoint is like, Okay, if you want to run your trainer business, you don’t have to, like, have your profile as just your Instagram page, and then use like, your own personal swipe account for hosting this part. And then you have to have your schedule over here. It’s like, well, this is it’s all in one place for you.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, that’s great.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. So give me where you think fitness is going to be? In two years? Do you think this makes a complete turnaround? Are we back, to where we were? Do you think online fitness is going to completely override, do you think it’ll be a 50/50 thing?
Dan Elwood: There’s definitely going to be some sort of balance to it. The online stuff isn’t going anywhere. And I think it’s, this is done nothing but make the online training stuff better, I think people have been sort of forced to go, go and prove that go add online content. So I don’t think there’s any reason for that to go away, I do think it’s almost a great, it’s a great opportunity for the fitness industry. Because when you really look at the fitness industry, I don’t, I don’t want to, it’s been bullshit. It’s been this sort of like you think of like the big box gyms.
And basically, just the whole fitness industry has been selling people on the idea that they aren’t good enough, and that they need this product to fix that. We’ve been like, you know, speaking for, at least myself, and you know, what we’re trying to do with momentum, strength, and wellness is sort of the complete opposite of that. To let people know that they are so much, they’re capable of so much more than they realize that they’re so powerful and that if you can just kind of love yourself and take care of yourself in all aspects, that’s going to work out.
But it’s not about feeling bad about yourself. So you go spend an hour on the treadmill, it’s about loving yourself. So go spend 30 to 60 minutes in the park, improving your capabilities as a human because that’s going to come back into every other part of your life.
And I think as ideas like that spread, and the big gyms that just sort of want to get you in the door to forget about your $20 membership, and to just collect money, why people don’t show up and don’t get results is ending. And I think that because people are forced to become more creative, to take their training either online or into the parks and go to people’s homes.
I think the industry as a whole is going to get more personal, I think the community is going to grow. And I think as I said, there’s going to be some sort of balance between in-person and online. But I think what people need in the community, a community of healthy people that want to get better. So we can kind of show each other what’s possible and inspire each other and help. So I hope that kind of answers as well. Little all over the place.
Steve Washuta: But no, no, that’s totally right. I mean, just you know, add to that, I think, you know, the as you said, the box gyms who you know, charge $12, and you think you’re getting a deal.
But the problem is you never go I give the I call it the hot dog. flim in Yon, where if you buy a package of $1 hot dogs on sale and you buy a flaming neon, you’re going to eat that filet. It’s not bad, because you know what you spent on it, and you know that it’s, it’s well worth it, right.
But that typically that packets of $1 hotdog, not that I eat hotdogs, but they’re, they’re going to sit in your drawer and they’re going to rot and you’re gonna eventually find them two months later, and you’re going to throw them out.
And that is like the $10 Fitness membership, right? You never use it. Because you know, you’re not paying a lot of money as opposed to even if you’re paying a little bit of money $20 a month for an app 25 30 or you’re paying for a personal trainer.
You that’s upfront in your mind, you’re like okay, I’m dishing that money out my body is important to me, my social life’s important to me my getting this getting the proper hormones firing and making sure that I’m expending energy so that I’m you know, not angry or sad is important.
And then people go out and they and they spend the money on themselves maybe a little bit more than they would in a boxing gym. But they get more out of it.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. So much more. And definitely, definitely get your money’s worth out of it as opposed to Yeah, just that $20 comes out of your bank account but you kind of forget it without or $12 or everybody’s fighting over whatever it is $11.99 If the price keeps dropping, but you’re still wasting that money and the gyms stay in business based on people feeling bad for themselves training for a month, or a week and then quitting.
I think that the new paradigm that we’re seeing is going to be a lot less on taking advantage of people and more on building a community of healthy, like-minded people. And it’s going to be so good for the entire community and good for the world.
Steve Washuta: I couldn’t agree more. So let’s tell people where they can find momentum, strength, and wellness, whether that is the app or your Instagram or anything else.
Dan Elwood: Yeah, so I think this, we’re probably most active on Instagram @momentumstrengthwellness. And then you can find our app, either, you know, through Instagram, or, you know, just through the app store, Apple or Android, we have one for each. You can find us on Facebook, it’s momentum, strength, and wellness everywhere. We have a website momentumstrengthwellness.com. I think the best place to find this is probably on Instagram, and you’ll get a really good, really good feel for who we are, what we believe in what we’re trying to share, and then go from there. You can find the app at the epic, I promise will be worth it. It’s got great programs on there.
And you can definitely get what you need out of that and it’s constantly growing to we’re always updating, adding new programs is definitely something for everybody.
Steve Washuta: Awesome, go check out momentum, strength, and wellness. Dan, thanks for coming on. And I’m sure we’ll talk soon.
Dan Elwood: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
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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