Fitness + Health + Wisdom + Wealth

Training Dads: Considerations & Helpful Hints with Michael Ashford

Guest: Michael Ashford

Podcast Release Date: 2/17/2021


Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.

Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast. I’m your host, Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s podcast, we speak with Michael Ashford. Michael is the host of the fit dad fitness podcast. He also owns Specifically, he works with fathers.

Micheal has a really creative approach where he takes what I would consider a zoomed-out psychological approach and brings up the question with fathers.

What are you willing to give up on the front end, as far as your time and your energy, your effort to make sure that you are healthy and happy on the back end to be able to help your children now?

Do you want to travel across the country to watch your daughter play soccer? Or do you want to be able to get down on your knees and get up off the ground very quickly to play with your grandchildren?

Well, that takes effort now on the front end to ensure you can do those things on the back end. So Michael takes that approach.

From that perspective, he works with his clients again, and I think that is fantastic. He’s gonna go into depth on different nuances of his business. I love his perspective. with no further ado, Michael Ashford.

All right Michael Ashford thanks for hopping on the Trulyfit podcast. I’m going to throw it straight to you. Let’s give the listeners a background a bio on you, and a fitness-specific bio on how you got into fitness from the get-go and what exactly that means for your career right now.

Michael Ashford: Sure thing. So first off, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Always good to connect with another podcaster. My background in fitness let’s see… Growing up and all through high school and even after college, I was a runner, a distance runner. I ran cross country and track in high school and that was kind of my thing.

Interestingly enough, my dad and both of my uncles on my dad’s side, all growing up, were competitive bodybuilders they’d been weightlifters my entire life.

Every now and then I went to the gym and dabbled in it. I even had as a teenager, a weight set in my bedroom.

Michael Ashford: It just collected clothes, right, just collected dirty clothes. I never really was that serious about weightlifting and resistance training. But I was a runner, and I loved it. You know, admittedly, I was a pretty darn good distance runner. So that certainly helped as well. But I’ve repeated this story many times. So I’ll keep it short.

In 2012, I saw a picture of myself and I had a traditional or typical endurance athlete’s body very skinny little muscle mass just didn’t end didn’t look super healthy.

I really wasn’t I was relying on good genetics at the time, you know, I was thin, even some would use the word skinny. But I was just getting by on good genetics, I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was eating. I’m from the Midwest.

Michael Ashford: So lots of fried food, lots of casseroles, lots of butter, lots of you know, unhealthy stuff, or just about every meal very, very carb-heavy, not quite as heavy on the protein side.

So I saw that picture of myself and just said, You know what, I’m a dad, but now, I’m a husband, I’ve got people who are counting on me to be around for as long as I can possibly affect.

Michael Ashford: So I made that decision back in 2012, that I was going to work on myself. I did and for whatever reason, I said that the gym is where I’m going to make this change. It wasn’t going it was no longer going to be running. I didn’t again, guys are visual creatures.

So I didn’t really like the fact that I had no muscle tone and going back to what I knew growing up to get muscle you go into the gym and that’s where I went.

Michael Ashford: After a while. you know you get this itch, you get this bug to help others know what you know. Once you begin to see the benefits of going to the gym and working out and living a healthier lifestyle. Whether you like it or not, we are people who do work out and exercise and train our bodies. It’s hard to shut us up, right? I guess it’s hard to get us to not talk about lifting and fitness and exercise and nutrition. You just want that for other people because you know, now you know how good you feel. In 2016 I became a certified personal trainer. I started training a few people here on in person here in the Denver area where I live.

Michael Ashford: I also started an online fitness business called fitdadfitness. I really focused on that dad who is busy, who has a job, who has other commitments, and responsibilities, and wants to take care of himself, much like I did back in 2012. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four and a half years now, this is not my full-time job.

I am the Director of Marketing at a software company here in Denver. So this is definitely a side project, passion project, hustle project, whatever you want to call it. I just want to help dads, man, that is really what my heart wants.

Steve Washuta: I think that’s a fantastic niche to be in. I’ve really haven’t noticed that is something that people have jumped on.

I think you’re way ahead of the game here by hopping on and helping the dads because you know, nowadays, too, I think, you know, as fate might have for you, maybe transitioning to doing this full time, with people working from home, they are even more sedentary and they need that extra push to do things.

Also, if gyms are closed in your particular area, which they are all across the country, you need to be innovative and creative. Chances are you need to reach out to a certified personal trainer, or a group fitness instructor so that you have ideas on “How do I get fit? What exactly do I do? Where do I go?”, and then also, you need someone to hold you to that to those workouts, right?

Because it’s not as if you’re going to these big group fitness classes and you’re paying all this money in advance and you’re like, “Oh, I already paid $300 for like Susie’s yoga month”. It’s like no, you set a time right at whatever 6 pm to work out. But are you going to do the workout?

Michael Ashford: You are absolutely right, Steve, like there was all of a sudden a very clear need for people to reach out to an expert or someone who knew how to properly program, a workout or training regimen. Because so many people just go to the gym and bounce from machine to machine or they follow what the big guy is doing right.

Michael Ashford: When the gyms closed down and you no longer had that social situation, you no longer had that ability to just go and work out with 50 different machines in a big box gym, for instance, people understood like, oh, shoot, like, I don’t know what I’m doing I don’t have those to be progressing myself day in and day out.

I usually just sit down on the leg extension machine and pop in the weight on the stack and go where I go to the cable machine or I lift some dumbbells, but a properly progressed training program that moves you towards your goal, whatever that may be.

Michael Ashford: That also involves a level of detail and intricacy that a fitness professional is going to give you and by not having the gym by maybe perhaps only having a couple of sets of dumbbells at home or maybe nothing.

Maybe you only have your body weight and some things that you can throw around the house that left a lot of people in a lurch. You know, I’ll fully admit, my business grew during the lockdowns and the shutdowns.

Michael Ashford: I believe it was for that reason people were kind of striking out on what to do. Accountability I go back and forth with like, as your coach I don’t want you to have to be accountable to me. That accountability becomes comes within you that accountability. You’re the only one who knows how much time, effort, and energy you’re putting into accomplishing your goal.

That is an unfair responsibility to place on somebody else. Because we just don’t know like I as a coach just simply don’t know. Did you actually push yourself as hard as you said you did? That’s an unfair place I can be there to support educate guide educate and lead, but I don’t want to be accountable.

Steve Washuta: Oh, I’m with you lately. How do you feel like your transition to being you know, teaching online now, which a lot of us have had no choice but to do I feel I’m glad I did it. I feel like we could talk about this further.

But I feel like if you don’t have your toes at least dipped into both, you know, on-site and online training, you’re gonna fall behind. You have to have some sort of online virtual appearance as a personal trainer or a group class instructor because that’s just that’s a sign of the times. It’s the way things are coming, but do you feel like your online training is better for your niche? Meaning like dads have a better time working with you virtually than they would on-site?

Michael Ashford: I don’t know that I can make that judgment. Quite honestly, Steve, I will say by me first training people in person made me a far better online coach, by seeing and understanding movement patterns in person and watching someone you know, say one thing but move in a different way.

That’s very hard to do in an online space unless you’re doing it live and that’s not always scalable, right. So, you know, finding the balance there in an online environment is tough.

Michael Ashford: I would say it’s probably hard to go from one. It’s hard that an online coach would be able to appropriately train a person coach like it doesn’t go both ways.

I would definitely say any coach, you need that hands-on in-person experience, but then once you have it and you get a better understanding of what you’re working with, you can be a phenomenal online coach, and you can scale up your efforts. Beyond that, it just, you know, in some instances, you got to kind of take it slow. Does that make sense? 

Steve Washuta: I couldn’t agree more. You know, in my book, Fitness Business 101, I talk a lot about that how it’s so important to build slowly, if you have too many clients before you can actually help your clients achieve their goals, you’re going to lose clients faster than you’re getting clients, right.

Everyone wants to be this marketing and advertising genius and find a way to get 100 clients, but your best bet is to slowly grow your craft, right, become an expert, and actually be able to help your clients. Then through word of mouth, and obviously transitioning to online and more scalable programs and platforms, you can then build your business.

But there is no replacement for training in person for a few reasons, I believe personally, and one of them is certainly being able to walk 360 degrees around your client being able to potentially palpate them in a certain area and say, “Hey, listen, do you feel this, this is your lat. This is what should be firing, it’s not firing right now”.

So far, we haven’t found a way to replicate that. That doesn’t mean online training still doesn’t have its place. But for a growing trainer, you have to start in-person to really grasp those things we talked about.

Michael Ashford: One of the best examples I can give you: I’m training my son right now my 10-year-old son, he’s a brand new beginner to weights. That is very similar to someone who is deconditioned, who perhaps is unsure about resistance training, you have to teach them how to move their body in a way that perhaps at first feels unnatural to them.

So If you have no experience helping someone do that in person, it’s very hard to know what to communicate online, to them get them to understand the level of communication, your skill set has to be so much better, to train someone online, to get them to understand what you know, just intuitively in your head from how you feel.

Michael Ashford: So I’m training my son. I can point to him, like when you do that lat pulldown, “This is the muscle”, and I can touch the muscle that is, and say “This is where you should be feeling it squeeze this muscle as you pull down”, it’s very hard to get that feeling across to someone in an online setting.

Unless you can tell them cues and appropriate actions based on the history of working with someone else in person. It’s a very tricky spot, and there is an immense opportunity for online trainers to do it. Well, you can be a life-changer for people, you just need to make sure that you’re not doing harm or damage. First and foremost.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s a great point, too. I’m going to go back to what you said about cueing. You know, when we’re in person, we have so many different ways to demonstrate we can do it ourselves. The client can see us and they can see us from all these different angles, we can have them do it and then continue to correct them. Again, we can manipulate them if of course if you know we ask them first if it’s all we’re okay to touch them.

But the verbal cueing and the ability to describe one thing for five, six different ways until they finally get it is something that if you don’t have that online training, I feel like you’re three steps behind because there’s going to be a point in which you’re trying to describe said movement.

For whatever reason, if I were to use one verbal cue, right, Michael gets it. If I were to use another verbal cue, Steve gets it. But maybe, maybe Susie doesn’t get it. So I have to find a way and keep spitting out all of these different, you know, could be analogies.

Sometimes I tell people when they’re squatting, you know, pretend you’re holding groceries coming out of the car and you’re trying to close the car door, right? Push your butt back first before you go down, right? So these little verbal cues that just click in people’s heads, you go “Okay, I get it now”.

Michael Ashford: Yes, My favorite one is as you’re squeezing your shoulder blades together in a lat pulldown, for instance, squeeze your shoulder blades together like you’re trying to squeeze a pencil in between them. People all of a sudden get that “Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to feel like yeah”, you’re absolutely right.

Steve Washuta: I love the creative ones. I had an instructor who was a TRS certification, who was trying to help people like engaging their glutes in a plank and would say, “Hey, you have to recruit your glutes in this plank, don’t let it just be all core like tighten, tighten your butt”.

He said to pretend there’s a quarter in between your butt cheeks. By the time you’re done with this plank, you have an imprint of the President’s face on your butt. Yep. Yeah, just interesting things that you’ll never forget, because of how they described it.

I think as trainers, you know, we have to have that skill set, especially now with this online training world. So let’s go more into detail about your experience coaching dads, and I want to first jump into making time to work out we brushed on it a little bit, but it’s tough for everybody.

Whether it’s pandemic related or you know, you’re maybe you’re a single dad and you have a child and you work nine to five and then you have to find a way to spend time with your kid as well. How do you yourself or and or help clients who are dads manage their schedule to make sure they get their workouts in?

Michael Ashford: It is the reason why I work with dads because on the internet, social media, it’s rife with 20-year-olds, 25-year-olds who are not fathers who sit there and spew no excuses and just get it done and work harder. But the dad over here, like me I’ve got a job. I’m the sole breadwinner of the family, my family counts on me to do this job. It’s tiring. It’s exhausting.

Then I have my kids, like, dude, you don’t know tired until you have to come home from work, cook dinner, and then put the kids to bed. Like, miss me with your excuses. You need a pep talk, all right? Then you have other commitments and responsibilities.

Michael Ashford: Maybe you are active in your community. Maybe you’re coaching your kids, basketball team, or softball team. You go to church, you have other hobbies and interests, you have friends like there are so many things that are heaped upon a parent’s shoulders not just dads, but I’m a dad.

I know the dad world, right? So I don’t need another fitness bro telling me no excuses. We have excuses. We have commitments, I prefer to list them out as commitments and priorities and responsibilities. Not so many excuses because of the negative connotation that people ultimately jumped to when they hear the word excuses.

Michael Ashford: So my question to dads all the time is, what are you giving up now? Or-excuse me, what are you giving up in the future by not taking care of yourself now? Think of it in those terms. All of a sudden a dad gets starts to think, you know, when I’m 65, I want to walk my little girl down the aisle and feel confident and feel good at that moment and not need assistance.

When I’m 70 I want to hold my grandchildren in my arms and feel stable and sturdy. I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandchildren. I want to retire and travel the world with my wife and never, never feel like my body is holding me back from those experiences.

Michael Ashford: But if I don’t start taking care of myself now, in some way shape, or form, I’m I could potentially be giving up those things that I idealize in the future, my future self.

That resonates with dads because we all have this drive within us to provide for our families to be good leaders of the family to protect all those things. It starts with taking care of yourself. There is this you know, there’s this mentality with a lot of dads that I’m so busy and I’m so overstretched that I don’t have time to work on myself.

Michael Ashford: In some cases that may be true. We got to work through how do we shed some of those things. If you truly want to make this, you’re gonna prioritize things that are most important to you. So do we get rid of TV? Do we get rid of, you know, going out and bowling every night like back when we could do those things, you know, right? It’s much easier now because nobody leaves their house.

These are the conversations that I have with dads to try and help them think of what their long-term legacy is going to be as it relates to their role as a father and their role as a husband within their family.

Michael Ashford: Then it’s a matter of just “Hey, let’s find what works”. If you only have two days a week where you can fit in a 30-minute workout. It’s better than nothing. If you only have five minutes every day, where you can squeeze in a simple bodyweight workout, better than nothing.

Those workouts those exercises, those training sessions will begin to squeeze the other things further down the priority list because of how good you feel, how confident you feel, how much healthier you feel, how much energy you have all those things.

You eventually, like I said, want other people to experience it because it does feel so good. I wanted to make sure that I trained dads, that I only work with dads. I’ve had a few men who are not dads.

Michael Ashford: But it’s just an It’s a unique perspective on the world, to be a father to have children to have those responsibilities and want to take care of yourself. You mentioned earlier, like it is a niche, right? It’s a niche, there are a lot of fit dad guys out there.

I can think of probably 10 off the top of my head of guys in this space who are trying to help dads, and we’re a tight-knit group because we’re all wanting the same thing.

We want better for ourselves and our families. Steve, this is a long-winded answer to your question. I know. But it is something that I’m deeply, deeply passionate about. Because for far too long, we’ve just heard this message of no excuses. That’s a BS message man, especially from somebody who has no idea what they’re talking about.

Steve Washuta: Well, that’s a fantastic way to kind of repurpose that question and ask them, you know, what do you want out of your future? What are you willing to do? To give up to understand that in the future? Are you not going to be able to get down because you have sciatica? And you have major issues with your back and you can’t play with your child?

What about if you’re, you know, your daughter goes to college to play softball, but she goes across the country, and you can’t go watch her because, you know, you can’t get on a plane due to all of your issues. Right? You have some sort of chronic heart condition now because you were, you know, eating yourself into it. So I think that’s a great way to look at it. 

Michael Ashford: That point, Steve, you just brought up a really great point. So many guys are focused on building wealth and building their empire here in the here and now. But if you don’t take care of yourself, what good is all that wealth and all that those positions and all that stuff?

If you die of a heart attack at 55? Because you’re stressed because you’re unhealthy? You’re overweight? Because you have all these chronic illnesses, like, stop and think for a moment what you are mortgaging, you are mortgaging your future life, for this finite moment in time.

Michael Ashford: It’s why I hate 90-day shreds. It’s why I hate, you know, dropping 15 pounds by the summer because none of that gives you that mindset of this needs to be something that I can sustain for the rest of my life. I want to affect the rest of my life with what I’m doing right now. Steve, what you just said is absolutely spot on, you’re mortgaging something. What are you mortgaging?

If you have dedicated to only the here and now and growing wealth and material possessions, what good is it if you’re dead, flat out, it’s, it means zero if you’re dead, and not able to reap the benefits of all that hard work?

Steve Washuta: Yeah, totally. To speak to sort of my specialty, working with seniors. I can tell you that every senior that I work with, will tell you, I wish I would have started earlier, I wish I would have started earlier. I’ve had the luxury of working with seniors who have a lot of money. Specifically, that’s my niche, rich people over the age of 65. They would trade all of that money to have started training 15 years earlier, because of all of their issues.

You cannot get that time back. Retroactively, they could have found ways to switch their schedule around and do it. They all regret it. I think that’s, you know, that’s an important part to take.

I think for the trainers out there, you know, I just had a podcast with a celebrity trainer, John Missoura, who has been in the industry for 35 years. He told me when he works with his trainers, he tells all of them to train their clients for the future, they’re going to have issues and elements down the road, and you want to train them so that they can potentially not have those elements, or at least they can delay having those elements. Don’t worry, like you said, for all the 25-year-olds who tell you I know the way to get your six-pack.

That’s great. But that is not going to be important for basically the second and third part of your life. Right. So maybe for the first 25 years, it is but for the next 50 years, it’s not. So prepare for the end, however daunting or negative that sounds.

Then also, just to add to that, I think you were speaking, or we both mentioned it, about the finances and how people will work so hard to you know, accumulate all this money.

I think you could also explain it to the clients in that way as well and saying like, hey, You know, you’re not just willy nilly going out there and spending all of your money at once, right? You’re finding a way to save for the future because you understand how important your future is, why don’t you do the same thing with your body, right?

Think of your body the same way, as you think of your bank accounts where, you know, I’m putting a little bit in here, I’m putting a little bit in there, but I have to invest for the future.

Michael Ashford: Steve, that takes a conversation shift as well away from how your body looks, to how you feel. There’s a big difference between training for looks and training for longevity and health and, and feeling good.

I know a lot of guys, I’ve had some of them on my podcast specifically talk about this, they trained for looks. They did things to their body to look a certain way to step on a stage to grow a certain amount of muscle. Yet they weren’t able to get down on all fours and play with their kids on the floor. It hurt too much.

Michael Ashford: Now, tell me, what are you going to regret at the end of your life, that you didn’t look a certain way on stage. That’s an extreme example, I understand. Or that you didn’t, you weren’t able to play with your daughter, you weren’t able to play Legos on the floor with your son you weren’t able to, to play tea party with your daughter because you couldn’t sit down on the floor and not feel uncomfortable.

Let’s be honest, about what we’re talking about here. If you train for looks, you take shortcuts, you go through extreme fad diets and extreme weight loss exercises to try and achieve something that are you ever going to get there? Are you ever going to be satisfied with that?

Michael Ashford: But if you train for how you feel, if you train for, I want to wake up every day, when the alarm goes off with energy, I want to wake up I want to come home from work and have enough left in the tank to run around the backyard with my kids to throw a football the football with my son to play you know horsey with my daughter as she rides my back around the house.

Michael Ashford: Like, let’s be real about what we’re talking about here. Let’s shift the mindset of training for “I’m going to help you lose those pounds”, to “I’m going to help you build that muscle to I’m going to help you move how you want to move”.

All that other stuff that you care about losing weight, being able to fit in those jeans, with taking your shirt off at the beach, that stuff all comes as a natural byproduct, you’re going to get there anyway, I promise you, we’re just not going to shortchange you. We’re not going to shortcut your well-being to achieve it.

Steve Washuta: Yeah. I’m going to try to tell you your demographic, but I think there are three pieces to this. I think there’s that group, what you just mentioned, right, that people who are overworking themselves and doing the wrong things. Because they’re, you know, vanity supersedes, you know, long-term health and wellness, right?

Then you have the group who unfortunately just doesn’t know any better, where maybe they’re all they’re doing is running, right maybe that you have the guy goes, Oh yeah, I’m in shape, because it’s not his fault, right? This is pure naivety.

He’s a he’s an accountant. He spent his whole life with his head in the books, and he thinks it’s smart to go on marathons, you know, two, three times a year. That’s all he does to train for marathons. Meanwhile, you know, he’s got no cartilage left in his knees, and he’s not building any muscle.

He’s actually, you know, more deconditioned than you think. Then you have the third group, which is just people who are completely sedentary. Who tells you I don’t have the time. I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time.

Michael Ashford: You’re absolutely right. You know, part of it too, is like, if you love running marathons, I don’t want you to stop doing that. Let’s find ways to train around that. So that you can still do that.

But as you get older, how many people in advanced age, do you know who can lift something up over their head to put it on this on a shelf? Like how many people do you know? One of the things I practice and I’m only 36 years old, but I practice this all the time. I practice getting up from the floor on my back without using my hands.

Michael Ashford: How many people have advanced age, do you know who can do that? Well, you’ve got to be able to move your body to be mobile enough to be strong enough to do those things. That’s a different style of training.

That’s a different approach to a lot of it and resistance training is going to be in my opinion, the optimal way to do that. But I’m never going to tell you like if you love running, go run. Now.

Michael Ashford: There’s a difference between just going out and running and Doing all everything willy nilly and training your body to run, you know, I’m a former distance runner. There’s a difference between training to run, and just going out and running. You know how many people do you know who just love running but they’re injured all the time?

Well, you got to talk about mechanics, you got to talk about proper warm-ups, you got to talk about the proper way to move your body in space as you run, like going out for a run should be every bit as much a training exercise as going into the gym.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, totally. Tust to go back to a point you made beforehand, it’s important that people enjoy whatever fitness medium it is that they choose. I mean, not everything needs to be enjoyable. I purposefully make one day miserable for myself, because I believe that’s important. So I have every Tuesday, I do the Murph. It’s a CrossFit workout that’s really tough. I’m not a CrossFit guy. But it’s really a bodyweight workout, I forced myself to do it every Tuesday.

Now, I will take off, I’ll do it sort of eight weeks on eight weeks off because sometimes it’s too much for my body. So after, after I do it eight weeks in a row, I’ll pick another really tough workout to do on Tuesdays something that I don’t really love, and something that pushes me and I make sure I do it. But with that being said, I love miThai and kickboxing.

I make sure that I go that I kickbox. Right. I love Pilates Reformer, I make sure that I’m doing the Pilates Reformer, I do things that are both healthy for me, and that I enjoy on top of just general health and wellness, just going into the weight room and finishing a workout because like you said, as long as you’re moving, as long as you’re doing things that are bettering yourself both psychologically and physically, who cares what fitness medium it is.

Michael Ashford: None of my goals regarding my health and fitness, have anything to do with the gym. I work out of my basement now. But gym resistance training, that’s my preferred way of training my body. But all of my goals exist outside. So I’ll do a 5k or I’ll go I live in Colorado. So I’ll go hike a mountain to the very top, you know, 14,000 feet, that’s really, really hard. I like Spartan races and warrior obstacle course races. Those suck, man, like those are some of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Michael Ashford: But in the end, you have felt you feel accomplished knowing that you have done the next hard thing. And you’re absolutely right, like challenging yourself, pushing yourself out of a comfort zone is a crucial part of your health and wellness because of the mental strength that it takes.

Not maybe not the physical strength as much, maybe it is easy for you, but maybe you don’t like it, but you do it because you know what’s good for you, both physically and mentally.

Steve Washuta: I don’t know if you do recommend this. But I feel like to meet for dads, it would be ideal to join men’s groups that have fitness-related goals or tasks or even like the whole premise is fitness related. So like, you know, 45 and over basketball leagues like yeah, that’s fantastic.

You’re running up and down the court, you’re doing these things rather than like, let me just meet with my 45-year-old buddies at the bar. It’s like well, you know, you can still you can have that maybe one drink or to drinks afterward. But like, why don’t you meet for basketball first? Yeah,

Michael Ashford: That’s great. You know, especially now it’s so hard to find those opportunities, but they are there and you know that gets into a bigger issue that men need to be in relationships with other men besides just having a drink at the bar like there is a camaraderie there is accountability within a group of men that supersedes just banter about the weather or sports right?

We’ve got to have something deeper than that. Physical activity physical training physical fitness is a great intro and foundation to having those relationships that so many men need but we don’t have.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, I’m with you. Actually, in about three hours here, my buddies come over and we have a Brotines day instead of a Valentine’s Day. We’re going to play pickleball. So just a bunch of guys playing pickleball for two or three hours being you know, pseudo competitive, which is, you know, it’s not as difficult as hiking a 14,000-foot mountain, but you’re still sweating and having fun.

You know, it’s what you want to do. It’s, it’s good. I love that man. Do you use any particular platforms? When do you train your clients? Are you using like a trainer’s eyes? Are you just doing stuff through like workout builders and sending them how do you run your online fitness programs?

Michael Ashford: I use Trainerize. Yeah. That app has been what I’ve used since the beginning. I think it works. Well. I mean, they’ve certainly improved it since I first started using it back in 2016. It does work well.

For the trainers listening out there, having the ability to say, you know, you get access to my app, that is a value add for clients because they want to know, I’m going to get videos with my workouts because you’re not there with me, I want to see the move being properly done.

Michael Ashford: So, you know, I’ll film exercises and load them up for my clients, they get their workouts, they can message me there. It’s become a very valuable result resource for me. It’s valuable, besides just getting your workouts each week on a spreadsheet.

Yeah, it’s completely appropriate. If that’s what you want to do, you just got to go above and beyond to make sure that your clients understand the moves and tracking properly.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, like you talked about not you know if you want to be the 25-year-old, who makes you know, who’s only worried about scalability, and, and builds a sheet to say, here’s my six-pack, abs sheet, and every one do the same thing, regardless of your age, or your fitness or any of that stuff, great.

But if you’re actually trying to help your clients, you’re much better off making your own videos too. Because honestly, there are things in fitness that are subjective.

There are things in fitness that are objective, for example, like a kettlebell swing, there’s, there’s more than one way to do a kettlebell swing, right? There’s not there’s a lot of wrong ways. But there’s more than one right way, right?

Just slight anatomical tweaks of angles you use and how much hip drive and how much glutes you’re engaging and all these things. If I want to show my client my way, I especially want to be able to take that video and show them if they have a particular injury. I have to then reshape that exercise accordingly.

Michael Ashford: Yeah. Great point. Do you want to be able to, again, just demonstrate for your client, the appropriate technique that you’re looking for?

Steve Washuta: Is there something on the app that you don’t like? Can you think of something that when you’re working on a day-to-day basis, you’re like, “I wish this was there”? I’m only saying that so that eventually, in Trulyfit, we can integrate into the sort of phase two and phase three, like all of these things that that trainers are are hoping for, but they’re missing?

Michael Ashford: Yeah, you are putting me on the spot. I mean, this is not even a feature. I can’t stand in the trainer eyes app, how when I log into a client’s profile it pops up in a tab, and I can’t have one Client Profile open at a time. That’s when I’m working on a desktop or on my computer. It’s not the same in the app environment.

The environment is free. I would say, it’s, it’s more the desktop where I’m building out my client workout plans that that that could definitely use some work in terms of UI UX. That’s the software guy coming out and me.

Steve Washuta: For sure. Yeah, that’s funny. Well, I mean, I guess they are maybe a little bit more slanted, assuming that majority of their people are using the app rather than using the desktop version, right. Sure. Yeah.

Michael Ashford: I mean, they’ve definitely created it for an AP experience first, which is appropriate. I get that. For sure.

Steve Washuta: Yeah. So I know, the trainer’s eyes is a big one, some people that I’ve worked with are using that as well. A lot of people are just going straight through zoom. They’re saying, “Hey, I’m going to send clients stuff, through their email. I work with them through zoom, and I’ll have my own, you know, stripe account, and I’ll go that route”.

Michael Ashford: Yeah. For me, being a busy dad you know, I’m homeschooling in the middle of all that too. Spending time with my wife, going out on dates with my wife, doing things around the house. That part’s not scalable for me. So I do not do live classes. Not right now. Not to say that I never will. But right now, that’s not scalable for me.

I’m only online coaching through that app because and every now and then, you know, I’ll jump on with a client if they have a specific question about a move or they want to go through a workout because they’re just not getting it or not feeling it. I’ll do that from time to time. But scaling that up. Yeah, dude, I don’t have the time for that.

Steve Washuta: Totally. So now I’m going to ask you a very direct dad question. Come July 8, I will be a first-time dad. So, my wife is currently about 20 ish weeks. We have our 20-week appointment tomorrow. So what do I need to be concerned about within the first few months here? How do I get, I’ll tell you I usually work out at 10am, because I work from home. I do my thing at 10am, is that still feasible? Given the first six months of my child or do you think that’s not feasible?

Michael Ashford: You’re gonna hate me for this answer, man, but it depends. So I got two kids and they could not have been more different. There’s just no way of knowing. My son when he was born, was super chill, napped every day at the same time, was great with a schedule, slept through the night. For the most part, I am just the easiest-going baby you could ever expect. I’m going to tell you a story here in just a bit.

But my daughter was the exact opposite, like, did not stick to a schedule, napped for maybe 20 minutes spurts at a time was took two hours to get her to bed at night. Just would fight and fight and fight sleep at that at bed at night.

Michael Ashford: So you just never know. So I could tell you like I just told you like, that’s my experience. So you fit in your workout when you can. Eventually, yes, you will begin to build up some semblance of a schedule again. But I see far too many dads try to fit babies into their schedules, rather than fitting their schedules into babies.

That’s where a lot of dads can go off the rail, you know? The story that I just referenced earlier, when I first became a dad, I didn’t pay too much attention to my health, like I said earlier, and I let stress the stress of just being a new dad of you know, getting the diaper bag ready.

Michael Ashford: Whenever we were going to go out, whenever we were going to go to church, or go to the grocery store, just all this stuff. I was so focused on taking care of my wife that I never did anything for myself.

One day we were getting ready to leave to go, I believe it was to go to church, I bent down to pick up the diaper bag, stood up, the vision was gone, could not see anything.

I went blind. I’m freaking out. I’m like, what is going on. All of a sudden, like, I get this splitting pain through my head like I had been shot through the head with an arrow. I’m freaking out. Now my mom and her husband were thankfully there and they were like we’re gonna take you to the hospital. We had no idea, could be having a stroke.

Michael Ashford: I’m now I’m really freaking out because I’m saying like if I have a stroke? I can’t like I’m a new dad. What’s my wife gonna do? Like what if I had died from this? I’m running through all the scenarios, right all the worst-case scenarios. Long story short, it was an ocular migraine. It was an ocular migraine, where the ocular nerve that runs from your eyes

to your brain gets constricted to the point where it cuts off your vision. It’s brought on by stress. I was so stressed and I had no outlet for relief of that stress.

Michael Ashford: I was so focused on everyone else around me appropriately to I’m a new dad, right? That I had, I put myself in the hospital man. So my advice to you finds time to take care of yourself. It is as much needed as taking care of your new child and your wife. That’s what dads need to understand there is no noble cause in living a life purely for everyone else and never taking care of yourself to the point you put your stress and pressure on other people. Take care of yourself. You cannot fill an empty vessel from another empty vessel. Take care of yourself man that and fit fitness in where it is appropriate in those first several months and understand. I promise you it gets easier man it gets easier.

Steve Washuta: Awesome information. Thank you for both letting the young trainers know about that, and the young or future dads know about that as well as the current dads. Now let’s get to you. I want you to tell everyone the listeners here, where your fitdadfitness stuff is? Where can they find all of your stuff?

Michael Ashford: The hub of everything man is That’s my website, I’ve got free workout guides and kind of templated guides there. If if you’re just starting out, or if you’re a little bit more of an advanced lifter, you know I’ve got workout guides that are again free to download called “Project size” and “project size two”, which were the exact workouts that I used when I first started working out. So that’s all their blogs, you can reach my podcast there. I’m on Instagram at Fidelfitness. I’m on the Facebook app fitdadfitness page. Again that’s the fitdadfitness podcast. We’re almost 350 episodes into that bad boy and not slowing down. So it’s a great time.

Steve Washuta: Awesome. Well, thanks again for hopping on the Trulyfit podcast and I’m sure we’ll talk soon. 

Michael Ashford: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me, Steve.

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.

Thanks again!


YOUTUBE VIDEO: Training Dads: Considerations & Helpful Hints with Michael Ashford



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